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    [Antoine Louis Claude Destutt, Comte de Tracy]. A Commentary and Review of Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws. Philadelphia: Printed by William Duane, 1811.

    Contemporary boards. Spine worn and chipped. Joints fragile. Edge wear to boards with some soiling. Moderate toning and foxing to contents with an old dampstain to lower margin. Else a very good uncut copy in original condition.

    In the summer of 1809, Thomas Jefferson received Tracy's manuscript with a letter from the author requesting the former president to have the work translated and published anonymously in the United States. A liberal French nobleman, Tracy feared retaliation from Napoleon if the fact of his authorship was made known. Over a year later Jefferson offered the manuscript to William Duane for publication. In Jefferson's opinion it was "the most valuable political work of the present age." To protect the identity of the author, Jefferson penned an introduction to the book in which he claimed that the author was a native of France and former supporter of its revolution, now living in the United States, which, of course, was untrue. A scarce book of political theory with a fascinating publication history.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    3rd-4th Tuesday-Wednesday
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