Apologia Euangelii, pro catholicis, ad Iacobum maioris Britanniae regem.

Paris, apud Antonium Stephanum, typographum regium, viâ Iacobeâ, ad insigne Oliuae Roberti Stephani, 1625.


FIRST EDITION. folio. pp. [iv], 988. [π², A-4E⁶, 4F⁸, 4G-4P⁴, 4Q⁶]. Roman Letter, some Greek. Antoine Estienne’s large woodcut ‘Noli Altum Sapere’ device on title, very fine, near full page, engraved portrait of the author after Du Monstier, beautiful grotesque woodcut initials and headpieces, Milltown Park label on fly with William O’Brien’s ex legato below. Light age yellowing, quires 2B-2D, 3F to 4Q lightly and evenly browned. A fine, large paper copy, crisp and clean in beautiful contemporary red morocco, covers triple gilt ruled with a gilt three dot pointillé roll either side, to a panel design, large fleurons gilt to outer corners, spine with raised bands, gilt ruled in compartments in the same manner as the covers, gilt fleurons to centres, crowned monogram gilt, inlaid over fleurons in two compartments, small restoration to head and tail, a.e.g.

A fine, large paper copy, beautifully bound, and finely printed by Antoine Estienne of this monumental and hugely erudite counter-reformation work addressed to James I. Renouard notes that there is a large paper copy of this work in red morocco in the Royal library; it is clear that Harley had a few copies made on large paper and finely bound, probably for presentation. Harley (1585 – 1653) was Archbishop of Rouen, from 1616 until 1651, when he resigned in favour of his nephew. “The Chateau de Gaillon, which Cardinal Georges d’Amboise had bequeathed to the Church of Rouen, became under the episcopate of Harlay a sort of center for the study of the Scriptures and religious questions. It was the seat of an academy whose members were to consecrate themselves as apologists of St. Paul. It possessed also a printing-press which published some of Harlay’s writings. Under Harlay, also, the library of the chapter of Rouen was opened to the public. Harlay took a successful part in certain polemics against the Protestants. In 1625 he published the “Apologia Evangelii pro catholicis ad Jacobum Magnum Britanniae regem”, and in 1633 “Le mystere de l’Eucharistie explique par Saint Augustin avec un avis aux ministres de ne plus entreprendre d’alleguer Saint Augustin pour eux”. His zeal against the Reformation extended beyond his archdiocese. He joined with Pierre de Marca in the reestablishment of Catholic worship in Bearn, where the Calvinists had made great progress. Even his most ill-disposed contemporaries, like Mme des Loges, who said that Harlay’s brain was a library upside-down, and Vigneul Marville, who spoke of his “well of knowledge so deep that it was impossible to see a drop”—were compelled to recognize at least the prodigious erudition of this prelate.” Catholic Encyclopaedia. Others were not so polite: Tallemant des Réaux remarked of him that “il n’y eut jamais un plus grand galimatias” and added rather unkindly “Il y avait pourtant du bon en ce mirifique prélat : il était bon homme, franc et sincère ; mais jamais il n’eut un grain de cervelle.”. In an apocryphal story, Pope Urban VIII, when presented with this work opened it stating ‘Fiat lux’, and closed it not long after with a sigh “Et non facta est”

A beautiful, large paper copy, of this work, magnificently printed by Antoine Estienne with all the skill of his illustrious predecessors.

Renouard 216:2. “En grand Papier à La Bibl. Royale”. Not in BM STC Fr C17th or Brunet.


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