WEBSTER, Pelatiah (1726-1795)
Political Essays on the Nature and Operation of Money, Public Finances, and Other Subjects: Published during the American War, and Continued up to the Present Year, 1791
Philadelphia: Printed and Sold by Joseph Crukshank, 1791. 8vo. viii, 504pp.
Contemporary sheep, red morocco lettering piece
Provenance: Benjamin Hazard (presentation inscription on title by Julius Aboyneau)
First edition of a scarce early work on American finance: the only collection of essays by influential political economist Pelatiah Webster.
The present collection brings together twenty-five works on a range of issues, including the necessity of the Constitution, trade and commerce, taxation, credit, pay for soldiers, and the location of the seat of government. The essays, which appeared in a variety of newspapers and separate publications over the previous fifteen years, are here collected for the first time. Webster (1725-95) produced several important treatises on economic issues during the Revolution and the Confederation periods, and was an ardent advocate of the Constitution. He argued that the Revolution should be funded by taxation instead of loans, and espoused a free trade policy and the reduction of issues of paper money. In the post-war period he was a major proponent of a stronger union, and thus became an early advocate of the Constitution; it was based on this work that Hannis Taylor later claimed that Webster was the true author of the Constitution. The appendix includes monthly scales of appreciation of Continental money during the Revolution. "Collected works of an influential political economist of the period who was often consulted by members of Congress on finance and taxation" (Howes). Though in a number of institutional collections, this group of Webster's collected essays is very scarce on the market. A lovely example, with provenance to noted Rhode Island legislator Benjamin Hazard (1774-1841).
Evans 23972; Sabin 102413; Howes W211; Kress 2235; ESTC W28926.