Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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FURTADO, Francisco Jose (foortah'do), Brazilian statesman, born in Oeiras, 13 August 1818; died in Rio Janeiro, 23 June 1870. He was graduated at the academy of law of Caxias in 1838, and admitted to the bar in the following year. He was appointed City judge of Caxias in 1840, elected president of the municipality in 1841, and in 1844 member of the provincial assembly of Piauhi. In 1847 he was elected deputy to the imperial legislature that convened in Rio Janeiro in 1848, but the legislature was dissolved, 19 February 1849, and in December Furtado returned to Caxias, and was judge of the superior court of Para till 1856. In that year the government appointed Furtado president of Amazonas. In a few years the province, owing to his efforts, became flourishing and productive, and in 1859 he resigned. He was elected deputy to the national legislature in 1861, soon became known as an orator, and on 24 May 1862, was given the portfolio of justice by the president of the new liberal ministry, but the latter was overthrown after a few days by the Conservative party.
In 1863 Furtado was reelected, chosen life senator by the emperor on 24 July 1864, and on 31 August was called upon to form a new cabinet. He assumed the government under difficult circumstances, principally through a general commercial crisis. His energetic and somewhat arbitrary measures, although criticized by many, saved the situation, and, the public confidence restored, all government obligations were soon paid and a new loan floated. After the surrender of Montevideo in February 1865, Furtado applied himself to interior improvements, and took the first energetic steps toward the emancipation of the slaves, but the questions stirred up by the triple alliance in May 1865, occasioned the resignation of the cabinet. In the senate Furtado, in 1870, proposed and carried through a law taking the first steps for the abolition of slavery. In April of that year, as counsel of the City of Rio Janeiro, he was making argument in court, when he was seized with an illness that terminated in his death. He died poor, but the provinces of the empire subscribed $24,000 to enable his widow to educate their children.
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