Judging by the books in his collection, Pérez de Soto was a devout and orthodox Catholic. His collection was rich on the history of Catholic missions, and even included a bilingual confession manual and a treatise on the question of whether drinking chocolate would break the fast. Though he had no aspirations for the clergy, he was perhaps as well read on religious topics as the Inquisitors he faced.



31. Román, Hieronymo. Republicas del mundo. Divididas en tres partes...Esta obra, Christiano lector, sale corregida y censurada por el Expurgatorio del Santo Officio. Y examinada por diuersos hobres doctos. Salamanca: Juan Fernandez, 1595.

Román's ambitious three-volume world history attempts to treat all known civilizations. In volume three, he presents what has been called the first comparative history of indigenous civilizations. The subtitle makes explicitly clear that this edition conforms to the norms of the Holy Office.


32. Guzman, Luis de. Historia de las missiones que han hecho los religiosos de la Compañia de Iesus, para predicar el Sancto Euangelio en la India oriental, y en los reynos de la China y Iapon. Alcalá de Henares: La Viuda de Juan Gracian, 1601.

Guzman's massive history of the Jesuit order in Asia dedicates eleven out of fourteen books to the Company's efforts in Japan. All of book nine is devoted to the Japanese embassy that traveled to Portugal, Spain and Rome in 1584 and 1585 where they witnessed the death of Pope Gregory XIII and the election of Pope Sixtus V.


33. Morejon, Pedro. Relacion de la persecucion que vuo en la yglesia de Iapon: y de los insignes martyres, que gloriosamente dieron su vida en defensa de n[uest]ra Santa Fè, el año de 1614. y 615. Mexico: Juan Ruiz, 1616.

In response to growing numbers of Christian converts, the acquisition of properties by foreigners, and rumors of conversion preceding conquest, Tokugawa Ieyasu began the closing of Japan with the expulsion of Spanish and Portuguese Jesuits in 1614. This is the first account of the purges, which continued until 1639 at which point the Dutch were the only foreigners allowed to trade with Japan.


34. Dávila y Padilla, Agustín. Historia de la fundacion y discurso de la prouincia de Santiago de Mexico, de la Orden de Predicadores, por las vidas de sus varones insignes, y casos notables de Nueua España. Madrid: Pedro Madrigal, 1596.

Dávila y Padilla's history of the Dominican province of Mexico is told via biographies of its most eminent figures. It is considered one of the most accurate sources on the typhoid epidemic of 1576, and also strong on the Dominican presence in Florida. Dávila y Padilla ended his life as Archbishop of Santo Domingo.


35. Gonzalez de la Puente, Juan. Primera parte de la chronica augustiniana de Mechoacan en que se tratan, y escriuen las vidas de nueue varones apostolicos, augustinianos. Mexico, 1624.

González de la Puente was named chronicler of the Augustinian order in 1623, and this prosopographical work was printed in September of the following year. The second part of the Cronica was presented in manuscript in 1630, but appears never to have been printed.


36. Alva, Bartolomé de. Confessionario mayor, y menor en lengua Mexicana. Mexico: Francisco Salbago, 1634.

Alva was a mestizo priest, descended from the royal house of King Neçahualpilli of Tetzcoco. Both he and his brother, Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl, were prolific authors, with Bartolomé penning this confession manual and translating plays into Nahuatl, and Fernando writing histories. This is the first Nahuatl confession manual written by a secular cleric, and in it he takes to task earlier works written by members of the religious orders for their poor translation skills.


37. León Pinelo, Antonio de. Question moral si el chocolate quebranta el ayuno eclesiastico. Madrid: Por la viuda de Juan Gonzalez, 1636.

León Pinelo, compiler of the laws of the Indies and of the first bibliography of the New World is also credited with the first published book with an extensive discussion of various American drinks. Chocolate was drunk in Mexico, though made from solid tablets, thus was it a food that would break the fast, or a drink, that could be consumed before mass?


38. Palafox y Mendoza, Juan de. Sitio y socorro de Fuenterrabía, y sucesos del año de 1638, escritos de órden y en virtud de decreto, puesto todo de la real mano de la magestad del señor don Felipe IV. Madrid: Gerónimo Ortega y herederos de Ibarra, 1793.

Although the French laid siege with 17,000 men and 41 ships, Fuenterrabia did not fall, though the population was reduced to a mere 300. With the assistance of two Irish regiments pulled from the battles in the Low Countries, the Spanish broke the siege on 8 September 1638. As the date of the Nativity of Mary, the victory was seen as divinely inspired, and Olivares's supporters broke into the royal wine cellar to toast his success. Over twenty news sheets were published recounting a summary of the victory, and Palafox y Mendoza was commissioned by the Crown to write the official history. In 1640, he was named Bishop of Puebla de las Angeles.


39. González Dávila, Gil. Teatro eclesiastico de la primitiua iglesia de las Indias Occidentales. Madrid: Diego Diaz de la Carrera, 1649-1655.

González Dávila's history of the secular arm of the church focuses on the lives of the Archbishops and bishops of the various dioceses. It is also the source of a stubborn fact that has plagued historians of the press in New Spain. On p. 23, he states that viceroy Antonio de Mendoza brought the first press, manned by Juan Pablos, to Mexico in 1532. Today we know that the contract between Juan Pablos and Juan Cromberger was signed in June of 1539, but González’s errant datum circulated as fact for many years.


Exhibition prepared by Kenneth Ward.

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