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Number 10. January of 1999. Spanish language  Principal menu

Count of Aranda


D. Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea and Ximénez of Urrea, X th count of Aranda, was born in his castle of Siétamo (Huesca) on August -1-1719 and was graduated in the University of Huesca, in whose auditorium would occupy place of honor his portrait. Throughout his life it is counted on the service to four kings: Felipe V, Fernando VI, Carlos III and Carlos IV; it results difficult to establish a values scale that give the exact measure of this "aragonesian" two times a Great of Spain of first class, that became the general captain younger of Carlos III and than reached, between other purposes, that of ambassador in Portugal (1755-56), general Artillery Director and Engineers (1756-58), ambassador in Poland (1760-62), general chief of the invading army of Portugal (1762-63), president of the High Military Court that judged to the officers that lost The Havana, conquered by the Englishs (1764-65), general captain, president of the Hearing and viceroy of Valencia (1765-66), president of the Council of Castille (Consejo de Castilla) and general captain of the same kingdom (1766-1773), ambassador and plenipotentiary minister of Spain in Paris (1773-1787) and, finally, interim State Secretary or prime minister of Carlos IV (1792), for then to follow as dean of the State Council (1793-94).

The count of Aranda was, first of all, a soldier by vocation and by profession. However, in spite his active participation in the Italy campaigns, where to the twenty-one years reached the degree of Infantry colonel, neither in those of Portugal, where he obtained that of general captain when was 43 years old, his military career was a failure, since it could not exercise it to be to him trusting other diplomatic and political charges.  Count of Aranda  bust Thus, neither in the Morocco war (1774), nor in the disaster of Argel (1 775), neither, in the first site of Gibraltar (1779-80), nor in the conquest of Menorca (1781), neither in the second siege of Gibraltar (1782) he procured that Carlos III would call to him, in spite of their petitions, aspirations and until intempereances to obtain such end. This aspect of the Count has not been duly valued, in spite of the fact that constitutes, without doubt, his personal qualification more outstanding. And though, as himself was asserting, he developed other many activities: as governing, diplomatic, industrial (we recall his ceramics factory of Alcora).... to nothing he professed so outstanding love as to his military profession, passion that bequeathed us two works, still in force, as are the military Ordinances, and the real Anthem that was brought as a Prussian obsequiousness.

However, in spite of his extraordinary soldier and political record that would be completed with their honors, pre-eminences and their twenty-three nobiliaries titles, the Count of Aranda continues being an unknown. More yet, within the so easy as untruthful historiography of good-men and bad-men, of victors and expired, to the count it has touched to him to perform the paper of bad-man. Rarely is mentioned to him if it is not to recall his character enciclopedistic and "Volterian" (with all what this has of negative in certain mentalities), his enmity to the Jesuits, his friendship with the French revolutionaries or his intended foundation of the Spanish Masonry; topical that it form a portrait esterreotyped of Aranda already, and that, unfortunately, still are repeated until the satiety in our days. Menéndez y Pelayo defines it thus: "Militar of Aragón, of ferreous character, inured to the inflexible despotism; a Pombal in small, though it value more than he, and he had certain sharp integrity to the style of his land; impious and enciclopedistic, friend of Voltaire, of d'Alernbert and of the demolishes Raynal; despotic reformer, at the same time that furious supporter of the real authority, even though in their last years watched with friendliness the French revolutionaries, no longer that as far as he is concerned no-religious". Still it can be read at the bottom of his photograph, in the volume IV of the published Universal History by the Institute Gallach of Barcelona, the following: "D. Pedro Abarca de Bolea, impious and enciclopedistic, intimate friend of Voltaire, Great Master of the Masonry and principal accomplisher of the conspiracy against the Jesuits".

This is, by thus to say, the offical image of Aranda. However, the authentic image of the Count of Aranda is very other, since was not so impious neither enciclopledistic as it is said, nor intimate friend of Voltaire, neither of course great master of the Masonry, and nor even enemy of the Jesuits, but rather the contrary.

Certainly Aranda was an illustrated minister, and the part that took in the expulsion of the Jesuits extended his reputation to the other side of the Pyrinees. How much mention the years that lasted his embassy in France he repeatedly speaks of the friendship that knotted in Paris with some philosophers and enciclopedistics of renown. However, nobody has provided still documentation that give soundness to the aspect enciclopedistic of Aranda with what of impious or irreligious tends to carry with himself this epithet. Since neither the so aired letter of Condorcet (1792), nor the words of Voltaire in his philosophical Dictionary, neither much less the praises that Fígaro devoted to him, the untruthful marquis of Langle, have more value than the purely anecdotal of showing the ingenuousness of who ignore who was and how he was thinking the Count of Aranda of the jacobins and of the French revolutionaries. Thought that it remained well patent in the political crisis of the 10 of August of 1792, in the one which was decided go to war against the revolutionary France and where he qualified them with not very affectionate epithet as insurgents and fanaticals rooster, against who had prepared a well deliberate assault; project that he maintained with illusion, even quite days after of the disaster of Valmy, until the evidence of the circumstances imposed to him the pacifism. As comments Chaumié, "Aranda, in spite of the philosophical glaze that he had been able to catch in Paris in his relationships to the Enciclopedistics, he was staying substantially Spanish and very distrustful of all current from thought originating from the other side of the Pyrinees, already he came of the revolutionary agents, or of the realistics migrateed". This pacifism that Aranda defended to death, it carried to him to the personal confrontation with Godoy, throughout 1794, that it would finish with the deportation and subsequent process of Aranda: the ambassador of Vienna in Madrid, Count von Kageneck, in his correspondence with the imperial court came will go forming day to day that tenacity and witness of Aranda by maintaining a pacifism that would be falsely interpreted as connivance or revolutionary friendship.

Concerning the presumed foundation of the Spanish Masonry by the count of Aranda, one of the topics that with more force has rooted, one must to say that it does not go from be a mere forged legend and spread around the end of XIX century and that lacks all value and soundness. Aranda not only it did not establish the Spanish Masonry, but not even he was Mason, as they have let of recent manifest many investigations and publications.

Other topical or ghost with which has been loaded to the count Aranda, it has been his hate against the Company of Jesús or, better said, against the Jesuits. In fact, in spite of all the legend that it was made to present to him as the enemy of the Jesuits and the responsible great for their expulsion, his paper was limited in large part, and in quality of Supreme Justice of the Kingdom and general commander of the Army and Policeman, to put in practice a resolution that it was being prepared in Madrid a time before he would be called to the court. Aranda acted as a strategist that provides and develops a well conceived plan - that resulted almost perfect - and of the that cared until the most minimal detail, as was the tobacco and chocolate that the drived out could be carried between their things; the number of religious that they had to go in each calash or car; to seek master that they substituted them, so that are not interrupted neither an alone day the classes in their associations. Or if it is preferred, "he acted "as a hangman to who it is made to him to come the eve from a execution", according to words from Las Casas, ambassador from Spain in Venice, who already in 1792 were missed of the fact that all Europe attributed to him the expulsion of the Jesuits of Spain, when in reality "he did not had part some; it was commissioned with the execution. This is all. It was one of the last to who was said to him, when was already this resolved".

In this sense, it results symptomatic that the same Jesuit drived out, of the only one that they speak with fondness and gratefulness will be precisely about the count of Aranda. And it is that from his infancy was intimately bound with them. His first instruction was made by two Jesuits ( José Martínez, procuratory of the Jesuitical province of Aragón, and Tomás Cerdá, philosopher and mathematical). On the other hand, not only it was blood brother of a Jesuit (Gregorio Iriarte), to who he did not permit to go to the deportation, but counting on sincere and staunch friends in the order: Isidro López (confessor of his woman), his cousin José Pignatelli (today Sant José Pignatelli), Antonio Poyanos and so many other, who in the Italy deportation were following to him staunch in their fondness and friendship. Friendship to the one which the count was corresponding helping them economically. It does not make lack to appeal to the Father Coloma, Photohraph of a portrait of D. Pedro Abarca who asserts that the Count of Aranda were distinguished by his many personal and extraordinary favores facts to numerous Jesuit, since are preserved in the National Historical File of Madrid indeed eloquent testimonies of the secretary of Aranda, Clemente Campos, who visited of part of the count not few of the Jesuits drived out in Bologna, Ferrara and Venice, during the summer of 1786.

Of the three embassies that must redeem, in Lisbon, Warsaw and Paris, one must emphasize his participation in the Third Family Agreement, and thereinafter in the negotiations that carried to the independence of the American colonies and constitution of the America U.S..

Of his Americanist preoccupation to preserve the Spanish overseas possessions there are testimonies that let witness of the fact that this was an obsessive idea in Aranda, the one which carried to him to propose a series of solutions that they were not attended, in spite of the fact that the history would finish giving to him the reason, in what marvel his prophetic vision of the future.

Of the link of the count of Aranda to Aragón remain authentics tests through famous "aragonesian party" or of the Economic Society of Aragón of "Friends of the Country", where expressed his special interest by the works of Aragón, as the construction of the Imperial Channel of Aragón, or his projects by making navigable the Ebro river, or simply his efforts by palliateing " so much damage and abandonments that of centuries have annihilated the Kingdom of Aragón". He expired on 9 of January of 1798, in his palace of Épila (where had been withdrawn was making three years) when he was 79 years old, letting an inheritance of 9.000 piasters of annual revenue, the one which would happen to the family of the Duke of Híjar, after the death of the Mrs. María PIlar

His will, expressed twelve years before his death, were that his corpse would be moved to the monastery of San Juán de la Peña, to rest to the side of his greater; as such be made, depositing the remains of the Count in the chapel of Nuestra Señora del Pilar. In 1869, and with motive of the project of National Pantheon of famous men, they were exhumed his remains and moved to the church of San Francisco El Grande of Madrid; but, not being accomplished that work, he were deposited again in the monastery of Upper Aragón, on 2 of July of 1883.

The Count of Aranda contracted marriage, by powers, in Madrid, on 21 of March of 1739, when he was 19 years old, with Ana María del Pilar Fernández de Híjar, daughter of the VIII th duke of Híjar. Luis August, only male son of the counts of Aranda, expired in Zaragoza in 1755, remaining without masculine descendents the house of the Aranda. On 10 of December 1783 expired also his wife. However, Aranda, desirous of giving descendents to his surname, he was returning to be married, being 65 years old, with his niece M.' Pillar Fernández of Híjar and Palafox, 17-year-old.

The City of Huesca, devoted a street to the famous political of the XIX century sir Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea and Ximénez of Urrea, Count of Aranda, that was gathering in itself two of the most illustrious and noble offspring of rich-men of Aragon. It is considered a modest and small street for so illustrious eminent, it was section of the street of the Almendrera (Heredia); today it possesses any very old buildings. It gave a picturesque air, in his blackish pigstay, the figure of Mrs. Vicenta, monitoring day and night the ruins of here house, and the ancient pigs-shop of Miranda, destroyed during the civil war. In other time, and in the festive afternoons, the sidewalks of this street are filled with youths that were ingesting, in the middle of the general hustle, the huge sandwiches of the bar Paris today located in a new local of the neighboring street of the Heredia Brothers street. In the corner with the street of Lanuza it is found the accredited shop of ultramarine and greengrocer of Daniel Calasanz, attended by his woman and sister, Josefina and Felisa, very popular in the neighborhood.

This street communicates that of Lanuza with that of Heredia and belongs to the parish and neighborhood of Santo Domingo and San Martín.

Bibliography. * "Great Encyclopedia of Aragón". ** "The Streets of Huesca" by Julio V. Brioso

* Manuel Tomé Bosqued.

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