BOTERO, Giovanni. Della ragion di stato libri dieci, con tre libri delle cause della grandezza, e magnificenza delle città … Venice, Gioliti, 1589.
First edition of a masterpiece in the history of economics.
'Divested of nonessentials, the “Malthusian” Principle of Population sprang fully developed from the brain of Botero in 1589: populations tend to increase, beyond any assignable limit, to the full extent made possible by human fecundity (the virtus generativa of the Latin translation); the means of subsistence, on the contrary, and the possibilities of increasing them (the virtus nutritiva) are definitely limited and therefore impose a limit on that increase, the only one there is; this limit asserts itself through want, which will induce people to refrain from marrying (Malthus’ negative check, prudential check, “moral restraint”) unless numbers are periodically reduced by wars, pestilence, and so on (Malthus’ positive check)' (Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, pp. 254–5).
COLLET, Philibert. Traité des usures, ou explication des prets et des interets par les loix qui ont eté faites en tous les siecles. [Lyon], 1690.
Presentation copy of the scarce first edition of this interesting work on usury in which the author maintains that ‘usury is more legitimate than the tithe because it is the price of a service rendered by an instrument, capital’ (Gilles Jacoud, translator and editor, Jean-Baptiste Say and Political Economy p. 257).
[INSURANCE]. The Australasian Colonial and General Life Assurance and Annuity Company. [London, n.d., c.1850].
A very rare survival in original state of this prospectus for the Australasian colonial and general life assurance and annuity company - an organisation specialising in offering insurance policies to emigrants to British colonies.
The final page of text introduces ‘Endowment Survivorship Annuities’, followed by an annexed table, ‘intended to provide in a simple, convenient, and effectual manner for the support and education of Children, on the death of a Father and until the attainment of the age of Twenty-one’.
[LAW, John]. Arrest du Conseil d’Estat Du Roy, portant qu’il ne sera plus reçeû aucuns Billets de Banque dans les Bureaux de Recettes, soit generals, soit particulieres, tant des Pays d’Estats, que du Clergé. Paris, Imprimerie Royale, 1720.
The seminal original royal decree, very rare on the market, putting an end to the acceptance of paper money following the financial collapse of John Law’s Ponzi investment scheme.
‘In 1716 Law established the Banque Générale, a bank with the authority to issue notes. A year later he established the Compagnie d’Occident (“Company of the West”) and obtained for it exclusive privileges to develop the vast French territories in the Mississippi River valley of North America. Law’s company also soon monopolized the French tobacco and African slave trades, and by 1719 the Compagnie des Indes (“Company of the Indies”), as it had been renamed, held a complete monopoly of France’s colonial trade. Law also took over the collection of French taxes and the minting of money; in effect, he controlled both the country’s foreign trade and its finances.
‘By 1719 Law had issued approximately 625,000 stock shares, and he soon afterward merged the Banque Générale with the Compagnie des Indes. Law hoped to retire the vast public debt accumulated during the later years of Louis XIV’s reign by selling his company’s shares to the public in exchange for state-issued public securities, or billets d’état, which consequently also rose sharply in value. A frenzy of wild speculation ensued that led to a general stock-market boom across Europe. The French government took advantage of this situation by printing increased amounts of paper money, which was readily accepted by the state’s creditors because it could be used to buy more shares of the Compagnie’ (Encyclopedia Britannica, online).
Law’s adversaries, including the Duke of Bourbon and the Prince De Conti, pushed speculation with the aim of causing the system to collapse. Share values rose from 500 to 20,000 livres. Eventually a number of the most prominent shareholders sought to liquidate their holdings in exchange for gold or silver coinage causing an immediate collapse, bankrupting Law’s system.
Ruined, John Law fled the kingdom in December 1720.
[MACHIAVELLI]. SALAZAR, Diego de. Tratado de Re Militari. Tratado de Cavalleria hecho a manera de dialogo q[ue] passo entre los illustrissimos señores Don Gonçalo Fernandez de Cordova llamado Gran capitan Duq[ue] d[e] Sessa. ec y Don Pedro Ma[n]riq[ue] de Lara duq[ue] de Najara … [Alcalá de Henares], Miguel de Eguya, 1536.
First edition, very rare, of Salazar’s ‘dialogues’ on the art of war. A free translation and adaptation of Machiavelli’s famous Della arte della guerra, which combined the precepts of Vegetius with an understanding of the military challenges of the time, it also includes Machiavelli’s preface.
‘While Machiavelli’s influence as a military theorist is often given a back seat to his writings as a political philosopher, that he considered Della Arte della Guerra to be his most important work is clear from his discussions of the military science and soldiery in other works. For example, in The Prince he declares that “a prince should have no other object, no any other thought, nor take anything as his art but that of war and its orders and discipline; for that is the only art which is of concern to one who commands.”
In the course of the sixteenth century twenty-one editions appeared and it was translated into French, English, German, and Latin. Montaigne named Machiavelli next to Caesar, Polybius, and Commynes as an authority on military affairs.
SOVIET WAR NEWS WEEKLY. Nos. 1-174. London, Cooperative Printing Society, 22.01.1942-17.05.1945.
The complete wartime run of issues no. 1 to 174, well preserved in original condition, of this very rare London published Russian WWII newspaper, lacking only the final issue under that title, which was published after German capitulation.
The papers purpose was to inform the British and their allies of the enormous Russian war effort on the Eastern Front, both in terms of men and materials. Despite the fact that the information was one-sided, and in spite of the vituperative propaganda, the newspaper contains an abundance of information about, and many illustrations of the war in Russia.
There are numerous contributions by the controversial Jewish Soviet writer, Bolshevik revolutionary, journalist and historian Ilya Grigoryevich Ehrenburg, including his article ‘Kill’, published in issue no. 37, October 1, 1942.