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ought to endeavour to remove every pretext for the accusation by the most scrupulous regard to his conduct. If the people were displeased with the late impositions it would be advis• able to abolish them, and to require only the usual payments: • for one carlino obtained with goodwill and affection is better than ten accompanied with dissatisfaction and resentment.'
Such advice, however, was little to the taste of either Ferrante or his son, and though their wily and able policy enabled them finally to dissever the alliance of the Pope and their insurgent barons, yet the cruel treachery which they displayed in the treatment of their conquered subjects, and the oppressive exactions by which they distressed their people, proved ultimately as destructive of their power as it was fatal to the independence of Italy. During the war between the King of Naples and his barons, Lorenzo had never ceased being in correspondence with the Pope, and endeavouring to convince him of the wisdom of his own political views, both with respect to the welfare of the Papacy and to the maintenance of the balance of power in Italy. In this he completely succeeded. He not only contrived to disengage the Pope from his alliance with the barons, but secured the assistance of the Pope, a Genoese himself, in the acquirement for the Florentines of the town of Sarzana, a strong place on the Genoese frontier. Healso brought about a marriage between his daughter Maddalena and Franceschetto Cybò, the eldest son of the Pope, and gencrally maintained, amid the complicated entanglements of Italian affairs, such political relations with the Papacy up to the time of his death that the Pope was said to be completely under his influence. The private relations of Lorenzo and Innocent VIII. are a curious study and characteristic of the times. Lorenzo had, as we have seen, married his daughter to Franceschetto Cybò. He had also a son, whom he had destined to an ecclesiastical career, and he urged the interests of both his relatives with the hesitating Pope in as eager and passionate language as it was possible for him to venture upon. Pope Innocent VIII., a weak-minded man, of feeble health, did not possess the spirit of nepotism in anything like the usual intensity. Consequently the Pope could not catch a cold or have the slightest of ailments without those of his relatives, for whom he had not provided, falling into an agony of terror, lest the old man should drop off and leave them without an establishment. The exhortations of Lorenzo on this head are edifying to read.
Others,' he wrote to Innocent VIII., "have not so long postponed their efforts to attain the papal chair, and have concerned themselves
little to maintain that retiring delicacy so long evinced by your Holiness. Thus is your Hcliness not only exonerated before God and man, but this honourable conduct may cause you to incur blame, and your reserve may be attributed to less worthy motives. Zeal and duty urge my conscience to remind your Holiness that no man is immortal. Be the Pontiff as important as he inay in his own person, he cannot make his dignity and that importance hereditary—he cannot be said absolutely to possess any but the honours and emoluments he has secured to his kinsmen.'
The son-in-law of Lorenzo urged on his father-in-law to write still stronger letters of admonition, saying, filially, “like ' an ox he requires the goad.'
Still more impatient was Lorenzo in his conduct of the assiduities by which he contrived to obtain the cardinal's hat for his son Giovanni, destined to leave a name in the annals of the Papacy equal to his own in the history of Florence. Giovanni was born on December 11, 1475, and was nine years of age when Innocent VIII. became Pope. He had received the tonsure at seven years of age, and in the following year he was made abbot of Font Doulce by Louis XI., and of Passignano by Sixtus IV., and the importunity of his father was such that the weak Pope, who felt some shame in making a boy a cardinal, gave him at last the red hat at the age of fourteen. The nomination of Giovanni de' Medici to the dignity of Cardinal was the last of the triumphs of Lorenzo his father, who died on April 8, 1492, very shortly after he had sent him a letter of congratulation and advice which still exists. He died early in the forty-third year of his age, after twentythree years of virtual sovereignty. His death was not unexpected even at that early age, for the family malady, the gout, had afflicted him with almost intolerable violence.
The well-known scene of the presence of Savonarola at his death-bed appears to have been quite misrepresented. Savonarola had become merely a famous preacher in the days of Lorenzo. It appears from the account of Politian to be true that Lorenzo had Savonarola summoned to his bedside. The ordinary story is that Savonarola refused to give him absolution because he refused to restore the liberties of Florence. But according to the account of Politian, an eye-witness, no such dialogue took place. Fra Girolamo of Ferrara,' relates Politian, a man esteemed for his learning and fear of God, and a splendid preacher of the Divine word, stepped into the sick room and invited the sick man to hold fast by faith, to ' which he replied, he did so steadfastly. Thereafter he ex'horted him to lead a virtuous life; he answered he would
VOL. CXLV, NO. CCXCVII.
' endeavour to do so. Thirdly, he exhorted him to endure death, if need be, with steadfastness. “Nothing is more "“agreeable,” he replied, “if it be the will of God.” The ' friar was departing, when Lorenzo said to him, “ Give me
your blessing before you depart from me,” and with bent · head he responded fully and in complete consciousness to the words and exhortations of the monk, undisturbed by the sorrow no longer repressed of his household.'
His end was peaceful. He continued, with mere habit and compliance, to follow the prescriptions of his physicians. His accustomed sleeplessness did not forsake him. Once when he had taken some nourishment and he was asked how he enjoyed it, he replied, · Like a dying man.' He embraced his relatives and attendants, and asked pardon of all whom he had offended or towards whom he had shown impatience during his long illness. He had the narrative of the passion and death of our Saviour read to him; at the beginning he repeated the words of Scripture, and then becoming weaker he moved his lips and at last only moved his fingers, as a sign that his intelligence still remained. When death arrived, a crucifix was held before him; he kissed it and departed.
The two great historians of Florence, Machiavelli and Guicciardini, have both analysed the character and the government of Lorenzo in some of their most striking pages. The judgment of Guicciardini is somewhat more severe than that of Machiavelli
, but both coincide in the opinion that Lorenzo was the greatest citizen which Florence had ever possessed, and that not only Florence but all Italy lamented his loss.
"The city,' writes Guicciardini," was in complete peace, the ruling portion of the citizens united and firm, and the government in such a state of prosperity that no one dared to contradict it; the people every day were delighted with festivities, spectacles, and new pleasures ; the city was abundantly supplied with all kinds of good cheer ; its military strength in full flower and activity; men of talent and genius were proud of the city being the rendezvous and supporter of all literary, artistic, and other merit. Finally, while the city was thus in the greatest tranquillity and prosperity, and enjoyed without the greatest glory and reputation on account of possessing a government and a chief of the greatest authority, on account of its territory having been increased, on account of having been in great part the cause of the preservation of Ferrara and also of the King Fernando, on account, moreover, of the exclusive influence which it possessed with Innocent VIII., on account of its alliance with Naples and Milan, and of being, as it were, the balance of power of all İtaly, a calamity took place which upset everything to the detriment not only of the city, but of the whole peninsula. And this was that in the year 1491 Lorenzo de' Medici, having long
been in bad health with an illness which was esteemed at the commencement of little importance by his physicians, and which, not being treated as seriously as it should have been, increased secretly in violence, at last departed from this present life.'
Guicciardini gave credence to the report that the fatal illness of Lorenzo was brought on by the exposure to which Lorenzo subjected himself in following up his love intrigue with Bartolommea de' Nasi, the wife of Donato Benci, a lady who was neither young nor beautiful, but of much distinction of manner and intelligence. In order to save the reputation of the lady, who lived in her villa in the country during the winter months, Lorenzo, then a widower, visited her regularly after nightfall and returned to Florence in the morning. He was accompanied on these occasions by a portion of that bodyguard, with some of whom he was always surrounded after the conspiracy of the Pazzi. Two of them having complained of their hard service, the lady contrived to get them sent away in disgrace on distant embassies.
A mad thing'(cosa pazza), says Guicciardini,' was it, if we consider that a man of such greatness, reputation, and prudence-of forty years of ageshould be so captivated by a lady, not beautiful and full of years, as to be brought to do things which would have misbecome any boy.'
After setting forth that it cannot be denied that the government of Lorenzo was in fact a tyranny, and that he took every precaution not only that those hostile to his authority should be excluded from public office, but that even his own adherents should not be allowed a chance of gaining public favour-in order to secure which latter precautions he systematically bestowed the most important offices of state among the most obscure of his partisans, Guicciardini goes on :
* In fine, it must he concluded that although beneath his government the city was not free, yet that it would have been impossible to have had a better and more agreeable tyrant, since he was by reason of his inclination and natural goodness the author of numerous benefits. Some evils resulted from the necessities of his absolute government, but moderated and limited by the requirements of necessity. As far as his own free will and decision were concerned the evils were very few. Also although those who had been kept in subjection rejoiced at his death, nevertheless all those of the ruling faction, and even those with whom he had at times come into collision, were intensely grieved, not knowing what such a change of things might bring about. The mass of the citizens, and especially the lower classes, were in great grief, for they had been maintained by him in abundance, indulged by him with frequent pleasures, shows, and delights. His death caused the greatest consternation to all the men in Italy who were excellent in letters, painting, sculpture, and in similar arts, since he either bestowed upon them great largesses, or they were kept up by him in reputation with other princes, who were assured if they should put to trial the will that they would be abandoned for the sake of Lorenzo.'
It is remarkable that that part of the administration of Lorenzo, namely the financial part, which was the most reprehensible according to modern notions, and which has met with the severe censure of Hallam, was the most lightly touched on by contemporary historians. The business affairs of the Medici had gone on deteriorating since the days of Cosimo; the quantity of money which they required for the support and the rewarding of their partisans, for largesses of various kinds, including donations to the state, was, of course, very great. The amounts of money thus given away were enormous, even according to our present notions. Lorenzo, in his · Ricordi,' states that the Medici had spent out of their own moneys, for public purposes, 663,755 golden florins between the years 1434 and 1471. Of which,' he writes, 'I do not complain, although many would consider that it were • better in our purses; yet I esteem them to have been spent ' with great benefit to our party, so am very well content.' As a sample of the quantity of money advanced by Lorenzo for the support of Medicean interests, it may be mentioned that 200,000 golden guilders were sent to Rome from his own resources, and 50,000 golden guilders more were advanced by the state. To add to the deficiency caused by this enormous private experditure, the banking business which the Medici carried on nearly over the whole civilised world fell into increasing disorder. Their banks at Lyons, Bruges, and other places were obliged to come to a composition with their creditors. Among other losers by this decline of the banking business of the Medici was Philippe de Comines, who had ever been one of the most active supporters of their policy abroad and a personal friend of Lorenzo.
To make head against such inmense expenditure and such private losses, every possible manæuvre was resorted to by Lorenzo and his advisers. The managers, cashiers, and clerks of his banks were indiscriminately employed in the management of the public revenues of the states ; so that the public finances and his private ones became at last inextricably mixed up together; and, to use the words of Hallam, “the total dilapi
dation of his private wealth was repaired at the cost of the state, * and the republic disgracefully screened the bankruptcy of the • Medici by her own.'
Whatever may have been the political merit of Lorenzo in