Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. Projet d’une dixme royale: Qui supprimant la taille, les Aydes, les Doüanes d’une Province à l'autre, les Décimes du clergé, les Affaires extraordinaires… First Edition, First Issue. [Rouen]: [n.p.], 1707. [8], 204, [20] pp.

Quarto. Bound in contemporary calf with raised bands and gilt ornamentation on spine. Large folding table, "Formulaire qui peut servir pour tout un pays," at page 192.

Extremely Rare First Edition, First Issue, with B4 in an uncancelled state, on p. 16, a setier is given as weighing 170, rather than 240 pounds, "...le septier pesant net cent soixante & dix livres..."

In Le Projet d’une dixme royale (“Project for a Royal Tithe”), one of the 18th century’s most important writings on political reform, Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1633-1707) suggested replacing existing taxes, which were unfair and offered limited yield, with a 10% income tax on all land and trade from which no one should be exempt. He substantiated his arguments with a mass of statistical documentation practically unprecedented and, in doing so, pioneered the use of statistics in economics. The idea, which occurred to Vauban as he made observations on his constant travels throughout the kingdom, was intended to help France overcome an economic crisis and keep its rank as a great power. As the situation worsened, in 1706 Vauban had his book secretly printed in François Maurry’s Rouen press and gave his entourage the first copies, bound in Paris at the widow Fétil’s. The French government, too deeply committed to the system of tax farming (i.e., selling the right to collect taxes to groups of financiers for a fixed sum), was reluctant and even unable to revoke the exemptions of the privileged classes. Their dependence on them, and lacking interest in fundamental reforms, led to the government suppressing the publication of his book. On February 14, 1707 the Privy Council ordered the destruction of all the copies, which had been published without permission. The ailing Vauban did not survive the affair, dying on March 30th. Subsequent searches of his home failed to turn up any other copies.

According to Boislisle, the first edition was printed in Rouen in 1706 at the initiative of the Abbé de Beaumont (who is actually credited with the authorship of the work by Boisguilbert). Vauban had the sheets bound by the widow of a certain Fétil, and took great pains that the book did not have any public circulation. It was prohibited on 14 February 1707, but apparently the police were only able to seize two copies. To the police, the binder declared she had had 264 copies in total, 12 bound in morocco, the rest in calf. The two copies seized at the Abbé de Beaumont's were described as in 'veau fauve' and marbled parchment. See Arthur Michel de Boislisle, La Proscription du projet de Dime Royale et la mort de Vauban (Mémoire lu à l'Académie des sciences morales et politiques), Paris, 1875.

A notable rarity, of 'an erudite economic work much in advance of its time, and distinguished both by accuracy of method and breadth of view' (Palgrave), 'creditable alike to the heart and the head of its illustrious author' (McCulloch). 'Though the book was published anonymously, and only a few copies issued (for circulation among friends), Vauban had to submit to the mortification of seeing it 'pilloried' by the parliament, while he himself incurred the displeasure of the king (Louis XIV).' (Palgrave).

The copy of the author himself contained four pages of manuscript in which statements were to be found which could not be printed and in which Vauban, among other things, clearly distinguishes between nobles which have earned their title and position by their actions, whether by their ancestors and by themselves and are an honour to the State, and those who have purchased their titles and are of no use at all to the State. [Les Collections Aristophil].

The Projet d'une dixme royale is an outstanding work in the field of public finance. Its two most notable features are its understanding of the central role of fiscal policy in economic reform - the result of an exceptionally comprehensive grasp of the economic process - and its use of detailed numerical data to substantiate conclusions. Schumpeter called the work 'unsurpassed, before or after, in the neatness and cogency of the argument. Purposeful marshalling of all the available data was the essence of his analysis. Nobody ever understood better the true relation between facts and argument. It is this that makes him an economic classic in the eulogistic sense of the work, and a forerunner of modern tendencies' (Schumpeter, History of Economic analysis, p. 204).

En Français dans le Texte, 134; Bourgeois & André 6702; Stourm 63; Kress 2583; Goldsmiths 4431; McCulloch, p. 342f; Masui, p. 396; Carpenter X (1). This edition is not in INED and Einaudi.

  • w 7.75 x h 10 in
  • Condition:
  • Very good. Gilding faded and a bit rubbed. Hinge on the front cover is cracked, but binding is solid.

Accepted Forms of Payment:

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


FOR LOTS WEIGHING LESS THAN 50 POUNDS: Lots purchased from Second Story Books through Invaluable will be packed and shipped by Second Story Books' inhouse shipping department. Purchasers are reminded that immediately upon winning the item, they assume all risks and responsibility for the item. Second Story Books takes great care to responsibly handle and pack all items being prepared for shipping. Second Story Books insures through Travelers Insurance, Inc. at a rate of $0.70 per $100 of value. Shipping and insurance charges are included in the Purchaser's invoice total. All items will be shipped to the address as it appears on the invoice unless the Purchaser notifies the Company in writing within 48 hours of the auction's end of a different shipping address or that the Purchaser will pick up the item(s) at Second Story Books' Rockville, Maryland location.

All items shipped domestically are fully insured and require direct signature (someone at the delivery address must sign). Second Story Books ships via UPS ground to domestic street addresses and via USPS First Class to domestic post office and rural boxes.

Second Story Books uses USPS Priority Flat Rate for most international shipments and DHL for large international shipments. International Purchasers will be responsible for any and all fees and expenses including, but not limited to customs duties and taxes. Second Story Books staff will, at the purchaser's request, initiate a claim with USPS if an item purchased from us appears to be delayed or lost by USPS. However, Second Story Books cannot control the rate at which packages are processed by USPS and its partners and cannot guarantee that a package will arrive by a particular date.

Lots will be shipped to Purchasers within 5 business days of receipt of full and cleared funds.

FOR LOTS WEIGHING 50 POUNDS OR MORE: Second Story Books does not ship lots weighing 50 pounds or more. The purchaser is therefore responsible for arranging the shipping or pickup of these items, and and of notifying Second Story Books of these arrangements.
NOTE: The state of Maryland has issued numerous restrictions to control the spread of the coronavirus. As long as these restrictions remain in place, we are not able to guarantee that purchases will be shipped within five business days of receipt of payment. We will, however, correspond promptly with any customer whose shipment might be delayed to notify them of the circumstances. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience and understanding.

Purchasers who wish to engage a third-party shipper are responsible for contacting that shipper, making all arrangements and covering all costs, including, but not limited to, pick-up fees, packing, shipping, insurance and Maryland sales tax. Purchasers must sign a release form authorizing Second Story Books to release their purchased item(s) unpacked to the specified third-party shipper. Second Story Books requires that all third-party shippers pick up all purchased items within seven business days of the date of the Purchaser's invoice, provide sufficient packing material to responsibly transport the items being picked up and sign a receipt that includes images of the item(s) showing the condition of the item(s) when released by Second Story Books.

June 26, 2021 11:00 AM EDT
Rockville, MD, US

Second Story Books

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 20% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

View full terms and conditions

Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $5
$100 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000