Barcelona: La viuda Piferrer, . 96pp. Contemporary Spanish dyed calf, spine gilt. Very light dampstaining and foxing in margins, a few minor instances of soiling. A very good copy. Item #WRCAM38485
The scarce first Spanish edition of John Thayer's account of his conversion to Roman Catholicism after originally training to be a Congregational minister. Thayer received a degree from Yale in 1779, and later went to France, hoping to become Benjamin Franklin's personal chaplain. Franklin was having none of it, and the rejected Thayer converted to Catholicism in 1783. First printed in London in 1787, this popular work went through numerous editions and translations. Before 1800, versions were published in Dutch, French, German, Latin, Portuguese, and Spanish. This Barcelona edition, translated from a French printing, includes two letters. The first is a letter from the author to his brother answering some of his sibling's objections to his conversion; the second is from a young English woman who was received by Thayer into the Catholic Church, written after her first communion. While in Europe, "as a result of theological controversies with priests in France and in Rome, and a reputed miracle of which he had first-hand knowledge, he entered the Roman Catholic Church...Ordained, June 2, 1787, by the archbishop of Paris, he was lionized by ecclesiastics as the first converted American divine, who had grand plans for the conversion of his fellow Puritans...After two years in the London mission, Thayer set forth for Boston, where his arrival (Jan. 4, 1790) and early activities attracted numerous notices in the New England press...In Boston, his tactless zeal, his uncompromising Puritan spirit, his uneasiness under ecclesiastical restraint, and his egotism prevented any degree of success" - DAB. SABIN 95253. OCLC 7571052. DAB XVIII, pp.406-7.