Traité de la légitimité du prêt lucratif, ouvrage utile & instructif pour les laïques & pour les ecclésiatiques.

‘A Londres’ [Lyons?], for Née de la Rochelle (Paris), Perisse (Lyons), Delcros (Clermont-Ferrand), Clemendot (Le Puy), and Buschet (Nîmes), 1788.

12mo, pp. vi, 7-247, [2], [1 (blank)]; very few marks and creases, marginal paper flaw to F4, with ‘Dorlhac Cure’ in a contemporary hand at the foot of p. vi and late 19th-century manuscript note on the author loosely inserted; a very good copy uncut in contemporary patterned wrappers printed in red, yellow, and blue; wrappers worn with a few tears, spine repaired.


US $1314€1100

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First and only edition of this work on interest and usury. According to Dorlhac, while the profits from interest are legitimate and those from usury illegitimate, one cannot categorically approve or condemn one or the other, since it depends on circumstances: if loans to the poor ought to be interest free, there is no obligation to offer the same advantage to the rich. Dorlhac cites Scripture, the Church Fathers, Church Councils and Papal decrees to show how religious opinion is in accord with natural laws and with his own conclusions on these questions.

The Traité was presented to authorities for approval on 26 August 1788 by the Paris bookseller Jean-François Née de la Rochelle, listed first among the publishers on the last leaf, but was struck on 10 October, among the last books to be forbidden by the censors of the ancien régime.

Very rare: OCLC records no copies in the US, while COPAC notes only the copy at Senate House Library.

Goldsmiths’ 13620; INED 1454; Quérard II, p. 581; Dawson, Confiscations at Customs: Banned Books and the French Booktrade during the last Years of the Ancien Régime (Oxford, 2006), appendix F, no. 94.

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