Flávio Santos apresenta O Grande Editor Francisco de Paula Brito.

Em 1831 surgiu no Rio de Janeiro um jornal de crítica literária chamado Simplício. O novo diário caiu no gosto da ainda acanhada, porém agitada população alfabetizada do Brasil do Período Regencial. Quatro anos depois apareceu na praça do Rio uma nova folha escrita em quadrinhas rimadas – A Mulher do Simplício, que cobria os acontecimentos da corte, suas modas, tornando-se tão popular quanto o “marido”. A novidade foi impressa por um tipógrafo muito querido pela população e tido, posteriormente, como “protegido do Imperador D. Pedro II”. Era Francisco de Paula Brito, o primeiro grande empresário negro da História do Brasil.

 

 Paula Brito nasceu no Rio de Janeiro, no dia 2 de dezembro de 1809, na rua do Piolho (atual rua da Carioca), neto do toreuta (escultor de metal, marfim e madeira) e sargento-mór Martinho Pereira de Brito, comandante do 4.o Regimento de Milicianos, chamados Pardos e filho do carpinteiro Jacintho Antunes Duarte e de Dona Maria Joaquina da Conceição Brito. Em 1815 sua família se mudou para a localidade de Suruí, distrito de Magé, no Estado do Rio de Janeiro. Retornou à Corte com o avô no ano de 1824. Trabalhou em uma farmácia, na Tipografia Nacional e no Jornal do Commercio como redator, tradutor e contista.

 Mas foi no Período Regencial (1831-1840) que a carreira e a vida pessoal de Paula Brito decolaram. Casou-se com Dona Rufina da Costa Brito em 1830. Abriu sua tipografia na praça da Constituição, antigo Largo do Rocio, atual praça Tiradentes. O novo negócio funcionou originalmente no número 51, antiga loja de Silvino José de Almeida.

A Tipografia Fluminense de Paula Brito & Companhia se transformou em lugar de reunião dos intelectuais ligados ao movimento romântico e políticos da época. Paula Brito foi o editor de novos talentos e de personalidades da vida cultural. Pelas prensas de sua tipografia passaram vários impressos políticos assinados com pseudônimos. Em 1833 lançou O Homem de Côr, depois chamado O Mulato, abrindo espaço para discussões de questões raciais. Foi editor dos populares A Marmota na Corte (1849), depois a Marmota Fluminense (1852) e finalmente, A Marmota, de 1875.

 

 Nos fundos de sua tipografia, Paula Brito e seus amigos, Machado de Assis, Araújo Porto Alegre, Casimiro de Abreu, José de Alencar, Laurindo Rebelo e outros fundaram a Sociedade Petalógica (1840) — de peta ou mentira – uma associação (sem estatutos) literária, humorística e artística onde os luminares discutiam e praticavam política, literatura, música e teatro.

 

 A praça Tiradentes de meados do XIX era o local preferido de acampamento dos ciganos. Era o lar do Dr. Fernando Sebastião Dias da Motta, erudito do jornal Tribuna Judiciária. A casa do Dr. Dias da Cruz, médico humanitário. Local do bar do Braguinha, onde os homens de letras e do teatro se reuniam. Braga, português bondoso, gordo e atarracado, era amigo do ator João Caetano. O antigo largo abrigava ainda o Clube Fluminense (funcionou no atual Solar do Visconde do Rio Seco), com entrada pela rua do Conde, n.2, propriedade do empresário Augusto Carlos Gonçalves e Souza.

 

 Foi no luxuoso Fluminense (não confundir com o Fluminense Football Club, fundado em 1902) que ocorreu um episódio lamentável. Um dos membros efetivos do clube recém-fundado (novembro de 1853 e baile de instalação no dia 20/12/1853 com a presença da Família Imperial) não aceitou a filiação de Paula Brito sob a alegação de que se tratava de um “homem de cor”. Era o coice do Brasil escravista. Vários assinantes protestaram contra o preconceito e pediram a retirada de seus nomes da lista de membros do clube. Sobre o ocorrido, um jornal da época, O Grito Nacional, acrescentou:

 

 “Nos nossos theatros publicos não se póde assomar aos camarotes homem, mulher, ou família de côr um pouco mais escura, sem que se brade logo da platéa – mendobi torrado. E a policia ne’um caso faz destas affrontas tão insolentes e imprudentemente jogadas aos homens de côr, livres, tão iguaes e talvez melhores cidadãos, que os que os insultão”.

 

 Alguns contemporâneos nossos chamam Paula Brito de mulato, outros, de negro. O jornal Merrimac, satírico de meados de 1860, fez piada, mas não nos esclarece: “Carne Assada. – Em casa de pobre, é lombo; em casa de rico, ros-bife. Homem de Côr. – sendo pobre, é mulato; sendo rico, é pardo”. São discussões bizantinas…

 

 Nas palavras do escritor Machado de Assis: “Paula Brito foi o primeiro editor digno desse nome que houve entre nós.” É verdade que tivemos no Brasil, anteriormente, o português e tipógrafo Isidoro da Fonseca, a Imprensa Régia, Manuel Antônio da Silva, em Salvador, Estado da Bahia, Pierre René François Plancher de la Noé, do Jornal do Commercio. Mas Paula Brito foi além, era responsável por uma produção incansável, em série, robusta, popular e diversificada. Seria ele o responsável por melhoramentos técnicos na arte tipográfica no Brasil. Era uma espécie de impressor oficial da época, detendo concessões junto à órgãos da máquina pública.

 

 Sua aventura empresarial atingiu o auge com a criação da Empresa Tipográfica Dous de Dezembro, na década de 50. A empresa se tornou um dos maiores parques gráficos do Rio de Janeiro. O plano era capitalizar a companhia com dinheiro de 150 acionistas, totalizando 60 contos de réis (60:000$000). A empresa pagava juros de 6% por ação e dava direito a um exemplar dos impressos da tipografia. Como garantia para o negócio, hipotecou seus bens, notadamente o estabelecimento da praça da Constituição. Infelizmente o negócio funcionou apenas até o ano de 1857, quando a firma abriu falência. Paula Brito se endividou, tentou empréstimos para se reerguer, mas sem sucesso.  

 

Paula Brito morreu no dia 15 de dezembro de 1861, pelas 5 horas da tarde, em sua residência da rua de Sant’Ana, n.25, aos 53 anos, deixando sua viúva endividada e lutando para renovar concessões públicas. Uma multidão se juntou ao cortejo fúnebre. O séquito foi acompanhado por mais de 200 carros. 

Seus adversários políticos, do jornal Diário do Rio de Janeiro, escreveram:

Paula Brito era amigo dedicado e adversário respeitoso. Fiel a suas opiniões e a seus sentimentos só é explicavel a sympatia geral de que se fazia credor pelo espirito de tolerancia e cavalheirismo, que distinguia sempre com todos e em todas as occasiões.

A liltteratura Nacional deve-lhe muito. Era o editor predilecto da mocidade e dos talentos nacionaes, que sempre acharam nelle ou um protector ou um amigo dedicado.”

Publicação Anterior

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Próxima Publicação

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