Observations sur la Virginie, par M. J***, Traduites de L'Anglois.
[JEFFERSON, Thomas]. Observations sur la Virginie, par M. J***, Traduites de L'Anglois. Paris: Chez Barrois, 1786. 1st published ed. viii,290 [should read 390],pp. 1/2 title, large folding map supplied in expert facsimile, table. Rebound in period style, 3/4 brown morocco over 18th-century marbled paper-covered boards, gilt ornamented spine, red morocco spine label. Faint scattered foxing, faint old stamp on title-page, else a very good or better copy. HOWES J-78.Clark I:262. Sabin 35895. Sowerby IV, pp.301-30. This is the rare French translation of Notes on the State of Virginia, which was first issued privately by Jefferson in 1785 in an edition of 200 copies for his personal friends. Jefferson had not intended the work for general distribution, but permitted this work--translated by the Abbe Morallet--and a London edition in 1787, before the Philadelphia edition of 1788 to prevent any pirating of the work. This is the only book-length work by Jefferson to be published in his lifetime, and has been called "One of America's first permanent literary and intellectual works." Written in the form of answers to questions about Virginia, the book supplies a description of the geography, with an abundance of supporting material and unusual information. As J.M. Edelstein notes: "Jefferson wrote about things which interested him deeply and about which he knew a great deal; the Notes, therefore, throws a fascinating light on his tastes, curiosities, and political and social opinions." Millicent Sowerby, in her catalogue of Jefferson's library, fully tells the story of the creation of this book in thirty pages.