Item #69043 De l'Esprit des Loix. Charles de Secondat MONTESQUIEU, Baron de.
De l'Esprit des Loix
De l'Esprit des Loix
De l'Esprit des Loix

The True First Edition of “One of the Most Remarkable Works of the Eighteenth Century”

De l'Esprit des Loix. ou Du rapport que les loix doivent avoir avec la constitution de chaque gouvernement, les moeurs, le climat, la religion, le commerce, &c. à quoi l'auteur a ajouté. Des recherches nouvelles sur les Loix Romaines touchant les Successions, sur les Loix Françoises, & sur les Loix Féodales.

Geneve: Chez Barrillot & Fills, 1748.

Full Description:

[MONTESQUIEU, Charles de Secondat, Baron de]. De l’Esprit des Loix Ou du rapport que les Loix doivent avoir avec la Constitution de chaque Gouvernement, les Moeurs, le Climat, la Religion, le Commerce, &c. à quoi l’Auteur a ajouté Des recherches nouvelles sur les Loix Romaines touchant les Successions, sur les Loix Françoises, & sur les Loix Féodales. Geneva: Chez Barrillot & Fils [i.e., Paris: Prault], [n.d., 1748].

First edition. With the double “r” spelling of the printer on both title-page, as described by Tchemerzine. Two quarto volumes (9 3/4 x 7 1/4 inches; 247 x 184 mm.). [2, blank], [8], xxiv, 522; [2, blank], [4], xvi, 564, [2, blank] pp. Woodcut device on title, decorative woodcut tail-pieces. Both volumes with half-titles. Without the errata as is normal for the first edition.

Full contemporary acid-treated calf. Each volume with two original tan morocco spine labels, lettered in gilt. Spine stamped in gilt. All edges marbled. Outer hinges of both volumes with some repairs. Previous owner's armorial book plate on front paste down of each volume. Some minor rubbing to boards. A few pages of light toning, but generally very clean. Previous owner's light unobtrusive pencil marginalia. A very good set. Both volumes housed in a morocco-edged marbled board slipcase.

“Finally in 1743 he began De l'Esprit des Loix. It took four years to write, and when it was finished almost all his friends advised him not to publish it. Montesquieu paid no attention and it was printed in Geneva in the autumn of 1748. It consists of six main sections, the first dealing with law in general and different forms of government, and the second with the means of government, military matters, taxation and so on. The third deals with national character and the effect on it of climate; a subject of peculiar originality and the one most discussed at the time. The fourth and fifth deal with economic matters and religion; the last is an appendix on law—Roman, feudal and modern French. The most distinctive aspect of this immense syllabus is its moderation: a quality not designed to achieve official approval in 1748. It is an always original survey which is neither doctrinaire, visionary, eccentric, nor over-systematic... The scheme that emerges of a liberal benevolent monarchy limited by safeguards on individual liberty was to prove immensely influential... his theories underlay the thinking which led up to the American and French revolutions, and the United States Constitution in particular is a lasting tribute to the principles he advocated” (Printing and the Mind of Man ).

En Français dans le texte 138. Kress 4920. Printing and the Mind of Man 197. Tchemerzine VIII, p. 460.

HBS 69043.


Price: $24,500.00

Item #69043