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Maarten Janssen, 2014-

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[1770-1772]. Carta de Tomásia Isabel Gonzaga para Bernardo da Silva do Amaral, padre.

Author(s) Tomásia Isabel Gonzaga      
Addressee(s) Bernardo da Silva do Amaral      
In English

Warning note from Tomásia Isabel Gonzaga, the daughter of a judge, to Bernardo da Silva do Amaral, a priest.

The author warns the addressee that she went to recover a box containing letters. She is worried because she left her daughter alone.

Father Bernardo da Silva Amaral was a priest who lived in Pernambuco (Brazil), although he was born in Lisbon. He was arrested in Recife in 1772, when he was 46 years old, under the suspicion of having made heretic propositions and of abusing women ("solicitação"). Several women testified against him. They said he used to teach that neither kisses, hugs or caresses were sins, they were rather a way of serving God, so he kissed, hugged and caressed them. He was accused of going to bed with several of them, sometimes mother and daughter at the same time, and was also seen bathing with them. Most of the private letters used as exhibits against him were exchanged between this priest and the mother and daughter pair. The letters exchanged with the mother are partly in cipher, but the court could not force the defendant to explain how to decode them.

«Master Priest,

Yesterday afternoon I went to the city, by land, to get my mother’s little box with the writings. I returned by sea. I arrived at eleven o’clock pm. Due to the rain I couldn’t go back to my house, since it was late. I intended to go out by dawn. I didn’t do so because, when they opened the door, it was six o’clock in the morning. I now want to leave because my daughter was alone and with nothing to eat today. My mother, Mrs. Madalena, asks me not to go, as she knows of this great need, and if Your Reverence thinks it is good for me to stay, then I will stay, but I’m in great concern.»

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