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was needed to make the required majority of two-thirds of the Conclave.) Again a thrill of agitation ran through the whole assembly! They seemed like men in a maze and without power of speech! Then, at length, the Cardinal Prospero Colonna (he who had once so very nearly been made Pope himself) rose, and promising himself the glory of giving the Papacy, was about to record his vote.' Pausing, however, a moment in order to do so with becoming gravity, he was at that moment seized by the cardinals of Nice and Rouen, one on each side of him, and violently reproached by them with the intention of giving his vote to the Cardinal of Siena; but when they found that they could not divert him from his purpose, they strove to drag him from his place by main force, * and one taking him by the right arm and one by the left they struggled to force him 'out of the assembly. But in the midst of all this, Colonna, who, although he had at the first scrutiny given his vote to his Eminence of Rouen, was an old friend of Æneas Sylvius, turning his head towards the other cardinals, cried aloud, 'And I accede to the Cardinal of Siena, and thus make him Pope !!!
The deed was done, and neither persuasion, plotting, intrigue, or violence could thenceforth undo it! Suddenly the losing party fell back into their seats as if paralyzed. For a minute another dead silence and stillness fell upon the assembly, and then all with a sudden rush threw themselves at the feet of the new Pontiff, and the usual confirmation of the election and adoration followed. But the Cardinal Bessarion thought fit to make a
• "Si sforzarono cayarlo á viva forza dal suo luogho.”
speech before the assembly separated in explanation of the part which he and those who had acted with him had taken. He had all through supported the Cardinal of Rouen, and it is odd enough that he should have done so considering the characters and tendencies of all the three men—himself and the two rival candidates. He and Æneas Sylvius were essentially book-men, scholars, and held high and acknowledged rank among the learned men of Europe. The French cardinal was a thoroughly vicious and depraved man of the world, notorious for his immoralities and scandalous simony. Are we to see in this the jealousy entertained by one celebrated scholar of another ? Did some infinitesimal question of criticism, or the interpretation of a greek passage, or the relative value of the Aristotelian and Platonic philosophies (a fertile source just then of learned enmities) cause hate between those two erudite Eminences ? "Tantæne animis Eminentibus iræ !” The ground, however, on which Bessarion chose to motive his opposition to Æneas Sylvius was that the latter was afflicted by gout. “We, O Supreme Pontiff, rejoice in thy election, being well assured that it comes from God. And truly we have always in the past as well as now judged thee to be well worthy of so great an office; and if we did not give thee our votes, the reason was thy not robust health. For, afflicted as thou art by gout, we judged that that alone stood in the way of thy complete fitness for the Papacy, seeing that the Church has need of an active man, and one who fears not the fatigues of journeyings and dangers which threaten us from the Turk. Thou, on the other hand, hast need of repose; and this alone has moved us to support his Eminence of Rouen. For hadst thou been sound of body, there is none whom we should have judged preferable to thee. But since it has pleased God that it should be thus, it must needs please us also. The Lord, who has promoted thee, will supply the defects of thy feet, and will not chastise us for our ignorance. We adopt thee as Pope; we elect thee as much as it lies with us to do, and we will serve thee faithfully.”
Thus was completed the election of Pius II. Again, we may remark, after a fashion, if no purer or more elevated as regards motive, yet simpler, rougher, more direct and open than would have been the case had the actors in it lived a hundred years later. They were still boys—if rather naughty than noble boys—at play.
Death of Pius II.-Decision to hold the Conclave in the Vatican.
Election of Paul II.-The Handsome Pope.-Election of Sixtus IV.
-His Character.—Effect on the Church of the first menaces of Protestantism.— The all-devouring nepotism of Sixtus IV.- Peter Riario, his Nephew.—Sixtus dies of a Broken Heart.-—Epigrams on Sixtus.-Interregnum after the Death of Sixtus.—Conclave which elected Innocent VIII.-Anecdotes.
Pius II. died on the 14th * of August, 1464, at Ancona, whither he had gone to hasten the sailing of the fleet which he had assembled there for the war against the Turks. His entry into Ancona, together with the other main incidents of his life, may be seen very grandly represented on the walls of the Piccolomini Chapel, generally called the library, in the cathedral of Siena, by the frescoes of Pinturicchio. Some of the cardinals had accompanied him to Ancona, and they brought the Pope's body to Rome, and the Conclave took place duly on the appointed day. It is said by the historians that the Conclave was not held at Ancona because it was difficult for many of the older cardinals to go there. But I do not find that any notice was taken of the fact that, according to the Gregorian prescription, the Conclave for the election of the next Pope ought to have been held in the city where his predecessor died. There was some question between the cardinals as to where the Conclave should be held ; for a party among them alleged, that inasmuch as the castle of St. Angelo was held by a lieutenant of the Pope's nephew, who was the governor of it, and this nephew was at a distance from Rome, and that they were not certain what his intentions might be, the Conclave could not be held with due independence and liberty in the immediate vicinity of the fortress. But those who had these scruples, having been assured of the perfect loyalty of the intentions of the governor, and another nephew of the Pope, a brother of the governor, and a cardinal, undertaking to answer for him, the Conclave was held at the Vatican, and the idea of holding it in the convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, which had been proposed, was abandoned.
* Some authorities say the 7th of August.
The Conclave was a very short and uneventful one, the Venetian Pietro Barbo, a nephew of Eugenius IV., and great nephew of Gregory XII., by his mother Polissena Condulmieri, having been elected, as Paul II., almost without opposition, by accession, after the first scrutiny. One amusing incident followed, however, after the election, but before the Conclave broke up. Barbo, when asked, according to custom, by what name he would become Pope, said that he would be called Formoso—a not unprecedented name, though the one precedent had to be sought as far back as the ninth century. Now it so happened that Pietro Barbo was a very remarkably handsome man,* and their Eminences,
* A contemporary chronicler says of him that, “not having succeeded well in literary culture, he determined to make his pontificate reputable by ornamental pomp, in which his majestic presence and pre-eminently