Monday, October 26, 2009

Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva - The Young

Biography of my great/great grandfather:
Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva - (O Moço) / (The Young)

Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva (The Young)
(Born: November 8, 1827 and Died: October 25, 1886)

My grandmother's grandfather was a son of Martim Francisco, and grandson of José Bonifácio, The Patriarch. He also was a nephew of The Patriarch, because his father Martim Francisco had married his niece, a daughter of "The Patriarch of Independence."

José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva (The Younger) was born on November 8, 1827, in France during exile. 

Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva (The Young) was a son of Martim Francisco Ribeiro de Andrada, and a grandson of Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva (The Patriarch of Independence.) His mother Gabriela Frederica Ribeiro de Andrada was the second oldest daughter of Jose Bonifacio and she married her uncle Martim Francisco.

Jose Bonifacio (The Young) was named Jose Bonifacio in honor of his famous grandfather. He did not have the same type of arrogant temperament as his father and his grandfather.

He had all the high character qualities which his father had. He was ethical, honest, courteous, had integrity, dignity, compassion, and was an idealist and humanitarian as his grandfather had been. He was a very gentle and sensitive man. He was a gentleman. He had a very pleasant personality and everyone liked him.

When Jose Bonifacio was a young boy his father Martim Francisco after a long day in the office as a Finance Minister, spent his evenings discussing philosophy with his three sons including Jose Bonifacio. Emmanuel Kant was the predominant philosopher in the humanities field at that time and his writings were the subject of their discussions.

Jose Bonifacio (The Young) was a poet in the same manner as his grandfather had been in the past. During his law school days he already had published a number of his poetry works. He had a photographic memory and was a great public speaker. The other students used to call him the prodigy.

After graduating with his law degree with the highest honors in November 5, 1853 he went to work as an assistant professor at the University of Recife. After an outbreak of cholera in Pernambuco in 1856 he decided to return to Sao Paulo with his new bride.

After teaching for three years as a substitute teacher at the Law School in Sao Paulo in August 17, 1861 he was nominated for a full professorship position teaching civil law.

When he was a student he had already shown that he was a very good orator. As a professor he prepared his lectures very well and delivered them with outstanding eloquence and erudition. As a result his lectures stimulated great interest in the juridical circles of Sao Paulo. On a regular basis the chief judge, judges from the high court, judges from the court of appeals, lawyers and everyone involved in law attended his lectures.

He made a name for himself as a great orator. He was considered the greatest orator of his generation (for a thirty year period from 1856 through 1886).

Jose Bonifacio was elected Deputado in June 14, 1861. Jose Bonifacio was appointed Minister of the Navy on June 29, 1862. He stayed in that position until he moved to a new Ministry that was formed by the government in May 12, 1865.

He spent another period as a government Minister before 1878. After that in December 9, 1878 he was elected Senator representing the State of Sao Paulo. When he died of a heart attack on October 25, 1886 he was still a Senator.

He was very popular and could have had any position of leadership in the government that he desired.

Because of Jose Bonifacio's high political and moral stature in Brazil, when he died there was an exceptional manifestation of sadness by the public and by the press. All over Brazil there were sad editorials lamenting the loss of this great man.

Government sources announced that approximately 20,000 people attended Jose Bonifacio's funeral. Later that figure was revised to half that number, but it still was the largest funeral attendance in Brazil up to that time.

Jose Bonifacio the poet, the great orator, the parliamentarian, reached his greatness with his great discourses on the Senate floor concerning slavery. He was a humanist and a passionate abolitionist. He is mainly known as a leader in the fight to end slavery in Brazil.

Jose Bonifacio died on October 25,1886 before the end of slavery in Brazil. The fight that his grandfather had fought so hard to end slavery in Brazil it was continued by him on the floor of the Senate until his death.

It finally came to a conclusion on May 13, 1888 with a government act proclaiming the abolition of slavery in Brazil.

Brazilian Academy of letters

José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva (The Young) had such a prestige in the literary cycles that critics compared him with the best writers of the time. On a letter of August 6, 1874, written by Albino Barbosa, commenting on the literary triumphs of Rui Barbosa he says that no one is his equal. But he also says: "that many other critics are saying that Rui Barbosa might be even superior to José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva. (Today Rui Barbosa is among the most famous and influential Brazilian writers of the 19th century, and he was also an excellent orator. But in 1874 the literary critics were comparing an up coming young 25-years old Rui Barbosa with José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva a leading writer of his time.)

The highest literary honor in Brazil is to become a member of the Brazilian Academy of letters. The Academy has only 40 chairs and when a member is elected to one of these chairs he holds that honor to the end of his life. Each chair has a patron and the chair is named in his honor. The patron of chair number 22 at the Brazilian Academy of Letters is my great/great grandfather: José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva (The Young).


Ruy Barbosa de Oliveira (November 5, 1849 – March 1, 1923)

He was an important Brazilian writer, jurist, and politician. He ran unsuccessfully for the presidency of Brazil in 1910 and again in 1919.

Ruy Barbosa gave his first public speech for the abolition of slavery when he was 19. For the rest of his life he remained an uncompromising defender of civil liberties. Slavery in Brazil was finally abolished by the Lei Aurea "Golden Law") in 1888. Part of Barbosa's legacy to history is that he authorized, as minister of finance on December 14, 1890, the destruction of most government records relating to slavery. The avowed reason for this destruction, which took several years to be enacted and was followed by his successors, was to erase the "stain" of slavery on Brazilian history. However, historians concur to say, today, that Barbosa aimed by this measure at impeding any possible reparation (indemnization) of the former slave-owners for the slave liberation.


Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva (The Patriarch)
The Tutorship of Dom Pedro II 

Dom Pedro I had involved Brazil in a war with Argentina over the Cisplatine province in 1828. The Cisplatine province got its independence from Brazil and adopted the name of Uruguay.

Besides the loss of the Cisplatine province the nation's finances continued to deteriorate and Dom Pedro I was pressured to resign. Dom Pedro I was finally forced to abdicate his crown in Brazil, which he did in favor of his five-year old son on April 7, 1831.

Before Dom Pedro I abdicated his crown in Brazil he tried to convince Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva for the second time that he should become the new Emperor of Brazil. The first time Dom Pedro I tried to convince Jose Bonifacio that he should become the Emperor of Brazil was in 1821 after his father Dom Joao VI had returned to Portugal. Jose Bonifacio refused the offer to become the Emperor of Brazil on both occasions.

After Jose Bonifacio declined the offer from Dom Pedro a few times to become the new Emperor, then Dom Pedro I called Jose Bonifacio and asked him to become the tutor of his children after he left Brazil.

Jose Bonifacio first refused the offer as well, because he thought that he was too old to be the tutor of the five-year old future Emperor, and also of his two older sisters Dona Januaria and Dona Francisca Carolina.

He told Dom Pedro the job required someone with patience to deal with the children, and he was not a patient man.

Dom Pedro told Jose Bonifacio that he was the only person whom he trusted for such a job. He said "Using his right under the Constitution on chapter 5, article 130 he was appointing Jose Bonifacio as the tutor of his children.

Jose Bonifacio accepted the task because he thought he had the responsibility to do this job. He later wrote to his friend Drummond saying: "The tutor's job will give me the opportunity to educate the young Emperor for him not to turn out as his father. He had no education and he was subject to the blowing of the wind.

After Congress's approval Jose Bonifacio took an oath for the tutor's job on August 19, 1831. Two years later for political reasons Congress passed a decree on December 14, 1833 suspending Jose Bonifacio’s tutorship responsibilities.

When he was a child when he was not playing with his toys in his grandfathers little farm in Paqueta, he was playing with Dom Pedro Is’ children in the imperial palace, where his grandfather Jose Bonifacio (The Patriarch) was the tutor. He participated with the children in the lessons and teachings being thought by his grandfather.

Dom Pedro II was born December 2, 1825 and his mother the Empress Leopoldina had died a year later in December 11, 1826. And his father Dom Pedro I died in Lisbon on September 24, 1834. He was only 36-years old at the time of his death.

Jose Bonifacio (The Young) was born in November 8, 1827 in France during the exile, and his father Martim Francisco returned to Brazil in the beginning of 1828. Even though Jose Bonifacio was two years younger than Dom Pedro II, his grandfather (the tutor) used to bring him on a daily basis to play with the Emperor’s children, and also to participate of the lessons and teachings given by his grandfather. That close relationship with Dom Pedro II and the Imperial Family lasted a lifetime until Jose Bonifacio’s death in October 25, 1886.


1) Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva
The Greatest Man in Brazilian History
By: Ricardo C. Amaral
Published: May 2000

2) Jose Bonifacio – O Moco (The Young)
By: Julio Cezar de Farias
Published: Companhia Editora Nacional – (1944)