Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/342

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

280 NOTES AND QUERIES. 1 1 2 S.X.AP KIL 8,1922. veritable storehouse of Johnsonian lore, and then because it conforms to the best standards of ex- haustive and scholarly research. Journal of the Travels of Father Samuel Fritz. Translated from the Evora MS. and edited by the Rev. Dr. George Edmundson. (The Hakluyt Society.) ON a July day of the year 1692 there entered the city of Lima a tall, spare, ruddy man, with a curly beard. He wore a short cassock of palm fibre reaching to the middle of his leg, and hempen shoes ; in his hand he carried a cross. The people of Lima flocked to gaze upon him with astonish- ment, thinking they saw St. Pachomius come from the Thebaid to visit them, so venerable was his aspect. This remarkable person was Father Samuel Fritz, a member of the Company of Jesus, who, at that date, had spent some six years on the Amazon, principally in going up and down among the islands in the upper reaches of the river between the mouths of the Napo and the Putumayo, teaching the Christian religion to Omaguas, Jurimaguas and other Indian tribes ; but having been also constrained by a grievous sickness to make his way down to the Portuguese city of Para at the river's mouth and journey back again. The courage and endurance of Father Samuel, his force of character, which caused the Indians to believe him to be divine, his endless compassion towards his people in their numerous afflictions, and his statesmanlike grasp of the conditions of the country make him a truly apostolic figure ; but he was even more than one of the best of missionaries. He had the eye and hand of a master craftsman, a markedly scientific turn of mind, and such alertness of intellect that in the midst of hard toil .and bodily suffering he could make careful observations of the then little-known and scarcely surveyed country which he traversed. His most important work is his map founded upon the observations, reckonings and inquiries of his journey down the Amazon and up again ; but his Journals contain a great number of interesting particulars of the super- stitions and customs of the Indians, of the treatment of the Indians by the Portuguese, and of the methods and progress of trading and other intercourse both between different tribes and between the tribes and white men. The Indians of the Amazon, as he depicts them, are simple and ingenious people haying considerable ability in handicrafts, and easily amenable to suggestion. Portuguese exploitation of them makes one of the most shameful of the tales of old oppressions. Forbidden directly to make the Indians slaves, the settlers compelled them to go to war with one another, then ransomed the captives from the victor. Father Samuel's map had been published in a reduced form in 1707. Hjis Journal had long been lost, and its discovery in 1903 is due to the per- sistence and acumen of Dr. Edmundson. He found it in a codex in the Biblioteca Publica a1 Evora a document entitled ' Mission de los Omaguas, Jurimaguas, &c.' This turned out to be a history of the life and labours of Samue" Fritz, incorporating long passages from Fritz's Journals and, in particular, the Journal of the descent of the Amazon. The writer never reveals his name ; but there can be no doubt that he be- .onged to the Company of Jesus. He writes with .ntimate knowledge of the Mission affairs, and with great insight and admiration and con- siderable charm of the character of Samuel Fritz. Fritz was by birth a Bohemian. As a youth ais brilliance in study aroused the greatest hopes of him. At the age of 32 having been a Jesuit for some thirteen years he was sent to Quito, and thence after a short time, alone, to preach the Gospel in a vast tract of country which no missionary had yet entered. He died in the spring of 1724, within a few weeks of com- pleting his 7 Oth year, still labouring as a mission- ary though he had seen the greater part of his work destroyed by the Portuguese in their at- tempts to establish themselves on the Upper Amazon. Dr. Edmundson summarizes and explains the contents of the MS. in his Introduction and supplies a good deal of illustrative matter in the appen- dixes. We are given an excellent reproduction of the map as published in 1707. The transla- tion runs easily, and apart from its value to the historian and the geographer this volume, both from its manner and its matter, should attract also those who read chiefly for imaginative pleasure. The Oxford University Press, 1468-1921. ( Oxford, Clarendon Press. 5s. net.) THIS beautifully printed and illustrated book should certainly find a place on the shelves of a lover of Oxford. There is a strong touch of reclame about it : but, for once, this admission need not be derogatory, for both in its history and in its services the Oxford Press possesses the right to speak well of itself. The first book printed at Oxford bears the date MCCCCLXVIII., but this is agreed to be an error, and it is supposed that an " x " has dropped out from the true figure, which should be 1478. The book is a com- mentary on the Apostles' Creed attributed to St. Jerome. For sixty years or so in the sixteenth century the history of the Oxford Press is blank. Then Leicester revived it ; followed in time by Laud, Fell, and Clarendon. It is needless to remind lovers of books of the beauty and interest of the Fell types, of which specimens are given here. There are also excellent reproductions of early title pages, wood-cuts, oriental types, headpieces and initials, and imprints with, to conclude, a very curious cut of a supposed " ox- ford " with Osney in the distance, taken from Hearne's edition of Roper's ' Life of More ' (1716). The historical sketch is followed by sections full of good detail on the Press as it is to-day, both in England and abroad, and on Oxford books. CORRIGENDA. ' AN EARLY ROYAL CHARTER ' : At ante, p. 242, col. 1, line 19, for "castum" read castrum; ibid., last line, for " suggestion " read conjecture ; p. 243, last line but two of the article, for " Somerset " read Wilts. On pp. 242-3, omit ' Testa de Nevil.' Precise reference mislaid. At ante, p. 228, col. 1, last line, for "1864 " read 1684 ; col. 2, line 3, for " Byland's " read Ryland's ; ibid., line 27, for "Holbeache" read Holbeech.