Essai sur la différence du nombre des hommes by WALLACE,…

anti-Hume tract, translated under Montesquieu’s supervision
WALLACE, Robert (1697-1771).
JONCOURT, Elie de (1700?-1770?), translator.

Essai sur la différence du nombre des hommes dans les tems anciens et modernes, dans lequel on établit qu'il étoit plus considérable dans l'antiquité. Traduit de l'Anglois de M.R. Wallace, Chape;ain de S.M.B. & Membre de la Société Philosophique d’Edimbourg. Par M. de Joncourt, Professeur de langues etrangeres à Paris. ‘Londres’, ie Paris, 1754.

First Edition in French. Small 8vo, pp. [ii], ii, ii, 292, several tables in text, in contemporary polished calf, spine gilt in compartments, red morocco label lettered in gilt, edges red, marbled endpapers: a very good, crisp copy.

An excellent, fresh copy of the first French translation of Wallace’s Dissertation on the numbers of mankind in antient and modern times, first published in Edinburgh in 1753. ‘An acute and suggestive contribution to economics’ (Alexander Gordon in DNB), the work included a vigorous though unsuccessful attack on Hume’s Political Discourses, notably on his chapter on the ‘Populousness of Ancient Nations’. This French translation was made under the supervision of Montesquieu. A further English edition was published with a prefatory memoir in 1809.

ESTC n7385; Cioranescu 34599; Chuo University, David Hume and the eighteenth century British thought, 222.

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