COBBETT, William. ~ A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland; showing how that Event has impoverished the main Body of the People in those Countries; and containing a List of the Abbeys, Priories, Nunneries, Hospitals, and other religious Foundations in England and Wales and Ireland, confiscated, seized on, or alienated, by the Protestant “reformation” Sovereigns and Parliaments… in a series of letters addressed to all sensible and just Englishmen. In two Volumes. London: Published by the Author.... 1829.
8vo (231 × 125 mm), pp. [512; 432]. Title soiled, torn and repaired, several subsequent leaves with small tears, repaired at gutter. Contemporary calf, rebacked, new endpapers. Cobbett’s presentation inscription to verso of title, date just cropped at left hand margin.
With Cobbett’s autograph dedication addressed to Pope Pius VIII: ‘To His Holiness Pope Pius the Eighth. The present head of that holy church under the influence of which England enjoyed so many ages of plenty freedom happiness and renown this new edition of the history of the Protestant Reformation is dedicated by and in the handwriting of His Holinesses Most Humble Servant William Cobbett. Kensington [1?]0 May 182.’
A History of the Protestant Reformation describes at great length the means employed by the state to dispossess the English poor, beginning with the crown’s appropriation of church lands during the Reformation. It first appeared in two parts (1824–7) was a bestseller and was several times reprinted, including in this second edition (preceded by at least one stereotyped reprint). Cobbett had enthusiastically espoused the cause of Catholic emancipation; his autograph dedication to the Pope apparently appears in more than one copy.