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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Who was ennobled as the Count of Floridablanca


of the _Consejo de Castilla_

by the reforms, already referred to, whereby Madrid became a clean and acceptable city. Yet more famous was Jos? Mo?ino, son of an ecclesiastical notary of Murcia, who was ennobled as the Count of Floridablanca. An honorable man in every sense of the word, just, intelligent, and solicitous for his friends, he was hot-tempered, and unbending in his hostility to his opponents. His action made itself felt in the improvement of the means of communication in the peninsula and in his economic reforms of a commercial nature, such as the great free trade decree of 1778, which abandoned certain phases of the narrowly monopolistic policy which Spain had always followed in her trade with the colonies. Campomanes was an Asturian and, like Somodevilla, of very humble birth, but he rose to be, many hold, the greatest of the men who labored for the social and economic regeneration of Spain in the eighteenth century. He was also the most representative of his age, for, in addition to his measures to develop a better system of internal communications and to foster industry, commerce, and technical popular education, he was a determined royalist,--the embodiment, therefore, of the ideal of the enlightened despotism. Like Aranda and Floridablanca he served for a time under Charles IV, although his greatest work belonged to the reign of Charles III. Three names deserve mention for the reign of Charles IV. Jovellanos was an Asturian of an illustrious family. He distinguished himself by his reforms
in finance in conjunction with one Saavedra, but both were early deprived of their posts, as a result of the hostility of Godoy. The third name is that of Godoy, who introduced notable reforms in public instruction and in the organization of the army and navy,--whatever may be the judgment with regard to his foreign policy. The names of some of the great ministers of the Indies are also worthy of record. In addition to Pati?o and Ensenada the most noteworthy were Juli?n de Arriaga (1750 or 1751-1776) and Jos? de G?lvez (1776-1787), especially the former. The results, in terms of revenue, of the activities of the great ministers may serve to give some indication of the effectiveness of their work. In 1766, receipts exceeded expenditures by about 133,000,000 _reales_ ($8,312,500). In 1778 revenues amounted to 630,000,000 ($39,375,000); in 1784 to 685,000,000 ($42,812,500); and in 1787 to 616,000,000 ($38,500,000). Though annual expenditures were much less, the government was never able to overcome the deficit, although the national debt reached its lowest point in the reign of Charles III. In 1791 revenues were some 800,000,000 ($50,000,000), but they fell to a general level of about 600,000,000 ($37,500,000) in the years 1793 to 1795, while expenditures, which had reached 708,000,000 ($44,250,000) in 1793, were 1,030,000,000 ($64,375,000) in 1795. Thus the deficit began to increase again, and in 1808 it was over 7,200,000,000 _reales_ ($450,000,000), an enormous sum as national indebtedness went then.

[Sidenote: Opposition of vested interests to the reforms.]

The efforts made by the great reformers appear the more commendable when one considers the difficulties they had to overcome. Great changes always run counter to vested interests, but this was more than usually the case in Spain.

[Sidenote: Prevalence of graft.]


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