London: Printed by I. W[olfe] for Francis Coldock, dwelling in Paules-churchyarde at the signe of the green Dragon, 1588.
First edition. With a superb emblematic frontispiece woodcut of St. George and the dragon on A1v. , 128 pp , collating A-R4. 8vo. Cardinal Allen and the Catholic Plot to Overthrow Elizabeth. Period brown calf with slight wear. A remarkably fresh, clean, and large copy, with Alfred Ehrman's bookplates and William Sterling Maxwell's pencil notes on the endpapers ESTC 109186; STC (2nd ed.), 6166. Item #259068
In 1587, Sir William Stanley, an English commander with the Earl of Leicester’s forces sent to help the Dutch overthrow the Spanish, perfidiously surrendered the town of Deventer to the Spanish. Cardinal William Allen, a leader of the exiled Catholics in Flanders, “published a defense of Stanley's action [COPIE OF A LETTER WRITTEN … CONCERNING THE YEELDING UP, OF THE CITIE OF DAVENTRIE, Antwerp, 1587] claiming that the English involvement in a war against Philip was sinful and unjust, Stanley's action that of an informed conscience, and that any Catholic should do the same” (ODNB). Furthermore, Cardinal Allen encouraged Philip II to undertake the invasion of England and to overthrow Elizabeth.
This particular work, an answer to Cardinal Allen's letter, published in the same year, was written about a month before the Armada was sighted on July 19; it was entered into the books of the Stationer's Company on July 1, 1588. The preface “To the reader” is signed “G.D.” The attribution to Gilbert Gifford — a double agent who had warned the English crown of Sir William Stanley’s questionable loyalty — is that of the Scottish historian, Sir William Stirling Maxwell, whose neat handwritten notes fill the endpapers of this copy.
In “To the Reader,” the author explains his motive in responding to Allen:
“… I did at the first utterly contemne and reject it, as a thing of no account, thinking it neither wholesom to stirre so foule and stinking a puddle, nor glorious to overthrow so sclender and superficiall a defense. Yet considering better of the most seditious driftes and devilish persuasions cummingly conveyed … under the cloak and shadow of Religion … I thought it a thing verie necessarie, to discover and lay open to the world, the slye & subtile dealings of D. Allen …”
The last copy to appear at auction was in 1988; this particular copy brought 605 pounds in the Broxbourne sale in 1977.
Price: $17,500.00 save 25% $13,125.00 Free International Delivery