RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE CATHOLIC REACTION
In Two Parts
JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS
'Deh! per Dio, donna, Se romper si potria quelle grandi ale? * * * * * Tu piangi e taci; e questo meglio parmi'
SAVONAROLA: De Ruina Ecclesia
NEW YORK HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY 1887 AUTHOR'S EDITION
At the end of the second volume of my 'Renaissance in Italy' I indulged the hope that I might live to describe the phase of culture which closed that brilliant epoch. It was in truth demanded that a work pretending to display the manifold activity of the Italian genius during the 15th century and the first quarter of the 16th, should also deal with the causes which interrupted its further development upon the same lines.
This study, forming a logically-necessitated supplement to the five former volumes of 'Renaissance in Italy,' I have been permitted to complete. The results are now offered to the public in these two parts.
So far as it was possible, I have conducted my treatment of the Catholic Revival on a method analogous to that adopted for the Renaissance. I found it, however, needful to enter more minutely into details regarding facts and institutions connected with the main theme of national culture.
The Catholic Revival was by its nature reactionary. In order to explain its influences, I have been compelled to analyze the position of Spain in the Italian peninsula, the conduct of the Tridentine Council, the specific organization of the Holy Office and the Company of Jesus, and the state of society upon which those forces were brought to bear.
In the list of books which follows these prefatory remarks, I have indicated the most important of the sources used by me. Special references will be made in their proper places to works of a subordinate value for the purposes of my inquiry.
DAVOS PLATZ: July 1886.
WORKS COMMONLY REFERRED TO IN THE TWO SUCCEEDING VOLUMES OF THIS BOOK.
SISMONDI.—Histoire des Republiques Italiennes du Moyen Age. RANKE.—History of the Popes. 3 vols. English edition: Bohn. CREIGHTON.—History of the Papacy during the Reformation. 2 vols. Macmillan. BOTTA.—Storia d'Italia. Continuata da quella del Guicciardini sino al 1789. FERRARI.—Rivoluzioni d'Italia. 3 vols. QUINET.—Les Revolutions d'Italie. GALLUZZI.—Storia del Granducato di Toscana. PALLAVICINI.—Storia del Concilio Tridentino. SARPI.—Storia del Concilio. Vols. 1 and 2 of Sarpi's Opere. DENNISTOUN'S Dukes of Urbino. 3 vols. ALBERI.—Relazioni degli Ambasciatori Veneti. MUTINELLI.—Storia Arcana ed Aneddotica d'Italia. Raccontata dai Veneti Ambasciatori. 4 vols. Venice. 1858. MUTINELLI.—Annali Urbani di Venezia. LITTA.—Famiglie Celebri Italiane. PHIUPPSON.—La Contre-Revolution Religieuse au XVIme Siecle Bruxelles. 1884. DEJOB.—De l'Influence du Concile de Trente. Paris. 1884. GIORDANI.—Delia Venuta e Dimora in Bologna del Sommo Pontefice Clemente VII. per la Coronazione di Carlo V., Imperatore. Bologna. 1832. BALBI.—Sommario della Storia d'Italia. CANTU.—Gli Eretici d'Italia. 3 vols. Torino. 1866. LLORENTE.—Histoire Critique de I'Inquisition d'Espagne. 4 vols. Paris. 1818. LAVALLEE.—Histoire des Inquisitions Religieuses. 2 vols. Paris. 1808. MCCRIE.—History of the Reformation in Italy. Edinburgh. 1827. TIRABOSCHI.—Storia della Letteratura Italiana. DE SANCTIS.—Storia della Letteratura Italiana. 2 vols. SETTEMBRINI.—Storia della Letteratura Italiana. 3 vols. CANTU.—Storia della Letteratura Italiana. Decreta, etc., Societatis Jesu. Avignon. 1827. CANTU.—Storia della Diocesi di Como. 2 vols. DANDOLO.—La Signora di Monza e le Streghe del Tirolo. Milano. 1855. BONGHI.—Storia di Lucrezia Buonvisi. Lucca. 1864. Archivio Storico Italiano. BANDI LUCCHESI.—Bologna: Romagnoli. 1863. BERTOLOTTI.—Francesco Cenci e la sua Famiglia. Firenze. 1877. GNOLI.—Vittoria Accoramboni. Firenze: Le Monnier. 1870. DAELLI.—Lorenzino de'Medici. Milano. 1862. DE STENDHAL.—Chroniques et Nouvelles. Paris. 1855. GIORDANO BRUNO.—Opere Italiane (Wagner). 2 vols. Leipzig. 1830. JORDANUS BRUNUS.—Opera Latina. 2 vols. Neapoli. 1879. BRUNO.—Scripta Latina (Gfoerer). Stuttgart. 1836. BERTI.—Vita di Giordano Bruno. Firenze, Torino, Milano. 1868. BRUNNHOFER.—Giordano Bruno's Weltanschauung und Verhangniss. Leipzig. 1882. PAOLO SARPI.—Opere. 6 vols. Helmstat. 1765. FRA FULGENZIO MICANZI—Vita del Sarpi. BIANCHI GIOVINI.—Biografia di Fra Paolo Sarpi. 2 vols. Bruxelles. 1836. Lettere di Fra Paolo Sarpi. 2 vols. Firenze. 1863. CAMPBELL.—Life of Fra Paolo Sarpi. London: Molini and Green. 1869 DEJOB.—Marc-Antoine Muret. Paris: Thorin. 1881. CHRISTIE.—Etienne Dolet. London: Macmillan. 1880. RENOUARD.—Imprimerie des Aides. TORQUATO TASSO.—Opere. Ed. Rosini. 33 vols. Pisa. 1822 and on.
WORKS REFERRED TO IN THIS BOOK.
TASSO.—Le Lettere. Ed. Guasti. 5 vols. Firenze. 1855. CECCHI.—T. Tasso e la Vita Italiana. Firenze. 1877. CECCHI.—T. Tasso. Il Pensiero e le Belle Lettere, etc. Firenze. 1877. D'OVIDIO.—Saggi Critici. Napoli. 1878. MANSO.—Vita di T. Tasso, in Rosini's edition, vol. 33. ROSINI.—Saggio sugli Amori di T. Tasso, in edition cited above, vol. 33. GUARINI.—Il Pastor Fido. Ed. Casella. Firenze: Barbera. 1866. MARINO.—Adone, etc. Napoli. 1861. CHIABRERA.—Ed. Polidori. Firenze: Barbera. 1865. TASSONI.—La Secchia Rapita. Ed. Carducci. Firenze: Barbera 1861. Il Parnaso Italiano. BAINI.—Vita di G. P. L. Palestrina. FELSINA PITTRICE.—2 vols. Bologna. 1841. LANZI.—History of Painting in Italy. English Edition. London. Bohn. Vol. 3.
CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
THE SPANISH HEGEMONY.
Italy in the Renaissance—The Five Great Powers—The Kingdom of Naples—The Papacy—The Duchy of Milan—Venice—The Florentine Republic—Wars of Invasion closed by the Sack of Rome in 1527—Concordat between Clement VII. and Charles V.—Treaty of Barcelona and Paix des Dames—Charles lands at Genoa—His Journey to Bologna—Entrance into Bologna and Reception by Clement—Mustering of Italian Princes—Franceso Sforza replaced in the Duchy of Milan—Venetian Embassy—Italian League signed on Christmas Eve 1529—Florence alone excluded—The Siege of Florence pressed by the Prince of Orange—Charles's Coronation as King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor—The Significance of this Ceremony at Bologna—Ceremony in S. Petronio—Settlement of the Duchy of Ferrara—Men of Letters and Arts at Bologna—The Emperor's Use of the Spanish Habit—Charles and Clement leave Bologna in March 1530—Review of the Settlement of Italy affected by Emperor and Pope—Extinction of Republics—Subsequent Absorption of Ferrara and Urbino into the Papal States—Savoy becomes an Italian Power—Period between Charles's Coronation and the Peace of Cateau Cambresis in 1559—Economical and Social Condition of the Italians under Spanish Hegemony—The Nation still exists in Separate Communities—Intellectual Conditions—Predominance of Spain and Rome—Both Cosmopolitan Powers—Leveling down of the Component Portions of the Nation in a Common Servitude—The Evils of Spanish Rule
THE PAPACY AND THE TRIDENTINE COUNCIL.
The Counter-Reformation—Its Intellectual and Moral Character—Causes of the Gradual Extinction of Renaissance Energy—Transition from the Renaissance to the Catholic Revival—New Religious Spirit in Italy—Attitude of Italians toward German Reformation—Oratory of Divine Love—Gasparo Contarini and the Moderate Reformers—New Religious Orders—Paul III.—His early History and Education—Political Attitude between France and Spain—Creation of the Duchy of Parma—Imminence of a General Council—Review of previous Councils—Paul's Uneasiness—Opens a Council at Trent in 1542—Protestants virtually excluded, and Catholic Dogmas confirmed in the first Sessions—Death of Paul in 1549—Julius III.—Paul IV.—Character and Ruling Passions of G. P. Caraffa—His Futile Opposition to Spain—Tyranny of His Nephews—Their Downfall—Paul devotes himself to Church Reform and the Inquisition—Pius IV.—His Minister Morone—Diplomatic Temper of this Pope—His Management of the Council—Assistance rendered by his Nephew Carlo Borromeo—Alarming State of Northern Europe—The Council reopened at Trent in 1562—Subsequent History of the Council—It closes with a complete Papal Triumph in 1563—Place of Pius IV. in History—Pius V.—The Inquisitor Pope—Population of Rome—Social Corruption—Sale of Offices and Justice—Tridentine Reforms depress Wealth—Ascetic Purity of Manners becomes fashionable—Catholic Reaction generates the Counter-Reformation—Battle of Lepanto—Gregory XIII.—His Relatives—Policy of enriching the Church at Expense of the Barons—Brigandage in States of the Church—Sixtus V.—His Stern Justice—Rigid Economy—Great Public Works—Taxation—The City of Rome assumes its present form—Nepotism in the Counter-Reformation Period—Various Estimates of the Wealth accumulated by Papal Nephews—Rise of Princely Roman Families
THE INQUISITION AND THE INDEX.
Different Spirit in the Holy Office and the Company of Jesus—Both needed by the Counter-Reformation—Heresy in the Early Church—First Origins of the Inquisition in 1203—S. Dominic—The Holy Office becomes a Dominican Institution—Recognized by the Empire—Its early Organization—The Spanish Inquisition—Founded in 1484—How it differed from the earlier Apostolical Inquisition—Jews, Moors, New Christians—Organization and History of the Holy Office in Spain—Torquemada and his Successors—The Spanish Inquisition never introduced into Italy—How the Roman Inquisition organized by Caraffa differed from it—Autos da fe in Rome—Proscription of suspected Lutherans—The Calabrian Waldenses—Protestants at Locarno and Venice—Digression on the Venetian Holy Office—Persecution of Free Thought in Literature—Growth of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum—Sanction given to it by the Council of Trent—The Roman Congregation of the Index—Final Form of the Censorship of Books under Clement VIII.—Analysis of its Regulations—Proscription of Heretical Books—Correction of Texts—Purgation and Castration—Inquisitorial and Episcopal Licenses—Working of the System of this Censorship in Italy—Its long Delays—Hostility to Sound Learning—Ignorance of the Censors—Interference with Scholars in their Work—Terrorism of Booksellers—Vatican Scheme for the Restoration of Christian Erudition—Frustrated by the Tyranny of the Index—Dishonesty of the Vatican Scholars—Biblical Studies rendered nugatory by the Tridentine Decree on the Vulgate—Decline of Learning in Universities—Miserable Servitude of Professors—Greek dies out—Muretus and Manutius in Rome—The Index and its Treatment of Political Works—Machiavelli—Ratio Status—Encouragement of Literature on Papal Absolutism—Sarpi's Attitude—Comparative Indifference of Rome to Books of Obscene or Immoral Tendency—Bandello and Boccaccio—Papal Attempts to control Intercourse of Italians with Heretics
THE COMPANY OF JESUS.
Vast Importance of the Jesuits in the Counter-Reformation—Ignatius Loyola—His Youth—Retreat at Manresa—Journey to Jerusalem—Studies in Spain and Paris—First Formation of his Order at Sainte Barbe—Sojourn at Venice—Settlement at Rome—Papal Recognition of the Order—Its Military Character—Absolutism of the General—Devotion to the Roman Church—Choice of Members—Practical and Positive Aims of the Founder—Exclusion of the Ascetic, Acceptance of the Worldly Spirit—Review of the Order's Rapid Extension over Europe—Loyola's Dealings with his Chief Lieutenants—Propaganda—The Virtue of Obedience—The Exercitia Spiritualia—Materialistic Imagination—Intensity and Superficiality of Religious Training—The Status of the Novice—Temporal Coadjutors—Scholastics—Professed of the Three Vows—Professed of the Four Vows—The General—Control exercised over him by his Assistants—His Relation to the General Congregation—Espionage a Part of the Jesuit System—Advantageous Position of a Contented Jesuit—The Vow of Poverty—Houses of the Professed and Colleges—The Constitutions and Declarations—Problem of the Monita Secreta—Reciprocal Relations of Rome and the Company—Characteristics of Jesuit Education—Direction of Consciences—Moral Laxity—Sarpi's Critique—Casuistry—Interference in Affairs of State—Instigation to Regicide and Political Conspiracy—Theories of Church Supremacy—Insurgence of the European Nations against the Company
SOCIAL AND DOMESTIC MORALS I PART I.
How did the Catholic Revival affect Italian Society?—Difficulty of Answering this Question—Frequency of Private Crimes of Violence—Homicides and Bandits—Savage Criminal Justice—Paid Assassins—Toleration of Outlaws—Honorable Murder—Example of the Lucchese Army—State of the Convents—The History of Virginia de Leyva—Lucrezia Buonvisi—The True Tale of the Cenci—The Brothers of the House of Massimo—Vittoria Accoramboni—The Duchess of Palliano—Wife-Murders—The Family of Medici
SOCIAL AND DOMESTIC MORALS: PART II.
Tales illustrative of Bravi and Banditti—Cecco Bibboni—Ambrogio Tremazzi—Lodovico dall'Armi—Brigandage—Piracy—Plagues—The Plagues of Milan, Venice, Piedmont—Persecution of the Untori—Moral State of the Proletariate—Witchcraft—Its Italian Features—History of Giacomo Centini
RENAISSANCE IN ITALY.
THE SPANISH HEGEMONY.
Italy in the Renaissance—The Five Great Powers—The Kingdom of Naples—The Papacy—The Duchy of Milan—Venice—The Florentine Republic—Wars of Invasion closed by the Sack of Rome in 1527—Concordat between Clement VII. and Charles V.—Treaty of Barcelona and Paix des Dames—Charles lands at Genoa—His Journey to Bologna—Entrance into Bologna and Reception by Clement—Mustering of Italian Princes—Francesco Sforza replaced in the Duchy of Milan—Venetian Embassy—Italian League signed on Christmas Eve, 1529—Florence alone excluded—The Siege of Florence pressed by the Prince of Orange—Charles's Coronation as King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor—The Significance of this Ceremony at Bologna—Ceremony in S. Petronio—Settlement of the Duchy of Ferrara—Men of Letters and Arts at Bologna—The Emperor's Use of the Spanish Habit—Charles and Clement leave Bologna in March, 1530—Review of the Settlement of Italy effected by Emperor and Pope—Extinction of Republics—Subsequent Absorption of Ferrara and Urbino into the Papal States—Savoy becomes an Italian Power—Period between Charles's Coronation and the Peace of Cateau Cambresis in 1559—Economical and Social Condition of the Italians under Spanish Hegemony—The Nation still Exists in Separate Communities—Intellectual Conditions—Predominance of Spain and Rome—Both Cosmopolitan Powers—Leveling down of the Component Portions of the Nation in a Common Servitude—The Evils of Spanish Rule.
In the first volume of my book on Renaissance in Italy I attempted to set forth the political and social phases through which the Italians passed before their principal States fell into the hands of despots, and to explain the conditions of mutual jealousy and military feebleness which exposed those States to the assaults of foreign armies at the close of the fifteenth century.
In the year 1494, when Charles VIII. of France, at Lodovico Sforza's invitation, crossed the Alps to make good his claim on Naples, the peninsula was Independent. Internal peace had prevailed for a period of nearly fifty years. An equilibrium had been established between the five great native Powers, which secured the advantages of confederation and diplomatic interaction.
While using the word confederation, I do not, of course, imply that anything similar to the federal union of Switzerland or of North America existed in Italy. The contrary is proved by patent facts. On a miniature scale, Italy then displayed political conditions analogous to those which now prevail in Europe. The parcels of the nation adopted different forms of self-government, sought divers foreign alliances, and owed no allegiance to any central legislative or administrative body. I therefore speak of the Italian confederation only in the same sense as Europe may now be called a confederation of kindred races.
In the year 1630, when Charles V. (of Austria and Spain) was crowned Emperor at Bologna, this national independence had been irretrievably lost by the Italians. This confederation of evenly-balanced Powers was now exchanged for servitude beneath a foreign monarchy, and for subjection to a cosmopolitan elective priesthood.
The history of social, intellectual, and moral conditions in Italy during the seventy years of the sixteenth century which followed Charles's coronation at Bologna, forms the subject of this work; but before entering upon these topics it will be well to devote one chapter to considering with due brevity the partition of Italy into five States in 1494, the dislocation of this order by the wars between Spain and France for supremacy, the position in which the same States found themselves respectively at the termination of those wars in 1527, and the new settlement of the peninsula effected by Charles V. in 1529-30.
The five members of the Italian federation in 1494 were the kingdom of Naples, the Papacy, the Duchy of Milan, and the Republics of Venice and Florence. Round them, in various relations of amity or hostility, were grouped these minor Powers: the Republics of Genoa, Lucca, Siena; the Duchy of Ferrara, including Modena and Reggio; the Marquisates of Mantua and Montferrat; and the Duchy of Urbino. For our immediate purpose it is not worth taking separate account of the Republic of Pisa, which was practically though not thoroughly enslaved by Florence; or of the despots in the cities of Romagna, the March. Umbria, and the Patrimony of S. Peter, who were being gradually absorbed into the Papal sovereignty. Nor need we at present notice Savoy, Piemonte, and Saluzzo. Although these north-western provinces were all-important through the period of Franco-Spanish wars, inasmuch as they opened the gate of Italy to French armies, and supplied those armies with a base for military operations, the Duchy of Savoy had not yet become an exclusively Italian Power.
The kingdom of Naples, on the death of Alfonso the Magnanimous in 1458, had been separated from Sicily, and passed by testamentary appointment to his natural son Ferdinand. The bastard Aragonese dynasty was Italian in its tastes and interests, though unpopular both with the barons of the realm and with the people, who in their restlessness were ready to welcome any foreign deliverer from its oppressive yoke. This state of general discontent rendered the revival of the old Angevine party, and their resort to French aid, a source of peril to the monarchy. It also served as a convenient fulcrum for the ambitious schemes of conquest which the princes of the House of Aragon in Spain began to entertain. In territorial extent the kingdom of Naples was the most considerable parcel of the Italian community. It embraced the whole of Calabria, Apulia, the Abruzzi, and the Terra di Lavoro; marching on its northern boundary with the Papal States, and having no other neighbors. But though so large and so compact a State, the semifeudal system of government which had obtained in Naples since the first conquest of the country by the Normans, the nature of its population, and the savage dynastic wars to which it had been constantly exposed, rendered it more backward in civilization than the northern and central provinces.
The Papacy, after the ending of the schism and the settlement of Nicholas V. at Rome in 1447, gradually tended to become an Italian sovereignty. During the residence of the Popes at Avignon, and the weakness of the Papal See which followed in the period of the Councils (Pisa, Constance, and Basel), it had lost its hold not only on the immediate neighborhood of Rome, but also on its outlying possessions in Umbria, the Marches of Ancona, and the Exarchate of Ravenna. The great Houses of Colonna and Orsini asserted independence in their principalities. Bologna and Perugia pretended to republican government under the shadow of noble families; Bentivogli, Bracci, Baglioni. Imola, Faenza, Forli, Rimini, Pesaro, Urbino, Camerino, Citta di Castello, obeyed the rule of tyrants, who were practically lords of these cities though they bore the titles of Papal vicars, and who maintained themselves in wealth and power by exercising the profession of condottieri. It was the chief object of the Popes, after they were freed from the pressing perils of General Councils, and were once more settled in their capital and recognized as sovereigns by the European Powers, to subdue their vassals and consolidate their provinces into a homogeneous kingdom. This plan was conceived and carried out by a succession of vigorous and unscrupulous Pontiffs—Sixtus IV., Alexander VI., Julius II., and Leo X.—throughout the period of distracting foreign wars which agitated Italy. They followed for the most part one line of policy, which was to place the wealth and authority of the Holy See at the disposal of their relatives, Riarios, Delia Roveres, Borgias, and Medici. Their military delegates, among whom the most efficient captain was the terrible Cesare Borgia, had full power to crush the liberties of cities, exterminate the dynasties of despots, and reduce refractory districts to the Papal sway. For these services they were rewarded with ducal and princely titles, with the administration of their conquests, and with the investiture of fiefs as vassals of the Church. The system had its obvious disadvantages. It tended to indecent nepotism; and as Pope succeeded Pope at intervals of a few years, each bent on aggrandizing his own family at the expense of those of his predecessors and the Church, the ecclesiastical States were kept in a continual ferment of expropriation and internal revolution. Yet it is difficult to conceive how a spiritual Power like the Papacy could have solved the problem set before it of becoming a substantial secular sovereignty, without recourse to this ruinous method. The Pope, a lonely man upon an ill-established throne, surrounded by rivals whom his elevation had disappointed, was compelled to rely on the strong arm of adventurers with whose interests his own were indissolubly connected. The profits of all these schemes of egotistical rapacity eventually accrued, not to the relatives of the Pontiffs; none of whom, except the Delia Roveres in Urbino, founded a permanent dynasty at this period; but to the Holy See. Julius II., for example, on his election in 1503, entered into possession of all that Cesare Borgia had attempted to grasp for his own use. He found the Orsini and Colonna humbled, Romagna reduced to submission; and he carried on the policy of conquest by trampling out the liberties of Bologna and Perugia, recovering the cities held by Venice on the coast of Ravenna, and extending his sway over Emilia. The martial energy of Julius added Parma and Piacenza to the States of the Church, and detached Modena and Reggio from the Duchy of Ferrara. These new cities were gained by force; but Julius pretended that they formed part of the Exarchate of Ravenna, which had been granted to his predecessors by Pepin and Charles the Great. He pursued the Papal line of conquest in a nobler spirit than his predecessors, not seeking to advance his relatives so much as to reinstate the Church in her dominions. But he was reckless in the means employed to secure this object. Italy was devastated by wars stirred up, and by foreign armies introduced, in order that the Pope might win a point in the great game of ecclesiastical aggrandizement. That his successor, Leo X., reverted to the former plan of carving principalities for his relatives out of the possessions of their neighbors and the Church, may be counted among the most important causes of the final ruin of Italian independence.
Of the Duchy of Milan it is not necessary to speak at any great length, although the wars between France and Spain were chiefly carried on for its possession. It had been formed into a compact domain, of comparatively small extent, but of vast commercial and agricultural resources, by the two dynasties of Visconti and Sforza. In 1494 Lodovico Sforza, surnamed Il Moro, ruled Milan for his nephew, the titular Duke, whom he kept in gilded captivity, and whom he eventually murdered. In order to secure his usurped authority, this would-be Machiavelli thought it prudent to invite Charles VIII. into Italy. Charles was to assert his right to the throne of Naples. Lodovico was to be established in the Duchy of Milan. All his subsequent troubles arose from this transaction. Charles came, conquered, and returned to France, disturbing the political equilibrium of the Italian States, and founding a disastrous precedent for future foreign interference. His successor in the French kingdom, Louis XII., believed he had a title to the Duchy of Milan through his grandmother Valentina, daughter of Gian Galeazzo Visconti. The claim was not a legal one; for in the investiture of the Duchy females were excluded. It sufficed, however, to inflame the cupidity of Louis; and while he was still but Duke of Orleans, with no sure prospect of inheriting the crown of France, he seems to have indulged the fancy of annexing Milan. No sooner had he ascended the French throne than he began to act upon this ambition. He descended into Lombardy, overran the Milanese, sent Lodovico Sforza to die in a French prison, and initiated the duel between Spain and France for mastery, which ended with the capture of Francis I. at Pavia, and his final cession of all rights over Italy to Charles V. by the Treaty of Cambray.
Of all the republics which had conferred luster upon Italy in its mediaeval period of prosperity Venice alone remained independent. She never submitted to a tyrant; and her government, though growing yearly more closely oligarchical, was acknowledged to be just and liberal. During the centuries of her greatest power Venice hardly ranked among Italian States. It had been her policy to confine herself to the lagoons and to the extension of her dominion over the Levant. In the fifteenth century, however, this policy was abandoned. Venice first possessed herself of Padua, by exterminating the despotic House of Carrara; next of Verona, by destroying the Scala dynasty. Subsequently, during the long dogeship of Francesco Foscari (1423-1457), she devoted herself in good earnest to the acquisition of territory upon the mainland. Then she entered as a Power of the first magnitude into the system of purely Italian politics. The Republic of S. Mark owned the sea coast of the Adriatic from Aquileia to the mouths of the Po; and her Lombard dependencies stretched as far as Bergamo westward. Her Italian neighbors were, therefore, the Duchy of Milan, the little Marquisate of Mantua, and the Duchy of Ferrara. When Constantinople fell in 1453, Venice was still more tempted to pursue this new policy of Italian aggrandizement. Meanwhile her growing empire seemed to menace the independence of less wealthy neighbors. The jealousy thus created and the cupidity which brought her into collision with Julius II. in 1508, exposed Venice to the crushing blow inflicted on her power by the combined forces of Europe in the war of the League of Cambray. From this blow, as well as from the simultaneous decline of their Oriental and Levantine commerce, the Venetians never recovered.
When we turn to the Florentines, we find that at the same epoch, 1494, their ancient republican constitution had been fatally undermined by the advances of the family of Medici towards despotism. Lorenzo de'Medici, who enjoyed the credit of maintaining the equilibrium of Italy by wise diplomacy, had lately died. He left his son Piero, a hot-headed and rash young man, to control the affairs of the commonwealth, as he had previously controlled them, with a show of burgherlike equality, but with the reality of princely power. Another of his sons, Giovanni, received the honor of the Cardinalship. The one was destined to compromise the ascendency of his family in Florence for a period of eighteen years, the other was destined to re-establish that ascendency on a new and more despotic basis. Piero had not his father's prudence, and could not maintain himself in the delicate position of a commercial and civil tyrant. During the disturbances caused by the invasion of Charles VIII. he was driven with all his relatives into exile. The Medici were restored in 1512, after the battle of Ravenna, by Spanish troops, at the petition of the Cardinal Giovanni. The elevation of this man to the Papacy in 1513 enabled him to plant two of his nephews, as rulers, in Florence, and to pave the way whereby a third eventually rose to the dignity of the tiara. Clement VII. finally succeeded in rendering Florence subject to the Medici, by extinguishing the last sparks of republican opposition, and by so modifying the dynastic protectorate of his family that it was easily converted into a titular Grand Duchy.
The federation of these five Powers had been artificially maintained during the half century of Italy's highest intellectual activity. That was the epoch when the Italians nearly attained to coherence as a nation, through common interests in art and humanism, and by the complicated machinery of diplomatic relations. The federation perished when foreign Powers chose Lombardy and Naples for their fields of battle. The disasters of the next thirty-three years (1494-1527) began in earnest on the day when Louis XII. claimed Milan and the Regno. He committed his first mistake by inviting Ferdinand the Catholic to share in the partition of Naples. That province was easily conquered; but Ferdinand retained the whole spoils for himself, securing a large Italian dependency and a magnificent basis of operations for the Spanish Crown. Then Louis made a second mistake by proposing to the visionary Emperor Maximilian that he should aid France in subjugating Venice. We have few instances on record of short-sighted diplomacy to match the Treaties of Granada and Blois (1501 and 1504), through which this monarch, acting rather as a Duke of Milan than a King of France, complicated his Italian schemes by the introduction of two such dangerous allies as the Austrian Emperor and the Spanish sovereign, while the heir of both was in his cradle—that fatal child of fortune Charles.
The stage of Italy was now prepared for a conflict which in no wise interested her prosperous cities and industrious population. Spain, France, Germany, with their Swiss auxiliaries, had been summoned upon various pretexts to partake of the rich prey she offered. Patriots like Machiavelli perceived too late the suicidal self-indulgence which, by substituting mercenary troops for national militia, and by accustoming selfish tyrants to rely on foreign aid, had exposed the Italians defenceless to the inroads of their warlike neighbors. Whatever parts the Powers of Italy might play, the game was really in the hands of French, Spanish, and German invaders. Meanwhile the mutual jealousies and hatreds of those Powers, kept in check by no tie stronger than diplomacy, prevented them from forming any scheme of common action. One great province (Naples) had fallen into Spanish hands; another (Milan) lay open through the passes of the Alps to France. The Papacy, in the center, manipulated these two hostile foreign forces with some advantage to itself, but with ever-deepening disaster for the race. As in the days of Guelf and Ghibelline, so now again the nation was bisected. The contest between French and Spanish factions became cruel. Personal interests were substituted for principles; cross-combinations perplexed the real issues of dispute; while one sole fact emerged into distinctness—that, whatever happened, Italy must be the spoil of the victorious duelist.
The practical termination of this state of things arrived in the battle of Pavia, when Francis was removed as a prisoner to Madrid, and in the sack of Rome, when the Pope was imprisoned in the Castle of S. Angelo. It was then found that the laurels and the profit of the bloody contest remained with the King of Spain. What the people suffered from the marching and countermarching of armies, from the military occupations of towns, from the desolation of rural districts, from ruinous campaigns and sanguinary battles, from the pillage of cities and the massacres of their inhabitants, can best be read in Burigozzo's Chronicle of Milan, in the details of the siege of Brescia and the destruction of Pavia, in the Chronicle of Prato, and in the several annals of the sack of Rome. The exhaustion of the country seemed complete; the spirit of the people was broken. But what soon afterwards became apparent, and what in 1527 might have been thought incredible, was that the single member of the Italian union which profited by these apocalyptic sufferings of the nation, was the Papacy. Clement VII., imprisoned in the Castle of S. Angelo, forced day and night to gaze upon his capital in flames and hear the groans of tortured Romans, emerged the only vigorous survivor of the five great Powers on whose concert Italian independence had been founded. Instead of being impaired, the position of the Papacy had been immeasurably improved. Owing to the prostration of Italy, there was now no resistance to the Pope's secular supremacy within the limits of his authorized dominion. The defeat of France and the accession of a Spanish monarch to the Empire guaranteed peace. No foreign force could levy armies or foment uprisings in the name of independence. Venice had been stunned and mutilated by the League of Cambray. Florence had been enslaved after the battle of Ravenna. Milan had been relinquished, out-worn, and depopulated, to the nominal ascendency of an impotent Sforza. Naples was a province of the Spanish monarchy. The feudal vassals and the subject cities of the Holy See had been ground and churned together by a series of revolutions unexampled even in the mediaeval history of the Italian communes. If, therefore, the Pope could come to terms with the King of Spain for the partition of supreme authority in the peninsula, they might henceforward share the mangled remains of the Italian prey at peace together. This is precisely what they resolved on doing. The basis of their agreement was laid in the Treaty of Barcelona in 1529. It was ratified and secured by the Treaty of Cambray in the same year. By the former of these compacts Charles and Clement swore friendship. Clement promised the Imperial crown and the investiture of Naples to the King of Spain. Charles agreed to reinstate the Pope in Emilia, which had been seized from Ferrara by Julius II.; to procure the restoration of Ravenna and Cervia by the Venetians; to subdue Florence to the House of Medici; and to bestow the hand of his natural daughter Margaret of Austria on Clement's bastard nephew Alessandro, who was already designated ruler of the city. By the Treaty of Cambray Francis I. relinquished his claims on Italy and abandoned his Italian supporters without conditions, receiving in exchange the possession of Burgundy. The French allies who were sacrificed on this occasion by the Most Christian to the Most Catholic Monarch consisted of the Republics of Venice and Florence, the Dukes of Milan and Ferrara, the princely Houses of Orsini and Fregosi in Rome and Genoa, together with the Angevine nobles in the realm of Naples. The Paix des Dames, as this act of capitulation was called (since it had been drawn up in private conclave by Louise of Savoy and Margaret of Austria, the mother and the aunt of the two signatories), was a virtual acknowledgment of the fact that French influence in Italy was at an end.
The surrender of Italy by Francis made it necessary that Charles V. should put in order the vast estates to which he now succeeded as sole master. He was, moreover, Emperor Elect; and he judged this occasion good for assuming the two crowns according to antique custom. Accordingly in July, 1529, he caused Andrea Doria to meet him at Barcelona, crossed the Mediterranean in a rough passage of fourteen days, landed at Genoa on August 12, and proceeded by Piacenza, Parma and Modena to Bologna, where Clement VII. was already awaiting him. The meeting of Charles and Clement at Bologna was so solemn an event in Italian history, and its results were so important for the several provinces of the peninsula, that I may be excused for enlarging at some length upon this episode.
[Footnote 1: It is significant for the future of Italy that both the ladies who drew up this agreement were connected with Savoy. Louise, Duchess of Angouleme, was a daughter of the house. Margaret, daughter of Maximilian, was Duchess Dowager of Savoy.]
With pomp and pageantry it closed an age of unrivaled intellectual splendor and of unexampled sufferings through war. By diplomacy and debate it prescribed laws for a new age of unexpected ecclesiastical energy and of national peace procured at the price of slavery. Illustrious survivors from the period of the pagan Renaissance met here with young men destined to inaugurate the Catholic Revival. The compact struck between Emperor and Pope in private conferences, laid a basis for that firm alliance between Spain and Rome which seriously influenced the destinies of Europe. Finally, this was the last occasion upon which a modern Caesar received the iron and golden crowns in Italy from the hands of a Roman Pontiff. The fortunate inheritor of Spain, the Two Sicilies, Austria and the Low Countries, who then assumed them both at the age of twenty-nine, was not only the last who wielded the Imperial insignia with imperial authority, but was also a far more formidable potentate in Italy than any of his predecessors since Charles the Great had been.
[Footnote 2: In what follows regarding Charles V. at Bologna I am greatly indebted to Giordani's laboriously compiled volume: Della Venuta e Dimora in Bologna del Sommo Pont. Clemente VII. etc. (Bologna, 1832).]
That Charles should have employed the galleys of Doria for the transhipment of his person, suite, and military escort from Barcelona, deserves a word of comment. Andrea Doria had been bred in the service of the French crown, upon which Genoa was in his youth dependent. He formed a navy of decisive preponderance in the western Mediterranean, and in return for services rendered to Francis in the Neapolitan campaign of 1528, he demanded the liberation of his native city. When this was refused, Doria transferred his allegiance to the Spaniard, surprised Genoa and reinstated the republic, magnanimously refusing to secure its tyranny for himself or even to set the ducal cap upon his head. Charles invested him with the principality of Melfi and made him a Grandee of Spain. By this series of events Genoa was prepared to accept the yoke of Spanish influence and customs, which pressed so heavily in the succeeding century on Italy.
Charles had a body of 2000 Spaniards already quartered at Genoa, as well as strong garrisons in the Milanese, and a force of about 7000 troops collected by the Prince of Orange from the debris of the army which had plundered Rome. While he was on his road from Genoa to Bologna, this force was already moving upon Florence. He brought with him as escort some 10,000 men, counting horse and infantry. The total of the troops which obeyed his word in Italy might be computed at about 27,000, including Spanish cavalry and foot-soldiers, German lansknechts and Italian mercenaries. This large army, partly stationed in important posts of defence, partly in movement, was sufficient to make every word of his a law. The French were in no position to interfere with his arrangements. His brother Ferdinand, King of Bohemia and Hungary, was engaged in a doubtful contest with Soliman before the gates of Vienna. He was himself the most considerable potentate in Germany, then distracted by the struggles of the Reformation. Italy lay crushed and prostrate, trampled down by armies, exhausted by impost and exactions, terrorized by brutal violence. That Charles had come to speak his will and be obeyed was obvious.
To greet the king on his arrival at Genoa, Clement deputed two ambassadors, the Cardinals Ercole Gonzaga and Monsignor Gianmatteo Giberti, Bishop of Verona. Gonzaga was destined to play a part of critical importance in the Tridentine Council. Giberti had made himself illustrious in the Church by the administration of his diocese on a system which anticipated the coming ecclesiastical reforms, and was already famous in the world of letters by his generous familiarity with students. Three other men of high distinction and of fateful future waited on their imperial master. Of these the first was Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who succeeded Clement in the Papacy, opened the Tridentine Council, and added a new reigning family to the Italian princes. The others were the Pope's nephews, Alessandro de'Medici, Duke of Florence designate, and his cousin the Cardinal Ippolito de'Media. Six years later, Ippolito died at Itri, poisoned by his cousin Alessandro, who was himself murdered at Florence in 1537 by another cousin, Lorenzino de'Medici.
[Footnote 3: See Ren. in It., vol. v. p. 357.]
It had been intended that Charles should travel to Bologna from Parma through Mantua, where the Marquis Federigo Gonzaga had made great preparations for his reception. But the route by Reggio and Modena was more direct; and, yielding to the solicitations of Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara, he selected this instead. One of the stipulations of the Treaty of Barcelona, it will be remembered, had been that the Emperor should restore Emilia—that is to say, the cities and territories of Modena, Reggio, and Rubbiera—to the Papacy. Clement regarded Alfonso as a contumacious vassal, although his own right to that province only rested on the force of arms by which Julius II. had detached it from the Duchy of Ferrara. It was therefore somewhat difficult for Charles to accept the duke's hospitality. But when he had once done so, Alfonso knew how to ingratiate himself so well with the arbiter of Italy, that on taking leave of his guest upon the confines of Bologna, he had already secured the success of his own cause.
Great preparations, meanwhile, were being made in Bologna. The misery and destitution of the country rendered money scarce, and cast a gloom over the people. It was noticed that when Clement entered the city on October 24, none of the common folk responded to the shouts of his attendants, Viva Papa Clemente! The Pope and his Court, too, were in mourning. They had but recently escaped from the horrors of the Sack of Rome, and were under a vow to wear their beards unshorn in memory of their past sufferings. Yet the municipality and nobles of Bologna exerted their utmost in these bad times to render the reception of the Emperor worthy of the luster which his residence and coronation would confer upon them. Gallant guests began to flock into the city. Among these may be mentioned the brilliant Isabella d'Este, sister of Duke Alfonso, and mother of the reigning Marquis of Mantua. She arrived on November 1 with a glittering train of beautiful women, and took up her residence in the Palazzo Manzoli. Her quarters obtained no good fame in the following months; for the ladies of her suite were liberal of favors. Jousts, masquerades, street-brawls, and duels were of frequent occurrence beneath her windows—Spaniards and Italians disputing the honor of those light amours. On November 3 came Andrea Doria with his relative, the Cardinal Girolamo of that name. About the same time, Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggi, Bishop of Bologna, returned from his legation to England, where (as students of our history are well aware) he had been engaged upon the question of Henry VIII.'s divorce from Katharine of Aragon. Next day Charles arrived outside the gate, and took up his quarters in the rich convent of Certosa, which now forms the Campo Santo.
He was surrounded by a multitude of ambassadors and delegates from the Bolognese magistracy, by Cardinals and ecclesiastics of all ranks, some of whom had attended him from the frontier, while others were drawn up to receive him. November 5 was a Friday, and this day was reckoned lucky by Charles. He therefore passed the night of the 4th at the Certosa, and on the following morning made his solemn entry into the city. A bodyguard of Germans, Burgundians, Spaniards, halberdiers, lansknechts, men at arms, and cannoneers, preceded him. High above these was borne the captain-general of the imperial force in Italy, the fierce and cruel Antonio de Leyva, under whose oppression Milan had been groaning. This ruthless tyrant was a martyr to gout and rheumatism. He could not ride or walk; and though he retained the whole vigor of his intellect and will, it was with difficulty that he moved his hands or head. He advanced in a litter of purple velvet, supported on the shoulders of his slaves. Among the splendid crowd of Spanish grandees who followed the troops, it is enough to mention the Grand Marshal, Don Alvaro Osorio, Marquis of Astorga, who carried a naked sword aloft. He was armed, on horseback; and his mantle of cloth of gold blazed with dolphins worked in pearls and precious stones. Next came Charles, mounted on a bay jennet, armed at all points, and holding in his hand the scepter. Twenty-four pages, chosen from the nobles of Bologna, waited on his bridle and stirrups. The train was brought up by a multitude of secular and ecclesiastical princes too numerous to record in detail. Conspicuous among them for the historian were the Count of Nassau, Albert of Brandenburg, and the Marquis Bonifazio of Montferrat, the scion of the Eastern Paleologi. As this procession defiled through the streets of Bologna, it was remarked that Charles, with true Spanish haughtiness, made no response to the acclamations of the people, except once when, passing beneath a balcony of noble ladies, he acknowledged their salute by lifting the cap from his head.
Clement, surrounded by a troop of prelates, was seated to receive him on a platform raised before the church of San Petronio in the great piazza. The king dismounted opposite the Papal throne, ascended the steps beneath his canopy of gold and crimson, and knelt to kiss the Pontiff's feet. When their eyes first met, it was observed that both turned pale; for the memory of outraged Rome was in the minds of both; and Caesar, while he paid this homage to Christ's Vicar, had the load of those long months of suffering and insult on his conscience. Clement bent down, and with streaming eyes saluted him upon the cheek. Then, when Charles was still upon his knees, they exchanged a few set words referring to the purpose of their meeting and their common desire for the pacification of Christendom. After this the Emperor elect rose, seated himself for a while beside the Pope, and next, at his invitation, escorted him to the great portal of the church. On the way, he inquired after Clement's health; to which the Pope replied somewhat significantly that, after leaving Rome, it had steadily improved. He tempered this allusion to his captivity, however, by adding that his eagerness to greet his Majesty had inspired him with more than wonted strength and courage. At the doorway they parted; and the Emperor, having paid his devotions to the Sacrament and kissed the altar, was conducted to the apartments prepared for him in the Palazzo Pubblico. These were adjacent to the Pope's lodgings in the same palace, and were so arranged that the two potentates could confer in private at all times. It is worthy of remark that the negotiations for the settlement of Italy which took place during the next six months in those rooms, were conducted personally by the high contracting parties, and that none of their deliberations transpired until the result of each was made public.
The whole of November 5 had been occupied in these ceremonies. It was late evening when the Emperor gained his lodgings. The few next days were ostensibly occupied in receiving visitors. Among the first of these was the unfortunate ex-queen of Naples, Isabella, widow of Frederick of Aragon, the last king of the bastard dynasty founded by Alfonso. She was living in poverty at Ferrara, under the protection of her relatives, the Este family, On the 13th came the Prince of Orange and Don Ferrante Gonzaga, from the camp before Florence. The siege had begun, but had not yet been prosecuted with the strictest vigor. During the whole time of Charles's residence at Bologna, it must be borne in mind that the siege of Florence was being pressed. Superfluous troops detached from garrison duty in the Lombard towns were drafted across the hills to Tuscany. Whatever else the Emperor might decide for his Italian subjects, this at least was certain: Florence should be restored to the Medicean tyrants, as compensation to the Pope for Roman sufferings. The Prince of Orange came to explain the state of things at Florence, where government and people seemed prepared to resist to the death. Gonzaga had private business of his own to conduct, touching his engagement to the Pope's ward, Isabella, daughter and heiress of the wealthy Vespasiano Colonna.
Meanwhile, ambassadors from all the States and lordships of Italy flocked to Bologna. Great nobles from the South—Ascanio Colonna, Grand Constable of Naples; Alfonso d'Avalos, Marquis of Vasto; Giovanni Luigi Caraffa, Prince of Stigliano—took up their quarters in adjacent houses, or in the upper story of the Public Palace. The Marquis of Vasto arrests our graze for a moment. He was nephew to the Marquis of Pescara (husband of Vittoria Colonna), who had the glory of taking Francis prisoner at Pavia, and afterwards the infamy of betraying the unfortunate Girolamo Morone and his master the Duke of Milan to the resentment of the Spanish monarch. What part Pescara actually played in that dark passage of plot and counterplot remains obscure. But there is no doubt that he employed treachery, single if not double, for his own advantage. His arrogance and avowed hostility to the Italians caused his very name to be execrated; nor did his nephew, the Marquis of Vasto, differ in these respects from the more famous chief of his house. This man was also destined to obtain an evil reputation when he succeeded in 1532 to the government of Milan. Here too may be noticed the presence at Bologna of Girolamo Morone's son, who had been created Bishop of Modena in 1529. For him a remarkable fate was waiting. Condemned to the dungeons of the Inquisition as a heretic by Paul IV., rescued by Pius IV., and taken into highest favor at that Pontiff's Court, he successfully manipulated the closing of the Tridentine Council to the profit of the Papal See.
Negotiations for the settlement of Italian affairs were proceeding without noise, but with continual progress, through this month. The lodgings of ambassadors and lords were so arranged in the Palazzo Pubblico that they, like their Imperial and Papal masters, could confer at all times and seasons. Every day brought some new illustrious visitor. On the 22nd arrived Federigo Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, who took up his quarters in immediate proximity to Charles and Clement. His business required but little management. The house of Gonzaga was already well affected to the Spanish cause, and counted several captains in the imperial army. Charles showed his favor by raising Mantua to the rank of a Duchy. It was different with the Republic of Venice and the Duke of Milan. The Emperor elect had reasons to be strongly prejudiced against them both—against Venice as the most formidable of the French allies in the last war; against Francesco Maria Sforza, as having been implicated, though obscurely, in Morone's conspiracy to drive the Spaniards from Italy and place the crown of Naples on Pescara's head. Clement took both under his protection. He had sufficient reasons to believe that the Venetians would purchase peace by the cession of their recent acquisitions on the Adriatic coast, and he knew that the pacification of Italy could not be accomplished without their aid. In effect, the Republic agreed to relinquish Cervia and Ravenna to the Pope, and their Apulian ports to Charles, engaging at the same time to pay a sum of 300,000 ducats and stipulating for an amnesty to all their agents and dependents. It is not so clear why Clement warmly espoused the cause of Sforza. That he did so is certain. He obtained a safe-conduct for the duke, and made it a point of personal favor that he should be received into the Emperor's grace. This stipulation appears to have been taken into account when the affairs of Ferrara were decided at a later date against the Papal interests.
Francesco Maria Sforza appeared in Bologna on the 22nd. This unfortunate bearer of one of the most coveted titles in Europe had lately lived a prisoner in his own Castello, while the city at his doors and the fertile country round it were being subjected to cruelest outrage and oppression from Spanish, French, Swiss, and German mercenaries. He was a man ruined in health as well as fortune. Six years before this date, one of his chamberlains, Bonifazio Visconti, had given him a slight wound in the shoulder with a poisoned dagger. From this wound he never recovered; and it was pitiable to behold the broken man, unable to move or stand without support, dragging himself upon his knees to Caesar's footstool. Charles appears to have discerned that he had nothing to fear and much to gain, if he showed clemency to so powerless a suitor. Franceso was the last of his line. His health rendered it impossible that he should expect heirs; and although he subsequently married a princess of the House of Denmark, he died childless in the autumn of 1535. It was therefore determined, in compliance with the Pope's request, that Sforza should be confirmed in the Duchy of Milan. Pavia, however, was detached and given to the terrible Antonio de Leyva for his lifetime. The garrisons of Milan and Como were left in Spanish hands; and the duke promised to wring 400,000 ducats as the price of his investiture, with an additional sum of 500,000 ducats to be paid in ten yearly instalments, from his already blood-sucked people. It will be observed that money figured largely in all these high political transactions. Charles, though lord of many lands, was, even at this early stage of his career, distressed for want of cash. He rarely paid his troops, but commissioned the captains in his service to levy contributions on the provinces they occupied. The funds thus raised did not always reach the pockets of the soldiers, who subsisted as best they could by marauding. Having made these terms, Francesco Maria Sforza was received into the Imperial favor. He returned to Milan, in no sense less a prisoner than he had previously been, and with the heart-rending necessity of extorting money from his subjects at the point of Spanish swords. In exchange for the ducal title, he thus had made himself a tax-collector for his natural enemies. Secluded in the dreary chambers of his castle, assailed by the execrations of the Milanese, he may well have groaned, like Marlowe's Edward—
But what are Kings, when regiment is gone, But perfect shadows in a sunshine day? My foemen rule; I bear the name of King; I wear the crown; but am controlled by them.
When he died he bequeathed his duchy to the crown of Spain. It was detached from the Empire, and became the private property of Charles and of his son, Philip II.
During the month of December negotiations for the terms of peace in Italy went briskly forward. On the part of Venice, two men of the highest distinction arrived as orators. These were Pietro Bembo and Gasparo Contarini, both of whom received the honors of the Cardinalate from Paul III. on his accession. Of Bembo's place in Italian society, as the dictator of literature at this epoch, I have already sufficiently spoken in another part of my work on the Renaissance. Contarini will more than once arrest our notice in the course of this volume. Of all the Italians of the time, he was perhaps the greatest, wisest, and most sympathetic. Had it been possible to avert the breach between Catholicism and Protestantism, to curb the intolerance of Inquisitors and the ambition of Jesuits, and to guide the reform of the Church by principles of moderation and liberal piety, Contarini was the man who might have restored unity to the Church in Europe. Once, indeed, at Regensburg in 1541, he seemed upon the very point of effecting a reconciliation between the parties that were tearing Christendom asunder. But his failure was even more conspicuous than his momentary semblance of success. It was not in the temper of the times to accept a Concordat founded on however philosophical, however politic, considerations. Contarini will be remembered as a 'beautiful soul,' born out of the due moment, and by no means adequate to cope with the fierce passions that raged round him. Among Protestants he was a Catholic, and they regarded his half measures with contempt. Among Catholics he passed for a suspected Lutheran, and his writings were only tolerated after they had been subjected to rigorous castration at the hands of Papal Inquisitors.
On Christmas eve the ambassadors and representatives of the Italian powers met together in the chambers of Cardinal Gattinara, Grand Chancellor of the Empire, to subscribe the terms of a confederation and perpetual league for the maintenance of peace. From this important document the Florentines were excluded, as open rebels to the will of Charles and Clement. There was no justice in the rigor with which Florence was now treated. Her republican independence had hitherto been recognized, although her own internal discords exposed her to a virtual despotism. But Clement stipulated and Charles conceded, as a sine qua non in the project of pacification, that Florence should be converted into a Medicean duchy. For the Duke of Ferrara, whom the Pope regarded as a contumacious vassal, and whose affairs were still the subject of debate, a place was specially reserved in the treaty. He, as I have already observed, had been taken under the Imperial protection; and a satisfactory settlement of his claims was now a mere question of time. On the evening of the same day, the Pope bestowed on Charles the Sword of the Spirit, which it was the wont of Rome to confer on the best-beloved of her secular sons at this festival. The peace was publicly proclaimed, amid universal plaudits, on the last day of the year 1529.
[Footnote 4: See Ranke, vol. i. p. 153, note.]
The chief affairs to be decided in the new year were the reduction of Florence to submission and the coronation of the Emperor. The month of January was passed in jousts and pastimes; ceremonial privileges were conferred on the University of Bologna; magnificent embassies from the Republic of S. Mark, glowing in senatorial robes of crimson silk, were entertained; and a singular deputation from the African court of Prester John obtained audience of the Roman Pontiff. Amid these festivities there arrived, on January 16, three delegates from Florence, who spent some weeks in fruitless efforts to obtain a hearing from the arbiters of Italy. Clement refused to deal with them, because their commonwealth was still refractory. Charles repelled them, because he wished to gratify the Pope, and knew that Florence remained staunch in her devotion to the French crown. The old proverb, 'Lilies with lilies,' the white lily of Florence united with the golden fleur-de-lys of France, had still political significance in this day of Italian degradation. Meanwhile Francis I. treated his faithful allies with lukewarm tolerance. The smaller fry of Italian potentates, worshipers of the rising sun of Spain, curried favor with their masters by insulting the republic's representatives. On their return to Florence, the ambassadors had to report a total diplomatic failure. But this, far from breaking the untamable spirit of the Signory and people, prompted them in February to new efforts of resistance and to edicts of outlawry against citizens whom they regarded as traitors to the State. Among the proscribed were Francesco Guicciardini, Roberto Acciaiuoli, Francesco Vettori, and Baccio Valori. Of these men Francesco Guicciardini, Francesco Vettori, and Baccio Valori were attendant at Bologna upon the Pope. They all adhered with fidelity to the Medicean party at this crisis of their country's fate, and all paid dearly for their loyalty. When Cosimo I., by their efforts, was established in the duchy, he made it one of his first cares to rid himself of these too faithful servants. Baccio Valori was beheaded after the battle of Montemurlo in 1537 for practice with the exiles of Filippo Strozzi's party. Francesco Guicciardini, Francesco Vettori, and Roberto Acciaiuoli died in disgrace before the year 1543—their only crime being that they had made themselves the ladder whereby a Medici had climbed into his throne, and which it was his business to upset when firmly seated. For the heroism of Florence at this moment it would be difficult to find fit words of panegyric. The republic stood alone, abandoned by France to the hot rage of Clement and the cold contempt of Charles, deserted by the powers of Italy, betrayed by lying captains, deluged on all sides with the scum of armies pouring into Tuscany from the Lombard pandemonium of war. The situation was one of impracticable difficulty. Florence could not but fall. Yet every generous heart will throb with sympathy while reading the story of that final stand for independence, in which a handful of burghers persisted, though congregated princes licked the dust from feet of Emperor and Pontiff.
Charles had come to assume the iron and the golden crowns in Italy. He ought to have journeyed to Monza or to S. Ambrogio at Milan for the first, and to the Lateran in Rome for the second of these investitures. An Emperor of the Swabian House would have been compelled by precedent and superstition to observe this form. It is true that the coronation of a German prince as the successor of Lombard kings and Roman Augusti, had always been a symbolic ceremony rather than a rite which ratified genuine Imperial authority. Still the ceremony connoted many mediaeval aspirations. It was the outward sign of theories that had once exerted an ideal influence. To dissociate the two-fold sacrament from Milan and from Rome was the same as robbing it of its main virtue, the virtue of a mystical conception. It was tantamount to a demonstration that the belief in Universal Monarchy had passed away. By breaking the old rules of his investiture, Charles notified the disappearance of the mediaeval order, and proclaimed new political ideals to the world. When asked whether he would not follow custom and seek the Lombard crown in Monza, he brutally replied that he was not wont to run after crowns, but to have crowns running after him. He trampled no less on that still more venerable religio loci which attached imperial rights to Rome. Together with this ancient piety, he swept the Holy Roman Empire into the dust-heap of archaic curiosities. By declaring his will to be crowned where he chose, he emphasized the modern state motto of L'etat, c'est moi, and prepared the way for a Pope's closing of a General Council by the word L'Eglise, c'est moi. Charles had sufficient reasons for acting as he did. The Holy Roman Empire ever since the first event of Charles the Great's coronation, when it justified itself as a diplomatical expedient for unifying Western Christendom, had existed more or less as a shadow. Charles violated the duties which alone gave the semblance of a substance to that shadow. As King of Italy, he had desolated the Lombard realm of which he sought the title. As Emperor elect, he had ravished his bride, the Eternal City. As suitor to the Pope for both of his expected crowns, he stood responsible for the multiplied insults to which Clement had been so recently exposed. No Emperor had been more powerful since Charles the Great than this Charles V., the last who took his crowns in Italy. It was significant that he man in whose name Rome had suffered outrage, and who was about to detach Lombardy from the Empire, was by his own will invested at Bologna. The citizens of Monza were accordingly bidden to send the iron crown to Bologna. It arrived on February 20, and on the 22nd Charles received it from the hands of Clement in the chapel of the palace. The Cardinal who performed the ceremony of unction was a Fleming, William Hencheneor, who in the Sack of Rome had bought his freedom for the large sum of 40,000 crowns. On this auspicious occasion he cut off half the beard which he still wore in sign of mourning!
The Duke and Duchess of Urbino made their entrance into Bologna on the same day. Francesco Maria della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, Prefect of Rome, and Captain General of the armies of the Church, was one of the most noted warriors of that time. Yet victory had rarely crowned his brows with laurels. Imitating the cautious tactics of Braccio, and emulating the fame of Fabius Cunctator, he reduced the art of war to a system of manoeuvres, and rarely risked his fortune in the field. It was chiefly due to his dilatory movements that the disaster of the Sack of Rome was not averted. He had been expelled by Leo X. from his duchy to make room for Lorenzo de'Medici, and report ran that a secret desire to witness the humiliation of a Medicean Pontiff caused him to withhold his forces from attacking the tumultuary troops of Bourbon. Francesco Maria was a man of violent temper; nineteen years before, he had murdered the Pope's Legate, Cardinal Francesco Alidosi, with his dagger, in the open streets of Bologna. His wife, Eleanora Ippolita Gonzaga, presided with grace over that brilliant and cultivated Court which Castiglione made famous by his Cortegiano. The Duke and Duchess survive to posterity in two masterpieces of portraiture by the hand of Titian which now adorn the Gallery of the Uffizzi.
February 24, which was the anniversary of Charles's birthday, had been fixed for his coronation as Emperor in San Petronio. This church is one of the largest Gothic buildings in Italy. Its facade occupies the southern side of the piazza. The western side, on the left of the church, is taken up by the Palazzo Pubblico. In order to facilitate the passage of the Pope and Emperor with their Courts and train of princes from the palace to the cathedral, a wooden bridge wide enough to take six men abreast was constructed from an opening in the Hall of the Ancients. The bridge descended by a gradual line to the piazza, broadened out into a platform before the front of San Petronio, and then again ascended through the nave to the high altar. It was covered with blue draperies, and so arranged that the vast multitudes assembled in the square and church to see the ceremony had free access to it on all sides. On the morning of the 24th, the solemn procession issued from the palace, and defiled in order down the gangway. Clement was borne aloft by Pontifical grooms in their red liveries. He wore the tiara and a cope of state fastened by Cellini's famous stud, in which blazed the Burgundian diamond of Charles the Bold. Charles walked in royal robes attended by the Count of Nassau and Don Pietro di Toledo, the Viceroy of Naples, who afterwards gave his name to the chief street in that city. Before him went the Marquis of Montferrat, bearing the scepter; Philip, Duke of Bavaria, carrying the golden orb; the Duke of Urbino, with the sword; and the Duke of Savoy, holding the imperial diadem. This Duke of Savoy was uncle to Francis I. and brother-in-law to Charles—- his wife, Beatrice, being a sister of the Empress, and his sister, Louise, mother of the French king. This double relationship made his position during the late wars a difficult one. Yet his territory had been regarded as neutral, and in the pacification of Italy he judged it wise to adhere without reserve to the victorious King of Spain. It was noticed that Ferrante di Sanseverino, Prince of Salerno, though known to be in Bologna, occupied no post of distinction in the imperial train. He was closely related to the Emperor by his mother, Maria of Aragon, and had done good service in the recent campaigns against Lautrec. The reason for this neglect does not appear. But it may be mentioned that some years later he espoused the French cause, and was deprived of his vast hereditary fiefs. In his ruin the poet Bernardo, father of Torquato Tasso, was involved.
To enumerate all the nobles of Spain, Italy and Germany, with the ambassadors from England, France, Scotland, Hungary, Bohemia and Portugal; who swelled the Imperial cortege; to describe the series of ceremonies by which Charles was first consecrated as a deacon, anointed, dressed and undressed, and finally conducted to the Pope for coronation; to narrate the breaking of the bridge at one point, and the squabbles between the Genoese and Sienese delegates for precedence, would be superfluously tedious. The day was well-nigh over when at length Charles received the Imperial insignia from the Pope's hands. Accipe gladium sanctum, Accipe virgam, Accipe pomum, Accipe signum gloriae! As Clement pronounced these sentences, he gave the sword, the scepter, the globe, and the diadem in succession to the Emperor, who knelt before him. Charles bent and kissed the Papal feet. He then rose and took his throne beside the Pope. It was placed two steps lower than that of Clement. The ceremony of coronation and enthronization being now complete, Charles was proclaimed: Romanorum Imperator semper augustus, mundi totius Dominus, universis Dominis, universis Principibus et Populis semper venerandus. When Mass was over, Pope and Emperor shook hands. At the church-door, Charles held Clement's stirrup, and when the Pope had mounted, he led his palfrey for some paces, in sign of filial submission.
The month of March was distinguished by the arrival of illustrious visitors. The Duchess of Savoy, with an escort of eighteen lovely maids of honor, made her pompous entry on the 4th, and took up her quarters in the Palazzo Pepoli. On the 6th came the Duke of Ferrara, for whom Charles had procured a safe-conduct from the Pope. During the Emperor's stay at Bologna, Alfonso d'Este had been assiduous in paying him and his Court small attentions, sending excellent provisions for the household and furnishing the royal table with game and every kind of delicacy. The settlement of his dispute with the Holy See was the only important business that remained to be transacted. Charles prevailed upon both Clement and Alfonso to state their cases in writing and to place them in the hands of jurisconsults, to report upon. There is little doubt that his own mind was already made up in favor of the duke; but he did not pass sentence until the following December, nor was the decision published before April in the year 1531. The substance of the final agreement was as follows. Modena, Reggio and Rubbiera were declared fiefs of the Empire, seeing that they had not been included in Pepin's gift of the Exarchate. Charles confirmed their investiture to Alfonso, in return for a considerable payment to the Imperial Chancery. He had previously conferred the town of Carpi, forfeited by Alberto Pio as a French adherent, on the Duke. Ferrara remained a fief of the Church, and Clement consented to acknowledge Alfonso's tenure, upon his disbursement of 100,000 ducats. This decision saved Modena to the bastard line of Este, when Pope Clement VIII. seized Ferrara as a lapsed fief in 1598. In the sixty-seven years which passed between the date of Charles's coronation and the extinction of the duchy, Ferrara enjoyed the fame of the most brilliant Court in Italy, and shone with the luster conferred on it by men like Tasso and Guarini.
The few weeks which now remained before Charles left Bologna were spent for the most part in jousts and tournaments, visits to churches, and social entertainments. Veronica Gambara threw her apartments open to the numerous men of letters who crowded from all parts of Italy to witness the ceremony, of Charles's coronation. This lady was widow to the late lord of Correggio, and one of the two most illustrious women of her time. She dwelt with princely state in a palace of the Marsili; and here might be seen the poets Bembo, Mauro, and Molza in conversation with witty Berni, learned Vida, stately Trissino, and noble-hearted Marcantonio Flaminio. Paolo Giovio and Francesco Guicciardini, the chief historians of their time, were also to be found there, together with a host of literary and diplomatic worthies attached to the Courts of Urbino and Ferrara or attendant on the train of cardinals, who, like Ippolito de'Medici, made a display of culture. Meanwhile the Dowager-Marchioness of Mantua and the Duchess of Savoy entertained Italian and Spanish nobles with masqued balls and carnival processions in the Manzoli and Pepoli palaces. Frequent quarrels between hot-blooded youths of the rival nations added a spice of chivalrous romance to love-adventures in which the ladies of these Courts played a too conspicuous part. What still remained to Italy of Renaissance splendor, wit, and fashion, after the Sack of Rome and the prostration of her wealthiest cities, was concentrated in this sunset blaze of sumptuous festivity at Bologna. Nor were the arts without illustrious representatives. Francesco Mazzola, surnamed Il Parmigianino, before whose altar-piece in his Roman studio the rough soldiers of Bourbon's army were said to have lately knelt in adoration, commemorated the hero of the day by painting Charles attended by Fame who crowned his forehead, and an infant Hercules who handed him the globe. Titian, too, was there, and received the honor of several sittings from the Emperor. His life-sized portrait of Charles in full armor, seated on a white war-horse, has perished. But it gave such satisfaction at the moment that the fortunate master was created knight and count palatine, and appointed painter to the Emperor with a fixed pension. Titian also painted portraits of Antonio de Leyva and Alfonso d'Avalos, but whether upon this occasion or in 1532, when he was again summoned to the Imperial Court at Bologna, is not certain. From this assemblage of eminent personages we notice the absence of Pietro Aretino. He was at the moment out of favor with Clement VII. But independently of this obstacle, he may well have thought it imprudent to quit his Venetian retreat and expose himself to the resentment of so many princes whom he had alternately loaded with false praises and bemired with loathsome libels.
[Footnote 5: See Ren. in It. vol. v. p. 289.]
People observed that the Emperor in his excursions through the streets of Bologna usually wore the Spanish habit. He was dressed in black velvet, with black silk stockings, black shoes, and a black velvet cap adorned with black feathers. This somber costume received some relief from jewels used for buttons; and the collar of the Golden Fleece shone upon the monarch's breast. So slight a circumstance would scarcely deserve attention, were it not that in a short space of time it became the fashion throughout Italy to adopt the subdued tone of Spanish clothing. The upper classes consented to exchange the varied and brilliant dresses which gave gayety to the earlier Renaissance for the dismal severity conspicuous in Morone's masterpieces, in the magnificent gloom of the Genoese Brignoli, and in the portraits of Roman inquisitors. It is as though the whole race had put on mourning for its loss of liberty, its servitude to foreign tyrants and ecclesiastical hypocrites. Nor is it fanciful to detect a note of moral sadness and mental depression corresponding to these black garments in the faces of that later generation. How different is Tasso's melancholy grace from Ariosto's gentle joyousness; the dried-up precision of Baroccio's Francesco Maria della Rovere from the sanguine joviality of Titian's first duke of that name! One of the most acutely critical of contemporary poets felt the change which I have indicated, and ascribed it to the same cause. Campanella wrote as follows:
Black robes befit our age. Once they were white; Next many-hued; now dark as Afric's Moor, Night-black, infernal, traitorous, obscure, Horrid with ignorance and sick with fright. For very shame we shun all colors bright, Who mourn our end—the tyrants we endure, The chains, the noose, the lead, the snares, the lure— Our dismal heroes, our souls sunk in night.
In the midst of this mirth-making there arrived on March 20 an embassy from England, announcing Henry VIII.'s resolve to divorce himself at any cost from Katharine of Aragon. This may well have recalled both Pope and Emperor to a sense of the gravity of European affairs. The schism of England was now imminent. Germany was distracted by Protestant revolution. The armies of Caesar were largely composed of mutinous Lutherans. Some of these soldiers had even dared to overthrow a colossal statue of Clement VII. and grind it into powder at Bologna; and this outrage, as it appears, went unpunished. The very troops employed in reducing rebellious Florence were commanded by a Lutheran general; and Clement began to fear that, after Charles's departure, the Prince of Orange might cross the Apennines and expose the Papal person to the insults of another captivity in Bologna. Nor were the gathering forces of revolutionary Protestants alone ominous. Though Soliman had been repulsed before Vienna, the Turks were still advancing on the eastern borders of the Empire. Their fleets swept the Levantine waters, while the pirate dynasties of Tunis and Algiers threatened the whole Mediterranean coast with ruin. Charles, still uncertain what part he should take in the disputes of Germany, left Bologna for the Tyrol on March 23. Clement, on the last day of the month, took his journey by Loreto to Rome.
It will be useful, at this point, to recapitulate the net results of Charles's administration of Italian affairs in 1530. The kingdom of the Two Sicilies, with the Island of Sardinia and the Duchy of Milan, became Spanish provinces, and were ruled henceforth by viceroys. The House of Este was confirmed in the Duchy of Ferrara, including Modena and Reggio. The Duchies of Savoy and Mantua and the Marquisate of Montferrat, which had espoused the Spanish cause, were undisturbed. Genoa and Siena, both of them avowed allies of Spain, the former under Spanish protection, the latter subject to Spanish coercion, remained with the name and empty privileges of republics. Venice had made her peace with Spain, and though she was still strong enough to pursue an independent policy, she showed as yet no inclination, and had, indeed, no power, to stir up enemies against the Spanish autocrat. The Duchy of Urbino, recognized by Rome and subservient to Spanish influence, was permitted to exist. The Papacy once more assumed a haughty tone, relying on the firm alliance struck with Spain. This league, as years went by, was destined to grow still closer, still more fruitful of results.
Florence alone had been excepted from the articles of peace. It was still enduring the horrors of the memorable siege when Clement left Bologna at the end of May. The last hero of the republic, Francesco Ferrucci, fell fighting at Gavignana on August 2. Their general, Malatesta Baglioni, broke his faith with the citizens. Finally, on August 12, the town capitulated. Alessandro de'Medici, who had received the title of Duke of Florence from Charles at Bologna, took up his residence there in July, 1531, and held the State by help of Spanish mercenaries under the command of Alessandro Vitelli. When he was murdered by his cousin in 1537, Cosimo de'Medici, the scion of another branch of the ruling family, was appointed Duke. Charles V. recognized his title, and Cosimo soon showed that he was determined to be master in his own duchy. He crushed the exiled party of Filippo Strozzi, who attempted a revolution of the State, exterminated its leaders, and contrived to rid himself of the powerful adherents who had placed him on the throne. But he remained a subservient though not very willing ally of Spain; and when he expelled Alessandro Vitelli from the fortress that commanded Florence, he admitted a Spaniard, Don Juan de Luna, in his stead. During the petty wars of 1552-56 which Henri II. carried on with Charles V. in Italy, Siena attempted to shake off the yoke of a Spanish garrison established there in 1547 under the command of Don Hurtado de Mendoza. The citizens appealed to France, who sent them the great Marshal, Piero Strozzi, brother of Cosimo's vanquished enemy Filippo. Cosimo through these years supported the Spanish cause with troops and money, hoping to guide events in his own interest. At length, by the aid of Gian Giacomo Medici, sprung from an obscure Milanese family, who had been trained in the Spanish methods of warfare, he succeeded in subduing Siena. He now reaped the fruits of his Spanish policy. In 1557 Philip II. conceded the Sienese territory, reserving only its forts, to the Duke of Florence, who in 1569 obtained the title of Grand Duke of Tuscany from Pope Pius V. This title was confirmed by the Empire in 1575 to his son Francesco.
Thus the republics of Florence and Siena were extinguished. The Grand Duchy of Tuscany was created. It became an Italian power of the first magnitude, devoted to the absolutist principles of Spanish and Papal sovereignty. The further changes which took place in Italy after the year 1530, turned equally to the profit of Spain and Rome. These were principally the creation of the Duchy of Parma for the Farnesi (1545-1559), of which I shall have to speak in the next chapter; the resumption of Ferrara by the Papacy in 1597, which reduced the House of Este to the smaller fiefs of Modena and Reggio; the acquisition of Montferrat by Mantua in 1536; the cession of Saluzzo to Savoy in 1598, and the absorption of Urbino into the Papal domains in 1631.
It was hoped when Charles and Clement proclaimed the pacification of Italy at Bologna on the last day of 1529, that the peninsula would no longer be the theater of wars for supremacy between the French and Spaniards. This expectation proved delusive; for the struggle soon broke out again. The people, however, suffered less extensively than in former years; because the Spanish party, supported by Papal authority, was decidedly predominant. The Italian princes, whether they liked it or not, were compelled to follow in the main a Spanish policy. At length, in 1559, by the Peace of Cateau Cambresis signed between Henri II. and Philip II., the French claims were finally abandoned, and the Spanish hegemony was formally acknowledged. The later treaty of Vervins, in 1598, ceded Saluzzo to the Duchy of Savoy, and shut the gates of Italy to French interference.
Though the people endured far less misery from foreign armies in the period between 1630 and 1600 than they had done in the period from 1494 to 1527, yet the state of the country grew ever more and more deplorable. This was due in the first instance to the insane methods of taxation adopted by the Spanish viceroys, who held monopolies of corn and other necessary commodities in their hands and who invented imposts for the meanest articles of consumption. Their example was followed by the Pope and petty princes. Alfonso II. of Ferrara, for instance, levied a tenth on all produce which passed his city gates, and on the capital engaged in every contract. He monopolized the sale of salt, flour, bread; and imposed a heavy tax on oil. Sixtus V. by exactions of a like description and by the sale of numberless offices, accumulated a vast sum of money, much of which bore heavy interest. He was so ignorant of the first principle of political economy as to lock up the accruing treasure in the Castle of S. Angelo. The rising of Masaniello in Naples was simply due to the exasperation of the common folk at having even fruit and vegetables taxed. In addition to such financial blunders, we must take into account the policy pursued by all princes at this epoch, of discouraging commerce and manufactures. Thus Cosimo I. of Tuscany induced the old Florentine families to withdraw their capital from trade, sink it in land, create entails in perpetuity on eldest sons, and array themselves with gimcrack titles which he liberally supplied. Even Venice showed at this epoch a contempt for the commerce which had brought her into a position of unrivaled splendor. This wilful depression of industry was partly the result of Spanish aristocratic habits, which now invaded Italian society. But it was also deliberately chosen as a means of extinguishing freedom. Finally, if war proved now less burdensome, the exhaustion of Italy and the decay of military spirit rendered the people liable to the scourge of piracy. The whole sea-coast was systematically plundered by the navies of Barbarossa and Dragut. The inhabitants of the ports and inland villages were carried off into slavery, and many of the Italians themselves drove a brisk trade in the sale of their compatriots. Brigandage, following in the wake of agricultural depression and excessive taxation, depopulated the central provinces. All these miseries were exacerbated by frequent recurrences of plagues and famines.
It is characteristic of the whole tenor of Italian history that, in spite of the virtual hegemony which the Spaniards now exercised in the peninsula, the nation continued to exist in separate parcels, each of which retained a certain individuality. That Italy could not have been treated as a single province by the Spanish autocrat will be manifest, when we consider the European jealousy to which so summary an exhibition of force would have given rise. It is also certain that the Papacy, which had to be respected, would have resisted an openly declared Spanish despotism. But more powerful, I think, than all these considerations together, was the past prestige of the Italian States. Europe was not prepared to regard that brilliant and hitherto respected constellation of commonwealths, from which all intellectual culture, arts of life, methods of commerce, and theories of political existence had been diffused, as a single province of the Spanish monarchy. The Spaniards themselves were scarcely in a position to entertain the thought of reducing the peninsula to bondage vi et armis. And if they had attempted any measure tending to this result, they would undoubtedly have been resisted by an alliance of the European powers. What they sought, and what they gained, was preponderating influence in each of the parcels which they recognized as nominally independent.
The intellectual and social life of the Italians, though much reduced in vigor, was therefore still, as formerly, concentrated in cities marked by distinct local qualities, and boastful of their ancient glories. The Courts of Ferrara and Urbino continued to form centers for literary and artistic coteries. Venice remained the stronghold of mental unrestraint and moral license, where thinkers uttered their thoughts with tolerable freedom, and libertines indulged their tastes unhindered. Rome early assumed novel airs of piety, and external conformity to austere patterns became the fashion here. Yet the Papal capital did not wholly cease to be the resort of students and of artists. The universities maintained themselves in a respectable position—- far different, indeed, from that which they had held in the last century, yet not ignoble. Much was being learned on many lines of study divergent from those prescribed by earlier humanists. Padua, in particular, distinguished itself for medical researches. This was the flourishing time, moreover, of Academies, in which, notwithstanding nonsense talked and foolish tastes indulged, some solid work was done for literature and science. The names of the Cimento, Delia Crusca, and Palazzo Vernio at Florence, remind us of not unimportant labors in physics, in the analysis of language, and in the formation of a new dramatic style of music. At the same time the resurgence of popular literature and the creation of popular theatrical types deserve to be particularly noticed. It is as though the Italian nation at this epoch, suffocated by Spanish etiquette, and poisoned by Jesuitical hypocrisy, sought to expand healthy lungs in free spaces of open air, indulging in dialectical niceties and immortalizing street-jokes by the genius of masqued comedy.
This most ancient and intensely vital race had given Europe the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, the system of Roman law, the Romance languages, Latin Christianity, the Papacy, and, lastly, all that is included in the art and culture of the Renaissance. It was time, perhaps, that it should go to rest a century or so, and watch uprising nations—the Spanish, English, French, and so forth—stir their stalwart limbs in common strife and novel paths of pioneering industry.
After such fashion let us, then, if we can contrive to do so, regard the Italians during their subjection to the Church and Austria. Were it not for these consolatory reflections, and for the present reappearance of the nation in a new and previously unapprehended form of unity, the history of the Counter-Reformation period would be almost too painful for investigation. What the Italians actually accomplished during this period in art, learning, science, and literature, was indeed more than enough to have conferred undying luster on such races as the Dutch or Germans at the same epoch. But it would be ridiculous to compare Italians with either Dutchmen or Germans at a time when Italy was still so incalculably superior. Compared with their own standard, compared with what they might have achieved under more favorable conditions of national independence, the products of this age are saddening. The tragic elements of my present theme are summed up in the fact that Italy during the Counter-Reformation was inferior to Italy during the Renaissance, and that this inferiority was due to the interruption of vital and organic processes by reactionary forces.
It would not be just to condemn Spain and the Papacy because, being reactionary powers, they quenched for three centuries the genial light of Italy. We must rather bear in mind that both Spain and the Papacy were at that time cosmopolitan factors of the first magnitude, with perplexing world-problems confronting them. Charles bore upon his shoulders the concerns of the Empire, the burden of the German revolution, and the distracting anxiety of a duel with Islam. When his son bowed to the yoke of government, he had to meet the same perplexities, complicated with Netherlands in revolt, England in antagonism, and France in dubious ferment. A succession of Popes were hampered by painful European questions, which the instinct of self-preservation taught them to regard as paramount. They were fighting for existence; for the Catholic creed; for their own theocratic sovereignty. They held strong cards. But against them were drawn up the battalions of heresy, free thought, political insurgence in the modern world. The Zeitgeist that has made us what we are, had begun to organize stern opposition to the Church. It was natural enough that both the Spanish autocrat and the successor of S. Peter should at this crisis have regarded Italian affairs as subordinate in importance to wider matters which demanded their attention. Yet if we shift our point of view from this high vantage-ground of Imperial and Papal anxieties, and place ourselves in the center of Italy as our post of observation, it will be apparent that nothing more ruinous for the prosperity of the Italian people could have been devised than the joint autocracy accorded at Bologna to two cosmopolitan but non-national forces in their midst. An alien monarchy greedy for gold, a panic-stricken hierarchy in terror for its life, warped the tendencies and throttled the energies of the most artistically sensitive, the most heroically innovating of the existing races. However we may judge the merits of the Spaniards, they were assuredly not those which had brought Italy into the first rank of European nations. The events of a single century proved that, far from being able to govern other peoples, Spain was incapable of self-government on any rational principle. Whatever may have been the policy thrust upon the chief of Latin Christianity in the desperate struggle with militant rationalism, the repressive measures which it felt bound to adopt were eminently pernicious to a race like the Italians, who showed no disposition for religious regeneration, and who were yet submitted to the tyranny of ecclesiastical discipline and intellectual intolerance at every point.
The settlement made by Charles V. in 1530, and the various changes which took place in the duchies between that date and the end of the century, had then the effect of rendering the Papacy and Spain omnipotent in Italy. These kindred autocrats were joined in firm alliance, except during the brief period of Paul IV.'s French policy, which ended in the Pope's complete discomfiture by Alva in 1557. They used their aggregated forces for the riveting of spiritual, political, and social chains upon the modern world. What they only partially effected in Europe at large, by means of S. Bartholomew massacres, exterminations of Jews in Toledo and of Mussulmans in Granada, holocausts of victims in the Low Countries, wars against French Huguenots and German Lutherans, naval expeditions and plots against the state of England, assassinations of heretic princes, and occasional burning of free thinkers, they achieved with plenary success in Italy. The center of the peninsula, from Ferrara to Terracina, lay at the discretion of the Pope. The Two Sicilies, Sardinia and the Duchy of Milan, were absolute dependencies of the Spanish crown. Tuscany was linked by ties of interest, and by the stronger bonds of terrorism, to Spain. The insignificant principalities of Mantua, Modena, Parma could not do otherwise than submit to the same predominant authority. It is not worth while to take into account the tiny republics of Genoa and Lucca. Their history through this period, though not so uneventful, is scarcely less insignificant than that of San Marino. Venice alone stood independent, still powerful enough to extinguish Bedmar's Spanish conspiracy in silence, still proud enough to resist the encroachments of Paul V. with spirit, yet sensible of her decline and spending her last energies on warfare with the Turk.