Specializing in
Rare Books and Manuscripts
on Spain, Portugal and their former overseas possessions
Latin America, Brazil, Africa and Asia

[STAPLETON, Augustus Granville]

An Authentic Account of Mr. Canning’s Policy with respect to the Constitutional Charter of Portugal, in reply to “Observations on the Papers laid before Parliament.”


London, J. Hatchard and Son, 1830.


8vo.  Pp. (3)-50, (1) pp.  Boards.   Lacks half-title p.

First edition.   The work examines Canning’s role in his relations with Dom Pedro IV of Portugal (& I of Brazil) and his part in the adoption of a Portuguese constitutional charter.   It defends Canning against accusations of interfering in Portuguese affairs.   After the death of his father, Dom João VI, Dom Pedro renounced the Portuguese Crown in favour of his eldest daughter, Dona Maria.   “What really set the cat among the pigeons was Pedro’s totally unexpected decision to grant Portugal a constitution as part and parcel of the new settlement.   According to Lord Ponsonby, the Emperor of Brazil hated liberty as much as Sir Toby Belch hated water, but he was ‘vain of his political science of which he knows as much as his bosom friend the pimp . . .’ (Francisco Gomes da Silva, nicknamed the Chalaça or Joker).   In the letter quoted . . to Charles Bagot (Ponsonby) went on to describe how one morning the emperor and his pimp, who was also his private secretary, sat down to breakfast with Benjamin Constant’s book and by dinner time had produced a constitution.   ‘I believe,’ added Ponsonby, ‘after all that this Constitution of such facile parturition is very much better than the elaborate production of herds of French philosophers . . . in consequence of certain alterations introduced into it by the Emperor and the Pimp’ (Bagot II, p. 310) . . .   The other European powers . . were . .  outraged by Dom Pedro’s parting present to the Portuguese people.   A prince who gave away constitutions was a traitor to the established system . . .   Canning’s vexation was increased by the fact that Pedro had dragooned Sir Charles Stuart, who was still in Rio, into bringing the new constitution back to Lisbon” (Wendy Hinde, George Canning, pp. 413-14).

Goldsmiths’-Kress No. 26529.   Canto, Catalogo das obras . . relativas aos sucessos politicos . . nos annos de 1828 a 1834, p. 23.  



Place an order