Descrição de Lisboa por dois Ingleses no séc. XVIII



The Gentleman’s Magazine foi um jornal publicado em Inglaterra desde 1731 até 1922, fundado por Edward Cave em Janeiro de 1731. Edward Cave utilizava o pseudónimo de Sylvanus Urban e uma boa parte dos artigos publicados eram cartas dirigidas pelos leitores a Mr. Urban.

No decorrer da sua existência, o nome do jornal foi por vezes ligeiramente alterado:

1731–1735 The Gentleman's Magazine or Monthly Intelligencer

1736–1833 The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle

1834–1856 (June) New Series: The Gentleman's Magazine

1856 (July)–1868 (May) New Series: The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Review

1868 (June)–1922 Entirely New Series: The Gentleman's Magazine

Transcrevem-se a seguir duas cartas sobre Lisboa escritas e publicadas no séc. XVIII no The Gentleman’s Magazine, que têm algum interesse.




The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronicle, Volume 66, Parte 2 for the Year MDCCLXXXIX, page 788

by Sylvanus Urban, Gent.


August, 7

Mr. Urban,

The inclosed sensible and entertaining letter was written, soon after the earthquake at Lisbon, by the Rev. Mr. Allen, to his friend and master Mr. Thicknesse, then High Master of St. Paul’s School. I am unwilling to so much good sense should be buried in a closet, especially as the ingenious author was buried soon after in that country, of which he was capable of giving so good an account, and because I am always happy to add either entertainment or information to a work which abounds with so much, and of which I am 

                                                                                                                                                           A CONSTANT READER



“I LOOK upon it as my indispensable duty to give you some account of my situation; and in the discharge of this duty, if I am not deficient in gratitude, I shall inevitably feel a very sensible satisfaction.

“A have found little difficulty in reconciling myself to Portugal. The religion here is the greatest nuisance and that is indeed abominable. I could not well brook Tacito’s expression “detestabilis superstitio”, when used for Christianity in general; but I should not be displeased to hear the term applied to this particular species of Christianity, if it can merit to be styled any Christianity at all. In other respects, Portugal is extremely agreeable. The country is indisputably fine and the climate admirable.  A man who has never been in Italy may be excused, I hope, for fancying Portugal resembles it; for I find this country exactly corresponding with the idea I had formed of that on the other side the Alps. I persuade myself, that no two places in the world, so distant from each other bear so great resemblance. The temperature of climate is nearly the same in both; the likeness holds in their calamitous earthquakes, and more calamitous religion. There is so great affinity between the languages, that to be master of one, is to understand both.  The Portuguese too, as well as the Italians, are of a very musical disposition, and have a good taste for music, and excellent voices, almost universally.

One particular which strikes an Englishman upon his coming hither is the prodigious violence with which the rain comes down; and this circumstance, I suppose, Portugal has in common with Italy; for Tacitus, I remember, takes notice that England is remarkably calm, in comparison, I suppose, with his own as well as other countries. He endeavours to assign the cause: “Credo quod rariores terræ montesque, causa ac materia tempestatum” – I need not tell you that I have lately read him, and that I find him a writer whose meaning I cannot readily either get or forget.

I had afforded some attention to the earthquakes, but to very little purpose. I can indeed promise that I know enough of the matter to prevent my writing such pamphlets as I have lately read upon the subject. I saw three of Dr. Stukeley’s. He seems to be an old woman, but no witch; and his treatises are so many centos of wretched mistakes, picked up with care, and bound together with a most obstinate opiniatrety.

To attempt assigning the natural cause of earthquakes is certainly no easy undertaking. The shocks here at different times seem so very different, that one would almost be inclined to think they arose from causes essentially different, though it is very improbable that should be the case. Sometimes, we have a sudden shock, which is at its greatest violence when first perceived and is over instantaneously. Others come on by degrees, and seem at first to give the buildings a kind of internal vibratory motion, not unlike that which is produced sometimes in bodies by a musical note; this gradually increases, till at length you hear the timbers labouring and cracking and the stones in the walls grinding against each other: some are preceded  by subterraneous noises, and others not; and other concomitant circumstances are so much diversified, that a man of any ingenuity may easily select great numbers that will make for his own hypothesis, whatsoever that may happen to be.

The weather is at present, and has been for some time, the most delightful imaginable (‘tis now Feb. 25). But they tell me, this winter has been the severest that has been known for many years. We had ice of considerable thickness for a country where it is not usual to have any. This weather, as it did not last long, so it was not, I believe, general, even during its continuance; for in Christmas holidays I was at Cintra, which is about twenty miles from Lisbon, where we found the air wonderfully mild and pleasant. We dined in the open air, and had some delightful walks about the rock. Cintra is deservedly famous for its temperature, being no less cool in summer than warm in winter. One may indeed almost pronounce they have neither summer nor winter there, but a delightful middle kind of season, that is free from the inconvenience of both, and is constantly both and neither. It is the most unaccountable place I ever saw or heard of, and hardly seems subject to the laws of Nature; for, besides its unseasonable pleasantness at all times of the year, though it is the highest ground I ever trod, it is constantly overflowed with water, in which respect, though it may fall-in with the system of Mr. Halley, it seems to run counter to the common course of Nature. It is the most fertile and the most barren, the most frightful, and the most lovely place I ever beheld. The exquisite sweetness of the lower part of the hills is strongly contrasted by the craggy appearance of the summits, where the rain has washed away the mould from between the rocks, and left them piled upon one another in a frightful manner.

The foxes and wolves, that inhabited the numerous clefts and caverns in these eminences, are in one place dislodged by a sett of inhabitants who, when religion is out of question have the advantage of the wild beasts in point of humanity; I mean, a sett of friars, who have consecrated the evacuated dens and taken up their abode in them. We dined with them, and they treated us very hospitably, just without the gate of their unbuilt and invisible convent.

They tell me that Cintra is infinitely more pleasant in the summer than in the winter; but it is very difficult to conceive how that is possible. The grass affords a verdure in winter, which, I am apt to think, the summer heats must destroy. The hills abound with ever greens, particularly cork-trees; and the orange-groves, when I saw them, were loaded with fruit, and made a fine appearance.

No measures have yet been taken for rebuilding the city, and many intelligent persons assure me it will be some considerable time before anything is attempted. This will not be a disagreeable article to such as are fond of strange sights; for it is generally allowed, that, from a very indifferent city, Lisbon is become one of the most extraordinary ruins in the world.

We have three people here, for the benefit of the air: Mr. Cleveland, son of the Secretary to the Admiralty; Sir Archer Crofts, and his brother. The two first are pretty recovered; but the last is irrecoverably gone in a consumption, and given over by every one except himself. He is an admirable young fellow, and we all feel for him.

I do not repent of my coming hither. You are well apprized of the inconveniences of my former situation; at present I have nothing to complain of, though my affairs are not absolutely settled and certain, which is the less to be wondered at, considering the nation I belong to, and the country I am in.

I am glad of an opportunity of acknowledging myself your most obliged humble servant,

                                                                                                                                                          W. ALLEN




The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronicle for the Year MDCCXCI Volume LXI Part The second, page 629

by Sylvanus Urban, Gent.


June 30.

Mr. Urban,

I THINK you allow a little laugh is good for the health of your readers; and that, amidst so much serious, but entertaining matter, which you serve up monthly, a small service of laugh may occasionally be brought upon your board. I, therefore, send you an original letter, containing a description of Lisbon; and though not so full of information as some others which I have occasionally given you, yet still it has its entertainment toe, especially when I tell you it came from the only son of a man, who, in this time, made no small figure in this country, and whose son now possesses many thousand pounds a year.

B. F.



I am vastly sorry I have not had the pleasure of writing to you before now, which I hope you’ll excuse. Lisbon is very fine place for business, but is badly situated, for carriages, etc. and monstrous dirty they make nothing here to fling water and piss upon you as you pass by. I like the place where I am and my masters too, they are both very worthy gentlemen, I am vastly worried to night that I can but just write this letter – so I hope you’ll excuse the short description of Lisbon, I will tell you farther the next time I write, let me know what I can serve you in and I will do it with great pleasure, only let me know what it is, let me have an answer to this letter and you’ll oblige me, mightily, so pray excuse my brevity. I am dear Sir your most affectionate friend.”