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THE ARRAIGNMENT AND CONVICTION OF SR VVALTER RAWLEIGH, AT THE KINGS BENCH-BARRE AT WINCHESTER. ON THE 17. OF NOVEMBER. 1603 . . . COPPIED BY SIR THO: OVERBVRY
Printed by William Wilson for Abel Roper, London 1648 - 191 x 133 mm (7 1/2 x 5 1/4"). 1 p.l. (title), 38 pp. FIRST EDITION. Pleasant enough 18th or 19th century polished calf, rebacked (perhaps in the 1970s), flat spine with vertical gilt titling, new endpapers. Title page with early ink ownership inscription of W. Bayntun, Gray's Inn (see below) and with his ink initials "WB" at foot of last page. Rear pastedown with neatly pencilled notes relating to the purchase of the book at Sotheby's by William Stirling Maxwell in 1978: "Estimated at £80/120. I paid £200 + £20 ($436.50)." Wing A-3744; Sabin 67545. Extremities a bit rubbed, a hint of soiling and a handful of small scratches to the covers, faint darkening and minor fraying to edges of title, other trivial imperfections, but an excellent copy, quite clean and fresh internally, and in a solid, very satisfactory binding. This is a rare copy of a text relating to the accusation, in 1603, that Raleigh had conspired with fellow courtier Baron Cobham to facilitate a Spanish invasion to prevent James Stuart from inheriting Elizabeth's throne. Raleigh, never adept at politics, had alienated Elizabeth's powerful secretary, Sir Robert Cecil, and the influential Howard family of Norfolk. Cecil and the Duke of Norfolk lost no opportunity to malign Raleigh to James, and seized upon an unfortunate and characteristically impulsive remark Raleigh made about thwarting the succession to try him for treason. Our "Arraignment" comes from that trial, in which the silver-tongued Raleigh argued so persuasively that at least he won the public to his side. He was convicted in any case and sentenced to be executed, but was instead imprisoned in the Tower to avoid bringing down public ire on the newly-crowned king. An educated poet, courtier, explorer, buccaneer, and one-time favorite of Queen Elizabeth, Sir Walter Raleigh (1552?-1618) lived a life full of adventure and controversy. Among many other things, he had an important intersection with American history as the person who attempted to found Roanoke Colony in Virginia in 1587. After being released from the Tower in 1616, he conducted his second expedition to the New World, sailing in search of the fabled City of Gold, or El Dorado. The venture did not succeed, and, worse, his troops (under the direct command of Lawrence Keymis) attacked and burned the Spanish outpost of San Tomàs after strict royal orders to avoid conflict with the Spaniards. Although he was not directly responsible for the attack, he was nevertheless arrested--for the second time--for treason. As a gesture of appeasement to the Spanish, he was executed on 29 October 1618, becoming a martyred hero ever after to a public antipathetic toward the Spanish (and remaining with unusual immediacy in the loving memory of his wife, who was known to have kept his embalmed head in a red leather bag next to her bed). Although we could find no record of a sale of his library, there is a "Catalogue of Books in the Possession of William Bayntun of Gray's Inn" (said to be created ca. 1768-70) in the Bodleian Library (MSS. Eng. Misc. e. 80-1). Bayntun seems to have been a serious collector: in his "Biography and Typography of William Caxton, England's First Printer," William Blades records an anecdote of our owner Bayntun unwittingly purchasing in the 1770s the only surviving copy of a Caxton incunable (unfortunately from a thief who had taken the book from Cambridge University Library). This is a rare book: since 1978, ABPC records just one other copy at auction. [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2013-12-03           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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