Mr. King to Mr. Seward.

No. 84.]

Sir: On Friday last, the 22d instant, the Pope held a secret consistory at the Vatican, at which he pronounced an allocution, copies of which in Latin and in Italian I herewith transmit. The Pope at the same time appointed a number of bishops, and, among them, fourteen (14) for different Sees in the kingdom of Italy, vacant for some time past. It is supposed that this is one of the results of Signor Tonello’s recent mission. I hear it rumored that three new cardinals will shortly be created, and that one of them is to be assigned to the United States.

On Saturday last the carnival was opened with the customary ceremonies and an unustial display of troops. But though the corso presented its wonted gay appearance, the principal buildings being decorated with rich hangings, and the balconies filled with strangers, there was a marked absence of carriages and pedestrians from the street; the Roman people, as a general rule, taking no part in the festivities. This is said to have been in compliance with the advice or request of the Roman committee, who desired, in this indirect way, to manifest the popular disapprobation of the existing order of things. On the other hand, the presence of an unusual number of troops may be thought to betray on the part [Page 703] of the authorities an apprehension that advantage might be taken of the crowds, ordinarily attracted by the carnival, to excite some insurrectionary movement. Thus far, however, all remains quiet.

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,


Hon William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.


Allocution pronounced by his Holiness Pope Pius the IX, at the secret consistory had the 22d February, 1867.

The love of Christ impelling us to adopt some means through which we might be able to provide for filling up the many vacant bishoprics in Italy, in the month of March, 1865, we wrote with our own hand a letter to the most Severne King Victor Emanuel, asking him to delegate near to us some person with whom we might treat about so weighty a matter. Our wish having been acceeded to negotiations were instituted, which, however, certainly not by our fault, failed of success, and frustrated our vehement desire for promoting the salvation of souls which the Holy See has ever valued beyond all things else.

The matter has, indeed, been lately resumed with the assent of those who control the affairs of Italy; but I cannot speak on this theme without great sadness and bitter grief, for the holy bishops, who we are about to send to the vacant Sees, will not only find the ventai of every Episcopal household destroyed, but all that supported it, and by long customs served for their maintenance, and for sustaining the poor, taken away; but, what is still worse, the pillars of the sanctuary scattered, the asylums of religious perfection deserted, the occupants of the cloisters deprived of their subsistence, the holy virgins driven from their cells, in which, through the favor of God, they had been received to live and die in the bosom of their heavenly spouse. It is a grave and sad thing, in such a condition of public affairs, to appoint bishops. But what then? Shall we shrink from our purpose? Far be it from us. Let the laborers hasten to the vineyard planted by the Lord and watered by the blood of his son. Let them go to cultivate it in the name of Jesus Christ, relying on God for his special favor. Let them go relying on the favor of the mother of God, who will most efficiently aid them, because she, while the seats of learning must be filled by pastors of wisdom and intellect, will at such times reconduct to them many wanderers, as consoler of the afflicted will alleviate, through such means, the tribulations of many, and with Christian aid will conciliate the religious sentiment and filial piety of multitudes, will relieve them under their weightiest burdens, will aid them as associated in the combat against the adversaries of God, and against the powers of darkness who are endeavoring to conquer the whole evangelic camp by reducing it to a miserable ruin. Therefore shall we leave among the new pastors, some who belong to Italy, trusting that in future consistories more may be accomplished, if, indeed, men living according to the customs of the age can agree with us, in the first place, about the election of persons. To say more, at present, of the existing condition of things is not advisable; the future, however, unless the right hand of the Most High is interposed sufficiently plain, foretells a very sad series of events. To us, however, it is confided by God, who, with the Immaculate Virgin and the Holy Apostles, thus far so clearly protects us under the shadow of their wings, so, at least, we hope that our grief may be changed into gladness.

Let us hasten to bring about this most desirable result by our prayers, by the agreement of our councils, and by the exercise of every Christian virtue.