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On-line version ISSN 2236-4633

Almanack  no.20 Guarulhos Sept./Dec. 2018 



Adriana Pereira Campos1  *

Fernanda Cláudia Pandolfi2  **

Marcello Otávio Neri de Campos Basile3  ***

1 Federal University of Espirito Santo. Espírito Santo - Brazil.

2 Federal University of Espirito Santo. Espírito Santo - Brazil.

3 Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro - Brazil.


This article discusses the political trajectory of priest Marcelino Duarte, a native of the state of Espírito Santo then a peripheral province of Brazil, who became notorious in the political life of the Regency period. The priest kept different political orientations throughout his life, from government supporter to an exaltado liberal and finally became a caramuru. Based on different sources, we investigated his family relationships, political vocabulary, network of contacts and political alliances, aiming to understand his complex personality and his ability to adapt to the intense political transformations of the period. The results of the research, whose main contribution is to better understand the trajectories of this first generation of men of politics in Brazil, suggest that Marcelino was both a person who ascended in politics on his own merits and for belonging to the political establishment of the time.

Keywords: Brazilian Empire; Espírito Santo; priests in politics; press; liberalism in the nineteenth century

This article discusses the controversial publicist Marcelino Pinto Ribeiro Duarte, whose radical language put him in a prominent place in the history of the press and of Regency in Brazil. He was one of the most important editors4 of the Regency press through his journal O Exaltado, and a man whose personal trajectory remains mostly unknown. The relationship between the editor’s biography and the context of his radical rhetoric allows a discussion about the peculiar ascension of the master priest, natural from one of the least expressive Brazilian provinces, Espírito Santo, to the center of the opposition against the Regency in the Court.

1. The philopatrico capixaba5

Marcelino Duarte’s career, as Bordieu6 shows, presents the positions occupied by him in different political spaces in which the “becoming” was linked to successive transformations. To begin this article, we must highlight that O Exaltado’s editor came from the rich Pinto Ribeiro family, whose Portuguese ancestors arrived to the captaincy of Espírito Santo back in the 18th century. The Pinto Ribeiro family, after establishing themselves, became land and slave owners. In the second generation of the family, there were individuals with important charges, such as Marcelino Pinto Ribeiro (Marcelino Duarte’s uncle), master of the College of Canons of the University of Coimbra7, and José Ribeiro Pinto (also an uncle), ouvidor8 of the captaincy9, juiz de fora10 in Campos de Goitacazes and judge of the Bahia Appeal Court11. Beyond this, José Ribeiro Pinto had a business linked to cabotage shipping, with wealth in the region of 20 contos de réis12. The third generation was no less important in the Empire’s ranks, such as Manoel Pinto Ribeiro de Sampaio, named juiz de fora of the Kingdom of Angola in 1811, who, after the Independence, made a career in the supreme tribunals of the country, such as the Bahia Appeal Court, the Casa da Suplicação (a high court of appeals) and the Supreme Court of Justice13.

The magistrate posts occupied by the Pinto Ribeiro demonstrate the family’s success in their search for high posts in the Empire. As Maria de Fátima Gouvêa14 shows, there was a notorious hierarchy between the members of the magistrate and, frequently, the occupation of positions happened through family influence. The presence of a master in Coimbra, a judge in the Appeal Court and a juiz de fora in Angola installed the clan in three domains of the Portuguese Atlantic space. Marcelino Duarte’s position among the Pinto Ribeiro, however, wasn’t auspicious. He was born outside of wedlock and his father was the priest Marcelino Pinto Ribeiro, from whom he inherited the name. This embarrassing fact made him claim that his conception happened when his father was a student15.

The name of the mother of the priest is not known, nor are the circumstances of his birth in the county of Serra in 1788. It is only known that his father, despite his son’s condition, guaranteed the boy’s profiling and education, as well as determined that he would follow the carrier of a priest, passing on to him the ownership of the Latin Grammar professorate when he retired, on October 9th 181516. Thus, Marcelino Duarte became his heir, including his lands and goods, both of which guaranteed him some comfort in Rio de Janeiro.

Besides the embarrassing family position, Marcelino arrived in Rio de Janeiro coming from one of the smallest Brazilian provinces. We can affirm that his trajectory was uncommon among the national elite. And, according to Barman and Barman17, individuals coming from small and weak provinces faced great obstacles to insert themselves in the more central circles of power in the Empire. These conditions put his survival in Court to the test. However, to conciliate political activity with the exercise of the priesthood was not exclusive to Marcelino. Despite the growing secularization in politics, the priests assumed important roles as public men in the first half of the nineteenth century. They formed an important contingent of the ruling elite. Their presence in the Chamber of Deputies in the first and second legislatures reached 22%, having reached 24% in the third legislature between 1834 and 1837, losing only to the magistrates18. Many other priests acted politically in distant regions, often by non-institutional means19, as well as exercised activities as journalists20, which brought them notoriety and political capital. Among other factors, the new administrative structures favored the involvement of priests in politics, since infrastructure of the church and the working of priests were important in elections21. If the figure of the “political priest” was no exception, Marcelino distinguished himself for his affiliation to a peripheral elite as much as for his public visibility as an opponent to the government of the Regency.

Evidently, Marcelino depended a lot on his talent as an editor to obtain some notoriety. That is why his participation in the world of letters and political confrontations began early. This can be assessed by his youthful writings. The master priest’s most acknowledged piece in Espírito Santo is an extremely sentimental epic poem entitled “Defeat of a trip made to Rio de Janeiro in the year of 1817”22. The piece was inspired, according to some biographers23, by the persecution the parson suffered by the governor of the captaincy, Francisco da Costa Rubim. It is true that there was a lot of animosity between Marcelino and the governor. The governor described the Latin master’s behavior in a letter addressed to Thomas Antonio de Villanova Portugal, dated from April 13th, 1818, as disappointing, unpleasant and inopportune. The leader accentuated the priest’s condemnable performance in the festivities related to d. João’s coronation, when many dramatic plays were staged in the village of Vitória24.

Nothing confirms that Marcelino Duarte’s trip in 1817 had the objective of reporting the captaincy’s leader. The poem’s notes from 24 through 28 indeed speak of the persecutions initiated by Rubim against a few espírito-santenses25. Possibly, the reason for the peregrination to the Court was due to the priest’s prosaic ambition of obtaining the Order of Christ’s habit. It was a noble honor accompanied by a small income (terça) and legal and fiscal privileges. To enter the order, the candidate had to prove his “blood cleanliness” and noble life. The symbolic value of dignity gave the honored the distinction of pertaining to the base of the Portuguese nobility.

To ascending families, such as the Ribeiro Pinto, at the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th, it was in their interest, as João Fragoso26 theorizes, to articulate political networks that protected their investments from the humors of the merchant capital. The titration of their members in orders, such as the Order of Christ, enabled them to assume influential positions in the Empire’s administrative framework. Ennobled, the Ribeiro Pinto could boast the command of the Espírito-Santense Republic and protect their interests.

Marcelino Duarte initially considered four months as being enough to be successful in an endeavor so common to his family. Rubim’s opposition, however, prolonged the priest’s journey for 28 months27. For revenge, the capixaba cleric, as Oscar Gama Filho28 suggests, composed the epic poem filled with malaise to his enemy29. His return to homeland happened only after Francisco Rubim’s appointment to another captaincy, Ceará Grande30, in September 12th, 181931.

Without a leader until the new regent’s inauguration, the captaincy tried governing through a board constituted by lieutenant colonel Manoel Vieira Machado, by José dos Reis Mota and by José Azevedo Cabral, the juiz de fora from Campos32. The executive council, during its six-month existence, dedicated mainly to making the agricultural, commerce and navigation of Rio Doce Society feasible, a dream of the Portuguese Empire to enable the exit of merchandise from Minas through the capixaba coast. After this interregnum, on May 20th, 1820, the new leader, Baltazar de Souza Botelho de Vasconcelos, arrived in the lands of Espírito Santo. Soon after, the captaincy fretted over the impact of the Liberal Revolution of 1820 and the resulting reorganization of the goverment33.

It was 1821 when the news of the monarch’s oath of the constitution, still incomplete in Lisbon34, upset the local political elite and parties were formed over Brazil’s next steps. Bazílio Daemon35 registers two military uprisings in Vitória reported by the governor to the Court, in April and July of the same year. The last one happened in the mother church during the oath of the Constitution in the 14th of July, when clamors for the installation of a provisional government in the captaincy were heard. Baltazar Botelho asked the proponents for a signed document for his “safeguard”. Only two men, a beach clerk and an apothecary, met the challenge, and no one else36. At that moment, members of the line troop corps, with disciplinary problems since the year of 182037, had the opportunity to ask for a substitute commander.

The uprising would be simply troop boasting if it had not ended up in the judicial annals of the famous inquest known as the Citizen Process or, simply, “Bonifácia”.38 It was installed in November 1822 by minister José Bonifácio who accused a group, among them the journalists Joaquim Gonçalves Ledo and Januário da Cunha Barbosa of the Revérbero Constitucional Fluminense and João Soares Lisboa of the Correio do Rio de Janeiro, to plot a republican conspiracy39. Its installation refers to the confrontation of the positions of this group on subjects discussed in the Constituent Assembly, against the position of Bonifácio, who feared the loss of the authority of d. Pedro I. Soares Lisboa, for example, wrote about the possible return to despotism which, in his opinion, could occur by means of a veto to the proposals of the Legislature. The Revérbero, despite of praising the Republican regime in North America, was explicitly supportive of the constitutional monarchy. In this way, instead of republicanism, it manifested the constitutional conceptions of nineteenth century about liberties, stability and balance of powers40.

And among all the versions of the boasting we find the poet priest, as a witness, reporting the facts from the 14th of July and the political results of the investigation solicited by the governor. Consonant to Marcelino’s declaration in the case files, due to the shaking and screaming, he would have exhorted the rebellious that “doing the request in that way was not good for the province”41. What was the relationship between the master-priest and the happenings in such a pacific province to the “Bonifácia” and its illustrious defendants? The link to this imbroglio consisted in the authority designated to investigate the disorder in capixaba lands. Luís Pereira da Nóbrega de Sousa Coutinho was responsible to report on the character of those manifestations42. Marcelino Duarte, and four other capixaba witnesses43, in the year of 1822, reported Nóbrega’s trip as a strategy to spread his not too “appealing” ideas and to “mistreat the ditto governor” in the captaincy of Espírito Santo44.

Nóbrega possibly left a ballast of antipathy among the capixabas. Curiously, of the five witnesses in the province of Espírito Santo that attested against the brigadier, three lived in the Court and two nearby on Cano street - the reverends Marcelino Pinto Ribeiro Duarte and Manuel de Freitas Magalhães. Generally, espírito-santense witnesses said that Nóbrega sympathized with the troops’ cause, critiqued the governor and even accused them of being corcundas45 (allies of the Portuguese) for not joining the military pretext. Nóbrega’s defense, in a way, confirmed the capixabas’ version, but replied that there were not enough motives to confirm the defendant as the author of a conspiracy against the constitutional monarchy46. Could Marcelino Duarte be a bonifácio submissive to Andradas’ strategies?

Back to the year 1821, the dissensions in capixaba lands were still exalted and the factions started a fierce dispute to choose the captaincy’s representative in the Lisbon Courts. Marcelino Duarte was elected parish and province voter, confessedly with Baltazar de Souza Botelho’s support47. On this occasion, the reverend won against one of the most influential and rich capixaba men, Francisco Pinto Homem de Azevedo, his cousin. It seems that, although with weakened health, the governor knew how to moderate tempers, and the election of Fortunato Ramos, born in Vitória and master in Coimbra, built certain unanimity between the litigating parts. After the scrutiny and licensing of Baltazar, Marcelino went back to Rio de Janeiro to live in the Court for some time, without leaving his strong and close bond with his fellow countrymen behind.

Once in Court, in 1822, Marcelino Duarte was involved in skirmishes of the process of the Independence of Brazil and saw himself involved in the torrent of disputes between the Andrada, on one side, and Ledo, Januário and Nóbrega, on the other. Knowing this, Marcelino Duarte paid attention to the happenings of his country, as he liked to call his homeland. It was installed the provisional governing board48 in the province on the 1st of March in 1822. However, serious bones of contention embarrassed the capixaba authorities. The provisory board {junta} opened opposition to the excessive authority conferred to the weapons command, with whom he divided the province’s administration49. For the first holder of the post, lieutenant colonel Ignacio Pereira Duarte Carneiro, an ally of father Marcelino, was nominated on an interim basis, whose appointment was made thanks to criteria other than the new elected board. The law forced a highly ranked military man to be chosen and Duarte Carneiro had, at the time, the highest rank among the espírito-santenses. Without the previous governor’s support, Balthazar Botelho, who had left Espírito Santo, the Duarte Carneiro faction lost its influence and the lieutenant colonel did not stay in charge for more than a month.

Julião Fernandes Leão’s50 nomination came from the Court, specifically prince-regent, on April 15th, 1822. He had served in Jequitinhonha, in the region of Porto Seguro, and had served for few years in the provincial troops51. The lieutenant, since 1810, had been focused on controlling the indigenous population of the Jequitinhonha valley and of Doce river, a way of strengthening commerce with Minas52. Duarte Carneiro, member of the local elite, was thus substituted by a man with good relationships with the imperial government. It is worth noting that Duarte Carneiro also answered to Bonifácio’s call and presented himself as a witness against Nóbrega at Bonifácia.

In the Correio do Rio de Janeiro53 a fight over the versions about the events occurred in July of 1822 was consolidated, when the weapons commander and an ordinary judge left the town of Vitória. In July, the priest signed a letter published in the “Correspondence” column in which he transcribed reports of persecutions and arbitrary prisons operated by Julião Leão in his “homeland”. On August the 10th, in numbers 98 and 99, Luiz Bartholomeu das Silva and Manoel dos Passos qualified Julião as “baxá54, “furioso pé de chumbo,” (both specific insults directed at Portuguese supporters) and “enemy of the homeland and supporter of the Lisbon Courts”. New correspondence from the pair, published in two numbers of the Correio, on August the 20th and 21st, carried on with the report, even narrating the outrage promoted by Julião against the Junta when he screamed: “Attack! Death to the Junta! Cheers to who made me weapons commander”. According to Luiz Bartholomeu’s and Manoel dos Passos’ narrative, “People, militia line soldiers” helped the Junta and “brats and common folk” attacked with rocks the 14 or 16 soldiers led by Leão, insulting them with shameful slanders. At night, when calm reigned over the city, Julião Leão surrendered himself to the Junta and was taken as a prisoner to the fortress of Barra de Victoria.

Julião Leão nourished disagreements with captain Luiz Bartholomeu da Silva e Oliveira, who, according to the commander’s version, was searching for signatures in the line troop to evict him from the weapons command55. It is true that Bartholomeu wrote correspondence published in 1822 in which he admitted the organization of a manifestation to the voters, which content was limited to extortion of the subordination to the prince regent, the respect to the constitutional kind and the commitment to the union between Brazil and Portugal56. There was, therefore, a true war of opinions in the province.

Without romanticizing a possible polarization between people and elite, it is affirmable that the ideas of independence helped stir men and politics in espírito-santense lands, an example of what happened in other places in the Brazilian Kingdom. In that same year, African and creole slaves armed themselves to demand freedom in the parish of Serra, pertaining to the village of Vitória. João José Reis and Eduardo Silva57 described a similar situation that occurred in Bahia, where many slave did not wait for their freedom to partake in the fight for independence and ran away from plantations. There was the recommendation in all the Empire to repay such initiative by the slaves by buying the freedom for these individuals. Did such news arrive in Serra and spread among the captives? Or did the words win new meanings between the men and women subjected to captivity?

We can affirm that the vocabulary against despotism and the appreciation of liberty and autonomy inspired the middle and lower classes of the country, much to the elite’s dismay. Seen from above, the projects of these segments were interpreted as seditions and insubordination. Consonant Gladys Sabino Ribeiro58, the homeland was a “limited Community space, where the object of loyalty and dignity, in a patriarchal authority, was the King, now constitutional.” The historian also warns that the historiographical version that identifies the emancipation and the independence with total separation from Portugal in the first months of 1822 are not true59.

The conceptions around the 20s regeneration evolved in an unseen way in Brazil and Portugal. Thus, we can understand the role the master-priest played and his defense of moderation in capixaba lands. On one hand, the proposition of the cause of Brazil as separating from Portugal matured in many capixaba hearts, maybe, even Marcelino’s. The autonomy and constitutionalism, however, still didn’t necessarily translate itself into a separation from Portugal. On the other hand, the movement was destined to specific goals and the population was not authorized to stray from these ideals. Therefore, the priest was quite insistent with the observance of prudence.

The events’ precipitation would accelerate in the second half of 1922 in Brazil. It was not different in the province of Espírito Santo. Some unity between the purposes of the governing junta and the weapons command could be seen in the festive events of commemoration of the Fico {“I’l stay”, declaration of d. Pedro} and the titration of Perpetual Defender of prince Pedro60. In July, however, the differences became unsustainable. In this mix of political expectations, new identities built in the heat of the moment permanently separated the two leading groups. On one side, the junta and, on the other, the command of arms. Would the first be associated to the Brazilian interests and the second one to Portuguese interests? Didn’t the suggestions of corcundas between capixabas come from the rhetoric about the paths to be taken in the cause of Brazil’s independence?

In March of 1822, Marcelino Duarte, under the pseudonym of O Philopátrico published “The indignant Brazil” pamphlet. Brazil’s autonomy seemed a possibility and threat in the pamphlet, because “the Provinces (…) will join in mass soon after the Law that forces them to return to childhood comes (…)”. Thus, the Philopatrico persuaded that the “generous Portuguese” should listen to the representations in the manifestations, because they resulted from the “love for the order and conservation to save the monarchy from eminent danger”61.

In 1826, Marcelino, with a new codename, O Capixaba, published, in the Fluminense Diary62, another version of what happened. He described the pacific trajectory the independence took in the province of Espírito Santo, that only “propagated the recognition of the political Independence of the Brazilian Empire” when the “new Prince was born, as the guarantor, and the Holy Pledge of the Independent Empire’s perpetuity”63. He presented colonel Ignacio Pires Duarte Carneiro as the first capixaba to show interest for the nation’s cause, celebrating a public dinner with his junior soldiers. The festivities would have lasted two days, the buildings of the city of Vitória lit up, plays staged and celebrated chants celebrated.

Using the codenames Philopátrico and Capixaba, Marcelino Duarte64 made two versions of the fact public with the difference of only a few years. In the first, an uncertainty dominated the future, in the second, the future was consolidated, to the point of forgetting the disorders condemned by him when the oath of the Constitution and Portuguese foundations. From Rio de Janeiro, the master priest inserted his reflections in the few journals that circled in that city, between 1822 and 182365.

In March 1823, signing once more as O Philopatrico, Marcelino brought the public the tumultuous version of the independence process in his province, alerting once more against the “pés de chumbo” who governed his homeland. In May 1823, once more in the Espelho, the master priest registered his farewell to Rio de Janeiro and announced his return to his homeland in “defeat”:

As I am leaving, even though I grieve because of it, to the Provence of Espírito Santo to continue in the exercise of my position as magistrate, and it has come to my attention that two revolutionaries and liberal anarchists of 1820, whose names I will hide for now (so as not to be accused of lying) will arrive soon to this city to destroy me because of the letters published in Espelho number 135, in which I showed the abominable character of the provisionary secretary of ditto province {Ignacio Accioli} being the first movement of the two emissaries, the citation of Your Grace to declare the name of Philopatrico signed there. I pray to Your Grace to save expenses and send them to these {?} citizens; and to unburden Your Grace from this commitment, please insert in your next edition in which I sign {...}66

According to the publication, when the independence cycle had barely ended, Marcelino was renewing his disposition of opposition in the middle of the capixaba elite. Not much is known about the priest’s stay in the province of Espírito Santo in 1823. There is, however, in the Diário do Rio de Janeiro, a piece of news about him speaking in the main church of Vitória for Pedro I’s health67. The former ombudsman, Ignacio Acciolli, was president of the province, against whom the priest directed harsh criticism in the Espelho. The brawls cost him his job of Grammar master, an office inherited from his father68. This seemed to be the reason why the reverend returned to Rio de Janeiro to recover his charge judicially and found success with his resource to Desembargo do Paço. It is impossible to define the precise date of his return, but it may have occurred in 1824. After this episode, the poet priest did not return to live in the province, instead paying a substitute to serve in his chair69.

Installed in the Court, Marcelino Duarte ministered classes in his own residence, as presumed by the advertisements published in the Jornal do Commercio70. He even sent a requirement to the Chamber of Deputies, putting himself in disposition to be the redactor of the legislative house diaries71 and beginning, between 1825 and 1829, new incursions in the office of journalism, publishing separate pages and correspondences, under the codenames of O Capixaba and O Amigo da Verdade (The Friend of the Truth)72.

From Marcelino’s correspondence published in carioca newspapers, his style marked by dramatic and rabid rhetoric is noted. The texts transformed his adversaries into treacherous and corrupt men; his friends, unsuspected and honorable victims. The province of Espírito Santo seemed to give place to a new group of people oppressed and subdued by wicked and arbitrary authorities. The master priest justified his epistolary activity as an alternative to advocate for the persecuted and tormented peoples of his homeland. He recurred to the roughest adjectives to expose his enemies’ weaknesses and flaws and left the opponents disturbed with the strong of his inflamed rhetoric. Challenged, he abandoned discretion and revealed the authorship of the articles hidden by nicknames, as he had done in the extra edition of Ástrea73. To the threats of complaint of his declarations, Marcelino answered with more incriminations. Tireless and with no periodic vehicle of his own, the priest used separate pages published in the typography of Ástrea or Nacional. Other times, he would make do with the correspondence column of periodicals such as Astréa, Diario Fluminense, O Espelho, Abelha do Itaculumy, among others. The publications generated replies, rejoinder, due to how the priest manifested his opinions with such forcefulness.

In the years of 1828 and 1829, Marcelino Duarte fought pamphlet battles in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Vitória against the authorities of the province of Espírito Santo. Armed of his erudition and oratory, he reported, with the strength of the newspapers, the annulment of his election to the Chamber of Deputies due to the vacancy of José Baptista Pereira’s, Finance minister, charge. Accused of bribery, when he obtained 56 votes of the 73 of the electoral College, the priest strongly reacted through the press, weakening the provincial strategy of electoral manipulation. The victory was not complete, as the election remained unfinished74.

Marcelino Duarte directed his verbiage against the province’s president, Ignacio Accioli Vasconcellos, his new rival, replacing Rubim. The controversy gathered a few of his old friends, such as lieutenant colonel Luiz da Fraga Loureiro (father), the reverend João Luiz da Fraga Loureiro (son) and colonel Ignacio Pereira Duarte, and old enemies, such as cousin and master captain Francisco Pinto Homem de Azevedo and president Ignacio Accioli. Others also gathered there. In an extra edition of Astréa, the priest detailed his long complaint, publishing the electoral tie in full and his analysis of the facts75.

Priest Fraga Loureiro also used to publish in Astréa under the name of O Prometido Azurrague, whose violent and ironic language was very similar to Marcelino Duarte’s, his friend in a cassock. However, his scourge was directed exclusively to the province’s problems. In 1829, Loureiro lashed out towards Ignacio Accioli and his ally João Antonio de Moraes, accusing them malpractice of public and private money76. Moraes answered to the Azurrague’s arguments in an extra edition77. When quoting the master priest, he attracted him to the debate arena, who in a new extra edition defeated said Moraes78.

Julião Fernandes Leão was another one of Marcelino Duarte’s article’s victims. The Amigo da Verdade would not let him be forgotten. In the year of 1825, the priest was again involved in persecutions perpetrated by Leão in capixaba lands around 182279. Julião tried to explain his difficulties with the War Counsel, blaming Marcelino’s old espírito-santense ally, Fernandes Telles da Silva257. In reply, Marcelino Duarte adopted an ironic tone overcoming Leão in arguments and rhetorical resources. He achieved a true public win over the old military man.

Until the end of the 1820’s, the master priest plunged deep into the writing of the political press and used his poetic talent for political ends. His political ideas changed along with the country. Prudence gave way to exaltation, not so much for the daring of a break with the political concepts in force as the monarchy and the social hierarchy, but for the use of vivid, daring and debaucherous language. The play O cônego Ignez ends this cycle of changes in the cleric’s life, at least in a literary point of view.

In the year of 1830, Marcelino Duarte appeared to the possession of the new councilmen at Rio de Janeiro city’s Chamber, at which he gave, according to Astréa’s editorial81, a rich discourse and sang the hymn Te Deum Laudamus before a large public. In the opportunity, he affirmed:

Brazil does not retrograde; slavery’s irons were not made for Brazilian arms. Brazilian are spirited; they don’t know this crass stupidity that distinguishes the European common class (...). No, gentlemen, we swear the CONSTITUTION, we will not be perjurers. Woe to those who try against Brazil’s Liberty! Brazil has a Perpetual Defensor, has a liberal Monarch. He has assured us that not even the Constitution is more liberal than He is. He will not want to give his subjects the terrible lesson of rebellion and perjury.82

A year later, the ironic praise to the monarch gave place to open criticism. Marcelino Duarte was preparing to face the future. In 1831, he had become a mature 43-year-old man, cosmopolitan, admired and popular. He did not need an old father or a leader’s protection. He was now the roof under which the allies could find peace, shade and mainstay. He was ready for the new events that would curse the monarchy and almost destroy it. The Exaltado was entering the scene.

2. The Exaltado

Not long after Pedro I’s abdication, Marcelino decided to begin the publication of a Court newspaper. The press was an important gateway to public life; a valuable instrument to all of those who wished political projection. It constituted itself as a public arena for debates, yielding a web controversy that, invariably, involved many manifestations of support and challenge in the public space. In the year of 1832, no less than 37 newspapers were released in Rio de Janeiro, among the 53 that were already in circulation. All the political groups at the time were represented by newspapers, which played the role of spokespersons for their projects and interests. The caramurus83, the radical liberals84 (liberais exaltados, in portuguese) and the moderate liberals85 - the three competing factions in the phase of the regências trinas (three-man regencies) - 1831-1835 - answered, approximately, for 49% of the newspapers published in the Court during the whole Regency period (1831-1840)86.

Marcelino’s newspaper was admittedly aligned to the exaltados group, who, just like the caramurus, made opposition to the moderate pro-government87. The title chosen to the publication showed this filiation: O Exaltado, Jornal Litterario, Politico e Moral. It was a typical lampoon, like most of the newspapers produced at the time. The first 56 numbers date from August 4th, 1831, and the last, April 15th, 1835. Regardless of the relatively long duration to the standards of the time, its periodicity was quite irregular, varying from once or twice a week, with no fixed days and suffering a few interruptions (the biggest one was across the entire year of 1834). Each issue had four pages and cost, at first, $60 réis, later rising to 80, whereas the quarterly subscription was fixed at 2$000 rs. It went through many typographies, another sign of the newspapers’ instability: Gueffier and Ca’s., R. Ogier’s, Diario’s, Paraguassu’s, D. of F. Pinto’s, Fluminense de Brito and C’s., and, at last, Nytheroy de Rego & Cia88. The title that headed the first page of each issue expressed the common revolutionary of the exaltados, coated in legal bases; it was the controversial article 145 of the imperial Constitution, which established: “All Brazilians are obliged to take arms, to sustain the Empire’s Independence and Integrity and defend it from their internal or external enemies.”

In its opening editorial, O Exaltado justified its publication due to the criminalization imputed to the representation of the People and Troops sent to the Regency government, captained by the exaltados, occurred in July at the Court. Due to this, and “guided by the most vehement love of the Homeland”, Marcelino affirmed to feel obligated to “enter the hard task of Public Writer”, explaining the title of the journal “for considering myself as pertaining to my, always the same feelings to these nobles’ Class, and meritorious Patriots”. As many other exaltados newspapers, he warned that its “language will be frank, its style popular”; and said that its goals were “to extirpate from Brazilian lands the intrigues, disagreements and rivalries, that highlighted Hypocrites have been wanting to seed among a sincere people”89.

Still in its inaugural article, O Exaltado pointed the “party spirit,” or the “Party divergence,” as “primary cause” of the political commotions that “tear Rio de Janeiro’s public opinion”. In this sense, he made a curious review of the political opinion of three acting parties in the capital of the Empire. The first was the “true friends of Brazil,” the Puritans or Exaltados: “disinterested, and impartial,” who “want more than anything for Brazil to belong to Brazilians”, having as a political opinion the “representative Monarchic Government, lifelong and unitary”. The second was the “friends of the old Governmental administration”, the Moderates’ dominant party, who “did not want reforms, nor changes”: “Its Government System is whatever, as long as it has advantages and interests”. The Republicans formed the third party, dreaded but small, sharing the same “feelings about the Homeland’s luck” as the Exaltados, with the difference that they wished for “Elective and temporary Monarchy”. By the end of the article, a fourth party was highlighted, the Federados (Federated), still small but promising, formed by fractions of the three others: “they want each of the Provinces to enjoy their indisputable Rights linked to each other and to a common center, that is, the Court”90. The political parties’ classification elaborated by father Marcelino did not correspond, however, to the identities and even the political projects touted by the three self-proclaimed groups acting in the Court: the moderates, the exaltados and the caramurus. Momentarily we will see the reason of this dissonances.

However, many other themes and questions were addressed - almost always in controversial ways - in the pages of the newspaper during its existence. In large measure, they signed important matters - even if with its own specificities - of the exaltado political project. Therefore, there is systematical criticism to the Regency government; recurring incitement to uprising; open or hidden manifestations of support to the protesting movements in Rio de Janeiro; reports of political persecutions (including against the editor himself); defense of press freedom and association, and nationalist speeches with anti-Portuguese and xenophobic characters.

But the paper’s most original initiative was the publication of a kind of civic doctrinal dictionary, in which its political concepts were didactically explicated. Entitled Political principles acommodated to the Farroupilha’s capacities, to conversion of Anarchists, it was a set of 23 concepts about the fundamentals and type of government and sovereignty, published in issue number 14, on December 15th, 183191. The development was not exactly new, being situated aside similar initiatives, found in newspapers or pamphlets that highlighted the importance and development of a new political vocabulary and the semantic transformations in course. It was already in circulation in 1821, in Rio de Janeiro, the Diccionario Carcundatico, for example, which had 70 concepts, and a Supplemento with 43 more words, both written by José Joaquim Lopes de Lima92. Even more comprehensive were the 108 concepts defined in 1830, during 49 issues, by Nova Luz Brasileira, main exaltado newspaper of the Court, edited by Ezequiel Corrêa dos Santos93. Although less extensive, the dictionary produced by O Exaltado reveals the peculiar comprehension Marcelino had of key concepts that guided the political debate and also his effort to teach and persuade, as a good rhetoric teacher, part of the so called public opinion still does not affects these principles. As other publicists, he thus performed a political pedagogy of the citizen. In this sense, the first concept being presented discusses What is the government, and its origin:

Men born to society, bonding through conventions; and moved by the natural love of their own; that is, property, invested many times through the force of the braver, and more powerful, saw themselves in need of giving something away of their natural freedom, (...) and to execution of the Laws, and conventional conditions, chose among themselves one or more individuals, to whom they commissioned the care of watching over the execution of the contrasted adjustments contrasted {sic} (...) Those in charge of watching Society’s flaws, and promoting the wellness of it, are called the Government; and the unity between the Will of all the Associates, or its majority, is called Sovereignty94.

O Exaltado defined government in the terms of classic modern theory of the social pact, based in Locke. In this sense, it stemmed from the principle that, in the beginning, humanity lived in a state of nature, in which individuals were free, equal and forfeited to their own private desires. However, these individual wishes, without the control of a higher judging instance, generated disputes that led to a state of war. To avoid the disintegration and safeguard the natural rights of the individual (property, that is, life, liberty and goods), men agreed, tacitly or manifestly, to sign a social pact, organizing civil society and establishing a political body representing general interests. Men’s natural civil rights are, under certain limits, citizen’s civil rights, plus political rights, for example being represented in government, voting and being voted on in legislative elections, sending petitions to authorities and even resisting tyranny and oppression. Whatever the assumed form was, the government should be fixed on the citizen’s sovereign will, ensure civil and political rights, and be guided by a body of laws based on reason and juridical equality, and would be above any will of any governor95.

Following the same perspective, the second definition presented by the newspaper - What is sovereignty? - complements the Locke-based comprehension that Marcelino had about the government’s fundamentals and its relationship with civil society. Thus, sovereignty would be the “...power, that Nations have of constituting themselves and establishing their Governments in the way, and form, they deem best; of changing, and altering the same way of Governments, as many times as this universal Power needs for its salvation, improvement and safety”.

Citing the famous Roman law maximum consecrated by Cicero - Salus Populi suprema Lex esto -, O Exaltado highlighted that sovereignty “resides essentially in the Nation: that is, in the Universal Society”, gathered by the necessity of saving the people. It is thus opposed to the conception of king sovereignty that legitimized the absolutist governments; but even then, it did not align with the Rousseaunian principle of people sovereignty, inalienable and indivisible, fundamental to democratic governments. In this issue, Marcelino steered away from the thought many fluminense96exaltados had. Like Locke, he understood that the people were the source of sovereignty, but was limited to exercise it ordinarily in the moments that they chose their representatives, when they delegated them the exercise of sovereign powers during their mandates97.

The concepts related to the types of political power came from there. Four were recognized as legitimate. The first was the Constituent Power, “through which a certain number of chosen ones in the Society formed the Social Pact, or Constitution,” exercised by the constituent assemblies. The others corresponded to the three classical powers proclaimed by Montesquieu: the Legislative Power, “through which the chosen ones of the society form the Laws;” the Judicial Power, “through which Magistrates competently named for that judge the mistake right in the issues brought by the Individuals;” and the Executive Power, “through which one, or more Individuals elected by the People enforce and execute the Laws and the Constitution.” A fifth power, admitted by a few publicists, called Real, Imperial or Moderador {Moderating Power}, was, according to the newspaper, “an anomaly; and it was only good for promoting corruption, and vandalism of courtiers, or corrupt Employees”. Marcelino here echoed the campaign moved by the exaltados against the Moderating Power, instituted by the Imperial Constitution, or its distorted matrix, the Royal Power, proposed by Benjamin Constant, seen as instruments of despotism98.

Only governments constituted by the first four powers would be legitimate. There were, however “forms of abusive Government,” introduced by the ignorance of peoples and ambition of men, classified by the “philosophers” as three times. The Democratic Government, exemplified by the old Roman Republic, it was in which “4 different Powers are recognized, residing the Sovereign over the People; which distributes the Partial powers, or temporary politics, in the chosen ones.” In its turn, the Aristocratic Government - which O Exaltado alerted would be installed in Brazil, although impractical - was the one in which “the Nation is divided into only two classes. Nobility and Plebs, in a way that the Nobility has the Sovereign and Political power, {…} in an always despotic way: and the Plebs are considered with the negligible condition of rightless slaves”. Lastly, the Monarchic Government is the one where “the Powers; utmost the Executive, resides in one man only, with the title of Emperor, King, Dictator, Protector, Autocrat, Czar, Doge or President”99. This government typology presented by the newspaper was in conformity with the classical Aristotelian conception, which classified the forms of government based on a quantitative criterion: government of many or majority (republic); government of few or minority (aristocracy); and government exercised by only one individual or political body (monarchy)100.

Marcelino, however, preferred to follow another tripartite classification of governments, based on the “modern Publicists doctrine”. Thus, the Despotic Government was the one in which the “Sovereign and political Powers are unknown; and the People, as a group of slaves, or automations, obey blindly and humbly the whim and will of a tyrant”. In the Absolute Government, as it was in Portugal, Spain and France in the decade before (the first two would have gone from absolute to despotic, and the third, from absolute to legal), was “recognized the Sovereignty, and more political powers, but all of them reside in one Monarch; the one who orders the Laws.” On the other hand, the Legal Government, also called Republican or Constitutional, was noted because “all Members of the Universal Society are indistinctively subjected to the Laws. The Sovereignty reside in the People, in which it is not admitted a privileged class (…) Thus the public interest is the real spring”101.

This last government modality, in its turn, was presented in two ways. One was the Democratic Government, a denomination that referred to the conception of republic while an elective and temporary government, in which “competently distributed all the Powers; the Executive is temporarily exercised by many”. Contrary to most of the exaltado fluminense press, Marcelino’s journal was against this political regime, arguing that, at the time, the “disadvantages of purely Democratic republics were already known: that is where the powers were promiscuous between authorities; and the People”. For O Exaltado, the Mixed Monarchic Government was the best, for in it “the people are Sovereign. It exercises the functions of its Sovereignty, choosing the Delegates of the political powers102.” Once more, we can see the Lockean conception of national sovereignty shared by the newspaper. It is also verified that the meaning of a Monarchy is the one, already mentioned, based in the Aristotelian classification.

In this sense, there were three types of mixed monarchy, which combined, with distinct accents, monarchic and republican principles. The first presented, according to the newspaper, was “contrary to the natural right; and easy to fall into an absolute and despotic Monarchy”. It was the Hereditary Monarchy, in which “the State’s constitution establishes the succession to the elected Monarch’s family, called Dynasty”. The second type was the era a Lifetime Monarchy, in which the chief of Executive “exercises his powers throughout his life; and after his death, the Nation resumes the delegation of its Sovereignty, and transmits it to (...) any other Citizen, if the Nation so wishes”. In practice, it was Marcelino’s favorite form, which was considered by him “according to good order and interests of Brazil; and its current circumstances”. There was, still, the Temporary Monarchy, the republic in its modern sense, in which the “Chief Executive is temporarily elected, that is for the time of a legislature.” In appreciation of the viability of this type of government, Marcelino based himself, without quoting, in Montesquieu, who thought the forms of government, such as the laws, should be according to the spirit of each country, that is, with its particular natural, material and cultural conditions; in the case of republican governments, the virtue of citizens, such as the small dimension of the country, would be an indispensable factor to its existence103.

That is the stem of the newspaper’s opposition to the introduction of this type of government in Brazil, “the most natural and legitimate, the best, if the Peoples (...) have the necessary virtues, especially Patriotism; which for Brazil’s disgrace I do not find in the mass of Brazilians, divided in parties, and (...) taught to live underneath the infamous tyranny”. O Exaltado then criticized the designation of emperor, valued by “our people from the countryside” as attribute of greatness and fortune, but would be more appropriate only in despotic, absolute or military governments104.

In opposition to the concept of sovereignty, the newspaper presented the definition of Faction. If the sovereign will was recognized whenever “a will emanated from most of the Nation”, on the other hand, “the part that opposes to this will; even if this part has a greater number of individuals, than most of the Nation, which happens many times, will be called to the faction”. To justify the present political situation of moderates (governing majority) and exaltados (oppositional minority), Marcelino alerted that a smaller party could represent the sovereign will, while the bigger party could be organ of a “sold and treacherous faction”, who, when resorting to arms to sustain itself, became a “criminal, unfair and violent faction”. In the newspaper’s opinion, which claimed to be supported by the “modern Publicists”, such circumstance was “what we are experiencing in Our Assembly where the majority pertains to the moderate party (…) it is not an organ of Brazil’s Sovereign Will, (…) but it is the organ of a Portuguese party, or faction”105.

Lastly, O Exaltado dedicated itself to analyzing the government systems, divided in two types. One of them was the Compound Government, defined as the one in which “two or more different states get close together in a way that they form only one body”. Such governments, in its turn, were of two species, allusive to the United Kingdom and to the Federation. Examples of the first government are Great Britain and Ireland, which, “although not forming one state body they found themselves united underneath one Chief”. The second was formed by governments in which “many departments, or Provinces, were free to govern themselves through their own particular laws, (...), although united, and linked through a general confederation, and permanently underneath a general Government, and a common Constitution”. Thus, like the other exaltados publicists of the Court, Marcelino defended that the federal government “was the only one that could save Brazil from the revolution; and the anarchy of the Mandões {Bossy}; and conserve their freedom, and Independence”. The last concept presented by the newspaper was the Irregular Governments, defined vaguely as those in which “the forms described above were not observed: nor pertain properly to a body made by many regular states”106.

In the following issue, O Exaltado retook the reflection around the concepts defined on the last issue and dedicated itself to analyze the importance of introducing the federalist system to Brazil. A significant change was observed in Marcelino’s ideas, who, in the first numbers of the newspaper, defended the “Monarchic government, representative, lifelong and unitary”, explaining that the “Unitary system, which I admit, without it, Brazil could not be happy, is a fraternal union between all Provinces”107. Maybe they made him switch the position of his charges against the Regency government against him and other exaltado publicists in the Court, carried out in the last portion of 1831, as will be seen later on. The fact is that, in December, Marcelino already proclaimed the federalist system as being “absolutely necessary for the union, and safety of Brazil, in all of its integrity”, and that “the united and federal Brazil has to gain shape, and not a small consideration, and respect between the most considerable Potencies of the Universe”108. Without quoting him, the newspaper reproduced many arguments presented by Montesquieu about the qualities of the federative government, only one capable of fulfilling, in a quick and effective manner, the national necessities of each locality and assuring the liberty and union of the provinces, the national integrity and the external safety. However, Montesquieu’s recommendation that such system would be ideal only to the republics, which, in its turn, should constitute the government regime typical of small sized countries, were left out; these conditions did not apply to the Empire of Brazil109.

In any case, most part of the article was dedicated to reporting recurring cases of arbitrariness and violence practiced by the central government and its representatives in provinces such as Bahia, Pernambuco and, especially, Espírito Santo, “condemned to many years of suffering, and liens of continuous despots”. The newspaper tried to demonstrate how the Court’s intromission in regional matters, above all through the nomination of province presidents with discretionary powers and unrelated to the local interests and realities, constituted as an act of despotism, responsible for the agitations across the provinces.

About his homeland, Espírito Santo, Marcelino said that “throughout 31 years he’s suffered the most degrading persecution”. He then listed a series of governors of the region who, since the beginning of the century, dedicated themselves to “tyrannizing my homeland” (note the meaning of the term as identity of local belonging, in the remaining sense of the Old Regime), from Antonio Pires da Silva Pontes Camargo (1800-1804) to Ignacio Accioli de Vasconcellos (1823-1829), going through Manuel Vieira de Albuquerque e Tovar (1804-1811) and Francisco Alberto Rubim Sá Pereira (1812-1819). At least in relation to this last one - referred to as “the Stupid, vile and rude Rubim, a sailorman with no qualities or virtues”110. Marcelino had personal reasons for attacking him, for it was he who dismissed him from the position of Latin Grammar professor in the then captaincy and deported him to Rio de Janeiro, because his supposed support for the Pernambuco revolt of 1817. The only Espírito Santo governor that deserved praise from Marcelino was Getúlio Monteiro de Mendonça (1830-1831), who, “doted of qualities and virtues appropriate for similar authorities”, presided the province for around four months only, and “deserved respect, esteem, Love and trust from my coprovincials”. Although Gabriel Getúlio left the office to take the general Court deputy’s mandate, Marcelin blamed the “barbaric and pernicious system” of the centralization for him leaving, accusing the Regency government of having dismissed him proposedly to “nurture itself” with the province’s “unhappiness and moans”.

According to the newspaper, none of that would have happened “if my Province enjoyed the same advantages and graces as the federation”. This was the issue Marcelino wanted to address. All the provinces’ problems were due to their subjection to the political and administrative centralization of the Court. Fighting Montesquieu’s argument (again not quoted) that the federalism would only be adequate to republican governments, O Exaltado highlighted that “the Federation does not become incompatible with any form of Government”, as the Germanic Confederation showed111. The identification with the federalist cause saw Marcelino become founding partner of the Fluminense Federal Society, exaltada association founded in the end of 1831, dedicated to promoting a campaign to press the Parliament to approve the decentralization seen in the constitutional reform112.

The critics to the Court’s central government were one of the most recurring themes across the whole publication. One month and a half after beginning its circulation, O Exaltado had already made a terrible balance of the five months after the “Glorious Revolution of April the 7th” (the Abdication). In his evaluation, “a single improvement, a single reform doesn’t show in the government’s system”; “Liberty has never been more persecuted”; the “patronage is being blatantly exercised”; the “despotism rose two more steps on the throne”; and “Corruption and vandalism have never been so imperial in the dropped Judiciary hearts”113. After the ill-fated coup d’etat started by his friend in priestly robes and sharp political adversary, the then minister of Justice Diogo Feijó, in July 1832, Marcelino began defending that the Regency did not de jure or de facto exist anymore. De jure, because he resigned on 30th of July, in support of the coup, and was later kept by the Chamber of Deputies, with no reunion with the Senate for joined deliberation about the issue, in a flagrant “attack against the Constitution”. De facto, because, since José da Costa Carvalho’s removal for health reasons (Marcelino accused him of abandoning his position to run from being accountable to the Justice), there were no longer three regents, as the Constitution established, becoming “unconstitutional and null.” The newspaper’s editor required, “in the name of the Brazilian People,” that the Senate summoned an extraordinary assembly to elect a new Regency, thus “saving Brazil from the dangers of disorder and anarchy”114.

The qualification of the Regency as an arbitrary government was the justification for the non-stop incitement to revolutions made by the exaltado periodicals, based on the proclaimed right to resist the tyranny and oppression, as understood by Locke and Rousseau. Marcelino’s paper was no exception to the rule. The problem was not at the end of Pedro I’s reign, also seen as “tyrannical, despotic and antinational”. O Exaltado celebrated the emperor’s fall, as well as joined his companions about the disappointment with the new government’s directions: “I recognize the Revolution of the 7th of April, not only glorious, but necessary, and the happiest in its causes, although the results did not correspond to it”. Thus, just like d. Pedro fell for bad acts, the same should happen to the Regency. The newspaper chose to upset its public, in particular the “glorious Jurujubas; the bold ones of the 7th of April”, calling them, for action: “Brazilians, until when will you be the mock, the ridicule of the Nations, your own derision? Until when will the National character be unknown among us?”115 Repeating command words recurring in the exaltada press, it urged the Brazilian people, the “spirited and incorrupt Exaltado Army”, to “show up in the Great Day of the Brazilian Nation” (as was named the indefinite day of the future revolutionary explosion). At the end of the article, the message was even clearer: “Brazilians, union. War to the Tarquins who betray you (...) Brazil will be free (…) either die or be free!”116

Marcelino’s revolutionary incline was not limited to discourse. The capixaba priest was directly involved in the movement of 7th of April and, especially, in the Uprising of July 1831, starred by the exaltados. In this last occasion, he was one of the signatories of the representation of the People and Troop to the government, who demanded 89 people considered “enemies of the Brazilian Nation” be banned, the layoff of public employees seen as “enemies of the free Institutions”, and the suspension of Portuguese immigration to Brazil for ten years. Due to this, he was arrested and implicated in the public investigation of the case but was acquitted. In his defense, he attributed the uprising to a maneuver of the moderates to persecute the exaltados and justified the movement as a legitimate act and patriotic duty, being “very normal that the friends of the Nation (…) ran to the place of the meeting, to take weapons”. As for the representation, he claimed to be constitutionally guaranteed for the right to petition, thus not being illegal or anarchic, for “would it be anarchy to recognize the Government’s authority, addressing it petitions and requests? (...) Would it be anarchy to use the right to Petition, a right guaranteed by the Constitution, which for now reigns over us?”117. Minimizing his participation, he also affirmed he only took notice of the movement in the morning of the 15th, and that he had not interfered in the representation’s elaboration, signing it when he, “by chance,” went to the Honor Field, in the beginning of the afternoon. He, however, stressed that he still did not recant from his actions, “right that he had done a great service to his Homeland”118.

The same imputation of responsibility discourse to the moderate government, of victimization of the exaltados and of justifying movements was made by the newspaper on occasion of two other disturbances involving the exaltados: one happening at the theater São Pedro de Alcantara, around the end of September of the same year - “the largest outrage, the most atrocious, barbaric and awful, without similar in the History of Barbarity -”119; and, soon after, in the beginning of October, the ile of Cobras uprising, when they were accused of collusion with the seditious by Evaristo da Veiga’s influent moderate newspaper, the Aurora Fluminense. In response, O Exaltado inverted the accusation, affirming that it had all been a moderate plot, which “had as goal the barbaric death of the Brazilian martyr, doctor Barata; only had as a goal the persecution of the 4 free writers”120. He then asked “which relations the Exaltado’s editor has had for a while with the insurrectionists”; he, who “counted with 21 years of public services provided to the Nation”. Being the ruse was the “doom” (Evaristo) and his “book of Despotism” (the Aurora Fluminense), taken as a sort of fourth power. It was enough for someone to be defamed in the moderate newspaper to be persecuted and fall in disgrace, following the example of the majors Reis Alpoim and Miguel de Frias Vasconcellos, of João Baptista de Queiroz and of Marcelino himself121.

Marcelino reported a series of persecutions he suffered after this episode. In the night of October, the 3rd, he was “provoked with threats of arrest, shots and insulting mockery” by the Municipal guard in the Rosário street, at downtown (where his residence and his school was), following minister Feijó’s orders122. Scared, he left, on the 10th, for a “retreat” outside of the Court, “subtracting myself to the labyrinth of slander, intrigues and treason”, promoted, according to him, by Evaristo and his moderates123. He left behind 109 students that attended the school124. Still, on the dawn of the 27th, his nephew was coerced and arrested by a municipal patrol, who confiscated a reader’s letter which would be published in the newspaper125. Around the same time, Justice promoter Ovídio Saraiva de Carvalho took Marcelino to the accusation jury, reporting numbers 7, 8 and 9 of his newspaper for abuse of the freedom to express your thoughts, in course in the crimes of “seduction, rebellion, sedition, impression; and of slanderer against the sacred People of S. M. I., and the Regents; and against each one of the Legislative Chambers”. By seven votes against five, the jury did not find material to the accusation in number 7, but, by reverse placard, upheld the accusations made against issues 8 and 9. For O Exaltado, the judges favorable to the complaint wanted to “end once and for all the remains of our tattered freedom”; wanted to “make not even moaning the evils of the motherland licit”. Lastly, exclaimed: “Poor Father Marcelino, what thirst do the moderates have!”126

The process against Marcelino was part of the coercive action moved by the government against the exaltados after the ile of Cobras uprising, when many newspapers went out of circulation127. A new repressive wave began in February and March 1832, during Feijó’s maneuver, who substituted the old jury for one that was more in agreement with the government128. Thus, O Exaltado stopped its publication for almost five months, between March 28th and August 16th 1832. When returning their activities, soon after the fall of the ministry, led by the “enemy of the Law, spiteful and bloodthirsty” Feijó, Marcelino affirmed that the new jury’s choice “forced us to shut up; and to all the liberal editors”, and that the “silence originated from fear, which the new Inquisition insisted, not in the Exaltado’s Editor mood, but in the moods of the Typographic Administrators”129.

The newspaper’s return encouraged Marcelino to leave the small “hut” in the site of Saudade, where he spent a year in secrecy, away from the Court, and to live the Vila Real da Praia Grande (now Niterói). He also transferred the Rosário street school there, “surrounded by the municipals’ rifles; stalked by the murderer’s daggers”, installing it in the Conceição farmhouse, “a healthy and pleasant place, away from the inconveniences and the Court’s intrigues, but close to all resources”. The school was destined to receive pensioners and to teaching Grammar, Rhetoric, Latin and Portuguese language poetry, History and Geography, disciplines taught by Marcelino, as well as French, and Moral and Rational Philosophy, taught by a “skilled master.” In four years, every student that “was not entirely talent deprived” would be fit to “enter any university”. In favor of his commitment, the master priest affirmed that, “having many priests, my disciples and in the legal courses of Brazil, and in Europe many known students, not a single one has failed any subjects, that have studied with me”130. Marcelino’s establishment in Niterói was consolidated in 1835, when the newspaper began being printed there, receiving the title O Exaltado, or Os Cabanos da Praia-Grande.

At this point, however, the exaltados were already weakened in the Court, after successive setbacks in the 1831 and 1832 uprisings, and the persecutions that followed. Another government opposition group, the caramurus, seemed to be getting stronger, even if not for long. It is in this context that a minority group of exaltados - which Marcelino was a part of - began defending a strategical alliance with the caramurus, composing what the Aurora Fluminense called an “alloy of disgusting matters,” welded by a “shameful aberration of moral laws,” destined to take down the government by any means131. Searching to identify exaltados and caramurus, Marcelino proposed that, from that point forward, the first denomination was substituted by the second one - “a Brazilian word, and very proper, and analog to those who profess the Exaltados opinion” - in a way that there would be only two parties in the Empire: the caramurus and the crabs (these last ones, “headless shellfish, with no right path or career, proper to designate those who profess the System of those who until now we nicknamed moderates”). O Exaltado, however, did not include among the caramurus the Pedro I supporters, the restorers themselves, for “if there are some, they are so few, and of so little consideration, they only deserve contempt”132. For the newspaper, the distinction between exaltados and caramurus was another way for the moderados to divide the patriotic Brazilian and thus better dominate133.

Although most of the exaltados condemned such an alliance, in Marcelino’s case the link with the caramurus was consummated, as his involvement in the Praia Grande Swoop (following subject), which held him in detention in the Paraguassú prison hulk134. Besides, the newspaper’s last issue addressed the election to the Empire’s single regent, manifesting virulent opposition to the moderate candidacy of Diogo Feijó, his old enemy, and total support to the caramuru Hollanda Cavalcanti: “we hope that the Homeland is saved from the spiteful and quarrelsome man’s anger, who betrayed the Brazilians and their Homeland (...) and no doubt the Most Excellent Sr. Hollanda Cavalcanti will be the guardian angel, who calls to a center of union and friendship the Provinces, which are tearing each other and the Brazilian dissidents apart”135. With Feijó’s victory, once more Marcelino’s hopes are not concretized, which certainly helps to the definite ending of the newspaper, in a moment where the exaltados were leaving the Court’s scene and a rearticulation of political forces began to dawn.

3. The quarrelsome man of Praia Grande

Father Marcelino’s presence in the press, through his paper O Exaltado, subjected him to severe criticism, over all from the moderate editors. They explored the reprehensible aspects of his characters, as a way of personally demeriting him. When he, for example, signed the representation that demanded the Portuguese deportation involved in the conflicts of July 15th, 1831, the press violently questioned his righteousness. The support to the representation was not discussed, but the presence of monsignor Miranda, a known friend of Marcelino. The Aurora Fluminense immediately accused him of being “fake,” citing that “it is more worth being black than being Mr. Master Priest’s friend”136. Posteriorly, the event was retaking to criticize him for signing ditto representation without reading, and for affirming that he did not regret the disloyalty. “What concept must one make of such individual?” chided the newspaper137.

Other critics joined the Aurora Fluminense and the evaluations about Marcelino were becoming even more infamous. They advised the readers to run from the priest, for he had become even more “maniacal”, and O Exaltado was simply composed of “badly shaped sermons”138. The ample repercussion of that paper provoked sarcastic criticism, which classified the political ideas propagated as extravagant and ridiculous. It was said, for example, that the editor used the scriptures to prove that God was favorable to the exaltados. O Grito da Pátria, for example, warned in its 56th issue: “Which doctrine will the Exaltado Priest preach, who found in the Holy Scripture so many pieces in Latin, to prove that God likes the Exaltados!”139

They also accused him of being boring and repetitive, and for reiterating the same imputations against the government. Highlighted the degradation of his writing, which made him even more “burlesque”140. They depreciated the reverend’s ability of expression, accusing him of speaking like “any black man”, who could even “say it better” than the “Master Priest of the Exaltado141. To belittle his ability as an editor even more, the Aurora Fluminense published the following rhyme, ridiculing him:

It’s Father Marcelino.

Who is far away from the city

Eating his guavas

For fleeing from the storm142.

But the father did not receive only criticism. In his defense, Cipriano Barata reported the mockery dispensed to the priest143. The known newspaper A Malagueta, of liberal exaltada editorial line, highlighted the importance of “Sincero Padre Marcelino”144. Rejected the adjective “anarchic” directed toward Marcelino: “Can’t you see Mr. Editor, that Father Marcelino was never an Anarchist, unless Mr. Evaristo does not want to issue a sentence of political excommunication to those who do not think like him?”145. The articles in defense of Marcelino, though, were scarce, if compared to the many attacks directed toward him by the Aurora Fluminense, which certainly led him to worry about his own survival in the middle of the mishaps in the revolts and of the persecutions he suffered.

Recurrently, however, the moderate press characterized Marcelino as a man of contradictory beliefs and moved by the ambition of power. The priest’s pass was often used as proof of his political opportunism, especially his old position in favor of Pedro I’s government. They remembered, for example, Marcelino’s place in the Bonifácia, when the public investigations against Ledo, Januário, Nóbrega, and others. Besides, they evoked the exaltado’s censorship during the installation of the provisory government in the captaincy of Espírito Santo in 1821, although the Portuguese Courts authorized it. Also, the rallying against the government, the insults to the emperor and the demand of “armed deportation” were seen as flagrant contradictions with the old positions of the master priest146.

The Aurora did not bother to remember that Marcelino swore against the supposed “republicans”, besides being an “enthusiast” and “humble servant” to the Andradas147. To the adversaries, however, it seemed impossible that the old man of the order became a true liberal exaltado. The Aurora affirmed:

When we speak of exaltados, we have no intention of touching the Master Priest, old and professed servant of the Andradas, who is ready to go through with his masters all the circle of political beliefs, from the most exaggerated republicanism, all the way to the doctrines of the absolute regime. The Master Priest is not an exaltado: he took this name, for it seemed convenient, and now keeps it for decency148.

In view of what was exposed, one must consider such versions as part of the moderates’ narrative, who reacted to the intense polarization in the streets and the threat represented by the construction of the opposition block composed by exaltados and caramurus. These last ones were seen by Aurora149 as a shy group, composed mostly by courtiers and public workers who had lost influence in Pedro I’s government. The moderates thus produced an opinion about the caramurus as a small political force which, mostly, has become predominant in the historiography.

The approach between exaltados and caramurus, despite their ideological differences, was perceived by the moderate press as scandalous. In 1832, the Aurora Fluminense announced that the master priest was inviting the exaltados to join a common cause with the caramuru “gang”150. The Aurora Fluminense reported the “courtesy” with which the exaltados were treated in the caramuru newspapers151. In 1833, indeed, O Sete d’Abril reported Marcelino among the Praia Grande voters pertaining to the “Caramuru Sect”152. It seems that other exaltados, and not only Marcelino, built a strategic alliance with the caramurus, especially after 1834, in an attempt of strengthening the opposition to the moderates153. The union of the two groups was “repugnant” to Evaristo Veiga, editor of the Aurora, not only criticizing the alliance, but tacitly recognizing the danger represented by it154.

In October 1832, when Marcelino, in O Exaltado, included Espírito Santo in his reflections about the political principles of government and sovereignty, the Aurora Fluminense converted his preoccupations into opportunism and hunt of votes from the local voters. In a mocking tone, they summed up the subliminal message in his article: “Voters of the Captaincy {sic}, here am I who was born in this province, elect me deputy (...) see that the annual 6 thousand cruzados of the subsidy make me a great deal (...)”155. Thus, they reduced the exclusively pragmatic publication to a pragmatic and electoral articulation.

In Marcelino Duarte’s homeland, the alliance between caramurus and liberais exaltados had materialized around the cabal of votes. Consonant publication of that paper, in 1832, the caramurus offered Antonio Carlos de Andrada Machado as a candidate to the espírito-santenses. The postulate, however, was not welcomed, and, in his place, they presented the name of Marcelino Duarte, although he was an exaltado. After naming the Electoral Committee, the “caramuruana faction” realized that the master priest had the minority of votes, that is, 10 suffrages in a body of 70 voters. In this moment, father Fraga Loureiro, the old Azourrague and “disciple” of Marcelino, incited the population to annul the election, coercing the electoral college with shouting and threats. The Aurora described the electoral scenario composed by barefoot men armed with knives and pistols, along side soldiers and “criminals”. They say that everything that happened was documented in minutes, and the voters, due to such events, decided to go back to their homes156. Indeed, in the years 1832 and 1833, many conflicts between two factions named caramurus and peroás exploded in the village of Vitória. However, the political disputes were mixed with religious disputes, involving the sisterhoods of the Rosário (peroás) and of the São Francisco convent (caramurus)157.

These events indicate how Marcelino won prominence in the Court with the help of groups of his home province. Beyond the burlesque and caricatured image projected by the Aurora and other moderate newspapers, the priest’s network of contacts with his province and the disposition of his fellow citizens to support him stands out. Despite this turbulence, Marcelino ran for deputy in the elections, but the voting in Espírito Santo left him in third place on the list of candidates158.

Marcelino went back to the moderate newspapers’ pages in 1834 right next to caramuru José Abreu e Lima, in the movement known as Rusga da Praia Grande {Praia Grande Swoop}, sometimes also called Cabanada da Praia Grande159. Praia Grande, like São Gonçalo and Jurujuba, were regions in the surroundings of Rio de Janeiro that favored the hiding of politicals who sought to escape the persecution and surveillance of the government of the Regency. In these localities were sheltered in particular the caramurus and some other famous conspirators, who counted on the sympathy of a good part of the population. The participants were named new cabanos, in reference to the “cabanos way” of making war and for living off “robberies and looting”, as well as through the grooming of slaves and quilombolas160. The word “rusga” designated the possible or real movements organized and disturbing of the order, but without ample mobilization. Although the complexity of this even deserves a more detailed analysis, it is important to highlight, for this article, Marcelino’s participation. The place where the event happened, Praia Grande (now Niterói), was considered by the moderates, as said before, a stronghold for the caramurus, as they counted with the support of a large part of the population, including some local authorities. Regardless of attributing the leadership to general Abreu e Lima, to Marcelino Duarte they imputed the “scholarly guidance”, due to his “eloquence” and for his “revolutionary talents”161.

The imminence of the uprising was reported to the authorities by a commander of the national guard of São Gonçalo, on February 14th, 1834. The participants were found gathered at the Pehiba farm, owned by José Justiniano, caramuru and priest master’s close friend. Reports state, the government mobilized its repressive forces, sending two armed jolly boats, besides troops and crews formed by 40 men, and they apprehended 117 arms, 17 bayonets and three horses, one of them being used by Marcelino. On the 15th, backup reached the city with 40 permanent national guards, on foot and by horse162. According to the captain responsible for surrounding the farm, as published in the Correio Oficial163, Marcelino was arrested in the 19th, along with 13 “badly dressed” individuals, among which were four Germans and a Portuguese. Some of the arrested stated they were seduced into the movement for the promise of ten daily tostões, which, however, they had not received until that date. In the case of questions made by the squire of Praia Grande, José Francisco Primeiro and Antonio Apolinário identified Marcelino’s house, near Justiniano Coutinho’s Pehiba farm, as the place of reception of newly-enticed who, posteriorly, headed to another house with the weaponry and hid in the jungle164. The priest’s effective participation was even clearer when, in June 1834, 27 rifles were found buried in a ditch in the farmhouse where he lived (around the Pehiba farm)165.

As for the repression of the Swoop, the moderates boasted about it being dismantled without a single shot and for counting on low mobilization, with around 70 “miserable” men, most of them foreigners, “seduced” by the promise of payments and commanded by deserter officers. The testimony of the arrested participant of the swoop, highlighted by the Aurora, gives us hints of Marcelino’s importance in the movement’s organization. The deponent points Marcelino as the exclusive author of the “campaign”, and as sole owner of the found weaponry, which would be used in the “defense of Pedro II” threatened of death by the “Regency and the Ministry”166.

In April 1834, the priest was held aboard the Paraguassú167, after which information about his destination becoming scarce. The few pieces of information found had a mocking tone, either to mock the correspondence sent from the prison, or to belittle Marcelino’s political importance, when affirming that master priests were not exclusive to Rio de Janeiro168.

In defense presented to the jury of sentence169, Marcelino began his allegations affirming that he sought refuge in the farm of his friend José Justiniano Corrêa de Azeredo Coutinho, a “beneficent man”, where he established a farmhouse that became his residence, to protect himself from the “Jacobin persecution” by the moderates. He reiterated not resisting the imprisonment because he was “resigned to all violence”. Although he acted like that, he declared that his house was surrounded by two chiefs of the Municipal Guard and the arrestment happened in the middle of a series of musket shots170. Finally, he revealed being involved in that “ridiculous conspiracy” by fifteen “choir leaders”171 of the enemy faction (that is, moderates)172. He obtained success in his defense, being acquitted by the Praia Grande jury, as the press announced in January 1835173.

Surprisingly, in the elections for Regency, in 1835, Marcelino not only ran but also gathered 13 votes of the electoral college of the city of Vitória, with 50 electors, guaranteeing the fifth place in that contest174. He also briefly returned the publication of O Exaltado, as the Aurora ironically reported when mentioning the continuation of the paper bearer of “crippled language”175. That was the last mention to the priest, for in December 1835, the Aurora went out of circulation176. Above all, in 1835, the old party identities were slowly redefined and stripped of their previous references, the political elites began positioning themselves solely as pro-government and opposition and, posteriorly, as regressive and progressive177. In this context, the Marcelino exaltado disappeared and was no longer a threat to the current order.

If, on one hand, he was no longer the exaltado master priest, on the other hand, he was still involved in controversy in the political world. He responded, in 1836, for a crime of abusing the freedom of the press, due to the reporting of issues 15 and 18 of the newspaper Raio de Jupiter, published in Niterói by Typografia Niteroy de Rego & Co.178 Among the many laws that regulated the activity, the one from September 1830, considered attacks directed to destroying the Representative Monarchic System and inciting rebellion against the emperor a crime179. Marcelino was accused of being one of the owners of the typography, along with a Manoel Gaspar de Siqueira Rego, whose name is also in the records of the Praia Grande Swoop180. However, the priest got a habeas corpus and, later, the invalidity of the process, due to a jurisdiction problem, for the district in which the process was happening was not the same as where the defendant lived.

Living in Niterói, Marcelino began a new phase in his life. He reached a privileged position in the local elite local, holding elective positions at the local level, such as squire in 1835, and city councilor between 1837 and 1850. He ran and won the position of deputy for Espírito Santo, finally, in the legislature of 1838-1841. In 1840, during Dom Pedro II’s visit to the city of Niterói, he was named to salute the emperor, occasion in which he received the tile of Imperial Knight of the Order of the Rose181. He preserved his contacts with his home province and, on occasion of his arrival to the city of Vitória in July 1850, he ordered that an ode to his “friends” and “patricians” was published in the Correio da Victoria182. In the same year, he ran for a position in the Senate, obtaining 25 votes in the capital’s college, in asset of 65 voters, occupying, this time, the fourth place between the capixaba candidates183. In the calculation of all the electoral colleges, with 99 voters, he kept the 25 votes and the fourth place for senator and, thus, did not get votes in the colleges outside of the capital184.


Marcelino, therefore, was both a person who ascended in politics on his own merits and for belonging to the political establishment of the time. His political trajectory evidences his constant participation in the press and long political and parliamentary activity. He made a large network and counted with supporters in Rio de Janeiro, Niterói and Vitória. He did not get enough votes in the countryside of his home province, for certainly his influential friends were within the borders of the capital. He survived among the critics of the moderates and did not succumb to the disintegration of the radical liberals group. If he paid the price for adopting positions in the two ends of the political field, his ability to adapt, as the Aurora accused him, took him closer to the caramurus, a path rejected by the radical wing of the exaltados liberals. The description of Marcelino’s trajectory in the search for ascending positions in his political career can, thus, contribute to better understanding the challenge of this first generation of political men in Brazil, especially those linked to the Republic of Letters.

In the select group of radical intellectuals based in the Court of the Empire, Marcelino was willing to fight nonstop against his adversaries. From the old prudence of his times in the captaincy, the master priest adopted the rapture of the firearms, besides ink and paper, to whip his enemies and reach his goals. Marcelino figured in the memorable Rusga da Praia Grande, controversial episode of violent action against the government, which father Januário eternalized in a play staged in the Rio de Janeiro theater. The moderate press charged him the old pragmatism that made him disapprove the capixaba troops in 1821 who required immediate election and installation of a junta to govern the captaincy of Espírito Santo. They accused him of being contradictory, selfish and covert. The exaltados, however, never doubted of his loyalty, and from the unquestionable Cipriano Barata’s quill flowed the defense of the poet priest. Strategically, though, he approached the caramurus for his opposition’s fury. The distinct positions throughout this restless monarchist’s life, bearer of liberal sovereignty concepts, but overall able of helping new causes, such as the federalism, for love to his espírito-santense homeland and to Brazil’s cause, must escape from the Manichean reading produced by the moderates, in a way of revealing the complexity of this capixaba, friend of the homeland (philopátrico), exaltado and rusguento.

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Received: April 16, 2018; Accepted: August 26, 2018


PhD in History for the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Professor of the Graduate Programs in History and Law of the Federal University of Espírito Santo. Researcher of CNPq, FAPES (Foundation for support Research and Innovation at Espírito Santo, and CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel) E-mail:


PhD in History for the São Paulo State University (UNESP-Assis). Postdoctoral researcher at the Graduate Program in History of the Federal University of Espírito Santo. Research funded by FAPES / CAPES. E-mail:


PhD in History for the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Associate Professor of Brazil History in the Multidisciplinary Institute at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro. Professor of the Graduate Program in History at Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro.

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