Luis Manuel Fernandez De Portocarrero
From Classic Encyclopedia 1911
LUIS MANUEL FERNANDEZ DE PORTOCARRERO (1635-1709), cardinal archbishop of Toledo, was a younger son of the marquis of Almenara and was born on the 8th of January 163 5. He became dean of Toledo early, and was made cardinal on the 5th of August 1669. Till 1677 he lived at. Rome as cardinal protector of the Spanish nation. In 1677 he was appointed interim viceroy of Sicily, counsellor of state and archbishop of Toledo. He ceased to be viceroy of Sicily in 1678. As archbishop of Toledo he exerted himself to protect the clergy from the obligation to pay the excises or octroi duties known as "the millions" and thereby helped to perpetuate the financial embarrassments of the government. His position rather than any personal qualities enabled him to play an important part in a great crisis of European politics. The decrepit King Charles II. was childless, and the disposal of his inheritance became a question of great interest to the European powers. Portocarrero was induced to become a supporter of the French party, which desired that the crown should be left to one of the family of Louis XIV., and not to a member of the king's own family, the Habsburgs. The great authority of Portocarrero as cardinal and primate of Spain was used to persuade, or rather to terrify the unhappy king into making a will in favour of the duke of Anjou, Philip V. He acted as regent till the new king reached Spain and hoped to be powerful under his rule. But the king's French advisers were aware that Spain required a thorough financial and administrative reform. Portocarrero could not see, and indeed had not either the intelligence or the honesty to see, the necessity. He was incapable, obstinate and perfectly selfish. The new rulers soon found that he;must be removed and he was ordered to return to his diocese. When in 1706 the Austrian party appeared likely to gain the upper hand, Portocarrero was led by spite and vexation to go over to them. When fortune changed he returned to his allegiance to Philip V., and as the government was unwilling to offend the Church he escaped banishment. In 1709 when Louis XIV. made a pretence of withdrawing from the support of his grandson, the cardinal made a great display of loyalty. He died on the 14th of September and by his orders the words Hic jacet pulvis, cinis, et nihil were put on his tomb.
See Lord Stanhope, History of the War of Succession in Spain (London, 1832).
<< Porto Alegre
Porto Farina >>