The Protestants Apologie for the Roman ChurchSt Omer, [English College Press), 1608
FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. pp. [xxviii] 56 [iv] 57-751 [i.e. 756] [lxxii]. Roman and Italic letter. Woodcut initials, woodcut and typographical ornaments, library stamp of Milltown Park on title, (repaired at blank upper outer corner) their label and William O’Brian’s ex legato label on pastedown, occasional marginal annotation and editorial type correction in an early hand. Light age yellowing, very light browning on a few leaves, the occasional mark or spot, some upper margins a bit tight. A very good copy in fine C19th dark blue straight grained morocco, covers triple blind ruled to a panel design, stoped with gilt fleurons, outer panel with blind floral roll, inner panel gilt ruled at border with fleurons gilt to corners, spine with wide richly gilt bands, large blind fleurons in compartments, title gilt lettered, edges gilt ruled, inner dentelles gilt ruled with gilt fleurons to corners, a.e.g, extremities worn, fly detatched.
First edition thus, a much expanded version of Brerely’s 1604 ‘Apologie of the Roman Church’. Brerely was a pseudonym, and the true author is supposed to be the seminary priest Lawrence Anderton, though the text is sometimes attributed to James Anderton. It represents the beginnings of a new sort of controversial literature that aimed to refute its opponents using his, or his supporters’, own words. This work aimed to establish Catholic claims “by the testimonies of the learned Protestants themselves”. The original version proved “something of a sensation” on publication and was “frequently praised and imitated by subsequent Catholic apologists” (Milward). The work is particularly interesting for its accounts of the earlier reformation movements of Huss, Wyclif, Waldo and others and their distinction from Lutheran Protestantism, as well as its historical appeal to Englishmen that they and their kings lived and died in the Catholic faith, with numerous examples. A short but valuable bibliography of Protestant writers and their works precedes the text. The 1608 edition appears in two issues. The present copy contains both the original first issue title page, and the reprinted one with new preliminary leaves which comprises the second issue. These additional leaves form an attack on Thomas Morton who had answered the first edition.
This work was printed in small numbers at St. Omer in France by the English College for export to the English market where such works were actively suppressed. Copies in good condition are particularly rare.