by Catherine II, Empress of Russia; Code of Catherine
1771. Early Amsterdam Edition of Catherine's Nakaz Catherine II [1762-1796], Empress of Russia. Instruction de Sa Majeste Imperiale Catherine II. Pour la Commission Chargee de Dresser le Projet d'un Nouveau Code de Loix. Amsterdam: Chez Marc Michel Rey, 1771. [vii], 229 pp. Copperplate portrait frontispiece. Octavo (7-3/4" x 4-3/4"). Later patterned-paper covered boards, calf lettering piece to spine, patterned endpapers. Minor wear to spine ends and corners, front joint starting at ends. Negligible light toning to text, dampstaining to bottom and fore-edges of text block, very faint in most places, in preliminaries somewhat darker. A nice copy. $1,250. * Second Dutch edition. This important text, also known as the Nakaz, or Instruction, is a statement of legal principles written by Catherine II from 1764 and 1766. Permeated with the ideas of the French Enlightenment, and copied mostly from the work of Voltaire, Montesquieu and Beccaria, it was compiled as a guide for the All-Russia Legislative Commission convened by the Empress in 1767 to create a new code to replace the 1649 Muscovite Code. Revised in consultation with Beccaria, Frederick the Great and Voltaire, the Instruction proclaimed the equality of all men before the law and disapproved of death penalty and torture. Unfortunately, her proposed code was never completed. Catherine's manuscript was written in French, and she later produced a Russian translation. Editions in German and Russian were published in Moscow in 1767. Several editions followed in nations ranging from Italy to Latvia. The first Dutch edition, in Dutch translation, was published in Amsterdam in 1769. The 1771 Amsterdam edition was the first Dutch edition in French. It is a scarce imprint. OCLC locates 2 copies in North American law libraries (Library of Congress, UC-Berkeley). Butler, The Nakaz of Catherine the Great 528 (entry 28).
(Inventory #: 64860)