Directorium in exercitia spiritualia. [with] Epistolae praepositorum. [with] Index Generalis.

Antwerp, I-II) apud Joannem Meursium, III) apud Ioannem Meursium, 1635 [i.e., Amsterdam, Daniel and Louis III Elzevir for Jan Schipper, c.1653-71].


8vo. 3 works in 1, pp. 128 (xxiv); 448 (viii); 288, without final errata as often, probably indicating first issue. Roman letter, with Italic. Separate t-p to each with woodcut vignette with St Ignatius crowned by angels. Edges a bit dusty, very minor toning, the odd spot, paper flaw to lower blank margin of N2 and small damp stain to lower blank margin of one gathering of second. Good copies in contemporary vellum, dusty, yapp edges, titles elaborately inked to spine in red and gold (oxidized) with floral decorations and IHS monogram. C18 armorial bookplate ‘D. Henr. Ios. Rega. Med. Doc. Proff. Prim’ and finely engraved C17 bookplate of Petrus Ludovicus Danes Casletanus to front pastedown, C19 ex-dono label of Antonius Joannes Philippus Wemaer, C19 book label ‘Bib. F.F. Min. Cappuccinorum’ and stamp of Capuchins’ library of S. Maria Angelica in Bruges to ffep.

Good copies of these forged editions of three major Jesuit works probably compiled by Mutio Vitelleschi (1563-1645). He was the Sixth Superior General of the Society of Jesus, and professor of theology, philosophy and logic at Roman Collegia. These three works gathered together important texts for the continuing education of Jesuits worldwide, as reliable, approved reference manuals. ‘Directorium’ is an introduction to the meaning, purpose and techniques for undertaking St Ignatius’s spiritual exercises and meditation, spanning the course of a four-week retreat, on Christ’s life and suffering. The ‘Epistolae’ is a collection of letters from major figures of the Order (St Ignatius, Aquaviva, Mercuriano, Borgia, Laines and Vitelleschi) to superiors and members on theology and the Jesuits’ spiritual mission. The third work, a detailed ‘Index generalis’ of the ‘Institutiones’, reveals the original context of these works, part of a 16-volume series called ‘Corpus institutionum societatis Jesu’. Separately printed, they were found as stand-alone or bound, as in this case, in a sammelband of two or three. Whilst the first edition of the ‘Corpus’ was published by Jan Meurs in 1635, the present copies were published two to three decades later by Jan Schipper in Amsterdam, without the license of the Society of Jesus. A distinction is the spelling ‘Joannem’ with a J on the t-ps of the first and second, as well as the woodcut vignette of St Ignatius with the Latin motto on all three. Two theories have been put forward. First, a copy of the 1635 edition was seized in England during the Cromwellian era and sent to Amsterdam (Sommervogel V, 81, add.); or second, according to a Jesuit’s account from the 1660s, copies of the original were found on board a Portuguese ship bound for Brazil, captured and taken to Holland during the Dutch-Portuguese War (1653-57) (Begheyn, ‘De Elzeviers’, 65). Because Schipper often employed other printers for his publications, and on the basis of a close analysis of initials and ornaments, this edition has been attributed to the press of Daniel and/or Louis III Elzevir in the years 1653-71 (Miert, ‘Een onopgemerkte’, 131-38; Impe, ‘Corpus’). The pirated edition was probably intended for the Low Countries, where the Jesuits were flourishing; the early ownership of this copy can indeed be traced to Leuven. An important sammelband with editions of special bibliographical interest for Elzevir collectors—unnoticed by Willems.

This volume was once in the library of Petrus Ludovicus Danes Casletanus (1683-1736), professor of theology, influenced by Scholasticism, at Leuven in the 1730s. The following owner, Henri-Joseph Rega (1690-1754), was a Dutch physician, rector at Leuven. His interest in Jesuit theology probably urged him to take sides against the spreading Jansenism, which led to a fall in student numbers. In the C19, it belonged to Antonius Joannes Philippus Wemaer, professor of Physics at Ghent, and to the convent of the Capuchins in Bruges.

I) Backer-Sommervogel V, 81. Not in Willems.

II) Backer-Sommervogel V, 81. Not in Willems.

III) Backer-Sommervogel V, 81. Not in Willems. P. Begheyn, ‘De Elzeviers en de jezuïeten’, in Boekverkopers van Europa, ed. B.P.M. Dongelmans et al. (Zutphen, 2000), 59-76; L. van Miert, ‘Een onopgemerkte Elzevier-druk?’, Het Boek, 1923, 131-38; S. van Impe, ‘Corpus institutionum societatis Jesu’, in Jesuit Books in the Low Countries, 1540-1773, ed. P. Begheyn et al (Leuven, 2009).


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AQUAVIVA, Claudio.


Instructio pro superioribus.

Rome, Collegium Romanum Societatis Jesu, 1615


8vo. pp. (iv) 48 (iv). Roman letter, little Italic. T-p within woodcut architectural frame, woodcut Jesuit printer’s device, typographical initials and ornaments. Light water stain to lower blank corners, one gathering slightly browned, minimal marginal foxing, small loss to fore-edge of last. A good copy in wrappers, minor loss to spine and corners.

A good copy of the third edition of this important manual for Jesuit superiors. Cardinal Claudio Aquaviva (1543-1615) is one of the major figures of the Counter-Reformation and among those responsible for the Jesuits’ enormous theological and political success in the C17. After a swift career in the echelons of the Jesuit Order, from the 1580s he devoted himself to the writing of works concerned with the education of Jesuit priests and the characteristics necessary to become good Superiors. First published in Rome in 1606, ‘Instructio’ was based on one of several letters he wrote to Superiors of the Congregation ‘to offer…counsels and directions to enable them to be of greater help to their subjects in their interior life’ (Guibert, ‘Jesuits’, 243). It lays down general guidelines seeking to ‘increase and confirm the soul of the Society’, focusing on the Superiors’ demeanour, the role of prayer and serious mistakes made by them in their daily pastoral care, e.g., ignoring the spiritual ‘illnesses’ of their subjects and encouraging spiritual lassitude. Among the advice given so as to maintain and improve the spirituality of the Order was the use of Ignatius’s spiritual exercises, oration and meditation. Aquaviva’s advice to Superiors was integral to the shaping of the Congregation in the epoch of its Golden Age.  

BM STC It. C17, p. 43; Sommervogel I, 258.4. J. de Guibert, The Jesuits: Their Spiritual Doctrine and Practice (1972).


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Ignatius his Conclave or his inthronisation in a late election in hell: wherin many things are mingled by way of satyr.

London, Printed [by Augustine Mathewes] for Iohn Marriott, 1634.


12mo. pp. [vi], 135, [iii]. A-F¹². Roman letter, some Italic. Title within single rule, small woodcut initials, typographical headpieces, early C18th engraved armorial bookplate of Cholmley Turner on pastedown, bookplate of David and Lulu Borowitz on first fly, Robert S. Pirie’s on verso. Light age yellowing, some light scattered foxing, occasional marginal mark. A very good copy in contemporary sheep, covers bordered with a double blind rule, edges sprinkled red, head of spine chipped with minor repair, some scuffing.

A very good copy of the rare third edition in English, the first published with Donne’s name on the title-page. “Donne’s ‘Conclave Ignatii’ or ‘Ignatius his Conclave’, an attack on Bellarmine and the Jesuits, the third of his controversial writings, though the second to be published, was composed in 1610 and published in early 1611 … Conclave Ignati is a vigorous, amusing, and sometimes scurrilous satire, but it received little notice from Donne’s biographers until it was discussed in Gosse’s book. .. It has been suggested that the form of the Satire was to some extent derived from the ‘Satyre Ménippe’, and its supplement ‘le Supplément du Catholicon, ou nouvelles des regions de la lune’, 1595. Although the book was anonymous until 1634 there is in the Epistle ‘The printer to the reader’ a veiled reference to the Pseudo-Martyr. .. The first edition of the English version was also published in 1611, having been translated, in Healy’s opinion, by Donne himself. The rendering was free, but the book, having been thought out and composed in Latin, was not readily recast, so that the English version has lost some of its edge. Donne himself, as implied in his preface regarded the book as too undignified a production to be publicly acknowledged, though his name appeared on the tittle-pages of the English editions published after his death.” Keynes. “John Donne’s  Ignatius His Conclave is a satirical attack on the Society of Jesus, which was founded in 1540 by Ignatius of Loyola. Printed anonymously in 1611, the work appeared in both Latin and English just months apart; the former, a duodecimo edition with the title Conclave Ignati, was entered in the Stationer’s Register on 24 January, and the latter, also printed in duodecimo, on 18 May. … T. S. Healy points out that although the dates of publication for the English and Latin versions do not indicate which text was written first, the English was most likely” Altman, Shanyn Leigh. “Ignatius his Conclave”. The Literary Encyclopedia.

“In the prose satire ‘Ignatius his Conclave’, Donne positions Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order, as the villain of his story, competing with various figures to enter the coveted ‘secret space’ in hell, the room where one would be closest to Satan’s throne. Toward the end of the satire, Donne imagines that the universe, newly expanded by Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler, will allow the Jesuits, in the near future, to colonise the Moon. As Lucifer explains, ‘Galilaeo the Florentine’ will ‘draw the Moone, like a boate floating upun the water, as neere the earth as he will,’ so that ‘all the Jesuites [can] be transferred’. Donne’s demonstration of the colonizing power of the Jesuits, however humorous, carries with it a serious undertone, in particular anxieties over the Protestant role in the conquest of both the new World on earth and the new world(s) in space.” Judy A. Hayden ‘Literature in the Age of Celestial Discovery: From Copernicus to Flamsteed.’

“Cholmley Turner was a wealthy country gentleman, with properties in Northallerton and along Tees side, as well as lead mining interests in the North Riding. Returned as a Whig MP for Northallerton in 1715, he followed Walpole into opposition in 1717..” The History of Parliament.

STC 1729. ESTC S109801. Grolier/Donne 8 (this copy). Grolier-Wither to Prior  278. Keynes, Donne 8


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Due lettere annue della Cina del 1610 e del 1611.

Milan, per l’her. di Pacifico Pontio & Gio. Battista Piccaglia, 1615.


FIRST EDITION (?). 8vo. pp. (viii) 221 (iii). Roman letter, occasional Italic. Jesuit device to t-p, decorated initials, typographical headpiece. Slight age browning, faint water stain to lower outer part, two little worm holes to first and last gathering, one touching a few letters. A good copy in modern vellum.

An uncommon edition of Nicolas Trigault’s two earliest, important letters from China, sent in 1610 and 1611 to Cardinal Claudio Acquaviva in Rome. Trigault (1577-1628) was a Flemish Jesuit who carried out ground-breaking missionary work in China. Inspired by the activities of Matteo Ricci, Trigault founded new missions and encouraged the translation of European works on science and religion (including liturgies) into Chinese. A portrait of Trigault in Chinese costume (now at the New York Metropolitan Museum) was painted by Peter Paul Rubens in 1617, when Trigault visited the Jesuit college in Antwerp to raise funds for his missions. The two letters in this edition were written shortly after his first arrival in Peking and contributed greatly, together with Ricci’s texts, to bring in greater knowledge of China to Western Europeans. The 1610 missive is a beautifully-written and engaging factual and anecdotal survey, in the form of a travelogue, of the political, cultural and religious situation of China, including its government (‘the King acknowledges no other God but himself’) and religious cults, and a description of the principles of the Chinese language (with ‘hieroglyphs’ which only express ‘sounds’, not vowels or consonants). The second letter is a long account focusing on the Jesuits’ ‘adventures’ during their missionary work, from their flight from a house fire to meetings with local governors, the administration of holy water to native converts resembling more an exorcism rather than a Christian ritual, and the great difficulties they faced in obtaining a burial place for Matteo Ricci in Peking. Another edition of these influential letters was printed in Rome by Bartolomeo Zannetti in the same year, but no priority has been established.

Newberry and Minnesota at Minneapolis copies recorded in the US.

Cordier II, 808. Not in BL STC C17 It., Brunet or Graesse.


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Il Duomo di Milano.

Milan, Francesco Paganello [Antonio degli Antoni], 1597.


FIRST EDITION. 16mo, pp. (16), 142, (ii). Roman and Italic letter, printed side notes, printer’s woodcut device on title page, decorated initials and typographical head- and tailpieces, beautiful engraved medallions representing the Virgin surrounded by putti under a baldachin on recto of fol. 8 and a portrait of the author on verso. Light age yellowing, the odd marginal spot or mark, slight water stain in first couple of gatherings; small marginal worm trail to a few leaves, ink corrections to verso of *7, small repair to lower margin of p. 29, small tear from blank lower corner of p. 91, a few leaves untrimmed. A good, clean, wide, copy in contemporary limp vellum, early title to spine, remains of ties, worn at corners. Inscriptions in early hands on t-p (“Mediolanum”) and rear pastedown.

Rare first edition of the earliest historical guide to Milan by the Jesuit and historian Paolo Morigia (1525-1604), describing the Cathedral of Milan and a few other religious monuments, and extensively dealing with art theory. It is enriched by two beautiful engravings, not appearing in later issues. Morigia was Superior of the Jesuit house of San Girolamo and wrote numerous works of religious history, in particular on his own order. His most important works known are “Historia dell’antichità di Milano” (1592), providing invaluable sources on life and work of the painter Arcimboldo, and “La nobiltà di Milano” (1595).

The dedication to the Cardinal Federico Borromeo (1564-1631), archbishop of Milan from 1595, defines the Cathedral of Milan as the “eighth wonder of the universe” and summarises the contents, mainly concerning location, size and appearance of the building, as well as its relics and list of cardinals and archbishops. The work consist of 25 chapters: 1-6 deal with the foundation of the Cathedral (1386), devoted to the Virgin, under Giovanni Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan, and describe external and internal architectural features, particularly its layout (nave, transept and chancel, pulpits, altars and glass windows), with reference to materials, decoration and iconography; 8 concerns the Archbishop’s palace; 8-9 the sepulchres of important cardinals and archbishops (Carlo Borromeo and others) and notable contemporaries, such as Marino Caracciolo, Governor of Milan, and Giovanni Giacomo Medici, Marquise of Melegnano, by the well-known Milanese artists Agostino Busti (Agosto Zabaraia) and Leone Leoni; 10 about the consecration of the Main Altar by Pope Martin V; 11-12, 19 are about the bodies of Saints and the Holy relics of Mary and Christ, especially the fragments from the Cross and the nails, which the Emperor Constantine received as a gift from his mother Helena; 15 contains a list of silver items, canonicals and other precious vestments used during the ceremonies; a number of chapters are dedicated to the organisation and political role of the Church of Milan from its origin under the apostle St. Barnabas and bishop St. Ambrose, to the history and works of the archbishops, amongst the others, Pietro Oldrato and Valberto Medici, who rescued Italy from the tyranny of the Longobardians and Arab peoples with the intervention of Charlemagne and the German Emperors. Morigia’s book is a detailed description of the history and heritage of Milan revealing many of its hidden treasures and providing names of the artists (above all, the architect Giovanni Battista Clarici) and valuable information from Milan’s old archives, including a detailed list of the expenses related to the construction of the Cathedral.

Only the National Art Library recorded in the UK. Only 4 copies in the US (Amherst College Library; Notre Dame, Indiana; Illinois and Yale University). Not in Adams; not in BM STC It; not in Brunet or Graesse.


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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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BRESSANI, Francesco Giuseppe


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.


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.


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ACOSTA, José de


De natura novi orbis … et de promulgatione Evangelii apud babaros.

Cologne, officina Birckmannica, 1596.


8vo., pp. (16), 581, (3). Roman letter, little italic. Jesuit device on title; slightly yellowed, occasional oil mark in margins; tiny burn mark affecting one letter on p. 1 and 373; few unprinted words completed in contemporary manuscript and later pencil at bottom of pp. 126 and 274. A good copy, in an early seventeenth-century English brown calf, blind-tooled plain style, probably Cambridge, multiple ruled borders with saw tooth edge, double fillet, central undecorated frame with fleurons at corners; a bit scratched and worn; rebacked, spine part remounted, all edges red; pastedowns from an early Roman letter edition of the King James Bible (2nd Maccabees, III, 1-21 and III, 25-40; IV, 1-2).

Third unaugmented edition of these pioneering treatises on the geography, anthropology and evangelisation of South America, previously published in Salamanca in 1588/ 1589 and 1595. José de Acosta (1540 – 1600) was among the first Jesuit missionaries to embark for the Spanish New World. He spent much of his life in Peru. The main settlement of the order was at that time in the village of Juli, on Lake Titicaca. Here, a college was set up to study the languages of the natives, while the newly-funded Jesuit printing press issued the first printed book of the Americas in 1577. Later, Acosta moved to Lima and taught theology at the university.

In the Third Council of Lima (1582 – 1583) reorganising the American church, Acosta took a very active part and became its official historian. Following an adventurous journey through Mexico, in 1587 he head back to Spain, where he was appointed head of the Jesuit college in Valladolid and later Salamanca. A prolific writer, he is mostly famous for his very successful Historia natural y moral de las Indias. This knowledgeable, realistic and detailed description of the New World was sought after and soon translated into Italian, French, German, Dutch and English. The Natura novi orbis opening this edition represents the early draft of the Historia. In it, Acosta provided the first account of altitude sickness, which affected him while crossing the Andes. He also divided the Amerindians into three categories, acknowledging the Incas and Aztecs as fairly advanced societies in the civilisation process.

The second part comprises a very innovative essay on evangelisation. Acosta struggles to demonstrate to his contemporaries that Amerindians were part of the original God’s plan for mankind and thus were not inferior creatures undeserved of being Christianised and saved. In grounding his argument, the idea that the first inhabitants of America migrated from the biblical world (specifically from Asia), played a crucial role. Indeed, he was the first writer to postulate the existence of a land bridge at the northern or southern extremities of the two continents, long before the discovery of the Bering Strait. In his missionary zeal, Acosta was much concerned with the preparation and morality of priests, who he encouraged to study the aboriginal languages as an essential part of their duties.

‘One of the earliest writers who have treated philosophically of America and its production.’ J. Sabin, A Dictionary of Books Related to America, I, p. 17.

BM STC Ger., p. 2; Adams, A 124; Brunet, I, 41; Graesse, I, 15; Leclerc, 4; Palau y Dulcet, I, 1979; Sabin, I, 120. Not in JFB nor in Alden.


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Illustrium Scriptorum Religionis Societatis Iesu Catalogus

Lyon, Jo. Pillehotte, 1609.


8vo., pp. (ii) 3-303 (viii). Roman and Italic letter, woodcut headpieces and initials, beautiful woodcut title page with architectural frame device, scattered marginal manuscript annotations in two near contemporary hands, autograph at foot of title page (inked over), early C19th bookplate of Colonel S Lyn of Berkeley Square to front pastedown, some light water staining to outer margins of first three gatherings, scorch mark (affecting three or four letters) to I5, very occasional worm holes, general age yellowing. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum, slight wear on spine, title inked on spine and lower edge.

Second, enlarged edition of the first bibliography of members of the Society of Jesus, first published at Antwerp in 1608. The work is split into several parts: the first and by far the most substantial lists alphabetically all known Jesuit authors, giving a short biography and then a list of their works, both printed and manuscript. Among them is Robert Sotwell, of Suffolk, martyred 1595.

The small second part, ordered chronologically, provides biographical details of members of the Society who were martyred ‘ab Ethnicis, Mahumetanis, Haereticis, aliisque impiis’ on missions as far afield as Japan, Mexico, Florida and the Indies. Next comes an index of the writers contained in the catalogue arranged by nationality (eleven are listed under ‘Angli, Scoti, Hiberni,’ including Robert Persons and Joseph Creswell), and then a long and detailed list of works by Jesuits ordered by subject matter. Those printed at Lyon also include the printer’s name and date.

The final part of the work is a list of the provinces, colleges, houses and societies set up by the Society of Jesus, which provides valuable evidence of how they opened up the rest of the world to European influence: by the time this was published, permanent Jesuit establishments had been founded in Panama, Manila, Lima, Nagasaki, Goa, Santa Fe, Peking and Ethiopia. Japan had 13 alone and 154 priests, China and Africa 5 and 60 respectively, and the Americas played host to many hundreds.

Pedro Ribaneira (1526-1611), born in Toledo, entered the Society of Jesus aged fourteen. A Professor of Rhetoric at Palermo, he was ordained in 1553 and dedicated his time to preaching and promulgating the the cause of the Society, especially in the Low Countries. He is perhaps best known for his Life of Loyola, published in 1572.

Graesse VI 106. Sabin 70778a (“ouvrage infinement precieux” Leclerc). De Backer VI 1754. JCB 609/105. Besterman 1592. Alden 83. Palau 266559. Not in JFB.


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Nuovi avisi dell’ Indie di Portogallo.

Venice, Michele Tramezzino, 1568.


8vo., ff. (iv) 59 lacking final blank. Italic letter, printer’s sibyl device on title, woodcut initials. Couple of neat early annotations in blank portion of title, small worm trail at some inner margins not affecting text, a very good clean copy in modern vellum.

Second edition of this rare, early valuable collection of nine letters from the Jesuit missions in Asia written by Diaz, Froes and others between the years 1556 and 1559 and dedicated by the printer-publisher to Vittoria Farnese dalla Rovere, Duchess of Urbino. The letters include some of the earliest first-hand accounts of China and Japan to reach Western Europe. The first provides a description of Ceylon, the Moluccas and the East Indies, the third tells of events in Goa and Indo-China, the fourth deals with the Moslems, the fifth with Malabar and Cochin, the sixth with China and Japan and the seventh with Travancore. The second and last two comprise only brief extracts of longer works.

In almost every case the first reliable accounts of the Far East which reached Europe were letters from the Jesuit missionaries full of first hand information: social, cultural, political, ethnographic, commercial, geographical, economic and religious. It was the detail and apparent accuracy of their scholarly yet practical reports which prompted merchants, seamen and governments to follow them in opening up to European interests the farthest corners of the known world.

BM. STC. It. p. 349. Adams I 109 (1 copy only). JFB J 82 (1st ed.). Cordier (Jap) p.47. Not in Cordier Bibl. Sinica.


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