The Project Gutenberg eBook of Il nipotismo di Roma, or, The History of the Popes Nephews

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Title: Il nipotismo di Roma, or, The History of the Popes Nephews

Author: Gregorio Leti

Translator: William Aglionby

Release date: January 17, 2017 [eBook #54001]

Language: English

Credits: Transcribed from the 1669 John Starkey edition by David Price


Transcribed from the 1669 John Starkey edition by David Price, email

Book title page

Note: This book is from 1669 and hence the spelling, grammar and punctuation are not those of modern English: instead they are as they appear in the book.—DP.

Pope Alexander the Seventh

p. iiiIl Nipotismo di Roma:


From the time of Sixtus the IV.
to the Death of the last Pope


In two Parts.


Written Originally in Italian, in the
year 1667. and Englished by W. A.


Printed for John Starkey, at the Miter near
Temple-Bar in Fleet-street, 1669.


p. vThe Author to the READER.

Kind Reader,

I should have much to say to thee, and not a few Ceremonies to Complement thee withall, if two Considerations did not make me resolve to hold my peace, and abstain from that courtship, which would become a PrefaceThe first is, because I will not (as the Proverb sayes) reckon without mine Hoste, and fill thy ears with excuses, before I know whether thy intention be to hear them or no.  Secondly, because I think it will not be amiss to forbear Ceremonies in the presence of so many, whose business it hath been to be most accomplish’d in performing of themWhat danger would there be for once, to let a Reader judge of a Book, without all those troublesome informations from the Author: For in a word, either the Reader hath parts and learning, and then his own judgment needs no instruction from the Authors; or he hath none, and is illiterate, and then the Author loses his time in p. viexcusing himself to one, whose abilities cannot reach his subject: But this our age being so far different from ancient times, wherein little notice was taken of the Author, though much of the thing written, it will be as just for him to inform his Reader, as for a Suppliant to inform his Judge, though never so learned, and to be recommended to him, though his case be never so justA Friend of mine, calls the Advice to the Reader, the Sauce of the Book, because it is that part, which gives us a stomach to read the restI must confess, it is for his satisfaction that I give you mine; I know not how excellent it may prove to thy Palate: but my intention, is not, at least, to put too much Salt in it; and indeed, with what can I season it, or what Ingredients have I left to compound it withallIf I praise my own work, I shall incur the censure of an interested Judge; if I dispraise it, I shall do my self an injuryTo tell thee that this Book comes from Rome is in vain, because the very Title of it discovers the place of its birth; and to entreat thee to read it, would be just the way to stifle thy curiosity; for now adayes, every body desires the reading of those Books which are prohibited; and I am certain, that it were a good way, to incite the publick curiosity of the world p. viifor any Books, to intreat them that they would be pleased to let them alone, for that, without doubt, would encrease their desire of seeing itI think I had best do as those Hunters, who for fear of raising the Partridge too soon, talk to one another so softly, and so low, that they scarce hear themselves speakTherefore, Reader, take notice, this is that famous Nipotismo di Roma, so much desired and wished for by all the ingenious of Europe, before it was brought forth by the AuthorI give thee warning to read it in private, and keep it to thy self; for if the news of thy reading it come to the Inquisitors ears, without doubt thou runnest the hazard of an Excommunication; for they have sworn, to indure no Books in Italy, but those that shall flatter the Court of Rome.  It is indeed a good policy for them, and for those Church men, who having pretensions to the highest Ecclesiastical Honours, stand all day before the Nipotismo with their Caps in their handsI know, that in Rome this History will produce the same effect that our Nails do upon a Sore, that is, the more they scratch it, the worse they make it: Yet the itching pleases every body, and the more we scratch, the more we have a mind to scratch stillNeither do I doubt, but that there will be some p. viiiflatterers and false friends of the Nephews of the Popes, who will express their dislike of this Treatise; but it will be only in appearance, and not from their hearts, which may be forgiven them, for seldome in Rome do the Tongue and the Heart correspond.

In the dayes of Innocent the eighth, some body made a Book, intituled, The Abuses of the Churchmen, very satyrical, for in it were all the Ecclesiasticks Vices, but none of their Vertues, which indeed was somewhat severe: This Book was put into the Popes hands (who by judging things without passion, shewed himself to deserve his elevation to so great a dignity) for having read it in the presence of some Prelates of the holy Office, he turned to them, and said, This Book speaks truth; and if we have a mind that the Author should be found a lyar, we had best reform our selves first.  I wish to God, that in this our Age, there were many such Innocents, and that all men were of so sound a judgment, as to profit by good things, and laugh only at ill ones, or rather avoid them: For my part, I think, that if ever there hath been a Book in this world free from a flattering design and interest, that this is one of those; for the Church of God will profit by it, the Romans will draw no small pleasure nor less p. ixadvantage from the reading of it; and, I hope, that it will be a kind of Looking-glass to the Nephews that are to come, whereby they may guide their actions, and steer their intentions to a better course then their PredecessorsThere passed, not long ago, by this Town, a certain Prelate of Tuscany, to whom I gave a sight of this Manuscript before it was printed; he took such delight in perusing of it, that he entreated me to hasten the publication of it, with these words, For Gods sake, Sir, inrich Rome with so great a Treasure as this is; bestow so good an example upon Princes Politicks, and illustrate all Christendome with the demonstration of so much zeal: This was the opinion of a sincere Prelate.  But besides, it is most certain, that the Nephews, as well those that now bear sway, as those that are out of date, and those that are to come, if they will judge without pre-occupation, will find, that this History is of no small concern to the promoting of their interest, considering, that the good which is said of them doth much surpass the ill, and, that it demonstrates how necessary a thing the Nipotismo is to the City of Rome.  I do not pretend to any thanks or retribution for the good that shall happen to them; neither would I be content, that the harm, if there p. xbe any, should reflect upon meAs for the Book, Reader, it is in thy hands, and must stand or fall by thy verdict: I therefore only desire thee to pronounce sincerely, whether it be not as necessary for all Europe as for the City of Rome.  I promise thee another Work, much more worthy thy curiosity, and fit for any body that hath a publick Employment, which is Il Cardinalismo, a Work, which speaking in general only of that Dignity, doth yet nevertheless now and then descend to particularsIn a word, I call the Cardinalismo, and the Nipotismo, Brothers; but the Cardinalismo is the eldest, because first conceived by me; in a moneth it will be Printed; if thou wilt have it, thou mayest, and I can assure you, it will please you infinitely.


p. 1The First Part.


The Contents.

In which is treated, of the difference that there is between the ancient and New Rome.  Of the manner of Governing of the ancient Romans.  And of the manner of the Popes governingOf the murmurs of the Gentiles, Hereticks, and Catholicks, against the Church of Rome and the PopesHow to come to the knowledge of present state of Rome by the said murmursOf the time in which people began to talk ill of the Popes, and of the cause of this their libertieOf the Popes first bringing their kindred into Rome.  Of p. 2the Infallibility of the Popes in admitting their kindred to the Government of the State of the ChurchOf the causes that ruin’d the old Roman Commonwealth: and of those that lessen the Honour and Grandeur of the Church of Rome.  Why Christ chose to be Born in a time of PeaceOf the Succession of Peter to ChristOf the Apostles to Peter; and of the Popes to the ApostlesOf the Holiness of Church-men in the primitive ChurchWhy the vertue of doing Miracles is failed in the PopesWhy for many Ages the Popes Kindred did not much care to own their Relation to himHow the Church came first to be so RichOf the Court of Rome.  Of the Politick Wit of Church-menOf the advantage that Politicians gain in frequenting Rome.  And of some particular maximes of Innocent the Tenth, which were of utility to himself.


Rome alone amongst all the other Cities of the World can brag of the reputation, of having been alwayes esteemed the Mother of Nations, the whole Universe having almost alwayes taken a pride in paying to her a Tribute of filial Duties, in acknowledgment of which she has also opened her breasts, and pressed her Duggs for the nourishment of those who desired to encrease by their obedience to Her, and be free from those dangers to which they are subject that have not Parents or powerful Protectors.

The glories of Rome were never equalled, no more then Rome it self.  Rome hath been seen in all the Cities of the World, not only commanding, p. 3but triumphing; and in Rome have been seen at divers times, not only Cities, but whole Provinces, nay, whole Kingdomes, obeying, and submitting.  Rome seems to be born to rule the World, and with a great deal of reason, since not only it hath done, but doth still exerce its Empire over a great part of it.

It ruled while it was a Commonwealth; and not content with that Empire which nature, or to say better, the valour of its Citizens had purchased for it, it proposed to acquire all that it could think on, and still the acquisitions seemed small in comparison of that which remained to be acquired.

It rul’d in the time of the Roman Emperours, who made Lawes, and domineered over mankind as they pleased; nay, which was worse, tyranny it self came often from Rome to infect the rest of the Universe which was subject to this seat of Tyrants.

But why should we recall past Ages, and renew those wounds, which though not healed, are nevertheless worn out by the length of time; why should we praise Rome for having ruled the World, if now at this present it rules it more then ever, and domineers over it in a new manner.

In the time of the Commonwealth, in the time of the Emperours, Rome never pretended to command consciences, and exact from soules that Tribute which now they pay to the Vatican.

Every City had its Bishop, every Village its Curate, and every Church its Preacher, who in his Sermons did not make it his business to exalt Rome; neither did the Bishop, nor the Curate p. 4expect the rules of governing their flock from Rome.

But now quite contrary maximes have prevailed; for Rome, not content with the temporal power, hath perverted the order of Government, and made the temporal submit to the spiritual, contrary to the received custome of so many Ages.

If the Commonwealth subdued Nations, if the Roman Emperours commanded over kingdomes, they did it in such a manner, that those that obeyed seemed to have had more content then those that commanded; for they let them enjoy the liberty of their souls, and required only from them a Civil Obedience in compliance with the interest of the State.

But the Popes having confounded and mingled together the temporal and spiritual power, laying the stress upon the spiritual, do oblige Princes and people to so exact an obedience, that the only mention of it is able to scare our hearts and minds.

The Popes shutting of Paradise and Heaven when they please, their opening of Hell when they think good, are things that oblige whole Nations to forget the Obedience due to their natural Princes, and to prostrate themselves at his Holinesses his feet.  The Commonwealth which ruled with so much wisdome and Policie, the Emperours who governed with the strength of Arms, and the Tyrants who domineered with cruelty, had they but known these secret maximes, might have humbled Nations and reduced Cities with a great deal less paines, and more security.

p. 5The Popes having being armed with the Soveraigne Authority over consciences, have so increased the glories of Rome, that there is scarce a corner in Europe, not a place in Asia, not a desart in Africa, nor a hidden solitude in America, where the name of the Pope hath not penetrated, and where there is not some discourse of Rome.

The Gentiles praise the Popes, and despise Rome; the Hereticks praise Rome, and despise the Popes; and the Catholicks despise both Rome and Popes with a greater, though secreter, disdain, then either the Gentiles or the Hereticks, of which I shall give the reasons.

The Pagans attribute all the mischief of Rome to that great number of Church-men with which this City is pestred.  The Hereticks, on the other side, lay all the Church-mens disorders upon the Pope; and therefore the Hereticks are willing enough to be reconcil’d to Rome; but by no means will endure the Pope.  The Pagans, on the contrary, are content to be friends with the Pope, but not with Rome.

This proceeds from the distinctions that the Heathens make in the person of the Popes, separating the spiritual from the temporal, and Religion from Civil Government; therefore in the time of Sixtus the V. and Gregory the XV. the Persians and Japponeses sent their Ambassador to Rome, taking no small pride in the Popes friendship, whom they esteemed as one of the powerfullest Princes of Italy, and for his greatness desired his Amity; their maxime being to make alliances with the most potent Princes of the World; they thought they could not better address themselves p. 6then to him, whom all the other Christian Princes did adore and reverence as their head.

The Hereticks destroy all this, being neither disposed to acknowledg the Pope as a temporal Prince, nor as a spiritual Pastor; so that with them, Popedome, Principality, Religion, Civil Government, all goes down, when they speak of the Pope.

Nay, I know a Gentleman of that Religion, who can by no means be perswaded that the Pope is master of Rome, and Prince of the Ecclesiastick State, though all the Princes of the world acknowledg him to be so, and for all this, the Protestant Gentleman cannot be brought to believe it, but stands firme upon the Negative.

Of the same humour was a great Lord in Spain, who could never be convinced, that Henry the fourth was King of France, though he knew that his own King did acknowledge him for such, and had sent an Embassadour to him, that all differences upon that subject were lay’d, and that all the Crowns in Europe did own him to be lawful King.  And yet for all this the good Don could never believe that which all the world was sure of, and he died in this incredulous humour.

Now as for the murmurs that the Gentiles, the Hereticks, and the Catholicks have against Rome, there is this difference between them.  The Heathens murmure upon what they hear; the Hereticks against those things that they do not believe; and the Catholicks against those things they see; and certainly of them all the Catholicks murmurs are the worst: for the eyes being as it were the p. 7treasurers of the heart, do furnish it so abundantly with the impressions which they receive, that it never is dispossessed of them afterwards; the Proverb being very true, which sayes, That in vain we fly from that which we carry in our hearts.  Therefore the Catholicks, murmuring boldly, because they see the abuses of Rome, are much more believed then the others.

But indeed to speak truth, if we ballance the reasons that these three sorts of persons have to talke disadvantagiously of Rome, we shall find that the Hereticks have the greatest and most weighty arguments of their discontent.

But before I prove this, it is necessary to give notice that I make a distinction betwixt Hereticks and Protestants, though the Church of Rome does confound both these denominations; for they are Hereticks who deny the true Religion for a false one, which they set up without any foundation of reason, thinking that their own opinion is enough.

The Protestants are those that abhorre innovations, and do tie themselves to the sense of the Holy Scripture, denying every thing they find not in those Sacred Records: and for my part, I intend to speak only of the Protestants, not of the Hereticks.

Let us return to our subject; and say, that the Popes do neither good nor harme to the Heathens; to the Catholicks they do both good and evil; and to the Protestants alwayes ill, and never good.  Looking upon the Heathens as neater, upon the Catholicks as their friends, and upon the Protestants as their greatest enemies.

p. 8From thence it proceeds that the Catholicks are more scandalized at the Popes errours; for they being friends are admitted to dive into the bottom of the disorders: The Protestants seeing that the Popes do not only suspect them, but openly profess enmity with them, do busie all their industry in penetrating into those hidden mysteries of the Court of Rome, that they may not be surprised, but have wherewith to defend themselves in their disputes: and therefore that which they report of the Court of Rome is most ordinarily true.

The Heathens let Rome alone as long as Rome lets them alone; and they talke according to the informations they receive from Catholicks and Protestants.

Whosoever therefore intends to draw a quintessence of truth out of so many different relations, must not give credit only to what the Catholicks say; for they being friends and dependants of the Pope, cannot do less for their own reputation, as well as for his, then to hide the abuses and palliate the disorders of his Court; neither ought he to take his informations from the Protestants alone, because they, being prepossessed with an aversion to the Pope, cannot chuse but be blinded by their pre-occupation, and say more then is true, in discredit of the proceedings of his Court.

The method of History would require a strict examination of the relations of both parties in matter of fact, and a ballance of their opinions in matter of policy, and upon so mature a discussion it were fit to frame the body of the History, and found the maximes of policy; for the History would then be true, and the maximes certain.

p. 9This hath alwayes been my way of writing, insomuch that many, both Protestants and Catholicks, have not been able to distinguish my Religion in my works, nor know whether the Author were Protestant or Catholick; and this because of the sincerity with which I praise, in both parties, that which deserves commendation, and blame vice, let it be where it will, and in what place and person soever.

But to say true, this present age hath so corrupted and perverted the art of writing, that some write only to flatter, and others to satyrize; and there is no ingenious Catholick but must confess, that there are publish’d every day more Libels by the Catholicks against Rome, then Satyres by the Protestants against the Popes; therefore now adayes the wiser sort of men give more credit to a Protestants relation, then to a Catholicks, meeting with less passion in the first then in the last, against the Popes and Rome.

I have been a great while in Protestant Countries, and have likewise made no small stay in Rome, where I have heard a thousand and a thousand times, both Romans and Protestants, discourse of the Popes Nephews, and their actions; but I must confess, that in Geneva it self I never heard any discourse so full of liberty, nor so satyrical, as those which the Romans, nay the Prelates themselves have vented in my presence, concerning the Popes and the Ecclesiastick authority.

Nay, I’le say more, and it is a thing I am very sure of, having heard it often said by persons of great understanding; the Protestant Gentlemen that travel to Rome are much more scandalized at p. 10the Romans proceedings towards the Popes, then the Catholick Gentlemen, who travel in Protestant Countries, are to hear the Pope defam’d and ill spoken of amongst them.

The Protestants, when they talk with Catholicks, because they cannot reasonably expect to be believed, do conceal the greatest part of the imperfections of the Popes kindred; but the Catholicks say a great deal more then becomes them, thinking thereby to show their aversion to vice.

More then all this, I say, that of all that is said in Rome concerning the Popes actions, and his kindred, there is none of it comes from the North, but from Rome it self; but on the contrary, even all that is said in the North, springs from Rome, and is not born in the Protestants Country.

The Romans make the Pasquins in Rome, and then to excuse themselves lay them upon the Protestants: thus the Pope is abused and deceived by the Romans themselves; so that then we may say with a great deal of reason, that out of Rome it self springs the source of all the harm it receives.

I wonder now no longer to see the change of stile which I have observed in Writers from age to age, since in the Court of Rome they change their way of living and speaking from day to day.

In the time that the Popes had golden consciences, and wooden walls, when with bare feet and clothed with sackcloth they went from door to door, accepting the charity of the faithful for p. 11their sustenance, and that full of zeal they administred themselves the Sacraments, exposing their lives for the safety of their flock.  When the Popes applyed themselves only to their pastoral charge, without concerning themselves in Princes temporal interests: Rome in those dayes knew nothing of other Princes Courts, neither did the Courts of Princes concern themselves for Rome; there was so little mention made of the Popes, that the Church-men and Bishops did scarce know where to find them in their most important necessities.

It would have been indeed a great sacriledge to have spoken ill of a Pope, who from morning to evening did nothing but visit the sick, distribute the Sacraments, comfort the people, and serve the Altar with true zeal and piety.

But when once the face of things was changed, and that the Popes, weary of serving to the Altars, resolved to be served by the Altars themselves, when thinking it too low an employment to visit the sick, they pretended to be visited themselves by the greatest Princes, and have their feet kissed by them; these Popes, who were at first the edification of whole Nations, became a scandal to all the Kingdoms, for both Princes and people being surprised with this sudden change, and wondring at this new scene of grandeur, gave themselves up to seek into the reason of this alteration, and as it often happens, that in the Enquiries into one defect we discover another, so the world found out in the Popes change so many new subjects for murmuring and discontent, that from thence ensued Schismes and Heresies, p. 12with an infinite prejudice to the Church of Rome.

If the Popes would have been content to have been the heads of the Church in holiness and good life, and not in majesty and grandeur, the world would never have conceived so many sinister thoughts of their actions; therefore if there be murmurs in Rome, and the rest of Christendome, the Popes may thank themselves, for the fault is not in those that murmur, but in those that furnish them with a lawful subject for their complaints.

But let us speak truth: In the time that the Popes left to the Emperours the secular care of government, and all the interests of the temporal state, holiness and good life did shine in the Popes, as well as in the Church and Church-men; miracles were frequent, and Saints multiplied as fast as tyrant Emperours.

But as soon as the Popes usurped the civil power, and began to meddle with state matters, their holiness disappeared, miracles vanished, and by a strange mutation the Emperors became Saints, and the Popes as passionate for the temporal interest as the greatest Tyrants.

The Hereticks go further, and say, that the Popes are really Tyrants, as having introduced the Inquisition, which by constraining mens consciences to an exteriour worship of what they abhor, does more severely punish the breach of one of the Popes Orders, then it does the violation of one of Gods Commandements.

To this the Popes oppose, as a defence, the reason of policy, that obliges them to establish the p. 13Inquisition, leaving to their Divines the task of answering the other more sharp objection; who having no other way to extricate themselves from that difficulty, have written, to confute the Hereticks, such vast volumns of Controversie, that they being not able to read them, remain in their obstinacy, with no small dammage to the Pope and his Divines.

But this strange change of the Popes, from spiritual to temporal, and from holy Bishops to Politick Princes, is not so much to be attributed to the Popes themselves, as to their Nephews and kindred, there is the source and origin of the disease; for while the Popes lead a private life, and let their Nephews alone in their own homes, they were eminent for their zeal to the true Religion; but they had no sooner introduced them into Rome, but forgetting themselves, they fell to idolizing their Nephews, and for the increase of their greatness, employed not only the gold of the Church, but even all the pains and fatigues of the Popedom, nay even the consciences of their whole flock.

Experience teaches us, that many Popes, and particularly those of the greatest reputation, in the beginning of their Popedome did not only renounce their kindred, and refuse to own them, but with a solemn oath did protest to the Cardinals, that they would govern alone, and not admit their kindred upon any pretext whatsoever; so far they were from giving them a share in the government.

Alexander the seventh, who now lives, was one of those for a time, and from him we may conclude p. 14of the thoughts of the rest; for in the beginning of his Pontificat he shewed himself to be so averse from his kindred, that some thought him a Saint, or at least a man much above the frailties of humane nature.

Don Mario his Brother, Don Agostino his Nephew, and the Cardinal that now is, did every day offer up their prayers to Heaven, for a change in their Uncles inclination; the Ambassadors of Princes and the Cardinals, did nothing but weary themselves out in alledging to his Holiness the necessity of introducing his kindred, that it would be not only honourable, but of great advantage to the State and Church.

Yet the good Pope remaining unshaken in his opinion, was resolved to deny all their Instances, nay, often would be exceedingly scandalized at those that pressed him to it, saying, he could not in conscience condescend to their desires; as one day being importun’d upon the same occasion by Father Palavicino, a Jesuit, and his Confessor, who now is Cardinal, he answered him in these words, Your obligation, father, is to absolve from sins, and not invite to commit them.

Of this humour hath not been Alexander alone, but in the lives of the Popes there are many other such examples, as that of Adrian the sixth, and Pius the fifth, who were wont to say, that they would make it their task to perswade the world that they could live without kindred.

Now I would fain know, from whence proceeded in them this humour, so opposite to the others? if from an aversion and a kind of hatred to their relations, then certainly it was a sin, p. 15since we have as a Commandment from God, Despise not thy own flesh; if to make shew of an apparent zeal, that was worse, for they were guilty both before the world and God Almighty; if out of a design of first bestowing kindnesses on their Friends before they gave themselves up to their Nephews, it was a preposterous charity, which ought to have begun nearer home.

It remains then to conclude, that certainly these Popes, who made this profession of disowning their Relations, did it, because they were really perswaded, that the errors of their predecessors did proceed from this principle of admitting their kindred to a share in the government, and therefore they thought fit to free themselves from so great an imputation.

Therefore to save the reputation of the Papal dignity, I am forced to say, that those Popes, who at first did profess an aversion to their kindred, and yet afterwards admitted them, were certainly seised with some melancholy humors and capriciousness, which made them commit such errors.  It must not seem strange if I call them errors, since reason it self must needs call them so; for first, to be perswaded that their predecessors had failed in admitting their kindred into Rome, and in giving up the government of the Church into their hands; then, to swear and protest to keep theirs at a distance, that they may be freed from the like miscarriages; and after all this, not onely to call them into Rome, give them the Keys of the treasure, and put all the administration of the temporal and spiritual into their hands, whereby to make themselves Princes, but also to give them p. 16an absolute authority over the Church, the Popedome, nay, the very person of the Pope; this is certainly to demonstrate, that the Pope hath the power of making that to be good and just, which he hath condemn’d for bad & mischievous; which if the people of Rome, or the Courtiers, do believe, certainly people of judgment and sound understanding do not.

As for me, I have not hitherto denyed that opinion of the Roman Divines, viz. that the Popes cannot erre; but when once I came to see the falsity of it proved in the person of Alexander the seventh, certainly I have had a mind to curse those Divines, that flatter thus the Popes, not out of a design to serve the Church, but to make themselves great; and we know very well, that there are now many of them living, who have been made Cardinals, meerly because they had writ to the advantage and honour of the Pope, which thing still stirs up others to do the same; but let them write what they will, all the world shall never perswade me, but that the proceeding of Alexander towards his kindred, in calling them to him, contrary to his oath, is as great an error as ever Pope committed.

Yet let us do them the favour to interpret their Doctrine their own way, and allow of their distinction, that is, that the Popes are infallible in matters of faith, but not in matters of policy; let it be so; but if we do them this kindness, I hope they will be so civil as to requite it with another: we desire them then to tell us a little; The Popes Nephews, have they not the same authority as the Popes themselves, who invest them p. 17with it as soon as they are admitted into the Vatican, they govern all affairs, politick, civil, Ecclesiastick, and in a word, sacred, prophane, divine, all things pass through their hands.  Then with them sometimes the Popes may erre, even in matters of faith, since often in matters of faith they trust their Nephews, who being men subject to passions, are admitted by all to be capable of error.

I would fain ask you, whether Alexander the seventh, who had so great an aversion to his kindred at first, had the assistance of the holy Ghost, or whether he had it not?

If you answer he had it not, I am well pleased, and do profess with you, that I think that policy and humane reasons were the causes of his proceedings.

But if he had the holy Ghost, how then can you reconcile his first refusing to admit the calling his Nephews to his assistance? for either it was good or bad to admit them to his help in so great a charge; if good, then he failed at first in keeping them away, and shewing himself so alienated from them; if bad, then he failed at last, in repealing his first resolution, and betraying the Church and its riches into their hands.

The holy Ghost is infallible, and to believe the contrary is a high impiety; how is it then that the Popes have the holy Ghost, and yet cannot abstain from failing? certainly to me it appears a kind of Blasphemy and prophanation of the honour of the Divinity.  We know that the holy Ghost inspires nothing but what is good, and yet we see that the Popes do commit ill.  The Protestants p. 18do utterly deny this opinion, and demonstrate by good proofs, that the Pope neither hath, nor can have the holy Ghost in a more particular manner then other men; but for my part I believe that the holy Ghost is in the Popes when he pleases, and they receive him when they can.

So to save the reputation of Pope Alexander the seventh, I’le say, that in the beginning of his Pontificat he had not the holy Ghost, for if he had, he would have received his kindred; but the holy Ghost begun to take possession of the Pope, just at the same time that his kindred took possession of Rome, and of the Church; and therefore the good man was much to blame to keep the holy Ghost and his kindred out so long together, since by this means he deprived himself of the riches of the Spirit, and his Relations of the riches of this world: But now he hath mended his error, and made amends for all.  Many believe that the Popes erre with their kindred, and their kindred with them; but for my part I believe that the Apostles did not erre, because that they received the holy Ghost from Jesus Christ himself; but the Popes do erre because they receive the holy Ghost from the Divines, who give it them, how and when they please: I know what I say.

Often Rome hath lost the order of its government, because it was become a prey to the ambition of its Subjects; and as often it hath been brought upon the brim of its ruine, by gold and riches.

Old Rome had much ado to preserve it self by an infinite number of severe Laws, and at last did p. 19make a shift betwixt good and bad times, to rub out some Ages, till new Rome came and took its place.  By old Rome I mean that Rome that was founded by Romulus, and ended at the time of our Saviour: and by new Rome I understand Rome that was born in Christ, and lives even now in him.  Now if the ancient City of Rome came to its ruine through ambition and covetousness, it will become us to consider what effects these very same things do produce in our new Rome.

When we speak of Rome, we speak of a City that desires to be acknowledged by all Nations, as the head of Christendom.  Now let us see the difference between the Pagan and the Christian Rome, the old and the new.

In the time that our Saviour was born in Bethlehem, to destroy this old Rome of the Heathens, and give the foundation of this new Christian City, Augustus not only commanded, that all the Nations of the Roman Empire should be numbred, to shew, that with the coming of Christ there was a new Empire begun, but likewise he brought all the world into a calm peace and tranquility; so that our Saviour no sooner appeared, but peace was the joy and comfort of the whole Universe.  Christ chose to be born in a time of peace, and not of war and misery, for two causes: First, to set a difference betwixt the new and old Rome; the old having been founded in blood and dissention, under the government of Romulus a Pagan, it was more then just, that the new should begin with peace, under the dominion of the King of Kings, the holy One of Israel.  Secondly, to the end that the Successors of the p. 20Apostles, who were to reside in Rome, might not one day excuse their faults, with alledging the beginnings of the Christian Religion for example; and therefore our Saviour took possession of Rome in peace, and delivered it to those Popes, who were to govern Rome and Christendome.

To Christ succeeded Peter, to Peter the Popes, as the Divines of Rome teach, and do endeavour to prove, against the Protestants, as a principal point of Religion.

The Popes then took possession of this new Rome, with the holiness of life; and when first they established this Ecclesiastical Senate, they chose out men so holy, and of so good a life, that the Citizens willingly submitted to prostrate themselves at the feet of such Governours.

Ambition was then so far from the hearts of the Bishops, that not only many Prelates did renounce their Bishopricks, but also many retir’d from the Vatican, where they were adored, into deserts and solitudes, to serve God their Creator without trouble.

Gold had not yet found the way to Rome, because there was no hand that would receive it, no Treasurer to keep it, and all its glittering was much below that vertue, which did so eminently shine in those that were the Guardians of Rome.  Woe would have been to that man, who should have opened himself a door to preferment in the Church with a golden Key; the Excommunications, the Laws, the pains of this and the next world, were fulminated against Simony, which was as much abhorred by all the Church-men ther, as it is now practised.

p. 21In one thing alone old Rome did not agree in its beginnings with the new; for one promoted to its highest honours, those Citizens who had shed their blood, and could produce noble scars received in the defence of their Country; but the other bestowed Offices and Ecclesiastical Dignities upon those, who in consideration of another world did despise this, and mortified their flesh and affections.  The Roman Empire rise by Valours, the Roman Church by Holiness.

The Actions of those, that pretended to any place of publick employment in old Rome, were examined by the Senate; and the services, which the State had received from these Candidates, were as it were ballanced with the honour they ambitioned, and the weight of the place they stood for: and if those services were such, as to be able to weigh down these scales of equity, the Candidate was sure to obtain his desires; if they proved too light, he was forced to stay, and with new Endeavours encrease the obligation the publick had to him already.

Just in the same manner did the Popes at first proceed in the distribution of the charges of the Church; for having ballanced the holiness of life, and excellency of parts of him who was to be admitted, with the weightiness of the place; if the goodness of life was so eminent, as to surpass the exigency of the Office, the Demandant was without delay preferred, otherwise he was sent away with shame and confusion.

The Conquests of Kingdoms, and the subduing of Provinces, were the Keys, with which the p. 22Romans opened to themselves the door of honour, and an entrance into the Senate; but in new Rome, persecutions, martyrdoms, and mortifications, were the fore-runners of Christian Dignities, and the only way to Bishopricks and Popedoms.

While the Popes lived thus, and that this age of holiness lasted, it was with a great deal of reason, that the rest of the world called their Rome, Roma la Santa, Rome the holy: The Popes were looked upon to be more like Angels then Men, not only because their actions were altogether heavenly, but because that living in this world, without owning any of their kindred, they seemed rather sent from Heaven, then taken from the midst of mankind.

There hath been some Popes, who while they were Bishops and Cardinals did reckon an incredible number of Nephews and Cozens; and yet no sooner were they promoted to the highest Prelature, but all their kindred vanished and disappeared, as if they had never had any.

If in those times you had asked any of them if they were a-kin to the Pope, he would have denyed it openly, so little did the Popes care for their kindred, and their kindred for them: The cause of this was, that the Popes did not measure in their kindred their deserts, by any carnal affection they had for them, but compared their merits by the Standard of Christian perfection; so that if a Kinsman of a Pope should have happened to have had, for competitour in any place, one not much above him in learning and piety, yet without doubt he should have yielded to p. 23this his Competitour, and gone without his pretensions.

Hence it came, that the Popes kindred, that they might not receive affronts in Rome, did forbear to come at the City; and least the world should by their absence conclude of the meanness of their deserts, they would give it out, that they were in no wayes related to the Pope, whose kindred they were, saving thus their honour without honour.

In those times, the Popes did often resist the Emperours tyrannical proceedings, and withstood their injuries, not with Armies and Fleets, but with Zeal and Piety they did boldly oppose their vices and corruptions; as amongst others, Gregory the seventh excommunicated the Emperour Henry, and banished him from all commerce with the rest of his Christians, only because he had received I know not what sum of money from a Bishop, who us’d his favour to be preferr’d to a vacant Bishoprick.

Rome was then truly holy without ambition, and without gold; and glorious were the Popes, who with their zeal and good actions made barbarous Kings tremble, and Tyrants humble themselves to the yoak of Christian Religion; and indeed who would not obey that Pope, that should prefer true merit and deserts before Relations and Kindred, Vertue before Vice, Learning before Ignorance, Zeal before Ambition, Poverty before Riches, his flock before his Kindred, and Justice before Favour and Recommendations?

But if hitherto we have spoken of Rome without p. 24corruption, and of Popes full of zeal and holiness, so we must now consider Rome under another habit, that is, not holy, but wicked, not pure and innocent, but defiled and full of ambition and avarice.

While the Popes lived in this retired manner, devested of all earthly affections to their kindred, and inclin’d only to recompence deserts and goodness, Rome was happy and holy; but as soon as Christian modesty began to be banish’d by worldly pomps, that favour took place of merit, that ambition overpowered humility, and covetousness laughed at charity, the Popes began to lose their credit, Rome its goodness, the Church its Saints, and there started up another Church, another Rome, and other Popes.

And no sooner did the love of riches take possession of Rome, but Christendom was engaged in desperate Schisms, with no small affliction to the real and pious part of the Christian world.

Two hundred and twenty six years after the birth of Christ, the Popes began to change their poverty into riches, and with them introduced ambition into the Church; this was done in the time of Urban the first, who ordained, that the Church should possess land, riches, power, command, and all other conveniencies, to the end that Church-men might be rewarded out of the revenues of the Church it self.

Before Urban’s time, Ecclesiasticks were to trust to the alms of the faithful, and their charity; and whilst that lasted, they thought of nothing else then the conduct of Souls, having no care to take, either for the encrease or conservation of p. 25their Fortunes; but as soon as they saw the Church enriched with Abbyes, Canonicates, and other revenues, they fell to disputing among themselves, every one desiring the possession of the richest benefice.

Urban in doing this had neverthelesse no ill intention; and if his Successors had followed his steps, the revenues of the Church had certainly animated Romes greatness, and yet deminish’d nothing of the Churches riches.

When I speak of the riches of the Church, I mean, not the temporal, but the spiritual riches, as St. Laurence understood it, when being asked by the Emperour where were the riches of the Church, he produced before him a multitude of poor impotent beggars, but of a good life.

Therefore the Church became poor in Saints, and rich in ambitious Ecclesiasticks, who did now employ that time which they used to spend in the Churches, and at the feet of our Saviour, with the Popes and Bishops, in reckoning up the Revenues of their Abbies, and procuring preferments to themselves and others.

The bringing of temporal riches into the Church was a poison which infected the Church, and made the Church-men swell, ’till at last they were ready to burst with their own venome.  As the Church encreased in revenues, Rome decreased in Holiness and Holy men, and Saints forsook it when once Courtiers and men of business came into it.  I meane living Saints; for as for dead Saints there are too many in it still, it being a part of its Trade to doe now for Gold and Riches, that which before was done by poverty and self-denial, I mean, Canonising of Saints.

p. 26Before the Church enjoyed temporal revenues, there was modesty in the Church-mens Apparel, but with the introduction of riches, pride, pomp, and vanity took place; then were invented Mitets, Scarlet Robes with long Traines, Copes, and Tippets; so that with the expense that one is at now to cloath a Prelate or a Cardinal many poor might be fed and covered, and particularly poor Priests, who are faine to beg from Laicks that which their own Prelates should bestow upon them.

Though things were carryed on with this corruption, yet was it not come to that pass that the Popes durst bring their Nephewes to the Sterne, and Government of St. Peters Vessel; they were content to rule the temporal and spiritual without controle, but did not think of entayling the Popedome upon their kindred, which made their Nephews and Relations keep at a distance, being unwilling to be seen in Rome without command and power.

Nicholas the third in the year 1229, went about to make two of his Nephewes of the House of the Ursins Kings, one of Toscany, and the other Lumbardy, to the end that one should keep the Germans in awe, who have one part of the Alpes, and the other the French, who were then Masters of the Kingdomes of Naples and Sicily: and that he might compass his designe with lesse trouble, he perswaded Peter King of Arragon to undertake the recovery of the Kingdome of Sicily, to which he had a right by Constantine his Wife.

p. 27But all these designes soon vanished and were buried in the Tombe of the Popes brain, where they were first conceived.  ’Tis true, that many say, that the Pope did this, only to satisfie the pressing instances of his Nephewes: but because he affected more the quiet of the Church, then the advancement of his kindred, he persisted not in his enterprise, but just as long as was necessary to make his Kindred believe he had once well resolved it; and thus the Ursins, who aspired to so much Grandeur, remained disappointed, and the Pope was pleased in the demonstration he had given them of His kindness.

The Popes were not yet perfect in the art of raising their kindred; the carnal love of their Relations did but begin a combat with the spiritual zeal for the Church, and as yet the last was too hard for the first, and in all occasions did carry it before their kindness for their Relations.

From Nicolas to Sixtus the Fourth, who was created in the year 1471, the Popes did by little and little humanise themselves, and lay aside that rude severity to themselves, and to their kindred, who now began to come very willingly to Rome, being sure to meet with kinder receptions then heretofore had been shewed to precedent Popes Relations; and when once they were in Rome and in sight of their Uncle, he to prevent them from leading an idle life, would give them entrance into the Vatican, and honour them with places of Honour and Profit.

Withall this things were carried so closely, that though the Church did receive some detriment, p. 28yet the people of Rome, and the other Christian Nations had no great occasion of scandal given them neither from the Nephews, nor from the Popes.  The first of which were well pleased with any thing that was given them; and the last, that is, the Popes, were so provident as to be liberal only of what was superfluous, and not of that which the Church and Rome could not spare.

But in the time of Sixtus, Ambition and Covetousness introduced themselves so openly, with the utter destruction of the modesty and decorum of the Church, together with the subversion of Christian Piety, occasioned all by his filling the Vatican with such a company of Nephewes, that from that time forward we must reckon the birth and growth of the Nipotismo; in the History of which, before we engage any further, it will not be amiss to give a Character of the Court of Rome, which now at present is maintained by, and depends entirely upon the Nipotismo.

One of the greatest extravagancies that I meet withall in the World, is the error of those who are perpetually exclaiming against Courts; and generally ’tis observed, that few of those that are of this Humour, have been Courtiers, or if they have, yet have they not made any considerable stay in them.  But for Gods sake, what kind of thing was the World, before there were any Courts? nothing but the refuge of baseness, the quintessence of ignorance, an apparent blindness, and in a word, a barbarous throne of Vices, and all sorts of ill actions.

Many complain of the Court, but few of themselves, for not having been able to maintain the p. 29ground, and keep the place they had once in it; as if the Court were bound to descend to a compliance with every particular mans humour, and not particular men rather frame themselves to a condescendency for the Court.

Who is it that frames and constitutes a Court? ’tis the Prince, without whom there is no such thing.  But who brings Vices to the Court?  The Courtiers; and yet though the Courtiers be bad, and the Prince good, all the fault is laid upon the Prince.

Princes seldome fayle to recompense those services which they receive from their Courtiers, and without this quality they would not long be Princes.  ’Tis true, that some are more reserv’d, others more liberal in their rewards; but still the defect is not in the Prince, but in the courtier, whose ambition is not to be ruled by his Princes judgment, and against whom he exclaimes for not contenting him.

To the ambition or desire of honour is alwayes added an avidity or desire of riches in Courtiers: these two monsters being the natural production of Courts.

The Court is to the World, as a furnace to Gold, to purifie, and refine mens wits.  Whensoever any bodies ingenuity is under a cloud, and not known, let him come to Court, for there without doubt he will be prest to an exact trial of his skill; and let him use it all in hiding himself, and drawing as it were a vayle over his designs, yet he shall find the Court to be the true Touch-stone of mens actions, and he shall be known, for what he is really, and not for what he would seem to be.

p. 30This general discourse is only, that we may descend with more light and instruction to particulars.  All other Courts, are streams, and rivers; but the Court of Rome is the head and source of them all; and as ordinarily we find out the head by following the stream, so I thought it fit to say something in general of Courts, before I came to the description of the Court of Rome.  Among all Nations in the World, the Italians are the most famous for managing State Affairs, and being naturally inclined to be good Politicians.  Neither do the Princes of the North deny this advantage to the Courts of our Italian Princes, who in the Government of their States, are masters of so much conduct, and subtilty, that none but very excellent and experienced geniuses can penetrate the depth of their Counsels.

But those maximes and Court slights, which in Italy are ordinary, are as it were natural and inseparable from the Church-men of the Court of Rome; which City, upon this score, is become famous in all forreign Countries, not as a place that teaches, and instructs Church-men, but as one that is taught and perfected by them.

He that desires to see politick stratagems, and all that subtilty can compass, let him not forsake Rome, where he shall soon learn how State Affairs ought to be managed.

I alwayes had a great opinion of the cunning and abilities of Church-men in matter of Government; but when once I came to Rome, and began to know by experience something of their wayes, I must confess, that my imagination was far short of the reality of what I had conceived.

p. 31It was no hard matter for Rome, both the old, and the new, to be mistress of the World, and give Lawes to Nations, since it hath alwayes been the School of true policies, as having even in its birth drained all the rest of the world of its cunning, and impoverished, it in slights to enrich its self.

For the space of fifteen Ages, the Church-men have already demonstrated to the world their abilities, and subtilty; and that so much the more to the wonder of all, because their beginnings have been so different from the means they have us’d, shifting from one thing to another, and changing upon all occasions, as Seamen do their Sailes with the wind, so that they seem to be born entirely for their own profit.

In the first Ages of the Church, the Court of Rome thought it convenient to comply with the Courts of other Princes, and this slight had its effect, while the Emperours Tyrannised over Rome; but their Tyranny being destroyed, the Court of Rome chang’d its way, and desired a compliance from all other Courts to its self.

Yet this proceeding too, having by little and little, intricated, and perplex’d the Court, and Courtiers, they were fain to come back to their first complyance, and by all Arts appease the male-contents, and keep those that were affectionate from being alienated: but now the face of things is so changed, and the nature of transactions so perverted, that they which now command in the Court of Rome have invented new wayes how to carry themselves, and correspond with Princes, very intricate, and different from those that were us’d in past Ages.

p. 32Therefore there are very few who having resided in this Court, do at last forsake it to return home, but they have a great deal of reason to complaine and be ill satisfied of its proceedings; not only because they had not found so much favour as they had expected; but because they found that they had been meerly deluded with faire promises, and at last, as it were laughed at for their paines.  For the Courtiers of Rome have a particular maxime, either of perplexing, or of jeering those that come to negotiate with them.  The truth is, they have been so subtle in providing for their interest, and have brought things to that pass, that they seem to be able to be without those, who can by no means be without them; upon which score the Ministers of some Princes were wont to say; That Negotiations in the Court of Rome were a mischeif to those that were employed in them, but a very necessary one: And in a word; The Court of Rome cannot be better compared, then to a Labyrinth, out of which, many think they are going, when they do but just enter it.

Many have compared it to the Monky, that hugs its young ones to death; for just so do the Churchmen, who embrace every one with a paternal affection; but in those embraces, they that receive them, find their ruin.  Therefore have a Care of Romes kindness.  Others do compare it to a Tree laden with fruit, that to look upon, seems ripe and fair, which when you come to taste, you find soure and crabbed.

For my part, I think the Court of Rome is like those pills that Physitians give to their patients, p. 33which are all gold without, that they may not displease the sick person by exposing to his view Cassia, or Antimony, &c. and he, poor man, trusting to this glorious exteriour swallowes the Pill, and in the swallowing of it often perceives the bitterness.

So Rome, or rather the Church-men in Rome, cover every thing with the gold of their inventions and slights, giving thus to Princes and Nations most bitter medicines covered with the zeal of Religion, which they have no sooner swallowed, but they find that there was nothing but an appearance of good in it.

In the Court of Rome it often falls out, that he that makes as if he knew all mens intrigues is altogether ignorant, and he that feigns to know nothing, knowes all.  The exterior shew of goodness runs like a stream in the sight of all, but it springs from a head of mischeif, which is seen by few, because there they seldome give the sting without the honey.

Nothing is done in Rome without the zeal of Religion; and yet the zeale of Religion is that which prevailes least in all things.  For they make a great distinction between those things that they desire, and those that they ought to do.  They employ all their resolution and their prudence towards the compassing of the first, but they seldome performe the last, as not being inclin’d to make their wills stoop to their duty.

These maximes, or the like, are common in all the Princes Courts, both within and without Italy; but Rome is the Seminary of these Arts, in which the Church-men are masters.

p. 34He that goes to negotiate in Rome as a publick Minister from some Prince or State, must first have made some stay in it as a private person; and for my part, I am perswaded, that to have good success in such an employment, one stands in need of that double spirit which Eliseus asked Elias for; since that Church-men are so double-souled, as to use nothing but slights and subtilties in their negotiations.

He that can live four or five years in the Court of Rome, without meeting with such impediments as shall make him stumble and go neer to fall, may live a whole Age in any other Princes Court without trouble.

We see every day by experience, that many excellent Politicians, Ministers of Princes, and States, who in other Courts had got a great deal of credit and reputation, by managing business to their Princes content, are no sooner come to Rome, but in an instant they lose all that honour that they had taken so much pains for.  And indeed many are they that come to the Court of Rome with a great deal of credit, but few come off and leave it with honour and reputation.

In a Climate subject to so many sudden changes, they that live in it must expect thunder and lightning, as well as fair weather.  There negotiations must needs be hard, where the face of things is changed every day.

Many publick Ministers lose themselves in Rome, because they know well where they are, but not with whom they are: for whilst they think they have to do with a Monarchy, of a sudden they meet with a Republick and a p. 35Senate; and when they imagine to be engaged with a commonwealth and a Senate, they find they have to do with a Monarchy: so that like a ball they are tossed from the Monarch to the Senate, and back again: Because indeed, the government of Rome is a Monarchy without a Head, and a Commonwealth without Counsellors.  And thus even they that reside long in Rome are often puzzled in such sudden changes.

The Government of the Popes is much different from that of all other Princes; because that they that are raised to this eminent degree do often come to it, so raw and ignorant of Policies, that they are a great while before they can attain to any perfection in their charge, which when they have done at others expences, it is time for them to leave the world and their government to their Successours, who most commonly are of the same past fortune, introducing Church-men to this so high a command, and nature hurrying them away from the throne before they are fit for it.

I do not wonder, that in the Court of Rome, through a long experience, even the dullest and rawest Politicians do become at last most expert; since that from all the parts of the World, Rome receives none but the wisest and most able Statesmen to negotiate with her.

One of my friends compares this Court to the Sea; for as it receives in its bosome all the Rivers of the Earth, and being by them filled and swelled, fills them again from whom it received its plenty.  So Rome doth as it were suck from the rest of the World, their purest milk of policies, and distributes it again, like a kind mother, to all those p. 36that are content with the appellation of its children.

Indeed as for the sucking part, I think my friend is much in the right; for Church-mens lips are so fit for this function, that they lose not one drop; but as for the distributive part, they make it a more difficult thing then he or others would imagine.

Neither do I wonder at it, for when they deal with others, they alwayes propose to them the zeal of Religion, and the interest of Christian Piety: While under the pretext of these, they hide their self-policy, to use it in time and place convenient: Which no body can discover but themselves.  The truth is, that a good Politician may receive some benefit, by diving into that which they so much endeavour to hide; but he shall never be advantaged by any thing that they shall willingly reveal to him, their undoubtted maxime being never to discover any thing but such as they need not, or that cannot be beneficial to others.

To give a great proof of what I say; I remember, that an Embassadour of an Italian Prince, a wise and able man, being returned home after seven years stay in his imployment at Rome, could give to his master for all account of his Embassy, nothing but ambiguous words, equivocal enigmes, and uncertain answers; whereupon his Prince not understanding him, required a better information at his hands, and was thus answered by him.

Serenissime Prince: The School of Rome hath furnished me with no other Lectures, then what I p. 37have already layed open to your Highness: Therefore with all due submission, I beseech your Highness to have compassion of me, if I appear before you so barren and so empty; for in seven years time I have not been able to obtain from these Church-men any solid substance, to fill my self withal.  This ’tis that befalls most Ambassadors and Agents in Rome.


Innocentius the Tenth had brought the Court into such a confusion; that in his time no body knew where to begin any business: For he did so little care to trouble himself with the important affairs of Christendome; that most commonly he refused to meddle, even in those which concerned his pastoral function.  His troublesome houres were when he was forced to give audience to a forrain Embassadour, and to be rid of business; his maximes were, To deny all favours, to answer all requests with a negative, and never to come to a final resolution in any thing that might please his enemies; though the thing in its self was very beneficial to the Church and State.  If he had any inclination to do good, it appeared only in what he did to his own family, and in the care he took to embellish the City of Rome.  But the ill he did was not contained in such easie limits, it spread its self over all Christendome, which did lament to see the Church provided of so extravagant a Pastor.

In the beginning of his pontificat, he shewed himself much enclined to be well informed of the state of Rome, and the Church Territories; which vigilance of his, at last redounded to the prejudice of all his officers.  For they thinking p. 38at first, that his proceeding came from the love of justice, and good order, came all to Rome with instructions and memorials, wherein their wants and the necessities of their places were set out: but all in vain; for when they expected answer and satisfaction, they found that the intention of the Pope was, to refuse all, and to resolve nothing; so that then every one avoided, not only the presence of the Pope, but Rome it self, and all business in it.

This is the general disposition of the Court of Rome, and of Church-men in common; though the Popes Nephews do often give it another face, according as their designs and thoughts are, which being as different as the humours of one Pope from another; fortune, not merit, raising both Popes and Nephews to this great command; we may say, that things in Rome are rather performed by masked and counterfit persons, then by natural ones: As one of my friends, who lives well, and is one of the best Church-men in the Court of Rome, is used to say, that when once he had put on the habit of a Priest, he could hardly discern his own nature, nor know himself with comparison to what he was before.  Which shewes evidently, that Church-men have certain close wayes of treating, particular to themselves, that must make those that have to do with them, stand upon their guard, and use all their policy.


The Contents.

In which is discoursed, of the first bringing the Nipotismo into Rome, which happened under Sixtus the fourth, too much inclined to favour his kindredOf the lascivious life, and of the death of Cardinal Peter his NephewOf the government of the Church transferred to Jerom Peter’s brotherOf the number of Sixtus his NephewsOf the selling of many JewelsOf the murmurs of the Romans against this PopeOf the succession of Innocent the eighth to the PopedomeHow he was naturally averse from his kindredp. 40What he did for some of his NephewsOf the assumption of Alexander the sixth to the PopedomeHow he made his Bastards greatOf the crimes committed by himOf the family of the Sforzas, being from Milan.  Of the actions of Duke Valentine.  How the Pope passed his timeOf his death, caused by poysonHow Duke Valentine carried himself after the death of his Father Pope Alexander.  Of the succession of Pius the third to the Popedome, and of his short lifeOf what happened to his kindredOf Julius the second that succeeded Pius.  Of his way of carrying himself towards his NephewsOf the Popedome fallen to Leo the tenthOf his mind entirely bent to favour the Family of the Medici.  How Adrian the sixth succeeded to Leo the tenthOf the severity he shewed to his kindredOf the election of Clement the seventh for PopeOf his great ambition to raise his FamilyHow Paul the third was chosen PopeHow he likewise was inclined to make his kindred great, and by what meansOf that which Julius the third did in favour of his Family: and how his life was inclined to pleasures and delightOf the resolution of Marcellus the second, to give nothing to his kindredHow Paul the fourth was made PopeOf his kindness to his kindredHow Pius the fifth was not naturally inclined to do his kindred goodHow Gregory the thirteenth was of a quite contrary dispositionHow Sixtus the fifth was made Pope, and how he was inclined to favour his kindredOf the short life of Urban the seventh, Sixtus his successourOf the election of Gregory the p. 41fourteenthWhat was his inclination to his NephewsOf the election of Innocent the ninthOf his proceedings and deathOf the election of Clement the eighth: and of what he did for his kindredOf the desire of Leo the eleventh, successour to Clement, to make his family greatOf the election of Paul the fifthOf his life and actions, and how he advanced his kindredHow Gregory the fifteenth succeeded to Paul the fifth, and of his great affection to his kindred.


Now we must look back, and return to Sixtus the 4th, who first opened a door to the Nipotismo, and who by introducing his kindred, brought at the same time ambition and riches into Rome; the riches were for his Nephews, and the ambition he left as an inheritance to all Church-men; and it is now one of the greatest mischiefs that oppresseth the Church.

’Tis not to be wondred at, that I begin the History of the Nipotismo, from the time of Sixtus the fourth, since he was the first that delivered up Rome and the Popedom in prey to his Nephews, to the wonder and astonishment of the whole world.

He was then the first introducer of the Nipotismo, and so indulgent a one, that to favour his kindreds interest, he had forgot himself, and the Church, thinking of nothing, but of the means how to advance them to their satisfaction, from whence the murmurs of the people were so great in Rome, that many Confessors were fain to give p. 42over their Function, that they might not hear the peoples complaints against the Pope and his kindred: So that it was spread through Europe, that Rome had as many Popes as Sixtus had Nephews.

This Pope, immediately after his election, made two Cardinals; viz. Peter Riario, whom many suspected to be his Bastard, having alwayes been educated, with great care by him, in the same Monastery; the other was Julian, son of Raphad de la Rovere, brother to the Pope, and had been first Bishop of Carpentras, then was made Cardinal by his Brother, and at last came to be Pope, under the name of Julius the second, as we shall relate in due place.

Sixtus gave to the Cardinal, Peter Riario, all that was in his power to give, adding Abby upon Abby, and revenue upon revenue, till he had made him so rich in Church lands, that he lived most splendidly, and seemed to be born to waste a greater fortune; Plays, Balls, Dances, and such pastimes, were the ornament which he bestowed upon his Ecclesiastical dignity, being perswaded, that pomp and vanity were becoming the majesty of a Cardinal.

He lived but two years in this loose life; in which time ’tis thought he spent, in Treats, and Balls, and such like diversions, above two hundred thousand Duckats of gold, besides seventy thousand which he owed at his death, and which were never payed: He dyed at the age of 28 years, to the great regret of his Uncle, his disease having been caused by his debauchery, as the Physitians testified.

p. 43Six months before he dyed, the Pope, whose continual study it was, how to make him great, declared and proclaim’d him his Legat over all Italy; not that any urgent business did require such a Function, but only that he might give him an occasion of shewing his Grandeur, and receiving more pleasure in those triumphs and receptions, he was upon this score to have bestowed upon him by the Italian Princes; who to humour the Pope, forgot no honour they could think of, towards the person of his Legat; and could not indeed have done more to the Pope himself; particularly in Venice, Milan, and Padua, he was received with so extraordinary a pomp, that it was almost incredible.

Great was the delight which he took in these publick honours; but much greater were the pleasures, which he tasted in secret, having ordinarily, amongst his Attendants, five or six Russians, whose business it was to satisfie his appetite, though never so inordinate.  Being at last come back to Rome, to the possession of his old Mistresses, he ended his dayes amongst them, and went to a new world, whether of pleasure or of pain, God knows.

But the Popes affection to his kindred was not buryed in his grave; for he made his Brother Jerome succeed in his favour and fortune, which he rather increased then diminished; for he made him Lord and Soveraign of Inola and Forli; and gave him the government of all the state of the Church, besides other important Offices.

This Jerome was a quite contrary disposition p. 44to his Brother; being naturally severe in words and deeds, and averse from all pleasures but hunting.  He married Catharina, natural daughter to Galeazzo, Duke of Milan; and Sixtus made Ascanius, the son of the said Duke, Cardinal into the bargain, contrary to the young mans inclination, which was rather to marriage, then to a single life.

But the inordinate passion of this Pope did not rest in all this; for his ambition of having kindred to advance was such, that not being content with that great number of true Nephews that he had, he substituted and adopted some, that were no relation to him at all; to whom he gave an infinity of places and commands.

He gave to Leonard, his brothers son, a natural daughter of King Ferdinand in marriage, and made him Prefect of Rome: And he being dead, he immediately transferred that honour and place to another Nephew, called John de la Rovere, brother to the Cardinal Julian; giving him besides, the Propriety of the States of Sora and Sinigaglia.

This John had by Giovanna, daughter to Frederick, Duke of Urbin, a son, who was Francesco Maria della Rovere, who after the death of Guido Ubaldo, his Uncle, who dyed without male issue, succeeded by adoption, and in the right of his Wife, to the Dukedom of Urbin.

Besides these, Sixtus made Cardinals the two brothers, Christopher, and Dominic, de la Rovere, who lived in Turin, under the protection of the Duke of Savoy, though they were Soveraigns of Vico Nuovo, and other Estates in Italy.

p. 45Besides, he made Jerome Batto, his sisters Son, Cardinal, as likewise Raphael Samson, son to a sister of Pictro Riario, whom he promoted to that dignity, when he was but seventeen years old, upon condition, that he should change his name, and take that of the Popes Family.

This Pope had so much kindred, and was so inclined to advance them, that he often granted the same thing to two different persons, having forgot that he had granted it to the first.

But amongst all his inventions to enrich them, this was one of the best: In the beginning of his Pontificat, he made, as if he had a design to pay the debts, left upon the Church by the precedent Popes, Eugenius, Nicolas, Calistus, Pius, and Paul; but pretending want of money to do it, he compassed his design by this means.

Paul the second, his predecessour, had alwayes had a great inclination for the publick pomp and state of the Popedom, and therefore strove to make the Ornaments of the Popes person and head the richest that was possible for him; to which end, in the Miter, which serves at their Coronation, and other publick ceremonies, he had caused above the worth of a million in precious stones to be set, having bought up (all the world over) the best Diamonds, Saphires, Rubyes, Emeraulds, Chrysolites, &c. that could be had for money; so that afterwards, when he came out in publick, he looked like another Aaron, with a Majesty more divine then humane, being himself very tall, and of a comely port and presence.

Sixtus, who having been brought up in the p. 46severity of a Monastick life, did little esteem that outward pomp, which Paul, his predecessour, so much prized, caused these precious Stones to be sold, under pretence of discharging such debts, as the Church was lyable to for his predecessours.

The Jewels were soon sold, and the money consigned into the hands of his Nephews; but the debts were never payed, though the Jewels had been sold to that end: And that which is worth relating is, that the Pope answered every one, that came to demand any thing due to them; that he had already payed the others, that he was sorry it was not their fortune to come sooner, and that the money had proved short to discharge so many debts: So that the poor Creditors were fain to go away cheated, and yet knew not whom to complain of.

The Romans murmured strangely, against this greediness of the Pope and his kindred, and so much the more, because that they had not yet been accustomed to see a Popes passion; for his kindred make him rob and plunder the Church.  They wondred what example Sixtus could have for his proceedings, for none of his predecessours had hitherto shewed so little moderation, but in providing for their kindred, had kept some measures.  Neither could his education furnish him with this ambition and covetousness; for he had been brought up in a Convent, amongst Religious persons, who professed voluntary poverty, and to whose principles he seemed to be so inured, as not to be able to forsake them: for all the while he managed publick business, before he was a Cardinal, p. 47it was with a great deal of candour and disinteressment that he did it; and when he came to be made Cardinal, he was so far from keeping a Court, and living in that splendour, which others thought became that dignity, that his family and Retinue looked rather like a Convent, then like a train of Attendants.  But as soon as he was Pope, he changed of a sudden, and lived like a Prince, never troubling himself at what the world said of him, but cared only to please himself, and make his kindred great.


Sixtus being dead, Innocentius the eighth was made Pope, in the year 1484. being of the noble Family of Cibo, which hath had many eminent persons in it.  This Pope, remembring the complaints of the Romans against his predecessour, for being too indulgent to his kindred, resolved to be very cautious in that point, and give no occasion of scandal that way: Which he observed so well, that when any one of his kindred came to Rome, and that he had notice of it, he would say, Our kindred had much better stay in Geneva without us, then come to Rome for our sakes; and indeed he was very reserved to them: For to Mauritius Cibo, who was a very accomplish’d Gentleman, he gave nothing, but the Government of the Dutchy Spoleto, and made him President of the State of the Church Employments, which in those dayes were not of any great honour or profit, though now they are both rich and honourable.

So he made Lawrens Cibo, his Nephew, Cardinal, but with very little authority, forbidding him p. 48to meddle with publick business of importance, without being called to it.  And yet was he forced, as it were, to honour him thus far; for many whispering about the Court, that he was a Bastard, he was fain to shew the world, that he did own him, as being lawfully born of one of his Cozens; which he proved by a process and strict examination before Cardinal Balbo, a Venetian, and one, who had no wayes interest to favour the family of Cibo.

The greatest advantage that this Pope procured his Family, was, that he married Francesco Cibo with Magdalen of Medicis, sister of Leo the tenth that was afterwards, giving him the County of Anguillara, which was not of any importance in those dayes, and making him Captain General of the Forces of the Church: And in this he ended all the favours that he ever shewed his Family, which was very noble besides.


Alexander the sixth succeeded Innocentius in the Popedom, who was a barbarous, lascivious Pope, making no difficulty of bringing desolation upon the Church, and imbrewing his hands in innocent bloud, to advance and make great his kindred.  In the reign of this Pope, the Romans used to say, That the Emperours had taught tyranny, and the Popes practised it.

He was cruel, covetous, and insatiable, in heaping riches together: He spent his retired hours all in lascivious pleasures, taking great delight to be embraced and caress’d by fair Ladies; whence the numbers of his Bastards was very great; many taking from thence occasion to say, That he p. 49had filled Rome with Bastards, and Spain with Whores.  ’Tis true, that he declared for his Heirs only, four male children, and two female: And though he used to change Ladies often, for variety and greater pleasure, yet he gave himself up to Vanoccia, a Roman Curtizan, whom he loved as his lawful Wife, and with whom he would sport and toy in publick, keeping her at his table, and in his house, as if she had been his true Wife, and this while he was Archbishop and Cardinal.

Being made Pope, in the year 1492. the second of August, he introduced into Rome, not a Nipotismo, but rather a Filiolismo, nay indeed, a Bastardismo, that is, a company of Bastards, whom he brought with him, in his return from his Legation in Spain: And his first way to make him great was, by force of Arms, making league with this Prince, then with that, then with another, but still upon these conditions, to give Principalities, which he nam’d, to his bastard sons.

For this end, he joyned in a Confederacy, which proved fatal to all Italy, with Lewis the twelfth of France, with the Catholick King, the Venetians, and the Florentines; the Conditions of which League were, that they should dispossess the true and ancient Owners of the Provinces of La Romagna, La Marca, and Umbria; and that the whole should be made over to Cesar Borgia, the Popes son; who to this end had laid aside his Cardinals Cap, and taken in marriage Charlotte of Albret, daughter to the King of Navarre, and allyed to the French King, and divers other great Princes.

p. 50But this design having taken no effect, because of the dispute, that rise between the French and the Spaniard, about the dividing of the Kingdom of Naples, which at last ended in the utter ruine of the French, the Spaniards remaining Masters of the whole Kingdom; the Pope thought it was easier for him to compass his ends, and establish the Grandeur of his Bastards by great and powerful Alliances.

From hence proceeded, that having promised his daughter Lucretia, while he was Cardinal, to a certain Spaniard; as soon as he was Pope, he took her away from him, and bestow’d her in marriage upon John Sforza, Lord of Pesaro, with whom being also fallen out, he took her away from him, and bestowed her upon Lewis of Arragon, natural son to King Alfonse; joyning thus two bastards, that they might not reproach one another: And he likewise dying some months after his marriage, he gave her to Alfonse d’Este, Duke of Ferrare, with whom she lived and dyed.  ’Twas in the pomp of her Wedding, that the Pope caused to be celebrated in Rome, Turnaments and Tiltings, together with the representation of a hunting Match; and many say, that in the Ball and Dances the Pope danced every night, masked, with some of his intimate Friends.

Of his sons, he made Godfrey, the youngest Prince of Squillace, a City in Ulterior Calabria, and the Country of Saint Cassiodorus: He made Cesar, who was the second, Cardinal; and his eldest, named John, was by the great entreaties and instances of the Pope, made Duke of Candia p. 51in Spain, much against the inclination of the Catholick King; for this John he procured in marriage a bastard daughter of Alfonse, King of Naples; and thus he filled the Vatican with bastards, whereupon Pasquin, with a great deal of reason, call’d it, Il Bastardismo.

Cesar, his second son, being troubled to see his brother John above him, and more beloved by his Father, resolved to take him out of the way; so one night, as John was going in Rome about some business, he caused him to be set upon by some of his Confidents, who having stabb’d him, cast him half alive headlong into the Tyber; and the same evening (a barbarous action) they had supped together, very brotherly, at their Mother Vanoccias house.

The Pope, who was afraid of incurring the same danger from his son, whose temper he knew to be wicked enough for such an undertaking, was forced to dissemble this inhumane action of the Cardinal, and to make no pursuits nor informations about the death of his eldest son.

Cesar, being thus delivered of his brother, began to give himself up to the life of a Souldier, and the practise of Arms, without any consideration of his being a Cardinal: for his great motive in murdering his brother was, that he might attain to the dignity of Gonfalonier, or Standard-bearer of the Church, and Captain General of the Popes Armies; so that a little after his Fratricide, he layed off his Cardinals Habit, and the Pope invested him with all the honours of his dead brother.

Thus being made General of the Popes Army, p. 52he united with the French, and married Charlotte of Albret, and had for her portion the Dutchy of Valenza, from whence he was called over, after Duke Valentine, as being a particular acquisition of his own.

With the help of Lewis the twelfth, and of his Father the Pope, he gained a great estate in Italy; his Father being still ready to supply him with vast sums of money, which he spent to purchase greatness.

Having driven the Family of the Sforza’s out of Milan, and put them in prison; by the help of the French King, he made himself Master, with great cruelty, of all the Cities of La Romagna, except Bologna, banishing and murdering the ancient and true Lords and Masters of them.

The first seized upon Forli and Imola, causing the poor young Riarri, who were Lords of those places, to fly for safety; and taking prisoner their Mother Catharine, whom he carried in triumph to Rome; exposing to the eyes of the Romans his barbarous cruelties.

From Forli he passed to Faenza, which City he took by force, putting to death Astorre Manfredi, who was Lord of it.

He did the same by Arimino and Pesaro, forcing Nulatesta, and John Sforza, to avoid by flight, the infamy and cruelty of the death they were sure to undergo, if they fell into his hands.

After this, he besieged Sinigaglia, and took it by force, committing infinite acts of inhumanity in it.

With the same course of Victory, though with p. 53craft and deceit mingled with force, he deprived Guido Ubaldo di Feltro of his Dutchy of Urbin, making him fly to Mantua, not without danger of falling into his net by the way.

After this, he lead his Army against the City of Camerino, which he took by force, and put to a cruel death Giulio Cesare, and Venantio Varrani, who were, and had been, long in possession of it.  And with the same ardour and ambition, he fell to persecuting all the neighbouring Princes, in hopes to deprive them of their States.

At last, he turned his rage upon the chiefest Families of Rome, beginning with the noble Family of the Gaetani, who were in possession of great Estates in the Country of the Volai, putting to death Honorato and Cola Gaetani.

Next, he fell upon the Colonna’s Family, and having dispossessed them of their Lands, forced them to fly to Apulia, and Sicily, where they were extremely pitied by that people, who had a perfect knowledge of their rare deserts.

But while he thought to do the same to the Ursins, they having leagued themselves with other Princes, raised an Army in their defence; and having at last encountred his, defeated it, and forced him to fly to Imola, or, as some say, to Rome, where the Pope, being frightned with this sudden blow, had recourse to craft and dissimulation; he treats with the Confederates; gives them such Conditions, that they themselves, even triumphant, could hardly expect: And having thus lull’d them asleep, and made them lay down Armes; in the mean while, Borgia having recovered himself, and got a new Army, fell upon p. 54them most cruelly; and persecuting them separately, put to death some, banish’d others; and in a word, used all barbarous means to compass their ruine.

All this while the Pope was taking his delight in the Vatican, in Vanoccia’s armes; receiving every day, with new joy and satisfaction, the news of his Sons crimes.

The Revenue of the Church being not sufficient to maintain such an Army as Cesar Borgia’s was, and withall, to supply the expence of his Court, which was truly Royal and Prince-like; Alexander made a new Colledge of fourscore Writers of Briefs, selling every place for two hundred and fifty Crowns of Gold; receiving besides into Rome those Moors, that the King of Spain had driven out of his Dominions, who to enjoy their liberty, gave him great sums of money: And yet all this seeming inconsiderable, he sold divers Cardinals Caps, and at last, for fear of being unprovided of money in some urgent necessity, he resolved to dispatch with poyson, the richest Prelates of the Court, and amongst them some very rich Cardinals, whose Estates he intended to make himself heir to, and so satiate the barbarous greediness of his son.

But Divine Providence, taking compassion of the innocency of so many persons, disappointed this barbarous design most miraculously; for just in the execution of it, the Pope himself was, by the mistake of his Cup-bearer, sent out of the World, and his son Cesar in extreme danger: And thus it happened.

Alexander invited to a Treat, in his Garden p. 55of Belocdere, all the richest Cardinals and Prelates, under pretence of honouring them; and had secretly given order to mingle some poyson with most exquisite Wines that they were to drink.  But the Cup-bearer, in pouring out his Wine into Glasses, mistook, and poysoned the Pope and his Son Cesar.  ’Tis true, that some do believe, that the Cup-bearer did it on purpose, being glad to be the Instrument, that should deliver the State and Church from so much misery, in which they were involved under this Popes tyranny.

Cesar perceiving himself to be poysoned, presently had recourse to Remedies, and with vomiting, being strong, and in the flower of his age, freed himself from the poyson, though very violent: ’Tis true, that he remained impotent, and unfit for action, so that his Army immediately crumbled away, for want of his personal assistance to keep them together.

But the Pope, who was already seventy two years old, was not able to resist the strength of the poyson, though all the Remedies imaginable, were put in use to save him.  So he dyed in the Vatican, in the year one thousand five hundred and three.

As soon as the Pope was dead, Cesar, his son, caused himself, and all the Popes Treasure, to be transported to the Vatican, under the guard of twelve thousand Souldiers, with an intention, to force the Cardinals to make a Pope of his liking: But he failed in his design; for the Cardinals met in the Convent of La Minerva: And Cesar having set Michrelletto Correglia, his great Captain, p. 56to besiege them, the people of Rome, moved with indignation against such a violence offered to the Cardinals, rose in Armes for their defence; whereupon Borgia resolved to retire to Nepe with his Army, and leave the Cardinals their liberty: Who being free, and having celebrated the Popes Obsequies, went into the Conclave to choose his Successor; and after some dispute, agreed in the Person of Cardinal Picolomini, one of the eminentest Prelates of the Court, who took the name of Pius the third.


The news of this Election being come to Siena, which was the Popes native Country, Pandolfo Petrucci, who was Tyrant of this City, was extremely troubled at it, doubting not, but that the Pope would soon drive him away, and set his Country at liberty; so that to be rid of his fear, he procur’d a Chirurgion to poyson a Sore that the Pope had in one of his Legs; which was done, and the poor Pope dyed, some seven and twenty dayes after his creation.

The Picolomini Nephews and Relations to his Holiness, were already flown to Rome, like so many Bees, but before they could get within the gates, they receiv’d the sad news of their Uncles death; so that they were fain to return to Siena upon the same Horses, upon which they came to Rome.  ’Twas certainly believed, that this Pope would have made another Nipotismo in Rome, for he was very tender hearted and kind to his kindred.

To Pius succeeded Jules, the second brother to Sixtus the fourth, who was chosen with so publick p. 57a consent and applause, that he was almost proclaim’d Pope before he went into the Conclave; the people receiv’d the news of his Election, with extraordinary demonstration of joy, because of the great esteem they had for his person, Alexander having kept him in banishment from Rome, for the space of ten years together, to the displeasure of the whole Court of Rome.

Jules proved a man of a great Soul, and a noble and constant Defender of the Church, and little inclin’d to make his kindred great.  ’Tis true, he did own a great deal of kindness for his Relations, but much more for the Church: And did say, That he would have bestowed upon them all that he had, if all that he had were not the Churches.  Therefore he would never give them any State belonging to the Church; and if Francesco Maria, his brothers son, did obtain the Dutchy of Urbin, it was, because that Guido Ubaldo da Feltra, his Kinsman, did adopt him.  Some say, that it was by the Popes perswasions, that Guido Ubaldo did this; which though it were true, yet it did not any wayes prejudice the Church: And if he did bestow Pesaro on the same Francesco Maria, which State was lately fallen to the Church by the death of Gio. Sforza, who dyed without Heirs, it was to pay to the said Francesco Maria certain debts, which he pretended due to him from the Church.

Besides, he never gave any extraordinary Authority to four Cardinals of his own kindred and creating; who were very much displeased and discontented at this his severity.

p. 58He answered one day two of his Relations, who were very pressing for an Office, which he would not grant; You ought to be content with what my Brother did, who lov’d the house of La Rovere better then the Church.

In his time Rome was almost without a Nipotismo: but no sooner was Leo the tenth raised to this great honour, but things began to run in another stream; for this Pope, though otherwise very worthy of such an Elevation, yet was he no sooner settled in his Dignity, but he began to project the greatness and advancement of the house of the Medicis.  And first he bestowed upon Julian, his Brother, the Office of Gonfaloniero, or Standard-bearer to the Church, together with other charges and places: Then he called most of his kindred to Rome, making them Cardinals, and bestowing Dignities upon them.  So that the Nipotismo began to take a new possession of Rome and the Church.

Leo undertook, by the means of the Emperour Maximilian, to make his brother Julian Lord of Siena and Lucca, pretending to add to his Domination the Dutchies of Urbino and Ferrara: But Julian dying in the interim, the Pope transferred his kindness upon his brother Lawrens, and attempted the execution of this his design in his favour, by the means of the Emperour Charles the fifth, who was newly come to the Empire.  Besides, he put into his hands the government of the City of Florence, with this condition, that he should undertake nothing, without the advice and consent of the Citizens.

Then he enriched him with all the Honours p. 59and Offices his brother had enjoyed in the Church-State; and yet desirous every day to make him greater, and to satisfie the instant prayers of his Mother Alfonsina.  He made war with Francesco Maria della Rovere, Duke of Urbin; and having sent an Army against him, under the command of Renzo di Lere, he took his Dutchy from him, and invested with the title of Duke of Urbin Lawrens his Nephew; the poor Duke and his Lady being constrained to fly to Mantua for refuge.

With the same intention, though not with the same success, he strove to pick a quarrel with Alfonse, Duke of Ferrara; but he being a Prince experienced in war, and under the protection of a strong City, easily defeated the Popes design and artifices.

Lawrens being dead, the Pope sent the Cardinal of Medicis to Florence, to govern that City; and in him first began to relent that great ardour, with which he had hitherto pursued the advancement of his Family, giving himself over to other Employments, much more necessary, and more becoming a Prelate, whose care was not only to be bounded within the walls of Rome, but over all Christendome.


Adrian the sixth was Leo’s Successour, he had been the Emperour Charles the fifth his Tutor, and was created Pope the year of our Lord 1529. being then in Victoria, a City of Spain: As soon as he received the news of his Election, he embarqued at Terracona, and came to Genoa; where having received the Complements of Ambassadours p. 60of all parts, he came in great triumph to Rome.

This Pope was indeed too severe with his kindred; and under him, the Court of Rome pass’d from one extremity to another: for his Predecessours gave all to their Nephews, and he refus’d to give them even that which they deserved; and for this reason he was blam’d, not only by the Court, and forraign Ambassadours, but also by the common people, as being unnatural and clownish.

There was in Siena one of his Cozens sons, maintained there in his studies by the Pope; who being moved with the ambition of rising under his Uncles Pontificat, came to Rome without order; but the Pope no sooner had notice of it, but he commanded (without being prevail’d upon to see him) that he should instantly be carried back again upon a hackney Horse; giving order to his Confessor, to tutor him sharply for being so bold; and bidding him remember to take from his Uncle, an example of modesty and temperance, and apply himself strongly to his study, and the practise of vertue, which would advance him without help of his kindred, or at least very little.

Many others of his kindred, even his Nephews, came from Germany to Rome, with a design to enrich their fortunes, as other Popes Relations had done; but they soon found they had abus’d themselves, for the Pope, angry at their journey, sent them all back, with no other Present, then each of them a woollen Sute, and just as much money as would suffice to bear their p. 61charges.  Nay, even to one, who out of necessity was come a foot, he refused to give any more then would just defray his expences on foot back again.  ’Tis true, that some Cardinals were very Noble to them.  This Pope was continually blaming the Prodigality of those who had bestowed such great riches upon the Church.  In the year that this Pope liv’d, Rome was so afflicted and visited with Warre, Famine, and Plague, that it cannot be remembred without tears, and the people very unjustly laid all the fault upon the Pope, all mouths being open to clamour against him, and sing the Latin Verse:

Semper de Sextis diruta Roma fuit.

To Adrian succeeded Clement the Seventh of the Family of the Medici, who conserving the wonted ambition of this Family encreased their revenues and power with all his industry, insomuch that after he had been imprison’d and extraordinarily ill us’d by the Emperour Charles the Fifth, he nevertheless entred into a confederacy with him, upon condition that he should give his bastard Daughter Margaret in Marriage to Alexander of Medici, Lawrens his Son, and by force of Arms oblige the Florentines to acknowledge him for their Lawful Prince.  All this was accordingly executed, the Emperor having sent the Prince of Orange with a very great Army to settle the Medici in their new principality.

And Clement not content with this; as soon as the Emperour was gone into Spain, made a new league with Francis the First of France, and p. 62to strengthen it, Henry the Second, the Daulphin of France, married Catharina of Medicis Daughter to Laurens; the wedding was kept at Marseillis, where the King and the Pope were both present.

The Pope having thus happily setled his family, returned to Rome, and there died: In September 1534. and in the same year, in the Month of October, Paul the Third was chosen to fill his place, with great joy and applause of the people of Rome.  He was Alexander Farnese Cardinal, and one who shewed himself worthy of so eminent a dignity.

His first work was to find out means to advance his Family; and therefore in December following he created two of his Nephews Cardinals; one Alexander Fernese, Son to Pietro luigi Farnese his own Son, for the Pope had been married before he was Cardinal; and the other Guido ascanso Forza Costanza his daughters Son.  Alexander being suddenly dead, the Cardinal Hippolito Medici was made Vice-Chancellour of the Church, and Vice-Chamberlain after the death of Cardinal Spinola.  Thus from day to day, as places and offices became vacant, the Popes Nephews were sure to have them.

Paul was very desirous to procure a meeting between the Emperour and the King of France, where he desir’d to be present in person also; which thing being carried on by his Legat, Cardinal Carpi was well accepted and agreed of by both Princes, the Town of Nizza in Provence, but belonging to the Duke of Savoy: was chosen for the place of meeting, as being conveniently situated upon the Sea side.

p. 63The Pope, though old, was the first that came to the place appointed, having endured very great inconveniencies in his journey; and yet he was disappointed at last of his desires; for these two Princes having penetrated into the Popes design, found that it was not out of any love to Christendome, but only out of a fond affection to his family that he had desir’d their company.  So they refused to see one another in his presence, but came separatly, and kiss’d the Popes feet with no small mortification to his Holiness, being thus deluded and almost derided.

And indeed this interparly was not desired nor procur’d by the Pope, either with a design of appeasing the differences in Religion, or of making a League betwixt the Christian Princes against the Turk, though this were the pretext, but with a purpose to get Margaret of Austria, the widdow of Alexander Medici, for Octavio Farneze his Grandchild; and following the example of Clement the Seventh, give Victoria, afterwards married to Guido Ubaldo Duke of Urbin, his Neece, to some Prince of the blood of France, having chosen out the Duke of Vendosme, who was a young Prince of great merit and hopes: but for this time the Pope was forced to return to Rome without having effected his designs, as the King of France went to his own Kingdome, and the Emperour to Marseilles, where he visited the French King.

Some time after the Pope obtained from the Emperour the City of Novarre for his Son Pietro Luigi, and made up the match between his Grandchild Octavio and the Princess Margaret p. 64Daughter to the Emperour, and widdow of Alexander Medici; this done, the Pope undertook the recovery of the City of Lamerino, which he pretended to be devoted to the Church by the death of Giovani Maria Varrano, who had receiv’d the investiture of that place from Leo the Tenth, and dyed without any male children, and upon this Title made warre against the young Guido Ubaldo da Feltro, who by the Womens side pretended a right to it, but not being able to maintain it, was fain to fly and leave the place to the Pope, who having taken it, presently gave the investiture to his Grand-child Octavio Farneze, making him Duke of Camerino, and Receivour General of the Church, having before made him Prefect of Rome in the place of the Duke of Urbin.

But this Popes ambition swell’d much higher, for he went about to buy the Dutchy of Millan of the Emperour with the Churches money, and make an unalienable Patrimony of the Family of the Farnezes.  But the Emperour, though very necessitous and extreamly sollicited by the Pope with a vast summe of ready mony, was nevertheless so prudent as not to dismember from his Empire so considerable a part of it.

Besides this the Pope gave to his Son Pietro Luigi, against the consent of almost all the Cardinals, the noble Cities of Parma and Placentia in Lombardy, which were Fiefs of the Church.  The said Pietro Luigi was murdered by the principal Citizens of Placentia in a conjuration layed and carried on by the Emperours order; who all along refused to confirm Pietro Luigi in this new Principality, the Pope pretending that the Emperour p. 65should acknowledge him for lawful Lord and Master of these Cities; which he was so far from doing, that he endeavour’d to take them from him; whereupon the Pope was forced, that he might support his Son, to side with the French, who failed not to settle his Grand-child Octavio, though with this condition that he should renounce Camerino, and restore it to the Church, and be content with Parma and Placentia, for which he should pay every year seven thousand Crowns to the Apostolick Chamber.

Thus the Nipotismo was in great credit and Authority in Pauls time: for this Pope spared nothing to make them great, alienating the Churches Lands, and maintaining them in the possession of their acquisitions with the Churches Mony, which stirr’d the indignation of all Christendome, and made the Hereticks, who by this time were multiplied like Grashoppers, take from them an occasion to deny the Popes authority and primacy.

Julius the third, who succeeded Paul, preserv’d his Nipotismo in a handsome condition and rank, but was not so furiously transported with Ambition to settle them in Dukedomes and Principalities.  His humour was gay and merry, a good companion, and one that lov’d to eat and drink well with his friends.

And yet though this jovial inclination of his made him little enclin’d to warlike attempts, he nevertheless sent great Succours to the Duke of Florence, Cosino, in his Warre against the Sienezes: and this because the said Duke had promis’d him to make his Brother Baldwin Marquis of p. 66Monte san Sabino; which thing was not only executed, but besides, the Dukes Daughter was promised in Marriage to Fabian de monti Baldovin his Son; she was afterwards married to Alfonse Duke of Ferrara.

Giulio made also five of his Nephews Cardinals, to wit, Christopher di Monte, Fulvio de la Corgna, Innocentia de Monte, Geronimo Simoncello, and Roberto de Monte pulcrano.  To these he was very liberal, but to say true, not prodigal, as his Predecessors had been.  ’Tis true, he did what he could, to make his Brother Baldwin Duke of Camerino, and deprive the Church of so good a State, but the Cardinals oppos’d him so vigorously, that he was fain to desist from his design.

Julius being dead, the very name of the Nipotismo dyed with him, for in the year 1555 Marcelius the Second was made Pope; who would never endure, that any of his kindred should come neer Rome, no not his own Brother.  Nay more, he would never suffer that two Nephewes of his, who before his Election liv’d with him, following their Studies in Rome under his care, should receive any visits as his Nephews; and he forbid him to stir out of doors, least in going to School they should be owned in the streets, and receive the Complements of persons of quality.

They that knew much of his mind while he was Cardinal, said after his death, That his intention was altogether bent to apply some remedy to the ambition of the Popes; and that he had particularly resolved to give to his Brother and Kindred but just as much as would maintain them like ordinary Gentlemen; but not so much as a simple p. 67Barony, much less Dukedomes and Principalities; and to this he would have the advice and consent of the whole Colledge of Cardinals, having a firme purpose of making most secure decrees, by which the Popes should be bound, and kindred from giving any thing to their Kindred without the consent of all the Cardinals.

But while he was intent upon so good a work, he was surprized by death twenty dayes after his election; so that in so short a time he did neither good nor harme to the Church.

To him succeeded Paul the Fourth, of the House and Family of Caraffa in the same year 1555.  This Pope was one of the most fantasticall ill humour’d men that all the World could afford.  He presently made his Brothers Son Carlo Caraffa Cardinal; and to him he gave so much Authority, that it seemed that the Popes Will depended upon his pleasure.  He excommunicated Mark Antonia Colomna, and Ascanio his Son, under divers pretexts, but indeed only to take from them those offices and honours which they had in Rome, and to seize upon all their Revenues within the Territories of the Church; which was severely executed; the Pope at the same time giving the investiture of all their estates to Giovani, Count of Montorio his Brothers Son, giving him the Title of Duke of Paliano, which place he immediatly went about to fortifie, that it might hold out against the forces the Colonesses were raising to recover their lands, as at last they did.

A little after he made Antonio Caraffa the Earles brother, Marquess of Montebello, a place p. 68which he had deprived the right owner, the Earl of Bagno, of, as being contumacious, and for having, as the Pope said, ingrossed that money which the King of France had sent for the War in Italy.

The Nephewes of this Pope became at last so insolent by their Uncles indulgence, that they did rob, spoyl, ravish, kill, and in a word commit all sorts of crimes with impunity; Exercising so many cheats and frauds upon the poor people, that not only they made all the World cry out against them, but at last moved the indignation of their own Uncle, and provoked him to be severe to them, driving them away out of Rome, and depriving them of all honour and dignity.


Pius the Fourth of Milan, of the Family of the Medici, but of that branch that was then setled in Milan, was chosen Pauls Successor; and no sooner had he taken possession of the Popedome, but he fell to frame a process and impeachment against the Nipotismo of his Predecessor, with a design to punish them severely; which he executed, but with an affront to the holy Character of a Pope, for he made as if he had pardon’d them all their misdemeanours, which he confirmed with an Oath; to which the Caraffas trusting, came to Rome, but no sooner were they there, but by the Popes order, they were clap’d up in prison, and having undergone a new tryal, were all condemned to die.  The Cardinal Carlo Caraffa was strangled, the Earls of Montorio and of Alife, and Leonardo di Cardine were beheaded.  Thus the City was as it were purged of these abominations p. 69which this Nipotismo had defiled it with.

After this the good Pope Pius, that he might not come short of the Piety of his Predecessors, introduced a new Nipotismo; for above five and twenty Nephewes, brothers and sisters children, came in upon him, of whom he refus’d none, but raised as high as it was possible for him to do, making them all rich, and allying them with great families; but his kindness did particularly extend to Giovani Antonio Sarbellone his Nephew, who seemed to be born to heap riches together.


But Pius the Fifth, who succeeded Pius the Fourth, was not at all of this Humour, for he was absolutely averse from any such unjust wayes of advancing his kindred, having hardly condescended to make Michael Bonello his Sisters son Cardinal; and certainly he had never done it, if all the Cardinals unanimously had not raised in him a Scruple of Conscience, by saying, That he refused to promote one who was most worthy of that Honour.  Therefore at last, and as it were by force, he declar’d him Cardinal, but with a strict Order not to meddle with state affairs without Commission.


Gregory the Thirteenth of the Family of the Buon Compagni, who was chosen Pope after the death of Pius in the year 1572. followed not so good a path, but declin’d to a great indulgence for his Relations.  First, he presently made Philippo Buoncompagno his Nephew Cardinal, to whom he gave many Abbyes which were vacant in his Predecessors time.

p. 70Besides he call’d about him all his Nephewes, and Cozens, to whom he gave Offices, Dignities, Governments and Lordships, enough to make him great.  ’Tis true, he shewed no great ambition of making them great Princes, because he saw little posibility of a good success, but he heaped Abbies and Prelatures upon them as many as they pleased.


He dyed 1585 the tenth of April, and had for Successor upon the 24th of the same Month Sixtus the Fifth of the poor family of the Peretti having been a Monk of that conventual Order, of which Sixtus the fourth who lov’d his kindred so well was.

In his first beginning he seem’d a little averse from his kindred, not that he despised them, but he shewed no desire of making them Princes; but they that made any foundation upon this exteriour were much deceiv’d, for there never was a Pope that had a greater love for his relations then this; and all well considered, we shall find, that Sixtus the fifth gave away much more to his Nipotismo, then Sixtus the Fourth; for his Family of La Rovere, was very Noble, and liv’d splendidly before his assumption to the pontificat, whereas the Family of Peretti was so poor, that they had not bread to eat, being fain to beg here and there.

One of Sixtus the Fifth his Sisters was a Laundress in Escoli, and come to see her Brother in Rome upon an Ass, which was led by a Halter by her eldest Son, and with all this he left him all rich and great.  He lov’d this Sister of his Camila p. 71most tenderly, insomuch that he could never see her enough; and for her sake in the first month of his Popedome, he made one of her Sons Cardinal, giving him his own Cardinals Cap, and calling him by the name of Cardinal Moncealto, though he was but one and twenty years old.  To him Sixtus gave in Abbyes and Church-lands above five and thirty thousand Duckats a year, which was no small revenue, in the hands of one, who lov’d much to be thrifty.

To the other brother, who had led the Asse, he gave the chiefest offices and places of Rome, and married him with great pomp and solemnity, to a rich Roman Lady.

He assigned 20 thousand Crowns a year to his said sister Camilla, who drawing allwayes before her Eyes, her ancient poor condition, could never be brought to lead a great Ladyes life, but liv’d allwayes like a country Woman.

Her two Daughters were both married, one to Virginio Urtino, and the other to the high Constable of the Kingdome of Naples; Colonna, to one of which he gave for portion, a hundred thousand Crowns, and made a Cardinal of the family of the Colonna, together with great Offices and Revenues.

Besides this, he made Alexander Beretto his brothers Son Cardinal, and assign’d him a revenue of twenty thousand Duckats in Offices within Rome, and in the Popes Territories, in which he had great number of Benefices.

In a word, Sixtus when he dyed left to his Family the sum of a hundred and fifty thousand Duckats yearly revenue, besides money in specie, p. 72and the wonder of this was, that it was all done without any prejudice to the Church, but so much to the contrary; for he surpassed in the stateliness of his edifices in Rome, the ancient Romans, and yet left behind him five millions of Crowns to the Church, to the astonishment of all Christendome.


There is little or nothing to be said of Urban the seventh, who succeeded Sixtus in the year 1590, because he liv’d but 13 dayes after his election: But his kindred of the house of Castagna, in Genoa, having suddenly heard the news of his elevation, hastened to Rome; but three dayes journey from Genoa, they receiv’d the newes of his death: Whereupon they were forced to return home, and keep close for a great while, to avoyd the derision and mocking of their Enemies.  And this was, because that they had gone out of the City in great pompe and state; beginning allready to carry themselves like so many Princes: but their pretensions vanishd with the Popes death.

Nevertheless the Pope in so short a time shewed himself kind, for he left them some considerable Legacies, having given away to the company of the Nuntiata, whose Protector he had been, all that was in his power to distribute.


But that which Urban could not compass in thirteen dayes, Gregory the fourteenth his Successor did in ten months.  This Pope was of the family Sfondrata of Milan, and very desirous of adding to the greatness of his family.  And because that Paulo Emilio Sfondrato was at the time of his p. 73creation in Milan, the Pope refus’d to dispatch any business before his coming to Rome, where presently he was made Cardinal, and had twelve thousand Crowns a year assigned him the same day, besides a great number of Abbies and Offices which his Uncle gave him a little after.

The Pope was used to pass most part of his time with this Cardinal; no business passing, but what was sifted between them; the Pope often saying to him, Nephew, make a good purse before I die: And the Nephew, who understood the means did not fail to obey him, and out of every hundred take ninety for himself; the rest he left to the Church, and that was alwayes the worst money.

Two moneths after, he made the Count Sfondrati, another of his Nephews, General of the holy Church, and sent him to the Wars of France, having first married him with the daughter of the Prince of Massa, and made him Duke of Monte Marciano, which Dutchy the Pope pretended to be devolved to the Church, ever since the death of Alfonso Picolomini, Duke of the said place, whom the great Duke of Florence put to death; and the Pope immediately confiscated all that he enjoyed in the Territories of the Church, pretending, that the said Alfonso was a Rebel to the Church: Whereupon he gave his Nephew the investiture of the Dutchy.


Innocentius the ninth succeeded to Gregory the fourteenth, in the year 1509. who lived but two months, and by consequence was not in a capacity of leaving much to his Relations; many of them p. 74nevertheless were already come from Bologne, the Popes native Country; amongst whom he made one Cardinal, and that was Antonio Fachinetti; but he gave him no other Office, then that of a Referendary, there being no other of any consideration vacant.  ’Tis true, I believe, that he thought not of dying so soon, for else he would have provided more largely for this Cardinal, and the rest of his kindred; His death was very unwelcome to them, all having begun already to build Castles in the air; but particularly to one of them, who pretended to be General of the Churches Forces, to marry a Princess, and be revenged of all his Enemies; but he came so far short of all, that instead of the equipage of a Gentleman, that he came to Rome in, he returned in a poor plight to Bologna.


A month after, Clement the eighth, of the House of Aldobrandino of Florenee, was chosen Pope, with an incredible joy of all the people of Rome: He himself was born in the City of Fano.

This Pope found his Family full of noble and ancient Blood, but as empty of Riches; therefore calling them to him, he began, by his Predecessours example, to give them Offices, Places, and Dignities, but with a certain moderation, and not precipitating his Favours, as the others had done, but giving to day one thing, and to morrow another, he contented them all without scandal.

In his first promotion of Cardinals, he created two of his Nephews, viz. Pietro Aldobrandino, p. 75his Brothers Son, and Cintbio Passero di Sinigaglia, his Sisters Son; and with the help of these two, the Pope did govern all the Church Affairs, desiring every thing should pass by their hands, particularly through Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandino, whom he lov’d most cordially, calling him, the Idol of his heart; and often, for fear of contradicting him, he would let him do as he listed.

The charge of General of the Church, was given to Giovanni Francesco Aldobrandino, another of his Nephews; in which place he enjoyed, not only all of the Prerogatives and Priviledges that had been granted to the other Nephews of Popes, but besides, his Holiness encreased his pay by two thousand Crowns a year, and invented new priviledges for him.

In the year 1595. he bought the Marquisat of Meldola, which he bestowed upon Octavio Aldobrandino, another of his Nephews, declaring him absolute Soveraign of the said place; but yet made him stay in Rome, that he might be at hand, & lose no occasions of getting something else from him: at last Alfonso d’ Este, last Duke of Ferrara, happening to dye in the year 1597. the Pope thought to take this Principality for himself, as being devolv’d to the Church, and resolv’d to give the investiture to his Nephew Octavio; so having held a publick Consistory, in which he declared, that the Dutchy of Ferrara was become the Churches patrimony; and immediately ordered Cardinal Aldobrandino to raise a powerful Army, and put himself in possession of the said Dutchy, by driving out Cesar of Este, who was Heir by p. 76the Will of the late Duke, and was actually in possession: But the Pope pretended, that he being a Bastard, was incapable of inheriting.

The Cardinal soon got together a great Army, and so frighted Don Cesar, that he was forced to fly to Modena, and leave Ferrara to the Pope; and the Cardinal Aldobrandino, after some Articles agreed on between his Uncle and Don Cesar, entred the place, and took possession of it in the name of the Church, with little joy to the Inhabitants, who lost a good Master to fall into the hands of Church-men, who change every day their Governours.

As soon as the news of the rendition of Ferrara came to the Popes ears, he began, by all means, to procure the investiture for his Nephew Octavio, for whom he thought the Marquisat of Meldola but inconsiderable.

But he met with a strange repugnancy in all the Cardinals for his design; they having, by a common consent and union, resolved to oppose the Popes desire, and not endure, that the Church should be depriv’d of so considerable a City, which it had but newly acquired.

The Pope foreseeing, by this reluctancy of the Cardinals, that it was a business hardly to be carried in a publick Consistory, forbore to speak of it there, but took another course; for calling the Cardinals one by one into his chamber, he there signified to them his desire; but they all refused to consent, or be any wayes accessary to the alienating so considerable a piece of the Popedome.  So that the Pope thought it was not safe to do it p. 77without them, and by force, for fear of leaving his Nephew involv’d in a continual War, against all the succeeding Popes, and Don Cesar: and therefore he resolv’d to go in person, and take possession in the name of the Church.

A little after, he made another of his Nephews Cardinal, who was Silvestro Aldobrandino, Prior of Rome, to whom he gave an infinite number of Benefices.  Thus Clement did every day do his endeavour to procure riches for his Family, either in lands or moveables, who of their side were as ready to receive, as their Uncle could be to give, particularly when it was ready money.


Leo the eleventh, who succeeded to Clement, had not the same good fortune; for being chosen in the year 1665. he liv’d but five and twenty dayes: In which time he projected much, but executed little; amongst other things, he gave out, that his design was not to advance his kindred, but only to continue them in their quality, and make their Estates plentiful and easie; which is a certain moderation, which most of the Popes do affect to shew in their first administration of the Popedom; for even Sixtus the fourth, who gave with so profuse a hand, did still pretend, that he did nothing but what was lawful, and to the advantage of the Church.

This Pope had many Relations in the Family of the Medici, but in that branch which was not come to be Princes; but his Darling amongst them, was Alexander Medici, son to his brother Bernardetto, which Alexander had a son of twenty p. 78years old, called Octaviano, which was the Popes Fathers name: Whereupon the Pope sent for him, with an intention to make him Cardinal, and keep him by him: but the very same day that he came to Rome, the Pope dyed, without being able to promote him to that degree of honours which was a great affliction to all the kindred.


Now let us speak of Paul the fifth, of the Family of Borghese, made Pope in 1605. who in an instant filled Rome with Borgheses.

The Pope was of a most kind nature, and particularly to his kindred; amongst whom, while he was Cardinal, he was wont to spend all his Revenue; but his greatest passion was for Scipion Carafelli, his Sisters son, whom he had brought up from a child; and him he made Cardinal, as soon as he was made Pope himself, giving him the name of Cardinal Borghese; by which name he was ordinarily called, and did subscribe himself.

This Cardinal, was the interpreter of his Uncles mind, the Mediator of his favours, and the Coadjutor in all weighty matters of the State and Church: They that expected any kindnesses from the Pope, were not to purchase them any other way, then by the means of him, who commanded and governed the Pope and all things.

The Pope, desiring to follow his Predecessours steps, and employ his private riches to the publick ornament of the City, took care to provide his Ecclesiastical Nephews of Benefices and Church p. 79lands; and his secular Kinsmen of Places and Dignities, as they became vacant.

The plenty, into which this Pope brought his Family, was such, that they themselves did scarce know how to dispose of it, there flowing in upon them, every day, vast sums of money from all parts of the world, to procure, by their means, the Popes favour: Whereupon they, seeing no end of their riches, began, out of a complacence to the Popes humour (who delighted in the ornament of the City) to build certain publick Edifices, so noble and stately, that the King of France, who hath a Kingdom so rich, and powerful, and hereditary, would scarce have undertaken the like, at the expence of his whole Kingdom.

The Cardinal begun the Fabrick of that Palazzo Borghese, in the Campo Martio, which is not yet ended; and to perfect it, according to the first design, it would require the value of half the Churches Territories; nay, it is said, that in the foundation alone, were spent above two hundred thousand Crowns, for they were fain to demolish great numbers of houses, and level hills, before they could bring the ground to that true evenness, which the design required.

The Popes brothers began two Country houses of pleasure at the same time, one hard by Rome, and a little without the Porta Ponciana; the other at Frascati, in the little hills called Mendragone: and we may easily conclude what treasure was expended in these, by what the Spanish Ambassadour said one day to a Gentleman of the Family of Borghese, who waited upon him thither; for p. 80the Gentleman having shewed one of these houses, asked his opinion of it? and had for answer these words, My King would not have undertaken in such calamitous times as these are, so great a fabrick for his diversion in Madrid.

His Holiness was so overjoyed, to see such princely inclinations in his kindred, that he did nothing but study night and day, how he should enrich them more and more.  ’Tis true, he needed not to trouble himself much; for his Cardinal Borghese; who had the Popedom at his disposition, took all the incomes for himself, and the Family of the Borgheses, allowing the Pope a small matter, to please himself with the mending of a Street, or a Church, or some publick Edifice; this Pope having surpassed all his Predecessors, in erecting new Edifices, and procuring by all wayes the ornament of the City.

In those dayes the Nipotismo was most triumphant, all the former Popes Nephews having never been invested with so absolute an authority, as that of the Cardinal Borghese, and the rest of his Nephews.

Paul lived sixteen years in the Chair of the Popes, so that the Nipotismo had time to give root and foundation to their greatness, as indeed they did, but forgot to strike a nail into the Wheel of Fortune, to hinder it from turning about; and therefore not long after, it began to slide downwards, as we shall declare in time and place.

At last, in the year 1621. Paul dyed, to the great grief of the Romans, who lamented very much his loss; and indeed he was a very good Pastour, though he were a little too liberal of the p. 81Wool of his Flock to his Kindred; for he left to the Prince of Salmona alone his Nephew, above a hundred thousand Crowns yearly revenue; to the Cardinal as much, besides the vast sums of money layed out in those Buildings we have mentioned; they were thought also, to have vast sums of ready money, unknown to their Uncle; the Cardinal alone being supposed to have above a million in specie: So that Paul left not a farthing to the Church.


His Successour was Gregory the fifteenth, of Bologna, of the noble Family Ludovisio, pretty rich, but very abundant in Relations and Kindred.

This Pope, before he began to mannage the publick Affairs of Christendom, resolved first to establish the particular Interest of his House and Family; therefore having seen the example of Leo the tenth, who by reason of the shortness of his life, could not bestow the dignity of Cardinal upon any of his Relations; three dayes after his creation, he made Ludovico Ludovisio, his brothers son, Cardinal; and the same day he made Ocatio Ludovisio, his brother, General of the Church, though he were absent; and as soon as he came to Rome, he made him Duke of Fiano, and assigned him other Lands bought with the Churches money.

The same day he distributed amongst some other Nephews, many considerable Offices, both within and without Rome, though most of those, upon whom they were conferred were absent, so that it may be said of the Nipotismo of this Pope p. 82that it was great almost before it was born, or at least in its cradle, entring into power and command before it entred into Rome.

The Cardinal Ludovisio was he that governed the weighty Affairs, his Uncle depending upon him most absolutely; so that often of Negotiations, and Court business, he would communicate little or nothing to the Pope; and when his Uncle, out of curiosity, would sometimes go about to inform himself how things stood; his Nephew would presumptuously answer him, and say, What need you trouble your head, eat and drink, and let me alone to serve you.

Every step of this Cardinal was towards the advancement of his Family; and the Pope, not only did let him alone, but would often exhort him to make hast, least of a sudden he should be depriv’d of the means: which fell out; for the Pope liv’d but seven and twenty moneths; in which time, the Ludovisi minded their business so well, that at their Uncles decease they had amongst them, two hundred and fifty thousand Crowns yearly revenue, besides ready money, and that which they spent in publick buildings: So that this Nipotismo does deserve the title, of the most subtle & diligent of all the precedent Nipotismo’s, if we consider the proportion of their riches, and measure the shortness of the time that they were purchased in.

With all this they much studied publick applause, and to gain to themselves the good will of the people, and Roman Nobility; shewing great respect for them, and offering their service willingly upon all occasions.  ’Tis true, there p. 83was not much credit given to these demonstrations, because that the Romans were already accustomed to see such Scenes of dissimulation: But nevertheless, their Uncle, neither alive nor dead was not prosecuted with Pasquinades; his government, or rather his Nephews, having not been so tyrannical as covetous.  And since the Romans leave them in peace, so will we too, and conclude this book with the death of Gregory the fifteenth.

p. 85The THIRD BOOK.

The Contents.

In which is treated, of the election of Urban the eighth to the PopedomeOf the creation and disposition of Cardinal Barbarino a Capucin.  Of the Places and Offices given to Don Tadeo.  Of the promotion of the two Brothers, Francesco and Antonio Barbarini, to be CardinalsOf their avidity in getting moneyOf some Prelates offended and moved to indignation, to see that their services were so little recompenced by the PopeOf the Cardinal Filomarini, made p. 86Arch-Bishop of Naples.  Of the inclination of the Barbarini, to carry all things with a high handOf some Pasquins made against themOf the great hatred the Romans did bear themOf the design of the Barbarini to make themselves great PrincesOf the Title of Cardinal Padrone given to Francesco Barbarino.  Of the Duke of Parma his journey to Rome.  Of the title of Eminency given to the CardinalOf the great riches the Barbarini were in possession of after the death of Urban.  Of the reasons, why Cardinal Francesco Barbarini might hope to be PopeOf there being three Cardinals of this name all at a timeHow Innocentius the tenth was Urban’s SuccessourOf all that passed about the Cardinalship, marriage and banishment of the Prince Pamphilio, the Popes NephewOf the authority and government of Donna Olympya: and of her may treating affairsOf Innocentius’s nearest RelativesOf the promotion of Astalli to the CardinalshipOf the Railleries, Pasquins, and Discourses, that were held about this promotionOf Astalli his banishment, and the promotion of Azzolini.  Of Innocentius, and the assumption of Alexander to the PopedomeOf Don Mario’s journey towards Rome, stopped by an express order from the PopeOf the affront that Don Mario received, in being forced to return to Siena.  Of the honour that the Popes kindred did receive in SienaOf the respect showed them by the State of Venice, and the great Duke of Tuscany.  Of the Popes resolution to receive none of his kindred in Rome.  Of some presents sent to Don Mario p. 87and Don Agostino, in Siena.  Of the Popes design and purpose to call all his Relations to Rome: and of all that past in the execution of itOf an Event full of curiosity, about the History of the Council of Trent, made by Father Palavicino, a JesuiteOf the murmurs and Pasquins of the Romans too, when they saw the Nipotismo in possession of the Church and CityOf the number of the Popes RelationsOf the Offices, charges and places that they possess, and by what means they grow richOf the jealousie that is between themOf Don Agostino his marriageOf the great affection the Pope bears himAnd of some other particularities full of curiosity and policy.

All that we have hitherto related, is nothing but the Vigil or Eve of the Nipotismo; now begins the Festival day, in the time of Urban the eighth, of the Family of the Barbarini, who succeeded Gregory the fifteenth, contrary to every bodies expectation, in the year 1623. in the month of August.

As soon as the news of his Elevation came to Florence, those few remnants of the Family, who were then under the protection of the great Duke, flew, like so many Bees to Rome (and the Bees are the Barbarini’s Coat of Armes) to suck the Honey of the Church, but they left not behind them their Stings, wherewithall in sucking it, they stung it most bitterly.

Urban in the beginning, shewed not much p. 88tenderness for his kindred, though he did openly own, that he would call them about him: And indeed, in this his beginning, and as it were the blossom of his Popedom, he did one of the worthiest actions of his life, which was the giving of a Cardinals Cap to Francesco Barbarini, his Nephew, a Personage truly worthy so great an honour being endowed with the singular qualities of an exemplary life and integrity, which made him worthy, and more then worthy, of the Popedom it self.

The year after, which was 1624. he made Cardinal, his brother, that was a Capucin, and went by the name of brother Antony Barbarin, whom the Pope loved entirely; he gave him the title of Cardinal of Saint Oposrius, but he had been so accustomed to the strictness of a Capucines life, that being raised to this great dignity, he demeaned himself with the same meanness as before; he had much ado to custom himself to that great Cope which the Cardinals wear; neither would their wide large Sleeves agree with him, and he had given order to have them made close and streight, after the Capucins fashion: But that that was most ridiculous was, that when he saluted any body, instead of putting off his Hat, he would only put it back with a nod, as the Monks do their Hoods; so that once, in the presence of the Venetian Ambassadour it fell backwards; to the ground, with no small laughter of the Assistants: Thus he was the diversion of the whole Colledge of Cardinals.

Don Tadeo, the Popes other brother, was made General of the Churches Forces, Prefect of Rome p. 89and in the long reign of his brother, had so many Civil and Military Offices conferr’d upon him, that he could not remember them himself; the rather, because that he never car’d to exercise the functions of them, so he might receive the revenue, which he forgot not to put up carefully; that is, in a word, he took a good account of the profit, but could give none of the satisfying the obligation those Offices laid upon him.

In the year 1668. the seventh of February, the Pope, that he might more and more fortifie the Family of the Barbarines, created another Cardinal of that name, viz. Antonio Barbarino, Francesco’s brother, under the title of Santa Maria in Aquino.

These two brothers, though elevated to the same dignity, were nevertheless of a different humour; for one made it his business, to edifie the publick by good actions; and the other, did nothing but scandalize all the world by his vicious deportments; insomuch, that whosoever will weigh the vertues of the one against the vices of the other, shall see, that the ill actions of Cardinal Antonio, are far heavier then the good ones of his brother, though his brothers piety be very great.

’Tis true, that when once Cardinal Antonio began to frequent the French, that he changed, as it were his nature, for of a covetous hater of Learning, he became a generous promoter of Ingenuity, and very officious to all sorts of persons; so that now we may say, that he is a noble Prince, and a good Cardinal, whereas before he was esteemed an ill bred Gentleman, and a wicked Cardinal, and as p. 90much blame and dishonour as he contracted then, so much reputation and credit hath he now gained.

Urban in the beginning shew’d a most exact diligence, in the government of the Church; and in truth, Cardinal Francesco, and he, did take no small pains in reforming the abuses, as well of the Clergy and Monks, as of the Court and temporal administration; so that forraign Princes and Nations were very much edified, by the Popes zeal, and Cardinal Francesco his sincerity, by which he did endeavour to please every body.

But after five or six years time passed thus in the continual cares of the Pontificat, he began to grow weary, not of doing good, but of doing it so often; therefore leaving the mannagement of the most important Affairs to his Nephews, he began to take his ease, and they taking possession of business, did at the same time engross their Uncles inclinations and intentions, that they did, as it were, bind his will to theirs.

Then the desire of growing rich did so blind them, that night and day they did think of nothing else, but of the means to make themselves Princes eternize their family, and fill their Coffers with treasure.

As soon as any Abbey was vacant, it was immediately conferr’d upon one of them, and then as soon as any other good Benifice fell out, it was presented to the other; so that between them, they had all that was rich and worth speaking of, at last both Cardinals, being so full that they could hold no more, would bestow vacant Benifices p. 91upon their little Nephews: nay, to above five or six of Urban’s little Cozens, were given Benefices while they were yet in their Cradles; the precedent Popes Decrees being despised, and by these proceedings, the very bread taken out of the mouths of those Prelates, that had served the Church with zeal and care; which was enough almost to make them desperate, seeing little children, scarce born, preferred to them, who had so much deserts.  More then this, I think it may be said, that some Benefices were disposed of to those that were not yet born; for in the Articles of marriage of one of the Barbarines with a Lady of the family of Colonna, one was, That a certain Abby should be given to the first-born; so that in the time of this good Pope, Church lands were bestowed on those, who were not yet in the world, but by imagination; and those that had really, and with great pains, serv’d the Church, were altogether depriv’d of their reward.

A certain Prelate of Bologne, who with great zeal had bestirred him in his Ecclesiastical employment, went to Rome to receive his recompence, and having presented himself to the Barbarines, was desired to stay a little while: This little while proved the space of eight years, in which an infinity of Benefices were vacant, but the good Prelate could get none of them, because that the Barbarines divided all amongst themselves, he seeing this, resolved to return home empty as he came; and as he was going out of Rome, some body from the Barbarines told him, that he ought to expect a little longer, and take a little more patience: To whom, with tears in his eyes, he answered, p. 92They must be Saints, and not men, who can see the bread eaten from their mouths by the Barbarines, and not be cast into despair.

Another, who had stayed as long to no purpose resolved at last to be gone; and being importun’d by his friend to stay a little longer, answered him thus, If the Church, dear friend, had as many Popedomes, as the Pope hath Nephews and Cozens, and that there one that did not see some where, I might have some hopes; but since there is but one Popedom, I should be a fool to expect any part of it from those, who do not think it enough to divide among themselves.

Of these examples, I believe, I could make half a dozen Volumes in folio, and all of persons that are now living; but I will not weary the Reader with the Lecture of them; Let it suffice for him to know, that Urban never gave any thing for a recompence, to those that had served the Church except his Nephews had first refused it; and they refused so little, that in the end, all Urban’s rewards amounted to nothing.

If any body could brag of a considerable fortune made under the Barbarini, it was a sign, that such a one had serv’d them, and not the Church.

Thus in the year 1641. the Pope made Ascanio Filomarino Cardinal, and Archbishop of Naples, though the service he had done the Church, did scarce deserve him a simple Canonicat, so far was he from meriting an Archbishoprick, yet Urbin promoted him, because he had done most eminent service to the Barbarines family: And indeed, in this Urban cannot but be thanked, for p. 93enriching the Church (though his design were not such) with a person adorned with so many excellent qualities, which made him worthy of the Popedom it self, having, since this his elevation, edified, not only his Flock, but all Christendome, and rendred most singular service to the House of Austria, in the revolt of Naples, and the business of Massinello, in the year 1647.

If the Barbarines pretend to the contrary, that they have advanced and promoted those who had a true zeal for the Church, they will do well to produce their names: But I desire my Reader to take this precaution, and observe, that if any body was rewarded, under pretence of having served the Church, there was the Cheat; for they that pretended most to serve the Church, were they, that in effect did work the Barbarines designs and interests to an issue: Upon this account, in one promotion, were made Cardinals the following Prelates, Gio. Baptista Pamphilio, who was since Innocentius the tenth, Gio. Francesco Palotta, and Gio. Francesco de Contiguidii da Bagno; the first, because he had been Nuntio in Spain, the second in Germany, and the third in France; yet the Pope could never be brought to make Monsignor Visconti, who was Nuntio in Polonia, Cardinal, for all the great instances of that King, though the said Visconti was a most worthy Prelate, and one who had done the Church more service in his Employment, then all the other three together; and yet for all that, he remained excluded, while the others were admitted to that honour.

Why then was this affront done to Viscontip. 94I’le tell you; while he was in Polonia, he serv’d the Church, and not the Barbarines; and the others, in their Nuntiatures, did the quite contrary.

Naturally Urban was averse from making of Cardinals; and if some urgent necessity did not force him, could hardly be brought to it; and yet for his family, he made no difficulty of breaking the precedent Popes Decrees, and the Laws of the Church, which forbid to make two brothers Cardinals, while they are both alive: but he did this only to satisfie his Nephews; and at last, was brought by them to make great numbers of other Cardinals; for they, being towards the end of the Pontificat weary of heaping together, began to think, how they should preserve their treasure and power; and therefore, to fortifie their party, they obliged their Uncle, to make a numerous promotion of their Creatures.

If ever the Romans murmured and made Pasquins, it was in the time of his Nipotismo; for when the Barbarines took away from the Church called the Rotunda, that excellent piece of workmanship of Bronze, (for which we have no name but Bell-metal) to make that piece of Architecture and Pillars, which adorns the Altar in Saint Peters Church, which is one of the most noble and magnificent Works that ever was undertook, all the people cryed in the streets, Quod non fecerunt Barbari, secerunt Barbarini; and they thought they had a great deal of reason to exclaim thus against them, because it was certainly affirmed, that the Barbarines had diverted above half the metal to their private use in their Palace; p. 95and some say, that they made racks for their Chimneys of it, but I scarce believe it.

But that Pasquin, which was made in the time that Gustave Adolse, King of Swede, invaded Germany, was fuller of curiosity; for there were certain Images in paper, that represented the Church of God, all naked upon a little bed, and full of the wounds she had received from Gustave, and covered over with Flies or Bees, which were the Barbarines Armes; near the bed, was the Emperour upon his knees, craving aid from the Church, that he might fight for the Church; from whom he did receive this answer; I have nothing to give thee, O my Defender, for the Flies have sucked me even to the very bones, making allusion to the Barbarines Armes.

Another time were found in the streets of Rome, a great quantity of Pictures; in every one of which was drawn a poor Prelate, asking Alms from the Church to content himself withall; to whom the Church made answer, For my part, I have not a farthing, the Barbarines have taken all from me.

Almost at the same time, was seen a Medal, which represented Pasquin, loaden with Swords, Musquets, Daggers, and other Weapons, with an inscription that said,

To drive away the Flies;

which thing displeased the Barbarines beyond measure, conceiving that all this was nothing but a design to make the people rise in Armes against them; so that though they set a good face upon it, yet secretly they disposed things to their defence, in case of a sedition.

p. 96And certainly had it not been, that the Romans did every day look for the Popes death, there would have happened some revolution, for the hatred of the people to the Barbarines encreased more and more the longer the Pope lived; one thing particularly exciting publick envy and jealousie, which was, that the Barbariens did every day plant their Armes in some place or another of the City, to eternize their Name and Family.

One of my friends had the curiosity, to reckon all the Bees (that is, the Barbarines Armes) that the Barbarines had placed here and there, as well in the City, as in the State of the Church, and found their number to be above ten thousand, in Painting, Stone and Marble.

The Barbarines tryed to make themselves great Princes; and trusting to the great sums of money which they had got together, thought they might make themselves Masters of a good part of Italy: Their first design was, to put themselves in possession of the Dutchy of Urbin, which in the year 1631. was fallen to the Church, by the death of Francisco Maria della Rovere; but they found the Cardinals very averse, and resolved not to consent to the alienation of so considerable a part of the Popedom; they thought therefore that it was better to let it alone, considering the injuries they had already done to Venice, and the great Duke of Tuscany, who without doubt would have crossed their design.

But to be at once revenged of their Enemies, and draw respect from their Friends, they fram’d a design of driving the Spaniards out of the p. 97Kingdom of Naples, and giving the Crown of that Kingdom to Don Tadeo; this they thought, by reason of the decaying State that the House of Austria was then in, that they might bring to pass with little or no trouble; but when the business came to be weighed, and discussed, in the presence of a Prelate, of great esteem and credit, of their party, he told them, That the Neapolitans had received such ill impressions of the Pope and his Family, that they would sooner give themselves to the Turk, then to the Barbarines.

After this, they began to molest Odoardo Farneze, Duke of Parma, a Prince who had deserved better from the Church; and their design was, to deprive him absolutely of Parma and Placentia, and give them to Don Tadeo; but they met with greater obstacles then they expected, for the Italian Princes, his Neighbours, being allarm’d at the Barbarines greatness, opposed them smartly; and the Duke himself, being a noble couragious Prince, not only made a stout resistance, but drove them and their Army back to Rome; from which place he might have chased and expelled the Barbarines themselves, if he had been as malicious as they.

This Enterprise having thus failed, they fell to courting the Republick of Luca; but in their courtship they were a little preposterous, by shewing their desire of Empire, before they had gained their Mistresses affections; for having excommunicated her, the Lucheses, being advertised of their good intentions, prevented, by timely remedies, the execution of them: And thus the Barbarines were, fain to give over with p. 98shame that which they had begun with rashness.

Perceiving at last, that none of these Ambitious plots would hit, and that all Princes and the Cardinals themselves began to be weary of their long tyranny; they conceived a thought of making the Popedome hereditary in their family, which thing seemed at first feasible, because that most of the Cardinals that had been created at their recommendation, had a very good opinion of Cardinal Francisco; and besides, they had a secret way of compassing this their design, which, though very wicked, was yet well enough invented; and that was, to give to every Cardinal of their creatures, who were much above the two thirds of the Colledge; some one City of the Popedome, which they should enjoy for their lifetime, as Soveraign Princes, and so make as many Princes as Cardinals, but above all, they had resolved to present Cardinal Richelieu, with the whole state of Avignon, that they might have assistance from the French, in the rest of their enterprize.

They had betwixt them, divers conferences and meetings upon this new project, and Don Tadeo made every thing so easie, that it was a great pleasure to hear him discourse upon it; but Cardinal Francesco, who judged according to the rules of conscience and true policy, laughed it out of doors, and order’d there should be no more mention made of it.  This design being thus crushed in the Cradle, to the great displeasure of those that had conceived it, the Barbarines layed aside all thoughts of becoming Princes, and continued p. 99in their wonted way of gathering riches, in which they met with all success and facility, by reason of the great experience they had of the interests and business of the Church.  And certainly there scarce ever was a more able and capable Nipotismo then this, for no sooner were they in possession of the management of the affairs of Europe, but they shewed themselves master Politicians.

And indeed the authority which Urban gave to Cardinal Francesco was not ordinary; and though the precedent Popes, had in effect given all power to their Nephewes, yet were they contented with the substance of the thing, and did not affect new names, and titles.  But Urban thought, it was not enough to give the power, except he gave with it the vanity, and appearance of honour; therefore his Nephew Francesco, to be Cardinal Padroen, that is, Cardinal, Master, and Lord, a title never heard of before in Rome; for the Popes his Predecessors, when they spoke of their Nephewes would say, for example, the Cardinal Ludovisio our Nephew, the Cardinal Borghese our Nephew: but Urban from morning to evening, had nothing in his mouth, but the Cardinal Padrone, as, call the Cardinal Padrone, where is the Cardinal Padrone, spake to the Cardinal Padrone, &c. so that nothing was heard up and down, but Cardinal Padrone, to the astonishment of the Embassadours of Christian Princes, who thought themselves honoured enough, to call themselves the Popes Sons, and own him as Father, while he in the presence of their Embassadours, gives the title of Padrone to his Nephew; nay, in the presence of some Princes themselves, p. 100he used this Title, as it happened to the Duke of Parma, which occurrence, as memorable, I shall here relate.

Odoardo Farneze, Duke of Parma, was come in the year 1626, into his little state of Caprarola, for the giving of some Orders which requir’d his presence; there he received an invitation by a letter from the Pope, brought by Monsignor Fausto, the Popes Steward, who waited upon him with the Popes Coaches.

The Dukes intention was not to go to Rome, not that he had any aversion to the Pope but because that he was well informed of the teacherous proceedings of the Barbarines towards many Princes, and particularly towards himself.

Nevertheless, for fear, least a denial should be interpreted, as a disrespect to the Popes Majesty; (particularly, having been once before as far as the Gates of Rome, without going into the City) and seeing himself so fairly invited, he resolved to go as he was in the habit of a Travellor, and with a slender Court.

The Pope indeed received him with all demonstrations of kindness, but the Barbarines using their wonted dissimulation, after they had given him some publike signes of respect and civility, did likewise afford him some occasion of complaint; of which the Duke being much offended, thought he could do no less, then signifie it to the Pope at his departure, and complain of the proceedings of the Cardinal Padrone towards a Prince of his quality; but he did not give him the Title of Padrone, but only of Cardinal Barbarino.

p. 101The Pope was displeased, to see the Duke thus angred, and went about to appease him, but in vain; for having said that he knew that the Cardinal Padrone had a very great esteem for his person, the Duke interrupted him, and said, Most Holy Father; for my part, I know no other Padrone than your holiness.

This answer was quick, and biting, having been made to the Pope himself, who thereby saw his Title of Padrone laughed at; and indeed the Duke had a great deal of reason to mortifie thus the Barbarines, who pretended to treat him more like their subject, then like a Prince.

But the Barbarines ambition stayed not in the Title of Cardinal Padrone; they took exceptions against the quality of Illustrissime, with which hitherto the Cardinals had been content for so many Ages, but pretending higher, strove to find out some terme that should not be inferiour to the Title of excellency, which Soveraign Princes in Italy, and other places, did then take.

This important point was often discussed, and canvassed by Urban, and the Barbarines, and more then four or five singular Titles came into their fancies; at last they pitched upon the word Eminency, which in effect he gave to the Cardinals, not so much for their sake, as for his Nephews.  The Princes no sooner heard of it, but that they might be even with him, they took the Title of Highness, the Barbarines remaining much mortifyed at it.

But the best of it was, that at first Urban had no mind that any of the Cardinals should use the Title of Eminency, except those of his family; p. 102but afterwards foreseeing that the world would laugh at him, he made his decree general for all the Cardinals.

All this while it seemed as if the Barbarines had chained good fortune to their desires, all things succeeding according to their wishes; and indeed they were become so high in their commands, that they despised every body, and could hardly brook that any Crown in Europe should oppose, or not condescend to the satisfying of their insatiable inclinations.

Never Prince was more absolute in a conquest, then the Barbarines were in their administration of the Church and City of Rome; they laughed at any body; let those that would talke and prate; but nothing but derision and scorn was the share of those that went about to contradict them.

’Tis true, they had the good fortune to meet with little or no opposition, for in the whole consistory of the Cardinals, there were but five, who were not their Creatures, viz. Medici, Savelli, Carassa, Lauci, and Capponial, creatures of Paul the fifth, and these too being of a quiet spirit, and not undertaking, durst never oppose them stifly: The others who had been made Cardinals by them did nothing but subscribe to the Barbarines pleasure whatever it was, so they lorded it over the Church and State, nay, over all Christendome, as absolute Monarchs of the World.

This uncontrouled power having lasted three and twenty years, Urban their Uncle died, leaving the Church in disorder, the State in debt, and his family in possession of such vast riches, that even the Stewards that managed them, could hardly p. 103believe the truth of their accounts.  Two hundred and seven and twenty Governments, Dignities, Offices, Abbies, and Benefices of the richest sort, were then in the family of the Barbarines; the Revenue of which was so great, that I believe the Barbarines never computed it, though they receiv’d it.

The Catholick King, who is master of so many Provinces, and who takes a pride in filling whole sheets of Paper with his Titles, could not produce halfe so many as the Barbarines could have done after the death of their Uncle.

As for summes of ready mony it is not to be imagined how great they are that they have.  ’Tis believed, that Cardinal Francesco alone hath under ground, above two millions of Crowns in Gold; Besides what the Cardinal Antonio hath hidden and spent in his long Exile; And besides what Don Tadeo sent to Palestrina, to be buried in a new vault under ground; and it is very certain, that about two months before Urban dyed, there were met in two nights above threescore and ten Mules, loaden with mony, going to Palestrina, where Don Tadeo was to receive them.

But we have another argument of the Barbarines prodigious riches.  For if Sixtus the Fifth, in five years time, could spend five Millions of Crowns, in buildings and founding of Colledges, and leave five millions more to the Church, and yet give away three Millions at least to his kindred.  And if Gregory the Fifteenth in two years time spent vast summs, for the succour of the Valteline and the Emperour, and in the embelishing of Rome, and yet left to his Relations the value of p. 104above three Millions of Crowns.  Then I say, let any body judge what riches the Family of the Barbarines are in possession of.  They that for the space of three and twenty year have had the whole Popedome at their disposition; and who in all that time never spent for the Church, or in publick Edifices, above four Millions of Crowns in Gold; and yet the people was never more oppressed: therefore we must conclude, That their riches are immense; and if we may calculate them by comparison of what the other Popes Nephews have got, they must have above thirty Millions of Crowns; and they that judge well, will not think it too much.

The power of this Nipotismo expired not with their Uncle; and though under his Successor they suffered a sharp Persecution, yet are they even now at this time so recovered of it, that they still deserve the Title of the Nipotismo Di Roma, there being three Cardinals of them alive, a thing which was never seen before, and will scarce be seen hereafter in Rome, that there should be three Cardinals of the same Name and Family; and that which is most considerable is, that they are now in great esteem with the RomansFrancesco, who is the Elder Brother, being respected as a Saint; and if he be alive when the Sea of Rome shall be vacant, he will go near to get the Popedome once more into his family, and the Cardinals ought to choose him for three reasons.

First, Because of the purity of his life, neither can it be said, that he Counterfits Piety, and feigns devotion, as many others have done.  Because, it is not possible, that a man shall equally deceive p. 105the World in his Infancy, his youth, his riper years, and his old age; therefore, certainly, since this Cardinal hath appear’d, even from his youth, to be what he now is, we ought to conclude him to be of an unfeigned integrity.

The second reason, for which Cardinal Francesco deserves to be Pope, is his great experience in Ecclesiastick and Civil affairs, there being no Cardinal now alive, that is half so well instructed in them as he: so that upon this score Christendome would be sure to be well provided of a Pope.

The third reason is, That the Barbarines being already exceedingly rich, they would not now be so subject to that great avidity of heaping treasure upon treasure as they were at first.  But I reckon without mine host, and would do better to leave these thoughts to the Cardinals, who will have time enough to examine them, since Alexander hath of late taken new forces, and is not like to dye yet.

The second Cardinal of this Family, that is Antonio, hath by his change of life, wiped away that scandalous impression, which his first demeanours, under the Pontificat of his Uncle, had given of him.  And indeed, in that time he did lead a life too full of liberty and debauchery, and did not only scandalize all Europe, but by his proud carriage disobliged the Embassadours of many Princes, and made the Romans hate him so, that at midnight they would cry out in the streets, il Cardinal Antonio serve in Roma di demonio: but as I have said already, After he once began to frequent the French, and follow their p. 106humour, he changed his nature, and the Romans changed their note to his advantage, seeing him become generous, full of affability and civility, and much enclin’d to promote learning, so that now they cry Antonio Barbarino, sembra un angelo divino.  But for the Popedome, he need not expect it; for all the Miracles in the World, will not take away altogether an ill impression from the Italians, when once it hath had a foundation in their minds.

Charles Barbarino, who is the third, is very obsequious to his Uncle Francesco, who does with a great deal of care give him such instructions, as may breed Vertue and Piety in him.  Many think that most of his good qualities are feigned; but for my part, I think, we ought to judg well of exteriour probity, and leave the secret of dissimulation to him that knowes the heart; though most say, That he is Cardinal Antonio within; and Cardinal Francesco without.


But now it is time to leave the Barbarines, and come to Donna Olympia’s brother in Law, that is Innocentius the Tenth, who was chosen in 1649, contrary to the worlds expectation; not but that he was endowed with sufficient good qualities for so high a post: but that is the least thing that is considered by the Nipotismo, who in the creation of a new Pope are very careful not to advance one who should prove the enemy of their family.

In this Conclave, the Barbarines had resolved to give their votes; and those of their party, rather to Cardinal Medici, then to Cardinal Pamphilio; p. 107and the sooner, because, that upon the point that the Cardinals were to go into the Conclave, there were divers Pasquins made, and amongst the others this, Quardateri di far Papa Pamphilio che vi Mandarebbe tutti in Esilio; and this other, Pamphilio Mandara le Mosche in Esilio: So that the chiefest aime of the Nipotismo was to procure the exclusion of Pamphilio, not only by means of their creatures, but also by a formal opposition from France, which the Cardinal Antonio was very earnest for in that Court; but the more he bestirred himself for this exclusion, the more prognosticks there were of a contrary success.

Innocentius being then chosen in spight of the Barbarines, began to persecute them most furiously, and with so much rage and passion, that though at first no body pittyed them, yet at last it was thought too severe a proceeding: In the mean time Rome was furnished immediately with another Nipotismo, as if it had been a perpetual custome and tradition of the Church not to be without one.

This Pope had but one Nephew, called Camillo Pamphilio; who by him was made Cardinal in the first promotion with the Title of Padrone, though he were very unfit for so weighty an Employment.  But Innocent did think to instruct him by little, and shape him for business.  ’Tis true, that in his Remonstrances, he would be so sharp and crabbed, following the Nature of his Temper, that the Cardinal, farre from learning any thing, was put out of conceit with business, and began to hate it extreamly; and because the Pope continued every day to reproach him with p. 108his incapacity and dulness, the poor Cardinal was often forced to feign sickness, and pretend some incommodity to avoyd giving of Audience to Ambassadours, and publick Ministers; thus would he be whole dayes without daring to appear in his Uncles presence, in which time he did nothing but contrive how he should be rid of this yoak; which though of Gold, seemed to him to be of Iron, looking upon himself as upon the greatest slave of the World.

And at last he began to think, that the precedent Popes having declar’d some one of their Nephews, Princes, and married them advantagiously, it would not be amiss that his Uncle should do as much for him.  And indeed, when the newes was published, that Camillo Pamphilio was made Cardinal, most wise men wondred at it; Considering, that whereas, all the desires of the precedent Popes had been to eternize their name and family, by marriages with Princesses and persons of great quality; yet that Innocentius having but this Nephew in the World, as the only bud of the Pamphilian family, should not only condescend, but, as it were force him, be a Cardinal, and renounce Marriage; shewing therein an avidity for present honour, but little or no care for his posterity.

But Cardinal Pamphilio considered better of it, and seeing that all the Nipotismo consisted in him alone, resolved to act all the parts of it, and play sometimes the Cardinal and Politician, sometimes the Prince and the gallant, and so make up a perfect Nipotismo.

p. 109To help him in the execution of his design there happened the fairest occasion that ever was; for at that very time, the Princess of Rossana, being become a Widdow, and having the happy qualities of rich, young, and beautiful; he thought he might gain her; and indeed it succeeded accordingly: for this Lady, though she were demanded in Marriage by divers Soveraign Princes, was pleased to place all her affections upon the Cardinal Camillo, who courted her secretly with a resolution to marry her.

Neither is it to be wondred at that so accomplish’d a Lady, should encline to bestow her self upon one who was so far from being lovely: For her end in it was ambition, supposing that by this marriage, she would insinuate her self into the Popes favour, and by her beauty and taking carriage, attract his kindness, and so be mistress of the Church, the state, the Pope, and her husband.

But things fell out farre different to her expectation, for no sooner had the Pope the newes of the match, and that they were promised to one another, but he immediatly banish’d them both from Rome.

The Princess made some resistance, and refused to obey this his order; saying in her defence, That he had liberty to banish his Nephews, as much as he pleased, but not the Roman Princesses.  Neither would she depart the City, the same day her Husband left it; but some time after she followed, saying, that it was not to obey the Pope, but to go to her Husband.

p. 110There was no body in Court or City, who did not pity this Ladies case, and tax the Pope not only of ingratitude towards a princess, who had refused great Princes to marry his Nephew, but also layed brutishness and dulness to his charge, as one who could not see the infinite advantages this match did bring to his family; and to say true, there was nothing in this alliance, that could with any reason move the Popes indignation against his Nephew, who was the only support of the family, and who for his natural defects and incapacity of business, ought rather to have been excused, then reproached with this so advantagious a change of condition; where the fortune, the beauty, the youth, and the parts of the Lady were incomparable qualities, which might be sufficient to make a Queen, besides fecundity, which soon after she shewed.

Yet for all this, the Pope did stop his eares to all reason, and guided, or rather miss-led by his own fancy, and the perswasions of Donna Olympia, continued his severity towards this new married couple.

If we may guess at the reasons of this so extraordinary a proceeding, I believe the chiefest was, because, that this Pope by an extravagant capriccio had resolv’d to introduce his Sister in Law, in the place of the other Popes Nipotismo’s; and he accordingly gave to Donna Olympia, an absolute authority, not only over the Church and State, but over his own person, not daring to take any resolution without this Ladies leave.

p. 111And this was a thing without Example; for if Alexander the sixth gave himself up to Vanoccia the Roman Courtisan, by whom he had many bastards, yet he never suffer’d her to have any hand in the Government, but would divert himself in his houres of recreation with her.  Whereas Donna Olympia was called to the Vatican, not to serve Innocentius, but to command him, which she did with so much authority, that she seemed to be the Pope, and he to be neither a man, nor a Pope.

If ever the Church was shamefully set out, and satyrically painted by the Hereticks, it was in this time; for there was not any place where the publick discourse was not about this extravagant fancy of the Popes to renounce his own Nephew, and give himself and the Popedome, into the hands of a Woman, heretofore—and now grown ambitious and covetous.

Catholicks and Hereticks together were astonish’d, and did murmure to see, that he who called himself the head of the Church, should be subject to the appetite of a woman; and that to her ambitious desires, he should be content to sacrifice his own Nephew, and deprive himself of that help and succour, which according to the example of his predecessors, he might have expected from him.

If there were any Offices vacant, or places empty in the Court, nothing was to be determin’d about them, without the advice of Donna Olympia; nay, if there were Benefices to be conferr’d, the Officers of the Datary or Chancery durst not expediate the Bulls for them, having receiv’d an p. 112express order from his holiness, to suspend the expedition of all business, ’till his sister in Law was instructed of it, and gave her consent.  If any Bishopricks were to be provided with able Pastors; all the competitors made it their business to Court her; and that which was worst, was, that they ordinarily carried it, who offered most money, and not they that had greatest deserts; though it were true, That the more the person was unfit, the more was he fain to give to be admitted.

But this Womans pride, carried her to that point of insolence, that not thinking it enough to have had a Cardinals Cap for one of her young Nephews, altogether unworthy of so high a Dignity, but pretended besides, that in all promotions, her voyce and consent should be expected, and followed: From hence proceeded that the Courtiers, seeing her exercise this power, either, out of fear, or hope, did frequent her Palace, and daily go to wait upon her, not daring to put any end to business already begun, or begin any other, before they had acquainted her with every particularity of it.

Cardinal Panzirolo himself, Secretary of State to Innocentius, and oppressed with multitude of affairs, and the indisposition of his body, was not free from this base Courtship; but that he might humour his master, who was infinitely pleased to see Donna Olympia obeyed, was fain to go in person very often to wait upon her, and give her an account of all the secret negotiations of the Court, and of every thing that passed through his hands: after which she would from time to p. 113time, go to the Vatican, followed with a numerous company of Coaches, and her hands full of Papers, which she had already drawn up, as she would have them pass, and there stay whole houres with the Pope, in discussing, and ripening other business that was next to fall in order.

The wits of the Court seeing this, could not forbear so good a subject for Pasquins, but made them with all sharpness, yet as secretly as they could, they being well inform’d of the danger, oft exposing the defects of those that Rule: and though every body were mov’d with indignation to see the Pope so much mistake himself, as to preferre the company of a Woman to that of his Nephew, and the Princess of Rossana his Wife, the only prop of the Family of Pomphilio; yet Innocent was so prepossessed against them, that he would not hear of his Nephewes submissions and excuses.

These murmurs and satyrical Discourses were all this while, either concealed from the Pope, or at least dissembled by him; as being unresolved of the means that should bridle so many tongues, and stop the mouthes of all Christendome; particularly, of the Protestants, who made very good sport with this female Government, not only laughing at the Pope, who by the assistance of the holy Ghost could not discern that which was the ruin of his reputation and family, but also by immodest representations, and contumehous pictures, giving the world to understand, that they were fully informed of the disorders of the Church of Rome.

p. 114But at last the Pope, not being able to endure any longer the secret reproofs, and publick affronts which he received from Embassadours, and Princes themselves, as well as from the greatest part of the Cardinals; resolv’d to dismiss from the Court this ambitious sister in Law, whose unbridled licence he had hitherto countenanced, and to take away from her all sort of command and power.

Thus Donna Olympia being banished from Court, and the Vatican purged of her corruptions, the Pope bethought himself of introducing a Nipotismo, that the Church might not loose its prescription.

But before we begin to discourse of the particularities of this new Nipotismo, it will not be amiss to give an account of all the Popes kindred & relations, and begin with his nearest.  He had one Nephew, and two Neeces, besides a sister, of whom we shall say but little as, well because she led a Nuns life in a Convent, as, because that Donna Olympia, out of a natural jealousie between Women, took care to keep her from receiving any kindnesses or favours from the Pope.


The Prince Camillo Pamphilio, though after three years banishment, he were at last recall’d to Rome with his Lady, was nevertheless in so ill a predicament with his Uncle, who never was able to forget those tales which Donna Olympia had continually entertained him with, to his Nephews disadvantage, that he was in Rome, as if he had been at the Indies, never coming neer the p. 115Pope or Court, at which he was not much troubled, as one who cared not to be concern’d in business, and thought himself happy enough in all private enjoyment of so lovely a Lady as his was.

Of the two sisters, the Popes Neeces, the eldest was married to D. Andrea Giustiniani, who himself was a great favourite of fortune: For the Marquess Giustiniani, a person of great quality and estate, seeing himself without any heirs of his family and name, cast his Eyes by chance upon this Gentleman who was then very poor and low, and though, as it afterwards proved, he was of the same branch of the Giustiniani with the Marquess; yet it was at such a distance, that neither of them did believe themselves at all a-kin; he was then thus fortunately instituted Heir to a very great estate, by which means the way to Grandeur being made easie to him, he found no difficulty in obtaining in marriage the neece of Cardinal Pamphilio, who being immediatly after chosen Pope, the Prince Giustiniani saw himself of a sudden become a part of the Roman Nipotismo, enjoying those honours and prerogatives which the Romans do use to observe towards persons of that quality.

But the Pope had no real kindness for him, and having given him some profitable offices, refused to introduce him into the management of business, but left him to play the good husband in his own estate.  And indeed employments of another nature had been lost upon him, for besides that he had alwayes retain’d something of his p. 116meanness when he was poor; there was nothing laudable in him but a natural bounty; and the Pope being well inform’d, did abstain from using his service in any thing of importance.

The other sister was married to Don Nicolo Ludovisio, Prince of Piombino, Nephew of Gregory the fifteenth, and brother to that Cardinal Ludovisio, who in Gregory’s time govern’d all things.  This prince had enclin’d to this match, out of an opinion of making great advantages by it, as seeing at that time that Cardinal Camillo was made Cardinal, and altogether unfit for business, so that he flattered himself with an opinion of being the only Nephew, and governing the Pope and Church.

But when it came to the push, he found he had misreckoned; for Donna Olympia, his mother in law, disappointed all his ambition by hers, not being dispos’d to suffer that any body should rule but her self: So that the Prince was reduced to a meer complacence and obedience to her commands.  Neither was it to any purpose that sometimes he would complain of the difficulties he found to be admitted to the Popes audience, and receive those marks of kindness which seem’d due to so neer a relation, for Donna Olympia answer’d him in a haughty manner, That it was honors enough for him that he had been preferr’d to marry her Daughter before so many competitors of as great a quality as himself.  Whereupon the Prince being unwilling to come to a rupture with one who had so great an influence upon the Pope, would hold his tongue and be quiet.

p. 117Yet from time to time he was forced amongst his private friends, to give a vent to his grief by telling them, That the Popes Alliance had brought him into the disgrace of the French; whereupon his principality of Piombino was by them made a Theater of their fury, for not being able to do the Pope mischeif openly, as they would have wished, they did content their spight in ruining a place belonging to so neer a relation as he was to the Pope.  So that the loss and dammage he receiv’d, by being thus allyed was certain; whereas the advantages were uncertain and inconsiderable, consisting only in some incomes from his place of General of the Galleys, and some such offices which he little esteemed.

But when Donna Olympia fell once from that heighth of favour, then this Prince being very sure, that the Pope could not subsist without some body to help him in so great a charge; and knowing himself to be in as neer a degree as any body, and as fit for the employment, began to conceive hopes of being called to Court, and admitted to the management of business.  And here again, The poor Prince was deceived; for Innocent had all along conceived such an ill opinion, and received from Donna Olympia such disadvantagious impressions of him, that he would never see him, but when he had a mind to be merry, making the Prince serve as a Buffoon to his diversion, and never so much as mentioning any serious matter in his presence.

For all this the Popes relations were fully perswaded, That the Pope must of necessity bestow p. 118the Title of Nephew upon some body; and seeing that among his kindred none would please him, they went insinuating sometimes one, sometimes another into the Popes affections. Innocent of his side was in perpetual conferences with Cardinal Pantiallo about the same business, so that every hour of the day they were examining the good qualities of one or other to choose the most deserving.

In this scarcity of subjects fit for the employment, the Prince Ludovisio thought, that the honour might fall upon the person of Cardinal Albergati, who went by the name of Ludovisio, but he soon found an exclusion in the Popes mind, as being ignorant and uncapable of such a place.

The Jesuite Fabio Albergati, brother to the said Cardinal, was the fitter man, as being endowed with learning, experience, and great wisdome in the managing of business; but the Pope declar’d, That he would not make two brothers of the same family Cardinals.

So that at last, of all those that had been brought upon the Stage, there remained none but he that Cardinal Panzirolo brought on, who was a prodigious off-spring of fortune, and the wonder of Christendome, which was astonish’d to see a Pope so averse from his relations as to declare a supposed Nephew for Cardinal, and Padrone: but before we engage in the particularities of this singular event, we will say something to instruct the Reader about it.

p. 119There never was acted upon the Theater of the Court of Rome so unexpected and strange a Scene, which therefore deserves to be reckoned amongst the prodigious effects of Fortune; for the Pope having no consanguinity with him, and he being without deserts, experience, or any remarkable quality that might make him conspicuous, nay, being scarce known, or at least not familiarly to the Pope; he was nevertheless of a sudden exalted and promoted to the degree of Cardinal, Nephew, and Padrone, as if he had been the head of the Pamphilian Family: And to deserve all this, there was no quality but that, being born of a Noble Family, which nevertheless at that time was so far indebted and decayed, that he was not to expect any assistance in his fortune from them.

His name, not to hold the Lector any longer in suspense, was Camillo Astalli, a young Gentleman of about seven and twenty years old, of a comely aspect, and a handsome winning carriage, though guilty sometimes of too many complements, and in a word accomplish’d, as they ordinarily are, whose highest ambition carries them no further in Rome then some Office or Prelature.

And that which most surprized the Court, was to see one exalted thus, under pretence of serving and helping the Pope in the administration of State Affairs; one who was an absolute novice to all negotiations and policy, by reason of the few occasions he had had to learn any thing of that nature.

p. 120But the occasion of his coming to court and making himself known, was, the alliance which the Marquess his brother had contracted with a Neece of Donna Olympia’s, for she being ambitious had alwayes embrac’d the occasions of marrying her relations into noble families, as having a design to honour, by such props, her own family of Maldachini, to whom that flower of nobility was denyed, which was an affliction to a Popes sister in Law, and a sister in Law that govern’d with an absolute authority.

As it fell out, it was very fortunate for the house of Astalli, that they were allyed with her; because that they wanted riches to maintain their gentility the more, since they had at the invitation of Donna Olympia bought the place of Clerk of the Apostolick chamber, which office had absorb’d the greatest part of their Patrimony; so that, if by chance the possessor of it did fail to make a fortune, or did dye suddenly, the whole family did run the hazard of being begger’d for ever.

But all fell out luckily; for Astalli, having by meanes of his office and alliance got an entrance into the Court, addicted himself particularly to worship and court Cardinal Panzirollo, the Secretary of State, who had a great Empire over the Pope; and that which was most fortunate, was, that this Cardinal answer’d the young mans affection with the like on his side, being gained by his obsequious carriage; at which all the Court was much surprized, considering that Cardinal Panzirollo had alwayes discovered an inveterate hatred against any one that was in favour with Innocent.

p. 121Here the contrary fell out, for Panzirollo made it his task, to insinuate this young Gentleman into the Popes affections, which at last he did so far, that the Pope was infinitely pleased with his comely garb and handsome carriage; and when it came to be debated, whom he should choose to ease him of a part of those cares and fatigues which accompany the Popedom, seeing none of his own Relations qualified for the Employment, he followed Panzirollo’s directions, and preferr’d this young man before all the other pretendants; so without any more to do, he was created Cardinal, declared Nephew, proclaim’d Padrone, and had the name of Pamphilio given him, together with the key of the Popes Closet, to go out and in when he pleased.

As soon as this news was spread through Rome, the Politicians following the humor of the Town, began to discourse of what would follow, and endeavoured to penetrate the secret causes of the Popes aversion to his Kindred, that should move him thus to set up a counterfeit Nephew: In the mean time, the true Nipotismo were all met in Donna Olympia’s house, there to condole with one another, upon this affront and shame which had befallen them.

Donna Olympia, who above all was enraged at this so strange a mutation of government, and who doubted not, as it was true, but that Cardinal Panzirollo was the Author of it, went to him, and shewed her resentment in menaces and threats, with all the passion a woman was capable of.  The Cardinal being satisfied, that he had p. 122obtained his desire, was not much moved at her reproaches, and those of her kindred, but answering her with his ordinary gravity and flegm, told her, That things did not, as she might think, depend upon his councels, but upon the Popes inclinations, who lov’d to do what he pleased, and nothing else.

All this while Rome was in a perpetual vicissitude of tears and joy; of joy, to hear the new counterfeit Nipotismo’s transports; of grief and sorrow, to hear the complaints of the old and real Nipotismo.

Ambassadours came laughing and merry from one Visit, to go sad and full of tears to another.  The Priests, adherents to the old Nipotismo, said Mass, and implored patience from Heaven for them in their sufferings; and the flatterers of the new, offered thanksgivings, and prayed for help from Heaven for the continuation of its power: while the new and false Nipotismo went triumphant through Rome, and received the respects of every one, the true and real one was fain to sculk and lye close in the shadow of its afflictions and disgrace.

The Railleries, the Pasquins, and the Discourses about this new way of enriching the Church with a Nipotismo, were infinite, there being no body that could imagine, from what Wits could spring so many different Conceits, bad and good, as were publish’d upon this new subject.

The Cardinal Sforza, who had alwayes assum’d to himself the liberty of saying any thing; as p. 123soon as he heard the news of this resolution of the Popes, was the first that began to make Pasquins, for the next day, in presence of four of the chiefest Cardinals of the Colledge, he said these very words, Now that the Pope Innocent hath introduced the custome of making false Nephews, the other Popes will never fail of Nephews, for they will make whole Regiments of them, and fill with such a generation our Colledge of Cardinals.

But the words of a certain Prelate of Parma were more sharp and biting, which were these, I foresee, said he, that one day the Popes will throw Dice for their Nipotismo, and take what comes uppermost, and so the affairs of the Church will be managed at an adventure.

Yet for all this, the new Nephew had all the interest of the Church and State put into his hands, though with some limitation, for the Pope communicated all things to him, and particularly matters of State; not so much to lay the weight of them upon him, as to instruct him how he should mannage them, for he durst not yet trust to his small experience, for fear of being deceiv’d.  Thus Astalli had properly nothing but the name and honour of Cardinal Padrone, subscribing to all the Nuntioes, Legates and Governours Commissions, and receiving Embassadours, when the Pope was indisposed, though still with the obligation of reporting every thing to his Holiness.

As long as Cardinal Panzirollo liv’d, Astalli’s fortune was prosperous and good, because that the Popes kindred durst not by any means go about to supplant him, though they hated him perfectly, p. 124knowing that the Cardinals perswasions would still prevail with their Uncle more then their credit; whereupon they dissembled their design, and, according to the custom of Rome, seem’d to rejoyce for that thing which they most abhorr’d.

But no sooner had Cardinal Panzirollo yeilded up his last breath, but Astalli began to perceive the decay of his fortune, and to mistrust that which afterwards befell him; for no sooner had this Cardinal shut his eyes, but the Popes kindred went about to undo him, and easily compass’d their intention, the Pope beginning to revive that affection, which he had formerly born to his Sister in law.  One morning then, as the Cardinal Padrone was rising out of his bed, he receiv’d a Message from the Pope, whereof the bearer told him, That by his Holinesses Order he was banished from Rome, and forbidden the Popes presence for ever; that he should lay aside the title of Cardinal Padrone, and renounce the name of Nephew as well as that of Pamphilio.  And in a word, not only all his Revenue was seised on, but he could not get leave to transport any thing of his houshold-stuffe or moveables.  So that the poor Cardinal was fain to forsake Rome, seeing that all wayes to justifie himself were shut up, and all the favour he could obtain was, that he might depart in the night, to avoid the derision and mocking of the people.

The motive of this so severe a sentence, with which Astalli was treated, as if he had been guilty of high Treason, was this; The Barbarines having p. 125been recall’d and reconcil’d to the Pope, were now great with him, and at their perswasion, Innocent had begun to think of taking the Kingdom of Naples from the Spaniard; upon which subject there were often Conferences held between him, the Barbarines, and his Kindred, excluding still from their Counsels the Cardinal Astalli; who thereby perceiving, that the Popes Kindness for him did begin to abate, thought it would be prudently done, to provide in time some other protection, that so his fall might be less, and he might have something to hang by, which might hinder him from falling to the bottom of that precipice, which was digging for him.

Having therefore penetrated into these secret designs of the Pope, he gave the Spaniards notice of them closely, and the advice came no sooner to the Catholick Kings ears, but he immediately gave such Orders in the Kingdom of Naples, as quite disappointed the Barbarines plot, by shutting that door, which was to give an entrance to the execution of their design.

Azzolini, a Confident and Spy of Donna Olympia’s, took upon him to discover who it was that had betrayed them, and after an exact search found, that it could be no body but Astalli; whereupon the Pope banish’d him, and made Azzolini Cardinal for his recompence.

This sudden fall of the false Nephew opened all the mouthes in Rome, who did not know of the reason of it, to exclaim against the Popes inconstancy: but no sooner was the Nipotismo p. 126down, but that Donna Olympia raised her self upon its ruines; for the Pope a weary of being alone, call’d his Sister in Law once more to him, and gave her back again all her former power, and more, if more could be, the true Nipotismo remaining neglected, and despised in all these changes; for except some Offices and Places which they got, they were little more advanced in the Popes favour; and in those places, they had, it is true, a liberty of getting money by all Arts, but still with the condition of dependance upon Donna Olympia.

The avidity of the Barbarines was but a shadow of what this Lady perform’d in reallity; for under her government, Cardinalships, Bishopricks, Abbies, Canonicates, and generally, all Church revenues were sold, as in a Market, to him that bid most: She little cared how full the Town was of murmurs, if her purse were full of Gold; and that which was most intollerable was, that not only the meritorious and deserving people were neglected, but banished from Rome.

There was no more talk then of the Pope, all the discourse was of Donna Olympia, many taking occasion to say, That it were fit likewise to introduce the women to the administration of the Sacrament, since that Donna Olympia was Pope.

At last it pleased Almighty God to deliver the Church from so great a scandal, and so unheard of one before this age, which gave so fair an occasion to the Hereticks of inveighing against p. 127the Church of Rome, with a great deal of reason.

Innocent dyed in the year 1655. having reigned ten years, four months, and some dayes; so that then the Sister in law, and the Nipotismo, were fain to leave the Vatican to the Pope that should be chosen, who was Alexander the seventh, who now lives and rules the Church.

The Cardinals thought of little less then of making Alexander Pope, who went by the name of Fabio Chigi of Siena, not that he was destitute of those qualities which make a Cardinal worthy of that Elevation, but because that he was newly made Cardinal, and too young to be a Competitour for such a place; with all this, after three moneths time employed in the Conclave, he was at last chosen, when he thought least of it.

As soon as the news was spread in the Town, people began to discourse about the new Nipotismo, which was to govern the City, the State, and the Church; and there many began to reckon up such a number of kindred, that they affirm’d, there would not be room for them in Rome it self, much less was the Popedom sufficient to enrich such a company of hungry Relations, and raise a family, which, though of antient Nobility, was nevertheless very poor.

The ambitious, and those that desir’d to be in favour with these new Masters, rid post to Siena, not only to carry this happy news, but also to have the priviledge of offering their service first.

p. 128Don Mario, the Popes brother, as soon as he heard of his exaltation, immediately, without so much as putting on new clothes, as his Wife would have had him, caused a Horse to be sadled, and with two servants took his journey towards Rome; having first receiv’d from one and the other a number of submissive complements, not without the title of Excellence.

He was thus going on, and making Castles in the Air; insomuch that he did scarce see those that came to meet him on his way, seeming a man in an extasie, and a body without a soul, which without doubt was gone before to take possession of his future greatness; when at some miles distance from Siena, he met a Gentleman, from the Pope, with Letters to him, in which his Holiness did most strictly command, that neither he, nor any of his Relations should stir from Siena to go towards Rome, under pain of incurring their brothers indignation for ever.

At this news, the poor Don Mario was as if he had been thunder-struck; so that if at first he seemed a body without a soul, it was almost true now, for all his blood retired to his heart, and left him pale, like a Ghost, though otherwise corpulent enough; he was in doubt whether he should infringe these so severe commands, and continue on his way, or else obey and go home again; the first seemed dangerous, the second shameful; but at last, after some reluctancy within himself, he resolv’d to return by night to Siena, being asham’d to enter the City by day.

Being come home he communicated his Letter p. 129to all the kindred; and though it seemed a very severe one to them, yet had they some little glimpse of hope in the ambiguous sense of these words, Do not stir from Siena, in no wise, till you receive a new Order from us: from this they took occasion, not to despair of their fortune, guessing, that this proceeding was not a defect of kindness in the Pope, but some new politick trick.


The Great Duke of Florence, in the mean time, forgot not to send a Gentleman to visit Don Mario, and to present him with such things, as he thought they might need in that occasion; and by his example, many Cardinals and Princes did the same thing; particularly, all the persons of quality of Tuscany failed not, every one of them, to wait upon the family of the Chigi.  ’Tis true, that the Popes Order carried, that they should not change their way of living, nor receive visits as his Relations; but that was too hard to be executed, since it was not in their power, to hinder those that had a mind to it, from doing them that honour.


The Republick of Venice, whose maxime it is to keep the Popes for friends (though they often have been so ungrateful, and so little sensible of the service that this State does to the Church and all Christendom, as to trouble its quiet) having receiv’d the news of the election, assembled the Senate, to deliberate of the demonstrations of joy, which they should shew to the Pope.

p. 130There it was resolved unanimously, That the House of Chigi should be declared Noble of Venice, with all the Prerogatives that the Senate uses to bestow on such occasions; which was done accordingly, and the Letters Patent were sent to the Pope and his kindred in Siena, with the usual formes, being followed immediately after by a solemn and stately Embassie.

Thus the Popes kindred did receive continually great honour in Siena, though it were some mortification to them, to see themselves depriv’d of that command and authority, which they thought did belong to them, de jure, as being a Popes Relations.

In the mean time, this neglect and denial, which the Pope seem’d to make of his dearest Kindred, got him such a reputation through the world, that nothing was more discoursed of, then of his holiness and purity of life; the vulgar did expect no less then miracles from him; and hearing say, that he had alwayes upon his table a dead mans Scull, and under his bed his Coffin, they could not choose, but be confirmed in the opinion of his holiness.

But the wiser sort, and the judicious, were not so easily deceiv’d; but reckoning, that it was either policy, or a particular melancholy, which had flown into the Popes head, but had not root in his heart, they alwayes said, Let us see what the end will be.

p. 131And indeed, after some time it was observed, that the Pope did as the Traveller, who being in a small vessel, which was surpriz’d by a terrible storm at Sea, resolv’d, that he might save his life, to throw all that he had into the Sea, having then tyed his baggage with a rope, he threw it over board, but still kept in his hand, the end of the rope to which his baggage was tyed.  Just thus did Alexander, for though it seemed to the eyes of the vulgar, that he had despised and thrown over board his Kindred, yet from time to time he would hold out his hand, and send them money, and all other things that were necessary, there passing never a day, but they had news from him, and he from them.

And once particularly (and this is a thing which I am an eye witness of; neither do I think, that Don Mario himself can deny it, if he will be sincere) the Pope feigning to send them some Mules, loaden with Wax for certain Churches, sent them indeed Mules loaden with money; which cheat was so great, that the Muletiers themselves perceiv’d it, complaining of the extraordinary heaviness of their burdens; and indeed, what should they have done with so much Wax, for there would have been enough, if it had been really Wax, to have lighted the French Court a whole year.

Another time, he took an occasion of sending some Silver vessels, and some Silk stuffs, to be employed in Ornaments for Churches, with order, p. 132that they should be recommended to Don Mario, to dispose of them according to the Popes intention; but Don Mario, in opening the boxes, found above four Purses full of Gold, Gold all newly coin’d, with the Stamp of the Popes-head upon them.

The Embassadours of Princes, and the Cardinals, having perceiv’d, that all this apparent aversion to his Kindred, was but jugling and hypocrisie, made it their business, to induce him by prayers and entreaties to change his resolution; particularly, having observ’d, that the Popes design was, to be thus urged and pressed, that he might gain reputation in the world, and be furnished with an excuse, whensoever, at their request, he should introduce his banished Relations.  And indeed, they had gain’d so much upon him, that he did begin to hearken to their reasons with a milder countenance, and less reluctancy: Yet there was one thing which hindred him from coming to the execution of this his design, which was the Oath he had taken before the Crucifix in the beginning of his Popedom, not to receive his Kindred in Rome; but the Jesuites, who were his Confessors, and who are as subtle Philosophers as learned Casuists, found out an evasion, which much pleased his Holiness; for it gave him leave to comfort his kindred, to yield to the Prayers and Sollicitations of Princes, and to ease himself of a part of the weight and cares of government.

p. 133They told him then, that indeed it would have been a breach of his Oath, to receive his kind in Rome; but that he might, with a safe conscience, go and meet them half a dayes journey of Rome, and so not at all endanger his soul: was much liked, and put in execution by the Pope, though it seemed to the Court a ridiculous evasion, which became the subject of their laughter and drollery for a great while.

The Pope being then at last resolved, Orders were dispatch’d to Siena to the Nipotismo, which was there assembled, in expectation of this news as if they had waited for Manna from Heaven.  So Don Mario, his Wife and Children, and Don Agostino, with a numerous attendance, left Siena and took their journey towards Calstel Gandelfe, a House of pleasure of the Popes, where they met his Holiness, who receiv’d them, and embraced them with the greatest demonstrations affection and kindness that was possible; and after some short stay there, came back to Rome with them in triumph.


In the interim, it is worth the Readers curiosity, to be inform’d of an accident that befell Padre Pallavicino, the Popes Confessor, a Jesuite, in hopes of obtaining a Cardinal Cap, which at last he got, had undertaken to write the Story of the Councel of Trent; which indeed may justly be call’d his, for the greatest part of it is not history and relation, but an abundance of words, which he endeavours to prove, that the history of p. 134Fra. Paulo, upon the same subject, was and is false, but he stumbles at every step he goes, and is so ill furnish’d with Arguments, that for my part I must confess, that I never believ’d Fra. Paulo’s History to be real, sincere and true, but since I read the Jesuites: and he that will profit by them let him read them both with an equal disinteressment.

Now in this History, Father Palavicino had taken occasion to praise the Pope Alexander in divers places, and extoll him to the Skyes, as an Angel rather then a man, for denying his own blood and relations, and keeping them at such a distance from him.

The sheets were printed, and the book was coming out, when the Pope went to receive his kindred at Castle Gandolfe, and had brought them to Rome: This cast the Father into a strange perplexity; and the rather, because that the Pope, before he undertook his journey, had asked him his advice about the business as being his Confessour; seeing himself in a strange Labyrinth, he was mightily confounded; for if he councelled him to receive them, that was to give his book the lye; and if he exhorted him to continue in his first resolution, that was the way to offend the Pope and his Kindred, and lose all his own fortune.

p. 135At last he resolved:

Which he did, by counselling the Pope to receive his kindred, and by printing over again those sheets which made mention of the Popes alienation from all humane affections.  But the Printer refused to do it at his expences; so that the good Father was fain to have recourse to some of his devout Children, who out of charity payed for the reprinting of about twenty sheets.


No sooner had this new Nipotismo taken possession of the Vatican, but the people began to murmur against the Pope, making Pasquins, and setting them up in every street.  Thus he, who before was a Saint and an Angel, was now become an Hypocrite and a Devil; and the belief of the Romans, concerning the Popes infallibility, was much changed, from that which they had receiv’d before from the Divines; for now they believ’d at least, that if the Pope could not erre by himself, yet his Nephews could make him erre: The Pope, who was before ador’d by the common people, became now contemptible, insomuch, that going one day to consecrate the Church of the Peace, which had been rebuilt by him he receiv’d a vile affront; for the Curate of that Church, having rais’d a triumphal Arch before it, over which was the Popes Picture, with this Inscription, Orietur in diebus nistris justitia & abundantia pacis, some bold persons had the conscience to put an M before orietur, and change the C of pacis into an N; so that then there was, Monrictur p. 136in diebus nostris justitia & abundantia ranis.  In the Academy of the Wits, they did recite and show Epigrams, which were very offensive to the Popes and his Families reputation, though all were allegorically veil’d over: In a word, they were counted the most ingenious, who could invent the sharpest sayings upon the introduction of the Nipotismo.

But before we go any further, it will not be amiss, to see in what persons, and how qualified, the Nipotismo did consist: And I consider it in two wayes, that which is nearest in consanguinity, and another, which is related at a greater distance, and we will omit the women, that we may not be mistaken by so great a number as there would be with them.

Six Males from that Nipotismo, which is of a very near consanguinity to the Pope, that is, speaking of those that have at this present part in the government of Rome, and omitting the little children.

These are then first, Don Mario, the Popes eldest brother; the Cardinal Flavio Chigi, who is, Don Mario’s Son; Don Agostino, and Don Sigismond, who are Brothers, and Sons of another of the Popes Brothers, who dyed before Alexander’s exaltation to the Popedom; and two other Brothers, who are Sons to one of the Popes Sisters p. 137that was married in the family of the Bichi; so that in all, there are one Brother, and five Nephews, which make a pretty compleat Nipotismo.

Don Mario is five years older then the Pope, and though by consequence he be threescore and ten, yet he is strong and lusty.  The Pope and he are very different in their constitution, humour, and actions; for the first is tall, the other low; the Pope is inclin’d to learning, Don Mario is strangely ignorant; the Pope is lean, and Don Mario is fat; the Pope is noble and generous, and Don Mario is covetous and miserable, thinking of nothing, but of gathering and heaping together of money, little troubling himself at the peoples murmurings; and yet they cry out more against him, then ever they did against Don Tadeo, nay, more then they did against Donna Olympia her self; he hath invented so many new subtleties to get money out of those Offices which are ordinarily bestowed upon the Popes nearest Relations, that the Barbarines, who thought themselves masters in that Craft, do remain astonish’d to see themselves outdone by a new beginner.

The Pope shewes him the respect due to an elder Brother, and that is all; ’tis true, that of late he hath afforded him more liberty, and a greater share in the Government then he was wont to have, and he uses it to his advantage, missing no occasion to improve his fortune; nay, he is p. 138so passionately bent to getting, that he ordinarily uses to say of a thing he does not like, There is nothing to be got there.

The good opinion which the Pope hath of his integrity, is the poison which corrupts all the present Government; for being prepossess’d to his advantage, he lets him do any thing, so he do but maintain plenty of Corn and Meat in Rome, and keep the people from murmuring; but things do not go well, nor with any honour to the Pope, for if Don Mario was honest and sincere in Siena, he no sooner came to Rome, but he chang’d his nature, and made it his business to grow rich by any means whatsoever; though the people send their cryes up to Heaven against him, they come not to the Popes eares, who all this while thinks, that Don Mario of Rome is Don Mario of Siena, and there’s the mischeif.

The Cardinal Flavio Chigi his Son deserves neither to be praised, nor blamed for any thing that regards the Government of the Church, in which he is little concern’d; for having the Title of Padrone, or Master, he exercises his mastership in taking his pleasure, avoiding with all possible means to have any hand in business, least he should perplex his mind, and be diverted from the taste of sensual delights, to which he hath given himself up.

In his Uncles last fit of sickness, that he might not be liable to the imputation of ignorance or p. 139incapacity, he bestirr’d himself pretty well, and perform’d the duties belonging to so important a place as his is.  His assiduity and care appeared much, and the Embassadours, and people of business were pretty well satisfyed with the goodwill he shewed, being the apter to bear with the smallness of his sufficiency.

But as soon as his Uncle was upon his feet again, the Nephew began to withdraw his neck from the yoke, and not only gave over giving of audience, but feigned himself sick, that no body might trouble him.  ’Tis true, that he was really so sometimes out of debauchery, and is forced to keep his bed in good earnest.  The Physicians then do never acquaint the Pope with the true cause of his indisposition, though often question’d upon it, because they are afraid of irritating him against his Nephew; who on his side gives them large presents to oblige them to secresie.

He doth not much care to gather riches and treasure, for three reasons.  The first is, because his Father is already too much enclin’d that way.  The second, because he hath no desire to leave any thing to his Cozen Don Agostino.  And the third, because he hath no Nephewes to provide for, that branch of his family ending in him.  So that he is content with the revenue of his place, which is above 200000 Crowns a year, which he spends nobly amongst his Comerades and Mistresses; it being a common report, that he hath already half a dozen Bastards by divers Courtisans; but p. 140for my part I believe they belie him, and lay their children to his charge, as being the ablest to keep them.  He would without doubt enjoy his health better then he does if he were temperate, for he is not above five and thirty years old, of a Sanguine temper, with a good mixture of Melancholy, the colour of his beard and haire being the same with his Uncles.

In his Legation in France he got reputation, shewing himself noble and splendid, as also liberal on divers occasions; and certainly he would have been prodigal in his presents, if those Prelates that were with him had not counsel’d him to the contrary; so that he indeed lived after the French fashion, but his dependants after the Italian, that is, sparingly.

Don Agostino, Son to Augusto Chigi, and Don Sigismond, his Brother, are much in the Popes favour, and he hath for him much more real love, then for Don Mario, or the Cardinal Flavio his Son.

Of Don Sigismond there is little to be said, only that the Pope doth every day bestow upon him some considerable benefice, waiting only till he be of age to make him Cardinal, being now in the year 1667 but 17 years old, which keeps the Pope from admitting him to that honour, though it is thought, that in the first promotion he will not fail to be created Cardinal, and indeed with great deal more reason then Cardinal Maldachini who was promoted for Donna Olympia’s sake, at p. 14118 years old, though much more unworthy of it then Don Sigismondo.  ’Tis thought, that if the Pope should dye before he were made Cardinal, his inclinations would rather encline him to marriage then to a Batchelors life.  But I am not of that opinion, for Don Agostino his Brother hath prevented him in that, by giving, and procuring for him no other but Church Revenues; as Abbyes, and other Benefices, of which, if he should go to marry, he must be devested, and then he would be so poor that he would not meet with a match suitable to his quality.

As for Don Agostino, Fortune seems to have espoused his interest; for from his first coming to Rome till this present time, all things have succeeded very Prosperously, and much to his satisfaction, having met with a match according to his desire, and a principality, which was his hearts wish; so he hath nothing left to long for.

This abundance of content hath so taken possession of his Soul, that it hath quite blotted out the remembrance of his former poor condition, insomuch that being puff’d up with pride and insolence, he scornes to take notice of the civilities that the Gentlemen of Rome offer him when he goes through the streets; whereupon he hath contracted the Names of haughty and arrogant, and with them the hatred of almost all the Romans.

p. 142He never had any inclination to learning; but he hath a good natural disposition for all those exercises which become a Gentleman, and in which he behaves himself very handsomly; he is about 30 years of Age, of a jovial disposition, loving company and mirth, and little troubling himself to purchase riches and treasure, being sure that there are enough to do it for him.

And indeed Don Mario, and the rest of the kindred, think of getting what they can every one for themselves; but the Pope takes no care, but for Don Agostino, whose purse he has resolv’d to fill as full as he can; and we may conjecture of the Popes tender affection for Don Agostino by three things which he hath done for him since his coming to Rome.

The first was, that the Nipotismo had no sooner taken possession of the Vatican, but it pretended to give Lawes, not only to Rome, but to the Pope himself, and that in the dispensation of his favours to: and thus it was.

Don Mario, the Popes elder brother, being the head of the Family, did pretend, that one being to marry to preserve the Family, it did belong to his Son Flavio, and the rather, because his inclination did lead him that way; but the Pope, who had a great affection for the memory of his brother Augusto, refused to condescend to Don Mario’s desire, but declared Flavio Cardinal Padrone, and resolved to marry Don Agostino, little p. 143troubling himself at his elder brothers grumbling.

From hence sprung some dissention, which from day to day encreases between the family of Don Agostino, and that of Don Mario, to the Popes great discontent, who to sweeten a little the bitterness of this Pill, gave Don Mario leave to call his Daughters, and their husbands to Rome; where he desir’d they should be respected as his Relations, and he accorded to Don Agostino, that his brother Sigismond might also be sent for, to whom he gave good Church Revenues.  This seem’d to have pleased them all, and exteriourly they shewed content and satisfaction, but secretly, and in their hearts, they do like right Italians, that is, preserve the memory of their injuries, and a desire to be reveng’d.  And to begin; The Cardinal Flavio little cares to get riches; and if he do get, he spends it most prodigally, being resolved to leave Don Agostino as little as he can.

This dissipation which the Cardinal makes of his revenue, cannot choose but displease Don Agostino, seeing that it is not so much the Cardinals inclinations, as a desire to offend him that causes this prodigality; whereupon he infers likewise, that that vast heap of treasure which Don Mario hath got together, will not be for him, but for his Daughters, who are married into others Families; and I believe in this he is not mistaken, for Don Mario’s affection to his Daughters is very great.

p. 144The Pope in the mean time can scarce show any kindness to any one of them; but it is presently taken ill by the others.  Doth my Cozen, sayes Don Agostino, think it so inconsiderable a thing to be Cardinal Padrone, and mannage all State affairs, to have the disposal of all favours at Court, to treat with Embassadours, to have the keyes of the Popes Closet, to govern the Chancery and Secretary at his pleasureWhat can he desire more then to be a second Pope!

But the Cardinal answers all this by saying, that the care of business, and the Title of Padrone are not things given him out of a design to honour him, for they are his perpetual torment, and keep him from rest in the day time, and sleep in the night.  But doth my Cozen, sayes the Cardinal, think it little to have been made Prince of a Principality hereditary to his Family, to have married a lovely Princess, with the enjoyment of all pleasures, the applause of the Court, and the liberty of living as he pleases? are these things to be compared to the weight of a Cardinals employment, in whose death all dyes with him, and hath not the satisfaction to see himself re-produced in this world?

In these duels of competition is the present Nipotismo perpetually engaged; depriving themselves of the enjoyment of that happiness which their good fortune hath so liberally bestowed upon them.  ’Tis true, that these complaints are made but to their neerest friends and confidents.

p. 145Don Agostino, to say true, is much more in the right, then the Cardinal, the Pope being much more oblig’d to advance him then any of them; for he is Son to that Augusto, brother of the Pope, who maintain’d the Pope at his expenses in the University, supplying him afterwards with good summes of mony from time to time, without which he had undoubtedly been stopt in his course, and never been able to arrive to that pitch of Grandeur he is now in: Therefore Don Mario is unjust, and Don Agostino very just in his complaints; for the kindness which the Pope receiv’d from his Father, can expect no less then a Noble retribution to the Son, whereas all that the Pope doth for Don Mario and his Son, ’tis out of pure favour, without any desert.

These jealousies, however they may be prejudicial to the Popes Family, yet are they very advantagious to the Church; for if they were all agreed, woe would be to Rome, and the Church: such would be sucked by them all, like so many Bees; but being divided, they stand in fear of one another, and dare not do unbeseeming actions: for while Don Mario would have all to himself, and leave nothing for his Nephew, and that on the other side, the Nephew would have all for himself, and deprive his Uncle and Cozen of their share, they hinder one another, and Rome and the Church fare the better for it.

The second demonstration of singular affection, which the Pope bears to Don Agostino, is his Marriage: p. 146for as soon as he saw him, he liked him so well, that he resolv’d to match with the greatest fortune of Rome, which was then the Princess Borghese, daughter to the Princess of Rossano, very rich, and having but one sickly brother, and therefore looked upon as an heiress; but however, her portion was two hundred thousand crowns in mony, besides the hereditary estate, which was in her brothers hands.

This match did not at first succeed with that easiness that was imagin’d, though the Pope employed in the compassing of it, the Jesuites Rhetorick; for the Prince Uncle, to the young Lady, had a greater inclination for the Son of the Great Constable Colonna, an accomplish’d young Gentleman, and already much in the Ladies favour.  Therefore to avoid the match, he pretended, that indeed he did take it as a great honour to have his Neece so allyed to his Holiness, but did desire to see Don Agostino better provided for, and in possession of some eminent rank in the world, that his neece might still maintain the degree of Princess she had already.  Upon this the Pope did every day straine himself to make his Nephew appear greater and greater, giving places of great profit and honour, and endeavouring to buy him a Principality, which at last he effected; and though it were some disgust to him to see the Prince stand thus upon his termes, and make no other account of the honour of his Alliance; yet seeing that there was not in Rome such another match to be found out, he did continually keep some p. 147Irons in the fire.  Above all others, Father Palavicinio a Jesuite did bestir himself in it, and as he was one day pressing the Prince, who told him, that Don Agostino was not yet sufficiently provided for; he answer’d, If the Pope should dye to day Don Agostino would have ready money enough, to buy ten Principalities.

While things were thus treating, the Prince Borghese, Tutour to the young Lady, died suddenly, so that she fell into the Tutelage of the Princess her Grandmother, a Lady of incomparable Piety, and one who shames by her good life, even the Nuns themselves, she does so much outdoe them.

The Princess of Rossano is her Daughter, and Mother to the young Lady, and she to get the Popes favour, and have some part in the Vatican, which she hath alwayes been ambitious of, accepted the Propositions, and contributed much to the Conclusion of the Match, which was almost broke off, in which Don Agostino hath a great deal of reason to be happy, having a lovely, handsome Lady, with two hundred thousand Crowns to her portion.

The Pope was transported with joy; and being naturally generous, he resolv’d that the wedding should be kept with all the magnificence imaginable, having assigned to Don Agostino a hundred thousand Crowns for the expences of it, which he accordingly layed out most nobly.  p. 148Besides this summe which was spent in Bals, Feastings, and Banquets, he presented the Bride with Diamonds, Pearls, and the Rose, which every year is given to some Princess to the value of 20000 Crowns, and yet in this very time the Catholick Religion was much endanger’d in Germany.

Don Agostino after his wedding was over became so arrogant, that not being able to contain his passion, he was heard to say these words, That he had a greater joy to have got the better of his Rival Colonna, then to have obtain’d so great a Princess for Wife: which coming to the Colonnesses Ears, the Constable the Father made answer, That his Son had reason to have desir’d the Princess, because he had merit enough to obtain her; but that Don Agostino was beholding to his Uncles authority, without which he had never had her.

And indeed the young Colonna lost nothing by staying; three or four year after he married Cardinal Mazarines Neece, the Princess Maria Mancini, a most accomplish’d Lady, and one who brought him above a hundred thousand Crowns to her portion.

As for the third demonstration of the Popes love to Don Agostino, it appear’d in the great ardour and desire he showed to make him a Prince; ’tis true, that the articles of Marriage carried, that out of the Ladies portion there should be bought p. 149a Principality, as if Don Agostino had not so much deserv’d the Princess as the Popes Nephew, as in the consideration of his being a Prince which was a little infamous to the Pope.

And yet for all this the Pope would not suffer that the Principality should be bought out of the Princesse’s portion, but with a new generosity gave to Don Agostino seventy thousand Crowns, with which he bought the Principality of Farneze, in the Patrimony of St. Peter, and was declared Prince, not only by the Pope, but by the Emperour, the said Principality being a feef of the Empire.

To these three effects of kindness adde the desire that the Pope hath to gather riches for Don Agostino, for whom he knowes that none of the rest will provide, and certainly you will conclude him to be a very loving Uncle.

The other two Nephews are, as I have said, Sons to one of the Popes sisters, married in the Family of Bichi; one of whom is Cardinal and Bishop of Osimo; and the other Knight of Malta, and General of the Popes Gallies.

The Cardinal at his first coming to Rome was not very acceptable to the Pope; as well because he thought he had done enough in promoting him to the dignity of Cardinal, as, because he wanted capacity for any high employment.  ’Tis true, that he had not been long at Court, but he began p. 150to lay aside a certain simplicity, which seemed natural to him, and with which he govern’d very well his Bishoprick, and endeavour’d to learn the Arts of Government and Negotiation, whereupon his Cozen Floro gave a good Character of him to the Pope, not out of any design to oblige him, but out of a lazy principle which made him glad to find out any body upon whom he might lay a part of his burden, and this recommendation was not without good effects for Cardinal Bichi, for since that time the Pope hath admitted him into divers particular Congregations, and does make use of him in some occurrences, but very seldome the said Cardinal, being not in truth a man of any great wisdome.

The other Brother, who is Prior of his Order, and General of the Popes Galleys seems to be more favourably looked upon for the Pope; often calls him to him, and grants him many more favours then to the other.

This Gentleman hath got a great reputation in the World of a very ingenious person, and well versed in all Sciences, but for my part I could never find out the root, whence did spring so much desert, for he never did any thing in the world worthy an applause: he hath been sent above four times with his Galleys to the help of the Venetians in Candia, where he never did any thing like a Knight of Malta; for he was alwayes afraid of fighting, even when he was cover’d by the Venetian Galleys, who alwayes were the first that p. 151engaged their lives and honour.

And all this proceeded, because he did not trust his people that he had aboard; and he did not trust them, because he knew they had reason to hate him, as having defrauded them of their pay; for he did appropriate to himself most of that mony which the Pope allowed for the entertaining of his Soldiers and Stewes, who never were worse provided for then under this Noble Gentlemans command.

But I think that it is the complements which the prior Bichi makes to every body that deceives them, and they are so taken with his Civility as naturally the Romans are, that they in revenge give him those qualities which he is far from possessing.

His intention is to be Cardinal, whereupon every time he goes to see his brother he puts on his Brothers red Hat, and tryes it, to see how it sits upon his head.  But I am afraid he will loose his longing; for the Nipotismo of the Chigi are much against it; and the Pope himself hath declar’d that he will not make two Brothers Cardinals at the same time.  Withall this the Prior Courts his Cozens with the profoundest respect, and the greatest submission that the lowest Courtier in Rome would employ, and all to no purpose; for they all see that he aimes at the red Cap, which they are resolv’d to hinder him from attaining.  And the reason why they are so averse to his promotion is, because they know him to be humorous, p. 152and apt to sow discord and dissention amongst them, which I believe he would go neer to do, if he had the liberty of talking, which a Cardinal hath.

Now if we will say something of the Women, who also serve to make up the Nipotismo, we must begin with the Lady Berenice Don Mario’s Wife.

This Lady is of the Noble Family of La Civia, one of the considerablest of the City of Siena, but ill provided for by Fortune.  Her husband loves her, and indeed she hath qualities that do deserve his love, being very witty, and civil, she had not been two year in Rome, but she was mistress of all the Court Arts, and way of living, to the great satisfaction of Embassadors, and Princes; who according to the custome of the Court go to wait upon her sometimes, where they are not a little surpriz’d to hear her discourse so well and easily of things which they only which have been bred all their life amongst Queens and Princesses can talk of, and they are the more pleased, because she does shew amidst all this capacity a great deal of modesty, which gaines the affection and respect of those that have occasion to treat with her.

Don Mario her Husband is above eighteen years older then she, who is not above three and fifty, and is so fresh at that age, that one would scarce give her forty, she being subject to no infirmity at all.  At her first coming to Rome, p. 153the Pope declar’d, that he would see her very seldome, giving her leave to demand any favour by her Husbands means, but nothing by word of mouth; and he did this to show, what a horrour he had for that impudence, with which Donna Olympia used the Pope Innocent, to his great dishonour, and is thought, that one of the great reasons, that made this Pope keep his Kindred at such a distance for a great while, was, because he was afraid of bringing his Brothers Wife into the Vatican with his Brother, the very name of a Sister in law being a most odious thing to the Romans, for Donna Olympia’s sake; but indeed, Donna Berenice is another sort of woman, and one who shews modesty and reservedness in all her carriage, being unwilling to meddle with any thing to which she is not call’d.

There is nothing to be said of this Ladies Daughters, except that the Popedom is come in good time into the Family of the Chigi, for else they and their Husbands had been brought very low; for when they were married they had nothing, and their Husbands but very little, which was almost consum’d by the charge of children coming on every day.

The Pope, to content the Father and Mother, gave these Ladies leave to appear in Rome, where they were receiv’d and treated very obligingly, by their brother the Cardinal Padrone, and were also visited by all the Roman p. 154Nobility, and by the Ambassadours and Princes.

Don Agostino was also very kind to them, though with reserve, being somewhat jealous to see them so near the Pope, whose benevolence and good will he would fain ingross for the Masculine line of the Family: And in publick the Pope did not give any demonstrations of particular favour to them, that he might not increase Don Agostino’s jealousies, and the Courts murmurs; but in private he bestowed upon each of them three thousand Crowns; and in giving them this money, he said two or three times, That what he did was out of charity; and that it was not his design to dissipate and spend the Churches Revenue upon his Kindred: And these Ladies, who were born in Siena, and not in Spain, were not so scrupulously addicted to preserve the honour of their Gentility, as to refuse such Almes, as a Spaniard would have done: And I believe, Reader, that you would be of the same mind, and be well pleased, if any body would give you a good sum of money, for the love of God, and out of pure charity.

Besides this, Don Mario, and his Lady, have without doubt, been liberal to them out of that heap of Treasure, which they so well know how to get together; so that these Ladies journey to Rome, hath been, no doubt, a golden journey for them, which we may conjecture, p. 155by the state they live in now at Siena, having bought divers Lands and Houses.

This is all that hitherto can be said of this Nipotismo: But besides these, the Pope hath another Nipotismo, of a remoter consanguinity; who are so many, that they are innumerable; and the Pope hath been hitherto averse to their coming to Rome, I believe, because he is unwilling to disoblige the nearest Nipotismo; but if his Pontificate last, as it is thought it may, the Pope, who is naturally inclin’d to do good, may by little and little give them a share in his good fortune, by Employments, Benefices, or some wayes.

Neither doth the Pope for all this, set aside his own content, which is, to erect noble Buildings and stately Edifices, wherefore he hath doubled the Workmen, in that vast Enterprize of Saint Peter’s Church, being very desirous to see it finished; and having often said to some Cardinals, his Confidents, that he should not dye content, if he dyed before that were ended.

The Nipotismo is strangely displeased at this expensive humour of the Popes, seeing him every day changing and streightning some Street, and mending some publick Edifice, for they would that that money were spared for them and the family of the Chigi.  Some dayes ago, Don Mario, and Don Agostino, went about to p. 156put some other less expensive design into the Popes head, and particularly to oblige him, to give over the Porch of Saint Peter, which is of so vast a charge: but the Pope is not to be remov’d from his inclination, and takes it very ill, that they should controul him in his pleasure, he, who not only doth not controul them, but hath given them all the means they have; and he persists in this resolution the rather, because he is resolved to have the glory of this Enterprize, and not leave it to his Successour, who by a little addition would perfect so great a Work, and then place his Armes in the front of it as his.

Of late, Alexander hath been fain to furnish to another expence, which is the Legation of the Cardinal Padrone, to meet the Empress at Milan; and the Spaniards pretend, that he appear’d in greater Splendour, then he did at the Court of France, as well to win their good will, as to please his own ambition, in being seen in such pomp, in a place where most Ambassadours of Princes were to meet, nay, and many Princes themselves.

To say truth, the Pope deserves no small praises for his noble inclination, in honouring sometimes one Prince, sometimes another, but particularly for the zeal and piety he hath shewed, in the choice of those persons that he hath promoted to be Cardinals; for in three or four promotions he hath alwayes picked out those, p. 157who were most worthy of this eminent Dignity, having in that little regard to any bodies recommendation, if the Subjects themselves did not answer the expectation conceiv’d of them; and whosoever would enquire into the life of these his Creatures, will be satisfied of their integrity and learning, and confess, that many of them are worthy of the Popedom, and it may be, it may fall upon some of them, after the death of Alexander, who now thinks of little less then of dying; for at his first coming to be Pope, he thought so much of it, that now being weary of those thoughts, he thinks of nothing but living.

All his drift now is, to oblige the Cardinals to a good correspondence with Don Agostino, but he perpetually disobliging them with his haughty carriage, ’tis thought, that after the Popes death they will little regard his recommendations in the choice of a Successour, if things do not much change.

I would say something of the future Conclave; but I think it is to no purpose, for the Pope doth little think of leaving this world, though the Cardinals pretenders do every day long for his death, that they may bring another Nipotismo in play.  And some are very much convinced, that he cannot live long, considering the augmentation of his late indispositions; whereupon those Cardinals, that compose the flying Squadron, have often met in secret, to agree p. 158about a Successour; but indeed, I think that we ought to wish, that Alexander may live yet, for in the present conjuncture of affairs, his death would do no less then bring trouble to Italy and all Christendome, which God forbid.

The Pope doth every day endeavour to get a protection for his Nipotismo, and would fain have the Spaniards declare Cardinal Chigi Protector of that Crown; and the Popes Nuntio in Spain hath made great instances to obtain it, that they, the Family of the Chigi, might be strengthened: but I do not think he will obtain it, for the Spaniards are too great lovers of themselves to protect a decaying Power, which will rather be a burden then a help to their Monarchy.




p. iThe Second Part.


To satisfie the curiosity of an infinite number of Persons, who, having seen scarce any thing else of the Nipotismo besides the Title, do enquire after the Book with much earnestness, I have made hast to Print this Second Part, that so you might have it compleat; and I doubt not but you will be infinitely pleased with itIt is true, my intention was, in conformity to the Authors, to have waited yet a little longer; because that Affairs in Rome seem inclinable to a change: But it was beyond my power to keep the Rain, which was already in the air, from falling to the ground; and I was forced to yield to the curiosity of so many Inquisitive personsTo which the Author was the more willing, because he had a desire to be rid of this Nipotismo, that he might give himself up to the composing of some other Books of no less curiosity: And I, on my side, have been desirous to free my Press, that I might set p. ivit on work again for a Book, which no doubt will be very welcome to you.

It is Intituled, Europa Morta, and comes from an Author who is a sworn Enemy of FlatteryThe Subject of the Book is all Politicks, and very sharply handled, shewing the defects of all the Kingdoms and Republicks of Europe, which they are now subject to for want of men of that worth and vertue, in whom it was anciently so abounding.

Divers Persons, that have read the Manuscript, are very pressing for the publishing of it; which I hope will be done within this two months at leastAnd I doubt not but I shall satisfie that expectation which I now raise in you; for there you shall meet with the relation of some Accidents which hitherto have been kept close from the ears of the VulgarIn it Praises are dispensed with measure, and blame with justice; and so I hope this Nipotismo will custom you to the Lecture of such Books, and make your pleasure the greater when you shall meet with the Europa Morta, which is Universal.



The Contents.

In which is treated, of the mischief which the Popedome brings upon the Popes.  Of two particular Examples about thatOf two Protestant Gentlemen that went to Rome to see the Court, and the Church-mens way of living, and what came of itOf the scandal which the Hereticks receive from the Popes KindredOf the particular reasons which move the Popes to the advancement of their Kindred: which are the love they bear to their own Bloud, the conservation of their Persons, and the Policy of their GovernmentOf the aime of those Popes that introduc’d the title of Cardinal Padrone.  Of the difficulties which the Princes find in having access and treating with the Pope.  Of a particular case in Sixtus p. 2the fifth’s timeOf the care the Popes take to prevent their being poysonedOf the miseries of the Ecclesiastick StateOf the mischief the Church endures because the Popedom is not HereditaryOf the Popes Nephews, who look upon the Popedom as their ownOf the principal reasons which oblige the Popes to call their Kindred about themOf the difficulty the Popes would meet with in diving into Princes Secrets without the assistance of their Nephews.  How Urban did instruct his Nephews.  How Cardinal Astalli was introduced into the Nipotismo.  Of the opinion of Cardinal Mazarine about that businessOf the great Authority which Gregory the 15th. gave to Cardinal Ludovisio his Nephew.  Of the Republick of Venice, which obliges the Kindred of their dead Duke to satisfie by Fines for those Errors which the Duke did commit while he was aliveOf some particularities about the Accident that befel the Duke of Crequy.  Of a Discourse held to Monsignor Rasponi by the Pope.  Of the way that the Popes have to conceal the Secrets of their CourtOf the reasons why the said Court is so MagnificentOf the Friendships of the Cardinals towards Princes, and of the Correspondence of Princes with the said CardinalsOf the passage of a certain Cardinal from the Spanish Faction to the FrenchOf the Spiritual Power of the Pope, and how it is upheld by the Temporal; and Of the nature of Money in Church-mens hands.

All that we have said hitherto, is but the Foundation of what we have to say: For to what end would it be to have seen the Nipotismo in Rome, if we did not see Rome in the Nipotismop. 3And we have been curious to pry into that which the Popes have done for their Kindred, we may much more justly examine that which the Kindred does for the Popes.

A German Prelate, who now lives, and has some Opinions very different from the profession he makes of a Church-man; That is, Who is more Heretick than Catholick, does upon all occasions, and whensoever he happens into any company, where there is a liberty of talking, profess his mind in few words, and without any ambiguity, by saying, That the Popes Kindred acquire this world by their Uncles Indulgence; and that the Uncle loses the other world by his Nephews Vices.

This opinion, which by many Catholicks would be condemned as Heretick, has nevertheless a great foundation in reason; and I am sure that the most able and ingenious men of the Court of Rome do allow of it, and maintain it, as being a Prelate’s opinion.

David, who was King, Priest, and Prophet, was continually in fear of being damned for others sins; and, as we see, did every day desire of God to be delivered from that imputation: And yet the Popes not only do not apprehend that they may be damned for their Kindreds sins, but do furnish them with the means of offending his Divine Majesty.  Certainly, the Pope’s Relations would take another course if they thought they were out of the way to Heaven; neither would they be so covetous in heaping riches together, if they knew that the treasure of the Church is but in trust, and not in propriety to the Popes.

The Duke Valentine, Son to Alexander the 6th. did commit all sort of crimes imaginable, breaking p. 4both Divine and Humane Laws without any regard or consideration.  But that which was worst of all, was, that he covered his Vices with the Cloak of the Popes Authority; Saying, whensoever he was about to commit a crime: That he did very well know what he was about to do was just; for his Father, who did give him leave to do it, had the Holy Ghost.

This is the mischief that the Popedom does to the Popes; or rather, that the Popes do to the Popedom.  For to say true, the Popedom would be holy if the Popes were so too: But they do not desire it, or they cannot desire it, being governed by their Relations: if not as Popes, at least as private persons.

To this purpose I remember a Story which hapned about twenty years ago, and to which I give the greater credit; because I have it from a worthy Person, and one who heard the words which were said.

A Swedish Gentleman had left Stockholm, the Capital of the Kingdom, with a design to travel over all Europe, as Gentry uses to do: But his principle aim was to be instructed in the way of Worship of the Church of Rome, and be well informed of the difference between the Protestant and Catholick Religion, with a resolution to follow that which he should like best; and he thought no place fitter for his design than Rome, as being the City which gives the rule to others, having in it the Head of the Church, and an infinity of Church-men and Prelates.

In his way thither he met with another German, a Protestant, who had the same design; whereupon having contracted a great Friendship together, they continued their journey, and hapned to come to Rome in the beginning of the holy Week, which is the week before Easter.

p. 5Being lodged, they began by little and little to frequent the Churches, see the Ceremonies, enquire into the Pope’s Power, into his Court, and a thousand other particularities, all relating to the same end.  The Magnificence of the Pope’s Habit, the rich Ornaments of the Altars, the variety of Ceremonies, the Majesty of the Cardinals, and Prelates, the Devotion of the Monks and Fryars, and the great concourse of people to the Churches, did at first surprize these young Gentlemen; and inflame in them that desire which curiosity had already kindled.

Having observed all these things with great care and exactness, they began to inform themselves of the Civil Power of the Pope; of the Entrigues of the Court; of the Government of the City and State.  And in their exact Inquisition they found that indeed all that Policy and Humane Wit could produce was to be seen in the Church-Government, and did not much disapprove of it: But no sooner had they (following still their first curiosity) pryed into the business of the Nipotismo, and discovered the interests of the Nephew towards the Uncle, and the Uncle towards the Nephew; but they presently resolved to return home, and live and die in the Protestant Religion.

The German, whether it was that he had dived into the secret of the Nipotismo, or for some other reason, was not altogether averse from changing his Religion; though by no means he would not remain in Rome: But the Swede was so scandalized at the Church-mens lives, that having conceived a perfect hatred for them, he said to the German, That he would never be the Subject of a Bishop who should be the Slave of his own Relations.

p. 6Of this Gentleman’s opinion there are many, not only in Protestant Countries, but in the middle of Italy it self; and I wish to God, that many of those sins, which lie so heavy upon the Romans consciences, had not been occasioned by the scandal which they continually receive from the Nipotismo.

That which I have related of a Swede is not much different from what I have to say of an English or Scottish man, I know not well which; but I am a very fit person to relate the Story, for I was present at the dispute which he had with a French Bishop: which was thus:

This Stranger had been two years in Rome, in which time he had had divers occasions of being known to the Pope and his Nephews, as likewise of knowing them; and had been infinitely scandalized to see the small care the Pope did take to correct his Nephews extravagancies both in Morals and Polities: But above all, he was much grieved to see that the Pope had taken out of the Treasure of the Church the richest Jewels to bestow them upon his Nephews; and that they made no scruple of robbing the Church to enrich themselves.  Having met in France with this French Bishop, they fell upon the discourse of Religion.  The Bishop perceiving the ill impressions he had received at Rome, thought it was a part of his duty to endeavour to blot them out of this Gentleman’s mind, by telling him, That it was impossible to be saved out of the Church of Rome.  But all that he could say was to no purpose, for the Protestant could scarce afford him audience, but impatiently interrupting him, told him, That it was a hard matter that the Pope could save others, since he did give his own Nephews a most inevitable occasion of damnation.

p. 7Every day the Casuists are disputing, whether or no a Thief may be saved without restitution of his theft if he be in a possibility to do it?  And they all agree, that he must either make amends by restitution, or be damned.  If this be so, how is it possible for the Pope’s Nephews, if the greatest part of their Revenues are the spoils of the Church, and got by unlawful means, the Popes having raised that very money, which they are so proud of, either out of dead mens graves, or the veines of the living.

Though this be true, and that the mischief, which the Popes receive from their Kindred be very great; yet it is a necessary one, and so necessary, that many are of opinion, that those Popes who do forbear advancing their Relations are but small Politicians.

Three Reasons do particularly move the Popes to call their Relations to them: First, The affection which naturally we bear to our bloud and kindred, The conservation of their Persons, and the Policy of their Government.

For the first, I hold him little better than a Beast, that has no tye of Consanguinity upon him, having many Relations that need his help; none but barbarous people are ignorant of those Laws of nature, and are not altogether deprived of the use of them neither.

This love to ones Relations encreases as the Relations themselves do multiply.  And we may say, that love naturally descends; for in old people their love is greatest to their Grand-children, and the fifth generation still carry the old mans affections from the third and fourth.  From hence proceeds, that the Popes, who ordinarily are old, are so passionate for the advancement of their Nephews, for whom often p. 8they hazard their reputations in this world, and their souls in the next.

With our Kindred there is no Medium to be observed; we must either love them tenderly, and do for them all that lies in our power: Or we must hate them perfectly, and become cruel.  It is not possible to be indifferent, and do them neither good nor evil; that would be to be neither man nor beast, which is impossible.

There has been some Popes, who in the beginning of their Reign, out of Zeal and Piety, have shewed themselves averse from their Kindred; not only refusing to favour them, but seeking out all occasions of mortifying them.  But what folly, what devillish policy, what false hypocrisie is this?  For my part, I call such a disposition a vicious humour, which soon passes out of them, or destroys them, Nature it self being offended at this so unnatural a proceeding.

Adrian the sixth, Marcel the second, Urban the seventh, Leo the tenth, were all Popes very severe to their kindred, having all sworn solemnly at their Election never to admit their Kindred into Rome.  And Adrian the sixth was so extravagant that he persecuted them: For he refused to give a recompense to one of his Relations who had done the Church very good service, only because he was his Relation.

But Divine Providence, which delights not to see Nature despis’d, reveng’d this indiscreet Zeal upon these Popes; for they all liv’d but a very little after their Creation.  Adrian liv’d but one year: Marcello, Urban, and Leo liv’d all three together, not two Months compleat.

p. 9So Innocent the Eighth, Julius the Second, Pius the Fifth, and our Alexander that now reigns, were at first strangely averse from their Kindred, which was interpreted by the People for nothing but Hypocrisie and Policy, that they might acquire the Title of Saints and Holy Men; for, a little after they were setled in their Kingdom, and in the Opinion of the Vulgar, they all found out some excuse or another to authorize their change; and particularly our Alexander, who is now as kind as he was severe at first.  And for my part I must confess, that I always laughed at Alexander, for his pretended zeale, in keeping his Relations at a distance; and I never began to have a true respect for him, and believe him really a Saint, till he had brought them to Rome.

And if Christ himself has left us written in the Gospel, That we ought not to despise our own Flesh, how can any Pope justifie an aversion to his Kindred?

Therefore I do not like that Answer of our Pope Alexander to the Cardinal Medicis, who did make it his business to oblige the Pope to call Don Mario to Rome; for he answered this Cardinal’s Prayers and Entreaties with these words of Christ, They are our Brothers and Sisters that do the Will of the Lord; as if his Brother had done the Will of the Devil.  And in the Example of Christ he was mistaken; for he did not despise his Brothers, as having never had any; wherefore his Words were mystical, and contained some more secret sense.  But we see that Christ himself did shew particular favour to his Relations, as to the two Johns, the Baptist, and the Apostle; declaring one to be the greatest of Prophets, and giving to the other the liberty of laying his head in his lap.  But more than that, he recommended his proper Mother p. 10the Blessed Virgin, to the Apostle John; and all the Evangelists own, that he was Christ’s Favourite, and his Beloved.

After this Example, we need no other; and no body can be so bold as to pretend, That it is Piety not to own ones Relations, if Christ himself lov’d his so dearly.

But the Popes are not so much to blame, as those that blame the Popes for their affections to their Kindred: For, alas! the Popes are Men, as we are; and, as such, ought to be allowed something of our fragility.  But in what a Labyrinth are they engaged?  For if they are really averse and cruel to their own Blood, then Nature, Heaven, the Example of Christ, and all the Reason of the World, does condemn them for inhumane, ungrateful, and barbarous.

And if they are kind, and do receive them into Rome, advance them, give them Places and Honours, then Pasquins, Murmurs, Raileries, Affronts, and a thousand Tales of them, are the recompense they are to expect from the Vulgar, who send their Cries to Heaven, and their Complaints about the World against them.

Those Popes that first invented the Title of Cardinal Padrone, had it may be a mind to imitate our Saviour, who declared John the Evangelist his Cosin, to be his Favorite and beloved Disciple: For Gregory the Fifteenth was wont to call his Nephew Ludovisio, his beloved John, though his Name was Lewis; and he did so to shew, That since Christ declared in favour of his Cosin, the Popes might also declare in favour of their Nephews.

For my part, I am of opinion, that let them do what they will, it is not in their power not to love their p. 11Relations, and to abstain from doing of them all the good imaginable.  And we have seen the experience of this in Alexander the Seventh, who made as if he had had no affection for them; but Nature soon made him lay aside this Mask, and profess himself a Man, as the rest.

This is then one of the Reasons that move the Popes to be so tender of their Kindreds Advantages: But there is a second, which is not any ways inferiour to this, which is the preservation of their proper Person.

One of the greatest misfortunes of a Princely Life, is the perpetual care and sollicitude they are in, of preserving themselves.  Their Goodness is often the subject of their Neighbours Envy.  If they be wicked, they are hated by their own Subjects.  So that often they are in doubt which they shall chuse to be, Good or Bad.

Was there a greater Prince than Henry the Third of France?  Was there ever any thing more magnanimous and good, than Henry the Fourth his Successor?  And yet their Greatness, their Bounty, and their Generosity, could not preserve their Persons, but saw their blood shed most miserably by the hands of barbarous Murderers.

But was there ever a better Prince in the World than the late King of England, Charles the First, who had no fault but that he was too good?  And yet such Royal Goodness could not preserve him (I tremble to speak of it) from the barbarous hands of his own Subjects; and upon an ignominious Scaffold, was forced to lose his Life by a fatal Ax.

What are Kingdoms and States, to any body, if they must be perpetually from morning to night busied p. 12about their own preservation?  And what a misfortune to a Man is a Kingdom, if to preserve himself from his own Subjects, he must be fain to raise Cittadels and build Castles in all the places where he goes, that he can never sleep, if Guards and Sentinels do not watch for him?  Certainly a Subject’s condition, that takes his rest without fear, is much more to be valued, than the perpetual perplexity of a fearful Prince.

The Popes nevertheless are these unfortunate Men, and are more exposed to the danger of being made away, than all the Princes of Christendom.  For if any body be so bold and wicked as to wish and desire the death of a Prince whose Crown is Hereditary; yet he stops in his Enterprise, and considers, That he must fear the Sons Vengeance.  Those Men who consented to the death, or, to say better, pronounced Sentence upon the late King of England, wheresoever they are now, they do without doubt repent their Action; and if they had ever thought of the happy Restauration of Charles the Second, they had dealt otherwise with his Father.  So that I must say, by the leave of those Cromwellian Politicians, That they were but pittiful ones that could not foresee that.  Wo be to those that offend a Prince, in hopes that his Heir will forget the offence.

This Reason procures some Security to Princes of an Hereditary Kingdom, and makes the Popes endeavour to find out some means also to secure themselves by their Kindred: For it is well known how many Popes have been poysoned and made away, sometimes by Emperours, sometimes by the People, sometimes by particular Persons; and yet no body has ever taken upon them to revenge their death.  And p. 13why?  Because that their Kindred, not being Heirs of their Power, are not in a capacity to shew their resentment; and are much more busied in getting into the next Pope’s favour, who is ordinarily their Enemy, than in revenging their Uncle’s death.

The Cardinals themselves, who for their own Interest are not much concerned in the Pope’s preservation, do not trouble themselves to inquire by what means he came to his end; ’tis enough for them that the Popedom is vacant, and that they have the Authority of chusing a Successor, who must be one of themselves.

The Popes Lives are a perpetual War; for without they are set upon by the Cares and Troubles of their Employment, and within by the fear of death, which is so great in them, that they are afraid of the very Air they breath.

Sixtus the Fifth went one day to the Convent of the Apostles, which was assigned to the Fryars of the Order he had bin of: and coming in of a sudden without giving any warning, met in their Refectory with a Brother who was eating a Mess of Beans very hungrily.  The good Pope remembring his ancient condition, sat down by him upon a wooden Form, and fell to eating with as great an appetite as the Brother, and made him fill the Dish up again when they had emptied it.

The Pope’s Followers wondered, and were much surprized at his Phancy, or rather extravagant Appetite; but he taking no notice of them, continued to eat on with his wooden Spoon, the Beans that were very well oyled.  At last having emptied the Dish a second time, and thanked the Brother for his kindness, he turned to his Followers and said, p. 14This Dish of Beans will make me live two years longer than I should have done; for I have eaten them with pleasure, and without fear.  Then lifting up his hands and eyes to Heaven, he blessed God that had given a Pope once in his life an occasion of eating a meals Meat in quiet.

Pius the Fifth, who was very lean, was used to say, That it was impossible that the Popes should ever grow fat, for that Nature in them was never supplied but in fear.  And yet this Pope was one of the holiest and best; though it is true, That Holiness is subject to Envy, and therefore obliged to preserve it self against the malignity of its Enemies.

And indeed the diligence which the Popes use in preserving themselves, is such, that it cannot chuse but communicate to them a continual apprehension of some imminent danger: for they do not only watch what they eat, but they never eat any thing which has not been first tasted by those that dress it, and serve it up; chusing ordinarily upon a sudden, and not bespeaking that which they like.

Paul the Fourth was wont to give the greatest part of his Dinner to those that stood by, and make them eat it in his presence; and then often he would take some of that which they had left: So that the whole Court was in perpetual fear, seeing the Pope so timerous.

But fear is not only inseparable from them at Table, but at the Altar too; where they never eat the consecrated Host, before they have given a part of it to the Sacristan there present, whose care it is to provide them, and to eat that part which he receives from the Pope; who having divided it into two parts, gives him sometimes the right side, sometimes the left, as he pleases.

p. 15The same precaution is used in the taking of the Cup or Chalice, which the Pope never tastes, till the Sacristan has drunk some of it before him.  So that it is evident, That the Popes do use many more preventions than any other Prince.

Now if it be thus with them, can they do better than to call about them their proper Kindred, into whose hands they may commit their Persons?  Who will take a greater care of their preservation, than they who hope for Riches and Honour to their Family?  And who will take the pains to contribute to the lasting of any Empire, but he that has the greatest share in the enjoyments of it?

Those Popes who at first seemed averse from their Relations, having in a small time come to know the difficulty of their own preservation in the hands of Strangers, have immediately called them to Rome, and thrown themselves into their Arms, as a place of Refuge against so many who had an interest to destroy them; and by all sorts of Favours, sought to make it their Kindreds Interest to love and take care of them.

It may be that Urban the Eighth, who lived 23 Years Pope, had not attained to half that Age, if the Barberins had not used all imaginable means to prolong his life; which else would have been plotted against by both Princes and private persons.  But no body durst undertake that which seemed impossible.  And without doubt, the care they took of him, did exceed the desire he had of living; for old age was become a burden to him at last.

Innocent the Tenth, after the Design of getting the Kingdom of Naples from the Spaniard was discovered, stood in perpetual fear, lest, to be revenged, p. 16they should plot his death; which it may be they had done, if Donna Olympia had not taken the care to dress his Meat, and feed him with her own hands: and in acknowledgment of her kindness, he would often say to her, Sister, do you take care of me, and I’le take care that the Popedom shall be yours.

Pius the Third, of the Family of Picolomini of Siena, had not died by poyson, procured him by Pandolfo Petruccii Tyrant of the said place, if he had had some of his Relations neer him; whereupon he was forced to trust his life in Strangers hands, and lose it miserably, before he could see any of his Kindred about him.

But here some body will say, That indeed it would not be amiss that the Pope should resign the care of his Person to his Kindred, but not give them an unlimited Power over Church and State; That it is fit they do not want necessaries, but that he should not go about to content their insatiability.  To this we will answer in time and Place; it is enough for the present to have proved, That they are the most necessary Instruments of the Popes preservation.  And because the obligation of him that receives his life from another is infinite, therefore the Popes do think, that they cannot repay but by infinite Gifts and Favours.  Now we will pass to the third Reason, which is, The Reason of State.

The State or Politick Government of the Church, is the most unfortunate and miserable in the World; for it is neither Commonwealth nor Monarchy: and as an ingenious Prelate said, It is neither from God nor the Devil.  And the causes of its Misery are divers; but particularly one is, Because the Supreme Governour always dying without Heirs, there is no p. 17body left to take pity of the grievances which are continually introduc’d by the Governours of Provinces who rule as they please.

Many compare all the Ecclesiastick State to a Town taken by an Enemy, who being out of hopes to keep it any time falls to plundering and destroying it, carrying away all that’s good; and leaving to the poor Citizens nothing but the liberty of venting their complaints: Just so do the Church-men who are in authority in one Pope’s life; for foreseeing that their power is like to expire with him, and be resigned up to his Successor, they make Hay while the Sun shines, and use all manner of Extortions and Violences in their respective places for fear else of departing with their hands empty.  And the people are so far from obtaining redress from those that succeed them, that they had rather be under the Government of their old Masters; for the new ones come with intention to do as much, if not worse, than the others.

In the time of Francesco Maria della Rovere, last Duke of Urbin, his Creatures seeing him past hopes of having any Heirs; and that after his death the Estate was like to fall to the Church, as being a Feife of it, they applyed themselves to make their advantage by all means; that is, they plunder’d and ruin’d it, that they might leave it bare to the Church-men their Successors.  Particularly, when they saw the Duke languishing in a decrepit Age, they then bestirr’d themselves, and flew about like so many Bees to suck the rest of the Honey: But he hapning to live longer than they expected they were at a loss, and had drained all the State so dry; that they themselves were fain to sit and look upon the desolate condition p. 18of that Dukedom without being able to make it worse.

It came thus lean and impoverished into the Church-mens hands, who, for all they have such good Stomachs, were fain to forbear eating for the first seven years, till it had gathered a little flesh again; and then they fell to devouring of it afresh, and have since continued to do so: no sooner perceiving it to be a little recruited, but they extenuate it with Taxes, Impositions, and Extortions.

That which hapned once to the Dutchy of Urbin, happens often to the whole state of the Church; for as soon as the Governours, and other subordinate Officers, see the Pope drawing to his end, and by consequence that their time of getting is also ready to expire, every new Pope advancing new Creatures, there is no sort of Violence, Theft, Robbery, or Extortion that they do not commit in their respective charges: which they no sooner resign to new Officers, but that they who come in poor, and must maintain the Decorum of their places, invent some new way of vexing the poor people, and enriching themselves; giving afterwards a little respite to the people to breath in, and by that time the Pope is a dying, and then they fall on a fresh.

So that it appears that the Popedom being Elective and not Hereditary, causes all these misfortunes to the State and people; for this makes every body think of the present, and none of the future, there being no future amongst Church-men.

But if this inconveniency be great, it would without doubt prove much more intolerable, if the Pope had no Kindred to help them in the Government of the State and Church; For though it seem that a Nipotismo p. 19is directly bent upon its own profit and advantage: yet for divers reasons and respects they do preserve many places from ruine, and many Subjects from oppression.  Whereas if the Pope were without them, he would be forced to trust to a great number of Governours, who would every one be as greedy, and as absolute as a Nephew; and Lord it as high with the title of Dominus Dominantium.

The Nephews, who are few in number, take upon them to be both Shepherds, and Shearers; Treasurers, and Extorters: so that they suffer no body to grow rich but for them, nor to rise but by their means and to their profit, nor to take from others except it be to present them.  For woe be to those Ministers of State, or subordinate Officers, that dare contradict a Nephew’s Will; or do any thing without their Order.

Now this being so, it is evident that it is more easie to satisfie one mans avidity than a hundreds.  If the Nephews were not, every Prelate, every Bishop, every Abbot, every Cardinal, would treat the Church as the Jews did our Saviour’s Garments; that is, divide it amongst them: and it may be, would leave nothing for their Successors; for their Maximes are indeed to live well themselves, but not to provide that others may do so too.

The Nipotismo looks upon the Popedom as their own, and so they have some consideration for a thing in which they pretend a propriety.  When once their Purse is full they let it breath, and recover its forces.  ’Tis true that that seldom falls out; for we have seen the Barbarins, enjoy the state of the Church for three and twenty years: and yet shew as much avidity when they were upon the point to leave it, as when they first entred upon it.

p. 20Besides this, if Rome were without a Nipotismo, the Government of the City would be every day in new hands; every Church-man’s ambition being to climbe up to the top of the Wheel, and supplant him that stands next to the Soveraign Power.  So that the Church would be in one Pontificate, tossed like a ball from one to the other; and that most commonly by very unskilful persons: the mystery of Church-Government being a thing not to be mastered but by those who stay long in it, and acquire great experience in the management of affairs.

Moreover, if the State were governed by different Persons under the Reign of one Pope, it would be a very hard matter to find out the Author of the Peoples miseries, every one having his Predecessors actions for an excuse; so that men would also lose that poor consolation of being able to show their Tormenters: But it is not so when a Nipotismo governs, for then as they have the Honour, and Riches; so must they endure the Reproaches, and Complaints made against their Government, which the Romans do without mercy, making the air sound and repeat their murmurs with a thousand Echoes.

These reasons do sometimes prevail upon the Pope’s Kindred to make them abstain from doing all the mischief they would do; or at least they suffer not others to commit crimes and faults which they know will be laid to their charge: and of the imputation of which they shall be sure to be heirs as well as of their Uncle’s riches.

And indeed, how would it be possible for the State of the Church, which is a Monarchy, to be governed well if it were governed as a Republick.  For in Commonwealths the Governours are the Citizens p. 21and Natives themselves, who being sure that the State they govern, is their own, do administer with Justice and Equity; first, as reaping a benefit by their moderation; And secondly, as being sure to expect a punishment when they are out of their charges: But the Pope having the disposing of all places and charges, does often advance Strangers; who have no design but of making their own Fortune, and who, when once removed from their dignities, may either leave the State, or else procure impunity by a part of those riches which they have extorted from the poor people.  It is much better therefore that there should be a Nipotismo, into whose hands the Popes may trust their Government and Person; and who by the purchase which they make of great Estates do, as it were, settle themselves within the State: and may fear the being called to an account for their violences, if they exceed measure.

There are three other reasons which seem to conclude very strongly in favour of a Nipotismo, which are these:

That the Pope may more easily discover the interests of Foreign Princes; That he may be able to govern with more care and affection; And that he may be able to carry on the Negotiations of his Court with more secrecy.

And indeed, it would not only be difficult, but almost impossible for the Pope to dive into the hidden interests and designs of Foreign Princes without a Nipotismo; For how could he trust Strangers with his secrets, if he could not be assured that they would reciprocally reveal to him all theirs.  The Ministers of State would be easily corrupted to betray the Pope their Master, and incline much more to oblige p. 22Princes, upon whom, because of their hereditary and settled condition, they might relie, than to be faithful to one who might fail every moment; and with him all their hopes and expectations.

Besides, the Princes themselves would hardly condescend to reveal their secrets, and treat of important matters in the Court of Rome, when they should know and see that they must confide in strangers, whom another Prince might bribe and corrupt to their disadvantage; For just so far do Soveraigns trust the Pope as they see about him people, in whom he may trust himself.

Urban the eighth deserves no small praises for his Policy, all along his Reign: but particularly, for his method and way of treating with the Soveraigns of Europe; whose secrets were all revealed to him, whereas none of his were revealed to them again.  For the same means, which he used to discover others designs, help him to conceal his own.

For having created his two Nephews Cardinals, and gave them instructions worthy such a politick head as his was, he made one of them declare for Spain, and the other for France; each of them making demonstration of an extraordinary kindness for the Crown they protected.  Which thing proved most fortunate to the Pope, and successful in the design he had, to be Master of the secrets of both Kings.

Now that this was a design of the Uncle, and no particular inclination of the Nephews, appears easily; because that Cardinal Antonio, who sided with the French, had never had any communication with this Nation before his being made Cardinal: neither had he received from them any kindness that could endear him to their Party: Nay, indeed he had p. 23rather reason to encline to the Spaniards, from whom he had received many courtesies worth acknowledging; but he followed in this his Uncle’s suggestions.

The Cardinal Francesco on the other side who had never any great inclination for Spain, and who in the services he did do them, did not appear with that violence that Cardinal Antonio did; for the French would nevertheless in obedience to his Uncle often declare for them: and in some occasions show a great deal of affection and desire to oblige a Crown, which did seek after his protection.

Urban having thus assigned the care of the interest of these two Potent Princes to his Nephews, could not chuse but be perfectly informed of their designs, and secret intrigues of their Courts; whose Ministers and Ambassadours in order to a further discovery of the Pope’s inclinations, were forced to communicate before hand a great part of their secrets to the Cardinal, Protector of their Kingdom, in hopes by his means of diving further into that which was yet hidden to them: but most commonly they got little light and intelligence by it, for the Nephews following exactly their Uncle’s Instructions, did endeavour to pump every body else, and keep themselves close.  Their Uncle in the mean time well informed on both hands, was sure to take just measures; and by an even carriage so to entertain the affections of both Kings, as to make them both his Friends: and really one who could govern a Popedom so well, and easily, betwixt so opposed and different Interests, did deserve to govern as long as Urban did.

p. 24Innocentius might have been named for one of the greatest Politicians in the world, if his Sister-in-law had not lead him astray; or rather if he had been guilty of an unparalell’d inconstancy in changing so often his Nipotismo.

For they that were disgraced did immediately reveal to Princes all the secrets of his Court, and they who came in their room could never penetrate into the hidden designs of Forreign Courts; for the Princes of those Kingdoms and States durst not trust them with any thing, as being alwayes afraid, lest they should be turned off as the first.

And in effect, as soon as the news of the adoption of Cardinal Astalli was spread abroad, there were many that laid great wagers, that he would not conserve himself in his post long; and the grounds they went upon, was the unconstant humour of the Pope, which no body could trust to.

Cardinal Mazarine himself being weary of so many extravagant changes in the Nipotismo of Innocentius, and seeing Astalli fallen out of his favour, and the Barberins in his place, said to one of his Confidents, in the presence of a French Protestant, these words, I have never relyed much upon the Cardinal Astalli; and I shall now scarce rely upon the Pope himself.  Many Princes both of Italy and Germany were of Cardinal Mazarine’s minde in this, and became very cautious in all their negotiations; avoiding all occasions of treating with his Holiness, as knowing that nothing could be well managed in such divisions, and changes.

Thus we see, that not only the Popes must have near them those that have the title of Nephews; but they must be really such, as by consanguinity p. 25may be obliged to the same interest with the Pope, if he means that others should trust them.  This is the only way to make the Popes appear Sovereigns, as really they desire to be; and any other way they will seem rather to be the Heads of a Commonwealth than absolute Princes.

It is fit therefore, that they should be allowed a Nipotismo for their own and others safety; but it is not just that they should so indulge this Nipotismo, as to set it above themselves, and become its slaves.  Let them treat with Princes, but let them not become so themselves, and usurp the Pope’s Authority, so far as to use it without his knowledge, and often contrary to the Interests of the Church and State.

Let them not do as Gregory the 15th. who had given to the Cardinal Ludovisio his Nephew, so great an Authority of doing and saying what he pleased, without so much as consulting his Uncle, that he was really become Pope, and the Pope as if he had been the Nephew; and if ever he come and give him part of any secret negotiation, it was because the thing was so intricate, that he either could not, or durst not undertake to come to execution, without being first fortified with his Uncle’s advice and approbation.

But the best was, that the Pope himself did not dare to ask him any questions about business, or inform himself otherwise; but sometimes would be whole weeks together without so much as seeing the face of an Ambassadour, or publick Minister: his Nephew in the mean time giving Audience, and concluding all business with them.

And the Pope was so customed to this usage, that p. 26it never came into his minde to be offended at it; but would very contentedly make amends for those faults which his Nephew did often commit in his administration: and whensoever he did see his Nephew come into his presence, he would say, Nephew, I am sure ’tis some very hard and intricate business that brings you hither, for else we should scarce be repaired to for counsel.  And he had a great deal of reason to say so, for his Nephew did never communicate to him any negotiation, except he had first spoiled it, and brought himself to a non-plus; and then the Pope would oblige the Congregations of the Cardinals to take the business into their care, and set right again that which had been spoiled by his inability.

The second reason for the Nipotismo is, that the Popes may be able to govern with more care and affection.  There is nothing that forces more a Prince to answer the ends of Government, and to oblige his people, than when he considers that the Government is to descend to his Heirs; for a Prince without a Successor does often dissipate and spoil that which he would preserve, if he had any body to leave it to.

The State of Venice which never established any Law without having first deliberated upon it, and sifted it in their Council of Pregadi, does think fit to oblige the kindred of the dead Duke to answer for their Kinsman’s misdemeanours and miscarriages; fining them in great summes of money for a reparation of his faults: so that often they are fain to endure for the dead Duke those punishments, which his Dignity when he was alive, and his death, have preserved him from.

p. 27The effect of this is, that the Dukes of Venice do comport themselves with all moderation and equity, following exactly those rules of Government which they receive from the State; And the fear they are in of leaving their Relations engaged in a painful satisfaction for their faults, does oblige them to study night and day how they may serve the publick: in doing which, they do at the same time oblige their Countrey, themselves, and their Kindred; whereas else they might be subject to follow their own private interests, to the prejudice and detriment of all the Commonwealth.

The Popes have almost the same fear upon them, and by consequent the like obligation; for the only consideration of leaving their Relations engaged with too powerful enemies, has often made them desist from enterprizes, which would have proved fatal to their State, and all Christendom.

Urban the 8th. did often protest, that if it had not been out of a kindeness to his Nephews, he would either have hazarded the Popedom, or have brought Princes to his will.

The Popes know very well by experience, that there is no way to preserve their Nipotismo from the persecution which ordinarily they are to expect from their Successours; whensoever their Successors are such as come with pre-occupation against them, and finde in the Government of the Church and State so many abuses, which do quicken their indignation against the precedent Nipotismo.

This is a very great tye upon them in their administration, which appears if once they come to cast it off.

Paul the 4th. who had much of a barbarous and p. 28inhumane humour in him, more becoming a Souldier than a Pope; as soon as he had banished his Nephew from Rome, did do things with a great deal more resolution and insolence than before: insomuch that it seemed, as if he had a minde to reduce all the world under his Laws, and force Christendom to follow the dictates of his Capriccio.

The Ministers of Princes who had to do with him, did extremely complain of this his proceeding; for he did no less than threaten them all upon every occasion: and one day particularly as the Spanish Ambassador was complaining to him of some occasion of disgust which his Holiness had given the Crown of Spain, he answered him in a fume, That he had now no Nephews to care for; and that suppos’d, That his actions did deserve to be blamed, he little cared: for with his death all resentments would vanish: meaning he was no longer concerned for his Relations, for whose sake he had all this while contained himself within the limits of the Papal Dignity.

Some say that Julius the second did bear a great affection to his Kindred, but did forbear any demonstrations of kindeness to them out of a more solid Principle of Love; which was, That they might not receive any reproaches or injuries after his death, for those faults which he might have committed in his life time: for having resolved to do nothing but make War, and lead a Souldiers life, as indeed he did, he would infallibly have drawn the revenge of all his Enemies upon his kindred, to whom therefore he shewed himself averse.

And indeed it was wisely done of him, and kindely; p. 29for it was impossible but so warlike a humour as his was, must needs offend many Princes, who all would have been revenged upon his Nipotismo, as Authors, and Partakers of their Uncle’s Designs.

If Urban had done the same thing, the persecution of the Barberins had not been at all, or at least had not been so violent; but the great Authority with which they appeared under him, did make Princes believe that all the Pope’s actions were of their plotting and managing.

So, when the Duke of Parma, and the Princes his allyes made War against the Church, they declared to all the world that they had no design to offend the Pope; but only to be revenged of the Barberins, whose ambition they accused as the Motive of the War.

Quite contrary, All the errors and miscarriages of Innocent the 10th. were never imputed to his Nephew the Prince Pamphilio; for every body knew well, that he had no share in the administration of the Government, and yet he is in possession of all those riches and vast summes of money which Donna Olympia his Mother had got together: and no doubt if she were now alive, she would certainly be in very great danger, if it were only, because of that opinion which Princes had conceived of the Authority with which she rul’d, and was thought to have a hand in all the transactions of her Brother’s Pontificate.

And on the other side, that tender affection which the Pope did bear to his Sister-in-law, was very useful towards the abating something of the violence of the Pope’s temper, diverting him from p. 30all thoughts of War, and keeping him from entring into Leagues and Confederacies with Princes, with whom he desired to live in peace.

When the revolution of Naples happened, which was the greatest occasion that ever any Pope had to possess himself of that Kingdom, he was so far from attempting it, that he would never so much as say a word, or enter into deliberation about it; not that he wanted courage or desire: but only because he would not leave Donna Olympia, and his Kindred, involved in an irreconcilable War with Spain, and in danger of ruining themselves for ever.

Our Alexander has alwayes used the same precautions, for when Don Agostino in the heighth of his insolence and pride disobliged so openly the Family of Colonna, by making his Uncle the Cavalier De la Ciaia take up that place in the Theatre, which the High Constable Colonna had hired for himself.

The Pope was infinitely offended at so rash an action, not out of any consideration for the merit of the Family of the Colonna; but because he knew that such an accident could not choose but be followed by an open enmity betwixt the two Families of Chiggi and Colonna: therefore without any delay the Pope gave order, that all the means of reconciliation should be sought out.  And finding that Don Agostino stood too much upon his terms, and would not be brought to make any satisfaction to the Constable, the Pope grew passionate; and sending for him, forced him to a present complyance, using some reproaches: and amongst others, these words, You commit extravagant follies, and I p. 31must be put to the trouble of making amends for them, to free you from the danger of their consequences.  And a little after, You do nothing but procure mischief to your self and me, while I make it my business to do you good.

I will not say any thing of the business of the Duke of Crequy, for it is most certain, that without the consideration of his Kindred, the Pope had never condescended to an agreement so advantageous for France.

Witness the Pope’s own expressions to those Ambassadours and Cardinals, who for the quiet of Italy did endeavour to take up the business.  The Venetian Ambassadour above all did concern himself very much in the business, following the Orders of his Senate; which does wisely fore-see and endeavour to take away all causes of a War in Italy: and as he was pressing the Pope upon the business, his Holiness answered him, That it was a great affliction to him that he had introduced his Kindred into Rome; for else he would either have broke himself, or have made France bend.

But the Ambassadour who was very ready in all occasions, but particularly prepared upon this, answered him, If your Holiness had never brought your Kindred into Rome, this accident had not happened.

To which the Pope replyed suddenly, Well then, we must make all well again, to the Churches prejudice, and our Kindreds advantage.

The like discourse he had with Monsignor Rasponi (who now is Cardinal) and was then created Plenipotentiary for the Treaty of Pisa, after he had in vain been sent to Lyons, to make an agreement; p. 32for there the business was crossed with a thousand difficulties, amongst which the precedency was one.

The Pope was brought into such a Labyrinth, that he did almost lose his wits in seeking how to come out of it; for on one side the affection of his Family did continually solicite him to yield to the great pretensions of the French King; on the other, the Decorum and honour of his Pontificate, which would be blurr’d with the infamy of having given away so much of the Dignity and Profits of the Church, did make him resolve to be constant, and bate nothing of that respect and Majesty which the Popes do use to expect from Princes: and the rather, because he had alwayes shewed himself a singular defender of the Pontifical Dignity, and could not endure to be forced to submit to a Crown for which he had never had any great inclination.

For all this, at last, the interest of his Kindred carried it before those of the Church; and after he had worn out all the slights and arts that the Court of Rome could furnish him withal, he was forced at last to come to an agreement, as infamous for the See of Rome, as it was honourable for France.

Whereupon some of the most zealous Cardinals having vented their complaints in the Consistory it self, blaming Monsignor Rasponi for signing the Treaty, He was obliged to excuse himself to every one of them in a particular Visit, by saying That he had an express Order from his Holiness for what he had done; who had declared his resolution of yielding to any conditions, rather than of leaving his Family engaged against so powerful an Enemy as France.  To which purpose he related to some of his particular p. 33friends, the very words which the Pope spoke to him when he went to take his leave of him to go to Pisa, to treat with the Duke of Crequy, which were these, Be discreet and yield up something of the Popedom, to save our Family; and not leave them and the Church in an obligation of maintaining a dangerous War in Italy.

Thus it appears that it is not so much that universal care of a Father, that makes the Popes maintain a good correspondence with Christian Princes; as the fear of leaving Enemies to their Families, and bringing ruine upon their Relations.

We all know that every Pope either out of envy or some other motive is well pleased to lessen, if not utterly to destroy the Family of his Predecessor; and of this we have had many experiences since two ages.  Therefore also the Popes, to prevent this misfortune, do ordinarily endeavour to get, while they are alive, the protection of some eminent Christian Prince, for their Family; under whose wings they may shelter themselves in a time of calamity.

And if this be, we may conclude, that all the affection, the care, and the desire which the Popes have of advancing their Kindred, does at last turn to a general benefit and profit for Christendom; and if you except one inconvenience, which is, that they impoverish the Church, and carry away all its treasure, it were and is better for all other considerations, that the Popes do govern conjoyntly with their Nipotismo, than without it: which is proved by a third reason; which is, that without a Nipotismo the Negotiations and business of the Court could never be carried with secresie enough.

p. 34I am in doubt whether it be harder to keep a thing secret in the Court of a Prince, than in the Council of a Commonwealth; for in the Commonwealth the great number of Counsellors make the keeping of a Secret a very difficult thing: and in the Court of Princes, the envy of those Courtiers, who are excluded from the management of Affairs, is so sharp-sighted, and does so pry and penetrate into the most hidden Mysteries of the Court, to the end they may either hurt the Prince through his Counsellors, or the Counsellors through the Prince, that it is almost impossible to keep any thing hidden from them.

I am of opinion, that for one reason the Secrets of a Commonwealth are better concealed, which is; because that those that are conscious to them, are themselves the Princes and Masters of the State: but in a Monarchy, the Prince being forced to trust some of his Subjects, it is much more dangerous for him and for his business; for he becomes slave and dependent of those who should be his.  Divers Histories will furnish us with examples to prove what we say; and if that be true, and that yet nevertheless it is very hard to keep counsel in a Commonwealth, it is easily inferr’d, how difficult a thing it is to do it in a Monarchy.

But what shall we say then of the state of the Church, of which no body can tell whether it be Commonwealth, or Monarchy, the Popes appearing sometimes absolute like Princes, and other while dependent like Dukes of Commonwealths; and without doubt the Popes could never be able to conceal so many private and publick interests without that trust and relyance, which they have in p. 35their Nipotismo: and this particularly for two reasons.  The first is thus.

The Court of Rome taken in all its latitude, is without doubt the greatest of Europe, and the most magnificent of Christendom; for it yields to no other in the great number of Ambassadours, and publick Ministers which reside in it.

For the Popes, that they may the better conserve the title of Universal Father, which they affect, do by all means procure to have as many Ambassadors of Christian Princes near them as they can.  But that very thing by which this Court seems to be most honoured, does also carry with it an evident danger; for these Ambassadours and Residents being unwilling to stay in Rome, without procuring some considerable advantage to the Princes that send them, are perpetually watching for occasions to discover the Popes most secret designs: so that they are in effect so many spyes, who the more they are in number, the more do they encrease the difficulty of preserving and concealing the Secrets of the Court.

Before I speak of the second Reason, which makes the Court of Rome so suspicious a place for Secrets, I must say something about the Cardinals, and their Office, and Employment.

The Cardinals are the Pope’s Counsellors, who by the Dignity of their place, and the Majesty of their Habit, do much augment the pomp and splendor of the Court.  The Popes do every day give them new Priviledges and Prerogatives, by the means of which they are respected like so many Kings.

This makes Forreign Princes endeavour to get p. 36their friendship by all means, giving them both secret and publick allowances and Pensions, in consideration of these Prerogatives, and of the power which they have to chuse the Pope; who must necessarily be one of their number.

But if Princes shew a promptitude and readiness to win the Cardinals affections, they are themselves reciprocally courted by the Cardinals for divers reasons; As first, for the Emolument of their Pensions; Next, that they may not obstruct their way to the Popedom by an open Exclusion in the Conclave; And last of all, that they may live in greater reputation and esteem in Rome, Where those Cardinals are most valued that entertain an exact correspondence with Princes: particularly if it be with any of the two Crowns of Europe, that is, France, or Spain; upon whose Brigues and Interests does ordinarily depend the election of the Pope.

Now it is to be believed, that these Princes do not prodigally spend their Treasure without receiving a continual Interest for it; which Interest is an exact information of all that is done, treated, and managed in the Court of Rome: And of this the Cardinals acquit themselves with great industry and diligence.

So we see, how intricate and troublesome the Government of Rome would become to the Popes; if they had not Confidents, that is, Nephews, on whom they might relie; and to whom they might trust their secrets without fear.

For indeed, a Pope without Kindred must renounce Monarchy, and resolve to be only as the Head of a Commonwealth; which would be just to give himself up into the hands of the Cardinals, and be at their discretion: Which if it were, every body may p. 37easily infer how dangerous it would prove to the Pope’s Authority, and how unbeseeming the greatness and decorum of his place and dignity.  Besides that, probably things would fall into confusion and disorder, while every Cardinal would be more intent to satisfie his own ends; and, as they say, draw the water to his Mill, than to mind the necessities of the State and Church.

If the Pope could do nothing without the counsel and assent of the Cardinals, How would he be able to treat any Leagues, make Wars, or Peace?  Which are things so incident to the nature of a great State, such as the Pope’s is, that it can seldom be without them.  There would be framed a thousand difficulties in the very beginnings of Negotiations; and the Enemy would know all before you had resolved any thing.  Every Cardinal would support his Prince and Country, and at last they would all be so embarassed and confounded, that they would either be in danger of losing themselves for the Church, or of exposing the Church to mischief to save themselves.

How would it be fit, that the Pope should advise with the Senate of Cardinals, if they themselves are his and the Churches greatest enemies, If they have not only promised, but sworn fidelity to the Party of those Princes that give them Pensions and Revenues?  How then can they follow the Pope’s directions, or consent to his designs?  Certainly they must either cheat the Prince, that they may be true to the Church; or be false to the Church, that they may not be ungrateful to those Princes, whose money they have taken.

There are some Cardinals that would not care, if all p. 38were lost, so they did but save their Family, which is under the protection of some Prince; and avoid themselves the reproach of ingratitude from their Benefactors.

The greatest part of the Cardinals are either of the French or Spanish Faction, and each of them makes it his greatest glory to defend the Pretensions of the Crown he protects, whether just or unjust; so that often between them they neglect and ruine the Interests of the Church and Pope.  How were it possible then for the Pope either to preserve himself or the Church in its Prerogatives, if he would take and follow the counsel of those whose interest makes them the Enemies to both; though they pretend, that what they do is only out of a tender consideration of the publick good.

To this purpose I remember that a certain Italian Cardinal, being weary of holding for many years on the Spaniards side, gave himself to the French by the mediation of a better Pension which they promised him.  And indeed the Cardinals, whatsoever they pretend, have no other inclination to either party than what their Interest leads them to; For he that gives highest Pensions, and the best Benefices, is sure to have them.

This Cardinal, having thus renounced the Spaniard, did go about to take away the imputation of inconstancy and self-interest; and would say in all companies, That he had no other end in doing so, but a desire to be able to serve the Church and Pope the better.

But another Cardinal, of great experience and prudence, hearing him one day discourse after this rate, could not forbear saying these words to him, I wish to p. 39God that your Eminence, that have never been able to do the Church any service while you were a true Spaniard, may do her some now you are a counterfeit Frenchman.  And this he said in the presence of divers Cardinals and Embassadours.

Let us then conclude, that the State and Church can never be well governed, as to the point in hand, if the Popes be without Nephews to relye on, and in whose secrecy they may confide.

Innocentius the tenth was so convinced of this truth, that finding himself deprived of those helps which he could not receive from his lawful Kindred by reason of their inabilities; and withal seeing that he was exposed to the unsatiable avarice of a woman, his Sister-in-Law, he was fain to take the young Astalli and declare him Cardinal Nephew, and Padrone, giving him the name of Pamphilio; and in a word, made him in Rome, as Pharaoh was in Ægypt, the Governour of all things.

But what hapned?  This young Cardinal not being able to comply with the Pope’s humours, and having no tye of Consanguinity upon him, was rather a Traytor to him than a Nephew; for he did reveal to the Spaniards, from whom he did secretly receive good Pension, all that passed through his hands, or that could come to his knowledge: caring not how he hazarded and engaged the Pope’s Honour and Reputation.

Particularly, at that time that the Pope and the Barberins together, did consult how they should fall upon the Kingdom of Naples and divide it among themselves, Astalli all day long did set spies, and endeavour himself to discover their Counsels; and then secretly in the night did give the Spaniards notice of p. 40all; who, being thus well instructed, did easily prevent their Enemies designs, by taking away all those means which the Pretendants relied upon for the execution of their Enterprize.

Upon this the Pope enraged against Astalli, banished him from Rome, took away from him all that he had so liberally given him, except the quality of Cardinal; of which he could not be deprived but for great crimes, and that by a fair trial too.

Now if the Pope Innocent could not trust one whom he had raised from nothing; and if the secrets of his Court were revealed and published by a Cardinal so much obliged to him, How can other Popes trust Cardinals that are as it were their enemies by being too much other Princes friends?

These are the reasons that force the Popes to call their Kindred about them, and shew them all demonstrations of kindness; and I think they are such as prove that the Pope cannot govern according to the rules of good Policy, if their Kindred be not with them, and have not a share in their fortune.

And if it be so, Why do we murmur so much against the Popes for spending the Treasure of the Church in maintaining the greatness of their Nephews? since it is certain that their Pomp and State is the Churches.  And to what shall its Treasure be useful, except it serve to make the Majesty of the Popedom appear to the eyes of the world?  For there is no doubt, that if the Pope’s Spiritual Authority were not held up and maintained by his Temporal Power, it would soon be ruined and despised.  For now adaies the reputation of riches and strength is that, which breeds respect for the Popedom; as in the p. 41Primitive Ages of the Church it was upheld by holiness of life, and good example.

Poor Church-men are indeed respected still by some devout Women, and the Vulgar: But they are despised in the Courts of Princes; where the Rich are welcome, and honourably received.  A poor Church-man must wear a Hair-cloth, Fast, do Penitence, and work Miracles to be known and respected: But a rich one, without more ado, shall immediately be saluted and welcomed even where he is unknown.

Why are the Jesuites so in vogue in the World, and desired in Courts, as if Princes could not be without them.  The Vulgar adore them, Noblemen respect them, and Magistrates grant them protection and priviledges.  Is it that they serve the Church better than other Church-men?  No certainly: For the Orders of Saint Francis and Saint Dominick have spent more bloud in the profession of the Christian Faith in a Day, than the Jesuites in an Age; neither do they live a more exemplary or a stricter life than others.  How comes it to pass then, that they are so powerful?  I will tell you; Money is the Key which opens all doors to these good Fathers, by which they purchase Credit, Power, and Authority, even amongst Church-men, and in the Court of Rome.

The Popes by this, seeing how important a thing Riches are in the hands of Church-men, do very wisely strive to furnish their Nipotismo with them; that as they are to treat and manage the greatest affairs of Christendom: so they may do it with the Pompe and State, that so Eminent an Employment does require.


The Contents.

In which is discoursed, of all the good and ill that the Pope’s Nephews have done the Church ever since Sixtus the FourthOf the Church of Christ, compared to a FieldOf those that first bestowed Riches upon the ChurchOf the insatiability of the Nipotismo in generalOf the Princes that murmur against the mischiefs caused by the Pope’s Nephews in Christendom.  Of the honour that Princes receive in bestowing Revenues upon the ChurchHow the Scandal was first introduced in the ChurchOf the Complaints made against the Popes.  Of the Primum movens, that gives Motion to the Sphere of the Nipotismo.  Of a Comparison betwixt the Gospel and the ChurchmenOf a Dispute between p. 44a Papist Preacher, and a Protestant.  Of the Spirit of the Nipotismo, inclined to gather RichesOf the impossibility of serving God and the WorldOf the Excommunication of the Lucheses by Urban the EighthWhy men are so easily corruptedOf an Accident that befel St. Francis of Assiza.  Of another that befel St. Francis of Paola.  Of a false Opinion, maintained by some DivinesOf a Discourse held by Ferdinand, Great Duke of Toscany, to a Pilgrim that was going to Rome.  Of the great number of Decrees that have been made to reform the Church-menOf the People that complain of the Nipotismo.  How all Christendom is scandalized by itHow the Monks exclaim against it, because it starves themHow often Princes withdraw from Rome discontentedOf the Popes that cannot reform the Abuses of the Church, except they begin with their NephewsOf Alexander the Seventh, and his austere LifeHow the good Example he gave in the beginning of his Pontificate, was of great profit to the ChurchOf some Protestants that went to Rome on purpose, upon the noise of his exemplary LifeHow he left off hating, and fell to loving his KindredOf Don Mario, the Head of this Nipotismo.  Of the Disorder that was in Rome, about the Accident that befel the Duke of Crequy.  Of the damage done to the Church by itOf Don Agostino, and his high CarriageOf the Cardinal Padrone his inclination to sensual PleasureOf the Taxes and Oppression of the Pope’s SubjectsOf a particular Opinion about the Peoples VicesOf the pitiful condition of the Church in Innocentius the Tenth’s timeOf the Renunciation of the Cardinals Cap, made by the p. 45Prince Pamphilio.  How Donna Olympia did carry her self towards the Nipotismo.  Of the Princes Ludovisio and Giustiniani.  Of the Nipotismo of Urban the EighthOf the Praises given to this Nipotismo, by those who have writ the Life of Urban.  Of the Policy of the Nephews of the Popes.  Of the most remarkable Passages of the Life of Urban.  How the Writers did dissemble all the ill done by himOf the Barberins Proceedings towards the Emperour and King of Poland.  Of the scandal which the Protestants themselves did receive from their DealingsOf the Designs of Gregory the Fifteenth, to destroy the Protestants.  How Cardinal Ludovisio his Nephew was of another OpinionOf the pains that Gregory took to get into his hands Marc Anthony de Dominis, who was fled to London.  How the Prince Elector’s Library was given to the Pope.  Of the Zeal of Paul the Fifth towards the defence of the Ecclesiastick JurisdictionOf the hatred he bore to the State of Venice.  How dangerous the Excommunication of the Venetians was to all Italy.  Of the great constance of the Venetian SenateOf the Troubles of the Church in the Pontificate of Clement the EighthHow he opposed himself to Henry the Fourth King of France.  Of that King’s ResolutionOf the Proceedings of Sixtus the Fifth towards his KindredHow he banished one of his RelationsOf his Nipotismo, that did the Church neither good nor harmOf the Resolution of Sixtus, to Excommunicate Henry the Third of France.  How the Cardinals opposed itOf that King’s DeathHow Sixtus did not much care to assist the League in France.  Of some Particularities of the Nipotismo p. 46of Gregory the FifteenthOf the great disorder that was in Rome in the time of Paul the FourthOf the Cardinal Caraffa that died last: And of some other Particularities about other Popes.

That which we have said in the precedent Book, is rather a Panegyrick for the Popes and their Nephews, than a true dis-interessed Relation, becoming a History: Therefore lest our Nipotismo should lose its Soul, and that which will make it live, we must fall into our wonted indifference; and by saying all the ill, and all the good that can be said of the Nipotismo, perswade our Reader, as it is true, That we have no other Design, than to relate freely and without interest its concerns.

Thus doing, the Popes will have no reason to complain; since the ill that is said, will be recompensed by the good; and the Romans, or my other Readers, will not tax the Author of partiality or flattery, since he so freely writes all that comes to his knowledge for the instruction of the Publick.

Therefore we will treat in this Book, of all the good and all the mischief, that the Nephews of the Popes have done to the Church, ever since Sixtus the Fourth.  Their good actions shall be set out, that the Memory of the dead may be revived, and due Honour given to the living that deserve it.  And their ill deeds shall not be forgotten, that they may be hated by all Mankind; and that the Nephews of the Popes to come, hearing the blame they undergo, may learn to esteem good actions, and avoid ill ones.

But the greatest difficulty that I find in the execution of this my design, will be, how to separate the good Corn from the Tares: for all that the Nipotismo p. 47does, is thought good and just by them, though never so wicked; and the Romans, on the contrary, will scarce allow of any of their actions, though never so virtuous.

Christ has often compared in his Gospel the Church to a Field; and indeed it was a very fit Metaphor: for, like a Field, it has always been either sowed, or mowed; and it is a hard matter to know, whether the number of the Sowers does exceed that of the Mowers, though their Employment be very different.

But certainly we may say, That the Popes Nephews have always been the Mowers, and the rest of Christian Princes the Sowers.  And as Princes have made no difficulty of taxing themselves and their Subjects, and parting with the dearest fruits of their labours, to give to the Church; so the Pope’s Nephews have made no scruple of dissipating and spending in their Pastimes and Pleasures, that which Princes had spared out of their own Treasure for them.

What would Constantine, Pepin, Charlemagne, the Countess Mathilda, and so many other Princes say, if they should come into the World again, to see those Lands and Revenues, which they so charitably gave to the Church, divided, and cast lots for, as his Vestments?  Truly I think, that they would now think it as a pious Work, to take from the Church-men by force, that which they had before given so willingly: and this because they would deliver so many People from the intolerable oppression of these Nipotismo’s.  And indeed their insatiability is such, that the Church and the State, ruined and spoiled as it is by so many hungry Nipotismo’s, would scarce p. 48suffice for their maintenance, if Forreign Princes did not take a pride in enriching the Church by great Revenues, which are all devoured by the hungry Nipotismo’s; who are very justly compared to the Hydra’s Heads, whereof one was no sooner cut off, but there sprung seven worse and more envenomed in the place.

It is a kind of a Miracle to me, to hear Princes murmur at the disorders the Nipotismo’s commit, in robbing the Church, and perverting the use of its Riches; And yet to see those very same Princes contribute out of their own Revenues, and their Peoples Sweat and Labour, towards the enriching of those that they blame.

I think it would be as great a piece of Justice to punish those that are robb’d, as to chastise him that commits the Theft: For if so, the number of Thieves would diminish infinitely; since every body then would take as much care in preserving, as the Thief could use Art in stealing.  Whereas now every one relying upon the surety of the Publick Laws, and the punishment that attends those that violate them, does as it were give an occasion of offending against them; and as the Proverb says, The Occasion makes the Thief; which is as much as to say, That they that are negligent in preserving their own, are the cause that others have a mind to it.

If Princes following this Truth, did shut up their Treasures, and stop that Stream of Wealth which flows from their States to Rome, while they see that it is all ill us’d, and employed to the ruine of the Church and True Religion; certainly the Pope’s Nephews would not commit so many Scandals: neither would the World have so much reason to murmur against them.

p. 49But our Complaints are not like to cease, while Princes shall think it honourable and pious to oppress their Subjects, that they may supply the Court of Rome: And, on the other side, the Nipotismo shall make no scruple of taking any thing from the Church and State, and alledge for their excuse, That they take nothing but what is the superfluous part of the Churches Revenue.

What do so many Abbies, Pensions, and other Revenues, which Princes bestow upon Church-men, serve for; but to weaken so much their own States, and strengthen another Princes? to make that which is Sacred, Profane? turn Crosses into Swords, and Humility into Pride and Majesty?  And when they have bestowed thus their Gifts and Presents upon those that do not need them, they are not only forsaken in their greatest distress by Church-men; but are set upon by them, and brought to their ruin, that the Church may have the Soveraignty over their People, in the Place of the lawful Princes.

All the disorders and scandals of the Church, State, and Church-men, take their rise from their Riches.  When the Church was poor, Church-men were holy, having nothing to employ their minds about, but the Rules of a Good Life: but since once Riches came amongst them, farewell Holiness of Life; they have not the leisure; they are too much taken up with telling their Money, buying and selling Estates and Princedoms; they forget those spiritual Riches of the Soul, and mind only those that relate to the Pleasures of the Body.

Riches came in by little and little upon the Church, and by the same degrees Sanctity and Holiness of Life went out.  They that read the History p. 50of the Church, cannot chuse but have discerned all along the truth of what I say.

And yet every one knowing this, and being so forward to complain and murmur against the Popes avarice, and their Nephews prodigality; no body thinks of blaming those that by continual Gifts do every day supply and furnish them with these Instruments of Wickedness.

Christ has declared definitively, and pronounced with his own mouth, in the sixth Chapter of Saint Matthew, That it is impossible to serve God and Mammon.  Now Mammon being interpreted Riches by most, nay by all, the conclusion is, That it is impossible to serve God and Riches.

The Popes, on the other side, do by their continual practice prove to the World, in enriching their Families, that they are firmly perswaded, that one may at the same time serve God, and the Mammon or Riches of this World; or else certainly they would give over tormenting themselves, to make their Kindred great.

Riches are that Primum Movens which set the Sphere of the Nipotismo a going; and we may say, That in this Heaven of theirs, they are no less devout than poor simple Women are, to purchase that which is promised them by the Church of Rome: For as the one falls down before a Crucifix, and adores the Altar, to gain Indulgences; so do the Pope’s Nephews prostrate themselves before their Treasures, and believe that they obtain the pardon of all their faults, in worshipping the Coffers in which they have buried the Churches Riches.

Now if Christ has said, That there is no serving God and Riches, How can the Popes give their Nephews p. 51leave to serve Riches and God?  Have the Popes the Power of giving our Saviour the Lie?  For what is it else?  For either they believe not Christ’s Words to be true, or else they are resolved to contradict them in their Practice; both which are abominable to any rational or serious Christian: though I believe that in Italy there are thousands who, frighted by the Inquisition, would rather answer, That Christ was mistaken in his Doctrine, than say, That the Pope does amiss in his Practice.

About four years ago I was in Bagni del Vallé, a Town so called; where, amongst others, was a Father of the Order of Saint Augustine, by name Father Paolo Segani, who called himself a Preacher; though for my part I believe he was so far from being a good Divine, that he was scarce Master of the Rules of Grammar in the Latin Tongue.

This good Father was one day engaged in a Dispute with a Protestant Gentleman, about the Infallibility of the Pope; and there were many of both Religions present, amongst whom I was one.  The Protestant was a Frenchman, called Jean Antony Guerin, a Doctor of Physick, and a very ingenious Gentleman; but one who excelled in the knowledge of the Holy Scripture, and did so well understand all the hard Passages of it, that the Ministers of his Religion did often take great pleasure to hear him discourse with so much ability about it.

The Dispute on the Catholick’s side was most spent in Words, he being able to answer to all the Protestant’s Reasons with nothing but a Negative, and say, It is not true, That is false.

But at last, as they grew warm, the Protestant pressing closer upon him, put this Question to him, p. 52on purpose because he saw him so ignorant.  Whether or no it were easier for Christ to have err’d in delivering his Gospel, than for the Pope to erre in his Decrees?

At this the Monk smiled, and thinking to hit the nail on the head, answer’d him boldly, That he believed that Christ, as Man, might have erred; but that the Pope, as God, could not erre.

At this Answer the Protestant burst out a laughing, and so did some Swisser Ladies, who without doubt had more wit and discernment in matters of Religion, than this impertinent Monk.  And thus the Dispute ceased; the Protestant contenting himself to have shewed the others Ignorance, and the Monk thinking he had answer’d most invincibly.

And indeed, in what Soul or Mind can this Opinion be receiv’d, That the Pope is more infallible than Christ; That God should fail in his Words, and a Pope be infallible in His Decrees?  O Blasphemy, and horrible Error in the poor abus’d People! who give more credit to the Pope’s words, than to Christ’s own Gospel.

It has been observed, that in the Popes Families there has been Saints, even amongst their inferiour rank of their Servants; and yet there never was any of their Nephews Saints.  I have turned over great Volumes of the Church-History, a purpose to see if amongst that great number of men, who are said to has performed Miracles, there were any one of a Nipotismo to be found amongst them: But truly I lost my pains; for the Popes, who have filled up the Roman Kalendar with thousands of Saints, have not yet been able to place one of their Nephews there.  And indeed, how is it possible that they, that live in p. 53delight and greatness, should have room amongst those that have purchased their place in heaven by sufferings and poverty?

And me-thinks, it is a sad thing to observe for the Nephews, that all the harm the Church has received was from those amongst them that shewed the strongest Propension to Riches and Power: whereas all the good that has been done by them comes from those amongst them that have been moderate, and contented with ordinary riches.  And now if we measure the good by these moderate men, and the ill by the insatiable, the number of the last being much greater than that of the first, will demonstrate to us that the damage the Church receives from the Nipotismo is much greater then the good they ever did or will do to it.

In the time that Urban the eighth Excommunicated the Lucheses for going about to repress the Insolence of Church-men in their State; all the Italian Princes sided with them, not out of any particular affection to them, but out of a politick reason, they being all concern’d in the loss of Lucca, for thereby the Ecclesiastick State and the pride of the Nipotismo would have been encreased.  And yet no body for all this durst say any thing against the Pope’s Person or Authority, but lay all the fault upon the Nipotismo; As one day I heard a Senator of Venice discoursing in these words:

Italy has little reason to complain of the Popes, but it has a great deal to murmur against their Nephews.  Urban would be good and holy if Francesco Antonio and Tadeo Barberini were not devils; but as his affection blinds him to them, so does their pride blind them in their conduct towards PrincesBecause they p. 54have a Vail drawn over their eyes, they think that all the world must be one colourAnd they are so busied from morning to night in disposing of that vast Treasure which they have already gathered, and in inventing new waies to purchase more, that they think not of getting the favour of those Princes who will remain such when the Barberins shall cease to be Lords and MastersIf their Interest had not so great an Empire over them they would govern the Church better; and in a word, the Church would be in them, and not they in the Church.

But what a strange Sacrilegious opinion is that which is maintained by the Divines of the Church of Rome? viz. That one who has got his riches by Extortions, and oppressing of the poor, and any wicked way, is not obliged to a restitution to the poor: But it is enough if when he dies he leaves his Estate to some Church, founds a Monastery, or an Hospital; as if it were lawful to transgress the Law of God, and bring ones self into a state of damnation to satisfie that covetous and insatiable humour of the Church-men.

If the Walls of Rome could speak, and the Fabricks of so many stately Cloysters had mouths to make themselves heard; if those vast Palaces of the Nipotismos were animated; Oh! How many tender-hearted Christians would be fain to forsake the City, and retire into desarts, that they might not hear the stones complain for the poor, and lament their misfortune?

Ferdinand, Second Duke of Toscany, having a great deal of reason to complain of the Barberins proceedings towards him, said one day to one who was about to go in Pilgrimage to Rome: That the holiest Temple p. 55that he should see there would be the Barberins Palace, for that it was cemented and built with the bloud of many Martyrs.

If any body in Rome should steal but the value of six pence in his greatest necessity from a Priest, without doubt the Nipotismo, who has the Government of the City in their hands, would cause him to be hang’d immediately: and yet they that rob and spoyl the Church go off free, and without any punishment.

Every day there comes out some new Order from the Datary-Office for the reformation of the abuses committed by Church-men in their employments; and the Popes do give often particular Commissions to This and That Cardinal to enquire into the lives of the Monks, and take away those Scandals which do every day encrease: And yet for all this the Romans observe, that the more the Decrees of Reformation are, the more are the Vices multiplied; the disease being so stabborn and inveterate, that it grows worse when the Physician goes about to apply remedies to it.

The Pope’s subjects curse the Nipotismo for their Tyranny and Extortions.  Christendom is scandalized to see that they little believe that Religion of which they make so great Profession.  The Church weeps and sheds tears to see its bowels gnawn and torn by the Nipotismo.  The State, weakned by so many Taxes and Oppressions, sends its cries to Heaven against them.  The Monks exclaim, seeing that the Nipotismo’s Avarice deprives them of their Profit, and makes them contribute towards the maintenance of their Grandeur.  Princes and Embassadours retire discontented from Rome, not being able to endure the p. 56Nipotismo’s insolence.  The Altars themselves are often forsaken and stand empty, the Nephews refusing to grant Indulgences without money.

Certainly these abuses, these disorders, these scandals should drive the Popes out of Rome.  That Gardener that does only cut the top of the Weeds, and not root them out, is but an ill Gardener.  But how can the Popes reform the abuses of the Church, if they do not begin with their Nephews?  For it would also else be a very preposterous Reformation that should begin with the Effect, and leave the Cause untouched.  Some say, that the Popes are holy in the Reformations of the Breviary, and the chastizing of the Romans for their faults: But they are devils in leaving the crimes of their Nephews unpunished; for they trusting to their Uncles Indulgence, do slack the Reins, which should curb the natural inclination which we all have to do ill.

But it is now time to enter into a particular Narration of the good and hurt the Church has received from the Nipotismo; and as we begun their History at Sixtus the fourth, and continued it down to Alexander the seventh now reigning: So we will now begin at Alexander, and trace it backwards up to Sixtus the fourth.

The first mischief, and indeed the most considerable one, caused by the Nipotismo of Alexander, was the change made by them in the Pope; whom from godly, pious, and inclin’d to mortification, they have made sensual and ambitious.

Alexander in the first months of his elevation to the Popedom had so taken upon him the profession of an Evangelical life, that he was wont to season his meat with ashes, to sleep upon a hard Couch, to p. 57hate Riches, Glory, and Pomp; taking a great pleasure to give audience to Embassadours in a Chamber full of dead mens skuls, and in the sight of his Coffin, which stood there to put him in mind of his death.

The Cardinals, the Princes, the Prelates, the Romans were all touched with so pious an Example, and did begin to think of reforming their lives.  The Hereticks themselves did bear that respect to his Holiness, as to prostrate themselves in the streets, when he went through Rome, not so much in fear of his Majesty, as in honour of his Vertue.  Divers French Protestants came on purpose to Rome to know whether his words did answer his reputation, and if he did really lead the life he was said to lead.  The noyse of his Sanctity being so great in France, that it was almost impossible to believe all that was said of it.

Thus lived Alexander, while he lived without a Nipotismo: But no sooner had they set their feet in Rome but the Pope changed his nature, or rather came to himself; for instead of Humility, succeeded Vanity; his Mortification vanished, and his hard Couch, was changed into a soft Feather-bed; his dead-mens skuls, into so many Jewels; and his thoughts of death, into eternal designs of Ambition and Grandeur: Filling up his empty Coffin with Money, as if he had a design to corrupt death, and purchase life with Riches.

Hereupon a publick Minister, returning from his Audience the very same day that the Nipotismo came to Rome; and having felicitated his Holiness upon their arrival, said, as soon as he came home, to one of his friends these very words: He is not of the same humour he was wont to be; he was us’d to stand with p. 58his eyes fixed upon the ground, and now he does nothing but fix them upon Don Agostino; Heretofore we did hear him sigh often, and now he is as inclined to laughI am afraid the Nipotismo has already spoyled him.

This is the first harm that they have done the Church.  I do not know what good they may do hereafter, but hitherto they have done so little that it is invisible; whereas the mischief they are Authors of, is obvious to all eyes.  Don Mario, who is the Pope’s Brother, and the Head of the Nipotismo, does exercise his place of Governour of Rome with so much Tyranny, that the City it self is become odious to many Families of quality, who have left and removed to other Towns, that they might not be any longer subject to one who gives occasion of complaint to the People, the Gentry, and Strangers; For he is not only averse from doing curtesies, and inexorable in punishments; but he is inclin’d to disgust all those who, having to do with him, do not appease his angry genius with money.

Besides, assuming to himself, in the Government of the Borgo, a greater Authority than does belong to him of right, he does, as it were eclipse and stifle the jurisdiction of the Governour of Rome; who often is forced to own those faults of which he is innocent, Don Mario laying upon him all the miscarriages, and taking to himself all the profit of both places.  For proof of this I will bring an example which will never be forgot by Posterity.

In the time that the Duke of Crequy received that affront to see his Coach assaulted and fired upon by the Pope’s Guards; the Cardinal Imperiale, who was then Governour of Rome, was so innocent of this accident, that he did not so much as know of it till p. 59it was past, and then he found that Don Mario had so engag’d him in it, that there was no retiring; and indeed though he have since made a Journey into France to justifie himself: nevertheless the French Court, who cannot forget the affront done the King and Nation, can less avoid remembring of Cardinal Imperiale, who was charged as the Author of it.

And yet they are very well informed that the design was laid by Don Mario, and the execution only charged upon Cardinal Imperiale, who has been fain to endure that humiliation and punishment which did belong to the other.

Indeed if the Pope had not in good time made satisfaction for the Injury, the French King was resolved to seek his reparation by his Sword; not against the Pope, who knew nothing of the business till after it was brought about; but against his Brother, who had set Imperiale upon the execution of it.

But in the reparation, the Church was the most endammaged; for besides the loss of its honour, and that respect which was wont to be borne to it, it received a very great blow in its strength and riches: for not only the Pope’s Nuncio was immediately sent away from the French Court, but also his Vice-Legat was driven from Avignon, and the Court of Rome was forced to entertain an Army all the time of the Treaty, and before, for fear of being surpriz’d by the Kings Forces; and when it did come to an agreement, it was concluded in a dishonourable and shameful way for Rome, and for the Church.  This is the good and profit that the Signor Don Mario has brought to the p. 60Church; and yet in the Articles of Peace there was little or no mention made of his person.

The Pope, for all this, is so pre-possessed with a good opinion of him, that he does give him thereby an occasion, and almost an invitation of committing more mischief, than he would do otherwise.

But if Don Mario has been useless, or rather prejudicial to the Church, certainly Don Agostino, his Nephew, has been little better: He is one that would seem to be born to an Empire; and were it Alexander’s or Cæsar’s he did enjoy, he would not show a more lofty carriage, nor affect a greater insolence.

When he goes through the City, he does so little regard any body, that he is scarce induced to salute those Gentlemen that civilly do prevent him by pulling off their hats first: but he never begins to any body, no not to a Prince; which is so odious, that for that only pleasure of seeing his pride abated, the Romans do wish the Pope’s death.

He did, what lay in his power, to make an eternal Enemy of the Family of the Colonna’s; which is the noblest and best beloved of Rome, and countenanced by the greatest Monarchs of Christendom; and if the Pope had not wisely caused satisfaction to be made for the affront done to the Colonnas at the Theatre, the Family of the Chigi would have incurred the enmity of a House, which in time might have been revenged, or at least in the quarrel the City of Rome would have been divided, and in a kinde of War within its self.

The Cardinal Padrone too on his side giving himself p. 61too much up to sensual pleasures, is the cause of great disorders in the Court and Church; for all the Congregations of Cardinals, of which he is the head, are much puzled how to deal with, and humour a man, who cares for nothing less than that which is committed to his care.  Some of the Cardinals and Prelates take example by him, and do commit great scandals; for which they excuse themselves by saying, That the Cardinal Padrone does commit greater.  And thus betwixt them the poor Church is ill serv’d in both its Temporal and Spiritual.

I have nothing to say of the other Nephews and Kindred of the Pope; for supposed they had good inclinations, they have little or no occasion to bring them to effect for the publick good, they being not admitted to any publick employment.  And indeed it would be but loss of time for any body to summe up the good this Nipotismo has done the Church; for it is so little, and their ill actions are so many, that it would be stifled by them, like good Corn by Tares.

The people is more oppressed than ever, the City is ill provided, and all things are dear and scarce; the Prelates are discontented, and the money it self is condemned to a perpetual confinement in Don Mario’s, and the Nipotismo’s Coffers.

It is a strange thing to see, that the Popes should have the power to perswade others to renounce their fortunes, to run into Monasteries, to embrace Pilgrimages, and Mortifications; and yet not be able to perswade a little moderation to their Nephews, and make them content themselves with that lawful encrease of their Fortunes, which every p. 62body is well pleased to allow them: but they must still be laying taxes upon the people, and discontent upon Princes and States.

I have a friend that is of opinion, that by the means of Indulgences, the peoples vices do daily diminish.  I know not whether it be true or no, but I am sure that the Nipotismos do daily increase, they little caring for Indulgences, and being of opinion, that the Pope is obliged to open them the door of Paradise by force.  And though this may be taken as a facetious conceit, yet I am certain that the Nipotismos in good earnest do little frequent Churches, but are more employed in getting of money, and taking their pleasure.

But now it is time to speak of Innocentius the 10th. his Nipotismo, of which it may be said, that it did a little good, and no hurt; because it was alwayes under the Popes disgrace, and Donna Olympia’s oppression; so that none of it were able to show either their malice or their bounty, if they had any: for that good which they did do, may be as well interpreted to proceed from a design of winning the peoples favour, to whom only they could have recourse in their disgrace, as from any good Principles of their own.

But however it were, the poor Church was never the better; for what between Innocentio’s Capriccios, and Donna Olympia’s tyranny, it was most miserably governed; and the Court brought into such a disorder, that the like was never seen before, nor I hope will not be hereafter: since the impression and mark of those blows which it received then are still to be seen in the face of the Church, and will appear to fright all those that p. 63should go about to bring a like scandal upon it.

And first the renunciation of the Cardinals Cap made by Prince Pamphilio, though it were in it self a very necessary action, for the preservation of the Pamphilian Family, was nevertheless scandalous and injurious to the Churches reputation; the more because being made without his Uncle’s consent, it so looked as if this eminent Dignity of Cardinal were a thing to make sport with, and a profession as easily cast off without shame, as it is ordinarily conferred without merit.

But this had been but an inconsiderable fault, which would have been forgiven without pain in this disorderly age, if all Christendom had not been offended by the tyrannical government of the proud Donna Olympia; who having usurped that power which the Popes do ordinarily confer on the Nipotismo, had brought them to such a desperate case, that they did almost revolt against their Uncle; whose humorsome fancy did make such work by displacing one, and putting in another, sometimes a true, sometimes a false Nephew, and sometimes governing without any at all, that the most patient and unconcern’d spectator could not behold so capricious a Prince without indignation.

The Nipotismo being by Donna Olympia’s means depriv’d of the power of doing good, had nevertheless the faculty of doing mischief left them; and the Lady would have been well pleased with it, for she did seek after all occasions of making them odious to the Pope, and to every body else: but they perceiving her design, became good, or at least innocent, out of spight, that the imputation p. 64of all the miscarriages might fall upon her alone, they being not disposed to bear a part of the pain, who had none in the pleasure.

For this reason the Prince Pamphilio was alwayes most obliging and ready to serve the Church, and those that requir’d his assistance; giving therein demonstrations of his good nature, and hopes that he might one day rule better with his natural simplicity and equity, then Donna Olympia with her refin’d, but wicked policies.

So the two Princes Ludovisio, and Giustiniani did behave themselves with all care and circumspection, out of a design of pleasing the vulgar; since they could not be admitted to please their Uncle, whose affections they had lost, without having any thing laid to their charge that might deserve so severe a punishment.  Let us therefore conclude the innocence of this Nipotismo, who never had the power of doing any good, nor the convenience of doing any harm to the Church; which nevertheless was severely handled by that impudent and covetous Donna Olympia.

Now let us go a step higher, and come to the Nipotismo, of Urban, or the reign of the Barberins; who seemed to be born for the Empire of the world: and of them indeed there is much to be said.  For in the space of three and twenty years, there was occasion for every one of them to show his parts and inclinations, and make the world acquainted with their temper.

They that have writ the life of Urban, having proposed to themselves no other design than that of pleasing the Barberins, do make perpetual Encomiums of his good actions, but pass silently all p. 65his ill ones, that they might not lose that favour, which to purchase they had undertaken to transmit such gross flatteries to posterity.

There is no doubt but Urban did very much advantage the Church and State, enriching them with a great number of Hospitals, Churches, Colledges, Libraries, Castles, Forts, Altars, Temples, Canonizations, and Beatifications: but if we consider the greatness of his visible Revenue, for the space of three and twenty year, we shall finde that his expences are inconsiderable compared to it.

I am acquainted with a Roman, who had the curiosity for two years together to inform himself of all the expences of the Barberins in the Pontificate of their Uncle, that is, of all the money they had laid out both for the Church and their own Family, and found by computation, that the publick expense consisted in nine millions and a half of Crowns; and their visible private one in twelve.

Let it not seem strange to any one, if I say visible, for every body knows, that the great policy of the Nipotismo consists in hiding their own expenses, and publishing those that they are at for the Church; whose rotten Walls they ordinarily plaister over with a little Lime and Water, while they build new ones for themselves, covering them with some sad colour that they may hide the expense.

They that will please themselves, let them read the Life of Urban, which has been inserted among the rest of the Lives of the Popes, composed by Platina, and there they will meet with such a quantity of his good works, that they cannot chuse but esteem him as one of the holiest Popes that ever p. 66was; but they that are otherwise inform’d, are mov’d to laugh both at the Pope and the Author.

There you shall meet with nothing but, that the Pope visited such a Church, confirmed such a Decree of his Predecessor, gave the people his Benediction from the Church of St. Jean of Lateran, visited the Hospital of the Trinity, made a great exhortation to the Bishops, excited the Monks to reform, beautified St. Andrè Avellino, received Ambassadors with great state, opened the Holy Year with Magnificence, consecrated the Church of the Vatican, gave the title of Cardinalate to the Church of St. Charles, re-built the Colledge of the Grecians, &c.

But all this while not a word of the Progress of Gustave Adolfe in Germany, of the Turk in the other parts of Christendom (while the Pope lets them both alone) of the excommunication of the Duke of Parma, of that of the State of Lucca, of the affront done to the State of Venice, of the disrespect show’d to the Crown of France in divers occasions, of the War begun in Italy, of the Catholick Religion declining in Poland, of the Artifices used in the War of the Valtolina, and in a word, of so many miscarriages, and offences given to Rome, the State, and all Christendom, by the extravagant passions of the Barberins: Of all this I say there is not a syllable, nor the least mention.

Every one knows that Germany, the Empire, and the Catholick Religion were upon the brim of their ruine, for want of succour; and yet at that very time the Barberins, did make War upon the Princes of Italy, with the treasure of the Church; p. 67their minde being more bent upon the raising of their Family, than upon the conservation of Christendom.

And the mischief was, that they did so besiege the Pope, that there was no means of informing him of the deplorable state of the Affairs of Christendom; for neither the Emperour, nor the King of Poland could ever obtain any answer to their demands, which I believe never came to the knowledge of the Pope, no more than their dangers.  The Nipotismo answering their Ambassadors conformably to their own interest, without any regard to the Fatherly and Pastoral care, to which their Uncle was bound by the duty of his place.

But that which was worst of all, was, that they did not openly refuse their help, but by delayes and promises keeping still the Emperour and King of Poland in hopes, they made them neglect to make peace with their Enemies, and refuse those conditions, which else they would have accepted, had not the Barberins entertain’d them with the hopes now of an Army, then of a great summe of Money; and at last disappointed them of all.

However the people of the State belonging to the Church were the worse for it; for the Barberins taking occasion from the obligation the Pope was in, to assist these Princes, did thereupon lay most heavy Taxes and Impositions upon both Church-men and Layes: The simple people stirred up by the exhortations of some Preachers who made it their business to declare in their Sermons, That God could not be better pleased then by that assistance given to the distressed Catholicks, did sell all their Jewels and preciousest Houshold-stuff p. 68to give away to those that had the Commission of gathering their Benevolence.

Out of these summes which were thus raised, the Barberins did send it may be one or two in the hundred, and this after so long waiting, and by such chargeable wayes, that half of the money was absorbed in the exchange: which the Emperour and King of Poland having perceived, they were fain to give over their soliciting the Barberins, and defend themselves as well as they could.

The Protestants themselves, though much rejoycing at the decaying state of the Catholick Religion in Germany, were nevertheless infinitely scandalized at the Pope’s proceedings, saying, as it was true, That the Barberins did the Catholicks more mischief by denying them succour with such dilatory wayes, than the Protestants by the force of Arms.

In a word, I think it is not a hard thing to perswade that the Barberins in the time of their reign did the Church a great deal of mischief; it would be much a harder to convince any body of the good they have done: and it is so difficult a business, that for my part I shall not undertake it; only I will give the Barberins this good counsel, which is, that if they desire to make posterity lose the memory of their ill conduct under their Uncle, they endeavour to get Cardinal Francesco Barberino made Pope after the death of Alexander; for so it may be, that as in their Uncle’s time they did much more hurt then good, they will under Cardinal Francesco, who is pious and vertuous do more good than hurt.

There is an example of this already in the two Popes of the Family of la Rovere; Sixtus the p. 694th. and Julius the second; for in the time of Sixtus the Nipotismo was most highly guilty towards the Church, and did much harm, and little good; but under Julius it did much good, and little harm: so the same thing may happen for the Barberins, if Francesco be made Pope.

Gregory the 15th. who was Urban’s Predecessor, lived to do mischief enough, but it seems had no time to do good: of the four parts of the Popedom his Nephew had three, and he one.

All this Popes thoughts were bent upon the Protestants ruine, particularly, he had a spight to Geneva, calling it the nest of the Devil; and therefore he pressed the Duke of Savoy to besiege it, promising him great succors of men and money.  He likewise assisted with all might and main the Emperour in his War against the Protestants of Germany.  He failed not to solicit the King of France to torment and molest the Huguenots of his Kingdom, and prevailed with him to do it: which cost him dear, and had like to have proved fatal to his Monarchy, though at last he remained victorious.

The Cardinal Ludovisio his Nephew, quite contrary, did what lay in his power, to quell in his Uncle, this unmeasurable desire of ruining the Protestants, and engaging all Christendom into bloody Wars; but the Pope would never hearken to any thing that he could say about that particular, answering him alwayes in these words, ’Tis enough that I let you do what you will with the Catholicks; pray let me have the liberty of doing what I please against the Hereticks our enemies.

His Remonstrances to Ambassadors upon this Subject, were so frequent at every audience that p. 70they were tired with them; and when sometimes the Cardinal Ludovisio would interpose, and say something to qualifie the heat of the Pope’s exaggerations, he would command him to hold his tongue; and sometimes say to him, you have a touch of an Heritick in you.

He did all his endeavours by a thousand plots and Artifices, to reduce England again under the obedience of the Church of Rome, but all to no purpose: at last, seeing himself disappointed in this his main design after such pains and expense, he resolved to get back to RomeMarc Antony de Dominis, who in the time of Paul the fifth Gregories Predecessor, had left Italy, and was fled into England; where, having declared himself Protestant, he did write many shrewd books against the Pope, and the Court of Rome, as one who was well informed of all its disorders.

The Pope, the better to compass his intention, sent to London certain Prelates disguised, who had been heretofore intimate with Marc Antony.  These, coming to him secretly, promised him not only the Pope’s and the Churches pardon; but also assured him, that he should be made Cardinal at the next promotion.  The Archbishop, trusting to the Oaths and Engagement of these Prelates, left England, and return’d once more to Rome, where he made a recantation of all his Errours, as they call’d them; But a little after, being carefully watched by the Pope’s Spies, they took hold of some words that he said; and having clapt him up in the Inquisition Prison, began to question him for Heresie; and without doubt he had undergone the dreadful fire of the Roman Purgatory, if timely death had not prevented the Pope’s revenge.

p. 71In a word, this Pope had undertaken the ruine of all Protestant Princes; wherefore he sent great Succours to the Emperour in his war against the Prince Palatine of Rhine, who after some resistance was driven out of his Country, and proclaimed Traytor to the Empire: whereupon his dignity of Prince Elector was conferred upon Maximilian, Duke of Baviere, a Catholick Prince, much protected by the Pope.

And the Emperour, in acknowledgment of the Pope’s zeal and affection, presented him with the Prince Palatines Library, esteemed, for the great number of Manuscripts in all Tongues, one of the most famous of all Europe: The Pope, having thanked his Imperial Majesty, caused the Library to be transported to Rome with great charge and expence; and as soon as it came, he solemnly sanctified it with his blessing, and so laid it up.

Paul the fifth was almost of the same humour, though he did not undertake things so rashly, but would wisely consider the good and evil that might come of them.  It is believed, that in his time an infinite number of Hereticks return’d to the Church of Rome; but I am sure, that above a hundred Italian Families forsook their Country, and withdrew into Protestant Princes Territories, where they might freely follow the Rites of their Religion.  Particularly, they went to Geneva, where great numbers resorted every day, and above all many Lucheses, of which some are now aggregated amongst the principal Families of that City.

This Pope, though so zealous for the Church, was nevertheless very Indulgent to his Family, who did usurp a power and authority, as prejudicial to the Church as it was offensive to Princes; with whom the p. 72Borgheses, as well as the Barberins, would often enter into contest.

In the time of this Pope, Italy had like to have seen sixteen Cities of it become Protestants, as Monsieur De Lion, the French King’s Embassadour told the Pope; and thus the occasion was:

Paul and his Kindred, for I know not what reasons, did bear a secret grudge to the State of Venice, and did wait for nothing more than for some occasion of shewing their spleen; and it falling out that the State of Venice, according to their ancient Form of Government, did put some Church-men in Prison; the Pope upon the notice of it excommunicated not only the Senate, but the whole Nation of the Venetians, as if they had been guilty of their Magistrates faultBut these wise Senators were not so easily daunted, but resolving either to preserve their power and authority within their Government, or to hazard the ruine of it, set some of their Divines on work to write against the Pope’s authority, and his Excommunication; which writings did then, and have since produced so great an effect in the minds of most men, that now there is not any little Prince of Italy that cares for the Popes Excommunication, as it has been clearly seen by the examples of the Duke of Parma, the Commonwealth of Lucca, the Duke Charles of Lorain, and many others.

The constancy of the Venetians was invincible in this occasion, and so great, that they sent the Pope word, That if he did not recall his Excommunication they would provide for their own preservation by such remedies as should become the dignity of their State, and its ancient Majesty.

And that they might the sooner bring the Pope to their desires, they politickly sent to Geneva to require p. 73that City to send them some of their most able Ministers to instruct them in the Protestant Religion.  This Artifice having frighted the Pope into a condescendency, he was fain to come to an agreement very disadvantageous for the honour of the Sea of Rome.

If this Pope had not been so unjustly severe towards the State of Venice, he would have left a much better name behind him.  For to say truth, he did the Church much more good than evil: but it was, and will be, a great spot to his reputation to have gone about to undo the Bulwark of Christendom: for such has the State of Venice alwaies been reputed.

We must be forced to skip Leo the eleventh (for his short life gave him no time to do good, and hindred him from doing any harm to the Church) and come to Clement the eighth, who was a Pope that lived both with his Kindred, and for them a good while.

Christendom was involved in great troubles when he came to the Pontificate, there being nothing but Wars and Divisions.  The Turks did assault Germany, and the Protestants did torment the rest of the Catholick Princes; besides that, the banish’d Criminals of the Kingdom of Naples had made themselves Masters of a great part of it, and spread themselves over all the Country.  The Pope’s main end, amongst all these disorders, was first to provide for his Kindred; and that care took up so much of his time and treasure, that he was not in a condition to succour those Princes that were fighting for the defence of that Religion of which he was the Head.  In the mean time the Spaniards, who had a mind p. 74to hinder Henry King of Navar from possessing the Crown of France, which he was lawful Heir of; foreseeing that of themselves they would not be able to resist Henry’s Right, nor hold out against so generous and warlike a Prince, they did their utmost Endeavours to get the Pope on their side, and declare against the King of Navar, as against an Heretick, and by consequent incapable of receiving the Crown.

At first, the Pope refused to engage openly in a business which would be necessarily expensive and troublesom; and therefore for a while he let the Spaniards alone, hoping that of themselves they would be strong enough to effect the Work without him: But they having perceived his intention, soon made a breach in it by the means of the Nipotismo, which they gained; and at whose perswasion the Pope sent an Army under the Conduct of Appio Conti, who was kill’d in an Encounter by some of Henry’s Forces.

The Catholick Princes of the Realm of France, who were on Henry’s side, together with the greatest part of the Nation, sent upon this the Marquis of Pisani to Rome, to desire the Pope to recall his Army, and not to oppose a Prince who had promised to be instructed in the Catholick Religion: But the Pope not only refused their Request, but would not so much as endure that the Marquis should set his foot in any part of the State of the Church.

Things being in this posture, Henry at last resolved to dash all his Adversaries Machines to pieces at one blow; and therefore he solemnly renounced his Heresie, and was reconciled to the Church: So in spite of the Pope and the Spaniards, he obtained a Crown, which could never have encompassed a more worthy Head than his.  After this, the Pope’s Army p. 75was fain to retire, having done little or nothing.

The same hapned in Flanders, whither he sent another Army to help the Spaniards against the United Provinces, who, since the death of the Duke of Parma, had obtained many Victories; but it was with as little success as the first: So that the Pope, weary of spending the Treasure of the Church to no purpose, commanded his Forces home, leaving the Spaniards to look after their own Affairs.

The Expences of this Pope were exorbitant; for he did undertake every thing rashly, and more out of Capriccio, than ripe judgment and deliberation: So that he undoubtedly did the Church more hurt than good.

There is little to be said of Innocent the Ninth, Gregory the Fourteenth, and Urban the Seventh; for the greatest mischief they did the Church, was, that they liv’d so little.  We will therefore come to Sixtus the Fifth.

The Nipotismo of this Pope was one of the most innocent ones that ever was seen; for he hindred them from taking any part in the Government: So that they were in the Court, like Beggars at a Church door, of whom few People take notice.

Not that he was so severe, as to hinder them from a share in his Fortune; for he did bestow large Revenues upon them all: observing nevertheless, to refuse always every thing that they begg’d, and to give them when they least thought of it.  He did much affect this sort of Generosity, or rather Soverainty; for he never suffered any of his Relations to put their hands into his Coffers; nay, he was so absolute, that once he banished a Kinsman of his, because he found his House better furnished, than it could be by those p. 76Gratifications which he had received from the Pope, who used no more words with him but these, We have given you so much, and you have so much; How came you by the rest?  And so without delay he banish’d him, and divided his Fortune amongst his other Relations.

If the Nephews of other Popes become rich, it is by the abuse they make of that Authority which they usurp in the Pope’s Name.  But it was not so with the Nipotismo of Sixtus; for he never gave blindly, but with his eyes open, and discreetly: And if there were any Error committed in their growing rich, it was the Pope that was the Author of it, and not they, who were meerly passive, and did but receive their Uncles Liberalities.

There is no doubt, but that under this Pope the Church received much more benefit than damage; for the Nipotismo having no Power, could not be otherwise than good and innocent; and the Pope himself was so wise and vertuous a Prince, that there were few Miscarriages in his time; if we except that only occasion, in which Sixtus, by his too hasty Excommunication of King Henry the Third of France, brought the Church in danger of losing for ever so noble and flourishing a part of Christendom; as it had hapned already, by the rashness of one Pope, that the Kingdom of England was entirely lost, only because Clement the Seventh would not yield a little of his Authority.  And indeed, I think, the greatest blemish upon the Reputation of Sixtus is, that he suffer’d himself to be so far transported with anger, as to Excommunicate Henry the Third of France, for having caused the Cardinal of Guise to be killed, and the Cardinal of Bourbon to be shut up in a close Prison, p. 77with the Archbishop of Lyons, who were indeed all three Traytors to the Kingdom, and Conspirators against the Royal Person of Henry.  The Consistory of Cardinals did oppose this violent Resolution of Sixtus, by remonstrating to him the terrible consequence of it, and the danger that all the Church would incur by the loss of so noble a Christian Kingdom.

But the Pope laughing at all this, answered the Cardinals in this manner; If therefore you will have it so, we will bring it to pass, that from henceforward you shall be neither honour’d nor reverenc’d by Princes nor Kings; but despis’d, vilified, and exposed to the hands both of the Oppressor, and the ExecutionerCertainly, if the killing of Cardinals be conniv’d at, and pass’d over without resentment and chastisement, it may very easily become the Case of every one of youHowever, we will rather do that which Justice requires, though you little care that Reason be done for the Violence committed, not so much against you, as the Sacred Purple.

Nevertheless, the Pope was wary, not to precipitate things so suddenly; but suffered five Months to pass, after the death of the Cardinal of Guise: during which interval, he made by Letters several Admonitions to the King; all which proved to no purpose, the King being resolute not to free the Cardinal out of Prison, which the Pope so vehemently urged.  Whereupon, seeing he could not prevail, he thundered out the greater Excommunication, with all the accustomed Forms, against the King, and against all those who in the said matter should afford Counsel to, or in any manner whatsoever assist him.  Besides which, he also cited the said King p. 78to make his personal Appearance at Rome, within the term of seventy days, there to give account of the Death of the Cardinal of Guise, and the Imprisonment of the Cardinal of Bourbon.

The King conceived great indignation upon this proceeding of the Pope, and began to advise with the Prelates, Bishops, and Counsellors of greatest trust with him, how to ward off such a Storm; and things were carried so far, that the Council-Royal seem’d resolv’d to create a Patriarch in France, particularly for the Gallicane Church, who should not in any wise be subject to, or have so much as the least Communication with the Church of Rome: And ’tis likely the French, who affect Novelties, would not have been backward to close with this Resolution.

But whilst Matters went on in this manner, it so came to pass, that the King, as he lay with a great Army at S. Cloud, two Leagues from Paris, was on the first day of August, in the year 1569. wounded in the belly with a two-edged Knife, by a Dominican Fryar named Jaques Clement Native of the City of Lans, and of the age of twenty three years, as he was receiving Letters from the hand of the said Friar, who was upon his knees; of which Wound he died within fourteen hours, in regard his Entrals were pierc’d, having imploy’d this short in ordering such things as concerned his Soul.

This Murder hapned seventy eight days after the Summons by the Pope for his Appearance at Rome, within seventy days; and his Holiness rejoyced not a little at it, since hereby the displeasure, which the Consistory of Cardinals, the People, and Nobility had conceiv’d against him, as one that car’d not much p. 79to see the destruction of a Kingdom, which would breed disturbance to the common quiet of Italy, from Age to Age, both by Sea and Land.

Great were the Stirs which succeeded in France after the King’s death; inasmuch as Henry King of Navar, next Heir to the Crown, began to endeavour the possession thereof, by warring against the Lords of the Ligue, who were back’d and upheld by the Spaniards, by whom the Succession of Henry was infinitely opposed.

In these Commotions and Broils of France, the Pope gave not those Assistances to the Ligue, which they expected and required; and this upon several accounts, but especially because he would not condescend to the Instances of the Cardinals and the Spaniards, who much solicited him; giving them this answer, When we were against the dead Henry, all you were our Opponents; Now that you would persecute the living Henry, we will not side with you, for the sake of our own Interest.

It was not a little displeasing to the King of Spain, that the Pope did not succour the Ligue, nor declare Excommunicate those Princes and Prelates that followed the side of Navar; so that the King resolv’d to make some Protestations to the Pope concerning this Tergiversation.  But his Holiness wanted not Pretexts to fence with, and in a manner made sport with those Spanish Cardinals, who importun’d him either to unite with the Ligue, or send considerable Assistance to it.

Gregory the Thirteenth had Nephews, who did not degenerate from the Name of Buoncompagno; that is to say, they little car’d to do good, and less to do evil.  Nevertheless, according to the Instinct p. 80which seems natural to Pope’s Nephews, this Family of Buoncompagno could not restrain it self from disgusting some of the principal Persons of the City, by the death of two Gentlemen, pretended to be slain by accident, through the indiscretion of the Sbirri or Serjeants.  A Policy observed by all Nephews, to colour their vindicative Outrages upon all occasions.

From hence it may be gathered, That the intention of the Buoncompagni propended more to Evil than to Good; and accordingly they fail’d not to give Instances of the former, though ’tis hard to find any of the latter.

But if Nephewship ever did good in Rome, ’twas in the time of Pius the Fifth, when all the Proceedings of the Nephews were directed to Good, in regard they wanted Spirit to gainsay the good intention of this Pope; who could not endure to see them in Rome, out of a jealousie, that being fatned with the Treasure of the Church, they might fall into the same wicked Road, which had been trodden out by so many others.

Paul the Fourth (for there is not much to be said of Pius the Fourth) took not the same course; for he advanc’d a Nephew, who for the space of neer five years, knew not how to do any thing but evil, and evil so enormous, that his Uncle was forced to drive him out of Rome, and his Successor to put him to death in Rome.

In the beginning of this Pope’s Reign, the Murthers, Rapes, Violences, Robberies, Cheats, Injustices, and a thousand other Enormities and Vices, which surrounded the Ecclesiastical State, to the damage of all Christendom, were attributed to the Pope, who had set up his Kindred in Rome; whom p. 81after the Pope had banished the City, his Holiness’s Reputation seem’d to revive in the hearts of the Catholicks, who had been scandalized at him, and now saw, that all the Mischiefs were to be attributed to the Pope’s wicked Relations.

’Tis a strange thing, That amongst so many Nephews great and small of the House of Caraffa, into whose hand the Pope had put the Government of the Church, there should not be one into whose head ever came so much as a single thought to do any manner of good to the Church, to Christendom, or to the afflicted State Ecclesiastical.

The mischief which the Nephews of Pope Caraffa brought to the Church, or rather to the whole World, was so great, that to this present day the People of Rome retain a certain impression of hatred against all that bear the Name of Caraffa, however Noble Gentlemen; it not being possible for any so much as to behold one of them, without regret and aversion.

Cardinal Caraffa was twice in danger (I say, in danger; for in him the Papacy would have been endanger’d) to be Pope; Once at the time of the Election of Innocent, and before at that of Urban; But at both times he was excluded, for the sole consideration of his being of the Family of Caraffa; the very Name whereof, in remembrance of the Nephews of Paul the Fourth, remains extremely odious both to small and great.

Otherwise, the Cardinal in himself was a Person of merit, and vertue sufficient, to enable to ascend to such a Dignity, as well as those others that have ascended in his place.  Some excluded him, because they doubted lest the Caraffi would turn once again to the Sicut erat, that is, to aggrandize themselves p. 82at the cost of the Church, and the damage of all Christendom; and so much the more, in regard the number of the said Cardinal’s Nephews was so great, that even himself could hardly count them; notwithstanding that he did what he could to make it believed, that he was wholly free from personal interest, as well as that of blood.

Long would the discourse be, and infinite the words, if I were obliged to give account of the Nephews of all the Popes, one after another (according to the order begun) down to Sixtus the fourth: to whom, as being the Introducer, not of the Nipotismo it self into Rome, but of the Pride and boundless Authority thereof, may be justly attributed all the Evil, which, for the two last Ages, the Nephews of Popes have caused to the Church.

Wherefore, I will for the present omit to make a distinct survey of the mischiefs of the other; partly, because I know not readily how to discover the good of any; and partly, because my heart will not suffer me to view, without tears, the Evil of all; which is the more grievous, because irremediable.

What might I say of Marcellus the second, who lived but a short time, and gave no authority to his Nephews?  Or what of Julius the third, who minded nothing else but Feasting, sometimes with one, sometimes with another; and kept his Kindred at Rome, rather to accompany him to Entertainments, than to assist him in the Government of the Church, which he little heeded?

What Discourse shall I make of Paul the Third, who would have had the Farnesian Lillies turned the State of the Church into one sole Garden for their own use?  Or of Clement the Seventh, who out of a Capriccio p. 83lost the Kingdom, by refusing to grant Henry the Eighth of England a Divorce from Catherine, and a Licence to marry Anne Bouillon, with whom he was in love?  What praise shall I attribute to Adrian the Sixth, a great Enemy to his own Relations, and perpetually averse from the introducing of a Nipotismo?

What shall I say of Leo the Tenth, of the most Noble Family of the Medici?  Where shall I find the good which he did to the Church, spoiling other Princes of their States, to transfer them to his own House?  What Title shall we give to Julius the Second, of whom it was not known whether he were inclin’d to the hatred or love of his Relations?  What shall I say of Pius the Third, who liv’d not long enough to receive the Visits of his Kindred?

But if there be not much to be said of the forementioned Popes, there is a super-abundance of matter to be said of Alexander the Sixth, whose very memory raises horror in the breasts of the Romans, even to this day.  It seems God Almighty thought fit to chastise Christendom with the barbarity of this Pope, who, not contented with his own cruel, covetous, and insatiable nature, introduc’d a Nipotismo not degenerating from the manners of their Uncle.

Amongst the other Popes and their Nephews, was seen, though in the midst of much ill, some spark and glimmering of good; whereas in the Person of Alexander and his Nephews, was never perceptible the least ray of good, amidst a vast Ocean of evil; deplorable even by future Ages, not only to those which were so unhappy as to see him living.

Some strongly believed, That this Barbarian Pope had sworn himself, and caus’d his Kindred likewise to p. 84swear, Never to do good to the Church.  And they had reason to think so, whilst no sort of Reason prevailed with him, or any of them, who acted all things with an Authority not otherwise limited than by their own unbridled Passion.

He would not allow that the City of Rome should enjoy certain holy priviledges peculiar to it alone; and therefore in the year 1500, having publish’d an Universal Jubile, he granted more Indulgences to those that staid at home than to those who, as the custom is, came to visit the Churches of Rome, ordain’d for that purpose.

Nevertheless, some were willing to think that he did this out of good policy, as doubting lest, all the people of Christendom being already offended with the wicked carriage of his Sons, there might happen at Rome, amidst the variety and confusion of sundry Nations, some resolution to the prejudice of all his House.  But such reasons had no place in his mind; for those that came to Rome, were led thither by devotion; and the diversity of Nations hinders the Union of a People that would take Arms against their Lord.

The principal cause lay in his own humour, which was cruel and totally averse from doing good to any others besides his own Relations: And whereas by so great a concourse the Romans were likely to gain something by the traffick of holy Merchandise, to wit, Medals, Crowns, and other consecrated works, besides the Rent of Lodgings, and sale of Provisions; He would not that they should enjoy this benefit, although the hindrance of it was accompanied with loss both to himself, the Church of St. Peter, and the Office of the Datary.

p. 85All the good he did to the Church, was, that he shew’d himself very liberal to Writers and Learned men of all sorts; not out of any natural inclination towards them, but only to oblige them to write well of himself and his Kindred.  And accordingly there were some infamous Writers (as I may deservedly call them) who made comparison between his Raign and that of Alexander, with a parallel of the qualities of these two persons.  Amongst the rest one made a Book, intituled, The glories of the Papacy of Alexander the Sixth and the Borgian Family.  God give a thousand ill years to such Writers, who flatter falsly, and at their pleasure make Angels of Devils, and Saints of Tyrants.

An other good thing which this Pope seem’d to do to the City of Rome, was, that there being a great dearth in the State, he caused great plenty of corn to be brought from Sicily, and by this means render’d the City very plentifully stored.  But ’twas not any affection for the people that induc’d him to it, but he did it out of consideration of great profit to himself; for he sold corn at Rome for double the price it cost in Sicily, trading with the Churches money, and putting the gain into the purse of his Bastards.  Whence it may be concluded, that he never had any intention to do good to the publick.

Innocent the eighth, of the house of Cibo, was as benign and inclin’d to do good, as Alexander was cruel and addicted to do evil.  The truth is, Innocent, who gave neither Offices nor Riches to his Relations, but with moderation (as I have said in due place) was a Pope worthy of that time, when Christendom seem’d to be threatned with most heavy calamities.

p. 86This man studied from morning to night how to procure benefit to the Church, ease to the People, and comfort to the Catholicks; so that no sooner was any thing mention’d to him, but he presently answer’d, So be that it bring good to the Publick.  From whence it may easily be gather’d, that all his motions tended to do good, and were far from the design of doing evil.

He rewarded all those Cardinals who had nominated and promoted him to the Papal Chair.  To the Monastick Orders he granted particular favours and priviledges, especially to that of St. Dominique and St. Francis.  He lightned the Church, and likewise the Palace and Court of all superfluous expenses.  He us’d great charity towards the Poor.  He lov’d his Country, and caus’d most ample satisfaction to be given to the Genoeses who had been ill treated during the vacancy of the See.  He honour’d, and requir’d others to honour all extraneous Nations of the World; insomuch that the Turk himself sent an Embassadour to him with some Presents, meerly because he had understood this generous demeanour of the Pope; amongst which Presents was the Title of the Holy Cross, and the Spear which pierc’d the side of our Saviour.  Thus the Romans report and believe; and accordingly I write it.

He readily pardon’d injuries receiv’d, provided his Pardon were desir’d with humility; and he receiv’d Embassadours with so great curtesies, that in those days, the Princes of Christendom knew not how to do a greater favour to a deserving Officer of State than to send him Embassadour to Rome, to negotiate with so worthy and good a Pope.

He re-bless’d the Venetians, who had been interdicted p. 87by his Predecessor; and although a Genoese, yet he omitted not to bestow divers favours on the Senate; being wont to say, That Popes may receive great honour by keeping good correspondence with the Republick, and great shame by breaking with it.  Whence during his Government he entred into League with the Venetians, not in order to raise war against any, but only for procuring an Universal peace, and the tranquillity of all Christendom.

He suppress’d all those Tyrants who in several places tyrannis’ed over the State Ecclesiastical.  He reduc’d unto friendship the disunited hearts of the Romans, particularly, the Families of Colonna, Orsini, Margoni, and Santa Croce, which were all embroil’d together in civil feuds; and he commanded all Governours of the State to use their utmost endeavour for extinguishing all other intestine combustions.

He reduc’d all the Kings and Princes of Europe to an Universal Peace (and believe me, ’tis little less than a miracle to unite together so many disunited minds.)  And indeed since the daies of Augustus Cæsar, never was there seen in Europe so great a peace and concord between all Princes: who attributed this blessed tranquillity to the pious intention and good conduct of the Pope.

He brought to pass, that three the most powerful Armies that ever appeared in the world were rais’d for the destruction of the Turk; two by Land, whereof one was commanded by the Emperour, the other by the King of Hungary; and the third was a very mighty Fleet commanded by the Pope in Person, accompanied with the Kings of France, Spain, and England, besides part of the Colledge of p. 88Cardinals, and a great number of Princes.

But whilst all things were putting in order, and eight months of the year allotted for preparation already elapsed, this great Pope fell sick; and his death shortly ensuing hindered Christendom from the most glorious expedition that ever was (or perhaps will be) undertaken against Asia; and so much the more in that Alexander the Sixth was his Successor.

These examples are alledged by me, to shame those Popes who are so infinitely strangers to the spirit and qualities of Innocent.  The Church indeed much needs in these daies such a Pope as he to remedy the innumerable disorders and scandals which are so dayly multiply’d in Rome and the whole State by this practice of advancing Nephews.  But since the death of that Pope so well dispos’d to do good, there have succeeded in the Papacy a multitude of Wretches, inclin’d to nothing but to do mischief, and to avert whatever good might accidentally come to pass.

The chief mischief I find in the Papacy, is, that the unworthy examples of so many Popes addicted to do hurt to the Church, far exceeds the good example of Innocent, who hath had few (or none) like himself, in constant seeking good, and averting evil, not only from Rome, but also from all Christendom.

In this present Age, Popes strike in with the most, and relinquish the fewest; that is, they follow evil because many have follow’d it, and they despise good because they see it embrac’d by few; accounting it better to hazard their lives amongst a herd of Wolves than to be secure in the company of Sheep.

Greater mischief could not befall the Church, than that which hath befaln it through the strange changes either of the Nature or Disposition of the Successors p. 89of Innocent the eighth, to the admiration of all but the Popes themselves; who never wonder at any thing, conceiving that they have authority sufficient to sanctifie wicked actions.

Now to make a little comparison between the actions of Innocent the eighth with those of Urban the eighth, Innocent the tenth and Alexander the seventh, the three last Popes; it appears that these latter were wholly bent upon sumptuous Buildings, beautifying of Altars, repairing of Walls, and other external Ornaments; whereas Innocent on the contrary slighted all Pomps and Magnificences, seeking only the substantial and internal good of the Church.  The former plotted from morning to night how to sow division amongst Princes: but Innocent spent all his nights in considering how to unite all States and Kingdoms, for the common benefit of Christendom.

Nor is there much need to believe that the Popes, who shall succeed Alexander, will be apt to imitate Innocent the eighth.  For in the whole Colledge of Cardinals ’tis not possible to find even but one of the like disposition; and I am confident there may be found above fifty of the humour of Urban, and above as many more of that of Innocent the tenth, as also no less number of that of Alexander the seventh; although there be not in all much above threescore Cardinals.

They would think it a sin to imitate good Examples for this reason, if for no other, that they have seen the same imitated by few.  And the truth is, good examples are so scarce, that the Popes have not had, these forty years, time to seek them; the same being in a manner hid from their eyes, and strangers to the City of Rome, from whence goodness seems utterly p. 90banish’d, and wickedness recall’d thither with promise of great rewards.

Great Volumes might be filled with the History of Sixtus the fourth, who was the man, that first made his Nephews absolute Lords of the Church: If I should set down all the good and evil committed by the said Pope during his Reign.  But it would be superfluous, since all the Church receiv’d by that Pope’s actions, is summarily contain’d in the Introduction and Advancement of his Nephews.  A thing extremely scandalous to all Ages, and withal so mischievous that ’tis impossible ever to be laid aside; in regard the Romans themselves are so accustom’d to it, being like Lepers, that feel neither the Iron nor the fire which corrodes their bowels.

It comes here into my mind, that travelling once from Rome to Loretto, in the same Litter with a very aged Roman Gentleman, I fell to discourse with him about sundry things pertaining to the Papal Government; and particularly I had the curiosity to ask him, How it could be consistent with the spirit of true Romans to suffer so patiently the Dominion of the Pope’s Nephews, who were so addicted to scrape up wealth, affront most Princes, overturn all things, and tyrannise both in Temporals and Spirituals, with an authority so absolute, uncontroulable, and even contrary to reason, that their Government seems rather Turkish than Christian?

He answer’d me with a smile, That the Romans were become callous, that is insensible; alluding to their spirits, which alike endure all things from the hands of Nephews, who by several waies tend to the destruction of whatever they meddle with.

God forgive that scandalous resolution of Sixtus p. 91the fourth to introduce (I will not say the Nipotismo, but) the Insolence, Vanity, Ambition, Avarice, and the too great Liberty of the Nipotismo: For the Church had formerly seen Pope’s Nephews in the Vatican, but not till then the Vices in their Nephews, which peradventure (if not without all peradventure) were brought in by the aforesaid Pope by means of the conniv’d-at Liberty which he suffered his Relations to take, and for that having no regard to the future, but minding wholly the present, he went in the direct road to the destruction both of Church and State.

This was that Pope, who made war against the Colonneses, quarrell’d the Venetians, and committed several other exorbitances, for no other reason but the sake of his Kindred; who, during his thirteen long years Popedom, were never any one of them the Authors of least advantage to the Church, but altogether addicted to spend and spoil, to waste and poure out their Prodigalities at her cost.

More might be said, but to what purpose is it to rub old sores whilst every day produces new and fresh occasions of grief and trouble?

Where are those Primitive times, when the lives of the Ecclesiasticks were solely dedicated to the publick good, and they possess’d nothing as their own; but whatever was surplus to what was necessary to sustain Nature, was all disposed of to the poor, with so holy and overflowing Zeal from the true fountain of perfect Charity that it refresh’d even the very sight of the beholders?

One of the greatest evils which the Nipotismo hath constantly caus’d hath been their little regard to do good to the poor.  The Romans do and ever have p. 92observ’d (and would to God they had not observ’d throughout all ages) that the least charity is that which comes from the houses of the Pope’s Nephews, who themselves have nothing but what they receive as it were by a general Alms; which is no sooner got into their clutches but it becomes transformed into hereditary Principalities, and into a Revenue not temporal, but perpetual and eternal.

But methinks they ought at least to cover these substantial wickednesses with an appearance of good, by giving the poor the remains of their superfluities; and not suffer them to clamour at their Palace doors, from whence they are so often driven by the violence of their servants.

But the truth is, the Romans give so little credit to the good they should do, having been witnesses themselves to so much of their ill; that it is not possible for them to believe that what they give in Alms proceeds from a good and charitable heart, but from hypocrisie and design.

If there was ever a charitable Cardinal in Rome, certainly ’tis Cardinal Francisco, who is indeed the most Eleemosynary person in the world: which I know, as not only having seen his publick, but his private Alms.  And yet notwithstanding, there is not a Roman but believes this to be a meer design, to gain the hearts of those who may be able to advance him to the Papacy.  And to say the truth, The principal vertue that shined in Alexander, when he was Cardinal, was the great charity he shewed to the poor, giving them almost his whole Revenue; which was mention’d in design of his advantage in the Conclave.  But he was no sooner chosen Pope but that humour left him, and ever after he held for the height of p. 93Charity, what he did to enrich his Kindred, who were indifferently poor, and stood in need enough of the Alms of the Vatican.

I conclude this Book with affirming, that the mischiefs which the Nipotismo have occasion’d, and still do continue to the Church, are more easie to be seen with the Eye, than writ with the Pen; and therefore those who have been at Rome will have more satisfaction in the reading it, than those to whom it will be very difficult to be believ’d, nay, even to be conceiv’d in their imagination.


p. 95The THIRD BOOK.

The Contents.

Of the difficulty which the Ministers of Princes meet with in treating with the Nephews of the Pope.  Of those things that prevail most in the Nipotismo.  Of the policy of the Church-menOf the way the Court of Rome useth to make others to conform to their designsWhat Graces are hard to be found in Rome.  Of what they ought to be provided of, that would dispatch their business well with the Pope.  Of the Roman Climate, subject to variationOf the causes why some Ministers lose themselves in Rome.  Of the manner how the Pope calls the CardinalsOf the Popes, who understand not Court-affairsOf the Papacy of Gregory the fifteenth, troublesome to those who were to negotiate with himOf p. 96some Ministers, who play their State-affairs at hazardOf the Assembly of the Cardinals, which serves the Pope for false pretextOf the intricacy that was found in the time of Urban the eighthOf the manner of the Pope’s Negotiations with the Ministers of PrincesOf Negotiations never to be concludedOf the Answer of Seigneur de Lion to his FriendOf the Policies of the Barbarini.  Of the disgust, the Republick of Venice receiv’d from the Barbarini.  Of the dissatisfaction of the Lucheses, the Crown of Poland, and the Bollougneses.  Of the cheats put upon the two Crowns of Spain and France.  How the Barbarini serv’d the King of Portugal, in reference to the Bishop of Lamego his EmbassadourOf some Examples of the Contrivances of Pope Innocent.  Of the Duke of Parma’s Army going into the FieldOf the humour of Urban the eighth, to deny favours to allOf the affronts, which Princes do receive from the Court of Rome.  Of the nature of the EcclesiasticksOf the Catholick Crown, that admits in their State none but of the Roman FaithOf the damage the Spaniards receive, by suffering themselves to be governed by the Court of Rome.  Of the displeasures that do arise betwixt Rome and Spain.  Of the Northern Policy, and of Italy, which laughs at the Spanish ZealHow many Princes are disgusted, to see the Spaniards humble themselves so to the Pope.  How many Ministers are deceiv’d, who confide in CardinalsOf the effect of the Protection of Cardinals to PrincesOf the interest of the Cardinals to advance the PapacyOf the Corruption of the Colledge of CardinalsWhat qualified persons they chuse to be CardinalsOf the Pope, how he shews himself a Monarch, when he p. 97pleaseth, and Head of a Commonwealth when he listethOf Alexander the seventh’s applying himself to publick businessOf his Ambition to undertake more than his constitution could endureOf the answers which Embassadours receive from the Cardinal Padrone.  Of the secresie and craft of the Court of Rome.  How Cardinals use to reveal secrets to Princes their FriendsHow little the Pope trusts the CardinalsOf Papal ExcommunicationsOf the fear of the Church-menOf the Title of Universal Father in the person of the Pope.  Of a pleasant Example of Paschal the second, applied to his SuccessorsHow Popes treat Leagues with PrincesOf the sudden change of the Nephews of the Pope, from a low to a high degreeOf the effects which that producethWhat the Kindred of Alexander did in Sienna.  Of the disgust which Ministers receive by treating with unexpert personsOf the time that is lost in studying the nature of the Nipotismo.  Of a strange example which befel an Embassador who negotiated with Cardinal Capaccino, Brother to Urban the eighthOf a burlesque and biting Answer, given by the same Embassadour, to the same CardinalOf the answer of the Embassadour Justiniani, made to one who asked him, if he went to negotiate with Cardinal Astalli.  Of some Examples of the Covetousness of Pope Boniface, prejudicial to the Negotiators of the CourtOf Clement the seventhOf Paul the fourthOf Sixtus the fifthOf Urban the eighthOf the names, the Nephews give the hours they spend in publick businessOf a Reproof that Gregory the fourteenth gave to his NephewOf that Peevish way wherewith the Pope’s Nephews negotiate with EmbassadoursOf the p. 98Reason, why the Family of the Popes do not continue long in GrandeurOf a similitude of Trees applied to the Nephews of the Pope.  Of the wonder that ariseth in the world, to see the houses of the Popes decayOf some Families that are yet in beingOf the difference between those Families that give being to Popes, and those that receive their being from themOf the Popes which came out of the house of Colonna.  Of the Glory of the House of Rovere, how it failed in Urbino, how long it continued in its GrandeurOf two Popes that came from the House of Cibo in Genoa.  How that Family despised the being citizens of Rome.  Of the Family of Alexander the sixthHow it was divided into two branches; one in Italy, the other in Spain.  Why that in Italy failed before that of Spain.  Of the Family of Picolomini.  Of the force of Leo the tenth, used to render the House of Medici potentOf the time that the Familie of Medici supported themselves in Grandeur before Clement the seventhHow they are deceiv’d, who believe the Grandeur of the house of Medici proceeds from the papacyOf the destruction of the Commonwealth of Florence necessary to the Ecclesiastical StateThe example of this Family ought not to serve for a pattern to those who discourse of the ruine of the Families of the Popes.  Of the Family of Farnese.  How they first came into Italy.  Of valiant men in the worldOf services performed by the House of Farnese.  Some examples concerning the sameA notable saying of Eugenio the fourth concerning the Farnese.  Of the Ambition the Popes had to be served by themOf the ingratitude of Urban the eighth, and Innocent the tenth, towards the Family of Farnese.  Of the p. 99interest that moved Paul the third, to make them greatOf the great persecution it hath receiv’d, for above these forty yearsOf the Government of Parma and Piacenza, how it came to the hands of the Farnesi.  Of the house of Monte, how little a while it lasted in great splendor, although raised by Julius the thirdOf the House of Caraffa.  Of its fall; how near to the birth of its good fortuneOf the disdain of Paul the fourth, and Pius the fourth, to the CaraffiesOf the glory in which the House of Caraffa shines now in Naples.  Of the House of Buon Compagnii of Gregory the thirteenthOf the House of Perotti of Sixtus the fifthTo what greatness raisedHow long it continued in that stateOf its failingOf the House of Sfondrata of Gregory the fourteenthOf its rise, and fallOf the house of Aldobrandina, what it was, and what it isOf the Family of Burghesi, and Ludovisi, and of some other particulars touching the failing of the Pontificial Families.

The difficulties, which the Ministers of Princes meet with in their treaties with the Pope’s Nephews, are so great, that the most refined Wits and politick Heads of the Universe cannot easily fathom them; every one losing himself in an Abyss of wonder to see the Court of Rome, in all her own concerns, and with all persons, so selfish and singular, whilst she alone glories in the Title of Universal.

It would be no great matter, if the Nephews would rest satisfied with embroyling and discomposing the minds only of the Principal Ministers of State; and p. 100did not likewise make themselves the unhappy instruments of bringing Treaties and Negotiations of the greatest weight to irreparable confusion: the ruine whereof must necessarily draw the consequence of damage to the Pontifical State, disorder to Christianity, and perpetual distaste to those Princes, who know themselves obliged to send their Agents to a Court, where they shall rather receive occasion of disgust than profit.  For the Church-men cannot treat with any Prince, without wounding his reputation with secret reproaches and back-biting language.

There are two things, Ignorance and malice (the usual Patrimony of Popes Nephews) which are predominant in the Nipotismo, which subvert and drown even those appearances of good, that might otherwise be found in the Court of Rome: And the mischief of it is, that these two are inseparable, and go alwaies hand in hand together in the Nipotismo; their ignorance is not accompanied with that honest simplicity which often is seen in some of weak understanding; but quite contrary, an ignorant Nephew no sooner marches into the Vatican (which thing God knows too often happens) but Artificial Malice displaies her Banners; and if by chance within the Camp there happens to be found out any one that’s good and vertuous, she doth her utmost to make him pass for an ignorant lackwit.  Whence the Church, Christendom, and the Court do all suffer by the malice and ignorance of those Lordly Nephews, who matter not by which of these two abject qualities they govern.

There have been several Princes in our Age, who finding themselves deluded in some of their affairs, have blam’d their own Officers, judging the errors p. 101which occasioned their damage, and were indeed committed by the Nipotismo, to be caused by the inability of their Ministers; as if it had been in their power to overwhelm the Course of nature, and thwart a malicious Ignorance.

Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma, a Prince truly worthy of a Crown, seeing the business of Castro, and his other Affairs with the Church, not to succeed according to his desire, rebuked his Minister who was at Rome, believing him a person of very slender experience in the management of the matters committed to his charge.

But when it hapned that his occasions drew himself thither, and consequently oblig’d him to treate personally with the Nephews of Pope Urban, he speedily reform’d the ill impression made in his mind against his Ministers, knowing then very well, by his own experience, that all the damages, he sustain’d in that affair, were derived from the ill-will was borne him by the Barberini: Whereupon as he went from Rome he let these words fall, That the Church indeed is a holy body, of which the Princes are the Members, and the Pope the Head; but the Nephews by their ill management do daily discompose the Members, not at all regarding how thereby they prejudiced the Head.

And to say the truth, the Pope’s Nephews cannot oftentimes distinguish, what difference there is betwixt a Prince and his Minister; nor what respect the Court ought to shew to them which come to honour it.

The Church-mens understanding, to accommodate the Church so well to the benefit of their proper interest, makes many believe the subtilty of them in politick affairs to be very great.  And truly, the conceipt p. 102is not ordinary, which most men have of the politick understanding of the Ecclesiasticks; every one knowing that the City of Rome, in the Art of Governing and making others reasons conform to its will, hath ever been in all times and ages the truest School of Policy, and almost, if not altogether, the Mistris of all Nations: as she who, at her birth from the belly of the rest by a special gift of nature, brought with her into the world the most polite Endowments and refined Customs she could bestow upon her.

Such were alwaies the Customs of Rome, who for the space of more than twelve Ages past, knew very well to frame conformable maximes to their own designs.  But after that the Nipotismo began to take possession of an Authority, not limited otherwise than by their own passions, every thing began to put on a new countenance.  And having renounced the true and ancient Rules of Government, and found new methods of deport to those who make addresses to them, the Agents and Ministers of Foraign Princes, who come thither to negotiate their Masters affairs, mistake the way that others use to walk in with so much reputation.

From whence it happens, that there are very few return from their Negotiations there without just occasion of complaint; not only that they have not met with due civilities, but that they have likewise been deluded in all their transactions.

The Court of Rome indeed, whilst the Popes liv’d without the Nipotismo, were instrumental in the world to resolve the greatest intricacies of Christendom: but after they were introduced, they served only to confound and entangle the easiest matters; who interposing in things not at all concerning them, p. 103they ruin’d others business and affairs, besides their own.  For they will do nothing now in Rome without pretence of perfect Zeal unto Religion; and yet that Zeal hath certainly the least shew in any of their concerns.  Good serves them only for the shadow, but Evil for the substance.  Kindnesses from them, as honey from Bees, being seldom got without the sting of prejudice.

There are some that have fansied the Courting and flattering the Nipotismo to be the only way to arrive at the end of their unbridled designs, but these found themselves deceived; for all the merit or other insinuation in the world is not able to move the obstinacy of those who (except it proceed from some capricious fancie or other inclination of their own) have no regard to remunerate or gratifie either Subject, Prince, or Prelate.

Yet it is more easie to obtain, than keep their favours: But he that doth, had better be without them: since ’tis so hard to judge whether the Tap they draw their favours from be sweet or sower.

’Tis hard to express the difficulties the Ministers of Princes meet with in their treating with the Nephews; which are so great, that some of them have caused an infinitie of Masses to be celebrated to the Holy Ghost, before they began their Negotiations with them.  I my self knew one, who vowed to make himself a Capuchin Frier, if he could effect a certain business with them; but I believe he had no great intention to put on that habit, because his demand was for his own advantage, and the Nephews are never wont to grant any thing to any one, but what is to their prejudice.

’Tis my opinion, that to be well prepared to treate p. 104in Rome, one ought to be well provided of that double spirit, which Elisha so earnestly desired of Elijah, whilst double dealing and hypocrisie are the chiefest rudiments of their Policy, I will not say that now do, but, for the space of two Ages past, have reigned in Rome.

Let the Agents and Ministers of Princes therefore lay their heads together in Rome, and say Masses to obtain new waies of managing Political Affairs, let them arm themselves with a double spirit; for the Pontificial Negotiations will try the skill of the most experienced Statesmen.

Venice, that with so great prudence in State-affairs foresees the future, never sends any Embassadour to Rome, that hath not first been tried, and rendered an incomparable Politician by the experience he hath gotten in the Courts of the chiefest Monarchies of the Universe: yet notwithstanding I my self have heard these words said by an Embassadour sent to Rome from thence: Sin hora sono stato nell Ambasciate scabrose, hora entro nelle pericolose, dio me la mandi buona conquel Nipotismo: Till now I have been in rugged Treaties, now I enter into a dangerous one: God send me good luck with the Nipotismo.

He, who can live five years in the Court of Rome without a stumble, will not find it hard to pass an Age or two (if nature would give him leave) in any other place with reputation and credit.

Yet we know very well by every daies experience, that many Politicians and expert Statesmen, who, for many years together in the management of several Treaties, had rendered themselves as it were immortal by the no small reputation obtained in the several Courts they had been formerly employed in, no p. 105sooner came to Rome, but speedily they lost it.  And indeed they all come thither swell’d with the Titles of most eminent and able Statesmen, but depart from thence with very little credit.

And the reason of this is, because as the Sea Coast, which encompasses the Ecclesiastick State, is subject to the usual Tempests of the Ocean; so the Roman Havens are very subject to their sudden variations and changes: From whence it happens, that both without and within Rome is so subject to perils and ship-wracks.  They therefore who go for succour to that Climate, that is not understood by those themselves that are born under it, cannot but meet with storms and tempests.  Where affairs put on every day a several face and shape, the difficulty must needs be very great; And many Ministers lose themselves in the Court of Rome by this means.  For when they believe they Negotiate with a Monarchy, they find they have to do with a Republick; and when they think they treat with a Commonwealth, they find they are ingaged with a Monarchy full of Monarchs, whilst there is not one of the Papal Nephews that doth not expect to be treated, with as a Soveraign.

Yet because the Pope is chosen by the Cardinals, many would believe that these have the same Authority with the Pope, not only to treat, but conclude; as the Electors have with the Emperour in Affairs of great importance.  And indeed, to hear his Holiness call them Fellows, Companions, and Brethren, makes a strange impression in the Citizens, Strangers, Subjects, and Princes, of I know not what greatness in favour of the Cardinals, every one imagining that they cannot chuse but have a share in the privatest concerns of the Government of the Church.

p. 106But for all that things appear quite otherwise, and the Pope’s become absolute Soveraign over those who chuse him; who never know any thing in any affairs untill they are concluded on: He sends Embassadours at his will, treats both of Peace and War at his own pleasure, and in fine, doth whatsoever he hath a mind to, without participating it to any, but those to whom he is guided to by his particular inclinations.

But that, which makes the treating with the Court of Rome more difficult, is, That for the most part the Pope himself neither understands the Negotiations, nor Negotiators of them.  And the Ministers of Princes sometimes as little know which is the Pope, for frequently he treats as Nephew, and the Nephews treat as Pope.  A thing indeed enough to confound any ones understanding, to have the Pontificacy so promiscuously made up of Pope and Nephews; He for the Exteriour, and they for the Interiour part of it.

For the Nipotismo, which manageth publick affairs, at whose Girdle the Keys of business are tied, Resolves, Negotiates, and concludes any thing without acquainting either the Pope or Consistory.

Let any one judge, how it was possible for any Embassadour to make any honourable result in the management of the interests of his Prince at Rome in the time of Gregory the fifteenth; since he himself was so fearful to displease Cardinal Ludovisi, his Nephew, that he suffered him to do whatever he had a mind to: who, finding the power he had over him, did every thing without his knowledge.

There were some Embassadours who in their ordinary Visits would in general terms touch upon p. 107business, only to feel his Holiness his Pulse, which way he was enclined.  But so soon as ever he perceived them to begin to ask Questions, he would immediately make this Answer; You speak with us, and our Nephew doth all things without either us or you; speak with him, and what he doth, that we do.  And with such like answers he usually entertained those Embassadors that came to him.

From hence it came to pass, that most of the Treaties did not only confound those who managed them; but also the Ministers found themselves obliged to put all their affairs upon Chance, Fineness and Policy standing them in little stead, who were necessitated, as a Ship in an unruly storm, to give themselves up altogether to Fortune.

It was a thing worth the observing, to see how the Embassadours laboured both with bodies and mind, sometimes on this, sometimes on that side; now with the Nephews, then with the Pope; from one drawing this Answer, Speak to our Uncle: From the other, Go to our Nephew.  So that very often when they concluded any thing with the Nephew, they were in doubt whether or no the Uncle would be contented: And so it hapned on the other side, if they treated any thing with the Uncle, they were ever fearful least the other, being displeased at it, should cross the whole design; so that though matters were concluded by either of these, they were still uncertain whether the result would be for good or evil.

This Nephew, who did every thing without the knowledge of his Uncle, gave out, he could do nothing without participating to others; and particularly in the beginning the Papacy he alwaies answered, in affairs of greatest concernment, We will see, p. 108We will do, We will speak, We will procure, We will consent, and such like dilatory expressions.

And the Embassadours were most mortified with this manner of proceedings of the Pope and his Nephews, who knew very well how to agree amongst themselves to the prejudice of those who treated with them.  And when things did not go on according to their pleasures, or they found themselves unable to resist the perswasions and arguments of the Embassadours, they would both sing in the same tune: The holy Colledge of Cardinals must be acquainted with the affair, without whom there was never any thing concluded.

And yet those Ministers themselves knew very well, that was but a false pretext; for although the Cardinals were in Rome, yet they were not in the Court, and never knew of the designs of the Pope, nor the Treaties of his Nephew.

In Urban’s time there were other Labyrinths in the Court, although this Pope was a far greater Politician than Gregory, and the Barbarins much more expert in Government than the abovesaid Cardinal Ludovisio.

At that time, before any thing could be done, all the Nephews favours must be purchased; for he was resolved not to treat with any that was not dependent on his Family.  And not only Francesco, the Cardinal Patrone, was to be courted, but Cardinal Antonio, and Don Tadeo, and his Wife likewise, who so aspired at the Visits of the Ministers of Princes, that the Pope would not give Audience to any that had not first paid his devoir to that Lady: which was the Reason, why the Duke of Parma had such ill success in all his business.

p. 109In the beginning of his Reign the Pope, in a manner alone, manag’d all the most important affairs of Christendom, with no small ardency and zeal.  But wot you what?  The things which he did in the day he undid in the night; for coming to consult with his Nephews, who alwaies found their Uncle’s Opinion contrary to their own, they oftentimes brought him to contradict himself, and reverse what he had formerly granted and concluded.

’Tis true, he did this with great subtlety, not failing to find out some fair and specious excuses wherewith to colour their pretexts, and clear the Pope of levity; by which means Embassadours were perpetually deluded, even when they thought they had the Fish in their hands, which on a sudden slipt away from between their fingers, beyond possibility of recovery.

Hence affairs were protracted in infinitum; So that though in Urban’s time many Princes treated of a League with the Church and the Pope himself, nevertheless there was not any considerable one concluded in a Reign of twenty three years; during which time divers Princes concluded a League offensive and defensive against the Barbarini.

The reason of this was, for that the Pope was too hard towards others, and too soft towards his own Relations; Cardinal Francesco too soft towards others, (but dissemblingly) and hard towards his Uncle; Cardinal Antonio hard towards Francesco, and soft towards the Pope; and Don Thadeo, who knew not how to do better, was hard towards the soft, and soft towards the hard.

Cardinal Francesco fear’d to disgust Antonio, and delighted to displease the Pope; Cardinal Antonio fear’d the Pope, but caus’d Francesco fear himself; p. 110Don Thadeo sided with him that was most obstinate in his opinion; And the Pope deny’d to one what he could not grant to the other, granted to this what the other desired, becoming obstinate where there was need of pliableness, and pliable where it behoved him to be obstinate.

Now a Court of this humour afforded work enough to the Ministers of Princes, who were alwaies receiv’d by the Pope with ambiguous expressions, by Cardinal Francesco with abundance of faire promises, and by Cardinal Antonio with a long train of exquisite complements.  But when the Ministers press’d to come to a conclusion of any important business, Cardinal Antonio sent them to his brother Francesco, who at the appointed hour of Audience us’d to go his visits to the seven Churches, and the Pope himself pretended indisposition of body.  And thus the effecting of all urgent business was rendred impossible.

In Urban’s time ’twas hard for Princes Ministers to find the streight gate to enter into publick Negotiations, and when they were in, they found themselves in a Labyrinth, out of which they could scarce extricate themselves after a thousand turnings and windings.

Monsieur de Lionne, a person of great Abilities, being employ’d Embassadour to Rome by the most Christian Crown, one day ask’d a familiar friend of his (pleasantly) What kind of person himself had?  To which his Friend answered.  That he had the person of a man worthy of this Age.  Monsieur de Lionne reply’d to him, That he took himself to be like a Tennis-ball bandi’d to and fro by foul-players; alluding hereby to the Artifices and tricks put upon him by the Barbarini p. 111in his negotiating with them concerning the affair of Castro.

The truth is, any other Minister but Monsieur de Lionne would have shewed much anger in Rome, in the time of the War of the Duke of Parma with the confederate Princes.  This great Man, who was dispatch’d on purpose to procure the appeasing of the rising tumults, knew not which way to turn his wits to invent projects and artifices enough to oppose those of the Barbarini, who continually promis’d what they never intended to perform.

He was sent from Herod to Pilate, and from Pilate to Caiphas: The one answer’d, Yea: The other, No.  But what was most important, the Pope had granted him leave to treat with the two Cardinals his Nephews, with a promise to confirm what should be by them concluded.  Hereupon having one day by the power of perswasions reduc’d the said two Lords to reason, he repair’d to the Pope to beseech him to confirm the Treaties agreed upon with his Nephews; but he receiv’d for answer, That ’twas expedient to consider upon the matter; which consideration never had an end.

All the Policy of the Barbarini lay in drawing out affairs in length, and concluding nothing; so that when ever these Nephews concluded any thing with the Ministers of Princes, they presently sent word to the Pope, that he should deny to confirm what they had done, and at the same time gave out that such denial was contrary to their wills.

The Republick of Venice, when they saw that ancient Monument remov’d out of the Vatican, which represented the Benefits done by St. Mark to the Church, sent an Express to carry their just complaints p. 112to the Pope, but he could never obtain any kind of satisfaction, not so much as in words, the Pope turning the matter from himself to his Nephews, and the Nephews from themselves to the Pope.

In the mean time great affront was done to the honour of a Republick so well deserving of the Church, without which one may say perhaps there would not be now a Pope in Rome, if any where else.

In like manner the Commonwealth of Lucca sent an Embassadour to Rome to complain of the injury done to them by the Pope’s sending to them the Lord Recagna with the title of Commissary, (which was a thing not a little derogatory from the Soveraignty of that State) and the more, in that this good Prelate, sent from the Barbarini, had something of the Barbarian.

But this Embassage had no effect, besides a return of Plenary Indulgency, which the Embassadour carried home, who seeing himself so often baffled at the Vatican, fell into the humour of negotiating with the Saints, and made his business to receive the Stations sometimes of one Church, and sometimes of another.

The Crown of Poland for six years together solicited by its Embassadour to have a Cardinal’s Hat for the Lord Visconti, according to his just Priviledges; but in all that time he not only could not obtain his intent; but moreover the Popish Embassadour at his return knew not what cause to tell his Master of the denial; for they all gave him good words, and bad deeds.  Cardinal Antonio excus’d himself by saying, That he had no authority to effect it; Cardinal Francesco, That his desire was to serve his Majesty, but his Holiness did not think the Person worthy; And the p. 113Pope pretended, That he could not make a man Cardinal who was an enemy to his Nephews.

The same was the case of the Citizens of Bononia, who dispatch’d an Agent to Rome, to supplicate his Holiness, that he would please to remove the Commissary Della Grascia, whose being there mightily intrench’d upon their Priviledges, but they receiv’d the same Answer with those of Lucca; their Envoy returning laden with fair words, but not with Indulgences, as he of Lucca; for out of displeasure to have miss’d his intent he would not visit the holy places, but said to a Friend that moved him to go and receive the Stations of St. Mary Maggiore, (rather like a Protestant than a Catholick) My Friend, If there be no treating with the Barbarini who can speak, there is less with the Saints who cannotTo what purpose is it to solicite the dead, if it be so hard to address to the living?

The two Crowns of France and Spain are manifestly imposed upon every day, the Spanish Policy little availing with the Barbarini, whilst they stir not a hairs breadth from their ordinary Maxime, which is to perplex the understanding of Embassadours, one of them denying as much as the other promis’d.  Which gave occasion to a certain Florentine of the great Duke’s Court to say, That the greatest miracle of Rome was to see all the Ministers of Princes tantaliz’d with the ambiguous and confus’d treating of the Barbarini, to so great prejudice of all Christendom.

But if ever any Prince was tantalized by them, ’twas the King of Portugal, who by the advice of France, and upon hopes given by the fair words of the Barbarini, sent the Bishop of Lamego with the title of Embassadour Royal to Rome, where he was receiv’d p. 114with great honour and respect.  But in substance ’twas all but smoke, the Embassadour being unable to obtain either a favourable Yea, or a flat No; that I say not that he obtain’d sometimes the one, and sometimes the other.

This intricate procedure in so important a matter was the cause of great disorders, the Spaniards distrusting the words of the Barbarini, and the French giving little or no credit to the offers made by them.  For Cardinal Antonio never ceas’d to assure France, That Lamego should not fail to be receiv’d as a publick Embassadour; and Cardinal Francesco continually promis’d Spain, That his Holiness would never admit a Portugal Embassadour.

And accordingly by this course the Barbarini wholly disgusted the Portugal, little satisfied the Spaniard, and nothing at all the French, and brought the City it self into danger by that fray which happen’d between the two Embassadours, with the death of some Courtiers on both sides, and the declaring Lamego irregular and depriv’d of all Ecclesiastical Benefices, according to the usual penalty of Homicide.

A thousand other Examples might be brought of like nature, but I must omit them to pass on to the actions of Innocent the tenth, who had reduc’d the Court to such a confus’d state, that no body knew where, nor how, to begin any Negotiation; whereupon a Minister of the Duke of Parma said one day, That ’twas easier to make a bed for a dog, than to understand the humour of Innocent.

The Government of Urban was the best in the World in comparison of that of Innocent; for Urban delighted to negotiate with Embassadours, but the p. 115other avoided their presence as much as possible he could; and when he receiv’d them, ’twas after so disobliging careless manner, that few car’d to confer with him.

No hours were so tedious to him, as those wherein he was to give Audience to a publick Embassadour; for he little car’d to be troubled with the important affairs of Christendom, or those of the Papacy it self.

His particular Maximes were to deny all favours, to answer all sutes with a Negative, and never to resolve upon any thing that might advantage the Church, or weaken its Enemies.

What others avoided, was in him predominant; that is to say, He lov’d that which was worst.  If he possess’d any vertue, he employ’d it not to the benefit of Christendom, but of his own Family; as on the contrary he did his ill qualities to the mischief of the Church and the City.

At first indeed he seem’d so desirous of knowing all affairs both publick and private, that ’twas hoped, his Government would prove the happiest that ever was to the Church.  But this vigilance caused no small hurt in general; for when the Subjects of the Ecclesiastical State, Prelates, and forreign Ministers, conceiving the same to proceed from zeal to Justice, had brought and delivered their Memorials, in hopes of a speedy Answer, it prov’d all but loss of time; for they never were call’d, nor admitted to any answer at all.  Whence, the Pope’s way, of denying all and resolving nothing, being understood, it became an ungrateful employment to have any thing to do at Rome.

And to make the way of arriving at their ends p. 116more difficult to Princes Ministers, for a long time together there was no Officer at Court to present the Petitions of Suiters, as formerly, but he declared one of his Nephews to be Cardinal Patron; who was the Cardinal Astalli, but with an authority so streight and limited, that he was almost asham’d of it.

By this means the Court became so much the more at a loss; for such as address’d to this Nephew, receiv’d no other comfort, but to behold him shrink up his shoulders, (as young maids do when ask’d by their Fathers whether they will marry) and hear him tell them, That all should be represented to his Holiness.  And the truth is, as to this point he was very punctual: But he did it after so timerous and indifferent a manner, out of fear to cross the Pope, whose answer he knew was alwaies the same, That the matter shall be taken into consideration; The plain meaning whereof was, That nothing at all shall be done in it.

In this confusion some thought it best to address immediately to the Pope; but, besides the difficulty of Access, the Event prov’d alwaies alike; whatever care they took to make their Proposals clear and intelligible, they alwaies hung in the hedge.  Yet there were some too that fansied Innocent one of the greatest Politicians of the World, till perceiving by effects the clean contrary, they remain’d as mute as Statues for shame of their mistake.

His suffering Donna Olympia to rule all, his exalting, and abasing his adopted Nephew Astalli; his banishing, and recalling Don Camillo his own Nephew; his persecuting, and reingraciating with the Barbarini; and in a word, his changing his will and judgment every moment; and his inconstancy in every thing, p. 117save granting Sutes, would have imbroiled any Government whatsoever, and much more the Papal, which is naturally full of confusion.

When there happens a Pope like Innocent, bent wholly to reject all the instances of Princes; the only remedy is to sow disturbances in the Church, and broyls between the Protestants and Catholicks, thereby to puzzle the Pope’s brain, and frighten him, so that he shall rather seek the friendship of Princes, than they his.  Of the success of which course I shall give some Examples.

When the Duke of Parma’s Army took the Field, to get redress concerning the detension of Castro, under the Command of Don Gauffrido; the Pope extremely affrighted, as one not much accustomed to the Trade of War, caused the Holy Sacrament to be expos’d forty hours, and Processions to be celebrated to all the Churches in Rome.

And not knowing what might be the issue of the War undertaken by the said Prince, who breathed nothing but the extremities thereof against his Person, he thought it his best course to gain the Princes of Christendom to his side, and to oblige them to relinquish the Protection of the Duke, by rendring himself extraordinary easie to all Addresses, granting Favours to all Demanders, and receiving Publick Ministers with so much obligingness, that they needed no more but to open their mouths for any Suit or Request, that of the Pope standing always open to accord it.

A certain Embassador, who for three years together could never obtain any other Favour but that of Common Indulgences, finding his desires now satisfied in what ever he demanded, writ to the Prince p. 118his Master, That the Pope, like a Hackney-horse, travelled very well with a Spur in his Flank; and that he had lately obtained, in eight days, more than he could do before in three years: So that it were to be wish’d that the Duke of Parma would give him a touch or two more of the Spur.

In the very same manner, at the time that the French had made themselves Masters of Portolongone, all sort of Favours ran out with a full torrent, many times preventing Requests: Nor did the Pope suffer any man to depart from his Presence, who was not satisfied to the height of his wishes.

But no sooner was this State of Affairs changed, that is to say, Portolongone recovered by the Spaniards, and the Duke disappointed in the War, but Negatives appear’d afresh in the Field with greater peremptoriness than before; and the Pope became as deaf as a Stone to all manner of Supplications or Petitions.

Hence it may be clearly seen, or at least argu’d, That most Popes (if not all) neither grant Favours, nor bear any regard to Princes, save at such time as they stand in need of them.

Urban the Eighth was of this very same humour, denying without exception all sort of Favours, which had not their original from his own or his Nephews inclination, however just Reasons might be alledged for them; and this as well to the French, whom he made semblance to love, but really lov’d not; as to the Spaniards, whom indeed he affected, though without giving them the satisfaction of seeing any tokens of that affection.

Nevertheless, when he saw Odoardo Farnese Duke of Parma enter victorious with 3000 Horse, for the p. 119regaining of Castro, most injuriously detained from him, then indeed he began both to humble himself to Spain, which he had kept under before, and to gratifie France, to which he had on divers occasions shewn himself ungrateful; and also to solicite the Friendship of all sort of Princes, as well small as great; and that not by promising, but by real concession of Favours with a plentiful hand in Germany and Italy.

Wherefore seeing the Popes have a particular Method of bearing themselves ruggedly and contemptuously to Princes, when they need them not; ’twere good Policy in Princes to bring it so to pass, that they might always be in a state of Fear, sometimes by threatning neer hand, and at other times by vexing them at distance.

The Indignities which Princes receive often from the Court of Rome, proceed not immediately from an evil intention in the Popes towards them, but from the too good inclination of Princes towards the Popes; there being some so tender-conscienc’d, that they fear the loss of their Souls in disgusting a rascallion Court-fly that bears the Cassock of a Priest, and serves to sweep the Antichamber of his Holiness or the Cardinal-Nephew.

The Ecclesiasticks have Swords in their Mouths, but no Courage in their Breasts; I mean, they threaten all People, without considering what issue such Menaces may have: But when they see themselves reprov’d or threatned, then their hearts fail them, they fall a trembling, and humble themselves to every body, especially Grandees; although withall, they have the cunning to colour their Fear with the pretext of a religious, pious, and devout Meekness.

p. 120The nature of the Ecclesiasticks is to disgust such as comply with them, and fawn on those that disgust them; So that if Princes would advance their Affairs, and bring down the haughtiness of Rome, they must endeavour to mortifie the Pope.

The Catholick Crown, in testimony of its affection to the Popes, admits into its Jurisdiction only the Roman Religion; besides that the Spaniards also shew themselves most concerned in keeping up the Pope the Head of the Church, and enriching the Ecclesiasticks.

However, they have fared little or not at all the better for it, as to their Negotiations at Rome, in regard that the Ecclesiasticks (that is, the Popes) esteem them not more than others for it; but through fear commonly afford as much or more countenance to the French: from whom on the other side they receive greater disgusts, under pretence of the Gallican Priviledges.

’Tis true, the Roman Court very well perceives, that the Spaniards reverence it as the Sanctuary of their Glory, and the Absolute Mistress of the preservation of their States; and accordingly it treats them familiarly, that is to say, with good words and ill deeds, with fair shews and bad substance.

The Spaniards suffering themselves to be too much domineer’d over in the Court of Rome, is not only hurtful to the Government of the Spaniards themselves, but also thereby prejudices the Interests of all those Princes that have concerns either at Rome, or with Rome; For when any inferiour Prince would with specious Reasons defend his Right over Ecclesiastical Persons, these men presently alledge for their justification the Example of the Spaniards, and thereby p. 121enforce him not to refuse, what so great and powerful a Monarchy as Spain refuseth not to do.  And of these Examples the Popes have the Vatican full, and make use of the same in all Occurrences, to the perpetual nauseating of Princes therewith.

This manner of proceeding between the Ecclesiasticks and the Spaniards cannot last long, because the long languishings of Princes, ensuing thereupon, will enforce them either to yield to some violent Remedy, or to open the gate to death.

Every day, yea, every moment, displeasures arise between the Crown of Spain and Rome; which, how-much soever debated, turn always to the satisfaction of the Pope, and the disadvantage of the Interests of the Catholick King.

In brief, The Dominion which the Court of Rome hath gotten over the Spaniards is so great, that how many and considerable soever the disgusts be which this Court puts upon them from day to day, nevertheless the Spaniards dare not come to a Rupture with it, being better contented to suffer themselves, than to make others suffer.

The Policy of the North, yea and that of Italy too, laughs at this Spanish Zeal, which stoops in so humble sort to the arrogance and insolent Proceedings of the Ecclesiasticks.  And indeed What reason is there that such a Monarchy should submit its Empire to a simple Bishoprick?  Nevertheless, this is seen done every day in the Ecclesiastick State.

Were it not for the Spaniards, I verily believe Affairs at Rome would not be so imbroil’d and perplex’d as they are; for the Popes become so extremely proud towards other Princes, and render all Negotiations so extremely difficult, through the little account they p. 122make of Publick Ministers, in regard they see themselves back’d and supported by so potent a Crown in Italy.

Nevertheless, I cannot but imagine, That other Princes are for this reason extremely incensed with anger against the Spaniards, who to satisfie an apparent out-side Zeal, ruine the Common Cause of the Sovereignty of all other Princes.

If the Spaniards would comply with other Sovereigns, to give the Popes now and then a touch of the Spur, thereby to oblige them to go on in the right way, the management of Affairs at Rome would be very expedite, and the Ministers of Princes would not meet with so many difficulties: Which I leave, with the rest, to the consideration of the Spaniards and other Princes.

Some Ministers there are, who flatter themselves into a belief that they may be able to bring their Negotiations to a prosperous end, by means of the friendship they have with Cardinals, and the great Interest these Cardinals have to defend those Princes of whom they are intitl’d Protectors.

But this Opinion of theirs hath no other effect but to confound their Negotiations so much the more, whilst the Protection of Princes by those Cardinals is only external and nominal: for otherwise Policy obliges them to seek in the first place the advantage of the Pope, before the profit of the Princes, whom they serve, or at least seem to serve.

Every blow of mortification which the Pope receives from any Prince, recoils to the damage of the Cardinal Dignity; and therefore the Cardinals labour to bring it about, that the Advantages may be always on the Popes side.  Nor is it necessary to believe p. 123the Cardinal, who professeth, That the Interests of his Prince are dearer to him, than those of the Scarlet Gown it self.

But this would be a great failure in Policy and Interest: Whence it was, that when Innocent beheld his Cousin Olympia anxious and troubled lest the Ecclesiastical State should become involv’d in a War, and lest many Cardinals should engage in it on behalf of the Duke of Parma, out of spight to the Pamphilian Family, the Pope comforted her with these words; Cousin, fear nothing, the Cardinals will be for us in spight of their own teeth, and will defend the Ecclesiastical State in consideration of their own Interest, though we should go about to ruine it for ours.

The Grandeur of the Scarlet Gown depends upon the Majesty of the Triple Crown, and the Cardinals are proportionably Great as the Pope is so; whence it is that they strive with all possible ardour to promote the Advantage of the Church, and the Honour of the Pope; which failing, their own Reputation and Glory must partake in the Eclipse.

Great undoubtedly is the Magnificence of the Colledge of Cardinals; and greater it would be, if it had not been perverted both from the first Institution thereof, and retrench’d of the Prerogatives wherewith it hath been augmented by divers Popes, for the maintenance of its Grandeur and Honour.

But the Popes have corrupted and spoil’d all; inasmuch as into that Colledge, into which the greatest Princes of the World think it a glory to enter, they have introduc’d some, who have received their Original from the vilest Dunghil of the World; and ’tis not many years ago, that one was created Cardinal, who was the Son of a base Catchpole.

p. 124Hence it comes to pass, that the Popes seeing the Scarlet Robe upon the Shoulders of so vile and unworthy Persons, they despise it likewise when it is worn on the backs of Great Princes.  And ’tis more than true, That good Popes honour the Cardinals, when such Honour brings profit to themselves; otherwise they make a mock both of their Persons, and their Order.

And hence it is, that Princes Ministers find themselves in a wrong Box, when they put any trust even in those Cardinals who seem the greatest Zealots for their Interests.

Thus I have made a Relation of the manner how things are wont to be negotiated at Rome, and shew’d how the great Polititians of Europe may salve their Reputations; as also the Grounds and Causes of those Mischiefs, which break the sleep and make the heads ake of as many Publick Ministers as reside in Rome.

When the Pope perceives that Negotiations tend to his own Advantage, he doth things like an absolute Monarch: but when he knows that they are likely to cause any prejudice to him, he lays the cause of not succeeding upon the Congregations of the Cardinals, of which there are infinite at Rome.

In this manner he shews himself rather as Head of a Commonwealth, than an absolute Prince: and indeed those Congregations serve more for a pretext and help to the Pope and the Nephews, than for any benefit to the State.

From such a Government little Fruit, and no Satisfaction can be drawn by the Ministers that negotiate at Rome; but rather, as accordingly it falls out, disgusts, affronts, and dissatisfactions.

p. 125In the Roman Court there passes not a day without reproaches against the Pope and Nephews, as those who study nothing else but to accommodate themselves, and incommodate all others that endeavour the good of the State and the Church.

Greater attendance and application cannot be, than that of Alexander the Seventh both to Civil and Ecclesiastical Affairs; and which is most considerable, he doth all things with such an eagerness, that he appears to take no small glory therein.

He lets not one day pass without giving publick Audience, at least very seldom, unless those Infirmities which are his constant Companions indispose him to follow his good intentions; as it hapned for these days lately passed, wherein for a good while together he was not able to give Audience to the Embassador of France.

Innocent undertook things slowly, and this slowness spoil’d all; but Alexander, being most contrary to such a nature, enterpriseth every thing with great ardour: and this spoils all too, the Ship being lost oftentimes as well through too little Wind, by falling into the hands of Enemies, as likewise through too great a Wind striking upon Rocks.

The Ministers of Princes even still find very great difficulties in negotiating at Rome, and perhaps greater too than those which they found in the time of Innocent; who indeed intangled things, because he would not extricate them: but Alexander confounds matters by too great eagerness to rectifie them.  Innocent lov’d not to meddle, but with those things whereunto he was enforced; but Alexander thrusts himself upon such as might better be let alone.

Hence ’tis that Ministers seeing the Pope employ his p. 126mind on a thousand businesses of Christendom, and but of a weak and infirm constitution, they forbear to trouble him; as Cardinal Mazarine and Don Lewis d’ Haro did, who would not let the Pope have any hand in the Treaty of the last Peace, to the no small displeasure of the poor Pope, who was ambitious to receive his part of the glory in a business so important to the Universe.

That which makes publick Agents at Rome thus backward, is the knowledge they have of the Pope’s mind; who is inquisitive and curious to know every thing, to have a hand in every action, to pry into all the affairs of Christendom, and briefly, to lade himself with so many businesses, that he must needs precipitate them all through want of strength to carry them on: whence ’tis that oftentimes he answers one Minister concerning certain matters of which he had conferr’d with another, and so confounds both himself and them that negotiate with him, who for fear of further embarassing the Pope’s understanding are fain to break off their most important Audiences.

In the beginning of his Papacy, being ambitious of glory, he would needs sustain alone the weight of all the world, not only of the State Ecclesiastical, in the middle whereof he lean’d upon others, but did not cast the burden wholly off from himself; and at present now he approaches towards his end, his infirmities enforce him to leave others to do, that which it grieves him that he cannot do for others.

Matters were well believ’d, but ill understood at the first entrance of the Cardinal Patron and Don Mario into Rome: and now they are well understood, but ill believ’d.  These Lords began to Reign with their Eyes shut, and their Ears open; and at present, p. 127the Style being changed, they rule with their Ears shut, and their Eyes open, whence proceeds the multitude of inconveniences to publick Agents.

The Cardinal Patron exercises the Office of his Patronage, in giving himself Patronage for enjoying his pleasures, and avoiding, as much as possible, all hard and knotty affairs; which are wont to perplex the mind, and confound the brain of a Gallant.

Hence it is, that Embassadors, who treat with him, reap no other good but a fardle of Complements, and pleasing Expressions, with no small hope that he will act abundantly; but in reality he doth nothing: so that they depart from his Presence outwardly satisfi’d, with their hands empty of any thing of substance.

I have known some Ministers, who have believ’d they might speed in their publick affairs by the easiness of knowing the secrets of the Court; which is of great use to a publick Agent, namely, to know the actions, treaties, and conveniences of others, and to keep his own, and those of his Prince, secret.

Indeed, the secresie of the Court of Rome seems not to be so great as the subtilty, although Excommunications and Censures make a great noise: For those who are introduc’d into this Court are so only for two ends, either to exalt their Family, and support it from falling, (for the Ecclesiasticks, having no Wives, naturally encline to enrich their own Nephews) or else to aggrandise themselves, out of that ambition which alwaies lies under the Robes of Prelacy.

The Cardinals, however sometimes vertuous and experienced persons, are not exempt from certain imperfections which commonly reign in Rome; for they p. 128are either oblig’d to Princes by a thousand benefices and gifts, or else are their natural Subjects: and for this reason the Princes who have great concerns with Rome, the more they see Authority and Offices of any Cardinal increas’d, the more they study how to oblige him to be at their devotion, and to withdraw him from that of the Pope.

Now almost all the Cardinals reveal the things which they pretend to discover, either through the importunity of inquisitive Agents, and not to disoblige those to whom they are oblig’d, or else to put greater obligations upon the Princes to whom they are Pensioners, to the end they may receive gratuity after gratuity both to themselves and their Kindred, and especially that they may be assisted in their Pretensions to the Papacy, when the See Apostolical shall become vacant; which is the greatest spur of all.

To this Embassadours trust, and alwaies treat with the Cardinals who are adherents to their Masters, to discover the Counsels by their means.  But indeed, they deceive themselves; for the Cardinals being as much concern’d as the Pope in the defense of the Church, the State, and the publick good, in regard all are in capacity to be Popes, they will never reveal any thing which may prejudice that Papacy which makes them great, and which they aim one day to govern.

The Cardinals are not so indiscreet as to reveal any thing that may in any wise prejudice the Interests of the Papacy and Ecclesiastick State; they reveal such things as may be of prejudice to the single person of the Pope, or rather of his Nephews, whom commonly they hate through envy.

p. 129The effect hereof is, that most Popes put little trust in the Cardinals when any matter relating to their own House is in agitation, but they do all motu proprio: for themselves having, whilst they were Cardinals, revealed what they ought to have kept secret, they doubt, being afterwards Popes, that others do the like by them; and for this cause they secure themselves, as much as possible, from such dangers.

The Papal Excommunications, which are great against those that reveal the secrets of the Roman Court, as well Temporal persons as Spiritual, have no other effect but to put all into confusion, and to cause ambiguities on all sides.  Hence such things as are revealed, seem not really to be so, but only intimated; and consequently no small prudence is requisite to understand what is spoken, because the revealers fearing the sting of the Excommunication within their breasts, utter only doubtful, perplex’d, and ambiguous words; by which means such Agents, as think themselves illuminated by such revelations, soon after find themselves puzzled and confounded.

The cause hereof is the fear, which Excommunication begets in the breasts of the scrupulous.  But it is true in general, that to mingle things certain with doubtful, is proper to the Roman Court; and things true with false, to the Ecclesiasticks.

But the Ecclesiasticks being less guilty of valour then fear, (for oftentimes they fear even their own shadows) the more important things are, the more they consult about them; which the Popes do, not because the good of the State requires it, or the care of their Pastoral charge urges their consciences thereunto; but only to take from their successors the occasion to charge the blame of mischief upon their p. 130Nephews.  And this is the cause that Negotiations are prolonged, publick Ministers confounded, and poor Christendom so embroiled, as it is at this day.

Ambassadors at Rome, especially in the beginning of a Pontificate, think they treat with the new Pope as a person disinteressed, and the Universal Father, not only in reference to things pertaining to the Church, but also to the civil Interests of Princes, and affairs most important to the Universe.

But they deceive themselves, and this Error confounds their Treaties; whilst the Popes have nothing but the bare Title and outward shew of Universal Father, acting all things according to the dictates of their own will and interest.

Were the Popes really Universal Fathers, they would love all alike, and deal with all without affection or hatred: But truly, I know not how they dare assume that Title, especially those Popes, who, without any need of the Church, have made it lawful to themselves to begin Wars, hinder Peaces, persecute Nations, and make Leagues against Crowns, Commonwealths, and Princes, perhaps (nay without perhaps) better deserving of the Church, and affected to the publick and universal tranquillity.

I know that if the Popes would deserve the Title of Universal Father, they out to be Universal towards all; and if at any time to be particular, it should be either out of absolute necessity of Reason of State, or some great importance to the honour of the Church.  Thus did the Primitive Popes, but within these last hundred years things are altogether transform’d; for the waies of the Popes are directed to the advancement of their Families; whence every Pope has often chang’d his thoughts and purposes, and p. 131made shew of one thing outwardly, and meant another inwardly; not for that reasons of State (but the reasons of their own Families) so requir’d: which latter are commonly more dear to the Popes than the former.  The Ministers of Princes understand what I mean.

’Tis not possible for the most expert Minister at Rome to succeed well, and with his Master’s satisfaction, in the things which he negotiates there.  Before I give a reason whereof, I will relate what I read three daies ago in a little book, whether Historical or Fabulous I know not, but much to the purpose.

They say, Pope Paschal the second took a conceit to have an Astrologer divine his thoughts.  To which end he sent for an Abbot very intelligent in the Art of Astrology, and demanded of him, What himself thought?

The Abbot surpris’d at this odd-proposal, desir’d time to answer, and returning home fell to study an Answer; but, not being able to find one fit and proper to the Question, he remain’d much troubled and melancholy.

His Cook observing it, and understanding the cause, bid his Master take courage, and leave the business to him; for he would effect it with reputation to them both.  The Abbot was well pleas’d with this discourse, and being desir’d by the Cook to let him have his Gown and other Habit, gave him it: wherewith the Cook being cloath’d, repair’d to the Pope’s presence, and that with the more confidence, for that he was in person and voyce very like the Abbot.

The Pope no sooner beheld him, but taking him for the Abbot, Well, (said he) What do I think?  The p. 132bold Cook answer’d without delay, Your Holiness thinks you speak with the Abbot, but ’tis with the Abbots Cook.

Not much different is that which befals Embassadours of Princes who negotiate at Rome; where the Popes are wont to do like the Jackpuddings of a Play, who change themselves in a moment from Man to Woman, and from a Physician to a Muleter.

When an Embassadour thinks he treats with a Temporal Prince, and about Civil matters, ’tis with a Spiritual Bishop, and about matters Ecclesiastical.  Religion serves the Pope to disguise Temporal Dominion, and Temporal Dominion to disguise Religion.  Religion precedes Policy, if the Affairs of Embassadours be contrary to the Policy, which the Popes have in their heads: Policy precedes Religion, if the Embassadours Strengthen and confirm the particular Policy of the Popes.

If perchance a publick Agent treats a League offensive or defensive with the Pope, he finds greater difficulties therein than he imagin’d; for if the Pope see that the League brings much more profit to himself than to the Prince that desires it, he concludes as a Temporal Prince, without derogating from the Authority Spiritual: That is, he reserves a secret clause in his mind to break, the League when he will, under colour of Religion: But if he know that the League is likely to bring much more advantage to the interest of the Prince than to his own Family, and to Religion than to his own Purse; excuses are immediately in the field, and the Pope, of a Sacred High Priest, becomes a secular Prince, denying to do any thing, for fear of hazarding the State.

The Ministers of the Emperour and the King of p. 133Poland can witness what I say, for one of them hath often sworn to me, That the Popes do in businesses so confound the Sacred with the Profane, and Religion with Policy, that it is not possible to know whether it be better, to treat with them as Temporal Princes, or as Secular Lords.

Amongst all the difficulties which Embassadours meet with at Rome, this is the greatest and most deserving to be mentioned.

They that enter upon the Government at Rome, are ordinarily at their entrance destitute of all vertue, much more of Political skill; and no sooner begin to be a little acquainted therewith, but they must go off, and give place to others, that enter with like qualifications.

The Burgheses had never manag’d any kind of publike affair: nevertheless as soon as Paul was made Pope, they became Masters without having ever been at School, and undertook to weild a Scepter, before they had passed the Ferula.

Cardinal Ludovisio had never gone out of his little Podere, where he entertain’d himself from morning to night amongst those Peasants, sometimes in playing at Hazard, and sometimes in dancing Country Jigs, till, his Uncle being become Pope, (Gregory) he left Podere for the Vatican, the Dance for the Court, hazard for fortune, and the Peasants for Princes; passing in a moment from the command of a Cottage to the Empire of the Church, and from small affairs to the great interests of the World.

Of the Barbarini, one was fetcht from the bottom of a Cloister, where he had scarce learnt to command a Butler to lay the cloath; another was taken from the Colledge of the Jesuites, where he had practised p. 134only to run up and down the stairs of the Oratory; a third was taken from the cure of a small Benefice; and the forth from a state of Domestick peace to command Armies.  A fair turn indeed, no less wonderful than unexcted: yet these Lords have had this particularity, that though they entred upon the government of the Church extremely ignorant, nevertheless in a few daies they became Masters of Masters, and seem’d old, although but boys, in the subtleties of this Court.

Of the two Nephews of Innocent the tenth, the one legitimate, the other adopted, we have spoken sufficiently, and need not rub the sore again; in regard they manifested themselves altogether unexpert, the one by renouncing the Hat, as unable to bear the weight of command; and the other by being expell’d the City, for venturing to command beyond his understanding.  For all this Innocent introduced them to a vast Government, and laid upon their backs that world which the most expert are hardly able to sustain.

What shall we say of Don Mario, Don Augustino, and Cardinal Flavio?  What Governments, Employments, and Charges had they ever possess’d in their lives?  Was it not a fine sight to see Don Mario, who had never worn a Sword in his life, declared Generalissimo of the Holy Church, receiving at the same time, with the General’s Truncheon, a Licence to keep the Sword alwaies in the Scabbard?  For when he offered to draw it, and swore to defend the Church with it, the Pope dispens’d with him; saying, Brother, put thy Sword up into thy Scabbard, if thou wilt have part in my Kingdom.  To which Command Don Mario hath been alwaies obedient.

p. 135When the Cardinal was called to the Government, he was reading the Fables of Æsop, and Don Augustino was making love to a little Courtisan of Siena: and yet on a sudden the latter was called from the arms of a base Strumpet, and made worthy of the Marriage of a great Princess; and the other from his Pastime of Æsop, was admitted to the management of the greatest Affairs, not of Rome only, but of the whole World.

Now what prosperous issue can Negotiations have with such a Race of Politicians?  Where shall Embassadors begin, at the Head or the Tail?  What devices shall they have to unfold their meaning to such as want sense?  Unless all Popes should imitate Gregory the Fifteenth, who in the beginning of his Papacy would not treat of any important matter with any Minister, but excused it by saying, That he would stay till his Nephews were a little instructed in Political Negotiations: And he had reason to stay, for in a short time one of them had an ambitious Whimsey came into his Crown, that he understood more than all the Cardinals, and his Uncle to boot; and accordingly he acted and commanded, without communicating with either.

’Tis a tedious thing to Princes Ministers, who are old Stagers in Councils and Affairs, to have to do with raw, unexperienced Persons, and such as are much different from the Primitive Governours of the Church; who, though introduc’d barefoot, and ill clad, and void of all experience, yet their native simplicity serv’d them very well for the preserving a virtuous Life, far from Political cunning: whereas the Nephews of the present Pope enter simple, not to edifie the People, and adorn the Church with good p. 136Lives; but to Lord it over Princes by Policy not comprehensible.

Most Agents lose their time in learning the nature of those that bear sway at Rome, who are indeed unknown to all.  They study in what manner to treat with such Persons.  They strive to gain the affection of those Governours, who are without any, unless we will say, That they have given up all their affection to heap up Money.  They labour to ingratiate with those Nephews who possess all the Grace of the Pope: And in a word, Night and day they contrive to know and be known to the Nephews at Rome, in order to their better success there.

But what? in the fairest of these Intrigues, after so many watchings and toils, after having understood those whom they understood not before, in the greatest heat of their Negotiations, in the beginning of their joy for having found out the right way of managing Affairs, and whilst they are beginning to lay open their Interests to Persons by this time arriv’d to some capacity, behold the death of the Pope falling out on a sudden, drives from the Vatican and from the Government those Nephews who are now understood and experienc’d, to introduce others ignorant, unexperienc’d, and so void of all Political Knowledge, as never to have seen the Court but on the outside, Consultations but in Sport, nor Publick Ministers save in their Coaches.

In this manner poor Embassadors are forced to turn over a new leaf, and like young Scholars put to a new School, they must learn over again what they had learn’d before, to their no small dissatisfaction, as well as injury to their Affairs.

These so sudden shiftings of the Scene, puts the p. 137Ministers all in disorder; and the only satisfaction they find, is to laugh at the new Princes of the Church, who have so suddenly leap’d from the Dunghil to the Throne.

Cardinal Onofrio Brother to Urban the Eighth, who was taken from a Cloister of Capucines, and introduc’d into the Affairs of the Court, could never accustom himself to live in any other manner, but in that slovenly way of the Capucines; so that when he was to receive any Embassadors, he committed the most ridiculous pieces of clownishness imaginable.

One day speaking about some War of the Turk in Germany, with the Imperial Embassador, who desir’d him to prevail with the Pope to succour Christendom, which was endanger’d in that Country; the good Cardinal fetching a great sigh, began to say, Ah, my Lord Embassador, those Coleworts, those Coleworts in the Capucines Garden, make me always remember my former condition; and so continuing a Discourse of a quarter of an hour, concerning the goodness of Coleworts, the excellence of Turneps, and the manner how the Capucines boil them in good fat broth; seeming to lick his fingers almost at every syllable, and to swallow a Turnep at every word.

Another time going to visit the Spanish Embassador, and forgetting himself to be a Cardinal, and not a Capucine, he ask’d on a sudden, Of what Covent is your Reverend Fathership a Son?

The Embassador, perceiving the simplicity of the Person, answer’d him laughing, Father, I am no Son of a Covent; but indeed I send Sons to the Covent, of whom perhaps your Fathership is one.  The Cardinal finding his error, thought to mend it by replying to the Embassador, Your Excellence may please to excuse p. 138me; for the remembrance of the Capucines is so fresh my mind, that I take all for Capucines that speak with me: The Embassadour laught; and rising up, said, ’Tis well, my Lord, I will be gone then, that I may not be accounted a Capucine by your Eminence.

Moreover, whilst Ministers of Princes talk’d with him of matters of State, the answers he return’d were about watering of Gardens, sweeping of hutches, ordering of Vestries, rising in the morning, entring into the Choire, begging Alms, and so of all such other things, wherein he was a Master.  Nor did he make any difference of persons in his Conferences, but us’d the same Style to every body, Your Fathership will pardon me.  And in his Complements with Embassadours Royal, he would often say, I shall accompany you to the door of the Cloister.

I might relate a thousand such stories, but I will not lengthen the work more than I ought; although there is scarce any Nephew of Popes whose mean and carriage, after their sudden advancement to the degree of Princes, affords me not matter for a long discourse.

’Tis enough that publick Ministers cannot forbear laughter and scorn in their negotiating with them which serve to inform them of their infirmities.  Whence the Embassadour Justiniani, being ask’d one day, whether he was goeing to negotiate with Astalli?  Answer’d, Not to negotiate with him, but to instruct him.  And indeed, such instruction is extreme necessary to the best of them.

But that which displeases them most, is, that after much pains taken to instruct them, they must lose the fruits thereof, and begin all the same course over again with their Successors.

p. 139The last difficulty in managing affairs with the Nephews, ariseth from their incomparable Avarice, which is so predominant in them, that they appear meer insensible Statues in every thing else, but in studying the means how to make themselves great.

Boniface the ninth was the most dextrous, subtle, and ingenious Pope for accumulating wealth, that ever sate in the Vatican; whence he was wont to say, That he had rather have a little Fish in hand, than a great Dolphin in the main Sea; And at other times, That an Egg in the morning is better than a Hen at night.  And accordingly, he was contented to lose the interest of a whole year to anticipate the payment of a day, and he alwaies made his Receivers bring him every night the money they had collected; and sometimes he would sit up till midnight expecting them, in regard he could not sleep otherwise through fear of being undone.

This exorbitant Covetousness wholly withdrew his mind from the care of the Papacy, both in Civil and Ecclesiastical matters; Embassadours could not please him better, than to discourse to him of the means to get money; and when they mentioned other matters pertaining to the publick good, they receiv’d no answer sutable to the question; because his thoughts were not imploy’d about what the Embassadours spoke, but about what the Receivers of Gabels and Taxes had said to him; with whom he entertain’d long conferences, little caring to give audience to Embassadours.

Clement the seventh, who never shew’d himself so extraordinarily covetous, though covetous too, had his mind distracted in the like manner, from what was at any time spoken to him, if it were not about p. 140money: Whence being one day requested by the Imperial Embassadour to joyn with the Emperour, and other Princes, in a League against the Turk; the Embassadour perceiving that the Pope gave him no answer, said, Your Holiness saies nothing to my Proposal; Whereunto the Pope return’d, No, for you counsel us to spend money, and we are thinking on the means to get it.

Paul the fourth, standing one day in a great musing in the presence of Cardinal Campeggio, was ask’d by him, Why he stood so pensive?  The Pope answer’d, I am thinking whether you (who perhaps may be my Successour) are likely to be richer than my self.

Sixtus Quintus, who was one of the greatest Popes that the Vatican ever saw, had no other fault, but that he spent most hours of the day in devising what might be done to bring money into his Chests.  And he seems to have died with the same thoughts in his head; for being ask’d by the Venetian Embassadour, two daies before his death, How he did?  He answered, I should be much better, if I had more money to spend.

Urban the eighth, in the war he had with the Duke of Parma, and other confederate Princes, lost no little reputation, in attempting the destruction of a Prince so well deserving of the Church, and hazarding the safety of all Italy; yet he car’d not so much for the dishonour which the Church receiv’d in his person, nor for the great murmur of the people, as for the money disburs’d in it; lamenting the same often with his Nephews, and reproving them for having engaged him in a War of so great expence: as if the loss of money made deeper impression in the Pope’s heart, than the detriment of the Church and of Christendom.

p. 141Most of the Pope’s Nephews call the hours wherein they give Audience to Embassadours, hours of poverty, and of misery; because they cannot at those times think how to advance their Houses: and therefore they strive to shift them off as much as possible, and many times they promise all before ’tis ask’d, only to be at their liberty.

Some will not allow it to be meerly charity in Alexander, to assume to himself the load of all Civil Affairs of importance; but only a design to lighten his Nephews of it, and leave them more time to bestow on contrivance to fill their Coffers.

Better perhaps ’twould be for the Church, and the State too, if all Popes would do the like; for to lay the weight of great affairs upon such weak shoulders, is to confound their understandings, and put them in danger of shaming themselves by discovering their addle brains in business: As a good Nephew did in discourse with the French Embassadour about the number of Protestants in France; for meaning to say, How many Hereticks are there in France?  He mistook, and said, How many Pistols are there in France?  Which errour the Embassadour well observing, and knowing the Cardinal Nephew more intent on the money of his Coffers than the benefit of the Church, he answer’d, The King my Master hath not so many Hereticks in his Kingdom, as he hath Pistols in his Exchequer.

’Tis not 2000 Ages, since a certain Pope’s Nephew said to a familiar friend of his, who brought him notice, that the Spanish Embassadour was coming to negotiate with him: These Embassadours bring us business, and not money, talking all day long with us so p. 142tediously, as if we were slaves, and not (Padroni) Masters of the Church and State.

The same Cardinal, as often as he return’d to his Chamber from accompanying the publick Ministers (who had visited him) to the door, as the custom is, would fall into a passion, and scornfully say to his Servants: I have lost two hours time with this pitiful Embassadour, and he has gain’d some with me; if any other come, say I am not at home.

But worse was that other, (not long since dead) who, as much as he could, avoyded the audience of such Ministers, sometimes pretending indisposition, and sometimes that he was not at home; which the Pope his Uncle understanding ask’d him the reason, Why he did so?  The Cardinal answer’d plainly, Whilst I am with Embassadours, my Coffers fill with nothing but wind; but when I am alone, they fill with money.

The same good Nephew had another custome, that when notice was given of the arrival of an Embassadour at the Gate, he would in displeasure cry, I would his neck were broke.  But when ’twas told him that an Officer of the Datary (that is, the Exchequer) was at the door, he would cry with joy, He is welcome.

A certain Embassadour, knowing this Nephew’s humour, contriv’d how to make his Visits not grievous; and to that purpose, before he desired Audience, or at least at the same time, he thought fit to give him notice; that he desir’d to speak with him for nothing else but the resignation of a certain Benefice, which the Prince his Master intended to make into the hands of his Holiness’s Nephews.

The device took well, for the greedy Nephew believing p. 143it true, receiv’d him with a very good countenance: and the Embassadour fail’d not to usher in his publick business with a Preface about resigning the foresaid Benefice or Abbey, although the Prince his Master knew no more of any such thing than I; and so got a fair reception.

’Twere good, that all publick Agents would put the same tricks upon those avaricious Nephews, and not be so scrupulous as they are; since the Nephews make no scruple to slight their addresses, to breake off all Negotiations, and to confound whatsoever is offer’d to them.

Without such inventions they are like to get little good from the visits to the Nephews, who consider nothing but their own Interests, and are indifferent to those of Princes; whence ’tis easie to judge they will do little good in those matters, in which they are engag’d with an ill will.

This may serve concerning the difficulties which Princes Ministers meet with in their affairs with the Popes and their Nephews, and how to avoid the same.  Let us now proceed to the Enquiry, Why the Families of Popes continue not long in Grandeur.

Some compare the Nipotismo to a Tree which is guarded by all, whilst laden with fruit; but as soon as it happens to be deprived thereof, either by the hands of men, or progress of time, every body forsakes it, and nature her self leaves it barren, dry, and hateful, even to the eye of the beholders.

I do not altogether like this comparison, because Trees bear fruit for others; whereas the good Nephews of Popes take all to themselves: and I should rather compare them to Pismires, which all day long go from place to place, seeking provisions wherewith to p. 144fill their Nests, and stop not a moment till they see them full.

There is no body but wonders to behold how the Families of Popes daily decline, there being scarce two found that have continued one intire Age, or which remain in the same splendour wherein they were seen to shine, not only during the Reign of the Popes their Kinsmen, but for some lustres after; and although some may seem at present to be found great, yet my Observation cannot therefore be decry’d as false, in regard of other reasons to be alledged concerning this matter.

There is no doubt, but many Families are found at this day in Rome of good quality and esteem, who have had Popes descended from them before Sixtus the fourth; as the Family of Conti hath had two Popes in the Vatican, Innocent the third, and Gregory the ninth; The Family of Fiesco, reputed at present the chief Family of Genoa, hath likewise afforded two Popes, Innocent the fourth, and Adrian the fifth; And so that of Orsini, hath had Nicholas the third; That of Savelli, Honorius the fourth; La Gaettana, hath had Boniface the eighth; Picolomini, Pius the Second; Colonna, Martin the fifth; not to mention others, that have had their Popes too.

But this is the difference: ’tis one thing for Popes to issue from a Noble Family, and another for Families to rise from the Popes.  The foresaid Houses received not their Splendour, Nobility, and Wealth from the Papal Grandeur, but it may rather be said, that the Papal Grandeur received splendour from those Families.

Besides, in those daies the Nephews of Popes remain’d at home, and did not come to Rome; if they p. 145did, they brought not with them that insatiable avarice which Nephews bring (or have brought hitherto) when they enter into possession of the Vatican.  I mean not therefore to speak of those Families, which have been in great esteem as well since they have had Popes of them, as before.  None of these is advanc’d by the Papacy, but remains in the same manner without growth in Ambition, Riches, or Glory.

Particularly, the House of Colonna (which is at present one of the most considerable, not of Rome only, but of all Italy) hath so little valu’d the Papal Grandeur in its lot, that they have often persecuted it, only to let the World see that the Colonneses pretended not to glory in the Treasures of the Church, but in the merit of the persons, exemplified in the valour of so many illustrious men, who have spent much of their bloud for the service of the Popes themselves.

’Tis certain, that by two Popes issu’d out of the House of Colonna, the Colonneses have had so little advantage, either in dignity or wealth, that they may say that the Popes were taken out of their Family, and that they have the honour to be Colonneses of the House of Colonna, but not Colonneses of the House of Popes.  But there are many other Families, whose glory it is to have had their rise from the fortune given them by Popes, without which they would never have been any thing considerable; and these are the Families of which I am to speak.

The Family of Rovere, from which Sixtus the fourth was descended, of it self was very noble, and had liv’d so for above two Ages in Lombardy, but by various changes and accidents it was declin’d to such p. 146a degree that the chief branch was remov’d to Savona, and there remain’d many years in a mediocrity of fortune amongst the principal Citizens, till Sixtus, being made Pope, determin’d to revive it to a greater fortune at the cost of the Vatican, and the publick Treasury.

All the glories of this House, though dispersed here and there by Pope Sixtus, yet in a little time became confined to the sole possession of the Dutchy of Urbin, which indeed the House of Rovere possessed, but not without great persecutions for the space of 150 years and more, beginning from 1475 till 1631.  When the said House was extinguished by the death of Francesco Maria, the last Duke, or of Guido Ubaldo, if I remember right; there remaining no other Heirs save Donna Vittoria della Rovere, married to Ferdinand the second great Duke of Tuscany.

It may be said, as I shall afterwards prove, that this was the only Family (rais’d by Popes) that continued so long together in greatness: and I believe the goodness of the Dukes, who succeeded one after another, contributed not a little to this continuance, which seems to surpass the ordinary measures.

But if we will measure things with the right rule, we shall find that the Family of Rovere liv’d in Grandeur but one Age; for there is no necessity to begin to reckon from the time of Sixtus, but from Julius the second, who was of the same House; who seeing it much declin’d by reason of the great persecutions of Alexander the Sixth, determined to succour it, though not by burdening the Church, which was in the year 1510.  Neither is it needful to extend the reckoning till 1631. because for above twenty years before the death of the last Duke, the Ecclesiasticks p. 147foreseeing the fall of the Dutchy into their own hands, in regard of the great age of the Duke and his want of male Children, they resolv’d to take possession of it by degrees; and accordingly insulted over the poor old Duke, keeping him as if he had been their Subject: wherefore it may reasonably be said, that the House of Rovere, rais’d by Sixtus continu’d not in grandeur so much as one full Age.

The Family of Cibo hath alwayes produc’d men eminent both for Learning and Valour; amongst whom there were two Popes, Boniface the ninth, and Innocent the eighth; the former in these dayes, when Nephews were not wont to enter into Rome with the Popes, and the latter immediately after the death of the abovementioned Sixtus.  But this Innocent the eighth would not oppress the Church to enrich his Kindred, whom he saw wealthy enough, and of good account amongst the chief Citizens of the Commonwealth of Genoa his Countrey.

He gave them indeed some Offices, but of so small value, that this Popes Kindred did not think it worth while to leave Genoa for Rome, and so, after the death of Innocent, they despis’d their Citizenships of Rome, and return’d to Genoa; where within a short time by the fault of Cardinal Cibo, they left the Offices given them by the Pope their Kinsman, and were forc’d to betake themselves to other courses for a livelihood; well knowing that the Riches receiv’d from the Church stay not long in the hands of the receivers.  And they did wisely, for had they remain’d at Rome, perhaps they would not be at this day in that grandeur, esteem, and p. 148wealth as they are in the City of Genoa.

Of the Family of Alexander the Sixth, that barbarous Pope, there would be much to say, did not the consideration of bravity oblige me to pass over many reasons of the destruction thereof.  This Alexander was descended from the noble Family of Lenzoli in Spain, being Son of Goffredo Lenzoli; but containing both the name and surname of his family, he took that of Boria, which was afterwards turn’d to Borgia.

From this Pope sprung the house of Borgia, and was by him encreas’d and advanc’d to that grandeur, whereof we have spoken in other places.  It was divided into two branches, one whereof remain’d in Spain in possession of its ancient honours, and the other came into Italy; where it became so great by the many Principalities conferr’d on it by the Pope, that it seem’d likely to flourish to eternity.  But on the contrary, in less than half an Age, it decayed so fast, that ’tis above fifty years since the Family of Borgia became extinct in Italy.

’Tis true, the Branch in Spain continues in some splendour, and possesses at present the Principality of Squillace, which was given by Pope Alexander to his Family.  But this Principality is no great matter, Don Ferdinando Borgia, the present Possessor little caring for it, for the same reason, as some think, of being purchas’d with the money of the Church; and glorying only in his possessing what his Ancestors had got by their valour, and himself gets by the good service he performs to the Crown, which reckons him one of the chiefest men of Spain.

After the Introduction of Nipotismo, the Family p. 149of Picolomini had another Pope, to wit, Pius the third, who lived so short a time, that he was fain to leave his Kindred Picoli huomini (small men) indeed; although they have kept themselves in the rank of Nobility, by having receiv’d considerably from the Church, but only for eminent services perform’d to the same.

We have spoken sufficiently of the House of Rovere, and though Julius the second, who was of it, might induce us to speak of it here again: yet for brevities sake, we will pass to the Family of the Medici, which was indeed amplifi’d by, but not first rais’d by Popes, but rather the Popes rais’d by it.

Leo the tenth did his utmost to render his House potent, not in Rome only, but also in Florence; where it was one of the chiefest of that Commonwealth.  But what this Leo could not, Clement the seventh (of the same Family) effected, having with the Emperours assistance enthralled his own Countrey to make his Nephews Princes.

This House hath maintain’d it self for above 300 years together in greatness, and I believe will so continue, because it stands not on the same foundation with other Families of Popes.  First, because (as I said before) it has rather given Popes to the Church, than receiv’d Being from the Popes, without need of whom it kept it self long in grandeur.  And though at first view the great height of this House may seem to be of right attributed to the force, which Clement the seventh us’d to enslave his Countrey, and render his Kindred Princes: Yet this is not pertinent to the question; for Clement took not from the Church to give to them, but only destroy’d a Republick, which was an obstacle to p. 150the eyes of all Popes, and where his Family was already in chief command.  Besides, the Medici were therein as much oblig’d to the House of Austria, by whose Force and Power they undoubtedly receiv’d the Principality which they possess with so much glory.  And accordingly Ferdinand the second and his Ancestors have alwayes shewed themselves most grateful for the benefit.

The Family of Farnese, which is that of Paul the third, Successor to Clement, came out of Germany into Italy, in company of the Emperours, who often made this Voyage attended by a great number of Dutch Gentlemen; here the chief of this Family gave in divers cases great proofs of their valour, and were therefore preferr’d by the chief and most Potent Princes of Italy to greater Dignities and Offices than those which they had possess’d at home, as well Civil as Military, whereof they acquitted themselves well.

The Popes especially were ambitious to have them at their service, and by their means obtain’d sundry Victories; without which ’tis likely the Church would have been in great distress.  In the Papacy of Paschal the second, in the year 1100.  Pietro Farnese, Captain of the Cavalry of the Church, did wonders in its service, having obtain’d a most glorious Victory against the Pope’s Enemies on the Coasts of Tuscany, restoring to Costano the name of Orbitello, a very ancient Colony, and replenishing the same with much people.

Prudentio Son of this Pietro under the Papacy of Lucius the second, and Pepone and Panuccio Sons of Prudentio, under the Papacy of Innocent the third, effected great things in defence of the Church, p. 151which was greatly afflicted with the Schism of the Emperors.

The Grandfather of Paul the third was Ramecio Farnese, who overcame, subdu’d and destroy’d all the Rebels of the Holy Church, which in great numbers molested the State Ecclesiastical, and almost all Christendom, he being Captain of the Papal Army in the time of Eugenio the fourth, who indeed was a very worthy Pope, if for nothing else, yet for the good intention he had to reward the valour of this great Captain; and I think he rewarded him abundantly by this testimony which he gave him, The Church is ours, because Farnese hath given it us.

In short, in the Civil Broils, which continu’d for above four Ages between the Popes and the Emperors, the Family of Farnese with incredible valour and felicity reliev’d the drooping state of the Holy Church.

Nevertheless the last Popes Urban and Innocent, ingrateful for these benefits, went about to ruine this well deserving Family.  Now if they persecute those who with their own Blood and Fortunes have serv’d the Church, what man will ever serve it for the future?

These two Cities were indeed separated from the Church, and given to the Farnesi, who at first found great opposition, and became Masters of it with great difficulty, and that not before the time of Pope Julius the third, in the year 1550. which Pope gave them investiture in despite of Charles the fifth, (who could never be perswaded to consent) and assigned them a considerable summe of money for the keeping them.

p. 152Within this last forty years the Popes have persecuted these innocent Princes in that manner, that without the assistance of Forreign Crowns, and some of the Princes of Italy they had been exterminate before this, and received so notable a loss, that had it been compared with what they had received from Paulus the third, it would doubtless have been found they had received less than they had lost: from whence it may be justly said, they have not enjoyed that Principality which they possest, as a feud of the Church, in that peace and repose, for this last half age, as they ought in reason to have done.  For those Popes that gave it them first, gave them also priviledges to enjoy it without molestation: and therefore those Popes that have of late troubled the Farness with so much expense, ought in reason (if there, be any such thing in Rome) to have forfeited their feudale Rights.

Julius the third, he also failed not to do his part towards the raising of his Family, which was of the De Montes, by giving them several offices, and sums of money, by which means in a short time they became very great; but half an age was not past, but it began by degrees to decay and shrink into that mediocrity it is in at this day: which is but small in respect of the condition it was in after the death of Julius, who saw them advanc’d, but did not live to see their declension; it being a general Maxime amongst all the Popes Nephews, that they see them advanc’d but to the highest pitch of honour, but live not to see them fall to the lowest point of disgrace.

But the greatest Family of all was the Caraffi, p. 153rais’d to that height by Paul the fourth, though of it self for several Ages before, very illustrious: The authority they had in Rome, with the command of several Lands and Castles belonging to the Church, made this name like to be eternal, and being fortified with such strong banks, not at all subject to the injury of time.

But if ever any Family of the Popes were in a short time precipitated from the greatest height to the lowest of meanness, it was this of the Caraffi from Paul the fourth, which continued not four year in that Splendour and Eminence the Pope had plac’d it, he himself having laid the foundation of their greatness and ruine.

Notwithstanding Paul the fourth left his Nephews no small store of Riches, although they were banisht from Rome: which they enjoyed till Pius the fourth was preferr’d to the Chair; who being Pope, and not able to endure their insolencies, he got them into his hands; and forming a Process against them, he hang’d some of them, beheaded others, and sequestred their Estates, destroying in that manner the House of the Caraffi, with no small gust to the Romans, who frequently declared their dissatisfaction with the behaviour of the Caraffi.

But some will object, that the House of Caraffi, do at this present flourish in Naples in great honour and wealth, and may be reckoned amongst the Principal there as well for Splendour and Magnificence, as Wealth, of which they enjoy not a little.

To this may be answered with the same reason I have alledged before, where I spake of the house of Borgia, divided into two Branches, one p. 154in Spain, the other in Naples; for the House of the Caraffi, when Paul the fourth was made Pope, was divided also into two Branches, one of them remaining in Rome by the acquisition of a new Estate, the other in Naples in possession of what they had got before.

The Lords of the Caraffi enjoy at present in Naples many Signiories, as particularly the Dutchy of Matalone, which they had enjoyed a hundred years before Paul the fourth, without interruption, being anciently Dukes from the time of Ferdinando first King of Naples, and reckon’d amongst his principal Favourites; and are still esteem’d of very well by the Crown of Spain, though in the revolutions of Naples, upon I know not what considerations, the affection Philip the fourth had for a long time for the Duke of Matalone, was observed to grow cold.

This Branch that remained in Naples received no benefit or advantage by that which was establish’d in Rome, which last being extinguish’d by the two Popes aforesaid by the death and sequestration of so many Caraffi; the other remained in Naples daily augmenting by the favours and priledges they receive from the Crown of Spain.

Neither are the Neopolitan Caraffi of the same condition with the Roman, they having nothing, as many believe, or at least, very little of the Church Lands in their possession, which continued not long to the other House, not so much as to the second Generation; and therefore these Lords are still so considerable in Naples, because their Estates sprang rather from the reward of their valour, than the oppression of the poor.

p. 155All this notwithstanding, the People of Naples were always disaffected to the House of Matalone; for which reason in the Revolution of Masanello, Don Joseph Caraffa was slain by the fury of the People, his heart pull’d out of his breast, and his body drawn all about the City, with this Exclamation, This is he that betray’d the most faithful People of Naples.  Besides, there were several Palaces of the Dukes, full of inestimable Furniture, burnt, without being able to preserve one; and I being then in Naples, heard several cry, We must burn all, to purge the House of Caraffa from the Leprosie of the rest of the Caraffi; alluding to them who in the time of Paul the Fourth had made themselves odious to all the World, as well as to Rome.

The Family of the Buoncompagni was considerable above thirty years after the death of Gregory the Thirteenth, which was the Person rais’d them to that height; for though before they were in some degree of Nobility, yet their Estate was but narrow and small; however in the twelve years of his Papacy he let them get so much, that without any great difficulty, they liv’d like Princes after the death of that Pope, who died in March 1585.

Giacomo Buoncompagno, General for the Holy Church, left many Sons all rich, and allied to good Houses; notwithstanding in a short time all was consumed: and though there was not one lavish or profuse person in the Family, though they had several Cardinalships and other Charges in Rome, yet could not all prevent their growing worse every day: And had not two Marriages sustained them, and put them into the condition they are in, which yet is but mean in respect of the grandeur they were in before, they p. 156had certainly before this been destroy’d.

But the greatest wonder, in the particular of the sudden destruction of the Popes Families, was in the House of Peretti rais’d by Sixtus the Fifth.  That Pope, to immortalize his Name, and the Grandeur of his House, which was but of very low extraction, married two of his Nephews, or Nephews Sons, I know not which, into the principallest Families in Rome; giving each of them considerable Estates in Land, and an infinite quantity of Money: and that it might not meet with any untoward accident to subvert it, he settled their Estates in the surest and best places he could, thinking thereby to secure and establish his Family.

Ten years after the death of Sixtus, there were seven Males of the House of Peretti alive, that is, in the year 1600. all of them very rich; but particularly they which had the Inheritance of Cardinal Montalto, who left his Nephews an Estate of a hundred thousand Crowns in yearly Rent, besides what they had afore.

Many People conceiv’d this Family was establish’d for ever; and who would not have thought so, considering the number and fertility of the Males, their Alliance with the greatest Families, their Riches, and in short, their enjoyment of all things necessary to the immortalizing a Family?  Yet the Name, the Wealth, the Granduer of this House, did all vanish like smoak at the death of Cardinal Froucesco Peretti, who died in the beginning of Innocent the Tenth’s Papacy, with no small trouble to the Romans, who loved his person exceedingly, having found him full of actions of generosity and nobleness to all that had to do with him.

p. 157And so was the House of Peretti extinct, not being able to continue half an Age.  Yet notwithstanding, the death of the Cardinal was the rise of another Family from the Pope, which is called the Savelli, into which one of his Sisters was married, who remained Heir to a vast and inestimable Patrimony.  Some People are confident, That if the House of Peretti had continued, the Savelli would have been in an ill condition; so as there was no great hurt done, to lose one Family, and have another rais’d.

The House of the Sfondrati yielded to the Papacy Gregory the Fourteenth, who though sprung from Milan himself, yet nevertheless as to his Original, he may not improperly be styl’d both the Son and the Father of Cremona, a Town (considering its Antiquity) amongst the principal of Italy, besides that, it has in all times produc’d men very eminent both in Learning and Wars.  In this City, amongst the most considerable Citizens, was this House of Sfondrati, always enjoying the greatest Office in the Council, which procur’d no small envy in the hearts of many; insomuch as some people excited the Cambiaghi (which was then a Family of great credit and esteem in the City) to oppose themselves against the Ambition of the Sfondrati, who at that time appear’d to carry all before them.

The Cambiaghi, back’d and supported by other of the Citizens, endeavour’d what they could the diminution of the Sfondrati; and from hence arose (not to say Civil Wars) great feuds and animosities between them, which continued till such time as Girolamo Sfondrati was called to Milan, where meeting with greater Advancements, he resolved to leave Cremona p. 158for ever: And from this Family, now become Milanese, Gregory the Fourteenth descended, who would always acknowledge Cremona to be his Country; yet would declare often, whilst he was a young Student there, He would never return to Cremona, till he was made Bishop of that place: Afterwards arriving at a competency of years, and other qualifications, he begg’d and obtain’d very readily the Bishoprick of Pius Quartus, being a person of great worth: He was also made Cardinal whilst he was in Cremona, with no small joy to the whole City, who made great Expressions of their Satisfactions, by Bonfires and other Ceremonies, at the news of his Promotion.

How careful this Pope was of his Relations, we have sufficiently shewed in its proper place: ’tis enough that not contented with the Marriage of two of his Nephews, towards the perpetuation of his Family, and one of them in particular with the Daughter of the Prince of Massa; he design’d also to make Emilius Sfondrato his Brothers Son, who was already entred to the Degree of Holy Orders, to resign his Cardinals Cap: but propounding of it to the Consistory, the Cardinals apprehended it a business of so great scandal, they intreated him to content himself, that he had married two Nephews, that were already furnished with Children, to secure the continuance of his Family for ever, without any such hainous and unjustifiable courses.

But all this avail’d not at all; for in a short time after the death of the Pope, in a Months time there were three Males of that Family died, as it were by Judgment from Heaven, to mortifie the ambition of those Popes who destroy Heaven it self, to fill the World with their Nephews.  And thus by little and p. 159little the House of Sfondrati declined, with all the diligence and care they could use to hold out full forty years, though they made another Person take their Name upon him, that had neither Alliance nor Friendship with them.

Of the House of Aldobrandini, from whence Clement the Eighth proceeded, who was created Pope in January 1592. we cannot speak without touching the Cardinal Aldobrandino too neerly, who is the only person sustains the Name of a Family, that seem’d, for the Reasons before, impossible to be irradicated; which may notwithstanding be said to be extinct, although the Cardinal bears the Name, and the Princess of Rossano enjoys the Estate, as Heir to the House of Aldobrandino; yet the one being a Woman, and the other a Priest, they cannot hope to recover it, unless some By-blow should be produc’d: which, though it would be a neat piece of invention, I cannot imagine, because the Cardinal was not at all scandalous in his Life, but always obsequious and respectful of the Princess; who made him Cardinal, and without which he might have been a Brandino a Jugler, but no Aldobrandino.

But to return to Pope Clement, I will affirm, That he, not having fail’d in any thing might furnish Rome with the Family of the Aldobrandini, was not in arrear to his Name.  In the time that he was Pope, there were eighteen Males of the Name of Aldobrandini, the greater part of which were married; and it was no small satisfaction to him, to have so great a number of his Relations: upon which score he us’d to say, He was Pope of Rome, and Prince or Chief of the Aldobrandini.

p. 160That which was most observable was, He took great pleasure in caressing his Relations; for when any of his Brothers or Nephews that were married came to him, he would tell them, Let it be your business to provide Children, and it shall be mine to provide them Estates.

His good Kindred did not neglect to make their advantage of the Counsel of Clement, nor he to maintain their Honours; by which means, there was scarce any other Family taken notice of in Rome; but the reputation of this, made a noise in every corner.

This House of the Aldobrandini was well founded in the Papacy of Urban the Eighth, by the assistance of seven Brothers, Grand-children to Clement; all of them of so strong and lusty complexions, the Physicians by common consent did assert, there could not be any defect of Posterity.  Nevertheless, it has fail’d; and which is very considerable, there is not now one Male remaining of the Name.

The House of Borghese descended from Paul the Fifth, who succeeded Clement (though Leo the Eleventh, who liv’d but five and twenty days, was betwixt them) ran the same fortune; but being of a later Plantation in Rome, it conserves still some weak and decrepit Branches.  One of the principal designs Alexander had, to marry Don Agostin with the young Princess Borghosa, was to unite the Estate and Patrimony of that tottering and declining House, with the House of Chigi, which at that time was rising to great Emminence, though for a while they came not to Rome.

p. 161There was but one sprig left of the House of the Borghesi, and which was worse, even that of a weak temper, and much subject to infirmities: which Alexander considering, and what accidents the vicissitudes of the world might bring upon the house of the Borghesi, he applyed all his endeavours to make a match (which succeeded well) with his Nephew, and gave him fair hopes of seeing the Patrimony of the Borghesi in his own house.

And this is the state of the Borghesi at present, who in the time of Paul the fifth, had above a dozen males of that name, of which there were not above six married; which was very considerable.  But I return to speak how squares go in the world.

The Families of the Ludovisi, Barbarini, Panfili, and Chigi, who yielded the four last Popes, I shall speak nothing of; because they have not enjoy’d the Benefits of the Papacy full out thirty years: so as it behoving us to let them rest in peace, I shall leave the observations of their Catastrophe to them which come after us.

One thing only I shall insert, that the Aldobrandini had at one time many more males alive, than are at present left of all these four houses together.

God Almighty bless them according to their own desire; which I do heartily pray, as having no animosity against those that are good.

Some have observ’d, and not with much difficulty, that the greatest part of the Popes Families were, before their advancement to the Papacy, of great antiquity and grandeur; but for many that rais’d themselves by the treasure of the Triple Crown, it is not so easie to finde; for instead of attaining to a perpetuation of their Families, they have not p. 162been prolifique enough to defend them against a perpetual annihilation.

The house of the Medici in Milan was of above two hundred years antiquity, maintaining it self in great Honour and Magnificence: But after Pius the fourth was elected Pope out of it, it grew worse and worse, declining with much more speed than it was rais’d, and that after so extravagant a manner, they could discern themselves rise, but could not perceive their decay.

So the house of Gregory the fourteenth, who was born as I have said of the ancient Family of the Sfondrati, who had made themselves, as it were, immortal in Milan, not only in respect of the greatness of their Authority, but in the multitude of their Issue; yet in less than forty years after Pope Gregory, its leaves fell, and the whole Tree of the Sfondrati withered.

The House of Aldobrandini also, from which Clement the eight was descended, from the time of the Lombards to the said Pope, continued so eminent in Florence; there was at several times three and twenty of that name chief Standard-bearers, and all elected by the people: Nevertheless as soon as there was a Pope of this Family (which was Clement) it began to decay, and is now at that pass, there is but one sprig left of all the branches, and that infertile and incapable of recovering them, though he should be made a Pope.

In short, a thousand other examples might be produc’d to evince what I have asserted; which examples though I have describ’d in History, yet are they enough to demonstrate the Popes and their dependents, that all the care, contentions, p. 163and designs they go through for advancement of their particular Families, are not blessed by the Lord; because he suffers them not to prosper: it being more then certain, That when he keeps not the City, the Watchmen wake but in vain.

God Almighty not suffering those who have rais’d themselves to that greatness, out of the Bowels of those that are in Purgatory, themselves to remain long without punishment for their faults.  He will not permit those Families that are elated and grown insolent with the wealth and blood of those poor carkases that are buried in their Churchyards, to continue long in this world themselves.  Heaven is offended to behold sacred things transformed into profane, Churches into Palaces, Alms into Thefts, Crosses into Swords, Altars into Lordships, Holy things into Comedy and Sport, Divine Worship into an adoration of Riches, or rather adoration into Riches.

He that shall be pleas’d to run over the actions of all the Popes, that is, the History wherein all the Families that have afforded any Popes to the world, Shall finde this for an infallible truth, that they are either all as it were extinct, or the small remainder that is left reduc’d to a very mean and inconsiderable condition: As if heaven could not endure the Patrimony of Saint Peter should be made an universal scandal to the world, and be an occasion of eternizing the memory of the Sacriledge they have committed.

I had lately an opportunity of discourse with an Abbot born in Rome, and experienc’d in their transactions: falling into some speech about the Nephews, and finding their vices, or at least errors p. 164by him, with more vehemence reprehended, than by me, I took the courage to accost him in this manner, How is it possible, Sir, that the Nephews of the Popes that are living, reading the lives of their Predecessors that are dead, that their Blood should not freeze in their veins to finde them extinct, some one way, some another, in spight of all their care to eternize themselves? how is it possible but some gripes of Conscience must torment them when they remember all their wealth belongs to the Church?

The Abbot would suffer me to go on no further, but cutting me off in the middle, he reply’d, Sir, He which has too much money, has no time to read over the lives of them that are dead; money puts thoughts alwayes into their heads of eternizing themselves, sometimes by acquiring, sometimes by contriving: The Popes Nephews do read Books, but it is only when they want money, and then ’tis too late.

And who is there now, would not be amaz’d at such an answer?  For my part I believe all the Romans are of the same opinion, and are in much doubt of the salvation of the Nephews.  And accordingly another of them of judgement little differing from the Abbot, told his friend; That the Popes Nephews must of necessity go to Purgatory, for they would be asham’d to go into Paradise, where Christ was, whom they had so wickedly despoil’d in this world.

These expressions perhaps may seem but raillery, and appear but satyrical reflections at first sight; however they come from the very heart, though those that speak them may force themselves into a smile to dissemble it, as the Apothecary conceals the nauseousness of his pills by covering them with silver.

p. 165A great part of the sober men in Rome have been very serious in discovering the cause, why the Popes Families are of so little duration, seeing their riches so vast.

Some are of opinion, it proceeds from the reasons abovesaid, that is, that God Almighty takes them out of the world as a punishment for the injuries they have done the Church, in robbing it of the greatest part of its treasure, to make their own house insolent and high.

Others are of opinion the Curses and Execrations of the people do pierce the Divine Ears in such manner, that the Divine Justice seems as it were oblig’d to take them away so immaturely, to give an account of the vileness of their behaviour towards the subjects of the Church.

And indeed the people of the Ecclesiastical State are so ill satisfied, and so ill treated by the ill Government of Rome, that is by the Popes Nephews who domineer and lord it over them, that from morning to night they fill the air with their exclamations, from one corner, When will there be an end of their Extortions? from another, O God revenge the cruelties of these Nephews, who have ruin’d us.  Nor do the curses thrown out against the Nephews rest at the people only: The very Priests and Ecclesiasticks themselves do daily sacrifice upon their Altars for the destruction of them, who devouring all they can get, leave not the good people so much as will pay for the celebration of a Mass.

In the time the Duke of Parma was in Arms against the State Ecclesiastick, then in the possession of the Barberini, the Cardinal Francesco gave order for the performing the forty hours prayers in p. 166his Cathedrals to incourage the People, and to oblige them to pray to God for the extirpation of the enemies of the Church.  But whilst the Letany of the Saints was singing, a certain Roman Gentleman, at the pronounciation of these words, Ut inimicos Sanctæ Ecclesiæ humiliare digneris, told a Friend of his that was by, The Church has no greater Enemies than the Barbarini, who molest it both at home and abroad, so that our Prayers to heaven ought to be, to be delivered from them and their Arms.

From hence it may be argu’d, That they who bear a secret hatred and detestation of the Nephews, retain it even in the Church, and the place where they ought to pardon all, and are still contriving revenge; and because they find there is no sure way of freeing themselves from their tyranny in this World, they send up their Prayers privately to Heaven: As if they were afraid of the correction of their Popes, who would by no means suffer the Faithful to appeal against their enormity to the Divine Tribunal, but for all that they do not desist.

Others apply the small durance of the Popes Families to that Philosophical saying, Nullum violentum durabile, as if the great haste and violence they use to make themselves great were that that precipitated them: Like Plants, that by a thousand Arts may be forc’d to bear fruit, and that out of season: But how?  Those Artifices, that do offer violence, as it were, to Nature, do not conserve it long; but, weakened by the supernatural force, it loses in a short time its native vigour and is not afterwards to be recovered by all the operations of Art.

’Tis indeed a fine sight to see a Tree bear good fruit in Winter, if it could be made to produce for p. 167several years; but if the water they use about the Root be but a little hotter than it ought, ’tis enough to ruine both fruit and tree; So as the heedlesness of the Gardener may destroy all that he thought to have done by Art contrary to Nature; for it is necessary the Root be watered with water warm’d to a just proportion to secure against the frosts in the nights, and that all convenient cultivation be us’d: Otherwise all will be spoil’d, and it will be impossible to preserve a Tree that is by Art constrain’d beyond its own nature.

In the same manner it happens to the Pope’s Nephews, who grow up on a sudden by a violence they themselves offer to their reason; and marching on towards their own greatness by unusual waies, they seem horrid and uneasie, as not being trodden or known by other people.

Others there are that alledge, amongst other reasons, why the Pope’s Family are so transitory, their inexperience in the Art of Managery which is necessary for preserving an Estate, their wealth raining down upon them without any sweat or trouble, or contrivance of their own.  Like Hebrews that despis’d the Manna sent them from Heaven, they not only neglect to preserve with any prudence and Oeconomy the great quantity of Riches, which is shower’d down into their Chests by the Capricio of fortune; but even nauseate and abhor that, which they believe unsutable to their Nature.

If a Country-man by accident should light upon a parcel of Rubies, at first sight he would be much delighted with their Lustre; but upon second thoughts they would but trouble and perplex him, because he knew not the value of a thing he had gain’d without labour.

p. 168But what shall I say?  There is not any thing more dangerous, and which brings the life of man under more hazards, than the filling the belly too full: To eat intemperately, to swallow without measure, and to devour with eagerness and rapacity, must of necessity destroy Nature, and be the ruine of the whole: Sobriety is that which conduceth most to our health, because it gives the Stomach time to distribute the meat proportionably to the whole body.

The Pope’s Nephews know not how to keep their Riches, because they touch them with their hands, but do not see them with their eyes, their greediness of heaping up on a sudden blinding them, and not suffering them to know the true worth of them: by which means they dwindle insensibly, and they themselves are not able to perceive it.

That which is gotten without pains, is in a short time lost without knowing the price of it: The greatest part of these Gamesters are either such as are loose and licentious young men, or else such as have had some good provision from fortune.  The first adventure, because they have not yet found a way to live handsomly; the other, because they believe Fortune oblig’d to recruit them.  The poor Trades-man, that sweats, and carks, and toils night and day, and all to get one poor Crown, will not certainly be so foolish to venture that in one moment, he gain’d with so much labour in so many hours.  He does well, that keeps that he gain’d with difficulty: and he does well, who spends that he came by easily.

Were the Nephews of the Pope content with what Emoluments were justly their due, without doubt the greatness and opulence of their Families would be much longer liv’d: But they fill, devour, and p. 169cram up their Stomach with more meat than Nature will sustain; and therefore ’tis no wonder, if they be often forc’d to vomit that up with violence they had so immoderately devour’d.

Many have observed also, most of the Pope’s Kindred have died young too; and I could instance in a thousand examples: But for two reasons I forbear; one is, not to grate too much upon the Nephews of our good Pope Alexander, nor have the long life of Don Mario cast in my dish, though indeed it is not above ten years since he had any relation to the Pope; the other is, because I have something else to think on.

Mentioned in this Book.

Sixtus IV. began his Papacy, Anno


Innocent VIII.


Alexander VI.


Pius III.


Julius II.


Leo X.


Adrian VI.


Clement VII.


Paul III.


Julius III.


Marcellus II.


Paul IV.


p. 171Pius IV.


Pius V.


Gregory XIII.


Sixtus V.


Urban VII.


Gregory XIIII.


Innocent IX.


Clement VIII.


Leo XI.


Paul V.


Gregory XV.


Urban VIII.


Innocent X.


Alexander VII.