Malagrida, Gabriel

, an Italian Jesuit, sent by his superiors as a missionary to Portugal, was a man of an ardent zeal, with that facility of elocution which enthusiasm geu*rally confers. He soon became the fashionable confessor, and people of all ranks put themselves under his direction. He was regarded as a saint, and consulted as an oracle. When the duke d‘Aveiro formed his conspiracy against the king of Portugal, he is said by the enemies of the Jesuits to have consulted with three of that order, one of whom was Malagrida. The king, when he thought proper to banish the Jesuits from his kingdom, suffered Malagrida, Alexander, and Mathos, to remain there; and these are the very three who are supposed to have assisted the conspiracy, by telling the conspirators that it was not even a venial sin to kill a monarch who persecuted the saints, i. e. the Jesuits. Malagrida was some time after sent to the inquisition, for teaching heretical doctrines; an accusation which is said to have been not altogether without foundation. He appears, however, to have been an enthusiast of so extravagant a kind, that no singularities in his writings can be thought extraordinary. He conceived himself to possess the power of working miracles; and declafed to the inquisitors, that God himself had appointed him his ambassador, apostle, and prophet. This, and many other very wild declarations, would not, perhaps, have occasioned his condemnation, had he not unfortunately pretended to have had the death of the king revealed to him. The marquis of Tancors, general of the province of Estremadura, ’happening to die, the castle of Lisbon, and all the fortresses of the Tagus, discharged their cannon in honour of him. Malagrida, hearing this unusual sound in the night, concluded that the king was dead, and desired that the inquisitors would grant him an audience. When he came before them, he said, in order to establish the credit of his predictions, that the death of the king had been revealed to him; and that he also had a vision, which informed him what punishment that monarch was to undergo in the other world for having persecuted the Jesuits. This declaration hastened his condemnation. He was burnt alive on Sept. 21, 1761, at the age of 75, not as a conspirator, but as a false prophet. His true character, perhaps, was that of a lunatic. The works in which his heretical extravagancies are to be found, are entitled “Tractatus de vita et imperio Antichrist!” and (written in the Portuguese | language) “The Life of St. Anne, composed with the assistance of the blessed Virgin Mary and her most holy Son.1


Dict. Hist. de L’Avocat. The Proceedings and Sentence of the Inquisition, &c. against Gabriel Maiagrida, 1761, 8vo. —Gent. Mag. for that year.