|Manuel de Araújo
Informative letter from Manuel de Araújo, chaplain, to an abbot.
The author asks an abbot to dismiss his sister-in-law from the "goods of the soul", since there are signals that his brother is alive.
This letter is included in the process of Domingas de Araújo, accused of bigamy. Her first husband, António de Araújo, had been in Brazil for around 19 years and, in spite of the husband's brother, a priest named Manuel de Araújo, telling her that António had written to him, which proved he was still alive, she alleged that she got no letters from him and that this made her believe he was dead. She also alleged that she only decided to marry again following the pressure of some family members. The second husband was Francisco Afonso, known as "the Nobleman". In the meantime, the first husband returned to Portugal, he forgave her and she went back to live with him. Although the court ended up declaring her innocence, she had to assume all the process expenses.
«Esteemed Abbot. I will celebrate your perfect health! I have enough health to perform whatever you assign me from your duty. My sister-in-law has arrived here saying that she was being obliged to do her husband's goods of the soul. And, as far as I know, based on the word of Filipe Bravo, who is a man that came from Brazil and moored near Guimarães bridge and who came from Rio de São Francisco, where he said that my brother, António de Araújo, husband of Domingas de Araújo, was very sound. And it's been more or less two years since this Filipe Bravo departed from the place where my brother remained in good health. And as he said this and that he knew him because they were both from this city and this António de Araújo stayed alive, I state this in verbo sacerdotis. And together I send a letter in two sheets of paper that was written in August, five years ago, as it is reported in the written date, and about this letter I have already taken an oath in a letter I have written you before. And I state that it is his handwriting, for I know it because I taught him to read, and for he is my brother. And since it has been reported that he is alive, and still to oblige her to do the goods of the soul and afterwards the inventory and all that comes after that, it seems that, in conscience, it can not be. I inform you of this so that you won't make this poor woman justify it legally, since I truly state that, if I had known that my brother had died, I myself would be a great help to her in doing the goods of the soul and, in case this is not enough, these facts are proven by the man who brought the letter I'm sending to you, written in 1679 AD, as well as by Filipe Bravo, and by the recognition of that letter's handwriting. However, if you can avoid such expenses and worries, you'll do some charity to this Domingas de Araújo and one favour to me. I'm always available for whatever is needed in your service. December, 1, 1684. Your Chaplain, Father Manuel de Araújo, etc. In Orgães»