Ricci, Matthew

, a celebrated Jesuit, was born Oct. 6, 1552, of a good family at Macerata. He went to the Indies, finished his theological studies at Goa, taught rhetoric there, and being in the mean time appointed missionary to China, learnt the language of that country, nor did he neglect mathematics, which he had studied at Rome under the learned Clavius. After many troubles and difficulties, he arrived at Pekin, where he was esteemed by the emperor, the mandarins, and all the learned, acquired great reputation, drew a map for the Chinese, and was permitted to preach the Christian religion. He purchased a house at Pekin, where he built a church, and died there, in 1610, aged fifty-eight, leaving some very curious memoirs respecting China, which father Frigualt has made use of in writing his history of that vast empire. Father d'Orleans, a Jesuit, who published a “Life of Ricci,” in 1693, 12mo, says, that this father drew up a short catechism for the Chinese, in which he introduced scarcely any but such points of morality and religion as are most conformable to Christianity. These words of father d‘Orleans, says L’Avocat, have furnished the enemies of the Jesuits, with abundant matter for critical reflections. 3


Dict. Hist. de L’Avocat.