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demagoguery

1488

March 12

on Monday

One Fra Bernardino,(1) of the Franciscan Order, having been elected preacher for Lent in Santa Maria del Fiore, preached very enthusiastically over and over again, persuading the people to make a Monte di Pieta, and to send away the Jews. As a consequence the boys got incensed against the Jews, and a number of them went to the house of a Jew called Manullino, who was a moneylender at the Vacca,(2) wanting to assassinate him and to pillage his premises. The "Eight," however, promptly sent their men to stop the mischief and published proclamations threatening offenders with the gallows. Thus the commotion was soon ended. The next morning, the 13th, the "Eight" sent to Fra Bernardino forbidding him to continue preaching, and despatched him to the Osservanza di San Miniato.(2) But even that did not satisfy them, and the morning after, Friday the 14th, the "Eight" sent their men again, some of them actually going in person, and commanded him to leave the neighbourhood entirely. This seemed a bad prognostic to those who were desirous to live a Christian life, as he was considered a saint. And it was not long before misfortunes happened to some of these "Eight": one of them broke his neck by falling from his horse, another this thing, and another that. Amongst the rest, that one who had gone in person to drive Fra Bernardino away from the Osservanza died mad in hospital. This the matter ended ill. God save us!

(1) The Beato Bernardino da Feltre.

(2) The Vacca was that piece of street which began between the houses of the archbishop's palace and the Ghetto, and led to the Piazza degli Orlandini. There was a money-changer's office in this spot in the fourteenth century also, and it belonged to a Christian.

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