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of those other officers and functionaries who, by subsequent regulation, made a recognised part of the Conclave world. Perhaps, however, these, or the more important among them, were not mentioned by the writers as having been there as a matter of course. It is noted, however, that the Cardinal de' Medici required the presence of a surgeon, one Giacomo di Brescia, in the Conclave for the performance of an operation on an imposthume; and that the said Giacomo, despite his urgent entreaties, was not permitted to leave the Conclave until its conclusion.
It was not till the 10th that the first scrutiny took place; and then, before proceeding to the votation, the recent Bull of Julius against all simoniacal practices in the election of the Pontiff was solemnly read. Then all the conclavists were turned out, and the cardinals remained alone for the transaction of their all-important business. At the first scrutiny the “Cardinal Alborense” had thirteen votes. It was probably perfectly well known that he would not be elected. But the number of votes given to him seems to have somewhat startled those who had the management of the Conclave mainly in their hands. And immediately after dinner (on one dish apiece only, those charged with the custody of the Conclave on the outside appearing to have adhered on this occasion to the rules provided on that subject) the work of secret conversing and bargaining became very active throughout the Conclave. In the evening the Cardinals De' Medici and Raffaello Riario, the nephew of Sixtus IV., were seen in close conversation in the great hall. But though the fact of their taking counsel together was patent enough, it was even more impossible to overhear any syllable of what passed between them than if they had had their interview in the cell of either of them; for as they walked together in the ample space of the hall, it was impossible for the sharpest ears of the most enterprising conclavist to catch even a tone of their cautious voices. And it was in that conversation that the Pope was made, and that “the age of Leo X.,” with all its manifold and interminable series of consequences, was from a potentiality made into an actuality.
Those who were, with anxious and understanding eyes, watching that colloquy, in which two of the most intensely worldly and unspiritual-minded men on earth were deciding the spiritual conditions of unborn millions, well knew the decisive nature of such a combination of forces. And it was assumed as certain that one of those two was to be the Pope. And the older cardinals, we are told, were in much dismay, for the influences which it was felt would suffice to make one of those two the new Pope lay mainly among the younger men. The Cardinal de' Medici himself was only thirty-seven. The intrigues among the latter, however, had been conducted so secretly, that the few older and more prominent cardinals were mystified, and felt that they had been left out in the cold. The result of the all-important colloquy in the great hall was soon, however, allowed to leak out; and it became known throughout the Conclave that night that De' Medici was to be Christ's Vicar on earth! And all the cardinals thronged to his cell to congratulate him, prostrate themselves before him, and kiss his feet! All, for it is ill voting against a man to-day who is to be the despotic master of your fate and fortunes on the morrow! And on the following morning Giovanni de' Medici walked forth from the scrutiny duly elected without a dissentient voice.
A very decently conducted election ! For no human ear heard what passed between the gay and gallant young Medicean Cardinal and that infamous and needy spendthrift the Cardinal Riario, of whose modes of life something has already been said in these pages. No indiscretest of conclavists has ventured to whisper that the universal bishoprick of souls was then bought and sold. But I will here again venture to quote from a volume of my own on the life of a contemporary, connection, and friend of the new Pope, Filippo Strozzi. “The Cardinal was accompanied," I wrote, “ on his hurried journey to Rome” (from Florence, on the occasion of the death of Julius II.) “by Filippo Strozzi. What on earth could a grave Churchman, going on such a mission, want of such a companion as the gay, handsome, pleasure-seeking young banker? Some silverhaired and venerable confessor, who should have beguiled the way by his exhortations as to the awful nature of the responsibilities the Cardinal was hoping to assume—such an one, it might have been supposed, would be the companion of a dignified priest bound on such an errand. But a dissipated young banker! Yet the young banker's brother, disciple of austere Savonarola as he was, tells us as simply as if it were the most ordinary business in the world what Filippo went to Rome for with the Cardinal. "Inasmuch as the latter
aspired not without good reason to the Papacy, it was likely enough that he might have to avail himself of Filippo's credit !* So that it seems to have been quite as much a recognised thing, even among the strictest, in those admirable "ages of faith,' that a candidate for heaven's vicegerency should come up to Rome with his banker to support him, as that in our days a candidate should seek similar aid in presenting himself to a select borough constituency." But the simoniacal Pope Julius's solemn Bull against simony had been solemnly read in this the Conclave immediately following his death; and the authoritative French Church historian, † quoted in a former chapter, assures us that the Holy Ghost has effectually provided that no case has ever arisen calling for the penalties fulminated by sundry Popes besides Julius against simony!
Leo X. reigned eight years and eight months, and died somewhat suddenly, not without very strong reasons for believing that he was poisoned. The Venetian ambassador believed it; and the Pope's physician, Bernardino Speroni, was a subject of Venice and in confidential intercourse with the ambassador.
The interregnum which succeeded the death of Leo was, as on former occasions, a time of trouble. But already the nature of the troubles begins to wear a more modern aspect. The interval between the death of the Pope and the entry of the cardinals into Conclave was prolonged beyond the prescribed time; Leo having died on the 1st of December, and the Conclave not having been begun till the 27th. Despite the immense sums which Leo had received mainly from the sale of profitable offices, * he left the Papal treasury absolutely empty at his death. There was not even money enough to pay the expenses of his funeral. And the Papal palace was stripped of everything of value, the moment the breath was out of his body, by his sister, who had been living in the Vatican.* The wax candles that had been prepared for the funeral of the Cardinal di San Giorgio, who died shortly before the Pope, were taken to serve for the Pope's obsequies, for there was no money to buy others. On the 14th the cardinals got a loan of two thousand ducats from the Jews on the security of the dues payable to the Sacred College ; and they obtained a loan of a similar sum from Monsignore Tomaso Righi, the Clerk of the Chamber, which was advanced gratis. Other sums were borrowed on the above-named security. And, in truth, their Eminences were very hardly pressed for the means of carrying on the government of the city. Two noble barons of the Colonna family and two of the Orsini having been appointed as guardians of the Sacred Palace and Conclave during the interregnum, they came to the cardinals and declared that they could not undertake the duty unless six thousand ducats were paid them in advance, to which their Eminences were obliged to submit.
* “Life of Filippo Strozzi,” by his brother Lorenzo, p. xxxiv. | Henri de Spond, generally quoted as Spondanus.
I See the very curious particulars recorded in the summary of Luigi Graderigo's (the Venetian ambassador) report to the Senate (Relat. Ambas. Ven., series ii. vol. iii. p. 71).