Considerations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur decadence.
MONTESQUIEU Charles de Secondat, Baron de (1734)
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”THE FIRST COMPREHENSIVE PHILOSOPHY OF SOCIETY.”
Title printed in red and black, with ornament, woodcut headpiece and initials.
8vo (162 x 107mm). ff, 277, pp (pp.241-8 bound out of order). Contemporary calf, rebacked, spine with blind-tooled ornament, gilt edges (wear to extremities).
Amsterdam, Jaques Desbordes, 1734.
First edition, first issue of Montesquieu's account of the might and subsequent decline of the Roman Empire, starting with the founding of Rome and ending with the fall of Constantinople in 1453. 'The first comprehensive philosophy of society' (PMM) it marked Montesquieu's shift in reputation from wit, to thinker and theorist and is an "interesting example of early scientific non-religious history, in which events are traced to their natural causes, without reference to a guiding Providence" (Oxford Companion to French Literature).
The first issue contains elements not present, or corrected in subsequent issues, most notably the uncorrected typo 'insensec' in the first line of the second note of p.129, and the controversial footnote, suppressed in later issues, on p.130 - 'Si Charles I si Jacques II avoient vécu dans une Religion...' - had Charles I and James II of England been of a religion that permitted suicide, they would not have had to suffer such a death, or such a life. Also present here are the other features of the first issue listed by Petit (pp.493-4) though in this issue the signatures of quire G are correct. The cancels and errata leaf not present here are only found in the second issue.
Minor browning, generally good condition.
Brunet III 1861. Tchemerzine VIII, 457a. Le Petit, 493-4. Rochebilière, 781. PMM, 197 (note).
Stock Code: 232191