Dresden: Johann Christoph Krause, 1716. First edition. Hardcover. Octavo. (14) 232pp., 5 plates, including frontispiece, 260 (10)pp., 9 plates, one of them folding. Bound in three-quarter vellum over decorative boards with handwritten lettering on spine. Frontispiece engraving. Title page printed in red and black. Historiated headpieces. Decorative and historiated initials and decorative endpieces. First edition, see Ave-Lallement I, 223; Huelke-Etzler 1262; Wagner, Die Literatur der Gauner- und Geheimsprachen 10; Hayn-Gotendorf IV, 221.
Subtitle: "Dabey Gottes sonderbahre Schickung erhellet / als vor der Königl. Commission Neune Personen ohne Tortur, ihre begangenen grossen Missethaten gütlich bekannt haben / ohngeachtet ihrer Viere davon zu anderen Zeiten, die Tortur zu 3. und 4. mahlen ausgestanden, und die Wahrheit halßsturriger Weise verhalten. Und von solchen Fünffe am 8. Mart 1715, durch das Schwerd vom Leben zum Tode gestraffet, und ihre Cörper auf 5. Räder geflochten worden. Alles aus denen Judicial-Actis mit Fleiß extrahiret, und dem grossen Gott zu Ehren, denen Frommen zur Betrachtung der Göttlichen Gerechtigkeit und Barmherzigkeit/und den Bösen zur Warnung und Bekehrung ausgefertiget/ und in öffentlichen Druck gegeben worden." (subtitle on title page: Elucidated through an act of God / when nine persons admitted their guilt in front of the Royal Commission / despite the fact that four of them rejected the accusations three or four times. Five of them were beheaded on May 8, 1715 by the sword, and their bodies strung to five wheels. All of this extracted from judicial files, and in God's hoonor made available for the pious to see God's justice and mercy/ and for the bad as a warning to proselytize / and put up for publication).
Three of the five engravings in part one depict Lips Tullian and his eight accomplices, one of them a folding plate, the other two are double pages. The frontispiece depicts Kosmophilus in chains visited by "Iustitia (Lady Justice)" with gallows and wheel in the background, sword in hand, while God, positioned above the clouds, invites him to come to heaven. The fifth plate, partially hand colored, depicts Lips Tullian chained at his neck, hands and feet. Nine plates in part two, frontispieces to all eight chapters depict the criminals, Tullian and seven of his accomplices. The ninth and last engraving, a folding plate, shows a panorama including the courthouse, the gallows, the wheels and the columns, all intricate parts of these judicial proceedings. The book closes with a nine page register and a report for the bookbinder regarding the placement of the engravings in this publication.
Born in Strassbourg in 1673 Phillip Mengstein alias Lips Tullian organized a widespread gang of thieves in the Tharandt Forest in Saxony, near Dresden in Germany. The gang was known as Lips Tullian and his Black Guard. Their lair is immortalized by the Saxons as Lips Tullian Rocks. Due to his excellent connections in France and Holland he had established a good outlet market for his loot. Following the victorious battles of Kalisz and Poltawa during the Great Northern Wars (1700–1721) Augustus II. the Strong addressed gang nuisance in Saxony, tightened controls and imposed draconic sentences eventually leading to the arrest of Lips Tullian in Freiberg. Two years later his escaped was foiled and the subsequent torture lead to the arrest of most of his gang members. Tullian was executed on March 8, 1715.
This extensive work starts with a history of gangs of thieves in Saxony followed by a description of the manifold violent felonies of the gang of Lips Tullian, biographies of the eight most important members of the gang and a description of the executions. Lips Tullian was described various literary endeavors in Germany and Czechoslovakia, e.g. Schiller's main protagonist Karl Mohr in his play "The Robbers" was inspired by the story of Lips Tullian and a copy of this work is known to have been part of Bertolt Brecht's library. Contains register and direction for the printer at rear.
Text in German, Gothic script. Binding with some wear along edges, small chips and rubbed. Frontispiece reinforced with library tape at gutter, light wear along edges not affecting image. Twofold engraved plate, showing all nine members of the band of robbers facing page 212, with four by two inch triangle missing at upper right corner, with partial loss of text and image of Hertzschol. Small water stain, half circle of 1/2 x 2" at middle of bottom margin diminishing in size towards front. Starting at inside back cover. Block age-toned. Good condition. Item #47944