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his relatives—a brother and his sons—to come to Eome. But.... it was soon represented to him by those about him that such rigour was not necessary, was not desirable, was not even right as a matter of conscience; and Alexander VII. was only too well inclined to give ear to such representations. His family affections pleaded for his kinsfolk, and his own decreasing activity longed for the assistance and prop of a cardinal nephew.
The nephew came and was made a cardinal; the brother came, and had the best things that the Apostolic Court had to give to a layman; and a new family was founded. But the Chigi were enriched more moderately, and not in such a manner as to cause scandal or reprobation in that age. It is however worth remarking, as an illustration of the feeling of the time, that Cardinal Pallavicini, the historian of the Council of Trent,* writing while Alexander was still keeping his kinsmen at a distance from Eome, promises him immortality on the strength of that heroic piece of virtue. But the worst consequences of Alexander's fall into the old ruts of nepotism were seen in the increasing tendency which he manifested to throw all the burden of business on the shoulders of those about him. He became a very faineant Pope, occupying his leisure hours, not discreditably, with literature and learned men, but making of those hours a far larger portion of his life than was consistent with the duty of a supreme head of the Church.
* Pallavicini wrote tho orthodox history of that great event in opposition to the history of Fra Paolo Sarpi.
But Alexander's inclinations in this respect, and the general tendencies of the Apostolic Court and Church at that period, played into the hands of each other. The Sacred College was, day by day, acquiring a greater weight in the State, and a larger share of authority and self-assured importance. The Popes were becoming less autocratic, and more controlled and controllable by a body which was assuming the real position and conditions of a Council of State. We have lived to see the pendulum swinging back again in the contrary direction. But the Popes of the latter half of the seventeenth, the whole of the eighteenth, and the first half of the nineteenth centuries, were priests of decent life, sovereigns surrounded by, and to a great extent the slaves of, ceremonial and etiquette, and autocratic rulers rather in theory and outward appearance than in reality.
Together with propriety and decency, smallness begins more and more to characterize the doings, the interests, and the life of the denizens of the Apostolic Court and its rulers. Terrible hatreds give place to little spites. One cardinal no longer plots the murder of another because he interferes with his pretensions to sovereign power; he only plans to affront his rival because he has been himself offended in some infinitesimal question of privilege, precedence, or dignity. Alexander VII. was not deserted by his relatives and attendants on his death-bed, and no more stories of lurid horrors impart a morbidly melodramatic interest to the Papal annals. But a sharp dispute arose by the dead Pontiffs bedside between two cardinals, who quarrelled over the special privilege, which each claimed, of enacting some particular part in the ceremonial of the obsequies. And the incident is a significant illustration of the new epoch on which we are entering.
Alexander and his nephew the cardinal were no• haters or persecutors. The custom, which usage had almost erected into a law, that the family of the preceding Pope should be pursued by the unrelenting hostility of the kinsmen of his successor, was no longer observed during Fabio Chigi's pontificate. Family, indeed, Innocent had left none to be persecuted, save the layman Camillo Pamfili. But neither did any hostility arise between the "creatures" of Innocent and those of Alexander. And the "squadrone volante," which had mainly decided the election of Alexander, was also chiefly instrumental in placing his successor, Eospigliosi, on the throne as Clement IX. Cardinal Chigi wished at first to have brought about the election of Cardinal D'Elci, a Florentine, because the Grand Duke of Tuscany had set his heart on that election. But finding that none of the other factions in the Conclave would join him in doing so, he allowed himself, without much difficulty, to be persuaded by Barberini and the "squadrone volante," to agree to the election of Eospigliosi, who was elected on the 20th of June, 1667, by sixty-one votes out of the sixty-four which constituted the entire Conclave. Eospigliosi, for form and decorum sake, gave his own vote to Chigi, and it was not known what became of the two others.
Giulio Eospigliosi was conspicuous for all the good qualities which can be insured by the absence of evil ones. He was a man of blameless life, and the kindest, easiest-tempered man that could be met with. And these are the qualities which seem mainly to have caused his elevation to the Papacy. Clement IX. was the first Pope for a very long time who could not be accused in any degree of nepotism. A fair share of preferment fell to his relatives, and the Eospigliosi became greatly enriched, but mainly by a rich marriage with a Genoese Pallavicini heiress. Cardinal Chigi was not even displaced from his position of Minister of State, and his advice and representations were, as Eanke remarks, almost as much attended to by Clement as they had been by Alexander.
The same historian gives from a MS. in the Barberini library an extremely curious statement of the population of Eome at various dates about this period, which illustrates in a very remarkable manner one of the results of this cessation of nepotism on a large scale, and of that successive persecution of one family by another which arose from it. The facts are given in tabular form as follows :—
Now the curious fact in this statement is, that while the number of the population varies in a very capricious manner, the increase in the number of families is constant and steady. And the explanation of so singular an anomaly is to be found in the diminution in the numbers of mere adventurers—ecclesiastical, and consequently bachelor, seekers of fortune—and the continual increase in the number of permanent and settled citizens. And this change is unquestionably the result of a cessation of the state of things, when at every demise of the tiara everybody was turned out from his position, and the whole field was open to the hopes and ambitions of new comers. A constant movement of coming and going was thus produced, which accounts for the apparently capricious variations in the population; while the steady, though by no means rapid increase in the number of families indicates the greater degree of stability of those who for any reason had once fixed their residence in Eome.
While the general character of the Conclaves, beginning from about the middle of the seventeenth century, shows a very marked and increasing improvement, not only in external decency, but in a real sense of the paramount duty of electing a successor to the throne of St. Peter who might be hoped to turn out a ruler devoted to and calculated to secure the interests of the Church, these aims were not so unanimously understood, and these motives were not so unmixed with others, that were in some of the electors secondary and in not a few even primary, as to render the choice of the Pontiff and the management of the Conclave a simple matter. On the contrary, the increased numbers of the Sacred College, in the first place; the increased number of soggetti papabili, which was the natural result of an age when at least decency of ecclesiastical conduct had become common, and when a fair character, a reasonable