IRISH HISTORY Relacion verdadera de la insigne vitoria que los catolicos del reyno de Irlanda han obtenido contra los ingleses que no son catolicos romanos.

[Madrid, Catalina del Barrio, 1642.]


FIRST EDITION?. Folio. 2 unnumbered and unsigned ll., [*]2. Roman letter, little Italic. Uniform slight age browning, minimal marginal spotting, bifolium partly torn at centre fold. Disbound, traces of sewing, ‘225’ and ‘226’ inked to upper outer corners.

Exceedingly scarce ephemeral survival—an important witness to Spain’s perception of Ireland during the Siglo de Oro and the life of the Irish exile community in Spain. Also issued with the same title in Seville by Juan Gómez de Blas in the same year (priority has not been established), this work belongs to the popular European genre of ‘relaciones’, two-leaf folio news reports on major international events, here concerned with Ireland. It is one of several news sheets reporting on the Irish Rebellion of 1641, answering rumours of a possible invasion by the English and Scots. It praises the ‘clear understanding’ of the ‘beloved’ King and the importance of Laud’s ‘Prayer Book’ of 1637, harshly rejected by the Scots. Aware of the ‘deformity and monstrosity of the religions practised by his subjects’, Charles had thus reaffirmed the principles of the High Church, closer to Catholicism, much disliked by Protestants, Puritans and Calvinists (e.g., the use of sacred images and crucifixes in churches ‘to differentiate them from profane houses’). With mentions of Laud and Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Stratford and Lord Deputy of Ireland, the ‘relacion’ describes the Catholic occupation of cities and regions in Ulster and the rest of Ireland in 1641, especially the Irish victory led by General Roe O’Neill over the English in Carrickfergus. It stops short of Wentworth’s execution in 1641 and the English counterattack of early 1642. The ‘relacion’ sought to make Spain more sympathetic to the Irish exile community, which had sensibly increased in the early C17. It was ‘designed to spread information about the Irish and their situation at home and abroad’ among both the elites and middle classes; as propaganda sheets, such ‘relaciones’ sought to smooth negative public opinion against the Irish exiles and ‘to ensure that the ruling Spanish elite were aware of the suffering of the Irish and of their duties to them as fellow Catholics’ (Tostado, ‘Irish Influence’, 49). A scarce ephemeral work portraying a major event with long-lasting effects on Irish national identity.

Only 4 copies recorded, none in the US.USTC 5018314; Palau 258270. Not in Wilkinson. I. Pérez Tostado, Irish Influence at the Court of Spain in the Seventeenth Century (Dublin, 2008).
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