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It was he who encouraged the settling and improvement of Madeira, which still forms such a valuable appendage to the Lusitanian crown.
After arriving at a good old age, he felt the symptoms of decline, which, however, he concealed as much as possible; but employed hini. self like a wise man, in making preparation for what he knew by the laws of nature was inevitable. He married Edward, his heir apparent, to Leonora, daughter of the king of Arragon; next year he gave his daughter Donna Isa.
A. D. bella to Philip II. duke of Burgundy;
1428, and it was at the solemnization of this marriage, that the illustrious order of the Golden Fleece was instituted. The rest of his family he disposed of eligibly; and, sensible of the approach of death, he summoned his children round him, and after giving them the most excellent advice, submitted to fate, in
A.D, the seventy-sixth year of his
1431. versally regretted both by his immediate connections and his people.
Edward was immediately proclaimed king on his father's death, and received the homage of the princes of the blood and the nobility then at court; but the plague raging at Lisbon, he withdrew to Cintra, where he spent some time, apparently engaged in rural diversions, but planning laws and regulations for the benefit of his subjects.
Eager to signalize his reign, by extending his conquests in Barbary, he undertook an expedition against Tangier; but the event proved very unfortunate.
The Portuguese were so hemmed in by the Moors, that they were glad to offer to deliver up Ceuta as a ransom for their Vol. XV.
deliverance, and the late king's son Don Ferdinand was left as a hostage for the performance of the treaty. With the greatest cruelty and injustice, however, the prince was abandoned to the mercy of the Moors; for neither the king nor the council would consent to surrender the place. Many preparations indeed were made for recovering the prince by force of arms; but before any thing could be accomplished, the king
died of the plague, in the forty-seventh A.D.
year of his age, after having reigned 1438.
five years. He is allowed to have been a prudent, religious, and learned prince. He spoke Latin fluently, and wrote it elegantly. By his will he appointed the queen Donna Leonora regent, during the minority of his son.
He likewise directed, that all the money he had saved should be paid for the ransom of his brother Ferdinand,* and in case it should not be accepted as an equivalent, that Ceuta should be restored to the Moors.
Notwithstanding this disposition, however, the states thought proper to appoint the infant Don Pedro, duke of Coimbra, regent, till Alonzo V. should come of proper age; and the queen, observing the aversion which they had to be governed by a woman and a Castilian, was obliged to acquiesce in their decision.
The administration of Don Pedro was mild and just, and gave general satisfaction. By the consent of the states, he contracted his daughter to the young king; and soon after, the queen
* This ill-fated prince died, however, in captivity, and his chaplain, who was the companion, wrote also the history, of his imprisonment,
mother, who had been projecting her reinstatement in power, was taken off by the villany of an ambitious minister, though without the knowledge or connivance of the regent, whose sole aim was the public good, and therefore did not stand in need of intrigues to support the station to which he was raised.
Alonzo V. afterwards surnamed the African, for his heroic exploits, at fourteen, when he became major, according to the custom of Portugal, was the finest youth of his age, and had been educated in a manner suitable to his high rank. In the cortes or parliament which had been assembled for that purpose, the regent laid down his office; and humbly craved pardon of all for any error of which he might have been unintentionally guilty. Alonzo, with affability and good sense beyond his yearš, craved the continued advice of Don Pedro, which was readily accorded, but which laid the foundation of misery and ruin to that able but unfortunate prince.
His enemies, at the head of whom was his brother, envious at seeing him equally the favourite of the king and the people, by the basest and most insidious practices wrought upon Alonzo's mind, to suspect his honour and the purity of his views. He was accused and calumniated in the grossest manner, even in the king's presence; but to which his majesty for a time lent a deaf 'ear. Don Pedro, however, thinking that retirement from court would pacify his detractors, withdrew; but no sooner did his enemies perceive that they had gained this point, than they renewed their invectives, and reduced him to such extremities, that he was forced to arm in his own
defence. He was now proclaimed a rebel ; his adherents were attainted; and he fell himself with many of his friends in an action purely defensive.
Alonzo was soon undeceived; but repentance came too late. That justice, however, which had been denied to the duke of Coimbra while living, was now paid to his memory when dead. The king honoured his remains, and ordered them to be deposited in the same tomb which was destined to receive his own.
The plans of discovery, which the genius and zeal of Don Henry, his uncle, had set on foot, were sedulously pursued by Alonzo, and considerable advantages derived from an acquaintance with the Gold Coast. The Castilians became jealous of this success, and pretended to have a prior right to the discoveries which had produced it ; but the infanta Donna Joanna of Portugal having been espoused to Henry IV. king of Castile, the business dropped for the pre
Not long after the queen 'departed A. D.
this life in the flower of her 1455.
without strong suspicions of being poi. soned by the enemies of her father. The whole nation went into mourning on this occasion, and the king gave an unequivocal proof of the sincerity of his regard, by ever afterwards refraining from any commerce with the sex.
As well to gratify his ambition as to soothe his melancholy, Alonzo now undertook an expedition against the Moors, in which he met with considerable success at the outset ; and, after displaying the utmost bravery on a variety of occasions, by dint of perseverance, he at last
obtained possession of Tangier, hitherto deemed impregnable, and which had been a principal object in his long protracted warfare with the infidels.
Alonzo returned laden with glory, and acquired the lofty title of the African. He next determined to support his sister's pretensions to the crown of Castile against Ferdinand and Isabella ; but in this he failed, both as a
A. D, warrior and a politician; and at last a
1475. peace was concluded between the two powers.
Donna Joanna, his sister, for whom he had contended with such ill success, took the veil, and Alonzo himself was inclined to leave his son Don John the throne, and retire to a convent. Arriving at Cintra, however, he was seized with the plague, which at that
A.D. time was desolating his dominions, and
1481. fell a martyr to it, in the forty-ninth year of his age.
As he lived universally beloved, so his death -was deeply lamented by his people, notwithstanding the high promise which his successor John II. had already given of being an able and upright prince. At this time he was twentyseven years old, and he began his reign with shewing his filial regard, by ordering a splen- . did funeral for his father, and executing his will with the utmost exactness.
A person, with whom he had been very intimate in his youth, presenting him a written promise of being made à count when he should arrive at the sovereignty, John, gravely looking on the paper, tore it, and said, " I shall forget there was such a paper.
“ Such," added he, E 3