8vo, pp. viii, 153, ; woodcut printer’s device and tail-piece; one or two very light spots, but a very good copy in contemporary sprinkled calf, flat spine with the remains of gilt fleurons (gilding mostly worn off), red morocco lettering-piece; spine rubbed and chipped at head, small hole at foot, corners a little worn, a few scratches to sides, extremities rubbed; contemporary ink initials M. D. on the title-page.
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L’ami du peuple Français, ou mémoire adressé à M. Turgot, contrôleur des finances, par le fils d’un laboureur.
First edition thus, rare, of an attack on the French tax system published on the eve of Turgot’s demise. Set out as a narrative, this work outlines the family history of the author as a tale of hard work, of strife against the injustice and abuse of tax collectors, progressive failure to meet impossible demands from thriving tax farmers, jail and confiscation, and ultimately ruin. Through his exemplary story the author calls out to Turgot for a radical reform. He details the French fiscal set-up describing taxes, the severely uneven distribution of their impact, and the cruelty of a system which appears solely to serve the interest of the tax collectors, to the detriment of both crown and people. This appears to be the reprint of a part of a work sometimes attributed to Turgot (Quérard): Sur les finances, ouvrage posthume de Pierre André ****** fils d’un bon laboureur.
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Della ragione di stato, libri dieci. Con tre libri delle cause della grandezza della città ... Di nuouo in questa impressione, mutati alcuni luoghi dall’istesso autore, & accresciuti di diuersi discorsi. Con due tauole ... Venice, Gioliti, 1598.
Aggiunte di Gio. Botero benese. Alla sua ragion di stato, nelle quali si tratta dell’eccellenze de gli antichi capitani, della neutralità, della riputatione, dell’agilità delle forze, della fortificatione. Con vna relatione del mare. Venice, Giovanni Battista Ciotti, 1598.
The second Gioliti edition of Botero’s neglected masterpiece in the history of economics, first published in 1589, bound with the first Venice edition of the Aggiunte. Of the first work, Schumpeter writes: ‘Divested of nonessentials, the “Malthusian” Principle of Population sprang fully developed from the brain of Botero in 1589: populations tend to increase, beyond any assignable limit, to the full extent made possible by human fecundity (the virtus generativa of the Latin translation); the means of subsistence, on the contrary, and the possibilities of increasing them (the virtus nutritiva) are definitely limited and therefore impose a limit on that increase, the only one there is; this limit asserts itself through want, which will induce people to refrain from marrying (Malthus’ negative check, prudential check, “moral restraint”) unless numbers are periodically reduced by wars, pestilence, and so on (Malthus’ positive check). This path-breaking performance – the only performance in the whole history of the theory of population to deserve any credit at all – came much before the time in which its message could have spread: it was practically lost in the populationist wave of the seventeenth century. But about two hundred years after Botero [1540–1617], Malthus really did no more than repeat it, except that he adopted particular mathematical laws for the operation of the virtus generativa and the virtus nutritiva: population was to increase “in geometric ratio or progression”’ (Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, pp. 254–5).
PREPARING ROMANTICISM HEMSTERHUIS, François.
Sophyle ou De la philosophie.
First edition, a fine copy of this work by the Dutch philosopher and aesthetician François Hemsterhuis (1721-1790), whose ideas influenced the German romantic thinkers F. H. Jacobi and J. G. Herder as well as the two Schlegels and Novalis. Sophyle belongs to the second period of Hemsterhuis’s career during which he wrote four Platonic dialogues for Amalia Golitsyna. Taking the form of a discussion between Sophyle and Euthyphron, beginning ‘Oh, que la Philosophie est une bonne chose’, it examines the relation between the soul and the body and is also an attack on materialism. A fine example of printing, with a narrow column of text surrounded by wide margins, Sophyle was printed, like most of Hemsterhuis’s works, in a small and anonymous edition for private circulation. ‘Professor P. J. Buijnsters has associated Hemsterhuis’s printing commissions with the mysterious translator, factotum, and secret agent, Charles-Guillaume-Frédéric Dumas (ca. 1725-80). No one, it seems, has identified the printer or printers of Hemsterhuis’s falsely-signed ‘Paris’ imprints, but since the days of Barbier they have been localized to Haarlem and Den Haag’ (Stoddard).