Pellegrino Rossi

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Pellegrino Rossi
Rossi bridi.jpg
6th Papal Minister of Interior
In office
10 September 1848 – 15 November 1848
MonarchPope Pius IX
Preceded byEdoardo Fabbri
Succeeded byCarlo Emanuele Muzzarelli
Minister of Finance
In office
16 September 1848 – 15 November 1848
MonarchPope Pius IX
Preceded byPosition created
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Member of the French Chamber of Peers
In office
1838 – 15 November 1848
MonarchLouis Philippe I
Personal details
Born(1787-07-13)13 July 1787
Carrara, Tuscany (now Italy)
Died15 November 1848(1848-11-15) (aged 61)
Rome, Papal States (now Italy)
Resting placeSan Lorenzo in Damaso, Rome
Political partyModerate
Alma materUniversity of Pisa
University of Bologna
ProfessionTeacher, economist, diplomat
Military service
Branch/serviceFlag of the Kingdom of Naples (1811).svg Neapolitan Army
Years of service1815

Pellegrino Rossi (13 July 1787 – 15 November 1848) was an Italian economist, politician and jurist. He was an important figure of the July Monarchy in France, and the Minister of Justice in the government of the Papal States, under Pope Pius IX.


Rossi was born in Carrara, then under the Duchy of Massa and Carrara. Educated at the University of Pisa and the University of Bologna, he became professor of law at the latter in 1812. In 1815 he gave his support to Joachim Murat and his Neapolitan anti-Austrian expedition: after the latter's fall, he escaped to France, and then proceeded to Geneva, where he began teaching a course of jurisprudence applied to Roman law, the success of which gained him the unusual honour of naturalization as a citizen of Geneva. In 1820 he was elected as a deputy to the cantonal council, and was a member of the diet of 1832; Rossi was entrusted with the task of drawing up a revised constitution, which was known as the Pacte Rossi. This was rejected by a majority of the diet, a result which deeply affected Rossi, and made him accept the invitation of François Guizot to settle in France.

Here he was appointed in 1833 to the chair of political economy in the Collège de France, vacated by the death of Jean-Baptiste Say. He was naturalized as a French citizen in 1834, and in the same year became professor of constitutional law in the faculty of law of the Paris University. In 1836 he was elected a member of the Academy of Political and Moral Sciences, was raised to the French peerage in 1839, and in 1843 became dean of the faculty of law.

In 1842 Rossi and Count Ferdinand-Charles-Philippe d' Esterno (1805–83) organized the first meetings of what would become the Société d'économie politique.[1]

In 1845, Guizot appointed Rossi ambassador of France to the Papal States, with a specific mission to discuss the question of the Jesuits. However, the French Revolution of 1848 toppled Guizot's regime, and the revolution in Italy fully severed Rossi's connection with France. Rossi thus remained at Rome and became Minister of the Interior under Pius IX. Rossi's program of liberal reforms, however, never took off, as his brand of moderate liberalism, in which suffrage was to be limited to the well-off and the economic and social disruptions created by industrialization went unaddressed, had narrow appeal.[2]

His assassination took place on the stairs at the opening of the Parliament in the Palazzo della Cancelleria on 15 November 1848 by a stab wound to the neck. This was one of the causes of the flight from Rome of Pope Pius IX and the beginning of the series of events that led to the proclamation of the Roman Republic.

The murderer was said to be Luigi Brunetti, the elder son of Angelo Brunetti (or Ciceruacchio), who acted at the instigation of Pietro Sterbini, and with the cooperation of some veterans or reduci of the conflict in Lombardy. After the murder, the senate adjourned without much sorrow, and little to no attention to the murder victim. That night crowds at the house of Rossi's widow chanted Blessed is the hand that stabbed the Rossi. Sterbini went on to play a prominent role in the Roman Republic in 1849, but fled into exile after its fall, until 1861.[3] In a trial held in 1854, a man by the name of Gabriele Constantini was convicted and executed.

The city of Carrara erected a statue in honour of Pellegrino Rossi.

Selected works[edit]

  • Cours d'économie politique (1838–54)
  • Traité de droit pénal (1829)
  • Cours de droit constitutionnel (1866–67)
  • Melanges d'économie politique, d'histoire et de philosophie (1857, 2 volumes)


  1. ^ Garnier, Joseph (1852), "Économie Politique (Société d')", Dictionnaire de l'économie politique contenant l'exposition des principes de la science, l'opinion des écrivains qui ont le plus contribué a sa fondation et a ses progrés, la bibliographie générale de l'économie politique par noms d'auteurs et par ordre de matiéres, avec des notices biographiques et une appréciation raisonnée des principaux ouvrages: A-I, Meline, Cans, p. 670, retrieved 2017-08-18
  2. ^ Duncan, Mike (18 February 2018). "The Flight of the Pope". Revolutions (Podcast). Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  3. ^ Garibaldi's Defence of the Roman Republic, (1907) by George Macaulay Trevelyan, 3rd edition, Longmans, Green, and Company, 39 Paternoster Row, London.