Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

The Puzzling Path of a Recondite Text: The Composition, Circulation, and Reception of the Notícias Recônditas in Eighteenth-Century England

  • Carla Vieira

Abstract

The so-called Notícias Recônditas, an anonymous account written in the context of the negotiations that led to the suspension of Inquisition-related actions in Portugal between 1674 and 1681, has been approached by historiography principally from the points of view of its controversial authorship, its compositional framework, and even the accuracy of its contents. This article proposes a different perspective, focusing on its circulation and reception in the eighteenth-century England. Comparing different handwritten and printed versions of this text reveals numerous additions, transformations, and adaptations of its contents and structure, from its moment of composition until its publication and even afterwards. Eighteenth-century London, where anti-Catholic polemical literature was flourishing, is the place of publication of the first editions. There, Notícias was also appropriated by Anglican polemists with one main purpose in mind: attacking the Catholic Church. This, however, did not suit the text's original goals of making contributions to reforms to the Inquisition in Portugal and raising awareness for the New Christian cause. Therefore, identifying and analyzing the discrepancies among the different versions of the text give way to new questions concerning the intervention of copyists, translators, compilers, and publishers in order to achieve specific objectives and to reach target audiences.

Copyright

Footnotes

Hide All

This paper had the support of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (Post doctoral project: SFRH/BPD/109606/2015). I would like to thank the editors and the anonymous referee who review this text for their relevant comments and suggestions, which were essential for its improvement.

Footnotes

References

Hide All

1 This writing is commonly named “Notícias Recônditas,” based on the edition of 1722. Some of the manuscripts we have analyzed have no title, including the older ones. Others are simply presented as a “Paper” or a “Memorial,” and three of them are indeed entitled “Notícias Recônditas” (see table in appendix). In order to not create confusion with the 1722 edition, we will cite it simply as Notícias.

2 The term New Christian refers to the descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity after the general expulsion of 1496; this distinction between Old and New Christians lasted generation after generation until 1773.

3 See Cárcel, Ricardo García and Martínez, Doris Moreno, “La Inquisición y el debate sobre la tolerancia en Europa en el siglo XVIII,” Bulletin Hispanique 104, 1 (2002): 195213; and Valente, Michaela, Contro l'Inquisizione: Il dibattito europeo secc. XVI–XVIII (Torino: Claudiana, 2009), 148161.

4 An Account of the Cruelties Exercised by the Inquisition in Portugal . . . (London: Printed for R. Burrough and J. Baker, 1708), 1. Hereafter cited as An Account of the Cruelties (1708).

5 Ibid., 38, 101 (respectively).

6 See Herman P. Salomon's note in Saraiva, António José, The Marrano Factory: The Portuguese Inquisition and Its New Christians 1536–1765, translated, revised, and augmented by Salomon, Herman Prins (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 67, n. 6. See also a good abstract of Notícias in chapter 3 of this work.

7 An Account of the Cruelties (1708), 115–116.

8 Ibid., 118.

9 Regarding the negotiations that led to the Inquisition's suspension, see Marcocci, Giuseppe and Paiva, José Pedro, História da Inquisição Portuguesa 1536–1821 (Lisbon: A Esfera dos Livros, 2013), 202209; de Mattos, Yllan, “Uma batalha de papéis: a suspensão e as críticas à Inquisição Portuguesa (1670–1674),” Revista de Historia Moderna 33 (2015): 3355.

10 Some examples of books printed for R. Burrough and J. Baker could be found at the end of An Account of the Cruelties (1708).

11 “Frank village,” also the name of a town in Portugal near Lisbon.

12 Recondite and Posthumous Account concerning the Proceedings of the Inquisitions in Spain and Portugal with their prisoners, divided in two parts: the first one in the Portuguese language, the second in Spanish, both derived from Catholic Apostolic and Roman authors, eminent for their dignity and learning. A work both curious and instructive, compiled with additions by an Anonymous Author. Hereafter cited as Noticias Reconditas (1722). The National Library of Portugal keeps one copy with date of 1720 and the same title, although without the word “Posthumas” (posthumous). The pagination is identical to the 1722 edition. This is the only specimen known, which has raised questions about its authenticity. According to Herman P. Salomon, this book is possibly a partial copy of the 1722 edition but with a false title page (Salomon, Herman P., Queimar Vieira em Estátua. As Apologias (1738, 1743) do Senhor Inquisidor António Ribeiro de Abreu em resposta às Notícias Recônditas atribuídas ao Pe. António Vieira (1608–1697) (Lisbon: Cátedra de Estudos Sefarditas Alberto Benveniste, 2014), 36, n. 33). Augusto da Silva Carvalho also mentions a Latin edition published in London in 1722: Notitiæ reconditæ de processu inquisitionum in Hispania et Lusitania adversus illos qui in carceribus illarum detinentur (Carvalho, Augusto da Silva, “As diferentes edições das «Notícias Recônditas»,” Anais das Bibliotecas e Arquivos XVII, 6768 [1944]: 74). However, it was not possible to identify the whereabouts of this edition.

13 Exact, instructive, curious, true, and informative report on the proceedings of the Inquisition in Portugal presented before Pope Innocent XI by Father António Vieira from the Society of Jesus. Hereafter cited as Relação exactíssima (1750).

14 Relação exactíssima (1750), viii: “Se tems Curiosidade, leos na Escriptura Sagrada, e te sera muy util a Sua Liçam, tanto para Desengano de superstiçoens, como para a salvaçam da Alma, lendoa com o Entendimento livre, e Sô posto na verdade do que ella dis, por que quasi todas as Naçoens do Mundo, ou sejam Calvinistas, Papistas, Lutheranos, ou Mahometanos, e todas as demais Sectas, so a entendem conforme a sua Paxam, e Gosto.”

15 Ibid., title page: “Em Veneza com Licença do Santo Officio.”

16 An Account of the Cruelties (1708), 10, 4, 86 (respectively).

17 Ibid., 82, 90 (respectively); Noticias Reconditas (1722), 95, 100 (respectively).

18 Copy-text: according to McKerrow, it is “that early text of a work which an editor selected as the basis of his own” (cited by Greg, W. W., “The Rationale of Copy-Text,” Studies in Bibliography 3 [1950]: 19).

19 Noticias Reconditas (1722), 10.

20 Ibid., 35: “Não deu nesta traça de averiguar heresias, ou outros delitos graves, nenhum dos S. Pontifices da Igreja, nenhum dos Insignes, e prudentes Principes Xpãos, que illustrárão o Mundo, e se destes, ou dos mais estillos athe aqui referidos ouve da Seè Apostolica, ou regimento aprovado, por ella, será justificado este procedimento, mas se o não ouver serà justificada a queixa de elle.”

21 Noticias Reconditas (1722), 126–127: “Agora se podem considerar os damnos, que de aqui se tem originado a o Reino de Portugal, e suas Conquistas, tudo causado do modo com que se tem procedido e procede contra os miseraveis Xpãos Novos.”

22 Ibid., 137–138: “Quem com os olhos da rezaõ, e piedade libre de toda a paixaõ, e odio considerar estas rezoems taõ ajustadas, e verdadeiras acharà o que esta afligida Gente tem padecido e os danos que tem acontecido a este Reyno, e suas Conquistas, e sendo isto assim tão certo, e infalivel como he, como há quem se atreva a inpedir hum remedio taõ ajustado, e justificado como estes miseraveis, e afligidos pretendem? Sendo que os mais Zelosos no serviço de Deos, e bem da Patria os deviaõ ajudar a este seu tão justo Requerimento.”

23 On Duarte Gomes Solis and Manuel Fernandes de Vila Real, see, amongst several other works: Wachtel, Nathan, “The «Marrano» Mercantilist Theory of Duarte Gomes Solis,” Jewish Quaterly Review 101, 2 (2011): 164188; Wilke, Carsten L., “Manuel Fernandes Vila Real at the Portuguese Embassy in Paris, 1644–1649: New Documents and Insights,” Journal of Levantine Studies 6 (2016): 153176.

24 Vieira, António, Obras escolhidas (Lisbon: Sá da Costa, 1951), 4:2829.

25 Silva, Abílio Diniz, ed., Testamento político de D. Luís da Cunha (Lisbon: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, 2013), 121.

26 Lisbon, Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Reservados, Cod. 1531, fl. 53v (hereafter cited as BN 1531): “Este papel se fez depois que saíu Pedro Alvares Caldas do Santo Ofício, o qual dizem que dera toda a relação e termos particulares do que nele se trata e não falta quem também diga que foi fabricado com a pena do P.e Ant.° Vieyra, também depois de sair do Santo Ofício. As cotas marginais afirmam ser de Diogo Lopes Castro, xn, advogado da Casa da Suplicação, bom letrado, e a fama disse-mo trapaceiro. O qual depois de o cotar com tão bom trabalho, piedade e erudição se apresentou na Inquisição de Lisboa por culpas.” The folio is cut here.

27 Lisbon, Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, Tribunal do Santo Ofício (hereafter cited as ANTT, TSO), Inquisição de Évora, trial 1022 (Pedro Álvares Caldes); ANTT, TSO, Inquisição de Lisboa, trial 1238 (Diogo Lopes Castro).

28 An Account of the Cruelties (1708), 89.

29 ANTT, TSO, Inquisição de Lisboa, trials 5427 (João de Sequeira), and 2416 (António de Sequeira).

30 See Saraiva, The Marrano Factory, 61; Salomon, Queimar Vieira, 35.

31 An Account of the Cruelties (1708), 105.

32 See ibid., 94–95.

33 Noticias Reconditas (1722), 59; Relação exactíssima (1750), 42. All manuscript copies we have analyzed indicate the year 1667, as well as An Account of the Cruelties (1708), 49. It is possible an accidental error of the copyist or the typographer occurred.

34 Accidentals: formal variants, such as spelling or punctuation, for instance. Substantives: variants that affect the meaning of the phrase/text (see Greg, “The Rationale of Copy-Text,” 19–36).

35 Some examples of these variants: when describing the conditions of the Inquisition's jails, Noticias Reconditas (1722) notes that there were five vases for urine and five for water for five prisoners (14), while Relação exactíssima (1750) mentions that these five prisoners only had two vases for urine and one for water in the jail (p. 10); the 1750 edition corrects the misinterpretation of the abbreviation “m.or” in Noticias Reconditas (1722), in which it is read as “mayor,” greater, (98) instead of “morador,” resident (Relação exactíssima, 69); at the end of the text, Relação exactíssima (1750) develops a sentence of 1722 edition—Noticias Reconditas, 137: “não estivera este Reyno tão enfamado entre todas as Naçoens do Mundo” (this kingdom would not be so ill reputed among all nations of the world) –, adding the following explanation: Relação exactíssima, 95: “de que todos os Portuguezes são Judeus, cuja fama se deve somente ao procedimento, do Santo Officio, e as suas listas que se acham espalhadas por tudo elle” (that all the Portuguese people are Jews, whose reputation is due only to the procedures of the Holy Office and its auto da fé lists are found spread throughout).

36 Noticias Reconditas do modo de proceder a Inquisição de Portugal. . . Documentos curiosissimos, e nunca publicados até agora (Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional, 1821).

37 da Silva, Innocencio Francisco, Diccionario Bibliographico Portuguez (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional, 1859–1860), 2:144–147, 4:259–264

38 Authentic memoirs concerning the Portuguese Inquisition, never before published. . . (London: Printed for W. Sandby, 1761), 47–48, footnote. Hereafter cited as Authentic memoirs (1761).

39 Solomons, Israel, “David Nieto and some of his Contemporaries,” Transactions (Jewish Historical Society of England) 12 (1928–1931): 49. The said account corresponds to §54–§58 of Noticias Reconditas (1722), 61–67.

40 See Russo, Mariagrazia, “As Notícias Recônditas e os problemas de autoria,” Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 15 (2016): 7184. Russo maintains that Notícias was the result of a collaborative work between António Vieira and Gaspar de Abreu Freitas, who was on a diplomatic mission in Rome at the time.

41 Lisbon, ANTT, TSO, Conselho Geral, liv. 244, no numbered folio: “Papel, que se presume fes o mesmo Notario em favor dos xx. nn. e contra o modo de proceder do S.to Off.°.”

42 ANTT, TSO, Inquisição de Lisboa, procs. 4422 and 17738.

43 See an analysis of this hypothesis in Novinsky, Anita, “Padre Antonio Vieira, the Inquisition, and the Jews,” Jewish History 6, 1–2 (1992): 151162.

44 Biblioteca Pública e Arquivo Distrital de Évora, Cod. CXIII/1-23d, published in Salomon, Queimar Vieira, 152.

45 Vieira, Obras escolhidas, 139–140 (note).

46 An Account of the Cruelties (1708), unnumbered page (preface).

47 Ibid.

48 Russo, “As Notícias Recônditas,” 82.

49 Lucien Wolf's proscript to Shillman, Bernard, “The Jewish Cemetery at Ballybough in Dublin,” Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England XI (1924): 165. The source quoted by Wolf is manuscript no. 499 from Henrique de Castro's collection. David Machado Sequeira returned to Dublin before going to Bordeaux, which is where he was in 1734. At that time, he preached a sermon during David Ergas la Cour's funeral, which was published in Amsterdam. See Kayserling, Meyer, Biblioteca española-portugueza-judaica (Strasbourg: Charles J. Trubner, 1890), 100.

50 This letter, which ended up never being sent, belonged to Henriques de Castro's collection, which was auctioned off in 1899. See Israel, J. Vitta & Lamed, Jacq., dir., Catalogue de vente de la succession de feu M. D. Henriques de Castro Mz. (Amsterdam: 1899), 52, mss. 499. Unfortunately, it was not possible to find this manuscript.

51 An Account of the Cruelties (1708), unnumbered page (preface).

52 Noticias Reconditas (1722), unnumbered page (“Prologo”). In addition to Ramé's report, this second part of the work also includes extracts from Pope Innocent XI's brief and an excerpt of a seventeenth-century Italian work concerning the Inquisition of Rome and other Italian cities (“Sagrada Atarazana dela Inquisicion de Italia”).

53 “Reflexiones sobre las Noticias Reconditas del Procedimiento de las Inquisiciones de España y Portugal con sus presos” (Reflections on the recondite account of the proceedings of the Inquisitions in Spain and Portugal with their prisoners).

54 Noticias Reconditas (1722), part II, iv: “Que haviendo venido a su mano la Relacion del Anonimo, que corria entonces con mucho aplauso entre los mas ilustres Purpurados y Prelados de Roma.”

55 Ibid., viii: “Añadiò todo lo que le pareciò acertado sobre este Articulo.”

56 Ante exordio â Resposta do Sermam que o Arçobispo de Cranganor, Pregou no Auto da Fé. Que fes em Lisboa, em 6 de Septembro de 1705. . . (Turin [i.e., London]: Officina de Jorge de Cervantes, 1709 [that is after 1728]), 35–36. See Salomon, Herman P., “New Light on the Portuguese Inquisition: the second reply to the Archbishop of Cranganor,” Studia Rosenthaliana 5, 2 (1971): 178186; Vieira, Carla, “A graça e a desgraça das relíquias do Judaísmo. O sermão de D. Frei Diogo da Anunciação Justiniano, arcebispo de Cranganor e as suas respostas: circulação e reapropriação,” Lusitania Sacra XXXVII (January-June 2018).

57 See Solomons, “David Nieto.” See also David Ruderman's works mentioned below.

58 Memorias de litteratura portugueza (Lisbon: Academia das Ciências de Lisboa, 1793), 326–327; Kayserling, Biblioteca, 77.

59 Ruderman, David, Jewish Thought and Scientific Discovery in Early Modern England (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2001), 325. See also Ruderman, , “Jewish Thought in Newtonian England: The Career and Writings of David Nieto,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 58 (1992): 193219; Ruderman, , Jewish Enlightenment in an English key: Anglo-Jewry's Construction of Modern Jewish Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 185188.

60 Mimran, Sarah, “Une minorité et son guide spirituel: la communauté séfarade de Londres et le rabbin David Nieto (1701–1728),” Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique XVII, 2 (2012): 39.

61 “Al lector” in Respueta al Sermon Predicado por el Arçobispo de Cangranor enel Auto da Fé Celebrado en Lisboa, en 6. Setiembre Anno 1705 . . . (Villa-Franca [that is London]: [s.d.] [that is after 1728]). Israel Solomons assumes that the author of this preface may be the Haham's son, Isaac Nieto (Solomons, David Nieto, 57).

62 See An Account of the Cruelties (1708), 117–118.

63 For example, “O good Jesus apply thou the Remedy” (An Account of the Cruelties (1708), 13); “Oh bom Deus! Aplicay remedio” (Noticias Reconditas (1722), 18). Also, “But we beg, for the love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, of those who may harbour” (An Account of the Cruelties (1708), 119); “Pello amor de Deos, rogamos a os que assim julgão” (Noticias Reconditas (1722), 126).

64 Relação exactíssima (1750), xv: “Os mesmos que creem em Christo, he con tanta variedade, e disonancia quanto vay de Christam Papista, a Christam Calvinista, ou Lulterano, e demais Sectas.”

65 Ibid., xviii: “E tanto assim, que em todas as Synagogas de Judeos, pedem que Deus conserve as Inquisiçoens, em Portugal, e Castella, para que o Judaismo se nam perca nos dittos Reynos.”

66 Noticias Reconditas (1722), part II, 65–86.

67 Salomon, Queimar Vieira, 150.

68 See ibid., 239–719.

69 See Shaw, L. M. E., The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance and the English Merchants in Portugal, 1654–1810 (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing 1998), 170174.

70 Diamond, A. S., “Problems of the London Sephardi Community, 1720–1733—Philip Carteret Webb's Notebooks,” Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 21 (1962): 40.

71 See London Metropolitan Archives, Spanish and Portuguese Jew's Congregation, LMA/4521/A/02/03/003, LMA/4521/A/02/03/004 (by permission of the Board of the S&P Sephardi Community of London); and Barnett, R. D., “The Correspondence of the Mahamad of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation of London during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 20 (1959–61), 4.

72 Laguna, Daniel Israel Lopez, Espejo Fiel de Vidas . . . (London: 1720). For more about this work, see Fine, Ruth, “The Psalms of David by Daniel Israel López Laguna, a Wandering Marrano,” The Conversos and Moriscos in Late Medieval Spain and Beyond, ed. Ingram, Kevin and Serrano, Juan Ignacio Pulido (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 3:45–62.

73 See Haydon, Colin, Anti-Catholicism in eighteenth-century England, c. 1714–80: A political and social study (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993).

74 Marchant, John, The Bloody Tribunal: or, an Antidote against Popery (London: 1757), titlepage.

75 See van der Vekene, Emil, Bibliotheca Bibliographica Historiæ Sanctæ Inquisitionis (Vaduz: Topos Verlag, 1982), 1:428–450.

76 Bethencourt, Francisco, História das Inquisições: Portugal, Espanha e Itália (Lisbon: Temas & Debates, 1995), 307.

77 Geddes, Michael, “A Narrative of the Proceedings of the Inquisition in Lisbon . . .,” in Miscellaneous Tracts (London: Printed for A. and J. Churchill, 1709), 1:545. The original edition is from 1702.

78 Another version of the same text was also included in A General History of the Proceedings and Cruelties, of the Court of Inquisition; in Spain, Portugal, &c. . . . (London: 1738).

79 An abstract of the account of the proceedings of the Inquisition in Portugal (London: Printed for John Baker, 1713), 5 (n. a).

80 An Account of the Cruelties (1708), 17: “But there is now living at Madrid a Woman who has so great a Sense of Honesty and Shame, that because of what has happened to her in the Prisons of one of the Inquisitions of Portugal, she will not see the face of any Body, and lives now in Madrid in this retires manner for shame sake.”

81 Solomons, David Nieto, 48–49.

82 Dupin, Louis-Ellies, Mémoires historiques pour servir à l'histoire des inquisitions enrichis de plusieurs figures (Cologne: Chez Denys Slebus, 1716), 2:3148.

83 The Relation de l' Inquisition de Goa is indeed reproduced in the second volume of Mémoires Historiques but only in the following part (book V).

84 Authentic memoirs (1761), 45, 59.

85 Ibid., iv–v.

86 See Araújo, Ana Cristina, “The Lisbon Earthquake of 1755—Public Distress and Political Propaganda,” e-journal of Portuguese History 4, 1 (2008), https://www.brown.edu/Departments/Portuguese_Brazilian_Studies/ejph/html/issue7/pdf/aaraujo.pdf.

87 See General catalogue of printed books: additions, 1963 (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1964). For more on Bower, see Duffy, Eamon, “«Poor Protestant Flies»: Conversions to Catholicism in Early Eighteenth Century England,” Studies in Church History 15 (1978): 289304; Zambuto, Raffaella, “Il Settecento Vagum e Ribelle di Archibald Bower,” Annali di Storia delle Università Italiane 13 (2009): 163174.

88 Ragussis, Michael, “Writing Spanish History in Nineteenth-Century Britain. The Inquisition and «the Secret Race»,” Sephardism: Spanish Jewish history and the modern literary imagination, ed. Halevi-Wise, Yael (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012), 61.

89 Stockdale, John Joseph, The history of the Inquisitions, including the secret transactions of those Horrific Tribunals (London: Printed for J. J. Stockdale, 1810), xvi.

90 For instance, Stockdale introduces Maria da Conceição, a young woman from Vila Viçosa condemned by the Inquisition (An Account of the Cruelties (1708), 51) as a nun: “sister Maria of the Conception” (Stockdale, The history of the Inquisitions, 224). Also Maria Mendes, who was born at Fronteira and lived in Elvas (An Account, 84), is presented as “Maria Mentes,” “a native of Fueintera, who lived at Clues” (Stockdale, 228).

91 See Patterson, W. B., “The Peregrinations of Marco Antonio De Dominis, 1616–24,” Studies in Church History 15 (1978): 241257.

92 Stockdale, The history of the Inquisitions, 215, 228.

93 This title appears in a few auction catalogues, for instance: White's Sale Catalogue, for the year 1784. . . (London, 1784), 54, no. 1354; Bibliotheca Sussexiana. The extensive and valuable library of his Royal Highness the late Duke of Sussex . . . , part I (London: 1844), 236, no. 5137; Catalogue of the remaining portion of the extensive library of John Black . . . (London: 1844), 2:26, no. 498. In A Catalogue of the Books Belonging to the Library Company of Philadelphia . . . (Philadelphia: C. Sherman & Company, 1835), the title Authentic memoirs of the Portuguese inquisition, with reflections on ancient and modern popery, and the causes of its alarming progress in this kingdom, published in London in 1761 (p. 130), is listed.

94 An Account of the Rise and Present State of the Inquisitions shewing, that those of Spain and Portugal are contrary to the Divine and Political Laws, and more cruel and tyrannical in their Proceedings than that in Italy. . .. (London: Printed for J. Brotherton, 1730), 14–52.

95 Stockdale, The history of the Inquisitions, 229.

96 Ragussis, “Writing Spanish History,” 61–62.

97 Valente, Contro l'Inquisizione, 163.

98 Garcia Cárcel and Moreno Martinez, “La Inquisición y el debate”: 198.

99 See Endelman, Todd M., The Jews of Georgian England 1714–1830: Tradition and Change in a Liberal Society (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1979), 86117.

100 An abstract of the account of the proceedings . . . , iii.

This paper had the support of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (Post doctoral project: SFRH/BPD/109606/2015). I would like to thank the editors and the anonymous referee who review this text for their relevant comments and suggestions, which were essential for its improvement.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed