MONTAIGNE, Michel Eyquem de (1533-1592). Essais. Paris: Abel l'Angelier, 1588.
4° (239 x 192mm). Engraved title (state c, dated), ornamental headpieces and initials. (Title slightly trimmed as usual (see Sayce & Maskell) and with small slip presumably pasted over earlier signature, occasional very light small stain, some light browning.) 18th-century mottled calf, single gilt ornament in spine compartments (slightly worn, hinges split). Provenance: Timothe Chasneau (deleted signature on title, lengthy note on p.16v); Malherbe (signature on title, occasional marginal note); Oratory of Agde, gift from Louis Foucquet (d.1703), Bishop of Agde (inscription on title: Oratorii Agathensis ex dono Illustrissimi et Reverendissimi D.D. Ludovici Foucquet episcopi Agathensis).
First edition to contain part three of the Essais, and the last edition to be printed during Montaigne's lifetime. The first two parts were presumably set from a copy of the 1582 Bordeaux edition corrected by Montaigne. Louis Foucquet, bishop of Agde and master of the royal Oratory, played his part in the Fronde as intermediary between Mazarin in exile and his brother, Nicolas Foucquet, superintendant of finances. Nicolas's financial excesses led to his eventual arrest and a spectacular 3-year trial, and his downfall led to the enforced early retirement of Louis to his abbey at Agde. Sayce & Maskell 4.