Lettera dall’Adriatico del signor Antonio Bianchi sopra l’opera del sig. Abate D. Nicola Spedalieri.

Rome, Giovanni Zempel, 1792.

8vo, pp. 196; some light foxing in places throughout, and some dustsoiling; in contemporary vellum, gilt-lettered label on spine; somewhat soiled, and binding slightly sprung.


US $670€561

Make an enquiry

Added to your basket:
Lettera dall’Adriatico del signor Antonio Bianchi sopra l’opera del sig. Abate D. Nicola Spedalieri.

Checkout now

First edition, uncommon, of this counter-revolutionary polemic written in response to Spedalieri’s I diritti dell’uomo of the previous year and attributed to the Barnabite Paolo Agostino Cavalleri (1742-1803). Spedalieri had attempted a Catholic response to the revolutionary ideas of the rights of man, based on a largely Thomist interpretation of natural law theory, but his work, despite winning the approval of Pius VI, found few friends at the time, and it was banned in Piedmont and elsewhere.

Cavalleri’s response strips away the nuance from Spedalieri’s work, ignores the fact that much of it echoes traditional Catholic political teaching, and accuses Spedalieri of being no more than a Jacobin priest. He attacks the idea of popular sovereignty, and argues against the notion of human rights, suggesting that they are God-given rather than natural (although the practical consequences of the distinction are not always clear in Cavalleri’s work). Inequality, both social and economic, was real, but a consequence of human corruption.

Criticism of Cavalleri’s work prompted a Supplemento e difesa della lettera adriatica (Rome, 1793). 

Melzi I, p.131; OCLC records copies only four copies outside Continental Europe, at Columbia, Newberry, Harvard, and Cambridge.

You may also be interested in...


A Fair Representation of His Majesty’s Right to Nova-Scotia or Acadie. Briefly stated from the Memorials of the English Commissaries; with an Answer to the Objections contained in the French Memorials, and in a Treatise, entitled, Discussion sommaire sur les anciennes limites de l’Acadie.

First edition. ‘Résumé très bien fait de toute la question des frontières de l’Acadie entre la France et l’Angleterre; mais écrit au point de vue de l’Angleterre seulement’ (Gagnon).

Read more


‘Poesies Francoises sur diverses sujets composée par plusieurs celebres auteurs et recuelly par D.C.G. C de Schoulenbourg à Förste l’ann 1742’.

A charming manuscript compendium of French poetry in an attractive binding and slipcase, compiled at Förste in South Lower Saxony by a member of the distinguished von der Schulenburg family. The selection of love poems, spiritual and satirical verse, epitaphs, and songs (including one poem titled ‘Sur un livre donné à sa majesté Brittannique intitule Il gyro del mondo’) is drawn from seventeenth-century writers including Boileau, Fénelon, Le Pays, Pavillon, Racine, and Scarron.

Read more