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Chapter II
Modern History


I have, at different periods, bought several ‘present states of Europe, geographical & political,’ & while I have been reading them, Bonaparte has shuffled all together, & dealt out new hands, so that one might as well amuse himself with measuring the shadows, which are changing every moment with the rise or decline of the sun. were he, like a second Joshua, to give us another Stat Sol, we might go to measuring shadows, because there would be some stability in them: but until he is dead, & the re-revolutions are over which are to restore countries to their antient boundaries, the map of the moment is not worth it’s room.
letter from Thomas Jefferson to thomas law, monticello, april 23, 1811.
Leçons d’histoire de Volney. 8 vo.
1815 Catalogue, page 12. no. 86, as above.
VOLNEY, Constantin François Chasseboeuf, comte de.
Leçons d’Histoire, prononcées a l’École Normale, en l’An III de la République Française . . . Accompagné de Notes, et de trois Plans relatifs à l’art de construire les salles d’assemblées publiques et délibérantes. Par C.-F. Volney, Membre de l’Institut. A Paris: chez J. A. Brosson, an VIII. [1799.]
D16 .V92
First Edition. 8vo. 126 leaves, folded engraved double-page plan.
Quérard X, page 273.
Jefferson’s copy was bound by J. March in August 1805, at a cost of $1.00, and therefore probably in calf, gilt.
It was purchased from P. & C. Roche, of Philadelphia, one of a list which Jefferson ordered from their catalogue in a letter dated from Washington, May 17, 1805.
The books were sent by Roche on May 20, with the bill: 1. Leçons d’histoire par Volney 1 volume 8vo. Broché (C’est par erreur que l’on a porté sur notre Catalogue cet ouvrage en 2 vols.) } 1.25
A translation into English, with the title Lectures on History , was published in London in the same year 1800, of which Jefferson bought a copy for the Library of Congress from Rapine, Conrad & Co., on May 4, 1802, price 75 cents.
Volney’s Leçons d’Histoire is usually included in Jefferson’s recommended reading lists.
Constantin François Chasseboeuf, Comte de Volney, 1757-1820, French savant, was a friend and correspondent of Jefferson, and visited him at Monticello. The Leçons d’Histoire is one of Volney’s minor works, written when he was Professor of History at the newly founded Ecole Normale, where his colleagues, as given on the back of the half-title of this book, included Lagrange, Laplace, Haüy, Daubenton, Berthollet, Bernardin-St-Pierre, Laharpe and others.
Blair’s chronology. fol.
1815 Catalogue, page 10. no. A, Blair’s Chronology, fol. grand.
BLAIR, John.
The Chronology and History of the World, from the Creation to the Year of
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