Annaes de Elrei Dom Joao Terceiro . . publicados por A. Herculano
Lisbon, Typ. de Sociedade Propagadora dos Conhecimentos Uteis, 1844.
8vo. XXIII pp., (2) ff., 469 pp., (4) ff. Later calf (original printed wrappers bound in). Occasional pencil marginalia, some foxing and faint discolouration throughout.
Though the work remained in manuscript for 200 years, Luís de Sousa had been asked by Philip IV of Spain himself, first verbally then in writing in 1627, to write the Annaes and he laboured over it for three years, finally delivering the first part of his history to the king in 1632, according to Herculano (see p. xvi of preface). The son of King Manuel I, called Manuel the Fortunate, D. João III (1502-1557) reined at a time of Portuguese expansion and colonization. “The growing menace that the French might settle permanently in (eastern) South America . . induced King Dom João III systematically to promote the colonisation of Brazil. The system which he adopted in 1534 was to divide the coastline between the Amazon river and São Vicente into a dozen hereditary captaincies . . .” (Boxer, The Portuguese Seaborne Empire, p. 86). “King John III was a particularly generous patron of learning . . . maintaining a large number of Portuguese students at the University of Paris and inviting several distinguished foreign humanists . . to work and teach in Portugal” (idem p. 349). “Fact and legend have combined to weave an atmosphere of romance about the life of Manuel de Sousa Coutinho, better known as Frei Luís de Sousa (1555?-1632) . . . In the convent of Bemfica, where he had professed in September 1614, Frei Luis de Sousa was consulted on various maters by the Duke of Braganza and others who valued his fine character and clear judgement, but he did not live to see the Restoration . . . It is as a stylist, not as a historian, that Frei Luis de Sousa will always be read, and read with delight” (Bell, Portuguese Literature, pp. 241-43 and see p. x of the preface). “O estilo de Fr. Luís, cheio de naturalidade, justiza e poder expressivo, é das coisas mais belas da prosa clássica portuguesa” (Diccionário de Literatura, II, p. 1052). “When the Academy of Sciences entrusted (Herculano) with the task of collecting documents on the early history of Portugal he threw himself into the labour with a fervour . . .” (Bell, Ibid, p. 294). The Noticias extrahidas dos apontamentos de Fr. Luiz de Sousa, relativas ás lacunas que se encontram no manuscripto appear on pp. 369-372 and Memorias e Documentos occupy pp. (373-463). With a facsimile of the manuscript of the beginning of Parte 1ª, Livro 1°, Chapter 13 of the work. Library stamp of the Visconde de Coruche on the title page and on the front wrapper, book plate of John Bury.
Innocêncio V, 329 gives date as 1846, “deve-se a sr. A. Herculano a vulgarização d’este valioso inedito, quasi desconhecido” & XXI, 588, “exemplares se têm tornado raros.”