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The History of the Revolutions of Portugal, from the foundation of that kingdom to the year MDCLXVII With letters of Sir Robert Southwell, during his embassy there, to the Duke of Ormond; Giving a particular Account of the deposing Alfonso, and placing Don Pedro on the Throne
London: Printed for John Osborn at the Golden Ball in Pater-Noster Row, MDCCXL. Very Good+. 1740. First Edition; First Printing. Hardcover. [2], xiv, [8], 374, [2, ads] pages; Contemporary full calf, raised bands on the spine, pairs of simple gilt rules outline the edges of the covers and surround the raised bands -- if there was a spine label, it is now missing. The front free-endpaper is now gone, and the rear free-endpaper remains only as a stub (the rest is neatly cut out). No marks of ownership, the binding is sound and handsome, the text clean and tight. Collation: A8 a4 B-2A8 2B4 This anonymously published work was written by Thomas Carte [1686-1754]. [NOT French historian, René-Aubert Vertot's more common work published in an English translation in 1735.] Our author, Thomas Carte, was born near Rugby, took his degree from Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1702, and an MA from King's College, Cambridge in 1706. He was ordained around 1714, and in that year refused to take the Oath of Allegiance out of loyalty to the Stuarts. In 1721, on the discovery of the plot for the capture of the royal family and the proclamation of the pretender (James Francis Edward Stuart) as King James -- Bishop Francis Atterbury (an accomplished political schemer) was arrested with the other chief malcontents, and in 1722 committed to the Tower of London. Thomas Carte, as secretary to the disgraced Francis Atterbury, was accused of high treason in 1722 and was forced to flee to France -- where he adopted the name of "Philips," for a time. We have a story which would have been familiar to many of the subjects whose histories Thomas Carte was prepared to write: a talented Englishman, abstracted from England for a time not of his choosing. In Paris, Carte (or, should we say "Philips" ?) collected materials for an English edition of the works of Jacques August de Thou and Nicolas Rigault -- two French men of affairs, who were also historians, scholars (and book collectors, by the way). Carte also began gathering papers for a detailed history of James Butler, Duke of Ormonde, who had ruled over Ireland (twice) for the English crown, and had spent many years in Paris enduring his own exile during the Protectorate. It is probably during this time in Paris that Carte also adopted his only other non-English subject: the complex history of Portugal. And it is revealing that there is an Englishman, Sir Robert Southwell, who wrote detailed and revealing letters home to England in the midst of one of the most complicated situations at the heart of the Portuguese history Thomas Carte wished to relate. In outline at least, Carte's text covers the development of modern Portugal from the Moorish overturning of the Gothic empire in A.D. 713. But the central period which attracts most of Carte's full attention begins with a revolution by the nobility and high bourgeoisie on the first of December, 1640, 60 years after the crowning of Philip I. Three main plotters -- Antão Vaz de Almada, Miguel de Almeida and João Pinto Ribeiro -- together with several associates, killed Secretary of State Miguel de Vasconcelos and imprisoned the king's cousin, the Duchess of Mantua, who had governed Portugal in his name. Their moment was well chosen, as Spain was at the time fighting the Thirty Years' War. The support of the people of Portugal became apparent almost immediately and soon John, 8th Duke of Braganza, was acclaimed King of Portugal as John IV. Subsequently, there was a war with Spain, called the "Restoration War." This conflict concentrated mainly on five significant battles - each a victory for King John's Portuguese forces, and the new King was in a position to demand of Spain that they recognize his new Portuguese Royal House of Braganza. John IV was a splendid monarch, a patron of fine art and music, and a proficient composer and writer on musical subjects. He collected one of the largest libraries in the world. He also cemented a relationship with England by marrying his daughter Catherine of Braganza to Charles II of England, (and offering Tangiers and Bombay as a dowry). Alas, John IV died in 1656 and was succeeded by his son Afonso VI. And here, the story gets twisted again in an interesting way. The new King of Portugal was thirteen years old. He suffered from an illness that paralyzed the left side of his body and left him mentally unstable. After a useful six-year regency of Luísa de Guzman, the Queen Mother, Afonso officially assumed the control of Portugal. Not for long, as a conspiracy between his wife, Queen Marie Françoise of Savoy, and Afonso's brother, Prince Peter, contrived to secure an annulment of her marriage to Afonso VI in 1667 (based on his impotence). Peter [Thomas Carte calls him "Don Pedro"] continued his helpful ways as royal brother by later marrying Marie Françoise. During the shaky early years of Peter's de facto rule of Portugal, there is another war with Spain. And, to negociate an end to this (and look after King Charles II's interest in the affairs of the Portuguese royal family into which he had married) -- Sir Robert Southwell is sent. And Sir Robert's reports home mostly take the form of letters to his fellow Anglo-Irishman, the first Duke of Ormonde (whose papers had been acquired by Thomas Carte, engaged in writing his biography of Ormonde). So, in this convoluted way, a skilled and workmanlike history of Portugal becomes really a history of one aspect of English diplomacy during the Restoration of Charles II, written by an Englishman who shared something which many of the outstanding English men of affairs of his time had to endure: many years of exile away from the British Isles. The author, Thomas Carte, was a great gatherer of interesting papers relating to history. Fortunately, Carte was recalled to England in 1728 through the influence of Queen Caroline. His vast collection of historical papers survives today as the property of the University of Oxford, on deposit in the Bodleian Library, where they are known as the Carte Manuscripts. A splendid copy of a book written by Carte using some of these papers -- which is now quite scarce in commerce. The records of William Bowyer, the printer, show that 750 copies were printed in 1740. See ESTC System No. 006365266 (locating seven copies in the UK and eight in the U.S.) OCLC Number: 519679346 (as often, there are other OCLC numbers; none locates many copies). The London market may not have readily absorbed all 750 copies of this book which had been printed in 1740. The publication of a 1735 English translation of the similarly titled work by the French historian Abbe René-Aubert Vertot may not have helped. Adding to the confusion, there appears to have been a "Dublin edition" printed from the same setting of type as the London edition with cancelled title-page reading "Dublin: for William Ross, 1759." .
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Last Found On: 2017-07-18           Check availability:      Biblio    

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