[MORELLI, João Baptista; LEITAO, Fulgençio].


[MORELLI, João Baptista; LEITAO, Fulgençio]. Reduccion y restituycion del reyno de Portugal a la serenissima casa de Bragança en la real persona de Ivan IV.

Turin [i.e., Paris?], por Iuannetin Pennoto, 1648


FIRST EDITION. Small 4to. pp. (viii) 415 (i), lacking initial blank. Decorated initial. T-p a little dusty, lower blank margin replaced partially obscuring one letter of imprint, ffep slightly adhering at gutter, very light browning, the odd mark or spot, small worm trail to outer blank margin of O-2B 4 (repaired from X 4 ), very light water stain to lower blank margin of last few ll. A good copy in modern sheep, raised bands, spine gilt, gilt morocco label, a.e.r. C17 bibliographical inscriptions ‘alias Fr. Fulgencio Leitao, da ordem des to Ag Calc o ’ and ‘alias Fr Fulgencio Leitão da Ordem des.to Agostino Calçado’.

A good copy of the scarce first edition of this important apology of the Portuguese monarchs, dedicated to João IV. Fulgençio Leitão (or Leitam, fl. early C17) was an Augustinian Hermit in Lisbon, professor of theology and ‘in utroque iure’; he later moved to Rome, under the name of Fr. João Antonio Ruvarolla. All his works were published under fictitious imprints and authorship; ironically, he incurred the wrath of Cardinal J.B. Pallota, protector of the Augustinian Hermits, for a work he did not write. The Italian imprint ‘Turin’ is fictitious; ‘Reduccion’ was published probably in Paris, during his subsequent exile. It celebrated the ‘return’ to Portugal of the House of Braganza, after 60 years of Iberian Union, begun in 1580 when Philip II of Spain acceded as Philip I of Portugal following the Portuguese Succession War. The rebellion against his descendant Philip III of Portugal (IV of Spain) was led by Duke João II, later crowned King João IV, in 1640. In the preface, Leitão clarifies that the work was intended not so much for a Portuguese, but for a foreign audience. Although some had advised him to write in Italian, as this might interest an Italian rather than a Spanish audience, he chose Spanish so that his Spanish critics would not have the pretext of linguistic misunderstanding. Imbued with Leitão’s theological and legal knowledge, the first of the four parts discusses the historical ties between the Dukes of Braganza and Portugal, and their greater legal right to the throne, against the criticism of Castilian authors, who called João I’s reign a ‘tyranny’ and his descendant’s ancient right a ‘fiction’. The second part describes this ‘restitution’ as divinely planned, the third suggests this occasion should be solemnised and regularly celebrated, and the fourth—a short ‘mirror for princes’—outlines the new monarch’s duties towards God, his vassals and people, with numerous references to the history of the House of Braganza.

The New World is listed among the places to which the Portuguese brought the Catholic faith: ‘In America, the broad Country of Brazil, on the opposite coast as compared to the Western Indies of Peru, and the Marañon […] lifting in all those provinces the flag of our Redemption, reducing little by little part of those barbarous People to the knowledge, and worship, of the true God, and the obedience to the Holy Mother Roman Catholic Church’ (p.297). Further references to trade and fighting against the Dutch in the New World.

Four copies recorded in the US.Palau 181585; Díaz, Impresos del siglo XVII, 2689; Bib. Lusitana Historica, p.307; Moetjens, Bib. anonymiana 2335; Bib. Hist. de Portugal 372. Not in Emil, Die falschen und fingirten Druckorte. Not in Alden.
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