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have strength sufficient. ... The republic should esteem our friendship higher than that of Navarre. We can support her better. . . . I entreat you, retrieve this one step. The Catholic king has often retracted, in conformity with our wishes; not from fear of us, for our power compared with his is that of a fly to an elephant's, but for love, because it was the Pope that spake, the vicegerent of Christ. Let the Signory do the same; they will find some way of extricating themselves; it will not be difficult; for they have aged and wise men enough, each of whom might govern a world.
We cannot omit this significant sentence in the note :• There have been three persons excommunicated, the late King, the Prince of Condé, the King of Navarre. Two have perished miserably; the third is doing our work, and God preserves him for our service; but he too will come to an end, and that a wretched one: let us not doubt about him.'—The ambassador of Venice was Donato, a man of tried and consummate diplomatic ability; he belonged to that party in the republic which had been formed in strong opposition to the political power of the Church. Of the motives which induced the republic to this unexpected step he urged that which was adapted to the ear of the Pope, the others he suppressed in prudent silence.
The sudden revival of Catholicism led naturally to the revival of the most lofty pretensions on the part of the Church. The chief instruments of this revolution, the monastic orders— more particularly that of the Jesuits (which had been founded with the avowed purpose of re-establishing the power of Rome, subjects of the Pope who owned no other allegiance)had advanced the strongest opinions on the subordination of the temporal to the spiritual power. It is not necessary either to reproduce the well-known passages in the writings of the Jesuits on the power of the Pope to depose sovereigns, and to release subjects from their allegiance, or to multiply new ones. It is notorious that the wildest republicanism never inculcated what it has been pleased in all cases to call tyrannicide, with more specious argument or more fatal influence, than Mariana and the writers of his school. But the Roman Catholic world was divided on this point; a great part repu
diated these more than Hildebrandine doctrines. Venice had always taken the lead in its resistance to the encroachments of the spiritual power. The proud Signory brooked no rival near the throne. Their clergy might take a part in their solemn pageants; the splendour of their churches bore testimony to the religious zeal of the republic; but as to substantial power or influence, they kept them in as complete subjection, and in as total ignorance of the state counsels, as the meanest gondolier.
The opinions had long prevailed in Venice, which were soon after promulgated with such fearless energy and unrivalled power by Paolo Sarpi. Donato, of course, kept aloof from these perilous topics. But he urged strongly the obvious danger of establishing Spain in an autocracy, inevitable, if she should succeed in destroying the independence of France; the danger to Italy, if there should be no appeal from the despotism, if there should be no counterpoise to the power, of the Austrian house.
Venice was consulting in her present policy the best interests of Italy—of the Papacy itself. The Pope listened, to all outward appearance, unshaken and unmoved. The ambassador demanded his audience of leave, the Pope appeared to refuse his parting blessing. But his powerful arguments were not lost on the opinionated and intractable, yet clear-sighted pontiff. Sixtus struggled for a time against his own convictions, but he was convinced at last. After a delay of two days Donato was again admitted. The Pope declared that he could not approve of the conduct of the republic, but he would suspend the threatened measures of hostility. He gave him his blessing and the kiss of peace. The next month appeared the envoy from the Catholic nobles who had joined Henry IV., M. de Luxembourg. Notwithstanding the remonstrances of the Spaniards, the Pope gave him an audience. Luxembourg placed in the most glowing light the great qualities of Henry, his bravery, his maguanimity, his generosity. Sixtus had that rare quality of greatness, that he could admire it in an enemy. There was something in Elizabeth and in Henry IV., with which his spirit owned kindred and affinity.
We must not quote the unpriestly and not over delicate compliment which he is said to have paid to our virgin queen, but he was quite carried away by the language of Luxembourg :—* Truly,' he exclaimed, “I repent that I have excommunicated him. My king and master,' answered Luxembourg, “will make himself worthy of absolution, and, at the feet of your Holiness, return into the bosom of the Catholic Church. Then,' rejoined the Pope, will I embrace and comfort him. Already the imagination of Sixtus had embodied a new and more splendid vision. It was, he assured himself, hatred of Spain, not aversion to Catholicism, which prevented the other Protestant kingdoms from returning to the old faith. There was already an English minister in Rome, one from Saxony was expected. Would to God, said Sixtus, that they were all at our feet! At this momentous crisis the zealots for the advancement of Catholicism beheld, but not in silent wonder, this suspicious hesitation, this threatened defection of the Pope himself, and that Pope the famous Sixtus. In France the Leaguists began to denounce his rapacity and his nepotism ; in Spain a Jesuit preached upon the lamentable state of the Church. It is not only the republic of Venice that is favourable to the heretics; but'-he paused—he pressed his finger to his lips—the Pope himself.' The ambassador of Spain forced his way into the apartments of the Pope,-he came to give words and expression to the opinion now abroad, that there were some more orthodox, more Catholic than the Pope himself; and this to the very face of Sixtus. He knelt, and demanded permission to express the sentiments of his master. In vain the Pope commanded him to rise.
"It was heresy,' he said, 'to treat the vicegerent of Christ with such disrespect.' The anıbassador would not be eluded. "His Holiness (he began) must declare the partisans of Navarre, without distinction, excommunicated ; His Holiness must pronounce Navarre, under all circumstances and at all times, incapable of succeeding to the throne of France. If not, the Catholic King will renounce his obedience to His Holiness ; the King will not endure that the cause of Christ shall thus be betrayed and ruined.' The Pope scarcely allowed him to proceed. "This,' he cried, 'is not the duty of the King.' The ambassador arose, threw himself again
on his knees, and wished to go on. The Pope called him a stone of stumbling, and turned away. But Olivarez was not content with this; he must and he would finish his protestation, even if the Pope should strike off his head; for he well knew that the King would revenge his death, and compensate to his children for his fidelity. Sixtus, on the other hand, broke out in fire and flame:- It belongs to no prince on the earth to instruct the Pope, who is appointed by God as the master of all others! The ambassador was behaving with gross impiety ; his instructions only empowered him to deliver his protestation, if the Pope should appear lukewarm in the affairs of the League. What! will the ambassador direct the steps of His Holiness ?'
For the first time Sixtus became irresolute, vacillating, false ; he resisted, yet yielded to Olivarez; he dismissed Luxembourg, but under the pretext of recommending him a pilgrimage to Loretto; he concluded a new league with Spain, yet secretly entertained envoys from the Protestant courts ; he acknowledged, but dared not openly avow, his admiration of Henry IV. The unparalleled difficulties of his situation might account for this unexpected failure in his character; yet we would suggest, that the feebleness of approaching death might have contributed greatly to the sudden paralysis of his energies. He died in the July of this year.
A storm burst over the Quirinal while he was dying. The simple populace was persuaded that Fra Felice had made a compact with the Evil One, by whose assistance he had risen step by step ; now that his course was run, his soul was carried off in the storm. Thus did they embody their discontents on account of so many newly-imposed taxes, and those doubts of his perfect orthodoxy which during his latter days had become prevalent. In wild uproar they tore down the statues, which they had before erected to him; there was even a decree affixed in the capitol, that no one should from henceforth raise a statue to a Pope during his lifetime.—Ranke, vol. ii. p. 217.
We have been unwilling to omit these scenes, as striking and characteristic as any in the dramatic but less authentic work of Gregorio Leti. Concerning this once celebrated history, we may observe, that Professor Ranke has found the original document from which it was chiefly composed. It was by no means the invention of Leti: a great part was transcribed word for word from a MS. volume still existing at Rome, containing anecdotes of the time of Sixtus V. by some, though not cotemporary, Wraxall, who had gathered up all the floating traditions and current stories of a preceding age.
Three Popes, Urban VII., Gregory XIV., Innocent IX., passed like shadows during one year over the Papal throne. The weary Conclave renewed its reluctant sittings. The momentous times allowed no repose to the contending factions. Yet something like an understanding took place between Montalto, the representative of the Cardinals created by Sixtus V. -(the creatures of the late Pope usually formed a powerful body in the next conclave)—and the Spanish interest. Santorio, Cardinal of Sanseverina, a stern zealot for the cause of the League and of Spain, a man who always leaned to the severest and most violent opinions, the life and soul of the Inquisition, was the idol and the hope of the Spanish party. • In his MS. autobiography still extant, Santorio speaks of the famous day of St. Bartholomer, that day of joy to Catholics.' He was yet in the prime of life; the tiara seemed actually settling upon his brows. All was prepared by Olivarez; thirtysix voices, the majority of two-thirds in the Conclave, necessary for the election, were pledged to his support. The morning came, the Conclave was closed for the election. Montalto and Madrucci, the heads of the two opposite parties, now united, appeared to conduct Santorio from his cell. According to custom, when the election is considered secure, the cell was immediately plundered by the servants. Thirty-six Cardinals accompanied him to the Capella Paolina; his opponents already began to entreat his forgiveness; he announced his intention of assuming the name of Clement, as expressive of his forgiveness of all his enemies.
But the name did not work its effect: some began to feel misgivings, to tremble at the severity of Santorio. The younger Cardinals were unwilling to impose his austere yoke upon their necks. His opponents, his personal enemies, began to gather together. They met in the Sistine Chapel to the