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Original price £700.00 - Original price £700.00
Original price
£700.00 - £700.00
Current price £700.00

[France. Louis XIV]: Ordonnance de Louis XIV, Roy de France et de Navarre. Donnèe[sic.] à St. Germain en Laye au mois d'Avril 1667. A Paris, chez les Associez choisis par ordre de sa Maiesté pour l'impression de ses nouvelles Ordonnances 1667.

The first of a long series of legislation driven by Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683), whose grand reform programme "would provide a model for the enlightened despots of the next century" (Bluche). The work was several years in the making, and was the beginning of a major impetus towards centralising and making more efficient the French state.

"From 1661 onwards, Louis XIV and Colbert hoped to codify, if not the whole of French private law, then at least its procedures [...] In the spring of 1665, the project for the reform of justice was pushed one stage further by the obtaining of royal assent and direction. In the autumn, Colbert envisaged something rather more radical. He wanted statutes which would enable him to say: if the king codifies the laws, it is because he wants 'all his realm to live under the same realm with the same penalties'. But too many difficulties prevented this kind of unification [...] since the reforms were based on the sovereignty of the king and not an Estates General, prudence demanded that a number of senior magistrates be associated with the plan. From all their efforts, Colbert and [his uncle, the councillor of state] Pussort presented the results to the king in March 1667. Signed by the king, they became the ordinance upon the procedures in civil law of April 1667" (ibid.)

"This enactment consisted of 'thirty-five chapters, each enunciated with perfect clarity and brevity', regulating the format of judicial cases and decisions, laying down rules for the judges, limiting chicanery and protecting the suitor" (ibid.)


4to., pp. [8] 222 [50]. Woodcut insignia to title-page, woodcut head- and tail-pieces. Some light age-yellowing, occasional minor waterstain, an attractive copy bound in contemporary calf, compartments of spine with letter 'L' stamped in gilt, surmounted by crown; expertly repaired. Small early signature (Dalesme?) at foot of p. 1. Inscription on title-page and second leaf recto of Bouchet, early label on front pastedown of Bibliotheque de Monsieur le Chevalier de Villebrême, inscription on end pastedown recording purchase from the same.

Actes Royaux 12894.