Page images


[ocr errors]

Tue connexion of Portugal with the crush of faction and the birth of England has been continued for so public spirit, the fall of the Jesuits long a period, and the fortunes of and the peace of his country. His Portugal have risen and fallen so con- inscription should be, “The Restorer stantly in the exact degree of her more of his Country." intimate or more relaxed alliance with The Marquis of Pombal was born England, that a knowledge of her in- on the 13th of May 1699, at Soure, terests, her habits, and her history, a Portuguese village near the town of becomes an especial accomplishment Pombal. His father, Manoel Carof the English statesman. The two valho, was a country gentleman of countries have an additional tie, in moderate fortune, of the rank of the similitude of their early pursuits, fidalgo de provincia — a distinction, their original character for enterprise, which gave him the privileges atand their mutual services. Portugal, tached to nobility, though not to the like England, with a narrow territory, title of a grandee, that honour not but that territory largely open to the descending below dukes, marquises, sea, was maritime from her beginning; and counts. His mother was Theresa like England, her early power was de Mendonca, a woman of family. derived from the discovery of remote He had two brothers, Francis and countries ; like England, she threw Paul. His own names were Sebastian her force into colonization, at an era Joseph, to which was added that of when all other nations of Europe were Mello, from his maternal ancestor. wasting their strength in unnecessary Having, like the sons of Portuguese wars; like England, without desiring gentlemen in general, studied for a to enlarge her territory, she has pre- period in the university of Coimbra, served her independence ; and, to he entered the army as a private, sustain the similitude to its full ex- according to the custom of the countent, like England, she founded an try, and rose to the rank of corporal, immense colony in the western world, which he held until circumstances, with which, after severing the link and an introduction to Cardinal Motta, government, she retains the link of a who was subsequently prime-minister, common language, policy, literature, induced him to devote himself to the and religion.

study of history, politics, and law. The growth of the great European The cardinal, struck with his ability, powers at length overshadowed the strongly advised him to persevere in prosperity of Portugal, and the usur- those pursuits, appointed him, in 1733, pation of her government by Spain member of the Royal Academy of sank her into a temporary depression. History, and shortly after, the king But the native gallantry of the nation proposed that he should write the at length shook off the yoke ; and a history of certain of the Portuguese new effort commenced for her resto- monarchs; but this design was laid ration to the place which she was aside, and Pombal remained unementitled to maintain in the world. It ployed for six years, until, in 1739, is remarkable that, at such periods he was sent by the cardinal to Lonin the history of nations, some emi- don, as Portuguese minister. He renent individual comes forward, as if tained his office until 1745; yet it designated for the especial office of a is remarkable, and an evidence of the national guide. Such an individual difficulty of acquiring a new language, was the Marquis of Pombal, the vir- that Pombal, though thus living six tual sovereign of Portugal for twenty- active years in the country, was seven years-a man of talent, intre- never able to acquire the English lanpidity, and virtue. His services were guage. It must, however, be recol

Memoirs of the Marquis of Pombal. By J. Smitu, Esq., Private Secretary to the Marquis of Saldanha. I'wo vols.

lected, that at this period French the most fearful shape of tyranny; the was the universal language of diplo- power of the crown, at once feeble and macy, the language of the court arbitrary; the power of opinion, wholly circles, and the polished language of extinguished; and the power of the all the travelled ranks of England. people, perverted into the instrument The writings, too, of the French his- of their own oppression--were the eletorians, wits, and politicians, were the ments of evil with which the minister study of every man who pretended to had to deal; and he dealt with them good-breeding, and the only study of vigorously, sincerely, and successfully. most; so that, to a stranger, the acqui- The most horrible tribunal of irresition of the vernacular tongue could sponsible power, combined with the be scarcely more than a matter of curi- most remorseless priestcraft, was the osity. Times, however, are changed; Inquisition; for it not merely punished and the diplomatist who should now men for obeying their own consciences, come to this country without a know- but tried them in defiance of every ledge of the language, would be de- principle of enquiry. It not only spised for his ignorance of an essential made a law contradictory of every knowledge, and had better remain at other law, but it established a trihome. Soon after his return, he was bunal subversive of every mode by employed in a negotiation to reconcile which the innocent could be defended. the courts of Rome and Vienna on an It was a murderer on principle. Pomecclesiastical claim. His reputation bal's first act was a bold and noble had already reached Vienna; and it effort to reduce this tribunal within is surmised that Maria Theresa, the the limits of national safety. By a empress, had desired his appointment decree of 1751, it was ordered that as ambassador. His embassy was thenceforth no judicial burnings should successful. At Vienna, Pombal, who take place without the consent and was a widower, married the Countess approval of the government, taking Ernestein Daun, by whom he had to itself the right of enquiry and exatwo sons and three daughters. Pom- mination, and confirming or reversing bal was destined to be a favourite at the sentence according to its own courts from his handsome exterior. judgment. This measure decided at He was above the middle size, finely once the originality and the boldness formed, and with a remarkably intel- of the minister: for it was the first lectual countenance; his manners effort of the kind in a Popish kinggraceful, and his language animated dom; and it was made against the and elegant. His reputation at Vienna whole power of Rome, the restless was so high, that on a vacancy in the intrigues of the Jesuits, and the inForeign office at Lisbon, Pombal was veterate superstition of the people. recalled to take the portfolio in 1750. Having achieved this great work of Don John, the king, died shortly after, humanity, the minister's next attenand Don Joseph, at the age of thirty- tion was directed to the defences of five, ascended the throne, appointing the kingdom. He found all the forPombal virtually his prime-minister- tresses in a state of decay, he approa rank which he held, unshaken and priated an annual revenue of L.7000 unrivaled, for the extraordinary period for their reparation ; he established a of twenty-seven years.

national manufactory of gunpowder, The six years of unemployed and it having been previously supplied by private life, which the great minister contract, and being of course supplied had spent in the practical study of his of the worst quality at the highest country, were of the most memorable rate. He established regulations for service to his future administration. the fisheries, he broke up iniquitous His six years' residence in England contracts, he attempted to establish a added practical knowledge to theore- sugar refinery, and directed the attical ; and with the whole machinery tention of the people largely to the of a free, active, and popular govern- cultivation of silk. His next reforment in constant operation before his mation was that of the police. The eyes, he returned to take the govern- disorders of the late reign had covered ment of a dilapidated country. The the highways with robbers. Pombalinpower of the priesthood, exercised in stituted a police so effective, and proceeded with such determined justice Pombal exercised all the powers of a against all disturbers of the peace, despotic sovereign, in the benevothat the roads grew suddenly safe, lent spirit of a regenerator of his and the streets of Lisbon became pro- country. verbial for security, at a time when But a tremendous physical calamity every capital of Europe was infested was now about to put to the test at with robbers and assassins, and when once the fortitude of this great miniseven the state of London was so ha- ter, and the resources of Portugal. zardous, as to be mentioned in the On the morning of All-Saints' day, king's speech in 1753 as a scandal to the 1st of November 1755, Lisbon the country. The next reform was was almost torn up from the foundain the collection of the revenue. An tions by the most terrible earthquake immense portion of the taxes had on European record. As it was a hitherto gone into the pockets of the high Romish festival, the population collectors. Pombal appointed twenty- were crowding to the churches, which eight receivers for the various pro- were lighted up in honour of the day. vinces, abolished at a stroke a host of About a quarter before ten the first inferior officers, made the promisers shock was felt, which lasted the exresponsible for the receivers, and re- traordinary length of six or seven stored the revenue to a healthy condi- minutes ; then followed an interval of tion. Commerce next engaged his about five minutes, after which the attention; he established a company shock was renewed, lasting about three to trade to the East and China, the minutes. The concussions were so old sources of Portuguese wealth. In violent in both instances that nearthe western dominions of Portugal, ly all the solid buildings were dashed to commerce had hitherto languished. the ground, and the principal part of the He established a great company for city almost wholly ruined. The terror the Brazil trade. But his still higher of the population, rushing through the praise was his humanity. Though falling streets, gathered in the churches, acting in the midst of a nation or madly attempting to escape into overrun with the most violent fol- the fields, may be imagined ; but the lies and prejudices of Popery, he la- whole scene of horror, death, and boured to correct the abuses of the ruin, exceeds all description. The convents; and, among the rest, their ground split into chasms, into which habit of retaining, nuns the the people were plunged in their daughters of the Brazilian Portu- fright. Crowds fled to the water ; but guese who had been sent over for the Tagus, agitated like the land, sudtheir education. By a wise and hu- denly rose to an extraordinary height, mane decree, issued in 1765, the In- burst upon the land, and swept away dians, and a large portion of Brazil, all within its reach. It was said to were declared free. Expedients were have risen to the height of five-andadopted to civilize them, and privi- twenty or thirty feet above its usual leges were granted to the Portuguese level, and to have sunk again as much who should contract marriage among below it. And this phenomenon octhem. Of course those great objects curred four times. were not achieved without encounter- The despatch from the British coning serious difficulties. The pride of sul stated, that the especial force of the idle aristocracy, the sleepless in- the earthquake seemed to be directly triguing of the Jesuits, the ignorant. under the city; for while Lisbon was enthusiasm of the people, and the lifted from the ground, as if by the sluggish supremacy of the priests, explosion of a gunpowder mine, the were all up in arms against him. But damage either above or below was his principle was pure, his knowledge not so considerable. One of the prinsound, and his resolution decided. cipal quays, to which it was said Above all, he had, in the person of that many people had crowded for the king, a man of strong mind, con- safety, was plunged under the Tagus, vinced of the necessities of change, and and totally disappeared. Ships were determined to sustain the minister. carried down by the shock on the The reforms soon vindicated them- river, dashed to pieces against each selves by the public prosperity; and other, or flung upon the shore. To



He pro

complete the catastrophe, fires broke the public security. Those regulaout in the ruins, which spread over tions amounted to the remarkable the face of the city, burned for five or number of two hundred; and emsix days, and reduced all the goods and braced all the topics of police, property of the people to ashes. For provisions, and the burial of the forty days the shocks continued with sufferers. Among those regulations more or less violence, but they had the singular, but sagacious now nothing left to destroy. The one, of prohibiting all persons from people were thus kept in a constant leaving the city without a passport. state of alarm, and forced to encamp By this, those who had robbed the in the open fields, though it was now people, or plundered the church plate, winter. The royal family were en- were prevented from escaping to the camped in the gardens of the palace; country and hiding their plunder, and and, as if all the elements of society consequently were obliged to abandon, had been shaken together, Lisbon and or to restore it. But every shape of its vicinity became the place of ga- public duty was met by this vigorous thering for banditti from all quarters and intelligent minister. in the kingdom. A number of Spa- vided for the cure of the wounded, the nish deserters made their way to the habitancy of the houseless, the provicity, and robberies and murders of sion of the destitute. He brought the most desperate kind were con- troops from the provinces for the prostantly perpetrated.

tection of the capital, he forced the During this awful period, the whole idlers to work, he collected the inweight of government fell upon the mates of the ruined religious houses, shoulders of the minister ; and he he removed the ruins of the streets, bore it well. He adopted the most buried the dead, and restored the seractive measures for provisioning the vices of the national religion. city, for repressing plunder and vio- Another task subsequently awaited lence, and for enabling the population him—the rebuilding of the city. He to support themselves during this began boldly; and all that Lisbon now period of suffering. It was calculated has of beauty is due to the taste and that seven millions sterling could energy of Pombal. He built noble scarcely repair the damage of the squares. He did more: he built the city; and that not less than eighty more important fabric of public thousand lives had been lost, either sewers in the new streets, and he crushed by the earth or swallowed up laid out a public garden for the poby the waters. Some conception of pular recreation. But he found, as the native mortality may be formed Wren found, even in England, the from that of the English: of the com- infinite difficulty of opposing private paratively small number of whom, interest, even in public objects ; and resident at that time in Lisbon, no Lisbon lost the opportunity of being less than twenty-eight men and fifty the most picturesque and stately of women were among the sufferers. European cities. One project, which

The royal family were at the palace would have been at once of the highest of Belem when this tremendous cala- beauty and of the highest benefit mity occurred.

Pombal instantly a terrace along the shore of the Tagus hastened there. He found every one from Santa Apollonia to Belem, a in consternation. " What is to be distance of nearly six miles, which done,” exclaimed the king, as he en- would have formed the finest prometered, “ to meet this infliction of di- pade in the world - he was either vine justice?” The calm and resolute forced to give up or to delay, until its answer of Pombal was—"Bury the execution was hopeless. It was never dead, and feed the living." This sen- even begun. tence is still recorded, with honour, in The vigour of Pombal's administrathe memory of Portugal.

tion raised bitter enemies to him The minister then threw himself among those who had lived on the into his carriage, and returned to abuses of government, or the plunder the ruins. For several days his only of the people. The Jesuits hated alike habitation was his carriage ; and from the king and his minister. They even it he continued to issue regulations for declared the earthquake to have

[ocr errors]

been a divine judgment for the sins of him. We are, however, to recollect, the administration. But they were that the language of complaint was rash enough, in the intemperance of popular in Portugal, as it always will their zeal, to threaten a repetition of be in a poor country, and that the the earthquake at the same time next minister who would be popular must year. When the destined day came, adopt the language of complaint. In Pombal planted strong guards at the an eloquent and almost impassioned city gates, to prevent the panic of the memoir by Pombal, he mourns over people in rushing into the country. the poverty of his country, and hastily The earthquake did not fulfil the pro- imputes it to the predominance of mise; and the people first laughed at English commerce. He tells us that, themselves, and then at the Jesuits. in the middle of the eighteenth cenThe laugh had important results in time. tury, Portugal scarcely produced any

There are few things more remark- thing towards her own support. Twoable in diplomatic history, than the thirds of her physical necessities were long connexion of Portugal with Eng supplied from England.

He comland. It arose naturally from the plains that England had become miscommerce of the two nations-Portu- tress of the entire commerce of Porgal, already the most adventurous of tugal, and in fact that the Portuguese nations, and England, growing in trade was only an English trade; that commercial enterprise. The advan- the English were the furnishers and tages were mutual. In the year 1367, retailers of all the necessaries of life we have a Portuguese treaty stipulat- throughout the country, and that the ing for protection to the Portuguese Portuguese had nothing to do but look traders in England. In 1382, a royal on; that Cromwell, by the treaty order of Richard II. permits the Por- which allowed the supply of Portugal tuguese ambassador to bring his bag- with English cloths to the amount of gage into England free of duty-per-, two millions sterling, had utterly imhaps one of the earliest instances of a' poverished the country; and in short, custom which marked the progress of that the weakness and incapacity of civilization, and which has since been Portugal, as an European state, were generally adopted throughout all civi- wholly owing to her being destitute lized nations. A decree of Henry of trade, and that the destitution was IV., in 1405, exonerates the Portu- wholly owing to her being overwhelmguese resident in England, and their ed by English commodities. ships, from being made responsible We are not about to enter into for the debts contracted by their detail upon this subject; but it is ambassadors. In 1656, the important to be remembered, that Portugal obprivilege was conceded to the English tained the cloth, even if she paid in Portugal, of being exempted from for it, cheaper from England than the native jurisdiction, and being tried she could have done from any by a judge appointed by England. Other country in Europe ; that she This, in our days, might be an inad- had no means of making the cloth for missible privilege ; but two centuries herself, and that, after all, man must ago, in the disturbed condition of the be clothed. Portugal, without flocks Portuguese laws and general society, or fire, without coals or capital, could it might have been necessary for the never have manufactured cloth enough simple protection of the strangers. to cover the tenth part of her popula

The theories of domestic manufac- tion, at ten times the expense. This tures and free trade have lately occu- has occurred in later days, and in pied so large a portion of public inte- more opulent countries. We remember, rest, that it is curious to see in what in the reign of the Emperor Paul, when light they were regarded by a states- he was frantic enough to declare war man so far in advance of his age as against England, a pair of broadcloth Pombal. The minister's theory is in pantaloons costing seven guineas in striking contradiction to his practice. St Peterburg. This would have been He evidently approved of monopoly severe work for the purse of a Portuand prohibitions, but he exercised guese peasant a hundred years ago. neither the one nor the other-nature The plain fact of domestic manufacand necessity were too strong against tures being this, that no folly can be

« PreviousContinue »