« PreviousContinue »
the Jesuits. We have here likewise an episode of Bernis bargaining with Choiseul for the payment of his debts, which were enormous, for Bernis was always prodigal and necessitous. Unless Choiseul complies with these reasonable demands the Cardinal threatens to strike.
Intimidation was now tried; the great powers gave actual orders to occupy Avignon, Benevento, and other papal territories. Once indeed Malvezzi was near success. Malvezzi, Archbishop of Bologna, was the prelate who had enchanted Bernis ; but he was too enlightened (in Bernis' phrase)— he openly avowed at least Gallican opinions — he was the farthest removed from ultramontane principles of the whole Conclave. He was almost a philosophe; and a philosophe it was the great object of the Roman Catholic Powers of Christendom (according to our author) to place in the Papal chair. We do not quite understand whether the exclusive now possessed by France, Spain, and Naples was actually employed, so as to decimate the Conclave, and to reduce the number of Papable subjects within the narrowest limits-or whether this plan was only a matter of deliberation. The system of intimidation was, however, carried even further; it was distinctly intimated that if the Conclave persisted in their obstinacy, Portugal, France, Spain, and Naples would throw off the Papal supremacy.
Affairs seemed more inextricably involved than ever, except that Fantuzzi was out of the field, and Pozzobonelli (Archbishop of Milan, who represented Austria) had now become a kind of favourite; he .four times a day came and made false confidences to Bernis. Poor Bernis was at his wits' end—“To find out who are the real enemies of the Jesuits one must become God and be able to read the hearts of men.'
The Spaniards were now arrived, and not long after their arrival on a sudden Bernis received an intimation that everything was settled, and that he had nothing to do but to bring up all his votes for Cardinal Ganganelli. The grave, and silent, and serious Spaniards, particularly the Cardinal de Solis, Archbishop of Seville, who was in the confidence of Charles III. and of his minister D'Aranda, had achieved in a few days (by
one account in eight and forty hours) that on which the elegant and loquacious Frenchman had wasted weeks in vain. Ganganelli had agreed to certain terms; what they were was not at first communicated to Bernis (D'Aubeterre, though he protests to the contrary, was probably in the secret). More surprising still, secret communications had been going on between the Spaniards and the Albanis; they too, with the Zealots, were to vote for Ganganelli. The disgust of Bernis is infinitely amusing, but there was no help; he must console his wounded vanity by persuading Ganganelli that he owed his promotion to France. This was Bernis' first and last care. • Au reste je ferai savoir à Ganganelli dès ce soir que sans notre concours rien ne réussirait pour lui, et qu'ainsi il doit être attaché à la France. Il faut qu'il nous craigne un peu, mais pas trop. Je crois cette précaution essentielle, sans quoi notre rôle serait absolument passif et ridicule' (p. 265). Accordingly l'Abbé de Lestache (the Conclaviste of Bernis) va à une heure de nuit chez le futur Pape. Il y porte un Mémoire par où il démontre que c'est à la France qu'il doit la tiare' (p. 267). Ganganelli submitted to be proposed ; De Bernis and his few troops could but follow the general movement. Clement XIV. ascended the throne of St. Peter.
No one impeaches the calm equity of Ranke, or his careful fidelity in the use of all documents accessible at the time when he wrote. His brief character of Ganganelli, therefore, may as well be kept in view, while we are examining that now offered
Of all the cardinals Lorenzo Ganganelli was, without question, the mildest and most moderate. In his youth, his tutor said of him, 'that it was no wonder he loved music, for that all was harmony within him.' He grew up in innocent intercourse with a small circle of friends, combined with retirement from the world, which led him deeper and deeper into the sublime mysteries of true theology. In like manner, as he turned from Aristotle to Plato, in whom he found more full satisfaction of soul, so he quitted the schoolmen for the fathers, and them again for the Holy Scriptures, which he studied with all the devout fervour of a mind convinced of the revelation of the Word. From this well-spring he drank in that pure and calm enthusiasm which sees God in every
thing, and devotes itself to the service of man. His religion was not zeal, persecution, lust of dominion, polemical vehemence, but peace, charity, lowliness of mind, and inward harmony. The incessant bickerings of the Holy See with the Catholic states, which shook the foundations of the Church, were utterly odious to him. His moderation was not weakness, or a mere bending to necessity, but spontaneous benevolence and native graciousness of temper.-Ranke's Popes, Austin's translation, iii. 212.
We should with deep regret see this beautifully proportioned statue thrown from its pedestal and broken to pieces: not because Clement XIV. abolished the Jesuits ; not because he was a liberal, as he was sometimes called a Protestant, Pope ; but for the sake of our common nature, and our common Christianity, which is not rich enough in such examples to afford the loss of
Curramus præcipites . . . calcemusque Ordinis hostem.
It is this spotless victim which M. Crétineau Joly, with unaverted face, would sacrifice to the manes of the Order. Ganganelli, according to him, was a man of unscrupulous but subtle ambition, who played fast and loose with the supporters and the adversaries of the Jesuits, endeavoured to break faith with his inexorable creditors, bartered his soul for the Papal tiara, lived a few years of miserable remorse—if not of madness; and, but for the intervention of a most astonishing miracle, would have died in despair—unhouseled, unanointed, unannealed. All this is chiefly made out on the faith of these new historical discoveries.
Now, accepting these documents as imparted to us by the historian of the Jesuits, the first great question whether Ganganelli" played most foully' for the triple crown, rests on three points. 1st. What was the agreement which he entered into with the Spanish cardinals ? 2nd. How far can he be accused of double-dealing, as concealing or dissembling his views concerning the Jesuits? 3rd. Was he or was he not honestly and conscientiously adverse to the Order ? Did he sincerely believe its suppression a wise sacrifice for the peace of the Church ?
I. Ganganelli may have been ambitious of the papal crown, and without blame. He may have devoted himself with true Christian heroism to the awful office. He may have thought, humanly speaking, the accession of a man of his own mild and conciliatory character the only safety of the pontificate. The great powers of Europe actually menaced secession ; the ease with which they had all expelled the Jesuits, was a fearful omen that they would meet with no dangerous resistance—would, perhaps, be hailed by the spirit of the times—in breaking for ever with Rome. The vitality of the Popedom had not yet been tried in such days as when it was saved by the lofty and serene patience of Pius VII. it was trembling—at least in its old stern Hildebrandine character—towards its extinction. There was something vague, dreamy, mystic, in the religion, and even in the worldly ambition of Ganganelli. He is said to have listened in youth to predictions of his future greatness ; an imaginary popedom may have floated before his imagination which should awe mankind by gentleness, and this notion he might cherish even throughout the dark dealings of the Conclave: the belief in such day-dreams, in an Italian, might not be inconsistent with much prudence and even subtlety in his dealings with men; nor need he perhaps surrender it till it was actually shattered to pieces by the harassing cares of the pontifical administration, the imperious demands of the Bourbons, the busy and perilous intrigues of the Jesuit faction, the bitter realities and responsibilities at that time so peculiarly the doom of him who wore the triple crown.
What then was, in fact, the agreement of Ganganelli with Spain and France ? It was a Note in which Ganganelli declared—we transcribe our author's own words— qu'il reconnait au souverain pontife le droit de pouvoir éteindre en conscience la Compagnie de Jésus, en observant les règles canoniques; et qu'il est à souhaiter que le futur pape fasse tous ses efforts pour accomplir le veu des couronnes.' M. Crétineau Joly admits that this is not explicit. The right in question was one which could not be denied without annulling the Papal supremacy; the Order subsisted by
Papal authority, and might doubtless be abolished by it. The Note implied, however, a desire to comply with the wishes of the crowns. Our author adds, that though Ganganelli refused to commit himself further in writing, he fully explained his own views to De Solis. “He opened his whole soul, and acknowledged that it was his ambition to reconcile the pontificate with the temporal powers; he aspired'-our author subjoins this bitter and unwarranted inference—to unite them in peace over the dead body of the Order of Jesus, and thus to obtain restitution of the cities of Avignon and Benevento.'
But the curious part of all this is, that every fact and every circumstance of this wonderful disclosure was perfectly well known before. The whole was known probably to Ranke; it was at least surmised pretty clearly by Count St. Priest (p. 402).
It was known to M. Crétineau Joly himself; and is found, word for word, with the same observations, in the fifth volume of his . History of the Jesuits,' p. 333. So far as these new discoveries affect the promotion of Ganganelli, the cardinals might have been spared their anxieties, the General of the Order his tears. The character of Clement XIV. stands exactly as it did before; and thus far M. Crétineau Joly may take comfort in the utter harmlessness, in the unwelcome innocence, of his fatal Supplement.
II. Did, then, Ganganelli play a double game, and hold out to each party the hope that he was theirs ? It is clear that, at the first, he stood aloof; he might dread the danger of being struck down by a random exclusive. It is no less clear that he understood and mistrusted Bernis. Nothing could be more ungenial to the silent, recluse, and dreaming monk than the courtly blandishments, the restless intrigue, and the selfimportance of the garrulous Frenchman. Ganganelli was one of the four named in the original instructions of Choiseul as Cardinals whose elevation would be consistent with the interests
It is true that Ganganelli at an after-time became fond of the cardinal poetand his acceptance of the flattery of Voltaire was no doubt the fruit of that intercourse ; but we speak of the foelings of the Conclare period.