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nearly 1000 men, and some blood was spilt before he was secured. At length, incontestable proofs being brought of the imposture, Alvarez and his principal supporter were hanged, drawn, and quartered at Lisbon.
In short, so unpopular was Philip become in Portugal, that any person who had hardiness enough to attempt disturbing his government, was sure to find some partisans ; yet it does not appear that he merrited this so much from any regular design of injuring the people, as from an erroneous conduct, and a restless ambition. His immense preparations for the invasion of England, in which he was so completely foiled, impoverished all his European dominions, but on the Portuguese had the most fatal effects. The pretensions of Don Antonio, and the hopes of despoiling their Indian fleets, roused all the energies of the English, from whose power Philip found himself incapable of defending them. Hence loud clamours, sometimes without reason, and generally without remedy. The king, in order to allay those expressions of discontent, borrowed money of the nobility on the security of the customs; and this, though a tema porary relief, only increased the evil it was intended to remove. The public revenue thus mortgaged became fixed and hereditary, so that the merchant is oppressed, while the king is not benefited.
This expedient being soon exhausted, a certain per centage was imposed, in the nature of ship money, for the defence of the coasts and the protection of commerce, which for a time was properly applied; but, sanctioned by custom, it grew at last to be considered as part of the
royal revenue, and went into the exchequer without account. This paved the way for the appropriation of other branches of national income, which were generally misapplied; so that during the eighteen years which Philip swayed the sceptre of Portugal, the nation was become visibly impoverished, and yet the exchequer was not filled.
Much, however, as the Portuguese complained of their situation under Philip II, they found his reign the golden age, compared with that of his successors.
His son Philip II 1. of Spain had filled the throne twenty years, before he deigned to visit Portugal. Apprized of his arrival, the inhabitants of Lisbon put themselves to an enornous expence to receive him with splendour, for which they gained little more than the compliment, “ that before he entered Lisbon, he had no idea how great a king he was.”
On this occasion he held an assembly of the states, in which his son was sworn successor ; and thus having accomplished every object he had in view, he returned into Spain with a false conception of the riches of Portugal from the foolish display of magnificence which had attended his sojournment in Lisbon.
On his death-bed he bitterly deplored that he had not acted the part of a good king towards his subjects when it was in his power; and had dying resolutions been worthy of regard, and it had pleased Providence to prolong his days, perhaps he might have deserved the gratitude of his people, and the praise of posterity.
The reign of Philip IV. was a tissue of ill fortune and badly concerted measures: all his dominions suffered severely; but Portugal to
the most excessive degree. The loss of Ormus in the east, of Brazil in the west, together with a series of collateral misfortunes, brought the Portuguese to the lowest ebb. The whole face of the kingdom was covered with the most horrible wretchedness, and poverty and weakness seemed to every penetrating mind to be the engines which the Spaniards were employing to reduce Portugal to an appendant province.
These are only the outlines of transactions during a period of sixty years: to enter into details would only be a history of the successive encroachments made by the Spanish ministers on the fundamental articles of the union; encroachments so flagrant, that one would have imagined they had studied to provoke the wrath of Heaven, and insult the patience of men, instead of availing themselves in an honourable way of the wealth,
the power, and the martial spirit of the Lusitanian people.
It was the very basis of all their privileges that the kingdom should remain separate and independent, and in consequence that Lisbon should remain the seat of government and of justice; but this was so little observed, that neither promotion nor right were to be obtained without an expensive and a tedious journey to Madrid. It was stipulated in the original compact, that an assembly of the states should be held frequently; but they were only thrice convened in the space of sixty years. The king was to reside within the realm as long and as often as possible; instead of which the two first Phi. lips who swayed the sceptre of Portugal, made each a short visit to that country once, and the third Philip dispensed with that compliment al
together. The viceroy was to be a native of Portugal, or a prince or princess of the blood; yet when any of the royal family nominally bore that title, the power was sure to be vested in a Spaniard. The council of Portugal, which, ac. cording to the convention, was to be composed wholly of natives, was on the contrary filled with Castilians, as were also the garrisons, in equal violation of the Portuguese rights. The presidents of provinces or corregidors were also to be natives; but this was evaded by keeping those offices in the king's own hands. No city, town, or district was to be alienated to any except Portuguese ; yet, in defiance of this, the duke of Lerma received sundry grants of towns and lands. Natives, it was stipulated, were alone eligible to all posts, civil, military, and judicial; but the fact was, all offices were given promiscuously to foreigners, or sold to the highest bidder, not excepting the government of castles, cities, and provinces. In short, such were the abuses that bad gradually crept in, that scarcely one article of the original agreement entered into with Philip was observed either in its letter or spirit.
The consequence of this base and ungenerous conduct was, that the Portuguese, who had never been well affected to their Spanish masters, being driven to desperation, were determined to emancipate themselves into liberty. The flame of patriotism, which had only been repressed, but not extinguished, during an oppression of sixty years, began to blaze afresh. Pride and indignation were the fuel that fed it. Yet though the general sentiment was freedom, some par. ticular bond was necessary to unite the discon
tented nobility. They could indeed read in each other's eyes the secret wishes of the heart; but they were afraid to communicate what all felt to be expedient and just. In this dilemma, one person
fortitude than the rest stepped forward, and spoke the public mind in the ears of individuals of the greatest weight and influence. This was John Pinto Ribeiro, steward to the duke of Bragança, a nobleman descended from the royal family of Portugal, and who had an incontestable right to the crown,
in case the Spanish tyranny could be overcome. On this account he was very narrowly watched by the faction of Spain; but the prudence and address of Pinto opened a way for a conference of the nobles, most favourable to his design, without endangering or exposing his master, who was either apparently or in reality ignorant of the intended revolution in his favour.
The established character of the duke of Bra. gança appears to have been excellently adapted to the circumstances in which he was placed. Mild, modest, and devoid of ambition, though he was the constant object of Spanish vigilance, he did nothing that could excite their jealousy: His only crime in their eyes was the title to rights of which they were sensible they had deprived him; and this to usurpers will always be a source of fear and enmity. His moderation, indeed, was so generally known and acknowledged, that the nobility who had leagued together in crder to raise him to the throne, were actually in doubts whether, in consequence of their most brilliant success, he would sacrifice domestic enjoyments in the splendour of royalty.