The distinguished editors of the Crónica Universal

Félix Torres i Amat de Palou (1772-1849), a Catholic priest and master of languages was in charge of the project. He taught philosophy, mathematics, and theology in Tarragona, and was asked by the king of Spain to translate the Bible into "vulgar Castilian". In 1817, he transferred from Madrid to Barcelona and became 'vicario general' and a senator of the city. When he began to edit the Crónica of Pujades, he chose Bofarull and Pujol as his collaborators. They apparently had much in common because Father Félix was known as a liberal theologian and even accused of Jansenism, a heretic movement within the Church accused of leaning towards Calvinism. His apologetic biography of his uncle by the same name, an open Jansenist, was put on the Index by the Vatican, which may be the reason why it opposed his election as Bishop of Barcelona. After completing his work on the Crónica, he retired to the picturesque monastery San Jeroni de la Murtra near Barcelona in 1831, where Pierre de Marca had spent his summers to write the Marca hispanica. In spite of his questionable faith he was ordained Bishop of Astorga in 1834 and became known as obispo reformador. He also worked with his brother Ignatius, a Jesuit, on the "Memorias para ayudar a formar un diccionario critico de los escritores catalanes ...", which was published in 1836.  (Here is one of his letters to Bofarull).   

Pròsper de Bofarull i Mascaró (1777-1859) was director of the Archives of the Crown of Aragon (1814-1849), president of the Academia de Bones Lletres de Barcelona (1822), and like Pujades, an erudite historian with a doctorate in law. He started his career as a lawyer in Madrid and followed the Spanish government to the Courts of Cadiz in Andalusia during the Napoleonic War, where he met his wife. He is described as a "moderate liberal and meticulous person" and joined the commission to plan the future Universitat Literària de Barcelona, and a group that saved religious documents from the monasteries Sant Cugat del Vallès and Santa Maria de Ripoll.  After the latter had been secularized, its vast archives were destroyed by fire in 1835 during the Carlist Wars. His work with these documents and the Crónica inspired Bofarull to write Los Condes de Barcelona Vindicados, which was published in 1836 and corrects some historical errors. He also wrote a subjective, pro-Catalan interpretation of the Llibre del Repartiment del Regne de Valéncia in 1838, and received the highest honors in 1847 as Chevalier of the French Legion d'Honneur.

Albert Pujol i Gurena (1783-1847) was doctor of theology and born in Barcelona. He became abbot of a convent of "Discalced" Augustinian Brothers which reformed during the Counter-Reformation, but he left them for a secular life in 1822. He was probably the most fascinating personage of this trio of liberals! His friends called him "Pujolito" because he was lame (cojo) and "short in stature, but large in talents and literary activities" (1). He taught at the College Santa Anna in Barcelona and was a member of the Academia de Ciencas y Artes since 1820 as the director of various departments while still a monk. At the Acadèmia de Bones Lletres he founded later a department of Spanish language, literature and history, which students could attended for free. He became also the secretary of the Casa Provincial de Caritat (Caritas), was a co-founder of the Societat d'Amics del Pais, active in the field of economics, and presided numerous commissions to benefit public education. He became vice-president and rector of the restored University of Barcelona in 1836, where he taught canon law, and later rector of the Universitat Literària de Cervera (1838-41). Biographies point out that he is remembered for his liberal ideas, eloquent sermons on morality, and inspirational orations and eulogies. 

More research is in progress, but it is seems these erudite scholars were highly qualified to edit the complex work of Pujades. Their evaluation of the Crónica reveals more about the character and humanism of Pujades than any of his modern peers. It is reasonable to assume that such a liberal team of editors would have addressed any ultra-conservative views, and especially religious fanatism and prejudism Pujades has been accused of, if there was any evidence other than his flowery, Castilian satires that emulate Cervantes! Furthermore, two of the editors had distinguished careers after the publication of the Crónica, with the exception of Torres Amat perhaps, whose retirement in 1831 could have had political reasons! His nomination as Bishop of Asturga in 1834 may have had the goal to reduce his influence in Barcelona. We need to examine how the editors dealt with the Carlist War and the Spanish exclaustration in 1835, which Albert Pujol seems to have anticipated. These were difficult times, which could explain why the editors announced in vol. 2 of the Crónica a fourthcoming vol. 7 with corrections, revisions and documents, which was never published, except for the ultra-conservative foreword by the anonymous editor of the last vol. 6 in1832.

Notes

1. Cayetano Barraquer y Roviralta, Las Casas de Religiosos en Cataluña, Tomo II, (Barcelona, 1906), pp. 199-204.

We should add that the above picture of Félix Torres was difficult to find because most biographies on the internet recycle the strange portrait at left from his early years, which doesn't quite support his image as a charismatic reformer and scholar.

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