Another Brazilian historian of recognized merit is Joao Manoel Pereira da Silva, whose historical writings cover the first years of the empire, from its foundation to 1840.
The successful issue of the recent revolution of the English colonies in North America had filled the minds of some of the more educated youth of that province; and in imitation, a project to throw off the Portuguese yoke was formed, - a cavalry officer, Silva Xavier, nicknamed Tiradentes (tooth-drawer), being the chief conspirator.
His parents, Joao Mendes da Silva and Louren9a Coutinho, were descended from Portuguese Jews who had emigrated to Brazil to escape the Inquisition, but in 1702 that tribunal began to persecute the Marranos in Rio, and in October 1712 Lourenca Coutinho fell a victim.
A daughter was born to them in 1734, but the years of their happiness and of Silva's dramatic career were few, for on the 5th of October 1737 husband and wife were both imprisoned on the charge of "judaizing."
Moreover Silva possessed a knowledge of stagecraft, and, if he had lived, he might have emancipated the drama in Portugal from its dependence on foreign writers; but the triple licence of the Palace, the Ordinary and the Inquisition, which a play required, crippled spontaneity and freedom.