A Second Christian Warning-Piece; wherein is shewed the first and chief Cause of Englands present Misery … Humbly presented to the Parliament. [London, c. 1681?] [Bound after:]

HOLWELL, John. Catastrophe Mundi: or, Europe’s many Mutations until the Year, 1701. Being an astrological Treatise of the Effects of the Triple Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter 1682 and 2683, and of the Comets 1680 and 1682, and other Configurations concomitant … Whereunto is annexed the Hieroglyphicks of Nostradamus (published by Mr. Lilly, in the Year 1651.) Rightly placed and in order, (formerly misplaced) with the Addition of many more …. London, Printed for the Author … 1682.

London, 1681-2.

Two works, 4to, Wall: pp. 8, with a drop-head title; and Holwell: pp. [2], 80, 73-91, [1], with five [of six?] leaves of plates (containing vignettes numbered 1-12 and 18-34), wanting A2 (‘To the Reader’); eighteenth century manicules, several annotations including one suggesting Howell predicted the Glorious Revolution, inscription to blank verso of first plate (‘These are the Hyeroglyphicks of Nostradamus mentiond in the Title page of this Book of Commets’); characteristic ownership inscriptions of Job Lousley of Hampstead Norris, dated 1845, to p. 5 of Wall and title-page of Holwell (‘I never saw another copy of this book / very rare book / curious plates worth £15.0').

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A Second Christian Warning-Piece; wherein is shewed the first and chief Cause of Englands present Misery … Humbly presented to the Parliament. [London, c. 1681?] [Bound after:]

HOLWELL, John. Catastrophe Mundi: or, Europe’s many Mutations until the Year, 1701. Being an astrological Treatise of the Effects of the Triple Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter 1682 and 2683, and of the Comets 1680 and 1682, and other Configurations concomitant … Whereunto is annexed the Hieroglyphicks of Nostradamus (published by Mr. Lilly, in the Year 1651.) Rightly placed and in order, (formerly misplaced) with the Addition of many more …. London, Printed for the Author … 1682.

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First edition, very rare, of a vehement anti-Catholic tract published in the context of the Exclusion Crisis; bound with the principal astrological work of John Holwell (a slightly imperfect copy).

According to Wall, the ‘cause of Englands present misery’ is, in short, is that it is too tolerant of Popery, the blame for this lying squarely with King and Parliament. Wall argues in particularly against imprisonment for non-payment of tithes; against the veneration of altars in churches; and for an act to allow Protestants to arm themselves against any Catholic uprising. The identity of the author is not certain but he is possibly the Thomas Wall referred to in Advice to a Painter. In a Poem to a Friend (1681) – ‘a Godly Presbyterian of that Name … [and] a Bookseller by Vsurpation’, in the city of Bristol.

ESTC records four copies only: BL, Boston Athenaeum, Huntington and Yale.

John Holwell specialized in bold political predictions. ‘In his major astrological work, Catastrophe mundi, or, Europe’s many Mutations until the Year 1701 (1682), he explored the likely effects of the triple conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in the fiery trigon in 1682–3. Holwell explained that the two great planets entered the fiery triplicity (the three ‘hot’ houses of the zodiac), where their conjunctions had the greatest effect, only after intervals of 794 years. Extraordinary results might therefore be expected’ (Oxford DNB). His predictions of rebellion against tyrannical leaders led to his indictment for seditious libel in May 1683 – he confessed to the charge and was fined. Holwell also practiced as a surveyor, was a friend of Halley; according to family tradition he was sent to survey New York in 1685 where he died after drinking poisoned coffee.

These two works have been bound together since at least 1758 when the same annotator added manicules to both; the Holwell also had ‘5 Cuts’ at this date, as per a note on the title-page.

Wing W 487; and H 2516.

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