London: Printed for G. Bedel, and T. Collins, and are to be sold at their Shop at the Middle-Temple-gate in Fleet-street, 1654. Quarto, measuring 7.75 x 6 inches: , 355, . Modern full dark green morocco, boards paneled Cambridge-style with double rules and corner ornaments in blind, raised bands, black morocco spine label, spine ruled and lettered in gilt, new handmade endpapers. Title page printed in red and black. Engraved bookplate of David Belasco to front pastedown. Expert paper repairs to gutter of original flyleaf and title page, small spot to title, text lightly embrowned, light dampstaining to top edge of signatures in middle of text block.
First edition of this collection of internal and otherwise “secret” primary sources from the reign of Henry VIII through Charles I. Beginning with Henry VIII’s 1533 letter to the clergy in York, “touching his Title of Supreme Head of the Church of England,” and the doomed Anne Boleyn’s 1536 letter to the king from her cell, this compilation offers readers insight into the politics of early modern England at every level. The machinations of Spain, the problems with Ireland, and the uneasy position of Catholics in England are all addressed by heads of state and their closest counselors, while Thomas Bodeley rebukes Francis Bacon for the arrogance of his scientific method, and Bacon admits to Essex that he has “plaid the ignorant Statesman, which I do to no body but your Lordship, except I do it to the Queen sometimes when she trains me on.” Scrinia Sacra was issued as a companion volume to Cabala, the publisher’s collection of related letters published earlier that year; the two volumes were released together with a new general title page soon after this first printing. Wing S2110. From the library of David Belasco (1853-1931), the American theatrical impresario and playwright, with his elaborate decorative bookplate. A very good example of a popular political sourcebook, handsomely bound by Daniel Gehnrich.