Mr. King to Mr. Seward.
Sir: As I could not, in consequence of temporary illness, pay my respects to the Pope, in accordance with diplomatic custom, between Christmas and the New Year, I applied as soon as my health permitted for the honor of an interview with his Holiness. This was promptly accorded, and on Saturday last, 12th instant, I had the pleasure of an interesting visit and conversation with the Holy Father. The Pope appeared to be in excellent health and spirits, and showed no external signs of disturbance at the “wars and rumors of wars” which fill the public ear in Rome. He asked about matters in America, inquired as to the health of the President, and expressed the hope that the differences between the Executive and Congress would not lead to any serious results. Reverting to the state of affairs in Rome and Italy, he said; “Every day of quiet is a day gained. They tell me the republicans are coming to Rome, conte qui conte; that Garibaldi and Mazzini are coming and mean to make Rome the capital of Italy. Well, we will wait and see. This,” pointing to a crucifix on his table, “is all my artillery.” It did not seem to me that the Holy Father, in alluding to this report, betrayed much emotion or spoke as if he really believed in the speedy advent of the “republicans.” But though Rome still continues perfectly tranquil, and the general belief is that it will so remain for some months to come, there is a wide-spread impression, and one which daily gains ground, that a change is near at hand. Opinions differ as to whether the republicans, under the lead of Garibaldi, Mazzini and others, or the Italian troops of Victor Emanuel, or the Romans themselves, grown restive under priestly rule, will inaugurate the revolutionary movement which nearly all parties seem to regard as imminent. For the present, nevertheless, everything remains quiet in the “Eternal City,” and our countrymen and countrywomen are flocking hither in unwonted numbers. The negotiations between the Italian envoy, Signor Tonello, and the Papal court, which related wholly to ecclesiastical matters, are making satisfactory progress, and will result, it is thought, in an amicable arrangement,
I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.