De Maria Scotorum Regina.

[London: J. Day, 1571].

£2,950

FIRST EDITION. 8vo in 4’s. pp. [ii], 122, [iv]. A-Q. First part in small Roman, remainder in italic, italic side notes throughout. Title with small typographical ornament, woodcut initials, authors name mss. in contemporary hand on title, price ‘4s’ above, ‘Dupplin Castle’ early case-mark on front pastedown. Title and blank verso of last a little dusty, outer margin of first and last couple of ll. cut a bit close, just touching sidenotes. A very good clean copy in in contemporary English or possibly Scottish sheep, covers bordered with a single gilt and double blind rule, thistle fleuron gilt stamped at centres, spine double gilt ruled in compartments, a.e.r. title and author mss. on fore-edge.

A very good copy of the rare first edition of one of the great contemporary attacks on Mary, Queen of Scots by Buchanan (1506-1582), Scottish historian and scholar of the Protestant party and sometime tutor to her son, later James VI, and Elizabeth I’s Secretary of State, Thomas Wilson (1526-1581). “P. 1-30 are by George Buchanan. “Actio contra Mariam Scotorum Reginam”, p. 31-100, is attributed to Thomas Wilson, as is the translation of “Literæ Reginæ Scot. ad comitem Bothuelium scriptæ”, p. 101-121.” ESTC.

“In 1571 the London printer John Day simultaneously produced Latin and Scots-English versions the same set of texts. These volumes contained, first, the text of a diatribe against Mary Queen of Scots by the great Scots humanist George Buchanan [1506 – 1582], second, a lengthy indictment (Actio) of her alleged crimes, and third, the texts of the so-called Casket Letters. All this material was designed to document that Mary had been conducting an adulterous affair with the Earl of Bothwell prior to the murder of her consort, Lord Darnley; that Darnley’s murder was encompassed by Bothwell with Mary’s foreknowledge, in order to pave the way for their marriage; and that Scots justice was seriously perverted so that Bothwell would not be held accountable for his crime of regicide. These documents were all prepared for the October 1568 conference at York, at which representatives of the Earl of Moray, Regent of Scotland, and other Scottish Protestant lords met with English commissioners to justify Mary’s forced abdication. Their subsequent publication doubtless was intended to mold public opinion in both Scotland and England, and also, in their Latin version, to provide a justification for Mary’s dethronement and imprisonment suitable for European consumption. As such, (the two) volumes are an interesting example of the early use of the printing press for the dissemination of political propaganda, not entirely unlike the “white papers” put out by James’ government to justify the trial and execution of Father Henry Garnet and the Gunpowder Plotters.” Dana F. Sutton. No doubtful or trivial incident which could blacken the Queen’s character was omitted and others were simply invented for the purpose. Elizabeth was so pleased with the work that when Mary was in her hands she had a copy sent her. and it formed the opinion of Mary of generations of English historians.

A very good copy of this important work from the library at Dupplin Castle in Perthshire in Scotland.

ESTC S106060. STC 3978. Brunet I 1369. Lowndes I 301. Durkan 219.

L2248

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