Geneva. 1775. Three volumes. ,iii,iii-viii,719pp. plus folding map and three plates; ,viii,622pp. plus two folding maps and two plates; ,viii,658,iv pp. plus folding map and three plates. Thick quarto. Contemporary mottled calf, spines gilt, leather labels. Some light wear to hinges and corners. Contemporary ownership inscription on each fly leaf. Internally clean. Near fine. Item #WRCAM47219
The elegant Geneva edition of this work, the handsomest of the contemporary editions. Abbé Raynal's critique and history of the European colonization of much of the rest of the world is one of the most famous historical works of the Age of Revolution. While often tripping over his facts, Raynal was among the first widely read writers to attack the morality of European exploitation of native peoples and the institution of slavery. It was widely believed that he only served as the front figure for Diderot and others in making his charges. The book was first published, anonymously, in Amsterdam in 1770, and many other editions followed; this is by far the best. Raynal's position made him the hero of many who defied the establishment, and the book was an important philosophical work, especially for openly attacking slavery as a fundamental violation of human rights. It became a key text of the American Revolution, and Raynal became a correspondent of Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams. SABIN 68080. BELL R44 (1st ed). CLARK I:292. JCB, LES NOUVELLES FRANCES 180. SOWERBY, JEFFERSON'S LIBRARY 466. HOWES R84 (ref).