Important acquisitions

RECHERCHES SUR LA NATURE ET LES CAUSES DE LA RICHESSE DES NATIONS

Author Smith, Adam
Title RECHERCHES SUR LA NATURE ET LES CAUSES DE LA RICHESSE DES NATIONS
Imprint A Avignon, Chez J.J. Niel, Imprimeur-Libraire, rue de la Balance
Date of Publication 1791
Language French
Notes This French edition of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations was printed in Avignon in southern France. The bookseller describes this as 'perhaps the rarest of all Adam Smith's works in any language', and indeed only one library copy has been located, at Northwestern University. It seems that many copies were destroyed during the Revolution; indeed, the printer-bookseller Jean-Joseph Niel also perished in a massacre on 16-17 October 1791. 'This edition, an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the Wealth of Nations, added to Roucher's translation some preliminary material, notes, and the promise of a translation from Xenophon, all to make it marketable and to defend it against charges of piracy... The editor of this edition was Agricole Joseph Francois Xavier Pierre Esprit Simon Paul Antoine, marquis de Fortia d'Urban (1756-1843).' (Carpenter, p. 117). 'Niel had additional reasons to try to emphasize that his was a new edition. The work advertised along with Recherches was a collection of decrees of the National Assembly: 'Il importe a tous les Francais de connoitre & d'avoir sous les yeux les Decrets de l'auguste Assemblee Nationale. Ces loix, dictees par la sagesse, doivent etre gravees dans la memoire & dans le coeur de tous les individus'. Thus, he was issuing Recherches, a work that he termed the 'second torch of liberty', as part of what might be called a publishing program in support of the Revolution. And, indeed, Recherches was regarded as such by the government. In May 1793 the Committee of Public Safety agreed that a copy should be given to each of the 'Commissaires observateurs' who were being sent to various regions to report on economic matters and the state of public opinion' (Carpenter, p. lii). However, there were probably too few copies left by then to make this scheme practical. This set is in good condition, uncut and largely unopened in contemporary mottled boards.
Shelfmark RB.s.2614
Reference Sources Vanderblue Catalogue p. 24; See Carpenter The Dissemination of the Wealth of Nations in French and in France, 1776-1843, New York, 2002, pp. 117-127.
Acquired on 02/06/06
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