« AnteriorContinuar »
had a particular devotion, but because it happened on a Wednesday-a day, as before obferved, that had often been fortunate to him.
To pass away the time between his election and coronation, which he had waited for with the utmost impatience, he entertained himself at night with reading an old journal, in which he had minuted down all the tranfactions of his life; and in the day time, he applied himself, with much greater application, to a book, in which he entered all the schemes he intended to carry into execution.
In profecution of his plan of reformation, a few days after his coronation, he fent for the governor of Rome, and all the magiftrates, to attend him in a body: when he exhorted them to be strictly vigilant and impartial in the execution of their refpective offices; and following them to the door, as they went away, he faid, Remember that I come not to fend peace, but a fword among you.
Sixtus was no fooner feated on the papal throne, than he fent for his fifter Camilla, who readily obeyed the fummons, and brought with her an only fon and two grand
comium that more forcibly fpeaks the merit of Sixtus, than volumes written in his praife.
As he died in his palace of Monte Cavallo, his body was carried in a litter to St. Peter's, and there interred with the ufual ceremonies. But his corpfe did not remain long there; his nephew, Cardinal Montalto, (a perfon, as before obferved, of extraordinary worth and virtue), removed it the following year, with great pomp, to a chapel which he had built in the church of St. Maria Maggiore, where he celebrated his obfequies with a magnificence due to fo great a pontiff.
Such was the character of the celebrated Sixtus the Fifth; and if we examine it from his infancy to his diffolution, in private as well as in public life, efpecially during his pontificate, it will be found (bating fome human frailties) worthy of hiftorical record; while his progreffive exaltation, from nearly the lowest rank to the higheft, will always place the name of Sixtus among those which might be exhibited as fingular inftances of the mutability of fortune.
let her fudden and unexpected elevation from a cottage to a palace, from a peasant to a princefs, induce her to affume too much confequence, or to give herself any unbecoming airs. To this admonition fhe was not inattentive, as she always conducted herself with great propriety.
His brother Anthony had been dead fome years, at the time Sixtus was elevated to the papal chair. His death was supposed to have been occafioned by the cool reception he met with from his brother, when he came to Rome, to congratulate him on his attainment of the cardinal's hat, and in hopes of sharing in his newly acquired honours. But Montalto's ultimate point was not then atchieved, and affection fell a facrifice to ambition.
Having paffed over many circumstances of our hero's life during his progreffive advancement to the papal throne, as incompatible, from the prolixity it would occafion, with our present undertaking, we must do the fame with regard to his reign, and content ourselves with giving a general view of it.
As Sixtus began his pontificate with a strict
and inflexible attention to his plan of reformation, and which, it must be allowed, the relaxed manners of the people of Rome, during the life of the late pope, cried aloud for, fo he continued the profecution of it to the lateft period of his life. In turning over the diary before mentioned, he often met with the names of old offenders, whom he brought to juftice, though their crimes were of the most secret nature, and committed long ago. Numberless inftances may be found, in Letis's Life of Pope Sixtus the Fifth, (to which, or the English tranflation by Farneworth, the reader is referred), of perfons from the lowest to the highest rank, who had reafon to lament his minutenefs in thefe memorandums. exact was the information he was able to give, and fo deferving of the punishment he ufually directed were the crimes he brought to light, that the people confidered him as a wizard, and did not spare to say that he was verfed in the black art.
The internal regulation of the was of course rigorous in the extreme.
leaft lenity in any of the judges, was punished with the fame feverity that the criminal was supposed to deserve. The chief glory of Sixtus, was to appear terrible and fevere. This
INSTANCE THE SIXTEENTH,
OLIVER CROMWELL *
The daring HYPOCRITE may make his way,
HOUGH this political phænomenon was undoubtedly defcended from a respectable, if not a noble and illuftrious family; yet as his immediate predeceffor was engaged in trade, and neither his fortune nor connections afforded the leaft room for his afpiring to the fovereignty of three powerful kingdoms, he certainly claims a place here, as a very remarkable inftance of the mutability of fortune.
The fubject of our prefent investigations was born at Huntingdon, on the 25th of April 1599; and received the name of Oliver, from
* History of England. Mark Noble, &c.