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Sorbière, Samuel de
Relation d’un voyage en Angleterre,

4, 500 

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The copy from the libraries of Charles Nodier,
of the prince d’Essling, of the comte de La Bédoyère,
of Louis Loviot, of Edouard Moura and of Jacques Vieillard,
preserved in its fine red morocco binding by Thouvenin,
mentioned by Willems and Brunet.

This text almost provoked a diplomatic incident
between France and England ;
it was banned by order of the Council and his author exiled.


Sorbière, Samuel de. Relation d’un voyage en Angleterre, où sont touchées plusieurs choses, qui regardent l’état des Sciences, & de la Religion, & autres matières curieuses. Cologne, Pierre Michel, 1666.

12mo [154 x 80 mm] of (6) ll., 192 pp. and a folding plate.

Red morocco, double frame of gilt fillets with fleurons in the corner, spine decorated with fillets and fleurons in gilt with the title lengthwise, decorated leading edges, inner gilt dentelle, entirely untrimmed. Binding by Thouvenin.

Extremely rare first edition from the Elzevirian presses of this account by Sorbière that almost provoked a diplomatic incident between France and England.
It is decorated with a folding plate.

The first edition was published in 1664.

Brunet, V, 455 et supplément, II, 670 ; Willems, 1760; Graesse, Trésor de livres rares et précieux, VI, 449 ; Catalogue du duc de La Vallière, VI, 26 025.

A precious copy, with wide margins, entirely untrimmed.

Samuel Sorbière (1615-1670), a Protestant doctor and philosopher, published his Relation d’un voyage fait en Angleterre in 1664 ; the book was banned by order of the Council and Sorbière was exiled to Nantes.

The text is a lively day-to-day narration of a trip undertaken by the author in England, Amsterdam, Maastricht… Sorbière informs the reader of the curious inventions he sees, like the “machine pour telescope”, the “barometer”, the “machine hydraulique”…

The text if full of political and religious considerations. Sorbière admired the display of individual freedom, national prosperity and independence of power. “Je n’oublierai rien, dit-il, de ce que je pus pratiquer pour m’instruire du gouvernement, des mœurs et du génie des peuples.”

Sorbière is a precursor of the anglophile trend that will prevail in France in the 18th century.

His Relation en Angleterre influenced Montesquieu and Voltaire, who said : “The Englishman is born free; in England, one doesn’t ask anyone permission to think.”

“18th century French Anglo-mania relayed the English Gallo-mania that overtook England in the 17th century. French writers discovered England and considered it a model: Montesquieu, and especially Voltaire who, in his Lettres anglaises published in 1734, admired the good sense, the independent mind, the bold originality, the firmness of the English and their incredible sense of freedom.” (Paris, de l’image à la mémoire, M.C. Kok-Escalle)

If the author praised English individual freedom, he criticized the British institutions, and notably the Parliament.

The English government had the book banned par council decree on July 9th 1664.

A precious copy, with wide margins, untrimmed, preserved in its elegant red morocco binding.

The copy is mentioned by Willems and Brunet : “An untrimmed copy Essling, La Bédoyère, 25 frs.”

Of prestigious provenance :
– Charles Nodier (1830, n°1718);
– Prince d’Essling;
 Comte de La Bédoyère (1862, n°2077);
– Louis Loviot;
– Edouard Moura (1923, n°937);
– Jacques Vieillard (1946, n°525).

Extremely rare edition : no copy has been fought over in auctions since the beginning of the surveys 40 years ago (ABPC, Argus).

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