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provided with money.

Under such auspices, Philip II. hesitated no longer
to engage earnestly in French affairs. His troops
advanced into Brittany, and took possession of
Toulouse and Montpelier. He thought he had pe-
culiar claims on some provinces ; in others he had
formed, by means of capuchin friars, an intimate
alliance with the leading commanders ; to others
he had received the most urgent invitation as " the
sole defender of the orthodox against the hugue-
nots." The Parisians too invited him. Meanwhile
the Piedmontese attacked Provence, and the papal
army joined that of the League in Verdun. It
was an universal movement of the powers of Spain
and Italy, for the purpose of dragging France by
force into the same high catholic direction which
prevailed in those countries. The treasures which
pope Sixtus had collected with so much labour,
and husbanded with so much care, were now of
great assistance to the Spaniards. After Gregory
XIV. had taken out of the castle of St. Angelo
the funds to the employment of wdiich no condi-
tions were attached, he seized upon those which
were most strictly tied up. He was of opinion that
a more pressing necessity could never assail the

Considering the decision with which these mea-
sures were undertaken, the prudence of the king,
the wealth of the pope, and the inliuence which


their united dignity and station had upon France,
it can hardly be calculated what might have been
the results which this twofold politico-religious
ambition might have produced, had not Gregory
XIV. died in the midst of his enterprises. He had
sat on the papal throne only ten months and ten
days, and had produced such vast alterations, —
what might he not have effected if he had re-
tained this power for some years ? It was the
greatest loss which the League and the Spaniards
could sustain.

The Spaniards, it is true, once more ruled the
conclave. They had again nominated seven can-
didates*, and one of these, Giovan- Antonio Fachi-
netto, — Innocent IX. — was elected. He too was,
so far as could be judged, inclined to the Spanish
cause ; at least he sent money to the League ; and
the manuscript document is extant in which he
urges Alessandro Farnese to hasten his armament,
to advance into France, and invest Rouen, which
that general executed with so much skill and suc-
cess f. But the misfortune was, that Innocent IX.,
like his predecessors, was old and feeble; he scarcely

* In the Histoire des Conclaves, i. 251, we read, " Les Espa-
gnols vouloient retablir leur reputation." This, however, is a
mistranslation. In the MS. which is the foundation of this book.
Conclave di Innocenzio IX. (InfF. Politt.) we find, " per non
perder la racquistata autorita," which corresponds to the actual
state of affairs.

t According to Davila, Historia delle Guerre civili di Francia
XII., p. 763, Innocent does not appear to have been so entirely
in favour of the League ; but the above-mentioned letter (given
in Cayct, p. 356,) removes all doubts.


ever left liis bed, and even gave audience there ;
from the dying couch of an old man who had lost
all power of moving, went forth exhortations to
war, which set France, nay Europe, in agitation.
Scarcely had Innocent possessed the papal see two
months, when he too died.

And thus w^ere the election struggles of the con-
clave a fourth time renewed : they were now the
more important, since these incessant changes had
strongly impressed the conviction that what was
wanted above all, was a vigorous man, who gave
promise of long life. The decision which w^as
taken now, would therefore be definitive and last-
ing. This conclave was an important point in the
history of the world.


Amidst the prosperous advancement of their
interests at Rome during the latter years, the Spa-
niards had at length succeeded in gaining over
Montalto. His family had bought land in the Nea-
politan territory. Whilst Montalto promised no
longer to resist the king's will, the king promised
him in return not absolutely to exclude all the crea-
tures of Sixtus V. A sort of compact was thus
made between them, and the Spaniards delayed
no longer to bring about the election of the man
from w^iom they might anticipate the most active
co-operation in the French war.

§ v.] OF CLEMENT VIII. 235

Of all the cardinals, Santorio, who had the title
of Sail Severina, might be regarded as the most
zealous catholic. Even in his youth he had fought
out many a battle with the protestants at Naples ;
in his autobiography, which is extant in MS., he de-
signates the massacre of St. Bartholomew as " the
celebrated day of St. Bartholomew, most joyful to
the catholics* ;" he had always professed the most
violent opinions ; he was the leading member in the
congregation for French affairs, and had long been
the soul of the inquisition ; he was still in the prime
of life and in good health.

This was the man whom the Spaniards wished
to/ invest with the highest spiritual dignity; one
more devoted to their cause it would have been im-
possible to find. Olivarez too had prepared every-
thing f, nor did there seem a doubt remaining ; out
of fifty-two votes, thirty-six were favourable, — just
sufficient to decide the election, for which two-
thirds are always necessary. Accordingly, the
morning after the close of the conclave, the cardi-
nals proceeded to the formal act of election. Mont-
alto and Madruzzi, the leaders of the united fac-
tions, fetched Sanseverina from his cell, which,
according to custom, was immediately stripped by
the servants ; thirty-six cardinals attended him to

* He speaks of the " giusto sdegno del re Carlo IX. di gloriosa
memoria in quel celebre giorno di S. Bartolommeo lietissimo a'

t Conclave di demente VIII. : MS. " II conte dl Olivarez, fedele
et inseparabile amico di S. Severina, aveva prima di partire di
Roma per il governo di Sicilia tutto preordinato."


the Paoline chapel ; ah'eady he was entreated to
pardon his enemies, and had declared that he would
forgive all, and as the first mark of his placahle
disposition, would assume the name of Clement.
Kingdoms and peoples were then recommended to
his care and protection.

Meanwhile one circumstance had been lost sight
of. Sanseverina was esteemed so austere that
everybody feared him.

Hence it happened that many had resisted all
attempts to win them over to his cause ; young
cardinals, and old personal antagonists, assembled
in the Sistine chapel; when all collected, they were,
it is true, only sixteen in number ; and as they
wanted one more vote to give them the power of
exclusion, many showed a disposition to submit to
what seemed inevitable, and to acknowledge San-
severina ; the experienced Altemps had, however,
sufficient influence on them to induce them still to
make a stand. They had more confidence in his
judgement than in their own.

And in fact the same antipathy by which they
were actuated, had its effect on those who had given
their word to Sanseverina, very many of whom re-
jected him in their hearts. They had conformed
to the wishes of the king and of Montalto, but they
only waited an opportunity to desert. At the en-
trance into the chapel used for the elections, there
was a disturbance, an agitation, wholly unwonted
in similar cases, when the choice was already de-
cided. The tellers began to count the votes, but
seemed reluctant to finish ; even Sanseverina's own

§ v.] OF CLEMENT VIII. 237

fellow-countrymen threw obstacles in the way*.
There wanted only a man who would break ground ;
who would give utterance to the thoughts which
so many entertained. At length Ascanio Colonna
took courage to do this. He belonged to the Roman
barons, who beyond all other men feared the in-
quisitorial severity of Sanseverina. He exclaimed,
" I see that God will not have Sanseverina, neither
will Ascanio Colonna." So saying he quitted the
Paoline chapel, and joined the opposition in the

This accessio>n gave them the majority. A secret
scrutiny was granted. There were some who would
n^ver have dared openly to retract the votes they
had promised, but who did so as soon as they
knew that their names would remain concealed.
When the lists were opened, there were found only
thirty votes for the nominee.

Sanseverina had come in the certainty of his
election ; he imagined himself already in possession
of that fulness of spiritual power which he estimated
so highly, and had so often defended ; he had passed
seven hours between the fulfilment of his loftiest
desires and the prospect of an ever-enduring feeling
ofhumiUationand abasement, — between sovereign-
ty and subjection, — as if between life and death : at
length his fate was decided ; despoiled of his hopes,
he went back to his dismantled cell. " The next
night," says he in his autobiography, " was more

* Besides the account of this matter in printed and MS. Con-
claves, we have S. Scverina's own narrative, which I shall insert.
in the Appendix.


painful to me than any moment I ever endured.
The lieavy grief of my soul and my inward an-
guish forced from me — incredible to say — a bloody

He knew the nature of a conclave too well to
indulge in any further hope. On a subsequent oc-
casion his friends put him forward again, but with-
out a chance of success.

His rejection was a loss too to the Spaniards. The
king had named five cardinals, and had not been
able to carry the election of one of them. It was
now necessary to proceed to the sixth, who had
been designated as supernumerary by the Spa-

The king, rather to please his ally Montalto,
than of his own motion, had also named cardinal
Aldobrandino, a creature of Sixtus V., whom he
himself had rejected a year before. To him they
now recurred, as the only one whose election was
possible. He was, as we have intimated, agreeable
to Montalto ; the Spaniards could say nothing
against him, as he had been put in nomination
among themselves ; nor was he unwelcome to the
others, being rather generally beloved. He was
therefore elected with little opposition on the 20th
January, 1592. He took the name of Clement

The result of this compromise to the Spaniards is
curious enough. They had gained over Montalto
to their side, for the purpose of bringing in one of
themselves ; and now it was precisely this alliance
which compelled them to lend their aid to place a

§ v.] OF CLEMENT VIII. 239

friend of Montalto, a creature of Sixtus V., on the

We may remark, that from this moment an al-
teration in the course of papal elections took place,
which may be regarded as not unimportant. For
a long time men of opposite factions had invariably
succeeded each other. The same had recently oc-
curred ; thrice had the creatures of Sixtus V. been
forced to retire from the contest ; the elected had,
however, enjoyed but a very transitory power, and
had been unable to form any strong party; deaths,
funerals, and new conclaves had followed each
other in rapid succession. The first who once
more ascended the papal chair in the full vigour of
life, was Clement VIII. ; and the consequence was,
a government conducted by the same party and
enjoying a long tenure of power.

The universal attention was now directed to the
questions, who the new pontiff was, and what was
to be expected from him.

Clement VIII. was born in exile. His father,
Salvestro Aldobrandino, of a considerable family of
Florence, but a violent and active enemy of the
house of Medici, was driven into exile on the final
success of that house in the year 1 53 1 , and had
been compelled to seek his fortune in foreign parts*.

* Varchi, Storia Fiorentiiia, iii. 42. 61. Mazzuchelli, Scrit-
tori d' Italia, i. i. p. 392, contains as usual a most elaborate and
instructive article under his name ; it is not however comjilete.
Amongst other things, he omits to mention his proceedings at
Venice, a fact with which Joh. Delfino begins his relation in a
manner that leaves no doubt as to its truth : " Silvestro Aldo-


He was a doctor of law^ and had formerly given
lectures at Pisa ; we next find him at Venice, where
he took part in a reform of the Venetian statutes,
and in an edition of the institutes ; then in Fer-
rara or Urbino, in the council and tribunals of
the duke ; but longest in the service of some car-
dinal, and deputed in his place to conduct the ad-
ministration of law or of government in one of
the cities of the ecclesiastical states. But his
chief distinction, perhaps, is, that in the midst of
this unsettled life, he found means to educate
live admirable sons. The eldest, Giovanni, who
was called the steersman of the family, appears to
have had the greatest talents ; he led the way, and
in the career of judicial dignities, rose in 1.570 to
the cardinalate ; had his life been prolonged, it was
thought that he might have aspired to the tiara.
Bernardo was a distinguished armourer : Tommaso
a good philologist ; his translation of Diogenes La-
ertius has been frequently reprinted. Pietro was
esteemed an eminent practical lawyer. The youngest,
Ippolyto, born in the year 153G at Fano*, at first
caused his father some anxiety ; he feared that he
should not be able to give him an education worthy
of his talents. But cardinal Alessandro Farnese
took the boy under his protection, and gave him a

brandini ne' temjii della ribellione di Firenze cacciato da quella
citta se ne veime qui, riformo li nostri statuti e rivcdde Ic leggi
et ordini della republica."

* In tbe " Libro di battesmo della parochia cattedralc di Fano,"
is the following entry : " A di 4 Marzo 1536 fu battezato un putto
di M'" Salvestro, che fu luogotcncnte qui : hebbe nome Ippolyto."

^ v.] OF CLEMENT VIII. 241

yearly allowance out of the revenues of his bishop-
ric of Spoleto ; after which the rising fortunes of
his brothers naturally led to his advancement.
He obtained first the prelacy, then his eldest bro-
ther's place in the court of the Rota ; lastly, Sixtus
V. created him cardinal, and sent him as nuncio
to Poland. Here he formed a sort of connexion
with the house of Austria, every member of which
felt as an obligation the successful efforts of the
cardinal to free the archduke Maximilian from the
captivity in which he was held by the Poles, and
the discretion and address with which he had em-
ployed his authority for that purpose. When Phi-
lip n. determined to nominate one of the creatures
oi Sixtus V. as supernumerary candidate, this was
his reason for preferring Aldobrandino. Thus did
the son of a homeless fugitive, whose parents had
once feared that he would have to pass his life in
the drudgery of a clerk, rise to the highest dignity
of catholic Christendom.

It is impossible to contemplate without pleasure
the monument in the Chiesa delta Minerva at Rome,
which Salvestro Aldobrandino erected to the mother
of so noble a band of sons ; — " to his dear wife
Lisa, of the house of Deti, with whom he had lived
for seven and thirty years in harmony."

The new pope brought to his office all that acti-
vity peculiar to a family which has struggled with
difficulties. He held his sittings in the morning,
and his audiences in the afternoon*; all reports

* Bentivoglio, Memorie, i. p. 54, gives an account of his
manner of passing a week.

VOL. II. . R


were received and looked over ; all despatches read
and discussed ; legal arguments were sought out,
ancient precedents collated ; and not unfrequently
the pope showed himself better informed than the
refendaries who brought the matter before him; he
worked as assiduously as when he was auditor of
the Rota ; nor did he devote less attention to the
details of internal administration and to personal af-
fairs, than to the politics of Europe, or the great in-
terests of the church. People asked in what he took
pleasure *" ? In everything or nothing, was the reply.
Nor with all this attention to secular business,
had he to reproach himself with the smallest neglect
of his spiritual duties. He confessed every evening
to Baronius ; every morning he celebrated mass
himself ; at noon, at least during the first year of
his pontificate, twelve poor men always dined with
him, and the pleasures of the table were utterly
unknown to him. On Fridays and Saturdays he
fasted. If he had worked hard the whole week, his
recreation on the Sunday was to send for some
pious monks, or the fathers of the Vallicella, and
converse with them on deep theological questions.
He thus raised to an extraordinary pitch the repu-

* Relatione al card' d' Este, 1599. MS. Fosc. According to
this he carries on war like Julius II., he builds like Sixtus V., he
reforms like Pius V., and withal seasons his conversation with
wit. Then follows this description : " Di complession flemmatico
e sanguigno, ma con qualche mistura di colera, di corporatura
carnoso e grasso, di costumi gravi e modesti, di maniera dolce
et afFabile, nel moto tardo, nelle attioni circonspetto, nell' esecu-
tioni cuntatore ; quando non risolve, premedita. — E tenace del
secreto, cupo nei pensieri, industrioso nel tirarli al fine,"

§ v.] OF CLEMENT VIII. 243

tation he had always enjoyed for virtue, piety, and
exemplary life. He knew this, and he washed it.
It was this reputation which enhanced his con-
sideration as sovereign-pastor of the church.

In every particular this pope acted with enlight-
ened prudence. He was fond of w^ork ; his nature
was one of those w^hich borrows fresh vigour from
toil ; but he did not pursue it with such ardour as
to neglect to season labour wnth regular exercise*.
Thus too he could fly into a rage, and be violent
and bitter ; yet wdien he saw that the object of his
anger w^as mute before the majesty of the papacy,
or perhaps expressed by his countenance dissent
and displeasure, he recollected himself, and tried
to atone for his irritation. He wished that nothing
should be perceptible in him but what was becom-
ing, and in harmony with the idea of a good, wise,
and pious manf.

Preceding popes had thought themselves exalted
above all law, and had sought to convert the ad-
ministration of the highest of all offices into the
means of gratifying selfish and sensual desires ;

* Venier, Relatione di Roma, 1601. " La gotta molto meno
che per 1' inanzi li da molestia al presente per la sua bona regola
di viver, nel quale da certo tempo in qua precede con grandis-
sima riserva, e con notabile astinenza nel here ; che le giova anco
moltissimo a non dar fomento alia grassezza, alia quale e molto
inclinata la sua complessione, usando anco per questo di frequen-
tare 1' esercitio di caminar longamente sempre che senza sconcio
de' negozi conosce di poterlo fare, ai quali nondimeno jjer la sua
gran capacita supplisce."

t Delfino: " Siva conoscendo certo che in tutte le cose si move
S. S*^ con gran zelo dell' onor di Dio e con gran desiderio del
ben publico."



this the spirit of the times of which we are treating
would no longer permit. Personal character or
inclinations were now compelled to yield, and to
conform ; the man was lost in the office ; nor
could any one either obtain or administer that
office, without a demeanor befitting the ideal of a
head of the church.

It is obvious that this change enormously en-
hanced the strength of the papacy. Human in-
stitutions are strong only so long as their spirit
animates the living possessors of the power which
thev create and confer.


Public curiosity was now universally excited as
to the manner in which this pope, so full of talent,
activity, and energy, and moreover of such blame-
less life, would treat the most momentous question
of Europe, — the state of France.

Should he, like his immediate predecessors, at-
tach himself unconditionally to Spain ? He was
neither bound to this by any of the previous cir-
cumstances of his life, nor led to it by inclination.
It did not escape him that the Spanish domination
might become oppressive to the papacy, and more
particularly injurious to its political independence.

Or should he take part with Henry IV. ? It is
true, that king made demonstrations of an intention
to become a catholic ; but promises of this kind

§ VI.] OF HENRY IV. 245

were more easily made than fulfilled ; he was still
a Protestant, and Clement VIII. probably feared to
be deceived.

We saw how Sixtus vacillated between these two
possibilities, and what evils and perplexities arose
out of his indecision. The zealous party was still
as strong as ever in Rome, and the new pope could
not brave their enmity or their opposition. In the
midst of the difficulties which thus pressed upon
him from every side, he was cautious never to com-
mit himself in words, nor to awaken slumbering ani-
mosities. It is only from his acts^ his conduct, that
we can gradually infer his inclinations and opinions.
^, When he came into power the papal see had a
legate in France, who was generally regarded as a
partisan of Spain, and an army destined to oppose
Henry IV.; it also furnished subsidies to the League.
These were circumstances in which the new pope
could effect no change. Had he offered to stop his
subsidies, to withdraw his army, or to recall his
legate, he would have endangered his reputation
for orthodoxy ; he would have exposed himself to
more bitter animosities than pope Sixtus had expe-
rienced. But he was far from adding force or acti-
vity to the efforts already made in favour of the
League ; he rather gradually availed himself of
every favourable opportunity to moderate and re-
strain them.

But he very soon found himself called upon to
take a step of a more unequivocal character. In the
year 1592, Henry IV. had sent cardinal Gondi to
Italy, with instructions to proceed to Rome. The


king daily leaned more and more to Catholicism ; but
it appears that his view was rather to become recon-
ciled to the catholic church by means of a sort of
treaty effected by the mediation of Tuscany and
Venice, than by submission. And was not even
such a reconciliation very desirable for the pope ?
"Was not the return of the king to the bosom of the
church a great gain, in whatever way it might be
brought about ? Nevertheless Clement deemed it
necessary not to entertain the negotiation, nor to
receive Gondi. The presence of Luxemburg, he
remembered, had been productive of very unplea-
sant consequences to Sixtus V., without any profit-
able result. He accordingly sent a monk, Fra Fran-
ceschi, to Florence, where the cardinal had already
arrived, to announce to him that he would not be
received in Rome. The pope was well pleased that
the cardinal, and even the grand-duke, complained;
he wished that his refusal should excite attention and
discussion. This was how^ever only one side of the
affair ; it could not be the pope's intention to irri-
tate the king, nor to repel all advances towards a
reconciliation. In the Venetian reports it accord-
ingly appears, that Fra Franceschi annexed to his
official announcement, a note, to the effect that he
believed that the cardinal would be received priva-
tim and in secret*. It seems probable that Gondi

* Dispaccio Donate, 23 Ott. 1592, from a statement made to
the Florentine ambassador, Niccolini. Fra Franceschi's declara-
tion was, " Che crede che il papa 1' admetteria, ma che vuole le-
vare li cattolici fuori di dubio et ogni ombra che admettendolo
riceve ambasceria di Navarra."

$ VI.] OF HENRY IV. 247

did actually go to Rome ; the pope is reported to
have said to him, that he must knock at his door
more than once. It is at least certain that an
agent of Gondi repaired to Rome, ar^ after several
conferences, declared to the Venetian ambassador
that he had every reason to entertain hope, and to
be satisfied* ; more he was not at liberty to say.
In a word, the open estrangement was accompanied
by secret advances, Clement VIII. wished neither
to offend the Spaniards nor to repulse Henry IV. ;
and his conduct was calculated to accompUsh both
his ends.

Meanwhile a new and far more important ques-
tion had presented itself.

In the January of 1593, all the members of the
estates of France belonging to the party of the
League, met to proceed to the election of a new

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