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[MIRABEAU, Victor Riquetti, Marquis de.]

Theorie de l’Impot. [Bound with:]

[PESSELIER, Charles.] Doutes proposés à l'Auteur de la Théorie de l'Impôt.

Published: No place: No printer, 1760-61

Stock code: 84111

Price: £14,500

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First edition of each work. The Théorie de l’Impôt is a spirited and able attack upon the financial administration of France, and especially upon the “fermiers généraux”, whom Mirabeau regarded as parasites preying upon the vitals of the nation. The work highlights the problems and injustices of the French system of taxation, and added fuel to the fire of the coming revolution. The king disapproved of the work; Mirabeau was imprisoned on 16 December 1760, but through the efforts of Madame de Pompadour and others, was released on Christmas Eve, under orders to leave Paris for his estate at Bignon. The work proposes a reorganization of financial administrative machinery, the abolition of the “Fermes”, a reduction in the taxation upon salt, with the object of increasing the total yield, and a special tax upon tobacco farms. The domaine, the post, and the mint were to be further sources of revenue. The author ranks as one of the earliest important writers on taxation. Higgs notes that the book is “of real importance in the history of financial theory” (The Physiocrats, p. 57). Pesselier was one of the most forceful critics of the physiocrats, and he here attacks Mirabeau’s Théorie de l’impôt, published the previous year. The present work is notable, however, for its terse affirmation of the characteristically physiocratic doctrine that agriculture holds a privileged place in the economic system; of the products of the soil Pesselier writes, “Elles procurent un profit net et durable puisqu’elles sont à l’abri de l’imitation”.

2 works bound together in 1 volume, quarto (255 x 193 mm). Contemporary French mottled calf, spine decorated gilt in compartments, red morocco label, marbled endpapers. Housed in a brown morocco backed bookform folding case. Engraved armorial bookplate to front pastedown. Lower edge a little rubbed, with corners worn, very occasional spotting. Excellent copies.

Bibliography: Einaudi 3946; Goldsmiths' 9602; Higgs 2297; INED 3209; Kress 5883. Brunet I, 1118; Einaudi 4409; Goldsmiths 9695; Higgs 2534; INED 3524; Kress 5964.

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