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his elevation to the purple, and whose most intimate counseller he was. On the 19th of August died Cardinal Serra, of Genoa, in his fifty-third year, and was buried at the Pace Church. On the 23rd of August Cardinal Saoli, of Genoa, the Dean of the Sacred College, died in his eighty-sixth year, and was buried at the church of La Madonna del Popolo. On the 1st of September Cardinal Gozzadino, of Bologna, died in his fifty-first year. It had been many years previously predicted to him by an astrologer that he should die from imprisonment. He was much in debt, and it was supposed that the astrologer took his hint from that. But when his uncle, Gregory XV., was elected Pope, he said that he now felt safe from the prediction. But on his death-bed he declared that the astrologer had spoken the truth, for that, in fact, the imprisonment of the Conclave had killed him; for, in truth, the Conclave was a prison, and a prison of the very worst description for him and for the others! Finally, the Cardinal Girardo died, in the forty-seventh year of his age, on the 1st of October."
The worthy gossip gives us the chronicle of this terrible mortality on the fifty-fifth page of his volume, utterly and very amusingly forgetful that he had begun his work by the statement that, "although many Conclaves have occurred during the hot months, yet no example of epidemic infection has happened in them; all those who have taken part in them having almost always come out from them without any injury to their health."
Roign and Works of Urban VOL—Change in the Position of the Popca. No more Possibility of obtaining Sovereignties for Papal Nephews. —Accumulation of wealth by the Papal Families.—Sixtus V.— Gregory XIV.—Clement Vm.—Paul V.—Gregory XV.—Urban VHI.—Amount of dotation permissible to a Papal Nephew.—Persecution of one papal family by another.—Conclave at the death of Urban.—Parties and interest at Eome much changed since tho last Conclave.—Cardinal Pamphili elected as Innocent X.—The Barberini driven from Eome.
Urban VIII., who left so large a material mark at Eome, both by what he built and by what he destroyed, is he of whom and of whose kinsmen it was said, and is remembered, that "Quod non fecerunt Barbari, id fecerc Barberini." Even to the present day it is impossible to walk through the streets of Eome without being reminded, almost at every turn, of the building propensities of Urban and his enriched family by the frequent appearance of the bees, his family cognisance. And when these same "busy" creatures are recognised on the colossal bronze canopy over the high altar in St. Peter's, we are reminded of the above-quoted sarcasm, and of the fate of the Pantheon robbed of its bronze covering to deface the nave of Michael Angelo's church by a tasteless monstrosity. But there are no bees at the Coliseum to record the irreparable mischief done by Barberini hands in carting away the materials for their modern buildings!
Urban reigned all but twenty-one years, and the conditions of the Papacy •were more changed during this period than had been the case during any previous Pontiff's reign for a very long time. It was the beginning of the long down-hill course on which the power and importance of the Popes has been moving ever since, till the entire loss of temporal dominion, reached at the bottom of that long incline, has, in the opinion of many, opened the way for a return to extended power by a different path. The long hill which has been spoken of was somewhat steep in the earliest portion of it, and became very steep just before the bottom was reached. But the intervening slope was long and very gradual.
The change, of course, necessarily produced a series of prince Popes, as I have called^them—of sovereigns who were temporal princes first and churchmen afterwards; for the Popes could only play a great part in European state affairs as Churchmen. The Vicegerency of Heaven had to be put prominently forward in advancing a claim to supremacy over crowned heads. From the time of Urban the Popes became resignedly the petty sovereigns of a petty state; or if, theoretically, not resignedly, their protests against being considered only such were made but for theory and form's sake.
With this decadence from a position of European importance, the completion of the dominions of the Church as they have existed in modern times coincided. For it was not till the reign of Urban VIII. that the duchy of Urbino formed part of the possessions of the Apostolic See. The family of the Delia Eovere Dukes—about the best of all the mediaeval Italian sovereign families in all respects—became extinct under very unfortunate circumstances during the papacy of Urban; and the Pope was able to exercise a degree of moral pressure on the old, discouraged, unhappy, and childless Duke, which ended by inducing him to give up his duchy to the Holy Father. Urbino thus fell to the Apostolic See, and completed the Papal dominions as we of this generation have known them.
Contemporaneously with that change in the condition of European affairs which operated to reduce the power of the Pontiffs to that of mere Italian princes, the political conditions of Italy assumed a form and settlement which made it impossible for the Popes to contemplate, or at all events to succeed in, carving out from the body of Italy hereditary principalities for their families. Paul III., the Farnese, was the last who accomplished this. It is true, as has been seen, that the Papal See became possessed of Urbino subsequently under the pontificate of Urban VIII; and had that pontificate and that Pope existed a century earlier, the world would doubtless have seen a series of Barberini dukes at Urbino. But the times were changed. And to put other difficulties—which, however, would have been found insuperable—out of the question, so strong a feeling had grown up in the Church, and especially in the Sacred College, the authority and power of which was now far more able to counterbalance that of the Pontiffs than it had been in earlier times, against dismembering the territory of the Holy See, that Urban did not dare to make the attempt.
It remained, then, for the ambition and family feeling of the later Popes to find some other means for the gratification of passions, which were no less strong in them than they had been in their predecessors. And these means were found in the foundation of princely families, claiming, indeed, no higher rank than that of Eoman nobles, but each striving to eclipse, and in many cases succeeding in eclipsing, the relatives of former Popes in splendour, wealth, and the accumulation of real property.
Here are a few particulars of what was accomplished by the successive Popes of the nephew-enriching group; for neither has that phase of Church corruption survived the changes of the times and of public opinion, and we do not find the family names of the more recent Popes familiarized to the world by the immensity of their possessions.
Paul III. was, as has been seen, the last of the sovereign-family-founding Popes. He died in 1549. Sixtus V. was the first of the group we are now speaking of. He ascended the throne in 1585. The interval was occupied by the "zealous Popes," whose minds were bent, as has been seen, on other things.
Sixtus V. conferred on his cardinal nephew ecclesiastical revenues to the value of 100,000 crowns a year. He negotiated a wealthy marriage for another nephew, created him Marchese di Montana, and gave him the principalities of Venafro and Celano.
Gregory XIV. reigned but ten, and Innocent IX. but two months.
Then came Clement VIII. with his thirteen years of