Mexico City: Por Francisco Salbago, 1633. ,189 [of 192?] leaves; lacking leaves ¶1 (blank?), Y4-5, Zz3, Zz6-8. R1-2 cancels. Contemporary vellum, manuscript spine label. Vellum worn, front hinge separating. Deep marca de fuego along top edge, with resultant loss occasionally touching headlines. Scattered contemporary manuscript annotations. Some foxing and soiling internally. Good. Item #2057
The unrecorded, first Mexican edition of this religious manual on "dying well" by Martin de la Madre Dios, a Spanish Carmelite monk. The work was first published in Zaragoza, where the author was ensconced, in 1628, was translated into Latin (1640 & 1641) and French (1646), and was re-published twice in Spain (1643 & 1650), thus making the present edition the second overall. Although it was clearly a popular text, the only edition surviving in more than one recorded copy is the 1641 Latin translation printed in Cologne, and is clearly the type of book that received heavy use.
This genre of work attempted to provide a guide to Catholics on the significance of death and the steps to take in order to have a "good" death that would ease the way to heaven, and treats death as the final, most important religious ritual in the life of a Christian. The present work has a lengthy initial section explaining these views to its reader and providing examples of good deaths from the Bible, lives of saints, and even Greek philosophers. The second part covers the major acts necessary, such as confession, to enact a good death, and the third, most brief section contains instructions for the numerous smaller duties.
Francisco Salbago, the publisher, was the official printer of the Holy Office and the Inquisition in Mexico during the 1630s. This copy bears the marca de fuego of the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri in San Miguel de Allende. Slightly defective, lacking three internal and three final leaves, but nevertheless a good example of an otherwise unrecorded, early 17th century religious manual and Mexican imprint.