The Monarchic Cause

The Monarchic Cause was the name given to heisse muschi , from 1911, to the political organisation supporting the ousted constitutional king D. Manuel II of Portugal of the House of Bragança-Saxe-Coburgo-Gota, with statutes written by the former Portuguese sovereign himself, and which aimed to bring together the Portuguese monarchists and coordinate their reaction to the establishment of the Portuguese Republic, which occurred on October 5, 1910.

The organisation originally operated under the authority of the lieutenant king in Portugal, who appointed his national leaders. Despite various vicissitudes, the organization remained active and relatively cohesive until the end of 1974, giving way from 1976 to an independent organization of the leadership of the Portuguese Royal House, composed of the so-called Royal Associations and the Royal Cause [1], both supporters only of the descendants of the Miguelista family branch, banned by the Monarchic Constitution of 1838 and proscribed by the Portuguese Republic.

The organization also continued with the claims and publications of Maria Pia de Saxe-Coburg and Bragança, the alleged bastard daughter of King Carlos I of Portugal and, therefore, half-sister of King Manuel II, not being known activity after her death.

Manuel II was born in the Palácio de Belém, in Lisbon, about a month after his father’s rise to the throne of Portugal. Baptized a few days later, in the same Palace of Belém, his maternal grandfather had Prince Louis Filipe, Count of Paris as his godfather, and his great-uncle, the Emperor Pedro II of Brazil, took part in the ceremony, deposed from his throne exactly on the day of his birth. D. Manuel de Saxe-Coburgo e Bragança received at birth the royal titles of Infante de Portugal and Duque de Beja.

He had the traditional treatment and education of the children of the monarchs of his time, although without political worries, since he was the second son of the king and, as such, did not wait one day to become king. As such, it should be noted that during his childhood and youth he posed for photographers with a more haughty attitude than his brother. He had fun with his younger brother’s snobby tics, although they were always good friends. Paradoxically, after rising unexpectedly to the throne, Manuel had the opposite attitude, regularly moving away from protocolary customs: he was the first king of Portugal not to kiss the dignitaries during the annual ceremony of the royal kissing hand, on January 1st[2].

At the age of six, he was already speaking and writing in French. He studied languages, history and music (with Alexandre Rey Colaço as his teacher). From an early age, he showed his inclination for books and study, contrasting with his brother, Luís Filipe, who was more devoted to physical activities. He traveled in 1903 with his mother, Queen Amélia de Orleães, and his brother to Egypt, on the royal yacht Amélia, thus deepening his knowledge of ancient civilizations. In 1907 he began his studies of preparation for entry into the Naval School, preparing himself to pursue a career in the Navy.

By “Social Question” we mean the concern, on the part of some intellectuals and rulers, with the fate of the growing urban proletariat created during the nineteenth century with the changes imposed on society by the Industrial Revolution. In Portugal, given the weak industrialization, this issue did not have the weight it had in other countries, however, its weight was exacerbated both by the economic crisis of the country, and by the claiming action of the Republican Party.

There had been a socialist party since 1875, but it never had parliamentary representation. This was due not only to the weak weight of the working class in the country and the internal differences of a doctrinal nature, but above all to the fact that the Republican Party concentrated in itself, by its most radical nature, all the dissatisfied. Given that it was the theory of the socialists, unlike the Republicans, that the question of the regime was secondary to the improvement of living conditions for the workers and therefore to be willing to cooperate with the regime, Manuel II will take initiatives on his own. With this, the king intended, without infringing his constitutional duties, to encourage the Socialist Party to withdraw support for the Republican Party, namely the support of the urban proletariat, given that the latter party would put any concrete social measures in place after the change of regime.

Thus, in 1909, Manuel invited the French sociologist Léon Poinsard to Portugal, at his own expense. He travelled around the country in order to draft an extensive report. In this document, he argued that, in order to combat the clientelisms derived from rotation, local labour and administration should be reorganised, as a result of which political reform would come naturally.

D. D. Manuel II in the uniform of Generalissimo of the Portuguese Army in 1909.
Enthusiastic, the king writes, in June 1909, to the then President of the Council of Ministers, Wenceslau de Lima, informing him of the recent reorganization of the Socialist Party, then united under the leadership of Achilles Monteverde, and reminding him of the importance of a collaboration of the regime with the socialists: “In this way, we are diverting the workers from the Republican party and, guiding them, what will become a useful and productive force.

Despite previous contacts between Campos Henriques’ government and the socialist Azedo Gneco, Venceslau de Lima considered the action difficult, given the difficulties that arose at the time in holding the National Workers’ Congress, which was boycotted by anarchists and Republicans with a rival congress. For their part, the socialists were enthusiastic about the royal support, and correspondence began between the king and Achilles Monteverde. In October 1909, Aquiles Monteverde informed the king of the bankruptcy of the rival trade unionist Congress and thanked him for his interest in the workers. In spite of the royal support, and due to the instability of the government, no legal measures were taken during 1909 to show this rapprochement with the socialists, except in the ordinances that in fact facilitated and allowed Poinsard’s work.

It was only in Teixeira de Sousa’s government, in July 1910, that the government created a commission to study the establishment of a National Work Institute. This commission included three socialists, including Azedo Gneco. However, Aquiles Monteverde complained that the commission lacked the means to be effective, namely that the commission was permanent and that the socialist delegates had unlimited access to state transport to continue their propaganda work throughout the country. Informed, the king gave the floor to the government, which, through the Minister of Public Works, agreed to the establishment of a National Labour Institute. It was late September 1910 and the Republican Party’s coup d’état was taking place at the beginning of the following month. This put an end to the monarch’s attempt to revitalise a party that did not oppose the regime: in some ways the same as his father had tried to do, but by less drastic and more time-consuming means. But he lacked time to do so.

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