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Title: The History of the Revolutions of Portugal

Author: abbé de Vertot

Pierre Marie Louis de Boisgelin de Kerdu

Release date: April 24, 2014 [eBook #45471]
Most recently updated: January 25, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chris Curnow, Chuck Greif and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)



Every attempt has been made to replicate the original as printed.

Although some of the unusual spellings of the original have been retained (i.e. Cotemporary, Portugueze, encreases, Uraguay, vinilla, recal), several typographical errors have been corrected; a list follows the text.

Table of Contents:

An Accurate, Historical, and Critical Catalogue of the principal Works published relative to the History of Portugal.

A Chronological Historical Table Of The Kings Of Portugal, From Henry, duke of Burgundy, count of Portugal, to John IV, duke of Braganza, and king of Portugal.

History of The Revolutions of Portugal.

Description of Brazil.

Names of The Different Governments In Brazil, Boundaries, Population, and Commerce.

The Natural History of Brazil.



(etext transcriber's note)




With historical and critical Notes, a chronological
Table of the Kings of Portugal, and
a Description of



Hos Viriathus agit, Lusitanumque Remotis
Extractum Lustris, primo Viriathus in ævo
Nomen Romanis factum mox nobile Damnis.

Silius Ital. de Bell. Pun. Lib. 3.

Printed by and for R. Juigné, No. 17, Margaret-street,
Sold by Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme,


THE study of modern history has been, during a long course of years, greatly neglected in the generality of public schools; but it now begins to be regarded (as indeed it ought always to have been) as an object of the greatest importance. In England, particularly, it constitutes one of the principal branches of both public and private education.

The abbé de Vertot’s History of the Revolutions of Portugal has been always esteemed equally entertaining and instructive; and as such more especially calculated for the use of young people. The late events in that country has made it doubly interesting, and nothing now seems wanting to complete so excellent a performance, but to continue the narrative to the present period. This, however, if accurately given, would greatly exceed the limits we propose to ourselves in this little Work: to others, therefore, must we leave so laborious a task, and merely content ourselves with presenting to the public the annals of Portugal, from the war which the Portugueze term that of the acclamation, to the battle of Veimera. We cannot even pretend to take notice of several of the principal events which happened during that space of time, though we have been particularly attentive in investigating those which have given rise to, and ended in revolutions. We have also endeavoured to give a just idea of the character of the different kings of Portugal, with the talents of the ministers who have defended the royal authority, and the qualities of those who have attacked it.

In regard to the revolution which lately threatened the total annihilation of the throne of Portugal; the events which occasioned it, and those which have happily stopped its progress, are so recent, and so known, that we thought it needless to enter upon the subject.

Such has always been our respect for Vertot, that we have never presumed to interrupt the course of his narrative; except, indeed, the very few notes we have ventured to add, may be liable to such an interpretation.

This celebrated author having passed over in silence many of the monarchs who reigned in Portugal, previous to the revolution he so particularly described, we have added a chronological and historical Table of the different kings from Henry of Burgundy, count of Portugal, to John the IVth, duke of Braganza. We have likewise joined an accurate, historical and critical Catalogue, not only of the works of the greater part of the authors quoted by Vertot in his notes, (whose names he only mentions) but of all the most important books since published relative to Portugal and its colonies.

The recent departure of the family of Braganza from Lisbon, and their arrival in Brazil, has called for the attention, and interested the minds of every one. We have therefore been tempted to give a slight sketch of a country which is now become an object of no small curiosity: to which we have added, for the satisfaction of those readers who may be desirous of a more minute description, a list of the principal authors who have made this beautiful, though remote part of the new world, the particular object of their attention.




Of the principal Works published relative to the History of Portugal.

Résendius (Andrew, or Louis Andrew). John the IIId appointed him to superintend the education of his two brothers. He published two works, which are much esteemed: the first entitled, de Antiquitatibus Lusitaniæ, (printed in folio at Evora, in 1593); and the second, Deliciæ Lusitano-Hispanicæ. His brother Garcias published a folio History of John the IIId, in Portugueze.

Vasconcellos (Antonio) has published different works. One of the most esteemed is entitled, Anacephalosis id est summa Capita actorem regum Lusitaniæ.

Texeira (Joseph) embraced the cause of the king, don Antonio, and followed him to France, where he was greatly favoured by Henry the IIId, and Henry the IVth. His work, called Portugaliæ Ortu, is not in very great repute.

Faria (de Sousa Emmanual) was born in 1610, and died in 1659. His narratives are more eloquent than historical; he exhausts himself in harangues and reflexions, treating the greatest and the most trifling events with the same degree of importance. His principal characters are always heroes, and never men. His most celebrated work is divided into three parts; the first, containing the ancient history of Lusitania; the second, the conquests made by the Portugueze in Asia, and the eastern parts of Africa; and the third, the wars which took place in that part of Africa which is opposite to Andalusia, and the kingdom of Algarva. This work is curious and accurate, and has been translated into Italian, French, and English. The same author has published a history of Portugal, terminating at the reign of cardinal Henry. It has gone through several editions; the best of which was printed in folio, in 1730, and is continued to a later epoch.

Brito (Bernard de) a cistercian monk, historiographer of Portugal, was born in 1569, and died in 1612. He published the Monarchia Lusitana, 7 vols. in folio, Lisbon, 1597, and 1612. This is a history of Portugal which goes back as far as count Henry, and is elegantly written. Father Antonio, and father Francisco Brandhamo, members of the same society, have continued this history to the reign of Alphonso the IIId. The two first volumes alone were written by Brito, who, however, was the author of the Panegyrics of the Kings of Portugal, with their Portraits; and also of the Ancient Geography of Portugal. There is likewise another Brito, (Francisco) who wrote Guerra Brasilica, in 2 vols. folio, printed at Lisbon in 1675.

Brandhamo, and his continuator, have only given a description of the events which took place in Portugal from the usurpation of Philip the IId to the revolution, with the consequences which attended it in the reign of Philip the IVth.

Birago, of the order of Malta, has written on the same subject. Brandhamo wishing to adopt great simplicity of style, becomes very dry, and sinks into a mere newspaper writer; whilst Birago writes with more spirit, his style is more equal, his reflexions lively and ingenious, and his characters and descriptions interesting. This work was translated, on its first appearance, into all the European languages. The works of Birago and Brandhamo, were originally in Italian, and tinctured with a degree of bombast, even in the most trifling relations. They likewise introduced concettis (puns) on several occasions; than which nothing can be more ridiculous, particularly in history.

D’Eryceira (don Fernando Louis de Menesés, count) wrote Portogallo restorado, which contains the causes, progress, and consequences of the revolution, till the peace which Castille was forced to make with Portugal in 1668. This work is written in Portugueze, and with all the delicacy, strength, and energy of which that language is capable. He is sometimes, however, too minute, since he enters into particulars, which, though very interesting to his cotemporaries, and countrymen, are but little so to foreigners: his book may, therefore, more properly be termed a selection of excellent materials for writing a history, than a regular history in itself. The Foreign Journal for 1757 contains a catalogue of the numerous works of this author.

Alegrette (count de) wrote the life of John the IId, in Latin, and in so pure and elegant a style, that an author of the Augustan age need not have blushed to acknowledge. His mode of writing is compact, though clear; copious, but not diffuse. During the whole course of the work, his principal heroes are constantly in view, whilst the characters and different personages who play a part in the scene are perfectly natural and varied.

Barros (John de) born in 1496, died in 1570, was an author who was reputed the Livy of Portugal. He lived at the period when the Portugueze first extended their conquests into Asia. His style is simple, but he does not possess that noble and nervous simplicity of expression by which d’Alegrette is so particularly distinguished. Barros’s work is divided into decades, the whole of which, has never been printed. The greater part of the authors who have written on the Indies, since Barros, have merely translated his work, and that in a very inferior style. They are indeed very poor copies of a tolerably good original. Possevin, and the president de Thou, are warm in their encomiums on Barros, whilst la Boulaye le Goux represents him as a paltry scribbler, whose history of Asia and India is not worth the pains of reading. Both the praise and censure are certainly much exaggerated: several authors, however, have continued this work, and likewise divided their continuation into decades. Barros published the 1st in 1552, and the second in 1563; the 4th never appeared till 1615, when it was published by the command of Philip the IIId, who gave orders for purchasing the manuscript from Barros’s heirs. The succeeding decades, from the 5th to the 13th, are not written by Barros. The best edition of this work was printed at Lisbon, in 1736, in 3 vols. in folio. It has been translated into Spanish by Alphonso Ulloa.

Father du Tarry, (a Jesuit) has copied less from Barros, than any of the authors who have treated on the same subject. His history of the East Indies contains several extraordinary and curious facts, of which Barros, either from ignorance or inattention, has never made mention. The principal subject of the Jesuit’s history, is the progress of Christianity amongst the idolaters. This author wants order and taste; but his descriptions are lively, and his reflexions strong.

Lafitau (Joseph Francis) published Histoire des Découvertes, et des Conquêtes des Portugais dans le nouveau Monde. Printed at Paris, 1733, 2 vols. in quarto; and in 1734, 4 vols. duodecimo. This work is accurate, and not ill written: which is not the case with the history, by Abbé Raynal.

Mariana (John) died in 1634, aged 87. His history of Spain may be said not only to comprise that of Portugal, but that of the whole world. Notwithstanding the minute, and indeed sometimes inaccurate relations contained in his history of Spain, his imagination is so lively, fertile, and varied; his style so smooth and pithy, that he has ever been regarded one of the first writers of his time and nation. The best Spanish edition of this history is that of Madrid, 1698, 2 vols. in folio.

Quien de la Neufville, born in 1647, died in 1728, wrote the history of Portugal, in 2 vols. quarto, published in 1700, by Anisson, royal printer. This work is carried on no farther than the year 1521. The author has neglected mentioning several very important facts, and taken but very slight notice of many others: his work, however, in other particulars, is an estimable one, and entitled him to a place in the academy of inscriptions in Paris; it also procured him a pension for life from the king of Portugal, of 1500 French livres.

La Clede (Mr. de) was secretary to the maréchal de Coigny. He published the Nouvelle Histoire de du Portugal, in 2 vols. quarto, in 1730; and the same work in 1735, in 9 vols. in duodecimo. This history finishes at the peace between the Portugueze and Spaniards in 1668: to which is added, a simple recapitulation of the principal facts taken place from that epoch to the year 1713. La Clede reproaches Mr. le Quien de la Neufville in his preface, with (as has been already mentioned) passing over, or slightly taking notice of several important circumstances. He also accuses the Abbé Vertot of having written his account of the celebrated revolution of 1640, more agreeably than faithfully. The greatest encomium we can possibly bestow on la Clede, is, that the Portugueze esteem his history of their country, the best which ever appeared in a foreign language.

Those of our readers who wish to be more particularly acquainted with the authors who have written on Portugal, may consult Méthode pour étudier l’Histoire, of Langlet de Fresnoi, and likewise that volume of the universal history which treats of Portugal; the notes of which contain the names and works of those authors, from whose authority they have taken their facts. This history unfortunately terminates at the peace of Utrecht. Two works relative to the history of Portugal have lately been published by two authors of that country. The English, who have written their travels into Portugal, viz. Springel, Murphy and Link, have given some very curious accounts of that country, and their works are very deservedly esteemed. We also particularly recommend the perusal of Dumourier’s Etat du Portugal; this book is, generally speaking, an excellent one; and we have consulted it on several occasions; it must, however, be read with caution; nor must the reader entirely trust even to the quarto edition, printed at Hamburgh, in 1797: since the author must now be too well acquainted with the English and their resources, to believe[1] “that the descent on England, so often prepared by the French government, and so often prevented by the gold and intrigues of the cabinet of St. James’s, could not fail of success, if the French seriously attempted it; and that a peace alone can possibly ward off a blow, which must crush the English, and bring forward a revolution of the same nature as that which has taken place in France.”

The same author being likewise at this present moment equally, nay still more acquainted with the generosity than with the resources of the British nation, we flatter ourselves he will no longer be of opinion,[2] “that the English insult even when they seem to oblige;” and that he, however, will be the last who will verify what he advances, “that their manner of conferring favours, has caused nothing but ingratitude.”

Names of the principal Authors who have written on Brazil.


Vandelli (Dominicus). Natural History. Botany.

Andrada (D.) Natural History. Mineralogy. Diamonds.[3]

Vasconcellos. General History.

Bérredo. General History.

Da Cunha de Azérido Continho, bishop of Fernamburo. History, and Commerce with England.


Faber (Ulicus). General Description, and Travels.

Schmidel (Hulderivus). General Description, and Travels.

Staduis (Joanes). General History, and Travels.

Nicuhof (Johan). General Description, and Travels.

Shneider (Johan Gottlop). Natural History. Zoology.

Marcgraf (George). Saxon. Natural and General History.


Lérius (Joanes). General Description, and Travels.

Condamine (Charles Marie de la). Partial Description, and Travels.

Froger (F.) Partial Description, and Travels.


Baro (Roulex). Partial Description, and Travels.

Piso (Guileilmus). Natural History. Botany.


Knivet. General Description, and Travels.

Lindley (Thomas). Partial Description, and Travels.

L’Histoire générale des Voyages, contains several interesting particulars relative to Brazil. We have consulted the last edition, published by M. de la Harpe, for our account of animals and plants. Our division of Brazil is taken from Pinkerton, and more especially from Mantele; we have also the same authorities for what we say on the governments, population, towns and commerce of that country. D’Andrado’s Mémoire sur les Diamants de Brésil, has been useful to us on the subject of the diamond mines; and we have likewise consulted l’abbé Raynal and Dumourier.


From Henry, duke of Burgundy, count of Portugal, to John IV, duke of Braganza, and king of Portugal.

 birthmarriagecoronat.death     Henry was count of the canton
Henry of Burgandy,towards1094made1112Alphonso 1st kingFerdinand Nuguez, aof Lusitania, situated between the
count of Portugal.1060 orcountTheresa, Portugueze nobleman.Douro and the Minho. He fixed
Theresa, the naturel1095the day Bermond Paez, counthis residence at Guimaraez, on the
daughter of Alphonsoof hisUrraca. of Trasmare, a naturalbanks of the river Ave. Henry entered
the VI, king ofmarriage.  son.Spain to assist Alphonso IV,
Castille.  king of Castille and Leon, against
   the Moors, who rewarded his services
   by giving him his natural
  daughter Theresa in marriage, together
Alphonso Enriquez,11121185Henry died young with the county of Lusitania.
1st king, reignedSancho, king, Henry afterwards took from
with his motherJohn, the Moors Viseo, Lamego, Braga
Theresa till theMafalda, and Coimbra.
year 1128.      1139, the battle of Campo Ourique,
Mafalda, orUrraca. since called Cabeza de Reis
Mathilda, daughter  or (head of the king). Alphonso, in
of Amadeus, count of The first wife of Alphonsocommemoration of the victory obtained
Maurienne and Savoy. II, king of Arragon.that day over five Moorish
  Married first to Philip,kings, added five small escutcheons
 Theresa, afterwardscount of Flandres, andto his arms.
 called Mathilda.secondly to Eudes III,    In 1143 or 1147, the states assembled
          duke of Lamego, confirmed the
           title of king, which his army had
           bestowed on the field of battle at
           Campo Ourique, and established
           the fundamental laws relative to the
           succession of the crown. (See
               1147 the institution (according to
           some authors) of the two military
           orders of the Wing and of Avis; the
           latter was not worn as at present
           till the year 1162.
       1147 or 1148. Capture of Lisbon:
Sancho I.115411851211Alphonso, king, The royal residence was at
Donna Dulcia, daughter La Clede.Ferrand or that time at Coimbra.
of Raymond Bérenger Ferdinand, 
IV, count of       1203, capture of Elvas.
Barcelona and king Joanna, daughter of
of Arragon.1212Pedro, Baldwin, emperor of
  Fer-  Constantinople.
 Mafalda orAurembiax, countess of
  Mathilda, Urgel.
 Sancha, abbess 
  of Lorvam,Alphonso IX, k. of Leon.
 Blanca,Waldemar, king of Denmark.
 Berengara.     1217. A great victory gained
   over the Moorish kings of Cordova
Alphonso II, surnamed1185120712111223Sancho, king, and Badajos.
the fat.Alphonso, king,Waldemar, prince of
Urraca, daughter ofFerdinand, Denmark.
Alphonso III, king ofVincent, 
Castille.Leonora.He married, or as it is    1245. King Sancho was excommunicated
  generally thought, hadby the pope, and quitted
Sancho II, surnamed120812231248 for a concubine donnathe kingdom. He died in 1248, at
Sancho with the hood, Mencia, daughter of donToledo.
because his mother had Lopez Dias de Haro, by
dedicated him to St. donna Urraca, the natural
Augustine, and had daughter of Alphonso III,
him educated amongst king of Castille.
the canons regular.      1267. The king of Castille gave
   up the kingdom of Algarve to Alphonso,
Alphonso III.1210123812481279Denis, king, of which, however, he still
Mathilda Dammartin,Alphonso, continued the usufructuary.
countess of Boulogne-Ferdinand,  
on-the-sea, and widowVincent,  
of Philip Huspel, sonBlanch,  
of king PhilipConstance,  
Augustus. She wasBlanche.  
repudiated in 1254.   
Beatrix de Gusman,   
natural daughter of   
the king of Castille.   
Denis, surnamed the1261128212791325Alphonso, king,     1290. A university founded at
liberal, and the fatherConstance.Ferdinand IV, king of Lisbon, which was transferred to
of his country. Castille. Coimbra in 1308. The Portugueze
    language underwent several improvements;
Elisabeth, daughter of   and the celebrated romance
don Pedro III, king   of Amadis de Gaul was written
of Arragon.   by Vasco Lobeira. The French
    have endeavoured, though in vain,
Alphonso IV, surnamed1291130913251357Alphonso } died  to attribute it to one of their nation.
the brave or the proud. orDenis } young     1319, institution of the ordre of
 1290Pedro, king,  Christ.
Beatrix, daughter ofnew hist.Mary,     1340. Famous battle of Tarisa
Sancho IV, king of of   or Celdona, in which, according
Castille.PortugalLeonora.  to the Spanish historians, more than
  Alphonso XI, king of 200,000 Moors were slain.
Pedro I, surnamed1320133913571367    By the queenCastille.     1355, the king causes the celebrated
the justician or the Constance,Second wife of Pedro IV, Inez de Castro to be put to
severe.Lewis diedking of Arragon. death.
Constance, daughter       1361. Don Pedro gave orders for
of John Emmanuel,Ferdinand, king  the body of Inez de Castro, to be
of Castille.and Maria.  taken up, and removed with all the
    pomp due to royalty, to the royal
Inez de Castro,    By  monastery of Alcobaça, there to be
his concubine.Inez de Castro,Ferdinand of Arragon, interred under a white marble
 Alphonso diedMarquis of Tortosa. monument, on which she is represented
 young.  with a crown on her
 Denis.  head.
 John, duke ofJane, natural daughter of 
 Valencia,Henry II, k. of Castille. 
  Maria Tellez, and, secondly, 
 John, natural sonConstance, natural 
 by Theresa de Lorenzo,daughter of Henry 
 who afterwardsII, king of Castille. 
 king of Portugal.  
Ferdinand.1340137213671383Beatrix,Don Juan I, of Castille.     1381, the English, under the
Leonora Tellez, wife  command of the earl of Cambridge,
L. da Cunha.  brother to the duke of Lancaster,
   came to the assistance of the king.
  Regent       1385. Battle of d’Aljubarotta
John I, surnamed the1357138713831433 Edward, against the king of Castille. A
great, and father of King Pedro, duke of convent built on the field of battle,
his country.1385 Coimbra, which afterwards became the burying
Philippa, the daughter Henry, duke of place for the kings of Portugal.
of the duke of Lancaster. Viseu, Ferdinand Nugno Alvarez Perreyra,
  Ferdinand, constable of Portugal, was made
  Juan,Philip the good, duke ofduke of Braganza, as a reward for
  Isabella,Burgundy.his great services. His heiress afterwards
   married Alphonso of Portugal,
  and a natural son. the natural son of John I, from
   which marriage sprung the family
   of Braganza now reigning in Portugal.
Edward.1391142814331438 Alphonso, king,     1415, capture of Ceuta in Africa.
Leonora, daughter of Ferdinand, duke      1420, discovery and conquest of
Ferdinand, king of of Viseu. Madeira.
Arragon and Sicily. Philip died      1422, the Christian era first in
  young, general use throughout Portugal.
  Catherine,Frederic III, Emperor. 
       1459. Alphonso V instituted
Alphonso V, surnamed1432144614381481 Jane or Joanna,Henry IV, king of Castille.the order of the sword.
the African.      1476. The battle of Toro gained
Isabella, his cousin. a natural son, by Ferdinand, king of Castille,
  called John Emmanuel. against Alphonso, who goes to
   France to demand assistance from
             Louis XI, whom he met at Tours.
            He embarked the next year at
            Houfleur, in Normandy, for Portugal,
            where he arrived Nov. 15.
Don Juan or John II,      1482, John II, erected Fort St.
surnamed the perfect.145514811495 Alphonso died  George on the coast of Guinea.
  12th July, 1491.  
Emmanuel, surnamed      1483. The duke of Braganza beheaded
the fortunate.146914951521  for conspiring with the king
  By Isabella; of Castille against the state.
Isabella of Arragon,1497 Michel, died at  
stiled of Castille, the age of two     1486. The Cape of Good Hope
widow of the infant years, discovered by Bartholomew Diuz,
don Alphonso.  who gave it at first the name of
  By Maria; Capo Tormento.
Maria of Castille,1500 John III, king,  
Isabella’s sister. Louis,     1492. Discovery of the kingdoms
  Ferdinand, of Congo and Benin.
Eleanor of Austria,1519 Alphonso, cardinal,  
sister of Charles V, Henry, cardinal     1493, The Pope fixes the line
afterwards married to and king, of demarcation which limits the
Francis I. Edward, navigation of the two crowns of
  Anthonio, Spain and Portugal in the new
  Maria died in her hemisphere. This line was afterwards
  infancy, changed by pope Alexander VI.
            1496. Emmanuel banished the
            1497, Vasguez and Paul Gama
        doubled the Cape of Good Hope,
        for the first time; they discovered
        the whole of the eastern coast of
        Ethiopia, and in
            1498 arrived at Calcutta.
            1500, Pedro Alvarez Capral or
        Cabral, discovered Brazil.
            1506, Francisco d’Almyda formed
        several settlements in the kingdoms
        of Norsinque, Quito, Cananor,
        and Cochin. His son Lorenzo
        took possession of the Maldiva
        islands, and the island of Ceylon.
            1507, Ormus taken by Francisco
            1510, Jaquez Signeira entered
       Emperor Charles V.the island of Sumatra. Alburquerque
        took Goa by surprise.
          Charles III, duke of    1511, Capture of the island of
  Maria Beatrix.Savoy.Malacca.
  By Eleonor;     1517, Ferdinand Peres Auduade
  A Prince and landed in China, and obtained permission
  Princess. to build the town of Macao.
       1520, Anthonio Correa discovered
John III.150215211557 Alphonso, Pegu.
Catherine of Emmanuel,  
Austria. Philip,  A modern author takes notice
  Denis, of earthquakes which happened in
  John, the beginning of John IIId’s reign,
  Anthonio, but we know not on what authority
  Maria, he founds his information.
  Isabella,     1526, The inquisition instituted
  Beatrice. in Portugal.
  Phillip II, king of Spain.    1541. Introduction of the Jesuits.
Sebastian, son of155415571578  The king takes the habit of
the infant John V,  that order, and submits himself to
son of John III.  the superior, though by permission
   of the Holy See he still preserved
   his crown.
Henry I, cardinal.151215781580 See History of  
  Spain.     1548. Orange trees first brought
Anthonio, grand153115801595  from China, and planted in Portugal.
prior of Crato,   
natural son of      1578. Sebastian defeated by the
Louis II, the son  Moors in the battle of Alcacer.
of Emmanuel.  For particulars of this unfortunate
   expedition into Africa, (see Vertot.)
             Sebastian was the first king of
            Portugal who bore the title of majesty
            bestowed upon him by Philip
            II, of Spain.
                1580. Anthonio defeated at Alcantara
            by the Spaniards. He flew
            for refuge to France, where he
            died in 1595, and having made
            Henry IV his heir, he particularly
            recommended his two sons to his
    Spanish Kings.            1581. States general of Portugal
          held at Tomar. Philip II acknowledged
          as king, provided Portugal
          might ever be regarded as a
          separate and independent kingdom,
Philip II of Spain,15801598  of which Lisbon should be
and Philip I of Portugal.  the capital. So many persons
   were thrown into the Tagus, that
Philip III, and II of16211640  the inhabitants would not eat the
Portugal.  fish, whereupon the archbishop of
   Lisbon, solemnly, and with the
Philip IV, and III of1640  accustomed rites, absolved and
Portugal.  blessed the river.
John IV, duke of Braganza,160416401656 Alphonso VI. k.     Vertot commences his relation
the grandson of Pedro, king, of the Revolution at this epoch,
Catherine, who was Maria, which we continue till the departure
the daughter of the infant Catherine,Charles II, king ofof the family of Braganza for
Edward, the son England.Brazil, or, more properly speaking
of king Emmanuel.  till the battle of Veimera.
             The title of prince of Brazil was
         first confered on the presumptive
         heir to the crown during the reign
         of John IV.


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THE kingdom of Portugal makes part of the great extent of country called Spain;[4] most of its provinces bear the names of the different kingdoms into which it is divided: that of Portugal lies to the West of Castille, and on the most western coast of Europe; it is only a hundred and ten leagues in length, and its greatest breadth does not exceed fifty. The soil is fertile, the air wholesome, and the heat of the climate is tempered by refreshing breezes and fruitful showers. The crown is hereditary, and the monarch absolute. The formidable tribunal of the Inquisition is regarded by this prince as the safest and most useful means of forwarding his political views, and as such, employed by him with the greatest success. The Portugueze are naturally fiery, proud, and arrogant, greatly attached to their religion, though more superstitious than truly devout; they regard almost every event as a prodigy, and not only persuade themselves, but endeavour to persuade others, that they are the peculiar favourites of Providence, which never fails to protect them in the most extraordinary manner.

The original inhabitants of this country have never been justly ascertained. Some historians make them the descendants of Tubal, and it would be scarcely possible for the most fabulous accounts to trace their origin farther back; every nation, indeed, has some chimerical notions on this head; there is not, however, the smallest doubt, that these provinces belonged successively to the Carthaginians and the Romans; but towards the beginning of the fifth century the whole of Spain became the prey of the Alains, the Sueves, the Vandals, and the rest of the barbarous nations generally termed Goths, when Portugal was sometimes governed by its own appropriate kings, and sometimes subjected to the Castilian monarchs.

During the reign of Roderick, last king of the Goths, in the beginning of the eighth century, the Moors, or more properly speaking the Arabs, subjects of the calif Valid-Almanzar, crossed from Africa into Spain, and conquered a great part of that country, to which they were invited by count Julien, a Spanish nobleman, whose resentment towards Roderick, for the violation of his daughter, induced him to forward by every possible means the designs of the enemy, who extended their dominions from the straits of Gibraltar to the Pyreneans; they could not, however, pierce into the Asturian mountains, where the Christians flew for refuge, and were governed by prince Pelagio, who founded the kingdom of Leon or Oviedo in that spot.

Portugal shared the fate of the other Spanish provinces, and became subject to the Moors, who established a variety of different governments, which on the death of the Great Almanzar became independant, and were transformed into small principalities; these, however, did not long exist, they were disunited by emulation and clashing interests, whilst luxury and indolence completed their ruin.

Henry, count of Burgundy[5], descended from Robert, king of France, succeeded in driving the Moors from Portugal towards the beginning of the twelfth century. This prince, animated by the same zealous spirit of religion which caused the Crusades of those times, entered Spain, decided to signalize himself against the infidels, and began his military career under Roderick de Bivar, that celebrated general, distinguished in history by the name of the Cid. He displayed such extraordinary valour in these religious wars, that Alphonso the VIth, king of Castille and Leon, gave him the command of his army. This French prince is said to have defeated the Moors in seventeen pitched battles, and to have driven them from the northern part of Portugal. The king of Castille, anxious to attach so great a general to his service, united him to his daughter the princess Theresa, and at the same time presented him with all the provinces he had conquered as a marriage portion. These the count considerably augmented by fresh victories: he besieged, and took the cities of Lisbon, Viseu, and Coimbra: he succeeded equally in the three provinces situated between the Douro and Minho, which Henry formed into a considerable sovereignty, and though he never took the title of king, he was the original founder of the kingdom of Portugal.

His son, the prince Alphonso, inherited his father’s valour, and succeeded him in his possessions, which he even augmented by new conquests. Thus heroes lay the foundation of empires, whilst the weak and cowardly disgracefully lose them. The soldiers of count Alphonso proclaimed him king, after having gained a great victory over the Moors, and the states general, assembled at Lamego, confirmed this august title, which justly descended to his successors.

It was in this assembly, composed of the principal persons of the nation, that the fundamental laws, relative to the succession to the crown, were established. The first article commences as follows:—May King Alphonso live amongst us, and reign over us! If he has male issue they shall be our kings; the son shall succeed his father, who in his turn shall be succeeded by his son, afterwards by his grandson; and so on to the end of time.


If the king’s eldest son die before his father, the second son shall succeed to the crown; in case of his death, he shall be replaced by the third, who shall be succeeded by the fourth, and, in the same manner, by all the remaining sons of the king.


If the king die without male issue, and should have a brother, he shall be our king; but he shall not be succeeded by his son, unless the said son should be elected by the bishops and states, in which case, but in no other, we will acknowledge him for our sovereign.


If the king of Portugal should leave no male issue, his daughter shall be our queen, provided she marry a Portugueze nobleman; who, however, shall not bear the title of king till after the birth of a male child. In presence of the queen, he shall always be placed on her left hand, and shall not be permitted to wear the regal crown.


This last law shall always be strictly observed, and the king’s eldest daughter shall never espouse any but a Portugueze nobleman, lest the kingdom should become subject to a foreign prince. Should the king’s daughter infringe this article and become the wife of a prince or nobleman of another country, she shall not be acknowledged queen; and this, because we will not suffer our people to be ruled by a king who was not born a Portugueze, since it is to our subjects and countrymen alone, without any foreign aid, who shed their blood in our service, and by their valour raised our country to regal dignity.


By the strict observance of the above wise laws, the crown of Portugal remained for several centuries in the possession of the royal family of Alphonso. His successors have since added greatly to the splendour and power of the kingdom, by the important conquests gained in Africa, India, and afterwards in America. The Portugueze have displayed a degree of courage and skill in the conducting these distant and wonderful enterprises, which justly entitles them to the warmest eulogiums. They have also had the glory of introducing the Christian religion into these conquered countries, where the Portugueze missionaries have greatly succeeded in making known the worship of the true God to the most idolatrous and barbarous nations. Such was the situation of Portugal about the year 1557, when the king, don Sebastian came to the throne. He was the posthumous son of don John, who died before his father, king John the IIId, who succeeded his father the great king Emanuel.

Don Sebastian was scarcely three years old when he became king. His grandmother, Catherine of Austria, was appointed regent during his minority. This princess was the daughter of Philip the Ist, king of Castille, and, the sister of the emperor Charles the Vth. Don Alexis de Menezes, a nobleman who professed the strictest piety, was named governor to the young prince; and the literary part of his education was confided to the care of father don Louis de Camara, a member of the society of Jesuits. Nothing was omitted on the part of these wise and learned preceptors which could possibly contribute to the instruction of the young prince; his mind was early formed to piety, and at the same time he was inspired with every elevated sentiment worthy of royalty. But these noble and Christian principles were carried too far. Menezes continually dwelling on the conquests gained by his predecessors in India, and on the coasts of Africa, whilst the Jesuit never ceased representing to his pupil, that as kings held their crowns from God alone, their only object in government should be, not only to cause him to be worshipped at home, but in the most distant countries, in which even his name was hitherto unknown. Such a mixture of pious and warlike ideas made too strong an impression on a youthful prince naturally lively and impetuous. His every thought was turned towards conquests: he talked on no other subject; and no sooner had he taken the reins of government into his own hands, than he meditated attacking Africa in person. He accordingly held continual conferences, both with officers and missionaries, and seemed decided on adding the title of apostle to the glorious one of conqueror.

The civil war lately broken out in the kingdom of Morocco, seemed a favourable opportunity of signalizing his zeal and courage. Muley Mahamet had succeeded his father Abdala, the last king of Morocco, but his paternal uncle, Muley Moluc, pretended that he had usurped the crown, which according to the law of the Cherifs, fell successively to the king’s brothers in preference to his own children. This dispute occasioned a bloody war between the uncle and nephew. The former, a valiant prince, a profound politician, and a great general, having formed a powerful party in the kingdom, defeated Mahamet in three different battles, and finished by driving him not only from his dominions, but even out of Africa.

The vanquished prince sought an asylum in the court of Portugal, and represented to Sebastian, that though he had been driven from Morocco, he had still many secret friends in that country, who only waited his return to declare themselves in, his favour: that he had also learnt Moluc was suffering by a lingering malady, which in the end must prove fatal; and that his brother Hamet was too little esteemed by the nation to have any hopes of succeeding him. If, therefore, at so critical a moment, he could be enabled to appear at the head of a small body of troops on the frontiers, he doubted not but his former subjects would replace him on the throne; which, should he recover by the inference of Portugal, he would in future acknowledge himself vassal to that power; into the possession of which he would rather yield his crown, than permit it to remain on the head of an usurper.

Don Sebastian, ever alive to impressions of glory, and whose every idea turned to important conquests, engaged in this affair with more eagerness than prudence, and instantly determined on marching in person to Morocco. He treated the Moorish king in the most distinguished manner, and promised to reinstate him in his dominions at the head of the whole army of Portugal. He, indeed, flattered himself with shortly hoisting the banner of the cross on all the mosques in Morocco; and it was in vain the most prudent members of his council used every persuasive argument to dissuade him from so precipitate a measure. His courage, his Christian zeal, the presumption natural to youth, and frequently the companion of royalty, joined to the voice of flattery, so constantly heard in a court, made him regard this victory as easy as glorious. Thus obstinate in his opinions, and convinced of his superior abilities, as if sovereign knowledge must necessarily attend on sovereign power, he refused listening to the voice of his ministers and council, he crossed the sea, and undertook with an army of scarcely thirteen thousand men, to dethrone a powerful monarch, esteemed the greatest general in Africa.

Moluc being informed of the designs and landing of the king of Portugal, waited his arrival at the head of his whole army. His cavalry consisted of forty thousand, most of whom were old and experienced soldiers, even still more formidable from the conduct and capacity of their leader, than from their personal valour. As to the infantry, it was only composed of ten thousand regular troops; and he placed very little dependance on the crowds of Arabs and militia which had hastened to his assistance. These, indeed, were much more inclined to pillage than conquer, and were always ready to fly or to declare in favour of the victorious party. Moluc, however, employed these troops to harrass the Christian army, and being spread throughout the country, they were constantly skirmishing in sight of the camp. They had secret orders to fly from the Portugueze; with a view of drawing them from their intrenchments on the sea-shore, and at the same time keeping up the blind confidence of don Sebastian by affected marks of fear. That prince, more brave than prudent, daily perceiving the Moors unable to stand before his troops, commanded them to quit their intrenchments, and marched against Moluc with the certainty of success. The barbarian monarch seemed at first to retreat, as wishing to avoid a decisive battle; few of his troops appeared in sight, and he even made different proposals to don Sebastian, as if he mistrusted his forces and feared for the event of the war. The king of Portugal, from the idea that the difficulty consisted, not in conquering, but in coming up, to the enemy, continued the pursuit. But no sooner did Moluc perceive the Portugueze sufficiently distant from the shore, and consequently from their fleet, than he collected his army in the plain, and formed his cavalry in the form of a crescent to enclose the whole of the Christian forces. His brother Hamet commanded this corps; but having no great idea of his courage, he took care to inform him, that he owed this distinction to his rank alone, assuring him at the same time, that should he be cowardly enough to fly, he would strangle him with his own hands, and that he had no choice left but conquest or death. The state of his own health was such, and his weakness was so great from the effects of his long consuming illness, that he expected every moment to be his last; he therefore determined that the day of his death should be the most glorious of his existence. He himself arranged the order of battle, and gave his commands with as much clearness and presence of mind as if in perfect health. He even looked forward to the events which would probably take place after his death, and gave particular orders to the officers around him, that should it happen during the heat of the combat, the news should not be suffered to transpire; that to keep up the confidence of his soldiers, his aid-de-camp should approach his litter as usual, and appear to take orders as if he was still in existence. Such courage and magnanimity can never be sufficiently admired. It seems, indeed, that this barbarian prince had so arranged his designs, and given his orders in his last moments, that even death itself could not rob him of victory. After having taken these measures, he was carried through the ranks, where his presence, gestures, and discourse, all tended to exhort the Moors to fight for the defence of their religion and country.

The battle commenced on each side by a discharge of cannon, when the two armies moved forward and charged furiously. Presently the combat became general, and the Moorish infantry, principally composed, as has been already mentioned, of Alarbs and other vagrants, easily gave way to the Portugueze, whose courage was animated by the presence of their king. The duke d’Aveiro even succeeded in driving back a corps of cavalry to the quarters of the king of Morocco; who, on perceiving his soldiers in confusion, and shamefully flying, jumped from his litter, and burning with rage and indignation, decided, though almost in the agonies of death, to drive them back to the charge, his officers vainly opposed his design, and he forced a passage through the ranks with his sword; but this effort entirely exhausted his little remaining strength, and he fainted in the arms of his equerries, who bore him back to his litter; when, putting his finger on his mouth to enjoin secrecy, he immediately expired; but though his death was so sudden, that there was no time to convey him to his tent, both armies remained ignorant of his fate.

Hitherto success seemed to attend the Christians; but the Moorish cavalry having formed a large circle, drew together by degrees, and closing their ranks, entirely surrounded don Sebastian’s little army. The Moorish cavalry then proceeded to charge the Portugueze cavalry on every side, whilst the latter, overpowered by numbers, fell back on the infantry, and falling amongst them, overwhelmed the whole with confusion and dismay. The infidels immediately took advantage of the open and disordered state of the battalions, and rushing amongst them with their scymitars, easily obtained a complete victory over troops already more than half subdued by astonishment and terror. The field of battle then became a scene of slaughter; nothing but carnage presented itself on every side; wretches on their knees begging for life, whilst others sought their safety in flight, but, so hemmed in were they, that it was impossible to escape, and death attended them from every quarter. The rash Sebastian fell a victim to his imprudence: but whether from ignorance of his rank he was killed in the general flight, or whether he sought death sooner than survive the numerous persons of distinction murdered by the Moors, whom he had himself led to destruction, has never been ascertained. Muley Mahamat, the original author of the war, endeavoured to save himself by flight, but was drowned in passing the river Mucazen. Thus perished, in one fatal day, three great princes. Their deaths indeed were different, Moluc losing his life by illness, Mahamet by water, and Sebastian by the fate of arms[6].

Sebastian was succeeded on the throne of Portugal by his great uncle cardinal don Henry, the brother of his grandfather, John the IIId, and the son of king Emmanuel. But this prince being a priest, in an infirm state of health, and more than sixty-seven years of age, all those who had any pretensions to the crown, regarded him merely as the guardian of their rights, each individual therefore endeavoured to prepossess him in his or her favour.

The candidates on this occasion were numerous, and the greatest part were descendants, though in different degrees, from king Emmanuel, Philip the IId, king of Spain, Catherine of Portugal, the wife of don Jacques, duke of Braganza, the duke of Savoy, the duke of Parma, and Anthony, knight of Malta, and grand prior of Crato, were all equally solicitous to bring forward and establish their pretensions. Different publications appeared in the name of these princes, and the civilians employed in the cause, endeavoured to regulate the order of succession in favour of their respective clients.

Philip the IId, was son to the infanta Isabella, the eldest daughter of Emmanuel. The duchess of Braganza was descended from don Edward, son of the same Emmanuel. The duke of Savoy was the son of princess Beatrix, the empress’s sister. The mother of the duke of Parma was Mary of Portugal, daughter of prince Edward, and the eldest sister of the duchess of Braganza. The grand prior was a natural son of don Louis de Beja (second son of Emmanuel,) and Violante de Gomez, surnamed the Pelican, one of the most beautiful women of the age she lived in, and to whom, Anthony affirmed, his father was secretly married. Catherine de Medicis also entered the lists, and grounded her pretensions to the crown on being descended from Alphonso the IIId, king of Portugal, and Mathilda, countess of Boulogne.

Even the pope himself endeavoured to reap some benefit from the king’s being a cardinal, as if the crown in that case must necessarily be guarded as a benefice devolving on the court of Rome.

These foreign claimants were not very formidable, the greater part being not in a situation to support their pretensions. The succession therefore laid principally betwixt the king of Spain, and the duchess of Braganza. The latter was greatly beloved; and her husband, though not in a direct line, was descended from the kings of Portugal. She, however, claimed the crown in her own person, being born a Portugueze, and all foreign princes, as mentioned in the beginning of this work, being excluded from the dignity of king, by the fundamental laws of the nation. Philip agreed to this principle, as far as it tended to the exclusion of the dukes of Savoy and Parma; but he would never accede to a king of Spain being deemed a foreigner in Portugal, particularly as this small kingdom had been more than once subject to the kings of Castille. Each party had it separate supporters. The cardinal king was beset with constant solicitations; but he could not venture to decide in an affair of such importance; neither was he too well pleased with hearing eternally of his successor. He was desirous of living long, and reigning quietly: he therefore referred the discussion of the candidates’ claims to a junta, who was not to decide the succession till after his demise.

The death of this prince, who only enjoyed the regal dignity seventeen months, involved the country in disputes and confusion. The friends of the different claimants were warm in their exertions in their favour; even the most indifferent felt anxious for the decision of the junta appointed by his late majesty in his last will and testament. In the mean time, Philip the IId, well aware that causes of such importance were not terminated by the opinions of civilians, sent a powerful army into Portugal: this was commanded by the celebrated duke of Alba, who presently decided the affair, in his master’s favour.

It does not appear in history that the duke of Braganza took up arms to support his claims to the crown. The grand prior alone employed every possible means to oppose the Castillians; he had been proclaimed king by the populace, and took the title, as if it had been bestowed on him by the states general of the nation. His friends raised a military force in his behalf, but it was presently cut to pieces by the duke of Alba: the superior skill, indeed, of the Spanish general, surmounted every obstacle; and the Portugueze, disunited among themselves, without generals to command them, destitute of regular troops, and with nothing to support their courage but their natural animosity to the Castillians, were defeated on many different occasions. The greater part of the cities and towns entered into separate treaties, from the dread of being given up to plunder. Philip was acknowledged legitimate sovereign, and took possession of the kingdom as great nephew and heir of the deceased king; he, however, regarded the right of conquest as his securest title, and both he and his successors regulated their conduct on the same principle, since Philip the IIId, and Philip the IVth, his son and grandson always treated the Portugueze much more as a conquered people, than as natural subjects. This kingdom therefore became, as formerly, a mere province of Spain; and that without the Portugueze ever being in a situation even to attempt freeing themselves from the Castillian yoke. The grandees of the nation never ventured to appear with a magnificence suitable to the dignity of their birth, lest they should excite suspicion in the breast of the Spanish ministers; since, at that epoch, riches, birth, or superior merit, were sure to entail mistrust and persecution on their possessors. The nobility might be said to be confined in their country houses, whilst the people were oppressed by taxes.

The count-duke d’Olivares, prime minster to Philip the IVth, king of Spain, was of opinion, that newly conquered countries could never be too completely reduced: he was very well aware, that notwithstanding all his efforts, the old and natural antipathy between the nations was such, that the Spanish dominion must ever be odious to the Portugueze, who could never behold, without indignation, important posts and governments filled either by foreigners, or by men raised from the lowest situations, whose only merit consisted in being entirely subservient and devoted to the court. The count-duke therefore thought he could not more effectually secure the authority of his sovereign, than by preventing the nobility from taking any share in public affairs, and so completely impoverishing the people that they could have neither the courage nor the power to take any steps towards a change of situation: he also took care to employ all the younger part of the nation, and indeed all others capable of bearing arms, in foreign service, and that from the politic motive of removing dissatisfied and turbulent spirits, lest they should be tempted to disturb the peace of the government.

This plan, if followed to a certain degree, might probably have succeeded, but the state of affairs at the court of Spain, and the severe and inflexible disposition of the prime minister having carried matters too far, it produced a contrary effect. They no longer kept any terms with the Portugueze, and did not even condescend to make use of the usual pretences to extort money from the people, but enforced payment more in the style of contributions from a conquered enemy, than taxes lawfully levied from faithful subjects. The Portugueze therefore, having nothing more to lose, and perceiving no hopes of either ending or mitigating the misery of their situation, without a change of government, began to reflect on means of freeing themselves from a dominion, which always appeared unjust, and was now become tyrannical and intolerable.

Margaret of Savoy, duchess of Mantua, was at that time governess of Portugal, but though dignified with the title of vice-queen, her power was very limited; and the secrets of the state, with indeed an almost unbounded authority, were entrusted to Michel de Vasconcellos, a Portugueze, who, though entitled secretary of state to the vice-queen, was in reality an absolute and independant minister. This man received his instructions directly from the count-duke, whose creature he was, and to whom he had made himself not only agreeable, but necessary, by skilfully obtaining frequent and considerable supplies of money from Portugal; and by a spirit of intrigue, which facilitated the execution of his most secret intentions, he also created dissensions amongst the nobility, which he artfully fomented by affecting to shew particular marks of favour to one party, to which such distinctions were still more grateful from the resentment and jealousy it caused in the other. Such divisions amongst the first families of the nation, were calculated to ensure the safety and quiet of the minister, who had good reason to believe, that whilst the heads of those families were employed in planning schemes of private revenge, they would never be tempted to undertake any thing inimical to the government. The duke of Braganza alone, throughout the whole of Portugal, was in a situation to cause the Spaniards the smallest uneasiness. This prince was of a mild and amiable disposition, but rather inclined to indolence; his understanding was more solid than lively; in business he constantly attended to the main point, and presently made himself acquainted with every thing that he thought worth the pains of acquiring, though in general he was an enemy to application. His father, don Theodorius, on the contrary, was impetuous and fiery, and had left no means untried to transmit to his son his natural antipathy to the Spaniards; whom he always regarded as usurpers of a crown which properly belonged to himself: he therefore endeavoured to inspire the young prince, not only with sufficient ambition to desire the possession of that crown, but with spirit and courage to undertake so great and dangerous an enterprize. Don John, indeed, had imbibed all the sentiments of his father, but tempered by the natural gentleness and moderation of his character, he undoubtedly detested the Spaniards, though not sufficiently to induce him to make any great exertions to punish their injustice. He was not devoid of ambition, and always cherished hopes of one day filling the throne of his ancestors; he, however, waited that event much more patiently than his father, and, though decided not to lose sight of so important an object, he was careful how he risked the loss of a most delightful existence and the possession of immense riches, for the uncertain prospect of a crown. This conduct, though very different from the views of don Theodorius, was the most prudent; for had he pursued the plans of his father, his designs would certainly have been frustrated. The count-duke watched him so narrowly, that had his inactivity and love of pleasure been merely a mask to cover deeper views, he would presently have been discovered, and his fortune ruined for ever; for it never could be supposed the court of Spain would have suffered so powerful an enemy to remain quietly in the bosom of his country.

The most refined politician could not have acted more prudently in regard to the Spaniards, than don John; and this, merely by following the bent of his own inclinations. He was, indeed, perfectly convinced, that though his birth, riches, and claims to the crown, could not justly be imputed to him as crimes, they would be esteemed as such by political judges, in whose eyes the most powerful must ever be the most criminal. He therefore decided on adopting a line of conduct which should banish all suspicion from the breasts of the Spaniards: fortunately this plan was not only the most prudent, but the most agreeable to his feelings; which led him to avoid entering into public affairs, and devoting himself entirely to pleasure. Villa Vicosa, the usual residence of the dukes of Braganza, became the seat of every social amusement; the hours were passed in sporting and feasting, and the society composed of people whose taste led them to enjoy the pleasures of the country, whilst they diffused mirth and happiness to all around. Thus nature and fortune conspired to favour don John; the first endowed him with qualities suitable to the temper of the times, whilst the latter enabled him to employ those qualities to the greatest advantage; though not sufficiently brilliant to alarm the Spaniards with the idea of his one day attempting the throne, they were solid enough to make the Portugueze look forward to a mild, wise, and just government, should they themselves be induced to rise up in his favour.

Notwithstanding the uniform prudence of his conduct, an affair afterwards took place which made him in some degree suspected by the prime minister, though don John had not the smallest share in the business. The people of Evora, made desperate by fresh taxes, rose in arms, and in the fury of seditious rage, some of the most violent declaimed against the tyranny of the Spaniards, and publicly breathed forth wishes in favour of the house of Braganza. It was then perceived, but too late, how greatly Philip the IId. had erred, in permitting so rich and powerful a family to remain in a newly conquered country, over which their right of reigning was but too clearly proved. So circumstanced, the Spanish council decided on removing the duke of Braganza from the kingdom; he was accordingly offered the government of the Milaneze, which he refused, alledging that neither his health, nor his acquaintance with Italian affairs, would allow of his accepting so important and difficult an appointment. The minister appeared to acquiesce in these reasons, whilst he endeavoured to hit upon another method to engage him to visit the court. The king’s projected journey to the frontiers of Arragon, to punish the rebellious Catalonians, was a plausible pretence for his joining the party; he therefore wrote earnestly to exhort him to join the Castillian troops at the head of the nobility of his country in an expedition which must end gloriously, and in which the king commanded in person. The prime minister, with a view of weakening the power of the Portugueze nobles, had already published an edict of Philip the IVth, commanding all hidalgos to repair immediately to the army raised against the Catalonians, on pain of losing their fiefs dependant on the crown; he therefore hoped, that the duke of Braganza, as hereditary constable of Portugal, could not be dispensed from marching on the occasion. The duke, however, mistrusting all propositions on the part of the court, and seeing through the artifice of its proceedings, entreated the minister to induce the king to accept his excuses, on account of the enormous expences which must be incurred by a person of his dignity, and which he declared he was entirely unable to support.

Such repeated refusals began to alarm the minister; he was, indeed, perfectly well acquainted with the mild and peaceable disposition of the duke, yet he could not help fearing, that his claims to the throne having been forcibly held up to his view, the temptation of reigning might in the end have surmounted the natural indolence of his character.

Securing the person of the duke was an object of so very great importance to the king his master, that he was determined on using all possible means to succeed in his design; but so great was the attachment of the Portugueze to the family of Braganza, that open force could not be attempted; he therefore sought to seduce him by the most flattering caresses, and to draw him from his retreat by professions of the sincerest friendship, and marks of unlimited confidence.

War having broken out between France and Spain, and some French vessels having appeared off the coast of Portugal, the minister thought it a favourable opportunity for the execution of his plan. A general being necessary to command the Portugueze troops dispatched to prevent the French from landing on the coast, Olivarez conferred this appointment on the duke of Braganza, with full power to fortify towns, increase or remove garrisons, dispose of vessels in all the different ports, and, in short, to act as if the whole kingdom of Portugal was subjected to his authority alone. In the mean time, he sent secret orders to don Lopez Ozorio, who commanded the Spanish fleet, to put into the same port as don John, on pretence of distress of weather; and having induced the latter to accept an entertainment on board, to weigh anchor, and make sail immediately for Spain. Fortune, however, did not smile on the minister; for the Spanish admiral being overtaken by a violent tempest, which destroyed some of his vessels, and dispersed the rest, found it impossible to approach the coast of Portugal. These different disappointments did not, however, discourage the count-duke; who attributed to chance alone the failure of his plan; since, had don Lopez once entered the port, don John must inevitably have been taken. Another scheme soon presented itself to the artful minister, who wrote to the prince in the most affectionate and confidential terms: he even appeared to regard him as a coadjutor in the ministry and government of the state; deploring the misfortune befallen the Spanish fleet at a moment when the enemy was particularly formidable, and adding, that the coasts of Portugal being left unguarded, the king wished him to visit in person, those places and ports throughout the kingdom, which might probably be insulted by the French; sending him at the same time an order for forty thousand ducats, for the purpose, if necessary, of levying additional troops, and defraying the expences of his journey. The minister did not neglect, in the interim, to direct the governors of the different citadels, most of whom were Spaniards, to secure, if possible, the person of the duke, and send him off instantly to Spain.

Such marks of confidence, and such exaggerated professions of regard, were too little comformable to the character of the minister, and to his usual mode of conduct, for the duke of Braganza to believe them sincere; this prince therefore mistrusted his design, and contrived to draw him into the very snare which had been laid for himself. He wrote to the count-duke that he accepted with the greatest pleasure and gratitude the appointment of general, that he flattered himself his conduct would justify his majesty’s choice, and prove him worthy of so honourable a mark of distinction. He now, however, began to entertain hopes of the possibility of regaining the throne of his ancestors; he accordingly took advantage of his situation to bestow places and employments on those of his friends who might hereafter be useful to his cause, and disposed of the money received from Spain in gaining new partizans, and securing them in his interest. He also took care to be accompanied by such a numerous retinue on visiting the different places and forts, that not the smallest shadow of hope remained to his enemies of ever succeeding in making themselves masters of his person.

The supreme authority with which he had been invested, did not fail to excite the jealousy of the whole court of Spain; every one expressed his disapprobation in the highest terms, and the king alone being in the secret of the prime minister, attempts were made to injure him in the opinion of that prince, to whom he was represented as a favourer and ally of the house of Braganza. His enemies warmly accused him of imprudence in giving the command of the Portugueze troops to a man, whose claims to the throne of Portugal were of a very serious nature, and who, being thus armed with power to assert his right, might probably be tempted to turn those very arms against his sovereign. The king, however, was still more confirmed in his resolution of adhering to the prime minister’s plan, on perceiving that no one had the smallest suspicion of the motive of his conduct.

These circumstances were all very favourable to the designs of the duke of Braganza, whose high employment authorised him to travel throughout the whole of Portugal, and it was in this journey he laid the foundation of his future grandeur. The magnificence of his equipage and attendants dazzled the eyes of all beholders, and he listened with the most obliging attention and affability to every one who addressed him. He curbed the insolence of the soldiery, whilst he bestowed the most flattering praises on the officers, whom he engaged in his interest by rewarding them to the utmost of his power. Such suavity of manners charmed the nobility, whom he received with the distinction due to their different degrees of rank and merit; he, in short, did so much good wheresoever he passed, and acted with such kindness and generosity, that he gained still more friends, from the hopes they entertained of his future favours, than from those he actually bestowed: thus every one who beheld him, thought to insure their own happiness by offering up vows to Heaven for his restoration to the throne of his ancestors. The friends and followers of this prince were equally anxious to support his reputation, and neglected nothing which could possibly establish it on the most solid foundation. On this occasion none was more active than Pinto Ribeiro, the steward of his household; he indeed, took the most efficacious steps towards putting the machine in motion, and forming a regular plan for the aggrandisement of his master. Naturally active, vigilant, and a consummate politician, he burned with impatience to see the prince on the throne of Portugal, when he, no doubt, flattered himself he should have no small share in a government which he had so greatly contributed to establish. The duke, indeed, had frequently confessed to him, that he should be happy to take advantage of any opportunity that might offer itself to become master of the crown; but that he could not possibly decide on undertaking so great an enterprise, like a needy adventurer who had nothing to lose. He, however, consented that Pinto should sound the disposition of the people, and gain friends to his cause, provided he made no engagements for his master, who was to appear entirely ignorant of every thing which passed on the occasion.

Pinto had long been very assiduous in finding out, and adding to the number of mal-contents in Lisbon. He never failed whispering complaints of the present government throughout the city, and expressed himself with more or less warmth, according to the character and rank of those with whom he conversed: these precautions, indeed, were scarcely necessary, for such was the general hatred of the Portugueze towards the Spaniards, that there was no danger of any secret being betrayed by the former which might tend to the destruction of the latter. Pinto never failed remarking to the nobility, the high and honourable employments held by their respective families when Portugal was governed by its legitimate sovereigns; but nothing affected and offended that class equally with the arriere-ban convoked by the king for serving in Catalonia; this expedition was represented by Pinto, as an exile, from which there would be great difficulty in returning; that, independantly of the enormous expence, they would be treated with the greatest haughtiness by the Spaniards, whose secret interest it was to expose the bravest of the Portugueze to the most imminent danger; and that, without affording them an opportunity of sharing in the glory.

Whenever chance led him into a society of merchants and citizens, he exclaimed against the injustice of the Spaniards, who had ruined Lisbon, and indeed the whole of Portugal, by the transfer of the India trade to Cadiz. His conversation constantly turned on the extreme misery to which they were reduced by so tyrannical a government, and of the happiness of those people[7] who had so gloriously emancipated themselves from such servility. To the clergy he represented the frequent violation of the immunities and privileges of the church, and that the most considerable benefices and dignities were become the prey of foreigners, instead of the just reward due to the merit and learning of the natives of Portugal. With those whom he knew to be already discontented, he dwelt on the excellent qualities of the duke, his master, purposely to sound their inclination on the subject, deploring at the same time the indolent character of that prince, and expressing his sorrow that the only person who could effectually remedy such grievances, should be so little attached to his country, and so indifferent to his personal aggrandisement. Whenever this conversation appeared to make an impression on his hearers, he flattered one party with the glorious title of deliverer of his country, whilst he excited the indignation of those who had more particularly suffered by the ill treatment of the Spaniards; and held forth to the rest the most advantageous prospect from a change of government. Thus, having succeeded in stirring up the minds of the people in general, and in securing a particular party in his interest, he at last assembled a numerous body of nobility, at the head of which was the archbishop of Lisbon[8], of one of the first families of the kingdom[9]. This prelate was learned, skilful in business, a favourite of the people, and hated by the Spaniards; whom he in his turn equally detested, from the preference they shewed to the archbishop of Braga[10], a creature of the vice-queen, on whom they had bestowed the dignity of president of the chamber de Paço, and whom they even allowed to take a share in the affairs of the government. Amongst the people of distinguished rank, who composed this assembly, don Michel d’Almeida claims particular notice; this venerated old nobleman had ever been peculiarly esteemed for the superior merit of his character; he gloried in preferring the honour and happiness of his country, to his own personal interests; he was afflicted and enraged at seeing it thus reduced to servitude by an usurper, and had constantly and courageously persevered in these noble sentiments; nor could the entreaties of his family, nor the advice of his friends, ever induce him to go to the palace, or pay his court to the ministers of Spain, to whom such uncommon firmness did not fail to make him an object of suspicion. Pinto therefore did not scruple declaring himself more openly to a man of whose principles he was so perfectly well assured, and whose sentiments, if in favour of his party, would be of the greatest weight with the rest of the nobility. Don Antonio d’Almada, the intimate friend of the archbishop, with don Lewis his son, made part of this assembly; as did also, don Lewis d’Acugna, that prelate’s nephew, who was married to the daughter of don Antonio d’Almada. Mello, grand huntsman, don George, his brother, Peter de Mendoça, the grand chamberlain, don Rodrigo, with several other officers of the royal household, whose hereditary posts were mere useless titles, since the kingdom of Portugal had become the prey of a foreign power. The archbishop, naturally eloquent, addressed the assembly, and drew a most frightful picture of the distressed state of the nation, since it had been subject to the dominion of the Spaniards: he represented in strong colours the cruelty of Philip the IId, in destroying a great number of the nobility, in order to ensure his conquest; adding, that he had not even spared the clergy; witness the celebrated brief of absolution[11] obtained from the pope for having put to death two thousand priests and friars who stood in the way of his usurpation; that, since those dreadful times, the Spaniards still persevered in the same system of politics, that they had condemned to death, on various pretences, several persons of superior merit, whose only crime was their attachment to their country: that neither the life nor property of a single person in the present assembly was in safety; that the nobility were treated with every mark of contempt, and never allowed any share in the government, or named to any employments; that the clergy had been composed of the most unworthy members, since Vasconcellos had taken upon him to bestow benefices as rewards for the services of his creatures; that the people were loaded with taxes, the country destitute of husbandmen, and the towns deserted by soldiers, who were forcibly carried off to Catalonia; that the late orders received for the nobles to repair to that country, on pretence of arriere-ban, was the finishing stroke of the prime minister’s politics, who wished by these means to rid himself of the principal persons of the nation, whom he regarded as the only obstacles to his pernicious designs; that the least evil they had to apprehend was, a tedious banishment; that they would thus grow old, miserable, exiles in the interior of Castille, whilst a new colony would take possession of their property as a right of conquest; that as to himself, the frightful prospect of such accumulated misfortunes, would make him pray for a speedy death, sooner than behold the total destruction of his country, were it not for the hope that so great a number of distinguished persons as were then present, would never have assembled in vain.

This harangue greatly affected the assembly, and revived the recollection of former miseries. Every individual brought forward some instance of cruelty in Vasconcellos. Some had been deprived of their property by his injustice, whilst others complained of being dispossessed of hereditary employments and governments, in favour of his friends and followers. Several had been unjustly imprisoned as suspected persons, and others regretted their fathers, brothers, and friends, who were either detained in Madrid, or sent to Catalonia as hostages for the fidelity of their countrymen. In short, there was not one amongst them who, in the general cause, had not likewise some private injury which called for vengeance. The Catalonia business was an object of universal indigustion; since nothing could be more clear, than that their complete destruction, and not the want of this aid, was the motive which induced the court of Spain to send them so far from home. All these considerations, joined to the flattering hope of revenging such repeated injuries, decided them on taking effectual measures to throw off so heavy a yoke; and foreseeing no possible means of mitigating their misery, they reproached themselves for their patient submission, which they began to regard as mean and cowardly, whilst all agreed in the pressing necessity of driving out the Spaniards, though they differed in the mode of government they should afterwards adopt.

One part of the assembly lent towards a republic[12], nearly on the same model as that established in Holland; whilst the other preferred a monarchy. Of the latter, some proposed the duke of Braganza, others the marquis de Villa-Real, and a third party the duke d’Aveiro, all three princes of the blood royal of Portugal. Each gave his opinion on this occasion according to the affection he bore these different princes, and his own private interest; but the archbishop, ever devoted to the family of Braganza, skilfully took advantage of his sacred character to represent in the most energetic terms, that the choice of government was not arbitrary, since they could not in conscience break their oath of allegiance to the king of Spain in favour of any other than the lawful heir to the crown, which was universally known to be the duke of Braganza; they had therefore no choice left, but to acknowledge him as king, or patiently remain for ever under the government of Spain. He next proceeded to set forth the great power, immense riches, and considerable number of vassals belonging to that prince, from whom nearly one-third of the kingdom held their lands; adding, that there could be but little hopes of driving the Spaniards out of Spain, unless they chose him for their chief; and to induce him to accept so important a post, it would be necessary to offer the crown to his acceptance, even were it not his incontestable right as first prince of the blood. The archbishop did not fail expatiating on the amiable qualities of the duke, dwelling particularly on his prudence, wisdom, and the mildness and goodness which distinguished all his actions: he, in short, made so strong an impression on the minds of his hearers, that the universal voice was in favour of Braganza; and they decided, before they parted, to leave no means untried to engage him in their project. The assembly then broke up, after having fixed particular days and hours for future meetings, in order to deliberate on the best steps to be taken for the speedy and happy execution of this design.

Pinto no sooner perceived this favourable turn of affairs, than he wrote to his master, entreating him to move towards Lisbon, where his presence would so greatly tend to animate the conspirators, and where he would be enabled to concert with them the proper measures for succeeding in so arduous an undertaking. This truly able man was indeed the master spring which set in motion the whole machine, and that without appearing to have any private interest in the business, or any other motive than zeal for the public good: he even expressed his doubts whether his master could ever be induced to enter into a plot so repugnant to his natural disposition, which led him to avoid all hazardous enterprizes, or indeed any thing which required attention and perseverance; thus raising difficulties, which prevented all possible suspicion of any secret intelligence between him and the duke, and were at the same time of a nature to be easily over-ruled; exciting, rather than otherwise, the spirit of the people to pursue their design with redoubled ardour.

The duke, in a few days after receiving Pinto’s letter, quitted Villa Vicosa, and arrived at Almada, a castle in the neighbourhood of Lisbon, from which indeed it is only separated by the Tagus. This journey was not calculated to raise suspicion, and appeared taken in the course of his other visits to the different fortresses in the kingdom. He was escorted on this occasion by so many people of distinction and officers of the army, and his equipages were in such a style of magnificence, that he appeared much more like a sovereign taking possession of his dominions, than a mere governor visiting the places committed to his charge. On arriving so near the capital of Portugal, he judged a visit to the vice-queen absolutely indispensable. The great court of the palace, and all the avenues leading towards it, were on this occasion thronged with people, anxious to see him pass, and the whole body of the nobility waited upon him to accompany him to the vice-queen; the whole city, indeed, wore the appearance of a public festival, and such was the joy his presence inspired, that nothing appeared wanting to place him on the throne, but a herald to proclaim him king, or sufficient resolution in himself to claim that title as his due. This prince, however, was much too wise and prudent to trust the completion of so great a design to the transports of a light and inconstant people, who generally gave way to first emotions, very different from that persevering approbation so necessary in an enterprise of so momentous a nature. He, therefore, after taking leave of the vice-queen, returned to Almada without passing through the town, or even visiting the palace of Braganza, lest he should give umbrage to the Spaniards, who were already but too much alarmed at the testimonies of joy expressed by the people.

Pinto did not fail remarking to his friends the cautious, nay, timid conduct of his master on this occasion, representing that they ought not to neglect the opportunity of his visit to Almada, to enter into a full explanation of their design, and even to insist on his accepting the crown, as the only means of redeeming his country from utter ruin. This advice being approved by the conspirators, Pinto was entreated to use his influence with his master, to give them an opportunity of explaining their intentions in person, a commission he joyfully accepted. The duke of Braganza was prevailed upon to consent to the interview, on condition that only three of the deputies should be admitted to his presence at the same time, not chusing to explain his sentiments before a more numerous society.

Michel d Almeida, Antoine d’Almada, and Mendoça being chosen for this purpose, were secretly admitted in the night to the prince’s closet; when Almada represented to him, in the strongest colours, the miserable situation of the kingdom, in which all ranks of people were equal sufferers, from the cruelty and injustice of the Castillians; that even the duke himself, notwithstanding his princely dignity, was not safe from their malice, since he could not possibly be blind to the various plans formed by the prime minister to effect his ruin; that in order to escape such deep laid schemes, he had no other resource than mounting the throne of his ancestors, and that to assist him in achieving so great a design, he was deputed by a great number of the most distinguished persons in the kingdom, who made an offer of their services, and were ready to sacrifice their lives and fortunes to promote his interest, and to revenge the cause of Portugal on the tyrannical and usurping Spaniards. Almada then proceeded to prove, that the situation of Spain was greatly changed since the days of Charles the Ist and Philip the IId, when that country gave the law and spread terror throughout the whole of Europe, that the same monarchy, which at that time formed such extensive views of empire, could now scarcely preserve its own domains from the frequent and successful attacks of France and Holland, with which it was then at war. That the greatest part of its forces were employed in Catalonia; that it was in want of troops and money, and was governed by a weak prince, who himself was governed by a minister universally and deservedly detested by the whole of the kingdom. He next set forth the alliances the duke might reasonably expect to form with the greatest part of the princes of Europe, who, as natural enemies of the house of Austria, would assuredly grant him their protection; that Holland and Catalonia ought to teach him what may be expected from a great minister[13], whose sublime and elevated genius seemed wholly bent on the complete destruction of the same family: that the vicinity of Portugal to the sea would enable him to receive all necessary assistance; in short, that the greatest part of the Spanish garrisons having left the country to augment the army in Catalonia, he could never have so favourable an opportunity to prove his right to the crown, to secure his property, life, and family, and deliver the nation from slavery and oppression.

The duke of Braganza, though inwardly charmed with this discourse, replied with his usual calmness and moderation, and though he did not absolutely refuse the proposal of the deputies, he said nothing which could make them believe he was decided on accepting it. He, indeed, assured them, that he was convinced as well as themselves of the deplorable state of the nation, and that his own situation was far from secure: he praised their zeal for the good of their country, and expressed the high sense he had of their views in his favour; but that he could not help doubting the time was not yet come for such violent measures, which, if not taken effectually, were ever attended by the most dreadful consequences.

This answer, the only one they could possibly obtain, was accompanied by such amiable and caressing manners, and by such polite acknowledgments to each deputy, that they had every reason to believe their commission was far from disagreeable to the duke; but that the only steps he could be induced to take in the business, would be to give his consent, when, through their endeavours, the success of the enterprise should be no longer doubtful.

The duke, after this interview, arranged fresh plans with his faithful Pinto, and returned to Villa Vicosa oppressed by feelings he had never before experienced, and which prevented the enjoyment of those pleasures he had formerly tasted in his retired situation. His first care on arriving at home, was to communicate all which had occurred to his wife. This princess, who was a Spaniard, and the sister of the duke de Medina Sidonia, a grandee of Spain, and governor of Andalusia, discovered from her cradle the most elevated sentiments, which by degrees became an immoderate passion for every thing noble and glorious. Her father, having early perceived that her understanding was equal to her courage, neglected nothing which could possibly contribute to the cultivation of such striking qualities. Her education was superintended by persons of the first abilities, who did not fail to inspire her with those sentiments of ambition which are esteemed by the world the index of a noble mind, and as such judged the first of qualities in a prince[14]. She had applied herself from her earliest youth to the discrimination of characters, and could discover by the most ingenious and delicate means, the secret sentiments of those with whom she conversed: she was indeed become so skilful and penetrating, that even the designs of the most artful courtier could not escape her observation. In short, she was not only possessed of sufficient courage to undertake the most difficult enterprise, if it appeared to her great and glorious, but endowed with abilities to ensure its success. Her manners were dignified, yet easy, and her sweetness joined with majesty, inspired all who beheld her with love and respect. She easily acquired the manners of the Portugueze, and might very well have been mistaken for a native of Lisbon. Her first care on her marriage was to obtain the esteem and confidence of her husband, and she succeeded perfectly in her design, by her exemplary conduct, solid piety, and obliging compliance with his favourite pursuits. Indifferent to all the pleasures natural to her age and quality, she passed every leisure hour in cultivating her understanding, and adding fresh force to the natural strength and justness of her judgment. The duke of Braganza felt himself happy in the possession of so truly accomplished and amiable a woman; his esteem for her qualities, and confidence in her judgment, were unbounded; and he never could have been prevailed upon to take any decisive steps in so momentous an affair as the one in question, without her knowledge and advice. He therefore informed her of every particular relative to the conspiracy, the names of the conspirators, their ardour in the cause, and every thing which had passed, both at Lisbon and at the conference at Almada; adding, that immediately on the news of the Catalonian expedition he had foreseen that the nobles were resolved to rebel sooner than quit the kingdom, and that should he refuse the proffered dignity, it was to be feared they would chuse another chief; yet still he could not help owning that the greatness of the danger filled him with apprehensions. The idea of ascending the throne of his ancestors, when viewed at a distance, had indeed dazzled, and agreeably flattered his imagination, but now, when the moment was arrived for trying his fortune, and risking so perilous an undertaking, he could not look forward without fear to an event which might terminate in the destruction of himself and family: that very little dependance could be placed on the temper of an inconstant people, whom the smallest difficulty discourages, and that it was not sufficient to have the nobles of his party, unless they were supported by the grandees of the kingdom; but so far from flattering himself with their interest in his favour, he had every reason to believe they would prove his most cruel enemies, since the jealousy natural to mankind would never allow them to submit to the authority of one who had hitherto been their equal.

These considerations, joined to the great power of the king of Spain, and the very little confidence to be placed in the assistance of foreign princes, nearly overbalanced in the mind of the duke the desire of royalty; but the duchess, possessed of more firmness, and fired with ambition, entered immediately into the whole design of the conspiracy. The prospect of so great an enterprise excited the natural courage of her character, and awakened every aspiring sentiment in her bosom. She asked Braganza[15] in what manner he would act, in case his refusal of the crown should end in Portugal’s becoming a republic, and how he would conduct himself between that new form of government and the king of Spain? to which the duke replied, that he should ever remain inviolably attached to the interests of his country. Your resolution then, returned the duchess, dictates to me the answer I ought to make, and the one you yourself should give to the deputies; and since you are thus willing to expose yourself to the greatest dangers as a subject of the republic, surely it will be much more advantageous and glorious to take up arms in defence of a crown, which is your lawful right, and which the people and nobles burn with impatience to place on your head. She next proceeded to represent in the most forcible manner his incontestable claims to the throne of Portugal, remarking, that in the miserable situation to which that country was reduced by the Castillians, it was criminal in a man of his power and rank to remain inactive, and that his children and latest posterity would have cause to reproach his memory, for having thus, through weakness and timidity, neglected so favourable an opportunity. She dwelt particularly on the charms of royalty, and the delight of reigning over a country where now he was a mere subject, continually exposed to danger; that nothing could be more easy than possessing himself of the crown, and even without foreign assistance; since he was sufficiently powerful in Portugal to drive out the Spaniards, especially at the present fortunate juncture of the rebellion in Catalonia. She, in short, held up such brilliant prospects to his view, that he was determined to be guided by her advice, and decided upon joining the party: but the duchess, equally with himself, was of opinion it was more prudent to wait till the number of conspirators should be increased, before he made a positive declaration of his sentiments; and that he should not appear openly in the affair, till the plot was ripe for execution.

The court, in the mean time, was not a little alarmed by the joy expressed by the Lisbonians at the presence of Braganza, and which had made no small impression on the mind of the minister, who began to suspect the holding of private meetings in that city; certain reports also, which generally are whispered about on the eve of great events, considerably increased his apprehensions.

The king called several councils on the occasion, and resolved on crushing all hopes of a revolution in Portugal, by immediately summoning the duke of Braganza to Madrid, as the only chief of a party to be dreaded in that country. The count-duke, therefore, sent off a courier to that prince, informing him that his majesty required his presence, being desirous of learning from his own mouth the precise state of the troops and fortresses in Portugal; adding, that his friends were anxious to see him at court, where he might be assured he would be received with every distinction due to his birth and merit.

A thunder-bolt could not have more dreadfully dismayed the duke than this intelligence. The earnest intreaties and different pretences which had hitherto been employed to entice him from his native country, confirmed him in the idea that he was obnoxious to the government, and his destruction certain. But now the case was still more desperate; proffered employments, and feigned caresses were now changed to absolute orders, which, if disobeyed, would be enforced by violence. Apprehensions of his designs having been betrayed took possession of his mind; and as all those who form great projects believe the whole world employed in watching their motions, and diving into the secret recesses of their hearts, this able, though in some respects timid and suspicious prince, believed himself involved in the greatest of all possible calamities. He, however, wishing to gain time, dispatched, by the advice of the duchess, an intelligent and faithful gentleman belonging to his household, to assure the prime minister of his immediate attendance on his majesty, giving him at the same time secret orders to endeavour as much as possible to invent different excuses for the arrival of his master being so long delayed; the duke hoping by these means to avert the storm hanging over his head, and to accelerate the success of the conspiracy. Immediately on the gentleman’s reaching Madrid, he acquainted the king and prime minister that he only preceded his master, who would instantly follow him; and hiring a large hotel, he furnished it magnificently, engaged a great train of domestics, whose liveries he had already provided, lived at a considerable expence, in short, neglected nothing to prove that the duke’s arrival was hourly expected, and that he intended appearing at court with a splendour suitable to the dignity of his birth.

In a few days afterwards, this gentleman pretended to have received an account of the duke’s being seriously indisposed; but this excuse being soon worn out, he next presented a memorial to the prime minister, requesting, in the name of his master, that his majesty would be pleased to regulate the rank he was to hold in the court of Spain; and he flattered himself this affair might take some time in deciding, from the opposition it was natural to suppose would be made by the grandees in support of their claims; but the prime minister, who suspected such frequent delays, and who burned with impatience to see him at Madrid, quickly surmounted all these difficulties, by engaging his majesty to decide in favour of the duke, and that in the most honourable and distinguished manner.

No sooner had the conspirators learned the orders received by the duke, than, fearing he might take alarm too suddenly, they dispatched Mendoça to revive his drooping spirits, and to determine him at once on nobly and courageously joining their party. The choice fell preferably on this nobleman, as being governor of a fort near Villa Vicosa, which would prevent the Spaniards from suspecting the secret purpose of his journey. The duke being engaged in the pleasures of the chace, was joined by Mendoça, and taking an opportunity of riding together into the thickest part of a wood, the latter represented the perils he would inevitably encounter should he venture to the court of Spain; that by thus putting himself into the hands of his enemies, he would for ever blast the hopes of the nobility and people; that considerable numbers of the first gentry were decided to sacrifice their lives and fortunes in his cause, and only waited for the avowal of his sentiments, to shew themselves; that the moment was at length arrived, when he had no choice left him but death, or a crown; that all farther delays were dangerous, and that he must be aware an affair of such importance, confided to such a variety of people, could not long be kept secret from the Spaniards. The duke no longer hesitated, but agreed in the sentiments of Mendoça, and commissioned him to declare to his friends, that it was his fixed resolution to place himself at their head.

Mendoça returned immediately home, to prevent any suspicions of the cause of his journey on the minds of those who might probably have seen him with the duke; and merely wrote to the conspirators that he had been on a hunting party, and had found the game for a long time very shy, but that at last he had had good sport. In a few days afterwards he returned to Lisbon, where he acquainted his friends with all that had passed; and the duke wishing to see Pinto, he set off immediately, having first received the necessary instructions for informing his master of the nature of their plan, and the means of putting it into execution. Pinto also acquainted him with the divisions which had taken place at the court of Lisbon, where the vice-queen complained in the bitterest terms of the pride and insolence of Vasconcellos; declaring that she could no longer permit the dispatches from the court of Spain being first addressed to him, whilst dignified by a vague title, she remained wholly powerless. Her complaints indeed were the more justly founded, as being a princess of superior merit, she was in every way capable of exercising the authority committed to her charge. This she perfectly knew, but she did not so easily perceive that the distinguished qualities of her head and heart were the principal reasons of her being allowed so small a share in the government. Pinto did not fail to remark on this occasion, that nothing could be more favourable to his master’s designs than this misunderstanding, since the disputes in the palace would take up the attention of the Spanish ministers, and not allow them time to attend to his proceedings.

The duke of Braganza, on the departure of Mendoça, sunk once more into his usual indecision; the more the plot advanced towards its execution, the more his uncertainty increased. Pinto used every possible endeavour to prevent his wavering, and even added threats to argument and entreaty, declaring he should be proclaimed king in spite of himself, and that the consequences of his irresolution would be risking greater perils, and suffering still more considerable losses. The duchess joined with this faithful domestic in reproaching him with the mean cowardice of preferring the security of a frail existence to regal dignity; till at last the duke, blushing at being surpassed in courage by a woman, yielded to her arguments. He was, indeed, pressed by continual letters from his agent at Madrid, who declared, that he could no longer invent excuses for his absence, nor would the prime minister any longer accept them. Perceiving, therefore, no time was to be lost, he determined on commencing his operations without delay. He, however, sent an answer to Madrid, desiring his gentleman to try to gain time, by representing to the count-duke d’Olivarez, that he should already have been in Spain, had he not wanted money for the journey, and for appearing with the splendour suitable to his rank in the country; but that the moment he should be able to procure a sufficient sum for such purposes, he would set off immediately for court. His next care was to consult with the duchess and his faithful Pinto, on the properest methods to be taken for securing the success of his enterprise; and the duke at last decided that his first attack should be on Lisbon, which being the capital, would, when once secured in his interest, naturally influence the rest of the kingdom, and that the moment Lisbon declared in his favour, he should cause himself to be proclaimed king in all towns within its jurisdiction; that those of his friends who were governors of forts and strong places should do the same; and that the conspirators should stir up the people of the small towns and villages in their different lordships, so that in so general and sudden a commotion, the few Spaniards remaining would be at a loss on which side to turn their arms; that he would send his own regiment into Elvas, the governor of which was wholly in his interest; but that he was as yet uncertain in what manner he should possess himself of Lisbon, a great deal depending on the opportunities which might offer themselves when he should commence his attack; he was, however, of opinion, that their first attempt should be on the palace, in order to secure the person of the vice-queen, together with the whole of the Spaniards, who might serve as hostages to enforce the surrender of the citadel, which might otherwise greatly annoy the city, when once in their possession. The duke then gave Pinto credential letters for Almeida and Mendoça, in which he informed them that the bearer being perfectly well acquainted with his intentions, he merely wrote to express his hopes that they would remain faithful to their promise, and be firm and vigorous in the moment of its execution. This done, the duke immediately dispatched Pinto to Lisbon, after having bestowed upon him such marks of confidence and esteem, as gave him no room to doubt, that whatever might be the future grandeur of his master, he should always preserve the same place in his favour.

On arriving at Lisbon, his first care was to present his letters to Almeida and Mendoça; he also sent for Lemos and Correa, whom he had long secured in the interest of his master. These were rich citizens, who had served all the principal offices of the city, employed a considerable number of artificers, and were highly esteemed by the people. They had busied themselves for some time past in keeping up the resentment of the citizens towards the Spaniards, by secret reports of new taxes to be laid on in the beginning of the following year: they even purposely discharged several of their workmen, particularly the most discontented amongst them, on pretence, that trade being ruined, they were no longer able to maintain them, and this with a view that poverty, and its attendant, hunger, might induce them to an insurrection; relieving them, however, from time to time, in order to secure them more firmly in their interest. They also kept up a secret correspondence with the principal persons in each quarter of the town, which enabled them to assure the conspirators, that provided they were made acquainted with their plan the evening before it was to be put into execution, they would engage to stir up the greater part of the people, and that at the hour they should judge most convenient for this purpose.

Pinto having thus secured the artificers in his cause, neglected nothing to keep the other conspirators firm to their purpose; exhorting every one separately to hold himself in readiness against the signal of attack; begging them at the same time to engage the assistance of their own particular friends, on pretence of some private quarrel, without letting them into the true state of the business; judging, truly, that there are many people endowed with great courage sword in hand, who, in cold blood, are very unfit to be trusted with a great and important secret.

Pinto having reason to be satisfied with the firmness and courage of those to whom he addressed himself, every one of whom breathed forth the most ardent wishes, and the greatest impatience to be revenged of the Spaniards; he held a conference with Almeida, Mendoça, Almada, and Mello, and nothing appearing wanting for the execution of their design, they unanimously fixed on Saturday the first of December to commence their operations. Notice was immediately sent to the duke of Braganza, in order that he might cause himself to be proclaimed king on the same day throughout the province of Alentejo, the whole of which was immediately under his dependance. It was then resolved they should assemble once more, to take the final measures for ensuring the success of their enterprise.

This last meeting took place on the 25th of November, in the Braganza palace, when they found their party consisted of nearly a hundred and fifty gentlemen, most of whom were the heads of families, with the whole of their domestics, and about two hundred citizens and artificers, all active trusty men, so greatly esteemed in the city, that they could not fail of engaging the generality of the people in their cause.

The death of Vasconcellos was unanimously decided upon, as a victim offered up to the resentment of the whole kingdom of Portugal; some amongst them proposed the archbishop of Braga’s sharing the same fate, representing that his superior genius rendered him a most formidable enemy; and that it could not be supposed he would view their attempt with indifference, or without putting himself at the head of the Spaniards, and any other of his creatures resident in the city. That whilst they were endeavouring to possess themselves of the palace, he might either throw himself into the citadel, or come to the relief of the vice-queen, to whose interest he was particularly devoted; that in an affair of such importance it was the height of imprudence to spare an enemy who would most probably give them cause to repent their false pity, and ill-timed compassion.

These reasons had great weight with most of the assembly, and the prelate would certainly have perished with Vasconcellos, had not don Michel d’Almeida[16] spoke in his defence, and represented to the conspirators, that the death of a man of the archbishop’s character and dignified situation, would draw upon them universal indignation; that the clergy and inquisition, ever to be dreaded by the most powerful princes, would be highly incensed against the duke of Braganza, whom they would regard not only as a rebel and usurper, but as being excommunicated and shut out from the communion of the faithful; and that the prince himself would be deeply hurt that his accession to the crown should be stained by so inhuman an action. He then offered to keep so strict a watch over every action of the prelate on the day appointed for the execution of their purpose, that it would be impossible for him to undertake any thing contrary to the public good. In short, he pleaded so forcibly in his favour, that his friends, unable to refuse a man of such superior merit, agreed to spare his life.

Nothing more now remained to be done than to arrange the order of attack; and it was resolved to form themselves into four bands, that by entering into the palace by four different avenues, the passages would be too effectually stopped for the Spaniards to be able to communicate together, or afford each other any relief. Don Michel d’Almeida was appointed to attack the German guards at the entrance of the palace, whilst his brother Mello, (grand huntsman,) and don Estevan d’Acugna should surprise a Spanish company, which constantly mounted guard at a part of the castle called the fort. Mello de Menezes, the grand chamberlain, Emmanuel de Sáa, and Pinto were to force into the apartment of Vasconcellos, and dispatch him; whilst don Antonio d’Almada, Mendoça, don Carlos de Norogna, and Antonio de Saldanha, should possess themselves of the person of the vice-queen, together with those of all the Spaniards at that time in the palace, to serve as hostages in case of necessity. Whilst they were thus employed in taking these different posts, some officers were to be dispatched, attended by the principal citizens, to proclaim don John, duke of Braganza, king of Portugal, throughout the city; and that the people thus assembled in the streets should be employed as auxiliaries, in case of resistance. The conference then broke up, after having decided on meeting on Saturday the first of December, at the respective houses of don Michel d’Almeida, Almada, and Mendoça, where the conspirators were to arm for the occasion.

Whilst the friends of Braganza were thus warmly promoting his interest at Lisbon, and he himself was employed in gaining partisans in the country, the prime minister, all anxiety at such repeated delays, dispatched a courier with positive orders for his immediate appearance at court; and that the duke might no longer plead want of money as an excuse for his absence, he at the same time sent him an order on the royal treasury for ten thousand ducats.

His message was so clear, and so absolute, that the duke could no longer defer his departure without giving rise to the justest suspicions. No possible reason could now exist for his disobedience, which it was to be apprehended would be punished in such a manner as must inevitably crush all his ambitious prospects, and render his plan abortive; he therefore immediately sent off the greatest part of his household, with orders to take the road to Madrid; and in the presence of the courier appeared busied in arranging every thing relative to his government, as if on the point of taking a long journey. He also dispatched a gentleman to the vice-queen, to inform her of his departure; and wrote to the prime minister, that he might depend on his arrival at Madrid not being delayed beyond eight days. He next presented the courier with a handsome sum of money, on pretence of defraying the expences of his journey, and as a gratuity for bringing him the commands of his sovereign; but in reality to court his favour, and induce him to speak confidently of his intended departure. In the mean time he took care to inform the conspirators of all that had happened, representing the strong necessity of executing their design on the appointed day, lest measures should be taken by the Spaniards to prevent its success. They, however, were at that moment in such a state of perplexity, as gave them but little hopes of so shortly commencing their intended operations.

A certain man of quality[17], an inhabitant of Lisbon, had ever been particularly forward in expressing his detestation of the Spaniards and their government; he never bestowed on them any other epithet than that of tyrants, or usurpers, complaining publicly of their injustice, and inveighing particularly against the Catalonian expedition, which he prognosticated would be followed by the most fatal consequences.

Almada having frequently conversed with him on this topic, had every reason to think that there was not a more zealous and better affected Portugueze in the city of Lisbon: he therefore believed he would be enchanted with the plan formed for the emancipation of his country; but how great was his astonishment, when having conducted him to a retired spot to inform him of the conspiracy, this man, so daring and violent in expression, but mean and cowardly in reality, declared he would take no part in the transaction; objecting, the tottering foundation on which they had built their hopes of success! All the pride and courage he had displayed whilst the danger appeared at a distance, sunk into the most abject fear at the idea of partaking it. Where, cried he to Almada, can you possibly obtain a sufficient body of troops to enable you to undertake so vast an enterprise? What army can you oppose to the Spanish troops, which will be spread throughout the country on the first attempt you make towards the execution of your design? Who are the grandees at the head of this affair? and are they sufficiently rich to support the expence of a civil war? I fear, continued he, that so far from revenging our cause on the Spaniards, and liberating our country from their tyranny, you will contribute to its ruin, by giving them a pretext they have long been seeking, for completing the destruction of Portugal.

D’Almada, who had so little reason to expect the avowal of such sentiments, was in despair at his ill-placed confidence, and not deigning to reply, he grasped his sword, and with eyes darting fire, rushed towards him; nothing remains, cried he, to be done, but to take my life with my secret, or to receive thy punishment for having drawn it from me by thy false professions. His mean-souled opponent, ever anxious to avert impending danger, and terrified at the appearance of a naked sword, immediately consented to every proposal of Almada’s; he offered to join the conspirators, and even contrived to contradict every thing he had hitherto advanced; binding himself by the most solemn oaths to keep the secret, and neglecting nothing to induce Almada to believe that the disinclination he had at first shewed to the plan, was not the effect of fear, or want of resentment towards the Spaniards.

These oaths and protestations were, however, far from relieving the anxiety of Almada, who kept a strict watch on all the actions of this person, whilst he acquainted the conspirators with every thing which had happened. The alarm became general, and when they reflected on the variable and inconsiderable character of the man in question, they had but too much reason to apprehend, that either the approach of personal danger, or the hope of a rich reward, might induce him to betray them; they therefore decided on deferring the execution of their plan, and insisted on Pinto’s writing to his master not to commence his operations till he heard farther from them; but Pinto, well aware of the danger of procrastination in affairs of such a nature, when the delay of a single day might be attended by fatal consequences, wrote secretly to the prince to entreat him to pay no attention to the other letter, which was merely dictated by the panic of a moment, which would be passed even before the courier could possibly arrive at Villa Vicosa. The event proved the truth of his assertion, for on the following day, finding every one continued firm to his purpose, they felt ashamed of their sudden alarm; and the suspected person giving no fresh cause of apprehension, having indeed repeated his assurances of fidelity, either from a change of sentiments, or from the fear of an ill-judged accusation of so many people of distinction, they determined on pursuing their original plan: but no sooner were they relieved from one dilemma, than they fell into another equally perplexing.

The prudent Pinto, ever on the watch, took care to place several of the conspirators as spies in different parts of the palace: these men walked to and fro unheeded, and were regarded merely as making part of the idle throng who generally flock about a court. On the eve of the day intended to commence by the death of Vasconcellos, they perceived that minister embark on the Tagus; this circumstance, which would have passed unnoticed by indifferent spectators, who could never have believed themselves interested in his crossing the river, spread universal alarm amongst the conspirators, and they were instantly convinced that this artful and able minister had not only discovered their project, but was gone to the opposite shore for the purpose of collecting together the troops which were quartered in the neighbouring villages. Tortures and death immediately presented themselves in the most dreadful colours to their terrified imagination; they fancied their dwellings already surrounded by the officers of justice, and some amongst them were even on the point of escaping the cruelty of the Spaniards, by flying to England or Africa. Thus passed the greatest part of the night, in all the agonies of fear and despair; but joy soon succeeded to terror, on being informed by those of their friends who had remained at the port to make observations, that the minister was just returned, hautboys gayly playing, from a grand festival, to which he had been invited. Satisfied that no suspicion was entertained in the palace, where all was buried in sleep, unconscious of the danger of the morrow, they retired at a very late hour.

Short as was the time now remaining before the execution of their project, the conspirators had still another subject of alarm; so true it is that enterprises of such a nature are always uncertain, and frequently dangerous, more especially when the dread of punishment, and hope of reward, may cause cowardice and treachery. George de Mello, the brother of the grand huntsman, usually resided at a relation’s in a distant suburb of the city; and the conspiracy being on the point of taking place, this nobleman was of opinion, that a relation, whom he had also long regarded as a friend, would have reason to complain of his want of confidence, should he conceal from him an affair in which the love of his country must equally interest him with himself; he therefore decided on inducing him to join the confederacy, and accompany him in the morning to the rendezvous. Accordingly, on returning from the assembly, he retired with him to his closet, unfolded the whole business, exhorted him to be of the party, and to conduct himself as became a man of his quality and a true Portugueze. Surprised at such extraordinary intelligence, he, however, affected to be greatly delighted at the speedy prospect of his country’s freedom; and thanking Mello for such honourable proofs of confidence, he declared himself happy in exposing his life with so many honest men, in so just and glorious a design. This conference ended, they retired to rest for a few hours before they set off for the rendezvous; but no sooner was Mello returned to his room, than his conscience smote him for his imprudent confidence; he reproached himself for having so inconsiderately placed the fate of such numbers of respectable people in the hands of a man of whose honour he was not sufficiently assured, and in whose countenance he thought he descried marks of secret uneasiness, joined to surprise and terror at the prospect of so perilous an enterprise. In short, he could not help trembling lest the dread of torture, or the certainty of reward, should induce him to betray his secret.

A prey to these heart-rending reflections, he traversed his chamber, till roused by a confused noise of people, speaking low, as if fearful of discovery, he opened his window, to listen more attentively to what was passing, and perceived by a glimmering light his relation at the door, going to mount his horse. Furious with rage, he flew down the stairs, and drawing his sword, fiercely demanded whither he was going? and what important affairs could induce him to quit his house in the midst of the night? The other, extremely astonished, endeavoured to alledge some bad reasons for his departure; but Mello threatening to put him to death, forced him to return to his chamber, and taking possession of the keys of the house, he watched his motions till the hour appointed for the rendezvous, whither he induced him to accompany him.

The day at last broke forth which was to raise Braganza to the dignity of king, and bestow on him the honourable title of deliverer of his country, or brand him with the name of rebel, and enemy of the state.

At an early hour the conspirators repaired to don Michel d’Almeida’s, and to the other houses, where it was agreed the nobles should put on their arms. Certainty of success, courage and resolution brightened every countenance; and it is not a little remarkable, that in a conspiracy formed of such numbers of priests, citizens, and gentlemen, the greatest part animated by opposite interests, not one amongst them proved a traitor to the cause. Every one appeared as eager to begin the attack, as if he himself was leader of the enterprise, and was destined to wear the crown in reward of his services. Even the women were desirous of taking an active part in the glory of the day; and history memorably records of donna Philippa de Villena, that having herself armed her two sons, and given them each his cuirass, she addressed them as follows: “Go forth, my children, extinguish tyranny, revenge our cause on our enemies; and rest assured, that should fortune fail to smile upon your hopes, your mother will not survive a moment the disastrous fate of so many brave and honest men![18]

Every one being armed, they repaired to the palace through different streets; the greater part being conveyed thither in litters, the better to conceal their numbers and arms. They were divided, as agreed upon, into four bands, and thus waited with inexpressible impatience the hour of eight, the time appointed for the assault: every moment added to their apprehensions, lest so many people appearing at so unusual an hour at the palace, should awaken suspicion in the breast of the minister; but at last the clock struck, and Pinto having given the signal by the discharge of a pistol, they immediately rushed to their different posts; Don Michel d’Almeida and his band fell on the German guards, who being taken by surprise, and the greater part unarmed, were presently defeated, and almost without resistance.

In the mean time, the grand huntsman, with his brother Mello, and don Estevan d’Acugna, attacked the Spanish company on guard, on the right of the palace called the fort; they were followed by the greater part of the citizens engaged in the enterprise, who sword in hand forced the guardhouse, in which the Spaniards had entrenched themselves. No one on this occasion distinguished himself in a more gallant manner than a priest of Azambuja, who marched at the head of the conspirators, holding in one hand a crucifix, whilst he brandished a sword in the other, and in a loud and terrible voice exhorted the people to destroy their enemies, at the same time furiously charging the Spaniards, who flew before him; such indeed was the reverence inspired by the sacred object with which he was armed, that no one presumed to attack him, or even defend himself; so that after a very slight resistance the Spanish officer and his men were forced to yield; and, to save their lives, join in the general cry of “Long live the duke of Braganza, king of Portugal!”

Pinto having forced his way into the palace, placed himself at the head of those destined to attack Vasconcellos, and marched with so assured and resolute an air, that one of his friends, whom he met in his passage, panic-struck, tremblingly asked, whither he was going with such numbers of armed men; and for what purpose they were designed? To which he replied, with a smile, “Only to change your master, and by delivering you from the power of a tyrant, place you under the government of a lawful sovereign!!”

On entering the apartments of the secretary of state, they were met at the foot of the stairs by the civil judge[19], Francisco Soares d’Albergaria, who had just quitted Vasconcellos, and imagining the tumult to proceed from some private quarrel, was about to interpose his authority, but his ears being saluted by repeated shouts of long live the duke of Braganza! he thought himself bound in honour, and by the duties of his charge, to cry, long live the king of Spain and Portugal! This expression cost him dear, one of the conspirators immediately shooting him with a pistol, and by so doing, claimed the merit of having punished an act of loyalty, which now began to be regarded as a crime.

The secretary’s first clerk, Antonio Correa, being alarmed by the report of the pistol, instantly flew to the spot. This man, the inflictor of his master’s cruelties, and who had ever treated the nobles with marked contempt, was no sooner perceived by don Antonio de Menezes, than he plunged his poinard into his bosom; but even this stroke was not sufficient to convince the miserable wretch that his power was at an end, for not believing it possible that any one would dare to attack him, he supposed himself mistaken for another, and turning haughtily towards Menezes, “What!” cried he, “dost thou dare to wound me?” To which he was only answered by repeated stabs, till he sunk exhausted on the floor. His wounds, however, did not prove mortal; and he escaped that time with life, to perish still more ignobly some time afterwards, by the hand of the executioner.

The conspirators having thus got rid of the clerk who had impeded their passage up the stairs, flew to the apartment of the secretary. He was accompanied by Diego Garcés Palha, a captain of infantry, who on perceiving a body of armed men furiously advancing, presently guessed they aimed at the life of Vasconcellos; and though he owed no particular obligation to that minister, he generously opposed, sword in hand, their entrance at the door, hoping, by so doing, to favour the secretary’s escape; but being wounded in the sword arm, and oppressed by numbers, he threw himself from a window, and was fortunate enough to be but little hurt by the fall.

A crowd of conspirators instantly rushed into the chamber, and eagerly searched for Vasconcellos, every one burning with impatience to strike the first blow; but after having in vain overset beds, tables, and peeped into chests, they gave way to despair that he should thus escape their vengeance; when an old female servant, being threatened with immediate death, pointed to a press contrived in the wall, where he was found concealed under a quantity of papers.

The certainty of his fate deprived him of speech; and the grand chamberlain, don Rodrigo de Sáa, having first fired at him with a pistol, the others stabbed him repeatedly with their swords, and throwing him out of the window, shouted, “The tyrant is dead; liberty for ever; long live don John, king of Portugal!”

These shouts were joyfully re-echoed by the populace, on seeing the body drop amongst them. They instantly seized it, and seemed to vie with each other in revenging the public wrongs, and putting a finishing stroke to the reign of tyranny.

Thus fell Michel de Vasconcellos, who, though born a Portugueze, was ever the sworn enemy of his country, and the friend of the Spaniards. Endowed with a superior genius for the management of affairs, quick, attentive, and inconceivably laborious in business, fruitful in expedients for extorting money from the people, consequently obdurate, a stranger to pity, and capable of acts of the most refined cruelty. With such a disposition, and having neither relations nor friends, the person existed not who had the smallest influence over his mind. To the seductions of pleasure he was perfectly insensible, and being never troubled by the stings of conscience, he had amassed immense treasures in the discharge of his employment, the greatest part of which were now pillaged by the incensed people, who claimed a right to administer justice, and to repair the losses they pretended they had suffered during the course of his administration.

Pinto, without loss of time, proceeded to join the rest of the conspirators appointed to take possession of the palace, and seize the person of the vice-queen. On arriving at the spot, he found that plan had been already executed, and that they had been every where equally successful. No sooner, indeed, had they reached the door of the princess’s apartment, which the people furiously threatened to set on fire unless opened immediately, than the vice-queen, attended by her maids of honour, and the archbishop of Braga, made her appearance at the entrance of her chamber, flattering herself that her presence would appease the nobles, and restrain the violence of the populace; advancing then towards the principal persons amongst the conspirators, she addressed them as follows: “I cannot pretend to deny, gentlemen, that the secretary has justly incurred the indignation of the people by the cruelty and insolence of his conduct, but his death having now freed you from so odious an administration, your resentment ought surely to be appeased; I therefore advise you to reflect, that though these commotions may at present be attributed to the hatred of the public towards the secretary, they will, if persevered in, be regarded as acts of rebellion; nor will it be possible for me to exculpate your conduct or plead in your favour to the king.” Don Antonio de Menezes, in reply to this discourse, declared, that such an assembly of distinguished persons had not taken up arms merely to destroy a detestable wretch, who ought to have perished by the hands of the executioner, but that they had met together to place the crown on the head of this duke of Braganza; a crown which had been usurped from his family, to which he alone had lawful claim, and which they were decided on restoring him, though their lives should be the sacrifice. The vice-queen attempted to answer, by interposing the authority of the king; but Almeida fearing a longer conversation might tend to discourage his party, abruptly interrupted her, by exclaiming, that the Portugueze would no longer acknowledge any other sovereign than the duke of Braganza. In the same moment the conspirators unanimously shouted, “Long live don John, king of Portugal!”

The vice-queen, on perceiving they had broken through all restraint, believed it possible she might be more successful in the city, where her presence would probably have some influence on the citizens and people, when no longer supported by the conspirators; she therefore was preparing to go down stairs; but don Carlos de Norogna entreated her to return to her apartment, assuring her that she should be treated in the same respectful manner as if she still continued governess of the country; but that it was highly improper a great princess should expose herself to the insults of a people in the first moments of a revolution, and whose breasts beat high with the desire of liberty. These words but too clearly proved she might regard herself as a prisoner: bursting with indignation, she haughtily asked, “And what then have I to fear from the people?” “Nothing more, madam,” furiously answered Norogna, “than that they might throw your highness out of the window.”

The archbishop of Braga, trembling with passion at the expressions of Norogna, snatched a sword from a soldier who stood near him, and endeavoured to force his way through the conspirators, to revenge the insults offered to the vice-queen. This effort was on the point of costing him his life, when don Michel d’Almeida closely embracing him, earnestly begged him to reflect on the danger to which he exposed himself; and forcibly tearing him away, represented in very strong terms, that his life hung by the slenderest thread, that he had had the greatest difficulty to preserve it from the rage of the conspirators, to whom his person was sufficiently odious, without irritating them still farther, by acts of unavailing bravery, very unbecoming a man of his sacred character. These remonstrances forced him to retreat, and even to dissimulate his rage; hoping, however, that time would afford him a favourable opportunity of wreaking his vengeance on Norogna, and proving his attachment to the interests of Spain.

All the remaining Spaniards, both in the palace and city, were secured by the conspirators. The marquis de la Peubla major-domo to the vice-queen, and eldest brother of the marquis de Leganez; don Didace de Cardenas, general of the cavalry; don Fernando de Castro, comptroller of the navy; the marquis de Bainetto, an Italian, and master of the horse to the vice-queen, with several navy-officers, then in the port, were made prisoners; and that with as little difficulty, and as quietly, as if taken up by order of the king of Spain. The greater part, indeed, were unable to make any resistance, being in bed, and no one attempting to exert himself in their favour.

Antonio de Saldanha, at the head of his party, and followed by crowds of people, proceeded next to the sovereign tribunal of Relaçaon, where he harangued the company on the happiness awaiting the Portugueze from the restoration of their lawful king, the destruction of tyranny, and the re-establishment of the laws of the country, under the government of a just and wise prince, laws which had been so long set at defiance.

This discourse was received with general applause, and answered by the most lively acclamations, in favour of the new king. Gonçalo de Sousa, first president of this sovereign court, and the father of the historian of the same name, whom we have frequently consulted in the course of this work, immediately pronounced his decrees in the name of don John, king of Portugal.

Whilst Antonio de Saldanha was thus employed in disposing the tribunal of Relaçaon to acknowledge the duke of Braganza for their sovereign, don Gaston Coutinho set free the prisoners confined by the cruelty of the Spanish ministers. These miserable wretches, so suddenly removed from a frightful dungeon, with the fear of a speedy death continually in their thoughts, and restored to the participation of the liberty now to be enjoyed by their country, were so grateful to their deliverers, and so apprehensive of falling once more into the hands of their tormentors, that they formed another company of conspirators, not less solicitous to secure the throne to the duke of Braganza, than the body of nobility who originally planned the revolution.

Great as was the joy of the conspirators at the success of their enterprise, Pinto and the chiefs were not free from uneasiness. The citadel still remained in the possession of the Spaniards, who might from thence easily fire on the town, and make the people severely repent the inconsiderate joy they had testified on this occasion. It might also afford an entrance to the king of Spain, and enable him to re-establish his authority. It was therefore agreed, that without they could make themselves masters of this place, their former success would avail them nothing; they accordingly repaired immediately to the vice-queen, and demanded an order for the governor to evacuate the citadel, and deliver it into their possession. This proposal she instantly rejected, and reproaching them as rebels, indignantly asked whether they intended to make her an accomplice in their crimes. Almada, enraged at her refusal, with fire flashing from his eyes, swore vehemently that unless she that moment signed the order, he would directly stab the whole of the Spanish prisoners to the heart. The princess, terrified at his violence, and trembling for the lives of so many persons of distinction, flattered herself that the governor knew his duty too well to comply with an order, which he must be assured was forced from her; she therefore signed the paper, which, however, produced a very different effect from what she had reason to expect. The governor, don Louis de Campo, a Spaniard by birth, and naturally timid and irresolute, on perceiving the armed conspirators at the gates of the citadel, followed by an immense concourse of people, who threatened to cut him to pieces with the rest of the garrison, if he did not instantly surrender, thought himself but too happy to escape so easily, and with so plausable an excuse for the cowardice of his conduct. He accordingly delivered up the citadel; and the conspirators having thus surmounted every obstacle, dispatched Mendoça and the grand huntsman to acquaint the duke of Braganza with their success; and to assure him on the part of the citizens, that nothing was now wanting to complete their happiness but the presence of their sovereign. This presence, however, was not equally desired by all: the grandees of the kingdom regarded his advancement with secret jealousy, and those nobles who were not engaged in the conspiracy, kept a profound silence, which proved their uncertainty of the event of so extraordinary a business. Some amongst them even ventured to declare that they were far from assured the duke would approve so bold an enterprise, which must inevitably be followed by the most dreadful consequences. The favourers and creatures of the Spaniards were still more cruelly alarmed; and, not daring to shew themselves to a people, who, intoxicated with their newly-acquired liberty, would not fail to insult them, they remained constantly shut up in their apartments, waiting in the greatest agitation of mind the duke’s answer, which would determine their fate, and teach them what they had to hope or to fear from the completion of his designs. In the mean time the duke’s party, perfectly well acquainted with his intentions, continued their operations, and assembled in the palace to issue out orders for conducting public affairs till the arrival of his majesty.

The archbishop of Lisbon was unanimously declared president of the council, and lieutenant-general for the king. The prelate at first declined this honour, objecting that the present situation of the city, and indeed of the whole kingdom, demanded an able general more than a man of his sacred character. He, however, at last, on pretence of yielding to the solicitations of his friends, consented to sign the orders, provided the archbishop of Braga might act as his colleague in all affairs and dispatches necessary to be expedited before the arrival of the king. Thus this artful and prudent churchman flattered himself, that by pretending to divide the authority with him, the archbishop of Braga would become his accomplice, consequently criminal in the eyes of the Spaniards, and more particularly so, if he accepted the post of governor, which he was decided should be merely a nominal dignity: and should he refuse it, he would not only lose himself for ever with the duke, but become odious to all Portugal, and regarded as the declared enemy of his country.

The archbishop of Braga was perfectly aware of the snare laid for him; but his attachment to the vice-queen having bound him to the Spanish interest, he absolutely refused taking the smallest share in the government. The whole weight of affairs therefore fell on the archbishop of Lisbon; don Michel d’Almeida, Pierre de Mendoça, and don Antonio d’Almada were appointed counsellors of state.

The new government began its operations by taking possession of three large Spanish gallions riding in the port of Lisbon. Several armed vessels were sent out on this occasion, which were fitted by the younger part of the inhabitants, who were eager to signalize themselves in so important an affair; but their zeal had no opportunity of shewing itself, the gallions being incapable of resistance, the officers and greater part of the men having been made prisoners on the first breaking out of the conspiracy.

Couriers were dispatched the same evening into all the provinces, to engage the people to offer public thanksgivings to Almighty God for the restoration of their liberty; to proclaim the duke of Braganza king of Portugal, and to secure the persons of all Spaniards throughout the whole of the kingdom. Magnificent preparations were made in Lisbon for the reception of the new monarch, whose arrival was hourly expected; and the archbishop acquainted the vice-queen that it was necessary she should quit the palace, which must now be occupied by the king and his household. An apartment was prepared for her in the royal palace of Xabregas, at the other extremity of the city, whither she repaired on receiving the archbishop’s message, and passed through the town with an air of haughtiness, without uttering a single syllable; the scene indeed was entirely changed, and far from the train of courtiers which usually waited on her footsteps, she was accompanied by scarcely any domestics. The archbishop of Braga alone gave proofs of his constant attachment, which he publicly testified at a moment when his life might probably have been the forfeit of his zeal for her interest.

The duke of Braganza, in the mean time, was a prey to the most torturing uncertainty: alternate hopes and fears took possession of his mind. The impossibility of receiving early intelligence at Villa Vicosa, thirty leagues from Lisbon, added to his anxiety, which became intolerable, on reflecting that his fate depended on the event of the present moment. His first intention, as has been already mentioned, was to cause an insurrection in all the towns under his dependance, on the very day the conspirators were to commence their operations at Lisbon; but he afterwards thought it more prudent to wait for intelligence from that city, in order to secure a retreat in case of ill success, either in the kingdom of Algarves, or the town and citadel of Elvas, which properly belonged to himself; he even believed it possible to persuade the Spaniards, should the event make it necessary, that he had no share in the conspiracy; particularly as the interest of that nation would naturally induce them to wish him innocent.

In this perturbed state of mind, he sent off different couriers on the road to Lisbon, but though he was in hourly expectation of news, the whole of the day, and part of the night, passed in the same dreadful suspence; till at last Mendoça and Mello, who had travelled with all possible expedition, made their appearance, and respectfully throwing themselves at his feet, with the most lively expression of joy beaming forth in their countenances, convinced him more forcibly than by words, that he might now regard himself as king of Portugal. These noblemen were beginning an account of all that had happened, but the prince impatiently interrupting them, led them into the duchess’s apartment, where they saluted her with the same respect as if already seated on the throne of Portugal, assuring her of the fidelity and attachment of her new subjects; and as a proof of her being acknowledged sovereign, addressed her by the title of majesty, which was still more grateful to her ear, from the kings of Portugal having formerly been only dignified by that of highness.

It is easy to judge of the transports of this prince and princess, at being thus relieved from a state of the most cruel anxiety, and so happily raised to such a pitch of greatness. The castle resounded with joyful acclamations, and the glorious intelligence was presently communicated throughout the environs. He was the same day proclaimed king in all the towns under his dependence; and Alphonso de Mello had the same ceremony performed in the city of Elvas. Crowds from these different places flocked to pay homage to their new sovereign; and these first marks of duty and affection, though hastily and confusedly given, spoke more feelingly to the heart of the prince, than what he afterwards received in all the blaze of state and ceremony.

The archbishop regent, impatient for the arrival of the new king, dispatched courier after courier, to represent the great importance of his immediate appearance at Lisbon. The last of these couriers met him on the Monday, on the plain of Montemor, half way from Villa Vicosa, where this timid prince, to conceal the real cause of his journey, pretended to be engaged in a hawking party; but no sooner had he opened the regent’s dispatches, than he set off post for Aldea-Galega, ten leagues from the spot where he then was: and finding, on his arrival, a boat and two fishermen, he embarked and crossed the Tagus, at that place three leagues in breadth, to Lisbon.

Mr. d’Ablancourt, envoy from Lewis the XIVth to the court of Portugal, relates in his memoirs, that the duke of Braganza landed in the court of the palace, which forms a long square enclosed on three sides by the Alfandega palace, and different private houses, whilst the fourth is open to the Tagus, from which it is separated by a terrace guarded by a wall, that this very spacious square was crowded by people of every description, who for the last two days had been in constant expectation of the prince, with their faces continually turned towards Aldea-Galega; but not one amongst them, adds this author, had the smallest suspicion that the little fishing-boat which was making towards the shore contained their king, who passed unnoticed across the square, and was not made known to the people, till he mounted a kind of scaffolding, on which was placed the throne, when he was saluted and proclaimed king with every testimony of joy by the Portugueze.

Magnificent fire-works were displayed that night in the most public parts of the city, and bonfires blazed, particularly before the citizens’ houses, every one of which was so brilliantly illuminated with wax lights and flambeaux, that the whole of the city wore the appearance of a general conflagration. This circumstance caused a Spaniard to remark, that this prince was indeed fortunate, thus to purchase a fine kingdom for a bonfire.

A general insurrection throughout Portugal was the immediate consequence of the one at Lisbon; and the revolution was so quickly completed, that it appeared as if every town in the kingdom waited for nothing more than an example from the capital to take up arms in favour of the duke. Couriers were dispatched daily to that prince, with intelligence of the Spaniards being driven from the different provinces and towns, all of which were ready to acknowledge him as their king. The governors of forts and other strong places displayed as little resolution as the commander of the citadel at Lisbon, and whether from want of troops, courage or ammunition, they shamefully surrendered; the greatest part without a single shot being fired. Every one appeared apprehensive of sharing the fate of Vasconcellos, and trembled at being exposed to the fury of an enraged populace. They indeed quitted Portugal with all the haste and trepidation of criminals escaped from prison; and in less than a fortnight not a single Spaniard remained in the kingdom.

Don Fernando de la Cueva alone, who was governor of the citadel of St. Joam, at the mouth of the Tagus, seemed resolutely bent on opposing the general revolution, and preserving the place committed to his charge for the king his master. His garrison was composed of Spaniards, who fighting under the command of brave officers, vigorously resisted the first attack of the Portugueze. It was then judged necessary to commence a regular siege, and cannon being sent for from Lisbon, they opened the trenches, and broke through the counterscarp, notwithstanding the continual fire and frequent sallies of the besieged; but negociations being always the safest, and generally the shortest method of terminating affairs of this nature, the king offered such advantageous terms to the governor, that he found himself no longer able to resist; he was, indeed, so dazzled by the tempting promises of a considerable sum of money, and a commandery in the order of Christ, that he concluded the treaty, and surrendered the citadel, on pretence of the insufficiency of his troops to defend it, though the principal officers of the garrison refused to sign the capitulation.

The king judging it improper to delay his coronation, which would give a sanction to the regal dignity, and render his person more sacred in the eyes of his people, fixed the ceremony for the fifteenth of December, when it took place with all possible magnificence[20]. The duke d’Aveiro, the marquis de Villa-Real, with his son the duke de Caminha, the count de Monsam, and all the other grandees of the kingdom were present. His majesty was received at the gate of the cathedral by the archbishop of Lisbon, at the head of the clergy, and by several other bishops; and he was solemnly acknowledged king of Portugal by the states-general of the nation, all of which immediately took the oath of allegiance.

In a few days afterwards the queen, attended by a numerous retinue, arrived at Lisbon. She was met at some distance by the whole court, and she had already in her train the officers appointed to compose her household. The king himself went out of Lisbon to receive her; he indeed wished not only to treat her with all the magnificence due to her new dignity, but to prove to her by every action, that he thought himself in a great measure indebted to her for his crown. This princess was endowed with so much native dignity, and displayed such majesty and sweetness, that she seemed born to grace the throne she now so happily filled.

Thus terminated an enterprise, which was conducted with a degree of secrecy that appears almost miraculous, considering the number and different descriptions of persons to whom it was confided. It was, however, the natural consequence of the aversion so long, and so generally felt to the Spanish government; an aversion which took place on the first establishment of the monarchy, owing to the frequent wars between these neighbouring nations; which was greatly increased by commercial disputes, and the rivalship occasioned by the discovery of America; and which, since the Portugueze became subject to the dominion of Castille, was changed into the most deadly hatred.

The news of this sudden revolution soon reached the court of Spain. The prime minister was inexpressibly afflicted, and reduced to despair at having been thus circumvented in his designs. The king, his master, was at that moment in so unpleasant a situation, that he needed nothing new to add to his embarrassments; he had sufficient employment in defending himself against France and Holland, and the pernicious example set by the rebellious Catalonians, filled his mind with the most painful apprehensions.

The king alone, of all his court, remained in ignorance of this important event, no one daring to speak to him on the subject, from the fear of incensing the minister, who would not easily have forgiven such officious zeal. The affair, however, began to be spoken of so publicly, that all hopes of longer concealment were vain; and the count-duke fearing some of his enemies might reveal the business in a manner disadvantageous to his interest, decided on being the first to communicate it to his majesty; but being perfectly well acquainted with the character of that prince, he contrived to represent the affair in so artful a manner, that the king was not at first aware of the extent of his misfortune: “Sire,” said he, addressing him with an assured air and open countenance, “I come to congratulate you on a fortunate event, your majesty has just obtained a considerable dutchy, and some very fine estates.” “By what means, count?” replied the king, all astonishment at this discourse. “The duke of Braganza,” resumed the minister, “has madly suffered himself to be seduced by the populace, who have proclaimed him king of Portugal; his estates are therefore forfeited, and become the property of your majesty; who, by the total annihilation of this family, will in future reign securely and peaceably over that kingdom.”

This prince, however, notwithstanding the weakness of his character, was not sufficiently dazzled by the magnificent prospects laid before him, to believe it probable such brilliant hopes could be realised without the greatest difficulty; but having long been accustomed to regard objects in the same point of view as his minister, he simply answered, that it would be necessary to suppress, as soon as possible, a rebellion, which might otherwise be attended by the most dangerous consequences.

The king of Portugal, in the mean time, was particularly active in disposing every thing in such a manner, as to secure his newly acquired throne, and place it on the firmest foundation. Immediately on his arrival at Lisbon, he appointed governors to all the frontier towns, and took care to make choice of faithful, brave, and experienced men, who set off directly for their respective governments, attended by a sufficient number of the military, and lost no time in fortifying and putting in the best state of defence the different places committed to their charge. His majesty also gave out numerous commissions for the levying of troops, and convened the states-general of the nation immediately after his coronation. He then caused his claims to the crown to be strictly examined, that not the smallest doubt might remain in the breasts of the Portugueze on that subject. A solemn act then took place, by which he was acknowledged lawful king of Portugal, as descendant, by the princess, his mother, of the infant Edward, son of the king Emmanual; thus excluding the king of Spain, who was descended from a daughter of the said Emmanual; which daughter having espoused a foreign prince, was, by the fundamental laws of Portugal, rendered incapable of reigning over that kingdom[21].

His majesty declared in this assembly, that the produce of his own patrimonial estates being sufficient for the maintenance of his household, he should reserve all the royal demesnes, or crown lands, for the use of the kingdom in general; and to prove to the people what they had to expect from the mildness and justice of his government, he abolished all the taxes so heavily imposed upon them by the Spaniards.

The principal places and employments of the state were bestowed on those of the conspirators who had displayed the greatest zeal in his cause. Pinto, however, had no share in these different promotions, the king prudently judging, that his authority was not yet sufficiently established, to enable him to raise one of his domestics, of an ignoble birth, to a great and important employment; but this did not prevent his having the greatest ascendance over the mind of his majesty, and indeed over the whole kingdom; for though he could not boast the title of minister, or secretary of state, yet such was the intimate confidence in which he was held by his master, that he performed all the functions of those two great offices.

Having thus arranged every thing to his satisfaction in the interior of his kingdom, he applied himself assiduously to form a strict alliance with all the enemies of the king of Spain; and even, if possible, to raise himself up new ones. He therefore endeavoured to induce his brother-in-law, the duke of Medina Sidonia, who was governor of Andalusia, to make himself independent in that province, or in other words, to follow his example, and take upon himself the sovereign authority. The marquis d’Aïamonte, a Spanish nobleman, related to the queen of Portugal, was employed in this negociation, the success of which will be made known in the sequel of this work.

The new king of Portugal sent ambassadors to all the courts of Europe, to engage them to acknowledge his sovereignty. He farmed a league, offensive and defensive, with the Dutch and Catalonians; ad he was assured of the protection of France[22]. The king of Spain gave the greatest proof of his want of power, by never making a forcible attack on the frontiers of Portugal during the whole course of the campaign, owing most probably to the rebellion in Catalonia having employed all his forces; whatever indeed he attempted, was always unsuccessful, and his troops never gained the smallest advantage. Sometime afterwards, intelligence was received that Goa, and every other country subjected to the Portugueze government, whether in India, Africa, or Peru, had joined in the revolution of the mother country. Thus all things appeared to combine to ensure the king of Portugal a succession of good fortune, a peaceable reign at home, and victory abroad; when in the midst of such seeming happiness, he was on the point of losing his sceptre with his life, by means of a detestable conspiracy, secretly formed, not only in Lisbon, but even in the centre of his court.

The archbishop of Braga was, as has been already mentioned, the creature of Spain. He was one of the ministers of that country in Portugal, and had no hopes of being reinstated in his employment, unless the Spanish government should be re-established. He was indeed apprehensive, that though the new king had hitherto appeared to respect his sacred character, by forbearing to make him share the prison to which he had condemned the Spaniards, he would most probably be included in the same disgrace, when once the king felt himself assured of the solidity of his government. But what principally induced him to make a serious attempt in favour of Spain, was his uniform attachment to the vice-queen: he was in despair at the idea of her being a prisoner in a country, over which he thought she had a right to reign; and his resentment was raised to a still higher pitch from not being allowed to see her. Indeed not only he, but every other person of distinction who was at first permitted to attend her, had received the same prohibition; it having been sufficiently proved that the princess had abused the indulgence granted her by his majesty, and had taken every opportunity of instigating the Portugueze to rebel against his authority. The archbishop regarded this conduct as insupportably tyrannical. This princess, in his mind’s eye, seemed to look up to him alone for protection, and to solicit her liberty from his hands, in return for the favours she had so continually bestowed upon him; the remembrance of her kindness added fuel to the flame which consumed him, and made him decide on attempting all and every thing to prove his gratitude, and revenge her injuries; but it being scarcely possible either to surprise or bribe the guards who attended her, he was resolved to strike at once at the root of the evil, and, by the king’s death, liberate the princess and re-establish her authority.

Having taken this resolution, he reflected in what manner he could best and soonest execute his design: he had every reason to believe that he should not long enjoy the place of president of the palace, and that he should most probably be obliged to retire to Braga. Such was the hatred borne by the people towards the Spaniards, that he very well knew it would be impossible to engage them in his party, consequently he could not adopt the measures so successfully taken by his majesty; nor would the nobles accede to his proposal, they having been the principal means of placing him on the throne. His only resource then was in the grandees; the greatest part of whom, so far from having contributed to the revolution, submitted with a very ill grace to the elevation of the house of Braganza. Having therefore secured the protection of the Spanish minister, he addressed himself to the marquis de Villa-Real, to whom he represented that the new king; naturally timid and suspicious, would never fail seeking occasions to humble his family, lest his successor should suffer from such powerful subjects: that the duke d’Aveiro and himself, though both princes of the blood, were not employed in any of the great offices of the state, such distinctions being all bestowed, as rewards, on a tribe of rebels: that all well thinking people were shocked that a prince like the marquis de Villa-Real should meet with such contemptuous treatment, and languish in shameful inactivity in the centre of his province: that his high birth and great riches placed him above submitting to the authority of a petty king; and that he had lost in the Spanish monarch the only sovereign, who, having so many different kingdoms and governments to bestow, could place him in a situation conformable to the dignity of his birth.

The archbishop, on perceiving that his harangue had made no small impression on the mind of Villa-Real, proceeded to inform him, that he had received orders from the king of Spain to promise him the vice-royalty of Portugal, in reward for his fidelity; he was, however, far from intending to bestow on him that dignity, having no other view than to procure the liberty of the duchess of Mantua, and reinstate her in her former situation; but it was necessary to seduce Villa-Real by the most brilliant prospects, and he succeeded so well, that he consented to place himself, together with his son, the duke de Caminha, at the head of this conspiracy.

Being once secure of the support of these two princes, his next care was to engage his particular friend, the grand inquisitor, in his interest. The acquisition of such a man to the party was of the greatest importance, since his example would be certainly followed by all the officers of the inquisition; a body of men who are still more formidable to the good than to the wicked, and who possess the greatest influence over the minds of the Portugueze. The archbishop alledged reasons of conscience to induce them to join in his enterprise; and reminded them of their oath of allegiance to the king of Spain, which ought never to be violated in favour of a rebel: to these arguments he added the more powerful one of self interest, representing, that not one amongst them could reasonably expect to enjoy his present post for any length of time under a prince who never failed filling all employments with his own particular friends and favourites.

Several months passed on in increasing the number of conspirators; amongst whom the leading ones were the commissary de la Cruzada; the count d’Armamar, the nephew of the archbishop; the count de Ballerais; don Augustin Emmanuel; Antonio Correa, Vasconcellos’ clerk, who was stabbed by Menezes at the first breaking out of the conspiracy which placed don John on the throne; and Laurent Pires de Carvalho, keeper of the royal treasury; all of whom were creatures of Spain, who owed their places and fortunes to that country, and who could have little hopes of preserving them but by the restoration of the Castilian government.

The Jews, who reside in great numbers at Lisbon, and conform outwardly to the Christian religion, were likewise engaged in this conspiracy. They had lately offered immense sums to his majesty, to engage him to put a stop to the persecutions of the inquisition, and to allow them the public exercise of their religion: these offers had been refused, and the resentment they felt on the occasion was an excellent ground-work for the archbishop to build his hopes on of inducing them to join his party. He therefore contrived private meetings with some of the principals, who were in the greatest trepidation at having so unseasonably declared themselves; which act of imprudence could not fail of exposing them to all the malice and cruelty of the inquisition. The artful prelate took advantage of their fears, and promised them the protection of the grand inquisitor, whom they well knew to be at his disposal, if they would consent to his plan; alarming them at the same time with the probability of their being banished from Portugal by a prince so devoted to the Catholic faith; whilst, if they could be prevailed upon to assist in re-establishing the old government, he would venture to engage in the name of the king of Spain, that they should not only be allowed liberty of conscience, but a synagogue, and every other indulgence they could possibly require. Such indeed was the violence and malignancy of this priest, that he did not blush to league himself with the enemies of Christ to dethrone his lawful sovereign.

This instance may, perhaps, be quoted as the only one, of the inquisition and synagogue’s acting in concert, and joining heartily together to promote the same cause.

The conspirators, after having deliberated on several different plans, for ensuring the success of their enterprise, at last adopted one proposed by the archbishop, who had consulted the principal Spanish minister on the occasion. It was, therefore, unanimously agreed, that on the fifth of August, the Jews should not only set fire to the four corners of the palace, but to several other houses in the city, by which means the people would be sufficiently employed in their different quarters, without attending to what passed in the palace, whither the conspirators were to repair immediately, on pretence of endeavouring to extinguish the flames; but, in the midst of the hurry and confusion occasioned by so dreadful an event, they were to seek an opportunity of approaching the king, and stabbing him to the heart, whilst the duke de Caminha should secure the person of the queen, together with those of the young princes, her sons, in order to take the same advantage of their situation, which had been taken of the princess of Mantua, to enforce the surrender of the citadel. Fire-works were at the same time to be employed in burning the fleet; and the archbishop, together with the grand inquisitor, and the officers of the holy brotherhood, were to parade through the streets, to prevent any commotions amongst the people; who would never venture to take an active part in the business, from their natural dread of drawing upon themselves the indignation of the inquisition. The marquis de Villa-Real was to be appointed governor of the kingdom, till the Spanish monarch should make known his intentions relative to the measures to be taken on so important an occasion.

There was, however, no certainty of the people declaring in their favour: it was, therefore, deemed necessary to be provided with troops to enforce their obedience. They, accordingly, decided on applying to the count-duke to engage him to send a considerable fleet on the coast; which would then be in readiness to enter the port on the first breaking out of the conspiracy; and immediately on receiving intelligence of their success, he was to be requested to march troops to the frontiers, to subdue all, and every one, who should be tempted to make any further resistance. This plan, however, was easier imagined than executed, it being extremely difficult for the conspirators to hold any secret correspondance with the prime minister; the king having placed guards on the frontiers, in consequence of the discovery he had made of the princess of Mantua’s having written to Madrid, with the strictest orders not to allow any one to quit the kingdom, without his express permission. Any attempt to corrupt these guards might be attended with danger, since those who betrayed their sovereign, might likewise betray them, and deliver up their letters, relating, at the same time, the methods employed to tempt them from their duty.

The absolute necessity of speedily acquainting the prime-minister with their intentions, without whose assistance their plot must infallibly fall to the ground, induced them to confide in a rich Lisbon merchant, who was treasurer to the custom-house, and whose extensive trade throughout the whole of Europe caused his majesty to grant him the particular privilege of corresponding with Castille. This man, whose name was Baëse, publicly professed the Christian religion; but being one of those who in Portugal are termed new Christians, he was generally suspected of secretly observing the rites of the Jewish church. A very large sum was offered to engage him in the conspiracy, which, joined to the exhortations of those amongst the Jews who were in the secret, prevailed upon him to accept their proposals, and to undertake conveying their letters to the count-duke d’Olivares.[23]

Baësa being charged with the pacquet, directed it to the marquis d’Aïamonte, governor of the first frontier town in Spain, in the full persuasion that, being once safely out of Portugal, there could be no farther cause of apprehension; but, the marquis who was nearly related to the queen of Portugal, and was actually carrying on a negociation with the new king, no sooner perceived the great seal of the inquisition of Lisbon, than he broke open the letters, dreading lest they should contain something relative to his secret correspondence with the king and queen of Portugal; and on discovering the plan of a conspiracy on the point of breaking out, which was to destroy the king and the whole of the royal family, he immediately sent back the pacquet to his majesty, whose astonishment was inexpressible, when, on perusing these letters, he perceived that the princes of his blood, an archbishop, and several grandees of his court, all of whom had demonstrated the greatest joy on his advancement, were conspiring not only to deprive him of the crown, but to put an end to his existence.

His privy council was immediately summoned and the resolutions taken therein were, in a few days afterwards, put into execution. Eleven o’clock in the night of the fifth of August being, according to the intercepted letters, appointed by the conspirators to commence their operations, his majesty, under pretence of a general review in the great court of the palace, called in all the troops quartered in the neighbourhood, at ten o’clock that same morning. He also gave with his own hands, and in secret, several sealed notes to those of his courtiers whom he knew to be the most attached to his person, with strict orders not to open their respective billets till twelve at noon, when the commands contained therein must be punctually and immediately obeyed. About the same hour, the king, pretending business, sent for the archbishop and the marquis de Villa-Real into his cabinet, where their persons were instantly seized; whilst the captain of the guard arrested the duke de Caminha in the public market-place at the same moment. The sealed billets being then opened, the persons to whom they were addressed, in obedience to their contents, separately seized on a conspirator, and conveyed him to prison, there to be strictly guarded till farther orders; and such was the prudence of the measures taken on this occasion, and so faithfully were they executed, that, in less than an hour the forty-seven conspirators were secured, without even the smallest effort being made towards effecting their escape.

The people, on the first report of the conspiracy, crowded tumultuously to the palace, and loudly demanded that the traitors should be instantly delivered up to them. But, though the king was delighted with the affection displayed by his subjects, he felt uneasy at such a multitude, being thus suddenly assembled; fearing such commotions might become habitual, and end, as is always the case, in sedition. He, therefore, after expressing his acknowledgments for their solicitude for the welfare of his person, and assuring them the traitors should meet with the punishment due to their crimes, gave orders to the magistrates to disperse them. This prince, however, lest the resentment of the people should abate, and, as it frequently happens, their furious rage towards the criminals turn to sentiments of commiseration, on reflecting on their wretchedness, thought proper to make public that the design of the conspirators was not only to assassinate him, with the whole of the royal family, but to set fire to the city, when every thing which escaped the fury of the flames must naturally become the prey of the rebels: that Spain, to prevent any future conspiracies, and to wreak its vengeance on the Portugueze, had resolved on peopling the town with a colony of Castilians, and to transport all the citizens to the mines in America, where they would be buried alive in those dreadful abysses, in which they had already destroyed so many miserable human beings.

Judges were next appointed for the trial of the conspirators; these were chosen from the sovereign chamber, but on account of the archbishop of Braga, the marquis de Villa-Real and the duke de Caminha, it was thought proper to give them two grandees of the kingdom as coadjutors.

The commissaries on this occasion received orders from his majesty, not to produce the intercepted letters, unless absolutely necessary to the conviction of the criminals, lest the court of Spain should suspect the manner by which he had obtained possession of those letters, and discover his correspondence with the marquis d’Aïamonte. Fortunately, however, such proofs were not requisite, Baësa having contradicted himself so palpably in his answers to the principal interrogatories, that he was put to the torture, and the miserable wretch no sooner felt the first pangs, than his courage failed him, and he confessed all the particulars of the plot. He owned the design of assassinating the king; declared that the office of the inquisition was well stored with arms, and that they only waited for an answer from the count-duke to put their plan into execution.

The greater part of the other conspirators, on being put to the torture, confirmed the deposition of the Jew; but the archbishop, the grand inquisitor, the marquis de Villa-Real and the duke de Caminha, in order to avoid so dreadful a punishment, confessed their guilt. The two latter were condemned to lose their heads, and the rest to be hanged and quartered; whilst his majesty himself was to pronounce sentence on the ecclesiastics.

The king thereupon assembled his council, and addressing his ministers, declared, that he had reason to fear the execution of so many people of distinction might be attended by dangerous consequences: that the principal conspirators being of the first families in the kingdom, their relations would naturally become secret enemies, and that the passion of revenge would naturally give birth to another conspiracy: that the execution of the comte d’Egmont in Flanders, and that of the Guises in France, had been fatal to the causes in support of which they had been employed; but that the generous pardon he thought of granting to some amongst them, together with a punishment, perhaps more severe than death, which he should inflict on others, would interest every heart in his favour, and force even the conspirators, their relations and friends, to look up to him in future with gratitude. His majesty, however, added, that though his inclinations led him to pursue lenient measures, he had, nevertheless, assembled his council, to be informed of their opinion, and to follow that which should appear to be the best.

The marquis de Ferreira first spoke on this occasion, and voted for the speedy execution of the criminals; alledging in the strongest terms that sovereigns, in cases of this nature, should be guided by justice alone; that clemency might probably be attended by dangerous consequences, since the pardon of traitors would be much sooner attributed to weakness of character in a prince than to real goodness; that a government which permitted such crimes to pass off with impunity, would infallibly be despised, and would likewise encourage the relations of the delinquent not only to attempt to liberate them from prison, but to carry their designs still farther; that an example of severity was absolutely necessary on his accession to the crown, were it only to intimidate others from forming plots of the same nature; in short, that these men were not only traitors to the king himself, but to the state, which they were on the point of overturning; and that his majesty ought sooner to consider the justice he owed to his people, by bringing them to condign punishment, than attend to the dictates of his own feeling heart, in a case where the preservation of his majesty’s person and the public security must ever be inseparable. This opinion being unanimously supported by all the members of the council, the king gave up his judgment to theirs, and the sentence was put in execution on the following day. The archbishop of Lisbon being anxious to preserve the life of one of his friends, addressed himself to the queen to obtain his pardon, and asked this favour in full confidence that the services he had rendered to the house of Braganza were of such a nature, that no demand of his could possibly be refused. But her majesty, who was perfectly convinced of the necessity, and indeed the justice of punishing such traitors, and who clearly perceived how much a distinction in favour of one would irritate the friends and relations of the remaining conspirators (since in this case, and indeed in many others, clemency would become injustice) was decided on this occasion to make the natural gentleness of her disposition yield to the superior motives of impartial justice; and turning towards the prelate, with an air and tone of voice which forbad all reply, “Archbishop,” said she, “the only favour you can possibly expect from me is, that I should forget you have ever spoken to me on the subject.”

The king, however, out of respect to the clergy of Portugal, and indeed to obtain the favour of the court of Rome, which from regard to the house of Austria, had hitherto refused to receive his ambassadors, mitigated the sentence pronounced on the archbishop of Braga and the grand inquisitor, and condemned them to perpetual imprisonment. The arch-bishop’s illness and death were soon after announced to the public: such events, it is well known, frequently happen to certain state prisoners, who, from political motives, are not suffered to perish on a scaffold.

The manner by which the king of Portugal became acquainted with this conspiracy, was for a long time unknown to the court of Spain, nor did the Spanish monarch discover the person who dispatched the archbishop’s letters to Lisbon, till another conspiracy was forming against himself.

The king of Portugal, as has been already mentioned, kept up a constant correspondence with the enemies of Spain; his ports were open to the French and Dutch fleets; he had a resident both at Barcelona and with the insurgents in Catalonia; and he left no means untried to cause confusion in the very heart of Spain, in order to occupy the mind of Philip the IVth, in a way to give him no time to attend to the affairs of Portugal.

The new monarch had already partly succeeded in sowing the seeds of rebellion in the breast of his brother-in-law, the duke de Medina-Sidonia; and their mutual confident the marquis d’Aïamonte, a Castilian nobleman, had completed his seduction. This latter was nearly related to the queen of Portugal and the duke; and the situation of his estate at the mouth of the Guadiana, near the frontiers of Portugal, greatly favoured his secret correspondence with that court. Naturally ambitious, he wished to raise his fortunes, and flattered himself his own elevation would be the consequence of that of the two houses of Braganza and Medina-Sidonia. He was a man of a daring, enterprising character, discontented with the conduct of the prime minister, and possessed of that perfect indifference for life so necessary to all those who engage in great and difficult undertakings.

Immediately on the discovery of the archbishop of Braga’s conspiracy; the marquis d’Aïamonte wrote secretly to the duke de Medina-Sidonia to congratulate him on the escape of his sister the queen of Portugal, and the rest of the royal family; insinuating at the same time, how nearly it concerned him, that the new monarch should preserve a crown, which must necessarily descend to his own nephews; and that Portugal, from its vicinity to Castile, would ensure him a retreat on any emergency; especially during the ministry of the count-duke whose arrogance and despotic system of politics had no other object than to seek occasions of humbling the grandees. He added, too, it was far from certain that the minister, though his relation, would long permit him to enjoy the government of so large a province in the neighbourhood of Portugal; that this subject was worthy his serious reflections; and that if the duke was willing to be more fully acquainted with his sentiments on the occasion, he would immediately send him a faithful friend, to whom he might safely confide his most secret thoughts.

The duke de Medina-Sidonia, naturally proud and vain, and whose jealousy had been secretly raised by the regal dignity of his brother-in-law, presently perceived that the marquis’s letter was only a cover for much deeper designs; he therefore instantly sent off a certain Louis de Castille, his confident, to confer with him on the subject. The marquis on opening his credentials, did not scruple to unbosom himself; and after having reminded him of the ease with which the duke of Braganza had mounted the throne of Portugal; he added, that it was impossible for the duke of Medina-Sidonia to make choice of a more favourable juncture to secure the fortunes of his house, and to render it for ever independent of the crown of Spain. He next represented, that the long war with France and Holland had nearly exhausted the king’s forces, the greater part of which were necessarily employed in Catalonia; that this was the favourable moment for stirring up a rebellion in Andalusia, and carrying the war into the very centre of the kingdom; that the people, ever lovers of novelty, and loaded with taxes, would submit with pleasure to a change of government; and that the duke de Medina-Sidonia was not less beloved in Castille, than Braganza in Portugal. It would, however, be necessary to engage his lieutenant-governors in his interest, though without entrusting them with his secret; that he had nothing to do, but to place his partizans in the most important posts; he would then have no difficulty in securing the galleons which were daily expected from India; and that the king of Portugal would aid and assist him in his design, by sending a great fleet into Cadiz, consisting not only of his own vessels, but those of his allies, having on board land forces, which would presently subdue all and every one ill-advised enough to make impotent efforts in support of their allegiance to the king of Spain.

The account of this conversation fired the duke with ambition, and his head grew giddy at the idea of a crown. His post of lord high admiral, and governor of Castille, placed the sea and land forces under his command. He was the proprietor of considerable towns, and extensive domains, all of which invested him with almost absolute power; and he was thus induced to believe, in the first effervescence of his ambitious projects, that it depended on himself alone to become master of a crown, and to own no superior in the province of Andalusia.

Louis de Castille was immediately sent once more to the marquis d’Aïamonte, with assurances of his entering perfectly into his views; and also to consult with him on the measures to be pursued relative to the court of Portugal. The duke, in the mean time, employed himself in securing the interest of his friends and followers, and increasing their number: he frequently let drop hints unfavourable to the government, and expressed sentiments of compassion for the soldiers, who did not receive their pay, and for the people, who were sinking under the burthen of taxes.

The marquis d’Aïamonte was no sooner informed of the duke’s determination, than he was anxious to form a regular plan of operations. A conference with the king of Portugal was absolutely necessary, but the marquis was too well known on the frontiers to venture into that kingdom: he therefore decided on entrusting this delicate negociation to an intriguing friar, who had long been attached to his interest, and whose sacred habit would give him free admittance into that inquisitorial country. This friar, who was named father Nicolas de Velasco, was of the order of St. Francis. He proceeded immediately to Castro Marino, the first town in Portugal, where he pretended he came only to settle the ransom of a Castilian prisoner confined in that place. The king of Portugal, who was in the secret of the marquis d’Aïamonte, gave orders to arrest him as a spy, and he was conveyed to Lisbon loaded with chains, and there examined by the ministers themselves, who sent him to prison, where he was for some time strictly guarded, and treated with apparent severity; but he was soon after set at liberty, on pretence of its having been proved, that his visit to Portugal was merely to obtain the freedom of a Spanish officer, and he was even allowed to attend at the palace to plead his cause, which gave him an opportunity of conferring with the ministers, without being suspected by the spies employed by the court of Madrid. He had also frequent interviews with his majesty, who promised him a bishopric in reward of his services; and the franciscan was so elated at such brilliant prospects, that he became a constant attendant at court, where he visited the queen, beset the ministers, and even entered into the different intrigues of the courtiers, merely with a view to shew his own consequence, and the degree of favour in which he stood with the king. Thus, without absolutely revealing the secret of his mission, he betrayed himself by his imprudent and ostentatious conduct.—Courtiers are ever on the watch, and cast a jealous eye on every new favourite, they therefore presently discovered his imprisonment to be a mere pretext for introducing him at court. Different conjectures were formed relative to his business in Portugal, and a Castilian, at that time prisoner in Lisbon, soon unravelled the mystery. This man, whose name was Sancho, was a creature of the duke de Medina-Sidonia, and was treasurer of the army before the last revolution. The new king of Portugal had thrown him into prison, together with all the Castilians then at Lisbon, and he was treated with peculiar severity. He no sooner, therefore, learnt that a Spanish franciscan enjoyed so much favour at court, than he suspected some secret intrigue, and on this idea founded his hopes of liberty. He wrote to the friar to implore his protection, and expressed himself so respectfully, that he could not fail to interest his vanity in his behalf; complaining at the same time of the king of Portugal’s having so long imprisoned, and hardly treated, a servant and friend of his own brother-in-law, the duke of Medina-Sidonia. To prove the truth of his assertions, he sent the franciscan several letters from that nobleman, in which he charged him with the execution of different affairs, in a style of confidence and superiority suitable to his rank, and the protection with which he honoured him.

The franciscan’s answer was short, but expressive of the interest he took in every one belonging to the duke de Medina-Sidonia. He assured him that he would neglect nothing to obtain his liberty, only entreating him to observe the strictest secrecy during the whole of the affair. The artful Castilian, not to give cause of suspicion, waited some time the effect of his promises; till growing impatient, he at last wrote again, representing that he had languished seven months in a loathsome prison; that the Spanish minister seemed to have forgotten his situation, since neither ransom nor exchange had hitherto been proposed, and that his only hopes of liberty centered in him.

The franciscan, ever happy to raise himself in the opinion of the duke de Medina-Sidonia, applied to his majesty in favour of Sancho, and obtained his liberty. He went in person to deliver him from prison, and offered to include him in the passport granted by the king to some domestics of the duchess of Mantua, who were returning to Madrid. To this the cunning Castilian replied, that he now considered the city of Madrid as a foreign land, and that he could not possibly appear at court, without risking another imprisonment, since the severe and inexorable prime minister would not fail to insist on an exact account of the receipts of his office, though the cash had been pillaged during the revolution, and not even the register remained; artfully adding, in order to probe the franciscan, that the first wish of his heart was to return to his patron, the duke of Medina-Sidonia, that nobleman being sufficiently powerful to make his fortune, without being obliged to quit Andalusia.

The franciscan, who was in want of a confidential person to acquaint the marquis d’Aïamonte with the success of his negotiation, and to bring him fresh directions for his future conduct, thought he could not possibly fix upon a safer man than the devoted servant of the duke de Medina-Sidonia. He therefore detained the Castilian some time, on pretence of procuring him a passport, but in reality to make his observations, and to try his fidelity. Frequent meetings produced strict intimacy, and the more the politic Castilian took advantage of the franciscan’s vanity, to draw his secret from him. The friar wishing to convince him of the credit and consideration he enjoyed at the court of Portugal, could not abstain from saying, that he should soon appear in another habit, being certain of a bishopric, and that he even flattered himself he should one day be raised to the dignity of cardinal. Sancho affected to disbelieve him, in order to force him to avow his design, and the friar was so much piqued at his apparent incredulity, that he could not help exclaiming “What then will you say, when you shall see the duke de Medina-Sidonia seated on a throne?” Sancho thus drew him on by repeated doubts of the truth of his assertions, till he at last became master of every secret of his heart; and the franciscan confessed that he was charged with a negociation in which the king was concerned; that the duke de Medina-Sidonia would shortly be the sovereign of Andalusia; that the marquis d’Aïamonte, to whom the king of Portugal owed the discovery of the late conspiracy, was at the head of this business; that the affairs of Spain were on the point of assuming another aspect; and that it rested with him alone to become master of considerable riches, if he would only consent to convey his letters to the marquis and the duke de Medina-Sidonia. Sancho, delighted with the possession of so important a secret, eagerly accepted the proposal, and renewed his professions of attachment to the duke. He took charge of the letters, and offered, if it were judged adviseable, to return himself with the answers. He then set off immediately for Andalusia, but the moment he reached the Spanish territories, he took the direct road to Madrid; and on arriving in that city, went directly to the prime minister’s, who he desired might be made acquainted that Sancho, the treasurer of Portugal, lately escaped from the prisons of the usurper, requested to see him on an affair of great importance. The count-duke, naturally haughty, and difficult of access, refused to admit him to his presence, ordering him to return on the usual audience day; but Sancho, though thus rudely repulsed, was still importunate, declaring that he must see him, since the intelligence he brought related to the safety of the state, and calling God to witness his good faith, and the diligence he had employed to warn the minister of the impending danger.

The warmth of these expressions being reported to the count-duke, orders were given for his admittance; when Sancho, throwing himself at the minister’s feet, exclaimed, that the safety of the state was now secured, since he was allowed to present himself before him. He then related his situation during the last revolution; the conspiracy formed by the duke de Medina-Sidonia; explaining the plan of his intended operations, his correspondence with the king of Portugal; the plot for taking possession of the galleons, for delivering up Cadiz to the enemy, and employing the armed forces under his command throughout his government of Andalusia, against his lawful sovereign. To prove the truth of his declarations, Sancho next produced the franciscan’s letters, written in cypher, to the marquis d’Aïamonte, and the duke de Medina, and containing the whole plan of the conspiracy.

The count-duke was struck with surprise and consternation at such extraordinary intelligence, and remained some time speechless: but on recovering himself, he threw aside his natural haughtiness, and assuming a gracious air, praised Sancho for his loyalty, adding, that he deserved to be doubly rewarded, not only for having discovered so pernicious a design, but for not having scrupled to reveal it to the nearest relation of the principal conspirator. He was then conveyed to a private apartment, with strict orders to prevent his seeing or conversing with any one; and the minister immediately hastened to the king, whom he informed of every thing that had passed, presenting him at the same time with the franciscan’s letters.

The discovery of so black a conspiracy deeply affected Philip, who had indeed for a long time feared and detested the extraordinary pride of the Guzmans; and when he reflected on the recent loss he had sustained of the kingdom of Portugal, which he attributed to the ambitious character of the duchess of Braganza, he could not refrain from remarking to the minister, in a reproachful accent, that all the misfortunes of Spain proceeded from that family. This prince neither wanted penetration nor genius, but he was immersed in pleasures, and hated business; every exertion which required attention gave him pain, and he would willingly have sacrificed part of his dominions to the indulgence of his natural indolence. The first emotions of his anger being, therefore, passed, he returned the franciscan’s letters to the count-duke, without even breaking the seals; and gave orders to have them examined by three counsellors of state, who were to give their opinions on the contents.

This conduct vested the management of the affair entirely in the prime minister, who employed three of his creatures to draw up a brief statement of the case, and decypher the friar’s letters. Sancho was frequently interrogated, and endeavours were used to make him acquit the duke of Medina de Sidonia, whom the prime minister was anxious to save: he accordingly sent for Sancho, before he was questioned by the commissaries, and affecting those confidential manners so frequently put on by the great, to seduce and flatter those with whom they have business to transact. “In what manner, my dear Sancho,” said he, “can we possibly justify the duke de Medina from an accusation, which is grounded merely on the letters of an obscure friar, who most probably has been bribed by our enemies, to make us suspect the fidelity of a man who has hitherto rendered such services to his majesty in the province of Andalusia.”

Sancho, perfectly convinced of the truth of his deposition, and fearing, that should he waver, or endeavour to soften his evidence, he might forfeit his expected reward, persisted in asserting that a conspiracy was actually formed against the state, of which the duke was the chief, and the marquis d’Aïamonte the principal negociator; that he had himself seen their letters in the possession of the franciscan, and that an insurrection in Andalusia would infallibly take place, if speedy precautions were not taken to prevent the evil designs of the governor of that province.

The minister, who was unwilling to dive too deeply into this business, took an opportunity of informing the king, that the Franciscan’s letters had been decyphered, and that, according to all appearance, he had been suborned to seek the ruin of the duke de Medina; adding, that Sancho himself might very probably have been deceived by this artful friar, since neither any of the duke’s own letters, nor witnesses of any sort could be produced against him, and that the whole of this accusation turned on letters, which might very well be the off-spring of calumny. It would, however, be adviseable, in an affair of such great importance, to take all possible precautions, and to contrive to entice the duke to quit his government, in which it would be difficult to secure his person; and then to send a supply of troops to Cadiz, making sure at the same time of the marquis d’Aïamonte, and if on enquiry they were proved guilty, they might afterwards be delivered up to all the severity of the law.

The advice of the prime minister was a still more imperious law to Philip the IVth than to any of his subjects. He was naturally mild, indolent, and an enemy to sanguinary measures, he therefore readily confided the whole of the business to the management of the count-duke, who immediately dispatched his nephew, don Louis de Haro, with orders to acquaint the duke de Medina, that whether innocent or guilty, he must repair directly to court; assuring him, however, that should the accusation be proved against him, he might depend on his pardon, but that his ruin would be inevitable, should he delay obeying the commands of his sovereign. Another courier was also sent off to secure the person of the marquis d’Aïamonte; and the duke de Ciudad-Real, at the head of five thousand men, entered Cadiz at the same moment.

The duke de Medina was thunderstruck at this intelligence. No alternative remained but implicit obedience, or flight into Portugal: but the idea of passing the whole of his existence as an outlaw, in a foreign country, was too humiliating, and too unworthy of a man of his superior rank; and there was no situation in Portugal equal to that rank to which he could possibly lay claim. The count-duke’s influence over the king was well known, he therefore determined on confiding in the promises of that minister, and set off immediately for Madrid, flattering himself that his ready obedience would dispose his majesty to believe him innocent, and even to grant him a pardon, should he be proved guilty.

The duke proceeded directly to the prime minister’s, and on receiving reiterated promises of forgiveness, disclosed the whole plan of the conspiracy, which he attributed entirely to the marquis d’Aïamonte. After this confession, the minister introduced him privately into the king’s closet, where the duke cast himself at his feet, which he bathed with his tears, and in that humble posture owned his guilt, and solicited forgiveness in the most affecting expressions of sorrow and repentance. The gentle heart of the king was moved with compassion, and melting into tears, he granted him his pardon, telling him at the same time, that he owed it to his remorse, and to the solicitations of the count-duke. He then dismissed him his presence; but it being not thought expedient to expose him to fresh temptations at so critical a juncture, he received orders to remain at court. Part of his great property was also confiscated, as having in some degree contributed to inspire him with sentiments of independence; and the king placed a governor, with a garrison, in Saint Lucar de Barameda, the usual residence of the dukes de Medina-Sidonia.

So anxious was the prime minister to convince the king of the sincerity of his relation’s repentance, that he tried to engage that nobleman to challenge the duke of Braganza, (as he termed him) to single combat. Medina-Sidonia was greatly surprised at this extraordinary proposal, and could not help reminding the minister, that the practice of duelling was forbidden by all laws, both human and divine; but on perceiving the count-duke still persisted in his design, he added, that it would be very difficult to proceed to such extremities with his brother-in-law, unless his majesty could procure a bull from the pope, to shield him from the dreadful excommunications pronounced by the church against duellists.

The minister replied, that in a moment like the present one, such scruples of conscience were unseasonable, and that it was his duty, by some striking action, to prove himself worthy the gracious pardon he had received, and at the same time remove every possible suspicion of his having any secret intelligence with the rebels. “But if,” continued he, “you are absolutely decided against fighting, all I require is, that you will not disavow the challenge I will take upon myself to publish in your name.” The duke, who plainly perceived that the whole of this business was intended to amuse the people, consented to the proposal of the challenge; the form of which was drawn up by the minister himself. Several copies were distributed throughout Spain, Portugal, and most of the courts in Europe. We will also insert it here, as a singular composition, much more worthy the pen of a knight errant, than that of a grandee of Spain, possessed of the first dignities of the kingdom.

Don Gaspar Alonço Perez de Gusman, duke of Medina-Sidonia, marquis, count, and lord of Saint Lucar de Barameda, captain-general of the sea, ocean, coasts of Andalusia, and armies of Portugal, gentleman of the bedchamber to his catholic majesty,


“Whereas the treason of John (formerly duke) de Braganza, is a fact of the utmost notoriety; now I wish to make alike public his detestable intention of accusing the trusty house of Guzman of disloyalty, a house which has remained for centuries back, and will remain for ever obedient to its king and master; and this it has proved by the blood of all its relatives and dependants shed in his cause. This tyrant has poisoned the minds of foreign princes, and likewise those of the misguided Portugueze, who have embraced his party; and in order to give credit to his own wickedness, to animate them in his favour, and (although in vain) to injure me in the opinion of my master, (whom God preserve,) he has persuaded them that I am of his party; founding and establishing his preservation on the report he had himself circulated, and with which he had infected the minds of every one; thus flattering himself, that could he succeed in making the king of Spain suspect my loyalty, he should not meet with so much opposition from me in the execution of his designs, as he has done elsewhere. For this purpose he has made use of a franciscan friar, sent from the corporation of the town of Aïamonte, to Castro-Marin in Portugal, to obtain the liberty of a Spanish prisoner, which friar, being himself sent prisoner to Lisbon, has been worked upon to declare me of his party, and to that end has even published some letters which confirm his assertions, and accuse me of intending to favour the entrance of all foreign troops which might approach the coast of Andalusia, for the purpose of facilitating the means of obtaining the supplies he had demanded from the said foreign princes. And would to God it had been the case! since I should then have called the world to witness my zeal by destroying their fleet, a fate they must have experienced, according to the orders I had issued in case of such an attempt. The above are some of my motives for this appeal; but the principal subject of my griefs is his wife’s being allied to me by blood, which blood, being corrupted by this rebellion, I am desirous of shedding, thinking myself bound to prove to my king and master, by this action, the grateful sense I have of his having expressed himself satisfied of my loyalty; and also to remove from the minds of the public, the suspicions they most probably had imbibed, from the false impressions made upon them by the traitor.

“I therefore challenge the said John (formerly duke) de Braganza, as having broken his faith to his God and to his king; and I defy him to single combat, hand to hand, with or without seconds, at his choice, which I also give him of weapons. The place of combat to be near Valentia d’Alcantara, which serves as boundary to the two kingdoms of Portugal and Castille, and there will I wait for him eighty days, beginning from the first of October, and ending on the nineteenth of December of this present year. The twenty last days I will appear in person, in the market-place of the said Valentia, and on the day he shall appoint, I will wait for him on the limits. This space of time, although very long, I grant to the said tyrant, that the affair may be made known, not only to him, but to the greater part of the countries in Europe; nay, indeed, to the whole world: and on condition that he will grant a safeguard to the cavaliers whom I shall send forward a league into Portugal, as I will grant one to those of his party a league into Castille, when I promise myself to make known in the fullest manner the infamous action he has committed.

“If he fail to obey this call upon him as a gentleman, and refuse to comply with my challenge, as the only means left me to exterminate this phantom; and I should perceive that he is not hardy enough to meet me in single combat, to prove how I and all my friends do, and ever have served our sovereigns, whilst he and his, on the contrary, are traitors; I hereby do offer (under the pleasure of his catholic majesty, whom God preserve) my town of Saint Lucar de Barameda, the principal seat of the dukes de Medina-Sidonia, to whomsoever shall kill the said John de Braganza: and prostrating myself at the feet of his said majesty, I humbly entreat him not to entrust me with the command of his army on this occasion, which requires a degree of prudence and moderation, that the excess of my wrath would prevent my exercising, but only to permit me to serve in person at the head of a thousand horse, from amongst my proper subjects; so that depending alone on my own courage, I shall not only contribute to the restoration of Portugal, and the punishment of this rebel, but in case he refuse my challenge, I may then be enabled, by the aid of my troops, to throw him dead or alive at the feet of his said majesty: and to omit nothing which may prove my zeal. I also offer one of the finest towns in my domains to the first Portugueze governor or captain who shall surrender a place in Portugal, whether of great or small importance to the service of his catholic majesty; but after doing all I possibly can, I shall never have done enough for his said majesty; since all I possess, I hold from, and owe to him and his glorious ancestors.”—Given at Toledo, this 29th of September, 1641.

The duke de Medina, conformably to his challenge, did not fail to appear on the field of battle. He was armed cap-a-pee, and escorted by don John de Garray, colonel-commandant of the Spanish troops. Parleys were beaten, and defiances published in the usual form; but no one appeared on the part of the king of Portugal. That prince was indeed much too prudent to act a part in so ridiculous a comedy; and even had the affair been of a more serious nature, it would have been highly improper in a sovereign thus to expose his person with a subject of his enemy.

The prime minister, whilst amusing the people with this idle puppet shew, did not neglect turning the whole of his sovereign’s indignation on the marquis d’Aïamonte, and giving him up to the utmost rigour of the law. This nobleman had been put under arrest, and it was requisite to induce him to make a full confession of his guilt; he was therefore flattered with the hope of pardon, and assured that it depended on him alone to experience the same mercy from the best of kings, as had been already shewn to the duke of Medina: but that sovereigns, like the Almighty, whose representatives on earth they were, granted pardon to those only who sincerely repented, and who confessed their guilt.

The marquis, seduced by these promises, and particularly by the acquittal of his accomplice, the duke de Medina, signed every thing which was required of him, and this very confession was brought against him. He was accordingly arraigned, tried, and condemned to lose his head. He listened to this sentence, which was passed upon him in the evening, with the most surprising composure, and without breathing a single complaint against the duke, or the prime minister. He afterwards supped with his usual appetite, and slept so soundly the whole of the night, that his judges were obliged to awaken him to convey him to the place of execution, whither he walked in profound silence, and died with a degree of firmness worthy a better cause. Thus ended a conspiracy, to which the king of Spain must inevitably have fallen a victim, without the intervention of the luckiest chance; or, more properly speaking, without the interference of Providence, which will not always permit such crimes to prosper.

The king of Portugal having failed in this attempt, turned all his thoughts to the support of his crown, not only by open force, but by the assistance of his allies. France afforded him all possible aid, and piqued itself on thus protecting the most ancient branch of its last race of kings. This foreign war was likewise useful in causing a diversion, and giving employment to part of the Spanish forces.

The Portugueze gained several advantages at different times over the Spaniards, and thus prevented them from approaching the frontiers. The king of Portugal might even have penetrated into Castille, had his generals been more able, or his body of regular troops more considerable. The greater part of his army being composed of militia, was much fitter to make incursions than to keep the field: he was frequently destitute even of means to pay his troops, and having abolished most of the taxes on his first accession to the crown, in order to gain the favour of his people; it would have been a dangerous experiment to have re-established them under so new a government. With all these disadvantages, however, he contrived to support the war against Spain, very nearly seventeen years. That country could not boast of greater generals than Portugal; each nation gained more by the weakness of its opponent, than by its own strength; and the exhausted treasury of Philip the IVth, at the latter end of his reign, supplied the place of riches to the new king of Portugal. This prince departed this life on the 6th of November, 1656; and the Portugueze, unable to call forth the attention of posterity to the most striking qualities of their king, confine their praises to his moderation and piety; whilst impartial historians accuse him of want of courage, diffidence of himself, mistrust of others, reserve towards the nobles, who found it difficult to approach his person, whilst he conversed openly and familiarly with his ancient domestics alone, and more especially with the friend and companion of his confessor. The only inference to be drawn from this conduct is, that this prince, naturally peaceable, and given up to his devotions, might be said to possess the good qualities of a private individual, though never the splendid virtues of a great king. His accession to the crown of Portugal must then be solely attributed to the hatred borne by the people of that country to the Spaniards, and to the adroit management of his queen, who made use of this national animosity to raise her to the regal dignity.[24] The king, her husband, in his last will, appointed her regent of the kingdom, rightly judging, that the same conduct and courage which had placed the crown on her head, would not fail to preserve it during the minority of his children. He left behind him two sons and one daughter; the eldest of which, don Alphonso, was nearly thirteen years of age when he succeeded his father. This young prince was of a melancholy disposition, and was deprived of the use of one side: his brother, the infant, don Pedro, was only eight years old; and the infanta, donna Catharine, who was the eldest of the family, was born before the revolution. Don Alphonso being shewn to the people, was proclaimed king, according to the usual forms, and the queen took upon herself, the same day, the regency of the state.

The princess was very ambitious to signalize the commencement of her government by some brilliant action; but her generals could boast more bravery as soldiers, than conduct as captains, and there was not one throughout the whole of Portugal capable of either fortifying a town, or conducting a siege. Neither was her council much better composed; some of her ministers attending more to displaying their eloquence in proving the necessities of the state, than in endeavouring to relieve them; whilst others, without attending to the low state of the army in Portugal, amused themselves by proposing plans of conquests: thus the debates of these supreme councils generally ended in schemes as ill-concerted as unsuccessful.

The considerable losses sustained by the Portugueze at Olivença and Badajos, where they were obliged to raise the siege, may, in a great measure, be attributed to the above causes. They had also embroiled themselves with Holland, on account of the India trade; and France, ever after the peace of the Pyrenees, appeared no longer interested in their favour. The queen, thus deprived of foreign allies, without either disciplined troops or able generals, had no resource left but in the greatness of her courage, which, indeed, supplied to her every other loss. The weight of affairs could not shake her steady soul; the extent of her genius, and the prudence of her conduct were equal to every thing; and the agitated state of the country in the commencement of her regency, served only to display in more striking colours the brilliant qualities of this all-accomplished princess, who began her operations by vesting the authority of the council in her own person: she constantly read all the dispatches; nothing escaped her attention and foresight, and she directed her views to all those European courts from which she could possibly hope for assistance.

Such noble efforts, and constant application, succeeded in putting Portugal in a state of defence against Spain; but being perfectly aware of the necessity there would be in future of employing foreign troops to form her own, and particularly the want she stood in of an able general for that purpose, she cast her eyes on Frederic count de Schomberg, whose valour and capacity were already known and distinguished. The regent was very desirous of appointing him commander in chief of the army, but she was fearful of giving umbrage to the governors of arms, whose pride would not very readily have consented to act under the orders of a foreign chief: she found it, therefore, necessary to employ the count de Soure, her ambassador at the court of France, to treat with the count de Schomberg, and propose his appearing at first in Portugal only as colonel commandant of the army, promising him, however, that in case of the death or resignation of the present governor of arms, he should immediately be appointed commander in chief.

The count set off for Lisbon attended by eighty officers, partly captains, and partly subalterns, together with more than four hundred troopers, all experienced soldiers, capable of forming and commanding new forces. In compliance with secret orders from the regent, the count passed through England, where Charles the IId was newly restored to the crown, and where he was to endeavour to discover whether that protestant prince would object to an alliance with the infanta of Portugal. The count acquitted himself of this commission with great nicety, and succeeded in making both the king, and the lord chancellor Hyde, solicitous for the marriage. The queen was no sooner secure of their approbation, than she dispatched the marquis de Sande to England, to carry on the negociation.

The king of Spain, who trembled at this alliance, used every possible endeavour to prevent its taking place; he did not even scruple offering three millions of French livres to Charles the IId, to induce him to espouse a protestant princess; and his ambassador proposed to him the princesses of Denmark, Saxony and Orange, assuring him that the king his master would adopt as his daughter whichever of these princesses he should honour with his choice, and as such, bestow her on him in marriage. The chancellor Hyde, however, represented in such forcible terms, the great necessity of supporting the family of Braganza on the throne of Portugal, and the danger of that country being united to Spain under the government of one prince, that Charles decided on accepting the hand of the infanta. Thus, we see, a protestant minister, engaging his sovereign to form an alliance with a catholic, whilst a prince of the latter religion, particularly distinguished by the title of catholic king, offered immense sums to induce him to marry a protestant. So true it is, that reasons of state are the basis on which crowned heads form their religion; since princes, in cases of this nature, are usually guided by motives of self-interest alone.

The king of England, through this alliance, contrived to make a treaty of commerce between the States-General and Portugal; and afterwards sent a considerable body of troops, under the command of the earl of Inchinquin, into that kingdom. This nobleman was soon recalled, and the English commanded to act under the orders of the count de Schomberg, who presently after his arrival in Portugal had the troops of three different nations at his command. The Portugueze, indeed, had a separate general of their own country, but this distinction was a vague title, intended only to flatter the ambition of the grandees, since the count enjoyed the unlimited confidence of the queen; who, in fact, gave him absolute power over the army, which he employed in establishing the strictest discipline. He taught the Portugueze the order to be observed on a march; with the art of encamping to the greatest advantage; and erected regular fortifications on most of the frontier posts, which had hitherto been left in an undefended state.

The regent, thus happy in so experienced a general, carried on the war with the greatest vigour. Her arms were almost always successful. Her troops had never before been in so flourishing a state, or so perfectly well disciplined; the poor blessed her government; and the grandees, impressed with sentiments of fear and respect, were all submission to her will; but alas! this happy state of affairs soon underwent a painful alteration, and domestic troubles, joined to different intrigues, gave a new turn to every thing at court; for whilst this great princess was constantly and successfully employed in securing the crown to her son, that prince, by the irregularity of his conduct, was proving himself unworthy of so dignified a situation. His mind was low and sordid, his temper gloomy and savage: he could not support the idea of submitting to the authority of his mother, and contemptuously rejected the advice of his ministers. The society of the noblemen appointed to attend him, was odious to a prince who delighted only in that of negroes and mulattoes, with other young men chosen from the very dregs of the people; and of these wretched beings he had contrived to form a little court, notwithstanding every effort of his governor to prevent it. He termed them his bravoes, and thus escorted, passed the night in ranging through the streets of Lisbon, insulting every one who had the misfortune to meet him.

The disordered state of his intellects was supposed to be occasioned by a paralytic stroke, which attacked him at the age of four years. The impressions it caused were terrible; but his defects were left uncorrected in his earliest youth, from the fear of his weakness being increased by severity; hopes were also entertained, that time, by strengthening his body, might also temper his mind: this indulgence, however, only added to his natural indocility: his health, indeed, improved by age and medicine; he was equal to the strongest exercise, and fenced and rode remarkably well; but his disposition still continued savage; he acted more from violence than judgment; and when the passions of youth took place of those of childhood, he did not scruple introducing the vilest strumpets into the palace; nay, he even frequently passed his nights in the most notorious brothels, where he gave way to all kinds of shameful debauchery.

The regent, deeply grieved at such conduct, rightly judged that it must inevitably end in the loss of his crown, and that it would finally destroy the work it had cost her such pains, and so many years to complete. She was frequently tempted to imprison him for life, and place the infant his brother on the throne; but the fear of creating a civil war, of which the Spaniards would not fail to profit, alone prevented her taking so bold a step. She also flattered herself with the possibility of reclaiming the king, by depriving him of a certain Conti, a tradesman’s son, who was his favourite, and the secret agent of his debaucheries. She therefore gave orders to have him secured, and sent to the Brazils, from whence he was forbidden to return on pain of death.

The king at first appeared thunderstruck at the loss of his favourite, but he soon affected great calmness, and even became more tractable. This alteration delighted the queen, who congratulated herself, and was congratulated by the courtiers and ministers on the success of her scheme: but the king’s apparent tranquillity proved to be merely put on, to cover designs of a deeper nature than the queen thought him capable of forming; and this sagacious princess, who could penetrate into the most secret recesses of a courtier’s heart, became the dupe of an absolute idiot.

The king, in the first moments of his grief for the loss of Conti, had bewailed his misfortunes to the count de Castello Melhor, a Portugueze nobleman of very high extraction, who, though an ambitious and artful courtier, was much more capable of carrying on a court intrigue, than conducting a state affair. Such a mark of confidence appeared a fair opening for the count, to replace the favourite in his master’s affections, by pretending to pity his disgrace, and by contriving methods to restore him to the king. He therefore began his operations, by representing to his majesty, that he was himself the sole cause of Conti’s misfortunes, since being the sovereign, and having been long of age, he had nothing to do but to exert his authority, throw off that of the regent, and recal his favourite, who would then return, not only triumphant over his enemies, but even over the queen herself.

The king, delighted with advice so conformable to his natural disposition, let him into every secret of his heart. Their intimacy, however, was carried on in a mysterious manner; and his majesty bestowed no public marks of favour on the count, who was fearful of incurring the suspicions of the regent; but this princess was too clear sighted not to perceive his influence over her son; and meeting him one day in the train of that prince, she caught him by the arm, and fixing her eye upon him, with that dignified aspect which made her equally respected and feared by all her subjects, “Count,” said she, “I am well informed of your credit with the king; and should he commit any action contrary to my will, your life shall be the forfeit.”

The count made no reply to this discourse, but profoundly bowing, followed the king, who at that moment called him. He was, however, no sooner alone with his majesty, than he related all that had passed; adding, that he was very well aware of the danger of his situation, being on the eve of sharing the fate of Conti; but he would submit to it with pleasure, could he once see his master freed from the yoke of an imperious regency, which, whilst it subsisted, must ever keep him in the back ground, with no other distinction than the title of king, without either authority or consideration.

This artful speech irritated the monarch to a degree little short of madness, and he was on the point of insisting on the regent’s delivering into his own hands the great seals of the state, which are always regarded as the mark of sovereign authority: but the count was too well acquainted with the queen’s empire over her son, to permit him to take such a step; he therefore advised him to retreat to Alcantara, without seeing her, and from thence dispatch couriers to the magistrates of Lisbon, and the governors of the provinces, to make known his determination of taking the reins of government into his own hands. In compliance with this advice, the prince, in disguise, attended alone by the count and his friends, arrived in the night at Alcantara. The next morning he wrote to the secretaries of state, commanding them to attend him immediately; he also sent for the Spanish guards, and published throughout the kingdom, that the term of the queen-mother’s regency expired with his minority.

The greater part of the courtiers obeyed his majesty’s summons, and the queen was soon deserted; she indeed had presently reason to know, that borrowed authority can never subsist, when it ceases to be supported by the legitimate power. This princess, however, always herself behaved with her usual dignity; and the noble and generous manner with which she gave up the sovereign authority, sufficiently proved how deserving she was to reign still longer, and that her only motive for having prolonged the regency beyond the usual term, was to ensure the happiness of the nation. She immediately wrote to the king, that it little became him to act the part of an usurper, and to employ clandestine measures to gain possession of a throne, which was his lawful right; inviting him at the same time to return the following day to his palace, when in an assembly composed of the grandees, and principal magistrates of the city, she would herself present him with the seals, and give up to him the government of the kingdom. The king accordingly went back to Lisbon, where the queen, true to her promise, convened the grandees of the kingdom, together with those dignified with titles, and the heads of orders, and in their presence gave the purse which contained the seals to his majesty: “Here,” said she, “are the seals which were confided to me as regent of your kingdom, by virtue of the last will of my lord the late king. I commit them most willingly into the hands of your majesty, and I heartily pray God, that the prosperity of your government may equal the wishes I form in your favour.” The king, taking the seals, presented them to the secretary of state; after which, the infant, his brother, and all the grandees, kissed his majesty’s hand, and acknowledged him a second time their lawful sovereign.

The queen declared her resolution of retreating into a convent at the expiration of six months; and she delayed thus long, merely to have an eye on the measures pursued by government. The favourite, dreading the exalted genius of this princess, and the natural influence of a mother over a son, prevailed on the king to treat her on several occasions with great disrespect, in order to hasten her retreat. The proud and haughty spirit of the queen could not submit to such indignities, and she retired immediately into a convent, where, perfectly convinced of the vanity of worldly grandeur, she passed her whole time in preparing for that, of which no human means could ever deprive her. She did not survive her departure from court quite a twelvemonth, dying on the 18th of February, 1660. This princess was possessed of a most superior genius: to the virtues of the softer sex, she added those by which the other is particularly distinguished. Seated on a throne, she displayed the splendid qualities of a great sovereign; and when retired into a convent, she seemed to have banished from her memory the regal diadem which had once graced her brow.

The king, no longer restrained by the authority of this wise princess, gave way openly to the natural ferocity of his disposition, attacking by night, accompanied by his bravoes, every one he met, and even assailing the watch, and all others appointed to attend to the security of the city. Whenever he indulged himself in these nocturnal rambles, the next morning never failed bringing to light some tragical history, of which he was the hero; and the people felt as much dismayed on meeting him in the streets, as at the appearance of a savage beast escaped from his den.

The count de Castello Melhor endeavoured to conceal excesses to which he owed his authority. A true courtier, though a weak unskilful minister; he was arrogant and proud when success crowned his wishes, but dismayed and helpless on a reverse of fortune. Portugal, thus governed, must inevitably have perished, had not the weakness of Spain secured its safety.

The king, don Alphonso, whose authority did not extend beyond the walls of his palace, gave up the whole charge of the government to the care of his favourite, reserving no other part of the sovereign power, than the privilege of committing every species of extravagance with impunity.

The Spaniards thought this a favourable opportunity to attack Portugal, which they flattered themselves would be easily subdued, whilst governed by an idiot and madman. They therefore raised a considerable army, which was commanded by don John of Austria, a natural son of Philip the IVth. The count de Schomberg headed the Portugueze troops, though the title of general belonged to the count de Villaflor; and it was to the valour and conduct of the former alone, the king of Portugal owed the preservation of his crown. That great officer gained several different victories over the Castilians; and those with less difficulty than he conquered the obstinacy of the Portugueze general; whose jealousy of his glory was so great, that he was continually thwarting every plan which he feared might increase it. The French general, however, possessed the full confidence, not only of the court, but more especially of the troops, who were eager to follow a commander whom victory always crowned with success.

The minister attributed to his own management the glory of this good fortune, though his only share in the business was his being the first to receive the intelligence; thus his credit daily increased, and he was in possession of the sovereign authority; under the name of the king, whom he directed as a mere machine, the springs of which he employed according to his will and interest; taking advantage of the violent passions of his master to prejudice him against all those whom he mistrusted; by which means he presently removed the greater part of the ministers who acted during the regency, and replaced them by creatures of his own, in every respect devoted to his pleasure. The council, and indeed the whole court, underwent a thorough change; nor did these new members remain longer in office than whilst they were either useful or agreeable to the minister; who even contrived to banish Conti a second time from Portugal. The king, anxious for the presence of his first favourite, had given orders for his return from the Brazils; but no sooner did the count hear of his landing, than he forbad his appearing at court, and sent this imperious message by the same courier who had been dispatched by the king to express the joy he felt at his arrival. This wretched prince, impressed with the most slavish fear of his minister, never ventured to see Conti in public; and the count dreading the effect these secret meetings might have on his credit, decided on breaking off the connexion, by accusing Conti of being engaged in a conspiracy against his majesty; an accusation void of proofs, witnesses, or even the shadow of probability, but which was sufficient to complete the ruin of his unfortunate rival.

The minister, thus relieved from the presence of Conti, turned his whole attention towards the infant, don Pedro, the brother of the king. This young prince, now no longer a child, appeared noble and generous: he was esteemed and looked up to by the Portugueze, who could not fail to approve and admire the regularity of his conduct, and still more so, from the comparison they naturally made between him and their monarch.

The count, not satisfied with the empire he had gained over his master, was desirous of having the two brothers equally at his disposal, he therefore placed his own brother in the household of the infant, flattering himself that he would soon obtain his confidence. The young prince received this brother most obligingly, and even treated him with particular attention, but never admitted him into his intimacy or esteem. His friendship and confidence were indeed much more worthily bestowed; for the regent, who had always regarded don Pedro as the principal support of the royal family, had early taken care to place men of the first abilities about his person. These prudent governors, and faithful friends, represented to this young prince the probability of his one day mounting the throne, should the king continue his disorderly course of life, or should he have no children, which they hinted was not very likely to be the case; whilst on the other side, they put him on his guard against the artful designs of the minister, whose interest was so deeply concerned in prolonging the reign of Alphonso. Views of so different a tendency, naturally formed two parties as different at court: that of the minister was the most considerable, since it was composed of those who constantly attend at the fountain-head of places and preferments: but the old ministers, who foresaw the short duration of so violent a government, and the first nobility of the kingdom, who could not patiently submit to the authority of the favourite, paid their court to the infant, don Pedro, as to the presumptive heir to the crown.

The minister perceiving that the hopes of the opposite party were entirely founded on the reported impotence of the king, determined on his immediate marriage. Proposals were therefore made to the court of France, for Mary Elizabeth Frances, of Savoy, the daughter of Charles Amadeus, duke de Nemours, and of Elizabeth de Vendôme. These proposals being accepted, the princess was conducted into Portugal by her uncle, (à la mode de Bretagne[25]) Cæsar d’Estrées, bishop and duke de Laon, so well known throughout the whole of Europe by the illustrious title of cardinal d’Estrées. This prelate was accompanied by the marquis de Ruvigné, ambassador extraordinary from the court of France, together with a numerous train of gentlemen and persons of distinction, who were either friends or domestics of the house of Savoy, or attached in different manners to those of Vendôme and d’Estrées.

The marriage ceremony was performed with the magnificence usually displayed on such occasions. The extraordinary beauty of the young queen caused universal admiration; don Pedro appeared enchanted with her perfections, but the king still remained insensible; and the world soon began to suspect that the quality of queen, and wife to the king, were vain titles, and merely intended as a veil to conceal the natural infirmities of that prince.

The minister had flattered himself with gaining the same empire over the mind of the young princess, as he had so long possessed over that of his sovereign; he consequently treated her, at first, with the profoundest respect, but he soon perceived that she was endowed with too much sense, courage, and proper pride, to suffer herself to be governed by a subject. Fired with revenge, he took every opportunity to make her feel his power. All state affairs were most carefully concealed from her; and if ever she chanced to interest herself in private concerns, she as constantly failed in her designs; since a recommendation from her was a sufficient title of exclusion with the minister. He next proceeded to stop the payment of her pension, and those of her household, on pretence of the necessities of the state, and the expences of the war having exhausted the royal treasury; and the king, whom the favourite sometimes let loose on the objects of his hatred, behaved with such rude violence to don Pedro and the queen, that the latter was frequently seen retiring from his apartment bathed in tears, and in the deepest distress.

Her beauty, her misfortunes, the complaints of the ladies and officers of her court, who no longer received their salaries, contributed to render her an object of compassion to all who were not immediately the tools of the favourite. Thus a third party was formed at court, where nothing was talked of but the barrenness of the queen, though a twelve-month had not yet elapsed since her marriage.

Strange[26] reports were assiduously circulated relative to a door which the king had ordered to be made close to the queen’s bed-side, and of which he alone kept the key. The queen appeared alarmed at this circumstance, which was alike injurious to her virtue and her reputation: and her friends and favourers publicly declared, that the minister, being decided on procuring heirs for his majesty, (no matter by what means) flattered himself with the hopes of concealing, through the medium of this mysterious door, the natural infirmities of his master, though at the price of the queen’s honour.

This princess disclosed her apprehensions to her confessor, who advised her to communicate them to the confessor of don Pedro. Two religious men, though apparently attached to different interests, decided on acting in concert in a circumstance not only extremely delicate, but of the highest consequence to them both. Their friends were of opinion that it would be very possible to reconcile these said interests, by pursuing the original designs formed by the regent. The two factions, once so different, soon formed but one party. The queen contrived to engage the count de Schomberg, commander of the forces, to favour her plan, and the infant, who knew no bounds to his hopes and desires, secured in his interest the principal magistrates of the city, together with every person who stood high in the opinion of the people.

The king in his own person was regarded as a mere cypher, and as such would have been easily set aside; but he was supported by an artful and ambitious minister, who knew how to make the august name of sovereign respectable in the eyes of the people. The first step, therefore, to be taken, was to remove this artful favourite from the post he held in the palace, and they were well aware it would be no easy task to make him resign the government of the kingdom. For this purpose, they secretly tampered with one of his most intimate friends, whom they engaged to represent to him, that don Pedro attributed the ill treatment he received from his brother to him alone; and that the prince having sworn to complete his ruin, his safety depended on his quitting the court. Naturally timid, the minister immediately published this intelligence, and doubled the number of guards usually attendant on his person. He also armed all the officers of the household, and endeavoured to persuade the king to place himself at their head, and thus attended, arrest don Pedro in his own apartment: but the king, mad and violent as he was in his nightly rambles, when no one dared to oppose him, would not consent to a plan which he foresaw could not be executed without resistance and danger; he accordingly contented himself with writing to the infant, and commanding his immediate attendance. The prince excused his disobedience, on account of the injurious reports published against him by the minister; representing, that the count being sole master in the palace, he could not possibly enter it till he should be removed. Several letters passed between his majesty and the infant on this occasion, all of which were made public. The king at last made offers of sending the count to sue for pardon at his brother’s feet; but the infant, whose views soared much beyond the poor triumph of revenging himself for reports of which he himself was the secret author, would accept of no other alternative than the minister’s dismissal from the palace. This affair caused universal disorder; the court and city were in continual agitation, and every thing seemed preparing for a civil war. The minister was sensibly affected at having lost the support of the count de Schomberg. The greater part of the grandees openly declared in favour of the prince don Pedro; and to add to the minister’s distress, his own friends, nay, even his relations, refused risking their safety in his behalf, alledging, that they were not sufficiently in force to resist the infant’s party, supported as it was by that of the queen. The count, thus abandoned by the creatures who had hitherto basked in the sunshine of his favour, lost all courage, and quitting the palace at night, and in disguise, retired to a monastery seven leagues from Lisbon; and from thence proceeding to Italy, sought an asylum in the court of Turin.

The infant immediately attended at the palace, on pretence of paying his devoirs to his majesty; but his presence inspiring universal submission, he presently discarded all the remaining tools of the minister. The king, thus deprived of his usual advisers, was entirely at the mercy of his brother, who dared not, however, possess himself of the crown; well aware that such conduct would brand him with the odious epithet of usurper. He had indeed no pretence for so bold an action, nor could he possibly obtain the sovereign power, but from an act of legal authority which must take place in a general assembly of the states.

The king alone having the power of convening this assembly, he was recommended to adopt a measure, which it was pretended the necessities of the state made requisite, since such necessities could not be relieved without the concurrence and assistance of his subjects. Naturally weak as was this prince, he soon perceived the intention of this meeting was to conspire against his authority; he consequently evaded for a long time attending to the several petitions, which, at the instigation of the infant, were presented to him by the different bodies of the people; but at last the council drew up a resolution, which they obliged him to sign, making thus this wretched prince the instrument, and even the promoter of his own destruction. The assembly by this act was convened for the first of January 1661. [27] Don Pedro having succeeded in an enterprise, on which he founded his hopes of future grandeur, the queen acting in concert with him, next appeared upon the stage. She began her operations by retiring into a convent, from whence she immediately wrote to the king, that her conscience would no longer permit her remaining in the palace; and since no one knew better than himself that he had never lived with her as her husband, she only requested that he would be pleased to return her dowry, and permit her to seek an asylum in her own country, and under the protection of her own family.

The king, on receiving this letter, flew in a transport of rage to the convent, to force back his queen; but don Pedro, who foresaw what would happen, and whose authority in the capital was already greater than his brother’s, appeared at the gates of the convent, accompanied by the nobles of his party, and obliged the king to return to the palace, where he called upon his different mistresses to vouch for his virility; and broke forth into violent threats against the queen and don Pedro; the latter, far from regarding the resentment of a king destitute of counsellors and strength, was resolved on putting a finishing stroke to his power; he therefore repaired the following morning to the palace, followed by the whole of the nobility, magistrates, corporation, and an immense multitude of people, all anxious to know the event of so serious an affair. On entering the palace, he was met by all the counsellors of state, who waited his arrival, and after a short conference, he sent orders to have the king put under arrest in his own apartment; which done, he was soon obliged to sign his abdication. The infant, however, did not venture to assume the title of king, but that of regent was bestowed upon him by the states-general, who took the oath of allegiance accordingly. Peace with Spain was the first object which engaged the attention of the new regent; the king of England acted as mediator in the business, and the king of Spain, by a solemn treaty, acknowledged the crown of Portugal henceforward independent on that of Castille.

Nothing was now wanting to complete the happiness of the regent, but to obtain the hand of his sister-in-law in marriage. The queen, on entering the convent, had presented a petition to the chapter of the cathedral church, (the see being vacant) demanding the dissolution of a marriage, which could never be consummated during nearly fifteen mouths cohabitation. The chapter pronounced it null and void, without any other juridical formalities, than the negation of the proctor, and the non-appearance of the party complained against; the impediment, as the sentence imports, being reduced to a moral certainty, without any necessity of farther proofs, or longer delay. The regent thus, by means of formalities which the generality of judges very willingly accommodate to the wishes of those possessed of sovereign authority, found himself at liberty to espouse the queen: he was advised, however, out of respect to public decency, to obtain a dispensation from the pope, which dispensation, Mr. de Verjus, from a fortunate concurrence of circumstances, happened[28] to bring from France at this very juncture. This brief was obtained from the cardinal de Vendôme, at that time the pope’s legate à Latere, who had been invested with that temporary dignity, for the purpose of assisting, in the name of his holiness, at the baptism of the dauphin. The bishop of Targa, coadjutor to the archbishop of Lisbon, bestowed the nuptial benediction on the regent and queen, by virtue of this brief, which was afterwards confirmed by that of pope Innocent the IXth, which was thought necessary, not only to calm their consciences, but to ensure peace and tranquillity in the kingdom.

King Alphonso was banished to the islands of Tercera, which make part of the Portugueze dominions. The people, ever deeply interested for the unfortunate, openly declared, that he was sufficiently punished in the loss of his crown and consort, without depriving him of the liberty of breathing his native air: but, alas! a dethroned prince seldom finds friends or protectors. Not a single grandee dared to espouse his cause, or plead in his favour, being well aware that the regent would never forgive an instance of compassion, which might in the end prove fatal to his government.

Don Alphonso remained in exile till the year 1675, when he was recalled by the regent, who suspected him of having formed a party to assist him in his escape from the islands of Tercera, and to re-establish him on the throne.

This prince died in the neighbourhood of Lisbon[29] in 1683, leaving his brother the liberty of assuming the title of king, the only right of which he had not already despoiled the unfortunate monarch.

The death of Alphonso the VIth, having removed all apprehensions from the breast of don Pedro, he remained in future unrivalled possessor of a throne, which, flattering as it was to his ambition, most probably cost him some moments of remorse. This sunshine of prosperity was in the first year of his reign overclouded by the death of the queen, an event sincerely deplored by his majesty; who, however, having paid the just tribute of his tears to her memory, employed his every thought in alleviating the misery of a people who had sympathised in his misfortunes, and whose love towards a sovereign, whom they regarded as a father, made them deeply regret his being left without male heirs. He therefore, in compliance with their solicitations, consented to form a second marriage, and on the 2d of July, 1682, espoused Mary Elizabeth, the daughter of William, elector palatine of the Rhine. This princess, one of the most accomplished women of the age she lived in, bore him several children, and died on the 4th of August, 1699.

The great affection felt by the Portugueze for this monarch, will not appear extraordinary, if we trace back the whole of his conduct from the commencement of his administration as regent, and the situation of Portugal at the moment he took into his own hands the reins of government. Having settled every thing relative to the abdication of the king, with the states-general, his next care was to convince the people, that his true and only motive for taking upon himself the sovereign authority, was the good of the public. Those Portugueze who had presumed to attribute this action to personal interest were most severely punished: nothing, however, contributed so much to silence the clamours of the friends and favourites of the deposed monarch, as the plan of conduct adopted by his successor; a plan from which he never departed during the whole course of his life.

Don Pedro, during his regency, and even after he became king, instead of increasing the expence of his household, introduced the practice of the strictest œconomy; and so far from being surrounded by a pompous train of attendants, he was waited upon by a single domestic. He very frequently eat alone, seated upon a piece of cork on the floor, and neither drank wine himself, nor permitted any one who did to approach him. He passed the greatest part of his time with his ministers, and often negociated affairs himself with foreign ambassadors, when his penetrating eye saw through their deepest designs, and disconcerted their best combined projects. He placed the greatest confidence in his relation, the duke de Cadaval, and had never any reason to repent his choice. He renewed the treaties entered into with England and Holland, and took care they should insert no clause contrary to his views, which were to preserve the strictest neutrality with his neighbours. He rejected the pressing solicitations of Louis the XIVth, to join with him against Spain, and was proof against the most brilliant proposals made him by that monarch, at a time too when Louis had subdued the Low Countries, invaded Holland, conquered Franche Comté, crossed the Pyrenees, and penetrated into Catalonia.

The Spanish government may be said to have acted a most villainous part at this juncture, if it indeed be true, as has been asserted, that it was then secretly contriving the assassination of so firm and faithful an ally.

The court of Portugal being at the baths of Obidos, received intelligence that a most dreadful plot was formed to massacre the regent, his consort, the infanta his daughter, and replace Alphonso the VIth on the throne. The criminals were presently discovered, seized, tried, and condemned to die. Don Francisco Mendoça, don Antonio de Cavida, and their accomplices were accordingly publicly executed. The inquest taken on this trial had been carefully concealed; yet still it transpired that the Spanish ambassador was not unacquainted with this horrible conspiracy. The coolness subsisting between him and the court increased the suspicions of the public; but the dignity of the diplomatic character secured his person. The Portugueze minister at the court of Madrid was very soon after most grossly insulted in his own house, and not being able to obtain redress, returned to Lisbon. Affronts which it was impossible to revenge were passed over in silence by the prudent regent; who, however, did not neglect taking every precaution which the situation of his affairs made necessary. He caused the frontiers to be put in a proper state of defence, and sent a well armed squadron to the Terceres (or Azores) islands, to fetch back his brother Alphonso, who, it had been purposely reported, was improperly treated in that place. The war between France and Spain was still carried on, though to all appearance it was drawing towards an end; and the very moment don Pedro became acquainted with the overtures for peace made at Nimeguen, he offered to act as mediator between the two powers. This proposal was received by Louis the XIVth with a degree of haughtiness and contempt which drew upon himself the never-ending resentment of a prince, to whom he was very soon afterwards forced to sue for succour.

Let us now take a cursory view of the situation of Portugal at that critical juncture. The pains taken by the regent to put the finishing stroke to a war which had lasted twenty-six years, have been already remarked; but great as were the miseries it had caused, they were much less distressing, and much easier repaired than those suffered by Portugal, whilst under the dominion of Spain: such indeed were those calamities, that time itself has been unable to repair them.

During the sixty years this unhappy country groaned under the Spanish yoke, the navy was almost entirely destroyed; more than 200 large merchantmen were lost. The arsenals and forts were robbed of above 2000 brass cannons, with an infinite number of iron ones; and the great square at Seville was at one time filled with 900 pieces of cannon, all marked with the arms of Portugal. Two hundred millions of golden crowns were taken out of the country between the years 1584 and 1626; and the finest estates and richest domains were bestowed on Spanish subjects. The Dutch deprived them too of the islands of Ceylon, Ternate, and Tidor; they forced Malacca to surrender after a long siege, took possession of the ports of Mina and Arguin on the coast of Guinea, and formed different settlements in Brazil; in short, such were the losses sustained by the Portugueze during these sixty years, that all their efforts have been hitherto inadequate entirely to repair them. The spice and East India trade which they had carried on exclusively during a whole century, then fell into the bands of the Dutch and English; and the Portugueze government finding it impossible to regain this valuable branch of commerce, turned all their thoughts towards Brazil, from which they had no small difficulty in driving the Dutch. Don Pedro likewise, on his first accession to the crown, made this important colony one of the principal objects of his attention, and spared no pains to extend it to the utmost of his power.

It became necessary at this time to increase the authority of the missionaries, who, from their first entrance into the interior parts of America, had defended their proselites against the armed savages, with no other weapons than the gospel of Christ in one hand, and a crucifix in the other. An ordinance was therefore published on the 21st of December, 1686, which declared that the holy fathers of the society of Jesus should not only be invested with the spiritual government, as before, but also the political and temporal one, over the towns and villages under their administration.

Some years after the publication of this edict, which, though it opened a passage for the Portugueze to the gold and diamond mines in Brazil, had nearly been attended by the most fatal consequences in Paraguay, the richest fleet which ever sailed from Brazil entered the port of Lisbon. It contained more than a ton and a half of gold, and came most opportunely to relieve the exigencies of don Pedro, who, foreseeing the events that would most probably follow the death of Charles the IId of Spain, was preparing a considerable armament, which was attended by so great an expence, that the royal treasury being nearly exhausted, he was under the necessity of having recourse to the cortes, from whom he obtained a supply of 600,000 crowns.

Louis the XIVth, deeply interested in the motions of Portugal, was presently informed of this new subsidy, and the apparent motives alledged by the king to induce its being speedily granted. This intelligence did not at first appear to make much impression on the French monarch, but he soon after took umbrage at it, and still more particularly on hearing that the Spanish ambassador continued living in a great style at Lisbon, had an opera performed in his own house, gave the most magnificent entertainments, and had succeeded in gaining the favour of the king of Portugal.

The court of France was very well aware, that don Pedro had legitimate claims on the crown of Spain, that his vicinity to Madrid would facilitate his views, and that he might easily find allies to support his pretensions; it was therefore thought expedient to dispatch an envoy extraordinary with orders to sound the intentions of the court of Lisbon on this subject.

The nearer Charles the IId approached towards his end, the more were the powers of Europe employed in forming plans for dividing his inheritance. Different treaties had been formed during the course of his illness between France, England, and the United Provinces; but these were presently annulled, when on the demise of that prince, his will declared Philip, duke d’Anjou, heir to the crown of Spain. The new king was at first acknowledged by all the powers in Europe, except the Empire: he took upon himself the title of Philip the Vth, and departed immediately for Spain. It was this occasion which gave rise to the following memorable speech of Louis the XIVth; “My son, there are now no longer any Pyrenees;” a speech which unhappily was but too soon forgotten, since the first war undertaken by France, after that of the succession, was against the Spaniards.

Philip the Vth entered his new dominions without the smallest opposition; he was received with much solemnity, and with every testimony of joy, on the 14th of April, 1701, at Madrid, where the people took the oath of allegiance, and expressed an attachment to his person, which neither time, nor reverse of fortune, had ever the power to weaken. Destitute of troops sufficient to oppose the united forces of France and Spain, and without allies to furnish him with supplies, don Pedro gave up for the present all idea of bringing forward the claims of the house of Braganza to the crown of Spain, and hastened to form an alliance with Louis the XIVth and Philip the Vth, as the properest means of preventing the kings of Spain from renewing their pretensions to that of Portugal.

This alliance was greatly approved by the public; the Portugueze still bearing in mind the misery of their situation, whilst under the dominion of the house of Austria, and remembering with pleasure and gratitude the signal services rendered them by that of Bourbon. Their great disinclination to war, also added to their satisfaction, since they had now every reason to flatter themselves they might be suffered to remain neuter; but this hope, alas! was presently destroyed, for England, having on the 7th of September, 1701, formed a league with the Empire and Holland against France and Spain, immediately on war being declared, commanded her fleet to commence hostilities on the coast of Portugal. Don Pedro directly gave orders to the duke de Cadaval to assemble a sufficient body of troops to secure the sea-ports from the insults of the English; and at the same time informed his allies of his situation, and the danger with which he was threatened, unless speedily assisted. Neither France nor Spain were in a condition to equip a fleet capable of standing against the attacks of the English, and yet these powers insisted on Portugal’s taking an active part in the war. Spain, in particular, treated the Portugueze ambassador with insupportable insolence, and on his urging the necessity of his master’s remaining neuter, he was answered by the cardinal Portocarrero, “that no other conduct could be expected from the rebel duke of Braganza.”

The king of Portugal, whose love of peace had even induced him to pass over in silence the intelligence he had received from his minister at the Hague, that by a private treaty between France and Spain, his kingdom was to become a province of the last-mentioned country, now thought himself justified in breaking with allies, who not only gave him up to the power of his enemies, but were even employed in contriving his destruction, he therefore on the 6th of May, 1703, entered into the league styled the grand alliance, and obtained the most favourable conditions; the emperor promising to keep in pay 14,000 Portugueze, and the queen of England engaging herself to maintain a fleet ready at all times to defend Portugal and its colonies. There were also secret articles in this treaty, which treaty itself was not to be made public till the archduke Charles arrived at Lisbon, by which don Pedro was to be put into possession of Badajos, Alcantara, Albaquerque, Valentia in Estremadura; Bayonne, Vigo, Tuy, and Gardia, in Gallicia.

Louis the XIVth was presently made acquainted with this convention, and gave orders to his ambassador to demand an explanation, which he was constantly refused.

On the 9th of May, 1704, an English fleet appeared off Lisbon, and landed the archduke Charles, together with 10,000 men. A very few months after his arrival, the court of Portugal was plunged into the deepest distress by the death of the infanta, a child of eight years old, who was betrothed to the archduke. It being of the greatest importance to lose no time in commencing hostilities, the troops were scarcely landed before they were employed in actual service. Nothing decisive occurred during the first campaign; good and ill success equally attended their arms; and the English alone gained a conquest, which they have constantly preserved. The Spaniards, from the most unpardonable negligence, having left Gibraltar with only a garrison of a hundred men, it was taken on the 4th of August by the English, who fought under the command of the prince of Darmstadt, and admiral Rooke.

The second campaign in 1705 was of very little importance; and the advantages obtained in that of the following year, were much more brilliant than solid. On the 16th of June, lord Galway and the marquis de Minas entered Madrid without resistance, and caused the archduke Charles to be proclaimed king of Spain: the greater part of the people, however, faithful to their first engagements, ventured even on the same day to shout out “Long live Philip the Vth, our lawful sovereign.” Such marks of affection, testified by the Spaniards, and at such a moment, were a certain presage that the triumph of the archduke would be but of short duration.

The English and Portugueze armies quitted Madrid on the 1st of August, and prudently avoided engaging the Spanish and French troops, commanded by marshal Berwick, having been informed, that they had recently received a powerful reinforcement from France. The English and Portugueze generals were on this occasion condemned or excused, according to the dictates of party spirit, for not having taken greater advantage of so fortunate a beginning.

The Portugueze troops being returned to their winter quarters, the king gave orders for the levying of twelve thousand men, being determined to carry on the war with the greatest spirit and activity; but unfortunately for Portugal and its allies, don Pedro departed this life, after a very short illness, on the 9th of December, 1706.

An historian of merit[30] has ventured to blame this prince for not remaining neuter in the war of the succession; but we have already seen that he was forced into hostile measures, by the conduct of the different parties. Other historians, still more severe, accuse him of not attending sufficiently to the important objects of agriculture and commerce. Nothing can be more unjust in most particulars than these reproaches, since it was during his reign that vegetables, and the most delicious fruits first flourished in Portugal,[31] and that the famous treaty was made with England, by which the latter power entered into engagements to take Portugueze wines in exchange for English manufactures.

Cotemporary writers have done more justice to the merits of this sovereign, and allowed him not only the eminent virtues which ought to adorn a great monarch, but the superior talents of a wise administrator. Posterity has gone still farther, attributing to him the double merit of having, by his first alliance with Spain, gloriously terminated a dangerous revolution in the state, and of having carried his point, by quietly effecting another revolution in his own family.

John the Vth, the son of don Pedro (or Pedro the IId) succeeded to the throne on the 9th of December, 1706, but was not solemnly proclaimed king till the 1st of January, 1707. This young prince, aged only seventeen years, continued faithful to the engagements taken by his father with the allied powers, against France and Spain, and put every thing in order to carry on the war with the greatest vigour. Success, however, did not wait upon his arms, for Philip the Vth having returned to his capital on the 8th of October, 1706, gave the command of the army destined to act against Portugal to marshal Berwick, who on the 15th of April, 1707, gained a complete victory over the allied armies, under the command of lord Galway, at the celebrated battle of Almanza, where the greater part of the Portugueze present on the occasion were either killed or taken prisoners. An extraordinary circumstance, and the only one of the kind to be met with in history, took place at this battle, where the English, under the command of a French general,[32] were beaten by an English one who commanded the French army.

The year 1708, though it affords nothing very interesting relative to the actions which took place between Spain and Portugal, must always recal to our memory the noblest victory ever obtained by humanity over the ravages of war; since the kings of those two countries, by mutual agreement, prevented hostilities of any kind being committed against husbandmen and vine-dressers.

John the Vth, in the same year, united himself by still closer ties to the house of Austria; and on the 8th of October formed an alliance with the second daughter of the emperor Leopold. The joy occasioned by this marriage was greatly augmented by the arrival of a fleet of merchantmen, consisting of a hundred sail, from Brazil, having on board to the amount of six millions sterling in gold, diamonds and tobacco.

Nothing could be more timely than this supply; the subsidies promised to the Portugueze being very ill paid, and their army having suffered considerably, on the 7th of May, 1709, when the Portugueze were defeated on the banks of the Caya, by the marquis de Bay, in the campaign of Gudina.[33] The king was also obliged to withstand the instances of his allies, in an affair which he was decided not to give up; and the ambassadors from the Empire and England, together with the States-General, having remonstrated in the strongest manner about the franchises of foreign ministers, which his father had abolished twenty years before, he resisted all their arguments with a firmness they little expected, and, forced them to lay aside their claims. The year 1709, which began so prosperously for the archduke Charles, ended in the most disastrous manner for him and for Portugal.

General Stanhope on the 27th of July, defeated the French and Spanish armies at Almenara, and afterwards greatly contributed to gaining the great victory of Saragossa; on this occasion the marquis de Bay was so completely beaten by the count de Staremberg, that Philip the Vth was obliged to quit Madrid, and the archduke entered the capital without striking a blow. No monarch, however, ever met with a worse reception from his subjects; they treated him with every possible mark of aversion, avoiding his sight, shutting themselves up in their own apartments, and even disdaining to pick up the money he threw into the streets. All his endeavours were fruitless to extort the oath of allegiance from several of the nobility, and having commanded the marquis de Mancera,[34] president of the council of Castille, an old man turned of a hundred years of age, to come and kiss his hand, he received the following reply: “I have but one faith and one king, which is Philip the Vth to whom I have sworn allegiance. I acknowledge the archduke as a great prince, but not as my sovereign, and having lived a hundred years without failing in any of my duties; I will not, for the short space of time I have yet to pass in this world, blast my spotless reputation by a dishonourable action.”

The archduke, irritated at such opposition, proposed giving up the town to be pillaged, but the generous Stanhope representing the cruelty as well as impolicy of such vengeance, “Well,” replied Charles, “if we cannot plunder the city, let us at least quit it.” If, indeed, the approach of the duke de Vendôme had not made this retreat necessary, circumstances alone must, sooner or later, have forced the archduke to take this step; since both he and his partizans began to perceive the impossibility of preserving a crown, which the people were decided, at the risk of their lives and properties, to replace on the head of him whom they had acknowledged as its lawful possessor. The reverse of fortune which Philip had experienced, far from weakening the attachment of the Spaniards, had very much contributed to increase it; so great, indeed, was the affection they bore him, that they preferred burning their provisions to selling them to his enemies. Such conduct gave rise to Stanhope’s remark, “that a victorious army might indeed march through Spain, but that it required a still stronger one to keep possession of it.”

If a retreat through a country so ill disposed towards Charles, was in itself so dangerous, how infinitely more so must it be on the arrival of such an enemy as the duke de Vendôme, who, having reconducted Philip to Madrid, on the 3d of December, went immediately in pursuit of the archduke and Stanhope, who were making every possible effort to regain Portugal.

Vendôme, having swam his troops across the Tagus, attacked general Stanhope, who was shut up in Briguegua, and on the 9th of December forced him to surrender himself prisoner, together with 5000 English. His success did not stop here, for having joined the count de Staremberg the same day at Villaviciosa, he, the following one, gave the battle which is known in history by the name of the above-mentioned place.

Philip the Vth, who had not hitherto joined his generals in the field of battle, commanded, on that day, the right wing of his army, whilst the duke de Vendôme appeared at the head of the left: and thus a victory was obtained which ended all conflicts, and put him in the unrivalled possession of the crown of Spain. It was after this engagement that Philip, being unprovided with a bed, Vendôme exclaimed, “I will presently form you the most glorious bed on which a sovereign ever slept;” and he gave orders that a mattress should be made of the standards and colours taken from the enemy.

The defeat at Villaviciosa having placed the Portugueze in a most critical situation, it was thought highly necessary, in 1711, to defend their own frontiers as much as possible, without ever attempting to attack those of their neighbours. The intelligence received of the capture of Rio Janeiro by Guy Trouin, cut off every hope of carrying on the war any longer. This place surrendered after eleven days siege, on the 23d of September, and the loss on this occasion was estimated at twenty-five millions of French livres; which made it impossible for Brazil (for some time at least) to furnish supplies to the mother country: a circumstance the more to be regretted, as Portugal never stood in greater need of assistance.

A peace was now their only resource, and an unexpected event took place, which not only gave them an opening to make propositions, but accelerated the negociations. The emperor Joseph dying, the archduke Charles succeeded him in the imperial dignity; and from that moment it became contrary to the interest, not only of the allies, but of the whole of Europe, to place the crown of Spain upon his head. To preserve the balance of power had been the pretext alledged for the war, which could certainly never have been maintained, had the vast possessions of the emperor Charles the Vth been once more united under the dominion of one and the same person. The real and only motive, however, for this war, appears to be the ancient hatred entertained against the name of Louis the Great.

In the course of this same year (1711) France began to enter into correspondence with England: the duke of Marlborough had been recalled by the court of St. James’s, whose views tended towards peace, in as high a degree as his led towards war. In this situation of affairs the Portugueze had the prudence to attach themselves more closely than ever to the interests of Great Britain: they were accordingly admitted to the conferences held at Utrecht, on the 29th of January, 1712, and on the 11th of April, in the same year, France made peace by five different treaties; the first with England, signed at three o’clock in the afternoon; the second with the duke of Savoy, at four o’clock; the third with the king of Portugal, at eight; the fourth with the king of Prussia, at midnight; and the fifth with the States-General, at a quarter past one the next morning.

By the treaty with Portugal, France engaged that Spain should lay no claim to any part of that country; and at the same time renounced her pretensions on the river of the Amazons. Nothing now remained for the tranquillity of John the Vth, but to conclude peace with Philip the Vth, and all difficulties being done away by the mediation of the court of Versailles, it was at last signed at Utrecht, on the 13th of February, 1715.

The people of Portugal, thus delivered from the horrors of war, remained in the greatest tranquillity during the reign of John the Vth, who never took the smallest part in any war, except that which arose between the Ecclesiastical States, the Venetians, and Turks, shortly after the peace of Utrecht. On this occasion the king of Portugal sent out a squadron to assist the former; and the pope, in acknowledgment of so essential a service, divided the archbishopric of Lisbon into two dioceses, and raised the royal chapel to the dignity of a metropolitan, patriarchal church: since which time the city of Lisbon has been separated into two great districts, distinguished by the name of eastern and western.

The patriarch received permission from the pope to officiate habited like his holiness; whilst the canons of his church had the privilege of wearing habits resembling those of cardinals.

The king immediately caused a most superb patriarchal church to be erected, and greatly beautified the fine palace of his predecessors: he also constructed an aqueduct, which was still more useful than magnificent, Lisbon having been hitherto very ill supplied with water; whilst on the other hand he built the sumptuous convent of Mafra, which may be termed with equal justice more magnificent than useful.[35] The taste displayed by his majesty for architecture, did not divert his attention from the cultivation of arts and sciences. On the 8th of December, 1720, he issued a decree for the institution of the Royal Academy of the History of Portugal.[36] He gave orders for the purchasing of a variety of curious and valuable articles from foreign countries, such as pictures, statues, books, and manuscripts. He encouraged and rewarded artists of every description, and succeeded in inspiring them with that noble emulation so necessary to the progress of talents; but he did not sufficiently interest himself about artificers, and the means of improving the industry of his people, and making it turn out to the greatest advantage: this neglect may probably be attributed to lord Tyrawley, the English ambassador, who had obtained a very great ascendance over the mind of this prince; who, however, paid the strictest attention to every other branch of the administration. He was possessed of much firmness of character, was a rigorous observer of justice, and knew much better than any of his predecessors how to maintain the necessary subordination between the people and the nobles, who had formerly been very absolute, nay, indeed almost independant. He proved his strict adherence to justice on several occasions; especially in the following instance; when Cæsar de Ménézes, the son of the viceroy of Bahia having, with the assistance of several other gentlemen, forcibly rescued one of his attendants from the hands of the corregidor, the king immediately deprived the latter of his employment, as a punishment for his want of firmness; banished Ménézes to Africa, and either exiled or imprisoned all the gentlemen concerned in the business.

This monarch, though slavishly attached to the fair sex, still retained the inflexible justice of his character, even in moments when the greatest men have sometimes yielded to the seductions of beauty. The relations of a gentleman condemned to work in the mines, contrived to interest the king’s mistress in his favour: but this prince presently put a stop to her entreaties, by observing, “that the pardon she solicited depended on the king of Portugal, who resided in the Terreiro de Paco: but that in her house he appeared in no other character than that of her lover.”

The convents, and different houses of the grandees, which had hitherto served as sanctuaries for criminals, were in this reign deprived of that privilege, which indeed had only served to screen the most notorious villains from the punishments due to their crimes. His humanity was equal to his justice, for during an epidemical malady in Lisbon, which in the year 1723 carried off a thousand persons in a month, he gave audience three times a week to every description of his subjects, whether blacks or whites, freemen or slaves; he also forbid the nobles who composed his court to quit the capital, and insisted on their seconding his benevolence, and aiding him in the distribution of his charities.

A dreadful tempest, in the following year, destroyed more than a hundred vessels in the Tagus: immediately the beneficent hand of this humane monarch, was stretched forth, to repair, to the utmost of his power, the cruel losses sustained on this fatal occasion.

The great abuses which had for a long time taken place in the administration of the holy office, called for the attention of a just and merciful sovereign. John the Vth succeeded in making a most important reform. Before his reign, the prisoners detained in the inquisition were never allowed counsel to plead their cause; so great an abuse of power sensibly affected the king, who obtained a bull from pope Benedick the XIIIth, in 1725, by which these unhappy prisoners were granted every assistance that justice made necessary in their situation: this was followed up by a decree, obliging the inquisitors to communicate the sentences they pronounced to the king’s council, before they were put in execution.

Such was the conduct of John the Vth, that he was equally beloved and feared by his people. The grandees, indeed, viewed him with sentiments of fear rather than of love; a truth of which he was so well convinced, that he is said to have declared, that though his grandfather feared the grandees, and his father both loved and feared them, that he himself neither feared nor loved them.

These sentiments are supposed to have arisen in his bosom, from the untoward conduct of the nobles, who, on several years being passed without the queen’s having children, neglected paying their court to his majesty, and attached themselves very particularly to his brother, don Francisco: a prince, who is represented of so savage a disposition, that it appears extraordinary any one should wish to approach his person. One author,[37] in particular, mentions him as cruel, constantly delighting in fighting, and infesting the streets of Lisbon, at the head of a set of armed men, who nightly rambled through the city in search of adventures. These bands of gentlemen were termed ranchos; their amusement consisted in attacking and insulting passengers of every description, and such was the force of example, that several personages of the first nobility vied with don Francisco in the commission of these dreadful disorders. The duke de Cadaval, the marquis de Marialva, de Cascaes, the Aveiros, and the Obidos, had each their separate rancho. No night ever passed without people being wounded or murdered by this illustrious banditti; hatred, revenge, and a sort of civil war throughout the city, unrestrained by the presence of the king, were the natural consequences of such horrid barbarity. Foreigners also formed offensive and defensive treaties; and a body of sailors left their vessels on pretence of attacking the bravoes of Lisbon, whom they plundered, whenever their party happened to be the strongest.

A personage likewise acted a part in these nocturnal scenes, who afterwards made a very different and still more celebrated figure in the page of history. Carvalho, possessed of extraordinary strength, and invincible courage, with a form nearly gigantic, seemed decided to surpass every other bravo of the age. He chose for his companion a man of a mind and person resembling his own, who, with himself, was habited in a white Spanish capotte, with shoes and hat of the same colour: thus accoutered, they were easily distinguished in the night, when, without any other assistance, they attacked the different ranchos, which they frequently conquered; though never without being exposed to the most dangerous resistance, nor without receiving several wounds.

All the endeavours of his majesty to prevent such dreadful disorders, proved fruitless: they were thought, indeed, to proceed in some degree from a spirit of chivalry, which suited the national taste, and which the people did not wish to extinguish. The justice which always distinguished the character of the king, was about that time put to a severe and singular test, by a very unexpected claim, and one which had all the appearance of being well founded. In the year 1724, the chevalier Porta, a gentleman of Lausanne, arrived in Portugal, and was presented at court, where he demanded a private audience of his majesty, on a very particular occasion; no less than to lay claim to the possessions of don Antonio, who had been proclaimed king of Portugal in 1580, and from whom he alledged his wife was lineally descended. The king having granted him several audiences, and received him with great distinction, did not, however, venture to give judgment either for or against his claim, but left the decision to two juntas or councils. These were immediately assembled, and the opinions of the most celebrated civilians taken on the occasion. The result of their deliberations was, that the Swiss gentleman’s claims were not legal, since don Antonio had been proscribed by Philip the IId of Spain, as a traitor to his country, and his property justly confiscated to the crown. This decision of the civilians was approved and confirmed by the two juntas.

That Philip the IId, who himself usurped the crown of the Braganzas, should pronounce such a sentence, is not extraordinary. Philip the IVth likewise pronounced one of the same nature against that family: but surprising indeed must it appear in the eyes of posterity, that a grandson of the duke of Braganza should acknowledge and admit such a judgment as just and legal. Whilst the Portugueze looked up with gratitude and blessings to a prince, under whose reign they had enjoyed all the comforts of peace, and whilst his paternal hands were ever open to bestow fresh marks of his bounty, they were on the eve of receiving a blow to their happiness, as dreadful as it was unexpected.

John the Vth, who was above the middle size, very well made, and so extremely strong, that his great delight in the bullfights was to seize the furious animal by the horns, and bring him to the ground, was attacked by a lingering illness, which, during the last eight years of his reign, reduced him to a state of inactivity, very fatal to the interests of his kingdom.

So great was his devotion after this attack, that he neglected all public affairs, which were entirely confided to the care of brother Gaspard, a récollet friar. From that moment the revenues of the state were employed in building or endowing convents and churches, and causing masses to be said: this last piece of devotion was carried to such an excess, that it arose to a degree of madness; and it became necessary to conceal from his majesty the deaths which took place in Lisbon; for no sooner did any one expire, were it the meanest of his subjects, than he caused at least a hundred masses to be said on the occasion. This gave rise to the following expression: “that John sent the living to hell, to pray the dead out of purgatory.”

During the course of this fatal malady, which terminated in death on the 31st of July, 1750, every branch of the administration became relaxed, and the state was in the end not only destitute of money, but charged with a debt of a hundred millions of French livres.

John the Vth, as has been already observed, was of a fine height; his figure was noble, and his countenance agreeable, though his complexion was rather dark and thick. His dress was magnificent, and he sent for all his cloaths from Paris. As for his character, it is not very easy to delineate; he was particularly jealous of the dignity of his throne and his quality as king; and sought more to inspire his grandees with fear, than with love. He bore, in many particulars, a great resemblance to Louis the XIVth; their tastes were the same, except indeed in the article of war, which the Portugueze monarch always wished to avoid. The French, and some other nations, have reproached this prince with his partial attachment to the English, into whose hands he gave up the whole of the commerce both of Portugal and its colonies.

Joseph the Ist succeeded his father at a most unfavourable juncture: the deplorable state of the government and finances, required not only his strictest attention, but the assistance of the most able ministers. Diego de Mendoça was the first entrusted with the care of public affairs; but his majesty soon perceived that his choice had fallen on an improper person. Carvalho, who has been already mentioned as destined to play a great part on the stage of Portugal, and who, in future, will make the most conspicuous figure in this history, had displayed very great talents in his embassies to London and Vienna: he had also shewn himself so superior to all who composed the council held on the death of John the Vth, that he was fixed upon to replace Mendoça, who was afterwards banished to Mazagan, in Africa.

The new minister was born in 1699, of a gentleman’s family from Soure, near Coimbra; in the university of which he was educated: after having made a great proficiency in his studies, he entered into the service, which his levity and misconduct obliged him to quit. Launched into the pleasures of the great world, his gallantry and spirit of chivalry seduced the affections of a young heiress, of the illustrious house of Almada. He succeeded in carrying her off, and married her in spite of her family, whose resentment he braved with impunity, notwithstanding all their efforts to cause his destruction: fortunately for him, brother Gaspard, who was the uncle of the duke d’Aveiro, and the favourite of John the Vth, was particularly his friend, and sent him off immediately; first to London, and afterwards to Vienna, as secretary to the embassy. During his residence in the last mentioned city, he received intelligence of the death of his wife. He very soon was happy enough to captivate the heart of a relation of the celebrated count de Daun, and having received letters patent of nobility from the court of Lisbon, all the numerous objections made at first to this alliance were immediately removed. Thus fortunate in a foreign country, let us now examine the different qualities and talents which paved the way for the brilliant post he was destined to fill on his return to his native land. The page of history scarcely furnishes a man possessed of so fine an understanding, and so strong a mind; or who could assume such a variety of forms, with a character so strikingly contrasted. He, indeed, displayed successively the lively wit and fascinating manners of a finished man of fashion; the cultivated understanding of the most learned scholar; the supple humour of the most artful courtier; the ready genius of the most consummate man of business; and the subtle spirit of the most able negociator. With his friends, Carvalho was sometimes open, and perfectly unreserved; whilst at other times he treated them with the same profound dissimulation he practised towards his enemies. The services he received were always rewarded, and the injuries he suffered were never forgiven. His manners towards foreigners were as easy and obliging as they were stiff and reserved towards his countrymen. Such, indeed, was the extent of his capacity, and his profound knowledge in politics, that he has ever been equally celebrated as a minister of state, and a manager of foreign affairs.

The great similarity existing between Carvalho, marquis de Pombal, and the cardinal de Richelieu, has given rise to the following comparison.[38] These two great personages had each been elevated from the middling station of life to the highest dignities. Each governed by terror, and re-established the sovereign authority, by cutting off the heads, and humbling the arrogance of a turbulent nobility. Each had the ridiculous pretension of being esteemed wits, and possessed of universal knowledge. Each was a profound politician, an imperious master, an irreconcileable enemy, and yet withal of amiable manners. Each rose to dignities by honourable means, and though alike disdaining to bend the knee at the shrine of fortune, each became possessed of immense riches.

It would greatly exceed the limits of this work, were we to attempt to enter minutely into the long administration of the marquis de Pombal; we shall therefore only take notice of some important particulars, and the most remarkable events, which took place during the reign of his master.

The respective domains of Spain and Portugal on the continent of South America, had never been properly divided; but in the year 1751, commissaries were sent thither to settle this affair, and on their report the limits were fixed, and a line of separation traced between the possessions of these two powers; this was approved and confirmed by treaties signed in the month of April in the same year; these treaties, however, were not easily put into execution, being strongly opposed by the Indians of Para and Marignan, and still more violently by those who inhabited the countries near the rivers d’Uraguay and Parana. Whatever may be the motives alledged in favour of the war then declared against these Indians, the principle on which it was founded was certainly unjust; for even on the supposition that one power has a right to insist on the neighbouring states adopting the form of government most conformable to the views of that power; it surely can never have that of attacking their independence; particularly after their having conformed to the new established laws, lived happily under them; and desiring nothing more than to be allowed the quiet enjoyment of the blessings of peace. The Portugueze, who dreaded the approach of the Spaniards towards Brazil, and still more particularly towards the mines of St. Paul, and their settlements on the river Parana; and the Spaniards, who were equally apprehensive that the Portugueze, by posting themselves on the Uraguay and Rio de la Plata, should come too near the colonies of Buenos Ayres, Chili, and the mines of Potosi, had by mutual agreement ceded the tract of country lying between their different settlements, to the Jesuits who acted as missionaries in that distant quarter of the globe.

If the grant of these lands, the length of which had never been ascertained, though the breadth had been determined, became clearly void on the part of those who ceded it, it could not possibly be valid on the part of those who signed it; unless, indeed, it was acknowledged as such by the parties concerned; and this was the ground on which the missionaries built all their pretensions. This society of holy men, to the disgrace of the other colonies,[39] had by constant attention and assiduity greatly humanized Paraguay and the other countries in the circle of their mission: villages were built in every part, Christianity triumphed over infidelity and idolatry; the savages became civilized, and lived happy under a wise government; no people, indeed, ever appeared more truly blessed; the produce of their labour was distributed in common; there were neither rich nor poor; no distinctions of high and low, consequently no avarice, ambition, or jealousy: all took an equal share in the labours of the day, and all were equally rewarded. The Jesuits distributed in the different towns and villages, treated the people with paternal tenderness, and reigned over the whole of Paraguay like the patriarchs of old, surrounded by a numerous and affectionate family. The authority they had established, by a system of politics very different from that of the generality of earthly governments, was founded on a perfect union of public utility and private happiness; and this astonishing republic existed some time in peace; for the missionaries, from moderation, and a wish to avoid all disputes with Spain and Portugal, paid a reasonable tribute to those powers, without murmuring at the illegality of such a demand on a free people, who, though now formed into a commonwealth, was not on that account to be esteemed either Spanish or Portugueze.

The courts of Lisbon and Madrid, jealous of the great population and rapid civilization of countries situated so near to their most important colonies, united to rob the Jesuits of the fruit of their labours, and to divide the spoil between them. In vain these holy fathers represented their lawful claim to lands, which had been particularly granted to them, and the injustice of committing such an outrage on a free people, who, though they had embraced the Christian religion, and adopted European manners, never intended bowing their necks to the yoke of foreign powers. The just reasons alledged by the Jesuits were treated as acts of rebellion, and an armed force immediately invaded their colonies. The Indians made all the resistance in their power, but were presently overcome by the superior skill and experience of European troops. A small number amongst them submitted to their new masters, whilst the rest, accompanied by their holy comforters, went farther up the country, and formed another settlement.

The war of the missionaries bore a very serious aspect at Lisbon; and Carvalho dispatched his brother to terminate it as soon as possible. The effects of this war proved in the end very fatal to the Jesuits, for it prejudiced the king strongly against them, and certainly prepared the way for their destruction. A very short time afterwards, Joseph the First not only banished all father confessors of that order from the court of Lisbon, but every other Jesuit who held employments of whatsoever nature.[40]

Such about this time became the distressed state of the finances of Portugal, that the gold of Brazil became an object of the greatest importance to the minister. The usual annual importation of gold from that country he knew to amount to forty millions of French livres, whilst he also knew, that there were not more than fifteen millions, and those too not without alloy, in circulation throughout the whole of Portugal. He accordingly published an edict, forbidding the exportation of gold out of the kingdom. England was greatly alarmed at this intelligence; and government thought the affair of too much importance to trust to the common mode of representation; lord Tyrawley was therefore sent ambassador to Lisbon, with the strictest injunctions to prevent the effect of this edict; but neither his repeated expostulations, nor the threatened hostilities of his court, were of any avail to cause its revocation.

The establishment of several new manufactories in Portugal, occasioned fresh complaints on the part of the English, which were treated with as little attention as the former one.[41]

In the mean time Portugal was on the eve of sinking under a blow which no human prudence could possibly foresee or avert, and which was still more dreadful, from its not being preceded by any of those signs which usually presage such awful events.

Never did the horizon appear more clear, nor the sun shine more bright than on the 1st of November, in the year 1755, and never did the Portugueze prepare to celebrate All-Saints’ Day under more favourable auspices; when, near the hour of ten, invited by the beauty of the weather, and the solemnity of the festival, the people with religious haste flocked towards the churches, the earth suddenly shook under their feet; clouds of dust darkened the sun; the musical instruments, which invited them to partake of the holy mysteries, sounded no more; repeated and violent shocks of an earthquake were felt; houses with terrific noise fell to the ground on every side; the most solid edifices were thrown down; the magnificent palace of the kings of Portugal was entirely destroyed, and scarcely could those who inhabited it, find time to escape from being buried under the ruins.

Such of the inhabitants of Lisbon who were fortunate enough to avoid being crushed by the rubbish of their fallen dwellings, knew not where to seek a place of refuge. Some amongst them flew to the churches, which presently became their tombs, whilst others, dreading to be swallowed by the earth, which seemed gaping to receive them, rushed impetuously towards the sea. The magnificent quays on the banks of the Tagus were thronged with people; when, in the twinkling of an eye, the element towards which they looked for safety, rose to a prodigious height, and threatened them with, if possible, a still more horrid death than that they sought to escape. The waves of the sea rose several fathoms above the ordinary level, and dashing towards a shore they were never destined to overflow, drove in vessels, some of which arrived in safety, whilst others were entirely shattered to pieces, and swallowed up the unhappy wretches, who had escaped being buried in the bosom of the earth.

Earth and water were not the only elements which fought against the miserable Portugueze; fire and air contributed likewise to their destruction: the former, in particular, caused the most dreadful catastrophes: for though, at first, apparently smothered amongst the rubbish, it presently forced itself a passage, and burst forth with such fury, as baffled every attempt to stop its progress.

The public storehouses, and private magazines were soon reduced to ashes: the immense riches they contained were entirely consumed; for such was the violence of the flames, and the excess of heat, that it was impossible to approach the burning tenements, or assist the wretched inhabitants, whose piercing cries struck to the heart. But, dreadful to relate, in the midst of scenes of so much horror, men (if such they can be called) of different nations and complexions, whose lives had hitherto been spared, in this awful moment took advantage of the confusion which reigned throughout the city, to commit the most horrible depredations. These wretches, dispersed in every quarter, braved the greatest dangers; not alas! to succour a distressed fellow-creature, but to rob and murder him; since whosoever discovered a hidden treasure, or delivered up the keys to these merciless invaders, was sure to pay the forfeit with his life.

Such atrocious crimes, however, remained not long unpunished; for the moment the government was able to act, the strictest search was made for the savage monsters, who, to the disgrace of humanity, still continued to commit them. Those who escaped the sword of justice, were strongly fettered, and never relieved from the weight of their chains, but whilst employed in burying the dead, the numbers of which so infected the air, and caused such putrid exhalations, that the plague seemed to threaten this miserable city with still another, and equally dreadful calamity. The greater part of these atrocious villains survived but a very few days their accomplices; thus finding a speedy punishment from the effects of their own diabolical actions; since many amongst them were struck dead by the putrid vapours issuing from the very bodies of those they had so inhumanly butchered.

The intelligence of this dreadful event was presently circulated throughout Europe; and the English displayed on the occasion a degree of humanity and generosity superior to all praise. All causes of discontent given them by the Portugueze were, at this calamitous moment, nobly forgotten; and they alone afforded them more assistance than they received from the united efforts of all their neighbours and allies. Justice is also due to the conduct of Carvalho, who during several days carried on business, eat, and slept in his carriage, which conveyed him continually from place to place, and whithersoever his presence was particularly required. Such was his activity, that he published more than a hundred ordinances in the space of eight days. He advised the king to wear nothing but undyed woollen cloth, manufactured in the country; and his example was followed by the court, and every other description of persons: he also engaged his majesty to sign an edict, by which all foreign merchandize was obliged to pay an additional duty; and this he enforced, notwithstanding the representations of the foreign ministers, and more particularly those of the English ambassador. By the effects of his zeal, Lisbon was soon cleared of all rubbish, and wide strait streets built, with new houses on each side. Such indeed were the signal services he rendered the state on this disastrous occasion, that he became the idol of the people, and was appointed prime minister by his majesty. He was not, however, so elated by his good fortune, as not to be perfectly aware that he had great and dangerous enemies, whose hatred was still increased by his new dignities; but he was far from suspecting the extent of their malice, or the dreadful precipice on which he stood. The attack meditated against him, was still more formidable, from the profound secrecy with which it was concealed, and from the parties concerned in it being of the first consideration in the state.

The duke d’Aveiro, one of the greatest men in the kingdom, was the ostensible chief of this conspiracy; whilst the marchioness de Tavora, a most distinguished character at court, was in fact the principal agent; and the whole was conducted by father Malagrida, a member of the most powerful religious order in the Christian world.

The union of persons so differently situated, and of such opposite characters, was the effect of a concatenation of circumstances of the most extraordinary nature.

The duke d’Aveiro was descended from the younger branch of the family of Mascarenhas, which, though one of the most ancient houses in Portugal, was not one of the most noble, and he certainly had no claim to the distinguished rank he afterwards held, which he owed entirely to his uncle, brother Gaspard, a mere Portugueze gentleman; he himself being incapable of pushing his fortune, or aspiring to favour through his personal merit. His figure was greatly against him, for he was short, and far from handsome; add to this, he was ignorant, obstinate, deranged in his fortune, and capable of every crime; meanly servile towards Carvalho, whom he secretly detested; and so proudly vain of his birth, as openly to declare, that his family, being descended from George (the natural son of John the IId, surnamed the Great) he was but one degree removed from the crown.

Stung to the quick at being no longer treated with the same distinction as during the reign of John the Vth, he formed the terrible design of assassinating his successor; and his pride giving way to his resentment, he indiscriminately attached himself to every one who had, or who thought he had, reason to complain of the court; particularly to the Jesuits, and the family of Tavora. To the former he had always testified the greatest aversion during the administration of his uncle, brother Gaspard, but he now sought their society, frequently visiting them, and receiving them night and day in his own apartments. After some little time, he judged them worthy of his confidence, and revealed his shocking design to father Malagrida. The Jesuit having succeeded in bringing about a reconciliation between the duke and the Tavoras, who had long resented his having deprived them of several domains formerly belonging to their family, prevailed upon him to open his heart to the old marchioness de Tavora, whose confessor he was. The duke the more readily consented to this plan as he knew the implacable hatred borne by the marchioness to the king, and his minister, who had refused her solicitations in favour of her husband, for whom she wished to procure the title of duke. This lady was in every respect widely different from her brother-in law, the duke d’Aveiro. Nature had bestowed on her the most striking beauty, the most imposing carriage, and the most seductive graces. She was endowed with a genius capable of conceiving the most extensive plans, with judgment to ripen, and talents to execute them. The strength of her body fitted her to support the greatest fatigue, the temper of her mind to brave the greatest dangers, whilst the firmness of her character made her disdain to submit to the king or to his minister. Nature had also planted in her bosom the shoots of the noblest passions—passions, alas! which, as they are well or ill directed, form the greatest men, or the most atrocious villains.

Mistress of immense riches, her liberal spirit induced her to bestow them freely; whilst her superior judgment taught her to set bounds to her generosity. Thus endowed with qualities both of body and mind, so infinitely above those of the duke d’Aveiro, the marchioness soon became the life and soul of the conspiracy, which she conducted with the most wonderful skill and address. Her principal accomplices were chosen from the members of her own family, but her insinuating manners gained her several partizans, not only in the highest, but even in the lowest ranks of the people. Her conduct, in the mean time, was of a very extraordinary nature, since she never endeavoured to conceal from the prime minister the hatred she bore him, nor failed speaking of him openly, in terms of the greatest contempt. The sovereign himself was not treated with more indulgence; he became the subject of the most poignant satire, and the bitterest sarcasms; whilst the queen and princesses were the constant objects of her ridicule.

Inspired by the most diabolical sentiments, she put on the mask of religion to effect her purpose, and by her feigned devotion deceived the most clear-sighted. Whilst her thoughts were employed in forming plans of the blackest treason, she frequented the churches, made one in the different processions, went on pilgrimages, and practised all the external forms of religion with the greatest ostentation. Her confessor, father Malagrida, was an Italian Jesuit, sent by the general of the society on a mission to Portugal. Zealous, eloquent, and enthusiastic, he presently became the most fashionable spiritual director: people of every description made choice of him for their confessor: he was regarded as a saint, and consulted as an oracle.

More than two hundred and fifty persons of consequence were concerned in this conspiracy, and nothing now seemed wanting but to fix the day for putting their design into execution.

The hearts of kings are not invulnerable; their passions are frequently strong, and their means of satisfying them easier than those of other men; this facility ought, in fact, to put them on their guard, and teach them to curb the violence of their inclinations, since their elevated rank, and the crowd by which they are constantly surrounded, make it impossible that their actions should long remain concealed. Joseph the 1st made frequent visits to the young marchioness of Tavora; these gave rise to suspicions of an affair of gallantry being carried on between them, which, whether just or unjust, served as a plausible pretext for attempting his life. On the 3d of September, his majesty visited the marchioness, and remained with her, contrary to custom, till eleven o’clock at night. We dare not investigate the reasons of this visit being so unusually prolonged, lest it should implicate other persons in this horrid transaction, without diminishing the enormous guilt of the regicides. The king was on that night attended by only one domestic, who went with him in his calash, drawn by two mules, and driven by a postilion. The conspirators, perfectly well acquainted with the road he would take in returning to Belem, placed themselves in the most convenient spots for the execution of their dreadful project. To secure their success, they divided into different parties; the first of which let the carriage pass quietly on, till it arrived in the midst of the assassins, who consisted of a hundred and fifty persons. Some of these immediately fired, and the pannels of the calash were shivered to pieces by balls of different sizes: the king received several wounds; whilst his valet de chambre, whose name was Taxera, with a degree of courage, and a sublime devotion to his master, worthy of the greatest encomium, prevailed on the king to sink to the bottom of the carriage, and seating himself upon him, screened his sovereign from the impending danger. The postilion (called Castodio da Costo) at the same moment, with the greatest presence of mind and intrepidity, whipping his mules with violence, gallopped forwards, and in the midst of continual firing, forced them down a steep precipice, and dashing over wide fields, and through bye roads, reached Belem in safety.[42] The king, on alighting from his carriage, wrapped himself in a large cloak, belonging to one of the guards, and sent immediately for Carvalho, for whom he waited with such impatience that he remained at the gate of the palace, without suffering his wounds to be dressed, and without either breathing a complaint, of expressing the smallest signs of apprehension. The prime minister hastened to attend his sovereign, and listened to all that had passed without change of countenance. He then entreated the king to keep the affair secret, and gave orders to the valet de chambre and guards to be equally silent; thus prudently deciding on concealing for some time the punishment awaiting the regicides, with as much art as they had employed in forming so treasonable and bloody a design; for it must be allowed that no conspiracy was ever kept more secret, or was so near being successful; but the attempt being once made, and by so considerable a number of persons, it was scarcely possible the original authors of the plot could long remain concealed.

Notwithstanding all the above-mentioned precautions, a report was presently circulated throughout Lisbon, that the king had been assassinated. Crowds of people assembled before the palace, and eagerly demanded to see his majesty, who immediately complied with their request, and declared aloud, that the hurts he had received were occasioned by being overturned in his calash. He afterwards engaged the nobles more particularly attached to his person, and who had eagerly flown to attend him, to leave no means untried to remove every suspicion from the minds of the public, of an attempt having been made against his life.

The duke d’Aveiro, who had been the first to propose pursuing the assassins at the head of the horse guards on duty that night at the palace, seemed unwilling to consent to the plan of secrecy adopted by the king: but Carvalho, who began to entertain some suspicions of his being concerned in the conspiracy, was not the dupe of his zeal: he therefore pretended to entrust him with some particular secrets, whilst he insisted upon his entering into the views, and complying with the injunctions of his majesty.

Difficult as it appears to keep secret an affair of this nature, it, however, never transpired; and the king, even before his wounds were closed, appeared in public, and took his usual exercise. The conspirators also put on a calm appearance, and began to believe all danger over. One man only amongst the number, named Polycarpe, who was a domestic in the Tavora family, mistrusted such mysterious inactivity on the part of government, and taking alarm, quitted the kingdom.

Every thing now appeared quiet; the public mind was re-assured; the conspirators thought themselves in safety, and the attempt on the king’s life seemed forgotten. Carvalho, however, had been constantly and secretly employed in diving to the bottom of this dreadful transaction: the principal contrivers of it were already known to him, when, by the effect of the most extraordinary chance, he became acquainted with the whole of their accomplices.

The conspirators, once relieved from all apprehensions of discovery, without the smallest compunction for the enormity of their crime, turned their thoughts towards a second attempt, and the means of making it a successful one. The spot chosen for their private meetings, was a garden belonging to Tavora, which also served as a place of rendezvous to a foreign servant, who carried on a clandestine correspondence with a woman in the house: she, one night, failing in her appointment, her lover concealed himself in the garden, near the very spot where the conspirators held their assembly. Not one word which passed escaped the ears of the attentive listener, who, by that means, became acquainted not only with every particular relative to the first attempt, but with the plan laid for the execution of the second. This man, no sooner contrived to quit the garden, than he flew to the prime minister, and related with the utmost precision every thing which had passed.

Carvalho instantly perceived the imminent danger to which he was exposed; and having now the most convincing proofs, of what before he only suspected, nothing remained to be done but to deliver up the criminals to the severity of the law: he, however, still continued to dissemble; and the duke d’Aveiro, either from his own apprehensions, or by the advice of his friends, having asked leave of absence for three months, it was immediately granted, and that in the most obliging and flattering manner. The marquis de Tavora was at the same time appointed to a commandery, which he had solicited during several years.

Favours thus repeatedly conferred on the principal conspirators, completely put an end to the apprehensions of their friends, relations, and accomplices. The public was likewise deceived; every thing which had passed was buried in oblivion; and nothing was talked of but the intended marriage between the daughter of Carvalho, and the comte de Sampayo, with the entertainments which would naturally take place on so brilliant an alliance. The king himself signed the contract of marriage, promised to defray the expences of the wedding, and invited all the grandees of the kingdom to be present on the occasion.

The duke d’Aveiro no sooner received this intelligence, than he left the country, and repaired with all possible haste to Lisbon; where every thing around him wore the face of joy and pleasure; but on the very day when the court and city were busily employed in preparing for two balls, the one at the prime minister’s at Belem, and the other in Lisbon, at the long room;[43] intelligence was brought that troops, composed both of horse and foot, had unexpectedly entered the city, and that great numbers of persons of all ranks and descriptions had been taken into custody.

Never was there a transition so sudden from the greatest joy to the deepest sorrow; never were wedding garments so shortly changed to mourning habits; never were criminals so speedily brought to trial, nor sentences so quickly executed. Scarcely ten days had elapsed since their first imprisonment, before the duke d’Aveiro was drawn and quartered; the marquis de Tavora, his wife, his two sons, and his son-in-law, the count d’Atouguia, beheaded, and four other persons of inferior rank burnt alive.

Dreadful as is the spectacle of punishments, so repugnant to the feelings of humanity; let us, however, take a view of the fatal spot, where the minister, far from listening to the impulse of compassion, but too frequently injurious to the interests of both king and state, delivered up to the hand of the executioner the noble and ignoble, whose blood was suffered to flow indiscriminately in the same channel.

The duke d’Aveiro, on approaching the scaffold, shewed every symptom of the most abject fear, and by his cowardice lost that interest in the hearts of the spectators, which a contrary conduct, even in the greatest criminals, never fails to inspire; whilst the old marchioness of Tavora was all herself, never losing sight of the character by which she had constantly been distinguished, and preserving to the last moment of her existence an heroic firmness, and an unalterable presence of mind.

The sentence which condemned her to death having been read to her, she ordered her breakfast as usual, and seated herself at her toilette, where she dressed herself in her accustomed manner. Her confessor having hinted that her moments ought to be otherwise employed, she calmly answered, that there was time enough for every thing. She afterwards breakfasted with her female attendants, and conversed without the smallest emotion. On arriving at the foot of the scaffold, she refused all assistance, and addressing herself in a loud voice to those who had offered it, I am very well able to mount it by myself; for I have not been put to the torture like the others. She accordingly went up with a firm step, but on reaching the platform of the scaffold, her constancy was put to the most cruel proof; for meeting her husband, the marquis de Tavora, he reproached her in the bitterest terms for having caused the destruction of her family. Looking towards him with a serene countenance, she only replied, Well, then! bear your misfortunes as I do, and do not reproach me with them. The executioner coming towards her, she bound her eyes herself, begged him to dispatch his business quickly, spoke a very few words to her confessor, and with her handkerchief gave the fatal signal.

The second son of a woman, whose greatness of mind makes her criminality the more severely to be regretted, displayed a degree of courage equal to that of his mother: he was only nineteen years of age, but his youth did not exempt him from the torture. The severest torments, however, lost their effect; not a groan, not an avowal of any kind escaped him; till at last the executioner hoping that filial affection might draw from him a confession, which the most excruciating tortures could not extort, brought his father to him, who exhorted him in the most pathetic terms not thus uselessly to prolong his sufferings, since not only he himself, but all the accomplices had made an ample confession. Scarcely could the marquis finish his discourse, before he was interrupted by his son, who briefly answered, Father, it was you who gave me life, and you are at liberty to deprive me of it.

The sword of justice hung some time longer suspended over the three Jesuits, Malagrida, Alexander, and Matos, who had been taken up as instigators and principal chiefs of the conspiracy.[44] Their execution was daily expected; but unfortunately the common modes of justice had not been allowed to take their course, and to the astonishment of all the world, it was not till some years after their imprisonment, that Gabriel Malagrida was alone condemned by an extraordinary court of justice, to be burned alive, (the 21st September, 1761) and then not as a conspirator and regicide, but as a heretic and impostor.[45]

Carvalho, now made count d’Oeyras, had not, however, waited the execution of Malagrida, to banish the Jesuits from Portugal.[46] That a religious order, which causes disturbances in the state, and enters into conspiracies, deserves banishment, and even capital punishment, no one will pretend to deny; but, on the other hand, may it not be alledged that the religious order which had rendered the most essential services to the state, and indeed to Christian countries in general, by instructing youth, and civilizing colonies, might better have been reformed, than entirely destroyed.

A conspiracy, which had been preceded by a revolution in America, attended by circumstances capable of overturning the mother country, and which was followed by the expulsion of the Jesuits, ended at last in a state of tranquillity, which it had cost too many sacrifices to obtain, not to employ every possible means to ensure its duration: but notwithstanding all the endeavours of the king and his minister, the Spaniards and French were determined to disturb it.

A Spanish army, composed of forty thousand men, entered Portugal in 1762; their progress, however, through that country was but very short; and by the assistance of the English, and the count de la Lippe, to whom the former had given the command of the Portugueze troops,[47] an honourable peace was signed on the 10th of February in the following year: after which their quiet was only disturbed by some hostilities in America, which terminated very much in the same manner as the former ones, without the powers of Europe being engaged in the quarrel. The count d’Oeyras, afterwards created marquis de Pombal, never lost sight, even in the midst of all his difficulties, of his original plan of reforms and ameliorations. The greatest obstacles he had to encounter proceeded from Brazil, and the town of Oporto, from the inhabitants of which he had but little reason to expect opposition, since the measure to which they so strongly objected was shortly followed by an increase of their wine trade, which became twice as considerable as before.

Portugal being much more fruitful in vines than in corn, the king published an edict in 1765, commanding all the vines in the environs of the Tagus, Mondego and Vecha, to be rooted up, and the land sown with wheat.

The vineyards in the neighbourhood of Lisbon, Oeyras, and some other places, were, however, suffered to remain. By a former edict, of the month of October, 1761, twenty-two thousand writers or clerks employed in the different tribunals were reduced to only thirty-two persons. The minister, by a salutary law, which took place on the 25th of May, 1773, for ever abolished the odious distinction formerly existing in Portugal, between the old and new christians. The latter, composed of converted Jews and Moors, were always suspected of insincerity, and regarded in the kingdom as marked with infamy, and for ever separated from the other Christians, and incapable of acting in any capacity, either ecclesiastical or civil. The progress of learning also was a principal object in the marquis de Pombal’s system of improvement: he reformed the university of Coimbra; he converted on the 19th of May, 1766, the college occupied by the novices of the order of Jesus, and which was esteemed one of the finest buildings in Lisbon, into a school for the nobility: he likewise established other schools for children of all descriptions; and published a plan of public education, which, if properly followed, could not fail of restoring science and good morals throughout the whole of Portugal. He left no means untried to wrest from the hands of the English the different branches of commerce, of which they were become exclusive possessors. He set just bounds to the despotic authority of the holy office, which, by an edict of the 20th of May, 1769, became merely a royal tribunal, invested with no other power than what was transmitted to it by the sovereign, thus depriving it of all its odious privileges and pretensions; such as the form of its proceedings, and the absurd idea of uniting the authority of the pope and bishops to that of the king; whilst at the same time, it acknowledged no supreme chief but the pope alone. He patronised the arts, and caused a statue of Joseph the Ist to be erected to him. It was on the very day of its exhibition to the public eye, the day he justly esteemed the happiest of his life, that he discovered it had been marked for his destruction. The last melancholy satisfaction, in attending his master’s dying moments, together with the sixty millions of cruzadoes found in the royal treasury after his decease, formed a sufficient proof of the uprightness of his administration.

The reigning queen of Portugal, who was married in 1760, to her uncle, don Pedro,[48] signalized her accession to the throne, by throwing open the prison gates, and causing the proceedings against the criminals concerned in the conspiracy of the 3d of September, 1758, to be revised; after which the greater part were restored to their former rights; though the examination which had taken place, rather confirmed their guilt, than proved their innocence. Far different was the action commenced against the marquis de Pombal, by the enemies of that able minister; for the proceedings which declared him criminal, and deserving of condign punishment, so evidently proved his innocence, and the injustice of such a sentence, that he was suffered to die quietly in his bed, at his country seat, whither he had some time retired, on the 5th of May, 1782.[49]

The health of the queen, on the demise of her husband, in 1786, was so much deranged, that the prince of Brazil took into his own hands the reins of government. This enlightened and prudent prince has neglected nothing to promote the national industry; he has encouraged literature, made commerce flourish, and even sometimes caused the Brazil gold to circulate again from England to Portugal. He has established so strict a police in Lisbon, that it is impossible for an assassin or conspirator, should such still exist, to escape the punishment due to his crimes. He has augmented the land forces, and invited the most experienced foreign officers to command them; and he has attended particularly to the navy, for which he has been justly rewarded. Pacific, and faithful to his allies, he has followed as exactly as possible the system of neutrality traced by his mother, who has ever been at peace with her neighbours, and never engaged in any of their wars, till she joined them in that declared against France at the commencement of the revolution: since which, the fate of Portugal has so entirely depended on that of Spain, that the fall of the one must necessarily be succeeded by the destruction of the other. How noble an instance of generosity then does the conduct of England afford, thus to fly to the relief of a country, which, though an ally, had so lately declared war against her?

At a moment when the royal family had been forced to quit Lisbon, when the French entered that capital, and indeed every other town and fortress in the kingdom; whilst the provinces of Portugal were dismembered by the same usurping hand which had disposed not only of the country, but of the crown of Spain, and whilst every thing seemed to announce to the Portugueze that they must no longer look up to the same masters, submit to the same laws, or form a separate state; at such a moment, I say, the victorious British arms came to their aid, changed their destiny, and opened a new field of glory to the descendants of Viriatus, and the fellow-soldiers of Sertorious; and who can doubt that success must attend their arms, if constantly faithful to their generous allies, they never cease to remember, that it was in the plains of Lusitania, where the first standard of a free people was displayed against the masters of the universe; that they, in their turn, and in the same country, planted the last colours of their expiring liberty, and that one and both fell a sacrifice to perfidy,[50] but never were conquered by the force of arms!


Nos patriæ fines et dulcia linquimus arva,
Nos patriam fugimus....
Virg. I. Eclog.

BRAZIL, which from a variety of circumstances, has ever been regarded an interesting country, is now become doubly so, from being the present residence of the court of Portugal; and as such, we are induced to give a description of it, which, from the nature and size of this work, must necessarily be a short one.

Cabral, in the year 1500, first landed on the coast of Brazil, and immediately gave notice to the court of Lisbon of the discovery he had made. The Portugueze, however, were for a length of time very indifferent to the acquisition of so fine a country. This negligence may in a great degree be attributed to the want of civilized inhabitants, and opulent towns, which the Portugueze had been accustomed to meet with in Africa and Asia; whilst the natives of Brazil consisted of different colonies of savages, dwelling in miserable huts, situated either in forests, on the banks of rivers, or on the sea-coast; and subsisting entirely on the produce of the chace, or on fish caught by themselves. The heat of the climate made cloathing not only unnecessary, but absolutely superfluous. The men and women equally painted their bodies, ornamented their necks and arms with necklaces and bracelets of white bones, and adorned their heads with feathers. The Brazilians are nearly of the same stature as the Europeans, but in general not so robust. Their principal arms consisted of clubs and arrows; their wars were not frequent, but cruel; and dreadful was the fate of those prisoners who fell into their hands without being wounded, since they constantly served as a repast to their merciless conquerors.

The French, Dutch, and Portugueze successively formed settlements on the coast; but, in the end, the latter became masters not only of the coast, but of the interior of the country. Let us now take a cursory view of the manner in which the inhabitants have been treated, and the laws by which they have been governed.

The Brazilians have not always experienced the same fate; and several years elapsed, and many contests took place before the rigour of their situation was in the smallest degree softened. King Sebastian was the first who bestowed a thought on mitigating the sufferings of so interesting a part of his subjects. He prohibited their being publicly sold in the markets, and sent as slaves to the plantations. Prisoners of war were indeed excepted, but not unless the war in which they were taken was proved to be a just one.

Philip the IId published different ordinances in the years 1595, 1605, and 1606, by which he declared Indians of every description perfectly free; but this sovereign being informed that his statutes had been of no avail, confirmed and strengthened them by a new one in 1611, whereby he decreed that the severest punishments should be inflicted on whosoever should presume to infringe them. This edict, unhappily, was equally ineffectual with the former ones; as was also another, given by the court of Lisbon in 1647, at the repeated and pressing solicitations of the Jesuit missionaries at Brazil, by which the prohibition of enslaving the Brazilians was again formally renewed; but that people never were really emancipated till the year 1755, when the Portugueze government publicly declared them citizens, invested with the same rights and privileges as their conquerors, capable of aspiring to the same distinctions, allowed to be educated at the same schools, and even to the university of Coimbra.

This event, however, was far from inspiring those sentiments of joy and gratitude, which might naturally have been expected from a people thus raised from the degrading state of servitude, to all the advantages of freedom: this may probably be, in a great measure, attributed to their expectations having been so frequently raised and disappointed, that they could not yet place any confidence in the declarations of the Portugueze. It was therefore necessary, to complete so great a revolutionary operation, that the captainships, and the extensive domains in possession of different individuals, who were in fact so many petty sovereigns, should be taken out of their hands, and placed in those of government. This being effected, a new partition took place. A particular governor was appointed for every captainship or government; and the whole of the Brazils was under the command of a lord lieutenant, or viceroy. Though these different governors are obliged to submit to the general laws enacted by the viceroy; there are some amongst them, particularly those whose governments are situated near the gold and diamond mines, who receive their orders immediately from Lisbon. These appointments are only for three years, but they are seldom changed in less than six; and during that time, they are not allowed to marry in the country, to enter into any branch of commerce, or to accept presents on any pretence whatsoever; their salary being from twelve to twenty thousand crusadoes, which are thought sufficient to answer every possible expense. On quitting their employments, commissaries appointed by the mother country examine into their administration; and colonists, with citizens of every description, are allowed to carry in their complaints, and bring forward their accusations against them. If it so happens, that they die during their office, their governments are committed to the joint care of the bishop, the officer who holds the highest rank in the army, and the first magistrate. It may indeed be said, with the greatest truth, that such is the vigilance with which the administration of men in power in Brazil is observed at present, that few, if any, succeed in making great fortunes.

The jurisprudence of this country is precisely the same as in Portugal. Each district has its separate judge; from whose sentence appeals may be made to the tribunals of Bahia, Rio Janeiro, or even to that of Lisbon. The provinces of Para and Maragnhon are the only ones not subject to the jurisdictions of Bahia and Rio Janeiro; their causes being submitted on appeal to the tribunal of Lisbon: in criminal cases, indeed, the process is rather different.

Trifling offences are punished, without appeal, by the judges of each captainship; but crimes of a deeper dye come under the cognizance of the governor, who is assisted by assessors nominated by legal authority. A particular tribunal is appointed to receive and take charge of the property of all deceased persons, whose heirs may be beyond seas at the time of their death; for which they receive five per cent. of the said property. This establishment, though an excellent one, is subject to a great inconvenience; since creditors in Brazil can only be paid in Europe, which not only occasions delay, but is frequently very prejudicial to the affairs of the parties concerned.

Every town, and indeed every large village, has a municipality, which attends to the small concerns entrusted to its care, and regulates (under the inspection of the governor, indeed) the trifling taxes necessary to be laid on. This municipality has the very essential privilege of complaining to the king himself against the conduct of the chief of the colony, the governor, and the four magistrates appointed to manage the finances in each government. The accounts are given in every year to the royal treasury at Lisbon, where they undergo a very strict examination.

The army is on the same footing in Brazil as in Portugal. The mulattoes and negroes are distinguished by particular standards; but the native Indians serve in battle with the whites. In the year 1780, the forces consisted of 15,899 regular troops, and 21,850 militia. On the late arrival of the queen, she found the regulars augmented to 20,000, and the militia might very easily be raised to 40,000.

The colonists have, equally with the Portugueze, preserved the privilege of having slaves on their estates; but the masters are enjoined by the law to find them in provisions; this, however, is attended by very little expense; a small portion of land being consigned to them, which they cultivate themselves, and which not only supplies them with necessaries, but very frequently with conveniences. The laws in favour of slaves have been carried still farther; since those possessed of a certain sum of money are allowed to purchase their liberty; and in this case they can oblige their masters to accept the proffered sum; but they are seldom forced to proceed to such lengths, since nothing can be more rare than a master’s refusing to comply with the terms prescribed by the law. There cannot be a stronger proof of the present mild treatment of slaves in Brazil, treatment so different from what they experience in the other European colonies, than the very few who think of escaping from that immense country. The blacks, when once freed from slavery, are allowed the rights of citizens, in the same manner as the mulattoes; neither the one nor the other can enter the order of priesthood, or municipality: if they become soldiers, they cannot rise to the rank of officers, unless in their own particular batallions. They have, however, the privilege of intermarrying with white women.

It is impossible to take a view of the situation of Brazil, its extent, climate and production, without perceiving that no colony ever merited more particularly the attention and protection of the mother country.

Brazil, thus happily situated, is 875 leagues in length, from north to south, and 425 broad, from east to west. The Portugueze settlements are scattered on the coast, and extend in a circuit of nearly 1500 leagues; they seldom penetrate more than 50 or 66 leagues into the interior of the country; except, indeed, down some rivers, on the banks of which they sometimes advance more than 400 leagues from the sea shore.

The limits of this Work will not permit us to enter into a minute description of the various productions of so extensive a country, and so fertile a soil; nor, indeed, of the different settlements successively formed by the Portugueze, we must therefore refer the curious reader to the adjoining account, which we flatter ourselves will not be thought uninteresting, and as such meet with the approbation of an indulgent public.





Boundaries, Population, and Commerce.


The most northern government in Brazil, comprising that part of Guiana which belongs to Portugal, together with that course of the river of the Amazons from confluence of the two rivers Madera and Mamora; it also contains to the east the whole of the country which extends to the river Tocantin. This province is the most barren and the most unwholesome of any in that part of the world.


4,108 Whites;—9,919 Blacks and Mulattoes:—34,844 Indians.

Principal Towns.

Belem, on the banks of the Amazon, is twenty leagues from the main ocean. The port is called Para, and is of difficult access. The vessels, on entering the harbour, anchor in a muddy bottom, where the water is four, five, or six fathoms deep. This town is situated thirteen feet above the level of the sea; and was founded by Caldeira in 1615: it is defended by a strong fort, named Notre Dame de las Merces, erected at the mouth of the Muja river. The town contains near ten thousand inhabitants, besides the garrison, consisting of about eight hundred men. On descending the river of the Amazones, at forty leagues from Para, there is a large neck of land, which advances into the water and forms several islands, the most considerable of which is Joannes; it is defended by a small fort, and is very populous. The town of St. Georges dos Alamos is situated in the same government, and has a regular fortress.


In 1755, thirteen or fourteen vessels arrived in this government from Lisbon, but since that time their number has been diminished to four or five. The usual exportation from Para does not consist of articles amounting to more than six hundred thousand French livres (25,000l. sterling), such as wild cocoa, vinilla, tortoise and crab-shells, sarsaparilla, different kinds of balsams, cotton, &c. The district of Para, properly so called, produces but a very small quantity of cotton, and some sugar canes, but so few in number that they are converted into brandy. The inhabitants cultivate rice, cocoa, and coffee, for exportation.

The cattle bred in the island of Marajo used formerly to be exported; but at present the quantity of these animals is scarcely sufficient for home consumption.


This government is separated from Para towards the north by the river Tocantin; from Gojas towards the south by the cordillera called Guacucaguia; and from Fernambuca towards the east by the Ypiapaba mountains.


8,993 Whites;—17,843 Blacks and Mulattoes, freedmen and slaves;—38,937 Indians, either dispersed about the country or inhabiting the ten different hamlets.

Principal Towns.

St. Louis is the principal town in Maranhao; all commercial business is transacted in this place, which is situated in an island of the same name, and was built by the French in 1612. It is defended by a citadel and several forts, and has an excellent port.

The island of St. Louis is very fertile, and is twenty-six leagues in circumference.

The captainship of Siara is annexed to the government of Maranhao; the principal town bears the same name as the captainship, and contains about ten thousand inhabitants. It is defended by a small fort, and the port, which is likewise small, will only admit very little vessels.


The exportation of this government is not answerable to the number of its inhabitants, amounting only on an average to six or seven hundred thousand French livres (25,000 or 29,166l. 13s. 4d.) The finest Brazil amotto grows in Maranhao, which also produces the best cotton in America. Rice succeeds very well in this soil; but all endeavours have been fruitless to naturalize silk-worms.

There is a great breed of horses and horned cattle in Pauchy, a country annexed to this government, in which, however, the sheep degenerate as well as in the rest of Brazil, except, indeed, in the Coritibe. Mines of sulphur, alum, copperas, iron, lead, and antimony are very common in the mountains; but though they are not deep, they have never yet been opened. There are likewise silvermines, which, in 1752 the court had given permission to be worked; this permission was, however, soon after retracted, but for what reason was never yet known.


Is at this present bounded by the river St. Francesco, and different chains of cordilleras. The coast of this government towards the sea extends sixty-five leagues.


19,665 Whites;—39,132 Negroes and Mulattoes;—83,728 Indians.

The island of Fernando de Norronha is in the dependance of the above-mentioned government.

Principal Towns.

Olinda, the capital of Fernambuca is built upon an eminence on the sea-shore; it contains several fine fountains, and is situated in a beautiful country. The inhabitants are computed at twelve thousand. There is a manufactory of sword blades in this town, which, equally with St. Antoine de Receif, has a good port, and is defended by several fortresses. The island of Fernando de Norronha has two good open harbours, in which ships of the greatest burthen may ride in safety, unless the wind blows from the north or west.


The coast of Fernambuca, in an extent of sixty-five leagues, produces a small quantity of cotton. The plains are filled with plantations of fine sugar canes, and the mountains are covered with broods of horned cattle, the hides of which are very productive. The principal branch of commerce in this government is that fine sort of Brazil wood employed in dyeing red. This wood is of so superior a quality that it is not necessary to employ half the quantity which would be required of campeche wood for the same purpose. The annual consumption of this excellent wood in Europe, amounted during a long time to from twenty to thirty thousand quintals. In 1783, two English merchants contracted with the Portugueze government for the exclusive sale of this wood, on condition that the said government was at the expence of felling it. These merchants purchased the wood for eight hundred thousand French livres (33,333l. 6s. 8d.), sold it at Lisbon for a million (41,666l. 13s. 4d.); their expenses amounted to a hundred and twenty-eight thousand livres (5,333l. 6s. 8d.); consequently they made a profit of seventy-two thousand French livres (3,000l.).


Is bounded on the north by the river St. Francesco, on the south by the river Dolce, and on the east by the river Preto, one of the branches of the river Verde.


39,784 Whites;—49,693 Indians;—68,024 Negroes.

Principal Town.

The capital of Bahia is St. Salvador; the entrance to which is through the bay of Todos Santos: this bay is two leagues and a half wide. There is a fort on each side of the entrance, intended rather to prevent landing on the coast, than to impede the passage through the bay, which is thirteen or fourteen leagues in length, and full of little islands, containing cotton-trees. The bay is narrow towards the town, which overlooks it, and is built on the side of a steep hill; it is, however, a very good port, safe, and capable of containing a great fleet. St. Salvador contains more than two thousand houses, the greatest part of which are magnificent buildings.


Sugar and cotton make but a small part of the Bahia trade. Tobacco and the whale-fishery are the principal. The annual product of the latter amounted, twenty years since, to 3,530 pipes of oil; which, at the price of a hundred and seventy-five French livres each (7l. 5s. 6d.), amounted to six hundred and seventeen thousand seven hundred and fifty French livres (25,739l. 11s. 8d.); and two thousand and ninety quintals of whalebone, which, at a hundred and fifty livres (6l. 5s.) a quintal, make three hundred and thirteen thousand five hundred livres (13,062l. 10s.). Total of the two sums, nine hundred and thirty-one thousand two hundred and fifty French livres (38,802l. 1s. 8d.), of which the persons employed in this commerce paid three hundred thousand livres (12,500l.) to the government; the expenses did not exceed two hundred and sixty-eight thousand seven hundred and fifty livres (11,197l. 18s. 4d.), consequently they had a profit of three hundred and sixty-two thousand five hundred livres (15,104l. 3s. 4d.). Tobacco, though cultivated throughout the whole of Brazil, makes but a very unimportant object of commerce any where but in Bahia. It succeeds extremely well in a spot of ground extending 90 leagues, and is particularly fine in the district of Cachoeira. Ten thousand quintals of an inferior kind of tobacco are sent every year from Brazil to the coasts of Africa, which being sold for eighteen French livres the hundred weight, amount to a hundred and eighty thousand livres (7,500l.); fifty-eight thousand five hundred quintals are also sent annually to Portugal, and sold, on entering that country, at forty livres (1l. 13s. 4d.) the hundred weight, which amount to two millions three hundred and forty thousand French livres (97,500l.). Total of the two sums, two millions five hundred and twenty thousand livres (105,000l.). The finest tobacco is exported to Genoa, that of the second quality to Spain and Portugal, and a still inferior sort to France and Hamburgh. The consumption of this Article at Madeira and the Azores does not exceed 740,000 cwt. for smoaking; and 528,000 cwt. when made into snuff. The sale of these different kinds of tobacco does not bring in more than five millions four hundred and eighty-one thousand two hundred and fifty livres (228,383l. 18s. 4d.) to government. The profit arising from the sale of snuff in the East Indies and in Africa, belongs to the queen of Portugal. The quantity usually sent to the abovementioned countries amounts to about a hundred and fifty quintals, bringing in four hundred and fifty thousand livres (18,750l.). The golden mines of Jacobina and Rio-das-Contas have been worked, and are situated in Bahia.


This government extends nearly the whole length of the coast from the river Dolce to the river Rio Grande de San Pietro. The inland country is bounded by the enormous chain of mountains which extend from Una to Minas Geraes.


46,290 Whites;—54,091 Negroes;—32,126 Indians.

Principal Towns.

Rio Janeiro is the capital of Brazil, and the residence of the viceroy. The plan of this city is well engraved in the quarto edition of Gai Trouin’s Memoirs. It is well known that this author captured Rio Janeiro in 1711. Though the fortifications have been since greatly augmented, the city is not more difficult to take, because the approach to it on the other side is easy of access, and a landing soon effected. The greater part of the houses consist of two stories, and are either of free-stone or brick; the roofs are of fine tiles, and each house is ornamented by a balcony, surrounded by a lattice. The streets are wide and straight, and terminated by chapels. The mint, and the great aqueduct which furnishes the city with water, are the only two public edifices worthy of notice. The haven is one of the finest in the world; it is narrow at the mouth, but becomes wider by degrees. Vessels of all sizes enter this safe and spacious harbour without difficulty, from ten or twelve o’clock at noon till the evening, by means of a regular and moderate sea-breeze: they anchor in an excellent muddy bottom five or six fathoms deep.

Cabo-Frio is a rich town, owing to its salt-trade. St. Catherine is an island which is important from its situation: it enjoys a continual spring, and the climate is very pure everywhere but in the port, which being surrounded by hills, the circulation of air is not so free; consequently it is damp and unwholesome.


Rio Janeiro is the great staple for all the riches brought from Brazil to Portugal; and the most considerable fleets charged with supplies for the new world, put into this port. The expenses of the government amount annually to three millions of French livres (125,000l.), except when it is thought a political measure to build men of war, which is a great increase to the expense. Cultivation was for a long time much neglected in this fine province, but it now becomes every day an object of more and more attention. Though tobacco has not succeeded particularly well, sugar canes have been extremely prosperous, especially in the plains of Guatacazes. There were twelve plantations of indigo, of the finest sort, in the year 1783; these are now much increased in number. Coffee succeeds very well. The southern districts, as far as Rio Grande, furnish a great many hides, some flour, and good salt-meat; and the forests contain fourteen or fifteen different kinds of wood for dyeing, with four or five sorts of gum. The commerce of cochineal has been introduced for some years past into the island of St. Catherine’s.


This province is bounded to the north by the river Sapucachy, and by mountains; to the south by the river Parnagua, and by other mountains, which extend to the source of the river Ygassu; to the west by the Parana, Rio Grande, and Rio dans Mortes; and to the east by the sea.


11,093 Whites;—8,987 Negroes and Mulattoes;—32,126 Indians.

Principal Town.

St. Paul, the capital of the government of that name, is at thirteen miles from the sea, in a delightful climate, and in the midst of country, the soil of which is equally favourable to the productions of both hemispheres.


This government has no other trade with Europe than that of a small quantity of cotton: and its only interior commerce consists in supplying Rio Janeiro with flour and salt-meat. Flax and hemp succeed very well in St. Paul’s, as would also silk-worms, with proper attention. St. Paul contains abundance of iron and tin mines, situated between the rivers Thecte and Mogyassu: and also in the cordillera of Paranan and Piacaba, four leagues from Sorocoba. The golden mines of Parnagua and Tibogy are worked in this government.


This government, and the two following ones, extend from east to west, from the 319th degree of western longitude, to the 334th degree of the same latitude. They occupy, in the centre of Brazil, that immense and elevated surface, from which issue all the rivers which fall into the Paraguay, the river of the Amazons, and the ocean. This is the highest land in Portugueze America.


35,128 Whites;—103,406 Slaves;—26,075 Indians.

Principal Town.

The capital of Minas Geraes is Villa-Rica.


Minas Geraes is the most important of the three governments in which the mines are situated. Mountains, in different directions intersect the whole of these three districts, which are called the Mine Country, from gold being found in every part of it. The inhabitants of St. Paul first discovered gold mines near the mountain Jaquara, in the year 1577. Other mines of the same metal were also discovered in 1588, on the heights of Jacobina, in the district of Rio del Velhas. Permission was obtained, though with some difficulty, from the king of Spain, in 1603, to work some of them; and in 1699, some enterprising persons found out very great treasure in the province of Minas Geraes. Three years afterwards the court of Lisbon formed the necessary establishments to render them profitable. The names of the place where gold has been found, and where, indeed, it continues at present to be found, are as follows, Sabara, Rio das Mortes, Cachoeira, Paracatu, Do-Carmo, Rio-dal-Velhas, Rio-Dolce, and Ouro-Prato.



8,931 Whites;—34,104 Negroes;—29,622 Indians.

Principal Town.

Villa-Boa is the capital of Gojas.


The mines of the government of Gojas were not discovered till 1726, and are situated in the districts of San-Felix, Meia-Ponta, O-Fanardo, Mocambo and Natividade.


Is the most western part of the Portugueze possessions, and is bounded by the Chiquites and the Moxos. These people are submitted to the Spanish yoke, through the indefatigable labours of the Jesuits acting as missionaries in that part of the world.


2,035 Whites;—7,351 Slaves;—4,335 Indians.

Principal Town.

The capital of Matogroso, called Villa-Bella, is merely a large village.


In 1735, mines were discovered in the government of Matogroso, in St. Vincent’s Chapada, St. Anne’s Cuiada, and in Araes.


It is worthy of remark, that the extraction of gold in the New World is neither dangerous nor laborious, since the purest, finest kind is frequently found near the surface of the earth. They often dig for it three or four fathoms, but seldom, if ever, deeper; since when the miners meet with a bed of sandy earth, they know it to be unnecessary labour to search to a greater depth. The veins which run the most regular, and in the same direction, are the richest; yet, it has been remarked, that those which yielded the greatest quantity of gold are usually in spaces where the surface is the most spangled with crystals. Larger pieces are found in mountains and stony barren rocks than either in vallies or on the banks of rivers; but, from whatever place it be taken, it is of three and twenty carats and a half in its pure state, on coming out of the mine, except indeed, it should happen to be mixed with iron, silver, mercury, or sulphur, which, however, is seldom the case, unless at Araés or Gojas. Every person on discovering a mine is bound to declare it to government. Should the vein be found to be trifling, on being examined by those appointed to estimate its value, it becomes the property of the public; but should it prove a rich one, the revenue officers take care to reserve one share for themselves, whilst another is given to the commandant, a third to the intendant, two more to the original discoverer of the mine, and the remainder to the miners of the district. This latter part is divided according to the different fortunes of these people, which is determined by the number of slaves they possess. The miners are obliged to pay the king of Portugal a fifth part of the net profit arising from the gold extracted, which formerly amounted to a considerable sum; and even now produces on an average 300,000l. sterling, annually. In 1781, the whole of the metals, whether coined or in bars, in circulation at Brazil, were not estimated at quite a million sterling, and what is still more remarkable, there was not more than a third of the above sum in circulation in Portugal in 1752[51] and 1754, and even that was in alloyed silver money.





Quadrupeds used as Food.[52]

Tapiierete, the (P. 101, M. 229), is nearly the size of a heifer aged six months, but is without horns. The flesh resembles in taste that of an ox. The Brazilians dress it in the same manner as the Buccaneers arrange their meat or fish.

Cuquaçu-Eté (P. 98). This animal is a kind of stag, called by Léry an Ass-cow. It is less than the European stag, has shorter horns, and the hair about the length of a goat’s.

Tajaçu (P. 89, M. 229), is the wild boar of the country; he has an opening on his back, through which he breathes; in other respects he is like the European boar. The cry which he makes through his extraordinary orifice is (according to an author, who certainly never heard it) most dreadful.

Aguti, or Acuti (P. 102), is a red-haired animal about the size of a pig a month old. The flesh is very good to eat. There is another species of the same animal, called Tapeti.

Rat. The woods abound with a kind of rat of the size of a squirrel, its flesh is very delicate.

Paca (P. 101, M. 224). This animal is as large as a middle-sized dog. The flesh tastes like veal.

Jacaré (P. 282, M. 242). A small species of Cayman. The Brazilians are particularly fond of eating them.

Teiuguacu, or Teju (P. 283, M. 273). A grey lizard, four or five feet long. Léry, who has eaten them, says, that when properly dressed, they are as tender, as white, and have as good a taste as the wing of a capon.

It is necessary to observe that the Brazilians not only eat lizards, and some kind of serpents, but also large toads, broiled in the Buccaneer fashion, with the heads and entrails.

Domestic Fowls used as Food.

Turkeys. The Brazilians bred them formerly more for their feathers, particularly the white ones, than for the purpose of eating them. They reproached the Europeans with gluttony for eating their eggs.

Ducks, of which there are various species; but the Brazilians never eat them, from an idea that the slow manner of walking of these birds, might make those who fed upon them heavy, and unable to run with a proper degree of activity. For the same reason they refrained from eating all animals which moved slowly; and even some sorts of fish, particularly the skate, which does not swim so fast as others.

Nota. European fowls, transported to the Brazils, live very well in that climate, though growing larger than in their own country, their taste gets less delicate; on the contrary, geese and ducks become still finer.

Wild Fowl used as Food.

Jacupema (P. 81, M. 198). A species of pheasant, of which there are three kinds. The plumage of every one of these birds is black and grey; the only difference between them is in the size. The Brazilians declare that it is impossible for any country to produce any thing more delicate than the flesh of these birds.

Mutu-Mitu (P. 80, M. 194) is excellent to eat, but not so common as the Jacupema. M. le comte de Buffon classes it amongst the Hocco.

Jambu, (P. 81. M. 192). A species of partridge as large as our geese.

Mangouris, Pegassous, Pecacaous (Hist. Gen. Voy.). These three birds may be also classed amongst the partridges. They are of different sizes; the first is the size of a common partridge, the second of a wood-pigeon, and the third of a turtle dove.

Fish used as Food.

Manatus (Hist. Gen. Voy.), is particularly good in Brazil.

Skate. Those in the rivers Janeiro and Marevescona, which Thévet names Inevouana, are of a much larger size than ours. The entrails are equally good with the rest of the fish.

Acarapeba (P. 69 and 161) is a large flat fish, which Léry declares to be wonderfully delicate and fine. He gives it the name of Acarapep.

Beyupira or Ceixupira (P. 48, M. 158). The Europeans compare this fish to the sturgeon. It is in high estimation in Brazil. It is said to be fat and in season all the year.

Boopes (His. Gen. Voy.). This name has been given to it by the Portugueze, because its eyes are like those of an ox. The size and shape are not very different from those of the tunny fish; but the taste is not the same, and it is of a much fatter nature; its grease affording a kind of oil or butter.

Camaripuguaçu or Camarupi (P. 65, M. 179). This fish is much esteemed: its body is full of thorns, and it is so large that two men can scarcely lift it.

Piraumbu (P. 70, M. 167) is very much the same kind of fish as the Carpio, but the taste is better. There are two stones in the jaws, which it employs for breaking the shells which serve it for food.

Amayaen (His. Gen. Voy.) is a kind of sea frog, with a short body of various colours. It is very good to eat, but it must be first carefully skinned, and cleared of a poison which lies under the skin. There are two other species of Amayaens, one of which is armed with thorns, and though much more venomous than the former, is equally eaten. The other is called by the Brazilians Itaëca. It is of a triangular form; and contains poison not only in the skin, but in the liver and intestines: this, however, does not make it more dangerous when once the venomous parts are extracted.

Nota. All the fish on the coast of Brazil is reputed so wholesome, that it is given to people in fevers as a remedy. At all events it may always be eaten without danger to the sick person. Sharks, however must be excepted; of which there are great numbers in this sea, and even in the rivers.

The coast of Brazil abounds also in shellfish, amongst which the Apula is particularly esteemed. (Hist. Gen. Voy.)

There are several kinds of crayfish, the most esteemed of which is the Uca. It is the principal food of the Portugueze and negroes, who find it very good and wholesome, if they drink cold water after eating it.

Plants and Vegetables used as Food.

Mangaiba (P. 156, M. 76 and 122). A very large tree, which seldom grows any where but in the environs of Todos-Santos bay. This fruit is eaten at two different epochs in the year: first when it is only in bud, and afterwards when the fruit is come to perfection. It contains stones, the kernels of which are good to eat. The flavour of this fruit is delightful, and it is so wholesome, that it may be eaten in the greatest abundance without danger. It falls from the tree before it is ripe, consequently it is necessary to keep it till it is sufficiently sweet to be eaten. The Brazilians make a kind of wine of it; and they extract a bitter, viscous, milky liquor from the leaves, and the fruit before it is ripe.

Murucuja (P. 274, M. 106 and 70) resembles the wild pear-tree. The fruit is gathered green, but becomes excellent as it ripens, and easy of digestion. Incisions being made in the trunk of this tree, it yields a milky liquor, which, when once coagulated, becomes of a consistance like wax.

Araca-Iba (P. 152, M. 74 and 105). A species of pear-tree, which bears abundantly at all seasons in the year. There are several kinds of this tree, the fruit of which is red, green, and yellow, and of an excellent flavour.

Umbu (P. 167). A short thick tree, bearing a round fruit of a yellowish hue, and very like our white plumb, with this difference, that it is so injurious to the teeth, that the savages, who eat great quantities of it, soon become toothless. The root is sweet, wholesome, and refreshing.

Jaçapucaya (P. 135, M. 128). The fruit of this tree, when eaten raw, is said to cause baldness; but if roasted it is no longer dangerous.

Araticu (P. 141, M. 93). This tree bears a fruit of the size of a walnut, and is as pleasant to the smell as to the taste. There are several species of this tree, amongst which the one called Aratieupanauia bears a fruit of so very cold a nature, that, eaten to excess, it has all the effect of poison.

Poupekia (P. 141). There are two species of this tree, one bears a fruit like an orange, the juice of which is like honey, and as sweet as sugar: it also contains some seeds. The other species, called by the Portugueze Setis, is esteemed the hardest wood in Brazil, and regarded as incorruptible.

Cabureiba (P. 119, M. 56) is an extremely large tree, very common in the ancient captaincies of St. Vincent, and exceedingly scarce elsewhere. The balm which distils from it is excellent.

Pines. In the interior parts of Brazil, beyond St. Vincent’s and towards Paraguay, are forests entirely of pines, bearing a fruit resembling those in Europe, only rounder, larger, and more wholesome.

Nota.—There is no country where roots and vegetables are more plentiful than in Brazil. Beans in that part of the world are more wholesome than in Portugal; in short, every thing the Portugueze have transplanted to Brazil have succeeded remarkably well. A particular species of yucca-root grows in that country, called Aypi; it may be eaten raw with impunity. The Brazilians make use of the common yucca-root in two ways; the one boiled till it becomes hard is called Ouïenta, and the other less boiled, consequently softer, Ouipou.

Brazil may be justly regarded as the mother country of pine apples, which grow in such abundance, that the savages fatten their hogs with that delicious fruit, which in that country is distinguished by three particular qualities; first, the rind is so hard that it absolutely blunts the edge of a knife: secondly, the juice is used as a kind of soap to take spots out of cloths: thirdly, the fruit itself is regarded as a preservative against sea-sickness.

Clusius makes mention of twelve different kinds of pepper, the produce of Brazil. In short, Léry remarks, that Brazil produces very few animals similar to those in Europe: nor does it, indeed, any plants of the same nature; except purslane, sweet basil, and heath, which grow in some spots exactly in the same manner, and in the same shape, and with the same qualities, as in Europe.

Medicinal Plants.

Copaiba (P. 118, M. 56) resembles a fig-tree, only straighter, thicker, and of a greater height. It contains a very great quantity of oil, as clear as that produced from the olive-tree. This oil requires only a very slight incision to procure great abundance: it is said not only to cure wounds, but to prevent them from leaving scars.

Ambayba (P. 147, M. 91) resembles also the fig-tree, and the interior pellicle, under the rind, is said to be as efficacious in the speedy cure of wounds, as the most celebrated balsam. The leaves of this tree are of so hard a nature, that they are employed for polishing the hardest wood.

Ambaygtinga (P. 148, M. 92). This tree is of the same species as the former one, and grows in the above-mentioned pine forests. It bears on the top a kind of small bladder, which, on bursting, distils, drop by drop, an admirable liquor, which has all the qualities of balsam, and is employed for closing wounds, curing scrofulous humours, and pains in the stomach; for the latter complaint it is taken mixed with a little wine.

Ighucamici (Hist. Gen. Voy.) grows abundantly in the environs of St. Vincent, and bears a fruit like a quince, but filled with seeds, which is a powerful remedy for a dysentery.

Icicariba (P. 122, M. 59). This tree produces a sort of mastick of an excellent smell. On beating the rind in a mortar, a white liquor issues from it, which, when condensed, is employed as incense, and is found to be an efficacious application for any part of the body affected with the king’s evil.

Cururu-Ape (P. 250, M. 114). The leaves are like those of the peach-tree, and produce a whitish liquor, regarded as a sovereign remedy for wounds and pimples.

Caaroba (P. 143, M. 70). The wood of this tree, which is very common in Brazil, is reputed to possess the same virtue as Guiacum wood, for the cure of a particular disorder.

Jaborandi (P. 215, M. 97). This tree is also called by the Brazilians Bétélé, and generally grows on the banks of a river; the leaves are a specific remedy in liver complaints. Another species of Bétélé, less than the former, and with round leaves, possesses the same virture in the root; which is as great a caustic as ginger, and when applied to the gums, removes any complaint in that part.

Anda (P. 148, M. 110). The Americans extract an oil from this great tree, with which they rub themselves. Water in which the rind has been soaked for some days, acts as a soporific on any kind of animal.

Ajuratibira (Hist. Gen. Voy.) is merely a shrub, bearing a red fruit, from which the Brazilians extract an oil of the same colour, with which they likewise anoint themselves.

Janipaba (P. 138, M. 92) is one of the most beautiful trees in Brazil, and of the finest green; it changes its leaves every three months, and bears a fruit resembling an orange, but tasting like a quince, and is esteemed an excellent remedy for the dysentery.

Caapeba (P. 261, M. 94) is a plant, which is an almost certain cure for the bite of all venomous animals, particularly for that of a serpent; and is usually termed the serpent plant. The root, or rather the knot which divides it, is supposed to possess this virtue: the knot is bruised and taken in water; and is likewise thought an excellent specific for the wounds caused by poisonous arrows.

Gobaura (Hist. Gen. Voy.). This plant when reduced to powder, and applied to the most inveterate ulcers, dries them up, and makes them skin over.

Guaraquima (Hist. Gen. Voy.) resembles the Portugueze myrtle. It possesses several virtues, particularly that of curing worms; and requires no other preparation than making choice of the best leaves.

Tyroqui, or Tiroqui, or Tereroqui (Hist. Gen. Voy.). This plant has leaves like the cinqfoil, and the root divided into several cods, with very slender branches. It grows abundantly every where, and its principal virtue is curing dysenteries. The Brazilians inhale the smoke of this plant in all their different complaints, and it is thought an efficacious remedy for worms; a very common malady in that country.


Principal Districts wherein Diamonds are found.

THE province of Brazil, which produces diamonds, is situated inland, between 22½ and 16 degrees of south latitude. Its circumference is near 670 leagues. On the east it is limited by the captaincy or province of Rio Janeiro; on the south by that of St. Paul; on the north by the Sertoens, or interior part of the maritime province of the Bay of All Saints, and part of that of the mines of Goyarel; on the west, lastly, by another part of the last-mentioned province, and by those deserts and forests which are inhabited by the savages, and extend to the frontiers of Paraguay. On the side nearest St. Paul there are vast uncultivated plains; the interior is divided by chains of mountains and hills, with superb vallies and luxuriant fertile plains. It abounds with wood, and is watered by a great number of rivers and brooks, that facilitate the working of the mines of gold, which is obtained by washing in spangles from the river sands, or in veins open to the day. This province is divided into four comarcas or districts, which, reckoning from north to south, are, Santo Joao del Rei, Villa-Rica, Sabara, and Sero-Dosrio, or Cold Mountain, called in the language of the savages Yritauray. The diamonds are found in this last district. The whole province is very rich in the ores of iron, antimony, zinc, tin, silver, and gold.

There are also diamond mines in the other districts of Brazil; particularly in Cuiaba, in the country of Guara-Puara, and in the government of St. Paul; but these mines have never yet been explored.[54]

Discovery of the Mines.

The Paulists and inhabitants of the ancient captaincy of St. Vincent were the first who discovered these mines, and peopled, in great part, the whole of this rich province, as well as those of Matto-Grosso, Cuiahe, Goyares, and Rio Grande de San Pedro. Anthonio Soary, a Paulist, who gave his name to one of these mountains, was the first who discovered and visited the Sero-Dosrio. Gold only was sought for, but at last diamonds were discovered in the Riacho Fundo, whence they were first obtained, and afterwards in the Rio de Peire; a great number were likewise obtained from the Giguitignogna, a very rich stream; and, lastly, in the end of 1780, and beginning of 1781, a gang of nearly three thousand interlopers, called Grimpeiros, discovered diamonds, and obtained an immense quantity from the Terra de Santo Antonio; but they were forced to abandon this spot to the royal farm, who took possession of it. Then it was that the suspicion was confirmed, that the mountains are the true matrices of diamonds; but as the work in the beds of rivers and on their banks is less tedious, can be conducted on a larger scale, and affords larger diamonds, the farm abandoned the mountains, and formed great establishments in the river of Toucanbirnen, which flows through the valleys of this chain, and is near ninety leagues in length. It was found by examination and digging, that the whole surface of the ground, immediately beneath the vegetable stratum, contained more or less of diamonds, disseminated and attached to a matrix ferruginous and compact in various degrees, but never in veins, or in the division of geodes.

Figure of the Diamonds, and manner of exploring them.

The figure of the diamonds of Brazil varies. Some are octoedrical, formed by the union of two tetraedrical pyramids. This is the Adamas octoëdrus turbinatus of Wallerius, or the octoedrical diamond of Romé de l’Isle. These are almost always found in the crust of the mountains; others are nearly round, whether by a peculiar crystallization or by rolling. They resemble those Oriental stones, which the Portugueze and natives of India call reboludos, which signifies rolled. Lastly, others are oblong, and appear to me to be the Adamas hexaëdrus tabellatus of Wallerius. The two last are usually found in the beds of rivers and broken places in their banks.

Diamonds are also found, as I have remarked, in the crust or external covering of mountains. These masses are formed of a bed of ferruginous sand, with rolled flints, forming an ochreous pudding-stone, from the decomposition of emery and muddy iron-ore; it is called cascalho, and the beds, or strata, taboleiros. These taboleiros have different names, according to their situation or their nature. When the stratum is horizontal, and in the plane of the bed of the river, it is properly called a taboleiro; but if it rises in banks, it is called gopiara: lastly, if the pudding-stone contains much emery, it is then denominated tabanhua cauga in Brazilian, that is to say, black-stone or iron-stone.

In some places the cascalho is uncovered, in others, it lies beneath a kind of vegetable muddy earth, humus damascena, Linn, or beneath a reddish fat sand, which sometimes contains roundish flints. This happens in the returns of the mountains, or upon the banks of great torrents. This sand is called pisarra. The bank, or stratum beneath the cascalho, is either shistus, rather sandy, or the solid bog-ore of iron. It is likewise in the cascalho that gold in spangles and in pyrites is found; the former of which is, in my opinion, afforded by the decomposition of the auriferous pyrites; for the gold in veins has another form, and its matrix is either fat quartz, or fine grained tender cos, micaceous gneis, or the quartzose ore of iron, tophus ferreus. Linn.

The exploring of diamonds is performed by changing the beds of streams, in order that the sand or gravel may be washed, and the diamonds selected; or by breaking the cascalho with large hammers, and afterwards washing it in troughs. This washing differs from that of gold, because it requires a small quantity of very clear water, and very little of the cascalho at a time; proportions, which are precisely contrary to those required in washing gold. Black slaves are employed in this business, entirely naked, excepting a cloth round their middle, in order that they may not embezzle any of the diamonds; but in spite of every precaution, and the vigilance of numerous inspectors, they nevertheless find means of concealing them, which they sell at a very low price, to the interlopers, for tobacco and rum.

An estimate of the Sums produced to the Portugueze Government from the Brazil Diamonds.

The diamond mines in Brazil, have at different times brought in different sums to the Portugueze government. Towards the middle of the last century such great quantities of the Brazil diamonds came to Europe; that the value of diamonds of every description was so much decreased, that the London jewellers refused to buy them at any price. The author of the Treatise on Diamonds seems to doubt the existence of the diamond mines in Brazil, and to believe that the great profusion of those stones sold by the Portugueze in the different markets of Europe, were not the produce of their American, but Asiatic colonies. It will be easy to judge of the amount of the profit arising to the Portugueze government, during several years, from the sale of these diamonds, by the following statement. At the epoch of the dreadful earthquake in Lisbon; some English merchants had a contract with those Portugueze who had the direct management of the diamond mines in Brazil, to pay them 120,000l. sterling. The principal conditions of the above contract (according to the account given me by an English gentleman who signed it) were as follows:—the Portugueze directors engaged to secure to the English merchants the exclusive sale of the Brazil diamonds; the latter engaged on their part to take 40,000 carats of rough diamonds, for which they were to pay at the rate of 3l. a carat; making the sum total of 120,000l. sterling. An agreement was also made relative to the purchase and choice of the diamonds. On the cases which contained them being brought from Brazil, they were not to be opened but in presence of the English merchants, which being done, the diamonds were spread on a large table; and a person skilled in precious stones being appointed by the said merchants, he made choice of the most valuable diamonds, excepting those above twenty carats (very few in number), which were reserved for the crown of Portugal. The original contractors being succeeded by others, the price was reduced to 2l. 1s. 8d. sterling a carat; but for some time past this branch of trade has been taken out of the hands of the English, and is in the exclusive possession of the king. The exact sum resulting from this new arrangement is not known, but we have reason to believe it amounts on an average to about 60,000l. sterling, annully.

An Estimate of the Value of Brazil Diamonds, &c.

The white diamonds of Brazil when they weigh only from four to five carats, are of equal value with the Oriental ones of the same weight; but when of a larger size, the latter are much more esteemed, on account of the fineness of the water.

The Brazil topaz is esteemed the most valuable next to the Oriental one: it is of a fine yellow, with an orange tint, and takes a very good polish. This topaz, weighing only one carat, is valued, if perfect, at six French livres (5s.), and encreases in value according to its weight, which is determined by the following calculation, as made for the Oriental topaz. Mr. Dutens esteems the Oriental topaz, when perfect, at sixteen French livres (13s. 4d.) the first carat. To know the value of one weighing three or four carats, it is requisite to multiply the one by the other, and to multiply the product by 16; the same rules to be observed for topazes of a greater weight; so that an Oriental and perfect topaz, valued at sixteen livres (13s. 4d.) the first carat, weighing sixteen grains, or four carats, would be worth two hundred and fifty-six French livres (10l. 13s. 4d.), whilst a Brazil topaz weighing likewise four carats, would be only worth ninety-six French livres[55] (4l.). There is also another sort of topaz in Brazil, of a very particular nature: it is of a very variable and extraordinary hue, and, being put into a small crucible, filled with ashes, on a slow fire, and taken off when the crucible becomes red, loses its yellow orange colour, and changes to that of the real Balas ruby, the tinge of which is generally beautiful. This topaz is frequently of a dark, smoky, dirty yellow, and was very little esteemed till a jeweller by chance discovered the abovementioned process, which was kept a profound secret, till Mr. Dumelle, goldsmith and working jeweller, disclosed it to the Academy of Sciences of Paris, by the means of Mr. Guettard.[56] Many people are of opinion, that the rubies at present brought from Brazil are merely topazes, which have undergone the said operation. The fine crystallization of the Oriental ruby is octoedrical equally with the diamond. That of Brazil crystallizes in prismes, of unequal planes, terminating in pyramids, there are likewise other rubies of a rounder form, owing to their having been rolled in the water. This stone is supposed to take its red colour from iron. The most esteemed rubies come from the island of Ceylon, and are thought more valuable than even those from Pegu. The rubacelle, or small ruby, very common in Brazil, is of a pale red, with a yellow cast; and is the cheapest and least esteemed of any stones of that description; they, however, take a very good polish; and the most perfect amongst them are sometimes passed off for Balas rubies. This last stone may be estimated at thirty French livres (1l. 5s.) one carat; those of two carats at sixty French livres (2l. 10s.), those of three carats at ninety livres (3l. 15s.), and those of four carats at one hundred and twenty livres (5l.), &c.

The mines of Brazil also produce emeralds, which are striated, and terminate in an obtuse pyramid. They are found in oblong prismes of 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12 unequal planes; they are of a dark green colour, with a brownish tinge, and of a very fine water. A fine emerald, weighing a carat and a half, may be estimated at 5l. sterling: those of two carats at 10l. sterling; but over and above this weight, the value of the emerald does not augment in proportion to its size, and even those of the largest kind, if perfect, are still subject to an arbitrary valuation.

Brazil produces two sorts of chrysolites; the one nearly resembles in colour the stone called by the French jewellers Oriental Peridot,[57] except that it is a little darker, and mixed with yellow; this chrysolite being not so hard as the peridot, the polish is not quite so brilliant. The other Brazil chrysolite is straw coloured, with a tinge of beautiful green, producing a very fine effect: it is extremely hard, and takes an excellent polish. These chrysolites, when of an apple green, or straw colour with a greenish hue, may be estimated at 1l. sterling the carat: 2l. sterling those of two carats; 3l. sterling those of three carats; and so on, always at the rate of 1l. the carat.


Since this Work has been in the Press, Mr. Grant’s History of Brazil has been published; and I have much pleasure in remarking, that his account of the Civil Government, and situation of the Country, is frequently drawn from the same sources as my own. I flatter myself this truly estimable author will pardon my taking notice of an error which has crept into his Work relative to Villegagnon, whom he mentions in the 42d page of his History as having retired (after his return from Brazil) into a monastery of his own order, and spent the remainder of his life in writing against the protestants.[58] The fact is, that there were never any monasteries for men in the order of Malta, and that Villegagnon, soon after he came back from his expedition, was named ambassador from his order to Paris, which post he occupied from 1568 to 1570, when he quitted his embassy on account of ill-health, and died on the 9th of February (and not in the month of December, as said by Léry), 1571, at his commandery of Beauvais.


R. Juigné, Printer, 17, Margaret-st. Cavendish-sq.


[1] Preface to l’Etat du Portugal, page 17.

[2] Etat du Portugal, p. 267.

[3] In the 37th volume of the philosophical transactions, No. 421, pages 199 and 201, there is a letter concerning diamonds, lately found in Brazil, by Jacob de Castro Sarmento.

[4] The dominions of Spain are denominated Old and New Spain.

[5] Theodore Godefroy, in his treaty on the origin of the kings of Portugal.

[6] There is a vulgar tradition relative to don Sebastian, whom some Portugueze believe to be still alive. This gave rise to lord Tyrawley’s laughable speech of “what can one possibly do with a nation, one half of which expect the Messiah, and the other half their king, don Sebastian, who has been dead two hundred years?” This tradition also caused another piece of pleasantry, which was attended by very dreadful consequences. The queen of Portugal, standing at the window, attended by her court, perceived a great water-spout rise in the air. “Ah!” laughingly exclaimed she, “here is the king, don Sebastian, returned amongst us.” “That cannot be, madam,” replied the counte d’Obydos, one of the first noblemen in Portugal, “since don Sebastian reigns over us at present;” alluding to don Sebastian Carvalho, the prime minister. Two hours after this ill-timed jest, the counte was imprisoned in the dungeon of St. Julian’s tower.—(See Dumouriez, Etat du Portugal.)

[7] The Dutch and Catalonians.

[8] The first assembly took place on the 12th of October, in the garden of Antonio d’Almada. The archbishop of Lisbon was not present at the opening of it, and the conspiracy was in a state of great forwardness before he made his appearance. Vertot is not always very accurate in his account of these different assemblies.

[9] d’Acugna.

[10] Don Sebastian de Mattos de Norogna.

[11] Connestagio.

[12] The conspiracy once formed, there was never any question of a republican government, nor of bestowing the crown on any other than the duke of Braganza.

[13] Cardinal de Richelieu.

[14] Ad hæc politicas artes, bonos et malos regiminis dolos, dominationis arcana, humani latibula ingenii non modò intelligere mulier, sed et pertractare quoque ac provehere; tam naturâ quam disciplinâ mirificè instructa fuit. Caetan. Passar. de Bello Lusitan.

[15] Some authors say this question was asked by Paes, the duke’s secretary.

[16] Sousa de Maceda mentions Almada as the preserver of the archbishop.

[17] Don Juan da Costa.

[18] Donna Maria de Lancastro spoke to the same purpose, though in still stronger language, to her two sons, don Ferdinand Teller, and Antonio Teller de Silva: “Go forth, my sons, go forth and fight for your country; and be assured, that did not the weakness of my sex prevent me, I would myself accompany you to the place of action, and either conquer or perish in so glorious a cause.”

[19] Corregedor do Civel.

[20] The king, kneeling down, took the coronation oath, in the following terms:—

“I here promise and make oath, to rule and govern this kingdom, and to administer justice to the utmost of my power, with prudence, wisdom, and moderation; and to maintain the usages, customs, privileges, and rights of the nation, as they were granted and confirmed by the kings my predecessors, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost!”

The three estates, composed of the nobility, clergy, and people, then took the oath of allegiance. This ceremony was commenced by the archbishop of Lisbon:—

“I swear,” said he, placing his hand on the new testament, “that I receive and acknowledge for my true and lawful lord and sovereign, the high, mighty, and great king, don John the IVth, to whom I pay homage as such, in the name of the whole body of the clergy.” The other members of the assembly took the same oath.

[21] The king and the three estates took the same oath as had before been taken at the coronation; and the states-general acknowledged don Theodosius, the son of the duke of Braganza, as prince of Portugal, and lawful successor to the crown.

[22] Mello, whom the king of Portugal sent into France on this occasion, was witty and intelligent; and speaking to the queen of France, the sister of Philip the IVth, he expressed his fear that his embassy must be painful to her majesty, since it tended to deprive the king her brother of a kingdom: to which the queen replied, “It is indeed a truth that I am the sister of his catholic majesty; but am I not at the same time the mother of the dauphin?”

The queen, conversing afterwards with different noblemen who accompanied the ambassador, in the Castilian tongue, Mello took the liberty of asking why she had not addressed him in the same language? “From the fear of giving you pain,” answered the queen. “That would have been the case,” replied Mello, “had I regarded you as a Castilian, but as a great queen the effect would have been different.”

[23] Olivares was perfectly well acquainted with this Baëse, who having been extremely serviceable to him on different occasions, he had invested him with the honourable order of Christ. The Portugueze nobility, offended at seeing the order so degraded, could not help observing, “that the duke ought either to raise him still higher, or condemn him to the gallows.”

[24] John the IVth was of the middle size, but not very well shaped. His hair was light, his eyes sparkling, his complexion ruddy and animated, and his countenance particularly pleasing. He was surnamed the fortunate, but he scarcely ever appeared at the head of his army; it may therefore be said of him, as Edward the IIId of England said of the French king Charles the Vth, sirnamed the wise, “that no monarch ever appeared so seldom in arms, or gained so many victories.”

[25] Her Welch uncle, i. e. her father’s or mother’s first cousin.

[26] See Memoirs of Fremont d’Ablancourt.

[27] Memoirs of Fremont d’Ablancourt.

[28] This event was not quite believed to be the effect of chance.

[29] At Cintra, on the 12th of September.

[30] Mr. Ferrand. See Esprit de l’Histoire, tom. IV. p. 181.

[31] L’Art de vérifier les dates.

[32] Henry, marquis de Ruvigny, who acted as general agent to the protestant nobility in France, went to England on the revocation of the edict of Nantes, where he was naturalized, and was made earl of Galway, which title he bore ever afterwards.

James Fitzjames, duke of Berwick, was the natural son of king James the IId, by Arabella Churchill, the sister of the famous duke of Marlborough. Montesquieu observes, that the family of Churchill produced two men, one of whom was destined to shake, and the other to support, at the same time, the two greatest monarchies in Europe.

[33] This defeat was partly attributed to the marquis de Frontera and lord Galway, having refused to admit the French refugees as officers in the Portugueze regiments, which obliged them to have recourse to foreign officers, for the regiments of cavalry and dragoons, which had been newly levied, to recruit the great losses sustained by the army.

[34] This reply calls to remembrance the noble answer made by the cardinal de Fleury, (when bishop of Fréjus) to the duke of Savoy, who having passed the Var, at the head of a considerable army, entered Provence, and tried to induce the bishop to swear allegiance to him.

“Your royal highness,” said he, “must be convinced that I shall never fail in my duty to Louis the Great, my lawful, and only sovereign; besides it is scarcely worth the pains to acknowledge your royal highness, for the very short time you will remain in Provence.”

This proof of attachment being represented to Louis the XIVth, laid the foundation of M. de Fleury’s future grandeur.

[35] He, however, took care to place a great collection of books in this convent; but Mafra being four leagues from Lisbon, this library could be but of little advantage to that city.

[36] Quien de la Neufville, author of a well-written history of Portugal, being at that time at Lisbon in the suite of the abbé Mornay, ambassador from France, was consulted on this occasion by his majesty.

[37] Dumourier’s Etat de Portugal.

[38] See Dumourier’s Etat de Portugal.

[39] See Dumourier.

[40] In justification of so great an act of severity, the minister published a work, entitled, A summary Account of the Conduct and late Actions of the Jesuits in Paraguay; and their Intrigues in the Court of Lisbon.

[41] The minister having strictly examined into the state of the manufactories, found wanting more than twenty very necessary ones. Those he afterwards established, of cotton, silk, and glass, occasioned the most violent disputes between the courts of London and Lisbon. See the administration of the marquis de Pombal, vols. 2 and 3.

[42] This affair, we well know, has been differently related; but we prefer following the example of the author of L’Etat de Portugal, and giving the same account of this transaction, which was transmitted by Monsieur Favier to the court of France.

[43] A house of public entertainment, belonging to the foreign merchants, who that evening gave a ball in honour of the marriage of the prime minister’s daughter.

[44] These were the terms employed in the warrant for securing their persons. See administration of the marquis de Pombal.

[45] He was condemned as author of two books, the production of a disordered imagination, which he wrote in the royal prison. The first, in Portugueze, was entitled, The Heroic and admirable Life of the glorious St. Anne; and the second, written in Latin, was called, Tractatus de vitâ et imperio Antichristi.

[46] The royal edict for the banishment of the Jesuites is dated on the 3d of September, 1759.

[47] Those who wish to be more particularly informed of the military operations of this campaign, and the reforms made by the German prince, count de la Lippe, may consult L’Etat du Portugal, by Dumourier.

[48] The king having no male issue, the infanta Mary Frances Elizabeth, his eldest daughter, born on the 17th of September, 1734, became, according to the fundamental laws of the kingdom, heir to the crown. Several foreign princes wished to obtain her hand; but the king, desirous of pleasing his people, bestowed her on his brother, don Pedro. See l’art de vérifier les dates.

[49] The marquis de Pombal was on the point of going to London, where a house was already prepared for him; but the queen objected to his departure, and promised to protect him against the power of his enemies. On his death she bestowed all his titles and possessions on his son, together with the commanderies given him by Joseph the Ist. We are happy to find he has not proved ungrateful, the marquis de Pombal having attended her majesty to Brazil.

[50] It is a known fact, that the Romans, unable to subdue Viriatus, caused him to be basely assassinated in the year 140 before Christ; and that 70 years before the Christian era, Sertorius was killed at table, by Perpenua.

[51] Etat du Portugal, p. 216.

[52] This slight sketch of the natural history of Brazil, is taken from l’Histoire générale des Voyages, par M. de la Harpe. The letter P. is the abbreviation of Pison, and the Letter M. of Marcgraf; the figures mark the page in the Works of the said authors, entitled as follows:—Guill. Pisonis de Indiæ utriusque re naturali, Amst. Lud. et Dan. Elzev. in fol. 1658: Georg. Marcgravii, Hist. Naturalis Brasiliæ, edit. in fol. Lugd. Batav. et Amst. 1648.

[53] This part of the account of the diamonds of Brazil is taken from Nicholson’s translation of Andrado’s Mémoirs, read at the Society of Natural History, in Paris.

[54] The richest and finest diamond mines, however, are not the American ones; but are situated in Asia, in the kingdoms of Golconda and Visiapour, on the shore of the Ganges, in Pegu, and in the island of Borneo.

[55] According to the above rule, the king of Portugal’s diamond, weighing 11 ounces, 5 gros, 24 carats, would, if perfect be worth 224,500,000l. sterling; but this diamond has many flaws, and is of a yellowish water.

[56] See Journal Econ. 8 Oct. 1751.

[57] This name is given by the French jewellers to a precious stone of a yellowish green. Mr. Lehman has given a curious and learned dissertation on this stone, inserted in the Mem. of the Acad. of Berlin. See the year 1755, p. 202.

[58] See Bayle’s Dictionary.

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:
In-Indiæ=> In-Indiæ {pg 290}
Inez de Casto=> Inez de Castro {pg xxiv}
surpise=> surprise {pg xxiv}
Viscu=> Viseu {pg 5}
reigns of government=> reins of government {pg 9}
disuade=> dissuade {pg 11}
conqering=> conquering {pg 13}
enevitably=> inevitably {pg 31}
prefering=> preferring {pg 28}
Peter de Mendoca=> Peter de Mendoça {pg 40, 48}
indispensible=> indispensable {pg 46}
atchieving=> atchieving {pg 49}
citizens=> citizens’ {pg 101}
independant=> independent {pg 110}
Estevarn d’Acugna=> Estevan d’Acugna {pg 70}
duke of Braganzá=> duke of Braganza {pg 94}
banished Portugal=> banished from Portugal {pg 118}
fidelity of of a man=> fidelity of a man {pg 144}
Cindad-Real=> Ciudad-Real {pg 146}
ideot=> idiot {pg 167}
for the purchasing a variety=> for the purchasing of a variety {pg 214}
garrsion=> garrison {pg 272}
in in this town=> in this town {pg 276}
particulary=> particularly {pg 293}
are are oblong=> are oblong {pg 306}