Der unglückliche Dauphin von Frankreich. Ein dramatisches Gemählde von Louis. Hamburg, Friedrich Hermann Nestler, 1804.
First Edition. 8vo (158 x 92 mm), engraved frontispiece and pp. [iv], 140, text fairly heavily browned throughout, frontispiece dampstained, ink-stamped initial ‘W’ to title, tiny hole to p. 133, through text but minimal loss, in contemporary brown marbled boards, red paper label on spine lettered in gilt, boards a little rubbed with wear to extremities, edges red.
A scarce dramatised account of the life, imprisonment and death of young Louis-Charles (1785-1795), son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and briefly titular King of France as Louis XVII following his father’s execution in 1793. Born four years before the French Revolution, he was imprisoned in the Temple Prison with the parents in 1792. Following his father’s execution, he was removed from his mother and put under the care of the cobler and representative of the Paris commune, Antoine Simon, in the hopes that he could be ‘retrained’ and become sympathetic to revolutionary ideals. The harsh and unsanitary conditions in which he was kept undermined his health and died of scrofula a few months after his tenth birthday.
This account, by the German philosopher Gosch, focusses on Louis-Charles’ life after 1791 and includes a number of key figures from his life, not only both his parents, but also his sister, his governess the Marquise de Tourzel, the cruel Antoine Simon and his wife, a friendly monk who brought succour to the royal family, and Maximilien Robespierre. The striking frontispiece shows the young prince dying in his bed and raising his hands to heaven: ‘I have had much to suffer, yet have done nothing bad’. Ironically, it was only a few years after publication of this book that Gosch himself was to die in captivity, in Rendsburg prison.
OCLC lists three copies in German libraries only.