Visiting Porto Alegre on his way to Uruguaiana, on the occasion of the Paraguayan War, D. Pedro II visited the civil jail of the capital of the Province of São Pedro do Rio Grande do Sul, on July 21, 1865. The presence of the Emperor quickly encouraged some defendants resorting to the petitioner appeal, both to prepare and to make a petition free of charge. This article examines precisely the requests for forgiveness arising from this effect, from the difficulties faced in gathering the necessary documents, the profile of the sentenced, to the supplicant language. In the documents from the Rio Grande do Sul Historical Archives Requirement Fund (AHRS), it was observed that the poor, illiterate and socially marginalized prisoners of the past not only interpreted the context in which they lived and petitioned, but they were also aware of their civil and political rights, pressuring for their fulfillment, especially when they understood or thought they had justice by their side.
Petitionary practice; free petitions; imperial visit; civil jail; Porto Alegre