Code De La Nature WITH L’Esprit Des Monarques Philosophes



[003318] [Morelly]; [De La Porte, Joseph]. Code De La Nature, Ou Le Veritable Esprit De Ses Loix WITH L’Esprit Des Monarques Philosophes, Marc-Aurele, Julien, Stanislas et Frederic. Par-Tout AND Amsterdam: Chez Le Vrai Sage AND Chez Vincent, Reprint. 12mo. Full Calf. Good. Two works bound in one – Morelly’s Code de la Nature, published in 1757 – [7], 6-324pp, [6] and Porte’s L’Esprit, published in 1764 – viii, [3], 4-256pp, bound together in full near contemporary calf, raised bands, spine in six panels, title label to second panel mentioning only the first title, remaining panels gilt with floral centre tool and fleuron corner pieces, French curl marbled endpapers, all edges stained red.

Chipped and bumped with small amounts of loss, especially to head caps, and corners, end bands lost, slightly rubbed generally. Internally a few spots of foxing, text lightly browned throughout, annotation in pen in an old hand to reverse of half title and to margin of one page of text, otherwise fairly clean. Title page of first title has extensive repair to fore edge.

Attractive bookseller label of P-J Mignien Planier to front pastedown. Both texts are in French. Morelly was first published in 1755, Porte is the first edition.

Little is known about Morelly, though this work has been described as “easily the most important work of the Age of Enlightenment, presenting for the first time an economic political system based on purely rationalist communist doctrines” (Kerssemakers, page 368), and later philosophers including Fourier, Cabet, Proudhon and Marx recognised their indebtedness to Morelly. Kerssemakers goes on to herald Morelly as the “father of twentieth century communism”. For the first edition of 1755, see Kerssemakers 4805; Goldsmiths 9074; Kress 5457; Higgs 1107; Einaudi 4031 and Stammhammer I:153:1

Porte was a Jesuit who wrote several books, including this one on the ‘philosopher kings’ including Marcus Aurelius