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Handwritten letter from Dom Pedro II to a French scientist (1880)

Handwritten letter from Dom Pedro II to a French scientist (1880)

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In 1880, Emperor Dom Pedro II writes to a French intellectual commenting on scientific current affairs.

  • Handwritten letter from Dom Pedro II to General Arthur Jules Morin.
  • Three pages.
  • In French.
  • 13 cm x 20 cm.
  • Petrópolis, February 2, 1880.
  • Excellent condition.
  • Unique piece.

Extract

(...) I don't know why chemists sometimes get bitter with their discussions about scientific theory, the results of which should not be revealed before well-established facts. Muniez even reinforces the arguments against atomicity in his latest book, which I have already studied, but which I will not write about, only daring to do so after much reflection. This year's Bureau des Longitudes yearbook should be very interesting because of the notes (...).

I am pleased to recognize that (?) and Muniez, of whom I have wonderful memories, continue to provide great services to agriculture with their work. The research on (?) seems to me to be of immense scope. The note from Van Thiegem, the youngest academic, also interested me a lot. He followed Brongniart's line by making us recognize the same phenomena of plant life in the current and antediluvian times. The choice of Périer served well for his geodetic works, which excited me.

The life I lead here is truly peaceful. I enjoy having more time, which also makes me want to learn even more about what is being done to advance the sciences. Soon, I will begin studying the second volume of Daubrée's masterful work (...).

I really like the applications of geometry that help with precision and understanding (...).

Very interested in science and technology since he was a child, Dom Pedro II studied languages, astronomy, geology, archeology and several other disciplines throughout his life. Through readings, observations, travels and meetings, he gradually acquired real knowledge in these fields of research despite the little time left for his political and administrative responsibilities as Emperor of Brazil.

Often accused of being indifferent to the country's social and political issues, causing Brazilian newspapers to frequently represent him with a telescope in his hand, a clear reference to his interest in astronomy, Dom Pedro was highly praised by the academic world, literati and scientists. , for his love and dedication to art and science. The Brazilian Historical and Geographic Institute (IHGB), for example, has received support from the Emperor since its founding in 1838, who participated in hundreds of meetings and personally financed several research projects.

Exiled in France in the last two years of his life after the Proclamation of the Republic, the deposed Emperor dedicated himself almost exclusively to his reading, research and scientific friendships.

In the 1880s, Brazil continued to prosper, developing, including socially with, for example, the first movement for women's rights. However, the letters that Pedro II wrote at this time tend to show a tired and somewhat pessimistic man. Even though he took his responsibilities as Head of State seriously, he led without much enthusiasm.

Written precisely in 1880, this letter - in perfect French - shows all of Dom Pedro's curiosity and knowledge of science. The Emperor comments and gives his opinion, with great humility, on some current research (astronomy, agriculture, botany, geology), on some great names of the time (Brongniart, Van Thiegem, Périer, etc.) and on science in general (chemistry, geometry ). Finally, this sentence is particularly interesting:

The life I lead here is truly peaceful. I enjoy having more time, which also makes me want to learn even more about what is being done to advance the sciences.

The letter is particularly beautiful, with paper and ink in excellent condition. Also notable is the elegant writing of the Emperor, who signed "D. Pedro d´Alcantara", a custom of his with his foreign correspondents. Probably one of the most beautiful "scientific" letters from Dom Pedro II that we have ever seen.

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