Consalvi Ercole

Consalvi Ercole,

Marquis of, an Italian cardinal, and one of the ablest diplomatic agents of Rome in the present century, was born at Rome, June 8, 1757. Pius VI appointed him in 1792 to the office of Uditore della sacra ruota, and afterwards minister of war. In this capacity he showed himself a steady enemy of the French Revolution. When the French troops took Rome in 1798 he was made prisoner, but soon after released. After the death of Pius VI he was secretary of the conclave which elected cardinal Chiramonte (Pius VII) as pope, and soon after (1800) he was made by the new pope secretary of state and cardinal. In 1801 he went to Paris, where he signed the concordat with Napoleon, July 15; but having afterwards incurred the displeasure of the emperor, Consalvi resigned (1806) his office. He refused his assent to the divorce of Napoleon and Josephine, in the council held on the subject, and was exiled in 1809. The pope having returned to Rome in 1814, Consalvi was restored to his position as prime minister, and soon sent to the conferences held by the great powers at London as representative of the papal interests. He was also papal plenipotentiary at the Congress of Vienna, when he secured the restitution of all the papal territories with the exception of Avignon and Venaissin. Against the incorporation of these places with France he protested, as also against the occupation of Ferrara and Rimini by Austrian troops, and against the secularization of the ecclesiastical states of Germany. This protest, however, was of no avail, and he was also unsuccessful in his endeavor to rearrange the ecclesiastical affairs of Germany by one general concordat. He was more fortunate in his negotiations with particular states, and successfully concluded concordats (q.v.) with France, Russia, Poland, Prussia, Austria, Bavaria, Wirtemberg, Sardinia, Spain, Geneva, and even with St. Domingo and Chili. At the death of Pius VII (1823) he retired to Porto d'Anzo, but was called again to Rome by Leo XII, who placed him at the head of the Propaganda, which office he had hardly accepted when he died, Jan. 24, 1824. — Memoires du Cardinal Consalvi (with introduction and notes by Cretineau-Joly, Paris, 1864, 2 vols.); Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 1:811: Bartholdy, Zuige aus den Leben des Card. Consalvi (Stuttgart, 1824); Revue Chretienne, 5 Feb. 1865.

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