|Addressee(s)||João Ferreira Sola|
Extortion letter, signed with the alias Antonio Chuço (Antonio, the Pike), sent to João Ferreira Sola, merchant.
The author threatens the recipient with death if the latter doesn't deliver 15 coins to liberate a man from the Limoeiro jail.
In the first quarter of the 19th century, extorsion letters became a very typical practice in the Limoeiro jail, near Lisbon. Prisoners, pretending to be highwaymen, contacted people outside jail, threatening them with all sorts of ruinous events in the case they didn't hand in a certain amount of money. The frequentness of this practice was possible also because of the political and social turmoil associated with these first years of Liberalism.
«Illustrious Mr. João Ferreira Sola.
You will send soon and as soon as you receive this, you will send to the Limoeiro jail, to the dungeon of the city jail, someone to hand in to the prisoner Andrade the amount of 15 coins, which are to set him free, for he is in danger. I must stress that I'm António Chuço, from the village of Trancoso, captain of the gangs and mobs, very well known and respected. Beware that, if you fail to send that money to the prisoner until Wednesday, I promise I'll set fire to your palace and break in through the garden. And everything you own, I'll destroy and set on fire, everything will blow in the air, like the farms you have [...] [...] and where I will reach everything. Check what happened and we will do you great harm. Therefore, you will be paid soon. I'm leaving to the fair in Galveias, which is on the seventh. I'll be told if you fail. I'll pay soon, as soon as I leave the fair in Galveias, I'm going to Cuba and, from there, I'll come back to pay you. Be careful with the secret. Therefore, I'm sending you to the jail at 6 o'clock in the afternoon and whoever hands in the money to the prisoner must speak to him from the guard stones which are in the Limoeiro stairs and, as soon as the prisoner yells «Ó José, ó José!», he must go and deliver, in hand, to the prisoner, the money he takes. It must be on Wednesday around this hour, without fail. Don't complain afterwards for whatever happens to you and your life in my hands. That of my second captain, Taborda, will be hard.
Today, 4th January 1823
Your servant, the captain of the gangs,
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