London: J. David, for B.& J. White (and others), 1797.
The Beginning of Sociology
EDEN, Frederic Morton, Sir. The State of the Poor. Or, an History of the Labouring Classes of England, from the Conquest to the presend period; In which are particularly considered, their domestic economy, with respect to Diet, Dress, Fuel, and Hibitation; And the various Plans which, from time to time, have been proposed ,and adopted, for the Relief of the Poor: together with Parochial Reports Relative to the Administration of Work-houses, and Houses of Industry; the State of Friendly Societies; and other Public Institutions; in several Agricultural, Commercial, and Manufacturing, Districts. With a Large Appendix; containing a comparative and chronological table of the prices of labour, of provisions, and of other commodities; an account of the poor of Scotland; and many original documents on subjects of national importance...In Three Volumes. London: J. David, for B.& J. White; G.G. & J. Robinson; T. Payne; R. Faulder; T. Egerton; J. Debrett; and D. Bremmer, 1797.
First edition of Eden's classic work. Three quarto volumes (259 x 206 mm). Bound without the final leaf of Volume III, 'Directions to the Binder', which was usually omitted when the book was first bound.
Superbly rebound to style by Trevor Lloyd in full tree calf, covers ruled in gilt with a metope-and-septaglyph roll. Spines richly gilt with red morocco lettering pieces, volumes numbered on red oval onlays over black morocco labels, inner dentelles ruled in gilt with a Greek-key roll, marbled endpapers. An excellent copy.
Eden, a disciple of Adam Smith, was led to embark on his subject by the high prices brought on by the war in 1794 and 1795, and the harsh effect they had on the living conditions on the poorer classes. "Edens own work, notwithstanding its originality, might now be forgotten if it were not for the invaluable collection of facts attached to it, which can never cease to be of importance. More valuable even than these, however, is the method he adopted of obtaining and systemizing statistically the details of so diffuse a problem; it has proved the basis of sociological investigation ever since" (PMM). In this era, "the outstanding performance was Eden's period. Of particular interest for us in the fact that the author, although he disclaimed any intention beyond what fact-finding implies (he offers some interesting discussions, nevertheless), was fully aware of the importance of his facts, not only for the purpose of legislative and administrative practice but also for economic analysis " (Joseph A. Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, p. 275). Karl Marx, in Das Kapital, not forgetting Malthus, described Eden as the only pupil of Adam Smith who achieved anything of significance in the eighteenth century.
Goldsmiths' 17107. Kress B3384. Maxwell & Maxwell, A Legal Bibliography, sect. IV Poor Law, p. 14. Printing and the Mind of Man 249.