Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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FERNANDESSARDINHA, Pedro, Brazilian R. C. bishop, born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1497; died on the coast of Brazil in July 1556. His parents, who were of noble family, destined him for the profession of arms. but he entered the Church in early life. On the establishment of a government in Brazil in 1549 the clergy of that country, without a head to govern them were guilty of the grossest negligence and vices. In 1551 Fernandes Sardinha was elected and consecrated first bishop of Brazil, and arrived in his diocese on 1 January 1552. Combining severity with prudence, he soon improved the character of the secular clergy as well as of the Jesuits, who were beginning to work in the new region. During the government of Thom5 de Sousa everything went favorably, and rapid progress was made in the conversion of the Indians; but in 1553 Duarte da Costa, who was of a dotalnating and quarrelsome character, became governor, and soon serious differences arose between him and the bishop, and, as the quarrel became daily more bitter, the case was submitted to the crown, and both were ordered to appear at court.
Fernandes Sardinha sailed from Bahia, 2 July 1556, but the vessel was attacked by violent storms, and on 16 July was wrecked on the reefs near the mouth of the Sao Francisco River. The crew and passengers were saved, and tried to travel along the coast to Olinda, but after a few days they fell into the hands of cannibals, who slaughtered and ate the prisoners. Only three persons escaped, who afterward related that one of the first to be sacrificed was the bishop, who suffered his fate with resignation, and up to his last moment exhorted and consoled his fellow sufferers. The place where this tragedy occurred has since been called the bishop's wood. Fernandes, during his episcopacy, established the College of the mission of Sao Paulo.
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