The letter of D. Pedro I

Image: Renan Almeida


Letter written almost 200 years ago has very current passages for Brazil today

The heart of D. Pedro I arrived in Brazil ten days after the memorable reading in the cloister of the Faculty of Law of the University of São Paulo of the Letter to Brazilians in defense of democracy. More than honoring the relic that the person responsible for our independence destined for the city of Porto in his will, it would be opportune to focus our attention on another legacy of our first emperor: the “Posthumous Letter”, this one destined for us, which he dictated in his bed of death, less than 24 hours before dying of tuberculosis, on September 24, 1834.

I dare to say that this letter, unfortunately forgotten, may be as important for the future of Brazil, despite being written almost 200 years ago, as the one read on August 11th. And I say this because in this “Posthumous Letter of d. Pedro, Duke of Bragança, to the Brazilians”, published in Rio de Janeiro the following year, D. Pedro, with the sincerity of a dying man who confesses, recognizes mistakes and gives thoughtful advice that contrasts with his famous impetuosity.

About Brazil, he said: “Although I was born in Portugal! It is in Brazil that I was born to feel myself. It is in Brazil (…) that life with its mysteries, youth with its charms, manifested themselves to my soul”. For this he declared himself indebted to us. “I am already even with Portugal (…) I have regenerated its institutions; I gave him a Constitution and twice his freedom and for him I die in the flower of my years” (he was then 35 years old). “But with you Brazilians, my conscience does not give me such satisfactory testimony (…) the inner forum accuses me of having stopped halfway through the task”.

Three pieces of advice, presented in sequence on the sixth of the eight pages of the facsimile edition that I consulted, are very current in Brazil today: (i) “Avoid the mistakes that lost my administration. Without creating new sources of income, it took advantage of exaggerated loans of all sorts for the future and when the time came when there was no way to meet the annual deficit; when bankruptcy came knocking, she fell. My government perished by Finance like many other States”.

This advice moves me especially because, as a constituent deputy, I was the author of a project that determined the carrying out of an expert and analytical examination of the Brazilian debt. The proposal ended up converted into Art. 26 of the Temporary Constitutional Provisions Act, which was never fully complied with. This scandalous fact led me to write the book The plot – how the financial system and its political agents hijacked the Brazilian economy, based on which it will soon be possible for Brazilians to watch a documentary of the same name.

(ii) Military Influence – “On this side too my administration completely erred. I put my trust in the troops. To support a large army, I decimated the population and exhausted the riches of Brazil, and finally, the troops gave my throne the last blow”. Oh D. Pedro! It seems to see what is happening in your affectionate homeland that ended up in the hands of an adventurer, as your father D. João VI feared when he recommended that you take the crown for yourself.

(iii) “I cannot but address a warning to you about the slavery of blacks. Slavery is an evil and an attack against the rights and dignity of the human species, but its consequences are less harmful to those who suffer captivity than to the nation whose legislation admits slavery. It is a cancer that eats away at your morality.” An immorality 200 years later, D. Pedro, still practiced by many who swore to defend “equality and justice as supreme values ​​of a fraternal, pluralistic and unprejudiced society”, as determined by the preamble of the Constitution.

*Hermes Zaneti he was a constituent deputy in 1988. Author of The plot: how the financial system and its political agents hijacked the Brazilian economy.


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