with such a critical situation, and needing to deal with the
bills arising out their commercial activity, his widow
quickened the process of selling off the family inheritance by
getting rid of an African slave and collecting money owed for
grape harvests from previous years. She was in severe straits,
hounded by debt and unable to maintain the citrus farms. She
reached agreements to cancel rentals and pay damages; in 1746
she paid 1,300 reales in damages and penalties to a resident of Coria for a
pomegranate and orange fruit farm that she had rented (AHPSe,
leg. 3785, f. 174).
death of her husband in practice represented for Juana Keating
the break-up of all his businesses. It appears that the
widow’s health deteriorated around this time. She made a
will in 1747, in
which she declared that her eldest son had already received
during his father’s life everything that he was entitled to.
She passed the obligation of educating the younger son Felipe
O’Conry to Diego Keating, a relative in Lisbon. She stated that she had had to pay her daughter Elena’s
dowry at the time of her marriage to Don Guillermo Darwin by
using ‘money and goods’ belonging to Patricio O’Conry,
adding at his death ‘all the oranges and lemons which have
been harvested this year on lands I have rented’. The lack
of capital was caused by the non-payment of certain ‘capital
from America’ that never arrived - perhaps payment for the books sent to
Tierra Firme (coastal
Colombia) and Buenos Aires to the value of 46,538 reales.
She sold her remaining livestock to pay a debt of 900 reales to her compatriot Tomás Macores, and she left 40 pesos to
her relatives Mateo and Ana O’Conry and to their two
grandchildren. What was left, 127 pesos and 1,638 reales,
was what was to serve for the upkeep of the house. In spite of
her miserable situation, Juana Keating kept for herself
whatever bits and pieces remained, leaving to Fr David
O’Conry, parish priest at Banestram in Waterford, ‘a black
velvet skirt and a green gown with a gold floral design for
him to divide up to make adornments for the church in that
parish’ while to Fr. Juan Fogerti, an Augustinian who served
as her confessor she left jewellery ‘for him to distribute
according to the dictates of his conscience.’
study of legal claims and demands for payment shows that the
majority of Patricio O'Conry’s customers were from Seville
and its surroundings, while the remainder were scattered
throughout various places in Spain (Madrid, Cádiz, Málaga,
Cartagena) and Europe similar to the case of his fellow
Irishmen White and Plunkett, who formed a commercial triangle
between Seville, America and the cities of northern Europe (Álvarez
Pantoja 2000: 34,38).
did Patricio O’Conry’s commercial network fail? The
setback he suffered was so serious that neither his alliance
with an enterprising son-in-law nor the support of his compatriots
could help him. This is material for future research,
although we believe that the poor health of O’Conry and his
wife aggravated a situation which might otherwise have been
resolved. There were also the unpaid accounts for wheat
provided to the army - which of course constituted a permanent
weight on the Spanish economy - as well as other international
factors which cannot be ignored. Among these were the constant
bans on trade with England
during the various wars between that country and Spain. The intermediary role of
Portugal, be it legal or illegal, explains the fluctuating relations
with that country, but it continued to be an obstacle to the
smooth development of some businesses. Forming marriage links
with other groups - French, Flemish, people from Rioja in Northern Spain
- was a strategy which did not completely work for the
O’Conry/Keating couple. In any case, the situation at the
end of the century was in general difficult for all merchants
based in Seville. A detailed study of this issue remains to be carried out.
Fernández Chaves and Mercedes Gamero Rojas
of Seville, Department of History
by David Barnwell and Carmen Rodríguez Alonso
Álvarez Pantoja, María José. ‘Irlandeses en Sevilla en el
siglo XVIII: White, Plunket y Compañía’ in La
emigración irlandesa en el siglo XVIII (Málaga:
Universidad de Málaga, 2000), pp. 21-40.
Bilbao, Luis María. ‘Exportación de lana española y demanda
británica en el siglo XVIII’ in Mesta,
trashumancia y lana en la España Moderna
(Barcelona: Crítica, 1998), pp. 303-331.
Bilbao, Luis María y Emiliano Fernández de Pinedo.
‘Exportaciones de lanas, trashumancia y ocupación del espacio en Castilla durante los siglos XVI, XVII y XVIII’,
in Contribución a la
historia de la trashumancia en España (Madrid: Ministerio
de Agricultura y Pesca, 1986).
Gámez Amián, Aurora. Comercio colonial y
burguesía mercantil malagueña (1765-1830) (Málaga:
Universidad de Málaga, 1992).
Lario de Oñate, Carmen. La
colonia mercantil británica e irlandesa en Cádiz a finales del
siglo XVIII (Cádiz: Universidad de Cádiz, 2000).
Murphy, Martin. ‘Irish merchants and clerics at Seville, 1592-1614’ in Irlanda
y la monarquía hispánica: Kinsale 1601-2001. Guerra, política,
exilio y religión (Alcalá
de Henares: Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, 2002), pp. 487-489.
O’Beirne Ranelagh, John. Historia
de Irlanda (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1999).