8vo, pp. , 243 (i.e. 253), ; ornament to title-page, initials; light damp stain to lower corner of D1, small burn mark to I5, printed slip correcting one line of verse pasted to p. 243; a very good copy bound in 17th-century calf, five raised bands, spine richly gilt with gilt lettering-piece, gilt border to covers, gilt edges and turn-ins, marbled endpapers and edges; upper joint slightly cracked at top, extremities a little rubbed; bookplate removed from front pastedown, ink note facing title.
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First edition of Boucher’s pseudonymous apology for Jean Châtel’s attempted assassination of Henri IV, described by the author as an ‘acte heroique’. Boucher (1548-1644) was prior and rector of the Sorbonne and an active member of the Catholic League who openly incited violent revolt against Henry III and Henry IV, refusing to accept the latter’s conversion to Catholicism. The Apologie was written during his exile in the Netherlands. On 27 December 1594, the nineteen-year-old Châtel attacked Henri IV with a knife in the chamber of his mistress Gabrielle d’Estrées, cutting the king’s lip and breaking a tooth. While Châtel was publicly tortured and dismembered, an enquiry discovered that he had studied with the Jesuits at the Collège de Clermont. The Jesuits were quickly accused of supporting Châtel’s attempted regicide; Père Guignard, the Jesuits’ librarian in Paris, was publicly executed and the Jesuits were expelled from France by parliamentary decree. In addition to defending Châtel, Boucher deplores the actions against the Jesuits and encourages a new attempt on Henri’s life.
A second edition of the Apologie appeared in 1610 following Henri’s assassination by François Ravaillac, and a Latin translation, entitled Jesuita Sicarius, was published in 1611.
Adams B2569; Brunet V, 1146. COPAC records four copies (British Library, Cambridge University Library, LSE, Merton College Oxford).
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