London: Printed for Ki. Chiswell, 1695. Folio. [xxii], 616, plus 2 pages of publisher's advertisements. FIRST EDITION. Half-title on recto of frontispiece portrait of Laud, title in red and black. Contemporary calf, Oxford-style ruled in blind; interior excellent. Ownership inscription of Tho. Stanton Teynham dated 1695 on title. Item #17766
First edition. Wharton (1664–1695), a writer and librarian, compiled Laud’s writings for this work nearly fifty years after his death. The neatly arranged anthology includes Laud’s autobiography, an account of his impeachment and trial, and reprints of his pamphlets. Laud wrote the majority of these texts while imprisoned in the Tower after the Grand Remonstrance of 1641. The Archbishop was detailed and incisive when describing his grievances, and his writings provide important insight into the crucial years leading up to the English Civil War.
Laud (1573–1645) was a fervent supporter of King Charles I, whom he believed ruled by divine right. As the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England, he intended to impose total uniformity on the Church. He felt threatened by the Puritan movement and was intolerant towards Presbyterians. The Long Parliament of 1640 accused him of treason, resulting in his imprisonment in the Tower of London, where he remained throughout the early stages of the Civil War. In the spring of 1644, he was brought to trial, but it ended without reaching a verdict. Parliament took up the issue, and eventually passed a bill of attainder under which he was beheaded on January 10, 1645, notwithstanding being granted a royal pardon.