« PreviousContinue »
world a charitable—(he paid great attention to the temporal wants of the poor in Rome)—and a Chrstian prelate;—to Protestants of every class and degree, Pius V. was a Dominican and an Inquisitor. He extorted from the gratitude of Cosmo, Grand Duke of Florence, from the respect even of Venice, men of the highest rank and attainments to suffer the extreme penalties of heresy. Carnesecchi, notwithstanding his lofty station and character, was surrendered to the officers of the Inquisition, and perished in the flames. The Venetians, rigid as they had ever been, and as they still were, in the maintenance of religious independence, yielded up Guido Zanetti of Fano to the same tribunal and the same end. The fate of Carranza, Archbishop of Toledo, the first ecclesiastic in Spain, is well known. Though a zealous advocate of Catholicism, an active supporter of all the religious reforms in the Church, sixteen latent clauses were detected in his works which appeared to favour the Protestant doctrines : he was saved, indeed, by being sent to Rome, from the persecutions of his personal enemies, but he only changed the scene of his tragic destiny. The purification of Spain, by a constant succession of auto-dafés, received the full sanction, the highest approbation, of the Pope. The bull which he thundered out against our Elizabeth on her accession displayed his strong abhorrence of heresy, at the sacrifice perhaps of real policy. But it cannot be supposed that he entertained the least doubt of his power to absolve subjects from their allegiance to an heretical sovereign, one especially of such doubtful descent according to the canon law and the decrees of Rome. In the wars of the League, Pius is said to have reproved the remissness of those who did not slay their heretical enemies outright; and the honour of the consecrated hat and sword, bestowed on the Duke of Alva, shows how little remorse he felt for the barbarities perpetrated in the Low Countries.
How strange an union of singleness of purpose, magnanimity, austerity, and profound religious feeling, with sour bigotry, bitter hatred, and bloody persecution! In this spirit lived and died Paul V. When he felt the approach of death, he once more visited the seven churches, to bid farewell, as he said, to those sacred places; three times he kissed the lowest steps of the Scala Santa. He had at one time promised not only to expend the whole treasures of the Church, not excepting the chalices and crucifixes, on an expedition against England, but even to appear in person at the head of the army. On his way some of the banished Catholics of England presented themselves before him ; he said, ' he wished that he could pour forth his blood for them.' He spoke of the League as an affair of the highest moment; he had left everything in preparation which could insure its success ; the last money that he issued was appointed for this purpose. The phantoms of these enterprises haunted him at his last moments. He had no doubt of their eventual success. “God,' he said, ' will of the stones raise up the man necessary for this great end.'
M. Ranke has interposed between the death of Pius V. and the accession of Gregory XIII. a chapter of remarkable interest, relating to the internal state and government of the Papal territory and the finances of the Roman See. As the foreign resources of the Vatican began to fail, one-half of Europe to refuse all tribute to the Papacy, and even the Catholic kingdoms to furnish more scanty and hard-wrung contributions, the territory of the See, which by constantly involving the Pope in the local dissensions of Italy, had formerly been a burthen rather than an advantage, now became an important source of independence and strength. The affairs of Italy gradually settled down into a regular political system ; the boundaries of the different states were fixed by treaties; the ambition of the Popes—as long as the power of Spain, of Venice, and of the newly created Grand Dukedom of Florence, maintained the existing order of things—could scarcely look forward to an enlargement of territory. The Papal dominions, in point of productiveness, prosperity, and the valour and independence of the population, were looked upon with wonder and envy by the ambassadors of Venice. Romagna exported corn to Naples and to Florence. The cities of Romagna long maintained their old municipal freedoms; they were governed by their own communes, under their priors or other native dignitaries; they levied their own troops, fought under their
own banners, and administered justice on their own authority. The country was occupied by the barons in their castles, who, however lawless marauders on the estates of an enemy, lived in a kind of patriarchal relationship with their own peasants
- they protected without oppressing them. In some districts were races of free peasants, the proprietors and cultivators of the soil. But in all these classes, in city, castle, and free land, the fatal evil of the times, party feud and hostility, endangered peace and independence. In every town there was a Guelph and Ghibelline faction. The barons hated each other with all the treasured animosity of hereditary feud; even the free peasants were disturbed by the same disorganizing passions. These peasants were descended from the same stock, lords paramount in their villages, all armed, dexterous in the use of the harquebuss. Of these wild communities, the Cavina, the Scarbocci, the Solacoli were Ghibellines; the Manbelli, the Cerroni, and the Serra, which comprehended the two races of the Rinaldi and Navagli, Guelphs. These factions enabled the government to introduce, particularly into the cities, first a powerful influence, at length an arbitrary authority. In the cities the artisans and trades pursued their callings with industrious and undiverted assiduity. The municipal offices were in the hands of the nobili, who had nothing to do but to quarrel, and were much more jealous of increasing the power of the hostile faction than that of the Papal resident. The Pope thus at length found the opportunity of extinguishing altogether the liberties of many of the most important cities.
But, after all, the great secret of the prosperity of the Roman state was its immunity from direct taxation. While all the other provinces of Italy were burthened with the most vexatious exactions, the Roman city and the Roman peasant left it to Catholic Europe to maintain the dignity of the Roman See. The revenue of the Papacy was the direct and indirect tribute of Christendom. The unpopularity of the foreigner, Adrian of Utrecht, was greatly increased by the necessity under which he found himself, from the prodigality of Leo, of imposing a small hearth-tax on his Roman subjects. It is singular that to the Papal plan of finance Europe owes the advantage of the whole system of exchanges, and the more questionable invention of public debts. Only a small part of the tribute of the world found its way into the Papal coffers, but it constituted a perpetual fund upon which money could be raised to an enormous amount.
The sale of offices was the principal immediate source of the Pope's revenue. This singular mode of anticipating income by loans upon future receipts was of early date, and carried to an enormous extent by the more prodigal Popes.
According to a trustworthy register, belonging to the Chigi palace, in the year 1471, there were about six hundred and fifty purchaseable offices, the income of which was estimated at near 100,000 scudi. They are almost all procurators, registrars, abbreviators, correctors, notaries, writers, even messengers and doorkeepers, the growing number of which constantly augmented the expense of a bull or of a brief.
Sixtus IV. created whole colleges, the offices in which were sold for 200 scudi a piece. These colleges had sometimes strange names, e. g. a college of one hundred janissaries, which were named for the sum of 100,000 scudi, and their pensions were assigned from the produce of the bulls and annates. Sixtus IV. sold everything. Innocent VIII., who was reduced to pawn the Papal tiara, founded another college of twenty-six secretaries for 60,000 sc. Alexander VI. named eighty writers of briefs, each of whom paid 750 scudi for his place. Julius II. added a hundred writers of the archives at the same price. Julius created other offices with pensions on the customs and treasury. The flourishing state of agriculture enabled him to borrow in the same manner upon the excess of produce. He founded a college of one hundred and forty-one presidents of the market-annona. Leo, who was said to have spent the income of three papacies—viz. that of Julius II., who left a considerable treasure, his own, and that of his successor ---went on in the same course, but with increased recklessness. He created twelve hundred new places : even the nomination of cardinals was not unproductive. The whole number of taxable posts in his time was two thousand one hundred and fifty: their yearly income was calculated at 320,000 sc., a heavy burden to church and state. These offices, however, expired with the life of the holders.
Clement VII. in his pressing distress first created a permanent debt--a monte non vacabile—which was charged at ten per cent. interest on the customs. The montisti, or holders of these securities, formed a college. But from the time of Adrian's first hearth-tax, the golden days of freedom from taxation began to disappear to the subjects of the Roman state. As Europe withheld or diminished its tribute, no alternative remained for the pontiff but direct taxation on his own territory. As the head of Catholicism in Southern Europe, the Pope found his foreign income more and more precarious, while his expenses grew larger. In the internecine war with Protestantism prodigality seemed a virtue ; liberal assistance was rendered in Ireland and in other countries where the Catholics endeavoured to regain their lost ground from the Protestant governments. Thus Romagna gradually lost the few remains of its independence, and by degrees every article of life became subject to direct impost. This small territory had, in fact, to support almost entirely one of the most expensive monarchies of Europe-one which, by its very character, involved a constant correspondence with every court in Christendom, which required secret service-money to an unlimited extent, and in the Catholics exiled from Protestant countries had objects of charity whose claims could not with the severest economy be altogether eluded. The Papal state, from the richest and most productive part of Italy, sunk in consequence, though by slow degrees, to what it now is, an ill-cultivated, unwholesome, and comparatively desert tract.
Gregory XIII. (Buoncompagno), had his lot been cast in an earlier period of the pontificate, might perhaps have shown by his life his right to his family name. Before he entered into