|Ana Augusta Ferreira de Mures
Family letter from Ana to Ana Augusta Ferreira de Mures, her niece.
The author tells her niece about her brother, who is in prison.
Joaquim Norberto Ferreira de Mures was a scribe in the village of Bemposta, in Estarreja. He was a 22 years old single man, from Pombal.He was arrested several times, for different crimes, including carrying illegal weapons. He was also known for the death threats to members of the court, being accused of attempting to murder Dr. Marcos António Eiroles, a judge. In a search done to his house, police found fire weapons and related devices, as well as 14 letters.This is one of the many cases that illustrate a period in which the Crown gathered efforts to contain the gangs of thieves that spread fear amongst the people.
Do not torture yourself with your brother’s setbacks. See them as sent from Heaven, because they are not meant to hurt us. Let’s praise the one who gives them to us, as he punishes us with mercy. If even the Saints suffer when God sends them without being deserved, how can we not suffer them if we deserve them? I know nothing about him, except that the crime is already in the Stewardship Council and the Corregidor told your sister that the Coutinhos had asked her, but that there wasn’t much hope. From there, he will be sent to wherever God determines. He has no one, not even a single person on his side. Everyone claims he is a very bad man. He will spend his whole life there and I have already spent every supply I had for my house; him alone, I would still be able to supply, but another man here is impossible, no one would do the same for me in similar circumstances. I do it for the love of God, while I’m still can, because, if I don’t want to keep doing it, this same God won’t force me to. His animals have already been sold and farewell! Joana, who handles things nicely, asked on his behalf next to the judge. He told her that the crime was no longer up to him, and that it had been an evil thing with fire weapons, a knife and a thumbscrew. Being tired of his offenses, Our Lord is thanking him. I don’t want to ask for anything anymore, so that I don’t have to listen to things that embarrass me. Even a man from Coimbra told to a lady from this convent : “Madam, don’t ask on behalf of this man, because you don’t know what you ask for”. Being so, who will talk about it, Ana? Due to my excessive compassion, God is paying me by giving him what I always thought. Isabel Pórcia told me to my face: “Madam Ana, I was in Salreu and I know that your nephew is quite terrible, and thieves are not only those who steal in the roads. Thieves are also the ones who don’t pay to whom they owe! He is like that; he is not a man who serves his sisters, except with ruin. I pity your nieces, but they brought harm to themselves.” And, even so, your brother has asked for help to the ladies of Lágrimas, but with no luck. Be contempt. Deal with the truth so God can help them. Your brother has been questioned by the ministers. He says a different thing each time, unaware that what is said first must be always maintained. Even the judge was fooled by these nonesenses. Your brother is in Coimbra, being assessed by the biggest beast in the world. I am even ashamed of this, and so is your mother. A scumbag in the courts who inspires no pity, but rather great laughter. The servants comment about it at the door. Thank God I don’t speak to them. Best wishes to Ludovina and from Joaquina Luísa, and Francisca asks for you to Our Lady. And don’t be arrogant, because they are quite dispirited.