Francia, Dr. José Gaspar Rodriguez da (17571840)

Francia, Dr. José Gaspar Rodriguez da, dictator of Paraguay, born near Asunçion, in Paraguay; graduated as a doctor of theology, but subsequently took to law, in the practice of which profession he was engaged for 30 years, and won a high reputation for ability and undeviating honesty; in the revolutionary uprising which spread throughout Spanish South America, Paraguay played a conspicuous part, and when in 1811 she declared her independence, Francia was elected secretary of the first national junta, and two years later one of two consuls; eventually, in 1814, he became dictator, a position he held till his death; he ruled the country with a strong hand and with scrupulous, if somewhat rough, justice, making it part of his policy to allow no intercourse, political or commercial, with other countries; the country flourished under his rule, but fell into disorder after his death; he is the subject of a well-known essay by Carlyle, who finds him a man very much after his own heart (17571840).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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