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dependent on the Romish hierarchy, The laity, in France and other countries, were not very willing to comply with the order: but Benedict, in this point, insisted upon their obedience and submission. If the sovereigns of those states had interfered on this occasion, he would probably have given up the point.
Indefatigable in his apostolical duties, he continued to pray and preach, attend to all pontifical and sacerdotal functions, and direct the conduct of subordinate prelates and ministers of the church. He frequently visited the poor, and not only gave them spiritual comfort, but relieved them by his bounty; selling for that purpose the presents which he received. He habituated himself to the plainest fare, and lived in the most frugal manner, like a hermit in his cell, that he might more liberally bestow upon others the blessings of fortune. But it is to be lamented, that, from inattention to his political duty, he suffered cardinal Coscia, an unprincipled Neapolitan, to pursue a shameful course of rapine and extortion P. Yet he died 9 without losing his popularity, in the eighty-second year of his age, and the sixth of his pontificate.
Clement XII., of the Corsini family, was chosen, after a long contest, to succeed the mild and humble Benedict. He quickly reformed some abuses, which had crept into the administration of the Roman state, and then directed his attention to foreign
p So we are informed by the baron de Polnitz; and the assertion is not disputed by the impartial. Guarnacci, without stating any particulars of the cardinal's misconduct and criminality, says, that he greatly increased his fortune, and governed the pope's dominions at his discretion. Clement XII. punished him with a long imprisonment, subjected him to a heavy fine, and deprived him of the archbishopric of Benevento.
9 On the 21st of February, 1730.-He ought to be mentioned as an author; for many sermons, some accounts of the proceedings of synods, a commentary upon the book of Exodus, and sacred epigrams, have been published as his productions, His literary merit, however, is not of the highest kind.
affairs. In the canton of Lucerne, in Switzerland, the laic magistracy of the chief town had presumed to take cognisance of the delinquency of ecclesiastics, and had disobeyed the injunctions of the papal nuncio, who had therefore retired into the territory of Uri. The pope now adjusted the dispute, and defined the jurisdiction, without any material derogation from the dignity of the holy see. Casting an eye upon Germany, he checked in the catholic states the practice of pluralism, and only in some cases allowed the same person to hold two bishoprics, but never three. In the Saxon electorate, he strenuously promoted the return of the protestants to catholicism, which some were inclined to embrace, in imitation of their sovereign Augustus : but these converts were not very numerous. Not neglecting France, he opposed by new edicts the progress of Jansenism in that realm. Being disgusted at the conduct of the Spaniards, who had seised the duchy of Parma without acknowleging his claim of sovereignty over it, he at first refused to bestow a cardinal's hat upon a Spanish prince, who was then too young to be canonically invested with so important a dignity : but, moved by the importunities of his catholic majesty, he suffered the prince to enjoy the title, and to be administrator of the temporalities, assigning the spiritual jurisdiction to the archbishop of Larissa. A new cause of offence soon arose ; for the Spaniards had the audacity to enlist the pope's subjects, and the cruelty to commit outrages upon those who resisted such unwarrantable acts. Philip, however, soothed the irritated feelings of Clement, from whom he procured, for his son don Carlos, the investiture of Naples and Sicily. With the court of Lisbon the pontiff had previously secured a reconciliation, by complying with the request of Joseph : but he was not so acquiescent toward the king of Sardinia; for he annulled the convention which that prince had
obtained from Benedict, alleging that it was too favorable to the civil and temporal power ".
This pontiff was a man of respectable abilities; had a regard for justice; was cautious and prudent, yet not destitute of spirit; oeconomical, without being meanly parsimonious; easy of access, without rendering himself indecorously familiar. He had a taste for the polite arts, and was an encourager of literary merit. Dying in his eighty-eighth year®, he was succeeded by Prosper Laurence Lambertini, archbishop of Bologna, who entered upon his high office under the designation of Benedict XIV.
Lambertini had acquired the character of religious moderation, and the fame of learning; and, during a pontificate of eighteen years, he acted in general with prudence and propriety. He did not profess himself a politician, or claim the merit of activity and address in the important concerns of temporal government: yet he was not so negligent or remiss as his patron, the thirteenth Benedict. His chief minister was cardinal Valenti, who was at once a virtuoso and a man of business.
In the administration of the church, Benedict XIV. was mild and conciliatory, rather than rigid or severe. He was aware of the relaxed morality of the clergy in the catholic states : but, however he might wish to check their licentiousness, he did not take any strong or violent measures for that purpose. He was disposed to promote an union or accommodation between the Roman see, and the Greek and protestant churches; and, if he could have succeeded by concession or compromise, he would have reconciled all religious differences among Christian communities : but that was a task which exceeded his powers of exertion, and which, indeed, no man can expect to accomplish. He was censured by
Guarnacci, tom. ii. p. 579, 580, &c. • In February, 1740.
many of the Romanists for attempting to diminish the number of festivals, and to abolish some ceremonies which appeared to him to be useless, improper, or absurd *; and he also gave offence by the occasional levity of his conversation, which, however, was unaccompanied with immorality or profligacy.
With the catholic courts he had no violent dis. putes. During the war in which the French were opposed to the house of Austria, he seemed inclined to favor the former; but he endeavoured to avoid giving offence to either of the rival families. He carried on a negotiation, for some years, with Ferdinand, king of Spain, on a subject which had frequently been a cause of altercation. His catholic majesty claimed the right of presentation to all the benefices in his ample dominions; but he at length consented to the disposal of fifty-two of the number by the pontiff, on condition that they should be given to Spaniards alone, and that no pensions should be exacted from the occupants. By the compact then adjusted “, the revenues of vacant benefices were left to a clergyman named by the king, not to the rapacity of a committee of papal agents; and, in some other respects, the receipts of the apostolical chamber were considerably diminished.
At the solicitation of those princes who were displeased at the intrigues, and offended at the malpractices of the Jesuits, Benedict promised to exert his authority for the reform of that order; and the bull which he issued for this purpose was one of the last acts of his life. He died in 1758, when he had attained the age of eighty-three years. He was an
He had prepared bulls for these purposes: but the monks excited such a clamor on the occasion, that he did not carry them into effect. Voyages en différens Pays de l'Europe.Haye, 1777 ; lettre 15.
It has been affirmed, that he abolished autos da fe in Portugal, at the desire of king Joseph; and, if he had, such a suppression would have been honorable to his memory: but the assertion appears to be untrue.
u In the year 1753.