Rome: Giacomo Mascardi, 1615. 16pp. Later speckled paper boards. With the bookplate from the stock and reference library of H.P. Kraus on front pastedown. Minor separation of spine paper from rear joint. Very minor foxing. A very good copy. In a half morocco box. Item #WRCAM39265
The present work is a rare separate edition of an earlier work by Giovanni Botero, first published in 1586. Botero's letter, written in 1584 and published as part of EPISTOLARUM...CAROLI CARDINALIS BORROMAEI NOMINE SCRIPATRUM..., was composed on behalf of his patron, Carlo Borromeo, to Cardinal Antonia Carafa. In the letter Botero details the Christian rituals observed by Portuguese and Spanish explorers and compares them to those of the native customs of New Spain (Mexico), Ethiopia, and Japan, remarking especially on the similarities between them. He concludes that the vestiges of Christianity were evidence of early apostolic missions to these lands.
Botero was not only one of the greatest economists of the 16th century, he was one of the leading historical and political commentators of his time. An avid student of theology, Botero spent his early years preparing to take vows as a Jesuit missionary, but was prohibited from doing so as a result of his political activity. Carlo Borromeo, the Archbishop of Milan, found Botero a position as a secular priest and then soon after offered him the post as his secretary. It was during this time that Borromeo composed his letter to Cardinal Carafa, referencing the Jesuit letters of Peter Martyr, Ramusio, and Barros, as evidence of the Jesuit influence. An important early statement in support of the theory that early vestigial traces of the church could be detected from the beliefs and practices being uncovered by contemporary Jesuit voyages to Asia and the New World.
This edition is not listed in EUROPEAN AMERICANA, although the work on which it was based is included. Lach, ASIA IN THE MAKING EUROPE II, Book 2, pp.236-37.