"CREDITORS HAVE BETTER MEMORIES THAN DEBTORS": EXTRAORDINARILY RARE BILINGUAL EDITION OF THE WAY TO WEALTH, 1795, "THE MOST POPULAR OF ALL FRANKLIN'S WRITINGS," LARGE-PAPER COPY
FRANKLIN, Benjamin. The Way to Wealth, Or Poor Richard Improved. Paris: Renouard (Dijon: P. Causse), 1795. Small octavo, contemporary full marbled calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, black morocco spine label. $5800.
Rare large-paper Paris printing of one of Franklin's most famous works, the first edition in English of Franklin's Way to Wealth to be published in France, featuring engraved frontispiece portrait of Franklin by Dupleisse, one of a very small number of copies printed on large paper, in handsome contemporary marbled calf-gilt.
In the 27th and last edition of Poor Richard's Almanack, Franklin included a preface consisting of "a long speech to a market-day audience by a character named Father Abraham. The speech blended maxims and aphorisms culled from previous almanacs into a promise that men who worked hard, were prudent and frugal, would become rich. The people listened attentively, but once Father Abraham had finished they 'immediately practiced the contrary, just as if it had been a common sermon,' Poor Richard remarked ruefully; 'for the vendue opened, and they began to buy extravagantly, notwithstanding all his cautions, and their own fear of taxes.' Under the title 'The Way to Wealth' the speech would become the most popular of all Franklin's writings" (Hawke, 162-3). First published separately in 1760, this later English/French edition, "the prettiest yet printed" (Ford 135), was issued in a very limited number, purportedly with only a handful of copies on large paper (Brunet II:1383). With Observations sur les sauvages du nord de l'Amerique, together with French translations of La Science du Bonhomme Richard, Lettres du Franklin, Dialogue entre la Goutte et Franklin, and Quelques Mots sur l'Amerique. Bound without 31-page publisher's catalogue at rear. Sabin 25596. Ford 135. A few marginal markings in pencil.
Text with just a few leaves professionally cleaned, otherwise quite clean and fresh, front free endpaper with deckled edge. Light expert restoration, binding quite handsome, gilt bright. A desirable copy of this rare large-paper issue, in contemporary calf-gilt.