Papal conclave, 1758: Wikis


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The Papal conclave, May 15 – July 6, 1758, convoked after the death of Pope Benedict XIV, was the conclave that elected Cardinal Carlo Rezzonico of Venice, who under the name of Clement XIII became 248th pope of the Catholic Church.


List of participants

Pope Benedict XIV died on May 3, 1758. Forty-five out of fifty-five Cardinals participated in the subsequent conclave. Only forty-four, however, voted in the final ballot, because Cardinal Bardi left the conclave because of illness on June 24[1]:

  • Domenico Passionei (June 23, 1738) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Prassede; commendatario of S. Bartolomeo all’Isola; Secretary of Apostolic Briefs; Librarian of the Holy Roman Church
  • Camillo Paolucci (September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere; commendatario of SS. Giovanni e Paolo; Cardinal-protector of the Order Carmelites
  • Federico Marcello Lante (September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Silvestro in Capite; Governor of Balneario
  • Marcello Crescenzi (September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria in Transpontina; Archbishop of Ferrara
  • Giorgio Doria (September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Cecilia; commendatario of S. Agostino; Prefect of the S.C. of Good Government
  • Giuseppe Pozzobonelli (September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria in Via; Archbishop of Milan
  • Girolamo de’ Bardi (September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria degli Angeli alla Terme [2]
  • Fortunato Tamburini (September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Callisto; Prefect of the S.C. of Rites
  • Daniele Delfino (April 10, 1747) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria sopra Minerva; Patriarch of Udine
  • Carlo Vittorio Amedeo delle Lanze (April 10, 1747) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Sisto; Titular Archbishop of Nicosia
  • Henry Benedict Stuart (July 3, 1747) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. XII Apostoli; commendatario of S. Maria in Portico; Archpriest of the patriarchal Vatican Basilica; Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals
  • Giuseppe Maria Feroni (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Pancrazio
  • Giovanni Francesco Stoppani (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Martino ai Monti; Legate in Romagna
  • Luca Melchiorre Tempi (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Croce in Gerusalemme
  • Carlo Francesco Durini (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. IV Coronati; Archbishop of Pavia
  • Cosimo Imperiali (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Clemente
  • Vincenzo Malvezzi (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. Marcellino e Pietro; Archbishop of Bologna
  • Clemente Argenvilliers (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. Trinita al Monte Pincio; Prefect of the S.C. of the Tridentine Council
  • Antonio Andrea Galli (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Pietro in Vincoli; Grand penitentiary; Prefect of the S.C. of Index
  • Giovanni Battista Rotario (April 5, 1756) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Crisogono; Archbishop of Turin
  • Etienne-René Potier de Gesvres (April 5, 1756) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Agnese fuori le mura; Bishop of Beauvais
  • Franz Konrad Casimir von Rodt (April 5, 1756) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria del Popolo; Bishop of Constance
  • Agapito Mosca (October 1, 1732) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Agata in Suburra
  • Domenico Orsini d'Aragona (September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere Tulliano; Cardinal-protector of the Kingdom of Naples
  • Flavio II Chigi (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria
  • Giovanni Francesco Banchieri (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Adriano; Legate in Ferrara
  • Luigi Maria Torregiani (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Deacon of SS. Vito e Modesto

Thirty five electors were created by Benedict XIV, eight by Clement XII, one by Benedict XIII (Borghese) and Innocent XIII (A. Albani).


Ten cardinals were entirely absent from this conclave[1]:

  • Thomas Philip Wallrad d'Hénin-Liétard d'Alsace-Boussu de Chimay (November 29, 1719) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Lorenzo in Lucina; Protopriest of the Sacred College of Cardinals; Archbishop of Mechelen
  • Joseph Dominicus von Lamberg (December 20, 1737) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Pietro in Montorio; Bishop of Passau
  • Johannes Theodor von Bayern (September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Lorenzo in Panisperna; Bishop of Liège; Administrator of Freising and Ratisbon
  • Álvaro de Mendoza (April 10, 1747) – Cardinal-Priest [no titulus assigned]; Patriarch of the West Indies; Titular Archbishop of Farsalos
  • Giovanni Battista Mesmer (April 10, 1747) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Onofrio
  • José Manuel d'Atalaia (April 10, 1747) – Cardinal-Priest [no titulus assigned]; Patriarch of Lisbon
  • Luis Fernández de Córdoba (December 18, 1754) – Cardinal-Priest [no titulus assigned]; Archbishop of Toledo
  • Nicholas de Saulx-Tavannes (April 5, 1756) – Cardinal-Priest [no titulus assigned]; Archbishop of Rouen
  • Francisco de Solís Folch de Cardona (April 5, 1756) – Cardinal-Priest [no titulus assigned]; Archbishop of Seville
  • Francisco de Saldanha da Gama (April 5, 1756) – Cardinal-Deacon [no deaconry assigned]

All the absentees were creatures of Benedict XIV, except d'Alsace, who was created by Clement XI, and Lamberg, who was appointed by Clement XII.

Divisions among cardinals

College of Cardinals was divided into several factions, which initially formed two blocs[3]:

  • Curial group – it included two factions of curial Cardinals: Anziani – the small party of the Cardinals created by Pope Clement XII with his Cardinal-nephew Neri Maria Corsini as leader; and Zelanti – the group of the conservative Cardinals, headed by Cardinal Giuseppe Spinelli, who generally opposed any secular influence on the Church

Many cardinals created by Benedict XIV (called "Juniors") did not belong to any faction, but majority of them aligned themselves with "Union of Crowns", particularly with Spanish protector Portocarrero.

During the conclave, however, these two groups mixed with each other. Near the end of the conclave, on the one side there was the Imperial faction together with Zelanti, and on the other side Anziani, together with the the Bourbon faction (defending the interests of the Bourbon crowns).

The conclave


The beginning and the early candidates

Only twenty-seven cardinals entered the conclave on May 15[4]. Eighteen more cardinals arrived to Rome until June 29. Meantime, however, Cardinal Bardi had to leave conclave due to illness.

Because of the absence of the political representatives of the main Catholic courts the ambassadors of France and the Empire asked the electors for delay voting until their arrival. Although this demand was rejected before the conclave began, no serious candidates were proposed in the early ballots. In the first scrutiny on May 16 the greatest number of votes (eight in the ballot and three more in the accessus) were received Dean of the College of Cardinals Rainiero d'Elci, who was 87 years old[5].

It does not mean, however, that no efforts to obtain the support for the candidates were made by the leaders present in the conclave. In particular Corsini worked vigorously for the election of Giuseppe Spinelli, leader of the Zelanti, but met with the strong opposition of Orsini, Cardinal Protector of the Kingdom of Naples. The protector of Spain, Portocarrero, also rejected Spinelli, and was able to join many of the "Juniors" to his party. Finally, the candidature of Spinelli had to be withdrawn[6].

The first candidate with serious chances for election was Alberico Archinto, Secretary of State and Vice-Chancellor of the deceased pope. He had a strong support both among Zelanti and some of the "Crown-Cardinals", but the faction of Corsini did not agree to support him and produced as counter-candidate Marcello Crescenzi. Eventually, as had occurred many times before and later, the candidatures of Archinto and Crescenzi eliminated each other[7].

The arrival of the French cardinals and their exclusion against Cavalchini

Gradually, the representatives of royal courts arrived to Rome with the instructions of their monarchs. On June 4 entered Cardinal Luynes with the instructions of Louis XV of France. Five days later he officially announced the nomination of Cardinal Prospero Colonna di Sciarra to the post of Protector of France[8]. But the Imperial Cardinal von Rodt was still awaited.

During the next days the new candidate Carlo Alberto Guidobono Cavalchini, received still more votes, promoted by Corsini and Portocarrero working together. On June 19 he obtained twenty-one votes, on June 21 twenty-six, and in the evening of June 22 as many as twenty-eight out of forty-three, which meant that he was only one vote short of being elected. But after that ballot Cardinal Luynes informed the Dean of the Sacred College Rainiero d’Elci of the official veto of the King of France against Cavalchini. France opposed Cavalchini because of his attitude towards the beatification of Robert Bellarmin and in the matters connected with the anti-Jansenist bull Unigenitus[9]. The exclusion met with strong protests, but Cavalchini himself said, "It is a manifest proof that God deems me unworthy to fill the functions of his vicar upon earth".[10]

After the collapse of Cavalchini's candidacy, Portocarrero advanced as a new candidate Paolucci, but he was rejected by French, who – together with the faction of Corsini, voted again for Crescenzi[11].

The arrival of Cardinal von Rodt

The arrival of Cardinal von Rodt on June 29 with the instructions of the Imperial Court was the turning point of the conclave. He initially tried to achieve an agreement with the French, but having failed, he turned toward the Zelanti faction. Direct negotiations between von Rodt and Spinelli resulted in the proposal for election of the Venetian Cardinal Carlo Rezzonico, bishop of Padua. On July 6 in the morning the bishop of Padua received eight votes in the ballot and four additional in the accessus. Portocarrero, Albani and the French cardinals initially opposed, but finally agreed for him. After the consultations of French Cardinals with ambassador Laon it became clear that Rezzonico would be elected to the Papacy[12].

The election of Pope Clement XIII

On July 6 in the evening Carlo Rezzonico was elected Pope, receiving thirty-one votes out of forty-four, one more than the required majority of two-thirds. The remaining thirteen (including his own) fell to Cardinal Dean Rainiero d'Elci[10]. Rezzonico accepted his election and took the name of Clement XIII, in honour of Pope Clement XII, who had elevated him to the cardinalate in 1737[13]. He was crowned on July 16 in the loggia of the patriarchal Vatican Basilica by protodeacon Alessandro Albani[14].


  1. ^ a b List of participants of the papal conclave of 1758 (by Salvador Miranda).
  2. ^ Left the conclave on June 24 because of illness and did not participate in the final ballot
  3. ^ L. Pastor, p. 146
  4. ^ L. Pastor, p. 149
  5. ^ L. Pastor, p. 149-150
  6. ^ L. Pastor, p. 150
  7. ^ L. Pastor, p.150
  8. ^ L. Pastor, p. 151
  9. ^ L. Pastor, p. 152-153
  10. ^ a b Papal Library
  11. ^ L. Pastor, p. 154-155
  12. ^ L. Pastor, p. 155
  13. ^ L. Pastor, p. 156
  14. ^ S. Miranda: Cardinal Carlo Rezzonico (Pope Clement XIII)



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