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Eminences were truly at their wits' end, that they determined on electing a man who had no recommendation whatever save his real fitness for the promotion. In fact, this poor Flemish professor, Adrian, who had come to be a cardinal in consequence of having been Charles Vs. tutor, was wholly unknown at Eome, save by the general report of his piety and worth. And, to cite again the Venetian ambassador, "When they had elected him, the cardinals were like dead men at the thought that they had elected one whom they had never seen. And as they came out of the Conclave, a terrible outcry was raised against them by the people, who cried out, why could you not elect one of yourselves! And so strong was this feeling that placards were stuck up about the city with Roma est locanda,* that is to say, Eome is to be let! because all thought that Adrian would take the Papacy to Spain." f
But the cardinals soon found that they had brought a worse fate upon themselves and upon Eome than even such a second Babylonish captivity. Adrian came to Eome, but came in all the simplicity of his northern piety, actually taking the duties and responsibilities of the Papacy au sfrieuz, and minded, as far as was in him, to act up to them! The astonishment, dismay, and disgust of all the cardinals, and all the Apostolical Court, and indeed of all Eome, at such an incredible and unprecedented phenomenon may readily be imagined. Of course poor Adrian was an utter failure! No doubt
* The words still used in Eomo to signify that any tenement is to be let.
f Loc. ext., p. 74.
it was as happy a fate for himself as it was a source of immense rejoicing to Eome, when he died, after an unhappy reign of one year and eight months. And never, since that time, have their Eminences of the Sacred College made the mistake of electing any save an Italian to the chair of St. Peter!
Conclave which elected Clement VII.—Change in the Characteristics of the Conclaves.—Anecdote of Adrian's narrow Escape from being killed, and of the hatred felt by the Soman Clergy against him.— Eoman and Florentine rivalry in the Conclave.—Intrigues in the Conclave.—The Plan of Making a Pope by " Adoration."—Crafty Trick of Giulio de' Medici.—His Election.—And reign.—Conclave which elected Farnese as Paul IH.—Circumstances of his election. —Bis Character.
The Conclave which elected Giulio de' Medici as Adrian's successor, by the name of Clement VII., was an interesting one, as being, probably, the first in which the more modern spirit of finesse and intrigue seems to have prevailed over the nakedly simoniacal method of proceeding of earlier times. The menacing growlings of the storm that was about to break over the Church were beginning to be heard from the other side of the Alps. That word of dread—as it was to the Popes of those days—"an (Ecumenical Council," had been heard; and the Church began to affect a show of decency. The motives which produced the election of Clement VII. were as far removed from any such as should have dictated the choice of a vicegerent of God upon earth as they well could be. But the election does not seem to have been an openly simoniacal one.
Adrian died on the 14th of September, 1523. When the Eomans learned that he was dead, "it was an incredible pleasure and contentment to them; the fact being, that he was universally disliked by the whole Court, because his Holiness differed much from the greatness, magnificence, and splendour which his more immediate predecessors were wont to manifest in the pontificate, though he was, in truth, more inclined to those good qualities which one is wont to seek and look for in the elections of the Popes in the primitive ages of the Church." * The writer goes on to relate how, on one occasion, when the architrave of the doorway of the Sistine Chapel fell just as the Pope was entering, killing some of those around him, while he very narrowly escaped, a certain prelate amongst those present scrupled not to curse Fortune and inveigh aloud against the ill fate which had saved the Pope from destruction. Nor, adds the writer, "was that prelate in any way blamed for his words by the cardinals who heard him, but was rather praised and petted for them. So that this holy man was little fitted for governing worldly affairs."
Thirty cardinals went into Conclave on the proper day after the death of Adrian. A large portion of them were young men, the creations principally of Leo X., who had no pretentions to the Papacy. But there were among them four men, the bearers of great names, the heads of powerful factions, and each anxious to be Pope, and with claims to the throne equal to those of his rivals. These were Pompeo Colonna, Alessandro Farnese, Giulio de' Medici, and Francesco Orsini. Among
* "Conclavi de' Eomani Pontifici," vol. i. p. 194.
these, the favourites—to use the word in its turf sense— were Colonna and Medici. Medici, however, the conclavist writes who has left a narrative of this election, "was in truth the more powerful, from the great number of cardinals who followed him; as, indeed, might naturally be expected from the fact of his kinsman's unscrupulously partisan papacy having so recently come to a conclusion. Colonna, on the other hand, had all the more strictly Eoman world in his favour, as well as the strong prudential consideration arising from the fact that he was known to be in close relations with the Emperor Charles V. Upon the whole, the older members of the College were for Colonna, the younger for Medici. In the beginning of the Conclave, at the first scrutiny, Colonna had more votes than Medici, and had, indeed, nearly been elected, two votes only having been wanting to him to make the twenty necessary for an election in a Conclave of thirty. Now Colonna and Orsini were well known to hate each other bitterly; which was quite as naturally and inevitably the case as that cats and dogs should hate each other. They had been the Montagues and CapiUets of Eome for many generations, and enmity was traditional between all the numerous members of either family. And Orsini had a compact little party of his own in the Conclave. Medici, therefore, fearing the result of a contest with Colonna, and alleging the urgent necessity of not prolonging the interregnum and the Conclave, declared his intention of bringing it to an end by giving his support and that of all his friends to Orsini; for he doubted not that, while this hope would prevent any of Orsini's friends from deserting him—