REBELO, Francisco Ferreira de
Ambassador to London, Paris and The Hague, was a nobleman of the Royal House married to Don Joana Baptista. Along with his numerous diplomatic appointments, Rebelo held other high ranks, including that of counsellor for Overseas Policy (appointed in 1666), scribe of the Treasury Counsel and member of the Holy Office. As a result, he was distinguished with the title of knight of the Order of Christ, and was awarded the insignia of the Order in 1668.
His performance as a diplomat was the focal point of his professional career, however. He was sent to London from 1655-57 and to Paris from 1661-63, after which he returned to England again as special envoy. His mission was to try to join the British armada to the Portuguese armada in fighting against Spain and to ask Charles II to maintain payment to his soldiers. Unsuccessful in his attempts, Rebelo looked for the support of Mazarino, who agreed to send four thousand young princes and a special monetary subsidy to the kingdom.
In September of that same year, he was appointed ambassador to The Hague, with instructions to ask for military and financial aid, along with a two to three year extension on the payments stipulated by the 1661 treaty. Rebelo was also to request the return of Cochin, which had been taken over by the Dutch at a time when Holland was delaying ratification of its accords with Portugal. Unable to attain these objectives, he returned to Portugal two months later.
The following year, he returned as special envoy to England, where he stayed until 1665. He took a copy of the new orders sent to Goa about the concession of Bombay, a territory which he tried later to return to Portuguese rule. Once again, he asked Charles II for aid in paying the English troops and for a postponement of the deadline to pay the dowry of Infanta Catarina. He also requested that England intervene in the negotiations with Holland to return Cochin and Cannanore to Portuguese rule.
ALMEIDA, Manuel Lopes de, Correspondência Diplomática de Francisco Ferreira Rebelo, 1655-1657, Coimbra, Arquivo da Universidade,1982; FARIA, Ana Maria Homem Leal, O Tempo dos Diplomatas ? estudo sobre o processo de formação da diplomacia moderna portuguesa e o seu contributo na tomada de decisão política (1640/1 ? 1736/50), tese de doutoramento em História Moderna apresentada à Faculdade de Letras da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, 2004; PRESTAGE, Edgar, As Relações Diplomáticas de Portugal com a França, Inglaterra e Holanda de 1640 a 1668, Coimbra, Impr. da Universidade, 1928; Ministros Portugueses nas cortes estrangeiras no reinado de D. João IV e a sua correspondência, Porto, Tip. da Empresa Literária e Tipográfica, 1915.
Author: Pedro Nobre
Translated by: Rosa Simas