Eternal peace

[SAINT-PIERRE, Charles Irénée Castel de (1658-1743)]
Projet pour rendre la paix perpetuelle en Europe.
Utrecht, chez Antoine Schouten 1713.
2 volumes. Small 8vo. [VI],400,[9]; [II],423,[9]p. With engraved frontispiece to volume 1. Contemp. calf, backs richly gilt with red label, sides with gilt line borders, marbled edges, minor defect at top and tiny wormhole at foot of back of first volume, very light wear to corners. Without the portrait usually found in volume 2.

First edition of the final text of the author's famous Project for eternal peace. This edition was preceded by three much more concise editions printed in very small numbers only.
The first notice of this project dates from 1708 in a small volume titled Mémoire sur la réparation des chemins. The publication of that volume was inspired by a journey made by Castel de Saint-Pierre in the winter of 1706-07 to his native province Normandy during which he had suffered from the miserable condition of the roads. Though the connection does not seem very obvious - Ter Meulen suggests that the roughness of the roads may have reminded him of the lack of smoothness in international relations - yet the volume ends with a notice in which the author remarks that 'during the last 14 days' all his attention was directed to a project 'for the establishment of a permanent arbitrage [between all nations] to settle without war their future differences and to also maintain eternal commerce between them'.
The present final version may have been influenced by the author's presence as secretary to Polignac at the difficult peace negotations of Utrecht in 1712. The ultimate version with the title Projet pour rendre la paix perpétuelle en Europe was published the next year by the Utrecht publisher Antoine Schouten.
Praised for his character by all, there is few agreement about the chimerical character of the works of the abbé de Saint-Pierre. Yet it has been noted that several of his suggestions seem to have been put in practice in some way in our days, including his plan for the establishment of a 'European parliament'.
*Goldsmiths' 5071. Einaudi 933. En Français dans le texte 137. J. ter Meulen, Der Gedanke der internationalen Organisation, p.180-221.