WIDDRINGTON, Roger [i.e. PRESTON, Thomas]

WIDDRINGTON, Roger [i.e. PRESTON, Thomas] Ad Sanctissimum Dominum Paulum Quintun humillima supplicatio

Albionopoli [i.e. London], apud Rufum Lipsium [A. Islip for Eliot’s Court Press], 1616


FIRST EDITION 8vo. pp. [ii] 94 [iv], 76, 75-229 [i.e. 263], [iii]. [last blank]. Roman and italic letter, woodcut decorations and initials, woodcut Jesuit device to title-page, C18th book label on pastedown “ex bibliotheca Joannis Christiani Godofredi Jani. S. & P. Regis Pol. & Elect. Sax. a. Consilitis Commissionum.” General light age-yellowing, the occasional small mark, light waterstain at gutter of the first and last leaves. A good copy in slightly later quarter vellum over coloured paper boards, joints and extremities worn, all edges blue.

First edition of Preston’s appeal to Pope Paul V, who had put two of his books on the Index (included in this work is the decree of the curia to this effect). The much lengthier appendix refutes arguments put against him by ‘Adolph Schulck’ (really Cardinal Bellarmine) and the Spanish Jesuit Francis Suarez. Preston, a Benedictine priest in England, was vigorously defending the English crown from the Pope’s attempts to undermine it, particularly its new Oath of Allegiance, which, following the Gunpowder Plot, required recusants to swear to ‘detest and abjure, as impious and heretical, this … position that princes which can be excommunicated or deprived by the Pope may be deposed or murdered by their subjects’. Preston’s comrades in the polemical battle included James I (initially writing anonymously), Lancelot Andrewes, and the Scottish Catholic John Barclay. Their most active opponent was Cardinal Bellarmine, also against them were a swathe of continental scholars and many Jesuits, especially the English exiles in Douai. The general right or duty to overthrow an heretical or tyrannical prince was an important and much debated question of public international law in the C17.

This is a reverse piece of surreptitious printing. The fictitious imprint is designed to make it look like a proscribed book – which it most certainly was not.

STC 25605. ESTC S123329. Milward ‘Religious Controversies of the Jacobean Age’ 354. Allison and Rogers ‘Contemporary English Printed Literature of the English counter-Reformation’ I 926.2.2292
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