Thomas Jefferson in France

By Kenneth Maxwell

The Minas conspirators saw the American Revolution as relevant because they perceived the tax demands (the impending derrama or special levy) placed on them by Portugal as similar to those the British had imposed on their North American colonies.

In fact the tax demands the Portuguese government insisted on in 1788 to make up for the arrears in payments on the fifth of the gold production were to provide the occasion as well as the date for the uprising.

Barbacena, the new governor and captain general, had arrived in Minas Gerais on July 11, 1788, with a massive directive, composed by the secretary of state for the overseas dominions, Martinho de Melo e Castro, intended as a reformulation of policy for Minas Gerais. The captaincy of Minas Gerais had been for most of the eighteenth century the location of the first great gold rush in modern history.

After 1720 it also became the major source of the world’s diamonds. Melo e Castro claimed in his directive that all means of collecting the royal fifth on the gold production from Minas had been “eluded by the inhabitants.” The Mineiros, he said, had sought “to persuade that the mines were exhausted.” He dismissed these claims as being a subterfuge to disguise the abuses and frauds practiced in the captaincy. The fall in gold returns, he asserted, was a result of “the general relaxation of those charged with the inviolable observance of the laws.”

(Registro da carta do Ex. Senhor General sobre a suspensão da derrama, Vila Rica, 14th march 1789, in Revista do Público Mineiro, 7, 1903, pp. 979-80; also in AHU, Minas Gerais, box 57. Portaria do Visconde de Barbacena, Villa Rica, June 30, 1789, Autos da Devassa 2:87–88. Also Livro Recueil des Loix Constitutives… A qual entrega a testemunha, in Minas Gerais, caixa 93, Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino, Lisboa, Portugal. Also Cartas, Denúncias e Diligências 26, no. 10, July 10, 1789, Autos da Devassa 2 (1978): 474–75; José Caetano César Manitti to Visconde de Barbacena, Villa Rica, February, 12, 1790, Anuário do Museu da Inconfidência, Ouro Preto, 11 (1953) 89; “perguntas feitas ao Coronel Francisco Antonio de Oliveira Lopes, Rio de Janeiro, November 21, 1789, Autos da Devassa 4:332; and “perguntas feitas ao . . . Oliveira Lopes,” Villa Rica, July 21, 1789, 11, 58; also the “terceiras perguntas feitas ao Padre José da Silva de Oliveira Rolim,” Vila Rica, October 21, 1789, Autos da Devassa 11:273.)

Barbacena was ordered by Melo e Castro, on his arrival in Minas Gerais, to call together the Junta da Fazenda (the exchequer board) of the captaincy and to read the stipulations of the Alvará of December 3, 1750, when the inhabitants of Minas Gerais had agreed to guarantee to the royal exchequer one hundred arrobas of gold per annum. Barbacena was to remind them that when this quota was unfilled a per capita tax or derrama was to be imposed on all the inhabitants of the captaincy to make up for the unpaid arrears.

In 1788 these arrears amounted to 538 arrobas of gold. The payments under the Minas tax farms were also in arrears. Barbacena was also instructed by Melo e Castro to void all tax farms in Minas Gerais and to institute legal proceedings against the debtors of the royal treasury “of whatever quality they may be.”

These tax demands appeared to be similar to those Britain had attempted to impose on the English colonies in North America. The Minas conspirators saw in the North American Declaration of Independence and the constitutional documents reproduced in the Recueil a model of a successful colonial revolt and a framework for discussing the institutions they intended to create for their own independent republican government after their revolt had succeeded.

The interrogations of the prisoners arrested in Vila Rica in July 1789 quickly revealed a direct connection between the Brazilian conspirators and Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson had declined the invitation to serve as one of the American envoys to France in 1776 and again in 1782. But in 1785 he agreed and succeeded Franklin.

In 1786 Jefferson received a letter from Montpellier dated October 2. It was signed with the pseudonym “Vendek.” Montpellier was the oldest faculty of medicine in Europe, dating from 1220.

Vendek, in his letter to  Jefferson, wrote that he had a matter of great consequence to communicate but his bad health did not permit him to travel to Paris, and as he was a foreigner in France, he wished Jefferson to recommend a safe channel for correspondence via “François Vigarous” (Vigourous), counselor to the king and professor of medicine at the University of Montpellier. Jefferson replied on October 16.

(The letter is not in the Jefferson archives, but Vendek refers to the date of Jefferson’s letter to him in his response to Jefferson on October 21. Other Brazilians had continued their studies in France or gone directly to the faculty of Medicine at Montpellier, where fifteen Brazilians had matriculated between 1767 and 1793. Between 1785 and 1790, eleven Brazilians had matriculated, including José Mariano Leal da Câmara de Gusmão from Rio de Janeiro in 1785 and Manuel Arruda da Câmara from Pernambuco, who received their doctorates in 1790 and 1793, respectively. Sumário de testemunhos sobre a ligações de José Joaquim Maia e Barbalho e Thomas Jefferson, Auto de perguntas feitas acerca de uma carta escrita ao Ministro dos Estados Unidos da América Setentrional por um estudante do Brasil que se acha em Montpellier, Autos da Devassa 2 (1978): 5; Autos da Devassa 2 (1978): 5.1 — Autuação, Casa do Ouvidor, 7-07-1789, II.5.2 – Portaria do Visconde de Barbacena/Villa Rica, 30-06-1789, Autos da Devassa 2 (1978): 5.3. Inquirição deste Sumário, Autos da Devassa 2 (1978): 5.3.A; Assentada, Cadeia Publica, 8-07-1789, II,5, 3.I – Francsico Antonio de Oliveira Lopes, Autos da Devassa 2 (1978): 87–91; Autos da Devassa (1978): 5.3.2 – Domingos Vidal de Barbosa (28 years old) Autos da Devassa 2:92–95; and the subsequent interrogations, confrontations, and testimony of Oliveira Lopes and José Pereira Ribeiro (twenty-five years old) who denied any knowledge of the matter; Autos da Devassa 2 (1978): 97. José Maia e Barbalho to Thomas Jefferson, Montpellier, October 2, 1786, and José Joaquim Maia e Barbalho to Thomas Jefferson, Montpellier, November 21, 1786; in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1954), 10:427 and 10:546–47. Vendek to Jefferson, Montpellier, October 9, 1786; Vendek to Jefferson, Montpellier, November 21, 1786; Jefferson to Vendek, Paris, December 26,1786; Vendek to Jefferson, Montpellier, January 5, 1787; in Anuário do Museu da Inconfidência (Ouro Preto, 1953), 2:11–13. The correspondence between Maia e Barbalho and Jefferson and between Jefferson and John Jay is also published in the Autos da Devassa 8:19–35. Jefferson also commented to Jay on a conversation he had with a Mexican in Paris. He told Jay he had been more cautious in his comments with the Mexican because “as for us, if Spain would give us favorable terms to our trade and surfaced other difficulties, was not likely to abandon the right and presents advantages, although small, in other future uncertainties, for they were large”; Thomas Jefferson from José da Maia, December 26, 1786, Thomas Jefferson to José da Maiá, March 19, 1787; Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, May 4, 1787; National Archives, “Founders Online,” http://; in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 11:338–43; also in Anuário do Museu da Inconfidência, 2:13–19.)

In his second letter to Jefferson, Vendek declared he was “a Brazilian.” He told Jefferson that “the slavery in which his country lay was rendered each day more insupportable since the epoch of your glorious independence.” Brazilians had decided to follow the example of the North Americans, to break the chains that bound them to Portugal. To solicit the aid of the United States was the purpose of his visit to France. “Nature made us inhabitants of the same continent and in consequence in some degree compatriots.” The following year, when visiting the antiquities at Nîmes, in southern France, Jefferson arranged a secret rendezvous with Vendek.

(Rafael Dias da Silva Campos, “Os 15 de Montpellier: Medicina, política e relação de poder nas Luzes entre Montpellier, Coimbra e Brasil (ca. 1770–ca. 1820),” Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, December 2018; Rafael Dias da Silva Campos, “The Luso-Brazilian Medical Students at Montpellier and the Establishment of an Intellectual Elite between Two American Empires,” in Cross-Cultural Exchange and the Circulation of Knowledge in the First Global Age, eds. Amália Polonia, Fabiano Bracht, Gisele C. Conceição, and Monique Palma (Porto: Edições Afrontamento, 2019); Rafael Dias da Silva Campos and Christian Fausto Moraes dos Santos, “Doutores da devassa: Sedição e teses médicas de Luso-Brasileiros em Montpellier,” História Unisinos 17, no. 1 (2013): 61–66; Richard Drayton, Natures Government: Science, Imperial Britain, and the Improvement” of the World (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000); Sue Minter, The ApothecariesGarden: A History of the Chelsea Physic Garden (London: Sutton Publishing, 2000); Augusto da Silva Carvalho, O abade Correia da Serra: Separata das Memórias” (Lisbon: Academia das Ciencias de Lisboa, 1948). I am most grateful to Lucas Bertolo for his research in the Fonts Anciens, Faculté de Medicine, Université de Montpellier, and in the archives of the University of Bordeaux into the Brazilian students and Professor Joseph Marie Joachim Vigarous.}.

Vendek’s real name was José Joaquim Maia e Barbalho. He was a native of Rio de Janeiro. His father was a leading merchant and public works contractor in Rio de Janeiro with contacts in Bordeaux. Maia e Barbalho had matriculated in 1783 at the University of Coimbra in Portugal where he studied mathematics. He was a student of Professor Vigourous at Montpellier where he matriculated in the faculty of medicine in 1786.

(He dedicated his thesis to Vigarous. It dealt with erysipelas fever, an infection of the upper layer of the skin, mostly caused by a streptococcal bacteria, which results in a red rash with raised edges. Its symptoms include fevers, chills, shivering, and high temperatures. The University of Montpellier, in addition to its famous medical school, also had the oldest botanical garden in Europe, founded in 1592.)

Montpellier had long been a major part of a European-wide intellectual network. Montpellier’s professors were part of an international network of natural scientists, which included Domenico Vandelli in Portugal and Joseph Banks at the Royal Society and the Linnaean Society of London. Professors Antoine Govan and Pierre Brossond (who had studied at the University of Edinburgh) were both members of Maia e Barbalho’s examining committee.

They had links with the network of scientific practice developed in the towns of Sheffield, Birmingham, and Manchester. These men were all part of what James Livesey has called the “provincial enlightenment.” It had been to Birmingham that José Álvares Maciel had gone after graduating from Coimbra. Domenico Vandelli was a correspondent of Carl von Linné, the Swedish naturalist.

(Vandelli had moved to Portugal in 1764. In 1770 the junta da providência literária oversaw the post-Jesuit educational reforms, and in particular the root and branch reform of the University of Coimbra, carried out in person in 1772 by the future Marquês de Pombal, where the practical application of chemistry, mathematics, physics, and botany were intended to encourage the development of the agriculture, industry, and commerce under the patronage of ministers of the government.)

Vandelli moved from Lisbon to Coimbra, as did his natural history collection, at the end of 1772 and the beginning of 1773, much to the delight of the Rio de Janeiro–born bishop-rector of the reformed university, Francisco de Lemos (1735–1822).

Incorporated into the Vandelli collection was that of Joseph Rollen van Deck, who had been a member of the Spanish-Portuguese Commission in 1750 charged with the demarcation of the Amazonian frontiers between Spanish and Portuguese America. Van Deck corresponded with Joseph Banks during and after Banks’s visit to Lisbon in 1766 and then had been appointed to lead the Portuguese diplomatic mission to Morocco in 1773, where he died.

Maia e Barbalho had worked under Vandelli at Coimbra before leaving for the University of Montpellier. José Álvares Maciel was one of Vandelli’s most accomplished students and had gone to Birmingham after graduating. It is most likely that Maia e Barbalho’s use of the pseudonym “Vendek” was an allusion to Van Deck.

(I have also drawn from William Simon’s unpublished papers: “The Foundation of the Natural History Museum of the University of Coimbra: An Aspect of the Role of Science during the Eighteenth-Century Reform Period in Portugal”; “A renovação da História Natural (Lineu e Buffon) e seus reflexos na Universidade de Coimbra: Domingos Vandelli e seus alunos brasileiros,” Curso de Conferências, Rio de Janeiro, August, 15, 1988; and “Dr. Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira’s Amazon Formulary: Sources of Luso-Brazilian Medicine in the Late Eighteenth Century.” While in Villa Bela in the captaincy of Mato Grosso, Rodrigues Ferreira was able to work in the private library of Governor Luís de Albuquerque de Melo Pereira Cáceres. He prepared a medical memoir, “Enfermedades endêmicas de Matto Grosso.” The manuscript text of his “Receituário brasiliense” (Brazilian pharmacopoeia) was kept in the archive of the Museu Bocage in Lisbon, but it was destroyed in a fire in the building in 1978; D. M. Davidson, “Rivers and Empire: The Madeira Route and the Incorporation of the Brazilian Far West, 1737–1808,” PhD diss., Yale University, 1970. David Davidson was also one of the authors in the original Newberry Library volume, Dauril Alden, ed., Colonial Roots of Modern Brazil: Papers of the Newberry Library Conference (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), 61–102.)

The Rio de Janeiro connection to Montpellier and Bordeaux was also made through another Brazilian student, Eleuterio Jose Delfim, the son of Antonio Delfim Silva, an entrepreneur in the public works in Rio and a slave trader with Mozambique. The slave trade with Benguela in Angola and Quelimane in Mozambique was controlled and financed by Rio’s entrepreneurs. Jose Delfim had matriculated at Montpellier in the faculty of medicine on October 13, 1786.

He then returned to Rio before arriving back again in Lisbon in July 1788, where he stayed in the house of Joaquim  Pereira de Almeida. He later went to Goa and Mozambique, where he became a major slave trader. Eleuterio Jose Delfim, however, may well have had established connections between Rio de Janeiro, Bordeaux, and Montpellier through his family’s business interests, apparently interested in exploring relationships with the United States. In the first denunciations given in Vila Rica in May 1789, the willingness of merchants from Bordeaux to provide three ships had been mentioned.

(On Bordeaux, see the Musée d’Aquitaine, “Bordeaux in the 18th Century: Trans-Atlantic Commerce and Slavery,”, and François Hubert, Christian Block, and Jacques de Cauna, eds., Bordeaux au XVIIIe siècle: Le commerce atlantique et lesclavage (Bordeaux: Le Festin, 2018). The museum has permanent exhibition rooms on the Atlantic slave trade and the role of the town of Bordeaux.)

Thomas Jefferson had impressed on Maia e Barbalho when they met at Nîmes in May 1787 that he had no authority to make an official commitment and that the United States desired to cultivate the friendship of Portugal, with which they enjoyed an advantageous commerce. In fact Jefferson was at the time more interested in obtaining a commercial treaty with Portugal and Morocco and in securing the safety of American shipping in the Mediterranean.

Maia e Barbalho was suffering from tuberculosis and on his way back to Brazil; he died in Portugal in February 1788. A detailed account of Jefferson’s comments to him reached Minas Gerais in Brazil via fellow students Domingos Vidal de Barbosa Lage and José Álvares Maciel. Vidal de Barbosa had matriculated at Montpellier in 1785 but had then gone on to graduate in medicine at the University of Bordeaux in 1788. Bordeaux was a major port city at the center of the French slave trade.

It is highly likely that Rio de Janeiro slave-trading merchants, like the family of Eleuterio Jose Delfim, had commercial connections in Bordeaux. Between 1716–1720 and 1784–1788 the value of French overseas trade had increased threefold. After the American War of Independence a new boom took place. French Saint-Domingue, “the Pearl of the Antilles,” in the 1780s was responsible for three- quarters of the French commercial exchanges with the colonies. In 1788, 465 ships were sent from ports in France to Saint-Domingue.

(The role of the Portuguese and Brazilians in acquiring enslaved African human cargo from Benin, Angola, and later from Mozambique and in providing one of the principal means of exchange—Brazilian rolled tobacco from Bahia, used by British and French, as well as Portuguese slave traders on the West African Coast—was central to the whole commercial operation; Ana Lucia Araújo, “Forgetting and Remembering the Atlantic Slave Trade: The Legacy of Brazilian Slave Merchant Francisco Félix de Souza,” in Crossing Memories: Slavery and African Diaspora, ed. Ana Lucia Araújo, Mariana Pinho Candido, and Paul E. Lovejoy (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2011); Alberto Costa e Silva, “The Final Years of Francisco Félix de Souza on the Slave Coast,” Revista do Centro de Estudos Africanos 23 (2004): 9–23; Alberto Costa e Silva, Francisco Félix de Souza, mercador de escravos (Sao Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2004); and Alberto Costa e Silva, ed., Imagens da Africa (Sao Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2012).

During the 1780s there were 150 Portuguese-Jewish firms in Bordeaux with links to communities in Amsterdam, London, and Curaçao and to Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro, and these connections were much more likely to have provided the means for confidential correspondence. On Saint-Domingue the production and export of sugar was the most dynamic element in the wealth of France’s islands in the Antilles.

Sugar and indigo production needed irrigation on the plains, but coffee production also expanded on the larger hillside properties run by small and medium-sized businesses. The importation of enslaved Africans doubled in the 1780s when each year some 30,000 were unloaded on Saint-Domingue. Luso-Atlantic merchants from Angola and Mozambique and from Benin in the Gulf of Guinea were all critical components in the Atlantic slave trade.

Vidal de Barbosa was a landowner at Juiz de Fora, on the road between Rio de Janeiro and Vila Rica. He said that Maia e Barbalho “wished to make himself another Monsieur Franklin with respect to Portuguese America.” Vidal de Barbosa was himself an enthusiastic propagator of the writings of the Abbé Raynal, reciting passages by heart.

Raynal greatly influenced the thinking of many educated Brazilians during the 1780s. Raynal’s L’Histoire philosophique et politique des établissements et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes was an essential part of the greatest private libraries in Brazil and was quoted by many of those inspired by the example of the United States.

Raynal provided an extensive account of Brazil, was contemptuous of Portugal, condemned British political and economic influence, and recommended that the ports of Brazil be opened to the trade of all nations. Vidal de Barbosa was not alone in his educational accomplishments and political enthusiasms. Three hundred Brazilian students had matriculated at Coimbra between 1772 and 1785. Twelve out of twenty-seven Brazilians who matriculated at Coimbra in 1785 were from Minas Gerais, ten out of nineteen in 1787.

(Other Brazilians had continued their studies in France or gone directly to the faculty of Medicine at Montpellier, where fifteen Brazilians had matriculated between 1767 and 1793. Between 1785 and 1790, eleven Brazilians had matriculated, including José Mariano Leal da Câmara de Gusmão from Rio de Janeiro in 1785 and Manuel Arruda da Câmara from Pernambuco, who received their doctorates in 1790 and 1793, respectively. Sumário de testemunhos sobre a ligações de José Joaquim Maia e Thomas Jefferson, Auto de perguntas feitas acerca de uma carta escrita ao Ministro dos Estados Unidos da América Setentrional por um estudante do Brasil que se acha em Montpellier, Autos da Devassa 2 (1978): 5; Autos da Devassa 2 (1978): 5.1 — Autuação, Casa do Ouvidor, 7-07-1789, II.5.2 – Portaria do Visconde de Barbacena/Villa Rica, 30-06-1789, Autos da Devassa 2 (1978): 5.3. Inquirição deste Sumário, Autos da Devassa 2 (1978): 5.3.A; Assentada, Cadeia Publica, 8-07-1789, II,5, 3.I – Francsico Antonio de Oliveira Lopes, Autos da Devassa 2 (1978): 87–91; Autos da Devassa (1978): 5.3.2 – Domingos Vidal de Barbosa (28 years old) Autos da Devassa 2:92– 95; and the subsequent interrogations, confrontations, and testimony of Oliveira Lopes and José Pereira Ribeiro (twenty-five years old) who denied any knowledge of the matter; Autos da Devassa 2 (1978)

José Álvares Maciel, son of a wealthy Mineiro merchant, landowner, and tax farmer, was a contemporary of Maia e Barbalho at the University of Coimbra. He graduated in 1785 in natural philosophy at Coimbra where he studied mathematics, rational and moral philosophy, and natural history. While at Coimbra Vandelli encouraged Álvares Maciel to construct and launch hot air balloons following the techniques developed by Joseph Priestley and to conduct mineralogical research in the mountains of Estrela, close to Coimbra.

After graduation Álvares Maciel traveled to England and spent eighteen months, from 1786 until 1788, in Birmingham, the center of the Midlands Enlightenment and the home of Priestley, who was a friend of the Portuguese expatriate scientist João Jacinto de Magalhães (J. H. de Magellan). Álvares Maciel studied the new manufacturing techniques. It was where he could be “better instructed in chemistry.” It was in Birmingham that José Álvares Maciel bought his copy of the Recueil.

(Maciel had matriculated at Coimbra in 1782, Maia in 1783; see “Estudantes Brasileiros em Coimbra,” Anais da Biblioteca Nacional 52:172, 174; Caio Cesar Boschi, “A Universidade de Coimbra e a formação intellectual das elites mineiras coloniais,” Revista Estudos Históricos 7 (1991): 100–111; Francisco José Calazans Falcon, “Luzes e revolução na colônia: a importância da Universidade de Coimbra pós-reforma pombalina, Universidade(s): Historia, perspectivas; Actos do Congresso, História da Universidade, vol. 6, 1991); Fernando Taveira da Fonseca, A dimensão pedagógica da reforma de 1772: Alguns aspectos (Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra, 2000); Cruz and Pereira, “Ciência, identidade e quotidiano”; “Les Portugais à l’Université de Montpellier (XII–XVIII siècle), Memórias e Documentos para uma História Luso-Francesa, vol. V; Oswaldo Munteal Filho and Mariana Ferreira, eds., Minas Gerais e a história natural das colônias: política colonial e cultura cientifica no século XVIII (Belo Horizonte: Fundacao Joao Pinheiro, 2005); Elizabeth A. Williams, “Medicine in the the Civil Life of Eighteenth-Century Montpellier,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 70, no. 2 (1996): 205–32; Elizabeth A. Williams, A Cultural History of Vitalism in Enlightened Montpellier (Farnham: Ashgate, 2003); James Livesey, “Botany and Provincial Enlightenment in Montpellier: Antoine Banal Père and Fils 1750–1800,” History of Science 43, no. 1 (2005): 57–76; James Livesey, “London by the Light of Montpellier: Scientific Networks between Northern Europe, Britain, and Languedoc, 1680–1789” Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 4, no. 4 (2010): 85–102.)

When Álvares Maciel reached Minas, he was appointed tutor to Barbacena’s children at the governor’s county residence at Cachoeira do Campo. Barbacena had arrived in the captaincy with his family in July 1788. Maciel was twenty-seven years old at the time. The viscount, entering Álvares Maciel’s room unexpectedly, found him reading an account of the history of the uprising in English America according to the testimony of Silvério dos Reis taken in Rio de Janeiro when he was held incommunicado on the viceroy’s orders at the fortress on the Ilha das Cobras on May 18, 1789.

Silvério dos Reis also reported that the desembargador Tomás Antônio Gonzaga was “for many months in [Vila Rica] . . . working in preparing (em urdir) the said insurrection and making the new form of laws which would regulate and govern, all in favor of the people and abolishing the payment of certain tributes.”

Vidal Barbosa and Álvares Maciel, like many of the other conspirators involved in the Minas plot, were leading members of colonial society, and like the leaders of the North American struggle, they were landowners and slave holders, military or militia officers, magistrates and lawyers, bankers, and speculators. Gonzaga, Cláudio Manuel da Costa, and the canon Luís Vieira were all men who “have ascendancy over the spirits of the people,” the Brazilian-born commander of the Minas Dragoons, Lieutenant-Colonel Freire de Andrade, who was Álvares Maciel’s brother-in-law, told Colonel Alvarenga Peixoto in 1788.

( “E só se recorda ouvir dizer a um primo o Dr. Domingos Vidal de Barbosa que, estando na França, soube que um dos estudantes da Universidade de Montpellier ousou, sendo filho desta América, escrever uma carta ao ministro da América Inglesa residente em Paris sobre a liberdade desta, a Portuguesa”; Francisco de Oliveira Lopes, inquirição, in Vila Rica, June 15, 1789, Autos da Devassa 2 (1978): 62. “O mesmo Alferes fora a casa dele e lhe mostrara um livro escrito em francês, pedindo-lhe que lhe quisesse traduzir um capítulo dele, que vinha a ser o dito livro em francês A Coleção das leis constitutivas dos Estados Unidos da América e o capítulo que apontava vinha a ser a seção oitava, sobre a forma da eleição do Conselho Privado, por cujo conteúdo ser invulgar ao douto alferes, ele, Testemunha, traduzia; o qual, depois, folheou o mesmo livro e como quem queria achar outro lugar, deixando-lhe ficar o mesmo livro. Com capa de papel pintado, apenso desta devassa: depois do que se retirou o dito alferes”; testemunha 20, Francisco Xavier Machado, June 27, 1789, Autos da Devassa 5 (1982): 188–91. André Figueiredo Rodrigues, “Seizures among the Participants of the Inconfidência Mineira as a Source for Research on the History of Books and Libraries (1789),” História 36 (2017),

For the earlier pieces in the series, see the following:

Imagined Republics: The United States of America, France, and Brazil (1776–1792)

The United States and Portugal in the Time of the 18th Century Revolutions

Benjamin Franklin and the Recueil in France