RAYNAL, Guillaume Thomas François. Histoire Philosophique et Politique des Établissements et du Commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes

RAYNAL, Guillaume Thomas François. Histoire Philosophique et Politique des Établissements et du Commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes

Geneva: Jean-Leonard Pellet, 1780.

£ 5,000

The complete set of 11 volumes:  8vo (190 x 12cm), including Atlas 4to (254 x 190 mm). The ten text volumes all include half-titles and engraved frontispieces by Moreau Le Jeune, the first volume being a portrait of Raynal by N. Cochin, the atlas with 50 double-page and folding engraved maps by Rigobert Bonne, with some short tears along folding lines and minor off-setting. The atlas includes maps of Australia, the Caribbean Islands, North and South America, the Arabian Peninsula and Asia. Mottled calf bindings, boards triple gilt ruled, raised bands, each spine compartment with ornamental gilt motifs of acorns and pinecones, minor repairs to spine ends, dark green morocco labels (red on atlas), all edges gilt, inner board edges with gilt geometric pattern, marbled pastedowns, green silk ribbon bookmark, light wear to edges and hinges, atlas rebacked with original spine laid over. A very fine, clean and crisp set.

The expanded Geneva edition of Raynal’s most influential work, a compilation of treatises concerning the commercial dealings of European powers and their colonial domains. Starting with an account of the Age of Discovery and the Portuguese, Dutch, English and French exploits in the East Indies, this collection goes on to provide an in-depth and wide-scope account of European expansion and settlement, trade relations with native populations, including the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and a final volume of philosophical chapters concerning broad subjects such as war, manufacture, taxation, government, ethics and religion.

‘Taking a radical anti-imperialistic stance, the nineteen books that comprised the original work covered the history of European colonisation of India, the East Indies, China, parts of Africa, and the Americas. Much of the success, and subsequent reputation, of the Histoire was based on its attacks on tyranny, slavery and colonial exploitation, and it quickly became one of the basic texts of the humanitarian movement.’

This third and expanded edition, published after two initial anonymous editions, was notorious for the extensive contributions by Denis Diderot (1713-1784), Alexandre Deleyre (1726–1797), and the use of excerpts by preeminent writers and historians such as Manuel de Faria e Sousa (1590–1649), Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d’Holbach (1723-1789) and Jacques-André Naigeon (1738-1810). The work was included in the Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books in 1774, and it was this edition which led to the exile of Raynal from France in 1781 and the public burning of his books in the same year.

Brunet IV 1126; Sabin 68081; Raynal, Guillaume Thomas François. A history of the two Indies: a translated selection of writings, Ashgate, 2006.