SEDE VACANTE

January 7, 1655—April 7, 1655



Bust of Cardinal Antonio Barberini, Camerlengo
Antonio Cardinal Barberini



Arms of Cardinal Albani, Camerlengo AG


SEDE VACA | NTE MDCLV

Shield with the Coat of Arms of Antonio Cardinal Barberini, Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, surmounted by Cardinal's hat with six tassels on each side; crossed keys above, the Ombrellone over all.
The Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, with tongues of fire


INFVNDE AMOREM CORDIBVS

(in exergue:) *ROMA*



The Holy Spirit, surrounded by rays and tongues of fire (Pentecost).


Berman, p. 142 #1887.




The Camerlengo

ANTONIO CARDINAL BARBERINI, iuniore (1607-1671), was the son of Carlo Barberini and Costanza Magalotti. He was the nephew of Pope Urban VIII (Maffeo Barberini, 1623-1644), of the Capuchin Antonio Card. Barberini, seniore, (1624), and of Lorenzo Card. Magalotti. His brother Francesco became Cardinal on the election of their uncle to the papacy, and his brother Taddeo became Prince of Palestrina and Prefect of Rome. He was the cousin of Francesco Maria Cardinal Machiavelli (who became cardinal in 1641), and uncle of Carlo Cardinal Barberini (1653). He was Grand Prior in Rome of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

The accession of his uncle brought Antonio Barberini and his brothers many positions of power, wealth and influence. He became Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Aquiro in 1627, and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church on July 28, 1638, a position which he held until his death on August 3, 1671. In that capacity he presided over the Conclaves of 1644, 1655, 1667 and 1669-1670. The authoritarianism, arrogance and greed of the family ("Quod non fecerunt Barbari, fecerunt Barberini.") brought a strong reaction on the death of Urban VIII. In 1645 Antonio and Taddeo fled to Paris (where Urban VIII had once been ambassador), and remained in exile at the Court of Louis XIV (under the patronage of the Sicilian Giulio Card. Mazzarini) until 1653; he became Grand Almoner of France and a member of the Order of the Holy Spirit. In 1657 he was nominated Archbishop of Rheims, a choice which was approved by Pope Alexander VII. He became Cardinal Bishop of Palestrina in 1661. He died in Rome on August 3, 1671.

Cardinal Barberini was Cardinal Camerlengo during the conclaves of 1644, 1655, 1667 and 1670.

The Governor of Rome, named by the Cardinals at the beginning of the Sede Vacante, was Msgr. Giulio Rospigliosi, Archbishop of Tarsus, recently Nuncio in Spain.  He became Cardinal of S. Sisto in 1657, and was Secretary of State of Alexander VII (Chigi) from 1655 to 1667.  He was elected Pope Clement IX on June 20, 1667, and died on December 9, 1669.

The Secretary of the Sacred College of Cardinals was Count Federico Ubaldini [Bullarium Romanum Turin edition 16, no. cxxxix, p. 219].

The Ceremoniere were
           Franciscus Pheobeus
           Carolus Vincentius Carcarasius
           Fulvius Servantius
           Petrus Antonius della Pedacchia
           Christophorus Faccialieta


Death of the Pope

Pope Innocent X (Pamphilj) died on January 7, 1655, at the Palazzo Quirinale. He had been ill since August [Pallavicini, Della vita di Alessandro VII, Lib.II capo xiii, p. 207-208; Novaes, pp. 53-55]; the Diaries of Fulvio Servantio, papal Master of Ceremonies, quoted by Gauchat (Hierarchia Catholica IV, p. 27 n.4), states: Innocentius Papa X, qui iam per aliquot dies valde aegrotaverat et doloribus affectus erat, summa pietate, et ea resignatione qua potuit, praesentis vitae peregrinationi finem imposuit.   The expected death of the Pope caused most people of consequence to be gathered in Rome in good time, including most of the cardinals. More than fifty attended the Congregation on January 8. 

During the last year of the pope's life, according to the commonly retailed story, his sister-in-law Olimpia Maidalchini scarcely ever left his side, completely controlling access to the Pope and to the money she could make and power she could wield through him.   In the last weeks of his life, it was said, she would lock him in his room once a week while she removed money and other valuables from the Papal Palace to her own palace. Even with his death she did not flee the inevitable retribution, believing that she could produce a friendly result in the conclave through the exercise of influence and money. She had many to fear, foremost among them Giovanni Battista Cardinal Pallotta, the Dominican Cardinal Vincenzo Maculani, and Domenico Cardinal Cecchini.  Her chosen agent is said to have been Cardinal Barberini, though she worked through a number of people, creature of Innocent X, who came to be called her Flying Squadron (Squadron Volante). Cardinal Pallavicini names them (Ranke, p. 36n.): Cardinals Lorenzo Imperiale, Luigi Omodei, Giberto Borromeo, Benedetto Odescalchi, Carlo Pio di Savoia, Aquaviva, Pietro Ottoboni, Francesco Albizzi, Carlo Gualtiero, and Decio Azzolino. The dead pope she left to his own fate, not even providing him a proper coffin for his lying-in-state. Or so it is said, with malicious glee. T.A. Trollope adopts this nonsense and passes it on to the gullible nineteenth century, stating that the body of the pope was completely abandoned for three days.   The facts, at least for the last two weeks and the period of the Sede Vacante, are quite otherwise.

Fulvio Servantio notes in his Diaries [Gattico I, 459]  that, as Pope Innocent felt death approaching, he received the Viaticum on December 28, 1644, and expressed a desire to speak with his Cardinals. Prince Camillo Pamphili sent his familiares to announce to all the cardinals that hope for the survival the Pope was diminished, and that the Cardinals should assemble at 19:00 hours. Thirty-nine Cardinals appeared; some were prevented by illness, and others were far from Rome on business.  They were provided seats in the Hall of the S. Officio.  The Cardinal Dean, de'Medici, was ill with gout, and had to be carried as far as the chamber of the Consistory in a carrying chair, and from there he was moved in a wheel chair.  When the Pope was informed that the Cardinals had assembled, he summoned them into his presence.  The Cardinals gathered around his bed, and the Pope made a farewell speech, to which Cardinal de'Medici made reply, expressing his regrets and begging the Pope for his blessing.  The Pope withdrew his hand from under the sheets, and made the sign of the Cross in blessing, saying, Deus pro sua pietate Vobis benedicat, et mentem aperiat, ut dignam facere possitis electionem, pro ut confido.  He thereupon dismissed them, and after they had departed he blessed his familiares as well.

On January 1, Mass was celebrated in the Pope's sickroom, and he kissed the Gospel and the Pax as usual (as the Master of Ceremonies, Fulvio Servantio, carefully notes).  The same was done on January 6, and the Pope received Holy Communion and Extreme Unction.  Next day, January 7, around 14:00 hours, assisted by the Penitentiaries of St. Peter's and Cardinal Fabio Chigi, the Secretary of State, in the presence of Bishop Ranuzio Scotti, the Prefect of the Sacred Palace (Maggiordomo) since 1643 [Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 124 and n. 5], and the Pope's Sacristan, Msgr. Taddeo Altini, as well as his familiar attendants, he died.  His Confessor had been father Gianpaolo Oliva, SJ., future vicar General and General of the Society of Jesus [Pallavicini, Della vita di Alessandro VII, Lib.II capo xiii, p. 210; Novaes X, 55].   The Master of Ceremonies, Msgr. Franciscus Pheobeus, formally announced to the Cardinal Chamberlain S.R.E., Cardinal Antonio Barberini, that the Pope was dead, and thereafter the same to the Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals, Cardinal de'Medici.  The Commander of the Swiss Guard, as soon as the Pope was dead, presented himself and a guard at the palace of Cardinal de'Medici and escorted him to the Quirinale.  The Cardinal was admitted, along with the officials of the Apostolic Camera.  He knelt in prayer, rose, blessed the corpse with holy water, and performed the Recognition (Rogito) of the deceased—the equivalent of preparing and signing the death certificate.  He received the Fisherman's Ring from the Pope's Praefectus cubiculi, Msgr. Constanzo Centumflorenus, and appointed members of the Apostolic Chamber to take custody of the Palace.  Cardinal de'Medici then called on the three nephews of the Pope, Prince Pamphili, Prince Ludovisi, and Prince Giustiniani, who were waiting together in another room.

After the Cardinal Camerlengo's departure, the body of the pope was turned over to the surgeon;  his body was opened, washed, and prepared in the usual fashion (praecordia removed, and enbalmed).  He was then dressed in papal vestments, including mozzetta and biretta, by the Auxiliantes Camerae, after which the body was exposed for view in the chamber next to the Gregorian Hall, while the Penitentiarii sang the Office for the Dead. At the second hour of the night following his death, the corpse was carried from the Quirinal Palace to the Vatican, under the direction of Msgr. Servantio.  The body was placed on a catafalque in the Sistine Chapel, and dressed by the Penitentiarii of St. Peter's in pontifical vestments.  The vestments which the body wore from the Quirinal were given to the Reverend Sacristan.  Msgr. Phoebeus arranged with the Cardinal Camerlengo the first of the Congregations, to be held later in the day on the 7th of January at 21:00 hours.  On orders of the Cardinal Camerlengo, Msgr. Phoebeus sent a message to the Capitol to have the bell rung, signifying the death of the pope.

 

The Cardinals

A list of the Cardinals and their dapiferi (butlers) is given in a motu proprio of Alexander VII of  August 19, 1656 [Bullarium Romanum Turin edition 16, no. cxxxviii, pp. 209-211], and another list of Cardinals and their conclavists in another motu proprio of the same date [Bullarium Romanum Turin edition 16, no. cxxxix, pp. 218-222].  Conclave in quo Fabius Chisius, nunc dictus Alexander VII. summus Pontifex creatus est, at pp. 180-187,  provides a contemporary list.   A list is given in  P. Gauchat (editor), Hierarchia catholica Volumen Quartum (Monasterii 1935), p. 32. [A slip in Gauchat's entry for Cardinal Francesco Peretti de Montalto (p. 25 no. 53) has him dying in Rome on May 3, 1653;  in note 3, however, it is clear that the date should be May 3, 1655, and that Cardinal Peretti Montalto was alive and present at the Conclave of 1655, as the two motu proprio indicate]. See also: Ciconius-Olduin IV, p. 715-716 [where they correctly list cardinal Peretti Montalto as in attendance].  Strangely  Petruccelli, Histoire diplomatique des conclaves  III (Paris 1865), p. 158, says that sixty-nine cardinals entered Conclave on January 18, 1655. Sixty-nine is the total number of cardinals;  four came late; three did not come at all.   Only three Cardinals at the Conclave were members of a religious order.

Cardinals attending:

  1. Carlo de' Medici (aged 59) [Florentinus], Bishop of Ostia and Velletri, Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. A cardinal since 1615  Brother of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand I.  Uncle of the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinand II (1621-1670).  (died 1666)  Agent of the Spanish government inside the Conclave, during which he was in contact with the Spanish Ambassador in Rome, Terranova, and with Incontri, the Ambassador of Modena.
  2. Francesco Barberini (aged 57) [Romanus], Bishop of Porto and Santa Rufina, sub-Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. Later Bishop of Ostia e Velletri (1666-1679)   (died 1679)  Brother of Cardinal Antonio. Nephew of Urban VIII. Protector of England.  Prefect of the SC of the Universal and Roman Inquisition (1633-1679)  S.R.E. Vice-Chancellor. [Bullarium Romanum Turin edition 16, no. cxxxix, pp. 217]
  3. Bernardino Spada (aged 60) [Faenza, not related to the Genoese Spada], Bishop of Sabina. Later Bishop of Palestrina (1655-1661).  Former nuncio in France, but not a friend of the Barberini (died 1661).  Protector of the Cistercians, Premonstratensians, Minimi, and the Capuchins. He was a patron and friend of Guido Reni and Guercino.[Cardella 6, 54-55].
  4. Giulio Cesare Sacchetti (aged 68) [Florentinus], Bishop of Frascati. Later Bishop of Sabina (1655-1663)   (died 1663)  Former Nuncio in Spain for Urban VIII.  Excluded by Spain in the Conclave of 1644.  The Venetian Ambassador in Rome, Giovanni Giustinian, however, considered him "di somma bontà, e di grande intelligenza nel maneggio di affari politici e legali, nei quali usa singolar desterità, è acclamato dai buoni, ma all'incontro prova la disavventura della sua continuata esclusione dagli Spagnuoli, dal Gran duca, non meno che da quei cardinali che nel passaio conclave gli fecero ostacolo...." [Barozzi & Berchet (edd.) Relazioni... Serie III-Italia. Relazioni di Roma II (Venezia 1878), p. 155 (December 2, 1651)]
  5. Marzio Ginetti (aged 68) [Velitrae],  A loyal creature of the Barberini. Sent to Germany by Urban VIII to attempt to end the Thirty Years War—at which he failed. Legate of Ferrara. Vicar of Innocent X for the City of Rome, Bishop of Albano.  Later Bishop of Sabina (1663-1666), and then Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina (1666-1671) (died 1671).

  6. Aloysius (Luigi) Capponi (aged 73), title of S. Lorenzo in Lucina (1629–1659). Archbishop of Ravenna (1621–1645).   Bibliothecarius S. R. E. (1649–1659)   (died 1659).
  7. Ernest Adalbert von Harrach (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of S. Prassede (1644-1667) . Archbishop of Prague (1623-1667).  Representative of the Emperor Ferdinand III in the Conclave.
  8. Antonio Barberini, iuniore (aged 47), Cardinal Priest of Sma. Trinità al Monte Pincio. (died 1671)  Camerarius S. R. E.  Nephew of Urban VIII.  His conclavist, Abbe Giovanni Antonio Costa, was a correspondent of Cardinal Mazarin.
  9. Girolamo Colonna (aged 50) [Romanus], son of Don Filippo, sixth Principe e Duca di Paliano, Gran Connestabile del Regno di Napoli, fourth Duca di Tagliacozzo, Conte di Ceccano, Marchese di Cave, Signore di Genazzano, etc., and Lucrezia Tomacelli. Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere. (died 1666).  Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica.
  10. Giovanni Battista Maria Pallotta (aged 61) [Piacenza], Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in Vincoli (1652-1659).  [Caldarola, Diocese of Camerino, Picenum], Cardinal Priest in the title of S. Silvestri in Capite (1631–1652).  Nephew of Cardinal Giovanni Evangelista Palotta.  Governor of Rome (1628).  Nuncio in Vienna (1628–1630).  Legate in Ferrara (1631-1634).  Co-protector of the Holy House of Loreto (1644-1652). (died 1668).
  11. Francesco Maria Brancaccio (aged 62) [Neapolitanus], Cardinal Priest of Ss. XII Apostoli (1634-1663).  Doctor of Theology (Naples, 1620).  Formerly Bishop of Capaccio in the Kingdom of Naples (1627–1635). When a servant of his killed a soldier, he was cited to the court of the Viceroy of Naples, but not wanting to acknowledge civil jurisdiction, he fled to Rome.  Despite demands for his readmission to his diocese, the Viceroy refused and demanded his replacement. Instead the Pope made him a cardinal, and in 1638 made him Bishop of Viterbo and Toscanella (1638–1670).  His career culminated in his being named Cardinal Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina (1671–1675). (died 1675).
  12. Alessandro Bichi (aged 59), Cardinal Priest of S. Sabina . Bishop of Carpentras (1630-1657). (died 1657).  A loyal agent of the French.
  13. Ulderico Carpegna (aged 59), Cardinal Priest of S. Anastasia. Former Bishop of Gubbio (1630-1638) and then of Todi (1638-1643). Later Cardinal Bishop of Albano, then Frascati, then Porto (died 1679).
  14. Marco Antonio Franciotti (aged 63) [Lucca], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria della Pace. Former Bishop of Lucca (1637-1645). (died 1666)
  15. Stefano Ducati Durazzo (aged 60), Cardinal Priest of S. Lorenzo in Panisperna . Archbishop of Genoa (1635-1664). in which see he was residentiary . (died 1667).  Officially of the Imperial faction, but in fact favorable to France.
  16. Ascanio Filomarino (aged 72) [Naples], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Ara Coeli, Archbishop of Naples (1641-1666). (died 1666).
  17. Marco Antonio Bragadin (aged 64) [Venetus], Cardinal Priest of S. Marco. Former Bishop of Crema, then of Ceneda, then of Vicenza. (died 1658).
  18. Pier Donato Cesi, iuniore (aged 72) [Romanus], Cardinal Priest of S. Marcello  (died 1656).
  19. Vincenzo Maculani, OP (aged 76) , Cardinal Priest of S. Clemente    Former Comissary of the Holy Office. Former Maestro dei sacri palazzi.  Former Archbishop of Benevento (1642-1642 or 1643) (died 1667).
  20. Francesco Peretti Montalto (aged 58/60) [Romanus], son of Michele Peretti, Prince of Venafro, and Margarita Savelli, and nephew of Cardinal Alessandro Montalto. He was a great nephew of Sixtus V.    Cardinal Priest of S. Girolamo dei Schiavoni/Croati  In 1650 he was appointed, on the nomination of the King of Spain, Archbishop of Monreale in Sicily; his successor was appointed in October of 1656. In 1654 he consecrated Federico Borommeo Patriarch of Alexandria. Peretti died May 3, 1655 (not 1653); he was buried in the Sistine Chapel of S. Maria Maggiore on May 7)  [Cardella VII, 22; R. Pirro, Sicilia sacra I (1733), p. 478].  Supporter of Naples (where most of his estates were), and of Spain.  Retz, however, had some hope of detaching him and bringing him to vote in favor of Chigi.
  21. Cesare Facchinetti (aged 46) [Bononiensis], Cardinal Priest of SS. Quattro Coronati.  Titular Archbishop of Tamiathis (Damietta) (1639-1672), Bishop of Senigallia (1643-1655), later Bishop of Spoleto (1655-1672). Then Bishop of Palestrina (1672-1679), and then Bishop of Porto. Ended his career as Bishop of Ostia (1680-1683)   (died 1683).
  22. Girolamo Grimaldi (aged 59) [Genoa], Cardinal Priest of S. Eusebio.  He had been papal Nuncio in France (1641-1643)  He became Archbishop of Aix  in August, 1655, after the Conclave (died 1685).  Cardinal de Retz alleges that he hated Mazarin and Mazarin returned the favor.
  23. Carlo Rossetti (aged 40) [Ferrara], Cardinal Priest of S. Silvestro in Capite (1654-1672). Previously Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Via (1643-1644), and of C. Cesareo (1644-1653). Titular Archbishop of Tarsus (1641-1643), Bishop of Faenza (1643-1676). Cardinal Bishop of Frascati in 1676, then Porto e Santa Rufina (1680-1681).   (died 1681).  He had been papal Nunzio in England in the 1630s-1640s. . Partisan of the Spanish in the Conclave of 1644.
  24. Francesco Angelo Rapaccioli (aged 46) [diocese of Narni],  Cardinal Priest of S. Cecilia (1650-1657).  Bishop of Terni (1646-1656). (died 1657).
  25. Francesco Adriano Ceva (aged 75) [Mondovi in Savoy], Cardinal Priest of S. Prisca   (died October 12, 1655).
  26. Angelo Giori (aged 68), Cardinal Priest of Ss. Quirico e Giulitta  (died 1662).
  27. Juan de Lugo, SJ. (aged 71), Cardinal Priest of S. Balbina  (died 1660).
  28. Domenico Cecchini (aged 65) [Romanus],  Cardinal Priest of S. Sisto.  Pro-Datary  (died 1656).
  29. Niccolò Albergati-Ludovisi (aged 46) [Bononiensis], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria degli Angeli (S.Maria ad Thermas) (1646-1666).   Major Penitentiary (1650-1687).  Former Archbishop of Bologna.  Cardinal Bishop of Ostia – Velletri (1683-1687)   (died 1687)
  30. Pier Luigi Carafa (aged 73) [Naples], Cardinal Priest of S. Martino ai Monti   Prefect of the SC of the Clergy (died during the Conclave, on February 15, 1655).
  31. Alderano Cibo [Genoa], son of the Prince of Massa Carrara. Majordomo of the Apostolic Palace for Innocent X. Cardinal Priest of S. Pudenziana (1645-1668),  then S. Prassede (1668-1677), then S. Lorenzo in Lucina (1677-1679) then Bishop of Palestrina, then Porto, then Ostia  (died July 22, 1700).  An imperialist, but well thought of by the French King.
  32. Fabrizio Savelli (aged 47) [Romanus], Cardinal Priest of S. Agostino   Archbishop of Salerno (from 1642). (died 1659)
  33. Francesco Cherubini (aged 69) {Picenum], Domestic Prelate and Auditor, Canon of Basilica of S. Peter. Referendary utriusque signorum (Grace and Justice). Cardinal Priest of S. Giovanni a Porta Latina  (died 1656) .
  34. Camillo Astalli (aged 35), Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in Montorio  (died 1663).  had a Spanish pension [Petruccelli III, p. 153]
  35. Jean-François-Paul de Gondi de Retz [French],  On the nomination of King Louis XIV, Cardinal Priest without titulus, assigned S. Maria sopra Minerva after the Conclave on May 14, 1655. Archbishop of Paris (1654-1662) (died 1679).  Nephew of the Bishop of Paris.  He was in flight from France because of the part he played in the Fronde, having escaped from prison in Nantes, and was in debt to the Duke of Tuscany for 4000 crowns, for making it possible for him to reach Rome [Oeuvres du Cardinal de Retz V, p. 5]    At Florence, he had been assisted by Cardinals Gian Carlo de'Medici and his brother, Leopoldo de'Medici. [Memoirs of Retz pp 90-184, esp. 181]. At Siena he stayed with Prince Mathias, third son of Cosimo II [Oeuvres du Cardinal de Retz V, 5]. He arrived in Rome on November 30, 1654, and was given his red hat at a Secret Consistory held by Pope Innocent X on December 7, 1654 [Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 30 nn. 2,3,4].   In December of 1654, Mazarin was sending Hughes de Lionne to Rome to engage in proceedings against Retz; the Procureur General, Nicolas Fouquet, was already at work on the case [Lettres de Mazarin, VI (Paris 1890) pp. 410-412]. The Cardinals of the French faction were under orders from the King to have nothing to do with Retz.  He was being courted, however, by the Duke of Terranova on behalf of the Spanish and by Cardinal Harrach on behalf of the Emperor.  He finally joined himself with the Flying Squadron.  Mazarin was informed of Retz's contacts with the Spanish and the Medici faction [Lettres de Mazarin VI, 435 (February 12, 1655)].  Retz was secretly given copies of Lionne's correspondence, received and sent, by a doctor named Lot [Oeuvres du Cardinal de Retz V, p. 78 n. 4].
  36. Fabio Chigi (56) [Siena-Rome], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria del Popolo.  Vice-Legate of Ferrara, Inquisitor of Malta, Nuncio to Cologne (1639-1651). Bishop of Nardo (1652). Bishop of Imola (1652-1655). Secretary of State of Innocent X.  Iuris utroque Doctor.
  37. Giovanni Girolamo Lomellini (aged 45) [Genoa],  Commisary General of the papal armies; Governor of the City of Rome; Treasurer General S.R.E. under Innocent X,  Cardinal Priest of S. Onofrio.   Legate in Bologna and Ferrara, continued in the post by Alexander VII for three years.. (died 1659).
  38. Aloysius (Luigi) Omodei (aged 47) [Milan], son of Marchese Carlo Omodei. Cardinal Priest of Ss. Bonifacio ed Alessio  (died 1685) .Magister in utroque iure (Perugia).
  39. Pietro Vito Ottoboni (aged 44) [Venetus], Cardinal Priest of S. Salvatore in Lauro.  Bishop of Brescia (1654-1664) (died as Pope Alexander VIII in 1691) .
  40. Giacomo Corradi (aged 52) [Ferrara],  Auditor of the Rota under Urban VIII. Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Traspontina,  Bishop of Iesi (1653; he was succeeded by Cardinal Alderano Cibo on April 24, 1656).  Became Datary of Alexander VII on April 10, 1655  (died 1666)
  41. Lorenzo Imperiali (aged 43) [Genoa], Cardinal Priest of S. Crisogono   (died 1673). Concluded the War of Castro.
  42. Giberto Borromeo (aged 39), Cardinal Priest of Ss. Giovanni e Paolo. (died 1672).
  43. Marcello Publicola Santacroce (aged 35) [Romanus], son of Marchese Valerio Santacroce. At the request of King Casimir of Poland, he was named Cardinal Priest of S. Stefano al Monte Celio by Innocent X.   Bishop of Tivoli (1652-1674). (died December 19. 1674).
  44. Baccio Aldobrandini (aged 41) {Florentinus], Cardinal Priest of S. Agnese fuori le mura. (died 1665).
  45. Giovanni Battista Spada (aged 57) [Lucca, not of the Genoese Spada], Cardinal Priest of S. Susanna   Former Prefect of Rome (1635-1643).  Legate in Ferrara (from 1654). (died 1675). Firmly in the French camp [Lettres de Mazarin, VI (Paris 1890) p. 448 (March 22, 1655)].  Nephew of Cardinal Bernardino Spada.
  46. Prospero Caffarelli (aged 57), Cardinal Priest of S. Callisto . (died 1675).
  47. Francesco Albizzi (aged 61) [Cesena], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Via. (died 1684). Auditor of the Nunciature in Naples, Auditor of the Nunciature in Spain,  Assessor of the Holy Office, Assistant to Cardinal Ginetti when he was sent as Legatus a latere to Germany.   A member of the Flying Squadron, along with Acquaviva, Ottoboni, Odescalchi, and Azzolini.  He wrote a treatise against the right of the exclusiva.
  48. Ottavio Acquaviva d'Aragona, iuniore (aged 45), Cardinal-Priest of S. Bartolomeo all’Isola.  Legate in Romandiola. (died 1674).

  49. Giangiacomo Teodoro Trivulzio (aged 58) {Milan], Prince of Musocco.  Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata (1653-1655).  Son of Carlo Emmanuele Trivulzio, Conte di Melzi, he was the fifth cardinal in his family. He had previously been married, with a son and two daughters.   Became Cardinal Priest of S. Maria del Popolo in 1655.  Protodeacon.    (died 1656)
  50. Giulio Gabrielli (aged 51), Cardinal Deacon of S. Agata alla Suburra, later Cardinal Priest of S. Prisca, Santa Prassede, and S. Lorenzo in Lucina;  Bishop of Sabina in 1668. (died 1677).
  51. Virginio Orsini (aged 40) [Romanus], son of Don Ferdinando, fourth Duca di Bracciano, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, Signore di Trevignano, etc., Prince Assistant at the Papal Throne, Grande di Spagna di prima classe, Nobile Romano, Patrizio Napoletano, Patrizio Veneto; third Duca di San Gemini, second Principe di Scandriggia e Conte di Nerola, first Duca di Nerola; and Donna Giustiniana Orsini,daughter and heiress of Don Giovanni Antonio Orsini, first Principe di Scandriglia, second Duca di San Gemini e Conte di Nerola and Donna Costanza Savelli dei Duchi di Castel Gandolfo.  Prince Virginio was Cardinal Deacon of S. Eustachio (1653-1656), later Cardinal Priest of S. Prassede, then Cardinal Bishop of Albano, then Cardinal Bishop of Frascati (died 1676). Protector of the Armenians and (later) of the Kingdom of Poland.
  52. Rinaldo d'Este (aged 37) [Modena], son of Elizabeth of Savoy. Cardinal Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere  (died 1672) . Brother of Francesco I, Duke of Modena, who was engaged in negotiations with the French on his own behalf. An enemy of the Barberini since their war over Parma.  But when the Spanish offended him by not sharing their councils, he went over to the French, and became their Cardinal Protector and a defender of the Barberini.  In its turn, this offended Pope Innocent, and d'Este had to withdraw from Rome for a time.
  53. Vincenzo Costaguti (aged 43) [Genoa], Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin.  Gossip had it that he was made a cardinal (July 13, 1643) so that his position in the Apostolic Camera could be sold by Pope Urban VIII, who needed money for his war against the Barberini. Urban had also borrowed money from his family {Bargrave, 59].
  54. Stefano Donghi (aged 47) [Genoa], Legate in Lombardy and Legate in Ferrara (under Urban VIII). Cardinal Deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro. Bishop of Ajaccio (1651-1655). . A supporter of the Spanish interest.
  55. Paolo Emilio Rondinini (aged 38) [Romanus], nephew of Cardinal Laudivio Zacchia (d. 1637). Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Aquiro, Bishop of Assisi (1653-1668) [Ughelli-Colet Italia sacra 1, 484. (died 1668). [both papal documents give his praenomen as Petrus, not Paolo]
  56. Gian Carlo de' Medici (43), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria ad Martyres  [the papal grants both assign him S. Maria Nuova] (died 1663).
  57. Federico Sforza (aged 51), son of Don Alessandro Sforza 1572-1631), Conte di Segni, Signore di Valmontone e Lugnano, first Duca di Segni, second Marchese di Proceno, Signore di Onano, twelfth Conte di Santa Fiora, Marchese di Varzi e Castell’Arquato e Conte di Cotignola; and Donna Eleonora Orsini, daughter of Don Paolo Giordano, first Duca di Bracciano and of Isabella de’ Medici Principessa di Toscana.  Federico Sforza was   Protonotary Apostolic from April, 1621; Vicelegate in Avignon from May 23, 1627. He succeeded Cardinal Antonio Barberini as pro-Vice-Chamberlain S.R.E.  Cardinal Deacon of SS. Vito, Modesto e Crescenzia (1646-1656), and subsequently Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in Vincoli (November 1661) [Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 48].   He was Bishop of Rimini from 1646-1656 [Gauchat, p. 95].   In 1675 he became Bishop of Tivoli.    (died 1676)
  58. Benedetto Odescalchi (aged 43) [Como], Cardinal Deacon of SS. Cosma e Damiano. Later (1659) Cardinal Priest of S. Onofrio  Bishop of Novara (1650-1656). (died 1689)
  59. Cristoforo Vidman (aged 36) [Venetus], Cardinal Deacon of SS. Nereo ed Achilleo, later (1658) Cardinal Priest of S. Marco (died 1660).
  60. Lorenzo Raggi (aged 40) [Genoa], Cardinal Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria  (died 1687 as Cardinal Bishop of Palestrina).
  61. Francesco Maidalchini (aged 33) [Viterbo], Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Portico (died 1700). Nephew of Pope Innocent X.
  62. Friedrich von Hessen-Darmstadt, O.S.Io.Hieros.(aged 37), son of the Landgrave of Hesse and Magdalena of Brandenburg. Born a Lutheran, he converted to Catholicism at Padua in 1634 at the age of 18.  On the nomination of Emperor Ferdinand III, because of his military and courtly skills, he was created Cardinal Deacon without deaconry in 1652.  He was given S. Maria in Aquiro   after the Conclave, on May 31, 1655. {Eggs, Purpura docta VI, p. 422, says that it was S. Maria Nova]
  63. Carlo Barberini (aged 24) , Cardinal Deacon of S. Cesareo in Palatio (died 1704).  Nephew of Cardinal Francesco and Cardinal Antonio.  Former Prefect of Rome.
  64. Carlo Pio di Savoia (aged 32) [Ferrara],  Treasurer General of the Apostolic Camera. Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Domnica (died 1689, as Cardinal Bishop of Sabina).
  65. Carlo Gualterio (aged 41) [Orvieto], Cardinal Deacon of S. Pancrazio. Bishop of Fermo.  (died 1673).
  66. Decio Azzolino (aged 31) [Fermo, Picenum], a protege of Cardinal Giovanni Panziroli, whom he accompanied when he was Nuncio to Spain under Urban VIII (1642-1643), and who later became Secretary of State (1644-1651).  Azzolini was Secretary of Briefs to Princes and Secretary of the College of Cardinals under Innocent X [Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica 4, p. 31 n. 6].  It was he (or so it is alleged) who ferreted out the spy (Cardinal Astalli) who had betrayed Innocent X's policies to the Spanish government [Bargrave, p. 67-68; but this is one of Gregorio Leti's fantasies:  see Cardella 7, 118].  Cardinal Deacon of S. Adriano al Foro (March 2, 1654; died 1689).

Cardinals not attending:

  1. Baltasar Moscoso y Sandoval (aged 66) [Hispanus] , Cardinal Priest of S. Croce in Gerusalemme.  Dean of Toledo.   Bishop of Jaén (1619–1646).   Archbishop of Toledo (1646-1665). (Gauchat, p. 13 no. 36; p. 339).  John Bargrave, Pope Alexander VII and the College of Cardinals, states (p. 14) that he never came to any conclave. (died September 17, 1665)
  2. Alfonso de la Cueva-Benavides y Mendoza-Carrillo [Hispanus], Bishop of Palestrina and bishop of Málaga.
  3. Jules Mazarin (aged 55) [Picenum], Cardinal Priest sine titulo. First Minister of Louis XIV of France. (died 1661)

Preliminaries

On January 8, the Cardinals met in Congregation at 15:00 hours in the Aula Paramenti of the Vatican Palace, with the Cardinal Dean presiding.  The Secretary of the College of Cardinals, Msgr. Ubaldini, read the Bull of Julius II  Cum tam divino  against simony. Each cardinal swore individually, as Msgr. Phoebeus repeated the words, to observe the terms of the bull.  Msgr. Ubaldini then read the bull of Pius IV  In eligendis Ecclesiarum Praelatis, to which the Cardinals each swore adherence. Msgr. Servantio, since Msgr. Ubaldini was becoming tired, then read the Bull of Urban VIII and the bull of Gregory XV, and an additional oath was extracted.  The Cardinal Camerlengo, Cardinal Antonio Barberini, then produced the Fisherman's Ring which was ceremonially defaced.  Next the election of Prince Camillo Pamphili, nephew of the late pope, as Captain General of the S.R.E. took place, with 50 favorable votes.  When the next matter, the confirmation of the Governor of the City of Rome, Dom. Arimberti, was put to the vote, he was not confirmed, and a new Governor had to be elected.  Msgr. Giulio Rospigliosi, Archbishop of Tarsus, was elected with 51 favorable votes.  Three cardinals—Paleotti, Cybo, and Orsini—were elected to survey the Vatican Palace as a possible site for the Conclave.  After the meeting concluded, the Cardinals proceeded to the Sistine Chapel, and the transfer of the body of Pope Innocent to St. Peter's Basilica took place; the body was received by Msgr. Giovanni Battista Scandarola (Scannaroli), Bishop of Sidon, and placed on view in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.

On January 9, thirty-nine cardinals participated in the ceremonies in St. Peter's.  Afterwards, the cardinals assembled in the Sacristy of the Basilica for their Congregation under the presidency of Cardinal de'Medici, and received the Conservatori of the City of Rome.  On January 10, the Congregation elected Father Nicolaus Zucchi, SJ, as confessor of the Conclave. The doctors and surgeon were also appointed. Cardinals Borromeo and Pio were appointed to supervise the arrangements for the Conclave.  Later in the day, the body of the Pope was placed in its coffins, in the presence of Cardinals Ludovisi, Chigi, Omodeo, Ottoboni, Santacroce, Aldobrandini, Vidman, Raggi, Pio and Gualtieri, Princes Pamphili, Ludovisi and Giustiniani, and the Master of Ceremonies Fulvio Servantio. The Congregation received the Orator of the King of Spain, Don Diego Tagliavia d'Aragona, Duca di Terranova [Pallavicini, Libro secondo, p. 227].  He offered Spain's aid for a free election, for which his king would exert all his strength and even shed his blood (There must have been some smiles, and not a few smirks).

Meanwhile, plans were being laid elsewhere.  Cardinal Retz revealed in his Memoirs [Oeuvres du Cardinal de Retz V, pp. 21-23; Memoirs of the Cardinal de Retz, p. 191] that he had joined the 'Flying Squadron', having been excluded by the French from their faction and friendship, on orders of King Louis XIV.  The members of this group  met during the Novendiales at S. Maria in Transpontina, with Cardinal Azzolino taking the lead.  They examined every possibility, and agreed to work to get Cardinal Chigi elected pope.  In their analysis, the problem was Cardinal Antonio Barberini, who could supply many of the necessary votes, but who was apparently committed to the candidacy of Cardinal Sacchetti.

Those of the squadron who had in view the making cardinal Chigi pope, thought that the only way to engage cardinal Barberini to serve him was to oblige him to do it out of a principle of gratitude, by using truly and sincerely their utmost efforts to bring Sachetti to the chair, because they foresaw that all their endeavours would come to nothing, or would serve at least only to unite them to cardinal Barberini in so intimate a manner that nothing could hinder him afterwards from concurring with what they desired.  This was the whole mystery of a conclave that hath furnished all those who have been pleased to give us the history of it, with a thousand impertinencies....

"We are persuaded that Chigi is the candidate of of the greatest merit that is in the college, and we are no less persuaded that we cannot make him pope but by doing our utmost in favour of Sacchetti.  The worst that can happen, is, our succeeding in bringing Sacchetti to the chair, which, indeed, would not be a very good choice, but not the worst that we could make. In all appearance we shall not succeed in it, in which case we shall bring Barberini to give his vote and interest to Chigi, as well out of gratitude as to keep us all attached to him.  We shall bring over to Chigi the factions of Spain and of Medicis, for fear that we should at lst carry it in favour of Sacchetti, and the faction of France likewise, when they find it impossible for them to hinder it."

The squadron agreed unanimously on that course of action.

On January 14, (Novendiales VI)  the Orator of the Duke of Tuscany was received by the Cardinals in Consistory; he presented letters from Duke Fernando, which were read to the Cardinals by the Secretary of the College. Then the Orator of Bologna, Marcus Antonius Rainucci, was received.  The Cardinals then voted to add a third conclavist for each cardinal, and they drew lots for room assignments. On January 15 (Novendiales VII), the Cardinals met again in the Sacristy of S. Peter's after the Requiem Mass, and appointed Cardinals Ginetti and Ottoboni to vett the conclavists.  The list of names of the Masters of Ceremonies was also approved.  On January 16 (Novendiales VIII), the Congregation took place again in the Sacristy, and Cardinal Colonna, the Protector of Germany, presented letters from the Emperor.  The Emperor offered his aid for a free election, for which he would exert all his strength; it is not recorded that he offered to shed his blood. The Orator of Venice was also received.   Following him, the Roman barons appeared.  Next day, January 17 (Novendiales IX), after the Requiem Mass, the Funeral Sermon was preached by Count Federico Ubaldini, Secretary of the Sacred College.  At the Congregation following the ceremonies, in the Sacristy of S. Peter's, fifty-four cardinals were in attendance.  Cardinal d'Este spoke in the name of the King of France.  He was followed by the representative of the Duke of Parma, who was followed by Cardinal Orsini, the Protector of Poland, in the name of the King.

 

The Conclave: The Opening and the first Month

Even before the opening, there were already twenty-six papabili being touted, each of whom had serious points against him (Petruccelli, 148).  Cardinal Bernardino Spada, for example, was showing an unusual energy diring the Sede Vacante, this despite his frequent poor health.  He was a person of considerable intellectual gifts, and had been a Cardinal of influence in the reign of the late Pope Innocent X, and had been Nuncio in France (1623-1627), and then Legate in Bologna (1627-1631). The Venetian Ambassador in Rome, Giovanni Giustinian, in his relazione of   December 2, 1651, had said of him [Barozzi & Berchet (edd.) Relazioni... Serie III-Italia. Relazioni di Roma II (Venezia 1878), p. 148, 155]:

Spada invecchiato ancor esso nel governo, e molto versato negli affari politici, è un repertorio, sopra cui ricerca Sua Santita le informazioni; gode il bene che il Papa ricorra ad udire la sua opinione nelle occorrenze piu gravi, ma di rato quello di seguitarla, e tanto faceva a suggestione di Panzirolo, non meno che per non accrescergli la stima appresso il mondo ed il collegio, essendo creduto da S. B. quel cardinale propenso anch' esso alla Francia.... l' eta di lui [60], le contraposizioni degli Spagnuoli, et altri riguardi non lo redondo considerabile nel futuro conclave.

Gregorio Leti [Histoire des conclaves II, 530-531] alleges that Spada was particularly opposed by Lomellini, Imperiali, and Albizzi, who were jealous of Spada's reputation. And Spada was no friend of Rapaccioli, who was a figure of importance in the "Flying Squadron".  Letti also observes that Princes do not like capable Popes, and Cardinals fear one who might wish to govern alone, without giving them any part in the Ministry.

A lengthy Conclave was likely, and in fact it lasted eighty days and more than 150 scrutinies.

The Opening ceremonies took place on January 18, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter in Rome, with the Mass of the Holy Spirit, celebrated by Cardinal Francesco Barberini, the Vice-Dean of the Sacred College, since the Dean, Cardinal Carlo de' Medici, was disabled by gout and could not stand or walk.  Forty-nine cardinals participated in the Mass.  The sermon for the Election of a Pope was preached by Father Giacomo Rospigliosi, doctor in utroque iure (Salamanca), the nephew of Giulio Rospigliosi. Archbishop of Tarsus (later Pope Clement IX, who made Giacomo a cardinal).  Sixty-two cardinals entered conclave on that day; four others arrived by the 7th of February. Pier Luigi Cardinal Carafa died during the conclave, on February 15. Amazingly, only three cardinals were not present, including Jules Cardinal Mazarin, the French First Minister.   The Conclave was not enclosed, however, until the next day, and so no scrutiny took place on January 19.

On January 20, in the Sistine Chapel, the Scrutators selected by lot were Francesco Barberini, Ludovisi, and Azzolini;  the Revisers were Rapaccioli, Antonio Barberini and de Retz.  Carlo de Medici received 2 votes and two Accessits; Francesco Barberini 5 and 5 Acceccits; Sacchetti received 10 at the scrutiny and 10 at the Accessit;  Ginetti had one at the scrutiny and one at the Accessit; Capponi 3 and 1; Carafa 13 and 8; Chigi 11 and 7;  Corradi 3 and 4.  Palotta, Sanclemente, Fachinetti, Grimaldi, Rapaccioli, Giorio, Cecchini, Cherubini, Imperiale, Caffarelli and Albici each received two votes and one Accessit.   In the afternoon, the results were similar.

On January 21, Sacchetti had twenty-two votes, with scrutiny and accessit combined.  Carafa and Chigi had similar numbers. The afternoon ballot was practically the same [Histoire des conclaves II, p. 497].   On that day, Cardinal Ascanio Filomarino of Naples entered the Conclave.  The Histoire des conclaves (p. 497) reports a story that on some day or another (it was January 23) Cardinal Francesco Barberini received thirty-one votes, a great leap from the ten votes he had received three days earlier. On that day, Cardinal Carlo Medici wrote in a letter that his supporters had deliberately voted for Barberini.  It was for a laugh. Barberini consoled himself: "Je ne pensais pas sortir pape d'ici, mais j'espère bien y rester si longtemps que j'en sortirai doyen."   His supporters, however, did not enjoy the joke. But Medici revealed to Terranova what was really going on; Barberini was being tested as leader of his faction, and the Spanish faction was engaged in a strategy trying to detach "the old guys" from him. Embarassing Barberini weaked his influence [Petruccelli III, 164]

Hughes de Lionne, the French Ambassador Extraordinary, arrived in Rome on January 22, 1655, three days after the Conclave had been enclosed [Valfrey, 205].  He did not have the opportunity, therefore, of making formal courtesy calls on each of the Cardinals, nor was he able to speak confidentially and at length with any of the Cardinals who might support the French candidates.  He therefore prepared a speech, with the intention of delivering it somehow in the presence of the members of the Sacred College.  His text survives among his papers.  He sent the draft, which was quite intemperate, to Cardinal d'Este and the other friends of France inside the Conclave for comment. Major revisions and considerable sweetening was required, but in any case the speech was never delivered orally [Valfrey, 210-214].  In order to communicate with the inside, he could not speak confidentially or write directly to the Cardinals, nor they to him; but there were ways, and Lionne found a willing agent in Melchisedech Thèvenot, a Parisian priest, who was a Conclavist for Cardinal Antonio Barberini.  Lionne even got Cardinal Barberini to pretend to be ill and to demand a third conclavist, which was granted.  The third man was a Roman priest named Francesco Buti, and he became Lionne's second go-between.   Officially, on January 24, he requested an audience with the College of Cardinals, which was granted for the next day.

On January 25, Hugues de Lionne appeared at the Entrance to the Conclave, after the morning scrutiny, as had been arranged.  He was met by the three Heads of the Orders (Senior Cardinal Bishop Spada, Senior Cardinal Priest Copponi, Senior Cardinal Deacon Trivulzio) and the Camerlengo Barberini at the Entrance, and they listed to what he had to say through the window. He presented his letters from King Louis XIV to the Cardinals, and related what was in his Instructions. He left a written copy of the speech he would have liked to have delivered, which was accepted by Cardinal Spada and handed over to the Secretary of the Sacred College, Archbishop Rospigliosi. Spada gave a speech in generalities, and Lionne genuflected and departed.   On the same day, after lunch (around 20:00 hours), Cardinal Durazzo, Archbishop of Genoa, arrived at the Entrance to the Conclave, was received by the three Heads of the Orders and a number of other cardinals, and was escorted to the Sistine Chapel, where he swore his oaths to observe the Conclave bulls [Fulvio Servantio, Master of Ceremonies,   Diaries, in Gattico I, 356].

On January 26,  Cardinal Carpegna had his day in the scrutiny.  He was the recipient of 28 votes by the time the Accessio was completed.  Donna Olimpia must have had fits, since practically no cardinal was more hostile to her interests. Cardinal Spada is said (by Leti) to have escaped from the Conclave in the afternoon in order to wait on Donna Olimpia (pretending illness: Leti, Biography of Donna Olimpia, 71);  he returned with orders to get rid of Carpegna.  After lunch (around 21:00 hours), the Cardinals assembled in the Aula Regia and proceeded to the Entrance to the Conclave.  As in the case of the Ambassador of France, the Heads of the Orders and the Camerlengo gave audience to the Ambassador of the Emperor, Marcantonio Colonna, Constable of the King of Naples.  He presented his letters and gave a speech, to which Cardinal Spada made a brief reply.  His letters were opened and read to the Cardinals.  In the afternoon scrutiny there were not votes for Cardinal Carpegna, but 27 votes for "Nemini" (No-one, a null vote) [Jauret, 195-196].  What can be said with confidence is that there was continual communication between the Conclave and the Palazzo Pamphili in the Piazza Navona, and, even if Cardinals did not run back and forth, messages certainly did.  Donna Olimpia's fear of Cardinal Carpegna is not in question.

On January 27, Cardinal Friedrich von Hesse-Darmstadt entered the Conclave.

On February 7, Cardinal Harrach of Prague arrived from Vienna.  He had been sent by the Emperor Ferdinand III to bolster the Hapsburg interests against the French.  As he was entering the Conclave he was accompanied by the Spanish Ambassador Terranova,  who told Harrach that he had the order of His Catholic Majesty to exclude Sacchetti, and requested that he pass this information on to members of his faction, especially Borromeo and Homodei [Histoire des conclaves II, pp. 499-500].  Hughes de Lionne reported the event immediately, in a letter of February 9, 1665 [Chevalier, no. 1, pp. 63-65].  It was, of course, the worst possible development for the chances of the French candidate.  He remarks, however, that there were negative reprocussions for the Spanish among the Milanais and the Neapolitans.

On February 15, Cardinal Carafa died.  The body was opened by the surgeon, enbalmed, dressed, and laid in state in the Capella Paolina, with a crucifix in his hands laying on his chest.  When the Cardinals assembled for the afternoon scrutiny, they first went to the Capella Paolina, and performed the ceremony of Absolution. They then returned to the Sistine Chapel and conducted the afternoon scrutiny.   In the evening, the Cardinals assembled again and escorted the body of Cardinal Carafa to the Entrance to the Conclave, where it was passed outside.

On Holy Saturday, Cardinal Gabrielli, who was ill, was removed from the Conclave [Fulvio Servantio, Diaries, in Gattico I, p. 358]..

The Parties

Forty-four votes were needed to elect. In dispatches to the Duke of Savoy (March 15 and 22, 1655), Carrette de Bagnasco reported [Petruccelli III, p. 150] that there were six factions among the cardinals:  the French group, the Spanish group, the Barbarini faction (with about 18-20 votes at the beginning), the Zealots, the Flying Squadron, and the "faction of God".  The 'Faction of God" was composed of the younger cardinals created by Innocent X, those who had not found their way to the 'Squadrone Volante', or to some other group. 

According to Pallavicino (214), there were four factions. One, the largest, was led by Cardinal Barberini, the Camerlengo; the cardinals created by his uncle, Urban VIII, mostly adhered to his group. The Spanish interest was led by the Protector of Spain at the Papal Court, Carlo Cardinal de' Medici, the uncle of the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinand II (1621-1670), and Dean of the Sacred College.  Medici wrote to the Grand Duke that he was consulting with the Spanish Ambassador, Terranova, as well as with Colonna, Cesi, Montalto (Francesco Peretti), Lugo, Trivulzio, Sforza and Gian Carlo de'Medici. The small French faction was led by Rinaldo Cardinal d'Este, the brother of the Duke of Modena (who was feuding with the Camerlengo Barberini).  In Engraving of Cardinal Mazarin by Nanteuilthe fourth group were the cardinals created by the deceased pope Innocent (He had created forty cardinals in all; only six had died by the opening of the conclave, though some were associated as 'the Flying Squadron'). The rest were, in fact, without a natural leader, since his nephew Cardinal Pamphili had resigned in 1647 in order to marry Olympia Aldobrandini, Princess of Rossano; and Cardinal Astalli, his adopted nephew, had been disgraced and dis-adopted. These last were inclined to support Fabio Cardinal Chigi, the Secretary of State of Innocent X, who had been the principal papal negotiator at the Peace of Westphalia (in Münster) in 1648 (who was supported by about 18 votes [Novaes, p. 71]).

Ironically, Chigi's successes at bringing about a peace had been contrary to the designs of Cardinal Mazarin [portrait at left], who was thus unfriendly to Chigi's candidacy (Hanotaux, Recueil, 13):

Quant au cardinal Chigi, il est besoin d'y procéder avec plus de circonspection pur l'exclusion du pontificat, et l'on n'y sauroit apporter trop de soin ni d'application par ce qu' étant créature d' Urbain VIII pour ce qui est de la prélature et d Innocent X à l'egard du cardinalat, il pourroit facilement être favorisé de plusieurs de l'une et l'autre faction, et d'ailleurs il a cet avantage qu' ayant été longtemps hors de Rome, il n' est pas connu en cette cour-là qui, jugeant d'ordinaire par les apparences, le croit peut-être un fort digne sujet sur le fondement de l' emploi qu' il avoit à Munster, quoique cela même nous l' ait fait connoitre plus clairement pour le plus incapable du régime de l' Église universelle qu l' on pourroit choisir. Le Roi ne sauroit donc approuver ni consentir en façon quelconque que le cardinal Chigi soit pape . . .

In fact, as early as 1651, Louis XIV had given instructions that, in a future conclave, two cardinals were to be excluded, Antonio Barberini and Fulvio Chigi [Valfrey,196-199], though Barberini had spent the intervening years trying to patch up his relations with the King and Mazarin.  Chigi's prospects were blighted by Mazarin's disfavor, but he had the support of the Spanish Ambassador in Rome.   Mazarin, for his part, looked most favorably upon Cardinal Sacchetti, then Cardinal Altieri, then Cardinal Maculani; and he sent Hughes de Lionne as his Ambassador Extraordinary to make sure that the French interest at the Conclave (Bichi, D'Este, Grimaldi and Orsini) understood the King's will.  Lionne arrived two days after the Conclave had begun. Though Cardinal Giulio Cesare Sacchetti had been formally vetoed (the esclusiva) by the Spanish Government in the Conclave of 1644, he was still, at the age oif 68, a person of great interest (soggeto) in 1655.  In the early voting this French favorite regularly drew some thirty to thirty-five votes, about half of the Sacred College, and his strength continued down until mid-March—though he seemed unable to attract the additional support which would make him pope.  Mockingly, Cesi called him "Cardinal Thirty-Three".  The Spanish were, of course, absolutely against him, as the Duke de Terranova said and then wrote to Cardinal Acquaviva on February 11; the rejection came directly from the King of Spain, Philip IV, and was not a gesture to please the Grand Duke of Tuscany [Petruccelli III, 161].  Sacchetti was still opposed, of course, by the Medici interest and by the Imperialists, despite the fact that the Grand Duke had been offered the title of King of Tuscany independently both by Sacchetti and by Barberini in exchange for his support [Petruccelli III, p. 160 and n. 2]..

 

Francesco Cardinal Rappacioli, Bishop of Terni, was also a soggetto, but he was young, at only 46, sickly, and opposed by the French interest (in the view of Cardinal Mazarin, at least). Since he was being promoted by Cardinal Facchinetti, Mazarin was sure that he was being supported by the Spanish [letter to Lionne, February 12, 1665, no. cclxxxi].  Mazarin, of course, new very few of the cardinals well, and relied on others to present him with information, on which he based his evaluations;  his evaluations were partly based on personal pique, and partly on what was (in his view) good for France.  The result were  some peculiar antipathies which caused him to fasten on certain cardinals who just did not merit his concern.  Cardinal Spada carried an exclusiva to be applied against Rappacioli on behalf of France—which in the event was never used.

The Grand Duke of Tuscany was playing a double game.  He wanted to appear to be an accommodating friend to the Spanish king, but he knew that the new pope would be an Italian, and Francesco I  was more interested in what the attitude of that new pope would be toward Tuscany than what policy he would pursue with regard to Spain.  His duchy was about to be invaded by the Milanese. One person that the Grand Duke did not favor was Cardinal Sacchetti [Petruccelli III, p. 156].  His ambassador in Madrid, Incontri, kept him informed of Spanish thinking, which was conveyed to him by Don Luis de Haro, the King's secretary, who even read Incontri the instructions to be sent to Terranova in Rome.  At the same time Don Luis was quite aware (as Haro wrote to the Duke of Terranova) that the Spanish were aware that the Duke of Tuscany was looking out for his own interests [Petruccelli III, 151]. Among other moves, he supported Retz and Grimaldi, since they were in opposition to Sacchetti and would draw votes away from him.

 

Conclave: Sacchetti's Bombshell

Finally, on February 13, 1655, Cardinal Sacchetti wrote a letter to Mazarin, in a gesture which Valfrey [p. 223] calls "un résolution, que l'on peut qualifier d' héroïque."  His purpose was to induce Mazarin to withdraw the threat of a French Veto against Chigi.  Sacchetti, the French candidate, had himself been the subject of a veto in the Conclave of 1644. In fact, Sacchetti was attempting to resign his candidacy for the papacy.  Lionne considered the letter so important that he had it sent by special messenger on February 15 to Paris.  On the same day he had a conversation with Cardinal d' Este at the Entrance to the Conclave (Rota), which he immediately reported to the Comte de Brienne, the King's secretary [Valfrey, p. 224]:

[Cardinal d'Este] me parla... de Chigi, m'avouant que c' était celui dont il pourrait se promettre le plus pour les avantages de sa maison, et ajoutant que c'était le plus grand malheur pour les affaires du roi que ce cardinal se fut brouillé avec la France, parce que, sans cet intérêt et sans les ordres qu'on a de 'exclure, lui, cardinal d'Este avait pu servir tellement avec le parti indépendant qu'il s'en ferait faire chef, et ne rendre pas la faction de France moins considerable dans ce conclave que celle des Espagnols et du cardinal Barberini. Il me sonda ensuite pour découvrir ssi je n'avais point de pouvoir secret en faveur dudit Chigi, et, en tout cas, si je voudrais écrire pour le faire venir.  Mais je lui déclarai que nous n'avions nulle liberté en ce fait-ci, et que les raisons qui avaient obligé à cette résolution étaient si puissantes que je n'oserais écrire un seul mot pour obtenir le moindre relâchement.  Il me repartit à cela que le péril néanmoins était grand et considérable.

Indeed, as d'Este admitted, the election of Chigi would bring the greatest advantages to his family, and it was consequently difficult for Cardinal d'Este to serve  as leader of the French faction. He attempted to ascertain whether Lionne might have some secret instruction in favor of Chigi, and whether he might write to obtain one.  Lionne admitted that there were none, and that he did not dare to write to ask.   In fact, none of the parties was in control of the Conclave, and anything might happen. The danger for the French was indeed acute. In the meantime, the balloting continued, and the Spanish and Barberini continued to intrigue. 

On March 4, Mazarin dispatched a personal letter to Lionne [Lettres VI, cclxxxviii, pp. 444-446].  The message, and the King's (una lettere ostensibile), reached Rome on March 16, and the next day Lionne informed the French cardinals of the purport of the King's dispatch;  the threat of the exclusion of Chigi had been revoked [Valfrey, p. 228]:

Par la dépêche que m'a apportée de la cour, du 4 mars, le courrier Acacciaferro, le roi m'ordonne de faire savoir à Mgr le cardinal d'Este, protecteur de ses affaires, et à Mgr le cardinal Antoine [Barberini], grand aumônier de France, que Sa Majesté ayant considéré l'état présent des affaires du conclave et fait d'ailleurs grande réflexion sur ce que lesdits seigneurs cardinaux, en divers temps, et d'autres personnes encore, ont représenté à Sa Majesté, du mérite, probité et rectitude des intentions de M. le cardinal Chigi et, qu'étant élevé au pontificat, il y aurait tout sujet de s'en promettre que l' Église de Dieu in serait bien régie, et qu'aimant la justice au point qu'il fait, la France en recvrait toutes sortes de bons traitements et de grâces, comme d'un véritable père commun, sadite Majesté révoque les ordres qu'elle avait ci-devant donnés à MMgrs les cardinaux de son parti de faire l'exclusion audit seigneur cardinal Chigi, et désire que non seulement ils concourent à son élection, mais qu'ils la procurent, en cas que l'on perde à la fin toute espérance de faire réussir celle de Mgr le cardinal Sacchetti, dont ils devront poursuivre de tout leur pouvoir l'exaltation, sans s'en départir, pour quelque cause ou prétexte que ce puisse être, tant que Mgr le cardinal Barberini et le parti indépendant demeureront fermes et constants en la pratique dudit seigneur cardinal Sacchetti et croiront pouvoir en surmonter les obstacles, par patience et par industrie.

One must note that, even though the French had withdrawn their opposition to Chigi, they were still committed to Cardinal Sacchetti, so long as there was a possibility that he might be elected. It remained to be seen what would happen to the candidacy of Sacchetti, before attention could be given to the prospects of Chigi.

The stubborn Struggle

On March 30 Cardinal Carlo Medici, the Spanish agent inside the Conclave, wrote to Terranova, the Spanish Ambassador in Rome, that his forces were raising and lowering the vote given  to Cardinal Capponi, the senior Cardinal Priest, from scrutiny to scrutiny, while waiting for instructions from the Powers. At one moment Capponi had twenty-eight votes. But one of Copponi's attractions was his advanced age, 73, and his candidacy was not one that could succeed [Petruccelli III, 175 n. 1].  At the same time, on March 30, a more prescient observer of the Conclave, Hughes de Lionne, wrote to Brienne at St. Germain, "Si les Florentins et les Espagnols parlent tout de bon sur  le fait de Chigi, il pourra être bientôt pape [Gérin, 21].  It was not the same with his master, Louis XIV.  On March 22, Lionne expressed to Mazarin his understanding of the King's message, "le roi ne peut ni ne doit desirer ce sujet  [the election of Chigi]."   On March 31, Lionne had to remind cardinals of the will of the King, that they should stick with Sacchetti as though he were the only cardinal in the world [Lionne to Thévenot, March 31, 1655:  Gérin, p. 22].  The five French cardinals would not have the freedom to vote for Chigi until April 5, when his election was decided upon by the faction leaders and became inevitable.  They and Louis XIV got no credit at all for their bizarre and stubborn efforts to elect Sacchetti.  Louis XIV was a bully, and this time his tactics did not work.  The Spanish had won, at least to the extent that they denied Louis XIV his candidate, while at the same time preventing a person distasteful to them from becoming pope.

On the sixth of April, the two Cardinals Barberini, the two cardinals de' Medici, and Cardinal d' Este called on Chigi, and informed him that they had finally come to an understanding and that they intended to elect him pope. Their visit was followed by many others. On Wednesday, the seventh of April, in the morning ballotting, Cardinal Chigi received twenty-five votes; at the accessio they were joined by thirty-nine others, in accordance with the prearranged plan.   His own vote went to Cardinal Sacchetti (Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 32 n. 2; Montor, 19).  Fabio Cardinal Chigi, Cardinal Priest of Santa Maria del Popolo, Bishop of Imola, was (of course) elected unanimously, in the traditional formula, that is, everyone finally consented.   The news of the election was announced to the public by Cardinal Trivulzio, the Cardinal Protodeacon, from a window in the apartments of the Cardinal Nephew in the Vatican Palace, which overlooked the Piazza S. Pietro  The canon from the Castel S. Angelo fired a salute [Fulvio Servantio, Diaries, in Gattico I, p. 358]

 

Fabio Chigi was crowned Pope Alexander VII on Sunday, April 18, by the Cardinal Protodeacon, Giangiacomo Cardinal Trivulzi, and on May 9 he took formal possession of S. Giovanni Laterano.  The ceremonies are described in detail in the Diaries of Fulvio Servantio [Gattico I, pp.416-417].

 

 


Bibliography

 

Relatione del Conclave dell' anno 1655 dove fu eletto pontefice Alessandro VII (Bibliotheca Corsiniana Codex 1411 folio 97).  Conclave tenuto per l' elezione di Alessandro VII con una lettera del re di Francia per Innocenzo X (Bibliotheca di Siena K IV 4). Diarium eorum quae a morte Innoc. X tam intra quam extra Conclave contigerunt usque ad electionem summi Pontificis Alexandri VII qui antea Fabius cardinalis Chisius nuncupabatur (Bibliotheca Casanatense XX, III, 22). Relazione di quel che successa dopo la morte d' Innocenzo X (Archivio Segreto Capitolino, Cred. XIV, tomo 9 p. 262 ff.). Conclave seguito dopo la morte d' Innocenzo X nel quale fu creato pp. Alessandro VII (Bibliotheca Corsiniana Rossi LIII). Conclave esattissimo dell' elezione di Fabio Chigi, senese, del mumero dei preti, a cuccessore di Innocenzo X (Cod. Vat. 7447 c. 101). Conclave di Alessandro VII con alcuni discorsi sui cardinali papabili (Codex Vaticanus 8765, c. 118). Conclave nel quale fu eletto Fabio Chigi detto Alessandro VII (Codex Vaticanus Ottobonianus 1386, c. 615). Conclave di Alessandro VII (Codex Corsiniana 761).  [quos omnes non vidi]

 

Joannes Baptista Gattico, Acta Selecta Caeremonialia Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae ex variis mss. codicibus et diariis saeculi xv. xvi. xvii. Tomus I (Romae 1753).

 

For the Conclave of 1655, see: [Gregorio Leti], Conclave in quo Fabius Chisius, nunc dictus Alexander VII. summus Pontifex creatus est (Sclesvvici:  excudebat Joh: Holvvein, sumptibus Johannis Carstens, Bibl. Anno M.DC.LVI) [unreliable and tendentious, translated as Conclavi de' pontefici romani, and Histoire des conclaves].  Antonio Bagata, "Life of Alexander VII," in Storia delle vite de' pontefice di Bartolommeo Platina e d' altri autori . . fino a Clemente XIII . . . Tomo IV (Venezia Domenico Ferrarin 1765), pp. 371-382, at 373-375;   G. Hanotaux (editor), Recueil des instructions données aux ambassadeurs et ministres de France Rome: Volume I (Paris 1888) (instructions for Cardinal Rinaldo d' Este in 1654) pp 1-17; J. Valfrey, Hughes de Lionne, ses ambassades en Italie, 1642-1656, d' après son correspondence (Paris 1877) 194-248.  Ulysse Chevalier (editor), Lettres inédits de Hughes de Lionne: Ministre des affaires étrangères sous Louis XIV (Valence: Chenevier 1879).  Francesco Maria Sforza Pallavicino, SJ (1607-1667) Della vita di Alessandro VII. Libri cinque (Prato Giachetti 1839) 214-251 [Pallavicini was Alexander VII's confessor].  A. Feillet, J. Gourdault et R. Chantelauze (editors), Oeuvres du Cardinal de Retz.  Nouvelle edition Tome cinquieme (Paris: Hachette 1880). Memoirs of the Cardinal de Retz, ... translated from the French  Volume III (Philadelphia: Edward Earle, 1817). Charles Gérin, "la mission de M. de Lionne à Rome en 1655. Conclave d' Alexandre VII. Procès du Cardinal de Retz," Revue des questions historiques Juillet 1879 (Paris 1879) 5-90.  Charles Gérin,  Louis XIV et le Saint-Siège Tome premier (Paris 1894), pp. 45-67.   Charles Gérin, "Le Cardinal de Retz au Conclave, 1655, 1667, 1670 et 1676," Revue des questions historiques 30 (1881), 113-184.   Henri Coville, Étude sur Mazarin et ses démêlés avec le Pape Innocent X. 1644-1648 ( Paris: Champion 1914).  Ferdinando Petruccelli della Gattina, Histoire diplomatique des conclaves volume 3 (Paris: 1864) 145- [citing a large number of dispatches, letters, relations, pasquinades and other primary materials]. A. Chéruel (editor), Lettres du Cardinal Mazarin pendant son Ministère Tome VI. Septembre 1653—Juin 1655 (Paris: Imprimerie nationale 1890).  Ludwig Wahrmund, Das Ausschliessungs-recht (jus exclusivae) der katholischen Staaten Österreich, Frankreich und Spanien bei den Papstwahlen (Wien: Holder 1888) [pp. 137-143].

 

Giuseppe de Novaes, Elementi della storia de' sommi pontefici da San Pietro sino al ... Pio Papa VII   third edition, Volume 10 (Roma 1822) 69-74. Gaetano Moroni Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica Volume 1 (Venezia 1841) 243; and F. Artaud de Montor, Histoire des souverains pontifes Romains Tome VI (Paris 1851) 18-20 (both leave the details in darkest silence). John Bargrave, Pope Alexander the Seventh and the College of Cardinals [1672] (Camden Society 1867) gives sketches of each cardinal and their affiliations; visited Rome four times, 1646-1647, 1650, 1654-1655, and 1659-1660, but derives much of his knowledge from contemporary books [including the quite unreliable Leti].  [Gregorio Leti], La just balance des Cardinaux vivans traduit de l' Italien imprimé a Rome 1650 (Pairs: Edme Pepingué 1652).   G. Elmi, Descrizione delle cerimonie fatte dentro e fuori del conclave per l' elezione del sommo pont. con l'aggiunta dell'arrivo degli em. card. dopo la chiusura del conclave (Roma: Farncesco Cavalli 1655).  F. Mancini, Compendio della vita ed azioni di pp. Innocenzo X, con il racconto della sua ultima infermita e morte.

 

H. Conringius, Historia electionis Alexandri VII pp. cum opusculis variis eiusdem argumenti (Helmestadii: Muller 1657).  [Gregorio Leti], Conclavi de' Pontefice Romani  nuova edizione Volume II (Colonia: Lorenzo Martini, 1691), pp. 499-607.  [Gregorio Leti], Histoire des conclaves depuis Clement V jusqu' à present  troisieme edition Tome second (Cologne 1703), 487-542.  T. A. Trollope, The Papal Conclaves, as they were and as they are (London 1876), 330-335 [Trollope relies on the Histoire des conclaves, and seems drawn to the opinions of Gregory Leti], and, in a visibly protestant vein, Trollope, A Decade of Italian Women Volume II (London 1859) 358-363 .  Ignazio Ciampi, Innocenzo Pamfili e la sua corte, Storia di Roma dal 1644 al 1655 (Roma 1878).  

 

A salacious, outrageous, and untrustworthy account is given by an alleged eyewitness, Gregorio Leti, writing as "Reverend Gualdus", in Biography of Donna Olimpia Maidalchini by the Abbe Gualdi (Philadelphia 1846) 68-73 [See L. Ranke,  The Popes of Rome   (tr. Sarah Austin) fourth edition  III (London: John Murray 1866), pp. 373-374; Leopold Ranke, Die römische Päpste, ihre  Kirche und ihre Staat   Dritte Auflage  4 (Berlin 1845), pp. 242-243].  The Diary of Giacinto Gigli also contributes to the scurrilous narratives with its fictions. Leopold von Ranke, History of the Popes, their Church and State (translated by E. Fowler) revised edition, Volume III (New York: The Colonial Press 1901), 34-37.  Georges Jauret, Les coulisses des conclaves. Détails intimes et Indiscrétions (Paris: Garnier 1878) [also to be used with great discretion]. For an account of the monies paid out to Donna Olimpia and the papal nephews during the reign, see the documents published by G. Cucogni in Archivio della R. società di storia patria 4 (1881), 251-261.





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