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LEDO, Joaquim Goncalves (lay-do), Brazilian statesman, born in Rio Janeiro, 11 December, 1771; died in Macacu, 19 May, 1847. He studied at Coimbra, but was not graduated on account of feeble health. In 1821 he was elected from Rio Janeiro t, o the constituent assembly that opened its sessions in that year. He was active in exciting the people to rebellion against the Portuguese authorities, and as soon as independence was secured, in 1825, was elected to parliament. He gained the friendship of the Emperor Dora Pedro I. and the sympathies of a great part of the intelligent people of the country, but he had to contend against the brothers Andrada (q. v.), who were his political adversaries. In 1827 Ledo fled to Buenos Ayres because the Andradas had discovered a plot to wrest the power from them; but Pedro I. pardoned him and recalled him from exile. In 1831, when Pedro I. abdicated, Ledo also retired from politics; but in 1835 he was elected representative by the province of Rio Janeiro, and until 1847 he held several public offices. When he was in the government he struggled to introduce in his country labor-saving machinery. In 1847 he resolved to withdraw forever from politics, and retired to a farm to devote himself to literature; but in a fit of insanity he burned the larger part of his manuscripts, only a few being saved. The Brazilian government has lately issued a decree for printing those of his works that remain unedited. Ledo was a powerful orator and good writer, his best work being his "History of the Independence of Brazil" (1846). He also composed several poems and tragedies.
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