ANNIBALE CARDINAL ALBANI (1682-1751), was born at Urbino on August 15, 1682. His uncle became Pope Clement XI in 1700 (dying on March 19, 1721). Annibale was created Cardinal Deacon on December 23, 1711, being appointed to the Deaconry of S. Eustachio on March 2, 1712. He became Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica in 1712, where he had long been a Canon, and was promoted to be Cardinal Priest of S. Clemente in March, 1722, for which he was finally ordained a priest in October. He was appointed Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church on March 29, 1719, a post he held until 1747. He became bishop of Sabina on July 24, 1730, and was translated to Porto and Sta. Rufina in 1743. From 1719 he was director of the English hospital of St. John in Jerusalem.
SEDE • VACAN | TE • MDCCXXX
Shield with the Coat of Arms of Annibale Card. Albani, Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church (1719-1747), upon the Cross of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, crossed keys above, surmounted by Cardinal's hat with six tassels on each side; the Ombrellone over all.
Berman, p. 174 #2602.
The Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals was Cardinal Francesco Barberini, Bishop of Ostia and Velletri.
Msgr. Giovanni Battista Gamberucci, Archbishop of Amasia (born in Rome on July 4, 1674), Bishop Assistant at the Papal Throne, was the Papal Master of Ceremonies and Secretary of the Congregation Ceremoniale.
Msgr. Domenico Rivera of Urbino, Protonotarius apostolicus de numero participantium supernumerarius, Basilicae Principis Apostolorum de Urbe canonicus, was the Secretary of the Sacred College of Cardinals.
During Mass on Christmas Day, 1729, Pope Benedict, who had begun the ceremonies, fainted (era caduto in uno sventimento) and was unable to continue, and Cardinal Annibale Albani, the Camerlengo, had to finish in his place by consuming the Host and the Wine [La Storia degli anni 1730., e 1731. , pp. 82-83]. The Pope appeared to recover, however, and resumed his regular activities in January and February. On the 8th of February, on the nomination of the Stuart "King of England", the Pope created Msgr. Alamanno Salviati of Florence, Protonotary Apostolic and President of Urbino, a cardinal.
In February of 1730, Rome was in the grip of an epidemic [La Storia degli anni 1730., e 1731. , p. 84-85]. Monsignor Girolamo Lioni wrote to his brothers on February 18 [Storia di un conclave, p. 11 n.1]:
Anche qui è arrivata la fatale influenza dell' Europa. In questa settimana è caduta e va cadendo ammalata tutta Roma. I frati, le monache, le genti più custodite, tutti sono a letto. È raffreddore, che dura tre giorni, e poi ognuno risana. Non si apprende gran cosa. Io sto bene, e cercherò di starvi. Anche l'Eminentissimo Padrone s' è totalmente riavuto. Martedì morì l' Eminentissimo Ansidoli [February 14]. Il suo Vescovato di Perugia l'ha avato il Padre Mons. Andujar, domenicano milanese-spagnuolo, bibliotecario segreto di Nostro Signore, uomo degnissimo per dottrina e probità. È un gran pezzo che non s'è fatta promozione tale. Va morendo l' Eminentissimo Pipia [died February 21]....
On the night of 18/19 February, the Pope began to show the symptoms of catarrh and fever that went with the epidemic, but immediate treatment with drugs and broth seemed to release him from the grip of the phlegm [La Storia degli anni 1730., e 1731., p. 85]. He was strong enough to say Mass on the 19th. On the 20th, after he recited Matins and took his morning chocolate, he wanted to get out of bed, but his doctors dissuaded him. On the 21st he was much worse. He wanted to call a consistory of Cardinals, but there turned out to be no time for them to assemble. Four Roman hours after noon, the Pope died. The Camerlengo, Cardinal Albani, was not present. He himself was ill and staying at Soriano. His functions at the deathbed and immediately thereafter were carried out by Cardinal Corsini. [La Storia degli anni 1730., e 1731., p. 86]. Cardinal Pipia died some five hours after the Pope [Lioni, 14]. Msgr. Andujar did not get the rumored appointment to Perugia. Some weeks later the new Pope gave it to Msgr. Francesco Ferniani.
Pope Benedict XIII (Vincenzo Orsini, OP) died on February 21, 1730, the last day of Carnival, the nineteenth day after his eighty-first birthday. His biographer in Platina states [Platina IV (Venezia: Domenico Ferrarin 1765), 516]:
Fu questo [Consistory of February 6, 1730] l' ultimo, ed il ventesimo nono de' Cardinali che Benedetto XIIII. promosse; imperciocchè pochissimi giorni dopo quasi senza avvedersene terminò di vivere. Attaccato egli da un fiero catarro con febbre la notte de' 18 de Febbrajo, dopo che pareva che avesse alquanto respirato, sentendosi tuttavia mancare, intimò il giorno 21. un Concistoro a tutti i Cardinali, che erano in Città, e nella Campagna. Non giunsero però a tempo gl' invitati Cardinali, poichè quattro ore dopo il mezzo dì, rendette l' anima a Dio....
This scenario is confirmed by Msgr. Lioni in a letter of February 25, adding that the Pope intended to name yet another cardinal, Archbishop Nicolò Saverio Santa Maria, Bishop of Cyrene, the Pope's Maestro di Camera [Storia di un conclave, p. 14]:
Quando Nostro Signore fu assalito dalla soffocazione pei catarro, e s' accorse di morire, chiamò per intimare il Concistoro. Monsignor Maggiordomo cercò di far tirar avanti, ma il Papa ritornò a comandarlo con fretta. Furono però spedite per più sollecitudine le corazze a cavallo per chiamare i censori, ai quali spetta il far l' intimazione del Concistoro ai cardinali. Intanto che si spedivano le corazze suddette il Papa morì. Per altro monsignor Santa Maria era cardinale.
Msgr. Santa Maria never became a cardinal, but instead became a major target of subsequent investigations, and his appointment as Consultor at the Holy Inquisition was cancelled [La Storia degli anni 1730., e 1731., p. 110].
The body of the late pope was enbalmed, and transferred to the Vatican Basilica, where it was laid in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. His Funeral Oration was preached by Fr. Tommaso Agostino Riccini, OP, a member of the Arcadian Academy. The throne of Peter was vacant for eight months and twenty-one days. Benedict's administration was hated by nearly everyone in Rome both because of his maladministration and because of his giving a free hand to Niccolò Cardinal Coscia, his evil genius [Lioni, 11-14]. Coscia, in fear of his life, fled immediately upon the death of the Pope to Cisterna (the seat of the Duke of Sermoneta). The Duke wrote to Cardinal Barberini about his situation, and, under a safe conduct from the Sacred College, Coscia returned quietly to Rome and took part in the Conclave [Lioni, 15-16; on Coscia's fate, Montor, 12-13; Cartwright, 136-137].
Then the Father General of the Jesuits, Michelangelo Tamburini, SJ, died on Wednesday, March 1, at the age of 83. The King of Portugal, John V (1706-1750), was so annoyed at the Court of Rome that he forbade the Jesuits in Portugal to send a delegate to the General Congregation to elect Tamburini's successor [La Storia degli anni 1730., e 1731., p. 94].
A list of the Cardinals is given by Mario Guarnacci, Vitae et Res Gestae Pontificum et S.R.E. Cardinalium II (Roma 1751), at columns 596-600. Another list, of those cardinals present in the Conclave, is provided by Relazione distinta della solenne Coronazione (1730), 7-8.
The official list of all Conclavists and their Cardinals is attached to Clement XII's motu proprio granting the usual privileges and absolutions to the Conclavists (Bullarium Romanum 23 [Augustae Taurinorum 1872], 28-31 (July 14, 1730). Cf. Clemens XII, Gratiae et privilegia conclavistis postremi conclavis concessa (Roma: Camera Apostolica 1730).
The Conclave of 1730 was long, contentious, and sometimes disgraceful. It lasted four and a half months. At the opening, on Sunday, March 5, there were twenty-six cardinals in attendance; by the time of the election, there were fifty-six. The oration de pontifice eligendo was spoken by Msgr. Giacomo Lanfredini, Secretary of the SC of the Council; he became a cardinal on March 24, 1734.
The conclave was especially difficult because the many factions were small and not firmly fixed in their preferences. The Camerlengo, Cardinal Annibale Albani led the creature of Pope Innocent XI. His younger brother, Alessandro Albani, led a small party of "Savoyards" or "Sardinians". There was also an Imperial party (several of whose members, Schrattembach, Csaky, and d'Hénin-Liétard d'Alsace-Boussu de Chimay, did not attend), and a French party (though Polignac [portrait at right] was saying that the French cardinals would not attend because it was pointless; he also stated that the French King had not authorized a veto), allied with the Spanish. The Zelanti were ever present, but vacillated constantly in their voting patterns. In early voting, the fortunes of Cardinals Tommaso Ruffo (Cardinal Bishop of Palestrina), Antonio Felice Zondadari, and Antonio Banchieri (former Governor of Rome, and ex-Vice-Chancellor) rose and fell. The only active pratticà seemed to be that for Cardinal Imperiali [Lioni, 18]. The Cardinals were greatly concerned about the attendance of the Portuguese cardinals. They sent a messenger to Spain, to the Nuncio Msgr. Alessandro Aldobrandini, Archbishop of Rhodes, instructing him to send an official to Lisbon to discover the situation of the Portuguese Cardinals with respect to the Conclave; they were afraid that the King of Portugal might concoct an excuse not to recognize the canonical election of a new pope. This was followed by a letter to the Nuncio, Msgr. Giuseppe Firrao (Nuncio to Portugal, September 28, 1720—December 11, 1730), urging him to use every means to persuade the Portuguese king to permit his cardinals to attend the Conclave. Cardinal João da Motta e Silva was specifically invited to come to Rome to help adjust the differences which had arisen between the Court of Rome and the Court of Lisbon [La Storia degli anni 1730., e 1731. , p. 96-97]. The talk in Rome was that the Spanish cardinals were likely to arrive on the 15th or 16th.
On Tuesday evening, the 7th of March, Cardinal Giorgio Spinola arrived in Rome from his Legation in Bologna. He was immediately met by the Camerlengo Cardinal Albani's Auditor with profuse compliments and avowals of the trust that the Albani family placed in Cardinal Spinola. Cardinal Spinola replied with equal effusiveness, and remarked that, just as in the Conclave of 1721, he hoped to be included in the "secret" of Cardinal Albani's pratticà—that is to say, he hoped to be Albani's second-in-command [Lioni, 19].
The First Scrutiny took place on March 6, but it went slowly and was purely for the sake of formalities. Only a minority of the Cardinals was present, and none of the representatives of the major powers wished to proceed until their Cardinals arrived and they had had an opportunity to receive fresh instructions, and perhaps an Ambassador Extraordinary, from their government. Cardinal Cienfuegos, in fact, announced to the Cardinals that five cardinals of the German party were coming to the Conclave, and that it was the request of the Emperor Charles VI that the Conclave should await their arrival [Lioni, 18].
On March 22, Cardinal Ruffo arrived from his Legation in Ferrara, and entered Conclave on the same day.
On April 1, the Ambassador Extraordinary of the Emperor, Conte Collalto, arrived in Rome, and took up residence in Cardinal Cienfuegos' palazzo. By April 3, there were fifty cardinals voting in the scrutinies. Around the middle of April, the favorite in the scrutinies seemed to be Cardinal Ruffo.
On April 23, Cardinal Conti died in the Conclave, of an attack of apoplexy.
On April 24, Cardinal Barberini managed to achieve 32 votes in the Scrutiny, many of them departing from the party of Cardinal Coscia. On the same day a courier arrived from Madrid, with dispatches for the Spanish Ambassador, the Marquis de Monteleone. Among them was the exclusiva to be used against Cardinal Giuseppe Renato Imperiali (Wahrmund, 226; portrait at left). When Cardinal Imperiali came within one vote of success, the Veto (exclusiva) was interposed by Cardinal Cornelio Bentivoglio in the name of the King of Spain. On June 11 Cardinal Gianantonio Davia of Bologna, Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in Vincoli, obtained twenty-nine votes, but he could not reach the thirty-six votes needed to elect (Montor, 11).
Shortly after the events of April 24, three cardinals—Fini, Porzia, and Ruffo—requested and received permission from the Cardinals to retire from the Conclave for the sake of their health. They were back in a few days.
Around the first of May, two of the factions, the creature of Clement XI led by Cardinal Albani, and the creature of Benedict XIII , decided to attempt to pool their resources on a single candidate acceptable to both; they settled on Cardinal Davia, but they were unable to muster a sufficient number of votes in the scrutinies. When Davia failed, the group put up the name of Cardinal Corsini. Suddenly, he had thirty-one votes [La Storia degli anni 1730., e 1731., p. 96].
In the second week of May there was a series of earthquakes in Italy. On the 14th, news reached the Conclave that the town of Norcia had nearly been levelled by a quake and 400 people killed. On the 15th, Rome itself felt a quake. Several days later Sulmona had an earthquake as severe as Norcia's. On the 18th it was the turn of the town of Lionessa. The tension was high, both inside and outside the Conclave. Many saw the earthquakes as evidence of God's displeasure at the failure of the Cardinals to produce a new Pope.
On May 20, the Cardinals received a reply to their efforts to get the Portuguese cardinals to come to the Conclave. The Portuguese expressed their regrets that they were unable to attend, without expressing the real causes. News also came that the Patriarch of Lisbon had taken it upon himself to deal personally with the King of Portugal in order to diminish some of the friction between Lisbon and Rome.
On the 16th of June, Cardinal Pietro Marcellino Corradini [portrait at right], the pro-Datary of Benedict XIII, reached thirty votes (Montor, 11). Nexty day he still needed only three votes. Bentivoglio, who had already cast the Spanish Veto, announced that he and his Spanish-leaning colleagues would leave Rome if Corradini were to be elected [La Storia degli anni 1730., e 1731., p. 99-100]. Cardinal Cienfuegos, who had instructions from the Emperor to exclude Corradini, set to work to overcome the distaste among the Imperialist faction against Cardinal Corsini as an alternative to Corradini.
On July 4, the name of Cardinal Corsini was taken up again, this time seriously. He had been a cardinal since 1706, The Zelanti were particularly favorable. The Spanish, French and Germans were agreeable. On the 9th, it became clear that Corsini would be elected, and the fifty-two Cardinals then enclosed in Conclave let it be known to those who were outside the Conclave due to illness that now was the time to return for the final vote [La Storia degli anni 1730., e 1731., p. 100-101].
Lorenzo Cardinal Corsini, aged seventy-nine, was finally chosen with fifty-two votes on July 12, taking the name Clement XII. He named Cardinal Banchieri as his Secretary of State on July 12. Cardinal Petra was confirmed in the post of Major Penitentiary on the 18th; after the death of Cardinal Conti during the Conclave, the Cardinals had elected him pro-Penitentiary. On August 14, he named his nephew Neri Maria Corsini a cardinal, though the fact was an official "secret", since he had been created in petto and was not proclaimed until December. Cardinal Corsini became Secretary for Memorials.
On the evening before the Cornation the sum of 4000 scudi was distributed to the poor, at the rate of one paolo per head, to each person who was assembled at the Papal Palace for the purpose. Clement XII was crowned in the Vatican Basilica on July 16, 1730, and on November 19, he took possession of the Lateran Basilica, his cathedral church where his episcopal throne was located [La Storia degli anni 1730., e 1731., p. 117]. The new pro-Datary was Msgr. Antonio Saverio Gentili, who was named a Cardinal on September 24, 1731. The new Maggiordomo was Msgr. Trioiano d' Aquaviva, titular Archbishop of Larissa in Thessaly; he was named a cardinal on October 1, 1732. The new Maestro di Camera was Msgr. Lazzero Pallavicini, titular Archbishop of Thebes.
On August 1, 1730, in response to the many complaints about the maladministration which had taken place in the reign of Benedict XIII, the new Pope Clement XII created a special Criminal Congregation, called the Congregatio de nonnullis, which was to investigate in particular charges of simony on the part of the ministers of the deceased pontiff, and frauds perpetrated against the Apostolic Camera. Cardinals Banchieri, Corradini, Imperiali, Pico della Mirandola, and Porzia were named to the Congregation, with Msgr. Domenico Cesare Fiorello, Referendary of the Two Signatures, as Secretary [La Storia degli anni 1730., e 1731., p. 106-113; the text of the motu proprio is given at pp. 107-110]. Cardinal Coscia was, of course, one of the principal targets of investigation. Sgr. Prati of Benevento was arrested immediately and sent to the Castel S. Angelo, while his goods were impounded and inventoried. All of the gold and silver in the house of Cardinal Finy was taken by the Congregation; Fini had been pro-Auditor of the Apostolic Palace and was one of the Palatine cardinals. Msgr. Santa Maria, the Majordomo of Benedict XIII, had his appointment as Consultor of the Holy Inquisition revoked. Abbot Capocaccia was hauled off to prison. Sealed chests which had been placed on deposit by a Beneventan named Secretis in the house of a friend before fleeing from Rome, were opened on orders of the Congregation, and were found to contain 10,000 scudi and other valuables, all of which were confiscated. The people of Benevento poured forth their complaints against Cardinal Coscia. The Pope asked Duke Strozzi to surrender the person of the Cardinal, but he declined, while Coscia refused to resign his bishopric of Benevento (as he had been advised by Cardinals Cienfuegos and Salviati). Pope Innocent retaliated by appointing a Vicar General for Benevento, who was ordered to reside in Benevento, and by taking into his own hands the appointments to benefices in the diocese of Benevento without consulting Cardinal Coscia. Monsignor Nicolò Negroni, the Treasurer General of the Apostolic Camera, was ordered to repay 4,000 scudi which had been embezzled from the Apostolic Camera.
Relazione distinta della solenne Coronazione di Nostro Signore Papa Clemente XII ... Corsini di Firenze (Roma 1730).
For the Conclave of 1730, see: Alexis Francois Artaud de Montor, Histoire des souverains pontifes (Paris 1851) 10-12. Giuseppe de Novaes, Elementi della storia de' sommi pontefici da San Pietro sino al ... Pio Papa VII third edition, Volume 13 (Roma 1822) 160-165. G. Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica Vol. 14 (Venezia 1842) 71, in a strange act of self-censorship, is completely silent about the proceedings. Ferdinando Petruccelli della Gattina, Histoire diplomatique des conclaves Volume IV (Bruxelles 1864), 56-101. Girolamo Lioni, Storia di un conclave. Lettere di Mons. Girolamo Conte Lioni (Venezia: Istituto Coletti 1878) [Lioni was dapifer of Cardinal Leandro Porzia: Bullarium Romanum Turin edition 23, 39].
La Storia degli anni 1730., e 1731. (Amsterdam: A spese di Francesco Pitteri n.d.) pp. 82-117.
"Corrpspondenza Epistolare fra il Conte di Collalto Ambasciatore Imperiale Straordinario in Roma, ed il Conte Carlo Borromeo Plenipotenziario Imperiale in Italia, residente in Milano (1730)," in Felice Calvi, Curiosità storiche e diplomatiche del secolo decimottavo (Milano: Antonio Vallardi 1878), pp. 1-27.
Joannes Rudolphus Conlin, Roma Sancta, sive Benedicti XIII. Pontificis Maximi et Eminentissimorum et Reverendissimorum S. R. E. Cardinalium viva virtutum imago ... qui ultimo conclavi anno 1724 interfuere, praeter eos qui a Sanctissimo Patre Benedicto XIII. neo-denominati fuere.... (Augustae Vindelicurum 1726). Mario Guarnacci, Vitae et Res Gestae Pontificum Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalium a Clemente X usque ad Clementem XII Tomus Secundus (Romae 1751).
For the career of Cardinal Lorenzo Corsini, see Luigi Passerini, Genealogia e storia della Famiglia Corsini (Firenze: M. Cellini 1858) 157-172.
For Cardinal Coscia: S. De Lucia, Il cardinal Niccolò Coscia (Benevento 1934). G. De Antonellis, "Appunti intorno alla figura del card Niccolò Coscia," Samnium, XLIII (1970), 153-167.
On Cardinal Alberoni, see Charles Bertin, Dictionnaire des Cardinaux (1858) 205-208; Alfonso Professione, Il ministero in Spagna e il processo del Cardinale Giulio Alberoni (Torino: Clausen 1897) 293-295. P. Castagnoli, Il cardinale Giulio Alberoni vols. I-III (Piacenza-Roma 1929-32). S. Harcourt-Smith, Cardinal of Spain: The Life and Strange Career of Alberoni (1944)
P. Paul, Le Cardinal Melchior de Polignac (Paris, 1922).
'John Walton' was in fact a Prussian, Baron Philip de Stosch, who served as an espionage agent for the British Government (in particular Lord Newcastle, but also Sir Robert Walpole) in Rome: Martin Haile, James Francis Edward, the Old Chevalier (London: Dent 1907) 293-294.
An interesting 'popular' eyewitness account is given in a 'letter' of a visitor to Rome in 1730, Baron Charles-Louis de Pollnitz, The Memoirs of Charles-Lewis Baron de Pollnitz Volume II (London 1735), Letter XXVIII, pp. 13-22 (dated July 20, 1730).
W. S. Cartwright, On the Constitution of Papal Conclaves (Edinburgh 1878)
Ludwig Wahrmund , Das Ausschliessungs-recht (jus exclusivae) der katholischen Staaten Österreich, Frankreich und Spanien bei den Papstwahlen (Wien: Holder 1888) 238-239.
© 2009 John Paul Adams, CSUN