Biography of José Álvarez de Toledo y Dubois (1779-1858)

Marino and Cuban politician. Son of the Lieutenant D. Luis de Toledo and Liche, natural Sevilla, and Doña María of the Dolores Dubois, born in Jerez de la Frontera, married in the Cathedral of Havana in 1778, was born in Havana (Cuba) on May 14, 1779 and was baptized with the name of Joseph Luis Bonifacio and Manuel de los Dolores. His father, Captain since 1789, was the Commander of the arsenal in 1781 and was captain of the port of Havana in 1811. Of noble family, he/she decided to send José at the Naval school in Cádiz, where he/she studied and was incorporated into the Spanish Navy, which served from 1794. He/She made several trips to the ports of America and was made prisoner on two occasions by vessels of the English fleet, which released him at the end of 1807.

The same José, in the manifesto of 1811 count their deeds of arms: "I was Alférez de Navio and I was in the Department of el Ferrol, when the journey of the young King Fernando VII a Bayona and his detention in that country, fired the spirit of indignation of all good Spaniards". In June 1808 he/she joined the army in Galicia in functions of assistant general Riquelme, which participated in the battle of Espinosa de los Monteros and subsequent withdrawal, managing to embark with the English troops withdrawing by La Coruña. Back to Cadiz was promoted to Lieutenant of a frigate and embarked on the schooner Tiger with the Mission of helping the Marquis of la Romanain Asturias. Connoisseur of the fall of Gijón in the possession of the French went to Vigo where supported the count of Noroña, winner of the troops of Ney in San Payo bridge.

Returning to Cádiz was forced to cease in the command of the tiger whose maintenance had invested all their savings, while totalled to Lieutenant and was assigned to take command of a division of vessels in Tarragona. He/She served in the Mediterranean and returned to Cadiz, with the purpose of recovering his ailing health.

When I in Cadiz was looking for means to return to the fighting in the army or in the square, a set of unforeseen calamities did lie about my appointment of Deputy alternate by Santo Domingo for the courts...". It formed part of the quota of natural in the provinces of America, domiciled in Spain, proposed in September, 1810 to meet representatives of those provinces in the meetings to cuts. As such it was part of the Group of American members, and was protagonist of clashes with Spanish members and several initiatives, between December, 1810 and 1811 January, on behalf of the American territories, the equality of representation and the defence of the interests of the overseas provinces. On December 10, 1810 he/she wrote to the captain general of Santo Domingo to inform him that Spain was going through a very serious crisis... Intercepted this document by the authorities, the parliamentary immunity saved her from arrest.

The American proposition, signed December 16, 1810 by 26 members, including Toledo posed equal representation, but also planted and crops, its natural and industrial fruits export, import of "quanto have expedient", free and reciprocal trade, excision of all watertight, the free operation of the Quicksilver mines, the option equal to all kinds of jobs and destinations, and the Constitution of advisory boards in all capitals. It was rejected by the majority of the European Parliament (46 to 64) but it caused deep upset of the Americans, convinced from the time of the limited usefulness of the task in which they were committed.

Raised in July it censorship of American members the Ministers of State, war and grace and justice, these reacted demanding the prosecution of the Cuban, which was filed with the Tribunal of courts the 8 July 1811. To verify that you prepared his detention, he/she sought the help of the newly established society of the rational Knights or Logia Lautaro, sought the support of the United States consul and embarked bound for Philadelphia, where he/she arrived at the beginning of September.

Álvarez de Toledo remained in United States for six years, in the course of which developed an intense activity of support the Mexican insurgency. His first activities consisted of writing a long letter that he/she sent to the city of Santo Domingo, explaining what he/she had done in Cadiz and proposing a free Antillean Confederation as well as the publication of a booklet entitled manifesto or pundonorosa satisfaction, all the good European Spaniards and all the peoples of America. To answer a variety of answers that had given rise to this writing, continued with another brochure which stated: "I'm American, I love my country and will serve, if necessary, in the ranks of American warriors to defend their freedom".

At the same time he/she wrote to Secretary of State James Monroe, who received it the same month of December, agreeing to move it to the island of Cuba, where he/she was Officer William Shaler, support him in a project of independence and Confederation, which would include a United States. Toledo, instead of traveling to Cuba, remained in Philadelphia where he/she met the Mexican Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara, who had just met with Monroe and had requested their support to deal with Texas and proclaim the independence of Mexico. As Shaler left Cuba at this time, Toledo plans focused on collaboration with Lara and other secret agents who had just know.

It followed Lara Gutiérrez to Texas at the end of 1812, and in collaboration with Mariano Picornell, also exiled in America and agent Shaler, replaced Lara in the newly proclaimed Republic of Texas and faced realistic Colonel Joaquín de Arredondo defeated it in the battle of the river Medina, on August 18, 1813 without success. Some historians interpreted this defeat as a maneuver of Toledo, previously agreed with the Spanish Ambassador Luis de Onís.

Withdrawn in New Orleans, he/she collaborated with American and French officers in the preparation of new insurgent actions and in the defense of the port before the English attack. In February 1815 drafted a broad collaboration proposal the President José María Morelos and the Mexican Congress, implying that it was the carrier of a mandate signed by the Mexican members of the Cortes of Cadiz. "Instruction of don José Álvarez Toledo rebels Board of new Spain on measures that should be adopted to carry out total independence", the so-called spreads North, raises the need to develop a manifesto addressed to the rest of the world, sending a representative to the United States Congress, the execution of full salaries schemes, ordinances, marina of corso, purchase of arms, etc., which dazzled the insurgents.

Accepted these proposals by the Mexican Congress, Morelos was able to lower his appointment as field marshal, but could not prevent other measures such as the appointment of the Deputy José Manuel de Herrera Minister Plenipotentiary to the Congress of the United States, a loan of 25 billion pesos, the delivery of another quantity to Herrera to attend their first expenses and shipment of goods to New Orleans. In nozzle stones Herrera met with Alvarez de Toledo, who arrived at the Petit Milan, collected Mexican and they departed together back to New Orleans, in November 1815.

A Mexican Association formed by traders and local politicians, who wanted to obtain the greatest benefits of the support to the insurgency, but collided with the intransigence of the Mexican Minister had been founded in New Orleans. Herrera was unable to travel to Philadelphia and presented to the Congress and its mission was extended between suspicions, suspicions and betrayals. Spain's consul in the city, and father Antonio Sedella, realistic agent who had managed to incorporate into its network of espionage to Mariano Picornell and the pirate brothers Lafitte, closed ranks around Álvarez de Toledo, trying to tilt it back again to the service of the King.

Arriving at Baltimore Javier mine the day, July 1, 1816, accompanied by Fray Servando, Americans refugees opted for the project of the young navarro against Álvarez de Toledo plans. This one, jilted by his failure, which coincided with the news of the imprisonment and death of Morelos, a few days earlier had met with Mariano Picornell and Antonio Sedella. It is said that, according to Ambassador Onis that visited in mid-July in Philadelphia, they planned to divert the expedition toward the release of Panzacola, Florida, discredit mine with any reason, spread mistrust and suspicion among the holders of the Mexican Association of Baltimore, and finally to introduce spies and traitors among the followers of mine.

The American Patriots in Baltimore and in particular don Pedro Gual, unfamiliar betrayal of Álvarez de Toledo, continued to develop all kinds of contacts with James Monroe and his collaborators, with the aim of facilitating the enlistment of volunteers activities and the success of the expedition of mine. At the beginning of November Gual concluded an interview in Washington that went along with Alvarez de Toledo, although the absence of Monroe only allowed them to talk to their second Graham.

Few days later, Pedro Gual and his friends from Baltimore knew stuporous Ambassador Onis correspondence and letters of Álvarez de Toledo, by which rippled the discouragement and Javier Mina, who had arrived in Galveston, in search of the Mexican Minister José Manuel Herrera, had to rethink their goals and seek new aid. Toledo, meanwhile, was drafted which was titled justification of D. José Álvarez de Toledo, that exposes to Mexicans and other peoples of the Spanish America, the reasons and motives which have forced him to separate from the efforts of its struggle for independence. He/She gathered a set of evils and damages, which could result in them, the mad frenzy of the insurrection exortando to leave and proposing the reconciliation with the motherland.

The justification is signed December 1, 1816 and ends with this sentence: "(...) "the day that you see happy and content, will be the most delicious in my life". Onís Ambassador requested the Royal pardon, explaining the actions of Toledo and the various reports and proposals which had requested him, in order to argue the measures that should be taken against the Anglo-American purposes of expansion and domination of the provinces of America

When discovered, the preparations for their return to Europe, rushed so it embarked on the Hunter frigate bound for Bordeaux. Once in this city, he/she insisted in his royal pardon application and delivery of a passport that would allow him to enter Spain, so delayed the departure until 26 February, reaching Madrid on March 14. The new Minister of State received it León y Pizarro, who had been appointed on 30 October last, who, impressed by his proposals, summoned a Council at Palacio devoted to discuss exclusively the information and measures raised by Alvarez de Toledo.

León y Pizarro, in his memoirs, referring to Toledo wrote: "the feelings of loyalty and love to the King who has given have been constant and inseparable from his soul". Then explained the circumstances of his repentance and how by Royal order "had commanded him to come to Madrid to report orally on the State of the Spanish Americas and means to be taken for good and owned by the monarchy". Toledo entgrego Pizarro a report on peace-making, accompanied by another copy of your justification. Memory included a section dedicated to describing the "position of the Spain with regard to the England and the United States of the North of America" and another chapter entitled "Measures to be taken for the salvation of America". It was signed in New York the day December 1, 1816.

So positive was the impression that caused their partners that in the following weeks asked new reports, an "expansion of the memory on the peace", signed on 8 April; a "project to take by surprise the Louisiana", signed in May and which was rejected by the Council of Ministers; and reports requested by the Secretary of war, titled "report on whether it was appropriate or not that England intervened measures... for the pacification of America" and "Report on the remaining issue between the Government of Spain and the United States over boundaries of the Louisiana", September 1, the most extensive and erudite of all they produced that year.

Anyway, León y Pizarro was determined to discuss seriously the problem of pacification of America, with the support of other ministerial moderates like Vázquez Figueroa (Marina) and Martín Garay (Hacienda), without that it was possible to reach an acceptable conclusion. Pizarro, in his memoirs, acknowledged the impossibility of applying any reform: "for me was from Cadiz lost our America... more in the year 1817 already was not I doubt its loss and that was time to think about getting out of a separation which was already inevitable". Reconciled with his family, Alvarez de Toledo married in 1818 to Doña Tomasa de Palafox y Portocarrero, widow of the Earl of Medina Sidonia and sister of the count of Montijo, who died three years later. The international experience of Toledo, recognized in the Court of Madrid, gave him a long career in the service of Fernando VII, as Minister at Berne in 1828 and Ambassador in Naples in 1831. Later, tilted in favor of the pretender Don Carlos, would return to Naples the year of 1834 to represent him before the Court. Faced with the Elizabethan regime he/she lived outside of Spain, until recognising Isabel II the year 1849, was restored to the Queen in its employment and other distinctions. On June 20, 1850 he/she was awarded the cross of San Hermenegildo, and at the same time his retirement, he/she enjoyed from that year in Paris.

He died in this city on April 16, 1858. His death was collected in the trade of Cuba with this sentence: "with feeling participated to our readers of the illustrious habanero D. José Álvarez de Toledo y Dubois, in the capital of France. Despite the Telegraph part that was received in Madrid, sent from Paris by the Countess of Montijo... by notifying the serious illness that has been victim of the illustrious deceased, and has been since immediately launched their children the Duke of Fernandina and the count of Sclafani, had the chagrin of reaching Paris few hours after they died... "." He/She also remembered "the eminent services rendered to our nation, as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary in several European courts".


Carlos M. Trelles. A precursor of the independence of Cuba: Don José Alvarez de Toledo. Twentieth-century printing press. Havana, 1926

José García de León y Pizarro. Memories. Revista de Occidente. Madrid, 1953

Joseph B. Lockey. "The Florida scream of José Álvarez de Toledo". The Quarterly of the Florida Historical Society. April 1934 (there are Spanish translation published in Havana in 1939)

Harris G. Warren. "José Álvarez de Toledo's iniciation as to filibuster (1811-1813)". Hispanic American Historical Review. XX. 1940

Harris G. Warren. "José Álvarez de Toledo's reconciliation with Spain". The Louisiana Historical Quarterly. July, 1940

Manuel Ortuño