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difficult enough, over again where they had left it; and again to little purpose, for Giannantonio Fachinetti, who was elected as Innocent IX., reigned only two months. "When his successor, the Florentine Ippolito Aldobrandino, ascended the throne as Clement VIII. in 1592, the era of the zealous Popes had not yet closed, and Clement was such, not only as a bishop but as a sovereign. He was a man of great abilities, of great power of work, and thoroughly conscientious. His reign of thirteen years was eminently useful to all the best interests of the Church.
The characteristics of all these Conclaves had been very much alike. The main influence which had shaped and ruled them had been the struggle between the Spanish and the French interests, varied, of course, by a multiplicity of considerations arising out of mere private and personal sympathies and antipathies. In all these rapidly recurring struggles the Spanish influence had been victorious. The spirit of Philip II., and that which he had succeeded in impressing on the Spanish people, were more in conformity with those tendencies which recent ecclesiastical events had imparted to the Church than were the ideas and tendencies prevailing in France.
The often observed tendency of a long Papacy to bring about the election of a Pope antagonistic to his predecessor resumed its influence after the close of the reign of Clement; and the French interest was successful in procuring the election of the Florentine Cardinal de' Medici as Leo XI.; but he reigned only twenty-seven days, and the same men had to return to the Conclave to begin a second struggle.
The main features of all these Conclaves were, as has been observed, very similar; and the limits assigned to the present volume must have been very considerably extended for it to have been possible to give the reader as detailed an account of each of them as has been attempted in the case of the first Popes of the zealous group; while at the same time it would have been difficult to interest him in the ever-recurring plots, dissimulations, and manoeuvres which make the staple of the history of all of them. But the Conclave which elected Leo's successor, Camillo Borghese, as Paul V., was a curious and remarkable one, a detailed account of which will serve well as a specimen of the way in which the business of an election was transacted in the early days of what may be called modem times— in the period of Church earnestness which intervened between the audacious scandals and overt heathenism of the Italian renaissance time, and the sleepy times of comfortable easy-going orthodoxy and decorous propriety which succeeded.
Such a detailed account of the Conclave which elected Camillo Borghese I have already written. And as on reading what I then wrote I do not find that I can better it, though doubtless it might be easily bettered, I may as well borrow the passage from the volume entitled "Paul the Pope and Paul the Friar," in which it first appeared.
On the 11th of May, 1605, fifty-nine cardinals went into Conclave. They were divided into no less than four principal parties. The strongest seemed to be that of Cardinal Aldobrandino, the nephew of the last Pope, and was composed of his uncle's "creatures." Of course there was also to a certain extent a natural bond of union and sympathy between the cardinals made by the same Pope; and they naturally gathered around the man who had held the place of favourite, cardinal nephew, and prime minister during the time of their promotion. But the great and all but unlimited power which was always enjoyed by a cardinal nephew rarely failed to excite against him an immense amount of enmity and jealousy among the other cardinals of the creation of preceding Popes. None in that position had ever possessed this authority to a greater degree, during at least the latter years of the pontificate of Clement VIII., than the Cardinal Aldobrandino, who was in many respects a very able man. The creatures of former Papacies were equally naturally banded together in the Conclave against him. The strength of Cardinal Aldobrandino's party in the present Conclave was estimated at twenty-six votes.
Next in force came the independent party of his opponents and enemies. They were chiefly under the influence and lead of the Cardinal Montalto, and counted twenty-one votes.
Then there were thirdly and fourthly the cardinals wholly in the interest of the Court of Spain, and those wholly in the interest of the Court of France. The total number of votes, as we have seen, was fifty-nine. Of these, forty-seven have been already accounted for; there remain twelve. And as the conclavist tells us, though without mentioning the numbers, that these two latter parties were of equal numerical strength, we must suppose them to have commanded six votes each; bearing in mind, however, that some of those who owed their primary allegiance to their leader in the Conclave were doubtless also attached by preference either to the Spanish or the French interest. The action of the two great Catholic Powers in the Conclave generally was exerted to secure the exclusion of certain possible candidates especially obnoxious to them. And a much smaller number of devoted adherents, of course, sufficed to attain this object, than would have availed to secure the election of any given individual. The number of votes necessary to make an election in the Conclave in question was, it will be observed, forty, that being the nearest possible approach to the requisite majority of two-thirds.
It is clear, therefore, that, if all the members of the two strongest parties had remained obstinately true to their colours, no election could be effected, even if the strongest of them, that of Aldobrandino, could have united to itself all the voices commanded by both Spain and France—a consummation entirely out of the question, inasmuch as any candidate acceptable to the one Power would be precisely the one whom the other would be most desirous of excluding. But it is not to be imagined that there was ever any chance that all the adherents of a party should remain perfectly staunch and to be trusted by its chief. Too great a number of subsidiary motives influenced different individuals, in a vast variety of ways, for this to be possible. One man would wish a Pope of his party to be elected, but not this or that particular individual; and if such a result appeared probable he would desert his party to avert it, more especially as he could do so without detection, unless it so happened that the scrutiny in which he had done so turned out to be the successful and final one; for if the scrutiny of that voting resulted in no election, the papers containing the votes were burned without further examination. It will be readily imagined how tangled and vast a mass of hypocrisies, false promises, and cross purposes such a system, together with all the variety of motives and interests at work in those scarlet-hatted old heads, must have occasioned.
The first move in the Conclave was an attempt on the part of the allies—i.e. the creatures of Popes anterior to Clement VIII.—to elect Cardinal Saoli, one of their number. Cardinal Visconti, who belonged to Aldobrandino's camp, had lately, it was known, felt less well disposed towards his leader; and as Saoli was Visconti's mother's cousin, he was easily induced to enter warmly into the scheme for electing him, and he succeeded in drawing several of the Aldobrandino party with him. Moreover, San Marcello, another of Aldobrandino's friends, though adhering to him firmly in every other circumstance, had declared that he could not vote against Saoli, because that Cardinal's brother, when Doge of Genoa, had favoured the reception of the San Marcello family as patricians of that republic.
Aldobrandino, it must be observed, was very far from well at the time of entering into Conclave. It had been feared and hoped that he could not have joined it. He would not give up, however, and went in with the rest, but immediately retired to bed in his cell.
Under these circumstances the friends of Saoli thought