London: Printed for Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longman, 1833. First edition. Some rubbing and light fading to cloth. Toning to label. Some creasing at gutter. Some toning to endpapers and some light foxing to edges, but a very good, bright, and tight copy of an important work. Original dark blue cloth with printed paper label. Small octavo. . [ii] pp., 188 pp. Item #16720
John Hopkins’s Notions on Political Economy was published during a period of anxiety in Britain over a potential working-class rebellion. The stories bear titles like “Wages” (pp. 11-26); “Emigration” (pp. 81-99); and “The Rich and the Poor” (pp. 5-10), which is the first story in the collection and expresses a belief in the mutual interests of the upper and lower classes. The final lines of “The Rich and the Poor” assert that “the rich and the poor have but one and the same interest…I am convinced that the comforts of the poor are derived from the riches of the rich,” (p. 10). Though members of the working class were the intended audience of John Hopkins’s Notions on Political Economy, and the author’s prefatory note states that its goal is “the improvement of the labouring classes” (p. [ii]), it is unlikely that many working people could have afforded a copy of the book (Oxford DNB).
Jane Haldimand Marcet (1769-1858) is remembered as an important figure in the history of women’s education and as a friend Maria Edgeworth. Marcet was also a scientist and a political writer who wrote Conversations on Chemistry, Intended More Especially for the Female Sex (1806), one of the first elementary science textbooks. Her Conversations books, which also include the Conversations on Political Economy (1817) and Conversations on Natural Philosophy (1819), are considered the “early nineteenth century’s best-known introductory science texts for women and young persons” (The Feminist Companion to Literature in English, p. 713).