網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

treat the sovereign Pontiff as the ancient heroes, who descended into the infernal regions, treated the dog Cerberus, that guarded the gate of that dark world, sometimes throwing him a cake when he growled, and sometimes awing him with their brandished swords, as occasion or circumstances demanded; and both for the same object, namely, that they might freely march on in their chosen way. As to the temporal power of the Pope, however, they have, for the most part, assumed the point that he had no just claim to it, on this ground, among others, that Christ has directly asserted that his kingdom is not of this world.

And here it may be well to allude to the manner in which the Pope receives those who approach him, and the reverence which is shown him by his spiritual subjects. This may throw some light on remarks already made, and also help us the more accurately to judge of the true nature of the Catholic faith, and what degree of resemblance it has to the pure and simple forms of worship and of Christian intercourse which are described in the New Testament, and in the works of the early writers of the Christian Church. I have before me a Latin work, entitled “Sacrarum Cæremoniarum,” which was printed at Venice, A. D. 1582. It contains about four hundred and fifty pages imperial octavo, and is wholly occupied in describing the etiquette and ceremonies of the Court of Rome, – the manner in which Popes and Cardinals are elected and consecrated, - how they are to be approached and saluted, -the order in which they are to move in all public processions, and the respect which is to be shown them, - the honors with which kings and princes, of different grades, are to be received at Rome, – all illustrated with numerous plates of the scenes described. It was written by Christopher Marcel, once a member of the household of Pope Pius the Second, and afterwards Archbishop of Corfu, and is dedicated to Pope Leo the Tenth. Without here stopping to quote from history descriptions of the splendid manner in which Charlemagne, and other monarchs, were received at Rome, and the humility affected by that great conqueror, in devoutly kissing each step, in his ascent to the Vatican, let us turn to the book referred to above, for a general rule of the manner in which the Pope is to treat others; as also the respect which he himself is to receive. It is as follows: “ The Roman Pontiff shows no mark of reverence to any human being, either by rising, or by inclining or uncovering his head. To the Emperor of the Romans, however, after having received him sitting and permitted him to kiss his foot and his hand, he then rises a very little, kindly admitting him to a mutual embrace and kiss of charity. The same is sometimes done with great kings. But all others, both princes and prelates, of whatever dignity they may be, when he admits them to kiss his face, he does not rise, but receives them sitting. The Pontiffs, however, when in private and without their pontifical robes they receive the Cardinals and the greatest princes, incline the head a very little, as if returning the reverence offered them. But this is not a matter of duty, but of praiseworthy courtesy on their part. All mortals, and especially faithful Christians, of whatever dignity and preëminence they may be, when first they approach into the presence of the Pontiff, ought, at proper distances, to kneel thrice before him, and, in honor of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, whose representative on earth the Pope is, to kiss his feet. The Emperor, the greatest kings and princes, or the orators of princes and potentates, are permitted also to kiss his hands and face, others the feet only. Cardinals, indeed, bow profoundly twice, and the third time kneel, and kiss the foot of the Pontiff, when performing sacred rites.” Such is the reyerence claimed by the Pope of Rome; and how different is it from the spirit of Christ's instruction to his disciples, neither to be themselves, nor to call any other man, Master, because one was their Master, even God, and all they were brethren. And how much more of servility, and of the outward show of worship, is demanded of those who approach the Roman Pontiff, than God requires of those who worship him. True, these forms are not so rigidly exacted now as in former times, but still, we see from them what Popery was in the days of its highest glory.

A short time after our arrival in Rome, arrangements were made by our Consul, to present us to the Pope. I give the details of the visit, not because they are in themselves of much consequence, but merely to gratify the curiosity of those who regard any thing said by one so high in office, as more important than the same remarks made by any other man. At the appointed hour we repaired to the Vatican, and were received in the ante-room of the library; by the learned librarian, a man who speaks some thirty or forty languages. He is sixty or more, and has a most amiable and intelligent countenance. After conversing with him for some time, we were ushered into the great hall of the library, and there were introduced, en masse, to his Holiness. The ladies of the Commodore's family, according to prescribed etiquette, wore veils, which, as they are merely thrown over the back part of the head, must be meant for any thing else rather than to shield the head of the church from the fascination of his fair visiters. The Pope was formerly a Benedictine Monk, from the Venetian States, and when we met him he wore the dress of his order. It was a long white frock, fitting closely to the neck and body, and reaching down to his feet. A small cape was attached to it, and on his crown he had a white cap. His title is Gregory the Sixteenth, and he is said to be a learned theologian, and to devote himself assiduously to the duties of his office. He is above the middling height, of rather a full form, has a large nose, and his forehead and the region of his eyes have the wrinkled and contracted air of thought and study. He is quite active; bas the Italian ease of manners, without any thing peculiarly dignified and imposing, and, to judge from his appearance, is about sixty-five years of age. He received us standing, and supported himself by leaning against one of the large granite tables which adorn the library. As most of us were stiffnecked and stiff-kneed republican Protestants, we merely bowed, on being introduced, and were not required to kiss the foot of His Holiness ; — a point of etiquette, by the way, which, I fear, would not have succeeded remarkably well with us.

CHAPTER VIII.

ROME.

Interview with the Pope. - Conversation. - Homage. -- Presents. - Car-.

dinal Fesch. - Paintings. – Mother of Napoleon. — Rival Artists. — Ara Cæli. – Gibbon. - Public Amusements. - Pagan Festivals. — Catholic Paganism. - Palatine Hill. - Amphitheatre. - The Coliseum. - Its Struc. ture, Ornaments, and the Scenes enacted there. – Gladiators. - Wild Animals. – Baths; their Origin and Object. - Baths of Titus, of Diocletian, of Caracalla. – Public Morals. - Idolatry. - The Jews. — Catholics. - Funerals. — The Pope's Guard. - Cardinals. — Popes. - Population of Rome. - The Clergy. — Debts and Income of the Pope. - Police. - Index of Prohibited Books. – Prisons. - Hospitals. — Beggars. — Funerals. - Secret Societies. - Insurgents. — Robbers. — Military Escorts. - Edu. cation in Rome. - The Gregorian College. - The University of Rome.

In our interview with the Pope, after complimenting the Commodore on the fine appearance of his officers, he expressed his surprise on learning how extensively the ladies present had travelled by sea, and remarked that he had thought himself quite a sailor, for having gone round to Civita Vecchia in a steamboat. The Commodore told him, that he regretted that he was not at Civita Vecchia at the time of His Holiness's visit there, as he should have been happy to have received him on board his ship. The Pope expressed his wish to have done so, and said that his nephew, who was then at Naples, had visited our ships there, and had written him respecting them. He spoke with much interest of the United States, and inquired respecting Bishops Dubois, England, and others; and, when allusion was made to the number of Catholics there, he quickly remarked, in a manner which had in it somewhat of inquiry, but much more of direct assertion, “ They are good subjects.” Just before leaving, one of our officers remarked, that three of those present were Catholics, and that they would be happy to pay their respects, in form, to the head of the church. To this the Pope assented, and they accordingly kneeled before him, and kissed his hand. With one of them, however, who was a gentleman of peculiarly sensitive and high-toned feelings, it was a severe struggle, and he afterwards admitted, that when he had approached the Pope, he was on the point of

retreating, without kneeling before him. Every one has, of course, a right to his own opinions in such matters, but I could not help remarking to this Catholic friend, that I did not like to see a republican bend the knee to any one but God. He replied, that with them it was a matter of education, as they were accustomed to kneel to their priests at confession. Some other officers of the squadron, who were not then present, visited the Pope after this, and to one or more of them, who were Catholics, he made presents, and showed other marks of attention. A cane of the cedar of Lebanon was also presented to His Holiness by the lady of the Commodore, and the favor was very politely acknowledged. So much for the scenes of high life, to which there followed an amusing episode. When at breakfast the next morning, our valet informed us that the servants of the Pope were in waiting for a present. We therefore ordered the purser of our party to pay them a few dollars. But lo, the money was sent back with the message, that nothing less than a dollar from each of our number would answer the demand. This was odd enough truly, for beggars to dictate the amount they must receive; but after discussing the matter freely, and making no small number of sailor speeches on the subject, we sagely concluded that it had furnished us sufficient amusement to warrant our paying the whole sum. We had afterwards a similar call from the servants of the Pope's Secretary of State, to whom we had paid our respects, as also from those of other persons of distinction. We learned that it is a custom at Rome, and elsewhere in Italy, when one attends a party, to receive a call from the servants of the house the next morning, when a dollar is expected. The benefit of this, is either directly or indirectly felt by the master, and surely it is a cheap way of giving parties and paying servants. There is a rich banker in Rome, to whom most travellers have letters, who speculates quite profitably in this kind of stock. He gives frequent parties, at which he supplies his friends with lemonade and some small eatables, which may cost him ten cents to each individual, and thus on the dollar, which his servants are ever prompt to collect, he makes a clear gain of ninety per cent. These things seem strange to us, but custom sanctions any thing, though it may not make it right.

The Admiral of the Egyptian fleet is a Frenchman, and his family reside in Rome. In company with his lady, we

« 上一頁繼續 »