GEORGE Psalmanazar’s Description of Formosa (1704) gives descriptions of St Francis Xavier who travelled to Japan in 1549 to propagate Christianity. In the second edition of the work (1705, second preface), the impostor shows himself a confessor of his indebtedness to Bernhardus Varenius’s Descriptio Regni Iaponiae (1649) and George Candidius. However, of the English publications that appeared before 1704, in all likelihood he borrowed material for his descriptions of Xavier from Orazio Torsellino’s The Admirable Life of S. Francis Xavier (1632) whose original De Vita Francisci Xauerii was published in 1594, Arnoldus Montanus’s Atlas Japannensis: being Remarkakble Addresses by Way of Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, to the Emperor of Japan (1670)1 that is an English version of Gedenkwaerdige Gesantschappen der Oost-Indische Maetschappy in ’t Vereenigde Nederland, aen de Kaisaren van Japan (1669),2 and/or Dominique Bouhours’s The Life of St. Francis Xavier (1688) translated from La Vie de Saint François Xavier (1682) by John Dryden. Description of Formosa begins with a scene of Xavier’s arrival at Cangoxima (Kagoshima) in 1549: When Xaverius the great Apostle of the Indies first arrived, with the Jesuits his Companions, at Cangoxima in Japan, in the Year 1549; they were civilly entertain’d by the Inhabitants of that Place, and after this Jesuits and other Missionaries, being encourag’d by the kind Reception they met with flock’d in great Numbers to Japan … (1–2). Psalmanazar reiterates Xavier’s arrival at the province: But in general I am very well assur’d, by the constant uncontroll’d Tradition of my Countrymen; that notwithstanding all the difficulties they met with, they made a wonderful progress in the conversion of that Empire between the Year 1549. in which Xaverius says he, first arriv’d at Cangoxima … (299). At least four of English publications depict Xavier’s arrival at Kagoshima. In Samuel Purchas’s Pvrchas His Pilgrimes (1625), a letter of ‘Xauier’ dated November 1549 relates: And when wee were almost there, the Master was certified by some which sayled by, that there was store of Pirats at Chincheo; whereupon the winde being faire for Iapon, and crosse for Canton, they brought vs to Cangoxuma, the Countrey of our friend Paul, whose friends vsed vs vnkindly (III, 318). The date of this letter shows that Xavier reached Kagoshima in 1549, but the spelling of the Jesuit missionary, ‘Xauier’, in the letter (III, 316, 317, 318) and the disparity in expression between ‘Xaverius … arrived … at Cangxima’ in Description of Formosa and ‘they brought vs to Cangoxuma’ in the letter makes it difficult to assume that the travel compendium of Purchas provided Psalmanazar with material. Torsellino tells in The Admirable Life of S. Francis Xavier how ‘Xauerius’ was treated at Cangoxima: Now when as they could not well reach to other Hauens as they desired, they arriued with their ship at Cangoxima, a Citty in the Kingdom of Saxuma, and the very Country of Paul of the Holy Fayth. There Francis together with his companions, is very courteously entertayned both by Paules friends, & the rest of the inhabitants, yea euen of the Magistrates théselues … (281). A comparative reading of this passage supports the contention that it was used for concrete material. ‘Xauerius’ arrived at Cangoxima with his companions and was courteously entertained with them by the inhabitants. The almost parallel English words and expressions with which he is described cannot be dismissed as mere coincidences. However, Torsellino does not write that Xavier arrived at Kagoshima in 1549, which implies that Psalmanazar knew about Xavier’s travel to the province in 1549 through other sources. Atlas Japannensis goes: … So the Master, upon their resolution, Steer’d directly for Canton … he had no other course left, but was necessitated to Harbor that Winter in Japan, whither with a fair Gale, they soon arriv’d at Congaxima, the very place where young Paul was born, had dwelt, and fled from his cruel Master two years before; Here Xaverius, and the rest of the Fathers Landed, the 15 of August 1549 where they were kindly receiv’d by the Young=mans Parents and Relations … (25–6). Although the spelling, Congaxima, is here used, it is found only once in Atlas Japannensis, and Cangoxima, which Psalmanazar uses, appears in many places in the work.3 Probably it came to Psalmanazar’s notice that Cangoxima was in common usage and that Congaxima was a misspelling. The question is whether Psalmanazar owes his descriptions of Xavier to Gedenkwaerdige Gesantschappen, which says that Xavier landed at the harbour of Cangoxima, but it does not say that he did so with other Christian missionaries.4 This indicates that the description of Xavier in the English translation of Montanus’s work corresponds more closely to that of him in Description of Formosa. Ambassades Mémorables de la Compagnie des Indes Orientales des Provinces Unies, vers les Empereurs de Japon (1680) which is one of the different versions of Montanus’s work refers to Kagoshima as ‘Congoxima’ (14) and does not specify in what year it was that Xavier arrived at the province. In The Life of St. Francis Xavier (1688), Bouhours writes: … thought to throw Xavier and his Companions overboard. But the Storm ceasing in an instant, his mind grew calmer by degrees, he (sic) weigh’d Anchor, and set Sail again, and took the way of Canton, with intention there to pass the Winter. But the Designs of Men, and Power of Devils, can do nothing against the Decrees of Providence. A contrary Wind broke all the projects of the Captain, constraining him, in his own despight, to enter with full Sails into the Ocean of Japan. And the same Wind carry’d the Junk of the Pirate, toward Cangoxima, the birth-place of Anger, sirnam’d Paul de Sainte Foy, they arriv’d there on the fifteenth of August, in the year 1549 (406). In view of the fact that Bouhours mentions the arrival of Xavier and his companions at Cangoxima in 1549, it does not seem to be beyond the realms of possibility that Psalmanazar gathered material from this English translation which is an almost faithful reproduction of its French original,5 although it is not clear whether he was indebted to the original or to other works on Xavier’s life. Varenius includes a depiction of Xavier in Descriptio Regni Iaponiae,6 but he does not specifically mention that the Catholic missionary arrived at Kagoshima in 1549, which does not allow for the possibility that Psalmanazar drew on Varenius for his descriptions of Xavier. All this adds up to the conclusion that, as far as English publications that came out before 1704 are concerned, in all likelihood Psalmanazar collected material for his descriptions of Xavier from The Admirable Life of S. Francis Xavier, Atlas Japannensis and/or The Life of St. Francis Xavier. Footnotes 1 Hereafter referred to as Atlas Japannensis. 2 Hereafter referred to as Gedenkwaerdige Gesantschappen. 3 See Atlas Japannensis, 79, 237, 241, 243, 247, 250, 314. 4 Gedenkwaerdige Gesantschappen runs: ‘… alwaar in de haven van Cangoxima, geboorte-plaats des voornoemde Pau-lus van ’t Heilige Gloof, Xaverius te landt stapt, den vyftienden van oogst-maand, op het jaar vyftien honderd negen en veertig …’ (17). For Psalmanazar’s indebtedness to Atlas Japannensis, see also Takau Shimada, ‘Where are Meryaandanoo, Chadadijn and Tampousama Derived from?’, Senshu Shogaku Ronshu (Senshu, 2008), 87, 34–5l. 5 See 332–3. 6 See 23. © The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Notes and Queries – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 7, 2018
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