Dr Jeremy Black
Diplomatic and General History
'Letters from Portugal say, that the measures resolved on by the Supreme Council to preserve the kingdom from the principles now prevailing in France are observed with the greatest rigour. It is prohibited to read French newspapers, pamphlets, etc. Several persons, both foreigners and natives, have been seized for transgressing these laws'. Gloucester Journal, 24 October 1791
The bicentenary of the French Revolution provides a good opportunity for looking at the evidence in the Foreign Office archives, held in the Public Record Office in Kew, concerning the Portuguese response. The most important point to make is that the initial response was muted and that the Portuguese government became more concerned only when the developments within France took a more radical turn in 1791 and when the prospect of a major European war loomed large. The vast bulk of the British diplomatic correspondence continued to be devoted to commercial and consular issues throughout this period.
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