Jesuit reports from China
Due lettere annue della Cina del 1610 e del 1611
scritte al M.R.P. Claudio Acquaviva, Generale della Compagnia di Giesu. Rome Bartolomeo Zannetti 1615
First edition. Small 8vo (16.5 x 11 cm), pp. 263, [1, blank]. Bound in modern vellum. Light marginal browning, a faint stain on a few leaves, but a very good copy.
Auvermann & Payne 223; Cordier BS 808; Löwendahl 55
First edition of detailed reports on Chinese affairs for 1610 and 1611, submitted to the head of the Society of Jesus in Rome by Nicolas Trigault, a Jesuit missionary recently returned from China. The first letter provides a description of the Chinese political situation, the state of the missions, and reports from Beijing and Nanjing; the second has a general report on the mission and a special report from Nanjing. Compiled after the death of Matteo Ricci, founder of the Jesuit mission in China, these reports 'stress the importance of keeping Peking as the centre of the Jesuit missionary effort in China, the need to respect Chinese ways of dealing with foreigners, the contrast between the peace and order in China and the turbulence in Japan, and the desirability of making China into an independent province of the Society and of sending more missionaries' (Lach & Van Kley I, p.372). Nicolas Trigault (1577-1628) was a Jesuit priest who followed in the footsteps of Matteo Ricci. He reached China in 1611 and remained there until 1613, when he returned to Europe with Ricci's journals, arriving at Rome in 1614. These letters were published as part of Trigault's efforts to bring the Jesuit work in China to the attention of Catholic Europe. Trigault edited and published Ricci's journals as De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas (1615). He returned to China in 1618 and died at Nanjing in 1628.