Cardinal Antonelli - 19th Century Encyclopedia Entries

Nordisk Familjebok 1876-1899, Meyer 1885-1892,

Nordisk Familjebok 1876-1899, Article : Antonelli (1876)
Antonelli, Giacomo, cardinal and papal secretary of state, born in 1806 in Sonnino in what was then the Papal State, on the Neapolitan border, belongs to an old family, which among its members counts jurists and factors, but also highway robbers. He came to Rome at an early age and was raised in the Great Seminary, where he stood out because of his talents to such an extent, that Gregory XVI., after Antonelli had been ordained priest, took him under his special protection and determined him for the career as a statesman. Now he quickly rose from one office to another and in 1845 was appointed grand treasurer (minister of finances). Hitherto Antonelli had been a proponent of both ecclesiastic and secular despotism, but since Pius IX. became pope (1846), he supported the liberal reforms the former wanted to implement, and thus quickly won great influence over Pius IX. In 1847 he became cardinal, and shortly after, as minister of finances, he entered the ministry, with which Pius IX. began his reform project. Antonelli now joined the newly awakened Liberal movements, participated in the formulation of the Liberal constitution of March 14th 1848, and became president of the new constitutional ministry. In order to appease the National mood, he now ordered the Papal army to move into Lombardy to support the Piemontese against Austria. But soon he began to work against the liberal measures he helped prepare, and after the surrender of the Papal troops near Vicenza (June 16th 1848) he persuaded the pope to comdemn the war against Austria and to declare that he had not sent off the army to fight that nation. Popular disdain with such a desertion forced Antonelli and his colleagues to leave the ministry, but he continued to be the pope's private counselor, and the real leader of Roman policy. It was Antonelli who advised Pius IX. in November 1848 to flee from Rome. He followed him personally to Gaeta, where he was appointed secretary of state, i.e. leader of the secular government. On April 12th 1850, together with the pope, he returned to Rome and became minister of foreign affairs and president of the State Council. As secretary of state he took care of the government all by himself and therefore was responsible for the miserable conditions which were prevalent in the Papal State after the restoration of papal power, and which very well, in their own way, contributed to the fall of the Papal worldly empire. As Pius IX.'s trustee Antonelli also should have been the advocate of all the reactionary measures, which later were implemented in Rome. After the annexation of the Papal State into Italy (October 1870), Antonelli ran the Pope's foreign affairs.
During his administration, he has gained considerable fortunes, both for himself and his friends.

source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg

Meyer's Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, Article : Antonelli (1885)
Antonelli, Giacomo, Roman cardinal & secretary of state, born on April 2nd 1806 in Sonnino, a town on the Neapolitan border, from a degenerate family, came, when his hometown, as an infamous robbers' nest, was destroyed by Papal gendarmerie in 1819 to Rome where he entered the grand seminary, in which he soon excelled because of his talents. After he had been ordained a deacon, Pope Gregory XVI. took him into his court and determined him for the career as a statesman. Antonelli was elevated to prelate, then was assessor at the supreme penal court, later delegate in Orvieto, Viterbo and Macerata, and in 1841 was appointed undersecretary in the administration of internal affairs, in 1844 second treasurer in the administration of state finances, in 1845 grand treasurer (minister of finances). When Pius IX. ascended the Papal throne, Antonelli eagerly responded to the former's Liberal reform goals, and soon gained dominant influence over him. On June 12th 1847 he was appointed cardinal, and at the same time he joined the first formal ministry, with the formation of which Pius IX. opened his political reforms. When, in the beginning of March 1848, a ministry composed of both secular members and clergymen was formed, Antonelli took over the presidency. While the Pope on March 14th proclaimed a state constitution, Antonelli appeased National mood by sending the Papal army, 10,000 men strong, to the northern border, from where the corps entered Lombardy, in order to support the Piemontese. After the capitulation of Roman troops at Vicenza on June 16th 1848, urged by Antonelli, the Pope declared that he had not sent away his troops to fight the Austrians. Since, Antonelli pursued a policy leaning on Austria, with the goal of restoring the status quo ante. The popular disgust in regard to this desertion of the National cause expressed itself in Rome in such a threatening way, that Antonelli and his colleagues had to give way to the ministry Mamiani. Antonelli now became secret guide and counselor of the Pope, who at his counsel appointed Count Rossi to replace Mamiani. It also was Antonelli, who, after the popular attack on the Quirinal on November 25th persuaded the Pope to flee to Gaeta, where he was appointed secretary of state. After the restoration of Papal authority by the French intervention on July 15th 1849, Antonelli, who had returned to Rome with the Pope on April 12th 1850, now took the presidency of the newly established Council of State, reorganized the administration, harshly persecuted his political opponents, and, decidedly and clever, he introduced a strictly absolutist police regime. All monitions by the powers to moderation and to reforms fitting into the era he stubbornly rejected, neither did he make concessions to the National desire of the Italians, and responded to the "theft of Papal State territory" by the new Kingdom of Italy with powerless protests. The also supported the ecclesiastic policy of Pius IX. by his skillfully formulated notes.
While he personally, frivolous and religiously indifferent, because of secular wisdom occasionally he showed himself to be condescending, and so secured the favour of the powers, most of all he did not want to loose his office, and therefore he gave in to the wishes of the Pope who was dominated by the Jesuits and conceited in regard to the state of affairs. He died in Rome on November 6th 1876 and left behind a considerable fortune, which became the object of a scandalous lawsuit between Antonelli's alleged daughter, the Countess Lambertini, and his relatives.

source in German, posted by Retro Bibliothek

DOCUMENTS Article Antonelli, Giacomo, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Article Antonelli, Giacomo, from EB 1911

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First posted on June 4th 2009

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