De l'Esprit des loix,

MONTESQUIEU Charles de Secondat, Baron de (1755.)


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ou Rapport qu'elles, doivent avoir avec la Constitution de chaque Gouvernement, les Mœurs, le Climat, la Religion & le Commerce. Avec de nouvelles recherches sur les Loix Romaines concernant les Successions, sur les Loix Françoises & Féodales. Nouvelle edition, augmentée d'un Discours & de la Défense.

Three volumes. 12mo. xxvii, [2, 'Avertissement'], xli, [1], 447, [1]; xxii, 72, 427, [1]; xxiv, 609, [1] pp., woodcut devices to title pages, woodcut head and tail pieces throughout, engraved folding map to Vol. 1. Contemporary polished calf, spines with five single raised bands, second third and fifth panels lettered in gilt on morocco labels, the rest elaborately tooled in gilt, covers with simple blind rules, paste paper endpapers, red edges, green silk place markers. Amsterdam, par la Compagnie.

A very fine early edition of ’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 the 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).

Originally published 1748 in two stout quarto volumes by Barillot in Geneva, the same firm published a 'nouvelle édition' which was subsequently reprinted in various places in smaller and cheaper formats such as the present three volume duodecimo edition published in Amsterdam.

Provenance: (1) small contemporary engraved armorial bookplates to front pastedowns of each volume.; (2) thence from the Castle Library of Walpersdorf (Schlossbibliothek Walpersdorf, Lower Austria) founded in 1905 by the Countess Maria Julia von Falkenhayn (1865-1956); (3) subsequently bequeathed to the Herzogenburg Abbey Library, with their bookplates to pastedowns of each volume. 

Stock Code: 247892

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