20 October 1999
MONTESQUIEU, Charles de Secondat, baron de (1689-1755). De l'Esprit des Loix. Geneva: Barrillot & Fils, .
2 volumes, 4 (260 x 200mm). Half-titles. 19th-century French red morocco by David, spines with 5 raised bands, gilt turn-ins, gilt edges (slightly rubbed at extremities), slipcases. Provenance: T. Tappe, lawyer of Schoeppenstedt (19th-century library stamp).
THE TRUE FIRST EDITION of 'one of the most remarkable works of the eighteenth century' (PMM). In De l'Esprit des Loix Montesquieu sets out his vision for government by limited monarchy with civil liberties well safeguarded. This vision proved highly influential and underlay the philosophy behind the American and French revolutions; 'the United States Constitution in particular is a lasting tribute to the principles he advocated' (PMM). The Esprit is an early and important contribution to the field of comparative politics. It deals with law in general and forms of government; military arrangement and taxation; manners and customs of the populace; economics; religion; and Roman, French and feudal law. Part of the fame of his work lies in its peculiar discussion of the effects of climate on a people. The present copy has all cancels and the double 'r' spelling of the printer on the title-page as described by Tchemerzine. A FINE AND VERY TALL COPY OF AN INFLUENTIAL WORK. Tchemerzine VIII, 459; PMM 197.
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