Monday, February 17, 2014

Jansenism in the Albani Library: Unigenitus 1713-2013

Through materials originating chiefly in the library of a single 18th-century Italian family, this exhibition documents the efforts of the papacy and the French government to suppress an unorthodox but persistent religious reform movement known as Jansenism. The Albani family, which produced Pope Clement XI and several generations of cardinals, included important figures on the ecclesiastical and diplomatic scene, as well as sophisticated collectors of books and art. From their collections, nearly obliterated by looting during the Napoleonic conquest of Italy, the largest surviving remnant of the Albani Library resides here at Catholic University of America. Included in its ten thousand volumes are otherwise unknown printed works concerning Clement's apostolic constitution Unigenitus Dei Filius, as well as clandestine publications of the Jansenist insurgency, legal documents, satire and political propaganda from both sides of the theological divide, all part of a collection of pamphlets bound by the owners and known by their spine titles as the Miscellanea Relativa alla Bolla Unigenitus.

  Jansenist inheritance, Quesnelian provocation

Cornelius Jansenius (1585-1638). Cornelii Iansenii, Episcopi Iprensis, Augustinus…Lovain: Zeger, 1640.

Jansen’s massive posthumous work which filled 3 folio volumes, is open here to its engraved title page. The author, whose name became associated with a rigorist reforming sect within the church, drew papal censures for his commentary on St. Augustine and his treatment of the vexed issues of grace and free will. But those condemnations in turn sparked widespread disagreement about whether the 5 condemned propositions could actually be found in Jansen’s text.
Rare Books Folio BT1450.J3 1640


Pasquier Quesnel...
[France? Ca. 1730?]

Posthumously engraved portrait of the Oratorian priest Pasquier Quesnel, bound in RBSC’s extra-illustrated copy of the Nouvelles Ecclesiastiques. Quesnel's popular devotional book proved to be a more accessible  exposition of Jansenist theology, making its author the target of church and government censure as declared in Unigenitus.

Rare Books BT3.N95

Pasquier Quesnel (1634-1719). Le Nouveau
Testament en Francois avec des Reflexions
Morales sur Chaque Verset.

Amsterdam: Nicolai, 1728.

The first of eight volumes of Quesnel’s popular
devotional work, which is credited with wide dissemination of Jansen’s theological views.
As the direct target of Unigenitus, this book
was naturally banned in France, but continued to
be printed abroad. The Amsterdam edition shown
here was published long after the 1713 condemnation
by Clement XI and after the death of both author and Pope.  Clementine 273.7 Q5



Unigenitus Promulgated : September 8, 1713

Girolamo Rossi the Younger (fl. 1720). Clemens XI Albanus Urbinas Pontifex Maximus … [18th century]

Engraved portrait of Clement XI after the painting by Pietro Nelli. Clement’s election to the papal throne came at a pivotal and difficult time for the papacy. Elected in 1700 as the War of the Spanish Succession was looming, Clement accepted the papal throne with great reluctance. Eager to keep warring armies off Italian soil, he attempted to mediate between the opposing sides but once war broke out felt obliged to declare war on Austria, with disastrous results. Clement’s reign was further beset by the Chinese Rites controversy and of course the continuing struggle over French Jansenism, but he is also remembered as a scholar, a generous patron of the arts and public works, and the restorer of many Italian monuments and churches.
Clementine 270.0901 Clement XI

Unigenitus Dei Filius 
Printed in Rome, Reprinted in Warsaw, 1713.

The famed apostolic constitution which set off a seemingly endless controversy in the French church and government. This edition is a very rare Warsaw imprint. The indecisive Clement was reluctant to promulgate the bull, but finally acceded to the wishes of Louis XIV who saw Jansenism and the writings of Quesnel as potential de-stablizing forces against the Bourbon regime. After Louis’s death in 1715, enforcement of the bull proved difficult, with factional propaganda for and against the Constitution keeping printing presses busy for decades.
Clementine MRBU 3a:1

Pasquier Quesnel (1634-1719). Deux Actes de l’Appel Interjette de la Constitution Unigenitus Dei Filius au Concile General. Amsterdam: Potgieter, 1717.

Members of the Albani family assiduously collected the printed fallout from Clement’s bull, and this copy of Quesnel’s appeal to an ecumenical council bears the “B.A.” stamp, believed to be that of one of the Albani cardinals. As there were four generations of cardinals in the family, correctly identifying the owner of the stamp has proven difficult and the ownership of the “B.A.” books remains an open question.
Clementine 273.7 Q5 1717

 Pasquier Quesnel (1634-1719). Plainte et Protestation du Pere Quesnel Contre la Condamnation des Cent-une Propositions [Holland?] 1715.

Quesnel offers a defense of his writings against the unfair and politically-motivated overkill of the hundred and one damnations.
The “B.A.” stamp is here present with another mark of ownership, the orange stamp of the Real Museo Borbonico of Naples. How the Borbonico stamp ended up on an Albani book was initially a puzzle, since the Borbonico was not founded until 1777. The answer probably lies in the tragic late 18th-century history of the Albani libraries. Many books looted from the Albani found their way into other libraries in Italy and France. Some books were however recovered by the family in the early 19th century including several from collections of the Borbonico.  Clementine 273.7 Q5 1715


Pasquier Quesnel (1634-1719). The Gospels with Moral Reflections on Each Verse. With an introductory essay by the Rev. Daniel Wilson. Glasgow: Collins, 1830.

Quesnel’s work was translated into English and frequently reprinted; judging by its battered condition, this copy was an evident favorite in Presbyterian Scotland. The author's portrait seems to have been subject to considerable artistic license, perhaps owing to the romantic view to which Port-Royal and things Jansenist were subject in the early 19th century.  Rare Books BS2555.A2 Q3 1850



The Albani as Book Collectors

P. Marini, engraver. [Clement XI examining the Library of Cassiano dal Pozzo]

As a distinguished scholar and patron of the arts, Clement came naturally to the world of books, and his family’s library was already a rich collection by the time of his birth. During his pontificate he continued to be a “hands-on” collector, enlarging the Albani libraries as well as that of the Vatican. His acquisition of Cassiano’s famous collection was a high point in the Pope’s book collecting career; Cassiano had preserved the library of the famed Accademia dei Lincei (Lyncean Academy) dedicated to the study of the natural sciences, and boasting several famed members including Galileo.This engraving, after a drawing by Charles Natoire, prefaces book three of Clement's biography, the De vita et rebus gestis Clementis undecimi pontificis maximi libri sex, and suggests both the eagerness of the collector and the importance attached to this facet of his character by a later generation. (Urbino: Antonium Fantauzzi, 1727).  Clementine Folio 270.0901 Clement XI

Antonio Maria Mati. [Pen and ink frontispiece to the catalog of the Bibliotheca Albana Urbinas], Urbino, ca. 1720.  
This is the second (and most highly decorated) of the extant contemporary catalogs of the Albani Library of Urbino (generally known as Catalog B), executed in manuscript towards the end of Clement’s pontificate.The frontispiece shows a charming view of Urbino surmounted by the Albani arms (the coronet suggests  Carlo III, a nephew of the Pope, and Duke of Soriano).
  The contemporary catalog of an 18th-century collection, accompanied by over 9,000 books from the period, provides a unique scholarly resource for historians of books and reading in the 18th century. Clementine MS Albani 2

[Series Librorum Bibliothecae Albanae quae Urbini est] Catalog C, Manuscript on paper (Vol. 1, leaf 160 r.) [Urbino: ca. 1803]

The section beginning G.vI  marks the only entry in Catalog C for the Miscellanea Relativa alla Bolla Unigenitus, the collection of pamphlets assembled by Pope Clement and his family on the controversy in France over the acceptance of his apostolic constitution. At the time this manuscript catalog was prepared, the bound volumes of the Miscellanea were as yet only 3 in number, but the collection would ultimately expand to some 50 volumes containing approximately 1,000 separate titles. 800 of these have recently been cataloged, a process which has revealed the unique nature of a collection unequaled outside of France. The Albani collected all printed material on the bull, controversial literature on both sides, writs of Parlement and the monarch, legal appeals, records of the convulsionaries, and writings of ordinary people whose lives were in some way affected by Unigenitus.     Clementine MS Albani 3 

A gift to Pope Clement 

Presentation inscription to T.S. Pere (i.e., Pope Clement XI) from the Archbishop of Arles, Jacques Forbin-Janson on the wrapper of Instruction familiere sur la soumission düe a la constitution Unigenitus. (1718)  

This pamphlet was produced under the auspices of the Archbishop, a zealous anti-Jansenist who, over the years, contributed several pamphlets to the Albani's growing pamphlet collection. This is the only item as yet definitively associated with Pope Clement, and it is also of interest as identifying the author of the work, Jean d'Yse de Saleon, another hard-line supporter of Unigenitus and the future archbishop of Vienne. 
Clementine 273.7 .M678 v.19 item 4


Pamphlets in the Miscellanea inscribed to Clement's nephews

A number of pamphlets in the Miscellanea are directly traceable to Clement's relatives. The unsurprising common denominator of those shown here is the strongly anti-Jansenist stance of their authors.  

Portrait of Annibale Albani [detail] in the engraved frontispiece to the 1714 Juris Pontificij of Francisco Mancini.

The eldest of the Clement's nephews, and the only one to receive the cardinal's hat from the anti-nepotistic pope, Annibale earned doctorates in theology and law, holding various diplomatic posts including that of nuncio to the Austrian Emperor before serving as papal camerlengo from 1719-1747. He compiled the collected works of his uncle, and clearly shared the interests of the latter, establishing both a library and printing press in his home town of Urbino. Clementine 348.02 .M269 

Presentation inscription to Annibale from Cherubin de Noves, a Capuchin friar and collector of books and art. The pamphlet is the Instruction Pastorale... of 1728, issued by the Bishop of Marseille (Henri Belsunce de Castelmoron).

Clementine MRBU 18:14




Portrait of Alessandro Albani

Alessandro was the youngest of Clement's nephews, made cardinal in 1721 after Clement's death. An avid collector of art as well as books, Alessandro was an unofficial liaison (and sometime spy) for the British government which, in the 18th century, had no formal diplomatic relations with the Vatican. Once owner of some of the most famous works of classical art (The Dying Gaul among them) Alessandro was the patron of archeologist and art historian Johann Winckelmann and author of a voluminous correspondence with Sir Horace Mann and other members of Europe's collecting elite.


Sixieme lettre ... (1730) of the Archbishop of Embrun (Pierre Guerin de Tencin) inscribed to Alessandro Albani, possibly in the author's hand. This pamphlet is to date the only work in the Clementine Library which bears a clear association to the Pope's youngest nephew.

The Appeal Against the Bull



Declaratio Universitatis Studii Parisiensis super appellatione ad futurum Concilium generale quam quinto die Oct. anni 1718 interposuit à constitutione pontificia, quae incipit Unigenitus Dei Filius, data Romae sexto idus Sept. M.DCC.XIII. et a literis pontificiis Romae affixis sexto idus sept. M.DCC.XVIII.
Paris : Thiboust [1718]

In this work the Sorbonne rejects Unigenitus as well as the papal letters of September 8, 1718, (i.e. Clement’s later bull Pastoralis Officii) declaring them in violation of Gallican liberties. Clementine MRBU 2:7

Epistola illustrissimorum ac reverendissimorum ecclesiae principum, Francisci Caillebot de La Salle, olim Episcopi Tornacensis, Joannis-Baptistae de Verthamont, Episcopi Apamiensis, Joannis Soanen, Episcopi Senecensis, ... [et al] ad Sanctissimum D.D. Innocentium Papam XIII. occasione Constitutionis Unigenitus, datae Romae, anno Domini millesimo septingentesimo decimo tertio, sexto Idus Septembris.
[France? : s.n.], 1721.

A letter to Clement's successor, Pope Innocent XIII, from the appellant bishops, who by this time numbered eight: François Caillebot de La Salle (former Bishop of Tournai); Jean-Baptiste de Verthamon (Bishop of Pamiers); Jean Soanen (Bishop of Senez); Charles-Joachim Colbert (Bishop of Montpellier); Pierre de Langle ( Bishop of Boulogne); Daniel Charles Gabriel de Tubières de Caylus (Bishop of Auxerre); Michel de Cassagnet de Tilladet, Bishop of Mâcon.  With no place of printing, the pamphlet has every appearance of being a clandestine publication.  Clementine MRBU 12:2

Justification du droit et de la canonicité de l’appel interjetté au concile géneral, de la bulle Unigenitus, par Nosseigneurs les quatre evêques appellans.
[Holland? 1717]

An anonymous work in support of the appeal, this pamphlet is attributed to the leading Jansenist theologian Nicholas Petit-Pied (1665-1747), former professor of scripture at the Sorbonne who became one of the most influential controversialists against both Unigenitus and later against the convulsionaries. This pamphlet was probably published in Holland where Petit-Pied had been living since joining Quesnel there after 1703.  Bibliographic evidence (catchwords on each page and centered signings) also suggest a low country origin.  Clementine MRBU 21:3

[Manuscript endorsement by the Cathedral chapter of Paderborn, Germany added to the Acte par lequel le Chapitre de l’eglise Cathedrale du Mans a adhéré à l’appel.] 1717.

The Paderborn chapter has appended its own Latin endorsement, dated 14 August 1717 and sealed with their wax seal, to the printed French Acte  (Mans: Veuve de Jerôme Pichon, 1717) in which the Le Mans chapter voices support for the appellant cause.
The connection between the two chapters is not obvious, but Le Mans and Paderborn, though in different countries, were by long tradition “twin cities” and sister dioceses. Evidently the collegial relationship between the chapters influenced their response to Unigenitus as well. Clementine MRBU 9:20

Mandate of His Eminence Monseigneur the Cardinal de Noailles, Archbishop of Paris: for the publishing the appeal which brought the 3d of April, 1717, to the Pope better advised ... : together with the very act of the appeal : to which is added the extract from the registers of the Chancery of the Church and University.  London : for Bezaleel Creake ..., [1718]

The English followed the conflict over Unigenitus with considerable relish as evidenced in this early reprint with parallel French and English translations of the Archbishop's Mandement in support of the Appel against the bull.  RBSC BX4725 .N62 1718

Mr. le Cardinal de Noailles Archeveque de Paris. Engraving.
Paris: Crepy, [undated]in an extra-illustrated copy of the Nouvelles Ecclesiastiques.

Probably no individual did more to ensure continued strife over Unigenitus than Louis Antoine de Noailles, the hopelessly conflicted if not duplicitous Archbishop of Paris.  An early star student at the Sorbonne and erstwhile critic of Quesnel, Noailles reversed his own condemnation of the Nouveau Testament en François and aligned himself with the Gallican opposition to the papacy, nearly losing his cardinal's hat in the process but earning the unforgettable sobriquet "a conscience in ruins."
RBSC BT3  N95 (1713-1727)