Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 23 >> Romney to Rump Parliament >> Rosa


political, literary, french, paris, government, granada and martinez

ROSA, Francisco de Paula Martinez de la, Spanish poet, novelist, dramatist and states man: b. Granada, 10 March 17:: ; d. Madrid, 7 Feb. 1862. Graduating in law from the Uni versity of Granada he became lecturer on ethics at his alma mater, while still in his 'teens. He was popular as a lecturer on account of his originality in the handling of his subjects, his enthusiasm and his wide knowledge of litera ture. He had scarcely entered upon his duties at the university when he began the publica tion of a series of epigrams on well-known local personages, under the title of 'El cementerio de momo.) This gained him considerable reputa tion as a writer. But his and other duties were interrupted by the arrival of the French in Spain. De la Rosa became very ac tive in the national movement against the in vaders. Deep in the councils of the Junta of Granada, he undertook for that body to secure arms, from the English who were busy fighting Napoleon. In complying with this self-imposed task, he went first to Gibraltar and then to England. He was possessed of notable oratori cal gifts and this enabled him to exercise a cer tain amount of influence in political juntas, which his otherwise retiring character would not have permitted him to do, This in turn brought for him political offices and a leadership in literature which he was not in reality able to maintain in his later years. Yet this com bination of circumstances had two directly op posite effects. It gained for him during his lifetime the reputation of being in his day Spain's greatest and most representative literary man and gave him the literary'leadership of his country. This latter position he maintained not so much through his gifts of originality in thought, literary form and subject matter, as by his successful imitation of his favorite au thors not in Spanish alone, hut also in foreign languages, more especially French and Eng lish. The second effect has been that since his death and in consequence of the public and political glamor that surrounded his name in his lifetime his works have become largely neglected; and they hake found more critics to pick flaws in them than to recognize their many good qualities. For his political activi ties and especially for his advocacy of the constitution of. 1812, Martinez de la Rosa was tried and sentenced to imprisonment for 10 years, on the political reaction of 1814. He

served six years of this sentence which was cut short by the insurrection of 1820. He came forth. from his prison to become head of the new ministry; but he proved himself far too weak a character for the stormy part to which fate had assigned him, and his temporizing at titude made him very unpopular and distrusted by both political parties. and by the masses as a whole. Resigning office, he went to Paris, where he remained until 1830. Four years later he became head of the liberal ministry. In this capacity he showed his reactionary tendencies by becoming author of a royal statute creating a constitutional government and doing away with the ancient privileges of the provinces. Active though he was in promoting the inter ests of Spain, he succeeded in making himself fully as unpopular as he had during his first term as head of the government; and he was again forced' to resign his office, this time be fore the end of his first year of service. He, however, continued to be a supporter of the queen. Maria Christina, and on the fall of her government• in 1840 he retreated to Paris. He returned to Madrid four years later, as the result of political changes, entered the cabinet of Narvaez (1844), and three years later be came Ambassador to Paris (1847-51). His long residence in the French capital made him a champion of the Romantic movement in litera ture, which he was instrumental in introducing into Spain. Martinez de la Rosa was very sen sitive to the influence of his favorite authors, and he reflects them in turn, as one after an other obtained ascendency over him. For this reason he was well fitted for the task of intro ducing his countrymen to the literary move ment that had taken possession of the French capital and through it of all France. Experi menting, as h@ constantly was, with the works of others, his literary efforts increased in ex cellence toward the close of his life. Among his published works most worthy of attention are ; (Aben.Humeya); (Lo que puede un empleo,' and (Espiritu del siglo.> Consult Godard, (Mar tinez de la Rosa' (Paris 1862).