THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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ARANDA, PEDRO PABLO ABARCA DE BOLEA, Count of (1719-1798), Spanish minister and general, was born at the castle of Siétamo, a lordship of his family near Huesca in Aragon, on the 1st of August 1719. The house of Abarca was very ancient, a fact of which Don Pedro, who never forgot that he was a “rico hombre” (noble) of Aragon, was deeply conscious. He was educated partly at Bologna and partly at the military school of Parma. In 1740 he entered the army as captain in the regiment “Castilla,” of which his father was proprietary colonel. On the death of his father he became colonel, and served in the Italian campaigns of the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1749 he married Doña Ana, daughter of the 9th duke of Hijar, by whom he had one son, who died young, and a daughter. During the following years he travelled and visited the camp of Frederick the Great, whose system of drill he admired and afterwards introduced into the Spanish army. After a short period of diplomatic service in Portugal, where his exacting temper made it impossible for him to agree with the premier, Pombal, he returned to Madrid, was made a knight of the Golden Fleece, and director-general of artillery—a post which he threw up, together with his rank of lieutenant-general, because he was not allowed to punish certain fraudulent contractors. The king, Ferdinand VI., exiled him to his estates, but Charles III. on his accession took him into favour. He was again employed in diplomacy, and then appointed to command an army against Portugal in 1763. In 1764 he was made governor of Valencia. When in 1766 the king was driven from his capital in a riot, he summoned Aranda to Madrid and made him president of the council, and captain-general of New Castile. Until 1773 Aranda was the most important minister in Spain. He restored order and aided the king most materially in his work of administrative reform. But his great achievements, which gave him a high reputation throughout Europe with the philosophical and anti-clerical parties, were his expulsion of the Jesuits, whom the king considered responsible for the riot of 1766, and the active part he took in the suppression of the order. Aranda had come much under foreign influence by his education and his travels, and had acquired the reputation of being a confirmed sceptic. By Voltaire and the Encyclopaedists he was erected into a hero from whom great things were expected. His ability, his 318 remarkable capacity for work, and his popularity made him indispensable to the king. But he was a trying servant, for his temper was captious and his tongue sarcastic, while his aristocratic arrogance led him to display an offensive contempt for the golillas (the stiff collars), as he called the lawyers and public servants whom the king preferred to choose as ministers, and he permitted himself an amazing freedom of language with his sovereign. At last Charles III. sent him as ambassador to Paris in a disguised disgrace. Aranda held this position till 1787, but in Paris he was chiefly known for his oddities of manner and for perpetual wrangling with the French on small points of etiquette. He resigned his post for private reasons. In the reign of Charles IV., with whom he had been on familiar terms during the life of the old king, he was for a very short time prime minister in 1792. In reality he was merely used as a screen by the queen Maria Louisa and her favourite godoy. His open sympathy with the French Revolution brought him into collision with the violent reaction produced in Spain by the excesses of the Jacobins, while his temper, which had become perfectly uncontrollable with age, made him insufferable to the king. After his removal from office he was imprisoned for a short time at Granada, and was threatened with a trial by the Inquisition. The proceedings did not go beyond the preliminary stage, and Aranda died at Epila on the 9th of January 1798.

See Don Jacobo de la Pezuela in the Revista de España, vol. xxv. (1872); Don Antonio Ma. Fabié, in the Diccionario general de politica y administration of Don E. Suarez Inclan (Madrid, 1868), vol. i.; M. Morel Fatio, Études sur l’Espagne (2nd series, Paris, 1890).

(D. H.)
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