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and vexatious taxation on all the necessaries of life. Our author conceives that the amount of the treasure left by Sixtus V. was not more than equivalent to the produce of these new and oppressive burthens. It is intelligible that an overplus of revenue should be collected and treasured up; it is the common course that loans should be made, to supply immediate exigencies; but that loans should be made and burthens imposed to shut up a treasure in a castle for future wants, this is indeed extraordinary. But it is precisely this which the world has admired so much in Sixtus V. The fact is, that the possession of a treasure was so rare among the exhausted and impoverished kingdoms of Europe, that he who possessed one became an object of envy and wonder, without any inquiry at what cost it had been acquired.
The concluding chapters of the present volume trace, with equal truth and ingenuity, the effects of this catholic religious revival on the poetry, the arts, and the manners of the Roman court. Tasso was the poet; the Bolognese school, the Caracci, with their Pietàs and Ecce Homos, Guido with his Virgins, Domenichino with his Saints, Guercino with his exquisite forms, but at times his too minutely and horribly real martyrdoms, were the painters, of the age. Palestrina was the musician, in whose hands church-music became again full of deep feeling and religious passion. The study of the antique gave way to this new religious tone. Sixtus, in his magnificent embellishments of the city, looked on the monuments of heathen Rome with the soul of a Franciscan; he relentlessly destroyed whatever stood in his way, or offered valuable materials. All that remained he Christianized. The Trajan and Antonine pillars were surmounted with statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, At the same time the College of Cardinals became a body of men no less distinguished by their irreproachable lives than by their skill and dexterity in worldly business. Men like Philippo Neri, with the simplicity of children, the kindness of real Christians, the sanctity of angels, gave the tone to religious feeling. Vast learning, but all deeply impressed with this
ecclesiastical spirit, was acquired and displayed. The works of Bellarmine and Baronius show at once the labour and the tendency of the times. The court itself assumed its singular character of pomp and piety, intrigue and austerity ; the centre of profound Catholic religious feeling became the theatre of insatiable spiritual ambition. When the son of a swineherd was Pope, who might not rise to any eminence? When that swineherd's son filled the Papal See with so much vigour and dignity, how easily might pride mistake its aspirations for those of zeal for the Church! Every one, therefore, was on the lookout for advancement; from all parts of Europe flowed in candidates for ecclesiastical distinction; and learning, and morals, and religion itself became the means and the end of universal emulation. Thus concludes Professor Ranke :
The newly-awakened spirit of Catholicism gave a new impulse to all the organs of literature and art, even to life itself. The Curia is equally devout and restless, spiritual and warlike—on one side full of dignity, pomp, and ceremony-on the other, unequalled for calculating prudence and unwearied ambition. Its piety and its ambitious spirit of enterprise, both resting on the notion of an exclusive faith, conspired together to the same end. Thus Catholicism made another attempt to subjugate the world.
We shall watch with anxious expectation for the appearance of M. Ranke's successive volumes, fully convinced that nothing can proceed from his pen which will not deserve the attention of the European public. From his age (he is, we believe, still a young man) we may look for large accessions to our historical knowledge, and the style of the present volume is a safe pledge that his future works will be as agreeable in manner as valuable in matter.
THE POPES OF THE SIXTEENTH AND
We redeem the pledge given in a former Number by introducing as early as possible, to our reader's notice, the two concluding volumes of Professor Ranke's History of the Popes. The work proceeds to its close with the same calm impartiality in its judgements; the original documents are as copious, and, in some respects, as curious; the style maintains its ease and vivid perspicuity. The Popes, indeed, of this later period are men of less marked and commanding character than the Pauls and the Sixtus V. of the former century. They are decent and dignified, sometimes learned, ecclesiastics; but they have ceased to sway the destinies of Europe by the force of their individual character. Though their religion, particularly during the first half of the seventeenth century, advances in the reconquest of the world with unexpected and, as far as the popular histories in our own language extend, unmarked success, it is not the masterly combination of measures, the subtle policy or the burning zeal which emanate from the head of Roman Catholic Christianity; it is the extraordinary activity of the allies which spring up on all sides; the adventurous spirit, the profound sagacity and the inflexible perseverance of the regular clergy, chiefly the Jesuits; the selfdeveloped, and self-governed energy of the religion itself, rather
'Die Römische Päpste, ihre Kirche und ihre Staat im sechszehnten und siebenzehnten Jahrhundert, Von Leopold Ranke. Bände 2 und 3. Berlin, 1836.
than an impulse communicated from the centre of government --which commands and achieves that success. The effective leader in this great war of reprisal and reconquest against Protestant Europe is not so much the Pope as the head of the Jesuit order.
As temporal princes, the Popes gradually retired within the narrow sphere of their own dominions; they no longer, excepting in one or two fortunate acquisitions, sought to aggrandize themselves at the expense of their neighbours; they ceased to disturb the peace of Italy, much less of Europe, by schemes of personal ambition; they were sufficiently occupied by the increasing financial embarrassments of their own home territory
in maturing that progressive system of disproportioned taxation and mismanagement, which has reduced the rich and fertile Campagna to a wilderness or a morass. Even their nepotism was content with a humbler flight: it was now enough that a large estate and a splendid palace in Rome perpetuated the family name of each successive pontiff. A new aristocracy gradually arose in Rome, to compete in wealth and magnificence with the old Colonnas and the feudal nobles of the former centuries. Besides its churches, the Vatican and the Quirinal, modern Rome owes most of its splendour to the mansions of the Barberinis, the Borgheses, the Rospigliosis, the Ludovisis, the Albanis.
The descent, however, to this state of comparative peace and insignificance was slow and gradual. The great impulse of reaction against Protestantism was given during the pontificate of Sixtus V. Nor were the immediate successors of Sixtus men wanting either in vigour or individuality of character. The prosperous state of the religion could not but increase the influence, and add dignity to the name, of the ruling pontiff. As Southern Europe prostrated itself again at the foot of the Papal throne he consciousness of his reviving power restored something of the ancient majesty to the demeanour of the sovereign, and summoned up all the strength and energy of his peculiar character. At such times an inferior man could not
attain that commanding eminence, nor a man of superior mind and resource refrain from putting forth all the force of his intellectual faculties, to consolidate his growing authority. He could not but feel the increasing responsibility of his station : the dangers through which the Papacy had passed, the difficulties from which it seemed triumphantly emerging, demanded his entire and exclusive devotion to the interests of the See, connected as they were with those of Roman Catholicism,-in the opinion of the Roman Catholic, with those of Christianity itself.
The pontificate of Sixtus V. is the period of the great crisis in the history of the Papacy; the turning-point in the imperilled fortunes of the Roman Catholic system. The extent to which Protestantism had carried its encroachments; the depth to which the Papal power had been undermined, is estimated by Mr. Ranke, on the testimony of contemporary documents, to which we cannot deny great weight and authority, in terms which will surprise many readers of history. We transcribe an account of the losses suffered by the Popedom, written from Rome itself, by Tiepolo, the envoy from Venice :
Speaking only of those nations of Europe, which not only rendered their allegiance to the Pope, but which followed in every respect the rites and usages of the Roman Church, celebrating their offices in the Latin language-it is known that England, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, in short, all the Northern nations, are estranged from the Papal See; Germany is almost entirely lost ; Bohemia and Poland to a great degree infected; the Low Countries of Flanders so thoroughly corrupted, that the violent remedies of the Duke of Alva will scarcely restore them to their former health ; finally, France, through these evil humours, is everywhere full of confusion : so that nothing remains to the pontiff in a sound and secure state, except Spain and Italy, with a few islands, and those parts of Dalmatia and Greece possessed by your serene highnesses. -Ranke, vol. i. p. 18.
This was not the language of alarm and despondency-it was the grave report of a sagacious Venetian to the Signory. The details amply bear out the general statement of the Venetian. It is not necessary to speak of England, Scotland, or the Scan