[Rome]: [Marcello Silber], after 12th August, 1514.
Quarto: 20 x 14 cm. 4 unnumbered leaves, including final blank.
Bound in 19th c. green Morocco, a.e.g., gilt turn-ins, spine rubbed. Ex libris R.B.. A fine copy. Early foliation at upper corners of the lvs.
A political letter from Henry VIII to Pope Leo X of Rome, written by the King when he was only 23 years of age. The letter is a rare piece of printed diplomatic correspondence from the last decades of England as a Catholic monarchy. It is one of the earliest of Henry’s letters to be printed. (A letter to Maximillian I, Holy Roman Emperor, “Epl[istol]a invictissimi Regis Anglie Francie ad Cesaream Maiestatee[m]", written in answer to one soliciting aid against the Turks from Maximilian, was printed in 1512.)
Extremely rare. 3 copies located in North America (Harvard, NYPL, Yale). 1 copy in Switzerland, 1 in Germany, 1 in France, and 3 in Britain (2 in the British Library and 1 in the Bodleian). EDIT16 locates only a single copy in Italy (Marciana, Venice).
The letter concerns the peace concluded 7 August 1514 between Henry VIII and Louis XII, which included a marriage between Mary Tudor, sister of the King of England, and Louis XII. In the letter, Henry explains that the match was made to strengthen and stabilize the peace: “ut autem haec pax firmior stabiliorque sit, eidem serenissimo Francorum Regi, Illustrissimam Sororem nostram Dominam Mariam ab ipso instantissime petitam, in matrimonium promisimus….” Henry also explains, in detail, the dissolution of his sister’s earlier betrothal to Charles, son of Philip I of Castille, the future Emperor Charles V.
The negotiations of the peace with Louis XII followed the English invasion of France in 1513, during which the king had personally taken part in sieges against Thérouanne and Tournai and at the battle of Guinegate. One purpose of a French alliance, for Henry, was to counter the power of his father-in-law, the king of Aragon, with whom there were political frictions (about the peace treaty the King writes: ‘I have not mentioned a single thing to the truly most serene King of Aragon because he greatly enjoys dealing with his affairs by himself’). The marriage of Mary and Louis XII took place on 9 October 1514, but peace with France ended in 1515 with the death of Louis and the accession of François I.
BM/STC Italian 233; Tinto, Gli annali tipografici di Eucario e Marcello Silber (1501-1527), 181; Shaaber H156; Not in Adams.