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is sunk deep into the vale of years; he is half disarmed by his peaceful character; his dominions are more than half disarmed by a peace of two hundred years, defended as they were, not by force, but by reverence : yet, in all these straits, we see him display, against the recent ruins and the new defacements of his plundered capital, along with the mild and decorated piety of the modern, all the spirit and magnanimity of ancient Rome. Does he, who, though himself unable to defend them, nobly refuse to receive pecuniary compensation for the protection he owed to his people of Avignon, Carpentras, and the Venaissin, does he want proofs of our good disposition to deliver over that people, without any security for them, or any compensation to their sovereign, to this cruel enemy ? Does he want to be satisfied of the sincerity of our humiliation to France, who has seen his free, fertile, and happy city and State of Bologna, the cradle of regenerated law, the seat of sciences and of arts, so hideously metamorphosed, whilst he was crying to Great Britain for aid, and offering to purchase that aid at any price? Is it him who sees that chosen spot of plenty and delight converted into a Jacobin ferocious republic, dependent on the homicides of France,-is it him, who, from the miracles of his beneficent industry, has done a
work which defied the power of the Roman Emperors, though with an enthralled world to labor for them,-is it him who has drained and cultivated the Pontine Marshes, that we are to satisfy of our cordial spirit of conciliation with those who, in their equity, are restoring Holland again to the seas, whose maxims poison more than the exhalations of the most deadly fens, and who turn all the fertilities of Nature and of Art into an howling desert? Is it to him we are to demonstrate the good faith of our submissions to the Cannibal Republic—to him, who is commanded to deliver up into their hands Ancona and Civita Vecchia, seats of commerce raised by the wise and liberal labors and expenses of the present and late Pontiffs, ports not more belonging to the Ecclesiastical State than to the commerce of Great Britain, thus wresting from his hands the power of the keys of the centre of Italy, as before they had taken possession of the keys of the northern part from the hands of the unhappy King of Sardinia, the natural ally of England ? Is it to him we are to prove our good faith in the peace which we are soliciting to receive from the hands of his and our robbers, the enemies of all arts, all sciences, all civilization, and all commerce ?
THE IMPRISONMENT OF POPE PIUS VII.
This day of miracles, in which the human heart has been strung to its extremest point of energy, this day, to which posterity will look for instances of every crime and every virtue, holds not in its page of wonders a more sublime phenomenon than that calumniated Pontiff. Placed at the very pinnacle of human elevation, surrounded by the pomp of the Vatican and the splendors of the court, pouring forth the mandates of Christ from the throne of the Cæsars, nations were his subjects, kings were his companions, religion was his handmaid; he went forth gorgeous with the accumulated dignity of ages, every knee bending, and every eye blessing the prince of one world and the prophet of another. Have we not seen him, in one moment, his crown crumbled, his sceptre a reed, his throne a shadow, his home a dungeon! But if we have, Catholics, it was only to show how inestimable is human virtue compared with human grandeur; it was only to show those whose faith was failing, and whose fears were strengthening, that the simplicity of the patriarchs, the piety of the saints, and the patience of the martyrs, had not wholly vanished. Perhaps it was also ordained to show the bigot at home, as well as the tyrant abroad, that though the person might be chained, and the motive calumniated, Religion was still strong enough to support her sons, and to confound, if she could not reclaim, her enemies. No threats could awe, no promises could tempt, no suffering could appal him ; mid the damps of his dungeon he dashed away the cup in which the pearl of his liberty was to be dissolved. Only reflect on the state of the world at that moment! All around him was convulsed, the very foundations of the earth seemed giving way, the comet was let loose that “from its fiery hair shook pestilence and death,” the twilight was gathering, the tempest was roaring, the darkness was at hand; but he towered sublime, like the last mountain in the deluge—majestic, not less in his elevation than in his solitude, immutable amid change, magnificent amid ruin, the last remnant of earth's beauty, the last resting-place of heaven's light!
It is not unworthy of remark, that the last day of France's triumph, and the first of her decline, was that on which her insatiable chieftain smote the holy head of your religion. When the man now unborn shall trace the story of that eventful day, he will see the adopted child of fortune borne on the wings of victory from clime to clime, marking every movement with a triumph, and every pause with a crown, till time, space, seasons, nay, even nature herself, seeming to vanish before him, until in the blasphemy of his ambition he smote the apostle of his God, and dared to raise the everlasting Cross amid his perishable trophies !