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Pope Pius VII

Pope Pius VII, born Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 14 March 1800 to his death in 1823. Chiaramonti was a monk of the Order of Saint Benedict in addition to being a well-known theologian and bishop throughout his life. Chiaramonti was made Bishop of Tivoli in 1782, resigned that position upon his appointment as Bishop of Imola in 1785; that same year, he was made a cardinal. In 1789, the French Revolution took place, as a result a series of anti-clerical governments came into power in the country. In 1796, during the French Revolutionary Wars, French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Rome and took as prisoner Pope Pius VI, he was taken as prisoner to France, where he died in 1799. The following year, after a sede vacante period lasting six months, Chiaramonti was elected to the papacy, taking the name Pius VII. Pius at first attempted to take a cautious approach in dealing with Napoleon. With him he signed the Concordat of 1801, through which he succeeded in guaranteeing religious freedom for Catholics living in France, was present at his coronation as Emperor of the French in 1804.

In 1809, during the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon once again invaded the Papal States, resulting in his excommunication. Pius VII was transported to France, he remained there until 1814 when, after the French were defeated, he was permitted to return to Rome, where he was greeted warmly as a hero and defender of the faith. Pius lived the remainder of his life in relative peace, his papacy saw a significant growth of the Catholic Church in the United States, where Pius established several new dioceses. Pius VII died in 1823 at age 81. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI began the process towards canonizing him as a saint, he was granted the title Servant of God. Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti was born in Cesena in 1742, the youngest son of Count Scipione Chiaramonti, his mother, Giovanna Coronata, was the daughter of the Marquess Ghini. Though his family was of noble status, they were not wealthy but rather, were of middle-class stock, his maternal grandparents were Isabella de' conti Aguselli. His paternal grandparents were Ottavia Maria Altini.

His paternal great-great grandparents were Polissena Marescalchi. His siblings were Giacinto Ignazio and Ottavia. Like his brothers, he attended the Collegio dei Nobili in Ravenna but decided to join the Order of Saint Benedict at the age of 14 on 2 October 1756 as a novice at the Abbey of Santa Maria del Monte in Cesena. Two years after this on 20 August 1758, he became a professed member and assumed the name of Gregorio, he taught at Benedictine colleges in Parma and Rome, was ordained a priest on 21 September 1765. A series of promotions resulted after his relative, Giovanni Angelo Braschi, was elected Pope Pius VI. A few years before this election occurred, in 1773, Chiaramonti became the personal confessor to Braschi. In 1776, Pius VI appointed the 34-year-old Dom Gregory, teaching at the Monastery of Sant'Anselmo in Rome, as honorary abbot in commendam of his monastery. Although this was an ancient practice, it drew complaints from the monks of the community, as monastic communities felt it was not in keeping with the Rule of St. Benedict.

In December 1782, the pope appointed Dom Gregory near Rome. Pius VI soon named him, in February 1785, the Cardinal-Priest of San Callisto, as the Bishop of Imola, an office he held until 1816; when the French Revolutionary Army invaded Italy in 1797, Cardinal Chiaramonti counseled temperance and submission to the newly created Cisalpine Republic. In a letter that he addressed to the people of his diocese, Chiaramonti asked them to comply "... in the current circumstances of change of government" to the authority of the victorious general Commander-in-Chief of the French army. In his Christmas homily that year, he asserted that there was no opposition between a democratic form of government and being a good Catholic: "Christian virtue makes men good democrats.... Equality is not an idea of philosophers but of Christ...and do not believe that the Catholic religion is against democracy." Following the death of Pope Pius VI, by virtually France's prisoner, at Valence in 1799, the conclave to elect his successor met on 30 November 1799 in the Benedictine Monastery of San Giorgio in Venice.

There were three main candidates, two of whom proved to be unacceptable to the Habsburgs, whose candidate, Alessandro Mattei, could not secure sufficient votes. However, Carlo Bellisomi was a candidate, though not favoured by Austrian cardinals. After several months of stalemate, Jean-Sifrein Maury proposed Chiaramonti as a compromise candidate. On 14 March 1800, Chiaramonti was elected pope not the choice of die-hard opponents of the French Revolution, took as his pontifical name Pius VII in honour of his immediate predecessor, he was crowned on 21 March in a rather unusual ceremony, wearing a papier-mâché papal tiara as the French had seized the tiaras held by the Holy See when occupying Rome and forcing Pius VI into exile. He left for Rome, sailing on a seaworthy Austrian ship

Pacific Scandal

The Pacific Scandal was a political scandal in Canada involving bribes being accepted by 150 members of the Conservative government in the attempts of private interests to influence the bidding for a national rail contract. As part of British Columbia's 1871 agreement to join the Canadian Confederation, the government had agreed to build a transcontinental railway linking the Pacific Province to the eastern provinces; the scandal led to the resignation of Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, a transfer of power from his Conservative government to a Liberal government led by Alexander Mackenzie. One of the new government's first measures was to introduce secret ballots in an effort to improve the integrity of future elections. After the scandal broke, the railway plan collapsed and the proposed line was not built. An different operation built the Canadian Pacific Railway to the Pacific. For a young and loosely defined nation, the building of a national railway was an active attempt at state-making, as well as an aggressive capitalist venture.

Canada, a nascent country with a population of 3.5 million in 1871, lacked the means to exercise meaningful de facto control within the de jure political boundaries of the acquired Rupert's Land. Moreover, after the American Civil War the American frontier expanded west with land-hungry settlers, exacerbating talk of annexation. Indeed, sentiments of Manifest Destiny were abuzz in this time: in 1867, year of Confederation, US Secretary of State W. H. Seward surmised that the whole North American continent "shall be, sooner or within the magic circle of the American Union". Therefore, preventing American investment into the project was considered as being in Canada's national interest, thus the federal government favoured an "all Canadian route" through the rugged Canadian Shield of northern Ontario, refusing to consider a less costly route passing south through Wisconsin and Minnesota. However, a route across the Canadian Shield was unpopular with potential investors, not only in the United States but in Canada and Great Britain, the only other viable source of financing.

For would-be investors, the objections were not based on politics or nationalism but economics. At the time, national governments lacked. For the First Transcontinental Railroad, the United States government had made extensive grants of public land to the railway's builders, inducing private financiers to fund the railway on the understanding that they would acquire rich farmland along the route, which could be sold for a large profit. However, the eastern terminus of the proposed Canadian Pacific route, unlike that of the First Transcontinental, was not in rich Nebraskan farmland, but deep within the Canadian Shield. Copying the American financing model whilst insisting on an all-Canadian route would require the railway's backers to build hundreds of miles of track across rugged shield terrain at considerable expense before they could expect to access lucrative farmland in Manitoba and the newly created Northwest Territories. Many financiers, who had expected to make a quick profit, were not willing to make this sort of long-term commitment.

The Montreal capitalist Hugh Allan, with his syndicate Canada Pacific Railway Company, sought the lucrative charter for the project. The problem lay in that Allan and Macdonald and secretly, were in cahoots with American financiers such as George W. McMullen and Jay Cooke, men who were interested in the rival American undertaking, the Northern Pacific Railroad. Two groups competed for the contract to build the railway, Hugh Allan's Canada Pacific Railway Company and David Lewis Macpherson's Inter-Oceanic Railway Company. On April 2, 1873, Lucius Seth Huntington, a Liberal Member of Parliament, created an uproar in the House of Commons, he announced he had uncovered evidence that Allan and his associates had been granted the Canadian Pacific Railway contract in return for political donations of $360,000. In 1873, it became known that Allan had contributed a large sum of money to the Conservative government's re-election campaign of 1872. Allan had promised to keep American capital out of the railway deal, but had lied to Macdonald over this vital point, Macdonald discovered the lie.

The Liberal party, at this time the opposition party in Parliament, accused the Conservatives of having made a tacit agreement to give the contract to Hugh Allan in exchange for money. In making such allegations, the Liberals and their allies in the press presumed that most of the money had been used to bribe voters in the 1872 election; the secret ballot considered a novelty, had not yet been introduced in Canada. Although it was illegal to offer, solicit or accept bribes in exchange for votes, effective enforcement of this prohibition proved impossible. Despite Macdonald's claims that he was innocent, evidence came to light showing receipts of money from Allan to Macdonald and some of his political colleagues. More damaging to Macdonald was when the Liberals discovered a telegram, through a former employee of Allan, thought to have been stolen from the safe of Allan's lawyer, John Abbott; the scandal proved fatal to Macdonald's government. Macdonald's control of Parliament was tenuous following the 1872 election.

In a time when party discipline was not as strong as it is today, once Macdonald's culpability in the scandal became known he could no longer expect to retain the confidence of the House o

2020 in the Czech Republic

Events in the year 2020 in the Czech Republic. President – Miloš Zeman Prime Minister – Andrej Babiš Planned: the 2020 Czech regional elections will be held in 13 regions. 9 January – Ivan Passer, film director and screenwriter. Karel Saitl, weightlifter. 14 January – Naděžda Kniplová, operatic soprano. 15 January – Bruno Nettl, Czech-born American ethnomusicologist and musicologist. 18 January – Petr Pokorný, Protestant theologian. 20 January – Jaroslav Kubera, President of the Senate