A learned commendation of the politique lawes of England: wherein, by most pithie reasons and euident demonstrations, they are plainelye proued farre to excell, as well the ciuil lawes of the Empire, as also all other lawes of the world, with a large discourse of the difference betwene the two gouernments of kingdomes, whereof the one is onely regall, and the other consisteth of regall and politique administration conioyned . translated into English by Robert Mulcaster

FORTESCUE, [Sir John] (1394?-1476?) – MULCASTER, Richard, tr. (fl. 16th century)

Published by Thomas Wight and Bonham Norton, London, 1599
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Bibliographic Details


Title: A learned commendation of the politique ...

Publisher: Thomas Wight and Bonham Norton, London

Publication Date: 1599

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: Very Good

Description:

8vo (143 x 93mm). [1], 132, [3] ff. Collation: A-R(8). Latin and English text in parallel columns. Part blackletter. Translated by Richard Mulcaster. Contemporary laced vellum with yapped fore-edge, small spine label "POLIT. LAWS," spine hand labeled "Fortescue," fore-edge marked "Fort" for the same name. The binding has some slight soil marks, but the copy is sound and internally clean with a wonderful contemporary feel to it, as well, intermittent underlining dates to the age of its sphere of influence and enhances the idea that this work was used. Early inscriptions reveal a longstanding English provenance, title "Will: Palmer" (?). On verso of second free endpaper, dated May 31 1723 "collat. Perfect" by "P. Wright", and inscribed "Dupplin Castle" and shelfmarks on the inside front cover. Dupplin Castle, near Perth, was destroyed by fire in 1827, but was the home of the Earl Kinnoull for generations. The library and paintings were fortunately saved in the devastating incident and the collection grew to be renowned. In the early 20th century this copy was in the collection of the New York Bar Association. ESTC (no. S102543) records eleven copies in North America. Sir John Fortescue, a late-medieval Chief Justice, asserted that it was only outside of England that the "princes pleasure hath the force of lawe," inasmuch that he has "absolute" monarchy, or as he referred to it, "roiall" monarchy. By contrast, a kingdom in which the monarch is under positive law was called a "politique." Fortescue believed that the England of his day operated as a blend of both of the constitutional rules, or as he called it, a "politic monarchy"; some have described it as "double majesty," where the king is absolute in some spheres but not all, as he must also act through parliament. Fortescue’s articulation of this belief was famously printed after his death as "De laudibus legum Angliae" (composed from 1468 to 1470 and first printed in the original Latin in 1543). Richard Mulcaster made the first English translation in 1567 which was printed by Richard Tottell (and again in 1573) and the eminent London printers Wight and Norton took over the work with this third edition of 1599. Notably, Wight and Norton were patented by Queen Elizabeth to print law books. This edition would have held a receptive audience, especially with Jacobeans, who were most interested in the age-old contrasts of absolutist claims versus the popular rights and liberties of the people. Fortescue’s argument ends in paradox and claims there is freedom in absolutism, because after all, the king is powerless if his kingdom is destitute. This sensibility became entwined with the "Englishness" of the day, as the French were viewed as "poor and oppressed." This copy has at least one noble association with the Earl living at Dupplin Castle in the earlier nineteenth century, and then the New York Bar Association, where it remained through time in its attractive, early vellum. Overall, this is a sound copy of a legal classic on the dimensions of monarchy in Shakepeare’s time. Sir John Fortescue, a late-medieval Chief Justice, asserted that it was only outside of England that the "princes pleasure hath the force of lawe," inasmuch that he has "absolute" monarchy, or as he referred to it, "roiall" monarchy. By contrast, a kingdom in which the monarch is under positive law was called a "politique." Fortescue believed that the England of his day operated as a blend of both of the constitutional rules, or as he called it, a "politic monarchy"; some have described it as "double majesty," where the king is absolute in some spheres but not all, as he must also act through parliament. Fortescue’s articulation of this belief was famously printed after his death as "De laudibus legum Angliae" (composed from 1468 to 1470 and first printed in the original Latin in 1543). Richard Mulcaster made the first English translation in 1567 which was printed by Richard Tottell (and again in 1573) and the. Bookseller Inventory # SAV116

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