Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia (1729-1796) Instruction de sa Majeste Imperiale Catherine II. pour la Commission Chargee de Dresser le Pojet d'un Nouveau Code de Loix. Petersburg: De l'Imprimerie de l'Academie des Sciences, 1770.
Quarto, polyglot edition, printed in Russian, Latin, German and French throughout, with engraved vignettes at beginning and end of text, patterned pastedowns, early ownership inscription, wax seal on the veso of the last leaf, bound in full sponge-decorated contemporary calfskin, blind tooled spine and red lettering piece.
This revision of the law, or Nakaz, was inspired by Enlightenment thinkers like Diderot and Montesquieu, and represents a new trend in criminal law, with a marked movement away from the practice of capital punishment. "In a state protected against its foreign enemies and internally supported by the armed forces and by public opinion, where authority is in the hands of the sovereign, there can be no need to take the life of a citizen."
Head and tail cap chipped, leather split at joints, boards still attached, corners worn with loss of leather.