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La vie de Francois, seigneur de La Nouë, dit Bras-de-fer.

Ou sont contenuës quantité de choses memorables, qui servent à l'éclaircissement de celles qui se sont passées en France & au Pays-bas, depuis le commencement des troubles furvenus pour la Religion, jusques àl'an 1591.

Leiden : 1661 Stock Code: 116711
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First edition of the first significant - and conspicuously scarce - biography of the "Huguenot paladin" François de La Noue (1531-1591), one of the great Protestant captains of the 16th-century Wars of Religion, described by the distinguished American historian John Lothrop Motley as "not only one of the most experienced soldiers, but one of the most accomplished writers of his age" (Dutch Republic, III p. 480). At the siege of Fontenay in 1570 his left arm was shattered by a bullet and a "mechanic" fitted an iron limb that earned him the sobriquet of "Bras de fer" or "Iron arm". He was a correspondent of Sir Philip Sidney and acknowledged by Montaigne in the Essais "for his goodness, gentleness of manner and scrupulous courtesy. He is an important figure with regard to his political and religious affiliations as well as with regard to his Discours politiques et militaires (1587)" (Dorothea B. Heitsch, Practising Reform in Montaigne's Essais, 2000, p. 134). The author, Moïse Amyraut (1596-1664), was one of the leading French Protestant theologians of his day, who numbered William Penn among his many students.

Provenance: armorial Elden Hall bookplate of Augustus, Viscount Keppel (1725-1786), naval officer and politician: "a sailor from the age of 10, Keppel served actively throughout the Seven Years' War (1756-63). In 1762 he served under Admiral Sir George Pocock in the British expedition that took Havana, and he received 25,000 in prize money as a result. He became a rear admiral in 1762 and vice admiral in 1770" (Encyclopaedia Britannica online). ODNB describes him as an "outstanding" naval officer, "especially in combined operations". 20th century bookplate of Robert J. Hayhurst, Lancashire retail chemist and bibliophile, whose main library of naval history was complemented by a subsidiary collection of eighteenth-century literature in well-preserved contemporary bindings.

Decidedly uncommon commercially and thinly represented institutionally: Copac cites 10 copies in British and Irish institutional libraries (we have also located a copy at the Royal Collection); OCLC locates no copies outside of European libraries. An attractive copy with an appealing provenance.

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Small quarto (190 x 144 mm). Early 18th-century English speckled calf, decorative gilt spine, red morocco label, red speckled edges.


2 folding genealogical tables; Elsevir's device on title page.


Head of spine chipped, front joint split but sound, corners a little worn, one or two slight scrapes or abrasions. A very good copy.


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