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and make the Pope between them. Borgia, who especially hated the Cardinal of St. Mark, agreed to any plan which should exclude him. So that night, while all the Conclave slept, the two conspirators arose and went from one to another of the younger cardinals who had no hope for themselves, making them large promises of all kinds. All save six of the seniors and leading men in the College, who were carefully left sleeping, were thus negotiated with, and the election of Cardinal Cibo, as Innocent VIII ., was thus, by sheer simony, effected before morning.
"In the morning they called the sleepers, and said to them, 'Come, we have made the Pope!' But the others said, (Whom?' They replied, (The Cardinal of Melfi!' The seniors said, 'How?' They replied, 4 Why during the night, while you were asleep, we collected all the votes save those of you sleepers!' But the others perceiving that those who had played this trick were eighteen or nineteen, and that they were too few to disturb what had been done, consented; and Cibo was accordingly proclaimed."
The writer of the narrative goes on to specify in detail what each of the electors, who had thus sold their votes, received as the price of this simony. "May God grant him (the new Pope, he concludes) His grace that he may lead a good life, and administer the Church well; which, however, it seems very difficult to expect, looking to his past life, and considering that he is a young Genoese who has seven children, male and female, by various*
* Any little irregularity of thia sort was, however, abundantly compensated in an ecclesiastical point of view by his having condemned two mothers; and considering also the manner of his election, which was worse than that of Sixtus IV."
But where then was the overruling influence of the Holy Ghost, which if avowedly absent from one election, there can be no reason to expect to preside over others? For the all-important nature of the choice to be made, • which is the ground on which it is hoped that the voices of the electors are specially controlled by the Holy Spirit, is as great in one election as in another! In truth, the mere enunciation of such a theory, in the face of the long story of the Papal Conclaves, extending over so many centuries, needs a cynical audacity of confidence in the capacity of the lay world to swallow any amount of the grossest absurdities and falsehoods if put forth with a sufficient amount of unction and solemnity, which is no less astounding than revolting.
men, Domenico di Yitorbo and Francesco Maldento, to be burned alive, for having said that according to Innocent's opinion such matters were not prohibited. "And those who had said so were burned."—Bernini, Storia di tulle VEresie, torn. iv. p. 213.
Interregnum after the Death of Innocent VIII.—Tumults.—Conclave which elected Borgia, Alexander VI.—His Eeign and Death.— Scandalous Scene at his Burial.—Effect of his Papacy on the Church.—Interregnum after his Death.—Terrible .Condition of Eorne.—Conclave, and scandalous Election of Pius III.—Another Conclave sixteen Days later.—Anecdotes of the Death of Pius HI.— Simoniacal Arrangements for the Election of Julius II., Delia Eorere. —Character of Julius II.—Conclave-which elected Leo X.—Meeting and Demands of the Conclavists.—A Surgeon in the Conclave.— Anecdotes of this Conclave.—Election of De Medici, as Leo X.—His Simoniacal Dealings.—Exhaustion of the Papal Treasury at his Death.—Difficulties of the Cardinals.—Election of Adrian VI.— Dismay produced in Eome by his Election.—Character of Adrian.
Pope Innocent VIII., "the young man from Genoa," died, after a reign of nearly eight years, on the 26th of July, 1492. The interregnum which followed was a very short one, but it was an even more than usually tempestuous and lawless one.
"Alas! for the miseries of humanity!" cries the moralizing historian of the Conclave of Alexander VI., speaking of his predecessor Innocent; "his body lay exposed to the crowd and the rude cries of the populace, whose ears had ever been shut to the prayers of the poor; and a small coffin of perishable wood enclosed him, who had deemed the gilded halls of the Vatican too narrow for him! But Eome the while was up in arms, and bands of lawless malefactors overran the city in every direction, and many murders were committed because the. tribunals listened to no complaints, the judges having shut themselves up for fear of their lives. . . . Gangs of robbers, murderers, and bandits, the very scum of the earth, ranged freely in every part of the city; and the palaces of the cardinals were guarded by archers and troopers or they would have been sacked and wrecked. But although all Eomc was in arms, there did not occur any notable tumult;* only a great number of people were killed from private enmity. The streets of the Borgo (the part of the city between the Ponte St. Angelo and St. Peter's) were barred and guarded by companies of soldiers and cavalry."
Twenty-three cardinals went into Conclave, and elected Eoderigo Borgia Pope by the name of Alexander VI. almost immediately and without any divisions. The account given by the chronicler of the Conclave is on this occasion extremely meagre and short. There was, in fact, but little to be said upon the disgraceful subject. The voices of the electors had been simply bought before they went into Conclave. The Vice-Chancellor, says the writer I have quoted, "used his utmost industry and art for the satisfaction of his immoderate ambition, having conciliated by all sorts of means, good and bad, the minds of the more powerful among the cardinals." The election afforded a striking instance of the way in which a bad Pope prepares the way for a yet worse than he.
This infamous man, the worst probably of all the Popes, reigned eleven years, and died on the 18th of
* A curious statement indicating the sort of thing that might be expected on these occasions. The state of matters described -was not held to constitute any notable breach of order.
August, 1503, poisoned, as there is every reason to believe, by the mistake of a servant, who handed both to him and to his son Csesar some poisoned wine which had been prepared by their orders for the poisoning of several cardinals who had been invited to sup with them; the object of the intended murder being that the "hats" thus vacated might be resold to others! The writer of the story of the Conclave of his successor, Pius III., who tells us that he was a Papal Master of the Chambers, and seems evidently to have been a conclavist also, gives a terrible and horrible account of the death and burial of Alexander. Hardly was the breath out of his body before the servants and soldiers plundered his private apartments. This search for plunder was not very thorough or successful, however, for subsequently stores of valuables were discovered to a very large amount, as also "a writing desk covered with green cloth, which was full of gems and precious stones to the value of twenty thousand crowns," worth something like fifty thousand pounds at the present day.
The mortal remains of the Popes were very generally utterly deserted and left to the care of the lowest people about the palace; and it was not likely that the body of such a Pope as Alexander should be treated with more respect than those of the most detested of his predecessors. -When the body had been carried into the Church of St. Peter's there was no priest ready to begin to read the service; and some soldiers took advantage of the pause to begin wresting the wax torches out of the hands of the attendants around the bier. The latter defended themselves, using the torches for the purpose, and the