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when Portuguese-speaking people of all climes, and
of all varieties of political and religious opinion,
gathered together in Lisbon to do honour to the
memory of their great poet, whose glory they felt to
be a connecting link between them all.

It was not only in the domain of poetry that the
boundless energies of the Portuguese of the heroic age
distinguished themselves ; in prose composition, also,
they stood high above their contemporaries of other
nations. History, as might be expected, was their
chief study, and Joao de Barros, the Portuguese Livy,
was the writer who bridged over the gap between
the old chroniclers, of whom Damiao de Goes was
the last, and the regular historians. This young
nobleman, who was born in 1496, was distinguished
at the Portuguese Court by his ardent study of the
Latin historical writers, and especially of Livy, and
was commissioned by King Emmanuel to draw up an
account of the discoveries and conquests of the Portu-
guese in the East. John III. continued the royal
patronage to Joao de Barros, who received many
lucrative appointments, such as Captain-general of
Brazil and treasurer of the Indian department at
Lisbon. The latter post gave him the opportunity to
collect valuable information on his subject, and he
made good use of it. His "Asia " is written in exact
imitation of the style of Livy ; it is divided into
decads and abounds in speeches which might have
been, but certainly never were, delivered, and in

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(From a Print in the British Museum.)


curious theories, entirely without foundation. Never-
theless, Joao de Barros possesses the greatest quality
of an historian, for he took pains in trying to ascertain
the truth, and when he believed he had found it, he
told his story simply and directly. He combines the
naive simplicity of the early chroniclers with the art of
making a story interesting, and he deserves a niche
in the history of Portuguese literature as the first
writer of modern Portuguese prose. In fiction the
" Amadis de Gaul " type of romance was followed by
imitations of the " Palmeirim de Inghilterra ; ' both
are alike tedious and absurd, and thoroughly deserve
the hearty mockery of Cervantes, who laughed them
and their school out of existence. Far more interest-
ing, if also somewhat tedious, are the pastoral novels,
which were originated by the poet Bernardim Ribeiro,
and written with most success by Rodrigues Lobo,
for they are truly national, and exhibit the love of
nature, which is inherent in the Portuguese character.
Nor was more serious literary work neglected by
the universally cultured Portuguese of the heroic age.
Mention has been made of the great scholars, who
made the University of Coimbra renowned, and who
encouraged the study of the classics. Theological
inquiry was also much favoured, and Francisco
Ferrario, one of the divines at the Council of Trent,
and Jeronymo de Azambuja, a learned Hebrew
scholar, who wrote a commentary on the Bible, botli
held a high place in the estimation of their contem-
poraries. Among grammarians, the name of Manuel
Alvares, a Jesuit, is honourably remembered, while
scientific research was represented by the mathemati-


cian, Pedro Nunes, who was reckoned one of the
wonders of his age. Lastly, Andrea de Resende, the
greatest Portuguese antiquary, must be again noticed,
for his " De Antiquitatibus Lusitaniae " is a work of
exceptional value, and contains a transcription of
many Roman inscriptions, since destroyed.

Enough has been said to indicate how great and
varied was the literary activity of the Portuguese
during their golden age, and it is worthy of notice,
that their literature was most abundant in great works
at the very time in which their energies were most
strained by their Asiatic conquests. It is matter for
wonder, that one small nation could do so much, and
in the " Lusiads " the key-note of their success is to
be found. The Portuguese race, trained under great
kings and great captains, believed itself to be invin-
cible, and from that very belief it remained invincible
for a time. When the illusion was shattered, the
superabundant energy which it had fostered vanished
completely. When once a nation has been conquered,
and its belief in its invincibility is gone, its power
withers away. The greatness of a nation depends
upon the opinion its people have of themselves as
individuals and members of the body politic ; as long
as they believe in themselves they can do anything ;
when their faith in their invincibility disappears, their
position among nations .speedily declines.



The death of the Cardinal-King Henry brought
the people of Portugal face to face with the problem
which all had been discussing ever since the melan-
choly fate of Dom Sebastian. There were seven
candidates for the throne, but only five of them
need be seriously considered, for the claims of Pope
Gregory XIII., as heir-general to a cardinal, and of
Catherine de' Medici, through the first marriage of
Affonso III. to the Countess of Boulogne in the
thirteenth century, need no further notice. The rela-
tionship of the other five claimants to Emmanuel
"the Fortunate" can be best perceived from the table
on the opposite page. From this table it clearly
appears that the true heiress to the throne was
Catherine, Duchess of Braganza, and failing her
heirs, the Duke of Parma ; and that the claims of
Philip II. of Spain and of the Duke of Savoy were
only legally valid in case of the extinction of the
descendants of Dom Duarte or Edward, Duke of
Guimaraens. The University of Coimbra, after due
consideration, declared in favour of the Duchess of

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Braganza, but Philip II. of Spain cared little for
this opinion ; he had long hoped to sit upon the
throne of Portugal, and to rule over the whole Iberian
peninsula, and he wished still more to add the
profits of the Portuguese trade with Asia to his
own American revenues, and thus fill his exchequer
with the sinews of war for his struggle against the
Protestants of the north of Europe. Philip II. there-
fore set to work to win over the majority of the
Cortes which had been convened at Lisbon, to
settle the succession to the throne. Money and
lavish promises assisted the eloquence of the two
chief supporters af the King of Spain, Christovao
de Moura and Antonio Pinheiro, Bishop of Leiria ;
and when the death of the cardinal-king was an-
nounced in January, 1580, the Cortes was quite
ready to recognize Philip as king, although the
people, or rather that small section of the people
who were Portuguese patriots, felt and expressed all
the traditional hatred against the union of the thrones
of Spain and Portugal.

The death of King Henry hurried on matters, and
Philip, in order to establish himself peacefully on the
throne, entered into negotiations with the Duke of
Braganza. The King of Spain solemnly promised the
duke that he should have Brazil in full sovereignty
with the title of king, and that a marriage should be
arranged between his daughter and the Prince of the
Asturias, heir to the conjoined thrones ; and the
duke, who hated war and loved peace, accepted
these terms, in spite of his wife's opposition. But,
to the surprise of Philip, another competitor for the


crown, to whom he had paid no attention — Dom
Antonio, the Prior of Crato — declared himself king
at Santarem, and, entering Lisbon without opposi-
tion, struck money and began to raise soldiers. This
Dom Antonio was the son of Dom Luis, Duke of
Beja, the second son of Emmanuel " the Fortunate,"
by Violante de Gomes, surnamed " the Pelican," one
of the most beautiful women of her time. Dom
Antonio alleged that his father was secretly married
to his mother, and reminded the people, in a pro-
clamation, that, even if the marriage were not legal,
one of the greatest of all the kings of Portugal, the
victor of Aljubarrota, was a bastard also. But the
Portugal of the close of the sixteenth century, ener-
vated by wealth and luxury, oppressed by the
Inquisition, and with its free population reduced in
numbers, possessed none of the energy of the Por-
tugal of the fourteenth century, and felt no inclina-
tion to fight against the King of Spain, the son of
the great Emperor Charles V., and the uncle and
friend of their lamented monarch, Dom Sebastian.
The brave, but hot-headed and noisy Prior of Crato
could not be compared in warlike prowess or states-
manlike qualities to John of Aviz, and he had no
"Holy Constable" to supi)ort him; and the Cortes
of 1580, unlike that which in 1385 had listened to the
manly words of Joao das Regras, and declared John
" the Great " king of Portugal, listened to the promises
of Christovao de Moura, and rejected the Prior of
Crato. Dom Antonio raised a few soldiers, but the
Duke of Alva who entered Portugal at the head of
twenty thousand men, defeated them without diffi-


culty at Alcantara on August 26th, when the pre-
tender fled to France, and Philip II. was proclaimed

In 1 581 Philip II. of Spain and I. of Portugal, as
he now styled himself, solemnly entered Lisbon, and
in the presence of a great Cortes held at Thomar he
swore on April 15, 1 581, that he and his successors
would observe the following conditions, which had
been settled by his agents. He swore that he would
maintain the privileges and liberties of the Portu-
guese people ; that the Cortes should be frequently
summoned to meet in Portugal ; that the viceroy or
chief governor should always be a native, unless the
king should give that charge to one of the royal
family ; that the royal household should be kept up
on the same scale as hitherto ; that all offices, civil,
military, and judicial, and all dignities in the Church,
and in the orders of knighthood, within the kingdom,
should be conferred upon Portuguese subjects alone ;
that the commerce of Africa, Persia, and India should
be reserved to them, and carried on only in their
vessels ; that he would make no royal grant of any
city, town, or royal jurisdiction to any but Portu-
guese ; that forfeited or lapsed estates should never
be absorbed in the royal domain, but be regranted
to some relative of the last possessor or to some
other Portuguese subject ; that the king should
reside as much as possible in Portugal, and that,
when he did come, he should not take the houses
of private individuals for his officers, but observe
the custom of Portugal ; that there should be always
resident at the royal court an ecclesiastic, a chan-


cellor, a treasurer, and two masters of requests, of
Portuguese birth and nationality, to manage all busi-
ness relating to their country ; that the revenue of
Portugal should be kept distinct from that of Spain,
and spent in the kingdom ; that all matters of justice
should be finally settled there ; that Portuguese
noblemen should be admitted to offices in the house-
holds of the King and Queen of Spain ; that all
customs duties at the land frontiers should be
abolished ; and that King Philip should at once
grant three hundred thousand crowns out of his
royal treasury to redeem prisoners, repair cities, and
relieve the miseries which the plague had brought
upon the Portuguese people. All these conditions
Philip II. solemnly swore to observe, and he was in
consequence recognized as King of Portugal, not
only in Portugal itself, but in Brazil and the Indian
settlements, where Fernao Telles had succeeded the
viceroy, Dom Luis de Athaide, as governor-general.

The other candidates for the crown of Portugal
were obliged to acquiesce in Philip's success ; the
Duke of Braganza, though greatly disappointed at
only receiving the office of Constable of Portugal
and the Order of the Golden Fleece instead of the
sovereignty of Brazil, was too apathetic to resist,
and, in face of his apathy, the Dukes of Parma and
Savoy were forced to surrender their claims, which
were obviously inferior to those of the Duchess of
Braganza. Only the Prior of Crato persisted in his
attempts to win the throne from Philip by relying on
the old dislike of the Portuguese people for the
Spaniards. He was cordially received in France by


Catherine de' Medici, who, though Italian by birth,
was true to the French policy of trying to weaken
Spain ; and through her influence a strong French
fleet of sixty ships of war, with many troops on
board, was sent, under the command of Philip Strozzi,
to the Azores, which had recognized Dom Antonio
in 1580 as king of Portugal, and had refused to
acknowledge Philip. But the ill-luck of the Prior
of Crato followed him ; the French fleet was de-
feated at Terceira by the Spanish admiral, Don
Alvaro de Bacam on July 26, 1582 ; Strozzi was
killed, and Dom Antonio escaped with difficulty to
England. There Elizabeth received him cordially,
and in 1589, the year after the defeat of the Great
Armada, she sent a strong fleet, under Sir Francis
Drake and Sir John Norris, to help him win back
his " kingdom." This attempt also proved a failure ;
Maula Ahmed ibn Mohammed of Morocco was
prevented from advancing to the prior the loan of
two hundred thousand crowns, which he had pro-
mised on receiving Dom Antonio's son, Dom Chris-
tovao, as a hostage, by Philip's timely surrender of
Arzila ; Drake and Norris quarrelled, and the Eng-
lish retired without effecting anything of importance.
The unfortunate prior, finding that Elizabeth would
do nothing more for him, once more went to France,
where he died in great poverty and distress on August
26, 1595. He was buried in the Church of St.
Germain I'Auxerrois at Paris, where the inscription
on his tomb styles him " King of Portugal " ; and
he left several children behind him, who were not
recognized as legitimate, owing to the fact that their


father had taken a vow of chastity on becoming a
Knight of Malta.

The attempts of the Prior of Crato did not affect
the equanimity of PhiHp II. ; he satisfied himself,
when he entered his new kingdom, by making fifty-
two exceptions to the general amnesty, which he had
declared, including Dom Antonio himself and his
chief adviser, the Bishop of Guarda. He returned
to Spain shortly afterwards, leaving his nephew, the
Cardinal-Archduke Albert as viceroy at Lisbon, with
a strong guard of Spanish soldiers. The most in-
teresting occurrences of the cardinal's administration
were the risings of the two first " false Dom Sebas-
tians." It has been said that the lower classes of the
Portuguese people refused to believe that the young
king was dead, and it was not long before impostors
arose, who tried to make profit out of this credulity.
The history of these impostors ^ is as curious in its
way as those of the " False Smerdis," the " False
Demetrius," and the pseudo-Louis XVI I.s, and proves
how strong a hold the memory of Dom Sebastian,
in spite of his being a rash and foolhardy tyrant, had
taken upon the minds of the Portuguese people. The
first two of these impostors, who were mockingly
called the " King of Pennamacor " and the " King of
Ericeira " from the headquarters of their operations,
were Portuguese of low birth, whose risings were
easily put down. The original inventor of the idea
was the son of a tiler of Al^obaga, named Sebastiao

' On the history of these pretenders, see " LesFaux Don Sebastien,"
by Miguel Martins d'Antas, the late Portuguese minister in London,
published at Paris, 1866.


Gonzales, who, after leading a profligate life, had
retired to a hermitage near Pennamacor. From this
retirement he emerged in July, 1584, and declared
that he was King Sebastian ; that he had escaped
after the battle of Alcacer Quibir, and had since been
praying in the hermitage, but that the miseries of his
people had reached his ears, and he had determined
to come forth to remedy them. He was accompanied
by two men, who styled themselves Dom Christovao
de Tavora and the Bishop of Guarda, and began to
collect money in Pennamacor and the neighbour-
hood. The trio were speedily arrested and marched
through the streets of Lisbon to show that they were
impostors ; and the false Sebastian \\ as then sent to
the galleys for life, and the pretended Bishop of
Guarda was hanged. In the following year, one
Mattheus Alvares, son of a mason at Ericeira, de-
clared himself to be the lamented Dom Sebastian, to
whom he bore a considerable personal resemblance,
and solemnly promised to marry the daughter of
Pedro Affonso, a rich farmer, whom he created Count
of Torres Novas. His future father-in-law advanced
the impostor a large sum of money, and he had raised
a small corps of eight hundred fanatical followers,
when the cardinal-archduke thought it necessary to
send royal troops against him. The poor enthusiasts
were defeated with much loss, and both the pretender
and Pedro Affonso were hanged and quartered in

This severe punishment effectually checked the
appearance of any fresh impostors in Portugal itself,
and the populace, though firmly convinced that Dom


Sebastian would one day appear again, were not to
be deceived by any more pretenders.

But these stories had spread far beyond the limits
of Portugal, and two more attempts to personate the
deceased monarch were made in Spain and Italy.
The first of these impostors was a handsome young
man named Gabriel Espinosa, who bore a striking re-
semblance to the King of Portugal, and who was given
out as Dom Sebastian by a Portuguese Jesuit, named
Madujal, who introduced him to Donna Anna, a
natural daughter of Don John of Austria, and induced
her to believed in him. The whole scheme partook
rather of the nature of a personal intrigue than of a
political plot. Donna Anna, who was very wealthy,
showered favours on the young man and his sponsor,
and even advocated his claims to Philip II. The
deception was, however, too obviously absurd to
gain many supporters, and Espinosa and his clerical
adviser were both executed in 1594. Far more
curious is the story of Marco Tullio, a poor Calabrian
peasant, who could not speak a word of Portuguese,
but who nevertheless asserted that he was Dom Sebas-
tian in 1603, twenty-five years after the disaster of
Alcacer Quibir. His story was most carefully worked
out, and his imposture ranks among the most extra-
ordinary on record. He asserted that he was tne
king, and had saved his life and liberty by remaining
on the battle-field among the dead bodies ; that he
had made his way into Portugal, and had given notice
of his existence to the Cardinal-King Henry, who
had sought his life ; that he then returned to Africa,
because he was unwilling to disturb the peace of the


kingdom by a civil war, and travelled about in the
garb of a penitent ; that he next became a hermit in
Sicily, and was on his way to Rome to declare him-
self to the Pope, when he was robbed by his servants,
and obliged to find his way to Venice. When he told
this elaborate tale at Venice, he got a few Portuguese
residents there to believe in him, and was soon
arrested in that city at the demand of the Spanish
ambassador as an impostor and a criminal. He was
several times examined, but stuck to his story so
cleverly, and with such obstinacy, that the authorities,
who were not sorry to embarrass the Spanish Govern-
ment, refused to punish him as an impostor. The
story of his claim spread so widely abroad, that the
enemies of Spain became anxious to prove it true,
and to set him up as a thorn in the side of Philip III.
The Prince of Orange went so far as to send Dom
Christovao, son of the Prior of Crato, to request the
Venetian authorities to make further inquiries ; but
those prudent governors only held a solemn public
examination, when the Calabrian told his tale again,
and then expelled him from their dominions without
expressing any opinion as to its truth. From Venice
he went to Padua in the disguise of a monk, and
thence to Florence, where the Grand Duke of Tuscany
had him arrested and given up to the Spanish Viceroy
at Naples. He was imprisoned in the Castle del Ovo,
publicly exposed, and sent to the galleys ; and as he
made adherents even there, he was transferred to San
Lucar, and eventually executed. The singular bold-
ness of this imposture, and the tenacity with which
the ignorant Calabrian stuck to his story, in spite of


its evident falsity, make it memorable in the history
of pretenders.

The " Sixty Years' Captivity," as the domination of
Spain over Portugal from 1580 to 1640 is called, was
a time of unexampled disaster for the country in
every quarter, and the Portuguese, with their in-
dependence, seemed to have lost all their old courage
and heroism. Under the administration of the
Cardinal-Archduke Albert great efforts were made
to send a powerful contingent to the fleet known as
" The Great Armada," and the destruction of this
fleet by the English in 1588 ruined the naval power
of Portugal. So low did the country fall, that it
could not even defend its own ports, and in 1595 the
English, under Sir Francis Drake, sacked the im-
portant city of Faro in the Algarves. As a portion of
the Spanish dominions, Portugal had to suffer defeat
from all the enemies of Spain. The foremost of
these enemies were England and Holland, and the
Dutch were the first nation to break down the
Portuguese monopoly of the lucrative trade with
Asia. This they did with the more ease, since, with
the true commercial spirit, they not only imported
merchandise from the East to Holland, but also
distributed it through Dutch merchants to every
country in Europe ; whereas the Portuguese in the
days of their commercial prosperity were satisfied
with bringing over the commodities to Lisbon, and
letting foreign nations come and fetch them. The
incursion of the Dutch merchants into Asia was
caused by the action of Philip H. in closing the port
of Lisbon to them in 1594; and in 1595 Cornelius


Houtman, a Dutchman, who had been employed by
the Portii^^uese as a pilot in the Indian seas, and had
afterwards been imprisoned by the Inquisition, led a
Dutch fleet round the Cape of Good Hope for the
first time.

Rut before studying the rapid manner in which,
first, the Dutch, and then the English and other
foreign nations, contended for a share in the Asiatic
trade, and eventually destroyed the Portuguese
power in the East, it is necessary to draw attention
to the fact that this destruction did not commence
until the beginning of the seventeenth century, and
the reign of Philip III, The ruin of Portugal was
indeed due to the policy of Philip II., whose enemies
Holland and England consummated it; but it was
hardly commenced in his reign, which ended in 1598.
Indeed, during that period, when the power of
Portugal was on the very point of extinction, its
Asiatic trade, and more especially its Indian trade,
was at its height.^ Philip II. faithfully observed the
promises he had made to the Cortes of Thomar in
this respect. All the viceroys he appointed were
Portuguese, and he made no attempt to intrude
Spaniards into either official appointments or into
the conduct of the Asiatic commerce. The Portuguese
viceroys of his reign, Dom PVancisco Mascarenhas,
Dom Duarte de Menezes, Dom Manoel de Sousa
Coutinho, Dom Mathias de Alboquerque, and Dom
Francisco da Gama, were all able and cnterprizing
rulers, who increased the prestige of the Portuguese
power throughout the East by many deeds of daring,

' Hunter's " Imperial Gazetteer of India," article, India, vol. vi. p. 360.

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