WITH ASSISTANCE FROM JOHN EVELYN

Observations on Monsieur de Sorbier’s Voyage into England. Written to Dr. Wren ...

London, Printed for John Martyn, and James Allestry, Printers to the Royal Society. 1665.

Small 8vo., pp. [2], 298, [2] with the terminal blank; a good albeit slightly small copy in old marbled boards, rebacked; ownership inscription of Samuel Horne of University College, Oxford, dated 1764.

£850

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Observations on Monsieur de Sorbier’s Voyage into England. Written to Dr. Wren ...

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First edition. When Samuel de Sorbière published his polemical Relation d’un Voyage en Angleterre (1664), touching on defects in the English nation and character, Thomas Sprat, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, composed an angry reply in the form of a letter to Christopher Wren (both were stalwarts of the Royal Society). Sprat was encouraged in this effort by John Evelyn, who described Sorbière as a schoolmaster, apostate, mountebank, and critic who owed his position as self-styled Historiograph du Roy to sycophantic flattering of Cardinal Mazarin (Evelyn to Sprat, 31 October 1664). Sprat’s reply to Sorbière’s ‘insolent Libel on our Nation’ is a wide-ranging defence of the sovereign, the church, the Royal Society, Hobbes, the English stage, the English language, and even English cookery. It was a popular vindication, twice reprinted.

Wing S 5035.

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