|Catarina do Vale
|António do Vale de Vasconcelos
Family letter from Catarina do Vale to António do Vale de Vasconcelos.
The author sends some news from home.
The defendant in this process is António do Vale de Vasconcelos (also known as "Lebracho"), accused of bigamy. He was married in Alentejo, Portugal, to Catarina Garcia de Cabreira, but then went to Brazil, in 1591, and there he got married with Helena Leitoa, while his first wife was still alive. To do this without getting into trouble, he first alleged that he was single, then he said he was a widower and, finally, that his first wife was very sick, which had made him presume that she would die really soon. The file includes eight letters, most of them from family members, which might help capture the true facts of his stituation.
The first news we had from you was that your ship was lost, and I didn’t dare to report this news to anyone but to Madam Santana. As soon as I received the news, I left on a Saturday, in such an agony that people without understanding could not have done the same. Madam Santana plans on sending me the news given by your acquainted from Évora, who saw you in a very good mood, coming from the place where your ship wrecked and we are celebrating such news, with all the due excitement, because Our Lord blessed us by saving your life. Son, I ask you to be very humble and cherish the things given by the Lord, because, if you do so, you will show the world the innocence of your exile and the Lord will honour you with ten wonders of His mercy, by bringing you free, to our presence. Of what has happened here, I won’t dare to give you news, but your father will, because my sins led me into seeing such things, but I believe in the mercy of Christ that He will bring you free, in front of your enemies. Son, what gives me relief to endure your absence is having Garcia here, because I believe she brought all the good news […] do it because there is no need saying the joy the soul will receive with them and let me know of anything you need here, for […]. My news is that I am confined to the valley of the […]. Written today, Wednesday, day of Our Lady of Incarnation. Your lady and friend send you many greetings. You have great prayers in them. May the Lord ‒ for He can ‒ give you all I wish and continuously ask for […] your aunt, Catarina do Vale.
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