The First French Work on Economics Using Mathematical Argument
FORBONNAIS, François Véron Duverger de. Elemens du commerce. Chez Briasson , 1754.
Scarce first edition. Two twelvemo volumes. [6], 400, [2, errata]; [2], 276 pp.

Contemporary French mottled calf. Spines decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments with two tan morocco gilt lettering labels, board edges decoratively tooled in gilt, edges stained red, marbled endpapers. A few minor rust spots. A wonderful copy. “After initial employment in industry and trade in Nantes, [Forbonnais’s (1722-1800)] desire to obtain an official position in the government services (successful in 1756 when he was appointed general inspector of currency) inspired his career as a writer on economic and financial subjects. These all have a strong mercantilist flavour, and also display considerable antagonism to the Physiocrats. Forbonnais contributed a number of economic articles to the Encyclopédie and provided translations of some important writings on commerce...Forbonnais’ major works are his Elémens du commerce (1754) and his Principes et observations oeconomiques (1767). The Elémens has the distinction of being the first French work on economics using mathematical argument. This is his analysis of equilibrium conditions with respect to the rates of exchange between more than two countries and in situations of bimetallism where there are differences in the price ratios of gold and silver” (The New Palgrave).

Einaudi 1922. Goldsmiths’ 8923. Higgs 747. Kress 5347.

HBS # 66985 $10,000