Bonnin, Charles-Jean Baptiste
(France, October 4, 1772 - † ? October 1846) was born in Paris, in
a family with roots in Burgundy. He conducted his studies at the Four
Nations College. Afterward he served the French administration as an
official in the Seine department. His parents had planned for him a
career as medical doctor, project frustrated by the events of the
French Revolution, a fact that inspired in Charles-Jean Bonnin a deep
interest for political issues. His true vocation born early during his
youth, thanks to the works of Montesquieu, Mably, Bacon, Fenelon and
Cornelius, to whom he professed great admiration. He met Auguste Comte
in 1829, becoming his friend until his death.
many references to him during his lifetime, the work of M. Lemonier
stands out. It is entitled Notice Historique, ‘Historical Record’, and
heads the work named Pensées, ‘Thoughts’, of C.J.B. Bonnin. This
document was promoted by Bonnin and, maybe, was reviewed by him also.
Inside of the French administration files some references to him can be
found, like his possible membership to franc-masonry. Also, by these
files we know that he spent thirteenth months in prison due to certain
passages of his book Études Législatives, ‘Legislative Studies’, where
he criticized Catholicism.
Encyclopedic Magazine or reasoned analysis of the most remarkable
productions of France, edition of 1829, highlights the publication of
the third edition of the Principles of Public Administration, there is
an overview of the most important contents of the work and say it is a
book full of wisdom and useful ideas, the author shaped with elegance,
accuracy and clarity.
because his main work, ‘Principles of Public Administration’, has been
re-edited and published on-line - in the original French version and in
a Spanish translation - is easier to access to it. However, this is
mainly thanks to the edition produced by Mexico’s Fondo de Cultura
Económica in 2004. Nowadays, his countrymen are paying him the tribute
he deserves. Georges Langrod rightly claimed that “the science of
administration, in the modern sense of the expression, was born in
France in the nineteenth century. Its pioneer was Charles-Jean Bonnin,
author of ‘Principles of Public Administration’, whose first edition
dates back to 1808. Likewise, Jacques Chevallier and Dániele Loschak
have commented that “he can be considered the true founder of French
administrative science.” Nevertheless, Charles-Jean Bonnin is more than
that, much more: he is the founder of the worldwide science of Public
Administration. Most recently, Jacqueline Morand-Devillier suggested a
reprint of his ‘Principles’, in its first edition precisely.
Notwithstanding, this publication was made in the year 2004, not in
France but in Mexico.