ROME UNDER SIXTUS V.
By COUNT UGO BALZANI, of the Reale Accademia dei Lincei ; Hon. D.Litt., Oxford.
Rome, the Renaissance, and Christianity . 422
Italy in the latter half of the sixteenth century. The States of the Church 423
Rome under Pius V and Gregory XIII 404
Election of Sixtus V, 1585. His earlier life 425
Cardinal di Montalto . .426
Murder of Francesco Peretti .'.427
Election of Pope Sixtus V 428
Sixtus V, and Paolo Giordano Orsini. Organisation' of Sixtus' system of government .429
His early relations with Spain, France, and other States. Brigands and nobles .430
Suppression of brigandage in the Papal States .432
The Monti . 433
Sixtus V, and Philip II . 434
Sixtus V, and Queen Elizabeth. 435
His relations with Venice . 436
His relations with Savoy. His public works . 437
Transformation of Rome . 438
Roads and palaces built by Sixtus V . 440
Ecclesiastical buildings. St Peter's . 441
The Obelisk . 442
Destruction of ancient monuments . 443
The Vatican Library . 444
The Vatican Press. The Bullarium Romanum. Reorganisation of the ecclesiastical administration . 445
The Congregations of the Sacred College . 446
The Sapienxa. The Religious Orders . 447
Sixtus V and the Jesuits . 448
Sixtus V and the Protestants. His relations with Rudolf II. . 449
His relations with Poland .450
His attitude towards the French Religious Wars. Bull declaring Navarre and Condé heretics . 451
Rupture between Henry III and Rome . 452
Sixtus V and Henry IV. Mission of Luxemburg . 453
Sixtus V prepared for the conversion of Henry IV, Death of Sixtus V, 1590 . 454
Greatness and limits of his achievements . 455
ROME UNDER SIXTUS V.
THROUGHOUT the long history of the Papacy perhaps no century has witnessed so rapid and so deep a change as the sixteenth. The latent forces of Catholicism-those forces which in peaceful times do not appear, but which are, as it were, the vital sap of institutions that are really lasting-displayed their full vigour when the Reformation came to shake the foundations of the Catholic structure. The cry of protest that had been uttered by Luther expressed the feeling of many consciences besides those of participators in the religious revolution which was freeing them from Rome. The protest filled the hearts of even those nations too that remained faithful to her discipline. In the darkest periods of the Middle Ages ignorance and barbarity had degraded and corrupted the Papacy ; but, when the shadows dispersed, it raised itself again, to reach the heights attained under Gregory VII, Alexander III, and Innocent III. The splendours oC the Renaissance seemed, with one swoop, to take Rome back to Pagan times, and in a measure to renew the pomp and corruption of the Imperial age. But the Christian conscience was never dormant. Deeply moved, it returned by different ways to the ideal of a spiritual purification ; and while, on the one hand, a large portion of Christendom became detached from Rome, on the other, new ties were binding to it another portion, which sought in the moral renewal of the Papacy a remedy for its waning power, a means of regaining the ground that had been lost. To the great Reformers were opposed the new saints and founders of religious Orders-to the Reformation the Counter-Reformation. The same austere spirit and strenuously severe view of life that inspired the followers of Calvin, seemed to exercise an influence in Rome itself, and on the conduct of the Popes and leading men who were furthering the new Catholic movement. While the Council of Trent was defining more precisely the Catholic doctrine, and was consolidating the unity of the Catholic Church by subjecting its organism to discipline, Rome underwent a significant transformation, and, having lessened the worldly display prevalent in the earlier half of the century, assumed a religious aspect more suited to
Parallel with the religious movement, indeed, a great political movement was taking place in Europe, through which the nations were, almost unconsciously, trying to reach a settlement adapted to the new condition of things. While the star of Spain, after having reached its loftiest altitude, was slowly entering on its downward course, and the Empire was reduced to weakness by the heterogeneousness of the elements composing it, England was, with great vigour, laying the foundations of her power, and preparing for the marvellous development of her expansion ; and France, amidst the throes of the religious strife that was tearing her asunder, with the instinctive craving for unity destined to be, in the succeeding centuries, her strength and one of the chief causes of her greatness, seemed to feel that the complete victory of one party over the other had now become a necessity for her. Among the minor States, some were either preparing for their independence or endeavouring to maintain it, while the others, lying eastward, were opposing the invasion of the Turkish Power, which had by now advanced as far as it could go, but did not lay down its arms, and remained a constant threat and peril to Christendom.
Italy felt the reaction of all these movements. Lombardy and the south, being bound to Spain, followed her fortunes and contributed to the influence of her policy. Piedmont, stationed by the Alps like a sentinel, was ruled by wise, ambitious, and tenacious Princes, who carefully balanced their actions between Spain and France, watching for every opportunity to widen their dominion, as though they even then foresaw the great future to which their House was destined. Venice, though she, too, like Spain, was on the verge of inevitable decline, was still a bulwark against the Ottoman Power ; and, by her numerous and widespread interests, as well as by the adherence of her statesmen and of her diplomatists to the ancient traditions of her policy, she was still exercising in Europe a genuine influence. The minor principalities had no great weight in the inner life of the country, save, in a measure, Parma, which became important through the military genius of Alessandro Farnese; and Tuscany, owing to her central position, her frequently sagacious policy, and her relations with the House of France, which in various ways widened the scope of her interests.
Among these several Italian States, that belonging to the Church occupied a unique position. Owing to the vastness of the spiritual office of its head, the political interests, both favourable and hostile, of a large portion of the world were centred on Rome, while owing to its small extent the State could not exercise a real and peaceful influence unless it were ruled with a firm hand, and governed by a mind able to make up for its want of power and its material impotence by dint of moral influence. The conditions of the papal State made themselves
The dominating thoughts which determined the political action of Rome in the latter decades of the sixteenth century were the application and development of the decrees of the Council of Trent, the war against Protestantism, and the defence of Christendom against the Turks. Pius V had devoted to these aims the whole ardour-unbending, nay, at times pitiless-of his asceticism and of an unswerving faith, promoting the change from the medieval ideas of the Church to the new ideas and to the new Catholic discipline with a thoroughness that has perhaps not yet been sufficiently gauged by any historian. Gregory XIII followed in his steps, continuing his ideas in his international relations and in the persecution of the heretics, and furthering the tendency he had imposed on the new culture by the reform of the Calendar, and by the support given by him to the Order of the Jesuits, who under him began everywhere to control the instruction of the Catholic youth, and who, by means of the formation of the Collegium Romanum, became for almost three centuries absolute masters of education in Rome. But if this Pontiff7 so far acted in harmony with the central tendencies of the Church, he was not equally efficacious as head of the government. The badly managed finances, the unceasing abuses, and the turbulent and disorderly state of the territories subject to the papal rule, had now brought things to an intolerable pass, with which the strength of the aged and vacillating Gregory was wholly unable to cope.
The need for a firm hand and a sure eye had become all-important; and when, on April 10, 1585, Gregory died, it was with a feeling of uncertainty mingled with hope and fear that Rome saw the Cardinals enter into conclave for the election of a new Pope. While the foreign Powers strove for the success of the candidates who appeared most favourable to their interests, the Romans, without being able to exercise much influence in the matter, felt that the new election might be of vital importance for them and for the whole state of the Church. They had not long to wait, and on April 24 Rome learnt that the new Pontiff' had been elected. It was the Cardinal di Montalto (Felice Peretti) who took the name of Sixtus V.
There are moments in history which seem urgently to demand a strong personality, such as will sum up the tendencies of the time, and stamp them with its own character. The new Pontiff was one of these personalities. His father was descended from a family originating in Dalmatia, which had, like many others, fled across the Adriatic to seek refuge in Italy, when the Turks after invading Illyria were threatening the coasts of Dalmatia, and which had settled at Montalto in the Marches, being possessed of some competence. The father of the future Pope saw his patrimony ruined in 1518, when the Duke of Urbino took and sacked Montalto, and he withdrew to a place not far distant but higher up in the mountains,-the borough of Grottammare, where, on December 13,1521, the son was born to him who was destined to rise so high. The Venetian ambassador Lorenzo Priuli, in telling the Republic what he knew of the new Pope, related how he had heard from a well-informed person that the father had called the child Felice because he had, before its birth, had an omen of its destiny in a dream. This is possible, and it is also possible that, according to the universal tradition, Sixtus in his early youth had charge of the pigs in his father's fields ; but it is as well to bear in mind that, from the very beginning of his pontificate, the strange figure of the Pope was surrounded with a legendary halo which never left him.
At the age of nine Felice went to an uncle who was a friar in the Franciscan monastery of Montalto, and at twelve he took the habit of a novice. Intelligent, eager to learn, and devoted to his studies, he soon distinguished himself. While still very young he began to preach, quickly achieving a high reputation as a sacred orator, and was called from convent to convent in many parts of the country, in order to display his oratorical power. He had an easy and abundant mastery of words, considerable ecclesiastical erudition, and the torrent of eloquence that springs from great self-confidence and from strong convictions, passionately felt and relentlessly expressed. In the church of his convent of the Santi Apostoli at Rome, whither he went in 1552, being then a little over thirty years of age, his preaching was extraordinarily successful, and procured him friendships which were destined to have a great influence on his life and character. Cardinal Caraff'a and Cardinal Ghislieri, both of them subsequently Popes, under the names of Paul IV and Pius V, Cardinal Carpi, St Ignatius Loyola, and St Philip Neri, became his friends at this time ; and through his intercourse with them the mind of the young friar was inspired with a warmer zeal for the Catholic faith and with a deeper resolve to secure its triumph with all his strength. After having held the office of Hector in several convents, he was, in 1556, sent to Venice to rule the convent of the Frari. His instructions were to bring the friars back to a rigorous observance of the rules, and to restore the discipline that had become relaxed. So delicate a mission raised up against him a number of enemies, who attacked him with deceitful stratagems, while he went
The poor friar was now numbered among the great ones of the earth, and he might well feel in his inmost heart that he was called to exercise an influence on the history of the Church ; but his aspirations were soon checked. Pius V, who had such confidence in him, was succeeded in the papacy by Gregory XIII (Boncompagni), who was decidedly hostile to Montalto and was not long in showing his aversion. Having been laid on one side, Montalto withdrew so far as possible from public affairs, and adopted an attitude of complete reserve, which was at times interrupted by bitter sarcasms that were not calculated to restore him to favour. He wrapped himself in his studies and endeavoured, so far as -his somewhat scanty means permitted, to patronise the arts, as if by way of augury and preparation for the great works he was subsequently destined to accomplish at Rome. Learned as he was in canon law and in the study of the Fathers, he completed a work on Gratianus, and undertook a new revision of the writings of St Ambrosius. At the same time, employing a young architect of Como, Domenico Fontana, of whose ability and energy he had soon formed a high opinion, and whom he inspired with his own genius, he began to build himself a house surrounded by gardens near the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore ; and
Thus, in the life of solitude and leisure to which the disfavour of the Pope forced him, Felice Peretti was maturing his thoughts, and, while watching the conditions of the State, he was meditating what steps he would take on its behalf if Providence were one day to call him to rule over it. Consciousness of a lofty destiny, suppressed energy, irritation at seeing the highest matters in weak hands when the utmost strength was needed-all these were so many spurs to his thought and prepared it for the future. A whole programme of government was forming in his mind. He thought how an orderly condition of things and a firm internal policy could not fail to aid the action of the Church in the world, and considered the means whereby to readjust the finances, to embellish Rome, and above all to put an end to the murderous anarchy which was infesting the papal provinces and making Rome itself the theatre of every kind of crime. He himself had been assailed in his warmest affections by an atrocious assassination, and the Pope had not had the power to see that justice was done him. When Peretti had begun to rise in the offices of the Church he had caused a sister of his, Camilla, who was very dear to him, to come to Rome with her two children, Francesco and Maria. The latter married Fabio Damasceni, a Roman gentleman, and had two sons and two daughters, who were all marked out for a high station. Her brother, Francesco, had married a girl of the lesser nobility, Vittoria Accoramboni, who had, by her grace and rare beauty, soon become one of the favourite ladies in Roman society. Paolo Giordano Orsini, one of the greatest lords of Italy, a man of mature age and of ardent passions, whom rumour credited with the murder of his wife, Isabella de' Medici, the sister of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, fell violently in love with Vittoria. This passion was encouraged by Vittoria's mother, who, being ambitious, and not foreseeing the future elevation of the Cardinal di Montalto, spurred on the ambitions of her daughter, seeking in some way to unite her to Orsini. One night, Francesco Peretti, having been drawn into an ambush by the brother of Vittoria, was killed and left lying in the middle of the street. The boldness of the crime, and the rank of the victim and of the assassins, whose names were on everyone's lips, caused a deep emotion in Rome, accustomed as the city was to deeds of bloodshed. Only Cardinal di Montalto, though moved to his inmost heart, appeared to be undisturbed. He comforted his sister, who, in her despair, demanded justice, and, on the day after the murder, presented himself at a consistory with a calm that astonished everyone ; and to the Pope who turned to him, moved even to tears, he replied with dignity that one must be resigned to the will of God. Gregory XIII, touched to the quick, attributed this resignation to hypocrisy. Montalto, for his part,
According to the legend, which has survived in Rome to the present day, Sixtus, who had entered the conclave bowed down, like a weak and trembling old man, on hearing his name proclaimed, haughtily raised himself up, and, having thrown aside his crutches, cried out that he was now the master and that all were thenceforth bound to bend before his will and to obey him. It is a legend that symbolises the truth. The man who had matured his thoughts of government, while suppressing his own energy during the long years of forced inactivity, showed himself, by a singular contrast, from the very first day of his pontificate ready for his work and inflexibly determined. The first thought to which he turned his mind was the restoration of public order in Rome and in the whole State. With his rapid intuition he quickly saw that he must needs assert himself immediately and strike the minds of men by revealing himself in a kind of terrible majesty. Like Napoleon in a later day, Sixtus V possessed in a singular degree the gift of impressing his immediate surroundings -^ith his personality and of passing this impression on to others at a greater distance. " Now he is gentle, now terrible," was said of him by Lorenzo Priuli, the Venetian ambassador, " now easy, and now difficult, now close and frugal, and now of the most generous disposition ; prudently employing this diversity of character in his relations with private individuals and with princes, according as the times, the places, and the persons differ."
Indeed, during the early days of his pontificate, Sixtus displayed prudence and boldness at the same time. While, for the time being, he made few changes in the offices of the State, in order to become acquainted with the attitude of those occupying them and to familiarise himself with current affairs, and while he treated the various ambassadors with cordiality but with great caution, till he should have the threads of his policy well in hand, he of a sudden advanced straight on the object in which he was most deeply interested. When the representatives of the city of Rome went to pay homage to him, and begged him for justice and liberality, he replied severely that they would have both one and the other, but that as for justice it lay with them to exercise it, adding that, if they were not ready to do their duty, he was resolved, if need were, to have their heads cut off; and with these haughty words he straightway
Having thus vigorously seized the helm of the State, Sixtus devoted himself to the tasks which were of primary importance for the organisation of his government. He appointed the governors of the provinces, and surrounded himself with Cardinals who had stood well with Pius V, thus at the same time showing his gratitude to the memory of the Pope who had raised him to power, and removing to a distance and setting aside the friends of Gregory XIII, whom he did not trust. But even to those who surrounded him he did not leave much power, reserving for himself the principal affairs and every important decision. Endowed with inexhaustible activity and with great rapidity of thought, he began, while setting himself the task of restoring the public security without a moment's pause, to occupy himself with diplomacy, with finance, and with the great buildings which he intended raising in order to renew Rome and to erect for himself the monument of glory to which he aspired. He provided for his family with considerable liberality, and in his first consistory suddenly showed that he wished to exalt it, naming as a Cardinal his grand-nephew Alessandro, still a youth. The nomination caused displeasure, as an act of nepotism for which there was no excuse; and, though the new Cardinal di Montalto subsequently honoured the purple by high qualities and great nobility of character,
His earliest relations with the ambassadors accredited to the papal Court enabled Sixtus to become acquainted with them and to settle his policy more precisely. He was cautious with the ambassadors of Spain and France, but showed himself more open with the representatives of Venice and of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. He did not fail to impress upon the Grand Duke that he had not forgotten the ties of the old friendship and of the gratitude which bound them to each other, and that he was fully conscious of being largely indebted for his election to the Grand Duke's brother, the Cardinal de' Medici. He assured the ambassador of Venice, whom he received at once with great cordiality, that he always intended acting in harmony with the Signoria, that he was well aware of the difficulties of the Republic, surrounded as she was on the one side by the heretics and on the other by the Turks, and that he would always try to help her ; and he kept his word, for during his pontificate he always showed himself favourable to the policy of Venice, and often followed her tendencies and counsels. His caution with the other diplomatists was not uncalled for. Philip II had not viewed the new election with a favourable eye, and dissembled the mistrust aroused in him by his ambassador, Olivarez, who was always hostile to Sixtus ; while, on the contrary, King Henry III of France was, with his usual levity, expecting too much from him, and thinking that he would find in him an easy instrument for his fickle policy.
Having in view his immediate goal, that of restoring order, Sixtus was bound not merely to act witli a strong hand in his own State, but to induce the neighbouring princes to act with him, which was no easy matter. Italy was a prey to a system of brigandage widely and strongly organised under the guidance of experienced and audacious chieftains, who had often sprung from the noblest families and were surrounded with that charm, made up of terror and of sympathy, which exiles of this type are wont to inspire in rough and imaginative minds. Alfonso Piccolomini, Lambcrto Malatesta, Ludovico Orsini were real leaders of bands which were formed or dispersed according to the chance of the moment, and which infested Romagna, the Marches, the Campagna, and the sea-coast of the papal State, at times attacking even the cities, and devastating the regions rendered insecure through their invasions, and even more insecure by reason of the intervention of the soldiers sent by the government to oppose them, who often did more damage than the bandits themselves. When danger threatened the bands dissolved, and, crossing the boundaries, disappeared in Tuscany, the State of Venice, the duchy of Urbino, or the kingdom of Naples. The baneful plant that had long been tolerated had struck deep roots which it seemed impossible to pluck out. Gregory XIII had proved himself powerless; and the other
States were very weak, and perhaps at times even not a little pleased to add by their indifference to the embarrassments of the Pontiff, whose relations with them, especially in ecclesiastical matters, did not always go on smoothly. Under Sixtus, however, this aspect of things changed rapidly. His moderation in maintaining the rights of the Church in the States of his neighbours called for a return, and they became imbued with his own energy. His continuous representations to the princes and their ambassadors bore fruit. The bandits, no longer finding a secure asylum outside the State, were within its bounds hunted like wild beasts, without pity, and at times with a doggedness that resembled ferocity. Above all it was necessary to clear the infested districts immediately round Rome ; and Sixtus committed this task to the Cardinal Colonna, who discharged it with a vigour and promptitude that paralysed all resistance. One by one the chiefs of the bands were captured and put to death with their followers and accomplices, no mercy being shown. Heads fell in great numbers, and were exposed in every corner of the district-a spectacle full of horror and of terror. The capture of the priest Guercino, who was called the King of the Campagna, and who, by the audacity of his crimes, had made himself master of it to such an extent as to force Gregory XIII to come to terms with him, struck a great blow at brigandage in the vicinity of Rome. When his severed head was exposed on the battlements of Castello Sant' Angelo, Rome felt that peace was returning, and applauded the severity displayed, more especially as it was aimed not merely at the brigands outside but also at the evil-doers of every kind within the city, without sparing the nobles, on whose overweening spirit the hand of Sixtus weighed resolutely and relentlessly.
Nor was it at Rome alone that his hand weighed heavily on the nobles ; its sway extended likewise to the barons of the provinces, in order to wrest from them a power that was no longer justified and that had become an instrument for acts of private oppression and violence. Terrible above all seemed the condemnation of Giovanni Pepoli, a man who, with many faults, still had the reputation of a noble and generous mind, and who represented at Bologna one of the greatest and most famous families of the papal State. Being accused of having shown favour and given a refuge to bandits, and of having refused to surrender one of them, he was condemned to death and strangled, no heed being given to the prayers of many persons on his behalf, to the interest of several princes, and to the efforts of the powerful Cardinal d'Esté, who was very indignant at his death and bitterly lamented it. The greatness of the family that was struck, the authority of the man, the swiftness of the penalty made a deep impression. The Pope was taxed with cruelty, and subdued murmurs were heard ; but the nobles began to feel that it was no longer the time to make common rause with the brigands, nor to stir up too violently the factions into
In order to overcome the brigandage which was growing more terrible in the provinces, the Pope, as we have said, required the cooperation of the States bordering on his own, and to that end he worked upon the ambassadors and also directly upon the princes. He endeavoured to show how dangerous an element of weakness was being introduced into the whole of Italy by these internal enemies, who constituted a kind of army which, as he used to assert, would be able, at any given moment and in one way or another, to ally itself and act in concert with the Turks or the heretics, to the injury of the Catholic States. Nor will this assertion appear greatly exaggerated if it is borne in mind that the number of the bandits in the papal State alone had during the last years of Gregory XIII risen at certain moments to twenty-seven thousand, a number corresponding very nearly to that of the regular soldiery in the pay of the Princes of Italy. By his urgent demands the Pope managed to obtain the assistance of Spain for the Neapolitan district, and of the Dukes of Ferrara and Urbino ; the last-named, indeed, not satisfied with fighting against and capturing the bandits, succeeded in destroying an entire band by the horrible stratagem of causing poisoned food to fall into their hands. More difficult were the negotiations with Venice, who, though well disposed towards the Pope as he was towards her, yet found herself much hampered by the traditional and jealous regard which, like modern England, she cherished for the right of asylum. Sixtus V proposed a kind of treaty of extradition ; and, after many difficulties, Venice came to an agreement by which the Republic pledged herself to refuse shelter to the bandits of the papal State, though not without certain reserves. Pressing on the brigands from every side, he overcame the last scruples of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, which had actually for a moment almost endangered the friendly relations between the two States, and obtained the extradition of one of the principal bandits, Lamberto Malatesta, who had for years terrorised the Romagna, and who, having been brought to Rome, was there decapitated. Thus, in little more than two-years, with a relentless tenacity and firmness, by rigorous methods which
Speaking one day with the Cardinal de Joyeuse, and expressing his pleasure, as he often did with the diplomatists and foreign personages, at having brought back peace to the State and restored the papal authority, Sixtus observed that two things were needed to govern well, namely, severity and a great deal of money. The vast ideas he was revolving in his mind, both as regards the public works he proposed to complete, and the impulse that he wished to give to his policy, were of such a kind as could be realised only with the aid of a well-filled exchequer, whereas that of the papal State when he ascended the throne was exhausted. The same tendency to move straight towards his goal that had guided his action in the extirpation of brigandage seemed to dominate him when he entered upon the task of rearranging the finances. But this was a more delicate and difficult matter to regulate, and his financial system, though it achieved the aim he had set himself, and filled the State treasury with gold, appeared to many to be very imperfect. By wise measures he reduced many useless expenses; but these economies were far from sufficient for his needs, and he was forced to have recourse to the sale of the public offices, and to the development of the institution of the monti, which were practically a kind of public loan at a fairly high rate of interest. The offices and the monti were divided into vacabUi and non vacabili. Uffici vacabili were those which ceased with the death of the purchaser, and in certain cases with his promotion to the cardinalship or to a bishopric ; and monti vacabili were loans that were redeemable within a limited period under a system of sinking funds, while the monti non vacabili represented the permanent debt of the State. It was a defective system which he had not created, but to which he gave a very wide development ; and, though during his lifetime he kept down the abuses to which it gave rise, they soon reappeared after his death. It need hardly be said that these sales of remunerative offices and loans went hand in hand with an increase in the taxation of the people, who often found it heavy and complained. But the magnificence of the public works, the roads opened to facilitate commerce, and the new industries that were encouraged and introduced, in a measure atoned for the burden of the imposts in the eyes of the people. In the course of a few years, in spite of his enormous expenditure during his pontificate, Sixtus might be considered one of the wealthiest sovereigns in Europe ; and while princes who were so much more powerful than himself, such as the King of Spain, were hampered by their want of means and struggling
And these problems went on multiplying and keeping the thoughts of Sixtus V on the alert. His mind blended together, in a union by no means rare at certain periods of transition, the practical energy of the statesman and the fervour of the mystic. His monkish education, his first aspirations, his friendship with the most ardent and active champions of the Counter-Reformation, the struggle which he had seen raging, from his childhood onwards, against heresy and against the Turk, determined the currents of his policy and traced out his life for him. To bring back the erring Christians to the obedience of the Church, and to join together the Christian forces in repelling the Muslim invasion and in freeing for ever the sepulchre of •Christ-these were the chief aspirations of his mind, which, like the contemporary muse of Torquato Tasso, was idealising in the future the forms of the past. Revolving these thoughts within him, he felt that, though not yet sure of the means whereby to achieve them, he ought to approach Spain, and that he would never be able to separate himself from that Power. He had been elected against the wish of Philip II ; and his alert, energetic, and impetuous disposition was in absolute contrast with that of Philip, who was always so reserved, cautious, and procrastinating. There was a constant basis of mistrust in their relations during the whole of his pontificate; and assuredly no efforts to overcome it were made by the ambassador, Olivarez, whose dignified haughtiness was at every moment irritated by the blunt and imperious ways of the Pope, and by his opposition. But in spite of this mistrust, the Pope was too necessary to Spain, and Spain to the Pope, for it ever to be possible that they should separate and go entirely different ways. They were the two greatest and, so to speak, essential representatives of the Catholic principle. Sixtus soon turned to Philip and, with the ardour of a man new to the difficulties of State, began to communicate to him his plans, which appeared too vast to the
To the ambitious aims of Philip the religious discords opened the prospect of splitting up that kingdom to his advantage, on the pretext of restoring in it the unity of the faith ; whereas the Pope felt that the excessive growth of Spain at the expense of France would be injurious to Europe, and, in the long run, to the cause of Catholicism. The condition of France was exceedingly precarious, and it was not easy to follow a definite and decisive policy with regard to her. Pending the development of events it was better in the meantime to employ one's energy elsewhere. To free the coasts of the Mediterranean from the Muslim by the conquest of Algiers, and to restore England to the bosom of the Church of Rome, were the two pivots on which the Pope would have liked to rest his policy ; but the King of Spain saw the difficulties of the situation, and realised that the war with Flanders in which he was engaged was in itself a sufficiently great undertaking for the moment. Sixtus had to give up the idea of a conquest of Algiers, but he did not give up the conversion of England. It seemed clear that if this island were once snatched away from heresy, the victory of Catholicism on the Continent would be comparatively easy. Queen Elizabeth was to the heart and imagination of Sixtus a source of torment and of hope. She fulfilled his ideal-this sovereign whose woman's breast contained such virile energy, and who understood and seconded with so much decision and self-possession the impetuous strength of a people that was pressing forward to the conquest of a new world, along the unknown paths of the future. To convert her to Catholicism, to unite himself with her in action, to transform Elizabeth into a Countess Matilda, was his dream-the dream of a monk on the throne. It remained a dream, but during a great part of his pontificate it did not leave his thoughts, and several times he lent a ready ear to agents, especially Jesuits, who fed his illusion.
This illusion, however, did not prevent him from combating English Protestantism with various weapons. Some proposals which had, through the instrumentality of the Cardinal d'Esté, been made by France to the Pope, for reuniting the principal French Catholics in an expedition against England, aroused the attention and anxiety of the Spanish ambassador, Olivarez; and the Pope availed himself of this to urge Philip to do something on his side. Spain's position with regard to England was such as to leave no peace in Philip's mind. The swift boldness of Drake and of the other English adventurers who ploughed the sea, paralysing Spain's maritime power, would have sufficed to incite him to act, even though he had not had other motives, other fears, and other ambitions. Rome encouraged him ; and gradually the conception was matured and the preparations begun for the expedition of the
Armada, which was to invade England. This chapter is not the place for narrating this famous expedition and its results, which were of such decisive importance for England, but it is necessary to recall that Sixtus eagerly encouraged the expedition, especially at the beginning, striving to overcome the continuous hesitation of Philip II, and supporting the enterprise with money, and still more with promises of money, which, while awaiting the issue of events, the Pope was in no hurry to lavish, and which he subsequently refused to pay. The delays of Philip caused him anxiety, and fear lest the undertaking should fail. Writing on one occasion to Philip, he said bluntly : " Your Majesty wastes so much time over the consideration of your undertakings, that when the time comes to carry them out there remains neither time nor money"; and, another time, when lamenting this inactivity to the Venetian ambassador, he compared Philip and Elizabeth, saying of her that he would have loved her for her great valour more than any other Sovereign, if she had been Catholic, and adding that he had uneasy presentiments with regard to the Armada. The death of Mary Stewart appeared to him as a challenge, and, by irritating him against Elizabeth, increased his desire to hasten on events. He felt that England would not stand waiting without preparing herself, and redoubled his exhortations. In August of the year 1587, after the nomination of William Alien as Cardinal, he still wrote to Philip II : " This morning I held a Consistory and Alien was made a Cardinal in order to satisfy your Majesty, and although in proposing him I had a pretext that should have disposed of every kind of suspicion, yet I am told that people at once began to say, in Rome: 'Now they are preparing for the war against England' ; and that this assumption is widespread. Therefore let your Majesty not delay, so that you may not do greater harm to those poor Christians [the English Catholics] ; for by procrastination the wise decisions you have come to would turn out badly." The destruction of the Armada, which showed the foresight of Sixtus, had increased the latent bad feeling between him and Philip, inclining him more and more to regard the affairs of France from a point of view that could not commend itself to the Spanish sovereign. The intimate and cordial relations between Sixtus and the ambassadors and the Signoria of Venice also caused Philip anxiety ; for he knew how Venice favoured the pacification of France by means of bringing together Rome and the King of Navarre, with a view to his conversion. In the Italian politics of the Pope Venice played a part of overwhelming importance. She was not merely a bulwark against the heretics of Germany and against the Crescent in the East, but she was the chief centre round which it was possible to group the Italian forces, with a view to preventing the excessive influence of Spain and perhaps of France in Italy. Hence the efforts of the Pope to keep Venice and Tuscany united in a greater degree than was possible, and to draw them into cooperation with the minor Italian potentates, without bonds and formal alliances,.
We can in this place only rapidly indicate those events which supply material for other chapters in this volume. While these were developing, Rome, the papal State, and the Church called for attention of a different kind. To free the State from brigandage, and to lower the nobility to the level allowed by law was only, as it were, to smooth the way for the new duties of government in an age of transformation, which was substituting a more direct and uniform action for the variety of impulses and forces that characterised medieval life. The territory occupied by the Church State, which was fertile and for the most part well cultivated, could be made to increase its wealth by the development of industries connected with agriculture and by the sanitation of those malarial regions where the occupations of life were impeded by the stagnant waters which rendered them uninhabitable. With a view to this, Sixtus V undertook improvements in the marshes of the Maremma and in the Pontine marshes, devoting especially to the latter, which he visited during his Pontificate, a considerable amount of attention and of money, and draining off the stagnant waters into a canal, which took the name of flume Sisto; this was a magnificent work, which, as Ranke justly observes, may be regarded as the best attempt to dry up the Pontine marshes that was made till
The disappearance of the Middle Ages marked cut for Rome a period of transformation that largely changed her aspect. The city that had been the scene of baronial strife, of struggles between Popes and anti-Popes, between Guelfs and Ghibellines, with her massive fortified towers rising on every side and leaning up against the ruins of Imperial Rome-with her basilicas, in whose architecture the art of the Cosmati triumphed in its simplicity, its elegance and its fulness of religious piety, while in the gold of the mosaics glowed the Giottesque inspiration of the Roman painter, Pietro Cavallini-this old medieval city had entered a fresh phase of life, since she had yielded to the invading spirit of the Renaissance. The sojourn of the Popes in Avignon, and the consequent reduction of the
In the time of Sixtus V, though much had been done, much still remained to do for the exercise of his feverish energy. He loved building, and was desirous of raising monuments which should leave a lasting record of his name. From the days of his cardinalate he had, in the solitude of the villa built by him on the Esquiline, long been accustomed to ponder deeply on magnificent works, and, in his conversations with his architect, Domenico Fontana, who understood him so well, he had matured in his mind the plans for executing them. The thought of the colossal undertakings of which the history of Rome offered so many examples, and of which the very ruins were a speaking testimony, could not fail to stir his energies. On becoming Pope he set to work with his wonted rapidity; and Rome saw thousands of workmen labouring simultaneously at the various buildings he conceived and endeavoured to bring to a finish during his pontificate: for to begin a thing was with him to become intent upon its completion. The Popes of the earlier part of the sixteenth century had chiefly aimed at embellishing thé city on the side nearest the Vatican, following as it were the course of the Tiber downwards from the bridge of Sant1 Angelo. The upper zone of Rome, the greater part of which had remained desolate since the days of Gregory VII, when
From the earliest days of his pontificate Sixtus had shown his desire to erect a seat worthy of the Popes in the Lateran. During the ceremonies of his coronation he observed, in conversation with some Cardinals, how absurd and inconsistent it was that the basilica of the Lateran, omnium ecclesiarum mater, and the ideal and perpetual domicile of the Popes, should not have a building attached to it suitable for housing them. The idea of erecting one had occurred to two of his predecessors, Nicholas IV and Sixtus IV, both of them Franciscans like himself, but the idea had not been carried out ; now he would put it into execution. And in truth he set to work, and the splendid palace designed by Fontana arose in a short time, as though by enchantment. Soon after there extended along one of the roads he had laid down another papal palace, the Quirinal, part of which had been built by his predecessor, and which was subsequently finished by Paul V ; and to the square in front of the palace were transported the two colossal groups which are still so characteristic a feature of it, and have given it the name of Monte Cavallo.
In order to render salubrious this vast portion of Rome which it was proposed to resuscitate, a great supply of water was required, and here again the ancient Roman traditions served as a model. Sixtus decided to connect various springs of water in the district of Palestrina, and to bring them to Rome along a distance of about twenty miles, partly by subterranean channels, partly by means of an aqueduct on arches about
While he was attending to these great works, he also occupied himself with lesser reforms for the good conduct of the city, such as the reform of the carnival fêtes, which had degenerated into a display of licence that frequently gave rise to grave disorders ; and he established useful and pious foundations. Remembering his Slavonic origin, he erected the church and hospice of San Girolamo degli Schiavoni. He restored the church of Santa Sabina on the Aventine. He improved the condition of the Roman University, the Sapienza, of which he had been Rector, by gifts of money and by enlarging the building. He created monasteries, strengthened and increased the fraternity for ransoming the slaves who had fallen into the hands of the Turks, founded a hospice for the poor near the Ponte Sisto, endowing it with a good revenue, and in the Bull of the foundation affirmed the obligation resting on every city to maintain such of its poor as are incapable of work, and to prevent mendicity and its abuses. He also added to the same hospice a place where the pilgrims who came to Rome might be received and entertained for three days.
Mindful of the benefits of Pius V, to whom he owed his elevation, and whose example and ideas had strengthened in him his fervid aspirations for the triumph of Catholicism and his implacable desire for the destruction of Protestantism, Sixtus contemplated erecting in his honour a memorial sepulchre worthy of the high esteem in which he held him. In the church of Santa Maria Maggiore he had, as has been said, already in the days when he was a Cardinal begun to erect a vast chapel consecrated to the cradle of the Lord ; and this he completed after he had succeeded to the pontificate, lavishing on it a great wealth of marbles, statues, and paintings. In this chapel he had set up the monument to which, with solemn pomp, he transferred the ashes of Pius V, and in it he, too, desired to be buried, so as to rest, after death, by the side of the man who had beeil his friend and had inspired his actions.
The care bestowed on the upper regions of Rome could not obscure the fact that the basis of the papal City is always the Vatican, and that the transformation of St Peter's, on which the Popes of the sixteenth century had vied with each other in lavishing endless treasures, was not yet complete. The majestic cupola conceived by Michelangelo did not yet rear into the sky the solemn curves of its lines. From the year 1565, in which Michelangelo died, various architects-Vignola,
Pirro Ligorio, and Giacomo della Porta-had successively worked at the continuation of the cathedral, but the cupola remained unbuilt. Nor did the gigantic task appear an easy one, and, like the aqueduct, it was of such a nature that its completion was not considered possible in the course of a single pontificate, even though this should be a long one. Yet it was precisely this completion of the cupola to which Sixtus V, supplementing Giacomo délia Porta by his faithful architect Fontana^ who subsequently remained alone at the work, addressed himself as to his principal aim. He felt that in the cupola resided, so to speak, the soul of the entire church, and that its completion would suffice to secure and hasten on the completion of that superb artistic efibrt of the Catholic religion, which, entering into a new phase through the impulse of men who were for the most part Southerners, appealed to the imagination of the faithful by setting the pompous magnificence of its rites against the austere and bare simplicity of the Reformed worship. During the pontificate of Sixtus the architect Fontana was able to mould the vault of the cupola as far as the window of the skylight, and on the death of the Pope the work was so near completion that the first seven months of the pontificate of Gregory XIV sufficed to finish the skylight, and to put the last touch to the pinnacle of Michelangelo's grand creation.
But among the works executed in the time of Sixtus V none made so deep an impression on the imagination of the contemporaries and aroused their wonder to such an extent as the removal and erection on the open place in front of St Peter's of the obelisk which had formerly adorned the circus of Nero, and which stood half-buried near one of the sides of the cathedral. It was one of the first works to which the Pope turned his attention. To raise up from its base that huge block of granite, and to move it from its site without breaking it, had seemed impossible to Michelangelo and to Antonio Sangallo, when consulted by Paul III, who had designed to carry out the removal. The operation would involve raising the obelisk, inclining it horizontally, dragging it to its new site, and setting it up afresh. A commission of persons appointed to examine the numerous projects suggested selected that of Domenico Fontana, which seemed the safest and based on the most accurate calculations. Several attempts, suggested by the envy of rivals and incredulity in the success of the enterprise, were vainly made to dissuade the Pope and to intimidate the daring architect. In October of the year 1585, a few months after Sixtus had been elected, the work was begun, and soon there arose round the obelisk which was to be raised a forest of beams, and plates of iron, and cranes, and preparations of every kind. The task was hurried on, and already on May 27 in the following year everything was ready for proceeding with the more difficult part of the operation, namely the raising of the obelisk and placing it horizontally on the vehicle that was to carry it. An immense crowd attended the spectacle, among those present being the Cardinals and the greatest
The library in which Nicholas V had arranged the manuscripts which he had collected, was now, although it had been enlarged by Sixtus IV, too small for the need of the new times and for the rapid accumulation of the books due to the invention of printing. At the close of the sixteenth century it was felt more clearly than has been understood at a later date that the Church of Rome, if she wished to hold her own against her adversaries, must needs, above all else, bring her doctrines into harmony with the existing condition of learned studies. To a continuous series of attacks, fierce and full of theological knowledge and historical learning, it was not sufficient to reply by abuse. A system of efficacious apologetics was indispensable, which should oppose theologians to theologians, historians to historians, and should defend and expound the entire mass of the Catholic doctrine, as it had been strengthened and confirmed by the Council of Trent. The champions of free investigation and the champions of an authority from which there is no appeal were to meet with equal weapons for the fray. To this need corresponded the requirement of books and libraries. Already, in the year 1581, the Portuguese Stazio, leaving to the Congregation of the Oratory in Rome his accumulation of manuscripts and of books, laid the first foundation for the collections of the Bibliotheca Vallicelliana, which was increased and made celebrated among others by Baronius and by Rainaldus, who wrote in it their Annales Ecclesiastïd. Sixtus V, for his part, meant the Vatican to have a library such as need fear no rivals ; and, spoiling without the slightest compunction a most beautiful court-yard, the work of Bramante, he erected after the design of Fontana the magnificent Vatican library, which is still admired to-day,
To the library was annexed a printing-office, intended, in the words of the epigraph sculptured on the door, ad sanctorum patrum opera restituenda catholicamque rellgionem toto terrarum orbe propagandam. In this printing-office Sixtus V continued his publication of the works of St Ambrose, which he had, while still a Cardinal, begun to print at Milan, with the assistance of the saintly Archbishop of Milan, Carlo Borromeo; he promoted the printing of the works of St Gregory and those of St Bonaventura, whom he placed among the Doctors of the Church, and promoted the printing also of the great Bullarium Romanum of Cherubini. He likewise took in hand the publication of the Septuagint and of the text of the Vulgate, over which he presided in person. It was a work the completion of which he had much at heart, as one of the essential results of the Council of Trent. A year before his death he spoke of it to the Venetian ambassador, Alberto Badoer, saying to him that the Council had ordered the revision of the Bible, and that no one had occupied himself with it. He had therefore charged some Cardinals with the task, but, not being satisfied with their work, he had himself taken it in hand, and was in hopes that the printing would soon be finished. Badoer, reporting this conversation to the Doge, added that the Pope had told him that he was engaged on this very work just when he had entered his room, "getting through the labour with great enjoyment, and this was the plan he followed : after having completed a sheet he had it revised by Father Toledo and some Augustinian Fathers, men of the greatest distinction, who, after having diligently revised it, despatched it to the press. And he added that the Pope dwelt on this subject for some time with much gentleness." The Bible was really printed a short time before his death, but it did not appear sufficiently correct; and the definitive edition, still bearing the name of Sixtus Quintus, was published by the authority of Clement VIII in 1592.
To give movement and life to the decrees of the Council of Trent was the continuous thought of Rome during the struggle which she carried on against the Reformation for the unity and authority of the Church. With this end in view it became more and more desirable to organise on a secure and permanent basis the vast and varied machinery that was accumulating at Rome for the discharge of ecclesiastical business. Before the pontificate of Sixtus this business was generally despatched by the Pontiff with the aid of the Cardinals gathered in consistory, before whom the questions to be discussed were laid, so that they might express their opinion on them, prior to the final decision, which was reserved for the Pontiff. The part taken by the Cardinals in the affairs that concerned the general interests of the Church was undoubtedly large, and added considerably to the importance of their influence on
On various occasions the predecessors of Sixtus V had appointed Congregations of Cardinals, charged to study certain special questions and then to report on them to the Consistory ; but these were not really permanent appointments and provided only for particular cases. Sixtus V felt that the time had come to set up a new constitution for the government of the Church which should secure its expeditious and systematic conduct and avoid the many inconveniences of the old methods. By diminishing in all questions the interference of the Consistory, the notable result was also achieved of diminishing the excessive preponderance of the more influential Cardinals in the special questions affecting interests which they favoured or, under the name of Cardinal Protectors, represented officially in the Sacred College. This was a great .advantage, in addition to that accruing from a conduct of affairs which was more rapid, more uniform, and, in certain cases where caution was necessary, more secret. Against these advantages, however, had to be set the danger of an excessive centralisation, which, by lessening the importance of the Sacred College, might succeed in stifling all opposition there, and, by rendering the Consistories all but useless, reduce them to a mere formality. It cannot be said, however, that this disadvantage was much felt during the pontificate of Sixtus, who liked frequently to assemble the Cardinals in Consistory, willingly discussed matters with them, and often followed their counsels. In the bull Immensa aeterni Del he set out the reasons that induced him to institute the Congregations. There were fifteen of these, some of which were concerned in the administration of the Church, others in that of the State. The first was that of the Inquisition or the Holy Office, which had been instituted already by Paul III, to examine into the questions of dogma that arose from the movement of the Reformation ; it now underwent reorganisation, and was charged with the treatment of all questions relating to faith, as the only tribunal that judged with final authority. The Segnatura occupied itself with the concessions of grace, the others devoting themselves to the establishment of the churches, the rites and ceremonies, the Index of prohibited books, the interpretation of the Acts of the Council of Trent, the Regular friars, the Bishops, and
By means of these Congregations the new administration of the Church and of the Pontifical State may be said to have been organised in the form that has lasted to the present day, thus acquiring the characteristics of centralisation and of uniformity which have predominated in it till now. They were a strong bulwark for the unity of the ecclesiastical authority, and consolidated the work which the papal diplomacy and the religious Orders endeavoured to achieve, by putting an end to the prevalence of Protestantism in the districts most subject to its influence, and endeavouring to restore Catholicism in those that had detached themselves from it.
Being bound by friendship to the founders of the chief religious Orders that had arisen in his time, Sixtus could not but be cognisant of the full value of these orders in the struggle that was being carried on. The Order of the Jesuits, above all, that had risen so rapidly and was already firmly rooted in so large a portion of the world, was a formidable force which had to be reckoned with. The favour of Sixtus had on many occasions not been withheld from the Jesuits, and he had made use of them especially in propaganda and exploring work in the Protestant countries. But, having himself risen from a medieval Order, he never succeeded in being in complete sympathy with the newer Society, and foresaw that the rigorous discipline of the Jesuits, their passive obedience to their chiefs, and the unbending tenacity of their devotion to the interests and aims of their Order, might tend to transform it gradually into a kind of Church within the Church, and cause its sway to assume such proportions, at least from time to time, as would make the directing authority of the Papacy subservient to its interests. The Jesuits differed from the medieval Orders in this that, though moving in
In a measure Sixtus shared these suspicions. Although he treated certain Jesuits personally with great distinction-Father Toledo, for instance, to whose sermons he liked to listen and whom he employed for the revision of the Bible-yet he remained cold towards the Order at large, especially in Italy and in the countries where Catholicism was most secure. On certain occasions he supported them, defending them against the attacks of the lay authorities, especially of Philip II, who availed himself of the complaints of the Spanish Inquisition and of the jealousy of the Dominicans to thwart the excessive authority of the General of the Order, who, without any possibility of control on the part of Spain, was from Rome directing his Jesuits according to his pleasure. But although at the beginning Sixtus V had found the claims of Philip excessive, gradually, moved by the King's firm attitude, by the persistence of his ambassador Olivarez, and by the Spanish Inquisition, more and more persistent in its complaints of the Jesuits' contempt for every authority, and more especially by his own deep repugnance against leaving so dangerous a power in the hands of a religious Order, he began seriously to seek an opportunity for revising its constitution and taking in hand its reform.
The Society of Jesus thus found itself in a position of serious danger; and all the wise steps taken by its General, Father Acquaviva, seemed insufficient to save it. Cardinal Caraffa, who was charged with revising the rules of the Order, was on the side of the Jesuits; and on their behalf representations were sent to Rome from every part of Europe, especially from the Princes of Germany, who regarded them as valuable auxiliaries, and were convinced that Philip II and the Pope were oblivious of the true interests of Catholicism in thwarting their activity. But the Pope stood firm, hereby only increasing the fervour of the defending party, although Father Acquaviva, who understood the difficulties of the situation better, endeavoured to restrain them. A Jesuit preacher, who, from a pulpit in Madrid, hurled the gravest charges against the Pope, asserting that he was in league with the heretics, only caused the Pope to continue more obstinately in the path upon which he had entered. Father Acquaviva received a formal notification of the papal decrees with regard to the rules of the Order, which were substantially modified, and with regard to their very name, of which they were deprived, the Order being compelled to relinquish the title of Society
Even before constituting the Congregations of the Cardinals, Sixtus V had regulated the composition of the Sacred College, fixing the number of the Cardinals at seventy, and taking great care that the choice of them should accord with the importance and dignity of the office. Feeling that at the beginning of his pontificate he had himself not always adopted such a standard, and that he had on this account been the subject of reproofs, the justice of which he could not but recognise in his inner conscience, he subsequently endeavoured in the course of his pontificate to make amends; and the names, among others, of Cusani, Allen, Morosini, and Caetani were certainly such as conferred honour on the purple. Having in this way set up a precedent for his successors and for himself in a matter of high importance, he went on to expound the principles of the Council of Trent, and reinforced himself with assistants capable of aiding him, and of whom he had need, not only for the central administration of the Church, but also in the matter of the manifold international relations which the disturbed religious conditions rendered more delicate and complicated. These relations constituted the most difficult part of the papal activity at the end of the sixteenth century, and, by their uncertainty, reflected the political crisis which now existed in Europe.
Sixtus V, who had ascended the throne with such matured and definite ideas on every other point, for his part felt these uncertainties, and could not always overcome his hesitation as to the course which he should adopt. He had a clear idea of the ends which he strove to attain, but it was not possible for him at once to see clearly the means whereby he might reach them, even when his natural instinct indicated them to him. The essential idea in his policy was the return of the Protestants to the faith of Rome, and this always made him long for the conversion of those princes who had abandoned it. These, however, did not respond to his wishes ; and, while at times he encountered strong opposition and hindrance on the part of the Catholic Princes who were moved by different experiences and different views, he was also involved in frequent difficulties with the most ardent partisans of Catholicism, who, especially in France, struggled against their adversaries out of party hatred even more than out of religious zeal. His mind, though thus firmly fixed, could not but fully acknowledge the superiority of the leading Protestant Princes over the vacillating disposition of many Catholic potentates.
Leaving aside for the moment his relations with Philip II, to which we shall return, we find that the Emperor Rudolph II appeared to the
Pope a source of weakness rather than of strength. The Emperor was displeased because, in a question between himself and the Farnese, the Pope had shown himself favourable to the latter, and because, instead of helping the Archbishop of Cologne to recapture Neuss from the Calvinists, he had urged Alessandro Farnese to make himself master of it ; he was also dissatisfied with the attitude of Rome both towards the Protestants and in the questions concerning the succession to the Empire. He therefore exhibited increasing coolness in his relations with Sixtus, who, for his part, showed himself impatient because it seemed to him that the Emperor's shoulders were not broad enough to bear the burden of the projects he would have liked to see him put into execution. Far dearer to the Pontiff was the King of Poland, Stephen Bâthory, on whom he had set many hopes that were soon to be disappointed. The death of this brave prince opened up grave questions with regard to the succession, which led to a war between the two principal claimants, Sigismund of Sweden and the Archduke Maximilian, who suffered defeat under the walls of Cracow, and was taken prisoner. Sixtus, who hoped for the conversion of Sweden, and had little faith in the Habsburgs, was at heart favourable to Sigismund, but he had to be prudent so as not to arouse the uneasiness and irritation of the Emperor, of Philip II, and of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, all of whom together were asking him to intervene on behalf of Maximilian. The Pope conducted the business with cautious tact, and sent the Cardinal Aldobrandini, who later became Pope Clement VIII, as his legate to Poland, to conduct the negotiations that resulted in the conclusion of peace. Maximilian obtained his liberation, but renounced his claims to the kingdom of Poland; and both the Empire, which acceded to the plan, and the kingdom of Poland mutually pledged themselves, in case they should separately conclude treaties with the Turks, not to accept conditions that might in any way be detrimental to the other Power. This clause did not please the Emperor, who regarded it as an inconvenient bond ; but it appeared of great importance to the Pope, who understood the full value of making the two States mutually responsible in their relations as opposed to the Ottoman Power.
About this time, while death was robbing the Sacred College of several Cardinals who had played an important part in contemporary history, such as Sirleto, Cesi, and the great Cardinal Farnese, another of the most eminent Cardinals, Ferdinande de1 Medici, in October, 1587, laid aside the purple and succeeded his brother Francesco on the throne of Tuscany. In spite of certain differences of character between him and the Pope, the new Grand Duke knew how necessary it was for him to maintain with the Pope the friendly relations that had been preserved by his brother; and Sixtus, on his side, supported him. They had common interests, and they knew full well that on the continuance of these relations between them, and of a good understanding with Venice was based the independence of their policy in Italy and much of their
England and a large portion of the northern countries had been able to detach themselves from the Catholic Church without destroying its existence, but it is quite clear that the loss of France would have struck a mortal blow at Rome. During the brief pontificate of Sixtus V were developed some of the most decisive events in the civil war which was to settle the religious destiny of France ; and the political direction of the Church with regard to them was for the aged Pontiff a constant care, a mental strain, full of doubts and of passionate and torturing anxiety. Round Henry III, the last scion of the Valois dynasty, a weak man, incapable and without prestige, the rival parties, moved by internal ambitions and stimulated by foreign greed, were in violent agitation. The Guises on the one side, and Henry of Navarre on the other, were aiming at the throne, the former with the support of Spain, the latter with that of the Protestant sovereigns ; and the price of this support seemed to be the predominance of some foreign influence, and perhaps the dismemberment of France. On succeeding to the Pontificate Sixtus had found the tendency in the Sacred College very favourable to the Guises and the League, who, after having chosen the Cardinal of Bourbon to be the heir of the French crown, were making every effort to obtain from Rome a bull that should declare Henry to have forfeited his claim to the succession. The fitful attempts of Henry III to enter into friendly relations with the King of Navarre increased at Rome the influence of the League, which was skilfully supported by the ambassador Olivarez, and at that time not sufficiently counterbalanced by the opposition of the ambassador of France, of the Cardinal d'Esté, and of the representatives of Venice and of Tuscany, who made every effort to demonstrate the danger of having recourse to extreme measures.
After some hesitation Sixtus, in September, 1585, issued the Bull which declared the King of Navarre and the Prince de Condé to be heretics, and excluded them from any claim to the kingdom of France. This was an action which he afterwards regretted, when he began to see more clearly the right course to adopt; but, while in this he simply followed the policy of Philip II, he realised from the beginning that it was necessary to bring about a union of Catholic France, freeing it from the insidious support of Spain. It had been his idea to unite Henry III with the League in a sincere spirit of reconciliation ; but this was an illusion, and he soon began to recognise it as such. Almost in spite of himself the idea of a sincere conversion of the King of Navarre grew in the mind of Sixtus. Although the continuous wavering of the French Catholics made the policy of the Pope hesitating and changeable, and
Almost without wishing it the Pope was inclining towards Spain, who seized the opportunity and tried to draw him over to her side ; but the thought of the integrity of France and of the interests of Italy always kept him in a state of hesitation, and he was further induced to delay by the representatives of Venice and of Tuscany, ever averse to the Spanish hegemony. Henry III was now inclined to come to terms with the Huguenots. The greater the contempt of Sixtus for the King of France became, the more insistently he was filled with the idea, a secret temptation as it were, of a possible conversion of the King of Navarre and of the pacification of France by his instrumentality. But as yet neither the idea nor the time was ripe. The truce established in April of the year 1589 between the King of Navarre and Henry III led to an open rupture between the latter and Rome. The Pope after much hesitation issued a monitorial in which he required the King of France under penalty of excommunication to liberate the Cardinal de Bourbon and the Archbishop of Lyons, and to present himself in person or to send his procurators to Rome in order to receive pardon. Diplomatic relations were interrupted on both sides. Sixtus V was, in spite of
The arrival at Rome of the Duke of Luxemburg, who represented the Princes and the Catholic nobility that had adhered to Henry IV, and who spoke in his name, assuring the Pope of his readiness to embrace the Catholic faith, made the struggle keener and more active. The large and influential Spanish faction of the Sacred College endeavoured, in agreement with the ambassador, Olivarez, to bring all possible pressure to bear on the Pope, to induce him to dismiss the Duke of Luxemburg. The Pope held firm and showed that he wished to listen to Henry IV and to see if it was possible to come to an understanding with him. Then Olivarez, relying on the compacts that had been entered into between Philip II and Sixtus V, insisted on their fulfilment, showing himself determined to have recourse to extreme measures. He demanded the immediate excommunication
This was the last action of his life. It fell to one of his successors actually to receive Henry IV into the bosom of the Catholic Church. The long and implacable struggle with the Spanish ambassador which Sixtus had endured, the tormenting doubts and the anxieties to which he had been a prey for more than a year, had undermined his physical strength and worn him out. His work was done. On August 13, 1590, he held his last Consistory; on the 19th he still saw Olivarez and the Duke of Sessa and disputed with them ; on the 20th he assembled the Congregation for the affairs of France. Though he still endeavoured for a few days to attend to affairs, he was now dying; and on the evening of August 27 he expired. He had reigned only five years and four months, but deep traces of what he had achieved remained behind him. At Rome, in spite of the great works he accomplished, his loss was not regretted; indeed the people tried to pull down a statue that had been erected in his honour on the Capitol. His severity weighed heavily on those who were in immediate contact with him ; and even the nobles could not love a Pontiff who had curbed them so much, and compelled them to submit to the laws. He was, however, respected for his life, which was simple and austere, and disinterested, too, so far as he himself was concerned, although he had conferred a high position on the two grandsons of his sister, and elevated her two granddaughters by marrying them into the houses of the Orsini and of the Colonna. Spain rejoiced at his death as at that of an enemy, while other States regretted him, especially Venice, who felt that she had lost in him a faithful ally.
In the pontificate of this remarkable man is summed up the greater part of the life of Rome and of the Church in his time. His firm