JESUIT RELATIONS

Nuovi avisi dell’Indie di Portogallo … terza parte.

Venice, Michele Tramezzino, 1562.

£3,750

8vo, pp. [8], 316. Italic letter; large printer’s device on title, floriated initials; small traces of glue at foot of first three leaves, tiny marginal stain to outer upper corner of f. 27. A fine, wide-margined copy in late sixteenth-century limp vellum; yapp edges, early title inked on spine and later gilt on morocco label, pasted stubs from a dictionary or glossary.

First Italian edition of an epistolary account of the Jesuit missions from all over the early modern world, translated from Spanish. It concerns in particular the vast maritime domain of the Portuguese Empire, consisting of numerous strategical harbours on the coasts of Africa, South Asia and South America. This network was instrumental in controlling the trade of spices and precious metals, but offered also safe starting points for Catholic evangelisation. This collection of letters narrates travels to and fro and daily missionary life in Brazil, India, China, Japan and Ethiopia, providing details of the Jesuit activities, including mass conversions, as well as relevant information on local people, flora and fauna. Often, missives are sent to or from the St Paul’s College of Goa, which was established about 1542 by Francis Xavier as the educational and cultural centre of the Jesuit expansion in the East, and housed the first printing press in India from 1556. These letters were highly sought after in secular Europe, often providing the only reliable information available on the political, economic, commercial and social conditions of large and increasingly important part of the globe.

Not in Adams. BM STC It., 349; Alden, 562/16; Sabin, 5640; Borba de Moraes, I, 51; Cordier, Japonica, 47.

L2144

ITALIAN

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CAREW, Thomas

TRAVELS IN WAR TIME

Itinerarium R.D. Thomae Carue Tripperariensis …. cum histori facti Butleri, Gordon, Lesley & aliorum – (with) Itinerarium, Pars Altera.

Mainz, Nicolaus Heyll, 1640 and 1641.

£2,950

12mo. Two volumes. 1) pp. (xxxii), 328, (vi). 2) (xxiv), 370, (xiv) (last two leaves blank). Roman letter, some Italic. Floriated initials, woodcut and typographical ornaments, “Ad Biblioth; aul; Eystettensem” in early hand on half title of first volume. Light age yellowing, the very rare marginal spot. Very good copies in C19th dark blue, fine grained, morocco, covers gilt ruled to a panel design, vine leaf fleurons gilt to outer corners, large central fleuron gilt of vase and flowers, spine with raised bands richly gilt in compartments with large ‘holy dove’ tools to centers, all edges gilt, extremities rubbed.

Very rare, second issue of the first part, and first edition of the second part of Thomas Carew’s most interesting and important work, a first hand description of his travels and experience as Chaplain to Walter Butler and Walter Devereux of the Scottish-Irish regiment in Germany, of capital importance for the history of the Thirty Years’ War.

Carew “took priest’s orders and appears to have been stationed in the diocese of Leighlin. He left Ireland for Germany, and having stayed as chaplain for four years with Walter Butler (d. 1634), a kinsman of the Marquis of Ormonde, then serving as colonel of an Irish regiment in the army of Ferdinand II of Austria, he returned to his native country. In 1630 he again set out on his travels, and at this date his curious and valuable ‘Itinerary’ was begun. He remained with Walter Butler for two years, and returned at the period of the battle of Lützen; but after a short visit to his friends in Ireland he started again for Germany in 1633. On arriving at Stuttgart about September 1634 he heard of the death of his patron Walter Butler, and he transferred his services as chaplain to Walter Devereux, formerly the chief officer and now the successor of Butler. He accompanied the army of Charles III, duke of Lorraine, in its incessant movements, and afterwards joined the main forces under Gallas.

In April 1639 he finished the first part of his ‘Itinerary,’ and had it printed at Mainz, with a dedication to the Marquis of Ormonde, in which he says: ‘Not in the quiet chamber of study has it been composed, but beneath the tents of war, where my busy pen found no peace from the ominous clangour of the hoarse trumpet and the loud roll of the battle-drum; where my ear was stunned by the dreadful thunder of the cannon, and the fatal leaden hail hissed round the paper on which I was writing.’ In 1640 he was appointed chaplain-general of all the English, Scotch, and Irish forces, and in that capacity continued to serve with the army after the death of Devereux. It is probable that about 1643 he went to reside at Vienna in his character of notary apostolic and vicar-choral of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in that city. All his works are extremely rare.” Catholic Encyclopaedia. He published a fourth part of his Itinerary in 1646 which is mythically rare.

The provenance ‘ad Bibliothecam aulicam Eystettensem’ refers to the Library of the Dominican Monastery in Eichstaat, founded in the thirteenth century, which had an important collection of early printings. An excellent copy of this rare and most interesting work.

BM STC Ger C17 Vol I C304 and C306.

L2063

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MILLER, Thomas

Turner and Girtin’s Picturesque Views, Sixty Years Since.

London, J. Hogarth, 1854.

£200

Imperial 8vo. (lx) 164 + 30 engravings on copper. Publisher’s red, half-morocco with gilt back, minimal browning to plate edges, boards slightly discoloured in places. A nice copy.

The first re-printing (third state) of Turner and Thomas Girtin’s thirty contributions to the “Copper-Plate Magazine” (1794-98), the second states of which appeared in the “Itinerant” (1798). Thomas Miller in his preface describes the recovery of the original plates and the efforts required to clean and prepare the plates for this 1854 edition. In 1873, a second re-print was undertaken (fourth state; Rawnlinson, Reprint B), but the results were poor. The volume includes important, early biographies of both artists. The full page views are the earliest engravings after Turner and Girtin. The book is “worth having” (Muir, p.81).

Rawlinson, vol I 1-15a, reprint A.

X66

STRABO

A GEOGRAPHY MANUAL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND ANCIENT GREECE

De situ orbis.

Venice, Heirs of Aldus Manutius, 1516.

£55,000

FIRST EDITION thus. Folio, pp. 348 (i.e. 366); Greek letter; Aldine device on title and final verso, elegant section titles, vine-work initials and head-pieces in red at beginning of each book; minor repair to title, light damp stains, mainly on gutter and upper margin; paper flaws on 65 just affecting a couple of letters. A very good, well-margined copy in nearly contemporary limp vellum, author’s name inked in Greek capitals along spine and fore-edge; slightly dust-soiled; Feltrinelli’s label on front pastedown and blind stamp on lower outer margin of front endpaper.

Editio princeps of one of the earliest and most influential geographical surveys of Antiquity. Scion of a prominent family of the Pontus region, Strabo (64/63 BC – c. 25 AD) travelled extensively through Southern Europe, North Africa and Middle East, mostly during the peaceful reign of Augustus. The Geography is his only surviving work and the first comprehensive account of the subject as known to his contemporaries.

The topography, geology, history and political features of the main regions of the Roman world are thoroughly described, relying on first-hand investigation and many Greek sources now lost, such as the writings of the first systematic geographer, Eratosthenes (c. 276 – 195/4 BC), and of Hipparchus (c. 190 – 120 BC). Above all, however, Strabo regards Homer as the most authoritative writer. Strabo’s descriptions of the Mediterranean regions, Asia Minor and Egypt are excellent, while those of Gaul and Britain are weaker. Almost unknown to the Romans, the Latin version of the Geography became the standard geographical reference work during the Middle Ages. Among many other significant remarks and hypotheses, Strabo was the first scholar to discuss in detail fossil formation and vulcanism (both in Book 3).

This editio princeps – beautifully enriched with section titles, capitals and head-pieces printed in red (an unusual feature for the Aldine press) – was accomplished by Benedetto Tirreno and Andrea Torresani, most likely with the help of Marco Musuro; the dedication to Alberto Pio of Carpi bears a touching encomium of Aldus, recently passed away. The text was drawn from a rather corrupted manuscript, now in the BnF (Par. gr. 1395). The enterprise was wholeheartedly encouraged by Jean Grolier, who urged Torresani to continue editing and publishing Greek and Latin classics, as Aldus had done throughout his career.

BM STC it., 648; Adams, S1903; Hoffmann III, 453; Renouard, 77:7; Brunet, V, 554; Graesse, VI, 505.

K49

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TRIGAULT, Nicolas

JESUIT MISSIONARIES IN JAPAN UNDER TOKUGAWA SHOGUN

Rei Christianae apud Iaponios Commentarius ex litteris annuis Societatis Jesu annorum 1609. 1610. 1611. 1612

Augsburg, Christophorum Mangium, 1615.

£3,950

FIRST EDITION. pp. (xii) 296 (xii), two blanks lacking, two present. Roman letter, some Italic, woodcut initials, head and tail-pieces, large woodcut emblem of the Society of Jesus on verso of T6. Very slight marginal spotting in places, a very good, clean copy in contemporary vellum, recased.

First edition of Trigault’s account of events in Japan 1609-12 compiled from the annual letters, written in Portuguese, by Joao Rodrigues Girao. He was an extraordinary linguist, author of the “Arte da lingoa de Japan” and the Japanese-Portuguese dictionary published in 1603 at Nagasaki. Nicolas Trigault, who had just spent close to two years in China, returned to Europe in December 1614 to launch a (hugely successful) propaganda campaign for the China mission, and was in Rome to attend the general congregation of the Jesuits that met from November 5, 1615, to January 26, 1616. He brought these letters with him specifically for the advancement of this mission, in order to obtain new funding and new missionaries in Europe for both China and Japan. The work is dedicated to the Emperor Matthias.

The letters cover a pivotal moment in the Japanese history of the Jesuits, who were desperately trying to avert conflict with Japan’s new ruler, the Tokugawa shogun. The Jesuits were also looking for exclusivity in Japan, as the Franciscans were creating difficulties by preaching openly, something that antagonised the new Japanese regime, and would in part lead to the severe and violent persecutin of all Christians in Japan in 1614. The annual letters, apart from their political and religious information, also constitute the only up-to-date first-hand account of Japan, its cities, economy, industries, armed forces, geography, climate and people, that was then available in western Europe. They were of the most vital interest to all those considering embarking on the great gamble of the Far Eastern trade. Joao Rodrigues Girao, as a fluent Japanese speaker, was involved at the highest level of the interaction between the Japanese and Jesuits, and provides extraordinary insight into trade negotiations, the shifting political situation, and the delicate balancing act required to ensure the safety of the mission.

This edition is quite rare, with only one copy on ABPC in the last thirty years, and six in European libraries.

BM STC Ger. C17, T714. Cordier, BJ, col. 272. JFB T173, ‘undoubtedly published as part of the author’s purpose in returning from the East to promote the Jesuits’ missionary effort there.’

L742

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JESUIT LETTERS. Compagnia di Giesu

THE SOCIETY OF JESUS IN 1500s JAPAN

Lettere del Giappone dell’anno 1577. Scritte dalli reuerendi padri della Compagnia di Giesu

Rome, Francesco Zanetti, 1579.

£4,350

FIRST EDITION. 8vo. pp. 72. A-D8, E4. Roman letter. Small woodcut Jesuit device on title page small floriated woodcut initials, c19th Jesuit library stamp on blank margin of title page over earlier illegible stamp. Age yellowing, some browning, the odd marginal mark or stain, some corners a little rounded. A perfectly acceptable copy in modern limp vellum.

Rare first edition of these four important letters from the early period of the Jesuit Mission in Japan, the first by Luis Frois, the second by Father Organtino, the third by Giovanni Francesco Stephanoni, and the last by Francisco Cabral. Practically from the time of the arrival of Father Francis Xavier in Japan, the Jesuits produced an uninterrupted flow of manuscripts that included letters and reports, regularly sent to India and Europe. The Society of Jesus, aiming to publicize its activities, with a view to obtaining material and human resources, soon began to print expurgated versions of these letters, in collections that proved an enormous editorial success. Europe discovered the remote land of the Japanese with amazement and wonder from these letters.

The first and longest in this collection was composed by Luis Frois who had arrived in Japan in 1563 and whose stay there lasted over thirty years. Frois’ value for posterity lay not just in his evangelical work, but in his observant eye and gift for writing. He described the major sights in all the places he visited, and discusses the spiritual and religious background of Japanese culture. He had a natural curiosity and was a keen observer. He studied Buddhism quite extensively to better understand the objections of the priests against Catholicism. He wrote a most important history of the Jesuit mission in Japan that was not published in full until the c20th.

“In addition to the work of teaching his catechumens [Frois was] also intent upon the work of intensifying the religious life of those who had already been baptized. Great importance was attached to the greatest possible solemnity in the Church’s ceremonial… In this matter Frois was a faithful disciple of Vilela, who went in for large-scale adaption to local ceremonies and customs. Father Organtino, who later succeeded Father Frois as a pastor of Kyoto, also allowed the same policy with the result that the missionaries of the Kyoto area stood out as advocates of a far-reaching adaptation policy while those in the Kyushu area were more conservative… Frois was wide-awake to his surroundings… His graphic descriptions give us an excellent and realistic picture of Kyoto of his day… His letters are an almost inexhaustible source, not only for the history of missions, but also for almost all branches of Japanology.” Hubert Cieslik “Early Missionaries in Japan.”

A rare and important collection of Letters, from a most important period in Japanese history. Worldcat records three copies only.

BM STC It. c17th. p. 349. Cordier, Japonica p. 71.

L1578

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JESUIT LETTERS. RAGUENEAU, Paul

THE JESUIT MISSIONS IN CURRENT-DAY CANADA

Relation de ce qui s’est passé de plus remarquable és missions des Peres de la Compagnie de Iesus, en la Nouuelle France, es annees 1650 & 1651

Paris, Sebastien Cramoisy, et Gabriel Cramoisy, ruë S. Iacques, aux Cicognes, 1652.

£15,950

FIRST EDITION. 8vo. pp. (iv) 146, (ii). π² A-H⁸ I-K⁴ L². Roman letter, some Italic. Cramoisy’s woodcut device on title, woodcut initials and headpieces, typographical ornaments. Light age yellowing, some light browning and spotting. A very good clean, entirely unsophisticated copy in contemporary limp vellum.

Important and extremely rare first edition of this account by the Jesuit missionary Paul Ragueneau of the mission in Canada, including a highly important description of the mission and travels of Father Buteaux. After having been the subordinate of Jean de Brébeuf and Jérôme Lalemant for eight years, Father Ragueneau became superior of the Huron mission in 1645. We owe to him the “Relations des Hurons” for 1646, 1647, 1648, that of 1649 which recounts the destruction of the mission and the martyrdom of Fathers Brébeuf and Gabriel Lalemant, and that of 1650 which describes the ardours of the winter spent at Île Saint-Joseph (Christian Island) and the emigration and resettlement of the Hurons under the protection of the fort at Quebec.

This work is of particular importance as it records the state of the missions in New France after the defeat of the mission by the Iroquois nation. The second part is the journal of the travels of Father Buteaux to the Attikamegues. Buteaux was a French-born Jesuit who came to Canada in 1634 and was assigned to Trois-Rivières, where he ministered until his death in 1652. “The annihilation of the Huron missions in 1649 induced the missionary to reply to the pressing invitations extended by the Attikamegues who were established in the upper St. Maurice basin. “In all these regions,” wrote Buteux, “there are many other Tribes, – more than we can baptize, even if we had still forty years to live; and those people have no intercourse with us. It is from them that the Hurons, before their own country was desolated, obtained nearly all their Beavers, – the supply of which, being no longer diverted elsewhere, will now come to our French settlements, if the Iroquois do not disturb our repose.”

On 27 March 1651 Father Buteux, accompanied by two Frenchmen and some 40 Attikamegues, undertook the journey northward. The expedition lasted three months. The travellers reached regions inhabited by tribes who had had no contact with white men. Wishing to go as far as Hudson Bay the following year, Father Buteux had presents sent “to the Captains of some Tribes further to the North.” On 18 June 1651 he was back at Trois-Rivières. During July he set out on a mission in the direction of Tadoussac and Gaspé. At the end of the account of his journey to the source of the St. Maurice, the missionary had expressed his desire to push on further with his evangelizing explorations: “I hope next Spring to make the same journey, and to push still further toward the North Sea, to find there new tribes and entire new Nations wherein the light of the faith has never yet penetrated. Since that journey, the Iroquois have entered that country which seemed almost inaccessible” (Lake Kisagami). In a letter to Father Ragueneau he added: “I would never have thought that they could have found or reached that lake with their canoes. On the journey that I made to these regions, we walked about twenty days on the snow, before coming to it.” Dictionary of Canadian Biography. He died a few months after this account during his following mission journey. His party was attacked by a troop of Iroquois lying in ambush. He was shot and tomahawked.

An excellent copy of an exceptionally rare and important work.

BM STC Fr. C17th p. 269, J213. Sabin 67498 JFB. R13.

K21

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HALL, Joseph

A SATIRICAL DESCRIPTION OF FOREIGN LANDS

Mundus Alter et Idem, sive Terra Australis ante hac semper incognita longis itineribus peregrini academici nuperrime lustrata.

Hanover, Sumptibus hæredum Ascanij de Renialme: per Gulielmum Antonium, 1607.

£4,750

8vo pp. (16) 224, (5). §⁸, A-O⁸. Five large engraved folding maps. Roman letter, some Italic. Engraved title with a fine border with figure of Mercury above and a cartographer and a voyager at sides below, floriated woodcut initials and headpieces grotesque woodcut tail pieces, armorial bookplate ‘Nordkirchen’ on pastedown. Light age yellowing, the odd marginal stain or spot. A very fine copy, crisp and clean in excellent contemporary vellum over boards, yapp edges, covers bordered with a double rule, fleurons to corners, large strap-work oval stamped at centres, all formerly gilt, remains of green silk ties.

A particularly fine copy of the second edition of Joseph Hall’s ferocious satire; one of the first works to appropriate the style of a genuine travel account for fictional purposes, beautifully illustrated with a series of fictional maps that incorporate real maps. “In appearance and structure, Mundus Alter et Idem resembled many travel accounts being produced by printers in England and on the Continent. The first Latin edition was printed in Frankfurt, the English editions, presumably translated by Joseph Healy, in London in 1609 and again in 1613 or 1614.

Like other travel accounts, it included a series of maps, including a world map that situated this newly described territory in relation to known places. Hall’s elaborate descriptions of such locales as Tenter-Belly with its provinces of Eat-allia (also known as Gluttonia) and Drink-allia are pure farce, drawing strength from resemblances to medieval and contemporary travel accounts by such authorities as Mandeville, Peter Martyr, and Ralegh.” Peter C. Mancall. ‘Hakluyt’s Promise: An Elizabethan’s Obsession for an English America’.

“Mundus alter et Idem is regarded as a foundational text in the imaginary voyage tradition. Hall’s satirical story tells of the adventures of a lone European voyager Mercurius Britannicus, who travels on the appropriately named ship Fancie to Terra Australis and spends 30 years there. The southern world discovered is divided into four parts, with the names of: ‘Crapulia (Tenter-belly in the 1609 English adaptation), which borders the Indian Ocean and contains the provinces of ‘Pamphagonia’ (‘Gluttonia’) and ‘Yvronia’ (Drinkallia), a place where to be a leader one must be obese; Viraginia (Sheelandt) a lawless republic of only women; ‘Moronia’ (Foolania), a land of fools and folly, including religious folly; and ‘Lavernia’ (‘Theevingen’), home to criminals and crime. (…) In its Latin original Mundus alter et idem featured five engraved folding maps, one showing the four regions of the southern continent as almost touching South America, Africa and Asia.” Paul Longley Arthur ‘Virtual Voyages: Travel Writing and the Antipodes 1605-1837’.

Hall wrote the work for private circulation, and did not intend it for publication. It was not clearly ascribed to Hall by name until 1674, when Thomas Hyde, the librarian of the Bodleian, identified “Mercurius Britannicus” with Joseph Hall. On the other hand Hall’s authorship was an open secret, and in 1642 John Milton used it to attack Hall by arguing that the Utopia and New Atlantis had a constructive approach lacking in Mundus Alter.

Joseph Hall (1574-1656), Bishop of Norwich, poet, moralist, satirist, controversialist (against Milton, i.a.), devotional writer, theological commentator, autobiographer and practical essayist, was one of the leading hommes de lettres of the Jacobean age. He was at the centre of public life under James I representing that King at the Synod of Dort in 1618, assisting in his negotiations with the Scots and in Lord Doncaster’s French embassy and was foremost among the defenders of the temporal and spiritual powers of the Bishops in the Puritan Parliament of 1640-41. However, it is as a writer that Hall is now remembered. Fuller called him ‘the English Seneca for his pure, plain, and full style’. While Hall may not have been the first English satirist, as he claimed, he certainly introduced the Juvenalian satire into English.

The first edition was in fact printed at London (c. 1605) not Frankfurt as stated on the title. The second edition of 1607 contained both quires printed at London and at Hanover; STC states of this variant of the second edition “copies with imprint: Hannoviæ, per Gulielmum Antonium, sumptibus hæredum Ascanij de Renialme, 1607 apparently never have London-printed quires mixed in and therefore do not qualify for STC.” STC 12685.3.

A rare and important work.

BM STC Ger. C17th H186. Alden 609/60 adds others. Nordenskold III 482. Unrecorded by the women’s bibliographies. “A pleasant invective against the characteristic vices of various nations from which, it is said, Swift borrowed the idea of Gulliver’s Travels.” Lowndes III 980.

L1990

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DIONYSIUS Periegetes

THE GEOGRAPHY OF ANTIQUITY IN VERSE

De Situ Orbis

Ferrara, Ioannes Maciochus, 1512.

£1,950

EDITIO PRINCEPS, 4to., 52 unnumbered leaves. A-E8F, G6. First half Greek letter, rest Roman, quite undecorated. Slight age yellowing, the Greek text with marginal annotations in a 16th C Greek hand. Very slight marginal soiling to last couple of leaves, a good, clean, well margined copy in 19th C tan morocco, joints a bit rubbed.

First edition of the original Greek text of Dionysius, first edition of the Latin translation of Remmius Palaemon and first edition of the commentary and additions of Celio Calcignini: the whole was edited by the printer, together with Ludovicus Bonaciolus. Dionysius, fl. probably in Alexandria in the first century B.C., produced this elegant and terse description of the habitable world in Greek hexameters. It was probably intended as a school geography, and certainly was used as such in the ancient world; it achieved great popularity as one of the earliest descriptions of far away places, both in antiquity and again, in translation, in the first decades of printing.

BM. STC. It. p. 217. Adams D 643. JFB D 206. “Première édition rare”: Brunet II 729. NUC records copies only at Lib. of Congress, Princeton, Newberry and Univ. of Minnesota.

L2135

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BRESSANI, Francesco Giuseppe

THE JESUIT STORY IN CANADA

Breue relatione d’alcune missioni de’ PP. della Compagnia di Giesù nella Nuoua Francia del P. Francesco Gioseppe Bressani

Macerata, Per gli heredi d’Agostino Grisei, 1653.

£13,500

FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. (iv), 8, ff. 9-10, pp. 11-127, (i). π², A⁴, χB² B⁴, (-B1) C-Q⁴. Roman letter, with some Italic. Large woodcut printer’s device on title page, floriated woodcut initials, modern bookplate of J. A. Freilich on pastedown. Age yellowing, light browning and spotting in places. A very good copy entirely unsophisticated in contemporary vellum over thin boards.

Exceptionally rare and important first edition of this work by the Jesuit Bressiani giving the first general description in Italian of the Jesuit missions in Canada among the Huron and Iroquois tribes. “Francesco Giuseppe Bressani published his Breve Relatione in Italian in 1653. It is the only part of the voluminous Jesuit Relations or Relations des Jésuites that is in Italian. It is a factual account of the years Bressani spent in New France as a missionary among the settlers and Native people. At the same time it is a vision of the possibilities of future Italian settlement in the New World. As a result Bressani’s chronicle may be examined as a testament to his religious faith and to his imagination in constructing the image of a martyr.” Joseph J. Pivato.

Bressani was born in Rome in 1612 and in 1626 joined the Society of Jesus. In 1642 Bressani was in Canada where he first worked in the French settlement of Quebec and the following year was sent to Trois Rivières to the Algonquin mission. In April, 1644, on his way west to the Huron missions he was captured by the Iroquois who killed one of his Huron companions and then took Bressani, a French boy, and five other Huron captives south into the territory which is now New York State. They tortured him for two months, before he was ransomed by Dutch settlers at Fort Orange and sent back to France in November, 1644. The following year he was back in Canada working at the Huron Missions until their destruction by Iroquois attacks four years later. In 1649 a war-party of some twelve hundred warriors attacked Huronia. By this time many Iroquois had firearms which they had procured from the Dutch on the Hudson River, the Jesuits were forced to retreat east to the territory of Quebec. Bressani, however, continued to work with the scattered and fugitive Hurons for some months back in the original Quebec settlements. Only his failing health forced him to return to Italy in 1650.

He opens his description with reference to Pope Urban VIII letter of 1638 that forbade the enslavement of Natives in the New World. As subjects of the missions the natives were recognised as human beings with souls that needed to be saved. It is clear that Bressani shared these ideals and enthusiastically followed them in his mission work. The Breve Relatione is organised into three parts. The first presents a very positive image of the missions: Bressani describes the geography and vegetation of Canada, and then deals with the Native people. The second describes the conversion of the Native people and the many difficulties encountered by the Jesuits who arrived to convert them. The third gives us graphic details about the suffering, torture, and martyrdom of the missionaries including the author. Bressani goes into great detail describing the society of the Hurons. He lists their food and feast celebrations, their communal singing and dances, explains marriage practices and compares them to those of the ancient Jews. He points out that in their system of government tribal chiefs are determined by succession by way of the mother’s line. In their system of justice crimes of theft and murder are dealt with through fines and gift giving for reparation. It is clear that he admires these people for their honesty, hospitality, and inherent sense of right and wrong.

He also describes the many obstacles the Jesuits encountered: the harsh climate, river rapids and waterfalls, the dangers of the journeys due to Iroquois attacks, the problems with the different Indian languages, conflict with the Indian medicine men, and the plagues which killed large groups of Natives. In the second part he includes his letter to his superior in which he recounts his capture by the Iroquois, his tortures, forced travels, beatings, starvation, mutilations, and final rescue. The third and final part of the Breve Relatione deals with the sufferings of the missionaries at the hands of the Iroquois in which Bressani gives several accounts of torture and martyrdom, reproduced from other volumes of the Jesuit Relations written in French, including the martyrdom of Father Isaac Jogues, Father Charles Garnier, and Noel Chabanel. He also recounts the fate of Father Anne de Noue who died of cold when he got lost in the snow.

“In the Italian we can almost hear Bressani’s voice as he argues that their (the Hurons’) intellectual capabilities and skills are as good as those of any bright Europeans. They are capable of learning and knowledge and of showing faith. What we find in the first chapters of Breve Relatione is an image of the noble savage, long before this idea was expressed by Jean Jacques Rousseau in 1778.” Joseph J. Pivato.

An excellent copy of this exceptionally rare work.

Not in BM STC It. C16th. Church 524. Sabin 7734 “very rare” JFB B493.

K20

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