Vauban is a man of the popular class, born in a family of small rural nobility. A mathematician and economist, he has constantly in mind the protection of his soldiers and the prevention of food shortages. To teach an example of a good management of wealth, he calculates that a sow can give six million descendants in twelve generations even if we take away the wolf's share.
He is upset by the fermiers, the financiers and the businessmen who produce nothing but their own wealth by taking advantage of a complicated and fragmented tax system. In 1694, influenced by Boisguilbert, Vauban proposes to replace all these taxes with a 'capitation' based on visible wealth with a gradual rate up to the dixme (tenth), to be paid directly to the state.
Vauban's proposal would ruin all intermediaries. Cleverly the ministry implements the capitation, but as a levy that is added to all the others. Vauban is still a zealous servant of King Louis XIV who appoints him Maréchal de France at his request in 1703.
Vauban is old and sick. He now receives only minor commands and becomes embittered. He feels he is losing his influence and wants to act quickly. He asks to publish his Projet d'une Dixme Royale and ignores a first refusal. At the beginning of 1707 he makes it printed anonymously in about 300 copies that will be distributed without being marketed.
This time Louis XIV is furious. Vauban's ideas are not disputed but he appears as a traitor who interferes with the workings of the state. On February 14 the King's Council ordered that the copies are seized and scrapped. Vauban died on March 30.
Few copies from this first issue have survived. One of them has been enriched with four autograph pages by Vauban proposing other bold developments. This book is estimated € 180K for sale on November 14 in Paris - Drouot by OVA Aristophil operated for this sale by Aguttes, lot 13.