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0441 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 441 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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collection, which purports to be written from that coast. This is derived from a MS. in the Laurentian Library, of which I found the indication in Quétif's Script. Ord. Prceclicatoru1n.1 The transcriber Friar Menentillus of Spoleto, in sending a copy or abstract of this letter to gratify the curiosity of an inquiring friend, informs him that it was written by a certain Franciscan missionary proceeding to the court of the Sovereign of all India, and who had been in company with their friend and brother Dominican Nicholas of Pistoia, when the latter died in India. Now we know from one of Montecorvino's authenticated letters that he was the Franciscan who was in company with Nicholas of Pistoia, when he died at St. Thomas's, or the modern Madras. And moreover this very document which we have here in an anonymous form is quoted as "a letter of Friar John the Cordelier," or Franciscan, by a contemporary author, the celebrated physician and reputed sorcerer Peter of Abano.`2 The document itself as given by Friar Menentillus is none of the most lucid, and reads like a translation by a not very intelligent person, rather than like a transcript of the original.

Besides these letters of Montecorvino's already spoken of, Wadding has handed down the fragment of another, written on Quinquagesima Sunday, 1306 (13th February). In this John mentions that a solemn deputation had come to him from a cer-

1 The original, which is in quaint Italian, was published by Professor Kunstmann of Munich, in Münchner Gelehrte Anzeigen, 1855, Nos. 21 and 22, and I am indebted to his kindness fora copy which I had failed to procure otherwise. There is also a brief notice by the same author in one of his papers already referred to. (Phillips and Gärres, Bd. 37, p. 26-7.) Before I obtained the papers from Professor Kunstmann I had got a transcript of the MS. from Florence, from which the translation was made. I have now been able to correct some passages of this by comparison with Professor Kunstmann's edition.

2 " Moreover, almost quite recently hath Friar John the Cordelier written a letter respecting the inhabitants of the climate in question from the territory of Mohabar in India, in the coast where lieth the body of the Apostle Thomas. And in this he saith that you find it ever summer and never simmer (semper cestas et non oestus), because there be continually breezes which moderate the heat"—and so on, quoting several periods out of this very letter. (Petri Aponensis, etc., Conciliator., Venet., 1521, f. 97; see note on Introductory Notices of Marignolli, infra.)