Letter XXI.

From: At Home and Abroad, or Things and Thoughts in Europe (1856)
Author: Margaret Fuller Ossoli
Published: and Company 1856 Boston


The Pope’s Reception of the New Officers.—They kiss his Foot.—Vespers at the Gesù.—A Poor Youth in Rome seeking a Patron.—Rumors of Disturbances.—Their Cause.—Representations to the Pope.—His Conduct in the Affair.—An Italian Consul for the United States.—Catholicism.—The Popularity of the Pope.— His Deposition of a Censor.—The Policy of the Pope in his Domestic not equal to that of his Public life.— His opposition to Protestant Reform.— Letter from Joseph Mazzini to the Pontiff.— Reflections on it.

Rome, January 10, 1848.

  IN the first morning of this New Year I sent off a letter which must then be mailed in order to reach the steamer of the 16th. So far am I from home, that even steam does not come nigh to annihilate the distance.

  This afternoon I went to the Quirinal Palace to see the Pope receive the new municipal officers. He was to-day in his robes of white and gold, with his usual corps of attendants in pure red and white, or violet and white. The new officers were in black velvet dresses, with broad white collars. They took the oaths of office, and then actually kissed his foot. I had supposed this was never really done, but only a very low obeisance made; the act seemed to me disgustingly abject. A Heavenly Father does not want his children at his feet, but in his arms, on a level with his heart.

  After this was over the Pope went to the Gesù, a very rich church belonging to the Jesuits, to officiate at Vespers, and we followed. The music was beautiful, and the effect of the church, with its richly-painted dome and alter-piece in a blaze of light, while the assembly were in a sort of brown darkness, was very fine.

  A number of Americans there, new arrivals, kept requesting in the midst of the music to know when it would begin. “Why this is it,” some one at last had the patience to answer; “you are hearing Vespers now.” “What,” they replied, “is there no oration, no speech!” So deeply rooted in the American mind is the idea that a sermon is the only real worship!

  This church is indelibly stamped on my mind. Coming to Rome this time, I saw in the diligence a young man, whom his uncle, a priest of the convent that owns this church, had sent for, intending to provide him employment here. Some slight circumstances tested the character of this young man, and showed it what I have ever found it, singularly honorable and conscientious. He was led to show me his papers, among which was a letter from a youth for whom, with that true benevolence only possible to the poor, because only they can make great sacrifices, he had so benefited as to make an entire change in his prospects for life. Himself a poor orphan, with nothing but a tolerable education at an orphan asylum, and a friend of his dead parents to find him employment on leaving it, he had felt for this young man, poorer and more uninstructed than himself, had taught him at his leisure to read and write, had then collected from friends, and given himself, till he had gathered together sixty francs, procuring also for his protégé a letter from monks, who were friends of his, to the convents on the road, so that wherever there was one, the poor youth had lodging and food gratis. Thus armed, he set forth on foot for Rome; Piacenza, their native place, affording little hope even of gaining bread in the present distressed state of that dominion. The letter was to say that he had arrived, and been so fortunate as to find employment immediately in the studio of Benzoni, the sculptor.

  The poor patron’s eyes sparkled as I read the letter. “How happy he is!” said he, “and does he not spell and write well? I was his only master.”

  But the good do not inherit the earth, and, less fortunate than his protégé, Germano on his arrival found his uncle ill of the Roman fever. He came to see me much agitated. “Can it be, Signora,” says he, “that God, who has taken my father and mother, will also take from me the only protector I had left, and just as I arrive in this strange place, too?” After a few days he seemed more tranquil, and told me that, though he had felt as if it would console him and divert his mind to go to some places of entertainment, he had forborne and applied the money to have masses said for his uncle. “I feel,” he said, “as if God would help me.” Alas! at that moment the uncle was dying. Poor Germano came the next day with a receipt for masses said for the soul of the departed, (his simple faith in these being apparently indestructible,) and amid his tears he said: “The Fathers were so unkind, they were hardly willing to hear me speak a word; they were so afraid I should be a burden to them. I shall never go there again. But the most cruel thing was, I offered them a scudo (dollar) to say six masses for the soul of my poor uncle; they said they would only say five and must have seven baiocchi (cents) more for that.”

  A few days after, I happened to go into their church, and found it thronged, while a preacher, panting, sweating, leaning half out of the pulpit, was exhorting his hearers to “imitate Christ.” With unspeakable disgust I gazed on this false shepherd of those who had just so failed in their duty to a poor stray lamb. Their church is so rich in ornaments, the seven baiocchi were hardly needed to burnish it. Their alter-piece is a very imposing composition, by an artist of Rome, still in the prime of his powers, Capalti. It represents the Circumcision, with the cross and six waiting angels on the background; Joseph, who holds the child, the priest, and all the figures in the foreground, seem intent upon the barbarous rite, except Mary the mother; her mind seems to rush forward into the future, and understand the destiny of her child; she sees the cross,—she sees the angels, too.

  Now I have mentioned a picture, let me say a word or two about Art and artists, by way of parenthesis in this letter so much occupied with political affairs. We laugh a little here at some words that come from your city on the subject of Art.

  We hear their landscapes show a want of familiarity with Nature; they need to return to America and see her again. But, friends, Nature wears a different face in Italy from what she does in America. Do you not want to see her Italian face? it is very glorious! We thought it was the aim of Art to reproduce all forms of Nature, and that you would not be sorry to have transcripts of what you have not always round you. American Art is not necessarily a reproduction of American Nature.

  Hicks has made a charming picture of familiar life, which those who cannot believe in Italian daylight would not tolerate. I am not sure that all eyes are made in the same manner, for I have known those who declare they see nothing remarkable in these skies, these hues; and always complain when they see them reproduced in picture. I have yet seen no picture by Cropsey on an Italian subject, but his sketches from Scotch scenes are more poetical and just representations of those lakes, those mountains, with their mourning veils. He is an artist of great promise. Cranch has made a picture for Mr. Ogden Haggerty of a fine mountain hold of old Colonna story. I wish he would write a ballad about it too; there is plenty of material.

  But to return to the Jesuits. One swallow does not make a summer, nor am I—who have seen so much hard-heartedness and barbarous greed of gain in all classes of men—so foolish as to attach undue importance to the demand, by those who have dared to appropriate peculiarly to themselves the sacred name of Jesus, from a poor orphan, and for the soul of one of their own order, of “seven baiocchi more.” But I have always been satisfied, from the very nature of their institutions, that the current prejudice against them must be correct. These institutions are calculated to harden the heart, and destroy entirely that truth which is the conservative principle in character. Their influence is and must be always against the free progress of humanity. The more I see of its working, the more I feel how pernicious it is, and were I a European, to no object should I lend myself with more ardor, than to the extirpation of this cancer. True, disband the Jesuits, there would still remain Jesuitical men, but singly they would have infinitely less power to work mischief.

  The influence of the Oscurantist foe has shown itself more and more plainly in Rome, during the last four or five weeks. A false miracle is devised: the Madonna del Popolo, (who has her handsome house very near me,) has cured a paralytic youth, (who, in fact, was never diseased,) and, appearing to him in a vision, takes occasion to criticize severely the measures of the Pope. Rumors of tumult in one quarter are circulated, to excite it in another. Inflammatory handbills are put up in the night. But the Roman thus far resists all intrigues of the foe to excite them to bad conduct.

  On New-Year’s Day, however, success was near. The people, as usual, asked permission of the Governor to go to the Quirinal and receive the benediction of the Pope. This was denied, and not, as it might truly have been, because the Pope was unwell, but in the most ungracious, irritating manner possible, by saying, “He is tired of these things: he is afraid of disturbance.” Then the people being naturally excited and angry, the Governor sent word to the Pope that there was excitement, without letting him know why, and has the guards doubled on the posts. The most absurd rumors were circulated among the people that the cannon of St. Angelo were to be pointed on them, &c. But they, with that singular discretion they show now, instead of rising, as their enemies had hoped, went to ask counsel of their lately appointed Senator, Corsini. He went to the Pope, found him ill, entirely ignorant of what was going on, and much distressed when he heard it. He declared that the people they should be satisfied, and, since they had not been allowed to come to him, he would go to them. Accordingly, the next day, though rainy and of a searching cold like that of a Scotch mist, we had all our windows thrown open, and the red and yellow tapestries hung out. He passed through the principal parts of the city, the people throwing themselves on their knees and crying out, “O Holy Father, don’t desert us! don’t forget us! don’t listen to our enemies!” The Pope wept often, and replied, “Fear nothing, my people, my heart is yours.” At last, seeing how ill he was, they begged him to go in, and he returned to the Quirinal; the present Tribune of the People, as far as rule in the heart is concerned, Ciceronacchio, following his carriage. I shall give some account of this man in another letter.

  For the moment, the difficulties are healed, as they long will be whenever the Pope directly shows himself to the people. Then his generous, affectionate heart will always act, and act on them, dissipating the clouds which others have been toiling to darken.

  In speaking of the intrigues of these emissaries of the power of darkness, I will mention that there is a report here that they are trying to get an Italian Consul for the United States, and one in the employment of the Jesuits. This rumor seems ridiculous; yet it is true that Dr. Beecher’s panic about the Catholic influence in the United States is not quite unfounded, and that there is considerable hope of establishing a new dominion there. I hope the United States will appoint an Italian, no Catholic, to a consulship. The representative of the United States should be American; our national character and interests are peculiar, and cannot be fitly represented by a foreigner, unless like Mr. Ombrossi of Florence, he has passed part of his youth in the United States. It would, indeed, be well if our government paid attention to qualification for the office in the candidate, and not to pretensions founded on partisan service; appointing only men of probity, who would not stain the national honor in the sight of Europe. It would be wise also not to select men entirely ignorant of foreign manners, customs, ways of thinking, even of any language in which to communicate with foreign society, making the country ridiculous by all sorts of blunders; but, ‘t were pity if a sufficient number of Americans could not be found, who are honest, have some knowledge of Europe and gentlemanly tact, and able at least to speak French.

  To return to the Pope, although the shadow that has fallen on his popularity is in a great measure the work of his enemies, yet there is real cause for it too. His conduct in deposing for a time one of the Censors, about the banners of the 15th of December, his speech to the Council the same day, his extreme displeasure at the sympathy of a few persons with the triumph of the Swiss Diet, because it was a Protestant triumph, and, above all, his speech to the Consistory, so deplorably weak in thought and absolute in manner, show a man less strong against domestic than foreign foes, humane heart to advance, but fettered by the prejudices of education, and terribly afraid to be or seem to be less the Pope of Rome, in becoming a reform prince, and father to the fatherless. I insert a passage of this speech, which seems to say that, whenever there shall be collision between the priest and the reformer, the priest shall triumph:—

  “Another subject there is which profoundly afflicts and harasses our mind. It is not certainly unknown to you, Venerable Brethren, that many enemies of Catholic truth have, in our times especially, directed their efforts in the desire to place certain monstrous offsprings of opinion on a par with the doctrine of Christ, or to blend them therewith, seeking to propagate more and more that impious system of indifference toward all religion whatever.

  “And lately some have been found, dreadful to narrate! who have offered such an insult to our name and Apostolic dignity, as slanderously to represent us participators in their folly, and favorers of that most iniquitous system above named. These have been pleased to infer from the counsels (certainly not foreign to the sanctity of the Catholic religion) which, in certain affairs pertaining to the civil exercise of the Pontific sway, we had benignly embraced for the increase of public prosperity and good, and also from the pardon bestowed in clemency upon certain persons subject to that sway, in the very beginning of our Pontificate, that we had such benevolent sentiments toward every description of persons as to believe that not only the sons of the Church, but others also, remaining aliens from Catholic unity, are alike in the way of salvation, and may attain eternal life. Words are wanting to us, from horror, to repel this new and atrocious calumny against us. It is true that with intimate affection of heart we love all mankind, but not otherwise than in the charity of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to seek and to save that which had perished, who wisheth that all men should be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, and who sent his disciples through the whole world to preach the Gospel to every creature, declaring that those who should believe and be baptized should be saved, but those who should not believe, should be condemned. Let those therefore who seek salvation come to the pillar and support of the Truth, which is the Church,—let them come, that is, to the true Church of Christ, which possesses in its Bishops and the supreme head of all, the Roman Pontiff, a never-interrupted succession of Apostolic authority, and which for nothing has ever been more zealous than to preach, and with all care preserve and defend, the doctrine announced as the mandate of Christ by His Apostles; which Church afterward increased, from the time of the Apostles, in the midst of every species of difficulties, and flourished throughout the whole world, radiant in the splendor of miracles, amplified by the blood of martyrs, ennobled by the virtues of confessors and virgins, corroborated by the testimony and most sapient writings of the fathers,—as it still flourishes throughout all lands, refulgent in perfect unity of the sacraments, of faith, and of holy discipline. We who, though unworthy, preside in this supreme chair of the Apostle Peter, in which Christ our Lord placed the foundation of that His Church, have at no time abstained from any cares or toils to bring, through the grace of Christ himself, those who are in ignorance and error to this sole way of truth and salvation. Let those, whoever they be, that are adverse, remember that heaven and earth shall pass away, but nothing can ever perish the words of Christ, nor be changed in the doctrine which the Catholic Church received, to guard, defend and publish, from him.

  “Next to this we cannot but speak to you, Venerable Brethren, of the bitterness of sorrow by which we were affected, and on seeing that a few days since, in this our fair city, the fortress and center of the Catholic religion, it proved possible to find some—very few indeed and well-nigh frantic men—who, laying aside the very sense of humanity, and to the extreme disgust and indignation of other citizens of this town, were not withheld by horror from triumphing openly and publicly over the most lamentable intestine war lately excited among the Helvetic people; which truly fatal war we sorrow over from the depths of our heart, as well considering the blood shed by that nation, the slaughter of brothers, the atrocious, daily recurring, and fatal discords, hatreds, and dissensions (which usually redound among nations in consequence especially of civil wars), as the detriment which we learn the Catholic religion has suffered, and fear it may yet suffer, in consequence of this, and, finally, the deplorable acts of sacrilege committed in the first conflict, which our soul shrinks from the narrating.”

  It is probably on account of these fears of Pius IX. lest he shall be called a Protestant Pope, that the Roman journals thus far, in translating the American Address to the Pope, have not dared to add any comment.

  But if the heart, the instincts, of this good man have been beyond his thinking powers, that only shows him the providential agent to work out aims beyond his ken. A wave has been set in motion, which cannot stop till it casts up its freight upon the shore, and if Pius IX. does not suffer himself to be surrounded by dignitaries, and see the signs of the times through the eyes of others,—if he does not suffer the knowledge he had of general society as a simple prelate, to become incrusted by the ignorance habitual to princes,—he cannot fail long to be a most important agent in fashioning a new and better era for this beautiful injured land.

  I will now give another document, which may be considered as representing the view of what is now passing taken by the democratic party called “Young Italy.” Should it in any other way have reached the United States, yet it will not be amiss to have it translated for The Tribune, as many of your readers may not otherwise have a chance of seeing this noble document, one of the milestones in the march of thought. It is a letter to the Most High Pontiff, Pius IX., from Joseph Mazzini.

“London, 8th September, 1847.

  “MOST HOLY FATHER,—Permit an Italian, who has studied your every step for some months back with much hopefulness, to address to you, in the midst of the applauses, often far too servile and unworthy of you, which resound near you, some free and profoundly sincere words. Take to read them some moments from your infinite cares. From a simple individual animated by holy intentions may come, sometimes, a great counsel; and I write to you with so much love, with so much emotion of my whole soul, with so much faith in the destiny of my country, which may be revived by your means, that my thoughts ought to speak truth.

  “And first, it is needful, Most Holy Father, that I should say to you somewhat of myself. My name has probably reached your ears, but accompanied by all the calumnies, by all the errors, by all the foolish conjectures, which the police, by system, and many men of my party through want of knowledge or poverty of intellect, have heaped upon it. I am not a subverter, nor a communist, nor a man of blood, nor a hater, nor intolerant, nor exclusive adorer of a system, or of a form imagined by my mind. I adore God, and an idea which seems to me of God,—Italy an angel of moral unity and of progressive civilization for the nations of Europe. Here and everywhere I have written the best I know how against the vices of materialism, of egotism, of reaction, and against the destructive tendencies which contaminate many of our party. If the people should rise in violent attack against the selfishness and bad government of their rulers, I, while rendering homage to the right of the people, shall be among the first to prevent the excesses and the vengeance which long slavery has prepared. I believe profoundly in a religious principle, supreme above all social ordinances; in a divine order, which we ought to seek to realize here on earth; in a law, in a providential design, which we all ought, according to our powers, to study and to promote. I believe in the inspiration of my immortal soul, in the teaching of Humanity, which shout to me through the deeds and words of all its saints, incessant progress for all through the work of all my brothers toward a common moral amelioration, toward the fulfillment of the Divine Law. And in the great history of Humanity I have studied the history of Italy, and have found there Rome twice directress of the world,—first through the Emperors, later through the Popes. I have found there that every manifestation of Italian life has also been a manifestation of European life; and that always when Italy fell, the moral Unity of Europe began to fall apart in analysis, in doubt, in anarchy. I believe in yet another manifestation of the Italian idea; and I believe that another European world ought to be revealed from the Eternal City, that had the Capitol, and has the Vatican. And this faith has not abandoned me ever, through years, poverty, and griefs which God alone knows. In these few words lies all my being, all the secret of my life. I may err in the intellect, but the heart has always remained pure. I have never lied through fear or hope, and I speak to you as I should speak to God beyond the sepulchre.

  “I believe you good. There is no man this day, I will not say in Italy, but in all Europe, more powerful than you; you then have, most Holy Father, vast duties. God measures these according to the means which he has granted to his creatures.

  “Europe is in a tremendous crisis of doubts and desires. Through the work of time, accelerated by your predecessors of the hierarchy of the Church, faith is dead, Catholicism is lost in despotism; Protestantism is lost in anarchy. Look around you; you will find superstitions and hypocrites, but not believers. The intellect travels in a void. The bad adore calculation, physical good; the good pray and hope; nobody believes. Kings, governments, the ruling classes, combat for a power usurped, illegitimate, since it does not represent the worship of truth, nor disposition to sacrifice oneself for the good of all; the people combat because they suffer, because they would fain take their turn to enjoy; nobody fights for duty; nobody because the war against evil and falsehood is a holy war, the crusade of God. We have no more a Heaven; hence we have no more a society.

  “Do not deceive yourself, most Holy Father; this is the present state of Europe.

  “But humanity cannot exist without a heaven. The idea of society is only a consequence of the idea of religion. We shall have then, sooner or later, religion and heaven. We shall have these not in the kings and the privileged classes,—their very condition excludes love, the soul of all religions,—but in the people. The spirit from God descends on many gathered together in his name. The people have suffered for ages on the cross, and God will bless them with a faith.

  “You can, most Holy Father, hasten that moment. I will not tell you my individual opinions on the religious development which is to come; these are of little importance. But I will say to you, that, whatever be the destiny of the creeds now existing, you can put yourself at the head of this development. If God wills that such creeds should revive, you can make them revive; if God wills that they should be transformed, that, leaving the foot of the cross, dogma and worship should be purified by rising a step nearer God, the Father and Educator of the world, you can put yourself between the two epochs, and guide the world to the conquest and the practice of religious truth, extirpating a hateful egotism, a barren negation.

  “God preserve me from tempting you with ambition; that would be profanation. I call you, in the name of the power which God has granted you, and has not granted without a reason, to fulfil the good, the regenerating European work. I call you, after so many ages of doubt and corruption, to be the apostle of Eternal Truth. I call you to make yourself the ‘servant of all,’ to sacrifice yourself, if needful, so that ‘the will of God may be done on the earth as it is in heaven’; to hold yourself ready to glorify God in victory, or to repeat with resignation, if you must fail, the words of Gregory VII: ‘I die in exile, because I have loved justice and hated iniquity.’

  “But for this, to fulfill the mission which God confides to you, two things are needful,—to be a believer, and to unify Italy. Without the first, you will fall in the middle of the way, abandoned by God and by men; without the second, you will not have the lever with which only you can effect great, holy, and durable things.

  “Be a believer; abhor to be king, politician, statesman. Make no compromise with error; do not contaminate yourself with diplomacy, make no compact with fear, with expediency, with the false doctrines of a legality, which is merely a falsehood invented when faith failed. Take no counsel except from God, from the inspirations of your own heart, and from the imperious necessity of rebuilding a temple to truth, to justice, to faith. Self-collected, in enthusiasm of love for humanity, and apart from every human regard, ask of God that he will teach you the way; then enter upon it, with the faith of a conqueror on your brow, with the irrevocable decision of the martyr in your heart; look neither to the right hand nor the left, but straight before you, and up to heaven. Of every object that meets you on the way, ask of yourself: ‘Is this just or unjust, true or false, law of man or law of God?’ Proclaim aloud the result of your examination, and act accordingly. Do not say to yourself: ‘If I speak and work in such a way, the princes of the earth will disagree; the Ambassadors will present notes and protests!’ What are the quarrels of selfishness in princes, or their notes, before a syllable of the eternal Evangelists of God? They have had importance till now, because, though phantoms, they had nothing to oppose them but phantoms; oppose to them the reality of a man who sees the Divine view, unknown to them, of human affairs, of an immortal soul conscious of a high mission, and these will vanish before you as vapors accumulated in darkness before the sun which rises in the east. Do not let yourself be affrighted by intrigues; the creature who fulfils a duty belongs not to men, but to God. God will protect you; God will spread round you such a halo of love, that neither the perfidy of men irreparably lost, nor the suggestions of hell, can break through it. Give to the world a spectacle new, unique: you will have results new, not to be foreseen by human calculation. Announce an era: declare that Humanity is sacred, and a daughter of God; that all who violate her rights to progress, to association, are on the way of error; that in God is the source of every government; that those who are best by intellect and heart, by genius and virtue, must be the guides of the people. Bless those who suffer and combat; blame, reprove, those who cause suffering, without regard to the name they bear, the rank that invests them. The people will adore in you the best interpreter of the Divine design, and your conscience will give you rest, strength, and ineffable comfort.

  “Unify Italy, your country. For this you have no need to work, but to bless Him who works through you and in your name. Gather round you those who best represent the national party. Do not beg alliances with princes. Continue to conquer the alliance of our own people; say, ‘The unity of Italy ought to be a fact of the nineteenth century,’ and it will suffice; we shall work for you. Leave our pens free; leave free the circulation of ideas in what regards this point, vital for us, of the national unity. Treat the Austrian government, even when it no longer menaces your territory, with the reserve of one who knows that it governs by usurpation in Italy and elsewhere; combat it with words of a just man, wherever it contrives oppressions and violations of the rights of others out of Italy. Require, in the name of the God of Peace, the Jesuits allied with Austria in Switzerland to withdraw from that country, where their presence prepares an inevitable and speedy effusion of the blood of the citizens. Give a word of sympathy which shall become public to the first Pole of Galicia who comes into your presence. Show us, in fine, by some fact, that you tend not only to improve the physical condition of your own few subjects, but that you embrace in your love the twenty-four millions of Italians, your brothers; that you believe them called by God to unity in family unity under one and the same compact; that you would bless the national banner wherever it should be raised by pure and incontaminate hands; and leave the rest to us. We will cause to rise around you a nation over whose free and popular development you, living, shall preside. We will found a government unique in Europe, which shall destroy the absurd divorce between spiritual and temporal power, and in which you shall be chosen to represent the principle of which the men chosen by the nation will make the application. We shall know how to translate into a potent fact the instinct which palpitates through all Italy. We will excite for you active support among the nations of Europe; we will find you friends even in the ranks of Austria; we alone, because we alone have the unity of design, believe in the truth of our principle, and have never betrayed it. Do not fear excesses from the people once entered upon this way; the people only commit excesses when left to their own impulses without any guide whom they respect. Do not pause before the idea of becoming a cause of war. War exists, everywhere, open or latent, but near breaking out, inevitable; nor can human power prevent it. Nor do I, it must be said frankly, Most Holy Father, address to you these words because I doubt in the least of our destiny, or because I believe you the sole, the indispensable means of the enterprise. The unity of Italy is work of God,—a part of the design of Providence and of all, even of those who show themselves most satisfied with local improvements, and who, less sincere than I, wish to make them means of attaining their own aims, it will be fulfilled, with you or without you. But I address you, because I believe you worthy to take the initiative in a work so vast; because your putting yourself at the head of it would much abridge the road and diminish the dangers, the injury, the blood; because with you the conflict would assume a religious aspect, and be freed from many dangers of reaction and civil errors; because might be attained at once under your banner a political result and a vast moral result; because the revival of Italy under the ægis of a religious idea, of a standard, not of rights, but of duties, would leave behind all the revolutions of other countries, and place her immediately at the head of European progress; because it is in your power to cause that God and the people, terms to often fatally disjoined, should meet at once in beautiful and holy harmony, to direct the fate of nations.

  “If I could be near you, I would invoke from God power to convince you, by gesture, by accent, by tears; now I can only confide to the paper the cold corpse, as it were, of my thought; nor can I ever have the certainty that you have read and meditated a moment what I write. But I feel an imperious necessity of fulfilling this duty toward Italy and you, and, whatsoever you may think of it, I shall find myself more in peace with my conscience for having thus addressed you.

  “Believe, Most Holy Father, in the feelings of veneration and of high hope which professors for you your most devoted


Whatever may be the impression of the reader as to the ideas and propositions contained in this document,* I think he cannot fail to be struck with its simple nobleness, its fervent truth.

  A thousand petty interruptions have prevented my completing this letter, till, now the hour of closing the mail for the steamer is so near, I shall not have time to look over it, either to see what I have written or make slight corrections. However, I suppose it represents the feelings of the last few days, and shows that, without having lost any of my confidence in the Italian movement, the office of the Pope in promoting it has shown narrower limits, and sooner than I had expected.

  This does not at all weaken my personal feeling toward this excellent man, whose heart I have seen in his face, and can never doubt. It was necessary to be a great thinker, a great genius, to compete with the difficulties of his position. I never supposed he was that; I am only disappointed that his good heart has not carried him on a little farther. With regard to the reception of the American address, it is only the Roman Press that is so timid; the private expressions of pleasure have been very warm; the Italians say: “The Americans are indeed our brothers.” It remains to be seen, when Pius IX. receives it, whether the man, the reforming prince, or the Pope is uppermost at that moment.

* This letter was printed in Paris to be circulated in Italy. A prefatory note, signed by a friend of Mazzini’s, states that the original was known to have reached the hands of the Pope. The hope is expressed that the publication of this letter, though without the authority of its writer, will yet not displease him, as those who are deceived as to his plans and motives will thus learn his true purposes and feelings, and the letter will one day aid the historian who seeks to know what were the opinions and hopes of the entire people of Italy.—ED.

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