London: Printed for J. Johnson in St Paul's Church-Yard, by T. Bensley, 1807. Fourth edition. Octavo (22cm) in two volumes. In contemporary brown calf, seven sets of double gilt rules to spine, titled in gilt on red leather spine label, numbered on black leather spine labels, blind tool to board edges, all edges sprinkled grey; plain endpapers; vol. I: [i]-xvi, -580pp; vol. II: [i]-[viii], -484, pp. Sturdy copies, much rubbed, vol. I slightly cocked, lower front joint of vol. I and upper front joint of vol. II cracking, vol. II lacking spine label, scratch to upper board of vol. II, endleaves and some prelims foxed but otherwise internally free from soil: Good or better.
The fourth edition of Malthus' widely influential discussion of overpopulation. Malthus (1766-1834) argued that population "increases geometrically, while food supplies increase only arithmetically," and that some misery was inevitable unless population growth could be restrained. He proposed "moral restraint" as a solution. Many of his theories have now been largely rejected, but "the Essay was highly influential in the progress of thought in early nineteenth-century Europe" and "his influence on social policy, whether for good or evil, was considerable." The first edition was shorter; "later editions were considerably altered and grew bulkier as Malthus defended his views against a host of critics" (Printing and the Mind of Man). KRESS B.5219. GOLDSMITHS 19373. PMM 251 (1st edn).