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than any other member of the Sacred College. He had spent a long and laborious life in the administration and diplomatic business of the Holy See, had shown himself an able and indefatigable servant of the Church, had been remarkably successful in all the important affairs entrusted to him, including the very difficult, very delicate, and thorny task of presiding as legate * at the great Council, and was a man of irreproachable life. But, as it is very easy to conceive might have been the case, especially as the result of the position in which he had been placed, the envious tongues of more narrowminded and bigoted men had raised against him an accusation of heresy. And a whisper of the sort, when the terrible Paul IV. was sitting in St. Peter's seat, was sufficient to hurl down any man from any eminence, however high and however deservedly occupied. Paul threw the Cardinal Moroni, who had been his nearly successful rival in the Conclave which elected him, into prison in the Castle of St. Angelo, in 1557. Four cardinals, one of whom was the rigid and inflexibly severe Ghislieri, who became Pope as Pius V. in the Conclave we are now describing, were appointed to examine the accusations, and him with reference to them. The Inquisitor examined him most rigorously on twenty-one articles (which may be seen printed in the "Literary Amenities" (!) for the year 1729, vol. xii., printed at Leipzig),
* It had originally been intended that he should have opened tho Council as legate at the commencement of it. But when the Council was after some delay assembled, this purpose was changed, it is not known for what reason, unless, perhaps, it may havo boon that some difference of opinion arose between him and tho Emperor Charles V. at a conference which took placo between them at Innspruck.
and finally pronounced him innocent and perfectly sound of faith, and gave emphatic testimony to that effect to Paul IV. Paul thereupon said that he might leave his prison. But Moroni refused to do so till he should be formally and publicly absolved by Paul from the charges brought against him. This, to his eternal disgrace, the savage bigot would not do, but left him in prison till his own death;—perhaps, says an ecclesiastical writer, for fear of condemning himself! A sincere friendship, creditable to both of them, had always united Cardinal Medici—who became, as has been seen, Pius IV.—and Cardinal Moroni, despite their rivalry as candidates for the Papacy in the Conclave which elected the former. Pius IV., of course, at once gave him full and exemplary absolution. But, though Moroni had since that time added to the brilliant list of his services to the Church the most important one of bringing the great Council to a satisfactory close, though he was the candidate for the Papacy especially favoured by the Empire and by the Duke of Florence, and though he was supported by the whole weight of the influence of Carlo Borromeo, which was believed at the beginning of the Conclave to have been sufficient of itself to make the Pope, the taint which even the false, and proved false, accusation of heresy had left upon his name still so far clung to it, that even in the opinion of those who best knew the utter falseness of the charge, it was held to be a sufficient reason for not placing him in St. Peter's seat!
Carlo Borromeo was not among those who so judged. Knowing the man well, truly desirous above all things of elevating to the Papal throne the man whom he considered most fitted in the interests of the Church and of the Faith to fill it, and deeming that the substantial issues at stake were far too important to be sacrificed or jeopardized for the sake of a shadow of a prejudice, he went into Conclave fully minded, as has been said, to elect Moroni; and for awhile it was the general opinion in the Conclave that he would assuredly be the Pope— a result that seemed the more certain when, on Borromeo's first opening himself on the subject to Farnese, the latter appeared perfectly disposed to second his views, giving as a reason why such a nomination must be acceptable to him the curiously characteristic one that, in that case, no man would ever have left a Conclave with so much honour as he should leave that one, inasmuch as he would then have seen five Popes in succession, all cardinals the creatures of his greatuncle, Paul III.
Notwithstanding all these favourable circumstances, the Conclave was not many days old before it began to be apparent that there were difficulties, perhaps insurmountable ones, in the way of the election of Moroni. He had the reputation of being a man of great intellect and "profundity of mind.'' And this "profound intelligence, which few had been able to fathom, led many to fear that he might have desires equally profound;" that, however affable and benignant he might always have appeared, "this might have been assumed only for the attainment of his ends, whereas it might turn out that he was in reality of a haughty and proud disposition, deep and reserved in his designs, and likely to show himself very different in power from that which he had been when under the authority of others." And then he had been accused of heresy. In fact, the case of Moroni was a signal instance of what has been often said of the papal elections, that too eminent a reputation for ability, learning, or intellect is not a recommendation to the majority of the electors. In a word, they were afraid of him; and, as is wont to be the case with men so influenced, acting on the natural antipathy of small minds to large ones, in selecting one of their own calibre, they gave themselves a master who in very truth was one to be feared!
The first symptom of these rising difficulties showed itself in the conduct of Farnese. When first Borromeo went to him with the proposal to elect Moroni, the veteran received his overtures, as has been seen, with professions of his entire readiness to coincide with his younger colleague's views. But when, having spoken with his cousin Altemps of his confidence in their power to place Moroni on the throne since Farnese was willing to assist them, he and Altemps returned together to Farnese, they found his manner of speaking on the subject much changed. He said coldly that as far as he was concerned, he was ready to give his vote to Moroni, but that he warned them that they would find it a more difficult matter than they imagined to procure the election of Moroni. Whatever the cause may have been, he was evidently very differently disposed from what he had been a few hours ago. Either his first reception of Borromeo had been merely a specimen of the all-pervading and ever-present dissimulation which a long course of Conclave practice had made a portion of his nature, or he had had an opportunity in the interval really to become acquainted with the temper prevailing in the Conclave, and had really arrived at the conclusion that the attempt to elect Moroni would not be a successful one. If so, the omen was a bad one for Moroni and his supporters; for if there was a man in the Conclave able to form a shrewd opinion as to the probable issue of the election, that man was Farnese.
Borromeo, however, though disappointed, would not by any means admit that it was a hopeless case; and when Farnese told him that he had reason to believe that Cardinal Medici and his friends would oppose Moroni, replied that he gave himself no concern about that, as he felt sure that Medici would rather assist him than otherwise—a sort of answer in which the young Conclave hand is very apparent! On leaving Farnese, Borromeo at once betook himself to the cell of the Cardinal of TJrbino, where most of the older cardinals happened to be assembled, and had there an opportunity of discovering that they were almost to a man ill disposed towards the election of Moroni. The Cardinal d'Este and the Cardinal di Ferrara, his uncle, finding that the report that Moroni was to be the new Pope had really some semblance of truth in it, began to exert themselves to avert a consummation which, for a very unworthy reason, would have been distasteful to them. Years before Moroni had been legate at Bologna, and in that capacity had taken part with the Bolognese in a quarrel with the people of Ferrara respecting some question of water right, and had reported in the same sense to Paul III.