Wien: Johann Thomas Edlen von Trattnern, 1769. First Edition. Folio, pp. [xvi], 282, lvi, Illustrated with 27 engravings in the text & 3 folding engraved plates (included in the pagination). One of the plates was misfolded and is consequently slightly frayed at the lower edge, with an old paper repair at the foredge, not affecting the print area. Woodcut and typographic ornaments and initials. Text in German black letter with glosses in Latin. Bound in contemporary calf, spine gilt, little rubbed and recently rebacked, red edges. Woodblock printed end papers. Some toning to the text, The binding is a little rubbed but still a very good, crisp and clean copy. Laid in: MARIA THERESA; EMPRESS. Autograph Note Signed, "Maria Theresia," on black rimmed mouring paper to paymaster Mayer, in German, concerning her son's [?] pension, requesting 500 ducats or sovereigns, and, in a postscript written at lower edge and vertically at upper edge, adding that the letters would follow in the evening. 1 page, 12mo, mourning stationery; some staining affecting signature (but still legible), folds. [Vienna, circa 1776]. Item #52694
Maria Theresa was the eldest daughter of emperor Charles I and of Elizabeth Christina of Brunswick. At the death of her father in 1740, she became the sole heiress of his dominions of the house of Austria. Upon her accesion to the throne the neighboring countries tried to capture parts of the empire which led to the Wars of Austrian Succession which finally concuded with the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. This is the famous criminal code of Maria Theresa which used torture as a means of "eliciting truth." Her insticts were absolutist and she would allow nothing that limited state power even as she reformed the education system and worked to better the lives of her citizens. And, she did not forbid torture. Torture was only to be used in capital and very serious criminal cases. Included in this volume are very graphic illustrattions of instruments of torture (thumb-screws, stocks, racks, burning candles, leg vices, winches, the Viennese shoe!) with detailed and precise instruction of their use. According to the Britannica, this edition was suppressed by Prince Kaunitz, chancellor of the state and an advisor to the Empress. Torture was formally abolished in the empire in 1776. Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, had sixteen children, including Queen Marie Antoinette of France. Maria Theresa was the absolute sovereign . She promulgated financial and educational reforms, promoted commerce and the development of agriculture, and reorganised Austria's ramshackle military, all of which strengthened Austria's international standing.