London: Printed for J. Johnson, by T. Bensley, 1803. Second (enlarged) edition. Large 4to, pp. viii, contents, errata, 610. Bound in contemporary full calf, rebacked at an early time with the original spine laid down. Ownership signature on the endpaper of "N.W. Ridley Colborne" on the endpaper and "Horace W. Baddle 1859" on the top of the title page. Some light intermittant spotting and staining, but a nice clean copy with wide margins. Garrison-Morton 1693; Carpenter XXXII (2); Einaudi 3668; Goldsmiths’ 18640; Kress B.4701; Mattioli 2207, See Printing and the Mind of Man # 251. Item #45495
The great quarto edition of Malthus' masterpiece, a very important work in the field of economics and a source of Darwin's "idea of 'the struggle for existence'" (PMM)
The Reverend[Thomas Robert Malthus FRS (1766 – 1834) was a British scholar, influential in political economy and demography. He has become widely known for his theories concerning population, and its increase or decrease in response to various factors. The six editions of his Principles of Population, published from 1798 to 1826, observed that sooner or later population gets checked by famine, disease, and widespread mortality. The central idea is a simple one: that population expands geometrically while food production grows arithmetically.
This edition, though being the second, may be considered as a new work, which Malthus himself also claimed; -it is thoroughly revised and much enlarged (nearly four times the length of the original essay, the title has been changed (the title of the first is merely: "An Essay on the Principle of Population, as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society with Remarks on the Speculation of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and Other Writers") He notes: "In the course of this inquiry, I found that much more had been done, than I had been aware of, when I first published the essay. The poverty and misery arising from a too rapid increase of population, had been distinctly seen, and the most violent remedies proposed, so long ago as the times of Plato and Aristotle. And of late years, the subject had been treated in such a manner, by some of the French economists, occasionally by Montesquieu, and, among our own writers, by Dr. Franklin, Sir James Steuart, Mr. Arthur Young, and Mr. Townsend, as to create a natural surprise, that it had not excited more of the publick attention" (Preface to the second edition, p. IV). "The "Essay" was highly influential in the progress of thought in the early nineteenth-century Europe. "Parson" Malthus, as Cobbett dubbed him, was for many, a monster and his views were often grossly misinterpreted. But his influence on social policy, whether for good or evil, was considerable. The Malthusian theory of population came at the right time to harden the existing feeling against the Poor Laws and Malthus was a leading spirit behind the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834." (PMM 251).