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MACANAZ, Melchor Rafael de

Defensa Critica de la Inquisicion contra los principales enemigos que la jan perseguido, y persiguen injustamente: En la qual se confunde con sus propias razones á los Hereges Calvinistas, Luteranos, y otros, y no pocos Católicos engañados por ellos, que con tanto horror, y con tan desenfrenada furia han combatido la Inquisicion, siendo la mas justa, y la mas conforme á la piedad religiosa, y á la caridad christiana . . .  Dalas a luz Don Antonio Valladares de Sotomayor.   2 vols. in 1.


Madrid, Don Antonio Espinosa, 1788.


Small 8vo.  I: (1) f., xii, 274 pp.;  II: (3) ff., 263 pp.  Near contemporary calf (corners bumped, back cover worn, wormholes in foot of spine).   With library stamp on title page.   Vol. II, signature K (pp. 145-160) in duplicate.   Some page numbers shaved, some slight discolouration, short tear repaired in top margin of Vol. I, p. 149/150 & Vol. II, p. 77/78.               

Although he was one of Philip V’s most able and energetic ministers, Macanaz was dismissed from power and exiled to France when the Italian faction at the Spanish Court objected to his proposals to curb the Inquisition’s power, but his Defensa Critica broadly defends its existence.   He believed Spain had been saved from Jansenism by the Inquisition’s watchful care.   Though begun in 1734, the work only appeared posthumously in 1788.   “Probably no other Spaniard of his time was more in touch with contemporary developments in Church and State . . .   With his mind so open to foreign influences . . one would have expected Macanaz to be a forerunner of the enlightenment in Spain.   That this was not so is clear from his obscurantist defence of the Inquisition . . .   He exceeded most of his colleagues, however, in energy and single-mindedness, and it was by his efforts that the first great cultural achievement of Philip V – the creation of the Biblioteca Nacional – became possible” (Henry Kamen, “Melchor de Macanaz and the foundations of Bourbon power in Spain” [English Historical Review, Vol. 80, No. 317 (1965), pp. 699-716])

Palau 145572.   Aguilar Piñal V, 2309.  



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