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BAUDEAU, abbé Nicolas.

Première Introduction à la philosophie économique; ou analyse des Etats policés. Par un disciple de l’Ami des Hommes.

[Bound with:] BADEN-DURLACH, Karl Friedrich von. Abrégé des Principes de l'Économie Politique. Carlsruhe and Paris: Lacombe, 1772.

Published: Paris: Didot, Delalain, Lacombe, 1771: Carlsruhe and Paris: Lacombe, 1772.

Stock code: 84015

Price: £8,500

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I: First edition of Baudeau’s finest economic work, “a compendious statement of Quesnay’s views which, for clearness as well as for certain touches of originality, is far superior to anything from the pen of Mirabeau, Du Pont de Nemours, or Le Mercier de la Rivière” (Cossa). Baudeau here brilliantly refutes the Abbé Galiani, whose Dialogues sur le Commerce des Bleds had been published the previous year. The work is written in clear and simple terms – Turgot called it “un livre très clair et écrit, sur la fin, avec une chaleur douce qui en rendait la lecture intéressante” (quoted in Weulersse) – and met with great success as a general introduction to physiocratic thought. II: Very rare first separate edition, first published in the Ephémérides du Citoyen in January 1772. The work is divided into four sections, dealing with the natural requirements of man, society, reproduction, and the outlay of land-owners. Baden-Durlach was the only head of state to actually apply Physiocratic principles to the ruling of a country, a fact overlooked by Adam Smith when he wrote that “that system which represents the produce of land as the sole source of revenue and wealth of every country has, so far as I know, never been adopted by any nation, and it at present exists only in the speculations of a few men of great learning and ingenuity in France … A system which never has done, and probably never will do, any harm in any part of the world” (Wealth of Nations, quoted in Higgs, The Physiocrats). Schumpeter lists the Première Introduction as one of the four principal textbooks of physiocrat orthodoxy, writing: “The Abbé Nicolas Baudeau (1730–92) began as an enemy [of physiocracy] but had his day of Damascus in 1766 and from then on proved a most useful popularizer and controversialist as well as an efficient editor” (p. 225). He further calls the Abrégé “the fourth and best” textbook of Physiocrat orthodoxy, whilst Higgs cites it as “a commendable précis of physiocracy” (The Physiocrats, 1897, p. 86).

2 works bound in one volume, octavo (190 x 120). Nineteenth-century polished calf and marbled boards, spine ruled and decorated gilt in compartments, red morocco spine label. Printer’s device on title. Very good copies.

Bibliography: Baudeau: Einaudi 349; Higgs 5158 ('The best of his works'); INED 291; Kress S.4657; Mattioli 232; not in Goldsmiths'. Baden-Durlach: Higgs 5393; INED 170; not in Einaudi, Goldsmiths', Kress or Mattioli.

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