|Addressee(s)||Joaquim de Mira|
Anonymous extortion letter to Joaquim de Mira, farmer, and to his wife, probably written by a former servant of them, Hermenegildo José.
In the first quarter of the 19th century, extortion letters became a very typical practice. Authors threatened rich addressees with all sorts of ruinous events in the case they didn't hand in a certain amount of money. The frequentness of this practice was possible also because of the political and social turmoil associated with these first years of Liberalism.
«Mr. Joaquim de Mira and Mrs. Maria Joaquina
This is the second letter I send for someone to put under your door. I didn't receive an answer to the first one, now we'll see. Mrs. Maria and Mr. Joaquim, for the first one I'll cause you a small trouble, now I'm sending you a second letter, with a little more of insolence. You'll be so kind to lend me four coins and two bushels of wheat flour and a bag full of bread and meat. You'll be so kind to saddle your mule with all this, on Sunday morning, the 15th this month, and bring it to me to Monte das Mascarenhas, beyond São Brás. If there is someone there, hand in the package, if there is not, put everything inside the oven, since there should be someone nearby who's entrusted of all that. Everything in secrecy. If you don't do this, I'll soon burn down the arbour and the barn and wood and the oxen and everything I want, and I might even [...]. After this letter, I won't write another one. If the four coins and all the other things I've asked you don't show up on Sunday, around 8 o'clock, I'll burn you up, burn you up with fire. And if you talk, you'll pay with your life.»