Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/278

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comprehends the characteristics and foresees the drift of an epoch, and he did not know what a principle was. The general tendency of investigation, while utterly shattering all idle attempts to represent him as a model Pope, has been to relieve him of the most odious imputations against his character. There remains the charge of secret poisoning from motives of cupidity, which indeed appears established, or nearly so, only in a single instance; but this may imply others.

Cesare Borgia afterwards told Machiavelli that he deemed himself to have provided against everything that could possibly happen at the death of his father, but had never thought that he himself might at the same time be disabled by sickness. He succeeded in seizing the Pope's treasure in the Vatican, but failed in securing the Castle of St Angelo, and was obliged to adopt a deferential tone towards the Cardinals. Alexander had gone far towards filling the Sacred College with his own countrymen, and although the Conclave is said by a contemporary to have been more decried for venal practices than any before it, the influence of Ferdinand of Aragon, conjoined with that of Cardinal della Rovere, who found the pear not yet ripe for himself, decided the election in favour of one who assuredly had no share in these practices, the upright Cardinal of Siena. Something may be ascribed to the law already noticed, which frequently fills the place of a deceased Pope with his entire opposite. This may be deemed to have been exemplified anew when, after a sickly pontificate of twenty-seven days, the mild Pius III was replaced (November 1) by the most pugnacious and imperious personality in the Sacred College, Cardinal della Rovere, who evinced his ambition of rivalling if not excelling Alexander by assuming the name of Julius II. His election had not been untainted by simoniacal practices, but cannot like Alexander's be said to have been mainly procured by them. It was rather due to an arrangement with Cesare Borgia, who had the simplicity to expect others to keep faith with him who had kept faith with none, and permitted the Cardinals of his party to vote for della Rovere, on condition that he should be confirmed as Gonfaloniere of the Church. History has never made it a reproach to Julius that he soon incarcerated Borgia in St Angelo, and applied himself to stripping him of his possessions in the Romagna. In some cases the exiled lords had reinstated themselves; in others difficulties arose from the fidelity of Cesare's castellans, who refused to obey even the orders extorted from him to surrender their castles. When at last everything had been got from him that could be got, Julius, instead of secretly putting him to death as Alexander would have done, permitted him to depart to Naples, where he was arrested and sent prisoner into Spain. His career was yet to be illustrated by a romantic escape and a soldier's death in an obscure skirmish in Navarre. The Homagna could not forget that he had been to her one just ruler in