COMBER, William Turner (1771-1827)
An Inquiry into the State of National Subsistence, as Connected with the Progress of Wealth and Population
London: Printed by J. M'Creery for T. Cadell and W. Davis, 1808. 8vo. iii-xv, , 323, , 59,  pp. Lacks the half title.
Contemporary full speckled calf, covers bordered in gilt, spine gilt with raised bands in six compartments, red morocco lettering piece, marbled endpapers.
First edition of an important work of political economy, which examined the relationship between population and food production.
The passage of a duty on imported grain coupled with a poor crop in 1804 brought on period of scarcity and high prices in Great Britain. This work sought to find a general principle between food production and population growth, examining the conclusions of both Malthus and Smith: "The subsistence of a nation, on which the extent of her population depends, arises from the same causes which promote her general prosperity. The opinions of those writers who found it on that industry alone which is employed in the cultivation of soil, have already been exploded in theory by Dr. Smith; but the same doctrines have been revived by Mr. Malthus, in his Essay on Population ... The only satisfactory mode of examining the truth of these doctrines is, by entering into an analysis of the circumstances which have actually attended the progress of the country in wealth, population and agriculture ..." (pp. 10-11).