"THE MOST VALUABLE OF ALL THE CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS": CLARENDON'S HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WARS IN ENGLAND, 1702 FOLIO FIRST EDITION, EXCEPTIONAL LARGE-PAPER COPY IN FULL CONTEMPORARY CALF
CLARENDON, Earl of [HYDE, Edward]. The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England, Begun in the Year 1641. With the precedent Passages, and Actions, that contributed thereunto, and the happy End, and Conclusion thereof by the King's blessed Restoration. Oxford: Printed at the Theater, 1702-04. Three volumes. Tall folio (12 by 18-1/2 inches), contemporary full brown mottled calf, Volumes I and III sympathetically rebacked with the original spines and spine labels neatly laid down, raised bands. $9500.
First edition of this "broad and lucid" history of the "Puritan Revolution," the struggle between a king who claimed to rule by divine right and a Parliament that professed to have rights independent of the crown. With half title, engraved frontispiece portrait and vignette title page in each volume. A scarce large-paper copy, three impressive large folio volumes in handsome contemporary mottled calf.
"Since its publication at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Earl of Clarendon's history of the English Civil War has remained one of the most important sources for our understanding of the events which changed the course of British history… [It] chronicles in absorbing detail the intrigues and upheavals, the alliances and confrontations, the triumphs and the tragedies, of the 1640s and 1650s. In elegant and vital prose it brings to life the personalities who shaped the era, and the principles for which a nation was divided" (Oxford University Press). The Civil War has also been called the "Puritan Revolution," because the religious complexion of the king's opponents was prevailingly Puritan, and because the issue was between a king's claim of divine right and a Parliament that professed to have rights independent of the crown. Clarendon's is "the most valuable of all the contemporary accounts of the Civil Wars… His characters are not simply bundles of characteristics, but consistent and full of life, sketched sometimes with affection, sometimes with light humor" (DNB). The Wars' religious consequence was the end of the Church of England's monopoly on Christian worship, with the consolidation of the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland. The political consequence was the establishment of the Commonwealth and Protectorate. Brunet II, 81. Graesse II, 191. Lowndes, 467. Engraved bookplate.
Text generally very clean, with only a few sparse spots and occasional signs of handling, expert restoration to contemporary calf. An excellent copy, very handsomely bound.