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Traité des délits et des peines. [Bound with:] Commentaire sur le livre des délits et des peines.
Paris: chez J. F. Bastien,, 1773. 2 works bound in one volume, duodecimo (160 x 90 mm). Contemporary mottled calf, tan morocco label, raised bands, spine elaborately decorated in gilt with central floral tools, all edges red, marbled endpapers. Page 295 misprinted 195; p. 35 misprinted 39 in Voltaire's Commentaire. Slight surface loss to board edges, small repair to leaf A, tiny loss due to production fault to edges of leaf Av of the Commentaire, the occasional minor blemish to contents. An excellent copy. First edition of Chaillou de Lisy's translation, endorsed by Beccaria. Undoubtedly the most influential work on criminal justice in the 18th century, Beccaria's treatise was originally published in Italian in 1764, first published in French in 1766 and in English in 1767. Cesare Beccaria, Marchese Beccaria-Bonesana, a well-to-do Milanese professor of law and economics, had made many prison visits and was appalled at what he saw. His short book was immediately successful and widely influential in stimulating reform in many countries, including the nascent United States. "Beccaria maintained that the gravity of the crime should be measured by its injury to society and that the penalties should be related to this. The prevention of crime he held to be of greater importance than its punishment, and the certainty of punishment of greater effect than its severity. He denounced the use of torture and secret judicial proceedings. He opposed capital punishment, which should be replaced by life imprisonment; crimes against property should be in the first place punished by fines, political crimes by banishment; and the conditions in prisons should be radically improved. Beccaria believed that the publication of criminal proceedings, verdicts and sentences, as well as furthering general education, would help to prevent crime. These ideas have now become so commonplace that it is difficult to appreciate their revolutionary impact at the time" (PMM). Beccaria's Dei delitti e delle pene was first published in French in 1766, in a translation by economist and Encyclopediste André Morellet. Morellet's translation, based on the third edition of Beccaria's treatise, was criticised for being unfaithful, leading Beccaria to seek out another translator, whom he found in librarian Chaillou de Lisy. Chaillou de Lisy's translation was widely acclaimed and remained the standard text even when other translations followed. Included in this edition are the "Jugement d'un célèbre professeur sur le livre Des Délits & des Peines" and the author's response to a monk ("un moine de Vallombreuse") who had attacked his theories and denounced him to the authoroties, "Réponse à un écrit intitulé Notes et Observations sur le livre Des Délits & des Peines". This copy is bound with Voltaire's highly admirative Commentaire, which was first published anonymously in Geneva in 1766 (this copy being undated but most probably an early 1770s edition). In 1772 Voltaire wrote to Beccaria, forty years his junior: "Your book upon crimes and punishments opened the eyes of many of the lawyers of Europe who had been brought up in absurd and inhuman usages; and men began everywhere to blush at finding themselves still wearing their ancient dress of savages" (William F. Flemning, The Works of Voltaire, Vol. 11, p. 31).
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      IOBABooks    


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