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L’Esprit des Loix,
1749, 1749.

12, 500 

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An enlarged and reviewed edition of Montesquieu’s L’Esprit des Loix.

A beautiful and precious copy preserved in its contemporary binding
with the arms of the président Bouhier, “a bibliophile of a superior class”.


Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat baron de. De l’Esprit des Loix, ou du rapport que les Loix doivent avoir avec la Constitution de chaque Gouvernement, les Mœurs, le Climat, la Religion, le Commerce, &c. A quoi l’Auteur a ajouté des recherches nouvelles sur les Loix Romaines touchant les Successions, sur les Loix Françaises et sur les Loix Féodales.
A Leyde, chez les libraires associés, 1749.

4to [256 x 188 mm] of VIII, 8 ll., 369 pp., (1) l., 396 pp. (misnumbered 306), (7) ll.

Full calf, blind-stamped fillet around the covers, arms stamped in gilt in center, ribbed spine decorated with gilt fleurons, lettering piece in red morocco, decorated leading edges, red edges. Contemporary binding.

Rare edition of l’Esprit des Loix enriched with corrections and amendments made by Montesquieu himself published one year after the first. It is unknown to La Rochebilière, Tchemerzine.

It is mentioned by Dangeau and attributed by A.-A. Chabé to an editor from Lyon, according to the correspondence of Madame de Tencin with the author, on December 2nd 1748.

“It is more accurate than the first edition published in Geneva in 1748, by J.J. Vernet. In some ways, it is the true first edition given by the author himself.” (Revue de Gascogne, IX, n°771)

PMM, 197 ; En français dans le texte, 138.

A masterpiece of the spirit of the Enlightenment, this founding text of modern institutional law and human rights introduces the American constitution and the French Revolution.

Montesquieu founds modern political science by analyzing the form of each government.

Despite its success, L’Esprit des Lois, after a lengthy quarrel, was prohibited by the Church on the 29th of November 1751 and condemned by the Sorbonne.”

This copy is enriched with handwritten annotations on pages 282 and 308 and with a text on the end leaf praising Montesquieu: “Ces règles de conduite, ces maximes de gouvernement, qui devraient être gravées sur le trône des rois et dans le cœur de quiconque est revêtu de l’autorité (…) Ecrivain immortel (…) méditant comme Pythagore (…) peignant comme Tacite, toujours son objet fut l’homme…

A beautiful and precious copy, with wide margins, preserved in its contemporary calf binding, with the arms of the président Bouhier.

Heir to an illustrious family of members of the Parliament of Dijon and of book collectors, the president Bouhier was an experienced bibliophile who read and marked books ; his collection of rare and richly bound books was renowned throughout Europe and was passed down to his son-in-law, Chartraire de Bourbonne, who enlarged it. (O. Hermal, pl. 2423).

“Two tools were used to mark the books of the Bouhier collection. They did not belong in proper to the président Bouhier but to members of the family through whom the collection had passed.

The président Bouhier was the perfect example of the bibliophile. He did not content himself with collecting books, he read them and on the margins of the different volumes he made notes and remarks that were always wise and full of knowledge.” (Guigard, II, pp.75-79)

Provenance : library of the président Bouhier (arms) ; ex-libris “M. Canon”; handwritten ex-libris “Maurier”.

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