of the Generall Assemblie of the Church of Scotland.

Glasgow, by George Anderson, 1638.


FIRST EDITION, second issue, quire ‘A’ partially reset. 4to. 8 unnumbered ll.  A-B4. Roman letter, some italic, woodcut head and tail pieces, large historiated initial with two figures surrounded by thistles, t-p with woodcut figure with head and hands made of thistles. Light age yellowing. A good copy, crisp and clean in marbled paper boards, upper margin a little short on last leaf.

The first work to be printed in Glasgow, it marks not only an outstanding event in the ecclesiastical history of Scotland, but an important stage in the bibliographical history of that city. The famous meeting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, at Glasgow in 1638, lasted from the 21st November to the 6th December. In all 26 diets, were held in the Cathedral; “none had gowns, but many had doublets, swords, and daggers and the jostling, and squeezing was such that honest Baillie declares that if men had behaved in his house so rudely as they did in the House of God, he would have turned them downstairs.” The 150 ministers and 100 elders, who made up the Assembly, were determined to resist Charles I’s attempts to impose a version of the Anglican prayer book. They defied instructions from the King’s High Commissioner, the Marquess of Hamilton to dissolve, then went further in defying his authority by abolishing epicopapcy in Scotland. Laud’s Prayer Book and the new Book of Canons were condemned as unlawful, having not been sanctioned by the Kirk; the “popish” Five Articles of Perth, which had been reluctantly accepted by the General Assembly of 1618, were similarly abolished. All Scottish bishops were deposed and excommunicated. Having affirmed the Kirk’s power to summon annual assemblies and calling one to meet in July 1639, the Glasgow Assembly dissolved itself. The Covenanter movement had effectively seized power in Scotland. This important pamphlet, by the elected clerk, Sir A Johnston, protested against the Royal proclamation of 29 November 1638 dissolving the Assembly, convened only eight days earlier.

George Anderson established the first printing press in Glasgow. He was invited by the Burghesses of the City, who appointed him burgh printer and provided him with a salary, he also printed for Zachary Boyd, the vice Chancellor of Glasgow University. This was his most famous work. After his death his widow Agnes took over the press and continued printing under the name “the Heirs of George Anderson.”    

STC. 22047.5. ESTC S116942. Records of the Glasgow Bibliographical Society I. p.106.  Aldis 923. Maclehose ‘the Glasgow University Press’, pp. 20-22.


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