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rich, powerful, luxurious, licentious, and highest honors which his party could refractory to the priesthood, her most bestow, that the Constitution of the powerful citizens felt a need of atoning United States was made, not to promote for their many sins by splendid religious Democracy, but to check it. This statefoundations. So her people came to live ment is true, and it is as true of the Vein an atmosphere of religious observance, netian Constitution as of the American. and the bloom and fruitage of their reli But while both the republics recognized gious hopes and fears are seen in the whole the necessity of curbing Democracy, the history of Venetian art, from the rude difference between the means employed sculptures of Torcello and the naïve mo was world-wide. The founders of the saics of San Marco to the glowing altar- American Republic gave vast powers and pieces and ceilings of John Bellini, Titian, responsibilities to a president and unand Tintoretto and the illuminations of heard-of authority to a supreme court; the Grimani Psalter. No class in Venice in the Venetian Republic the Doge was rose above this environment. Doges and gradually stripped of power, but there Senators were as susceptible to it as were was evolved the mysterious and unlimthe humblest fishermen on the Lido. In ited authority of the Senate and Council every one of those glorious frescoes in of Ten. the corridors and halls of the Ducal Pal In these sat the foremost Venetians, ace which commemorate the victories of thoroughly imbued with the religious the Republic, the triumphant Doge or spirit of their time; but, religious as they Admiral or General is seen on his knees were, they were men of the world, trained making acknowledgment of the divine in the politics of all Europe and espeassistance. On every Venetian sequin, cially of Italy. from the days when Venice was a power In a striking passage, Guizot has shown throughout the earth to that fatal year how the Crusaders who went to the Orient when the young Bonaparte tossed the by way of Italy and saw the papacy near Republic over to the House of Austria, at hand came back skeptics. This same the Doge, crowned and robed, kneels influence shaped the statesmen of Venice. humbly before the Saviour, the Virgin, or The Venetian Ambassadors were the foreSt. Mark. In that vast Hall of the Five most in Europe. Their Relations are Hundred, the most sumptuous room in still studied as the clearest, shrewdest, the world, there is spread above the heads and wisest statements regarding the men of the Doge and Senators and Council- and events in Europe at their time. All ors, as an incentive to the discharge of were noted for skill; but the most skilltheir duties on earth, a representation of ful were kept on duty at Rome. There the blessed in Heaven.
was the source of danger. The Doges, From highest to lowest, the Venetians Senators, and controlling Councilors had, lived, moved, and had their being in this as a rule, served in these embassies, and religious environment, and, had their Re- they had formed lucid judgments as to public been loosely governed, its external Italian courts in general and as to the policy would have been largely swayed Roman Court in particular. No men had by this all-pervading religious feeling, known the Popes and the Curia more and would have become the plaything of thoroughly. They had seen Innocent the Roman Court. But a democracy has VIII. buy the papacy for money. They never been maintained save by the dele had been at the Vatican when Alexander gation of great powers to its chosen lead VI. had won renown as a secret inurderer. ers. It was the remark of one of the fore. They had seen, close at hand, the mercimost American Democrats of the nine
1 See Horatio Seymour's noted article in the teenth century, a man who received the North American Review.
less cruelty of Julius II. They had care upon anatomical dissections, the Venefully noted the crimes of Sixtus IV., tians allowed Andreas Vesalius to make which culminated in the assassination of such dissections at their University of Julian de' Medici beneath the dome of Padua. When Sixtus V., the strongest Florence at the moment the Host was up- of all the Popes, had brought all his powlifted. They had sat near Leo X. while ers, temporal and spiritual, to bear against he enjoyed the obscenities of the Ca Henry IV. of France as an excommunilandria and the Mandragora, plays cated heretic, and seemed ready to hurl which, in the most corrupt of modern cit the thunderbolts of the Church against ies, would, in our day, be stopped by the any power which should recognize him, police. No wonder that, in one of their the Venetian Republic not only recogdispatches, they speak of Rome as "the nized him, but treated his Ambassador cloaca of the world.” 1
with especial courtesy. When the other Naturally, then, while their religion Catholic powers, save France, yielded to showed itself in wonderful monuments of papal mandates and sent no representaevery sort, their practical sense was shown tives to the coronation of James I. of by a steady opposition to papal encroach- England, Venice was there represented. ments.
When Pope after Pope issued endless Of this combination of zeal for religion diatribes against the horrors of toleration, with hostility to ecclesiasticism we have the Venetians steadily tolerated in their striking examples throughout the his- several sorts of worship Jews and Greeks, tory of the Republic. While, in every Mohammedans and Armenians, with Proother European state, cardinals, bishops, testants of every sort who came to them priests, and monks were given leading on business.
When the Roman Index parts in civil administration and, in some forbade the publication of most important states, a monopoly of civil honors, the works of leading authors, Venice deRepublic of Venice not only excluded all manded and obtained for her printers ecclesiastics from such posts, but, in cases rights which were elsewhere denied. which touched church interests, she ex As to the religious restrictions which cluded even the relatives of ecclesiastics. touched trade, the Venetians in the pubWhen church authority decreed that com lic councils, and indeed the people at merce should not be maintained with infi- large, had come to know perfectly what dels and heretics, the Venetian merchants the papal theory meant, · with some of continued to deal with Turks, Pagans, its promoters, fanaticism, but with the Germans, Englishmen, and Dutchmen controlling power at Rome, revenue, revas before. When the Church decreed enue to be derived from retailing disthat the taking of interest for money was pensations to infringe the holy rules. sin, and great theologians published in This peculiar antithesis nowhere Venice some of their mightiest treatises more striking than at Venice, on the one demonstrating this view from Holy Serip- side, religious fears and hopes ; on the ture and the Fathers, the Venetians con other, keen insight into the ways of ectinued borrowing and lending money on
clesiasticism — led to peculiar comprousance. When efforts were made to en mises. The bankers who had taken interforce that tremendous instrument for the
est upon money, the merchants who had consolidation of papal power, the bull traded with Moslems and heretics, in In Coena Domini, Venice evaded and their last hours frequently thought it best eren defied it. When the Church frowned to perfect their title to salvation by turn
1 For Sixtus IV. and his career, with the ii. pp. 341, 342. For the passages in the distragedy in the Cathedral of Florence, see Vil- patches referred to, vide ibid. vol. i. lari's Life of Machiavelli, English Edition, vol. VOL. XCIII. No. 555.
ing over large estates to the Church. position. In view of his duty toward himUnder the sway of this feeling, and es- self, he lavished the treasures of the pecially of the terrors infused by priests faithful upon his family, until it became at deathbeds, mortmain had become in the richest which had yet risen in Rome; Venice, as in many other parts of the in view of his duty toward the Church, world, one of the most serious of evils. he built superbly, and an evidence of the Thus it was that the clergy came to pos- spirit in which he wrought is his name, sess between one fourth and one third of in enormous letters, still spread across the whole territory of the Republic, and the façade of St. Peter's. As to his poin its Bergamo district more than one sition, he accepted fully the theories and half; and all this was exempt from tax- practices of his boldest predecessors, and ation. Hence it was that the Venetian in this he had good warrant; for St. Senate found it necessary to devise a Thomas Aquinas and Bellarmine had legal check which should make such ab- furnished him with convincing arguments sorption of estates by the Church more that he was divinely authorized to rule the and more difficult.
powers of Italy and of the world." There was a second cause of trouble. Moreover there was, in his pride, someIn that religious atmosphere of Venice, thing akin to fanaticism. He had been monastic orders of every sort grew lux- elected by one of those sudden movements, uriantly, not only absorbing more and as well known in American caucuses as in more land to be held by the dead hand, papal conclaves, when, after a deadlock, thus escaping the public burdens, but all the old candidates are thrown over, ever absorbing more and more men and and the choice suddenly falls on a new women, and thus depriving the state of man. The cynical observer may point any healthy and normal service from to this as showing that the laws governthem. Here, too, the Senate thought it ing elections, under such circumstances, best to interpose a check : it insisted that are the same, whether in party caucuses all new structures for religious orders or in church councils ; but Paul, in this must be authorized by the State.
case, saw the direct intervention of the Yet another question flamed forth. Almighty, and his disposition to magnify Of the monks of every sort swarming his office was vastly increased thereby. through the city, many were luxurious He was especially strenuous, and one of and some were criminal. On these last, his earliest public acts was to send to the the Venetian Senate determined to lay gallows a poor author, who, in an unpubits hands, and in the first years of the lished work, had spoken severely regardseventeenth century all these questions, ing one of Paul's predecessors. and various other matters distasteful to The Venetian laws checking mortthe Vatican, culminated in the seizure main, taxing church property, and reand imprisonment of two ecclesiastics quiring the sanction of the Republic be charged with various high crimes, – fore the erection of new churches and among
monasteries greatly angered him ; but There had just come to the papal the crowning vexation was the seizure throne Camillo Borghese, Paul V., - of the two clerics. This aroused him strong, bold, determined, with the highest fully. He at once sent orders that they possible theory of his duties and of his be delivered up to him, that apology be
1 For details of these cases of the two monks, see Pascolato. Fra Paolo Sarpi, Milano, 1893, pp. 126–128. For the Borghese avarice, see Ranke's Popes, vol. iii. pp. 9–20. For the development of Pope Paul's theory of govern
ment, see Ranke, vol. ii. p. 345, and note, in which Bellarmine's doctrine is cited textually; also Bellarmine's Selbstbiographie, herausgegeben von Döllinger und Reusch. Bonn, 1887. pp. 181,
made for the past and guarantees given commerce was to be delivered over to for the future, and notice was served that, the tender mercies of any
other in case the Republic did not speedily nation; their merchant ships to be as obey these orders, the Pope would ex corsairs; their cargoes, the legitimate communicate its leaders and lay an inter prey of all Christendom; and their peodict upon its people. It was indeed a ple, on sea and land, to be held as eneserious contingency. For many years mies of the human race. To this was the new Pope had been known as a hard, added, throughout the whole mass of the pedantic ecclesiastical lawyer, and now people, a vague sense of awful penalties that he had arrived at the supreme awaiting them in the next world. Despite power, he had evidently determined to all this, the Republic persisted in assertenforce the high mediæval supremacy of ing its right. the Church over the State. Everything Just at this moment came a diplomatic betokened his success. In France he had passage between Pope and Senate like a broken down all opposition to the decrees farce before a tragedy, and it has historof the Council of Trent. In Naples, ical significance, as showing what rewhen a magistrate had refused to dis sourceful old heads were at the service of obey the civil law at the bidding of either side. The Doge Grimani having priests, and the viceroy had supported died, the Vatican thought to score a point the magistrate, Pope Paul had forced the by promptly sending notice through its viceroy and magistrate to comply with Nuncio to Venice that no new election his will by threats of excommunication. of a Doge could take place if forbidden In every part of Italy, — in Malta, in by the Pope, and that, until the Senate Savoy, in Parma, in Lucca, in Genoa, — had become obedient to the papacy, no and finally even in Spain, he had petti- such election would be sanctioned. But fogged, bullied, threatened, until his op- the Senate, having through its own Amponents had given way. Everywhere he bassador received a useful hint, was quite was triumphant; and while he was in the equal to the occasion. It at once declined mood which such a succession of triumphs to receive this or any dispatch from the would give he turned toward Venice. Pope on the plea, made with redundant
There was little indeed to encourage courtesy and cordiality, that, there being the Venetians to resist ; for, while the in no Doge, there was no person in Venice terests of other European powers were great enough to open it. They next as largely the same as theirs, current politi- politely declined to admit the papal Nuncal intrigues seemed likely to bring Spain cio on the ground that there was nobody and even France into a league with the worthy to receive him. Then they proVatican.
ceeded to elect a Doge who could receive To a people so devoted to commerce,
both Nuncio and message, - a sturdy opyet so religious, the threat of an inter- ponent of the Vatican pretensions, Leodict was serious indeed. All church ser nardo Donato. rices were to cease; the people at large, The Senate now gave itself entirely no matter how faithful, were to be as to considering ways and means of warding brute beasts, — not to be legally married, off the threatened catastrophe. Its first - not to be consoled by the sacraments, step was to consult Sarpi. His answer - not to be shriven, and virtually not to was prompt and pithy. He advised two be buried; other Christian peoples were things: first, to prevent, at all hazards, to be forbidden all dealings with them, any publication of the papal bulls in Venunder pain of excommunication; their ice or any obedience to them ; secondly,
1 For letters showing the craven submission Paolo V. e la Republica Veneta, Vienna, 1859, of Philip III. of Spain at this time, see Cornet, p. 285.
to hold in readiness for use at any mo- a special patrol was kept, night and day, ment an appeal to a future Council of the to prevent any posting of the forbidden Church.
notices on walls or houses ; any person Of these two methods, the first would receiving or finding one was to take it naturally seem by far the more difficult. immediately to the authorities, under the So it was not in reality. In the letter severest penalties, and any person found which Sarpi presented to the Doge, he concealing such documents was to be pundevoted less than four lines to the first ished by death. and more than fourteen pages to the At first some of the clergy were resecond. As to the first remedy, severe fractory. The head of the whole church as it was and bristling with difficulties, establishment of Venice, the Patriarch it was, as he claimed, a simple, natural, himself, gave signs of resistance ; but the straightforward use of police power. As Senate at once silenced him. Sundry to the second, the appeal to a future other bishops and high ecclesiastics made Council was to the Vatican as a red flag a show of opposition ; and they were to a bull. The very use of it involved ex. placed in confinement. One of them communication. To harden and strength- seeming reluctant to conduct the usual en the Doge and Senate in order that church service, the Senate sent an exethey might consider it as an ultimate pos- cutioner to erect a gibbet before his door. sibility, Sarpi was obliged to show from Another, having asked that he be althe Scriptures, the Fathers, the Councils, lowed to await some intimation from the the early Popes, that the appeal to a Holy Spirit, received answer that the Council was a matter of right. With won- Senate had already received directions derful breadth of knowledge and clear from the Holy Spirit to hang any person ness of statement he made his points and resisting their decree. The three relianswered objections. To this day, his gious orders which had showed most opletter remains a masterpiece.
position — Jesuits, Theatins, and CapuThe Republic utterly refused to yield, chins — were in a semi-polite manner and now, in 1606, Pope Paul launched virtually expelled from the Republic.? his excommunication and interdict. In Not the least curious among the remeeting them, the Senate took the course sults of this state of things was the war laid down by Sarpi. The papal Nuncio of pamphlets. From Rome, Bologna, and was notified that the Senate would re- other centres of thought, even from Paris ceive no paper from the Pope ; all eccle- and Frankfort, polemic tractates rained siastics, from the Patriarch down to the upon the Republic. The vast majority lowest monk, were forbidden, under the of their authors were on the side of the penalties of high treason, to make public. Vatican, and of this majority the leaders or even to receive any paper whatever were the two cardinals so eminent in from the Vatican ; additional guards were, learning and logic, Bellarmine and Baplaced at the city gates, with orders to ronius; but, single-handed, Sarpi was, by search every wandering friar or other general consent, a match for the whole suspicious person who might, by any opposing force.8 possibility, bring in a forbidden missive; Of all the weapons then used, the
1 For Sarpi's advice to the Doge, see Bianchi Giovini, vol. i. pp. 216, et seq. The document is given fully in the Lettere di F. P. S., Firenze, 1863, vol. i. pp. 17, et seq. ; also in Machi, Storia del Consiglio dei Dieci, cap. xxiv., where the bull of excommunication is also given.
2 For interesting details regarding the departure of the Jesuits, see Cornet, Paolo V. e la Republica Veneta, pp. 277-279.
3 In the library of Cornell University are no less than nine quartos filled with selected examples of these polemics on both sides.