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people how to behave when they address themselves to the pontisf;' and immediately withdrew into another apartment."
“The poor ambassador, who was sufficiently acquainted with the temper of Sixtus, made baste out of the Vatican, expecting he would have been as good as his word; and when he got home, and had recovered his spirits a little, said, “Thank God, I have had a great escape to-day. The king of Spain, thinking himself highly affronted by the ill usage and contempt shewn to bis ambassador; by the pope's unwillingness to assist the league; by his countenancing the king of Navarre and his party; by the publication of the Bible in the ITALIAN tongue, contrary to his remonstrances; by the little care he took to support the Catholic interests in England; and the designs which he knew he barboured upon the kingdom of Naples; not. withstanding his great zeal for religion, and the respect he had always professed for the holy see, called together the Council of Conscience, and demanded of them, What methods were most proper to be taken with such a poper' They told his Majesty, That he both might and ought in conscience to convoke a general council in bis dominions, first acquainting the pope with his design, and, (if he opposed it,) to cite bim to appear before it, where he would certainly be deposed, and another elected ; as he had presumed, on his own head, to do things that approached very near to heresy."
“When they had delivered this as their opinion, the king ordered letters to be written to bis ambassador, at Rome, to consult the cardinal of Toledo, (whom he looked upon as a saint,) with all the other cardinals that were most zealous for the honour of the Spanish nation, and commanded him, if they approved of it, to take the opportunity of some solemn festival, (where the pope should be present,) to notify to him in public, ‘his resolution of assembling such a council at Seville, to consider what was fittest to be done for the service of God, and the glory of his holy religion, since he took upon him to do every thing without the advice, and often contrary to the opinion of his consistory, and had preposterously caused a Bible to be published, that had given offence to all Christendom.”
“Though Olivarez had already received sufficient proof of the roughness of the pope's disposition, and was pretty well assured he would not suffer his authority to be called in question, yet, in obedience to his master's commands, he prepared a writing, by way of notification to the council, which he intended to deliver soon after, at a solemn cavalcade that the pope had appointed upon his going to reside, for the first time, at the palace lately built near St. John's de Lateran."
“Sixtus was informed of this by his spies, the night 'before it was to be put in execution, and of the time and place where the writing was to be presented to him ; upon which he sent in all haste for the governor, and two masters of the ceremonies, and understanding from them, that every thing was in readiness for the cavalcade the next day, he told them, he had altered his mind as to the order that was to be observed in the procession; that it was his pleasure they themselves should immediately precede his person, the common hangman going next before them, with a halter in his hand, and before him 200 of the guards, four and four; and that if any person should dare to offer a paper or writing to him, they should order the hangman to fall upon him that moment, and strangle him, without further ceremony, though he were an ambassador, king, or emperor.' These orders were repeated the next morning, to the great surprise of the governor, who, though he was not acquainted with the reasons, took care, however, to marshal the cavalcade exactly as he was commanded."
“The ambassador was acquainted with this disposi
tion, (as it was supposed,) by the pope's private directions, just as he was coming out of his house to deliver the writing, and was so terrified with it, that he once designed to have left the city immediately, and retire to Naples; but his pride at last got the better of that resolution, as he thought such a step would be a blot upon his character: for which reason he ventured to stay in his palace, and, barring all the gates and doors, threw the writing into the fire, and went to his prayers, recommending himself to God, and expecting to be strangled as soon as ever the cavalcade was over; though we may take it for granted, that Sixtus only designed to frighten him, and make him desist from his undertaking. And it is very probable, that Sixtus, by this spirited manner of proceeding, crushed a schism in the embryo, that might have long disturbed the peace of Christendom; for when King Philip saw how difficult it would be to deliver the writing that was necessary for that purpose, and what tumults and distractions might be occasioned by a council, he dropped his design, and thought it would be better to revenge himself upon the pope some other way, that might not be prejudicial to the church.18
Leti, the writer of this account, apprehensive that his statement would be contradicted by the zealous partisans of Rome, defends its correctness, and presents his reader with the following proofs of its authenticity. “Some authors,” says he, “have ventured to assert that Sixtus never published any such edition; which is most notoriously false, as may easily be proved, not only from the authentic testimony of many writers of that time, but from several copies that are now actually to be seen in the grand duke of Tuscany's library, that of St Laurence, the Ambrosian at Milan, not to mention two in the public library at Geneva, and several others. Philip Brietius, a learned Jesuit, says, in the 347th page of the (12) Leti's Life of Pope Sixtus V. B. a. pp569–567.
second part of his Annals, printed at Paris, in the year 1663, 'Inter hæc mortuus est Romæ Sixtus V. editis Bibliis Sacris in linguâ Italicâ, quæ tantum negotii nobis exhibuerunt; quibus et præfixerat Bullarn non fuisse, postea compertum est, nec adhibitos in consilium penitos viros, ut perperam in eâ ipse profitebatur, &c. Sed tum huic contradicere audebat nemo, et fertur Hispanico Legato constantius resistenti perniciem parasse.' And besides the common report that was in every body's mouth at Rome, I remember myself to have seen, in a MS. giving an account of the transactions of those times, that the cardinal of Toledo, who most violently opposed this measure, when he found the pope resolved to persist in it, contrary to the advice of the wisest and most learned cardinals, as well as the repeated instances of Count Olivarez, said, 'How has God abandoned his church! may he be pleased to deliver us soon from this wicked
(13) Leti's Life of Sixtus V. B. X. p. 564.
* As the evidence in favour of the existence of this Italian edition of the Scriptores rests principally on the credit of Leti, the following testimonies are adduced to assist the reader in forming his estimate of the dependence to be placed on the account he has given us, Gibbon, the celebrated historian of Rome, thus characterizes our author and his work: "A wandering Italian, Gregorio Leti, has given the · Vita di Sixto Quinto,' (Amstel. 1721, 3 vols. in 12mo.) a copious and amusing work, but which does not command our absolute confidence. Yet the character of the man, and the principal facts, are supported by the . Annals' of Spondanus and Muratori, and the contemporary "history of the great Thuanus.” Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. XII, ch. Ixx. p. 392, 8vo.-Prosper Marchand, in his Histoire de la Bible de Sixte Quint, refers to him as “ Historien assez exact de Sixte V.” See Schelhornii Amænitates Literariæ, IV. p. 438.Mosheim, however, is not equally favourable in his judgment of Leti's “ Life of Sixtus,” but says, " the relations it contains, are, in many places, inaccurate and doubtful.” Eccles. Hist. by Maclaine, IV. p. 195. 8vo.
Gregorio Leti was born at Milan, 1630. In 1657, he made o. public profession of the Protestant religion at Lausanne. He then settled at Geneva, where he resided for about twenty years, and was presented, in 1674, with the freedom of the city, an honour never before granted to a stranger. He afterwards spent some time in France and England, and then went to Amsterdam, and had the office of historiographer in
This whole story is, however, warmly denied by the Roman Catholic writers, and particularly by Le Long, (in his Bibliotheca Sacra, tom. I. p. 357. Paris, 1723,) who affirms, that no copy of the edition is to be found in any of the libraries specified by Leti, and regards the relation as utterly false...
It is, nevertheless, worthy of remark, that Le Long does not deny the accuracy of his quotation from the Annals of Brietius ; nor, so far as I have been able to discover, have any contemporary writers disputed his statement, though he affirmed the fact of the publication of the Italian Bible, by Sixtus, in a satirical dialogue, published anonymously in 1677, under the title Il Vaticano Languente. The first edition of the Vita di Sixto V. was printed at Lausanne, 1669, 2 tom. 12mo.
Several Protestant writers have considered the narrative of Leti as worthy of credit, and have endeavoured to account for the extreme rarity, or rather non-existence of copies of the Italian Bible, by supposing the opposition of the king of Spain, and of the cardinals, to have caused the suppression and destruction of all that had not been distributed, or that could possibly be procured. Among these may be reckoned Bayle, J. F. Mayer, Wagenseil, Vogt, &c.
The discordancy of opinion on this subject, and the absence of decisive evidence, still leave it doubtful whether Sixtus published an edition of the Italian Bible, and the reader must be left to form his own judgment, according to his views of the evidence adduced. It is, however, certain, that whether Sixtus patronized the Italian Scriptures or not, several editions of the whole, or parts of them, were printed about that period, both by that city. He died suddenly, June 9th, 1701, aged 71. A panegyric. upon him, by his son-in-law, the very learned John Le Clerc, is inserted in Moreri's Dictionnaire, printed at Amsterdam. Mem. pour servir a ľ Hist. des Hommes Illust. Paris, 1727. tom. II. pp. 361-381. 12mo.