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Boucher, Jean
Sermons de la simulée conversion,

11, 500 

In stock


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 Bearn, à S. Denys en France, le Dimanche 25 juillet 1593… Prononcez en l’Eglise S. Merry à Paris depuis le premier jour d’aoust [1593]…
Paris, G. Chaudière, R. Nivelle & R. Thierry, 1594.

Porthaise, Jean. Cinq sermons, esquels est traité tant de la simulée conversion du Roy de Navarre, que du droict de l’absolution ecclésiastique…
Paris, Guillaume Bichon, 1594.

8vo [163 x 107 mm] of (6) ll., 408 ll., (17) pp. ; (2) ll., 98  pp. (misnumbered 100).
Red morocco, « à la duseuil » binding of the covers, richly decorated ribbed spine with gilt motifs, decorated leading edges, inner gilt roll-stamp, gilt over marbled edges.
17th 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.

« Very 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 in 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).

Magnificent and famous copy, luxuriously bound under the reign of Louis XIII, and having passed through the libraries of famous collectors : the Prince of Soubise (catalogue, 1789, n° 6922), Jean-Louis-Antoine Coste (catalogue, 1854, n° 2028), the baron Jérôme Pichon (Catalogue, 1869, n° 961), Louis Lebeuf de Montgermont (catalogue, 1876, n° 882), the baron Sosthène de la Roche Lacarelle (catalogue, 1888, n° 501), the marquis de la Grange, the marquis de Luppé with ex-libris.

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