A defence of the Catholicke faith: contained in the booke of the most mightie, and most gracious King Iames the first,…

London , W. Stansby for Nathaniel Butter and Martin Clerke, 1610.


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. pp. [xii], 187, 190-493, [i]. Roman letter some Italic and Greek. Title within single line rule, text within box rule, woodcut initials and headpieces, ‘Harvey’ in early hand on pastedown, bookplate of Robert S Pirie below, contemporary manuscript corrections of the text, early shelf mark ‘141’ on front edge. Small paper flaw in upper margin of leaf 2N1. A fine, well margined copy, absolutely crisp and clean in fine contemporary Scottish deerskin, covers single gilt ruled to a panel design, fleurons gilt to outer corners, large gilt stamped corner-pieces to inner panel, James I’s circular crowned thistle device, gilt stamped in centres, holes for ties, a.e.g. a little scuffed in places.

A beautiful finely bound large margined, most likely a presentation copy, of the first edition in the English translation by John Sanford, with the errors signalled in the errata, corrected in manuscript in the text. “Pierre Du Moulin was the leading intellectual in the French Reformed Church in the early seventeenth century. His influence within French Protestantism rivalled and complemented that of Philippe Duplessis-Mornay, the prominent nobleman, soldier, and adviser to Henry of Navarre, the Huguenot leader who became Henry IV of France. If Duplessis-Mornay was, as he is sometimes called, the ‘Huguenot Pope’, Du Moulin, the pastor of the congregation of Protestants in Paris, was the chief cardinal. A prolific writer and a skilful speaker, Du Moulin became noted for his success as a polemicist. Yet during a period of five years, 1613–18, Du Moulin was also the chief spokesman for a plan which would unite the English, Calvinist, and Lutheran Churches. The rather startling final point of the plan called for the reunited Protestants to make a fresh approach to Rome.” W. B. Patterson. ‘Pierre du Moulin’s Quest for Protestant Unity, 1613-18.’

“James and Du Moulin had corresponded for a good many years. According to Pierre du Moulin’s son Peter, “King James of blessed and glorious memory before his coming to the Crown of England, sent expressions of Royal favour to the Consistory of Paris, who chose du Moulin to address their humble thanks by Letter to his majesty.” The friendly relations thus established were renewed when James became involved in the theological controversy which followed in the wake of the Oath of Allegiance. When James issued his Premonition in 1609, he apparently sent a personal copy to du Moulin – and du Moulin subsequently undertook to defend the king’s book against the attack of the French Dominican, Nicolas Coeffeteau. Du Moulin’s ‘Defence of the Catholicke faith: contained in the booke of the most mightie, and most gracious King Iames the first, published in 1610 was followed in 1614 by a treatise which sought to expose the usurpations of temporal power by the papacy and to refute the views of Jame’s adversary Cardinal Bellarmine. Du Moulin had a formidable reputaion as a controversialist. In numerous publications, he attacked both Roman Catholic and Protestant theologians with whom he disagreed.” W. B. Patterson. King James VI and I and the Reunion of Christendom

“In the dedication of his defence of the king’s position, du Moulin clearly identifies his own cause with James I, declaring to the English monarch that “that religion which you [James] defend is the same which we profess,” and several times referring to James I as his sovereign. Du Moulin also made the gesture of pledging his pen to the service of the English king: “But were it so that you had use of any man’s pen, yet should you have little cause to seek further.” In the opening chapter of the main body of text, du Moulin established James I as a tolerant king who, “in the sweetness and fairness of his own nature inclined to give content unto all his subjects with free liberty of conscience. But this his [sic] inclination was over-ruled by necessity when his wisdom entered into consideration that the matter now in question was not only religion, but the peace of his estate and the security of his crown.” By establishing that the Oath ran contrary to James I’s desire to unite all Christians in his kingdom, and that it was instead necessitated by the Jesuit plot to kill him, du Moulin urged lay Catholics in England to recognize the evil of the Jesuits and the papacy for seeking first to murder the king and usurp his rightful authority. In doing so, du Moulin hoped to convince the Catholic population that the King’s Oath was in no way a violation, but went hand in hand with true Christian piety as according to Scripture. Even the first Catholic Cardinals, he asserted, “loved their king too well to assent…that the Pope may either directly or in-directly deprive him of his crown.” Minority Rights and the State: Protestant Polemic in Seventeenth-Century France.

A fine copy, most likely made for presentation to James I.

STC 7322; ESTC S111072


Print This Item Print This Item