By age 21, the founder of Fonseca, Manuel Pedro Guimaraens, or MPG, as he is affectionately called by his descendants, had already become deeply involved in the liberal movement that swept Europe in the wake of the French Revolution of 1789. When the civil war, known as the War of Two Brothers, broke out in 1826 between the reigning absolutist, Dom Miguel, and supporters of his liberalist brother, Dom Pedro, Guimaraens was already a close friend and ally of the liberal militant leaders in northern Portugal. Forced to flee the country several times, in 1834 he departed Portugal for the last time, smuggled aboard a ship bound for London in an empty Port pipe.
Exiled in London, Guimaraens continued his advocacy of the Liberal cause before the Court of Saint James and Parliament, and organized a system through which funds could be channeled secretly from Portugal to Portuguese political refugees throughout Europe. His contribution so greatly aided the liberal revolution of 1832 that in 1835, Portugal’s new queen, Dom Pedro’s daughter Dona Maria da Gloria II, named Guimaraens a member and later Knight Commander of the Order of Christ.