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to get himself accepted among the Italians as an Italian, the latter would always consider him as a German. It is added that, even if he could have succeeded in causing it to be forgotten that he was an Ultramontane (sic), he would still have been a cardinal named by Spain, which came to the same thing as far as exclusion from the Papacy went.
The Papacy of Paul V. was so long an one—over fifteen years—and that of Gregory XV. so short—less than two years and a half—that although Gregory was the last, and Paul only the last but one, the "creatures" of Paul were still more numerous in the College than those of Gregory. The historian of the Conclave intimates that the Paoline cardinals were not only the more numerous, but the more conspicuous for merit and weight. And he enumerates no less than eleven who were considered papabili. Barberini is one of them. The other ten names are now as unknown as his also would have been, had he not been the one among them elected Pope; and it would be tedious to go over all the grounds of objection to each one of them, which the conclavist, who seems to have been most perfectly master of all the public and private history of every member of the College, assigns at length. "We must content ourselves with noting what he and others tells us of the winner in the race.
The Barberini were Florentines, who had thriven as merchant adventurers at Ancona. Maffeo, a scion of the family, born in 1568, was taken to Eome, where an uncle had risen to a certain position in some one of the administrative departments of the Apostolic Court. The young Maffeo had an opening made for him in the same career, and soon gave evidence of possessing considerable talent and industry. It was remarked that whatever work was given him to do was better done, than that entrusted to any of his colleagues. He rose rapidly, and eventually had the way to the highest honour opened to him by being sent as legate to France. Here his tact and judgment succeeded in accomplishing the difficult task of impressing the Eoman world with a high idea of his zeal for the advancement of the interests of the Church, while at the same time he rendered himself acceptable to the French Court. Paul V. gave him the purple, and at the death of Gregory, the French party in the Conclave at once conceived the idea of bringing about his elevation to the Papacy. In truth he was the man for the time. As far removed from a Leo X. or from an Alexander VI. as he was from a Paul IV. or a Pius V., he was well adapted for the purposes of the period, when the Head of the Church was taking his place in the European system as—not the Vicegerent of Heaven entrusted with the supremacy over all other monarchs—but one of the crowned heads who had to manage the affairs of Europe among them. Clement VIII., as Eanke remarks, was ordinarily found occupying his leisure with the works of St. Bernard, and Paul V. with those of the Venetian lawyer Giustiniani; but on Barberini's table might be seen the last new poems, and the drawings and plans of fortifications. It would have been well, at least for the finances of the Apostolic Chamber, if he had among his other worldly knowledge possessed a somewhat more trustworthy estimate of the proportion his own power as a sovereign bore to that of the monarchs his contemporaries. The fortress which he caused to be built on the frontier of the Bologna district, and called Urbano, might more appropriately have been called "Barberini's folly;" and the sums he expended in fortifying the Castle of St. Angelo might as usefully have been thrown into the Tiber.
Maffeo Barberini had contrived in France to conciliate objects and interests somewhat incompatible—in gaining the favour of the French monarch and the French statesmen, and at the same time acquiring at Rome a reputation for zeal for the pretensions of the Church. And if what is told of his management of his affairs in the Conclave be true, he would seem to have availed himself then of the same order of ability. It has been said that the ultimate and the penultimate cardinal nephews, the Borghese and the Ludovisi, were at chronic enmity; and it is said that the clever Cardinal Maffeo found the means of persuading each of them that the other was his especial aversion!
The cardinals deemed papabili of the creatures of Gregory XV. (the Ludovisi party) were three in number, Gaetani, Sacrato, and San Severino. The first was a man of literary tastes and habits, and had had much experience in the business of courts. It is curious to find that the main objection to his election was the fact that he was a Eoman baron. The time had been when that circumstance would have told in his favour. It was also against him that the Borghese, Paul V., and all the family, had been much discontented with his conduct as nuncio in Spain, where, instead of obtaining the rank of Spanish, grandee for a Borghese, as Paul had expected of him, he had done so for his own relative the Duke of Sermoneta. Further than that, he had purposely, as was believed, kept from the knowledge of Paul the fact that the Duke of Lerma had fallen into disgrace with Philip III. of Spain, and had thus caused the Pope to create him a cardinal, which he would not have done had the truth been made known to him. These were faults which none of the Borghese faction were likely to forget or to forgive! The second, Cardinal Socrati, was considered to be too young; for "though his boldness might have led to his being supposed to be older, it was known that he was little more than fifty years old." Besides that, he had never been liked by Paul V., and was therefore now opposed by the Borghese faction. The third, San Severino, though unobjectionable in all other respects, was strongly opposed by the Spanish party.
At the beginning of the Conclave it was calculated that Borghese could command twenty-four votes—not enough to make an election, but abundantly sufficient to exclude any nomination they might unite in opposing. But it soon became apparent that Borghese could not count with any security on the allegiance of all those who were deemed to belong to his party. It had been, the historian of the Conclave tells us, the constant object and effort of Cardinal Ludovisi, during the whole time of the Papacy of his uncle, to secretly detach from their party the friends of the Borghese interest; and it became evident that an unknown number of those in the Conclave could not be depended on. The Paolinc party was, moreover, stricken by a great misfortune in the very heat of the battle. Their leader, the Cardinal Borghese, was smitten by illness. It was July, and the malaria from the low-lying meadows around the Castle St. Angelo laid its benumbing hand on him! He took to his bed in his cell, and it was thought that he must have quitted the Conclave. The Gregorian or Ludovisian party were in the highest spirits, and thought themselves sure of the victory as soon as Borghese should be no longer present to overawe and hold together the body of his adherents. But he too understood but too well all that was likely to be the consequence of his absence, and determined to struggle on, dragging himself from his bed from time to time as the progress of the struggle rendered it necessary, or the alternating cold and hot fits of the fever rendered it possible for him to do so. Day by day his struggles and his sufferings were marked by hostile and calculating eyes, and day by day the conviction grew that, if he would not die at the stake, he must give up and leave the pestiferous air of the Conclave.
What! succumb! he at the head of such a body of cardinals as no cardinal nephew had ever yet come into Conclave with, and live to see Ludovico Ludovisi create a Pope! Not if he died for it! So still he struggled on. Day after day he was at his post in the Sistine Chapel, though looking as if he must have died on the benches of it. And the Ludovisians began to lose hope. If the fever would but kill him at once! But it would not! That is not Malaria's modus operandi, and it was evident that Borghese would strike to no force less than that of death!