Possevin, Antony

, a learned Jesuit, was born at Mantua in 1534, of a good but decayed family. He was educated principally at Rome, and made such progress in learning, that the cardinal Hercules de Gonzaga made him his secretary, and intrusted him with the education of Francis and Scipio de Gonzaga, his nephews. After studying divinity at Padua, he was admitted into the society of Jesuits in 1559. As a preacher, he had distinguished success, both in Italy and France; and having a very uncommon talent both for languages and for negociation, he was employed by pope Gregory XIII. in important embassies to Poland, Sweden, Germany, and other parts of Europe. When he returned to Rome, he laboured to effect a reconciliation between Henry IV. of France and the court of Rome. This, however, displeased the Spanish court, by whom he was compelled to leave that city. He died at Ferrara, Feb. 26, 1611, being then seventy-eight years old. Possevin, though so deeply skilled in politics and knowledge of mankind, was a man of profound erudition and exemplary piety. The most important of his works are, 1.” Bibliotheca selecta, de ratione studiorum,“published at Rome in 1593, folio, and reprinted at Venice in 1607, in 2 vols. folio, with many augmentations. This work was intended as a general introduction to knowledge; at once to facilitate the approach to it, and to serve as a substitute for many books, the perusal of which the author | considered as dangerous for young minds. Tt treats distinctly of every science, with great extent of learning, but not always with sufficient correctness. 2.” Apparatus sacer,“Cologne, 1607, 2 vols. folio. The intention of this book was to give a general knowledge of the commentators on the Scriptures, and other theological writers. Though the catalogues it contains were from the first imperfect and ill-digested, it was much circulated, as the best book of the time, and it contains notices of above six thousand authors. It is now become almost entirely useless. 3.” Moscovia," 1587, folio; a description of Russia, the fruit of some of his travels. 4. Some controversial and other theological books. 5. Some smaller works, written and published in Italian. Possevin’s Life was published by father Dorigny at Paris, 1712, 12mo.1