Page images

Legate of Ravenna, sentenced 508 individuals,—7 to death, 13 to perpetual imprisonment and hard labour, 16 to the same punishment for twenty years, 4 for fifteen years, 16 for ten years, 3 for seven years, and so on. Two hundred were placed under surveillance, and subjected to the precetto politico of the first order. Those subjected to this preceto are bound not to quit the place of residence assigned them, to retire to their houses at nightfall, to present themselves every fortnight before the inspector of police, to prove to the satisfaction of the police that they have confessed once a month, and, for three days in every year, to go through certain spiritual exercises in a convent pointed out by the bishop.

During the pontificates of Pius VIII. and Gregory XVI., the same system of injustice and tyranny was pursued in the Legations, and the discontent and misery of the inhabitants more than once broke out in partial disturbances, which were promptly and bloodily repressed, either by the papal soldiers or by Austrian troops who came to their assistance.* In 1831, the Austrians occupied Romagna for five months; and, in 1832 and subsequently, for seven years, exhausting the resources of the country, and oppressing, torturing, and murdering the inhabitants. Military commissions superseded the courts of justice, and exceptional tribunals sat permanently, not to administer law, but as instruments of the vengeance of a foreign despotism. In 1831, the melancholy state of the Legations excited the attention and compassion of Europe; and, on the 10th May of that year, the representatives of the five great Powers addressed a memorandum to the Papal Government, strongly insisting upon the necessity of reform, and advising that concessions should be made, not only to the provinces in a state of disaffection, but to those also which had remained quiet. They further suggested the propriety of admitting laymen to administrative and judicial offices, of reforming the courts of judicature and the management of the finances, and of allowing the people to elect municipal councils, who should nominate provincial councils, by whom, in their turn, a supreme court should be elected, having its seat at Rome, and charged with the administration of the civil; military, and financial affairs of the whole country. In spite of this remonstrance, however, the Papal Government remained—as it has ever been incapable of improvement; resolved to stifle every manifestation of liberalism, and blindly determined to grant no reforms. In 1832, in reply to a deputation of citizens of the Legations, who had come to Rome to petition for a reform, a body of troops, chiefly composed of banditti, were collected by Cardinal Albani and let loose upon the Legations, where they sacked Cesena, and, at Forli, massacred a number of old men, women, and children. In that year also, the sect of the sanfedisti, a body of men drawn from the lowest ranks of society, and ready to lend themselves to any iniquity, was established in the Legations. They wore a uniform, and had the title of “Papal Volunteers.” Their special duty was to oppress, maltreat, and terrify the liberal party in every possible way; and the number of outrages and assassinations perpetrated by them, in the discharge of their infamous functions, must be counted by hundreds. They were assured of impunity, or at least of the slightest possible punishment, for every crime they might commit; for Cardinal Bernetti, the secretary of state, wrote a circular letter to the presidents of tribunals in the Legations, ordering that, whenever a person of known or suspected liberal opinions should be brought before them charged with any offence, the maximum penalty should be enforced against him ; but that when one of the Sanfedisti was convicted, the minimum punishment should be awarded.

* The second paragraph of the eloquent Manifesto, addressed, in 1845, by the inhabitants of the Roman States, to the Princes and Nations of Europe, contains a graphic description of their sufferings at this time.

In 1845, the people of the Roman States, trodden down, impoverished, miserable, under the hopeless tyranny of their clerical rulers, addressed a manifesto to the princes and people of Europe, -a remarkable document, clear and eloquent, but, at the same time, most temperate in its tone-in which they recount their grievances and sufferings, and set forth the reforms they consider necessary. We regret that our limits prevent us from translating this manifesto, which contains, in its simple, graphic narrative, a complete answer to the case which the Comte de Montalembert strives to make out in favour of the Papal Government. We regret to see such a champion buckling on his armour in so bad a cause; and our chief object in the present article is to show that, so far from the Legations having, as he asserts, no cause for throwing off the papal yoke, the whole conduct of the Roman See, from 1815 down to 1859, has furnished them with a cause and a justification, as strong and as complete as any oppressed nationality ever possessed. We translate the concluding portion of the manifesto, as it shows the excellent spirit of those who drew it up, and the moderate reforms which would then have been sufficient to make them attached and obedient subjects of the Holy See :“We venerate the Catholic hierarchy, and we wish the Roman clergy to consider Catholicism in its true and sublime essence, and not from the paltry and miserable point of view of an intolerant sect. In order to prevent our wishes from being interpreted in a manner to be regretted, either now or hereafter, either in Italy or abroad, we proclaim, loudly and without restriction, the sovereignty of the Pope, chief of the universal church. But to obey him as temporal sovereign, we demand : Ist, That he shall concede a full and general amnesty to all condemned for political offences from the year 1821 down to the present day. 2nd. That he shall give civil and criminal codes upon the model of those of the other. nanons of Europe codes sanctioning the publicity of debate, the institution of trial by jury, and the abolition of confiscation. 3rd. That the tribunal of the holy office and ecclesiastical tribunals shall exercise no jurisdiction over laymen. 4th. That political causes shall be henceforth tried by the ordinary tribunals, judging in the ordinary forms. 5th. That the municipal councils shall be freely elected by the citizens, and approved by the sovereign ; that the latter shall choose the provincial councils from among triple lists presented by the municipal councils, and that he shall nominate the supreme Council of State from among those who shall have been proposed by the provincial assemblies. 6th. That the supreme Council of State shall preside at Rome, and have the superintendence of the public debt. 7th. That all employments and civil dignities, military and judicial, shall be reserved for laymen. 8th. That the public instruction shall be taken away from the exclusive authority of the clergy. 9th. That the preventive censorship of the press shall be restricted within the limits necessary to prevent injuries against the Catholic religion, against the sovereign, and against the private life of citizens. 10th. That the foreign troops shall be disbanded. 11th. That a civic militia shall be instituted, to which shall be entrusted the maintenance of public order and the defence of the laws. 12th. Finally, that the Government shall enter upon the path of those social ameliorations which are called for by the spirit of the age, and for which there is the example of all civilized governments. We shall throw down our arms, and be peaceable and obedient subjects, if the Government, under the guarantee of the great Powers, does justice to our legitimate remonstrances. The blood spilt will fall not upon us, but upon those who shall have repelled our efforts at conciliation; and, if they judge us unfavourably, the infallible and eternal Judge will absolve us in his infinite wisdom and justice. To God, to the Sovereign Pontiff, and to the Princes of Europe we recommend our cause, with all the earnestness of an oppressed nation. We entreat, we implore the princes not to attempt to compel us to show, that when a people is abandoned by all and reduced to the last extremity, they know how to find their safety in their despair."

This manifesto, this outpouring of a nation's heart, bursting forth from the depth of their misery and oppression, produced but

gain. That the hall be order and tell enter up the spi

and for which ations which ant shall enter use of the lawsusted the

little effect: at the death of Pope Gregory XVI. the prisons of the Roman States were crowded with political victims, and the discontent and disaffection of the people had reached such a height, that even the College of Cardinals could not disregard it. They dreaded a revolt; and, accordingly, determined to elect as Pope, Cardinal Maria Mastei Ferretti, who was distinguished by the mildness of his character and the purity of his life. This pontiff —since so well known as Pius IX.—succeeded to the Holy See in 1846; and, forgetful of all history, attempted to temporize and steer a middle course, by granting some reforms, but yet at the same time maintaining the absolute power of the Papacy. One of his first acts was to publish an amnesty, to open the prisons, and recall the exiles. His subjects, accustomed to tyranny, were in transports; and, for a time, believed that a Pope might be a true friend to liberty. But Pius went even further in the path of reform-relaxing the restrictions on the press, extending municipal institutions, and admitting laymen to the higher offices of the magistracy. A Council of Ministers was formed, of which, with the exception of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Public Instruction, all the members were laymen ; and a constitution, under the name of Statuto, was granted to the Roman people. This Statuto created two Councils of State—a High Council, and a Council of Deputies; but it forbad them to interfere, in any way, with what were called affari misti, or matters in whieh any of the rights or privileges of the Church were involved; and, though it permitted them to propose laws, it, at the same time, subjected them to the supremacy of the College of Cardinals, who had an absolute right to veto any law so proposed. The Statuto, therefore, gave the mere semblance of freedom without the reality. It still left absolute temporal power in the hands of the Church ; it attempted to revive the tree by lopping off some withered branches, instead of extirpating the cankerworm that gnawed at its root. Such as it was, however, it was hailed with acclamations by the Romans, who had wanted freedom so long, that they were ready to embrace her very shadow. Soon afterwards followed the revolution of 1848-49; the refusal of Pius to allow the Roman troops to march against the Austrians ; his flight from Rome; the proclamation of the Roman republic; the defeat of the patriotic Italians; the Pope's refusal to owe his restoration to Sardinian interference; his calling to his aid the foreign arms of Austria, Spain, and France ; and the capture of Rome by the French, by whom Pius was at last replaced on the throne of the country he had deluded, abandoned, and betrayed.

During this eventful period, the Legations suffered both from papal misgovernment and from Austrian intervention. Bologna and Ancona, after a gallant resistance, were forced to surrender, and the whole of the country was occupied by an overwhelming Austrian forve. On the restoration of Pius, he returned to the traditional and immemorial policy of the Papacy; restored the Inquisition, placed all political power in the hands of the clergy, fettered the press, increased the taxes,* scouted all liberal ideas, and shut his ears to all petitions for reform. Ever since his restoration, also, until quite recently, the heavy hand of Austria in the Legations has kept down every symptom of disaffection, and stifled every aspiration after liberty. Hundreds of the best citizens have been shot, flogged, or imprisoned, and the rigours of a military despotism have been added to the narrow fanaticism of a purely clerical government. Who then can wonder at, or who dare blame these long-suffering and deeply-injured inhabitants of the Legations, that, when they heard the heart-stirring proclamation issued at Milan on the 8th of June last, calling on all Italians to rise and assert their national independence, they should be the first to rush to arms, to overthrow that papal tyranny which they had so much reason to despise and to detest ? Four days after the date of that proclamation, they had risen against their oppressors, and declared, as one man, their resolution to become the subjects of the gallant and constitutional king of Sardinia. Since then, they have succeeded in entirely emancipating themselves from the papal yoke; have created a provisional government, convoked a sovereign assembly, and voted—as well they might—that the Pope had forfeited his right to rule over them, and that they should annex themselves to Sardinia. They have also turned their attention to reviving the fame of the once famous University of Bologna, and have organized an army, directed by Sardinian officers, and commanded by Garibaldi, whose name has now become the pride and the watchword of Italian freedom.[

Unfortunately, the jealous policy of the French emperor-who would probably be sorry to see the King of Sardinia at the head of the Milanese, of Tuscany, Parma, Modena, and the Legations that is to say, at the head of a really strong and united kingdom of Italy with 12,000,000 of inhabitants—has prevented Victor Emmanuel from accepting the proffered allegiance of the Lega

• During his reign the taxes in the Legations became intolerable; the budget of Bologna was more than doubled between 1846 and 1858.

+ Since this was written, we have seen it announced-fatal omen for the cause of Italian liberty-that this true and gallant patriot has resigned his command, and is to retire into private life. Has he experienced the proverbial ingratitude of princes, or the fickleness of popular favour? Does he despair of the cause for which he has fought so nobly, or does he only bide his time? We know not; but we deeply regret that the sword of such a champion should rust in its scabbard while war is imminent, and victory still distant and doubtful.

« PreviousContinue »