This book, which appeared towards the end of the author's life, offers the reader a detailed and exhaustive analysis of the differences (and no doubt, similarities) between the Catholic and the Protestant churches at the turn of the 18th & 19th centuries. Described on the title pages as 'a friendly correspondence', it is divided (like Gaul) into three parts, each consisting of a number of Letters, and occasional Essays. The clergy evidently had plenty of time to sit and commit their thoughts to paper.
John Milner (1752–1826) was an English Roman Catholic bishop and controversialist who served as the Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District from 1803 to 1826. In 1779 he was appointed to the Catholic church in Winchester, where he remained for 23 years; he was then appointed Bishop of Castabala, Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District, where the struggle for Catholic emancipation was a key issue. The controversy raged for many years, and Milner was in the thick of it almost throughout. As well as his involvement with such matters, he entered into long discussions with Protestant clergy such as the Bishop of St David's in Wales, about the differences and similarities between the Catholic and Protestant churches.
Our copy is a very rarely available complete volume containing all 3 parts in one. It is in very nice condition, bound in full brown leather with double-line gilt borders to front and back, and an impressed inner dotted border. The spine is divided with 5 raised bands, lavishly decorated in gilt, with the title in gilt letters on a red panel. Page edges and endpapers are marbled. Inside, the binding is firm, and all pages clean. Pages are all a little browned with age, and one engraving has lost about 5 mm across the bottom edge; a folded Apostological Tree is present, the outermost fold being quite badly torn at the centre point. A piece of neatly pasted paper covers what was presumably another tear at a different point, in the past. There is a bookseller's label at the foot of the front cover (see photo).