It is reported, that some time before Borgia entered the conclave, in order to obtain cardinal Sforza's consent to his election, he sent four mules to his house, loaded with plate, under pretence of being kept there till the conclave was over, which silver Sforza had for his vote.
On the 2d day of August, 1492, the affair was brought to a conclusion, and cardinal Roderick, with the concurring votes of twenty-two cardinals, declared Pope,t by the name of Alexander the Sixth. As soon as he perceived the election determined in his favour, it is reported he expressed himself in these words:
"Am I then Pope the Vicar of Christ?" Sforza made answer, "Yes, holy father; and we hope by your election to give glory to God, repose to his church, and joy to Christendom; you being by the Almighty chosen as the most worthy of all your brethren." To which his holiness made answer: "We hope God will grant us his powerful assistance, notwithstanding of our weakness, being desirous to follow the dictates of the Holy Ghost, and with intrepidity to promulgate those holy laws already ratified in heaven. Although this is a great weight with which we are loaded, yet we hope the same assistance will be given us as it was to St. Peter, when the keys of heaven were put into his hands, and the helm of the church entrusted to his care,—too great a charge for mortal man without such divine assistance,—and yet God promised that his Spirit should direct him. Nor do we doubt but every one of yon will show that holy obedience due to the head of the church, in imitation of that which Christ's flock were obliged to give to the prince of the apostles."
|Portrait of Pope Alexander VI. Painting located at Corridoio Vasariano (museum) in Florence (Firenze), Italy. Measures of painting: 59 x 44 cm. Artist: Cristofano dell'Altissimo (1525–1605) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.|
Title: The lives of Pope Alexander VI and his son Cæsar Borgia. Author: Alexander Gordon. Publisher: J. Campbell, 1844. Original from: Harvard University. Digitized: Apr 6, 2006. Length: 232 pages
This IMAGE (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 (in this circa 1565) are now in the public domain.
This file is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris) in this case Cristofano dell'Altissimo (1525–1605), and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31st of that year.
This was the substance of Pope Alexander's speech on his election; it was, however, observed he made an unusual haste in getting himself dressed in the pontifical habit, as if the consciousness of the simony, by which he obtained his new dignity, had made him afraid of losing it before all the formalities had passed; on this account he seemed to want his election might be known as soon as possible; and accordingly ordered small scrolls of paper, with his name as Pope written in Latin, to be thrown over the windows of the Vatican, amongst the people.
These, and some other vain-glorious circumstances of the like nature, began to be observed with surprise, which made cardinal Medici whisper in Lorenzo Cibo's ears these words: "My lord," says he, "we are betrayed into the hands of one of the most rapacious wolves that perhaps the world ever saw, from whom if we do not fly, he will infallibly devour us." Which prophecy was very soon verified to their sad experience.
No sooner was Alexander dressed in his pontifical habit, than he was carried to St. Peter's church, where the usual ceremonies were performed, and where multitudes came crowding to see the new Pope: from thence he was brought back to his apartments in the Vatican, where, when he arrived, he made another speech to the cardinal, in which he feigned a great deal of new zeal and sanctity, exhorting them to a reformation of their way of living, telling, that whoever amongst them had been guilty of avarice and simony, he was resolved to look into such conduct in a very impartial manner. By all which, he showed plainly that those cardinals with whom he had made the aforesaid stipulations for advancing him to the pontificate, had little to hope with regard to his performing the bargain: nay, it was very remarkable, that* all those mercenary cardinals, who were the chief instruments of his election, as a chastisement for their horrid simony, were some time after, the very persons singled out by Pope Alexander for ruin and death, as was seen in his barbarity and cruelty committed on Sforza, Riario, cardinal Michiele, and others, who sold their votes, as if it had been by auction.
Some of them were sent into exile,t others laid up in jail, and some put to the most cruel deaths. But this new and unexpected declaration, which we just now mentioned, struck no small terror into the minds of those cardinals who had been the authors of his promotion, and showed them plainly how expert their new Pope had been in all the arts of hypocrisyJ and deceit: in fine, it was a clear indication that the vengeance of heaven was at hand to punish their detestable crimes. On this, they thought of flying from him, but that they found difficult; to confess openly their faults, but that could help them nothing; to revoke his election, but it was too late, having themselves been the chief architects, who had laid the first corner-stone of that woful edifice.
TEXT CREDIT: The lives of Pope Alexander VI and his son Cæsar Borgia By Alexander Gordon