June 20, 2021

Galdós in memory – La Provincia


The Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country of Gran Canaria (Rseapgc), originally called the Canary Islands, was founded on February 4, 1776, under the protection of King Carlos III and the impulse of Fray Juan Bautista Servera, Bishop of the Canary Islands. , was created in order to develop agriculture and popular industry. Cristóbal García del Rosario has written a magnificent History of the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country of Las Palmas. Likewise, it highlights the History of the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country of Las Palmas in the 20th century (1901-1960) with an analysis of its contribution to the economic and social development of Gran Canaria, written by Salvador Miranda Calderín.

Let us also remember the conference and the book Considerations on blindness by Benito Pérez Galdós, published by the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country of Gran Canaria (2006) by Manuel Herrera Hernández.

Ten years after the birth of the Royal Basque Society of Friends of the Country, in the Guipuzcoan town of Vergara in 1765, the Economic Society of Madrid was created, although it should be remembered that the Economic Society of True Patricians of Baeza and the Kingdom of Jaén was born before in 1774.

It was in Madrid on May 30, 1775 when Vicente de Rivas, José Faustino Medina and José Almarza, exposed «to the Supreme Council of Castile their desire to establish an Economic Society of Friends of the Country with the aim of improving agriculture, industry and trades ». It was notified, by the then Prosecutor of the Council of Castilla Pedro Rodríguez de Campomanes, and Carlos III approved the Statutes of the Economic Society of Friends of the Country, established in the Villa and Court of Madrid, by Royal Decree on November 9, 1775, and ordered to comply on October 30. This Society was officially inaugurated on September 16, 1775 in the Town Hall of Madrid with a speech by Rodríguez Campomanes.

The activities of the Rsemap, Real Sociedad Económica Matritense de Amigos del País, are included in the groups of economy, charity and education to propagate and improve the education of the people, as well as, among others, the creation of the College of Deaf-mutes, the School for the Blind or the chair for teaching the metric system. Other important achievements of the Rsemap were also the resuscitation of the Ateneo de Madrid in 1835 and the creation of the School of Shorthand.

Benito Pérez Galdós was deputy secretary of the Permanent Commission in Madrid, chaired by Pedro de Quintana y Llarena, in 1878


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Benito Pérez Galdós joined Rsemap on December 16, 1874 as a partner, being Agustín Pascual González president. (Copy of the minutes given by the president of the Rsemap Fátima de la Fuente del Moral). The proposal of Benito Pérez Galdós for a member of the Matritense Economic Society in the class of “Resident member, public writer, author of the remarkable literary publication of the National Episodes”, who lives in Serrano, number 8, second, aware “of the obligations of the Statutes and wishing to belong to the Society has authorized us to sign this proposal, Madrid, December 5, 1874 ». Signed: Miguel Martínez Giménez, Javier Santana and three other firms. In the Session of December 12, 1874, the first reading was given and in the Session of December 19, 1874, a second reading was given in which there was no claim, so in the Session of December 30, 1874, it was admitted. Benito Pérez Galdós and proclaimed Partner of the Corporation signed by the Secretary General.

Benito Pérez Galdós entered, at the age of 25, as a Correspondent Partner in Madrid in 1868, shortly after his arrival in the capital of the kingdom. The admired Juan J. Laforet in Galdós y los Amigos del País recalls in detail that for his entry into the Royal Economic Society of Las Palmas he was presented by Domingo Déniz Grek. The admission proposal was brought to the sessions of June 14 and July 5, 1868, being officially admitted to the latter. As indicated in the minutes of February 17, 1879, “… on the proposal presenting Mr. Benito Pérez Galdós as a Member of Merit, on which said proposal is supported and, proceeding to the voting of regulations, he was admitted.” Next, Juan de Padilla as secretary, sends Galdós the Diploma of Merit Partner, and indicates that he must remember that «… such titles are only conferred, in accordance with article 6 of the Bylaws, to persons of relevant knowledge or who have made some special benefit to the Country … “, so the” … Society has estimated that you are in the first of these cases and has agreed, in a session of the 17th of the current days, to admit you in its bosom with such distinguished character granting him this high honor as a just tribute due to his talent and tireless industry… ».

Benito Pérez Galdós, in the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country of Las Palmas, in 1878 was deputy secretary of the Permanent Commission in Madrid, chaired by Pedro de Quintana y Llarena, with vice president Jacinto de León y Falcón and, as secretary, Fernando de Leon and Castle. And when in October 1894 a Commission of the Economic Society arrived in Gran Canaria to receive him, attending as such the performance of his play La de San Quintín, in our theater, who was wearing his best clothes.

In Las Palmas, the Economic Society of Friends of the Country has always distinguished itself, before and now, by maintaining the Galdosian sacred fire by publishing works and reproducing since 1986 “Among canaries, homage to Benito Pérez Galdós, December 9, 1900.” From Las Palmas, Dr. Gregorio Chil y Naranjo, as director of the Friends of the Country Economic Society, in his telegram said: “The Friends of the Country Economic Society adheres to the celebration that the Canarian colony celebrates in honor of its illustrious member of Merit.”

The Rseap de Las Palmas contributed financially to the construction of the new theater. The construction of the coliseum began in 1873, following a project by the architect Francisco Jareño Alarcón with the name of Teatro Tirso de Molina. The official opening of the Tirso de Molina Theater was in 1890 with a performance of La Traviata. On April 17, 1901, Electra, by Benito Pérez Galdós, was premiered with great brilliance. Coinciding with the premiere of Electra, the theater changed its name to the current one, dedicated to Benito Pérez Galdós, who was the victim of a fire in June 1918. Its reconstruction was attempted by the architect Fernando Navarro and later the architect Miguel Martín Fernández intervened de La Torre with his brother Nestor. The works lasted several years, from 1924 to 1928.

But Galdós has also been remembered in Madrid. The Plenary of the City Council of the Villa de Madrid held on Tuesday, November 26, 2019, unanimously approved, granting the Title of Adoptive Child to Mr. Benito Pérez Galdós, posthumously.

The City Council of the hometown of Galdós had planned to grant him the title of Favorite Son on the occasion of the centenary of his death, to be presented to his relatives during the celebration of the Gala of Honors and Distinctions of the City of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Wednesday June 24, 2020. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Council of Culture awarded the citizens of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria the Gold Medal of the City, for their exemplary behavior during the pandemic.

For its part, the Plenary of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, in a session held on Monday, February 10, 2020, agreed to grant the Title of Favorite Son to Don Benito Pérez Galdós, when the hundredth anniversary of the death of the Canarian author was completed. Don Benito went ahead with the thought that life does not consist in understanding, but in loving, helping others and working.

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