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for their friends, and spared not either prayers, promises, or threats. And some there were who, without any sense of shame or modesty, made speeches about them. selves, and pointed out their own fitness for the Papacy; as did the Cardinal of Eouen, Barbo, Cardinal of Santa Maria Nuova, and Castelli, Cardinal of Pavia.
The Cardinal of Eouen seems to have been the chief of these audaciously simoniacal self-praisers, and was thought, when the cardinals went into Conclave, to be the most likely candidate. Though iEneas Sylvius of Siena took no steps to obtain the tiara for himself, saying at the opening of the Conclave, "It is God who appoints to the Papacy, not men!" his Eminence of Eouen perceived that he was his most dangerous rival. The writer of the story of this Conclave which I have before me declares that the Cardinal of Siena himself (iEneas Sylvius) did not disdain to recommend his own merits to the electors, despite what he had said. But other writers do not so represent the matter. And the writer in question seems to contradict himself in this respect, for he says presently that the Cardinal of Eouen feared the silence of the Cardinal of Siena more than he did all the much talking of the others. So "he kept calling aside now one and now another, saying to them, 'What can you want of this iEneas? Why do you think him worthy of the Papacy? Would you elect for Pontiff a gouty old man, as poor as Job! How can he, infirm and in poverty, support or succour the Church? But recently he has returned from Germany!'" (Piccolomini had nearly passed his life in various missions and embassies entrusted to him by the last and previous Popes, and having had no time to care for his own fortunes, was in truth a very poor man.) "'How do we know that he will not transfer thither the Papal court! What literature has he? Shall we put a poet on the seat of St. Peter ?'" (.Eneas Sylvius had that defect.) "' Shall we govern the Church by the statutes and laws of the Gentiles ?'" (Alluding to Piccoloniini's reputed acquaintance with the ancient literature.) ..." 'Know, then, that I am not unworthy of consideration, and am no fool; nor am I unworthy of the Papacy in point of learning.'" (JEneas Sylvius, it may be remarked, was one of the most distinguished scholars of his day.) "'I come of royal race, and am in want neither of friends, nor power, nor wealth, by which means it will be in my power to be of service to the poor Church. I hold many benefices, which, when on my elevation to the Papacy I give them up, will be divided among you.'" He continued, says the chronicler, to insist with many entreaties, mingled with threats. He went on to observe further, with an unblushing frankness which is the most amusingly audacious touch in his whole discourse, that should any one maintain that he could not fitly aspire to the Papacy by reason of the simony which he had practised, seeing that he had bought all the benefices he held, he would not deny that for the past he had been smirched by that foul stain, but that he promised and swore that for the future he would keep his hand clear of all such wickedness! And this while he was in the act of committing the most heinous simony conceivable by the persons he was addressing! As it appeared, however, that he failed to prevail on a sufficient number of the electors to secure his election, the knot of supporters who were bent on making him Pope, finding it very difficult to meet for the concocting of their ulterior plans in any corner of the space enclosed for the Conclave (very far inferior in accommodation of all sorts to that provided in later times) where they would be safe from the danger of interruption, betook themselves to a certain inconveniently small and otherwise disagreeable but sufficiently remote and private apartment. There all the conspirators mutually bound themselves by oath, and the would-be Pope promised to each benefices and offices and appointments in the provinces !" And a very fitting place it was," concludes the narrator, "for the election of such a Pope, seeing conventions and bargains so base and so foul could not have been prepared and accepted in a spot more adapted to them!"
This notable meeting took place at midnight, but before the morning the fact that it had taken place and the general nature of the bargains made at it had become known to all in the Conclave. One of his friends came to the Cardinal of Siena at a very early hour, and warned him that the Pope was as good as made, and counselled him to go at once and offer his vote and interest to the French Cardinal (Eouen). But JEneas not only absolutely refused, with the greatest disdain, to do anything towards the election of such a man, but spoke so forcibly that he induced the friend who had come to counsel him to abandon his own intention. He went to several others of the midnight conspirators, and by the sheer force of his eloquence made them ashamed of their promises, and determined them to break them. The main arguments he used were the exceedingly bad character of the French Cardinal, and the danger that he might again remove the seat of the Holy See to France, and fill the Sacred College with Frenchmen, so that it might become impossible that it should ever return to Italy.
At the scrutiny of that morning it so chanced that the Cardinal de Eouen was one of those scrutators who received the votes at the altar. His agitation was excessive; and when the Cardinal of Siena, whom he knew to be his most dangerous rival, stepped up to the altar to put the paper containing his vote into the chalice, he lost all sense of dignity or decorum, and was mean enough to say, as his rival passed him, "iEneas, have compassion on me! Be kind to me! Do not forget me!" "Words," says the chronicler, "truly rash and inconsiderate, specially as they were spoken when the vote that had been written could no longer be changed. But his longing blinded him and made him lose his head." "What!" replied Piccolomini, "appeal to a worm like me!" When the votes had been counted— every name that he was compelled to utter being a dagger thrust in the heart of his Eminence of Eouen— it was found that Piccolomini had nine votes and the French Cardinal only three! The blow was a terrible one. But nothing was yet lost or won; for twelve votes were needed to make the election, and the Cardinal of Bouen and his supporters were by no means willing to despair. Unless at least three of their own friends deserted them Piccolomini could not be elected.
Then commenced a sitting to see whether an election could be made, as in the last Conclave, by accession. The pause for this purpose is ordinarily occupied by busy talk and negotiations, but upon this occasion the tension appears to have been too great to admit of this. "They all sat,'' says the narrator of the scene, evidently an eye-witness, and in all probability a conclavist, "pale and silent, in a sort of amazement, and as if beside themselves. No one of them dared to speak or to open his mouth, or so much as to stir a finger, or any other part of the person save the eyes, which rolled around, now on this side of the meeting, now on that. The dead silence was wonderful. Wonderful, too, was the aspect and appearance of all of them as they sat like so many statues, not a sound or a movement to be heard; and so they remained for a while, the juniors in the College waiting for the seniors to begin their work of the accessus. At length Eoderigo, the Vice-Chancellor (he who afterwards became Alexander VI.), rose and said, 'I join the party of JEneas!' The word stabbed the Cardinal of Eouen to the heart to such a degree that he was like one dead. Then a second silence fell upon the assembly, while each looked in his neighbour's face with expressions produced by the conviction that Piccolomini was already as good as Pope. Then the Cardinal of San Sisto and another rose, and, making an excuse for leaving the room, went out, in the hope of avoiding instant defeat by breaking up the assembly, but finding that no man followed them, they shortly returned to their seats. Then James, Cardinal of Santa Anastasia, got up and said 'I too accede to the Cardinal of Siena.' (This, it will be observed, wasthe eleventh vote given for Piccolomini. One more only