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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 Y. 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 bom at Bologna, of which see he was archbishop, of a noble and, I am told, very ancient, but not illustrious, family. His age is sixty-four or five. He is somewhat below the ordinary height, stout, and of a good strong constitution, with a round full face, a jovial air, and a genial kindly physiognomy. His character is open, good-humoured, and easy; his tone of mind gay and cheerful; his conversation agreeable; his tongue very free, and his talk often licentious; but his moral conduct and habitudes pure and perfectly regular. He managed his diocese of Bologna with infinite charity and to the edification of all. But it will be absolutely necessary that he should get rid of his habit of using phrases fitted rather for the guard-room than the Papal throne."
Sixteen Conclaves have taken place since that which elected Clement X. in 1670—a period which may be taken as marking the commencement in the Conclaves of Louis XIV. modes of thought and behaviour.
There were three more within the seventeenth century: 1st., that which elected the Odeschalchi, with whom the reader has made some acquaintance in the last Conclave, as Innocent XI., in 1676, who was not more than sixty-four when elected, and who governed the Church for nearly twelve years, with a more happy combination of the piety of a bishop with the wisdom of a good temporal ruler than any other Pontiff, at least in modern time, if not in the whole list of the Popes; 2nd., that which elected Ottoboni of Venice, as Alexander VIII., in 1689, who reigned little more than a year; and 3rd., that which elected Pignatelli of Naples, as Innocent XII., in 1691, whose reign of little more than nine years completed the century. He died in 1700.
There were eight Conclaves in the eighteenth century, the last of the eighteenth century Popes again closing his reign with the close of the century. These were:—
1st. Albani of Urbino, elected as Clement IX. in 1700, who reigned a little more than twenty years.
2nd. Conti, a Eoman, elected as Innocent XIII. in 1721, who reigned not quite three years.
3rd. Orsini, a Eoman, elected as Benedict XIII. in 1724, who reigned nearly six years.
4th. Corsini, a Florentine, elected as Clement XII. in 1730, who reigned nine years and a half.
5th. Lambertini of Bologna, Voltaire's well-known correspondent, elected as Benedict XIV. in 1740, as we have seen, who reigned somewhat less than eighteen years.
6th. Kezzonico, a Venetian, elected as Clement XIII. in 1758, who reigned ten years and a half.
7th. Ganganelli, a Komagnolo, elected as Clement XIV. in 1769, who reigned five years and four months.
8th. Braschi, a Eomagnolo, elected as Pius VI. in 1775, who reigned twenty-four years and eight months.
In this nineteenth century there have been five Conclaves :—
1st. That which elected Chiaramonti, a Eomagnolo and a native of the same small town from which his predecessor Pius VI. had come (Cesena), as Pius VII., in 1800, who reigned nearly twenty-three years and a half.
2nd. Della Genga, born at the place of that name, the manor of his family, near Fabriano, in Umbria, elected as Leo XII. in 1823, who reigned five years and four months.
3rd. Saverio, born at Cingoli, elected as Pius VIII. in 1829, who reigned twenty months.
4th. Capellari of Belluno, elected as Gregory XVI. in 1831, who reigned over fifteen years.
5th. Mastai of Sinigallia, elected as Pius IX. in 1846, who has, up to this present time of writing, reigned over thirty years, the only Pope in all the two hundred and sixty-two occupants of the Holy See who has overpassed the quarter of a century, which is the traditional limit of the incumbency of St. Peter!
It is impossible, as I have said, and as the reader can very well see for himself, to attempt any account within the limits of this volume of these Conclaves. It may be said of them generally, that more and more they approached the nature of arrangements a Vaimable. If the passions of ambition, jealousy, greed, and the love of power were by no means extinguished, they were constrained by the decencies of modern manners to show themselves less openly, to moderate their violence, and to veil themselves beneath a courteous phraseology, and at least a theoretical devotion to the objects which ought to be those for which cardinals and Conclaves exist. The Popes become less and less high-handed and despotic. The cardinals, if they have still much to hope from the man they agree to set over them, have much less to fear from him, and less motive to be swayed by those considerations of saving themselves from enmities