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out the help of a diagram ;-an expedient to which some Venetian historians, and, more recently, M. Daru, have actually had recourse. But as we can only afford to give a very brief account of this singular process, we shall merely say that it required that a number of electors, amounting sometimes to forty, should be five times indicated by chance; after which, they were to be individually subjected, an equal number of times, to a scrutiny, by which most of them were excluded, in order that their names might be replaced by others also drawn by lot. The whole were then subjected to the most rigid examination, in order that those who were eventually retained as electors might be such as were thoroughly acquainted with that precise combination of qualities, which the circumstances of the time, and the views of the ruling party, required in a Doge.
These complicated forms were admirably calculated at once to bewilder the people, and to lead them to imagine that individual interest and design were baffled by the impartial decrees of fate, while, in their turn, they exercised just that degree of control over fortune necessary to secure the republic against her blind and wayward caprices. At the same time, to guard against the possibility of either the Doge or any other man in power having any community of interest, or the slightest intercourse with, or dependence upon, any of the neighbouring states, some of which were under a democratical, and others under a despotic form of government, they enacted three laws: First, That the Doge should not marry any woman not a native of Venice. This remained ever after inviolate and unchanged. Secondly, That no Venetian should serve any foreign prince, either in war or peace. This, so far as patricians were concerned, was also rigorously observed, and the violation of it inexorably punished; up to the latest period of the republic, if they quitted her territory without permission, they inevitably incurred a sentence of perpetual banishment, nor could this permission be even asked without exciting suspicion. With regard to individuals of humbler rank, unless they held some office under the government, this law fell into disuse. The great difficulty was to prevent the sons of noble families from going to take holy orders at Rome, where they might accept ecclesiastical dignities from the pope, and might thence fall under suspicions from which no degree of merit could shelter them. We have already mentioned the example of Cardinal Bembo, and should our subsequent observations follow the current of events to the close of Venetian history, we shall have occasion to notice instances yet more remarkable of this jealousy of the ecclesiastical power. Even before the introduction of this law, no member of the aristocracy, though as yet not hereditary, was permitted to form any private connexion with foreigners. A young lady of the Morosini family, at the period of which we are treating, was demanded in marriage by the King of Hungary. Before the government would permit the father to enter on the negotiation, it compelled him to renounce all his paternal rights, adopted the girl as daughter of the republic, and, in that character, bestowed her on her royal suitor. The Third of these new laws decreed, That no Venetian should possess landed property on the continent of Italy. For a time this was enforced, since, with the exception of a few sterile stripes of the shore of the Adriatic, the government itself had none. The princely domains of the ancient families accordingly were all situated in the colonies, while commerce, which they had not yet learned to despise, was continually adding to their wealth. But in process of time, as they lost their colonies, and extended their conquests in Italy, they admitted the most powerful families of the conquered cities into the body of the Venetian aristocracy; and this law was, in consequence, tacitly abolished.
As these enactments first presented themselves to the minds of the reigning party as means of avoiding the opposite dangers, -of the revival of popular rights, on the one hand, and, on the other, of the introduction of monarchy,—very few years elapsed from their first suggestion to their final and complete adoption. (A. D. 1275.) However indirect and informal might be their origin, it is unquestionable that they were no sooner introduced than they acquired stability and authority; and that they excited no suspicions in the nation, because they arose directly out of the two original and vital principles of every modification of Venetian government, and fell in with sentiments which appeared to be the indigenous growth of every Venetian bosom. These were complete national independence, and hatred of a domestic dictatorship. The Venetian legislators, therefore, were so far from dissembling their determination to repress at home the growth of those factions which divided the rest of Italy, that they loudly avowed it, and found in that avowal a sure means of acquiring popularity. It was, indeed, impossible to distort, and needless to demonstrate, the truth of those facts of which
every man was a spectator. It was sufficient to warn the Venetians,—that the Guelfs throughout Italy were merely the instruments of the popes, who fostered their rebellion against the Emperors, by absolving them from their allegiance, incited them to form themselves into democracies, and then domineered over them at their pleasure, and gifted them away as rewards, to those foreign princes who allied themselves with the church.
That the Ghibellines, on the other hand, consisted of a feudal aristocracy, who, while they professed to uphold the rights of the empire, combated, in fact, for the lordship of their several cities; till, at length, they, together with their subjects, fell into the ferocious grasp of a military despot; some one, probably, of their own fellow-citizens, decorated with the title of Vicar-Imperial, and rendered independent of all the laws or constitutions of the city he governed.
Nevertheless the popular party, composed of a great number of families newly risen to opulence, and still in contact with the mass of the people, under the guidance of Giovanni Dandolo, gradually increased in strength and influence. Whether it was, that the opinions held by this party had also insinuated themselves among the aristocracy, which was not, as yet, hereditary, and which began to feel the pressure of that oligarchy which already gave indications of its ambitious and domineering views ; -or whether it was the work of chance, which sometimes baffles all human precautions-Dandolo was elected Doge, by means of those complicated enactments which had recently been framed for the express purpose of excluding men holding such opinions, and with so religious an observance of all the forms and scrutinies required, that the ruling party could not, without a direct violation of its own laws, prevent his ascending the ducal throne. (A.D. 1280.) Without, therefore, making the least show of resistance, they endeavoured to sound the public mind, and to ascertain what degree of opposition they had to expect. They then proposed, with a view to amend and consolidate the constitution :- That thenceforward, no one should be admitted to the sittings of the Great Council, (the depository of the sovereign power, and the body from which all legislative acts emanated, and all the individuals who were called to exercise magisterial offices were selected,) except those who had formerly had seats there, or who could at least prove that their father, grandfather, or great-grandfather, had enjoyed that distinction. Dandolo opposed the introduction of this law with such spirit and effect, that the Great Council rejected it, though interested in its adoption.
Whether it was the intention of this Doge merely to arrest the progress of aristocratical usurpation, or to restore their ancient rights to the people, nowhere distinctly appears; though the latter is the more probable conjecture. Such, however, were the straits to which he was reduced by a nine years' contest with the church, in order to deprive her of her partisans in the bosom of the republic, that he at last found himself compelled to seek the support of the aristocratical party. VOL. XLVI. No. 91.
The church having taken upon itself to give the kingdom of Naples to Charles of Anjou, Martin IV. proclaimed a crusade against the lawful heir ; and because the Venetian government would not allow its subjects to take arms in the enterprise, and thus to open Italy to French invasion, he launched an excommunication against them, and interdicted the celebration of religious rites within their territory. For three years, during which the republic submitted in silence, no priests officiated at her altars, nor were prayers or offerings presented in her churches. Martin's successor removed the interdict; but on condition that the Holy Inquisition, whose introduction the Venetians had hitherto resisted, should be admitted and established in perpetuity. (A.D. 1286.)
This institution, ostensibly established for the preservation of the faith, had been long used by the popes as an instrument for forwarding their political designs, and, in the several Italian states, aided the leaders of the Guelf party, not only with counsels and directions, but often with more substantial assistance. The Venetians had undertaken to provide for the punishment of heretics, and to preserve the purity of the faith, but they always treated ecclesiastics as subject to the government of the state, and as essentially incapable of exercising temporal powers. After a negotiation protracted through the reigns of ten successive popes, the republic
and the Holy See concluded the following treaty, in the reign of Honorius IV.: That three ecclesiastical judges should take cognizance of Heresy throughout the Venetian territory, subject, however, to the controul of magistrates chosen by the Great Council; that one of them should be the Bishop of Venice, a natural subject of the republic; another, a brother of the order of St Dominic: but that notwithstanding the authority they derived from the pope, neither of them should take his seat in the tribunal without a commission signed by the Doge. The remaining office was to be filled by the apostolic nuncio. By the terms of the treaty, their jurisdiction was limited to heretics; a description, however, which, it was provided, should not be extended to Jews or Turks, as having never belonged to the church of Christ,—nor to members of the Greek church, inasmuch as its controversy with the church of Rome was still undecided, so that the Holy Office would be at once judge and party ;-nor to bigamists, because, the second marriage being virtually null, the offence was to be considered as a violation, not of a sacrament, but of a civil obligation;—nor to blasphemers, because they were guilty, not of innovation or schism, but of want of reverence for religion; nor to usurers, because, though they violated its precepts, they did not dispute its dogmas; nor
to witches or magicians, unless they had abused the holy sacrament to the purposes of their diabolical art.
Such was the first treaty concluded by Venice with the then omnipotent Vatican. We should have contented ourselves with a bare mention of it, were it not more closely connected than may at first sight appear, with the constitution of the republic, and calculated to suggest important reflections upon the history of the period under review. How strong must have been the aversion of the Venetian people to foreign interference, when it could get the better, even to this extent, of that imperious superstition which had crushed the liberties of other communities, reduced their rulers to vassalage, and subjugated the reason of mankind! What must have been the resources and the spirit of the Republic, when she could venture to withstand a power deemed resistless by her contemporaries, and that in the teeth of the many and obstinate contests in which she was likely to be involved. For it must be remembered, that the popes of that and the preceding age had compelled a king of England to acknowledge himself a vassal of the Holy See; had so wrought upon the superstitious weakness of Louis IX. of France, who was ambitious of the title of saint, that he led the flower of his subjects to perish by disease or the sword in the burning climate of Syria; had sanctioned the judicial assassination of the lawful heir to the throne of Naples; had commissioned their dependent bishops to discover the ashes of a. son of Frederic II., disinter them, and scatter them, with curses, to the winds; and had illuminated the civil tumults and massacres of Italy with the horrid light of human victims, sacrificed to the intrigues of the Holy Office. So remorseless, so unblushing had been their cruelty, that, at the beginning of the following century, Benedict XI., though himself a member of the atrocious order of St Dominic, contemplated it with shame and horror, and endeavoured, though in vain, to set some bounds to the insatiate appetite of his brethren for human blood.* We think, too, that on comparing the liberal and enlightened opinions which now prevail on the subject of religious toleration with the arguments assigned in the Venetian treaty in favour of infidels, Jews, and schismatics of the Greek church, it will appear that the Venetians were in advance of most of their contemporaries, and that some rays of light had broken upon them through the darkness and barbarism by which they were surrounded.
Hardly had the treaty to which we have adverted produced
• The Monition of this Pope, addressed to the Brethren of the Inquisition, is given by the Abbate Marini, in his work Degli Archiatri Pontificj. A.D. 1304.