Memoria sobre alguns acontecimentos mais notaveis da Administração da Real Fabrica das Sedas desde o anno de 1810, e sobre os meios do seu restabelecimento, dirigida á Corte do Rio de Janeiro, e ao Governo de Portugal no anno de 1819.
Lisbon, Na Officina de Simão Thaddeo Ferreira, 1821.
Small 4to. 44 pp. Wrappers. A fine copy.
First edition. One of Portugal’s foremost economists of the early 19th century, the author was appointed Director of the Royal Silk Factory in 1810. The factory dated back to 1735 and had been revived under Pombal. For years the factory had lost money, due to bad management and superfluous managers. Acúrsio das Neves complains of gross irregularities in the accounting system, the decision to sell the looms, the lack of raw silk for weaving, and he expresses his frustration that, since Portugal was isolated during the Peninsula War, textile manufacture was not prioritized and pointed out that the British army was buying Portuguese cloth. The factory could have diversified its production, but there were too few looms, general apathy prevailed and the workforce was demoralized. He recommends the appointment of agents to promote its wares, especially in Le Havre, Marseilles and Genoa. The Junta do Comércio (Board of Trade) was responsible for the administration of the factory, and in 1810 Acúrsio das Neves had become a deputy there, remaining as its secretary until dismissed in 1821, and he was a member of the Lisbon Royal Academy of Sciences. Though written in 1819, the work was not published until 1821, after his dismissal from the post; already in 1817 he had pleaded for more investment in the factory (Variedades sobre objectos relativos ás artes, commércio e manufacturas, vol. II, p. 319). He had in 1820 published his Memoria sobre os meios de melhorar a indústria portugueza. Writing in the early 19th century, Adrien Balbi “praised the silks of Portugal as ‘remarkable for their variety which imitate perfectly those of Lyons’” (Maxwell, Conflicts and Conspiracies: Brazil & Portugal 1750-1808, p. 56).
Innocêncio IV, 182. Azevedo-Samodães 29, “interessante e estimada, pouco frequente.” Monteverde 24, “pouco vulgar.”