A theologian and orientalist, Johann Michael Vansleb (also known as Wansleben) had been sent on a cultural and political mission to Ethiopia by the German protestant Duke Ernest I of Saxe-Gotha in July 1663. Travelling via Italy he arrived in Alexandria in January 1664. After one year spent in Egypt, at the beginning of 1665, Vansleb moved to Leghorn where stayed until March of that year. There he was involved in the preparation of an annotated manuscript summary in English of James Harrington’s major works. He then moved to Rome where converted to Catholicism and afterwards spent some time in Tuscany. In Florence he mixed with the members of the Academy of Cimento and made the acquaintance of the British ambassador, John Finch (and former professor of Anatomy at the University of Pisa), whom he subsequently met at Smyrna. In Rome he had finished the first draft (in German) of a relation of his stay in Egypt that was translated into Italian by an Italian priest and then, after having been revised by Francesco Marucelli, was published in that language in Paris in 1671 as Relazione dello stato presente dell’Egitto with a dedication to the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosmo de’ Medici. A first draft of this Italian version is now at the British Library (Add MS 8780, fol. 1v) and very significantly in the manuscript dedication of this copy Vansleb praised the English merchant Charles Longland. This reference was later dropped from the printed version. Charles Longland (1603-1688) was an affluent merchant of the British Factory of Leghorn and during the 1650s was the English agent for the Commonwealth and the Protectorate. An informer of John Thurloe, Longland after the Restoration remained in Leghorn and showed his nonconformist sympathies. We know from Longland’s letter that he was a Republican and it is possible to hypothesize that his participation in the preparation of the above-mentioned summary of Harrington’s writings. Villani, relying on his previous researches on Longland, reconstructs here his possible involvement in this republican network.

A ‘Republican’ Englishman In Leghorn: Charles Longland

VILLANI, STEFANO
2013

Abstract

A theologian and orientalist, Johann Michael Vansleb (also known as Wansleben) had been sent on a cultural and political mission to Ethiopia by the German protestant Duke Ernest I of Saxe-Gotha in July 1663. Travelling via Italy he arrived in Alexandria in January 1664. After one year spent in Egypt, at the beginning of 1665, Vansleb moved to Leghorn where stayed until March of that year. There he was involved in the preparation of an annotated manuscript summary in English of James Harrington’s major works. He then moved to Rome where converted to Catholicism and afterwards spent some time in Tuscany. In Florence he mixed with the members of the Academy of Cimento and made the acquaintance of the British ambassador, John Finch (and former professor of Anatomy at the University of Pisa), whom he subsequently met at Smyrna. In Rome he had finished the first draft (in German) of a relation of his stay in Egypt that was translated into Italian by an Italian priest and then, after having been revised by Francesco Marucelli, was published in that language in Paris in 1671 as Relazione dello stato presente dell’Egitto with a dedication to the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosmo de’ Medici. A first draft of this Italian version is now at the British Library (Add MS 8780, fol. 1v) and very significantly in the manuscript dedication of this copy Vansleb praised the English merchant Charles Longland. This reference was later dropped from the printed version. Charles Longland (1603-1688) was an affluent merchant of the British Factory of Leghorn and during the 1650s was the English agent for the Commonwealth and the Protectorate. An informer of John Thurloe, Longland after the Restoration remained in Leghorn and showed his nonconformist sympathies. We know from Longland’s letter that he was a Republican and it is possible to hypothesize that his participation in the preparation of the above-mentioned summary of Harrington’s writings. Villani, relying on his previous researches on Longland, reconstructs here his possible involvement in this republican network.
Villani, Stefano
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/208671
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