Consalvi, Ercole, 1757-1824

Alternative names
Birth 1757-06-08
Death 1824-01-24

Biographical notes:

Italian cardinal and statesman.

From the description of Autograph signature and subscription to a letter : Rome, to Mr. Colbert, 1806 Mar. 26. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270534527

Ercole Consalvi (1757-1824), cardinal and statesman, was born in Rome but came from a noble family of Toscanella. His ancestors belonged to the noble line of the Brunacci in Pisa but one of them settled in Toscanella in the seventeenth century. Ercole's grandfather, Gregorio Brunacci, inherited a large fortune on condition of taking the name and arms of the Consalvi family. In this way Gregorio Brunacci became Marchese Gregorio Consalvi with residence in Rome.

From 1771 until 1776 Consalvi attended the seminary in Frascati, where he won the admiration and protection of Henry Stuart, duke of York, who was the cardinal bishop of Frascati. Returning to Rome he entered the Accademia Ecclesiastica and became a deacon but was never ordained a priest. An intelligent man, he quickly moved into a curial career.

In 1783 Pius VI named him a private chamberlain. A number of curial positions followed; in 1792 he obtained nomination as an auditor of the Rota. After the death of Pius VI (1799) the cardinals assembled in Venice for the conclave and Consalvi was chosen as secretary by an almost unanimous vote. Cardinal Chiaramonti, elected as Pius VII (1800-1823), soon appointed Consalvi as pro-secretary of state; consequently Consalvi accompanied the pope to Rome where Consalvi was definitively appointed secretary of state.

During his first years in that office Consalvi was only moderately successful in his efforts to restore the Papal States. His main achievement was the short-lived 1801 concordat with France which made possible the reestablishment of the church in France after the revolution. Although Napoleon later managed to obtain his dismissal from office and force his retirement to Reims, Consalvi was not intimidated. On Napoleon's abdication in 1814, Consalvi was immediately reappointed as secretary of state and represented the pope at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. It was there that he obtained the restoration of the Papal States, the reorganization of which occupied the last years of his life.

From the description of Fondo Consalvi, ca. 1755-1823. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 145569625


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  • Papal States (as recorded)
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