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EX-CONSUL-GENERAL TO BRAZIL, AND FORMERLY UNITED STATES MINISTER
TO SWEDEN AND NORWAY
WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE DOWNFALL OF THE EMPIRE
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE REPUBLIC
AND THE RECIPROCITY TREATY
In the preface to the second edition of this work, which was issued two years ago, it was stated as an important recent event in Brazil that negro slavery had been unconditionally abolished by the act of May 13, 1888. Since then there has been the still more remarkable occurrence of the revolution in the form of government, and the establishment of the REPUBLIC OF THE UNITED STATES OF BRAZIL. On the 15th of November, 1889, the venerable and respected monarch Dom Pedro II was dethroned, his dynasty extinguished, himself and family forever expatriated, and a provisional republican government, composed of men of character and patriotism, organized—“by the army and navy in the name of the people”—and all without the loss of a life.
To the casual observer this was a great surprise. There had been no catastrophe, either in political or business affairs, and to the outsider matters appeared to be going on in their usual way. It was known, of course, that the rather sudden emancipation of six hundred thousand slaves, without indemnification to the owners, had seriously displeased a large number of planters. Yet, as some offset, the planters had the same year raised the
largest crop of coffee that had ever been producedeight million bags of one hundred and thirty-two pounds each-and which brought them over a hundred million dollars. Besides, some of the leading statesmen were strongly committed to their being paid for their slaves, and it did not seem that they should despair of such a result. Moreover, to alleviate their grievances the Government was resorting to the extraordinary measure of loaning them money. It is true that the intellectual and progressive class deprecated the accession of the Princess Isabella, on account of her susceptibility to ecclesiastical influence and the Bourbon characteristics of her husband; but it was not expected that the form of government would be changed during the life of the Emperor, then aged sixty-four years, and in feeble health. He had
. lately spent some time in Europe, and in May, 1888, while in the city of Milan, had suffered a dangerous illness. Returning to Brazil the following August, he was received with demonstrations of popular affection. On the evening of July 15, 1889, as he was coming out of the Sant' Anna Theatre with the Empress, the Princess Imperial, and Prince Dom Pedro, his grandson, a revolver was discharged near him—whether at him is not certain—by a Portuguese youth under the age of twenty years. Naturally the occurrence awakened, for the Emperor, fresh sympathy. Seven days afterward, accompanied by the Empress and Princess Imperial, he went several hundred miles into the interior, and attended, July 23d, the opening of a branch of the Dom Pedro II Railway to the city of Ouro Preto, capital of the great province of Minas-Geraes, and was everywhere received with great enthusiasm.
Though many circumstances contributed to the revolution, the main causes of it were the emancipation of the slaves, the intrigues incident to parliamentary government, and lax discipline in the army.
On the 28th of February, 1888, a quarrel, resulting in the injury of several persons, occurred at Rio between the police and a squad of the navy, from the arrest of a disorderly navy officer; and the misunderstanding growing out of it between the Princess Regent and the prime minister, Baron Cotegipe, led to the resignation of his Cabinet, March 7th, and which was succeeded, March 10th, by another Conservative Cabinet, under Senator João Alfredo. Naturally, the formation of a new Cabinet from the same party, and in competition with its acknowledged and distinguished leader, Cotegipe (deceased February 13, 1889), caused irritation. The Alfredo Cabinet came in with promise of support from its opponents, the Liberals, in passing an early emancipation bill, with compensation to the slave-owners; but, owing to the rapid progress of abolition sentiment, stimulated in some localities by the violence of slaveholders and in others by the voluntary liberation of large numbers of slaves -- the measure also being favored by the Princess Regent, on grounds of policy-it was carried, May 13, 1883, by the João Alfredo administration. There was intense enthusiasm at Rio for many days. Those who voted for the bill were overwhelmed with applause and flowers, and the event was commemorated by the grandest procession ever known in Brazil. The bill, however, was strongly opposed by some influential Conservative senators, including Baron Cotegipe, who thence continued unceasing opposition to the Alfredo administration. The dissatisfied planters began to turn republican, and openly threatened to overturn the monarchy. There was opposition from another quarter. The Senate passed a freedom-of-wor