THORNTON, William Thomas. A Plea for Peasant Proprietors: with the Outlines of a Plan for their Establishment in Ireland. New edition.


1 in stock

London: Murray, 1848. First edition. pp.xii, 256, 2. (Advertisement). Ribbed cloth, paper label to spine. Inscribed from the author on front endpaper. Previous owner’s signature on front flyleaf. Wear to spine ends and fading to cover. A very good copy.
COPAC with 4 locations only. OCLC 19752502. Goldsmiths’ Kress no.
William Thomas Thornton (1813-1880), English economist, was born at Burnham, Buckinghamshire, on the 14th of February 1813. In 1836 he obtained a clerkship in the London house of the East India Company. In 1858 he became secretary for public works in the India office, a post which he held till his death.
In spite of weak health, he devoted the greater part of his leisure to literary work, and more especially to the study of economic questions. He was an intimate friend of John Stuart Mill, and one of the ablest adherents of his school of political economy. Thornton’s first work on economics - ‘Overpopulation and its Remedy’ appeared in 1845. The project for the colonisation of Irish wastes by Irish peasants, contained in it, was referred to in laudatory terms by his friend Mill. Thornton developed his views in more detail in the present work. Mill read the proofs, and the book appeared a few weeks before his ‘Political Economy,’ on which it had an important influence. Great interest in Thornton’s second work necessitated a second edition during the discussion which attended the passing of the Irish Land Act of 1870, it was republished in 1874. Thornton looked to the nationalisation of the land as his ultimate ideal, but deemed the minimising of the evils of private proprietorship as alone practicable for the present. The economic writings of William Thomas Thornton have until recently, been neglected by historians of economic thought. This works helps cement Thornton’s reputation and restores his rightful place in the history of economics.

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