Pope Leo XII dies

The Collegio Romano was restored to the efficient hands of the Jesuits in 1824; the Free-masons and other secret societies were condemned in 1825; the Vatican printing press was restored and the Vatican Library enriched; scholars like Zurla, Martucci, and Champollion were encouraged; much was done towards the rebuilding of St. Paul's and the restoration of the seemliness of worship. But Leo's health was too frail to support his unremitting devotion to the affairs of the Church. Even in December, 1823, he had nearly died, and recovered only as by a miracle, through the prayers of the venerable Bishop of Marittima, Vincenzo Strambi, whose life was offered to God and accepted in the stead of the pope's. On 5 February, 1829, after a private audience with Cardinal Bernetti, who had replaced Somaglia as Secretary of State in 1828, he was suddenly taken ill and seemed himself to know that his end was near. On the eighth he asked for and received the Viaticum and was anointed. On the evening of the ninth he lapsed into unconsciousness and on the morning of the tenth he died. He had a noble character, a passion for order and efficiency, but he lacked insight into, and sympathy with, the temporal developments of his period. His rule was unpopular in Rome and in the Papal States, and by various measures of his reign he diminished greatly for his successors their chances of solving the new problems that confronted them.