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THE great question in Italy at the present moment, and one of no inconsiderable interest to all Roman Catholic countries, is that of the temporal power of the Pope. All the world knows with what tenacity ecclesiastics cling to the good things of this life; so much so, indeed, as that by comparing the main points of their faith as professed with the difference of their practice, it savours grossly of hypocrisy. Humility, contempt of the good things of this world, universal charity, and similar virtues, are professed, while pride, love of pelf, bitterness of hatred, and lust after absolute authority, take the place of what they affect to practise, if their own account of that practice is to be credited. The friends of the Pope declare that the temporal power of the pontiff is essential to his post, abominably as he may have abused it. All the reasonable individuals who address themselves to the point, Roman Catholics, contend that the temporal power does their faith more harm than good.

The papal chair, pretended to be first occupied by St. Peter, while there does not exist a tittle of evidence to show the apostle ever was in Rome at all—the papal chair was, after the corruption of Christianity by Constantine down to the reign of Pope Stephen II., or about the year 760, occupied by popes without temporal power. In twenty years after that introduction, or rather usurpation, image-worship was adopted by Adrian I., A.D. 772, and, in 847, the ridiculous story of Pope Joan was set going; from that time down to the present, or from the last-mentioned year, the papal chair has been filled too frequently with monsters in place of men. John XII., styled "The Infamous;" Benedict VI., murdered in prison; Gregory V., anti-pope; Benedict IX., made pope at twelve years of age; Alexander II., devoured by ambition; Gregory VII., the most unprincipled; Boniface VIII., who proclaimed that God had set him over the kingdoms of the earth; Urban IV., noted for his cruelty; Innocent VIII., who persecuted the Waldenses; the abominable Alexander VI., best known as Roderic Borgia; Pius III., infamous for his vice and cruelty; Julius II., whose pontificate cost 200,000 lives; Leo X., the donor of indulgences, who talked of "that fable of Christ;" Julius III., who handed over his cardinal's hat to the keeper of his menagerie; Paul IV., who claimed the English throne, and declared Queen Elizabeth illegitimate. These were some among the popes, after 752, when they first had temporal power; while before that event, up to the origin of the popedom, not one such base character appeared. The crimes of popedom were, therefore, consentaneous with its temporal power to a great extent; indeed, several of the popes, before that event, are said to have suffered martyrdom for their faith, whereas, after the usurpation of the temporal power, they made hosts of martyrs of other people in place of becoming so themselves. Thus, the possession of temporal power wonderfully improved them as leaders of an apostolic Christian Church, judging by their works!

But the great body of those of the Roman Catholic faith unconnected with the sacerdotal habit, except a comparative few of the credulous and weak-minded, are now of opinion that the temporal power does more

harm than good to their Church. They prefer it as it was for the first eight centuries of its existence, reckoning in their mode, and they would rather see their Church as it was than as it is. They observe the inconsistency it involves, and how dissonant, in consequence, are some of its practices from those they are taught to believe consist with the foundation of their faith. If this is doubted, it can only be by those who have had no experience of modern society in the more enlightened Catholic countries. In Spain, the Tyrol, in Austria-by the command of the present emperor the other day-and in certain parts of Ireland, the temporal power of the Pope is held as a sacred thing. On the other hand, among the more enlightened European nations, the opinion held is very different by the larger part of the Roman Catholics themselves. If this is denied, let regenerated Italy be taken in proof, and Catholic France.

It was the lust of temporal power in the popes that caused them to embroil the rulers of other nations with one another so incessantly, for their own interest's sake. That the temporal power of the Pope ought not to exist was shown by Napoleon I., who endeavoured to make Pius VII. relinquish it, but in vain, and he deposed him in 1809, but the pontiff was restored to full powers by the allies in 1814.

The truth is, that by the majority of the Catholic people out of Rome, except the priests, the Pope is thought less about than people suspect. In Rome itself he is by no means the awe-striking personage which many would fain make him out to be. There things are done in his name, it is true, but he is not aware of a tithe of what is thus executed. The cardinals are the agents who perform what may be called the public duties of the government in the name of its chief, who knows not half of what goes on, and the consequence is, that these officials have long become objects of popular attack, and even of derision, from the same quarter. This may be observed in the satires and jests continually thrown out in numerous ways at the red-stockings, and many of them with cutting effect. The Romans are fully awake to those allusions and delicate touches of satire, to which the people of the North would be wholly insensible; and though the liberty of the press does not, and did not, exist in Rome, there were ways enough of judging of the public feeling, and making the scourge of satire tell in modes where the public notice of it would be more mischievous than suffering it to pass. This has long been the case in the Eternal City. The Romans imagined, at one time, that they could not get an easier master than the Pope himself, and for fear they should not, carried his yoke; but they would have their jests stuck upon the torso of Pasquin, and Marforio's answer, cost what it may. Besides, the jest would have been so rich, of a public trial for the exhibition of a fantoccini, and the actors thirteen inches high, that the last of it would never have been heard.

The stage that thus ventured to satirise the Roman authorities was and is small, not more than ten or twelve feet wide, by four feet six inches in height. The price of entrance used generally to be about five sous-a price high enough to keep out the mobility. The audience, alive to the most delicate touches of satire, take their seats in stillness and perfect order. If oppressed, it is something to be able to laugh openly and heartily at the oppressors, and if they could not shake them off, they could satirise them. From this it may be judged that the Romans, having no great affection for their rulers some years ago, the time to which allusion

is now making, must have much less now, when the citizens see a way of deliverance of which a little while since they had no expectation.

But to facts: the audience was seated before the little stage, where all was got up in an exact proportionate scale. Nothing was omitted seen in a large theatre; the actors, of course, improvised, and the audience prepared to have a hearty laugh at the expense of the men in place. They have no censor for these little theatres, or had not, to mar an author's copy. And now the curtain is drawn up, and expectation is upon tip-toe. The view of the stage is very deceptive, all being constructed on a perfect scale, even to the doors and windows in the scenery.

First there appears a sort of bachelor-looking man, who does not want more than ten or twelve winters of three score and ten, quite the Italian gentleman in manner, with something of the fop, his head grey, in fact a bachelor of fashion, where all the heads of the government are célibataires. He is a monsignori, who is seeking honours from the papal court, in other words, a cardinalship, and may be condemned to linger a long while. In the mean time, he is made to fall in love with the sister of an artist. An embryo cardinal in love is delicious ridicule to a Roman. He is represented as awaiting his lady dear, and walking up and down impatiently, with all the airs of a sexagenarian in love, while affecting to play off the cardinalship that is in his mind's eye. The puppet imitates the life admirably. Presently the lady appears, and her old lover begs to sing to her a piece of music which he has recently heard. This is sung exceedingly well, and applauded by the audience, the words being descriptive of his passion. The lady replies. The old fop, in place of talking about love, praises his dress to his mistress, article on article, and tells what each cost him. He draws his chair up close to the lady, and is apparently about to propose to her, when her brother comes in and spoils the declaration. This brother, an artist, is dressed in the most exaggerated style of conceit among the artists. He requests the visitor not to pay his suit any more to his sister, in reply to which, the foppish old bachelor administers to him an irresistible dose of flattery.

The artist and his sister being left alone, he demands from her how she can be so imprudent as to receive the attentions of a man who cannot marry her. This produces shouts of laughing, it being a fresh hit at the clerical character. The old lover, more inspired than ever by his passion, is disconsolate, and sets about disguising himself in the garb of a youth, in order to become a pupil of the painter.

In the next scene he is discovered in the painter's house, wearing large black whiskers and a huge wig, while behind his ears the grey hairs are represented as peeping out, to the great amusement of the audience. He makes love by talking of his money, which he tenders to the lady, and tells her how happy they shall be, and "no one shall know of it!" Here shouts of applause follow, as it was another hit at the prospective cardinal. He next falls at his mistress's feet, in which posture he is surprised by the aunt of the lady, to whom he had made love forty years before, in another part of Italy, and she reminds him of it. He runs off into the painter's studio, and turns back again with all the other incipient artists at his heels. The brother of the young lady laughs at the old lover, and bids him strip, that his pupils may colour him "of the finest scarlet; and thus, having attained the end of your ambition," he tells him, "you shall be walked up and down the Corso." Here, at the words "finest

scarlet," there are loud applauses at the application again to the cardinalship. The unlucky lover becomes alarmed, and consents to marry the old aunt. He then comes forth to the audience, and 66 says, I resign the 'scarlet'" (that means the cardinalship); "I shall become uncle to her I adore, and then-" pretending to be called away, he makes his obeisance and disappears. The audience is convulsed with laughing at the allusions, which are all aimed at the Consistory and the scarlet-clothed clericals; in fact, at the chief authorities of the Church.

Now, where such exhibitions as these were going on for years, since we speak of a period prior to 1848, it is clear that the common sense of the Roman people rose superior to the time-eaten dictates of the ecclesiastical ruler, or rather rulers. They had no quarter from which to expect a profitable change. The darker-minded of the European despots were all Catholic, ready to support the Pope by protecting his dungeons and scaffolds with the bayonet of their soldiery, as in 1848, when the Pope, after his outrageous rule, solicited the aid of a foreign military force to replace him, and it restored him in 1849. Austria, on pretences very similar, occupied other parts of Italy, and, in fact, made it a province of Germany. She governed it with an iron hand, and being seen with the utmost apparent complacency by the other powers, continued her odious sway there until Austrian insolence produced the present glorious emanci pation of that noble country by the aid of the French; all except the Roman question being considered settled, as the addition of Venice, it is probable, will remain a question for future adjustment.

It is from little things we discover tendencies to great results, and when alluding to the fantoccini, which, above thirty years ago, was so bold, and welcomed in its little representations so heartily by the people, it cannot be imagined time would diminish the distaste of the Romans for a government of priests. No doubt, since 1849, when the Pope was replaced in Rome by foreign bayonets, the contempt for the Conclave of Cardinals has much increased, and has not lost strength by the means taken to preserve the existing abuses. Foreign bayonets are necessary to keep the Pope from deposition by his "faithful" people, and no doubt the Pope and cardinals are quite ready to pay any foreign soldiery or any power that will protect the present state of things. The troops of that people who boast of their freedom and will enter the service of any despotic power for pay-the

Swiss who fight for any God or man

had been solicited to champion for the papal protection. Rome, in the mean while, is the common disturber of Italy, sheltering the ex-King of Naples, and enabling him and his banditti, well armed, to keep the neighbouring territories in disturbance-a state of things which cannot be allowed to endure much longer. When a king ceases to reign, especially when his conduct merits his expatriation by his people, he should be considered simply as a subject in the state where he has found an asylum, and should not be permitted with impunity to disturb the peace of neighbouring nations from the site of that asylum. An ex-ruler is a very inglorious character. Rabelais makes such personages, when in the lower regions, to be set to the employment of crying “ greens to sell;" which, however unkingly, is a more honest and honourable employment than cheating the people whom they misrule.

It appears to us essential that it is for the advantage of Europe that Italy should become not only a great, but a free kingdom. Her resources have been wasted, her energies restrained, her people enslaved by a race of Germans, the least worthy of the name. The time is over when monarchs can play the game of the late Emperor Francis, and the character of their own gaolors, finding a grim gratification in the imprisonment of victims under their own eye, as at Spielberg. Francis was a despot who could not boast a scintillation of understanding in affairs of government that did not involve absolutism in its most stringent sense. His word was not his bond, like his interest. He neither possessed a sentiment of honour nor humanity, and was at variance, very frequently on the side of excess, with his right-hand, Metternich. The latter, while he did not stickle about any arbitrary act necessary to carry out his political ends, felt how impolitic it was to throw away uselessly the power of injury to others. This Francis never felt, as his treatment of many illustrious men of Lombardy proved six or seven years after the peace of 1815, whom Metternich released upon the tyrant's decease.

It was a fortunate thing for Italy that the present Emperor of Austria, by his invasion of Piedmont, exhibited the spirit which really actuates him. He has been alarmed, and his pretence of ruling by milder measures is only the result of his fears. He will give a constitution to his empire, and a representative system, but then he will direct the representatives what they shall do, and how far they shall go. How his mind is bent may be seen by his attempt to make the Catholic the sole tolerated creed in his dominions. The truth is, that he neither knows nor cares about anything but his own personal power and security. It is not in the nature of a despot born and bred, and whose efforts have all hitherto been to support arbitrary principles, to become all at once a sincere oppositionist to those principles.

The Austrian empire is a disjointed affair. It can boast of no bond of union arising from national feeling. The system of rule has been in politics a rod of iron, and in morals the utmost licentiousness, as we who knew the capital under Francis is well aware.

Germany, also, is uneasy, for there, on every side, are symptoms of a desire of the lesser states to be no longer bandied about between Austria and Prussia as their masters. A union of the lesser states with one or the other of the larger seems to be desired. The arrangements of the treaty of Vienna are already broken, evidences as they were of the desire of the great powers of Europe to do everything by the rule of sic volo, sic jubeo. The doing what was just and right, and leaving the result to time to develop, was not a process which suited the potentates there assembled, as is now plain to demonstration. It is also plain that the heads of empires must be bound in their actions by the same rule of right and wrong, whether politic or not, which binds individuals of an humbler class in life. If this rule be discarded, results will be just such as we now see in Europe the whole frame crumbling to dust. As to sovereigns, it is not for them to give constitutions as a boon to their subjects; it is for the latter to give them to their sovereigns, after the example of England, or that of Aragon formerly, when its monarchs being offered the oaths, it was demanded,-Would they rule according to the laws and constitution of the state? if so, they would accept them as their rulers, if not, not!

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