Manoel Freyre

Manoel Freyre, We ad Elder (Portugal) in 1679, entered the Society of Jesus a Goa the 7 October 1694 and by 1710 is engaged in the mission of Agra. When Ippolito Desideri arrived in Delhi, May 11 1714, the Portuguese Jesuit, who had the care of about three hundred Christians who were in the capital of the 'Mughal Empire, was commissioned by the Visitor Jesuit empire, José da Sylva, accompany, as above, the young Italian on the journey to Tibet.

It was an extremely difficult enterprise not only, but also delicate. I Jesuits had gone first in Tibet in the previous century and made several attempts to settle. AntorNio of Andrade (1580-1634), from Garhwal Indian, through the step What, had reached, in 1624, Tsaparang, capital of the kingdom of Guge, in Tibet Western, making the first crossing of the Himalayas says one of the European (his account was well known at the time) and founding a mission that survived a few years; the successors went so far as to Leh, in Ladakh, and Francisco de Azevedo (1578-1660) he left a testimony remained unpublished until 1924. Businesses in the Portuguese Jesuits also include the first visit Bhutan (1627) and to Shigatse in Tibet (1628) with Stephen Cacella (1585-1630) and John Cabral (1599-1669); always Gesuiti the Austrian Johannes Grueber (1623-1680) e il belga Albert d’Orville (1621-1662), Europe receive Lhasa (October-November 1661) in their journey from Beijing to Agra (April 1661 – March 1662). Despite these precedents, the Vatican's Congregation Propaganda Fide had decided, in 1703, to establish a mission in the Tibet, entrusting it to Capuchin the province picena. I Capuchin had come to Lhasa in 1709, but in 1711 had abandoned the mission and so Jesuits attempts to reclaim an area that could be strategic to ensure the contacts by land, through India and Tibet, with their Chinese Mission.

Let deliveries to correligionario Manoel Durão, who would replace him in his office, Freyre part, of Delhi, Would you like to set, the 24 September 1714 for a big trip, already after Lahore (9-19 October 1714), shows its difficulties. In fact you have suffered the harshness with the foothills of the mountain 'Himalayas, chain Pir Panjal, after which (step 3475 m) the two reach Srinagar in Kashmir, where can a little 'recover with a long layover (13/11/1714-17/05/1715), necessary to wait until the snow has melted that prevent the practicability of the mountain paths that lie ahead on the road to the Ladakh. After forty days terrible for the rugged ridges furrowed by the waters of the 'Indo and its tributaries, where the Karakorum si Salda all 'Himalayas, the missionaries, through countless high passes (between which the Oji-la, 3529 m), come to Leh, capital of Ladakh, then independent kingdom, and remain there for nearly two months (25 June to 17 August 1715). Resumed the journey, the two Jesuits, arrive on 7 September 1715 a Tashigong, first place of the great Tibet, remain there until 9 October and are faced with the immense and desolate plateau extension bolted from the mountain ranges of 'Himalayas south and With Lun the nord. It then presents a providential opportunity through the reception in the great caravan of a Tatar princess who falls in Lhasa with a military garrison remained in his employ for two years after her husband's death. So Freyre and his partner, not only are the first Europeans to have taken the path Srinagar Leh, but also the protagonists of the first crossing of the plateau transhimalayano, repeated only company almost two hundred years later by a military expedition English. On October 11, 1715 are Garton and after five days starts very painful cold winter crossing. The 9 novembre superano Jerko il-la (4941 m) and overlook the region of Mount Kailas and the lake Manasarovar, Europeans first witnesses of devotion dedicated to the sacred mountain by the local population and the sacred lake; then cross the Maryum-la (5151 m), watershed between the basins of the Indus and the Tsangpo, in that India will be called Brahmaputra. Long and difficult months in the barrens before reaching the inhabited settlements: Saka Dzong (where they remained from 4 to the 28 January 1716), Sakya (break 15-29 February 1716), Shigatse and finally Lhasa, the 18 March 1716.

A Lhasa Freyre, considered fulfilled his duty, having accompanied and charged with the mission Wish, and, after less than a month of rest, left those territories which he describes as "ill-suited to the Europeans for the extreme cold and poverty of food». Partì da Lhasa the 16 April 1716 and, after a journey of 42 days, came to Kathmandu, in Nepal, where he remained five months a guest of the Capuchin, which, led by Domenico da Fano, were preparing a new expedition to the Tibet. The long stay with the Capuchin and detailed exposition of the moves of the same, usually sparse information in the Portuguese Jesuit, represent the final confirmation that the task of his missionary enterprise was primarily to gather information. The Kathmandu passò poi a Patna, where he stayed sick for three months and finally came to Agra, where the 26 April 1717 signed his written report in Latin. Around the 1719 lasciò la Society of Jesus, after which the only trace left is a readmission, without outcome, scritta da Goa in 1724.

The report Freyre, Tibetorum and their relation roads, is published in its entirety in his Latin text by Luciano Petech the work into seven parts The Italian missionaries in Tibet and Nepal (Volume II of the series 'The New Ramusio', State Printing, Rome, 1952-1956), Part VII, 1956, pp. 194-207. Partial English translation published by Filippo De Filippi in 1932: An Account of Tibet. The Travels of Ippolito Desideri of Pistoia, S.J., 1712-1727. Edited by Filippo De Filippi. With an Introduction by C. Wessels, George Routledge & Sons, London 1932 (2nd and. 1937), pp. 349-361. Excellent English translation contained in: Michael Sweet, Desperately Seeking Capuchins: Manoel Freyre’s “Report on the Tibets and their Routes” (“Tibetorum streets and their Relation”) and the Desideri Mission to Tibet, “JIATS“, n. 2, August 2006, THDL #T2722, pp. 33. The introduction clarifies the author with extreme precision and clarity the reasons underlying the behavior of Freyre and misunderstandings with Wish derived from different instructions received from two Jesuits on mission.

[Safety data sheet in February 2009 Enzo Gualtiero is Bargiacchi]

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