[RALEIGH, SIR WALTER. c.1554-1618.]
A Declaration of the Demeanor and Cariage of Sir Walter Raleigh ... And of the true motives and inducements which occasioned His Majestie to Proceed in doing Justice upon him, as hath bene done. London: Printed by Bonham Norton and John Bill, 1618.
8vo (172 x 130 mm). A2 (lacking A1 blank) A-H4. Title vignette, royal arms on verso of title, woodcut initials and headpieces, engraved portrait of Raleigh inserted at front. Contemporary calf, gilt titles and devices to spine, blind-tooled borders and devices to covers. Title apparently supplied from another copy, a few minor expert repairs to leaves (including title), 4 page numerals shaved, light rubbing to extremities.
Provenance: George[?] Raleigh (gift inscription); Gordon W. Jones (bookplate loosely inserted).
FIRST EDITION OF THE ENGLISH CROWN'S DEFENSE OF THE EXECUTION OF SIR WALTER RALEIGH, POSSIBLE RALEIGH FAMILY COPY. Inscribed in a period hand on the title page, "from his very much / esteemed friend Raleigh," possibly by Raleigh's cousin George. Page 57 beginning with "shall have." During Raleigh's second voyage to the Americas, his men attacked the outpost of San Thome on the Orinoco river, killing the Spanish governor in the process. Upon his return to England, and under pressure from the government of Spain, Raleigh's death sentence for an earlier offense was reinstated. Following Raleigh's execution, public outcry was so great that the present volume the crown's justification of the decision and its attempt to distance itself from the affair in San Thome was rushed to the presses in the hope of quelling discontent. Pages 9-24 print the text of King James's original commission for the voyage.
Authorship of the tract has sometimes been ascribed to Francis Bacon, though he was in actuality only one member of the committee responsible for its writing. Pforzheimer lists this as the 2nd impression, as did the Short Title Catalogue originally; however, based on Starkey's article on the book's printing history in The Library (September 1948, pp 124-134), STC revised its entry to assign priority to the present issue. Pforzheimer 819; Sabin 67548; STC (2nd ed) 20652.5.