8vo, pp. 24; on bluish paper; aside from some very light marginal browning, clean and fresh throughout; in later wrappers reusing wrapper for an 1840s medical periodical; some toning to lower cover, and light wear.
US $394 €330
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Épitre a l’humanité et a la patrie en particulier, sur le bon ordre & l’idée de la véritable liberté. Suivie de la notice d’un manuscrit intitulé: l’Ami de la Vérité, ou des véritables principes de l’ordre social, & de la félicité publique.
A good copy of this rare essay on the workings of society and the conditions required for human flourishing, by the controversialist and librarian Jean Chevret (1747-1820). After a brief letter addressed to humanity in general and France (even, perhaps, Chevret’s own home town of Meulan) in particular, Chevret offers thoughts on the principles underlining social order and public happiness: ‘L’homme est fait pour la société; il est né pour le Bonheur, pour le vérité’. Citing philosophers ranging from Bacon and Rousseau to Pascal and Montesquieu, Chevret works from these two axioms to conclude that only in states where both order and good faith are prevalent can the people be properly happy.
Chevret is identified as a librarian at the Bibliothèque du Roi, and then at the Bibliothèque nationale, from 1765 onwards, but it was only at the revolution that he began to write. He went on to publish several pamphlets on subjects ranging from education to popular sovereignty.
OCLC records only one copy outside Continental Europe, at the British Library.
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