# 15571

TOURNON, Charles-Thomas (Carlo Tommaso) Maillard de (1668-1710); THOMAS, Antoine (1644-1709)

[MANUSCRIPTS] Copy of a report by Cardinal Maillard de Tournon sent from Macau to the Propaganda Fide, 1705; [together with] Supplicatio facta Imperatori, being a copy of a document relating to Tournon’s imprisonment at Macau, by Antoine Thomas and others [1707]

Small quarto, recent marbled papered boards with gilt lettered and decorated morocco label to upper board; front pastedown with ex libris of H.P. Kraus; manuscript in ink on wove paper with anchor watermark; pp [2 blank], [5 Report of Tournon], [4 Supplicatio facta Imperatori], [1 blank]; both documents are written in the same neat secretarial hand, the first in Italian, the second in Latin; foliation numbering indicates that the two documents were originally bound together; indistinct early ecclesiatical library stamp to bottom margin of first page; clean and fresh throughout.

Cardinal Charles Maillard de Tournon (1668-1710), having been appointed by Pope Clement XI as papal legate to India and the Far East, departed for China in 1703. The primary tasks of his embassy were to report on the state of the missions and to settle once and for all the Chinese rites controversy. Tournon arrived at Macau in April 1705, already firmly opposed to the tolerant stance of the Jesuit missionaries toward Confucian practices amongst Christian converts.

The first of the two manuscripts offered here is a contemporary manuscript copy, made in Rome, of Tournon’s first report to the papal authorities following his arrival in China, and is signed ‘nella Provincia di Cantone 26 7bre [September] 1705 … Carlo Tomaso, Patriarca d’Antiochia’. It describes his trip to from Macau to Peking in a ship flying the yellow imperial banner, and relates how he was well received by the Kangxi Emperor when he arrived there. He names several cities visited along the way, where he was also received with great honour. Tournon subsequently set out from Peking and briefly reports on other provinces in the vicinity.

In November 1704 the Pope had issued a decree banning the practice of Chinese rites, and on receipt of the news of this decision Tournon issued a decree at Nanjing on 25 January 1707 obliging the missionaries, under pain of excommunication, to abolish these rites. Relations between the legate and the Kangxi Emperor immediately soured, and, despite the entreaties of the Jesuits under their Superior, Antoine Thomas, the Emperor ordered Tournon to be imprisoned at Macau and sent a delegation of Jesuit missionaries to Rome to protest against the decree. Tournon would die in Macau in 1710 without ever being released.

The second of the two present manuscripts, Supplicatio facta Imperatori, was made in Rome by the same copyist as the first, and is a copy of a submission to the Kangxi Emperor made by the Jesuits Antoine Thomas, Philip Grimaldi, Thomas Pereyra and Jean-Francois Gerbillon, in response to the Emperor’s decision to imprison Cardinal Tournon. They extol the virtuous character of Tournon, to whom they refer as Tolo, his Chinese name, Tolo. It is requested that Tournon be accompanied by a surgeon and physician. Another manuscript copy of Supplicatio facta Imperatori is held in the Archivio Storico del Comune di Genova, Manoscritti, Ricci, 0167, ‘Miscellanea di documenti riguardanti la controversia sui Riti Cinesi’, sec. XVIII.

See Also

In Oriente factum

In Oriente factum



Voyages & Exploration