Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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FERRER, Rafae1 (ferrer'), Spanish missionary, born in Valencia in 1570; died in San Jose, Peru, in 1611. He entered the order of the Jesuits, against the wishes of his father, who wished his son to follow a military career. He went to Quito in 1593 and became a missionary among the Cofanis, a warlike mountain tribe, who had done much damage by their frequent incursions. In 1601, with no other arms than his cross and his breviary, he penetrated into their territory. On 29 June 1603, the mission of "San Pablo and San Pedro" of the Cofanis was regularly organized. In 1604 three other villages were brought under the influence of civilization, and the Cofanis ceased to be the terror of the Spanish government. Colonists, as a consequence, poured into the adjacent territory. 3'he viceroy of Quito ordered Ferret in 1605 to civilize the unconquered tribes along the River Napo, and to make a chart of the basin of that stream.
He advanced more than 3,600 miles into the interior, and met with a friendly reception. He also made a map of the places he had traversed, and brought back a tolerably complete herbarium of the plants that he had found, and presented it to the viceroy of Quito. This voyage of exploration lasted thirty-one months. After resting at his mission among the Cofanis he returned to Quito from the north and traversed a hitherto unexplored forest, of which he made a plan. He discovered a large lake and the River Pilcomayo, which, on account of its navigability, was of much service to the colonization of that country. At Quito he received the title of "Chief of the missions of the Cofanis," and was, besides, appointed governor and chief magistrate of the Coranis. When Father Ferret returned to his missions in 1610 he devoted himself to the civilization of the few tribes of the Cofanis that up to this time had to come within his influence, and met his death at the hand of a chief whom he had obliged to renounce polygamy. The savage surprised Father Ferret as he was walking in the neighborhood of San Jose, and east him from a narrow rock, which was used to bridge a torrent. The other Cofanis massacred the murderer as soon as they learned of his deed. The account of the explorations of Father Ferret never saw the light, and the original manuscript was lost.
An extract from it, was published in the collection of the "Lettres Edificantes" by Father Dettre, published in the last century and reprinted in 1840. Besides this, Father Bernard de Bologne published in the "Bibliotheca Societatis Jesu " the same extract under the title "Relations du pere Ferrer de ses voyages dans l'Amazonie et des missions qu'il a fond6es en la nation Cofane" (1763), followed by a notice of Ferrer's life. Father Ferret published "Arte de la Lengua Cofana" (Quito, 1642), and he translated into the language of the Cofanis the catechism, and selections from the gospels for every Sunday in the year. The original manuscript of this translation was discovered in a Spanish convent, and published in Paris.
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