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Girolamo) and carried off a hundred cows, and an equal number of goats, mules, pigs, donkeys, geese, and hens, which belonged to the Countess, together with an immense quantity of salt meat and Parmesan cheese and furniture. Then the greater part of the band broke open the granaries of Santa Maria Nova, and took thence an enormous quantity of grain, which the Pope had not been able to sell last year, but hoped to sell it hereafter.” The Colonnas, meantime, were engaged in re-covering the strongholds which Sixtus had taken from them. In one place the constable whom the Pope had placed there, together with all the garrison, were massacred either by the sword or by being thrown from the battlements of the fortress. At Cafraria, another hold of the Colonnas, the whole of the garrison was slain. The Countess escaped into Castle St. Angelo, her husband, with some of the Orsini, escaping to some other place of safety. Such was the state of Rome during an interregnum in the fifteenth century.
On the day following the Pope's death his exequies were commenced at St. Peter's, but very few cardinals took part in them, “because they were afraid of the Castle of St. Angelo," still in the hands of the kinsmen of Sixtus. At last, however, it having being agreed that the Castle should be given up to the cardinals, the Countess having got off in safety on the 25th-on the thirteenth day, that is, after the Pope's death—and both the Orsini and the Colonna factions having agreed to quit the city, and not return to it for two months after the new Pope should have been elected, the cardinals, to the number of twenty-five, three only of the entire College
being absent, ventured to come forth from their fortified dwellings, and entered into Conclave at the Vatican on the 26th, a day or two later than they ought to have done so.
At the first scrutiny the Cardinal of St. Mark had eleven votes, whereupon the Cardinal of St. Peter ad Vincula went to him and said that if he would promise to give his palace to the Cardinal of Aragon, the son of King Ferdinand, he (his Eminence of St. Peter ad Vincula) would give him three votes, making with those he had already, fourteen. But the offer was rejected on the ground, first, that an election so brought about would not be canonical, and, secondly, that the palace in question commanded the Castle of St. Angelo to a very great degree, so that the giving it to the King's son might be very “prejudicial to the city, and to the whole of Christendom. For the King might easily come there and make himself master of the city, and disturb the state of the Church.” So on these grounds, temporal and spiritual, the Cardinal of St. Mark refused the offer made to him; and this simoniacal Eminence of St. Peter ad Vincula went off with his votes to sell to the ViceChancellor—i.e., to Roderigo Borgio, afterwards Alexander VI. But it is worth notice that he did not offer them to him with a view to any aspirations of his own. It would seem that Borgia had as yet conceived no hopes of the Papacy, or at least no expectation of fulfilling such hopes yet. Probably he was not yet rich enough to attempt the purchase of votes which he afterwards effected. The offer of the Cardinal of St. Peter ad Vincula was that they two should put their forces together and make the Pope between them. Borgia, who especially hated the Cardinal of St. Mark, agreed to any plan which should exclude him. So that night, while all the Conclave slept, the two conspirators arose and went from one to another of the younger cardinals who had no hope for themselves, making them large promises of all kinds. All save six of the seniors and leading men in the College, who were carefully left sleeping, were thus negotiated with, and the election of Cardinal Cibo, as Innocent VIII., was thus, by sheer simony, effected before morning.
“In the morning they called the sleepers, and said to them, “Come, we have made the Pope !' But the others said, Whom?' They replied, "The Cardinal of Melfi!' The seniors said, 'How?' They replied, “Why during the night, while you were asleep, we collected all the votes save those of you sleepers !! But the others perceiving that those who had played this trick were eighteen or nineteen, and that they were too few to disturb what had been done, consented; and Cibo was accordingly proclaimed.”
The writer of the narrative goes on to specify in detail what each of the electors, who had thus sold their votes, received as the price of this simony. “May God grant him (the new Pope, he concludes) His grace that he may lead a good life, and administer the Church well; which, however, it seems very difficult to expect, looking to his past life, and considering that he is a young Genoese who has seven children, male and female, by various*
* Any little irregularity of this sort was, however, abundantly compensated in an ecclesiastical point of view by his having condemned two men, Domenico di Viterbo and Francesco Maldento, to be burned alive, for having said that according to Innocent's opinion such matters were not prohibited. “And those who had said so were burned.”- BERNINI, Storia di tulle l’Eresie, tom. iv. p. 213.
mothers; and considering also the manner of his election, which was worse than that of Sixtus IV.”.
where then was the overruling influence of the Holy Ghost, which if avowedly absent from one election, there can be no reason to expect to preside over others ? For the all-important nature of the choice to be made, which is the ground on which it is hoped that the voices of the electors are specially controlled by the Holy Spirit, is as great in one election as in another! In truth, the mere enunciation of such a theory, in the face of the long story of the Papal Conclaves, extending over so many centuries, needs a cynical audacity of confidence in the capacity of the lay world to swallow any amount of the grossest absurdities and falsehoods if put forth with a sufficient amount of unction and solemnity, which is no less astounding than revolting.
Interregnum after the Death of Innocent VIII.—Tumults.—Conclave
which elected Borgia, Alexander VI.—His Reign and Death.
- Character of Julius II.- Conclave which elected Leo X.-Meeting
POPE INNOCENT VIII., “the young man from Genoa,” died, after a reign of nearly eight years, on the 26th of July, 1492. The interregnum which followed was a very short one, but it was an even more than usually tempestuous and lawless one.
“Alas! for the miseries of humanity !” cries the moralizing historian of the Conclave of Alexander VI., speaking of his predecessor Innocent; “his body lay exposed to the crowd and the rude cries of the populace, whose ears had ever been shut to the prayers of the poor; and a small coffin of perishable wood enclosed him, who had deemed the gilded halls of the Vatican too narrow for him! But Rome the while was up in arms, and bands of lawless malefactors overran the city in every direction, and many murders were committed because the