Histoire generale et particuliere des finances, ou l'on voit l'origine, l'etablissement, la perception & la regie de toutes les impositions: dressee sur les pieces autentiques.
Small folio. 3 vols. 4to. (20), 938, (2) pp. (8), VIII, (2), 1022, (2) pp. (12), 660, (2) pp. All title-pages printed in red and black. Contemporary full calf with labels to richly gilt spines. Marbled endpapers. All edges red.
First and only edition. A principal source for the financial history of France; the chief work of the author. The third volume constitutes a history of the Compagnie des Indes, including a great number of facts and figures difficult to find elsewhere. The present three volumes are all that was published of a projected 40-volume complete history of French finances, compiled so as to resolve practical difficulties with the tariff. The first two volumes give a detailed account of the tariff of 1664 for exports (vol. 1) and imports (vol. 2). The author treats, alphabetically, hundreds of taxed goods, including books, clothing, drugs, gold, ivory, jewels, lace, matches, paintings, printing types, silver, wine, and weaponry. The first volume includes an introductory history of duties imposed by earlier regulations since 1304. The highly interesting third volume, with the half title "Histoire de la Compagnie des Indes avec les titres de ses concessions & privileges", deals exclusively with the French East India Company. The greater part of the volume (pp. 159-602) is taken up by sources: official documents, extracts from private memoirs, etc. The volume ends with a chronological index of facts and titles and alphabetical indexes of subjects, of geographical names (with numerous references to Asia and America), and an index of persons.
The archaeologist, poet and historian Du Fresne (1704-81) spent some time at the Prussian court of Frederick II and was a member of the Berlin Academy. He befriended Voltaire, who published the first edition of his "Siècle de Louis XIV" under Du Fresne's name.
Bookplates of the Belgian Château de Seneffe, owned by Julien Depestre (1725-74), a Walloon merchant who made his fortune by trade with the Imperial Austrian troops stationed in the Austrian Netherlands. Light wear to extremities but a fine set.
Einaudi 1639. Kress 4380 (vol. 3 only). INED 1533. Stourm p. 38. Bourgeois/Andre 5918 (vols. 1 & 2) ("a work of the highest order") & 6031 ("of capital importance"). Sabin 21147 (vol. 3). Larousse du XIXe VIII, 755.