JESUITS IN THE FAR EAST.
LE BON, OLIVIER-SIMON. 1710-1780. 12 letters in French (9 autograph letters signed "Le Bon" or "Olivier Simon LeBon Evéque de Mitelopolis Coadjuteur de Siam", 2 autograph letters, 1 letter signed "Le Bon"), 8vo, Macao & Siam, 18 pp recto and verso, October 6, 1771-December 3, 1775, plus 2 pp autograph letter signed "Le Chever De Robien" to 1 conjoining leaf. Four letters with marginal loss of paper or tears, text not affected, 1 letter with several paper repairs; overall very good, the ink very dark and the writing very legible.
A MOST INTERESTING AND IMPORTANT COLLECTION OF JESUIT LETTERS FROM MACAU AND SIAM from Le Bon, Jesuit Bishop of Metellopolis and Co-adjutor of Siam, to Pierre-Louis Achille de Robien (1736-1792), a representative of the French East India Company in Canton and head of the board for French commerce. The letters discuss the missionary activities in Macao, investment matters of the religious order, and the persecution suffered by the mission in Siam, amongst other matters. In particular, the letters illuminate the orders' business affairs with the French East India Company, their involvement in clandestine political matters, including the support of Count Maurice Benyovsky after his escape from Russian exile. One letter contains a translation into French from Portuguese of the October 1771 Gazette of Macao describing the arrival of Count Benyovsky at Macao: [trans]"The arrival of Baron Benyorsky in this city was a great sensation both for the singular voyage that he made along the coast of Russian Tartary to here, as well as for the singular knowledge he may have on the state of affairs between the Turks and the Russians...." Also included is a most interesting letter written from the prison of the Bangkok Royal Palace in 1776, where LeBon, two missionaries, and three Christian Mandarins were imprisoned. It describes their persecution, flogging and imprisonment at the hands of the king, and warns not to send any other missionaries to Siam: [trans] "...the intention of the King is to send us back to Macao at the first opportunity ... you must not even think of sending any new missionaries here ... it is not like China here, we can not hide or remain incognito in Siam."