Nuovi avisi dell’Indie di Portogallo … terza parte.

Venice, Michele Tramezzino, 1562.


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.



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CAREW, Thomas


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

Mainz, Nicolaus Heyll, 1640 and 1641.


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.


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MILLER, Thomas

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

London, J. Hogarth, 1854.


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.




De situ orbis.

Venice, Heirs of Aldus Manutius, 1516.


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.


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CARDIM, António Francisco


Relatione della provincia del Giappone.

Rome, Andrea Fei, 1645.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo., pp. (16), 160. Predominantly Roman letter, a little Italic; a couple of historiated initials and typographical tail-pieces, Jesuit device on title; pen line to title and tiny wormholes not affecting text, a few leaves a bit aged browned, occasional foxing, mainly marginal. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum, remains of original ties; on front pastedown, ex libris labels of Pietro Buoninsegni, dated Siena 1814, and of Frédéric and Anne Max; extensive purchase note on final verso by Bellisario Bulgarini the Younger, dated 9 March 1645.

First uncommon edition of an early account of the Jesuit mission in Japan, established by St. Francis Xavier in the mid-sixteenth century, and other Christian outposts in Southern Asia. The original Portuguese text was never printed, while this Italian translation was probably accomplished by the Jesuit Giacomo Diacetto. A rare and partial French version was published the following year.

António Francisco Cardim (1596-1659) was a leading Jesuit missionary in the Far East, spending many years converting locals and organising Christian communities in the ancient kingdoms of Ayutthaya, Lan Xang and Tonkin. Back in Rome and later in Portugal, he supervised the large ecclesiastical province of Japan, which included also Macau and the Siamese area, and wrote several works related to those regions; most famously, he thoroughly recorded the persecutions of the Japanese Christians from 1597 to 1640 and published one of the earliest detailed map of Japan. His Relatione, dedicated to Pope Innocent X, narrates the troubled life of the Jesuit Company in Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, as well as Macau and the island of Hainan, dwelling from time to time on interesting linguistic problems in transposing Christian dogmas into the Oriental languages and cultures.

This copy was bought by Bellisario Bulgarini (died 1660), nephew of the renowned bibliophile and scholar of Siena Bellisario Bulgarini (1539-1620). Bellisario the Younger records in the inscription at the end of the book that he acquired the volume for one lira from the bookseller Filippo Succhielli. He contributed to the enlargement of the vast family library, on which see Cento anni di libri: la Biblioteca di Bellisario Bulgarini e della sua famiglia, circa 1560-1660 (esp. no. 257bis) and Dennis E. Rhodes, ‘Per la biblioteca di Belisario Bulgarini e per la storia del mercato librario in Siena lui vivente (1539-1620)’, in Studi bibliografici: atti del Convegno dedicato alla storia del libro italiano nel V centenario dell’introduzione dell’arte tipografica in Italia, Bolzano, 7-8 ottobre 1965, Florence 1967, pp. 159-168.

Rare. Only two copies recorded in the US (Harvard and Chicago).

Not in Brunet, Graesse or JFB. BM STC It. 17th, 456; Sommervogel, II, 739/2 and III, 36/2; Cordier, 359.


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

Augsburg, Christophorum Mangium, 1615.


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.’


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Lettera del p. Alessandro Valignano. Visitatore della Compagnia di Giesu nel Giappone e nella Cina de’ 10 d’Ottobre del 1599. (with) Sopplimento dell’Annua 1600

Rome, Luigi Zannetti, 1603.


FIRST EDITION. Two works in one, separate title page to each. 8vo. Pp. 102, (ii). A-E8, F12. (last blank). Roman letter, preface in Italic. Woodcut printer’s device on both titles, floriated woodcut initials and woodcut tailpiece. Light age yellowing, foxing, oil stain to a few leaves. A perfectly acceptable copy in old vellum, recased.

Rare first edition of these two hugely important letters from the Jesuit missions in Japan, sent in the crucial period after the death of Hideyoshi during the instability before the victory of Ieyasu at Sekigahara. This book comprises two letters, the first sent in 1599 by Valignano (pp. 3-40), the second in 1601 by Valentim Carvalho (pp. 41-102). The latter’s preface explains that the Annual Letter for 1600 had not arrived, so this Sopplimento had been appended instead to Valignanos’s letter for 1599. Both report on the changing political conditions in Japan following Hideyoshi’s death in 1598. In his letter Valignano expressed his hopes that the political impasse in Japan would continue despite the tension that marked the relations of the different governing bodies. He recognised that the church would prosper under a politically divided regime. He described the political factions that emerged and made predictions about the future political situation. The political instability was a boon for the Jesuit missions and Valignano also announces that the mission had achieved 40,000 baptisms since February of that year.

“Jesuit documentation is particularly useful for this turbulent period. The missionaries knew the country well enough to be able to express their personal opinions. Nevertheless, when explaining the evolution of the political situation in Japan to the outside world, they transmitted expectations that were very similar to those of the Japanese population in general. Thus, their accounts are particularly interesting and useful for our understanding of these decisive years that preceded the coming to power of the Tokugawa dynasty.” Joao Paulo Oliveira e Costa, ‘Tokugawa Ieyasu and the Christian Daimya During the Crisis of 1600.’

The annual letters, apart from their political and religious information, also constituted 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. “Valentim Carvalho’s supplement to the Annual letter of 1600,… published in 1603, reports Ieyasu’s friendliness and favours towards the mission and judges that the mission is in as good a state as it was in 1586, before Hideyyoshi’s anti-Christian edict” Donald F. Lach ‘East Asia.’ Both Carvalho and particularly Valignano were involved at the highest level of the interaction between the Japanese authorities and Jesuits, and provide extraordinary insight into trade negotiations, the shifting political situation, and the delicate balancing act required to ensure the safety of the missions.

BM STC It. C17th. p. 453. Streit, V, pp. 372-373. Cordier, Japonica 235. Sommervogel, v. II, col. 791 (the Sopplimento only).


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JESUIT LETTERS. Compagnia di Giesu


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

Rome, Francesco Zanetti, 1579.


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.


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Litterae annuae provinciae Paraquariae Societatis Jesu

Antwerp, Jean van Meurs, 1636.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo., pp. 168. Roman letter; few decorated initials; one blank corner of repair to title page, some age browning, occasional lateral underlining in red pencil. A good copy in contemporary vellum, early title inscription on spine and shelfmark on front cover, all edges red; lightly worn joints; front pastedown and endpaper from eighteenth-century Spanish manuscript letter; on title, two nineteen- and twenty-century library stamps and contemporary inscription ‘Del Diacceti Mon…bro’, probably member of the Florentine noble family; early account note on rear end paper verso.

First edition of this remarkable report from the Jesuit missions in Paraguay. Nicola Mastrilli (1568-1653), from Naples, was a prominent churchman of the New World. After joining the Jesuit order, he was sent to Peru, where he changed his surname into Durán and graduated at the University of Lima. He distinguished himself as a zealous preacher, directing in Juli (Bolivia) the first Jesuit mission deeply engaged with the evangelisation of the local population. In 1623, he was elected supervisor of the province of Paraguay and then of the whole Peru. His care for the Indians was all but common among the Spanish establishment and was questioned even by some members of his order.

These letters, addressed to the general of the Society, Muzio Vitelleschi, recorded the fast expansion of Jesuit activities in the southern region of the Spanish Viceroyalty, mainly between 1626 and 1627. They were written on Mastrilli’s behalf by his confrere and collaborator, the Belgian Jean Rançonier. As other contemporary reports from the Americas and the Levant, the letters met immediate success and were translated into French two years later.

Alden, 636/37; Medina, BHA 953; Sabin, 21407; Palau, 77442.


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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.


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.


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