Biography of Antonio Alcalá Galiano (1789-1865)

Liberal politician, statesman and Spanish writer, born in Cádiz on July 22, 1789 and died on April 11, 1865.


Son of the marine Dionisio Alcalá Galiano, died at Trafalgar, and María Consolación Villavicencio, toured with his father the Mediterranean in 1802, stopping at Naples. In 1806 he joined as a cadet in Spanish marine guards, and the following year was made maestrante of Seville. The 8 of November of 1808 he married María Dolores Aguilar, which separated, for the wife's infidelity, in 1815. Alcala was at that time a young dissolute given to the debauchery and friend with the drunken excess. And also curious of literary and political issues. At an early age began the military career, although he would soon abandon it by policy, within the ranks of liberalism. He was appointed by his friend José García de León y Pizarro added to the Embassy of Spain in London, although he did not take office, by opposing the Ambassador, the count of Fernán Núñez. In 1813 he was appointed to the legation in Sweden, leaving London for the Nordic country on May 15, 1814. But neither diplomacy had to be you, so returned to Spain to take part in literary controversy, although House-Irujo appointed in 1818 Secretary to the legation in the Brazil. In 1820, he actively participated in the genesis of the pronouncement of irrigation against Fernando VII. In his memoirs, he explained that the triumph of the uprising was due to the hatred that had Gallone and numbers to embark to the Americas. For this reason, the sergeants and privates followed liberal and revolutionary ideas of the officers. According to some biographers, it agreed to negotiate with Fray Cirilo de Alameda, an attack against the first Government of the triennium, to sow confusion. According to benign moral Alcalá Galiano pass moderation occurs soon after, when the Government appointed him Governor of Córdoba. He cared very well than save the liberal ways, but was seen again in 1821 in the patriotic societies of Cordoba and Cadiz.

Within the Spanish liberalism, Alcalá Galiano was linked to the exalted group. During the Trienio Liberal, he stood out as great orator, both in La Fontana de Oro, as in the courts. It was part of Freemasonry in a nacionalista-liberal group of strong British influence, which accompanied him some that would be great figures of Spanish politics of the 19th century, as Isturiz and Mendizabal. Deputy in the courts of 1822-1823, he was one of the organizers of the famous Madrid mutiny of February 19, 1823, which prevented the entry of a commoner Ministry. Alcalá Galiano was accumulating resentment did not see recognized their efforts towards the revolt of liberal with the award of the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, which aspired. Indeed, in Cadiz, and the invaded country, was Alcalá Galiano in courts gathered in Seville, June 11, 1823, who proposed the Declaration of insane of Fernando VII. In short, during the triennium, Alcalá Galiano served their own popularity and power, slavishly put at the service of those who held it. Master in confusion and clandestine plots, always with a subtly counter-revolutionary sense, appeared however, or yet, in a document of the General archive of Palacio, undated, as Venerable from the seventh Tower of the community of Madrid. Liberals take much to notice what kind of political animal there were in Alcalá Galiano.

When in 1823 Fernando VII returned to the throne, restoring the absolutism, Alcalá Galiano was sentenced to stick by his involvement in the liberal movement, forcing him into exile in England. This departure from Spain served for it were putting aside their exalted ideas. Although his early London jurisdiction difficult, is it helped by giving Spanish classes, and also lived through the bounty of friends like Javier Istúriz. Despite not receiving aid from the British Government, he was Advisor to the Committee for aid to refugees. He began to strongly admire the stability of English politics, as well as to the practical utilitarians who was known in his exile. He believed that England, anyone who was his Constitution, would remain an aristocratic society. On the other hand, Spain was mainly a plebeian society, by what he considered normal the admiration that the village had shown towards her tyrant, Fernando VII. Thus, he was convinced that to avoid a plebeian Government such as the Spanish, had to be middle and upper classes which work together to deal with the lower classes and, thus, consolidating its status as ruling classes. In 1828 he was appointed Professor of language and Spanish literature at the University of London, with good salary, pronouncing the first lesson on 15 November. The 16 March 1829 opened with a speech the Ateneo Spanish in London, for the education of the children of migrants. In 1830 he moved to Paris.

Alcalá Galiano would not return to Spain until 1832, with the general amnesty decreed by the Government of Cea Bermúdez. When the actual statute was published in 1834, Alcalá resumed his parliamentary activity. He participated in the opposition to Mendizábal, but before he had already figured as a representative of some villages in the province of Cadiz in the revolutionary movement of 1835, matter that it was revoked by the Junta of Cádiz in September 13, 1835. In September and October of 1835 Alcalá Galiano was part of a semi-secret negotiation, next to Argüelles and Isturiz Board of Andújar, in which represented nothing less than to Mendizabal with the sole mission of diverting to the Andalusian revolution in a purely anticarlista sense, which served the interests of the Board of Barcelona, which had a parallel negotiation with the count of the Navas. Thus, it is not strange that by the fall of Mendizábal and form the Government of Isturiz, on May 15, 1836, with the famous conversion of this character to the moderantismo, Alcalá Galiano accompany him, with the same significance, as Minister of the Navy, office where he will remain until August 14, 1836 (date of the fall of Isturiz). The negotiation with the Junta de Andújar showed that both were already moderates in 1835, and long before, and the replacement of Mendizábal was peer tripping. In all this time had been Alcalá Galiano Procurator in the Cortes of the Statute (between 1834 and 1836), but the violent end of the Government's Isturiz forced him to emigrate seeking refuge in France. Not last long this second emigration, as he was elected Deputy for Cadiz in 1837, under the Constitution of this year, in whose dignity continued without interruption until the revolution of 1840, returning to be chosen, this time by Barcelona, in the second term of 1843, the derivative of the counterrevolution, though it could not incorporated into Congress because the proceedings of that province were not approved. Already then it was said to you "so ugly soul and figure".

Their exalted ideas is definitely tempered in the early 1940s, when it became one of the leaders of the moderate party. For him, the crisis that had produced the Carlist revolt did that Spanish society would suffer some changes. So, I saw this as a literary society in which material force and a large part of the moral force were in the hands of the illustrated classes. A clarifying example of this gradual change of opinion are their constitutional political lessons, taught at the Ateneo de Madrid and published in 1843. He was Deputy for Madrid in the legislature from 1844 to 1845, and in the latter year he was appointed Senator for life.(See Carlism)

Narváez decided to appoint him Minister of public works in 1865. This stage left more shadows than clear about the Ministry. Alcalá Galiano dismissed Castelar to publish this feature article, as well as to Montalban, rector of the Central University. These dismissals resulted in the events of the so-called night of St. Daniel. Students who were protesting against the actions of Alcalá Galiano were harshly repressed by security forces led by Bravo González, then Minister of the Interior. Alcalá Galiano starred in a strong confrontation with Bravo González in the Council of Ministers because of what happened, during which it fell seriously ill. Shortly after, on April 11 of that same year, he died in the Council of Ministers, during the bloody repression of Republican protesters in the so-called "night of San Daniel'.


Prolific essayist, wrote for various publications. His family were several articles against the idea of the sovereignty of the people, the first entitled "The sovereignty of the nation is not contradictory to the monarchy" (November 3, 1810; was copied entirely by Church Riaño). He also wrote articles about the freedom of the press and against the abuses of the courts in the matter. In the editor-General of Spain (No. 114, October 6, 1811), wrote on behalf of the Royal veto. He also published the representation made by S.M. the National Congress Augustus on the Gazette of Madrid on 21 September of this year and a summary of their procedures in the case of the count of Tilly (Cádiz, 1811). In two other short articles of the editor-in-Chief (No. s 390 and 395, 8-13 July 1812), commented the need that the Allies help Spain take to the French of the Trocadero, and gave approval to the article of José Moreno Guerra in no. 393, about bombing from Mahon all ports of the Mediterranean, the mouths of the Guadalquivir and the Guadalete. In another article from the Editor (No. 451, on September 7, 1812), wondered who were the members of the Commission of military Constitution.

It was, apparently, the translator of the work of Frédéric Quilliet Bonaparte without mask. For a true French very fond of Spain (Cadiz, 1813). One of the editors of the patriotic Gazette of the national army, was, also, in which he showed inflammatory opinions and contrariness of the independence of Spanish America, but then, when the revolution triumphed in Spain, is it desdijo. It was also one of the founders of the Spanish Ateneo in Madrid.

He wrote four words on the occasion of the voices that have run from as a result of the prison guards of the person of S.M., designated for having contributed to the restoration of the Constitution (July, 1820); and also "critical examination of sides in the political Chief and captain general of the province of Madrid in this month of September 7, and brief reflections on the events of these days", published with satirical notes by Juan de Trágala in the Spanish observer Universal (No. 141, September 29, 1820), and response to the writing inserted in the Universal of 29 September (Madrid1820). However, his exaltation was very weak.

He published notes for the history of the origin and rise of the army destined to overseas in January 1, 1820 (1821 Madrid). He is also the author of "reflections of [...] on the cowhide"(Madrid, 1822). In 1830 he published at Paris Appel au peuple Français en faveur de d´Espagne liberte it. He also wrote the preface to the moro expósito, of the Duke of Rivas (Paris, 1834), and translated into French Don Álvaro or the force of fate.

It gave light lessons of political constitutional law (Madrid, 1843), and history of Spain from the primeval times until most of Queen Doña Isabel II (Madrid, 1844-1846). Also published several works, including: history of the Italian, English, French and Spanish literature in the eighteenth century (Madrid, 1845); Biography of the Spanish astronomer D. José Joaquín de Ferrer and Cafranga (Madrid, 1858); the speech that the deep and careful study of foreign languages far from contributing to the deterioration of their own serves to know it and use it more wisely (Madrid, 1861); History of the uprising, revolution and civil war in Spain (Madrid, 1861). He collaborated on the memoirs of the Royal Academy of moral and political sciences, volumes I and II (1861-1867), with "the principle of freedom and the spirit of revolution" and "traditional and rational principles. The State of opinion in England".

In 1862 letter to his grandson, who lived in Havana, Alcalá Galiano was declared very partisan of the Cuban cause, provided that it does not harm its union with Spain. He claimed to be very conservative, i.e. very enemy of any democracy and all revolutionary idea, but friend, despite this, freedom and self-government, "in proportion reasonable and compatible with the situation of every people".

He joined the Academy of history with a speech about the "old political Constitution of Castile, their Cortes, brotherhoods, etc.", and there same read his "philosophy of history" (both in Madrid, 1864).

His most important works can be read in the edition of Jorge Campos in the library of Spanish authors, including the memories of an old man (in which said the political facts in which it had participated throughout his life) and its memories, both posthumous (1878 and 1886). These books have exerted a great influence in the national historical literature; However, they must be read with the necessary caution before a writer so partial in their thoughts. Still appeared the biography notes, written by himself, Madrid 1865, and in 1969, Vicente Llorens edited Moratin 19th century Spanish literature Rivas (Madrid).


ARTOLA, Miguel. The revolutionary bourgeoisie, 1808-1874. (Madrid, 1976).

SÁNCHEZ AGESTA, Luis. Constitutional history of Spanish. (Madrid, 1964).

RIAÑO, Camilo: The Lieutenant General Don Antonio Nariño. (Bogotá, 1973).

Editor General of Spain [confront cited numbers].

Archivo General de Palacio (PR. 67).

PALAU and DULCET, Antonio: Manual of Hispanic bookseller. 2nd ed. (Barcelona, 1948-1977).

PAEZ RIOS, Elena: Hispanic iconography, 5 vol. (Madrid, 1966).