Aristotelous Politikon Bib. Th. Aristotelis Politicorum Libri VIII.

Leiden, ex Officina Elzeviriana, 1621.


8vo. 2 vols, pp. (xvi) 388; 389-1045 (xli). Roman letter, with Greek, mostly double column. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, decorated initials. Uniform light age browning, edges a little dusty, slight foxing to first and last ll. of each, lower outer corner of Lll 1 torn affecting two words, marginal paper flaw at lower edge of Eee 5 . A very good copy in early C18 English crimson morocco, marbled eps, double gilt ruled, small gilt rosettes to corners, inner edges gilt, raised bands, same gilt decoration to spine, gilt-lettered title, a little cracking, some corners a bit bumped. Bookplate of Robert J. Hayhurst to front pastedown of vol. 1.

A very good, richly bound copy of this Greek and Latin edition of Aristotle’s immensely influential essay on political philosophy—the basis of early model political theory. ‘A respectable and scarce edition: it is very neatly printed by the Elzevirs’ (Moss). ‘Editio nitida’ (Hoffman). In eight books, the work discusses the institution of the ‘polis’, intellectual and moral virtues as applied to politics, the nature of citizens, types of government, the ideal state and citizens’ education. It was produced by the great humanist Daniel Heinsius (1580-1655), professor at Leiden and editor of numerous Elzevir classical texts. It also features the fragmentary Greek and Latin texts of Heraclides Lembus’s ‘De politiis’ and the Jewish historian Nicolaus Damascenus’s ethnographic account ‘De moribus gentium’. The last few pages are devoted to the Jesuit classicist Andreas Schottus’s annotations to Aristotle’s ‘Politics’. An exquisite set.

Willems 180; Moss I, 129; Hoffman I, 312; Brunet I, 468. Not in Dibdin.


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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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CAMDEN, William

Annales rerum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum, regnante Elizabetha, ad annum salutis M. D. LXXXIX.

London, Typis Guilielmi Stansbij, impensis Simonis Watersoni, 1615


FIRST EDITION. pp. [xii], 499, [xxiii]., A⁴, B⁴,(±B1), C-3V⁴. Wanting two prelim. blanks. Roman letter, some Italic, text within box rule. Large historiated and floriated woodcut initials, woodcut head and tail-pieces. Coloured woodcut arms cut from a C17th armorial book, motto “All for the best” loosely inserted, engraved armorial bookplate of Montagu George Knight (1844-1914),(engraved by Charles W. Sherborn) on pastedown, his label with mss. shelf mark above. Very light age yellowing, verso of last a little dusty. A very good copy, crisp and clean in handsome contemporary English calf, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine with raised bands blind ruled in compartments, tan morocco label gilt lettered, edges gilt ruled, small repair to head of spine, a.e.r. 

First edition of the first part of this most important history of the reign of Elizabeth I. In 1597, William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley suggested that Camden write a history of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. The degree of Burghley’s subsequent influence on the work is unclear: Camden only specifically mentions John Fortescue of Salden, Elizabeth’s last Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Henry Cuffe, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex’s secretary, as sources. Camden began his work in 1607. The first part (books 1–3) appeared in this work, the second part (book 4, covering 1589–1603) was completed in 1617, but was not published until 1625 (Leiden), and 1627 (London), following Camden’s death. The Annales were not written in a continuous narrative, but in the style of earlier annals, giving the events of each year in a separate entry. Sometimes criticised as being too favourably disposed towards Elizabeth and James I, the Annales are one of the great works of English historiography and had a great impact on the later image of the Elizabethan age. Hugh Trevor-Roper said about them: “It is thanks to Camden that we ascribe to Queen Elizabeth a consistent policy of via media rather than an inconsequent series of unresolved conflicts and paralysed indecisions.”

“Camden’s Annals of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth was the first of his two great works to be begun .. It was a work concerned predominantly with the politics of the recent past – a veritable minefield! For that reason Raleigh in his History of the World had studiously avoided it. ‘Whosoever in writing a modern History’, he declared, ‘shall follow Truth too near the heels it may happily strike out his teeth’. Camden’s approach was to tread carefully but purposefully – although in the end that inevitably aligned him with the government rather than its critics. ‘Things manifest and evident I have not concealed’, he asserted; ‘things doubtful I have interpreted favourably; things secret and abstruse I have not pried into’. Writing what Trevor-Roper has termed ‘politique history’, Camden identified himself with the hierarchical political and religious order of the Elizabethan age, a stance perfectly revealed when he dealt with rebellions and with the growth of Puritanism. Camden’s researches for his history of the Queen’s reign were based on state papers and diplomatic despatches, made available to him through Burghley’s good offices, on legal records, and on Parliamentary proceedings. The arrangement he adopted – as his title makes clear – was a chronological one. Lengthy digressions and invented speeches (both characteristic devices of Renaissance historiography) were shunned. ‘Speeches and orations’, he declared, ‘unless they be the very same verbatim or else abbreviated I have not meddled withal, much less coined them out of mine own head’. He avoided excessive moralising, was interested always in the sequence of events and in causes and processes, and adopted a consistently questioning approach. With evident approval he quoted the views of the classical historian Polybius: Camden’s Annals were not designed as leisure-time reading but in the best Renaissance tradition, as an earnest attempt to convey the political wisdom of the recent past. ..Any exploration of a country’s history is an act of discovery or re-discovery, designed to extend the boundaries of knowledge and understanding. Camden’s Annals represented a kind of map of the recent past, a new and original contribution to the geography of knowledge.” R.C. Richardson. ‘William Camden and the Re-Discovery of England’.

Without the errata leaf added at end of some (presumably later) copies.

ESTC S107145. STC 4496. Lowndes. 358. Not in Pforzheimer. 


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SCORZ, Geraldo.


Relacion verdadera de la insigne vitoria que alcanço el rey de Polonia, contra el gran duque de Moscobia.

[Madrid, F. de Ocampo, 1634.]


Folio. 2 unnumbered and unsigned ll., [*]2. Roman letter, little Italic. Uniform slight age browning, minimal spotting. A very good copy in modern wrappers.

Very good copy of this remarkable ephemeral survival—an important witnesses to Spain’s perception of Russia during the Siglo de Oro. First issued with a slightly different title in Seville by Juan Gomez de Blas, this work belongs to the popular European genre of ‘relaciones’, two-leaf folio news reports on major international events, here unusually concerned with Muscovy, a monarchy with which Spain still had little contact. This ‘relacion’ reported, on the basis of an official Polish missive, the victory and basic events of the Russian siege of Smolensk in 1632-34, eventually curbed, despite the lesser forces, by Władisław IV who had just succeeded his late father as King of Poland. The Muscovy soldiers, it recounted, brought about ‘great havoc’ in Smolensk ‘by capturing people, destroying fields, stealing cattle and other things at hand’. Indeed, such early C17 ‘relaciones’ were still influenced by half-fictional accounts presenting Muscovy as a place inhabited by barbarians, traitors and faithless people ruled by an absolutist regime (‘Muscovy in the Golden Age in Spain’, 147). From the early C17, the increasing appearance of Muscovy in ‘relaciones’ as well as chronicles or literature, such as Lope de Vega’s ‘El gran duque de Moscovia’ (1619), revealed the Habsburg’s interest in the politics of Poland, led by the expansionist Władisław III, seen as a potential ally for curbing the Turkish and Russian pressure over Asian commercial routes (‘De Moscovia a Rusia’, 80). A scarce and important document.

No copies recorded in the US.

Wilkinson, Iberian Books, 56282; USTC 5011221; Moreno Garbayo, Madrid, 1311; Каталог коллекции Russica, 760. Not in Palau. J.M. Usunáriz, ‘Muscovy in the Golden Age in Spain’, Hipogrifo 1 (2018), 141-60; M.V. López-Cordón Cortezo, ‘De Moscovia a Russia’, Satabi 55 (2005), 77-98.


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Capitoli, & nova riforma delli Banchieri Hebrei di Roma.

[Rome, Antonio Blado, 1563.]


FIRST EDITION. Folio. 2 unnumbered, unsigned leaves. Elegant Italic letter. Woodcut arms of Rome, Pope Pius IV and Cardinal Guido Ascanio Sforza to upper margin of first, decorated initials. Minimal mainly marginal spotting. A fine copy in modern wrappers.

A fine copy of this very scarce edict by Pope Pius IV (1559-65)—a remarkable ephemeral survival—regulating Jewish bankers in Rome. Copies of this document were distributed to be attached to the ‘banchi’ or inside the bankers’ stores, so that all Christians could read them carefully. On the one hand, Pius IV relaxed regulations in Rome, revoking some of the harsher provisions and imposing controls on rents charged to the Jews in the ghetto; on the other hand, unlike his predecessor, he enforced tougher financial regulations for the Jewish ‘banchi’ (Poliakov, ‘Jewish Bankers’, 181, 190). This edict forbad money-lending at an interest greater than 24 per cent instead of the customary 30, demanding interest on interest, reckoning as one month any shorter span than 30 days or selling what was pawned by Christians before the passing of 18 months. Jewish bankers should also ensure that any Christian borrowing money or pawning belongings signed a paper written ‘in the Italian vernacular’—as required of all documents in bankers’ books—specifying his name, address, the amount borrowed or pawned, and the time span for restitution, according to the practice of the Monte di Pietà. First established in Italian cities in the 1460s, the Monti di Pietà were the result of Franciscan preaching against Jewish money-lending and were meant to ‘put an end to the “iniquitous usury” of the Jews by replacing them in the small loans sector’, without interest, in order to assist the poorer population (Toaff, ‘Jews’, 239). The Monti notwithstanding, Jewish bankers continued to operate their business unofficially or through new agreements with the authorities, as well as thanks to the support of wealthier borrowers. This edict also provided regulations on ‘house-keeping’ including the regular cleaning of clothes, to avoid the presence of moth, and the compulsory keeping of cats to chase away mice, so as to prevent pest damage to pawned objects. A very fine copy of this very scarce document for Jewish and economic history in Italy.

No copies recorded in the US.

Fumagalli 305; USTC 852964; EDIT16 25104. Not in Kress or Goldsmith. L. Poliakov, Jewish Bankers and the Holy See (London, 1965); A. Toaff, ‘Jews, Franciscans, and the First Monti di Pietà in Italy (1462-1500), in The Friars and Jews in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, ed. S.E. Myers et al. (Leiden, 2004), 239-54.


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CLARK, William

Decimarum et oblationum tabula. = A Tithing Table. Or Table of tithes and oblations, according to the Kings ecclesiasticall lawes and ordinances.

London: Printed by Thomas Purfoot, An. Dom. 1633


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. 32 unnumbered leaves. A-H⁴. Roman, Italic and Gothic letter. Full page woodcut of royal arms on verso of first leaf [just shaved at outer margin], signature within woodcut border on recto, floriated initials, typographical headpieces and ornaments. Light age yellowing, lower blank margin of last three leaves with small tear, restored, outer margin of last backed, early restoration to tiny tears in outer margins last four leaves, a little minor dust soiling in places, the odd marginal thumb mark. A good copy in modern quarter morocco over boards. 

A most interesting work on the state of Tithes in Britain, including a short description of tithes and a summary of the Statutes of tithing, sometimes erroneously attributed to William Crashaw. The pamphlet was issued as part of the ‘Tithes controversy’ in which many Puritans resisted the payment of tithes. William Clark describes the state of confusion over tithes that stemmed from Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in which “at a stroke, came at least one-third of the tithes of England into lay hands, and the lay rector appears on the scene” Robert Brown. ‘Tithes in England and Wales.’ The confusion after the dissolution lead many to avoid paying tithes altogether, and Henry VIII to issue new statutes concerning tithes, followed by Edward and Elizabeth I. Clark describes the confused situation in his preface “The Canon and civil laws since first K. Henry of happy memory the eight, dismembered their bodies, and restored to the diadem of the Land (over the state Ecclesiastical) the ancient jurisdiction of the Crowne, they have and do lie hidden; such of them that K Henry then continued and K Edward that succeeded him .. and afterwards were the late Queenes deceased … they have, these Lawes, and doe lie hidden in manifold, darke, and dangerous corners, in practise only familiar in Consistories and their knowledge to the country obscure.” The preface, (disingenuously dated 1591, considering he refers to Queen Elisabeth as deceased) discusses his intentions in laying out, in a systematic fashion, the function of tithes, so that by shining a light on them it might lead to their eventual reform. The tithes concern all the produce of the land from tax on eggs, geese, mills, fish, fowl, trades, crafts, merchandise, woods pasture etc etc.

“The “Tithes Controversy” was one of the many hot-button religio-political issues of the 1640s and 50s that helped polarize Civil War England. Throughout the seventeenth century, popular support arose for the non-payment of tithes—an attack on the very idea of a state church. The problem with tithes stemmed from the rise of Separatist or “congregationlist” sentiments, in part from economic issues such as lay “impropriations,” that is, the collection of tithes by lay owners of ecclesiastical lands (tithes were expropriated to lay owners following the dissolution of the monasteries). Even pro-tithe spokesmen like Henry Spelman vilified lay impropriators who “imployed the church to prophane uses, and left the parishioners uncertainly provided of divine service.” In the more radical views of non-conformist groups like the Diggers, the abolition of tithes was bound up with the abolition of rents and private property, a notion voiced in a number of polemical pamphlets that undoubtedly put conservative landowners on edge. Ironically, backlash against impropriators in the form of non-payment of tithes left legitimate ministers without a means of living in some parishes. In turn, many wished to change the way ministers made a living, either through government stipends, voluntary parishioner contributions, or by putting ministers to work. Nonetheless, the laws largely stayed the same and the non-payment of tithes continued on unabated. If anti-tithing pamphlets galvanized this behavior, a number of writers sought to counteract it by waging pamphlet warfare of their own.” Phil Palmer. ‘MCRS Rare Books blog’

This work was first produced as a table of two sheets in 1595, and twice reprinted. This is the first edition in book form.

ESTC S109042. STC 4323.6.


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The commonvvealth and gouernment of Venice

London, Iohn Windet for Edmund Mattes, 1599


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. pp. [xvi], 201, [vi], 206-230: [fleuron]⁴ A-2G⁴. Roman letter, some Italic. Grotesque woodcut on title, floriated woodcut initials, grotesque woodcut head and tail-pieces, typographical ornaments, “Hen. Stevens 1727” with price on verso of title, bookplate of the Fox Pointe Collection on pastedown. Light age yellowing, the very rare marginal stain. A fine copy, crisp and clean, on good thick paper, stab bound in its original polished limp vellum, a little soiled. 

First edition of Lewis Lewkenor’s important translation of Contarini’s major work, a source text for William Shakespeare. A Venetian patrician educated at Padua, Gasparo Contarini (1483-1542) was ambassador for Charles V and later appointed Cardinal by Pope Paul III. Among the numerous personalities he met whilst accompanying the Emperor around Europe was Thomas More. It is More’s ‘Utopia’, first published in 1516, which may have inspired ‘Della Repubblica et magistrati di Venetia’, composed in the years 1520s-1530s. Contarini’s influential work is a thorough description of the government of Venice celebrating the perfection of its Republican institutions (the Doge, Senate, tribunals and magistracies) in the age of absolute monarchies, but also suggesting changes to improve them. Its readers should ‘marvel’ at the location, origins and functioning of Venice, ‘the common market of the world’, where political ideal and reality meet to create an exemplary State run by the patriciate. ‘Della Repubblica’ was first published in Latin in 1543 and quickly translated into French (1544) and Italian (1545). 

“The Commonwealth and Government of Venice played a pivotal role in conveying the myth of 16th-century Venice to an English audience. First written in Latin by Cardinal Gasparo Contarini, it was translated into English in 1599 by Lewis Lewkenor. With a string of hyperboles, the book idealises the city as a perfect example of justice, tolerance, trade and imperial power. .. In his letter ‘To the Reader’, Lewkenor describes how travellers talk of Venice as the thing ‘most infinitely remarkable, that they had seen in the whole course of their travels’ (sig. A1v–A2r). Some people celebrate ‘the greatnes of their Empire’ and their ‘zeale in religion’ (sig. A2r). Others praise the justice system as ‘pure and uncorrupted’ (sig. A2v). However, Lewkenor also notes the ‘monstrously strange’ geography of this ‘glorious’ city. It is seated ‘in the middle of the sea’ with its ‘pallaces, monasteries, temples’ founded on marshy ‘Quagmires’ (sig. A3r). Lewkenor says many young travellers are particularly impressed by the Venetians’ ‘humanitie towards strangers’ (A1v). He describes the ‘unmeasurable quantity’ of merchandise coming from ‘all realms and countries’, but he is also struck by its multinational mixture of people. The ‘wonderful concourse of strange and forraine people … of the farthest and remotest nations’ makes Venice a ‘generall market to the whole world’ (p. 1).” BL. Shakespeare is most likely to have read this work and its influence is felt in two of his major works ‘The Merchant of Venice and ‘Othello’ “In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare seems to confront and complicate this idea of a tolerant, cosmopolitan city. The relationship between Shylock, the Jewish moneylender and the Christians of Venice is not defined by ‘humanitie’. The trial in Act 4, Scene 1 also raises questions about the Venetian reputation for exemplary legal justice. Kenneth Muir has argued that Shakespeare must have consulted Lewkenor’s book when he was writing Othello – another play exploring the complex role of a ‘stranger’ in Venice. Muir highlights Lewkenor’s pleasure in hearing travellers’ tales of ‘paineful inconveniences’ (sig. A1v). He sees parallels in the way Desdemona listens ‘with a greedy ear’ to the painful ‘story of [Othello’s] life’ (1.3.149; 129).” BL.

A fine copy of this rare work.

ESTC S108619. STC 5642. 


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BACON, Sir Francis

Certaine miscellany vvorks… Published by William Rawley …

London, by I. Hauiland for Humphrey Robinson, in Pauls Church-yard, 1629


FIRST EDITION. 4 parts in one volume. 4to. pp. [x], 166. A-Y. [A1 Blank pasted down]. text with box rule. ”Considerations touching a vvarre with Spaine”, “An advertisement touching an holy vvarre”, “An offer to our late soveraigne King Iames, of a digest to be made of the lawes of England”, and “The history of the reigne of King Henry the Eighth” each have separate dated title page; pagination and register are continuous, general title with typographical ornament within double-ruled border, title to each part within double-ruled border with woodcut flaming heart device, typographical headpieces, woodcut initials, bookplate of Robert Pirie on pastedown. Light age yellowing. A fine copy crisp and clean with large margins in contemporary polished limp vellum, covers with a single gilt-ruled border, large central arabesque gilt, edges gilt; some staining on upper cover,

First edition, of these works by Bacon published posthumously by Dr William Rawley, a close friend, his private chaplain and secretary, to whom Bacon bequeathed most of his manuscripts; a fine copy in a contemporary vellum binding with gilt edges, suggestive of a presentation copy. The preface indicates that “a corrupt and surreptitious edition” of Considerations touching a warre with Spain compelled Rawley, Bacon’s literary executor, to publish a corrected version of that work, together with: An Advertisement Tovching an Holy Warre. Written in the yeare 1622; An Offer to Ovr Late Soueraigne Iames, of a Digest to be made of the Lawes of England; and The History of the Reigne of King Henry the Eighth.

“The ‘Considerations Touching a War with Spain’ .. was written in 1624, and expanded on his ‘Notes for a speech on war with Spain’, which he had prepared soon after 24th Feb. 1624 for Parliamentary debate. In it, Bacon puts forward an argument, in the Augustinian tradition (as he had previously on the subject of war with the Ottomans in ‘An Advertisement Touching an Holy Warre’ following the reanimation of the Spanish Match in 1622), for the justice of recovering the Palatinate, and thereby the legitimacy if not necessity of contracting war with Spain, before expounding on the forces necessary to succeed, and finally prposing a variety of strategies.” Nadine Akkerman. ’The Correspondence of Elizabeth Stuart.’

“An Advertisement Touching a Holy War stands as a document of major historical importance and intense current relevance because it offers an additional reason for the modern revolution. In it Bacon dares to suggest that a revolution in thinking and acting is necessary because European intellectual and spiritual life as well as European politics had been captured by religious fanaticism that threatened to plunge Renaissance Europe into another dark age. Bacon chose the old literary device of dialogue to present his argument for wholesale change indirectly. In the conversation of his characters he allows readers to see the reasons for kindling spiritual warfare against the spiritual rulers of European civilization. An Advertisement Touching a Holy War gives a great philosopher’s reasons for initiating the war between science and religion that was actually fought in the coming centuries in Western civilization and of which we are the heirs.”

Sir Francis Bacon (later Lord Verulam and the Viscount St. Albans) was an English lawyer, statesman, essayist, historian, intellectual reformer, philosopher, and champion of modern science. Early in his career he claimed “all knowledge as his province” and afterwards dedicated himself to a wholesale revaluation and re-structuring of traditional learning. To take the place of the established tradition (a miscellany of Scholasticism, humanism, and natural magic), he proposed an entirely new system based on empirical and inductive principles and the active development of new arts and inventions, a system whose ultimate goal would be the production of practical knowledge for “the use and benefit of men” and the relief of the human condition. At the same time that he was founding and promoting this project for the advancement of learning, Bacon was also moving up the ladder of state service. His career aspirations had been largely disappointed under Elizabeth I, but with the ascension of James his political fortunes rose. Knighted in 1603, he was then steadily promoted to a series of offices, including Solicitor General (1607), Attorney General (1613), and eventually Lord Chancellor (1618). While serving as Chancellor, he was indicted on charges of bribery and forced from office. He retired to his estate where he devoted himself full time to his continuing literary, scientific, and philosophical work. He died in 1626, leaving a cultural legacy that, for better or worse, includes most of the foundation for the triumph of technology and for the modern world we know. In a way Bacon’s descent from political power was fortunate, for it represented a liberation from the bondage of public life resulting in a remarkable final burst of literary and scientific activity. Bacon’s earlier works, impressive as they are, were essentially products of his spare time. It was only during his last five years that he was able to concentrate exclusively on writing and produced some of his finest work.

A fine copy of this work, in a fine contemporary binding.

STC 1124; ESTC S100333; Gibson 191


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Algunos motivos y razones que ay, para favorecer los seminarios ingleses

[Seville?], n.p., [c. 1630]


8vo. 4 unnumbered leaves. Roman and Italic letter, printed notes, drop-title with large woodcut initial. Margins restored in places affecting last line of text, 12 line early ms. note at the end, faded but largely legible. Light age yellowing. Generally good, in modern boards.

No other surviving copies are known. The pamphlet provides a valuable evidence of the special relationship between English Catholics and the Spanish monarchy, which led to the establishment of three English Catholic colleges in Spain: San Alban in Valladolid, San Jorge in Madrid and San Gregorio in Seville. St. Gregory’s College was founded by the English Jesuit Robert Persons (1546 – 1610) in 1592 and devoted to St. Gregory the Great, apostle of England, famous for the dictum non angli sed angeli and for his dispatch of a mission to England. According to Martin Murphy (Ingleses en Seville. El Collegio de San Gregorio, 1592-1767, Seville, 2012), for most of its existence St. Gregory’s College struggled with financial problems and low student numbers, until absorbed by the Royal English College of San Alban in Valladolid, after the suppression of the Society of Jesus. Despite this it was one of the best known cultural centres within the Jesuit organisational structure, providing full education and training for future missionaries, when England was already detached from the Catholic Church. During a solemn ceremony, the alumni vowed to return to England as Catholic priests. The pamphlet shows the place of the English Catholic colleges in the political strategy of the Spanish monarchy, from their foundation under Philip II onwards.

The text is divided into four chapters – the last one dedicated to “motivos particulares para favorecer este seminario inglés de Sevilla”. After a general introduction praising the glorious work of the English seminaries in Spain and giving a short history of their foundation, each of the four chapters puts forward different reasons why they should be supported by the Spanish crown. The first chapter, entitled “motivos de piedad”, refers to the common issue of the “limosina temporale”, pointing out that the spiritual faith of England depends on the material survival of these English Catholic colleges. For this reason, funds are necessary to repair Jesus’ temples and honour the sacrifice of those English Catholics persecuted in England from the origin of Church until the heretical reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Furthermore, the text especially highlights the talent and purity of the colleges students, who are excellent in rhetoric, poetry, Greek language, arts, theology, singing.

The second and third chapters, concerning “motivos de la nobleza Christiana” and “motivos de utilidad temporal”, explain that the English Catholic colleges always testified to the spiritual nobility of Spain. They defended the faith of Spain against the heretics of England, welcoming English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish exiles – persecuted for their anti-Protestant ideas – and commemorating the exploits of saints and apostles (St Gregory the Great, Saint Augustine, etc.) through their task of evangelisation. Eventually, the fourth chapter focuses on St. Gregory’s college history which stands out for its excellence and virtue among other good Jesuit institutions. By giving an overview of the financial difficulties, the chapter especially aims at emphasising the necessity of supporting the college which always lived on charity, and without any economic means.

Not in USTC. Not in Goldsmith. Palau, I, p. 211.


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LLWYD, Humphrey. KROMER, Marcin.


Commentarioli Britannicae descriptionis fragmentum.

Cologne, Agrippinae : apud Ioannem Birckmannum, 1572.

Polonia siue De situ, populis, moribus, magistratibus, & republica regn/i Polonici libri duo.

Cologne,  apud Maternum Cholinum, 1578.


FIRST EDITIONS. Two works in one. 8vo. 1) ff. [viii], 79 [i.e. 78].[A-L8] last two leaves blank. 2) pp. [viii], 234 [i.e. 232]. 3 *, A-O, P.  Roman letter, some Italic. Small woodcut printer’s device on first t-p, floriated initial in the second. Light age yellowing some minor light browning and spotting in first volume, light water-stain at the end of second volume, second vol cut a little close in outer margin on a couple of leaves just touching a few sidenotes. Good copies in mid C17th speckled  English calf, covers bordered with a double blind ruled, blind hatched tool to corners, spine with raised bands, red morocco label gilt lettered.

Rare first edition of Llwyd’s geographical and historical description of Ancient Britain prefixed by his farewell letter to the cartographer Abraham Ortelius dated from Denbigh 30 August 1568, ending with a short Welsh vocabulary. An English translation by Thomas Twyne, ‘The Breuiary of Britayne,’ was published in the following year. “in August 1568, the Welsh scholar Humphrey Lloyd of Demby lay dying. Writing for the last time to his friend Abraham Ortelius in Antwerp, he reported that ‘a very perilous fever hath so torn this body of mine these ten continual days that I [have been] brought to despair of my life.’ Along with the letter Llwyd enclosed a pair of maps, one of Wales and one of England and Wales, destined for inclusion in Ortelius’s atlas. Llwyd further enclosed ‘certain fragments written with mine own hand which … (if God had spared me life) you should have received in better order,… These ‘fragments’ belonged to an unfinished topographical description of Britain, more than half of which was devoted to the history and description of Wales… Humphrey Llwyd was among the most gifted and provocative scholars of his generation. As MP for Denbigh he was instrumental in the passage of legislation for the translation of the Bible and Book of Common Prayer into the Welsh language. … Llwyd’s work left a lasting mark on the literatures of both England and Wales. It is unlikely that Camden’s great work would have taken quite the same form – or even borne the same title – without the prior example and influence of the Breviary” Philip Schwyzer ‘The breviary of Britain’. Introduction. “[Llwyd] wrote the Commentarioli Britannicae descriptionis fragmentum, a short historical and geographical description of Britain. .. It was the first attempt to compile a chorographia of Britain as a whole. Central themes of Llwyd’s work are his defence of Geoffrey of Monmouth (particularly countering the attacks of Polydore Vergil), and his belief in the integrity of the early British church.” DNB.

Llwyd’s important work is bound here with the first edition of another most interesting geographical work by Marcin Kromer on Poland. “Polish diplomat, bishop of of Warmia, historian, and polemicist on behalf of the counter Reformation. Was born in Biecz and served as secretary to Archbishop Piotr Gamrat … When working in the Royal Chancellery he ordered and listed the most important royal archives in Cracow.  .. Kromer was active in political and diplomatic life (numerous legations) He was one of the most important figures in the Polish Counter Reformation .. . His major work, intended for foreign readership is his history of Poland from legendary times to 1506 De Origine et rebus gestis Polonorum…. In addition to De origine, he contributed a geographical and political description of Poland: Polonia (1577).” D.R. Woolf ‘A Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing.’ The work is full of interesting details on the politics of early Poland: “

1) Shaaber, L335. Libri Walliae no. 3313. 2) BM STC Ger. C16th. p.478


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