Magistrate, statesman, university teacher, head of the Polytechnic Academy of Porto and Rector of the University of Coimbra
Portrait by João Marques de Oliveira (1899)
Adriano de Abreu Cardoso Machado was born in Monção on 17 July 1829. He was the son of Rodrigo de Abreu Machado, owner of Negrelos, and Maria Eufrásia de Abreu Cardoso Machado, and the nephew of José Machado, 1st Baron of S. Tiago de Lordelo and Rector of the University of Coimbra (1850-1853).
He completed his early studies in Porto, where he prepared to enter University. In 1844, he enrolled at the Faculty of Law of Coimbra. During the course, he studied languages at the High School of Coimbra, including English, German and Greek. While the University of Coimbra was closed in the academic year 1846-1847 due to the political uprisings that shook the country, he furthered his secondary studies, especially German, at the Colégio da Formiga. In 1850, after graduating with distinction, he attended the 6th year at the Faculty of Law and studied Physics and Mineral Chemistry, at the Faculty of Philosophy.
He completed his doctorate in Law on 25 May 1851 and in 1855 he began teaching at the Faculty of Law in the University of Coimbra, first as extraordinary substitute teacher (appointed on 19 May 1855 and took up office on the 29th of the same month), later as an ordinary substitute teacher (appointed on 22 August and took up office on the 1st of October), until March 1858. In January 1857, he was appointed Deputy Judge.
After the establishment of the chair of Political Economics and Introduction to Administrative and Commercial Law at the Polytechnic Academy Porto by law of 15 July 1857, Adriano Machado competed for this chair in April the following year, along with Arnaldo Gama, historical novelist, Custódio José Vieira, lawyer, adviser José Luciano de Castro and António Ribeiro da Costa e Almeida. In this competition, Adriano Machado e José de Castro had to discuss the Utility of Trees, regulations that exist or should exist on their plantation, their conservation and felling. He lent a book about on the subject to his opponent and this started a long lasting relationship. Adriano Machado came in first in the competition and was appointed on 17 July 1858, having received the royal writ on 1 September and taking up office on 1 October that same year.
In 1859 he practiced in Porto. Between 1860 and 1862, he became a member of the District Council of Porto and in 1862 he was elected by the Porto District Attorney to join the General District Board. In April 1864 he was appointed member of the commission responsible for supervising the General Population Census (carried out in December of the previous year).
In 1864, he represented the council of Vila Nova de Gaia at the General District Board, prompting him to write the report entitled "Consultation of the General District Board of the Porto District, in 1864". This famous document urged the closing down of the foundling wheels, and earned the praise of the novelist Camilo Castelo Branco. At that time, he was appointed Rector of the High School and Studies Commissioner of the Porto District.
Adriano Machado was appointed Director General of Public Education in 1865. In this post, he fought against the exclusive granting of benefits to the scientific establishments of Lisbon. For example, he succeeded in having the students of the The Porto Academy of Fine Arts receive grants to study abroad to improve their technical and artistic knowledge – until then these grants were awarded only to students from the capital. The first Porto Academy fine arts student to benefit from this State grant was the sculptor Soares dos Reis, who furthered his studies in Rome and Paris.
In the following years, Adriano Machado was awarded the title of Commander of the Order of Nossa Senhora de Vila Viçosa (1867) and assumed the responsibilities of the Polytechnic Academy of Porto. He was appointed by decree of 8 June 1869 and royal writ dated 20 February 1876, taking up office on 27 September of that year. He resigned in 1881.
He was elected Member of Parliament for the Penafiel constituency between 1870-71 and 1871-74, and for Porto in 1879 and 1880-81. He became Secretary of the House of Representatives between October and December 1870, Minister of justice between 1879 and 1881, and returned to his teaching duties at the Polytechnic Academy in 1881.
In 1882, Adriano Machado interrupted his work and retired to his estate in Marecos, Santo Tirso. In 1885, however, he returned to his academic duties, representing the Polytechnic Academy of Porto at the Higher Council of Public Education. In that same year, he was elected Peer of the Realm.
Although retired since 30 October 1885, in 1886 he was appointed Rector of the University of Coimbra. During his term of office (1886-1890), Adriano Machado had to deal with the students’ strike at the Faculty of Mathematics and Philosophy, and the strife between the Faculty of Theology and the Bishop-Count of Coimbra, D. Manuel Correia de Bastos Pina, concerning a decree issued by the Sacred Congregation of the Index (1887). While he was Rector, the Drama Academy, renamed Academic Association of Coimbra, received new statutes in 1887.
In addition to being a speaker, Adriano Machado also excelled as a collaborator of the Porto periodical "Diário Progressista", the official body for the Progressive Party which he had helped create.
In 1888, Adriano Machado was elected Life Peer of the realm and awarded the Grand-Cross of the Order of Coroa do Carvalho granted by the King of Holland, and the Grand-Cross of the Order of Christ. Adriano Machado was, since 1867, Commander of the Order of Nossa Senhora da Conceição de Vila Viçosa. In January 1890, he was appointed Attorney General of the Crown, but a few months later, in August, he was stricken by typhoid. He suffered from tuberculosis peritonitis in Porto.
Adriano Machado died in Porto on 25 May 1891 and was buried in the family vault in the cemetery of Ordem da Lapa. His funeral was attended by the representatives of the House of Peer and the House of Representatives, of the Polytechnic Academy of Porto and of the University of Coimbra. The Mayor of Porto and the Rector of the University of Coimbra read the eulogy.
Universidade Digital / Gestão de Informação, 2012. Scientific Review by Jorge Fernandes Alves (FLUP)