PARTOES (Joseph)

Partoes, Joseph (Brussels, 8 May 1811 – Brussels, 12 October 1858), diplomat and politician.

Joseph Partoesis the son of Martin Partoes, slater, and BarbeHauwaert. His father dies when he is only two years old.

After finishing his studies at the Brussels lyceum, Partoestakes part in the Belgian revolution of 1830. The same year, he becomes a clerk in the Home Office, in the department of Commerce and Industry. In 1833he is briefly a health officer in Givet but soon afterwards he is authorized byminister of the Interior,Rogier, to embark on a merchant ship, the Flora, chartered by the Antwerp ship ownerCateaux-Watteland sail around the world for commercial exploration. During the voyage, which lasts from August 1834 to November 1835,Partoes shows exceptional skills and ardour. He also seems to have contracted malaria, which plagues him for the rest of his life.

On his return,Partoes is offered different consular postings, especially in Latin America (Lima). On28 May 1838, he is nominated as consul in Smyrna (İzmir). His main instructions, formulated in September 1838, are to report extensively on the commercial conditions in his posting, to prospect for possible consular candidates and to implement the recentfriendship and commercial treaty between Belgium and the Ottoman Empire, signed in August 1838.Partoes is a keen and respected reporter but his most important achievements are the commercial missions he undertakes to northern Persia in the summer of 1840 and to Anatolia in the winter of 1840-1841. These missions result in, amongst other things, a very well received report on the Trabzon, Erzurum and Tebriz trade. This report makes Partoes, in the eyes of minister of the Interior Liedts, the best agent in the Belgian consular service.

Not surprisingly,in June 1841, and despite being highly dissatisfied with the decision, Partoesis recalled to lead the so-called Second Division (Commercial Treaties and Affairs) of the Foreign Office. In 1846 he becomes head of the department of Consulates and Foreign Trade.Additionally, Partoesis a member of the Commission Centrale de Statistique from its beginnings in 1843 to 1858. In 1850, for reasons that are not clear, Partoes enters the Ministry of Public Works as secretary general. On 9 November 1857 he becomes aliberal non-parliamentary interim minister and, on 26 April 1858, actual minister of Public Works for the Rogier government. After just a few weeks in office, Partoes starts to suffer gravely from the consequences of malaria he contracted in Manila in 1835. Refusing to slow down his work rate, his condition degenerates quickly and, on 11 October 1858, he dies. His funeral ceremony, which is held in Brussels, at the church of Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg on 14 October, develops into a massive public assembly.

Partoes’ major contribution to Belgian overseas policy was his commercial world voyage which convinced the government of the necessity to nominate salaried consuls.


Dr. Jan Anckaer
Library Federal Parliament
14 mai 2012


Unpublished sources

  • Foreign Office Archives, Brussels, Diplomatic personnel files, nr. 1165 (Partoes).

Published sources

  • Partoes (J.),Rapport sur le commerce de Trébizonde, d’Erzeroum et sur celui de Tauris, présenté à M. le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, Brussels, De Mortier, 1841.
  • Partoes (J.),Rapport sur le commerce de Smyrne, Brussels, De Mortier, 1841.
  • L’indépendance belge, 12 October 1858.

Scientific publications

  • Jean Baptiste Ghislain Joseph Partoes, in Le parlement belge (1831-1914). Données biographiques. Publié sous la direction de Jean-Luc De Paepe et Christiane Raindorf-Gérard, Commission de la Biographie Nationale, Académie Royale de Belgique, Brussels, 1996, p. 452.
  • De Decker Doucet de Tillier (R.), La pittoresque odyssée de J. Partoes. Monsieur Belgique 1835, Brussels, Arts & Voyages, 1975.
  • Tierenteyn (L.),Ghislain-Joseph Partoes, in Biographie Nationale, XVI, Brussels, 1901, col. 655-657.

Biographical Dictionary of Overseas Belgians