(Dublin: Printed for Messers Whitestone, Sleater, Williams, et al. 1781). 170 x 105 mm. (6 3/4 x 4 1/4"). Four volumes. Translated from the French by J. O. Justamond, F.R.S.

Excellent contemporary calf, smooth spines divided into panels by gilt rules, one red and one green morocco label, the latter with oval inset of red morocco with gilt volume number. For First Edition: Cohen-De Ricci p. 741; Weller II, p. 215. Not in Sabin or Howes. ◆Three boards with patches of lost patina (apparently from insect activity), head of one spine with shallow quarter-inch chip, other trivial imperfections, but a very appealing set--quite fresh and clean internally (without any of the expected foxing), and with few signs of wear to the attractive unrestored contemporary bindings.

This is the infrequently seen English translation, in attractive contemporary bindings, of a revealing portrait of King Louis XV that won the author a trip to the Bastille. First printed anonymously in French in 1781 (under a fictitious London imprint), the work is composed of a chronological narrative of the political and personal events in the life of the king, as well as extensive appendices that contain supporting documents and correspondence. Louis XV (1710-74) inherited the French throne at the age of five and ruled for nearly 59 years--the second longest tenure of any French ruler. Though he was known popularly as Louis the Beloved, history shows that his reign was marred by corruption, wars, and poor financial decisions that would set the stage for the French Revolution. The present work appeared just seven years after the king's death, and the details it contained prompted the arrest and imprisonment of our "anonymous" author, Barthélémy Mouffle d'Angerville (1728-95). Readers were undoubtedly titillated by accounts of the famous women who shared the king's bed--Madame de Pompadour, the Mailly sisters, and Madame du Berry being three prominent lovers. But the work also contains valuable information on important military campaigns such as the War of Austrian Succession, the Seven Years' War, and the French and Indian War, as well as about France's interests in North and South America, particularly the French and English colonies, maritime forces, and commerce. Interestingly, despite its focus on the New World, this work is not listed in any of the standard bibliographies on Americana that we consulted.

Price: $1,800.00