Obrázky stránek

designate the Papacy of the Counter-Reformation, it is not that we forget how many of those Popes were men of blameless private life and serious views for Catholic Christendom. When we use these terms to designate the Spanish race in the sixteenth century, it is not that we are ignorant of Spanish chivalry and colonizing enterprise, of Spanish romance, or of the fact that Spain produced great painters, great dramatists, and one great novelist in the brief period of her glory. We use them deliberately, however, in both cases; because the Papacy at this period committed itself to a policy of immoral, retrograde, and cowardly repression of the most generous of human impulses under the pressure of selfish terror; because the Spaniards abandoned themselves to a dark fiend of religious fanaticism; because they were merciless in their conquests and unintelligent in their administration of subjugated provinces; because they glutted their lusts of avarice and hatred on industrious folk of other creeds within their borders; because they cultivated barren pride and self-conceit in social life; because at the great epoch of Europe's reawakening they chose the wrong side and adhered to it with fatal obstinacy. This obstinacy was disastrous to their neighbors and ruinous to themselves. During the short period of three reigns (between 1598 and 1700) they sank from the first to the third grade in Europe, and saw the scepter passing in the New World from their hands to those of more normally



constituted races. That the self-abandonment to sterilizing passions and ignoble persecutions which marked Spain out for decay in the second half of the sixteenth century, and rendered her the curse of her dependencies, can in part be ascribed to the enthusiasm aroused in previous generations by the heroic conflict with advancing Islam, is a thesis capable of demonstration. Yet none the less is it true that her action at that period was calamitous to herself and little short of destructive to Italy.

After the year 1530 seven Spanish devils entered Italy. These were the devil of the Inquisition, with stake and torture-room, and war declared against the will and soul and heart and intellect of man; the devil of Jesuitry, with its sham learning, shameless lying, and casuistical economy of sins; the devil of vice-royal rule, with its life-draining monopolies and gross incapacity for government; the devil of an insolent soldiery, quartered on the people, clamorous for pay, outrageous in their lusts and violences; the devil of fantastical taxation, levying tolls upon the bare necessities of life, and drying up the founts of national well-being at their sources; the devil of petty-princedom, wallowing in sloth and cruelty upon a pinchbeck throne; the devil of effeminate hidalgoism, ruinous in expenditure, mean and grasping, corrupt in private life, in public ostentatious, vain of titles, cringing to its masters, arrogant to its inferiors. In their train these brought with them seven other devils, their pernicious offspring:

idleness, disease, brigandage, destitution, ignorance, superstition, hypocritically sanctioned vice. These fourteen devils were welcomed, entertained, and voluptuously lodged in all the fairest provinces of Italy. The Popes opened wide for them the gates of outraged and depopulated Rome. Dukes and mar quises fell down and worshiped the golden image of the Spanish Belial-Moloch-that hideous idol whose face was blackened with soot from burning human flesh, and whose skirts were dabbled with the blood of thousands slain in wars of persecution. After a tranquil sojourn of some years in Italy, these devils had everywhere spread desolation and corruption. Broad regions, like the Patrimony of S. Peter and Calabria, were given over to marauding bandits; wide tracks of fertile country, like the Sienese Maremma, were abandoned to malaria; wolves prowled through empty villages round Milan; in every city the pestilence swept off its hundreds daily; manufactures, commerce, agriculture, the industries of town and rural district, ceased; the Courts swarmed with petty nobles, who vaunted paltry titles; and resigned their wives to cicisbei and their sons to sloth: art and learning languished; there was not a man who ventured to speak out his thought or write the truth; and over the Dead Sea of social putrefaction floated the sickening oil of Jesuitical hypocrisy.



The Counter-Reformation-Its Intellectual and Moral CharacterCauses of the Gradual Extinction of Renaissance Energy-Transition from the Renaissance to the Catholic Revival-New Religious Spirit in Italy-Attitude of Italians toward German Reformation-Oratory of Divine Love-Gasparo Contarini and the Moderate Reformers-New Religious Orders-Paul III.-His early History and Education-Political Attitude between France and Spain-Creation of the Duchy of Parma-Imminence of a General Council-Review of previous Councils—Paul's Uneasiness Opens a Council at Trent in 1542-Protestants virtually excluded, and Catholic Dogmas confirmed in the first Sessions— Death of Paul in 1549—Julius III.—Paul IV.—Character and Ruling Passions of G. P. Caraffa-His Futile Opposition to Spain -Tyranny of his Nephews-Their Downfall-Paul Devotes himself to Church Reform and the Inquisition-Pius IV.—His Minister Morone-Diplomatic Temper of this Pope-His Management of the Council-Assistance rendered by his nephew Carlo Borron.:: -Alarming State of Northern Europe-The Council reopened at Tent in 1562—Subsequent History of the CouncilIt closes with a ɔmplete Papal Triumph in 1563-Place of Pius IV. in History-Pius V.-The Inquisitor Pope-Population of Rome-Social Corruption-Sale of Offices and Justice-Tridentine Reforms depress Wealth-Ascetic Purity of Manners becomes fashionable-Piety-The Catholic Reaction generates the Counter-Reformation—Battle of Lepanto-Gregory XIII.His Relatives-Policy of Enriching the Church at Expense of the Barons-Brigandage in States of the Church-Sixtus V.— His Stern Justice-Rigid Economy-Great Public WorksTaxation-The City of Rome assumes its present form-Nepotism in the Counter-Reformation Period-Various Estimates of the Wealth accumulated by Papal Nephews-Rise of Princely Roman Families.

It is not easy to define the intellectual and moral changes which passed over Italy in the period of the

Counter-Reformation1; it is still less easy to refer those changes to distinct causes. Yet some analysis tending toward such definition is demanded from a writer who has undertaken to treat of Italian culture and manners between the years 1530 and 1600.

In the last chapter I attempted to describe the depth of servitude to which the States of Italy were severally reduced at the end of the wars between France and Spain. The desolation of the country, the loss of national independence, and the dominance of an alien race, can be counted among the most important of those influences which produced the changes in question. Whatever opinions we may hold regarding the connection between political autonomy and mental vigor in a people, it can hardly be disputed that a sudden and universal extinction of liberty must be injurious to arts and studies that have grown up under free institutions.

But there were other causes at work. Among these a prominent place should be given to an alteration in the intellectual interests of the Italians themselves. The original impulses of the Renaissance, in scholarship, painting, sculpture, architecture, and vernacular poetry, had been exhausted.

'I may here state that I intend to use this term Counter-Reformation to denote the reform of the Catholic Church, which was stimulated by the German Reformation, and which, when the Council of Trent had fixed the dogmas and discipline of Latin Christianity, enabled the Papacy to assume a militant policy in Europe, whereby it regained a large portion of the provinces that had previously lapsed to Lutheran and Calvinistic dissent.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PředchozíPokračovat »