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[JEFFERSON, Thomas.] TRACY, Antonie Destutt de.

A Commentary and Review of Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws.

Prepared for press from the original manuscript, in the hands of the publisher. To which are annexed observations on the thirty-first book, by the late M. Condorcet: and two letters of Helvetius, on the merits of the same work.

Philadelphia, William Duane, 1811 Stock Code: 124111
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First edition. The French philosopher Antoine Destutt de Tracy (1754-1836) is best remembered for coining the word "ideology" in 1796. In summer 1809 he sent his critique of Montesquieu, which he had written in 1808, to his friend Thomas Jefferson, the former US President. Tracy requested Jefferson to translate and anonymously publish his work, fearing that as a French senator under Napoleon's regime, his position would be compromised if he published the work openly. Jefferson translated and published the work in 1811, with a feigned introduction purporting the author to be a French émigré in America, to protect Tracy's identity. A translation of Condorcet and Helvetius's writings on Montesquieu was also included in the work.
From the library of Frederick A. Powers (1855-1923), with his ownership inscription, dated 1879, to pastedown. Powers served in the Senate and House of Representatives of Maine, and was Attorney General of the state from 1893 to 1897, alongside serving on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court from 1900 to 1907.

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Octavo (218 x 132 mm). Contemporary sheep, red morocco label, smooth spine with bands ruled in blind, roll-tooled blind border to covers.


Chip to leather at base of spine, covers slightly marked and rubbed, corners worn, front joint starting to split at foot, chip to front free endpaper, pages toned and lightly creased with a few marks and stains. A very good copy.


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