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First and only use of the Guillotine in Amsterdam, possibly the author’s copy, with a unique printed revision of one leaf loosely inserted

BROES, Willem.
Berigt omtrent het leven, het karakter en de laatste godsdienst-aandoeningen der beruchte vergiftigster Hester Rebekka Nepping.
[Amsterdam], J. Ruys for Johannes Allart, The Hague, 1812. 8vo. Contemporary grey-blue wrappers. IV, 79, [1 blank] pp.
€ 950
Willem Broes (1766-1853), a minister of the church who had been appointed by the court to give spiritual counsel to the condemned woman, visited her in prison multiple times. In his book, he describes the crime, but gives even more attention to the Hester's character, almost providing a psychological profile seen through the lens of his Christianity. In Amsterdam, four months after her arrest, Hester was executed by the guillotine along with her maid and lover. The guillotine had been introduced in the northern part of the Netherlands after the old Kingdom of Holland had been integrated in the French Empire in 1810. Although this execution is often considered the first execution by guillotine in the Netherlands, the guillotine was used in Maastricht, then an integral part of France, as early as 1798.
This copy of the Berigt contains several neat contemporary annotations, striking through several lines and giving improvements in the margin. It is quite possible that this copy was owned by Broers and contains his improvements for a possible second edition. A printed leaf of pp. 7-8, incorporating several the changes to these pages, is loosely inserted. No copy with this alternative text has been located. Also loosely inserted is a leaf containing manuscript notes on both sides: one side contains information about all the murderers and victims, possibly taken from the verdict pronounced at the trial. The other side contains miscellaneous annotations about the Miracle of Amsterdam, oil paint and the locations where sermons will be held.
With contemporary owner's annotations and remnants of a bookplate. Binding worn at the sides. Second half of the book with a large water stain. A good, unique copy. Buijnsters, Levens van beruchte personen, p. 43; Meddens-van Borselen, 'Het leven van de gifmengster Hester Rebecca Nepping (1774-1812)', Oud-Utrecht. LXXI (1998), pp. 124-129.
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Related Subjects:

History, law & philosophy  >  Law & Politics
Low countries  >  Amsterdam | Netherlands