London: W. Pearson, 1718. First edition. Small folio (240 x 200 mm). Collates , xiv, 175, [1, blank]: complete, with an engraved vignette on title-page, numerous engraved head and tail pieces and initials, and an engraved vignette headpiece on page 1. With a dedication to Sir Isaac Newton. Contemporary speckled calf, rebacked to style. Boards double-ruled in gilt. Spine with a red morocco label, lettered and ruled in gilt. All edges speckled brown. Some minor soiling to final two pages. Some light toning from glue on endpaper edges. Previous owner's armorial bookplate on front pastedown. Overall a very good copy.
Abraham De Moivre was a mathematician and a close friend of Sir Isaac Newton, to whom he dedicated the first edition of this work. "His work on the theory of probability surpasses anything done by any other mathematician except Laplace" (Cajori). "De Moivre's representation of the solutions of the then current problems of games of chance tended to be more general than those of Montmort. In addition, he developed a series of algebraic and analytic tools for the theory of probability, like a 'new algebra' for the solution of the problem of coincidences which foreshadowed Boolean algebra, the method of generating functions, or the theory of recurrent series for the solution of differential equations. In the Doctrine, de Moivre offered an introduction which contains the main concepts such as probability, condition probability, expectation, dependent and independent events, the multiplication rule, and the binomial distribution" (DNB). Very Good (Item #3173)