St John's College I.31 (James 325, Wagstaff 3494)

The State of Europe. English, c. 1604

'History of Europe etc about the year 1602' (eighteenth-century hand at p. i). Beg.: 'Whereas your lordship as oft hertofore even in the late Queens tyme ...'; ends: 'In which I yett should desyre some tymes to bee, if not a carefull actor, at least a curyous spectator'. Covering in a less than straightforward argument many aspects of European society, economics, learning and politics, the author refers at p. 32 to a work by Anthony Bacon, 'a wyse gentleman'. He excuses his reluctance to seek a role in state affairs in Queen Elizabeth's day, due in part to a dislike of Christian 'civil war' while the Turkish menace grows, and eulogises the new king of England, James I and the consequent advantages of Union. The work is addressed to an unidentified peer. It refers to James's 'speach in parlament' at p. 41, presumably at the opening of the first session in 1604. The author was born around 1571, 'about the tyme of the fortunate famous battaye (sic) of Lepanto'. Now that his nephews are grown up, he seeks employment in or retirement to Italy, 'the paradice of the world, the center of Chrystndome' (p. 69).

Manuscript extra information

200x155 mm. ii+70+iv pp. On p. ii, in Thomas Baker's hand, 'Liber olim ornatissimi viri Tho: Wagstaff'. Small College bookplate (eighteenth century) at top of p. 1.

Single secretary hand, a presentation copy with a few corrections. Paper, first folio nearly detached. Original vellum binding.