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De l'Esprit des Loix. Nouvelle Edition, Avec les dernieres Corrections & Illustrations de l'Auteur
A Edinbourg, Chez G. Hamilton & J. Balfour, 1750. FIRST SCOTTISH EDITION. 2 volumes. 8vo (in 4s), 198 x 112 mms., pp. xxviii, 458 [459 errata, 460 blank]; xvii [xviii errata], 487 [488 blank], contemporary lightly polished, spine gilt in compartments with curious ichthyological ornament (sort of a sea creature or mermaid with its tail curved towards its head), red leather label; very slight rubbing of joints, but a fine set, with the later bookplate of Sir James Miller Bart of Manderston, probably the racehorse owner (1864 - 1906). Hamilton and Balfour had published a few minor French works in translation before 1750, but this was their first full-length publication in French. They issued subscription proposals for this edition, claiming, not unusually for 18th century publishers, that their edition would be more correct than those published in London and Geneva, where it was first published in 1748. The subscription proposals were announced in the Caledonian Mercury on 1 June 1749: "As the publishers of this work are to spare neither Expence nor Pains, in having it elegantly printed, and carefully corrected from the Errors both of the Geneva and London Editions, and at as cheap, if not a cheaper Price than either: It is hoped that all Lovers of Learning, and Well-wishers to their Country, will rather chuse to encourage this first Attempt of reprinting a valuable foreign Book among ourselves, than any other Edition...." One of those who expressed enthusiasm for the project was David Hume, who let Montesquieu know what was happening. Montesquieu sent Hume many corrections, which Hume passed on to the publishers, when the work was almost completed. Four leaves in each volume were cancelled and replaced with new leaves, though errors still remained. Hamilton and Balfour later issued an English translation of the two chapters most likely to interest British readers, Two Chapters of A celebrated French work, Intitled, De l'Esprit des Loix, Translated into English, one, Treating Of the Constitution of England; another, Of the Character and Manners which result from this Constitution. Hamilton and Balfour offered this for 10s. sewed, or 12s bound, and this appears to be a publisher's binding. ESTC T121684 locates 11 copies in UK libraries, one in Europe, one in Australia, and UCLA, Kansas, Penn, and Trinity College in North America.
      [Bookseller: John Price Antiquarian Books]
Last Found On: 2013-09-16           Check availability:      Biblio    

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