c.1783 French Manuscript on Political Science and National Character [Manuscript]. [Political Science]. [Manuscript Account of English and European History]. [France, c.1783]. Two parts. 140-219; 1-169 ff. Quarto (7-3/4" x 6-1/2"). Contemporary three-quarter vellum over marbled boards, raised bands and faint early hand-lettered title to spine, ends rouged. Moderate rubbing and some stains to boards, spine lightly soiled, heavier rubbing to extremities with some wear to board edges, corners bumped, later ownership stamps to pastedowns and endleaves. Light toning and infrequent light foxing, slight soiling and trimming to upper margins in a few places, light soiling to first leaf. Written in ink in an elegant hand with a possible second contemporary hand appearing in latter third of text block, rules to right margins and some contemporary corrections/additions in pencil. $1,250. * The manuscript appears to be in two parts. Preceded by a genealogy of the House of Bourbon, Part 1 (140-219 ff.), which is largely concerned with treaties and dynasties, covers the history of Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It seems to be incomplete as pagination starts at p. 140. A new section heading appears on p. 168. Part 2 (1-169 ff.), titled Partie Politique, is a treatise on the national character, government and interests of England, rendered in great and sometimes fascinating detail. Remarks on the English character are cutting but affectionate: despite their "melancholic and choleric" temperament, "one may depend on their friendship." There is an extensive discussion of the structure of Parliament and the check it places on the monarch's power, indicative of the sharp contrast to the French system at the time. This section does not end "finis" as part one does and may therefore be incomplete as well, with the manuscript being the second volume of three or more in a set. Neither the order nor contents of the manuscript correspond precisely with any major English histories and constitutional studies of the period, such as those of de Lolme or Voltaire. This suggests that it is not an exact copy of another text and possibly even represents an original work of some kind. An unusual manuscript that gives an interesting look into international relations of the late eighteenth century, particularly between France and Br.
Book number 72609