Recherches sur la Nature et les Causes de la Richesse des Nations. Traduit de l'Anglois de M. Smith [by Blavet]. 2 Tomes.

Londres, Pierre J. Duplain, 1788. 8vo, Two nice uniform contemporary full calf bindings with gilt spines. Some loss of leather to back hinge and lower capital of volume one and minor loos of leather to spine of volume two, all due to worming. Worming is not bad and does not affect anything but outer layer of small parts of the bindings. Apart from the worming a very nice, fresh and clean copy indeed. (8), IV, 503; (4), 496 pp. With both half-titles, the advertisment, both prefaces and the table of contents.

Rare early French translation of Adam Smith's political and economic classic, the "Wealth of Nations". Translated by Blavet.

The present edition constitutes the third reprint of the second French translation. The second French translation was done by Blavet and is the first translation into French of which the translator and publisher are known.

"The reprint of Blavet's version appeared at Yverdon in 1781 in 6 volumes 12mo, and at Paris in the same year in 3 volumes 12mo, and again at London and Paris in 1788 in 2 volumes 8vo [the present edition], and revised and corrected, with Blavet's name as translator, at Paris An, ix (1800-01) in 4 volumes 8vo.

He [Blavet] had no intention of publishing it until his friend M. Ameilhon happened to complain of scarcity of interesting articles for his Journal de l'Agriculture, du Commerce, des Arts et des Finances, which had just come under the control of the Mercantilist. It struck him that he might offer it to him which he did, with the explanation that it was far from perfect. It was accepted, and appeared in the issues of the Journal between January, 1779, and December 1780. He did not anticipate that it would go further. The edition of 1788 likewise appeared without his knowledge or consent, and was still more marred by errors than that of Yverdon". (Lai, Cheng-chung. Adam Smith Across Nations: Translations and Receptions of The Wealth of Nations, Clarendon Press, UK, 2000).

Hailed as the "first and greatest classic of modern thought" (PMM 221), Adam Smith's tremendously influential main work has had a profound impact on thought and politics, and is considered the main foundation of the era of liberal free trade that dominated the nineteenth century.
Adam Smith (1723-1790) is considered the founder of Political Economy in Britain, mainly due to his groundbreaking work, the "Wealth of Nations" from 1776. The work took him 12 years to write and was probably in contemplation 12 years before that. It was originally published in two volumes in 4to, and was published later the same year in Dublin in three volumes in 8vo. The book sold well, and the first edition, the number of which is unknown, sold out within six months, which came as a surprise to the publisher, and probably also to Smith himself, partly because the work "requires much thought and reflection (qualities that do not abound among modern readers) to peruse to any purpose." (Letter from David Hume, In: Rae, Life of Adam Smith, 1895, p. 286), partly because it was hardly reviewed or noticed by magazines or annuals. In spite of this, it did evoke immense interest in the learned and the political world, and Buckle's words that the work is "in its ultimate results probably the most important book that has ever been written", and that it has "done more towards the happiness of man than has been effected by the united abilities of all the statesmen and legislators of whom history has preserved an authentic account" (History of Civilisation, 1869, I:214) well describes the opinion of a great part of important thinkers then as well as now.
Considering the groundbreaking views presented in "Wealth of Nations", it comes as no surprise that the work was considered part of the revolutionary cultural development in France. As Adam Smith's friend, the Marquis of Lansdowne, said after quoting Smith's work: "With respect to French principles, as they had been denominated, those principles had been exported from us to France, and could not be said to have originated among the population of the latter country." (Quoted in: Rae, p. 291). The ideas of Adam Smith were often considered so dangerously closely connected with French ideas at the time that the term "political economy" almost became synonymous with questions concerning the constitution of governments. "The French Revolution seems to have checked for a time the growing vogue of Smith's book and the advance of his principles in this country, just as it checked the progress of parliamentary and social reform, because it filled men's mind with a fear of change, with a suspicion of all novelty, with an unreasoning dislike of anything in the nature of general principle." (Rae, p. 293). There can be no question that this seminal work greatly influenced French opinion at the time.

Order-nr.: 42376

DKK 6.200,00