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Conclave which elected Altieri as Clement X.—No fewer than twenty
one “Soggetti Papabili.” — Barberini. — Ginetti.- Brancacci. — Carpegna. — Facebinetti. - Grimani. - Gabrielli. - Odeschalchi.Alvizzi.-Cibo.-Ottobuoni. Spada.- Bonvisi.— Vidoni.-D'Elci. -Celsi.—Litta.-Bonelli.—Altieri.—Nerli.—Bona.—Complaint by the Conclavist of the impiety of the Times.
THE Conclave from which Cardinal Emilio Altieri came forth as Clement was an unusually long one. Clement IX. died on the 9th December, 1669; the cardinals went into Conclave duly on the twentieth of that month ; but the election was not made till the 29th of April in the following year. Morone says that at the beginning of the Conclave every one was in favour of the Cardinal Altieri, and the whole Roman world expected him to be elected. But this seems to be hardly consistent with the fact that the Conclave was so long an one. And in fact the special narrator of the Conclave, in all probability a conclavist as usual, gives a very different account of the matter. According to his contemporary statement, no fewer than twenty-one of the cardinals who went into Conclave were deemed to belong to the category of soggetti papabili. It is very intelligible that such a condition of matters should lead to a severe struggle, to manifold complications, and consequently to a Conclave of long duration. But it is
impossible to believe that all, or nearly all, the electors were from the first minded to elect the same man, and yet were four months about it.
The conclavist gives us the list of these one-andtwenty papabili, together with the qualities which recommended and the objections which impeded each of them. And the list thus commented serves to afford an excellent insight into the nature and variety of the considerations which were operative on the minds of the electors.
The first on the roll is Cardinal Barberini, now Dean of the Sacred College, by force of seniority, not of years, it will be understood, but of his standing in the College, and eminently papabile by virtue of his character, as well as his connections, influence, and social standing in Rome. He was born in 1597, and was therefore now seventy-three years old. In the words of the conclavist, “his kindness of heart, his wisdom, his experience, vigilance, and zeal, his charity to the poor, his unwearied industry in business, are qualities which would not only merit the Papacy, but in the present conjuncture of circumstances would necessarily fix the choice of the electors on him, if they were not counterbalanced by his obstinacy, capriciousness, instability, and too great selfconfidence.” In fact, as the writer goes on to show, both the cardinals and the crowned heads of Europe were too much afraid of him to wish to see him Pope. “Besides, prone to anger as he is, men think that were he to find himself with the tiara on his head and the pontifical mantle on his shoulders, he would not be apt to spare any of those around him if things did not go
to his mind, or if he were surprised by one of his frequent outbursts of passion."
Cardinal Ginetti, of Velletri, the next on the list, was born in 1585, and was therefore eighty-five years old. The large experience of Courts which he had acquired from a long residence at the Court of the Emperor as legate from Urban VIII., his well-known industry, the blamelessness of his life, are all strongly in his favour. “Nor will his reputation for parsimony injure him in an age when there is need of a Pontiff who will repair the too reckless liberalities of the past.” He has a nephew, too, the most eminent man among the body of Roman prelates, who is a clerk of the Papal Chamber—a thoroughly well-conducted man, liberal and open-handed, and in this respect might be a useful complement to the qualities of his uncle. Cardinal Ginetti has, in Conclave language, the exclusive of nobody, and the inclusive of Barberini—which means that no cardinal nor any sovereign has declared that he shall not be Pope if they can help it, and that Barberini has declared him one of those whom (failing perhaps other combinations) he would willingly see Pope. It is known that the Medici would make no difficulty in acquiescing in his election, and Cardinal Caraffa, one of the Chigi group, is a family connection of the Ginetti. The Spaniards would be very willing to accept him; and Cardinal Chigi would, in case he should not be able to bring about the election of any of the creatures" of his uncle, Alexander VII., probably consent to his election rather than to that of any other outside the circle of his own faction, because his great age would still leave Chigi the hope that he might place one of his uncle's 6 creatures” on the throne at the next election. On the whole, it was thought that Ginetti's chance was a very good one.
Third on the list is his Neapolitan Eminence Brancacci, born in 1592. He is a man of decent character and studious habits, and attentive to business, and his nephew, a prelate, if not distinguished in any way, is inoffensive, good-natured, and well-liked. He is put forward by Barberini as one of his uncle's “creatures," and Chigi, if obliged to seek a Pope beyond the circle of his own faction, would not object to him. He has some friends among the “squadrone volante,” which still exists and is influential. The French would be well contented with his election; and Cardinal Rospigliosi, the last Pope's nephew, would vote for him if he should fail in securing the election of a Clementine cardinal. But all these favourable circumstances are probably more than neutralised by the fact that he is specially excluded by the Spaniards, which might possibly not suffice to render his election out of the question were it not that the Spaniards have named to Chigi four of Alexander's creatures, in the election of either of whom they would be willing to concur. Still it was on the cards that Brancacci might become Pope as the result of a failure of other combinations.
Fourth is Carpegna of Urbino, about seventy years of age. He is not a man who has much to recommend him in point of intelligence or political knowledge; but he is a very good sort of man, who would be content to live and let everybody else live in peace. He has
exactly that in his favour which Barberini has against him-nobody would be afraid of him. He would be safe to avoid all innovations and novelties; and for this reason the crowned heads would be well content with his election, which is especially desired by the Grand Duke of Tuscany. On the whole, however, his chance is a very poor one.
Fifth comes the Bolognese Facchinetti, born in 1608; and he is the man whom Barberini will strive with all his power to place on the throne. Facchinetti had been nuncio in Spain under Urban VIII., and had been thought to acquit himself well upon that occasion. He had made himself agreeable to the Spanish Court, notwithstanding which, however, the Spanish interest in the Conclave would be opposed to him merely on the ground of his age, sixty-two years only, the maxim of that Court being in favour of electing an older man. Medici, if unable to have either D’Elci or Carpegna, would vote for Facchinetti. Cardinal d'Este also would vote for him from private friendship. The “squadrone volante” would be divided concerning him. “But," says the conclavist, “ Chigi, if he be well advised, will oppose him with all his power, nor take any heed of whatever promises may be made to him; for besides that Cardinal Facchinetti is of such an age and constitution as to make it probable he may outlive all the Alexandrine creatures (and so prevent for ever the hope of raising a Chigi cardinal to the throne), it would come to the same thing as making Barberini himself Pope, since Facchinetti recognises him as the sole author of his fortunes. The loud report of this cardinal's (Facchi