You are on page 1of 24

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• • •

• •

• •

• • •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

•• PUNISHMENT IN PARADISE ••

Race, Slavery, Human Rights, and a Nineteenth-Century Brazilian Penal Colony

Peter M. Beattie

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• • •

• • •

• •

• • •

• • •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• • •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• • •

• • •

• • •

• •

• • •

• •

• •

• • •

• •

• •

• • •

• • •

• •

• • •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• • •

• •

• • •

• • •

• •

• •

• •

• • •

• • •

• •

• •

• • •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

• •

•• Peter M. Beattie ••

PUNISHMENT IN PARADISE

Race, Slavery, Human Rights, and a Nineteenth-Century Brazilian Penal Colony

Duke University Press

Durham and London

2015

© 2015 Duke University Press All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America on acid- free paper ∞ Designed by Heather Hensley Typeset in Minion Pro by Westchester Publishing Services

Library of Congress Cataloging- in-Publication Data

Beattie, Peter M., 1963– Punishment in paradise : race, slavery, human rights, and a nineteenth- century Brazilian penal colony / Peter M. Beattie. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. isbn 978- 0- 8223- 5816- 9 (hardcover : alk. paper) isbn 978- 0- 8223- 5830- 5 (pbk. : alk. paper) isbn 978- 0- 8223-7589- 0 (e-book)

  • 1. Prisons—Brazil—Fernando de Noronha— History—19th

century. 2. Prisoners— Brazil—Fernando de Noronha.

  • 3. Fernando de Noronha (Brazil)— History—19th century.

i. Title. hv9594.f47b43 2015 365'.34—dc23 2014034850

Duke University Press gratefully acknowledges the support of Michigan State University, Department of History, which provided funds toward the publication of this book.

Cover art: Fernando de Noronha Island, 2008. Photo by Bruno Barbey. © Bruno Barbey / Magnum Photos.

I dedicate this book to my wife, erica melissa windler beattie And to my son, aodhan windler beattie Th e two souls most responsible for my regeneration.

Th e Idée Fixe

So, long live history, voluble history, which is good at anything, and, getting back to the idée fi xe, let me say that it’s what produces strong men and mad men. A mobile idea, vague or changeable, is what produces a Claudius— according to the formula of Suetonius.

A Project

Th e need to regenerate him [Quincas Borba], get him back to working and having respect for his person was fi lling my heart. I [Brás Cubas] was starting to get a comfortable feeling, one of uplift , of admiration for myself.

joaquim maria machado de assis, the posthumous memoirs of brás cubas

Contents

  • xi ac know ledg ments

    • 1 introduction: Fernando de Noronha Island: Foil, Paradox, Paradise, or Inferno?

    • 12 1. Getting to Know “Fernando”

    • 23 2. “Th e Key to the Americas”?

  • 48 3. Fernando de Noronha’s “Dark Twins”:

Licit and Illicit Commerce

  • 75 4. “Brothers of the Peak”: Prosopography of a Penal Community

  • 101 5. Th e Jealous Institution and Brazilian Penology

  • 124 6. “A Stench in the Nostrils of God”? Th e Material and Social Life of Exile

  • 148 7. Crime, Confl ict, Corruption, and Cooperation on an Atlantic Frontier

  • 177 8. Th e Treatment and Categorization of Slave Convicts in a Penal Archipelago

  • 200 9. Of Captivity and Incarceration: Human Rights Reform in Atlantic Perspective

    • 227 conclusion: Punishment in Paradise Foiled Again

    • 241 appendix: Statistical Tables

    • 259 abbreviations

    • 263 notes

    • 301 bibliography

    • 327 index

Ac know ledg ments

Th e act of writing ac know ledg ments inspires a mournful trepidation of one’s forgetfulness that can only be resisted with somber humility. I owe an untold debt to many individuals who go unmentioned in these acknow ledg ments. I apologize in advance to the unnamed friends, family, and colleagues whom I memorialize here with an imagined, prehumous tomb for heroic unknown historians, archivists, librarians, and those too clever to pursue capturing the past in prose.

  • I thank my wife, Erica Windler, who has put up with all my idées fi xes

during research and writing with patience, kindness, love, and encourage- ment, even when I did not know exactly how to accept them. Th is project has benefi tted from her many insights as a historian of Brazil. My son Aodhan has taught me many lessons about the limits of authority and the power of letting go that have shaped my thinking about the historical agents exam- ined between these two covers. His uncomplaining, courageous, and swift adaptation to life in Brazil and to Portuguese twice as a young boy was in-

spirational. As I let go of this book, I think of the many good experiences I was lucky to share with both of you while this project gestated. My saudades are mixed with forward-looking hopes for future good times, travels, meals, body surfi ng, and shared obsessions.

  • I lost my former advisor and friend Robert M. Levine to brain cancer

some years ago. I like to think that he would see some of himself in what I have written about Brazil. Elizabeth Kuznesof became my unoffi cial advisor and friend even before Bob died. She has generously read, corrected, and criticized various manifestations of this manuscript, and her scholarship has informed many of my ideas. Celso Castilho also read this manuscript and

saved me from numerous errors of fact and interpretation. Both Celso and Elizabeth helped me to reconceive the manuscript’s orga ni za tion. Although I am not sure I was able to fully capture their sage advice in my reworkings, their scholarly and collegial generosity has made this a much better book. My compadre Professor Marcus Joaquim Maciel de Carvalho read parts of this manuscript and gave me invaluable comments about his home ground of Pernambuco. He was an amiable host to Erica and me as visit- ing cies Fulbright scholars in his department at the Universidade Federal do Pernambuco (ufpe) on two diff erent occasions. He introduced me to invaluable sources and many colleagues and students who helped me with intellectual and bureaucratic matters, Bruno Câmara in partic u lar. Mar- cus and his beautiful wife, sociologist Andrea Tereza Brito Ferreira, our comadre, arranged Aodhan’s baptism in a Catholic church in Boa Viagem. Th ey even trusted us with their talented daughter, Sofi a Brito de Carvalho, who spent a couple of months with us in our home in East Lansing in 2014. A special thanks to your family and your colleagues and students at ufpe. I thank my mother, Regina O’Connor Beattie, who at ninety-four years embodies perseverance and love. She taught me at a young age to love read- ing and learning. Bonnie Messe, my mother-in- law, recently moved to the great white north. She has helped Erica and me to raise our son. My broth- ers, sisters, nieces, and nephews have always been supportive, and as I grew up, the youngest of nine, each of them taught me, and continues to teach me, something diff erent. Jeff rey Lesser read an earlier, much cruder version of this manuscript and provided guidance and insight as he has on previous occasions. Jerry Davila, and the participants in his graduate seminar at the University of Illinois, Ur- bana-Champagne, read the manuscript and helped me to draw out the mean- ing and signifi cance of the process of “category drift ” analyzed herein and to reconsider pop u lar attitudes toward the antifl ogging and anti– death penalty movement in Brazil. My Michigan State University colleague Lisa Fine also read and provided valuable feedback on an early draft of this manuscript. Many years ago James C. Scott, while a visiting scholar in our department at Michigan State University, encouraged me to read Lewis Coser’s work, which helped me to conceptualize the benefi ts that Brazilian authorities believed marriage had for men and women of the free and enslaved poor, even those living in penal exile. Th is turned out to be consequential for my analysis of gender and sexuality. Th e members of Recife’s Instituto Arqueológico, Histórico e Geográfi co Pernambucano (iahgp) honored me in 2006 with a corresponding mem-

bership (sócio correspondente) to their august institution (a distinction I later learned I shared with some of Fernando de Noronha’s command- ers). My colleagues at the iahgp shared documents and ideas with me and helped me to feel at home in Recife. A special thanks to Reinaldo Carneiro Leão, primeiro secretário perpetuo do iahgp, who shared so many stories of Pernambuco’s past on the paralelepípados below the Igreja Matriz da Boa Vista on the Rua do Hospício. Grazielle Rodrigues generously arranged for me to give a talk on my re- search to the residents and tour guides of Fernando de Noronha on the Day of Black Consciousness in Remédios in 2008. Th is was a gratifying experi- ence that allowed me to contribute to and learn from the historical memory of this unique island community. I thank them for their warm hospitality and openness. Numerous other colleagues and friends have been helpful to me directly and indirectly on this long walk to completion: Marta de Abreu Estevez, Marília de Azambuja Ribeiro, B. J. Barrickman, Fernanda Batista Bicalho, Dain Borges, Marcos Luiz Bretas, Suzana Cavani Rosas, Sueann Caulfi eld, Marcos Costa, Celso Castro, Sidney Chalhoub, Timothy Coates, Hebe Maria da Costa Mattos Gomes de Castro, John French, Tácito Galvão, Flávio Gomes, Gilberto Hochman, Marc Hertzman, Marc Jay Hoff nagel, Vitor Izecksohn, Silvana Jeha, Simone Petraglia Kropf, Michael LaRosa, Hal Langfur, Linda Lewin, Joseph Love, Mara Loveman, Ana Maria Lugão Rios, Marcelo Mac Cord, Maria Helena Pareira Toledo Machado, Beatriz Mami- gonian, Bryan McCann, Frank D. McCann, Gillian McGillivray, Joan Meznar, Zach Morgan, Gizlene Neder, Jeff rey Needell, Clarissa Nunes Maia, Gláucia Pessoa, João José Reis, Rogério Rosa Rodrigues, Th omas Rogers, Martha Santos, Carlos Sebe Bom Meihy, Carlos Eugênio Líbano Soares, Nísia Trin- dade Lima, Barbara Weinstein, Joel Wolfe, Christine Paulette Yves Rufi no Dabat, and so many others. In the end, I accept full credit for any errors herein, but I share credit for what may be useful in these pages with many collaborators. Th e archivists, librarians, and staff s of the Biblioteca Nacional, the Ar- quivo Nacional Rio de Janeiro (especially Sátiro Nunes), the iahgp, the Arquivo Público Estadual Jordão Emerenciano, and the Instituto Histórico Geográfi co Brasileiro all collaborated generously to uncover useful docu- mentation and secondary sources during the research pro cess. Th e editors and staff at Duke University Press have been extremely at- tentive and helpful from the review process to overseeing my revisions and into the production phase. Editor Gisela Fosado expressed enthusiasm and

encouragement for my manuscript and made many helpful suggestions that improved it. Editorial associate Lorien Olive went beyond the call to help me with the images for the cover and those interspersed in the text. Finally, I would like to recognize the insights and feedback I received from my many colleagues in Michigan State University’s Department of History, especially Liam Brockey, Glenn Chambers, Walter Hawthorne, Vanessa Holden, Jessica Johnson, Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Edward Murphy, Javier Pescador, David Wheat, and Erica Windler. I hope we will get our on again, off again reading group on the lusophone and hispanophone Atlantic worlds going again soon.

xiv

AC KNOW LEDG MENTS

introduction

Fernando de Noronha Island: Foil, Paradox, Paradise, or Inferno?

Th e memory does not make me fearful Nor does crying make me feel sympathy:

I’ll send you to Fernando de Noronha I’ll shove you into that depraved prison If you grumble, you get clapped in fetters. If you cry, you get fl ogged. — severino perigo (“severino danger,” c.1870–1930), a pop u lar black brazilian singer

Severino Perigo depicts the agricultural penal colony on the island of Fernando de Noronha as a place of suff ering where prisoners were shackled, whipped, and subject to debauchery. Th e colony held the largest concentration of convicts from across the Brazilian Empire (1822–1889), and Perigo’s imagery of it mirrors accounts of France’s Devil’s Island, Britain’s Tasmania, Argentina’s Ushaia, or Russia’s Sakhalin. Other voices, however, countered this image of an Atlan- tic hell some two hundred miles from Brazil’s northeastern shores. In 1884, the American novelist and geographer Frank de Yeaux Car- penter, a member of Brazil’s Geological Commission, described the colony as an “ocean resort” for criminals who lived the Life of Riley under rustling palms, ringed by golden beaches and azure waters. 1 Carpenter echoed Brazilian mainlanders who felt that convicts there enjoyed a leisurely life that was exasperating, especially in the case of slave convicts. Similar idyllic portrayals of Tasmania, Dev il’s Island, Ushaia, or Sakhalin are rare. 2 What do these confl icting images tell

Salvador Piauí Teresina . Maranhão . São Luis . Belém Rio De Janeiro . Vitória Espírito
Salvador
Piauí
Teresina
.
Maranhão
.
São Luis
.
Belém
Rio De Janeiro
.
Vitória
Espírito Santo
Goiás
.
.
Aracaju
Sergipe
.
Maceió
Alagoas
.
Recife
Pernambuco
.
.
do Sul
Pará
Porto Alegre
.
Santa Catarina
Desterro
.
Rio de Janeiro
.
District of
Federal
Paraíba
.
São Paulo
Preto
São Paulo
.
Ouro
SOUTHEAST
Minas Gerais
.
Goiás
Bahia
Curitiba
NORTHEAST
SOUTH
NORTH
CENTRAL WEST
t
n
a
t
c
i
Rio Grande
l
Cuiabá
Paraná
Niterói
Mato Grosso
Branco
Rio
Amazonas
Manaus
Acre
.
.
miles
Paraíba
.
Natal
do Norte
Ceará
Rio Grande
.
Noronha
Fortaleza
Fernando de
800
.
0
800
km
0
a
n
c
e
O
A
Brazil

Map i.1 Fernando de Noronha in relation to mainland Brazil.

us about imperial Brazil? Th is remote island is an illuminating foil that highlights evolving cultural values, practices, and perceptions on Brazil’s mainland and across the Atlantic in relation to justice, punishment, reha- bilitation, color, class, civil condition, human rights, and labor. Brazilians of all classes long used Fernando de Noronha as a reference point to defi ne social norms and the meanings of freedom and captivity. Th e confl icting portrayals of Fernando de Noronha refl ect diff erent per- spectives on crime and punishment in a new nation that underwent mo- mentous transitions. In de pen dence brought Brazil to a crossroads where new penal practices associated with the rise of nations challenged those of the old regime. Th e implementation of liberal ideals of equality in a fl edgling nation where a large proportion of the inhabitants were enslaved proved a paradox that induced lawmakers to establish distinct punishments for bonded criminals. For many, prison seemed a reward for slaves. As Sena- tor Paulo de Souza put it, “Will the slave who lives bowed under the weight of his labors by any chance have a horror of being incarcerated in a prison where he can abandon himself to laziness and drunkenness, the favorite

passions of a slave?” 3 With this ste reo type in mind, Article 60 of Brazil’s Código criminal (1830) specifi ed that slave convicts could be fl ogged rather than imprisoned unless sentenced to capital punishment or galés (literally, forced labor in Mediterranean naval galleys; but in Brazil, it meant prison at labor in fetters). Save for the gallows, the empire banned corporal punish- ment for free convicts. 4 Anxieties over appropriate criminal punishments grew more fi tful aft er 1850 as the slave population diminished when the government eff ectively enforced laws that banned the transatlantic slave trade. International pub- lic opinion turned against cruel punishments and bondage, and Brazilians found themselves increasingly isolated as advances in human rights became gauges to mea sure a nation’s progress. Aft er 1865, Brazil became the last in- depen dent nation in the Americas to tolerate slavery, and many Brazilians expressed their embarrassment over their “national shame.” Emperor Pedro II (1840–1889) personally opposed slavery and the death penalty, and he worked with allies to abolish them. 5 Th ese profound transitions shaped life in Fernando de Noronha and mainland perceptions of it. Brazilians inher- ited the island from the Portuguese, who had inhabited it mostly with sol- diers and convicts from Brazil. Aft er in de pen dence, Brazilians continued to populate it with convicts and soldiers. In the 1870s, an offi cial referred to the island as “Brazil’s central depository for civilian convicts” because it held more than 1,500 inmates from the empire’s twenty provinces and capi- tal district. 6 Fernando de Noronha provides a little- considered perspective on the interconnected struggles against fl ogging, the death penalty, and slavery on Brazil’s mainland. Pedro II used his constitutional powers to commute many capital sentences to life imprisonment beginning in the 1850s, and many of the benefi ciaries of his clemency, including slave convicts, ended up in the penal colony. Th erefore, the treatment of slave and free convicts there uncovers the extent to which the state exerted itself to maintain distinctions between slave and free. As Lynn Hunt put it, in the old regime “those guilty of crime could only be controlled by external force. In the traditional view, ordinary people could not control their own passions. Th ey had to be led, prodded to do good, and deterred from following their baser instincts.” 7 Th us, the ghastly spectacle of executions near the sites of crimes freshened the hoi polloi’s respect for the law. While Brazil’s new laws adopted tenets of modern penology for free citizens, Brazil continued to treat slaves according to older precepts. Brazilian law maintained the legality of fl ogging for slaves and enlisted soldiers and sailors, but it reserved the gallows for the heinous

crimes of murder, rebellion, and treason. Th is contrasts with Britain and the United States, where courts applied capital punishment to a far wider variety of felonies, especially for slaves. 8 Th ese struggles for human rights fed anxieties about whether enslaved, freed, or even common freeborn Brazilians could be disciplined without recourse to harsh punishment. As Carpenter’s aside suggests, the image of impunity for Fernando de Noronha’s convicts had become a part of master- class folklore, a colorful story to regale a foreign visitor. While slaveowners constructed one vision of Fernando de Noronha, less privileged men, like Severino Perigo, presented a decidedly diff erent one. Both have elements of truth, but neither is entirely precise. Th is book analyzes how historical ac- tors’ views of the colony changed over time and how their experiences and po liti cal positions shaped their perceptions of it. Beyond insights into social anxieties over crime and punishment in a so- ciety making a slow transition from slave to free labor, why is the history of an isolated penal colony of broader signifi cance? I believe there are a num- ber of reasons. First, Fernando de Noronha off ers an unparalleled panorama of justice in imperial Brazil. Th e colony held the largest population of con- victs from across Brazil, so its records reveal the crimes and criminals that a precarious justice system spent scarce resources to try, convict, and exile. Too oft en, the study of crime and criminality is limited to a study of arrests or trials, but Fernando de Noronha’s documentation allows one to explore how convicts lived their sentences. 9 A collective biography of convicts and an analysis of their treatment and how they responded to it brings new in- sight into how contemporaries grappled with questions of justice, individ- ual responsibility, citizenship, honor, status, family, and clemency. Th is case study also lends itself to comparative Atlantic history. In contrast with the United States, for example, Brazilian authorities did not expend signifi cant resources to defend the evolving lower boundaries of “whiteness” in basic state institutions like prisons, penal colonies, and the military’s enlisted ranks, but they more consistently used marriage and heterosexual conjugal living to rank, reward, and discriminate among slaves and marginal mem- bers of the free poor of all colors. Second, Fernando de Noronha was in essence a large, if exceptionally isolated, plantation where convicts provided most of the labor. Th e level of record keeping there allows for an unusually detailed microhistory of interactions between many more spheres of life than is possible for main- land plantations and communities. In this sense, the colony is a somewhat exaggerated metaphor for Brazilian society as it exemplifi ed state making

on its social and geograph i cal margins. Th ough sui generis, the army offi - cers who served as colony commanders faced challenges similar to those of plantation owners who employed slaves and mainland army offi cers whose enlisted men were mostly summarily pressed into ser vice. 10 Th is study sug- gests the interrelatedness of these diff erent civil conditions. A telling sign of their connection is found in a column for “civil condition” in the colony’s convict matriculation books that used the following categories: free, slave, freedman, army enlisted man, navy en listed man, arsenal worker, Indian, and national guardsman. In part, the column indicated that military men were subject to courts martial while Indians in government-organized vil- lages were sent to juvenile courts. However, this cannot be the rationale be- hind the column’s creation because slaves and freed persons were subject to the same courts as free Brazilians. Th e column’s construction made it impossible to list military enlisted men, arsenal workers, Indians, freedmen, and even relatively privileged national guardsmen as “free.” Th e logic behind the column’s construction suggests that these categories marked degrees of “unfreeness.” It reveals how offi cials constructed ways of seeing individuals like a state and their oft en-frustrated attempts to fi x them geo graph i cally and taxonomically. 11 I use a shorthand of my coinage, the “intractable poor,” to refer jointly to convicts, slaves, military enlisted men, Indians in government-organized villages, and free Africans (Africans liberated from ships illegally transport- ing slaves from 1821 to 1856 who served fourteen-year apprenticeships in Brazil). 12 Th e term “intractable poor” refl ects how powerful social actors ste reo typed these unsavory social categories as unruly, wanton, and shift - less. I am aware that referring to the enslaved as “poor” seems incongru- ous given their legal status, but in eff ect, their status made the vast majority of them poor. I do not naively suggest a social or legal equivalence among these categories, but they did share a vulnerability to coercive labor extrac- tion and their treatment presents revealing parallels and divergences. By comparing convict workers to those in related coercive labor regimes, my approach highlights patterns that are less visible when examined separately. In a nation so dependent on bonded labor in almost every part of its econ- omy, there was a basic contradiction between the infl uential British penal reformer Jeremy Bentham’s belief that labor was the best method to reha- bilitate convicts and the aristocratic view of Brazilian masters that manual labor was not ennobling, but a duty fi t for dishonorable slaves. 13 Fernando de Noronha was a penal laboratory where compromises and clashes be- tween modern and old regime values and practices played out.

Th ird, Fernando de Noronha highlights the little analyzed circulation among categories of the intractable poor that I refer to as “category drift .” 14 For example, the Brazilian state mobilized hundreds of slaves (purchased with taxpayer money or “patriotically” donated) to fi ght as soldiers in the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–1870). In return for their ser vice, the state granted freedmen- soldiers conditional letters of liberty if they fought at the front and completed a nine- year military contract. It also mobilized scores of convicts from Fernando de Noronha and other jails to fi ght the same war. In peacetime, military convicts who completed their sentences were rou- tinely reintegrated into Fernando de Noronha’s army garrison. Discharge would have been a reward because most enlisted men had been summarily pressed into ser vice for vagrancy or suspected crimes. Unscrupulous Bra- zilians illegally reduced free and freed men and women of color to slav- ery. Enlisted men, slaves, free Africans, and Indians could be convicted of crimes that made them prison laborers in jails, arsenals, and penal colonies. Many free Africans worked alongside convicts and enlisted men in peni- tentiaries, forts, and arsenals. Still others were sent to live with Indians in state-organized villages in Paraná. Offi cials oft en ignored laws and contrac- tual obligations that applied to the intractable poor with impunity. Specifi c examples in the chapters that follow demonstrate category drift and how members of these categories frequently interacted. Category drift on the so- cial margins shows how these low-status civil conditions were interrelated, and in many ways, mutually reinforcing, even as they allowed for small steps up or down the lower end scales of social mobility. I argue that they are a key to understanding how Brazilian society transitioned from slave to free labor because reforms that benefi tted one category of the intractable poor became more diffi cult to deny to other categories. As slavery declined aft er 1850, the status of being free began to lose its luster, and as a result even relatively privileged members of the free poor became more anxious about their vulnerability to category drift and the coercive labor extraction it could represent. 15 Category drift among the intractable poor highlights the relationship between slaves, convicts, free Africans, Indians, and military enlisted men, but circulation extended to the lower ranks of the police, National Guard, paramilitary forces, and or ga nized crime. Not a few former enlisted men be- came police, and many policemen and national guardsmen became soldiers during the War of the Triple Alliance. Authorities punished undisciplined police, guardsmen, and the soldiers of regional insurgent forces with ser vice in the imperial army and navy. Not a few deserters from the police, National

Guard, and the military became feared criminals, insurrectionary leaders, or chiefs of maroon communities. Some later became convicts. Th is is not to mention bandits and capoeiras (practitioners of the Afro-Brazilian martial art, dance, and musical form who oft en formed urban gangs) who provided paramilitary security for po liti cal bosses. Th us, the criminal underworld and the foot soldiers of order and insurrection interpenetrated one another, and many moved between a number of these categories in a lifetime. 16 Fourth, Fernando de Noronha serves as an institutional limit case be- cause of its isolation, dangerous labor force, and multiple purposes as a site for punishment, exile, rehabilitation, colonization, and production. Out of necessity and tradition army offi cers developed hybrid penal practices that combined modern and traditional understandings of these multiple missions. Th ey drew on their mainland experiences to forge the everyday practices that they felt maximized discipline while still meeting other insti- tutional and personal objectives. Th e island’s offi cers, employees, convicts, soldiers, and other residents’ pursuit of personal gain oft en contradicted formal institutional hierarchies, missions, and rules. Th is makes Fernando de Noronha an ideal site to examine corruption’s role in promoting coopera- tion and confl ict among the colony’s diff erent social strata. In part, corrup- tion emerged because the administration failed to supply convicts essential goods and infrastructure. Th us, an unplanned commerce emerged from absolute necessity. Th e state also had a habit of underpaying and neglecting to pay in a timely fashion many of its offi cials (including convict workers). Th is encouraged bribery and other kinds of unorthodox payment for ser- vices and goods. Both reveal problems of bureaucracy, economy, and ideals that surpassed the state’s institutional capacity to deliver. Th ese conditions inevitably induced commerce and corruption to resolve institutional short- falls and provide incentives. Fift h, Fernando de Noronha is also a limit case for evolving notions of color, slave, and criminal status. For many Brazilians, penal reforms were emblems of national progress, and modern penology off ered a “scientifi c” answer to the feared decline of seignorial authority as Brazil’s slave popu- lation declined aft er 1850. Th is belief in rehabilitation confronted the Ital- ian criminologist Cesare Lombroso’s idea of the born criminal in the 1870s. Despite these theoretical countercurrents, most imperial penal offi cials es- poused a continuing belief in the reformative power of hard work, family living, and “normal” heterosexuality without reference to a convict’s color, class, or civil condition. Aft er the republic’s promulgation in 1889, a new generation of criminologists more rigorously applied Lombroso’s theories to

Brazil’s diverse population. 17 It is still unclear, however, the extent to which these ideas infl uenced everyday penal practices under Brazil’s republic, but confl icting ideas about how to treat slave convicts in relation to free ones troubled imperial offi cials. Confl icts between the Justice Ministry and the army offi cers who managed the colony reveal diff erences of opinion about segregation on the basis of civil status (slave or free), much less color, and indicate a broad Brazilian preference for integration in state institutions that incorporated the intractable poor. Sixth, Fernando de Noronha’s history lends itself to international com- parisons of the sequencing and depth of institutional reforms, an approach that I describe elsewhere as “institutional fi t.” 18 Th is highlights the case study’s utility as a foil not only for institutions on Brazil’s mainland but also for comparative Atlantic history. Why was Brazil the last in de pen dent na- tion in the Americas to tolerate slavery while it was among the fi rst to bring about a de facto (1876), soon followed by a de jure (1890), end to capital punishment? By comparing the institutional fi t of reforms in Brazil to other nations, new hypotheses of conditions that favored or hindered the evolu- tion of human rights can be pondered. Finally, Fernando de Noronha provides unexpected insights into con- ceptions of gender, sexuality, and heterosexual conjugality. Authorities al- lowed some married convicts to be joined by their wives and dependents and permitted others to marry or to live with a heterosexual consensual lover (amaziado) in exile. Th e policies refl ect the clashes and compromises between liberal ideals of individual responsibility and traditional patriarchal duties and privileges. Th ey also highlight how assumptions about gender undergirded debates about how to make convict workers productive and moral. Imperial justice displayed a keen gender bias in that the vast majority of defendants convicted were men. However, the segregation from society that modern prisons, poor houses, asylums, barracks, and penal colonies required ran counter to critiques of inhibiting a man’s heterosexual release through continence or imposed abstinence. Brazilians disagreed over the access priests, slaves, physicians, soldiers, and convicts should have to nu- bile women, but most shared beliefs about the male sex drive, even as they bickered over how to manage it. Conditions in the colony sometimes forced actors to articulate cultural understandings that did not arise with the same urgency and frequency on the mainland. In English, “nubile” denotes a mar- riageable woman, but in Portuguese, núbil applies to both genders. Th ese usages suggest distinct cultural views of gender, marriage, and sexuality, and to highlight this, I use the incongruous term “male nubility” to describe

men whom authorities granted heterosexual conjugal privileges within total institutions. My approach to heterosexual penal conjugality among convicts on Fer- nando de Noronha and other categories of the intractable poor requires a brief digression. David Garland’s appraisal of the Marxist, Durkheimian, and Foucauldian traditions in penology accents the need to combine strengths of each to create “more of a three dimensional perspective than is usually perceived.” I share Garland’s view, and to examine heterosexual penal con- jugality, I invoke two scholars whose work is less cited in recent scholarship:

Erving Goff man and Lewis Coser. 19 Th ese sociologists off er points of depar- ture to rethink the relationships between disciplining institutions, family, and gender to elucidate how Brazilians mediated the individualized punish- ment of liberal penology. Goff man shrewdly conveys the tensions between families and total insti- tutions (penitentiaries, mental asylums, barracks, and so forth) in his 1961 classic Asylums:

Total institutions are

. . .

incompatible with another crucial element of

our society, the family. Family life is sometimes contrasted with solitary

living, but in fact the more pertinent contrast is with batch living, for those who eat and sleep at work, with a group of fellow workers, can

hardly sustain a meaningful domestic

existence. . . .

Whether a partic-

u lar total institution acts as a good or bad force in civil society, force it

will have, and this will in part depend on the suppression of the whole circle of actual or potential households. Conversely, the formation of house holds provides a structural guarante e that total institutions will not be without re sis tance.

I build on this insight to explore batch and household living in Brazilian institutions that integrated the intractable poor. Goff man developed these conceptions in his study of mid- twentieth century U.S. total institutions. I use them to explore nineteenth- century Brazilian slavery, military barracks, prisons, and penal colonies, which, as the process of category drift outlined earlier suggests, were considerably more porous and less totalizing than twentieth-century U.S. asylums. 20 Inspired by Goff man, Coser defi ned a related group of “greedy institu- tions” that sought to monopolize the primary loyalties of individuals from competing societal associations without necessarily segregating them. Greedy institutions cultivated individuals whose authority could not be preserved without the institutional leadership’s support. Th us, sovereigns

sought trusted administrators from court Jews, eunuchs, foreign mercenar- ies, and others. Likewise, the Catholic Church, radical organizations, and millenarian groups limit their members’ abilities to develop entangling rela- tionships with outsiders who might put their loyalty to the test. Th e Catholic Church, for example, requires clerical celibacy in deference to theological considerations, but also to bolster fi delity to the hierarchy and to protect institutional property from dissipation through inheritance. Coser even in- cludes house wives and live- in servants as subject to the greedy institution of the nuclear family. Writing in the 1970s, he notes feminist critiques of gender expectations that pressured housewives to limit commitments and contacts outside of the family in deference to their roles as mothers and caretakers. While Coser stresses the family’s limitations on mothers and wives, he does not address whether it limits husbands and fathers. Clearly, in the 1970s most husbands developed more commitments outside their families than their wives, but Coser’s silence also refl ects an era before gender became a more established analytical category. 21 Intriguingly, many nineteenth- century Brazilian authorities (almost all men) posited that male jealousy for a wife or consensual heterosexual partner “naturally” bound him to a more orderly, productive, and moral lifestyle. 22 Somewhere between and overlapping with Coser’s greedy and Goff man’s total institutions, offi cials experimented with hybrid penal prac- tices that combined modern and traditional elements to cultivate what I term the “jealous institution of heterosexual conjugal living.” Th e jealous institution is a male codicil to Coser’s characterization of housewives as subject to the greedy institution of the nuclear family. It describes an ideal- ized belief in the less restrictive but still limiting “natural” infl uence that heterosexual conjugality and family had over male lovers, husbands, and fathers. Authorities tested the potential of heterosexual penal conjugality on Fernando de Noronha in deference to deep- seated beliefs about gender. Th ey argued that the presence of wives and dependents would make convict men more productive and stem same- sex eroticism. Th is study analyzes of- fi cials’ faith in the jealous institution’s power and how their experiments with it fared. In general, my study is distinct from Foucauldian studies of prisons and sexuality that tend to focus on transgressive sexual behavior and Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon architecture. Instead, I privilege the nuclear hetero- sexual family as a reputed source of male discipline and productivity in a hybrid penal regime bounded not by walls but by ocean. 23 It has long been argued that the penitentiary evolved from medieval monastery practices

that sought to modify individual behavior with cellular isolation. Other studies suggest that some colonial prisons developed from prisoner-of- war camps. I argue that the conjugal penal experiment on Fernando de Noronha evolved from a repertoire of Portuguese strategies to manage the labor, dis- cipline, and strategic diaspora of intractable poor men and women. 24 In so doing, I seek to put the little explored subject of labor and conjugal relations on a more rigorous theoretical and comparative footing. Th is Brazilian case study is a precocious example of a state developing and implementing poli- cies intended to promote heterosexual citizenship. 25 I bring together the analytical threads laid out here within and among chapters in a layered fashion. Most chapters are thematic save for chapter 2, which provides a historical narrative to situate Fernando de Noronha’s evolv- ing place in Brazil’s penal system, politics, and imaginations. In so doing, I off er a critique of the shallow southward reach of Atlantic history. Th is book seeks to expand this subfi eld geograph i cally by “Re-Capricorning” the At- lantic to bring the south Atlantic more fully into Atlantic history’s purview, and temporally to follow Atlantic history themes out of the early modern period and into the long nineteenth century. 26

notes

INTRODUCTION

Epigraph: “Lambança [sic] não me faz medo / Nem choro não me faz dó [sic]: / Eu

te mando pra Fernande [sic, de Noronha] / Te meto no

xilandró. . . .

/ Si resmungar,

leva peia! / Si chorar, leva cipó!” Leonardo Motta, Violeiros do norte, 86–87. I thank

Linda Lewin for sharing Severino Perigo’s verses. For more on Severino Perigo, see

Nei Lopes, Enciclopédia brasileira da Diáspora Africana, 164.

  • 1. Carpenter used the phrase “ocean resort” in his novel, but I added the expres-

sion “Life of Riley” to describe his depiction of the lives of convicts on Fernando

de Noronha. Carpenter, Round about Rio, 328–29; “Cornell Men in Brazil,” Cornell

Alumni News, Ithaca, New York, May 9, 1906.

  • 2. Beattie, “ ‘Born under the Cruel Rigor of Captivity’ ”; Hughes, Fatal Shore;

Redfi eld, Space in the Tropics; Edwards, “From the Depths of Patagonia”; Chekhov,

Sakhalin Island.

  • 3. De Souza originally cited in Rodrigues et al., O parlamento e a evolução nacio-

nal, 2:345–346. Aufderheide cited and translated de Souza in “Order and Violence,”

308–309; on improper sentencing, see Bandeira Filho, “Informações,” 21.

  • 4. In 1850, an imperial decision clarifi ed that slave convicts could not benefi t

from Article 311 of the Penal Code, which substituted the sentence of galés for that of prison with work; see Brazil, Código Criminal do Imperio do Brazil, 26n23.

  • 5. Barman, Brazil, the Forging of a Nation, 1798–1852; Carvalho, A construção da

ordem, ch. 3; Chalhoub, Visões da liberdade; Needell, Th e Party of Order; Pereira,

Visões da monarquia.

  • 6. Fleury, “Parecer,” 5.

  • 7. Hunt, Inventing Human Rights, 92; Algranti, O feitor ausente, 36.

  • 8. Linebaugh, Th e London Hanged; Beattie, Policing and Punishment. Some U.S.

states experimented with the “milder” punishment of castration for slaves convicted

of rape; see Summerville, “Rape, Race, and Castration”; Coates, Convicts and Or-

phans; Bender, Angola under the Portuguese. 9. Notable exceptions are Aguirre, Th e Criminals of Lima; Salla and Adorno, As prisões em São Paulo.

  • 10. Th e Justice Ministry changed the title of commander to director in 1877; but

to avoid confusion, I refer to the colony’s chief offi cial as the commander through-

out the book.

  • 11. Livro da Matricula geral dos sentenciados com declaração de todas as cir-

cumstancias desde sua chegada a este presidio, e sua retirada, conforme determina o regulamento mandado executar pelo decreto, no. 3.403, de 11 de Fevereiro de 1865, Fernando de Noronha, ANR, Seção de Justiça, livro IIJ 7 94; the phrase “degree of unfreeness” invokes Rebecca Scott’s Degrees of Freedom; I also borrow from James C. Scott’s Seeing Like a State.

  • 12. Mamigonian, “To Be a Liberated African”; Souza, Escravidão ou morte.

  • 13. MacCord analyzes how free artisan laborers of color in Recife battled the “de-

feito mecânico,” or the low esteem of manual labor; see Artifi ces da cidadania, 27–31.

On labor and charity, see Fraga Filho, Mendigos.

  • 14. I borrow from Cope’s use of “racial drift ” in Th e Limits of Racial Domination.

  • 15. Mamigonian, “To Be a Liberated African,” ch. 3; Kraay, “Th e Shelter of the

Uniform”; Bieber, “Slavery and Social Life”; Beattie, Th e Tribute of Blood; Meznar,

“Th e Ranks of the Poor,” 336–337; Carvalho, “Os índios de Pernambuco”; Carvalho,

“Quem furta”; Chalhoub, A força, esp. chap. 9. Th e struggle to abolish military im- pressment and slavery in the Atlantic world has historic parallels. Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker in Th e Many-Headed Hydra show that members of Cromwell’s New Model Army compared military impressment to slavery and called for bond- age’s abolition in Britain’s Ca rib be an colonies. Th e French compared serfdom and slavery (Harms, Th e Diligent, 22–23); Brazilians noted the relationship between serfdom and coercive military recruitment in Rus sia to highlight the similar lowly status of soldiering in their own slaveholding nation (Beattie, “Mea sures of Man- hood,” 233–234).

  • 16. Soares, A negregada instituição; Chandler, Th e Bandit King Lampião; Lewin,

“Th e Oligarchical Limitations of Social Banditry”; Holloway, “A Healthy Terror”; Holloway, Policing Rio de Janeiro.

  • 17. Nina Rodrigues, As raças humanas e a responsibilidade penal no Brasil.

  • 18. Beattie, “Conscription versus Penal Servitude.”

  • 19. Garland, Punishment and Modern Society, 278.

  • 20. Goff man, Asylums, 11–12.

  • 21. Coser, Greedy Institutions; Scott, “Gender.”

  • 22. Some women of public authority were Pedro’s daughter, Princess Isabel; his

wife, the Imperatriz Leopoldina; and the imperial midwife, Madame Durocher; Bar- man, Princess Isabel of Brazil; Windler, “Madame Durocher’s Per for mance.”

  • 23. Foucault, Discipline and Punish; Foucault, Th e History of Sexuality. For a

critique of Foucauldian approaches in Mexico, see Piccato, “Such a Strong Need.”

  • 264 NOTES TO INTRODUCTION

24.

Ignatieff , A Just Mea sure of Pain, 11; Zinoman, Th e Colonial Bastille, 16–17;

Coates, Convicts and Orphans, 21–41. My views coincide with critiques of the dichotomy between premodern and modern penology; see Czeblakow, “A Prison by any Other Name.”

  • 25. Canaday, Th e Straight State.

  • 26. Beattie, “ ‘ReCapricorning’ the Atlantic”; Szuchman, Th e Middle Period in

Latin America; Voss, Latin America in the Middle Period. Green and Morgan call for extending Atlantic history forward chronologically in “Introduction: Th e Present State of Atlantic History,” esp. 21.

1. GETTING TO KNOW “FERNANDO”

  • 1. FFMV ao FAR, FN, Jan. 10, 1853, APEJE, l. FN-5, f. 60.

  • 2. Carvalho describes the lives of escravos de ganho in Liberdade, 253–274; on Quitandeiaras, see Silva, “Delindra Maria de Pinho.”

    • 3. Relação dos sentenciados que declararam terem vendido legumes a preta Iza-

bel que faz parte da familia do illustrissimo Tenente Coronel Commandante FFMV

ao FAR, FN, Jan. 14, 1853, APEJE, l. FN-5, f. 60.

  • 4. DTR ao LRB, FN, June 22, 1819, APEJE, l. FN-1, f. 50–51.

  • 5. Branner noted that his voyage to the island on a “small steamer” took two- and-

one- half days; “Th e Convict Island,” 34.

  • 6. Diário de Pernambuco, Recife, Aug. 26, 1885.

  • 7. Captain Joaquim Domingos de Carvalho ao FJPL, FN, Oct. 21, 1881, l. FN-21,

no f. nos.

  • 8. “Fernando Noronha,” Scribner’s Monthly, Feb. 1876, 538–539.

  • 9. Beaurepaire Rohan, “A Ilha,” esp. 25.

    • 10. Branner, “Th e Convict Island,” 34–35.

    • 11. Nicoll, Th ree Voyages of a Naturalist, 13.

    • 12. FJPL ao JMF, FN, Aug. 19, 1884, APEJE, l. FN-23, no f. nos.

    • 13. Songini, Th e Lost Fleet, 177.

    • 14. Warrin, So Th is Day Ends.

    • 15. Semmes, My Adventures Afl oat, 597.

    • 16. Lea, “Th e Island,” 427.

    • 17. Derby, “Fernando de Noronha,” Rio News, Feb. 24, 1881, 1.

    • 18. Relatorio, FN, Jan. 1, 1885, APEJE, l. FN-24, f. 17, 85.

    • 19. Derby, “Fernando de Noronha,” Rio News, Feb. 24, 1881, 1.

    • 20. Freyre compared slave quarters to jails in Th e Mansions and the

Shanties, 170.

  • 21. FJPL ao BVB, FN, April 28, 1868, APEJE, l. FN-13, f. 301.

  • 22. In 1869, there were far fewer buildings owned by individuals: seven made

of stone with clay tile roofs, 48 of stone with thatch roofs, and 284 made of taipa.

Mappa de Edifi cações, FN, Jan. 1, 1869, APEJE, l. FN-14, f. 20.

  • 23. Derby, “Fernando de Noronha,” Rio News, Feb. 24, 1881, 1.

  • 24. SARB ao STM, FN, Oct. 16, 1856, APEJE, l. FN-6, f. 449.