“Notice to the Reader,” from Proudhon’s “The Principle of Art”

Two days before his death, in the presence of his wife, Proudhon dictated to his eldest daughter a document by which, after having designated a certain number of friends to watch, as much over the interests as his family as the publication of his works, he charged us specially and collectively of this last care.
The first time that we have been able to gather the six, we have recognized, for those of us whose position keeps us far from Paris, the impossibility of working actively at the ordering of the manuscripts left by Proudhon. Thus their assistance will most often be limited to a simple statement of authenticity.
Accountable tothe greatmemory of our friend, we will never fail, in making one of his posthumous works appear, to tell which parts have been finished y the author, and what others have been only prepared by him.
The book that we publish today is divided into twenty-five chapters, fifteen of which have been completely written by Proudhon; these are those which carry the numbers I, II, III, IV, V, VI, —VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, — XVII. The other, chapters VII, — XVI, — XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV et XXV put together by us, and ordered according to the guidelines left by Proudhon.
In acquainting ourselves with the numerous manuscripts of this great worker, we have found the following note, written in his own hand, at a time when he had still not delivered to the editor the manuscript on the Political Capacity of the Working Classes.
1. The Working Classes.
2. Of Art (about Courbet).
3. Theory of Property.
4. Political Geography and Nationality.
5. France and the Rhine (refutation of Amédée Thierry).
6. Theory of the Constitutional Movement in Europe, or, What, finally, is the Republic?
7. History of Jehovah.
8. Conclusionson the Gospelsand the Life of Jesus.
9. History of Poland.
10. Parallels between Napoleon I and Wellington (refutation of Thiers).
11. Of the Pornocracy, or the Women.
12. The Normaliens.
13. Condensed History of Napoleon, according to Thiers.
14. Literary Critique (Review) : V. Hugo, Renan, Lamartine, etc.
15. Course of Political Economy.
16. Continuation of The Stock-Exchange Speculator, New Manual.
17. Miscellanies, articles on various subjects.
The study (no. 16) indicated under the title: Continuation of the Stock-Exchange Speculator, should be made, like the Manual itself, in collaboration with G. Duchêne, to whom Proudhon turned over, page by page, all the data for this work. The materials consist of: 1) a plan the division by chapters has been made, and the summaries written by Proudhon; 2° a booklet of 214 pages, entirely by him, remained completely unpublished, although it had been pulled in proofs (Bruxelles, 1859); 3) some letters and explanatory notes addressed by the author to G. Duchêne, from 1858 to 1864; 4) all the notescollectedon this subject for seven years.
The work is composed of five studies, gathered under the general title indicated by Proudhon: Industrial Feudalism. The sub-titles, sufficiently indicative of the subject and its divisions, are:
1st étude: Founders andShareholders.
2nd — The Large Companies and the Public.
3rd — Finance and the Salariat.
4th — The Haute Banque and the State.
5th — Theory of Collective Force: Conclusions from the fourprevious studies.
The work, completed by Duchêne, without Proudhon being able to review it, will appear, because of that circumstance, with this note: Composed, from the plan and notes of P. J. PROUDHON, by Georges DUCHÊNE.
The materials prepared for the History of Jehovah and the Life of Jesus being almost entirely marginal notes on a Latin Bible, printed by Proudhon himself, we have thought that the biblical text in French (and, if needed, the Latin text), compared with the notes, would be sufficient to give an understanding to all readers. Instead of a History of Jehovah and a Life of Jesus, we will publish, as soon as we can, in several parts or volumes, la Bible Annotated by Proudhon.
We will show all possible diligence in the publication of the manuscripts left by Proudhon. You can be sure that we will not fail in the task imposed on us by the memory of the great writer, the great and honest man, who have invested his confidence in us after having honored us with his friendship.
J. A. Langlois. A. A. Rolland.
G. Duchêne. F. G. Bergmann.
G. Chaudey. F. Delhasse.
About Shawn P. Wilbur 2690 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.