1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Serrano y Dominguez, Francisco

SERRANO Y DOMINGUEZ, FRANCISCO, Duke de la Torre and Count of San Antonio (1810-1885), Spanish marshal and statesman, was born in the island of Leon at Cadiz on the 17th of December 1810. His father was a general officer and a Liberal. Serrano began his studies at Vergara in the Basque provinces, became a cadet in 1822, cornet in 1833 in the lancers of Sagunto, passed into the carabineers in 1829, and when the Carlist agitation began in 1833 he exchanged into the cuirassiers. He formed part of the escort which accompanied Don Carlos, the first pretender and brother of Ferdinand VII., to the frontier of Portugal. As aide-de-camp of Espoz y Mina, then under the orders of Generals Cordoba and Espartero, in the armies of Queen Isabella, Serrano took such an active part in the Carlist War from 1834 to 1839 that he rose from the rank of captain to that of brigadier-general. His services obtained for him the Cross of San Fernando and many medals. In 1839 he was elected a member of Cortes for the first time by Malaga, and in 1840 he was made a general of division and commander of the district of Valencia, which he relinquished to take his seat in congress. From that day Serrano became one of the chief military politicians of Spain. In 1841 he helped Espartero to overthrow the regency of Queen Christina; in 1843 at Barcelona he made a pronunciamiento against Espartero; he became minister of war in the Lopez cabinet, which convoked the Cortes that declared Queen Isabella of age at fifteen, served in the same capacity in an Olozaga cabinet, sulked as long as the Moderados were in office, was made a senator in 1845, captain-general of Granada in 1848, and from 1846 to 1853 lived quite apart from politics on his Andalusian estates or travelling abroad. He assisted Marshal O'Donnell in the military movements of 1854 and 1856, and was his staunch follower for twelve years. O'Donnell made him marshal in 1856 and captain-general of Cuba from 1859 to 1862; and Serrano not only governed that island with success, and did good service in the war in Santo Domingo, but he was the first viceroy who advocated political and financial reforms in the colony. On his return to Spain he was made duke de la Torre, grandee of the first class, and minister of foreign affairs by O'Donnell. Serrano gallantly exposed his life to help O'Donnell quell the formidable insurrection of the 22nd of June 1866 at Madrid, and was rewarded with the Golden Fleece. At the death of O'Donnell, he became the chief of the Union Liberal, and as president of the senate he assisted Rios Rosas to draw up a petition to Queen Isabella against her Moderado ministers, for which both were exiled. Nothing daunted, Serrano began to conspire with the duke of Montpensier, Prim and Sagasta; and on the 7th of July 1868 Gonzalez Bravo had Serrano and other generals arrested and taken to the Canary Isles. There Serrano remained until Admiral Topete sent a steamer to bring him to Cadiz on the 18th of September of the same year. On landing he signed the manifesto of the revolution with Prim, Topete, Sagasta, Martos and others, and accepted the command of the revolutionary army, with which he routed the troops of Queen Isabella under the orders of the marquis of Novaliches at the bridge of Alcolea. The queen fled to France, and Serrano, having entered Madrid, formed a Provisional Government, convoked the Cortes Constituyentes in February 1869, and was appointed successively president of the executive and regent. He acted very impartially as a ruler, respecting the liberty of action of the Cortes and cabinets, and bowing to their selection of Amadeus of Savoy, though he would have preferred Montpensier. As soon as Amadeus reached Madrid, after the death of Prim, Serrano consented to form a coalition cabinet, but it kept together only a few months. Serrano resigned, and took the command of the Italian king's army against the Carlists in North Spain. He tried to form one more cabinet under King Amadeus, but again resigned when that monarch declined to give his ministers dictatorial powers and sent for Ruiz Zorilla, whose mistakes led to the abdication of Amadeus on the 11th of February 1873. Serrano would have nothing to do with the federal republic, and even conspired with other generals and politicians to overthrow it on the 23rd of April 1873; but having failed, he had to go to France until General Pavia, on the eve of his coup d'état of the 3rd of January 1874, sent for him to take the head of affairs. Serrano assumed once more the title of president of the executive; tried first a coalition cabinet, in which Martos and Sagasta soon quarrelled, then formed a cabinet presided over by Sagasta, which, however, proved unable to cope with the military and political agitation that brought about the restoration of the Bourbons by another pronunciamiento at the end of December 1874. During the eleven months he remained in office Serrano devoted his attention chiefly to the reorganization of finance, the renewal of relations with American and European powers, and the suppression of revolt. After the Restoration, Serrano spent some time in France, returned to Madrid in 1876, attended palace receptions, took his seat as a marshal in the senate, coquetted a little with Sagasta in 1881, and finally gave his open support to the formation of a dynastic Left with a democratic programme defended by his own nephew, General Lopez Dominguez. He died in Madrid on the 26th of November 1885, twenty-four hours after Alphonso XII. (A. E. H.)