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[s. n.]
Le Tocsin contre les massacreurs,

7, 500 

In stock


First edition of the first Protestant pamphlet
openly accusing the queen Catherine of Medici
of the Saint-Barthélemy massacre.

A copy preserved in its attractive binding in old morocco by
Nicolas-Denis Derome.


Le tocsain contre les massacreurs et auteurs des confusions en France. Par lequel, la source & origine de tous les maux,  qui de long temps travaillent la France, est découverte. Afin d’inciter & émouvoir tous les Princes fidelles, de s’employer pour le retrenchement d’icelle.  Adressé à tous les Princes Chrétiens.

Reims, Jean Martin, 1577.

8vo [167 x 104 mm] of (4) ll., 163 ll.

Full red morocco, triple gilt fillets around the covers, flat spine finely decorated with fleurons and fillets in gilt, decorated leading edges, inner gilt roll-stamp, gilt edges. Old binding by Nicolas-Denis Derome, Louis XVI’s official binder.

First edition of the Tocsain contre les massacreurs, a Protestant pamphlet openly accusing the royal family of the La Saint-Barthélemy massacre.

Brunet, V, 872 ; Ch. Nodier, Bulletin du bibliophile, IIe série, n°72 ; Catalogue Stroelin, II, 1140 ; Catalogue du duc de La Vallière, V, 5125.

“A very rare text, containing the account of all the miseries endured by the Protestants and which transformed our France into Turkey.” (Cat. Stroelin).

Le Tocsain contre les Massacreurs is the first Huguenot pamphlet to directly accuse the members of the royal family of being responsible for the massacre of the Saint-Barthélemy that took place during the night of August 24th 1572.

The author violently attacks Catherine of Medici, considering her to be the main person responsible of the assassination of her subjects.

The point of this text is to appeal to the French princes and the queen Elizabeth of England in order to put an end to the tyranny in France.

In Le Tocsain contre les massacreurs, “the author advances the idea of an ambitious mother trying to increase her power while turning the future king away for futile and faint voluptuousness. Catherine is perceived as having tried to spread at the court, and in particular in her sons, Machiavelli’s precepts.” (P. A. Mellet, Les traités monarchomaques, p.256)

The author offers a realistic description of the pains the Reformed endured during the night of the 24th of August 1572 : “On peut dire que la ville fut exposée au meurtre, au vol & à l’inceste ; et ce par le commandement du Roi, & à l’instigation de la Reine sa mère… Il y a eu près de deux mille personnes à Paris dont les unes ont été assommées en leurs lits à coups d’épées, les autres étranglées & trainées par les rues, & jetées en l’eau”.

Of all the writings that desperation and fury have inspired in the Reformed because of the massacre of the Saint-Barthélemy, this one, by an unknown author, even to M. Barbier and father Lelong, seems to me to have been written in order to draw an interest in the circumstances and the accuracy of the account, to offer a heightened point of view and a general tone in the style. It is dedicated to the very illustrious Christian princes, republics and magistrates who follow the Gospel, and its beginning, simple and majestic, offers a periodic model for our language which none of our best writers have ever surpassed. [It is] an oratory narration of the principal events of these disastrous times going back to Amboise’s conspiracy or even Henri II and François Ier and ending up in the year 1577, the dawn of the Ligue. Nowhere have I seen the true causes and the main agents of the Saint-Barthélemy more clearly exposed.” (A. F. L. S. de Beaumont-Brison)

A precious copy, preserved in its attractive old morocco binding by Nicolas-Denis Derome.

In great demand in the 18th century, these rare copies of this precious first edition were bound with care and sometimes, like here, in a luxurious way. The work of Nicolas-Denis Derome, one of the most ancient binders of the Ancien Régime; the old red morocco binding covering this old copy of the Tocsain contre les massacreurs is particularly elegant.

From the library of René-Charles Guilbert de Pixerécourt, a playwright and bibliophile (Catalogue, 1839, n°1918).

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