Lettre de M. le C** de L***. A Monsieur Dupont, auteur éphémériste, au Château de Tourgeville, ce 15 Septembre 1770 [drop title]
Price: 1,885.00 AUD
n.p, 1770. Duodecimo, 72 pp., drop-title only, as published with no separate title-page and no colophon; in modern boards, morocco label. A very good copy of this uncommon title by the fiery Comte de Lauraguais, best known for his association with Sir Joseph Banks, and particularly for his abortive attempt to publish a narrative by Banks of the Endeavour voyage. The pamphlet dates from the period just before Lauraguais fled to sanctuary in London, where he would pursue his acquaintance with Banks and ultimately attempt to publish his friend's letter on the Cook voyage. Lauraguais (1733-1824) had published his Mémoire sur la Compagnie des Indes in 1770, and it had been the subject of some strong attacks by figures such as the economist Morellet. Here, the Dupont of the title is actually one of Morellet's closest allies, Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, the French economist whose children established the famous chemical company Dupont in the United States. Dupont was himself the protégé of François Quesnay, and formed part of a group dedicated to economic and cultural reforms. The Compagnie des Indes (or French East India Company) had been disbanded amid great controversy in 1769, and naturally became the subject of strong polemics by many influential French writers, especially after Louis XVI decreed that the properties and assets of the Company should be transferred to the state. Both Dupont and Lauraguais had already published strongly-worded essays on the subject, and as this pamphlet confirms, they didn't see eye-to-eye on the subject. As a result, this pamphlet is a violent attack against Dupont de Nemours: indeed, Lauraguais's outbursts on the Compagnie des Indes at this time were one of the main reasons he went into self-imposed exile in England in 1771. Lauraguais was notoriously quick to print, but despite his rather voluminous output, all of his pamphlets and books are quite scarce. This pamphlet is certainly very rare, and although noted in Barbier's bibliography it is not widely known. Copies are scarce in international collections, although the works collates identically with a copy in the Bibliothèque National de France. Very good.