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the castle of St. Angelo were fired, and the bells of every church and convent rung.
It was cuftomary at the proclamation of a new pope, for the people to run directly and plunder the house wherein he had lived before; the followers and domeftics of every cardinal likely to be elected, therefore, generally ftripped it themselves before hand; and if their patron did not fucceed, they brought every thing back again. But upon this occafion, the populace were in no great hurry to pay the customary vifit to Montalto's house, as they expected, they said, to find nothing but a few old broken chairs and tables.
The new pope having ate a mouthful or two of a collation which had been prepared, in the interval, by the cooks of the conclave, and drank a glass of citron water, he ordered the doors to be unwalled, that the people may enter.
He was then conducted to the chapel, and adored the second time by the cardinals. As he came out of the conclave, the citizens and strangers, who flocked in great crowds to fee the new pontiff, cried out, "Where
is he? Which is the pope? This cannot be the poor old cardinal that used to faint away in the streets! Surely this cannot be Father Montalto, who went tottering about with a ftaff!"
When he arrived at St. Peter's, all the canons came out in proceffion to meet him, finging an anthem; and being carried up to the great altar, he was there adored, for the laft time, by the cardinals, whilst the choir fung Te Deum; after which, he gave his benediction to the people, in a very strong, clear voice, ftretching out his arms with all the appearance of ftrength and vigour. Having done this, he put off fome of his pontifical vestments, and getting into a close chair, was carried to the vatican, attended by a guard of foldiers.
When he got thither, he was fo impatient to exercise the fovereignty, that he could hardly be prevailed upon to defer it, according to the custom of his predeceffors, till he was crowned: "I will begin to reign," fays he to the cardinals, "this very evening, as there is great need of immediate reformation." He accordingly ordered the crown to be brought to him directly, and at once affumed
From the moment he was feated on the papal throne, he was eafy of accefs, and refufed audience to none; ordering his masters of the ceremonies to give the pooreft the precedence. He was more particularly ready to hear those who brought any accufation against the magiftrates or governors; but he would never liften to any complaint against fuch of the taxes and duties as he had impofed, which were very numerous, and collected with great rigour and exactness.
But, notwithstanding this rigour in the execution of the laws, he indulged his fubjects, during the time of the carnival, with a great deal of liberty; permitting them to divert themselves with feafts, balls, comedies, masquerades, and public fpectacles. However, from the awe in which he kept every rank, not the leaft riot or disturbance happened during any of the carnivals that were celebrated while he was pope. On the contrary, every thing was conducted with the greatest decorum, to the infinite fatisfaction of all the people.
While Sixtus was a cardinal, he was remarkably temperate and abftemious in his diet, (if he did not regale himself in private),
upon the day that the pope is crowned. And in expectation of this, as foon as a pope was chofen, great numbers of banditti and other delinquents used to come and furrender themselves to the different jails. If the newly elected pope was esteemed a merciful and good-natured man, the prifons were crowded.
But Sixtus, juftly incensed at the profligacy and wickedness that reigned throughout the whole ecclefiaftical state, instead of releafing those who were in prison, ordered them to be more ftrictly confined, and proceeded against with the utmost rigour. Nor was he to be moved from an inflexible administration of justice, by the interceffion of the first of the nobility, nor the fupplications of those who had been his most intimate friends.
To fuch an extent did he carry this zeal for the reformation of the State, that he ordered the governor of Rome to provide twelve executioners, or hangmen, of different nations, to let the people fee that he was determined to fpare none (of what country foever) who dared to violate the laws, it being his intention that every criminal fhould
be put to death by an executioner of his own nation. These fellows were commanded by Sixtus to parade round the city two by two, each having an ax in one hand, and an halter in the other, to excite terror. And this ceremony was not even omitted on the morning of his coronation.
This, with several other regulations that he caused to be published at the same time, made the name of Sixtus fo terrible, that the oldest perfon living never faw a coronation pass with so much peace and order as this did. For, though a thousand enormities, fuch as rapes, murders, robberies, &c. had been usually committed on that day, and nothing was to be heard in the streets but fwearing, execrations, quarrels, fighting, and all manner of irregularities and disorders;upon the present occafion, notwithstanding the crowd was very great, there was not the leaft confufion or difturbance; not an oath, nor an abufive word, was heard, nor a blow given.
Sixtus would have his coronation celebrated on the firft of May, not only on account of its being the festival of St. Philip and St. Jacob, two apoftles for whom he.