Oxford: n.p., 1646. Three works in one. 8vo. I: [xvi], 223,  pp., including a listing of the cathedrals in England and Wales. II: [xii], 34,  pp., including errata and. FIRST EDITION OF ALL THREE PRINTED TOGETHER AND FIRST PRINTING OF SECOND AND THIRD WORKS. General engraved title containing 10 illustrations of events detailed in the book surrounding a figure holding a banner with the title displayed, each of the 2 parts with separate title, woodcut headpieces; Beautiful nineteenth-century full red morocco, boards ruled in gilt, a.e.g; marbled paste-downs and flyleaves, a few leaves toward the end trimmed closely at the top (without any loss). Overall a very handsome copy from the library of Fountaine Walker, who was the owner of Foyers House on Loch Ness, with his bookplate on the paste-down. Item #17596
First appearance of all works together, and first printings of the second and third items. Mercurius rusticus was a periodical issued in short parts between 1643 and 1644. According to the DNB, there were 21 parts published, though our copy appears to have 22. The first few parts detail the assaults upon Sir John Lucas’s house, Wardour Castle, and other mansions, while the latter sections treat violations to various cathedrals. As the original issues are virtually unobtainable, this 1646 printing is the earliest one available.
All of these works support the Monarchy during the English Civil War. In his preface, Ryves makes specific reference to his own plight stating that the rebels turn out “Clergiemen above exception, and placing most scandalous and insufficient wretches in their rooms, darting from their invenomed mouthes most horrid Blasphemies against our blessed Lord and Saviour.”
Ryves (1596–1677) served as the dean of Windsor. He was appointed chaplain to Charles I in 1640 but in July 1642 the Parliamentarian residents of Stanwell successfully petitioned for his removal. Perhaps prompted by his ousting, Ryves began to issue his pro-monarchy periodicals. Mercurius rusticus was frequently bound with Querela Cantabrigiensis leading many to assume Ryves was the author of both. John Barwick (1612–1664), the dean of St. Paul’s, in fact penned this pamphlet as a response to Cromwell’s Parliamentarian forces ransacking the University of Cambridge in 1642. Sir George Wharton (1617–1681) was a low ranking noble, astrologer, and Royalist. He fought in the Civil Wars in support of the monarchy while continuing his studies in astrology and mathematics at Oxford until the city’s surrender in 1646. Primarily known for issuing almanacs, Wharton was a staunch supporter of Charles I who used his astrological projections as fodder against rival Parliamentarian astrologists. In a similar vein, he anonymously wrote Mercurius Belgicus as a chronicle of events of the Civil War from December 1641 to March 1646, although a portion was printed the prior year under the title Englands Iliads in a nut-shell (Wing W1544). The three works together represent a series of “real time” responses to current events, politics, religion, and war during an extremely tumultuous period in British history.