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The Council of Prosecutors, the Constituent Assembly and Independence

D. Pedro created the Council of Attorneys General of the Provinces of Rio de Janeiro on 22 February , shortly after Fico. Formed by representatives of the various provinces, ministers and secretaries of State and chaired by the Regent himself, the Council had the following functions: advising the Prince on the most important and difficult affairs of the State; examine the major reform projects that should be carried out in the administration; propose measures for the good of the United Kingdom and the prosperity of Brazil; and, still, watch over the provinces. In practice, however, the institution of this Council seems to have been one of the measures taken by D. Pedro to calm the spirits of the Brazilians, who were annoyed with the unsympathetic determinations of the General Courts, coming from Lisbon. Among the body’s best-known names were the ministers of State José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, Caetano Pinto de Miranda Montenegro, Joaquim de Oliveira Álvares and Manoel Antônio Farinha, and the attorneys general Joaquim Gonçalves Ledo and José Mariano de Azeredo Coutinho.

The writing we published today came from the pen of these men, and was made public on June 2, 1822. It is a letter addressed to the Prince, in which the councilors defend the urgent need to convene a Constituent and Legislative General Assembly in Brazil – a suggestion promptly accepted by D. Pedro and which proved to be decisive for the independence process.

Sir, the public safety, the integrity of the nation, the decorum of Brazil and the glory of VAR urge, urge and, imperiously, command that VAR convene as soon as possible a General Assembly of Representatives of the Provinces of Brazil.

Brazil, Sir, wants to be happy; this desire, which is the principle of all sociability, is imbibed in nature and reason, which are immutable; to fulfill it, a government is indispensable for it, giving the necessary expansion to the immense proportions it possesses, elevating it to that degree of prosperity and grandeur for which it was destined in the plans of Providence. It was this desire, which had been devouring him for a long time and which well proves his dignity, which fascinated him the moment he heard the echo of freedom that echoed in the Douro and Tagus echo on its beaches, for not distrusting European pride, nor to believe that, falsified Machiavellianism, it appeared liberal principles to betray it and put it to sleep, and then restrict, on its ruin and recolonization, the edifice of Portugal’s happiness.

No ardor of indignation that caused the perfidy of its brothers, that shines through all the veils that they try to throw it and that was born of those same principles of generosity and trust that should pledge them of gratitude, Brazil broke the moral bonds of rite, blood and custom, once and for all, broke the integrity of the nation, not to have come across VAR, the heir to a house that he adores and serves even more out of love and loyalty than out of duty and obedience.

We do not need, Lord, at this moment, to enumerate the misfortunes with which the Congress, postponing the same principles that gave birth, authority and strength, threatens the rich Provinces of this continent. Europe, the whole world, which has observed them, knows them, points to them, enumerates them. Brazil can no longer, should no longer expect that its happiness will come from it, from other people’s hands. Repentance does not enter hearts that jealousy devours. The Congress of Lisbon, which lost the direction that should guide it, that is, the happiness of the majority, without paying attention to old etiquettes, is now capable of trying every plot and propagating anarchy to ruin what it could not control. . Parties are engineered, dissensions are fomented, criminal hopes are encouraged, enmities are sown, an abyss is dug under our feet; even more, two centers are allowed in Brazil, two principles of eternal discord, and insist on the withdrawal of VAR, which will be the moment that will put them against each other.

And should VAR sit back and wait for the volcano on which the VAR throne sits to erupt? This, Lord, is the great moment of Brazil’s happiness or ruin. He loves VAR, but it exists in an oscillation of feelings, driven by fear of his former ills, by fear of despotism, which the secret factions make much of and strive hard to take advantage of. The anchor that can hold the ship of the State, the chain that can link the Provinces of Brazil to the feet of the VAR throne, is the summons of Cortes that, in the name of the one we represent, we immediately demand VAR

Brazil has inalienable rights to establish its government and its independence; rights such that the Lusitanian Congress itself recognized and swore to. Laws, constitutions, all human institutions are made for peoples, not peoples for them. It is from this indubitable principle that we must start: the laws formed in Europe can make Europe happy, but not America. The European system cannot, for the eternal reason of things, be the American system; and whenever they try it will be a state of coercion and violence, which will necessarily produce a terrible reaction. Brazil does not want to infringe on Portugal’s rights, but it does not want Portugal to violate its own. Brazil wants to have the same king, but does not want lords in the deputies of the Lisbon Congress. Brazil wants Independence, but based on the well-understood union with Portugal, it wants, finally, to present two great families, governed by their laws, imprisoned by their interests, obedient to the same head.

For Brazil’s decorum, for the glory of VAR, the state in which it finds itself cannot last any longer. What nation in the world will it be that wants to deal with it, until it assumes a pronounced character? Until it proclaims the rights it has to be among independent peoples? And which one will despise the friendship of Brazil and the friendship of its Regent? Peace is in our interest; our enemy will only be the one who dares to attack our Independence.

Therefore, VAR deign to hear our request: small considerations should only hinder small souls. Save Brazil, save the nation, save the Portuguese royalty. Rio de Janeiro, June 3, 1882.

Joaquim Gonçalves Ledo, Attorney General for the Province of Rio de Janeiro , José Mariano de Azeredo Coutinho, attorney general of this Province of Rio de Janeiro, Lucas José Obes, attorney general of the Cisplatino State. We agree with José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, Caetano Pinto de Miranda Montenegro, Joaquim de Oliveira Álvares and Manoel Antônio Farinha.

Convocation Decree

Having represented the attorneys general of some Provinces of Brazil, already gathered in this Court, and different chambers and people from others, as necessary and urgent, for the maintenance of the integrity of the Portuguese monarchy and fair decorum of Brazil, the convening of a Luso-Brasiliense Assembly that, invested with that portion of sovereignty that essentially resides in the people of this great and very rich continent, constitutes the bases on which its Independence, which nature had marked and which it was already in possession of, must be erected, and its union with all the other integral parts of the great Portuguese family that it cordially desires. And, recognizing the truth and force of the reasons that have been considered, nor seeing any other way to ensure the happiness of this Kingdom, to maintain a fair equality of rights between it and Portugal, without disturbing the peace that is so convenient for both and so itself belongs to fraternal peoples. Hey for good, and with the opinion of my council of state, to order a Constituent and Legislative General Assembly, composed of deputies from the Provinces of Brazil, again elected in the form of the instructions that are agreed in council and that will be published as soon as possible. . José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, from my council of state and the council of His Most Faithful Majesty, the King, Mr João Sexto, and my Minister and Secretary of State for the Kingdom of Brazil and Foreign Affairs, understood and make it execute with the necessary orders. Paço, June 3, 1822. With the initials of HRH, the Prince Regent.

Amanda Peruchi is a Doctor in History and author of the book “ Savor and Cure: the arrival of coffee in the Luso-Brazilian world” (Coleção Memória Atlântica – Cultura Acadêmica, 2021).

Jean Marcel Carvalho França is a professor of Brazilian History at the Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho and author, among others, of the following books: “Literatura e society in 19th century Rio de Janeiro (National Press – Casa da Moeda, 1999), “The Construction of Brazil in Travel Literature of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries” (José Olympio/Editora da UNESP, 2012), “Piratas no Brasil” (Editora Globo, 1999 , with Sheila Hue) and Franceses o Brasil (Chão Editora, 2021)

References:

The parrot. Rio de Janeiro: In the Typographia de Mor. and Garcez, no. 80, P. 16-16, 12 Jun. 80.

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