“SINGULIS MAJOR, UNIVERSIS MINOR”

Some few observations upon his Majesties late answer to the declaration, or remonstrance of the Lords and Commons of the 19. of May, 1642. [London

[London]: n.p., [1642]. 4to. 16 pp. FIRST EDITION, SECOND ISSUE. Caption title. Woodcut initial, head- and tailpiece. Disbound; other than a tear down the center of A2, interior in good condition. The letter “G” in brown ink in upper left corner of the title page. Item #17564

First edition, second issue; according to Wing, this copy is an enlarged printing of a previous pamphlet issued the same year (Wing, P422). The anonymous author, quickly identified as Henry Parker, published Some few observations on the eve of the English Civil War. He here argued in support of the Parliament, stating the need for a bicameral legislature with complete sovereignty. He also discusses the importance of the king’s assent in legislative matters. However, he insisted that the two house of parliament had the absolute power to enact emergency action to serve the populace, saying that the “surest basis” of government “is the common consent and whose most honourable end is the common good.” Parker’s incisive and inflammatory comments produced countless rebuttals and responses from Royalists, and decisively set the pamphlet wars into motion.

Parker (1604–1652) was a political writer. After anonymously issuing Some few observations he was given the moniker “The Observator” thereby becoming the unofficial spokesperson for Parliament during the pamphlet wars (ODNB). His slogan throughout Some few observations that the monarchy was “singulis major, universis minor” (greater than any but less than the whole) shaped public discourse in the early years of the English Civil War. Despite some ups and downs, Parker continued his pamphleteering throughout the war arguing for public over private interests, the supremacy of the state over the clergy, and insisting that a bicameral parliament was the embodiment of the nation.

Price: $250.00

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