London: Printed for Henry Seile, 1650 . 8vo. [viii], 205 pp. FIRST EDITION. Title within decorative woodcut border, woodcut printer’s device, woodcut initials and headpieces. Contemporary speckled calf with blind tooling; first 2 blanks loose, and other than a very small tear to top edge of C5 (p. 25), interior in excellent condition. Two ownership inscriptions on title (F. Mason and Dan: Bursoon (?) in brown ink. Item #17573
First edition. Wing dates the pamphlet according to Lady Day dating giving the publication year as 1651. The work is anonymous, but Sir William Sanderson made himself known as the author in the preface to a later work. The pamphlet is a reply to The court and character of King James by Sir Anthony Weldon, a disillusioned and disaffected former courtier who wrote the memoir essentially as a critique of the Stuart monarchs. Sanderson here takes it upon himself to defend James against Weldon’s condemnation of his person, court, and behavior point by point. He also frames his response as an attack against Weldon himself opening with the claim that “there are some men so delight in sinne, who rather than be idle from doing evil, will take much pains to scandal the dead.” Ironically, Weldon passed away immediately before Sanderson issued this scathing response.
Sanderson (c. 1586–1676) was a historian who sympathized with the Royalists during the English Civil War. He continued to write biographies and histories of the Stuart monarchs including an expanded memoir of James and another on Charles I. While Sanderson primarily attacked Parliamentarian historians, he was not above chastising his fellow Royalists for their mistreatment of the monarchy in their writings. John Evelyn likely put it best describing Sanderson as “author of two large but mean histories” referring to his works on King James and King Charles I, respectively.