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PARDONS BY THE PORTUGUESE GOVERNMENT

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1492 ADMISSION OF JEWS EXPELLED FROM SPAIN


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THE MARQUIS OF POMBAL

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JewishWikipedia.info



The Marquis of Pombal was an 18th century Portuguese statesman.   He was the Secretary of the State of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves (the equivalent to a today's Prime Minister) to Joseph I of Portugal from 1750 to 1777.  He distinguished himself by his swift action following the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and policies to improve Portugal’s economy.  He weakened the grip of the Inquisition and had the Jesuits expelled.

The term Pombaline is used to describe not only his tenure, but also the architectural style which formed after the great earthquake.

David Birmingham in ‘A Concise History of Portugal’,  (Cambridge University Press, 1996) describes his role as follows:

“Pombal’s social reforms designed to open the way to new economic prosperity went beyond the field of education. He recognised that one burden which held Portugal back was still the institutionalised persecution of all Portuguese of Jewish descent. He therefore outlawed racial discrimination and determined that New Christians should be given genuine legal equality with Old Christians. In order to carry out such a radical change he had to confront the Inquisition. This he did by virtually abolishing its church role and turning it into a state tribunal.”

The classic true or apocryphal story about him was that

King José I was considering a proposal by the Portuguese Inquisition which required New Christians (descendants of Jews) to wear yellow hats so they could be identified in public. The Marquis of Pombal objecting to discriminatory measures, arrived in court carrying three yellow hats. The King asked who they were for and Pombal replied: “One for me, one for you and one for the Chief Inquisitor”. And there the matter rested. He broke the power of the Inquisition in the late eighteenth century, though it wasn’t abolished until 1821.


´I KNOW THEIR INTERESTS
BETTER THAN THEY DO THEMSELVES,
AND THE INTERESTS OF THE WHOLE KINGDOM

The Marquis of Pombal,   Lynne Booker, Algarve History Association


In his determination to control the commerce of the kingdom and its colonies, Pombal created chartered companies in Brazil and Asia, in tobacco, fishing and whaling, and port wine.  When the Lisbon Chamber of Commerce protested about the founding of the Brazilian company, Pombal had the Chamber dissolved and several members imprisoned or exiled.  When Oporto innkeepers protested against the privileges of the new Douro wine company, Pombal ensured that 17 of them were hanged, and another 160 were either sent to the galleys, imprisoned, fined or deported.  At the same time, Pombal knew that one of the greatest obstacles to his economic reforms was the conservative nobility who had tolerated heretical British merchants but opposed the emergence of a Portuguese merchant class.  He decided to ´divide and rule´.  Some aristocrats were given preferment and favours - making them loyal dependents of his system, while others were singled out for persecution ´of a barbarity almost unequalled until the executions of the French Revolution ...´ (D. Birmingham).  Following one of D José´s amorous adventures with the marquesa de Távora, someone took a pot shot at the king.  Pombal siezed his chance to humble his aristocratic opponents.  Blaming the Távoras for the assault on the monarch, Pombal succeeded  in extinguishing the whole family.  The marquês deTávora himself was broken on the wheel while his wife was forced to watch the execution of their children.  A thousand more alleged enemies of the king were imprisoned.  Pombal had no more opposition from the old aristocracy.

DEDUCÇÃO CHRONOLÓGICA

In a second step towards establishing a climate in which to introduce ´enlightened´reforms, Pombal determined to rid his country of one of the most influential forces in Catholic Europe and the Iberian Empires - the Society of Jesus.  He drove them from their traditional place of influence as confessors of the royal family and threatened to establish an autonomous national church if the Vatican opposed him.  He closed monasteries and Jesuit schools; he confiscated the Jesuits´colonial possessions and eventually all their priests were expelled from Portuguese territory.  In his book ´Deducção Chronológica´ Pombal showed that all Portugal´s economic, social, political and religious ills were directly or indirectly due to the Jesuits working in accordance to a secret masterplan drawn up in 1540. A Portuguese equivalent of ´The Thoughts of Chairman Mão´and “The da Vinci Code”, this book and other anti-Jesuit propaganda were required reading for all state officials.  It was Pombal´s ambition to have the Society of Jesus internationally suppressed, and indeed it was suppressed in Western Europe until 1814.


POMBAL AND THE INQUISITION IN PORTUGAL
The Portuguese ruler began to curb the most powerful
arch-conservative force in the country on May 3rd, 1751
  History Today Volume 51 Issue 5, Richard Cavendish, May 2001


Sebastião de Carvalho, Marques de Pombal (1699-1782), was the virtual ruler of Portugal for more than a quarter of a century during the reign of King José I. A ruthless moderniser, he undoubtedly learned much from his previous seven-year stint in England as Portuguese ambassador to the court of George II. When he took control in Lisbon after José’s accession to the throne in 1750, Pombal set out to rein back the power of the landed aristocracy and build up Portuguese industry and commerce. To do this it was necessary to confront the Inquisition, the most powerful arch-conservative force in the country. In 1751 he made all sentences passed by the Inquisition subject to review by the crown, and so began to draw the institution’s teeth.

The Inquisition had been established in Portugal since 1547, on the Spanish model. Its apparatus of officials and informers, its courts and dungeons and torture chambers, its carefully stage-managed show trials and horrific burnings at the stake, inspired the same dread as the later secret police of totalitarian systems in Portugal and elsewhere. Its function was to wipe out religious dissent, but it was rootedly hostile to innovation of any kind and it was supported as an engine of conservatism by the landed aristocracy. The Inquisition  bore especially hard on Jews, many of whom had been more or less forcibly converted as ‘New Christians’. It was also fiercely opposed to industrialisation and business, which it linked with ‘Jewish capital’, and many middle-class business people and traders fell into its claws.

Pombal gradually transformed the Inquisition by bringing it under state authority, virtually abolishing it as an engine of religious thought control and using it instead against those suspected of treason against the state. In 1769 he appointed his own brother, Paulo, a layman, as Inquisitor-General. Meanwhile, Pombal had been able to end the persecution of Portuguese citizens of Jewish descent and to abolish black slavery in Portugal – in both cases primarily for economic rather than humanitarian motives. He went on to crush the Jesuits, modernise Portuguese higher education, encourage the formation of strong trading companies to exploit the wealth of Brazil for Portugal’s benefit and build up Portugal’s commercial empire. At the same time he weakened the aristocracy, established an efficient state police force and created his own apparatus of terror. He made many enemies and when José I died in 1777, Pombal was immediately dismissed, subjected to long and brutal interrogation and banished to his country estate where he died in 1782.

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JEWS AND THE MARQUIS OF POMBAL