Feijó, Diogo Antônio

views updated


Priest and regent of Brazil; b. São Paulo, August 1784; d. São Paulo, Nov. 10, 1843. Ordained at São Paulo on Feb. 25, 1809, Feijó was a pious priest and diligent in his duties, always saying Mass and teaching catechism in his three benefices of Campinas, Itú, and São Paulo until 1821, and later, in the intervals in his political and administrative activity. In Itú he taught philosophy, out of which developed a study that was published posthumously by Eugênio Egas. There he also joined with some secular priests who were living a life of study and asceticism, including corporal penances. This association was dissolved under suspicion of Jansenism, although this was never proved.

Studies have been made of the composition of his library, of his two projects for the reform of the clergy, his polemic in favor of a married clergy, and, of his correspondence with the Holy See on the confirmation of a bishop whom he, as regent of the empire, had nominated. The studies demonstrate that, as a result of being chiefly self-taught and influenced by teachers who had been trained in the Luso-Brazilian studies reformed by the enlightened Marquis of Pombal, Feijó held some erroneous beliefs. His pragmatic tendencies as a liberal political reformer furthered such beliefs. He retracted them twice and died with the Last Sacraments.

He was buried in the crypt of the cathedral of São Paulo, where a monument was erected in his honor in 1913. Brazil venerates him as a Cincinnatus in a cassock because, as minister of justice (183132), after the tumult over the abdication of Pedro I, he saved Rio de Janeiro and the nation from anarchy without veering from a rule of law; and as regent of the empire (183537) he carried on a good administration. He was forced to resign as regent by a revolt in Rio Grande do Sul and by the opposition of the parliament, that, according to the constitution, he might have dissolved. Although already a paralytic, he fought in the unsuccessful liberal revolt of 1842. He served as a deputy to the Cortes of Lisbon in 1821, and to the general assembly from 1826 on; he was a senator at the time of his death.

Bibliography: e. egas, Diogo Antônio Feijó, 2 v. (São Paulo 1912). o. t. de sousa, Diogo Antônio Feijó (Rio de Janeiro 1942). l. castanho de almeida, O sacerdote Diogo Antônio Feijó (Petropolis n.d.). l. g. novelli, Feijó, un velho paulista (Rio de Janeiro 1963).

[l. castanho]