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Unpublished history of the Vincentians' second mission to Asia

[Portuguese Mission in Asia]. Compendio historico dos seminarios da India, e Makao, regidos pelos padres da Nova Congregação. Escrito por hum dos Novos Sacerdotes para servir de aparato às memórias da missão Portuguesa da China que o Principe Regente Nosso Senhor foi servido entregar à Nova Congregação no anno de MDCCC.

No place, 1800-1805.

4to. Portuguese manuscript, ink on paper, written in several hands. (2), 72 (but: 73), (3) pp.; 3 blank ff., 21, (1) pp., 3 blank ff. Bound to style in the early 20th century by Almeida of Lisbon, using contemporary full calf with giltstamped spine and red spine label. Marbled endpapers.

Unique, unpublished manuscript about the Portuguese-led mission of the Vincentians and their establishment of seminaries in Macao and India during the late 18th century. The Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians, Lazarists), founded by St. Vincent de Paul in 1625, had begun their mission of Asia as early as 1699, but the first generation of missionaries fell prey to the controversy over the Chinese Rites and died out by the 1760s. "The Vincentian mission in China began anew in 1784" (Tiedemann) when the new bishop of Beijing, Alexandre de Gouveia, invited the Portuguese Lazarist Manuel Correa to staff the Macau seminary, a move also motivated by the vacuum left in the East by the suppression of the Jesuit order in 1773. This second Vincentian mission to China and Macao (the "Nova Congregação") lasted well into the early 19th century, but petered out after 1811 when "the emperor expelled from Beijing all but 3 Portuguese Vincentians, who were members of the Bureau of Mathematics, and the French Vincentian Louis-François Lamiaux, who was the French interpreter at the court. Nine years later, the mission in Beijing [...] ground to a halt" (ibid.).

Though compiled with evident care, especially at the beginning, the present history of the Vincentians' efforts is clearly not a fair copy, but rather an original working manuscript containing revisions, additions, and notes by several hands. The text is divided into three parts: the first two deal with the history of the establishment of the Congregation's overseas seminaries in India and Macau, including an appendix with notes on the mission to China and travel reports by various missionaries (followed by a detailed six-chapter table of contents). The third part, apparently added a little later, is entitled "Novo estabelecimento da Missão Portuguesa de Pekin entregue a Nova Congregação de Portugal" ("New establishment of the Portuguese mission to Beijing entrusted to the New Congregation of Portugal").

Bookplate of Mario Carmona to front pastedown; bookbinder ticket of Almeida, Lisbon, to front flyleaf. Very finely preserved.


Cf. Tiedemann, Reference Guide to Christian Missionary Societies in China, p. 13ff.