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matter involving considerable interests, occupying whole classes, and producing a standing excitement. The gambling propensities prevalent amongst Italians seized upon the conflicting elements offered by a Conclave to reduce them into a series of chances on which to stake. The shopkeepers and merchants of Rome entered into the game with a passion which resembled onr modern habits of speculation in stock. As soon as ever a Pope had breathed his last, Banchi Vecchii, and Nuovi-streets still bearing these names, and running from the small square in front of the bridge of St. Angelo–became an improvised Exchange, where the rival chances of candidates were publicly quoted and eagerly discounted, amidst commotion that commonly was attended with riot. This locality was the Fleet Street of Rome. Here resided the chief merchants, especially the goldsmiths, from whom the quarter derived its name; for in Rome, as elsewhere, the goldsmiths did business as money-brokers and bankers, figuring as the natural agents and go-betweens in all money operations.” The Bull of Pius IV. was not sufficient to arrest the betting propensities of the inhabitants of the Banchi; and in spite of Papal fulminations, the chances of an election were still made the subject of wagers that led to frequent breaches of the peace. Amongst the many valuable papers preserved in the Gaetani archives, there is one which is singularly illustrative of what used to occur in this quarter. It is the report by the Duke of Sermoneta, who in the interregnum of 1590 was the Lieutenant of the Holy Church, of the circumstances that led to a murderous scuffle between his own soldiers on guard in the Banchi and a patrol of the city shirri. By right the Banchi lay within the bounds of the Bargello's authority, but at the request of the shopkeepers the Lieutenant had posted a watch of soldiers in this street. Here he had refused, it was said by mistake, to let pass a round
of Sbirri, whereupon the Bargello had hurried in person to the spot to assert his authority, but the soldiers laughed to scorn his pretensions, and a scuffle ensued, with a discharge of firearms, which killed several individuals. The Bargello beat a retreat into the palace of the Governor of Rome, while the Duke, who happened to be standing at the Castle gate when the tumult occurred, hastened across the bridge to appease it, and draw off into the Borgo his riotous soldiers. In his report he then recommends measures to prevent the recurrence of such scenes, and states the cause that lay at their bottom: ‘I have sent,” he writes, ‘another company to be in guard at the Banchi; but it may be deemed advisable, on account of what has happened, to remove altogether this post from there, as the brokers and dealers wish and ask for the same only because it affords them protection for laying their wagers, and they are the parties who sow dissensions between soldiers and Sbirri. . . . If this guard were taken away from the Banchi, the Bargello would then be able to pass there freely, and thus a stop would be put to these wagers, from which proceed all these riots.” Now-a-days this mode of making a Papal election subserve the general love for play has been superseded by the system of the lottery; and whereas: formerly heads were often broken in the o excitement caused by the daily rise and fall in the rival chances of favourite Cardinals, the population of Rome at pres. ent during an interregnum satisfies its gambling passion by peacefully playing on combinations of numbers formed out of the ages of Cardinals, or any other circumstances connected with their individualities which human ingenuity may be able to translate into a cabalistic expression.*
* When Benvenuto Cellini plied his calling in Rome he had his workshop in this locality; and it was while sitting in it—probably a dark vaulted
chamber in the ground-floor of a palazzo, with an
arch on the street to serve at once as door and window, such as are many shops in the older portions of Rome—that he was affronted by the insulting gestures of the goldsmith Pompeo, who, swaggering down the street, and infected with the licentious spirit of an interregnum season—for this happened when the Cardinals had just entered Conclave, --drew up opposite Benvenuto's shop, and insolently flouted the hot-blooded Florentine, until, unable any longer to check his passion, he bounded out after Pompeo, and stabbed him to the heart for his sauciness.--See Cellini's Autobiography, book i chapter xv.
* It is proverbial that in Italy nothing is sacred from conversion into some reduction into numbers that are made available for the lottery. It is not the public alone, but the Conscript Fathers of the Church themselves, who during Conclave time con trive to indulge their gambling passions in numbers that are considered to represent the mystical operations of the Holy Ghost. Stendhal, who gives a very capital account of the Conclave in 1829 in his Promenades dans Rome, has a good story of his witnessing some inmate of the Conclave playing in the lottery through the wheel which serves for conveying meals in: “Just as after the inspection of two or three dinners all this kitchenwork bored us,’ he writes, and we were on the point to withdraw, we saw a ticket come through the turning-wheel from within the Conclave, with the numbers 17 and 25 thereon, and the request to put it in the lottery. These numbers might signify that in the morning's balloting the Cardinal occupying apartment 25 had 17 votes, or any other combination. These numbers were faithfully handed over to a servant of Cardinal P−.”
' A Bull of Clement xII. (1730–40), impregnated with the spirit of economy, abolished, together with a number of offices, the Governorship of the Leonine city. The reforming hand of the age, quickened by the prickings of inexorable penury, has been successfully engaged in paring down the oldfashioned lavishness of even arch con-servative Rome. At present the peace of the
Popeless city is left entirely to the care of
Monsignor Governatore, who with drilled gendarmes in modern plight has superseded the once rival powers and fantastic archers of the Church's Lieutenant and the civic Bargello, ruling Rome during an interregnum by the same grim intervention of prowling police that is ordinarily busy in its streets when an actual Pope resides in the Vatican. One vestige alone still figures of the peculiar powers which started into existence at the beck of necessities now happily vanished. It is to be found in the pomp and parade that attend the Marshal of the Conclave-an officer who is a member of the great Roman aristocracy, and whose professed duty is to be the jailer of the assembled Cardinals, having it on his conscience to keep them tightly shut off from contact with the outer world. In reality, this dignity is now become an appanage of the Chigi family, though, in strictness, not hereditary, the office being conferred afresh for life on each new head of the house. The origin of the creation dates from the troubled period of Gregory x.'s elevation (1271). Innocent vi. (1352–62) bestowed the office on the member of the great Savelli family, which from father to son retained it until in 1712 this house became extinct, having held the dignity always by the same tenure by which it now descends in the Chigis, on whom it was conferred at this period. Once the authority attached to this office was very considerable, and not confined only to the season of interregnum, for the Marshal possessed jurisdiction over all lay members of the Pontifical Court, who were tried before his special tribunal, the Corte Savella, and lodged in his special prison. That privilege came to an end under Innocent x. (1644–55) in whose edict of suppression the grave abuses prevalent in that Court, and the scandalous state of the prisons, are especially alluded to as rendering reform indispensable. In spite of these curtailments of his powers, the Marshal retains all the outward display of high rank, and figures during a Conclave as second in precedence only to the Camerlengo. The essence of his importance has indeed much waned; about the only real exercise of authority which he may yet be called upon to put in practice being the legitimate dis
tribution of pass-medals, which the Marshal is entitled to get coined in silver and gold. Nevertheless, in the ceremonial pageant of Rome, this dignitary makes a prominent show, although his splendour has not escaped the paring action of that spirit of reduction which has been in the ascendant of late. The Diario di Roma of the day gives a glowing description of the sumptuous magnificence displayed by the first Marshal of the Chigi family on his first appearance in this capacity after the death of Clement XI. in 1721:—
“Before his palace in Piazza Colonna there was drawn up his company of hundred men . enlisted and clothed in blue cloth at the Prince's own cost, together with their officers. Then there went to attend his Excellency a company of fish-venders, clothed in gala, in white and blue calico, and white feathers in the hats, with borders, after which come a troop of rosarymakers, and then another from the quarter of La Regola, and these going in a body before the great standards with his Excellency's arms, marched along the whole Strada Papale to St. Peter's, and mounted guard at the Prince's own apartment, which is at the great staircase of the Vatican Basilica.’
During a conclave, the Marshal still takes up his quarters in the building where it meets, and just outside the barriers that shut in the Cardinals, to watch over whose strict confinement, and to inspect the unimpeachable nature of the articles passed through the turning-wheels for the admission of really indispensable objects, constitute the only duties he still has any pretension to perform. The thrifty spirit of Clement xIII. (1758–69) included the gay bands of retainers amongst the items suppressed by his reforming Bull, so that now the Prince-Marshal has a less ostentatious, but also a less costly guard, furnished by a contingent of Papal regulars.
It would be tedious to recount the prescriptive ceremonial for each of the nine days of preparation before entering Conclave. The first three are more particularly devoted to the obsequies of the Pope, which take place always at St. Peter's—the chapel of the Pontifical residence, and are marked by many striking rites, full of obscure symbolism, and quaint mementoes of obsolete customs. Stendhal, who was in Rome at the death of Leo XII., and curiously followed the ceremonies of the interregnum, gives in his Promenades an excellent account of what is still practised:—
‘To-day the obsequies of the Pope began at St. Peter's,” he writes, ‘and we were there from eleven in the forenoon. The Pope's catafalque has been raised in the Chapel of the Choir, surrounded by the noble Guards in their handsome scarlet uniforms. The body of the
Pope is not yet there. Before the catafalque a high mass was read. It was Cardinal Pacca who officiated as sub-dean of the Sacred College.
. After mass, the Cardinals withdrew to govern the state; their sitting took place in the chapter-hall of St. Peter's. . While the Cardinals were busy governing, the clergy of St. Peter's went to fetch the body of Leo XII. in the chapel where it was exposed ; the Miserere being chanted. The corpse having been borne into the Chapel of the Choir, the Cardimals returned. The corpse was splendidly robed in white; with great state was it placed, in strict conformity to a very intricate ceremonial, within a shroud of purple silk, ornamented with embroidery and gold fringe. In the coffin were three bags filled with medals, and a parchment scroll, wherein was the history of the Pope's life. The curtains of the great gate of the chapel were drawn, but some favoured foreigners were clandestinely smuggled into the singers' tribune.'
Stendhal adds the remark, ‘that a wellfounded spirit of suspicion pervades everything that happens on a Pope's demise; for the poor deceased has no relatives around him, and those charged with providing a successor might possibly bury a Pope alive.' The deathbeds of many Popes have indeed witnessed shocking scenes of destitution and abandonment, coupled with outrageously indecent treatment of the corpse. What can be more lurid in its effects than the sacrilegious brawl, by torchlight, over the dead body of Alexander vi. (1504), between drunken soldiers and priests, within the hallowed area of St. Peter's, just before the very altar, as it is drily described by Burckhardt – By four beggars was the corpse borne into St. Peter's, the clergy, according to custom, preceding, and the canons walking
by the side of the bier, which being set in the
midst of the church, they stood awaiting the Non intres in Judicium to be said, but the book could not be found, wherefore the clergy began singing , the response Libera Domine. While this chanting was going on in church, some soldiers of the palace guard laid hold of and snatched the torches from the clerks, whereupon the clergy defended themselves with the torches in their hands, and the soldiers made use of their weapons, so that the clergy becoming frightened, rushed in a body into the sacristy, leaving off their chant, and the Pope's corpse remaining by itself. I and some others took up the bier and carried it before the high altar.” Happily there is no record of any other scandal of equal magnitude, but yet the funerals of many Popes have been attended by circumstances of a painful nature, in glaring contrast with the eminent rank of the individual who was being borne to his grave.
By the ninth day everything requisite for
proceeding to business must have been arranged, and the Conclave must be ready to receive its inmates, and these must have been selected. For a Conclave comprises a population all locked up in attendance upon the possible wants of their immured Eminences. It would take a page to give a list of all the different classes of functionaries and servants who have to share the privileges of this imprisonment, from the Maggiordomo to the Father Confessor, and from the Head Physician down to the Barbers and Carpenters and Sweepers. All these classes are carefully indicated in grave Papal rescripts, as also the exact number in each which it is allowable for a Conclave to contain; the nomination always resting with the general congregation of Cardinals, except in the case of the Conclavists who are private secretaries to the Cardinals, and therefore selected by their patrons within specified limitations. These Conclavists have often played a most important part in Papal elections, many of which have owed their issue to the adroit practices of these subaltern agents. The position of a Conclavist is therefore confidential and influential.” Each Cardinal may be accompanied by two, who must neither be engaged in trade, nor the stewards of princes, nor lords of a temporal jurisdiction, nor the brothers or nephews of their patron Cardinal, in whose household they must have been domiciled for a twelvemonth before. The feeling of jealous precaution which is plainly dominant in all these regulations, has caused their conditions to be carefully observed. In 1758 Cardinal Malvezzi attempted to smuggle in a favourite Canon Bolognini, and underwent the mortification of seeing him denied admission by the Sacred College, on the ground of his not having been a bond fide member of the Cardinal's household for the prescribed pe: riod, and its being therefore apprehended that he had been elected for the purpose of serving as the instrument to promote particular influences. On this occasion another curious exclusion was witnessed. The appointment of Physician-in-Chief was about
* The obligation of secrecy is as incumbent in law on the Conclavists and officials as on the Cardinals. In 1829 the violation thereof was visited with public expulsion and imprisonment. ‘A Conclavist (I believe the one of Cardinal Ruffo Scilla) and a porter (fachino), writes the Modenese Envoy Ceccopieri, “have been expulsed and put in prison, for having, in defiance of the oath of secrecy by which all are bound when setting foot in Conclave, caused it to be distinctly known that Cardinal de Gregorio would be chosen in ten days' time, an election which, however, went off in smoke, through Cardinal Albani's entrance."—Bianchi, Diplomazia Europea in Italia, vol. ii. p. 430.
being conferred on a Dr. Guattani, who is specially mentioned to have been a practitioner of renown, when Cardinal York expressed his father's hope that the Sacred College, in deference to his royal wish, would not make this nomination—a wish which was accordingly acceded to.” The Conclavists constituted and still constitute a corporation conscious of power, and invested with recognised privileges. They have in .fact acquired the substantial position which useful subalterns always do acquire. From an early period they appear to have been in the receipt of considerable gratuities which they stoutly exacted, and finally reduced to a legalised tariff. Amongst themselves they fixed a formal code of regulations in reference to perquisites, to which every Conclavist was bound to adhere, although such stipulations were distinctly contrary to Papal Bulls. It was an established abuse that the cell of the newly-elected Pope should be sacked by the Conclavists, each man carrying off what booty he was lucky enough to secure. This monstrous perquisite was once subjected to reform by the Conclavists meeting on the 13th March 1513 in the Sistine Chapel, and discussing the point as if it were the most canonical right. The determination arrived at is preserved in a very business-like procès-verbal, given in full by Moroni, just as if it had been a legal document, instead of the expression of triumphant license. It was ruled that in lieu of the Pope's cell being offered up to common plander, it should be the perquisite of his Conclavist on payment by the latter to his colleagues of 1500 ducats in gold, for which these became bound bodily to each other. But a custom of old date, however illegitimate, is not abolished at a blow; and the Conclavists continued their tumultuous and extortionate proceedings without alteration, in after Conclaves. In 1555 the Cardinals selected Marcellus II., and of his election we have an amusing narrative by the Conclavist Dionigi Atanagi, a Conclavist of more than ordinary audacity —for he ventured on what was little short of sacrilege, in hiding behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel, when all but Cardinals should have left it, and peeping thence upon the very mysteries of the sacred vote which constitutes a Pope. On this occasion the
Conclavists, who appear to have been, all through, more than usually overbearing, chose eight of their number as “defenders to secure the observance of their privileges, which are many.’ At one time Cardinal Cervini was thought likely to be elected, but this Prelate was not popular, especially with the gentlemen-Conclavists, who, we are told, accordingly contrived to put a stop to his election by secretly causing the report of its probability to circulate through Rome in a degree that acted in the wished-for manner upon the Cardinals' nerves, who then fixed on Marcellus. “Then,’ writes Atanagi, ‘we all went out of the ehapel and accompanied the Pope to his apartment, which he found sacked by the Conclavists, so that he was forced to go into that of Cardinal Montepulciano; at the same time the gates of the Conclave were burst open, and a crowd rushed in. Had it not been for Master Ascanio della Cornia the whole Conclave was in danger of being gutted.’ On another occasion the slyness of the Conclavist Torres all but deprived Pius IV. (1559) of his election. Torres was in attendance on Cardinal Cueva. Clandestinely he canvassed one night the Cardinals, speaking to each man singly as if he did so only to himself. His language was that it would be gratifying as well as proper that Cueva, who, he said, could not be elected, should have the honour of the testimony of respect involved in the vote of the particular Cardinal whom he was addressing. The vote, he averred, would be a barren but yet a pleasing distinction. By such representations, cunningly addressed singly to each Cardinal, Torres had actually got thirty-two votes out of the thirty-four in Conclave, and was inwardly chuckling over the astonishment which would follow on the opening of the ballot-box, when the trick is said to have been defeated by Cardinal Capo di Ferro accidentally asking his neighbour for whom he was about to vote, and being told for Cueva, to pay him a compliment at Torres' suggestion. Still seventeen votes had already been given in his favour before the exposure of the trick. Down to the time of Alexander VII. (1655), the sacking of the newly-elected Pope's cell seems to have been the rule. It appears that its contents are now the perquisites of his Cameriere, an individual who stands in the position of familiar menial. The Conclavists are at present in the enjoyment of perquisites secured by Papal rescripts, conclusive evidence of the peculiar influence possessed by this body of men. Fifteen thousand scudi” are allotted as a fee after election, to be divided amongst the Conclavists, who besides are allowed the privilege of becoming full citizens in any town within the Pope's dominions, are admitted to the rank of nobility, and, if members of a religious order (every Cardinal must have one ecclesiastical Conclavist), are empowered to bequeath, by will, away from their brotherhood. It has been of late a not unfrequent topic of whispered talk in Rome, how far these prescribed nine days of preliminary ceremonial are obligatory, and night not be dis. pensed with by a timely fiat of the Pope. The idea is in fact entertained by persons deserving consideration, that in view of the extraordinary difficulties to which the Holy See is exposed, a Chirograph of the Pope is in actual existence, absolving the Cardimals from the obligation of observing the customary form of election, and empowering them to proceed to the nomination of a Pope coram cadaver. The report has an air of unlikeliness, but yet it is heard in serious whisper from lips not favourable to hasty gossip, and which persist in calmly affirming the existence of the document with the accent of conviction. There can be no question as to the strict competency in principle of the Pope to authorise such a grave departure from the custom of ages, by an individual act, without the formal concurrence of the Cardinals. There are precedents for similar proceedings. Adrian v. (1276), who reigned only a few days over a month, actually abrogated the great Bull of his predecessor Gregory x., and this repeal remained in force through six elections, until the scandalous consequences of the abolition of disciplinary provisions induced Celestine v. (1294), with his hermit nature, to revive the law of Gregory x. Still more in point would be what was done by Gregory XI. (1370). It was the time when the Holy See, for nearly three quarters of a century, had been pining in self-willed exile at Avig. non. It was felt by all devout minds that the situation into which the Church had got herself, through this step, was ruinous to her interests. The Pope himself, although a Frenchman, was fully alive to the fact that to save the Church it was indispensable to satisfy the outraged conscience of Christendom, by carrying back the Holy See to Rome. But to do this effectively it required an effort of force, for the Pope in those days was in the same plight as many of his successors, of being surrounded by a cabal of hostile interests, a network of opposing Court influences, in our times called a Camarilla. The Pope might himself flit, indeed, to Rome, and yet, with the individu
* What may have been the particular ground of complaint against Guattani we have not been able to learn. The Chevalier de St. George enjoyed in Rome all the privileges conceded to a sovereign, and as such recommended Cardinals for nomination; it was to him that Cardinal Tencin owed the red hat, according to the President de Brosses.
* About £3000.
als composing the Sacred College—in great proportion creatures of the French Crown, and the existing distribution of political interests, the same might be expected again to occur which already had occurred, that the transfer would be only for so long as the Pope lived. To secure a lasting re-establishment of the See in Rome, Gregory x. perceived it to be necessary to make, for once, a radical change in the value attached to specified forms in the machinery of Papal elections. By a Bull bearing date 19th March 1378, Gregory XI. at one stroke of the pen suspended every existing regulation on the subject of Papal elections, set the Cardinals free from the observance of any obligations they might have sworn to in accordance to prescription, and specially empowered them not merely to meet for election on his decease, whenever it might seem convenient, but to nominate by simple majority. This memorable exercise of Papal authority, constituting a true coup d'état, stands justified by the approving voice of all ecclesiastical authorities, who have accepted it, without, so far as we know, one observation conveying an insinuation of usurpation against this Pope for what he did on this occasion. He dealt with a special emergency, as the Council of Constance did, by the application of measures drawn from the inspiration of the moment, and fashioned without slavish deference for precedent; and in both cases the result proved the wisdom of such bold action. Indeed, if we believe a writer whose authority it is difficult to reject, the Papal records would furnish a yet more recent, and, in some respects, a yet more pointed precedent for the issue of an enactment such as Pius Ix. is supposed by some to have secretly made. When Pius vi. (1775–1799) was himself a state prisoner in the Certosa of Florence, he is said to have deposited with Monsignor Odescalchi, then Nuncio in that city, a Bull dispensing the Cardinals from the obligation. of meeting for Conclave in Rome, and suspending all existing prescriptions of form and ritual, for the express purpose of facilitating an accelerated election, at a season so pregnant with peril to the Church.” On the demise of Pius VI., a Cameriere of Monsignor Caracciolo—Maestro di Camera—is affirmed to have been despatched to the Cardinals in Venice and Naples to make them
* This story is given by Moroni in his voluminous Ecclesiastical Encyclopædia. This work, composed in Rome, with every possible assistance from the highest authorities, must be regarded as embodying the official views of the Court of Rome on all the subjects treated in its pages, and therefore is a composition of capital inportance.