[Charles I] : The Kings Maiesties Declaration to His Subiects, Concerning Lawfull Sports to Bee Vsed


 

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London, John Barker, 1633, Hardcover, 4to, [2] 17 [1]pp. 19th century three quarter morocco over marbled boards, spine ends and corners rubbed, bookplate on front pastedown and manuscript notes on ffep, pamphlet lacks first and final blank leaves, leaf A4r with variant headpiece showing David with a harp, test clean and bright.

The Declaration of Sports was a declaration made in 1617 by James I to settle a dispute in Lancashire. The following year it James decided to make the declaration applicable to the whole nation and the "Declaration to His Subiects, Concerning Lawfull Sports to Bee Vsed" was published. This copy is of the reissue made by Charles I in 1633. The main body of the text is the same as that of the earlier declaration with the addition of a new introduction and conclusion. These added wakes and ales to the list of sanctioned recreations. The book was disliked by puritans, who considered playing sports on the sabbath an abomination, and part of its original purpose had been to limit the puritan influence. Charles went further than his father in attempting to impose his religious ideas on the nation and ordered that any minister who refused to read the declaration be deprived of his position. Given the upheavals in England during the middle of the 17th century the 'Book of Sports' seems relatively unimportant. It did however provide a focus for popular resentment toward the reforms of Archbishop Laud and as puritan power grew in the run up to the Civil War hostility to the 'Book of Sports' grew and in 1634, after the outbreak of the war, Parliament ordered the book publicly burned.

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