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Mary Gresham Machen

Thomas Jefferson's Mémoires de Louis XIV

Mémoires de Louis XIV écrits par lui-même. Edited by J.L.M. de Gain-Montagnac. Paris, 1806.

Gain-Montagnac's 1806 edition of the Mémoires was the first significant publication of the memoirs of Louis XIV (1638-1715), based on a series of manuscripts compiled by this King of France between 1661 and 1668. Ostensibly written as instructions to his son, the Dauphin, the Mémoires attempt to vindicate the Sun King's major actions in peace and war and to justify absolute monarchy as the ideal government, partly based on a distorted interpretation of Machiavelli's works. This copy of the Mémoires was part of Jefferson's retirement library and was purchased by Lewis H. Machen at the Poor Auction in1829.

The verso of the half title page is inscribed "for Mr. Jefferson, from D.B. Warden." The inscription is most likely that of David Bailie Warden (1772-1845), diplomat, author, translator, and book-collector, who became United States Consul at Paris in 1810. In 1807 Warden dedicated his translation of Antoine Thomas's Eulogium on Marcus Aurelius to Jefferson, "The Marcus Aurelius of the United States." Warden continued to correspond with Jefferson long into his retirement, chiefly about books Warden sent to Jefferson from Paris.

The Rare Book Collection holds a number of related titles, including an 1806 English translation of Gain-Montagnac's edition of the Mémoires and a 1755 Paris edition of the Lettres de Louis XIV.

Jefferson owned a copy of this edition of the Lettres de Louis XIV, which perished in the fire in the Library in 1851.




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