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Farnese seems to have made the latter point the ruling motive of his conduct in the Conclave; for there is no trace of his having attempted to secure the Papacy for himself, to which his position in the College might have well justified him in aspiring. To be sure, such an election would have been as scandalous an one as any of those of the days, which were already beginning to be considered at Rome as the good old times. And the fact that Farnese does not seem to have conceived any hope or plan of the sort, may be accepted as an unmistakable indication of the improved spirit of the times.
But there were still plenty of men in the College, to whom the sanctity of life of the English Cardinal was no sufficient recommendation. The Cardinal of Ferrara, immediately on the opening of the Conclave, made an effort to prevent an election which seemed imminent, by making overtures to the Cardinal di San Giorgio, who was an intimate friend of Farnese, to the effect that he, Ferrara, was ready to make Farnese Pope, if he would, for that he could bring a sufficient number of the French party to concur in such an election, as, joined with the “creatures” of Paul III., would make it a certainty. But he only got a snubbing* from Farnese for his pains. He then went off to two others of the Paolini party with similar proposals, which were equally ill-received by both of them. And therewith his power and that of the French party to nominate the Pope by a coalition with the Paolini " creatures” was at an end. For after the loss of three yotes out of the latter party, any such
*"Lo ribatte con accorta risposta.”—Ven. Relat. Vol. ii. Series 2nd.
coalition would have had one vote less than was requisite.
Meanwhile Farnese was endeavouring to unite all the Paolini and the Imperialists in favour of Cardinal Pole. It was proposed to elect him on the spur of the moment by adoration; and there can be little or no doubt that the attempt would have succeeded, and all the subsequent course of European history have been most importantly modified, if it had been made. The ambassador of Charles V., Don Diego Mendoza, “had,” says the Venetian reporter, “the strictest, most resolute, and most efficacious orders from the Emperor, that his friends should consent to no election save that of the Cardinal of England.* So that when on the night of the election thousands of voices were shouting Monte ! Monte ! + I believed rather in the one voice, which cried England;" the voice, that is to say, of the Emperor's ambassador. But the result was a notable instance of the proverbial impossibility of foretelling, under any circumstances, the most probable upshot of a Conclave. The Emperor, his ambassador, the Venetian resident, and the whole of the Imperialist party were on this occasion mistaken.
Within the Conclave, in the meantime, what had been going on was certainly of a nature to throw out the previsions of the old hands. When the proposal to secure the election of Cardinal Pole, by proceeding to a sudden adoration, was made to him, and his supporters wished to hurry him into the chapel for the purpose, he could not be persuaded to accompany them, saying that
• Relat. Ven., ib. p. 147.
she did not wish to enter by the window, but by the door, if it should please God that he should do so." * The conclavist, however, who has left us a narrative of the proceedings of this Conclave, says that the proposed adoration of Pole was deferred until the following morning, because the Cardinals St. Marcello and Verallo, belonging to the Imperial party, were ill, and it was deemed necessary to wait for their concurrence in the election. So the cardinals of the Paolini and Imperial parties went to bed with the understanding that His Eminence of England was to be elected on the following morning. But the upshot showed the value of the Italian proverb, which tells you that you may give your enemy anything rather than time! Some members of the French party learned the fact that all had been arranged for the election of the Cardinal of England the following morning, and spent the night in going privately from cell to cell, and endeavouring to persuade a few—some two or three would suffice of the coalesced parties to desert their friends. And this they succeeded in doing. So that the next morning it was found that, whereas thirty-three votes were needed for an election—the entire number of cardinals in Conclave being forty-nine-Cardinal Pole had only twenty-six! The opportunity had been lost, not to return again. After this failure the votes became more and more scattered at every succeeding scrutiny; and there was scarcely one of the older cardinals who did not conceive hopes, and put forward pretensions of his own. Scrutiny after sorutiny followed unavailingly, and there seemed little prospect of coming to an election. Amid all this, however, there was one man who remained unalterably firm in his determination to elect Pole if it were possible. This was the Cardinal di San Marcello, who became Pope, as Marcellus II., in the next Conclave. And the circumstance is worth mentioning as a testimony in favour of Reginald Pole; for the Cardinal di San Marcello was in all probability by far the best man in that assembly, and was undoubtedly one of the best who ever sat on the Papal throne.
* Relat. Ven., ibidem.
This state of things, says the conclavist, enabled also the Cardinal Salviati to make an attempt for himself, for there were many who were ready to vote for him. His friends accordingly went to Farnese to see if he could be got to support such an election. Farnese showed himself much averse to it. But on the Cardinal Sforza going to him on the same errand, he got him to promise that if they would write to the Emperor and obtain his approbation, he (Farnese) would make no further opposition. So the Cardinal of Mantua, one of the Gonzagas, who was a warm supporter of Salviati, wrote to King Ferdinand, the Emperor's brother, begging him to use his interest with his brother to induce him to consent to the election of Salviati. Ferdinand did write to the Emperor on the subject, but received so bitter* an answer, that he wrote back to the Cardinal of Mantua that he could not favour the election in question in any way. So there was an end of Salviati's hopes and candidateship! All which is curious as showing the sort of way in which the elections were carried on in that day, and how very far the Conclave
• “Fù cosi acerba la risposta.”—Conclav, vol. i. p. 227.
was from being impervious to communications with and from the outer world! A cardinal's dinner was to be examined, lest some written communication should be introduced into the Conclave hidden in the interior of a capon; and letters were openly addressed to and received from the potentates of Europe. It will be observed, however, that nothing is heard as yet of any regularised and formal veto.
Gradually, in sheer despair apparently of coming to any more satisfactory election, an increasing number of votes began to drift towards the Cardinal Del Monte. Cardinal de Guise, however, did his utmost to oppose him, pointing out his defects, which were generally supposed to be a quickness to wrath and passion, and writing to France to warn the King that if his friends concurred in such an election, "he would directly he should be Pope give everything to the Emperor, to the great prejudice of his most Christian Majesty." The Cardinal de Guise, too, made an attempt on behalf of his uncle, the Cardinal of Loraine, and obtained a promise of support from Farnese. But the leaders of the Imperial party, getting scent of this conjunction, rushed off to Farnese, and pointed out to him so strongly the objections of the Emperor to such an election, that Farnese withdrew his promise. Here again there is no sort of mention of any veto on the part of either the Emperor or the French King; yet the one was evidently anxious to exclude Del Monte, and the other to exclude de Guise.
It was not till the 8th of February that the cardinals could agree to an election. And then a sufficient