Sketches in Portugal, during the Civil War of 1834 ... with Observations on the Present and Future State of Portugal. James Edward Alexander.
Sketches in Portugal, during the Civil War of 1834 ... with Observations on the Present and Future State of Portugal
Sketches in Portugal, during the Civil War of 1834 ... with Observations on the Present and Future State of Portugal

"War of the Two-Brothers," with a contemporary letter of Admiral Sartorius

Sketches in Portugal, during the Civil War of 1834 ... with Observations on the Present and Future State of Portugal.

London: James Cochrane and Co, 1835.

First edition. Hand-colored aquatint frontispiece by J. Clark after Alexander, engraved map by J. & C. Walker, and EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED with a loosely inserted 1 1/2 pp Autograph Letter Signed of Admiral G.R. Sartorius to Captain William Nugent Glascock, April 6, 1833, concerning his dealings with "the Emperor." xvi, 328 pp. Half-title. 8vo. "War of the Two-Brothers," with a contemporary letter of Admiral Sartorius. Original cloth-backed boards, paper label to spine. Some offsetting, foxing, and light creasing, some wear to edges and joints, rubbing and small chip to spine label, a very good copy. Provenance: H. De Saurmarez (signature); G.R. Delaforce (signature). Item #306116

First edition of this lively first-hand account of events in Portugal in 1834 during the so-called "War of the Two-Brothers." The author James Alexander is perhaps best known nowadays as having been the driving force behind the erection of Cleopatra's Needle on the Embankment in London.

The accompanying letter was written by the British Admiral George Rose Sartorius (1790-1885) who had been engaged by ex-Emperor of Brazil Dom Pedro to command the Portuguese regency fleet against his brother Dom Miguel in the struggle for the Portuguese throne which followed the death of their father King João VI in 1826. Admiral Sartorius "gained some marked successes over the usurper's forces. His difficulties were, however, very great: there was factious opposition from the Portuguese leaders; and promised supplies were not forthcoming, and his men were consequently mutinous or deserted at the earliest opportunity. He spent much of his own money keeping them together, and he threatened to carry off the fleet as a pledge for repayment. Dom Pedro sent two British officers on board the flagship with authority, one to arrest Sartorius and bring him on shore, the other to take command of the squadron. Sartorius captured both of them as soon as they appeared on board and temporarily conciliated his men. Such a situation, however, could not last; and without regret, in June 1833, Sartorius handed over his disagreeable command to Captain Charles Napier, who, warned by his predecessor's experience, refused to stir until the money payment was secured" (ODNB). Sartorius' reputation was seriously marred by the episode–– he was struck from the lists of the British navy for a time––but it was eventually recovered and he was knighted in 1841. James Alexander was clearly aware of some of the problems which faced Sartorius and was sympathetic; on page 181 of the present work he writes, "It is to be hoped that the strong claims of Admiral Sartorius to the gratitude of the Portuguese will not be overlooked."

In the present letter, which concerns a transfer of documents and letters and makes mention of "the Emperor," Sartorius expresses his anxiety about his reputation to Commander William Glascock of HMS Oresetes, who was in charge of a squadron that had been sent to the Douro to protect British interests during the conflict. "I do not care what these People may think of me but I am not equally indifferent to the value of a Fair Name amongst one's own Countrymen...."

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