Rare first edition of these « seditious sermons »
quite sought-after by bibliophiles
« famous for being the most violent diatribes
the Ligue ever produced » (Picot).
Henri IV ordered all copies to be burned.
Magnificent and famous copy,
luxuriously bound under the reign of Louis XIII,
and having passed through the libraries of famous collectors
Boucher, Jean. Sermons de la simulée conversion, et Nullité de la Prétendue Absolution de Henry de Bourbon, Prince de Béarn, à Saint Denys en France, le Dimanche 25 juillet 1593. Sur le sujet de l’Evangile du mesme jour… par Me Jean Boucher, Docteur en théologie. Paris, G. Chaudière, 1594.
8vo [165 x 101 mm] of (6) ll., 408 ll., (17) pp.
Red morocco, triple gilt fillets on the covers, stamped arms in gilt in the center of the covers, ribbed spine with gilt floral ornaments and cipher, gilet fillet on leading edges, inner gilt roll-stamp, blue silk end paper, gilt over marbled edges. 18th century binding.
Rare first edition of these « seditious sermons burned in the public square and for which the people demanded the torture of the author, whose salvation was only due to Henry IV’s clemency » (Morgand et Fatout).
Brunet I, 1151; Picot, Catalogue Rothschild III, 2252 ; Rahir, Bibliothèque de l’amateur, p.337; Pichon, 961; Bulletin Morgand et Fatout, 7370; Catalogue du duc de la Vallière, 5170.
“Quite rare first edition of these seditious sermons”, wrote Brunet in 1860.
“The first edition of Boucher’s sermons is much more beautiful and rare than the reprint from Douai.” (Renouard, Catalogue de la bibliothèque d’un amateur)
These nine sermons by Jean Boucher were given between the 1st and 9th of August 1593 in the Saint-Merri church of Paris, one week after the abjuration of Henri IV on Saint-Denis, on the 25th of July.
A general truce of three months had just been signed between the Ligue and the king. These sermons, approved by the Faculty, « remained famous for being the most violent and long diatribes the Ligue ever produced » (Picot, Catalogue Rothschild).
Henri IV ordered all of the copies to be burned after he entered Paris on September 15th 1594.
The theologian Jean Boucher (1548-1644) belonged to the most radical fraction of the Ligue since the Day of the Barricades of 12 May 1588.
When Henri IV settled in the capital, Jean Boucher was forced to flee. His nine Sermons against the Béarnais put a target on his back in case of retaliation.
“The “Sermons de la simulée conversion”, which are quite sought-after by bibliophiles, give the Ligue the last word ; they resume its ideas and opinions.
The faculty of theology, in its curious privilege, officially praised it erudition, its saint doctrine, its solemnity; it declared that Boucher “had admirably managed to reaffirm a fragile faith and rip off the mask of all false Catholics, of all impious policies”.
Before establishing the hypocrisy and nullity of the Béarnais’ conversion, Boucher gives a bloody portrait of Henri IV. He is “a heretic, a sacrilege, a burner of churches, a killer of priests and other clergymen…” In his Sermons, Boucher openly supports the candidacy of the young duke of Guise under pretense that the country needs “a very catholic king, from a catholic house”.” (De la démocratie chez les prédicateurs de la Ligue, Ch. Labitte, pp. 193-201).
Precious copy preserved in its old red morocco binding.
Provenance : Library of René de Galard de Béarn, (cipher on spine, ex-libris and handwritten ex-libris). The soldier and composer René de Galard de Béarn (1699-1771), marquess of Brassac, became lieutenant-general in the French Army; Library of Noailly, with ex-libris ; library of Jacques Vieillard, with ex-libris.