WESTON, Edward

WESTON, Edward The Repaire of Honour, Falsely impeached by Featlye a Minister..

Bruges, Saint Omer: English College Press], 1624


First edition. Small 8vo., pp. 32. Roman letter with some Italic. Woodcut device on t-p, one floriated woodcut initial at start, 19th-century marbled end-papers. A very little spotting in places, some upper margins rather closely cropped affecting a few page numbers, a good copy in 17th-century calf, gilt, re-backed, with ‘REPAIR AT HANOVER’ gilt on spine, all edges blue.

FIRST AND ONLY EARLY EDITION of Edward Weston’s epistolary treatise, which takes as its subject the apparent slander of the Featly of the title, a Protestant Minister based in London and attempts to refute it. Addressed to ‘Two fathers of the Society of Jesus’, the Catholic Weston’s anger is directed at a pamphlet written by Featly – The Fisher catched in his own net, 1623 – and was especially kindled by three comments. The first centres on a remark Featly claims Weston made on the topic of an argument between the two fathers addressed by the treatise (John Percy, alias Fisher, and John Sweet) and Featly and White – another Protestant Minister – concerning two Earls who converted to Catholicism. Weston denounces Featlye’s written treatment of him as ‘childish, uncivill, & no small demonstrance of the great weakness of his religion’, indeed dismissing the entire pamphlet, rather charmingly, as ‘meere aëriall babblements’. After all, he acknowledges, it is the natural inclination of a Protestant to ‘invent & blaze out lyes’.

Weston’s narration of the affair provides a fascinating insight into the tensions between Catholics and Protestants in early seventeenth-century England; Weston was writing from Bruges, and a large part of his understanding of the matter apparently came via a visiting Earl, so hearsay and rumour must have played a role. The second point of Featly’s pamphlet which Weston addresses is his claim that the Reverend Fathers refused to confirm or deny that Christ and the Apostles were the ‘authours of Protestancy’, another ‘lye’; the third, that Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch and Martyr of Rome, was a Protestant, or Puritan; Weston’s strategy for countering this argument lies in the assemblage of thirteen points of Protestant doctrine (i.a. that the Eucharist is merely representative; that saints and relics are not to be worshipped; that Ignatius’ faith was different to that of the Saints Policarp, Chrysostom, and Augustine), which Weston systematically demolishes with quotations from, and explanations, of various passages by Saint Ignatius himself.

Edward Weston (1566-1635) was a Roman Catholic priest who attended Lincoln College Oxford before moving to the Continent and becoming a member of the English College at Reims, and then at Rome. He followed the English College at Reims to Douai in 1593, and became Canon of the collegiate Church of St. Mary at Bruges. He was well known as an author of controversialist literature.

STC 25289; lists only 3 copies (Jesuits, Farm St; Bodleian; Stonyhurst). Lowndes VII, 2881. Allison & Rogers 797. Milward 744. We have not located a copy in any US library.
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