Amsterdam: 1770. 8. 8vo. 6 volumes: (2), 384, (4); (2), 294, 3; (2), 432, 6; (2), 291, (2); (2), 294, (1); (2), 426, (2) pp. Contemporary calf-backed paper boards (rubbed, corners bumped), spines richly gilt with ornamentation, leather spine labels; spines rubbed, some scattered foxing, but an attractive copy. Item #46876
First edition, second issue (this copy with the mispaginations in volume one; Sabin records a 1770 four-volume Amsterdam edition as the first, but it is apparently a ghost). An influential work in the revolutionary climate of the last quarter of the 18th century, Histoire alternates “narrative with tirades on political and social questions, [and had] the added disadvantage of a lack of exact information, which, owing to the dearth of documents, could only have been gained by personal investigation. The ‘philosophic’ declamations perhaps constituted its chief interest for the general public, and its significance as a contribution to democratic propaganda” (Encyclopedia Britannica). Raynal (1713-1793), a Jesuit priest and editor worked ten years on this treatise; it “contained virulent attacks on the Roman Catholic church, created a great sensation, and was translated into all European languages” (Appletons’). Sabin 68080 (for another edition): “The book was condemned by the French parliament and church dignitaries, and Raynal was obliged to leave France.” Sowerby Jefferson Catalogue 466 (another edition): “In this [Raynal’s] most important work, he had the assistance of Diderot [and others]. It originally appeared anonymously in Amsterdam, 1770, and was frequently reprinted, revised, abridged, and translated. In France its publication was prohibited, and it was burned by the public executioner.” Clark Old South I, 292. Kress 6750.