Mr. Marsh to Mr. Seward.
Sir:* * * * * * Of political intelligence I have at this moment nothing to communicate, except a rumor to the effect that the French troops have entered Viterbo, and that another detachment is marching upon Valletri, both of which points have been occupied by the Italian royal forces. Whether the purpose of this movement is to dislodge the Italian troops, or to act in concert with them, does not appear, but I think it most probable that the royal army will be obliged to retire.
The pontifical troops are said to be charged with the unpopular task of besieging Garibaldi in his intrenchments at Monte Rotondo, while the Emperor reserves for his own forces the less obnoxious measures connected with the restoration and maintenance of the papal government. It is, however, not improbable that the Italian army may be brought to co-operate with the pontifical soldiery in the movements against Garibaldi, but I do not believe that it will be allowed to enter into a joint occupation of Rome or its territory with France.
In any event, the present state of things must be of brief duration. Thus far I see no indication of a determination on the part of the Italian government to resist France, and I think that some temporary arrangement, which will secure quiet for the present, will be entered into. But no terms dictated by France will be acceptable to the Italian people, and if the Italian government accedes to such conditions as the Emperor shall think fit to impose, an agitation will follow which may have serious and wide-reaching political consequences, and will certainly do much to weaken the moral and spiritual authority of the Papacy. The convention of the 15th of September is now producing its logical and legitimate results, and I have never been able to understand how any Italian statesman could have expected, from a treaty which tied the hands of Italy but bound the Emperor to nothing beyond a momentary evacuation of Rome, any better points than this country is now reaping from that arrangement.
I see little reason to apprehend that public tranquillity in Italy will be disturbed at present, in any such way as to endanger the security of American travellers or injuriously to affect our commercial or political relations with this kingdom. In connection with this point I may mention, as an illustration of the apparent calmness of the people at this moment, that, while I have abundant evidence that very deep feeling exists, I did not, in travelling by public conveyances from the Italian border on the Simplon road to Florence, hear from the lips of any person around me a single allusion to the important events now occurring in Italy, except in answer to my inquiries for the latest intelligence from the pontifical frontier and the Italian capital.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William II. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.[Page ]