Info

A dispute over the right to reform religious orders in general was already bringing this issue to a head when an apparent attempt on the life ofJoseph I on 3 September 1758 resulted in the arrest and execution of prominent members of the noble Aveido and Tavora clans. This event afforded Carvalho the opportunity of framing the Jesuits as the secret animators and spiritual co-conspirators. When, in the summer of 1759, the pro-Jesuit papacy of Clement XIII repeatedly refused to grant the royal Tribunal of Conscience, or Mesa da Consciencia, a blanket right to try members of the regular clergy, Joseph I and Carvalho retaliated by confiscating all Jesuit property and, in September, by literally loading most Portuguese Jesuits on ships bound for Civittavecchia on the coast of the Papal States. The increasingly isolated and repeatedly insulted papal nuncio, Filippo Acciaiuoli, soon followed the Jesuits in 1760, beginning a rotura, or nine-year break in relations between Portugal and the Curia that lasted until the pontificate of Clement XIV.

Events in Portugal were perforce among the several factors figuring into Jansenist grand strategy during the same decisive year of 1759. On the one hand, Carvalho's case and publicity campaign against the Jesuits could not but have given Jansenists grist for their polemical mill, providing the Ecclesiastical News with endless anti-Jesuitical copy in the form of reviews of the Interesting News about... the Attempted Assassination [of].. .the Most Faithful King of Portugal and its endless Sequels.11 The Portuguese ambassador to France also plied Choiseul with Carvalho's version of events, possibly prompting Choiseul's own resolve to act similarly if more covertly in France. A source of Jansenist hope on the one hand, events in Portugal were also reason for the fear on the other hand that, badly goaded in Portugal, the Jesuits would harness the profoundly pro-Jesuitical pontificate of Clement XIII the better to charge their enemies as never before.

What is more difficult to appreciate is that, however miniscule the Jansenist presence in Portugal, the international Jansenist influence was at work in Portugal as well as the other way around. The Jansenist campaign to revive the charge of regicide against the Jesuits on the occasion ofthe Damiens affair in 1757 suggested to Carvalho the possibility of tarring the Jesuits with the events of 3 September 1758. In an attempt to convince European public opinion of Jesuit complicity, Carvalho was able to count on French Jansenist publicists. These included the defrocked Dominican Jean-Pierre Viou, the anonymous author ofthe Interesting News; the Parisian canon lawyer Pierre Olivier Pinault, French translator of Carvalho's own published statements of his case against the Jesuits; as well as the sometime Capuchin friar Pierre Parisot alias Pere Norbert and later still as the abbe Platel, who pitched his tent in Lisbon in

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment