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2002 articles 1993 articles

The Swiss Civil War of 1712 in contemporary sources

Graham Nattrass


IN 1991 the British Library mounted an exhibition, 'Switzerland 700', to coincide with the seventh centenary celebrations of the Swiss Confederation. One of the items on display was Die edle Friedens-Lust ('The noble joys of peace'), a poem commemorating the conclusion of a formal peace between the Abbot of St Gall and the Protestant cantons of Zurich and Berne in 1718, following a civil war which had threatened to tear the country apart six years earlier. The work came from a tract volume (BL press-mark 9305.aa.8) containing forty-six printed pamphlets or longer works relating to Swiss history, as well as a number of manuscripts. Approximately two thirds of the printed works, and three of the manuscripts, nos. 10*, 10** and 30*, concern the war of 1712, otherwise known as the War of the Toggenburg or Second Villmergen War. The volume has a plain binding, probably of around 1800, and is described on the spine as 'Alte Schweizer Sachen', and inside the book as ' Alte Schweizer Piecen\ It bears the label of the Schweizer Antiquariat, Zurich, but was actually acquired in 1877 from the firm of Asher in Berlin for exactly 2.

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