Copia da tradução das 17 Cartas apontadas no Compendio Historico…

~ Copia da tradução das 17 Cartas apontadas no Compendio Historico e Analitico. [Presumably Portugal, c. 1778].

Small 4to (223 × 161 mm), pp. 94, [1]; manuscript on paper, the ink a little faint in places but still very good. Contemporary polished calf, joints rubbed, spine chipped at foot, a couple of corners worn.

A contemporary translation of Letters from Portugal, on the late and present State of that Kingdom (London, 1777), with a 26-page ‘Compendio historico e analitico’ written by the great Portuguese statesman, the Marquês de Pombal, at the end. It was not published until 1822. The fact that these are anonymous led to speculation as to the identity of the author. It has been mooted that they were written by the Marquis de Pombal himself, or by a certain John Blankett, or even by Philadelphia Stephens (1750–1824). This Englishwoman was the sister of William Stephens (1731–1802) and of John James Stephens (1747–1826), who ran the Real Fábrica de Vidros da Marinha Grande (the royal glass factory) for several decades and who benefited from major monopoly concessions. Philadelphia Stephens lived in Portugal from 1762 to 1810. However, every available fact points to her as having merely translated the letters into Portuguese shortly after they were published in Britain. The Portuguese translation is also anonymous, which contributed to heightening the controversy’ (Prof. Mira Castanheira, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, private correspondence).

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