Gonzalo O'Farrill y Herrera

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Gonzalo O´Farrill y Herrera, (La Habana, Cuba, 1754 – Paris, 1831), the son of a certain "O´Farrill y Arriola", from Irish descent, high Spanish Administrative in La Habana, Cuba. Gonzalo became at the times of King Carlos IV of Spain, a lieutenant general of the Royal Spanish Army, the Director of the Military College at Puerto de Santa María, Cadiz, Spain, Plenipotentiary Minister representing Spain in the Kingdom of Prussia under King Frederic and a member, (President), of the "Supreme Joint Council of Spain" when King Carlos IV went to Bayonne, France, around March 1808 to meet Napoleon I Bonaparte there.

But, Minister of War under King Carlos IV of Spain, was for a few days later, (3 to 19 March 1808, between two spells in power of Pedro de Cevallos Guerra, (San Felices de Buelna, Cantabria, (Spain) 1764 - ? 1840) Prime Minister under King José I Bonaparte, former bonapartist King of Naples and eldest brother of Napoleon I Bonaparte.

Don Gonzalo O´Farrill, the uncle of "la Bella Condesa Cubana" Maria Theresa[edit]

He married a woman, (a Widow?), having already a child, Pedro Miguel, (1781–1823), whose first family name was then "Saenz de Santamaría" and because this step son was also one of the (exiled) courtiers of ephemerous King of Naples and later Spain, José I Bonaparte, it is rather easy to deduce that perhaps O´Farrill wife belonged then to the "Carassa" family, as Pedro Miguel second family name, his mother single name, was just Carassa.

Gonzalo O´Farrill was the great uncle of Spanish - Cuban woman aristocrat Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo, (La Habana, Cuba, circa 1789 - Paris, 31 March 1853, aged 63, buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery).

Mercedes Santa Cruz married around October 1809, aged around 20, with early forties aged French invading General Antoine Christofe Merlin, a. k. a. Merlin de Thionville, (Thionville, France, 27 May 1771 - Paris, France, 9 May 1839) who was by then Captain General of the Spanish Royal Gards two months before their wedding.

"La Bella Condesa Cubana" Maria Theresa at Napoleonic Madrid, circa 1808 - 1812, Spain[edit]

Doña Mercedes mother, described as a sensual Cuban lady, Maria Teresa Montalvo y O´Farrill, (1771–1812), was already a widow at age 37. She had been in La Habana, Cuba, in 1783, the wife, aged 12, of aged 15 at the time, but powerful and rich Spanish - Cuban businessman Joaquín de Santa Cruz y Cárdenas, (1769 - La Habana, Cuba, from hydropesy, in one of his trips from Spain to Cuba, 1807, aged 38), 3rd Conde de San Juan de Jaruco and 1st Conde de Mopox.

Maria Teresa Montalvo y O´Farrill was thus in 1807 a widower with 2 very young rich daughters also, described as the "Santa Cruz" girls and became very popular with her Literary Salon at Madrid with such visitors as the poet Manuel Jose Quintana and famous painter Francisco de Goya.

It is said that she was supposed to be at the time the Spanish love of new Bonaparte family King of Spain, José I Bonaparte, whose wife, Julie Clary, (Marseille, 26 December 1771 – Florence, Italy, 7 April 1845) apparently, preferred a less risky position and stayed in France with their two daughters.

Julie Clary, wife of José I Bonaparte, with her two daughters, Charlotte Napoléone Bonaparte and Zénaïde Laetitia Julie Bonaparte; painting by François Gérard (1808-09). 200 × 144 cm National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.

On leaving hastily the country in 1813 when Napoleonic troops tasted successive defeats, Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo would leave together for Paris with his sister, María Josefa de Santa Cruz y Montalvo, (1791-¿?), married to another "afrancesado", Pedro Miguel Sáenz de Santa María y Carassa, (1781–1823), step son of General Gonzalo O'Farrill y Herrera and a member of the State Council of the "new King" José I.

The Spanish-Cuban aristocrats exiled from Madrid to Paris[edit]

Both sisters, orphaned from "La Bella Condesa Cubana" Maria Theresa in 1812, would have to leave Madrid with his great uncle Gonzalo O´Farrill, deceased in Paris in 1831, in 1813, with their respective "traitor" husbands, French General Merlin, (deceased 1839), and Don Gonzalo step son Pedro Maria Saenz de Santamaria y Carasse,(deceased 1823), in the company of scaping group leader and ephemerous King of Spain Jose I Bonaparte.

It seems King José I Bonaparte was perhaps the former lover of her already deceased, (in 1812), mother, Maria Theresa, "La Bella Condesa Cubana".

Years later, Maria Mercedes, (1789–1852), the wife of the French General Merlin de Thionville, would be rather used as a lover by Philarète Chasles but earlier than that she had played host to more impressive, rather poor, French intellectuals like Victor Hugo, Alfred de Musset, Alphonse de Lamartine, Rossini, opera singer Maria Malibran, as well as the Spanish-Cuban writers Domingo del Monte and notorious anti-slavist writer José Antonio Saco.

Her translation to Spanish language from the French "Viaje a La Habana" would have a prologue from notorious Spanish-Cuban romantic school poet woman, settled in Spain, Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda, but her hopes of getting lands, money, houses and titles confiscated by the Spanish Bourbons while living exiled, in particular, her appeals around 1845 for having titles and properties restored to the ruling Queen of Spain, Isabel II of Spain did not lead her anywhere.


The later URL is some description of the actual Hotel and former palace of the O´Farrill in La Habana, Cuba . They were Irish Catholics settled in by the British Crown in 1713, (Utrecht Treaty), as Agents for the Black Slaves brought to work in the sugar fields from Africa to Cuba.