FIRST EDITION OF NECKER'S DE L'ADMINISTRATION DES FINANCES DE LA FRANCE, IN CONTEMPORARY VELLUM
NECKER, Jacques. De l'Administration des Finances de la France. [Paris]: No publisher, 1784. Three volumes. Octavo, contemporary full vellum, brown morocco spine labels. Housed in a custom cloth slipcase. $5000.
First edition of Necker's celebrated justification for his policies as Finance Minister of France during the American Revolution, in French, in contemporary vellum. Ex-libris the Vatican Library, with their stamps and notations.
Necker attempted to finance French participation in the American War of Independence without recourse to additional taxation. In trying to raise the necessary loans, Necker published in 1781 his Compte rendu au Roi—a best-seller of the time—claiming a surplus of 10,000,000 livres in the hope of concealing an actual deficit of 46,000,000. The opposition of the leading minister and the hostility of the queen Marie-Antoinette forced Necker to resign on May 19, 1781. He retired to Saint-Ouen, where he wrote this work to justify his policy. After his successors failed to solve the financial problems for which he was at least partially responsible, and with France on the verge of bankruptcy in spite of the aristocracy's agreement to surrender its immunity from taxation, Necker himself was recalled as finance minister on August 26, 1788. Goldsmiths' 13052. Kress B919. Ex-libris Vatican Library with unobtrusive stamps and expected pencil markings. Bookplates.
Interiors generally fine, brown staining to spines and extremities, light wear to spine ends, small section missing from spine of Volume I. An extremely good copy with an interesting provenance.