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Featured Title:

O Duque de Loulé
Crónica de um Percurso Político (1804-1875)

Author: Dom Filipe Folque de Mendóça

Edition: Livraria-Editora Orfeu

Bruxelas - 2017


The main purpose of the study which embodied this thesis was to follow and reveal the political life of the first Duke of Loulé. Having rapidly become one of the main characters of the Portuguese State during the second half of the nineteenth century, his political career focused at the time of the ÒRegeneraçãoÓ (namely the period when he was Prime Minister 1856-1870). We tried to develop his personal and political background departing from his biography.This in view towards a general framing of the history and mentality of his times. We approached the family circumstances pertaining his education, relating to the House where he was born into. This helped us in following his family and social career. In this context we must stress out his marriage to the Infanta D. Ana de Jesus Maria (King João VIÕs daughter). This made him brother-in-law to King Pedro IV, and uncle to Queen Maria II and to her sons King Pedro V and Luís I of Portugal. His choosing of the liberal party by defending the QueenÕs legitimacy made him a companion to King Pedro IV during the whole Civil War (1832-1834). He fought alongside the King during the ÒCampanhas da LiberdadeÓ and during the siege of Oporto. This resulted on his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Navy (1833). With the start of the Constitutional Monarchy through the issuing of the ÒCarta ConstitucionalÓ, and after having restored the dynastic legitimacy; he reclaimed his place as member of the upper House, known as ÒCâmara dos Pares do ReinoÓ. There he fought bravely for the constitutional principles in which he dearly believed, following with moderation the radical party of the ÒliberalismoÓ under the monarchy.This singular state of affairs led him to follow and fight the way of liberal ÒprogressismoÓ. This resulted on his appointment as Minister of Navy (1835) and Foreign Affairs (1835-1836). This led him to becoming a member of the ÒSetembrismoÓ.Consequently being elected deputy to the ÒCortes ConstituintesÓ (1837-1838) and Senator (1840). Afterwhich he became united to the ÒJunta do PortoÓ, thus serving us Civil Governor of Coimbra (1846-1847). After having signed the ÒConvenção de GramidoÓ (1847), he would reclaim once again his place in the upper House. There he was part of the ÒNacionalÓ party, opposing the Government. This situation was kept until the victory of the ÒRegeneraçãoÓ movement, led by Saldanha (1851). After a brief service in Office (from which he exited in dismay) he would be elected Grand Master of the ÒConfederação Maçónica PortuguesaÓ (Freemasonry). At the same time he held office as ÒProvedor da Casa Pia de LisboaÓ (1853-1856). King Pedro V asked him to form a new government as President of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) in 1856. This gave way to a new cycle in the Portuguese political scene where he became chief of the ÒPartido HistóricoÓ.Thus keeping him at the head of Government in Portugal for about nine years. Namely between 1856-1859, 1860-1865 and 1869-1870. A follower of the principles of the ÒRegeneraçãoÓ movement, which he helped himself to establish; aka the material and civilizational progress of the country; Loulé would develop a strenuous Government activity, achieving through his mandates to implement several measures which would create the foundations of a Modern State. The reforms carried out by the several Cabinets led by Loulé would enable the country to acquire modern ways of communication, either by road, or by railroad. Besides the notorious increment in public work, we must also stress out the development of statistical studies. Loulé was responsible for the first general census of the population (31st December 1863). In the field of Education and Instruction, important steps would be carried out to the increasing of primary teaching schools; the promotion of schools for girls; industrial and agricultural training; and last but not least the improvements in University, namely Coimbra and Lisbon polytechnic school. In the political-diplomatic field Loulé would endure many difficult situations either in the country or abroad.Namely the issue of the barge ÒCharles et GeorgesÓ which would oppose Portugal to the France of Napoleon III (an issue relating to the abolishment of the slave trade); and the issue of the sisters of charity (a confrontation between liberal ideology and catholic conservatives). In spite of all the setbacks relating to these issues Loulé has succeeded to limiting the damage which could have developed from a French ultimatum. The latter issue was happily concluded to the general satisfaction of the King and State. His moderate personality, which helped the creation of political understandings above the interests of the parties made him a major player when the Government of ÒFusãoÓ erupted, joining the moderate ÒhistóricosÓ with the ÒregeneradoresÓ.This guaranteed a comfortable majority in Parliament, an indispensable tool to the approval of several executive reforms in view of the Òmaterial and moral developments of the peoplesÓ; as well as solving the issue of public finances. LouléÕs latter government period in Office sounded promising, as he was able to attract along his ranks great names of his own party. Yet unexpectedly he was to be confronted with the coup of the ÒSaldanhadaÓ(1870), which led the country to plunge into a dictatorship. In the last years of his life he was to be granted the life office of President of the upper House (1870-1872), from which he would demand his dismissal due to the logic of his principles, which were assuredly liberal. In 1875, during his funeral António Cândido would summarize the exceptional contribution of Loulé towards the consolidation of the Constitutional Monarchy regime: 'Éduring his public life it depended greatly on his name and on his person the just balance of the traditions of the past and the aspirations of the future'.

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