CUNCOLIM MARTYRS

Advis de la bien heureuse mort de cinq religieux de la Compagnie de Iesus, & d’aucuns autres seculiers, qui ont esté tuez pour la foy, par les payens, aux Indes Orientales, l’an 1583. Tiré d’une lettre du P. Alexandre Valignan ... enuoyée de la ville de Goa, au Reuerand Pere General de ladicte Compagnie de Iesus, le vingthuictiesme de Decembre de la mesme année.

Paris, Thomas Brumen, 1584.

8vo, ff. 14, [1 (blank except for type ornament to recto)], without the final blank; engraved vignette to title, head-piece; very faint damp stain to upper margins, small loss to lower blank inner corner of f. 14 and loss to lower portion of final leaf (neither touching text) both neatly repaired; a very good copy in contemporary limp vellum, remains of ties to lower cover; spine reinforced with paper, some cockling and a few marks.

£5500

Approximately:
US $7202€6092

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Advis de la bien heureuse mort de cinq religieux de la Compagnie de Iesus, & d’aucuns autres seculiers, qui ont esté tuez pour la foy, par les payens, aux Indes Orientales, l’an 1583. Tiré d’une lettre du P. Alexandre Valignan ... enuoyée de la ville de Goa, au Reuerand Pere General de ladicte Compagnie de Iesus, le vingthuictiesme de Decembre de la mesme année.

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Very rare first edition in French of the letter sent by the Italian Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano (1539-1606) in late December 1583 to Claudio Acquaviva, the Society’s Superior General, reporting on the deaths of five Jesuit missionaries in the village of Cuncolim in the district of Salcete in Goa, west India, including Rodolfo Acquaviva, Claudio’s nephew and superior of the Salcete mission. The work was published in Latin and Italian in the same year.

Accompanied by Alphonsus Pacheco, Peter Berno, Anthony Francis, and Francis Aranha, Acquaviva travelled to Cuncolim to erect a cross and select ground for building a church. The local population was understandably hostile to the Jesuits after earlier punitive expeditions to destroy their shrines and temples, in which Pacheco and Berno had played an active part, and on 15 July 1583 Acquaviva’s party was set upon by the Hindu villagers and killed with scimitars, spears, arrows, and lances, their bodies being cast into a well. The Portuguese layman Gonçalo Rodrigues and fourteen native Christians were also killed.

For over two centuries Goa was the major training centre for Jesuits received and educated in the Far East and the principal reception centre for recruits from Europe. The martyrdoms reported in the Advis did nothing to stem the number of European Jesuits travelling to India, which increased decade by decade until the late 1620s.

BM STC French p. 241; Sommervogel VIII, 404; Streit Bibliotheca Missionum IV, 1031; USTC 12214. Only the British Library and New York Public Library copies recorded in the UK and US. We have traced no copies in auction records.

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