De l'Esprit des Loix

MONTESQUIEU Charles de Secondat (1749.)


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ou du rapport que les loix doivent avoir avec la constitution de chaque gouvernement, les moeurs, le climat, la religion, le commerce, &c. à quoi l'auteur a ajouté des recherches nouvelles sur les Loix Romaines touchant les successions, sur les Loix Françoises, & sur les Loix féodales.

Woodcut fleuron with device and motto by J.-M. Papillon on title-pages, woodcut tail-pieces. 

Two Volumes bound in One. 4to. [8], xxiv, 522, [1]; [4], xvi, 564, pp. With the half-titles and errata leaves to both volumes, the first sometime excised and loosely inserted. Contemporary mottled calf, covers with a blind triple-fillet border, spines with five single raised bands outlined in gilt, the second panel lettered in gilt on red morocco label, red edges, marbled endpapers (small chip to headcap, extremities very slightly rubbed, otherwise an excellent copy). Geneva, Barillot.

The first issue of the first counterfeit edition and the first edition to printed in France, published by Prault in Paris in January 1749, with the misspelling of Barrilot with only one 'r' on the title page and the errata leaf at the end of the first volume.

"One of the most remarkable works of the eighteenth century" (PMM), De l’Esprit des Loix is a rigorous and diverse analysis that subjects to scrutiny all forms of social structures that organise the distribution of power among social groups. Its greatest contribution has been directly to political philosophy, most notably with regards to the theory of jurisprudence. Montesquieu insisted upon the separation of powers, particularly the separation of judicial power from executive and legislative authority, as a bulwark against abuse of state power.

Most pertinently, however, Montesquieu’s 'theories underlay the thinking which led up to the American and French revolutions, and the United States Constitution in particular is a lasting tribute to the principles he advocated' (PMM).

PMM, 197 (first edition); Kress 4920; Tchemerzine VIII, p. 460.  

Stock Code: 234403

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