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was afterwards built (chap. xxix. pp. 4()9-470).

* This in 1857 was still the accepted theory.


whom he so dishked, and who was Grand Duchess
for four years, but not the second wife, wlio was
Grand Duchess for nine, and was the only person
whom throughout hfe he had loved, or who loved
him. But to Bianca it mattered nothing to what
obscurity her body was consigned ; for her memory
has lived on notwithstanding all Ferdinand's efforts
to obliterate it, while the accusations so freely
spread abroad against her have gradually shown
themselves to be untrue.

Bianca Capello was forty-four when she died.
Undoubtedly, notwithstanding all that can justly
be said on the other side, she was a woman wlio
deserved a better record than the distorted picture
of her which was handed down to posterity owing
to the insensate hatred entertained for her by the
brother of her husband who succeeded him as
Grand Duke. Regarding her one grave fault it
has been remarked that, " thrown while yet a mere
girl into temptation, distress, and danger, with a
warm heart and strong sensibility, her natural pro-
tector false, despicable, and utterly selfish, assailed
by unwonted hardsliip and suffering, reduced from
the splendour and refinement of exalted station to
perform the menial offices of a starving household,
with a youthful prince at her feet, and the ghnnner
of a throne in the distance, she finally sank under
temptation, and became — probably not all tliat her
enemies have described her. In an age of infidelity
she was at least faitliful to the Grand Duke, and
probably would have l)een faithrul to her liushand
had he taken any pains to keep her so."' liianca
Capello, in fact, shows herself as one in wlium

' Napier.

VOL. II. y



[chap. XXV.

throughout hfe love reigned supreme. And the
true essence of her character is seen in the girl who
abandoned all the grandeur and luxury belonging
to a Venetian noble's daughter for the man she
loved, and in the wife who felt that it " accorded
with her own wish to die with her lord," and when
she knew that he was dead had no desire to live
any longer.

The villa of Cafaggiolo. {From an eighteenth-century print.)


Born 1549. {Reigned lo87-1009.) Died 1009.

Ferdinand/ the fourth son of Cosimo I. and
Eleonora di Toledo, who had been made a cardinal
when he was fourteen, at the time of the death
of his mother and his brothers, Giovanni and
Garzia, was twenty-five years old when his father
died and his brother Francis succeeded to the
throne. He and Francis differed violently on every
subject ; it merely required that a proposal should
emanate from one of them for it to be opposed by
the other ; and after a time they kept altogetlier
apart. During the thirteen years of his brother's
reign Ferdinand resided entirely at Rome, where
he became a strong power at the Vatican. Thougli
a cardinal, he never took holy orders. Fierce,
haughty, bold, and independent, and at the head
of a powerful faction in the Curia, he feared no
l*ope whatever. On one occasion he witlistood
even the ferocious and tyrannical Sixtus \^. on
the subject of wearing arms and armour in the
Vatican, which he, Ferdinand de' Medici, declined
to a})andon.

' I'late LXX. 'Iliere are many portraits of FonliiiaiKl. Imt tlie
best is this one painted at Rome while lie was still a canliiial, l>y
Alessaiidro Allori.


340 FEIIDINAND I. ['"ap.

At another time he by his boldness and resource
saved the hfe of his friend, Cardinal Farnese. The
latter had been condemned by Sixtus V. to be
executed, and the hour for his execution fixed. But
Ferdinand put on all the clocks in the Vatican
by one hour, and then boldly facing the Pope
petitioned for Farnese's pardon, and practically
forced the Pope to grant it, the latter, however,
only doing so because he thought that the hour
for Farnese's execution was already past. Then
Ferdinand stopped the execution on the authority
he had extracted from the Pope, and his friend's
life was saved.

Art At Rome Ferdinand signalised him-
coiiections. ^^^ jj^ |-^,q ways. He showed much

capacity in the administration of ecclesiastical
affairs, being notable in particular as the founder
of the great missionary establishment, the Propa-
ganda ; and he was still more distinguished as
a great collector of the works of classic art.
It was a time in Rome when the greater
part of the collections of sculpture of the classic
age which had been unearthed and gathered
together in the Vatican by Popes Julius II.,
Leo X., Clement VII., and Paul III., had been
scattered by subsequent Popes who cared nothing
about art ; ^ and in Ferdinand's time the Popes
had not yet begun again to take any interest
in such things.- Ferdinand, on the other hand,

1 Especially was this the case in regard to Pius V. (1565-1572), who
deliberately got rid of the art collections of the Vatican.

2 The great collection of sculpture which now forms the chief
possession of the ^'atican was practically begun, nearly a hundred
years later, by Pope Clement XIV. (1709-1775.)


IKUDINAM) r., KOI HTII S(l\ ul l(l"■I^I^ I.. IS 111- liltl— • A^ A 'AIIMINAI. ll^:ll>Ul: III:

iti:( AMI-; (.HASH in m:.
\W AU' Allori.

/j,„r// " [I'Uti (•oNtiI.


inheriting the snme tastes as liis ancestors, pur-
chased eagerly all such works which he could
obtain, and became the chief collector of the time
in Rome. He built the celebrated V^illa Medici at
Rome, and there he collected an immense number
of the most priceless works of Greek and Roman
sculpture. These included the Venus de Medici
(found in the villa of Hadrian at Tivoli), the
group of Niobe ^ and her children (found near the
Porta San Paolo in 1,583), the Dancing Faun^ the
Wrestlers, the Knife-whetter, the A poll i no, and
many statues of classic times, busts of Roman
emperors, and other works of antiquity, which were
all subsequently removed by degrees to Florence
by him or his successors, and now adorn the stair-
cases and corridors of the Ufhzi Gallery. Thus
Ferdinand, before he was Grand Duke, purchased
out of his own private funds the six best examples
of Greek art which Florence possesses ; and, except
the Apollo Belvedere, the Laocoon, and the Torso
of Hercides, the best which were at that time
known. As regards the Venus (which being
purchased by Ferdinand immediately it was found
henceforth received his family name) it is too
much the fashion to decry its excellence, solely
because a former generation erred in the opposite
direction. It has been said that this statue cannot
be understood at a single \isit ; while Byron's well-
known words aljout it remain as true as ever. Of
the ApoUino Shelley said that it was " like a spirit
even in dreams."

' "O Niobe, con che occhi doIcTiti

Vctlev' io te, sofrn.iti in su la strada,
Tra sette e sette tuoi tifjliuoli .s|K'nti."

— Daiite, Purgatorio, xii. 37-

342 FET^DTNAND T. [f^nAP.

Ferdinand was thirty-eight years old when his
brotlier Francis died. As the latter left no son
Ferdinand resigned his cardinal's rank (together
with a good prospect of being the next Pope), and
succeeded his brother as Grand Duke of Tuscany.
His conduct with reference to Bianca Capello is
not to be looked upon as a true indication of his
character, but rather as a monomania on that
particular point. His whole conduct during the
long period of twenty-two years that he was Grand
Duke (and as such a mark for the searching hostile
criticism of those who watched for any cause of
offence in the head of this family) showed him to
be a man of high character whose life gave no
cause of offence to any. Two Medici Grand Dukes
preceded him, and four followed him, but he was
superior to them all ; for though his achievements,
great as they were, did not equal those of his father
Cosimo, this high character and exemplary conduct
more than restored the balance.

On ascending the throne Ferdinand reversed
the previously existing foreign policy of siding
with Spain, and began to establish relations with
France, thus returning to Tuscany's older policy.
Unlike Francis, he had always been on friendly
terms with Catherine de' Medici ; and before the
year 1587 was ended he had arranged with her
that her favourite granddaughter, Christine of
Lorraine, then twenty-two, should be given to
him in marriage. This was, however, for some
little time delayed, first by the sudden death
of Christine's father, the Duke of Lorraine, and
then by the disturbances in France. Nor did the

xxvi] HIS MARRIAGE 343

marriage appear a very propitious one ; rumours
were rife at the French court whicli dechu-ed that
the proposed bridegroom was the murderer of his
brother and sister-in-law ; while in the existing
condition of France it was thought unsafe for
Christine at present to take the journey. For
it was a troubled time. Spain's great Armada
was about to sail to attack England, and Spain
was laying plans to obtain possession of French
ports ; while in France civil war was raging, the
League being in possession of Paris, and the King
(Henry III.), with the States-General, having to
take refuge at Blois. Ferdinand sent an embassy,
headed by Orazio Rucellai, to escort Cln-istine to
Florence, but they had to remain at Blois until
March 1589 before it was safe for her to travel ;
and during this time much occurred. In July 1588
the Armada made its attack on England, and in
a fortnight was entirely destroyed. Meanwhile
Catherine de' JNledici was evidently dying, and
Christine could not leave her. In December the
murder at Blois of the Duke of Guise threw all
the court into confusion and terror. On the
5th January 1589 Catherine de' JNIedici died,
Christine being with her to the last ; and in March
the latter started from Blois on a sonicwliat
melancholy journey, all the court being sorry to
lose one who was universally liked, and she herself
being very sad at bidding good-bye to France.
She was accompanied for a long distance from
Blois by a brilliant cavalcade, including Henry HI.
himself, who showed her great affection at parting.
At Marseilles she and her escort found llie Hct I

344 FERDINAND I. [chap.

which had been waiting there for her for months ;
and in due course she arrived at Florence.

The marriage festivities at Florence lasted a
month, and were on the most splendid scale.

" Florence resembled the city of a fairy tale
rather than the sober habitation of common
men. In the courtyard of the Palace the storm-
ing of a Turkish fortress was represented with
inimitable talent. A magnificent tournament
followed, and this was succeeded by a sumptuous
banquet ; but after the guests had refreshed them-
selves they found that the courtyard of the Palace
had been converted into a mimic sea, and a spirited
naval combat ensued, and made the walls re-echo
to its thunders." ^

Christine Christine of Lorraine made Ferdinand
of Lorraine, ^u excellent wifc. On the death of her
mother she had been adopted by her grandmother,
Catherine de' Medici, and entirely brought up by
her,^ and is described on her arrival at Florence as
" full of grace, vivacity, and spirit." She survived
her husband, Ferdinand I., for twenty-seven years,
her son, Cosimo II., for sixteen years, and was
appointed by the latter Regent of Tuscany during
the long minority of his son, Ferdinand II. She
was thus the leading social influence at Florence
during the greater part of three reigns and for so
long a period as fifty years. Though not possessed
of much ability, she was a thoroughly good woman,
and she completely reformed the court of Tuscany ;
henceforth no ground was given for the fabrica-

^ Galluzzi. Lib. v. cap. i.

2 For tlie dom y given her by Catherine de' Medici on her marriagej
see chap, xxviii. p. 395,


tion of dark tales of crime such as that wliicli
the atmosphere of the court had afforded in the
reigns of Cosimo I. and Francis I.; and this one
important work done by Christine of Lorraine,
and made permanent through the excellent bring-
ing up which she gave her son Cosimo II., is
sufficient to render lier worthy of the utmost
praise. One other thing Christine effected. For
by showing herself all that she was in this respect,
she did an important service to one who had loved
her, whom she had loved, and to whom she owed
all her training. For nothing could better vindi-
cate the character of Catherine de' Medici than
the results which her training produced in the
granddaughter whom she had brouglit up. In
the portrait of Christine in the Uffizi Gallery,^
taken a year or two after her marriage, she wears
her court dress and has her crown by her side ;
the crown is large and heavily jewelled, and has,
below the Florentine lily, two figures supporting
a shield ; her dress is of a peculiar shape, the
lower part of the sleeve being removable and
fastened witli large buttons to the upper part or
cape ; and this pattern of dress is to be seen in
several other portraits of ladies of this time in the
Uffizi Gallery. In another portrait of her, taken
about the same time, she wears the same shaped
dress, and the crown by lier side is a small light
one having on it only the Florentine lily. In the
case of the Medici, not only each (irand Duke,-
but each Grand Duchess also, was buried wearing
her own crown, an entirely tVesh one being made for
her successor. In her portrait each Grand Duchess

> Plate LXXI. " See chiip. xxiv. p. .^00.

346 FERDINAND I. [chap.

is pjiinted with her crown by her side, always
heavily jewelled, and each has a different one.

Ferdinand I. reigned over Tuscany for twenty-
two years. The crest and motto which he chose
on cominsf to the throne — a swarm of bees with the
motto Majestate tantum^ by which he intended to
signify that his rule should be just and temperate,
enabling the people to gather wealth as bees do
honey — was faithfully acted up to by him ; and
while his marriage restored order and morality to
the court, his various reforms revived Tuscany
from the state of mal-administration into which
it had fallen under Francis. He had a profound
veneration for all the acts and opinions of his
father; but the bold spirit which he had shown
as a cardinal did not continue to appear in his
career as Grand Duke, and he often quailed before
the Jesuits, which order, recognised by Pope Paul
III. in 1543, had in only forty years gained entire
domination over the Papacy. On beginning to
reign Ferdinand pardoned all who had opposed
him, and removed all restrictions as to where
Florentines might reside. He put an end to the
corruption which had invaded the courts of justice,
assisted commerce by many wise fiscal reforms,
and gave his entire attention to State affairs and
measures for the welfare of the country. Among
many other useful works with this object he suc-
cessftiUy accomplished for the time ^ the draining of
the \^al di Chiana, which had been an engineering

^ " By dig-nity alone " (not force, understood).

- It was not, however, until two hundred years later, under the
Austrian Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, that the great difficulties of this
engineering problem were finally overcome.

ri.AlK I.XXI.


difficulty for generations ; he brought under culti\ a-
tion the plains of Pisa, Fucecchio, and tlie \^al di
Nievole ; and he gave Pisa water connnunication
with Leghorn, by means of the canal of the
Naviglio, into w^hich a portion of the water of the
Arno was turned.

But Ferdinand's greatest achieve- Founding
ment was the creation of Leghorn ; for °^ Leghorn.
it was he who practically created that port through
the particular measure which made it so remark-
able a success. His father Cosimo had begun
the conversion of this small fishing village into
an important harbour, but had not had time to
proceed far with the project ; the one good work of
Francis had been the continuation of his fatlier's
plans in this respect, but though he advanced them
to some extent, by far the greater part of the
work still remained to be done when Ferdinand
came to the throne. The latter took this matter
up vigorously, and it became his chief interest ;
harbours were laid out and excavated, fortifications
planned and thrown up, and sound fiscal regula-
tions made to attract commerce to the new port.
But these arrangements alone would not have
amounted to more than had often been carried
out in other cases without any startling results.
To them, however, Ferdinand added a measure
which in its broad-mindedness was entirely in
advance of the ideas of his age. He pul)lishcd a
decree (which from I^eghorn's Italian name of
I^ivorno he called the Livornina) by which it
was ruled that in the new port there should l)e
universal toleration, thus making it an asylum of

348 FERDINAND T. [chap.

i-efiigc for tlic persecuted of all relif^ions and nation-
alities ; Protestants flying from France and Spain,
Roman Catholics flying from England, Flemings
flying from Alva's atrocities in the Netlierlands,
persecuted Jews from all countries, were all alike
welcomed and protected at Leghorn, and found a
safe refuge there ; while to the Jews Ferdinand gave
also a special charter to protect them from persecu-
tion by Tuscans. The result of this broad-minded
policy was that Leghorn went up with a bound,
and before Ferdinand's reign of twenty-two years
was ended had risen from an insignificant fish-
ing village into the leading commercial port of
Italy after Genoa. Montesquieu, speaking of this
achievement, calls Leghorn "the masterpiece of
the dynasty of the Medici." The latter could,
however, point to greater achievements than this
one (both before and after it), important as it was.
Ferdinand also largely increased the Tuscan
navy, and the latter, led by the knights of Santo
Stefano, gained much honour in the Mediterranean,
both by victories over the Turks, and by sweep-
ing from the seas the fierce pirates of Barbary
who were a formidable obstacle to all maritime
commerce. Towards the end of Ferdinand's reign
the war-galleys of the knights of Santo Stefano
were in 1607 sent to attack Bona, on the coast
of Barbary, the headquarters of the corsairs ; the
place was fiercely defended by the latter, but the
knights took it by an assault in which they
displayed unexampled bravery. In the follow-
ing year the same galleys achieved a still more
brilliant victory over the Turks, attacking and
completely defeating the much stronger Turkish


fleet, capturing nine of their vessels, seven luindrcd
prisoners, and a store of jewels valued at 2,0{)0,00()
ducats. This victory was the final success which
closed a long series of similar contests, and placed
the Tuscan fleet at the head of naval affairs
in the Mediterranean. In the Sala del 15aroccio
in the Uffizi Gallery is to be seen a talkie of
Florentine jy/^^7'rt dura, executed for Ferdinand, in
the centre of which is a representation of the har-
bour of Leghorn, with vessels of all nations float-
ing on a sea of lapis - lazuli, and among them
a squadron of six galleys of the Tuscan fleet
bringing into the harbour two captured Turkisli

In his foreign policy Ferdinand continued to
increase those close relations with France wliich he
had begun by his marriage. Six montlis after
Christine of Lorraine left Blois Henry III. was
assassinated, and there followed four years of
war in France, during which Henry of Navarre
(Henry IV.) was contending for his kingdom
against the League, which was assisted l)y Spain.
Ferdinand supported his claims and pro\ idcd him
with money, undeterred by the opposition of
Spain and the League, wlio were appalled at the
prospect of a Protestant succeeding to tlic tlu-one
of France, and were determined to prevent it at
all costs. And it was practically Ferdinand ulio
at length placed Henry IV. on the French tliionc.
The revenue of tlie Grand Duke of Tuscany Nvas
at this period equal to, if not greater than, tlie
entire revenue of France; and the sums which
Ferdinand lent Henry to enable him to continue
the contest were enormous. Great trains of

350 FERDINAND I. [chap.

waggons containing specie, and escorted by large
bodies of cavalry and infantry, were continually
being sent from Florence to Henry in France.
After a four years' struggle, seeing that Henry
would never gain that throne as a Protestant,
Ferdinand urged him to accept the Roman Catholic
faith ; he smoothed matters over for him with the
Fope, and eventually Henry in 1593 renounced
Protestantism, was through Ferdinand's strenu-
ous endeavours acknowledged as King by Pope
Clement VIII.,^ and in March 1594 at last gained
possession of Paris. This was followed in 1598
by the death of Philip II. of Spain, which had the
effect of still further cementing Ferdinand's close
friendship with France ; and in the following year
the latter was able to arrange a marriage which
bound Henry IV. still closer to him.

Marie de Ferdinand's niece Maria, Francis's second
Medici (1). surviving daughter, had been a girl of
fourteen when her father and stepmother died and
her uncle succeeded to the throne. She was given
a home by the latter, and was now twenty-six, the
same age as the Grand Duchess Christine ; while
for one cause or another various proposals for her
marriage had one after another fallen through. At
length, however, upon Henry IV. and ^Marguerite
of Valois being divorced by mutual consent,
Ferdinand succeeded in arranging that Maria
should be married to Henry IV. The marriage
which thus placed a Medici for the second time

1 Pope Sixtus V. died in 1590. He was followed in rapid succession
by Urban VII. (1590), Gregory XIV. (1590-1591), Innocent IX. (1591-
1592), and Clement MIL (1592-1605).


on the throne of France was performed by proxy
in Florence in October 1600; and a few days
afterwards JNIaria set out on her journey, the Grand
Duchess accompanying her as far as Marseilles.
She had an immense dowry ; great as that of
Catherine de' ^Icdici had been, Maria's was even
greater ; and Sully said that no former Queen had
ever brought to France such a marriage portion.
As Queen of France, Maria (or, as she was always
called in France, ^larie de Medici) proved lierself
a decided contrast to her predecessor. Her blonde
hair and creamy-white complexion — that beauty
which inspired Rubens — at first charmed Henry IV.
until he found out how devoid she was of brains.
She was good-natured, and was a moral woman
in a most immoral time, but, unlike most of
her family, she was entirely wanting in humour,
wit, or intelligence, being in this respect remark-
ably inferior to her sister Eleonora, Duchess of
JNlantua. Henry I\''. gave her every inducement
to show all her worst points. His infidelities were
numerous, and INIarie was not inclined to pass
these over without resentment. Henry looked on
the matter in another light; he wrote to Sully.
" Our little disagreements ought never to outlast
twenty-four hours," and complained of Marie tliat
when she was offended she " took five days over
it." She also objected to his illegitimate cliildrcn
being educated with the Princes and Frincesses,
and to being forced by Henry to address one of
the former as "my son." Under these conditions
the court of France became a scene of constant
dissensions ; tlic quarrels, rivalries, and battlcs-royal
which disturbed the palace were incessant, and

352 FERDINAND 1. [chap.

Henry's great Minister, the Duke of Sully, was
constantly called away from affairs of State to
pacify the storms in the royal household. Right
was entirely on Marie's side, but she did not adopt
the best means of fighting her battle. Once in
Sully's presence her wrath was so great that she
was about to strike the King, when the Minister
was only just in time to dash her hand aside.
" Madame," he cried, " are you mad ? Do you not
know he could have your head off in half an hour ? "
But Marie's quality of good-nature was of value
to her. Richelieu writes : —

"A storm was scarcely over before the King,
delighting in the fine weather, treated the Queen
with such sweetness that since that great Prince's
death I have often heard her rejoice over the
memory of her life with him."

In Marie's portrait in the Uffizi Gallery,^ painted
not long after her marriage, her dress is very
magnificent. Marie de Medici spent more on

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