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PERTH ASSEMBLY. CONTAINING 1. THE PROCEEDINGS - [Calderwood, David] - 1619. 
[Leyden: William Brewster], 1619. Small quarto. [vi],101pp. plus pp. later manuscript record of Brewster's Mayflower descendants bound after the text. Early 20th-century red crushed morocco, gilt. Titlepage mounted and silked, bookplate affixed to verso of titlepage, top edge occasionally trimmed close, some tiny paper repairs, mostly to corners. Overall a good plus copy. The first edition of an exceedingly rare work from the press of Mayflower pilgrim William Brewster. Brewster was one of the chief founders of the colony of Plymouth, New England, and sailed with the first company of Pilgrims in the Mayflower in September 1620. From 1594 to 1607 he had been postmaster at Scrooby but he became involved in the Separatist movement, and was compelled to flee to the Continent. He eventually settled in Leyden where, with the financial aid of Thomas Brewster, he purchased a press, type, and other printing materials in 1616. Various works from his "Pilgrim Press" were issued between 1617 and 1619. The author of the present work, Scottish divine and historian David Calderwood, was briefly imprisoned and banished for a time, largely due to his strong opposition to the introduction of Episcopacy. His PERTH ASSEMBLY was an attack on King James' violent attempt to force Episcopacy upon the Scottish nation at the General Assembly which sat at Perth in August 1618. Calderwood was at this time hiding in Scotland. Having written this attack, it was sent to Holland for printing, then the printed copies were smuggled back into Scotland as early as April 1619. The work caused a great stir. Printing historian Keith Sprunger relates the story of shipping copies of PERTH ASSEMBLY from Holland to Scotland. Unbound sheets of the work "were stuffed into vats 'as if they had been a mercantile consignment of French wines or strong waters'...Shipping in unbound sheets, in addition to ease of smuggling, also offered a slight hope for contravening the British book laws, which originally forbade importation of 'books' without mentioning 'sheets'...It must be emphasized that many of these Dutch-printed books were not illegal in content; they were 'prohibbited' because they were produced outside of the monopoly of the Stationers' Company. They were 'Counterfeit...brought from beyond sea.'" "Halkett & Laing ascribe this work to David Calderwood, dissenting clergyman, who once engaged (on his knees) in theological debate with James I, who was provoked into calling Calderwood 'a false puritan' & 'a very knave'" - Goodspeed. A rare book, and one of the more interesting works from the Dutch press of a Mayflower pilgrim, with only about two dozen institutional copies. This is the first copy ever offered by this firm. HARRIS & JONES PILGRIM PRESS 19. STC 4360. Sprunger, Keith: TRUMPETS FROM THE TOWER (Leiden, et al.: E.J. Brill, 1994), pp.160-61. GOODSPEED 479:284.
[Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
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