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rejected by a large majority. They were weary of Mudazzo and his futile promises.
In this story of Mudazzo the Ten explain their own procedure with perfect frankness—a frankness engendered by their reliance on the absolute secrecy of their archives. It was necessary to state exactly how they had acted in the matter, in order to put future councillors in full possession of the facts. We gain by this frankness, and have before us a complete and typical case. The attitude of the Ten is perfectly clear; they were under great pressure, and adopted the proposals to assassinate as a possible, though not as the sole or even probable, means of freeing themselves from their difficulties. To reject such means would have seemed to them culpable folly and neglect. The futility and ineffectiveness of the plans are characteristic of the majority of the proposals made to the Ten and sanctioned by them.
The next case we shall take is that of a wholesale attempt to destroy the Turkish army. The attempt was impotent, like most of its predecessors; but the details are so strange and picturesque, and throw so much light on the more famous case of the Untori of Milan, that we venture to give the history of it at sonie length. In the year 1649, Lunardo Foscolo, Proveditore Generale di Dalmazia, writes from Zara to the Inquisitors of State, as follows:
* To the most illustrious and most honoured lords, my masters. *My incessant occupation in the discharge of this most laborious service never makes me forget my intent and desire to procure advantage to my country. I then, considering the perilous state of the kingdom of Candia, first treacherously invaded, and now openly occupied by the Turks, the pre-eminence of their forces, the copiousness of their soldiery, the opulence of the Turkish treasury, which will enable them to maintain the war for many years, and also being well aware that, although the public spirit of Venice yields to none in courage and magnanimity, the republic has neither forces, men, nor money, wherewith to resist much longer the attacks of its foes, and reflecting on the impossibility to meet such a heavy expenditure, have applied myself to a study of the methods whereby the Turkish power might be overcome without risk of men or burden to the exchequer, and how the kingdom of Candia might be recovered; for, after God, our hope to reacquire it is small indeed.
Now there is here a good subject of Venice, lately appointed doctor, who besides bis skill in healing is also a famous distiller. His name is Michiel Angelo Salamon. He is desirous to prove himself, what he is in fact, a faithful servant of your excellencies. I explained my wishes to him, and he availed himself of the presence here of the Plague to distil a liquid expressed from the spleen, the buboes, and carbuncles of the plague-stricken; and this, when mixed with other ingredients,
will have the power wherever it is scattered to slay any number of persons, for it is the quintessence of plague. I considered that if this quintessence of plague were sown in the enemies' camps at Retimo, Cannea, and San Todero, and if it operates as Dr. Michiel assures me it will, this would greatly assist us to recover the kingdom of Candia. I accordingly determined not to lose the opportunity to have a vase of the poison prepared, and this jar shall be kept, with all due precautions, for the service of your excellencies. I believe, however, that some ruse must be adopted to entice the Turks into the trap, and would suggest that we should make use of the Albanian fez, or some other cloth goods, which the Turks are accustomed to buy, so that the poison may pass through as many hands in as short a time as possible. The cloth should be made up in parcels as if for sale, after having been painted over with the quintessence, and then placed in separate boxes destined for the various places where we desire to sow the poison. The quintessence, well secured in several cases for the greater safety of those who have to handle and transport it, should be sent to the commander-in-chief that he may take the necessary steps for causing it to pass into the enemies' hands. This may be done either by lading several vessels with the cloth, which vessels are to be abandoned by their crews when the enemy comes in sight; or else by means of pedlars who shall hawk the cloth about the country; so that the enemy, hoping to make booty, may gain the plague and find death. The affair must be managed with all circumspection, and the operator must be induced to his work by hopes of gain and by promises, for it will be a dangerous undertaking, and when the operation is over he must go through a rigorous quarantine. While handling the quintessence, it will be of use to the operator to stuff his nose and mouth with sponges soaked in vinegar; and while poisoning the cloth he may fasten the brush to an iron rod, and when finished he must put brush and rod into the fire. Having given the Turk the plague, every care must be taken to prevent our people coming in contact with them.
* The proposition is a virtuous one, and worthy of the composer of the quintessence. It is, however, a violent course, unusual, and perhaps not admitted by public morality. But desperate cases call for violent remedies, and in the case of the Turk, enemies by faith, treacherous by nature, who have always betrayed your excellencies, in my humble opinion the ordinary considerations have no weight.'
To this letter the Presidents of the Ten reply that Foscolo's letter to the Inquisitors has been submitted to them. They thank the Proveditore, and are of opinion that the doctor who invented the quintessence should be the person who is appointed to take the jar to the commanderin-chief. His travelling expenses are to be paid, and the commander-in-chief must be warned of the great risk to his own troops from the presence of the jar among them. Dr. Salamon, however, showed great unwillingness to sail along with his jar. The Ten, however, insist; at the same time
making ample provision for Salamon and his whole family, and enclosing a supply of poisons for his use. They further insist that the cloth goods are to be poisoned on board the fleet, and not at Zara, and if Salamon absolutely refuses to go, Foscolo is to take the jar and see that it is broken, and its contents emptied into the sea. Foscolo succeeded in overcoming Salamon's objections, and in due time the doctor and his jar of quintessence reached the fleet. He found the commander just going into winter quarters, and unable to make use of the mixture at once. Moreover, the commander declined to keep the jar with him all winter till next spring; so Dr. Salamon and his quintessence were once more shipped on board and returned to Zara, where, to make sure of him and his mixture, both were placed in prison. Next year Foscolo was appointed to the command of the fleet, and immediately asked that Salamon might be sent to him in Candia, as he desired to try the effect of the mixture which he had so strongly recommended to the Ten. The doctor and his jar were taken out of prison and despatched to Foscolo, but not before two hundred ducats had been exacted from him as caution money. And here the story suddenly ends. We do not know what became of Dr. Salamon, or whether Foscolo found any opportunity of trying his favourite quintessence of plague; probably not, for his period of command was signalised by no very brilliant successes.
Among the mass of documents collected by M. Lamansky there are many which throw light upon the history of other nations than Venice. The reader will find much interesting information about the attempts to blow up Charles VIII.'s ammunition wagons before Fornovo, and about the death of that monarch ; about the bands of sacking friars as they are called-incendiaries whom Venice employed to ravage the territories of the Emperor Maximilian. One of the most curious sections of the book is that which relates to the various attempts on the lives of the popes.
We find a long and valuable discussion on the deaths of Popes Alexander VI. and Leo X., both attributed at the time to poison, and both still open questions to-day. The story of the death of Alexander is so well known that it is only necessary to recapitulate it briefly here in order to see how far the facts bear out the generally accepted theory that he was poisoned. Ranke, in the appendix to his “History of the Popes,' quotes at length the document from Sanudo's Diaries,' upon which he bases his version of the story. · On April 11, 1503, Alexander had poisoned the
Venetian Cardinal Giovanni Michiel, in order to become possessed of his great wealth, and before daybreak on the same day the cardinal's house had been swept of its treasures, and everything carried to the Vatican. When the Venetian Ambassador presented himself a little later at the palace, hefound all the doors shut, and his Holiness occupied in
counting the gold.' This deed struck terror into all the other cardinals whose wealth exposed them to the cupidity of the Pope. Among the wealthiest of these was Adrian Castellese, of Corneto, Bishop of Bath and Wells. Accordingly, when Castellese received a message from the Pope that his Holiness and the Duke of Valentino desired to sup with him in a vineyard of his on August 12, he at once suspected their intention to poison him. He bought the Pope's butler, by a present of ten thousand ducats, to tell him which of the boxes of comfits to be served at dessert had been poisoned. The Pope and Valentino arrived. The cardinal threw himself at the Pope's feet and declared that he would not rise until his Holiness had promised to grant him his request. Alexander, impatient at the scene, and trusting absolutely to his butler's fidelity, consented. Then Castellese begged leave to wait upon his Holiness with his own hands. When dessert arrived, the butler handed Castellese the poisoned box, and the cardinal—as was the duty and custom for servants. in those dangerous times—first tasted the confetti, but, by a juggle, slipped an unpoisoned piece into his mouth, and then placed the poisoned box before the Pope. Alexander having seen, as he thought, Castellese try the box, ate freely of the confectionery, went home, was taken ill, and in six days died, a swollen and horrible mass of corruption. Valentino also was seriously ill, and in danger of his life for many days; and Cardinal Castellese, trusting no one, not even himself, when his guests were gone took such violent emetics that he, too, nearly succumbed. Such is the account of the death of Alexander ordinarily received. The story, however, offers one serious difficulty. There were three boxes of confetti; only one of these was poisoned, and the Pope ate that. How are we to account for the nearly mortal sickness of Valentino ? On the whole, though, we shall probably never know the truth of that strange supper party in the Roman vineyard, when the Borgia's hopes and schemes were wrecked for ever. We are inclined to accept the opinion of the Venetian ambassador, based on the professional statement of Dr. Scipio, that the death of the Pope and the illness of the duke were due to natural causes.
The same suspicion of poison surrounds the death of Leo X. We shall dwell upon the story at some length because Roscoe clearly had not access to the documents which M. Lamansky has placed before us. The Pope was at his villa of Magliana, near Rome, when, on November 24, 1521, news reached him that the imperial troops had entered Milan, and that the success of his league concluded with the Emperor at Worms was secured. The Pope was overjoyed at the news, and the Swiss guard, who were in attendance, began to light bonfires, discharge their guns, sing songs, and generally to celebrate the victory. At the hour for going to bed the Pope sent down orders that the noise must stop. But it was found impossible to quiet the men, and his Holiness was unable to sleep all that night. Next
norning the Pope signified his intention of returning to Rome that afternoon. To pass the time till the hour of departure, he amused himself in a rabbit-warren, where he sat for long enjoying the brilliant sunshine. Thus warmed through and through he set out for Rome. As the sun set his Holiness felt chill, and all the more so as he had only summer garments with him. Nevertheless he entered Rome in excellent spirits, supped, and slept soundly. Next day at audience time he was attacked by fever, and he died on Sunday, December 1. 'He died as red as a poppy, and therefore they said he was poisoned.'* Even before he closed his eyes his bedchamber was sacked by his servants. And then began in Rome the usual scenes that followed a pope's death : artillery mounted on Saint Angelo's castle and pointed on the city; the cardinals barricaded and fortified each in his own palace; the shops all shut; everyone armed; the streets filled with the drums and tram. plings' of the rival factions; the Jews' quarter sacked, and a bishop and a courtesan shot in the street. Meanwhile, on December 2, the Pope's body was laid out in a lower chamber of the Vatican; he was dressed in his episcopal robes, and four torches were placed at the corners of the bier, which was guarded by twenty cardinals clad in purple mourning. The people were admitted to kiss his Holiness's feet. Next day the Pope's body lay in state in St. Peter's, in the chapel
* We take this to be the meaning of ' morse come un papavero, et 'per quello se è poi detto: fu avenenato.' Ranke's translator gives us as fadeth the poppy;' but we believe our interpretation to be the right one, especially when supported by what follows, et vidili el 'volto negro, como paonaxo scuro, che era segno di veneno.'