THE LIBRARY OF IBERIAN RESOURCES ONLINE
A History of Spain and Portugal
Vol. 2
Stanley G. Payne

Chapter 22
Portugal under the Nineteenth-Century Constitutional Monarchy
 

[513] By the end of the eighteenth century the weight of Portuguese society had begun to shift for the first time since the Middle Ages. Though the traditional peasant structure remained almost unchanged, a new upper middle class of wealth and potential influence was beginning to emerge. It was made up of elements of the commercial bourgeoisie in the coastal towns, an elite of educated bureaucrats and officeholders, and some of the nonaristocratic and petty noble landholders in central and south-central Portugal. The traditional aristocracy was already in decline. However, the incipient shift in the weight of Portuguese elites had no immediate political consequences, for the preeminence of the virtually absolute Portuguese monarchy remained unquestioned. The reforms of an elitist enlightened despotism fulfilled nearly all the ambitions of the new upper middle class.




With the beginning of the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, Portugal entered a period of more than fifty years in which major issues were decided largely by the influence and pressures of foreign powers. Portugal continued faithful to its alliance with Britain during the French wars, and sheltered by geography, was able for a time to remain largely independent of French imperialism. In 1801, a petty border invasion by Spanish forces acting the role of French satellite seized the Portuguese border district of Olivença in what was called somewhat derisively the War of the Oranges. Under French [515] pressure the Portuguese crown was forced to pay an indemnity to Spain and make commercial concessions to France. The Olivença district has been a part of Spain ever since.

Nevertheless, the Portuguese crown still endeavored to maintain its neutrality in the European wars, intermittently shielded by the British fleet. By the time that Napoleon's continental power reached its height in 1806-1807, Portugal was the only state outside his control. Under overwhelming French pressure the crown finally agreed to declare war on Britain in the autumn of 1807, but this move came too late to stave off invasion by a French army, operating with Spanish assistance. The royal family fled with all the court to Brazil, leaving a virtually inoperative regency council behind.

The French "conquest" was a mere walkover. Most of the Portuguese elite did not seem willing to resist the Napoleonic variant of enlightened despotism, but patriotism was stronger in the lower classes. The sparks for revolt came in 1808 from a British naval blockade in the Atlantic and the beginning of the great Spanish uprising against French imperialism. With the small French garrisons in Portugal depleted, rebellions broke out in the principal towns of the north and spread throughout the kingdom. Municipal and regional juntas were formed in a manner somewhat parallel to the Spanish.

The Portuguese resistance was, however, less independent and spontaneous. Militarily it relied on British assistance. The expeditionary force under Wellesley, together with Portuguese contingents of equal size (though not equal strength), repelled three successive French invasions from Spanish territory (1808, 1809, 1811). Britain bore much of the expense and provided nearly all the equipment for the Portuguese military forces, which were placed under the command of a British general, Beresford. Moreover, the leading elements of the Portuguese resistance did not demonstrate the same degree of localist and reformist zeal that marked much of the Spanish defense. Subordination to the center was much greater in Portugal, where British military and diplomatic influence was predominant. Only a score or so writers and journalists supported a radical Portuguese brand of liberalism, and in 1810 they were deported to the Azores and Britain. Altogether, the war may have cost the lives of a quarter-million Portuguese. It ravaged portions of the countryside and depleted what was already the most antiquated transportation system in western Europe. The aftermath was scarcely more promising, for Portuguese commerce was wrecked, the treasury empty and more deeply in debt. Portuguese representatives were virtually ignored at the Congress of Vienna. Very little compensation could be expected [516] for war destruction, and in Britain, sentiment was building for intervention to close the Portuguese slave trade.

The royal family remained in Brazil, which now exceeded the mother country in population and greatly surpassed it in commercial importance. In 1815 Brazil was raised to the nominal status of kingdom, making it theoretically equal in juridical right with the mother country. An independence movement was building among the upper classes of Portuguese America as among those of Spanish America, yet the settlement of the royal family in Rio de Janeiro in 1807 had given Brazil much greater attention from the royal government, making it the temporary center of the empire, and so checked rebellious feelings. Mad Maria I finally died in 1816 and the prince regent ascended the throne, still in Rio, as João VI (1816-1826). As a ruler he was irresolute, wanting in willpower and insight. In Pernambuco a republican revolt broke out in 1817 and lasted for ten weeks, until it was put down.

At home in Portugal discontent spread among influential elements after the end of the war. Commerce, which had remained fairly strong until 1807, did not recover, and the trade of Brazil was increasingly controlled by Britain. The crown was far away, providing no leadership and leaving the government of Portugal under a royal junta and more particularly under the British general, Beresford, who remained commander-in-chief of the Portuguese forces. There were two foci of liberal reformism, largely paralleling those in Spain. One was among the proto-bourgeois of the port cities and the middle class intelligentsia. The exiles of 1810 had generated a great deal of publicity abroad and stirred up a following among the very small politically conscious minority. Some of the political intelligentsia had assumed a radical Jacobin orientation, but most thought in terms of a moderate representative system. The second focus was among the officer corps of the Portuguese army, which had become much more important during the war. A minority of the officers had been influenced by liberal ideas, and some had joined Masonic lodges. Finally, among the local notables and aristocrats in some rural areas there was support for conservative, semitraditional reformism, aimed at achieving an attentive national government more concerned with local needs, but eschewing drastic reform or change in political representation.

One conspiracy was discovered in 1817 which led to the arrest and execution of Gomes Freire, ranking active general in the Portuguese army and head of Portuguese Freemasonry. The repression made Beresford's rule even more odious, and the first effective liberal group was organized by a secret society called the Sinédrio (from a Greek word for assembly), founded in Porto in 1818. It was not a Masonic lodge, and of its thirteen leaders eight were bourgeois, three were [517] officers, and two were aristocratic jurists. Porto had remained throughout the early modern period the economic center of northwestern Portugal, drawing on a large hinterland in the Douro-Minho regions.

The Sinédrio's opportunity came after the successful Spanish revolt early in 1820. The Portuguese rebellion broke out at Porto in August. The towns of the northwest and center rallied to it, and liberal juntas were formed in Porto and Lisbon. At first the only goal clearly agreed upon was the elimination of Beresford and return of the monarchy from Brazil. But the crown showed no interest in returning to an uncertain welcome, and in November the liberal leadership was reconsolidated. Army commanders were disgruntled at the command of the new civilian Junta that had been set up, and planned a coup to increase their own influence. Liberal opinion was strong among junior officers, however, and the pronunciamiento of senior commanders on November 11 (the Martinhada, since it was St. Martín's Day) imposed on the Junta acceptance of the voting norms of the Spanish Constitution of 1812, while balancing this with the appointment of conservative members to the Provisional Junta. Eight days later a counter-pronunciamiento by some of the most liberal officers reduced conservative influence, and elections for the constituent Cortes of 1821 were held under the Spanish three-tier system of semidemocratic but indirect suffrage. The Portuguese clergy split on the issue of parliamentary government; the cardinal-patriarch and most of the hierarchy were intransigently opposed, but many of the lower clergy showed rather strongly liberal sympathies.

The constituent Cortes of 1821 was the first representative assembly to meet in Portugal since 1689. The composition of its membership by professions is shown in table 11. The characteristic that the deputies had most in common was that the great majority of them [518] represented the rural and landholding upper middle class and were especially interested in advancing the position of that class. The most conservative deputies were those chosen from the Beira region, seat of the country's only university (Coimbra).
 


Table 11. Composition of the Portuguese Cortes of 1821

 
Magistrates and jurists 39
Teachers and liberal professionals 21
Clergy 16
Military 10
Physicians 6
Landowners 5
Merchants 3
100
Source: Fernando Piteira Santos, Geograna e economia da Revoluçao de 1820 (Lisbon, 1962).
 



The Portuguese constitution of 1822 was not merely the first modern constitution of Portugal, but in some ways was the most radically democratic political charter the country has ever had. Even the Republican constitution of 1911 was less democratic, because of its sectarian anticlerical provisions. The goal of the drafters of the new constitution was to limit the power of the crown, establish a representative system, guarantee individual rights, and create a rational, unified legal system. Their chief inspiration was the Spanish constitution of 1812. The new Portuguese document, declaring that "sovereignty resides essentially in the Nation," established a unicameral legislature to which the executive would be responsible, independent of the crown. Parliaments were to be elected biennially by direct universal male suffrage, excluding only women, illiterates, and friars. Equal constitutional rights were posited for all male citizens, and separate legal jurisdiction of seigneurial and church domains was abolished. The Inquisition and special ecclesiastical courts were done away with. Yet despite this drastic reordering of Portuguese legal principles, the new constitution tried not unsuccessfully to reach a compromise with traditional institutions, safeguarding a monarchy that would reign but not rule, preserving the religious and economic interests of the church, and not imposing social and economic reform on landholders.

Meanwhile a liberal rebellion had broken out in Brazil at the beginning of 1821, encouraging João VI to return soon afterward to Portugal, leaving his son D. Pedro regent of Brazil. His attitude was much more cooperative than that of his Spanish contemporary Fernando VII, and he was ready to accept a system of constitutional monarchy. However, a primary aim of the Portuguese mercantile class was to reassert sovereignty over Brazil and regain control of Brazilian commerce. This was unacceptable to the dominant elements in Brazil and was strongly opposed by British policy.

Rather than allow himself to be removed by the new Portuguese regime, the Brazilian regent, D. Pedro (heir to the Portuguese throne), rejected the demands of Lisbon in his "grito do Ipiranga," the Brazilian declaration of independence. Dom Pedro was a romantic and rather idealistic prince who was also unstable and afflicted with epilepsy. He was capable of outbursts of energy, but his behavior was marked by sharp personal contradictions and occasional acts of highhandedness. With British encouragement, he was acclaimed constitu- [519] tional emperor of Brazil by Brazilian representatives before the close of 1822.

The attitude of Portuguese constitutionalists paralleled almost exactly that of Spanish liberals in 1810-1812 and 1820-1823; they were willing to grant representation to colonial spokesmen in the parliament of the mother country but rejected autonomy. The difference lay in the continuity of unified legitimate government in Brazil--a constitutional monarchy under the younger branch of the Portuguese dynasty, established without violence--and the special protection and interest of Great Britain, which had been guaranteed a favored status with Brazilian commerce in a wartime treaty. Hence the Portuguese crown liquidated its obligations to its American colony in 1825, officially recognizing Brazilian independence, whereas hostilities and recriminations between Spain and Spanish America dragged on another forty years.

Meanwhile the course of Portuguese liberalism in 1822-1823 roughly paralleled that of Spain during those same years. Radical proto-Jacobin elements came to the fore, broadcasting incendiary propaganda hostile to the interests of the church, the aristocracy, and the upper middle class. At the opposite extreme were the Portuguese traditionalists, led by elements of the aristocracy and supported by most of the rural nobility and the clergy, especially the hierarchy. The traditionalists represented the old elite and the liberals the new; in numbers they were approximately equal, though the traditionalists had the potential of arousing the conservative, illiterate, essentially apolitical peasant masses behind them in support of religion and the accepted norms of life. Just as Portuguese liberalism was encouraged to seize power by the Spanish liberal pronunciamiento of 1820, the Portuguese reaction was given its chance by the Spanish civil war of 1822-1823 and the French intervention restoring the absolute regime of Fernando VII. An "absolutist" junta was established by the traditionalist aristocracy in the Tras-os-Montes, the most rural, backward, traditional, and inaccessible part of the country, where medieval communal systems still prevailed. In May 1823, one month after French forces entered Spain, a military revolt, later known as the vilafrancada, began at Vila Franca de Xira, just north of Lisbon, and toppled the government.

Complete power was once more placed in the hands of João VI, but that indulgent, uncertain monarch lacked the neo-absolutist ambitions of Fernando VII and instead was influenced by British and French ideas of moderate constitutional monarchy. In Spain, even Fernando VII was criticized by traditionalists for his centralist ambitions, somewhat anticlerical policies, and concessions to wealthy liberal moderates. Spanish traditionalists and neo-absolutists later [520] turned to D. Carlos, the king's younger brother, as their champion, but in Portugal, support of traditionalist forces for a separate candidate, the king's second son, D. Miguel, crystallized more rapidly. That Portuguese miguelismo emerged two or three years before Spanish carlismo was a consequence of the greater liberality of the Portuguese ruler as well as of the split in the royal family between the easygoing king and his ambitious, ultraconservative, and authoritarian Spanish queen, D. Carlota Joaquina, sister of Fernando VII and D. Carlos. The young D. Miguel was his mother's favorite son and he identified fully with her. He too was ambitious, clerical, and authoritarian, given to violent physical exercise and a rural, military, traditional style of life. By 1824 the traditionalists had begun to close ranks behind D. Miguel in opposition to João VI. Dom Miguel was not in the direct line of succession, but if his elder brother Pedro I of Brazil remained in his American kingdom, D. Miguel would inherit the throne. To encourage this and establish more conservative rule, the traditionalists seized control of the government in April 1824 (in a coup known as the abrilada) to force João VI to institute a fully absolute and reactionary policy and presumably to have D. Miguel proclaimed heir. This maneuver was foiled by the energetic reaction of the British and French ambassadors, and D. Miguel had to leave the country.

The next phase began with the death of João VI in 1826. Dom Pedro was still reigning as emperor of Brazil, which he was reluctant to leave. Prompted by the great powers, he tried to settle the dynastic-constitutional issue through an imaginative but unrealistic compromise. His first step was to promulgate immediately a new constitutional charter to take the place of the original constitution abrogated three years earlier. The Portuguese Charter of 1826 was based on the Brazilian constitution of 1823, the French charter granted by Louis XVIII in 1814, and the constitutional ideas of Benjamin Constant. It became the basic document of constitutional monarchy in Portugal and, undergoing a series of amendments, remained in effect until 1910. It made no mention of national sovereignty but gave control of the executive to the crown. A two-chamber legislature was established, a chamber of deputies chosen by indirect suffrage and an upper chamber of peers, both lifetime and hereditary members, selected by the crown, which appointed all ministers and held an absolute veto over legislation. Guarantees of civil rights were much more limited than in the constitution of 1822. Even so, the Charter might not have received the allegiance of the princess regent (Pedro's sister) and other authorities in Portugal had it not been for the resolute action of the military governor of Porto, the liberal Gen Saldanha.

[521] Having thus rendered felicitous the kingdom of Portugal, the second part of D. Pedro's plan was to abdicate his right to the Portuguese throne in favor of his seven-year-old daughter, Maria da Glória, so that he might remain emperor of Brazil. The heiress would be betrothed to her uncle, D. Miguel, provided that the latter swore allegiance to the Charter. There were several precedents for uncle-niece marriages within the Portuguese dynasty; after Maria da Glória came of age and the two were married, they could rule jointly and heal the politico-dynastic schism. This proposal was based on the supposition that D. Miguel might be held faithful to the Charter by his oath and by joint international guarantees from Great Britain, patron of D. Pedro, and from the Austrian Habsburg crown, chief supporter of D. Miguel.

Dom Miguel snatched at the chance and was made D. Pedro's lieutenant in Portugal. Returning to Lisbon early in 1828, he swore allegiance to the Charter and took command of the Portuguese armed forces. A division of British troops, stationed in Portugal since December 1826 to safeguard the constitutional succession, was then withdrawn. Encouraged by the hard-core traditionalists, D. Miguel appointed an absolutist ministry that revoked the Charter, revived the traditional three-estate Cortes, purged liberals in the government, and crowned Miguel king with Cortes approval in July 1828. A liberal, pro-Pedro revolt in Porto collapsed and Portuguese liberals, like their Spanish counterparts five years earlier, began a mass exodus. More than 14,000 were arrested, and property was theoretically confiscated from 80,000 families, more than 10 percent of the kingdom. For three years D. Miguel ruled without significant resistance, yet most of the middle and some of the upper classes remained hostile to his regime.

Nevertheless, active liberals formed only a small minority, and Dom Miguel would probably have consolidated his rule had it not been for the change in the international situation after 1830 and events in Brazil. Establishment of the constitutional July Monarchy in France stimulated the forces of west European liberalism, while in Rio de Janeiro Pedro I reached a complete political impasse as emperor of Brazil. Again with British and French encouragement, he abdicated the Brazilian throne in favor of his eldest son, Pedro II, early in 1831, and resolved to win back the Portuguese crown. Thanks in part to British assistance, a small force of volunteers and foreign auxiliaries established themselves in 1832 in the Azores, the only portion of Portuguese territory that had never recognized D. Miguel.

There D. Pedro reestablished constitutional government under the Charter of 1826. His new minister of justice and finance, an exiled jurist and reformer from the Alemtejo, Mousinho da Silveira, proceeded immediately to the abolition of the traditional structure of [522] economic relations and property laws. All church and many seigneurial tithes and dues were eliminated, and the abolition of entailment of estates was begun, beginning with the smaller ones. Monopolies were prohibited and excise taxes and duties reduced. The administrative system was reorganized along modern French lines; juridical and administrative offices were separated, the equality of all citizens before the law established, and the jury system set up. The final victory of the liberals made these reforms effective, and they constituted the beginning of civic modernization--much more sweeping than anything attempted by Pombal.

Yet the Miguelista regime still occupied Portugal and increased its army to 80,000 men, albeit largely illiterate, poorly trained, ill-equipped peasant draftees. Dom Pedro raised an expeditionary force of 7,500 with British assistance and in mid-1832 landed at Porto. This city, with its important commerce and comparatively large middle class, was the focus of liberalism, and its inhabitants were strong supporters of the constitutional restoration. Dom Miguel's greatly superior forces invested Porto and held it under siege for thirteen months but lacked the means, and perhaps the determination, to conquer it. Failure to take the city was fatal for the traditionalist cause, for it revealed the determination of the liberals and the limitations of the absolutist regime. Many of D. Miguel's nominal supporters began to waver, and in 1833 another small expedition to the Algarve took the traditionalists in the rear and began to rally support in southern Portugal. With British help, the traditionalist fleet was largely destroyed, and as the liberal offensive from the south gathered momentum, Lisbon was abandoned and the siege of Porto raised.

With the Miguelistas forced on the defensive, their fate was sealed by the death of Fernando VII in Spain (who, however, had himself protested D. Miguel's usurpation) and the espousal of constitutionalism by the Spanish queen regent. Signing of the Quadruple Alliance by the four western constitutional monarchies in April 1834 provided further British naval and financial backing. Together with direct Spanish military assistance, that completed the final defeat of Portuguese traditionalism in May 1834. Miguelism had preceded and to some extent inspired the rise of Spanish Carlism, not least through the influence of D. Carlos's Portuguese wife, a sister of D. Miguel. Support for traditionalism was proportionately as great as in Spain, but the regional identities that provided such strong redoubts for Carlism were lacking in Portugal. The outcome of the civil war was determined in part by pressure and assistance from abroad, but the bold and energetic leadership of D. Pedro was also vital, as well as the action of those in the middle class who fought for constitutionalism.

Liberal victory brought the establishment of full constitutional [523] government under the Charter and implantation of the legal and economic reforms of Mousinho da Silveira. The new administrative system divided Portugal into seventeen districts, each of them named after its chief town, and this further increased the influence of the urban middle classes and intelligentsia. Suffrage for the chamber of deputies was semidemocratic but indirect. Males of twenty-five years of age or older, all heads of families, officers, priests, and graduates with higher degrees were entitled to vote for provincial electors. The electors, however, were required to have at least 200,000 reis annual income, and it was they who chose the deputies.
 

 Religion
 
The institution that paid the heaviest price for the defeat of traditionalism was the church. There were approximately 30,000 of the clergy in Portugal at that time, one-third of them in the orders. This was nearly 1 percent of the population, a percentage half again greater than that in Spain and larger than in any other nominally Christian country. Nearly all the hierarchy and the great bulk of the clergy had supported D. Miguel. The victorious liberal monarchy carried out a general purge of clerical ranks, expelling all of D. Miguel's appointees in the hierarchy and evicting many of his supporters among the lower clergy. For nearly a century, animosity toward the monastic establishments had been building up among reformers and liberals, who claimed that these were otiose, parasitical institutions that monopolized vital wealth. In 1834 all convents and monasteries were abolished and all their lands, together with much of the remaining property of the church, confiscated. Members of religious orders were guaranteed a lifetime pension.

The Portuguese disamortization thus preceded Spain's by two years, and it was at once more radical and less severe: more radical in that all orders were dissolved, but less severe in that a little land was left in the hands of the church, at least somewhat more than in Spain. The greater radicalism came from the more directly liberal, anticlerical sentiments of the Portuguese crown and from the stronger central power existing in Portugal. As in Spain, the disamortization was also prompted by the financial strain of the civil war that had left the crown with a heavy debt. Accurate statistics are not available, but the sale of church lands and most of the royal lands (especially those of the former military orders) in the 1830s and 1840s probably resulted in the transfer of ownership of nearly one-fourth the cultivated land in Portugal. The resulting profit had only a slight effect on the treasury balance, but the sales helped to establish a new upper middle [524] class of landowners who exercised increasing political influence and whose social and economic interests were tied to the constitutional monarchy.

As in Spain, the disamortization was anticlerical, but despite its greater radicalism it was not anti-Catholic. There was no question of separating church and state, and the regime continued to be officially Catholic. In subsequent concordats of 1848, 1857, and 1886, the papacy officially recognized the crown's right of nomination. According to the letter of the law, the Portuguese church hierarchy could not receive bulls from Rome, make appointments, or even ordain priests without the crown's consent. As the century wore on and the regime was pressed by demands for greater liberalization, constitutional conservatism established closer identity once more between government and church. After 1848 the Portuguese hierarchy fully accepted the regime, and in the latter decades of the century there was often a fairly close relationship between local church authorities and the leaders of the established parties. The association of church and crown met increasing hostility from radicals in later decades.

In general, the Portuguese church had no more success than that of Spain in adapting to the cultural and social changes of the period, and its educational achievements were even fewer. The customs and behavior of the clergy had still not been fully brought into accord with formal standards, and a certain amount of concubinage persisted. These shortcomings were not such liabilities as they would have been in other areas, for Portuguese society as a whole was changing only slowly and remained rural and conservative, and also more respectful of the traditional place and structure of religion.

As in Spain, there occurred a Catholic revival at the close of the nineteenth century. A law of 1901 legalized the return of monastic orders that engaged in educational or charity work. When the monarchy was overthrown nine years later, 160 monastic houses had been reestablished, though their population was small. A lay association, the Apostolado da Oração, was formed in 1909 and soon claimed a nominal two million members--more than one-third of the country's population.

Like its Spanish counterpart, the Portuguese intelligentsia became increasingly anti-Catholic, particularly at the close of the century. This mood was heightened by the Catholic revival and by the continuing influence of religion in a semitraditional rural society. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the fixation of middle class radicalism on anticlericalism as a political and cultural panacea was distinctly stronger than in Spain.
 
 

[525] Portuguese Masonry
 
Members of the Masonic lodges played a major role in the rise of Portuguese liberalism and anticlericalism. Freemasonry entered Portugal from England before the middle of the eighteenth century and spread slowly there and in Brazil. By 1812 there were thirteen lodges in Lisbon alone. Brazilian Masons were active in the riots of 1801 and 1817, but in Portugal Masons were found on both sides of the Gomes da Freire revolt in 1817. By 1820, however, Masons were devoted almost unanimously to the liberal cause in politics, and their secrecy and cohesiveness enabled them to play a vital role in mobilizing support in a society in which there were few effective associations. Portuguese Freemasonry was middle class, especially upper middle class, with some aristocratic support. At the behest of leading Masons, D. Pedro himself joined the order. By the 1830s the Masons had become, by and large, the principal promoters of anticlericalism.

After the triumph of constitutionalism, Portuguese Masonry split in accordance with the main cleavages in liberal ranks, dividing into more radical and more conservative groups. A united Grand Orient was not established until 1869, but by that time, Masonry was ceasing to play a catalytic role. The upper middle class, established in power and wealth, were less attracted to it, and by the late nineteenth century Masons were drawn mainly from the lower middle class ranks of white-collar employees. Its place in radical politics at the turn of the century was taken over largely by secret republican radical political societies, especially the Carbonária, with more than 40,000 members; by 1912 the Masons had fewer than 3,000.
 
 

Septembrism
 
 Pedro IV (1) (1826-1834) died of tuberculosis within three months of his final triumph and was succeeded by his fifteen-year-old daughter, Maria da Glória, as Maria II (1834-1853). She played the role of constitutional monarch as well as Portuguese conditions permitted and more responsibly than her equally youthful Spanish contemporary, Isabel II.

Under the new parliament of 1834 Portuguese affairs were dominated by upper-middle- and upper-class liberals who had come to power with D. Pedro. This new liberal oligarchy was quite compara- [526] ble in social composition and economic interests to the Spanish Moderates of the 1840s. It was represented by a political intelligentsia of lawyers, and its wealth was based on land, much of it newly acquired. The Portuguese liberal oligarchy was, however, proportionately narrower than that sustaining the Moderate regime in Spain, for the church and royal lands divided up at the beginning of this period were distributed among only 623 new owners. Terms of sale were usually below market price, and 60 percent of the cost was paid for with state credits. Thus though sales continued at a lower rate for several decades, they did little to attentuate the state fiscal crisis] which grew increasingly severe. The treasury building itself burned down.

The liberal oligarchy was opposed by democratic elements who wanted direct suffrage, more complete civic freedom, and greater attention to the interests of the middle and lower classes. A spirit on revolt was encouraged by economic depression and a new fall in prices, which provoked hunger riots in Porto. Dissidence in the chamber prompted new elections in 1836, won by the government though the oppositon triumphed in the districts of Douro, Beira, and the Algarve. The opposition's focus was the Porto district, where it gained twenty-seven of the twenty-eight seats. Oppositon leaders then planned a popular demonstration in Lisbon to coincide with the arrival of the opposition deputies from Porto in September 1836. This resulted in the "Septembrist" revolt, in which the opposition brought out a! demonstration by the Lisbon mob that was given prompt support by the Municipal Guard (a special constabulary established for Lisbon, and Porto). The outburst was the equivalent of the Spanish Progessive revolts and followed on the heels of the sergeants' mutiny at La Granja (August 1836) that temporarily reimposed the constitution of 1812 in Spain.

The crown had to give way and appoint a new compromise ministry led by a former general and leading Freemason, the Marquês de Sá da Bandeira. The resulting Septembrist government was not a direct representative of the lower-middle- and lower-class rebels, but rather an effort to establish a more moderate and flexible policy that could uphold the regime while conciliating broader interest groups. It was also willing to represent the interests of the proto-industrial sectors of the middle class, which had been thoroughly subordinated to the landowning and commercial bourgeoisie. For eight months the ministry of the interior was occupied by Manuel da Silva Passes ("Passos Manuel"), who carried out a whole series of reforms. The government made improvements in the administrative and judicial systems, initiated a protective tariff, encouraged commerce, and stimulated manufacturing and the importation of machinery (the first [527] Portuguese industrial exposition was held in 1838). It imposed new penal reforms, abolished the slave trade, and created a system of specialized and secondary schools, including an institute to train skilled workers.

The Septembrist ministry reinstituted the constitution of 1822, but this led to an attempted counter-coup by the throne: the belenzada of November 1836, supported by British and French diplomacy, which was resolved by an agreement to hold elections for an assembly that would write a new constitution. These were boycotted by upper class liberals and produced a strong Septembrist victory, but meanwhile economic conditions worsened. Several traditionalist guerrilla bands took up arms in eastern Portugal in emulation of the Carlists. The upper-middle-class leaders of Septembrist reformism, who never formed an organized group, were badly split by personality, principle, and status rivalry. Though the Septembrists themselves rejected radical measures, the oligarchic supporters of the old Charter were eager to be rid of the new government. A reaction was encouraged by the economic depression, by British diplomacy, which combatted the new policy of protectionism, and by Belgium, interested in making inroads in Portuguese Africa. The "marshals' revolt" of mid-1837, led by the moderate generals Ericeira and Saldanha, however, met resolute resistance from the Lisbon lower classes despite initial success in the provinces, and it ultimately collapsed.

This left the way open for the drafting of the new Portuguese constitution of 1838, which turned out to be a compromise between the Charter and the more democratic constitution of 1822. The new document was influenced by the recent Spanish Progressive constitution of 1837 and the Belgian constitution of 1831. A moderating influence was also played by French diplomacy, which supported the moderate faction of the Septembrists (the reverse of the French alignment in Spanish politics). The constitution instituted an elective senate of the wealthy but retained the absolute veto power of the crown as well as the royal right to name ministers and dissolve parliament. It also specified more clearly the separation of powers and introduced a measure of political and administrative decentralization (though the centralist-localist controversy never became as important in Portugal as in Spain).

By the time the new constitution was written the Septembrist leaders had become more conservative, fearing radical pressures from below and eager to protect the established interests of which they had become a part. The traditionalist revolt in the east had been put down by 1838, and the prime minister, Sá da Bandeira, labored to conciliate conservatives by trying to establish an understanding with the church. [528] Rivalries within the Septembrist parliament became increasingly severe, and he resigned in April 1839.
 

Chartism
 
 The trend away from the Septembrist compromises accelerated after the close of 1839. From that point conservatives were in continuous control of the government. Hostility to the new constitution among the upper classes and major economic interests had never slackened, and their political representatives exerted growing pressure for a return to the Charter of 1826. Chartism became the doctrine of conservative liberalism, opposed to a broader suffrage, wider civil guarantees, local self-government, and decentralization, and in general favoring the suppression of what was sometimes dubbed canalhocracia, government by or for the lower classes.

The initiative was seized at the beginning of 1842 by the minister of justice, an opportunistic Septembrist moderate, Costa Cabral. When elections in Porto indicated a conservative trend, he proclaimed restoration of the Charter. Joint pressure from other pro-Chartist forces resulted in the reorganization of government in February 1842, and the replacement of the constitution of 1838 by the Charter of 1826 in a kind of joint civilian-military pronunciamiento. A leading general, the duke of Terceira, took office as the new Chartist prime minister, to some extent foreshadowing the role of Narváez two years later in Spain. The main figure in the Chartist government, however, was the civilian politician Costa Cabral, who became minister of the interior to manage the politics of the new regime.

Like the July Monarchy in France and the Isabeline regime in Spain, Portuguese Chartism was designed to institutionalize the rule of the new social and economic elite. Under its suffrage regulations only 36,400 citizens--.7 percent of the population--were eligible to vote, and only 4,500 eligible to sit in parliament. Thirty new Chartist peers were created to staff the once more appointive senate, and the new parliamentary elections of 1842 were to a considerable degree manipulated by the government. A pro-liberal revolt by part of the army in 1844 was put down, and the next elections in 1845 were conducted in an even more arbitrary fashion.

The Chartist government proceeded to carry out political and administrative reforms similar to those of the French July Monarchy in the preceding decade and of the Moderate regime in Spain a few years later. A new administrative code was drawn up, municipal government was reformed and thoroughly centralized, and the National Guard, at first expanded under the Septembrists from the [529] previous Municipal Guard, was further reduced and placed under professional discipline. Relations with the papacy were finally regularized. Taxation was reformed, making fiscal administration more efficient but leaving excises with the main burden of supplying income and assigning costs of nearly all local services to local government. A road-building program was begun, and some new measures taken to advance education.

In 1846-1847 the Chartist regime had to face new challenges from both the right and the left. Liberalism in Portugal as elsewhere was essentially an urban and elitist movement. It was almost completely dissociated from the peasants, nearly 80 percent of the people, who were further alienated by local government domination and an increased tax burden. Liberal legislation had abolished seigneurial legal jurisdiction but had left the peasants still subject to many feudal economic dues, to which the new excises were added. In the spring of 1846 the peasants of the Minho reacted in what became known as the Maria da Fonte movement. Peasant women were aroused by a new sanitation decree of Costa Cabral forbidding the traditional practice of free burials in churches, and under the nominal leadership of a local peasant woman, Maria da Fonte, they marched against civil authorities. Miguelista elements encouraged the reaction, which began to protest local government and tax oppression. Radical Septembrists from the opposite extreme joined in, and the protest movement spread somewhat amorphously through Tras-os-Montes and Beira, supported by priests, aristocrats, and in some areas town radicals. Imposition of martial law and attempted military repression only increased opposition; part of the army began to defect. Costa Cabral and Terceira were forced out, and in May 1846 some of the offending local regulations were abolished.

The new government was a more liberal ministry under the veteran Duque de Palmela. It soon encountered opposition from the court circle and the Chartists, encouraged by Costa Cabral from exile. D. Maria's German husband, Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg (who was influenced by the authoritarian royalist notions of his uncle, Leopold of Belgium), urged its ouster and the formation of a more conservative government. In the so-called emboscada de Belem of October 1846, D. Maria forced the Palmela ministry to resign in favor of a new government under the war minister, Gen. Saldanha. The whole tactic was reminiscent of the first attempt to oust the Septembrists in the belenzada exactly ten years earlier.

The result was a revolt of the middle and lower classes in Porto, dubbed by their enemies the patuléia (rabble), who formed a rebel junta under the somewhat mistaken notion that the Cabral faction had reimposed itself and was usurping the royal prerogatives. The [530] revolt was encouraged by a new financial crisis and price downturn that brought temporary unemployment and misery to many. It spread throughout northern Portugal and to the extreme south and the Azores. Saldanha assumed de facto powers of dictatorship and a state of civil war existed for eight months. Some miguelista elements joined the neo-Septembrist forces led by the Patuléia junta of middle class leaders in Porto. The government forces gained only limited successes and were ultimately victorious in June 1847 only because of British naval and Spanish military intervention on their behalf. Saldanha remained in office for two more years, carrying out reprisals against those active in the Patuléia. He then retired to an honorary post at court, and Costa Cabral returned to power in mid-1849.
 
 

Regenerationism and the Establishment of Rotativism, 1851-1878
 
 
Costa Cabral as prime minister was even more overweening than in his earlier tour as minister of justice. He became increasingly arbitrary, attempting to establish semiconstitutional government on the narrowest of bases. In this respect, Costa Cabral's government in 1849-1851 was somewhat like that of Bravo Murillo in Spain during 1851-1852, though the former was probably more corrupt. Like Bravo, he made the mistake of alienating key military politicians, overreaching himself in a grab for full power by trying to have his chief Chartist competitor, Marshal Saldanha, removed from his honorary position at court.

Thus it was the Chartist general Saldanha, restorer of orthodox Chartism in 1846, who finally led a wavering revolt that overthrew Costa Cabral and the Chartist regime in May 1851. Saldanha, the leading political general of nineteenth-century Portugal, played a role analogous to that of O'Donnell in Spain. O'Donnell's goal was to liberalize the Isabeline regime slightly through more attentive and conciliatory government. He later joined liberal Moderates and moderate Progressives in a new Liberal Union and tried to encourage a loyal opposition. He eventually failed, and the Isabeline regime collapsed, but O'Donnell's politics foreshadowed the Restoration system of Cánovas that functioned for half a century after 1875.

Saldanha and his colleagues were more successful than O'Donnell. The Chartists had never been a regular, coherently organized political party, and in 1851 Saldanha tried to organize a more liberal group composed of the most flexible Chartists and moderate ex-Septembrists and Patuleians. The group became known as the Regenerator party, and to widen its support, in 1852 amended the Charter by the [531] first "Additional Act," introducing direct elections on the basis of a broadened but still minority suffrage. It also increased the powers of parliament slightly and abolished the death penalty for political crimes. Yet the Regenerator government of Saldanha did not intend to give up the powers of electoral manipulation. The elections of 1851 had been the freest in nearly fifteen years; those of 1852 were more carefully controlled to return a strong Regenerator majority. A fornada (baking or confection) of twenty new aristocratic titles was carried out, as later happened during O'Donnell's long government in Spain, and the Regenerators were given a safe majority in the senate. Despite mounting protests, however, the political opposition did not reject the system but joined to form a new liberal group, the Historical or Progressive party, that succeeded Saldanha when the first Regenerator government came to an end in 1856. This was the beginning of rotativismo-- the alternating in power of conservative and liberal parties willing to accept the rules of the regime and play the role of loyal opposition. It preceded the establishment of the turno system under the Spanish constitutional monarchy by nearly a quarter century.

There were three primary differences between Spain and Portugal that explain the earlier stabilization of a functional parliamentary system in Portugal, a) The Portuguese monarchy possessed greater political discretion and responsibility. In Spain the crown consistently refused power or participation to the major opposition party, driving it to revolution. This did not happen in Portugal after 1851. Maria II died in childbirth at the age of thirty-four in 1853. She was succeeded by her sons Pedro V (1853-1861), who died tragically of an undiagnosed illness at the age of twenty-four, and Luis I (1861-1889). Pedro V was the most precocious ruler in Portuguese history, a dedicated progressive and probably the most brilliant European prince of his generation, and his younger brother was a model constitutional monarch, b) In a small country such as Portugal, with a tiny political and economic elite, it was easier to conciliate the leading interest groups and coordinate them behind two main parties, c) In Portugal, the regional problem scarcely existed and the lower classes were culturally and politically even more backward than in Spain. Hence Portuguese society did not face such radical and divergent political pressures as did the Spanish.

The strongest figure in Saldanha's first Regenerator cabinet was the minister of finance, Fontes Pereira de Melo, chief proponent of a policy of economic development that became known as fontismo. This was the Portuguese equivalent of the Spanish economic expansion and railroad building of the decade 1855-1865. Fontes consolidated the national debt at 3 percent and created a new ministry of [532] public works, building more roads, beginning telegraph construction, and encouraging railroad expansion. New credit was obtained, foreign investment stimulated, and taxes both increased and reorganized, while tariff duties were lowered. In general, the program was aimed at laying some of the foundations, particularly in communication and transportation, for a more modern economy. There was little attempt at direct industrialization, however, and the costs were borne mostly by the lower classes in the form of excise taxes. Property taxes, as in Spain, tended to be rigged in favor of the largeholders to the detriment of small property owners. This general orientation characterized the economic policy of Portuguese government for the next generation. Bad economic conditions in 1855-1856, however, together with criticism for too-generous concessions to foreign investors, played a major role in the erosion of Saldanha's political support, leading to his resignation in 1856.

The Regenerators were succeeded for the next three years by a ministry of the Historicals under their chief, the Duque de Louie. The Historicals had organized themselves loosely in 1854 as a more liberal opposition group, but neither they nor the Regenerators formed a fully structured political party. Political boundaries blurred rather easily, and both factions were little more than loose coalitions based on outstanding personalities and local interests. Differences between them did exist, but they were more of emphasis than of ideology. The Historicals stood for a slightly broader suffrage and more honest elections, but they were less democratic than many of the former Septembrists, and politics was still restricted to a small elite. The Historicals naturally won the next election, conducted by their own ministry, after which the government negotiated the new Concordat of 1857 and a few Catholic orders were allowed to reenter Portugal.

When the Regenerators returned to power under the Duque da Terceira in 1859, they inaugurated an electoral system of individual candidate constituencies in place of provincial lists. This, with some manipulation, facilitated the election of notables, and the Regenerators won a large majority. The death of Terceira, however, deprived the Regenerators of effective leadership (Saldanha had withdrawn), and after an interim ministry the Historicals formed a new government that lasted from 1860 to 1865. After that it became difficult for a leader of either of the two factions to hold a majority, and the first "fusionist" (coalition) ministry was formed in 1865.

Portugal escaped almost completely any influence by or involvement in the turmoil of Spanish radicalism and republicanism in the years 1868-1874. Republican propaganda in Portugal began at this time, however, and a republican party with Marxist overtones was organized in 1872 but made little progress. The only potential point [533] of contact between Spanish and Portuguese affairs during these years was in the question of dynastic union. In both countries there were liberal proponents of Iberian union, some vague sort of federative association between the two countries, but in view of numerous obstacles the only practical issue was that of dynastic union or alliance. One of Prim's leading candidates for the Spanish crown in 1869 was Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg, father of the Portuguese king and former consort of Maria II. Such a succession would have provided for a union of the Hispanic crowns under Luis I after the death of the elderly Ferdinand, but when the Portuguese objected, Ferdinand agreed to accept the offer only subject to Portuguese government approval and a Spanish guarantee of Portuguese independence. This undercut the very idea of Iberian union, and the Portuguese candidacy was dropped.

By the 1860s the center of attention in public affairs was taken by the financial question, which bedeviled Portuguese government to the end of the monarchy in 1910 and throughout the history of the parliamentary republic that followed. The government debt mounted rapidly, nearly doubling between 1854 and 1869, when it hit a level of almost fifty dollars per capita, a crushing burden for so poor a country. There was no end in sight. The royal jewels were sold and the royal estates mortgaged, but the main problem was poor government management, waste and corruption, and above all extremely low revenue from an unproductive economy. All entailment of estates was abolished in 1863, opening up the market for agricultural production, but the effects of this were slow in coming. Fontismo relied mainly on foreign investment and the raising of loans, while encouraging free trade (to the detriment of national manufactures) and maintaining high excises.

A new opposition movement among radical intellectuals began after 1865, and in 1867 a small element of middle class progressives joined with the more liberal of the Historicals to form a loosely organized grouping known as the Popular or Reformist party. Protests among the lower classes over excises and among businessmen over foreign competition and taxes mounted steadily. An attempt by the government to raise excises further was blocked by a merchants' revolt in Porto and several other cities on the first day of 1868 (and hence termed the janeirinha). The Fusionist cabinet was forced to resign and was replaced with a Reformist ministry that hoped to reduce the budget and balance the tax structure. Lacking organized support, internal unity, and a clear-cut program, it accomplished little. A heterogeneous semi-Reformist ministry under the aged ex-Septembrist Sá da Bandeira and the bishop of Viseu that took office in 1869 did fire employees, lower salaries, abolish subsidies, and [534] reduce state operations, but it still did not balance the budget and lasted only a month. Short-lived heterogeneous ministries followed for two years, while 55 percent of the state budget went to service the debt. In 1871 the Regenerators returned to power in a ministry led by Fontes.

Portuguese Reformism never took coherent form and did not seriously try to develop a popular base. The Reformists' disagreements with the Regenerators proved less profound than they had originally seemed, and in 1876 the Reformists merged with the Historicals to form the new Progressive Party. After six years in power the Regenerator ministry resigned in 1877, and regular rotativismo was resumed at approximately the same time that the system of the turno was being established in Spain and trasformismo was beginning to operate in Italian politics. After an interim eight-month government led by a conservative independent, Fontes returned to power in 1878, then gave way to a Progressive government the following year. The Regenerators took over once more in 1881, and after two brief ministries led by colleagues, Fontes headed the government for five more years. The Progressives then governed under their chief, José Luciano de Castro, from 1886 to 1890. Thanks to the narrower circle of Portuguese politics and the smaller range of interests in Portugal, rotativismo in those years functioned more smoothly than the Spanish turno.
 

 Economic Development
 
 The first effects of modern economic development began to be felt by the beginning of the nineteenth century, not so much in terms of Portugal's domestic expansion but as a consequence of foreign competition and imports. Industrializing Britain had begun to produce so many goods --primarily textiles--so cheaply that they cut deeply into the domestic market in Portugal and also into Portuguese exports to Brazil. As harsh in its effects as British competition was the closure of markets by war and the independence of Brazil, which in the decade 1796-1806 had accounted for three-quarters of all Portuguese commerce, re-exports from Brazil totaling from 60 to 80 percent of all Portuguese exports. Most of this valuable trade was lost. Altogether, using the level of the year 1800 as 100, Portuguese manufactured exports, while never very extensive, declined to 66 in 1805 and 10 in 1810 and recovered to only 27 in 1820.

The period from 1808 to 1826 was a time of general price deflation, with a particularly sharp decline in prices and commerce between 1817 and 1820. These economic pressures were of great importance in encouraging the coastal bourgeoisie to support a revolt for representative [535] government that might provide more stimulus for economic development. Similarly, the loss of Brazil, coupled with the general problem of reviving commerce in a deflated market, encouraged the first real effort to increase Portuguese manufactures since Pombal. The first two waves of Portuguese pre-industrialization were the Ericeira program of 1675-1690 and the Pombaline efforts of 1769-1778. The third occurred after the triumph of liberalism in 1820: between 1820 and 1822, 177 new manufacturing establishments were set up, an increase of 15 percent, bringing the total to 1,031 shops, most of them very small. In the following eighteen months from mid-1822 to the end of 1823 the number rose by 20 percent, the main beneficiary being the Porto district.

During the following decade of reaction and internal turmoil there was little advance, but a new wave of industrialization developed after 1835. The Septembrist movement of 1836 was to some extent an industrialists' movement, for some of its leaders were industrialists and small merchants, and it drew support from artisans and workers. Certain Septembrist leaders, especially Sá da Bandeira, were the first to conceive of the economic development of Portuguese Africa to complement the expanded commerce and industry of metropolitan Portugal. In general, the mechanization of Portuguese industry began around 1835, but depending as it did on the importation of steam engines and other machinery the process was very slow. By 1845 only 30 of 634 manufacturing plants (only a few of which could be called factories) possessed steam power. In the post-1835 phase of mechanization, the Lisbon region progressed more rapidly than did Porto.

The basis of the Portuguese economy, agriculture, began to change but also very slowly. At the beginning of- the nineteenth century only about one-sixth of the surface of Portugal was under cultivation, and it is doubtful if the proportion had ever been any higher. The economic reforms of the liberal regime--selling church and some royal lands, beginning the breakup of aristocratic entailed estates, and abolishing many seigneurial obligations--greatly enlarged the land market and the opportunities for agriculture. Though many foreiro and emphyteutic rights were swept away, the reforms rallied most of the wealthier elements to the liberal regime. The extent of land under cultivation increased, though not as dramatically as in Spain during the same period. Among the peasantry, subsistance cultivation of corn and potatoes also rose. Market production increased somewhat, and between 1839 and 1855 Portugal actually exported grain for the first time in centuries. (It is not entirely clear, however, whether this was due to greatly increased production or to a shift in commercial and transportation patterns, for considerable grain was also imported from Spain.) There was no significant improvement in agricultural [536]

technique, which was scarcely as advanced as Spain's. Thus the changes in Portuguese landholding and agriculture between 1834 and 1855 were not in any drastic productive reform but simply in the consolidation of a new class of middle and large landholders, drawn from the upper middle class and the aristocracy, which now controlled the primary sources of wealth. This class was able, together with major commercial and financial interests, to largely control Portuguese government for nearly seventy years after the return of the Charter in 1842.

Fontismo as practiced in the 1850s and 1860s stressed commerce, finance, and transportation. The first bona fide Portuguese bank, the Bank of Lisbon, had been founded in 1821. The number of banks increased to three by 1858, thirteen by 1867, and fifty-one by 1875. Deposits increased eight-fold between 1858 and 1875. The first Portuguese bankers came primarily from wholesale commerce, since this was the major source of profit and capital formation in the traditional Portuguese economy. Some large landowners also became involved, but nineteenth-century Portuguese banking showed little interest in trying to finance industrial development. Its resources were limited, and it preferred easy, high-interest earnings through short-term loans, state bonds, transportation projects, and real estate mortgages.

Portuguese railroad construction was begun soon after that of Spain and on much the same financial terms, but the rhythm of its development was considerably slower. Foreign capital and technology dominated, and political favoritism played a major role. The first short line out of Lisbon was built in 1856, and the kilometers of track increased as shown in table 12.



 
Table 12. Portuguese Railroad Expansion, 1877-1912

 
Year Kilometers of track
1877 952
1885 1,529
1894 2,353
1902 2,381
1907 2,753
1912 2,974
Source: Dicionario de História de Portugal, 1:450.
 


The new Portuguese tariff of 1853 moved in the direction of freer trade, providing protection only for a few favored items such as cotton textiles, and the low tariff policy was not reversed until 1889. Correspondingly, after 1852 there was a decline in the rate of importation of steam engines and machinery for the development of Portuguese [537]  industry. Higher commercial prices after 1850 made this emphasis on commercial and financial interests possible. Yet the government's opening of maximal commercial opportunities did not benefit all branches of export. In 1852 the salt producers' Roda (corporation) was dissolved. It had tried to maintain quantity production at even prices and fair Sales terms. With commerce unregulated, individual Salt merchants tended to price Salt out of the international market, leading to a great decline in production.

Taxes were raised significantly during the second round of fontismo in the 1870s, and government revenue rose by a startling 50 percent between 1871 and 1876. There was much new construction and the biggest wave of speculation the century had seen. During the early 1870s new banks were set up in all the major provincial towns. Portugal attracted considerable investment from Brazil, and in turn, Portuguese financiers invested in Spanish money and state finance between 1871 and 1875. Cutting of the Spanish interest rate by the Restoration government in 1876 helped to burst the Portuguese financial bubble and to provoke the third major financial crisis of the century in Portugal (others occurred in 1836-1837 and 1846). The next financial cycle lasted fifteen years; when the crisis of 1891 struck, the bondholders affected most were French and German investors in Portuguese state finance and transportation.

The gravest financial problem throughout was that of the state budget, operated at a perpetual deficit. The actual deficit was highest just before the crisis of 1890-1891, after which it was reduced, but the national debt mounted steadily. Despite the heavy load of excises borne by the lower classes, the Portuguese economy as a whole was probably undertaxed. Between 1820 and 1920 the per capita tax burden increased by about 100 percent, but the growth in income and production was somewhat higher than that. Given the determination of dominant political and economic interests to avoid direct taxation as much as possible, the fiscal burden in Portugal, as in most other countries, was shifted to indirect taxes. Fluctuation of the budget deficit, the rise in the national debt, and the increase in the proportion of indirect taxes are shown in tables 13-15.



 
[538] Table 13. Portuguese Budget Deficit, 1822-1910

 
Year Contos*
1822  1,607
1828 3,868
1835-36 4,453
1839-40 2,152
1849-50 2,261
1859-60 1,444
1869-70 14,590
1879-80 10,149
1889-90 13,297
1899-1900 6,413
1909-10 6,896
 

Table 14. Portuguese National Debt, 1822-1910

 
Year Contos
1822 38,000
1827 45,000
1834 61,000
1840 72,000
1855 94,518
1865 201,207
1890 592,613
1910 878,590
 
 
 

Table 15. Percent of Portuguese Taxes Indirect, 1840-1910

 
Year Percent
1840-41 52.0
1845-46 71.4
1864-65 66.0
1909-10 61.3
Source, tables 13-15: Die. Hist. Port., 2:193-94.

*A conto equalled 1,000 mil-réis.
 



The major development in the Portuguese economy of the late nineteenth century was the expansion of agriculture, which got underway around the middle of the century but accelerated only in the 1890s. There were at least three main factors involved. Population increased steadily, and despite emigration the demand for food steadily mounted. Secondly, all morgados (entailment of estates) were finally abolished in 1863, completing the opening up of the land market. Third, the first tariff of the century that provided real protection for grain was adopted in 1889. Altogether between 1874 and [539] 1934 the extent of land under cultivation in Portugal increased by 70 percent, as indicated in the following figures:
 
1874 1902 1934
Crops and fallow 21.3% 35.1% 37.9%
Forest 7.0 22.1 28.4
Uncultivated but productive 23.4 21.7 15.0 
Cultivable but not under cultivation 44.3 17.3 14.9
Land unfit for cultivation 3.8 3.8 3.8
 

The new land inheritance law after 1863 provided for equal division of property among heirs, and the average size of Portuguese cultivation units remained uneconomically small. In 1868, five years after the final extinction of morgados, there were 5,678,385 agrarian properties averaging 1.55 hectares. In much of the Minho, minifundia were even more the rule than in Spanish Galicia. Some landlords owned many small properties and renting was still common, but there may have been a slightly higher percentage of small peasant proprietors than in Spain generally. Many renters retained long-term emphyteutic rights. Expansion of peasant agriculture was encouraged by the decline in fixed rental costs under the slow inflation of the later nineteenth century. The cultivation of corn was extended, and some improvement in technique was made possible by increased use of fertilizer, mainly manure, and new sources of water. The greatest extension of cultivation occurred not in the heavily populated, already heavily cultivated Minho, but in the southern two-thirds of Portugal, where the Alemtejo was finally repopulated by the close of the century.

In part because of the agricultural expansion, the 1890s were a decade of rapid growth in commerce. This occurred despite the tariff of 1892, which marked Portugal's swing, though in lesser degree, toward the general trend of heavier protectionism in Europe during the late nineteenth century. There was also a new wave of industrialization around the turn of the century, yet it was modest and hardly served to take up the slack in the extremely slow growth of domestic manufactures. Portugal still suffered from the main deficiencies of underdeveloped countries: lack of capital for productive investment, lack of skilled labor, lack of technology (there were only 150 qualified engineers in Portugal in 1870), and lack of industrial raw materials. There was a notable increase in corporate investment during the second half of the century, as shown in table 16, but it was quite small by comparison with the industrialized countries. Even during the first decade of the twentieth century, corporate investment in commerce exceeded that in industry.
 



 
[540] Table 16. Corporate Investment in Portugal, Excluding Transport

 
To 1849 1900-1909
Total 106,652 470,194
Industry 1,800 1.7% 192,532 40.9%
Commerce 103,502 96.9% 220,171 47.0%
Source: Armando de Castro, Introduçao ao estudo da economia portuguesa (Lisbon, 1947).
 
 



 
Portuguese Society
 
Despite the institutional revolution and half a century of political turmoil, there was less change in Portuguese society than in anywhere else in Europe save the Balkans. The principal changes occurred at the top, for the chief consequence of the establishment of Portuguese liberalism was formation of a new oligarchy of "bourgeois nobility." This was made up of an increasingly fluid fusion of chief descendants of the old landed aristocracy and members of the new economic and political elite, who were given new titles in recognition of their wealth or services. Hence the generic term baroes that was often used to define the new upper class oligarchy. This formation of a new nineteenth-century aristocracy embourgeoisée, closely associated with large-scale landowning and commerce and finance, exactly paralleled a process going on at the same time in Spain.

By 1856 the Portuguese nobility had increased to 315 titles, distributed as shown in table 17. Of the seven ducal titles, one dated from the seventeenth century, one from the eighteenth, one had been given the British hero Wellington, and the other four had been given to upper class liberal leaders since 1832: Terceira (1932), Palmela (1833), Saldanha (1846), Loulé (1862). In 1820 there had been only 5 barons; [541] by 1856 there were 106. Between 1826 and 1856 108 titles of marquis, count, and viscount were granted, more than double the 84 that had existed. The process continued at this rate until at least 1880, reaching its height in the Reformist interlude and reestablishment of rotativismo between 1868 and 1876. During those eight years 15 new titles of baron and 55 new titles of viscount were created. The abolition of morgados in 1863 struck a blow to aristocratic landholding, but by that time much of the neo-aristocracy was tied in to diversified economic interests.
 
 



 
Table 17. Distribution of Portuguese Titles, 1856

 
Dukes 7
Marquises 21
Counts 79
Viscounts with rank of grandeza 33
Barons with rank of grandeza 13
Viscounts 69
Barons 93
315
Source: Dic. Hist. Port., 3:160.



The major source of prestige created by the liberal regime for the traditional hereditary aristocracy was the chamber of peers in the Portuguese legislature, as established by the Charter of 1826. The Second Additional Act (1885) suppressed hereditary membership in favor of royal nomination and indirect election, but elections were abolished and hereditary membership restored by the Third Additional Act of 1896, which also retained provisions for royal nomination. This was part of an effort to maintain the leadership of the official aristocratic elite, which by that point was clearly waning. After 1870, the proportion of cabinet ministers with titles steadily declined, and by the beginning of the twentieth century the nobility, whether embourgeoisée or not, had lost its actual place of dominance.



 
Table 18. Portuguese Population, 1801-1920

 
Year Population
1801 2,931,930
1821 3,026,450
1835 3,061,684
1838 3,224,474
1841 3,396,972
1854 3,499,121
1858 3,584,677
1861 3,693,362
1864 3,829,618
1878 4,160,315
1890 4,660,095
1900 5,016,267
1911 5,547,708
1920 5,621,977
Source: Dic. Hist. Port., 1:799.



 
Population increase was steady, thanks to the maintenance of a moderately (though not extremely) high birthrate and the decline of the death rate in the later nineteenth century. An estimate of the increase in population is shown in table 18, the first systematic census [542] being that of 1864. The rate of increase was approximately equal to Spain's during that period but less than in most other parts of Europe. Between 1886, when adequate records began to be kept, and 1925, the birthrate oscillated between 29 and 33 per thousand. This rate was at first not as high as that of most other similarly underdeveloped countries, and in 1901, for example, was lower than that of Spain (35) and even of industrialized Germany (35.7). The comparatively moderate birthrate was the result mainly of heavy emigration of young males, a rather low marriage rate, and a relatively high average age of marriage. On the other hand, it showed little sign of declining in the early twentieth century as did that of other western countries, mainly because in Portugal social conditions changed so slowly. The decline in the death rale in the late nineteenth century was almost greater than average, dropping from 25 per thousand in 1886 to 18 in 1925. During the years 1901-1905 the Portuguese average of 19.9 was lower than those of Spain (26) and Italy (22), equal to that of Germany (19.9), and scarcely above that of France (19.5). During the first quarter of the twentieth century, however, there was little improvement; significant progress was not made until after 1925.

As far as division by social classes is concerned, in 1821 the nobility and upper bourgeoisie numbered 1 percent of the population, the clergy nearly 2 percent, the middle classes approximately 9 percent, and peasants and town laborers 88 percent. As late as 1890, when the first accurate censuses of economic activity were made, the middle classes had scarcely expanded to 15 percent. In 1890, 61 percent of the labor force was engaged in agriculture, declining to 57 percent in 1911. Industrial employment accounted for 18.4 percent in 1890 and 21 percent in 1911. During that period the proportion of tertiary or service employees rose from 20.6 to 22 percent.

Accurate statistics on the proportion of peasants employed as laborers compared with the proportion who owned or rented land are not available. It has been calculated that early in the nineteenth century about 75 percent of the men in the Alemtejo worked as hired laborers, but the percentage was not so great elsewhere.

One of the salient characteristics of the Portuguese lower classes in the nineteenth century was their general illiteracy, which explains in part why there was so little interest in broadening the suffrage. Terms of enfranchisement varied as shown in table 19. Even with the restricted suffrage, electoral participation was low and rarely exceeded 60 percent.


[543] Table 19. Terms of Enfranchisement, Portugal, 1864-1915

 
Year Requirements for voting Number of 

eligible voters

Percent of 

population

1864 Males over 25 and with 100 reis annual income 344,173 11.1
1878 Literate males and male heads of families 580,214 13.9
1890 874,528 18.7
1910 Literate males over 21 or with 500 reis income 650,341 11.6
1911 Literate males over 21 or heads of families 782,292 13.9
1913 Literate males over 21 379,714 6.7
1915 450,322 8.0
Source: Adapted from Souza Junior, Censo eleitoral da metrópole, in Bento Carqueja, O Povo portuguez (Porto, 1916), pp. 233-34.
 


Emigration reached sizable proportions in the latter part of the century. It had begun to increase after closing of the slave trade to Brazil led to a demand for non-slave labor in Portuguese America. From 1861 to 1872 the emigration was modest, 50,000 people in twelve years. In the forty years 1873 to 1913, nearly 1,000,000 people left Portugal--994,813 according to the statistics--and only 50,000 of them ever moved back. The peak year was 1912, when 77,000 left. The bulk of the emigration came from the heavily populated Minho-Douro region, and it represented a cross section of Portuguese society, illiterate peasants predominating. The great majority emigrated to Brazil, though in the early twentieth century nearly 15 percent went to North America. The emigrants left not because of lack of employment in Portugal, for in most of these years there was a shortage of farm laborers, but because of the extremely low wages and lack of any genuine opportunity for advancement at home. Though only 5 percent of the emigrants ever returned permanently (a somewhat lower figure than for Spain and much lower than for Italy), a large proportion did send money to their families, boosting domestic income and assisting the sorely pressed Portuguese balance of payments. The modest Portuguese economic expansion of the late nineteenth century and the great increase in the number of individual agrarian properties owed more than a little to the investment of emigrants.

The urban working class lacked size, importance, and even organization in nineteenth-century Portugal. The absence of industrialization meant that urban growth lagged behind that of much of Europe. There were only two cities of any size, and most manufacturing was done in small shops. Only toward the end of the century did city workers achieve a certain degree of organization and visibility, primarily in Lisbon and Porto. Their numbers increased as follows: [544]
 
1890 860,825 18.5 percent of the population
1900 977,583 19.5
1910 1,169,542 21.3
 
Even as late as 1910, however, only 20 percent of the workers engaged in manufacturing were industrial workers employed by factories with more than ten workers.

An organized workers' movement was slow to develop under these conditions. The first workers' syndicate was created in Lisbon in 1838 but was short-lived. Trade union organization did not begin in earnest until the Regenerators took office in 1851. During the next few years a number of syndicates were formed, mainly in Lisbon. Several strikes that were held in 1852 led to disorder, and a new law was passed making labor stoppages illegal. This legislation remained effective until 1911, but depending on the circumstances it was often not enforced. The right of association was itself eliminated in 1862 but restored in 1870. The new civil code of 1867 also made provision for cooperatives, the first of which was formed in Portugal in 1871. By 1889 there were 44 worker cooperatives and 392 worker associations of all kinds (194 in Lisbon, 109 in Porto) with a total of 138,870 members.

Between 1872 and 1899 there were more than fifty strikes in Portugal, most of them more or less tolerated by the authorities, but the major phase of strike activity did not begin until 1903. As in Spain, there were both socialist and anarcho-syndicalist labor movements, as well as smaller individual syndical groups. In general, the labor movement was numerically weak, internally divided, and on shaky legal ground. Its achievements were few, and available statistics indicate that the real wages of urban workers actually declined, or at least failed to rise, during the half century from 1860 to 1910. Despite emigration, the pace of economic development was so slow that population growth more than kept pace, and there were always enough surplus unskilled and semiskilled workers to keep wages down. Working conditions were poor; in the few small Portuguese mines the accident rate was three or four times greater than in German mines. About 1890 there began a trend toward more intensive organization in Portuguese manufacturing in the direction of greater specialization, a shorter working day, and less employment of women. The percentage of women among industrial employees declined slowly from 34.8 in 1890 to 28.3 in 1910. As late as 1917, 16.2 percent of all employees were minors. The state did pass reform legislation between 1889 and 1893. Arbitration tribunals and labor exchanges were set up in the larger towns, and the first major labor regulations, in 1891, attempted to meliorate conditions and regulate [545] night and underground work and the labor of women and children. In general, however, the conditions of Portuguese workers were in some respects even poorer than those of their Spanish counterparts.
 
 

Culture and Education
 
The establishment of Portuguese liberalism coincided with a cultural revival among the Portuguese elite that was primarily associated with the romantic movement in literature. The two chief figures were the poet Almeida Garrett and the historian Alexandre Herculano. Almeida Garrett, the greatest Portuguese romantic poet both in epic and lyric forms, also labored to revive Portuguese drama, which had been virtually dormant since the pioneer labors of Gil Vicente in the sixteenth century. Herculano was the greatest historian in either Spain or Portugal in the nineteenth century and may be considered either the Portuguese Ranke or Michelet. His histories of medieval Portugal and of the Portuguese Inquisition are both historiographic and literary classics, and are also noteworthy for attempting to develop the previously untouched field of social history. In general, Portuguese liberalism leaned heavily on the romantic spirit, and the liberal state established several new cultural institutions -- a new art institute and a national theater, for example.

In the 1860s there was a movement toward realism and social concern among leading intellectuals, partly identified with the Reformists. The leading literary figure of the latter part of the century was the quasi-naturalist novelist and diplomat Eça de Queiroz, among the half dozen best west European novelists of his time. By the 1890s, however, a neoromanticist trend was setting in which stressed nostalgia, estheticism, irrationalism, a form of nationalism and also of national pessimism.

Aside from small circles of literati, there existed a small political intelligentsia from 1820 on, associated with political activism and journalism. An enormous number of newspapers were founded in nineteenth-century Portugal, nearly all of them the mouthpieces of political factions, backed by extremely scanty resources, and short of life. Even the largest newspapers rarely printed more than two thousand copies, and prices were rather high. In 1821, the first full year of liberalism, 39 newspapers were founded. The press suffered from the reaction after 1823, but journalistic agitation and pamphleteering was a significant factor in the victory of 1833-1834. The years 1834 to 1851 were in some ways the golden age of political journalism in Portugal, at least as far as polemical and literary style were concerned. Between 1835 and 1837 170 newspapers were founded, though the Chartist regime imposed censorship after 1842 and there was a certain amount of repression in the next nine years. After 1851 journalism continued to expand, and the founding of newspapers reached its height in the 1880s, when an annual average of 184, mostly very short-lived, papers were established. Only a few, such as Lisbon's O Século, achieved any distinction. In general, Portuguese press regulations were quite liberal. The right of jury trial for press offenses was abolished in 1890, and there were further restrictions in, 1898 and 1907, but there was no effective libel law, and journals were normally free to print all manner of scurrilous accusations, even against the royal family.
 



 
[546] Table 20. Percent of Illiterates in Portuguese Population over Seven Years of Age, 1890-1911

 
Year Males Females General
1890 67.6 83.5 76.0
1900 65.0 82.1 74.1
1911 60.8 77.4 69.7
Source: Dic. Hist. Port., 2:51.
 


Schools fared more poorly than newspapers. Abolition of the Catholic orders was a major blow to Catholic education, which operated the only system of primary schools in the country. The government was hard pressed to take up the slack, but public educational facilities were expanded at a steady if rather slow rate. In 1820 there had been approximately 2.5 primary schools (all Catholic) per 10,000 population. In 1870 there were 6 and in 1900 9. Between 1845 and 1870 the number of state schools doubled, reaching a total of 2,359. By the end of the century the figure increased to approximately 4,000, and the percentage of state schools among all schools rose from 62 percent in 1868 to 74.2 percent in 1900. Catholic orders were not officially permitted to teach again until a new law of 1901, and by that time the status of Catholic education had declined greatly. In general, the record of nineteenth-century Portuguese liberalism in education was poor, even considering the country's limited resources. Two efforts were made, in 1859 and 1890, to establish a separate ministry of public instruction, but neither lasted more than a year or two. Proportionately less was spent on education than in any other European state save the Ottoman empire.

The popular culture of the Portuguese peasantry was altered very little during the course of the nineteenth century. Despite the anticlericalism of the intellectuals, the ordinary Portuguese remained among the most religious in Europe, and even many of the younger esthetes [547] of the late century became fashionably Catholic. Superstition among the peasants remained extreme into the twentieth century. The Portuguese language was the only tongue in Europe in which religious blasphemy was not a popular form of speech, just as Portuguese had been the only western vernacular to adopt neutral terminology for names of the days of the week instead of pagan-derived words. The influence of clerical styles would still be seen in the form of peasant women's dress in the second half of the twentieth century. Of all regions, the Minho--heartland of Portugal--was the most deeply religious, and, characteristically, the most dechristianized of the lower classes were in Lisbon and to a lesser extent Porto.

It was during the nineteenth century that the feeling of saudade was recognized as characteristic of the emotional tone of much of Portuguese society. Variously translated as "yearning," "longing," or "nostalgia," the melancholy moods of saudade became the keynote of people for whom a sad lyricism had long since replaced the epic tones of the expansionist age. In the Minho, the predominance of saudade may also be traced to the high rate of emigration and the Sadness attendant on loneliness and separation. Much the same atmosphere was found in Spanish Galicia, where similar conditions prevailed.

During the later nineteenth century a major popular song form developed in Lisbon and several other towns--the fado (lit. "fate"). The first important fado was the "Fado da Severa," celebrating the star-crossed loves of a gypsy singer, Maria de Severa, and a nobleman, after Severa's death in 1849. Such melancholy, lyric "fates" were probably sung before, but after mid-century became more popular in tavern and demimonde night spots of Lisbon. A police crackdown in the 1850s on taverns, gambling, and other vice centers restricted the spread of fados, but the classic period of fado singing was the decade 1865-1875, when the form was made more respectable and acquired a broader following. Fados have remained the dominant form of Portuguese popular song ever since.
 
 

Portuguese Africa in the Nineteenth Century
 
The Portuguese coastal possessions in Africa, mostly forts and trading stations, had attracted little attention during the eighteenth century aside from their usefulness in the slave trade. The Charter of 1826 made everyone born in the Portuguese dominions a citizen, equal under the law, and the subsequent liberal victory in 1834 meant the eventual end of the slave trade. By that time slaving did not mean very much to the economy of Portugal. Just as the Portuguese Asian trade had become by the seventeenth century an increasingly intra- [548] Asian business, so the Portuguese African slave trade had become by the nineteenth century an increasingly intra-African business. It was more important to those African chiefs and tribes who sold other Africans to the traders than it was to the Portuguese, for it was the major African export to pay for goods sought from European traders.

Portuguese Africa first drew the attention of other powers because of the determination of Britain, and to a lesser extent of several other governments, to stamp out the slave trade. At that point Portugal actually lacked the naval strength to patrol its African waters effectively. During the 1820s part of its small fleet was sent to Brazil to help form the nucleus of a Brazilian navy, and more ships were lost in the Portuguese civil war. Under pressure from the British government, the Septembrist regime officially abolished the slave trade in 1836, but at that time there were insufficient government forces along the coast of Angola and Moçambique to enforce the order. This situation led to a famous directive by Lord Palmerston in 1839 authorizing searches of Portuguese vessels which the British fleet suspected of slaving. Deep resentment was aroused in Portugal. The slave trade from Portuguese Africa was not completely ended for thirty years, however, and though it was soon staunched in Guinea and Angola, the trade from Moçambique actually increased during the 1840s.

It was the Septembrist regime of 1836-1842 and more concretely its key leader, Sá da Bandeira, that first envisioned a program of African expansion for Portugal. This was a part of the Septembrist vision of developing the energies and possibilities of Portugal, creating a new kind of empire in place of Brazil. It was also stimulated by French expansion in Algeria, but Portugal lacked the resources to move more directly into Africa at that time and was fortunate to keep the toehold it had. By mid-century most of the Guinea coastal region staked out by the Portuguese had been lost to France and little attention was paid to the remainder. The Regenerator government of the 1850s and early 1860s had little interest in the African territories, in contrast to the overseas emphasis of the Liberal Union government of O'Donnell in Spain between 1858 and 1863.

Interest in overseas development remained stronger in the Historical-Reformist- Progressivist sector of politics than among the more conservative Regenerators. After 1870, however, with the unification of Germany and Italy and the beginning of a new wave of west European imperial expansion, there was a growing feeling in Portuguese politics that retention and development of the overseas territories was an indispensable guarantee of Portugal's own independence and success as a small country. Portuguese Africa consisted of little more than dominion over the coastal territories of Portuguese [549] Guinea, Angola, and Moçambique. Effective control did not extend very far inland. In Moçambique a series of prazos (lit. "terms" or "limits") had been staked out far inland by overlords from Goa and Portugal in the seventeenth century. The prazos formed large plantation districts, sometimes with a sizable native population, and battened on the gold-mining economy of the seventeenth century but subsequently went into decline. The prazeiros, increasingly African in racial composition, had become a separate intermediate kind of overlord.

During the 1860s the government slowly increased the money spent on overseas territories. Angola received twice as much as Moçambique, however, and the remaining districts of Portuguese India more than Angola. Several badly arranged expeditions of exploration and conquest farther inland were carried out in Angola and Moçambique during the 1860s and 1870s. In Moçambique it was as much a task of conquering as of incorporating the local prazeiros and their lands, for even in the decadence of the prazo system the district overlords strove to maintain their semi-independence. In 1864 the Banco Nacional Ultramarino was established, and in 1867 a steamer line was set up in the Luanda region of Angola, financed by British capital. During the next six years the Angolan river trade increased seven times over.

In Moçambique 70 percent of local commerce was concentrated on the off-shore island of Moçambique itself, and ivory remained the chief article of trade. Completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, however, opened up the direct European route to the east coast of Africa and the Indian Ocean, somewhat increasing Moçambique's commercial importance. Some years later gold and diamonds were discovered to the southwest in Boer territory. The discovery led to a major expansion of the old trading fortress of Lourenço Marques on the southern coast of Moçambique, and it became the most direct outlet for part of the Boer territory.

The chief figure in Portuguese policy during the 1870s was João de Andrade Corvo, foreign minister from 1871 to 1877 and again from1878 to 1879. Corvo also held the ministry of the navy and overseas affairs for most of this period. He was a liberal expansionist, looking to the occupation of large inland territories. He encouraged international cooperation and freer trade, lowered duties, and fostered communications building, economic development, and exploration. The most dramatic achievement of those years was the trek led by an army captain, Alexandre Serpa Pinto, across southern Africa from Luanda on the west coast to Durban on the east, in 1877-1878. In 1879 Corvo separated Portuguese Guinea from the Cape Verde islands, establishing it as a separate province of Portugal. In general, [550] however, he lacked the support and facilities to realize his major plans.

Portuguese claims were later shunted aside at the Berlin Congress of 1885, summoned by Bismarck to draw clear lines of demarcation among competing colonial powers in Africa. They were completely excluded from the greatest prize, the Congo territory, though the Portuguese had been in that region for four hundred years. Over half the stations in the Congo at that time were operated by Portuguese, who more nearly fulfilled the stipulated requirement of "effective occupation" than did any other power, but a small, weak, unindustrialized country stood little chance of winning its case.

On the other hand, progress was made in delimiting the boundaries of the greater Angolan region, and by 1886 Portuguese expansionists had begun to talk enthusiastically of a mapa côr de rosa ("rose-colored map," for the Portuguese emblem). This sketch, drawn up in Lisbon, showed Portuguese territory stretching all the way across southern continental Africa from Angola to Moçambique. In 1888, however, British ambitions were voiced for creation of a "Cape to Cairo" route of British-controlled territory through east Africa from north to south, which among other things would block the proposed route of Portuguese expansion. A military expedition through western Moçambique under Serpa Pinto in 1889 roused British hostility, resulting in a famous ultimatum from the British prime minister, Lord Salisbury, in January 1890, demanding that the Portuguese withdraw from the disputed territory. The Portuguese diplomatic and military situation was absolutely hopeless. Britain was the nearest thing to an ally that the Portuguese government had, and no support could be expected elsewhere. Capitulation was inevitable, despite loud and bitter protests from middle class patriots. In the following year, after relations were patched up, a new Moçambique Company of private investors was licensed by the Portuguese government to undertake the economic development of that region. British economic interests were now predominant there and the new company, chartered for fifty years, functioned as a virtual state within a state to do what the Portuguese government was unable to accomplish in developing communications and exploiting the raw materials of Moçambique.
 

Decline and Collapse of the Constitutional Monarchy, 1890-1910
 
After the successful reestablishment of rotativismo in the 1870s, Portuguese politics was free of radical pressures of any kind for nearly a generation. The established oligarchy governed unchallenged for two [551] decades, and during the twelve years 1878 to 1890 rotativismo worked with efficient parity, the Regenerators holding office for eighty-one months and the Progressives for sixty-nine months. Tranquil alternation was interrupted by the Ultimatum crisis, which forced the Progressivist ministry to resign. The subsequent Regenerator government was unable to get the Cortes to approve a new African treaty worked out on British terms, and had to give way to the first of several nonparty coalition ministries that governed for more than two years.

The official settlement with Britain was worked out in January 1891, helping to precipitate the first overt republican rebellion against the constitutional monarchy. Portuguese republicanism had emerged in the aftermath of the radical intellectuals' enthusiasm for the European revolutions of 1848. In the 1850s and 1860s nascent Portuguese republicanism had been doctrinally amorphous but inclined toward federalist, cooperativist, social reformist positions. In the 1860s it won the allegiance of much of the new intelligentsia, reacting against the "putrid peace" of Regenerationism and the oligarchic rotativist system. A divergence developed in 1871, when the Portuguese Socialist party was founded, carrying the left wing of the tiny republican movement with it. It soon became clear, however, that the potential support for radical movements was extremely limited. Though the Socialist party won the support of much of the small organized working class movement in Lisbon and Porto, it could not advance beyond this narrow base and was badly split by internal quarrels. The main current of republicanism became more moderate and was organized as the Unitary Republican party in 1880, strongly influenced by the democratic, middle class, but nonradical Third Republic in France. The main goals of Portuguese republicanism in the 1880s and 1890s were complete political freedom and equality, guarantees for the rights to association and to strike, separation of church and state, and the elimination of most indirect, regressive taxes. Its proponents relied almost exclusively on propaganda, invoking the symbols of past Portuguese greatness and calling for a rebirth of the nation and a new place for it in the world, under democratic institutions. The first republican deputy was elected from Porto in 1878, and overthrow of the monarchy in Brazil in 1889 served as a stimulus to republican agitation in Portugal.

The national humiliation of the Ultimatum and the government's acceptance of British demands provided the first opportunity for republicans to mobilize a broader national protest. They insisted that under the monarchy Portugal would soon lose its independence. A conspiracy of pro-republican noncommissioned officers developed in the Porto garrison, and after the government attempted to transfer dissidents, erupted in an abortive Spanish-style revolt on January 31, [552] 1891. Led by three junior officers, it relied on NCO's but was quickly smashed by Municipal Guard and loyal army units.

The republican revolt was more a sign of changing times than an immediate threat. The real problem was the national financial crisis precipitated by the diplomatic humiliation and political uncertainty. A banking moratorium had to be declared, and the state neared bankruptcy in 1891-1892. Foreign creditors demanded international control of Portuguese customs and the German government urged a naval demonstration off Lisbon similar to that recently brandished against Venezuela. The outstanding cultural historian and political critic Oliveira Martins took office as minister of finance in a new nonparty government in 1892 but failed to win passage of effective financial reforms.

The pressure eased by 1893, however, and a regular Regenerator ministry took over under the party chief, Hintze Ribeiro. It dissolved the businessmen's association that had helped block tax reform, but could not restore political tranquillity and normal rotativismo. Even regular party members and supporters were losing confidence in the oligarchic system. The scope of politicization was increasing. Whereas the politicized had included only 5 to 10 percent of the population in the early and middle decades of the century, by the end of the century economic and cultural change was broadening this to 15 or 20 percent. The new demands on government required new programs, but the established factions were opposed to basic reform and democratization, for fear of losing power.

In these circumstances the weight of rivalries and status jockeying could not be borne as easily as in earlier decades, and the Regenerator government began to break up. Consequently Hintze Ribeiro postponed the 1894 elections and ruled by decree under emergency powers, sharing leadership with his minister of the interior, the energetic João Franco. A new electoral system was established restricting representation of minority parties, and the opposition for the most part withdrew from the 1895 election. A new constitutional measure, the Third Additional Act, was then passed in 1896 to strengthen royal executive power. Eleven years earlier, in more tranquil times, a liberalizing amendment (the Second Additional Act) had made the senate mostly elective and deprived the crown of moderating powers. The new act of 1896 abolished senate elections and restored the moderating powers of the crown, including the right to dissolve parliament.

The Regenerator government was thus relying on a kind of constitutional authoritarianism under the crown to retard the process of political erosion. The new king, D. Carlos I (1889-1908), was reluctant to endorse this strategy completely. An oceanographer of some distinction and also a painter, the blond, robust, increasingly portly [553] D. Carlos maintained the cultural distinction of the royal family established by his late father and uncle. He had a similar sense of scruple, but found it hard to chart a constructive course amid increasing factionalism, republican criticism, and the mutual discrediting of Regenerators and Progressives among themselves. After the Regenerators handed him increased power, they insisted that he use it in 1897 for another fornada of peers, to give them a Safe majority in the senate. He refused, the Regenerators resigned, and a Progressive ministry assumed power, governing from 1897 to 1900.

By the end of the century the status of Portuguese Africa was slightly more secure, thanks in part to growing rivalry between Britain and Germany. In 1898 there was discussion between representatives of the two powers over a possible partition of Portuguese territories, since Portugal was supposedly too weak to control or develop them. A secret clause in an Anglo-German treaty of that year provided for the potential division of Portuguese Africa into German and British spheres of economic interest, a possible prelude to outright partition. The outbreak of the Boer War the following year, accompanied by German hostility, led the British government to an abrupt change of position. In October 1899 the British and Portuguese governments signed a secret declaration of friendship and pledged to help maintain each other's interests and possessions. In December 1900 the Anglo-Portuguese alliance was publicly reaffirmed, thanks at least in part to the helpful diplomatic assistance of the Portuguese king, who realized that the frustrations of the years 1885-1890 had come from a hopeless effort by the Portuguese government to play what was in effect a major power role all by itself.

Despite the humiliation of the Ultimatum and the inability to ever make the mapa côr de rosa a reality, Portuguese expansion in the great age of European imperialism was quite considerable, in view of the meager resources of the home country. Spain, which was much larger and slightly more wealthy, was much less successful; Italy, larger still and more industrial and powerful, achieved no more-- hardly as much--as small, weak Portugal. Yet the slowly growing republican opposition made of the failures and supposed disgrace of the monarchist regime abroad one of its most effective propaganda themes. Even the agreement of 1900 was vociferously denounced by Portuguese ultras as another capitulation.

The Regenerators returned to power in 1900 but soon had to face a serious defection by the most important of their younger leaders, the forty-five-year old João Franco, who walked out with a minority of nominally reformist Regenerator deputies constituting themselves the Liberal Regenerators. The prime minister, Hintze Ribeiro, had no reply to political opposition other than further manipulation. The [554] republicans had recently managed to elect three deputies in Porto where, despite fraud, their votes could not be ignored. Therefore in 1901 the government carried out an elaborate electoral gerrymander, reorganizing the country into thirty-three special electoral districts and in the resulting elections shutting out the republicans and reducing Franco's parliamentary representation to a single deputy. Otherwise the government's only achievement was to convert and consolidate the foreign debt with a new loan agreement. Beyond that it had no program. Like Cánovas and Sagasta in Spain after 1890, Hintze Ribeiro's only goal was to preserve the status quo.

João Franco became the most controversial politician of the period and an increasingly formidable rival. His high cheek bones and slanting eyes gave him a somewhat exotic appearance, and his energy and aggressiveness were second to none. He loomed in Portuguese politics as the kind of loyal conservative reformist that Antonio Maura was in Spain, denouncing fraud and electoral corruption with great vehemence. In a series of public rallies and speeches--the sort of campaign that was not common in the Portuguese system of minimal mobilization--he promised honest government and elections, limitation of the budget, educational expansion, and a degree of local government autonomy. He had also shown in the last elections that he would not scruple to collaborate with the republicans if that were deemed useful, and he obtained revenge on the Regenerators by helping to force the resignation of Hintze Ribeiro in 1904. The next ministry was organized by the Progressive chief, José Luciano de Castro, who was in poor health and could keep a government together only two years. Hintze Ribeiro was then reappointed to make the elections of 1906, but as in Spain, government control no longer worked so well as in earlier years. A compromise with Franco was necessary, and Hintze could not govern effectively.

In an effort to revitalize the political system, Dom Carlos then appointed João Franco prime minister. Since Franco lacked anything approaching a parliamentary majority he tried to create a "liberal concentration" with the Progressives. The leader of the Progressives, Castro, accepted and thereby undercut the rotativist system, not because his colleagues really supported Franco's ideas but because of a new rivalry between Castro and Hintze Ribeiro, whom the former accused of trying to undermine his leadership within the Progressive party. As a consequence, the Progressives also split between Castro and the supporters of his bitter personal rival, José de Alpoim, whom Ribeiro was trying to establish as a counterweight to Franco. The new prime minister's announced goals of reforming the budget and the electoral system and of making ministers responsible to parliament alone were intensively combatted by the regular Regenerators, [555] who doubted their capacity to survive in a reformed system. Thus the established leaders and factions all strove to cancel each other out.

Meanwhile the republicans, who had won four seats in Lisbon in the 1906 elections, began to come forward. They capitalized on Franco's reformism and advanced new demands, creating disorders in parliament. The principal target of their propaganda was the fat, personable sovereign, D. Carlos, who was accused of squandering illicit financial advances secretly tendered by the government. The problem here was that the royal list had been set at a fixed figure decades before and was inadequate for the rising prices of the twentieth century, but because government expenses and electoral corruption had been the chief domestic issues for years, no ministry dared officially raise the royal budget. There was no real evidence that the queen was a spendthrift, as charged, and the royal family had already sold or pawned most royal properties. The real issue was the ideological and moral revolt of the radical intelligentsia, who sought to make the royal father-figure a symbolic sacrifice to expiate the miseries of twentieth-century Portugal. After insisting on an inquiry, the republican deputies were expelled from parliament, and a prorepublican strike at normally conservative Coimbra University led to its closing.

All the while Franco had been unable either to achieve basic reforms or to generate effective parliamentary support. In the spring of 1907 he imposed a new press law to muzzle republican propaganda and obtained royal authorization to close parliament and rule by decree, though at the beginning of his ministry he had sworn publicly "to God" to preserve liberties and refrain from dictatorship. Decree powers had been used before from time to time and had always been sanctioned by subsequent bills of indemnity from parliament. This was, however, the most overt use of decree power in half a century and was a recognition of the inefficacy of the existing parliamentary system. In the long run, Franco's "dictatorship" had the same effect as the Primo de Rivera regime in Spain. It alienated all the established political factions and left the government standing on thin air. Having done more than any other leader to destroy the Regenerator party and the rotativist system, Franco was unable to implement a clearcut program or capitalize on the reform sentiment that undeniably existed among part of the small body politic. His publicly invoked norm of Pouca política, muita administraçao (little politicking, much administration) echoed the "practical" line of critics of the parliamentary system all over Europe, but what Portugal faced was a political crisis and he was incapable of devising means to handle it.

Meanwhile the republican movement gained ground among the urban lower middle classes and among elements of the elite. A secret activist association known ordinarily as the Carbonária, organized in [556] 1896, had expanded to include several thousand members. Carbonarism had a long history in Portuguese liberal politics, parallel to but not identical with Free Masonry. The first secret activists had been organized in 1822-1823 under the influence of exiled army officers belonging to the Italian carbonari. Until about 1864 all major political groups had their own secret carbonária, often joined by people of the highest social rank. Under the rotativist regime, secret political societies had faded away. The new republican Carbonária of the early twentieth century was based on lower-middle-class nationalist radicalism, stimulated by the protest over Portugal's international position, motivated by intense anticlericalism and hatred for religion, which was considered the root of Portugal's backwardness, and increasingly grounded on hostility toward the king himself.

In September 1907 D. Carlos made the grave mistake of publicly identifying himself with the Franco dictatorship, which in turn proceeded to write off the large royal debt and increase the rather small civil list by about 50 percent. By that time the great majority of "monarchist" politicians, that is, representatives of two formerly established parties, had come out in opposition to the dictatorship. Franco promised elections at the end of a year (in April 1908), but the republicans seized the initiative by attempting a military revolt in January 1908. This led to a general crackdown, and preparations were made to impose exile on those guilty of "political crimes." Removal of the republican leaders would have had a severe effect on the still numerically small movement, so the Carbonária changed the terms of struggle. On February 1, 1908, both the king and the heir to the throne were shot as their open carriages crossed one of the main squares in Lisbon. It was an unprecedented act, the first regicide in Portuguese history, and opened the era of twentieth-century radicalism in Portugal.

The murder of D. Carlos doomed the monarchy. The only surviving male member of the royal family was his second son, the eighteen-year-old prince Manuel, who was not ready to assume the responsibilities of government. Even more debilitating was the fact that he had no loyal political leaders or groups on which to rely; all the parties and personal cliques had been alienated by Franco. The Council of State was convened, and an attempt at compromise was decided upon. Franco resigned and never returned to political life. A new coalition cabinet was formed under an admiral, Ferreira do Amaral, foreshadowing the dictablanda of Berenguer and Aznar two decades later in Spain. No attempt was made at a thorough investigation of the royal assassinations. The physical authors were executed, but their accomplices were given a tacit immunity, in the hope of establishing some kind of truce. Unlike the later Spanish successors to [557] Primo de Rivera, Amaral held elections on schedule in April 1908. They did not reveal any profound shift; out of more than one hundred seats, the republicans won only eleven (eight of them in Lisbon). The government's main problem was not republican opposition but the extreme factionalism of the nominal monarchists. Julio Vilhena, new chief of the Regenerators, tried to subvert the Amaral ministry, which was then succeeded not by a Vilhena cabinet but by a government of Campos Henriques, head of the most conservative faction of Regenerators.

During the first seventy-one years of liberalism, from 1834 to 1905, there had been fifty-four cabinets, with an average life of one year and four months. Between 1905 and 1910 there were ten, averaging six months each. In a period of thirty-two months between February 1908 and October 1910 there were six cabinets, changing more rapidly still. Until 1870 most government ministers had some sort of aristocratic title; during the decade 1900-1910 only four of sixty had titles. Political leadership had become more middle class, but this had not led to greater continuity or deeper roots. Quarrels over status, faction, and personality had destroyed political cohesion. By the beginning of 1910 the Regenerators had split into three main groups and the Progressives into two. Outside the larger towns, there was little popular support for the republican movement, but inside the parliament the monarchist politicians had lost all faith in the regime and seemed to have little hope or interest in maintaining their own system.

The main phase of modern labor unrest had begun in Portugal in 1903, as the workers were caught in an inflationary price scissors. During 1910 strike activity reached an all-time high, as shown in these figures given by Armando de Castro:
 
Year Number of Industrial Strikers
1903 1,225
1904 1,108
1905 2,107
1906 9,137
1907 6,181
1908 2,681
1909 2,038
1910 10,538
 

Rural laborers remained much more quiet. During the ten years 1903-1912 only 14,200 farm workers, all in the south, were listed as having been on strike. Altogether, these numbers are very modest compared with those of many other countries in this period, but the [558] protest they reveal was unprecedented in Portugal and added another element of unrest.

The main strength of the republicans was in Lisbon, where they won control of the municipal council in November 1908. Until that point their official leadership had been moderate, but at the end of 1908 it fell under the control of the radicals. In most of the country the movement's following remained scattered and amorphous. Its main thrust lay in the semisecret Carbonária groups and among the intelligentsia, particularly journalists and students, giving the republicans disproportionate publicity, a major factor in their rise. They were also strong among noncommissioned officers in the army, and among naval officers, who were impressed by republican propaganda about the monarchy's failure to win Portugal a proper place overseas. Finally, the republicans also received financial and other support from dissident monarchist politicians, especially Alpoim's faction of the Progressives, who may even have had a hand in the regicide.

In the elections of August 1910 the republican minority was increased from eleven to only fourteen (eleven of them from Lisbon). If the movement were to wait upon the organization of representative public opinion, it would apparently be waiting for some time, so more direct tactics were once more decided upon. Meanwhile the government made more and more concessions in a vain effort to placate the left. It capitulated to virulent anticlerical propaganda by officially dissolving the Jesuit order in Portugal for the second time, at the beginning of October.

Since the monarchists had virtually conceded the ground to republican doctrine, there was no reason to delay a direct seizure of government. On the next day, October 4, 1910, a revolt was begun in Lisbon by the crews of two rebellious warships and a few companies of dissident troops rallied by a group of naval officers. The rebels lacked the strength to take the capital, but loyal forces proved totally irresolute. As the rebels began to win over some of their opponents, the government, with almost no one willing to fight for it, collapsed. The political system was thoroughly exhausted and had given no sign of new ideas, programs, or mobilization of energy. Most of the politically active were alienated, and the monarchy fell by default. As the remnants of the royal family went into exile, the old upper class oligarchy was replaced by a radical new middle class elite.
 
 


Bibliography for Chapter 22
 
 [707] There have been several efforts to conduct a regional and social analysis of early Portuguese liberalism. The most useful is Fernando Piteira Santos, Geografia e economia da Revolução de 1820 (Lisbon, 1962), but see also Juliao Scares de Azevedo, Condições económicas da Revolução portuguesa de 1820 (Lisbon, 1944). Victor de Sá's A crise do liberalismo e as primeiras manifestações das ideias socialistas em Portugal (1820-1852) (Lisbon, 1969), and his brief A revolução de setembro de 1836 (Lisbon, 1969) are incisive, if slightly tendentious, works. Still of importance for the study of nineteenth- [708] century Portugal is J. P. de Oliveira Martins' Portugal contemporáneo, 5th ed., 2 vols. (Lisbon, 1919). Marcello Caetano, Constituições portuguesas (Braga, 1958), gives an outline of Portuguese political parties and constitutions. There are few decent biographies dealing with this period; P. M. Laranjo Coelho, Mousinho da Silveira (Lisbon, 1918), can perhaps be recommended. On Portuguese Africa, see R. J. Hammond, Portugal and Africa 1815-1910, a Study in Uneconomic Imperialism (Stanford, 1966), and Luis Vieira de Castro, Dom Carlos I (Lisbon, 1936).

Social and economic affairs are treated in Armando Castro, Introdução ao estudo da economia portuguesa (Lisbon, 1947); Paul Descamps, Histoire sociale du Portugal (Paris, 1959); Bento Carquejo, O Povo portuguez (Porto, 1916); and the best contemporary work, Charles Vogel, Le Portugal et ses colonies: Tableau politique et commercials (Paris, 1860).

There has been little study of the collapse of the monarchy. The most that can be recommended, and that with qualification, are Jesús Pabón's one-sided La revolución portuguesa, vol. 1 (Madrid, 1941), and three personalistic, anecdotal volumes by Rocha Martins: D. Carlos (Lisbon, 1926), João Franco e o seu tempo (Lisbon, n.d.), and D. Manuel II (Lisbon, 1931).
 
 



 
Note for Chapter 22
 
 

1. To clarify dynastic chronology, it should be explained that Pedro III was never king in his own right. He was the husband and uncle of Maria I, ruling jointly with her during the first years of her reign until his death in 1786.