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one of them but was, for some reason or
other, considered by some great authority
as impossible. France and Spain fought
desperately in this conclave against each
other, by the aid of bribes and promises,
in order to get a pope to their liking; and
neither would accept as pope a cardinal
known to be devoted to its rival. The
Grand Duke had his agents in the
conclave, the Emperor of Germany had his,
and each was determined on keeping out a
different set of candidates; Modena pulled
one way, Parma another; one cardinal
could not be elected because he had a
sister-in-law of whom all were afraid; and
all the cardinals had had enough of Donna
Olimpia in the way of sisters-in-law.
This man was too poor, that man was too
ill; this man was too well, that man was
too dissolute, and that man was too devout,
troppo santone, too much of a saint.
Barberini would not hear of one, and
Medici would not hear of another.

The delay and difficulties of the conclave
excited the humorous fancies of some
peasants at Arquato, near Ascoli. They
dressed themselves up as cardinals, and
held a mock conclave, in which they chose
an unfortunate shepherd for pope, who
began his mock pontificate by abolishing
the tax on grinding corn at the mill, and
fixed the price of salt at a giulio for ten
pounds. Taxes had, indeed, been laid very
heavily on the Roman poor of late, and
bread and salt had been forced up to
starvation prices to enable the popes to
lavish away millions on insatiable nephews
and nieces, and sisters-in-law, and
parasites of all descriptions; so the poor
shepherd was not a bad legislator according to
his lights of political economy, though his
amateur legislation cost him dear, for the
Inquisition laid hands upon him and put
him in prison, where he died in less than
three days of a very speedy natural death.

However, after nearly four months of
one of the most entangled and confused
of all papal elections, the conclave did,
like all human things, come to an end at
last. The game of the conclave is on such
occasions a game of patience; the parties
try to tire each other out, for which purpose,
doubtless, one of the best lines of conduct
you can adopt is, to try and prove to
your adversaries that you rather like
conclave life than otherwise, and are ready to
wait any time for them to come round.
On this occasion the French cardinals, at
last seeing that Medici had made terms
with Chigi, out of sheer weariness, and
in despair, withdrew their opposition to
Chigi, and Chigi was elected unanimously.
Up to that time his opponents had always
managed to secure one-third of the votes
of the conclave, the necessary number
to force exclusion against him. Chigi,
according to strict precedent, shed
abundance of tears on his electionthe
lachrymatory glands of the cardinals were
always in good condition for this purposeand
asked the cardinals to be so kind as not to
press the tiara upon him. He knew, he
was so modest as to say, that he was not fit
for it; however, they were inhuman enough
to insist, and proceeded to adoration, as
the rite is called, falling on the knees, kissing
of the feet, hands, &c., while the chief
of the college went to the loggia of St.
Peter's, and announced in the regular
Latin phrase, a "mighty joy," "gaudium
magnum," to the people, the election of a
new pope, Alexander the Seventh. He
was not any worse, nor much better, than
the popes immediately before and after
him; they were nearly all decrepit, worn-
out old men, in the hands of relatives who
preyed upon them. Clement the Tenth
(Altieri) was eighty when he became pope,
and his faculties were so feeble that the poor
old dotard promised the same offices over
and over again to different persons in the
conclave in order to become pope. The
general motto of all the popes about this
period was "Tutto per la casa e niente per la
chiesa." "All for the house, and nought
for the church."

Alexander the Seventh was only pope
for about two years, when Maidalchini,
Albizzi, and the rest, went into conclave
again to elect another pope, and their
practical and other jokes were as lively in that
as in the preceding conclave: however,
this time the cardinals had less need of
amusement than before, for they only
remained shut up together about a month.
Rospigliosi (Clement the Ninth) was elected,
but he, poor man, only enjoyed his papacy
about two years. The tiara jumped from
head to head very quickly in those days.


EARLY in 1722 (during the period of
political effervescence between the Jacobite
rebellion of 1715, and the still more
important one of 1745), Mr. Christopher
Layer, a Tory barrister of Norfolk extraction,
having chambers in Southampton-buildings,