Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/694

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unseemly contest over the bishopric lasted for years. Matters were scarce better between the Holy See and its crusader Matthias Corvinus. A serious breach was occasioned, in 1465, by the effort of Paul II to enforce his claims; but Matthias took a position so aggressive that finally Sixtus IV conceded the point and confirmed his appointments. The quarrel was renewed in 1480, over the see of Modrus, which Sixtus wanted for a retainer of his nephew, Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere. The King told Sixtus that Hungary, in her customary spirit, would rather, for a third time, cut herself loose from the Catholic Church and go over to the infidel than permit the benefices of the land to be appropriated in violation of the royal right of presentation; but, after holding out for three years, he submitted. He was more successful, in 1485, when he gave the archbishopric of Gran to Ippolito d’Este, who was a youth under age, and when Innocent VIII remonstrated he retorted that the Pope had granted such favours to many less worthy persons; any person appointed by the Pope might bear the title, but Ippolito should enjoy the revenues. He carried his point and, in 1487, Ippolito took possession.

Spain was still less patient. Even under so weak a monarch as Henry IV Sixtus failed to secure for his worthless nephew, Cardinal Piero Riario, the archbishopric of Seville, which fell vacant in 1473 through the death of Alfonso de Fonseca. Although he had been regularly appointed the Spaniards refused to receive Riario, and the see was administered by Pero Gonzalez Mendoza, Bishop of Sigiienza, until 1482, when it was filled by Iñigo Manrique. The stronger and abler Ferdinand of Aragon was even more recalcitrant. He adopted the most arbitrary measures to secure the archbishopric of Saragossa for his natural son Alfonso against Ausias Dezpuch, the nominee of Sixtus IV. Still more decisive was the struggle in Castile over the see of Cuenca, in 1482, to which Sixtus appointed a Genoese cousin. Ferdinand and Isabel demanded that Spanish bishoprics should be filled only with Spaniards of their selection, to which Sixtus replied that all benefices were in the gift of the Pope and that his power, derived from Christ, was unlimited. The sovereigns answered by calling home all their subjects resident at the papal Court and threatening to take steps for the convocation of a General Council. This brought Sixtus to terms; he sent a special nuncio to Spain, but they refused to receive him and stood on their dignity until Cardinal Mendoza, then Archbishop of Toledo, intervened, when, on Sixtus withdrawing his pretensions, they allowed themselves to be reconciled. Ferdinand and his successor Charles V displayed the same vigour in resisting the encroachments of the cardinals when they seized upon vacant abbacies which happened to belong to the patronage of the Crown. It marks the abasement to which the Holy Roman Empire had fallen when we hear that Sixtus confirmed to Frederick III and his son Maximilian a privilege granted by Eugenius IV