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    Sale 1922

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana

    3 December 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 167

    [MONROE, James]. NECKER, Jacques (1732-1804). De l'administration des finances de la France. [Paris: no printer], 1784.

    Price Realised  


    [MONROE, James]. NECKER, Jacques (1732-1804). De l'administration des finances de la France. [Paris: no printer], 1784.

    3 vols., 8o. (214 x 130mm). Half-titles, errata leaves in vol.2 (p.vii) and vol. 3 (p.ix), folding table of population in vol. 1, vol. 2 with supplementary pp. 533-536 at end, vol. 3 with general index. (Minor, very light spotting). Contemporary French calf-backed paper boards, flat spines gilt-ruled, gilt-lettered green morocco labels, edges stained yellow. (Joints cracked, corners worn, vol. 3 with nick to fore-edge of one board).

    FIRST EDITION, a tall copy, evidently a FINE PAPER COPY, printed on thick papier de Hollande. A highly significant treatise on the finances of France, written by Necker in his own defense after he was dismissed as director-general of finance in 1781. The Swiss-born banker replaced Turgot in 1776 and instituted a program of short-term borrowing at high interest rates, instead of taxation, to finance the mounting expenditures of the state (strained, in part, by the cost of supporting the American revolutionary cause). In spite of his popularity, Necker's policies ultimately pushed the government into bankruptcy and he was dismisssed. Recalled in 1788, he was sacked again on 14 July 1789, precipitating the storming of the Bastille. His treatise was widely circulated in the United States, and Alexander Hamilton, particularly, "read and re-read" Necker's work (W.S. Randall, Alexander Hamilton, p.373) prior to issuing his 1790 Report on the Public Credit. Einaudi A.582; Goldsmith 12732; Kress B.752.

    JAMES MONROE'S COPY, WITH HIS BOOKPLATES. Each volume has Monroe's relatively simple but decorative bookplate. It is quite likely that Monroe may have acquired this set during his first mission as Minister to France (1794-97) when he furnished his residence in Clichy. BOOKS FROM MONROE'S LIBRARY ARE RARE, although Rosenbach speculated that Monroe's must have been a sizeable library, judging from manuscript numbers on some bookplates. Many of Monroe's books were sold at auction in Washington in February 1849 after the death of Dolley Madison. (A.S.W. Rosenbach, The Libraries of the Presidents of the United States, Worcester, Mass: AAS, 1935, pp.17-18).

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