10 JULY 1852, Page 16


Tins volume deals with the time between the flight of the Pope to Gaeta and the arrival of the advanced guard of the French at Civita Vecchia: its interest is not equal to that of the former volumes, which handled the state of Italy from the re- storation of the "legitimate" state of things by the Congress of Vienna to the revolutions that swept over Italy in 1848 in common with the rest of Europe. Beyond the flatness often attributed to continuations, there seems no reason for this deficiency of attrac- tion in the subjects themselves. The violent effervescence of popular hopes alternating with popular dejection and fears—the sudden changes of fortune—the Sicilian internecine war—the " veni, vidi, vici " campaign of Radetzky in Piedmont—and the diplomatic intrigues at the Pope's court at Gaeta—have more variety and action than appeared to belong to the ill- contrived conspiracies and the routine despotisms of the pre- vious thirty years. The reason why they are not so effectively told appears, strange to say, to be the actual presence and politics of the author. The "quorum pars fui " has made hint both diffuse and detailed in his narrative ; his cast of mind is not one that excels in minute portraiture. His politics not only seem to warp his judgment upon the men and events through which his party were ousted and himself lost his place, but induce him to give vent to his feelings in a style which is too familiar, not to say too coarse, for history.

Farini belonged to the Juste-milieu or Doctrinaire party—what we should call Whigs, except that the Roman Whigs knew how to suffer for their convictions, and did not turn their principles to the requirements of place. Devout Catholics they implicitly acknowledged the supremacy of the Pope ; loyal subjects, they wished to uphold his temporal power, -while they hoped to deprive him and his ecclesiastics of all active authority. That the Pope should reign but not govern, was literally their object ; and they flattered themselves that a priest like Pius the Ninth, and (harder still) all the priests around him, could somehow or other be got to give up their power. When the Pope escaped from Rome, he had, according to all constitutional doctrine, vacated or abdicated the throne ; according to the same doctrines and the dictates of com- mon sense, the nation' by means of its organs, must take steps to prevent society from falling into anarchy, by filling the vacant seat, or establishing some form of government. In a case of in- dividual incapacity, or of caprice or folly so extreme as to amount to incapacity, the next heir would be the obvious means. In our Revolution of 1688, the reigning. family were deemed dangerous to b liberty on account of their religion and their political principles

' : they were passed over, for the nearest heir who could be safely chosen. But the Pope has no heirs ; the Cardinals were absent, many having followed him, so that a new Pope could not have been elected ; and besides the party of Farini, the Constitutionalists, were as opposed lo the Papal ecclesiastical government as the most Atheistical Republican. A Parliament only a few months old, and summoned for lesser purposes, does not seem to have been a proper body to settle what was to be done. In the absence of all prescriptive national organs—as the parishes, the municipalities the counties, and the Parliament of Great Britain— an assembly elected by the people to preventanarchy and reestablish government seems the proper, indeed the only course. This was taken by the extreme Liberal or iepublican party, to the great dissatis- faction of the Constitutionalists in office at the flight of the Pope : they wished to carry on the government in the Pope's name, under the authority of some informal documents, which he repudiated, as well as all their projects, from Gaeta. With France, Austria, and some lesser Catholic powers resolved on restoring the Pope with- out conditions, any form of government that the Romans adopted was of no consequence whatever. But the usual results of in- firmity of purpose attended the loyal Constitutionalists. "Nei- ther fish, flesh, nor good red herring," they became powerless, ex- cepting perhaps for some well-intentioned though mischievous in- trigues with the French. They were distrusted by the Repub- licans, and proscribed by their Holy Father on the return of his ecclesiastics. In the actual difficulties of action excuses might readily be found for them ; but a main object of this book is to de-

• The Roman State, from 1815 to 1850. By Luigi Carlo Parini. Translated from the Italian by the Right Honourable W. E. Gladstone, H.P. for the University of Oxford. Volume HI. Published by Murray.

fend their conduct, to explain their failure, and to place the causes at the doors of Pope and Republicans.

In a strict sense the title of Farini's work is defective. The book embraces the history of Italy as well as that of the Roman State. Of this subject the campaign in Piedmont, the defence of Venice, and the conduct of Naples, have been already handled in ampler details, and we think by better writers. Tuscany is a fresher topic : a good many sketches will be found of persons and debates at Rome, with some of the doings in the city and the country at times of excitement: but the bias is so strong as to render them of doubtful authority, and their outline in an artistieal sense is somewhat confused. The most interesting and the most gene- rally informing subject is the diplomatic proceedings at Gaeta. If Parini is to be trusted, France was really driven to do as she did, unless she had made up her mind to go to war to prevent the re- storation of the Pope by Austria, without the limitations on priestly tyranny and vengeance which the French army somewhat irregu- larly imposed. France appears to have done all she could to make the interference as little hostile to the Romans as might be. When Piedmont twice offered her mediation as an Italian power, France seconded the proposition; she appears to have tried as much as possible to get the Romans some constitutional terms; and though French " influence " and " la gloire," with an eye to the party of Order in France' were powerful motives, there is no question that Austria would have interfered more truculently, and that the priests and the " humane " Pins himself wished Austria's interfer- ence—wished to be able to glut their vengeance without restraint. It may be said that the severer the pressure now, the more quickly it would be ended : but that is doubtful. The Papacy is only upheld by foreign force ; whenever that is withdrawn the downfall of the temporal Popedom is certain, and very probably the expulsion of the 'Vicar of Christ from Rome.

These remarks proceed on the supposition that Farini's informa- tion is correct ; of which, so far as regards Piedmont, there is but little doubt, from his present connexion with that government. The King of Sardinia interposed at the very outset with an embassy. The Sicilian envoys, delayed by a change of Ministry in Piedmont, arrived at Gaeta within about a month of the Pope's flight, and before anything essential had been changed at Rome ; yet they found him resolved upon putting down his subjects by foreign force.

"The Sardinian envoys arrived at Gaeta on the 28th December ; and they were introduced on the following day to his Holiness by Cardinal Antonelh, to whom they handed an autograph letter of King Charles Albert, with a note from the President of the Council of Ministers, and opened the subject and purpose of their mission. The Pontiff welcomed and heard them with peculiar kindness : he returned tliiinks for the offers of King quirks Albert, and commended his distinguished piety, and generous disposition ; but pro- ceeded to say, that as he had taken shelter at Gaeta from the accidental failure of a ship that was to have conveyed him to Majorca, he was reluctant at such a juncture to go to a greater distance from his subjects, until every hope of providing for their peace, and for the reestablishment of his own au- thority, should have vanished. But after he had assigned this reason for his remaining in the kingdom of Naples, he subjoined, that he had written to the Governments of Europe, stating the recent events, and requesting their advice as to the manner of settling his dominions ; and, accordingly, he was not prepared to adopt any course whatever before he should have received the expected replies. The envoys of Charles Albert remarked, that if his Holiness would listen to their entreaties, and accept their tender, it might be hoped that the good offices of Piedmont would be grateful to the Italian populations, and effectual in bringing hack the Roman States to repose and order ; that the Ring's piety, and his devotion to the Pontiff; the religious character of the Sub-Alpine and Ligurian people, with the feelings and opinions of the President of the Ministers, afforded a security that the reso- lutions of the Piedmontese Government could not be modelled upon any but Catholic and Italian ideas and sympathies : they accordingly begged his Holiness to enhance the efficacy of the measures which they proposed by some token of satisfaction or of assent, such as would be the acceptance of hospi- tality within the Sardinian territories. The Holy Father then did not con- ceal that the frequent changes of Ministries upon slight cause were of them- selves a ground of uncertainty : that the remembrance of the communica- tions, which he had set on foot or sanctioned, for a federation of the Italian States, afterwards broken off and abandoned through the fault of others, still rankled in his mind; that he regretted to find it reported in the newspapers that the Government of Piedmont had sent envoys to Florence and to Rome, to negociate arrangements for the Italian Constituent; and hence he had a misgiving lest the Sardinian Government should be disposed to cooperate with the men who in Rome were usurping the rights of the Pontiff and of the Church: finally he was of opinion, that nothing but force would serve to restore effectually his authority, spurned as it had been by a most au- dacious faction ; while he feared that the good intentions of the Pied- montese Government might not be coupled with an equal power to fulfil them. As the Pontiff grew warm in his discourse, and opened his mind with his secret misgivings and ideas, the difficulty became more evident of inclining him to the requests of King Charles Albert. In vain did the en- voys point out, that he might live in secure reliance on the honour of the Sardinian Government ; that both the presence of the Minister Pareto at Gaeta and their mission attested it that the envoys sent to Florence and Rome were commissioned to ascertain the public feeling and by no means to give into those schemes for an Italian Constituent of the sort propounded by the Tuscan Government, which ran counter both to the rights.of the princes and to the weal of their subjects; that Gioberti, the newly-appointed Minis- ter of Sardinia, had the honour of having long before despatched Rosinini to Rome, to foster the Italian Federation, whence it might be taken fur certain that the same idea would now be pushed with steady despatch. In vain did the envoys disclose their doubts whether foreign forces could reestablish the temporal authority of the Popedom on the basis of love, harmony, and trust; nor did they keep back their fears, the complaints of ancient times, im- puting it to Rome that she it was who entailed upon Italy the curse of fo- reign armies, should be revived and aggravated. It was to no purpose : Pius IX. dismissed the envoys of Charles Albert without affording a hope that he would accept their offers or follow their advice. Nor did his tone vary when they a second time discoursed on the same points. He lamented that Roman affairs should have reached such a point as to make any restora- tion without the use of force questionable : he regretted the mischiefs Italy must undergo should it be needful to appeal to the mercy and the power of foreigners ; but, he added, it was little less than impossible to dispense with it, especially because tho only Italian Governments possessing powerful armies, Naples and Piedmont, were on bad terms with one another. To this the envoys replied, that the prudence with which the Sardinian Government had earned itself in the Sicilian question furnished proof of its anxiety to maintain or restore that harmony among Italian Sovereigns which alone could give stability to the several states or independence to the nation; and that although there might seem to be no friendship between Naples and Sar- dinia, yet neither was there any open enmity, or any actual proceeding that could stand in the way of arrangements for the benefit of the Pontiff and of Italy. They entreated his Holiness thoroughly to consider those unhappy consequences from foreign intervention of which he had avowed his fear unhappy, possibly, not in the temporal sphere alone but also in the spirituaL Still the Pope was not moved by these fresh instances, and did not accept their renewed proffers at this second interview, nor subsequently at the third and last. Cardinal Antonelli, too, held such language that the Sardinian envoys could not but conclude the Roman Court was fixed in the resolution to fall back upon arrangements with the foreign powers."