Brazil History Part 15

Until 1812 the various governmental providences felt the influence of Don Giovanni’s prime minister, the count de Linhares, who undoubtedly endowed Brazil with wise and lasting institutions, while never forgetting that the metropolis was Portugal and did nothing that could impair its supremacy. In short, Brazil’s progress, he wanted, but political dependence on the small European state. Therefore the Linhares – instigated by Strangford and the Spanish minister Casa Irujo – was responsible for the establishment of a well-organized police force, charged not only with repressing common crime, but also with carefully monitoring foreigners, especially those who arrived. on French and North American ships, fearing the introduction of dangerous democratic ideas. Until Don Giovanni’s arrival, Brazil had had, as major educational institutions, the two seminaries, both in Rio de Janeiro, of S. Joachim and S. Joseph, in which, exclusively ecclesiastical professors, Latin, Greek, French, English, rhetoric, geography were taught, mathematics, philosophy and theology. In the period of the Linhares ministry, that is, until 1812, the year of the death of that minister, high schools and institutes of culture multiplied. In the military hospitals of Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, five-year courses of surgery were created; in 1809, the Academy of Ensigns was founded, with an adjoining astronomical observatory, and in 1811 the Military Academy, which was almost a Polytechnic for the vastness and variety of technical teachings; in the same 1811, the Aula de Commercio, which was very popular, in which Silva Lisboa taught political economy. Also of 1811 is the decree of exemption from military recruitment of students enrolled in public and private schools of the father de Figueiredo Moura. Only it was not possible to found the university, due to the tenacious opposition of the Portuguese element, which was concerned about the fate of the glorious university of Coimbra. According to CACHEDHEALTH, there was also, around that time, the Academy of Fine Arts, with teachers brought in from France; the Natural History Museum, the Botanical Garden, the Bahia Public Library, opened in 1811; the Royal Library of Rio de Janeiro, inaugurated in 1814 with a collection of 60,000 volumes; the royal printing house; a new theater. The favor granted to industries and commerce manifested itself with the founding of the Banco del Brasile, the ironworks of Ipanema, of a powder factory directed by the Piedmontese Napione, etc. Even the periodical press took its hold. The remembered Correio braziliense (1808-1822) was printed in London; but in 1808, the unofficial Gazeta do Rio de Janeiro began publishing, and in 1811, in Bahia, A edade de ouro. From 1813 to 1814, O Patriota, a literary, political and commercial magazine, was published, in which the best geniuses of the time, such as José Bonifacio, Silvestre Pinheiro Ferreira, etc. collaborated.

Of course, there is also a downside; that is, the bad financial administration and the incredible corruption, which rapidly spread to all public offices, especially after, in 1815, Brazil was elevated to the rank of kingdom and the regent took the title of John VI. The tax burden was necessary both to maintain the immense court (despite the king, personally, was thrifty), and to meet the expenses of the armies in the countryside; since Don Giovanni, obeying the suggestions of his wife Carlotta Gioacchina, who caressed grandiose plans, allowed himself to be drawn into warlike enterprises. Thus, in 1809, there was the conquest of French Guiana, then returned to Louis XVIII in 1817; thus, the conquest of the Banda Oriental (Uruguay), which cost the exchequer a great deal and did not have a lasting result. After a few years of residence of the court in Rio, the condition of the finances was disastrous, the treasury was exhausted, all means were tried to reduce the taxpayers. In those years, the Brazilian citizen, in addition to the traditional tithe on the products of agriculture, pecuaria and fishing, and the customs duties of entry and exit, paid the “national subsidy” or “royal”, raised on fresh meat, leather, brandy and wool; the “literary aid”, for the maintenance of the masters, raised on slaughtered cattle and on alcohol; the tax for the benefit of the Banco del Brasile on shopkeepers, with the exception of barbers and shoemakers only; the sumptuary tax on owner’s cars; tax on refineries; tithe on the income from real estate; another tithe on the sale of the same; half a tithe on the sale of slaves; withholding tax of 10% on the salaries of government employees; stamp duties, driving licenses, stationery, post office, salt, anchorage, etc.; and all this, without counting the particular taxes of the different localities. The public rent, with these expedients, had been increased from 2,258 “contos”, what it was in 1808, to 9,715 “contos” in 1820: that is, more than quadrupled. The expenses, in proportion, noting the incredible increase in those for the royal house, special pensions, etc.

Brazil History 15