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Chapter LXX: Final Settlement Of The Ecclesiastical State.—Part I.
Character And Coronation Of Petrarch.—Restoration Of The Freedom And Government Of Rome By The Tribune Rienzi.—His Virtues And Vices, His Expulsion And Death.—Return Of The Popes From Avignon.—Great Schism Of The West.—Reunion Of The Latin Church.—Last Struggles Of Roman Liberty.— Statutes Of Rome.—Final Settlement Of The Ecclesiastical State.
In the apprehension of modern times, Petrarch83398339 The Mémoires sur la Vie de François Pétrarque, (Amsterdam, 1764, 1767, 3 vols. in 4to.,) form a copious, original, and entertaining work, a labor of love, composed from the accurate study of Petrarch and his contemporaries; but the hero is too often lost in the general history of the age, and the author too often languishes in the affectation of politeness and gallantry. In the preface to his first volume, he enumerates and weighs twenty Italian biographers, who have professedly treated of the same subject. is the Italian songster of Laura and love. In the harmony of his Tuscan rhymes, Italy applauds, or rather adores, the father of her lyric poetry; and his verse, or at least his name, is repeated by the enthusiasm, or affectation, of amorous sensibility. Whatever may be the private taste of a stranger, his slight and superficial knowledge should humbly acquiesce in the judgment of a learned nation; yet I may hope or presume, that the Italians do not compare the tedious uniformity of sonnets and elegies with the sublime compositions of their epic muse, the original wildness of Dante, the regular beauties of Tasso, and the boundless variety of the incomparable Ariosto. The merits of the lover I am still less qualified to appreciate: nor am I deeply interested in a metaphysical passion for a nymph so shadowy, that her existence has been questioned; 83408340 The allegorical interpretation prevailed in the xvth century; but the wise commentators were not agreed whether they should understand by Laura, religion, or virtue, or the blessed virgin, or————. See the prefaces to the first and second volume. for a matron so prolific,83418341 Laure de Noves, born about the year 1307, was married in January 1325, to Hugues de Sade, a noble citizen of Avignon, whose jealousy was not the effect of love, since he married a second wife within seven months of her death, which happened the 6th of April, 1348, precisely one-and-twenty years after Petrarch had seen and loved her. that she was delivered of eleven legitimate children,83428342 Corpus crebris partubus exhaustum: from one of these is issued, in the tenth degree, the abbé de Sade, the fond and grateful biographer of Petrarch; and this domestic motive most probably suggested the idea of his work, and urged him to inquire into every circumstance that could affect the history and character of his grandmother, (see particularly tom. i. p. 122—133, notes, p. 7—58, tom. ii. p. 455—495 not. p. 76—82.) while her amorous swain sighed and sung at the fountain of Vaucluse.83438343 Vaucluse, so familiar to our English travellers, is described from the writings of Petrarch, and the local knowledge of his biographer, (Mémoires, tom. i. p. 340—359.) It was, in truth, the retreat of a hermit; and the moderns are much mistaken, if they place Laura and a happy lover in the grotto. But in the eyes of Petrarch, and those of his graver contemporaries, his love was a sin, and Italian verse a frivolous amusement. His Latin works of philosophy, poetry, and eloquence, established his serious reputation, which was soon diffused from Avignon over France and Italy: his friends and disciples were multiplied in every city; and if the ponderous volume of his writings83448344 Of 1250 pages, in a close print, at Basil in the xvith century, but without the date of the year. The abbé de Sade calls aloud for a new edition of Petrarch's Latin works; but I much doubt whether it would redound to the profit of the bookseller, or the amusement of the public. be now abandoned to a long repose, our gratitude must applaud the man, who by precept and example revived the spirit and study of the Augustan age. From his earliest youth, Petrarch aspired to the poetic crown. The academical honors of the three faculties had introduced a royal degree of master or doctor in the art of poetry;83458345 Consult Selden's Titles of Honor, in his works, (vol. iii. p. 457—466.) A hundred years before Petrarch, St. Francis received the visit of a poet, qui ab imperatore fuerat coronatus et exinde rex versuum dictus. and the title of poet-laureate, which custom, rather than vanity, perpetuates in the English court,83468346 From Augustus to Louis, the muse has too often been false and venal: but I much doubt whether any age or court can produce a similar establishment of a stipendiary poet, who in every reign, and at all events, is bound to furnish twice a year a measure of praise and verse, such as may be sung in the chapel, and, I believe, in the presence, of the sovereign. I speak the more freely, as the best time for abolishing this ridiculous custom is while the prince is a man of virtue and the poet a man of genius. was first invented by the Cæsars of Germany. In the musical games of antiquity, a prize was bestowed on the victor:83478347 Isocrates (in Panegyrico, tom. i. p. 116, 117, edit. Battie, Cantab. 1729) claims for his native Athens the glory of first instituting and recommending the alwnaV—kai ta aqla megista—mh monon tacouV kai rwmhV, alla kai logwn kai gnwmhV. The example of the Panathenæa was imitated at Delphi; but the Olympic games were ignorant of a musical crown, till it was extorted by the vain tyranny of Nero, (Sueton. in Nerone, c. 23; Philostrat. apud Casaubon ad locum; Dion Cassius, or Xiphilin, l. lxiii. p. 1032, 1041. Potter's Greek Antiquities, vol. i. p. 445, 450.) the belief that Virgil and Horace had been crowned in the Capitol inflamed the emulation of a Latin bard;83488348 The Capitoline games (certamen quinquenale, musicum, equestre, gymnicum) were instituted by Domitian (Sueton. c. 4) in the year of Christ 86, (Censorin. de Die Natali, c. 18, p. 100, edit. Havercamp.) and were not abolished in the ivth century, (Ausonius de Professoribus Burdegal. V.) If the crown were given to superior merit, the exclusion of Statius (Capitolia nostræ inficiata lyræ, Sylv. l. iii. v. 31) may do honor to the games of the Capitol; but the Latin poets who lived before Domitian were crowned only in the public opinion. and the laurel83498349 Petrarch and the senators of Rome were ignorant that the laurel was not the Capitoline, but the Delphic crown, (Plin. Hist. Natur p. 39. Hist. Critique de la République des Lettres, tom. i. p. 150—220.) The victors in the Capitol were crowned with a garland of oak eaves, (Martial, l. iv. epigram 54.) was endeared to the lover by a verbal resemblance with the name of his mistress. The value of either object was enhanced by the difficulties of the pursuit; and if the virtue or prudence of Laura was inexorable,83508350 The pious grandson of Laura has labored, and not without success, to vindicate her immaculate chastity against the censures of the grave and the sneers of the profane, (tom. ii. notes, p. 76—82.) he enjoyed, and might boast of enjoying, the nymph of poetry. His vanity was not of the most delicate kind, since he applauds the success of his own labors; his name was popular; his friends were active; the open or secret opposition of envy and prejudice was surmounted by the dexterity of patient merit. In the thirty-sixth year of his age, he was solicited to accept the object of his wishes; and on the same day, in the solitude of Vaucluse, he received a similar and solemn invitation from the senate of Rome and the university of Paris. The learning of a theological school, and the ignorance of a lawless city, were alike unqualified to bestow the ideal though immortal wreath which genius may obtain from the free applause of the public and of posterity: but the candidate dismissed this troublesome reflection; and after some moments of complacency and suspense, preferred the summons of the metropolis of the world.
The ceremony of his coronation83518351 The whole process of Petrarch's coronation is accurately described by the abbé de Sade, (tom. i. p. 425—435, tom. ii. p. 1—6, notes, p. 1—13,) from his own writings, and the Roman diary of Ludovico, Monaldeschi, without mixing in this authentic narrative the more recent fables of Sannuccio Delbene. was performed in the Capitol, by his friend and patron the supreme magistrate of the republic. Twelve patrician youths were arrayed in scarlet; six representatives of the most illustrious families, in green robes, with garlands of flowers, accompanied the procession; in the midst of the princes and nobles, the senator, count of Anguillara, a kinsman of the Colonna, assumed his throne; and at the voice of a herald Petrarch arose. After discoursing on a text of Virgil, and thrice repeating his vows for the prosperity of Rome, he knelt before the throne, and received from the senator a laurel crown, with a more precious declaration, "This is the reward of merit." The people shouted, "Long life to the Capitol and the poet!" A sonnet in praise of Rome was accepted as the effusion of genius and gratitude; and after the whole procession had visited the Vatican, the profane wreath was suspended before the shrine of St. Peter. In the act or diploma 83528352 The original act is printed among the Pieces Justificatives in the Mémoires sur Pétrarque, tom. iii. p. 50—53. which was presented to Petrarch, the title and prerogatives of poet-laureate are revived in the Capitol, after the lapse of thirteen hundred years; and he receives the perpetual privilege of wearing, at his choice, a crown of laurel, ivy, or myrtle, of assuming the poetic habit, and of teaching, disputing, interpreting, and composing, in all places whatsoever, and on all subjects of literature. The grant was ratified by the authority of the senate and people; and the character of citizen was the recompense of his affection for the Roman name. They did him honor, but they did him justice. In the familiar society of Cicero and Livy, he had imbibed the ideas of an ancient patriot; and his ardent fancy kindled every idea to a sentiment, and every sentiment to a passion. The aspect of the seven hills and their majestic ruins confirmed these lively impressions; and he loved a country by whose liberal spirit he had been crowned and adopted. The poverty and debasement of Rome excited the indignation and pity of her grateful son; he dissembled the faults of his fellow-citizens; applauded with partial fondness the last of their heroes and matrons; and in the remembrance of the past, in the hopes of the future, was pleased to forget the miseries of the present time. Rome was still the lawful mistress of the world: the pope and the emperor, the bishop and general, had abdicated their station by an inglorious retreat to the Rhône and the Danube; but if she could resume her virtue, the republic might again vindicate her liberty and dominion. Amidst the indulgence of enthusiasm and eloquence,83538353 To find the proofs of his enthusiasm for Rome, I need only request that the reader would open, by chance, either Petrarch, or his French biographer. The latter has described the poet's first visit to Rome, (tom. i. p. 323—335.) But in the place of much idle rhetoric and morality, Petrarch might have amused the present and future age with an original account of the city and his coronation. Petrarch, Italy, and Europe, were astonished by a revolution which realized for a moment his most splendid visions. The rise and fall of the tribune Rienzi will occupy the following pages:83548354 It has been treated by the pen of a Jesuit, the P. de Cerceau whose posthumous work (Conjuration de Nicolas Gabrini, dit de Rienzi, Tyran de Rome, en 1347) was published at Paris, 1748, in 12mo. I am indebted to him for some facts and documents in John Hocsemius, canon of Liege, a contemporary historian, (Fabricius Bibliot. Lat. Med. Ævi, tom. iii. p. 273, tom. iv. p. 85.) the subject is interesting, the materials are rich, and the glance of a patriot bard 83558355 The abbé de Sade, who so freely expatiates on the history of the xivth century, might treat, as his proper subject, a revolution in which the heart of Petrarch was so deeply engaged, (Mémoires, tom. ii. p. 50, 51, 320—417, notes, p. 70—76, tom. iii. p. 221—243, 366—375.) Not an idea or a fact in the writings of Petrarch has probably escaped him. will sometimes vivify the copious, but simple, narrative of the Florentine,83568356 Giovanni Villani, l. xii. c. 89, 104, in Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, tom. xiii. p. 969, 970, 981—983. and more especially of the Roman, historian.83578357 In his third volume of Italian antiquities, (p. 249—548,) Muratori has inserted the Fragmenta Historiæ Romanæ ab Anno 1327 usque ad Annum 1354, in the original dialect of Rome or Naples in the xivth century, and a Latin version for the benefit of strangers. It contains the most particular and authentic life of Cola (Nicholas) di Rienzi; which had been printed at Bracciano, 1627, in 4to., under the name of Tomaso Fortifiocca, who is only mentioned in this work as having been punished by the tribune for forgery. Human nature is scarcely capable of such sublime or stupid impartiality: but whosoever in the author of these Fragments, he wrote on the spot and at the time, and paints, without design or art, the manners of Rome and the character of the tribune. * Note: Since the publication of my first edition of Gibbon, some new and very remarkable documents have been brought to light in a life of Nicolas Rienzi,—Cola di Rienzo und seine Zeit,—by Dr. Felix Papencordt. The most important of these documents are letters from Rienzi to Charles the Fourth, emperor and king of Bohemia, and to the archbishop of Praque; they enter into the whole history of his adventurous career during its first period, and throw a strong light upon his extraordinary character. These documents were first discovered and made use of, to a certain extent, by Pelzel, the historian of Bohemia. The originals have disappeared, but a copy made by Pelzel for his own use is now in the library of Count Thun at Teschen. There seems no doubt of their authenticity. Dr. Papencordt has printed the whole in his Urkunden, with the exception of one long theological paper.—M. 1845.
In a quarter of the city which was inhabited only by mechanics and Jews, the marriage of an innkeeper and a washer woman produced the future deliverer of Rome.83588358 The first and splendid period of Rienzi, his tribunitian government, is contained in the xviiith chapter of the Fragments, (p. 399—479,) which, in the new division, forms the iid book of the history in xxxviii. smaller chapters or sections. 83598359 But see in Dr. Papencordt's work, and in Rienzi's own words, his claim to be a bastard son of the emperor Henry the Seventh, whose intrigue with his mother Rienzi relates with a sort of proud shamelessness. Compare account by the editor of Dr. Papencordt's work in Quarterly Review vol. lxix.—M. 1845. From such parents Nicholas Rienzi Gabrini could inherit neither dignity nor fortune; and the gift of a liberal education, which they painfully bestowed, was the cause of his glory and untimely end. The study of history and eloquence, the writings of Cicero, Seneca, Livy, Cæsar, and Valerius Maximus, elevated above his equals and contemporaries the genius of the young plebeian: he perused with indefatigable diligence the manuscripts and marbles of antiquity; loved to dispense his knowledge in familiar language; and was often provoked to exclaim, "Where are now these Romans? their virtue, their justice, their power? why was I not born in those happy times?"83608360 The reader may be pleased with a specimen of the original idiom: Fò da soa juventutine nutricato di latte de eloquentia, bono gramatico, megliore rettuorico, autorista bravo. Deh como et quanto era veloce leitore! moito usava Tito Livio, Seneca, et Tullio, et Balerio Massimo, moito li dilettava le magnificentie di Julio Cesare raccontare. Tutta la die se speculava negl' intagli di marmo lequali iaccio intorno Roma. Non era altri che esso, che sapesse lejere li antichi pataffii. Tutte scritture antiche vulgarizzava; quesse fiure di marmo justamente interpretava. On come spesso diceva, "Dove suono quelli buoni Romani? dove ene loro somma justitia? poleramme trovare in tempo che quessi fiuriano!" When the republic addressed to the throne of Avignon an embassy of the three orders, the spirit and eloquence of Rienzi recommended him to a place among the thirteen deputies of the commons. The orator had the honor of haranguing Pope Clement the Sixth, and the satisfaction of conversing with Petrarch, a congenial mind: but his aspiring hopes were chilled by disgrace and poverty and the patriot was reduced to a single garment and the charity of the hospital.83618361 Sir J. Hobhouse published (in his Illustrations of Childe Harold) Rienzi's joyful letter to the people of Rome on the apparently favorable termination of this mission.—M. 1845. From this misery he was relieved by the sense of merit or the smile of favor; and the employment of apostolic notary afforded him a daily stipend of five gold florins, a more honorable and extensive connection, and the right of contrasting, both in words and actions, his own integrity with the vices of the state. The eloquence of Rienzi was prompt and persuasive: the multitude is always prone to envy and censure: he was stimulated by the loss of a brother and the impunity of the assassins; nor was it possible to excuse or exaggerate the public calamities. The blessings of peace and justice, for which civil society has been instituted, were banished from Rome: the jealous citizens, who might have endured every personal or pecuniary injury, were most deeply wounded in the dishonor of their wives and daughters:83628362 Petrarch compares the jealousy of the Romans with the easy temper of the husbands of Avignon, (Mémoires, tom. i. p. 330.) they were equally oppressed by the arrogance of the nobles and the corruption of the magistrates;83638363 All this Rienzi, writing at a later period to the archbishop of Prague, attributed to the criminal abandonment of his flock by the supreme pontiff. See Urkunde apud Papencordt, p. xliv. Quarterly Review, p. 255.—M. 1845. and the abuse of arms or of laws was the only circumstance that distinguished the lions from the dogs and serpents of the Capitol. These allegorical emblems were variously repeated in the pictures which Rienzi exhibited in the streets and churches; and while the spectators gazed with curious wonder, the bold and ready orator unfolded the meaning, applied the satire, inflamed their passions, and announced a distant hope of comfort and deliverance. The privileges of Rome, her eternal sovereignty over her princes and provinces, was the theme of his public and private discourse; and a monument of servitude became in his hands a title and incentive of liberty. The decree of the senate, which granted the most ample prerogatives to the emperor Vespasian, had been inscribed on a copper plate still extant in the choir of the church of St. John Lateran.83648364 The fragments of the Lex regia may be found in the Inscriptions of Gruter, tom. i. p. 242, and at the end of the Tacitus of Ernesti, with some learned notes of the editor, tom. ii. A numerous assembly of nobles and plebeians was invited to this political lecture, and a convenient theatre was erected for their reception. The notary appeared in a magnificent and mysterious habit, explained the inscription by a version and commentary,83658365 I cannot overlook a stupendous and laughable blunder of Rienzi. The Lex regia empowers Vespasian to enlarge the Pomrium, a word familiar to every antiquary. It was not so to the tribune; he confounds it with pomarium, an orchard, translates lo Jardino de Roma cioene Italia, and is copied by the less excusable ignorance of the Latin translator (p. 406) and the French historian, (p. 33.) Even the learning of Muratori has slumbered over the passage. and descanted with eloquence and zeal on the ancient glories of the senate and people, from whom all legal authority was derived. The supine ignorance of the nobles was incapable of discerning the serious tendency of such representations: they might sometimes chastise with words and blows the plebeian reformer; but he was often suffered in the Colonna palace to amuse the company with his threats and predictions; and the modern Brutus83668366 Priori (Bruto) tamen similior, juvenis uterque, longe ingenio quam cujus simulationem induerat, ut sub hoc obtentû liberator ille P R. aperiretur tempore suo.... Ille regibus, hic tyrannis contemptus, (Opp. p. 536.) * Note: Fatcor attamen quod-nunc fatuum. nunc hystrionem, nunc gravem nunc simplicem, nunc astutum, nunc fervidum, nunc timidum simulatorem, et dissimulatorem ad hunc caritativum finem, quem dixi, constitusepius memet ipsum. Writing to an archbishop, (of Prague,) Rienzi alleges scriptural examples. Saltator coram archa David et insanus apparuit coram Rege; blanda, astuta, et tecta Judith astitit Holoferni; et astute Jacob meruit benedici, Urkunde xlix.—M. 1845. was concealed under the mask of folly and the character of a buffoon. While they indulged their contempt, the restoration of the good estate, his favorite expression, was entertained among the people as a desirable, a possible, and at length as an approaching, event; and while all had the disposition to applaud, some had the courage to assist, their promised deliverer.
A prophecy, or rather a summons, affixed on the church door of St. George, was the first public evidence of his designs; a nocturnal assembly of a hundred citizens on Mount Aventine, the first step to their execution. After an oath of secrecy and aid, he represented to the conspirators the importance and facility of their enterprise; that the nobles, without union or resources, were strong only in the fear nobles, of their imaginary strength; that all power, as well as right, was in the hands of the people; that the revenues of the apostolical chamber might relieve the public distress; and that the pope himself would approve their victory over the common enemies of government and freedom. After securing a faithful band to protect his first declaration, he proclaimed through the city, by sound of trumpet, that on the evening of the following day, all persons should assemble without arms before the church of St. Angelo, to provide for the reestablishment of the good estate. The whole night was employed in the celebration of thirty masses of the Holy Ghost; and in the morning, Rienzi, bareheaded, but in complete armor, issued from the church, encompassed by the hundred conspirators. The pope's vicar, the simple bishop of Orvieto, who had been persuaded to sustain a part in this singular ceremony, marched on his right hand; and three great standards were borne aloft as the emblems of their design. In the first, the banner of liberty, Rome was seated on two lions, with a palm in one hand and a globe in the other; St. Paul, with a drawn sword, was delineated in the banner of justice; and in the third, St. Peter held the keys of concord and peace. Rienzi was encouraged by the presence and applause of an innumerable crowd, who understood little, and hoped much; and the procession slowly rolled forwards from the castle of St. Angelo to the Capitol. His triumph was disturbed by some secret emotions which he labored to suppress: he ascended without opposition, and with seeming confidence, the citadel of the republic; harangued the people from the balcony; and received the most flattering confirmation of his acts and laws. The nobles, as if destitute of arms and counsels, beheld in silent consternation this strange revolution; and the moment had been prudently chosen, when the most formidable, Stephen Colonna, was absent from the city. On the first rumor, he returned to his palace, affected to despise this plebeian tumult, and declared to the messenger of Rienzi, that at his leisure he would cast the madman from the windows of the Capitol. The great bell instantly rang an alarm, and so rapid was the tide, so urgent was the danger, that Colonna escaped with precipitation to the suburb of St. Laurence: from thence, after a moment's refreshment, he continued the same speedy career till he reached in safety his castle of Palestrina; lamenting his own imprudence, which had not trampled the spark of this mighty conflagration. A general and peremptory order was issued from the Capitol to all the nobles, that they should peaceably retire to their estates: they obeyed; and their departure secured the tranquillity of the free and obedient citizens of Rome.
But such voluntary obedience evaporates with the first transports of zeal; and Rienzi felt the importance of justifying his usurpation by a regular form and a legal title. At his own choice, the Roman people would have displayed their attachment and authority, by lavishing on his head the names of senator or consul, of king or emperor: he preferred the ancient and modest appellation of tribune;83678367 Et ego, Deo semper auctore, ipsa die pristinâ (leg. primâ) Tribunatus, quæ quidem dignitas a tempore deflorati Imperii, et per annos Vo et ultra sub tyrannicà occupatione vacavit, ipsos omnes potentes indifferenter Deum at justitiam odientes, a meâ, ymo a Dei facie fugiendo vehementi Spiritu dissipavi, et nullo effuso cruore trementes expuli, sine ictu remanente Romane terre facie renovatâ. Libellus Tribuni ad Cæsarem, p. xxxiv.—M. 1845. the protection of the commons was the essence of that sacred office; and they were ignorant, that it had never been invested with any share in the legislative or executive powers of the republic. In this character, and with the consent of the Roman, the tribune enacted the most salutary laws for the restoration and maintenance of the good estate. By the first he fulfils the wish of honesty and inexperience, that no civil suit should be protracted beyond the term of fifteen days. The danger of frequent perjury might justify the pronouncing against a false accuser the same penalty which his evidence would have inflicted: the disorders of the times might compel the legislator to punish every homicide with death, and every injury with equal retaliation. But the execution of justice was hopeless till he had previously abolished the tyranny of the nobles. It was formally provided, that none, except the supreme magistrate, should possess or command the gates, bridges, or towers of the state; that no private garrisons should be introduced into the towns or castles of the Roman territory; that none should bear arms, or presume to fortify their houses in the city or country; that the barons should be responsible for the safety of the highways, and the free passage of provisions; and that the protection of malefactors and robbers should be expiated by a fine of a thousand marks of silver. But these regulations would have been impotent and nugatory, had not the licentious nobles been awed by the sword of the civil power. A sudden alarm from the bell of the Capitol could still summon to the standard above twenty thousand volunteers: the support of the tribune and the laws required a more regular and permanent force. In each harbor of the coast a vessel was stationed for the assurance of commerce; a standing militia of three hundred and sixty horse and thirteen hundred foot was levied, clothed, and paid in the thirteen quarters of the city: and the spirit of a commonwealth may be traced in the grateful allowance of one hundred florins, or pounds, to the heirs of every soldier who lost his life in the service of his country. For the maintenance of the public defence, for the establishment of granaries, for the relief of widows, orphans, and indigent convents, Rienzi applied, without fear of sacrilege, the revenues of the apostolic chamber: the three branches of hearth-money, the salt-duty, and the customs, were each of the annual produce of one hundred thousand florins;83688368 In one MS. I read (l. ii. c. 4, p. 409) perfumante quatro solli, in another, quatro florini, an important variety, since the florin was worth ten Roman solidi, (Muratori, dissert. xxviii.) The former reading would give us a population of 25,000, the latter of 250,000 families; and I much fear, that the former is more consistent with the decay of Rome and her territory. and scandalous were the abuses, if in four or five months the amount of the salt-duty could be trebled by his judicious economy. After thus restoring the forces and finances of the republic, the tribune recalled the nobles from their solitary independence; required their personal appearance in the Capitol; and imposed an oath of allegiance to the new government, and of submission to the laws of the good estate. Apprehensive for their safety, but still more apprehensive of the danger of a refusal, the princes and barons returned to their houses at Rome in the garb of simple and peaceful citizens: the Colonna and Ursini, the Savelli and Frangipani, were confounded before the tribunal of a plebeian, of the vile buffoon whom they had so often derided, and their disgrace was aggravated by the indignation which they vainly struggled to disguise. The same oath was successively pronounced by the several orders of society, the clergy and gentlemen, the judges and notaries, the merchants and artisans, and the gradual descent was marked by the increase of sincerity and zeal. They swore to live and die with the republic and the church, whose interest was artfully united by the nominal association of the bishop of Orvieto, the pope's vicar, to the office of tribune. It was the boast of Rienzi, that he had delivered the throne and patrimony of St. Peter from a rebellious aristocracy; and Clement the Sixth, who rejoiced in its fall, affected to believe the professions, to applaud the merits, and to confirm the title, of his trusty servant. The speech, perhaps the mind, of the tribune, was inspired with a lively regard for the purity of the faith: he insinuated his claim to a supernatural mission from the Holy Ghost; enforced by a heavy forfeiture the annual duty of confession and communion; and strictly guarded the spiritual as well as temporal welfare of his faithful people.83698369 Hocsemius, p. 498, apud du Cerçeau, Hist. de Rienzi, p. 194. The fifteen tribunitian laws may be found in the Roman historian (whom for brevity I shall name) Fortifiocca, l. ii. c. 4.
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