Casanata, Jerome

, a learned cardinal, was born at Naples, June 13, 1620, and at first, in compliance with his father’s wishes, studied the law; but afterwards his father was induced, at the request of cardinal Pamphili, to allow him to go into the church. This cardinal, as sooa as he became pope, by the name of Innocent X. made Casanata one of his chamberlains of honour, and bestowed on him several governments. In 1658 he was sent to Malta as inquisitor by pope Alexander VII. and after residing there four years and a half, was recalled to Rome, and employed in several congregations. He was promoted to be cardinal by Clement X. in 1673, and was again employed in public affairs of importance, during all which he retained a love of letters, accumulated an immense library, and corresponded with many of the literati of Europe, whom he encouraged in the publication of their works. In 1693, pope Innocent XII. chose him librarian to the Vatican. As it was his ambition to promote literature, he employed the deputy librarian, the abbé Zacagni, to publish some curious works that were in manuscript. Of these one volume in | quarto was. printed, and more would have followed if Casanata had not been prevented by death in March 1700. He left his library 10 the church and Dominican convent of St. Maria sopra Minerva, with a legacy of 80,000 ducats, destined partly for purchasing books, and partly for salaries to ten learned monks, of whom two were to act as librarians, two to expound the doctrine of St. Thomas, and the six others to defend the doctrines of the church. This establishment appears to have continued until within these few years, as in 1776, the two librarians published “Bibliothecae Casanatensis Catalogus librorum typis impressorum,Rome, 3 vols. folio. This catalogue, which was probably continued (although we have heard of only these three volumes), reaches to letter G. Most of the books in this extensive library were published in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but there are neither English nor German works among them. The Italian books, however, are very numerous; and the catalogue, on account of the great number of anecdotes and notices interspersed, may be considered as an important acquisition to bibliography. 1