Ming Envoy

Beginning November 1650
Michał Boym in the company of Joseph K`o and Andrew Zheng sets off as a special envoy on a mission to Vatican and European royal courts. 
He describes the official preparative in his work "Brevis Sinarum Imperii Descriptio". Along with him, he is bringing letters written by the already baptized Empress Helena and Chancellor Pang-Achilles addressed to Pope Innocent X, and General of the Society of Jesus, Francisco Piccolomini, as well as to Cardinal John de Lugo, Doge of Venice, Francesco da Molin, and King John IV of Portugal with their Latin translation. Helena`s letters are written with a brush on yellow silk, while those of the Chancellor, on red silk. In addition he is bringing a report on the successful conversions in the imperial court.

23 of November 1650
The legation arrives to Macau where it receives the official confirmation of its authenticity from a church notary. Provincial of China and Japan, Sebastiao de Maya (1599–1664) entrusts Boym with letters confirming Byom`s identity and his status as an envoy to the General of the Society of Jesus in matters of the Chinese Province.

November - December 1650
Boym`s legation encounters problems in obtaining the agreement of the Macau layman administration for his leaving Macau. This is the first sign of the political and commercial competition in regards to the Manchurian question that puts Portugal and Netherlands at odds with each other in the Far East and a manifestation of hidden obstruction of his mission by the fraction in the Portuguese church and laymen powers which favors abandoning the Ming and cooperating with the Manchus. Interestingly, just about the same time, another competitive legation leaves Beijing which is led by another Jesuit, Martino Martini. Its goal is to convince the European powers that the only option to chose is to find an agreement with the Manchurian Qing dynasty.

1 of January 1651
The ship with Michał Boym and Andrew Zheng on the board sails out of the port in Macau. Joseph K`o remains in China.

May 1651
Boym and Zheng land in Goa. Here they are met with very strong interference in their mission from the side of the local Jesuit authorities who belong to "the pro-Manchu" fraction. They get de facto an interdiction to leave Goa on a ship and therefore remain trapped in the colony.

8 of December 1651
Michał Boym and Andrew Zheng,  disobeying the Goa Jesuit superior`s orders sneak out of the city and take a land route through India, Persia, Armenia, on the way passing through cities such as Hyderabad, Surat, Bander Abbas i Shiraz, Isfahan in Persia, from which they press on through Erzerum and Trabzon to Smyrna, or today`s İzmir on the west coast of Turkey.

End of August 1652
They reach Smyrna (Izmir), a large Mediterranean port.

29 of September 1652
Michał Boym wearing a Chinese Mandarin attire appears on Saint Michael`s Day in one of the churches in Smyrna. To the gathered audience he presents his report on the state of the Chinese mission and describes the purpose of his travel to Rome. His speech at this occasion becomes later the basis for his work "Brevis Relatio" which, translated and published in several languages, constitutes a counterargument to "De Bello Tartarico Historia", a text written by Martino Martini, a Jesuit from the "pro-Manchu" fraction, who reaches Europe half a year after Boym`s arrival.

Beginning December 1652
Michał Boym and Andrzej Zheng arrive from Smyrna to the Republic of Venice where, due to the conflict between the Papacy and the Republic, Jesuit presence is forbidden. Faced with this difficulty Boym, in order to complete his mission and present the Chinese matter to the Doge of Venice, turns for help to the French ambassador, René de Voyer de Paulmy d`Argenson. The ambassador takes an interest in his mission and finally his intercession meets with success.

16 of December 1652
Michał Boym, dressed as a mandarin, explains his mission before the Doge of Venice, Francesco da Molin and the Senate of the Republic and makes a great impression. However, the French intercession post factum proves to be a curse since it puts Boym at odds with the Habsburgs who are very close to Pope Innocent X. In addition, the fact of his sending his books for publication without obtaining a prior permit of his superiors furthermore adds to their displeasure.

Boym is accused of publishing a work on China without the Jesuit General`s  approval and without permission sending to rectors of European universities his essay "Ratio eorum…" in which he defends Confucius and the missionary methods, the so-called "Chinese Rites", adopted in missionary work by Father Matteo Ricci and considered as "heretic" by Rome. 

21 and 28 of December 1652
The newly elected Jesuit General, Goswin Nickel, reprimands Boym for his representing the Ming dynasty in Venice. Michał Boym is placed in seclusion in Loreto. The Papal Seat of Pope Innocent X is averse to his legation and questions the authenticity of the letters brought by him. An anonymous letter puts in doubt the Polish Jesuit`s credentials as the Ming envoy.

1 of April 1653
The first of four hearings of the Sacred Congregation for Propagation of the Faith is held to discuss the case of Michał Boym and his legation.

1654
The French version of Boym`s "Brevis Relatio, Referitur iter R. P. Michaelis Boym ex Sinis in Europam" (Report from the voyage of Father Michał Boym from China to Europe)

7 of January 1655
Dies Pope Innocent X  who is hostile to Boym and Jesuit practices of the "Chinese Rites" which consist of using mandarin clothing and rituals in the Catholic liturgy.

7 of April 1655
The Conclave chooses Cardinal Fabio Chigi as Pope Alexander VII.

Second half of 1655
Confirmation of Michał Boym identity and his envoy mandate arrive to Vatican from Macau and Goa along with the information that about one third of the Chinese territory is still in the hands of the Ming dynasty while anti-Manchu uprisings are multiplying on the remaining land.

7 of December 1655
After three years of waiting Michał Boym and Andreas Zheng are finally received by Pope Alexander VII, however the Pope, other than expression of support, doesn`t propose any concrete assistance to the Emperor, and only requests that Boym return to China with his letters containing no more than the words of prayer and gold medallions with the Pope`s likeness made at the beginning of his pontificate.

Michał Boym together with Andrew Zheng, who in the meantime became a Jesuit himself, travel to Lisbon to seek the support of the Portuguese king, John IV the Restorer. The king decides to support the Ming side and promises to provide military assistance.