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place on the throne the man that he, or it, most wished to place there. The necessity of a two-thirds majority, which makes, in Conclave language, exclusion so very much easier than inclusion—makes it, that is to say, so very much easier for any party in the Sacred College to say that such or such a man shall not be Pope than to secure the election of any individual—necessarily produces the result that has been mentioned. The election is always, at least as regards many if not most of the electors, of the nature of apis aller. It in some degree resembles the election of that officer to be general-inchief, who, as the story goes, was chosen by the secretly given second votes of all the voters. But in the case of the Conclave these second votes are not given till more or less overt tentatives have convinced the voter that the attainment of his first preference is hopeless.
Another characteristic of these elections and of the men engaged in them, which is curiously brought out by the stories of the Conclaves, is that the fear of enmity is more largely and widely influential than enmity itself. An elector will not vote for this or that "subject," because he is conscious of having at some former period of his life done something for which he takes it for granted that the individual in question must owe him a grudge. The candidate has never in any way expressed any feeling of the sort. But none the less does the man who is conscious of having injured or affronted him feel that it would be unsafe for him that that man should become Pope! It may well be that he himself would be capable of forgiving such an ill turn received from another, but he is utterly incapable of believing that another should so forget or forgive it! A very large and long experience of the Italians of all classes has shown the present writer many an honest man among them, but he never met with one who believed in the honesty of his fellows. Thus one reads again and again that Cardinal So-and-so might be counted on as a supporter of such a candidate, not because he, the candidate, had done some good thing to the voter, but because the latter, the voter, had in some way or other, and at some time or other, conferred a favour on the candidate! "I placed him under an obligation to me, therefore I can venture to contribute towards raising him to the throne."
It will be observed, further, that, as the years roll on, and we begin to approach modern times, the diversity of considerations which an elector has present to his mind, and must be in greater or lesser degree ruled by, become infinitely more numerous, and the weighing of them a more complex business. At the same time each one of these considerations is less all-important and paramount, less likely to drive the elector swayed by it to violent courses, more capable of being neutralised by antagonistic motives. The considerations belonging to the category, which may be denominated legitimate, are, equally with those of the opposite description, multiplied by the tendencies and complexities of modern life. Not only was the elector, whose object in the exercise of his privilege was the pushing of his own fortunes, the furthering of his own ambition, the gratification of his sentiments and passions, compelled to take a much wider and more detailed survey of all the circumstances of the lives around him than was the case in an earlier and simpler if less decorous age, but also he who was anxious to vote with a single-minded desire to promote the best interests of the Church had a no simpler matter before him. Father Bona is as holy a man as any the Church ever canonized. But what if his zeal for religious reformation should, by pulling the rein too tight, operate in the contrary direction? Cardinal Odeschalchi is a man of sound judgment as well as the most fervent and sincere piety. But what of that, if he is unversed in matters of State, and not likely to be able to hold his own against the encroachments of France and her highhanded sovereign? And it is not only a question of what one would, but of what one can do! Even if the man be found fitted in all respects for the manifold and heterogeneous necessities of the Church, is he one whom it will be possible to induce the electors to accept? And these are the difficulties that presented themselves to an entirely single-minded elector, either of the conscientious or unconscientious sort. How much more was the matter confused and complicated for those who were not single-minded in either direction. And this probably was the case, to a greater or lesser degree, with every man in the Conclave! It could hardly be otherwise, indeed, than that the business of electing a Pope should have been becoming ever more and more difficult!
The Conclave which resulted in the election of Clement X. was a specially long and difficult one. The moderation of the last Popes in the matter of nepotism tended very powerfully to complicate matters. In the old days of the Aldobrandini, the Borghesi, and the Ludovisi, each successive nephew and family had waged such a war to the knife against the previous one, that when a Conclave came the nephew of the last deceased Pope was the influential man in it, who was at the head of the largest following. But Innocent, who followed Urban the Barberini, had left no nephews. The nephew of Alexander VII., Cardinal Chigi, had exercised his power with such moderation that his recommendations had often had as much weight with Clement, Alexander's successor, as with that Pontiff himself. Of the Eospigliosi, during the short pontificate of their Pope, Clement IX., the same may be said. And it thus came to pass that Barberini, though three Popes had reigned during twenty-six years since the death of Urban VIIL, was still, perhaps, the most powerful man in the Conclave. And though, of course, the Cardinals Chigi and Eospigliosi were both at the head of parties, there was no such internecine enmity between them as to shut out possibilities, or even probabilities, of coalition and co-operation. These old enmities were softened and in some sort civilised, not, however, appeased entirely; for the President De Brosses in his letters written from Italy, in 1739-40, tells us of a Princess Albani, who used to say that people of Papal families died twice, once at the death of their uncle and once at their own natural demise.
It is probable, also, that on the occasion of the Conclave of which we are speaking, the season of the year at which it was held contributed to the. inordinate length of it. Their Eminences went into Conclave in December. There was, therefore, no malaria demon to
drive them to a decision by constant reminders of the probable results of tarrying long at their work. "We hear some talk about the severity of the season; and doubtless their Eminences would have passed the December days and nights more comfortably in their own palaces than in the fir-plank cells erected in the cold bleak halls of the Vatican. But a little discomfort is one thing, and a danger of death, greater than that of the soldier on the field of battle, is another! So the cardinals, perplexed by the embarras de richesse, offered by a Sacred College containing over twenty soggetti papabili, did not hurry themselves; and at the end of the first two months the Conclave had done nothing beyond convincing most of the heads of parties that no one of them was strong enough to secure the election of any one of the candidates who stood first or even second on their lists.
A detailed but very confused and ill-written narrative of this election of Clement X. has been left by some conclavist, who tells us that he has had a long experience of such matters, and has been shut up in many a Conclave, but confesses that all his practised knowledge of the subject has but very imperfectly enabled him to read all the riddles and disentangle all the cross-purposes in which this long Conclave was fertile. One thing, however, is abundantly clear from it, that despite all the bulls and threatened excommunications on the subject, and despite all the ostentatious and formal ceremonial pretending to secure the absolute isolation of the cardinals from the outside world, negotiations had been entered into and plans arranged for the coming election,