The history of the quarrels of Pope Paul. V. with the state of Venice.

London, printed by [Eliot’s Court Press for] Iohn Bill, 1626.


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. pp. [xx], 435, [i]. [par.]² 2[par.], A-3I, 3K². Roman letter within printed rule border, large woodcut initials and headpieces, engraved armorial bookplate of John Hay, 1st Marquess of Tweeddale, 1626–1694 with motto “Spare Nought,” captioned with Hay’s titles: “Marques of Tueeddale Earle of Gifford Viscount Walden, Lord Hay of Yester &c.”, Robert S Pirie’s bookplate on front endpaper. T-p slightly fractionally dusty in outer margin. An exceptional, large paper copy, bound (almost certainly for presentation) in contemporary English polished vellum, covers gilt ruled to a panel design, fan fleurons gilt to outer corners, large arms of Sir Robert Naunton, 1563–1635, with motto “Prudens Simplicitas”, gilt stamped at centres, spine triple gilt ruled in compartments, fleurons gilt at centres, substantial remains of blue silk ties. a little soiled, arms on upper cover slightly rubbed.

A beautiful, large paper, most likely a presentation copy, of Sarpi’s account of the interdict controversy of 1605 to 1607 first published, posthumously, in Venice in 1624, translated for the first time here into English by Christopher Potter. At the beginning of the reign of Paul V, Venice had attempted to restrict Papal prerogative over her territory by asserting the right to try ecclesiastics in the secular courts, and license ecclesiastical foundations and acquisitions of property. Paul V demanded the Republics’ formal submission to his authority, which was refused, largely at the instigation of Sarpi, who was appointed state canonist and theological counsellor. A war of pamphlets followed, inspired or controlled by Sarpi, who had received the further appointment of censor of everything written at Venice in defence of the Republic. Rome imposed interdicts which were ignored in many cases, and Sarpi assumed even more protestant positions – subjection of the clergy to the state, toleration of worship, rejection of the Council of Trent. Never before in a religious controversy had the appeal been made so exclusively to reason and history. The Venetian clergy, a few religious orders excepted, disregarded the interdict, and discharged their functions as usual. The Catholic powers refused to be drawn into the quarrel though at one point it looked as if they would. In the event, a compromise was reached through the intervention of the King of France, by which time the Venetians had substantially achieved their original objectives, Papal dignity was saved and Sarpi’s extremism abandoned. The opinion of Le Courayer, that Sarpi “était Catholique en gros et quelque fois Protestant en detail” (that he was Catholic overall and sometimes Protestant in detail) seems not altogether groundless. Christopher Potter, the translator, was one of the most prominent recruits of the Laudian party from the Puritan clergy.

A stunning copy of a work of lasting political importance which aroused considerable interest in England at the time, with exceptional contemporary provenance; probably a presentation copy to Sir Robert Naunton, 1563–1635. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, becoming a fellow in 1585 and public orator of the university in 1594. Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, commissioned him to spend some time abroad, sending back information about European affairs. In 1614 Naunton was knighted and, in 1616, became Master of Requests. In December 1617 his friend George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham procured for him the position of Secretary of State on the condition of his making Christopher Villiers, Buckingham’s brother, his heir, and during his lifetime Villiers gained from Naunton estates worth £500 a year. In 1621 he was elected MP for Cambridge University. His strong Protestant opinions led him to favour more active intervention by England in the interests of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, and more vigorous application of the laws against Roman Catholics. Naunton was censured after the Spanish ambassador, Gondomar, complained to James I. Consequently, in January 1623, Naunton resigned as Secretary of State and was made master of the Court of Wards and Liveries. Naunton was the author of, amongst other works, the ‘Fragmenta regalia, or, observations on the late Queen Elizabeth, her times and favorits 1641.’

In 1694 John Hay was created Marquess of Tweeddale in recognition of his support for William of Orange in the years leading up to the Glorious Revolution. John Medina made a large portrait of the Hay family, now in the National Gallery of Scotland, which was probably commissioned to celebrate this event.

ESTC S116772. STC 21766. Lowndes VII 1805.

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