Don Jose Moriino y Redondo Floridablanca - Encyclopedia

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DON JOSE MORIINO Y REDONDO, FLORIDABLANCA Count of (1728-1808), Spanish statesman, was born at Murcia in 1728. He was the son of a retired army officer, and received a good education, which he completed at the university of Salamanca, especially applying himself to the study of law. For a time he followed the profession of an advocate, and acquired a high reputation. A more public career was opened to him by the marquis of Esquilache, then chief minister of state, who sent him ambassador to Pope Clement XIV. Successful in his mission, he was soon after appointed by Charles III. successor to his patron, and his administration was one of the most brilliant Spain had ever seen. He regulated the police of Madrid, reformed many abuses, projected canals, established many societies of agriculture and economy and many philanthropical institutions, and gave encouragement to learning, science and the fine arts. Commerce flourished anew under his rule, and the long-standing disputes with Portugal about the South American colonies were settled. He sought to strengthen the alliance of Spain with Portugal by a double marriage between the members of the royal houses, designing by this arrangement to place ultimately a Spanish prince on the throne of Portugal. But in this he failed. Floridablanca was the right-hand man of King Charles III. in his policy of domestic reform, and was much under the influence of French philosoplies and economic writers. Like other reformers of that school he was a strong supporter of the royal authority and a convinced partisan of benevolent despotism. The French Revolution frightened him into reaction, and he advocated the support of the first coalition against France. He retained his office for three years under Charles IV.; but in 1792, through the influence of the favourite Godoy, he was dismissed and imprisoned in the castle of Pampeluna. Here he was saved from starvation only by the intervention of his brother. He was afterwards allowed to retire to his estates, and remained in seclusion till the French invasion of 1808. He was then called by his countrymen to take the presidency of the central junta. But his strength failed him, and he died at Seville on the 20th of November of the same year. He left several short treatises on jurisprudence.

See Obras originales del Conde de Floridablanca, edited, with biographical introduction, by A. Ferrer del Rio; in the Biblioteca de Rivadeneyra, vol. lix.

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