[MÉMOIRE] AUX RÉPUBLIQUES ÉQUINOXIALES, ET A CELLES QUI LEUR SERONT NATURELLEMENT CONFÉDÉRÉES
by [Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel]
[Paris], 1815. [2, manuscript title],[viii, manuscript letter],138,[3, index]pp., with original foliation of main text in manuscript. Quarto. Original plain brown wrappers bound into contemporary three-quarter morocco and marbled boards, gilt morocco label on front board. Minor shelf wear. Mild foxing, moderately but evenly toned, binder's ticket on front pastedown. Very good. An important manuscript treatise on constitutional theory, and a proposed system of government for the new republics emerging from the independence movements of South America, by French-American writer, economist, publisher, government official, and aristocrat Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours. Du Pont wrote numerous influential treatises on political and economic theory. This, his last major work, was never published and only survives in the present manuscript. This is almost certainly the manuscript Du Pont loaned to Thomas Jefferson for his comments and advice in the spring of 1816. Du Pont first came to prominence with his major economic treatise, PHYSIOCRATIE, OU CONSTITUTION NATURELLE DU GOUVERNEMENT LE PLUS AVANTAGEUX AU GENRE HUMAIN, written in 1768, in which he coined the term "physiocracy." He went on to become an economic advisor to Jacques Necker and King Louis XVI, serving as Inspector General of Commerce. Although he initially supported the French Revolution with other moderates like Lafayette, he soon became its victim, and was awaiting execution in 1794 when the Terror ended with the downfall of Robespierre. Still at odds with the French government, he emigrated to the United States in 1799 with his son, Eleuthere Irenée du Pont, who there founded E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., creating one of the great family dynasties in America. Pierre Samuel du Pont continued to write important works of political theory, and became a friend and correspondent of many leading figures in the United States, most notably Thomas Jefferson, whom he had first encountered in Paris in the 1780s. Between 1800 and 1817 they exchanged dozens of letters on various topics, including this manuscript. In 1800, at Jefferson's request, he drew up plans for a national educational system. In 1802 he returned to France, where he was an important promoter of the Louisiana Purchase. He remained in France and took an active part in the restoration of the monarchy in 1814. In the spring of 1815 he fled Paris during Napoleon's Hundred Days and returned to the United States, where he remained until his death in 1817. Du Pont's last major work, the RÉPUBLIQUES ÉQUINOXIALES was never published, and until the emergence of this manuscript from the estate of a Du Pont descendant, only known through references in his correspondence. Du Pont and Jefferson corresponded about the work in 1815 and 1816. The first reference appears in a letter dated May 26, 1815 where, amid a broader discussion of various political developments in South America, Du Pont alludes to what would prove to be one of his final literary undertakings and the impetus behind it: "Ten or twelve large republics are being created on your continent. They will establish themselves and grow stronger, although a few might be temporarily vanquished by the strength or weakness of European Spain. Three of these republics, which are already united, have done me the honor of consulting me....They had no idea yet about representative governments, and they had experienced the danger of tumultuous assemblies." In mentioning this "consultation," Du Pont refers to an occasion which must have occurred in Paris at some point in 1814. The collapse of Spanish government during the Napoleonic era had opened the door for independence movements in the Spanish colonies in the Americas. At that stage Manuel Palacio-Fajardo, representing the state of New Granada, approached Du Pont and asked him to draft a constitutional guide book for the practical and economical management of his fledgling republic. The manuscript has a dedicatory inscription to "Don M. Palacios" on the fly leaf. The main body of the manuscript, presumably executed in at least one secretarial hand, with the dedicatory epistle to Manuel Palacios-Fajardo in a second, distinctive (and likely authorial) hand. The colophon is dated with a holographic signature: "Paris 13 Mars 1815, Du Pont [de Nemours]." The manuscript shows abundant corrections in ink, with period repairs and pasted corrigenda to certain passages. The slightly later engraved ownership bookplate and various later owners' inscriptions tie the manuscript to the Du Pont family, including Frances "Fanny" du Pont (née Solana), Alexis and Elizabeth du Pont, and [A.I.] du Pont. Shortly after completing the manuscript Du Pont fled Paris to escape the returning Napoleon. By the time he wrote Jefferson in late May he was in Delaware. In December 1815, Du Pont visited Monticello and left a manuscript of the RÉPUBLIQUES ÉQUINOXIALES with Jefferson for his perusal. Du Pont had asked Jefferson on several earlier occasions to proofread and critique his latest writings, but only shortly after its dispatch, he asked Jefferson to return the manuscript. He explains the reason for this in his letter of December 20: "If you have read the MÉMOIRE AUX RÉPUBLIQUES ÉQUINOXIALES, I would be grateful if you could send it back to me, either directly if your franking privilege allows it, or through either the president or the secretary of state, who could get it to me under their countersignatures. I will send you another copy of it, which I am having prepared right now. But I need to give the former one to Don Pedro Gual, who has been sent to the United States by the republics that consulted me and that are united as New Granada. It may be that General Palacio has not received either of the two copies I sent him; and the opportunity of transmitting one personally to a civil officer of these republics is not to be neglected." Jefferson returned the manuscript sometime around the beginning of the new year, 1816, as may be inferred from his Dec. 31 and Jan. 3 replies to Du Pont. Having delivered the desired copy to deputy Don Pedro Gual, Du Pont then resent the manuscript of RÉPUBLIQUES ÉQUINOXIALES to Jefferson for his commentary. On March 31, 1816, Du Pont writes: "I have the honor of sending you again my little gospel for the use of the Spanish republics, which I brought to you four months ago. Thank God I have had and will still have several copies of it to give away, as I have only one secretary....This book on republics, newly born, to be born, or to be restored, is one of my writings for which I most desire your approval and blessing. I would like to find a good writer to translate it into Spanish." On April 24, 1816, Jefferson wrote Du Pont a long letter from his second home, Poplar Forest, discussing the manuscript in depth. Jefferson was critical of Du Pont's proposed system. In his observations on the dangerously oligarchic structure Du Pont recommended, Jefferson directly criticizes the arguments found in chapter twelve of the present manuscript, "Assemblée communal, seconde section: des assemblées de canton," and in its concluding chapters, feeling that the upper levels of government were too far removed from "the people." However, he praised Du Pont's "moral principles" and provides a ringing statement of his democratic theories of government. Jefferson evidently returned the manuscript to Du Pont with this letter. Until now the unpublished treatise, RÉPUBLIQUES ÉQUINOXIALES, has been known solely through the foregoing letters. Nevertheless, there are several crucial indications that the present manuscript is the working copy, now coming to light after two centuries in the care of the Du Pont family. The title and dates of composition, which match those signaled in the Jefferson correspondence; the dedicatory inscription and letter to M. Palacios, whom Du Pont identified as his intended recipient in his letter to Jefferson of Dec. 20, 1815; and, finally, the colophon, which Du Pont signed and dated, together allow for little doubt that this particular copy is identical with the literary work which Du Pont himself described, and thereafter sent twice, to his friend, Thomas Jefferson. The overall scope and narrative content of this newly rediscovered manuscript demonstrate that it must be the formerly "lost" treatise. It is clear that the chapter headings in the present copy (as outlined below) conform to Du Pont's more general interests and views on agriculture, economics, constitutional theory, and anthropology; these were themes which he discussed with an unwavering consistency throughout his other works. The body of the manuscript consists of sixteen chapters (several having complex groupings of subsections). The chapter headings are as follows: 1) "Objet et motifs de cet ouvrage"; 2) "Apperçu général"; 3) "Principes de la société"; 4) "Application de ces principes aux nouvelles républiques américaines"; 5) "Des mâitres et des esclaves"; 6) "Des engagés pour dettes"; 7) "Avantages de la liberation des esclaves"; 8) "Dignité et droits des propriétaires des terres et de mines"; 9) "Obligations attachées a la haute dignité des propriétaires des terres"; 10) "Principes des finances"; 11) "Des rapports entre les différentes classes d'hommes et de citoyens - articles de la constitution"; 12) "Hierarchie des administrations publiques inférieures"; 13) "De la représentation nationale"; 14) "De quelques institutions nécessaires"; 15) "De la grande confédération américaine"; 16) "Résumé de ce travail." One final observation on the "state" or "edition" of this manuscript: it seems likely that this particular copy represents a second (or possibly third) authorial recension of the text of RÉPUBLIQUES ÉQUINOXIALES. This is evidenced not only by the frequent revisions and corrections throughout, but also by a statement Du Pont makes in the manuscript's prefatory letter to Don Manuel Palacios, wherein he remarks on the superiority of this present state of the text: "J'ignore si la première copie du Mémoire ici joint a pu vous parvenir, et je vous envoie une seconde en peu corrigée." A monumental political work by the progenitor of the Du Pont family, a work thought lost for almost 200 years. Gilbert Chinard, THE CORRESPONDENCE OF JEFFERSON AND DuPONT DE NEMOURS (Paris, 1931). Founders Online provides access and translations of dozens of letter between Du Pont and Jefferson.
(Inventory #: WRCAM51055)
You can be confident that when you make a purchase through ABAA.org, the item is sold by an ABAA member in full compliance with our Code of Ethics. Our sellers guarantee your order will be shipped promptly and that all items are as described. Buy with confidence through ABAA.org.