“MY SELF HAVE BEEN EITHER AN EARE OR EYE-WITNESSE, OR, FROM THE TESTIMONY OF SUCH AS HAVE BEEN AUTHOURS OR ACTORS, THEREFORE UNQUESTIONABLE TRUTHS”
[WELDON, Anthony]. The Court and Character of King James. Whereunto Is Now Added the Court of King Charles: Continued Unto the Beginning of These Unhappy Times. London: R.I. to be sold by F. Collins, 1651. 12mo, contemporary full brown calf rebacked, black morocco spine label. $650.
Second edition of this exposé of the courts of James I and Charles I.
Weldon was knighted in May 1617. “He accompanied James I to Scotland in 1617, and is said to have been dismissed from his post at court in consequence of the discovery of his authorship of a libel against the Scottish nation (Secret History of James I)… Weldon was the author of. The Court and Character of King James I, 1650, 12mo; a second edition, whereto is added the Court of King Charles, appeared in 1651, and is reprinted in the Secret History of the Court of James I, 1811, 2 vols. This is a collection of scandalous gossip about the two kings and their ministers and favorites. A few of the stories it contains embody personal reminiscences, or information received from personages concerned in the incidents related. Heylyn, in his Examen Historicum, summarily dismisses Weldon's book as an infamous libel… A second answer is contained in Godfrey Goodman's Court of King James I, which was first published by J. S. Brewer in 1839. ‘I never read,’ says Goodman, ‘a more malicious-minded author, nor any who had such poor and mean observations” (DNB). Lowndes quotes Gifford as labeling the book “a ‘despicable tissue of filth and obscenity, of falsehood and malignity,” and adds “What Gifford says of this book is said of all works which detail unwelcome Truths and expose the profligacy and baseness of Courts and Royalty” (X:2869). Weldon’s work maintained its popularity into the 19th century, being quoted by Charles Mackay in his chapter on poisoners in Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841), wherein he relates the tale of the death of Sir Thomas Overbury, James’ secretary. Weldon died in 1649. The Court and Character of King James was first published in 1650, and the present edition was reprinted in 1651 under the title Truth Brought to Light.
Light embrowning to pages, closed tears to last two blank leaves, age-wear to original rebacked calf. A very good copy.