A warning agaynst the dangerous practises of Papists, and specially the partners of the late rebellion.

London, by Iohn Daye, dwelling ouer Aldersgate, [1570]


8vo., 57 unnumbered ll. [pi1, A-O⁴.] Black letter, some Roman and Italic, printed side notes. Small floriated initial. Light age yellowing, small oil stain in some blank upper margins. A very good copy, crisp and clean in crushed crimson morocco by Rivière and Sons circa 1900, covers single blind and gilt ruled to a panel design, fleurons gilt to corners, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, gilt and blind ruled in compartments, fleurons gilt at centres, title gilt lettered direct, edges gilt ruled, turn ins with double gilt rule, very expertly rebacked with spine remounted, a.e.g.

Rare second edition of this piece of anti catholic propaganda by Thomas Norton (1532 -1584) lawyer, poet, parliamentarian, Protestant translator and activist. He produced this on behalf of Elizabeth I in an attempt to stop the spread of the rising in the North which had broken out in 1569. The Catholics in northern England under the leadership of the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland had risen in revolt at the ferocity of the government’s persecution of their faith and whilst professing full loyalty to the Queen demanded the restoration of the liberty of Catholic worship. At first successful, they were ultimately defeated by the Earl of Sussex near York; the prisoners were tortured, hung, drawn and quartered in their hundreds. Norton edited and published several of their confessions. The present pamphlet was Norton’s first taste of active service in the war of persecution of English Catholics on which Elizabeth’s ministers were embarking, but he aspired to more. By 1581 he was official censor of the Queen’s Catholic subjects, whose duties included the extraction of confessions under torture. He boasted that he had stretched Fr. Alexander Briant ‘a foot longer than God had made him’, fathers Myagh, Campion and others soon suffered similar treatment at Nortons hands. In England Norton soon became known as the ‘Rackmaster General’ and in Europe ‘Archicarnifex’.

“Thomas Norton soon threw off the moderation and restraint of his first publication on the rising. In his warning agaynst the dangerous practises of Papists’.. he set out to prove ‘that every papist, that is to say everyone that believeth all the pope’s doctrine to be true, is an enemy and traitor.’ According to Norton ‘no clemency, gentleness, .. or loveing dealing can win a papist while he continueth a papist, to love her Majesty.’ [For Norton] The rebellion itself had offered proof of the equation between papistry and treason, whether the rebels had been deceived or not.” K. Kesselring ‘The Northern Rebellion of 1569: Faith, Politics and Protest in Elizabethan England’.

Norton’s more palatable claim to fame is as joint author with Thomas Sackville of ‘Gorboduc’, the earliest tragedy in English and the earliest in blank verse, based on an episode of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s ‘History’ and performed in the style of Seneca; it was much admired.

ESTC. S126224. STC. 18686. Not in Lowndes or Milward.


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