Alvará de Ley; porque Vossa Magestade . . he servido reprovar, cassar, annular, e anniquilar, com se nunca houvessem existido, os Roes de Fintas, seus Traslados, e Copias: Prohibindo inteiramente o uso, e retençaõ delles . . . (Dated 2 May 1768.)
(Lisbon), Miguel Rodrigues (1768).
Folio. (2) ff. Wrappers. Traces of worming in inner margin.
Faced with the autocratic powers of the Inquisition in Portugal, Pombal resolved to destroy it as an independent tribunal and to make it dependent on the state. The Braganças' "more thoughtful royal advisers . . had all believed that Portugal needed to recuperate the 'New Christian' and Jewish wealth and business expertise lost to Portugal because of the Inquisition's depredations" (Maxwell, Pombal, paradox of the Englightenment, p. 164). Pombal valued the entrepreneurial flair of the New Christians, but they regularly sent 75% of their riches abroad to London, Amsterdam or Rouen in order to avoid the risk of being obliged by the Inquisition to hand over all their money (L.M.E. Shaw, ‘The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance and the English Merchants in Portugal 1654-1810,’ p. 5). "An alvará of 22 May 1768 (sic) ordered the destruction and annulment of all the lists of New Christians who had contributed to the price of pardons and other benefices bought from kings in the past. Heavy penalties were prescribed for anyone keeping a copy of the 'pernicious' lists, thus destroying the only documents which could be said to prove who was or was not a new Christian" (L.M.E. Shaw, op. cit., p. 28).
Marquês de Pombal, Catálogo Bibliográfico e Iconográfico, 533.