This rare work is one of the most important sources on early 20th century Macau, written by Henrique Travassos Valdez, a former naval officer and firebrand liberal republican, who represented Macau in the Portuguese national senate. It appeared at a critical time in Macau’s history, as the small Portuguese colony was buffeted by powerful currents emanating from the Portuguese Revolution of 1910 (the upheaval which overthrew the ancient monarchy), the aftermath of World War I, and deteriorating relations with China. As Valdez saw it, the liberal republican spirit of the revolution was not being realized, such that Macau was not given sufficient autonomy, being run by a corrupt, conservative elite appointed from Lisbon, with its economic and social system mismanaged to the detriment of both the colony and the mother country. Here he identifies what he sees as the problems and proposes bold solutions that, in sum, forge a vision for a new form of imperialism, with the Macanese people achieving their self-determination within the Portuguese brotherhood.
The work consists of 34 parts, including a forward, an introduction and 32 short articles, being and anthology of Valdez’s work previously published in various weekly magazines from 1918 to 1922, illustrated by 24 photographic images. The subjects include the Portuguese Revolution of 1910 and its effect upon Macau; Macau’s supposed longing for autonomy with the Portuguese Empire and how it could better contribute to Portugal if it were more free; Macau’s boundary disputes with China and its failure to recognize Portugal’s claim to Macau; the controversial plan to redevelop Macau’s port, the lifeblood of the city; the ultra-influential Portuguese community in Hong Kong; the railways built from Macau into China; and issues of education, national service and religion.
The 34 parts of the work are as follows:
Duas palavras apenas [Just two Words] (pp. 5-9), a forward by Contancio José da Silva, dated Macau, April 1922.
Explicação necessaria [An Explanation needed], (pp. 10-6), Valdez’s introduction and justification for the work and his radical liberal republican views.
Portugal e a Imprensa Estrangeira / I injusticias que revoltam [Portugal and the Foreign Press / I Injustices of the Revolt], (pp. 17-21)
Portugal e a Imprensa Estrangeira / II Campanhas que Magoam [Portugal and the Foreign Press / II Campaigns that Harm], (pp. 22-5).
Salvemos a Republica / I A Republica ea a questão social [Let’s Save the Republic / I The Republic and the Social Question], (pp. 26-9).
Salvemos a Republica / II Outra revolução [Let’s Save the Republic / II Another Revolution], (pp. 30-5).
A Conferencia da Paz e a delimitação de Macau [The Peace Conference and the Delimitation of Macau] (pp. 36-39), on the post -WWI negotiations on Macau’s borders.
O Apostolo do Oriente / A Ilha de San-Choan [The Apostle from the East / The Island of San-Choan] (pp. 40-48), on the island in China near Macau that is home to the Portuguese church of S. Francisco Xavier.
O regime escolar em Macau [The School System in Macau] (pp. 49-57).
A Instrução dos Voluntarios / O corpo de voluntarios [The Training of Volunteers / The Volunteer Corps] (pp. 58-66).
As eleições de 1919 / Um convite que obriga… [The 1919 Elections / An Invitation that Obliges…] (pp. 67-73).
5 de outubro de 1910 / Um discurso no lial senado [October 5, 1910 / A Speech in the Loyal Senate] (pp. 74-80).
O Padroado do Oriente / As missões portuguesas [The Church Patriarchy of the Orient / The Portuguese Missions] (pp. 81-5).
A Colonia Portuguesa de Hongkong – A cidade de Camões [The Portuguese Community of Hongkong – The City of Camões] (pp. 86-8).
A Colonia Portuguesa de Hongkong – II Um discurso no Club Lusitano [The Portuguese Community of Hongkong – II A Speech at the Lusitano Club], (pp. 89-91).
No Senado da Republica / Interesse de Macau [In the Senate of the Republic / Macau’s Interests] (pp. 92-9).
A propaganda na Metropole / I O que Macau póde dar-nos [Propaganda in the Metropole / I What Macau Could Give Us] (pp. 100-4).
A propaganda na Metropole / II Caminho de Ferro Macau-Cantão [News in the Region / II The Macau-Canton Railway] (pp. 105-11).
A propaganda na Metropole / III Caminho de Ferro Macau-Kongmun [News in the Region / III The Macau-Kongmun Railway] (pp. 112-9).
A autonomina administrative da Colonias – I O congress deve delegar [The Administrative Autonomy of Colonias – I Congress Must Delegate] (pp. 120-8).
A autonomina administrative da Colonias – II Um Protesto! [The Administrative Autonomy of Colonias – II A Protest!] (pp. 129-32).
O porto de Macau – I A falencia de um porto [The Port of Macau – I The Failure of the Port] (pp. 133-40).
O porto de Macau – II O porto que nos convêm [The Port of Macau – II The Port that Suits Us] (pp. 141-6).
O porto de Macau – III A propaganda do porto interesss da colonia [The Port of Macau – III The Propaganda of the Colonial Port Interests] (pp. 147-50).
O porto de Macau – IV A ditura do terreiro do paço o novo porto do Macau [The Port of Macau – IV The Dictatorship of the Governor’s Office and the New Port of Macau] (pp. 151-4).
O navigação par o Oriente – I A carreira do Oriente [Navigation to the Orient – I The Route to the Orient] (pp. 155-7).
O navigação par o Oriente – II As carreiras para do Oriente [The Navigation to the East – II The Route to the East] (pp. 158-62).
O navigação par o Oriente – III As carreiras para do Oriente [The Navigation Towards the East – III The Route Towards the East] (pp. 163-6).
Para onde vamos? / Solucões inexplicaveis [Where are We Going? / Inexplicable Solutions] (pp. 167-86), concerning a debate on Macau’s situation in the Senate, April 29, 1921.
Profecias que se realizem! I Macau cobiçada pela China [Prophecies Come True! I Macau Coveted by China] (pp. 187-91).
Profecias que se realizem! II A proposito da <Questão de Macau> [Prophecies Come True! II Concerning the <The Macao Question>] (pp. 192-5).
Profecias que se realizem! III Questão de Macau [Prophecies Come True! II The Macao Question] (pp. 196-201).
Profecias que se realizem! III Questão de Macau [Prophecies Come True! III The Macao Question] (pp. 202-8).
Pela honra de nossa Patria = Repelindo uma afronta / Macau e o governo de Cantão [For the Honour of Our Homeland = Repelling an Affront / Macau and the Guangdong Government] (pp. 209-13).
Henrique Travassos Valdez: Liberal Firebrand and Leading Storyteller of Macau
Henrique Travassos Valdez (1884 – 1953) was a Portuguese naval officer, firebrand liberal politician and a prominent authority on China and Macau. He hailed from an august background, being the great-grandson of the Napoleonic Era war hero General José Lúcio Travassos Valdez (1787 – 1862), the Count of Bonfim, who served as the Prime Minister of Portugal (1839-41). He was partly raised in China, being the son of Joaquim Travassos Valdez, the long-serving Portuguese Consul General in Shanghai.
Henrique Travassos Valdez joined the Portuguese Navy, whereupon he was generally based in Macau, eventually rising to the rank of 1st lieutenant. There, he developed an intense love and fascination for Macau and its people, befriending numerous prominent figures from diverse backgrounds.
He was an ardent backer of republicanism (the Portuguese monarchy was toppled in 1910) and liberalism. Upon leaving the navy, in 1918, he went into active politics, joining the Partido Reconstituinte (Partido Republicano da Reconstituição Nacional). In 1919, he was elected as one of the two national senators for Macau, whereupon he promoted progressive policies and advocated autonomy for Portugal’s colonies. He also dedicated a great deal of time to writing articles (leading to the present work) on Macau’s history and current affairs, showcasing his profound insider’s knowledge of the city.
Frustrated by a lack of progress in implementing his agenda (Portugal was then experiencing a political and economic crisis), in 1925 Valdez left frontline politics and returned to Portugal permanently. He was despised by the ultra-conservative Estado
Novo dictatorship which took over Portugal in 1926 (the feeling was mutual), and he was excluded from public affairs for the remainder of his life. However, he left a powerful legacy as a foremost storyteller of Macau and his tireless championing of the colony’s rights.
A Note on Rarity
The present work is rare. While we can locate examples held by 9 libraries worldwide (Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal; Biblioteca Central da Marinha; Inst. Inv. Cientffica e Tropical; Fund. Oriente – Centro de Documentação António Alçada Baptista; National Library of Australia; University of California – Berkeley; Cornell University; Harvard University; University of Utrecht; and the University of Macau), we can trace only a single record of the another example appearing on the market.
References: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal: H.G. 1002 V.; National Library of Australia: BRA 1598; University of California – Berkeley: DS796.M2 V29 1922; Cornell University Library: DS796.M11 V14; University of Utrecht Library: Bibl Lusit-Bras oct 563; OCLC: 1110577013.