8vo, pp. , 59, [1 (blank)]; woodcut headpiece on p.1; occasional marking and spotting, and dampstain to gutter of central quires, but otherwise clean; disbound.
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Lettres d’un archevêque, à l’auteur de la brochure intitulée: Du droit du souverain sur les biens-fonds du clergé & des moines, & de l’usage qu’il peut faire de ces biens pour le bonheur des citoyens.
First edition, uncommon, of this response to an anticlerical essay by the Chevalier de Cerfvol by the Dominican theologian and anti-philosophe Charles-Louis Richard (1711–1794). De Cherfvol had argued against the wealth of the clergy, and in particular of the religious orders, and proposed a means in which this could be better put to use for the wider population. Richard, who also wrote against Voltaire and met his end thanks to a Jacobin bullet, goes through de Cherfvol’s essay, questioning his claims that the clergy had contributed little to the cultural and intellectual life of France, emphasising the ways in which the Church had provided a moral grounding for the country, and explaining the proper role of religion in society, and the appropriateness of financial (and other) donations to the Church, both from individuals and the state, and of the maintenance of the status of both secular and religious clergy.
Richard was the author of a five-volume Bibliothèque sacrée (1760), works on the history of the ecumenical councils, a number of anti-Voltaire works including Voltaire parmi les ombres, and, shortly before his death, a Parallèle des Juifs qui ont crucifié Jésus-Christ, avec les Français qui ont exécuté leur roi.
Outside continental Europe, OCLC records copies at Columbia, Berkeley Law, and St Paul University, Ottawa.
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