Postlethwayt, Malachy (DNB00)

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POSTLETHWAYT, MALACHY (1707?–1767), economic writer, born about 1707, was elected F.S.A. on 21 March 1734. He devoted twenty years to the preparation of ‘The Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce,’ London, 1751, fol. (3rd edit. London, 1766, fol.; 4th edit. London, 1774, fol.), a translation, with large additions, from the French of J. Savary des Brulons. Postlethwayt collected much information, freely plagiarising other writers, but presented his results without method or conciseness. He died suddenly, ‘as he had often wished,’ on 13 Sept. 1767, and was buried in Old Street churchyard, Clerkenwell.

Postlethwayt also published: 1. ‘The African Trade the great Pillar and Support of the British Plantation Trade in America,’ &c., 1745, 4to. 2. ‘The Natural and Private Advantages of the African Trade considered,’ &c., 1746, 8vo. 3. ‘Considerations on the making of Bar Iron with Pitt or Sea Coal Fire, &c. In a Letter to a Member of the House of Commons,’ London, 1747, 8vo. 4. ‘Considerations on the Revival of the Royal-British Assiento, between his Catholic Majesty and the … South-Sea Company. With an … attempt to unite the African-Trade to that of the South-Sea Company, by Act of Parliament,’ London, 1749, 8vo. 5. ‘The Merchant's Public Counting House, or New Mercantile Institution,’ &c., London, 1750, 4to. 6. ‘A Short State of the Progress of the French Trade and Navigation,’ &c., London, 1756, 8vo. 7. ‘Great Britain's True System. … To which is prefixed an Introduction relative to the Forming a New Plan of British Politicks with respect to our Foreign Affairs,’ &c., London, 1757, 8vo. 8. ‘Britain's Commercial Interest explained and improved, in a Series of Dissertations on several important Branches of her Trade and Police. … Also … the Advantages which would accrue … from an Union with Ireland,’ 2 vols. 8vo, London, 1757; 2nd edit., ‘With … a clear View of the State of our Plantations in America,’ &c., London, 1759, 8vo. 9. ‘In Honour to the Administration. The importance of the African Expedition considered,’ &c., London, 1758, 8vo.

[Chalmers's Biogr. Dict. vol. xxv. pp. 219, 220; Gent. Mag. 1767, p. 479; Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, iii. 317; McCulloch's Literature of Political Economy, p. 52; Cossa's Introduction to the Study of Political Economy, transl. by Dyer, p. 252; Cunningham's Growth of English Industry and Commerce (Modern Times), pp. 260, 290, 315, 400, 420.]

W. A. S. H.