FITZSIMON, Henry A Catholike confutation of M. Iohn Riders clayme of antiquitie; and a caulming comfort against his caueat. …a replye to M. Riders Rescript; with a discouerie of puritan partialitie in his behalfe

Roan [i.e. Douai], [Pt. 1 by P. Auroi, pt. 2 by C. Boscard] with licence of superiours, 1608


FIRST EDITION. 4to. Two parts in one. pp. [xxxiv], 394, [xxviii]; [ii], 118. á é í ó ú A-3F , ²A-P . Roman letter some Italic. Both titles within typographical borders, second title with small woodcut ‘IHS’ device, floriated woodcut initials, woodcut and typographical ornaments, ’J. Barry’ in slightly later hand at head of t-p. Light age yellowing, the rare marginal spot or mark, t-p fractionally dusty. A very good copy in contemporary limp vellum, yapp edges, remains of ties.

Rare first edition of this most interesting controversial work by the Irish Jesuit Henry Fitzsimon published at Douai for distribution in Ireland. “Fitzsimon was educated a Protestant at Oxford (Hart Hall, and perhaps Christ Church), 1583-1587. Going thence to the University of Paris, he became a zealous protagonist of Protestantism, “with the firm intention to have died for it, if need had been”. But having engaged in controversy with “an owld English Jesuit, Father Thomas Darbishire, to my happiness I was overcome.” Having embraced Catholicism, he visited Rome and Flanders” Catholic Encyclopaedia. He joined the Jesuits in Rome and returned to Ireland where he was captured in 1600. He was reputed to have laughed at his capture stating “Now my adversaries cannot say that they do not know where to find me”. He was banished in 1604 “he visited Spain, Rome, and Flanders, 1611-1620, everywhere earnest and active with voice and pen in the cause of Ireland. At the outbreak of the Thirty Years War in 1620, he served as chaplain to the Irish soldiers in the imperial army, and published a diary, full of life and interest, of his adventurous experiences. He probably returned to Flanders in 1621 and in 1630 went back to Ireland where he continued to work with energy and success until the outbreak of the Civil War (1640)” Catholic Encyclopaedia. This work was a stinging refutation of John Riders’ ‘A Friendly caveat to Ireland’s Catholics’. “It was the Palesman/Jesuit Henry Fitzsimon who opened the long tradition of Irish counter-propaganda, and even in his early activities one can see a pattern which remained noticeable throughout the century: to attack English policy in Ireland as a combination of heretical persecution and insulting slander on the Irish fatherland. Fitzsimon had been imprisoned in Dublin in the years 1599-1604; in this period he had a dispute with the young student of divinity James Ussher and, more importantly, with John Rider, protestant dean of St. Patrick’s cathedral. Rider had challenged Fitzsimon to prove certain Catholic teachings from scripture, and Fitzsimon had answered in his manuscript treatise entitled ‘Brief collections from the Scriptures’ 1601. Rider rejoined with a printed pamphlet called ‘A Friendly caveat to Ireland’s Catholics’, whereupon Fitzsimon countered with another manuscript … By then Fitzsimon was freed from prison … where he found the opportunity to have his answer printed. (Rouen 1608). ..Here as in nearly all later exile writings by Irish authors, it can be noticed that what looks like purely theological discussion is in fact full of political import. Fitzsimon’s ‘dedicatorie epistle’, addressed to ‘the Catholickes of Ireland and of all Estates, and Degrees’ is already a case in point. Part of its rhetoric consists of recalling to the readers ‘the quondam dignitie of your now debased countrye,’ and the defence of Catholicism against Protestantism is thus, ad ovo, mixed with a defence of Ireland against England, more especially of the old Irish dignity against modern debasement at English hands”. Joseph Theodoor Leerssen. Mere Irish & Fíor-ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality. A very good copy of this rare work.

STC 11025. ESTC S102272. C. Sayle. A Catalogue of the Bradshaw Collection of Irish Books in the University. Library Cambridge. 5721. Allison and Rogers II 289. Milward 573 and 574 “M. Riders Rescript is only known from the Appendix to this book.”
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