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anxious above all things for the restoration of this dominant order. It was by availing himself of the eagerness of these two parties, and being false to them both, that Braschi became Pius VI.

The Cardinal Rezzonico, his first patron, was the great advocate of the Jesuits;-and knowing the secret ambition and boldness of Braschi's character, privately proposed to use his great influence in raising him to the Pontificate, provided he would rescind the act of their suppression. The proposition was accepted; and their maneuvres were begun with all these refinements of duplicity which have so long distinguished the policy of Italian intriguers. The night before the Conclave was assembled, Braschi, by the advice of his patron, went secretly to the ambassadors of all the Catholic sovereigns then in Rome; and after frightening them with stories of Rezzonico's zeal for the Jesuits, which was sufficiently well known, and of the efforts he would make to get himself elected, assured them, that if they would give their aid and influence to himself, he would undertake for ever to defeat the schemes of Rezzonico and all his adherents. Their Excellencies knew too little of the real character of their visitor, to think this the most feasible way to effect the object in view; but had no hesitation in promising, that their veto and their influence should be employed in support of that party which was most able and willing to keep dowa the obnoxious order.

After the Conclave is once assembled, its members can hold no avowed communication with the external world, till the great work of election is concluded ;--nor is it easy to learn with precision what takes place during their long seclusion. It is known, however, that as the concurrence of a certain number is indispensably necessary, and all the suffrages are given in sealed writings, it is usual for the opposite parties mutually to try their strength, and to mask their own designs, or penetrate those of their opponents, by a long series of tentative or preparatory elections, in which the pretended favourites are always so multiplied, as that none shall have any chance of uniting the requisite number of voters, whils, at the same time, something may be learned or concealed by the different combinations which are exhibited in their results. These, which take place every morning, are denominated, pro forma, elections; and the votes given in them are said to be in honorem. Braschi, as an insignificant and unlikely person, at first received many of these contemptuous compliments. At last, Rezzonico begail to raise him to importance, by pretending to reveal to his own party the secret of his nocturnal visit and alarming engagements to the foreign ministers; and hinted, at the same time, that the only safe way to counteract him would be, to raise him, Rezzonico himself, to the envied dignity. The foreign Cardinals, seeing this strong verification of Braschi's private communication, and considering that he alone had pledged himself to keep down the Jesuits, inmediately offered him all their support to avert the impending danger; while Rezzonico was no sooner apprized of their accession, than he contrived, late at night, and after all danger of communication was over, to slip into the hands of his own partisans a circular, in which he informed them, that the ingratitude and perfidy of Braschi had disgusted even his corruptors, who were aware that they could never carry through the election of a man so abandoned; but that they had fixed upon another deserter from their party, whom he could not then venture to name, but on whom all their votes would be bestowed the morning following. To counteract this new plot, it was therefore necessary that they should act with caution ; and as Braschi would be abandoned by his new friends on the morrow, and would probably have no votes whatever, the safest course, in the mean time, would be for them all to give their suffrages to him.' The votes were accordingly given; and both parties, acting under this double delusion, were equally astonished, when, upon opening the seals, it appeared that Braschi had obtained his election. It is a worthy sequel to this edifying story, that he proved false to his friend Rezzonico, as well as to all the rest—and never took a single step towards the restoration of the beloved Jesuits.

As soon as the prize was within his reach, and indeed almost before, the mask of the decent Cardinal was dropped, and the bold and ambitious character of the Pope was disclosed. The night before his election, he occupied himself in writing two long letters, of the most beautiful penmanship ;-one addressed to his sister, instructing her what presents the family should make to the new Pope; the other to the Corporation of his native town of Cesena, giving the most minute directions for the fêtes they were to give on the elevation of their townsman-and even prescribing the colour and the pattern of the dresses in which certain poor children, who were to be endowed on the occasion, should appear in the procession. It may easily be i nagined how a spirit like his would enjoy the rage and surprise of the competitors who came to kneel to the new dignity they had thus unwittingly created, -and whom he never condescenced to raise from the painful prostration to which they had sunk themselves. From the first hour of his elevation, he asçuined the tone of an absolute prince; and ruled more independently of his Cardinals than any other Pope on record. At his coronation, they presented, according to custom, a heap of Max on a plate of silver, and, burning it before him, exclaimed, Sic transit gloria mundi ! A smile of contempt was all his comment on the lesson. When asked on what footing he wished his household to be established; instead of replying with the affected humility of his predecessors, he answered at once, On the footing of a Sovereign.' Since the disgraceful reign of Alexander VI. and the oppressive one of Adrian VI., no Pope had ventured to take a name to which the number six must attach. The well-known lines

Sextus Tarquinius, Sextus Nero, Sextus et iste,

Semper sub Sextis, perdita Roma fuitdeterred those who lived by superstition from so defying its terrors. But the new Pope despised all augury; and boldly took the appellation of Pius the Sixth-a boldness, of which it is amusing to learn, that he bitterly repented in the days of his disasters and decline. In the mean time, however, he was so little under the influence of those fears, that he scandalized the whole Catholic world by ascending the papal chair bareheaded, and with his hair gloriously powdered. The Popes, our readers must know, never wear wigs ;-but then there was a certain sanctified cap or bonnet, called the Papalina, which formed an indispensable part of their costume. Braschi had worn a wig while Cardinal, under which he had cunningly nou-rished his hair for this grand exhibition ;-and now appeared, without Papalina or any thing else, in the full frizz of a beau of Louis XV.'s court. His Holiness indeed, then in his fiftysixth year, was at all times a great admirer of his own beauty, and very fond of displaying it to advantage. His toilette, of course, was copied by all the gay Ecclesiastics; and the antient canons, which regulated the priestly vestments, fell into alarming


Those were follies, no doubt-and not the follies of a lofty nature. But it is not true that they were united in this instance with the vices that often attend them. Pius VI. was a coxcomb in his dress, but he was not profligate or licentious in his habits-nor is there any justice in ascribing to his supposed lenity towards vice, that general relaxation of private morality, of which the age in which he lived may so justly be accused. The truth is, that luxury, and the corruptions to which it gives birth, had by this time attained such a head in all the civilized parts of Europe, that to have affected to treat every case with rigour, would only have increased thre scandal, without diminishing the sin. The destruction of liberty, and the increase of commerce, had cooperated to produce this evil :-the former, by depriving the wealthy and noble of any other occupation or pursuit but that of pleasure; and the latter, by supplying, in increased abundance, the means of these gratifications. The evil, however, will ultimately work its own cure; and has already begun it--though in the roughest and most disastrous manner. The idleness and corruption of the great, thus deprived of all worthy political functions, make them at once despicable and odious in the eyes of the people; and they seek to punish and degrade them by sanguinary insurrections and insane projects of reform. The profligacy of the Regency, and the reign of Louis XV., was the true efficient cause of the French Revolution; -

-- and Pius VI., by preventing the disclosure of similar iniquities among the Roman dignitaries, must be considered as having retarded, rather than accelerated, a similar catastrophe in Italy. It may be right, however, to explain upon what these imputations were founded.

There have long been at Rome two magistrates called the Vicario and the Viceregcnte, who exercise the office of censors, and have power to call before them all individuals of either sex whose conduct gives occasion to scandal. In a country governed by men who are not allowed to marry, it is easy to conceive that such officers must have something to do--and Pius judged rightly that the public discussion of such matters must do more harm than good to society. He knew also, that the powers of these censors were often shamefully abused. He felt, in short, that the institution was no longer suitable to the age and certainly did what he could to abate the activity both of this tribunal and of the Inquisition. The zealots and the purists abused him for this laxity :-But he might have answered with Solon, that he gave his people such laws as they could bear,—and that Utopian principles would be worse than inoperative in face Romuli. It cannot, however, be denied that he had rather more taste for luxury and secular elegance than suited with the character of a churchman--and that he amused himself rather too much with these scandalous chronicles, of which he was never the hero. He pretended indeed to make this gossip, which was his great delight, an engine of policy. The ladies of Rome had not only all the secular nobility publicly at their feet, as was fitting, but ruled in secret not a few of the aged Cardinals and venerable Prelates--and Pius, by informing himself carefully of their intrigues, held them all more immediately under his dominion. To eifect'this, however, he was ob

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liged to delegate no small share of his patronage to those fair courtiers;—and benefices were accordingly bestowed, in his day, not on learning and talent, but on those who could best win or purchase the favour of the ladies in power.

In another matter, where he was infinitely less to blame, he gave still more offence to the bigots—and that was, in his endeavours to prevent the abuse of Sanctuary—under which the churches and the houses of ambassadors had become the common resort of assassins and all sorts of malefactors.

The privilege itself he could not entirely abolish--but he instituted so vin gilant a police, as very frequently to intercept it-and now and then struck at notorious offenders with a vigour beyond the law.'--The impunity which hired murderers continued to experience during his reign, is to be ascribed much more to the abuse of the diplomatic privilege, than to any neglect of the Sovereign.

Pius was a patron of genius; but preferred the fine arts to literature or science ;-and he was neither a very learned nor a very impartial patron. His greatest weakness was in patronizing or tolerating the Arcadians.-The name is not very cele. brated, we believe, in this country—yet all the curious are aware, that there has existed at Rome, for an hundred and fifty years, an academy or corporation of poets, under that fantastic appellation--and richly deserving all the ridicule with which it is pregnant. It was set on foot at a time when such affectations were more tolerated, and for a good enough purpose;--but for many years it had become a reproach and a nuisance, and had filled Italy with its shepherds and affiliated societies-into which any blockhead who could produce a sonnet and a sequin found easy admittance-obtained a brevet of poet, a pastoral name, and a grant of lands in some romantic district of the antient Arcadia. Even now, a stranger no sooner arrives in Rome, than he receives a visit from the Secretaries of this Academy, who offer him the Laurel and a copy of verses already prepared, which is to be recited in the name of the generous visiter. Now and then too, at their public meetings, they place the crown on the head of some traveller, who is vain and silly enough to play the hero in these farces: But those who submit to this coronation, are generally improvisatori by profession, who, to increase their consequence with their hearers, go to Rome to purchase this honour, as quacks in medicine purchase their degrees from some venai universityHardly any author now condescends to make use of the titles which this Society bestows upon them: though some monks, who dabble a little in profanity, publish their verses

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