THE LIBRARY OF GRAND PENSIONARY JOHAN DE WITT 151 WHAT BECAME OF THE LIBRARY OF GRAND PENSIONARY JOHAN DE WITT (1625–1672)? With special reference to law books b y G OVAERT C.J.J. VAN DEN B ERGH (Nijmegen) In 1984 I published two letters of Cornelis van Bijnkershoek concerning his acquisition of a Digest manuscript, and suggested that the library of one Janus Albinus, which was brought under the hammer in Dordrecht in Sep- tember and October 1696, and from which van Bijnkershoek bought the manuscript, had belonged to no one else than the late grand pensionary Johan de Witt 1 . The proof that Albinus was a pseudonym for de Witt 2 was readily accepted, but for the rest my hypothesis was severely criticised by J.A. Gruys 3 , who believed the library in question belonged to the son of the grand pensionary, Johan de Witt the younger (1662–1701; for convenience I will name him Johan II) 4 , who indeed is known as owner of a fabulous collection of books, manuscripts, coins, inscriptions, statues, bronzes and other remains from antiquity 5 . I do not believe, however, that Gruys’ argu- ments hold much water. I may have
The Legal History Review / Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue d'Histoire du Droit – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1998
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