LA ROCHE-FLAVIN, Bernard de Treze livres des parlemens de France. Esquels est amplement traicté de leur origine et institution et des présidens conseilliers, gens du roy, greffiers, secrétaires juissiers & autres officiers

Bordeaux, Simon Millanges imprimeur ordinaire du Roy, 1617


FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. [xxxxiv], 927, [i]. Roman letter, some Italic. Title in red and black with Millange’s large woodcut device on title, large historiated and floriated initials, fine grotesque head and tail pieces. Light age yellowing, occasional light browning, minor spotting in places, the odd marginal thumb mark. A good, crisp copy, with good margins in excellent contemporary French red morocco, covers bordered with triple gilt rule, spine with gilt rules raised bands, triple gilt ruled in compartments with central gilt fleurons of vase and flowers, dentelle roll gilt at head and tail, small hole at head of spine, covers a little rubbed.

A lovely copy of the first edition of this important and revealing work on the procedures and duties of the Magistrates and officers of the Parlements of France, beautifully printed by Simon Millanges, Montaigne’s printer, a work which lead to the authors immediate ruin, as he wrote directly and openly of the failings, shortcomings, and corruptions of his colleagues who immediately sued him for libel. La Roche Flavin, studied at Rodez, at one of the first colleges founded in France by the Jesuits, then at Toulouse, where he became a lawyer at the Parlement, then Magistrate in the Parlement of Paris and President of the “Chambre de Requets’ at Toulouse. His long and honorable career of over over fifty years as a Magistrate came to and abrupt end with the publication of this work. Its deliberate and systematic revelation of the hidden workings of the judicial system is a precious resource for the historian. In around 550 chapters he details with all the knowledge required for the Magistrate of the ancient and modern parlements of France. The fruit of a life times labour, it is not simply a users manuel for the Magistrate, full of the details of the period, it contains all of La Roche Flavin’s 50 years experience at a time when the Magistrature was rapidly changing. Written from 1614-17 but containing material gathered from the 1580’s, it includes the debates which shook the parlements since the civil wars. “The question of the paulette (and judicial corruption more generally) made parlement magistrates sensitive to questions of Propriety during the first half of the seventeenth century. Toulouse magistrate Bernard de la Roche Flavin’s treatise about parlement procedure, ‘Thirteen books of the Parlements of France’, first published in 1617, was an important contribution to this debate about the professional role of magistrates and their social status. As a magistrate who had served at the Paris Parlement and more recently at the Parlement of Toulouse, La Roche Flavin urges his colleagues to prove their critics wrong. Much to the dismay of his colleagues, La Roche Flavin airs the dirty laundry of the Judiciary in an effort to reform current practice, acknowledging the faults of his colleagues in the hopes of holding them to higher standards in an age when venality threatens to undermine the authority of the Profession. La Roche Flavin, for whom the magistrates integrity is the very cornerstone of the French judicial system urges that court procedure be regularized and that magistrates maintain their public dignity at all times.” Sara Beam. ‘Laughing matters: farce and the making of absolutism in France’. A very good copy of this important work in excellent contemporary morocco.

Not in BM STC F. C17th. Brunet III 843 “Ouvrage recherché, mais peu commun” Graesse. IV 107.
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