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ransom, on the strength of his father's reputation for riches. The ransom of Piero was set at so high a rate that his father delayed paying it, hoping that, in course of time, a less sum would be exacted. However, in his last illness he could think of no one but his son Piero, and gave orders that he should be redeemed from captivity forthwith, at the cost of three thousand ducats. Returning to Florence, Piero's next achievement within the year was a mercantile failure, mainly owing, says our historiar, to his being a "magnificent man,' and never looking into his accounts. Adversity, however, brought out the bright side of his nature, for, in his arrangements with his creditors, he stuck firmly to paying twenty shillings in the pound (solidi venti per lira], only asking for time, and at the time agreed upon actually paid up the full amount by means of sales of his property. This high and generous nature of his recommended him to the friendship of men of rank and distinction, and he attained all the public honours and dignities his city had to give.

•Thus aft a ragged cowte's been known

To mak' a noble aiver.' The formerly suspected domestic thief was notably free from all taint of pecuniary rapacity or corruption; and if he had not 'put off the old man' altogether, his failings were in a different direction. He was rather high and rather short-tempered, and even in his old age, when he got angry with any one, was quite capable of proceeding from words to blows. Even in his old age he was vecchio lussurioso e feminacciolo forte, leaving lots of love letters, exchanged with the last mistress of his mature affections.

Another hereditary quality in the Guicciardini family may be considered as connected with that feline faculty, already noticed in them, of always falling upon their feet; the quality, namely, which we find, modified by individual differences, in our historian's paternal grandfather, his father, and himself, of marked aversion from extreme counsels and extreme courses. In the grandfather, Jacopo Guicciardini, born in 1422, this quality shows itself in very amiable as well as statesmanlike shape.

Among his other properties,' says his grandson, the historian," he had that of saying freely what he thought; for which Lorenzo (de' Medici) sometimes manifested anger towards him, but most times bore with him, as knowing that it proceeded from goodness of nature. One of the public functions in Florence -of which he held many in succession, was that of Gonfalionere of Justice, in the earlier period of Lorenzo's real though


dissembled sovereignty. In that capacity he had to lend his formal and ministerial offices to carry through the new law regarding testaments, passed at the instance of Lorenzo de' Medici,

,-a law which was in effect in the nature of a privilegium, solely designed to repress the ambition by crippling the means of his formidable rivals the Pazzi family. Jacopo Guicciardini, says his grandson, acted in this matter much against his own will, and had strongly dissuaded the passing of any such law, 'not only as a friend of the Pazzi family, but because the process seemed to him dishonest in itself, and likely to sow the seeds of mischief—as the event proved. After the explosion of the conspiracy of the Pazzi, and the tragical fate of all who had taken part in it and some who had taken no part in it, Lorenzo, says our historian, being mercilessly disposed against the whole family, either from natural temper or exasperation at the violent death of his brother, the wound he had himself received, and the narrow escape he had himself made from destruction, had thrown into prison the innocent sons of the Pazzi, who had no complicity in the plot; and had decreed that their daughters, who were left with small dowries, should forin no matrimonial connections in Florence. Jacopo Guicciardini was incessant in his solicitations to Lorenzo to release these innocent youths, and at the utmost to 'confine' them, as it was called, from entering Florentine territory, and to relieve the daughters from the prohibition of marrying in their own country. After some years he finally persuaded Lorenzo to yield on both points.

The singular combination of mercantile with public business which occupied the active life of most of the statesmen of the Italian republics was remarkably exemplified in Jacopo Guicciardini, of whom his grandson says that, though he started on a small patrimony, he received a considerable dowry with his wife, which he turned to good account as commercial capital, as appears from a book kept by him, in which the net results of all his commercial transactions are briefly noted, as well as of all legitimate emoluments derived from his diplomatic and other public appointments, which, with his gains from commerce, made up, says his grandson, to a quattrino' the amount of property which he left behind him at his death, and made it manifest that he had abused none of his official opportunities to usurp the property of others or procure for himself exemptions from public taxation. He acted as captain of a commercial galley of his own in a voyage to the Levant, and as military coromander, at a pinch, in the little wars of the Florentine Republic. It is added that he always applied his best efforts


to disperse ill-humours in the commonwealth, and never chose to play the part of public informer or State inquisitor. His descendant adds, for the edification of the Guicciardini family of the future, that he was exceedingly well endowed by nature, being tall, fair, and handsome—as fine a man as any of his time in Florence: The only drawbacks from his natural and acquired good gifts were that he was totally illiterate-we must understand our historian to mean in the humane letters of universities, since Jacopo Guicciardini must have had work-day letters enough at least to keep his ledgers and carry on correspondence with his employers in his various missions. His good natural capacity, his courageous, liberal, friendly, and serviceable spirit, seem to have fully compensated with his contemporaries for his lack of polite literature ; and his freedom from all malignant vices made them wink hard at certain dulcia vitia which did attach to him. According to his grandson's unreserved testimony, he was somewhat more licentious in his amours, and, moreover, somewhat more studious of his eating and drinking, than might have been expected of a man of his otherwise distinguished qualities.

Piero, the father of our historian, sustained the character of the Guicciardini family, though rather in a negative than positive manner, for sagacity and sound judgment in affairs private or public, and avoidance of all extreme parts, which led him to the other extreme of taking no part at all. Whether, says his son, he was so formed by nature, or whether the course of events, which indeed was violent and extraordinary in the times he lived in, seemed to require corresponding caution and circumspection, --so it was that he proceeded in his affairs with little spirit and much suspiciousness, undertaking few enterprises, acting in affairs of State with great slowness and deliberation, and never, except when constrained by conscience or necessity, distinctly declaring his sentiments on matters of importance. Hence it happened that, never putting himself forward as the head of a party or any new movement, he did not keep himself so currently as he might have done in the mouths of the many. His son, however, admits that this mode of action or inaction served one purpose at least : that through all the turbulent movements which took place in his time he preserved his dignity and tranquillity, more fortunate in that respect than any other man of his standing and eminence, all of whom incurred in those times dangers either of life or property.

Our historian says for himself that he wished to enter the Church, not to participate, 'like most other priests,' in its fat slumbers, but because he calculated, with great colour of reason,

that been nations

that a young man like himself, well grounded by study and practice in jurisprudence (a species of lore then much more in request at the Court of Rome than theology), had a fair foundation for rising high in the Church, and might very well hope to be one day a Cardinal. His father, however, was conscientiously indisposed to see any of his sons in the priesthood, though, says our historian, with a touch of pathos,' he had five sons'

- considering the disordered condition of the Church in those times'-and preferred to sacrifice the present profit of rich benefices, as well as the future prospect of seeing a son of his in high rank in the Church, rather than soil his conscience by making that son a priest from motives of cupidity or ambition. • Such,' says our historian, was the real cause which decided him; and I had to content myself the best I could with his decision.'

It may be thought that our historian here makes posterity as much the confidants of the character of his own ambition as of his father's conscience. His youth had no dreams—or rather the one dream of his youth was advancement in public life, under whatever auspices—an advancement which he attained in early manhood, and lost, when public life itself was lost in Italy. Guicciardini's practical political motto, throughout his public career, was · I serve.' His best apology is that the sword in his day in Italy no longer gave place to the gown, and that independent public action had ceased to be possible in Italian public affairs. To have any hand in the administration of those affairs it had become necessary to have some footing in the Courts of Popes or Princes. It is curious to observe how, in a different form and by a circuitous



ambition to mix himself with ecclesiastical politics was at length gratified. If he had dutifully submitted to exclusion by paternal authority from the prospect of himself becoming one day a Cardinalperhaps a Pope—he did the next best thing for himself, in his keen pursuit of the main chance in politics, by attaching himself to the political service of Popes and Cardinals. To the

Guicciardini-who seems, young

in the sense of romance or sentiment, never to have been young-his choice of a consort was as mere a selection of a stepping-stone for ambition as had been his choice of a profession. Any consideration of personal preference seems to have had as little weight with him in that matter as with his father. In this instance, however, as concerned money at least, the son had more elevated views than the father. His ambition was that of eminence, not mere wealth, and he did not allow paternal authority to dissuade him from fixing his choice on a family (the lady seems to have


been a quite immaterial element in the transaction), whose head was a personage of political importance in the Florentine commonwealth, and might be able to push forward his son-in-law in the path of promotion. This consideration was paramount with him over his father's prudential suggestions that a larger dowry would be desirable, and could be had with other damsels of good houses. Perhaps such suggestions might have had more weight with the son, if he could have foreseen the disappointment, by the premature death of his father-in-law, of the hopes he had formed of getting a start in public life by the connection. Our historian concludes his ingenuous narrative of his matrimonial doings in the following strain of evidently sincere if not refined piety: «Please God the affair may have been for the health of my soul and body, and God pardon me if I have used too much importunity with Piero [his father] in the matter, since though as yet I am satisfied with having made the connection, I cannot help some scruple and doubt whether I may not have offended God, especially considering the qualities of a father such as mine is.

Guicciardini's "Ricordi Politici e Civili' are now for the first time published, as the present editor states, in their original integrity, free from additions or mutilations. Alloyed and clipped as they had been by the timidity or ill-taste of previous editors, Guicciardini's civil and political yvõuai, first published about the middle of the sixteenth century, under the title of

Avvertimenti di Messer Francesco Guicciardini,' had won the epithet' aurei' from subsequent Italian writers. Signor Canestrini, the present editor, says of them that these · Ricordi’ appear truly marvellous, whether by the incomparable acuteness of the sentences on men and things, the vast learning, or the elegantissima simplicity, and natural spontaneity of the style.' Without echoing Italian superlatives, we may be able to show by our extracts that the praise of simplicity and spontaneity is well deserved by the style of Guicciardini in undress, and that the natural acuteness and acquired knowledge exhibited in his estimates of events and persons deserve no less ungrudging, if less enthusiastic, recognition than that accorded them by the editor of the volumes before us.

The first of these 'Ricordi' which occurs for citation has reference to those earlier years of their author, some characteristic traits of which have already been placed before our readers, and curiously completes our idea of that very marked trait of character, the constant aim at advancement, rather than at any sort of pleasure or acquirement for its own sake. There is a remark recorded in Lady Minto’s ‘Memoirs of Hugh Elliot,' that, while continental

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