Pieter van Woensel (Haarlem 1747 – The Hague 1808), a staunch critic of antisemitism, slavery and serfdom, was a well travelled physician with publications on the plague and whooping cough to his name, the first Medical Inspector-General of the Dutch Navy, and notorious for his atheism, and proposals like ‘Rental Wives’, biological warfare (for Turkey to deter Russia!) and vivisection on condemned criminals.
This text edition consists of a translation (Part I) and a comprehensive, copious Commentary (Parts II and III). The reader finds detailed discussions on contemporary ideas and developments both in Europe and Islamic Turkey. Special attention is given to typographical and linguistic peculiarities. Years of research in archives and primary sources in many languages spanning many centuries have resulted in numerous discoveries, and a wealth of materials never treated before.
The text of Remarks is assessed in the context of all the drawings and writings by Van Woensel known to date, including his Raadgeevingen (Seaman’s medical guide), assumed lost for almost two centuries, but now recovered by editor Kaptein, and a work, in the opinion of a contemporary reviewer, that ‘ought to deny him all contact with decent women’.