Lugano [but Venice]: per Giavinno Agreti [but Giovanni Targier], 1760.
Octavo: 16.3 x 10 cm. 262, , pp. (last blank). Collation: A-Q8, R4
FIRST EDITION THUS.
Woodcut title vignette, unusual charming woodcut headpiece titled ‘L’entrée de Versailles’ (title erased on woodcut block) and signed P. Mory with a view of the palace and main gates, woodcut initial and headpiece, title and handful of leaves a trifle foxed along edges, minor paper flaw to lower blank margin of B2 and I2, paper just softened, Roman letter, with Italic, re-cased in 18th C. marbled paper, antique-style title label to spine, endpapers renewed (but not modern).
A very good, clean copy of the scarce first and only edition of the Italian translation of this intriguing anti-Jesuit pamphlet. It is one of several such works produced to berate the allegedly untrustworthy and morally lax religious Order after 1759, when the Jesuits were officially expelled from Portugal. This eventually led to the global Suppression of 1773.
The anonymous Italian translation adapted, under a different title and with variants intended for an Italian, mainly Catholic audience, of the anonymous Motifs pressants et déterminants: qui obligent en conscience les deux puissances, eccle ésiastique & se éculiere, a ane éantir la Socie éte é des Je ésuites (1759). This was one of many anti-Jesuit works promoting the expulsion of the Order from France, eventually enforced in 1764.
An engagingly written and biting account, it embraces Europe and the foreign missions, berating the ‘unhealthy doctrines’ and ‘worst attacks’ to the state perpetrated by the Jesuits since the Order was established in 1540. The narrative comprises dozens of fascinating anecdotes of episodes and arrests throughout Europe: e.g., in 1555, in Zaragoza, the Jesuits were excommunicated in several parishes with solemn rites in which they were cursed against in church, in the dark, after candles were put off. In places, it is bitterly ironic, with Jesuits and their opponents even calling one another names; these last were adapted from French into Italian, with lexical choices pointing to a translator from southern Italy. The pamphlet also mentions the 1585 Japanese embassy to Rome, and missions in the Philippines, Mexico, India and China.
The false Swiss imprint sought to conceal the real place of publication – Venice. The city was ‘one of the most important centres of anti-Jesuitism throughout the 18th century: many of the polemical pamphlets […] were published there’ (Pavone, ‘Banishment’, p.113). In this case, the printer, Giovanni Targier, hid his true identity behind the anagram Giavinno Agreti. Only six years later, in 1766, the Secretary of State of Pope Clement XIII would prohibit the purchase, ownership and reading of all newssheets, and indirectly of pamphlets like this, bearing the imprint of Lugano, as they brought ‘corruption of costumes, depravation of the mind, and scandal’ (Calderari, ‘Bibliografia luganese’, 446).
No copies listed in North America. OCLC locates only 8 copies, one of which at the BL. (Of the French version, only Toronto, Loyola, Boston College, and Minnesota in North America.).
Bibliografia storica ticinese, p.9; Allgemeine Geschichte der Jesuiten, p.402; Bravetti & Granzotto, False date: Repertorio delle licenze di stampa veneziane con falso luogo di edizione, p.381. Not in Sommervogel, who only mentions the French original (XI, 598). S. Pavone, ‘Banishment, Exile and Opposition’, Lusitania Sacra 32 (2015), pp.105-19; P.C. Calderari, Biografia luganese del Settecento (2002).