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various other very lucrative appointments. In the short space of the two years and five months which contained the whole reign of Gregory XV., the Ludovisi accumulated a revenue of 800,000 crowns on the public debt. The dukedom of Fiano was bought for them from the Sforza family, and the principality of Zagorolo from the Farnesi. Niccolo Ludoviso, the heir to the family honours and possessions, added to them Venosa by a first marriage, and Piombino by a second !
Then came Urban VIII. with his twenty years of Papacy and the day of the Barberini. Urban had three nephews, two of whom were made cardinals, while the third, Taddeo, was to be the founder of the new family. It is stated that the regular income of the three brothers amounted to half a million of crowns annually. All the most lucrative posts were in their hands. Calculations of the time show that the Barberini, during the pontificate of Urban VIII., received in one way or another the almost incredible sum of 105,000,000 crowns! Gregory himself seems to have been assailed by some scruples of conscience as to the enormity of the sums he was turning from their proper uses to the enrichment of his family. He named a commission in 1640, charged to examine into and report upon the propriety and legitimacy of the Pope's doings in the matter. As might easily have been predicted, the commission found that it was all perfectly right. In order, however, to make assurance doubly such to the most delicate conscience, Vitelleschi, the General of the Jesuits, was also consulted upon the point; and when he expressed his opinion that the Pope had not exceeded the bounds:
of moderation (!), of course there could be no further misgiving
“Thus,” says Ranke, “from one pontificate to another new families were always rising into hereditary power, and at once taking their places among the upper aristocracy of the country. It could not be but that enmities should arise among them. The struggle that had at one time existed between factions in the Conclave raged henceforth between the nephews of successive Pontiffs. The new family which had attained to power clung to supremacy with jealous tenacity, and entered at once into hostility, pushed even to the extent of persecution, against the family which had preceded it in power. Despite all that the Aldobrandini had contributed towards raising Paul V. to the Papacy, they were attacked, persecuted, and assailed by ruinous legal proceedings at the hands of the kinsmen of that Pope. The nephews of Paul V. were no better treated by the Ludovisi; and Cardinal Ludovisi was in his turn driven from Rome when the Barberini came into power.”
This summary statement of facts that for several Papacies past had made up the principal part of the history and politics of the Roman Court, furnishes a very intelligible explanation of the conduct of the Barberini faction in the Conclave which was held on the death of Urban VIII. At the close of a Papacy of twenty years things were very much changed in Rome. The French interest had been dominant during the whole of that long reign; and the length of it gave reason at first sight to think that the same ascendancy might continue to prevail, for out of sixty-nine cardinals who went into Conclave on the 18th of January, no less than forty-eight were creatures of Urban VIII., and formed the faction of his nephew's adherents. Forty-six were sufficient to elect the Pope, and Barberini might have named his own man if only he could have trusted all the professing adherents of his party; but his attempt to cause the election of Cardinal Sacchetti, who would have entirely suited him, soon showed that he could not so trust them. The party of the older cardinals were strong enough, if not to elect a Pope, at least to exclude any one of his proposing. Under these circumstances it was vital to them to secure, at least, the exclusion of a declared adversary. And thus the Barberini party were at last driven to consent to the election of one who was, indeed, nominally a member of their party, and who had been a “creature” of Urban VIII., but was one of the last of those “creatures” whom they would have chosen if they could have done otherwise; for the Cardinal Pamphili had shown himself inclined to favour the Spanish party, and he had been formally excluded by France. Nevertheless, he was elected on the 16th of September, 1644, and took the name of Innocent X.
But the Barberini very soon found that the modicum of success which they had achieved in the Conclave in securing the election at least of one nominally of their own party was in the result worse than worthless. Pamphili, as has been said, inclined to the Spanish interest, which, though it had been altogether eclipsed and under a cloud during the twenty years of Urban's Papacy, was by no means dead in Rome, but ready to revive and reassume its activity in every ramification of
the complicated machine of the Papal Court in the returning warmth of pontifical favour. And one of the first manifestations of this resuscitated activity was a war to the knife against the Barberini and all that was theirs. Their palaces were occupied by the Papal troops; their property was sequestered; confiscations rained upon them; demands of accounts respecting their administration of the public moneys were threatened ; and Antonio Barberini deemed it prudent to fly from Rome. But for one of those sudden changes in the whole Papal sky, to which the peculiar nature of the government renders it liable, the Barberini were wholly ruined !
Innocent X.—The Story of his Reign stands alone in Papal History.
-Donna Olympia Maidalchini, his Sister-in-Law.-Her Influence over him.--Her scandalous venality, greed, and corruption.Scandal throughout Europe.-Innocent's futile Attempt to banish her.-Anecdote of her dealings in the last hours of the Pope's life.-Innocent's Death.-A Conclave without any leaders.—The “Squadrone Volante." — Anecdote of Cardinals Ottobuono and Azzolini.—Chigi proposed.—Opposed by the French interest.The Barberini again.—Chigi elected as Alexander VII.-End of the story of Donna Olympia.-Pestilence at Rome.
SUCH was the punishment of the nepotism of Urban VIII. But what was the conduct of Innocent himself, who thus raged against the nepotism of his predecessor, when he was in his turn exposed to similar temptation ?
The story of the reign of Innocent X. is in this respect a very singular one. It stands alone among the stories of the long line of Popes, reminding the reader of the old fables of a Pope Joan, which took their dim rise from the metaphorical accounts of the scandals of a Papal Court, not wholly dissimilar from those which Innocent reproduced in more entirely historical times.
A very singular change came over the spirit of the Papal Court. Innocent X. was guiltless of all nepotism, and yet, strange to say, after all that has been told of the Papal favourites of the preceding reigns, the pontificate of Innocent was in this matter of favouritism the most disgraceful of them all! Innocent X. was ruled by no