Booker T. Washington

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Booker T. Washington

Letter Signed - 1901

Letter in Italian dated 20 June 1640, signed by Cardinal Francesco Barberini. Signed letters by Cardinal Barberini are extremely scarce and highly desirable, especially so given his role as Grand Inquisitor of the Roman Inquisition in the trial of Galileo. Sent from Rome to the governor of Cascia in Citta d’Onelli, a small town in the province of Perugia, Umbria. A clear Barberini seal is attached on the verso. Translated in full:

Most Illustrious Lord,

After having been reviewed in the Congregation, the case between the community of Onelli and Girolamo Franceschini concerning the right of grazing has not been decided, that until a decision is made, nothing at all will be renewed. Hence in execution of this, your Lordship will return the animals and any other movable property, which were taken from the men of that place in order to graze the grass on Lord Franceschini’s land, lest I should send you further inconveniences, and may God protect you.
Rome, the 20th of June, 1640.

For your delight,
Cardinal Barberini

At bottom:
Cascia Governor, City of Onelli, movable property
Giulio Nonali Secretary


From the 16th-18th centuries the Franceschini family was known throughout Italy for producing fine silks and woolen cloth from their factory in Vicenza, one of many instrumental in the trading system based on the wealth of goods traveling along the Silk Road between Italy and the Ottoman Empire. The Franceschini family suffered great losses following the Napoleonic Wars, but in 1770 famed architect Ottavio Bertotti Scamozzi redesigned the home-factory in honor of the brothers Giovanni and Girolamo Franceschini, now known to tourists as Palazzo Franceschini Folco.

Francesco, a member of the powerful Barberini family, was appointed Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in 1623 by his uncle, Pope Urban VIII. From 1633 until his death, he held the post of Grand Inquisitor of the Roman Inquisition. He presided over the trial of Galileo and was one of only three members of the tribunal who refused to condemn him. He was also appointed Librarian of the Vatican in 1627 and, later on in his life, became a devoted patron of the arts. Barberini was given various roles within the Vatican administration but his personal cultural interests, particularly in literature and the arts, turned his interests toward patronage.

Cardinal Francesco Barberini 



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