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Correa Da Serra, Jose Francisco

CORREA DA SERRA, JOSE FRANCISCO (1750-1823), Portuguese politician and man of science, was born at Serpa, in Alemtejo, in 1750. Educated at Rome, he took orders under the protection of the duke of Alafoès, uncle of Mary I. of Portugal. In 1777 he returned to Lisbon, where he resided with his patron, with whose assistance he founded the Portuguese Academy of Sciences. Of this institution he was named perpetual secretary, and he received the privilege of publishing its transactions without reference to any censor whatever. His use of this right brought him into conflict with the Holy Office; and consequently in 1786 he fled to France, and remained there till the death of Pedro III., when he again took up his residence with Alafoès. But having given a lodging in the palace to a French Girondist, he was forced to flee to England, where he found a protector in Sir Joseph Banks, and became a member of the Royal Society. In 1797 he was appointed secretary to the Portuguese embassy, but a quarrel with the ambassador drove him once more to Paris (1802), and in that city he resided till 1813, when he crossed over to New York. In 1816 he was made Portuguese minister-plenipotentiary at Washington, and in 1820 he was recalled home, appointed a member of the financial council, and elected to a seat in the Cortes. Three years after, and in the same year with the fall of the constitutional government, he died. Correa da Serra ranks high as a botanist, though he published no great special work. His principal claim to renown is the Colecção de livros ineditos da historia Portugueza, (4 vols., 1790-1816), an invaluable selection of documents, exceedingly well edited.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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