GLEYO, Jean-François. “Visions et revelations de Mr. Gleyo missionnaire en Chine. Pendant les huit années quil a eté en prison pour la cause de la religion, depuis l’an 1769 jusqu'en l’an 1777.” Manuscript on paper. [France?: ca. 1800]
2 volumes, 8° (174 x 102 mm). MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER. 859 pages in brown in (mostly on rectos and versos). Bound in later binding of eighteenth-century vellum manuscript over boards.
Probably copied at the Archives des Séminaires des Missions Étrangères in Paris, but possibly copied at the library of the seminary of Saint-Sulpice at Issy-les-Moulineaux.
The final numbering sequence at the end of volume two contains ten letters from Gleyo to Jean-Martin Moÿe.
Jean-François Gleyo was born in Saint-Brieuc 25 February 1734, the son of master mariner François Gleyo, and became a Priest of St. Sulpice. He sailed from Lorient to China in 1764, first arriving in Macao, and learned the language and became associated with the evangelical work of Mr. Alary, former senior foreign missions. In 1769, He was denounced and accused of links with Pélén-Kiao rebels. Imprisoned and abused for several years, he owed his survival to his faith and mystical visions that he created. The intervention of a Portuguese Jesuit, mathematician emperor led his release. From 1777 to 1786, he resumed his apostolic labors.
This manuscript written in the last years of the eighteenth century, in the same unidentified hand, describes his imprisonment in Ching-Tou, then Yuin-Tchang and the consolations he received from heaven; sprinkled with Latin sentences and Chinese terms especially in his letters to Jean-Martin Moÿe after his release. The postscript of the last letter translates: “I give a thousand copper coins sent to your Hiéou the blind, so that it goes to you. I think that's enough, if not supplemented ahead.” In his general history of foreign missions, Launay says of Jean-François Gleyo: “he recalls the great contemplatives, the most intrepid apostles, saints, and other confessors of the faith.” The letters were published in the Lettres édifiantes et curieuses. The original manuscript is in the archives of seminars for foreign missions, and a copy in various hands is the library of the Seminary of St. Sulpice. This manuscript of “Visions and revelations of Mr. Gleyo missionary in China” is not present in the catalog of the manuscripts in the National Library, and therefore of the utmost rarity.
“The Society of Foreign Missions of Paris was established in 1658-63, its chief founders being Mgr Pallu, Bishop of Heliopolis, Vicar Apostolic of Tongking, and Mgr Lambert de la Motte, Bishop of Bertyus, Vicar Apostolic of Conchin-China. Both bishops left France (1660-62) to go to their respective missions and as true travellers of Christ they crossed Persia and India on foot. The object of the new society was and is still the evangelization of infidel countries, by founding churches and raising up a native clergy under the jurisdiction of the bishops. In order that the society might recruit members and administer its property, a house was established in 1663 by the priests whom the vicars Apostolic had appointed their agents. This house, whose directors were to form young priests to the apostolic life and transmit to the bishops the offerings made by charity, was, and is still situated in Paris in the Rue de Bac. Known from the beginning as the seminary of Foreign Missions, its secured the approval of Alexander VII, and the legal recognition, still in force, of the French Government” (Adrien Launay. “Society of Foreign Missions of Paris.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York, revised ed. 2008).
Nouvelles lettres Édifiantes des Missions de la Chine et des indes orientales. Paris: Adrien Le Clere, 1818-23. 8 volumes, 12° (165 x 95 mm). Contemporary morocco-backed marbled boards, smooth spines with lettering pieces and gilt ornaments (some wear to spine ends). Includes some letters from Gleyo in the first two volumes.