Breve relatione d'alcune missioni de PP. della Compagnia di Giesu nella Nuova Francia.

Macerata, Agostino Grisei, 1653.

4to (202 x 140mm). In contemporary limp vellum. Title and number in contemporary hand to spine. Light soiling to extremities. Small tear to spine and hindges a bit weak. Inner back hindge split. Woodcut device on title. Previous owner's name to title-page (Jesuits of Bologna). Additional leaf in gathering B. Light brownspotting throughout. Repair to p. 77/78. A good copy. (4), 127, (1) pp.

First edition of one of the rarest early accounts of St. Lawrence, Great Lakes, and Upper Ohio Valley, here with an interesting provenance of the Jesuits of Bologna. It is the first general description in Italian of the Jesuit missions in Canada among the Huron and Iroquois tribes.
The work also contains one of the earliest examples of the use of eclipses to get an accurate fix on longitude. Bressani used the time difference between occurrences of the eclipse at a specific position in France and the place of observation in New France and converted it into degrees of longitude. This method was used and further developed by some of the most prominent Jesuit eighteenth-century astronomers and mapmakers.

Bressani was an Italian Jesuit who served as a missionary in Canada. "After spending two years with the Indians near Quebec, he was sent in 1644 to the Hurons, where he was captured by the Iroquois. He was ransomed by the Dutch and sent to France in the spring of 1645. He returned to this country and lived with the Hurons until 1650, when he returned to Italy and published this account of the missions in New France" (Church). His account of his captivity and ritual torture by the Iroquois is recorded here in an anonymous letter to Father Vimont, originally in the official Jesuit relation in 1645.

“Bressani’s Breve Relatione is organized into three parts. He spends the first part giving detailed descriptions of nature and the native people of early Canada. Jesuit founder Loyola professed human equality without distinction for race, class or caste, and Bessani reflects this in his own writing about the native people. He presents a positive picture of the people, their customs, social behaviour and languages. The second part deals with the conversion of the Natives to Christianity and Bressani’s own adventures: his 1644 capture and torture by the Iroquois. After his rescue by the Dutch he returned to the missions. The graphic descriptions of Bressani`s own wounds makes him appear as a living martyr of the missions. We know that after he returned to Italy in 1651 he continued to preach about the missions for the rest of his life. The third part deals with the stories of Jesuit martyrs in New France.” (Joseph Pivato Athabasca University, A cura di Francesco Guardiani. St. Michael`s College Series, 11. Ottawa: Legas, 2011.)

The Jesuits had a significant presence in Bologna, Italy throughout history. In 1540, the Jesuits were invited to Bologna by Pope Paul III to establish a college. They established their first college in Bologna, which was called the College of Saint Barbara. This college was primarily for the education of young men, and it quickly became one of the most prestigious educational institutions in Bologna. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, the Jesuits in Bologna were involved in various activities, including education, preaching, and pastoral work. They also played a significant role in the Counter-Reformation, which aimed to combat the spread of Protestantism in Italy.

In 1773, the Jesuits were suppressed by Pope Clement XIV, and their colleges and other institutions in Bologna were closed. However, the Jesuits were restored in 1814 by Pope Pius VII, and they returned to Bologna to re-establish their presence. In the 19th century, the Jesuits in Bologna continued to be involved in education, and they established several new colleges and schools in the city. They also played a significant role in the formation ofthe Catholic youth movement in Bologna.

Church 524; Sabin 7734; Ayer 32; McCoy 92; Sabin 7734


Order-nr.: 60289

DKK 110.000,00