JOSE MARIA QUIEPO DE LLANO RUIZ DE [[Saravia TORENO, Count]] Of (1786-1843), Spanish politician and historian, was born at Oviedo on the 25th of November 1786. His family was wealthy and belonged to the most ancient nobility of Asturias. His mother, Dominga Ruiz de Saravia, had property in the province of Cuenca. The son received a better education in classics, mathematics and modern languages than was usual at that time. The young viscount of Matarrosa, the title he bore in his father's lifetime, was introduced to the writings of Voltaire and Rousseau by the abbot of the Benedictine house of Monserrat in Madrid. He was present at Madrid when the city rose against Murat on the 2nd of May 1808, and took part in the struggle which was the beginning of the Peninsular War. From Madrid he escaped to Asturias, and on the 30th of May he embarked in a Jersey privateer at Gijon, with other delegates, in order to ask for the help of England against the French. The deputation was enthusiastically received in London. By the 30th of December he was back in Asturias, his father having died in the interval. During the Peninsular War he saw some service in the first occupation of Asturias by the French, but he was mainly occupied by his duties as a member of the Cortes. In 1809 he was at Seville, where one of his uncles was a member of the central Junta. In the following year he was a leader of the party which compelled the Regency to summon the Cortes - to which he was elected by Asturias early in 1811 though he wanted some months of the legal age of twenty-five. His election was opposed by some of his own relatives who did not share his advanced opinions, but it was ratified by the Cortes. Toreno was conspicuous among the well-meaning men who framed the constitution of 1812, which was made as if it was meant for some imaginary. republic and not for Catholic and monarchical Spain. When Ferdinand VII. returned from prison in France in 1814 Toreno foresaw a reaction, and put himself out of reach of the king. He was the more an object of suspicion because his brotherin-law, Porlier, perished in a wild attempt to support the constitution by force. Toreno remained in exile till the outbreak of the revolution of 1820. Between that year and 1823 he was in Spain serving in the restored Cortes, and experience had abated his radical ardour. When the French intervened in 1823 Toreno had again to go into exile, and remained abroad till the king published the amnesty of the 15th of October 1832. He returned home in July 1833, but remained on his estates till the king's death on the 29th of September. As hereditary standard bearer of Asturias (Alferez Mayor) it fell to him to proclaim the young queen, Isabella II. In 1834 his now moderate opinions pointed him out to the queen regent, Maria Christina, as a useful man for office. In June 1834 he was minister of finance, and became prime minister on the 7th of June. His tenure of the premiership lasted only till the 14th of September of the same year, when the regent's attempt to retain a practically despotic government under a thin constitutional veil broke down. The greater part of the remainder of his life was spent in voluntary exile, and he died in Paris on the 16th of September 1843. As a politician he felt the need for a revision of the worn out despotism which ruled till 1808, but he was destitute of any real political capacity. Toreno is chiefly remembered as the author of the History of the Rising, War and Revolution of Spain, which he began between 182 3 and 1832 and published in1836-1838in Paris. As a work of military criticism it is not of high value, and Toreno was prejudiced in favour of his colleagues of the Cortes, whose errors and excesses he shared in and excused. The book is, however, written in excellent Castilian, and was compiled with industry. It is worth consulting as an illustration of the time in which the author lived, as a patriotic Spanish view of the war, and for the prominence it gives to the political side of the Peninsular War, which he justly treated as a revolution.
A biography by Don Antonio de Cueto is prefixed to the reprint of the Levantamiento guerra y revolution de Espana, in vol. lxiv. of the Biblioteca de autores espanoles of Rivadeneyra (Madrid 1846-1880).
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