Nouvelle relation, contenant les voyages de Thomas Gage dans la Nouvelle Espagne, ses diverses avantures; & son retour par la province de Nicaragua, jusques Ã la Havane; avec la description de la ville de Mexique tell qu'elle estoit autrefoils, & co
Publisher: Paul Marret
4 parts in 2 volumes. +200+-178 pages with frontispiece, five folding plates and three folding maps. +318 pages with frontispiece, seven folding plates and one folding map. Duodecimo. 6" x 3 3/4") bound in original leather with five raised spine bands in black and red spine labels in gilt lettering. Later edition in French (first published in Paris, 1676, but with out the maps and plates; the work first published in English in London, 1648)
Thomas Gage was an English Dominican friar, best known for his travel writing on New Spain and Central America during a sojourn there of over a decade. He closely observes colonial society and culture. On his return to England in 1637 he converted to Anglicanism. The route led through Mexico, where Gage decided to remain and for a time taught Latin in the convent school. By Gage's own account, in Mexico City he heard from a friar who had run away from his duties in the Philippines that the Dominican superiors there were cruel and harsh and the friars corrupt and worldly. In order to escape onward posting to the Philippines, Gage and three other friars escaped from Mexico for Guatemala. Here he was accepted by the Dominicans as a useful addition to their manpower. He spent two or three years in the priory in Santiago de los Caballeros, where he seems to have liked the opportunity for study but began to have religious doubts and was led to ask to return to England. The Dominican authorities refused, on the grounds that missionaries had to remain in the Americas for ten years. Further embittered, he decided to accompany friar Francisco Moran into new territories of Guatemala to learn the language and ways of the Amerinds. This he did and preached to two communities of Mixco and Pinola for five years. It seems likely that this was already in his mind at least in part a largely mercenary operation, aimed at gathering funds to finance a return to England. Gage gathered a handsome 9,000 crowns, in what proportion honestly gained is left unclear. By 1635, with this sum accumulated, Gage, now increasingly disenchanted with Spanish America, was ready to return to Europe, requested permission from the Dominican Provincial, was refused and was posted instead to Petapa. After a year there he decided to run for it. All in all he had spent the years 1625-1637 in Mexico and Guatemala. Turning his wealth into pearls and precious stones, on 7 January 1637, he made his way through Nicaragua and sailed from Costa Rica on 4 February. He was captured by Dutch corsairs led by Diego el Mulato en route. Gage was unharmed and was allowed to keep some books and paintings, but lost all his other valuables. He finally reached Spain on 28 November 1637, and in 1638 arrived in England. There, after an absence of twenty-six years, he discovered that he had been disowned and disinherited by his father, long deceased, though he was welcomed and treated well by his family. He could not get along with his fellow Dominicans in England and soon traveled to Rome, though his doubts about his faith continued. On the way out he called on his brother Colonel Henry Gage at his winter quarters near Ghent. This journey, lengthened by ill-health and wartime conditions, brought him a number of adventures, but also the opportunity to visit Protestant communities in both Germany and France. In Rome, where he continued to conceal his leaning to Protestantism, he involved himself in a variety of intrigues.
Spine ends chipped, corners bumped, hinge cracked, some tears at folds of plates and maps else a good to very good set.
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