Leonard C. Rivero
4205 Auburn Way S. #44, Auburn WA 98092 Phone (253)939-2352 email@example.com
THE MARQUES de TAVORA by Leonardo Carlos Rivero
This is a follow up on the article â€œThe Marquesâ€™s of Macauâ€ where I mentioned a possible inheritance left by Domingos Marques de Tavora. I received dozens of emails from relatives I didnâ€™t know existed from all over the world and was able to trace my cousins to our common ancestors. This spurred me on to do further research and was able to find more interesting history and the possible reason why Domingos fled Portugal and settled to raise his family in Macau.
The reign of King Joseph (1750-77) is made famous by the administration of the Marques of Pombal, the strong-willed prime minister and eventual dictator of Portugal for over twenty years. The efficiency he displayed at the time of the great earthquake of 1755 secured his hold over the weak king, and with his support Pombal was able to use the alleged "Tavora Conspiracy" to humble the nobility that was his enemies who opposed his power from the King and to escalate his campaign against the Jesuits, whom he was determined to eliminate. His accusations against them of seditious conduct in the missions and of illicit trading were merely pretexts. He had already banned them from the Royal Court, exiled them to Rome and secured the appointment of a friend of his, Cardinal Saldanha, as their reformer. And when an attempt was made on the king's life he attributed it to Jesuit machinations, confiscated their extensive and valuable properties in the Portuguese dominions and exiled the Portuguese Jesuits, while retaining the foreign Jesuits in prison. The Pope refused to incriminate the whole Jesuit Order for the alleged faults of a few accused individuals, and Pombal's reply was to dismiss the nuncio and break off relations with Rome. Henceforth the real head of the Church in Portugal was Pombal. He heaped ignominy on the Jesuits by ordering the burning alive of Father Malagrida (confessor to Lenora Tavora, the Marqueses of Tavora) by the Inquisition, and his work was completed when, under pressure from the Catholic Powers, Clement XIV suppressed the Society in 1773. Pombal's ruin of the Foreign Missions was perhaps his greatest crime and was by no means compensated for by his abolition of slavery and of the distinction between old and new Christians. He undoubtedly made great and necessary reforms in internal administration and freed Portugal for the time from its subservience to England, but his commercial policy was a failure, and the harm he did far outweighed the good. Above all he forged those fetters for the Church which still paralyzes her action.
It started in the evening of September 3rd, 1758 when King Joseph I of Portugal was traveling in an unmarked carriage in a secondary and unfrequented road in the outskirts of Lisbon without escorts. The King was returning from an evening with his mistress, Teresa Leonor de Tavora (who was 35 years old at the time), to his tents of Ajuda. Along the way three men intercepted the carriage and fired at the King injuring his arm and his driver was badly wounded, but both survived. The Prime Minister, Sebastian de Melo immediately took control by implementing a swift enquiry and arrested two men and through torture, they confessed their involvement and implicated the Tavora family who allegedly were plotting to put their relative, the Duke of Aveiro on the throne. Both men were hanged the following day, even before the attempted assassination was made public.
Not until December 3rd, some four months later was the Marchioness Leonor of Tavora, the 3rd Marquioness of Tavora (59), her husband, Francisco de Assis de Tavora, the Count of Alvor (56) and all their sons, daughters and grandchildren were arrested, imprisoned and tortured. The alleged conspirators included the Duke of Aveiro, and the Tavorasâ€™ sons-in-laws, the Marquis of Aloma and the Count of Atouguia were arrested along with their families. The Jesuit, Gabriel Malagrida confessor of Leonor of Tavora was also arrested.
Francisco de Assis de Tavora, was also the third Marques de Tavora, and he was victorious against the King of Sunda (in the Malaysian Archipelago), and the capture of the forts of Piro and Corvem and the PraÃ§a de Ximpim. The Marques allowed the spoils of war to be divided among his troops, with the many captured artillery pieces to be transported for use in Mozambique. He was then appointed Viceroy of India in February 1750 by the newly crowned King JosÃ© I. Arriving in India in September of the same year, the charming and cultured Marques and his wife, the Marchioness Leonor of Tavora governed for four years before returned to Lisbon in 1754, where discontent with the regime of Sebastian de Melo, who later became the Marques de Pombal who was Prime Minister and had control and support of the weak King), allegedly led them to become involved in the plot to assassinate King JosÃ© I. They and the other accused Tavora family conspirators were publicly executed in a gruesome spectacle on January 13th, 1759.
They were all accused of high treason and attempted murder of the king. The evidence presented in their common trial was very simple: a) the confessions of the executed killers (suspect because the tortured confessors were hanged immediately after their confession which some historians were suspicious that Sebastian de Melo himself might have set up the attempted assassination in order to eliminate his Tavora family enemies: b) the murder weapon supposedly belonged to the Duke of Aveiro (which is also suspicious since they didnâ€™t have forensics at the time and c) the assumption that only the Tavoras would have know the whereabouts of the King in that evening since he was returning from a liaison with Teresa of Tavora, wife of Jose Maria de Tavora.
The Tavoras family vehemently denied the charges, but most of them were sentenced to death by a mock court that was controlled by the Marques de Pombal. Leonor de Tavora, her husband Francisco Assis, Count of Alvor, two of their sons Jose Maria de Tavora (23) and Luis Bernardo de Tavora, Count of Sao-joao-a Pesqueira (36) and a son-in-law Jeronimo de Ataide, Count of Atouguia (38), were all executed on the same day just five months after the attempted assassination. The only son that was not executed was Domingos Marques de Tavora who was 29 years old at the time. He was arrested and tortured but released for some unknown reason. Speculation was that he was spared because the Kingsâ€™ daughters were his friends and they wanted him spared. However, since his parents, his two brothers, a brother-in-law and an uncle were all executed on the same day, he quietly decided to leave Portugal before being re-arrested and executed. So he gathered his remaining family fortune, chartered a ship and sailed on March 3rd, 1759 to Goa, India with some of his remaining family members and since he did not announce that he was leaving, most of the remaining family and friends assumed that he had been killed too. The Tavoras family estates were confiscated by the Prime Minister, their names erased from the peerage and their coat-of-arms outlawed. Fifty- eight years later, on October 25th, 1817, the son of Domingos, one Domingos Pio Marques who by paying some back taxes (bribes) was able to persuade then King Dom Joao VI to restore to the Tavora family the right to bear again their COAT-OF-ARMS, in view of the services that the Tavora family had always rendered their sovereigns in the past and on the battlefields in Portugal and foreign lands.
The original sentence ordered the execution of the whole family including the women and children. Only the intervention of Queen Mariana and her daughter, Maria Francisca, the heiress to the throne, saved some of them. The Marchioness Leonor de Tavora, her husband and sons were publicly tortured on the wheel, burnt alive and her head was decapitated in a field near Lisbon with the King and his bewildered court present. The Tavoras family was their peers and kin, but the Prime Minister wanted to teach them a lesson and to show his power. After the execution, the ground was salted to prevent future growth of vegetation. Today, this field is a square in Lisbon call Terreiro Salgado, the Salty Ground. In fact, it was probably salted to sanitize the bloodied grounds.
Leonor de Tavoraâ€™s Jesuit Confessor, Gabriel Malagrida was burned alive at the stake a few days afterwards and the Jesuit Order declared outlaws and its vast and valuable estates were confiscated and all the Jesuits expelled from Portuguese territory, both in Portugal and all its colonies. (The movie The Mission portraits the expulsion of a Jesuit community from the Southern region of Brazil, which was then a Portuguese possession.) The Alorna family and the daughters of the Duke of Aveiro were sentenced to life imprisonment in forts, monasteries and convents.
The title Duke of Aveiro became extinct when its last holder, Dom Jose Mascarenhas Lancaster, was burned alive for high treason on January 13th, 1759. The town of Aveiro was given the category of city by King JosÃ© I, after having condemned its last duke to the scaffold. (Title given in 1547 by King JoÃ£o III)
The Duke and the Marques were broken on the wheel, their bodies consumed by fire, and their ashes thrown into the sea. The Marchioness was decapitated, their ducal palace destroyed, their servants were executed and even the name of Tavora obliterated as well as their titles and coat-of-arms outlawed. The cruelty of the sentences and the torture which accompanied the execution of the principal conspirators, as well as the â€œgrand affairâ€ itself, made a great stir at the time. No one who has ever read the contemporary accounts of the scene at the scaffold at Belem, as printed, for example, in the Universal Magazine, XXIV, 96-99
The Queenâ€™s dislike for her fatherâ€™s prime minister was obvious since her daughters were friends with the Tavora children. She removed him from all his powers and exiled him from Lisbon. A royal decree further reinforced the banishment, stating that the later titled Marquis of Pombal was forbidden to come within 20 miles of the Queen.
(Some of this information was outsourced from Wikipedia, Catholic Encyclopedia and by Indopedia authors.)
The author of this article would like all descendants to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org