Page images
PDF

1781, by Abbot Antonio Martini, under the pontificate of Pius, and is the first which has appeared with the approbation of the pope.” It is said that since the order of jesuits was abolished by Clement the fourteenth, they have appeared in several parts with renewed strength, and are called ex-jesuits. In their first plan, in case of abolition, they had determined to transform themselves into an invisible, secret society, till favorable circumstances should induce them to throw off the mask, and perhaps to appear on the theatre of the world again with greater lustre. Before their abolition, their generals, provincials, &c., were known, though their plan of government and preserving power were kept secret. Now their superiors are invisible, and only a small part of the order known, from whom mandates and permissions originate. The order of jesuits now formally exists in West Russia, and, even where it seems to be abolished, remains secretly, and repairs its losses. The ex-jesuits, under various professions and disguises, insinuate themselves into protestant countries.t— Deism prevails greatly among

[ocr errors]

t History of

the politer part of the inhabitants of this country.f The above was written previously to the subversion of the temporal dominion of the papacy by the power of France. It is presumed that a brief account of the steps which led to this memorable event will be entertaining to the generality of readers. At the accession of Pius the sixth almost all the temporal powers seemed to have formed the plan, if not of utterly denying, at least of considerably abridging the spiritual jurisdiction of the court of Rome. Even several princes of Italy seemed to concur in this design. In 1775 Leopold, the grand duke of Tuscany, ordained that all ecclesiastical possessions, situated in his states, should be subject to the same contributions as other property. He entirely suppressed all the remittances of money which had formerly been annually sent from his states to Rome, and commanded that the sums which had been collected for that purpose should be distributed among the poor. He afterwards, without the approbation of the pope, abolished forty useless convents.} The grand duke proceeded still farther in his reforms, and abolished the inquisition in his states by his own supreme authority. By the same power he declared that all monasteries should be subject to the bishops; that the latter should alone, and without concurrence, nominate to the vacant livings in their dioceses; should confer prebends, and perform of themselves every thing which the see of Rome had assumed the right of doing for them. By an edict of 1788, Leopold entirely suppressed the office of pope's nuncio in his dominions. Soon after he forbid, on pain of banishment, all members of religious orders in the grand duchy to maintain any relation with foreign superiors; declaring them to be subject to the bishops alone in spiritual concerns, and to the lay tribunals in those of a temporal nature. He commanded that there should in future be no appeals to the holy see; that ecclesiastical cases should, in the first instance, be brought before the bishop, and definitively be decided by the metropolitan.” The king of Naples also exerted his influence to dimimish the papal authority. In 1777 all the bishops in the

t Ibid, p. 249.

[ocr errors]

kingdom were forbidden to receive bulls from Rome, under any pretence whatever. In 1782 the inquisition was abolished in Sicily by the royal mandate. The papers of the holy office were committed to the flames, all its property confiscated to the benefit of the crown, and the episcopal tribunals commissioned to take exclusive cognizance of those offences which had previously belonged to its jurisdiction.t At the same period the court of Naples inflicted still more painful wounds on the papacy. They declared that every religious order, whose general resided at Rome, should be released from all subjection to him. They forbid the members of those orders to receive from the court of Rome those irregular bulls which arbitrarily conferred on them ecclesiastical titles without the king's concurrence; they granted to the united greeks, who were numerous in Sicily, a bishop of their own sect, and exclusively nominated him. In 1784 the Neapolitan court proceeded in the suppression of monasteries, and the reformation of other sacerdotal abuses. In 1785, however, an accommodation took place between the king of Naples and the court of Rome. The Neapolitan court did not surrender its conquests, but forbore to add to their number ; and it was agreed that the king of Naples should cease to be called a vassal of the holy see. The senate of Venice pursued the same reforming plan. They diminished the number of convents, and applied the revenues of some rich monasteries which had been suppressed to the endowment of hospitals that were destitute of resources. As a number of christians of the greek church resided in Dalmatia in 1782, the senate invited to Venice an archbishop of the greek denomination, and gave him a church for the celebration of divine worship according to his own liturgy.” The duke of Modena also roved himself at the same ime a troublesome neighbour to the holy see. He made repeated efforts to enforce his claims to the duchy of Ferrara, which is part of the pope's territory. Though he did not succeed in this project, he for ever abolished the inquisition in this little state; and committed to the bishops the care of watching over the purity of the faith..t

[ocr errors][graphic]
[ocr errors]

The emperor of Germany suppressed the monastic orders in the Milanese, and in the states of Mantua, as well as in his Austrian dominions.

Such for sixteen years had been the relations, more or less hostile, of most of the European powers with the court of Rome. During that interval France seemed disposed to pacific measures ; but suddenly her conduct was changed, and she assaulted and overturned that ancient throne, of which philosophy had on every side sapped the foundations.

The annual contributions for dispensations, bulls, &c., paid by the court of France to that of Rome, had long been viewed as a grievance which ought to be redressed. It was peculiarly burdensome in the deranged state of the finances, and the payment of the annats was suppressed by the states general in 1789. The same year a more painful wound was inflicted on the papacy, when a decree of the

fiational assembly pronounced

all the possessions of the clergy to be national property. This decree threw the pope into consternation, and excited the indignation of the sacred college; but, conscious of their inability to make effectual reristance, they sup

f Ibid, p. 132,

measures. After giving his spiritual aid to the combined armies, he prepared to resist by force of arms, and by energetic proclamations called forth all his means of defence. The feeble state of his government, and the deranged state of the finances, led him to see that resistance would be unavailing. Conscious of his weakness, during the year 1795 he did every thing in his power to avoid a war with the formidable French republic. In the mean time the military preparations increased the internal embarrassment, and a division of the French army entered the papal territories. This party soon made themselves masters of Bologna, Ferrara, and Ancona. In order to arrest the tide of Gallist conquest, the pope concluded an armistice, by which he consented to sacrifice his legantine governments of Bologna and Ferrara; his finest paintings, his most beautiful statues, and a contribution of fifteen millions.f As a preliminary step to concluding a peace, the French government demanded that the pope should declare, that

he disapproved and annulled

certain briefs which he had issued. Upon this, the pope assembled a congregation of cardinals, who, pronounced the ströngest negative on this measure. The predominant party at Rome were bent upon war, and renewed the military preparations by means which excited the murmurs of many of the inhabitants. The pope suspended the execution of the armistice which had already been commenced, and exhorted his subjects to take up arms to repel the aggressors. He, at the same time, by negociation, obtained promise of assistance from the emperor of Germany." The French government declared that the armistice was broken, and sent an army to invade the ecclesiastical state. They gained the most rapid conquests; Rome trembled at their triumphant march, and the pope sent plenipotentiaries to conclude a peace with Buonaparte at Tolentino. The contributions which the French exacted by this treaty exhausted every public and private coffer; and during the year 1797, the reign of Pius the sixth was marked with humiliations, anxieties, losses, and calamities of every kind. The thirst of revolution possessed a large number of the people, and no measures were spared that could tend to prowoke an insurrection.f The

ported these trialswith a degree
of moderation.” Hitherto,
however, the attacks of France
had been wholly confined to
the pope's spiritual authority;
but the moment was now ar-
rived when a part of what he
called his patrimony was in-
vaded. In 1789, a deputation
from Avignon petitioned for
the re-union of that city with
France. The vice-legate, in
order to retain at least a sha-
dow of authority, gave his
sanction to the new constitu-
tion: but the court of Rome
were less accommodating. In
1790 a bull arrived in Avignon
which annulled all the ordi-
nances extorted from the
vice-legate, and prohibited the
papal commissioners to pub-
lish them. From this time
Avignon became a theatre of
dissensions, which drenched
with blood the beautiful dis-
trict, of which that city is the
capital. At length, in 1791,
the Avignonese abrogated the
pope's temporal authority over
them, and seized his revenues.
Soon aster a definitive decree
of the national assembly an-
nexed the comtat of Avignon
to the French monarchy.t. At
length, irritated to the highest
degree by the conduct of the
French government, the pope
laid aside that timid modera-
tion which directed his first

* Memoirs of the Life of Pius
, t Ibid, pp. pp. 227—230.

the sixth, vol. ii. pp. 218–222.
# Ib, pp. 269–971.

[graphic]

minister plenipotentiary of the French republic arrived at Rome, and having energetically explained the causes of complaint againt the Roman government, was in part successful in his endeavours to have them removed. The Austrian general was dismissed, and the pope acknowledged the Cisalpine Republic. The immediate cause of the subversion of the papal government, was an insurrection which took place at Rome on December 28, 1797. At that time the insurgents ran to take refuge in the French ambassador's palace, where they were pursued, and numbers sacrificed by the papal soldiery. General Duplot, who distinguished himself by his efforts to appease their rage, fell himself a victim to their insatiate fury. After the death of Duplot general Berthier entered Rome, 1798, with a body of republican troops,

and assumed the reins of government. The sacred college was denied the resource of a capitulation, and obliged to surrender at discretion. The new government obliterated

every vestige of the ancient.

Even the presence of the cardinals at Rome is deemed in

compatible with the new order

of things; they are all involv

* Memoirs of the Life of Pius the sixth, vol. ii. pp. 226—239,

E e to

f Ibid, pp. 267—271.

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »