WHITE, Francis

WHITE, Francis A replie to Iesuit Fishers answere to certain questions propou[n]ded by his most gratious Matie: King Iames. By ..

London, Printed by Adam Islip, 1624


FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. [xxxvi], 592, [iv]; [iv], 74, [ii]. [[a] b c-d A-3D , ²B-I ²K .] first and last leaf blank. Roman letter with some Italic. Fine frontispiece portrait of the author within roundel signed “T Cocksonus sculp”, (Thomas Cockson), fine engraved t-p (Johnson Elstrack 24, “Mr. Hind now says perhaps by Cockson”) the royal arms above with lion and unicorn, allegorical figures of ‘Veritas’ on the left and ‘Mendacia’ on the right, small hand with fishing net in roundel below, second title within ornate woodcut border, floriated woodcut initials, head and tail-pieces, typographical ornaments, contemporary autograph “ex libris Geor. Olyphant” on fly repeated at head of t-p and recto of portrait, book-label of A W G Lowther on pastedown. Light age yellowing, recto of portrait a little dusty, minor dust soiling at outer margins of first and last few leaves, rare marginal mark. A very good, entirely unsophisticated copy, crisp and clean in contemporary English calf, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine with double blind ruled raised bands, a.e.r.

A handsome, unsophisticated copy, of the first edition of the this interesting work by the Protestant controversialist Francis White, an account of his debates with the Jesuit theologian Fisher. “Early in 1622 he was employed by James I as a disputant against John Fisher (1569–1641), to stay the Roman catholic tendencies of Mary, countess of Buckingham. He held two ‘conferences;’ the third (24 May 1622) was entrusted to William Laud. White’s ‘Replie’ to Fisher .. was dedicated to James I, whose copy is in the British Museum; it was reprinted by subscription, Dublin, 1824, 2 vols. 8vo. An account, from the other side, is in ‘Trve Relations of Svndry Conferences,’ 1626, 4to, by ‘A. C.’. On 14 Sept. 1622 White was presented to the deanery of Carlisle. He took part, in conjunction with Daniel Featley or Fairclough, in another discussion with Fisher, opened on 27 June 1623, at the house of Sir Humphrey Lynde, in Sheer Lane, London; a report was published in ‘The Fisher catched in his owne Net,’ 1623, 4to; and more fully (by Featley) in ‘The Romish Fisher cavght and held in his owne Net,’ 1624, 4to.” DNB.

“Among the emissaries whom the Romanists employed at this time in England, one of the most active and intelligent was a Jesuit of the name of Piersey, who has been better known under the assumed appellation of Fisher. He had obtained admission to the countess, mother of Villiers, who was afterwards duke of Buckingham, and had made some progress in converting her to the Romish faith, in the hope that through the influence of her son, she might be able to obtain further indulgences from the court in favour of the Roman catholics. The duke of Buckingham, anxious that justice should be done to the whole of the important argument, requested Dr. Francis White, who had obtained a reputation, from his sermons preached at St. Paul’s, for skill in the Romish controversy, to meet the Jesuit, and maintain the cause of protestantism, in the presence of the countess, the lord keeper Williams, and himself. An occurrence of so much interest, connected so directly with the person of the favourite, was soon communicated to the king; and a second conference was accordingly arranged, at which the king himself was present, and many particular questions of theology were discussed. …Although a strict injunction had been given that no account of these conferences should be published, which had not been seen and approved by both the parties engaged in them, Fisher did not neglect the opportunity they afforded him of circulating a relation of what had past, and expressing himself to the great disadvantage of his opponents. This was in itself a sufficient reason with bishop Laud and Dr. White for setting forth, on their side, as faithful narratives as they could, of the three conferences.” Edward Cardwell. “Relation of the Conference between William Laud .. and Mr. Fisher The Jesuit.” Richard Baylies’ account of the third conference, added at the end of the work, was in fact, as he later acknowledged, written by Laud himself.

ESTC S122241. STC 25382. Milward 750.
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