"OCCUPIES A SPECIAL PLACE IN THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH POLITICAL THOUGHT": HENRY PARKER'S THE CASE OF SHIPMONY, 1640 FIRST EDITION
[PARKER, Henry]. The Case of Shipmony Briefly Discoursed, According to the Grounds of Law, Policy, and Conscience. [London: T. Harper], 1640. Small quarto, modern half tan calf, red morocco spine label, marbled boards; pp. , 49, [1, blank]. $1100.
First edition of "the first intellectually significant political pamphlet of the Long Parliament era."
The Case of Shipmony "occupies a special place in the history of English political thought: The Case of Shipmony may be the first intellectually significant political pamphlet of the Long Parliament era. In this crisp and well printed quarto, Parker, a publicist and man of affairs, used issues raised during John Hampden's celebrated test case of 1637 to develop his own political views" (Michael Mendle, The English Experience). Ship money was a nonparliamentary tax that required those being taxed to furnish a certain number of warships or to pay the ships' equivalent in money. Its revival and its enforcement as a general tax by Charles I aroused widespread opposition and added to the discontent leading to the English Civil Wars. In 1641, by an act of the Long Parliament, ship money was declared illegal.
The anonymous pamphleteer Henry Parker (1604-52) was widely known under the pseudonym of the Observator. "In 1640-42 Parker appeared notably but partly anonymously upon the public stage through the first political and ecclesiological writings that can be confidently attributed to him. His friend the London bookseller and pamphlet collector George Thomason credited Parker with two of the most incisive tracts of the first year of the Long Parliament, The Case of Shipmony (1640) and A Discourse Concerning Puritans (1641). The first quietly but unmistakably revealed the outlines of Parker's politics: the supremacy of parliament combined with an unexpected tolerance for the idiom of necessity and the reason of state usually associated with the absolutists—as Parker's statements became more forthright his tolerance grew into a strong acceptance" (ODNB). Presumed first edition; this copy with the spelling "Policy" in the title; STC notes two subsequent editions of the same year with the spelling "Policie." STC 19215. Kress 554. Goldsmiths' 708 (citing edition with "Policie" in the title).
Fine condition, a wide-margined copy.