British Empiricism And Early Political Economy: Gregory King's 1696 Estimates Of National Wealth…

Hardcover | April 30, 2005

byJohn A. Taylor

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Gregory King (1648-1712) was an engraver, herald, surveyor, and Secretary to the Commissioners for the Public Accounts, but he is best known for his 1696 estimates of the wealth and population of England. Writing in 1696, but calculating for the year 1688, he put the population at approximately 5.5 million. Historians have recently doubted the accuracy of these estimates. In this book, John A. Taylor argues that King was an honest compiler of data whose eccentric calculations of the 1696 data available to him were motivated by the problems he faced. Because he used only empiricism and shop arithmetic, the 1696 estimates were probably as accurate as anyone in the 17th century could have made them. This first book-length study of King's work positions his successes and shortcomings as a statistician within the context of the whole ongoing failure of statisticians to construct a method of exact prediction about human society. In addition to this valuable commentary, Taylor also includes reprints of several scarce but very important documents by or about King, including King's 1696 estimates of national population and wealth, his autobiography, his essay on the naval trade of England, his letter on Queen Anne's Bounty, and the life of King written by George Chalmers.

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Gregory King (1648-1712) was an engraver, herald, surveyor, and Secretary to the Commissioners for the Public Accounts, but he is best known for his 1696 estimates of the wealth and population of England. Writing in 1696, but calculating for the year 1688, he put the population at approximately 5.5 million. Historians have recently dou...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 9.34 × 6.66 × 0.81 inPublished:April 30, 2005Publisher:Praeger PublishersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0313313067

ISBN - 13:9780313313066

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?Taylor leads his readers on a journey around, rather than through, King's Estimates. Engaging and well informed, he introduces us to King's circle of coversation and to forerunners and contemporaries among the illuminati if empiricism (English and continental)....Although Taylor cannot tell us on what most of the Estimates was based (King left few notes), and though King's successors would use modern mathematics, Taylor persuades this reader that the Estimates was calculated by the best means at hand and without political motivation. Taylor leaves the reader well informed about the contingent and circumstantial influences on the Estimates. He appends King's short autobiography, the 1696 Estimates themselves, Robert Chalmers's brief biography of King, and finally, a bood bibliography. Altogether, this book deserves our praise and a wide readership. Math-phobic historians should know the text is fully reader friendly. Taylor makes it fun to learn all this.??The Historian