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Title: Pilgrimage from the Alps to the Tiber - Or The Influence of Romanism on Trade, Justice, and Knowledge
Author: Wylie, James Aitken, 1808-1890
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Pilgrimage from the Alps to the Tiber - Or The Influence of Romanism on Trade, Justice, and Knowledge" ***

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TIBER***


Transcriber's note:

   The punctuation and spelling from the original text have been
   preserved faithfully. Only obvious typographical errors have
   been corrected.



PILGRIMAGE FROM THE ALPS TO THE TIBER.

Or

The Influence of Romanism on Trade, Justice, and Knowledge.

by

REV. J.A. WYLIE, LL.D.

Author of "The Papacy," &c. &.c.



Edinburgh
Shepherd & Elliot, 15, Princes Street.
London: Hamilton, Adams, & Co.
MDCCCLV.



CONTENTS.


 CHAPTER I.
                                                           PAGE
 THE INTRODUCTION,                                            1

 CHAPTER II.
 THE PASSAGE OF THE ALPS,                                     8

 CHAPTER III.
 RISE AND PROGRESS OF CONSTITUTIONALISM IN PIEDMONT,         23

 CHAPTER IV.
 STRUCTURE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE VAUDOIS VALLEYS,       43

 CHAPTER V.
 STATE AND PROSPECTS OF THE VAUDOIS CHURCH,                  62

 CHAPTER VI.
 FROM TURIN TO NOVARA--PLAIN OF LOMBARDY,                    83

 CHAPTER VII.
 FROM NOVARA TO MILAN--DOGANA--CHAIN OF THE ALPS,            94

 CHAPTER VIII.
 CITY AND PEOPLE OF MILAN,                                  105

 CHAPTER IX.
 ARCO DELLA PACE--ST AMBROSE,                               119

 CHAPTER X.
 THE DUOMO OF MILAN,                                        126

 CHAPTER XI.
 MILAN TO BRESCIA--THE REFORMERS,                           137

 CHAPTER XII.
 THE PRESENT THE IMAGE OF THE PAST,                         152

 CHAPTER XIII.
 SCENERY OF LAKE GARDA--PESCHIERA--VERONA,                  158

 CHAPTER XIV.
 FROM VERONA TO VENICE--THE TYROLESE ALPS,                  168

 CHAPTER XV.
 VENICE--DEATH OF NATIONS,                                  178

 CHAPTER XVI.
 PADUA--ST ANTONY--THE PO--ARREST,                          198

 CHAPTER XVII.
 FERRARA--RENÉE AND OLYMPIA MORATA,                         209

 CHAPTER XVIII.
 BOLOGNA AND THE APENNINES,                                 216

 CHAPTER XIX.
 FLORENCE AND ITS YOUNG EVANGELISM,                         237

 CHAPTER XX.
 FROM LEGHORN TO ROME--CIVITA VECCHIA,                      262

 CHAPTER XXI.
 MODERN ROME,                                               276

 CHAPTER XXII.
 ANCIENT ROME--THE SEVEN HILLS,                             289

 CHAPTER XXIII.
 SIGHTS IN ROME--CATACOMBS--PILATE'S STAIRS--PIO NONO, &C., 302

 CHAPTER XXIV.
 INFLUENCE OF ROMANISM ON TRADE,                            333

 CHAPTER XXV.
 INFLUENCE OF ROMANISM ON TRADE--(CONTINUED),               352

 CHAPTER XXVI.
 JUSTICE AND LIBERTY IN THE PAPAL STATES,                   366

 CHAPTER XXVII.
 EDUCATION AND KNOWLEDGE IN THE PAPAL STATES,               401

 CHAPTER XXVIII.
 MENTAL STATE OF THE PRIESTHOOD IN ITALY,                   415

 CHAPTER XXIX.
 SOCIAL AND DOMESTIC CUSTOMS OF THE ROMANS,                 430

 CHAPTER XXX.
 THE ARGUMENT FROM THE WHOLE, OR, ROME HER OWN WITNESS,     447



ROME,

AND

THE WORKINGS OF ROMANISM

IN ITALY.



CHAPTER I.

THE INTRODUCTION.


I did not go to Rome to seek for condemnatory matter against the Pope's
government. Had this been my only object, I should not have deemed it
necessary to undertake so long a journey. I could have found materials
on which to construct a charge in but too great abundance nearer home.
The cry of the Papal States had waxed great, and there was no need to go
down into those unhappy regions to satisfy one's self that the
oppression was "altogether according to the cry of it." I had other
objects to serve by my journey.

There is one other country which has still more deeply influenced the
condition of the race, and towards which one is even more powerfully
drawn, namely, Judea. But Italy is entitled to the next place, as
respects the desire which one must naturally feel to visit it, and the
instruction one may expect to reap from so doing. Some of the greatest
minds which the pagan world has produced have appeared in Italy. In that
land those events were accomplished which have given to modern history
its form and colour; and those ideas elaborated, the impress of which
may still be traced upon the opinions, the institutions, and the creeds
of Europe. In Italy, too, empire has left her ineffaceable traces, and
art her glorious footsteps. There is, all will admit, a peculiar and
exquisite pleasure in visiting such spots: nor is there pleasure only,
but profit also. One's taste may be corrected, and his judgment
strengthened, by seeing the masterpieces of ancient genius. New trains
of thought may be suggested, and new sources of information opened, by
the sight of men and of manners wholly new. But more than this,--I
believed that there were lessons to be learned there, which it was
emphatically worth one's while going there to learn, touching the
working of that politico-religious system of which Italy has so long
been the seat and centre. I had previously been at some little pains to
make myself acquainted with this system in its principles, and wished to
have an opportunity of studying it in its effects upon the government of
the country, and the condition of the people, as respects their trade,
industry, knowledge, liberty, religion, and general happiness. All I
shall say in the following pages will have a bearing, more or less
direct, upon this main point.

It is impossible to disjoin the present of these countries from the
past; nor can the solemn and painful enigma which they exhibit be
unriddled but by a reference to the past, and that not the immediate,
but the remote past. There is truth, no doubt, in the saying of the old
moralist, that nations lose in moments what they had acquired in years;
but the remark is applicable rather to the accelerated speed with which
the last stages of a nation's ruin are accomplished, than to the slow
and imperceptible progress which usually marks its commencement. Unless
when cut off by the sudden stroke of war, it requires five centuries at
least to consummate the fall of a great people. One must pass,
therefore, over those hideous abuses which are the immediate harbingers
of national disaster, and which exclusively engross the attention of
ordinary inquirers, and go back to those remote ages, and those minute
and apparently insignificant causes, amid which national declension,
unsuspected often by the nation itself, takes its rise. The destiny of
modern Europe was sealed so long ago as A.D. 606, when the Bishop of
Rome was made head of the universal Church by the edict of a man stained
with the double guilt of usurpation and murder. Religion is the parent
of liberty. The rise of tyrants can be prevented in no other way but by
maintaining the supremacy of God and conscience; and in the early
corruptions of the gospel, the seeds were sown of those frightful
despotisms which have since arisen, and of those tremendous convulsions
which are now rending society. The evil principle implanted in the
European commonwealth in the seventh century appeared to lie dormant for
ages; but all the while it was busily at work beneath those imposing
imperial structures which arose in the middle ages. It had not been cast
out of the body politic; it was still there, operating with noiseless
but resistless energy and terrible strength; and while monarchs were
busily engaged founding empires and consolidating their rule, it was
preparing to signalize, at a future day, the superiority of its own
power by the sudden and irretrievable overthrow of theirs. Thus society
had come to resemble the lofty mountain, whose crown of white snows and
robe of fresh verdure but conceal those hidden fires which are
smouldering within its bowels. Under the appearance of robust health, a
moral cancer was all the while preying upon the vitals of society,
eating out by slow degrees the faith, the virtue, the obedience of the
world. The ground at last gave way, and thrones and hierarchies came
tumbling down. Look at the Europe of our day. What is the Papacy, but an
enormous cancer, of most deadly virulency, which has now run its course,
and done its work upon the nations of the Continent. The European
community, from head to foot, is one festering sore. Soundness in it
there is none. The Papal world is a wriggling mass of corruption and
suffering. It is a compound of tyrannies and perjuries,--of lies and
blood-red murders,--of crimes abominable and unnatural,--of priestly
maledictions, socialist ravings, and atheistic blasphemies. The whine of
mendicants, the curses, groans, and shrieks of victims, and the demoniac
laughter of tyrants, commingle in one hoarse roar. Faugh! the spectacle
is too horrible to be looked at; its effluvia is too fetid to be
endured. What is to be done with the carcase? We cannot dwell in its
neighbourhood. It would be impossible long to inhabit the same globe
with it: its stench were enough to pollute and poison the atmosphere of
our planet. It must be buried or burned. It cannot be allowed to remain
on the surface of the earth: it would breed a plague, which would
infect, not a world only, but a universe. It is in this direction that
we are to seek for instruction; and here, if we are able to receive it,
thirty generations are willing to impart to us their dear-bought
experience. Lessons which have cost the world so much are surely worth
learning.

But I do not mean to treat my readers to lectures on history, instead of
chapters on travel. It is not an abstract disquisition on the influence
of religion and government, such as one might compose without stirring
from his own fire-side, which I intend to write. It is a real journey we
are about to undertake. You shall have facts as well as
reflections,--incidents as well as disquisitions. I shall be grave,--as
who would not at the sight of fallen nations?--but "when time shall
serve there shall be smiles." You shall climb the Alps; and when their
tops begin to burn at sunrise, you shall join heart and song with the
music of the shepherd's horn, and the thunder of a thousand torrents, as
they rush headlong down amid crags and pine-forests from the icy
summits. You shall enter, with pilgrim feet, the gates of proud
capitals, where puissant kings once reigned, but have passed away, and
have left no memorial on earth, save a handful of dust in a
stone-coffin, or a half-legible name on some mouldering arch. The solemn
and stirring voice of Monte Viso, speaking from the midst of the Cottian
Alps, will call you from afar to the martyr-land of Europe. You shall
worship with the Waldenses beneath their own Castelluzzo, which covers
with its mighty shadow the ashes of their martyred forefathers, and the
humble sanctuary of their living descendants. You shall count the towns
and campaniles on the broad Lombardy. You shall pass glorious days on
the top of renowned cathedrals, and sit and muse in the face of the
eternal Alps, as the clouds now veil, now reveal, their never-trodden
snows. You shall cross the Lagunes, and see the winged lion of St Mark
soaring serenely amid the bright domes and the ever calm seas of Venice,
where you may list

 "The song and oar of Adria's gondolier,
 Mellowed by distance, o'er the waters sweep."

You shall travel long sleepless nights in the _diligence_, and be
ferried at day-break over "ancient rivers." You shall tread the
grass-grown streets of Ferrara, and the deserted halls of Bologna, where
the wisdom-loving youth of Europe erst assembled, but whose solitude now
is undisturbed, save by the clank of the Croat's sabre, or the
wine-flagon of the friar. You shall visit cells dim and dank, around
which genius has thrown a halo which draws thither the pilgrim, who
would rather muse in the twilight of the naked vault, than wander amid
the marble glories of the palace that rises proudly in its
neighbourhood. You shall go with me, at the hour of vespers, to aisled
cathedrals, which were ages a-building, and the erection of which
swallowed up the revenues of provinces,--beneath whose roof, ample
enough to cover thousands and tens of thousands, you may see a solitary
priest, singing a solemn dirge over a "Religion" fallen as a dominant
belief, and existing only as a military organization; while statues,
mute and solemn, of mailed warriors, grim saints, angels and winged
cherubs, ranged along the walls, are the only companions of the
surpliced man, if we except a few beggars pressing with naked knees the
stony floor. You shall see Florence,--

 "The brightest star of star-bright Italy."

You shall be stirred by the craggy grandeur of the Apennines, and
soothed by the living green of the Tuscan vales, with their hoar
castles, their olives, their dark cypresses, and their forests,--

             "Where beside his leafy hold
 The sullen boar hath heard the distant horn,
 And whets his tusks against the gnarled thorn."

You shall taste the vine of Italy, and drink the waters of the Arno. You
shall wander over ancient battle-fields, encounter the fierce Apennine
blast, and be rocked on the Mediterranean wave, which the sirocco heaps
up, huge and dark, and pours in a foaming cataract upon the strand of
Italy. Finally, we shall tread together the sackcloth plain on which
Rome sits, with the leaves of her torn laurel and the fragments of her
shivered sceptre strewn around her, waiting with discrowned and
downcast head the bolt of doom. Entering the gates of the "seven-hilled
city," we shall climb the Capitol, and survey a scene which has its
equal nowhere on the earth. Mouldering arches, fallen columns, buried
palaces, empty tombs, and slaves treading on the dust of the conquerors
of the world, are all that now remain of Imperial Rome. What a scene of
ruin and woe! When the twilight falls, and the moon begins to climb the
eastern arch, mark how the Coliseum projects, as if in pity, its mighty
shadow across the Forum, and covers with its kindly folds the mouldering
trophies of the past, and draws its mantle around the nakedness of the
Cæsars' palace, as if to screen it from the too curious eye of the
visitor. Rome, what a history is thine! One other tragedy, terrible as
befits the drama it closes, and the curtain will drop in solemn, and, it
may be, eternal silence.



CHAPTER II.

THE PASSAGE OF THE ALPS.

     The Rhone--Plains of Dauphiny--Mont Blanc and the "Reds"--Landscape
     by Night--Democratic Club in the _Diligence_--Approach the
     Alps--Festooned Vines--Begin the Ascent--Chamberry--Uses of War--An
     Alpine Valley--Sudden Alternations of Beauty and
     Grandeur--Travellers--Evening--Grandeur of Sunset--Supper at
     Lanslebourg--Cross the Summit at Midnight--Morning--Sunrise among
     the Alps--Descent--Italy.


It was wearing late on an evening of early October 1851 when I crossed
the Rhone on my way to the Alps. It had rained heavily during the day,
and sombre clouds still rested on the towers of Lyons behind me. The
river was in flood, and the lamps on the bridge threw a troubled gleam
upon the impetuous current as it rolled underneath. It was impossible
not to recollect that this was the stream on the banks of which Irenæus,
the disciple of Polycarp, himself the disciple of John, had, at almost
the identical spot where I crossed it, laboured and prayed, and into the
floods of which had been flung the ashes of the first martyrs of Gaul.
These murky skies formed no very auspicious commencement of my journey;
but I cherished the hope that to-morrow would bring fair weather, and
with fair weather would come the green valleys and gleaming tops of the
Alps, and, the day after, the sunny plains of Italy. This fair vision
beckoned me on through the deep road and the scudding shower.

We struck away into the plains of Dauphiny,--those great plains that
stretch from the Rhone to the Alps, and which offer to the eye, as seen
from the heights that overhang Lyons, a vast and varied expanse of wood
and meadow, corn-field and vineyard, city and hamlet, with the snowy
pile of Mont Blanc rising afar in the horizon. On the previous evening I
had climbed these heights, so stately and beautiful, with convents
hanging on their sides, and a chapel to Mary crowning their summit, to
renew my acquaintance, after an interval of some years' absence, with
the monarch of the Alps. I was greatly pleased to find, especially in
these times, that my old friend had not grown "red." Since I saw him
last, changes not a few had passed upon Europe, and more than one
monarch had fallen; but Mont Blanc sat firmly in his seat, and wore his
icy crown as proudly as ever.

Since my former visit to Lyons the "Reds" had made great progress in all
the countries at the foot of the Alps. Their party had been especially
progressive in Lyons; so much so as to affect the nomenclature of the
hills that overlook that city on the north. That hill, which is nearly
wholly covered with the houses and workshops of the silk-weavers, is now
known as the "red mountain," its inhabitants being mostly of that
faction; while the hill on the west of it, that, namely, which I had
ascended on the evening before, and which is chiefly devoted to
ecclesiastical persons and uses, is called the "white mountain." But
while men had been changing their faith, and hills their names, Mont
Blanc stood firmly by his old creed and his old colours. There he was,
dazzlingly, transcendently white, defying the fuller's art to whiten
him, and shading into dimness the snowy robe of the priest; looking
with royal majesty over his wide realm; standing unchanged in the midst
of a theatre of changes; abiding for ever, though kingdoms at his feet
were passing away; pre-eminent in grace and glory amidst his princely
peers; and looking the earthly type of that eternal and all-glorious
One, who stands supreme and unapproachable amid the powers, dominions,
and royalties of the universe.

The night wore on without any noticeable event, or any special
interruption, save what was occasioned necessarily by our arrival at the
several stages, and the changes consequent thereon of horses and
postilions. There was a rag of a moon overhead,--at least so one might
judge from the hazy light that struggled through the fog,--by the help
of which I kept watching the landscape till past midnight. Then a spirit
of drowsiness invaded me. It was not sleep, but sleep's image, or
sleep's counterfeit,--an uneasy trance, in which a confused vision of
tall trees, with their head in the clouds, and very long and very narrow
fields, marked off by straight rows of very upright poplars, and large
heavy-looking houses, with tall antique roofs, kept marching past,
without variety and without end. I would wake up at times and look out.
There was the same picture before me. I would fall back into my trance
again, and, an hour or so after, I would again wake up; still the
identical picture was there. I could not persuade myself that the
_diligence_ had moved from the spot, despite the rumbling of its wheels
and the jingling of the horses' bells. All night long the same
changeless picture kept moving on and on, ever passing, yet never past.

I may be said to have crossed the Alps amid a torrent of curses. My
place was in the _banquette_, the roomiest and loftiest part of the
lofty _diligence_, and which, perched in front, and looking down upon
the inferior compartments of the _diligence_, much as the attics of a
three-storey house look down upon the lower suits of apartments,
commands a fine view of the country, when it is daylight and clear
weather. There sat next me in the _banquette_ a young Savoyard, who
travelled with us as far as Chamberry, in the heart of the Alps; and on
the other side of the Savoyard sat the _conducteur_. This last was a
Piedmontese, a young, clever, obliging fellow, with a voluble tongue,
and a keen dark eye in his head. Scarce had we extricated ourselves from
the environs of Lyons, or had got beyond the reach of the guns that look
so angrily down upon it from the heights, till these two broke into a
conversation on politics. The conversation soon warmed into an energetic
and vehement discussion, or philippic I should rather say. Their
discourse was far too rapid, and I was too unfamiliar with the language
in which it was uttered to do more than gather its scope and drift. But
I could hear the names of France and Austria repeated every other
sentence; and these names were sure to be followed by a volley of
curses, fierce, scornful, and defiant. Austria was cursed,--France was
cursed: they were cursed individually,--they were cursed
conjunctly,--once, again, and a hundred times. What were the politics of
the passengers in the other compartments of the diligence I know not;
but little did they wot that they had a democratic club overhead, and
that more treason was spouted that night in their company than might
have got us all into trouble, had there been any evesdropper in any
corner of the vehicle. When I chanced to awake, they were still at it.
The harsh grating sound of the anathemas haunted me during my sleep
even. It was like a rattling hail-shower, or like the continuous
corruscations of lightning,--the lightning of the Alps. Had it been
possible for the authorities to know but a tithe of what was spoken
that night by my two neighbours, their journey would have been short:
they would have been shot at the next station, to a certainty.

With the night, the dream-like landscape, and the maledictory harangues
which had haunted me during the darkness, passed away, and the morning
found us nearing the mountains. The Alps open upon you by little. One
who has never climbed these hills imagines himself standing at their
feet, and looking up the long unbroken vista of fields, vineyards,
forests, and naked rocks, to the eternal snows of their summit. Not so.
They do not come marching thus upon you in all their grandeur to
overwhelm you. To see them thus, you must stand afar off,--at least
fifty miles away. There you can take in the whole at a glance, from the
beauteous fringe of stream, and hamlet, and woodland, that skirts their
base, to the white serrated line that cuts so sharply the blue of the
firmament. Nearer them,--unless, indeed, in the great central valleys,
where you can see the icy fields hanging in the firmament at an awful
distance above you,--their snow-clad summits are invisible, being hidden
by an intervening sea of ridges, that are strewn over with rocks, or
wave darkly with pines.

As we approached the mountains, they offered to the eye a beauteous
chain of verdant hills, with the morning mists hanging on their sides.
The torrents were in flood from the recent rains; the woods had the rich
tints of autumn upon them; but the charm of the scene lay in the
beautiful festoonings of the vine. The uplands before me were barred by
what I at first took to be long horizontal layers of fleecy cloud. On a
nearer approach, these turned out to be the long branchy arms of the
vine. The vine-stock is made to lean against the cut trunk of a chestnut
or poplar tree, and its branches are bent horizontally, and extended
till they meet those of the neighbouring vine-stock, which have been
similarly dealt with. In this way, continuous lines of luxuriant
foliage, with pendulous blood-red clusters in their season, may be made
to run for miles together along the hill-side. There might be from
thirty to forty parallel lines in those I now saw. Tinted with the
morning sun, and relieved against the deep verdure of the mountain, they
appeared like stripes of amber, or floating lines of cloud fringed with
gold.

It was the Mont Cenis route I was traversing,--the least rugged of all
the passes of the Alps, and the same by which Hannibal, as some suppose,
passed into Italy. The day cleared up into one of unusual brilliancy. We
began to ascend by a path cut in the rock of the mountain, having on our
left an escarpment of limestone several hundred feet high, and on our
right a deep gorge, with a white foaming torrent at its bottom. The
frontier chain passed, we descended into a rich valley, with a fine
stream flowing through it, and the poor town of Les Echelles hiding from
view in one of its angles. These noble valleys are sadly blotted by
filth and disease. The contrast offered betwixt the noble features of
nature and the degraded form of man is painful and humiliating. Bowed
down by toil, stolid with ignorance, disfigured with the goitre, struck
with cretinism, the miserable beings around you do more to sadden you
than all that the bright air and glorious hills can do to exhilarate
you.

The valley where we now were was a complete _cul de sac_. It was walled
in all round by limestone hills of great height, and the eye sought in
vain for visible outlet. At length one could see a white line running
half-way up the mountain's face, and ending in an opening no bigger than
a pigeon-hole. We slowly climbed this road,--for road it was; and when
we came to the diminutive opening we had seen from the valley below, it
expanded into a tunnel,--one of the great works of Napoleon,--which ran
right through the mountain, and brought us out on the other side. We now
traversed a narrow and rocky ravine, which at length expanded into a
magnificent valley, rich in vines and fruit-trees of all kinds, and
overhung by lofty mountains. On this plain, surrounded by the living
grandeur of nature, and the faded renown of its monastic and
archiepiscopal glory, and half-buried amid foliage and ruins, sits
Chamberry, the capital of Savoy.

At Chamberry our route underwent a change. Beauty now gave place to
grandeur; but still a grandeur blended with scenes of exquisite
loveliness. These I cannot stay to describe at length. The whole day was
passed in winding and climbing among the hills. We toiled slowly to rise
above the plains we had left, and to approach the region where winter
spreads out her boundless sea of ice and snow. We followed the
magnificent road which we owe to the genius of Napoleon. The fruits of
Marengo are gone. Austerlitz is but a name. But the passes of the Alps
remain. "When will it be ready for the transport of the cannon?"
enquired Napoleon respecting the Simplon road. War is a rough pioneer;
but without such a pioneer to clear the way the world would stand still.
Look back. What do you see throughout the successive ages? War, with his
red eye, his iron feet, and his gleaming brand, marching in the van; and
commerce, and arts, and Christianity, following in the wake of this
blood-besmeared Anakim. Such has ever been the order of procession.
Mankind in the mass are a sluggish race, and will march only when the
word of command is sounded from iron-throated, hoarse-voiced war. Look
at the Alps. What do you see? A gigantic form, busy amid the blinding
tempests and the eternal ice of their summits. With herculean might he
rends the rocks and levels the mountains. Who is he, and what does he
there? That is war, in the person of Napoleon, hewing a path through
rocks and glaciers, for the passage of the Bible and the missionary.
Under the reign of the Mediator the promise to Christianity is, All is
yours. War is yours, and Peace is yours.

As we passed on, innumerable nooks of beauty opened to the eye, and
romantic peaks ever and anon shot up before us. Now the path led along a
meadow, with its large bright flowers; and now along the brink of an
Alpine river, with its worn bed and tumultuous floods. Now it rounded
the shoulder of a hill; and now it lost itself in some frightful gorge,
where the overhanging mountain, with its drapery of pine forests, made
it dark as midnight almost. You emerge into daylight again, and begin
the same succession of green meadow, pine-clad hill, foaming torrent,
and black gorge. Thus you go onward and upward. At length white Alps
begin to look down upon you, and give you warning that you are nearing
those central regions where eternal winter holds his seat amid pinnacles
of ice and wastes of snow.

Let us take an individual picture. The road has made a sudden turn; and
a valley, hitherto concealed by the mountains, opens unexpectedly. It is
some three or four miles long; and the road traverses it straight as the
arrow's flight, till it loses itself amid the rocks and foliage at the
bottom of the mountain which you see lying across the valley. On this
hand is a stream of water, clear as crystal; on that is the ridgy, wavy,
lofty mass of a purple Alp. The bright air and light incorporate, as it
were, with the substance of the mountain, and spiritualize it, so that
it looks of mould intermediate betwixt the earth and the firmament. The
path is bordered with the most delicious verdure, fresh and soft as a
carpet, and freckled with the dancing shadows of the trees. On this
hand is a chalet, with a vine climbing its wall and mantling its
doorway; on that is a verdant knoll, planted a-top with chestnut trees;
and from amidst their rich, massy foliage, the little spire of the
church, with its glittering vane, looks forth. Near it is the curé's
house, buried amidst flower-blossoms, the foliage of vines, and the
shadows of the sycamore and chestnut. There is not a spot in the little
valley which beauty has not clothed and decked with the most painstaking
care; while grandeur has built up a wall all round, as if to keep out
the storms that sometimes rage here. It looks so quiet and tranquil, and
is so shut in from the great world outside, that one thinks of it as a
spot which happy beings from another sphere might come to visit, and
where he might list the melody of their voices, as they walk at
even-tide amid the bowers of this earthly Eden.

The road makes another turn, and the scene is changed in a moment,--in
the twinkling of an eye. The happy valley is gone,--it has vanished like
a dream; and a scene of stern, savage, overpowering sublimity rises
before you. Alp is piled upon Alp, chasms yawn, torrents growl, jutting
rocks threaten; and far over head is the dark pine forest, amid which
you can descry, perhaps, the frozen billows of the glacier, or have
glimpses of those still higher and drearier regions where winter sits on
her eternal throne, and holds undivided sway. Your farther progress is
completely barred. So it looks. A cyclopean wall rises from earth to
heaven. The gate of rock by which you entered seems to have closed its
ponderous jaws behind you, and shut you in,--there to remain till some
supernatural power rend the mountains and give you egress. The mood of
mind changes with the scene. The beauty soothed and softened you; now
you grow impulsive and stern. The awful forms around you blend with the
soul, as it were, and impart something of their own vastness to it. You
feel yourself carried into the very presence of that Power which sank
the foundations of the mountains in the depths of the earth, and built
up their giant masses above the clouds; which hung the avalanche on
their brow, clove their unfathomable abysses, poured the river at their
feet, and taught the forked lightning to play around their awful icy
steeps. You seem to hear the sound of the Almighty's footsteps still
echoing amid these hills. There passes before you the shadow of
Omnipotence; and a great voice seems to proclaim the Godhead of Him "who
hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven
with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and
weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance."

The road was comparatively solitary. We passed at times a waggoner, who
was conveying the produce of the plains to some village among the
mountains; and then a couple of pedestrians, with the air of tradesmen,
on their way perhaps to a Swiss town to seek employment; and next a
cowherd, driving home his herds from the glades of the forest; and now
an occasional gendarme would present himself, and force you to remember,
what you would willingly have forgotten amid such scenes, that there
were such things as armies in the world; and sometimes the long, dark
figure of the curé, reading his breviary to economize time, might be
seen gliding along before you, representative of the murky superstition
that still fills these valleys, and which, indeed, you can read in the
stolid face of the Savoyard, as he sits listlessly under the broad
easings of his cottage roof.

Anon the evening came, walking noiselessly upon the mountains, and
shedding on the spirit a not unpleasant melancholy. The Alps seemed to
grow taller. Deep masses of shade were projected from summit to summit.
Pine forest, and green vale, and dashing torrent, and quiet hamlet, all
retired from view, as if they wished to go to sleep beneath the friendly
shadows. A deep and reverent silence stole over the Alps, as if the
stillness of the firmament had descended upon them. Over all nature was
shed this spirit of quiet and profound tranquillity. Every tree was
motionless. The murmur of the brook, the wing of the bird, the creak of
our diligence, the voices of the postilion and _conducteur_, all felt
the softening influence of the hour.

But mark! what glory is this which begins to burn upon the crest of the
snowy Alps? First there comes a flood of rosy light, and then a deep
bright crimson, like the ruby's flash or the sapphire's blaze, and then
a circlet of flaming peaks studs the horizon. It looks as if a great
conflagration were about to begin. But suddenly the light fades, and
piles of cold, pale white rise above you. You can scarce believe them to
be the same mountains. But, quick as the lightning, the flash comes
again. A flood of glory rolls once more along their summits. It is a
last and mighty blaze. You feel as if it were a struggle for life,--as
if it were a war waged by the spirits of darkness against these
celestial forms. The struggle is over: the darkness has prevailed. These
mighty mountain torches are extinguished one after one; and cold,
ghastly piles, of sepulchral hue, which you shiver to look up at, and
which remind you of the dead, rise still and calm in the firmament above
you. You feel relieved when darkness interposes its veil betwixt you and
them. The night sets in deep, and calm, and beautiful, with troops of
stars overhead. The voice of streams, all night long, fills the silent
hills with melodious echoes.

We now threaded the black gorge of the Arc, passing, unperceived in the
darkness, Fort Lesseillon, which, erecting its tiers of batteries above
this tremendous natural fosse, looks like a mailed warrior guarding the
entrance to Italy. It was eleven o'clock, and we were toiling up the
mountain. We had left all human habitations far below, as we thought,
when suddenly we were startled by a peal of village bells. Never had
bells sounded sweeter in my fancy than those I now heard in these dreary
regions. These were the convent bells of the little village of
Lanslebourg, which lies at the foot of the summit of the Mont Cenis.
Here we were to sup. It was a sort of Arbour in the midst of the hill
Difficulty, where we Pilgrims might refresh ourselves before beginning
our last and steepest ascent. It was a most substantial repast, as all
suppers in that part of the world are; and we had the pleasure of
thinking that we were perhaps the highest supper party in Europe. It was
our last meal before crossing the mountain, and passing from the modern
to the ancient world; for the ridge of the Alps is the limit that
divides the two. On this side are modern times; on that are the dark
ages. You retrograde five full centuries when you step across the line.
We ate our supper, as did the Israelites their last meal in Egypt, with
our loins girded,--scarce even our greatcoats put off, and our staff in
our hand.

Now for the summit. We started at midnight. Above us was an ebon vault,
studded thick with large bright stars. Around us was the awful silence
of the mountains. The night was luminous; for in that elevated region
darkness is unknown, save when the storm-cloud shrouds it. Of our party,
some betook them to the diligence, and were carried over asleep; others
of us, leaving the vehicle to follow the road, which zig-zags up to the
summit, addressed ourselves to the old route, which winds steeply
upward, now through forests of stunted firs, now over a matting of
thick, short grass, and now over the bare debris-strewn scalp of the
mountain. The convent bells followed us with their sweet chimes up the
hill, and formed a link between us and the living world below. The
echoes of our voices were strangely loud. They rung out in the thin
elastic air, as if all we said had been caught up and repeated by some
invisible being,--some genius of the mountains. The hours wore away; and
so delighted were we with the novelty of our position,--climbing the
summits of the Alps at midnight,--that they seemed but so many minutes.

Ere we were aware, the night was past, and the dawn came upon us; and
with the dawn, new and stupendous glories burst forth. How fresh and
holy the young day, as it drew aside the curtains of the east, and
smiled upon the mountains! The valleys were buried under a fathomless
ocean of haze; but the pearly light, sown by the rosy hand of morn,
fringed the mountain ridges, and a multitudinous sea of silvery waves
spread out around us. The dawn stole on, waxing momentarily; and the
great white Alps, which had been standing all night around us so silent,
and cold, and sepulchral-like, in their snowy shrouds, now began to grow
palpable and less dream-like. The stars put out their fires as the pure
crystal light mounted into the sky. Each successive scene was
lovely,--inexpressibly lovely,--but momentary. We wished we could have
stereotyped it till we had had time to admire it; but while we were
gazing it had passed and was gone, like the other glories of the world.
But, lo! the sun is near. Mighty torch-bearers run before his chariot,
and cry to the rocks, the pine-forests, the torrents, the glaciers, the
vine-clad vales, the flower-enamelled glades, the rivers, the cities,
that their king is coming. Awake and worship! A mighty Alp, whose
loftier stature or more favourable position gives it the start of all
the others, has caught the first ray; and suddenly, as if an invisible
hand had kindled it, it rises into the firmament, a pyramid of flame,
soft, mild, yet gloriously bright, like a dome of living sapphire. While
you gaze, another flashes upon you, and another, and another, and at
length the whole horizon is filled with gigantic pyres. The stupendous
vision has risen so suddenly, that you almost look if you may see the
seraph which has flown round and kindled these mighty torches. The glory
is inexpressible, and on a scale so vast, that you have no words to
describe it. You can scarce believe it to be reflected light which gives
such glory to these mountains. They are so rosy, so vividly, intensely
radiant, that you feel as if that boundless effulgence emanated from
themselves,--were flowing forth from some hidden fountain of light
within. It is like no other scene of earthly glory you ever saw. You can
compare it only to some celestial city which has been let down from the
firmament upon the tops of the mountains, with its glittering turrets,
its domes of sapphire, and its wall of alabaster, needing no sun or
other source of earthly light to enlighten and glorify it. But while you
gaze, it is gone. The sun is up, and the mighty mountain-torches which
had carried the tidings of his coming to the countries beneath are
extinguished.

It was now full day, and we had reached the summit of the pass. Above us
were still the snow-clad peaks; but the road does not ascend higher. We
now crossed the frontier, and were in Italy. A little rocky plain
surrounded by weather-beaten peaks, a deep blue lake, and a sea of bare
ridges in front, were all that we saw of Italy. The road now began
sensibly to decline, and the diligence quickened its pace. We soon
reached the ridges before us, and began to descend over the brow of the
Alps, which are steep and perpendicular as a wall almost, on their
southern side. You first traverse a region covered with immense
lichen-clothed boulders; next come stretches of heath; then stunted
firs: by and by fruit and forest trees begin to make their appearance;
next comes the lovely acacia; and last of all the vine, tall and
luxuriant, veiling the peasant's cot with its shadow. The road is
literally a series of hanging stairs, which zig-zag down the face of the
mountain. At certain points the rock is perforated; at others it is hewn
into terraces; and at others the path rests on vast substructions of
masonry. Now an immense rock leans over the road, and now you find
yourself on the edge of some frightful precipice, with the gulph running
right down many thousands of feet, and a white torrent at the bottom,
boiling and struggling, but unable to make itself heard at that height
on the mountain. The turns are frequent and sharp; and the heavy,
overladen vehicle, in its furious downward career, gives a swing at
each, as if it would cut short the passage into Italy, and land the
passenger, sooner than he wishes, at the bottom. At length, after four
hours' riding, the descent is accomplished. The scene has changed in the
twinkling of an eye. The plain is as level as a floor. The warm
sun,--the brilliant sky,--the luxuriant vines,--the handsome
architecture,--the picturesque costumes,--the dark oval faces, and black
fiery eyes of the natives,--all tell you that it is a new world into
which you have entered,--that this is ITALY.



CHAPTER III.

RISK AND PROGRESS OF CONSTITUTIONALISM IN PIEDMONT.

     First Entrance into Italy--Never can be Repeated--The Cathedral of
     Turin--The Royal Palace--The Museum--Egyptian
     Mummies--Reflections--Landmark of the Vaudois Valleys--Piedmontese
     House of Commons--Piedmontese Constitution--Perils that surrounded
     it--Providentially shielded from these--Numbers and Wealth of the
     Priesthood--Want of Public Opinion--Rise of a Free Press--Its
     Power--The _Gazetta del Popolo_--The Bible quoted by the
     Journalists--The flourishing State of the Country--The Waldensian
     Temple and Congregation--Workmen's Clubs--The Capuchin Monastery--A
     Capuchin Friar--Sunset.


One can enter Italy for the first time only once. For, however often we
may climb the Alps, and tread the land that lies stretched out at their
base, it is with a cold pulse, compared with the fever of excitement
into which we are thrown by the first touch of that soil. The charm is
flown; the tree of knowledge has been plucked; and never more can we
taste the dreamy yet intense delight which attended the first unfolding
of the gates of the Alps, and the first rising of the fair vision of
Italy.

In truth, the Italy which one comes to see on his second visit is not
the Italy that first drew him across the Alps. That was the Italy of
history, or rather of his own imagination. The fair form his fancy was
wont to conjure up, draped in the glowing recollections of empire and of
arms, and encompassed with the halo of heroic deeds, he can see no more.
There meets him, on the other side of the Alps, a vision very unlike
this. The Italy of the Cæsars is gone; and where she sat is now a poor,
naked, cowering thing, with a chain upon her arm,--the Italy of the
Popes. But the fascination attends the traveller some short way into
that land. Indeed, he is loath to lose it, and would rather see Italy
through the warm colourings of history, and the bright hues of his own
fancy, than look upon her as she is.

I shall never forget the intense excitement that thrilled me when I
found myself rolling along on the magnificent avenue of pollard-elms,
that runs all the way from Rivoli to Turin. The voluptuous air, which
seemed to fill the landscape with a dreamy gaiety; the intense sunlight,
which tinted every object with extraordinary brilliancy, from the bright
leaves overhead, to the burning domes of Turin in front; the dark eyes
of the natives, which flashed with a fervour like that of their own sun;
the Alps towering above me, and running off in a vast unbroken line of
glittering masses,--all contributed to form a picture of so novel and
brilliant a kind, that it absolutely produced an intoxication of
delight.

I passed a few days at Turin; and the pleasure of my stay was much
enhanced by the society of my friend the Rev. John Bonar, whom I had met
at Chamberry, _en route_, with his family, for Malta. We visited
together the chief objects of interest in the capital of Piedmont. The
churches we saw of course. And though we had been carried blindfolded
across the Alps, and set down in the cathedral of Turin, the statuary
alone would have told us that we were in Italy. The most unpractised eye
could see at once the difference betwixt these statues and those of the
Transalpine churches. The Italian sculptors seemed to possess some
secret by which they could make the marble live. Some half-dozen of
priests, with red copes (I presume it was a martyr's day, for on such
days the Church's dress is red), ranged in a pew near the altar, were
singing psalms. Whether the good men were thinking of their dinner, I
knew not; but they yawned portentously, wrung their hands with an air of
helplessness, and looked at us as if they half expected that we would
volunteer to do duty for an hour or so in their stead. A bishop chanting
his psalter under the groined roof of cathedral, and a covenanter
praying in his hill-side cave, would form an admirable picture of two
very different styles of devotion. There were some dozen of old women on
the floor, whom the mixed motive of saying their prayers and picking up
a chance alms seemed to have drawn thither. From the Duomo we went to
the King's palace. We walked through a suit of splendid apartments,
though not quite accordant in their style of ornament and comfort with
our English ideas. The floor and roof were of rich and beautiful
mosaics; the walls were adorned with the more memorable battles of the
Sardinian nation; and the furniture was minutely and elaborately inlaid
with mother-of-pearl. Three rooms more particularly attracted my
attention. The first contained the throne of the kings of Savoy,--a
gilded chair, under a crimson canopy, and surrounded by a gilt railing.
I thought, as I gazed upon it, how often the power of that throne had
lain heavily upon the poor Waldenses. The other room contained the bed
on which King Charles Albert died. It is yet in my readers'
recollection, that Charles Albert died at Oporto; but the whole
furniture of the room in which he breathed his last was transported,
together with his ashes, to Turin. It was an affecting sight. There it
stood, huddled into a corner,--a poor bed of boards, with a plain
coverlet, such as a Spanish peasant might sleep beneath; a chest of deal
drawers; and a few of the necessary utensils of a sick chamber. The
third room contained the Queen's bed of state. Its windows opened
sweetly upon the fine gardens of the palace, where the first ray, as it
slants downwards from the crest of the Alps into the valley of the Po,
falls on the massy foliage of the mulberry and the orange. On the table
were some six or eight books, among which was a copy of the Psalms of
David. "It is very fine," said my friend Mr Bonar, glancing up at the
gilded canopy and silken hangings of the bed, and poking his hand at the
same time into its soft woolly furnishings, "but nothing but blankets
can make it comfortable."

From the palace we passed to the Museum. There you see pictures,
statues, coins stamped with the effigies of kings that lived thousands
of years ago, and papyrus parchments inscribed with the hieroglyphics of
old Egypt, and other curiosities, which it has required ages to collect,
as it would volumes to describe. Not the least interesting sight there
is the gods of Egypt,--cats, ibises, fish, monkeys, heads of calves and
bulls, all lying in their original swathings. I looked narrowly at these
divinities, but could detect no difference betwixt the god-cat of Egypt
and the cats of our day. Were it possible to re-animate one of them, and
make it free of our streets, I fear the god would be mistaken for an
ordinary quadruped of its own kind, pelted and worried by mischievous
boys and dogs, as other cats are. I do not know that a modern priest of
Turin has any very good ground for taunting an old Egyptian priest with
his cat-worship. If it is impossible to tell the difference betwixt a
cat which is simply a cat, and a cat which is a god, it is just as
impossible to tell the difference betwixt a bread-wafer which is simply
bread, and a bread-wafer which is the flesh and blood, the soul and
divinity, of Christ.

Seeing in Egypt the gods died, it will not surprise the reader that in
Egypt men should die. And there they lay, the brown sons and daughters
of Mizraim, side by side with their gods, wrapt with them in the same
stoney, dreamless slumber. One mummy struck me much. It lay in a stone
sarcophagus, the same in which the hands of wife or child mayhap had
placed it; and there it had slept on undisturbed through all the changes
and hubbub of four thousand years. Over the face was drawn a thin cloth,
through which the features could be seen not indistinctly. Now, thought
I, I shall hear all about old Egypt. Perhaps this man has seen Joseph,
or talked with Jacob, or witnessed the wonders of the exodus. Come, tell
me your name or profession, or some of the strange events of your
history. Did you don the mail-coat of the warrior, or the white robe of
the priest? Did you till the ground, and live on garlic; or were you
owner of a princely estate, and wont to sit on your house-top of
evenings, enjoying the delicious twilight, and the soft flow of the
Nile? Come now, tell me all. The door of a departed world seemed about
to open. I felt as if standing on its threshold, and looking in upon the
shadowy forms that peopled it. But ah! these lips spoke not. With the
Rosetta stone as the key, I could compel the granite slabs and the brown
worn parchments around me to give up their secrets. But where was the
key that could open that breast, and read the secrets locked up in it?

And this form had still a living owner! This awoke a train of thought
yet more solemn. Who, what, and where is he? Anxious as I had been to
have the door of that mysterious past in which he had lived opened to
me, I was yet more anxious to look into that more mysterious and awful
future into which he had gone. What had he seen and felt these four
thousand years? Did the ages seem long to him, or was it but as a few
days since he left the earth? I went close up to the dark curtain, but
there was no opening,--no chink by which I could see into the world
beyond. Will no kind hand draw the veil aside but for a moment? There it
has hung unlifted age after age, concealing, with its impenetrable
folds, all that mortals would most like to know. Myriads and myriads
have passed within, but not one has ever given back voice, or look, or
sign, to those they left behind, and from whom never before did they
conceal thought or wish. Why is this? Do they not still think of us? Do
they not still love us? Would they softly speak to us if they could?
What gulf divides them? Ah! how silent are the dead!

Close by the great highway into Italy lie the "Valleys of the Vaudois."
One might pass them without being aware of their near presence, or that
he was treading upon holy ground;--so near to the world are they, and
yet so completely hidden from it. Ascend the little hill on the south of
Turin, and follow with your eye the great wall of the Alps which bounds
the plain on the north. There, in the west, about thirty miles from
where you stand, is a tall pyramidal-shaped mountain, towering high
above the other summits. That is Monte Viso, which rises like a
heaven-erected beacon, to signify from afar to the traveller the land of
the Waldenses, and to call him, with its solemn voice, to turn aside and
see the spot where "the bush burned and was not consumed." We shall make
a short, a very short visit to these valleys, than which Europe has no
more sacred soil. But first let us speak of some of the bulwarks which
an all-wise Providence has erected in our day around a Church and people
whose existence is one of the great living miracles of the world.

The revolutions which swept over Italy in 1848 were the knell of the
other Italian States, but to Piedmont they were the trumpet of liberty.
No man living can satisfactorily explain why the same event should have
operated so disasterously for the one, and so beneficially for the
other. No reason can be found in the condition of the country itself:
the thing is inexplicable on ordinary principles; and the more
intelligent Piedmontese at this day speak of it as a miracle. But so is
the fact. Piedmont is a constitutional kingdom; and I went with M.
Malan, himself a Waldensian, and a member of the Chamber of Deputies, to
see the hall where their Parliament sits. A spacious flight of steps
conducts to a noble hall, in form an ellipse, and surmounted by a dome.
At one end of the ellipse hangs a portrait of the President, and
underneath is his richly gilt chair, with a crimson-covered table before
it. Right in front of the Speaker's chair, on a lower level, is placed
the tribune, which much resembles the precentor's desk in a Scottish
church. The tribune is occupied only when a Minister makes a Ministerial
declaration, or a Convener of a Committee gives in his Report. An open
space divides the tribune from the seats of the members. These last run
all round the hall, in concentric rows of benches, also covered with
crimson. "There, on the right," said M. Malan, "sit the priest party. In
the front are the Ministerial members; on the left is my seat. There is
an extreme left to which I do not belong: I have not passed the
constitutional line. This lower tier of galleries is for the conductors
of the press and the diplomatic corps; this higher gallery is for ladies
and military men. We are 204 members in all. We have a member for every
twenty-five thousand inhabitants. Our population is four millions and a
half. Our House of Peers contains only ninety members. The King has the
privilege of nominating to it, but peers so created are only for life."

It was, in truth, a marvellous sight;--a free and independent Parliament
meeting in the ancient capital of the bigoted Piedmont, with a free
press and a public looking on, and one of the long proscribed Vaudois
race occupying a seat in it. The more I thought of it, the more I
wondered. The causes which had led to so extraordinary a result seemed
clearly providential. When King Charles Albert in 1848 gave his subjects
a Constitution, no one had asked it, and few there were who could value
it, or even knew what a Constitution meant. One or two public writers
there were who said that public opinion demanded it; but, in sooth,
there was then no public opinion in the country. Soon after this the
campaign in Lombardy was commenced, and the result of that campaign
threatened the Piedmontese Constitution with extinction. The Piedmontese
army was beaten by the Austrians, and had to make a hasty and inglorious
retreat into their own country. Every one then expected that Radetzky
would march upon Turin, put down the Constitution, and seize upon
Sardinia. Contrary to his usual habits, the old warrior halted on the
frontier, as if kept back by an invisible power, and the Constitution
was saved. Then came the death of Charles Albert, of a broken heart, in
Oporto, whither he had fled; and every one believed that the Piedmontese
charter would accompany its author to the tomb. The dispositions and
policy of the new king were unknown; but the probability was that he
would follow the example of his brother sovereigns of Italy, all of whom
had begun to revoke the Constitutions which they had so recently
inaugurated with solemn oaths. Happily these fears were not realized.
The new perils passed over, and left the Constitution unscathed. King
Victor Immanuel,--a constitutional monarch simply by accident,--turned
out a good-natured, easy-minded man, who loved the chase and his country
seat, and found it more agreeable to live on good terms with his
subjects, and enjoy a handsome civil list,--which his Parliament has
taken care to vote him,--than to be indebted for his safety and a
bankrupt exchequer to the bayonets of his guards. Thus marvellously,
hitherto, in the midst of dangers at home and re-action abroad, has the
Piedmontese charter been preserved. I dwell with the greater minuteness
on this point, because on the integrity of that charter are suspended
the civil liberties of the Church of the Vaudois. When I was in Turin
the Constitution was three years old; but even then its existence was
exceedingly precarious. The King could have revoked it at any moment;
and there was not then, I was assured by General Beckwith,--who knows
the state of the Piedmontese nation well,--moral power in the country to
offer any effectual resistance, had the royal will decreed the
suppression of constitutional government. "But," added he, "should the
Constitution live three years longer, the people by that time will have
become so habituated to the working of a free Constitution, and public
opinion will have acquired such strength, that it will be impossible for
the monarch to retrace his steps, even should he be so inclined." It is
exactly three years since that time, and the state of the Piedmontese
nation at this moment is such as to justify the words of the sagacious
old man.

The first grand difficulty in the way of the Constitution was, the
numbers and power of the priesthood. In no country in Europe,--not even
in France and Austria, when their size is compared,--were the benefices
so numerous, or their holders so luxuriously fed. Piedmont was the
paradise of priests. The ecclesiastical statistics of that kingdom,
furnished to the French journal _La Presse_, on occasion of the
introduction of the bill for suppressing the convents, on the 8th of
January 1855, reveals a state of things truly astonishing.
Notwithstanding that the population is only four and a half millions,
there are in Sardinia 7 archbishops; 34 bishops; 41 chapters, with 860
canons attached to the bishoprics; 73 simple chapters, with 470 canons;
1100 livings for the canons; and, lastly, 4267 parishes, with some
thousands of parish priests. The domain of the Church represents a
capital of 400 millions of francs, with a yearly revenue of 17 millions
and upwards. This enormous wealth is divided amongst the clergy in
proportions grossly unequal. The 41 prelates of Sardinia enjoy a revenue
of nearly a million and a half of francs, which is double what used to
maintain all the bishops of the French empire. The Archbishop of Turin
has an income of 120,000 francs, which is more than the whole bench of
Belgian bishops. The other prelates are paid in proportion. As a set-off
to this wealth, there are in Sardinia upwards of 2000 curates, not one
of whom has so much as 800 francs, or about L.35 sterling. These are
thus tempted to prey upon the people. Such is the terrible organization
which the King and Parliament have to encounter in carrying out their
reforms, and such is the fearful incubus which has pressed for ages upon
the social rights and industrial energies of the Piedmontese people.

But this is but a part of the great sacerdotal army encamped in
Piedmont. There are 71 religious orders besides, divided into 604
houses, containing in all 8563 monks and nuns. The expense of feeding
these six hundred houses, with their army of eight thousand strong,
forms an item of two millions and a-half of francs, and represents a
capital of forty-five millions. The greatest admirer of these
fraternities will scarce deny that this is a handsome remuneration for
their services; indeed, we never could make out what these services
really are. They do not teach the youth, or pray with the aged. For
reading they have no taste; and to write what will be read, or preach
what will be listened to, is far beyond their ability. Their pious hands
disdain all contact with the plough, and the loom, and the spade. They
share with their countrymen neither the labours of peace, nor the
dangers of war. They lounge all day in the streets, or about the wine
shops; and, when the dinner-hour arrives, they troop home-wards, to
retail the gossip of the town over a groaning board and a well-filled
flagon. Thus they fatten like pigs, being about as cleanly, but scarce
as useful. It is not surprising that a bill should at last have reached
the Chambers, proposing, _first_, the better distribution of the
revenues of the Church, equal to a fourth of the kingdom; and, _second_,
the suppression of those "houses," the rules of which bind over their
members to sheer, downright idleness, leaving only those who have some
show of public duty to perform. The priests denounce the bill as
"spoliation and robbery" of course, and prophesy all manner of things
against so wicked a kingdom. Doubtless it is daring impiety in the eyes
of Rome to forbid a man with a shaven crown and a brown cloak to play
the idler and vagabond. We are only surprised that the people of
Piedmont have so long suffered their labours to be eaten up by an order
of men useless, and worse than useless.

Another grand difficulty in Piedmont was the absence of a middle
class,--wealthy, intelligent, and independent. No one felt that he had
rights, and you never heard people saying there, as you may do in
Britain, "this is my right, and I will have it." A feeling of individual
right, and of responsibility,--for the two go together,--was then
just beginning to dawn upon the popular mind. This was accompanied
by a certain amount of disorganizing influence; not that of
Socialism,--which, happily, scarce existed in Piedmont,--but that of
self-action. Every one was feeling his own way. The priests, of course,
were exceedingly wroth, and loudly accused Protestantism as the cause of
all this commotion in men's minds. Alas! there was no Protestantism in
Piedmont, for it had been one of the most bigoted kingdoms in Italy. It
was their own handiwork; for a tyranny always produces a democracy. As
if by a miracle, a powerful and popular press started up in Turin. The
writers in the _Opinione_ and the _Gazetta del Popolo_, acting, I
suspect, on a hint given by some Vaudois that there was an old book, now
little known, that would help them in the war they were now waging, went
to the Bible, and, finding that it made against the priests, were
liberal in their quotations from it. Their most telling hits were the
extracts from Scripture; and finding it so, they quoted yet more
largely. The priests were much concerned to see Holy Scripture so far
profaned as to be quoted in newspapers, and exposed freely to the gaze
of the vulgar. But what could they do? Their own literary qualifications
did not warrant them to enter the lists with these writers: they had
forgot the way to preach, unless at Lent; they could work the
confessional, but even it began to be silenced by the powerful artillery
of the press. At an earlier stage they might have roused the peasantry,
and marched upon the Constitution, whose life they knew was the death of
their power; but it was too late in 1851. An attempt of this sort made a
year or two after, among the peasantry of the Val d'Aosta, turned out a
miserable failure. Thus, a movement which in other countries came
forward under the sanction of the priesthood, from the very outset in
Piedmont took a contrary direction, and set in full against the Church.
Since that day liberty has been working itself, bit by bit, into the
action of the Constitution, and the feelings of the people; and now, I
believe, neither King nor Parliament, were they so inclined, could put
it down.

The sum of the matter then is, that of all the kingdoms which the era of
1848 started in the path of free government, the brave little State of
Piedmont alone has persevered to this day. Amid the wide weltering sea
of Italian anarchy and despotism, here, and here alone, liberty finds a
spot on which to plant her foot. Again we ask, why is this? There is
nothing in the past history of the country,--nothing in the present
state of the nation,--which can account for it. We must look elsewhere
for a solution; and we do not hesitate to avow our firm conviction, that
a special Providence has shielded the Constitution of Piedmont, because
with that Constitution is bound up the liberties of the ancient martyr
Church of the Vaudois. It was the only one of the Italian Constitutions
that carried in it so sacred a guarantee of permanency. On the 17th of
February 1848 (the day is worth remembering), Charles Albert, by a royal
edict, admitted the Waldenses to the enjoyment of all civil and
political rights, in common with the rest of their fellow-subjects. Now,
for the first time in a thousand years, the trumpet of liberty sounded
amid the Vaudois valleys; and the shout of joy which the Alps sent back
seemed like the first response to the prayer which had so often ascended
from these hills, "How long, O Lord." Would not Sodom have been spared
had ten righteous men been found in it? and why not Piedmont, seeing the
Waldensian Church was there? Yes, Piedmont is the little Zoar of the
Italian plains! Little may its people reck to whom it is they owe their
escape. It is nevertheless a truth that, but for the poor Vaudois, whom,
instigated by the Pope, they long and ruthlessly laboured to
exterminate, their country would have been at this day in the same
gulph of social demoralization and political re-action with Tuscany, and
Naples, and Rome. These last were taken, and Piedmont escaped.

And the country is truly flourishing. It has thriven every day since
Charles Albert emancipated the Vaudois. No one can cross its frontier
without being struck with the contrast it presents to the other Italian
States. While they are decaying like a corpse, it is flourishing like
the chestnut-tree of its own mountains. The very faces of the people may
tell you that the country is free and prosperous. Its citizens walk
about with the cheerful, active air of men who have something to do and
to enjoy, and not with the listless, desponding, heart-sick look which
marks the inhabitants of the other States of Italy. Here, too, you miss
that universal beggary and vagabondism that disfigure and pollute all
the other countries of the Peninsula. What rich loam the ploughman turns
up! What magnificent vines shade its plains! Public works are in
progress, railways have been formed, and new houses are building. Not
fewer than a hundred houses were built in Turin last year, which is
more, I verily believe, than in all the other Italian towns out of
Piedmont taken together. Thus, while the other States of Italy are
foundering in the tempest, Piedmont lives because it carries the Vaudois
and their fortunes.

From the hall of the Chamber of Deputies I went with M. Malan to the
office of the _Gazetta del Popolo_, to be introduced to its editors. The
_Gazetta del Popolo_ is a daily paper, with a circulation of 15,000;
and, being sold at a penny, is universally read by the middle and lower
classes. It is the _Times_ of Piedmont. Its editors are men of great
talent, and write with the practical good sense and racy style of
Cobbett. They are not religious men, neither are they Romanists, though
nominally connected with the Church of the State; but they are warm
advocates of constitutional government, hearty haters of the Papacy, and
have done much to enlighten the public mind, and loosen it from
Romanism. They first of all made inquiries respecting the external
resemblance of Puseyistic and Popish worship, as I had seen the latter
in Italy. They made yet more eager inquiries respecting the progress and
prospects of Puseyism in England, and about a then recent declaration of
the Archbishop of Canterbury, to the effect that there were only two
Bishops in the Church of England that had gone over to Puseyism. They
seemed to feel that the fortunes of the Papacy would turn mainly upon
the fortunes of Puseyism in England. As regarded the Archbishop, I
replied, that I believed in the substantial accuracy of his statement,
that there were not more than two members of the episcopate who could be
held to be decided Puseyites; and as regarded the progress of Puseyism,
I said, that it had been making great and rapid progress, but that the
papal aggression, in my humble opinion, had dealt a somewhat heavy blow
to both Popery and Puseyism,--that so long as Romanism came begging for
toleration, it had found great favour in the eyes of the liberals; but
when it came claiming to govern, it had scared away many of its former
supporters, who had come to know it better,--and that the Protestant
feeling which the aggression had evoked on the part of the Court, the
Parliament, and the people, had tended to discourage Romanism, and all
kindred or identical creeds. They were delighted to hear this, and said
that they would baptize the fact in the _Gazetta del Popolo_, "the
assassination of the Papacy by Cardinal Wiseman." Their paper, M. Malan
afterwards told me, is published on Sabbaths as well (there are worse
things done on that day in Italy, even by bishops), on which day they
print their weekly sermon. "You won't preach," say they to the priests;
"therefore we will;" and it is in their Sabbath sheet that they make
their bitterest assaults upon the priesthood. They quote largely from
Scripture: not that they wish to establish evangelical truth, of which
they know little, but because they find such quotations to be the most
powerful weapons which they can employ against the Papacy. In truth,
they advertised in this way the Bible to their countrymen, many of whom
had never heard of such a book till then.

I was inexpressibly delighted to find such men in Turin wielding such
influence, and took the liberty of saying at parting, that we in England
had beheld with admiration the noble stand Piedmont had made in behalf
of constitutional government,--that we were watching with intense
interest the future career of their nation,--that we were cherishing the
hope that they would manfully maintain the ground they had taken
up,--and that in England, and especially in Scotland, we felt that the
root of all the despotism of the Continent was the Papacy,--that the way
to strike for liberty was to strike at Rome,--and that till the Papacy
was overthrown, never would the nations of the world be either free or
happy. They assured me that in these sentiments they heartily concurred,
and that they were the very ideas they were endeavouring to propagate.
They gave me, on taking leave, a copy of that morning's paper as a
_souvenir_; and on examining it afterwards, I found that the topic of
its leading article was quite in the vein of our conversation. The great
bulk of the liberal party in Piedmont shared even then the ideas of the
editors of the _Gazetta del Popolo_, and felt that to lay the
foundations of constitutional liberty, they needs must raze those of
Rome. This is a truth; and not only so,--it is the primal truth in the
science of European liberty. This truth only now begins to be
understood on the Continent. It is the main lesson which the re-action
of 1849 has been overruled to teach. All former insurrections have been
against kings and aristocrats: even in 1848 the Italians were willing to
accept the leadership of the Pope. The perfidies and atrocities of which
they have since been the victims have burned the essential tyranny of
the papal system into their minds; and the next insurrection that takes
place will be against the Papacy.

A constitution, a free press, and a public opinion, are but the outward
defences of a divine and immortal principle, which, rooted in the soil
of Piedmont, has outlived a long winter, and is now beginning to bud
afresh, and to send forth goodlier shoots than ever. To this I next
turned. Conducted by M. Malan, I went to the western quarter of Turin,
where, amid the gardens and elegant mansions of the suburbs, workmen
were digging the foundations of what was to be a spacious building. On
this spot the Dominicans in former ages had burned the bodies of the
martyrs; and now the Waldensian temple stands here,--a striking proof,
surely, of the immortality of truth,--to rise, and live, and speak
boldly, on the very spot where she had been bound to a stake, burned,
and extinguished, as the persecutor believed. This church, not the least
elegant in a city abounding with elegant structures, has since been
opened, and is filled every Sabbath with well-nigh a thousand
auditors,--the largest congregation, I will venture to say, in Turin.

In 1851 I could visit the cradle of this movement. It had its first rise
in the labours of Felix Neff, twenty-five years before; but it was not
till the revolution of 1848 that it appeared above ground. Even in 1851,
colportage among the Piedmontese was prohibited, though it was allowable
to print or import the Bible for the use of the Waldenses, and the
Government winked at its sale to their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. I
was shown in M. Malan's banking office the Bible depot, and was
gratified to find that the sales which were made to applicants only had
during the past year amounted to a thousand copies. Evening meetings
were held every day of the week, in various parts of Turin, at which the
Bible was read, and points of controversy betwixt Christianity and
Romanism eagerly discussed. The Rev. M. Meille, the able editor of the
_Buona Novella_,--a paper then just starting,--informed me that not
fewer than ninety persons had been present at the meeting superintended
by him the night before. These week-day assemblages, as well as the
Sabbath audiences, were of a very miscellaneous character,--Vaudois, who
had come to Turin to be servants, for, prior to the revolution, they
could be nothing else; Piedmontese tradesmen; Swiss, Germans, and
Italian refugees, to whom three pastors ministered,--one in French, one
in German, and a third in the Italian tongue. There were then not fewer
than ten re-unions every week in Turin. The idea, too, had been started
of taking advantage of the workmen's clubs for the propagation of the
gospel. A network of such societies covered northern and central Italy.
The clubs in Turin corresponded with those in Genoa, Alessandria, and
all the principal towns of Piedmont; and these again with similar clubs
in central Italy; and any new theory or doctrine introduced into one
soon made the round of all. The plan adopted was to send evangelical
workmen into these clubs, who were listened to as they propounded the
new plan of justification by faith. The clubs in Turin were first
leavened with the gospel; thence it was extended to Genoa, and gradually
also to central Italy. While the _prolétaires_ in France were discussing
the claims of labour, the workmen in Piedmont were canvassing the
doctrines of the New Testament; and hence the difference betwixt the
two countries.

It was now drawing towards sunset, and I purposed enjoying the
twilight,--delicious in all climates, but especially in Italy,--on the
terrace of the College or Monastery of the Capuchins. This monastery
stands on the Collina, a romantic height on the south of Turin, washed
by the Po, with villas and temples on its crest and summits. I took my
way through the noble street that leads southwards, halting at the
book-stalls, and picking out of their heaps of rubbish an Italian copy
of the Catechism of Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux. The Collina was all in a
blaze; the windows of the Palazzo Regina glittered in the setting beams;
and the dome of the Superga shone like gold. Crossing the Po, I ascended
by the winding avenue of shady acacias, which are planted there to
protect the cowled heads of the fathers from the noonday sun. One of the
monks was winding his way up hill, at a pace which gave me full
opportunity of observing him. A little black cap covered his scalp; his
round bullet-head, which bristled with short, thick-set hairs, joined
on, by a neck of considerably more than the average girth, to shoulders
of Atlantean dimensions. His body was enveloped in a coarse brown
mantle, which descended to his calves, and was gathered round his middle
with a slender white cord. His naked feet were thrust into sandals. The
features of the "religious" were coarse and swollen; and he strode up
hill before me with a gait which would have made a peaceful man, had he
met him on a roadside in Scotland, give him a wide offing. Parties of
soldiers wounded in the late campaign were sauntering in the square of
the monastery, or looking over the low wall at the city beneath. Their
pale and sickly looks formed a striking contrast to the athletic forms
of the full-fed monks. It was inexplicable to me, that the youth of
Sardinia, immature and raw, should be drafted into the army, while such
an amount of thews and sinews as this monastery, and hundreds more,
contained, should be allowed to run to waste, or worse. If but for their
health, the monks should be compelled to fight the next campaign.

The sun went down. Long horizontal shafts of golden light shot through
amidst the Alps; their snows glittered with a dazzling whiteness:
whiteness is a weak term;--it was a brilliant and lustrous glory, like
that of light itself. Anon a crimson blush ran along the chain. It
faded; it came again. A wall of burning peaks, from two to three hundred
miles in length, rose along the horizon. Eve, with her purple shadows,
drew on; and I left the mountains under a sky of vermilion, with Monte
Viso covering with its shadow the honoured dust that sleeps around it,
and pointing with its stony finger to that sky whither the spirits of
the martyred Vaudois have now ascended. It seemed to say, "Come and
see."



CHAPTER IV.

STRUCTURE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE VAUDOIS VALLEYS.

     Journey to "Valleys"--Dinner at Pignerolo--Grandeur of
     Scenery--Associations--Bicherasio--Procession of
     _Santissimo_--Connection betwixt the History and the Country of the
     Vaudois--The Three Valleys of Martino, Angrona, and Lucerna--Their
     Arrangement--Strength--Fertility--La Tour--The Castelluzzo--Scenery
     of the Val Lucerna--The Manna of the Waldenses--Populousness of the
     Valleys--Variety of Productions--The Roman Flood and the Vaudois
     Ark.


The Valleys of the Vaudois lie about thirty miles to the south-west of
Turin. The road thither it is scarce possible to miss. Keeping the lofty
and pyramidal summit of Monte Viso in your eye, you go straight on, in a
line parallel with the Alps, along the valley of the Po, which is but a
prolongation of the great plain of Lombardy. On my way down to these
valleys, I observed on the roadside numerous little temples, which the
natives, in true Pagan fashion, had erected to their deities. The niches
of these temples were filled with Madonnas, crucifixes, and saints,
gaunt and grizzly, with unlighted candles stuck before them, or rude
paintings and tinsel baubles hung up as votive offerings. The
signboards--especially those of the wine venders--were exceedingly
religious. They displayed, for the most part, a bizarre painting of the
Virgin, and occasionally of the Pope; and not unfrequently underneath
these personages were a company of heretics, such as those I was going
to visit, sweltering in flames. Were a Protestant vintner to sell his
ale beneath a picture of Catholics burning in hell, I fear we should
never hear the last of it. But I must say, that these pictures seemed
the production of past times. They were one and all sorely faded, as if
their owners were beginning to be somewhat ashamed of them, or lacked
zeal to repair them. The _conducteur_ of the stage had an Italian
translation of Mr Gladstone's well-known pamphlet on Naples in his hand,
which then covered all the book-stalls in Turin, and was read by every
one. This led to a lively discussion on the subject of the Church,
between him and two fellow-travellers, to whom I had been introduced at
starting, as Waldenses. I observed that, although he appeared to come
off but second best in the controversy, he bore all with unruffled
humour, as if not unwilling to be beaten. At length, after a ride of
twenty miles over the plain, in which the husbandman, with plough as old
in its form as the Georgics, was turning up a soil rich, black, and
glossy as the raven's wing, we arrived at Pignerolo, a town on the
borders of the Vaudois land.

The two Vaudois and myself adjourned to the hotel to dine. Even in this
we had an instance of changed times. In this very town of Pignerolo a
law had been in existence, and was not long repealed, forbidding, under
severe penalties, any one to give meat or drink to a Vaudois. The
"Valleys" were only ten miles distant, and we agreed to walk thither on
foot. Indeed, all such spots must be so visited, if one would feel their
full influence. Leaving Pignerolo, the road began to draw into the bosom
of the mountains, and the scenery became grander at every step. On the
right rose the hills of the Vaudois, with knolls glittering with woods
and cottages scattered at their feet. On the left, long reaches of the
Po, meandering through pasturages and vineyards, gleamed out golden in
the western sun. The scenery reminded me much of the Highlands at
Comrie, only it was on a scale of richness and magnificence unknown to
Scotland.

After advancing a few miles, I chanced to turn and look back. The change
the mountains had undergone struck me much. A division of Alps, tall and
cloud-capped, appeared to have broken off from the main army, and to
have come marching into the plain; and while the mountains were closing
in upon us behind, they appeared to be falling back in front, and
arranging themselves into the segment of a vast circle. A magnificent
amphitheatre had risen noiselessly around us. On all sides save the
south, where a reach of the valley was still visible, the eye met only a
lofty wall of mountains, hung in a rich and gorgeous tapestry of bright
green pasturages and shady pine-forests, with the frequent sunlight
gleam of white chalets. The snows of their summits were veiled in masses
of cloud, which the southerly winds were bringing up upon them from the
Mediterranean. I seemed to have entered some stately temple,--a temple
not of mortal workmanship,--which needed no tall shaft, no groined roof,
no silver lamps, no chisel or pencil of artist to beautify it, and no
white-robed priest to make it holy. It had been built by Him whose power
laid the foundations of the earth, and hung the stars in heaven; and it
had been consecrated by sacrifices such as Rome's mitred priests never
offered in aisled cathedral. Nor had it been the scene only of lofty
endurance: it had been the scene also of sweet and holy joys. There the
Vaudois patriarchs, like Enoch, had "walked with God;" there they had
read his Word, and kept his Sabbaths. They had sung his praise by these
silvery brooks, and kneeled in prayer beneath these chestnut trees.
There, too, arose the shout of triumphant battle; and from those valleys
the Vaudois martyrs had gone up, higher than these white peaks, to take
their place in the white-robed and palm-bearing company. Can the spirit,
I asked myself, ever forget its earthly struggles, or the scene on which
they were endured? and may not the very same picture of beauty and
grandeur now before my eye be imprinted eternally on the memory of many
of the blessed in Heaven?

There was silence on plain and mountain,--a hush like that of a
sanctuary, reverent and deep, and broken only by the flow of the torrent
and the sound of voices among the vineyards. I could not fail to observe
that sounds here were more musical than on the plain. This is a
peculiarity belonging to mountainous regions; but I have nowhere seen it
so perceptible as here. Every accent had a fullness and melody of tone,
as if spoken in a whispering gallery. Right in the centre of the circle
formed by the mountains was the entrance of the Vaudois valleys. The
place was due north from where we now were, but we had to make a
considerable detour in order to reach it. A long low hill, rough with
boulders and feathery with woods, lay across the mouth of these valleys;
and we had to go round it on the west, and return along the fertile vale
which divides it from the high Alps, whose straths and gorges form the
dwellings of the Waldenses.

A dream it seemed to be, walking thus within the shadow of the Vaudois
hills. And then, too, what a strange chance was it which had thrown me
into the society of my two Waldensian fellow-travellers! They had met me
on the threshold of their country, as if sent to bid me welcome, and
conduct my steps into a land which the prayers and sufferings of their
forefathers had for ever hallowed. They could not speak a word of my
tongue; and to them my transalpine Italian was not more than
intelligible. Yet, such is the power of a common sympathy, the
conversation did not once flag all the way; and it had reference, of
course, to one subject. I told them that I was not unacquainted with
their glorious history;--that from a child I had known the noble deeds
of their fathers, who had received an equal place in my veneration with
the men of old, "who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought
righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions. And others
had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and
imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted,
were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and
goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; of whom the world was
not worthy;"--and that, next to the hills of my own land, hallowed, too,
with martyr-blood, I loved the mountains within whose shadow my
wandering steps had now brought me. The eyes of my Vaudois friends
kindled; they were not unconscious, I could see, of their noble lineage;
and they were visibly touched by the circumstance that a stranger from a
distant land--drawn thither by sympathy with the great struggles of
their nation--should come to visit their mountains. Every object in any
way connected with their history, and especially with their
persecutions, was carefully pointed out to me. "There," said they, "is
our frontier church, the first of the Vaudois candles," pointing to a
white edifice that gleamed out upon us amid woods and rocks, on the
summit of a hill, soon after leaving Pignerolo. They mentioned, too,
with peculiar emphasis, the year of the last great massacre of their
brethren. The memory of that transaction, I feel assured, will perish
only with the Vaudois race. Nor can I forget the evident pride with
which, on nearing the valley of Lucerne, they pointed to the giant form
of their Castelluzzo, now looming through the shades of night, and told
me that in the caves of that mighty rock their fathers found shelter,
when the valley beneath was covered with armed men.

Nowhere had I seen more luxuriant vines. They were festooned, too, after
the manner of those I had seen among the Alps; but here the effect was
more beautiful. They were literally stretched out over entire fields in
an unbroken web of boughs. Clothed with luxuriant foliage, they looked
like another azure canopy extended over the soil. There was ample room
beneath for the ploughman and his bullocks. The golden beams, struggling
through the massy foliage, fell in a mellow and finely tinted shower on
the newly ploughed soil. Wheat is said to ripen better beneath the
vine-shade than in the open sun. The season of grapes was shortly past;
but here and there large clusters were still pendent on the bough.

Hitherto, although we had been skirting the Vaudois territory, we had
not set foot upon it. The line which separates it from the rest of
Piedmont touches the small town of Bicherasio, on the western flank of
the low hill I have mentioned; and the roofs of the little town were
already in sight. Passing, on the left, a white-walled mass-house on a
small height, with the priest looking at us from amid the autumn-tinted
vine leaves that shaded the wall, we entered the town of Bicherasio. The
first sight we saw was a procession advancing up the street at
double-quick time. I was at first sorely puzzled what to make of it.
There was an air of mingled fun and gravity on the faces of the crowd;
but the former so greatly predominated, that I took the affair for a
frolic of the youths of Bicherasio. First came a squad of dirty boys,
some of whom carried prayer-books: these were followed by some dozen or
so of young women in their working attire, ranged in line, and carrying
flambeaux. In the centre of the procession was a tall raw-boned priest,
of about twenty-five years of age, with a little box in his hand. His
head was bare, and he wore a long brown dress, bound with a cord round
his middle. A canopy of crimson cloth, sorely soiled and tarnished, was
borne over him by four of the taller lads. He had a flurried and wild
look, as if he had slept out in the woods all night, and had had time
only to shake himself, and put his fingers through his hair, before
being called on to run with his little box. The procession closed, as it
had opened, with a cloud of noisy and dirty urchins hanging on the rear
of the priest and his flambeaux-bearing company. The whole swept past us
at such a rapid pace, that I could only, by way of divining its object,
open large wondering eyes upon it, which the large-boned lad in the
brown cloak noticed, and repaid with a scowl, which broke no bones,
however. "He is carrying the _santissimo_," said my fellow-travellers,
when the procession had passed, "to a dying man." We passed the line,
and set foot on the Vaudois territory. Being now on privileged soil, and
safe from any ebullition which the scant reverence we had paid the
procession of the _santissimo_ might have drawn upon us, we entered a
small albergo, and partook together of a bottle of wine. Our long walk,
and the warmth of the evening, made the refreshment exceedingly
agreeable. By way of commending the qualities of their soil, my
companions remarked, that "this was the vine of the land." I felt
disposed to deal with it as David did with the water of the well of
Bethlehem, for here--

 "The nurture of the peasant's vines
 Hath been the martyr's blood!"

It was dark before I reached La Tour; but one of my
fellow-travellers--the other having left us at San Giovanni--accompanied
me every footstep of the way, having passed his own dwelling two full
miles, to do me this kindness.

I must remind the reader, that this is simply a look in upon the
Vaudois, on my way to Rome. I purpose here no description in full of the
territory of the Vaudois, or of the people of the Vaudois. Their hills
were shrouded in cloud and rain all the while I lived amongst them; and
although my intention was to visit on foot every inch of their country,
and more especially the scenes of their great struggles, I was
compelled, after waiting well nigh a week, to take my departure without
having accomplished this part of my object. Leaving, then, the seeing
and describing these famous valleys to some possibly future day, all I
shall attempt here is to convey some idea of the structural
arrangement--the osteology, if I may call it so--of the Waldensian
territory, and the general condition of the Waldensian people. First, of
their country.

A country and its people can never well be separated. The former, with
silent but ceaseless influence, moulds the genius and habits of the
latter, and determines the character of their history. It marks them out
as fated for slavery or freedom,--degradation or glory. The country of
the Vaudois is the material basis of their history; and the sublime
points of their scenery join in, as it were, with the sublime passages
of their nation. Without such a country, we cannot conceive how the
Vaudois could have escaped extermination. The fertility and grandeur of
their valleys were no chance gifts, but special endowments, having
reference to the mighty moral struggle of which they were the destined
theatre. It is this sentiment that forms the living spirit in the
beautiful lines of Mrs Hemans, entitled, "The Hymn of the Vaudois
Mountaineers:"--

 For the strength of the hills we bless thee.
   Our God, our fathers' God.
 Thou hast made thy children mighty,
   By the touch of the mountain sod.
 Thou hast fixed our ark of refuge
   Where the spoiler's foot ne'er trod;
 For the strength of the hills we bless thee,
   Our God, our fathers' God!

 We are watchers of a beacon
   Whose light must never die;
 We are guardians of an altar
   'Midst the silence of the sky.
 The rocks yield founts of courage,
   Struck forth as by thy rod;
 For the strength of the hills we bless thee,
   Our God, our fathers' God!

 For the dark resounding caverns,
   Where thy still small voice is heard;
 For the strong pines of the forests
   That by thy breath are stirred;
 For the storms on whose free pinions
   Thy spirit walks abroad;
 For the strength of the hills we bless thee,
   Our God, our fathers' God!

 The banner of the chieftain
   Far, far below us waves;
 The war horse of the spearman
   Cannot reach our lofty caves.
 Thy dark clouds wrap the threshold
   Of freedom's last abode;
 For the strength of the hills we bless thee,
   Our God, our fathers' God!

 For the shadow of thy presence
   Round our camp of rock outspread;
 For the stern defiles of battle,
   Bearing record of our dead;
 For the snows and for the torrents,
   For the free heart's burial sod;
 For the strength of the hills we bless thee,
   Our God, our fathers' God!

We read in the Apocalypse, that "the woman fled into the wilderness,
where she had a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a
thousand two hundred and threescore days." "A place prepared"
undoubtedly implies a special arrangement and a special adaptation, in
the future dwelling of the Church, to the mission to be assigned her.
The "wilderness" of the Apocalypse, we are inclined to think, is the
great chain of the Alps; and the "place prepared" in that wilderness, we
are also inclined to think, are the Cottian Alps, and more especially
those valleys in the Cottian Alps which the confessors, known as the
Vaudois, inhabited. Long after Rome had subjugated the plains, she
possessed scarce a foot-breadth among the mountains. These, throughout
well-nigh their entire extent, from where the Simplon road now cuts the
chain, to the sea, were peopled by the professors of the gospel. They
were a Goshen of light in the midst of an Egypt of darkness; and in
these peaceful and sublime solitudes holy men fed their flocks amid the
green pastures and beside the clear waters of evangelical truth. But
persecution came: it waxed hot; and every succeeding century beheld
these confessors fewer in number, and their territory more restricted.
At last all that remained to the Vaudois were only three valleys at the
foot of Monte Viso; and if we examine their structure, we will find them
arranged with special reference to the war the Church was here called to
wage.

The three valleys are the Val Martino, the Val Angrona, and the Val
Lucerna. Nothing could be simpler than their arrangement; at the same
time, nothing could be stronger. The three valleys spread out like a
fan,--radiating, as it were, from the same point, and stretching away in
a winding vista of vineyards, meadows, chestnut groves, dark gorges, and
foaming torrents, to the very summits and glaciers of the Alps. Nearly
at the point of junction of the Val Angrona and the Val Lucerna stands
La Tour, the capital of the valleys. It consists of a single street (for
the few off-shoots are not worth mentioning) of two-storey houses,
whitewashed, and topped with broad eves, which project till they leave
only a narrow strip of sky visible overhead. The town winds up the hill
for a quarter of a mile or so, under the shadow of the famous
Castelluzzo,--a stupendous mountain of rock, which shoots up, erect as a
column on its pedestal, to a height of many thousands of feet, and, in
other days, sheltered, as I have said, in its stony arms, the persecuted
children of the valleys, when the armies of France and Savoy gathered
round its base. How often I watched it, during my stay there, as its
mighty form now became lost, and now flashed forth from the mountain
mists! Over what sad scenes has that rock looked! It has seen the
peaceful La Tour a heap of smoking ruins, and the clear waters of the
Pelice, which meander at its feet, red with the blood of the children of
the valleys. It has heard the wrathful execrations of armed men
ascending where the prayers and praises of the Vaudois were wont to
come, borne on the evening breeze,--scenes unspeakably affecting, but
which, nevertheless, from the principle which they embodied, and the
Christian heroism which they evoked, add dignity to humanity itself.
When we would rebut those universal libels which infidels have written
upon our race, we point to the Vaudois. However corrupt whole nations
and continents may have been, that nature which could produce the
Vaudois must have originally possessed, and be still capable of having
imparted to it, God-like qualities.

The strength of the Vaudois position, as I take it, lies in this, that
the three valleys have their entrance within a comparatively narrow
space. The country of the Vaudois was, in fact, an immense citadel, with
its foundation on the rock, and its top above the clouds, and with but
one gate of entrance. That gate could be easily defended; nay, it _was_
defended. He who built this mighty fortress had thrown up a rampart
before its gate, as if with a special eye to the protection of its
inmates. The long hill of which I have already spoken, which rises to a
height of from four to five hundred feet, lies across the opening of
these valleys, at about a mile's breadth, and serves as a wall of
defence. But even granting that this entrance should be forced, as it
sometimes was, there were ample means within the mountains themselves,
which were but a congeries of fortresses, for prolonging the contest.
The valleys abound with gorges and narrow passages, where one man might
maintain the way against fifty. There were, too, escarpments of rock,
with galleries and caves known only to the Vaudois. Even the mists of
their hills befriended them; veiling them, on some memorable instances,
from the keen pursuit of their foes. Thus, every foot-breadth of their
territory was capable of being contested, and _was_ contested against
the flower of the French and Sardinian armies, led against them in
overwhelming numbers, with a courage which Rome never excelled, and a
patriotism which Greece never equalled.

I found, too, that it was "a good land" which the Lord their God had
given to the Vaudois,--"a land of brooks of water, of fountains and
depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and
barley, and vines, and fig-trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil, olive
and honey." The same architect who built the fortress had provisioned
it, so to speak, and that in no stinted measure. He who placed
magazines of bread in the clouds, and rained it upon the Israelites
when they journeyed through the desert, had laid up store of corn, and
oil, and wine, in the soil of these valleys; so that the Vaudois, when
their enemies pressed them on the plain, and cut off their supplies from
without, might still enjoy within their own mountain rampart abundance
of all things.

On the first morning after my arrival, I walked out along the Val
Lucerna southward. Flowers and fruit in rich profusion covered every
spot of ground under the eye, from the banks of the stream to the skirts
of the mist that veiled the mountains. The fields, which were covered
with the various cultivation of wheat, maize, orchards, and vineyards,
were fenced with neatly dressed hedge-rows. The vine-stocks were
magnificently large, and their leaves had already acquired the fine
golden yellow which autumn imparts. At a little distance, on a low hill,
deeply embosomed in foliage, was the church of San Giovanni, looking as
brilliantly white as if it had been a piece of marble fresh from the
chisel. Hard by, peeping out amidst fruit-bearing trees, was the village
of Lucerna. On the right rose the mighty wall of the Alps; on the left
the valley opened out into the plain of the Po, bounded by a range of
blue-tinted hills, which stretched away to the south-west, mingling in
the distant horizon with the mightier masses of the Alps. The sun now
broke through the haze; and his rays, falling on the luxuriant beauty of
the valley, and on the more varied but not less rich covering of the
hill-side,--the pasturages, the winding belts of planting, the white
chalets,--lighted up a picture which a painter might have exhibited as a
relic of an unfallen world, or a reminiscence of that garden from which
transgression drove man forth.

After breakfast, I sallied out to explore the valley of Lucerne, at the
entrance of which is placed, as I have said, La Tour, the capital of the
Waldenses. My intention was to trace its windings all the way, past the
village and church of Bobbio, and up the mountains, till it loses itself
amid the snows of their summits,--an expedition which was brought to an
abrupt termination by the black clouds which came rolling up the valley
at noon like the smoke of a furnace, followed by torrents of rain.
Threading my way through the narrow winding street of La Tour, and
skirting the base of the giant Castelluzzo, I emerged upon the open
valley. I was enchanted by its mingled loveliness and grandeur. Its
bottom, which might be from one to two miles in breadth, though looking
narrower, from the titanic character of its mountain-boundary, was, up
to a certain point, one continuous vineyard. The vine there attains a
noble stature, and stretches its arms from side to side of the valley in
rich and lovely festoons, veiling from the great heat of the sun the
golden grain which grows underneath. On either hand the mountains rise
to the sky, not bare and rocky, but glowing with the vine, or shady with
the chestnut, and pouring into the lap of the Vaudois, corn, and wine,
and fruit. Their sides were covered throughout with vineyards,
corn-fields, glades of green pasturages, clumps of forests and
fruit-trees, mansions and chalets, and silvery streamlets, which
meandered amid their terraces, or leaped in flashing light down the
mountain, to join the Pelice at its bottom. Not a foot-breadth was
barren. This teeming luxuriance attested at once the qualities of the
soil and sun, and the industry of the Vaudois.

As I proceeded up the Val Lucerna, the same scene of mingled richness
and magnificence continued. The golden vine still kept its place in the
bottom of the valley, and stretched out its arms in very wantonness, as
if the limits of the Val Lucerna were too small for its exuberant and
generous fruitfulness. The hills gained in height, without losing in
fertility and beauty. They offered to the eye the same picture of
vine-rows, pasturages, chestnut-groves, and chalets, from the torrent at
their bottom, up to the edge of the floating mist that covered their
tops. At times the sun would break in, and add to the variety of lights
which diversified the landscape. For already the hand of autumn had
scattered over the foliage her beautiful tints of all shades, from the
bright green of the pastures, down through the golden yellow of the
vine, to the deep crimson of those trees which are the first to fade.

A farther advance, and the aspect of the Val Lucerna changed slightly.
The vineyards ceased on the level grounds at the bottom of the valley,
and in their place came rich meadow lands, on which herds were grazing.
The hills on the left were still ribbed with the vine. On the right,
along which, at a high level on the hill-side, ran the road, the
chestnut groves became more frequent, and large boulders began
occasionally to be seen. It was here that the rolling mass of cloud, so
fearfully black, that it seemed of denser materials than vapour, which
had followed me up hill, overtook me, and by the deluge of rain which it
let fall, effectually forbade my farther progress.

The same shower which forbade my farther exploration of the Val Lucerna,
arresting me, with cruel interdict, as it seemed, on the very threshold
of a region teeming with grandeur, and encompassed with the halo of
imperishable deeds, threw me, by a sort of compensatory chance, upon the
discovery of another most interesting peculiarity of the Waldensian
territory. The heavy rain compelled me to seek shelter beneath the
boughs of a wide-spread chestnut-tree; and there, for the space of an
hour, I remained perfectly dry, though the big drops were falling all
around. Soon a continuous beating, as if of the fall of substances from
a considerable height on the ground, attracted my attention,--tap, tap,
tap. The sound told me that something was falling bigger and heavier
than the rain-drops; but the long grass prevented me at first seeing
what it was. A slight search, however, showed me that the tree beneath
which I stood was actually letting fall a shower of nuts. These nuts
were large and fully ripened. The breeze became slightly stronger, and
the fruit shower from the trees increased so much, that a soft muffled
sound rang through the whole wood. It was literally raining food. Some
millions of nuts must have fallen that day in the Val Lucerna. I saw the
young peasant girls coming from the chalets and farm-houses, to glean
beneath the boughs; and a short time sufficed to fill their sacks, and
send them back laden with the produce of the chestnut-tree. These nuts
are roasted and eaten as food; and very nutritious food they are. In all
the towns of northern Italy you see persons in the streets roasting them
in braziers over charcoal fires, and selling them to the people, to whom
they form no very inconsiderable part of their food. I have oftener than
once, on a long ride, breakfasted on them, with the help of a cluster of
grapes, or a few apples. This was the manna of the Waldenses. And how
often have the persecuted Vaudois, when driven from their homes, and
compelled to seek refuge in those high altitudes where the vine does not
grow, subsisted for days and weeks upon the produce of the
chestnut-tree! I could not but admire in this the wise arrangement of
Him who had prepared these valleys as the future abode of his Church.
Not only had He taught the earth to yield her corn, and the hills wine,
but even the skies bread. Bread was rained around their caves and
hiding-places, plenteous as the manna of old; and the Vaudois, like the
Israelites, had but to gather and eat.

I came also to the conclusion, that the land which the Lord had given to
the Waldenses was a "large" as well as a "good" land. It is only of late
that the Vaudois have been restricted to the three valleys I have named;
but even taking their country as at present defined, its superficial
area is by no means so inconsiderable as it is apt to be accounted by
one who hears of it as confined to but three valleys. Spread out these
valleys into level plains, and you find that they form a large country.
It is not only the broad bottom of the valley that is cultivated;--the
sides of the hills are clothed up to the very clouds with vineyards and
corn-lands, and are planted with all manner of trees, yielding fruit
after their kind. Where the husbandman is compelled to stop, nature
takes up the task of the cultivator; and then come the chestnut-groves,
with their loads of fruit, and the short sweet grass on which cattle
depasture in summer, and the wild flowers from which the bees elaborate
their honey. Overtopping all are the fields of snow, the great
reservoirs of the springs and rivers which fertilize the country. This
arrangement admitted, moreover, of far greater variety, both of climate
and of produce, than could possibly obtain on the plain. There is an
eternal winter at the summit of these mountains, and an almost perpetual
summer at their feet.

In accordance with this great productiveness, I found the hills of the
Vaudois exceedingly populous. They are alive with men, at least as
compared with the solitude which our Scottish Highlands present. I had
brought thither my notions of a valley taken from the narrow winding and
infertile straths of Scotland, capable of feeding only a few scores of
inhabitants. Here I found that a valley might be a country, and contain
almost a nation in its bosom.

But, not to dwell on other peculiarities, I would remark, that such a
dwelling as this--continually presenting the grandest objects--must have
exerted a marked influence upon the character of the inhabitants. It was
fitted to engender intrepidity of mind, a love of freedom, and an
elevation of thought. It has been remarked that the inhabitants of
mountainous regions are less prone than others to the worship of images.
On the plain all is monotony. Summer and winter, the same landmarks, the
same sky, the same sounds, surround the man. But around the dweller in
the mountains,--and especially such mountains as these,--all is variety
and grandeur. Now the Alps are seen with their sunlight summits and
their shadowless sides; anon they veil their mighty forms in clouds and
tempests. The living machinery of the mist, too, is continually varying
the landscape, now engulphing valleys, now blotting out crags and
mountain peaks, and suspending before the eye a cold and cheerless
curtain of vapour; anon the curtain rises, the mist rolls away, and
green valley and tall mountain flash back again upon you, thrilling and
delighting you anew. What variety and melody of sounds, too, exist among
the hills! The music of the streams, the voices of the peasants, the
herdsman's song, the lowing of the cattle, the hum of the villages. The
winds, with mighty organ-swell, now sweep through their mountain gorges;
and now the thunder utters his awful voice, making the Alps to tremble
and their pines to bow.

Such was the land of the Vaudois; the predestined abode of God's Church
during the long and gloomy period of Anti-christ's reign. It was the ark
in which the one elect family of Christendom was to be preserved during
the flood of error that was to come upon the earth. And I have been the
more minute in the description of its general structure and
arrangements, because all had reference to the high moral end it was
appointed to serve in the economy of Providence.

When of old a flood of waters was to be sent on the world, Noah was
commanded to build an ark of gopher wood for the saving of his house.
God gave him special instructions regarding its length, its breadth, its
height: he was told where to place its door and window, how to arrange
its storeys and rooms, and specially to gather "of all food that is
eaten," that it might be for food for him and those with him. When all
had been done according to the Divine instructions, God shut in Noah,
and the flood came.

So was it once more. A flood was to come upon the earth; but now God
himself prepared the ark in which the chosen family were to be saved. He
laid its foundations in the depths, and built up its wall of rock to the
sky. A door also made He for the ark, with lower, second, and third
storeys. It was beautiful as strong. Corn, wine, and oil were laid up in
store within it. All being ready, God said to his persecuted ones in the
early Church, "Come, thou and all thy house, into the ark." He gave them
the Bible to be a light to them during the darkness, and shut them in.
The flood came. Century after century the waters of Papal superstition
continued to prevail upon the earth. At length all the high hills that
were under the whole heaven were covered, and all flesh died, save the
little company in the Vaudois ark.



CHAPTER V.

STATE AND PROSPECTS OF THE VAUDOIS CHURCH.

     Dawn of the Reformation--Waldensian Territory a Portion of
     Italy--Two-fold Mission of Italy--Origin of the Vaudois--Evidence
     of Romanist Historians--Evidence of their own Historians--Evidence
     arising from the Noble Leyçon from their Geographical
     Position--Grandeur of the Vaudois Annals--Their Martyr Age--Their
     Missionary Efforts--Present
     Condition--Population--Churches--Schools--Stipends--Students--Social
     and Moral Superiority--Political and Social Disabilities--The Year
     1848 their Exodus--Their Mission--A Sabbath in the Vaudois
     Sanctuary--Anecdote--Lesson Taught by their History.


How often during the long night must the Vaudois have looked from their
mountain asylum upon a world engulphed in error, with the mingled wonder
and dismay with which we may imagine the antediluvian fathers gazing
from the window of their ark upon the bosom of the shoreless flood! What
an appalling and mysterious dispensation! The fountains of the great
deep had a second time been broken up, and each successive century saw
the waters rising. Would Christianity ever re-appear? Or had the Church
completed her triumphs, and finished her course? And was time to close
upon a world shrouded in darkness, with nought but this feeble beacon
burning amid the Alps? Such were the questions which must often have
pressed upon the minds of the Vaudois.

Like Noah, too, they sent forth, from time to time, messengers from
their ark, to go hither and thither, and see if yet there remained
anywhere, in any part of the earth, any worshippers of the true God.
They returned to their mountain hold, with the sorrowful tidings that
nowhere had they found any remnant of the true Church, and that the
whole world wondered after the beast. The Vaudois, however, had power
given them to maintain their testimony. In the midst of universal
apostacy, and in the face of the most terrible persecutions, they bore
witness against Rome. And ever as that Church added another error to her
creed, the Vaudois added another article to their testimony; and in this
way Romish idolatry and gospel truth were developed by equal stages, and
an adequate testimony was maintained all through that gloomy period. The
stars of the ecclesiastical firmament fell unto the earth, like the
untimely figs of the fig-tree; but the lamp of the Alps went not out.
The Vaudois, not unconscious of their sacred office, watched their
heaven-kindled beacon with the vigilance of men inspired by the hope
that it would yet attract the eyes of the world. At length--thrice
welcome sight!--the watch-fires of the German reformers, kindled at
their own, began to streak the horizon. They knew that the hour of
darkness had passed, and that the time was near when the Church would
leave her asylum, and go forth to sow the fields of the world with the
immortal seed of truth.

We must be permitted to remark here, that the fact that the Waldensian
territory is really a part of Italy, and that the Vaudois, or Valdesi,
or People of the Valleys (for all three signify the same thing), are
strictly an Italian people, invests ITALY with a new and interesting
light. In all ages, Pagan as well as Christian, Italy has been the seat
of a twofold influence,--the one destructive, the other regenerative. In
classic times, Italy sent forth armies to subjugate the world, and
letters to enlighten it. Since the Christian era, her mission has been
of the same mixed character. She has been at once the seat of idolatry
and the asylum of Christianity. Her idolatry is of a grosser and more
perfected type than was the worship of Baal of old; and her Christianity
possesses a more spiritual character, and a more powerfully operative
genius, than did the institute of Moses. We ought, then, to think of
Italy as the land of the martyr as well as of the persecutor,--as not
only the land whence our Popery has come, which has cost us so many
martyrs of whom we are proud, and has caused the loss of so many souls
which we mourn,--but also as the fountain of that blessed light which
broke mildly on the world in the preaching of John Huss, and more
powerfully, a century afterwards, in the reformation of the sixteenth
century. Though there was no audible voice, and no visible miracle, the
Waldenses were as really chosen to be the witnesses of God during the
long night of papal idolatry, as were the Jews to be his witnesses
during the night of pagan idolatry. They are sprung, according to the
more credible historical accounts, from the unfallen Church of Rome;
they are the direct lineal descendants of the primitive Christians of
Italy; they never bowed the knee to the modern Baal; their mountain
sanctuary has remained unpolluted by idolatrous rites; and if they were
called to affix to their testimony the seal of a cruel martyrdom, they
did not fall till they had scattered over the various countries of
Europe the seed of a future harvest. Their death was a martyrdom endured
in behalf of Christendom; and scarcely was it accomplished till they
were raised to life again, in the appearance of numerous churches both
north and south of the Alps. Why is it that all persons and systems in
this world of ours must die in order to enter into life? We enter into
spiritual life by the death of our old nature; we enter into eternal
life by the death of the body; and Christianity, too, that she might
enter into the immortality promised her on earth, had to die. The words
of our Lord, spoken in reference to his own death, are true also in
reference to the martyrdom of the Waldensian Church:--"Verily verily, I
say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it
abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."

The first question touching this extraordinary people respects their
origin. When did they come into being, and of what stock are they
sprung? This question forces itself with singular power upon the mind of
the traveller, who, after traversing cities and countries covered with
darkness palpable as that of Egypt of old, and seeing nought around him
but image-worship, lights unexpectedly, in the midst of these mountains,
upon a little community, enjoying the knowledge of the true God, and
worshipping Him after the scriptural and spiritual manner of prophets
and apostles of old. He naturally seeks for an explanation of a fact so
extraordinary. Who kindled that solitary lamp? Their enemies have
striven to represent them as dissenters from Rome of the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries; and it is a common error even among ourselves to
speak of them as the followers of Peter Waldo, the pious merchant of
Lyons, and to date their rise from the year 1160. We cannot here go into
the controversy; suffice it to say, that historical documents exist
which show that both the Albigenses and the Waldenses were known long
before Peter Waldo was heard of. Their own traditions and ancient
manuscripts speak of them as having maintained the same doctrine "from
time immemorial, in continued descent from father to son, even from the
times of the apostles." The Nobla Leyçon,--the Confession of Faith of
the Vaudois Church, of the date of 1100,--claims on their behalf the
same ancient origin; Ecbert, a writer who flourished in 1160--the year
of Peter Waldo--speaks of them as "perverters," who had existed during
many ages; and Reinerus, the inquisitor, who lived a century afterwards,
calls them the most dangerous of all sects, because the most ancient;
"for some say," adds he, "that it has continued to flourish since the
time of Sylvester; others, from the time of the apostles." This last is
a singular corroboration of the authenticity of the Nobla Leyçon, which
refers to the corruptions which began under Sylvester as the cause of
their separation from the communion of the Church of Rome. Rorenco, the
grand prior of St Roch, who was commissioned to make enquiries
concerning them, after hinting that possibly they were detached from the
Church by Claude, the good Bishop of Turin, in the eighth century, says
"that they were not a new sect in the ninth and tenth centuries."
Campian the Jesuit says of them, that they were reputed to be "more
ancient than the Roman Church." Nor is it without great weight, as the
historian Leger observes, that not one of the Dukes of Savoy or their
ministers ever offered the slightest contradiction to the oft-reiterated
assertions of the Vaudois, when petitioning for liberty of conscience,
"We are descendants," said they, "of those who, from father to son, have
preserved entire the apostolical faith in the valleys which we now
occupy."[1] We have no doubt that, were the ecclesiastical archives of
Lombardy, especially those of Turin and Milan, carefully searched,
documents would be found which would place beyond all doubt what the
scattered proofs we have referred to render all but a certainty.

The historical evidence for the antiquity of the Vaudois Church is
greatly strengthened by a consideration of the geographical position of
"the Valleys." They lie on what anciently was the great high-road
between Italy and France. There existed a frequent intercourse betwixt
the Churches of the two countries; pastors and private members were
continually going and returning; and what so likely to follow this
intercourse as the evangelization of these valleys? There is a tradition
extant, that the Apostle Paul visited them, in his journey from Rome to
Spain. Be this as it may, one can scarce doubt that the feet of Irenæus,
and of other early fathers, trod the territory of the Vaudois, and
preached the gospel by the waters of the Pelice, and under the rocks and
chestnut trees of Bobbio. Indeed, we can scarce err in fixing the first
rise of the Vaudois Churches at even an earlier period,--that of
apostolic times. So soon as the Church began to be wasted by
persecution, the remote corners of Italy were sought as an asylum; and
from the days of Nero the primitive Christians may have begun to gather
round those mountains to which the ark of God was ultimately removed,
and amid which it so long dwelt.

   "I go up to the ancient hills,
     Where chains may never be;
   Where leap in joy the torrent rills;
 Where man may worship God alone, and free.

   There shall an altar and a camp
     Impregnably arise;
   There shall be lit a quenchless lamp,
 To shine unwavering through the open skies.

   And song shall 'midst the rocks be heard,
     And fearless prayer ascend;
   While, thrilling to God's holy Word,
 The mountain-pines in adoration bend.

   And there the burning heart no more
     Its deep thought shall suppress;
   But the long-buried truth shall pour
 Free currents thence, amidst the wilderness."

How could a small body of peasants among the mountains have discovered
the errors of Rome, and have thrown off her yoke, at a time when the
whole of Europe received the one and bowed to the other? This could not
have happened in the natural order of things. Above all, if they did not
arise till the twelfth or thirteenth century, how came they to frame so
elaborate and full a testimony as the _Noble Lesson_ against Rome? A
Church that has a creed must have a history. Nor was it in a year, or
even in a single age, that they could have compiled such a creed. It
could acquire form and substance only in the course of centuries,--the
Vaudois adding article to article, as Rome added error to error. We can
have no reasonable doubt, then, that in the Vaudois community we have a
relic of the primitive Church. Compared with them, the house of Savoy,
which ruled so long and rigorously over them, is but of yesterday. They
are more ancient than the Roman Church itself. They have come down to us
from the world before the papal flood, bearing in their heaven-built and
heaven-guarded ark the sacred oracles; and now they stand before us as a
witness to the historic truth of Christianity, and a living copy, in
doctrine, in government, and in manners, of the Church of the Apostles.

Fain would we tell at length the heroic story of the Vaudois. We use no
exaggerated speech,--no rhetorical flourish,--but speak advisedly, when
we say, that their history, take it all in all, is the brightest, the
purest, the most heroic, in the annals of the world. Their martyr-age
lasted five centuries; and we know of nothing, whether we regard the
sacredness of the cause, or the undaunted valour, the pure patriotism,
and the lofty faith, in which the Vaudois maintained it, that can be
compared with their glorious struggle. This is an age of hero-worship.
Let us go to the mountains of the Waldenses: there we will find heroes
"unsung by poet, by senators unpraised," yet of such gigantic stature,
that the proudest champions of ancient Rome are dwarfed in their
presence. It was no transient flash of patriotism and valour that broke
forth on the soil of the Vaudois: that country saw sixteen generations
of heroes, and five centuries of heroic deeds. Men came from pruning
their vines or tending their flocks, to do feats of arms which Greece
never equalled, and which throw into the shade the proudest exploits of
Rome. The Jews maintained the worship of the true God in their country
for many ages, and often gained glorious victories; but the Jews were a
nation; they possessed an ample territory, rich in resources; they were
trained to war, moreover, and marshalled and led on by skilful and
courageous chiefs. But the Waldenses were a primitive and simple people;
they had neither king nor leader; their only sovereign was Jehovah;
their only guides were their _Barbes_. The struggle under the Maccabees
was a noble one; but it attained not the grandeur of that of the
Vaudois. It was short in comparison; nor do its single exploits, brave
as they were, rise to the same surpassing pitch of heroism. When read
after the story of the Vaudois, the annals of Greece and Rome even,
fruitful though they be in deeds of heroism, appear cold and tame. In
short, we know of no other instance in the world in which a great and
sacred object has been prosecuted from father to son for such a length
of time, with a patriotism so pure, a courage so unshrinking, a
devotion so entire, and amidst such a multitude of sacrifices,
sufferings, and woes, as in the case of the Vaudois. The incentives to
courage which have stimulated others to brave death were wanting in
their case. If they triumphed, they had no admiring circus to welcome
them with shouts, and crown them with laurel; and if they fell, they
knew that there awaited their ashes no marble tomb, and that no lay of
poet would ever embalm their memory. They looked to a greater Judge for
their reward. This was the source of that patriotism, the purest the
world has ever seen, and of that valour, the noblest of which the annals
of mankind make mention.

Innocent III., who hid under a sanctimonious guise the boundless
ambition and quenchless malignity of Lucifer, was the first to blow the
trumpet of extermination against the poor Vaudois. And from the middle
of the thirteenth to the end of the seventeenth century they suffered
not fewer than thirty persecutions. During that long period they could
not calculate upon a single year's immunity from invasion and slaughter.
From the days of Innocent their history becomes one long harrowing tale
of papal plots, interdicts, excommunications, of royal proscriptions and
perfidies, of attack, of plunder, of rapine, of massacre, and of death
in every conceivable and horrible way,--by the sword, by fire, and by
unutterable tortures and torments. The Waldenses had no alternative but
to submit to these, or deny their Saviour. Yet, driven to arms,--ever
their last resource,--they waxed valiant in fight, and put to flight the
armies of the aliens. They taught their enemies that the battle was not
to the strong. When the cloud gathered round their hills, they removed
their wives and little ones to some rock-girt valley, to the caverns of
which they had taken the precaution of removing their corn and oil, and
even their baking ovens; and there, though perhaps they did not muster
more than a thousand fighting men in all, they waited, with calm
confidence in God, the onset of their foes. In these encounters,
sustained by Heaven, they performed prodigies of valour. The combined
armies of France and Piedmont recoiled from their shock. Their invaders
were almost invariably overthrown, sometimes even annihilated; and their
sovereigns, the Dukes of Savoy, on whose memory there rests the
indelible blot of having pursued this loyal, industrious, and virtuous
people with ceaseless and incredible injustice, cruelty, treachery, and
perfidy, finding that they could not subdue them, were glad to offer
them terms of peace, and grant them new guarantees of the quiet
possession of their ancient territory. Thus an invisible omnipotent arm
was ever extended over the Vaudois and their land, delivering them
miraculously in times of danger, and preserving them as a peculiar
people, that by their instrumentality Jehovah might accomplish his
designs of mercy towards the world.

Nor were the Waldenses content simply to maintain their faith. Even when
fighting for existence, they recognised their obligations as a
missionary Church, and strove to diffuse over the surrounding countries
the light that burned amid their own mountains. Who has not heard of the
Pra de la Torre, in the valley of Angrona? This is a beautiful little
meadow, encircled with a barrier of tremendous mountains, and watered by
a torrent, which, flowing from an Alpine summit, _La Sella Vecchia_,
descends with echoing noise through the dark gorges and shining dells of
the deep and romantic valley. This was the inner sanctuary of the
Vaudois. Here their _Barbes_ sat; here was their school of the prophets;
and from this spot were sent forth their pastors and missionaries into
France, Germany, and Britain, as well as into their own valleys. It was
a native and missionary of these valleys, Gualtero Lollard, which gave
his name, in the fourteenth century, to the Lollards of England, whose
doctrines were the day-spring of the Reformation in our own country. The
zeal of the Vaudois was seen in the devices they fell upon to distribute
the Bible, and along with that a knowledge of the gospel. Colporteurs
travelled as pedlars; and, after displaying their laces and jewels, they
drew forth, and offered for sale, or as a gift, a gem of yet greater
value. In this way the Word of God found entrance alike into cottage and
baronial castle. It is a supposed scene of this kind which the following
lines depict:--

 Oh! lady fair, these silks of mine
   Are beautiful and rare,--
 The richest web of the Indian loom
   Which beauty's self might wear;
 And these pearls are pure and mild to behold,
   And with radiant light they vie:
 I have brought them with me a weary way;--
   Will my gentle lady buy?

       *       *       *       *       *

 Oh! lady fair, I have got a gem,
   Which a purer lustre flings
 Than the diamond flash of the jewell'd crown
   On the lofty brow of kings:
 A wonderful pearl of exceeding price,
   Whose virtue shall not decay,--
 Whose light shall be as a spell to thee,
   And a blessing on the way!

       *       *       *       *       *

 The cloud went off from the pilgrim's brow,
   As a small and meagre book,
 Unchased by gold or diamond gem,
   From his folding robe he took.
 Here, lady fair, is the pearl of price;--
   May it prove as such to thee!
 Nay, keep thy gold--I ask it not;
   _For the Word of God is free!_

       *       *       *       *       *

 And she hath left the old gray halls,
   Where an evil faith hath power,
 And the courtly knights of her father's train,
   And the maidens of her bower;
 And she hath gone to the Vaudois vale,
   By lordly feet untrod,
 Where the poor and needy of earth are rich
   In the perfect love of God!

But, turning from this inviting theme, to which volumes only could do
justice, let us lift the curtain, and look at this simple, heroic
people, as they appear now, after the "great tribulation" of five
centuries. The Protestant population of "the Valleys" is 22,000 and
upwards. They have fifteen churches and parishes, and twenty-five
persons in all engaged in the work of the ministry. This was their state
in 1851. Since then, two other parishes, Pignerolo and Turin, have been
added. To each church a school is attached, with numerous sub-schools.
It is to the honour of the Vaudois that they led the way in that system
of general education which is extending itself, more or less, in every
State in Europe. Repeated edicts of the Waldensian Table rendered it
imperative upon the community to provide means of religious and
elementary education for all the children capable of receiving it. They
have a college at La Tour, fifteen primary schools, and upwards of one
hundred secondary schools. The whole Waldensian youth is at school
during winter. In their congregations, the sacrament of the Supper is
dispensed four times in the year; and it is rare that a young person
fails to become a communicant after arriving at the proper age. There
are two preaching days at every dispensation of the ordinance; and the
collections made on these occasions are devoted to the poor. There was
at that time no plate at the church-door on ordinary Sabbaths; and no
contributions were made by the people for the support of the gospel. I
presume this error is rectified now, however; for it was then in
contemplation to adopt the plan in use in Scotland, and elsewhere, of a
penny-a-week subscription. The stipends of the Waldensian pastors are
paid from funds contributed by England and Holland. Each receives
fifteen hundred francs yearly,--about sixty-two pounds sterling. Their
incomes are supplemented by a small glebe, which is attached to each
_living_. The contribution for the schools and the hospitals is
compulsory. In their college, in 1851, there were seventy-five students.
Some were studying for the medical profession, some for commercial
pursuits; others were qualifying as teachers, and some few as pastors.

The Waldenses inhabit their hills, much as the Jews did their Palestine.
Each man lives on his ancestral acres; and his farm or vineyard is not
too large to be cultivated by himself and his family. There are amongst
them no titles of honour, and scarce any distinctions of rank and
circumstances. They are a nation of vine-dressers, husbandmen, and
shepherds. In their habits they are frugal and simple. Their peaceful
deportment and industrial virtues have won the admiration, and extorted
the acknowledgments, even of their enemies. In the cultivation of their
fields, in the breed and management of their cattle and their flocks, in
the arrangements of their dairies, and in the cleanliness of their
cabins, they far excel the rest of the Piedmontese. To enlarge their
territory, they have had recourse to the same device with the Jews of
old; and the Vaudois mountains, like the Judæan hills, exhibit in many
places terraces, rising in a continuous series up the hill-side, sown
with grain or planted with the vine. Every span of earth is cultivated.

The Vaudois excel the rest of the Piedmontese in point of morals, just
as much as they excel them in point of intelligence and industry. All
who have visited their abodes, and studied their character, admit, that
they are incomparably the most moral community on the Continent of
Europe. When a Vaudois commits a crime,--a rare occurrence,--the whole
valleys mourn, and every family feels as if a cloud rested on its own
reputation. No one can pass a day among them without remarking the
greater decorum of their deportment, and the greater kindliness and
civility of their address. I do not mean to say that, either in respect
of intelligence or piety, they are equal to the natives of our own
highly favoured Scotland. They are surrounded on all sides by
degradation and darkness; they have just escaped from ages of
proscription; books are few among their mountains; and they have
suffered, too, from the inroads of French infidelity; an age of
Moderatism has passed over them, as over ourselves; and from these evils
they have not yet completely recovered. Still, with all these drawbacks,
they are immensely superior to any other community abroad; and, in
simplicity of heart, and purity of life, present us with no feeble
transcript of the primitive Church, of which they are the
representatives.

The lotus-flower is said to lift its head above the muddy current of the
Nile at the precise moment of sunrise. It was indicative, perhaps, of
the dawning of a new day upon the Vaudois and Italy, that that Church
experienced lately a revival. That revival was almost immediately
followed by the boon of political and social emancipation, and by a new
and enlarged sphere of spiritual action. The year 1848 opened the doors
of their ancient prison, and called them to go forth and evangelize.
Formerly, all attempts to extend themselves beyond their mountain abode,
and to mingle with the nations around them, were uniformly followed by
disaster. The time was not come; and the integrity of their faith, and
the accomplishment of their high mission, would have been perilled by
their leaving their asylum. But when the revolutions of 1848 threw the
north of Italy open to their action, then came forth the decree of
Charles Albert, declaring the Vaudois free subjects of Piedmont, and the
Church of "the Valleys" a free Church. The disabilities under which the
Waldenses groaned up till this very recent period may well astonish us,
now that we look back to them. Up till 1848 the Waldensian was
proscribed, in both his civil and religious rights, beyond the limits of
his own valleys. Out of his special territory he dared not possess a
foot-breadth of land; and, if obliged to sell his paternal fields to a
stranger, he could not buy them back again. He was shut out from the
colleges of his country; he could not practise as a member of any of the
learned professions; every avenue to distinction and wealth was closed
against him,--his only crime being his religion. He could not marry but
with one of his own people; he could not build a sanctuary,--he could
not even bury his dead,--beyond the limits of "the Valleys." The
children were often taken away and trained in the idolatrous rites of
Romanism, and the unhappy parents had no remedy. They were slandered,
too, to their sovereigns, as men marked by hideous deformities; and
great was the surprise of Charles Albert to find, on a visit he paid to
the Valleys but a little before granting their emancipation, that the
Vaudois were not the monsters he had been taught to believe. I have been
told, that to this very day they carry their dead to the grave in open
coffins, to give ocular demonstration of the falsehood of the calumnies
propagated by their enemies, that the corpses of these heretics are
sometimes consumed by invisible flames, or carried off by evil spirits
before burial. But now all these disabilities are at an end. The year
1848 swept them all away; and a bulwark of constitutional feeling and
action has since grown up around the Vaudois, cutting off the prospect
of these disabilities ever being re-imposed, unless, indeed, Austria and
France should combine to put down the Piedmontese constitution. But
hitherto that nation which gave religious liberty to the people of God
has had its own political liberties wonderfully protected.

The year 1848, then, was the "exodus" of the Vaudois. And why were they
brought out of their house of bondage? Surely they have yet a work to
do. Their great mission, which was to bear witness for the truth during
the domination of Antichrist, they nobly fulfilled; but are they to have
no part in diffusing over the plains of Italy that light which they so
long and so carefully preserved? This undoubtedly is their mission. All
the leadings of Providence declare it to be so. They were visited with
revival, brought from their Alpine asylum, had full liberty of action
given them, all at the moment that Italy had begun to be open to the
gospel. They are the native evangelists of their own country: let them
remember their own and their fathers' sufferings, and avenge themselves
on Rome, not with the sword, but the Bible. And let British Christians
aid them in this great work, assured that the door to Rome and Italy
lies through the valleys of the Vaudois.

The last day of my sojourn in the Waldensian territory was Sabbath the
19th of October, and I worshipped with that people,--rare enjoyment!--in
their sanctuary. The day broke amid high winds and torrents of rain. The
clouds now veiled, now revealed, the hill-side, with its variously
tinted foliage, and its white torrents dashing headlong to the vale. The
mighty form of the Castelluzzo was seen struggling through mists; and
high above the winds rose the roar of the swollen waters. At a quarter
before ten, the church-bell, heard through the pauses of the storm, came
pealing from the heights. The old church of La Tour,--the new and more
elegant fabric which stands in the village was not then opened,--is
sweetly placed at the base of the Castelluzzo, embowered amid vines and
fragrant foliage, and commanding a noble view of the plains of Piedmont.
Even amidst the driving mists and showers its beauty could not fail to
be felt. The scenery was--

 "A blending of all beauties, streams and dells,
 Fruits, foliage, crag, wood, corn-field, mountain, vine."

General Beckwith did me the honour to call at my hotel, and I walked
with him to the church. Outside the building--for worship had not
commenced--were numerous little conversational parties; and around it
lay the Vaudois dead, sleeping beneath the shadow of their giant rock,
and free, at last and for ever, from the oppressor. They had found
another "exodus" from their house of bondage than that which King
Charles Albert had granted their living descendants. We entered, and
found the schoolmaster reading the liturgy. This service consists of two
chapters of the Bible, with at times the reflections of Ostervald
annexed; during it the congregation came dropping in,--the husbandmen
and herdsmen of the Val Lucerna,--and took their seats. In a little the
elders entered in a body, and seated themselves round a table in front
of the pulpit. Next came the pastor, habited, like our Scotch ministers,
in gown and bands, when the regent instantly ceased. The pastor began
the public worship by giving out a psalm. He next offered a prayer,
read the ten commandments, and then preached. The sermon was an
half-hour's length precisely, and was recited, not read; for I was told
the Waldenses have a strong dislike to read discourses. The minister of
La Tour is an old man, and was trained under an order of things
unfavourable to that higher standard of pulpit qualification, and that
fuller manifestation of evangelical and spiritual feeling, which, I am
glad to say, characterize all the younger Waldensian pastors. The people
listened with great attention to his scriptural discourse; but I was
sorry to observe that there were few Bibles among them,--a circumstance
that may be explained perhaps with reference to the state of the
weather, and the long distance which many of them have to travel. The
storm had the effect at least of thinning the audience, and bringing it
down from about 800, its usual number, to 500 or so. The church was an
oblong building, with the pulpit on one of the side walls, and a deep
gallery, resting on thick, heavy pillars, on the other. The men and
women occupied separate places. With this exception, I saw nothing to
remind me that I was out of Scotland. One may find exactly such another
congregation in almost any part of our Scottish Highlands, with this
difference, that the complexions of the Vaudois are darker than that of
our Highlanders. They have the same hardy, weather-beaten features, and
the same robust frames. I saw many venerable and some noble heads among
them,--men who would face the storms of the Alps for the lost wanderer
of the flock, and the edicts and soldiers of Rome for their home-steads
and altars. There they sat, worshipping their fathers' God, amid their
fathers' mountains,--victorious over twelve centuries of proscription
and persecution, and holding their sanctuaries and their hills in
defiance of Europe. In the evening Professor Malan preached in the
schoolhouse of Margarita, a small village on the ascent from La Tour to
Castelluzzo. He discoursed with great unction, and the crowded audience
hung upon his lips.

On my way back to my hotel, Professor Malan narrated to me a touching
anecdote, which I must here put down. Monsignor Mazzarella was a judge
in one of the High Courts of Sicily; but when the atrocities of the
re-action began, he refused to be a tool of the Government, and resigned
his office. He came to Turin, like numerous other political refugees;
and in one of the re-unions of the workmen, he learned the doctrine of
"justification by faith." Soon thereafter, that is, in the summer of
1851, he and a few companions paid a visit to the Vaudois Church. A
public meeting, over which Professor Malan presided, was held at La
Tour, to welcome M. Mazzarella and his friends. Professor Malan
expressed his delight at seeing them in "the Valleys;" welcomed them as
the first fruits of Italy; and, in the name of the Vaudois Church, gave
them the right hand of fellowship. The reply of the converted exiles was
truly affecting, and moved the assembly to tears. Rising up, Mazzarella
said, "We are the children of your persecutors; but the sons have other
hearts than the fathers. We have renounced the religion of the
oppressor, and embraced that of the Vaudois, whom our ancestors so long
persecuted. You have been the people of God, the confessors of the
truth; and here before you this night I confess the sin of my fathers in
putting your fathers to death." Mazzarella at this day is an evangelist
in Genoa. In his speech we hear the first utterance of repentant
Christendom. "The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come
bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves
down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee the city of the
Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel."

I had now been well nigh a week in "the Valleys." A dream long and
fondly cherished had become a reality; and next morning I started for
Turin.

The eventful history of the Vaudois teaches one lesson at least, which
we Protestants would do well to ponder at this hour. The measures of the
Church of Rome are quick, summary, and on a scale commensurate with the
danger. Her motto is instant, unpitying, unsparing, utter extermination
of all that oppose her. Twice over has the human mind revolted against
her authority, and twice over has she met that revolt, not with
argument, but with the sword. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries the
Waldensian movement had grown to such a head, that the dominion of Rome
was in imminent jeopardy. Had she delayed, the Reformation would have
been anticipated by some centuries. She did not delay. She cried for
help to the warriors of France and Savoy; and, by the help of some
hundred thousand soldiers, she put down the Waldensian movement as an
aggressive power. The next revolt against her authority was the
Reformation. Here again she boldly confronted the danger. She grasped
her old weapon; and, by the help of the sword and the Jesuits, she put
down that movement in one half the countries of Europe, and greatly
weakened it in the other half.

We are now witnessing a third revolt against her authority; and it
remains to be seen how the Church of Rome will deal with it. Will she
now adopt half measures? Will she now falter and draw back,--she that
never before feared enemy or spared foe? Will that Church that quenched
in blood the Protestantism of the Waldenses,--that put down the
Reformation in France by one terrible blow,--that by the help of
dungeons and racks banished the light from Italy and Spain,--will that
Church, we ask, spare the Protestantism of Britain? What folly and
infatuation to think that she will! What matters it that, in rooting out
British Protestantism, she should shed oceans of blood, and sound the
death-knell of a whole nation? These are but dust in the balance to her:
her dominion must be maintained at all costs. Her motto still is,--let
Rome triumph though the heavens should fall. But she tells us that she
repents. Repents, does she? She has grown pitiful, and tender hearted,
has she? She fears blood now, and starts at the cry of murdered nations!
Ah! she repents; but it is her clemency, not her crimes, of which she
repents. She repents that she did not make one wide St Bartholomew of
Europe; that when she planted the stake for Huss, and Cranmer, and
Wishart, she did not plant a million of stakes. Then the Reformation
would not have been. Yes, she repents, deeply, bitterly repents, her
fatal blunder. But it will not be her fault, the _Univers_ assures us,
if she have to repent such a blunder a second time. Let us hear the
priests speaking through one of the country papers in France:--"The wars
of religion were not deplorable catastrophes; these great butcheries
renewed the life of France. The incense cast away the smell of the
corpses, and psalms covered the noise of angry shouts. Holy water washed
away all the bloody stains. With the Inquisition, the most beautiful
weather succeeded to storms, and the fires that burned the heretics
shone like supernatural torches." The hand that wrote these lines would
more gladly light the faggot. Let only the present regime in France last
a few years, and the priests will again rejoice in seeing the colour of
heretic blood. There cannot and will not be peace in the world, they
say, till for every Protestant a gibbet or stake has been erected, and
not one man left to carry tidings to posterity that ever there was such
a thing as Protestantism on the earth.



CHAPTER VI.

FROM TURIN TO NOVARA.

     At Turin begins Pilgrimage to Rome--Description of
     _Diligence_--Dora Susina--Plain of Lombardy--Its Boundaries--Nursed
     by the Alps--Lessons taught thereby--The Colina--Inauspicious
     Sunset--The Road to Milan--The Po--Its Source--Tributaries and
     Function--Evening--Home remembered in a Foreign Land--Inference
     thence regarding Futurity--Thunderstorm among the
     Alps--Thunderstorm on the Plain of Lombardy--Grandeur of the
     Lightning--Enter Novara at Day-break.


I had two objects in view in crossing the Alps. The first was to visit
the land of the Vaudois; the second was to see Rome. The first of these
objects I had accomplished in part; the second remained to be
undertaken.

This plain of Piedmont was the richest my foot had ever trodden; but
often did I turn my eyes wistfully towards the Apennines, which, like a
veil, shut out the Italy of the Romans and the City of the Seven Hills.
At Turin, which the Po so sweetly waters, and over which the snow-clad
hills of the Swiss fling their noble shadows, properly begins my journey
to Rome.

I started in the _diligence_ for Milan about four of the afternoon of
the 21st October. Did you ever, reader, set foot in a _diligence_? It is
a castle mounted on wheels, rising storey upon storey to a fearful
height. It is roomy withal, and has apartments enough within its
leathern walls for well-nigh the population of a village. There is the
glass _coupé_ in front, the drawing-room of the house. There is the
_interieur_, which you may compare, if you please, to the dining-room,
only there you do not dine; and there is the _rotundo_, a sort of cabin
attached, the limbo of the establishment, in which you may find
half-a-dozen unhappy wights for days and nights doing penance. Then, in
the very fore-front of this moving castle--hung in mid air, as it
were--there is the _banquette_. It is the roomiest of all, and has,
moreover, spacious untenanted spaces behind, where you may stow away
your luggage; and, being the loftiest compartment, it commands the
country you may happen to traverse. On this account the _banquette_ was
the place I almost always selected, unless when so unfortunate as to
find it already bespoke. Half-hours are of no value in the south of the
Alps, and a very liberal allowance of this commodity was made us before
starting. At last, however, the formidable process of loading was
completed, and away we went, rumbling heavily over the streets of Turin
to the crack of the postilion's whip and the music of the horses' bells.

On emerging from the buildings of the city, we crossed the fine bridge
over the Dora Susina, an Alpine stream, which attains almost the dignity
of a river, and which, swollen by recent rains, was hurrying on to join
the Po. Our course now lay almost due east, over the great plain of
Lombardy; and there are few rides in any part of the world which can
bring the traveller such a succession of varied, rich, and sublime
sights. The plain itself, level as the floor of one's library, and
wearing a rich carpeting, green at all seasons, of fruits and verdure,
ran out till it touched the horizon. On the north rose the Alps, a
magnificent wall, of stature so stupendous, that they seemed to prop
the heavens. On the south were the gentler Apennines. Between these two
magnificent barriers, this goodly plain--of which I know not if the
earth contains its equal--stretches away till it terminates in the blue
line of the Adriatic. On its ample bosom is many a celebrated spot, many
an interesting object. It has several princely cities, in which art is
cultivated, and trade flourishes to all the extent which Austrian
fetters permit. Its old historic towns are numerous. The hoar of eld is
upon them. It has rags of castles and fortresses which literally have
braved for a thousand years the battle and the breeze. It has spots
where empires have been lost and won, and where the dead of the tented
field sleep their dreamless sleep. It has fine old cathedrals, with
their antique carvings, their recumbent statues of old-world bishops,
and their Scripture pieces by various masters, sorely faded; and here
and there, above the rich foliage of its various woods, like the tall
mast of a ship at sea, is seen the handsome and lofty campanile, so
peculiar to the architecture of Lombardy.

The great Alps look down with most benignant aspect upon this plain.
They seem quite proud of it, and nurse it with the care and tenderness
of a parent. Noble rivers not a few--the Ticino, the Adige, and streams
and torrents without number--do they send down, to keep its beauty ever
fresh. These streams cross and re-cross its green bosom in all
directions, forming by their interlacings a curious network of silvery
lines, like the bright threads in the mine, or the white veins in the
porphyritic slab. Observe this little flower, with its bright petals,
growing by the wayside. That humble flower owes its beauty to yonder
chain. From the frozen summits of the Alps come the waters at which it
daily drinks. And when the dog-days come, and a fiery sun looks down
upon the plain from a sky that is cloudless for months together, and
when every leaf droops, and even the tall poplar seems to bow itself
beneath the intolerable heat, the mountains, pitying the panting plain,
send down their cool breezes to revive it. Would that from the lofty
pinnacles of rank and talent there descended upon the lower levels of
society an influence equally wholesome and beneficent! Were there more
streams from the mountain, there would be more fruits upon the plain.
The world would not be the scorched desert which it is, in which the
vipers of envy and discontent hiss and sting; but a fragrant garden,
full of the fruits of social order and of moral principle. Truly, man
might learn many a useful lesson from the earth on which he treads: the
great, to dispense freely out of their abundance,--for by dispensing
they but multiply their blessings, as Mont Blanc, by sending down its
streams to enrich the plain, feeds those snows which are its glory and
crown,--and the humble, the lesson of a thankful reciprocation. This
plain does not drink in the waters of the Alps, and sullenly refuse to
own its obligations. Like a duteous child, it brings its yearly offering
to the foot of Mont Blanc,--fields of golden wheat, countless vines with
their blood-red clusters, fruits of every name, and flowers of every
hue;--such is the noble tribute which this plain, year by year, lays at
the feet of its august parent. There is but one drawback to its
prosperity. Two sombre shadows fall gloomily athwart its surface. These
are Austria and Rome.

The plain of Lombardy is so broad, and the road to Milan by Novara is so
much on a level with its general surface, that the eye catches the
distant Apennines only at the more elevated points. The screen which
here, and for miles after leaving Turin, shuts out the view of the
Apennines, is the Colina. The Colina is a range of lovely hills, which
rise to a height of rather more than 1200 feet, and run eastward along
the plain a few miles south of the Milan road. Soft and rich in their
covering, picturesque in their forms, and indented with numerous dells,
they look like miniature Alps set down on the plain, nearly equidistant
from the great white hills on the north and the purple peaks on the
south. The sun was near his setting; and his level rays, passing through
fields of vapour,--presages of storm,--and shorn of the fiery brilliancy
which is wont at eve to set these hills on a blaze, fell softly upon the
dome of the Superga, and lighted up the white villas which stud the
mountain by hundreds and hundreds throughout its whole extent. Vividly
relieved by the deep azure of the vineyards, and looking, from their
distance, no bigger than single blocks, these villas reminded one of a
shower of marble, freshly fallen, and glittering in pearly whiteness in
the setting rays.

The road, which to me had an almost sacred character, being the
beginning of my journey to Rome, was a straight line,--straight as the
arrow's flight,--between fields of rich meadow land, and rows of elms
and poplars, which ran on and on, till, in the far distance, they
appeared to converge to a point. It was a broad, macadamized,
substantial highway, of about thirty feet in width, having a white line
of curb-stones placed eight or ten paces apart; outside of which was an
excellent pathway for foot passengers. On the left rose the Alps, calm
and majestic, clothed in the purple shadows of evening.

I have mentioned the Po as flowing past Turin. This stream is doubtless
the relic of that mighty flood which covered, at some former period, the
vast space between the Alps and the Apennines, from the Graian and
Cottian chains on the west, to the shores of the Adriatic on the east.
As the waters drained off, this central channel alone was left, to
receive and convey to the sea the innumerable torrents which are formed
by the springs and snows of the mountains. The noble river thus formed
is called the Po,--the pride of Italy, and the king of its streams. The
Greeks, who clothed it with fable, and drowned Phaeton in its stream,
called it Eridanus. Its Roman appellation was Padus, which in course of
time resolved itself into its present name, the Po. Unlike the Nile,
which rolls in solemn and solitary majesty through Egypt without
permitting one solitary rill to mingle with its flood, the Po welcomes
every tributary, and accepts its help in discharging its great function
of giving drink to every flower, and tree, and field, and city, in broad
Lombardy. It receives, in its course through Piedmont alone, not fewer
than fifty-three torrents and rivers; and in depth and grandeur of
stream it is not unworthy of the praises which the Greek and Roman poets
lavished upon it. The cradle of this noble stream is placed in the
centre of the ancient territory of the Vaudois, whose most beautiful
mountain, Monte Viso, is its nursing parent. A fountain of crystal
clearness, placed half-way up this hill, is its source. Thence it goes
forth to water Piedmont and Venetian-Lombardy, and to mingle at last
with the clear wave of the Adriatic,--emblem of those living waters
which were to go forth from this same land into all quarters of Europe.

The sun had now set; and I marked that this evening no golden beams
among the mountains, no burning peaks, attended his departure. He went
in silent sadness, like a friend quitting a circle which he fears may
before his return be visited with calamity. With him departed the glory
of the scene. The vine-clad Colina, erst sparkling with villas, put out
its lights, and resolved itself into a dark bank, which leaned,
cloud-like, against the sky. The stupendous white piles on the left drew
a thin night vapour around them, and retired from the scene, like some
mighty spirit gathering his robe about him, and leaving the earth,
which his presence had enlightened, dark and solitary. The plain lay
before us a sombre expanse, in which all objects--towns, spires, and
forests--were fast blending into one darkly-shaded and undefined
picture. Dwellers in _diligences_, as well as dwellers in hotels, must
sleep if they can; but the hour for "turning in" had scarce arrived, and
meanwhile, I remember, my thoughts took strongly a homeward direction.

With these, of course, I shall not trouble the reader; only I must be
permitted to mention a misconception into which I had fallen, in
connection with my journey, and into which it is possible others may
fall in similar circumstances. One is apt to imagine, before starting,
that should he reach such a country as Italy, he will there feel as if
home was very distant, and the events of his former life far removed in
point of time. He thinks that a journey across the Alps has somehow a
talismanic power to change him. He crosses the Alps, but finds that he
is the same man still. Home has come with him: the friendships, the
joys, the sorrows, of his past existence are as near as ever; nay, far
nearer, for now he is alone with them; and though he goes southward, and
kingdoms and mountain-chains are between him and his native country, he
cannot feel that he is a foot-breadth more distant than ever. He moves
about through strange lands in a shroud of home feelings and
recollections.

How wretched, thought I, the man whom guilt chases from his country! He
flies to distant lands in the hope of shaking off the remembrance of his
crime. He finds that, go where he will, the spectre dogs his steps. In
Paris, in Milan, in Rome, the grizzly form starts up before him. He must
change, not his country, but his heart--himself--before he can shake off
his companion.

May not the same principle be applicable, in some extent, to our
passage from earth into the world beyond? When at home in Scotland, I
had thought of Italy as a distant country; but now that I was in Italy,
Scotland seemed very near--much nearer than Italy had done when in
Scotland. We who are dwellers on earth think of the state beyond as very
remote; but once there, may we not feel as if earth was in close
proximity to us,--as if, in fact, the two states were divided by but a
narrow gulph? Certain it is that the passage across it will work in us
no change; and, like the stranger in a foreign country, we shall enter
with an eternal shroud of joys and sorrows, springing out of the deeds
and events of our present existence.

I found that if in this region the day had its beauty, the night had its
sublimity and terrors. I had years before become familiar with the
phenomena of thunder-storms among the Alps; and one who has seen
lightning only in the sombre sky of Britain can scarce imagine its
intense brilliancy in these more southern latitudes. With us it breaks
with a red fiery flicker; there it bursts upon you like the sun, and
pours a flood of noonday light over earth and sky. One evening, in
particular, I shall never forget, on which I saw this phenomenon in
circumstances highly favourable to its finest effect. I had walked out
from Geneva to pass a few hours with the Tronchin family, whose mansion
stands on the southern shores of the lake. It was evening; and the deep
rolling of the thunder gave us warning that a storm had come on. We
stepped out upon the lawn to enjoy the spectacle; for in the vicinity of
the Alps, whose summits attract the fluid, the lightning is seldom
dangerous to life. All was dark as midnight; not even the front of the
mansion could we see. In a moment the flash came; and then it was
day,--boundless, glorious day. All nature was set before us as if under
the light of a cloudless sun. The lawn, the blue lake, the distant
Alpine summits, the landscape around, with its pines, villas, and
vineyards, all leaped out of the womb of night, stood in vivid intense
splendour before the eye, and in a twinkling was again gone. This
amazing transition from midnight to noonday, and from noonday to
midnight, was repeated again and again. I was now to witness the
sublimities of a thunder-storm on the plain of Lombardy.

Right before us, on the far-off horizon, gleams of light began to shoot
along the sky. The play of the electric fluid was so rapid and
incessant, as to resemble rather the continuous flow of light from its
fountain, than the fitful flashes of lightning. At times these gleams
would mantle the sky with all the soft beauty of moonlight, and at
others they would dart angrily and luridly athwart the horizon. Soon the
storm assumed a grander form. A ball of fire would suddenly blaze forth,
in livid, fiery brilliancy; and, remaining motionless, as it were, for
an instant, would then shoot out lateral streams or rays, coloured
sometimes like the rainbow, and quivering and fluttering like the
outspread wings of eagles. One's imagination could almost conceive of it
as being a real bird, the ball answering to the body, while the flashes
flung out from it resembled the wings, which were of so vast a spread,
that they touched the Apennines on the one hand, and the Alps on the
other.

The storm took yet another form, and one that increased the sublimity of
the scene, by adding a slight feeling of uneasiness to the admiration
with which we had contemplated it so far. A cloud of pitchy darkness
rose in the south, and crossed the plain, shedding deepest night in its
track, and shooting its fires downward on the earth as it came onwards.
It passed right over our heads, enveloping us for the while (like some
mighty archer, with quiver full of arrows) in a shower of flaming
missiles. The interval between the flashes was brief,--so very brief,
that we were scarcely sensible of any interval at all. There was not
more than four seconds between them. The light was full and strong, as
if myriads and myriads of bude lights had been kindled on the summits of
the Apennines. In short, it was day while it lasted, and every object
was visible, as if made so by the light of the sun. The horses which
dragged our vehicle along the road,--the postilion with the red facings
on his dress,--the meadows and mulberry woods which bordered our
path,--the road itself, stretching away and away for miles, with its
rows of tall poplars, and its white curb-stones, dotted with waggons and
couriers, and a few foot-passengers,--and the red autumnal leaves, as
they fell in swirling showers in the gust,--all were visible. Indeed, we
may be said to have performed several miles of our journey under broad
daylight, excepting that these sudden revelations of the face of nature
alternated with moments of profoundest night. At length the big
rain-drops came rattling to the earth; and, to protect ourselves, we
drew the thick leathern curtain of the _banquette_, buttoning it tight
down all around. It kept out the rain, but not the lightning. The seams
and openings of the covering seemed glowing lines of fire, as if the
_diligence_ had been literally engulphed in an ocean of living flame.
The whole heavens were in a roar. The Apennines called to the Alps; the
Alps shouted to the Apennines; and the plain between quaked and trembled
at the awful voice. At length the storm passed away to the north, and
found its final goal amid the mountains, where for hours afterwards the
thunder continued to growl, and the lightnings to sport.

Order being now restored among the elements, we endeavoured to snatch
an hour's sleep. It was but a dreamy sort of slumber, which failed to
bestow entire unconsciousness to external objects. Faded towns and tall
campaniles seemed to pass by in a ghost-like procession, which was
interrupted only by the arrival of the _diligence_ at the various
stages, where we had to endure long, weary halts. So passed the night.
At the first dawn we entered Novara. It lay, spread out on the dusky
plain, an irregular patch of black, with the clear, silvery crescent of
a moon hanging above it.



CHAPTER VII.

THE INTRODUCTION.

     Novara--Examination of Passports--Dawn--Monks prefer Dim Light to
     Clear--Battle of Novara, and its Results--The
     Ticino--Croats--Austrian Frontier and Dogana--Examination of Books
     and Baggage--Grandeur of the Alps from this Point--Contrast betwixt
     the Rivers and the Governments of Italy--Proof from thence of the
     Fall--Providence "from seeming Evil educing Good"--Rich but
     Monotonous Scenery of the Plain--Youth of the Alps, and Decay of
     the Lombard nations--The only Remedy--An Expelled Democrat--First
     View of Milan.


Novara, of course, like all decent towns in Lombardy and elsewhere, at
four in the morning was a-bed, and our heavy vehicle, as its harsh
echoes broke roughly on the silent streets, sounded strangely loud. We
were driven right into a courtyard, to have our passports examined. We
had left Turin the evening before, with a clean bill of political
health, duly certified by three legations,--the Sardinian, the English,
and the Austrian; and in so short a journey--not to speak of the flood
and fire we had passed through--it was scarce possible that we could
have contracted fresh pollution. We were examined anew, however, lest
the plague-spot should have broken out upon us. All was found right, and
we were let go to a neighbouring restaurant, where we swallowed a cup of
coffee,--our only meal betwixt Turin and Milan. After a full hour's
halt, we re-mounted the _diligence_, and set forth.

On emerging from the streets of the city, I found the east in the glow
of dawn. Still, and pure, and calm broke the light; and under its ray
the rich plain awoke into beauty, forgetful of the fiery bolts which had
smitten it, and the darkness and destruction which had so lately passed
across it. "Hail, holy light!" exclaims the bard of "Paradise." Yes,
light is holy. It is undefiled and pure, as when "God saw the light that
it was good." Man has ravaged the earth and reddened the seas; but light
has escaped his contaminating touch, and is still as God made it,
unless, indeed, when man imprisons it within the stained glass of the
cathedral, and then obligingly helps its dimness by lighting a score or
so of tapers. Did no monk ever think of putting a stained window in the
east, and compelling the sun to ogle the world through spectacles? "The
light is good," said He who created it, as He saw it darting its first
pure beam across creation. Not so, says the Puseyite; it is not good
unless it is coloured.

I looked with interest on the plains around Novara; for there, albeit no
trace of the bloody fray remains, the army of Charles Albert in 1848 met
the host of Radetzky; and there the fate of the campaign for Italian
independence was decided. The battle which was fought on these plains
led to the destruction of King Charles Albert, but not to the
destruction of his kingdom of Sardinia,--though why Radetzky did not
follow up his victory by a march on Turin, is to this hour a mystery.
Nay, though it sounds a little paradoxical, it is probable that this
battle, by destroying the king, saved the kingdom. Had Charles Albert
survived till the re-action set in 1849 and 1850, there is too much
reason to fear, from his antecedents, that he would have thrown himself
into the current with the rest of the Italian rulers; and so Sardinia
would have missed the path of constitutional liberty and material
development which it has since, under King Victor Emanuel, so happily
pursued. Had that happened, the horizon of Italy, dark as it is at this
hour, would have been still darker, and the peninsula, from the Alps to
Sicily, would not have contained a single spot where the hunted friends
of liberty could have found asylum.

We soon approached the Ticino, the boundary between Sardinia and
Austrian Lombardy. The Ticino is a majestic river, here spanned by one
of the finest bridges in Italy. It contains eleven arches; is of the
granite of Mount Torfano; and, like almost all the great modern works in
Italy, was commenced by Napoleon, though finished only after his fall.
Here, then, was the gate of Austria; and seated at that gate I saw three
Croats,--fit keepers of Austrian order.

I was not ignorant of the hand these men had had in the suppression of
the revolution of 1848, and of the ruthless tragedies they were said to
have enacted in Milan and other cities of Lombardy; and I rode up to
them in the eager desire of scrutinizing their features, and reading
there the signs of that ferocity which had given them such wide-spread
but evil renown. They sat basking themselves on a bench in front of the
Dogana, with their muskets and bayonets glittering in the sun. They were
lads of about eighteen, of decidedly low stature, of square build, and
strongly muscular. They looked in capital condition, and gave every sign
that the air of Lombardy agreed with them, and that they had had their
own share at least of its corn and wine. They wore blue caps, gray
duffle greatcoats like those used by our Highlanders, light blue
pantaloons fitting closely their thick short leg, and boots which rose
above the ankle, and laced in front. The prevailing expression on their
broad swarthy faces was not ferocity, but stolidity. Their eyes were
dull, and contrasted strikingly with the dark fiery glances of the
children of the land. They seemed men of appetites rather than passions;
and, if guilty of cruel deeds, were likely to be so from the dull, cold,
unreflecting ferocity of the bull-dog, rather than from the warm
impulsive instincts of the nobler animals. In stature and feature they
were very much the barbarian, and were admirably fitted for being what
they were,--the tools of the despot. No wonder that the _ideal_ Italian
abominates the _Croat_.

The Dogana! So soon! 'Twas but a few miles on the other side of the
Ticino that we passed through this ordeal. But perhaps the river,
glorious as it looks, flowing from the democratic hills of the Swiss,
may have infected us with political pravity; so here again we must
undergo the search, and that not a mere _pro forma_ one. The _diligence_
vomits forth, at all its mouths, trunks, carpet-bags, and packages,
encased, some in velvet, some in fir-deals, and some in brown paper. The
multifarious heap was carried into the Dogana, and its various articles
unroped, unlocked, and their contents scattered about. One might have
thought that a great fair was about to begin, or that a great Industrial
Exhibition was to be opened on the banks of the Ticino. The hunt was
especially for books,--bad books, which England will perversely print,
and Englishmen perversely read. My little stock was collected, bound
together with a cord, and sent in to the chief douanier, who sat,
Radamanthus-like, in an inner apartment, to judge books, papers, and
persons. There is nothing there, thought I, to which even an Austrian
official can take exception. Soon I was summoned to follow my little
library. The man examined the collection volume by volume. At last he
lighted on a number of the _Gazetta del Popolo_,--the same which I have
already mentioned as given me by the editors in Turin. This, thought I,
will prove the dead fly in my box of ointment. The sheet was opened and
examined. "Have you," said the official, "any more?" I could reply with
a clear conscience that I had not. To my surprise, the paper was
returned to me. He next took up my note-book. Now, said I to myself,
this is a worse scrape than the other. What a blockhead I am not to have
put the book into my pocket; for, except in extreme cases, the
traveller's person is never searched. The man opened the thin volume,
and found it inscribed with mysterious and strange characters. It was
written in short-hand. He turned over the leaves; on every page the same
unreadable signs met the eye. He held it by the top, and next by the
bottom: it was equally inscrutable either way. He shut it, and examined
its exterior, but there was nothing on the outside to afford a key to
the mystic characters within. He then turned to me for an explanation of
the suspicious little book. Affecting all the unconcern I could, I told
him that it contained only a few commonplace jottings of my journey. He
opened the book; took one other leisurely survey of it; then looked at
me, and back again at the book; and, after a considerable pause, big
with the fate of my book, he made me a bland bow, and handed me the
volume. I was equally polite on my part, inly resolving, that
henceforward Austrian douanier should not lay finger on my note-book.

The halt here was one of from two to three hours, which were spent in
unlading the _diligence_, opening and locking trunks,--for in Austria
nothing is done in a hurry, save the trial and execution of Mazzinists.
But the long halt was nothing to me: I could not possibly lose time, and
I could scarce be stopped at the wrong place; and certainly the bridge
of the Ticino is the very spot one would select for such a halt, were
the matter left in one's own choice. It commands the finest assemblage
of grand objects, in a ride abounding in magnificent objects throughout.
Having been pronounced, in passport phrase, "good to enter
Austria,"--for my carpet-bag was clean, though doubtless my mind was
foul with all sorts of notions which, in the latitude of Austria, are
rankly heretical,--(and, by the way, of what use is it to search trunks,
and leave breasts unexplored? Here is an imperfection in the system,
which I wonder the Jesuits don't correct)--having, I say, had the
Croat-guarded gates of Austria opened to me till I should find it
convenient to enter, I retraced the few paces which divided the Dogana
from the bridge, and stood above the rolling floods of the Ticino.

Refreshing it verily was to turn from the petty tyrannies of an Austrian
custom-house, to the free, joyous, and glorious face of nature. Before
me were the Alps, just shaking the cold night mists from their shaggy
pine-clad sides, as might a lion the dew-drops from his mane. Here rose
Monte Rosa in a robe of never-fading glory and beauty; and there stood
Mont Blanc, with his diadem of dazzling snows. The giant had planted his
feet deep amid rolling hills, covered with villages, and pine-forests,
and rich pastures. Anywhere else these would have been mountains; but,
dwarfed by the majestic form in whose presence they stood, they looked
like small eminences, scattered gracefully at his base, as pebbles at
the foot of some lofty pile. On his breast floated the fleecy clouds of
morn, while his summit rose high above these clouds, and stood, in the
calm of the firmament, a stupendous pile of ice and snow. Never had I
seen the Alps to such advantage. The level plain ran quite up to them,
and allowed the eye to take their full height from their flower-girt
base to their icy summit. Hundreds and hundreds of peaks ran along the
sky, conical, serrated, needle-shaped, jagged, some flaming like the
ruby in the morning ray, others dazzlingly white as the alabaster.

As I bent over the parapet, gazing on the flood that rolled beneath, I
could not help contrasting the bounty of nature with the oppression of
man. Here had this river been flowing through the long centuries,
dispensing its blessings without stop or grudge. Day and night, summer
and winter, it had rolled gladsomely onwards, bringing verdure to the
field, fruitage to the bough, and plenty to the peasant's cot. Now it
laved the flower on its brink,--now it fed the umbrageous sycamore and
the tall poplar on the plain,--and now it sent off a crystal streamlet
to meander through corn-field and meadow-land. It exacted nothing of man
for the blessings it so unweariedly dispensed. It gave all freely.
Whether, said I to myself, does Italy owe most to its rivers or to its
Governments? Its rivers give it corn and wine: its Governments give it
chains and prisons. They load the patient Lombard with burdens that
press him down into toil and poverty; or they lead him away to shed his
blood and lay his bones in a foreign soil. Why is it that all the
functions of nature are beneficent? Even the storms that rage around
Mont Blanc, the ice of its eternal winter, yield only good. Here they
come, a river of crystal water, decking with living green this
far-spreading plain. But the institutions of man are not so. From their
frozen summits have too oft, alas! descended, not the peaceful river,
but the thundering avalanche, burying in irretrievable ruin, man, with
his labours and hopes. I suspect, however, that this is a narrow as well
as a sombre philosophy. Doubtless the great fact of the Fall is written
on the face of life. Nevertheless, we have a strong belief that the
mighty schemes of Providence, like the arrangements of external nature,
will all in the end become dispensers of good; that those evil systems
which have burdened the earth, like those mountains of ice and snow
which rise on its surface, have their uses, though as yet we stand too
near them, and too much within the sphere of their tempests and their
avalanches, fully to comprehend these uses. We must descend into the
low-lying plains of the future, and contemplate them afar off; and then
the glaciers and tempests of these moral Mont Blancs may dissolve into
tender showers and crystal rivers, which will fructify and gladden the
world.

In a few minutes I must leave the bridge of the Ticino. Could I, when
far away,--in the seclusion of my own library, for instance,--bid the
Alps rise before me, in stupendous magnificence, as now? I turned round,
and fixed my gaze on the tamer objects of the plain; then back again to
the mountains; but every time I did so, I felt the scene as new. Its
glory burst on me as if seen for the first time. Alas! thought I, if
this majestic image has so faded in the interval of a few moments, what
will it be years after? A scene like this, it is true, can never be
forgotten; but it is but a dwarfed picture that lives in the memory; and
it is well, perhaps, it should be so; for were one to see always the
Alps, with what eyes would one look upon the tamer though still romantic
hills of his own country! And we may extend the principle. There are
times when great truths--eternal verities--flash upon the soul in Alpine
magnitude. It is a new world that discloses itself, and we are thrilled
by its glory; but for the effective discharge of ordinary duties, it is
better, perhaps, that these stupendous objects should be seen "as
through a glass darkly," though still seen.

All too soon was the _diligence_ ready to start. From the bridge of the
Ticino the scenery was decidedly tamer. The Alps fell more into the
background, and with their white peaks disappeared the chief glory of
the scene. The plain was so level, and its woods of mulberry and walnut
so luxuriant, that little could be seen save the broad road, with its
white lines of curb-stones running on and on, and losing itself in the
deep foliage of the plain. Its windings and turnings, though coming only
at an interval of many miles, were a pleasant relief from the sameness
of the journey. Occasionally side views of great fertility opened upon
us. There were the small farms of the Lombard; and there was the tall
Lombard himself, striding across his fields. If the farms were small,
amends was made by the largeness of the farm-house. There was no great
air of comfort about it, however. It wanted its little garden, and its
over-arching vine-bough, which one sees in the happier cantons of
Switzerland; and the furrowed and care-shaded face of the owner bespoke
greater acquaintance with hard labour than with the dainties which the
bounteous earth so freely yields. The Lombard plants, but another eats.
We could see, too, how extensively and thoroughly irrigated was the
plain. Numerous canals, brim-full of water, the gift of the Alps,
traversed it in all directions; and by means of a system of sluices and
aqueducts the surrounding fields could be flooded at pleasure. The plain
enjoys thus the elements of a boundless fertility, and is the seat of an
almost eternal summer.

 Hic Ver perpetuum, atque alienis mensibus Æstas.

But the little towns we passed looked so very old and tottering, and the
inhabitants, too, appeared as much oppressed with years or cares as the
heavy dilapidated architecture amid which they dwelt, and out of which
they crept as we passed by, that one's heart grew sad. How evident was
it that the immortal spirit was withered, and that the land, despite its
images of grandeur and sublimity, nourished a stricken race! The Alps
were still young, but the men that lived within their shadow had grown
very old. Their ears had too long been familiar with the clank of
chains, and their hearts were too sad to catch up the utterances of
freedom which came from their mountains. The human soul was dying, and
will die, unless new fire from a celestial source descend to rekindle
it. Architecture, music, new constitutions, the ever glorious face of
nature itself, will not prevent the approaching death of the continental
nations. There is but one book in the world that can do it,--the Book of
Life. Unfold its pages, and a more blessed and glorious effulgence than
that which lights up the Alps at sunrise will break upon the nations;
but, alas! this cannot be so long as the Jesuit and the Croat are there.
We saw, too, on our journey, other things that did not tend to put us
into better spirits. As we approached Milan, we met a couple of
gensdarmes leading away a poor foot-sore revolutionist to the frontier.
Ah! said I inly, could the Jesuits look into my breast, they would find
there ideas more dangerous to their power, in all probability, than
those that this man entertains; and yet, while he is expelled, I am
admitted. No thanks to them, however. I rode onwards. League followed
league of the richest but the most unvaried scenery. Campanile and
hamlet came and went: still Milan came not. I strained my eyes in the
direction in which I expected its roofs and towers to appear, but all to
no purpose. At length there rose over the green woods that covered the
plain, as if evoked by enchantment, a vision of surpassing beauty. I
gazed entranced. The lovely creation before me was white as the Alpine
snows, and shot up in a glorious cluster of towers, spires, and
pinnacles, which flashed back the splendours of the mid-day sun. It
looked as if it had sprung from under the chisel but yesterday. Indeed,
one could hardly believe that human hands had fashioned so fair a
structure. It was so delicate, and graceful, and aerial, and unsullied,
that I thought of the city which burst upon the pilgrims when they had
got over the river, or that which a prophet saw descending out of
heaven. Milan, hid in rich woods, was before me, and this was its
renowned Cathedral.



CHAPTER VIII.

CITY AND PEOPLE OF MILAN.

     The Barrier--Beautiful Aspect of the City--Hotel Royale--History of
     Milan--Dreariness of its Streets--Decay of Art--Decay of Trade--The
     Cathedral--Beauty, not Sublimity, its Characteristic--Its Exterior
     described--The Piazza of the Cathedral--Austrian Cannon--Pamphlets
     on Purgatory--Punch--Punch _versus_ the Priest--Church and State in
     Italy--Austrian Oppression--Confiscation of Estates in
     Lombardy--Forced Loans--Niebuhr's Idea that the Dark Ages are
     returning.


It was an hour past noon when the _diligence_, with its polyglot
freight, drove up to the harrier. There gathered round the vehicle a
white cloud of Austrian uniforms, and straightway every compartment of
the carriage bristled with a forest of hands holding passports. These
the men-at-arms received; and, making them hastily up into a bundle, and
tying them with a piece of cord, they despatched them by a special
messenger to the Prefect; so that hardly had we entered the Porta
Vercellina, till our arrival was known at head-quarters. There was
handed at the same time to each passenger a printed paper, in which the
same notification was four times repeated,--first in Italian, next in
French, then in German, and lastly in English,--enjoining the holder,
under certain penalties, to present himself within a given number of
hours at the Police Office.

It was under these conditions,--a pilgrim from a far land,--that I
appeared at the gates of Milan. The passport detention seemed less an
annoyance here than I had ever felt it before. The beauteous city,
sitting so tranquilly amidst the sublimest scenery, seemed to have
something of a celestial character about it. It looked so resplendent,
partly by reason of the materials of which it is built, and partly by
reason of the sun that shone upon it as an Italian sun only can shine,
that none but pure men, I felt, might dwell here, and none but pure men
might enter at its gates. There were white sentinels at its portals;
rows of white houses formed its exterior; and in the middle of the city,
floating above it,--for it seemed to float rather than to rest on
foundations,--was its snow-white temple,--a place too holy almost, as it
seemed, for human worship and human worshippers; and then the city had
for battlements a glorious wall, white as alabaster, which rose to the
clouds. Everything conspired to cheat the visitor into the belief that
he had come at last to an abode where every hurtful passion was hushed,
and where Peace had fixed her chosen seat.

"All right," shouted the passport official: the gensdarmes, who guarded
the path with naked bayonet, stepped aside; and the quick, sharp crack
of the postilion's whip set the horses a-moving. We skirted the spacious
esplanade, and saw in the distance the beauteous form of the Arco della
Pace. We had not gone far till the drum's roll struck upon the ear, and
a long glittering line of Austrian bayonets was seen moving across the
esplanade. It was evident that the time had not yet come to Milan, all
glorious as she seemed, when men "shall learn war no more." We plunged
into a series of narrow streets, which open on the Mercato Vecchio. We
crossed the Corso, and came out upon the broad promenade that traverses
Milan from the square of the Duomo to the Porta Orientale. We soon found
ourselves at the _diligence_ office; and there, our little colony of
various nations breaking up, I bade adieu to the good vehicle which had
carried me from Turin, and took my way to the Hotel Royale, in the
Contrada dei tre Re.

At the first summons of the porter's bell the gate opened. On entering,
I found myself in what had been one of the palaces of Milan when the
city was in its best days. But the Austrian eagle had scared the native
princes and nobles of the Queen of Lombardy, who were gone, and had left
their streets to be trodden by the Croat, and their palaces to be
tenanted by the wayfarer. The buildings of the hotel formed a spacious
quadrangle, three storeys high, with a finely paved court in the centre.
I was conducted up stairs to my bed-room, which, though by no means
large, and plainly furnished, presented the luxury of extreme
cleanliness, with its beautifully polished wooden floor, and its
delicately white napery and curtains. The saloon on the ground-floor
opened sweetly into a little garden, with its fountain, its bit of
rock-work, and its gods and nymphs of stone. The apartment had a
peculiarly comfortable air at breakfast-time. The hissing urn, flanked
by the tea-caddy; the rich brown coffee, the delicious butter, and the
not less delicious bread, the produce of the plains around, not
unnaturally white, as with us, but golden, like the wheat when it waves
in the autumnal sun; and the guests, mostly English, which assembled
morning after morning,--made the return of this hour very pleasant.
Establishing myself at the Albergo Reale for this and the two following
days, I sallied out, to wander everywhere and see everything.

Milan is of ancient days; and few cities have seen greater changes of
fortune. In the reign of Diocletian and Maximilian it became the capital
of the western empire, and was filled with the temples, baths, theatres,
and other monuments which usually adorn royal cities. The tempest which
Attila, in the middle of the fifth century, conducted across the Alps,
fell upon it, and swept it away. Scarce a vestige of the Roman Milan has
come down to our day. A second Milan was founded, but only to fall, in
its turn, before the arms of Frederick Barbarossa. There was a strong
vitality in its site, however; and a third Milan,--the Milan of the
present day,--arose. This city is a huge collection of churches and
barracks, cafés and convents, theatres and palaces, traversed by narrow
streets, ranged mostly in concentric circles round its grand central
building, the Duomo. The streets, however, that lead to its various
ports, are spacious thoroughfares, adorned with noble and elegant
mansions. Such is the arrangement of the town in which I now found
myself.

I sought everywhere for the gay Milan,--the white-robed city I had seen
an hour ago,--but it was gone; and in its room sat a silent and sullen
town, with an air of most depressing loneliness about it. There were few
persons on the streets; and these walked as if they dragged a chain at
their heels. I passed through whole streets of a secondary character,
without meeting a single individual, or hearing the sound of man or of
living thing. It seemed as if Milan had proclaimed a fast and gone to
church; but when I looked into the churches, I saw no one there save a
solitary figure in white, in the distance, bowing and gesticulating with
extraordinary fervour, in the presence of dumb pictures and dim tapers.
How can a worship in which no one ever joins edify any one? I could
discover no signs of a flourishing art. There were not a few pretty and
some beautiful things in the shop-windows; but the latter were all
copies generally of the more striking natural objects in the
neighbourhood, or of the works of art in the city, the productions of
other times,--things which a dying genius might produce, but not such as
a living genius, free to give scope to her invention, would delight to
create. Such was the art of Milan,--the feeble and reflected gleam of a
glory now set. As regards the trade of Milan,--a yet more important
matter,--I could see almost no signs of it either. There were walking
sticks, and such things, in considerable variety in the shops; but
little of more importance. The fabrics of the loom, and the productions
of the plane, the forge, and the printing press, which crowd our cities
and dwellings, and give honest bread to our artizans, were all wanting
in Milan. How its people contrived to get through the twenty-four hours,
and where they got their bread, unless it fell from the clouds, I could
not discover.

What an air of languor and weariness on the faces of the people! Amid
these heavy-hearted and dull-eyed loiterers, what a relief it would have
been to have met the soiled jacket, the brawny arm, and the manly brow,
of one of our own artizans! I felt there were worse things in the world
than hard work. Better it were to roll the stone of Sisyphus all
life-long, than spend it in such idleness as weighs upon the cities of
Italy. Better the clang of the forge than the rattle of the sabre. The
Milanese seemed looking into the future; and a dismal future it is, if
one may judge from their looks,--a future full of revolutions, to
conduct, mayhap, to freedom; more probably to the scaffold.

I turned sharply round the corner of a street, and there, as if it had
risen from the earth, was the Cathedral. As the sun breaking through a
fog, or an Alpine peak flashing through mists, so burst this
magnificent pile upon me; and its sudden revelation dispelled on the
instant all my gloomy musings. I could only stand and gaze. Beauty, not
sublimity, is the attribute of this pile. Beauty it rains around it in a
never-ending, overflowing shower, as the sun does light, or Mont Blanc
glory. I sought for some one presiding idea, simple and grand, which
might take its place in the mind, and dwell there as an image of glory,
never more to fade; but I could find no such idea. The pile is the slow
creation of centuries, and the united conception of innumerable minds,
which have clubbed their ideas, so to speak, to produce this Cathedral.
Quarries of marble and millions of money have been expended upon it; and
there is scarce an architect or sculptor of eminence who has flourished
since the fourteenth century, who has not contributed to it some
separate grace or glory; and now the Cathedral of Milan is perhaps the
most numerous assemblage of beauties in stone which the world contains.
Impossible it were to enumerate the elegances that cover it from top to
bottom,--its carved portals, its flying buttresses, its arabesque
pilasters, its richly mullioned windows, its basso-reliefs, its
beautiful tracery, and its forest of snow-white pinnacles soaring in the
sunlight, so calm and moveless, and yet so airy and light, that you fear
the nest breeze will scatter them. You can compare it only to some
Alpine group, whose flashing peaks shoot up by hundreds around some
snow-white central summit.

The building, too, is populous as a city. There are upwards of three
thousand statues upon it, and places for a thousand more. Here stands a
monk, busy with his beads,--there a mailed warrior,--there a mitred
bishop,--there a pilgrim, staff in hand,--there a nun, gracefully
veiled,--and yonder hundreds of seraphs perched upon the loftier
pinnacles, and looking as if a white cloud of winged creatures from the
sky had just lighted upon it.

I purposed to-morrow to climb to the roof, and thence survey the plains
of Lombardy and the chain of the Alps; so, turning away from the door, I
made the tour of the square in which the Cathedral stands. I came first
upon a row of cannon, so pointed as to sweep the square. Behind the
guns, piled on the pavement, were stacks of arms, and soldiers loitering
beside them. Ah! thought I, these are the loving ties that bind the
people of Lombardy to the House of Hapsburg. The priest's chant is heard
all day long within that temple; and outside there blend with it the
sentinel's tramp and the drum's roll. I passed on, and came next upon a
most unusual display of literature. Four-paged pamphlets in hundreds lay
piled upon stalls, or were ranged in rows against the wall. The subjects
discussed in these pamphlets were of a high spiritual cast, and woodcuts
were freely employed to aid the reader's apprehension. These latter
belonged to a very different style of art from that conspicuous in the
Cathedral, but they had the merit of great plainness; and a glance at
the woodcut enabled one to read at once the story of the pamphlet. The
wall was all a-blaze with flames; and I saw the advantage of an
infallible Church to teach one secrets which the Bible does not reveal.
The sin chiefly insisted on was that of despising the priest; and the
punishment awaiting it was set before me in a way I could not possibly
mistake. Here, for instance, was a wealthy sinner, who lay dying in a
splendid mansion. With horrible impiety, the man had refused the wafer,
and ordered the priest about his business, despite the imploring tears
of wife and family, who surrounded his bed. A glance at the other
compartment of the picture showed the consequence of this. There you
found the man just launched into the other world. A crowd of black
fiends, hideous to behold, had seized upon the poor soul, and were
dragging it down into a weltering gulf of lurid flame. In another
picture you had an equally graphic illustration of the happiness of
obeying Mother Church. Here lay one dying amid beads, crucifixes, and
shaven crowns. The devil was fleeing from the house in terror; and in
the compartment devoted to the spiritual world, the soul was following a
benevolent-looking gentleman, who carried a big key, and was walking in
the direction of a very magnificent mansion on a high hill, where, I
doubt not, a welcome and hospitable reception waited both. The same
lesson was repeated along the wall times without number.

Here was the doctrine of purgatory as incontestably proved as painted
flames, and images of creatures with tails who tormented other creatures
who had no tails, could prove it. If there was no purgatory, how could
the painters of an infallible Church ever have given so exact a
representation of it? And exact it must have been, else the priests
would never have allowed these pictures to be hung up here, under their
very eye. This was as much as to write "_cum privilegio_" underneath
them. The whole scenery of purgatory was here most vividly depicted.
There were fiends flying off with souls, or tossing them with pitchforks
into the flames. There were boiling cauldrons, red-hot gridirons,
cataracts of fire, and innumerable other modes of torment. A walk along
this infernal gallery was enough, one would have thought, to make the
boldest purgatory-despiser quail. But no one who has a little spare
cash, and is willing to part with it, need fear either purgatory or the
devil. In the large marble house in the centre of the square one might
buy at a reasonable rate an excision of some thousands of years from
his appointed sojourn in that gloomy region. And doubtless that was one
reason for bringing this purgatorial gallery and the indulgence-market
into such close proximity. It reminded the people of the latter
inestimable blessing; and without some such salutary impulse the traffic
in indulgences might flag.

I could not but remark, that the only person for whom these
extraordinary representations appeared to have any attractions was
myself. Not so the exhibition on the other side of the square. Having
perused with no ordinary interest, though, I fear, with not much profit,
this "Theory of a Future State," I crossed the quadrangle, passing right
under the eastern towers of the Cathedral, and came suddenly upon a knot
of persons gathered round a tall rectangular box, in which was enacting
the melo-drama of Punch. These persons were enjoying the fun with a
relish which was noways abated by the spectacle over the way. The whole
thing was acted exactly as I had seen it before; but to me it was a
novelty to hear Punch, and all the other interlocutors in the piece,
discourse in the language in which Dante had sung, and in which I had
heard, just before leaving Scotland, Gavazzi declaim. In all lands Punch
is an astute scoundrel; but, strange to say, in all lands the popular
feeling is on his side. His imperturbable coolness and truculent villany
procured him plaudits among the Milanese, as I had seen them do
elsewhere. Courage and self-possession are valuable qualities, and for
their sake we sometimes forgive bad men and bad causes; whereas, from
nothing do we more instinctively recoil than from hypocrisy. On this
principle it is, perhaps, that we have a sort of liking for Punch,
incorrigible scoundrel as he is; and that great criminals, who rob and
murder at the head of armies, we deify, while little ones we hang.

I had now completed my tour of the Cathedral, and could not help
reflecting on the miscellaneous, and apparently incongruous, character
of the spectacles grouped together in the square. In the middle was the
great temple, in which priests, in stole and mitre, celebrated the high
mysteries of their Church. In one of the angles were rows of mounted
cannon, and a forest of bayonets. In another was seen the whole process
of refining souls in purgatory. Strange, that if men here are shut up in
prisons and hulks amid desperadoes, they come out more finished villains
than they entered; whereas hereafter, if men are shut up with even worse
characters, amid blazing fires, glowing gridirons, and cauldrons of
boiling lead, they come out perfected in virtue. They pass at once from
the society of fiends, where they have been whipped, roasted, and I know
not what, to the society of angels. This is a strange schooling to give
dignity to the character and conscious purity to the mind. And yet Rome
subjects all her sons to this discipline for a longer or shorter period.
Much do we marvel, that the same process which unfits men for
associating with respectable people here should be the very thing to
prepare them for good society hereafter. The other side of the square
Punch had all to himself; and Punch, I saw, was the favourite. The
inhabitants of Milan kept as respectable a distance from the painted
fiends as if they had been veritable Satans, ready to clutch the
incautious passer-by, and carry him off to their den. They kept the same
respectable distance from the Austrian cannon; and these were no painted
terrors. And as regards the Cathedral, scarce a solitary foot crossed
its threshold, though there,--astounding prodigy!--He who made the
worlds was Himself made many times every day by the priests. But Punch
had a dense crowd of delighted spectators around him; and yet he
competed with the priest at immense disadvantage. Punch played his part
in a humble wooden shed, while the priest played his in a magnificent
marble Cathedral, with a splendid wardrobe to boot. Still the people
seemed to feel, that the only play in which there was any earnestness
was that which was enacted in the wooden box. A stranger from India or
China, who was not learned in either the religion or the drama of
Europe, would probably have been unable to see any great difference
between the two, and would have taken both for religious performances;
concluding, perhaps, that that in the Cathedral was the established
form, while that in the wooden box was the disestablished; in short,
that Punch had been a priest at some former period of his life, and sung
mass and sold indulgences; but that, imbibing some heterodox notions, or
having fallen into some peccadillo, such as eating flesh on Friday, he
had been unfrocked and driven out, and compelled to play the priest in a
wooden tabernacle.

To return once more to the paintings and woodcuts illustrative of the
punitive and purgative processes of purgatory, and which were in a style
of art that demonstratively shows, that if Italy is advancing in the
knowledge of a future life, she is retrograding in the arts of the
present,--to recur, I say, to these, there rested some doubt, to say the
least of it, over their revelations of the world to come; but there
rested no doubt whatever over their revelations of the present condition
of Church and State in Italy. On this head the cannon and woodcuts told
far more than the priests wished, or perhaps thought. They showed that
both the State and the Church in that country are now reduced to their
_ultima ratio_, brute force. The State has lost all hope of governing
its subjects by giving them good laws, and inspiring them with loyalty;
and the Church has long since abandoned the plan of producing obedience
and love by presenting great truths to the mind. Both have found out a
shorter and more compendious policy. The State, speaking through her
cannon, says, "Obey me or die;" and the Church, speaking through
purgatory, says, "Believe me or burn." There is one comfort in this,
however,--the present system is obviously the last. When force gives
way, all gives way. The Church will stand, doubtless, because they tell
us she is founded on a rock; but what will become of the State? When men
can be awed neither by painted fiends nor real cannon, what is to awe
them? Indeed, we shrewdly suspect, that even now the fiends would count
for little, were it not for the fiends incarnate, in the shape of
Croats, by which the others are backed. The Lombards would boldly face
the gridirons, cauldrons, and stinging creatures gathered in the one
corner of the square at Milan, if they but knew how to muzzle the cannon
which are assembled in the other.

In truth, things in this part of the world are not looking up. A
universal serfdom and barbarism are slowly creeping over all men and all
systems. The Government of Austria has become more revolutionary than
the Revolution itself. By violating the rights of property, it has
indorsed the worst doctrines of Socialism. That Government has, in a
great number of instances, seized upon estates, without making out a
title to them by any regular process of law. After the attempted
outbreak at Milan in 1852, the landed property of well-nigh all the
royalist emigrants was swept away by a decree of sequestration. The
_Milan Gazette_ published a list of seventy-two political refugees whose
property has been laid under sequestration in the provinces of Milan,
Como, Mantua, Lodi, Pavia, Brescia, Cremona, Bergamo, and Sondrio. In
this list we find the names of many distinguished persons, such as
Count Arese, the two Counts Borromeo, General Lechi, Duke Litta, Count
Litta, Marquis Pallavicini, Marquis Rosales, Princess Belgioso. The
pretext for seizing their estates was, that their owners had contributed
to the revolutionary treasury; which was incredible to those who know
the difference in feeling and views which separate the royalist emigrant
nobles of Lombardy from the democratic republicans that follow Mazzini.
In truth, the Government of Vienna needs their estates; and, imitating
the example of the French Convention, and furnishing another precedent
for Socialism when it shall come into power, it seized them without any
colour of right or form of law. Another branch of the scourging tyranny
of Austria is the system of forced loans. Some of the wealthiest
families of Lombardy have been impoverished by these, and, of course,
thrown into the ranks of the disaffected. The Austrian method of making
slavery maintain itself is also peculiarly revolting. The hundred
millions raised annually in Venetian Lombardy, instead of being spent in
the service of these provinces, are devoted to the payment of the troops
that keep down Hungary. The soldiers levied in Italy are sent into the
German provinces; and those raised in Croatia are employed in keeping
down Italy. Thus Italy holds the chain of Hungary, and Hungary, in her
turn, that of Italy; and so insult is added to oppression.

The very roots of liberty are being dug out of the soil. The free towns
have lost their rights; the provinces their independence; and the
tendency of things is towards the formation of great centralized
despotisms. Thus an Asiatic equality and barbarism is sinking down upon
continental Europe. So much is this the case, that some of the thinking
minds in Germany are in the belief that the dark ages are returning. The
following passage in the "Life and Letters of Niebuhr," written less
than two months before his death in 1831, is almost prophecy:--

"It is my firm conviction that we, particularly in Germany, are rapidly
hastening towards barbarism; and it is not much better in France.

"That we are threatened with devastation such as that two hundred years
ago, is, I am sorry to say, just as clear to me; and the end of the tale
will be, _despotism enthroned amidst universal ruin. In fifty years, and
probably much less, there will be no trace left of free institutions, or
the freedom of the press, throughout all Europe, at least on the
Continent_. Very few of the things which have happened since the
revolution in Paris have surprised me."

The half of that period has scarce elapsed, and the prognostication of
Niebuhr has been all but realized. At this hour, Piedmont excepted,
there is _no trace left of free institutions, or the freedom of the
press_, in Southern and Eastern Europe. Nor will these nations ever be
able to lift themselves out of the gulph into which they have fallen.
Revolution, Socialism, war, will only hasten the advent of a centralized
despotism. We know of only one agency,--even Christianity,--which, by
reviving the virtue and self-government of the individual, and the moral
strength of nations, can recover their liberties. If Christianity can be
diffused, well; if not, I do firmly believe with Niebuhr that, on the
Continent at least, we shall have a return of "the dark ages," and
"despotism enthroned amidst universal ruin."



CHAPTER IX.

ARCO DELLA PACE.

     Depressing Effect produced by Sight of Slavery--The Castle of
     Milan--Non-intercourse of Italians and Austrians--Arco della
     Pace--Contrasted with the Duomo--Evening--Ambrose--Milanese
     Inquisition--The Two Symbols.


It was now drawing towards evening; and I must needs see the sun go down
behind the Alps. There are no sights like those which nature has
provided for us. What are embattled cities and aisled cathedrals to the
eternal hills, with their thunder-clouds, and their rising and setting
suns? Making my exit by the northern gate of the city, I soon forgot, in
the presence of the majestic mountains, the narrow streets and clouded
faces amid which I had been wandering. Their peaks seemed to look
serenely down upon the despots and armies at their feet; and at sight of
them, the burden I had carried all day fell off, and my mind mounted at
once to its natural pitch. How crushing must be the endurance of
slavery, if even the sight of it produces such prostration! Day by day
it eats into the soul, weakening its spring, and lowering its tone, till
at last the man becomes incapable of noble thoughts or worthy deeds;
and then we condemn him because he lies down contentedly in his chains,
or breaks them on the heads of his oppressors.

Emerging from the lanes of the city, I found myself on a spacious
esplanade, enclosed on three of its sides by double rows of noble elms,
and bounded on the remaining side by the cafés and wine-shops of the
city, filled with a crowd of loquacious, if not gay, loiterers. In the
middle of the esplanade rose the Castle of Milan,--a gloomy and majestic
pile, of irregular form, but of great strength. It was on the top of
this donjon that the beacon was to be kindled which was to call Lombardy
to arms, in the projected insurrection of 1852. The soft green of the
esplanade was pleasantly dotted by white groupes in the Austrian
uniform, who loitered at the gates, or played games on the sward. But
neither here nor in the cafés, nor anywhere else, did I ever see the
slightest intercourse betwixt the soldiers and the populace. On the
contrary, the two seemed on every occasion to avoid each other, as men,
not only of different nations, but of different eras.

There are two monuments, and only two, in Italy, which redeem its modern
architecture from the reproach of universal degeneracy. One of these is
the Triumphal Arch of Milan, known also as the Arco della Pace. It was
full in view from where I stood, rising on the northern edge of the
esplanade, with the line of road stretching out from it, and running on
and on towards the Alps, over which it climbs, forming the famous
Simplon Pass. I crossed the plain in the direction of the Arco della
Pace, to have a nearer inspection of it. It was more to my taste than
the Duomo. The Cathedral, much as I admired it, had a bewildering and
dissipating effect. It presented a perfect universe of towers,
pinnacles, and statues, flashing in the Italian sun, and in the yet more
dazzling splendour of its own beauty. But, stript of the tracery with
which it is so profusely covered, and the countless statues that nestle
in its niches, it would be a withered, naked, and unsightly thing, like
a tree in winter. Not so the arch to which I was advancing. It rose
before me in simple grandeur. It might be defaced,--it might grow old;
but its beauty could not perish while its form remained. It presents but
one simple and grand idea; and, seen once, it never can be forgotten. It
takes its place as an image of beauty, to dwell in the mind for ever. To
look upon it was to draw in concentration and strength.

I found this arch guarded by a Croat,--beauty in the keeping of
barbarism. Much I wondered what sensations it could produce in such a
mind: of course, I had no means of knowing. I touched the arch with my
palm, to ascertain the quality of its polish and workmanship. The Croat
made a threatening gesture, which I took as a hint not to repeat the
action. I walked under it,--walked round it,--viewed it on all sides;
but why should I describe what the engraver's art has made so familiar
all over Europe? And such is the power of a simple and sublime
idea,--whether the pen or the chisel has given it body,--to transmit
itself, and retain its hold on the mind, that, though I had only now
seen the Arco della Pace for the first time, I felt as if I had been
familiar with it all my life; and so, doubtless, does my reader. The
little squat figure, with the swarthy face, and dull, cold eye, that
kept pacing beside it, watched me all the while my survey was going on.
Sorely must it have puzzled him to discover the cause of the interest I
took in it. Most probably he took me for a necromancer, whose simple
word might transport the arch across the Alps.

The very spirit of peace pervaded the scene around the Arco della Pace.
Peace descended from the summits of the Alps, and peace breathed upon
me from the tops of the elms. It was sweet to see the gathering of the
shadows upon the great plain; it was sweet to see the waggoner come
slowly along the great Simplon road; it was sweet to see the husbandman
unyoke his bullocks, and come wending his way homeward over the rich
ploughed land, beneath the beautiful festoonings of the vine; sweet even
were the city-stirs, as, mellowed by distance, they broke upon the ear;
but sweeter than all was it to mark the sun's departure among the Alps.
One might have fancied the mountains a wall of sapphire inclosing some
terrestrial paradise,--some blessed clime, where hunger, and thirst, and
pain, and sorrow, were unknown. Alas! if such were Lombardy, what meant
the Croat beside me, and the black eagle blazoned on the flag, that I
saw floating on the Castle of Milan? The sight of these symbols of
foreign oppression recalled the haggard faces and toil-bent frames I had
seen on my journey to Milan. I thought of the rich harvests which the
sun of Lombardy ripens only that the Austrian may reap them, and the
fertile vines which the Lombard plants only that the Croat may gather
them. I thought of the sixty thousand expatriated citizens whose lands
the Government had confiscated, and of the victims that pined in the
fortresses and dungeons of Lombardy; and I felt that truly this was no
paradise. To me, who could demand my passport and re-cross the Alps
whenever I pleased, these mountains were a superb sight; but what could
the poor Lombard, whom Radetzky might order to prison or to execution on
the instant, see in them, but the walls of a vast prison?

The light was fast fading, and I re-crossed the esplanade, on my way
back to the city. High above its roofs, rose the spires and turrets of
the Duomo, looking palely in the twilight, and reminding one of a
cluster of Norwegian pines, covered with the snows of winter. As I
slowly and musingly pursued my way, my mind went back to the better days
of Milan. Here Ambrose had lived; and how oft, at even-tide, had his
feet traversed this very plain, musing, the while, on the future
prospects of the Church. Ah! little did he think, that what he believed
to be the opening day was but a brief twilight, dividing the pagan
darkness now past from the papal night then fast descending. But to the
Churches of Lombardy it was longer light than to those of southern
Italy. Ambrose went to the grave; but the spirit of the man who had
closed the Cathedral gates in the face of the Goths of Justina, and
exacted a public repentance of the Emperor Theodosius, lived after him.
From him, doubtless, the Milanese caught that love of independence in
spiritual matters which long afterwards so honourably distinguished
them. They fought a hard battle with Rome for their religious freedom,
but the battle proved a losing one. It was not, however, till towards
the twelfth century, when every other Church in Christendom almost had
acknowledged the claims of Rome, and an Innocent was about to mount the
throne of the Vatican, that the complete subjugation of the Churches of
Lombardy was effected. When the sixteenth century, like the breath of
heaven, opened on the world, the Reformation began to take root in
Lombardy. But, alas! the ancient spirit of the Milanese revived for but
a moment, only to be crushed by the Inquisition. The arts by which this
terrible tribunal was introduced into the duchy finely illustrate the
policy of Rome, which knows so well how to temporize without
relinquishing her claims. Philip II. proposed to establish this tribunal
in Milan after the Spanish fashion; and Pope Pius IV. at first favoured
his design. But finding that the Milanese were determined to resist, the
pontiff espoused their cause, and told them, in effect, that it was not
without reason that they dreaded the Spanish Inquisition. It was, he
said, a harsh, cruel, inexorable Court--(he forgot that he had
sanctioned it by a bull)--which condemned men without trial; but he had
an Inquisition of his own, which never did any one any harm, and which
his subjects in Rome were exceedingly fond of. This he would send to
them. The Milanese were caught in the trap. In the hope of getting rid
of the Spanish Inquisition, they accepted the Roman one, which proved
equally fatal in the end. The degradation of Lombardy dates from that
day. The Inquisition paved the way for Austrian domination. The
familiars of the Holy Office were the avant couriers of the black eagles
and Croats of the house of Hapsburg.

In the arch behind me, so simple withal, and yet so noble in its design,
and whose beauty, dependent on no adventitious helps or meretricious
ornaments, but inherent in itself, was seen and felt by all, I saw, I
thought, a type of the Gospel; while the many-pinnacled and
richly-fretted Cathedral before me seemed the representative of the
Papacy. As stands this arch, in simple but eternal beauty, beside the
inflated glories of the Duomo, so stands the gospel amid the spurious
systems of the world. They, like the Cathedral, are elaborate and
artificial piles. The stones of which they are built are absurd
doctrines, burdensome rites, and meaningless ceremonies. In beautiful
contrast to their complexity and inconsistency, the Gospel presents to
the world one simple and grand idea. They perplex and weary their
votaries, who lose themselves amid the tangled paths and intricate
labyrinths with which they abound. The Gospel, on the other hand, offers
a plain and straight path to the enquirer, which, once found, can never
be lost. These systems grow old, and, having lived their day, return to
the earth, out of which they arose. The Gospel never dies,--never grows
old. Fixed on an immoveable basis, it stands sublimely forth amid the
lapse of ages and the decay of systems, charming all minds by its
simplicity, and subduing all minds by its power. It says nothing of
penances, nothing of pilgrimages, nothing of tradition, nor of works of
supererogation, nor of efficacious sacraments dispensed by the hands of
an apostolically descended clergy: its one simple and sublime
announcement is, that _Eternal Life is the Free Gift of God through the
Death of his Son_.



CHAPTER X.

THE DUOMO OF MILAN.

     Interior Disappoints at First Sight--Expands into
     Magnificence--Description of Interior--Mummy of San Carlo
     Borromeo--His too early Canonization--A Priest at Mass--The Two
     Mysteries--Distinction between Religion and Worship--Roof of
     Cathedral--Aspect of Lombardy from thence--Ascend to the Top of
     Tower--Objects in the Square--Miniature of the World--The Alps from
     the Cathedral Roof--Martyr Associations--A Future Morning.


My next day was devoted to the Cathedral. Entering by the great western
doorway,--a low-browed arch, rich in carving and statuary,--I pushed
aside the thick, heavy quilt that closes the entrance of all the Italian
churches, and stood beneath the roof. My first feeling was one of
disappointment; so great was the contrast betwixt the airy and sunlight
beauty of the exterior, and the massive and sombre grandeur within. The
marble of the floor was sorely fretted by the foot: its original colours
of blue and red had passed into a dingy gray, chequered with the
variously-tinted light which flowed in through the stained windows. The
white walls and unadorned pillars looked cold and naked. Beggars were
extending their caps towards you for an alms. On the floor rose a stack
of rush-bottomed chairs, as high as a two-storey house,--as if the
priests, dreading an eméute, had made preparations by throwing up a
barricade. A carpenter, mounted on a tall ladder, was busied, with
hammer and nails, suspending hangings of tapestry along the nave, in
honour, I presume, of some saint whose fête-day was approaching. The dim
light could but feebly illuminate the many-pillared, long-aisled
building, and gave to the vast edifice something of a cavern look.

But by and by the eye got attempered; and then, like an autumnal haze
clearing away from the face of the landscape, and revealing the glories
of green meadow, golden field, and wooded mountain, the obscurity that
wrapped pillar and aisle gradually brightened up, and the temple around
me began to develope into the noblest proportions and the most
impressive grandeur. Some hundred and fifty feet over head was suspended
the stone roof; and one could not but admire the lightness and elegance
of its groined vaultings, and the stately stature of the columns that
supported it. Their feet planted on the marble floor, they stood,
bearing up with unbowing strength, through the long centuries, the
massive, stable, steadfast roof, from which the spirit of tranquillity
and calm seemed to breathe upon you. On either hand three rows of
colossal pillars ran off, forming a noble perspective of well nigh five
hundred feet. They stretched away over transept and chancel, towards the
great eastern window, which, like a sun glowing with rosy light, was
seen rising behind the high altar, bearing on its ample disc the
emblazoned symbols of the Book of the Apocalypse. The aisles were deep
and shadowy; and through their forests of columns there broke on the
sight glimpses of monumental tombs and altars ranged against the wall. I
passed slowly along in front of these beautiful monuments, and read
upon their marble the names of warriors and cardinals, some of whom
still keep their place on the page of history. It took me some three
hours to make the circuit of the Cathedral; but I shall not spend as
many minutes in describing the works of art--some of them marvels of
their kind--which passed under my eye; for my readers, I suspect, would
not thank me for doing worse what the guide-books have done better.
Below the great window in the apsis,--the same that contains what is one
of the earliest of modern commentaries on the Book of Revelation,--the
pavement was perforated by a number of small openings; and on looking
down, I could see a subterranean chamber, with burning lamps. Its wall
was adorned with pictures like the great temple above: and I could
plainly hear the low chant of priests issuing from it. I had lighted, in
short, upon a subterranean chapel; and here, in a shrine of gold and
silver, lay embalmed the body of a former Archbishop of Milan--San Carlo
Borromeo. Through the glass-lid of the coffin you could see the
half-rotten corpse,--for the skill of the embalmer had been no match for
the stealthy advances of decay,--tricked out in its gorgeous vestments,
with the ring glittering on its finger, and the mitre pressing upon its
fleshless skull. San Carlo Borromeo is the patron saint of Milan; and
hence these perpetual lamps and ceaseless chantings at his tomb. The
black withered face and naked skull grin horribly at the flaunting
finery that surrounds him; and one almost expects to see him stretch out
his skeleton hands, and tear it angrily in rags. The unusually short
period of thirty years was all that intervened betwixt the death and the
canonization of San Carlo; and his mother, who was alive at the time,
though a very aged woman, had the peculiar satisfaction of seeing her
son placed on the altars of Rome, and become an object of worship,--a
happiness which, so far as we know, has not been enjoyed by mortal
mother since the days of Juno and other ladies of her time. We do not
envy San Carlo his honours; but we submit whether it was judicious to
confer them just so soon. Before decreeing worship to one, would it not
be better to let his contemporaries pass from the stage of time?
Incongruous reminiscences are apt to mix themselves up with his worship.
San Carlo had been like other children when young, we doubt not, and was
none the worse of the castigation he received at times from the hand of
her whose duty it now became to worship him. His mother little dreamt
that it was an infant god she was chastising. "He was a pleasant
companion," said a lady, when informed of the canonization of St Francis
de Sales, "but he cheated horribly at cards." "When I was at Milan,"
says Addison, "I saw a book newly published, that was dedicated to the
present head of the Borromean family, and entitled, _A Discourse on the
Humility of Jesus Christ, and of St Charles Borromeo_."

I came round, and stood in front of the high altar. It towers to a great
height, looking like the tall mast of a ship; and, could any supposable
influence throw the marble floor on which it rests into billows, it
might ride safely on their tops, beneath the stone roof of the
Cathedral. A priest was saying mass, and some half-dozen of persons on
the wooden benches before the chancel were joining in the service. It
was a cold affair; and the vastness of the building but tended to throw
an air of insignificance over it. The languid faces of the priest and
his diminutive congregation brought vividly to my recollection the crowd
of animated countenances I had seen outside the same building, around
Punch, the day before. The devotion before me was a dead, not a living
thing. It had been dead before the foundations of this august temple
were laid. But it loved to revisit "the glimpses" of these tapers, and
to grimace and mutter amid these shadowy aisles. To nothing could I
compare it but to the skeleton in the chapel beneath, that lay rotting
in a shroud of gorgeous robes. It was as much a corpse as that skeleton,
and, like it too, it bore a shroud of purple and scarlet, and fine linen
and gold, which concealed only in part its ghastliness. Were Ambrose to
come back, he would once more close his Cathedral gates, but this time
in the face of the priests.

"Without controversy," says the apostle, "great is the mystery of
godliness. God was manifest in the flesh." "Without controversy, great
is the mystery of" iniquity. "God was manifest in the" mass. These are
the two INCARNATIONS--the two MYSTERIES. They stand confronting one
another. Romish writers style the mass emphatically "the mystery;" and
as that dogma is a capital one in their system, it follows that their
Church has _mystery_ written on her forehead, as plainly as John saw it
on that of the woman in the Apocalypse. But farther, what is the
principle of the mass? Is it not that Christ is again offered in
sacrifice, and that the pain he endures in being so propitiates God in
your behalf? Is not, then, the area of Europe that is covered with
masses "_the place where our Lord was crucified_?"

The stream can never rise higher than its source; and so is it with
worship. That worship that cometh of man cannot, in the nature of
things, rise higher than man. The worship of Rome is manifestly
man-contrived. It may be expected, therefore, to rise to the level of
his tastes, but not a hairbreadth higher. It may stimulate and delight
his faculties, such as they are, but it cannot regenerate them. At the
best, it is only the æsthetic faculties which the worship of Rome calls
into exercise. It presents no truth to the mind, and cannot therefore
act upon the moral powers. God is unseen: He is hidden in the dark
shadow of the priest. How, then, can He be regarded with confidence or
love? The doctrine of the atonement,--the central glory of the Christian
system,--is unknown. It is eclipsed by the mass. If you want to be
religious,--to obtain salvation,--you buy masses. You need not cultivate
any moral quality. You need not even be grateful. You have paid the
market-price of the salvation you carry home, and are debtor to no one.

Those who speak of the worship of the Church of Rome as well fitted to
make men devout, only betray their complete ignorance of all that
constitutes worship. Men must be devout before they can worship. There
is no error in the world more common than that of putting worship for
religion. Worship is not the cause, but the effect. Worship is simply
the expression of an inward feeling, that feeling being religion; and
nothing is more obvious, than that till this feeling be implanted, there
can be no worship. The man may bow, or chant, or mutter; he cannot
worship. He may be dazzled by fine pictures, but not melted into love or
raised to hope by glorious truths. Moral feelings can be produced not
otherwise than by the apprehension of moral truths; but in the Church of
Rome all the great verities of revelation lie out of sight, being
covered with the dense shadow of symbol and error. A single verse of
Scripture would do more to awaken mind and produce devotion than all the
statues and fine pictures of all the cathedrals in Italy.

I got weary at last of these shadowy aisles and the priests' monotonous
chant; and so, paying a small fee, I had a low door in the south
transept opened to me; and, groping my way up a stair of an hundred and
fifty steps, or rather more, I came out upon the top of the Cathedral. I
had left a noble temple, but only to be ushered into a far nobler,--its
roof the blue vault, its floor the great Lombardy plain, and its walls
the Alps and Apennines. The glory of the temple beneath was forgotten by
reason of the greater glory of that into which I had entered. It was not
yet noon, and the morning mists were not yet wholly dissipated. The Alps
and the Apennines were imprisoned in a shroud of vapour. Nevertheless
the scene was a noble one. Lombardy was level as the sea. I have seen as
level and as circular an expanse from a ship's deck, when out of sight
of land, but nowhere else. One of the most prominent features of the
scene were the long straight rows of the Lombardy poplar, which, rooted
in its native soil, and drinking its native waters, shoots up into the
most goodly stature and the most graceful form. And then, there were
glimpses of beautifully green meadows, and long silvery lines of canals;
and all over the plain there peeped out from amidst rich woods, the
white walls of hamlets and towns, and the tall, slender Campanile. The
country towards the north was remarkably populous. From the gates of
Milan to the skirts of the mists that veiled the Alps the plain was all
a-gleam with white-walled villages, beautifully embowered. A fairer
picture, or one more suggestive of peace and happiness, is perhaps
nowhere to be seen. But, alas! past experience had taught me, that these
dwellings, so lovely when seen from afar, would sink, on a near
approach, into ill-furnished and filthy hovels, with inmates groaning
under the double burden of ignorance and poverty.

When the more distant objects allowed me to attend to those at hand, I
found that I was not alone on the Cathedral's roof. There were around me
an assembly of some thousands. The only moving figure, it is true, was
myself: the rest stood mute and motionless, each in his little house of
stone; but so eloquent withal, in both look and gesture, that you half
expected to find yourself addressed by some one in this life-like crowd
of figures.

I ascended to the different levels by steps on the flying buttresses. A
winding staircase in a turret of open tracery next carried me to the
Octagon, where I found myself surrounded by a new zone of statues. Here
I again made a long halt, admiring the landscape as seen under this new
elevation, and doing my best to scrape acquaintance with my new
companions. I now prepared for my final ascent. Entering the spire, I
ascended its winding staircase, and came out at the foot of the pyramid
that crowns the edifice. Higher I could not go. Here I stood at a height
of about three hundred and fifty feet, looking down upon the city and
the plain. I had left the grosser forms of monks and bishops far
beneath, and was surrounded--as became my aerial position--with winged
cherubs, newly alighted, as it seemed, on the spires and turrets which
shot up like a forest at my feet. Here I waited the coming of the Alps,
with all the impatience with which an audience at the theatre waits the
rising of the curtain.

Meanwhile, till it should please Monte Rosa and her long train of
white-robed companions to emerge, I had the city spectacles to amuse me.
There was Milan at my feet. I could count its every house, and trace the
windings of its every street and lane, as easily as though it had been
laid down upon a map. I could see innumerable black dots moving about in
the streets,--mingling, crossing, gathering in little knots, then
dissolving, and the constituent atoms falling into the stream, and
floating away. Then there came a long white line with nodding plumes;
and I could faintly hear the tramp of horses; and then there followed a
mustering of men and a flashing of bayonets in the square below. I sat
watching the manoeuvres of the little army beneath for an hour or so,
while drum and clarionet did their best to fill the square with music,
and send up their thousand echoes to break and die amid the spires and
statues of the Cathedral. At last the mimic war was ended, and I was
left alone, with the silent and moveless, but ever acting statues around
and below me. What a picture, thought I, of the pageantry of life, as
viewed from a higher point than this world! Instead of an hour, take a
thousand years, and how do the scenes shift! The golden spectacle of
empire has moved westward from the banks of the Euphrates to those of
the Tiber and the Thames. You can trace its track by the ruins it has
left. The field has been illuminated this hour by the gleam of arts and
empire, and buried in the darkness of barbarism the next. Man has been
ever busy. He has builded cities, fought battles, set up thrones,
constructed systems. There has been much toil and confusion, but, alas!
little progress. Such would be the sigh which some superior being from
some tranquil station on high would heave over the ceaseless struggle
and change in the valley of the world. And yet, amid all its changes,
great principles have been taking root, and a noble edifice has been
emerging.

But, lo! the mists are rising, and yonder are the Alps. Now that the
curtain is rent, one flashing peak bursts upon you after another. They
come not in scores, but in hundreds. And now the whole chain, from the
snowy dome of the Ortelles in the far-off Tyrol, to the beauteous
pyramid of Monte Viso in the south-western sky, is before you in its
noble sweep of many hundreds of miles, with thousands of snowy peaks,
amid which, pre-eminent in glory, rises Monte Rosa. Turning to the
south, you have the purple summits of the Apennines rising above the
plain. Between this blue line in the south and that magnificent rampart
of glaciers and peaks in the north, what a vast and dazzling picture of
meadows, woods, rivers, cities, with the sun of Italy shining over all!

Ye glorious piles! well are ye termed everlasting. Kings and kingdoms
pass away, but on you there passes not the shadow of change. Ye saw the
foundations of Rome laid;--now ye look down upon its ruins. In
comparison with yours, man's life dwindles to a moment. Like the flower
at your foot, he blooms for an instant, and sinks into the tomb. Nay,
what is a nation's duration, when weighed against thine? Even the
forests that wave on your slopes will outlast empires. Proud piles, how
do ye stamp with insignificance man's greatest labours! This glorious
edifice on which I stand,--ages was it in building; myriads of hands
helped to rear it; and yet, in comparison with your gigantic masses,
what is it?--a mere speck. Already it is growing old;--ye are still
young. The tempests of six thousand winters have not bowed you down.
Your glory lightened the cradle of nations,--your shadows cover their
tomb.

But to me the great charm of the Alps lay in the sacred character which
they wore. They seemed to rise before me, a vast temple, crowned, as
temple never was, with sapphire domes and pinnacles, in which a holy
nation had worshipped when Europe lay prostrate before the Dagon of the
Seven Hills. I could go back to a time when that plain, now covered,
alas! with the putridities of superstition, was the scene of churches in
which the gospel was preached, of homes in which the Bible was read, of
happy death-beds, and blessed graves,--graves in which, in the sublime
words of our catechism, "the bodies of the saints being still united to
Christ, do rest in their graves till the Resurrection." Sleep on, ye
blessed dead! This pile shall crumble into ruin; the Alps dissolve,
Rome herself sink; but not a particle of your dust shall be lost. The
reflection recalled vividly an incident of years gone by. I had
sauntered at the evening hour into a retired country churchyard in
Scotland. The sun, after a day of heavy rain, was setting in glory, and
his rays were gilding the long wet grass above the graves, and tinting
the hoar ruins of a cathedral that rose in the midst of them, when my
eye accidentally fell upon the following lines, which I quote from
memory, carved in plain characters upon one of the tombstones:--

 The wise, the just, the pious, and the brave,
 Live in their death, and flourish from the grave.
 Grain hid in earth repays the peasant's care,
 And evening suns but set to rise more fair.

There are no such epitaphs in the graveyards of Lombardy; nor could
there be any such in that of Dunblane, but for the Reformation.



CHAPTER XI.

MILAN TO BRESCIA.

     Biblioteca Ambrosiana--A Lamp in a Sepulchre--The
     Palimpsests--Labours of the Monks in the Cause of
     Knowledge--Cardinal Mai--He recovers many valuable Manuscripts of
     the Ancients which the Monks had Mutilated--Ulfila's Bible--The War
     against Knowledge--The Brazent Serpent at Sant' Ambrogio--Passport
     Office--Last Visit to the Duomo and the Arco Della Pace--The Alps
     apostrophized--Dinner at a Restaurant--Leave Milan--Procession of
     the Alps--Treviglio--The River Adda--The Postilion--Evening, with
     dreamy, decaying Borgos--Caravaggio--Supper at
     Chiari--Brescia--Arnold of Brescia.


The morning of my last day in Milan was passed in the Biblioteca
Ambrosiana. This justly renowned library was founded in 1609 by Cardinal
Borromeo, the cousin of that Borromeo whose mummy lies so gorgeously
enshrined in the subterranean chapel of the Duomo. This prelate was at
vast care and expense to bring together in this library the most
precious manuscripts extant. For this purpose he sent learned men into
every part of Europe, with instructions to buy whatever of value they
might be fortunate enough to discover, and to copy such writings as
their owners might be unwilling to part with. The Biblioteca Ambrosiana
is worth a visit, were it only to see the first public library
established in Europe. There were earlier libraries, and some not
inconsiderable ones, but only in connection with cathedrals and
colleges; and access to them was refused to all save to the members of
these establishments. This, on the contrary, was opened to the public;
and, with a liberality rare in those days, writing materials were freely
supplied to all who frequented it. The library buildings form a
quadrangle of massive masonry, with a grave, venerable look, becoming
its name. The collection is upwards of 80,000 volumes; but, what is not
very complimentary to the literary tastes of the prefetto and honorary
canons of Sant' Ambrogio, the curators of the library, they are
arranged, not according to their subjects, but according to their sizes.
This library reminded me of a lamp in an Etrurian tomb. There was light
enough in that hall to illuminate the whole duchy of the Milanese, could
it but find an outlet. As it is, I fear a few straggling rays are all
that are able to escape. There is no catalogue of the books, save some
very imperfect lists; and I was told that there is a pontifical bull
against making any such. I saw a few visitors in its halls, attracted,
like myself, by its curiosities; but I saw no one who had come to
restore volumes they had read, and receive others in their room. The
modern inhabitant of Milan gives his days and nights to the café and the
club,--not to the library. He lives and dies unpolluted by the printing
press,--an execrable invention of the fifteenth century, from which a
paternal Government and an infallible Church employ their utmost
energies to shield him. The works of dead authors he dare not read; the
productions of living ones he dare not print; and the only compositions
to which he has access are the decrees of the Austrian police, and the
Catechism of the Jesuit. He fully appreciates, of course, the care taken
to preserve the purity of his political and religious faith, and will
one day show the extent of his gratitude.

I saw in this library the famous _Palimpsests_. My readers know, of
course, what these are. The _Palimpsests_ are little books of vellum,
from which an original and ancient writing has been erased, to make room
for the productions of later ages and of other pens. These pages bore
originally the thoughts of Virgil and Livy, and, in short, of almost all
the great writers of pagan, antiquity; but the monks, who did not relish
their pagan notions, thought the vellum would be much better bestowed if
filled with their own homilies. The good fathers conceived the project
of enlightening and evangelizing the world by purging of its paganism
all the vellum in Europe; and, being much intent on their object, they
succeeded in it to an amazing extent.

 "A second deluge learning did o'errun,
 And the monks finished what the Goths begun."

Our readers have often seen with what rapidity a fog swallows up a
landscape. They have marked, with a feeling of despair, golden peak and
emerald valley sinking hopelessly in the dank drizzle. So the classics
went down before the monks. The ancients were set a-trudging through the
world in a monk's cowl and a friar's frock. On the same page from which
Cicero had thundered, a monk now discoursed. Where Livy's pictured
narrative had been, you found only a dull wearisome legend. Where the
thunder of Homer's lyre or the sweet notes of Virgil's muse had
resounded, you heard now a dismal croak or a lugubrious chant. Such was
the strange metamorphosis which the ancients were compelled to endure at
the hands of the' monks; and such was the way in which they strove to
earn the gratitude of succeeding ages by the benefits they conferred on
learning.

It gives us pleasure to say that Cardinal Mai was amongst the most
distinguished of those who undertook the task of setting free the
imprisoned ancients,--of stripping them of the monk's hood and the
friar's habit, and presenting them to the world in their own form. He
laboured in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, and succeeded in exhuming from
darkness and dust the treasures which neglect and superstition had
buried there. In the number of the works which the monks had
palimpsested, and which Mai rescued from destruction, we may cite some
fragments of Homer, with a great number of paintings equally ancient,
and of which the subjects are taken from the works of this great poet;
the unpublished writings of Cornelius Fronto; the unpublished letters of
Antoninus Pius, of Marcus Aurelius, of Lucius Verus, and of Appian; some
fragments of discourses of Aurelius Symmachus; the Roman Antiquities of
Dionysius of Halicarnassus, which were up to that time imperfect;
unpublished fragments of Plautus, of Isæus, of Themistius; an
unpublished work of the philosopher Porphyrius; some writings of the Jew
Philo; the ancient interpreters of Virgil; two books of the Chronicles
of Eusebius Pamphilus; the VI. and XIV. Sibylline Books; and the six
books of the Republic of Cicero. I saw, too, in the Biblioteca
Ambrosiana, fragments of the version of the Bible made in the middle of
the fourth century, by Ulfila, bishop of the Mæsogoths. The labours of
the bishop underwent a strange dispersion. The gospels are at Upsala;
the epistles were found at Wolfenbuttel; while a portion of the Acts of
the Apostles and of the Old Testament were extracted from the
palimpsests. The original writing--the superincumbent rubbish being
removed--looked out in a bold, well defined character, in as fresh a
black, in some places, as when newly written; in others, in a dim, rusty
colour, which a practised eye only could decipher. Thus the war against
knowledge has gone on. The Caliph Omer burnt the Alexandrine library.
Next came the little busy creatures the monks, who, mothlike, ate up the
ancient manuscripts. Last of all appeared the Pope, with his Index
Expurgatorius, to put under lock and key what the Caliph had spared, and
the monks had not been able to devour. The torch, the sponge, the
anathema, have been tried each in its turn. Still the light spreads.

I cannot enter on the other curious manuscripts which this library
contains; nor have I anything to say of the numerous beautiful portraits
and pictures with which its walls are adorned. The _Cenacolo_, or "Last
Supper," by Leonardo da Vinci, in the refectory of the Dominican
convent, is fast perishing. It has not yet "lost all its original
brightness," and is mightier in its decay than most other pictures are
in the bloom and vigour of their youth. I recollect the great Scottish
painter Harvey saying to me, that he was more affected by "that ruin,"
than he was by all the other works of art which he saw in Italy. The
grandeur of the central head has never been approached in any copy. One
thing I regret,--I did not visit the Sant' Ambrogio, and so missed
seeing the famous brazen serpent which is to hiss just before the world
comes to an end. This serpent is the same that Moses made in the
wilderness, and which Hezekiah afterwards brake in pieces: at least it
would be heresy in Milan not to believe this. It must be comfortable to
a busy age, which has so many things to think of without troubling
itself about how or when the world is to end, to know that, if it must
end, due warning will be given of that catastrophe. The vineyards of
Lombardy are good, and monks, like other men, occasionally get thirsty;
and it might spoil the good fathers' digestion were the brazen serpent
of Sant' Ambrogio to hiss after dinner. But doubtless it will be
discreet on this head. There is said to be in some one of the
graveyards of Orkney, a tombstone on which an angel may be seen blowing
a great trumpet with all his might, while the dead man below is made to
say, "When I hear this, I will rise." The stone-trumpet will be heard to
blow, we daresay, about the same time that the serpent of Sant' Ambrogio
will be heard to hiss.

I was now to bid farewell to Milan, and turn my face towards the blue
Adriatic. But one unpleasant preliminary must first be gone through. The
police had opened the gates of Milan to admit me, and the same
authorities must open them for my departure. I walked to the passport
office, where the officials received me with great politeness, and bade
me be seated while my passport was being got ready. This interesting
process was only a few minutes in doing; and, on payment of the
customary fee, was handed me "all right" for Venice, bating the
innumerable intermediate inspections and _visés_ by the way; for a
passport, like a chronometer, must be continually compared with the
meridian, and put right. I put my passport into my pocket; but on
opening it afterwards, I got a surprise. Its pages were getting covered
all over with little creatures with wings, and, as my fancy suggested,
with stings,--the black eagles of Austria. How was I to carry in my
pocket such a cage of imps? How was I to sleep at night in their
company? Should they take it into their head to creep out of my book,
and buzz round my bed, would it not give me unpleasant dreams? And yet
part with them I could not. These black, impish creatures must be my
pioneers to Venice.

I now made haste to take my last look of the several objects which had
endeared themselves to me during my short stay. I felt towards them as
friends,--long known and beloved friends; and never should I turn and
look on the track of my past existence without seeing their forms of
beauty, dim and indistinct, it might be, as the haze of lapsed time
should gather over them; still, always visible,--never altogether
blotted out. I walked round the Cathedral for the last time. There it
stood,--beauty, like an eternal halo, sitting rainbow-like upon its
towers and pinnacles. Its thousand statues and cherubs stood silent and
entranced, tranquil as ever, all unmoved by the city's din, reminding
one of dwellers in some region of deep and unbroken bliss. "Glorious
pile!" said I, apostrophizing it, "I am but a pilgrim, a shadow; so are
all who now look on thee,--shadows. But you will continue to delight the
ages to come, as you have done those that are past." I had a run, too,
to the _Piazza di Armi_, to see Beauty incarnate, if I may so express
myself, in the form of the Arco della Pace. It is a gem, the brightest
of its kind that earth contains. The faultless grace of its form is
finely set off by the overwhelming Alpine masses in the distance, which
seemed as if raised on purpose to defend it, and which rise, piled one
above another, in furrowed, jagged, unchiselled, fearful sublimity.

I came round by the boulevard of the Porte Orientale, on my way back to
the city. It is a noble promenade. Above are the boughs of the
over-arching elms; on this hand are the city domes and cathedral spires,
with their sweet chimes continually falling on the ear; and on that are
the suburban gardens, with the poplars and campaniles rising in stately
grace beyond. The glorious perspective is terminated by the Alps. As the
breezes from their flashing summits stirred the leaves overhead, they
seemed to speak of liberty. I wonder the Croat don't impose silence on
them. What right have they, by their glowing peaks, and their free play
of light and shade, and their storms, and their far-darting lightnings,
to stir the immortal aspirations in man's bosom? These white hills are
great, unconquerable democrats. They will continually be singing hymns
in praise of liberty. Yet why they should, I know not. Milan is deaf.
Why preach liberty to men in chains? Surely the Alps,--the free and
joyous Alps,--which scatter corn and wine from their horn of plenty so
unweariedly, have no delight in tormenting the enslaved nations at their
feet. Why do ye not, ye glorious mountains, put on sackcloth, and mourn
with the mourning nations beneath you? How can ye look down on these
dungeons, on these groaning victims, on the tears of so many widows and
orphans, and yet wear these robes of beauty, and sing your song of
gladness at sunrise? Or do ye descry from afar the coming of a better
era? and is the glory that mantles your summits the kindling of an
inward joy at the prospect of coming freedom? and are these whisperings
of liberty the first utterances of that shout with which you will
welcome the opening of the tomb and the rising of the nations?

The formidable process of loading the _diligence_ was not yet completed.
There was a perfect Mont Blanc of luggage to transfer from the courtyard
to the top of the _diligence_, not in a hurry, but calmly and
deliberately. The articles were to be selected one by one, and put upon
the top, and taken down again, and laid in the courtyard, and put up a
second time, and perhaps a third time; and after repeated attempts and
failures, and a reasonable amount of vociferation and emphatic
ejaculations on the part of postilions and commissionaires, the thing
was to be declared completed, and finally roped down, and the great
leathern cover drawn over all. Still the process would be got through
before the hour of table d'hote at the Albergo de Reale. I must needs
therefore dine at a restaurant. I betook me to one of these
establishments hard by the _diligence_ office, and took my place at a
small table, with its white napery, small bottle of wine, and roll of
Lombardy bread, in the same room with some thirty or so of the merchants
and citizens of Milan. I intimated my wish to dine _à la carte_; and
instantly the waiter placed the tariff before me, with its list of
dishes and prices. I selected what dishes I pleased, marking, at the
same time, what I should have to pay for each. I dined well, having
respect to the journey of two days and a night I was about to begin, and
knowing, too, that an Italian _diligence_ halts only at long intervals.
The reckoning, I thought, could be no dubious or difficult matter. I
knew the dishes I had eaten, and I saw the prices affixed, and I
concluded that a simple arithmetical process would infallibly conduct me
to the aggregate cost. But when my bill was handed me (a formality
dispensed with in the case of those beside me), I found that my
reckoning and that of "mine host" differed materially. The sum total on
his showing was three times greater than on mine. I was curious to
discover the source of this rather startling discrepancy in so small a
sum. I went over again the list of eaten dishes, and once more went
through the simple arithmetical process which gave the sum total of
their cost, but with no difference in the result. It was plain that
there was some mysterious quality in the arithmetic, or some nice
distinctions in the cookery, which I had not taken into account, which
disturbed my calculations. I became but the more anxious to have the
riddle explained. In my perplexity I applied to the waiter, who referred
me to his master. The day was hot; and boiling, stewing, and roasting,
is hot work; and this may account for the passion into which my simple
interrogatory put "mine host." "It was a just bill, and must be paid." I
hinted that I did not impugn its justice, but simply craved some
explanation about its items. Whereupon mine host, becoming cooler,
condescended to inform me that I had not dined exactly according to the
_carte_; that certain additions had been made to certain dishes; and
that it did not become an Englishman to inquire farther into the matter.
If not so satisfactory as might be wished, this defence was better than
I had expected; so, paying my debts to Boniface, I departed, consoling
myself with the reflection, that if I had three times more to pay than
my neighbours, having fared neither better nor worse than they, I had,
unlike these poor men, eaten my dinner without fetters on my hands.

This time the _banquette_ of the _diligence_, with all its rich views,
was bespoke, so I had to content myself with the _interieur_. It was
roomy, however; there were but four of us, and its window admitted, I
found, ample views of meadow and mountain. We drove to the station of
the Venice railway, pleasantly situated amid orchards and extra-mural
albergos. The horses were taken out, and the immense vehicle was lifted
up,--wheels, baggage, passengers and all,--and put upon a truck. Away
went the long line of carriages,--away went the _diligence_, standing up
like a huge leathern castle upon its truck; while the engine whistled,
snorted, screeched, groaned, and uttered all sorts of irreverent and
every-day sounds, just as if the Alps had not been looking down upon it,
and classic towns ever and anon starting up beside its path: a glorious
vision of fresh meadows, bordered with little canals, brimful of water,
and barred with the long shadows of campanile and sycamore,--for the sun
was westering,--shot past us. The Alps came on with more slow and
majestic pace. As peak after peak passed by, it seemed as if the whole
community of hills had commenced a general march on Monte Viso, with all
their crags, glaciers, and pine-forests. One might have thought that
Sovran Blanc had summoned the nobles and high princes of his kingdom to
meet him in his hall of audience, to debate some weighty point of Alpine
government. An august assembly as ever graced monarch's court, in their
robes of white and their cornets of eternal ice, would these tall and
proud forms present.

Treviglio, beyond which the railway has not yet been opened, was reached
in less than two hours. When near the town, the vast mirror of the blue
Como, spread out amid the dark overhanging mountains, burst upon us.
From it flowed forth the Adda, which we crossed. As its mighty stream,
burning in the sunset, rolled along, it spangled with glory the green
plain, as the milky-way the firmament. There is nothing in nature like
these Alpine rivers. They fill their banks with such a wasteful
prodigality of water, and they go on their way with a conscious might,
as if they felt that behind them is an eternally exhaustless source. Let
the sun smite them with his fiercest ray; they dread him not. Others may
shrink and dry up under his beam: their fountains are the snows of a
thousand winters.

On reaching the station, our _diligence_,--including passengers, and all
that pertained to them,--was lifted from its truck and put on wheels,
and once more stood ready to move, in virtue of its own inherent power,
that is, so soon as the horses should be attached. This operation was
performed in the calm eve, amid the glancing casements of the little
town, on which the purple hills and the tall silent poplars looked
complacently down.

Away we rumbled, the declining light still resting sweetly on the woods
and hamlets. There are no postilions in the world, I believe, who can
handle their whip like those of Italy. In very pride and joy our
postilion cracked his whip, till the woods rang again. He took a
peculiar delight in startling the echoes of the old villages, and the
ears of the old villagers. Each report was like that of a
twelve-pounder. This continual thunder, kept up above their heads, did
not in the least affright the horses: they rather seemed proud of a
master who could handle his whip in so workmanlike a fashion. He could
so time the strokes as to make not much worse melody than that of some
music-bells I have heard. He could play a tune on his whip.

We passed, as the evening thickened its shadows, several ancient
_borgos_. Gray they were, and drowsy, as if the sleep of a century
weighed them down. They seemed to love the quiet, dying light of eve;
and as they drew its soft mantle around them, they appeared most willing
to forget a world which had forgotten them. They had not always led so
quiet a life. Their youth had been passed amid the bustle of commerce;
their manhood amid the alarms and rude shocks of war; and now, in their
old age, they bore plainly the marks of the many shrewd brushes they had
had to sustain when young. The houses were tall and roomy, and their
architecture of a most substantial kind; but they had come to know
strange tenants, that is, those of them that _had_ tenants, for not a
few seemed empty. At the doors of others, dark withered faces looked
out, as if wondering at the unusual din. I felt as if it were cruel to
rouse these quiet slumber-loving towns, by dragging through their
streets so noisy a vehicle as a _diligence_.

We passed Caravaggio, famous as the birthplace of the two great painters
who have both taken their name from their city,--the Caravacchi. We
passed, too, the little Mozonnica, that is, all of it which the
calamities of the middle ages have left. Darkness then fell upon us,--if
a firmament begemmed with large lustrous stars could be called dark.
The night wore on, varied only by two events of moment. The first was
supper, for which we halted at about eleven o'clock, in the town of
Chiari. At eleven at night people should think of sleeping,--not of
eating. Not so in Italy, where supper is still the meal of the day. An
Italian _diligence_ never breakfasts, unless a small cup of coffee,
hurriedly snatched while the horses are being put to, can be called
such. Sometimes it does not even dine; but it never omits to sup. The
supper chamber in Chiari was most sumptuously laid out,--vermicelli
soup, flesh, fowls, cheese, pastry, wine,--every viand, in short, that
could tempt the appetite. But at midnight I refused to be tempted,
though most of the other guests partook abundantly. I was much struck,
on leaving the town, with the massive architecture of the houses, the
strength of the gates, and other monuments of former greatness. Imagine
Edinburgh grown old and half-ruined, and you have a picture of the towns
of Italy, which was a land of elegant stone-built cities at a time when
the capitals of northern Europe were little better than collections of
wooden sheds half-buried in mire.

There followed a long ride. Sleep, benignant goddess, looked in upon us,
and helped to shorten the way. What surprised me not a little was, how
soundly my companions snoozed, considering how they had supped. The
stages passed slowly and wearily. At length there came a long, a very
long halt. I roused myself, and stepped out. I was in a spacious street,
with the cold biting wind blowing through it. The horses were away; the
postilions had disappeared; some of the passengers were perambulating
the pavement, and the rest were fast asleep in the _diligence_, which
stood on the causeway, like a stranded vessel on the beach. On
consulting my watch, I found it was three in the morning, and in answer
to my inquiries I was told that I was in Brescia,--a famous city; but I
should have preferred to visit it at a more seasonable hour. "The best
feelings," says the poet, "must have victual," and the most classic
towns must have sleep; so Brescia, forgetful that famous geographers who
lived well-nigh two thousand years ago had mentioned its name, and that
famous poets had sung its streams, and that it still contains
innumerable relics of its high antiquity, slept on much as a Scotch
village would have done at the same hour.

Time is of no value on the south of the Alps. This long halt at this
unseasonable hour was simply to set down an honest woman who had come
with us from Milan. She was as big well-nigh as the _diligence_ itself;
but what caused all our trouble was, not herself, but her trunk. It lay
at the bottom of an immense pile of baggage, which rose on the top of
the vehicle; and before it could be got at, every article had to be
taken down, and put on the pavement. Of course, the baggage had to be
put back, and the operation was gone through most deliberately and
leisurely. A full hour and a half was consumed in the process; and the
passengers, having no place to retire to, did their best to withstand
the chill night air by a quick march on the street.

So, these silent midnight streets I was treading were those of
Brescia,--Brescia, within whose walls had met the valour of the
mountains and the arts of the plain. I was now treading where pagan
temples had once stood, where Christian sanctuaries had next arisen, and
where there had been disciples not a few when the light of the
Reformation broke on northern Italy. I remembered, too, that this was
the city of "Arnold of Brescia," one of the reformers before the
Reformation. Arnold was a man of great learning, an intrepid champion
of the Church's purity, and the founder of the "Arnoldists," who
inherited the zeal and intrepidity of their master.

On the death of Innocent II., in the middle of the twelfth century,
Arnold, finding Rome much agitated from the contests between the Pope
and the Emperor, urged the Romans to throw off the yoke of a priest, and
strike for their independence. The Romans lacked spirit to do so; and
when, seven centuries afterwards, they came to make the attempt under
Pius IX., they failed. Arnold was taken and crucified, his body reduced
to ashes, and it was left to time, with its tragedies, to vindicate the
wisdom of his advice, and avenge his blood; but to this hour no such
opportunity of freeing themselves from thraldom as that which the
Brescians then missed has presented itself.

                   "Time flows,--nor winds,
 Nor stagnates, nor precipitates his course;
 But many a benefit borne upon his breast
 For human-kind sinks out of sight, is gone,
 No one knows how; nor seldom is put forth
 An angry arm that snatches good away,
 Never perhaps to re-appear."



CHAPTER XII.

THE PRESENT THE IMAGE OF THE PAST.

     Failure of the Reformation in Italy--Causes of this--Italian
     Martyrs--Their great Numbers--Consequences of rejecting the
     Reformation--The _Present_ the Avenger of the _Past_--Extract from
     the _Siècle_ to this Effect--An "Accepted Time" for
     Nations--Alternative offered to the several European Nations in the
     Sixteenth Century--According to their Choice then, so is their
     Position now--Protestant and Popish Nations contrasted.


Of the singular interest that attaches to Italy during the first days of
the Reformation I need not speak. The efforts of the Italians to throw
off the papal yoke were great, but unsuccessful. Why these efforts came
to nought would form a difficult but instructive subject of inquiry.
They failed, perhaps, partly from being made so near the centre of the
Roman power,--partly from the want of union and comprehension in the
plans of the Italian reformers,--partly by reason of the dependence of
the petty princes of the country upon the Pope,--and partly because the
great sovereigns of Europe, although not unwilling that the Papacy
should be weakened in their own country, by no means wished its
extinction in Italy. But though Italy did not reach the goal of
religious freedom, the roll of her martyrs includes the names of
statesmen, scholars, nobles, priests, and citizens of all ranks. From
the Alps to Sicily there was not a province in which there were not
adherents of the doctrines of the Reformation, nor a city of any note in
which there was not a little church, nor a man of genius or learning who
was not friendly to the movement. There was scarce a prison whose walls
did not immure some disciple of the Lord Jesus; and scarce a public
square which did not reflect the gloomy light of the martyr's pile. Much
has been done, by mutilating the public records, to consign these events
to oblivion, and the names of many of the martyrs have been
irretrievably lost; still enough remains to show that the doctrines of
the Reformation were then widely spread, and that the numbers who
suffered for them in Italy were great. Need I mention the names of
Milan, of Vicenza, of Verona, of Venice, of Padua, of Ferrara,--one of
the brightest in this constellation,--of Bologna, of Florence, of
Sienna, of Rome? Most of these cities are renowned in the classic
annals; all of them shared in the wealth and independence which the
commerce of the middle ages conferred on the Italian republics; all of
them figure in the revival of letters in the fifteenth century; but they
are encompassed by a holier and yet more unfading halo, as the spots
where the Italian reformers lived,--where they preached the blessed
truths of the Bible to their countrymen,--and where they sealed their
testimony with their blood. "During the whole of this century," that is,
the sixteenth, says Dr M'Crie, in his "Progress and Suppression of the
Reformation in Italy," "the prisons of the Inquisition in Italy, and
particularly at Rome, were filled with victims, including persons of
noble birth, male and female, men of letters, and mechanics. Multitudes
were condemned to penance, to the galleys, or other arbitrary
punishments; and from time to time individuals were put to death." "The
following description," says the same historian, "of the state of
matters in 1568 is from the pen of one who was residing at that time on
the borders of Italy:--'At Rome some are every day burnt, hanged, or
beheaded. All the prisons and places of confinement are filled; and they
are obliged to build new ones. That large city cannot furnish jails for
the number of pious persons which are continually apprehended.'"

I had time to ruminate on these things as I paced to and fro in the
empty midnight streets of Brescia. Methought I could hear, in the silent
night, the cry of the martyrs whose ashes sleep in the plains around,
saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge
our blood on them that dwell on the earth!" Yes; God has judged, and is
avenging; and the doom takes the very form that the crime wore. An era
of dungeons, and chains, and victims, has again come round to Italy; but
this time it is "the men which dwell on the" papal "earth" that are
suffering. When the Italians permitted Arnold, and thousands such as he,
to be put to death, they were just opening the way for the wrath of the
Papacy to reach themselves, which it has now done. Ah! little do those
who gnash their teeth in the extremity of their torments, and curse the
priests as the authors of these, reflect that their own and their
fathers' wickedness, still unrepented of, has not less to do with their
present miseries than the priestly tyranny which they so bitterly and
justly execrate. In those ages these men were the _tools_ of the
priesthood; in this they are its _victims_. Thus it is that the Present,
in papal Europe, and especially in Italy, rises stamped with the
likeness of the Past. The _Siècle_ of Paris, while the _Siècle_ was yet
free, brought out this fact admirably, when it reminded the champions of
Popery that the horrors of the first French Revolution were not new
things, but old, which the Jacobins inherited from the Papists; and went
on to ask them "if they have forgotten that the Convention found all the
laws of the Terror written upon the past? The Committee of Public Safety
was first contrived for the benefit of the monarchy. Were not the
commissions called revolutionary tribunals first used against the
Protestants? The drums which Santerre beat round the scaffolds of
royalists followed a practice first adopted to drown the psalms of the
reformed pastors. Were not the fusilades first used at the bidding of
the priests to crush heresy? Did not the law of the suspected compel
Protestants to nourish soldiers in their houses, as a punishment for
refusing to go to mass? Were not the houses burned down of those who
frequented Protestant preaching? Were not the properties of the
Protestant emigrants confiscated? Did not the Marshal Nouilles order a
war against bankers? Was not the law of the maximum, which regulated
prices, practised by the regency? Was not the law of requisition for the
public roads practised to prepare the roads for Queen Marie Leczinska?
It is true, many priests perished in the Terror, but they were men of
terror perishing by terror,--men of the sword perishing by the sword."

I could not help feeling, too, when reflecting upon the state of
Brescia, and of all the towns of Italy, and, indeed, of all the
countries of Europe, that to nations, as well as individuals, there is
"an accepted time" and a "day of salvation," which if they miss, they
irremediably perish. If they enter not in when the door is open, it is
in vain that they knock when it is shut. The same sentiment has been
expressed by our great poet, in the well-known lines,--

 "There is a tide in the affairs of men,
 Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
 Omitted, all the voyage of their lives is bound
 In shallows and in miseries."

The sixteenth century started the European nations in a new career, and
put it in the power of each to choose the principle of will or
authority,--the compendious principle according to which both Church and
State were governed under the Papacy, or that of law,--expressing not
the will of one man, but the collective reason of the nation,--the
distinctive principle of government under Protestantism. The century in
question placed government by the canon law or government by the Bible
side by side, and invited the nations of Europe to make their choice.
The nations made their choice. Some ranged themselves on this side, some
on that; and the sixteenth century saw them standing abreast, like
competitors at the ancient Olympic games, ready, on the signal being
given, to dart forward in the race for victory.

They did not stand abreast, be it observed. The several competitors in
this high race did not start on equally advantageous terms. The rich and
powerful nations declared for Popery and arbitrary government; the weak
and third-rate ones, for Protestantism. On one side stood Spain, then at
the head of Europe,--rich in arts, in military glory, in the genius and
chivalry of its people, in the resources of its soil, and mistress,
besides, of splendid colonies. By her side stood France,--the equal of
Spain in art, in civilization, in military genius, and inferior only to
her proud neighbour in the single article of colonies. Austria came
next, and then Italy. Such were the illustrious names ranged on the one
side. All of them were powerful, opulent, highly civilized; and some of
them cherished the recollections of imperishable renown, which is a
mighty power in itself. We have no such names to recount on the other
side. Those nations which entered the lists against the others were but
second and third-rate Powers: Britain, which scarce possessed a
foot-breadth of territory beyond her own island,--Holland, a country
torn from the waves,--the Netherlands and Prussia, neither of which were
of much consideration. In every particular the Protestant nations were
inferior to the Papal nations, save in the single article of their
Protestantism: nevertheless, that one quality has been sufficient to
counterbalance, and far more than counterbalance, all the advantages
possessed by the others. Since the day we speak of, what a different
career has been that of these nations! Three centuries have sufficed to
reverse their position. Civilization, glory, extent of territory, and
material wealth, have all passed over from the one side to the other. Of
the Protestant nations, Britain alone is more powerful than the whole of
combined Europe in the sixteenth century.

But, what is remarkable also, we find the various nations of Europe at
this hour on the same side on which they ranged themselves in the
sixteenth century. Those that neglected the opportunity which that
century brought them of adopting Protestantism and a free government are
to this day despotic. France has submitted to three bloody revolutions,
in the hope of recovering what she criminally missed in the sixteenth
century; but her tears and her blood have been shed in vain. The course
of Spain, and that of the Italian States, have been not unsimilar. They
have plunged into revolutions in quest of liberty, but have found only a
deeper despotism. They have dethroned kings, proclaimed new
constitutions, brought statesmen and citizens by thousands to the block;
they have agonized and bled; but they have been unable to reverse their
fatal choice at the Reformation.



CHAPTER XIII.

SCENERY OF LAKE GARDA--PESCHIERA--VERONA.

     Lake Garda--Memories of Trent--The Council of Trent fixed the
     Destiny as well as Creed of Rome--Questions for Infallibility--Why
     should Infallibility have to grope its Way?--Why does it reveal
     Truth piecemeal?--Why does it need Assessors?--The Immaculate
     Conception--Town of Desenzano--Magnificent Bullocks--Land of
     Virgil--Grandeur of Lake Garda--The Iron Peschiera--The Cypress
     Tree--Verona--Imposing Appearance of its Exterior--Richness and
     Beauty of surrounding Plains--Palmerston.


When the morning broke we were skirting the base of the Tyrolese Alps. I
could see masses of snow on some of the summits, from which a piercingly
cold air came rushing down upon the plains. In a little the sun rose;
and thankful we were for his warmth. Day was again abroad on the waters
and the hills; and soon we forgot the night, with all its untoward
occurrences. The face of the country was uneven; and we kept alternately
winding and climbing among the spurs of the Alps. At length the
magnificent expanse of Lake Garda, the Benacus of the ancients, opened
before us. In breadth it was like an arm of the sea. There were one or
two tall-masted ships on its waters; there were fine mountains on its
northern shore; and on the east the conspicuous form of Monte Baldo
leaned over it, as if looking at its own shadow in the lake. With the
Lago di Garda came the memories of Trent; for at the distance of twenty
miles or so from its northern shore is "the little town among the
mountains," where the famous Council assembled, in which so many things
were voted to be true which had been open questions till then, but to
doubt which now were certain and eternal anathema.

The Reformation addressed to Rome the last call to reconsider her
position, and change her course while yet it was possible. It said to
her, in effect, Repent now: to-morrow it will be too late. Rome gave her
reply when she summoned the Council of Trent. That Council crystallized,
so to speak, the various doubtful opinions and dogmas which had been
floating about in solution, and fixed the creed of Rome. It did
more,--it fixed her doom. Amid these mountains she issued the fiat of
her fate. When she published the proceedings of Trent to the world, she
said, "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise; so help me----." To whom did
she make her appeal? To the Emperor in the first place, when she prayed
for the vengeance of the civil sword; and to the Prince of Darkness in
the second, when she invoked damnation on all her opponents. Then her
course was irrevocably fixed. She dare not now look behind her: to
change a single iota were annihilation. She must go forward, amid
accumulating errors, and absurdities, and blasphemies: amid opposing
arts and sciences, and knowledge, she must go steadily onward,--onward
to the precipice!

It is interesting to mark, as we can in history, first, the feeble
germinations of a papal dogma; next, its waxing growth; and at last,
after the lapse of centuries, its full development and maturity. It is
easy to conceive how a mere human science should advance only by slow
and gradual stages,--astronomy, for instance, or geology, or even the
more practical science of mechanics. Their authors have no infallible
gift of discerning truth from error. They must observe nature; they must
compare facts; they must deduce conclusions; they must correct previous
errors; and this is both a slow and a laborious process. But
Infallibility is saved all this labour. It knows at once, and from the
beginning, all that is true, and all that is erroneous. It does so, or
it is not Infallibility. Why, then, was it not till the sixteenth
century that Infallibility gave anything like a fixed and complete creed
to the Church? Why did it permit so many men, in all preceding ages, to
live in ignorance of so many things in which it could so easily have
enlightened them? Why did it permit so many questions to be debated,
which it could so easily have settled? Why did it not give that creed to
the Church in the first century which it kept back till the sixteenth?
Why does it deal out truth piecemeal,--one dogma in this century,
another in the next, and so on? Why does it not tell us all at once? And
why, even to this hour, has it not told us all, but reserved some very
important questions for future decision, or revelation rather?

If it is replied that the Pope must first collect the suffrages of the
Catholic bishops, this only lands us in deeper perplexities. Why should
the Pope need assessors and advisers? Can Infallibility not walk alone,
that it uses crutches? Can an infallible man not know truth from error
till first he has collected the votes of fallible bishops? Why should
Infallibility seek help, which it cannot in the nature of things need?

If it is further replied, that this Infallibility is lodged betwixt the
Pope and the Council, we are only confronted with greater difficulties.
Is it when the decree has been voted by the Council that it becomes
infallible? Then the Infallibility resides in the Council. Or is it
when it is confirmed by the Pope that it becomes infallible? In that
case the Infallibility is in the Pope. Or is it, as others maintain,
only when the decree has been accepted by the Church that it is
infallible, and does the Pope not know whether he ought to believe his
own decree till he has heard the judgment of the Church? We had thought
that Infallibility was one and indivisible; but it seems it may be
parted in twain; nay, more, it may be broken down into an indefinite
number of parts; and though no one of these parts taken separately is
Infallibility, yet taken together they constitute Infallibility. In
other words, the union of a number of finite quantities can make an
infinite. Sound philosophy, truly!

If we go back, then, as the Ultramontanist will, to the dogma that the
seat of Infallibility is the chair of Peter, the question returns, why
cannot, or will not, the Pope determine in one age what he is able and
willing to determine in another? The dogma of the Immaculate Conception
of the Virgin, for instance, if it is a truth now, was a truth in the
first age, when it was not even dreamed of; it was a truth in the
twelfth century, when it _was_ dreamed of; it was a truth in the
seventeenth century, when it gave rise to so many scandalous divisions
and conflicts; and yet it was not till December 1854 that Infallibility
pronounced it to be a truth, and so momentous a truth, that no one can
be saved who doubts it. Will any Romanist kindly explain this to us? We
can accept no excuses about the variety of opinion in the Church, or
about the darkness of the age. No haze, no clouds, can dim an infallible
eye. Infallibility should see in the dark as well as in the daylight;
and an infallible teacher is bound to reveal all, as well as to know
all.

And how happens it, too, that the Pope is infallible in only one
science,--even the theological? In astronomy he has made some terrible
blunders. In geography he has taken the earth to be a plain. In
politics, in trade, and in all ordinary matters, he is daily falling
into mistakes. He cannot tell how the wind may blow to-morrow. He cannot
tell whether the dish before him may not have poison in it. And yet the
man who is daily and hourly falling into mistakes on the most common
subjects has only to pronounce dogmatically, and he pronounces
infallibly. He has but to grasp the pen, with a hand, it may be, like
Borgia's, fresh from the poisoned chalice or the stiletto, and
straightway he indites lines as holy and pure as ever flowed from the
pen of a Paul or a John!

The road now led down upon the lake, which lay gleaming like a sheet of
silver beneath the morning sun. We entered the poor, faded, straggling
town of Desenzano, where the usual motley assemblage of commissionaires,
albergo-masters, dwarfs, beggars, and idlers of all kinds, waited to
receive us. The poor old town crept close in to the strand, as if a
draught of the crystal waters would make it young again. It reminded me
of the company of halt, blind, and impotent folk which lay at the pool
of Bethesda. So lay paralytic Desenzano by the shores of the Lake Garda.
Alas! sunshine and storm pass across the scene, clothing the waters and
the hills with alternate beauty and grandeur; but all changes come alike
to the poor, tradeless, bookless, spiritless town. Whether summer comes
in its beauty or winter in its storms, Desenzano is old, withered, dying
Desenzano still. I hurried to an albergo, swallowed a cup of coffee, and
rejoined the _diligence_.

Our course lay along the southern shore of the lake, over a fine rolling
country, richly covered with vineyards, and where the rich red soil was
being ploughed with bullocks. Such bullocks I had never before seen. The
stateliest of their kind which graze the meadows of England and
Scotland are but as grasshoppers in comparison. Truly, I saw before me
the Anakims of the cattle tribe. To them the yoke was no burden. As they
marched on with vast outspread horns, they could have dragged a hundred
ploughs after them. They were not unworthy of Virgil's verse. And it
gave additional charms to the region to think that Mantua, the poet's
birthplace, lay not a long way to the south, and that, doubtless, the
author of the Bucolics often visited in his youth this very spot, and
walked by the margin of these waters, and marked the light and shade on
these noble hills; or, turning to the rich agricultural country on the
right, had seen exactly such bullocks as those I now saw, drawing
exactly such ploughs, and making exactly such furrows in the red earth;
and, spreading the beauty of his own mind over the picture, he had gone
and imprinted it eternally on his page. The true poet is a real
clairvoyant. He may not give you the shape, or colour, or size of
objects; he may not tell how tall the mountains, or how long the
hedge-rows, or how broad the fields; but by some wonderful art he can
convey to your mind what is present to his own. On this principle it
was, perhaps, that the landscape, with all its scenery, was familiar to
me. I had seen it long years before. These were the very fields, the
very bullocks, the very ploughs, the very swains, my imagination had
painted in my schoolboy days, when I sat with the page of the great
pastoral poet of Italy open before me,--too frequently, alas! only open.
On these shores, too, had dwelt the poet Catullus; and a doubtful ruin
which the traveller sees on the point of the long sharp promontory of
Sermio, which runs up into the lake from the south, still bears the name
of Catullus' Villa. If these are the ruins of Catullus' house, which is
very questionable, he must have lived in a style of magnificence which
has fallen to the lot of but few poets.

The complexion of a day or of a lifetime may hang upon the commonest
occurrence. A shoe here dropped from the foot of one of the horses; and
the postilion, diving into the recesses of the _diligence_, and drawing
forth a box with the requisite tools, began forthwith, on the highway,
the process of shoeing. I stepped out, and walked on before, thankful
for the incident, which had given me the opportunity of a saunter along
the road. You can _see_ nature from the windows of your carriage, but
you can _converse_ with her only by a quiet stroll amidst her scenes. On
the right were the great plains which the Po waters, finely mottled with
meadow and corn-field, besprint with chestnut trees, mulberries, and
laurels, and fringed, close by the highway, with rolling heights, on
which grew the vine. On the left was the far expanding lake, with its
bays and creeks, and the shadows of its stately hills mirrored on its
surface. It looked as if some invisible performer was busy shifting the
scenes for the traveller's delight, and spreading a different prospect
before his eye at every few yards. New bays were continually opening,
and new peaks rising on the horizon. "It was so rough with tempests when
we passed by it," says Addison, "that it brought into my mind Virgil's
description of it."

 "Here, vexed by winter storms, _Benacus_ raves,
 Confused with working sands and rolling waves;
 Rough and tumultuous, like a sea it lies;
 So loud the tempest roars, so high the billows rise."

I saw it in more peaceful mood. Cool and healthful breezes were blowing
from the Tyrol; and the salubrious character of the region was amply
attested by the robust forms of the inhabitants. I have seldom seen a
finer race of men and women than the peasants adjoining the Lake Garda.
They were all of goodly stature, and singularly graceful and noble in
their gait.

In a few hours we approached the strong fortress of Peschiera. We passed
through several concentric lines of fortifications, walls, moats,
drawbridges, and sloping earthen embankments, in which cart-loads of
balls, impelled with all the force which powder can give, would sink and
be lost. In the very heart of these grim ramparts, like a Swiss hamlet
amid its mountain ranges, or a jewel in its iron-bound casket, lay the
little town of Peschiera, sleeping quietly beside the blue and
full-flooded Mincio, Virgil's own river:--

 "Where the slow Mincius through the valley strays;
 Where cooling streams invite the flocks to drink,
 And reeds defend the winding water's brink."

It issues from the lake, and, flowing underneath the ramparts, freshens
a spot which otherwise wears sufficiently the grim iron-visaged features
of war. Nothing can surpass the grandeur of Lake Garda, which here
almost touches the walls of the fortress. It lies outspread like the
sea, and runs far up to where the snow-clad summits of the Tyrol prop
the northern horizon.

Leaving behind us the iron Peschiera and the blue Garda, we held on our
way over an open, breezy country, where the stony and broken scenery of
the mountains began to mingle with the rich cultivation of the plains.
It reminded me of the line where the lowlands of Perthshire join its
highlands. Here the cypress tree met me for the first time. The familiar
form of the poplar,--now too familiar to give pleasure,--disappeared,
and in its room came the less stately but more graceful and beautiful
form of the cypress. The cypress is silence personified. It stands wrapt
in its own thoughts. One can hardly see it without asking, "What ails
thee? Is it for the past you mourn?" Yet, pensive as it looks, its
unconscious grace fills the landscape with beauty.

Verona, gilded by the beams of Shakspeare's mighty genius, and by the
yet purer glory of the martyrs of the Reformation, was in sight miles
before we reached it. It reposes on the long gentle slope of a low hill,
with plenty of air and sunlight. The rich plains at its feet, which
stretch away to the south, look up to the old town with evident
affection and pride, and strive to cheer it by pouring wheat, and wine,
and fruits into its markets. Its appearance at a distance is imposing,
from its numerous towers, and the long sweep of its forked battlements,
which seem to encircle the whole acclivity on which the town stands,
leaving as much empty space within their lines as might contain
half-a-dozen Veronas. Its environs are enchanting. Behind it, and partly
encircling it on the east, are an innumerable array of low hills, of the
true Italian shape and colour. These were all a-gleam with white villas;
and as they sparkled in the sunlight, relieved against the deep azure of
the mountains, they showed like white sails on the blue sea, or stars in
the dark sky. At its gates we were met, of course, by the Austrian
gendarmerie. To have the affair of the passport finished and over as
quickly as possible, I unfolded the sheet, and carelessly hung it over
the window of the carriage. The corner of the paper, which bore, in
tall, bold characters, the name of her Majesty's Foreign Secretary,
caught the eye of a passenger. "PALMERSTON!" "PALMERSTON!" he shouted
aloud. Instantly there was a general rush at the document; and fearing
that it should be torn in pieces, which would have been an awkward
affair for me, seeing without it it would be impossible to get forward,
and nearly as impossible to get back, I surrendered it to the first
speaker, that it might be passed round, and all might gratify their
curiosity or idolatry with the sight of a name which abroad is but a
synonym for "England." After making the tour of the _diligence_, the
passport was handed out to the gendarme, who, feeling no such intense
desire as did the passengers to see the famous characters, had waited
good-naturedly all the while. The man surveyed with grim complacency a
name which was then in no pleasant odour with the statesmen and
functionaries of Austria. In return he gave me a paper containing
"permission to sojourn for a few hours in Verona," with its co-relative
"permission to depart." I felt proud of my country, which could as
effectually protect me at the gates of Verona as on the shores of the
Forth.



CHAPTER XIV.

FROM VERONA TO VENICE.

     Interior of Verona--End of World seemingly near in Italy--The Monks
     and the Classics--A Cast-Iron Revolutionist--A Beautiful
     Glimpse--Railway Carriages--Railway Company--Tyrolese Alps--Dante's
     Patmos--Vicenza--Padua--The Lagunes--The Omnibus or
     Gondola--Silence of City--Sail through the Canals--Charon and his
     Boat--Piazza of Saint Mark.


The gates of Verona opened, and the enchantment was gone. He who would
carry away the idea of a magnificent city, which the exterior of Verona
suggests, must go round it, not through it. The first step within its
walls is like the stroke of an enchanter's wand. The villa-begemmed
city, with its ramparts and its cypress-trees, takes flight, and there
rises before the traveller an old ruinous town, with dirty streets and a
ragged and lazy population. It reminds one of what he meets in tales of
eastern romance, where young and beautiful princesses are all at once
transformed by malignant genuises into old and withered hags.

In truth, on entering an Italian town one feels as if the last trumpet
were about to sound. The world, and all that is in it, seems old--very
old. Man is old, his dwellings are old, his works are old, and the very
earth seems old. All seems to betoken that it is the last age, and that
the world is winding up its business, preparatory to the final closing
of the drama. Commerce, the arts, empire,--all have taken their
departure, and have left behind only the vestiges of their former
presence. The Italians, living in a land which is but a sort of
sepulchre, look as if they had voted that the world cannot outlast the
present century, and that it is but a waste of labour to rebuild
anything or repair anything. Accordingly, all is allowed to go to
decay,--roads, bridges, castles, palaces; and the only thing which is in
any degree cared for are their churches. Why make provision for
posterity, when there is to be none? Why erect new houses, when those
already built will last their time and the world's? Why repair their
mouldering dwellings, or renew the falling fences of their fields, or
replace their dying olives with young trees, or even patch their own
ragged garments? The crack of doom will soon be upon them, and all will
perish in the great conflagration. They account it the part of wisdom,
then, to pass the interval in the least fatiguing and most agreeable
manner possible. They sip their coffee, and take their stroll, and watch
the shadows as they fall eastward from their purple hills. Why should
they incur the toil of labouring or thinking in a world that is soon to
pass away, and which is as good as ended already?

Of Verona I can say but little. My stay there, which was not much over
the hour, afforded me no opportunity for observation. Its famous
Amphitheatre, coeval with the great Coliseum at Rome, and the best
preserved Roman Amphitheatre in the world, I had not time to visit. Its
numerous churches, with their frescoes and paintings, I less regret not
having seen. Its _Biblioteca Capitolare_, which is said to be an
unwrought quarry of historic and patristic lore, I should have liked to
visit. There, too, the monks of the middle ages were caught tripping.
"Sophocles or Tacitus," in the words of Gibbon, "had been compelled to
resign the parchment to missals, homilies, and the golden legend." The
"Institutes of Caius," which were the foundation of the Institutes of
Justinian, were discovered in this library palimpsested. A rumour had
been spread that the author of the Pandects had reduced the "Institutes
of Caius" to ashes, that posterity might not discover the source of his
own great work. Gibbon ventured to contradict the scandal, and to point
to the monks as the probable devastators. His sagacity was justified
when Niebuhr discovered in the Biblioteca Capitolare of Verona these
very Institutes beneath the homilies of St. Jerome. Verona yet retains
one grand feature untouched by decay or time,--the river Adige,--which,
passing underneath the walls, dashes through the city in a magnificent
torrent, spanned by several noble bridges of ancient architecture, and
turns in its course several large floating mills, which are anchored
across the stream. The market-place, a large square, was profusely
covered with the produce of the neighbouring plains. I purchased a roll
of bread and a magnificent cluster of grapes, and lunched in fine style.

At Verona the railway resumes, and runs all the way to Venice. What a
transition from the _diligence_--the lumbering, snail-paced
_diligence_--to the rail. It is like passing by a single leap from the
dark ages to modern times. Then only do you feel what you owe to Watt.
In my humble opinion, the Pope should have put the steam-engine into the
Index Expurgatorius. His priests in France have attended at the opening
of railways, and blessed the engines. What! bless the steam-engine!
Sprinkle holy water on the heads of Mazzini and Gavazzi. For what are
these engines, but so many cast-iron Mazzinis and Gavazzis. The Pope
should have anathematized the steam-engine. He should have cursed it
after the approved pontifical fashion, in standing and in running, in
watering and in coaling. He should have cursed it in the whole structure
of its machinery,--in its funnel, in its boiler, in its piston, in its
cranks, and in its stopcocks. I can see a hundred things which are sure
to be crushed beneath its ponderous wheels. I can see it tearing
ruthlessly onwards, and dashing through prejudices, opinions, usages,
and time-honoured and venerated institutions, and sweeping all away like
so many cobwebs. Was the Argus of the Vatican asleep when this wolf
broke into the fold? But _in_ he is, and the Pope's bulls will have
enough to do to drive him out. But more of this anon.

The station of the railway is on the east of the town, in a spot of
enchanting loveliness. It was the first and almost the only spot that
realized the Italy of my dreams. It was in a style of beauty such as I
had not before seen, and was perfect in its kind. The low lovely hills
were ranged in crescent form, and were as faultless as if Grace herself
had moulded them on her lathe. Their clothing was a deep rich purple.
White villas, like pearls, sparkled upon them; and they were dotted with
the cypress, which stood on their sides in silent, meditative, ethereal
grace. The scene possessed not the sublime grandeur of Switzerland, nor
the rugged picturesqueness of Scotland: its characteristic was the
finished, spiritualized, voluptuous beauty of Italy. But hark! the
railway-bell rings out its summons.

The carriages on the Verona and Venice Railway are not those
strong-looking, crib-like machines which we have in England, and which
seem built, as our jails and bridewells are, in anticipation that the
inmates will do their best to get out. They are roomy and elegant
saloons (though strong in their build), of about forty feet in length,
and may contain two hundred passengers a-piece. They are fitted up with
a tier of cushioned seats running round the carriage, and two sofa-seats
running lengthways in the middle. At each end is a door by which the
guard enters and departs, and passes along the whole train, as if it
were a suit of apartments. So far as I could make out, I was the only
_Englese_ in the carriage, which was completely filled with the citizens
and peasantry of the towns and rural districts which lay on our
route,--the mountaineer of the Tyrol, the native of the plain, the
inhabitant of the city of Verona, of Vicenza, of Venice. There was a
greater amount of talk, and of vehement and eloquent gesture, than would
have been seen in the same circumstances in England. The costume was
varied and picturesque, and so too, but in a less degree, the
countenance. There were in the carriage tall athletic forms, reared amid
the breezes and vines of the Tyrol; and there were noble faces,--faces
with rich complexions, and dark fiery eyes, which could gleam in love or
burn in battle, and which bore the still farther appendage of moustache
and beard, in which the wearer evidently took no little pride, and on
which he bestowed no little pains. The company had somewhat the air of a
masquerade. There was the Umbrian cloak, the cone-shaped beaver, the
vest with its party-coloured lacings. There were the long loose robe and
low-crowned hat of the priest, with its enormous brim, as if to shade
the workings of his face beneath. There was the brown cloak of the
friar; and there were hats and coats of the ordinary Frank fashion. The
Leghorn bonnet is there unknown, as almost all over the Continent,
unless among the young girls of Switzerland; and the head-gear of the
women mostly was a plain cotton napkin, folded on the brow and pinned
below the chin,--a custom positively ugly, which may become a mummy or a
shaven head, but not for those who have ringlets to show. Some with
better taste had discarded the napkin, and wore a smart cap. On the
persons of not a few of the females was displayed a considerable amount
of value, in the shape of gold chains, rings, and jewellery. This is an
indication, not of wealth, but of poverty and stagnant trade. It was a
custom much in use among oriental ladies before banks were established.

The plains eastward of Verona on the right were amazingly rich, and the
uplands and heights on the left were crowned with fine castles and
beautiful little temples. Yet the beauty and richness of the region
could not soothe Dante for his lost Florence. For here was his "Patmos,"
if we may venture on imagery borrowed from the history of a greater
seer; and here the visions of the Purgatorio had passed before his eye.
After a few hours' riding, the fine hills of the Tyrolese Alps came
quite up to us, disclosing, as they filed past, a continuous succession
of charming views. When the twilight began to gather, and they stood in
their rich drapery of purple shadows, their beauty became a thing
indescribable. We saw Vicenza, where, of all the spots in Italy, the
Reformation found the largest number of adherents, and where Palladio
arose in the sixteenth century, to arrest for a while, by his genius,
the decay of the architectural arts in Italy. We saw, too, the gray
Padua looking at us through the sombre shadows of its own and the day's
decline. We continued our course over the flat but rich country beyond;
and as night fell we reached the edge of the Lagunes.

I looked out into the watery waste with the aid of the faint light, but
I could see no city, and nothing whereon a city could stand. All was
sea; and it seemed idle to seek a city, or any habitation of man, in the
midst of these waters. But the engine with its great red eye could see
farther into the dark; and it dashed fearlessly forward, and entered on
the long bridge which I saw stretching on and away over the flood, till
its farther end, like that of the bridge which Mirza saw in vision, was
lost in a cloud. I could see, as we rode on, on the bosom of the flood
beneath us, twinkling lights, which were probably lighthouses, and black
dots, which we took for boats. After a five miles' run through scenery
of this novel character, the train stopped, and we found that we had
arrived, not in a cloud or in a quicksand, as there seemed some reason
to fear, but in a spacious and elegant station, brilliantly lighted with
gas, and reminding one, from its sudden apparition and its strange site,
of the fabled palace of the Sicilian Fairy Queen, only not built, like
hers, of sunshine and sea-mist. We were marched in file past, first the
tribunal of the searchers, and next the tribunal of the passport
officials; and then an Austrian gendarme opening to each, as he passed
this ordeal, the door of the station-house, I stepped out, to have my
first sight, as I hoped, of the Queen of the Adriatic.

I found myself in the midst of the sea, standing on a little platform of
land, with a cloudy mass floating before me, resembling, in the
uncertain light, the towers and domes of a spectral city. It was now for
the first time that I realized the peculiar position of Venice. I had
often read of the city whose streets were canals and whose chariots were
gondolas; but I had failed to lay hold of it as a reality, and had
unconsciously placed Venice in the region of fable. There was no missing
the fact now. I was hemmed in on all sides by the ocean, and could not
move a step without the certainty of being drowned. What was I to do? In
answer to my inquiries, I was told that I must proceed to my hotel in
an omnibus. This sounded of the earth, and I looked eagerly round to see
the desired vehicle; but horses, carriage, wheels, I could see none. I
could no more conceive of an omnibus that could swim on the sea, than
the Venetians could of a gondola that could move on the dry land. I was
shown a large gondola, to which the name of omnibus was given, which lay
at the bottom of the stairs waiting for passengers. I descended into it,
and was followed by some thirty more. We were men of various nations and
various tongues, and we took our seats in silence. We pushed off, and
were soon gliding along on the Grand Canal. Not a word was spoken.
Although we had been a storming party sent to surprise an enemy's fort
by night, we could not have conducted our proceedings in profounder
quiet. There reigned as unbroken a stillness around us, as if, instead
of the midst of a city, we had been in the solitude of the high seas. No
foot-fall re-echoed through that strange abode. Sound of chariot-wheel
there was none. Nothing was audible but the soft dip of the oar, and the
startled shout of an occasional gondolier, who feared, perhaps, that our
heavier craft might send his slim skiff to the bottom. In about a
quarter of an hour we turned out of the Grand Canal, and began threading
our way amid those innumerable narrow channels which traverse Venice in
all directions. Then it was that the dismal silence of the city fell
upon my heart. The canals we were now navigating were not over three
yards in width. They were long and gloomy; and tall, massive palaces,
sombre and spectral in the gloom, rose out of the sea on either hand.
There were columns at their entrances, with occasional pieces of
statuary, for which time had woven a garland of weeds. Their lower
windows were heavily grated; their marble steps were laved by the idle
tide; and their warehouse doors, through which had passed, in their
time, the merchandise of every clime, had long been unopened, and were
rotting from age. As we pursued our way, we passed under low-browed
arches, from which uncouth faces, cut in the stone, looked down upon us,
and grinned our welcome. The voice of man, the light of a candle, the
sound of a millstone, was not there. It seemed a city of the dead. The
inhabitants had lived and died ages ago, and had left their palaces to
be tenanted by the mermaids and spirits of the deep, for other occupants
I could see none. Spectral fancies began to haunt my imagination. I
conceived of the canal we were traversing as the Styx, our gondola as
the boat of Charon, and ourselves as a company of ghosts, who had passed
from earth, and were now on our silent way to the inexorable bar of
Rhadamanthus. A more spectral procession we could not have made, with
our spectral boat gliding noiselessly through the water, with its
spectral steersman, and its crowd of spectral passengers, though my
fancy, instead of being a fancy, had been a reality. All things around
me were sombre, shadowy, silent, as Hades itself.

Suddenly our gondola made a rapid sweep round a tall corner. Then it was
that the Queen of the Adriatic, in all her glory, burst upon us,--

 "Looking a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean,
 Rising with her tiara of proud towers."

We were flung right in front of the great square of St. Mark. It was
like the instantaneous raising of the curtain from some glorious vision,
or like the sudden parting of the clouds around Mont Blanc; or, if I may
use such a simile, like the unfolding of the gates of a better world to
the spirit, after passing through the shadows of the tomb. The spacious
piazza, bounded on all sides with noble structures in every style of
architecture, reflected the splendour of a thousand lamps. There was
the palace of the Doge, which I knew not as yet; and there, on its lofty
column, was the winged lion of St Mark, which it was impossible not to
know; and, crowding the piazza, and walking to and fro on its marble
floor, was a countless multitude of men in all the costumes of the
world. With the deep hum of voices was softly blended the sound of the
Italian lute. A few strokes of the oar brought us to the Hotel dell'
Europa. I made a spring from the gondola, and alighted on the steps of
the hotel.



CHAPTER XV.

CITY OF VENICE.

     Sabbath Morning--Beauty of Sunrise on the Adriatic--Worship in S.
     Mark's--Popish Sabbath-schools--Sale of Indulgences for Living and
     Dead--An Astrologer--How the Venetians spend their Sabbath
     Afternoon and Evening--The Martyrs of Venice--A Young Englishman in
     Trouble--The Doge's Palace--The Stone Lions--The Prisons of
     Venice--The Venetians Discard their Old God, and adopt a New--The
     Gothic Tower--The Academy of Fine Arts--The Moral of Venice--Why do
     Nations Die?--Common Theory Unsatisfactory--History hitherto a
     Series of ever-recurring Cycles, ending in
     Barbarism--Instances--The "Three-score and Ten" of Nations--The
     Solution to be sought with reference to the False Religions--The
     Intellect of the Nation outgrows these--Conscience is
     Dissolved--Virtue is Lost--Slavery and Barbarism
     ensue--Christianity only can give Immortality to Nations--Decadence
     of Civilization under Romanism--A Papist foretelling the Doom of
     Popery.


The deep boom of the Austrian cannon awoke me next morning at day-break.
I remembered that it was Sabbath; and never had I seen the Sabbath dawn
amidst a silence so majestic. More tranquil could not have been its
first opening in the bowers of Eden. In this city of ocean there was no
sound of hurrying feet, no rattle of chariot-wheel, nor any of those
multitudinous noises that distract the cities of earth. There was
silence on the domes of Venice, silence on her seas, silence in the air
around her. In a little the sun rose, and shed a flood of glory on the
Lagunes. It would be difficult to describe the grandeur of the scene,
which has nothing elsewhere of the kind to equal it,--the white marble
city, serenely seated on the bosom of the Adriatic, with the Lagunes
outspread in the morning sun like a mirror of molten gold. But, alas! it
was only a glorious vision; for the power and wealth of Venice are
departed.

                         "The long file
 Of her dead Doges are declined to dust.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                   Empty halls,
 Thin streets and foreign aspects, such as must
 Too oft remind her who and what enthrals,
 Have flung a desolate cloud o'er Venice' lovely walls."

The gun which had awaked me reminds the Queen of the Adriatic every
morning that the day of her dominion and glory is over, and that the
night has come upon her,--a night, the deep unbroken shadows of which,
even the bright morning that was now opening on the Adriatic could not
dispel.

After breakfast I hurried to the church of S. Mark. Mass was proceeding
as usual; and a large crowd of worshippers,--spectators I should rather
say,--stood densely packed in the chancel. If I except the Madeleine in
Paris, I have nowhere seen in a Roman Catholic church an attendance at
all approximating even a tolerable congregation, save here. I remarked,
too, that these were not the beggars which usually form the larger
proportion of the attendance, such as it is, in Roman churches. The
people in S. Mark's were well dressed, though it was not easy to
conceive where these fine clothes had come from, seeing the sea has now
failed Venice, and land she never possessed. This was the first symptom
I saw (I met others in the course of the day) that in Venice the Roman
religion has a stronger hold upon the people than in the rest of Italy.
It is an advantage in this respect to be some little distance from Rome,
and to have an insular position. Besides, I believe that the priests in
Venetian Lombardy, and, I presume, in Venice also, are men of more
reputable lives than their brethren in other parts of the Peninsula.
Anciently it was not so. Venice was wont to be termed "the paradise of
monks." There no pleasure allowable to a man of the world was forbidden
to a priest. The Senate, jealous of everything that might abridge its
authority, encouraged this relaxation of the Church's discipline, in the
hope of lowering the influence of its clergy with the people.

S. Mark's is an ancient, quaint-looking pile, with the dim hoar light of
history around it. On its threshold Pope Alexander III. met the Emperor
Frederick in 1177, and, with pride unabated by his enforced flight from
Rome in the disguise of a cook, put his foot upon the monarch's neck,
repeating the words of the psalm,--"Thou shalt tread upon the lion and
adder." This high temple of the Adriatic is vast and curious, but
wanting in effect, owing to the low roof and the gloomy light. The
Levant was searched for columns and marbles to decorate it; acres of
gold-leaf have been expended in gilding it; and every corner is stuck
full of allegorical devices, some of which are so very ingenious, that
they have not yet been read. The priests wore a style of dress admirably
befitting the finery of the Cathedral; for their vestments were
bespangled with gold and curious devices. What a contrast to the simple
temple and the plain earnest worshippers with whom I had passed my
former Sabbath amid the Vaudois hills! But the God of the Vaudois,
unlike the wafer-god of the priests, "dwelleth not in temples made with
hands."

Passing along on the narrow paved footpaths which tie back to back the
long lofty ranges of the city,--the fronts being filled with the
ocean,--I visited several of its one hundred and twenty churches. I
found mass ended, and the congregation, if any such there had been,
dismissed; but I saw what was even more indicative of a reviving
superstition: in every church I entered I found classes of boys and
girls under instruction. The Sabbath-school system was in full operation
in Venice, in Rome's behalf. The boys were in charge of the young
priests; and the girls, of the nuns and sisters. In some cases, laymen
had been pressed into the service, and were occupied in unfolding the
mysteries of transubstantiation to the young mind. Seating myself on a
bench in presence of a class of boys, I watched the course of
instruction. Their text-book was the "Catechism of Christian Doctrine,"
which contains the elements of the Roman faith, as fixed by the Council
of Trent. The boys were repeating the Catechism to the teacher. No
explanations were given, for the process was simply that of fixing
dogmas in the memory,--of conveying as much of fact, or what professed
to be so, as it was possible to convey into the mind without awakening
the understanding. The boys were taught to _believe_, not _reason_; and
those who acquitted themselves best had little medals and pictures of St
Francis given them as prizes. I remarked that most of the shops were
shut: indeed, so little business is done in Venice, that this involved
no sacrifice to the traders. As it was, however, the city contrasted
favourably with Paris; than the Sabbaths of which, I know of nothing
more terrible on earth. I remarked, too, that if the trade of the
Adriatic is at an end, and beggars crowd the quays which princes once
trod, and gondolas, in funereal black, glide gloomily through those
waters which rich argosies ploughed of old, the spiritual traffic of
Venice flourishes more than ever. I read on the doors of all the
churches, "INDULGENCES SOLD HERE FOR THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, AS IN
ROME." What matters it that the Adriatic is no longer the highway of the
world's merchandise, and that India is now closed to Venice? Is not the
whole of Peter's treasury open to her; and, to facilitate the enriching
commerce, have not the priests obligingly opened a direct road to the
celestial mine, to spare the Venetians the necessity of the more
circuitous path by the Seven Hills? Happy Venice! her children may be
starved now, but paradise is their's hereafter.

After noon each betook himself to what pastime he pleased. Not a few
opened their shops. Others gathered round an astrologer,--a personage no
longer to be seen in the cities of the west,--who had taken his stand on
the _Riva degli Schiavoni_, and there, begirt with zone inscribed with
cabalistic characters, and holding in his hand his wizard's staff, was
setting forth, with stentorian voice, his marvellous power of healing by
the combined help of the stars and his drugs. By the way, why should the
profession of astrology and the cognate arts be permitted to only one
class of men? In the middle ages, two classes of conjurors competed for
the public patronage, but with most unequal success. The one class
professed to be master of spells that were all-powerful over the
elements of the material world,--the air, the earth, the ocean. The
other arrogated an equal power over the invisible and spiritual world.
They were skilled in a mysterious rite, which had power to open the
gates of purgatory, and dismiss to a happier abode, souls there immured
in woe. The pretensions of both were equally well founded: both were
jugglers, and merited to have fared alike; but society, while it
lavished all its credence and all its patronage upon the one, denounced
the other as impostors. One colossal system of necromancy filled Europe;
but the age gave the priest a monopoly; and so jealously did it guard
his rights, that the conjuror who did not wear a cassock was banished or
burned. We can assign no reason for the odium under which the one lay,
and the repute in which the other was held, save that the art, though
one, was termed witchcraft in the one case, and religion in the other.
The one was compelled to shroud his mysteries in the darkness of the
night, and seek the solitary cave for the performance of his spells. The
arts of the other were performed in magnificent and costly cathedrals,
in presence of admiring assemblies. The latter were the licensed dealers
in magic; and, enjoying the public patronage, they carried their
pretensions to a pitch which their less favoured brethren dared not
attempt to rival. They juggled on a gigantic scale, and the more
enormous the cheat, the better was it received. They rapidly grew in
numbers and wealth. Their chief, the great Roman necromancer, enjoyed
the state of a temporal prince, and had a whole kingdom appropriated to
his use, that he might suitably support his rank and dignity as
arch-conjuror.

But to return to Venice;--the great stream of concourse flowed in the
direction of the _Giardini Pubblici_, which are a nook of one of the
more southerly islands on which the city stands, fitted up as a
miniature landscape, its lilliputian hills and vales being the only ones
the Venetians ever see. The intercourse betwixt Venice and the Continent
has no doubt become more frequent since the opening of the railway; but
formerly it was not uncommon to find persons who had never been on the
land, and who had no notion of ploughs, waggons, carts, gardens, and a
hundred other things that seem quite inseparable from the existence of a
nation. Twilight came, walking with noiseless sandals on the seas. A
delicious light mantled the horizon; the domes of the city stood up with
silent sublimity into the sky; and over them floated, in the deep
azure, a young moon, thin as a single thread, and bright as the polished
steel.

                   "A silver bow,
 New bent in heaven."

When darkness fell on the Lagunes, the glories of the piazza of San
Marco again blazed forth. What with cafés and countless lamps, a flood
of light fell upon the marble pavement, on which some ten or twelve
thousand people, rich and poor, were assembled, and were being regaled
with occasional airs from a numerous band. The Sabbath closed in the
Adriatic not altogether so tranquilly as it had opened.

The Venetians have long been famous for their peculiar skill in
combining devotion with pleasure,--more devout than home in the morning,
and gayer than Paris in the evening. Such has long been the character of
the Queen of the Adriatic. She has been truly, as briefly described by
the poet,--

 "The revel of the earth, the mask of Italy!"

Once a better destiny appeared to be about to dawn on Venice. In the
sixteenth century the Reformation knocked at her gates, and for a moment
it seemed as if these gates were to be opened, and the stranger
admitted. Had it been so, the chair of her Doge would not now have been
empty, nor would Austrian manacles have been pressing upon her limbs.
"The evangelical doctrine had made such progress," writes Dr M'Crie, "in
the city of Venice, between the years 1530 and 1542, that its friends,
who had hitherto met in private for mutual instruction and religious
exercises, held deliberations on the propriety of organizing themselves
into regular congregations, and assembling in public." Several members
of the Senate were favourable to it, and hopes were entertained at one
time that the authority of that body would be interposed in its behalf.
This hope was strengthened by the fact, that when Ochino ascended the
pulpit, "the whole city ran in crowds to hear their favourite preacher."
But, alas! the hope was delusive. It was the Inquisition, not the
Reformation, to which Venice opened her gates; and when I surveyed her
calm and beautiful Lagunes, my emotions partook at once of grief and
exultation,--grief at the remembrance of the many midnight tragedies
enacted on them, and exultation at the thought, that in the seas of
Venice there sleeps much holy dust awaiting the resurrection of the
just. "Drowning was the mode of death to which they doomed the
Protestants," says Dr M'Crie, "either because it was less cruel and
odious than committing them to the flames, or because it accorded with
the customs of Venice. But if the _autos da fe_ of the Queen of the
Adriatic were less barbarous than those of Spain, the solitude and
silence with which they were accompanied were calculated to excite the
deepest horror. At the dead hour of midnight the prisoner was taken from
his cell, and put into a gondola or Venetian boat, attended only,
besides the sailors, by a single priest, to act as confessor. He was
rowed out into the sea, beyond the Two Castles, where another boat was
in waiting. A plank was then laid across the two gondolas, upon which
the prisoner, having his body chained, and a heavy stone affixed to his
feet, was placed; and, on a signal given, the gondolas retiring from one
another, he was precipitated into the deep." "We can do nothing against
the truth," says the apostle. Venice is rotting in her Lagunes: the
Reformation, shaking off the chains with which men attempted to bind it,
is starting on a new career of progress.

Next morning, at breakfast in my hotel, formerly the palace of the
Giustiniani, I met a young Englishman, who had just come from Rome. He
had the misfortune to be of the same name with one on the "suspected
list," and for this offence he was arrested on entering the Austrian
territory; and, though allowed to come on to Venice, his passport was
taken from him, and his journey to England, which he meant to make by
way of Trieste and Vienna, stopped. The list to which I have referred,
which is kept at all the continental police offices, and which the eye
of policeman or sbirro only can see, has created a sort of inquisition
for Europe. The poor traveller has no means of knowing who has denounced
him, or why; and wherever he goes, he finds a vague suspicion
surrounding him, which he can neither penetrate nor clear up, and which
exposes him to numberless and by no means petty annoyances. I
accompanied my friend, after breakfast, to the _Prefecture_, to transact
my own passport matters, and was glad to find that the authorities were
now satisfied that he was not the same man who figured on the black
list. Still they had no apology, no reparation, to offer him: on the
contrary, he was informed that he must submit to a detention of two or
three days more, till his passport should be forwarded from the
provincial office where it was lying. His misfortune was my advantage,
for it gave me an intelligent and obliging companion for the rest of the
day; and we immediately set out to visit together all the great objects
in Venice. It would be preposterous to dwell on these, for an hundred
pens have already described them better; and my object is to advert to
one great lesson which this fallen city,--for the sea, which once was
the bulwark and throne of Venice, is now her prison,--teaches.

Betaking ourselves to a gondola, we passed down the Giudecca, Canal. We
much admired--as who would not?--the-noble palaces which on either hand
rose so proudly from the bosom of the deep, yet invested with an air of
silent desolation, which made the heart sad, even while their beauty
delighted the eye. We disembarked at the stairs of the _piazzetta_ of S.
Mark, and repaired to the Doge's palace,--the dwelling of a line of
rulers haughtier than kings, and the throne of a republic more
oppressive than tyrannies. We walked through its truly majestic halls,
glowing with great paintings from Venetian history; and visited its
senatorial chamber, and saw the vacant places of its nobles, and the
empty chair of its Doge. There was here no lack of materials for
moralizing, had time permitted. She that sat as a Queen upon the
waves,--that said, "I am of perfect beauty,"--that sent her fleets to
the ends of the earth, and gathered to her the riches and glory of all
nations,--alas! how is she fallen! "The princes of the sea" have "come
down from their thrones, and" laid "away their robes, and put off their
broidered garments." "What city is like" Venice,--"like the destroyed in
the midst of the sea!"

We passed out between the famous stone lions, which, even so late as the
end of the last century, no Venetian could look on but with terror.
There they sat, with open jaws, displaying their fearfully significant
superscription, "_Denunzie secrete_,"--realizing the poet's idea of
republics guarded by dragons and lions. The use of these guardian lions
the Venetians knew but too well. Accusations dropped by spies and
informers into their open mouths, were received in a chamber below. Thus
the bolt fell upon the unsuspicious citizen, but the hand from which it
came remained invisible. Crossing by the "bridge of sighs,"--the canal,
_Rio de Palazzo_, which runs behind the ducal palace,--we entered the
state prisons of Venice. In the dim light I could discern what seemed a
labyrinth of long narrow passages; traversing which, we arrived at the
dungeons. I entered one of them: it was vaulted all round; and its only
furniture, besides a ring and chain, was a small platform of boards,
about half a foot from the floor, which served as the prisoner's bed. In
the wall of the cell was a small aperture, by which the light might be
made to stream in upon the prisoner, when the jailor did not wish to
enter, simply by placing the lamp in an opposite niche in the passage.
Here crime, despair, madness, and sometimes innocence, have dwelt.
Horrible secrets seemed to hover about its roof, and float in its air,
and to be ready to break upon me from every stone of the dungeon. I
longed, yet trembled, to hear them. But silent they are, and silent they
will remain, till that day when "the sea shall give up its dead." There
are yet lower dungeons, deep beneath water-mark, but I was told that
these are now walled up.

We emerged again upon the marble piazzetta; and more welcome than ever
was the bright light, and the noble grace of the buildings. At its
southern extremity, where the piazzetta looks out upon the Adriatic, are
two stately granite columns; the one surmounted by St Theodore, and the
other by the lion of St Mark. These are the two gods of Venice. They
were to the Republic what the two calves were to Israel,--their
all-powerful protectors; and so devoutly did the Venetians worship them,
that even the god of the Seven Hills became jealous of them. "The
Venetians in general care little about God," says an old traveller,
"less about the Pope, but a great deal about St Mark." St Theodore
sheltered the Republic in its infancy; but when it grew to greatness, it
deemed it unbecoming its dignity to have only a subordinate for its
tutelar deity. Accordingly, Venice sought and obtained a god of the
first water. The Republic brought over the body of St Mark, enshrined it
in a magnificent church, and left its former patron no alternative but
to cross the Lagunes, or occupy a second place.

Before bidding adieu to the piazza of St Mark, around which there
hovers so many historic memories, and which every style of architecture,
from the Greek and the Byzantine down to the Gotho-Italian, has met to
decorate, and which, we may add, in point of noble grace and chaste
beauty is perhaps not excelled in the world, we must be allowed to
mention one object, which appeared to us strangely out of keeping with
the spot and its edifices. It is the tall Gothic tower that rises
opposite the Byzantine front of S. Mark's Cathedral. It attains a height
of upwards of three hundred feet, and is used for various purposes,
which, however, it could serve equally well in some other part of
Venice. It strikes one the more, that it is the one deformity of the
place. It reminded me of the entrance of a clown at a royal levee, or
the appearance of harlequin in a tragedy.

Betaking ourselves again to a gondola, and gliding noiselessly along the
grand canal,--

 "For silent rows the songless gondolier,"

we visited the _Academia delle Belle Arte_. It resembled a great and
elaborately compiled work on painting, and I could there read off the
history of the rise and progress of the art in Venice. The several
galleries were arranged, like the successive chapters of a book, in
chronological order, beginning with the infancy of the art, and going on
to its full noon, under the great masters of the Lombard
school,--Titian, Paul Veronese, Tintoretto, and others. The pictures of
the inner saloons were truly magnificent; but on these I do not dwell.

Let us sit down here, in the midst of the seas, and meditate a little on
the great _moral_ of Venice. We shall let the poet state the case:--

                       "Her daughters had their dowers
 From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East
 Poured in her lap all gems in sparkling showers.
 In purple was she robed, and of her feast
 Monarchs partook, and deem'd their dignity increased."

But now, after power, wealth, empire, have come corruption, slavery,
ruin; and Venice,--

 "Her thirteen hundred years of freedom done,
 Sinks, like a sea-weed, into whence she rose."

But the course which Venice has run is that of all States which have yet
appeared in the world. History is but a roll of defunct empires, whose
career has been alike; and Venice and Rome are but the latest names on
the list. Egypt, Chaldea, Tyre, Greece, Rome,--to all, as if by an
inevitable law, there came, after the day of civilization and empire,
the night of barbarism and slavery. This has been repeated again and
again, till the world has come to accept of it as its established
course. We see States emerging from infancy and weakness slowly and
laboriously, becoming rich, enlightened, powerful; and the moment they
seemed to have perfected their civilization, and consolidated their
power, they begin to fall. The past history of our race is but a history
of efforts, successful up to a certain point, but only to a certain
point; for whenever that point has been reached, all the fruits of past
labour,--all the accumulations of legislators, philosophers, and
warriors,--have been swept away, and the human family have found that
they had to begin the same laborious process over again,--to toil
upwards from the same gulph, to be overtaken by the same disaster.
History has been simply a series of ever-recurring cycles, ending in
barbarism. This is a discouraging aspect of human affairs, and throws a
doubtful shadow upon the future; but it is the aspect in which history
exhibits them. The Etrurian tombs speak of an era of civilization and
power succeeded by barbarism. The mounds of Nineveh speak of a similar
revolution. The day of Greek glory sank at last in unbroken night. At
the fall of the Roman empire, barbarism overspread Europe; and now the
cycle appears to have come round to the nations of modern Europe. Since
the middle of last century there has been a marked and fearfully rapid
decline in all the States of continental Europe. The entire region south
of the Alps, including the once powerful kingdoms of Italy and Spain, is
sunk in slavery and barbarism. France alone retains its civilization;
but how long is it likely to retain it, with its strength undermined by
revolution, and its liberties completely prostrated? Niebuhr has given
expression in his works to his decided opinion, _that the dark ages are
returning_. And are we not at this moment witnessing an attempted
repetition of the Gothic invasion of the fourth century, in the
barbarian north, which is pressing with ever-growing weight upon the
feeble barrier of the East?

                         "Nations melt
 From power's high pinnacle, when they have felt
 The sunshine for a while, and downward go
 Like lauwine loosen'd from the mountain's belt."

But why is this? It would almost seem, when we look at these examples
and facts, as if there were some malignant influence sporting with the
world's progress,--some adverse power fighting against man, baulking all
his efforts at self-advancement, and compelling him, Sysiphus-like, to
roll the stone eternally. Has the Creator set limits to the life of
kingdoms, as to that of man? Certain it is, they have seldom survived
their twelfth century. The most part have died at or about their twelve
hundred and sixtieth year. Is this the "three-score-and-ten" of nations,
beyond which they cannot pass?

The common explanation of the death of nations is, that power begets
wealth, wealth luxury, and luxury feebleness and ruin. But we are unable
to accept this as a satisfactory account of the matter. It appears a
mere _statement_ of the fact,--not a _solution_ of it. It is evidently
the design of Providence that nations should live happily in the
abundant enjoyment of all good things; and that every human being should
have all that is good for him, of what the earth produces, and the
labour of man can create. Then, why should affluence, and the other
accessories of power, have so uniformly a corrupting and dissolving
effect upon society? This the common theory leaves unexplained. There is
no necessary connection betwixt the enjoyment of abundance and the
corruption of nations. The Creator surely has not ordained laws which
must necessarily result in the death of society.

The real solution, we think, it is not difficult to find. All religions,
one excepted, which have hitherto appeared in the world, have been
unable to hold the balance between the _intellect_ and the _conscience_
beyond a certain stage; and therefore, all kingdoms which have arisen
hitherto have been unable to exist beyond a certain term. So long as a
nation is in its childhood, a false religion affords room enough for the
free play of its intellect. Its religion being regarded as true and
authoritative, the conscience of the nation is controlled by it. So long
as conscience is upheld, law has authority, individual and social virtue
is maintained, and the nation goes on acquiring power, amassing wealth,
and increasing knowledge. But whenever it attains a certain stage of
enlightenment, and a certain power of independent thinking, it begins to
canvass the claims of that religion which formerly awed it. It
discovers its falsehood, the national conscience breaks loose, and an
era of scepticism ensues. With the destruction of conscience and the
rise of scepticism, law loses its authority, individual honour and
social virtue decline, and slavery or anarchy complete the ruin of the
state. This is the course which the nations of the world have hitherto
run. They have uniformly begun to decline, not when they attained a
certain amount of power or of wealth, but when they attained such an
amount of intellectual development as set free the national conscience
from the restraints of religion, or what professed to be so. No false
religion can carry a nation beyond a certain point; because no such
religion can stand before a certain stage of light and inquiry, which is
sure to be reached; and when that stage is reached,--in other words,
whenever the intellect dissolves the bonds of conscience,--the basis of
all authority and order is razed, and from that moment national decline
begins. Hence, in all nations an era of scepticism has been
contemporaneous with an era of decay.

Let us take the ancient Romans as an example. In the youth of their
nation their gods were revered; and in the existence of a national
conscience, a basis was found for law and virtue; and while these lasted
the empire flourished. But by and by the genius of its great thinkers
leavened the nation; an era of scepticism ensued; that scepticism
inaugurated an age of feeble laws and strong passions; and the
declension which set in issued at length in downright barbarism.

Papal Rome has run the very same course. The feeble intellect of the
European nations accepted Romanism as a religion, just as the Romans
before them had accepted of paganism. But the Reformation introduced a
period of growing enlightenment and independent thinking; and by the end
of the eighteenth century, Romanism had shared the fate which paganism
had done before it. The masses of Europe generally had lost faith in it
as a religion; then came the atheism of the French school; an era of
feeble laws and strong passions again returned; the selfish and
isolating principle came into play; and at this moment the nations of
continental Europe are rapidly sinking into barbarism. Thus, the history
of the race under the reign of the false religions exhibits but
alternating fits of superstition and scepticism, with their
corresponding eras of civilization and barbarism. And it necessarily
must be so; because, these religions not being compatible with the
indefinite extension of man's knowledge, they do not secure the
continued action and authority of conscience; and without conscience,
national progress, and even existence, is impossible.

Is there, then, no immortality in reserve for nations? Must they
continue to die? and must the history of our race in all time coming be
just what it has been in all time past,--a series of rapidly alternating
epochs of partial civilization and destructive barbarism? No. He who is
the former of society is the author of the Bible; and we may be sure
that there is a beautiful meetness and harmony between the laws of the
one and the doctrine of the other. Christianity alone can enable society
to fulfil its terrestrial destiny, because it alone is true, and, being
true, it admits of the utmost advancement of the human understanding. In
its case the centrifugal force of the intellect can never overcome the
centripetal power of the conscience. It has nothing to fear from the
advance of science. It keeps pace with the human mind, however rapid its
progress. Nay, more; the more the human mind is enlarged, the more
apparent becomes the truth of Christianity, and, by consequence, the
greater becomes the authority of conscience. Under the reign of
Christianity, then, there is no point in the onward progress of society
where conscience dissolves, and leaves man and nations devoid of virtue;
there is no point where conviction compels man to become a sceptic, and
scepticism pulls him down into barbarism. As the atmosphere which
surrounds our planet supplies the vital element alike to the full-grown
man and to the infant, so Christianity supplies the breath of life to
society in all its stages,--in its full-grown manhood, as well as in its
immature infancy. There is more meaning than the world has yet
understood in the statement that the Gospel has brought "life and
immortality to light." Its Divine Founder introduced upon the stage that
system which is the _life_ of nations. The world does not furnish an
instance of a nation that has continued to be Christian, that has
perished. We believe the thing to be impossible. While great Rome has
gone down, and Venice sits in widowed glory on the Adriatic, the poor
Waldenses are still a people. The world tried but could not extinguish
them. Christianity is synonymous with life: it gives immortality to
nations here, and to the individual hereafter. Hence Daniel, when
unfolding the state of the world in the last age, gives us to understand
that, when once thoroughly Christianized, society will no longer be
overwhelmed by those periodic lapses into barbarism which in every
former age has set limits to the progress of States. "And in the days of
those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never
be destroyed." Unlike every preceding era, immortality will then be the
chief characteristic of nations.

But must it not strike every one, in connection with this subject, that
in proportion as Romanism developes itself, the nations under its sway
sink the deeper into barbarism? This fact Romanist writers now see and
bewail. What stronger condemnation of their system could they pronounce?
For surely if religion be of God, it must, like all else that comes
from Him, be beneficent in its influence. He who ordained the sun to
irradiate the earth with his light, and fructify it with his warmth,
would not have given a religion that fetters the understanding and
barbarises the species. And yet, if Romanism be divine, He has done so;
for the champions of that Church, compelled by the irresistible logic of
facts, now tacitly acknowledge that a decaying civilization is following
in the wake of Roman Catholicism in every part of the world. Listen, for
instance, to the following confession of M. Michel Chevalier, in the
_Journal des Debats_:--

"I cannot shut my eyes to the facts that militate against the influence
of the Catholic spirit,--facts which have transpired more especially
during the last third of a century, and which are still in
progress,--facts that are fitted to excite in every mind that
sympathises with the Catholic cause, the most lively apprehensions. On
comparing the respective progress made since 1814 by non-Catholic
Christian nations, with the advancement of power attained by Catholic
nations, one is struck with astonishment at the disproportion. England
and the United States, which are Protestant Powers, and Russia, a Greek
Power, have assumed to an incalculable degree the dominion of immense
regions, destined to be densely peopled, and already teeming with a
large population. England has nearly conquered all those vast and
populous regions known under the generic name of India. In America she
has diffused civilization to the extreme north, in the deserts of Upper
Canada. Through the toil of her children, she has taken possession of
every point and position of an island,--New Holland (Australia),--which
is as large as a continent; and she has been sending forth her fresh
shoots over all the archipelagos with which the great ocean is studded.
The United States have swollen out to a prodigious extent, in wealth
and possessions, over the surface of their ancient domain. They have,
moreover, enlarged on all sides the limits of that domain, anciently
confined to a narrow stripe along the shores of the Atlantic. They now
sit on the two oceans. San Francisco has become the pendant of New York,
and promises speedily to rival it in its destinies. They have proved
their superiority over the Catholic nations of the New World, and have
subjected them to a dictatorship which admits of no farther dispute. To
the authority of these two Powers,--England and the United
States,--after an attempt made by the former on China, the two most
renowned empires of the East,--empires which represent nearly the
numerical half of the human race,--China and Japan,--seem to be on the
point of yielding. Russia, again, appears to be assuming every day a
position of growing importance in Europe. During all this time, what way
has been made by the Catholic nations? The foremost of them all, the
most compact, the most glorious,--France,--which seemed fifty years ago
to have mounted the throne of civilization, has seen, through a course
of strange disasters, her sceptre shivered and her power dissolved. Once
and again has she risen to her feet, with noble courage and indomitable
energy; but every time, as all expected to see her take a rapid flight
upward, fate has sent her, as a curse from God, a revolution to paralyze
her efforts, and make her miserably fall back. Unquestionably, since
1789 the balance of power between Catholic civilization and non-Catholic
civilization has been reversed."



CHAPTER XVI.

PADUA.

     Doves of Venice--Re-cross the Lagunes--Padua--Wretchedness of
     Interior--Misery of its Inhabitants--Splendour of its Churches--The
     Shrine of St Antony--His Sermon to a Congregation of Fishes--A
     Restaurant in Padua--Reach the Po at Day-break--Enter Peter's
     Patrimony--Find the Apostles again become Fishermen and
     Tax-Gatherers--Arrest--Liberty.


Contenting myself with a hasty perusal of the great work on painting
which the academy forms, and which it had taken so many ages and so many
various masters to produce, I returned again to the square of St Mark.
Doves in thousands were assembled on the spot, hovering on wing at the
windows of the houses, or covering the pavement below, at the risk, as
it seemed, of being trodden upon by the passengers. I inquired at my
companion what this meant. He told me that a rich old gentleman by last
will and testament had bequeathed a certain sum to be expended in
feeding these fowls, and that, duly as the great clock in the Gothic
tower struck two, a certain quantity of corn was every day thrown from a
window in the piazza. Every dove in the "Republic" is punctual to a
minute. There doves have come to acquire a sort of sacred character,
and it would be about as hazardous to kill a dove in Venice, as of old a
cat in Egypt. We wish some one would do as much for the beggars, which
are yet more numerous, and who know no more, when they get up in the
morning, where they are to be fed, than do the fowls of heaven. Trade
there is none; "to dig," they have no land, and, even if they had, they
are too indolent; they want, too, the dove's wing to fly away to some
happier country. Their seas have shut them in; their marble city is but
a splendid prison. The story of Venice is that of Tyre over again,--her
wealth, her glory, her luxuriousness, and now her doom. But we must
leave her. Bidding adieu, on the stairs of St Mark, to the partner of
the day's explorations, with a regret which those only can understand
who have had the good fortune to meet an intelligent and estimable
companion in a foreign land, I leaped into a gondola, and glided away,
leaving Venice sitting in silent melancholy beauty amid her tideless
seas.

Traversing again the long bridge over the Lagunes, and the flat country
beyond, covered with memorials of decay in the shape of dilapidated
villas, and crossing the full-volumed Brenta, rolling on within its
lofty embankments, I sighted the fine Tyrolean Alps on the right, and,
after a run of twenty-four miles, the gray towers of Padua, at about a
mile's distance from the railway, on the left.

Poor Padua! Who could enter it without weeping almost. Of all the
wretched and ruinous places I ever saw, this is the most wretched and
ruinous,--hopelessly, incurably ruinous. Padua does, indeed, look
imposing at a little distance. Its fine dome, its numerous towers, the
large vine-stocks which are rooted in its soil, the air of vast
fertility which is spread over the landscape, and the halo of former
glory which, cloud-like, rests above it, consort well with one's
preconceived ideas of this once illustrious seat of learning, which
even the youth of our own land were wont to frequent; but enter
it,--alas the dismal sight!--ruins, filth, ignorance, poverty, on every
hand. The streets are narrow and gloomy, from being lined with heavy and
dark arcades; the houses, which are large, and bear marks of former
opulence, are standing in many instances untenanted. Not a few stately
mansions have been converted into stables, or carriers' sheds, or are
simply naked walls, which the dogs of the city, or other creatures, make
their den. The inhabitants, pale, emaciated, and wrapt in huge cloaks,
wander through the streets like ghosts. Were Padua a heap of ruins,
without a single human being on or near its site, its desolation would
be less affecting. An unbearable melancholy sat down upon me the moment
I entered it, and the recollection oppresses me at the distance of three
years.

In the midst of all this ruin and poverty, there rise I know not how
many duomos and churches, with fine cupolas and towers, as if they meant
to mock the misery upon which they look. They are the repositories of
vast wealth, in the shape of silver lamps, votive offerings, paintings,
and marbles. To appropriate a penny of that treasure in behalf of the
wretched beings who swarm unfed and untaught in their neighbourhood,
would bring down upon Padua the terrible ire of their great god St
Antony. He is there known as "Il Santo" (the saint), and has a gorgeous
temple erected in his honour, crowned with not less than eight cupolas,
and illuminated day and night by golden lamps and silver candlesticks,
which burn continually before his shrine. "There are narrow clefts in
the monument that stands over him," says Addison, "where good Catholics
rub their beads, and smell his bones, which they say have in them a
natural perfume, though very like apoplectic balsam; and, what would
make one suspect that they rub the marble with it, it is observed that
the scent is stronger in the morning than at night." Were the precious
metals and the costly marbles which are stored up in this church
transmuted into current coin, the whole province of Padua might be
supplied with ploughs and other needful implements of agriculture. But
it is better that nature alone should cultivate their fields, and that
the Paduans should eat only what she is pleased to provide for them,
than that, by robbing the shrine of St Antony, they should forfeit the
good esteem of so powerful a patron, "the thrice holy Antony of Padua;
the powerful curer of leprosy, tremendous driver away of devils,
restorer of limbs, stupendous discoverer of lost things, great and
wonderful defender from all dangers."

The miracles and great deeds of "the saint" are recorded on the tablets
and bas-reliefs of the church. His most memorable exploit was his
"preaching to an assembly of fishes," whom, "when the heretics would not
regard his preaching," says his biographer, "he called together, in the
name of God, to hear his holy Word." The congregation and the sermon
were both extraordinary; and, if any reader is curious to see what a
saint could have to say to a congregation of fishes, he will find the
oration quoted _ad longam_ in "Addison's Travels." The mule on which
this great man rode was nearly as remarkable as his master. With a
devotion worthy of the mule of St Antony, he left his hay, after a long
fast, to be present at mass. The modern Paduans, from what I saw of
them, fast quite as oft and as long as Antony's mule; whether they are
equally punctual at mass I do not know.

My stay in Padua extended only from four in the afternoon till nine at
night. The hours wore heavily, and I sought for a restaurant where I
might dine. I was fortunate enough at length to discover a vast hall, or
shed I should rather say, which was used as a restaurant. Some rich and
noble Paduan had called it his in other days; now it received as guests
the courier and the wayfarer. Its massive walls were quite naked, and
enclosed an apartment so spacious, that its extremities were lost in
darkness. Some dozen of small tables, all ready for dinner being served
upon them, occupied the floor; and some three or four persons were
seated at dinner. I took my seat at one of the tables, and was instantly
served with capillini soup, and the usual _et ceteras_. I made a good
repast, despite the haunted look of the chamber. On the conclusion of my
dinner I repaired to the market-place, and, till the hour of _diligence_
should arrive, I began pacing the pavement beneath the shadow of the
town-hall, which looks as if it had been built as a kind of anticipation
of the crystal palace, and the roof of which is said to be the largest
unsupported by pillars in the world. It covers--so the Paduans
believe--the bones of Livy, who is claimed as a native of Padua. It was
here Petrarch died, which has given occasion to Lazzarini to join
together the cradle of the historian and the tomb of the poet, in the
following lines addressed to Padua:--

 Here was he born whose lasting page displays
   Rome's brightest triumphs, and who painted best;
   Fit style for heroes, nor to shun the test,
   Though Grecian art should vie, and Attic lays.
 And here thy tuneful swan, Arezzo lies,
   Who gave his Laura deathless name; than whom
   No bard with sweeter grace has poured the song.
 O, happy seat! O, favoured by the skies!
   What store and store is thine, to whom belong
   So rich a cradle and so rich a tomb!

I bought a pennyworth of grapes from one of the poor stall-keepers, and,
in return for my coin, had my two extended palms literally heaped. I can
safely say that the vine of Padua has not declined; the fruit was
delicious; and, after making my way half through my purchase, I
collected a few hungry boys, and divided the fragments amongst them.

It was late and dark when, ensconced in the interior of the _diligence_,
we trundled out of the poor ruined town. The night was dreary and
somewhat cold; I courted sleep, but it came not. My companions were
mostly young Englishmen, but not of the intellectual stamp of the
companion from whom I had parted that morning on the quay of Venice.
They appeared to be travelling about mainly to look at pictures and
smoke cigars. As to learning anything, they ridiculed the idea of such a
thing in a country where there "was no society." It did not seem to have
occurred to them that it might be worth while learning how it had come
to pass that, in a country where one stumbles at every step on the
stupendous memorials of a past civilization and knowledge, there is now
no society. At length, after many hours' riding, we drew up before a
tall white house, which the gray coat and bayonet of the Croat, and the
demand for passports, told me was a police office. It was the last
dogana on the Austrian territory. We were next requested to leave the
_diligence_ for a little. The day had not yet broke, but I could see
that we were on the brink of a deep and broad river, which we were
preparing to cross, but how, I could not discover, for I could see no
bridge, but only something like a raft moored by the margin of the
stream. On this frail craft we embarked, horses, _diligence_,
passengers, and all; and, launching out upon the impetuous current, we
reached, after a short navigation, the opposite shore. The river we had
crossed was the Po, and the craft which had carried us over was a _pont
colant_, or flying bridge. This was the frontier of the Papal States;
and now, for the first time, I found myself treading the sacred soil of
Peter's patrimony.

Peter, in the days of his flesh, was a fisherman; but some of his
brother apostles were tax-gatherers; and here was the receipt of custom
again set up. Both "toll" and "fishing-net," I had understood, were
forsaken when their Master called them; but on my arrival I found the
apostles all busy at their old trades: some fishing for men at Rome; and
others, at the frontiers, levying tribute, both of "the children" and of
"strangers;" for on looking up, I could see by the dim light a low
building, like an American log-house, standing at a little distance from
the river's brink, with a huge sign-board stuck up over the door,
emblazoned with the keys and the tiara. This told me that I was in the
presence of the Apostolic Police-Office,--an ecclesiastical institution
which, I doubt not, has its authority somewhere in the New Testament,
though I cannot say that I have ever met with the passage in my readings
in that book; but that, doubtless, is because I want the Church's
spectacles.

When one gets his name inserted in an Italian way-bill, he delivers up
his passport to the _conducteur_, who makes it his business to have it
viséed at the several stations which are planted thick along all the
Italian routes,--the owner, of course, reckoning for the charges at the
end of the journey. In accordance with this custom, our _conducteur_
entered the shed-like building I have mentioned, to lay his way-bill and
his passports before the officials within. In the interim, we took our
places in the vehicle. The _conducteur_ was in no hurry to return, but I
dreaded no evil. I had had a wakeful night; and now, throwing myself
into my nook in the _diligence_, the stillness favoured sleep, and I was
half unconscious, when I found some one pulling at my shoulder, and
calling on me to leave the carriage. "What is the matter?" I inquired.
"Your passport is not _en règle_," was the reply. "My passport not
right!" I answered in astonishment; "it has been viséed at every
police-office betwixt and London; and especially at those of Austria,
under whose suzerainty the territory of Ferrara is, and no one may
prevent me entering the Papal States." The man coolly replied, "You
cannot go an inch farther with us;" and proceeded to take down my
luggage, and deposit it on the bank. I stept out, and bade the man
conduct me to the people inside. Passing under the papal arms, we
threaded a long narrow passage,--turned to the left,--traversed another
long passage,--turned to the left again, and stood in a little chamber
dimly lighted by a solitary lamp. The apartment was divided by a bench,
behind which sat two persons,--the one a little withered old man, with
small piercing eyes, and the other very considerably younger and taller,
and with a face on which anxiety or mistrust had written fewer sinister
lines. They quickly told me that my passport was not right, and that I
could not enter the Papal States. I asked them to hand me the little
volume; and, turning over its pages, I traced with them my progress from
London to the Po, and showed that, on the testimony of every
passport-office and legation, I was a good man and true up to the
further banks of their river; and that if I was other now, I must have
become so in crossing, or since touching their soil. They gave me to
understand, in reply, that all these testimonies went for nothing,
seeing I wanted the _imprimatur_ of the papal consul in Venice. I
assured them that omission was owing to misinformation I had received in
Venice; that the Valet de Place (an authority in all such matters) at
the Albergo dell' Europa had assured me that the two visées I had got in
Venice were quite enough; and that the pontifical visée could be
obtained in Ferrara or Bologna; and entreated them to permit me to go on
to Ferrara, where I would lay my passport before the authorities, and
have the error rectified. I shall never forget the emphasis with which
the younger of the two officials replied, "Non possum." I had often
declined "possum" to my old schoolmaster in former days, little dreaming
that I was to hear the vocable pronounced with such terrible meaning in
a little cell, at day-break, on the banks of the Po. The postilion
cracked his whip,--I saw the _diligence_ move off,--and the sound of its
retreating wheels seemed like a farewell to friends and home. A sad,
desolate feeling weighed upon me as I turned to the faces of the
police-officers and gendarmes in whose power I was left. We all went
back together into the little apartment of the passport office, where I
opened a conversation with them, in order to discover what was to be
done with me,--whether I was to be sent back to Venice, or home to
England, or simply thrown into the Po. I made rapid progress in my
Italian studies that day; and had it been my hap to be arrested a dozen
days on end by the papal authorities, I should by that time have been a
fluent Italian speaker. The result of much questioning and explanation
was, that if I liked to forward a petition to the authorities in
Ferrara, accompanied by my passport, I should be permitted to wait where
I was till an answer could be returned. It was my only alternative; and,
hiring a special messenger, I sent him off with my passport, and a
petition craving permission to enter "the States," addressed to the
Pontifical Legation at Ferrara. Meanwhile, I had a gendarme to take care
of me.

To while away the time, I sallied out, and sauntered along the banks of
the river. It was now full day: and the cheerful light, and the noble
face of the Po,--here a superb stream, equal almost to the Rhine at
Cologne,--rolling on to the Adriatic, chased away my pensiveness. The
river here flows between lofty embankments,--the adjoining lands being
below its level, and reminding one of Holland; and were any
extraordinary inundation to happen among the Alps, and force the
embankments of the Po, the territory around Ferrara, if not also that
city itself, would infallibly be drowned. A few lighters and small
craft, lifting their sails to the morning sun, were floating down the
current; and here and there on the banks was a white villa,--the remains
of that noble setting of palaces which adorned the Po when the House of
D'Este vied in wealth and splendour with the larger courts of Europe.
Prisoners must have breakfast; and I found a poor café in the little
village, where I got a cup of coffee and an egg,--the latter unboiled,
by the way; and discussed my meal in presence of the gendarme, who sat
opposite me.

Toward noon the messenger returned, and to my joy brought back the papal
permission to enter "the States." Light and short as my constraint had
been, it was sufficient to make me feel what a magic influence is in
liberty. I could again go whither I would; and the poor village of Ponte
Lagoscuro, and even the faces of the two officials, assumed a kindlier
aspect. Bidding these last, whose Italian urbanity had won upon me,
adieu, I started on foot for Ferrara, which lay on the plain some five
miles in advance. The road thither was a magnificent one; but I learned
afterwards that I had Napoleon to thank for it; but alas, what a picture
the country presented! The water was allowed to stagnate along the path,
and a thick, green scurf had gathered upon it. The rich black soil was
covered with weeds, and the few houses I saw were mere hovels. The sun
shone brilliantly, however, and strove to gild this scene of neglect and
wretchedness. The day was the 28th of October, and the heat was that of
a choice summer day in Scotland, with a much balmier air. I hurried on
along the deserted road, and soon, on emerging from a wood, sighted the
town of Ferrara, which stretched along the plain in a low line of
roofs, with a few towers breaking the uniformity. Presenting my "pass"
to the sentinel at the barrier, I entered the city in which Calvin had
found an asylum and Tasso a prison.

Poor fallen Ferrara! Commerce, learning, the arts, religion, had by
turns shed a glory upon it. Now all is over; and where the "Queen of the
Po" had been, there sits on the darkened plain a poor city, mouldering
into dust, with the silence of a sepulchre around it. I entered the
suburbs, but sound of human voice there was none; not a single human
being could I see. It might be ages since these streets were trodden,
for aught that appeared. The doors were closed, and the windows were
stanchioned with iron. In many cases there was neither door nor window;
but the house stood open to receive the wind or rain, the fowls of
heaven, or the dogs of the city, if any such there were. I passed on,
and drew nigh the centre of the town; and now there began to be visible
some signs of vitality. Struck at the extremities, life had retreated to
the heart. A square castellated building of red brick, surrounded on all
sides by a deep moat, filled with the water of the Po, and guarded by
Austrian soldiers, upreared its towers before me. This was the Papal
Legation. I entered it, and found my passport waiting me; and the tiara
and the keys, emblazoned on its pages, told me that I was free of the
Papal States.



CHAPTER XVII.

FERRARA.

     Lovely in its Ruins--Number and Wealth of its Churches--Tasso's
     Prison--Renée's Palace--Calvin's Chamber--Influence of Woman on the
     Reformation--Renée and her Band--Re-union above--Utter Decay of its
     Trade, its Manufactures, its Knowledge.


Even in its ruins Ferrara is lovely. It wears in the tomb the sunset
hues of beauty. Its streets run out in straight lines, and are of noble
breadth and length. Unencumbered with the heavy arcades that darken
Padua, the marble fronts of its palaces rise to a goodly height, covered
with rich but exceedingly sweet and chaste designs. On the stone of
their pilasters and door-posts the ilex puts forth its leaf, and the
vine its grapes; and the carving is as fresh and sharp, in many
instances, as if the chisel were but newly laid aside. But it is
melancholy to see the long grass waving on its causeways, and the ivy
clinging to the deserted doorways and balconies of palatial residences,
and to hear the echoes of one's foot sounding drearily in the empty
street.

I passed the afternoon in visiting the churches. There is no end of
these, and night fell before I had got half over them. It amazes one to
find in the midst of ruins such noble buildings, overflowing with
wealth. Pictures, statuary, marbles, and precious metals, dazzle, and at
last weary, the traveller, and form a strange contrast to the desolate
fields, the undrained swamps, the mouldering tenements, and the beggarly
population, that are collected around them. Of the churches of Ferrara,
we may say as Addison of the shrine of Loretto, "It is indeed an amazing
thing to see such a prodigious quantity of riches lie dead and
untouched, in the midst of so much poverty and misery as reign on all
sides of them. If these riches were all turned into current coin, and
employed in commerce, they would make Italy the most flourishing country
in the world."

Two objects specially invited my attention in Ferrara: the one was the
prison of Tasso,--the other the palace of Renée, the Duchess of Ferrara.
Tasso's prison is a mere vault in the courtyard of the hospital of St
Anna, built up at one end with a brick wall, and closed at the other by
a low and strong door. The floor is so damp that it yields to the foot;
and the arched roof is so low that there is barely room to stand
upright. I strongly doubt whether Tasso, or any other man, could have
passed seven years in this cell and come out alive. It is written all
over within and without with names, some of them illustrious ones.
"Byron" is conspicuous in the crowd, cut in strong square characters in
the stone; and near him is "Lamartine," in more graceful but smaller
letters.

Tasso seems to have regarded his country as a prisoner not less than
himself, and to have strung his harp at times to bewail its captivity.
The dungeon "in which Alphonso bade his poet dwell" was dreary enough,
but that of Italy was drearier still; for it is Italy, fully more than
the poet, that may be regarded as speaking in the following lines, which
furnish evidence that, along with Dante, and all the great minds of the
period, Torquato Tasso had seen the hollowness of the Papal Church, and
felt the galling bondage which that Church inflicts on both the
intellect and the soul.

 "O God, from this Egyptian land of woe,
   Teeming with idols and their monstrous train,
   O'er which the galling yoke that I sustain
   Like Nilus makes my tears to overflow,
 To thee, her land of rest, my soul would go:
   But who, ah! who will break my servile chain?
   Who through the deep, and o'er the desert plain
   Will aid and cheer me, and the path will show?
 Shall God, indeed, the fowls and manna strew,--
   My daily bread? and dare I to implore
   Thy pillar and thy cloud to guide me, Lord?
 Yes, he may hope for all who trusts thy word.
   O then thy miracles in me renew;
   Thine be the glory, and my boasting o'er."

From the reputed prison of Tasso I went to see the roof which had
sheltered the presiding intellect of the Reformation,--John Calvin.
Tasso's glory is like a star, burning with a lovely light in the deep
azure; Calvin's is like the sun, whose waxing splendour is irradiating
two hemispheres. The palace of the illustrious Renée,--now the Austrian
and Papal Legations, and literally a barrack for soldiers,--has no
pretensions to beauty. Amid the graceful but decaying fabrics of the
city, it erects its square unadorned mass of dull red, edged with a
strip of lawn, a few cypresses, and a moat brim-full of water, which not
only surrounds it on all sides, but intersects it by means of arches,
and makes the castle almost a miniature of Venice. Good part of the
interior is occupied as passport offices and guard-rooms. The staircase
is of noble dimensions. Some of the rooms are princely, their panellings
being mostly covered with paintings, but not of the first excellence.
The small room in the southern quadrangle which Calvin is said to have
occupied is now fitted up as an oratory; and a very pretty little
show-room it is, with its marble altar-piece, its silver candlesticks,
its crucifixes, and, in short, all the paraphernalia of such places. If
there be any efficacy in holy water, the little chamber must by this
time be effectually cleansed from the sad defilement of the
arch-heretic.

Ferrara is indissolubly connected with the Reformation in Italy. In
fact, it was the centre of the movement in the south of the Alps. This
distinction it owed to its being the residence of Renée, the daughter of
Louis XII. of France, and wife of Hercules II., Duke of Ferrara. This
lady, to a knowledge of the ancient classics and contemporary
literature, and the most amiable and generous dispositions, added a deep
love of evangelical truth, and gladly extended shelter to the friends of
the Reformation, whom persecution now forced to leave their native
country. Thus there came to be assembled round her a galaxy of talent,
learning, and piety. If we except John Calvin, who was known during his
brief sojourn of three months as Charles Heppeville, the two noblest
minds in this illustrious band were women,--Renée and Olympia Morata.
The cause of the Reformation lies under great obligations to woman;
though the part she acted in that great drama has never been
sufficiently acknowledged.[2] In the heart of woman, when sanctified by
Divine grace, there lies concealed under a veil of gentleness and
apparent timidity, a fund of fortitude and lofty resolution, which
requires a fitting occasion to draw it forth; but when that occasion
arrives, there is seen the strength and grandeur of the female
character. For woman, whatever is noble, beautiful, and sublime, has
peculiar attractions. A just cause, overborne by power or numbers,
appeals peculiarly to her unselfish nature; and thus it has happened
that the Reformation sometimes found in woman its most devoted disciple
and its most undaunted champion. Who can tell how much the firmness and
perseverance of the more prominent actors in these struggles were owing
to her wise and affectionate counsels? And not only has she been the
counsellor of man,--she has willingly shared his sufferings; and the
same deep sensibility which renders her so shrinking on ordinary
occasions, has at these times given her unconquerable strength, and
raised her above the desolation of a prison,--above the shame and horror
of a scaffold. Of such mould were the two illustrious women I have
mentioned,--the accomplished Renée, the daughter of a king of France,
and the yet more accomplished Olympia Morata, the daughter of a
schoolmaster and citizen of Mantua.

To me these halls were sacred, for the feet which had trodden them three
centuries ago. They were thronged with Austrian soldiers and passport
officials; but I could people them with the mighty dead. How often had
Renée assembled her noble band in this very chamber! How often here had
that illustrious circle consulted on the steps proper to be taken for
advancing their great cause! How often had they indulged alternate fears
and hopes, as they thought now of the power arrayed against them, and
now of the progress of the truth, and the confessors it was calling to
its aid in every city of Italy! And when the deliberations and prayers
of the day were ended, they would assemble on this lawn, to enjoy, under
these cypresses, the delicious softness of the Italian twilight. Ah! who
can tell the exquisite sweetness of such re-unions! and how
inexpressibly soothing and welcome to men whom persecution had forced
to flee from their native land, must it have been to find so secure a
haven as this so unexpectedly opened to receive them! But ah! too soon
were they forced out upon an ocean of storms. They were driven to
different countries and to various fates,--some to a life of exhausting
labour and conflict, some to exile, and some to the stake. But all this
is over now: they dread the dungeon and the stake no more; they are
wanderers no longer, having come to a land of rest. Renée has once again
gathered her bright band around her, under skies whose light no cloud
shall ever darken, and whose calm no storm shall ever ruffle. But do
they not still remember and still speak of the consultations and sweet
communings which they had together under the shady cypress trees, and
the still, rich twilights of Ferrara?

Ferrara was the first town subject to the Pope I had entered; and I had
here an opportunity of marking the peculiar benefits which attend
infallible government. This city is only less wretched than Padua; and
the difference seems to lie rather in the more cheerful look of its
buildings, than in any superior wealth or comfort enjoyed by its people.
Its trade is equally ruined; it is even more empty of inhabitants; its
walls, of seven miles' circuit, enclose but a handful of men, and these
have a wasted and sickly look, owing to the unhealthy character of the
country around. The view from its ramparts reminded me of the prospect
from the walls of York. The plain is equally level; the soil is
naturally more rich; but the drainage and cultivation of the English
landscape are wanting. The town once enjoyed a flourishing trade in
hemp,--an article which found its way to our dockyards; but this branch
of traffic now scarcely exists. The native manufactures of Ferrara have
been ruined; and a feeble trade in corn is almost all that is left it.
How is this? Is its soil less fertile? Has its natural canal, the Po,
dried up? No; but the Government, afraid perhaps that its fields would
yield too plenteously, its artizans become too ingenious, and its
citizens too wealthy in foreign markets, has laid a heavy duty on its
exports, and on every article of home manufacture. Hence the desolate
Polesina without, and the extinct forges and empty workshops within, its
walls. A city whose manufactures were met with in all the markets of
Europe is now dependent for its own supply on the Swiss. The ruin of its
trade dates from its annexation to the Papal States. The decay of
intelligence has kept pace with that of trade. At the beginning of the
sixteenth century Ferrara was one of the lights of Europe: now I know
not that there is a single scholar in its university; and its library of
eighty thousand volumes and nine hundred manuscripts, among which are
the Greek palimpsests of Gregory Nazianzen and Chrysostom, and the
manuscripts of Ariosto and Tasso, is becoming, equally with Ariosto's
dust, which reposes in its halls, the prey of the worm.

I have to thank the papal police at Ponte Lagoscuro for the opportunity
of seeing Ferrara; for, with the bad taste which most travellers in
Italy display on this head, I had overlooked this town, and booked
myself right through to Bologna. I lodged at a fine old hotel, whose
spacious apartments left me in no doubt that it had once belonged to
some of the princely families of Ferrara. I saw there, however, men who
had "a lean and hungry look," and not such as Cæsar wished to have about
him,--"fat, sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights;" and my
suspicions which were awakened at the time have since unfortunately been
confirmed, for I read in the newspapers, rather more than a year ago,
that the landlord had been shot.



CHAPTER XVIII.

BOLOGNA AND THE APENNINES.

     Road from Ferrara to Bologna--Wayside Oratories--Miserable
     Cultivation--Barbarism of People--Aspect of Bologna--Streets,
     Galleries, and Churches of its Interior--Decay of Art--San
     Petronio--View of Plain from Hill behind Bologna--Tyranny of
     Government--Night Arrests--Ruinous Taxation--Departure from
     Bologna--Brigands--The Apennines--Storm among these Mountains--Two
     Russian Travellers--Dinner at the Tuscan Frontier--Summit of the
     Pass--Halt for the Night at a Country Inn--The Hostess and her
     Company--Supper--Resume Journey next Morning--First Sight of
     Florence.


On the morrow at ten I took my departure for Bologna. It was sweet to
exchange the sickly faces and unnatural silence of the city for the
bright sun and the living trees. The road was good,--so very good, that
it took me by surprise. It was not in keeping with the surrounding
barbarism. Instead of a hard-bottomed, macadamized highway, which
traversed the plain in a straight line, bordered by noble trees, I
should have expected to find in this region of mouldering towns and
neglected fields, a narrow, winding, rutted path, ploughed by torrents
and obstructed by boulders; and so, I am sure, I should have done, had
any of the native governments of Italy had the making of this road. But
it had been designed and executed by Napoleon; and hence its excellence.
His roads alone would have immortalized him. They remain, after all his
victories have perished, to attest his genius. Would that that genius
had been turned to the arts of peace! Conquerors would do well to ponder
the eulogium pronounced on a humble tailor who built a bridge out of his
savings,--that the world owed more to the scissors of that man than to
the sword of some conquerors.

Along the road, at short intervals, were little temples, where good
Catholics who had a mind might perform their devotions. This reminded me
that I was now in Peter's patrimony,--the holy land of Romanism; and
where, it was presumed, the wayfarer would catch the spirit of devotion
from the soil and air. The hour of prayer might be past,--I know not;
but I saw no one in these oratories. Little shrines were perched upon
the trees, formed sometimes of boards, at others simply of the cavity of
the trunk; while the boughs were bent so as to form a canopy over them.
Little images and pictures had been stuck into these shrines; but the
rooks,--these black republicans,--like the "reds" at Rome, had waged a
war for possession, and, pitching overboard the little gods that
occupied them, were inhabiting in their room. The "great powers" were
too busy, or had been so, in the restoration of greater personages, to
take up the quarrel of these minor divinities. A strange silence and
dreariness brooded over the region. The land seemed keeping its
Sabbaths. The fields rested,--the villages were asleep,--the road was
untrodden. Had one been dropt from the clouds, he would have concluded
that it was but a century or so since the Flood, and that these were the
rude primitive great-grandchildren of Noah, who had just found their way
into these parts, and were slowly emerging from barbarism. The fields
around afforded little indication of such an instrument as the plough;
and one would have concluded from the garments of the people, that the
loom was among the yet uninvented arts. The harnessings of the horses
formed a curiously tangled web of thong, and rope, and thread, twisted,
tied, and knotted. It would have puzzled OEdipus himself to discover
how a horse could ever be got into such gear, or, being in, how it ever
could be got out. There seemed a most extraordinary number of beggars
and vagabonds in Peter's patrimony. A little congregation of these
worthies waited our arrival at every village, and whined round us for
alms so long as we remained. Others, not quite so ragged, stood aloof,
regarding us fixedly, as if devising some pretext on which to claim a
paul of us. There were worse characters in the neighbourhood, though
happily we saw none of them. But at certain intervals we met the
Austrian patrol, whose duty it was to clear the road of brigands. Peter,
it appeared to us, kept strange company about him,--idlers, beggars,
vagabonds, and brigands. It must vex the good man much to find his dear
children disgracing him so in the eyes of strangers.

These dismal scenes accompanied us half the way. We then entered the
Bolognese, and things began to look a little better. Bologna, though
under the Papal Government, has long been famous for nourishing a hardy,
liberty-loving people, though, if report does them justice, extremely
licentious and infidel. Its motto is "_libertas_;" and the air of
liberty is favourable, it would seem, to vegetation; for the fields
looked greener the moment we had crossed the barrier. Soon we were
charmed with the sight of Bologna. Its appearance is indeed imposing,
and gives promise of something like life and industry within its walls.
A noble cluster of summits,--an offshoot of the Apennines,--rises
behind the city, crowned with temples and towers. Within their bosky
declivities, from which tall cypress-trees shoot up, lie embowered
villas and little watch-towers, with their glittering vanes. At the foot
of the hill is spread out the noble city, with its leaning towers and
its tall minaret-looking steeples. The approach to the walls reminded me
that below these ramparts sleeps Ugo Bassi. I afterwards searched for
his resting-place, but could find no one who either would or could show
me his tomb. A more eloquent declaimer than even Gavazzi, I have been
assured by those who knew him, was silenced when Ugo Bassi fell beneath
the murderous fire of the Croat's musket.

After the death-like desertion and silence of Ferrara, the feeble bustle
of Bologna seemed like a return to the world and its ways. Its streets
are lined with covered porticoes, less heavy than those of Padua, but
harbouring after nightfall, says the old traveller ARCHENHOLTZ, robbers
and murderers, of whom the latter are the more numerous. He accounts for
this by saying, that whereas the robber has to make restitution before
receiving absolution, the murderer, whether condemned to die or set at
liberty, receives full pardon, without the "double labour," as Sir John
Falstaff called it, of "paying back." Its hundred churches are vast
museums of sculpture and painting. Its university, which the Bolognese
boast is the oldest in Europe, rivalled Padua in its glory, and now
rivals it in its decay. Its two famous leaning towers,--the rent in the
bottom of one is quite visible,--are bending from age, and will one day
topple over, and pour a deluge of old bricks upon the adjoining
tenements. Its "Academy of the Fine Arts" is, after Rome and Florence,
the finest in Italy. It is filled with the works of the Caracci,
Domenichino, Guido Albani, and others of almost equal celebrity. I am no
judge of such matters; and therefore my reader need lay no stress upon
my criticisms; but it appeared to me, that some paintings placed in the
first rank had not attained that excellence. The highly-praised "Victory
of Sampson over the Philistines," I felt, wanted the grandeur of the
Hebrew Judge on this the greatest occasion of his life; although it gave
you a very excellent representation of a thirsty man drinking, with rows
of prostrate people in the background. Other pieces were disfigured by
glaring anachronisms in time and dress. The artist evidently had drawn
his inspiration, not from the _Bible_, but from the _Cathedral_. The
Apostles in some cases had the faces of monks, and looked as if they had
divided their time betwixt Liguori and the wine-flagon. Several
Scriptural personages were attired in an ecclesiastical dress, which
must have been made by some tailor of the sixteenth century. But there
is one picture in that gallery that impressed me more than any other
picture I ever saw. It is a painting of the Crucifixion by Guido. The
background is a dark thundery mass of cloud, resting angrily above the
dimly-seen roofs and towers of Jerusalem. There is "darkness over all
the land;" and in the foreground, and relieved by the darkness, stands
the cross, with the sufferer. On the left is John, looking up with
undying affection. On the right is Mary,--calm, but with eyes full of
unutterable sorrow. Mary Magdalene embraces the foot of the cross: her
face and upper parts are finely shaded; but her attitude and form are
strongly expressive of reverence, affection, and profound grief. There
are no details: the piece is simple and great. There are no attempts to
produce effect by violent manifestations of grief. Hope is gone, but
love remains; and there before you are the parties standing calm and
silent, with their great sorrow.

It so happened that the exhibition of the works of living artists was
open at the time, and I had a good opportunity of comparing the present
with the past race of Italian painters. I soon found that the race of
Guidos was extinct, and that the pencil of the masters had fallen into
the hands of but poor copyists. The present artists of Italy have given
over painting saints and Scripture-pieces, and work mostly in portraits
and landscapes. They paint, of course, what will sell; and the public
taste appears decidedly to have changed. There was a great dearth of
good historical, imaginative, and allegorical subjects; too often an
attempt was visible to give interest to a piece by an appeal to the
baser passions. But the living artists of that country fall below not
only their great predecessors, but even the artists of Scotland. This
exhibition in Bologna did not by any means equal in excellence or
interest the similar exhibition opened every spring in Edinburgh. The
statuary displayed only beauty and voluptuousness of form: it wanted the
simple energy and the chastened grandeur of expression which
characterize the statuary of the ancients, and which have made it the
admiration of all ages.

The only god whom the Bolognese worship is San Petronio. His temple, in
which Charles V. was crowned by Clement VII., stands in the Piazza
Maggiore, the forum of Bologna in the middle ages, and rivals the
"Academy" itself in its paintings and sculptures. Though the façade is
not finished, nor likely soon to be, it is one of the largest churches
in Italy, and is a fine specimen of the Italian Gothic. In a little side
chapel is the head of San Petronius himself, certified by Benedict XIV.
On the forms on the cathedral floor lie little framed pictures of the
saint, with a prayer addressed to him. I saw a country girl enter the
church, drop on her knees, kiss the picture, and recite the prayer. I
afterwards read this prayer, though not on bended knee; and can certify
that a grosser piece of idolatry never polluted human lips. Petronio
was addressed by the same titles in which the Almighty is usually
approached; as, "the most glorious," "the most merciful."

           "Towards him they bend
 With awful reverence prone; and as a god
 Extol him equal to the Highest in heaven."

Higher blessings, whether for time or for eternity, than those for which
the devotee was directed to supplicate San Petronio, man needs not, and
God has not to bestow. Daily bread, protection from danger, grace to
love San Petronio, grace to serve San Petronio, pardon, a happy death,
deliverance from hell, and eternal felicity in Paradise,--all who
offered this prayer,--and other prayer was unheard beneath that
roof,--supplicated of San Petronio. The Church of Rome affirms that she
does not pray _to the_ saints, but _through_ them,--namely, as
intercessors with Christ and God. This is no justification of the
practice, though it were the fact; but it is not the fact. In protestant
countries she may insert the name of God at the end of her prayers; but
in popish countries she does not deem it needful to observe this
formality. The name of Christ and of God rarely occurs in her popular
formulas. In the Duomo of Bologna, the only god supplicated,--the only
god known,--is San Petronio. The tendency of the worship of the Church
of Rome is to efface God from the knowledge and the love of her members.
And so completely has this result been realized, that, as one said, "You
might steal God from them without their knowing it." Indeed, that "Great
and Dreadful Name" might be blotted out from the few prayers of that
Church in which it is still retained, and its worship would go on as
before. What possible change would take place in the Duomo of San
Petronio at Bologna, and in thousands of other churches in Italy,
though Rome was to decree in _words_, as she does in _deeds_, that
"_there is no God_?"

On the second day of my stay at Bologna I ascended the fine hill on the
north of the city. A noble pillared arcade of marble, three miles in
length, leads up to the summit. At every twelve yards or so is an
alcove, with a florid painting of some saint; and at each station sits a
poor old woman, who begs an alms of you, in the name of the saint
beneath whose picture she spins her thread,--her own thread being nearly
ended. There met me here a regiment of little priests, of about an
hundred in number, none of whom seemed more than ten years of age, and
all of whom wore shoes with buckles, silk stockings, breeches, a loose
flowing robe, a white-edged stock, and shovel hat,--in short, miniature
priests in dress, in figure, and in everything save their greater
sportiveness. On the summit is a magnificent church, containing one of
those black madonnas ascribed to Luke, and said to have been brought
hither by a hermit from Constantinople in the twelfth century. Be this
as it may, the black image serves the Bolognese for an occasion of an
annual festival, kept with fully as much hilarity as devotion.

From the summit one looks far and wide over Italy. Below is spread out
the plain of Lombardy, level as the sea, and as thickly studded with
white villas as the heavens with stars. On the north, the cities of
Mantua and Verona, and numerous other towns and villages, are visible.
On the east, the towers and cathedral roofs of Ferrara are seen rising
above the woods that cover the plain; and the view is bounded by the
Adriatic, which, like a thin line of blue, runs along the horizon. On
the south and west is the hill country of the Apennines, among whose
serrated peaks and cleft sides is many a lovely dell, rich in waters,
and vines, and olive trees. The distant country towards the
Mediterranean lay engulphed in a white mist. A violent electrical action
was going on in it, which, like a strong wind moving upon its surface,
raised it into billows, which appeared to sweep onward, tossing and
tumbling like the waves of ocean.

I had taken up my abode at the Il Pellegrino, one of the best
recommended hotels in Bologna,--not knowing that the Austrian officers
had made it their head-quarters, and that not a Bolognese would enter
it. At dinner-time I saw only the Austrian uniform around the table.
This was a matter of no great moment. Not so what followed. When I went
to bed, there commenced overhead a heavy shuffling of feet, and an
incessant going and coming, with slamming of doors, and jolting of
tables, which lasted all night long. A sad tragedy was enacting above
me. The political apprehensions are made over-night in the Italian
towns; and I little doubt that the soldiers were all night busily
engaged in bringing in prisoners, and sending them off to jail. The
persons so arrested are subjected to moral and physical tortures, which
speedily prostrate both mind and body, and sometimes terminate in death.
Loaded with chains, they are shut up in stinking holes, where they can
neither stand upright nor lie down at their length. The heat of the
weather and the foul air breed diseases of the skin, and cover them with
pustules. The food, too, is scanty, often consisting of only bread and
water. The Government strive to keep their cruel condition a secret from
their relatives, who, notwithstanding, are able at times to penetrate
the mystery that surrounds them, but only to have their feelings
lacerated by the thought of the dreadful sufferings undergone by those
who are the objects of their tenderest affection. And what agony can be
more dreadful than to know that a father, a husband, a son, is rotting
in a putrid cell, or being beaten to death by blows, while neither
relief nor sympathy from you can reach the sufferer? The case of a young
man of the name of Neri, formerly healthy and handsome, found its way to
the public prints. Broken down by blows, he was carried to the military
hospital in an almost dying condition, where an English physician, in
company with an Austrian surgeon, found him with lacerated skin, and the
vertebral bones uncovered. He was enduring at the same time so acute
pain from inflammation of the bowels, that he was unable, but by hints,
to express his misery. It was here that the atrocities of the Papal
Nuncio BEDINI were perpetrated,--the same man who was afterwards chased
from the soil of America by a storm of execration evoked against him by
the friends and countrymen of the victims who had been tortured and shot
during his sway in Bologna. In short, the acts of the Holy Office are
imitated and renewed; so that numbers, distracted and maddened by the
torments which they endure, avow offences which they never committed,
and name accomplices whom they never had; and the retractations of these
unhappy beings are of no avail to prevent new arrests. The Bolognese are
permitted to weep their complicated evils only in secret; to do so
openly would be charged as a crime.

The fiscal oppression is nearly as unbearable as the political and
social. The taxation, both as regards its amount and the mode of
enforcing it, is ruinous to the individual, and operates as a fatal
check to the progress of industry. The country is eaten up with foreign
soldiers. The great hotels in all the principal towns resemble casernes.
The reader may judge of my surprise on opening my bed-room door one
morning, to find that a couple of Croats had slept on the mat outside of
it all night. It might be a special mark of honour to myself; but I
rather think that they are accustomed to bivouac in the passages and
lobbies. The eternal drumming in the streets is enough to deafen one for
life. To the traveller it is sufficiently annoying; how much more so to
the Bolognese, who knows that that is music for which he must pay dear!
Since 1848, the aggregate of taxation between Leghorn and Ancona has
been increased about 40 per cent.; and the taxes are levied upon a
principle of arbitrary assessment which compels the rich to simulate
poverty, as in Turkey, lest they should be stripped of their last
farthing. In Bologna, the payments of the house and land tax, which used
to be made every two months, are now collected for the same sums every
seven weeks; and a per centage is added at the pleasure of the
Government, of which no one knows the amount till the collector calls
with his demand. In other towns an income-tax is levied upon trades and
professions, framed upon no rule but the supposed capabilities of the
individual assessed to pay. Bologna, I may note, although in the Papal
States, is now quite an Austrian town. The Austrians have there
six-and-twenty pieces of artillery, and are building extensive barracks
for cavalry and infantry. Bologna belongs to that part of the Papal
States called the Four Legations, where, whether it pleases the Pope to
be so protected or not, it is now quite understood that the Austrians
have come to stay. The officer in command at Bologna styles himself its
civil as well as military governor.

On the third day after my arrival, I started at four of the morning for
Florence. It was dark as we rode through the streets of Bologna; and our
_diligence_, piled a-top with luggage, smashed several of the oil-lamps,
which dangled on cords at a dangerous proximity to the causeway. I don't
know that the Bolognese would miss them, for we left the street very
little, if at all, darker than we found it. I looked forward with no
little interest to the day's ride, which was to lie among the dells of
the Apennines, and to terminate at eve with the fair sight of the Queen
of the Arno. How unlike the reality, will appear in the sequel. In half
an hour we came in the dim light to a little valley, where the village
bell was sweetly chiming the matins. I note the spot because I narrowly
missed being an actor in a tragedy which took place here the very next
morning. I may tell the story now, though I anticipate somewhat. I was
sitting at the table d'hote in Florence three days after, when the
gentleman on my right began to tell the company how he had travelled
from Bologna on the Saturday previous, and how he and all his
fellow-passengers had been robbed on the way. They had got to the spot I
have indicated, when suddenly a little band of brigands, which lay in
ambush by the wayside, rushed on the _diligence_. Some mounted on the
front, and attended to the outside passengers; others took charge of
those in the _interieur_. Now it was, when the passengers saw into what
hands they had fallen, that nothing was heard but groaning in all parts
of the _diligence_. Our informant, who sat next the window in the
_interieur_, was seized by the collar, a long knife was held to his
breast, and he was admonished to use all diligence in making over to his
new acquaintance any worldly goods he had about him. He had to part with
his gold watch and chain, his breast-pin, and sundry other articles of
jewellery; but his purse and sovereigns he contrived to drop among the
straw at the bottom of the vehicle. All the rest fared as he did, and
some of them worse, for they lost their money as well as jewels. These
grave proceedings were diversified by a somewhat humorous incident. The
coachman had providently put his dinner in the form of a sausage, rolled
in brown paper, under his seat. This is the form in which Austrian
zwanzigers are commonly made up; and the brigands, fancying the
coachman's sausage to be a roll of silver zwanzigers, seized on it with
avidity, and bore it off in triumph. They were proceeding to rifle the
baggage, when, hearing the horse-patrol approaching, they plunged into
the thicket as suddenly as they had appeared. The morning chimes were
sounding, as on the previous day, while this operation was going on. But
what is not a little extraordinary is, that all this took place within
two miles of the city gates of Bologna, where there could not be fewer
than twelve thousand Austrian soldiers. But these, I presume, were too
much engaged on this, as on previous nights, in apprehending and
imprisoning the citizens in the Pope's behalf, to think of looking after
brigands. In Peter's privileged patrimony one may rob, murder, and break
every command of the decalogue, and defy the police, provided he obey
the Church. Were I to travel that road again, I would provide myself
with a tinsel watch and appendages, and a sausage carefully rolled up in
paper, to avoid the unpleasantness of meeting such wellwishers
empty-handed.

In another half hour we came to the spurs of the Apennines. The day was
breaking, and its light, I hoped, would lay open many a sweet dell and
many a romantic peak, before evening. These hopes, as, alas! too often
happens in the longer journey of life, were to be suddenly dashed. I
felt a warm, suffocating current of air breathing over the valley, and
looked up to see the furnace whence, as I supposed, it proceeded. This
was the sirocco, the herald of the tempest that soon thereafter burst
upon us. Masses of whitish cloud came rolling over the summits of the
hills; furious gusts came down upon us from the heights; and in a few
minutes we found ourselves contending with a hurricane such as I have
never seen equalled save on one other occasion. The cloud became
fearfully black, and made the lightning the more awful as it touched
with fire the peaks around us, and bathed in an ocean of flame the vines
and hamlets on the hill-side. Terrible peals of thunder broke over us;
and these were followed by torrents of rain, which the furious winds
dashed against our vehicle with the force and noise of a cataract.
We had to make our way up the mountain's side in the face of this
tempest. At times more than a dozen animals were yoked to our
_diligence_,--horses, oxen, and beasts of every kind which we could
press into the service; while half-a-dozen postilions, shouting and
cracking their whips, strove to urge the motley cavalcade onward. Still
we crept up only by inches. The road in most cases wound over the very
peak of the mountain; and there the tempest, rushing upon us from all
sides at once, threatened to lay our vehicle, which shook and quivered
in the blast, flat on its side, or toss it into the valley below. The
storm continued to rage with unabated violence from day-break till
mid-day; and, by favour of horses, bullocks, and postilions, we kept
moving on at the rate of two miles an hour, now climbing, now
descending, well knowing that at every summit a fresh buffeting awaited
us.

I had as my companions on this journey, two Russian gentlemen, with whom
afterwards, at several points of my tour, I came into contact. They were
urbane and intelligent men, full of their own country and of the Czar,
yet professing great respect for England, which they had just visited,
and looking down with a contempt they were at little pains to conceal,
upon the Frenchmen and Italians among whom they were moving. They
possessed the sobriety of mind, the turn for quiet, shrewd observation,
in short, much of the physical and intellectual stamina, of Englishmen,
with just a shade less of the exquisite polish which marks the latter
wherever they are met with. These, no doubt, were favourable specimens
of the Russian nation; but it is such men who give the tone to a State,
while the masses below execute their designs. I have ever since felt
that, should we ever meet that people on the field of battle, the
contest would be no ordinary one. I recollect one of these gentlemen
meeting me on the streets of Rome some weeks afterwards, and informing
me that he had been the day before to visit the ball on the top of St
Peter's, and that he had been delighted at seeing his Emperor's name, in
his Emperor's own handwriting, inside the ball, with a few lines beneath
the signature, stating that he had stood in that ball, and had there
prayed for Mother Holy Russia,--a fact full of significance.

About mid-day we came, wet, and weary, and cold, to the Duana on the
Tuscan frontier, where was a poor inn, at which, after our passports had
been viséed, and our trunks and carpet-bags plumbed, we dined. There
were some twenty of us at table; a priest taking the top, and the
_conducteur_ the bottom. I remember that two persons of the party kept
their hats on at table, and that these were the priest and a poor
country lad,--the priest because he presided perhaps, and the countryman
because, not knowing the etiquette of the point, he wisely determined to
follow in that, as in greater matters, the priest. Our dinner consisted
of coarse broth, black bread, buffalo beef, and wine of not the sweetest
flavour; but what helped us was an excellent appetite, for we had not
breakfasted beyond a few chestnuts and grapes picked up at the poor
villages through which we passed. We obtained, however, an hour's
shelter from the elements.

We resumed our journey, and in about an hour's ride we gained the
central chain of the Apennines. Happily the tempest had moderated
somewhat; for this, lying midway between the two seas, is ordinarily the
stormiest point of the pass. We crossed it, however, with less
inconvenience than we had looked for. The summits, which had hitherto
been conical, with vines straggling up their sides, now became rounded,
or ran off in serrated lines, with sides scarred with tempests and
strewn with stones. The scenery was bleak and desolate, as that of the
Grampian pass leading by Spittal of Glenshee to Dee-side. But as we
continued our descent, the richly wooded glens returned; the clouds
rose; and at one time I ventured to hope that I should yet have my first
sight of Florence under a golden sky, and that Milton's description
might, after all, be applicable to this day of storms:--

 "As when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds
 Ascending, while the north wind sleeps, o'erspread
 Heaven's cheerful face, the low'ring element
 Scowls o'er the darken'd landskip snow or shower;
 If chance the radiant sun, with farewell sweet,
 Extend his evening beam, the fields revive,
 The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds
 Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings."

But the hope was short-lived: no Florence was I to see that night; nor
was note of bird to gladden the dells. The mists again fell, and hid in
premature night those fine valleys, so famous in Florentine history,
which we were now approaching. We wound round hills, traversed deep
ravines, heard on every side the thunder of the swollen torrents, and,
when the parting vapour permitted, had glimpses of the luxuriant woods
of myrtle and laurel that clothe these valleys,--

 "Where round some mouldering tower pale ivy creeps,
 And low-brow'd rocks hang nodding o'er the deeps."

At last we found ourselves on the banks of a broad and swollen
river,--the Save,--with no means of transit save a dismantled bridge,
so sorely shattered by the flood, that it was an even question whether
our vehicle might not, like the last straw on the dromedary's back, sink
the structure outright.

We dismounted, and, by the help of lights, measured first the bridge,
and next the _diligence_, and found that the breadth of the former
exceeded that of the latter by just two inches. The passengers passed on
foot; the _diligence_, with the baggage, came after; and so all arrived
safely on the other side. Our first care was to assemble a council of
war in the poor inn which stood on the spot, and deliberate what next to
do.

The _conducteur_ opened the debate. "We had," he said, "twenty miles of
road still before us; the way lay through deep ravines, and over
torrents which the rains must have rendered impassable: it would be long
past midnight till we should reach Florence,--if we should ever reach
it: his opinion was, therefore, that we ought to stay where we were;
nevertheless, if we insisted, he would go on at all risks." So
counselled our leader; and if we wanted an argument on the other side,
we had only to look around. The walls of the inn were naked and black;
the floor was covered inch-deep with slime, the deposit of the flood
which had that day broke into the dwelling; and the place was evidently
unequal to the "entertainment" of such a number of "men and horses" as
had thus unexpectedly been thrown upon it. It is not wonderful, in these
circumstances, that a small opposition party sprung up, headed by an
English lady, whose delicate slippers were never made for such a floor
as that on which she now stood. She could see no danger in going on, and
urged us to set forward. Better counsels prevailed, however; and we
resolved to endure the evils we knew, rather than adventure on those we
knew not.

The next matter to be negotiated was supper, of which the aspect of the
place gave no great promise. The landlady was a thin, wiry, black,
voluble Tuscan. "Have you beef?--Have you cheese?--Have you
macaroni?"--inquired several voices in succession. "Oh, she had all
these, and a great many dainties besides, in the morning; but the
flood,--the flood!" The same flood, however, which had swept off our
hostess's larder, had swept in a great deal of good company, and she was
evidently resolved on setting the one evil over against the other. She
now showered upon us a long, rapid, and vehement address; and he who has
not heard the Tuscan discourse does not know what volubility is. "What
does she say?" I inquired at one of my two Russian friends. "She says
very many words," he replied, "but the meaning is moneys, moneys." "Have
you any coffee?" I asked. "Oh, coffee! delightful coffee; but it had
gone sailing down the flood." "And it carried off the eggs too, I
suppose?" "No; I have eggs." We resolved to sup on eggs. A fire of logs
was kindled up stairs, and a table was extemporized out of some deals.
In a quarter of an hour in came our supper,--black bread, fried eggs,
and a skein of wine. We fell to; but, alack! what from the smut of the
chimney and the dust of the pan, the eggs were done in the _chiaro
scuro_ style; the wine had so villanous a twang, that a few sips of it
contented me; and the bread, black as it was, was the only thing
palatable. I got the landlady persuaded to boil me an egg; and though
the Italian peasants only dip their eggs in hot water, and serve them up
raw, it was preferable to the conglomerate of the pan. We made merry,
however, over our poor meal and the grateful warmth of the fire; and
somewhere towards midnight we entertained the question of going to bed.
We had avoided the topic as long as possible, from a foreboding that our
hostess would present us with some rueful tale of blankets lost in the
flood. Besides, we were not without misgivings that, should the clouds
return and the river rise as before, house and all might follow the
other things down the stream, and no one could tell where we might find
ourselves on awakening. On broaching the subject, however, we found to
our delight, that cribs, couches, shakedowns, and all sorts of
contrivances, with store of cloaks, garments, and blankets, had been got
ready for our use.

We were told off into parties; and the first to be sorted were the two
Russians, an Italian, and myself. We four were shown into a room, which,
to our great surprise, contained two excellent four-posted beds, one of
which was allotted to the two Russian gentlemen, and the other to the
Italian and myself. Our mode of turning in was somewhat novel. The
Russians put away simply their greatcoats, and lay down beneath the
coverlet. My bed-fellow the Italian took up a position for the night by
throwing himself, as he was, on the top of the bed-clothes. Not
approving of either mode, I slipped off both greatcoat and coat, and,
covering myself with the blankets, soon forgot in sleep all the mishaps
of the day.

The voice of the _conducteur_ shouting at the door of our apartment
awakened us before day-break. Our company mustered with what haste they
could, and we again betook us to the road,

 "While the still morn went out with sandals gray."

The path lay along the banks of the torrent Carza, and the valley we
found frightfully scarred by the flood of the former day. Fierce
torrents rushing from the hills had torn the fences, ploughed up the
road, piled up hillocks of mud among the vineyards, and covered with
barren sand, or strewn with stones, many an acre of fine meadow. Had we
attempted the path in the darkness, our course must have found a speedy
termination. At length, ascending a steep hill, we found ourselves
overlooking the valley of the Arno.

Every traveller taxes his descriptive powers to the utmost to paint the
view from this hill-top; and I verily believe that, seen under a
cloudless sky, it is one of the most enchanting landscapes in the world.
The numberless conical hills,--the white villas and villages, which lie
as thick as if the soil had produced them,--the silvery stream of the
Arno,--the rich chestnut and olive woods,--the domes of the Italian
Athens,--the songs,--the fragrance,--and the great wall of the Apennines
bounding all,--must present a picture of rare magnificence. But I saw it
under different conditions, and must needs describe it as it appeared.

Sub-Apennine Italy was before me, and it seemed the Italy I had dreamed
of, could I only see it; but, alas! it was blotted with mists, and
overshadowed by a black canopy of cloud. Outspread, far as the eye could
extend southward, was a landscape of ridges and conical tops, separated
by winding wreaths of white mist, giving to the country the aspect of an
ocean broken up into creeks, and bays, and channels, with no end of
islands. The hills were covered to their very summits with the richest
vegetation; and the multitude of villages sprinkled over them lent them
an air of great animation. The great chain of the Apennines, with
rolling masses of cloud on its summits, ran along on the east, and
formed the bounding wall of the prospect. Below us there floated on the
surface of the mist an immense dome, looking like a balloon of huge size
about to ascend into the air. It did not ascend, however; but,
surrounded by several tall shafts and towers which rose silently out of
the mist, it remained suspended over the same spot. Like a buoy at sea
affixed to the place where some noble vessel lies entombed, this dome
told us that engulphed in this ocean of vapour lay FLORENCE, with her
rich treasures of art, and her many stirring recollections and
traditions.



CHAPTER XIX.

FLORENCE AND ITS YOUNG EVANGELISM.

     Beauty of Position--Focus of Italian Art--Education on the Æsthetic
     Principle--Effects as shown in the Character and Manners of the
     Florentines--The result not Civilization, but Barbarism--The
     Artizans of Britain surpass the Florentines in Civilization--Early
     English Scholars at Florence--Man's Power for
     Good--Savonarolo--History of present Religious Movement in
     Tuscany--Condition of Tuscan Government and Priesthood prior to
     1848--Attempts to introduce Religious Books--The Priests compel the
     Government to interfere--The Revolution of 1848--The Bible
     translated and seized--Visit of Vaudois Pastors--Secret Religious
     Press--Work now carried on by the Converts--Denunciation of DEATH
     for Bible Reading--Great Increase of Converts
     notwithstanding--Present State and Prospects of Movement--Leave
     Florence--Beauty of the Vale of the Arno--Pisa--Arrive at Leghorn.


Of Florence "the Beautiful," I must say that its beauty appeared scarce
equal to its fame. In an age when the capitals of northern Europe were
of wood, the Queen of the Arno may have been without a rival on the
north of the Alps; but now finer streets, handsomer squares, and nobler
façades, may be seen in any of our second-rate towns. But its dome, by
Brunelleschi, the largest in the world,--its tall campanile,--its
baptistry, with its beautiful gates,--and its public statuary,--are
worthy of all admiration. Its environs are superb.

Florence is sweetly embosomed in an amphitheatre of mountains, of the
most lovely forms and the richest and brightest colouring. Castles and
convents crown their summits; while their slopes display the pillar-like
cypress, the gray olive, the festooned vine, with a multitude of
embowered villas. On the north-east, right in the fork of the Apennines,
lie the bosky and wooded dells of Valombrosa. On the north, seated on a
pyramidal hill, is the ancient Fiesole, which the genius of Milton has
touched and immortalized. On the west are the spacious lawns and parks
of the Grand Duke; while the noble valley runs off to the south-west,
carpeted with vines, or covered with chestnut woods, with the Arno
stealing silently through it in long reaches to the sea. During my stay,
the girdling Apennines were tipped with the snows of winter; and when
the sun shone out, they formed a gleaming circlet around the green
valley, like a ring of silver enclosing an enormous emerald. I saw the
sun but seldom, however. The bad weather which had overtaken me amid the
Apennines descended with me into the valley of the Arno; and murky
clouds, with torrents of rain, but too often obscured the sky. But I
could fancy the delicious beauty of a summer eve in Florence, with the
still balmy air enwrapping the purple hills, the tall cypresses, the
domes, and the gently stealing waters. In spring the region must be a
very paradise. Indeed, spring is seldom absent from the banks of the
Arno; for though at times savage Winter is heard growling amid the
Apennines, he dare seldom venture farther than midway down their slopes.

I cannot recall the past glories of Florence, or even touch on Cosmo's
"immortal century;" I cannot speak of its galleries, so rich in
painting, so unrivalled in statuary; nor can I enter its Pitti palace,
with its hanging gardens; or the city churches, with their store of
frescoes and paintings; or its Santa Crocé, with its six mighty
tombs,--those even of Dante, Galileo, Machiavelli, Michael Angelo,
Alfieri, Leonardo Aretino. The size of Florence brings all these objects
within a manageable distance; and, during my stay of well-nigh a week, I
visited them, as any one may do, almost every day. But every traveller
has entered largely into their description, and I pass them over, to
touch on other things more rarely brought into view.

Florence is the focus of Italian art; and here, if anywhere, one can see
the effect of educating a population solely on the æsthetic principle.
The Florentines have no books, no reading-rooms, no public lectures, no
preaching in their churches even, bating the occasional harangue of a
monk. They are left to be trained solely by fine pictures and lovely
statues. From these they are expected to learn their duties as men and
as citizens. The sole employment of the people is to produce these
things; their sole study, to be able to admire them. The result is not
civilization, but barbarism. Nor can it well be otherwise. We find the
"beautiful" abundantly in nature, but never dissociated from the
"useful;" teaching us that it cannot be safely sought but in union with
what is true and good; and that we cannot make it "an end" without
reversing the whole constitution of our nature. When a people make the
love of "the beautiful" their predominant passion, they rapidly decline
in the better and nobler qualities. The beautiful yields only enjoyment;
and those who live only to enjoy soon become intensely selfish. That
enjoyment, moreover, is immediate, and so affords no room for the
exercise of patience and foresight. A race of triflers arise, who think
only of the present hour. They are wholly undisciplined in the higher
qualities of mind,--in perseverance and self-control; and, being
withdrawn from the contemplation of facts and principles, they become
incapable of attending to the useful duties of life, and are wholly
unable to rise to the higher efforts of virtue and patriotism. The
Italian Governments, for their own ends, have restricted their subjects
to the fine arts, but at the expense of the trade, the agriculture, and
the civilization, of their dominions. The fabric of British power was
not raised on the æsthetic principle. Take away our books, and give us
pictures; shut up our schools and churches, and give us museums and
galleries; instead of our looms and forges, substitute chisels and
pencils; and farewell to our greatness. The artizan of Birmingham or
Glasgow is a more civilised man than the same class in the Italian
cities. His dwelling, too, displays an amount of comfort and elegance
which few in Italy below the rank of princes, and not always they, can
command. The condition of the Italian people shows conclusively that the
predominating study of "the beautiful" has a most corrupting and
enfeebling effect. In fact, their pictures have paved the way for their
tyrants; and when one marks their demoralizing effects, he feels how
salutary is the restriction of the Decalogue against their use in Divine
worship. If pictures and images lead to idolatry in the Church, their
exclusive study as infallibly produces serfdom in the State.

In the early dawn of the Reformation, several of our own countrymen
visited the city of the Medici, that they might have access to the works
of antiquity which Cosmo had collected, and enjoy the converse of the
learned men that thronged his palace. "William Selling," says D'Aubigné,
"a young English ecclesiastic, afterwards distinguished at Canterbury by
his zeal in collecting valuable manuscripts,--his fellow-countrymen,
Grocyn, Lilly, and Latimer, 'more bashful than a maiden,'--and, above
all, Linacre, whom Erasmus ranked above all the scholars of Italy,--used
to meet in the delicious villa of the Medici, with Politian,
Chalcondyles, and other men of learning; and there, in the calm evenings
of summer, under that glorious Tuscan sky, they dreamt romantic visions
of the Platonic philosophy. When they returned to England, these learned
men laid before the youth of Oxford the marvellous treasures of the
Greek language." We are repaying the debt, by sending to that land a
better philosophy than any these learned men ever brought from it. This
leads us to speak of the religious movement in progress in Tuscany.

After all, man's power for evil is extremely limited. The very opposite
is the ordinary estimate. When we mark the career of a conqueror like
Napoleon, or the withering effects of an organization like that of Rome,
and compare these with the feeble results of a preacher like Savonarola,
whose body the fire reduced to ashes, and whose disciples persecution
speedily scattered, we say that man's power to destroy his species is
almost omnipotent,--his power to benefit them scarce appreciable. But
spread out the long cycles of history and the long ages of the world,
and you learn that the triumphs of evil, though sudden, are temporary,
and those of truth slow but eternal. A true word spoken by a single man
has in it more power than armies, and will, in the long run, do more to
bless than all that tyrannies can do to blight mankind. Savonarola,
feeble as he seemed, and unprotected as he was, wielded a power greater
than that of Rome. The truths sown by the preacher on the banks of the
Arno so many centuries ago are not yet dead. They are springing up; and,
long after Rome shall have passed away, they will be a source of
liberty, of civilization, of arts, and of eternal life, to his
countrymen.

A political storm heralded the quiet spring-time of evangelical truth
which has of late blessed that land. Prior to 1848, although there had
been no change for the better in the law, a very considerable degree of
practical liberty was enjoyed by the subjects of Tuscany. The Tuscans
are naturally a quiet, well-behaved people; the Grand Duke was an easy,
kind-hearted man; his Government was exceedingly mild; and, as he
conducted himself towards his people like a father, he was greatly
beloved by them. Tuscany at that period was universally acknowledged to
be the happiest province of Italy.

The priesthood of those days were a good-natured, easy set of men also.
They had never known opposition. They could not imagine the possibility
of anything occurring to endanger their power, and therefore were
exceedingly tolerant in the exercise of it. They were an illiterate and
ill-informed race. An Abbatte of their own number assured Dr Stewart, so
far back as 1845, that there was not one amongst them, from the
Archbishop downwards, who could read Hebrew, nor half-a-dozen who could
be found among the upper orders who could read Greek. They were masters
of as much Latin as enabled them to get through the mass; but they were
wholly unskilled in the modern tongues of Europe, and entire strangers
to modern European literature. Though poorly paid, they durst not eke
out their means of subsistence by entering into any trade. Many of them
were fain to become major domos in rich families, and might be seen
chaffering in the markets in the public piazza, and weighing out flour,
coffee, and oil to the servants at home. No priest can say more than one
mass a-day; and for that he is paid one lira, or eightpence sterling.

Such being the state of matters, little notice was taken of what foreign
Protestants might be doing. The priests were secure in their ignorance,
and deemed it impossible that any attempt would be made to introduce the
diabolical heresies of Luther among their orthodox flocks. Indeed,
these flocks were removed almost beyond the reach of contamination, not
so much by the vigilance of the priests, as by their own ignorance and
bigotry. The degree of popular enlightenment may be judged of from the
following circumstance which happened to Dr Stewart, and of which the
Doctor himself assured me Soon after his first coming into Tuscany in
1845, he came into contact with a countryman, who, on being told that he
was a Protestant minister, began instantly to scrutinize his lower
extremities, to ascertain whether he had cloven hoofs. The priests had
told the people that Protestants were just devils in disguise.

The Government, I have said, was a mild one. It was more: it was
affected with the usual Italian sluggishness and indolence,--the _dolce
far niente_; and accordingly it winked at innumerable ongoings, so long
as these did not attract public attention. Bibles and religious
Protestant works were introduced secretly, the Government knowing it,
but winking at it, as the Church did not complain. The arrest of the
deputation from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to the
Holy Land in 1839 was an exception to what I have now stated, but such
an exception as confirms the general statement. The deputation, with the
ignorance of us Britishers abroad for the first time, imagined that
because Leghorn was a free port, they were free to give away Bibles,
tracts, and all kinds of religious books; and accordingly they made
vigorous use of their time. Scarcely had they stepped on shore when they
commenced a liberal distribution of Bibles, books on the "Evidences,"
and other valuable works, among the boatmen, facchini, and beggars. It
did not occur to them, that of those to whom they gave these books, few
could read, and none were able to appreciate them. Many persons who
received these books carried them to the priests, who, confounded at
the suddenness as well as the boldness of the assault, carried them to
the police, and the police to the Government; and before the deputation
had been an hour and a half in Thomson's hotel, they were under arrest.
It was the Church which compelled the Government to interfere; and it is
the Church which is now driving forward the civil power in its mad
career of persecution. As a proof that we bring no heavier charge
against the priests than they deserve, we may mention, that in 1849 Dr
Stewart was summoned to appear before the delegate of Government, to
answer for having allowed one or two Italian Protestant ministers to
preach in his pulpit. The delegate informed him that the Government was
not taking this step of its own accord, but that the Archbishop of
Florence was compelling the Government to put the law in force, and that
the Archbishop was the prosecutor in the case.

The old statute of Ferdinand I., which allows to foreigners the full
exercise of their religion within the city of Leghorn, was taken
advantage of to open the Scotch church there. This was in 1845. It was
two years after this,--in the winter of 1847-48,--that the religious
movement first developed itself,--full six months before the revolutions
and changes of 1848. The work was at first confined almost entirely to a
handful of foreigners--Captain Pakenham; M. Paul, a Frenchman, and the
Swiss pastor in Florence;---- at----; and Mr Thomson, Vice-Consul at
Leghorn. Count Guicciardini was the only Florentine connected with the
movement. It was resolved to print and circulate such books as were
likely to pass the censorship, and might be openly sold by all
booksellers. The censor of that day was a remarkably liberal man, and he
gave his consent very willingly. Five or six little volumes were printed
in that country; but the people were not yet prepared for such a step;
the books lay unsold, and were got into circulation only by being given
away as presents. But the very fact that the friends of the movement had
been able to print and publish such works openly at Florence, with the
approbation of the censor, greatly encouraged them. It was next proposed
to attempt to get the censor's approbation to an edition of the New
Testament; and the work was before him waiting his imprimatur, when the
revolutions of 1848 broke over Italy with the suddenness of one of its
own thunder-storms.

I cannot go particularly into the changes that followed, and which are
known to my readers through other sources,--the flight of the Grand
Duke,--the new Tuscan Constitution,--the free press. The political for a
time buried the religious. Captain Pakenham, taking advantage of the
liberty enjoyed under the republic, commenced printing an edition of
Martini's Bible (the Romanist version), believing that it would be more
acceptable than Diodati's (the Protestant version). Before he had got
the book put into circulation, the re-action commenced, the Grand Duke
returned, and the work was seized. When engaged in making the seizure,
the gendarmes pressed a young apprentice printer to tell them whether
there were any more copies concealed. The lad replied that he had only
one suggestion to offer, which was, that, now they had seized the book,
they should seize the author too. And who is he? eagerly inquired the
gendarmes, preparing to start on the chase. Jesus Christ, was the lad's
reply.

Meanwhile the revolution had greatly enlarged the privileges of the
Waldensian Church in Piedmont, and three of her pastors, MM. Malan,
Meille, and Geymonat, arrived in Florence in the winter of 1848-49, for
the purpose of making themselves more familiar with the tongue and
accent of the Tuscans, in order to be able to avail themselves of the
greater openings of usefulness now presented to them, both in their own
country and in central Italy.

They preached occasionally, and attended the prayer-meeting, which now
greatly increased, and which was the only one at this time among the
Florentines. Having by their visit helped forward the good work, these
evangelists, after a six months' stay in Florence, returned to their own
country.

A full year elapsed between the departure of the Waldensian brethren and
the movement among the Florentines to obtain an Italian pastor. After
much deliberation they resolved on this step, and in May 1850 a
deputation set out for the Valleys, which, arriving at La Tour,
prevailed on Professor Malan to accept of the charge at Florence. M.
Malan returned to that city, and, on the 1st of July 1850, began his
ministry, among a little flock of thirty persons, in the Swiss chapel
Via del Seraglio, in which the Grisons had a right to Italian service.
The work now went rapidly forward. Formerly there had been but one
re-union; now there were ten in Florence alone, besides others in the
towns and villages adjoining. M. Malan had service once a fortnight in
Italian; and so large was the attendance, that the chapel, which holds
four hundred, was crowded to the door with Florentine converts or
inquirers. The priests took the alarm. They wrought upon the mind of the
deformed Archduchess,--a great bigot, and sister to the Grand Duke. A
likely tool she was; for she had made a pilgrimage to Rimini, and
offered on the shrine of the winking Madonna a diamond tiara and
bracelet. The result I need not state. The immediate result was, that
the Italian service was put a stop to in January 1851; and the final
result was the banishment of Malan and Geymonat from Tuscany in the May
of that year,--the expulsion of the pastors being accompanied with
circumstances of needless severity and ignominy. Geymonat, after lying
two days in the Bargello of Florence, was brought forth and conducted on
foot by gendarmes, chained like an assassin, to the Piedmontese
frontier. On this miserable journey he was thrust every night into the
common prison, along with characters of the worst description, whose
blasphemies he was compelled to hear. The foul air and the disgusting
food of these places made him sometimes despair of coming out alive; but
he had his recompense in the opportunities which he thus enjoyed of
preaching the gospel to the gendarmes by the way, and to the keepers of
the prisons, some of whom heard him gladly.

The departure of the Vaudois pastors threw the work into the hands of
the native converts, by whom it has been carried on ever since. It is to
be feared that, in the absence of pastors, not a little that is
political is mixed with the religious. It is difficult forming an
estimate of the numbers of the converts and inquirers. They have
meetings in all the towns of Tuscany and Lucca, between whom a constant
intercourse is maintained. Each member subscribes two crazzia a-week for
the purchase of Protestant religious books. To supply these books, two
presses are at work,--one in Turin, the other in Florence. The latter is
a secret press, which the police, with all their efforts, have not been
able to this day to discover. The Bible can be got into Tuscany with
great difficulty; yet the demand for it is greater than ever. The
converts have been tried by every mode of persecution short of death;
yet their numbers grow. The prisons are full with political and
religious offenders; yet fresh arrests continually take place in
Florence.

The first and more notable instance of persecution on which the
Government of Tuscany ventured, after the banishment of Count
Guicciardini and his companions, was the imprisonment of Francesco and
Rosa Madiai, for reading the Word of God in the Italian language. The
sufferings of these confessors turned out for the furtherance of the
Gospel. The attention of many of their own countrymen was drawn to the
cause of their sufferings; and the bigotry of the Grand Duke, or rather
of the Court of Rome, with which the Tuscan Government had entered into
a concordat for the suppression of heresy, was proclaimed before all
Europe. A Protestant deputation visited Florence to intercede in behalf
of these confessors; but their plea found so little favour with the
Grand Duke, that he immediately issued a decree, reviving an old law
which makes all offences against the religion of the State punishable
_by death_. To provide for carrying the decree into effect, a guillotine
was imported from Lucca, and an executioner was hired at a salary of ten
pounds a month. As if this were not sufficiently explicit, the Grand
Duke told his subjects that he was "_determined to root out
Protestantism from his State, though he should be handed down to
posterity as a monster of cruelty_." Neither the spectacle of the
guillotine nor the terrible threat of the Grand Duke could arrest the
progress of the good work. The Bible was sought after, and read in
secret; and the numbers who left the communion of the Romish Church grew
and multiplied daily. In the beginning of 1853, the Protestants, or
Evangelicals as they prefer to call themselves in Tuscany, were
estimated at many thousands. I doubt not that this estimate was correct,
if viewed as including all who had separated their interests from the
Church of Rome; but I just as little doubt that a majority of these, if
brought to the test, rather than suffer would have denied the Gospel.
Many of them knew it only as a political badge, not as a _new life_.
But, on the judgment of those who had the best means of knowing, there
were at least _a thousand_ in Tuscany who had undergone a change of
heart, and were prepared to confess Christ on the scaffold. To hunt out
these peaceful ones, and bring them to punishment, is the grand object
of the priesthood; and in the confessional they have an instrumentality
ready-made for the purpose. Taking advantage of the greater timidity of
the female mind, it has become a leading question with the confessor,
"Does your husband read the Bible? Has he political papers?" Alas!
according to the ancient prophecy, the brother delivers up the brother
to death. I heard of some affecting cases of this sort when I was in
Florence. Of the fifty persons, or thereabouts, who were then in prison
on religious grounds, not a few had been accused by their own relatives,
the accusation being extorted by the threat of withholding absolution.
At the beginning of the English Reformation, with an infernal refinement
of cruelty, children were often compelled to light the faggots which
were to consume their parents; and in Tuscany at this hour, the
trembling wife is compelled, by the threat of eternal damnation, to
disclose the secret which is to consign the husband to a dungeon. The
police are never far from the confessor's box, and wait only the signal
from it, what house to visit, and whom to drag to prison. As with us in
former days, the Bible is secreted in the most unlikely places; it is
read at the dead hour of night; and the prayers and praises that follow
are offered in whispering accents,--for fear of the priests and the
guillotine.

Every subsidiary agency that might further the progress of the truth has
been suppressed by the Government. All the liberal papers have been put
down. They appeared again and again under new names, but only to
encounter, under every form, the veto of the authorities. At last their
whole printing establishments were confiscated. The public press having
been silenced, the secret one continued to speak to the Tuscans from
its hiding-place; and its voice was the more heard that the other was
dumb. Besides Bibles, a variety of religious books have issued from it,
and have been widely circulated. Among the translated works spread among
the Tuscans are D'Aubigné's "History of the Reformation," M'Crie's
"Suppression of the Reformation in Italy," "The Mother's Catechism,"
Watts' "Catechism," "The Pilgrim's Progress," and a variety of religious
tracts. The prohibition of a book by the Government is sure to be
followed by a universal demand for it; and the Government decree is thus
the signal for going to press with a new edition of the forbidden work.
Mr Gladstone's letters on Naples were prohibited by Government; and the
very means adopted to keep the Tuscans ignorant of what Englishmen
thought of the state of Naples, and of the Continent generally, only led
to its being better known. Though not a single copy of these letters was
to be seen in the shops or on the stalls, they found their way into
every one's hands. The same thing happened to Count Guicciardini. The
Government prohibited his statement, and all Florence read it. The
well-known hatred of the priests to the Bible has been its best
recommendation in the eyes of the Tuscans. Thus the Government finds
that it cannot move a step without inflicting deadly damage on its own
interests. Its interposition is fatal only to the cause it seeks to
help. To prohibit a book is to publish it; to bring a man to trial is to
give liberty an opportunity of speaking through his advocate; to cast a
confessor of the Lord Jesus into prison is but to erect a light-house
amidst the Tuscan darkness. The Government and the priesthood find that
their efforts are foiled and their might paralyzed by a mysterious
power, which they know not how to grapple with. The guillotine has stood
unused: not that any scruples of conscience or any feelings of humanity
restrain the priests; fain would they bring every convert to the
scaffold if they dared; but the odium which they well know would attend
such a deed deters them; and they anxiously wait the coming of a time
when it may be safe to do what could not be done at present but at the
risk of damaging, and perhaps ruining, their cause. It does not follow
that the Tuscan priesthood have not the guilt of blood to answer for. If
the confessors of the Gospel in that land are not perishing by the
guillotine, they are pining in prisons, and sinking into the grave, by
reason of the choking stench, the disgusting vermin, and the
insufficient food, to which they are exposed.

But the condition of these victims, perishing unknown and unpitied in
the fangs of an ecclesiastical tyranny, is not the most distressing
spectacle which Tuscany at this hour presents. Theirs is an enviable
state, compared with that of the great body of the people. These occupy
but a larger prison, and groan in yet stronger fetters; while their
captivity is uncheered by any such hope as that which sustains the
Tuscan confessors of the truth. Mistrust of their Church is widely
spread in the country. There is no religion in Tuscany. There is as
little morality. The marriage vow is but little regarded, and the
seducer boasts of his triumphs over married chastity, as if they were
praiseworthy deeds. Thousands have plunged into atheism. Of those who
have not gone this length, the great body are dissatisfied, ill at ease,
without confidence in the doctrines of Rome, but ignorant of a more
excellent way. Straitly shut up, they grope blindfolded round the walls
of their prison-house, wistfully turning their eyes to any ray of light
that strikes in through its crevices. How this state of things may end
is known only to God;--whether in the gradual spread of Gospel light,
and the peaceful fall of that system which has so long enthralled the
intellect and soul of the Tuscans; or whether, as a result of the
growing exasperation and deepening horrors of these bondsmen, they may
give a violent wrench to the pillars of the ecclesiastical and social
fabric, and pull it down upon the heads of themselves and their
oppressors.

I may avail myself of this opportunity of introducing a few recent facts
relative to the analogous work in Genoa; and this I do because these
facts are of a character which may enable the reader more clearly to
conceive of the present religious condition of Italy, and the state of
the movement in that country.

The north of Italy and kingdom of Sardinia, as I have already said,
since the Constitution granted in 1848, is open to the promulgation of
evangelical truth; that is, it may be taught in almost every conceivable
way, provided it is not done offensively or obtrusively. While the
religion of the State is Roman Catholic, there is toleration and liberty
of conscience to all; indeed, there is _no religion_ at all. The king
cares for none of these things, and most of his Ministers are at one
with him. The present Ministry is Liberal; and Count Cavour is, to all
intents and purposes, Radical. It is said that he declares he will never
rest until Sardinia is another England. The Constitution is something
very similar to that of England, and only requires to be developed. The
present Government, however, is more liberal than the Constitution; and
the Constitution gives more liberty than the majority of the people are
yet able to receive: hence collision frequently takes place. Old
statutes are still unrepealed; and the priest party compels the
Government to do things which they are very unwilling to do. For
example, one of the Cereghini was recently tried, and condemned to pay a
fine of two hundred pauls, and go to prison for four months, for having
some little thing to do in publishing a small controversial catechism
against the Romish Church, and vending it rather too openly. An appeal
was made against the sentence, and it stands unexecuted, and will do.
As a matter of law, the executive Government is obliged to take up such
cases and deal with them; and the nobility or priesthood--for they are
one and the same--are ever on the look-out for such cases. The case of
Captain Pakenham, who was expelled from Sardinia, comes under this head.
The Constitution is the same now as it was then; only it is further
developed in the minds of the people, and the same offence would not now
likely meet the same unjust punishment, or create the same stir among
the people, as it did then. But Captain Pakenham need not have been
expelled from the State if our British Ministers in Sardinia had done
their duty; but they are sometimes only too glad to get quit of such men
as Captain Pakenham. If they had protested against the sentence, it
would never have been executed. Such a thing would never have occurred
to an American subject. "British residents or travellers in Italy,"
writes one to us, "will never have any comfort or satisfaction under the
union-jack, until the present race of consuls and plenipotentiaries,
sitting in high places, truckling with petty kings and grand dukes, is
hanged, every one of them. There is an obliging old consul at Rome who
might be exempted."

The following extract from a letter written in March last, and addressed
to ourselves, from the Rev. David Kay, the able pastor of the Scotch
congregation in Genoa, will be read with deep interest. We know none who
knows better than Mr Kay the condition of Sardinia, or is more familiar
with all that has been done and is doing there. What he says of the
moral condition of Genoa may be taken as a fair sample of the other
towns and States of Italy. None of them are superior to Genoa in this
respect, and most of them, we believe, are below it. Alas! the picture
is a sad one.

"Nothing could be more foolish or detrimental to the evangelical work
in Sardinia than for every man and woman who enters the country, to pass
through it or spend a few months even, to commence 'doing something,' as
they generally express it. They scatter Bibles and tracts broad-cast,
without knowing anything of the people they give them to; and
nine-tenths of these books are carried forthwith to the priest or the
pawnshop, generally the former, and are burned. This does not affect
them much, perhaps, because they will soon be off; but it renders the
position of those stationed in the country very precarious. The priest
likes very much to collect all the Bibles, Testaments, tracts, &c., into
a heap, and, before setting the match to them, bring some of his English
friends to see them. This is no exaggeration. At least two such cases
have come under my notice. Knowledge and prudence are very essential
qualities,--some knowledge of the country and its people, and some
little common sense to use that knowledge well. If our British
travellers and residents would give the Italians a better example of how
the Sabbath ought to be kept, and is kept, by the serious in Britain,
and let precept for the most part alone,--the real missionary work to be
done by people competent,--generally speaking, they would advance the
work far more than by the way they often adopt. We talk of liberal
Sardinia; but _liberal_ is a relative term, and all who know Sardinia
will only apply it relatively. When an injudicious thing is done, or
even when a lawful thing is done injudiciously, we soon see where the
liberty of Sardinia is. It is as lawful for a man to have a thousand
Italian Bibles in his house as to have a thousand copies of 'Rob Roy.'
Both packages come regularly through the custom-house, and duty is paid
for them; and yet the other day in Nice several houses were searched by
the gendarmes, and all Bibles and tracts carried away. This is contrary
to the Constitution of the country, and yet it was done. Englishmen will
make a cry about it, and demand justice (a thing generally sold to the
highest bidder); but it is no use,--only harm will be done by it. Every
day things in _kind_ differing in _degree_ are done throughout the
State. The long and short of the matter is this; the minds of the people
must open, and be allowed time to open gradually, ere the liberal
Constitution of Sardinia can be applied to its full extent. And it is
the forgetting this, or not knowing it, that usually brings these things
about. Something, perhaps a very common thing, and quite lawful, and
done every day, is done in a foolish way, and a foolish thing is done by
the executive Government to meet it. It is not the present
generation,--it has been too long under the yoke,--but the rising
generation, that will exhibit the new Constitution. The grand secret is
to do as much as possible,--and almost anything may be done,--and say
nothing about it. It is truly interesting to watch the gradual opening
up of the long shut kingdom, and very exciting to give every day a
stronger blow to the wedge that opens it. I remember well, when I came
here, nearly two years ago, Italian Bibles could not be got into Genoa,
as other goods, by paying the duty on them, although it was perfectly
lawful then, as now, to bring them in that way. For a year past we have
got all the Bibles the Bible-senders of Britain will send us. Hundreds
or thousands of them can be brought through the custom-house without any
difficulty. We are anxiously waiting the arrival of six thousand at this
moment. And yet a month has not passed since four thousand religious
books,--less mischievous by far than the Bible,--were sent from our port
to Marseilles. They could not be landed in any part of his Majesty's
dominions. From these facts you will see that we live in a kingdom of
practical contradictions.

"The priests, meanwhile, are by no means idle. They are instructing
their people in the dogmas of their Church; and for this they have
classes in the evening,--the zealous at least, among them have. Apart
from their petty persecution in preventing us getting a place of worship
(the affair of the 'Madre di Dio' you know all about, as also their
general story of every convert being paid), they send missionaries to
England once or twice a-year, (there is a priest whom I know just now
returned), who bring, generally prostitutes, but women of a better order
if they can find them, put them into a convent, to train, and, when
trained, send them out to strengthen the Catholics here in their faith,
and, if possible, bring back to the fold those who have gone to
Geymonat; and highly accomplished trustworthy dames they send home to
England to bring out others, or remain there and proselytise; or they
send them here and there among the English on the Continent, sometimes
to profess one thing and sometimes another. A few weeks ago one tried
her skill upon us residing in Genoa, and partially succeeded. Her tale
was, that she was the daughter of an English clergyman, who came abroad
with her aunt, travelling in great style of course, and was put into a
convent, and kept there against her will; and now she had contrived to
make her escape, and perfectly trembled when she saw a priest, or even
heard one named; and, although of high family, was ready to teach or do
anything in an English family, to be out of reach of the priests. The
things she told were most harrowing, and some of them very true-like.
One English gentleman here thought of taking her into his family as
governess, until he should get her father to come for her. I was asked
to visit her at his house, and hear her woeful history. I went; but the
line 'Timeo Danaos,' &c., was ever forcing itself upon me as I walked
musingly along to the house, which was a little distance out of town.
While hearing her long unconnected string of falsehoods, the thing that
astonished me was, why the Roman Catholic priests should have chosen
such an ugly woman to do such a piece of work; and not only had she the
most forbidding appearance of any woman I ever saw, but she was the most
illiterate; not a single sentence came correctly from her lips, and, in
pronunciation, the letter 'h' ever was prefixed to the 'aunt' and the
'Oxford,'--the very quintescence of Cockneyism. It was clear to my mind
that she had 'done' the priests, and the sequel proves my suspicions to
be correct. That day before she left, she discovered that she was
suspected, and very prudently threw off her mask very soon after. Her
correct history we are only getting bit by bit; but all we have learned
convinces us that she has deceived the Italian priest, who knows very
little of English, by persuading him that she is the daughter of an
English clergyman, and very highly connected in England. You have enough
of the story to see the kind of plot regularly carried on. What they
expected to gain by passing her off upon us, we cannot tell, unless that
they wished to know earlier and more fully our movements. There is an
English pervert here just now,--a weak fool, but an educated one,--on a
mission to Geymonat's people, to assure them that they have committed a
great sin. Having proved both systems of religion, he can judge, and
there is no comfort whatever in the Protestant. He has taken up his
abode here, and is prosecuting his mission vigorously.

"A traveller passing through Genoa, and visiting the churches,
particularly on a feast-day, would fancy that the Genoese, or, indeed,
the Catholics in Sardinia generally, are the most devoted Catholics in
Italy. Many have gone away with that impression. The reason is this. All
who attend the churches in Genoa do so from choice,--from religious
motives; and even feel, in these days of heresy, that they are wearing
the martyr's crown,--standing firmly for the true Church, while all
without are scoffers; whereas in the Tuscan, Roman, and Neapolitan
States, people attend church from compulsion. If they are not in church
on certain days, and at mass, they are immediately suspected. I believe
the male population of Italy is one moving mass of infidelity. Sardinia
is professedly so. In Genoa not one young man in a hundred attends
church. If you see him there, it is to select a pretty woman for his own
purposes. Morality is at a very low ebb,--lower far than you can have
any idea of. Every man is sighing after his neighbour's wife; and he
confesses it, and talks as gallantly of his conquest as if he had fought
on the heights of Alma. A stranger walking the streets in the evening
would not suppose this, for he would not be attacked, as in a town in
Britain; but they have their dens, and licensed ones too. Shocking as it
may appear, these houses are regularly licensed by the Government; and
medical men visit them once every week for sanitary purposes. The
defilement of the marriage-bed is little or nothing thought of. Marriage
here is generally a money speculation, and is very frequently brought
about through means of regular brokers or agents, who receive a per
centage on the bride's dowry. A woman without a pretty good dowry has
very little chance of a husband, unless she is young and very pretty,
and willing to accept an old man. There are very few women in Geymonat's
congregation. The converts are nearly all men."

While we rejoice in the spread of the light, we cannot but marvel at the
mysterious connection which may be traced between the first and the
second reformations in Italy, as regards the spots where this divine
illumination is now breaking out. We have already adverted to the
progress of the Gospel in the sixteenth century in so many of the
cities of Italy, and the long roll of confessors and martyrs which every
class of her citizens contributed to furnish. Not only did these men, in
their prisons and at their stakes, sow the seeds of a future harvest,
but they appear to have earned for the towns in which they lived, and
the families from which they were sprung, a hereditary right, as it
were, to be foremost in confessing that cause at every subsequent era of
its revival. We cannot mark but with a feeling of heartfelt gratitude to
God, in whose sight the death of his saints is precious, and who, by the
eternal laws of his providence, has ordained that the example of the
martyr shall prove more powerful and more lasting than that of the
persecutor, that on the _self-same spots_ where these men died of old,
the same mighty movement has again broken out. And not only are the same
cities of Turin, and Milan, and Venice, and Genoa, and Florence,
figuring in this second reformation of Italy, but the same families and
the same names from which God chose his martyrs in Italy three centuries
ago are again coming forward, and offering themselves to the dungeon,
and the galleys, and the scaffold, in the cause of the Gospel. Does not
this finely illustrate the indestructible nature of truth, which enables
it to survive a long period of dormancy and of apparent death, and to
flourish anew from what seemingly was its tomb? And does it not also
shed a beautiful light upon the order of the providence of God, whereby
he remembers and revisits the seed of the righteous man, and keeps his
mercy to a thousand generations of them that fear Him?

On Wednesday the 6th of November, after a stay of well-nigh a week in
Florence, I took my departure by rail for Pisa. The weather was still
wild and wintry, and the Apennines were white with snow to almost their
bottom. The railway runs along the valley, close to the Arno, which,
swollen with the rains, had flooded the vineyards and meadows in many
places. A truly Italian vale is that of the Arno, whose silvery stream
in ordinary times is seen winding and glistening amid the olives and the
chestnut groves which border its course. When evening came, a deep
spiritual beauty pervaded the region. As we swept along, many a romantic
hill rose beside our path, with its clustering village, its mantling
vines, and its robe of purple shadows; and many a long withdrawing
ravine opened on the right and left, with its stream, and its crags, and
its olives, and its castles. What would we have given for but a minute's
pause, to admire the finer points! But the engine held its onward way,
as if its course had been amidst the most indifferent scenery in the
world. It made amends, however, for the enchanting views which it swept
into oblivion behind, by perpetually opening in front others as lovely
and fascinating. The twilight had set, and the moon was shining
brightly, when we reached the station at Pisa.

The Austrian soldier who kept the gate challenged me as I passed, but I
paid no attention, and hurried on. Had he secured my passport, I would
infallibly have been detained a whole day. I traversed the long winding
streets of the decaying town, crossed the Arno, on which the city
stands, and, coming out on the other side of Pisa, found myself in
presence of its fine ecclesiastical buildings. A moon nearly full, which
seemed to veil while it in reality heightened their beauty, enabled me
to see these venerable edifices to advantage. The hanging tower is a
beautiful pile of white marble; the Cathedral is one of the most
chastely elegant specimens of architecture in all Italy; the baptistry,
too peculiar to be classic, is, nevertheless, a tasteful and elegant
design. Having surveyed these lovely creations of the wealth and genius
of a past age, I returned in time to take my seat in the last train for
Leghorn.

The country betwixt Pisa and the coast is perfectly flat, and the
flooded Arno had converted it into a sea. I could see nothing around me
but a watery waste, above which the railway rose but a few inches. I
felt as if again amid the Lagunes of Venice. After an hour and a half's
riding, we reached Leghorn, where I took up my abode at Thomson's hotel,
so well and so favourably known to English travellers. After my long
sojourn in Italian _albergi_, whose uncarpeted floors, and chinky
windows and doors, are but ill fitted to resist the winds and cold of
winter, I sat down in "Thomson's,"--furnished as it is with all the
comforts of an English inn,--with a feeling of home-comfort such as I
have rarely experienced.



CHAPTER XX.

FROM LEGHORN TO ROME.

     First Sight of the Mediterranean--Embark at Leghorn--Elba--Italian
     Coast--Civita Vecchia--Passport Offices--Aspect and Population of
     Civita Vecchia--Papal Dungeons--Start for Rome--First View of the
     Campagna--Its Desolation--Changed Times--The Postilion--The
     Road--The Milestones--First Sight of the Eternal City--The
     Gate--Desolate Look of the City by Night--The Pope's Custom-House
     and Custom-House Officer.


I rose early next morning, and walked down to the harbour, to have my
first sight of the Mediterranean,--that renowned sea, on whose shores
the classic nations of antiquity dwelt, and art and letters arose,--on
whose waters the commerce of the ancient world was carried on, and the
battles of ancient times fought,--whose scenery had often inspired the
Greek and Latin poets,--and the grandeur of whose storms Inspiration
itself had celebrated. A stiff breeze was blowing, and a white curl
crested the wave, and freckled the deep blue of the waters. The
Mediterranean looked young and joyous in the morning sun, as when it
bore the fleets of Tyre, or heard the victorious shouts of Rome, albeit
it is now edged with mouldering cities, and listens only to the clank of
chains and the sigh of enslaved nations.

Early in the forenoon I waited on the Rev. Dr Stewart, the accomplished
minister of the Free Church in Leghorn. He opened freely to me his ample
stores of information on the subject of Tuscany, and the work in
progress in that country. We called afterwards on Mr Thomas Henderson, a
native of Scotland, but long settled in Leghorn as a merchant. This kind
and Christian man has since, alas! gone to his grave; but the future
historian of the Reformation in Italy will rank him with those pious
merchants in our own land who in former days consecrated their energy
and wealth to the work of furthering the Gospel, and of sheltering its
poor persecuted disciples. After sojourning so long among strange faces
and strange tongues, it was truly pleasant to meet two such
friends,--for friends I felt them to be, though never till that day had
I seen their faces.

At four of the afternoon I embarked in the steamer for Civita Vecchia,
the port of Rome. The vessel I did not like at first: it was dirty,
crowded, and, from some fault in the loading, lurched over while a stiff
breeze was rising. By and by we got properly under weigh, and swept
gallantly over the waves, along the coast, whose precipices and
headlands were getting indistinct in the fading twilight. I walked the
deck till past midnight, watching the moon as she rode high amid the
scud overhead, and the beacon-lights of the island of Elba, as they
gleamed full and bright astern. "What of the night?" I asked the
helmsman. "Buono notte, Signore," was the reply. I descended to my
berth.

I awoke at four of the morning, and found the steamer labouring in a
rolling sea. The sirocco was blowing, and a huge black wave rolled up
before it from the south. The distant coast stretched along on the left,
naked and iron-bound, with the high lands of Etruria rising behind it. I
wondered whether that coast had looked as unkindly to Æneas, when first
he cast anchor on it after long ploughing the deep? We drew towards that
silent shore, where signs of man and his labours we could discover none;
and in an hour or so a small bay opened under the vessel's bows. The
swell was rising every moment, and the steamer made some magnificent
bounds in taking the entrance to the harbour. We entered the port of
Civita Vecchia at six, passing between the two round towers, with their
tiers of guns looking down upon us; and cast anchor in the ample basin,
protected by the lofty walls of the forts, over which the green-topped
waves occasionally looked as if enraged at missing their prey. Here we
were, but not a man of us could land till first our passports had been
submitted to the authorities on shore. The passengers, who were of all
classes, from the English nobleman with his equipage and horses, down to
the lazzaroni of Naples, crowded the deck promiscuously; and amongst
them I was happy to meet again my two Russian friends, with whom I had
shared the same bed-room among the Apennines. In about an hour and a
half we were boarded by a police-officer. Forming us into a row on deck,
and calling our names one by one, this functionary handed to each a
billet, permitting the holder to go ashore, on condition of an instant
compearance at the pontifical police-office. An examination of the
baggage followed. This done, I leaped into one of the small boats which
lay alongside the steamer, and was rowed to the quay at a few strokes,
but for which service I had to recompense the boatman with about as many
pauls. No sooner had I set foot on shore, than the everlasting passport
bother began. The "apostolic consul" at Florence had certified me as
"good for Rome;" the governor of Leghorn had but the day before done the
same; but here were I know not how many officials, all assuring me that
without their signatures in addition, Rome I should never see. First
came the English consul, who graciously gave me--what Lord Palmerston
had already given--permission to travel in the Papal States, charging me
at the same time five pauls. I could not help saying, that it was all
very well for nations that made no pretensions to liberty to sell to
their subjects the right of moving over the earth, but that it appeared
to me to be somewhat inconsistent in Britain to do so. The consul looked
as if he could not bring himself to believe that he had heard aright.
The number of my visa told me that I was the 4318th Englishman who had
entered the port of Civita Vecchia that season. I next took my way to
the French consulate in the town-hall. I found the ante-chamber filled
with Etrurian antiquities, in which the district adjoining Civita
Vecchia on the north is particularly rich; and the sight of these was
more than worth the moderate charge of one paul, which was made for my
visée. At length I got this business off my hand; and, having secured my
seat in the _diligence_ for Rome, I had leisure to take a stroll through
the town.

Civita Vecchia, though the port of Rome, and raised thus above its
original insignificance, is but a poor place. A black hill leans over it
on the north, and a naked beach, dreary and silent, runs off from it on
the south. A small square, overlooked by stately mansions, emblazoned
with the arms of the consuls of the various nations, forms its nucleus,
from which numerous narrow and wriggling streets run out, much like the
claws of a crab, from its round bulby body. It smells rankly of garlic
and other garbage, and would be much the better would the Mediterranean
give it a thorough cleansing once a-week. Its population is a motley and
worshipful assemblage of priests, monks, French soldiers, facini, and
beggars; and it would be hard to say which is the idlest, or which is
the dirtiest. They seemed to be gathered promiscuously into the
caffés,--priests, facini, and all,--rattling the dice and sipping
coffee. Every one you come in contact with has some pretext or other for
demanding a paulo of you. The Arabs of the desert are not more greedy of
_backsheish_. A gentleman, as well dressed as I was at least, made up to
me when I had taken my seat in the _diligence_, and, after talking five
minutes on indifferent subjects, ended by demanding a paulo. "For what?"
I asked, with some little surprise. "For entertaining Signore," he
replied. Yet why blame these poor people? What can they do but beg?
Trade, husbandry, books,--all have fled from that doomed shore.

There are three conspicuous buildings in Civita Vecchia. Two of these
are hotels; the third and largest is a prison. This is one of the State
prisons of the Pope. Rising story above story, and meeting the traveller
on the very threshold of the country, it thrusts somewhat too
prominently upon his notice the Pope's peculiar method of propagating
Christianity,--namely, by building dungeons and hiring French bayonets.
But to do the Pope justice, he is most unwearied in Christianizing his
subjects after his own fashion. His prisons are well-nigh as numerous as
his churches; and if the latter are but thinly attended, the former are
crowded. He is a man "instant in season and out of season," as a good
shepherd ought to be: he watches while others sleep; for it is at night
that his sbirri are most active, running about in the darkness, and
carrying tenderly to a safe fold those lambs which are in danger of
being devoured by the Mazzinian wolves, or ensnared by Bible heretics.
But to be serious,--when one finds as many prisons as churches in a
territory ruled over by a minister of the Gospel, he begins to feel that
there is something frightfully wrong somewhere.

When I passed the fortress of Civita Vecchia, many a noble heart lay
pining within its walls. No fewer, I was assured, than two thousand
Romans were there shut up as galley-slaves, their only crime being, that
they had sought to substitute a lay for a sacerdotal Government,--the
regime of constitutionalism for that of infallibility. In this prison
the renowned brigand Gasperoni, the uncle of the prime minister of the
Pope, Antonelli, had been confined; but, being too much in the way of
English travellers, he was removed farther inland. This man was wont to
complain loudly to those who visited him, of the cruel injustice which
the world had done his fair fame. "I have been held up," he was used to
say, "as a person who has murdered hundreds. It is a foul calumny. I
never cut more than thirty throats in my life." He had had, moreover, to
carry on his profession at a large outlay, having to pay the Pope's
police an hundred scudi a-month for information.

At last mid-day came, and off we started for Rome. We trundled down the
street at a tolerable pace; and one could not help feeling that every
revolution of the wheel brought him nearer the Eternal City. Suddenly
our course was brought to an unexpected stop. Another examination of
passports and baggage at the gate! not, I verily believe, in the hope of
finding contraband wares, but of having a pretext to exact a few more
pauls. The half-hour wore through, though wearily. The gate was flung
open; and there lay before us a blackened expanse, stretching far and
wide, dreary and death-like, terminated here by the sea, and there by
the horizon,--the Campagna di Roma. I turned for relief to the ocean,
all angry with tempest as it was; and felt that its struggling billows
were a more agreeable sight than the tomb-like stillness of the plain.
The sirocco was still blowing; and the largest breakers I ever saw were
tumbling on the beach. The only bright and pleasant thing in the
picture was the shining, sandy coast, with its margin of white foam. It
ran off in a noble crescent of fifty miles, and was seen in the far
distance terminating in the low sandy promontory of Fumacina, where the
Tiber falls into the sea. Alas! what vicissitudes had that coast been
witness to! There, where the idle wave was now rolling, rode in other
days the galleys of Rome; and there, where the stifling sirocco was
sweeping the herbless plain, rose the villas of her senators, amid the
bloom and fragrance of the orange and the olive. To that coast Cæsar had
loved to come, to inhale its breezes, and to pass, in the society of his
select friends, those hours which ambition left unoccupied. But what a
change now! There was no sail on that sea; there was no dwelling on that
shore: the scene was lonely and desolate, as if keel had never ploughed
the one, nor human foot trodden the other.

I had seated myself in front of the vehicle, in the hope of catching the
first glimpse of St Peter's, as its dome should emerge above the plain;
but so wretched were our cattle, that though we started at mid-day, and
had only fifty miles of road, night fell long before we reached the
gates of the Eternal City. I saw the country well, however, so long as
daylight lasted. We kept in sight of the shore for twenty-five miles;
and glad I was of it; for the waves, with their crest of snow and voice
of thunder, seemed old friends, and I shuddered to think of plunging
into that black silent wilderness on the left. At the gate of Civita
Vecchia the desolation begins; and such desolation! I had often read
that the Campagna was desolate; I had come there expecting to find it
desolate; but when I saw that desolation I was confounded. I cannot
describe it; it must be seen to be conceived of. It is not that it is
silent;--the Highlands of Scotland are so. It is not that it is
barren;--the sands of Arabia are so. They are as they were and should
be. But not so the Campagna. There is something frightfully unnatural
about its desolation. A statue is as still, as silent, and as cold, as
the corpse; but then it never had life; and while you love to gaze on
the one, the other chills you to the heart. So is it with the Campagna.
While the sands of the desert exhilarate you, and the silence of the
Swiss or Scottish Highlands is felt to be sublime, the desolation of the
Campagna is felt to be unnatural: it overawes and terrifies you. Such a
void in the heart of Europe, and that, too, in a land which was the home
of art,--where war accumulated her spoils, and wealth her
treasures,--and which gave letters and laws to the surrounding
world,--is unspeakably confounding. One's faith is staggered in the past
history of the country. The first glance of the blackened bosom of the
Campagna makes one feel as if he had retrograded to the barbarous ages,
or had been carried thousands and thousands of miles from home, and set
down in a savage country, where the arts had not yet been invented, or
civilization dawned. Its surface is rough and uneven, as if it had been
tumbled about at some former period; it is dotted with wild bushes; and
here and there lonely mounds rise to diversify it. There are no houses
on it, save the post-houses, which are square, tower-like buildings,
having the stables below and the dwellings above. It has its patches of
grass, on which herds depasture, followed by men clothed in sheepskins
and goatskins, and looking as savage almost as the animals they tend. It
is, in short, a wilderness, and more frightful than the other
wildernesses of the earth, because the traveller feels that here there
is the hand of doom. The land lies scathed and blackened under the curse
of the Almighty. To Rome the words of the prophet are as applicable as
to Babylon, whom she resembled in sin, and with whom she is now joined
in punishment: "Because of the wrath of the Lord, it shall not be
inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate. Every one that goeth by
Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues. Cut off the
sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of
harvest. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of
water. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, shall be as when God
overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah: it shall never be inhabited, neither dwelt
in from generation to generation; but wild beasts of the deserts shall
lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and owls
shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there."

About half-way to Rome the road parted company with the shore, and we
turned inland over the plain. The night came on with drifting showers,
which descended in torrents, lashing the naked plain, and battering our
vehicle with the force and noise of a waterspout. And though at length
the moon rose, and looked out at times from the cloud, she had nothing
to show us but houseless, treeless desolation; and, as if scared at what
she saw, she instantly hid her face in another mass of vapour. The
stages were short, and the halts long; for which the postilion had but
too good excuse, in the tangled web of thong and cord which formed the
harnessings of his horses. The harnessing of an Italian _diligence_ is a
mystery to all but an Italian postilion. The postilion, on arriving at a
stage, has to get down, shake himself, stride into the post to announce
his arrival, unharness his horses, lead them deliberately into the
stable, bring out the fresh ones, transfer the same harness to their
backs, put them to, gulp down his glass of brandy, address a few more
last observations to the loiterers, and, finally, light his cigar. He
then mounts with a flourish of his whip; but his wretched nags are not
able to proceed at a quicker trot than from three to four miles an
hour. He meets very probably a brother of the trade, who has been at
Rome, and is returning with his horses. He dismounts on the road,
inquires the news, and mounts again at his pleasure. In short, you are
completely in the postilion's power; and he is quite as much an autocrat
in his way as the Czar himself. He sings, it may be, but his song is the
very soul of melancholy,--

 "Roma, Roma, Roma, non e piu,
 Come prima era."

It needed but a glance at that pale moon, and drifting cloud, and naked
plain, to tell me that "Rome was not now as in her first age."

As the night grew late, the inquiries became more frequent, "Are we not
yet at Rome?" We were not yet at Rome; but we did all that men could
with four, and sometimes six, half-starved animals, bestrode by drowsy
postilions, to reach it. Now we were labouring in deep roads,--now
fording impetuous torrents,--and now jolting along on the hard pavement
of the Via Aurelia. By the glimpses of the moon we could see the
milestones by the roadside, with "ROME" upon them. Seldom has writing
thrilled me so. To find a name which fills history, and which for thirty
centuries has extorted the homage of the world, and still awes it,
written thus upon a common milestone, and standing there amid the
tempest on the roadside, had in it something of the sublime. Was it then
a reality, and not a dream? and should I in a very short time be in Rome
itself,--that city which had been the theatre of so many events of
world-wide influence, and which for so many ages had borne sway over all
the kings and kingdoms of the earth? Meanwhile the night became darker,
and the torrents of rain more frequent and more heavy.

Towards midnight we began to climb a low hill. We could see that there
was cultivation upon it, and, unless we were mistaken, a few villas. We
had passed its summit, and were already engaged in the descent, when a
terrific flash of lightning broke through the darkness, and tipped with
a fiery radiance every object around us. On the left was the old hoary
wall, with a whitish bulby mass hanging inside of it. On the right was a
steep bank, with a few straggling vines dripping wet. The road between,
on which we were winding downwards, was deep and worn. I had had my
first view of Rome; but in how strange a way! In a few minutes we were
standing at the gate.

Some little delay took place in opening it. The moments which one passes
on the threshold of Rome are moments he never can forget. While waiting
there till it should please the guard to open that old gate, the whole
history of the wonderful city on whose threshold I now stood seemed to
pass before my mind,--her kings, her consuls, her emperors,--her
legislators, her orators, her poets,--her popes,--all seemed to stalk
solemnly past, one after one. There was the great Romulus; there was the
proud Tarquin; there was Scylla with his laurel, and Livy with his page,
and Virgil with his lay, and Cæsar with his diadem, and Brutus with his
dagger; there was the lordly Augustus, the cruel Nero, the beastly
Caligula, the warlike Trajan, the philosophic Antoninus, the stern
Hildebrand, the infamous Borgia, the terrible Innocent; and last of all,
and closing this long procession of shades, came one, with shuffling
gait and cringing figure, who is not yet a shade,--Pio Nono. The creak
of the old gate, as the sentinel undid its bolt and threw back its
ponderous doors, awoke me from my reverie.

We were stopped the moment we had entered the gate, and desired to
mount to the guard-room. In a small chamber on the city-wall, seated at
a table, on which a lamp was burning, we found a little tight-made
brusque French officer, busied in overhauling the passports. Declaring
himself satisfied after a slight survey, he hinted pretty plainly that a
few pauls would be acceptable. "Did you ever," whispered my Russian
friend, "see such a people?" We were remounting our vehicle, when a
soldier climbed up, with musket and fixed bayonet, and forced himself in
between my companion and myself, to see us all right to the
custom-house, and to take care that we dropped no counterband goods by
the way. Away we trundled; but the Campagna itself was not more solitary
than that rain-battered and half-flooded street. No ray streamed out
from window; no sound or voice of man broke the stillness; no one was
abroad; the wind moaned; and the big drops fell heavily upon the plashy
lava-paved causeway; but, with these exceptions, the silence was
unbroken; and, to add to the dreariness, the city was in well-nigh total
darkness.

I intently scrutinized the various objects, as the glare of our lamps
brought them successively into view. First there came a range of massive
columns, which stalked past us, wearing in the sombre night an air of
Egyptian grandeur. They came on and on, and I thought they should never
have passed. Little did I dream that this was the piazza of St Peter's,
and that the bulb I had seen by favour of the lightning was the dome of
that renowned edifice. Next we found ourselves in a street of low, mean,
mouldering houses; and in a few moments thereafter we were riding under
the walls of an immense fortress, which rose above us, till its
battlements were lost in the darkness. Then turning at right angles, we
crossed a long bridge, with shade-like statues looking down upon us from
either parapet, and a dark silent river flowing underneath. I could
guess what river that was. We then plunged into a labyrinth of streets
of a rather better description than the one already traversed, but
equally dreary and deserted. We kept winding and turning, till, as I
supposed, we had got to the heart of the city. In all that way we had
not met a human being, or seen aught from which we could infer that
there was a living creature in Rome. At last we found ourselves in a
small square,--the site of the Forum of Antoninus, though I knew it not
then,--in one of the sides of which was an iron gate, which opened to
receive us, _diligence_ and all, and which was instantly closed and
locked behind us; while two soldiers, with fixed bayonets, took their
stand as sentinels outside. It was a vast barn-looking, cavern-like
place, with mouldering Corinthian columns built into its massive wall,
and its roof hung so high as to be scarce visible in the darkness. It
had been a temple of Antoninus Pius, and was now converted into the
Pope's dogana or custom-house.

In a few minutes there entered a dapper, mild-faced, gentle-mannered,
stealthy-paced man, with a thick long cloak thrown over his shoulders,
to protect him from the night air. The Pope's dogana-master stood before
us. He paced to and fro in the most unconcerned way possible; and though
it was past midnight, and trunks and carpet-bags were all open and
ready, he seemed reluctant to begin the search. Nevertheless the baggage
was disappearing, and its owners departing at the iron gate,--a mystery
I could not solve. At length this most affable of dogana-masters drew up
to me, and in a quiet way, as if wishing to conceal the interest he felt
in me, he shook me warmly by the hand. I felt greatly obliged to him for
this welcome to Rome, but would have felt more so if, instead of this
salute, he had opened the gate and let me go. In about five minutes he
again came round to where I stood, and, grasping my hand a second time,
gave it a yet heartier squeeze. I was at a loss to explain this sudden
friendship; for I was pretty sure this exceedingly agreeable gentleman
had never seen me till that moment. How long this might have lasted I
know not, had not a person in the dogana, compassionating my dullness,
stepped up to me, and whispered into my ear to give the searcher a few
paulos. I was a little scandalized at this proposal to bribe his
Holiness's servant; but I could see no chance otherwise of having the
iron gate opened. Accordingly, I got ready the requisite douceur; and,
waiting his return, which soon happened, took care to drop the few pauls
into his palm at the next squeeze. On the instant the gate opened.

But alas! I was in a worse plight than ever. There was no commissario to
be had at that hour. I was in total darkness; not a door was open; nor
was there an individual in the street; and, recollecting the reputation
Rome had of late acquired for midnight assassinations, I began to grow a
little apprehensive. After wandering about for some time, I lighted on a
French sentry, who obligingly led me to a caffé hard by, which is kept
open all night. There I found a young German, an artist evidently, who,
having finished his coffee, politely volunteered to conduct me to the
Hotel d'Angleterre.



CHAPTER XXI.

MODERN ROME.

     Tower of Capitol best Site for studying Topography of
     Rome--Resemblance in the Sites of great Cities--Site of
     Rome--Campagna di Roma--Its Extent and Boundaries--Ancient
     Fertility and Magnificence--Modern Desolation of Campagna--Approach
     to Rome from the North--Etruria--Solitariness of this once famous
     Highway--First Sight of Rome--The Flaminian Way--The Porta del
     Popolo--The Piazza del Popolo--Its Antiquities--Pincian
     Hill--General Plan of Rome--The Corso--The Via Ripetta--The Via
     Babuina--Population--Disproportionate Numbers of Priests--Variety
     of Ecclesiastical Costumes--Dresses of the various Orders--Their
     indescribably Filthy Appearance--The ordinary Priest--The Priest's
     Face--The Beggars--Want of Arrangement in its Edifices--Rome an
     unrivalled Combination of Grandeur and Dirt.


One of my first days in Rome was passed on the top of the tower of the
Capitol. It is incomparably the best spot on which to study the
topography of the Eternal City, with that of the surrounding region.
Here one stands between the living and the dead,--between the city of
the Cæsars, which lies entombed on the Seven Hills, with the vine, the
ivy, and the jessamine mantling its grave, and the city of the Popes,
spread out with its cupolas, and towers, and everlasting chimes, on the
low flat plain of the Campus Martius. The world has not such another
ruin,--so vast, colossal, and magnificent,--as Rome. Let us sketch the
features of the scene as they here present themselves.

There would appear to be a law determining the _site_, as well as the
_character_, of great events. It has often been remarked, that there is
a resemblance between all the great battle-fields of the world. One
attribute in especial they all possess, namely, that of vastness;
inspiring the mind of the spectator with an idea of grandeur, to which
the recollection of the carnage of which they were the scene adds a
feeling of melancholy. The Troy and the Marathon of the ancient world
have found their representative in the modern one, in that gloomy
expanse in Flanders where Napoleon witnessed the total defeat of his
arms and the final overthrow of his fortunes. We would make the same
remark regarding great capitals. There is a family likeness in their
sites. The chief cities of the ancient world arose, for the most part,
on extensive plains, nigh some great river; for rivers were the
railroads of early times. I might instance queenly Thebes, which arose
in the great valley of the Nile, with a boundary of fine mountains
encircling the plain on which it stood. Babylon found a seat on the
great plain of Chaldea, on the banks of the Euphrates. Niniveh arose on
the same great plain, on the banks of the Tigris, with the glittering
line of the snowy Kurdistan chain bounding its horizon. To come down to
comparatively modern times, ROME has been equally fortunate with her
predecessors in a site worthy of her greatness and renown. No one needs
to be told that the seat of that city, which for so many ages held the
sceptre of the world, is the CAMPAGNA DI ROMA.

I need not dwell on the magnificence of that truly imperial plain, to
which nature has given, in a country of hills, dimensions so goodly.
From the foot of the Apennines it runs on and on for upwards of an
hundred miles, till it meets the Neapolitan frontier at Terracina. Its
breadth from the Volscian hills to the sea cannot be less than forty
miles. Towards the head of this great plain lies Rome, than which a
finer site for the capital of a great empire could nowhere have been
found. By nature it is most fertile; its climate is delicious. It is
watered by the Tiber, which is seen winding through it like a thread of
gold. A boundary of glorious hills encloses it on all sides save the
south-west. On the south-east are the gentle Volscians, clothed with
flourishing woods and sparkling with villas. Running up along the plain,
and lying due east of Rome, are the Sabine hills, of a deep azure
colour, with a fine mottling of light and shade upon their sides.
Shutting in the plain on the north, and sweeping round it in a
magnificent bend towards the west, are the craggy and romantic
Apennines. Such was the stage on which sat invincible, eternal Rome.
This plain was traversed, moreover, by thirty-three highways, which
connected the city with every quarter of the habitable globe. Its
surface exhibited the richest cultivation. From side to side it was
covered with gardens and vineyards, in the verdure and blossoms of an
almost perpetual spring; amid which rose the temples of the gods of
Rome, the trophies of her warriors, the tombs and monuments of her
legislators and orators, and the villas and rural retreats of her
senators and merchants. Indeed, this plain would seem, in imperial
times, to have been one vast city, stretching out from the white strand
of the Mediterranean to the summit of the Volscian hills.

But in proportion to its GRANDEUR then is its DESOLATION now. From the
sea to the mountains it lies silent, waste, unploughed, unsown,--a
houseless, treeless, blackened wilderness. "Where," you exclaim, "are
its highways?" They are blotted out. "Where are its temples, its
palaces, its vineyards?" All swept away. Scarce a heap remains, to tell
of its numerous and magnificent structures. Their very ruins are ruined.
The land looks as if the foot of man had never trodden it, and the hand
of man never cultivated it. Here it rises into melancholy mounds; there
it sinks into hollows and pits: like that plain which God overthrew, it
neither is sown nor beareth. It is inhabited by the fox, haunted by the
brigand, and frequented in spring and autumn by a few herdsmen, clad in
goats'-skins, and living in caves and wigwams, and reminding one, by
their savage appearance, of the satyrs of ancient mythology. It is
silent as a sepulchre. John Bunyan might have painted it for his "Valley
of the Shadow of Death."

I shall suppose that you are approaching Rome from the north. You have
disengaged yourself from the Apennines,--the picturesque Apennines,--in
whose sunny vales the vine still ripens, and on whose sides the olive
still lingers. You are advancing along a high plateau which rises here
and there into conical mounts, on which sits some ancient and renowned
city, dwindled now into a poor village, whose inhabitants are
husbandmen, and who move about oppressed by the languor that weighs upon
this whole land. Beneath your feet are subterranean chambers, in which
mailed warriors sleep,--for it is the ancient land of Etruria over which
your track lies. Before the wolf suckled Romulus, this soil had
nourished a race of heroes. The road, so filled in former times by a
never-failing concourse of legions going forth to battle or returning in
triumph,--of consuls and legates bearing the high behests of the senate
to the subject provinces,--and of ambassadors and princes coming to sue
for peace, or to lay their tributary gifts at the feet of Rome,--is now
solitary and untrodden, save by the traveller from a far country, or the
cowled and corded pilgrim whose vow brings him to the shrine of the
apostles. Stacks of mouldering brickwork attract the eye by the
wayside,--the remains of temples and monuments when the land was in its
prime. You scarce take note of the scattered and stunted olives which
are dying through age. The fields are wretchedly tilled, where tilled at
all. The country appears to grow only the more desolate, and the silence
the more dreary and unsupportable, as you advance. "Roma! Roma!" is
chanted forth in melancholy tones by the postilion. "Roma" is graven on
the milestones; but you cannot persuade yourself that Rome you shall
find in the heart of a desert like this. You have gained the brow of a
low hill; you have passed the summit, and got half-way down the
declivity; when suddenly a vision bursts on your sight that rivets you
to the spot. There is the Tiber rolling its yellow floods at your feet;
and there, spread out in funereal gloom between the mountains and the
sea, is the CAMPAGNA DI ROMA. The spectacle is sublime, despite its
desolation. There is but one object in the vast expanse, but that is
truly a majestic one. Alone, on the silent plain, judgment-stricken and
sackcloth-clad, occupying the same spot where she "glorified herself and
lived deliciously," and said in her heart, "I sit a queen, and am no
widow, and shall see no sorrow," is ROME.

You are to cross the Tiber. Already your steps are on the Pons Milvius,
where Christianity triumphed over Paganism in the person of Constantine,
and over the parapet of which Maxentius, in his flight, flung the
seven-branched golden candlestick, which Titus brought from the temple
of Jerusalem. The Flaminian way, which you are now to traverse, runs
straight to the gate of Rome. In front is the long line of the city
walls, within which you can descry the proud dome of St Peter's, the
huge rotundity of St Angelo, or "Hadrian's Mole," and a host of inferior
cupolas and towers, which in any other city would suffice to give a
character to the place, but are here thrown into the shade by the two
unrivalled structures I have named. You are not less than two miles from
the gate; yet such are the purity and transparency of an Italian sky,
that every stone almost in the old wall,--every scar which the hand of
time or the ravages of war have made in it,--is visible. As you advance,
Monte Mario rises on the right, with a temple on its crest, and rows of
pine-trees and cypresses on its sides. On the left, at a goodly
distance, are seen the purple hills of Frascati and Albano, with their
delicate chequering of light and shadow, and the Tiber, appearing to
burst like a river of gold from their azure bosom. The beauty of these
objects is much heightened by the blackness of the plain around.

We now enter Rome. The square in which we find ourselves,--the Porta del
Popolo,--is worthy of Rome. It is a clean, neatly-paved quadrangular
area, of an hundred and fifty by an hundred yards in extent, edged on
all sides by noble mansions. Fronting you as you enter the gate are the
domes of two fine churches, in one of which Luther preached when he was
in Rome. Between them the Corso is seen shooting out in a long narrow
line of lofty façades, traversing the entire length of the city from
north to south. On the right is the house of Mr Cass, the United States'
consul, behind which rises a series of hanging gardens. There was dug
the grave of Nero; but the ashes of the man before whom the world
trembled cannot now be found. On the left rises the terraced slope of
the Pincian hill, with its galleries, its statues, its stately
cypresses, and its noble carriage-drive. On the opposite declivity are
the gardens of Sallust, looking down on the _campus sceleratus_, where
the unfaithful vestal-virgins were burned.

In the middle of the spacious area is a fine fountain, whose waters are
received into a spacious basin, guarded by marble lions. And there,
too, stands the obelisk of Rhamses I., severe and solemn, a stranger,
like ourselves, from a far land. This is the same which that monarch
erected before the Temple of the Sun in Heliopolis, the ON of Scripture,
and which Augustus transported to Rome. It is a single block of red
granite, graven from top to bottom with hieroglyphics, which it is quite
possible the eyes of Moses may have scanned. When that column was hewn,
not a stone had been laid on the Capitol, and the site of Rome was a
mere marsh; yet here it stands, with its mysterious scroll still unread.
Speak, stranger, and tell us, with thy deep Coptic voice, the secrets of
four thousand years ago. Say, wouldst thou not like to revisit thy
native Nile, and spend thine age beside the tombs of the Pharaohs, the
companions of thy youth, and amidst the congenial silence of the sands
of Egypt?

The traveller who would enjoy the finest view of the modern city must
ascend the Pincian hill. In the basin beneath him he beholds spread out
a flat expanse of red-tiled roofs, traversed by the long line of the
Corso, and bristling with the tops of innumerable domes, columns, and
obelisks. Some thirty or forty cupolas give an air of grandeur to the
otherwise uninteresting mass of red; and conspicuous amongst these, over
against the spectator, is the princely dome of St Peter's, and the huge
bulk of the Castle of St Angelo. The Tiber is seen creeping sluggishly
at the base of the Janiculum, the sides of which are thinly dotted with
villas and gardens, while its summit is surmounted by a long stretch of
the old wall.

Standing in the Piazza del Popolo, the person is in a good position for
comprehending the arrangement of modern Rome. Here three streets have
their rise, which, running off in diverging lines, like spokes from the
nave of a wheel, traverse the city, and form, with the cross streets
which connect them, the osteology of the Eternal City. This at least is
the arrangement which obtains till you reach the region lying around the
Capitol, which is an inextricable network of lanes, courts, and streets.
The centre one of the three streets we have indicated is the Corso. It
is a good mile in length, and runs straight south, extending from the
Flaminian gate to almost the foot of the Capitol. To an English eye it
is wanting in breadth, though the most spacious street in Rome. It is
but indifferently kept in point of cleanliness, though the most
fashionable promenade of the Romans. Here only you find anything
resembling a flag-pavement: all the other streets are causewayed from
side to side with small sharp pieces of lava, which pain the foot at
every step. The shops are small and dark, resembling those of our third
and fourth-rate towns, and exhibiting in their wares a superabundance of
cameos, mosaics, Etruscan vases, and statuary,--these being almost the
sole native manufacture of Rome. It is adorned with several truly noble
palaces, and with the colonnades and porticos of a great number of
churches. It was the boast of the Romans that the Pope could say mass in
a different church every day of the year. This, we believe, is true,
there being more than three hundred and sixty churches in that city, but
not one copy of the Bible that is accessible by the people.

The second street,--that on the right,--is the Via Ripetta, which leads
off in the direction of St Peter's and the Vatican. It takes one nigh
the tomb of Augustus, now converted into a hippodrome; the Pantheon,
whose pristine beauty remains undefaced after twenty centuries; the
Collegio Romano; and, towards the foot of the Capitol, the Ghetto,--a
series of mean streets, occupied by the Jews. The third street,--that on
the left,--is the Via Babuino. It traverses the more aristocratic
quarter of Rome,--if we can use such a phrase in reference to a city
whose nobles are lodging-house keepers, and live--

                         "Garreted
 In their ancestral palace,"--

running on by the Piazza di Spagna, which the English so much frequent,
to the Quirinal, the Pope's summer palace, and the form of Trajan, whose
column, after the many copies which have been made of it, still stands
unrivalled and unapproached in beauty.

 "And though the passions of man's fretful race
 Have never ceased to eddy round its base,
 Not injured more by touch of meddling hands
 Than a lone obelisk 'mid Nubian sands."

On the Corso there is considerable bustle. The little buying and selling
that is done in Rome is transacted here. Half the population that one
sees in the Corso are priests and French soldiers. The population of
Rome is not much above an hundred thousand; its ecclesiastical persons,
however, are close on six thousand. Let us imagine, if we can, the state
of things were the ecclesiastics of all denominations in Scotland to be
doubled, and the whole body to be collected into one city of the size of
Edinburgh! Such is the state of Rome. The great majority of these men
have no duty to do, beyond the dreary and monotonous task of the daily
lesson in the breviary. They have no sermons to write and preach; they
do not visit the sick; they have no books or newspapers; they have no
family duties to perform. With the exception of the Jesuits, who are
much employed in the confessional, the whole fraternity of regulars and
seculars, white, black, brown, and gray, live on the best, and literally
do nothing. But, of course, six thousand heads cannot be idle. The
amount of mischief that must be continually brewing in Rome,--the wars
that shake convents,--the gossip and scandal that pollute society,--the
intrigues that destroy families,--may be more easily imagined than told.
Were the secret history of that city for but one short week to be
written, what an astounding document it would be! and what a curious
commentary on that mark of a "true Church," _unity_! Well were it for
the world were the plots hatched in Rome felt only within its walls.

On the streets of the Eternal City you meet, of course, every variety of
ecclesiastical costume. The eye is at first bewildered with the motley
show of gowns, cloaks, cowls, scapulars, and veils; of cords, crosses,
shaven heads, and naked feet,--provoking the reflection what a vast deal
of curious gear it takes to teach Christianity! There you have the long
black robe and shovel hat of the secular priest; the tight-fitting frock
and little three-cornered bonnet of the Jesuit; the shorn head and black
woollen garment of the Benedictine;--there is the Dominican, with his
black cloak thrown over his white gown, and his shaven head stuck into a
slouching cowl;--there is the Franciscan, with his half-shod feet, his
three-knotted cord, and his coarse brown cloak, with its numerous
pouches bulging with the victuals he has been begging for;--there is the
Capuchin, with his bushy beard, his sandaled feet, his patched cloak,
and his funnel-shaped cowl, reminding one of Harlequin's cap;--there is
the Carmelite, with shaven head begirt with hairy continuous crown,
loose flowing robe, and broad scapular;--there is the red gown of the
German student, and the wallet of the begging friar. This last has been
out all morning begging for the poor, and is now returning with
replenished wallet to his convent on the Capitol, where dwell monks now,
as geese aforetime. After dining on the contents of his well-filled
sack, with a slight addition from the vineyards of the Capitol, he will
scatter the crumbs among the crowd of beggars which may be seen at this
hour climbing the convent stairs.

But however these various orders may differ in the colour of their
cloaks or the shape of their tonsure, there is one point in which they
all agree,--that is, dirt. They are indescribably filthy. Clean water
and soap would seem to be banished the convents, as indulgences of the
flesh which cannot be cherished without deadly peril to the soul, and
which are to be shunned like heresy itself. They smell like goats; and
one trembles to come within the droppings of their cloak, lest he should
carry away a few little _souvenirs_, which the "holy man" might be glad
to part with. A fat, stalwart, bacchant, boorish race they are, giving
signs of anything but fasting and flagellation; and I know of nothing
that would so dissipate the romance which invests monks and nuns in the
eyes of some, like bringing a ship-load of them over to this country,
and letting their admirers see and smell them.

Even the ordinary priest appears but little superior to the monk in the
qualities we have named. Dirty in person, slovenly in dress, and wearing
all over a careless, fearless, bullying air, he looks very little the
gentleman, and, if possible, less the clergyman. But in Rome he can
afford to despise appearances. Is he not a priest, and is not Rome his
own? Accordingly, he plants his foot firmly, as if he felt, like Antæus,
that he touches his native earth; he sweeps the crowd around with a
full, scornful, defiant eye; and should Roman dare to measure glances
with him, that brow of brass would frown him into the dust. In Rome the
"priest's face" attains its completest development. That face has not
its like among all the faces of the world. It is the same in all
countries, and can be known under every disguise,--a soldier's uniform
or a porter's blouse. At Maynooth you may see it in all stages of
growth; but at Rome it is perfected; and when perfected, there is an
entire blotting out of all the kindly emotions and human sympathies, and
there meets the eye something that is at once below and above the face
of man. If we could imagine the scorn, pride, and bold bad daring of one
of Milton's fallen angels, grafted on a groundwork of animal appetites,
we should have a picture something like the priest's face.

The priests will not be offended should the beggars come next in our
notice of the Eternal City. The beggars of Rome are almost an
institution of themselves; and, though not chartered, like the friars,
their numbers and their ancient standing have established their rights.
What is it that strikes you on first entering the "Holy City?" Is it its
noble monuments,--its fine palaces,--its august temples? No; it is its
flocks of beggars. You cannot halt a moment, but a little colony gathers
round you. Every church has its beggar, and sometimes a whole dozen. If
you wish to ascertain the hours of any ceremony in a church, you are
directed to ask its beggar, as here you would the beadle. Every square,
every column, every obelisk, every fountain, has its little colony of
beggars, who have a prescriptive right to levy alms of all who come to
see these objects. We shall afterwards advert to the proof thence
arising as to the influence of the system of which this city is the
seat.

Rome, though it surpasses all the cities of the earth in the number,
beauty, and splendour of its public monuments, is imposing only in
parts. It presents no effective _tout ensemble_. Some of its noblest
edifices are huddled into corners, and lost amid a crowd of mean
buildings. The Pantheon rises in the fish-market. The Navonna Mercato,
which has the finest fountain in Italy, is a rag-fair. The church of
the Lateran is approached through narrow rural lanes. The splendid
edifice of St Paul's stands outside the walls, in the midst of swamps
and marshes so unwholesome, that there is not a house near it. The
meanest streets of Rome are those that lie around St Peter's and the
Vatican. The Corso is in good part a line of noble palaces; but in other
parts of the city you pass through whole streets, consisting of large
massive structures, once comfortable mansions, but now squalid, filthy,
and unfurnished hovels, resembling the worst dens of our great cities.
It cannot fail to strike one, too, as somewhat anomalous, that there
should be such a vast deal of ruins and rubbish in the _Eternal_ City.
And as regards its sanitary condition, there may be a great deal of
holiness in Rome, but there is very little cleanliness in it. When a
shower falls, and the odour of the garbage with which the streets are
littered is exhaled, the smell is insufferable. One had better not
describe the spectacles that one sees every day on the marble stairs of
the churches. The words of Archenholtz in the end of last century are
still applicable:--"Filth," says he, "infects all the great places of
Rome except that of St. Peter's; nor would this be excepted from the
general rule, but that it lies at greater distance from the dwellings.
It is incredible to what a pitch filthiness is carried in Rome. As
palaces and houses are mostly open, their entrance is usually rendered
unsufferable, being made the receptacle of the most disgustful wants."
In fine, Rome is the most extraordinary combination of grandeur and
ruin, magnificence and dirt, glory and decay, which the world ever saw.
We must distinguish, however: the grandeur has come down to the Popes
from their predecessors,--the filth and ruin are their own.



CHAPTER XXII.

ANCIENT ROME--THE SEVEN HILLS.

     Site of Ancient Rome--Calm after the Storm--The Seven Hills--Their
     General Topography--The Aventine--The Palatine--The Ruins of the
     Palace of Cæsar--View of Ruins of Rome from the Palatine--The
     Cælian--The Viminale--The Quirinal--Other two Hills, the Janiculum
     and the Vatican--The Forum--The Arch of Titus--The Coliseum--The
     Mamertine Prison--External Evidence of Christianity--Rome furnishes
     overwhelming Proofs of the Historic Truth of the New
     Testament--These stated--The Three Witnesses in the Forum--The
     Antichrist come--_Coup d'OEil_ of Rome.


But where is the Rome of the Cæsars, that great, imperial, and
invincible city, that during thirteen centuries ruled the world? If you
would see her, you must seek for her in the grave. You are standing, I
have supposed, on the tower of the Capitol, with your face towards the
north, gazing down on the flat expanse of red roofs, bristling with
towers, columns, and domes, that covers the plain at your feet. Turn now
to the south. There is the seat of her that once was mistress of the
world. There are the Seven Hills. They are furrowed, tossed, cleft; and
no wonder. The wars, revolutions, and turmoils of two thousand years
have rolled their angry surges over them; but now the strife is at an
end; and the calm that has succeeded is deep as that of the grave.
These hills, all unconscious of the past, form a scene of silent and
mournful beauty, with fragments of temples protruding through their
soil, and humble plants and lowly weeds covering their surface.

The topography of these famous hills it is not difficult to understand.
If you make the Capitoline in which you stand the centre one, the
remaining six are ranged round it in a semi-circle. They are low broad
swellings or mounts, of from one to two miles in circumference. We shall
take them as they come, beginning at the west, and coming round to the
north.

First comes the AVENTINE. It rises steep and rocky, with the Tiber
washing its north-western base. It is covered with the vines and herbs
of neglected gardens, amid which rises a solitary convent and a few
shapeless ruins. At its southern base are the baths of Caracalla, which,
next to the Coliseum, are the greatest ruin in Rome.

Descend its eastern slope,--cross the valley of the Circus Maximus,--and
you begin to climb the PALATINE hill, the most famous of the seven. The
Palatine stands forward from the circular line, and is divided from
where you stand only by the little plain of the Forum. It was the seat
of the first Roman colony; and when Rome grew into an empire, the palace
of the Cæsars rose upon it, and the Palatine was henceforward the abode
of the world's master. The site is nearly in the middle of ancient Rome,
and commands a fine view of the other hills, the Capitol only
overtopping it. The imperial palace which rose on its summit must have
been a conspicuous as well as imposing object from every part of the
city. Three thousand columns are said to have adorned an edifice, the
saloons, libraries, baths, and porticos of which, the wealth and art of
ancient Rome had done their utmost to make worthy of their imperial
occupant. A dark night has overwhelmed the glory that once irradiated
this mount. It is now a huge mountain of crumbling brickwork, bearing on
its broad level top a luxuriant display of cabbages and vines, amid
which rise the humble walls of a convent, and a small but tasteful
villa, which is owned, strange to say, by an Englishman. The proprietor
of the villa and the little colony of monks are now the only inhabitants
of the Palatine. In walking over it, you stumble upon blocks of marble,
remains of terraces, vaults still retaining their frescoes, arches,
porticos, and vast substructions of brickwork, all crushed and blended
into one common ruin. In these halls power dwelt and crime revelled: now
the owl nestles in their twilight vaults, and the ivy mantles their
crumbling ruins. The western side of this mound rises steep and lofty,
crested with a row of noble cypress trees. They are tall and upright,
and wear in the mind's eye a shadowy shroud of gloom, looking like
mourners standing awed and grief-stricken beside the grave of the
Cæsars. When the twilight falls and the stars come out, their dark
moveless figures, relieved against the sky, present a sight peculiarly
impressive and solemn.

The general aspect and condition of the Palatine have been sketched by
Byron with his usual power:--

 "Cypress and ivy, weed and wallflower, grown,
 Matted and massed together, hillocks heaped
 On what were chambers, arch crushed, column strown
 In fragments, choked up vaults, and frescoes steeped
 In subterranean damps, where the owl peeped,
 Deeming it midnight;--temples, baths, or halls,
 Pronounce who can; for all that learning reaped
 From her research hath been, that these are walls.
 Behold the imperial mount! 'tis thus the mighty falls."

But Cowper rises to a yet higher pitch, and reads the true moral which
is taught by this fallen mount. For to Rome may we apply his lines on
the fall of the once proud monarchy of Spain.

 "Art thou, too, fallen, Iberia? Do we see
 The robber and the murderer weak as we?
 Thou that hast wasted earth, and dared despise
 Alike the wrath and mercy of the skies,
 Thy pomp is in the grave, thy glory laid
 Low in the pits thine avarice has made.
 We come with joy from our eternal rest,
 To see the oppressor in his turn oppressed.
 Art thou the god, the thunder of whose hand
 Rolled over all our desolated land,
 Shook principalities and kingdoms down,
 And made the mountains tremble at his frown?
 The sword shall light upon thy boasted powers,
 And waste them, as thy sword has wasted ours.
 'Tie thus Omnipotence his law fulfils,
 And Vengeance executes what Justice wills."

One day I ascended the Palatine, picking my steps with care, owing to
the abominations of all kinds that cover the path, to spend an hour on
the mount, and survey from thence the mighty wrecks of empire strewn
around it. The steps of the stair by which I ascended were formed of
blocks of marble, the half-effaced carvings on which showed that they
had formed parts of former edifices. Protruding from the soil, and
strewn over its surface, were fragments of columns and capitols of
pillars. I emerged on the summit at the spot where the vestibule of
Nero's palace is supposed to have stood. I thought of the guards, the
senators, the ambassadors, that had crowded this spot,--the spoils,
trophies, and monuments, that had adorned it; and my heart sank at the
sight of its naked desolation and dreary loneliness. The flat top of the
hill ran off to the south, covered with a various and somewhat
incongruous vegetation. Here was a thicket of laurels, and there a
clump of young oaks; here a garden of vines, and there rows of cabbages.
A monk, habited in brown, was looking out at the door of his convent;
and one or two women were busy among the vegetables, making up a load
for market. On the farther edge of the hill rose the tall, moveless,
silent cypresses of which I have spoken. On the right rose the square
tower of the Capitol, with the perperine substructions of its
Tabularium, coeval with the age of the kings; and skirting its base were
the cupolas of modern churches, and the nodding columns of fallen
temples, beautiful even in their ruin, and more eloquent than Cicero,
whose living voice had often been heard on the spot where they now
moulder in silent decay. A little nearer was the naked, jagged front of
the Tarpeian rock, crested a-top with gardens, and its base buried in
rubbish, which is slowly gaining on its height. In front was a noble
bend of the Tiber, rolling on in mournful majesty, amid the majestic
silence of these mighty desolations. Beyond were the red roofs and mean
streets of the Trastevere, with the empty upland slope of the Janiculum,
crowned by the line of the gray wall. Behind, and immediately beneath
me, was the Forum, where erst the Romans assembled to enact their laws
and choose their magistrates. A ragged line of ghastly ruins,--porticos
without temples, and temples without porticos, their noble vaultings
yawning like caverns in the open day,--was seen bounding its farther
edge. Its floor was a rectangular expanse of shapeless swellings and
yawning pits. Here reposed a herd of buffaloes; there a little drove of
swine; yonder stood a row of carts; and in the midst of these noways
picturesque objects rose the gray arch of Titus. At its base sat a
beggar; while an artist, at a little distance, was sketching it with the
calotype. A peasant was traversing the Via Sacra, bearing to his home a
supply of city-baked bread. A dozen or two of old men with spades and
barrows were clearing away the earth from the ruins of the Temple of
Venus and Rome. In the south-eastern angle of the plain rose the titanic
bulk of the Coliseum, fearfully gashed and torn, yet sublime in its
decay. Over the furrowed and ragged summits of the Cælian and Esquiline
mounts were seen the early snows, glittering on the peaks of the
Volscian and Sabine range. Such was the scene which presented itself to
me from the top of the Palatine. How different, I need not say, from
that which must have often met the eye of Cæsar from the same point,
prompting the proud boast,--"Is not this great" Rome, "that I have built
for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the
honour of my majesty?" "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son
of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, that didst weaken
the nations!... Is this the man that did make the earth to
tremble,--that did shake kingdoms,--that made the world as a wilderness,
and destroyed the cities thereof?"

A little eastward of the Palatine, and seen over its shoulder, as
surveyed from the tower of the Capitol, is the CÆLIAN Mount. Its summit
is marked by the ruins of an ancient edifice,--the Curia Hostilia,--and
the statued front of a modern temple,--the church of S. John Lateran,
which is even more renowned in the pontifical annals than the other is
in classic story. Moving your eye across the valley of the Forum, it
falls upon the flat surface of the ESQUILINE. It is marked, like the
former, by an ancient ruin and a modern edifice. Amid its vineyards and
rural lanes rise the massive remains of the baths of Titus, and the
gorgeous structure of Maria Maggiore. The VIMINALE comes next; but
forming, as it did, a plain betwixt the Esquiline and the Quirinal, it
is difficult to trace its limits. It is distinguishable mainly by the
baths of Dioclesian, now a French barrack, and the church of San
Lorenzo, which occupies its highest point. The QUIRINAL is the last of
the Seven Hills. It is covered with streets, and crowned with the summer
palace and gardens of the Pope.

Thus have we made the tour of the Seven Hills, commencing at the
Aventine on the extreme right, and proceeding in a semicircular line
over the low swellings which lie in their peaceful covering of flower
and weed, onward to the Quirinal, which rises, with its glittering
casements, on the extreme left. They hold in their arms, as it were,
modern Rome, with the Tiber, like a golden belt, tying in the city, and
bounding the Campus Martius, on which it is seated. On the west of the
Tiber are other two hills, which, though not of the seven, are worth
mentioning. The first is the JANICULUM, with the _Trastevere_ at its
base. The inhabitants of this district pride themselves on their pure
Roman blood, and look down upon the rest of the inhabitants as a mixed
race; and certainly, if ferocious looks and continual frays can make
good their claim, they must be held as a colony of the olden time,
which, nestling in this nook of Rome, have escaped the intermixtures and
revolutions of eighteen centuries. It has been remarked that there is a
striking resemblance between their faces and those of the ancient
Romans, as graven on the arch of Titus. They are the nearest neighbours
of the Pope, whose own hill, the VATICAN, rises a little to the north of
them. On the Vatican mount stood anciently the circus of Nero; and here
many of the early Christians, amid unutterable torments, yielded up
their lives. On the spot where they died have arisen the church of St
Peter and the palace of the Vatican,--now but another name for whatever
is formidable to the liberties of the world.

But beyond question, the spot of all others the most interesting in Rome
is the Forum. You look right down into it from where you stand. Whether
it be the eloquence, or the laws, or the victories, or the magnificent
monuments of ancient Rome, the light reflected from them all is
concentrated on this plain. How often has Tully spoken here! How often
has Cæsar trodden it! Over that very pavement which the excavations have
laid bare, the chariots of Scylla, and of Titus, and of a hundred other
warriors, have rolled. But the triumphs which this plain witnessed, once
deemed eternal, are ended now; and the clods which that Italian slave
turns up, or which that priest treads on so proudly, are perchance part
of the dust of that heroic race which conquered the world. The tombs of
the Cæsars are empty now, and their ashes have been scattered long since
over the soil of Rome. Of the many beautiful edifices that stood around
this plain, not one remains entire: a few mouldering columns, half
buried in rubbish, or dug out of the soil, only remain to show where
temples stood. But there is one little arch which has survived that dire
tempest of ruin in which temple and tower went down,--the Arch of Titus,
which has sculptured upon its marble the sad story of the fall of
Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jews. That little arch, wonderful to
tell, stands between two mighty ruins,--the fallen palace of the Cæsars
on the one hand, and the kingly but ruined mass of the Coliseum on the
other.

As regards the Coliseum, architects, I believe, do not much admire it;
but to myself, who did not look at it with a professional eye, it seemed
as if I had never seen a ruin half so sublime. I never grew weary of
gazing upon it. It rises amid the hoar ruins of Rome, scarred and rent,
yet wearing an eternal youth; for with the most colossal size it
combines in the very highest degree simplicity of design and beauty of
form. To stand on its area, and survey the sweep of its broken benches,
is to feel as if you were standing in the midst of an amphitheatre of
hills, and were gazing on concentric mountain-ranges. How powerfully do
its associations stir the soul! How many spirits now in glory have died
on that arena! The Romans, we shall suppose, have been occupied all day
in witnessing mimic fights, which display the skill, but do not
necessarily imperil the life, of the combatants. But now the sun is
westering; the shadow of the Palatine begins to creep across the Forum,
and the villas on the Alban hills burn in the setting rays, and the
Romans, before retiring to their homes, demand their last grand
spectacle,--the death of some poor unhappy captive or gladiator. The
victim steps upon the arena amid the deep stillness of the overwhelming
multitude. It is no mimic combat his: he is "appointed to death." This
lets us into the peculiar force of Paul's words, "I think that God hath
set forth us the apostles last, as it were, appointed to death; for we
are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men."

But the most touching recollection connected with this city is
this,--even that part of the Word of God was written in it, and that a
greater than Cæsar has trodden its soil. A few paces below where we
stand is the Mamertine prison, in whose dungeons, it is probable, Paul
was confined; for this was the state-prison, and offences against
religion were accounted state-offences. It is hewn in the rock of the
Capitoline hill, dungeon below dungeon; and when surveying it, I could
not but feel, that among all the exploits of Roman valour, there was not
one half so heroic as that of the man who, with a cruel death staring
him in the face, could sit down in this dungeon, where day never dawned,
and write these heroic words,--"I am now ready to be offered, and the
time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have
finished my course; I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up
for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge,
shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also
that love his appearing."

Here I may be allowed to allude to a branch of the external evidence of
Christianity which has not received all the notice to which it is
entitled. When surveying from the tower of the Capitol the ruins of
ancient Rome, I felt strongly the absurdity--the almost idiotcy--of
denying the historic truth of Christianity. On such a spot one might as
well deny that ancient Rome existed, as deny that Christianity was
preached here eighteen centuries ago, and rose upon the ruins of
paganism. At the distance of Rome, and amid the darkness of Italian
ignorance, we can conceive of a Roman holding that the life of Knox is a
fable,--that no such man ever existed, or ever preached in Scotland, or
ever effected the Reformation from Popery. But bring him to the Castle
Hill of Edinburgh,--bid him look round upon city and country, studded
with the churches and schools of the reformed faith, planted by
Knox,--show him the mouldering remains of the old cathedrals from which
the priesthood and faith of Rome were driven out,--and, unless his mind
is constituted in some extraordinary way, he would no longer doubt that
such a man as Knox existed, and that Scotland has been reformed from
Romanism to Presbyterianism. So is it at Rome. Around you are the
temples of the ancient paganism. Here are ruins still bearing the
inscriptions and effigies of the pagan deities and the pagan rites. Can
any sane man doubt that paganism once reigned here? You can trace the
history of its reign still graven on the ruins of Rome; but you can
trace it down till only seventeen centuries ago: then it suddenly stops;
a new writing appears upon the stones; a new religion has acquired the
ascendancy in Rome, and left its memorials graven upon pillar, and
column, and temple. Can any man doubt that Paul visited this city,--that
he preached here, as the "Acts of the Apostles" records,--and that,
after two centuries of struggles and martyrdoms, the faith which he
preached triumphed over the paganism of Rome? Look along the Via
Sacra,--that narrow paved road which leads southward from the Capitol:
the very stones over which the chariot of Scylla rolled are still there.
The road runs straight between the Palatine Mount, where the ivy and the
cypress strive to mantle the ruins of the palace of the Cæsars, and the
wonderful and ever beautiful structure of the Coliseum. In the valley
between is a beautiful arch of marble,--the Arch of Titus. The palace of
the world's master lies in ruins on the one side of it; the Coliseum,
the largest single structure which human hands ever created, stands
rent, and scarred, and bowed, on the other; and between these two mighty
ruins this little arch rises entire. What a wonderful providence has
spared it! On that arch is graven the record of the fall of Jerusalem
and the captivity of the Jews; and the great fact of the existence of
the Old Testament economy is also attested upon it; for there plainly
appears on the stone, the furniture of the temple, the golden
candlestick, the table of shew-bread, and the silver trumpets. But
further, about two miles to the south of Rome are the Catacombs. In
these catacombs, which, not unlike the coal-mines of our own country,
traverse under ground the Campagna for a circuit of many miles, the
early Christians, lived during the primitive persecutions. There they
worshipped, there they died, and there they were buried; and their
simple tombstones, recording that they died in peace, and in the hope of
eternal life through Christ, are still to be seen to the number of many
thousands. How came these tombstones there, if early Christianity and
the early martyrs be a fable? If Christianity be a forgery, the arch of
Titus, with its sacred symbols, is also a forgery; the catacombs, with
all their tombstones, are also a forgery; and the hundred monuments in
Rome, with the traces of early Christianity graven upon them, are also a
forgery; and the person or persons who forged Christianity, in order to
give currency to their forgery, must have been at the incredible pains
of building the arch of Titus, and chiselling out its sculpture work;
they must have dug out the catacombs, and filled them, with infinite
labour, with forged tombstones; and they must have covered the monuments
of Rome with forged inscriptions. Would any one have been at the pains
to have done all this, or could he have done it without being detected?
When the Romans rose in the morning, and saw these forged inscriptions,
they must have known that they were not there the day before, and would
have exposed the trick. But the idea is absurd, and no man can seriously
entertain it whom an inveterate scepticism has not smitten with the
extreme of senility or idiotcy. There is far more evidence at Rome for
the historic truth of Christianity than for the existence of Julius
Cæsar or of Scipio, or of any of the great men whose existence no one
ever takes it into his head to doubt.

Here, in the Forum, are THREE WITNESSES, which testify respectively to
three leading facts of Christianity. These witnesses are,--the Arch of
Titus, the fallen Palace on the Palatine, and the Column of Phocas. The
Arch of Titus proclaims the end of the Old Testament economy; for there,
graven on its marble, is the record of the fall of the temple, and the
dispersion of the Jewish nation. The ruin on the Palatine tells that
the "let" which hindered the revelation of the Man of Sin has now been
"taken out of the way," as Paul foretold; for there lies the prostrate
throne of the Cæsars, which, while it stood, effectually forbade the
rise of the popes. But this solitary pillar, which stands erect where so
many temples have fallen, with what message is it freighted? It
witnesses to the rise of Antichrist. That column rose with the popes;
for Phocas set it up to commemorate the assumption of the title of
Universal Bishop by the pastor of Rome; and here has it been standing
all the while, to proclaim that "that wicked" is now revealed, "whom the
Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with
the brightness of his coming." Such is the united testimony borne by
these three Witnesses,--even that the Antichrist is come.

To complete this _coup d'oeil_ of Rome, it is necessary only that we
transfer our gaze for an instant to the more distant objects. Though
swept, as the site of Rome now is, with the besom of destruction, the
outlines, which no ruin can obliterate, are yet grand as ever.
Immediately beneath you are the red roofs and glittering domes of the
city; around is a gay fringe of vineyards and gardens; and beyond is the
dark bosom of the Campagna, stretching far and wide, meeting the horizon
on the west and south, and confined on the east and north by a wall of
glorious hills,--the sweet Volscians, the blue Sabines, the craggy
Apennines, with their summits--at least when I saw them--hoary with the
snows of winter. Spectacle terrible and sublime! Ruin colossal and
unparalleled! The Campagna is a vast hall, amid the funereal shadows and
unbroken stillness of which repose in mournful state the ASHES OF ROME.



CHAPTER XXIII.

STRIKING OBJECTS IN ROME.

     The Baths of Caracalla--The Catacombs--Evidence thence arising
     against Romanism--The Scala Santa, or Pilate's Stairs--Peasants
     from Rimini climbing them--Irreverence of Devotees--Unequal Terms
     on which the Pope offers Heaven--Church of Ara Cæli--The Santissimo
     Bambino--Conversation with the Monks who exhibit it--The Ghetto, or
     Jew's Quarter--Efforts to Convert them to Romanism--Tyrannical
     Restrictions still imposed upon them--Their Ineradicable
     Characteristics of Race--The Vatican--The Apollo Belvedere--Pio
     Nono--His Dress and Person--St Peter's--Its Grandeur and
     Uselessness--Motto on Egyptian Obelisk--Gate of San
     Pancrazio--Graves of the French--The Convents--Exhibition of
     Nuns--Collegio Romano and Father Perrone--An American Student--The
     English Protestant Chapel--Preaching there--American
     Chaplain--Collection in Rome for Building a Cathedral in
     London--Sermon on Immaculate Conception in Church of Gesu--Ave
     Maria--Family Worship in Hotel--Early Christians of Rome--Paul.


I have already mentioned my arrival at midnight, and how thankful I was
to find an open door and an empty bed at the Hotel d'Angleterre. The
reader may guess my surprise and joy at discovering next morning that I
had slept in a chamber adjoining that of my friend Mr Bonar, from whom I
had parted, several weeks before, at Turin. After breakfast, we sallied
out to see the Catacombs. I had found Rome in cloud and darkness on the
previous night; and now, after a deceitful morning gleam, the storm
returned with greater violence than ever. Torrents swept the streets;
the lightning was flashing on the old monuments; fearful peals of
thunder were rolling above the city; and we were compelled oftener than
once during our ride to seek the shelter of an arched way from the
deluge of rain that poured down upon us. Skirting the base of the
Palatine, and emerging on the Via Appia, we arrived at the Baths of
Caracalla, which we had resolved to visit on our way to the Catacombs.
No words can describe the ghastly grandeur of this stupendous ruin,
which, next to the Coliseum, is the greatest in Rome. Besides its
saloons, theatre, and libraries, it contained, it is said, sixteen
hundred chairs for bathers. As was its pristine splendour, so now is its
overthrow. Its cyclopean walls, and its vast chambers, the floors of
which are covered to the depth of some twelve or twenty feet with fallen
masses of the mosaic ceiling, like immense boulders which have rolled
down from some mountain's top, are spread over an area of about a mile
in circuit. The ruins, here capped with sward and young trees, there
rising in naked jagged turrets like Alpine peaks, had a romantic effect,
which was not a little heightened by the alternate darkness of the
thunder-cloud that hung above them, and the incessant play of the
lightning among their worn pinnacles.

Resuming our course along the Appian Way, we passed the tomb of the
Scipios; and, making our exit by the Sebastian gate, we came, after a
ride of two miles in the open country, to the basilica of San
Sebastiano, erected over the entrance to the Catacombs. Pulling a bell
which hung in the vestibule, a monk appeared as our cicerone, and we
might have been pardoned a little misgiving in committing ourselves to
such a guide through the bowels of the earth. His cloak was old and
tattered, his face was scourged with scorbutic disease, misery or
flagellation had worn him to the bone, and his restless eye cast uneasy
glances on all around. He carried in his hand a little bundle of tallow
candles, as thin and worn as himself almost; and, having lighted them,
he gave one to each of us, and bade us follow. We descended with him
into the doubtful night. The place was a long shaft or corridor, dug out
of the brown tuffo rock, with the roof about two feet overhead, and the
breadth two thirds or so of the height. The descent was easy, the
turnings frequent, and light there was none, save the glimmerings of our
slender tapers. The origin of the Catacombs is still a disputed
question; but the most probable opinion is, that they were formed by
digging out the pozzolana or volcanic earth, which was used as a cement
in the great buildings of Rome. They extend in a zone round the city,
and form a labyrinth of subterranean galleries, which traverse the
Campagna, reaching, according to some, to the shore of the
Mediterranean. He who adventures into them without a guide is infallibly
lost. They speak at Rome of a professor and his students, to the number
of sixty, who entered the Catacombs fifty years ago, and have not yet
returned. Certain it is, that many melancholy accidents have occurred in
them, which have induced the Government to wall them up to a certain
extent. I had not gone many yards till I felt that I was entirely at the
mercy of the monk, and that, should he play me false, I must remain
where I was till doomsday.

But what invests the Catacombs with an interest of so touching a kind is
the fact, that here the Christian Church, in days of persecution, made
her abode. What! in darkness, and in the bowels of the earth? Yes: such
were the Christians which that age produced. At every few paces along
the galleries you see the quadrangular excavations in which the dead
were laid. There, too, are the niches in which lamps were placed, so
needful in the subterranean gloom; and occasionally there opens to your
taper a large square chamber, with its walls of dark-brownish tuffo and
its stuccoed roof, which has evidently been used for family purposes, or
as a chapel. How often has the voice of prayer and praise resounded
here! The Catacombs are a stupendous monument of the faith and constancy
of the primitive Church. You have the satisfaction here of knowing that
you have the very scenes before you that met the eyes of the first
Christians. Time has not altered them; superstition has not disfigured
them. Such as they were when the primitive believers fled to them from a
Nero's cruelty or a Domitian's tyranny, so are they now.

These remarkable excavations were well known down till the sixth
century. Amid the barbarism of the ages that succeeded, all knowledge of
them was lost; but in the beginning of the sixteenth century, when the
art of printing had been invented, and the world could profit by the
discovery, the Catacombs were re-opened. Most of the gravestones were
removed to the Vatican, and built into the _Lapidaria Galleria_, where I
spent a day copying them; but so accurately have they been described by
Maitland, in his "Church in the Catacombs," that I beg to refer the
reader who wishes farther information respecting these deeply
interesting memorials, to his valuable work. They are plain, unchiselled
slabs of marble, with simple characters, scratched with some sharp
instrument by the aid of the lamp, recording the name and age of the
person whose remains they enclosed, to which is briefly added, "in
peace," or "in Christ." Piety here is to be tested, not by the
profession on the tombstone, but by the sacrifice of the life. A palm
branch carved on the stone is the usual sign of martyrdom. I saw a few
slabs still remaining as they had been placed seventeen centuries ago,
fastened into the tuffo rock with a cement of earth. When the Catacombs
were opened, a witness rose from the dead to confront Rome. No trace has
been discovered which could establish the slightest identity in
doctrine, in worship, or in government, between the present Church of
Rome and the Church of the Catacombs.

Will the reader accompany me to another and very different scene? We
leave these midnight vaults, and tread again the narrow lava-paved
Appian road; and through rural lanes we seek the summit of the Cælian
mount, where stands in statued pomp the church of St John Lateran. Here
are shown the _Scala Santa_ which were brought from Jerusalem, and which
the Church of Rome certifies as the very stairs which Christ ascended
when he went to be judged of Pilate. On the north side of the quadrangle
is an open building, with three separate flights of steps leading up
from the pavement to the first floor. The middle staircase, which is
covered with wood to preserve the marble, is the _Scala Santa_, which it
is lawful to ascend only on your knees. Having reached the top, you may
again use your feet, and descend by either of the other two stairs.
Placed against the wall at the foot of the Scala Santa, is a large
board, with the conditions to be observed in the ascent. Amongst other
provisions, no one is allowed to carry a cane up the Scala Santa, nor is
dog allowed to set foot on these stairs. On the pavement stood a
sentry-box; and in the box sat a little dark-visaged man, so very
withered, so very old, and so very crabbed, that I almost was tempted to
ask him whether he had been imported along with the stairs. He rattled
his little tin-box violently, which seemed half full of small coins, and
invited me to ascend. "What shall I have for doing so?" I asked.
"Fifteen years' indulgence," was the instant reply. There might be about
fifteen steps in the stair, which was at the rate of a year's
indulgence for every step. The terms were fair; for with an ordinary
day's work I might lay up some thousands of years' indulgence. There was
but one drawback in the matter. "I don't believe in purgatory," I
rejoined. "What is that to me?" said the old man, tartly, accompanying
the remark with a quick shrug of the shoulders and a curl of his thin
lip.

I turned to the staircase. Three peasant lads from Rimini--where the
Madonna still winks, and good Catholic hearts still believe--were
piously engaged in laying up a stock of merit against a future day, on
the Scala Santa. Swinging the upper part of their bodies, and holding
their feet aloft lest their wooden-soled shoes should touch the precious
marble, or rather its wooden casing, they were slowly making way on the
steps. In a little they were joined by a Frenchman, with his wife and
little daughter; and the whole began a general march up the staircase.
Whether it was the greater vigour of their piety, or the greater vigour
of their limbs, I know not; but the peasants had flung themselves up
before the lady had mastered five steps of the course. It occurred to me
that this way of earning heaven was not one that placed all on a level,
as they should be. These strong sinewy lads were getting fifteen years'
indulgence with no greater effort than it cost the lady to earn five.
The party, on reaching the top, entered a room on the right, and dropt
on their knees before a little box of bones which stood in one corner,
then before a painting of the Saviour which hung in the other; muttered
a few words of prayer; and, descending the lateral stairs, commenced
over again the same process. In no time they had laid up at least a
hundred years' indulgence a-piece. The Frenchman and his lady went
through the operation with a grave face; but the peasants quite lost the
mastery over theirs, and the building rung with peals of laughter at
the ridiculous attitudes into which they were compelled to throw
themselves. Even in the little chapel above, bursts of smothered
merriment interrupted their prayers. I looked at the little man in the
box, to see how he was taking it; but he was true to his own remark,
"What is that to me?" Indeed, this behaviour by no means detracted from
the merit of the deed, or shortened by a single day the term of
indulgence, in the estimation of the Italians. _Their_ understanding of
devotion and _ours_ are totally different. With us devotion is a mental
act; with them it is a mechanical act, strictly so. The mind may be
absent, asleep, dead; it is devotion nevertheless. These peasants had
undertaken to climb Pilate's staircase on their knees; not to give
devout or reverent feelings into the bargain: they had done all they
engaged to do, and were entitled to claim their hire. The staircase, as
my readers may remember, has a strange connection with the Reformation.
One day, as Luther was dragging his body up these steps, he thought he
heard a voice from heaven crying to him, _The just shall live by faith._
Amazed, he sprang to his feet. New light entered into him. Luther and
the Reformation were advanced a stage.

From the Scala Santa in the Lateran I went to see the Santissimo Bambino
in the church of Ara Cæli, on the Capitol. This church is squatted on
the spot where stood the temple of Jupiter Ferretrius of old. It is one
of the largest churches in Rome, and is unquestionably the ugliest. A
magnificent staircase of an hundred and twenty-four steps of Parian
marble leads up to it; but the church itself is as untasteful as can
well be imagined. It presents its gable to the spectator, which is
simply a vast unadorned expanse of brick, the breadth greatly exceeding
the height, and terminating a-top in a sort of coping, that looks like a
low, broad chimney, or rather a dozen chimneys in one. The edifice
always reminded me of a short, stout Quaker, with a brim of even more
than the usual breadth, standing astride on the Capitol. Entering by the
main doorway in the west, I passed along the side aisle, on my way to
the little chapel near the altar where the Bambino is kept. The wall
here was covered with little pictures in thousands, all in the homeliest
style of the art, and representing persons falling into the sea, or
tumbling over precipices, or ridden over by carts. These were votive
offerings from persons who had been in the situations represented, and
who had been saved by the special interposition of Mary. Arms, legs, and
heads of brass, and in some instances of silver, bore testimony to the
greater wealth or the greater devotion of others of the devotees.
Passing through a door on the left, at the eastern extremity of the
church, I entered the little chapel or side closet, in which the Bambino
is kept. Here two barefooted monks, with not more than the average dirt
on their persons, were in attendance, to show me the "god." They began
by lighting a few candles, though the sunlight was streaming in at the
casement. I was near asking the monks the same question which the
Protestant inhabitants of a Hungarian village one day put to their
Catholic neighbours, as they were marching in procession through their
streets,--"Is your god blind, that you burn candles to him at mid-day?"
The tapers lighted, one of the friars dropped on his knees, and fell to
praying with great vigour. I fear my deportment was not so edifying as
the place and circumstances required; for I could see that ever and anon
the monk cast side-long glances at me, as at a man who was scarce worthy
of so great a sight as was about to be shown him. The other monk,
drawing a key from under his cloak, threw open the doors of a sort of
cupboard that stood against the wall. The interior was fitted up not
unlike the stage of a theatre. A tall figure, covered with a brown
cloak, stood leaning on a staff in the foreground. By his side stood a
female, considerably younger, and attired in an elegant robe of green.
These two regarded with fixed looks a little cradle or casket at their
feet. The background stretched away into a hilly country, amid whose
knolls and dells were shepherds with their flocks. The figures were
Joseph and Mary, and the vista beyond was meant to represent the
vicinity of Bethlehem. Taking up the casket, the monk, with infinite
bowings and crossings, undid its swathings, and solemnly drew forth the
Bambino. Poor little thing! it was all one to it whether one or a
hundred candles were burning beside it: it had eyes, but saw not. It was
bandaged, as all Italian children are, from head to foot, the swathings
enveloping both arms and legs, displaying only its little feet at one
extremity, and its round chubby face at the other. But what a blaze! On
its little head was a golden crown, burning with brilliants; and from
top to toe it was stuck so full of jewels, that it sparkled and
glittered as if it had been but one lustrous gem throughout.

Two women, who had taken the opportunity of an Inglise visiting the
idol, now entered, leading betwixt them a little child, and all three
dropped on their knees before the Bambino. I begged the monk to inform
me why these women were here on their knees, and praying. "They are
worshipping the Bambino," he replied. "Oh! worshipping, are they?" I
exclaimed, in affected surprise; "how stupid I am; I took it for a piece
of wood." "And so it is," rejoined the monk; "but it is miraculous; it
is full of divine virtue, and works cures." "Has it wrought any of
late?" I inquired. "It has," replied the religioso; "it cured a woman of
dropsy two weeks ago." "In what quarter of Rome did she live?" I asked.
"She lived in the Vatican," replied the Franciscan. "We have some great
doctors in the city I come from," I said; "we have some who can take off
an arm, or a leg, or a nose, without your feeling the slightest pain;
but we have no doctor like this little doctor. But, pray tell me, why do
you permit the cardinals or the Pope ever to die, when the Bambino can
cure them?" The monk turned sharply round, and gave me a searching
stare, which I stood with imperturbable gravity; and then, taking me for
either a very dull or a very earnest questioner, he proceeded to explain
that the cure did not depend altogether on the power of the Bambino, but
also somewhat on the faith of the patient. "Oh, I see how it is," I
replied. "But pardon me yet farther; you say the Bambino is of wood, and
that these honest women are praying to it. Now I have been taught to
believe that we ought not to worship wood." To make sure both of my
interrogatories and of the monk's answers, I had been speaking to him
through my friend Mr Stewart, whose long residence in Rome had made him
perfectly master of the Italian tongue. "Oh," replied the Franciscan,
"_all Christians here worship it_." But now the signs had become very
manifest that my inquiries had reached a point beyond which it would not
be prudent to push them. The monk was getting very red in the face; his
motions were growing quick and violent; and, with more haste than
reverence, he put back his god into its crib, and prepared to lock it up
in its press. His fellow monk had started to his feet, and was rapidly
extinguishing the candles, as if he smelt the unwholesome air of heresy.
The women were told to be off; and the exhibition closed with somewhat
less show of devotion than it had opened.

Here, by the banks of the Tiber, as of old by the Euphrates, sits the
captive daughter of Judah; and I went one afternoon towards twilight to
visit the Ghetto. It is a narrow, dark, damp, tunnel-like lane. Old
Father Tiber had been there but a day or two previously, and had left,
as usual, very distinct traces of his visit, in the slime and wet that
covered the place. Formerly it was shut in with gates, which were locked
every night at Ave Maria: now the gates are gone, and the broken and
ragged door-posts show where they had hung. Opposite the entrance of the
Ghetto stands a fine church, with a large sculpture-piece over its
portal, representing a crucifix, surrounded with the motto, which meets
the eye of the Jew every time he passes out or comes in, "All day long I
have stretched forth my hands unto a gainsaying and disobedient people."
The allusion here, no doubt, is to their unwillingness to pay their
taxes, for that is the only sense in which the Pope's hands are all day
long stretched out towards this people. Recently Pio Nono contracted a
loan for twenty-one millions of francs, with the house of Rothschild;
and thus, after persecuting the race for ages, the Vicar of God has come
to lean for the support of his tottering throne upon a Jew. To do the
Pope justice, however, the Jews in Rome are gathered once a-year into a
church, where a sermon is preached for their conversion. The spectacle
is said to be a very edifying one. The preacher fires off from the
pulpit the hardest hits he can; and the Jews sit spitting, coughing, and
making faces in return; while a person armed with a long pole stalks
through the congregation, and admonishes the noisiest with a firm sharp
rap on the head. The scene closes with a baptism, in which, it is
affirmed, the same Jew sometimes plays the same part twice, or oftener
if need be.

The tyrannical spirit of Popery is seen in the treatment to which these
descendants of Abraham are subjected in Rome, down to the present hour.
Inquisitors are appointed to search into and examine all their books;
all Rabbinic works are forbidden them, the Old Testament in Hebrew only
being allowed to them; and any Jew having any forbidden book in his
possession is liable to the confiscation of his property. Nor is he
permitted to converse on the subject of religion with a Christian. They
are not permitted to bury their dead with religious pomp, or to write
inscriptions on their tombstones; they are forbidden to employ Christian
servants; and if they do anything to disturb the faith of a Jewish
convert to Romanism, they are subject to the confiscation of all their
goods, and to imprisonment with hard labour for life; they are not
allowed to sell meat butchered by themselves to Christians, nor
unleavened bread, under heavy penalties; nor are they permitted to sleep
a night beyond the limits of their quarters, nor to have carriage or
horses of their own, nor to drive about the city in carriages, nor to
use public conveyances for journeying, if any one object to it.

Enter the Ghetto, and you feel instantly that you are among another
race. An indescribable languor reigns over the rest of Rome. The Romans
walk the streets with their hands in their pockets, and their eyes on
the ground, for a heavy heart makes the limbs to drag. But in the Ghetto
all is activity and thrift. You feel as if you had been suddenly
transported into one of the busiest lanes of Glasgow or Manchester.
Eager faces, with keen eyes and sharp features, look out upon you from
amid the bundles of clothes and piles of all kinds of articles which
darken the doors and windows of their shops. Scarce have you crossed the
threshold of the Ghetto when you are seized by the button, dragged
helplessly into a small hole stuffed with every imaginable sort of
merchandise, and invited to buy a dozen things at once. No sooner have
you been let go than you are seized by another and another. The women
were seated in the doors of their shops and dwellings, plying busily
their needle. One fine Jewish matron I marked, with seven buxom
daughters round her, all working away with amazing nimbleness, and
casting only a momentary glance at the stranger as he passed. How
inextinguishable the qualities of this extraordinary people! Here, in
this desolate land, and surrounded by the overwhelming torpor and
laziness of Rome, the Jews are as industrious and as intent on making
gain as their brethren in the commercial cities of Britain. I drew up
with a young lad of about twenty, by way of feeling the pulse of the
Ghetto; but though I tried him on both the past and the present, I
succeeded in striking no chord to which he would respond. He seemed one
of the prophet's dried bones,--very dry. Seventy years did their fathers
dwell by the Euphrates; but here, alas! has the harp of Judah hung upon
the willow for eighteen centuries. Beneath the dark shadow of the
Vatican do they ever think of the sunny and vine-clad hills of their
Palestine?

I spent days not a few in the saloons of the Vatican. Into these noble
chambers,--six thousand in number, it is said,--have been gathered all
the masterpieces of ancient art which have been dug up from the ruins of
villas, and temples, and basilicas, where they had lain buried for ages.
Of course, I enter on no description of these. Let me only remark, that
though I had seen hundreds of copies of some of these sculptures,--the
Apollo Belvedere and the Laocoon, for instance,--no copy I had ever seen
had given me any but the faintest idea of the transcendent beauty and
power of the originals. The artist, I found, had flung into them,
without the slightest exaggeration of feature, a tremendous energy, an
intense life, which perhaps no coming age will ever equal, and certainly
none surpass. What a sublime, thrilling, ever-acting tragedy, for
instance, is the Laocoon group! But from these efforts of a genius long
since passed from the earth, I pass to one who represents in his living
person a more tragical drama than any depicted in marble in the halls of
the Vatican. One day as I was wandering through these apartments, the
rumour ran through them that the Pope was going out to take an airing. I
immediately ran down to the piazza, where I found a rather shabby coach
with red wheels, to which were yoked four coal-black horses, with a very
fat coachman on the box, in antique livery, and two postilions astride
the horses, waiting for Pius. Some half-dozen of the _guardia nobile_,
mounted on black horses, were in attendance; and, loitering at the
bottom of the stairs, were the stately forms of the Swiss guards, with
their shining halberds, and their quaint striped dress of yellow and
purple. I had often heard of the Pope in the symbols of the Apocalypse,
and in the pages of history as the antichrist; and now I was to see him
with the eye in the person of Pio Nono. After waiting ten minutes or so,
the folding doors in an upper gallery of the piazza were thrown open,
and I could see a head covered with a white skull-cap,--the Popes never
wear a wig,--passing along the corridor, just visible above the stone
ballustrade. In a minute the Pope had descended the stairs, and was
advancing along the open pavement to his carriage. The Swiss guard stood
to their halberds. A Frenchman and his lady,--the same, if I mistake
not, whom I had seen on the Scala Santa,--spreading his white
handkerchief on the causeway, uncovered and dropped on his knees; a row
of German students in red gowns went down in like manner; a score or so
of wretched-looking old men, who were digging up the grass in the
piazza, formed a prostrate group in the middle; and a little knot of
Englishmen,--some four of us only,--stood erect at about six yards from
the line of the procession.

Pio Nono, though king of the kings of the earth, was attired with severe
simplicity. His sole dress, save the skull-cap I have mentioned, and red
slippers, was a gown of white stuff, which enveloped his whole person
from the neck downwards, and looked not unlike a camlet morning
dressing-gown. A small cross which dangled on his breast was his only
ornament. The fisherman's ring I was too far off to see. In person he is
a portly, good-looking gentleman; and, could one imagine him entering
the pulpit of a Scotch Secession congregation, or an English Methodist
one, his appearance would be hailed with looks of satisfaction. His
colour was fresher than the average of Italy; and his face had less of
the priest in it than many I have seen. There was an air of easy good
nature upon it, which might be mistaken for benevolence, blended with a
smile, which appeared ever on the point of breaking into a laugh, and
which utterly shook the spectator's confidence in the firmness and good
faith of its owner. Pius stooped slightly; his gait was a sort of amble;
there was an air of irresolution over the whole man; and one was tempted
to pronounce,--though the judgment may be too severe,--that he was half
a rogue, half a fool. He waived his hand in an easy, careless way to the
students and Frenchman, and made a profound bow to the English party.

St Peter's is close by: let us enter it. As among the Alps, so here at
first, one is altogether unaware of the magnitudes before him. What
strikes you on entering is the vast sweep of the marble floor. It runs
out before you like a vast plain or strath, and gives you a colossal
standard of measurement, which you apply unconsciously to every
object,--the pillars, the statues, the roof; and though these are all
colossal too, yet so nicely are they proportioned to all around them,
that you take no note of their bulk. You pass on, and the grandeur of
the edifice opens upon you. Beneath you are rows of dead popes; on
either side rise gigantic statues and monuments which genius has raised
to their memory; and in front is the high altar of the Roman world,
towering to the height of a three-story house, yet looking, beneath that
sublime roof, of only ordinary size. You are near the reputed tombs of
Peter and Paul, before which an hundred golden lamps burn day and night.
And now the mighty dome opens upon you, like the vault of heaven itself.
You begin to feel the wondrous magnificence of the edifice in which you
stand, and you give way to the admiration and awe with which it inspires
you. But next moment comes the saddening thought, that this pile,
unrivalled as it is among temples made with hands, is literally useless.
There is no worship in it. Here the sinner hears no tidings of a free
salvation. This temple but enshrines a wafer, and serves once or twice
a-year as the scene of an idle pageant on the part of a few old men.

Nay, not only is it useless,--it is one of the strongholds which
superstition has thrown up for perpetuating its sway over the world. You
see these few poor people kneeling before these burning lamps. Their
prayer is directed, not upwards through that dome to the heavens above
it, but downwards into that vault where sleep, as they believe, the
ashes of Peter and Paul. Rome has ever discouraged family worship, and
taught men to pray in churches. Why? To increase the power of the Church
and the priesthood. A country covered with households in which family
worship is kept is like a country covered with fortresses;--it is
impregnable. Every house is a citadel, and every family is a little
army. Or mark yonder female who kneels before the perforated brazen
lattice of yonder confessional-box. She is whispering her sins into the
ear of a shaven priest, who receives them into his own black heart. It
is but a reeking cess-pool, not a fountain of cleansing, to which she
has come. Such are the uses of St Peter's,--a temple where the _Church_
is glorified at the expense of _religion_. Its high altar stops the way
to the throne of grace, and its priest bars your access to a Redeemer's
blood.

And how was this temple built? Romanists speak of it as a monument of
the piety of the faithful. But what is the fact? Did it not come out of
the foul box of Tetzel the indulgence-monger? Every stone in it is
representative of so much sin. With all its grandeur, it is but a
stupendous monument of the follies and vices, the crimes and the
superstition, of Christendom in the ages which preceded the Reformation.
It has cost Rome dear. We do not allude to the twelve millions its
erection is said to have cost, but to the mighty rent to which it gave
rise in the Roman world. In the centre of the magnificent piazza of St
Peter's stands an Egyptian obelisk, brought from Heliopolis, with the
words graven upon it, "Christ reigns." Verily that is a great truth; and
there are few spots where one feels its force so strongly as here. The
successive paganisms of the world have been overruled as steps in the
world's progress. Their corruptions have been based upon certain great
truths, which they have written, as it were, upon the general mind of
the world. The paganism which flourished where that column was hewn was
an admission of _God's existence_, though it strove to divert attention
from the truth on which it was founded, by the multitude of false gods
which it invented. In like manner, the paganism that flourishes, or
rather that is fading, where this column now stands, is an admission of
the _necessity of a Mediator_; though it strives, as its predecessor
did, to hide this glorious truth under a cloud of spurious mediators.
But we see in this how every successive move on the part of idolatry has
in reality been a retreat. Truth is gradually advancing its parallels
against the citadel of error, and the world is toiling slowly upward to
its great rest. Thus Christ shows that He reigns.

From this silent prophet at the Pope's door, let us skirt along the
Janiculum, to the gate of San Pancrazio. The site is a commanding one;
and you look down into the basin in which Rome reposes, where many a
cupola, and tower, and pillared façade, rises proudly out of the red
roofs that cover the Campus Martius. If it is toward sunset, you can see
the sheen of the villas which are sprinkled over the Sabine and Volscian
hills, and are much struck with the fine amphitheatre which the
mountains around the city form. What must have been the magnificence of
ancient Rome, with her seven hills, and her glorious Campagna, with such
a mountain-wall! But let us mark the old gate. It was here that the
struggle betwixt the French and the Romans took place in 1849. The wall
is here of brick,--very old, and of great breadth; and if struck with a
cannon ball, it would crumble into dust by inches, but not fall in
masses: hence the difficulty which the French found of breaching it. The
towers of the gate are dismantled, and the top of the wall for some
thirty yards is of new brick; but, with these exceptions, no other
traces remain of the bloody conflict which restored the Pope to his
throne. Of old, when Dagon fell, and the human head rolled in one
direction and the fishy tail lay in another, "they took Dagon," we are
told, and, fastening together the dissevered parts, "they set him in his
place again." Idol worshippers are the same in all ages. Oftener than
once has the Dagon of the Seven Hills fallen; the crown has rolled in
one direction; the "palms of his hands" have been seen in another; and
only the sacerdotal stump has remained; but the kings of Europe have
taken Dagon, and, by the help of bayonets, have "set him in his place
again;" and, having set up _him_ who could not set up himself, have
worshipped him as the prop of their own power. What I had come hither to
see especially was the graves of those who had fallen. On the left of
the road, outside the gate, I found a grassy plateau, of some half-dozen
acres, slightly furrowed, but bearing no such indications as I expected
to find of such carnage as had here taken place. A Roman youth was
sauntering on the spot; and, making up to him, I asked him to be so good
as show me where they had buried the Frenchmen. "Come along," said he,
"and I will show you the French." We crossed the plateau in the
direction of a vineyard, which was enclosed with a stone-wall. The gate
was open, and we entered. Stooping down, the youth laid hold on a
whitish-looking nodule, of about the size of one's fist, and, holding it
out to me, said, "that, Signor, is part of a Frenchman." I thought at
first the lad was befooling me; but on examining the substance, I found
that it was animal matter calcined, and had indeed formed part of a
human being. The vineyard for acres and acres was strewn with similar
masses. I now saw where the French were buried. The siege took place in
the heat of summer; and every evening, when the battle was over, the
dead were gathered in heaps, and burned, to prevent infection; and there
are their remains to this day, manuring the vineyards around the walls.
I wonder if the evening breezes, as they blow over the Janiculum, don't
waft across the odour to the Vatican.

Let us descend the hill, and re-enter the city. There is a class of
buildings which you cannot fail to note, and which at first you take to
be prisons. They are large, gloomy-looking houses, of from three to
four stories, with massive doors, and windows closed with strong upright
iron stanchions, crossed with horizontal bars, forming a network of iron
of so close a texture, that scarce a pigeon could squeeze itself
through. Ah, there, you say, the brigand or the Mazzinist groans! No;
the place is a convent. It is the dwelling, not of crime, but of
"heavenly meditation." The beings that live there are so perfectly
happy, so glad to have escaped from the evil world outside, and so
delighted with their paradise, that not one of them would leave it,
though you should open these doors, and tear away these iron bars. So
the priests say. Is it not strange, then, to confine with bolt and bar
beings who intend anything but escape? and is it not, to say the least,
a needless waste of iron, in a country where iron is so very scarce and
so very dear? It would be worth while making the trial, if only for a
summer's day, of opening these doors, and astonishing Rome with the
great amount of happiness within it, of which, meanwhile, it has not the
least idea. I have seen the dignitaries entering, but no glimpse could I
obtain of the interior; for immediately behind the strong outer door is
an inner one, and how many more I know not. Mr Seymour has told us of a
nun, while he was in Rome, who found her way out through all these doors
and bars; but, instead of fleeing back into her paradise, she rushed
straight to the Tiber, and sought death beneath its floods.

But although I never was privileged to see the interior of a Roman
convent, I saw on one occasion the inmates of these paradises. During my
sojourn in that city, it was announced that the nuns of a certain
convent were to sing at Ave Maria, in a church adjoining the Piazza di
Spagna; and I went thither to hear them. The choristers I did not see;
they sat in a remote gallery, behind a screen. Their voices, which in
clearness and brilliancy of tone surpassed the finest instruments, now
rose into an overpowering melodious burst, and now died away into the
sweetest, softest whispers. Within the low rail, their faces fronting
the altar, and their backs turned on the audience, sat a row of
spectres. Start not, reader; spectres they were,--fleshless, bloodless
spectres. I saw them enter: they came like the sheeted dead; they wore
long white dresses; their faces were pale and livid, like those that
look out upon you from coffins; their forms were thin and wasted, and
cast scarce a shadow as they passed between you and the beams of the
sinking sun. Their eyes they lifted not, but kept them steadfastly fixed
on the ground, over which they crept noiselessly as shadows creep. They
sat mute and moveless, as if they had been statues of cold marble, all
the while these brilliant notes were rolling above them. But I observed
they were closely watched by the priests. There were several beside the
altar; and whichever it was who happened for the moment to be
disengaged, he turned round, and stood regarding the nuns with that
stern anxious look with which one seeks to control a mastiff or a
maniac. Were the priests afraid that, if withdrawn for a moment from the
influence of their eye, a wail of woe would burst forth from these poor
creatures? The last hallelujah had been pealed forth,--the shades of eve
were thickening among the aisles,--when the priests gave the signal to
the nuns. They rose, they moved; and, with eyes which were not lifted
for a moment from the floor on which they trod, they disappeared by the
same private door by which they had entered. I have seen gangs of galley
slaves,--I have seen the husbands and sons of Rome led away manacled
into banishment,--I have seen men standing beneath the gallows; but
never did I see so woe-struck a group as this. Than have gone back with
these nuns to their "paradise," as it is cruelly termed, I felt that I
would rather have lain, where the lost nun is, in the Tiber.

Before visiting Italy, I had read and studied the lectures of Father
Perrone, Professor of Dogmatic Theology in the Collegio Romano, and had
had frequent occasion to mention his name in my own humble pages; for I
had nowhere found so clear a statement of the views held by the Church
of Rome on the important doctrine of Original Sin, as that given in the
Father's writings, and few had spoken so plainly as he had done on the
wickedness of toleration. Being in Rome, I was naturally desirous of
seeing the Father, and hearing him prelect. Accompanied by a young Roman
student, whose acquaintance I had the happiness to make, but whose name
I do not here mention, I repaired one day to the Collegio Romano,--a
fine quadrangular building; and, after visiting its library, in whose
"dark unfathomed caves" lies full many a monkish gem, I passed to the
class-room of Professor Perrone. It was a lofty hall, benched after the
manner of our own class-rooms, and hung round with portraits of the
Professor's predecessors in office,--at least I took them for such. A
tall pulpit rose on the end wall, with a crucifix beside it. The
students were assembling, and mustered to the number of about an
hundred. They were raw-boned, seedy-looking lads, of from seventeen to
twenty-two. They all wore gowns, the majority being black, but some few
red. Had I been a rich man, and disposed to signalize my visit to the
Collegio Romano by some appropriate gift, I would have presented each of
its students with a bar of soap, with directions for its use. In a few
minutes the Professor entered, wearing the little round cap of the
Jesuits. With that quiet stealthy step (an unconscious struggle to pass
from matter into spirit, and assume invisibility) which is inseparable
from the order, Father Perrone walked up to the pulpit stairs, which,
after doffing his cap, and muttering a short prayer before the crucifix,
he ascended, and took his place. It may interest those who are familiar
with his writings, to know that Father Perrone is a man of middle size,
rather inclined to obesity, with a calm, pleasant, thoughtful face,
which becomes lighted up, as he proceeds, with true Italian vivacity.
His lecture for the day was on the Evidences; and of course it was not
the heretics, but the infidels, whom he combated throughout. In the
number of his students was a young Protestant American, whom I first met
in the house of the Rev. Mr Hastings, the American chaplain, where I
usually passed my Sabbath evenings. This young man had chalked out for
himself the most extraordinary theological course I ever heard of. He
had first of all gone through a full curriculum in one of the old
orthodox halls of the United States; he had then passed into Germany,
where he had taken a course of neology and philosophy; and now he had
come to Rome, where he intended to finish off with a course of Romanism.
I ventured to engage him in a conversation on what he had learned in
Germany; but we had not gone far till both found that we had lost
ourselves in a dark mist; and we were glad to lay hold on an ordinary
topic, as a clue back to the daylight. The young divine purposed
returning to his native land, and spending his days as a Presbyterian
pastor.

Will the reader go back with me to the point where we began our
excursion through Rome,--the Flaminian Gate? I invite the reader's
special attention to a building on the right. It stands a few paces
outside the gate. The building possesses no architectural attractions,
but it is illustrative of a great principle. The first floor is occupied
as a granary; the second floor is occupied as a granary; the third
floor,--how is it occupied,--the attic story? Why, it is the English
Protestant Church! Here is the toleration which the Pope grants us in
Rome. There are from six hundred to a thousand English subjects resident
in Rome every winter; but they dare not meet within the walls to open
the Bible, or to worship God as his Word enjoins. They must go out
without the gate, as if they were evil-doers; they must climb the stairs
of this granary, as if they meditated some deed of darkness; and only
when they have got into this garret are they at liberty to worship God.
The Pope comes, not in person, but in his cardinals and priests, to
Britain; and he claims the right of building his mass-houses, and of
celebrating his worship, in every town and village of our empire. We
permit him to do so; for we will fight this great battle with the
weapons of toleration. We disdain to stain our hands or tarnish our
cause by any other: these we leave to our opponents. But when we go to
Rome, and offer to buy with our money a spot of ground on which to erect
a house for the worship of God, we are told that we can have--no, not a
foot's-breadth. Why, I say, the gospel had more toleration in Pagan
Rome, aye, even when Nero was emperor, than it has in Papal Rome under
Pio Nono. When Christianity entered Rome in the person of the Apostle
Paul, did the tyrant of the Palatine strike her dumb? By no means. For
the space of two years, her still small voice ceased not to be heard at
the foot of the Capitol. "And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own
hired house [in Rome], and received all that came in unto him; preaching
the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord
Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him." Let any
minister or missionary attempt to do so now, and what would be his fate?
and what the fate of any Roman who might dare to visit him? Instant
banishment to the one,--instant imprisonment to the other. The Pope has
set up the symbol of intolerance and persecution at his gate. He has
written over the portals of Rome, as Dante over the gates of hell, "All
ye who enter here, abandon"--God.

I do not say that the place is incommodious internally. The stigma lies
in the proscription put upon Protestant worship. It is held to be an
abomination so foul, that it cannot be tolerated within the walls of
Rome. And the same spirit which banishes the worship to a garret, would
banish the worshipper to a prison, or condemn him to a stake, if it
dared. The same principle that makes Rome lock her earthly gates against
the Protestant now, makes her lock her heavenly gates against him
eternally.

There are, however, annoyances of a palpable and somewhat ludicrous kind
attending this expulsion of the Protestant worship beyond the walls. The
granary to which I have referred adjoins the cattle and pig market. In
Rome, although it is a mortal sin to eat the smallest piece of flesh on
a Friday, it is no sin at all to buy and sell swine's flesh on a
Sabbath. Accordingly, the pig-market is held on Sabbath; and it is
customary to drive the animals into the back courts of the English
meeting-house before carrying them to market. So I was informed, when at
Rome, by a member of the English congregation. The uproar created by the
animals is at times so great as to disturb the worshippers in the attic
above, who have been under the necessity of putting their hands into
their pockets, and buying food for the swine, in order to keep them
quiet during the hours of divine service. Thus the English at Rome are
able to conduct their worship with some degree of decorum only when both
cardinals and swine are propitious. Should either be out of humour,--a
thing conceivable to happen to the most obese cardinal and the
sweetest-tempered pig,--the English have but little chance of quiet.
Nor is that the worst of it. I read not long since in the public
journals, a letter from a Romish dignitary,--Dr Cahill, if I mistake
not,--who, with an immense amount of bravery, stated that there was no
Roman Catholic country in the world where full toleration was not
enjoyed; and that, as regarded Rome, any Roman might change his religion
to-morrow with perfect impunity. He might adopt Protestantism or
Quakerism, or any other ism he pleased, provided he could show that he
was not acting under the compulsion of a bribe. But how stands the fact?
I passed three Sabbaths in Rome; I worshipped each Sabbath in the
English Protestant chapel; and what did I see at the door of that
chapel? I saw two gendarmes, with a priest beside them to give them
instructions. And why were they there? They were there to observe all
who went in and out at that chapel; and provided a Roman had dared to
climb these stairs, and worship with the English congregation, the
gendarmes would have seized him by the collar, and dragged him to the
Inquisition. So much for the liberty the poor Romans enjoy to change
their religion. The writer of that letter with the same truth might have
told the people of England that there is no such city as Rome in all the
world.

I was much taken with the ministrations of the Rev. Francis B. Woodward,
the resident chaplain, on hearing him for the first time. He looked like
one whose heart was in his work, and I thought him evangelical, so far
as the absence of all reference to what Luther has termed "the article
of a standing or a falling Church" allowed me to form an opinion. But
next Sabbath my confidence was sorely shaken. Mr Woodward was proceeding
in a rich and sweetly pious discourse on the necessity of seeking and
cultivating the gifts of the Spirit, and of cherishing the hope of
glory, when, towards the middle of his sermon, the evangelical thread
suddenly snapped. "How are we," abruptly asked the preacher, "to become
the sons of God?" I answer, by baptism. By baptism we are made children
of God and heirs of heaven. But should we fall from that happy state,
how are we to recover it? I answer, by penance. And then he instantly
fell back again into his former pious strain. I started as if struck,
and looked round to see how the audience were taking it. But I could
discover no sign that they felt the real significancy of the words they
had just heard. It seemed to me that the English chaplain was outside
the gate for the purpose of showing men in at it; and were I the Pope,
instead of incurring the scandal of banishing him beyond the walls, I
would assign him one of the best of the many hundred empty churches in
Rome. The Rev. Mr Hastings, the American chaplain, conducted worship in
the dining-room of Mr Cass, the American Consul, to a little
congregation of some thirty persons. He was a good man, and a sound
Protestant, but lacked the peculiar qualities for such a sphere. He has
since passed from Rome and the earth, and joined, I doubt not, albeit
disowned as a heretic in the city in which he laboured, "the General
Assembly and Church of the first-born" on high.

I have already mentioned that the priests boast that the Pope could say
mass in a different church every day of the year. Nevertheless there is
next to no preaching in Rome. In Italy they convert men, not by
preaching sermons, but by giving them wafers to swallow,--not by
conveying truth into the mind, but by lodging a little dough in the
stomach. Hence many of their churches stand on hill-tops, or in the
midst of swamps, where not a house is in sight. During my sojourn of
three weeks, I heard but two sermons by Roman preachers. I was
sauntering in the Forum one day, when, observing a little stream of
paupers--(how could such go to the convents to beg if they did not go to
sermon?)--flowing into the church of San Lorenzo, I joined in the
procession, and entered along with them. At the door was a tin-box for
receiving contributions for erecting a temple in London, where "their
poor destitute fellow-countrymen might hear the true gospel." Were these
"destitute fellow-countrymen" in Rome, the Pope would find accommodation
for them in some one of his dungeons; but with the English Channel
between him and them, he builds with paternal care a church for their
use. We doubt not the exiles will duly appreciate his kindness. Every
twentieth person or so dropped a little coin into the box as he passed
in. A knot of some one or two hundreds was gathered round a wooden
stage, on which a priest was declaiming with an exuberance of vehement
gesture. On the right and left of him stood two hideous figures, holding
candles and crucifixes, and enveloped from head to foot in sackcloth.
They watched the audience through two holes in their masks; and I
thought I could see a cowering in that portion of the crowd towards
which the muffled figures chanced for the time to be turned. I felt a
chilly terror creeping over me as the masks turned their great goggle
eyes upon me; and accordingly withdrew.

The regular weekly sermon in Rome is that preached every Sabbath
afternoon in the church of the Jesuits. This church is resplendent
beyond all others in the Eternal City, in marbles and precious stones,
frescoes and paintings. Here, too, in magnificent tombs, sleep St
Ignatius, the founder of the order, and Cardinal Bellarmin, one of the
"Church's" mightiest champions. Its ample roof might cover an assembly
of I know not how many thousands. About half-way down the vast floor, on
the side wall, stood the pulpit; and before it were set some scores of
forms for the accommodation of the audience, which might amount to from
four hundred to six hundred, chiefly elderly persons. At three o'clock
the preacher entered the pulpit, and, having offered a short prayer in
silence, he replaced on his head his little round cap, and flung himself
into his theme. That theme was one then and still very popular (I mean
with the preachers,--for the people take not the slightest interest in
these matters) at Rome,--the Immaculate Conception. I can give only the
briefest outline of the discourse; and I daresay that is all my readers
will care for. In proof of the immunity of Mary from original sin, the
preacher quoted all that St Jerome, and St Augustine, and a dozen
fathers besides, had said on the point, with the air of a man who deemed
these quotations quite conclusive. Had they related to the theory of
eclipses, or been snatches from some old pagan poet in praise of Juno,
the audience would have been equally well pleased with them. I looked
when the father would favour his audience with a few proofs from St
Matthew and St Luke; but his time did not permit him to go so far back.
He next appealed to the miracles which the Virgin Mary had wrought. I
expected much new information here, as my memory did not furnish me with
any well-accredited ones; but I was somewhat disappointed when the
preacher dismissed this branch of his subject with the remark, that
these miracles were so well known, that he need not specify them. Having
established his proposition first from tradition, and next from
miracles, the preacher wound up by declaring that the Immaculate
Conception was a doctrine which all good Catholics believed, and which
no one doubted save the children of the devil and the slaves of hell.
The sermon seemed as if it had been made to answer exactly the poet's
description:--

 "And when they list, their lean and flashy songs
 Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw;
 The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
 But, swollen with wind, and the rank mist they draw,
 Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread;
 Besides what the grim wolf, with privy paw,
 Daily devours apace, and nothing sed;
 But that two-handed engine at the door
 Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more."

When this edifying sermon was ended, "Ave Maria" began. A train of
white-robed priests entered, and gathered in a cloud round the high
altar. The organ sent forth its thunder; the flashing censers shot
upwards to the roof, and, as they rose and fell, emitted fragrant
wreaths of incense. The crowd poured in, and swelled the assembly to
some thousands; and when the priests began to chant, the multitude which
now covered the vast floor dropped on their knees, and joined in the
hymn to the Virgin. This service, of all I witnessed in Rome, was the
only one that partook in the slightest degree of the sublime.

I must except one other, celebrated in an upper chamber, and _truly_
sublime. It was my privilege to pass my first Sabbath in Rome in the
society of the Rev. John Bonar and that of his family, and at night we
met in Mr Bonar's room in the hotel, and had family worship. I well
remember that Mr Bonar read on this occasion the last chapter of that
epistle which Paul "sent by Phebe, servant of the Church at Cenchrea,"
to the saints at Rome. The disciples to whom the Apostle in that letter
sends greetings had lived in this very city; their dust still slept in
its soil; and were they to come back, I felt that, if I were a real
Christian, we would recognise each other as dear brethren, and would
join together in the same prayer; and as their names were read out, I
was thrilled and melted, as if they had been the names of beloved and
venerated friends but newly dead:--"Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my
helpers in Christ Jesus; who have for my life laid down their own necks;
unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the
Gentiles. Likewise _greet_ the church that is in their house. Salute my
well-beloved Epenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia unto Christ.
Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us. Salute Andronicus and Junia,
my kinsmen and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles,
who also were in Christ before me. Greet Amplias, my beloved in the
Lord. Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.
Salute Apelles, approved in Christ. Salute them which are of
Aristobulus' _household_. Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be
of the _household_ of Narcissus, which are in the Lord. Salute Tryphena
and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which
laboured much in the Lord. Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his
mother and mine. Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes,
and the brethren which are with them. Salute Philologus and Julia,
Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with
them."

Uppermost in my mind, in all my wanderings in and about Rome, was the
glowing fact that here Paul had been, and here he had left his
ineffaceable traces. I touched, as it were, scriptural times and
apostolic men. Had he not often climbed this Capitol? Had not his feet
pressed, times without number, this lava-paved road through the Forum?
These Volscian and Sabine mountains, so lovely in the Italian sunlight,
had often had his eye rested upon them! I began to love the soil for his
sake, and felt that the presence of this one holy man had done more to
hallow it than all that the long race of emperors and popes had done to
desecrate it.



CHAPTER XXIV.

INFLUENCE OF ROMANISM ON TRADE.

     The Church the Destroyer of the Country--The Pontifical Government
     just the Papacy in Action--That Government makes Men _Beggars_,
     _Slaves_, _Barbarians_--Influence of Pontifical Government on
     Trade--Iron--Great Agent of Civilization--Almost no Iron in Papal
     States--The Church has forbidden it--Prohibitive Duties on
     Iron--Machinery likewise prohibited--Antonelli's Extraordinary
     Note--Paucity of Iron-Workmen and Mechanics in the Papal
     States--Barbarous Aspect of the Country--Roman Ploughs--Roman
     Carts--How Grain is there Winnowed--Husbandry of Italy--Its
     Cabins--Its Ragged Population--Its Farms--Ruin of its
     Commerce--Isolation of Rome--Reasons why--Proposed Railway from
     Civita Vecchia to Ancona--Frustrated by the Government--Wretched
     Conveyance of Merchandise--Pope's Steam Navy--Papal
     Custom-houses--Bribery--Instances.


It is time to concentrate my observations, and to make their light
converge around that evil system that sits enthroned in this old city.
Of all the great ruins in Italy, the greatest by far is the Italians
themselves. The ruin of the Italians I unhesitatingly lay at the door of
the Church;--she is the nation's destroyer. When I first saw the Laocoon
in the Vatican, I felt that I saw the symbol of the country;--there was
Italy writhing in the folds of the great Cobra di Capella, the Papacy.

I cannot here go into the ceremonies practised at Rome, and which
present so faithful a copy, both in their forms and in their spirit, of
the pagan idolatry. Nor can I speak of the innumerable idols of gold and
silver, wood and stone, with which their churches are crowded, and
before which you may see votaries praying, and priests burning incense,
all day long. Nor can I speak of the endless round of fêtes and
festivals which fill up the entire year, and by which the priests seek
to dazzle, and, by dazzling, to delude and enthral, the Romans. Nor can
I detain my readers with tales and wonders of Madonnas which have
winked, and of the blind and halt which have been cured, which knaves
invent and simpletons believe. Nor can I detail the innumerable frauds
for fleecing the Romans;--money for indulgences,--money for the souls in
purgatory,--money for eating flesh on Friday,--money for votive
offerings to the saints. The church of the Jesuits is supposed to be
worth a million sterling, in the shape of marbles, paintings, and
statuary; and in this way the capital of the country is locked up, while
not a penny can be had for making roads or repairing bridges, or
promoting trade and agriculture. I cannot enter into these matters: I
must confine my attention to one subject,--THE PONTIFICAL GOVERNMENT.

When I speak of the Pontifical Government, I just mean the Papacy. The
working of the Papal Government is simply the working of the Papacy; for
what is that Government, but just the principles of the Papacy put into
judicial gear, and employed to govern mankind? It is the Church that
governs the Papal States; and as she governs these States, so would she
govern all the earth, would we let her. The Pontifical Government is
therefore the fairest illustration that can be adduced of the practical
tendency and influence of the system. I now arraign the system in the
Government. I am prepared to maintain, both on general principles, and
on facts that came under my own observation while in Rome, that the
Pontifical Government is the most flagitiously unjust, the most
inexorably cruel, the most essentially tyrannical Government, that ever
existed under the sun. It is the necessary, the unchangeable, the
eternal enemy of liberty. I say, looking at the essential principles of
the Papacy, that it is a system claiming infallibility, and so laying
reason and conscience under interdict,--that it is a system claiming to
govern the world, not _by_ God, but _as_ God,--that it is a system
claiming supreme authority in all things spiritual, and claiming the
same supreme authority, though indirectly, in all things temporal,--that
it sets no limits to its jurisdiction, but, on the contrary, makes that
jurisdiction to range indiscriminately over heaven, earth, and hell.
Looking at these principles, which no Papist can deny to be the
fundamental and vital elements of his system, I maintain that, if there
be any one thing more than another ascertained and indisputable within
the compass of man's knowledge, it is this, that the domination of a
system like the Papacy is utterly incompatible with the enjoyment of a
single particle of liberty on the part of any human being. And I now
proceed to show, that the conclusion to which one would come, reasoning
from the essential principles of this system, is just the conclusion at
which he would arrive by observing the workings of this system, as
exhibited at this day in Italy.

I shall arrange the facts I have to state under three heads:--_First_,
Those that relate to the TRADE of the Roman States: _second_, Those that
relate to the administration of JUSTICE: and _third_, Those that relate
to EDUCATION and KNOWLEDGE. I shall show that the Pontifical Government
is so conducted as regards Trade, that it can have no other effect than
to make the Romans _beggars_. I shall show, in the second place, that
the Pontifical Government is so conducted as regards Justice, that it
can have no other effect than to make the Romans _slaves_. And I shall
show, in the third place, that the Pontifical Government is so conducted
as regards Education, that it can have no other effect than to make the
Romans _barbarians_. This is the threefold result that Government is
fitted to work out: this is the threefold result it has wrought out. It
has made the Romans beggars,--it has made the Romans slaves,--it has
made the Romans barbarians. Observe, I do not touch the religious part
of the question. I do not enter on any discussion respecting Purgatory,
or Transubstantiation, or the worship of the Virgin. I look simply at
the bearings of that system upon man's temporal interests; and I
maintain that, though man had no hereafter to provide for, and no soul
to be saved, he is bound by every consideration to resist a system so
destructive to the whole of his interests and happiness in time.

I come now to trace the workings of the Papacy on the Trade of the Papal
States. But here I am met, on the threshold of my subject, by this
difficulty, that I am to speak of what scarce exists; for so effectually
has the Pontifical Government developed its influence in this direction,
that it has all but annihilated trade in the Papal States. If you except
the manufacture of cameos, Roman mosaics, a little painting and
statuary, there is really no more trade in the country than is
absolutely necessary to keep the people from starvation. The trade and
industry of the Roman States are crushed to death under a load of
monopolies and restrictive tariffs, invented by infallible wisdom for
protecting, but, as it seems to our merely fallible wisdom, for
sacrificing, the industry of the country.

Let us take as our first instance the Iron Trade. We all know the
importance of iron as regards civilization. Civilization may be said to
have commenced with iron,--to have extended over the earth with iron;
and so closely connected are the two, that where iron is not, there you
can scarce imagine civilization to be. It is by iron in the form of the
plough that man subjugates the soil; and it is by iron in the form of
the sword that he subjugates kingdoms. What would our country be without
its iron,--without its railroads, its steam-ships, its steam-looms, its
cutlery, its domestic utensils? Almost all the comforts and conveniences
of civilized life are obtained by iron. You may imagine, then, the
condition of the Papal States, when I state that iron is all but unknown
in them. It is about as rare and as dear as the gold of Uphaz. And why
is it so? There is abundance of iron in our country; water-carriage is
anything but expensive; and the iron manufacturers of Britain would be
delighted to find so good a market as Italy for their produce. Why,
then, is iron not imported into that country? For this simple reason,
that the Church has forbidden its introduction. Strange, that it should
forbid so useful a metal where it is so much needed. Yet the fact is,
that the Pope has placed its importation under an as stringent
prohibition almost as the importation of heresy: perhaps he smells
heresy and civilization coming in the wake of iron. The duty on the
introduction of bar-iron is two baiocchi la libbra, equivalent to fifty
dollars, or £12 10s., per ton; which is about twice the price of
bar-iron in this country. This duty is prohibitive of course.

The little iron which the Romans possess they import mostly from
Britain, in the form of pig-iron; and the absurdity of importing it in
this form appears from the fact that there is no coal in the States to
smelt it,--at least none has as yet been discovered: wood-char is used
in this process. When the pig-iron is wrought up into bar-iron, it is
sold at the incredible price of thirty-eight Roman scudi the thousand
pounds, which is equivalent, in English money, to £23 15s. per ton, or
four times its price in Britain. The want of the steam-engine vastly
augments the cost of its manufacture. There is a small iron-work at
Terni, eighty miles from Rome, which is set down there for the advantage
of water-power, which is employed to drive the works. The whole raw
material has to be carted from Rome, and, when wrought up, carted back
again, adding enormously to the expense. There is another at Tivoli,
also moved by water-power. The whole raw material has, too, to be carted
from Rome, and the manufactured article carted back, causing an outlay
which would soon more than cover the expense of steam-engine and fuel.
At Terni some sixty persons are employed, including boys and men. The
manager is a Frenchman, and most of the workmen are Frenchmen, with
wages averaging from forty to fifty baiocchi; labourers at the works
have from twenty-five to thirty baiocchi per day,--from a shilling to
fifteenpence.

During the reign of Gregory XVI. machinery was admitted into the Papal
States at a nominal duty, or one baiocchi the hundred Roman pounds. It
is not in a day that a country like Italy can be taught the advantage of
mechanical power. The Romans, like every primitive people, are apt to
cleave to the rude, unhandy modes which they and their fathers have
practised, and to view with suspicion and dislike inventions which are
new and strange. But they were beginning to see the superiority of
machinery, and to avail themselves of its use. A large number of
hydraulic presses, printing presses, one or two steam-engines, a few
threshing-mills, and other agricultural implements, were introduced
under this nominal duty; and, had a little longer time been allowed, the
country would have begun to assume somewhat of a civilized look. But
Gregory died; and, as if to show the utter hopelessness of anything
like progress on the part of the Pontifical Government, it was the
present Pope who took the retrograde step of restoring the law shutting
out machines. Cardinal Tosti, the Treasurer to Gregory's Government, was
succeeded by his Excellenza Monsignor (now Cardinal) Antonelli, one of
the earliest official acts of whom was the appending a note to the
tariff on machinery, which subjected machines, all and sundry, to the
duty imposed in the tariff on their component parts. For example, a
machine composed of iron, brass, steel, and wood, according to
Antonelli's note, would have to pay separate duty on each of the
materials composing it. The way in which the thing was done is a fine
sample of the spirit and style of papal legislation, and shows how the
same subtle but perverted ingenuity, the same specious but hypocritical
pretexts, with which the theological part of the system abounds, are
extended also to its political and civil managements. Antonelli did not
rescind the tariff; he but appended a note, the quiet but sure effect of
which was to render it null. He did not tax machines as a whole; they
were still free, viewed in their corporate capacity: he but taxed their
individual parts. This ingenious legislator, by a saving clause,
exempted from the operation of his note _machines of new invention_,
which, after being proved to be such, were to be admitted at the nominal
duty! What machines would not be of new invention in the Roman States,
where there is absolutely no machinery, saving--with all reverence for
the apostolic chamber--the guillotine?

But farther, Antonelli, to show at once his ingenuity and philanthropy,
enacted that machines which had never before been introduced into the
States should be admitted at the nominal duty. Mark the extent of the
boon herein conferred on Italy. We shall suppose that one of each of the
industrial and agricultural machines in use in Britain is admitted into
the Roman States under this law. It is admitted duty-free. Well, but the
second plough, or the second loom, or the second steam-engine, arrives.
It must pay a prohibitive duty. It is not a new machine. You can make as
many as you please from the one already introduced, says Antonelli. But
who is to make them? There are no mechanics deserving the name in Rome;
who, by the way, are the very people Antonelli said he meant to benefit.
But, apart from the want of mechanical skill, there is the dearth of the
raw material; for maleable iron was selling in Rome at upwards of £21
per ton, at a time when the cost of bar-iron in this country was only
from £6 to £7 per ton. Such insane legislation on the part of the
sacerdotal Government could not be committed through ignorance or
stupidity. There must be some strong reason that does not appear at
first sight for this wholesale sacrifice of the interests of the
country. We shall speak of this anon: meanwhile we pursue our statement.

Antonelli supported his note,--that note which ratified the banishment
of the arts from Italy, and gave barbarism an eternal infeftment in the
soil,--by affirming that it was passed in order to encourage l'industria
dello Stato; which is as if one should say that he had cut his
neighbour's throat to protect his life; for certainly Antonelli's note
cut the throat of industry. Well, one would think, seeing this
legislation was meant to protect the industry of the State and the
interests of the iron-workmen, that these iron-workmen must be a large
body. How many iron-workmen are there in the Papal States? An hundred
thousand? One thousand? There are not more in all than one hundred and
fifty! And for these one hundred and fifty iron-workmen (to which we may
add the seventy cardinals, the most of whom are speculators in iron),
the rest of the community is put beyond the pale of civilization, the
ordinary arts and utensils are proscribed, improvement is at a
stand-still, and the country is doomed to remain from age to age in
barbarism.

And what is the aspect of the country? It is decidedly that of a
barbarous land. Everything has an old-world look, as if it belonged to
the era of the Flood. Iron being so enormously dear, its use is
dispensed with wherever it is possible. Almost all implements of
agriculture, of carriage, almost all domestic utensils, and many tools
of trade, are made of wood. In consequence, they do very little work;
and that little but indifferently well. Nothing could be more primitive
than the _plough_ of the Romans. It consists of a single stick or lever,
fixed to a block having the form of a sock or coulter, with a projection
behind, on which the ploughman puts his foot, and assists the bullocks
over a difficulty. The work done by this implement we would not call
ploughing: it simply scratches the surface to the depth of some three or
four inches, with which the poor husbandman is content. The soil is in
general light, but it might be otherwise tilled; and, were it so, would
yield far other harvests than those now known in Italy. Their _carts_,
too, are of the rudest construction, and may be regarded as ingenious
models of the form which should combine the largest bulk with the least
possible use. They have high wheels, and as wide-set as those in our
country, with nothing to fill the dreary space between but an
uncouth-looking nut-shell of a box. The infallible Government of the
Pope has not judged it beneath it to legislate in reference to them.
They must be made of a certain prescribed capacity, and stamped for the
purchase and sale of lime and pozzolano. In this happy country, all
things, from the Immaculate Conception down to the pozzolano cart, are
cared for by the sacerdotal Government. The open-bodied carts have bars
(the length and distance apart of which are also regulated by the
pontiff) placed on the trams, and are licensed for the sale of green
wood, which must be sold at from three and a half to four dollars a
load. The barozza is another open-bodied cart, with bars placed around
the trams, and contains about twelve sacks of wood-char, which is sold
at from eight to ten dollars. This is the fuel of the country, and, when
kindled, does well enough for cooking. It gives considerable heat and
but little smoke, but lacks the cheerfulness and comfort of an English
fire-side, which is unknown in Rome.

Every agricultural process is conducted in the same rude and slovenly
way. And how can it be otherwise, when the Church, for reasons best
known to itself, denies the people the use of the indispensable
instruments? It solemnly legislates that one British plough may be
imported; and graciously permits its subjects, in a land where there are
no mechanics, to make as many additional ploughs as they need. Is it not
peculiarly modest in these men, who show so little wisdom in temporal
matters, to ask the entire world to surrender its belief to them in
things spiritual and divine?

Every one knows how we winnow corn in Britain. How do they conduct that
process at Rome? A cart-load of grain is poured out on the barn-floor;
some dozen or score of women squat down around it, and with the hand
separate the chaff from the wheat, pickle by pickle. In this way a score
of women may do in a week what a farmer in our country could do easily
in a couple of hours. An effort was made to persuade the predecessor of
the present Pontiff, Gregory XVI., to sanction the admission into Rome
of a winnowing-machine. Its mode of working and uses were explained to
the Pontiff. Gregory shook his head; for Infallibility indicates its
doubts at times, just as mortals do, by a shake of the head. It was a
dangerous thing to introduce into Rome, said the infallible Gregory.
Perhaps it was; for if the Romans had begun to winnow grain, they might
have learned to winnow other things besides grain.

The husbandry of Italy, as a system, is in a most backward state. Its
cultivation is the cultivation of Ireland. And yet Italy is excelled by
few countries on earth, perhaps by none, in point of its external
defences, and its inexhaustible internal resources; which, however,
under its present Government, are utterly wasted. On the north it is
defended by the wall of the Alps, and on all its other sides by the
ocean, whose bays offer boundless facilities for commerce. The plains of
Lombardy are eternally covered with flowers and fruit. The valleys of
Tuscany still boast the olive, the orange, and the vine. The wide waste
of the Campagna di Roma is of the richest soil, and, spread out beneath
the warm sun, might mingle on its surface the fruits of the torrid with
those of the temperate zones. Instead of this, Italy presents to the
traveller's eye a deplorable spectacle of wretched cabins, untilled
fields, and a population oppressed by sloth and covered with rags. The
towns are filled mostly with idlers and beggars. With all my inquiries,
I could never get a clear idea of how they live. The alms-houses are
numerous; for when a Government puts down trade, it must build hospitals
and poor's-houses, or see its subjects die of starvation. In Rome, for
example, besides the convents, where a number of poor people get a meal
a day,--a sufficiently meagre one,--there is the government
_Beneficenza_, which the more intelligent part account a great curse.
Some fifteen hundred or two thousand persons, many of them able-bodied
men, receive fifteen baiocchi,--sevenpence half-penny,--per day, in
return for which they pouter about with barrows, removing earth from
the old ruins, or cleaning the streets, which are none the cleaner, or
picking grass in the square of the Vatican. Many deplorable tales are
told in Rome of these people, and of the dire sacrifice made of the
female portion of their families. But the grand resource is beggary,
especially from foreigners; and if a beggar earn a penny a day, he will
make a shift to live. He will purchase half a pound of excellent
macaroni with the one baiocchi, and a few apples or grapes with the
other; and thus he is provided for for the day. The inhabitants of these
countries do not eat so substantially as we do. Should he earn nothing,
he has it in his choice to steal or starve. This is the prolific source
of brigandage and vagabondism.

In the country, the peasants (and there almost all are peasants) live by
cultivating a small patch of land. The farms, like those in Ireland, are
mere crofts. The proprietor, who lives in the city, provides not only
the land, but the implements and cattle also, and in return receives a
stipulated portion of the fruits. His share is often as high as a half,
never lower than a fourth. The farmer is a tenant-at-will most commonly,
but removals are rare; and sometimes, as in Ireland, the same lands
remain in the occupation of the same families for generations. Their
conical little hills, with their peasant villages a-top, are curiously
ribbed with a particoloured vegetation, each family cultivating their
couple of acres after their own fashion; while the plain is not
unfrequently abandoned to marshes, or ruins, or wild herbage. To dig
drains, to clear out the substructions, to re-open the ancient
water-courses, or to follow any improved system of cropping, is far
beyond the enterprise of the poor farmer. He has neither skill, nor
capital, nor savings. If nature takes the matter into her own hand,
well; if not, one bad harvest irretrievably lands him in famine. Thus,
with a soil and climate not excelled perhaps in the world, the
husbandman drags out his life in poverty, and is often on the very brink
of starvation. Whatever beauty and fertility that land still retains, it
owes to nature, not to man. Indeed, it is now only the skeleton of Italy
that exists, with here and there patches of its former covering,--nooks
of exquisite beauty, which strike one the more from the desolation that
surrounds them. But its cultivated portions are every year diminishing.
Its woods and olives are fast disappearing; and by and by the very
beasts of the field will be compelled to leave it, and the King of the
Seven Hills, could we conceive of his remaining behind, will be left to
reign in undisputed and unenvied supremacy over the storks and frogs,
and other animals, that breed and swarm in its marshes.

The commerce of Italy, too, is extinct. How can it be otherwise? Under
their terrible stagnation and death of mind, the Italians produce
nothing for export. In that country there are no factories, no mining
operations, no ship-building, no public works, no printing presses, no
tools of trade. In short, they create nothing but a few articles of
vertu; and even in those arts in which alone their genius is allowed to
exert itself, foreigners excel them. The best sculptors and painters at
Rome are Englishmen. And as regards their soil, which might send its
wheat, and wine, and olives, all delicious naturally, to every part of
the world, its harvests are now able but to feed the few men who live in
the country. As to imports, both raw and manufactured, which the Romans
need so much, we have seen how the sacerdotal Government takes effectual
means to prevent these reaching the population. The Pontiff has enclosed
his territory with a triple wall of protective duties and monopolies, to
keep out the foreign merchant; and thus not only are the Romans
forbidden to labour for themselves, but they are prevented profiting by
the labour of others. There is a monopoly of sugar-refining, a monopoly
of salt-making, and, in short, of every thing which the Romans most
need. These monopolies are held by the favourites of the Government; and
though generally the houses that hold them are either unwilling or
unable to make more than a tithe of what the Romans would require, no
other establishment can produce these articles, and they cannot be
imported but at a ruinous duty.

We are reminded of another grievance under which the Romans groan. The
few articles that are landed on their coast have to encounter tedious
and almost insuperable delays before they can find their way to the
capital. This is owing to the wretched state of the communication, which
is kept purposely wretched in order to isolate Rome and the Romans from
the rest of the world. That Church likes to sit apart and keep intact
her venerable prestige, which would be apt to be contemned were it
looked at close at hand. She dreads, too, to let her people come in
contact with the population of other States. A few thousands of English
aristocracy she can afford to admit annually within her territory. Their
money she needs, and their indifference gives her no uneasiness. But to
have the mass of a free people circulating through her capital would be
a death-blow to her influence. She deems it, then, a wise policy, indeed
a necessary safeguard, to make the access such as only money and time
can overcome, though at the sacrifice of the trade and comforts of the
people. Repeated attempts have been made to connect Rome with the rest
of Europe; but hitherto, through the singularly adroit management of the
Government, all such attempts have been fruitless.

In 1851 the long talked of concession for railways in the Roman States
was obtained by Count Montalembert. The railways were to be constructed
by foreign money and foreign agency, of course. A line from Rome to
Ancona, and another from Rome to Civita Vecchia, were talked of, which
would have put the Eternal City in immediate communication with the
Adriatic and the Mediterranean. _Che belle cose!_ the Italians might be
heard uttering wherever grouped. It looked too well; an extravagant
guarantee was offered to the Intraprendenti (contractors) by the Roman
Government. The Parisian Count was to procure capitalists for the
undertaking. The general opinion at the time was, that the Government
was insincere in their extravagant guarantee; and they stipulated with
the Count a condition as to time, calculated, as was supposed, to
frustrate the undertaking. In this, however, the Government was
outwitted; for capitalists were found within the prescribed time,
engineers appointed, and contracts entered into. The iron-works of Terni
and Tivoli amalgamated, in the hope of doing an extensive business by
manufacturing the rails, &c.; and announced in their prospectus the
intention of working the La Tolfa ironstone near Civita Vecchia. Many
were induced to sink money in this amalgamated concern, and there it
fruitlessly remains. The affray at Ferrara put the scutch upon the
mighty railway scheme.

Were the Government in earnest on the subject of railways, sufficient
capital might easily be raised to construct a line between Rome and
Civita Vecchia, which would be of incalculable benefit to Rome. Vessels
of heavy burden can discharge at the port of Civita Vecchia. Merchandise
could thence be transmitted by rail to Rome, where its arrival could be
calculated on to half an hour; and of what immense advantage would this
be, contrasted with the present maritime conveyance, which keeps
merchants in expectation of goods for days and weeks, and not
unfrequently for a whole month, with bills of lading in hand from
Marseilles, Genoa, Leghorn, Naples, and Sicily, by vessels carrying from
fifty to a hundred and fifty tons! The entrance to the mouth of the
Tiber at Fuma-Cina is both difficult and dangerous; so much so, that
sailing masters will not hazard the attempt if the weather is in the
least degree stormy. They are obliged frequently to return to Civita
Vecchia or Leghorn, until the weather will permit their entering the
river at Fuma-Cina. There their vessels require to be lightened, or
partly discharged into barges, there not being sufficient water in the
Tiber to allow them to ascend to Rome; the average depth of water
throughout the year being from four to five feet, which is only
sufficient for the Pope's navy force, employed in tugging barges from
Fuma-Cina to Rome. It is not the least important part of the Roman
merchants' business to know that their long-expected goods have entered
the river. This is ascertained at the custom-house at Ripa Grande, where
the intelligence is chronicled every evening, on return of the navy
force.

That navy consists of three small steamers, thirty horse power, and a
dredging boat. Two of the steamers are kept for the traffic between
Fuma-Cina and the custom-house at Rome. The other is employed on the
upper part of the river, starting from the Ripetta in Rome for the
Sabina country, going up about forty miles, and returning with wine,
oil, Indian corn, and wood for fuel, green and charred. The dredging
boat is scarcely ever used. The constantly filthy state of the river
causes so much deposit, that the machine is unable to overcome it.

There are custom-houses, of course, on all the frontiers. A very
respectable amount of bribery is done in these places: indeed, I never
could see that much business of any other sort was transacted in them. I
have already stated, that the first thing I was compelled to do on
entering Rome was to give a bribe, in order to escape from the old
temple of Antoninus, in which I unexpectedly found myself locked up. I
met an intelligent Scotchman in Rome, who had newly returned from
Naples, and who had to endure a half-day's detention at Terra Cina
because he refused to pay the ransom of six scudi put upon his trunks,
and insisted on their being searched. Corruption pervades all classes of
functionaries. In Rome itself there are two custom-houses; one for
merchandise imported by sea, and the other for overland goods. The hours
for business are from nine o'clock till twelve o'clock. Declarations for
relieving goods must be made betwixt nine and eleven, the other hour
being appropriated to winding up the business of the preceding two
hours. Almost everything which the country produces, whether for man or
for beast, on entering the city has to pay duty at the gate. This is
termed _Dazio di Consumo_. This department of the revenue is farmed out
to an officer, whose servants are stationed at the gates for the purpose
of uplifting the duty; and there, as in all the other Government
custom-houses, much systematic cheating goes on. As an example, I may
relate what happened to my friend Mr Stewart, whose acquaintance I had
the good fortune to make in Rome, and whose information on all matters
of trade in the Roman States, well known to him from long practical
experience, was not only of the highest value, but was the means of
affording me an insight into the workings of Romanism on the temporal
condition of its subjects, such as few travellers have an opportunity of
attaining. Mr Stewart was engaged to take charge of the one little
iron-work in the city; and the transaction I am about to relate in his
own words took place when he was entering the gates. "Along with my
furniture," says he, "I had a trunk containing wearing-apparel and two
_pocket-pistols_. The latter, I knew, were prohibited, and made the
agent employed to pass the articles acquainted with the dilemma, which
he heartily laughed at,--by way, I suppose, of having a bone to pick.
'Leave the matter to me,' said he, adding, 'the officials must be
recompensed, you know.' That of course; and, to be reasonable, he
inquired if I would give three dollars, for which sum he would guarantee
their safety. I consented to this in preference to losing them, or being
obliged to send them out of the country. Notwithstanding the agent's
assurance, I felt naturally anxious at the barefaced transaction, which
was coolly gone about. When the trunk should have been examined, the
attention of the officials was voluntarily directed to some other
article, while the agent's porters turned the trunk upside down, chalked
it, and replied to the query, that it had been examined, and was not
even opened, which the officials well knew, and for the consideration of
three dollars they betrayed trust. The trunk might have contained
jewellery, or even _screw-nails_,--both pay a high duty. The latter
especially, being made at Tivoli, are prohibited, or admitted at the
prohibitive duty of twenty-five baiocchi the Roman pound,--sufficient to
illustrate what might have been the result of this transaction in a
mercantile point of view, not to speak of the opportunity afforded for
introducing the _Bible_. The officials are all indifferently
remunerated, and thus do business for themselves at the cost of the
Government. They are also very incapable for the discharge of their
duty. For example, the _Governor_ of the custom-house seriously asked
me, preparatory to making a declaration for a _steam-boiler_, whether
it was made of _wood_ or of _iron_. The boiler was not before him; but
the idea of a steam-boiler of wood from the lips of the Governor of a
custom-house was astounding."

"Books of all kinds are taken to the land custom-house, where the
_Revisore_ is stationed for books alone. The _Revisore_ speaks English
tolerably well."



CHAPTER XXV.

INFLUENCE OF ROMANISM ON TRADE--(CONTINUED).

     Why does the Church systematically discourage
     Trade?--Railways--Much needed--Church opposes them--Could not a man
     take a journey of twenty or two hundred miles and be a good
     Catholic?--Motion is Liberty--Motion contributed to overthrow the
     Serfdom of the Middle Ages--Popes understand the connection between
     Motion and Liberty--Romans chained to the Soil--Gregory XVI. and
     the Iron-bridge--Gas in Rome--Spread of the Malaria--The Pontine
     Marshes--Neglect of Soil--Number of Paupers--How the Church
     prevents the Cultivation of the Campagna--Church Lands in England
     and Scotland--The price which Italy pays for the Papacy--Whether
     would the old Roman Woman or an old Scotch Woman make the better
     Ruler?


Let us pause here, and inquire into the cause of this most deplorable
state of matters. Is not the Papal Government manifestly sacrificing its
own interests? Would it not be better for itself were Italy covered with
a prosperous agriculture and a flourishing trade? Were its cities filled
with looms and forges, would not its people have more money to spend on
masses and absolutions? and, instead of the Government subsisting on
foreign loans, and being always on the eve of bankruptcy, it might fill
its exchequer from the vast resources of the country, and have,
moreover, the pleasure of seeing around it a prosperous and happy
people.

This is all very true. None knows better the value of money than Rome;
but she knows, too, the infinite hazard of acquiring it in the way of
allowing trade and industry to enter the Papal States. Indeed, to do so
would be to record sentence of banishment against herself. Every one
must have remarked the difference betwixt the artizan of Birmingham and
the peasant of Ireland. They seem to belong to two different races of
men almost. The former is employed in making a certain piece of
mechanism, or in superintending its working. He is compelled to
calculate, to trace effects to their causes, and to study the relations
of the various parts before him to the whole. In short, he is taught to
think; and that thinking power he applies to all other subjects. His
habits of life teach him to ask for reasons, and to accept of opinions
only on evidence. The mind of the latter lies dead. Were Italy filled
with a race of men like the first, the papacy could not live a day. Were
trade, and machinery, and wealth to come in, the torpor of Italy would
be broken up; and--terrible event to the papacy!--mind would awaken.
What though the Pope reigns over a wasted land and a nation of beggars?
he _does_ reign; he counts for a European sovereign; and his system
continues to exist as a power. As men in shipwreck throw overboard food,
jewels, all, to save life, so Romanism has thrown all overboard to save
itself. Nothing could be a stronger proof of this than the fact that, as
the effects and benefits of trade become the more developed, the
pontifical Government tightens its restrictions. The note of Antonelli,
the present ruling spirit of the papacy, was the most prohibitive ever
framed against the introduction of iron, in other words, of
civilization. This is the price which Italy must pay for the Pope and
his religion. She cannot participate in the advantages of foreign trade;
she cannot enjoy the facilities and improvements of modern times;
because, were she to enjoy these, she would lose the papacy. She must be
content to remain in the barbarism of the middle ages, covered with that
moral malaria which has smitten all things in that doomed land, and
under the influence of which, the cities, the earth itself, and man, for
whom it was made, are all sinking into one common ruin.[3]

We have yet other illustrations of the pestiferous influence of Romanism
on the temporal happiness of its subjects. We have already alluded to
the determined manner in which the Pontifical Government has hitherto
withstood the introduction of railways. And yet, if there be a country
in Europe where railways are indispensable, it is the Papal States. The
roads in the territory blessed by the Government of Christ's vicar, are
more like canals than roads, with this difference, that there is too
little water in them for floating a boat, and far too much for
comfortable travelling. Besides, they are infested by brigands, whose
pursuit a railway might enable you to distance. But a railway the
subjects of the Pontifical Government cannot have. And why?

One would think that the mere mode of conveyance is a very harmless
affair. What is it to the Pontifical Government whether the peasant of
the Alban hills, or the citizen of Bologna, or the merchant of Ancona,
visit Rome on foot, or in his waggon, or by rail? Is he not the same
man? Will his ride convert him into a heretic, or shake his faith in
Peter's successor? or will the laying down of a few miles of railroad
weaken the foundations of that Church which boasts that she is founded
on a rock, and that the gates of hell themselves shall not prevail
against her? Or if it be said that it is not the mode of the journey,
but the length of the journey, what difference can it make whether the
man travel twenty miles or two hundred miles? The stability of the
Church cannot be seriously endangered by a few miles less or more. Is
the Pope's system of so peculiar a kind, that though it is possible for
the man who walks twenty miles on foot to believe in it, it is wholly
impossible for the man who rides two hundred miles by rail to do so? We
know of no Roman doctor who has attempted to fix the precise number of
miles which a good Catholic may travel from home without endangering his
salvation. One would think that all this is plain enough; that there is
no element of danger here; and yet the sharper instincts of the papacy
have discovered that herein lies danger, and great danger, to its power.
If the influence of Rome is to be preserved, it is not enough that the
Bible be put out of existence, that the missionary be banished, and that
the art of printing, and all means of diffusing ideas, be proscribed and
exterminated: the very right of moving over the earth must be taken from
man. Even _motion_ must be placed under anathema.

We have a saying that _knowledge is power_. I would say that _motion is
liberty_. The serfdom of the middle ages was in good degree maintained
by binding man to the soil. Astriction to the soil was at once the
foundation and the symbol of that serfdom. The baron became the master
of the body of the man; he became also the master of his mental ideas.
But when the serf acquired the power of locomotion, he laid the
foundation of his emancipation; and from that hour feudalism began to
crumble. As the serfs' power of motion enlarged, their liberty
enlarged. As formerly they had known slavery by its symbol
_immovability_, so now they tasted freedom by its symbol _motion_. The
serf travelled beyond the valley in which he was born; he saw new
objects; he met his fellow-men; and learned to think. At last motion was
perfected; the steam-engine hissed past him, and he felt that now he was
completely unchained. I do not give this as a theory of the rise and
progress of modern liberty; but unquestionably there is a close and
intimate connection between motion and liberty.

The Popes are shrewd enough to see this connection; and herein lies
their opposition to railroads. They have attempted, and still do
attempt, to perpetuate papal serfdom, by tying their subjects to their
paternal acres and their native town. Were my reader living in London or
in Edinburgh, and wished to visit Chelsea or Portobello, how would he
proceed? Go to the railway station and buy a ticket, and his journey is
made. But were the country under the Pontifical Government, he would
find it impossible to manage the matter quite so expeditiously. He must
first present himself at the office of the prefect of police. He must
state where he wishes to go to; what business he has there; how long he
intends remaining. He must give his name, his age, his residence, and a
certificate, if required, from his parish priest; and then, should the
object of his journey be approved of, a description of his person will
be taken down, a passport will be made out, for which he must pay some
six or eight pauls; and after this process has been gone through, but
not sooner, he may set out on his little journey. Very few of those who
live in Rome were ever more than outside its walls. Even the nobles have
the utmost difficulty in getting so far as Civita Vecchia; very few of
them ever saw the sea. The Popes know that ideas as well as merchandise
travel by rail; and that if the Romans are allowed to go from home, and
to see new objects, new faces, and to hear new ideas, a process will be
commenced which will ultimately, and at no distant day, undermine the
papacy. But among men of ordinary intelligence there will be but one
opinion regarding a system that sees an enemy not only in the Bible, but
in the most necessary and useful arts,--in the steam-ship, in the
railroad, in the electric telegraph; in short, in all the improvements
and usages of civilized life. Such a system assuredly has perdition
written upon its forehead.

The late Pope Gregory XVI. would not allow even an iron bridge to be
thrown across the Tiber. The Romans solicited this, to get rid of a
ferry-boat by which the Tiber is crossed at the point in question; but
no; an iron bridge there could not be. And why? Ah, said Gregory, if we
have an iron bridge in Rome, we shall next have an iron road; and if we
have an iron road, "_adio_," the papacy will take its departure, and
that by steam.

But the Pope had another reason for withholding his sanction from the
iron bridge; and as that reason shows how some wretched crotchet,
springing from their miserable system, is sure to start up on all
occasions, and defeat the most needed improvement, I shall here state
what it was. At the point where it was wished to have the bridge
erected, the Tiber flows between two populous regions of the city. There
is in consequence a considerable concourse, and the passengers are
carried over, as I have said, in a ferry-boat, for which a couple of
baiocchi is paid by each person to the ferryman. The money thus
collected forms part of the revenues of a certain church in Rome, where
the priests who receive it sing masses for the souls in purgatory. If
you abolish the ferry-boat, it was argued, you will abolish the penny;
and if you abolish the penny, what is to become of the poor souls in
purgatory? and for the sake of the _souls_, the _living_ were forced to
do without the bridge.

I need scarcely say that there is no gas in Rome. And sure I am, if
there be a dark spot in all the universe,--a place above all others
needing light of all kinds, moral, mental, and physical,--it is this
dark dungeon termed Rome. It has a few oil-lamps, swung on cords, at
most respectable distances from one another; and you see their hazy,
sickly, dying gleam far above you, making themselves visible, but
nothing besides; and after sunset, Rome is plunged in darkness,
affording ample opportunity for assassinations, robberies, and evil
deeds of all kinds. I know not how many companies have been formed to
light Rome with gas. An attempt was made to light in this way the
Eternal City during the pontificate of Gregory XVI. A deputation went to
the Vatican, and told the Pope that they would light his capital with
gas. "Gas!" exclaimed Gregory, who had an owl-like dread of light of all
kinds; "there shan't be gas in Rome while I am in Rome." Gregory is not
in Rome now; Pio Nono is in the Vatican: but the same oil-lamps which
lighted the Rome of Gregory XVI. still flourish in the Rome of Pio
Nono.[4]

All have heard of the Pontine Marshes,--a chain of swamps which run
along the foot of the Volscian Mountains, and are the birthplace of the
malaria,--a white vapour, which creeps snake-like over the country, and
smites with deadly fever whoever is so foolhardy as to sleep on the
Campagna during its continuance. These marshes, I understand, are
increasing; and the malaria is increasing in consequence. That fatal
vapour now comes every summer to the gates of Rome: it covers a certain
quarter of the city, which, I was told, is uninhabitable during its
continuance; and if nothing be done to lessen the malaria at its source,
it will, some century or half century after this, envelope in its
pestilential folds the whole of the Eternal City, and the traveller will
gaze with awe on the blackened ruins of Rome, as he does on those of
Babylon on the plain of Chaldea: so, I say, will he see the heaps of
Rome on the wasted bosom of the Campagna deserted by man, and become the
dwelling-place of the dragons and satyrs of the wilderness. But matters
are not come to this yet. An English company (for every attempted
improvement in Rome has originated with English skill and capital) was
formed some years ago, to drain the Pontine Marshes. They went to the
Vatican; and Sir Humphrey Davy being then in Rome, they induced him to
accompany them, in the hope that his high scientific authority would
have some weight with the Pontiff. They stated their object, which was
to drain the Pontine Marshes. They assured the Pontiff it was
practicable to a very large extent; and they pointed out its manifold
advantages, as regarded the health of the country, and other things.
"Drain the Pontine Marshes!" exclaimed Pope Gregory, in a tone of
surprise and horror at this new project of these everlastingly scheming
English heretics,--"Drain the Pontine Marshes! God made the Pontine
Marshes; and if He had intended them to be drained, He would have
drained them himself."

The barrenness that afflicts all countries which are the seat of a false
religion is a public testimony of the Divine indignation against
idolatry. For the sin of man the earth was originally cursed: and
wherever wicked systems exist, there a manifest curse rests upon the
earth. The Mohammedan apostacy and the Roman apostacy are now seated in
the midst of wildernesses. And, to make the fact more striking, these
lands, which are deserts now, were anciently the best cultivated on the
globe. There stood the proudest of earth's cities,--there the arts
flourished,--and there men were free after the measure of ancient
freedom. All this is at an end long since. Ruins, silence, and a sickly
and sinking population, are the mournful spectacles which greet the eye
of the traveller in Papal and Mohammedan countries. Thus God bears
outward testimony against the Papal and Mohammedan systems. He has
cursed the ground for their sakes; not in the way of miracle,--not by
sending an angel to smite it, or by raining brimstone upon it, as he did
on Sodom: the angel that has smitten the dominions of the Pope and of
the False Prophet,--the brimstone and fire which have been rained upon
them,--are the wicked systems which have there grown up, and by which
Government has been rendered blind, infatuated, and tyrannical, and man
stupid, indolent, and vicious. But the laws the Almighty has
established, according to which idolatry necessarily and uniformly
blights the earth and the men who live upon it, only show that his
indignation against these evil systems is unchangeable and eternal, and
will pursue them till they perish. Of this the state of the plain around
Rome, the _Agro Romano_, forms a terrible example.

I have endeavoured in former chapters to exhibit a picture of the
frightful desolation of this once magnificent plain. He that set his
mark on the brow of the first murderer has set his mark on this plain,
where so much blood has been shed. "Now art thou cursed from the earth,
which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy
hand. When thou tillest the ground it shall not henceforth yield unto
thee her strength." But God has cursed this plain through the
instrumentality of this evil system the Papacy, and I shall show you
how.

I have already shown that there is not, and cannot be, anything like
trade in Rome, beyond what is necessary to repair the consumpt of
articles in daily use. In the absence of trade there is a proportionate
amount of idleness; and that idleness, in its turn, breeds beggary,
vagabondism, and crime. The French Prefect, Mr Whiteside tells us,
published a statistical account of Rome; and how many paupers does he
say there are in it? Why, not fewer than thirty thousand. Thirty
thousand paupers in one city, and that city, in its usual state, of but
about a hundred and twenty thousand inhabitants! Subtract the priests,
the English residents, and the French soldiers, and every third man is a
beggar. I was fortunate enough one evening to meet, in a certain shop in
Rome, an intelligent Roman, willing to talk with me on the state of the
country. The shopkeeper, as soon as he found the turn the conversation
had taken, discreetly stepped out, and left it all to ourselves. "I
never in all my life," I remarked, "saw a city in which I found so many
beggars. The people seem to have nothing to do, and nothing to eat.
There are here some hundred thousand of you cooped up within these old
walls, and one half the population do nothing all day long but whine at
the heels of English travellers, or hang on at the doors of the
convents, waiting their one meal a-day. Why is this? Outside the walls
is a magnificent plain, which, were it cultivated, would feed ten Romes,
instead of one. Why don't you take picks, or spades, or
ploughs,--anything you can lay hands on,--and go out to that plain, and
dig it, and plant it, and sow it, and reap it, and eat and drink, and be
merry?" "Ah! so we would," said he. "Then, why don't you?" "We dare
not," he replied. "Dare not! Dare not till the earth God has given
you?" "It is the Church's," he said. "But come now," said he, "and I
will explain how it comes to be so." He went on to say, that one portion
of the Campagna was gifted to the convents in Rome, another portion was
gifted to the nunneries, another to the hospitals, and another to the
pontifical families,--that is, to the sons and daughters, or, as they
more politely speak in Rome, the nephews and nieces, of the Popes. These
were the owners of the great Roman plain; and in their hands almost
every acre of it was locked up, inaccessible to the plough, and
inaccessible to the people. Even in our country it is found that
corporations make the worst possible landlords, and that lands in the
possession of such bodies are always less productive than estates
managed in the ordinary way. But what sort of farming are we to expect
from such corporations as we find in the city of Rome? What skill or
capital have a brotherhood of lazy monks, to enable them to cultivate
their lands? What enterprise or interest have a sisterhood of nuns to
farm their property? They know they shall have their lifetime of it, and
that is all they care for. Accordingly, they let their lands for
grazing, on payment of a mere trifle of annual rent; and so the Campagna
lies unploughed and unsown. A tract of land extending from Civita
Vecchia to well nigh the gates of Rome,--which would make a Scotch
dukedom or a German principality,--belonging to the _San Spirito_, does
little more, I was told, than pay its working. The land labours under an
eternal entail, which binds it over to perpetual sterility. It is God's,
_i.e._ it is the Church's; and no one,--no, not even the Pope,--dare
alienate a single acre of it. No Pope would set his face to such a piece
of reformation, well knowing that every brotherhood and sisterhood in
Rome would rise in arms against him. And even though he should screw his
courage to such an encounter, he is met by the canon law. The Pope who
shall dare to secularize a foot-breadth of land which has been gifted to
the Church is by that law accursed. Here, then, is the price which the
Romans pay for the Papacy. Outside the walls of the city lie the estates
of the Church, depastured at certain seasons by a few herds, tended by
men clad in skins, and looking as savage as the animals they tend; while
inside the walls are some hundred thousand Romans, enduring from one
year's end to another all the miseries of a partial famine. Nor is there
the least hope that matters will mend so long as the Papacy lasts. For
while the Papacy is in Italy, the Campagna, once so populous and rich,
will be what it now is,--a desert.

And the Papal States, lapsed into more than primeval sterility, overrun
by brigandage and beggary, are the picture of what Britain would be
under the Papacy. Let the Roman Church get the upper hand in this
country, and, be assured, the first thing it will do will be to demand
back every acre of land that once belonged to it. Before the
Reformation, half the lands of England, and a third of the lands of
Scotland, were in the possession of the Church. She keeps a chart of
them to this hour: she knows every foot-breadth of British soil that at
any time belonged to her: she holds its present possessors to be robbers
and sacrilegious men; and the first moment she has the power, she will
compel them to disgorge what she holds to be ill-gotten wealth, and
endow her with the broad acres she once possessed. Nor will she stop
here. By haunting death-beds,--by putting in motion the machinery of the
confessional,--by the threat of purgatory in this case, and the lure of
paradise in that,--she will speedily add to her former ample domain. And
what will our country then become? We shall have Mother Church for
landlord; and while she feasts daily at her sumptuous board, we shall
have what the Romans now have,--the crumbs. We shall have monks and
nuns for our farmers; and under their management, farewell to the
smiling fields, the golden harvests, and the opulent cities, of Scotland
and England. Our country will again become what it was before the
Reformation,--a land of moors, and swamps, and forests, with a few
patches of indifferent cultivation around our convents and abbacies.
Vagabondism, lay and sacerdotal, will flourish once more in Britain;
trade and commerce will be put down, as savouring of independence and
intelligence; indolence and beggary will be sanctified; and troops of
friars, with wallets on their backs, impudence on their brows, and
profanity and filthiness on their tongues, will scour the country,
demanding that every threshold and every purse shall be open to them.
This result will come as surely as to-morrow will come, provided we
permit the Papacy to raise its head once more among us.

Let no one imagine that this terrible wreck of man, and of all his
interests,--of civilization, of industry, of trade and commerce,--has
happened of chance, and that there is no connection between this
deplorable state of matters and the system which has prevailed in Italy.
On the contrary, it is the direct, the necessary, and the uniform result
of that system. The barbarian hates art because he does not understand
its uses, and dreads its power. But the hatred the Pope bears to the
useful arts is not that of the barbarian. It is the intelligent, the
consistent hatred of a man who knows what he is about. It is the hatred
of a man who comprehends both the character of his own system, and the
tendency of modern improvements, and who sees right well, that if these
improvements are introduced, the Papacy must fall. Self-preservation is
the first law of systems, as of individuals; and the Papacy, feeling the
antagonism between itself and these things, ever has and ever will
resist them. It cannot tolerate them though it would. Speculatists and
sentimentalists may talk as they please; but the destruction of that
system is the first requisite to the regeneration of Italy.

Such, then, is the condition of Italy at this day. Were we to find a
state of things like this in the centre of Africa, or in some barbarous
region thousands and thousands of miles away from European literature,
arts, and influences, where the plough and the loom had yet to be
invented, it would by no means surprise us. But to find a state of
matters like this in the centre of Europe,--in Italy, once the head of
civilization and influence, the birthplace of modern art and
letters,--is certainly wonderful. But the wonder is completed when we
reflect that this state of things obtains under a Government claiming to
be guided by a higher than mortal sagacity,--a Government which says
that it never did, and never can, err,--a Government that is
supernatural and infallible. Supernatural and infallible! Why, I say, go
out into the street,--stop the first old woman you meet,--carry her to
Rome,--put a three-storied cap on her head,--enthrone her on the high
altar in St Peter's,--burn incense before her, and call her
infallible,--I say that old woman will be a more enlightened ruler that
Pio Nono. The old Scotch woman or English woman would beat the old Roman
woman hollow.

The facts I have stated are sad enough; but the more harrowing picture
of the working of the papal system has yet to be shown.



CHAPTER XXVI.

JUSTICE AND LIBERTY IN THE PAPAL STATES.

     Justice the Pillar of the State--Claim implied in being God's
     Vicar, namely, that the Pope governs the World as God would govern
     it, were He personally present in it--No Civil Code in the Papal
     States--Citizens have no Rights save as Church Members--No Lay
     Judges--The Pontifical Government simply the Embodiment of the
     Papacy--Courts of Justice visited--Papal Tribunals--The
     Rota--Signatura--Cassation--Exceptional Tribunals--Apostolical
     Chamber--House of Peter--Justice bought and sold at Rome--POLITICAL
     JUSTICE--Gregorian Code--Case of Pietro Leoni--Accession of Pius
     IX.--His Popularity at first--Re-action--Case of Colonel
     Calendrelli--The Three Citizens of Macarata--The Hundred Young Men
     of Faenza--Butchery at Sinigaglia--Horrible Executions at
     Ancona--Estimated Number of Political Prisoners 30,000--Pope's
     Prisons described--Horrible Treatment of Prisoners--The Sbirri--The
     Spies--Domiciliary Restraint--Expulsions from Rome--Imprisonment
     without reason assigned--Manner in which Apprehensions are
     made--Condemnations without Evidence or Trial--Misery of Rome--The
     Pope's Jubilee.


We turn now to the JUSTICE of the Papal States. Alas! if in the
preceding chapters on _Trade_ we were discoursing on what does not
exist, we are now emphatically to speak of what is but a shadow, a
mockery. To say that in the Papal States Justice is not,--that it is a
negation,--is only to state half the truth. Were that all, thankful
indeed would the Romans be. But, alas! in the seat of Justice there sits
a stern, irresponsible, lawless power, before which virtue is
confounded and dumb, and wickedness only can stand erect.

On the importance of justice to the welfare of society I need not
enlarge. It is the main pillar of the State. But where are you to look
for justice,--justice in its unmixed, eternal purity,--if not at Rome?
Rome is the seat of the Vicar of God. Ponder, I pray you, all that this
title imports. The Vicar of God is just God on earth; and the government
of God's Vicar is just the government of God. It is the possession and
exercise of the same authority, the same attributes, the same moral
infallibility, and the same moral omnipotence, in the government of
mankind, which God possesses and exercises in the government of the
universe. The government of the Pope is a model set up on the earth,
before kings and nations, of God's righteous and holy government in the
heavens. As I, the Vicar of Christ, govern men, so would Christ himself,
were he here in the Vatican, govern them. If the claim advanced by the
Pope, when he takes to himself the title of God's Vicar, amounts to
anything, it amounts to this,--to all this, and nothing less than this.

The case being so, where, I ask, are you entitled to look for justice,
if not at Rome? This is her throne: here she sits, or should, according
to the theory of the popedom, high above the disturbing and blinding
passions of earth, serenely calm and inexorably true, weighing all
actions in her awful scales, and giving forth those solemn awards which
find their response in the universal reason and conscience of mankind.
If so, what mean these dungeons? Why these trials shrouded in secrecy?
Why this clanking of chains, and that cry which has gone up to heaven,
and which pleads for justice there? Come near, I pray you, and look at
the Pope's justice; enter his tribunals, and see the working of his
courts; listen to the evidence which is there received, and the
sentences which are there pronounced; visit his dungeons and galleys;
and then tell me what you think of the administration of this man who
styles himself God's Vicar.

Let me first of all give prominence to the fact that in the Papal States
there is no _civil_ code. It is a purely _spiritually_ governed region.
The Church sustains herself as judge in _all_ causes, and holds her law
as sufficiently comprehensive in its principles, and sufficiently
flexible and practical in its special provisions, to determine all
questions that can arise, of whatever nature,--whether relating to the
body or the soul of man, to his property or his conscience. By what is
strictly and purely church law are all things here adjudicated, for
other law there is none. That law is the decretals and bulls of the
popes. Only think of such a code! The Roman jurisprudence amounts to
many hundreds of volumes, and its precedents range over many centuries,
so that the most plodding lawyer and the most industrious judge may well
despair of ever being able to tell exactly what the law says on any
particular case, or of being able to find a clue to the true
interpretation, granting that he sincerely wishes to do so, through the
inextricable labyrinth of decisions by which he is to be guided. This
law was made by the Church and for the Church, and gives to the citizen,
as such, no right or privilege of any kind. Whatever rights the Roman
possesses, he possesses solely in his character of Church member; he has
a right to absolution when he confesses; a right to the undisturbed
possession of his goods when he takes the sacrament; but he has no
rights in his character of citizen; and when he falls out of communion
with the Church, he falls at the same time from all rights whatever. He
is beyond the pale of the Church, and beyond the pale of the law. Our
freethinkers, who are so ready to fraternise with the Romanists, would
do well to consider how they would like this sort of regimen.

Let me, in the second place, give prominence to the fact, that in the
Papal States there are no lay judges. There all are "anointed prelates."
This applies to all the tribunals, from the highest to the lowest. In
short, the whole machinery of the Government is priestly. Its head is a
priest,--the Pope; its Prime Minister is a priest; its Chancellor of the
Exchequer is a priest; its Secretary at War is a priest; all are
priests. These functionaries cannot be impeached. However gross their
blunders, or glaring their malversations, they are secure from censure;
because to punish them would be to say that they had erred, and to say
that they had erred would be to impeach the infallibility of the
Pontifical Government. A treasurer who enriches himself and robs the
exchequer may be promoted to the cardinalate, but cannot be censured.
The highest mark of displeasure on which the popes have ventured in such
cases has been, to appoint to a dignity with a very inadequate salary.
The Government of the Papal States, both in its _law_ and in its
_administration_, being strictly sacerdotal, the great fairness of the
test we are now applying to the Papacy is undeniable. It would be very
unfair to try the religion of Britain by the government of Britain, or
to charge on Christianity the errors, the injustice, and the oppression
which our rulers may commit, because our religion is one thing, and our
Government is another. But it is not so in the Papal States. There the
Church is the Government. The papal Government is simply the embodiment
of the papal religion. And I cannot conceive a fairer, a more accurate,
or a more comprehensive test of the genius and tendency of a religion,
than simply the condition of that country where the making of the law,
the administration of the law, the control of all persons, the
regulation of all affairs, and the adjudication of all questions, are
done by that religion; and where, with no one impediment to obstruct it,
and with every conceivable advantage to aid it, it can exhibit all its
principles and accomplish all its objects. If that religion be true, the
condition of such country ought to be the most blessed on the face of
the earth.

One day I visited the courts of justice, which are on Mount Citorio. We
ascended a spacious staircase (I say we, for Mr Stewart, the intelligent
and obliging companion of my wanderings in Rome, was with me), and
entered a hall crowded with a number of shabby-looking people. We turned
off into a side-room, not larger than one's library, where the court was
sitting. Behind a table slightly raised, and covered with green cloth,
sat two priests as judges. A counsel sat with them, to assist
occasionally. On the wall at their back hung a painting of Pont. Max.
Pius IX.; and on the table stood a crucifix. The judges wore the round
cap of the Jesuits. I saw men in coarse bombazeen gowns, which I took
for macers: these, I soon discovered, were the advocates. They were
clownish-looking men, with great lumpish hands, and an unmistakeably
cowed look. They addressed the court in short occasional speeches in
Latin; for it is one of the privileges of the Roman people to have their
suits argued in a tongue they don't understand. There were some
half-dozen people lounging in the place. There was an air of unconcern
and meanness on the court, and all its practitioners and attendants;
but, being infallible, it can dispense with the appearance of dignity. I
asked Mr Stewart to conduct me to the criminal court, which was sitting
in another apartment under the same roof. He showed me the door within
which the assize is held, but told me at the same time, that neither
myself nor any one in Rome could cross that threshold,--the judge, the
prisoner, his advocate, the public prosecutor, and the guard, being the
only exceptions. Let me now describe the machinery by which justice, as
it is called, is administered.

The judges, I have said, are prelates; and as in Rome the administration
of justice is a low occupation compared with the Church, priests which
are incapable, or which have sinned against their order, are placed on
the tribunals. A prelate who has a knowledge of jurisprudence is a
phenomenon; hence the judges do not themselves examine the merits of
causes, but cause them to be investigated by a private auditor, whom
they select from the practising counsel. According to the report of this
individual, the members of the tribunal pronounce their judgment, no
matter what objections may be pled, or arguments offered, to the
contrary. This system gives rise, as may well be conceived, to
innumerable acts of partiality and injustice.

There is a tribunal of appeal for the Romagnias, another for the
Marshes, and a third for the Capitol. Besides these, there are tribunals
of the third class throughout the States. The tribunal of appeal for the
Capitol is the ROMAN ROTA. Before this court our own Henry, and the
other kings of Europe, carried their causes, in those days when the Pope
was really a grand authority, and ruled Christendom. Having now little
business as regards monarchs and the international quarrels of kingdoms,
it has been converted into a tribunal for private suits. It still
shrouds itself in its mediæval secresy, which, if it robs its decisions
of public confidence, at least screens the ignorance of its judges from
public contempt. There are, besides, the tribunals of the _Signatura_
and of _Cassation_, in which partiality examines, incompetence
pronounces judgment, delays exhaust the patience and the money of the
suitors, and the decent veil of a dead language wraps up the illegality.

Besides these, there are the _exceptional_ tribunals, which are very
numerous. Among them the chief is the _ecclesiastical_ jurisdiction, so
extensive, that it is sufficient that some very trifling interest of a
priest, or of some charity fund, or even of a Jew or a recent convert,
is concerned, to transfer the cause to the bar of the privileged
tribunal. The jurisdiction of the exceptional tribunal is exercised in
the provinces by the vicar-general of the bishop; and in Rome the suits
are laid before the private auditors of the cardinal-vicar, and of the
bishop _in partibus_, his assistant. The auditors pronounce judgment in
the name of the cardinal or the bishop, who signs it without any
examination on his part. The suits which concern the public finances are
decided by the exceptional tribunal, and a tribunal called the "_Plena
Camera_" (full chamber); and any private person who might chance to gain
his cause is condemned, as an invariable maxim, to pay the costs.
Exceptional tribunals are to be found in very many parochial places,
especially in those parishes near Rome where the judges are named by,
and are removable at the will of, the baron. It can easily be imagined
what sort of a chance any one may have who should have a suit with the
baron. Besides all these, we must not omit the _Reverend Apostolical
Chamber_, always on the brink of bankruptcy, which has been in the habit
of exacting contributions, that they may sell to speculators the
revenues of succeeding years. Thus private families, invested with
iniquitous privileges, extort money from the unfortunate labourers, by
royal authority and the help of the bailiff.

There is another tribunal which should be styled _monstrous_, rather
than by the milder term of exceptional; this is the "_Fabbrica di S.
Petro_" (house of St Peter.) To this was granted, by the caprice of the
Pope, the right to claim from the immediate or distant heirs of any
testator, _even at remote epochs_, the sum of unpaid legacies for pious
purposes. The Cardinal Arch-Priest and the Commons, who represent the
pretended creditor, are judges between themselves and the presumed
debtor. They search the archives; they open and they close testamentary
documents not ever published; they arbitrarily burden the estates of the
citizens with mortgages or charges; and they commence their proceedings
where other tribunals leave off,--that is, by an execution and seizure,
under the pretence of securing the credits not yet determined upon. To
the commissaries of this strange tribunal in the provinces is awarded
the fifth of the sum claimed. Whosoever desires to settle the question
by a compromise is not permitted to attempt it, unless he shall first
have satisfied this fifth, and paid the expenses, besides the fees of
the fiscal advocate. If any one should have the rare luck to gain his
suit, as, for instance, by producing the receipt in full, he must
nevertheless pay a sum for the judgment absolving him.

The presidents of the tribunals--the minor judges, comprising the
private auditors of the Vicar of Rome--have the power of legitimatizing
all contracts for persons affected by legal incapacity. This is
generally done without examination, and merely in consideration of the
fee which they receive. It would take a long chapter to narrate the sums
which have been, by a single stroke of the pen, wrongfully taken from
poor widows and orphans. Incapacity for the management of one's affairs
is sometimes pronounced by the tribunal, but very frequently is decreed
by the prelate-auditor of the Pope, without any judicial formality. Thus
any citizen may at any moment find himself deprived of the direction of
his private affairs and business.

Such is the machinery employed for dispensing justice by a man who
professes to be the infallible fountain of equity, and the world's
teacher as regards the eternal maxims of justice. Justice! The word is a
delusion,--a lie. It is a term which designates a tyranny worse than any
under which the populations of Asia groan.[5]

It would be wearisome to adduce individual cases, even were I able
to do so. But, indeed, the vast corruption of the _civil justice_
of the Papal States must be evident from what I have said. A
law so inextricable!--judges so incompetent, who decide without
examining!--tribunals which sit in darkness! Why, justice is not
dispensed in Rome; it is bought and sold; it is simply a piece of
merchandise; and if you wish to obtain it, you cannot, but by going to
the market, where it is openly put up for sale, and buying it with your
money. Mr Whiteside, a most competent witness in this case, who spent
two winters in Rome, and made it his special business to investigate the
Roman jurisprudence, both in its theory and in its practice, tells us in
effect, in his able work on Italy, that if you are so unfortunate as to
have a suit in the Roman courts, the decision will have little or no
reference to the merits of the cause, but will depend on whether you or
your opponent is willing to approach the judgment-seat with the largest
bribe. Such, in substance, is Mr Whiteside's testimony; and precisely
similar was the evidence of every one whom I met in Rome who had had any
dealings with the papal tribunals.

But I turn to the political justice of the Papal States,--a department
even more important in the present state of Italy, and where the
specific acts are better known. Let us look first at the tribunal set up
in Rome for the trial of all crimes against the State. And let the
reader bear in mind, that offences against the Church are crimes against
the State, for there the Church is the State. A secret, summary, and
atrocious tribunal it is, differing in no essential particular from that
sanguinary tribunal in Paris where Robespierre passed sentence, and the
guillotine executed it. The Gregorian Code[6] enacts, that in cases of
sedition or treason, the trial may take place by a commission nominated
by the Pope's Secretary; that the trial shall be secret; that the
prisoner shall not be confronted with the witnesses, or know their
names; that he may be examined in prison and by torture. The accused,
according to this barbarous code, has no means of proving his
innocence, or defending his life, beyond the hasty observations on the
evidence which his advocate, who is appointed in all cases by the
tribunal, may be able to make on the spur of the moment. This tribunal
is simply the Inquisition; and yet it is by this tribunal that the Pope,
who professes to be the first minister of justice on earth, governs his
kingdom. No man is safe at Rome. However innocent, his liberty and life
hang by a single thread, which the Government, by the help of such a
tribunal as this, may snap at any moment.

This is the established, the legal course of papal justice. Let the
reader lift his eyes, and survey, if he have courage, the wide weltering
mass of misery and despair which the Papal States present. We cannot
bring all into view; we must permit a few only to speak for the rest.
Here they come from a region of doom, to tell to the free people of
Britain, if they will hear them, the dread secrets of their
prison-house; and, we may add, to warn them, "lest they also come into
this place of torment." I shall first of all take a case that occurred
before the Revolution, lest any one should affirm of the cases that are
to follow, that the Pontifical Government had been exascerbated by the
insurrection, and hurried into measures of more than usual severity.
This case I give on the authority of Mr Whiteside, who, being curious to
see a _political process_ in the Roman law, after some trouble procured
the following, which, having been compiled under the orders of Pius IX.,
may be relied on as strictly accurate. Pietro Leoni had acted as
official attorney to the poor. Well, in 1831, under the pontificate of
Gregory XVI., he was arrested on a charge of being a member of a
political club. He was brought to trial, acquitted, set free, but
deprived of his office, though why I cannot say, unless it was for the
crime of being innocent. To sustain an aged father, a wife and children,
Pietro had to work harder than ever. In 1836 he was again
arrested,--suddenly, without being told for what,--hurried to the Castle
of St Angelo, in the dungeons of which he had to undergo a rigorous
examination, from which nothing could be elicited. He was not released,
however, but kept there, till witnesses could be found or hired. At
length a certain vine-dresser came forward to accuse Leoni. One day,
said the vine-dresser, Pietro Leoni, whom he had never seen till then,
came to his door, and, after a short conversation with him, in the
presence of his sons, handed him a manuscript relating to a _reform
society_, of which, he said, he had been a member for years. The
vine-dresser buried this document at the bottom of a tree in his garden.
The spot was searched, but nothing was found; his strange story was
contradicted by his wife and sons; and the Pontifical Government could
not for very shame condemn him on such evidence; but neither did they
let him go. A full year passed over him in the dungeons of St Angelo. At
last three additional witnesses--(their names never were known)--were
produced against him. And what did they depose? Why, that they had heard
some one say that he had heard Pietro Leoni say, that he (Leoni) was a
member of a secret society; and on this hearsay evidence did the
Pontifical Government condemn the poor attorney to a life-long slavery
in the galleys. We find him ten long years thereafter still in the
dungeons of the Castle of St Angelo, and writing the Pope in a strain
which one would think might have moved a heart of stone. The petition is
printed in the process. It begins,--

     "Most holy father, divest yourself of the splendours of royalty,
     and, dressed in the garb of a private citizen, cause yourself to be
     conducted into these subterranean prisons, where there is buried,
     not an enemy of his country, not a violator of the laws, but an
     innocent citizen, whom a secret enemy has calumniated, and who has
     had the courage to sustain his innocence in presence of a judge
     prejudiced or corrupted.... Command this living tomb to be opened,
     and ask an unhappy man the cause of his misfortunes."

And concludes thus,--

     "But, holy father, neither the prolonged imprisonment of ten years,
     nor separation from my family, nor the total ruin of my earthly
     prospects, should ever reduce me to the baseness of admitting a
     crime which I did not commit. And I call God to witness that I am
     innocent of the accusation brought against me; and that the true
     cause of my unjust condemnation was, and is, a private pique and
     personal enmity.... Listen, therefore, to justice,--to the humble
     entreaties of an aged father,--a desolate wife,--unhappy
     children,--who exist in misery, and who with tears of anguish
     implore your mercy."

Did the heart of Gregory relent? Did he hasten to the prison, and beg
his prisoner to come forth? Ah, no: the petition was received, flung
aside, and forgotten; and Pietro Leoni continued to lie in the dungeons
of St Angelo till death came to the Vatican, and Gregory went to his
account, and the prison-doors of St Angelo were opened, as a matter of
course, not of right, on the accession of a new Pope. No wonder that
Lambruschini and Marini, the chief actors in the atrocities committed
under Gregory, resisted that amnesty by which Pietro Leoni, and hundreds
more, were raised from the grave, as it were, to proclaim their
villanies. I give this case because it occurred before the Revolution,
and is a fair sample, as a Roman advocate assured Mr Whiteside, of the
calm, every-day working of the Pontifical Government under Gregory XVI.
I come now to relate other cases, if possible more affecting, which came
under my own cognizance, more or less, while in Rome.

But let me first glance at the rejoicings that filled Rome on the
accession of Pius IX. A bright but perfidious gleam heralded the night,
which has since settled down so darkly on the Papal States. The scene I
describe in the words of Mr Stewart, who was an eye-witness of it:--"I
was at Rome when Pope Pius IX. made his formal triumphal entrance into
the city by the Porta del Popolo, where was a magnificent arch entering
to the Corso. The arch was erected specially for the occasion, and
executed with much artistic skill. Banners were waving in profusion
along the Corso, bearing, some of them, very far-fetched epithets; while
every balcony and window was studded with gay and admiring citizens, all
alike eager in demonstrating their attachment to the Holy Father.
Nothing, in fact, could exceed the gaiety of the scene: all and sundry
seemed bent on the one idea of displaying their loyalty. What with
garlands of flowers, white handkerchiefs, and vivas, the feelings were
worked up to such a pitch, that the _young nobles_, when the state
carriage arrived at the Piazza Colonna, actually unyoked the horses, and
scampered off with carriage and Pope, to the Quirinal Palace, nearly a
mile. This ebullition of feeling was undoubtedly the result of the
general amnesty, and the bright expectations then cherished of a new era
for Italy." Such an ebullition may appear absurd, and even childish, to
us, who have been so long accustomed to liberty; but we must bear in
mind that the Romans had groaned in fetters for centuries, and these, as
they believed, had now been struck off for ever. "Was there," asked Mr
Whiteside of a sculptor in Rome, "really affecting yourself, any
practical oppression under old Gregory?" The artist started. "No man,"
said he, "could count on one hour's security or happiness: I knew not
but there might be a spy behind that block of marble: the pleasure of
life was spoiled. I had three friends, who, supping in a garden near
this spot, were suddenly arrested, flung into prison, and lay there,
though innocent, till released by Pio Nono." As regards the amnesty of
Pio Nono, which so intoxicated the Romans, it is common for popes to
make political capital of the errors and crimes of their predecessors;
and as regards his reforming policy, which deluded others besides the
Italians, it was a very transparent dodge to restore the papacy to its
old supremacy. The Cobra di Capella relaxed its folds on Italy for a
moment, to coil itself more firmly round the rest of the world. Of this
none are now better aware than the Romans.

The re-action,--the flight,--the Republic,--the bombardment,--the return
to the Vatican on a path deluged with his subjects' blood,--all I pass
over. But how shall I describe or group the horrors that have darkened
and desolated the Papal States from that hour to this? What has their
history been since, but one terrible tale of apprehensions,
proscriptions, banishments, imprisonments, and executions, the full
recital of which would make the ear of him that hears it to tingle? Nero
and Caligula were monsters of crime; but their capricious tyranny, while
it fell heavily on individuals, left the great body of the empire
comparatively untouched. But the tyranny of the Pope penetrates every
home, and crushes every person and thing. There was not under Nero a
tenth part of the misery in Rome which there is now. Were the acts of
Nero and of Pio to be fully written, I have not a doubt,--I am
certain,--that the government of the imperial despot would be seen to be
liberty itself, compared with the measureless, remorseless,
inappeasable, wide-wasting tyranny of the sacerdotal one. The diadem was
light indeed, compared with the tiara. The little finger of the Popes is
thicker than the loins of the Cæsars. The sights I saw, and the facts I
heard, actually poisoned my enjoyment of Rome. What pleasure could I
take in statues and monuments, when I saw the wretched beings that
lived beside them, and marked the faces on which despair was painted,
the forms that grief had bowed to the very dust, the dead men who
wandered in the streets and about the old ruins, as if they sought, but
could not find, their graves? Ah! there _is_ not, there never _was_, on
earth a tyranny like the Papacy. But let me come to particulars.

I shall first narrate the story of Colonel Calendrelli. It was told me
by our own consul in Rome, Mr Freeborn, who knew intimately the colonel,
and deeply interested himself in his case. Colonel Calendrelli was
treasurer at war during the Republic. The Republic came to an end; the
Pontifical Government returned; and Colonel Calendrelli, being unable to
get away along with the other agents and friends of the Republic, was,
of course, apprehended by the restored Government. It was necessary to
find some pretext on which to condemn the colonel; and what, does the
reader think, was the charge preferred against Colonel Calendrelli? Why,
it was this, that the colonel had embezzled the public funds to the
amount of twenty scudi. Twenty scudi! How much is that? Only five pounds
sterling! That Colonel Calendrelli, a gentleman, a scholar, a man on
whose honesty a breath had never been blown, should risk character and
liberty for five pounds sterling! Why, the Pontifical Government should
have made it five hundred or five thousand pounds, if they wished to
have the accusation believed. Well, then, on the charge of defrauding
the public treasury to the extent of twenty Roman scudi was Colonel
Calendrelli brought to trial, and condemned! Condemned to what? To the
galleys. Nor does that bring fully out the iniquity of the sentence. Our
consul in Rome assured me that he had investigated the case, from his
friendship for the colonel, and that the matter stood thus:--The colonel
had engaged a man to do a piece of work, for which he was to receive
five pounds as wages. The work was done, the wages were paid, the man's
receipt was tendered, and the witnesses in whose presence the money had
been paid bore their testimony to the fact. All these proofs were before
Mr Freeborn. Nay, more; the papal tribunal that tried the case was told
that all these witnesses and documents were ready to be produced. And
yet, in the teeth of this evidence, completely establishing the
innocence of Colonel Calendrelli, which, indeed, no one doubted, was the
colonel condemned to the galleys; and when I was in Rome, he was working
as a galley-slave on the high-road near Civita Vecchia, chained to
another galley-slave. This is a sample of the pontifical justice. Take
another case.

The tragedy I am now to relate was consummated during my stay in the
Eternal City. In the town of Macerata, to the east of Rome, it happened
one day that a priest was fired at as he was passing along the street at
dusk. He was not shot, happily;--the ball, missing the priest, sank deep
in a door on the other side of the way. This happened under the
Republic; and the police either could not or would not discover the
perpetrator of the deed. The thing was the talk of the town for a day or
so, and was then forgotten for ever, as every one thought. But no. The
Republic came to an end; back came the pontifical police to Macerata;
and then the affair of the priest was brought up. The prefect had not
been installed in his office many days till a person presented himself
before him, and said, "I am the man who shot at the priest." "You!"
exclaimed the prefect. "Yes; and I was hired to shoot him by----,"
naming three young men of the town, who had been the most active
supporters of the Republic. These were precisely the three young men, of
all others in Macerata, whom it was most for the interest of the Papacy
to get rid of. That very day these three young men were apprehended.
They were at last brought to trial; and will it be believed, that on the
solitary and uncorroborated testimony of a man who, according to his own
confession, was a hired assassin,--and surely I do the man no injustice
if I suppose that, if he was willing for money to commit murder, he
might be willing for money, or some priestly consideration, to commit
perjury,--on the single and unsupported evidence, I say, of this man, a
hired assassin according to his own confession, were these three young
men condemned? And to what? To death!--and while I was in Rome they were
actually guillotined! I saw their sentence placarded on the Piazza
Colonna on the morning after my arrival in Rome. This writing of doom
was the first thing I read in that city. It bore the names of the
accused, the alleged crime, and an abstract of the evidence, or, I
should say, volunteered statement, of the would-be assassin. It had the
terrible guillotine at the top, and the fisherman's ring at the bottom;
and though I had known nothing more of the case than the Government
account of it, as contained in that paper, I would have said that it was
enough to cover any Government with eternal infamy. Indeed, I don't
believe that there is a Government under the sun, save the Pope's, that
would have done an atrocity like it. I had some talk with our consul, Mr
Freeborn, about that case too, and he assured me that, bad as these
cases were, they were not worse than scores, aye, hundreds, that to his
knowledge had been perpetrated in Rome, and all over the Papal States,
since the return of the Pontifical Government. He added, that if Mr
Gladstone would come to Rome, and visit the prisons, and examine the
state of the country generally, he would have a more harrowing tale to
unfold than that with which he had recently thrilled the British public
on the subject of Naples: that in Naples there was still something like
trade, but in Rome there was nothing but downright grinding misery.

There are few tales in any history more harrowing than the following.
The events were posterior to my visit to Rome, and were published at the
time in the American _Crusader_. It happened that several papal
proconsuls were slain in the city of Faenza: all of them had served
under Gregory XVI., in the galleys, as felons and forgers. Being
favoured by the papal power, they tried to deserve it by becoming the
tyrants of the unhappy population. When the gloomy news of their
tragical end reached the Holy Father, the answer returned to the
governor of that city, as to what he should do in such a case, as the
true perpetrators could not be found, was, "_Arrest all the young men of
Faenza!_" and more than a hundred youths were immediately snatched away
from the bosom of their families, handcuffed and chained, thrown into
the city prisons, and distributed afterwards among the gangs of
malefactors, whose lives had been a continual series of robberies and
murders! Thirty of these unfortunate victims were marched off to Rome,
where they were locked up in a dungeon. Innocent as well as unconscious
of the crime of which they were accused, they supplicated the President
of the Sacred Consulta,--who is an anointed prelate,--asking only for
justice; not for mercy and forgiveness, but for a regular trial. All was
useless; the archbishop had neither ear nor heart, and the petition was
forgotten. Thinking that, after all, even at Rome, and even among the
high dignitaries of the Church of Sodom and Gomorrah, there might be
found a man of human feeling, they wrote a second petition, which was
this time addressed to a different personage of the Church, his
Excellency Mgr. Mertel, Minister of Grace and Justice!

The prisoners asserted to the high papal functionary the illegality of
their arrest,--their sufferings without any imputation of guilt,--the
painful condition of their families, increased still more by the famine
which now desolates the Roman States, and the want of their support. The
supplicants were brought before Mgr. Mertel, who, feigning pity and
interest for the sufferers (attention, reader!) offered them the choice
of _ten years in the chain-gang, or to be transported to the United
States_, the _refugium peccatorum_! They protested; but of what benefit
is a legal and natural protest to thirty poor defenceless and guiltless
young men, loaded with chains by a papal bureaucrat, surrounded by fifty
ruffians armed to the teeth?

On the night of the 5th of May 1853, the sepulchral silence of the
subterranean prisons of St Angelo was interrupted by the rattling of
keys and muskets. The thirty young citizens of Faenza were called out of
their dens, and one by one, bending under his fetters, was escorted to a
steamer waiting on the muddy Tiber to carry them to a distant land! The
beautiful moon of Italy, as some call it, was shining benevolently over
Rome and her iniquities; the streets, deserted by the people, were
trodden by French patrols; all was silent as the grave itself; and not a
friend was there to bid them adieu; not a relative to speak a consoling
word to the departing; and none to acquaint the unfortunates who
remained behind with their terrible calamity! This was their parting
from Rome, at three o'clock, after midnight! But let us follow the
victims of papal fury over the wide waters. Cast into the steerage,
always handcuffed, the vessel rolling in a heavy and tempestuous sea,
these wretched young men remained eighty hours in a painful position,
till they reached Leghorn, where they were conducted to the quarantine,
as though affected with leprosy and plague, and thence embarked for New
York, where they arrived totally destitute of clothes and means of
subsistence.

The autumn of 1852 will be long remembered in the Papal States, from the
occurrence of numerous tragedies of a like deplorable character.
Sixty-five citizens of Sinigaglia had been apprehended on the charge of
being concerned in the political disturbances of 1848,--an accusation on
which the Pope himself might have been apprehended. These citizens,
however, had not been so prudent as to turn when the Pope did. In the
August of 1852 they were all brought to trial before the Sacra Consulta
of Rome, with the exception of thirteen who had made their escape.
Twenty-eight of these persons were condemned to the galleys for life,
and twenty-four were sentenced to be shot. These unhappy men displayed
great unconcern at their execution,--some singing the _Marseillaise_,
others crying _Viva Mazzini_. The Swiss troops, not the Austrian
soldiers, were made the executioners in this case.

The Sinigaglia trials were followed by similar prosecutions at Ancona,
Jesi, Pesaro, and Funa, where unhappy groupes of citizens, indicted for
political offences, waited the tender mercies which the "Holy Father"
dispenses to his _figli_ by the hands of Swiss and Austrian carabiniers.
Let us state the result at Ancona.

The executions took place on the 25th of October 1852, and they may be
reckoned amongst the most appalling ever witnessed. The sentence was
officially published at Rome after the execution, and contained, as
usual, simply the names of the judges and the prisoners, a summary of
the evidence unsupported by the names of any witnesses, and the penalty
awarded--_death_. The victims were nine in number. The sacerdotal
Government gave them a priest as well as a scaffold, but only one would
accept the insulting mockery. The others, being hopelessly recusant,
were allowed to intoxicate themselves with rum. "The shooting of them
was entrusted to a detachment of Roman artillerymen, armed with short
carbines, old-fashioned weapons, many of which missed fire, so that at
the first discharge some of the prisoners did not fall, but ran off,
with the soldiers pursuing and firing at them repeatedly; others crawled
about; and one wretch, after being considered dead, made a violent
exertion to get up, rendering a final _coup de grace_ necessary." The
writer who recorded these accounts added, that other executions were to
follow, and that, if these wholesale slaughters were necessary, they
ought, in the dominions of a pontifical sovereign, to be conducted with
more delicacy, that is, in a more summary fashion. In truth, such
executions are a departure from the approved pontifical method of
killing,--which is not by fusillades and in open day, but in silence and
night, by the help of the rack and the dungeon.

I cannot go into any minute detail of the imprisonments, banishments,
and massacres by which the Pope has signalized his return to his palace
and the chair of Peter. But I may state a few facts, from which some
idea of their number may be gathered. When Pio Nono fled from Rome to
Gaeta, what was the amount of its population? Not less than a hundred
and sixty thousand. I conversed with a distinguished literary Englishman
who chanced to visit Rome at the time I speak of, and who assured me
that there could not be fewer than two hundred thousand in Rome then,
for Italians had flocked thither from every country under heaven,
expecting a new era for their city and nation. But I shall give the Pope
the benefit of the smaller number. When he fled, there were, I shall
suppose, only a hundred and sixty thousand human beings in his city of
Rome. Take the same Rome six months after his return, and how many do
you find in it? According to the most credible accounts, the population
of the Eternal City had dwindled down to little above a hundred
thousand. Here are sixty thousand human beings lacking in this one city.
What has become of them? Where have they gone to? I shall suppose that
some were fortunate enough to escape to Malta, some to Belgium, some to
England, and others to America. I shall suppose that twenty thousand
contrived to get away. And let me here do justice to Mr Freeborn, the
British consul, who saved much blood by issuing British passports to
these unhappy men when the French entered Rome. Twenty thousand, I shall
suppose, made good their flight. But thirty thousand and upwards are
still lacking. Where are your subjects, Pio Nono? Were we to put this
interrogatory to the Pope, he would reply, I doubt not, as did another
celebrated personage in history, "Am I my brother's keeper?" But ah!
might not the same response as of old be made to this disclaimer, "The
voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground?" Again we
say, Where are your subjects, Pio Nono? Ask any Roman, and he will tell
you where these men are. Ask our own consul, Mr Freeborn, and he will
tell you where they are. They are, those of them that have not been
shot, rotting at this hour at the bottom of the Pope's dungeons. That is
where they are.

There is a singular unanimity in Rome amongst all parties, as to the
number of political prisoners now under confinement. This I had many
opportunities of testing. I met a Roman one evening in a book-shop, and,
after a rather lengthened conversation, I said to him, "Can you tell me
how many prisoners there are at present in the Roman States?" "No," he
replied, "I cannot." "But," I rejoined, "have you no idea of their
number?" He solemnly said, "God only knows." I pressed him yet farther,
when he stated, that the common estimate, which he believed to be not
above the truth, rather under, was, that there were not fewer than
thirty thousand political prisoners in the various fortresses and
dungeons of the Papal States. Thirty thousand was the estimate of Mr
Freeborn. Thirty thousand was the estimate of Mr Stewart, who, mingling
with the Romans, knew well the prevailing opinion. Of course, precise
accuracy is unattainable in such a case. No one ever counted these
prisoners. No list of them is kept,--none that is open to the public eye
at least; but it is well known, that there is scarce a family in Rome
which does not mourn some of its members lost to it, and scarce an
individual who has not an acquaintance in prison; and I have little
doubt that the Roman estimate is not far from the truth, and that it is
just as likely to be below as above it. When I was in Rome, all the
jails in the city were crowded. The cells in the Castle of St
Angelo,--those subterranean dungeons where day never dawned, and where
the captive's groan can never reach a human ear,--were filled. All the
great fortresses throughout the country,--the vast ranges of
galley-prisons at Civita Vecchia, the fortress of Ancona, the castle of
Bologna, the fortress of Ferrara, and hundreds of minor prisons over the
country,--all were filled,--filled, do I say! they were
crowded,--crowded to suffocation with choking, despairing victims. In
the midst of this congeries of dungeons, surrounded by clanking chains
and weeping captives, stands the chair of the "Holy Father."

Let us take a look into these prisons, as described to me by reputable
and well-informed parties in Rome. These prisons are of three classes.
The first class consists of cells of from seven to eight feet square.
The space is little more than a man's height when he stands erect, and a
man's length when he stretches himself on the floor, and can contain
only that amount of atmospheric air necessary for the consumption of one
person. These cells are now made to receive two prisoners, who are
compelled to divide betwixt them the air adequate for only one. The
second class consists of cells constructed to hold ten persons each. In
the present great demand for prison-room these are held to afford ample
accommodation for a little crowd of twenty persons. Their one window is
so high in the wall, that the wretched men who are shut in here are
obliged to mount by turns on each other's shoulders, to obtain a breath
of air. Last of all comes the common prison. It is a spacious place,
containing from forty to fifty persons, who lie day and night on straw
too foul for a stable. It matters not what the means of the prisoner may
be; he must wear the prison dress, and live on the prison diet. The
jailor is empowered, should the slightest provocation be offered, to
flog the prisoner, or to load his limbs so heavily with irons, that he
scarce can move. And who are they who tenant these places? Violators of
the law,--brigands, murderers? No! Those who have been dragged thither
are the very _elite_ of the Roman population. There many of them lie for
years, without being brought to trial; and if they thus escape the
scaffold, they perish more slowly, but not less surely, and much more
miserably, by the pestilential air, the unwholesome food, and the
horrible treatment of the jail. Nor is this the worst of it. I was told
by those in Rome who had the best opportunities of knowing, but whose
names I do not here choose to mention, that the sufferings of the
prisoners had been much aggravated,--indeed, made unendurable,--by the
expedient of the Government which confines malefactors and desperadoes
along with them. These characters are permitted to have their own way in
the prisons; they lord it over the rest, compel them to do the most
disgusting offices, and attempt even outrages on their person, which
propriety leaves without a name. Their sufferings are indescribable. The
consequence of this accumulation of horrors,--foul air, insufficient
food, and the fearful society with which the walls and chains of their
prison compel them to mingle,--is, that a great many of the prisoners
have died, some have sought to terminate their woe by suicide, while
others have been carried raving to a madhouse. Mr Freeborn assured me
that several of his Roman acquaintances had been carried to these places
sane men, as well as innocent men, and, after a short confinement, they
had been brought out maniacs and madmen. He would have preferred to have
seen them shot at once. It is a prelate who has charge of these prisons.

I have described the higher machinery which the Pope employs,--the
tribunals,--judges,--the secret process,--the tyrannous Gregorian Code;
let me next bring into view the inferior machinery of the Pontifical
Government. The Roman _sbirri_ have an European reputation. One must be
no ordinary villain,--he must be, in short, a perfected and finished
scoundrel,--to merit a place in this honourable corps. The _sbirri_ are
chiefly from the kingdom of Naples. They dress in plain clothes, go in
twos and threes, are easily distinguished, and are permitted to carry
larger walking-sticks than the Romans, whom the French commandant has
forbidden to come abroad with any but the merest twig. Some of these
spies wear spurs, the better to deceive and to succeed in their fiendish
work. No disguise, however, can conceal the _sbirro_. His look, so
unmistakeably villanous, proclaims the spy. These fellows will not be
defeated in their purposes. They carry, it is said, _articles of
conviction_, that is, political papers, on their person, which they use,
in lack of other material, to compass the ruin of their victim. They can
stop any one they please on the street, compel him to produce his
papers, and, when they choose not to be satisfied with them, march him
off to prison. When they visit a house where they have resolved to make
a seizure, they search it; and if they do not find what may criminate
the man, they drop the papers they have brought with them, and swear
that they found them in the house. What can solemn protestations do
against armed ruffians, backed by hireling judges, who, like Impaccianti
and Belli, have been taken from the bagnio and the galleys, thrust into
orders, and elevated to the bench, to do the work of their patrons?[7]
Such must show that they deserve promotion. The people loathe and dread
the _sbirri_, knowing that whatever they do in their official capacity
is done well, and speedily followed up by those in authority.

But there is a class in the service of the Pontifical Government yet
more wicked and dangerous. What! exclaims the reader, more wicked and
dangerous than the _sbirri_! Yes, the _sbirri_ profess to be only what
they are,--the base tools of a tyrannical Government, which seems to
thirst insatiably for vengeance; but there exists an invisible power,
which the citizen feels to be ever at his side, listening to his every
word, penetrating his inmost thought, and ready at any moment to effect
his destruction. At noonday, at midnight, in society, in private, he
feels that its eye is upon him. He can neither see it nor avoid it.
Would he flee from it, he but throws himself into its jaws. I refer to a
class of vile and abandoned men, entirely at the service of the
Government, whose position in society, agreeable manners, flexibility
of disposition, and thorough knowledge of affairs, which they study for
base ends, and handle most adroitly in conversation, enable them to
penetrate the secret feelings of all classes. They now condemn and now
applaud the conduct of Government, as the subject and circumstances
require, and all to extract an unfriendly sentiment against those in
authority, if such there be in the mind of the man with whom they are
conversing. If they succeed, the person is immediately denounced; an
arrest follows, or domiciliary restraint. The numbers that have found
their way to prison and to the galleys through this secret and
mysterious agency are incredible. Nor can any man imagine to himself the
dreadful state of Rome under this terrible espionage. The Roman feels
that the air around him is full of eyes and ears; he dare not speak; he
dreads even to think; he knows that a thought or a look may convey him
to prison.

The oppression is not of equal intensity in all cases. Some are
subjected only to domiciliary restraint. In this predicament are many
respectably connected young men. They are told to consider themselves as
prisoners in their own houses, and not to appear beyond the threshold,
but at the penalty of exchanging their homes for the common jail.
Others, again, whose apparent delinquency has been less, are allowed the
freedom of the open air during certain specified hours. At the expiry of
this time they must withdraw to their houses: Ave Maria is in many cases
the retiring hour.

Another tyrannical proceeding on the part of the Government, which was
productive of wide-spread misery, was the compelling hundreds of people,
from the labourer to the man in business, to leave Rome for their place
of birth. These measures, which would have been oppressive under any
circumstances, were rendered still more oppressive by the shortness of
the notice given to those on whom this sentence of expulsion fell. Some
had twenty-four hours, and others thirty-six, to prepare for their
departure. The labourer might plead that he had no money, and must beg
his way with wife and children. The man in business might justly
represent that to eject him in this summary fashion was just to ruin
him; for his business could not be properly wound up; it must be
sacrificed. But no appeal was sustained; no remonstrance was listened
to. The stern mandate must be obeyed, though the poor man should die on
the road. Go he must, or be conveyed in irons. And, as regards those who
were fortunate enough to reach their native villages, alas! their
sufferings did then but begin. These villages, in most cases, did not
need them, and could afford no opening in the line of business or of
labour in which they had been trained. They were houseless and workless
in their native place; and, if they did not die of a broken heart, which
many of them did, they went "into the country," as they say in
Italy,--that is, they became brigands, or are at this hour dragging out
the remainder of their lives in poverty and wretchedness.

How atrociously, too, have many of the Romans been carried from their
business to prison. Against these men neither proof nor witness existed;
but a spy had denounced them, or they had fallen under the suspicions of
the Government, and there they are in the dungeon. Their families might
starve, their business might go to the dogs, but the vengeance of the
Government must be satiated. Such persons are confined for a longer or
shorter period, according to the view taken of their character or
associates; and if nothing be elicited by the secret ordeal of
examination, the prison-door is opened, and the prisoner is requested to
go home. No apology is offered; no redress is obtained.

Such cases, I was told, were numerous. One such came to my knowledge
through Mr Stewart. An acquaintance of his, a druggist, was one day
dragged summarily from his business, and lodged in jail, where he was
detained a whole month, although to this hour he has not been told what
he had done, or said, or thought amiss. During the Constitution this man
had been called in, in his scientific capacity simply, to superintend an
electric telegraph which ran, if I mistake not, betwixt the Capitol and
St Peter's. But beyond this he had taken no political action and
expressed no political sentiment whatever. He knew well that this would
avail him nothing; and glad he was to escape from incarceration with the
remark, _meno male, alias_, it might have been worse.

They say that the Inquisition was an affair of the sixteenth century;
that its fires are cold; its racks and screws are rusted; and that it
would be just as impossible to bring back the Inquisition as to bring
back the centuries in which it flourished. That is fine talking; and
there are simpletons who believe it. But look at Rome. What is the
Government of the Papal States, but just the Government of the
Inquisition? There there are midnight apprehensions, secret trials,
familiars, torture by flogging, by loading with irons, and other yet
more refined modes of cruelty,--in short, all the machinery of the Holy
Office. The canon law, whose full blessing Italy now enjoys, is the
Inquisition; for wherever the one comes, there the other will follow it.
Let me describe the secresy and terror with which apprehensions are made
at Rome. The forms of the Inquisition are closely followed herein. The
deed is one of darkness, and the darkest hours of the twenty-four,
namely, from twelve till two of the morning, are taken for its
perpetration. At midnight half a dozen _sbirri_ proceed to the house of
the unhappy man marked out for arrest. Two take their place at the
door, two at the windows, and two at the back-door, to make all sure.
They knock gently at the door. If it is opened, well; if not, they knock
a second time. If still it is not opened, it is driven in by force. The
_sbirri_ rush in; they seize the man; they drag him from his bed; there
is no time for parting adieus with his family; they hurry him through
the streets to prison. That very night, or the next, his trial is
proceeded with,--that is, when it is intended that there shall be
further proceedings; for many, as we have said, are imprisoned for long
months, without either accusation or trial. But what a mockery is the
trial! The prisoner is never confronted with his accuser, or with the
impeaching witnesses. He is allowed no opportunity of disproving the
charge; sometimes he is not even informed what that charge is. He has no
means of defending his life. He has no doubt an advocate to defend him;
but the advocate is always nominated by the court, and is usually taken
from the partizans of the Government; and nothing would astonish him
more than that he should succeed in bringing off his prisoner. And even
when he honestly wishes to serve him, what can he do? He has no
exculpatory witnesses; he has had no time to expiscate facts; the
evidence for the prosecution is handed to him in court; and he can make
only such observations as occur at the moment, knowing all the while
that the prisoner's fate is already determined on. Sometimes the
prisoner, I was told, is not even produced in court, but remains in his
cell while his liberty and life are hanging in the balance. At day-break
his prison-door opens, and the jailor enters, holding in his hand a
little slip of paper. Ah! well does the prisoner know what that is. He
snatches it hastily from the jailor's hands, hurries with it to his
grated window, through which the day is breaking, holds it up with
trembling hands, and reads his doom. He is banished, it may be, or he
is sentenced to the galleys; or, more wretched still, he is doomed to
the scaffold. Unhappy man! 'twas but last eve that he laid him down in
the midst of his little ones, not dreaming of the black cloud that hung
above his dwelling; and now by next dawn he is in the Pope's dungeons,
parted from all he loves, most probably for ever, and within a few hours
of the galleys or the scaffold.

I saw these men taken out of Rome morning by morning,--that is, such of
them as were banished. They passed under the windows of my own apartment
in the Via Babuino. I have seen as many as twenty-four led away of a
morning. They were put by half-dozens into carts, to which they were
tied by twos, and chained together, as if they had been brigands. Thus
they moved on to the Flaminian gate, each cart escorted by a couple of
mounted gendarmes. The spectacle, alas! was too common to find
spectators; not a Roman followed it, or showed that he was conscious of
it, save by a mournful look at the melancholy cavalcade from his window,
knowing that what was their lot to-day might be his to-morrow. And what
the appearance and apparent profession of these men? Those I saw had
much the air of intelligent and respectable artizans; for I believe it
is this class that are now bearing the brunt of the papal tyranny. The
higher classes were swept off before, and the rage of the Government is
now venting itself in a lower and wider sphere. An intelligent
Scotchman, who had charge of the one iron-shop in the Corso, informed me
that now all the tolerably skilled workmen had been so weeded out of the
city by the Pope, that it was scarce possible to find hands to do the
little work that requires to be done in Rome. If there be among my
readers a mechanic who has been indifferent to the question between this
country and the Papacy, as one the settlement of which could not affect
his interests either way, I tell him he never made a greater mistake all
his life. If the Papacy succeed, his interests will be the very first to
suffer, in the ruin of trade. Nor will that suffice; if a skilled man,
he will be held to be a dangerous man; and, having taken from him his
bread, the Papacy will next take from him his liberty, as she is now
doing to his brethren in Rome.

And what becomes of the families of these unhappy men? This is the most
painful part of the business. Their livelihood is gone; and nothing
remains but to go out into the street and beg,--to beg, alas! from
beggars. It is not unfrequent in Rome to find families in competence
this week, and literally soliciting alms the next. You may see matrons
deeply veiled, that they may not be known by their acquaintances,
hanging on at the doors of hotels, in the hope of receiving the charity
of English travellers. Shame on the tyranny that has reduced the Roman
matrons to this! Nor is even this the worst. Deprived of their
protectors, moral ruin sometimes comes in the wake of the physical
privations and sufferings by which these families are overtaken. Thus
the misery of Rome is widening every day. Ah! could I bring before my
readers the picture of that doomed city;--could I show them Rome as it
sits cowering beneath the shadow of this terrible tyranny;--could I make
them see the cloud that day and night hangs above it;--could I paint the
sorrow that darkens every face; the suspicion and fear that sadden the
Roman's every word and look;--could I tell the number of the broken
hearts and the desolate hearths which these old walls enclose;--ah,
there is not one among my readers who would not give me his tears as
plenteously as ever the clouds of heaven gave their rain. And he who
styles himself God's Vicar sees all this misery! Sees it, do I say! he
is the author of it. It is to uphold his miserable throne that these
prisons are filled, and that these widows and orphans cry in the
streets. And yet he tells us that his reign is a model of Christ's
reign. 'Tis a fearful blasphemy. When did Christ build dungeons, or
gather _sbirri_ about him, or send men to the galleys and the scaffold?
Is that the account which we have of his ministry? No; it is very
different. "The Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the
meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty
to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." A
few months ago, when the Pope proclaimed his newest invented dogma,--the
Immaculate Conception,--he gave, in honour of the occasion, a grand
jubilee to the Roman Catholic world. We all know what a jubilee is.
There is a vast treasury above, filled with the merits of Pio Nono and
of such as he, out of which those who have not enough for their own
salvation may supplement their deficiencies. At the Pope's girdle hangs
the key of this treasury; and when he chooses to open it, straightway
down there comes a shower of celestial blessings. Well, the Pope told
his children throughout the world that he meant to unlock this treasury;
and bade his children be ready to receive with open arms and open
hearts, this vast beneficence of his. Ah! Pio Nono, this is not the
jubilee we wish. Draw your bolts; break the fetters of your thirty
thousand captives; open your dungeons, and give back the fathers, the
husbands, the sons, the brothers, which you have torn from their
families. Put off your robe, quit your palace, take the Bible in your
hand, and go round the world preaching the gospel, as your Master did.
Do this, and we shall have had a jubilee such as the world has not seen
for many a long year. But ah! you but mock us,--bitterly, cruelly mock
us,--when you deny us blessings which it is in your power to give, and
offer us those which are not yours to bestow. But it is a mockery which
will return, and at no distant day, in sevenfold vengeance upon, we say
not Pio Nono, but the papal system. Untie the fetters of these men; make
them free for but a few hours; and with what terrible emphasis will they
demand back the friends whom the Papacy has buried in dungeons or
murdered on the open scaffold! They will seek their lost sons and
brothers with an eye that will not pity, and a hand that will not spare.



CHAPTER XXVII.

EDUCATION AND KNOWLEDGE IN THE PAPAL STATES.

     Education of a Roman Boy--Seldom taught his Letters--Majority of
     Romans unable to Read--Popular Literature of Italy--- Newspaper of
     the Roman States--Censorship of the Press--Studies in the Collegio
     Romano--Rome unknown at Rome--Schools spring up under the
     Republic--Extinguished on the Return of the Pope--Conversation with
     three Roman Boys--Their Ideas respecting the Creator of the World,
     Christ, the Virgin--Questions asked at them in the
     Confessional--Religion in the Roman States--Has no
     Existence--Ceremony mistaken for Devotion--Irreverence--The Six
     Commands of the Church--Contrast betwixt the Cost and the Fruits of
     the Papal Religion--Popular Hatred of the Papacy.


The influence of Romanism on trade, and industry, and justice, has been
less frequently a theme of discussion than its influence on knowledge.
While, therefore, I have dwelt at considerable length on the former, I
shall be very brief under the present head. I shall here adduce only a
few facts which I had occasion to see or hear during my stay in the
Papal States. The few schoolmasters which are found in Italy are not a
distinct class, as with us; they are priests, and mostly Jesuits. There
are three classes of catechisms used in the schools; the pupil beginning
with the lowest, and of course finishing off with the highest. But of
what subjects do these catechisms treat? A little history, one would
say, that the pupil may have some notion of what has been before him;
and a little geography, that he may know there are such things as land
and sea, and cities beyond, which he cannot see, shut up in Rome. With
us, the lowest amount of education that ever receives the name comprises
at least the three R's, as they are termed,--Reading, Writing, and
'Rithmetic. But these are far too mundane matters for a Jesuit to occupy
his time in expounding. The education of the Italian youth is a
thoroughly religious one, taking the term in its Roman sense. The little
catechisms I have spoken of are filled with the weightier matters of
their law,--the miracles wrought by the staff of this saint, the cloak
of that other, and the relics of a third; the exalted rank of the
Virgin, and the homage thereto appertaining; Transubstantiation, with
all the uncouth and barbarous jargon of "substances" and "accidents" in
which that mystery is wrapped up. An initiation into these matters forms
the education of the Roman boy; and after he has been locked up in
school for a certain length of time, he is turned adrift, to begin the
usual aimless life of the Italian. It does not follow, because he has
been at school, that he can read. He is seldom taught his letters;
better not, lest in after life he should come in contact with books.
And, despite the vigilance of the censorship and the Index, bad books,
such as the Bible, are finding their way into the Roman States; and it
is better, therefore, not to entrust the people with the key of
knowledge; for nothing is so useless as knowledge under an infallible
Church. The matters which the Italian youth are taught they are taught
by rote. "Ignorance is the mother of devotion,"--a maxim sometimes
quoted with a sneer, but one which embodies a profound truth as regards
that kind of devotion which is prevalent at Rome.

I have seen estimates by Gavazzi and other Italians, of the proportion
who can read in the Roman States. It is somewhere about one in a
hundred. The reader will take the statement at what it is worth. I had
no means of testing its accuracy; but all my inquiries on the subject
led me to believe that the overwhelming majority cannot read. And where
is the use of learning one's letters in a land where there are no books;
and there are none that deserve the name in Rome. The book-stalls in
Italy are heaped with the veriest rubbish: the "Book of Dreams," "Rules
for Winning at the Lottery," "The Five Dolours of the Virgin," "Tracts
on the Miracles of the Saints," "Relations," professedly given by Christ
about his sufferings, and said to have been found in his sepulchre, and
in other places equally likely. At Rome, on the streets at least, where
all other kinds of rubbish are tolerated, even this rubbish is not
suffered to exist; for there, book-stalls I saw none. There are,
however, one or two miserable book-shops where these things may be had.

There was but one newspaper (so called, I presume, because it contained
no news) published in Rome at the time of my visit,--the _Giornale di
Roma_, which, I presume, still occupies the field alone. It contains a
daily list of the arrivals and departures (foreigners, of course, for
the gates of Rome never open to the Romans), the proclamations of the
Government, the days of the lottery, and such matters. Under the foreign
head were chronicled the consecration of Catholic temples, the visits of
royal personages, a profound silence being observed on all political
facts and speculations. And this is all the Romans can know, through
legitimate channels, of what is going on beyond the walls of Rome. A
daily paper was started during the Republic, and admirably managed; but,
of course, it was suppressed on the return of the Papal Government. A
few copies of the _Times_ reach Rome every morning. They are not given
out till towards mid-day, for they must first be read; and if the
"editorials" are not to the taste of the Sacred College, they are not
given out at all. The paper, during my short stay, was stopped for
nearly a week on end; and the disappointment was the greater, that
rumours were then current in Rome that something was on the tapis in
Paris, and that the change in the constitution of France, whatever it
might be, would not be postponed till the May of 1852, as was then
believed in the north of Europe, but would be attempted in the beginning
of December 1851. The tidings of the _coup d'etat_, which met me on the
morning of the 3d December in the south of France, brought the full
realization of these rumours. In the _Giornale di Roma_ not a strayed
dog can be advertised without permission of the censor. In Brescia there
is a censorship for gravestones; and in Rome a strict watch is kept over
the English burying-ground, lest any one should write a verse of
Scripture above a heretic's grave. The expression of thought is more
dreaded than brigandage.

Those who aspire to the learned professions go to the Collegio Romano.
But let the reader mark how the Roman Church here, as everywhere else,
contrives to keep up the show of educating, and takes care all the while
to impart the smallest possible amount of knowledge,--constructs a
machinery which, through some mischievous perversion, is without
results. The Collegio Romano has a numerous staff of professors, who
prelect on theology, logic, history, mathematics, natural philosophy,
and other branches. This looks well; but observe its working. All the
lectures are delivered in Latin, which differs considerably from the
modern Italian; and as the Roman youth spend only one year in the study
of the Latin tongue before entering the Collegio Romano, the lectures
might nearly as well, so far as the run of the students is concerned, be
in Arabic. Nine-tenths of the young men leave the Collegio Romano as
learned as they entered it. The higher priesthood are educated at the
_Sapienza_, where, I believe, a thorough training in theological
dialectics is given.

It is impossible not to see that the Italians are a people of quick
perceptions, lively sensibilities, and warm and kindly dispositions; but
it is just as impossible not to see that they are deplorably untaught.
The stranger is mortified to find that he knows far more of their ruins
and of their past history than they themselves do. The peasant wanders
over the huge mounds that diversify the Seven Hills, or traverses the
Appian, or passes under the arch of Titus, without knowing or caring who
erected these structures, or having even a glimmering of the heroic
story in which they were, so to speak, the actors. When he looks back
into the past, all is night. Nowhere is Rome so little known as in Rome
itself. How different was it when the Pope received Italy! Then Italy
occupied the van of civilization. And when the Byzantine empire fell,
and the scholars of the East fled westward, carrying with them the rich
treasures of the Greek language and literature, learning had a second
morning in Italy. Famous colleges arose, to which the youth of Europe
repaired. Philosophers and poets of imperishable name shed a lustre upon
the country; but the Roman Church soon discovered that Italy was
acquiring knowledge at the expense of its Romanism, and she applied the
band to the national mind. And now that same Italy that once held aloft
the lamp of knowledge to the world is herself in darkness, and, sad
sight! is seen, with quenched orbs, groping about in the midnight.

And yet proofs are not wanting to show that, were the interdict of the
Church taken off, Italy would at once throw herself into the race, and
might soon rival the most successful of her contemporaries. Most of my
readers, I doubt not, are familiar with the name of M. Leone Levi, now
engaged on the great work of the codification of the commercial laws of
the three kingdoms, and their assimilation to the continental codes. The
fact I am now to state, and which speaks volumes as regards the efforts
of "the Church" to educate Italy, I had from this gentleman; and to
those who know him, any testimony of mine to his intelligence and
uprightness is superfluous. M. Leone Levi, an Italian Jew, was born at
Ancona, but eventually settled in England. During the Roman Republic, he
paid a visit to Italy. But such a change! He scarce knew his native
Italy,--it was so unlike the Italy he had left. In every town, and
village, and rural district, schools had sprung up since the fall of the
Pontifical Government. There were day-schools and night-schools,
week-day-schools and Sabbath-schools. The young men and young women had
forgotten their "light loves," and were busied in educating themselves,
and in educating the little boys and girls below them. The country
appeared to have resolved itself into a great educational institute. He
was inexpressibly delighted. Such a change he had never dared to hope
for in his native land. But ah! back came the Pope; and in a week,--in
one short week,--every one of these schools was closed. The Roman youth
are again handed over to the Jesuit. Italy is again sunk in its old
torpor and stagnation; and one black cloud of barbaric ignorance extends
from the Mediterranean to the Adriatic.

I sat down one day on the steps of the temple of Vesta, which, though
gray and crumbling with age, is one of the most beautiful of the ruins
of Rome. Three boys came about me to beg a few baiocchi. The youngest
boy, I found, was ten years, and the oldest fifteen. I took the
opportunity of putting a few questions to them, judging them a fair
sample of the Roman youth. My queries were pitched low enough. "Can you
tell me," I asked, "who made the world?" The question started a subject
on which they seemed never to have thought before. They stood in a muse
for some seconds; and then all three looked round them, as if they
expected to see the world's Maker, or to read His name somewhere. At
last the youngest and smartest of the three spoke briskly up,--"The
masons, Signor." It was now my turn to feel the excitement of a new
idea. Yet I thought I could see the train of thought that led to the
answer. The masons had made the baths of Caracalla; the masons had made
the Coliseum, and those other stupendous structures which in bulk rival
the hills, and seem as eternal as the earth on which they rest; and why
might not the masons have made the whole affair? I might have puzzled
the boy by asking, "But who made the masons?" My object, however, was
simply to ascertain the amount of his knowledge. I demurred to the
proposition that the masons had made the world, and desired them to try
again. They did try again, and at last the eldest of the three found his
way to the right answer,--"God." "Have you ever heard of Christ?" I
asked. "Yes." "Who is he? Can you tell me anything about him?" I could
elicit nothing under these heads. "Whose Son is he?" I then asked. "He
is Mary's Son," was the reply. "Where is Christ?" I inquired. "He is on
the Cross," replied the boy, folding his arms, and making the
representation of a crucifix. "Was Christ ever on earth?" I asked. He
did not know. "Are you aware of anything he ever did?" He had never
heard of anything that Christ had done. I saw that he was thinking of
those hideous representations which are to be seen in all the churches
of Rome, of a man hanging on a cross. That was the Christ of the boys.
Of Christ the Son of the living God,--of Christ the Saviour of
sinners,--and of his death as an atonement for human guilt,--they had
never heard. In a city swarming with professed ministers of the gospel,
these boys knew no more of Christianity than if they had been
Hottentots. I next inquired respecting Mary, and here the boys seemed
more at home. "Who is she?" "She is God's mother." "Where is she?" "She
is in that church," pointing to the church on one side of the
piazza,--the Bocca di Verita, if I mistake not,--before which criminals
are sometimes executed; "and in that," pointing to the church on the
other side of the piazza. "She is here, there, everywhere." "Was Mary
ever on earth?" "Yes," was the answer. "What did she do when here?"
"Oh," replied the little boy, "that is an antique affair: I was not here
then." "Do you go to church?" I asked the eldest boy. "Yes." "Do you
take the sacrament?" "I have taken it four times." I learned afterwards
that the priests are attempting to seize upon the rising generation in
Italy, by compelling all the children from twelve years and upwards to
go to mass. "Do you go to confession?" I next asked. "Yes, I confess."
"Do other boys and girls, your acquaintances, go to confession?" "Yes,
all go," he replied. "We meet the priest in church on Sabbath, and he
tells us when to come and confess." "Well, when you go to confess, what
does the priest ask you?" "He asks me if I steal, and do other bad
actions." "When you confess that you have done a bad action, what then?"
"The first time I do it, the priest pardons me." "If you confess it a
second time, what happens?" "The second time he beats me with a rod."
"Does the priest ask you about anything else?" I inquired. "Yes," he
rejoined; "he asks me about my father and my mother." "What does he ask
you about them?" "He asks me if they do dirty actions," said the boy.
Now, here the enormity and vileness of the confessional peeped out. Here
one can see how the confessor can look into every hearth, and into every
heart, in Rome. The priests had dragged this young boy into their den,
and taught him to play the spy on his father and mother. The hand that
fed him, the bosom that cherished him, he must learn to betray. I appeal
to the fathers and mothers of Britain, whether, than see their children
degraded to such infamous purposes, they would not an hundred times
rather see them laid in the silent grave. Yet some are labouring to
introduce the confessional among us. Should they succeed, it will be the
garrotte on the throat of English liberty.

As regards RELIGION in Italy, this is an inquiry that lies rather beyond
the limits I have marked out for myself. I may be permitted, however, a
few remarks. It appeared to me that the very idea of religion had
perished among the Italians. Not only had they lost the thing itself,
but they had lost the power of conceiving of it. Religion unquestionably
is a state of mind towards God; and devotion is a mental act resulting
from that state of mind. We cannot conceive of an automaton performing
an act of devotion, or of being religious; and yet, if religion be what
it is taken to be at Rome, there is nothing to hinder an automaton being
religious, nay, far more religious than flesh and blood, inasmuch as
timber and iron will not so soon wear out under incessant crossings and
genuflections. Religion at Rome is to kiss a crucifix; religion at Rome
is to climb Pilate's stairs; religion at Rome is to repeat by rote a
certain number of prayers before some beautiful painting or statue; or
to remain a certain number of hours on one's bare knees on the paved
floor; or to wear a hair-shirt. Of religion as a mental act,--as an act
of faith, and love, and reverence,--the Italian is not able to form
even the idea. Hence the want of decorum that shocks a stranger on
visiting the Italian churches. He finds bishops at the altar unable to
restrain their sallies of wit and their bursts of laughter. And after
this, what can he look for among the ordinary worshippers? The young man
can go through his devotions perfectly well, and make love all the while
to the young woman at his side. Young ladies can count their beads to
the Virgin, and continue their gossip on matters of dress or scandal. It
never occurs to them that this in the least deteriorates their worship.
The beads have been counted, and an Ave Maria said with each; and what
more does the Church require? Religion as a feeling of the mind, and
devotion as an act of the soul, are unknown to them. I recollect meeting
in the rural lanes leading from St John Lateran to the church of Maria
Maggiore, a small party of Roman girls, who were strangely mixing mirth
and worship,--chatting, laughing, and singing hymns to the Virgin,--just
as Scotch maidens on a harvest field might diversify their labours with
"Home, Sweet Home," or any other air. This irreverent familiarity shows
itself in other ways, after the manner of the ancient pagans, who took
strange liberties with their gods. When the drawing of the lottery is
about to take place, the Romans most devoutly supplicate the Virgin for
success; but should their number come out a blank, they may be heard
reviling her in the open street, and applying to her every conceivable
epithet of abuse.

So far as the moral code of Romanism is concerned, sinless perfection is
no difficult attainment. The commands of the Church are six; and these
six have quite thrown into the shade the ten of the decalogue. They are
the payment of tithes,--the not marrying in the prohibited seasons,--the
hearing of mass on Sundays and festivals,--the keeping of the
prescribed fasts,--confession once a-year at least,--and the taking of
the communion in Easter week. The last two are strictly enforced. On the
approach of Easter, the priest goes round and gives a ticket to every
parishioner; and if these are not returned through the confessional, a
policeman waits on the person, and tells him that he has been remiss in
his religious duties, and must submit himself to the Church's
discipline, which he, the Church's officer, has come to administer to
him in the Church's penitentiary or dungeons. Innumerable are the
methods taken by the Romans to evade confession, among which the more
common is to hire some one to confess for them. Others, though they go,
confess nothing of moment. "You all here believe in the Pope and
purgatory," I remarked to a commissario one day. "A few old women do,"
he replied. "Do _you_ not believe in them?" I asked. "I believe in one
God; but I do not believe in one priest," said he. "I hope you will say
so next time you go to confession," I observed. "I don't confess," he
replied. "How can you avoid confessing?" I enquired. "I pay an old
woman," he answered, "who can confess for me every day if she pleases."
There is not a greater contrast in the world than that which exists
betwixt the cost of the papal religion and its fruits,--betwixt the
numbers and wealth of the clergy, and the knowledge and morality of the
people. Under these heads we append below some very instructive
notices.[8]

In fine, one word will suffice to describe the religion of Rome; and
that word is ATHEISM. There may be exceptions, but as a general rule
the Romans believe in nothing. And how can it be otherwise? Of the
gospel they know absolutely nothing beyond what the priest tells them;
even that he, the priest, can change a wafer into God, and, by giving it
to people to eat, can save them from hell. This the Romans cannot
believe; and therefore their creed is a negation. In the room of
indifference, which could not be said to believe or disbelieve, because
it never thought on the subject, has now come intense hatred of the
Papacy, from the destruction of the nation's hopes under Pio Nono. He
who seven years ago heard the streets of Rome echoing to the cry that
she alone was _La Regina delle Genti_,--"sat a queen, and should see no
sorrow,"--can best form an estimate of the terrible re-action that has
followed the tumult of that hour, and can best understand how it has
happened, that now the hatred wherewith the Italians hate the Papacy is
greater than the love wherewith they loved it. Tradition, by its
fooleries,--the mass, by its monstrosity,--the priest, by his
immoralities,--and, above all, the Pope, by his perfidy and
tyranny,--have made the papal religion to stink in the nostrils of the
great mass of the Roman people. You might as well look for religion in
pandemonium itself, as in a country groaning under such a complication
of vices and miseries. Nay, there is more faith in pandemonium than in
Rome; for we are told that the devils believe and tremble; but in Rome,
generally speaking, there is faith in nothing. And for this fearful
state of matters the Papacy, beyond all question, is responsible.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

MENTAL STATE OF THE PRIESTHOOD IN ITALY.

     First Impressions in Rome erroneous--The unseen Rome--Her
     devotement to one thing--In what light do the Priests in Italy
     regard their own System?--Can they possibly believe their Cheats to
     be Miracles?--A goodly number of the Priests Infidels--Others never
     thought on the subject--Some have strong Misgivings--Others
     convinced of the Falsehood of that Church, but lack Courage or
     Opportunity to leave it--Making Allowance for all these Classes,
     the Majority of Priests do believe in their System--The Explanation
     of this--The real Ruler in the Church of Rome, not the Pope, nor
     the Cardinals, nor the Jesuits, but the System--Human
     Machinery--The Pontiff--The College of Cardinals--Antonelli--The
     Bishops and Priests--The Jesuits--Their Activity and Importance at
     Rome--Their Appearance described.


When an Englishman visits the Eternal City, he is very apt, during the
first days of his sojourn, to underrate the power and influence of the
Papal system. At home he has been used to see power associated with
splendour, and surrounded with the fruits and monuments of intelligence.
At Rome everything on which he sets his eye bears marks of a growing
barbarism and decay. Outside the walls of the city is a vast desert,
attesting the utter extinction of industry. Within is an air of
stagnation and idleness, which bespeaks the utter absence of all mental
activity. A very considerable portion of the population have no
occupation but begging. The naked heads, necks, and feet of the monks
and friars are offensive from want of cleanliness. The higher
ecclesiastics even are coarse and vulgar men. The fine monuments reared
by the taste and wealth of former ages want keeping. Their churches,
despite the paintings and statuary with which they are filled, are
rendered disagreeable by the beggars that haunt them, and the incense
that is continually burned in them. Their very processions do not rise
above a tawdry half-barbaric grandeur; and one must be far gone in the
Puseyite malady before such exhibitions can inspire him with anything
like reverence. The visitor looks around on this strange scene, so
unlike what his imagination had pictured, and exclaims, "Where and in
what lies the secret of this city's power?" Here there is neither art,
nor industry, nor wealth, nor knowledge! Here all the bodily and all the
mental faculties of man appear to be folded up in a worse than mediæval
stupor. Where are the elements of that power for which this city is
renowned, and by which she is able to thwart and control the civilized
and powerful Governments of the north of Europe? Would, says he to
himself, that those who venerate Rome when divided from her by the Alps
and the ocean, would come here and see with their own eyes her
contemptible vileness and inconceivable degradation; and that those
statesmen who are moved by a secret fear to bow the knee to her, would
come hither and mark the baseness of her before whom they are content to
lower the honour and independence of their country! Such, we say, are
the first impressions of the visitor to Rome.

But a few days suffice to correct this erroneous estimate. The person
looks around him; he looks below him. There he discovers the real Rome.
It is not the Rome that is seen,--it is the Rome that is unseen,--before
which the nations tremble. Beneath his feet are tremendous agencies at
work. There are the pent-up fires that shake the globe. Rome, cut off
from all the world, and surrounded by leagues of silent and blackened
deserts, is the centre of energies that rest not day nor night, and the
action of which is felt at the very extremities of the earth. It seems,
indeed, as if Rome had been set free from all the anxieties and labours
which occupy the minds and hands of the rest of the world, of very
purpose that she might attend to only one thing. The labours of the
husbandman and the artificer she has forborne. Like the lilies of the
field, she toils not, neither does she spin. She sits in the midst of
her deserts, like the sorceress on the heath, or the conspirator in his
den, hatching plots against the world. Rome is the pandemonium of the
earth, and the Pope is the Lucifer of the world's drama. Fallen he is
from the heaven of power and grandeur which he occupied in the twelfth
century; and he and his compeers lie sunk in a very gulph of anarchy and
barbarism. Lifting up his eyes, he beholds afar off the happy nations of
Protestantism, reaping the reward of a free Bible and a free Government,
in the riches of their commerce and the stability of their power. The
sight is tormenting and intolerable, and the pontiff is stung thereby
into ceaseless attempts to retrieve his fall. If he cannot mount to his
old seat, and sit there once more in superhuman pride and unapproachable
power above the bodies and the souls of men, he may at least hope to
draw down those he so much envies into the same gulph with himself.
Hence the villanies and plots of all kinds of which Rome is full, and
which form a source of danger to the nations of Christendom, from which
they may hope to be delivered only when the Papacy shall have been
finally destroyed.

What I propose here is to sketch the _mental state_ of the priests of
Italy, so far as my opportunities enabled me to judge. The subject is
more recondite than the foregoing; the facts are less accessible; and my
statements must partake more of the inferential than did those embraced
in the former branches of the subject.

The first question that arises is, in what light do the priests in Italy
regard their own system? Do they look upon it as an unrivalled compound
of imposture and tyranny,--a cunning invention for procuring mitres,
tiaras, purple robes, and other good things for themselves? or do they
regard it as indeed founded in truth, and clothed with the sanction of
heaven? They are behind the scenes, and have access to see and hear many
things which are not meant for the eye and ear of the public. The man
who pulls the strings of a winking Madonna can scarce persuade himself,
one should think, that the movement that follows is the effect of
supernatural power. The priest who liquefies the blood of St Januarius
by the warmth of his hand or the warmth of the fire, must know that what
he has performed is neither more nor less than a very ordinary juggle.
The monk who falls a rummaging in the Catacombs, or in any of the old
graveyards about Rome, and finds there a parcel of decayed bones, which
he passes off as those of Saint Theodosia or Saint Anathanasius, but
which are as likely to be the bones of an old pagan, or a Goth, or a
brigand, can hardly believe, one should suppose, his own tale. If the
Pope believes in his own relics, what conceptions must he have of Peter?
What a strange configuration of body must he believe the apostle to have
had! Peter must have been a man with some dozen of heads; with a score
of arms, and a hundred fingers or so on each arm; in short, a perfect
realization of the old pagan fable of the giant Briareus. The Pope must
believe this, or he must believe that he gives his attestation to what
is not true. Above all, one can hardly imagine it possible that any man
in whom reason had not been utterly quenched could believe in the
monstrous dogma of transubstantiation. What! can a priest at any hour he
pleases give existence to Him who exists from eternity? Can he enclose
within a little silver box that Almighty One whom the heaven, even the
heaven of heavens, cannot contain? Let a man confess at the bar of the
High Court of Edinburgh that he believes himself to be God, and the
Court will pronounce that that man is insane, and will hold him
incompetent to manage his affairs. And yet every Roman Catholic priest
professes to believe a more startling dogma,--even that he is the
creator of God. And yet, instead of calling that insanity, we must, I
suppose, call it religion. Seeing, then, the priests are called every
day to do things which their senses must tell them are juggles, and to
profess their belief in dogmas which their reason must tell them are
monstrous and blasphemous absurdities, is it possible, you ask, that the
priests in Italy can believe in their own system? I must here say, that
I do think the majority of them do believe in it.

A goodly number of the priests of Italy are infidels. They no more
believe in the Pope than they believe in the pagan Jupiter. But then,
were they to speak out their disbelief, and to say that purgatory is a
mere bugbear for frightening men and getting their money, they know that
a dungeon would instantly be their lot; and infidelity has little of the
martyr spirit in it. These men, like Leo the Tenth, as thorough an
infidel as ever lived, hold that it would be the height of folly to
quarrel with a fable that brings them so much gain. Others are mere
worldly men. They were never at the pains to inquire whether their
system is true or false. They sing their mass in the morning; they pass
their forenoons at the café, sipping coffee, and taking a hand at
cards; a stoup of wine washes down a substantial dinner; and, after a
saunter along the Corso, or an airing on the Pincian, they doff their
clerical vestments, and go to sup with the nuns, who have the reputation
of being excellent cooks.

Others there are whose minds are occasionally visited by strong
misgivings. The cloud, so to speak, will open for a moment, and reveal
to their astonished sight, not the majestic form of Truth, but a
gigantic and monstrous imposture. A mysterious hand at times lifts the
veil, and lo! they find themselves in the presence, not of a divinity,
but of a demon. They disclose their doubts when they next go to
confession. My son, says the father confessor, these are the suggestions
of the Evil One. You must arm yourself against the Tempter by fasting
and penance. A hair shirt or an iron girdle is called in to silence the
voice of reason and the remonstrances of conscience; and here the matter
ends. And there are a few--in every age there have been a few such--in
the Church of Rome, and at present they are very considerably on the
increase, who, in the midst of darkness, by some wondrous means have
seen the light. A tract, a Bible, or some Protestant friend whom
Providence had thrown in their way, or some one of the few passages of
Scripture inserted in their Breviary, may have taught them a better way
than that of Rome. Instead of stopping short at the altar of Mary, or at
any of the thousand shrines which Rome has erected as so many barriers
between the sinner and God, they go at once to the Divine mercy-seat,
and pour their supplications direct into the ear of the Great Mediator.
You ask, why do these men remain in a Church which they see to be
apostate? Fain would they fly, but they know not how or where. They lift
their eyes to the Alps on the one side,--to the ocean on the other.
Alas! they may surmount these barriers; but more difficult still than
to scale the mountains or to traverse the ocean is it to escape beyond
the power of Rome. Woe to the unhappy man who begins to feel his
fetters! He awakes to find that he is in a wide prison, with a sentinel
posted at every outlet: escape seems hopeless; and the man buries his
secret in his breast.

Some few there are who, more daring by nature, or specially strengthened
from above, adventure on the immense hazards of flight. Of these, some
are caught, thrown into a dungeon, and are heard of no more. Others find
their way to England, or some other Protestant State. But here new
trials await them. They are ignorant of our language perhaps. They find
themselves among strangers, whose manners seem to them cold and distant.
They are without means of living; and, carrying with them too, it may
be, some of the stains of their former profession, they encounter
difficulties which are the more stumbling that they are unexpected. On
these various grounds, the number of priests who leave the Church of
Rome has been, and always will be, small, till some great revolution or
upbreak takes place in that Church.

But, making the most ample allowance for all these classes,--for the men
who are atheists and infidels,--for the mere worldings, whose only tie
to their Church is the gain it brings them,--and for those who are
either doubters, or whose doubts have passed into full conviction that
the Church of the Pope is not the Church of Jesus Christ,--making, I
say, full allowance for all these, I have little doubt that the majority
of the priests in Italy,--it may be not much more than a majority, but
still a majority,--are sincere believers in their system.

They are not ignorant of the frauds, the knaveries, the fables, and
hypocrisies, by which that system is supported. They cannot shut their
eyes to these, which they regard, in fact, as sanctified by the end to
which they are devoted; but they separate between these and the system
itself; and though they cannot tell the line where truth ends and
falsehood begins, still they look upon their system, on the whole, as
founded in truth, and carrying with it the sanction of Heaven. Indeed,
belief is a weak term to express the power the system has over them. It
is rather a paralyzing awe, a freezing terror, like that with which his
grim deity inspires the barbarian, which holds captive the strongest
mind, and lays reason and conscience prostrate in the dust. Such I
believe to be the state of mind of the greater number of the Italian
priesthood.

But how comes this? What is it which has produced this universal
slavery? Is it the Pope? Is it the cardinals? Is it the Jesuits? No; for
these men, though the tyrants of others, are themselves slaves. All are
bound by the same chain of adamant, to the car of the same demon. A
mournful procession of dead men truly, with the triple crown in front,
and the sandals of the barefooted Capuchin bringing up the rear. What is
it, I repeat, that holds the whole body in subjection, from the Pope
down to the friar? It is the system, the abstract system, with its
overwhelming prestige,--that system which lives on though popes die; the
genius of the Papacy, if you will. This is the real monarch of that
spiritual kingdom.

A little power of mental abstraction,--and the subtile genius of the
Italian gives him that power in a high degree,--will enable any one to
separate betwixt the system and its agents. Some one has remarked, that
he could form an abstraction of a lord mayor, not only without his
horse, and gown, and gold chain, but even without the stature, features,
hands, and feet of any particular lord mayor. The same can be done of
the Papacy. We can form an abstraction of the Papacy not only without
the tiara and the keys, but even without the stature and lineaments, the
hands and feet, of any particular Pope. When we have formed such an
abstraction, we have got the real ruler of the Papacy. That it is the
system that is the dominant power in the Church of Rome, is evident from
this one fact, namely, that councils have sometimes deposed the Pope to
save the Papacy. There is in the Pope's kirk, then, a power greater than
the Pope. The system has taken body and shape, as it were, and sits upon
the Seven Hills, a mysterious, awe-inspiring divinity or demon; and the
Pope, equally with the friar, bows his head and does obeisance. Wherever
the pontiff looks,--whether backward into history, or around him in the
world,--there are the monuments of this ever living, ever present, and
all pervading power. It requires more force than the mind of fallen man
is capable of, to believe that a system which has filled history with
its deeds and the world with its trophies, which has compelled the
homage of myriads and myriads of minds, and before which the haughtiest
conquerors and the most puissant intellects have bowed with the docility
of children, is, after all, an unreality,--a mere spectre of the middle
ages,--a ghost conjured up by credulity and knavery from the tombs of
defunct idolatries. This, I say, is the true state of things in Italy.
Its priesthood are subdued by their own system,--by its high claims to
antiquity,--its world-wide dominion,--its imposing though faded
magnificence,--its perverted logic,--its pseudo sanctity. These not only
carry it over the reason, but in some degree over the senses also; and
the more fully persuaded the priests are of the truth and divinity of
their system, they feel only the more fully warranted to employ fraud
and force in its support,--the winking Madonna to convince one class,
and the dungeon and the iron chain to silence the other.

Having spoken of the abstract and spiritual power that reigns over
Italy, and, I may say, over the whole Catholic world, let me now speak
of the corporeal and human machinery by which the Papacy is carried on.

First comes the Pope. Pio Nono is a man of sixty-three. His years and
the various misfortunes of his reign sit lightly upon him. Were the Pope
much given to reflection, there are not wanting unpleasant topics enough
to darken the clear Italian sunlight, as it streams in through the
windows of the Vatican palace. Once was he chased from Rome; and now
that he is returned, can he call Rome his own? Not he. The real master
of Rome is the commandant of the French garrison. And while outside the
walls are the dead whom he slew with the sword of France, inside are the
living, whose sullen scowl or fierce glare he may see through the French
files, as he rides out of an afternoon.[9] But Pio Nono takes all in
good part. There is not a wrinkle on his brow; no unpleasant thought
appears to shade the jovial light of his broad face. He sits down to
dinner with evidently a good appetite; he sleeps soundly at night, and
troubles not his poor head by brooding over misfortunes which he cannot
mend, or charging himself with the direction of plots which he is not
competent to manage. But, if not fitted to take the lead in cabinets,
nature has formed him to shine in a procession. He has a portly figure,
a face radiant with blandness, dissimulation, and vanity; and he looks
every inch the Pope, as he is carried shoulder-high in St Peter's, and
sits blazing in his jewelled tiara and purple robes, between two huge
fans of peacocks' feathers. To these accomplishments he adds that of a
fine voice; and when he gives his blessing from the balcony of St
Peter's, or assembles the Romans in the Forum, as he did on a late
occasion, when he lifted up hands dripping with his subjects' blood, to
call his hearers to repentance, his tones ring out, in the deep calm air
of Rome, clear and loud as those of a bell. Such is the man who is the
nominal head of the Papacy. We say the _nominal_ head; for such a system
as the Papacy, involving the consideration of so many interests, and
requiring such skilful steering to clear the rocks and quicksands amid
which the bark of Peter is now moving, demands the presence at the helm
of a steadier hand and a clearer eye than those of Pio Nono.

I come next to the College of Cardinals. In so large a body we find, as
might be expected, various grades of both intellectual and moral
character; and of course there are the corresponding indications on
their faces. An overbearing arrogance, which always communicates to the
countenance an air of vulgarity, more or less, is a very prevailing
trait. The average intellect in the sacred college is not so high as one
would expect in men who have risen to the top of their profession; and
for this reason, perhaps, that birth has fully more to do with their
elevation than talent or services. One scrutinises their faces curiously
when one remembers that these men are the living representatives of the
apostles. They profess to hold the rank, to be clothed with the
functions, and to inherit the supernatural endowments, of the first
inspired preachers. There you may look for the burning eloquence of a
Paul, the boldness of a Peter, the love of a John, the humility,
patience, zeal, of all. You go round the circle, and examine one by one
the faces of these living Pauls and Peters. Verily, if their prototypes
were like their modern representatives, the spread of the gospel at
first was by far the mightiest miracle the world ever saw. On one you
find the unmistakeable marks of sordid appetite and self-indulgence: on
another, low intrigue has imprinted the most sinister lines: a third is
a mere man of the world;--his prayers and vigils have been kept at the
shrine of pleasure. But along with much that is sordid and worldly,
there are astute and far-seeing minds in the sacred college; and
foremost in this class stands Antonelli. His pale face, and clear, cold,
penetrating eye, reveal the presiding genius of the Papacy. He is the
Prime Minister of the Pope; and though his is not the brow on which the
tiara sits, he is the real head of the system. From his station on the
Seven Hills his keen eye watches and directs every movement in the papal
world. Those mighty projects which the Papacy is endeavouring to realize
in every part of the earth have their first birth in his fertile and
daring brain.

His family are well known at Rome, and some of his ancestors were men of
renown in their own way. His uncle was the most famous Italian brigand
of modern times, and his exploits are still celebrated in the popular
songs of the country. The occupation of the yet more celebrated nephew
is not so dissimilar after all; for what is Antonelli, but the leader of
a crew of bandits, whose hordes scour Europe, arrayed in sacerdotal
garb, and in the name of heaven rob men of their wealth, their liberty,
and their souls, and carry back their booty to their den on the Seven
Hills.

Next come the Bishops and Priests. These men are the agents and spies of
the cardinals, as the cardinals of the Pope. The time which they are
required to devote to spiritual, or rather, I should say, to official
duties, is small indeed. To study the Scriptures, visit the sick,
instruct the people, which form the proper work of ministers of the
gospel, are duties altogether unknown in Rome. There, as I have said,
they convert and save men, not by preaching, but by giving them wafers
to swallow. This is a short and simple process; and when a priest has
gone through this pantomime once, he can repeat it all his days after
without the slightest preparation. Their time and energies, therefore,
can be almost wholly devoted to other work. And what is that work? It
is, in short, to propagate their superstition, and rivet the fetters of
the priesthood upon the population. The bishops and priests manage the
upper classes; and for the lower grades of Romans there are friars and
monks of every order and of every colour. The city swarms with these
men. The frogs and lice of Egypt were not more numerous, and certainly
not more filthy. Unwashed and uncombed, they enter, with their sandalled
feet and shaven crowns, every dwelling, and penetrate into every bosom.
You see them in the wine-shops; you see them mixing with the populace on
the street; while others, with wallets on their backs, may be seen
climbing the stairs of the houses, for the double purpose of begging for
the poor, but in reality for their own paunch, and of retailing the
latest miracle, or some thousand times told legend. Thus the darkness is
carried down to the very bottom of society; and while the Pope and his
cardinals sit at the summit in gilded glory, the monk, in robe of serge
and girdle of rope, is busied at the bottom; and, to support their
individual and united action, the priests have two powerful institutions
at Rome, like foot soldiers advancing under cover of artillery,--the
Confessional and the Inquisition.

But emphatically _the_ order at Rome is the Jesuits. They are the prime
movers in all that is done there, as well as the keenest supporters of
the Papacy in all parts of the world. They are the most indefatigable
confessors, as well as the most eloquent preachers. Their regularity is
like that of nature itself. Every hour of the day has its duty; and
their motions are as punctual as that of the heavenly bodies. Duly every
morning as the clock strikes five, they are at the altar or in the
confessional. Their head-quarters are at the Gesu. I shall suppose that
the reader is passing through the long corridor of that magnificent
church. Every three or four paces is a door, leading to a small
apartment, which is occupied by a father. Outside each door hangs a
sheet of paper, on which the father puts a list of the employments for
the day. When he goes out, he sticks a pin opposite the piece of
business which has called him away, so that, should any one call and
find him not within, he can know at once, by consulting the card, how
the father is occupied, and whether he is accessible at that particular
time. Among the items of business which usually appear on the card,
"conference" is now one of very frequent occurrence, which indicates no
inconsiderable amount of business, having reference to foreign parts, at
present on the hands of the order.

I shall suppose that the reader is passing along the Corso. Has he
marked that tall thin man who has just passed him,

 "Walking in beauty like the night?"

There is an air of tidiness in his dress, and of comparative cleanliness
on his person. He wears a small round cap, with three corners; or, if a
hat, one of large brim. Neither cowl nor scapular fetters his motions; a
plain black gown, not unlike a frock-coat, envelopes his person. How
softly his footsteps fall! You scarce hear their sound as he glides past
you. His face, how unruffled! As the lake, when the winds are asleep,
hides under a moveless surface, resplendent as a sheet of gold, the dark
caverns at its bottom, so does this calm, impassable face the workings
of the heart beneath. This man holds in his hands the threads of a
conspiracy which is exploding at that moment, mayhap in China, or in the
Pacific, or in Peru, or in London.

He is at Rome at present, and appears in his proper form and dress as a
Jesuit. But that man can change his country, he can change his tongue,
and, Proteus-like, multiply his shapes among mankind. Next year that man
whom you now meet on the streets of Rome may be in Scotland in the
humble guise of a pedlar, vending at once his earthly and his spiritual
wares. Or he may be in England, acting as tutor in some noble family, or
in the humbler capacity of body-servant to a gentleman, or, it may be,
filling a pulpit in the Church of England. He may be a Protestant
schoolmaster in America, a dictator in Paraguay, a travelling companion
in France and Switzerland, a Liberal or a Conservative--as best suits
his purpose--in Germany, a Brahmin in India, a Mandarin in China. He can
be anything and everything,--a believer in every creed, and a worshipper
of every god,--to serve his Church. Rome has hundreds of thousands of
such men spread over all the countries of the world. With the ring of
Gyges, they walk to and fro over the earth, seeing all, yet themselves
unseen. They can unlock the cabinets of statesmen, and enter unobserved
the closets of princes. They can take their seat in synods and
assemblies, and dive into the secrets of families. Their grand work is
to sow the seeds of heresies in Churches and of dissensions in States,
that, when the harvest of strife and division is fully matured, Rome may
come in and reap the fruits.



CHAPTER XXIX.

SOCIAL AND DOMESTIC CUSTOMS OF THE ROMANS.[10]

     A Roman House--Wretched Dwellings of Working-Classes--How Working
     Men spend their Leisure Hours--Roman mode of reckoning
     Time--Handicrafts and Trades in Rome--Meals--Breakfast, Dinner,
     &c.--Games--Amusements--Marriages--Deaths and Funerals--Wills
     tampered with--Popular regard to Omens--Superstitions connected
     with the Pope's Name--Terrors of the Priesthood--Weather, and
     Journey Homeward.


I shall now endeavour to bring before my readers, in a short chapter,
the daily inner life of Rome. First of all, let us take a peep into a
Roman dwelling. The mansions of the nobility and the houses of the
wealthier classes are built on the plan of the ancient Romans. There is
a portal in front, a paved court in the middle, a quadrangle enclosing
it, with suites of apartments running all round, tier on tier, to
perhaps four or five stories. The palaces want nothing but cleanliness
to make them sumptuous. They are of marble, lofty in style, and chaste
though ornate in design. The pictures of the great masters that once
adorned them are now scattered over northern Europe, and the frames are
filled with copies. For this the poverty or extravagance of their owners
is to blame. The best pictures in Rome are those in the churches, and
these are sadly dimmed and obscured by the smoke of the incense. A
fire-place in a Roman house is a sort of phenomenon; and yet the climate
of Rome, unless at certain times, is not that balmy, intoxicating
element which we imagine it to be. During my stay there, I had to
encounter alternate deluges of rain, with lightning, and cutting blasts
of the Tramontana. The comfort of an Italian house, especially in
winter, depends more on its exposure to the sun than on any arrangement
for heating it. Some few, however, have fire-places in the rooms. The
kitchen is placed on the top of the house,--the very reverse of its
position with us. The ends sought hereby are safety, and the convenience
of discharging the culinary effluvia into the atmosphere. The fire-place
is unique, and not unlike that of a smithy. There is a cap for sparks;
and about three feet above the floor stands a stone sole, in which holes
are cut for the _fornelli_, which are square cast-iron grated boxes for
holding the wood char, upon which the culinary utensils are placed.
These are but ill adapted for preparing a roast. John Bull would look
with sovereign contempt, or downright despair, according to the state of
his stomach, on the thing called a roast in Rome. There it is seldom
seen beyond the size of a beef-steak. Much small fry is roasted with a
ratchet-wheel and spit. This is wound up with a weight, and revolves
over the fire, which is strewed upon the hearth.

The working classes generally purchase their meals cooked in the
_Osteria Cucinante_, where food and wine are to be had. These are
numerous in Rome. They may be fairly called the homes of the working
classes, for there they lounge so long as their baiocchi last. The
houses of the working classes are comfortless in the extreme. They are
of stone, and roomy, but unfurnished. A couple of straw-bottomed chairs
and a bed make up generally the entire furnishings of a Roman house.
Indeed, the latter article appears to be the only reason for having a
house at all. So soon as the day's labour is over, the working men
resort to the wine and eating shops and coffeehouses, where they remain
till the time of shutting, which is two and three hours of the night.
The Roman reckoning of the day begins at Ave Maria, which is a quarter
of an hour after sunset. The first hour of the night is consequently an
hour after Ave Maria, from which the Romans reckon consecutively till
the twenty-fourth hour. As the sun sets earlier or later, according to
the season of the year, the hours vary of course, and the same period of
the day that is indicated by the twelfth hour at the time of equinox, is
indicated by the eleventh hour in midsummer, and the thirteenth hour in
midwinter. This is very annoying to travellers from the north of Europe.
"What o'clock is it?" you ask; and are told in reply, "It is the
eighteenth hour and three quarters." To find the time of day from this
answer, you must calculate from Ave Maria, with reference to the time of
sunset at that particular season of the year. Mid-day is announced in
Rome by the firing of a cannon from the castle of St Angelo. The French
reckon time as we do, and may possibly, before they leave Rome, teach
the Romans to adopt the same mode of reckoning.

When I stated in a former chapter that trade there is not in Rome, my
readers, of course, understood me to mean that it was comparatively
annihilated, not totally extinguished. The Romans must have houses,
however poor; clothes, however homely; and food, however plain; and the
supply of these wants necessitates the existence, to a certain extent,
of the various trades and handicrafts. But in Rome these exist in an
embryotic state, and are carried on after the most antiquated
modes,--much as in Britain five hundred years ago. The principal public
works,--for by this name must we dignify the little quiet concerns in
the Eternal City,--are situated in the neighbourhood of Trastevere, the
decidedly plebeian quarter of Rome, although it would not do to say so
to a Trasteverian. There are woollen manufactories and candle
manufactories. The chief customer of the latter is the Church. The
armoury and mint are contiguously situated to St Peter's. The tanning of
hides is extensively carried on along the banks of the Tiber, whose
classic "gold" is not unfrequently streaked with oozy streams of a dirty
white. Flour-mills are numerous. Amid the brawls which disturb the
Trastevere, the ear can catch the ring of the shuttle, for there a few
hand-loom weavers pursue their calling. There is a tobacco manufactory
in the same quarter; and I must state, for truth compels me, that most
of the Roman women take snuff. From the windows of the Vatican Museum
one can see the tile and brick maker busy at his trade behind the
palace. Extensive potteries exist near to Ripa Grande, where the most of
the kitchen and chamber utensils for city and country are made. I may
here note, that most of the cooking utensils of the working man are of
earthenware, and stand the fire remarkably well.

There are about a score of soap-works in Rome, but the soap manufactured
in these establishments is abominable. My friend Mr Stewart informed me
that he brought a soap-boiler from Glasgow, who understood his business
thoroughly, and had soap made in Rome as we have it in this country, but
without the palm-oil. This ingredient was not used, because, not being
in the tariff, it was thought that, should it be imported, it would in
all probability be classed under "perfumeries," and charged an
exorbitant duty. The soap being a new thing in Rome, and unlike the
nauseous stuff there in use, a clamour was raised against it, to the
effect that it produced sickness, and caused headache and vomiting. The
Roman ladies, in certain circumstances, are most fastidious about
smells, though why they should in Rome, of all places in Europe, is most
unaccountable. The Government, compassionating their sufferings, seized
a parcel of the soap, and caused it to be analyzed by a chemist. The
chemist's report was not unfavourable; nevertheless, owing to the strong
prejudice against the article, the sale was so limited, that its
manufacture had to be discontinued as unremunerative. Besides the trades
already enumerated, there are in the Eternal City marble-cutters,
mosaics and cameo workers, sculptors and painters, vine-dressers,
olive-dressers, vegetable cultivators, silk-worm rearers, and a few
manufacturers of silk scarfs. There are, too, in a feeble state, the
trades connected with the making and mending of clothes, the building
and repairing of houses. And to feel how feeble these trades are, it is
only necessary to see the garments of the Romans, how coarse in material
and how uncourtly in cut. The peasant throws a sheep's skin over him,
and is clad; the lower classes of the towns look as if they fabricated
their own garments, from the spinning upwards. To the best of my
knowledge, there was only one house being built in all Rome when I was
there; and that was rising on an old foundation near the Capitol. The
makers of votive offerings and wax-candles for the saints are a more
numerous class than the masons in Rome. Washer-women form a numerous
body, as do lodging-house keepers,--a class that includes many of the
nobles. The clerks are numberless, and very ill paid, having in many
cases to attend two or three employers to eke out a living. Men are
invariably employed as house-servants in Rome. They cook, clean the
chambers, make up the beds, in short, do everything that is necessary to
be done in a house.

The workman begins his day's labour at six or seven, as the season of
the year may be. He breakfasts on coffee, or on coffee and milk in equal
proportions, or on warm milk alone. Bread is used, which he soaks in his
tumbler of coffee. Few take butter; fewer still eggs or ham, for
pecuniary reasons. Many of the working classes take soup of bread paste;
others take salad and olive-oil with bread. The peasantry cut up their
coarse bread, saturate it with olive-oil, dust it over with pepper, and
eat it along with _finocchio_ (fennel), the vegetable being unboiled.
Roasted or boiled chestnuts are extensively used at all times of the
day. They are to be had on the streets; many making a living by roasting
and selling these fruits.

Mid-day is the common dining hour. The meal generally consists of soup
of bread, herbs, paste, or macaroni, butcher-meat, fowls, snails (white,
fed on grass), frogs, entrails of fowls and young birds, omelettes,
sausages, salad with olive-oil, dried olives, fruit, and wine, according
to the circumstances of the person. The country people during harvest
make their dinner of coarse bread, to which they add a few cloves of
garlic, a little goat's-milk cheese, and sour wine diluted with water.
Many live on bread alone, with wine. Supper is generally a substantial
meal, consisting more or less of the same materials as are used for
dinner, salad and wine never failing. Tomatoes are extensively used, ate
alone, or serving for all kinds of dinner and supper stews. Green figs
are much used. Polenda is a universal article of food amongst the
peasantry. It is Indian corn ground and boiled, and made to take the
place that _porridge_ does in Scotland, with this difference, that it is
boiled in pork fat.

The amusements of the working classes are not numerous. Moro and the
bowls are their two principal games. The first is generally played at in
twos, and is not unlike our schoolboy game of _odds_ or _evens_. The
Romans, at this game, however, put themselves into the attitude of
gladiators,--each naming a number, and extending at the same time so
many fingers; and the party that names the number corresponding with the
number of fingers extended by both is the victor. So many _guesses_
constitute the game. The attitude and airs of the combatants in this
simple game,--which seems fitter for children than for men,--are very
ridiculous. The other chief amusement of the Romans is bowls. These are
made of wood. So many hands are ranged on this side, and an equal number
on that; and the game proceeds more or less after the fashion of
curling. The feast days,--which are numerous in Rome,--on which labour
is interdicted under a heavy penalty, are mostly passed at bowls; as the
Sabbaths, on which labour is also forbidden, though under a much smaller
penalty, are generally with the drawing of the lottery. All places of
rendezvous beyond the walls have the sign of the balls, along with the
accompanying intimation, _Vino, Bianco e Rosso_. Encircling the
courtyard adjoining the house is a broad straw-shed or canopy, beneath
which the crowd assembles, young and old, male and female, gathering
round small tables, and discussing the _fiasci_ of Orvieto and toast.
The game is proceeding all the while in their neighbourhood, the stakes
being so many more flasks of the choice wine of Orvieto. This continues
till Ave Maria, when the crowd break up, withdraw to the city, and,
after a visit to the wine-shops within the walls, go home, and (as I
was naïvely told by a Scotch lady resident in Rome) beat their wives as
much as they do in England.

In the coffeehouses the grand sources of amusement are dice and drafts,
along with backgammon and billiards. The latter two games are confined
to the upper and middle classes. Most of the upper classes, I believe,
have billiard-rooms at home, for family use and conversazione-party
amusement. In the absence of newspapers, journals, and books, it would
be impossible, without these expedients, to get through the evening. All
who can afford to attend the theatre (more properly opera), do so as
regularly as the night comes; and the scenes and acts which they there
witness form the basis of Italian conversation. It is at least a safe
subject. No Roman who has the fear of a prison before him would discuss
politics in a mixed company. In Rome there is an utter dearth of
employment for young men. They dare not travel; they cannot visit a
neighbouring town without the permission of Government, which is only
sometimes to be had; they have nothing to read; and one can imagine, in
these circumstances, the utter waste of mental and moral energies which
must ensue among this class in Rome. These young men have a sore battle
to keep up appearances. They do their utmost absolutely for a cigar and
cane; but their success is not always such as so great ingenuity and
patience deserve. You may see them in half-dozens, lounging for hours
about the coffeehouses, without, in many cases, spending more than a
single baiocchi on coffee, and sometimes not even that.

Marriage is negotiated, not by the young persons, but by the parents.
The mother charges herself with everything appertaining to the making of
the match, conducting even the correspondence. Of course, to address a
billet doux to the young lady would be to infringe upon the prerogatives
of mamma, which must ever be held inviolate if success is seriously
aimed at. The mother receives all such epistles, and answers them in the
daughter's behalf. The young lady is closely watched, and is never left
a moment in the society of her intended partner previous to marriage,
unless in the presence of a third party. The Romans thus marry by sight,
and have no means, so far at least as regards personal intercourse, of
ascertaining the dispositions, tastes, intelligence, and habits of each
other. After marriage the lady is free. She may visit and receive
visitors; and has now an opportunity for like and dislike; and may be
tempted possibly to use it all the more that she had no such opportunity
before.

From marriages I pass to deaths and funerals. The usages customary on
the last illness of a Roman I cannot better describe than by referring
to a case which my friend Mr Stewart had occasion to witness. It was
that of a clerk in the Roman savings bank, an acquaintance of his, and a
young man of some means. In 1846 he caught fever, and, after lingering
for three weeks, died. Relatives he had none; and my friend never met
any one with the patient save the priest, whose duty it was to
administer the last sacrament, and to do so in time. The sick man's
chamber was curiously arranged. On the bed-cover were laid three
crucifixes: one was four feet in length; the other two were of smaller
size. This safeguard against the demons was further reinforced by the
addition of a palm-branch, and a few trifling pictures of the Virgin and
saints. On the wall, above the bed, hung a frame, containing a picture
of the Virgin Mary, executed in the ordinary style, with lighted candles
beside it. Two were placed on each side, and to these was added _una
mazza di fiori_. Notwithstanding all this he died. The body was then
carried to church for the last services, preparatory to consignment to
the burying-ground of Saint Lorenzo. A single word pointing to that
blood that cleanseth from all sin would have been of more avail than all
this idle array; but that word was not spoken.

Towards the close of life, especially if the person be wealthy, the
priests and monks grow very assiduous in their attentions, and the
relatives become in proportion uneasy. I was introduced at Rome to a
Signor Bondini, who had a wealthy relative in the _Regno di Napoli_, on
the verge of eighty, and very infirm. There was a monastery in his
immediate neighbourhood, and the monks of that establishment were in
daily attendance upon him. His friends in Rome felt much anxiety
regarding the disposal of his property. How the matter ended I know not;
but I trust, for the sake of my acquaintance, that all went well. Nor do
friends feel quite safe even after the "will" has been ratified by the
testator's death. There is a tribunal, as I have formerly stated, for
revising wills,--the S. Visita,--which assumes large powers. Of this a
curious instance occurred recently. A Signor Galli, cousin of the
minister of that name already mentioned, died in the July of 1854, and
left his whole property, amounting to about fifty thousand pounds, to
neither relatives nor priests, but to works of benevolence for the
relief of the poor. The trustee under the deed was proceeding to plan a
workhouse or an asylum for infirm old men, when the Chapter of St
Peter's claimed the money, on the ground that, as the works of
benevolence were not specified in the will, the funds were the property
of St Peter's. Some hundreds of old men are employed in the repairs
continually going on about that church, and the Chapter meant to spend
the money in that way. Meanwhile the S. Visita put in its claim in
opposition to the Chapter, and awarded the property for masses for the
soul of the departed; deeming, doubtless, that the whole would be little
enough to expiate the well-known liberal opinions of the deceased. So
stands the matter at present. It is impossible to say whether the money
will be spent in paving the Piazza San Pietro, or in masses; as to the
relief of the poor, that is now out of the question.

It is customary for Roman families to desert the dead, that is, to leave
the body in the hands of the priests and monks, who perform the
necessary offices to the corpse, conduct the funeral, and sing masses
for the soul of the departed. The pomp and display of the one, and the
length and number of the other, are regulated entirely by the
circumstances of the deceased's family. A more ghastly procession than
the funeral one cannot imagine. Instead of a company of grave men,
carrying with decorous sorrow to its final resting-place the body of
their departed brother, you meet what you take to be a procession of
ghouls. The coffin, borne shoulder-high, comes along the street,
followed by a long line of figures, enveloped from head to foot in black
serge gowns, with holes for the eyes. They march along, carrying large
black crosses and tallow candles, and using their voices in something
which is betwixt a chant and a howl. The sight suggests only the most
dismal associations. But it has its uses, and that is, to move the
living to be liberal in masses to rescue the soul from the power of the
demons, of which no feeble representation is exhibited in this ghostly
and unearthly procession.

The modern Italians pay great regard to omens; and, in the important
affairs of life, are guided rather by considerations of lucky and
unlucky than the maxims of wisdom. The name of the present Pope the
Romans hold to be decidedly of evil omen; so much so, that to affix it
anywhere is to make the person or thing a mark for calamity. And I was
told a curious list of instances corroborative of this opinion. The
first year of the reign of Pius was marked by an unprecedented and
disastrous flood. The Tiber rose so high in Rome, that it drowned the
stone lions in the Piazza del Popolo, flooded the city, and filled the
Corso to a depth that compelled the citizens to have recourse to boats.
The Government had a great cannon named after the Pope, which was used
in the war of independence sanctioned by Pius in 1848. The cannon Pio
was taken by the Austrians, although it was afterwards restored. There
was a famous steamer, the property of the Papal Government, named "Pia,"
which plied on the Adriatic. That steamer shared the fate of all that
bears the Pope's name. It was taken, too, by the Austrians, but not
returned; though, for a reason I shall afterwards state, better it had
been sent back. I was wandering one afternoon amid the desolate mounds
outside the walls on the east, when I saw a cloud of frightful blackness
gather over Rome, and several intensely vivid bolts shoot downward. When
I entered the city, I found that the "Porta Pia" had been laid in ruins,
and that the occurrence had revived all the former impressions of the
Romans regarding the evil significancy of the Pope's name. All who came
to his aid in his reforming times, they say, were smitten with disaster
or sudden death. He never raises his hands to bless but down there comes
a curse. I was not a little struck, in the winter following my return
from Rome, to read in the newspapers, that this same steamer Pia, of
which I had heard mention made in Rome as having about it a magnet of
evil in the Pope's name, had gone down in the Adriatic, with all on
board. It was one of the two vessels which carried the suite of the
Russian Grand Dukes when they visited Venice in the winter of 1852, and,
encountering a tempest on its return, perished, with some two hundred
persons, consisting of crew and soldiers.

As regards the affection which the Romans bear to Pope and Papacy, I
was assured by Mr Freeborn, our consul in Rome, that there is not a
priest in that city who had two hours to live when the last French
soldier shall have marched out at the gate. All who had resided for some
time in Rome, and knew the state of feeling in the population, shuddered
to think of what would certainly happen should the French be withdrawn.
I have been told by those who visited Rome more recently, that the
Romans now do not ask for so much as two hours. "Give us but half an
hour," say they, "and we undertake that the Papacy shall never again
trouble the world." No true Protestant can wish, or even hope, to put
down the system in this way; nevertheless it is a fact, that the Romans
have been goaded to this pitch of exasperation, and the slightest change
in the political relations of Europe might precipitate on Rome and the
Papal States an avalanche of vengeance. The November of 1851 was a time
of almost unendurable apprehension to the priests. With reference to
France, then on the eve of the _coup d'etat_, though not known to be so
save in Rome,--where I am satisfied it was well known,--the priests, I
was told by those who had access to know, said, "We tremble, we tremble,
for we know not how we shall finish!" They were said to have their
pantaloons, et cetera, all ready, to escape in a laic dress. Assuredly
the curse has taken effect upon the occupants of the Vatican not less
than on the inhabitants of the Ghetto. "Thy life shall hang in doubt
before thee, and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none
assurance of thy life."

Among other things that did not realize my expectations in Italy was the
weather. During my stay in Rome there were dull and dispiriting days,
with the Alban hills white to their bottom. Others were clear, with the
piercingly cold Tramontana sweeping the streets; but more frequently
the sirocco was blowing, accompanied with deluges of rain, and flashes
of lightning that made the night luminous as the day, and peals that
rocked the city on its foundations. One Sabbath evening we had a slight
shock of earthquake; and I began to think that I had come to see the
volcanic covering of the Campagna crack, and the old hulk which has been
stranded on it so long sink into the abyss. My homeward journey was
accomplished so far in the most dismal weather I have ever seen. I
started from Rome on a Monday afternoon, in a Veturino carriage, with
two Roman gentlemen as my companions. It was the Civita Vecchia road,
for my purpose was to go by sea to France. We reached the half-way house
some hours after dark; and, having supped, we were required to conform
to the rule of the house, which was to retire, not to bed, but to our
vehicle, which stood drawn up on the highway, and pass the night as best
we could. I awoke at day-break, and found the postilion yoking the
horses in a perfect hurricane of wind and rain. We reached Civita
Vecchia at breakfast-time, and found the Mediterranean one roughened
expanse of breakers, with the white waves leaping over the mole, and
violently rocking the vessels in the harbour. The steamers from Naples
to Marseilles were a week over due, and the agents could not say when
one might arrive. Time pressed; and after wandering all day about the
town,--one of the most wretched on earth,--and seeing the fiery sun find
his bed in the weltering ocean, I took my seat in the _diligence_ for
Rome.

This was the third time I had passed through that land of death the
Campagna; and that night in especial I shall never forget. My companions
in the _interieur_ were two Dutch gentlemen, and a lady, the wife of one
of them. The rain fell in deluges; the frequent gleams showed us each
other's faces; and the bellowing thunder completely drowned the rattle
of our vehicle. The long weary night wore through, and about four of the
morning we came to the old gate. My passport had been viséd with
reference to a sea-voyage; and to explain my change of route to the
officials in Civita Vecchia and at the gate of Rome, and persuade them
to make the corresponding alterations, cost me some little trouble, and
a good many paulos into the bargain. I succeeded, fortunately, for
otherwise I should have had to submit to a detention of several days.
How to make the homeward journey had now become a serious question. The
weather had made the sea unnavigable; and the Alps, now covered to a
great depth with ice and snow, could be crossed only on sledges. I
resolved on going by land to Leghorn,--a wearisome and expensive route,
but one that would show me the old Etruria, with several cities of note
in Italian history. The _diligence_ for Florence was to start in an
hour. I hurried to the office, and engaged the only seat that remained
unbespoke, in the coupé happily, with a Russian and Italian gentleman as
companions. I made my final exit by the Flaminian gate; and as I crossed
the swollen Tiber, and began to climb the height beyond, the first rays
of the morning sun were slanting across the Campagna, and tinging with
angry light the troubled masses of cloud that hung above the many-domed
city.

For a few hours the ride was pleasant. All around lay the neglected
land, thinly besprinkled with forlorn olives, but without signs of man,
save where a crumbling village might be seen crowning the summit of the
little conical hills that form so striking a feature in the Etrurian
landscape. When we had reached the spurs of the Apennines the storm
fell. The air was thickened with alternate showers of sleet and snow. We
had to encounter torrents in the valleys, and drifted wreaths on the
heights; in short, the journey was to the full as dreary as one through
the Grampians would have been at the same season. There was little to
tempt us to leave our vehicle at the few villages and towns where we
halted, for they seemed half-drowned in rain and mud. Late in the
afternoon we reached Viterbo, and stopped to eat a wretched dinner. We
found in the hotel but little of that abundance of which the magnificent
vine-stocks in the adjoining fields gave so goodly promise. Starting
again at dusk, the ladies of the party inquired where the patrol was
that used to accompany travellers through the brigand-haunted country of
Radicofani, on which we were about to enter; but could get no
satisfactory answer. We skirted the lake of Bolsena, with its rich but
deserted shores, and its fine mountains of oak. Soon thereafter darkness
hid from us the country; but the frequent gleams of lightning showed
that it was wild and desolate as ever traveller passed through. It was
naked, and torn, and scathed, as if fire had acted upon it, which,
indeed, it had, for our way now lay amidst extinct volcanoes. Towards
midnight the _diligence_ suddenly stopped. "Here are the brigands at
last," said I to myself. I jumped out; and, stretched on the road,
pallid and motionless, lay the foremost postilion. Had he been shot, or
what had happened? He was a raw-boned lad of some eighteen, wretchedly
clad, and worse fed; and he had swooned through fatigue and cold. We
brought him round with a little brandy; and, setting him again on his
nags, we continued our journey.

I recollect of awaking at times from troubled sleep, to find that we
were zig-zagging up the sides of mountains tall and precipitous as a
sugar-loaf, and entering beneath the portals of towns old and crumbling,
perched upon their very summit. A more desolate sight than that which
met the eye when day broke I never saw. Every particle of soil seemed
torn from the face of the country; and, as far as the eye could reach,
plain and hill-side lay under a covering of marl, which was grooved and
furrowed by torrents. "Is this Italy?" I asked myself in astonishment.
As the day rose, both weather and scenery improved. Towards mid-day, the
green beauteous mount on which Sienna, with its white buildings and its
cathedral towers, is situated, rose in the far distance; and, after many
hours winding and climbing, we entered its walls.

At Sienna we exchanged the _diligence_ for the railway, the course of
which lay through a series of ravines and valleys of the most
magnificent description, and thoroughly Tuscan in their character. We
had torrents below, crags crowned with castles above, vines, chestnuts,
and noble oaks clothing the steep, and purple shadows, such as Italy
only can show, enrobing all. I reached Pisa late in the evening; and
there a substantial supper, followed by yet more grateful sleep, made
amends for the four previous days' fasting, sleeplessness, and
endurance. I passed the Sabbath at Leghorn; and, starting again on
Monday _via_ Marseilles, and prosecuting my journey day and night
without intermission, save for an hour at a time, came on Saturday
evening to the capital of happy England, where I rested on the morrow,
"according to the commandment."



CHAPTER XXX.

THE ARGUMENT FROM THE WHOLE, OR, ROME HER OWN WITNESS.


When one goes to Rome, it is not unreasonable that he should there look
for some proofs of the vaunted excellence of the Roman faith. Rome is
the seat of Christ's Vicar, and the centre of Christianity, as Romanists
maintain; and there surely, if anywhere, may he expect to find those
personal and social virtues which have ever flourished in the wake of
Christianity. To what region has she gone where barbarism and vice have
not disappeared? and in what age has she flourished in which she has not
moulded the hearts of men and the institutions of society into
conformity with the purity of her own precepts, and the benevolence of
her own spirit? She has been no teacher of villany and cruelty,--no
patron of lust,--no champion of oppression. She has known only
"whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever
things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of
good report." Her great Founder demanded that she should be tried by her
fruits; and why should Rome be unwilling to submit to this test? If the
Pope be Christ's Vicar, his deeds cannot be evil. If Romanism be
Christianity, or rather, if it alone be Christianity, as its champions
maintain, Rome must be the most Christian city on the earth, and the
Romans examples to the whole human race, of industry, of sobriety, of
the love of truth, and, in short, of whatever tends to dignify and exalt
human character. On the assumption that the Christianity of the Seven
Hills is the Christianity of the New Testament, Rome ought to be the
seat of just laws, of inflexibly upright and impartial tribunals, and of
wise, paternal, and incorruptible rulers. Is it so? Is Christ's Vicar a
model to all governors? and is the region over which he bears sway
renowned throughout the earth as the most virtuous, the most happy, and
the most prosperous region in it? Alas! the very opposite of all this is
the fact. There is not on the face of the earth a region more barren of
everything Christian, and of everything that ought to spring from
Christianity, than is the region of the Seven Hills. And not only do we
there find the absence of all that reminds us of Christianity, or that
could indicate her presence; but we find there the presence, on a most
gigantic scale, and in most intense activity, of all the elements and
forms of evil. When the infidel would select the very strongest proofs
that Christianity cannot possibly be Divine, and that its influence on
individual and national character is most disastrous, he goes to the
banks of the Tiber. The weapons which Voltaire and his compeers wielded
with such terrible effect in the end of last century were borrowed from
Rome. Now, why is this? Either Christianity is to a most extraordinary
degree destructive of all the temporal interests of man, or Romanism is
not Christianity.

The first part of the alternative cannot in reason be maintained.
Christianity, like man, was made in the image of Him who created her;
and, like her great Maker, is essentially and supremely benevolent. She
is as much the fountain of good as the sun is the fountain of light; and
the good that is in the minor institutions which exist around her comes
from her, just as the mild effulgence of the planets radiates from the
great orb of day. She cherishes man in all the extent of his diversified
faculties, and throughout the vast range of his interests, temporal and
eternal. But Romanism is as universal in her evil as Christianity is in
her good. She is as omnipotent to overthrow as Christianity is to build
up. Man, in his intellectual powers and his moral affections,--in his
social relations and his national interests,--she converts into a wreck;
and where Christianity creates an angel, Romanism produces a fiend.
Accordingly, the region where Romanism has fixed its seat is a mighty
and appalling ruin. Like some Indian divinity seated amidst the blood,
and skulls, and mangled limbs of its victims, Romanism is grimly seated
amidst the mangled remains of liberty, and civilization, and humanity.
Her throne is a graveyard,--a graveyard that covers, not the mortal
bodies of men, but the fruits and acquisitions, alas! of man's immortal
genius. Thither have gone down the labours, the achievements, the hopes,
of innumerable ages; and in this gulph they have all perished. Italy,
glorious once with the light of intelligence and of liberty on her brow,
and crowned with the laurel of conquest, is now naked and manacled. Who
converted Italy into a barbarian and a slave? The Papacy. The growth of
that foul superstition and the decay of the country have gone on by
equal stages. In the territory blessed with the pontifical government
there is--as the previous chapters show--no trade, no industry, no
justice, no patriotism; there is neither personal worth nor public
virtue; there is nothing but corruption and ruin. In fine, the Papal
States are a physical, social, political, and moral wreck; and from
whatever quarter that _religion_ has come which has created this wreck,
it is undeniable that it has not come from the New Testament. If it be
true that "a tree is known by its fruits," the tree of Romanism was
never planted by the Saviour.

With such evidence before him as Italy furnishes, can any man doubt what
the consequence would be of admitting this system into Britain? If there
be any truth in the maxim, that like causes produce like effects, the
consequences are as manifest as they are inevitable. There is a force of
genius, a versatility and buoyancy, about the Italians, which fit them
better than most to resist longer and surmount sooner the influence of a
system like the Papacy; and yet, if that system has wrought such
terrible havoc among them,--if it has put them down and keeps them
down,--where is the nation or people who may think to embrace Romanism,
and yet escape being destroyed by it? Assuredly, should it ever gain the
ascendancy in this country, it will inflict, and in far shorter time,
the same dire ruin upon us which it has inflicted on Italy.

Let no man delude himself with the idea that it is simply a _religion_
which he is admitting, and that the only change that would ensue would
be merely the substitution of a Romanist for a Protestant creed. It is a
_scheme of Government_; and its introduction would be followed by a
complete and universal change in the political constitution and
government of the country. The Romanists themselves have put this matter
beyond dispute. Why did the Papists divide _territorially_ the country?
Why did they assume _territorial_ titles? and why do they so
pertinaciously cling to these titles? Why, because their chief aim is to
erect a territorial and political system, and they wish to secure, by
fair means or foul, a pretest or basis on which they may afterwards
enforce that system by political and physical means. Have we forgotten
the famous declaration of Wiseman, that his grand end in the papal
aggression was to introduce canon law? And what is canon law? The
previous chapters show what canon law is. It is a code which, though
founded on a religious dogma, namely, that the Pope is God's Vicar, is
nevertheless mainly temporal in its character. It claims a temporal
jurisdiction; it employs temporal power in its support,--the _sbirri_,
Swiss guards, and French troops at Rome, for instance; and it visits
offences with temporal punishment,--banishment, the galleys, the
carabine, and guillotine. In its most modified form, and as viewed under
the glosses of the most dexterous of its modern commentators and
apologists, it vests the Pope in a DIRECTING POWER, according to which
he can declare _null_ all constitutions, laws, tribunals, decisions,
oaths, and causes contrary to good morals, in other words, contrary to
the interests of the Church, of which he is the sole and infallible
judge; and all resistance is punishable by deprivation of civil rights,
by confiscation of goods, by imprisonment, and, in the last resort, by
death. In short, it vests in the Pope's hands all power on earth,
whether spiritual or temporal, and puts all persons, ecclesiastical and
secular, under his foot. A more overwhelming tyranny it is impossible to
imagine; for it is a tyranny that unites the voice with the arm of
Deity. We challenge the Romanist to show how he can inaugurate his
system in Britain,--set up canon law, as he proposes,--without changing
the constitution of the country. We affirm, on the grounds we have
stated, that he cannot. This, then, is no battle merely of churches and
creeds; it is a battle between two kingdoms and two kings,--the Pope on
one side, and Queen Victoria on the other; and no one can become an
abettor of the pontiff without being thereby a traitor to the sovereign.

And with the fall of our religion and liberty will come all the
demoralizing and pauperizing effects which have followed the Papacy in
Italy. Mind will be systematically cramped and crushed; and everything
that could stimulate thought, or inspire a love for independence, or
recall the memory of a former liberty, will be proscribed. We cannot
have the Papacy and open tribunals. We cannot have the Papacy and free
trade: our factories will be closed, as well as our schools and
churches; our forges silenced, as well as our printing presses. Motion
even will be forbidden; or, should our railways be spared, they will
convey, in lack of merchandise, bulls, palls, dead men's bones, and
other such precious stuff. Our electric telegraph will be used for the
pious purpose of transmitting absolutions and pardons, and our express
trains for carrying the host to some dying penitent. The passport system
will very speedily cure our people of their propensity to travel; and,
instead of gadding about, and learning things which they ought not, they
will be told to stay at home and count their beads. The _Index_ will
effectually purge our libraries, and give us but tens where we have now
thousands. Alas for the great masters of British literature and song!
The censorship will make fine work with our periodic literature, pruning
the exuberance and taming the boldness of many a now free pen. Our
clubs, from Parliament downwards, will have their labours diminished, by
having their sphere contracted to matters only on which the Church has
not spoken; and our thinkers will be taught to think aright, by being
taught not to think at all. We must contract a liking for consecrated
wafers and holy water; and provide a confessor for ourselves, our wives,
and daughters. We must eat only fish on Friday, and keep the Church's
holidays, however we may spend the Sabbath. We must vote at the bidding
of the priest; and, above all, take ghostly direction as regards our
last will and testament. The Papacy will overhaul all our political
rights, all our social privileges, all our domestic and private affairs;
and will alter or abrogate as it may find it for our and the Church's
good. In short, it will dig a grave, in which to bury all our privileges
and rights together, rolling to that grave's mouth the great stone of
Infallibility.

Nor let us commit the error of under-estimating the foe, or of thinking,
in an age when intelligence and liberty are so diffused, that it is
impossible that we can be overcome by such a system as the Papacy. We
have not, like the early Christians, to oppose a rude, unwieldy, and
gross paganism; we are called to confront an idolatry, subtle, refined,
perfected. We encounter error wielding the artillery of truth. We
wrestle with the powers of darkness clothed in the armour of light. We
are called to combat the instincts of the wolf and tiger in the form of
the messenger of peace,--the Satanic principle in the angelic costume.
Have we considered the infinite degradation of defeat? Have we thought
of the prison-house where we will be compelled to grind for our
conqueror's sport,--the chains and stakes which await ourselves and our
posterity? And, even should our lives be spared, they will be spared to
what?--to see freedom banished, knowledge extinguished, science put
under anathema, the world rolled backwards, and the universe become a
vast whispering gallery, to re-echo only the accents of papal blasphemy.

This atrocious and perfidious system is at this hour triumphant on the
Continent of Europe. Britain only stands erect. How long she may do so
is known only to God; but of this I am assured, that if we shall be able
to keep our own, it will be, not by entering into any compromise, but by
assuming an attitude of determined defiance to the papal system. There
must be no truckling to foreign despots and foreign priests: the bold
Protestant policy of the country must be maintained. In this way alone
can we escape the immense hazards which at present threaten us. And
what a warning do the nations of the Continent hold out to us! They
teach how easily liberty may be lost, but how infinite the sacrifices it
takes to recover it. A moment's weakness may cost an age of suffering.
If we let go the liberty we at present enjoy, none of us will live to
see it regained. Look at the past history of the Papacy, and mark how it
has retained its vulpine instincts in every age, and transmitted from
father to son, and from generation to generation, its inextinguishable
hatred of man and of man's liberties. Look at it in the Low Countries,
and see it overwhelming them under an inundation of armies and
scaffolds. Look at it in Spain, and see it extinguishing, amid the fires
of innumerable _autos da fe_, the genius, the chivalry, and the power of
that great nation. Look at it in France, whose history it has converted
into an ever-recurring cycle of revolutions, massacres, and tyrannies.
Look at it in the blood-written annals of the Waldensian valleys,
against which it launched crusade after crusade, ravaging their soil
with fire and sword, and ceasing its rage only when nothing remained but
the crimson stains of its fearful cruelty. And now, after creating this
wide wreck,--after glutting the axe,--after flooding the scaffold, and
deluging the earth itself with human blood,--it turns to you, ye men of
England and Scotland! It menaces you across the narrow channel that
divides your country from the Continent, and dares to set its foul print
on your free shore! Will you permit it? Will you tamely sit still till
it has put its foot on your neck, and its fetter on your arm? Oh! if you
do, the Bruce who conquered at Bannockburn will disown you! The Knox who
achieved a yet more glorious victory will disown you! Cranmer, and all
the martyrs whose blood cries to heaven against it, while their happy
spirits look down from their thrones of light to watch the part you are
prepared to play in this great struggle, will disown you! Your children
yet unborn, whose faith you will thus surrender, and whose liberty you
will thus betray, will curse your very names. But I know you will not.
You are men, and will die as men, if die you must, nobly fighting for
your faith and your liberties. You will not wait till you are drawn out
and slaughtered as sheep, as you assuredly will be if you permit this
system to become dominant. But if you are prepared to die, rather than
to live the slaves of a detestable and ferocious tyranny like this, I
know that you shall not die; for I firmly believe, from the aspects of
Providence, and the revelations of the Divine Word, that, menacing as
the Papacy at present looks, its grave is dug, and that even now it
totters on the brink of that burning abyss into which it is destined to
be cast; and if we do but unite, and strike a blow worthy of our cause,
we shall achieve our liberties, and not only these, but the liberties of
nations that stretch their arms in chains to us, under God their last
hope, and the liberties of generations unborn, who shall arise and call
us blessed.

 THE END.

 EDINBURGH: PRINTED BY MILLER AND FAIRLY.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] See the Antiquity of the Waldenses treated of at length in Leger's
"Histoire de l'Eglise Vaudoise;" and Dr Gilly's "Waldensian Researches."

[2] The author would soften his strictures on this head by a reference
to the truly interesting volume on the "Ladies of the Reformation," by
his talented friend the Rev. James Anderson.

[3] I have before me a list of prices current (Prezzo Corrente Legale de
generi venduti nella piazza di Roma dal di 28 Febbraro al di 5 Marzo
1852), from which it appears, that sculpture, paintings, tallow, bones,
skins, rags, and pozzolano, comprise all the exports from the Papal
States. What a beggarly list, compared with the natural riches of the
country! In fact, vessels return oftener _without_ than _with_ lading
from that shore.

[4] It was so when the author was in Rome. The enterprising company of
Fox & Henderson have since succeeded in overcoming the pontifical
scruples, and bringing gas into the Eternal City; Cardinal Antonelli
remarking, that he would accept of _their_ light in return for the light
_he_ had sent to England.

[5] As illustrative of our subject, we may here quote what Mr Whiteside,
M.P., in his interesting volumes, "Italy in the Nineteenth Century,"
says of the estimation in which all concerned with the administration of
justice are held at Rome:--

"The profession of the law is considered by the higher classes to be a
base pursuit: no man of family would degrade himself by engaging in it.
A younger son of the poorest noble would famish rather than earn his
livelihood in an employment considered vile. The advocate is seldom if
ever admitted into high society in Rome; nor can the princes (so called)
or nobles comprehend the position of a barrister in England. They would
as soon permit a _facchino_ as an advocate to enter their palaces; and
they have been known to ask with disdain (when accidentally apprised
that a younger son of an English nobleman had embraced the profession of
the law), what could induce his family to suffer the degradation?
Priests, bishops, and cardinals, the poor nobles or their impoverished
descendants, will become,--advocates or judges, never. The solution of
this apparent inconsistency is to be found in the fact, that in most
despotic countries the profession of the law is contemptible. In Rome it
is particularly so, because no person places confidence in the
administration of the law, the salaries of the judges are small, the
remuneration of the advocate miserable, and all the great offices
grasped by the ecclesiastics. Pure justice not existing, everybody
concerned in the administration of what is substituted for it is
despised, often most unjustly, as being a participator in the
imposture."

[6] See book vii., chap. x.

[7] Monsignor Marini, who was head of the police under Gregory XVI., and
the infamous tool in all the arrests and cruelties of Lambruschini, was
made a cardinal by the present Pope. All Rome said, let the next
cardinal be the public executioner. Talent, certainly, has fair play at
Rome, when a policeman, and even the hangman, may aspire to the chair of
Peter.

[8] WHAT THE ROMAN RELIGION COSTS.

The following statistics of the wealth of the clergy in the Roman States
are taken from the American _Crusader_:--

"The clergy in the Roman States realize from the funds a clear income of
two millions two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. From the cattle
they have another income of one hundred thousand dollars; from the
canons, three hundred thousand dollars; from the public debt another
income of one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars; from the
priests' individual estates, two hundred and fifty thousand dollars;
from the portions assigned by law to nuns, five hundred thousand
dollars; from the celebration of masses, two millions one hundred and
fifty thousand dollars; from taxes on baptisms, forty-five thousand
dollars; from the tax on the Sacrament of Confirmation, eighteen
thousand dollars; from the celebration of marriages, twenty-five
thousand dollars; from the attestations of births, nine thousand
dollars; from other attestations, such as births, marriages, deaths, &c.
&c., nine thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars; from funerals, six
hundred thousand dollars; from the gifts to begging-orders, one million
eight hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars; from the gifts for
motives of benevolence or festivities, or maintenance of altars and
lights, or for celebrating mass for the souls in purgatory, two hundred
thousand dollars; from the tithes exacted in several parts of the Roman
States according to the ancient rigour, one hundred and fifty thousand
dollars; from preaching and panegyrics, according to the regular taxes,
one hundred and fifty thousand dollars; from seminaries for entrance
taxes and other rights belonging to the students, besides the boarding,
fifteen thousand dollars; from the chancery for ecclesiastical
provisions, for matrimonial licenses, for sanatives, &c. &c., fifty
thousand dollars; from benedictions during Easter, thirty thousand
dollars; from offerings to the miraculous images of Virgin Marys and
Saints, seventy-five thousand dollars; from _triduums_ for the sick, or
for prayers, five hundred thousand dollars; from benedictions to fields,
cattle, nuptial-beds, &c. &c., nine thousand dollars.

"All these incomes, which amount to _ten million five hundred and ten
thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars_, are realized and enjoyed by
the secular and regular clergy, composed in all of sixty thousand
individuals, including nuns, without mentioning the incomes allowed them
from foreign countries, for the chancery and other cosmopolite
congregations.

"It is further to be observed, that in this calculation are not
comprised the portions which the Romans call _passatore_, which the
laity pay to the clergy; such as purchase, permutation, resignation, and
ordination taxes; patents for confessions, preaching, holy oils,
privileged altars, professors' chairs, and the like, which will make up
another amount of a million of dollars; nor those other taxes called
_pretatico_, which are paid by the Jews to the parish priest for
permission to dwell without the Jews' quarter; nor those for the ringing
of bells for dying persons, or those who are in agony; nor those which
cripples pay for receiving in Rome the visit of the wooden child of the
_celestial altar_, who must always go out in a carriage, accompanied by
friars called _minori observanti_, Franciscan friars, whose incomes they
collect and govern. The value of charitable edifices (which are not
registered, being exempt from all dative) is not comprised either; and
the same exemption is extended to churches; although all these buildings
cost the inhabitants of the State several millions of expense for
provisional possession, and displays of ceremonies and feasts which are
celebrated in them."

WHAT THE ROMAN RELIGION YIELDS.

A distinguished English gentleman, who has spent many years as a
resident or in travelling in various papal countries in Europe, in a
recent speech in London has presented some deeply interesting facts
concerning vice and crime in Papal and Protestant countries. He
possessed himself of the Government returns of every Romanist Government
on the Continent. We have condensed and will state its results.

In England, four persons for a million, on the average, are committed
for murder per year. In Ireland there are nineteen to the million. In
Belgium, a Catholic country, there are eighteen murders to the million.
In France there are thirty-one. Passing into Austria, we find
thirty-six. In Bavaria, also Catholic, sixty-eight to the million; or,
if homicides are struck out, there will be thirty. Going into Italy,
where Catholic influence is the strongest of any country on earth, and
taking first the kingdom of Sardinia, we find twenty murders to the
million. In the Venetian and Milanese provinces there is the enormous
result of forty-five to the million. In Tuscany, forty-two, though that
land is claimed as a kind of earthly paradise; and in the Papal States
not less than one hundred murders for the million of people. There are
ninety in Sicily; and in Naples the result is more appalling still,
where public documents show there are _two hundred_ murders per year to
the million of people!

The above facts are all drawn from the civil and criminal records of the
respective countries named. Now, taking the whole of these countries
together, we have seventy-five cases of murder for every million of
people. In Protestant countries,--England, for example,--we have but
four for every million. Aside from various other demoralizing influences
of Popery, the fact now to be named beyond doubt operates with great
power in cheapening human life in Catholic countries. The Protestant
criminal believes he is sending his victim, if not a Christian, at once
to a miserable eternity; and this awful consideration gives a terrible
aspect to the crime of murder. But the Papist only sends his victim to
purgatory, whence he can be rescued by the masses the priest can be
hired to say for his soul; or his own bloody hand and heart will not
hinder him from doing that office himself. We think the above facts in
regard to vice and crime in the two great departments of Christendom
worthy the most serious pondering of every friend of morality and
virtue.

[9] Martinus Scriblerus says, that "the Pope's band, though the finest
in the world, would not divert the English from burning his Holiness in
effigy on the streets of London on a Guy Fawkes' day;" nor, I may add,
the Romans from burning him in person on the streets of Rome any day,
were the French away.

[10] For much of the information contained in this chapter I am indebted
to my intelligent friend Mr Stewart.





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