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Alexander, by the martial violence of Julius II., and the Epicurean luxuries of Leo. The union of the new Catholic empire was not effected without fearful and perilous conflicts. To which section of Europe France was to belong was a question only decided after a long and bloody strife. The Papacy clung with convulsive tenacity to those parts of its dominions which it was finally compelled to abandon; and did not complete the re-subjugation of the provinces which it retained without violent internal contests. Though the habits of the people, the activity of the monastic orders, and the rekindled zeal of all classes obtained at length the mastery-everywhere, even in Spain and Italy, there was much latent Protestantism to be exterminated.
The character of the successive pontiffs could not but exercise an important influence at this crisis in the religious affairs of the world. Paul III., of the house of Farnese, succeeded the unfortunate Clement. The Roman blood of Paul III. displayed itself in easy, frank, yet dignified manners. No Pope was ever more popular in Rome. He was superior to the narrow policy of filling the College of Cardinals with his own relatives and dependants; he nominated distinguished men without their knowledge; and when pressed by the Emperor to appoint two of his grandchildren to the cardinalate, Paul replied with Roman dignity, that “the Emperor must first show precedents that children in their cradles had ever been promoted to that high function. In his intercourse with the college he gave an unprecedented example of courteous condescension to their advice; though he formed his own opinion, he listened with respectful attention to theirs. His situation required a temporizing policy, and that policy he pursued with consummate address, disconcerting the schemes and baffling the penetration of the most practised and subtle diplomatists. He had indeed affairs upon his hands which required dexterity and caution. He had to mediate peace between France and Spain; to subdue the Protestants, to league Europe against the Turks, to reform the Church. But Paul III. had likewise a son, for whom he was determined, like his ambitious predecessors, to form a principality; he had grandchildren whom he hoped to ally with the royal families of Charles and of Francis. It was far from a wise compliance with the critical aspect of the times, when the Pope alienated a city of Romagna to endow the son of his own bastard offspring on his marriage with the bastard daughter of the Emperor, the widow of Allessandro de' Medici ; and when he sought the hand of the Duke of Vendôme for his grand-daughter, he betrayed at once his double and dissembling policy. That mediation, which in the head of the religious world might have looked dignified and imposing, sunk into a shifting and subtle scheme for the aggrandizement of his own family. With these irreconcilable and conflicting objects it was impossible for the Pope to maintain an honest and straightforward policy. The head of the Catholic world, the Italian potentate, the father of Pier Luigi Farnese, could not but have conflicting and opposite interests; and Paul could not consent to sacrifice the lower and less important to the one great and worthy object of pontifical ambition.
The convocation of the Council of Trent was a wild and bold measure, though it might in some degree endanger the unlimited authority of the Popes. As a scheme for the voluntary reunion of the Christian world, it would afford but little hope to the most sanguine ; but we have before observed, as a consolidation of the strength of Catholicism, as an ultimate and definite declaration of a common principle by the powers represented in the Council, it was of incalculable importance to the interests of the Papacy. The Council was opened, and at the same time Charles V. entered with the zeal of a common interest upon the war against the Protestants of Germany. The object of this important alliance was the reduction of the League of Smalcald to the civil and religious obedience claimed by the Emperor, and by the Council as the representative assembly of Christendom. The Pope supplied money and troops.
The war was successful beyond expectation. Charles at first gave himself over for lost, but in the most perilous situation he stood firm. At the close of the year 1546 he beheld the whole of Upper Germany in his power ; the cities and the princes of the empire surrendered with emulous alacrity; the moment seemed to have arrived in which the Protestant party was totally subdued, and the whole nation might again become Catholic. . . . At that moment what was the conduct of the Pope? He recalled his troops from the Imperial army; he prorogued the Council, which at that instant should have been accomplishing its object, and should have commenced with activity its work of pacification, from Trent, where it had been convoked at the request of the Germans, ostensibly because an epidemic malady had broken out there, to the second city of his own dominions, Bologna.
His motives could not be doubted; yet once again the political were in opposition and strife with the ecclesiastical interests of the Papacy. The Pope had never wished to see the whole of Germany conquered, and in real subjection to the Emperor. Far different had been his calculations. He had hoped that Charles V. might obtain some success which might turn to the advantage of the Church ; but he also hoped to see him so deeply plunged in difficulties, so entangled in the intricacies of his situation, that he would himself have full freedom to follow out his own schemes. Fortune laughed to scorn all his policy. He dreaded the reaction of this overweening power of the Emperor in Italy; the Council had become refractory; points had been mooted which menaced the unlimited supremacy of the Pope.
It sounds strange, proceeds Ranke, but nothing is more true: at the moment when the whole of Northern Germany trembled at the approaching re-establishment of the Papal authority, the Pope felt himself as an ally of the Protestants. Paul betrayed his delight at the advantages obtained by the Elector John Frederick over Prince Maurice ; Paul wished for nothing more carnestly than that the Elector might make head against the Emperor ; Paul expressly urged Francis I., who was now seeking to unite the whole world in a new league against Charles V., to support those who resisted him. He again thonght it probable that the Emperor would be seriously embarrassed with these obstacles, and the war protracted. “He thinks this will be the case (writes the French minister), because he wishes it. Nor did this policy escape the sagacity of Charles V.: the object of His Holiness, from the beginning (he writes to his ambassador), has been to entangle us in this enterprize and then to desert us.'
6 We must quote the authority on which this singular transaction rests: 'S. S. a entendu que le Duc de Saxe se trouve fort, dont elle a tel contentement comme celuy qui estime le commun ennemy estre par ces moyens retenu d'exécuter ses entreprises, et connoist-on bien qu'il seroit utile sous main d'entretenir ceux qui lui résistent, disant, que vous ne sçauriez faire dépense plus utile.'- Du Mortier au Roi (de France). Ribier, i. 647.
The parental feelings of Paul, wounded in the most cruel manner, finally determined his vacillating policy. Visions of the dukedom of Milan for his son, or for his grandson, had at one time floated before his dazzled sight. He had succeeded by a long train of dexterous maneuvres, after unavailing resistance in his own College of Cardinals, in obtaining the investiture of Parma and Piacenza for Pier Luigi. M. Ranke draws a veil over the atrocity of this man's character. Botta, in his continuation of Guicciardini, has been less scrupulous, and relates at full length, though with as much decency as the subject would bear, one crime, which, especially in the son of a Pope, struck the whole of Italy with horror, and was propagated with shuddering triumph among the Protestants of Germany.
Paul III., a scholar and a learned theologian, was nevertheless, according to the spirit of the age, a firm believer in astrology.
No important sitting of the Consistory was appointed, no journey undertaken without choosing a fortunate day, without having observed the constellations. A treaty with France was broken off because there was no conformity between the nativities of the Pope and of the King. But one day the Pope, who thought that he was then placed beneath the most fortunate stars, and that he could conjure down all the tempests which threatened him, appeared unusually cheerful at the audience; he recounted the unfortunate passages of his life, and compared himself in that respect with the Emperor Tiberius : on this very day, his son, the possessor of all his acquisitions, the heir of his fortunes, was fallen upon by conspirators in Piacenza, and murdered !'
Ferdinand Gonzaga, the Imperial governor of Milan, was more than suspected of some concern in this murder. The Imperial troops instantly occupied Piacenza. M. Ranke, writing with the despatches of Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador at Rome, before him, states that no conception can be formed of the bitterness of feeling which now existed. Gonzaga gave out that two Corsican bravos had been seized, hired by the Pope to revenge upon his person the murder of Farnese. A general massacre of the Spaniards in Rome was apprehended. The Pope urged the King of France to make peace with the Protestant King of England, Edward VI., and to unite their forces against a worse enemy of the faith. Charles, in his turn, protested against the acts of the Council of Bologna, and published the Interim. The end of all was that the Pope, thwarted, betrayed, almost sold to the Emperor by those very Farneses, his own family, for whom he had sacrificed so much of the true interests of the Popedom, and incurred so much obloquy, died of a broken heart!
Julius III., who ascended the pontifical throne with great expectations from his talents and character, dreamed away five important years in luxurions indolence. His nepotism was of a more modest and safer cast. The great offence, almost indeed the great event of his life, was the appointment of a young favourite of seventeen to the cardinalate.
The election of the Cardinal Cervini, his assumption of the name of Marcellus, the hopes entertained from his mild and truly Christian disposition, with his earnest intention of urging a real reformation in the whole conduct of the Papal affairs, could not but call to the mind of a classical age the famous line of Virgil
Tu Marcellus eris.
On his death the Cardinal Caraffa was invested with the tiara. Caraffa was seventy-nine years old, but the fire of youth still gleamed in his deep-set eyes. Caraffa was one of that religious community which had retired in austere seclusion