"We, the undersigned, deeply grieved by the publication of various libels which, emanating from the revolutionary press, tend to make the world believe that the people subject to the authority of your Holiness are wishing to shake off the yoke which, as it is reported, has become insufferable, feel necessitated to show fidelity and loyalty to your Holiness, and to make known to the rest of Europe, which, at the present moment, doubts the sincerity of our words, the fidelity of our persons towards your Holiness, by a manifestation of attachment and fidelity towards your person, proceeding from our duty as Catholics, and from our lawful submission as your subjects.
"It is not, however, our intention to vie with the miserable cunning of your enemies—enemies of the faith—of that very faith which they profess to venerate. But placed, as it is our fortune, by your side, and seeing the malignity of those who attack you, and the disloyal character of their attacks, we feel bound to gather ourselves at the foot of your twofold throne, with vows for the integrity of your independent sovereignty; and once more offering you our whole selves, too happy if this manifestation of our fidelity may sweeten the bitterness with which your Holiness is afflicted, and if you are pleased to accept our offerings. Thus may Europe, deceived by so many perverse writings, be thoroughly convinced that if the nobility have hitherto been restrained from the expression of their desires by respect and the fear of throwing any obstacle in the way of a happy solution, so anxiously desired, they have not the less retained them, and expressed them as individuals; and that they, this day, unite to declare them, heartily and sincerely pledging to them before all the world their honor and their faith.
"Accept, Holy Father, Pontiff and King, this energetic protest and the unlimited devotedness which the nobles of Rome offer in reverence to your Sceptre, no less than to your Pastoral staff."—(In the Weekly Register of January 28, 1860, from the Giornale di Roma.)
The like loyal and patriotic feeling was manifested throughout all the cities and provinces of the Papal States. One of the most eminent of liberal British statesmen, the Marquis of Normanby, bears witness to the fact that very few of the citizens of Bologna could be compelled, even at the point of the sword, to express adherence to the revolution. A portion of the periodical press labored to keep such facts as these out of view. But they would have required better evidence than they were ever able to produce in order to convince reasonable and reflecting men that people, blessed with so great a degree of material prosperity as the subjects of the Pope and the other Princes of Italy, were anxious to see radical changes introduced into the governments under which they were so favored. That they were highly prosperous and but slightly taxed, many distinguished travellers, members of both houses of the British parliament, and others bear witness. None will question the evidence of these facts which are known on the authority of such men as the Marquis of Normanby and his Excellency the Earl of Carlisle. The Hon. Mr. Pope Hennessey stated in the House of Commons: "That the national prosperity of the States of the Church and of Austria had become greater, year after year, than that of Sardinia (where a sort of revolutionary constitution had been established), and that documents existed in the Foreign Office, in the shape of reports from our own consuls, which proved it, with respect to commercial interests in Sardinia. Mr. Erskine, our minister at Turin, in a despatch of January 7, 1856, gave a very unfavorable view of the manufacturing, mining and agricultural progress of Sardinia. But from Venetia, Mr. Elliott gave a perfectly opposite view, showing that great progress was being made there. The shipping trade of Sardinia with England had declined 2,000 tons. But the British trade with Ancona had increased 21,000 tons, and with Venice 25,000 tons, in the course of the last two years. He attributed these results to the increase of taxation in Sardinia, through the introduction of the constitutional (the Sardinian institutional) system of government, and to the comparatively easy taxation of Venetia. The increased taxation of Sardinia from 1847 to 1857 was no less than 50,000,000 francs. With respect to education in the Papal States, he contended that it was more diffused than it was in this country—Great Britain."
In countries that were so prosperous, every man literally "sitting under his own vine and his own fig-tree," it is difficult to believe that there was wide-spread discontent and a general desire for radical changes. To prove that there was, it would have required evidence of no ordinary weight. All testimony that can be relied on shows a very different state of feeling. Lord John Russell, in his too memorable Aberdeen speech, gave expression to an opinion which, through the labors of the newspaper press, had become very prevalent in England, that "under their provisional revolutionary governments the people of Central Italy had conducted themselves with perfect order, just as if they had been the citizens of a country that had long enjoyed free institutions."
The Marquis of Normanby, in his place in the British House of Peers, made reply to this allegation:(5)
"I should like to know where the noble Lord found that information. There is not in Central Italy a single government that has resulted from popular election. They were all named by Piedmont—which had, as it were, packed the cards. Liberty of speech there was none, nor liberty of the press, nor personal liberty.... The Grand Duchess of Parma was expelled by a Piedmontese army, and restored by the spontaneous call of her people. She left the country, declaring that she would suffer everything sooner than expose her subjects to the horrors of civil war.... Numberless atrocities have been committed under the rule of these governments which, according to my noble friend, are so wise and orderly. I read to you the first day of this session the letter of a Tuscan, whose character is irreproachable. Since that time I have received from him another letter, in which he says: 'You will not be surprised to learn that my letter to you has been the occasion of the coarsest invectives. For what reason I cannot tell, if it was not because it spoke the truth.'
"Here is a second letter, which I received a few days ago from an English merchant of the highest standing at Leghorn: 'No intervention is allowed in Tuscany; and nevertheless, my Lord, intervention appears everywhere; even armed and foreign intervention. The governor-general is a Piedmontese; the minister of war is a Piedmontese; the commander of the armed police is a Piedmontese; the military governor of Leghorn is a Piedmontese; the captain of the port is a Piedmontese; without reckoning a great number of other functionaries of the same nation. This is what I call armed and foreign intervention. Let us be disembarrassed of all this; let us be free from the despotic pressure of this government, and the great majority of the country would vote the restoration of the House of Lorraine. Almost all the army would be for the Grand Duke, and on this account it is kept at a distance from Tuscany. I can say the same of two-thirds of the national guard. All the Great Powers have observed strict neutrality here, inasmuch as they have not been present at any ceremony which could be looked upon as a recognition of the existing government. But since the peace of Villafranca, the English agents have taken part in all the ceremonies, in all the balls.' Assuredly, thus to recognize such a government is far from being faithful to the assurance given last session by the noble Lord at the head of the foreign department (cheers)."
Lord Normanby's trustworthy correspondent says, moreover, in the letter referred to, that the Tuscan troops being kept at a distance from Tuscany, the people dreaded making any demonstration, being well aware that an imprudent word would be punished with imprisonment. "At Leghorn, however, some private meetings were held, at which influential persons were present. Public meetings are impossible. Twenty-three members of the assembly asked that it should be convened. This was refused them. At the private meetings, however, it was decided that Ferdinand IV. should be recalled, on condition of granting a constitution and an amnesty. The people have been dreadfully deceived. All promises have been violated, the price of provisions has risen, the national debt has been enormously increased."
Lord Normanby also laid before the House of Peers the testimony of a distinguished Italian writer, Signor Amperi, whom he described as a man of high character. This gentleman addressed the governments of Central Italy in the following terms:
"The false position in which you have placed yourselves has reduced you to the necessity, in times of liberty, as you pretend, but of false liberty, as I conceive, to make falsehood a system of government. Of the promises of Victor Emmanuel that he would sustain before the Great Powers the vote of the Tuscan Assembly, you have made a formal accepting for himself of this vote, and, in order to deceive the ignorant multitude, you ordered public rejoicings in honor of a fact which you knew to be false. You declared yourselves the ministers of a king who had not appointed you. You administer the government in his name; you give judgments in his name; you pledge the public faith of a sovereign who has given you no commission to do any such thing; and although you forced the Tuscans to acknowledge him for king, you despise his authority to such an extent as to impose upon him the choice of a regent. What right have you to do this, if he be really king, and if he be not, is your right any better founded?"
The Marquis of Normanby laughs to scorn the various attempts that were made to establish a government in Central Italy against the will of the people. First of all, a certain Signor Buoncompagni was appointed governor-general by the King of Sardinia. The Emperor of the French judged that the ambitious satrap had exceeded his powers, and Buoncompagni was immediately recalled. The Prince de Carignan was then offered the regency of Central Italy. He thought it prudent to decline; but, unwilling wholly to relinquish a cherished object of ambition, he named in his place the above-mentioned Signor Buoncompagni. It would be hard to say in virtue of what right he so acted. The appointment, it is well known, caused the greatest indignation at Florence, and elicited a protest from the liberal representatives themselves. Will it be believed, in after times, that the British ministry, at that time in power, actually recognized this spurious government, ordering the Queen's representative to pay an official visit to Signor Buoncompagni? Whilst all Europe held aloof, anxious to avoid wrong and insult to the Italian people, whence this zeal and haste on the part of the British cabinet? At first they had resolved to be neutral. But there occurred to them the chimerical idea of a great kingdom of Central Italy; and, as Lord Normanby stated, they hastened in their ignorance to carry this idea into effect. "Yes," continued the illustrious Peer, when assailed by the laughter of the more ignorant portion of his hearers, "yes, in complete ignorance of the aspirations and the prejudices of the Italian people."
"It is a painful duty," said the illustrious statesman, in concluding his eloquent appeal to the common sense and honorable feeling of the British peerage, "to have to dispel the illusions of public opinion in regard to Italy. I have endeavored to fulfil this duty by laying before you information that can be relied on; and I have the pleasure to observe that light is now beginning to penetrate the darkness which has hitherto enveloped this question. There is already a greater chance that Italian independence will be established on a more legitimate basis, free from all foreign intervention, and in such a way as to favor the cause of fidelity, of truth, of honor and general order (cheers)."
If there were no foreign intervention, it was long the fashion with certain parties to say, we should soon see the end of Papal rule, as well as that of all the other sovereignties of Italy. Such, however, were not the views of the great majority of the Italian people. It has been satisfactorily proved, those people themselves being the witnesses, that such of them as were subjects of the Pope, far from being discontented and anxious to do away with the government which was set over them, and substitute for it either a republic or a foreign monarchy, highly appreciated and were steadfastly devoted to the wise and paternal rule of their Pontiff Sovereign. The subjects of the other Italian Princes, as well as the inhabitants of the revolutionized portion of the Papal States, were only prevented by the armed intervention of foreign Powers from declaring in favor of their rightful sovereigns. There is no pretension to deny that there were reformers and constitutionalists in those States. Of their number the Pope himself was one. But the well-informed and intellectual Italians were not ignorant that all reforms must be the fruit of time and of opinion, and that under the sway of enlightened and benevolent sovereigns, aided by the learning and wise counsel of able and conscientious statesmen, such changes, in matters of civil polity, as were adapted to the wants of the people would not have been delayed beyond the time when circumstances called for and justified their adoption.
(M67) All eyes were turned towards the victor of Solferino, who was the absolute master of the situation. What would he do? Would he allow to be violated the definitive treaty which his Plenipotentiaries were actually completing at Zurich? Napoleon III. did positively nothing. He repeated in the treaty the stipulations in favor of the dispossessed sovereigns, just as if the pretended plebiscitums were null, and he had no knowledge of them. He quietly permitted these plebiscitums to take effect with all their consequences, quite the same as if the treaty had never existed. Austria saw the treaty executed, as regarded every sacrifice to which she had consented, and not without pain, that it was set aside in all the points which set a limit to those sacrifices. But Austria was not the strongest Power. Piedmont, meanwhile, adhibited her signature without wincing under those of France and Austria. Thus, as Mgr. Pie of Poitiers declared, the church was deprived of all human stay. Such a state of things was not witnessed without emotion. Even in the frivolous society of France a change had taken place since the days of the great revolution. Catholic sentiment had gained among the lettered classes. The dethronement of Pius VI. had passed unnoticed, like that of an ordinary sovereign. That of Pius VII. had excited only some isolated animadversions. That of Pius IX. raised storms of protestation on the one hand, and on the other thunders of applause. One party so hated the Papacy as to become traitors to their country, and bind themselves with a sort of wild enthusiasm, first to the car of Italian unity, afterwards to that of Germany. They who thought otherwise carried their love of the imperilled institution to such an extent as to forget all their calculations, all their political alliances, and to incur freely the displeasure of men in power, even to sacrifice the favor of the multitude, favor which was not less valuable in times of universal suffrage than that of power. The Roman question became the inexhaustible subject of public discussions and private conversations. It sometimes even occasioned family quarrels, and was a trying ordeal for long-established friendships. Such extraordinary emotion on account of an idea—an abstraction, as it was called by the indifferent, who took part with neither one side nor the other—showed that society was not yet corroded to the core by selfishness and purely material interests. It was sick, indeed, but far from dead. The French government ought, surely, at the outset, to have taken warning. It ought to have learned something from the unanimity with which all the enemies of order, who were also its enemies, supported its new policy, and the unanimity, not less remarkable, with which religious people who, generally, had been its friends, combated that policy. Both liberal and ultramontane Catholics, Protestants even, such, at least, as were earnest Christians, and practised what they believed, forgot their divisions. The bishops were the first who spoke out. Mgr. de Parisis, who had so nobly contended for the liberties of the church in the reign of Louis Philippe, gave the keynote, and all took part with him and their venerable colleagues of Italy and Germany, of Ireland and Spain, of England and America. To say all in a word, the note of alarm was sounded throughout the whole extent of Christendom.
In this magnificent concert was heard the courageous language of Mgr. Dupanloup, the learned and illustrious Bishop of Orleans. On the 30th of September, 1859, this prelate wrote, no less boldly than eloquently:
"People say that to touch the sovereign is not to touch the Pontiff. Certainly his temporal power is not a divine institution; who does not know this? But it is a providential institution, and who is ignorant of the fact? Doubtless, during three centuries, the Popes only possessed independence enough to die martyrs; but they assuredly had a right to another sort of independence; and providence, which does not always use miracles for its purpose, ended by founding on the most lawful sovereignty in Europe the freedom and the independence necessary to the church. History proves it beyond the possibility of doubt; all eminent intellects have confessed it; all true statesmen know it. Yes, that the church may be free, the Pope must be free and independent. That independence must be sovereign. The Pope must be free, and he must be evidently so. The Pope must be free in his own interior as well as in his exterior government. This must be so, for the sake of his own dignity in the government of the church as well as for the security of our own consciences. This must be so, in order to secure to the common parent of all the faithful that neutrality which is indispensable to him amid the frequent wars between Christian Powers. The Pope must not only be free in his own conscience, in his own interior, but it must be evident to all that he is so; he must show himself to be so, in order that all may know and believe it, and that no doubt or suspicion be possible on this subject. But, say the Italian revolutionists, we do not propose to do away with the Papal sovereignty; we merely wish to limit and restrain it. And why so, I ask you in my turn, if thereby you also diminish and debase the honor of the Catholic religion, its dignity and independence? Why do so, if thereby you lower and degrade the most Italian sovereignty of the whole peninsula? Why, more especially, do so now, in presence of all these unchained evil passions, and thereby give against the Holy See a sentence of incapacity, and thus, in the eyes of Christendom, insult that unarmed and oppressed Majesty? You say he will only lose the Romagna and the Legations. But allow me to ask you by what right you take them? And why not take all the rest, if you please? Why, in your dreams of Italian unity, should other Italian cities fare otherwise than Bologna and Ferrara? Why have you not made up your minds to take everything outside of Rome, with the garden of the Vatican? You have said this, you know. But why leave him, even in Rome? Why should not Dioclesian and the catacombs be the best of all governments for the church? Where are you going? How far will your detestable principles lead you? At least, tell us clearly? Is this a clever calculation of yours? and, not daring to do more at present, or unable to do more, are you waiting for time and the violence of events to accomplish the rest? But who, think you, is to be deceived by you? Must we say, with the highest organ of the English press, that in the present business France is aggressive and insidious? I do not admit that our country is willing to play the part designed for her. Such calculations are not suited to French generosity. For my part, I protest, with my whole soul, against the perfidious intentions that we are supposed to entertain. But, in concluding, I must protest, still more solemnly, as a devoted son of the Holy Roman Church, the mother and teacher of all others—I protest against the revolutionary impiety which ignores her rights and would fain steal her patrimony. I protest, in the name of good sense and honor, indignant at beholding an Italian Sovereign Power become the accomplice of insurrection and revolt, and at the conspiracy of so many blind and unreasoning passions against the principles proclaimed and professed throughout the world by all great statesmen and politicians. I protest, in the name of common decency and European law, against this profanation of all that is most august, against the brutal passions which have inspired acts of inconceivable cowardice. And if I must speak out, I protest, in the name of good faith, against this restless and ill-disguised ambition, those evasive answers, that disloyal policy, of which we have the saddening spectacle before our eyes."
These burning words of the eminent and patriotic French bishop must have pierced the soul of Napoleon III. To any other man, at least, an Orsini shell would have been less terrible. But, "Perversi difficillime corriguntur." No reproaches, however severe and well deserved, no remonstrance, however well founded, could move the French Emperor. A greater power than that of words had impelled him towards the evil courses which the great majority of the French nation, together with the whole Catholic world, condemned. The bishops, meanwhile, continued to protest. The Archbishop of Sens, Mellon-Jolly, dared to say, in accents of sorrow: "Events, alas! are far beyond all that we feared." De Prilly, Bishop of Chalons, Dean of the French Episcopate, thus wrote a few days before his death: "Ah! who deserved less than Pius IX. to be attacked by so many enemies! If the tears which he sheds are so bitter for himself, they are terrible to those who cause them! A poor bishop, at the point of death, so assures him and craves his benediction." The expiring prelate, one would say, had foreseen the humiliation of Sedan. The courageous language of the bishops was so much feared that it was thought necessary to silence them. Napoleon, having endeavored in vain to remove their disquietude by renewing his hollow protestations, denounced them as violent agitators, abandoned them to the jeers of the infidel press, for which alone there was liberty in those days, and finally forbade all journals whatsoever to publish episcopal writings that bore any relation to the Roman question. Thus did he think to escape the danger with which he was threatened by silencing the tongues which warned him.
The learned Cardinal Donnet, so celebrated as a theologian, now showed the abilities of a diplomatist. When Napoleon III. was at Bordeaux, on the 11th October, 1859, the cardinal, whose duty it was to compliment the Emperor as his sovereign, failed not at the same time to remonstrate against his tortuous policy. "We pray," said the pious cardinal, "we pray confidently, persistently, and with hope which neither deplorable events nor sacrilegious acts of violence extinguished. Our hopes, the realization of which appears to be so remote, are founded on yourself, sire, next to God. You were and you still desire to be the oldest son of the church, and it cannot be forgotten that you spoke the memorable words: 'The temporal sovereignty of the venerable head of the church is intimately connected with the lustre of Catholicism, as also with the liberty and independence of Italy.' Grand idea! perfectly in harmony with that of the august Chief of your dynasty, who said in regard to the temporal power of the Popes: 'The centuries made it, and they did well.' " The only reply of the all-powerful Emperor was a refusal to reply. "I cannot here," he said, "discuss all the weighty matters, the development of which would be required by the serious question to which you have alluded. So I confine myself to reminding you that the government which restored the Holy Father to his throne can only give him counsel inspired by sincere and respectful devotedness to his interests. But he is anxious, and not without cause, as to the time, which cannot be far distant, when our troops must evacuate Rome. For Europe cannot allow the occupation, which has already lasted ten years, to be prolonged for an indefinite period. But when our army shall be withdrawn, what will be left behind? These are questions of the importance of which none are ignorant. But, believe me, in order to solve them, we must, considering the age in which we live, avoid appealing to ardent passions, calmly seek truth, and pray Divine Providence to enlighten both peoples and kings, in order that they may wisely use their rights and fully discharge their duties." From these last words the Emperor appeared to have forgot that when there are duties to be fulfilled prayer alone will not suffice. His speech at the opening of the legislative session, 7th March, 1860, showed that either irresistible illusion or a foregone conclusion of complicity guided his Italian policy. He accused the Catholics of becoming excited without grounds, and of ingratitude towards him. The logic of events, so plain to all besides, was a dead letter to the imperial mind, blinded as it was by the habit of dark manoeuvres.
"I cannot pass unnoticed," said he, "the excitement of a portion of the Catholic world. It has accepted, without reflection, erroneous impressions, allowed itself to become passionately alarmed. The past which ought to have been a guarantee for the future has been so ignored, and services rendered so forgotten, that profound conviction, absolute confidence in the public good sense, was necessary for me, in order to preserve, amid the agitation which was industriously occasioned, that serenity of mind which alone maintains us in the way of truth."
(M68) Meanwhile, a Congress for settling the difficulties of Italy was announced. This Congress was to be composed of all the great European Powers—of France, whose government had no good will; of Austria, which had not the power to cause the treaty of Zurich to be put in execution; of schismatical Russia; of Protestant Prussia, and of Protestant England, which favored revolution so long as it kept at a distance from its own doors. Pius IX. beheld in it many causes of disquietude. Nevertheless, he accepted the congress. The public were discussing, and not without impatience, the names of the presumed negotiators, when there appeared on the 22d of December, 1859, a new pamphlet which, like the former, was anonymous, and was ascribed as it also had been, to an author who was in too high a position to append his signature. Its title was, "The Pope and the Congress." It abounded in high sounding words, and was full of contradictions from beginning to end. It demonstrated, indeed, that the temporal power of the Pope was an essential guarantee of his spiritual independence, but that this power could only be exercised within territorial limits of very small extent, which could not enable him to sustain himself, whilst, nevertheless, his dignity and the general interest forbade him to seek foreign intervention. The pamphlet concluded by insisting that the Pope ought to begin by giving up all claim to Romagna, and so prepare for ceding, a little later, the rest of his states, when he would be satisfied to hold the Vatican with a garden around it, and receive a magnificent salary provided by all the Catholic Powers. Hundreds of pamphlets and articles in the Catholic journals appeared in reply to this anonymous writing. They proved that the proposed arrangement would subject the Head of the Church to the caprice of the Powers, and then enquired what security he would have against those who were his securities, especially at a time like the present, when the ancient law of nations, which was founded on respect for the weak and sworn faith, is suppressed by the revolution, and the reason of the strongest is the only one attended to; when the most solemn treaties are violated with impunity by those who have signed them, and as soon as they have signed them. The bishops raised their voice anew. They stated with sorrow that the pamphlet decided in favor of the revolution. But the boldest condemnation proceeded from Rome itself. The Popes, it is well known, hesitate not to use the proper terms when there is question of stigmatizing iniquity. No matter though they be at the mercy of those whom they brand, they define each error and each act of injustice with the same precision as in writing a theological thesis. Pius IX., who was mildness itself, more than once startles the delicate ear by the liberty of his language, so different from the minced and often ambiguous style of diplomacy. On the 30th of December, the official journal of Rome published the following note: "There appeared lately at Paris an anonymous pamphlet, entitled, 'The Pope and the Congress.' This pamphlet is nothing else than homage paid to the revolution—an insidious thesis addressed to those weak minds who have no sure criterium by which they can detect the poison which it holds concealed, and a subject of sorrow to all good Catholics. The arguments contained in this writing are only a reproduction of the errors and outrages so often hurled against the Holy See, and so often victoriously refuted. If it was the object of the author, perchance, to intimidate him whom he threatens with such great disasters, he can rest assured that he who has right on his side, who seeks no other support than the solid and immovable foundations of justice, and who is sustained especially by the protection of the King of kings, has certainly nothing to fear from the snares of men."
On 1st January, 1860, Pius IX., in his reply to the complimentary address of General Goyon, who commanded the French military at Rome, characterized the pamphlet as "a signal monument of hypocrisy, and an unworthy tissue of contradictions." The Holy Father further observed, before expressing his good wishes for the Emperor, the Empress, the Prince Imperial, and all France, that the principles enunciated in the pamphlet were condemned by several papers which his Imperial Majesty had some time before been so good as to send to him. A few days later the Moniteur published a letter of the Emperor to the Pope, dated 31st December, 1859, in which the former renews his hypocritical expressions of devotedness, but admits, at the same time, that "notwithstanding the presence of his troops at Rome, and his dutiful affection to the Holy See, he could not avoid a certain partnership in the effects of the national movement provoked in Italy by the war against Austria." In this same letter Napoleon III. reminds the Pontiff, that at the conclusion of the war he had recommended, as the best means of maintaining tranquillity, the secularization of his government, and he still believes that, "if, at that time, his Holiness had consented to an administrative separation of the Romagna, and the nomination of a lay governor, the provinces would have come, once more, under his authority." What, then, could the people have meant when they petitioned, on occasion of the Pope's progress, to have a cardinal for governor, as formerly, and not lay prefects, as was then the case, under the regime inaugurated by Pius IX.? The Pope having neglected his advice, Napoleon, of course, was powerless to stay the tide of revolution. "My efforts were only successful in preventing the insurrection from spreading, and the resignation of Garibaldi preserved the marches of Ancona from certain invasion." No doubt it did. But, as will soon be seen, this modern crusader was let loose in order that he might follow his calling more vigorously, i.e., rob and slay on a more extensive scale. The Emperor now approaches the subjects of the Congress. In his letter he recognizes the indisputable right of the Holy See to the legations. But he does not think it probable that the Powers would think it proper to have recourse to force, in order to restore them. If the restoration were effected by means of foreign troops, it would be necessary, for a long time, to hold military occupation of these provinces; and this would only feed the enmities and hatred of the Italian people. This state of uncertainty cannot always last. What then is to be done? The Imperial revolutionist concludes, expressing the most sincere regret, and the pain which such a solution gives him, that the way most in harmony with the interests of the Holy See is that it should sacrifice the revolted provinces. For the last fifty years they have only caused embarrassment to the government of the Holy Father. If he asked of the Powers to guarantee to him, in exchange for them, the possession of what remained, order, he had no doubt, would be immediately restored. This letter left no room to doubt that the policy of the pamphlet, "The Pope and the Congress," was that of Napoleon III. As soon as this was known the Congress became impossible. The Pope could not agree to deliberations based upon the principle of his dispossession. Austria could not be a party to combinations which removed the bases of the treaty of Zurich. This opinion was expressed by Count de Rechberg, first Minister of Austria, in a note of 17th February, 1860, and by Lord John Russell, in a despatch to Lord Cowley, the British Ambassador at Paris. "The pamphlets are important," said the latter statesman; "the result of the one entitled, 'The Pope and the Congress,' is to prevent a Congress, and to cause the Pope to be deprived of one-half of his dominions."
It was not without significance that M. Thouvenel was French Minister of Foreign Affairs from the 4th of January. Piedmont understood this fact. It caused its troops to cross the Romagnese frontier, whilst M. de Cavour, triumphant, affirmed, in the Piedmontese Senate, that the letter of Napoleon III., declaring that the temporal sovereignty was not sacred, was a fact as important in the Italian question as the battle of Solferino.
The Pope's reply to Napoleon's letter of 31st December is of some length. Elegant in expression, forcible in reasoning, it can only be briefly reviewed. "I am under the necessity of declaring to your majesty that I cannot cede the legations without violating the oaths by which I am bound, without causing misfortune and disturbance in the other provinces, without doing wrong and giving scandal to all Catholics, without weakening the rights of the sovereigns of Italy, unjustly despoiled of their dominions, but also the sovereigns of the whole Christian world, who could not see with indifference great principles trampled under foot." The Emperor had insisted that the cession of the legations by the Pope was necessary, in order to put an end to the disturbances, which, according to him, although he knew that such disturbances proceeded wholly from foreigners, had, for the last fifty years, caused embarrassment to the Pontifical government. "Who," said the Pope, "could count the revolutions that have occurred in France during the last seventy years? And yet, who would dare maintain that the great French nation is under the necessity, in order to secure the peace of Europe, to narrow the limits of the Empire? Your argument proves too much. So I must discard it. Your majesty is not ignorant by what parties, with what money, and with what support, were committed the spoliations of Bologna, Ravenna, and other cities."
The Imperial letter was communicated to all the newspapers. The reply of the Pope was carefully withheld from them. It only became known in France, some time later, through a German translation in the Austrian Gazette. Pius IX. was anxious, meantime, that the public should hear both sides of the question. He therefore brought to the knowledge of the Catholic world the principal points of his answer to Napoleon in the Encyclical, nullis certe verbis, of date 19th January, in which he declared that he was prepared to suffer the last extremities rather than betray the cause of the church and of justice. He also invited all the bishops to join with him in praying that God would arise and vindicate his cause.
The government having information that there was a copy of this document in the hands of the distinguished Catholic journalist, M. Louis Veuillot, the Minister of the Interior, M. Billaut, sent for this courageous writer, and gave him to understand that if he published the Encyclical it would be the death-warrant of his journal. But M. Veuillot was not to be intimidated. Next morning, 29th January, there appeared in his paper, l'Univers, the Latin text of the Pontifical document, together with a French translation. The same day, without trial or sentence, was signed a decree suppressing l'Univers. Yet was not this paper destined wholly to perish. Ten years later it reappeared, when the tyranny of Napoleon III. was crushed for ever at Sedan. Several other Catholic journals shared the fate of l'Univers, such as the Bretagne, of Saint Brieue, and the Gazette, of Lyons. The government of the Emperor thus showed by what spirit its counsels were guided. All the Catholic journals of France were already under the ban of two warnings, so that they had only a precarious existence, a third warning, according to the legislation of the time constituting their death-warrant.
So early as 3rd December, 1859, whilst yet a Congress was believed to be possible, Pius IX. had written with his own hand to Victor Emmanuel, in order to remind him of his duties, and induce him to defend at the meeting of the Powers the rights of the Holy See. The latter had answered, 6th February, 1860, "that he certainly would not have failed in this duty if the Congress had met." For, "devoted son as he was of the church, and the descendant of a most pious family, it never was his intention to neglect his duties as a Catholic Prince." He protested, therefore, that he had done nothing to provoke the insurrection, and that when the war was ended he had renounced all interference in the legations. But he added, "it is an acknowledged fact, and which I have personally verified, that in those provinces which, lately, were so unmanageable and dissatisfied with the court of Rome, the ministers of worship are actually respected and protected, and the temples of God more frequented than ever." Victor Emmanuel surely now thought that the Pope would never think of disturbing this happiness and self-satisfaction. "The interests of religion required it not." He even hoped that the Holy Father, not satisfied with refraining from a renewal of his claim on Romagna, would also hand over to him the marches and Umbria, in order that they might enjoy the same prosperity. And so he discoursed anew to Pius IX., about his "frank and loyal concurrence, his sincere and devoted heart," and ended by craving the Holy Father's apostolic blessing.
The King of Piedmont must have been sadly blinded by revolutionary teachings not to see—if, indeed, he did not see—that such professions of loyalty and devotedness were positively derisive. Pius IX. so viewed them, and gave the intriguing monarch to understand that he did so. The moderation of his language is but slightly indicative of the sorrow and indignation which he must have experienced. "The idea which your majesty has thought fit to lay before me is highly imprudent, unworthy, most assuredly, of a king who is a Catholic and a member of the house of Savoy. You may read my reply in an Encyclical which will soon appear. I am deeply affected, not on my own account, but by the deplorable state of your majesty's soul. You are already under the ban of censures, which, alas! will be aggravated when the sacrilegious act which you and your accomplices are meditating shall have been consummated. May the Lord enlighten you and give you grace to understand and to bewail the scandals which have occurred, and the fearful evils with which unfortunate Italy has been visited through your co-operation."
(M69) About this time diplomatists discovered the convenient political doctrine of non-intervention. It was, like most diplomatic devices, a fallacy. But it served its purpose. The Catholic Powers, however friendly to the Holy See, were unable to intervene. The greatest of them all, Austria, was put hors de combat at Solferino. Prussia had intervened, as far as its policy required, when it forbade further hostilities after the great battle which made France the mistress of the destinies of Italy. England, which, as a Protestant Power, had no great friendship for the Holy See, found it suitable to preach non-intervention, as an excuse for not being able or for not daring to aid her ancient and faithful ally, the Pope, in opposition to her new friend, the Emperor of the French. England, at least, was consistent, for, while she proclaimed and practised non-intervention in favor of the French Emperor's subversive intervention in Italy, she adhered most devoutly to the doctrine when there was question, a little later, of aiding France against the crushing power of Prussia.
(M70) Whilst the European Powers lay dormant under the spell of the new doctrine of non-intervention, the King of Piedmont vigorously pursued his career of spoliation. Having accepted a sham plebiscitum, he annexed, by a formal decree of 18th March, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Duchies of Parma and Modena, and that portion of the Papal States known as the Legations, to his ancient kingdom of Sardinia and Piedmont. This was done with the full consent of his Imperial patron, Napoleon III. For, at this time, Victor Emmanuel ceded to France, as compensation for Central Italy, Nice and Savoy. This boded ill for France. Some French writers consider that this transaction would have been less disgraceful if these provinces had been exchanged for Lombardy, which had been won from Austria with French blood and treasure. But, as evil destiny, which was hastening to its accomplishment, would have it, they were given as payment for the spoils of the widow and orphan of Parma and the aged man of the Vatican. Thus for once was non-intervention dearly purchased.
The usurping monarch having now accomplished a long-cherished purpose, ought, one would suppose, to have obeyed the dictates of prudence, and held his peace. But no. He must write to the Pope, in order to justify his nefarious proceeding. Piedmontese bayonets and four millions of Piedmontese gold had won for him the plebiscitum of which he was so proud. Nevertheless, he declared, addressing the Holy Father, that, "as a Catholic Prince, he believed he was not wanting to the unchangeable principles of the religion which it was his glory to profess with unalterable devotedness and fidelity." Notwithstanding, "for the sake of peace, he offered to acknowledge the Pope as his Suzerain, would always diminish his charges and contribute towards his independence and security." He ended his letter by most humbly soliciting, once more, the apostolic benediction. There is more plain speaking in the reply of Pius IX. than could have been to the liking of the Re galantuomo. "I could say that the pretended universal suffrage was imposed, not voluntary. I could say that the Pontifical troops were hindered by other troops, and you know well what troops, from restoring the legitimate government in the provinces." The Holy Father then bewails the increasing immorality occasioned by the usurping government and the insults constantly offered to the ministers of religion. Even if he were not bound by solemn oaths to preserve intact the patrimony of the church, he would, nevertheless, be obliged to repel everything that tended in this direction, lest his conscience should be stained by even an indirect sanctioning of, and participating in, such disorders, and justifying, by concurrence, unjust and violent spoliation. The Pope concludes by saying, emphatically, that he cannot extend a friendly welcome to the projects of his majesty, but that, on the contrary, he protests against the usurpation, and leaves on the conscience of his majesty and all who co-operate with him in such iniquity the fatal consequences which flow therefrom. Finally, he hopes that the king, in reperusing his own letter, will find grounds for repentance. The Pope, far from being actuated by feelings of resentment, prays God to give his majesty the grace he stands so much in need of in such difficult circumstances. The letter is dated at the Vatican, 2nd April, 1860.
It is related that Victor Emmanuel bedewed with tears this letter, which so gently and tenderly rebuked him. It must have reached him at one of those moments of remorse which, more than once, interrupted his scandalous career. It hindered him not, however, from fulfilling the promise which he had given to the revolution, when, at the beginning of the war of 1859, placing his hand on his sword and looking towards Rome, he said: "Andremo al fondo" ("we shall go on to the end").
On the 26th of March of the same year, Pius IX. issued a Bull, excommunicating all who took part in wrenching from him so great a portion of the patrimony of the church. Some parties received the intimation of this sentence with such noisy demonstrations of delight as to cause their sincerity to be doubted. Others, and of the number was King Victor Emmanuel, were struck with indescribable fear. Napoleon III. insisted that the organic article of the Concordat, forbidding the publication in France of Bulls, Briefs, &c., should be enforced. But he could not, any more than his uncle, forbid the excommunication to take effect. The first Napoleon was at the height of his greatness when struck with excommunication. He received the sentence with jeers. Would it make the arms fall from the hands of his soldiers? How literally this question was answered, let the snows of Russia tell. There are other ministers of the wrath of heaven besides the frosts of a Northern winter. Napoleon III. was in the zenith of his power when he heard the sentence which he vainly tried to stifle. His great political wisdom, and the wonderful success of all he undertook had hitherto astonished the world. There was now a manifest change. But it need not here be said with what unspeakable humiliation his star went down.
The revolutionary party could not have more effectually shown their dread of the Papal sentence, than by their endeavors to suppress it. They went so far as to publish in its place a forged document, as odious as it was extravagant, appended there to the signature of Pius IX., and exposed it to the jeers of the ignorant multitude. The bishops did their best in order to make known the truth; with what difficulty it will be easily understood, when it is remembered that an Imperial decree forbade the newspapers to publish a word in their interest.
(M71) Had there been question only of forming a united Italy, and of introducing such reforms as the time demanded into the States of the Church, and those of the Italian grand dukes, such a cause would have had no better friends and supporters than the Pope and the native princes. But the revolutionary party aimed at more than this, and they hastened to show their hand as soon as they obtained any power. As has been seen, the Holy Father himself complained bitterly of the increase of irreligion and immorality under their ill-omened auspices in Romagna. It was not their policy to reconstitute, but to subvert. No existing institution, however excellent, was sacred in their eyes. Thus speak the archbishops and bishops of the Marches in a remonstrance addressed to the Piedmontese Governor on 21st November, 1860: "We scarcely believe our own eyes, or the testimony of our own ears, when we see and hear the excesses, the abominations, the disorders witnessed in the chief cities of our respective dioceses, to the shame and horror of the beholders, to the great detriment of religion, of decency and public morality, since the ordinances against which we protest deprive us of all power to protect religion and morality, or to repress the prevailing crimes and licentiousness. The public sale, at nominal prices, of mutilated translations of the Bible, of pamphlets of every description, saturated with poisonous errors or infamous obscenities, is permitted in the cities which, a few months ago, had never heard the names of these scandalous productions; the impunity with which the most horrible blasphemies are uttered in public, and the worse utterance of expressions and sentiments that breathe a hellish wickedness; the exposition, the public sale and the diffusion of statuettes, pictures and engravings, which brutally outrage piety, purity, the commonest decency; the representation in our theatres of pieces and scenes in which are turned into ridicule the Church—Christ's immaculate spouse—the Vicar of Christ, the ministers of religion, and everything held dear to piety and faith; in fine, the fearful licentiousness of public manners, the odious devices resorted to for perverting the innocent and the young, the evident wish and aim to make immorality, obscenity, uncleanness triumph among all classes; such are, your Excellency, the rapid and faint outlines of the scandalous state of things created in the Marches by the legislation and discipline so precipitately introduced by the Piedmontese government. We appeal to your Excellency. Could we remain silent and indifferent spectators of this immense calamity without violating our most sacred duty?" If anything under the government of subversion has saved Italy from utter ruin, it is nothing less than the zeal and devotedness of its pastors. In the remonstrance referred to, they declare that notwithstanding all the contradictions, the trials, the obstacles they have had to encounter, "not one spark of charity, of zeal, of pastoral and fatherly solicitude has been quenched in our souls. We solemnly affirm it, with our anointed hands on our hearts, and with the help of God's grace, these sentiments shall never depart from us through fault of ours."
(M72) This mode of reforming, so dear to the revolutionists, is further illustrated by the proceedings of Garibaldi in Sicily and at Naples. It will be remembered that this hero of the revolution was eclipsed for a time by the splendors of Solferino. Immediately after that battle he retired into private life, and the motley troop which he commanded disappeared. Whilst, however, there remained any revolutionary work to be done, such a man could not be idle. The kingdom of the Two Sicilies was, as yet, unshaken. This was too much for Count de Cavour, and so he encouraged the ever-willing Garibaldi to fit out an armament against that kingdom. The hero sailed for Sicily, and there, assured of non-intervention by the presence of the flags of France, England and Sardinia, he made an easy conquest of the defenceless island. As soon as he got possession of Palermo, and had assumed the title and powers of dictator, he commenced, like a true revolutionist, the work of subversion. Garibaldi, no doubt, was a man of the age, and the great diplomatic discovery which the age had fallen upon was never wanting to him. It served him at Naples as it had done in Sicily; and so, a mere diplomatic idea—non-intervention—drove the king to Gaeta, and established the power of the revolutionist.
(M73) As soon as Garibaldi was master in Sicily, the work of revolutionary reform commenced. It was always the first aim of the revolutionists to strike at civilization and civilizing influences. Churches were desecrated, the ministers of religion insulted, religious orders suppressed. "The Society of Jesus alone," said the venerable superior, Father Beckx, in his solemn protestation of 24th October, 1860, to the King of Sardinia, "was robbed of three residences and colleges in Lombardy; of six in the Duchy of Modena; of eleven in the Pontifical States; nineteen in the kingdom of Naples; and fifteen in Sicily." "Everywhere," adds Father Beckx, "the Society has been literally stripped of all its property, movable and immovable. Its members, to the number of 1,500, were driven forth from their houses and the cities. They were led by an armed force, like so many malefactors, from province to province, cast into the public prisons, ill-treated and outraged in the most horrible manner. They were even prevented from finding a refuge in pious families, while in several places no consideration was had for the extreme old age of many among them, nor for the infirmity and weakness of others.
"All these acts were perpetrated against men who were not accused of one illegal or criminal act, without any judicial process, without allowing any justification to be recorded. In one word, all this was consummated in the most despotic and savage manner. If such acts had been accomplished in a popular riot, by men blinded by passion, we might perhaps bear them in silence. But, as all such acts have been done in the name of the Sardinian laws; as the provisional governments established in Modena and the Pontifical States, as well as the dictator of Sicily himself, have claimed to be supported by the Sardinian government; and as your majesty's name is still invoked to sanction these iniquitous measures, I can no longer remain a silent spectator of such enormous injustice, but in my quality of supreme head of the order, I feel myself strictly bound to ask for justice and satisfaction, and to protest before God and man, lest the resignation inspired by religious meekness and forbearance should appear to be a weakness which might be construed into an acknowledgment of guilt, or a relinquishment of our rights. I protest solemnly, and in the best form I can think of, against the suppression of our houses and colleges, against the proscriptions, banishments and imprisonments, against the acts of violence and outrage committed against the brethren bound to me by religious ties. I protest before all Catholics, in the name of the rights of the church sacrilegiously violated. I protest, in the name of the benefactors and founders of our houses and colleges, whose will and expressed intentions in founding these good works, for the interest alike of the living and the dead, are thus nullified. I protest, in the name of the sacred rights of property, contemned and trampled under foot by brutal force. I protest, in the name of citizenship and the inviolability of individual persons, of whose rights no man may be deprived without being accused in form, arraigned and judged. I protest, in the name of humanity, whose rights have been so shamefully outraged in the persons of so many aged men, sick, infirm and helpless, driven from their peaceful seclusion, left without any assistance, cast on the highways without any means of subsistence." Such was the revolution which Victor Emmanuel and Napoleon III. were driven by fear, or even worse motives, to patronize and foster. It had, in the days of its power, made France a desolation. It was now sweeping like devouring flames over Italy, and fast approaching the city of the Popes.
(M74) Pius IX., although not unaware of the fearful calamities with which he was threatened, was far from allowing his mind to be shaken. He trusted in that Providence which watches over the church. "We are as yet," said he on 16th February, 1860, to the lenten preachers of the time, "at the beginning of the evils which must soon overtake us. At the same time, we are consoled by the cheering prospect that, as calamity succeeds calamity, the spirit of faith and of sacrifice will be proportionately developed."
There was nothing now to be hoped for from the powers which nominally ruled the world, but which were, in reality, under the control of the revolution. Deprived of so great a portion of his states, and the revenue which accrued to him therefrom, the Holy Father resolved to sustain his failing finances by relying on the spontaneous offerings of the faithful throughout the world. His appeal was not made in vain. The piety and zeal of the early ages appeared to have revived. The word of the common Father was received with reverence in the remotest lands. Offerings of "Peter's pence," as in days of apostolic fervor, were poured into the Papal treasury. In Europe, especially, the movement was so general as to show that the people everywhere were resolved to act independently of their governments, which had so shamefully become subservient to the will of the revolution. It was scarcely necessary that the bishops should speak a word of encouragement. In France, indeed, under a jealous and revolutionary government, there could be no associations for the collection of Peter's pence. But the government could not, so far, place itself in opposition to the religion of the country as to forbid collections in the churches; nor could it reach such subscriptions as were offered in private dwellings. In Belgium, although the party of unbelief, of Freemasonry and revolution, held the reins of power, the constitution protected all citizens alike, and so the new work which the circumstances of the church required was accomplished by association, pretty much in the same way as the work of the propagation of the faith. By the end of three months, there were in Flanders no fewer than four hundred thousand associates for the collection of Peter's pence. In Italy, a Catholic journal, Armonia, collected considerable sums of money, and caskets filled with jewels and other precious objects. Poland, in her sorrow, was magnificently generous. And Ireland, renewing her strength after centuries of misgovernment, persecution and poverty, emulated the richest countries, America, Germany, Holland and England. One of the collections at Dublin amounted to L10,000. All these rich donations, together with thousands of addresses which bore millions of signatures, were humbly laid at the feet of the Holy Father.
(M75) Now that it is well known that France was not less hostile than Sardinia and the revolution, to the cause of the Pope, it appears more a loss of labor than a wise precaution, that the Holy Father should have assembled an army for maintaining order in his states, and repelling any attack on the part of the revolutionary faction. This was all that he contemplated. Deceived by the professions of his French ally, he was far from suspecting that the small force which he was collecting for the maintenance of order would be no sooner organized than it would be attacked by the military power of Piedmont, supported by the Emperor of the French. On the contrary, Pius IX. had every reason to believe that the formation of a Pontifical army, destined for the duties which devolved on the French soldiers, then at Rome, would be acceptable to Napoleon III. The latter had, more than once, said to his Holiness: "Place yourself in a position to be independent of my army of occupation." This recommendation is repeated in a despatch of Messrs. Thouvenel and Gramont, so late as the 14th of April, 1860. As soon as it was known that the Pope desired to have an army for maintaining internal peace, and finally, in order to replace the foreign troops which occupied Rome, the youth of many countries freely offered their services. France, Belgium, Ireland, Spain, Holland, and even distant Canada sent numerous volunteers. The noble youth of France, whose education, for the most part, was eminently Christian, were only too happy to tear themselves from the luxurious life of Paris. Their joy was equal to their ardor, when they found that they could bear arms without serving a Bonaparte. Gontants and Larochefoucauld Doudeauvilles, Noes and Pimodans, Tournous and Bourbon Chalus, came to range themselves, as private soldiers, when necessary, under the banner of the Pope. Nor were they attracted by any hope of gain. A goodly number, on the contrary, sustained by their ample means the government to which they offered their lives. The revolution signified its displeasure by branding these devoted youths with the ignominious title of "Mercenaries of the Pope." This ungracious word proceeded from the palace of Jerome Napoleon, on whom merciless history bestows a more opprobrious epithet. As a matter of course, it was repeated in all the revolutionary journals.
The command of the new force was offered to the brave and experienced General Lamoriciere. At first he hesitated, the cause of the Pope, as regarded his temporal power, was already so much compromised. Finally, on the representation of the Reverend Count de Merode, he gave his consent. It was pure sacrifice. No success could add to his military renown. And success was impossible. The general distributed his soldiers, from 20,000 to 25,000 in number, in small bodies, throughout the towns of that portion of the Papal States which still remained. This was a judicious arrangement, as far as internal peace and order were concerned. Neither Lamoriciere nor the Pope had any idea, so firmly did they rely on the hollow professions of France, that a foreign army would have to be met. The general spoke words of encouragement to his willing soldiers. "The revolution," said he, in an order of the day, "like Islamism of old, threatens Europe. To-day, as in ancient times, the cause of the Papacy is the cause of civilization and of the liberty of mankind." The infidel press was excited to fury, and showed, by the violence of its writing, that the comparison of the revolution to Islamism was but too well founded. Were not both alike ferocious? Did not both spread terror and desolation in their track? Weigh them together—Islamism has the advantage. In addition to all its other barbarities, the revolution violated the temples of God and the abodes of prayer. The followers of the prophet were commanded to respect every place where God was worshipped, and every house where dwelt the ministers of His worship.
The organization of Lamoriciere's army was now so complete that a friendly convention was entered into with the Cabinet of the Tuilleries, and that the evacuation of Rome by the French garrison should commence on the 11th of May.
This was not at all to the liking of the revolutionists. M. de Cavour, who had complained so loudly at the Congress of Paris that the Pope had not an army sufficiently strong to render unnecessary the protection of France and Austria, protested against the formation of such an army as soon as he saw that it was seriously contemplated. He denounced it to all Europe as a gathering of adventurers from every country, and feigned the greatest disquietude for the new frontiers of Piedmont.
On the 4th September, 1860, Napoleon III. was at Chambery, receiving the homage and congratulations of his Savoyard subjects. A public banquet was held in his honor, and whilst the guests were yet at table, two Piedmontese envoys, Messrs. Farini and Cialdini, sought a private interview with the Emperor. Napoleon left the festive board and remained closeted with the envoys the remainder of the evening. The result of this conference was the immediate invasion of the Papal States by Sardinian troops, under the command of General Cialdini. This officer reports that he was fully authorized by Napoleon. It is even related that the Emperor, strongly encouraging him used the words of our blessed Lord to Judas: "Quod facis, fac citius." Napoleon, indeed, denied having uttered these words. It matters not. All his acts, at the time, expressed their meaning. Whilst conferring with the envoys at Chambery, there lay on a table a map of Central Italy, on which he traced in pencil and effaced several lines. The map having been left on the table, was afterwards found to contain one line in crayon, which was not effaced. It showed exactly the route which Cialdini followed in marching to the destruction of the Papal army. Between the conference of Chambery and the arrival of Cialdini on the Pontifical territory, there elapsed precisely the time necessary for the journey by post-carriage and railway. Seventy thousand men were waiting for him on the frontier, ready to march as soon as he brought them the required authorization. General Fanti, who also had an army corps concentrated on the borders of the Marches, had already intimated to General Lamoriciere, that if the Papal troops had recourse to force, "in order to suppress any insurrection in the Papal State," he would, at once, occupy the Marches and Umbria, "in order to secure to the inhabitants full liberty to express their wishes." The Sardinian generals evidently wished to raise an insurrection, but as no insurrection occurred, they managed to do without one. In the meantime, it was thought expedient to perform a piece of mock diplomacy. Count Delia Minerva was despatched from Turin to Rome, charged with an ultimatum to the Pope. Without diplomatic negotiations or shadow of pretext, purely by virtue of the right of the strongest and most audacious, the Holy Father was suddenly summoned to dismiss his volunteers as foreigners, and was allowed four-and-twenty hours to give his answer. But the party did not wait so long. The ultimatum, of a piece with their other proceedings, was a mockery. On 10th September, before the reply of the Pope could have been known, even before Delia Minerva had reached Rome, Generals Cialdini and Fanti, without any previous declaration of war, passed the Pontifical frontier. It was the barbarians once more at the gates of Rome. The orders of the day, which the Piedmontese commanders addressed to their troops, were inexpressibly savage. Pitiless history fails not to record them. "Soldiers," said Cialdini, "I lead you against a band of adventurers, whom the thirst for gold and pillage has brought to our country. Fight, disperse without mercy, these wretched cut-throats. Let them feel, by the weight of our arm, the power and the anger of a people who strive to be independent soldiers. Perugia seeks vengeance. And, although late, it shall have it." The language of King Victor Emmanuel, although somewhat more politely diplomatic, was not less false and savage. His proclamation is a master-piece of Count de Cavour's hypocritical style. "Soldiers, you are entering the Marches and Umbria, in order to restore civil order in the desolated cities and to secure to the inhabitants the liberty to express their wishes. You have not to meet powerful armies, but only to deliver the unfortunate Italian provinces from companies of foreign adventurers. You are not going to avenge the injuries done to Italy or to me, but to hinder the popular hatred from wreaking vengeance on the oppressor. You will teach by your example pardon of offences and Christian toleration to those who compare Italian patriotism to Islamism. At peace with all the Great Powers, and without provocation, I mean to banish from Central Italy a constant cause of trouble and discord. I wish to respect the seat of the Chief of the Church, &c." Whatever this king may have wished to do, he was compelled to obey the will of the revolution, and to justify by his acts the comparison of the party which he patronized with Islamism,—a comparison disparaging only to the followers of the prophet. The ferocious sentiments to which Cialdini gave utterance were not mere bravado. When Colonel Zappi, of the Pontifical service, dared to hold out with 800 men at Pesaro, and check for two-and-twenty hours the whole Piedmontese army before this village, Cialdini, instead of admiring such bravery, refused to cease firing, when Zappi, crushed by numbers, was at last obliged to capitulate. For two hours longer he took pleasure in discharging grape shot at the little town which had ceased to reply otherwise than by exhibiting a white flag and sending messengers of peace. Nor did this vandalic soldier show any consideration for the wishes of the people whom he professed to have come to protect. This contempt for the popular will was sufficiently well shown the following month, in his despatch to the Garibaldian Commander of Molise: "Publish that I cause to be shot all peasants taken with arms in their hands. I have this day commenced such executions."
(M76) Lamoriciere was far from expecting to be attacked by the armies of Piedmont. The most he could contemplate was an attack by the Garibaldians, and the probability of some partial insurrections in the interior. He distributed his troops accordingly in the towns and along the Neapolitan frontier. The insolent message of General Fanti contributed to confirm him in this idea. He had only 1,500 men with him when the message reached him. He held himself in readiness, but without concentrating his force, which appeared to him dangerous and premature. He learned, unexpectedly, that the frontier on the side of Piedmont was violated at every point of attack at the same time; that an army corps, commanded by General de Sonnaz, was marching on Perugia; another, led by Brignone, on Spoleto; another, under the Garibaldian Mazi, on Orvieto; finally, that Cialdini was advancing on Sinigaglia, thence on Torrede Jesi, Castelfidardo and Loretto, and that his object was Ancona, the only city except Rome which was capable of making any resistance. Lamoriciere, unable to face so many enemies at once, saw, with pain, that his scattered garrisons were lost. He was far, however, from being discouraged. Recalling, hastily, all that were within reach, and unfortunately they were not the most considerable, he changed all the arrangements which he had made for another kind of contest; he gave up all idea of opposing Brignone, De Sonnaz and Fanti, who, nevertheless, were in a position to cut off his retreat towards Rome, and rushed boldly to the point of greatest danger between these generals and Cialdini, with the design of piercing the lines of the latter and reaching Ancona before him. There he thought he would be able to hold out a week or two, more than sufficient time for France and the other civilized nations to come to his assistance. He, a French general, relied on France, so completely were Frenchmen deceived. He also trusted, and with better grounds, to Austria. This confidence emboldened him to reply defiantly to the insolent message of General Fanti: "We are only a handful of men. But a Frenchman counts not his enemies, and France will support us."
Before the invasion took place, the Ambassador of France, the Duke of Gramont, whose word was corroborated by the presence of a French army at Rome and in the neighborhood, had, several times, reassured Cardinal Antonelli, who was much disquieted, affirming that the concentration of Piedmontese troops was intended to check the banditti, and protect the Pontifical frontier, but would not attack it. Lamoriciere testifies to this fact in the report of his operations. When there was no longer any doubt as regarded the violation of Papal territory, the Ambassador, Gramont, communicated to Cardinal Antonelli, and telegraphed, in clear and distinct language, to the Vice-Consul of France, at Ancona, the following despatch: "The Emperor has written from Marseilles to the King of Sardinia, that if the Piedmontese troops advance on the Pontifical territory he will be compelled to oppose them. Orders are already given for the embarkation of troops at Toulon; and these re-inforcements will forthwith arrive. The government of the Emperor will not tolerate the criminal attack of the Sardinians. As Vice-Consul of France, you will govern yourself accordingly." M. de Courcy, the Vice-Consul, to whom the despatch was addressed, took it immediately to M. de Quatrebarbes, the civil governor of Ancona. His great age would not admit of his carrying it in person to Cialdini, but he lost no time in sending it by an employee of the Consulate, making no doubt that a despatch which bore the signature of France would prevent bloodshed. He was mistaken. Cialdini read the paper, and coolly put it in his pocket, saying: "I know more about these matters than you. I have just had an interview with the Emperor." When the clerk asked for a receipt, he signed one, remarking that "it would make a good addition to other diplomatic papers." He then continued to advance. The general was no less explicit, a few days later, at Loretto, when conversing with Count Bourbon Busset and other prisoners taken at Castelfidardo. "You astonish me, gentlemen," said he; "how could you for a moment entertain the idea that we would have occupied the Pontifical State without the full consent of the government of your country!" As one of the bystanders, in reply to Cialdini, alluded to the fact which was announced, of the disembarkation of a new French division at Civita Vecchia, "And to what purpose?" answered one of the higher officers of Cialdini's staff. "France has no need to re-inforce her army of occupation. See these wires, gentlemen (pointing to the telegraph), if they chose to speak they would suffice to stop us at once." It would have been impossible to express more plainly the omnipotence at that moment of the conqueror of Solferino, and the fearful stigma which he was preparing for his memory. Not only did he disorganize the defence, the responsibility, &c., of which he was understood to have assumed, not only did he deceive the Court of Rome, and inspire it with a false security, as if it had been his purpose more surely to throw Lamoriciere into the snares of Cialdini; but, at the same time, he paralyzed the good intention of the Powers that were sincerely devoted to the Holy See.
Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria, had dreaded, a month before it occurred, an invasion of the Pontifical State. His army divisions of the Mincio were on a war footing. It was only necessary that they should pass the river and march against Piedmont. An order to this effect was signed. But before despatching the order, and taking on himself such great responsibility, the youthful Emperor, who had been none the better for giving way to his chivalrous impulses in 1859, resolved to call a meeting of his ministers and chief generals. Addressing this grave assembly, he stated distinctly the new situation in which Austria was placed by the violation of recent treaties, and the obligation under which he lay of opposing such proceedings by arms. His duty as a Catholic was concerned as well as his honor and interest as a sovereign. It appeared, besides, that God had blinded the revolution, and the invasion was so odious that Piedmont would not find a single ally. "I have signed," he added, "an order to pass to-morrow into Lombardy. Together with this, I have addressed a manifesto to Europe, in which I declare that I will respect and cause to be respected the treaty of Zurich. Lombardy does not now belong to me. I have ceded it, and I do not recall my word; but I require that the clauses which are burdensome to Austria shall not alone be executed. I claim, at the same time, the incontestible rights of my cousins of Florence, Parma and Modena, so unworthily robbed by one of those who signed and guaranteed the treaty. Finally, I require that the neutrality of the Pope and the integrity of his territory be respected; for the Pope is my ally, as a sovereign, and as the Chief of the Church, my Father. The fleet of Trieste will, at the same time, cruise before Ancona." This noble address was followed by profound silence. The attitude of several of the bystanders was expressive of doubt when the Emperor affirmed that the brutality of the Piedmontese aggression would alone suffice to prevent any one from making common cause with it. The Count de Thun at length rose. He acknowledged the manifestly just grievances of Austria, and admired the manly resolution of the Emperor. He then set forth the dangers of every kind which this resolution would cause to arise. The army had not yet repaired its losses; the wounds of Magenta and Solferino were still bleeding. The French would, once more, pass the Alps, and the revolution, far from being stifled, would be more threatening than ever.
"If my crown must be broken," interposed the Emperor, "I prefer losing it at the gates of the Vatican, in defence of justice and religion, than under the walls of Vienna or Presburgh by the hands of the revolutionists." "Sire," replied Count de Thun, "whether at Presburgh or the Vatican, you will always find us by your side, ready to conquer or perish honorably with you. But allow me to repeat that there is not question only of commencing a struggle against the two-fold revolution of the King of Sardinia. If France once more comes to his support, who will be our auxiliaries? What alliances have we, so necessary in case of reverse? Our cruel experience of last year only shows too plainly that we have none; and that Prussia has an understanding with France. And if the war continues any time, if the revolution throws into the arms of Russia Hungary, and our Sclav provinces, and gives to Prussia our German countries, what will become of the great Catholic Empire of Germany? Will not your majesty have hastened, without intending it, the satisfaction of that cupidity which is everywhere aiming at our ruin, and the triumph either of Protestantism or the Greek schism?" Francis Joseph replied by describing the not less serious dangers which the triumph of the Italian revolution would occasion to the tranquillity and integrity of the Empire. He could not but foresee how precarious Austrian rule would become at Venice, and how impossible it would be to preserve, for any length of time, the last remains of the Pontifical State, once the King of Piedmont was master of the rest of the peninsula. The struggle, by being delayed, could not be avoided. We should only have to undertake it later against a usurper consolidated by time, and with less manifest evidence of right on our side. But the embarrassments of the moment engaged the thoughts of his ministers more than those of the future. All the ministers dissenting from his opinion, the Emperor made up his mind, after two hours' discussion, to recall the order which he had signed. The Austrian fleet continued at anchor in the harbor of Trieste, and the army of the Mincio remained inactive, although, as may be supposed, indignant, in its quadrilateral, until Italian unity became a reality, and coalesced with Prussia in order to expel it.
There must now be recorded another proof of the Emperor Napoleon's double dealing. On 13th September, M. Thouvenel wrote to Baron de Talleyrand, the Ambassador of France at Turin: "The Emperor has decided that you must leave Turin immediately, in order to show his firm determination to decline all partnership in acts which his counsels, that were given in the interests of Italy, have not been able to prevent." Vain pretence! inexorable history accepts not such apologies.
With the exception of the Piedmontese, and perhaps also the Austrian ministers, there were none in Europe having knowledge of this document, and the despatch of M. de Gramont to the Consul of Ancona, who did not believe that a rupture was imminent, if it had not already taken place, between the Emperor Napoleon and King Victor Emmanuel. General Lamoriciere was too upright and loyal-minded not to fall into the snare. He wrote promptly to Mgr. de Merode, asking him to send provisions to Ancona, where he purposed establishing his quarters, not having had time to prepare for battle in the open country. He had no disquietude as regarded Umbria. He left it to be defended by France. He hoped also that General de Goyon would not confine himself to guarding the walls of Rome, and that he would, at least, prevent invasion from the direction of Naples, and by way of the valley of Orvieto. He was confident that France would finally intervene. And it would be highly advantageous if, in the meantime, French troops garrisoned Viterbo, Velletri and Orvieto.
The declarations of Napoleon were like the despatches of Messrs. Thouvenel and Gramont, nothing better than empty words—"diplomatic papers," as Cialdini contemptuously called them. His only object was to lull public opinion, and let the Piedmontese have the advantage of a fait accompli. Of this there was no room to doubt, when, a little later, he took officially under his protection the fruit of that criminal aggression against which he had so loudly protested. Either from weakness or treachery he was an accomplice, and played a preconcerted game. At first he may have been sincere in threatening, in the hope of intimidating the revolution. But when there was question of acting, and he knew that it defied him, he recoiled. French historians remark, with pain, that this was a sad alternative, as regards the memory of a man who had the honor to govern France—the nation, more than all others, renowned for chivalry. It was also a rebuke to that nation which was so weak as to submit, for twenty years, to his rule. His friends are brought to the extremity of demonstrating that he was a coward, if they wish to hinder mankind from believing that he was a traitor.
Meanwhile, Lamoriciere, by forced marches, on the 16th September, reached Loretto, from which the enemy withdrew at his approach. His inconsiderable force counted scarcely 3,000 combatants, viz.: 2,000 infantry, 800 troopers, and 200 artillerymen. But he had given rendezvous at the spot to the general, Marquis of Pimodan, who brought to him from Terai 2,000 infantry, and arrived a little before night, on the 17th. Thus did it fall to his lot, with 5,000 men at most, and some old artillery which had not been sufficiently exercised, to face Cialdini, who had, at the moment, 45,000 men, and was provided with rifled cannon. An engagement on the 18th was inevitable. The Piedmontese were echeloned along the hills which fill the declivity from Castelfidardo towards the plain, and extend to within 500 metres of the small river Musone. Their artillery swept the declivities in all directions. They occupied, in strength, two farms which were situated, the one 600 metres behind the other, towards the principal hill. By delaying longer, Lamoriciere would only have exposed himself to be surrounded and compelled to lay down his arms. At four o'clock in the morning, the soldiers of the Pope, with the two generals at their head, prepared for death, by devoutly participating in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist. At eight, Pimodan rushed upon the two farms already mentioned. His watchword was to carry them and hold them as long as possible, as they commanded the pass of Musone, where the bulk of the army, with the baggage, must defile, and there was no other way than this pass by which the route of Ancona could be gained. The first farm, although warmly defended, was carried, and a hundred prisoners were taken. Six six-pounders were immediately brought up, in order to protect the position against a fresh attack of the enemy. Captain Richter, who commanded them, under the orders of Colonel Blumenstihl, was pierced in the thigh by a ball; he would not, however, leave the field, but remained in the midst of the fire. Two howitzers, commanded by Lieutenant Dandier, with the aid of a hundred Irishmen, who had arrived the night before from Spoleto, were placed in the open space in front of the farm, exposed to the grape shot of the Piedmontese, to which they replied as if they had been in force. Unfortunately, all parties did not do their duty so well. Pimodan was obliged to dismiss, on the battle-field, the commander of the First Battalion of Chasseurs. "The moment had come," says Lamoriciere in his report, "to attack the second farm. General Pimodan formed a small column, under the orders of Commandant Becdelievre, composed of the Battalion of Belgian Fusiliers, of a detachment of Carabiniers, and of the First Battalion of Chasseurs. This column boldly advanced, notwithstanding a most active fusilade from the farm and the wood. There were 500 metres to march over thus exposed. But when about a hundred and fifty feet from the summit of the hill it was received by the fire of two ranks of a strong line of battle, which put so great a number of the men hors de combat that it was obliged to fall back. The enemy pursued. But when he had nearly reached our troops, the column faced round, waited for him at fifteen paces distance, received him with a well-directed fire, and rushed on him with the bayonet. Astonished at so much daring and coolness, the enemy, although superior in number, fell back in his turn, and thus allowed our soldiers to regain the position which they had left. The fire of our artillery, which was well supplied and well directed, protected these movements. The enemy had lost more men; but, relatively, our losses were more felt than his. Pimodan had been wounded in the face; but, nevertheless, he retained his command. I observed that his two battalions and a half were not sufficiently strong to carry the second position; so I sent for the two reserve battalions, and ordered the cavalry to pass the river, and follow on our right flank the march of our columns. During this time the enemy had endeavored to overwhelm us on both sides. Major Becdelievre brought together what remained of his battalion, rushed upon the fusileers and forced them back into the wood whence they had come." These were splendid feats of arms. But the excessive inferiority of Lamoriciere's artillery and numbers made victory impossible. The revolution had its emissaries enrolled as soldiers in the Pontifical army. One of these, by a traitorous blow from behind, slew the brave Pimodan in the height of the battle. These traitors also caused a panic at the decisive moment by spreading false alarms. The youthful soldiers of the reserve, who had never seen fire, became demoralized, and fled in confusion, without hearing the sound of a single ball. Others followed. The artillery, now no longer supported, and, fearing to be taken, sought safety in flight. But instead of gaining the road to Ancona, it fell back on Loretto, where it could not fail to fall into the hands of the enemy. Lamoriciere, always calm in such terrible discomfiture, made unheard-of exertions, as did also his aids-de-camp, Messrs. de Maistre, de Lorgeril, de Robiano, de France and Montmarin, in endeavoring to guide the precipitate retreat. His orders either were not conveyed or were not executed. Then, as was his custom in Africa, he hurried alone on horseback to within a hundred feet of the lines, in order to ascertain the situation, rejoined his staff, labored to stay the flight, and when all was lost, he executed, with five-and-forty horse and a hundred infantry, a movement which with the army was impossible. He took the route of Ancona, which a Piedmontese squadron was preparing to bombard, and reached that place by five o'clock in the evening. The brave Franco-Belgians sacrificed themselves in order to save the rest of the army. They held out in the farm which they had occupied as long as their ammunition lasted. The neighboring fields and hedges were covered with dead and wounded Piedmontese; but they themselves were all either killed or taken. Among the slain and wounded were many of the best nobility of Europe—Paul de Percevaux, Edme de Montagnac, Arthur de Chalus, Hyacinth de Lanascol, Alfege du Baudier, Joseph Guerin, Georges de Haliand, Felix de Montravel, Alfred de la Barre de Nanteuil, Thierry du Fougeray, Leopold de Lippe, Gaston du Plessis de Grenedan, Raoul Dumanoir, Lanfranc de Beccary, Alphonse Menard, Guelton, Rogatien Picon, Anseline de Puisage, George Myonnet. Such are a few of those noble youths who fell victims to their zeal and bravery when engaged with General Lamoriciere in his hopeless attempt to stem the overwhelming tide of revolution which, at the time, successfully defied all the Powers of Europe to move an arm in opposition to it.
Lamoriciere succeeded in reaching Ancona, but only to prolong, for a few days more, a desperate contest. The available force in the place amounted only to 4,200 effective men, a number quite insufficient to man all the posts of such extensive fortifications. The general did not yet despair of aid from the French at Rome, and he flattered himself with the idea that if he only held out a few days, Austria and the other Catholic States would be shamed into activity. They, however, knew too well the intentions of France, and France had won the battle of Solferino. The brave Lamoriciere was assailed in his last retreat, both by sea and land. The bombardment lasted ten days, and was heard at Venice, the islands of Dalmatia, and even at Trieste. But not a friendly sail appeared in support of the besieged. The prolonged struggle did not even attract such vessels of neutral Powers as are commonly sent for the protection of their consuls and others of their respective nations, as well as to offer their good services to women, children and other non-combatants. Such disgraceful conduct was condemned alike by the Protestant and Catholic press of Europe. The London Times reproached M. de Cavour with not having understood that "candid and honorable conduct is not incompatible with patriotism." The same paper quoted, in this connection, the words of Manin, which are a condemnation of the whole conduct of the Piedmontese under Victor Emmanuel: "Means which the moral sense repels, even when they are materially profitable, deal a mortal blow to a cause. No victory can be put in comparison with the absence of self-respect." Ancona was yet undergoing bombardment, when the three sovereigns of the North, who alone could have undertaken efficaciously the defence of the violated law of nations, met at Warsaw; and Napoleon III. presented to them a memorandum by which he engaged to abandon Piedmont in the event of her attacking Venice. But "he presupposed that the German Powers would also confine themselves to an attitude of abstention, and would avoid furnishing a pretext for an Italian attack of Austria." At length, the Piedmontese fleet, under Admiral Persano, succeeded in demolishing the more important portion of the fortifications of Ancona. A white flag was now displayed on the citadel and all the lesser forts; and Major Mauri was sent on board the admiral's ship to negotiate a capitulation. The firing ceased on both sides. But now occurred a circumstance which stigmatizes to all time the character of the Piedmontese generals, Fanti and Cialdini. M. de Quatrebarbes relates, "that whilst the conditions of capitulation were under discussion, the land army, furious at having been repelled, and at having done nothing that could contribute towards the taking of the city, recommenced firing along the whole line. The bombardment and cannonade continued from nine o'clock in the evening of the 28th until nine in the morning of the 29th, and that, although negotiators had been sent, and bells had been rung, announcing the cessation of hostilities, in defiance even of a very pressing letter of the admiral, who would not participate in such an infamous proceeding. He also recalled on board his ships the marine who served a land battery. All this time not a single cannon was fired from the city. Thus the Piedmontese army bombarded incessantly for twelve hours a defenceless town, in violation of the law of nations, and all sentiments of honor and humanity. Admiral Persano himself reported at Turin the refusal of the land army to cease firing. Such a fact must excite the indignation of all right-thinking people." The revolution was highly offended when compared to Islamism. Are the regular troops of Islam accused of such barbarities? The Bashi-Bazouks could not have done worse.