Barbosa, Januário da Cunha

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Brazilian priest, journalist, and liberal politician; b. Rio de Janeiro, July 10, 1780; d. Rio de Janeiro, Feb. 22, 1846. Son of a Portuguese and a Brazilian woman, he lost both parents before he was ten years old. He was well educated by an uncle who, wanting a prominent place for his nephew in society, destined him to the priesthood. He studied in the Seminary São José in Rio. Ordained in 1803, he went to Europe to round out his studies. He returned to Brazil in 1805 and worked in a parish, where he gained a reputation as a preacher. In 1814 he was named professor of rational and moral philosophy in the seminary. He became one of the leaders of Brazilian independence and, with Joaquim Gonçalves Ledo, founded the Revérbero Constitucional Fluminense. Januário was a brilliant journalist, a terrible polemicist with a great sense of humor, and a preacher of amazing erudition. Frei Francisco do Monte Alverne, the greatest glory of the Brazilian pulpit, called him a "Giant of Oratory." His 400 sermons are in the panegyrist style of the epoch. After a year's exile because of his opposition to the Andrada brothers, who controlled the government, Januário enjoyed all the privileges of a royal courtier: canon and royal preacher of the imperial chapel, imperial chronicler, director of the national library, and editor of the governmental daily. He became a Mason during the independence movement, as did many other clergymen of the time, because of the political influence of the lodges. A man of strong liberal ideas in his early political battles, Januário was also a regalist and later on turned to conservativism. He was always a defender of the anti-Roman policy of the imperial government. In 1826 he was elected deputy to the General Assembly for the Province of Rio de Janeiro, but his real field was journalism: He became a satirist, composing plays and poems to ridicule his political adversaries, and even founded a witty newspaper, Mutuca Picante (big biting fly). Januário was cofounder of the Revista do Instituto histórico e geográfico brasileiro, a monthly journal that has contributed greatly to the improvement of arts and sciences in Brazil.

Bibliography: a. da cunha barboza, "Esboco biographico do conego Januário da Cunha Barboza," Revista do Instituto histórico e geográphico brasileiro 65.2 (1902) 197284.

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