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He directly applied to an ecclesiastic of his own country, of whose obliging temper he had previously heard, and whom he considered as a proper person to procure him an interview necessary for the accomplishment of his project. He informed that gentleman, that he earnestly wished to have a conference with the pope, on a business of infinite importance, and which admitted of n delay, It was not difficult to perceive the state of this poor man's mind; the good-natured ecclesiastic endeavoured to sooth and amuse him, putting off the conference till a distant day ; in hopes that means might be fallen on, during the interval, to prevail on him to return to his own country. A few days after this, however, he happened to go to St, Peter's church, at the very time when his holiness was performing some religious ceremony. At this sight our impatient missionary felt all his passions inflamed with irresistible ardour; he could no longer wait for the expect, ed conference, but bursting out with zealous indignation, he exclaimed, thou beast of nature, with seven heads and ten horns ! thou mother of harlots, arrayed in pur, ple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls! throw away the golden cup of abominations, and the filthiness of thy fornication !'

You may easily imagine the astonishment and hubbub that such an apostrophe, from such a person, in such a place, would occasion; he was immediately carried to prison by the Swiss halberdiers.

When it was known that he was a British subject, some who understood English were ordered to attend his examination. The first question asked of him was, What had brought him to Rome ?' He answered, . To anoint the eyes of the scarlet whore with eye-salve, that she might see her wickedness. They asked, Who he meant by the scarlet whore ?' He answered, “Who else could he mean, but her who sitteth upon seven mountains, who hath seduced the kings of the earth to commit fornication, and who hath gotten drunk with the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs ?' Many

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other questions were asked, and such provoking answers returned, that some suspected the man affected madness, that he might give vent to his rancour and petulance with impunity; and they were for condemning him to the galleys, that he might be taught more sense, and better manners. But when they communicated their sentiments to Clement XIV, he said, with great goodhumour, That he never had heard of any body whose understanding, or politeness, had been much improved at that school; that although the poor man's first address had been a little rough and abrupt, yet he could not help considering himself as obliged to him for his good intentions, and for his undertaking such a long journey with a view to do good.' He afterwards gave orders to treat the man with gentleness while he remained in confinement, and to put him on board the first ship bound from Civita Vecchia to England, defraying the expense of his passage. However humane and reasonable this conduct may be thought by many, there were people who condemned it as an injudicious piece of lenity, which might have a tendency to sink the dignity of the sacred office, and expose it to future insults. If such behaviour as this did not pass without blame, it may be easily supposed, that few of the late pope's actions escaped uncensured ; and many who loved the easy amiable dispositions of the man, were of opinion, that the spirit of the times required a different character on the papal throne. This idea prevailed among the cardinals at the late election, and the conclave is supposed to have fixed on Cardinal Braschi to be pope, from the same motive that the Roman senate sometimes chose a dictator to restore and enforce the ancient discipline.

LETTER XLIX.

Rome.

Pius VI performs all the religious functions of his office in the most solemn manner; not only on public and extraordinary occasions, but also in the most common ucts of

devotion. I happened lately to be at St. Peter's church, when there was scarcely any other body there ; while I lounged from chapel to chapel, looking at the sculpture and paintings, the pope entered with a very few attendants; when he came to the statue of St. Peter, he was not satisfied with bowing, which is the usual mark of respect shewn to that image; or with kneeling, which is performed by more zealous persons; or with kissing the foot, which I formerly imagined concluded the climax of devotion; he bowed, he knelt, he kissed the foot, and then he rubbed his brow and his whole head with every mark of humility, fervour, and adoration, upon the sacred stump.-It is no more, one-half of the foot having been long since worn away by the lips of the pious; and if the example of his holiness is universally imitated, nothing but a miracle can prevent the leg, thigh, and other parts from meeting with the same fate.

This uncommon appearance of zeal in the pope, is not imputed to hypocrisy or to policy, but is supposed to proceed entirely from a conviction of the efficacy of those holy frictions ; an opi. nion which has given people a much higher idea of the strength of his faith, than of his understanding. This being jubilee year, he may possibly think a greater appearance of devotion necessary now, than at any other

, time. The first jubilee was instituted by Boniface VIII, in the year 1300. Many ceremonies and institutions of the Roman Catholic church are founded on those of the old heathens. This is evidently an imitation of the Roman secular games, which were exhibited every hundredth year in honour of the gods; * they lasted three days and three nights ; they were attended with great pomp, and drew vast numbers of people to Rome, from all parts of Italy, and the most distant provinces. Boniface, recollecting this, determined to institute something analogous, which would immortalize his own name, and

promote interest of the Roman Catholic religion in general, and

* The Carmen Seculare of Horace was composed on occasion of those celebrated by Augustus in the year of Rome 736.

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acquire an equal degree of sanctity with that placed by the pope's own hands. The common people and pilgrims are well acquainted with this wonderful effect. At the beginning of this jubilee-year, when the late wall was thrown down, men, women, and children scrambled and fought for the fragments of the bricks and mortar, with the same eagerness which less enlightened mobs display, on days of public rejoicing, when handfuls of money are thrown a. mong them. I have been often assured, that those pieces of brick, besides their sanctity, have also the virtue of curing many of the most obstinate diseases: and, if newspapers were permitted at Rome, there is not the least reason to doubt, that those cures would be attested publicly by the patients, in a manner as satisfactory and convincing as are the cures performed daily by the pills, powders, drops, and balsams advertised in the London newspapers. After the shutting of the holy door, mass was celebrated at midnight; and the ceremony was attended by vast mul titudes of people. For my own part, I suspended my curiosity till next day, which was Christmas-day, when I returned again to St. Peter's church, and saw the pope perform mass on that solemn occasion. His holiness went through all the evolutions of the ceremony with an address and flexibility of body, which are rarely to be found in those who wear the tiara ; who are, generally speaking, men bowing under the load of years and infirmities. His present holiness has hitherto suffered from neither. His features are regular, and he has a fine countenance ; his person is straight, and his movements graceful. His leg and foot are remarkably well made, and always ornamented with silk stockings, and red slippers of the most delicate construction. Notwithstanding that, the papal uniforms are by no means calculated to set off the person to the greatest advantage, yet the peculiar neatness with which they are put on, and the nice adjustment of their most minute parts, sufficiently prove that his present holiness is not insensible of the charms of his person, or unsolicitous about his external ornaments. Though verging

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towards the winter of life, his cheeks still glow with autumnal roses, which, at a little distance, appear as blooming as those of the spring. If he himself were less clearsighted than he seems to be, to the beauties of his face and person, he could not also be deaf to the voices of the

, women, who break out into exclamations, in praise of both, as often as he appears in public. On a public occasion, lately, as he was carried through a particular street, a young woman at a window exclaimed, Quanto e bello! O quanto e bello !'* and was immediately answered by a zealous old lady at the window opposite, who, folding her hands in each other, and raising her eyes to heaven, cried out, with a mixture of love for his person, and veneration for his sacred office, Tanto e bello, quanto e santo!'+ When we know that such a quantity of incense is daily burnt under his sacred nostrils, we ought not to be astonished, though we should find his brain, on some occasions, a little intoxicated.

Vanity is a very comfortable failing; and has such an universal power over mankind, that not only the gay blos- . soms of youth, but even the shrivelled bosom of

age,

and the contracted heart of bigotry, open, expand, and display strong marks of sensibility under its influence. After mass, the pope gave the benediction to the

people assembled in the grand court, before the church of St. Peter's. It was a remarkably fine day; an immense multitude filled that spacious and magnificent area; the horse and foot guards were drawn up in their most showy uniform. The pope, seated in an open, portable chair, in all the splendour which his wardrobe could give, with the tiara on his head, was carried out of a large window, which opens on a balcony in the front of St. Peter's. The silk hangings and gold trappings with which the chair was embellished, concealed the men who carried it; so that to those who viewed him from the area below, his holiness seemed to sail forward from the window self-balanced in

• How beautiful he is ! O how beautiful he is!

+ He is as beautiful as he is holy! VOL. 11.

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