1816 · Lisboa
Azeredo Coutinho (1742–1821) was born into a very well-to-do => sugar-growing and landowning family in the captaincy of Rio de Janeiro. His primary and secondary education was in Brazil. He spent his early adulthood learning about the mining industry in Minas Gerais and about his family's sugar business, which he inherited in 1768 at the age of 26. But his ambitions lay elsewhere, and in 1775 at the age of 33 he went to Portugal and enrolled in the recently revised canon law program at the Coimbra University.
In 1780 he graduated with a degree in canon law and continued in Portugal, being elected to the Royal Academy of Sciences in 1792. In 1798 he left Lisbon for Olinda, Pernambuco, where he served as the bishop (1794–1806). While there he founded a renowned seminary based on Enlightenment principles instilled in him at Coimbra.
As an Enlightenment figure and also still an owner of significant sugar-producing land, Azeredo Coutinho unsurprisingly was interested in the economic underpinning of Portugal and its colonies, especially Brazil; during his years in Portugal he wrote against legislation that would adversely effect the => sugar, salt, cacao, and other export crops of Brazil and other colonies. His detailed analysis, the Ensaio economico sobre o comercio de Portugal e suas colonias, appeared in 1794 and is now a rare book. In it he lays out the facts about the Brazilian export economy and combats => Montesquieu's silly, but nonetheless celebrated and universally received, theory of climates.
This "segunda edição, corrigida, e accrescentada pelo mesmo auctor" was revised in Portugal where Azeredo Coutinho was living following his recall in 1802. The text has some corrections and whole paragraphs and areas have been rewritten, or expanded with new information or arguments. Even the footnotes, where Azeredo Coutinho has set forth considerable personal observations on all aspects of life and people in Brazil, are expanded.
=> It must be emphasized that while much of the volume addresses Brazil, the Portuguese colonies in Asia and Africa are also studied.
Provenance: Late 19th- or early 20th-century bookplate of the Visconde de Moreita de Rey.
Goldsmiths'-Kress 21406.8; Inocencio, IV, 384/6; Borba de Moraes, Bibliographia brasiliana, I, 23; Archivo biográfico de España, Portugal e Iberoamérica, fiche 242, 428–34; Sabin 17949 (for first edition; the second not listed). Burns, "The Role of Azeredo Coutinho in the Enlightenment of Brazil," The Hispanic American Historical Review, 44. 2 (May, 1964), pp. 145–60. Contemporary mottled sheep ("pasta espanola"), gilt spine with red leather gilt label, plain boards; some worming, this reaching in to some areas of front free endpaper but not text. => A sound, clean, nice copy. (Inventory #: 40065)