Octavo:  + LVI +  + 262 pp. Collation: A4, (a)-(c)8, (d)4, A-R8, S4 (complete with S4, final advert leaf.) The First Printed Edition of Parsons??Memorial for the Reformation of England? The title of original manuscript, as given on A1r, is: ?A memorial of the reformation of England: . Gathered and set down by R.P. 1596? The half-title reads: ?The Jesuit?s memorial, for the destruction of the Church of England.? ?The treatise was written in 1596, and a copy was presented by Parsons to the infanta of Spain in June 1601 (Knox, Letters of Allen, p. 395). It was subsequently made public by Dr. Gee from the copy given to James II.?(ODNB)This is the first printed edition of Robert Parsons? masterful blueprint for the restoration of Catholicism in England and the eradication of Protestant heresy. In the ?Memorial?, Parsons describes a comprehensive reform program for the monarchy, nobility, clergy, and laity. While there is much in his plan that alarmed his Protestant detractors, such as the establishment of the Inquisition in England and the suppression and censorship of heretical books, Parsons? program also included much that would create a more moral, just, and equitable society. Parsons? calls for the suppression of sexual license and luxury within the monastic orders and clergy; he devotes special attention to the plight of the poor and proposes new laws to strengthen women?s rights over their dowries and inheritances.?From the time of his arrival in England in the summer of 1580, Robert Parsons began to plan for the comprehensive ?reformation? of England to follow in the wake of Catholic succession. Parsons compiled notes on his reformation for the next decade and a half. By the mid-1590?s, he was prepared to share his plans with his close friends and political associates. Parsons? notes became known as the ?Memorial for the Reformation of England? The ?Memorial? complemented and verified Parsons? ultimate goal in composing the ?Conference about the Next Succession to the Crown of England? (1595): promotion of the restoration of Catholicism through succession. Unfortunately for Parsons, however, the manuscript also served to confirm his detractors? image of him as the archetypical Jesuit: arrogant, subversive, and, worst of all, Hispanophilic. Parsons thus became the leading symbol of the treachery of popery for succeeding generations of Englishmen.?Parsons must have sensed that the ?Memorial? was bound to be an explosive piece of literature, for he did not publish the book? Just the same, the unprinted ?Memorial? had found its way into the government?s hands in the 1590?s and had landed in several private collections as well. Correspondence and published works of the period reveal that many Catholics and Protestants had either read or gained considerable knowledge of the work. Virtually all disapproved of it passionately, and in the context of the late 1590?s it is not difficult to see why??Parsons did not realize that his comprehensive plan would make him the most detested English Jesuit of his generation and of several to follow. He had become the incarnation of all that Protestants despised and feared in popery: rebellion, papal tyranny, and, most importantly, suppression of their lives, families, and goods. To them, it was Parsons who seemed to be the arrogant would-be usurper, one who hoped to create a kingdom in his own Jesuitical image??Parsons? infamy would extend well beyond his own generation, as well. The Protestant Edward Gee published the ?Memorial? for the first time in 1690, that is, immediately following the succession of William and Mary. To Gee, Parsons? manuscript continued to teach a timely lesson about the never-ending threat of Popery. Gee?s dedication to the king and queen and his running commentary on the text illustrated the point.?(Michael L. Carrafiello, ?Robert Parsons and English Catholicism, 1580-1610?, Ch. 4 ?The Memorial for the Reformation of England?, p. 56 ff.)A note on Parsons? plan f. Bookseller Inventory #
Title: The Jesuit?s memorial, for the intended ...
Publisher: Printed for Richard Chiswel at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul?s Church-Yard,
Publication Date: 1690
Edition: FIRST EDITION..
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