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Compromisso da Misericordia de Lisboa.


Lisbon, Na Officina de Henrique Valente de Oliveira, 1662.


4to.  (8), 39, (1) ff. (but lacking f. with licences).   With woodcut on title p. & title within ornamental border.  Later calf (head of spine worn).   Lacks preliminary f. (2) with the licences.   With contemporary marginal annotations, occasional underlining, some ff. discoloured, ink stain on lower margin of preliminary ff. & on f. 6 verso, lower margin of  ff. 12, 15 & 16 & top corner of last f. repaired, new endpapers.

The Santa Casa da Misericórdia at Lisbon was founded in 1498, under the patronage of Queen Leonor, widow of D. João II at the time when she was acting as regent for D. Manuel, then in Castile, its mission to afford spiritual and material aid to all in need.   All members, half of whom were gentry and half commoners, assisted in the activities of the brotherhood, and the Misericórdia also employed a small staff.   This interesting and detailed volume sets out the rules governing the number, qualifications and duties of the members of the brotherhood, their tasks and responsibilities, the administration of  legacies, dowries, ransoming of prisoners captured by Muslim pirates, the material welfare of prisoners, the burial of the dead, etc.    The earliest extant set of rules, or compromisso, is dated 1518;  later reforms necessitated its modification as functions became out-dated and administrative experience dictated amendments, and these compromissos governed all the Misericórdias in the kingdom.   "The rules of the Lisbon misericórdia provided for a total of 600 members, of whom half were gentry (nobres) and half plebeians or mecánicos . . artisans and tradesmen like those of the guilds represented in the Casa dos Vinte e Quatro" (Boxer, Portuguese Seaborne Empire).  This copy is of particular interest because of the four preliminary leaves (ff. 3-6) which contain in near contemporary manuscript, neatly written in a scribal hand, "Memoria das cousas que se fazem cada Anno em esta Sancta Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa," signed by Luis de Meyrelles, which describes the annual functions, the vestments to be used and by whom they were donated, etc.   

Innocêncio (II, 95 & IX, 82) does not cite this edition.   Arouca, Bibliografia das obras impressas em Portugal no séc. XVII, I, C 500.  OCLC lists 1 copy only.      



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