Foreign Correspondence of The Tribune.[No. XXIV.
In closing my last, I hoped to have some decisive intelligence to impart by this time, as to the fortunes of Italy. But though everything, so far, turns in her favor, there has been no decisive battle, no final stroke. It pleases me much, as the news comes from day to day, that I passed so leisurely last Summer over that part of Lombardy, now occupied by the opposing forces, that I have in my mind the faces both of the Lombard and Austrian leaders. A number of the present members of the Provisional Government of Milan I knew while there; they are men of twenty-eight and thirty, much more advanced in thought than the Moderates of Rome, Naples, Tuscany, who are too much fettered by a bygone state of things, and not on a par in thought, knowledge, preparation for the great Future, with the rest of the civilized world at this moment. The papers that emanate from the Milanese Government are far superior in tone to any that have been uttered by the other States. Their protest in favor of their rights, their letters to the Germans at large and the countries under the dominion of Austria, are full of nobleness and thoughts sufficiently great for the use of the coming age. The latter I translate, thinking they may not in other form reach America.
We hail you as brothers, valiant, learned, generous Germans:
This salutation from a people just risen after a terrible struggle to self-consciousness and to the exercise of its rights ought deeply to move your magnanimous hearts.
We deem ourselves worthy to utter that great word, BROTHERHOOD, which effaces among nations the traditions of all ancient hate, and we proffer it over the new-made graves of our fellow-citizens who have fought and died to give us the right to proffer it without fear or shame.
We call brothers all nations who believe and hope in the improvement of the human family, and seek the occasion to further it—but you, especially, we call brothers; you Germans, with whom we have in common so many noble sympathies, the love of the arts and higher studies, the delight of noble contemplation, with whom also we have much correspondence in our civil destinies.
With you are of first importance the interests of the great country, Germany – with us those of the great country Italy.
We were induced to rise in arms against Austria, (we mean not the People but the Government of Austria,) not only by the need of redeeming ourselves from the shame and grief of thirty-one years of the most abject despotism, but by a deliberate resolve to take our place upon the plane of nations, to unite with our brothers of the Peninsula, and take rank with them under the great banner raised by Pius IX. on which is written, THE INDEPENDENCE OF ITALY.
Can you blame us, independent Germans? In blaming us, you would sink beneath your history, beneath your most honored and recent declarations.
We have chased the Austrian from our soil; we shall give ourselves no repose till we have chased him from all parts of Italy. To this enterprise we are all sworn; for this fights our army enrolled in every part of the Peninsula, an army of brothers led by the King of Sardinia, who prides himself on being the sword of Italy.
And the Austrian is not more our enemy than yours.
The Austrian—we speak still of the Government and not of the People – has always denied and contradicted the interests of the whole German nation at the head of an assemblage of races, differing in language, in customs, in institutions. When it was in his power to have corrected the errors of time and a dynastic policy, by assuming the high mission of uniting them by great moral interests, he preferred to arm one against the other and to corrupt them all.
Fearing every noble instinct, hostile to every grand idea, devoted to the material interests of an oligarchy of princes spoiled by a senseless education, of ministers who had sold their consciences, of speculators who subjected and sacrificed everything to gold, the only aim of such a Government was to sow division everywhere. —What wonder if everywhere in Italy as in Germany it reaps harvests of hate and ignominy. Yes, of hate! To this the Austrian has condemned us, to know hate and its deep sorrows. But we are absolved in the sight of God and by the insults which have been heaped upon us for so many years, the unwearied efforts to debase us, the destruction of our villages, the cold-blooded slaughter of our aged people, our priests, our women, our children. And you—you should be the first to absolve us, you, virtuous among the Germans, who certainly have shared our indignation when a venal and llying press accused us of being enemies of your great and generous nation, and we could not answer and were constrained to devour in silence the shame of an accusation which wounded us to the heart.
We honor you, Germans; we pant to give you glorious evidence of this. And, as a prelude to the friendly relations we hope to form with your Governments, we seek to alleviate as much as possible the pains of captivity to some officers and soldiers belonging to various States of the Germanic Confederation, who fought in the Austrian army. These we wish to send back to you, and are occupied by seeking the means to effect this purpose. We honor you so much that we believe you capable of preferring to the bonds of race and language the sacred titles of misfortune and of right.
Ah! an answer to our appeal, valiant, wise and generous Germans; clasp the hand which we offer you with the heart of a brother and friend; hasten to disavow every appearance of complicity with a Government which the massacres of Gallicia and Lombardy have blotted from the list of civilized and Christian Governments. —It would be a beautiful thing for you to give this example which will be new in history and worthy of these miraculous times, the example of a strong and generous people casting aside other sympathies, other interests, to answer the invitation of a regenerate people, to cheer it in its new career, obedient to the great principles of Justice, of Humanity, of Civil and Christian Brotherhood.
From your lands have come three armies which have brought war into ours; your speech is spoken by those hostile bands who come to us with fire and sword; nevertheless we come to you as to brothers.
The war which we combat is not your war; you are not our enemies; you are only instruments in the hand of our foe, and this foe, brothers, is common to us all.
Before God, before men, solemnly we declare it; our only enemy is the Government of Austria.
And that Government, which for so many years has labored to cancel, in the races it has subdued, every vestige of nationality, which takes no heed of their wants or prayers, bent only on serving miserable interests and more miserable pride, fermenting always antipathies comformably with the ancient maxim of tyrants, divie and govern, this Government has constituted itself the adversary of every generous thought, the ally and patron of all ignoble causes, the Government declared by the whole civilized world paymaster of the executioners of Gallicia.
This Government, after having partinaciously resisted the legal expression of moderate desires—after having defied with ludicrous hauteur the opinion of Europe has found itself in its metropolis too weak to resist an insurrection of students, and has yielded—has yielded, making an assignment on time, and throwing you, brothers, as an alms gift to the importune beggar, the promise of institutions which, in these days, are held essential conditions of life for a civilized nation.
But you have not confided in this promise; for the youth of Vienna, which feels the inspiring breath of this miraculous time, is impelled on the path of progress; and therefore the Austrian Government, uncertain of itself and of your dispositions, took its old part of standing still to wait for events in the hope of turning them to its own profit.
In the midst of this it received the news of our glorious Revolution, and it thought to have found in this the best way to escape from its embarrassment. First it concealed that news; then made them known piece-meal and disfigured by hypocrisy and hatred. We were a handful of rebels thirsting for German blood. —We make a war of stilettos, we wish the destruction of all Germany. But for us answers the admiration of all Italy, of all Europe, even the evidence of your own people whom we are constrained to hold prisoners or hostages, who will unanimously avow that we have shown heroic courage in the fight, heroic moderation in victory.
Yes! we have risen as one man against the Austrian Government to become again a nation, to make common cause with our Italian brothers, and the arms which we have assumed for so great an object we shall not lay down till we have attained it. Assailed by a brutal executor of brutal orders, we have combatted in a just war; betrayed, a price set on our heads, wounded in the most vital parts, we have not transgressed the bounds of legitimate defence. The murders, the depredations of the hostile band, irritated against us by most wicked arts, have excited our horror, but never a reprisal. The soldier, his arms once laid down, was for us only an unfortunate.
But behold how the Austrian Government provokes you against us and bids you come against us as a crusade; a crusade! The parody would be ludicrous if it were not so cruel. A crusade against a people which, in the name of Christ, under a banner blessed by the Vicar of Christ and revered by all the nations, fights to secure its indefensible rights.
Oh! if you form against us this crusade, —we have already shown the world what a people can do to conquer its liberty, its independence; we will show, also, what it can do to preserve them. If, almost unarmed we have put to flight an army insured to war, (surely, brothers, that army wanted faith in the cause for which it fought,) can we fear that our courage will grow faint after our triumph and when aided by all our brothers of Italy? Let the Austrian Government send against us its threatened battalions, they will find in our breasts a barrier more insuperable than the Alps. Everything will be a weapon to us; from every villa, from every field, from every hedge will issue defenders of the national cause; women and children will fight like men; men will centuple their strength, their courage; and we will all perish amid the ruins of our city, before receiving a foreign rule into this land which at last we call ours.
But this must not be, you, our brothers, must not permit it to be; your honor, your interests do not permit it. Will you fight in a cause which you must feel to be absurd and wicked? You sink to the condition of hirelings and do you not believe that the Austrian Government, should it conquer us and Italy, would turn against you the arms you had furnished for the conquest? Do you not believe it would act as after the struggle with Napoleon? And are you not terrified by the idea of finding yourself in conflict with all civilized Europe, and constrained to receive, to feats as your ally, the Autocrat of Russia, that perpetual terror to the improvement and independence of Europe. It is not possible for the house of Lorraine to forget its traditions; it is not possible that it should resign itself to live tranquil in the atmosphere of Liberty. You can only constrain it by sustaining yourself, with the Germanic and Selavonian nationalities, and with this Italy, which longs only to see the nations harmonize with that resolve which she has finally taken that she may never more be torn in pieces.
Think of us, brothers; this is for you and for us, a question of life and of death; it is a question on which depends, perhaps the peace of Europe.
For ourselves, we have already weighed the chances of the struggle, and subordinated them all to this final resolution, that we will be free and independent with our brothers of Italy.
We hope that our words will induce you to calm counsels; if not, you will find us on the field of battle generous and loyal enemies, as now we profess ourselves your generous and loyal brothers.
CASATI, President, BORROMEO
DURINI, P. LITTA,
RESSONICO, AD. ANELLI,
CARBONERA, CORRENTI, Sec. Gen.
These are the names of men whose hearts glow with that generous ardor the noble product of difficult times. Into their hearts flows wisdom from on high—thoughts great, generous, brotherly. They may not all remain true to this high vocation, but, at any rate, they will have lived a period of true life. I knew some of these men when in Lombardy, of old aristocratic families, with all the refinement of inheritance and education; they are thoroughly pervaded by principles of a genuine Democracy of brotherhood and justice. In the flower of their age, they have before them a long career of the noblest usefulness, if this era follows up its present promise, and they are faithful to their present creed, and ready to improve and extend it.
Every day produces these remarkable documents. So many years as we have been suffocated and poisoned by the atmosphere of falsehood in official papers, how refreshing is the tone of noble sentiment in Lamartine! What a real wisdom and pure dignity in the letter of Beranger! He was always absolutely true; an oasis in the pestilential desert of Humbug; but the present time allowed him a fine occasion.
The Poles have also made noble manifestations. Their great poet, Adam Mickiewicz, has been here to enroll the Italian Poles, publish the declaration of faith in which they hope to reenter and reestablish their country, and receive the Pope’s benediction on their banner.
In their declaration of faith are found these three articles:
“Every one of the nation a citizen—every citizen equal in rights and before authority.
“To Israel, our elder brother, respect, brotherhood, aid on the way to his eternal and terrestrial good, entire equality in political and civil rights.
“To the companion of life, Woman, brotherhood, citizenship, entire equality of rights.”
This last expression of just thought the Poles ought to initiate, for what other nation has had such truly heroic women? Women indeed—not children, servants or playthings.
Mickiewicz, with the squadron that accompanied him from Rome, was received with the greatest enthusiasm at Florence. Deputations from the Clubs and journals went to his hotel and escorted him to the Piazza del Gran Duca, where, amid an immense concourse of people, some good speeches were made. A Florentine, with a generous forgetfulness of national vanity, addressed him as the “Dante of Poland, who, more fortunate than the great bard and seer of Italy, was likely to return to his country to reap the harvest of the seed he had sown.”
“O, Dante of Poland! who, like our Alighieri, hast received from Heaven sovereign genius, divine song—but from earth sufferings and exile; more happy than our Alighieri, thou hast reacquired a country; already thou art meditating on the sacred harp the patriotic hymn of restoration and of victory. The Pilgrims of Poland are become the warriors of their nation.
“Long live Poland and the brotherhood of nations!”
When this address was finished, the great Poet appeared on the balcony to answer. The people received him with a tumult of applause, followed by a profound silence, as they anxiously awaited his voice, which began as follows: (Those who are acquainted with the powerful eloquence, the magnetism of Mickiewicz as an orator, will not be surprised at the effect produced by this speech, though delivered in a foreign language. It is the force of truth, the great vitality of his presence, that loads his words with such electric power.)
PEOPLE OF TUSCANY! Friends! Brothers! We receive your shouts of sympathy in the name of Poland, not for us, but for our country. Our country, though distant, claims from you this sympathy by its long martyrdom. The glory of Poland, its only glory, truly Christian, is to have suffered more than all the nations, in other countries the goodness, the generosity of heart of some sovereigns protected the people; as your has enjoyed the dawn of the era now coming, under the protection of your excellent Prince. [Viva Leopold II.!] But conquered Poland, slave and victim of sovereigns who were her sworn enemies and executioners; Poland, abandoned by the Governments and the Nations, lay in agony on her solitary Golgotha. She was believed slain, dead, buried. “We have slain her,” shouted the despots, “she is dead!” [No, no; long live Poland!] The dead cannot rise again, replied the diplomatists; we may now be tranquil. [A universal shudder of feeling in the crowd.] There came a moment in which the world doubted of the Mercy and Justice of the Omnipotent. There was a moment in which the nations thought that the Earth might be forever abandoned by God, and condemned to the rule of the Demon, its ancient lord. The nations forgot that Jesus Christ came down from Heaven to give Liberty and Peace to the Earth. The nations had forgotten all this. But God is just. The voice of Piux IX. roused Italy. [Long live Piux IX.!] The people of Paris has driven out the great traitor against the cause of the Nations. [Bravo! Viva the people of Paris!] Very soon will be heard the voice of Poland; Poland will rise again! [Yes, yes, Poland will rise again!] Poland will call to life all the Selavonic races; the Croats, the Dalmatians, the Bohemians, the Moravians, the Illyrians. These will form the bulwark against the tyrant of the North. [Great applause.] They will close forever the way against the Barbarians of the North—destroyers of Liberty and Civilization. Poland is called to do more yet; Poland, as crucified nation, is risen again and called to serve her sister nations. The will of God is that Christianity should become in Poland, and through Poland elsewhere, no more a dead letter of the law, but the living law of States and civil associations. [Great applause.] That Christianity should be manifested by acts, the sacrifices of generosity and of liberality. This Christianity is not new to you, Florentines, your ancient Republic know and has acted from it; it is time that the same spirit make to itself a larger sphere. The will of God is that the nations should act toward one another as neighbors, as brothers, [a tumult of applause;] and you, Tuscans, have to-day done an act of Christian brotherhood. Receiving thus foreign, unknown pilgrims, who go to defy the greatest powers of the earth, you have in us saluted only what is in us of spiritual and immortal—our Faith and our Patriotism. [Applause.] We thank you, and we will now go into the church to thank God.”
“All the people then followed the Poles to the Church of Santa Croce, where was sung the Benediction Dominus, and amid the memorials of the greatness of Italy collected in that temple, was forged more strongly in the chain of sympathy, and of union, between two nations, sisters in misfortune and in glory.”
This speech and its reception, literally translated from the journal of the day, show how pleasant it is on great occasions to be brought in contact with this people, so full of natural eloquence and of lively sensibility to what is great and beautiful
It is a glorious time, for the exiles who return and reap even a momentary fruit of their long sorrows. Mazzini, too has been able to return from his seventeen years’ exile, when there was no hour, night or day, that the thought of Italy was banished from his heart–no possible effort that he did not make to achieve the emancipation of his people, and with it the progress of mankind. He returns, like Wordsworth’s great man “to see what he foresaw.” He will see his predictions accomplishing yet for a long time, for Mazzini has a mind far in advance of his times in general and his nature in particular—a mind that will be best revered and understood when the “illustrious Gioberti” shall be remembered as a pompous verbose charlatan, with just talent enough to catch the echo from the advancing wave of his day, but without any true sight of the wants of man at this epoch. And yet Mazzini see not all; he aims at political emancipation; but he sees not, perhaps would deny, the bearing of some events, which even now begin to work their way. Of this more anon, but not to-day nor in the small print of The Tribune. Suffice it to say, I allude to that of which the cry of Communism, the systems of Fourier, &c. are but forerunners. Mazzini sees already—at Milan, where he is, he has probably this day received the intelligence of the accomplishment of his foresight, implied in his letter to the Pope, which angered Italy by what was thought its tone of irreverence and doubt some six months since.
To-day is the 7th May, for I had thrown aside this letter, begun the 19th April, from a sense that there was something coming that would supersede what was then, to say. This something has appeared in a form that will cause deep sadness to good hearts everywhere. Good and loving hearts that long for a human form which they can revere, will be unprepared and for a time must suffer much from the final direliction of Piux IX. to the cause of Freedom, Progress, and of War. He was a fair image, and men went nigh to idolize it; this they can do no more though they may be able to find the excuse for his feebleness, love his good heart no less than before, and draw instruction from the causes that have produced his failure, more valuable than his success would have been.
Pius IX. no one can doubt, who has looked on him, has a good and pure heart; but it needed also not only a strong but a great mind—
Keep faithful with a singleness of aim.”
A highly esteemed friend in the United States wrote to express his distaste at some observations in a letter of mine to The Tribune on first seeing the Pontiff a year ago, observing “To say that he had not the expression of great intellect was uncalled for.” Alas! far from it; it was an observation that rose inevitably on knowing something of the task before Piux IX. and the hopes he had excited. The problem he had to solve was one of such difficulty that only one of those minds, the rare product of ages for the redemption of mankind, could be equal to its solution; the question that inevitably rose on seeing was, “Is he such an one?” The answer was immediately negative. But at the same time, he had such an aspect of true benevolence and piety that a hope arose that Heaven would act through him and impel him to measures wise beyond his knowledge.
This hope was confirmed by the calmness he showed at the time of the conspiracy of July and the occupation of Ferrara by the Austrians. Tales were told of simple wisdom, of instinct which he obeyed in opposition to the counsels of all his Cardinals. Everything went on well for a time.
But tokens of indubitable weakness were shown by the Pope in early acts of the Winter, in the removal of a censor from the suggestion of others, in his speech to the Consistory, in his answer to the first address of the Council. In these he declared that, when there was conflict between the priest and the man, he always meant to be the priest, and that he preferred the wisdom of the Past to that of the Future.
Still, times went on bending his predeterminations to the call of the moment. He acted wiselier than he intended, as for instance, three weeks after declaring he would not give a constitution to his people he gave it; a sop to Cerberus indeed, a poor vamped-up thing that will by-and-by have to give place to something more legitimate, but which served its purpose at the time as declaration of rights for the people. When the news of the Revolution of Vienna arrived, the Pope himself cried Viva Pio IX. and this ebullition of truth in one so humble, though opposed to his formal declarations, was received by his people with that immediate assent which truth commands.
The Revolution of Lombardy followed. The troops of the line were sent to that portion; the volunteers rushed to accompany them. In the streets of Rome was read the proclamation of Charles Albert in which he styles himself the servant of Italy and of Pius IX. The priests preached the war, and justly, as a crusade; the Pope blessed their banners. Nobody dreamed, or had cause to dream, that these movements had not his full sympathy, and his name was in every form invoked as the chosen instrument of God to inspire Italy to throw off the oppressive yolk of the foreigner and recover her rights in the civilized world.
At the same time, however, the Pope was seen to act with great blindness in the affair of the Jesuits. The other States of Italy drove them out by main force, resolved not to number in the midst of a war a foe and spy in the camp. Rome wished to do the same, but the Pope rose in their defence. He talked as if they were assailed as a religious body, when he could not fail, like everybody else, to be aware that they were dreaded and hated solely as agents of despotism. He demanded they should be assailed only by legal means, when none such were available. The end was in half measures, always the worst possible. He would not entirely yield, and the People would not at all. The Order was ostensibly dissolved; but great part of the Jesuits really remain here in disguise, a constant source of irritation and mischief, which, if still greater difficulties had not arisen, would of itself have created enough. Meanwhile, in the earnestness of the clergy about the pretended loss of the head of St. Andrew, in the ceremonies of the holy week, which at this juncture excited no real interest, was much matter for thought to the calm observer as to the restlessness of the new wine, the old bottles being heard to crack on every side and hour by hour.
Thus went on from day to day affairs; the Pope kissing the foot of the brazen Jupiter and blessing palms of straw at St. Peter’s; the Cirealo Romano erecting itself into a kind of Jacobin Club, dictation programmes for an Italian Dict. General, and choosing committees to provide for the expenses of the war. The Civic Guard arresting people who tried to make mobs as if famishing, and being searched were found well provided both with arms and money; the Ministry at their wits’ end, with their trunks packed up ready to be off at a moment’s warning, when the report, it is not yet know whether true or false, that one of the Roman Civic Guard, a well known artist engaged in the war of Lombardy, had been taken a hung by the Austrians as a brigand, roused the people to a sense of the positions of their friends, and they went to the Pope to demand that he should take a decisive stand and declare war against the Austrians.
The Pope summoned a consistory; the people waited anxiously, for expressions of his were reported as if the troops ought not to have thought of leaving the frontier, while every man, woman and child in Rome knew, and every letter and bulletin declared, that all their thought was to render active aid to the cause of Italian independence. This anxious doubt, however, had not prepared at all for the excess to which they were to be disappointed.
The speech of the Pope declared that he had never any thought of the great results that had followed his actions; that he had only intended local reforms, such has had previously been suggested by the potentate of Europe; that he regretted the misuse that had been made of his name; and wound up by lamenting over the war—dear to every Italian heart as the best and holiest cause in which for ages they had been called to embark their hopes – as if it was something offensive to the spirit of religion, and which he would fain see hushed up, and its motives smoothed out and ironed over.
A momentary stupefaction received this astounding performance, succeeded by a passion of indignation, in which the words traitor and imbecile were associated with the name that had been so dear to his people. This again yielded to a settled grief; they felt that he was betrayed but no traitor; timid and weak, but still a sovereign they had adored, and a man who had brought them much good, which could not be quite destroyed by his wishing to disown it. Even of this they had no time to stop and think; the necessity was too imminent of obviating the worst consequences of this ill; and the first thought was to prevent the news leaving Rome to dishearten the Provinces and Army before they had tried to induce the Pontiff to wiser resolves, or, if this could not be, to supersede his power.
I cannot repress my admiration at the gentleness, clearness and good sense with which the Roman people acted under these most difficult circumstances. It was astonishing to see the clear understanding which animated the crowd as one man, and the decision with which they acted to effect their purpose. Wonderfully has this people been developed within a year!
The Pope, besieged by deputations, who mildly but firmly showed him that if he persisted the temporal power must be placed in other hands, his ears filled with the reports of Cardinals, “such venerable persons,” as he pathetically styles them, would not yield in spirit, though compelled to in act. After two days’ struggle he was obliged to place the power in the hands of the persons most opposed to him, and nominally acquiesce in their proceedings, while in his second Proclamation, very touching from the sweetness of its tone, he shows a fixed misintelligence of the cause at issue, which leaves no hope of his ever again being more than a name of an effigy in their affairs.
His people were much affected and entirely laid aside their anger, but they would not be blinded as to the truth. While gladly returning to their accustomed habits of affectionate homage toward the Pontiff, their unanimous sense and resolve is thus expressed in an able pamphlet of the day, such as in every respect would have been deemed impossible to the Rome of 1847:
“From the last allocution of Pius result two facts of extreme gravity. The entire separation between the spiritual and temporal power and the express refusal of the Pontiff to be Chief of an Italian Republic. But far from drawing hence reason for discouragement and grief, who looks well at the destiny of Italy may bless Providence which breaks or changes the instrument when the work is completed, and by secret and inscrutable ways conducts us to the fulfillment of our desires and of our hopes.
“If Pius IX. refuses, not therefore has the Italian people renounced. Nothing remains to the free people of Italy except to unite in one Constitutional Kingdom, founded on the largest basis, and if the chief who, by our Assemblies, shall be called to the highest honor, either declines or does not answer worthily, the people will take care of itself.
“Italians? down with all emblems of private and partial interest. Let us unite under one single banner, the tricolor, and if he who has carried it bravely thus far lets it fall from his hand, we will take it one from the other, twenty-four millions of us, and, till the last of us shall have perished on the banner of our redemption, the stranger shall not return into Italy.
“Via Italy! Viva the Italian people!”*
These events make indeed a crisis. The work began by Napolean is finished. There will never more be really a Pope, but only the effigy or simulacrum of one.
The loss of Piux IX. is for the moment a great one. His name had real moral weight; was a trumpet appeal to sentiment. It is not the same with any man that is left. There is not one that can be truly a leader in the Roman Dominion, not one who has even great intellectual weight.
The responsibility of events now lies wholly with the People and that wave of Thought which has begun to pervade them. Sovereigns and Statesmen will go where they are carried; it is probable influence will be changed continually from hand to hand, and Government become to all intents and purposes, representative. Italy needs now quite to throw out her stupid King of Naples, who hangs like a dead weight on her movements. The King of Sardinia and the Grand Duke of Tuscany will be trusted while they keep their present course; but who can feel sure of any sovereign now that Louis Philippe has shown himself so mad and Pius IX. so blind? It seems as if Fate was at work to bewilder and cast down the dignities of the world and democatrize Society at a blow.
In Rome there is now no anchor except the good sense of the people. It seems thus impossible that collision should not arise between him who retains the name but not the place of Sovereign and the Provisional Government which calls itself a Ministry. The Count Mamiami, its new head, is a man of reputation as a writer, but untried as yet as a leader or a statesman. Should agitations arise, the Pope can no longer calm them by one of his fatherly looks.
All lies in the Future; and our best hope must be that the Power which has begun so great a work will find due means to end it, and make the year 1850 a year of true jubilee to Italy; a year not merely of pomps and tributes, but of recognized rights and intelligent joys; a year of real peace; peace, founded not in compromise and the lying etiquettes of diplomacy, but on Truth and Justice.
Then this sad disappointment in Pius IX. may not be forgotten, or while all that was lovely and generous in his life is prized and reverenced, may be drawn from his errors deep instruction as to the inevitable dangers of a priestly or princely environment, and a higher knowledge may elevate a nobler commonwealth than the world has yet known.
Hoping this era, I remain at present here. —Should my hopes be dashed to the ground, it will not change my faith, but the struggle for its manifestation is to me of vital interest. My friends write to urge my return; they talk of our country as the land of the Future. It is so, but that spirit which made it all it is of value in my eyes, which gave all of hope with which I can sympathize for that Future, is more alive here at present than in America. My country is at present spoiled by prosperity, stupid with the lust of gain, soiled by crime in its willing perpetuation of Slavery, shamed by an unjust war, noble sentiment much forgotten even by individuals, the aims of politicians selfish or petty, the literature frivolous and venal. In Europe, amid the teachings of adversity a nobler spirit is struggling—a spirit which cheers and animates mine. I hear earnest words of pure faith and love. I see deeds of brotherhood. This is what makes my America. I do not deeply distrust my country. She is not dead, but in my time she sleepeth, and the spirit of our fathers flames no more, but lies hid beneath the ashes. It will not be so long; bodies cannot live when the soul gets too overgrown with gluttony and falsehood. But it is not the making a President out of the Mexican War that would make me wish to come back. Here things are before my eyes worth recording, and, if I cannot help this work, I would gladly be its historian.
Returning from a little tour in the Alban Mount, where everything looks so glorious this glorious Spring, I find a temporary quiet. The Pope’s brothers have come to sympathize with him, the crowd sighs over what he has done, presents him with great bouquets of flowers and reads anxiously the news from the North and the proclamations of the new Ministry. Meanwhile the nightingales sing, every tree and plant is in flower, and the sun and moon shine as if Paradise were already reestablished on earth. I go to one of the villas to dream it is so, beneath the pale light of a *
“Things and Thoughts in Europe.” New-York Daily Tribune, 15 June 1848, p. 1.
* Close of “A Comment by Pio Angelo Fierortino on the Allocution of Pius IX. spoken in the Secret Consistory of 29th April, 1849, dated Italy, 30th April, 1st year of the Redemption of Italy.”