[MONROE, James]. LANJUINAIS, Jean-Denis Comte de (1753-1827). Constitutions de la Nation Francaise, avec un essai de traité Historique et politique sur la Charte et un recueil de pieces correlatives. Paris: De Baudouin Frères, 1819.
2 volumes, 8o. Half-titles. Contemporary tree calf, covers ruled in gilt, gilt spine, marbled endpapers (rubbed, repair to lower spine on v.1).
TWO VOLUMES FROM MONROE'S LIBRARY, WITH HIS ELEGANT BOOKPLATE. An intriguing work on the changing political charters of France from the end of the ancien regime through the revolution and Napoleonic era, by a noted republican legal scholar. Lanjuinais was elected to the Estates General in 1789, where he called for the abolition of the nobility. However, he objected to the increasingly radical turn of the revolution in the 1790s. While never abandoning his anti-monarchical beliefs ("complete, unlimited royal power is contrary to nature," he says in volume I, p.199), he denounces the "religion de l'Etat" of the radicals and urges the preservation of religious freedom and freedom of speech. "L'homme," he says "est naturellement religieux" (II:127).
BOOKS FROM MONROE'S LIBRARY ARE RARE although the library contained, by Monroe's own records, some 3,000 volumes. Many of Monroe's books were sold at auction in Washington in February 1849 after the death of Dolley Madison. Monroe's copy of Necker's De l'administration des finances de la France, Paris, 1784, sold here recently (Christie's 3 December 2007, $18,750). His copy of Linnaeus's General System of Nature also sold here on 12 June 2008, $12,500. (2)