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Francisco Xavier Alegre

Historian, b. at Vera Cruz, in Mexico, or New Spain, 12 November, 1729; d. at Bologna, 16 August, 1788

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Alegre, FRANCISCO XAVIER, historian, b. at Vera Cruz, in Mexico, or New Spain, November 12, 1729; d. at Bologna, August 16, 1788. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1747, and soon acquired a reputation of unusual learning in everything related to the classics. He occupied a chair at the Jesuit college of Habana, and afterwards at Merida, in Yucatan; recalled to Europe in 1767, he settled at Bologna, where he died of apoplexy. He left quite a number of shorter works, mostly translations of classics. Among them are the “Alexandriadas” (1773, Italy), the “Iliad” in Latin (Rome, 1788), “Homeri Batrachiomachia” in Latin (Mexico, 1789), together with fragments from Horace and a good translation into Spanish of the first three cantos of the “Art poetique” of Boileau. But the work for which he is especially noted is his “History of the Society of Jesus in New Spain” (ed. Bustamente, Mexico, 1841). Although composed at a time when the Order was persecuted in the Spanish colonies, and often with great rigour, the tone of this most valuable work, indispensable for the study of the colonial history of Mexico and of many of its Indian tribes, is dignified and free from attacks upon Spain and the Spaniards.


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