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0460 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 460 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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the capital of the Khans of Turkestan or Chagatai. It describes his proceedings from his quitting his convent at Vittoria in Spain to his arrival at Almalig, and shows a burning zeal for his work, which had the consummation which he seems almost to have anticipated, in the martyrdom which betel him together with several of his brethren, probably within less than a year from the date of this letter.'

The letter is derived from Wadding, who also relates the story of the martyrdom. Its circumstances are likewise briefly told by John de' Marignolli, who was at Almalig the year after they occurred. And another reference to the story, of earlier date perhaps than the composition of Marignolli's book, is found in John of Winterthur's chronicle.2 The narrAtive is given most fully by one of the Franciscan hagiologists, Bartholomew of Pisa, who wrote later in the same century, and his account, with which Wadding's is nearly identical, runs as follows :3

" In the Vicariat of Cathay or Tartary, in the city of Armalec in the Middle Empire of Tartary, in the year 1340, the following Minorites suffered for the faith—viz., Friar Richard the Bishop of Armalec, Friar Francis of Alessandria, Friar Pascal of Spain, Friar Raymond of Provence ; these four were priests ; also Friar Lawrence of Alessandria, and Friar Peter of Provence, both lay brethren, and Master John of India, a black man, belonging to the third order of St. Francis, who had been converted by our friars. All these had been very well treated in that empire by the emperor then on the throne. Indeed, he had been cured of a cancer by Friar Francis of Alessandria (more by prayer than by physic), and on this account the emperor used to call Friar Francis his father and physician. And so it came to pass that he bestowed upon the brethren lands and privileges and full authority to preach, and even made over to them his own son, then seven years of age, to be baptised ; and so he was accordingly, by the

1 Compare note on Marignolli, with the remarks on that traveller's chronology in the introductory notice. The data appear to fix the death of the friars to 1339, whilst the time of year assigned by the ecclesiastical writers (midsummer) would be probably correct.

2 Eccard, Corpus Histor., i, col. 1877-78.

3 Barthol. Pisan., De Conformitate, etc. (as above, p. 5) f. lxxx ver.