Tournon, Charles Thomas Maillard de

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TOURNON, CHARLES THOMAS MAILLARD DE

Patriarch of Antioch, cardinal, apostolic visitor to the Far East, whose ill-fated China legation was followed by long government hostility to the Church; b. Turin, Dec. 21, 1668; d. Macau, June 8, 1710. Only 33 years old, but already distinguished at the Roman Curia, Tournon was chosen by Clement XI as papal plenipotentiary, with the title of patriarch and the comprehensive powers of legate a latere (Dec. 5, 1701) for an extremely difficult mission to the East Indies and the Sino-Manchu Empire. One key objective of the mission was solution of the chinese rites controversy. The legate, favored by the Catholic princes, sailed eastward from Cadiz on Feb. 9, 1703, and after extended sojourns at Pondichery (coast of India) and Manila, entered Beijing with honors on Dec. 4, 1705. Rome was electrified by his initial success when Tournon's report reached there a year afterward, and on Aug. 1, 1707, Clement elevated his envoy to the purple.

Three events of far-reaching consequence make Tournon's China career a decisive turning point in modern history. First, though the great Hsüan-Yeh emperor welcomed the pope's representative with unprecedented cordiality (first audience, Dec. 31, 1705), six months later he peremptorily warned him against any interference with the age-old national customs (second audience, June 29, 1706, with a curt dismissal reception the following day). This intransigence, further emphasized by several truculent decrees, doomed hopes of a Rome-Beijing entente on peaceful acceptance of a policy negative to the rites. Second, after the patriarch's departure south (August 28), the crisis at court came to a head. By edict of December 17, the Manchu sovereign ordered all missionaries to subscribe to the Matteo ricci tradition of tolerance or suffer expulsion from the country (the piao, or residence permit test). Invoking Rome's secret decision of Nov. 20, 1704, Tournon countered the imperial despotism with an opposite mandate (Nanjing, Jan. 25, 1707), binding the same missionaries sub poena excommunicationis to repudiate the ceremonies in question as gravely illicit. Against this decree, and to stave off threatened ruin, the majority of the mission personnel appealed to the Holy See over the head of the legate; but all appeals were dismissed, and Tournon's ruling was upheld (1709). Third, for his Nanjing action Tournon was relegated to the Portuguese outpost of Macau, where he arrived on June 30, 1707. The three years to 1710, which he spent in detention there, were marked by a humiliating duel with the Catholic colonial officials, secular and ecclesiastical, who rejected his legatine authority as a violation of the Crown padroado. Long plagued by a painful abdominal malady, the indomitable prince of the Church quickly succumbed to apoplexy on Pentecost Sunday, six months after investiture with the red hat. His remains were taken back to Rome by the second Apostolic Visitator, Carlo Ambrogio mezzabarba, and interred in 1723 in the chapel of the Propaganda College.

Bibliography: [d. passionei,] Memorie storiche dell' Eminentiss. Monsignor cardinale di Tournon, 8 v. (Venice 176162), highly critical of the China Jesuits. r. c. jenkins, The Jesuits in China and the Legation of Cardinal de Tournon (London 1894), follows the Memorie, but more objective in interpretation. l. pastor, The History of the Popes From the Close of the Middle Ages, 40 v. (London-St. Louis 193861): v.1, 6th ed.; v.2, 7th ed.;v.36, 5th ed.; v.78, 1112, 3d ed.; v.910, 4th ed.; v.1340, from 1st German ed. Geschichte der Päpste seit dem Ausgang des Mittelalters, 16 v. in 21. (Freiburg 18851933; repr. 1955) 33:428453, for Beijing negotiations uses contemporary Jesuit diary. a. s. rosso, Apostolic Legations to China of the Eighteenth Century (South Pasadena, Calif. 1948) 149186, with tr. of relevant Chinese documents, 231294. f. a. rouleau, "Maillard de Tournon, Papal Legate at the Court of Peking," Archivum historicum Societatis Jesu 31 (1962) 264323.

[f. a. rouleau]

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