Paris, Sébastien Mabre-Cramoisy, 1687.
12mo [147 x 80 mm] of (9) ll. including the title bearing the engraved arms of the author, 246 pp., (3) pp. Some mistakes in the pagination, but complete. Bound in full contemporary black morocco, gilt fillets around the covers, large gilt arms stamped in the center, spine ribbed and finely decorated, inner gilt border, gilt edges. Contemporary binding.
First edition of Bossuet’s Catechism. Tchemerzine, I, 853; Brunet, I, 1137.
“Bossuet is the greatest master of the French prose, which is considerably superior to everything we agreed to call our poetry. His language contains all the canons of our speech and wonderfully fills up our mouth and our chest. It is something like the Messe Royale by Dumont, so perfectly adapted to the lungs of our old cantors. Besides, Bossuet is in our language the greatest doctor of catholicity. His theoretical works are of a strength, clarity and majesty which awash the soul with light and enrapture with happiness and admiration. » P. Claudel.
The perfect style of this catechism and the elevation of thoughts of the author delighted both the most unsophisticated public and the most refined.
A precious copy specially contemporary bound in black morocco with the arms of Charles Maurice Le Tellier, archbishop of Reims (1642-1710), son of Michel Le Tellier and brother of the marquis de Louvois. It is his father, Michel Le Tellier, who signed the deed of Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, two years before the publication of this Catechism by Bossuet. Bossuet had encouraged the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes and his Oraison funèbre de Michel Le Tellier (1686) gave him the opportunity to glorify one of the greatest state crimes which history counts. « Mgr Le Tellier gathered during his travels to Italy, Holland and England a very large number of precious books, his book collection, composed of 50 000 volumes, joined, according to his will, the book collection of the abbey of Sainte-Geneviève » (Olivier, pl. 1756) ; copies which are still privately owned are extremely rare.
Provenance: Charles Maurice Le Tellier (arms stamped on the covers), Franciscus Ludovicus Vaillant de Bovens, 1706 (handwritten ex libris on the title).