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he answered the objections which were made against it, and, as he tells us, with signal success. He remarks that those who were most eager and pointed in their opposition were the first to be converted, became his most intimate friends, and revealed to him the peculiar doctrines of the different religious sects. Day and night he was besieged by a crowd of importunate questioners, and called without ceremony to satisfy the curiosity of the great. The result of the conferences, which lasted two months, was the conversion, or at least the baptism, of five hundred people. Xavier left Japan on the 20th November, 1551, after a stay of two years and four months.
In his controversies with the Japanese, Xavier had been continually met with the objection—how could the Scripture history be true when it had escaped the notice of the learned men of China? It was Chinese sages who had taught philosophy and history to the Japanese, and Chinese missionaries who had converted them to Buddhism. To China, then, would he go to strike a blow at the root of that mighty superstition. Accordingly he sailed from Goa about the middle of April, 1552, with a merchant, named James Pereira, who was to act as ambassador to the Emperor of China. On arriving at Malacca, this man becoming involved in a quarrel with the Portuguese governor, was forcibly detained, and Xavier went on alone to the island of San-Cean, a place of rendezvous between the Chinese and Portuguese merchants, distant about half a day's sail from Canton. But no one had the courage to brave the penal laws which guarded the entrance of foreigners into China; and being a prey to continual anxiety to reach the new scene of his labors, Xavier fell ill, apparently of remittent fever, and died on the 2d of December, 1552. According to a story which is believed throughout the Catholic world, his body was miraculously preserved from corruption, and was fifteen months after landed at Goa, perfectly fresh and soft as if he had died the day before. It was consigned with great solemnity to its last resting-place in the vault of the Church of the Holy Faith at Goa, where it still remains an object of pilgrimage and religious veneration to the native Christians of the Malabar coast, who regard the Apostle of the Indies as in no way behind the immediate disciples of Christ, and
attribute to him a long roll of the most astounding miracles and prodigies. One who reads the wonderful tales of the acts of canonization of Saint Francis Xavier a hundred years after his death will be a little astonished on hearing the manner in which his successor at Goa, Melchior Nunez, speaks of these extraordinary performances a few years after they are assumed to have taken place. "Many things became known of him after death which, while he still lived, remained unknown." Xavier himself, save in one ambiguous passage of his letters,* never alludes to any of the astounding miracles so freely ascribed to him by his biographers of later date. It would be but a waste of space to celebrate in a formal eulogium the wonderful labors this man underwent, his extraordinary courage, energy, and self-denial; the sweetness of his disposition, and his affectionate concern for the souls of his fellow-creatures. His faults were those of his age and creed,—intolerance to other religions save his own, and a too great readiness to resort to the temporal arm for the conversion of the heathen. As portrayed in his own letters, and by Lucena and his succeeding biographers, he stands the very image of a true, brave, accomplished, and persuasive missionary. To this day he is the ideal and pattern of his successors in the work amongst the Roman Catholic clergy; and his example, traditions, and precepts, have everywhere exercised a pervading and lasting influence upon the course and conduct of the different missions which he founded.
The result of Xavier's labors was the formation of a mission which, from Goa as a centre, radiated over much of the coast of Asia from Ormuz to Japan. Its powers of propagandism were most felt on those parts of the coast more directly exposed to the secular influence of Portugal, and especially in the Portuguese possessions, where the terrors of the Inquisition were put in practice to spread the Catholic Faith. The number of Roman Catholics now existing on the Malabar coast probably amounts to half a million, but a large proportion of them are halfcaste descendants of the Portuguese—the result of those dissolute amours which Xavier condemned. Their religion, how ever, is only a base and degenerate graft
* See letter dated Cochin, 12th January, 1544.
of Catholicism upon the rotten trunk of Paganism. Even at the present day the native Christians are inferior to the Mahometans and Hindus of Northern India in intelligence and morality. Thus the attempt of Xavier to introduce a vigorous and thriving shoot of Christianity into India has been, after all, a failure—a failure which liberal Catholics themselves acknowledge.
Far different was the history of the church which Xavier had planted in Japan with his own hands, which grew up without the sunshine of political favor, and which, as he had foretold, struck a deep root in the soil. The Jesuits have left us long and circumstantial accounts of the history of Christianity in Japan. They are compiled from the missionary reports, many of which have also been printed in a separate form. These documents give a much more trustworthy account of Japanese history and manners than can be obtained from the stilted information published by residents at the open ports since the recent commercial treaties. The Jesuit priests learned the Japanese language, and mixed with the people in all the relations of life. They joined with the great in their entertainments, and often in their intrigues and schemes of ambition; they were conversant with the sorrows and joys of the poor; and the deep confidence of the Confessional gave them an insight into the feelings and thoughts of every class of society, which the Japanese government of to-day with their innumerable spies can never obtain. No doubt these accounts are sometimes unfaithful in detail, and rarely do justice to the opposite side ; but though one is often wearied with stories of silly miracles and with prosy discourses, it is clear that the authors looked narrowly to the chain of human events, and had an accurate knowledge of the politics and passing history of the countries in which they lived. The unfavorable side of the picture is supplied by the observation of Dutch and English travellers of the seventeenth century, and by the complaints of rival orders such as the Franciscans and Dominicans; but we must not look to th-sm for a connected historical narrative.
Mr. Venn, who has carefully studied the "Letters of Xavier," did not even perceive the historical value of the "Literal Annuse" of the Jesuits :—
"I have looked," he writes (p. 209), "into the various collections of 'Epistola; J.aponicae,' but, like the 'Epistola? Indica;,' they are filled with legends, and it is impossible, after reading 'Xavier's Letters, to open those pages without the conviction that we have passed out of the regions of truth into those of exaggeration, suppression, and fiction."
Writers on the present condition of Japan have entirely neglected these important documents Even Mr. Dickson, in his recently published book, which comprises a complete history of Japan, and gives a general account of the history of Christianity in the islands more accurately than any preceding writer in the English language, seems not to have read the original Letters of the Jesuit Missionaries. It is difficult to trace the sources of his information, for his citations are few and vague, and he seems to have drawn most of his facts from a " History of the Church of Japan," apparently that of Crasset. Still his work is the most valuable one that has yet appeared. He has compared the Jesuit history with the "Japanese Chronicles," and has had the additional advantage of visiting Japan and conversing with some of the Japanese.
The two missionaries, whom Xavier had left at Japan, were soon after joined by three others ; and in 1556 they were visited by the Provincial of the Order in the Indies, Melchior Nunez, who paid much attention to the Japanese mission and selected for it the best missionaries, as Xavier had recommended. The Provincial was accompanied to Japan by the well-known Mendez Pinto, the author of one of the few well-written books in the Portuguese language. Cosmo de Torrez, a layman who had been induced by the preaching and example of the "Apostle of the Indies " to enter the order of Jesus, remained at the head of the mission, as Xavier had left him. The missionaries guided the trade with the Portuguese ; and several of the petty princes of Kiusiu were so anxious to attract to their dominions this lucrative traffic that they repeatedly cajoled the good fathers with hopes of their becoming converts.
The Jesuits attached themselves to the fortunes of the Xing of Bungo, a restless and ambitious prince, who in the end added four little kingdoms to his own, and thus became master of a large part of the Island of Kiusiu In his dominions Christianity made such progress that the number of converts began to be counted bythousands. The King of Bungo always remained the friend of the Jesuit missionaries, and fostered the trade with the Portuguese. He long remained a disciple of the materialistic philosophy ; but twentyseven years after his first interview with Xavier he followed the example of his queen, and was baptized under the name of Francis. The missionaries perseveringly sought to spread their religion by preaching, public discussion, the circulation of controversial writings, the instruction of the youth, the casting out of devils, the performance of those mystery plays so common in that age, by the institution of confreries like those of Avignon, and, above all, by the well-timed administration of alms. Nor need we be surprised to learn that their first converts were principally the blind, the infirm, and old men one foot in the grave. There are, however, many proofs in their letters that they were able both to attract proselytes of a better class and to inspire them with an enthusiasm which promised well for the growth of the mission. In those early days the example of Xavier was still fresh; and his immediate successors seem to have inherited his energetic and self-denying disposition, though none of them could equal the great mental and moral qualities of the Apostle of the Indies. They kept at the same time a watchful eye upon the political events that were going on around them, and soon began to bear a part in them. The hostility between them and the Bonzes became more and more bitter. The first public display of religious violence, however, came from the Christian party,* who, in revenge for the overthrow of a Cross, which they traced to the instigation of the Bonzes, set fire to the dwellings of their opponents, burned some of their idols, and threw the rest into the sea. This excited so much hostility against the missionaries that, although the outrage had been committed without his knowledge and consent, Father Vilela was obliged to leave Firando.
The first chief who publicly professed Christianity, the King of Omura, in the
* Solicr, liv. iii. chap. viii. Crasset, "Histoire de I'^lise du Japon," Paris, 1715, tome L liv. iii. chap. liv. Consult also Maffaeus " Select. Epistol. ex India," lib. i.
island of Kiusiu, was thrice expelled from his capital, and another time from his palace, by conspiracies of the Pagans, who nearly succeeded in drawing the two principal missionaries into an ambuscade, in. which a Japanese nobleman of the Christian party was murdered. It would be difficult to say what share the Jesuits bore in these troubles; but if we remember their well-known policy, we shall be disposed to repeat in much the same spirit the accusation of a Bonze of Miako, as early as 1564, that "all the lands where these new preachers placed their feet were suddenly destroyed by war and faction."
They had reached Miako in 1559, where they met with toleration from the secular government, and were even suffered to build a church and make several hundred converts. The missionaries led a troubled existence, and had several times to quit the capital from the intrigues of the Bonzes, who only waited an opportunity to banish or destroy them, but found themselves baffled by the caution, tact, and political address of the strangers.
The Jesuits found a friend and protector in Nobunanga, who, whilst styling himself the avenger of the murdered Siogun and the protector of his successor, in reality arrogated to himself the whole power of the empire. Nobunanga was tall and slender, with a delicate form and scanty beard; he was a daring and successful soldier, and a shrewd, subtle, and wary politician; he cared little for the princes of Japan, and still less for its idols, which he treated as stupid inventions. He bore a bitter hatred to the Bonzes, whose temples and monasteries he despoiled and demolished to build a new palace, causing the very images of Buddha to be torn from their shrines and dragged with a rope round their necks through the streets of Miako, where, for a time, the Bonzes did not dare to show themselves. He forced the principal citizens to put their own hands to the work, which he superintended himself, wearing a tiger's skin and carrying a naked sword in his hand, with which he occasionally struck off the heads of those who offended him. The Bonzes naturally took an active part against Nobunanga in an insurrection; but he, gaining the upper hand, led his army against their sacred seat at the foot of the mountain of Frenoxama, burnt their ancient monasteries, and put all those he found to
the sword.* This terrible ruler granted the Jesuits full liberty to rebuild their church at Miako, and to preach the Gospel in his dominions, even adding the privilege of exemption from taxes. Allowing for the troubled state of the country and the readiness of the Bonzes to take advantage of any popular tumult to assault the missionaries, we have reason to be astonished at the toleration shown to them; indeed, no prince in Europe of that age would have permitted a new religion to be preached through his dominions by foreign priests. The Jesuits no doubt expected that the Cross would soon be triumphantly planted on the ruins of the Buddhist temples, and the Bonzes probably associated in some way their reverses with the intrigues of the professors of the new religion, which began to number men of rank and influence.
Nobunanga, while willing to make use of the Jesuit missionaries to weaken the influence of the Buddhist priests, was so little influenced by their teaching that he formed the project of adding his own name to the list of deified rulers of Japan. He now founded a new city and built a magnificent temple, to which he removed all the most venerated idols upon which he could lay his hands. Above them all he placed a stone, bearing his own arms and devices, and demanded that every one should pay it worship, promising, in a proclamation, long life and prosperity to those who should comply. It was noticed that no Christian had obeyed the edict, and this might have subjected them to the revenge of the tyrant, had not a conspiracy been promptly formed against him, while his younger son was absent on an expedition with the flower of the army. His palace was set on fire, and he was consumed in the flames, together with his eldest son, who had been the first to worship his idol (1582).
The conspirators promised the same toleration to the Jesuit missionaries, who had now gained so many proselytes that their support was worth having. But the revolution was of short continuance; the younger son of Nobunanga, on hearing the news, returned with the army, defeated the conspirators, and took a terrible revenge
* Sec the letter of Louis Froes, dated Miako, August, 1572, in the collection of Maffacus, for a description of the massacre of the Bonzes and the destruction of their temples.
for his father's death. He was, however, soon supplanted by one of his captains, who assumed the name Taicosama. This man had once been a wood-cutter and though of low stature and appearance, had, through his valor and skill in war, raised himself to the highest rank in the army. He declared the infant child of the eldest son of Nobunanga the rightful heir to his grandfather's power, but assumed the real government himself.
The usurper at first treated the Bonzes with contempt, and caressed the missionaries, who appear to have gained over his queen, a woman of great talents, but of dissolute manners. Under her influence he issued an edict similar to that of his predecessor, permitting the Jesuits to preach the Gospel throughout all Japan, with exemption from taxes.
Every one in Niphon now obeying him, he passed over into Kiusiu, and received the fealty of its kings. The appearance of Christianity, especially in the north of that island, was most flourishing. The Christian party, now the strongest, had gained the support of the ruling party, and the Bonzes had been banished from the states of Bungo, Arima, and Omura ; their temples had been destroyed, and their revenues seized upon. In Omura, whose ruler had vowed that he would tolerate idolatry no longer, the Jesuits had baptized 35,000 people in two years (1575-76). The King of the isle of Gotto also had professed Christianity, and the King of Tosa, in the island of Sikok, had been baptized, and had with much difficulty quelled a rebellion which followed his conversion. According to Crasset, the total number of Japanese Christians, in 1587, was 200,000. In Niphon die Jesuits had gained numerous converts, some of them people of rank and power, among others, a distinguished general of Taicosama, named Justo Uncondono (Takayama), who demolished the temples within his lands, and forced his vassals to be Christians.
But the imprudent readiness which the Jesuits had shown in resorting to such violent measures in the island of Kiusiu had revealed the nature of their designs and policy. Moreover, it is likely that the Japanese had learned their character from other sources. Some Japanese travellers had reached Goa and Malacca, where they must have observed the religious persecutions the native population had endured ; and the missionaries complain of the damage done to their cause by the dissolute lives of the Portuguese merchants, especially by their carrying away girls for the harems of Goa and Macao.
We must pass over the history of the missionaries during the remainder of the reign of Taicosama. Though sometimes persecuted and threatened more than once with expulsion from his dominions, they continued to make progress. The most violent persecution to which they were exposed was in the year 1596. The courage displayed by the Japanese converts on this occasion seems to have been worthy of the times of the early Church. Some demanded to be put on the list of Christians, others went to the houses of the fathers, desiring leave to remain there, in order that they might share with them the glory of a martyrdom so different from their own notions of an honorable death. The large number of names upon the roll of Christians startled the Siogun : but, without any regard to the petitions of the Jesuits that the statutes against the offending missionaries should be commuted to exile, six Franciscans, three Jesuits, and fifteen lay members of the mission were seized upon and conducted to Nagasaki, where they were impaled alive. They all met their fate with heroic constancy. But the Christians were saved from further danger by the death of Taicosama, which took place in 1598. Feeling his last hour approach, the sagacious usurper had employed his remaining energies in making arrangements to secure his office to his son, Fidejori, then a minor; the regency was committed to Iyeyas, Prince of Quanto, to whose daughter the young prince was betrothed. Four other governors were appointed to divide the regent's power, and, if possible, curtail his ambition; and five Daimios held the office of tutor or curator to the young prince. Taicosama left orders that he should be deified as the god of war. One of the Jesuits was admitted to visit him with some European presents on his last illness. He received him courteously, and ordered the fathers to be presented with two hundred sacks of rice and a ship fit to take them back to their own country, a present whose significance no one could mistake.*
Everywhere in this age we meet with those daring and intriguing priests. We find them at Agra, disputing wilh the learned scholars at the court of Akber, the greatest of the house of Timur Khan; in the suite of the warlike Emperors of the Mantchu Tartars, the invaders of China—at the same time fanning the hopes of the failing Chinese dynasty of Ming ; in the heart of Africa, as the counsellors of the great Emperor of Abyssinia, inciting him to war against his subjects for the unity of the Catholic Faith, in the same way as they armed assassins to slay the King of France and the heretic Prince of Orange, and formed a conspiracy to blow up by gunpowder the King and Parliament of England. We find them seeking for the sources of the Nile, which, they knew issued from the great lakes near the equator; exploring the Canadian lakes; seeking the sources of the Amazon and La Plata, and bringing to Europe the fever-healing bark of the cinchona-tree. We see a brother of the same order, a little spare old man, whom they called Count Tilly, seated on a war-horse, watching with pitiless eye the sack and massacre of Magdeburg. Even at Yarkand, across the Himalayas, in the very centre of Asia, where, a few years ago, our own pilgrim of science—the unfortunate Schlagintweit —was beheaded, do we behold one of those missionaries of Catholicism with a turban on his head, and armed with sword and bow and quiver, searching for the halffabulous kingdom of Cathay.
One of the most powerful of the Japanese princes at this time was a Christian, called by the missionaries Don Augustin (Tsucamidono), King of Fingo and Grand Admiral of Japan, who had commanded the Japanese troops in the invasion of Corea during the reign of Taicosama. Having returned shortly before the death of the latter, Don Augustin now became the head of the Christian party in Japan, with military reputation enhanced by a great victory he had just gained over the Chinese fleet. Though a zealous Catholic, he was also an able, bold, and ambitious politician, who perceived that his own personal aggrandizement would be promoted by the spread of the new religion. His possessions in Japan were very exten
* The interview is described in a letter of Fran- Taponicis, Indicis et Peruanis," by John Hay, of cis Pasius, in the collection of letters. "De Rebus Dalgetty, a Scotch Jesuit. Antwerp, 1605.