Mexico City: Juan Bautista de Arizpe, 1810. ,339,pp. Small quarto. Later 19th-century full calf, gilt tooled and lettered, a.e.g. Light scuffing to boards; light wear to spine and edges. Front hinge starting; lower corner of front board cracked. Quite clean internally, only an occasional small patch of soiling. Very good. Item #1507
An extremely rare, early 19th-century Mexican imprint that publishes an account of the life and virtues of Benito de Palermo (1524-1589), also called "Benedict the Black," or "Benedict the Moor." San Benito was born as Benito Manasseri into a family of slaves in San Fratello, near Messina, but was freed at birth and joined a local group of Franciscan hermits as a young man, and eventually was appointed the Guardian of the Franciscan Friary at Palermo by Pius IV in 1564. Numerous miracles were attributed to him, mostly related to healing, but he was also renowned for his patience and dignity. He was canonized in 1807, and is regarded as the patron saint of African Americans. He is also venerated throughout Latin America.
This work was originally published in Alcalá, Spain in 1747, several years following his beatification by Benedict XIV in 1743. The present, second edition is the first and only Mexican printing, published three years after his canonization. It includes an extensive, new introductory text, as well as lengthy corrections and criticisms of the original author. We locate only two copies, at the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile and Texas A&M. The present copy is bound in a very attractive, slightly later Mexican calf binding, with the name of its owner, Señora Josefa Moncada, gilt lettered on the front board. A very nice copy of a rare Mexican imprint.