[London: W. Rastell], . First edition. Folio. 45 leaves. Collation: [pi]1 a² b-l m². Batarde type. 7-line opening initial. Errata on verso of title. A1 and f1 with internal tears crossing text. H1.4 lacking and replaced with two leaves bearing signatures G3 and H2 respectively, see note below. 19th-century English panelled calf; cloth folding case. Rebacked in morocco, corners repaired, front cover varnished. Provenance: lengthy pencilled note from previous owner on pastedown reading in part "This is probably a unique copy of the 1st edition which was withdrawn or not issued (for some reason) of which 2 leaves are in the Cambridge University Library (see Dr. Scholfield's letter 19/11/41 [inserted in the book, detailing the incipits and explicits of the two leaves at Cambridge]. It was taken from a large collection of early More's works which had been in Sir Fr. Bacon's possession"; sold Sotheby's London 24 November 1947, lot 73; with Blackwell's, Oxford (description on flyleaf); College of New Rochelle (bookplate; perforated stamps on title; gilt-lettered shelfmark on front cover). Item #401846
More's scarce reply to Simon Finch's 'Supplication for the Beggars,' attacking his inconsistencies with vigorous prose. Fish's work represented the clegy as "thieves," responsible for the distress of the poor. Countering Fish's call for the dissolution of the monasteries, More treats the general confiscation of church property as a threatened evil, and envisages souls in Purgatory "supplicating" the continuance of the prayers offered by the clergy for their release. It was the first book to come from William Rastell's press in the five years that he was active as a printer. This copy is peculiar in having signatures hi and h4 replaced by two leaves bearing signatures G3 and H2 respectively. The text of these leaves does not follow on that of the preceding leaves. It may be, therefore, that this copy is an earlier issue of the book and that changes were made in the text while printing. The inserted leaves have 43 lines and catchwords; the other leaves in the book have 42 lines and catchwords. Although Gibson treats this as the second edition, it is cited in STC as the first. Dibdin III:382; ESTC S104281; Gibson More 71; STC 18092.