Ribeiro Sanches: An Enlightened Portuguese
Throughout his long life, including his years in Russia, Ribeiro Sanches kept in touch with ‘Men of Reason’ in many European countries.
Perhaps it is not too risky a generalization to affirm that the European countries least affected by the Enlightenment were the two peripheral states, Portugal and Russia. Even these two hermit kingdoms were affected quite considerably, and Antonio Ribeiro Sanches performed the function of a catalyst of the new ideas in both of them.
Eminently representative of the ‘Age of Reason’ in which he lived, his life-span approximately coincided with that of the Marquis of Pombal, virtual dictator of Portugal from 1755 to 1777, who was certainly influenced by some of his ideas, and who shared his strongly anti-clerical outlook.
Naturally, their views did not coincide in all respects, and Ribeiro Sanches can hardly have approved of the terroristic methods to which Pombal frequently resorted; but they were both numbered among that group of men termed by their compatriots the Estrangeirados.