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window. Had Pius VI. even been unexceptionable in other respects, his long reign was never pardoned, either by the Cardinals or the Roman people.
It is universally allowed that his most meritorious work was the attempt at draining the Pontine marshes. The author, as may be expected, treats this subject at large: but our readers will not blame us for passing slightly over a topic which is discussed, more or less, by almost every Italian traveller who has published his observations. Pius certainly succeeded to a certain extent in this useful undertaking, by which the intercourse between Rome and Naples has been very considerably facili tated but, such is the ingratitude to which potentates are exposed-the people of modern Rome thought very meanly and spoke deridingly of the whole enterprise. It was a standing proverb in the Roman state, when mentioning any sums expended on extravagant projects: Sono andate alle paludi Pontine,
they are gone to the Pontine marshes." In the streets of Rome, Pius has often heard himself called il secatore; a nickname of double import, alluding at once to his rage for draining these swamps, and to the vexations which resulted thence to the people. The fact is, indeed, that foreigners enjoyed, almost exclusively, the fruits of so much labour and expence. When traversing the magnificent via Appia, as restored by Pius VI., they did not see the sums which had been absorbed by the surrounding swamps; nor behold the number of wretched individuals, who, through the influence of the pestilential vapours thence exhaling, had perished by a lingering death.
The principal object of this enterprise, which was to render the, air healthful, is very far from being accomplished. Travellers perform with trembling the first six stages, and a half, through which the Appian road extends; and especially the first, in going from Terracina; yet nothing announces the danger that surrounds them. Indeed, the fresh verdure which meets the eye on both sides is scarcely any other than that of reeds, which occupy nearly all the space that is not covered with trees or underwood. By this indication alone, they sufficiently guess that they are traversing fens. In other respects, the horizon appears to them as serene as it is in the rest of Italy. The air does not seem to them more charged with vapours than in more salubrious situations. They only see, at a distance, the tufty Appenine, covered with clouds, as the tops of high mountains generally are experience, however, but too well founded, puts them on their guard against deceitful appearances. This tract of country, where death seems to have established his empire, cannot be passed with too much rapidity, Above all, it is essential never to traverse the Pontine swamps by night, nor even at the wane of day: for woe to him whose eyes, at such times, should close in passing these fens; they might perhaps be closed for ever! The livid aspect of those, whom either want or habit fixes on this spot, sufficiently
attests its insalubrity. Their languishing existence may be termed only a more or less prolonged death. Indeed, there are scarcely any habitations to be seen, but those which are designed for the accom modation of travellers. The wretched people, who reside in them, excite sensations of pity which it is difficult to disguise from them; and they are themselves aware how fragile the thread is, which at taches them to life. Some years ago, a traveller, perceiving a party of these animated spectres, asked them how they managed to live in such a country. We die, they answered. The traveller was struck with this sublime and sorrowful laconicism. To the reader, it will furnish a hint by which he may estimate the country, the inhabitants, and the services which Pius VI. has rendered them.'
The administration of the Roman states was proverbially the worst of any in Europe. As the government wanted energy and knowlege for the management of the finances, and the encouragement of industry, it was equally insufficient for the suppression of crimes: which abounded to a most alarming degree, from the concurring circumstances of a burning climate, want of education, sloth, and the hope of impunity, founded on privileges which a number of places and persons enjoyed. The reign of Clement XIII. lasted eleven years; and during his papacy, ten thousand murders were perpetrated of which number, four thousand happened in Rome only! Few of the modern Romans ever were unprovided with pocket-pistols or daggers; which latter, especially, were their favourite weapons. These, with other dreadful abuses, which rendered modern Rome the very sink of iniquity and abomination, had (if possible) been on the increase during the reign of Pius VI. Among the numerous examples which might be cited in support of this statement, we shall only mention one that happened a few years ago; as it will prove in what manner justice was administered, and what were the means devised by Pius to enforce the vigilance of the police. It is cited by Gorani, who relates it on the authority of the Spanish minister:
Rovaglio, the Pope's watchmaker, who lived in one of the most frequented streets of Rome, was in danger of being robbed during the night. He lodged a complaint with the Governor of Rome, (the prelate Busca,) since a cardinal, who promised that his house should be watched. The thieves knew, as well as the watchmaker, what reliance was to be placed on such a promise; and they resolved to take their measures accordingly: but Rovaglio was prepared. He himself discharged the duties of the police, and again the attempt failed. Some time, afterward, the Pope, seeing Rovaglio, asked him the particulars of his adventure, and suggested to him an expedient which, by a single trait, paints both the character of the Pope, and the government of Rome: "How perplexed you are (said his Holiness) to rid yourself of these thieves! Arm yourself with muskets
and pistols. Fire on the villains; and if you kill them, I give you absolution before hand.”
It was impossible for a government, thus acknowleging its own impotence, to hope for any long continuance. Indeed, many years before its overthrow, the Romans themselves would account for its preservation by saying that it was a perpetual miracle of St. Peter.
Were we not to keep in view the limits of our pages, we might extract some curious particulars of the Nepotism of Pius VI. It was, perhaps, the worst feature in his papal character. We need only mention the name of Lépri, to bring to the recollection of our readers one of the most interesting law-suits that ever was agitated in any court of justice. In the course of it, Europe beheld with exultation the Rota, that deservedly far-famed tribunal, decide against the Pope's nephews.
The holy see, though tottering for a long time, was almost shaken to its foundation by the enterprising Joseph II. All remedies, designed to stop the progress of the Emperor's innovations, having proved abortive, Pius VI. conceived the extraordinary design of converting that monarch by visiting him in person. Posterity, perhaps, will scarcely deem this incident. worthy of their notice; yet, as the majority of our readers may remember, a great proportion of their contemporaries thought it one of the most singular events that could be recorded in history. Every one, except Pius VI., anticipated the result of such a measure. Joseph II., though really diverted with the motives which induced his Holiness to undertake the journey, neglected nothing to render it agreeable. He, however, confined within proper bounds the attentions which he shewed to his extraordinary guest: for, when Cardinal Migazzi, Archbishop of Vienna, on departing to meet the Pope, asked the Emperor whether the bells ought to be rung on the Pope's entering the metropolis; the monarch answered," A fine question! Are not the bells your artillery?" While Pius was treated in the Austrian capital with distinguished politeness, Joseph was too much of a courtier to give him any opportunities of promoting the principal design of his journey. The Emperor's philosophic minister, Prince Kaunitz, forwarded still less the views of the Pope, who could not obtain from him so much as a first visit; so that, wishing to see the Prince's grand collection of pictures, Pius was obliged to make overtures which were very inconsistent with his dignity. The visit was still more mortifying to the Pope's pride. Kaunitz did not meet him*,
*See a character of that minister, consistent with this anecdote, in pp. 548, 551, 552, of this Appendix.
but, still wrapped in his morning gown, awaited his Holiness; and, instead of kissing the Pope's out-stretched hand, as usual, he shook it heartily, to the great amazement of the sovereign Pontiff, and all the by-standers. Yet the Pope, for the sake of decorum, could not but acknowlege, however reluctantly, the extreme complaisance of Prince Kaunitz.
However unsuccessful this Vienna journey proved, the Pope was very solicitous to make the world believe the contrary. He conceived new hopes, when Joseph returned his visit at Rome:--but never could the leaden weapons of the ecclesiastical canons, nor the inconclusive arguments of Romish theology, make any impressions on the sense and acumen of Joseph.
We shall not be expected to take notice of the minor transac tions and quarrels of Pius VI. with several courts. With great propriety, they are stated at length by this anonymous author; they fill the larger part of the second volume; and they will not bear curtailment. Suffice it to say that, in our opinion, they are detailed with judgment; which is so much the more to be praised, as materials of that description, in the hand of an undiscerning writer, become a dead weight on historical compositions, and are generally doomed to oblivion in uncut leaves, or in pages closely adhering as they come out of the bookbinder's hands.
The concussions and gradual subversion of the churchestablishment in France are here collaterally discussed. The dignified clergy little expected that the changes would be carried to such extremities. M. de Loménie, formerly Bishop of Toulouse, was président of the committee nominated by the clergy for the purpose of reforming the monasteries. One day, he conversed about his schenie with a friar who did not altogether incline to his opinion, and who pleaded, to the best of his ability, the cause of his brethren. The Archbishop, still persisting, said, (somewhat displeased.) "Yes, I am determined; the friars must absolutely be reformed."-" Have a care," replied the monastic; after the friars, it will come to the priests' turn, and at last, my Lord, to the mitres.
If the authenticity of these memoirs can anywhere be questioned, it may perhaps be in the particulars relating to the late conduct of the French in Rome, and the Pope's removal from that seat of government. Pius VI., we are told, was little
This striking prophecy, which the event has so completely fulfilled, was delivered in the following pun, which it would be difficult to render into English - Oui, c'est une chose decidée; il faut absolument réformer cette moinaille."-" Prenez-y-garde (lui répliqua le cenobite); après la moinaille, on en viendra à la prêtreille; et puis enfin, monseigneur, à la mitraille."
affected by it; and anecdotes are related to prove that his vanity and his fondness for exquisite repasts had not abated. Though neither our religious principles, nor any other consideration, can be supposed to bias our judgment in favor of the unfortunate subject of these volumes, (who, as the public prints inform us, is now placed beyond the reach of human praise or censure,) we cannot but feel as men; and we could have wished that the author of this performance had shewn, in the latter part of it, more indulgence to a prince whose situation was a very intricate and delicate one; and who, notwithstanding his failings, will ever be entitled to considerable respect from the unbiased inquirer.
ART. XVII. Recherches sur les Origines Celtiques, &c. i. e. Geltic Researches, relative particularly to the Antiquities of the Bugey, considered as the Nursery of the Celtic Delta. By PETER J. J. BACON-TACON. 8vo. 2 Vols. Paris. 1799. London, imported by De Boffe.
HE local antiquities of any particular spot or division of country, however interesting to the natives, seldom excite general attention; unless the place or tract, to which they refer, has been the scene of memorable events, or the abode of very distinguished men. This observation applies particularly to the present publication. It not unfrequently happens, however, that what has been long disregarded, as of small moment, may turn out, under particular circumstances, to be of inestimable value in the opinion of the historian, the philosopher, or the general antiquary. Hence we are far from approving the rash and fastidious judgment of those, who, viewing every pursuit only as it falls within their own circumscribed sphere, attempt to traduce and ridicule every profound and laborious inquiry into antiquity.
M. BACON-TACON, as may be imagined, is a native of the Bugey; which, according to the former division of France, was a province of that kingdom. It is included between Savoy, Bresse, Dauphiny, Gex, and Franche-Comté. Before the time of Brennus, the Bugey, the tract of land denominated Gex, and part of Bresse, formed a distinct country, which is termed the Celtic Delta by Polybius, in allusion to its triangular form.
The author traces the primitive history of the Bugey to the first ages of the world, and thinks that its mountains retain their original form; being a continuation of Mount Jura, which is itself closely connected with the Alps. It is well ascertained, however, that the name of the Pyrences was, in the