1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pombal, Sebastião Jose de Carvalho e Mello, Marquess of

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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 22
Pombal, Sebastião Jose de Carvalho e Mello, Marquess of
See also Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquis of Pombal on Wikipedia; and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.

POMBAL, SEBASTIÃO JOSE DE CARVALHO E MELLO, Marquess of (1690-1782), Portuguese statesman, was born at Soure near Pomba, on the 13th of May 1699. He was the son of Manoel de Carvalho e Athayde, a country gentleman (fidalgo) and of his wife D. Theresa Luiza de Mendonça e Mello. He studied law at Coimbra University, served for a short time as a private in the army, and afterwards lived the life of a man about town in Lisbon, sharing in the diversions of the “Mohocks” who then infested the streets. In 1733 he abducted and married D. Theresa de Noronha, a widow belonging to one of the most distinguished families in Portugal. He then retired to Soure, where, on the recommendation of Cardinal de Motta, King John V. commissioned him to write a series of biographical studies. In 1739 he was sent as Portuguese ambassador to London, where he remained until 1745. He was then transferred to Vienna. His first wife having died on the 7th of January 1739, he married, on the 18th of December 1745, Leonora Ernestine Daun, daughter of General Count Daun. In 1749 he was recalled to take up the post of secretary of state for foreign affairs and war. The appointment was ratified on the 3rd of August 1750, by King Joseph, who had succeeded John V. in that year. Carvalho's career from 1750 to 1777 is part of the history of Portugal. Though he came into power only in his 51st year, without previous administrative experience, he was able to reorganize Portuguese education, finance, the army and the navy. He also built up new industries, promoted the development of Brazil and Macao, and expelled the Jesuits. His complete ascendancy over the mind of King Joseph dates from the time of the great Lisbon earthquake (Nov. 1, 1755). Though the famous words “Bury the dead and feed the living” were probably not spoken by him, they summarize his action at this time of calamity. In June 1759 his suppression of the so-called “Tavora plot” gained for him the title of count of Oeyras; and in September 1770 he was made marquess of Pombal. His severe administration had made many enemies, and his life had been attempted in 1769. Soon after the death of King Joseph, in 1777, Pombal was dismissed from office; and he was only saved from impeachment by the death of his bitterest opponent, the queen-mother, Mariana Victoria, in January 1781. On the 16th of August a royal decree forbade him to reside within twenty leagues of the court. He died at Pombal on the 8th of May 1782.

See, in addition to the works dealing with the period 1750-1777 and quoted under Portugal: History; S.J.C.M. (Pombal), Relação abreviada, &c. (Paris, 1758); Memoirs of the Court of Portugal, &c. (London, 1765); Anecdotes du ministère de Pombal (Warsaw, 1781); Administration du marquis de Pombal (4 vols., Amsterdam, 1787); Cartas . . . do marques de Pombal (3 vols., Lisbon, 1820-1824); J. Smith, Count of Carnota, Memoirs of the Marquess of Pombal, &c. (London, 1843); F. L. Gomes, Le Marquis de Pombal, &c. (Paris, 1869); B. Duhr (S.J.), Pombal, &c. (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1891) ; C. J. de Menezes, Os jesuitas e o marques de Pombal (Oporto, 1893). See also articles in the Revue des deux mondes for September 1870; the Revue bleue for September 1889, and the Revue historique for September 1895 and January 1896.