London: John Richardson, 1810. First Edition. 8vo (8 5/8 x 5 3/8 inches; 220 x 135 mm), xli, , 621, [1 errata], [2 adverts], in contemporary speckled calf, spine gilt with red morocco label. An important early work on life insurance, annuities, and endowments by London stockbroker Francis Baily (1774-1844). He gives practical advice on how to value an insurance policy or annuity, answers numerous hypothetical questions, and provides 59 tables on mortality, the value of policies, etc. What's especially interesting in this book is his discussion of assurance companies (see pages 479-520) in which he seems to imply that some of them were engaged in fraudulent practices.This book became a standard reference for the insurance industry, along with his earlier book, "The Doctrine of Interest and Annuities." (1808). But he was interested in more than finance: He was a co-founder of what became the Royal Astronomical Society and took part in scientific experiments. Baily was also an adventurer; in 1796 he embarked on a tour of North America, keeping detailed accounts of his travels. His book, "Journal of a Tour in Unsettled Parts of North America in 1796 and 1797," was published in 1856, 12 years after his death.OCLC shows numerous institutional holdings of this book, but they appear to be almost entirely in electronic form. COPAC shows 10 holdings in the U.K. and Ireland. Moreover, there were no other copies in commerce as of early March 2020. SCARCE. Item #2193
CONDITION: Some rubbing to boards, toning and foxing throughout, a few small stains to top and bottom edges, early ownership signature to front end paper. Overall, a Very Good copy.