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clave. The former united himself with Corsini and his numerous following, and they agreed on the election if they could compass it of Cardinal Aldrovandi, a Bolognese, of whom De Brosses only says that he was well born, well esteemed, and had nothing against him. The terrible Camerlengo, however, was against him, and was determined to prevent his election, which, however, seemed likely to be beyond his power. Besides the allies who have been mentioned, all the zclanti were in his favour. He had thirty-three votes at the first scrutiny at which he was put forward. One more would have made him Pope. Thirty-four was the number required for the indispensable two-thirds majority. It is recorded that Cardinal Passionei, one of the party opposed to him, was as it chanced scrutator at that scrutiny, and that when he opened and declared the thirty-third vote for Aldrovandi he became pale as a sheet. However, no thirty-fourth was forthcoming, and the Camerlengo and his party were quittes pour la peur! And they had time before them to work in.
But all their efforts could accomplish nothing more than to keep any one of their own friends from deserting to the enemy. They were unable to detach a single vote from the thirty-three. And this state of things continued unchanged during many successive scrutinies, a phenomenon almost, if not quite, unprecedented in Conclave history. And at each successive scrutiny the Camerlengo's fears were not only repeated but increased, for the Conclave had already lasted more than five months. The delay was becoming scandalous, and, what was worse, the weather was becoming very hot. Several cardinals had been obliged to leave the Conclave seriously ill; some had died; and all were becoming utterly worn out and eager to escape from the unhealthy and infected air of the Conclave. And it was in the power of any one cardinal twice every day to put an end to his own and his colleagues' sufferings by adding his vote to those regularly given every scrutiny to Aldrovandi. The Camerlengo felt that if such a consummation was to be avoided, he must adopt some strong measure, and that at once. This was what he imagined and did.
There was a certain Franciscan friar, "of easy conscience," as De Brosses says, whom his Eminence Cardinal Albani deemed to be the man for his purpose, and to him he gave his instructions. He was to pay a visit to Aldrovandi at the "Eota" (the little window communicating with the outside world, at which such visits were tolerated), and there compliment him on his approaching election. Aldrovandi replied that it was true the majority had done him the honour of thinking of him, but that he did not think that anything was likely to come of it, seeing that there were opponents who seemed determined to exclude him. In reply to this the monk told him that he was sufficiently acquainted with the sentiments of the Camerlengo to be able to assure him that the only feeling which prevented that Cardinal from voting for him was a fear that he (Aldrovandi) might have an unpleasant remembrance of certain disputes which had occurred between members of their families, and might feel unkindly towards him (Albani) on that score. Aldrovandi at once fell into the snare, declaring that if there had ever been any such feeling he had long since forgotten it, that he had the highest respect for the Cardinal Camerlengo's character, and that so he would find if he were kind enough to vote for him. The monk declared that since such were his sentiments, there was nothing to prevent an immediate election and a conclusion to the over-long Conclave, that he should make known to Albani what Aldrovandi had said, and that there would no longer be any difficulty about his election. But just as he was going he turned back, seeming to be struck by a sudden thought. "But, after all, I am but a poor monk !" said he. "I know Albani's mind well, but it does not follow that he should place implicit trust in me. If your Eminence would intrust me with a line expressing what you have said . . . the matter would be settled!" Aldrovandi in his eagerness wrote the line, putting rather strongly, as was said, the point of his gratitude for a service rendered to him. The Franciscan clutched his prize and sped with it to his employer. Instantly before the next scrutiny Albani, with well-acted horror and scandalized propriety in his features, sought out the zelanti cardinals. "Look at this!" he cried; "could you have believed it! Look at your model Pope! Here is Aldrovandi intriguing! —making promises !—guilty of simony!" The good men were as much astonished and shocked as Albani intended they should be. At the next scrutiny Aldrovandi had lost several votes; at the next after several more. His chance was gone, and the terrible Camerlengo was so far triumphant.
shown his fertility in resources by getting rid of the candidature of another soggetto papabile, whose chance was interfering with his designs in another way. This was the Benedictine monk Porzia, a Venetian from Friuli, who was nearly elected. He was a creature of Benedict XIII., and was in many respects a man well fitted for the position. But the fact that he was a monk was against him in the College; though not so much so, as De Brosses remarks, as if he had been a member of one of the mendicant orders or a Jesuit. Again, he was known as a very severe and hard man. "Just the man needed," says the President, "to establish order in this State, which has so great need of it. He would know how to rule, and would be a second Sixtus V. Accordingly he is feared and hated by the populace to the last degree." Nevertheless his election seemed almost certain. It was probable that it would be consummated at the scrutiny to take place on the morrow morning. But in the course of that intervening night a paper was mysteriously circulated in the Conclave, containing a grossly defamatory libel against his Eminence Porzia. Gross and venomous abuse was mingled with accusations of the most damning kind. The Benedictine, unspeakably outraged, demanded investigation and the exemplary punishment of the libeller with all the energy and sternness of his character. But it was impossible to trace the hand that had spread the poison, though all in the Conclave were loud in indignation against the author and disseminator of the calumny. None the less, however, was the mischief done, and the slanderer's aim attained. The supporters
of Porzia began to fall off from him. Even those who most entirely disbelieved the foul accusations, and were loudest in their indignation against so base and vile a trick, were of opinion that it would not be well for the majesty and decorum of the Papacy that St. Peter's chair should be filled by one who had just been made, however unjustly, the subject of so scandalous and public an affront. All chance of his election, which seemed so certain, was lost; and the poor monk retired to his cell, with rage and indignation in his heart, and died there three days afterwards.
At last Acquaviva sought an interview with the Camerlengo, who was now proposing Cardinal Mosca, and addressed him in more straightforward terms than were often heard among the cautious negotiators of the Conclaves. "It is of no use," said Acquaviva, "to speak of Mosca, for we will not elect a Pope of your choice. But we wish to make one with your consent and cooperation. Aldrovandi is objectionable to you. Very well; let us speak no more of him. You will not have any one of our cardinals [the creatures of Corsini]; we will not accept any one of yours [the creatures of Albani]. It remains then to find a Pope among those who belong to neither party [that is to say the creatures of Benedict XIII., Orsini]. Now among them I see no soggetti papabile save Lambertini or Lercari. Which of the two would you prefer? Lambertini? Very well. So be it. Let us go and elect him and have done with it."
Of Cardinal Prospero Lambertini, who thus became Benedict XIV., President de Brosses says: "He was