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Patiño Y Morales, José (1666–1736)

PATIÑO Y MORALES, JOSÉ (16661736)

PATIÑO Y MORALES, JOSÉ (16661736), Spanish statesman and one of the major figures of enlightened reformism under Philip V. Of Galician origin, Patiño was born in the Duchy of Milan, then under Spanish sovereignty. He was educated by the Jesuits in his native city and enrolled in the Society of Jesus, although he was never ordained as a priest. The occupation of the duchy by Austrian troops during the War of the Spanish Succession (17011714) caused him to move (in 1707) to the peninsula, where he began his career as an administrator in the service of the monarchy. Under the protection of Jean Orry (chief minister 17011706, 17131715) he was named intendant of Extremadura (1711) and superintendent of Catalonia (1713). Placed in charge of the provisional government of Catalonia, he served as the interim president of the Justice Board of the Principality (1714).

He became the main instigator of the Decree of Nueva Planta and implemented the property law or land tax, both approved in 1716. Giulio Alberoni's ascent to power (17161719) led to Patiño's transfer to the navy, where he came to occupy the post of president of the Casa de Contratación (a high tribunal trying cases involving trade with America), which had just been moved to Cadiz. He also became the head of the General Navy Intendancy, headquartered in the same city (1717). He remained the head of the latter institution intermittently until 1726. He began to reorganize the navy by assembling the bases for the future arsenal known as La Carraca (beginning in 1717); creating the School of Midshipmen (1717) for the formation of the officer corps (as instructed by his government in 1718); enacting legislation for the enlistment of seamen in the navy, to guarantee a sufficient crew for the Armada (1717, 1726; registration was voluntary until 1751); and writing the first instructions and regulations for the Armada (1726).

Patiño's first stay in Cadiz was brief, since he was soon put in charge of organizing the fleet used during the re-conquest of Sardinia (1717) and Sicily (1718). He bore the weight of the war in the Mediterranean until the end of 1719, when he was arrested during the six months after the fall of Alberoni. An inquiry defended his management of the war, allowing him to rehabilitate himself (1720). Again becoming head of naval affairs, he helped form an expedition to lift the siege of Ceuta (1720) and decisively supported Cadiz against Seville's pretensions to retake the lead in the race for the Indies (1722). Jan Willem Ripperda's ascent to power (17251726) resulted in Patiño's temporary departure from Spain (he was commissioned to Brussels), but the fall of that minister signaled not only Patiño's return but also his elevation to the highest government positions: secretary of the navy and the Indies, secretary of finance (both 1726), secretary of war (1731), and first secretary of state (1733). This accumulation of ministries made him into a power arbiter in Spanish politics for more than a decade (17261736).

As secretary of the navy and the Indies he was responsible for arsenals and naval construction as well as for privileges given to companies for trade with the Americas (particularly with the foundation of the royal Compañia Guipuzcoana of Caracas in 1728). In the Ministry of Finance (where he also headed the General Superintendency of Rentas )he published the famous memorandum of 1726 concerning the state of the royal finances, with suggestions for their recovery. In his capacity as secretary of state he retook the fortified towns of Oran and Mazalquivir in 1732. In the African sphere he put in place a policy intended to strengthen Spain's friendship with France and position against England, in order to revise certain clauses of the Utrecht Treaty of 1713. Thus, after signing the Seville Treaty (1729) with both powers, he hindered the presence of the British "vessel of permission" in America. Patiño also signed the second treaty of Vienna, which guaranteed to the infante Don Carlos (later King Charles III [ruled 17591788]) the Italian duchies of Parma, Piacenza, and Tuscany (1731). He participated in the War of the Polish Succession, signing the first Family Pact with France (1733), and he secured Naples for the infante (after the efficient occupation of the territory in 1734) through the signature of the preliminary peace of Vienna in 1735, clauses of which were ratified by the treaty of Vienna in 1738.

In the last years of his life, he had to defend himself against opposition, which manifested itself in the clandestine publication El Duende Crítico (17351736), written by the Portuguese activist Manuel Freire of the conservative group known as El Partido Español (the Spanish Party). Nonetheless, his work in the service of the monarchy was finally compensated when he was granted the title of Spanish grandee in 1736.

See also Philip V (Spain) ; Spain .

Carlos MartÍnez-Shaw (Translated from the Spanish by Carla Rahn Phillips)

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