Imágenes de páginas



k on

sented them with a favourable opportunity to accom- CHAP. plish the design.

1798. The situation of the Pope had become, since the French conquests in Italy, in the highest degree pre- Attack on

the Papal carious. Cut off by the Cisalpine republic from any States. support from Austria ; left by the treaty of Campo serable state

of the Pope. Formio entirely at the mercy of the French Republic; threatened by the heavings of the democratic spirit within his own dominions, and exposed to all the contagion arising from the complete establishment, and close vicinity, of republican governments in the north of Italy, he was almost destitute of the means of resisting so many seen and unseen enemies. The pontifical treasury was exhausted by the im

The payments in diamonds amount to 11,271,000 francs (L.450,000). He June 3, has paid 4,000,000 in francs, of contributions levied since the treaty of 1797.

4, 275.

Tolentino. But it is with the utmost difficulty that these payments are raised; the country is exhausted ; let us not drive it to bankruptcy. My agent, citizen Haller, wrote to me the other day, • Do not forget, citizen minister, that the immense and unceasing demands of the army oblige us to play a little the corsair, and that we must not enter into discussions, as it would sometimes turn out that we are in the wrong. I always supported a mortal war against the Pope, as long as the Papal government resisted; but now that it is prostrated at our feet, I am become sudden. ly pacific; I think such a system is both for your interest and that of the Directory.” On the 25th May, 1797, the same ambassador wrote to 'Corresp. Napoleon :-“ I am occupied in collecting and transporting from hence to Conf. iji. Milan all the diamonds and jewels. I can collect ; I send there also what- 274 ever is made the subject of dispute in the payments of the contributions. You will keep in view that the people here are exhausted, and that it is in vain to expect the destitute to pay. I take advantage of these cir. cumstances, to prostrate at your feet Rome and the Papal government.” ? ? Ibid, iii. On 5th August, 1797, he again wrote to Napoleon :-“ Discontent is at 246, 249. its height in the Papal states; the government will fall to pieces of itself, as I have repeatedly predicted to you. But it is not at Rome that the explosion will take place; too many persons are here dependent upon the expenditure of the great. The payment of 30,000,000, stipulated by the treaty of Tolentino, at the close of so many previous losses, has totally exhausted this old carcass. We are making it expire by a slow fire; it s Ibid, iii. will soon crumble to the dust. The Revolutionists, by accelerating mat. 515, 516. ers, would only hasten a dissolution certain and inevitable." ;


mense payments stipulated by the treaty of Tolenti

no; while the activity and zeal of the revolutionary 1798.

clubs in all the principal towns of the ecclesiastical states was daily increasing with the prospect of success. To enable the government to meet the enormous demands of the French army, the principal Roman families, like the Pope, had sold their gold, their silver, their jewels, their horses, their carriages, in a word, all their valuable effects; but the exactions of the republican agents were still unabated. In despair they had recourse to the fatal expedient of issu

ing a paper circulation, but that, in a country destitute Hard. v. of credit, soon fell to an inconsiderable value, and 175, 176. Bot. ii. 443. augmented rather than relieved the public distress.

Joseph Bonaparte, brother to Napoleon, had been appointed ambassador at the court of Rome ; but as his character was deemed too honourable for political intrigue, Generals Duphot and Sherlock were sent along with him ; the former of whom had been so successful in effecting the overthrow of the Genoese aristocracy. The French embassy, under their direction, soon became the centre of the revolutionary action, and those numerous ardent characters with which the Italian cities abound, flocked there as to a common focus, from whence the next great explosion of democratic power was to be expected.* In this extremity Pius VI., who was above eighty years of age, and sinking into the grave, called to his counsels the Austrian

* It would appear, however, that the French ambassador was by no means satisfied with the first efforts of the Roman patriots. “ They have manifested,” said Joseph Bonaparte to Napoleon, “ all the disposition to overturn the government, but none of the resolution. If they have thought and felt like Brutus and the great men of antiquity, they have spoken like women, and acted like children. The government has caused them all to be arrested.”—Letter, Joseph to Napoleon, 10th September, 1797. Corresp. Confid.



General Provera, already distinguished in the Italian CHAL: campaigns; but the Directory soon compelled the

1798. humiliated pontiff to dismiss that intrepid counsellor. * As his recovery then seemed hopeless, the instructions of government to their ambassador were to delay the proclamation of a republic till his death, when the vacant chair of St Peter might be overturned with little difficulty ; but such was the activity of the re

*“ You must forthwith intimate to the court of Rome,” said Napoleon to his brother Joseph, ambassador there, “ that if General Provera is not Sept. 29, forthwith sent away from Rome, the Republic will regard it as a declara. 1797. tion of war. I attach the utmost importance to the removal of an Austrian commander from the Roman troops. You will insist not only that he be deprived of the command of the Roman troops, but that within twenty-four hours he departs from Rome. Assume a high tone : It is only by evincing the greatest firmness, andmaking use of the most energetic expressions, that you will succeed in overawing the court of Rome. Timid when you show your teeth, they rapidly become overbearing if you treat them with any respect. I know the court of Rome well. That single step, if properly taken, will complete its ruin. At the same time, you will hold out to the Papal secretary of state, · That the French Republic, continuing its feelings of regard for the Papal government, is on the point of restoring Ancona. You are ruining all your affairs; the whole responsibility rests on your head. The French troops will give you no assistance in quelling the revolts with which you are menaced, if you continue your present course.' Should the Pope die, you must do your utmost to prevent the nomination of a successor, and bring about a revolution. Depend upon it the King of Naples will not stir. Should he do so, you will inform him that the Roman people are under the protection of the French Republic; but, at the same time, you must hold out to him secretly that the French government is desirous to renew its negotiations with him. In a word, you must be as haughty in public as you are pliant in private, -the object of the first being to deter him from entering Rome; of the last to make him believe that it is for his interest not to do so. Should no revolutionary movement break out at Rome, so that there is no pretence for preventing the nomination of a Pope, at least take care that the Cardinal Albani is not put in nomination. Declare, that the moment that is done I will march upon Rome." --Secret Despatch, Napoleon to Joseph ' Corresp. Bonaparte, dated Passeriano, 29th Sept. 1797.- These instructions, it is to Conf. iv. be recollected, were sent to the French ambassador at Rome, when 199, 2016 France was still and completely at peace with the Holy See, and it had honourably discharged the burdensome conditions of the treaty of Tolen.

1 Bot. ii.


CHAP. volutionary agents, that the train was ready to take XXV.

fire before that event took place, and the ears of the 1798.

Romans were assailed by incessant abuse of the eccle23,445. siastical government, and vehement declamations in Lac. xiv. favour of republican freedom. 145, 147.0 Jom. x. The resolution to overturn the Papal government,

like all the other ambitious projects of the Directory, received a very great impulse from the reascendant of Jacobin influence at Paris, by the results of the revolution of 18th Fructidor. One of the first measures of the new government was to despatch an order to Joseph Bonaparte at Rome, to promote, by all the means in his power, the approaching revolu. tion in the Papal states; and above all things to take care that at his death no successor should be elected to the chair of St Peter. * Napoleon's language to the Roman pontiff became daily more menacing. Immediately before setting out for Rastadt, he ordered his brother Joseph to intimate to the Pope that 3000 additional troops had been forwarded to Ancona; that if Provera was not dismissed within twenty-four

* Talleyrand, on 10th October, wrote to Joseph Bonaparte at Rome : _“You have two things, citizen general, to do,-1. To prevent, by all possible means, the King of Naples from entering the Papal territory. 2. To increase, rather than restrain, the good dispositions of those who think that it is high time the reign of the popes should finish ; in a word, to encourage the elan of the Roman people towards liberty. At all

events, take care that we get hold of Ancona and a large portion of the * Corresp.

coast of Italy."Eleven days afterwards, Lareveillere Lepeaux, the PreConf. Oct. sident of the Directory, wrote to Napoleon :-“ In regard to Rome, the 10, 1797. Directory cordially approve of the instructions you have given to your

brother to prevent a successor being appointed to Pius VI. We must lay hold of the present favourable circumstances to deliver Europe from the pretended Papal supremacy. Tuscany will next attract your attention. You will, therefore, if hostilities are resumed, give the grand duke his congé, and facilitate by every means the establishment of a free and representative government in Tuscany."- Letter of the Directory to Napoleon, 21st Oct. 1797. Corresp. Confid. iv. 241.

hours, war would be declared ; that if any of the CHAP..

XXV. revolutionists who had been arrested were executed, – reprisals would forthwith be exercised on the car.

1798. dinals ; and that if the Cisalpine republic was not instantly recognised, it would be the signal for immediate hostilities. * At the same time, 10,000 troops of the Cisalpine republic advanced to St Leon in the Papal duchy of Urbino, and made themselves masters of that fortress, while at Ancona, which was still garrisoned by French troops, notwithstanding its stipulated restoration by the treaty of Tolentino to the Holy See, the democratic party openly proclaimed “the Anconite republic.” Similar revolutionary movements took place at Corneto, Civita Vecchia, Pesaro, and Senigaglia ; while at Rome itself, Joseph Bonaparte, by compelling the Papal government to liberate all persons confined for palitical offences, suddenly vomited forth upon the capital several hundreds of the most heated Republicans in Italy. After this great addition, measures were no longer kept with the government. Seditious meetings were constantly held in every part of the city ; immense collections of tricolor cockades were made to distin

* I cannot tell you, citizen ambassador,” said Napoleon, “ what indignation I felt when I heard that Provera was still in the service of the Pope. Let him know instantly, that though the French Republic is at peace with the Holy See, it will not for an instant suffer any officer or agent of the Imperialists to hold any situation under the Papal govern. ment. You will, therefore, insist on the dismissal of M. Provera within twenty-four hours, on pain of instantly demanding your passports. You will let him know that I have moved 3000 additional soldiers to Ancona, not one of whom will recede till Provera is dismissed. Let him know farther, that if one of the prisoners for political offences is executed, Cardinal Rusca and the other cardinals shall answer for it with their heads. Finally, make him aware that the moment you quit the Papal territory, Ancona will be incorporated with the Cisalpine republic. You will easily understand that the last phrase must be spoken, not written." - Confidential Letter, Napoleon to Joseph Bonaparte, 14th Nov. 1797.

« AnteriorContinuar »