Vieira (Vieyra), Antonio

Vieira (Vieyra), Antonio a Portuguese missionary, was born in Lisbon, Feb. 6,1608, of a good family. He was brought up by the Jesuits at Bahia, in Brazil, and in 1625 entered their order. He prepared himself by diligent study for evangelical labor among the surrounding Indians and negroes, and in 1641 went to Portugal as companion to the viceroy's son; but on their arrival they were mistaken for Spanish emissaries, and Vieira was cast into prison. He was soon released, however and preached at the court with such eloquence that Juan IV made him his preacher, and engaged him in diplomacy at Paris and the Hague. In 1647 he went also to London, and in 1650 to Rome. In 1652 he returned to Brazil in execution of his cherished schemes, but was unsuccessful in his efforts to rescue the natives of Brazil from slavery. He returned again to Portugal for further authority, but, after six more years of indefatigable labor in Brazil, he was finally sent home to Lisbon (1661) as a criminal. After various fortunes at home and abroad, still laboring for religious purposes, he died at Bahia, July 18,1697, the acknowledged head of the Jesuitical order in Brazil. He left a number of historical and other works, for which see Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, s.v.

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