Vando y leyes del rey Iacobo de Inglaterra contra la fe catolica.

[n.p.], [n.p.], [after 1610].


FIRST EDITION. 4to. ff. (i) 105 (vi). Roman letter, with Italic, double column in places, decorated initials. Light oil stain to upper outer corner of first four gatherings, minimal marginal foxing, small paper flaw to blank margin of fol. 49, flyleaf loose. A very good copy in early vellum, traces of ties, a.e.r. Ex-libris of the Collegium of the Company of Jesus of Mexico to t-p, marca de fuego of the Seminario Conciliar de Mexico to upper fore-edge.

Scarce Castilian translation of various decrees, including the oath of allegiance, passed by King James VI and I against Catholics in the early years of his reign. Father Joseph Cresswell (1556-1623) was a Jesuit exile in Spain and an ‘éminence noire in advising the [Spanish] Council of State on Catholicism in England’ (Loomie, ‘Spanish Elizabethans’, 183). Residing first in the College of Valladolid and later at Court, he provided a point of contact for English Jesuits and even conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot. In his ‘Vando y leyes’, using the nom de plume ‘D.B. de Cleremond’, he sought, first of all, to eschew accusation of anti-Spanish sentiment and tame Spanish animosity against English Jesuits, seen as spies. He then made available in Castilian the oath enforced by King James in 1606 against English recusants, here defined as ‘those Catholics who do not intend to participate in the errors and profane rites of the Protestant Calvinists’. Each section of the decrees is glossed with a ‘respuesta’: e.g., to the ban from possessing arms and gunpowder, Cresswell replied that recusants did not possess the weapons mentioned in the decree, this being false information communicated to the king with malicious intent. He attacked the oath of allegiance as going counter the laws of God and Nature. Recusants who refused to take the oath were banned from coming closer to London than ten miles without a royal licence, whilst priests had to leave the kingdom under pain of death. Cresswell made use of customary anti-Jacobean arguments, e.g., the oath forced Catholics to swear falsely hence to sin, and Parliament and Princes had no authority and knowledge to discuss and clarify doctrinal questions. He also provided further sections showing his Catholic readers how to identify the dangers of the oath. The volume also includes a fictional letter from a Catholic English gentlewoman urging her husband to withstand persecution. Copies of this pamphlet were in the library of major Catholic figures including Marguerite of Austria and D. Duarte of Portugal.

Only 11 copies recorded, none in the US.

Wilkinson, Iberian Books, 45679; BL STC Sp. 1601-1700, E15.


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