Consalvi, Ercole

[Ercole Cardinal Consalvi] (1757-1824) Cardinal, statesman, born Rome; died there. He began his public career as private chamberlain to Pius VI, 1783, and in 1786 was connected with the temporal government of Rome. When the French entered Rome, 1798, and proclaimed a republic, Consalvi was thrown into prison but subsequently released. He acted as secretary of the conclave, at Venice, 14 March 1800, at which Cardinal Chiaramonti was elected pope (Pius VII), and accompanied the new pope to Rome as secretary of state. He signed the French Concordat with Napoleon, though what are known as the Organic Articles were subsequently added to the document by Napoleon without his knowledge. He negotiated also the agreement with the Cisalpine Republic. When dissension arose later between Napoleon and Pius VII, in order to secure peace Consalvi resigned his position, 1806. After Napoleon deported Pius to Savona, 1809, Consalvi was then forced to go to Paris, where he lived in retirement. When he declined to assist at the emperor's marriage to Marie-Louise, 1810, Napoleon expelled him from the Tuileries, deprived him of his dignities, and exiled him to Rheims. He joined Pius VII at Fontainebleau, 1813, and on Napoleon's abdication accompanied the pope to Rome. He successfully claimed from the allied powers the restoration of the Papal States and took part in the Congress of Vienna. On his return, as secretary of state, he prepared a new legal code, reorganized the civil administration and educational system, and concluded concordats with Bavaria, Prussia, Hanover, Sardinia, and the Sicilies. Consalvi was one of the greatest papal statesmen, devoted to works of charity and religion, unselfish and disinterested.

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