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Topoi: Revista de História

versão impressa ISSN 1518-3319

Topoi v.3 Rio de Janeiro  2007


Varnhagen in movement
a brief anthology of an existence 



Temístocles Cezar

Translated by Eoin Paul O'Neill
Translation from TOPOI - Revista de História, Rio de Janeiro, v. 8, n. 15, July/Dec. 2007.




The purpose of this article is to outline a life and work brief anthology of historian Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen (1816-1878), who lived mainly out of Brazil. I try to relate part of his extensive work to a distant look, as an effect of his continuous movement in search of files and documents on Brazil's history and geography which were found abroad. In addition, i intend to emphasize the relevance of journeys and in locu wiews as cognitive resources for writing history in a context characterized by the emergence of history as a science and its claim for narrative objectivity and for historians impartiality.



"Sir! You sent me to Paris to deal with the publication of the Historia Geral. I spent the necessary time to make myself understood with the artists and once again the intervention of the benemerito of Brazil Ferdinand Denis was of great worth. Being in France I could not resist, for a difference of hours, the temptation of visiting Holland, and each time I bless even more the moment of this temptation. I cannot explain to Your Majesty how much I acquired there, both in the archives, guided by Dr. Silva, and in the bookshops the old pamphlets about Brazil, geographical maps, the more individual knowledge of the Dutch leaders of Pernambuco, etc. Various sections of the Historia Geral will give proof of this. In Holland I had to go to Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Leyden, Delft, Utrecht, the Zeist field (where I was with Mr. Netscher), Harlem and Nijmegen. Having to leave Holland to return to Barcelona I had go by a roundabout route in order not to return by almost the same path. I decided to do this, also because of the work that was almost passing into the public domain – I wanted to go to Dresden to consult the celebrated pamphlet Zeitung ausz Presillg Landt, which cites Humboldt, and after studying it I do not doubt that I differ from the opinion of this savant and attributed it to the year of 1508, as I explained in a note. Beforehand I went to Hannover and Berlin, I was in Potsdam, I went to Prague and Vienna, I went up the Danube, to Ischel, Salzburg, Munich, Constance, Schasshann, Guvich, Berne, Geneva, Lyon, Avignon, Montpellier, Perpignan and Barcelona. All very quickly, as will be seen, and only because of my activities, and because of considering traveling in time a type of obligation".

Letter of Varnhagen to D. Pedro II, 18531

Varnhagen is like this, he is always moving. He moves constantly, from one country to another, from one archive to another. He almost never stops, he is tireless. Like Roland Barthes' Michelet, he is a swallow.2 In traveling, in crossing frontiers, he sees history. However, he always has the distanced look of someone who has spent practically all his life outside his country. Being far from the nation and having the aim of telling its history; being far from the nation and having to consolidate his nationality as a Brazilian, this is the dilemma of the Varnhagenian life and work. Relating these two dimensions is my objective. Relating, therefore, his life and work, since I believe that Varnhagen wrote about Brazil not only with the documentation he found and the books he wrote, but also through his personal experience of his choices and his frustrations. My intention, however, is not to write a study of psychological history, but an essay of intellectual biography, or rather a brief anthology of his existence.3

Sketching a Varnhagen in movement, in other words a summary of his constant dislocations, does not prevent me from trying to make a movement within his work, a movement in Varnhagen, risking myself within him at the paradoxical cost of possibly committing interpretative excesses or of letting myself be swept away by him.4 Exercising prudence in this reading movement is not an easy task. In the first place the actual notion of movement, both physical and intellectual, is present in Varnhagenian production: "everything that excites movement" he says citing Alexander de Humboldt, "'the creator of the science of travel', is wrong, whether it is a vague and instinctive forecast, or a rational argument, conducts and expands the sphere of ideas".5 In second place listening to Varnhagen, through his works and his copious correspondence, is to listen to a discourse that comes from the past rationalized by the author; there is no improvidence in him, his polemics, although acrimonious at time, are mostly contained to the academic dispute. And even when control over the verb seems to escape from him, the attacks that he offers are in defense of his character. It might not be an exaggeration to say that a good part of what we know about Varnhagen, through his writings, is a little of what he wanted us to know about him. He preoccupied himself with his life and his posterity. This caution, however, was not only insufficient to prevent an antipathetic image being created of him but also, from what everything indicates, actually reinforced it. Nevertheless, despite his less than attractive personality, he managed to impose himself, making himself essential and irrefutable. Even for those who did not appreciate him (and it does not seem, either yesterday or today, that there were few of these people) he has become an unavoidable figure for understanding the history of history of and in Brazil.


Varnhagen is a colleague

Who is, after all, Varnhagen? A disciple of Ranke, of the positivists, the methodological school? Is it just a detail that there are practically no references to Ranke in his work? In which positivism or in which methodological principal should we fit him? Comte and Monod are also authors absent from his work.6 In 1878 did Capistrano de Abreu not lament that Varnhagen "ignored or treated with disdain the body of creational doctrines which is recent years have become a science under the name of sociology"?7 While did not Gilberto Freyre consider his "infantile simplicity when he left pure historical research for the philosophy of history"?8 On the other hand, he did not fully participate in the epistemological movement that was consolidated in the nineteenth century, an offshoot of to the philosophy of history of Voltaire, which refusing erudition, was essentially defined by its antiquarian tradition.9

Without intending to locate it in a difficult and doubtful history of influences we can at the very least state that Varnhagen shared a series of general and diffuse notions of modern nineteenth century historiography that to an extent emerged all over the place despite the identification with a determined theoretical current: in other words the one concerned with the establishment of a historical truth through work in archives in search of original documents, narrative objectivity and the impartiality of the historian.10 "The historical school to which we belong", he declared in the preface to the Historia das luctas com os Hollandezes no Brazil, "and, as we have said at other times, is far from the one that is too sentimental, which intending to move people's feelings actually ends up far from the truth".11 In this set of prescriptions, the most decisive for the epistemological history of the nineteenth century was, according to Hannah Arendt, the question of the impartiality of the historian.12 And in this, despite his rhetorical effort, Varnhagen losses himself completely. The distinction between the subject and the object of the research, a theoretical principle of the emerging historical science, was a premise that Varnhagen had great difficulty in respecting. He elided it with greater frequency than is supposed and which we, at first sight, may ourselves suppose. The presence of the author within his own compositions is something that impressed us. "We narrate", he explains in the first chapter of the Historia geral do Brazil, "successes according to how they are presented to us in light of documents, reflection and study; and some other time, without abuse, we take it to be our position to make those reflections that we are brought to by our intimate convictions; because sad is the historian who does not have them in relation to his country, or has them but does not dare to present them".13 Even in his more thoughtful work, the closest to the science of history in the nineteenth century, he did not manage to hide his presence in the text. He did not even seek to dissimulate it. Thus, an attentive reader like Capistrano de Abreu warns us: "it is necessary to define the temperament of Varnhagen to properly understand his Historia geral".14

Varnhagen was a monarchist. Yes, without a doubt. And in his own way he was also a patriot. He was Catholic, as he was never tired of stating. His belief, however, did not prevent him from implacably censuring the Jesuits and, above all, the inquisition.15 Egocentric and careerist, although anachronistic in relation to the context, these are not preposterous attributes. Ambitious? He even had an explanatory theory for ambition, both his own and others.16 Anti-Indian and Hobbesian are adjectives that might equally fit him, although more than a follower of Hobbes, he was a critic of Rousseau.17 Anti-romantic? Certainly not at the beginning of his intellectual trajectory. His relations with Alexandre Herculano and his collaboration with the Panorama are secure indicators of this.18 Afterwards his critical position in relation to the Indians pushed him away from the Brazilian version of this romanticism. Despite this, he seemed to hold on to some of the precepts of the romantic atmosphere, such as, by way of example, the search for the original and for the national, as well as the passion for travel. He is both this and that, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more. He is a colleague, and above everything else, he is the author of an immense range of work which, despite for a certain moment privileging history, cuts across various domains, from literature to literary criticism, passing through biography, ethnology, politics and diplomacy, economics and even philology. Various fields of knowledge written (in various languages) approximately all in the same manner: without style, without elegance, in short in a language that was not at all eloquent. It almost a consensus that Varnhagen is not a good writer. Not of history, nor of any sort of genre. He experienced in this case a dilemma opposite to that of Michelet, who was accused of being a mad historian because he wrote, instead of simply writing down.19 Varnhagen, on the other hand, did not write, he wrote down. This criticism, I believe, results especially from an important aporia of the historical culture of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, whose origin may go back to the Aristotelian principle of the superiority of poetry in relation to history, rather than to an actual theoretical orientation of how it should be written.20 Therefore, in the same way that the Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute (Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro - IHGB), frequented by literati in profusion, is a stage where one can find being played out the indefinitions between the modern scientific, neutral and objective narrative, on the one hand, and the literary narrative, always subject to the injunctions of the subjectivity of the author, as well as in the works of Oliveira Lima and Tristão de Araripe, or even Capistrano de Abreu and José Veríssimo, who, no matter how much they try to escape from it, still breathe in the old regime of historicity as Varnhagen, the question has not yet been defined and the good old style is still an important attribute.21

Furthermore, Varnhagen's work is, like that of Michelet, only this time like that of Charles Péguy, solitary. He does not share his work with anyone.22 He buried himself in the archives where he checked, collated, copied and left his mark.23 Next he ordered the material, divulged and published what he understood, but not before making a sort of theoretical appreciation,  in other words, "uniting them and combining them in doctrines that make either this or that body".24 Although since it had been founded the IHGB encouraged team work, in practice individual research predominated.25 Varnhagen's isolation in relation to his peers, therefore, would not necessarily have been a specific trait of his intellectual personality, were it not for the fact that we can relate it to a certain need to be the first, the initiator, the one responsible for the beginning. The epithet of the Brazilian Herodotus was not attributed to him by modern historiography by chance. It does not seem mere coincidence that Robert Southey, who intended that his works would signify for Brazilians what Herodotus represented to Europeans, was severely criticized by Varnhagen.26 The History of Brazil, published in three volumes in the 1810s, according to the comment found in the first edition of Historia geral do Brazil, published in 1854, lacked unity, was disordered, repetitive and tiring, characteristics responsible for its weak reception (the absence until that time of a translation to Portuguese was simply not considered by the Brazilian). This is understandable, since Southey before being a good historian was, according to a not uninterested jab by Varnhagen, an "illustrious poet laureate".27 The work of the Englishman could, at the very most, aspire to the condition of a Memória para escrever a history do Brasil e dos países do Prata (Memorial to write the history of Brazil and the countries of the River Platte).28 Almost a source, therefore. Maybe this was the reason he had so much difficulty in distancing himself from it. From what everything indicates the first history of Brazil should be his, and the first Brazilian historian should be him. Not that Varnhagen had been concerned with this since the beginning of his career. The Historia geral was actually initially projected as Geographia Physica do Brazil.29 The Herodotean temptation emerged gradually as his research developed in a more professional manner, in accordance with the rhythm of his movements, whose steps I am trying to follow.


Porto Seguro: beginning and end

"My works on the history of my country, I confess here without much presumption, are not totally unknown in Europe; and I even dare to believe that these serious studies will serve in some manner for the position which I now hold thanks to the benevolence of my sovereign. Everybody knows that Porto Seguro, in the south of Bahia, indicates the place, memorable for ever, where Brazil was discovered by Cabral, and that this discovery marks the starting point of the civilization of the vast Brazilian empire."


We will start at the end, or rather at a determined beginning. Porto Seguro. The place where Cabral's squadron landed in April 1500. The same Cabral whose tomb was discovered at the end of the 1830s by the young Varnhagen in Convento da Graça in Santarém, Portugal. Discovering what a type of historiography calls the 'discoverer', although the historian did not participate in it, was not bad for someone who would soon become a tireless persecutor of the national origin. For him, it is Vasco da Gama who is responsible for "the happy finding of Brazil", a finding that was inexorable since were it not for the fact of "his first expedition it could not have happened in one of the years immediately afterwards". The association of the name of Cabral with the discovery of Brazil was not, for Varnhagen, supported by "good criticism", which "does not recognize his greater service other the good omens who announced in the square the appearance of  a ship in sight".31 In 1877 in the second edition of Historia geral, Vasco da Gama continued to be responsible for the discovery, although this last passage was suppressed.32 Did the titles of nobility granted to him in this period have any relationship with the abandonment of "good criticism"?

Made Baron of Porto Seguro in 1872, and Viscount of Porto Seguro in 1874. Varnhagen, at 56 years of age, did not expect, if his words can be trusted, such a distinction from the Emperor. A compulsive traveler, when he received the title of Baron, he was not in Brazil, nor even in Vienna where he held the position of Plenipotentiary Minister of the Brazilian government in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was participating in a statistics congress in Saint Petersburg. From the frozen waters of Neiva, he wrote to D. Pedro II, thanking him not only for the gesture which had ennobled him, but also for the "bello nome", which the Emperor had given him:

"Even though it often bothers me to see myself considered in the eyes of Europe, and especially of Germany, due to my surname, as less Brazilian, I cannot think now of separating myself, without longing or strangeness, from this name which for close to forty years I have try to glorify and honor, glorifying myself and honoring myself; and I confess to Your Majesty that I did not hope nor aspire to see one changed for the other… Though the magic name of Porto Seguro, so dear for someone who has spent these forty years always occupying the region of Cabral, worked the miracle, and even obliged me to more in my second edition of the Historia Geral".33

During these forty years until his death in Vienna in 1878, the Viscount of Porto Seguro had to put up with certain doubts and ironies related to his loyalty to the nation. Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen was born, according to his baptism cert, on 17 February 1816, in Sorocaba in the province of São Paulo.34 Nevertheless, the nationality of the man who became the historian of the Empire par excellence had to be granted to him.


Nationality, forgetfulness, abnegation

"In the first audience I had with these August Lords, I found they were surprised not to find me a foreigner, and that I did not personally correspond to the idea that, at least my name, had formed beforehand, imagining me Dutch, I think. – I confess that on this occasion I was justified to feel a little apprehension that I buried in the bottom of my soul and which I have never told anyone in writing; but which I have now decided to transmit to Your Majesty, of whose circumspection and reserve I am such a great admirer. – Your Majesty now knows one of the reasons why I wanted to omit my name from the Historia geral do Brazil, not even signing the dedication. Without my name the work would be by just a Brazilian or from the Instituto H. do Brazil; and as a result from all of Brazil".

Letter from Varnhagen to D. Pedro II, 185435

Friedrich Ludwig Wilhelm de Varnhagen, a soldier and engineer of a Germanic origin, was hired in 1802 by the metropolitan government to running, under the direction of the intendente José Bonifácio, Portuguese foundries for a period of ten years. In 1806 he married D. Maria Flávia de Sá Magalhães, whose nationality that has still not yet been confirmed, but who was probably Brazilian or Portuguese.36 Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen was the couple's seventh child. Transferred to Brazil in 1809, Friedrich de Varnhagen came with the mission, as the family historian would later tell, of starting nothing less that the national steel industry in the Real Fabrica de Ferro de São João de Ipanema, in Sorocaba. Here Varnhagen spent the first seven years of his life. The factory was in a well known location. It went back to the sixteenth century and until the end of the eighteenth century it had gone through various problems that had seriously prejudiced it proper operation.37 Its antiquity and its particular characteristics attracted illustrious visitors, politicians such as José Bonifácio, men of science such as the mineralogists Seiblitz, Eschwege and Feldner (the latter two having coming with Varnhagen's father), and the travelling naturalists such as Baron Olfers, Sellow, von Natterer and Saint-Hilaire, amongst others. Some of these visitors are converted into characters in a soap opera plot, whose lead actor is his father, and which took up almost one chapter in  Historia geral do Brazil.38

In the year of the independence of Brazil, Friedrich de Varnhagen left with unlimited  leave "for Europe, where other interests called him and the just wish to see his parents – from whom he had been separated twenty years previously".39 The rest of his family stayed in Rio de Janeiro, where the young Varnhagen began his studies of letters. In October 1823, Friedrich de Varnhagen summoned them to Portugal. Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen would never again spend so much time in Brazil.

In Lisbon at the end of 1825 Varnhagen entered the Real Colegio da Luz, where over a seven year period he obtained excellent results in various courses, according to his own statement. In 1832, he was "if he wanted" apt to join the Portuguese army, which offered him certain advantages: "the honors of a cadet earning almost as much as an Ensign". Nevertheless, as he "only wanted to serve" in his country he refused to start a career in Portugal. In July 1833, he was on holidays when he was surprised by the "restoration by Lisbon of the arms of the Immortal and August Founder of Our Empire" and "swept along like many other Brazilians by the enthusiasm of such a just fight against a tyrannous usurper in favor of a princess and some institutions from our soil, I thought I should bear arms". Varnhagen's almost impulsive attitude was rewarded by the Portuguese government without, he insists on specifying, "any request" on his part. Thus, in less than three months he passed from "student cadet" to "Artillery Officer". In this position he participated in the "rest of the campaign in favor of the Constitutional cause". The speed with which Varnhagen made this decision turned out to be a serious mistake: "finding myself in this way, almost without thinking, engaged in the service of a foreign kingdom, without having remembered to arm myself for this with the necessary license from our Government, in accordance with the law". This forgetfulness would become the most difficult problem to be overcome in the process to become recognized as a Brazilian.

Whilst he was waiting to be able to remedy his mistake, the result, he said, of  "a simple fanaticism of age", Varnhagen continued his studies, obtaining good results: "I went to the College of Nobles to learn German, and in the Academy of Fortification (afterwards converted into the Army College) I completed my course in Engineering, in which not only did I pass everything, but also once more I got first place". Due to this and his age, he was promoted to first lieutenant. His intellectual performance was also compensated with an invitation to join the Royal Academy of Sciences of Lisbon which published Varnhagen's "first literary-scientific composition" the "Critical Reflections", which also opened the doors of the IHGB for him in 1840.40 A reward resulting from his "desires and patriotism that had never diminished in his absence from his patria".

At the beginning of 1840, when he became aware that the Brazilian legislature was discussing a law that allow the repatriation of Brazilians who lived abroad, Varnhagen packed his bags and left for Brazil. While he waited for the law to be voted on, he took advantage of the "time for a trip into the interior of the Empire, which not only resulted in me obtaining lots of natural knowledge, but once again awoke feelings of patriotism in seeing my childhood friends and places".41 In this trip he had an experience which completely changed his view of the "savages", for whom until that moment he had nourished a sort of sympathy, caused above all by the Letter of the Caminha.42 "My conversation, my horror with savagery was born in me in the middle of our sertões, and in the presence, we can see, of this same savagery". In the company of troopers he was threatened by Indians "on nowhere less than the royal road", he explained in the polemics with João Francisco Lisboa. The episode was so impressive that

"the illusions which had accelerated the spirit in the middle of the large cities dissipated in a single day; the same way that some French politicians who were ultra-philanthropic in theory their whole lives were converted to more positive and realistic ideas in the presence of the horrors of Robespierre and Marat, and in our day the actual scenes of 1848".43

After this incident, Varnhagen became a vehement critic of indigenistic romanticism, or the "Caboclo Brazilianism danger", which he said to the Emperor in order not to flatter "in a servile way, like others".44

Returning to Portugal on 22 June 1841, he asked the Portuguese government for a promotion, which was refused. According to at least one of his biographers, this was the principal cause of his request to resign from the Portuguese army, which happened on 1 October 1841. According to Clado Lessa's hypothesis, Varnhagen made a request that he knew did not have the least chance of being successful. He was 25 years, the age of civil majority at the time, and it was necessary to resolve the question of his nationality. Also according to Lessa, he did not know that on 24 September 1841 the Emperor had signed the decree that confirmed his Brazilian nationality, giving him an amnesty from the irregularity had committed. Varnhagen only became aware of the decision on 19 February 1842. Nevertheless, in an autobiographical letter that he sent to General Francisco Andréa in 1843, he omitted the detail of the request for a promotion from the Portuguese government and the consequent negation of this request. He simply stated that he had received the news from Brazil and that "despising all the considerations dictated by prudence not to sacrifice myself in an advantageous social position without the certainty of the other, and relying only on the trust I had always had in the munificence of our Emperor, I handed in my resignation from the position of First Lieutenant, in which I was already because of seniority the first with the right to become Captain".45

Varnhagen, I think, trying to resolve his life, from one side of the Atlantic and the other. In 1846, in the dispute he had with José Ignacio de Abreu Lima, he mentioned once more this transition in a much more dramatic way and without being concerned about showing any traits of modesty. Curiously, he wrote about himself in the third person: "breaking with everything; he had resigned the positions that offered him a brilliant career, according to the opinion of his friends, and even the court, and was presented to our Legation in Lisbon as a Brazilian subject".46 It is not necessary to insist on the evident work of emphasizing the affective dispositions in relation to Brazil and also the selfless profile which Varnhagen sought to delineate. Brazilian by decree, he also became a historian in an official act. On 19 May 1842, he was nominated aide first class to the Brazilian legation in Portugal, with the principal mission of researching the documents related to the history, geography and legislation of Brazil.47 


A traveling historian

"The archives and libraries of Europe, especially those in Portugal, contain such rich and precious manuscripts about the Empire, which very much requires the Institute to take measures to obtain copies of these. In relation to this assumption, the government should perhaps intervene, which would feed the spirit of nationality which should be present, which is perhaps the first basis of this, the history and knowledge of the native country".

Letter of Varnhagen to Januário da Cunha Barbosa, 183948

"From the morning until four o'clock my time is divided between the Legation (where I now serve as secretary) and the Torre do Tombo, where so much is appearing to me, so I do nothing other than makes copies and move onwards".

Letter of Varnhagen to Januário da Cunha Barbosa, 184349

Diplomacy gave Varnhagen the ideal conditions to carry out his work as a historian: time and travel. From what I could discover, domiciled in Lisbon between 1842 and 1847, he did not leave the Portuguese capital except to go to other archives, such as in Coimbra and Évora. At the end of 1846, he was charged with collecting documents in Simancas, Madrid and Seville in order to clarify questions about Brazilian frontiers. In 1847, promoted to the position of first secretary of the Brazilian legation, he was transferred to Madrid. In the following four years, nothing happened in diplomatic relations that could divert the attention of the historian in the archives.50 Also in 1847, we find him on a study mission to Paris and London with the aim of analyzing the manuscripts of the work of Gabriel Soares de Sousa which Ferdinand Denis and Robert Southey had mentioned in their works. During the same year he visited other European countries in search of archives and sources: he went to Belgium, more precisely to Liege, Louvain, Brussels, Ghent, Bruges and Ostend; to Germany, visiting Cologne, Bonn, Coblenz, Neuwied, Ehrenbreitstein, Mayence, Wiesbaden, Frankfort, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, and Strasburg. Before returning to Madrid, he passed through Cadiz, Sevi lle, Córdoba, Granada, Gibraltar, Malaga and Castille. He stayed a little longer in Toledo, Ávila, Valladolid, Valencia, Burgos, Leon, Astorga, Toro, Tordesilhas and Salamanca. He resisted inertia. Why stop if another archive was waiting for him? If there actually was a point of contact between Varnhagen and Ranke, as various commentators have highlighted but few have properly demonstrated, this appears to me to be one of the most evident: like Ranke, he had "the taste for the archive".51 In the agitated year of 1847, the IHGB, in the session held on 5 August, granted Varnhagen the gold medal for his work on Caramuru. Detail: in the minutes of the session of 3 July appears the demand for the prize from Varnhagen himself.52

But it was not just from history that the historian lived. In 1850 he published the Florilégio da poesia brazileira, whose introduction, entitled Ensaio historico sobre as lettras no Brazil, is considered by some students of literature as the founding text of "Brazilian literary historiography".53 Once again he was the initiator, despite the existence of anthologies before him. Nevertheless, the Ensaio and the Florilégio, despite their problems became sources constantly consulted by those interested in Brazilian literary history in the nineteenth century, even though many, according to Capistrano de Abreu, did not state this.54 However, what is most striking in this work is the capacity that Varnhagen had to decide what is national and what is not, as well as, on the other hand, to see his dictates accepted almost without contestation. In this case most of the critics of the work are addressed at Varnhagen's aesthetic judgments and not at his selections. The criteria for the representation of these choices disappear under the national mantle with which Varnhagen covers them.

In April 1851, he left for Brazil, having been summoned there by the Minister Paulino José Soares de Sousa. He was called back as an expert in history and geography: his knowledge was necessary for the negotiations over the frontiers of the Hispano-American republics with European Guianas. He left Madrid carrying 916 pages of documents copied in archives in Simancas, maps, books and manuscripts collected during his investigations.55 During his time in the capital of the Empire he participated actively in the sessions of the IHGB, to which he was elected the first secretary on 23 May 1851. In this function he reorganized the library, the archives and the Institute's museum and also established the first catalogue in alphabetical order of the Revista do IHGB up to number XV, consecrated in 1851. Varnhagen's administration equally coincided with the reform of the statutes and an  attempt to professionalize the institution.56

Before returning to Madrid, also in 1851, he submitted his resignation from the position of second lieutenant in the Imperial Corps of Engineers in the Brazilian army, a position that he had been nominated to whilst in the legation in Lisbon. But not before trying to be promoted, which was once again refused.57 In compensation his career as a diplomat and historian progressed. The same year he was promoted to the position of Encarregado de Negócios in Madrid, where he stayed until 1858, when he was granted a new promotion: Minister Resident in Paraguay. Here the Latin-American stage of his life began, which would last for a decade.


Varnhagen's "tristes tropiques"

When he left for Latin America Varnhagen had already published, between 1854 and 1857, what would become his principal work: the Historia geral do Brazil, the "encyclopedic mass of materials he had accumulated", according to Capistrano de Abreu.58 As a result in 1859 the IHGB raised the historian to the category of honorary member, "in recognition of his enlightenment and his valuable services rendered to the Institute".59 He arrived in Paraguay thus well encumbered with diplomatic and academic titles. However, his tolerance of the republic led by Carlos Antônio Lopez was weak. Alleging health problems, Varnhagen, without the official authorization of the imperial government, left Asuncion at the end of 1860.

On the other hand, while the diplomat felt sick, the historian appears to have been healthy. Thus, during his trip from Rio de Janeiro to Montevideo, and from there on to the Paraguayan capital, he sought to confirm some details of the report of Pero Lopez de Sousa from 1530 published by Varnhagen in 1839.60 He lamented not being able to follow the entire itinerary of the sixteenth century Portuguese navigator, in order not only to confirm and correct, but also to rediscover and see what Pero Lopes de Sousa had seen. In the same perspective as Herodotus or the romantics from the first half of the nineteenth century, he was a person convinced that travel was an instrument of knowledge.

In January 1861 he left for Venezuela to occupy the position of Minister Resident of Brazil, responsible for relations with Colombia and Ecuador, in addition to Venezuela. During his journey towards his new post Varnhagen took his time to reach his destination. It is interesting to follow his itinerary pari passu for a few moments. As was his habit, research was his pastime. From Recife he sent on 18 April a letter to the Emperor saying, amongst other things, that "in Bahia I went to Caxoeira, and from there by land to Santo Amaro, and from S. Francisco by land to Bahia, always with Gabriel Soares in my hand".61 The movements of Varnhagen the ethnologist were always accompanied and directed by historical sources, especially those that were the products of his own investigations. He always has a perpetual perspective of history: Pero Lopes de Sousa and Gabriel Soares de Sousa functioned one hundred years earlier, like Jean de Léry for Lévi-Strauss: breviaries that guided vision.62

From Recife Varnhagen headed towards Pará with the expectation of meeting a boat there that was headed towards the US.

"However, my expectation having been dashed", he narrates to D. Pedro II, "I returned with the advantage of having got to know Pará, and with two visits (on the way there and the return) to Parahiba, Rio Grande, Ceará, Maranhão, as well as large part of the coast, along which one sails here. The second edition of my History will gain much, not just from my 15 day digression here, but all my time here and in Bahia".63

Actually in the second edition of the Historia geral there are various examples of the annotations made during this trip. These and other notes are the effects of a silent practice, at least until the nineteenth century, through which historians give their works extra-textual guarantees: the autopsy, the old methodology, in which the eye functioned as a "annunciation mark, of an 'I have seen' as the intervention of the narrator in his narrative to prove" what he had stated.64 His journey through Pernambuco offered Varnhagen the chance to investigate certain places occupied by the Dutch in the seventeenth century, an experience emphasized in the preface of his Historia das luctas com os Hollandezes no Brazil, published in 1871: "We did not think of writing the book without first examining all points and following all the paths where, through their patriotic deeds, the four anti-Dutch Brazilian heroes were immortalized: Vidal, Barbalho, Camarão and Dias".65

The research in the northeast of Brazil was not all the research carried out by Varnhagen before taking up his new position. The road to Venezuela proved to be very roundabout. The route followed by the diplomat and historian led him to London and, evidently, to the British Museum.66 He explored the collections of manuscripts that had not been catalogued in the inventory that Jorge Cezar de Figanière had edited in 1853. The result – a catalogue entitled Succinta indicação de alguns manuscriptos importantes relativos ao Brazil e Portugal – was published in 1863.67 Varnhagen is not only a discoverer of sources, he is also someone who follows the movements of others and completes their work. This involves an almost obsessive desire for the elements that create the conditions for the writing of history in Brazil. If he is not the first to detect a certain archive or source, he always adds something, corrects something; the last word has to be his.


Suffering, justice and truth

Varnhagen finally assumed his position in Caracas on 16 October 1861. He did not spend long there either. Despite his intellectual capacities, whether real or supposed by him, the fact is that he was unable to resolve the litigation related to Brazil's frontiers with the neighboring countries under his diplomatic responsibility. On the other hand, he was successful in making some agreements with Venezuela about river navigation, commerce and extradition. In May 1863 he was transferred to Lima, also being accredited to the governments of Chile and Ecuador. Before this, in February of the same year, we find him in Cuba, recently arrived from the US. The principal objective of this journey was to see the tobacco and sugarcane plantations and the Cuban processes of manufacturing cigars and sugar. He thought about proposing to the Brazilian government new formulas to improvement of these products in Brazil, which he did through a letter addressed to the Minister of Agriculture, Cansansão de Sinimbú.68

The trip to Cuba did not lessen his militancy for history. Thus, even on a quick trip, he believed that he located the port in which Columbus had landed:

"we are not wrong in believing that the port of the first landing must be one of the various that are found along the coast, from the headland of Lucrecia to the port of Gibára. – Though at the beginning of last year on a trip to Cuba, we were able to personally inspect the greater  part of its northern coast, we were able to make a more competent judgment of the question, and we now do not hesitate to suppose that Columbus' landing was in the port of Gibára. And sharing our opinion are various pilots with great practice along the coast, to whom we have read the respective passages from the Derrotero".69

He knew because he had seen it; his autopsy and that of others is the guarantee of his opinion and the belief. Finally, still in Cuba, Varnhagen happily bought from a librarian and antiquarian an example of the editio-princeps of the Lettera to Soderini supposedly written by Américo Vespúcio in 1506.70 The trip to the US and Cuba, nevertheless, had been preceded by a trip along most of the Andes. In a missive to D. Pedro II, sent from the island of St. Thomas on 26 January 1863, he retraces his steps:

"I give ever more thanks to Heaven and to Your Imperial Majesty that gave me the occasion to (always bringing with me a barometer, thermometer, geologist's compass and the four volumes of the Cosmos, on which I will have occasion to note some mistake) see the Pacific and a large part of the Andes, along with Quito, the snow covered Cayambe, Antisana, Pichincha and Cotopaxi (a very active volcano), and close to Rio Bamba, the also perpetually snowbound Chimborazo, Caranairazo, Tunguragua, Altar or Capac-urecu and Cutilino, to the Chilean mountains Tupungaro and Aconcagua, whose summits, in the current state of science, dispute with Chimborazo first place in height in America. Even though, my Lord, for the rest of my days I will remember how I spent in Ecuador (the Puyal range) on the day of 2 December and the night ,… sleeping – completely wet – in the open air and with the poor animal by my side without having anything to eat…".71

This letter is extremely representative of Varnhagen's life and work. In first place, the person to whom the letter is addressed: no one other than the Emperor, which was not a novelty in this period. In second place, and which it is necessary to emphasize once again: travel involving learning as fundamental to his dual office. Traveling is an important stage for the operational historiography of Varnhagen. Diplomatic questions essentially are only explained by history or by geography. Thus, it is not surprising to find him equipped with the instruments indispensible for the cartography of the path along which he passes. Moreover, no one escapes his criticism. He does not even spare Alexander Humboldt, such a respected savant, in relation to whose works years earlier none of the members of IHGB had the nerve to prepare a critical essay.72 With Varnhagen it is different. A man of studies which are not restricted to his office, he simply brought the Cosmos with him to correct some mistakes.73 The critical method, an attentive look and a good dose of presumption accompany his movements. Also in this letter is a little detail that deserves to be pointed out. The suffering of the historian. To better know his country, it is necessary to leave it. Such experience is sometimes arduous. It is not rare to find him submitted to terrible conditions. Thus, he cannot find anywhere to sleep and even suffers from the cold and is hungry, as on this sad second of December, highlighted in the letter, which was nothing other than the Emperor's birthday. Varnhagen subtly reminds D. Pedro II that at the moment when there was a party at the court, he was working. For them.

When he arrived in Lima Varnhagen had to face various problems. As well as the question of the opening of certain tributaries of the Amazon to world trade, the historian found himself involved in a serious diplomatic affaire. After spending some months in Colombia, in Chile he met Carmen Ovalle y Vicuña, from a Chilean aristocratic family, whom he married in 1864.74 At that time Chile was in conflict with Spain. The Brazilian government, in war with Paraguay, did not want to get involved with difficulties with other countries and declared itself neutral. However, on 31 March 1866 Spain bombarded Valparaíso, provoking the general condemnation of Spanish America. Varnhagen clearly took a position in favor of Chile, "out of respect", he said "for the truth and for justice".75 The Spanish government in turn interpreted the gesture of the Brazilian diplomat "as the proof of not equivocal impartiality".76 The imperial chancellery censured Varnhagen. He sought to defend himself by stating that he was only obeying "the superior inspirations of patriotism, and the important conveniences of our policy (if we want to have it) in these countries, and an elevated feeling of justice", as reported in a letter to Francisco Otaviano Rosa, on 10 December 1865.77 The Brazilian posture, however, reinforced the tendency of the Trans-Andean republics to consider the only monarchy in the New World to be a nation that neither appreciated continental solidarity nor supported "proper international law".78

What can then explain Varnhagen's attitude? According to Oliveira Lima, the answer is simple: he was not a good diplomat:

"He was impulsive with outbursts of anger and he allowed himself become instigated with considerations of equity and honor. For him diplomacy was not the supreme art of accepting bad deeds and disguising misfortune. He thought it was compatible with frankness and honesty. He found it repugnant to lie, even on behalf of others, and what was just he could not see that it should be hidden".79

Varnhagen's negative performance as a diplomat was a logical consequence of his connection with historical truth and archives: like the historian, the diplomat does not lie. Clado Lessa, even considering that Varnhagen should not have taken a position in the conflict, contests Oliveira Lima's affirmation, since the diplomatic error had not compromised Brazil, and in addition had assured the friendship of the Chileans. Lessa's hypothesis, always apologetic in relation to Varnhagen, is not very convincing.80 On the other hand, Lessa himself highlights a question than cannot be ignored: the support for the Chilean cause probably has an emotional ingredient; it was his wife's native country.

Opinions about Varnhagen's diplomatic role are therefore polemical. Even his notion of diplomacy is ambiguous:

"Everyone can make a mistake, and there are errors that deserve contemplation, as well as others that are part of the mysteries of diplomacy. And all diplomats who love their country, and consequently glory, more than its comforts, should always be willing to make a sacrifice, to submit themselves to it, remaining silent until the explanations are not compromising. Diplomacy (if you can give it this name) of complete abstention would be very easy, very comfortable and very egotistical for the agents; but in this case it would be better to withdraw them, or be explicitly ordered".81

Varnhagen tried in some way to justify himself. He expected the indulgence of the Empire or the recognition that political errors existed that in reality were no more than secret actions, albeit normal ones, by the members of the diplomatic corps. Nevertheless, this diplomat was ready to make sacrifices (like the historian in the mountains!). Or, as an example, to be punished due to his incomprehension. Nevertheless, to the contrary, the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs and his more direct aides, expected a completely neutral attitude from his staff, and they called this diplomacy, which does not seem to be the conception that guided the diplomat Varnhagen. In diplomacy it is not necessary to be impartial because one ultimately works for the nation. It is sufficient to be just and true.

Justice and truth approximate the figure of the diplomat to that of the historian, as suggested by Oliveira Lima. Nevertheless, even if the two principles are equally applicable, the impartiality of one or the other continue to be a problem for Varnhagen. While the diplomat can, or preferentially should, be partial, the same does not apply to the historian. Varnhagen knew very well that Brazilian historians not only worked for the nation, like diplomats, but that many of them were also paid by the state. This situation, rather than being an obstacle to scientific progress, which should be impartial, is an indispensible condition for its progress. Furthermore, as we have seen, many of the contested frontiers, a constant theme at the time of the diplomatic agenda of countries in Latin America, were resolved through historical discourse. The question is how to conciliate the partial diplomat and the impartial historian? This is a sensitive subject to Varnhagen. For example, in the dispute he had with Armand D'Avezac, a geographer and the French Minister of the Marine and Colonies in the Société de Géographie de Paris between 1857 and 1858 about the border of Guyana and Brazil, the theme of partiality/impartiality is taken up from the 'point of view' of the nation.82 Nevertheless, in this case the field of the dispute is that of science, although the political dimension is obviously far from being discarded. It involves a geographer versus a historian.83 The Chilean problem is the opposite. It should have been restricted to the domain of international relations, through the historical or scientific dimension is never absent. Thus, insofar as I have be able to evaluate it, it is possible to observe in the work of Varnhagen some references to the impartiality of the historian. Nevertheless, we have above all found allusions to the themes of justice and the truth. Schematically, it is fair to say that being just and true is an effect of his erudite education. They are normative characteristics of all his intellectual activities. This does not mean that I consider him just and true, but rather that he believed himself to be so. However, on many occasions it seems to me that his attempts to be partial (as a diplomat) or to be impartial (as an historian) come up against a more profound disposition, something which the political or theoretical premises do not manage to guarantee or contain: his passionate personality (I am a Brazilian, therefore I defend our frontiers; my wife is Chilean, therefore I support the cause of Chile; my father is my father, therefore I insert him in the general history of Brazil…).


Return to the archives, to the sources

Who could imagine that Varnhagen, in the middle of diplomatic controversies with the Latin American republics, far from the archives and, above all, European civilization, would feel during 1865 almost adapted to the tropics, no longer so sad. Married with a two year old son, he confessed: "I find myself so affectionate to this countries that I had little ambition to serve in Europe".84 The sensation of wellbeing, however, did not last. Between 1866 and 1867 the Brazilian government separated the single representation it had had for Ecuador, Chile and Peru. From then on, each of these countries was to have a legation in Brazil. Varnhagen, in a letter sent from Lima to the Emperor, reconsidered the situation:

"ultimately, I have managed to study little in the middle of the political difficulties and business of these countries. I hope that through the favor and justice of Your Imperial Majesty that the day will arrive when I can be promoted to some Legation in the south of Europe, at least until the second edition of my work is complete, which for many reasons has proved to be impossible in these countries".85

Returning to Europe, therefore, was returning to research. Arriving back in Rio de Janeiro, due to the breaking off of diplomatic relations between Brazil and Peru, he sent a new letter on 26 October 1867 to the Emperor where he repeated his demand to be transferred to a European country. He emphasized the intellectual reasons for his request, also noting that the desire to terminate the second edition of his Historia geral was not a personal desire, but a way of helping the nation. Afterwards he added: "I believe my lord, that I have acquired the right to this request, so much so that, to silence the naysayers, I was the first to ask, without preferring the minimum reflection to the contrary, between 1858 and 1861, serving for some time in the same Republics, commencing with Paraguay". Varnhagen also explained that even though the Brazilian government had reestablished diplomatic contacts with Peru, he felt too "worn out" to reassume this position. Moreover, he found himself "harmed by the well known disapproved of the Imperial Government" in relation to his declaration favorable to Chile. What was even worse was the fact of being held in "suspicion (God knows with how unjustly) by his Mother Country, as someone disaffected to her". The situation was so desperate and "repugnant" that Varnhagen preferred in the case of a negative response to his request, to be "taken from active service, or even to be fired, rather than to have to return to any of them", including here the Chile of his wife. He also reminded the Emperor that three diplomatic colleagues, in the service less time than him, had been promoted ahead of him. Nevertheless, he did not feel less qualified than them. This situation was created, according to Varnhagen, by jealousy of his position as a "literati and writer". To fight them the historian "could only count on the protection and justice of Your Imperial Majesty, who knows very well that anyone who writes has to invent some commitments".86

By this stage in his life, Varnhagen knows what is the difference between him and the others in relation to the Emperor. It is his immense bibliographic production. Therefore, he does not hesitate to make requests justified by the need to continue his research. His statement here that he could only count on the protection of the monarch is important to note. This involves a manifestation repeated various times by the historian, who among the Brazilian men of letters was the one who most sent letters to the Emperor.87 D. Pedro II, the savant, was his protector, but also a type of academic interlocutor. There appear frequently in his correspondence diplomatic reports, personal requests, or requests on behalf of a third party, but more than anything else, he speaks of his intellectual activities. If the Emperor added almost nothing to his works, at the very least he supposedly read them, listened to him. The royal ear, like that of a psychoanalyst, compensated somewhat for the cold reception that his works received in general in the Brazilian cultural environment, especially in the IHGB.

Varnhagen was effectively criticized in Brazil less for his work than for his personality. Commentators on the historian almost all agree that he did not engender great sympathy in others. The paranoia that can be noted in his epistolary production, as well as the polemical disputes caused by his studies, were not totally groundless. For some he was no more than a flatterer. He had declared himself an unconditional monarchist, not only in his correspondence with the Emperor and in reports to the ministry, but also publically within his work, which contributed much to strengthening this image.88 However, it is no less true that the Emperor had become his protector. The climate of distrust that involved Varnhagen was reported by José Ricardo Moniz, who seems to have been one of Varnhagen's few friends, and who explains how the historian was seen by his colleagues in the IHGB: "The Pôrto-Alegres, Macedos, Joaquim Norberto who praise him from afar, when they get close do not call him anything other than a ragman. Varnhagen does not feel well in the Institute".89 However, it was in a letter sent by Manuel de Araújo Porto Alegre (who would become the godfather to Varnhagen's second child), dated 26 June 1851, addressed to Paulo Barbosa da Silva, that I found in the clearest form the description of Varnhagen's relationship with the Emperor and the perception that certain members of the imperial court had of him: "Varnhagen is here, who has been much praised, and who I have counseled to leave as quickly as possible, because you can go sour inside the vinegar jug. His Majesty has treated him with much distinction".90 The opinions and the support of D. Pedro II functioned as practical resources (especially financial, since Varnhagen was just an employee of the state, who frequently lamented the low salaries he earned) and a symbolic form of making himself socially and culturally accepted. Varnhagen, as well as being Brazilian, was the historian who most contributed to Brazilian history. In any case, the nation at its highest level, seemed to recognize him as someone whose importance, especially intellectual, was undeniable.


Interfering, unhappy and finally noble

On 22 February 1868, by imperial decree, Varnhagen was transferred to Austria as the minister resident in the court of Francisco José I. He would only return to Brazil once more before his death. The Latin American republics became only mnemonic material and, the complaints about the difficulty of research notwithstanding, abundant notes. In Vienna, Varnhagen was able to return to his studies with the time and tranquility he deemed necessary, since Brazil did not have relevant diplomatic questions to discuss with the Austrian government.

Before installing himself definitely, he took the chance to travel to various European countries. In Lisbon he became aware of the work of Richard Henry Major about the Infante D. Henrique, Henry the Navigator.91 Disagreeing with the Englishman, he wrote a letter to contest him. The points of disagreement were not significant, which did not prevent the controversy from obtaining for a few weeks a certain emphasis in Jornal do Comércio in Lisbon.92

Also in the Portuguese capital he visited the restoration works underway in the monastery of Belém, directed by the architect Joaquim Possidônio Narciso da Silva. When he was young the historian had studied architecture, even writing about Portuguese monuments.93 Not satisfied with visiting the place, Varnhagen made some critical observations about the architect's project. In Vienna, historian responded to long letter from Narciso da Silva, and without any embarrassment he made a series of suggestions to the latter.94

After Lisbon his destiny was Paris, more precisely the Imperial Library, where he analyzed the map attributed to Gaspar Viegas in 1534, whose existence had been discovered by Ferdinand Denis. For Varnhagen there was nothing original about the map and he even questioned who had drawn it. On the other hand, he found two other maps which for him were authentic, signed by Jacques de Vau de Claye in 1579. In a letter to the then first secretary of the IHGB, Joaquim Caetano Fernandes Pinheiro, sent from Vienna on 20 July 1868, he gave news of the discovery and an interpretation of their contents, concluding that they were of "the greatest historical interest".95

After Paris, Varnhagen finally reached Vienna, assuming his functions as Minister  Resident on 4 July 1868. Vienna, according to Clado Lessa, had been the personal choice of Varnhagen. Nevertheless at the beginning things do not appear to have been so easy. It was once again with the Emperor that he expressed his anguish:

"I feel nervous, a disease I have never suffered from, and all the work has made me tired and become tedious, including the historical studies, whose torturous work was once an enchantment for me in which I passed the time without noting! If I continue this way, with a similar relaxing of the spirit for another year, I believe that I will leave letters, and I have begun to doubt myself…".96

A few months later the complaints increased. Varnhagen did not feel at ease in the Austrian capital. He would have like to have more prestige. As a result he asked D. Pedro II to swap his position with the Brazilian minister in Brussels, who in turn would like to come to Vienna:

"In this way everything could be conciliated, the aspirations of Mr. Brito and myself would be met, and the service would gain in turn; since my conscience tells me that outside of Germany I will always find myself less short of money and I can make a bigger impression. It is with this conviction that I have not had the courage to apply myself to German again, since when I arrived here I recognized that I had forgotten almost everything".97

Added to the social inhibitions and the difficulty with the language was the economic problem. Vienna was an expensive city for someone like Varnhagen.98 In another letter to the Emperor, dated 21 October 1870, which starts with a depressed lament about the death of his daughter, who was only three years old, he once again takes advantage of the situation to inform the sovereign that the situation had become so difficult that he had decided "to adopt the only possible system, in order to suffer less official humiliations; a system that consisted of seeking to represent less, and maintaining myself with the greatest reserve and modesty possible".99 In addition his historiographical production was paralyzed because he had to do everything in the ministry. Poor Varnhagen!

It appears that his promotion to the rank of Plenipotentiary Minister on 15 April 1871, significantly altered the picture. He returned to work, especially historical and ethnological research, and published the Historia das luctas com os Hollandezes, already announced in the first edition of his Historia geral. The same year D. Pedro II made his first journey to Europe. Varnhagen anxiously reported to the Emperor that he was counting the days to his arrival in Vienna.100 The following year he obtained leave from the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and departed for Lisbon in order to explore once again the archives and libraries of that city, the moment when he became aware of the first criticisms of Portuguese romanticism  made above all by Theophilo Braga and Adolpho Coelho in relation to Castilho, Garret etc. Varnhagen got involved in the dispute.101 Also in 1872 due to his active participation in a statistical congress in Saint Petersburg he was elected one of the vice-presidents of the "Permanent Commission".102

In 1873 the then Baron of Porto Seguro dedicated part of his time to the preparations of the Universal Exhibition in Vienna in which he was one of the vice-presidents of the Jury.103 In 1874 the then Viscount of Porto Seguro took advantage of his membership of the statistics commission to travel to Scandinavia. As was his habit, he explored museums, archives and libraries. In Copenhagen in the Museum of Antiquities of the North he located in the collection of Danish ethnography the paintings of A. Eckhout, who had been part of Maurice of Nassau's entourage and had painted Brazilian Indians, blacks and mestiços. Varnhagen was the first to have called the attention of D. Pedro II to these paintings, who later had them copied. Finally in 1876 he participated in two scientific events in Budapest: another statistical congress in which he presented a paper104; and the so-called pre-historic congress. In addition, he published his most enigmatic work, written in French (to reach a greater audience), entitled L'Origine Touranienne des Américains Tupis-Caribes et des Anciens Egyptiens, where he sought to prove through comparative philology and ethnography that the origin of the Brazilian Indians could be found in the ancient world.105 Our colleague, now an old man, gave no sign that he was losing form.


The final autopsy

"Visiting makes faith".


"Before writing, Varnhagen saw."

Ferdinand Denis107

"He saw everything, he examined everything."

Capistrano de Abreu108

At the beginning of 1877 Varnhagen finally published the second edition of the Historia geral. An episode narrated in it is to an extent responsible for his final journey to Brazil. In the chapter on the occupation of Rio de Janeiro by French under Duguay-Trouin, the historian says that "the first lesson we should draw" is that the capital of the Empire could not continue to be based in the city of  Rio de Janeiro.109 Since the Memorial orgânico in 1849 the subject had concerned him.110 To resolve the question as quickly as possible, he asked the government for six months leave and left for Brazil. On his return to Vienna, he wrote a specific pamphlet about the issue: A questão da capital: maritima ou no interior?, whose epigraph, by Foissac, reveals his intention: "What influence does the position of a city not exert on the destiny of an entire people! Sometimes it can explain the rise of a nation".111 In this small text he returned to the considerations he had made about the subject in the new edition of the Historia geral:

"Published along these lines, the actual accent of conviction that they breathe made our timid conscience shake in the presence of the responsibility taken in this work in light of posterity. It seemed to us that we would not be tranquil while, with our own eyes, we did not disengage ourselves from everything, and the same posterity, whether or not we were right with all our plans and proposals drafted on paper in the silent of the office".112

In Brazil he once again went to the region where he had been born. Afterwards he headed in the direction of Goiás. Work and sacrifice once again dictated the rhythm of the investigator:

"we undertook great efforts (bringing with us the relevant instruments, including nothing less than three barometers) at the cost of any work and sacrifice, while for them we underwent with force a difficult journey on horseback, to nowhere else other than the province of Goyaz, along our primitive roads, so as to de visu and like the old engineer recognize this notable stop that contemplation and the study of the best maps has revealed to us".113

To know, recognize and thus fulfill the descriptive capacity, it is necessary first to see, but with focused, critical, and we can say scientific eyes, like those of an 'old engineer'. The result is descriptions that show how the profound situation in Brazil had not altered much since the voyages of John Mawe, Spix Martius, Neuwied or Saint-Hilaire, amongst others between 1810-1820. Despite the difficulties in the itinerary, the historian considered his results advantageous. It did not only confirm the best place, in his understanding, for the installation of the capital, about which he had a "feeling well supported by geographical data", but also considered it above his expectations. Moreover, the region was appropriate for European colonization, of which he was a tireless defender.

Before returning to Europe, he went to Bahia. Varnhagen wanted to see Porto Seguro and Ilhéus. In these cities he carried out research with the aim of discovering the sources of their respective foundations. He found some documents, but he was disappointed with the terrible state of conservation in which he found them. The trip, however, was not useless, but rather was of "great use" because of the "individual knowledge" that he obtained of them – these "two locations, the centers of our primitive capitanias" – would expand his capacity to write history: "so I can better describe them in the future".114 The look, as Foucault says, "becomes the depositary and source of clarity".115 This does not involve just the compensation for the non-existence of accessible or trustworthy documents, but of a cognitive expedient: in other words vision appears not as a last resource, but as an instrument of knowledge; therefore, not as an alternative methodology, but as an epistemological foundation of research. Thus, it does not involve looking in the present for traits of the past in an instantaneous form or without thinking; the autopsy is not an immediate data of conscience in Varnhagen, but rather an intellectual work that requires prior knowledge and a constant interlocution between displaced non-actuality and the present.


Death and looking after oneself

Varnhagen had the intention of one day "after finishing our Historia da Independência", publishing his diary of this journey – in which he also believed that he had found the exact location of the arrival of Cabral and the celebration of the first mass – and "(which was even to the benefit of our health), with the observations made, especially with respect to the spelling of the places we had visited, both on our journey and return; all of which we noted down each night, despite the fatigue of the road, and after having covered since six in the morning sometimes eight or nine leagues".116 The travelling historian did not have time to write it. The vicissitudes of the journey resulted in a fatal disease. On 29 June 1878 at the age of 62 the Viscount of Porto Seguro died in Vienna, far, as always, from his native land.117

His will contained the wish that a monument be erected to his memory in the place of his birth. Four years after his death, on the land of the Real Fabrica de Ferro de São João de Ipanema, his wish was granted. On one of the faces of the pedestal the following inscription can be read: "To the memory of Varnhagen, Viscount of Pôrto Seguro, born in the fertile land discovered by Columbus, initiated by his father in useful and important things. He shook his Patria and wrote its History. His immortal soul reunites here all his memories".118 It is not known who wrote this epitaph. It could have been a friend, an admirer, someone from his family, or even Varnhagen  himself. Whoever it was, the historian's request does not need to be seen just as an egocentric reflection, but perhaps as a preventive attitude. Everything indicates, based on what is known about his life, that Varnhagen was aware that he was not very popular in his country, and distrusted the fidelity of his colleagues to preserve his memory. He always argued that the patria should recognize its important men. It seems that he did not change his opinion, even after death! Once again this is one of the limits of the Varnhagenian paradox which we have been trying to demonstrate throughout this essay: the best historian in the nation had difficulties in being recognized as he wanted, especially in the IHGB; the important patriot who was almost never in his patria. José Veríssimo is one of the few commentators on Varnhagen to call attention to this apparent contradiction:

"He dedicated all his laborious existence to studying the history of Brazil, and served it with dedication and zeal in diplomatic positions and missions. Felt in him is, nevertheless, I do not know what absence of sympathy, in the etymological rigor of the word, for the country which he better than anyone studied and knew. It is not patriotism, let that be understood, that we did not know in him, this he had, like anyone else and better. What was lacking in him, however, what we did not feel in him at least, that which is intimate and naive, more instinctive than rational, a feeling of the land and the people. He did not have the idiosyncrasies of the country".119 

In both his correspondence and his work, it can be noted that Varnhagen spent a large part of his life trying to resolve this ambiguity, or at the least to dominate this feeling of being  without a homeland. He sought to establish a constant connection, an intimate coherence between the contradictory terms of his existence as a Brazilian (taking into account the fact that he is the only one in his family unit – children born abroad, son of a foreigner…), and as a historian of the nation.120 Was the immense work dedicated to Brazil not a manner, for him, of always being amongst Brazilians? "All modesty is not enough for me not to recognize that the History of Brazil, at least in many of its periods, will remain with my work once written, and that it (the work) will live eternally, and will eternally honor Brazil and the kingdom of Your Excellency its Protector".121 Like Thucydides' work an acquisition is forever.122 It seems to me that the set of works and what is known about his life (though there is much still to be explored) can be interpreted as attempts to organize two distinct and simultaneously interlocked temporalities: one of the history of Brazil and the other of his biography. The same care that he had in attributing a sense to the history of a nation, its past, present and future, he had with himself. History is an instrument of this dual recognition. Through it he knows himself, he recognizes himself. With it Varnhagen proves his nationality and that of his own country. Varnhageniana historiography thereby closes with a drama of a particular psychological order, where everything is constantly confused: at the same time it answers an existential question, and an attempt to explain the needs, both conscious and unconscious of Brazil: who are we? From where did we come? His work, his diplomatic careers, his abundant epistolary writing, his will, which are the constituent elements in this nineteenth century discourse which I call the rhetoric of nationality, participate in a logic, at the same time retrospective and prospective, through which it is possible to perceive the consistence and the constancy that he wanted to confer on his existence. An action strategy which is nothing other than a biographical illusion?123 I am not certain. It seems to me rather than just projecting a simple illusion, the traits of the life and the opus of Varnhagen reveal if not a personal belief in he was, what he actually represented and what he could come to represent, at least a solid intention of not only inventing a biography but also of protecting it, thus an intense will to take care of himself.


From the man-monument to the whole man: between irony and recognition 

The irony

Varnhagen's death obviously provoked certain reactions, especially in the IHGB. During the session commemorating the anniversary of the institution on 15 December 1878, Joaquim Manuel de Macedo, then first secretary, in his necrology dedicated to Varnhagen, stated in the middle of various criticisms that the recently deceased historian had been, because of his historical works, a "man-monument".124 Macedo's definition was interpreted by the commentators, critics or apologists of Varnhagen, in different manners. For Basílio de Magalhães and Clado Lessa, it was a great elegy and a positive evaluation of the Varnhagenian opus.125 While Agripino Grieco sees in Macedo's formula a final irony, since Varnhagen "more than a man was a statue", in fact "we read him with profit but we have no pleasure in reading him, and much less did it give us pleasure to have him as a neighbor or to keep us company on a long journey by land or by sea".126 Macedo's expression, also accompanied by one of the first judgments of Varnhagen's work and the not at all positive comments of Grieco, lead us to a final characteristic in this brief anthology of his existence, especially when his work was in need of rectification.

In Varnhagen's obituary published in the Jornal do Commercio, on 16 and 20 December 1878, Capistrano de Abreu summarizes the terms of the subsequent criticism. After some praise of the Viscount of Porto Seguro's work, he notes that

"He also had some vulnerable points. He was one of those entire men, who cannot support without breaking, cannot touch without wounding and who kill flies with stones, like the bear in the fable. In many points where his opinion was not necessary, he complacently intervened, with much more complacency the more he moved away from common opinion. His reflections at times cause a movement of impatience that make you want to turn back a page or close the volume. Many subjects without importance, or of only secondary importance, only occupy him because they are his discoveries. The dispute with João Lisbôa, in which he was perhaps right, though he had the ability put all hatred aside. A man of study and meditation, he did not know or disdained many of the tyrannies that are imposed in the name of convenience; sensitive to vitriol as to praise".127

From man-monument to an entire man defines a profile of the criticism of Varnhagen. While Macedo's necrology opened space for a more attentive examination of Varnhagen's personality, that of Capistrano de Abreu, restricted to the personal characteristics of the historian in relation to his work, inaugurated a more pondered and detailed form of evaluation. 


Capistrano de Abreu's two articles, written in 1878 and 1882, are also important because they sponsored the return of Varnhagen's work to the forefront of Brazilian historiography. In 1903 in choosing the name of the Viscount of Porto Seguro as the sponsor of his chair in the Brazilian Academy of Letters, Oliveira Lima reinforced this tendency. Also at the beginning of the twentieth century Capistrano de Abreu commenced in 1906, but did not finish, the revision for a new edition of the Historia geral do Brasil, which would be completed almost twenty years later by Rodolpho Garcia. In 1916 the IHGB published for the first time Varnhagen's work the Historia da independência do Brasil. The same year, on the occasion of the centenary of his birth, Pedro Lessa gave a speech in the IHGB, in which he emphasized the relevance of the work of Varnhagen. In São Paulo, also in 1916, Remigio de Bellido published one of the most detailed biographies of the historian until that moment.128 In 1923 the short lasting Varnhagen Institute was founded in São Paulo. Varnhagen also won the right to a room in the IHGB with his name. In 1919 his portrait was placed in the library of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, while in 1944 it was placed in the gallery of historians in the National Archive in Rio de Janeiro. The fiftieth anniversary of his death in 1928 (the year of the publication of the third/fourth edition of the Historia geral) was not forgotten by the IHGB. In 1937 during the ceremony of the laying of the foundation stone in homage of Varnhagen, Affonso Celso, then president of IHGB, declared:

"In the first public glorification of Varnhagen justice commands me to mention the names linked to his – the editors of the complete history of the Historia geral – Capistrano de Abreu and Rodolfo Garcia, without forgetting his principal apologists, members of the Institute: Barão do Rio Branco, Oliveira Lima, Basílio de Magalhães, Max Fleiuss. Placing the effigy of Varnhagen in one of the most beautiful and best known places in this magnificent metropole, the Institute wants to give him symbolic meaning; suggesting to the people the idea that the conscientious investigation of the past of the patria – a profitable lesson for the present, incubator of a suspicious trust in the people of what is to come – it is enough to become benemérito of the same History, immortalizing whoever consecrates himself with this, such as Varnhagen".129

The declaration of the president of the IHGB remembers some functions of history illustrated by the Varnhagenian experience. The first "public glorification" has the objective of not only honoring the historian, but also instructing the 'people', from whom no one was more distant than Varnhagen.130 However, what is essential is that his historiographical production symbolizes the idea that research will be rewarded by history itself. Varnhagen's statute can thus be perceived as a material symbol of historia magistra vitae. The inauguration of the monument occurred during the commemoration of the centenary of the foundation of the IHGB on 21 October 1938: a bust in Jardim da Glória. This was followed by other commemorations of the historian, with one of the most significant being the transfer of his mortal remains in 1978 from Chile. The inscription on the commemorative plate reads:

"Monument: Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen; Place: Avenida Gal. Osório; Inauguration date: 29 June 1978; Sculptor: Ernesto Biancalana; Written on the plate: 'Here lie the mortal remains of Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen, Viscount of Porto Seguro. Born in Sorocaba in São Paulo, the father of history in Brazil (17/2/1816 – 29/6/1878). Brought here from Santiago, Chile, on the centenary of his death. 29/6/1978".131

The man-monument, the entire man, the father of history in Brazil is finally at home. Nothing could be better for someone who was obstinate about origins. To be placed at the beginning of the Brazilian historiographical chain is the materialization of dreams not openly revealed, but of which he left many clues. Capistrano de Abreu said that Varnhagen, like Alexandre Herculano for Portuguese history, "had to do almost everything".132 The recognition by the historians of the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth of the difficulties of the historical work carried out by the IHGB and by Varnhagen has to be related to their temporal proximity with the initiators. The scientific production of history was only taking its first steps. Capistrano de Abreu, therefore, properly pointed out that it was not the origin of narrative historiography, but a determined beginning: Varnhagen.133 He is dated, localized, visible, caught in the time of men and of science. And like all scientific discourse it has the need to have a founding point, a beginning, Varnhagen is adapted to this primordial condition. What existed before him is dispersed due to the gigantic mass of his work. In the best of cases they become historic sources, at the limit chronicles, at the worst, they are forgotten. Varnhagen came to play for the history of Brazil, the same role that Cicero attributed to Herodotus in relation to history: father. The historiography of the end of the twentieth century, in other words academic historiography, was not overly concerned with disqualifying or refuting this analogy.134 The use of classical models of historiography with the objective of legitimating the primacy of a modern through his identification with an ancient is far from being an uncommon procedure, though Herodotus himself also had the fame, equally coming from antiquity, of being a liar.135 Until now I have found nothing that will allow this comparison to be extended to Varnhagen, who at the most is accused of exaggeration and errors, some coming from a narcissist conception of history. Finally, In addition to his recognized paternity, another characteristic in common can be established: both the ancient and modern were travelers and their works cannot be disassociated from this experience, from the constant movement that it implied.136 On the other hand, it remains curious that Varnhagen has not been compared, as far as I know, due to his concern with the truth and intentional absent narrative with an author who wanted to be 'absent', Thucydides, the model historian for the well educated in the nineteenth century, including the Emperor. He, like Thucydides, even wrote a history of his own time, though the Brazilian did not have it published during his life.137


The history of the winners or a beaten historian?

" 'Historia Geral', the history which, in service of peace, more than of letters, I am running now to have published with many improvements and additions, if, due to certain injustices suffered, we do not find ourselves at fifty something years with our spirit broken, and without the courage to commence new enterprises which bring one deceptions instead of encouragement".


Varnhagen wrote, according to himself, the history of Portuguese colonization in Brazil. A history of the victory of civilization over barbarity. The history of the construction of the Brazilian nation. A history, therefore, of the winners. But was Varnhagen himself a winner? His struggle to be recognized, in first place as a Brazilian, afterwards as a historian and diplomat, and finally as a noble, is not exactly a successful personal enterprise. It has to be remembered that Varnhagen was made Brazilian by imperial decree. His diplomatic career, based on the positions he occupied, was apparently a success, but both in Latin America and in Europe he laments the tribulations and difficulties, which even though inherent to diplomacy, are often seen by him as a burden which moves him away from his principal task: his research. Varnhagen was also never a politician, even though some of his works had the pretension of intervening directly in the destiny of the country. His ennoblement came late, almost at the end of his life. And his work imposes itself because it is an "encyclopedic mass of accumulated sources" rather than through the reflected and consensual acceptance of his colleagues, whether or not they were members of the IHGB. Moreover, he was practically never in Brazil, he was always moving. Living in a type of voluntary exile imposed by his life as a diplomat and by the incessant search for archives, his belonging to the nation was due more to his work than to the individual. Varnhagen could say like Michelet: "My book created me. I was its work. This son made its father".139

I believe that Varnhagen wrote in order to have an identity: to be Brazilian. Not just any Brazilian, but one of the greats. In fact, he never hid that, in the same way as the methodologicals from the school of Gabriel Monod, he wrote from a 'point of view' in this case 'Brazilian'.140 We can thus ask ourselves, if existentially did Varnhagen, not write from the point of view of a loser? Did he not have, to use Koselleck's phrase, "the knowledge of an existential loser"?141 Does the hypothesis of the German historian, according to which "the experience we obtain from a defeat concentrates a potential knowledge that survives what created it, in particular when due to his own history the loser is coerced to re-write a general history", and that "in this way a large number of innovations can be explained in the domain of historical interpretations in the origin of which we can find both personal defeats and the pressures of the specific experiences of entire generations"142, not seem to be applicable to the work and existence of Varnhagen?



Varnhagen's works:

- Correspondência ativa, org. by C.R.Lessa, Rio de Janeiro: INL/MEC, 1961.

- "Reflexões criticas sobre o escripto do seculo XVI impresso com o titulo de Noticias do Brazil", Collecção de Notas para a Historia e Geographia Ultramarinas, V, II, Lisbon: Typography by the Academy, 1839.

- VARNHAGEN, F. A. de./ CHELMICKI, J. C. C. de. Corografia Cabo-Verdiana, ou descripção geografico-histórica da provincia das Ilhas de Cabo-Verde e Guiné. Lisbon: Typ. L. C. da Cunha, 1841.

- Réplica apologetica de um escriptor calumniado e juizo final de um plagiario diffamador que se intitula general, Madrid: D. Dominguez, 1846.

- "O Caramurú perante a historia", Revista do IHGB, 1848, pp. 129-152.

- Florilegio da poesia brazileira, Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional, 1850.

- Historia Geral do Brazil. Madrid: Imprensa da V. de Dominguez, 1854-1857.

- Examen de quelques points de l'histoire géographique du Brésil, Paris: L. Martinet, 1858.

- "Carta do Sr. Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen à redacção, acerca da reimpressão do Diario de Pero Lopes, e que lhe servirá de prologo", Revista do IHGB, 1861, pp. 3-8.

- Succinta indicação de alguns manuscriptos importantes relativos ao Brazil e Portugal, Havana: Imprenta La Antilha, 1863.

- Carta ao Excmo. Ministro da Agricultura, a respeito principalmente de vários melhoramentos nos engenhos d'assucar das Antilhas, applicaveis ao Brazil. Caracas: Espinal, 1863. pp. 1-15.

- La verdadera guanahani de Colon, Santiago: Imp. Nacional, 1864.

- Amerígo Vespucci. Son caractère, ses écrits (même les moins authentiques), sa vie et ses navigations, Lima: Imp. du Lercurio, 1865.

- Os Indios bravos e o Sr. Lisboa, Lima: Imprensa Liberal, 1867.

- Theophilo Braga e os antigos romanceiros de trovadores: (provarás para se juntarem ai processo), Vienna: Published by the author, 1872.

- Les Hollandais au Brésil. Un mot de réponse à M. Netscher, Vienne: Published by the author, 1874.

- "Quelques renseignements statistiques sur le Brésil, tirés de sources officielles par le délégué au congrès de Budapesth, Vicomte de Porto-Seguro", Vienne: Imprimerie de la Cour Impériale et Royale, 1876.

- L'Origine Touranienne des Américains Tupis-Caribes et des Anciens Egyptiens. Indiquée principalement par la philologie comparée: traces d'une ancienne migration en Amérique, invasion du Brésil par les Tupis, etc., Vienne: Librairie I. and R. de Faesy & Frick, 1876.

- A questão da capital: maritima ou no interior?, Vienna: Carlos Gerold, Published by the author, 1877.

- Memoria sobre os trabalhos que se podem consultar nas negociações de limites do Império, com algumas lembranças para a demarcação destes, BN-RJ, mss. 21 pages 7,4,87.

- Noticia historica e decriptiva do mosteiro de Belem, Lisbon: Typography by the Sociedade Propagadora dos Conhecimentos Uteis, n.d.

- "Historia da Independencia do Brasil", Revista do IHGB, 1916, pp. 5-598.

- Historia geral do Brasil (1877), 3rd/4th edition, São Paulo: Melhoramentos, 1928.

Articles and chapters of books published on the theme:

CEZAR, Temístocles.

"Varnhagen e os relatos de viagem do século XVI: ensaio de recepção historiográfica", Anos 90, Revista do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Historia, IFCH/UFRGS, no. 11, July 1999, pp. 38-53.

"Quando um manuscrito torna-se fonte histórica: as marcas de verdade no relato de Gabriel Soares de Sousa (1587). Ensaio sobre uma operação historiográfica", História em Revista, Dossiê Historiografia, UFPel, 6, Dec. 2000, pp. 37-58.

"Como deveria ser escrita a história do Brasil no século XIX. Ensaio de história intelectual", In: PESAVENTO, S. J. (org.) História cultural. Experiências de pesquisa, Porto Alegre, Ed. da Universidade (UFRGS), 2003, pp. 173-208.

"Livros de Plutarco: biografia e escrita da história no Brasil do século XIX", in Métis. História & Cultura, Revista de História da Universidade de Caxias do Sul, vol. 2, no.3, Jan./Jun., 2003, pp. 73-94.

"Presentismo, memória e poesia. Noções da escrita da história no Brasil oitocentista", In: PESAVENTO, S. (org.) Escrita, linguagem, objetos. Leituras de história cultural, Bauru, Edusc, 2004, pp. 43-80.

"Lição sobre a escrita da história. Historiografia e Nação no Brasil do século XIX", Diálogos, Revista do Departamento de História da Universidade Estadual de Maringá, 2004, vol. 8, n. 1, pp. 11-29.

"A geografia servia, antes de tudo, para unificar o império. Escrita da história e saber geográfico no Brasil oitocentista", Ágora, Unisc/RS, 11, 1, 2005, pp. 79-99.

"Em nome do pai, mas não do patriarca. Ensaio sobre os limites da imparcialidade na obra de Varnhagen", História, Unesp, 2005, 24/2, pp. 207-240.

"A retórica da nacionalidade de Varnhagen e o mundo antigo. O caso da origem dos Tupis", IN: GUIMARÃES, Manoel Salgado (org.) prelo 2006.



1 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. Correspondência ativa, organized by Clado Lessa, RJ, INL/MEC, 1961, pp. 208-210 (from CA on). I would like to thank by colleague Maria da Glória Oliveira for the suggestions on the first version of this work, and Fernando Nicolazzi, for the comments and technical revision of the text. This article is dedicated to my students from the Brazilian Historiography Seminar (2006/II).
2 BARTHES, Roland. Michelet, Paris, Seuil, 1995, pp. 22-23.
3 The biographies of Varnhagen are not numerous, and those that do exist, in addition to being repetitive, are generally speaking, laudatory. The most complete work and richest in terms of information, albeit acritical in relation to the Varnhagenian opus is that of Clado Lessa, see Revista do IHGB, Volumes 223, 1954, pp. 82-297; 224, 1954, pp. 109-315; 225, 1954, pp. 120-293; 226, 1955, pp. 3-168; 227, 1955, pp. 85-236. On the other hand, Varnhagen has many commentators, commencing with Capistrano de Abreu whose articles are fundamental for this essay: "Necrologio de Francisco Adolpho de Varnhagen, Viscount de Porto Seguro", and "Sobre o Viscount de Porto Seguro (1882)", apud VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. Historia geral do Brasil, 3rd/4th edition, SP, Melhoramentos, 1928, respectively Book tomo I, pp. 502-508 and  Appendix pp. 435-444. This edition, organized and commented by Capistrano de Abreu and Rodolfo Garcia, reproduced the second edition of the 1877 Historia geral do Brazil de 1877. (From here on HGB, only specifying the volume, edition and year). The following list, though not exhaustive, is significant of the interest that the work of the historian has provoked in recent decades: RODRIGUES, José Honório. "Varnhagen, mestre da historia geral do Brasil", Revista do IHGB, 1967, pp. 170-196; SCHWARTZ, Stuart B. "Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen: diplomat, patriot, historian", The Hispanic American Historical Review, May, 1967, Vol. XLVII, no. 2, pp. 185-202; ODÁLIA, Nilo. "Introdução", Varnhagen, SP, Ática, 1979, pp. 7-31; ODÁLIA, Nilo. As formas do mesmo. Ensaios sobre o pensamento historiográfico de Varnhagen e Oliveira Vianna, SP, Edunesp, 1997; MARTINIÈRE, Guy. "Problèmes du développement de l'historiographie brésilienne", Storia della storiografia, Milan, 19, 1991, pp. 117-146; SCHAPOCHNIK, Nelson. Letras de fundação: Varnhagen e Alencar – projetos de narrativa instituinte, Masters Thesis, PPG in Social History, USP, 1992, 245p. ; VASQUEZ, George L. "Varnhagen, Francisco Adolfo de. (1816-1878)", WOOLF, D. R. (editor), A global encyclopedia of historical writing, vol. II, New York and London, Garland Publishing, 1998, p. 917; AMBROSIO, Ubiratan. "Varnhagen, Francisco Adolfo de. – 1816-1878: Brazilian historian", BOYD, Kelly. (ed.) Encyclopedia of historians and historical writing, vol. 2, London/Chicago, Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1999, pp. 1253-1254; REIS, J. C. "Varnhagen (1853-7): O elogio da colonização portuguesa", Varia historia, Belo Horizonte, no. 17, Mar/1997, pp. 106-131, reproduced in REIS, J. C. "Ano 1850: Varnhagen. O elogio da colonização portuguesa", As identidades do Brasil. De Varnhagen a FHC, RJ, 1999, pp. 23-50; WEHLING, A. Estado, history e memória: Varnhagen e a construção da identidade nacional, RJ, Nova Fronteira, 1999; GUIMARÃES, Lúcia Paschoal. "Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen. Historia geral do Brasil", MOTA, Lourenço Dantas. Introdução ao Brasil. Um banquete no trópico, SP, SENAC, 2001, pp. 75-96; PUNTONI, Pedro. "O Sr. Varnhagen e o patriotismo caboclo: o indígena e o indianismo perante a historiography brasileira", JANCSÓ, István. (org.) Brasil: formação do Estado e da Nação, SP-Ijuí, Hucitec/EdUnijuí, 2003, pp. 633-675.
4 The idea of a movement within a work appeared to me from reading Starobinski's excellent essay about Montainge, see STAROBISNKI, Jean. Montaigne en mouvement, Paris, Gallimard, 1982, p. 8.
5 VARNHAGEN, F. A. L'Origine Touranienne des Américains Tupis-Caribes et des Anciens Egyptiens. Indiquée principalement par la philologie comparée: traces d'une ancienne migration en Amérique, invasion du Brésil par les Tupis, etc., Vienne, Librairie I. and R. de Faesy & Frick, 1876, p. XIV.
6 For Arno Wehling, currently the most important commentator on the historian, Varnhagen, was a "philosophical historicist. His profile and work correspond to the romantic-erudite historicism". However, Varnhagen himself, also according to Wehling, "like Martius, considered himself an adept of philosophical history", WEHLING, A. op. cit., pp. 44, 126-127. For a Varnhagen close to Ranke, see GUIMARÃES, Lúcia M. Paschoal. op. cit., p. 95 and MARTINIÈRE, Guy. op. cit., 1991, p. 129. For a Varnhagen closer to a positivist tendency, see SCHWARTZ, Stuart B., op. cit., pp. 192-193. 
7 ABREU, Capistrano de. op. cit., 1878, p. 507.
8 FREYRE, G. Casa grande e senzala, RJ, José Olympio, 5th ed. no. 107, p. 466.
9 Ver KRIEGEL, Blandine. Les historiens et la monarchie. II. La défaite de l'érudition, Paris, PUF, 1998, e GRELL, Chantal. L'histoire entre érudition et philosophie. Étude sur la connaissance historique à l'âge des lumières, Paris, PUF, 1993. For the Brazilian case, see: GUIMARÃES, Manoel Salgado. "Reinventando a tradição: sobre antiquariado e escrita da historia", Humanas, Dossiê Historiography e tradição clássica, Revista do IFCH/UFRGS, 2000, pp. 111-143, especially the part dedicated to the relations between IHGB and the Society of Antiquarians of the North of Denmark during the nineteenth century.
10 Arno Wehling also reached a similar conclusion. For him, Varnhagen was influenced by the 'savant culture' of the time, WEHLING, A. op. cit., pp. 136-137.
11 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. Historia das luctas com os Hollandezes no Brazil, desde 1624 a 1654, Vienna, Finsterback, 1871, p. XXV.
12 ARENDT, Hannah. "The concept of history", Between past and future. London, Faber and Faber, 1961, sobretudo pp. 51-52.
13 HGB, II, 1, 1854, p. 12.
14 ABREU, Capistrano de. op. cit. 1882, p. 441.
15 In relation to the Jesuits, see HGB, II, 1, 1857, pp. 197-198; in relation to the inquisition, see HGB, I, 1, 1854, pp. 87-88 and II, 1, 1857, pp. 181-183.
16 Letter to the Emperor, Madrid, 14 July 1857, CA, p. 245.
17 Gonçalves de Magalhães, in a dispute with Varnhagen, raises the question of the adhesion of the historian to the ideas of the English philosopher, "Os indigenas do Brasil perante a historia", Revista do IHGB, 1860, p. 33. Years before, in 1849, Varnhagen had written that "there is today a plague of false philanthropists, thanks to Rousseau or Voltaire or whoever, so that in the question of Indians we can barely do anything without falling over the Francophiles with these and those seditious pseudo-philanthropies", Memorial Organico, Madrid, D. Dominguez, 1849, pp. 32-33.
18 In relation to the collaboration of Varnhagen in the Panorama, see MOREIRA, Thiers. "Varnhagen e a historia da literatura portuguesa e brasileira", Revista do IHGB, 1967, pp. 155-169. For Alexandre Herculano and Portuguese romanticism, see CATROGA, Fernando. "Alexandre Herculano e o historicismo romântico", História da história de Portugal, séculos XIX-XX, Lisboa, Temas e Debates, 1998, pp. 45-98.
19 BARTHES, R. "Aujourd'hui, Michelet", Le bruissement de la langue, Paris, Seuil, 1984, pp. 244-245.
20 Luiz Costa Lima sought to remedy the absence of a reflection on the subject in his book: Historia. Ficção. Literatura, São Paulo, Companhia das Letras, 2006. For a more specific analysis of the relationship between history and poetry in Aristotle, see BOULAY, Bérenger. "Histoire et narrativité. Autour des chapitres 9 e 23 de La Poétique d'Aristote", Lailes, Paris, 26, 2006, pp. 171-187.
21 These authors' criticisms of Varnhagen's style, can be found in: ABREU, Capistrano de., op. cit., 1878, p. 506, e op. cit., 1882, p. 441; VERISSIMO, José. Historia da literatura brasileira (1915), RJ, José Olympio, 1954, p. 193; ARARIPE, Tristão de Alencar."Indicações sobre a Historia Nacional", Revista do IHGB, 1894, pp. 288-289; OLIVEIRA LIMA, Manuel. "Elogio de Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen, Viscount de Porto Seguro (1903)", Revista de Portugal, 222, 1964, pp. 132-133.
22 "Those who are not Michelet do what they can. They divide the work between themselves", PÉGUY, Charles. "De la situation faite à l'histoire et à la sociologie dans les temps modernes", Œuvres en prose complètes, II, Paris, Gallimard, 1988, p. 498. With the exception of the work that Varnhagen published with José Conrado Carlos de Chelmicki, where the sections are distinct (Varnhagen was concerned with the historical part and Chelmicki with the geographical part), I have not yet found any other work co-authored by Varnhagen. See VARNHAGEN, F. A. de./ CHELMICKI, J. C. C. de. Corografia Cabo-Verdiana, ou descripção geografico-histórica da provincia das Ilhas de Cabo-Verde e Guiné. Lisbon, Typ. by L. C. da Cunha, 1841. 2 vol.
23 Oliveira Lima remembers that in 1903, when he was a young student of paleography in Torre do Tombo, a student of José Basto (who had been one of the assistants of Alexandre Herculano in the grandiose Portugaliœ Monumenta Historica), had the habit of meticulously examining old manuscripts in the search for documents which in his 'juvenile pretension', he judged capable of unveiling some of the enigmas of the history of Brasil. It was with surprise and disappointment that on almost all the papers he observed a discrete 'mark', penciled in by the researcher who had preceded him: Varnhagen. OLIVEIRA LIMA, M. op. cit., p. 124. Luis Camilo de Oliveira Neto, many years later, and also in Torre do Tombo, confirmed that he had seen on the documents that he had consulted the same as Oliveira Lima: the V of Varnhagen, apud LESSA, C. R. op. cit., 223, p. 106. Recently in 2004, my colleague the historian Eduardo Neumann, reported to me that researching in the archive in Simancas he also found documents with the 'mark' of Varnhagen.
24 CA, p. 103.
25 BARBOSA, J. C. "Discurso", Revista do IHGB, 1839, pp. 9-18. I have sought to analyze this discourse in  "Lição sobre a escrita da historia. Historiography e Nação no Brasil do século XIX", Diálogos, Revista do Departamento de Historia da Universidade Estadual de Maringá, 2004, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 11-29.
26 SIMMONS, Jack. Southey. London, Collins, 1945, pp. 173-174.
27 HGB, II, 1857, pp. 343-344.
28 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. Examen de quelques points de l'histoire géographique du Brésil, Paris, L. Martinet, 1858, p. 7. In turn Southey acknowledged that despite the qualities of his work, it was still incomplete. See History of Brazil, London, Longman, 1819, III, p. 879.
29 Letter to Januário da Cunha Barbosa, 1839, CA, p. 40.
30 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. Les Hollandais au Brésil. Un mot de réponse à M. Netscher, Vienne, Éditions de l'Auteur, 1874, p. 8.
31 HGB, I,1,1854, pp. 17-18.
32 HGB, 3/4, 1,1928, p. 77.
33 CA, pp. 370-371. On 26 June 1874, Varnhagen thanked the Emperor for the title of Viscount, idem, p. 425. Nevertheless, in a note in his Historia da Independência, published posthumously in 1916, Varnhagen commented during the process that culminated in the political independence of Brazil, there was a secondary character, whose nickname was Porto Seguro: "The memory that this name had already been associated with such a thug had the result of a certain cooling of the satisfaction we had in receiving a title associated with our historical works throughout all our lives", "Historia da Independencia do Brasil", Revista do IHGB, 1916, no. 31, p. 196.
34 BN-RJ, mss. I-46,13,37.
35 CA, p. 213.
36 The nationality of D. Maria Flávia de Sá Magalhães, Varnhagen's mother, has still not been precisely established. It is generally believed that she was born in Portugal, see CA, p. 91. The origin of the suspicion comes, so it seems, from a response of José Ignacio de Abreu e Lima to a harsh critique that Varnhagen had made of him. Abreu e Lima called Varnhagen the "son of a German and a lady who was not Brazilian". Varnhagen, in the reply where he refuted Abreu e Lima, left it understood that his mother had been born in São Paulo, see VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. Réplica apologetica de um escriptor calumniado e juizo final de um plagiario diffamador que se intitula general, Madrid, D. Dominguez, 1846, p. 5. Gilberto Freyre, at the beginning of the 1940s made a passing comment which shows that at that time D. Maria Flávia may have been non-Portuguese: "This is the case of Varnhagen – the son of Germans – , who received the profoundly national title of Baron of Porto Seguro", Novo Mundo nos trópicos, Obra escolhida, RJ, Nova Aguilar, 1977, p. 961. For  José Honório Rodrigues, Varnhagen was the "son of a German and a Portuguese", "Varnhagen, o primeiro mestre da historiografia brasileira (1816-1878)", Revista de History da América, 88, 1979, p. 100.
37 IGLÉSIAS, Francisco. Historianes do Brasil, RJ, Nova Fronteira/EUFMG, 2000, pp. 77-78.
38 This is the chapter dedicated to the analysis of the role of his father in Brazilian history entitled: "Minas de ferro. Varnhagen é o executor dos projectos d'elrei", HGB, II, 1, 1857, p. 357. In the second edition of Historia geral Varnhagen altered the title to: "Minas de ferro. Primeiras fundições em Ponto Grande". I analyze the relationship of Varnhagen, his father and José Bonifácio in "Em nome do pai, mas não do patriarca. Ensaio sobre os limites da imparcialidade na obra de Varnhagen", History, Unesp, 2005, 24/2, pp. 207-240.
39 HGB, II, 1, 1857, p. 372.
40 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. "Reflexões criticas sobre o escripto do seculo XVI impresso com o titulo de Noticias do Brazil", Collecção de Notas para a Historia e Geographia Ultramarinas, V, II, Lisboa, Typography by the Academy, 1839, 120 p. The 'Reflections' are Varnhagen's comments on the work of Gabriel Soares de Sousa, which he not only edited, but also attributed the authorship to himself. I have dealt with this subject in "Quando um manuscrito torna-se fonte histórica: as marcas de verdade no relato de Gabriel Soares de Sousa (1587). Ensaio sobre uma operação historiográfica", History em Revista, Dossiê Historiográfica, UFPel, 6, Dec. 2000, pp. 37-58.
41 Most of the information contained in the last three paragraphs can be found in the letter from Varnhagen to José de Sousa Soares de Andréa, dated 16 February 1843, CA, pp. 97-102.
42 This "naive and restricted account made for elrei" by an "ocular witness", VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. "Chronica do descubrimento do Brazil", O Panorama, 1840, p. 21. See SUSSEKIND, Flora. O Brasil não é longe daqui, SP, Companhia das Letras, 1990, pp. 19-20, p. 179.  
43 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. Os Indios bravos e o Sr. Lisboa, Lima, Imprensa Liberal, 1867, pp. 36-38. J. F. Lisboa's criticism can be found in : "Sobre a escravidão e a Historia geral do Brazil", Obras de João Francisco Lisboa, v. 3, 1866, note C, pp. 468-515.
44 CA, p. 235.
45 CA, p. 101.
46 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. op. cit., 1846, p. 7
47 The same year the government granted Varnhagen the position of 2nd lieutenant in the Imperial Engineering Corps, a rank that was below the one he held in Portugal. He was always resentful about this nomination. LESSA, C.R. op. cit., 223, 1954, p. 134.
48 CA, pp. 39-40.
49 CA, pp. 103-104.
50 CORREA FILHO, Virgílio. Missões Brasileiras nos Arquivos Europeus, México, IPGH, 1952, p. 15, n. 5.
51 This "passion for the archive", according to Anthony Grafton, or the impact caused by the documentation found in the archives was what made Ranke appear to be the founder of a new school. GRAFTON, Anthony. Les origines tragiques de l'érudition. Une histoire de la note en bas de page, Paris, Éditions du Seuil, 1998, pp. 38-77 (especially p. 40, and pp. 48-57). However, this does not imply, according to Georg Iggers, that Ranke had been the first to apply a 'new' critical method to these sources, see IGGERS, Georg. The German conception of history, Middletown/Connecticut, Wesleyan University Press, 1969, pp. 65-66. Peter Gay also emphasizes Ranke's 'obsession' with archives and their relation with his travel, GAY, Peter. Style in History. New York, Basic Books, 1974, especially pp. 70-71. In relation to the notion of the "taste for the archive", see FARGE, Arlette. Le goût de l'archive, Paris, Seuil,1989.
52 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. "O Caramurú perante a historia", Revista do IHGB, 1848, pp. 129-152. See the minutes of the session of 3 July and 5 August 1847 in Revista do IHGB, 1847, respectively p. 410 and p. 431.
53 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. Florilegio da poesia brazileira, Lisboa, T. I-II, Imprensa Nacional, 1850. Among these students of literature, see VERÍSSIMO, José. op. cit., pp. 192-193; COUTINHO, A. A tradição afortunada (o espírito de nacionalidade na crítica brasileira), RJ, José Olympio, 1968, p. 13;   MARTINS, Wilson. A crítica literária no Brasil, SP, Departamento de Cultura, 1952, pp. 68-69. Antônio Cândido places him in the formation of the Brazilian literary canon, CÂNDIDO, A. Formação da literatura brasileira. BH, Itatiaia, 1981, 1, p. 350.
54 "Varnhagen's book", Ferdinand Wolf wrote in 1862, "entitled Florilegio is even more important [than those that preceded it, such as the works of Januário da Cunha Barbosa, Joaquim Norberto de Souza e Silva and J. M. Pereira da Silva]. The wise author does not content himself to publish for the first time a large number of previously unknown citations extracted from very rare sources; he demonstrates his German origin by the preciseness and the depth we can find in the historical introduction placed at the opening of the first volume. It is this last part of the work that serves as a model for us for the first four periods", WOLF, Ferdinand. Le Brésil littéraire. Histoire de la littérature brésilienne suivie d'un choix de morceaux tirés des meilleurs auteurs brésiliens, Berlin, Asher & Co., 1863, p. 4. ABREU, Capistrano de. op. cit., 1878, p. 503.
55 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. Memoria sobre os trabalhos que se podem consultar nas negociações de limites do Império, com algumas lembranças para a demarcação destes, BN-RJ, mss. 21 pages 7,4,87.
56 GUIMARÃES, Manoel Salgado. "Nação e civilização nos trópicos: o IHGB e o projeto de uma Historia Nacional", Estudos Históricos, RJ, 1988, pp. 5-27.
57 Also in 1851, Varnhagen sent a memorial to the government in which he asked to be thanked by being raised to the Imperial Order of the Cross. I have not yet managed to discover if this was granted. It seems to me that it was not. Lessa has published the request, CA, pp. 166-169.
58 ABREU, C. de. op. cit., 1878, p. 505.
59 Despite the enigmatic letter he wrote to Joaquim Caetano Fernandes Pinheiro, then first secretary of the IHGB, on 22 June 1859, in which he asked that his name not be proposed for honorary member: "I have private motives to ask you not to propose me as an honorary member. The reasons are not for now. One day I well explain them to you", CA, p. 268. Nevertheless, in the minutes of the session held on 25 May 1860 can be found the thanks of Varnhagen for the title of 'honorary member", Revista do IHGB, 1860, p. 617.
60 SOUZA, Pero Lopes de. Diário da navegação da Armada que foi à Terra do Brasil – em 1530, Lisbon, Typography by Sociedade Propagadora dos Conhecimentos Uteis, 1839. See also "Carta do Sr. Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen à redacção, acerca da reimpressão do Diario de Pero Lopes, e que lhe servirá de prologo", Revista do IHGB, 1861, pp. 3-8.
61 CA, p. 280.
62  LÉVI-STRAUSS, Claude. Tristes Tropiques, Paris, Plon, 1990, p. 103.
63 CA, p. 280.
64 HARTOG, Fr. Le miroir d'Hérodote. Essai sur la représentation de l'autre, Paris, Gallimard, 1991, p. 272.
65  VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. op. cit.,1871, pp. V-VI.
66 CA, p. 286.
67 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. Succinta indicação de alguns manuscriptos importantes relativos ao Brazil e Portugal, Havana, Imprenta La Antilha, 1863. See also CA, pp. 289-290.
68 Varnhagen, F. A. de. Carta ao Excmo. Ministro da Agricultura, a respeito principalmente de vários melhoramentos nos engenhos d'assucar das Antilhas, applicaveis ao Brazil. Caracas, Espinal, 1863. pp. 1-15.
69 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. La verdadera guanahani de Colon, Santiago, Imp. Nacional, 1864, p. X.
70 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. Amerígo Vespucci. Son caractère, ses écrits (même les moins authentiques), sa vie et ses navigations, Lima, Imp. du Lercurio, 1865, p. 29.
71 CA, p. 287.
72 Revista do IHGB, 1840, pp. 105-108.
73 In the 1853 letter to the Emperor cited as an epigraph to this article, Varnhagen announced a correction of Humboldt. Despite this, he did not hesitate in taking advantage of his authority to publish a commentary of the savant praising the HGB, see post-scriptum, II, 1, 1857, p. 485. The same what we can call methodology of citing Humboldt, criticizing him and afterwards using him as a encomiastic reference to his own work can be found in Amerigo Vespucci, op. cit., note 4. Some years later, now in Vienna, Varnhagen, in what would become one of his last polemical disputes, with Téofilo Braga, reminded the latter that the wise also make mistakes and cites Humboldt as an example: "The most encyclopedic and most wise man of this century, the great Alexandre Humboldt was not free from error (or immune from many errors). In the five volumes of his profound Historia Geographica do Novo Continente, the truth, thanks to his good faith, only appears with study and examination; and the volumes that he successively published contain rectification that at times completely destroy assertions made in the last or previous volumes", Theophilo Braga e os antigos romanceiros de trovadores: (provarás para se juntarem ai processo), Vienna, Ed. By the author, 1872, pp. 6-7.
74 VIEIRA, Celso. Varnhagen. O homem e a obra, RJ, Editor Alvaro Pinto, 1923, p. 34.
75 MAGALHÃES, Basilio de. "Varnhagen", Revista da Academia Brasileira de Letras, 81, 1928, p. 108.
76 LIMA, M. de O. op. cit., p. 141.
77 CA, p. 301. Brito Broca actually exaggeratedly states that through this episode Varnhagen could be considered as a "precursor of Pan-Americanism", Românticos, pré-romanticos, ultra-românticos. Vida literária e romantismo brasileiro, SP, Polis, 1979, p. 195.
78 MAGALHÃES, B. de. op. cit., pp. 108-109. Joaquim Nabuco contested this opinion, see Um estadista do império, RJ, Nova Aguilar, 1975, p. 524.
79 LIMA, M. de O. op. cit., p. 141.
80 The fact that Chile had supported Paraguay, for example, is explained by Lessa as the product of "positivist interpretation, such as those of Basilio de Magalhães", LESSA, C. R. op. cit., 225, pp. 152-154.
81 CA, p. 302. See also, CA, pp. 304-305.
82 D'AVEZAC, Armand. "Sur l'histoire du Brésil. Examen critique d'une nouvelle Histoire Générale du Brésil", Bulletin de la Société de Géographie, Paris, Chez Arthus-Bertrand, August and September 1857, pp. 89-356. See Varnhagen's reply: Examen de quelques points de l'histoire géographique du Brésil, op. cit, 1858.
83 I have sought to reconstruct the  debate, albeit in summary, in "A geografia servia, antes de tudo, para unificar o império. Escrita da historia e saber geográfico no Brasil oitocentista", Ágora, Unisc/RS, 11, 1, 2005, pp. 79-99.
84 CA, p. 298.
85 CA, p. 308.
86 CA, pp. 312-314.
87 Heitor Lyra counts 37 letters, however in the Varnhagen's CA organized by Clado Lessa, among the 241 letters, 67 are addressed to the Emperor. LYRA, H. History de D. Pedro II. Fastígio (1870-1880), II, BH/SP, Itatiaia/Edusp, 1977, p. 117.
88 In the first edition of HGB, Varnhagen declared himself to be Catholic, monarchist (though contrary to absolutism), just and humane with the Indians and a defender of honorific privileges, II, 1, 1857, p. X. However, this declaration was suppressed in the second edition of the work.
89 MONIZ, J. R. "Recordações acêrca de Varnhagen", apud, RODRIGUES, J. H. op. cit., 1967, pp. 173-174.
90 PORTO ALEGRE, M. A. Correspondência com Paulo Barbosa da Silva, ABL, RJ, 1990, p. 60.
91 Major was not only aware of the work of Varnhagen but called him "my valued friend", see MAJOR, R. H. The life of prince Henry of Portugal, surnamed the navigator, London, A. Asher & Co., 1868. pp. 372-378. See also the Letter of Varnhagen to the Emperor, 1868, CA, p. 323.
92 Varnhagen contested among other things Major's statement that the "Infante's Vila", founded by D. Henrique, was located on the promontory of Sagres. A contemporary document, the Letter of Donation dated 19 September 1460, clearly shows, according to Varnhagen, that the Vila was located above a bridge called "Terça Nabal". He also criticized the fact that Major did not deal with the concessions made by the kings D. Afonso and D. João II to the discovers of the new lands, see LESSA, C. R. op. cit., 223, pp. 238-239.
93 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. Noticia historica e decriptiva do mosteiro de Belem, Lisboa, Typography by Sociedade Propagadora dos Conhecimentos Uteis, n.d.
94 CA, pp. 328-330.
95 CA, pp. 326-327. A letter from Varnhagen was read at the session of IHGB on 25 September 1868, Revista do IHGB, 1868, pp. 346-348.
96 CA, 1869, p. 334.
97 CA, 1870, pp. 338-339. Em 1918, Capistrano de Abreu, apparently without knowing of this letter from Varnhagen, raises doubts about his domain of German: "I believe that if one day he had know his paternal tongue, he quickly forgot it almost completely. If he had known, and taken advantage of Guths-Muths' book, he could have anticipated Wappaeus in many respects", ABREU, Capistrano de. Correspondência, RJ, INL, II, p. 84. I have found at least one text attributed to Varnhagen written in German. It is the preface to the work of Friar Luiz de Sousa, BN-RJ, 26,4,19D.
98 CA, pp. 345-348.
99 CA, pp. 348-349.
100 CA, p. 358.
101 In a letter dated 1 March 1873 to his biographer, José Carlos Rodrigues, then editor of the journal, O novo mundo, published in New York, Varnhagen warns him in a post-scriptum: "I wish to excuse myself to you that I am taking the liberty of recommending that you take care with the judgment of Adolpho Coelho and Theophilo Braga against Castilhos and other friends. They are all passionate and only thinking of doing harm. I was in Portugal last year and I saw all these miseries… ", CA, pp. 395-396.
102 A little before the beginning of the Congress, Varnhagen took advantage of the occasion to visit Moscow and to go to Nijni Novgorod. For the report of Varnhagen on the Congress, see: "Correspondência acerca do Congresso de estatistica reunido em São Petesburgo em 1872", CA, pp. 372-380.
103 See Varnhagen's report to the Brazilian government, CA, 1873, pp. 401-405.
104 "Quelques renseignements statistiques sur le Brésil, tirés de sources officielles par le délégué au congrès de Budapesth, Vicomte de Porto-Seguro", Vienne, Imprimerie de la Cour Impériale et Royale, 1876, 23p., apud CA, p. 466 e pp. 468-476.
105 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. op. cit., 1876.
106 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. op. cit., 1867, p. 36.
107 DENIS, Ferdinand. Quelques mots sur la deuxième édition de l'Historia geral du vicomte de Porto Seguro, ms. 3970, I, Biblioteca Sainte-Geneviève de Paris, (probably 1877), pp. 224-225.
108 ABREU, Capistrano de. op. cit., 1878, p. 502.
109 HGB, III, 3/4, p. 373.
110 In 1849 Varnhagen had defended that the capital should not be located in a seaport, however, he did not indicate any specific place, only stated that it should be transferred to the interior, see VARNHAGEN, F. A. op. cit., 1849, pp. 3-6.
111 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. A questão da capital: maritima ou no interior?, Vienna, Carlos Gerold, Published by the author, 1877, p. 1.
112 Idem, p. 12 (emphasis of T.C.).
113 Idem, pp. 12-13.
114 CA, 1877, pp. 487-490.
115 FOUCAULT, Michel. Naissance de la clinique, Paris, PUF, 1963, p. IX.
116 Varnhagen communicated his conclusions about Cabral to the IHGB, see "Nota acerca de como não foi na coroa Vermelha, na enseada de Santa Cruz, que Cabral  primeiro desembarcou, e em que fez dizer a primeira missa", Revista do IHGB, 1877, pp. 5-37. His affirmations were strongly contested. For the commentary about the probable diary, see VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. A questão da capital: maritima ou no interior, op. cit., p. 13.
117 His son, Xavier de Porto Seguro confirms in his memories that the journey was the cause of his death: "at the end of our second year in college, my father had the unfortunate idea of traveling to Brazil. This journey was the cause of his death. He was absent for six months and returned with a disease in his lungs", PORTO-SEGURO, Xavier de. Mémoires, recueillies et mises en ordre par Hippolyte Buffenoir, Paris, Bureaux de la Revue de la France Moderne, 1896, p. 21.
118 Cited in GARCIA, Rodolfo. "Ensaio bio-bibliographico sobre Francisco Adolpho de Varnhagen, Viscount de Porto Seguro", apud HGB, II, 3/4, 1928, p. 452.
119 VERÍSSIMO, José. op. cit., p. 191.
120 Varnhagen left his wife and two children, Xavier and Luis. The former, born in Lima, died in 1894 at the age of 29. His mother published his memories, originally written in French, in 1896. Luis was born in Vienna and adopted his maternal nationality, and like his father became a diplomat, though for the Chilean government. His final position was Plenipotentiary Minister in Berlin. He died in Rio de Janeiro in 1939. Varnhagen's children had no descendants. Thus, the Porto-Seguros no longer existed by the middle of the twentieth century. See PORTO SEGURO, Xavier, op.cit.; and LESSA, C. R. op. cit., 223, pp. 296-297. In relation to Varnhagen's relationship with his family, it is possible to get some idea of this from his correspondence and from his son Xavier Porto-Seguro's little book. In reference to the perspective of this text, it can be noted that it was not rare for Varnhagen to leave his family for intellectual work. See, for example, CA, p. 463 and pp. 478-479.
121 Letter to D. Pedro II, 1854, CA, p. 213.
122 "This involves an acquisition forever rather than a play for a competition", Preface to the History of the Peloponnese War, apud HARTOG, F. A history de Homero a Santo Agostinho, BH, EUFMG, 2001, 22, (1), p. 81.
123 BOURDIEU, Pierre. "L'illusion biographique", Actes de la Recherche en Sciences de Sociales, no. 62/63, 1986, pp. 69-72.
124 MACEDO, J. M., Revista do IHGB, 1878, p. 489.
125 MAGALHÃES, B. de. op. cit., p. 95; LESSA, C. R. op. cit., 223, pp. 293-294.
126 "Critica", apud MENEZES, R. Dicionário literário Brasileiro, SP, Saraiva, 1969, p. 1289.
127 ABREU, C. de. op. cit., 1878, p. 505.
128 BELLIDO, Remígio de. Varnhagen e a sua obra. Comemoração do centenário, SP, Rothschild, 1916.
129 FLEIUSS, Max. Recordando (casos e perfis), III, RJ, IBGE, 1943, pp. 106-107.
130 This distance was not sufficient to prevent to a certain extent the 'people', what an irony, through circumstances I still do not know, from honoring him through the Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel samba school, with the samba-enredo "Life and work of Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen", which won seventh place in the 1969 Rio de Janeiro Carnival. José Honório Rodrigues mentions the episode, op. cit., 1979, p. 121. I would like to thank my IC grantee assistant, Evandro Santos, for the detail about the position won by the school.
131 See the website:
132 ABREU, Capistrano de. op. cit., 1882, p. 439.
133 In the sense that Paul Ricœur gives the terms: "The beginning is historical, the origin is mythical", La mémoire, l'histoire, l'oubli, Paris, Seuil, 2000, p. 174.
134 "Varnhagen, 'Heródoto do Brasil'", REIS, J. C. op. cit., 1997, pp. 106-107.
135 For the case of Herodotus, see: MOMIGLIANO, A. "The place of Herodotus in the history of historiography", Secondo Contributo, Rome, 1960, pp. 29-44 (especially the initial pages); HARTOG, F. op. cit., 1991, p. 12, pp. 313-316, pp. 379-380.
136 According to Arnaldo Momigliano, Herodotus was, among the authors of antiquity, the one who travelled most, which also won him the title of father of ethnography. MOMIGLIANO, A. Les fondations du savoir historique, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1992, pp. 58-59, see also HARTOG, François., op. cit., 1991, p. 379.
137 In relation to the reception of Thucydides by nineteenth century historiography, see HARTOG, François. "L'œil de Thucydide et l'histoire 'véritable'", Évidence de l'histoire. Ce que voient les historiens, Paris, EHESS, 2005, p. 82. As of the present I still do not know the reason that caused Varnhagen not to publish the Historia da independência. The most common hypothesis is that he did not have time. This could be the case. I suspect, however, that this was not the only reason. He may have done so as a precaution, as a result of the care for himself I have mentioned above, after all writing about people who were very close could cause unnecessary embarrassment. See CA, p. 432, p. 440 and p. 467 and also the preface to Historia da Independência and LESSA, C. op. cit., 224, p. 150.
138 VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. Historia das luctas com os Hollandezes, op. cit., 1871, p. XXIX.
139 MICHELET, J. "Préface (1869). Histoire de France", Œuvres complètes, Paris, Flammarion, 1974, pp. 11-14.
140 "It is true also that, being Brazilian, writing a history of Portuguese civilization in Brazil, what I mean is the ancestors of the greater part of current Brazilian citizens, I could never adopt the French point of view, nor the Dutch, nor the English, nor the Spanish. For the same reason I also could not adopt the Black or Indian point of view", VARNHAGEN, F. A. de. op. cit., 1858, pp. 53-54.
141 "The fact of being beaten constitutes a specific and original historical experience which cannot be learned or exchanged, and which allows the preparation of a method capable of conferring a durable existence what is gained from experience", "Mutation de l'expérience et changement de méthode. Esquisse historique-anthropologique", KOSELLECK, Reinhart. L'expérience de l'histoire, Paris, Hautes Études/Gallimard/Le Seuil, 1997, p. 241.
142 Idem, p. 239.