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Chapter 8. Scottish Memorials in Rome.

AN old tradition relates that Christianity had not long been established over the Roman Empire when one day a youth, weary and footsore, entered one of the gates of the Imperial City. He came from a land in the far north which few had heard of, and he had long travelled “per mare et per terras” in his desire to study the truths of faith by the tombs of the Apostles. How long Ninian remained in Rome is not stated; however, by command of the Pope, he eventually retraced his steps home, preached the gospel to his fellow-countrymen, and founded the church of Galloway, about two hundred years before St. Augustine landed in England.

Scotland, however, was too far away and the difficulties of travelling too great for many to follow in Niuian's footsteps, and so the clergy was trained, not in Rome, nor on the Continent, but in the local monastic schools, which in Scotland, as elsewhere, were then the homes of learning and the nurseries of science. After the monastic schools came the universities, and St. Andrews and Glasgow and Aberdeen became the great centres of intellectual work. It was only after the religious troubles of the sixteenth century that the project of instituting a Scots college in Rome was formed.

The ancient monastery of St. James at Ratisbon, founded by Marianus Scotus in 1068, had long since fallen into a state of decay, and so had the seminary which Abbot Fleming had instituted in connection with the old abbey. In 1576 another Scotch college was founded at Tournay, not to speak of the one in Paris which owed its existence to Cardinal Beaton.

As far as Rome was concerned, there had been a national church dedicated to St. Andrew, and a hospice for the relief of Scotch pilgrims, long before the Reformation. The modern church of S. Andrea delle Fratte occupies and marks the spot where the devout people from beyond the Tweed found a welcome when they came to visit the holy places at Rome. It was Clement VIII. who, by a bull dated December 5, 1600, gave the Scottish Catholics a national college. Its site, very confined and unsuitable, was in the Via del Tritone, near the church of Our Lady of Constantinople. In 1604 it was transferred to the Via delle Quattro Fontane, opposite to the present Barberini palace, where it has remained ever since.

The history of this institution has been given by Mgr. Robert Fraser, the present rector, in an illustrated article published in the March number of “St. Peter's Magazine” for 1899. It is remarkably uneventful as far as general interests are concerned. More interesting, perhaps, to the reader is another incident in the history of Scottish-Roman relations, concerning the prominent place gained by a Scottish gentleman as an archæological explorer of the Campagna.

The name of Gavin Hamilton was not new in Rome. I have found in the records of the sixteenth century an obligation signed December 3, 1554, by the Reverend Doctor Gavin Hamilton, abbot of Kylwyning and coadjutor to the see of St. Andrews in the kingdom of Scotland, viz., a receipt for the sum of three thousand scudi of gold which he had borrowed from the bank of Andrea Cenami in Pans. For the guarantee of which sum he deposits the papal brief of nomination to the coadjutorship of St. Andrews, and offers the signature of three sponsors, Gavin Matreson, a priest of St. Andrews, D. Bonard, canon of Dingwall, and Andrew Grayme, a priest of Brechin.1

His namesake, the painter and explorer of the Campagna, was born at Lanark towards the middle of the eighteenth century, of an ancient and respected family, the Hamiltons of Murdieston. Having displayed from an early age a marked predilection for the fine arts, and not finding opportunities to gratify such a taste in his native land, he moved to Rome, where he soon acquired great renown, and where he passed the rest of his life, revisiting Scotland only at long intervals and for very short periods.2

I shall not follow his career as an artist, nor shall I describe his celebrated paintings in the Casino of the Villa Borghese, representing scenes from the Iliad. His partiality as an artist for Homeric subjects is shown not only by the great frescoes just mentioned, but also by smaller pictures, representing such scenes as Achilles standing over the dead body of Patroclus, Achilles dismissing Briseis, and Achilles dragging the body of Hector, which have passed into the collections of the Duke of Hamilton, of Lord Hopetoun, and of the Duke of Bedford.3 Gavin Hamilton attracts us more as an archæological explorer of the Roman Campagna, as an indefatigable excavator, as a man of enormous activity crowned by extraordinary success. He was not working alone, but as a member of a company, formed, I am sorry to say, more for a lucrative than for a scientific purpose. There were three of them, associated from 1769 or 1770: James Byres, architect; Gavin Hamilton, painter; and Thomas Jenkins, banker. The place of Byres was afterwards taken by Robert Fagan, English consul at Rome. In volume i. of the “Townley Marbles” the Villa of Hadrian is indicated as their principal field of operation; but this is not precisely true. There is no doubt that the discoveries they made in the Pantanello, near the gates of Hadrian's Villa, count among the most successful of the century; but they had the same if not a better chance at Ostia, Porto, Ardea, Marino, Civita Lavinia, Torre Colombara, Campo Jemini, Cornazzano, Monte Cagnolo, Roma Vecchia, Gabii, Subiaco, Arcinazzo, etc. The documents concerning these excavations, unedited for the greater part, will be found in volume iv. of my “Storia degli Scavi di Roma.” The second member of the company, James Byres, architect, was the special correspondent and purveyor of Charles Townley, as Hamilton was of William Fitzmaurice, second Earl of Shelburne, first Marquis of Lansdowne, and founder of the Lansdowne Museum of Statuary. Byres, besides working in the interest of the company, carried on a trade of his own, especially in rare books and drawings and in smaller and precious objects, among which were the “Mystic Cista” of Palestrina of the Townley Collection (found 1786), the bronze patera of Antium (found 1782), and the golden fibula of Palestrina, now in the British Museum, etc. Byres returned to his native land in 1790, and died at Tonly, Aberdeenshire, in 1817, at the age of eighty-five.

“Thomas Jenkins first visited Rome as an artist, but having amassed a considerable fortune by favor of Clement XIV. (Ganganelli) became the English banker. He was driven from Rome by the French, who confiscated all they could find of his property. Having escaped their fury, he died at Yarmouth immediately on his landing after a storm at sea, in 1798. For an account of his extensive dealings in antiquities (especially the purchase and dispersion of the Montalto-Negroni collection) see Michaelis, ‘Anc. Marbles,’ p. 75.”4

I must say that the dealings of Hamilton and his associates with the government of the land whose hospitality they enjoyed were not always fair and above board. Payne Knight, giving evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons, on the Elgin Marbles, in 1793, distinctly affirms that some of the marbles could only be removed from Rome by bribing the Pope's officials, while others were “smuggled” or “clandestinely brought away.” In a letter addressed by Hamilton to Lord Shelburne on July 16, 1772, we find the following passage: “In the meanwhile I give your Lordship the agreeable news that the Cincinnatus (discovered at the Pantanello in 1769) is now casing up for Shelburne House, as the Pope has declined the purchase at the price of £500, which I demanded, and has accepted of two other singular figures,… which I have given them at their own price, being highly necessary to keep Visconti and his companion the sculptor my friends. Your Lordship may remember I mentioned in a former letter that I had one other curious piece of sculpture which I could not divulge. I must, therefore, beg leave to reserve this secret to be brought to light in another letter, when I hope I shall be able to say it is out of the Pope's dominions. As to the Antinous, I am afraid I shall be obliged to smuggle it, as I can never hope for a license.” And in a second letter, dated August 6, he adds: “Since my last I have taken the resolution to send off the head of Antinous in the character of Bacchus without a license. The under-antiquarian alone is in the secret, to whom I have made an additional present, and hope everything will go well.”

His luck as a discoverer of antiques was simply marvellous, and many of his reports sound like fairy tales. The year 1769 is the date of the excavations at the Pantanello, the product of which was mostly purchased by Lord Shelburne for the gallery at Lansdowne House. Hamilton himself wrote an account of the proceedings to Townley, a synopsis of which is given by Dallaway (“Anecdotes of the Arts in England,” London, 1800, p. 364). The place had already been explored by a local landowner, Signor Lolli. Hamilton and his associates in the antiquarian speculation “employed some laborers to re-investigate this spot. They began at a passage to an old drain cut in the rock, by means of which they could lower the waters of the Pantanello. After having worked some weeks by lamplight, and up to the knees in stinking mad full of toads, serpents, and other vermin, a few objects were found…but…Lolli had already carried away the more valuable remains. The explorers fortunately met with one of Lolli's workmen, by whom they were directed to a new spot.” “It is difficult to account,” Hamilton writes to Townley, “for the contents of this place, which consisted of a vast number of trees, cut down and thrown into this hole, probably from despite, as having been part of some sacred grove, intermixed with statues, etc., all of which have shared the same fate. More than fifty-seven pieces of sculpture were discovered in a greater or less degree of preservation.”5

The search at “Torre Colombara,” near the ninth milestone of the Appian Way, began in the autumn of 1771. Two spots were chosen about half a mile apart: one supposed to have been a temple of Domitian, the other a villa of Gallienus. Hamilton was struck by the number of duplicate statues found in these excavations, one set being greatly inferior to the other in workmanship and finish, as if there had been an array of originals and one of replicas. The statues lay dispersed all over the place, as if thrown aside from ignorance of their value, or from a religious prejudice. Some were lying only a few inches below the surface of the field, and bore marks of the injuries inflicted upon them by the ploughman. First to come to light was the Marcus Aurelius, larger than life, now at Shelburne House. The Meleager, the jewel of the same collection, and one of the finest statues in England, was next found; and also the so-called “Paris Equestris,” sold by Jenkins to Smith Barry, Esq. The same gentleman purchased at a later period a draped Venus, to which was given the name of Victrix. In fact, most of the leading European collections have their share of the finds of Torre Colombara. The Museo Pio Clementino secured the celebrated Discobolus, now in the Sala della Biga, n. 615, the colossal bust of Serapis, now in the Rotonda, n. 549, and some smaller objects;6 Mr. Coch, of Moscow, a sitting Faun and an Apollinean torso of exquisite grace; Dr. Corbett, a Venus; Lord Lansdowne, an Amazon; and so forth.

The crowning point of Hamilton's career must be found in the search he made in the spring of 1792 among the ruins of Gabii. Ciampini, Fabretti, Bianchini, and other explorers of Latium had already identified the site of this antique city, the Oxford of prehistoric times, with that of Castiglione on the southeast side of the lake of the same name. Many valuable or curious remains had come accidentally to light in tilling the land, especially in the vicinity of the temple of Juno, which marks the centre of the Roman municipium, and of the church of S. Primitivo, which marks the centre of Christian Gabii. These discoveries having become more and more frequent in the time of Prince Marc' Antonio Borghese the elder, he readily accepted Hamilton's application to make a regular search. The work began in March, 1792, and lasted a comparatively short time; yet the results were such that Prince Marc' Antonio was obliged to add a new wing to his museum in the Villa Pinciana, to exhibit the Gabine marbles, the summary description of which by Ennio Quirino Visconti (Rome, Fulgoni, 1797) forms a bulky volume of one hundred and eighty-one pages and fifty-nine plates. Hamilton had laid bare two important edifices: the temple of Juno, with its sacred enclosure and its hemicycle opening on the Via Prænestina, and the Forum and the Curia of the Roman Gabii. Here he found eleven statues or important pieces of statues of mythological subjects; twenty-four statues or busts or heads of historical personages, including Alexander the Great, Germanicus, Cnæus Domitius Corbulo, the greatest Roman general of the time of Nero, Claudius, Geta, Plautilla, etc.; seven statues of local worthies, seven pedestals with eulogistic inscriptions, and then columns, mosaic pavements, architectural fragments, coins, pottery, glassware, and bronzes.

The end of the Borghese Museum is well known. The most valuable marbles, those from Gabii included, were removed to Paris by the first Napoleon, for which an indemnity of fifteen millions of francs was promised to Prince Borghese. The greater part of this sum remained unpaid at the fall of the French Empire, and is still unpaid.

England, as usual, had her share in the spoils from Gabii. Visconti informs us that a beautiful polychrome mosaic floor, discovered among the ruins of a villa, at a certain distance from the temple of Juno, was purchased by “my Lord Harvey, count of Bristol,” and removed to his country seat in Somersetshire.

The year 1717 marks the arrival of the “last of the Stuarts” in the States of the Church. Under the name of the Chevalier de St. Georges, James III., son of James II. and of Mary Beatrice of Modena, sought the hospitality of Pope Clement XI., Albani, in the beautiful ducal castle at Urbino. The Chevalier de St. Georges was not altogether unknown to the Romans. Many among the living remembered the celebration made by Cardinal Howard on the announcement of his birth in 1688, when an ox stuffed with game was roasted in one of the public squares, and served to the populace. A rare engraving by Arnold van Vesterhout represents this event.7

The marriage of James III. with Mary Clementina, grand-daughter of the great John III., Sobietzky, of Poland, arranged by Clement XI. in 1718, was attended with considerable difficulties. While crossing the Austrian territory, she was detained in one of the Tyrolean castles by order of Charles VI., Emperor of Austria. She succeeded, however, in eluding the vigilance of the keepers, and, disguised in a young man's attire, made good her escape. When she reached Rome in the spring of 1719, the Pope bade her take up her quarters in the monastery of the Ursulines, in the Via Vittoria. This monastery still exists, although transformed into a royal Academy of Music.

The marriage was celebrated in the village of Montefiascone, on the Lake of Bolsena, where the royal couple spent their honeymoon. There is a scarce engraving of the wedding ceremony, by Antonio Frix, from a sketch by Agostino Masucci, bearing the title: “Funzione fatta per lo sposalizio del re Giacomo con la principessa Clem. Sobieski.” In Rome they established their residence in the Palazzo Muti-Savorelli, now Balestra, at the north end of the Piazza de' Santi Apostoli, the rent being paid by the Pope. The Pope also offered them an annual subsidy of fifteen thousand dollars, besides a wedding present of a hundred thousand. The old baronial manor of the Savelli at Albano was put at their disposal for a summer residence.8

The birth of their first son, which took place December 31, 1720, gave occasion for great manifestations of loyalty. The event was announced by a royal salute from the guns of the Castle of St. Angelo, and by the joyous ringing of some two thousand bells. N. 544 of the “Diario di Roma” contains an account of the baptism of the infant prince under the name of Charles Edward. The sponsors were Cardinal Gualtieri for England, Cardinal Imperiali for Ireland, and Cardinal Sacripante for Scotland. Clement XI. said mass in the chapel of the English college, and gave, as presents, a Chinese object valued at four thousand dollars and a cheque amounting to ten thousand.

Their second son, Henry Benedict, Duke of York, was born in 1725 and baptized by Pope Benedict XIII. in the chapel of the Muti palace. Among the presents received on this occasion were the “Fascie benedette.” “Fascie” in Italian means a long band of strong white linen, with which newborn infants are tightly swathed during the first months of their life. However ungentle this practice may seem, it is kept up in Italy even in our own days, as the people believe they impart more firmness of limb to their children by swathing them in this manner.

The habit of the papal court of presenting these fascie to the eldest born of a royal house dates as far back as Clement VII., Aldobrandini. This Pope gave them, for the first time, in 1601, to Henry IV. of France, whose second wife, Maria de' Medici, had given birth to the dauphin, the future Louis XIII. The fascie were intrusted to a special ambassador, Maffeo Barberini, who afterwards became Pope Urban VIII.

The presentation of the baby bands to James III. and his Queen Clementina is fully described in no. 1200 of the “Diario di Roma.” It took place on April 5, 1725, the prelate selected as envoy extraordinary being Monsignor Merlini Paolucci, Archbishop of Imola. The bands and other articles of a rich layette were enclosed in two boxes, lined with crimson velvet embroidered in solid gold. There were bands also ornamented with gold embroidery, and others of the finest Holland linen trimmed with exquisite lace. The gift to the infant prince was valued at 8000 scudi.

From the same invaluable source, the “Diario di Roma” (n. 2729), we gather many particulars about the death of Queen Clementina, which took place on January 18, 1735, and about her interment in St. Peter's. The theatres were closed, much to the annoyance of the managers and the public, as it was carnival time; also the illuminations and fireworks prepared in honor of the newly elected Cardinal Spinelli, Archbishop of Naples, were given up. The funeral ceremonies began in the parish church of SS. Apostoli, where the body of the Queen was exposed on a catafalque, of which we have an etching by Baldassarre Gabuggiani. The funeral cavalcade from the parish church to the Vatican, of which there is a print by Rocco Pozzi, was attended by the college of cardinals in their violet or mourning robes. On the preceding day the governor of the city, Monsignor Corio, had issued the following proclamation:—

“On the occasion of the transferment of the mortal remains of Her Majesty Clementina Britannic Queen, which will take place to-morrow with due and customary solemnity, and with the view of removing all obstacles which might interfere with the orderly progress of the pageant from the church of SS. Apostoli to St. Peter's, we, Marcellino Corio, Governor of Rome and its district…order, command, and bring to notice to all concerned, of whatever sex or condition of life, not to trespass or intrude over the line of the procession with their coaches, carriages, or wagons, under the penalty of the loss of the horses besides other punishments for the owners of the said coaches, carriages, and wagons, while the coachmen or drivers shall be stretched three times on the rack then and there without trial or appeal. Given in Rome from our residence this day, January 21, 1735.” (Signed) Marcellino Corio, Governor; Bartolomeo Zannettini, Notary.

The college of the Propaganda commemorated the event by holding an assembly in which the virtues of Mary Clementina were celebrated and sung in twenty different languages, including the Malabaric, the Chaldæan, the Tartaric, and the Georgian. Two monuments were raised to her: one in SS. Apostoli, one in St. Peter's. The first consists of an urn of “verde antico,” and a tablet of “rosso,” containing the celebrated epigram: —

Hic Clementinæ remanent præcordia: nam Cor cælestis fecit, ne superesset, amor.

I have a suspicion that the distich was written by Giulio Cesare Cordara, S.J., a great admirer of the late princess. The same learned man wrote a pastoral drama, called “La Morte di Nice” (Nike's Death), printed at Genoa, 1755, and translated into Latin by Giuseppe Vairani. The body was laid to rest in St. Peter's, in a recess above the door leading to the dome (Porta della Cupola). The tomb, designed by Filippo Barigioni, cut in marble by Pietro Bracci, with a mosaic medallion by Cristofori, was unveiled on December 8, 1742.9 It cost 18,000 scudi, taken from the treasury of the chapter of St. Peter's.

It seems that the happiness of Queen Clementina's domestic life was occasionally affected by passing clouds. After her death the king took even more interest in Roman patrician society. In a book of records of Pier Leone Ghezzi, now belonging to the department of antiquities of the British Museum, I have found the account of a visit paid by the king to Cardinal Passionei in his summer residence at Camaldoli near Frascati, on October 19, 1741. “The King of England,” Ghezzi says, “was accompanied by the Princess Borghese and the Princess Pallavicini, alone, without any escort of ‘demoiselles d'honneur.’”

Many interesting particulars about the life of the pair in Rome, related by contemporary daily papers, are now almost forgotten. They were very fond, for instance, of enjoying the popular gathering called the Lago di Piazza Navona.10 This noble piazza, still retaining the shape of the old Stadium of Domitian and Severus Alexander, over the ruins of which it is built, used to be inundated four or six times a year, during the hot summer months, by stopping the outlet of the great fountain of Bernini, called the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. Stands and balconies were erected around the edge of the lake; windows were decked with tapestries and flags; bands of music played, while the coaches of the nobility would drive around where the water was shallow. It was customary with the owners of the palaces bordering on the piazza to send invitations to their friends, and treat them with refreshments and suppers.

The first mention I find of the presence of James and Maria Clementina at this curious gathering dates from Sunday, August 11, 1720. They were the guests of Cardinal Trojano Acquaviva, who had built a stand in front of his church of S. Giacomo degli Spagnuoli, hung with red damask trimmed with bands of gold. Refreshments were served, and the royal guests took such a pleasure in the spectacle that twice again they appeared at that same balcony before the season was over, on August 25 and September 1.

The young Prince Charles was allowed to see the Lago for the first time in 1727, August 4. The following year, taking advantage of the absence of his mother, Charles amused himself by throwing half-pennies11 into the water and watching the struggles of the young beggars to secure a share of the meagre bounty, “cosa di poca decenza per un figlio di Re.”12 I find the last mention of their presence in 1731, in the balcony of Cardinal Corsini, whose pastry-cooks and butlers had been at work for three days and nights in preparing the supper-tables.

The Lago is thus described by de la Lande in his “Voyage en Italie dans les Années 1765 et 1766,” v. p. 111: “La grande quantité d'eau, que donnent ces trois fontaines [of the Piazza Navona] procurent en été un spectacle fort singulier, et fort divertissant. Tous les dimanches du mois d'août, après les vêpres, on ferme les issues des bassins. L'eau se répand dans la place, qui est un peu concave, en forme de coquille. Dans l'espace de deux heures elle est inondée sur presque toute sa longueur, et il y a vers le milieu deux ou trois pieds d'eau. On vient alors se promener en carrosse tout autour de la place. Les chevaux marchent dans l'eau; et la fraîcheur s'en communique à ceux même, qui sont dans la voiture. Les fenêtres de la place sont couvertes de spectateurs. On croirait voir une naumachie antique. J'ai vu le palais du Cardinal Santobono Caraccioli rempli ces jours là de la plus belle compagnie de Rome. Il faisoit lui-même les honneurs de ses balcons par ses manièeres nobles, et engageantes, auxquelles il joignoit les refraôchissemens les plus fins. Autrefois on passoit la nuit à la place Navone. On y soupoit, on y faisoit des concerts. Mais Clément XIII. a proscrit tous les plaisirs. Dès l'Ave Maria on commence à désécher la place. Il arrive quelque fois des accidens à cette espèce de spectacle. Des chevaux s'abattent, et si l'on n'est pas très-prompt à les dégager, ils se noyent. C'est ce que j'ai vu. arriver aux chevaux du prince Barberini en 1765. Mais quand on suit la file avec modération, l'on n'est guères exposé à cet inconvénient. L'eau ne vient pas au delà des moyeux de petites roues dans l'endroit où les carrosses se promènent.”

In Sir Alexander Dick's “Travels in Italy” (1736), printed in “Curiosities from a Scots Charta Chest,” by the Hon. Mrs. Atholl Forbes, there are many jottings about the Duke of York as a boy of eleven: “The little young duke…was very grave and behaved like a little philosopher. I could not help thinking he had some resemblance to his great-grandfather Charles the First.”…“The Duke of York…danced very genteelly,” etc.

Charles Edward, after the death of his father, lived in retirement under the name of Count of Albany,13 and, following the advice of France, married the Princess Louise of Stolberg, his junior by thirty-two years. After they had spent some time together in Tuscany, as guests of the Grand Duke Leopold, the countess left the conjugal roof and established herself in Rome under the guardianship of her brother-in-law, Cardinal York. We shall deal no longer than is necessary with this lady; she died in Florence in 1824, after many adventures, with which any one who has read the life of Alfieri, the great Italian tragedian, must necessarily be acquainted. Charles Edward died in Florence on January 31, 1788. His body was removed to Frascati, the episcopal see of his brother, and a “recognitio cadaveris” was performed before the entombment in St. Peter's. The body was found clad in a royal robe, with the crown, sceptre, sword, and royal signet-ring; there were also the insignia of the knighthoods of which the sovereign of Great Britain is the grand master de jure. The cardinal did his best to obtain a state funeral in Rome; but the Pope refused, on the ground that Charles Edward had never been recognized as a king by the Holy See.

The Duke of York, younger son of James III., was elected cardinal on July 3, 1747, while in his twenty-second year.14 Officially he was called the Cardinal Duke of York; but after the death of the elder brother he proclaimed himself the legitimate sovereign of Great Britain and Ireland, under the name of Henry IX. Within the walls of the Muti palace, or of the episcopal residence at Frascati, he claimed the title of Majesty, but among his colleagues of the sacred college he was simply styled, “His Serene Highness Henry Benedict Mary Clement, Cardinal Duke of York.” Such a profusion of names was not calculated to please his colleagues, who more than once found a way of showing their disapproval.

The friendship between Pope Benedict XIV. and the young prince of the church became rather strained in 1752. It seems that the latter had taken an extraordinary fancy for a certain Mgr. Lercari, his own “maestro di camera,” while his father could not tolerate his presence. Lercari's dismissal was asked and obtained; but the two friends continued to meet almost daily, or else to communicate by letters. Annoyed at this state of things, James III. applied to the Pope for advice and help, with the result that young Lercari was banished from Rome on the night of July 19. The cardinal resented the measure as a personal offence, and on the following night he left the paternal home for Nocera. Benedict XIV. wrote several letters pointing out how such an estrangement between father and son, between Pope and cardinal, would give satisfaction to their common foes on the other side of the Channel. After five months of brooding the duke gave up his resentment, and accepted Mgr. Millo as “maestro di camera.” The reconciliation, which took place on December 16, pleased the court and the people beyond measure, because father and son, king and cardinal, had won the good graces of all classes of citizens by their charities and affable manners, so different from the dignified gloom characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon race abroad.

His nomination to the bishopric of Frascati, July 13, 1761, is the next important event we have to chronicle, as it was the indirect cause of the destruction of one of the noblest monuments of the old Latin civilization. In the mean time there are some curious particulars to be called to mind in connection with his residence at Frascati, the diocese of which he governed for forty-three years. He loved this residence so dearly that whenever he was called to Rome to attend a consistory or a “Cappella Pontificia,” more than once he killed his carriage-horses in his haste to get back to Frascati. His banqueting hall was always open to guests, and very often messengers were dispatched to Rome on the fastest ponies to secure the delicacies of the season. The members of his household were all handsome and imposing, their liveries superb. The library of the local seminary contains still a valuable set of English standard works, and the cathedral many precious vessels, the gift of this generous man. It is a pity that we should be compelled to bring home to him an act of wanton destruction, for which I can find no apology.15

Visitors to the Eternal City and students of its history know how the beautiful Campagna is bounded towards the south by the Alban Hills, the graceful outline of which culminates in a peak 3130 feet high, which the ancients called Mons Albanus, and moderns call Monte Cavo. On this peak, visible from Latium, Etruria, Sabina, and Campania, stood the venerable temple of Jupiter Latialis, erected by Tarquinius Superbus as the meeting-place of the forty-seven cities which formed the Latin confederation. The temple was reached by a paved road which branched off from the Via Appia at Ariccia, and crossing the great forest between the lakes of Nemi and Albano, reached the foot of the peak in the vicinity of Rocca di Papa. The pavement of this Via Triumphalis, trodden by the feet of Q. Minutius Rufus, the conqueror of Liguria, of M. Claudius Marcellus, the conqueror of Syracuse, of Julius Cæsar, as dictator, etc., is in marvellous state of preservation; not so the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, which stood at the summit of the road.

From a rare drawing of about 1650 in the Barberini library we learn that the federal sanctuary stood, facing the south, in the middle of a platform enclosed and supported by a substructure of great blocks of tufa. Columns of white marble, or of giallo antico, and marble blocks from the cella of the god, inscribed with the “Fasti Feriarum Latinarum,” lay scattered over the sacred area, in the neighborhood of which statues, bas-reliefs, and votive offerings in bronze and terracotta were occasionally found. These remains were mercilessly destroyed in 1783 by Cardinal York, to make use of the materials for the rebuilding of the utterly uninteresting church and convent of the Passionist monks which he dedicated to the Holy Trinity on October 1 of the same year. This act of vandalism of the last of the Stuarts was justly denounced by the Roman antiquaries, and we wonder why so great an admirer of ancient art as Pius VI. did not interfere to prevent it.

The temple was one of the national monuments of Italy, and no profaning hand should have been allowed to remove a single one of its stones. It was not necessary to be a student or a philosopher to appreciate the importance of the place. “On the summit of Monte Cavo,” writes an English visitor contemporary with these events, “it is impossible not to experience sensations at once awful and delightful; the recollection of the important events which led the masters of the world to offer up at this place their homage to the Deity is assisted by the great quantity of laurel still growing here.” The same visitor saw in the garden of the convent “fragments of cornices of good sculpture; and when we were on the hill the masons were employed in making a shell for holy water out of part of an antique altar.”

How often have I sat on one of the few blocks of stone left on the historic peak to tell the tale of its past fortunes and glory, wondering at the strange chain of events which prompted a scion of the savage Picts to lay hands on the very temple in which thanks had been offered to the Deity for Roman victories and Roman conquests in the British Isles! When the Romans were raising their mighty ramparts to confine the Caledonian tribes within prescribed boundaries, and cut them off, as it were, from the rest of mankind; when Agricola was building his nineteen forts, A.D. 81, between the Forth and the Clyde; when Lollius Urbicus completed this line of defence, A.D. 144, by the addition of a rampart and ditch between old Kirkpatrick and Borrowstoness; when Hadrian raised his wall and his embankment, A.D. 120, between the Tyne and the Solway, subsequently repaired by Septimius Severus, did they dream that the day would come when one of the Picts yonder would follow in their footsteps along the Via Triumphalis, and wipe off from the face of the earth the temple of the god to whom the conquering heroes had paid respect, and presented votive offerings from the islands beyond the Channel?

There is another and more glaring instance of this striking irony of fate to be found in Rome itself. The palace of Augustus on the Palatine Hill, where the emperor lived for forty years, kept in repair as a place of pilgrimage down to the fall of the Empire, this most august of Roman historical relics, after having been plundered in 1775 of its contents by the Frenchman Rancoureuil, fell in 1820 into the hands of Charles Mills, Esq. This Scotch gentleman caused the Casino (built and painted by Raffaellino dal Colle near and above the house of Augustus) to be reconstructed in the Tudor style with Gothic battlements, and raised two Chinese pagodas, painted in crimson, over the exquisite bathrooms used by the founder of the Empire. And for the branches of laurel and the “corona civica,” which in accordance with a decree of the Senate ornamented the gates of the palace, Charles Mills substituted the emblem of the Thistle.

The death of Cardinal York, which took place at ten P.M. of July 13, 1807, was mourned by the population of the diocese of Frascati as an irreparable loss. He had been their good and generous pastor for half a century, he had been cardinal for sixty years, he had been archpriest of St. Peter's for fifty-six; in his long career he had won the good graces of every one, and made no enemies. The body was removed to Rome and exposed in the main hall of the Palazzo della Cancelleria. The funeral was celebrated on the following Thursday, July 16, in the parish church of S. Andrea della Valle, in the presence of Pius VII. and the Sacred College. The same evening the coffin was removed to St. Peter's, and placed in the crypts, near those of his father and brother. The three last representatives of a valiant and noble race, whose faults had been atoned by long misfortunes, were thus reunited and laid to rest under the mighty dome of the greatest temple ever raised for the worship of the true God.

I need not dwell on the cenotaph raised to their memory opposite that of Maria Clementina, nor on the well known dedication REGIÆ STIRPIS STVARDIÆ POSTREMIS! The Duke of Sussex, sixth son of George III. and brother of George IV. and William IV., who contributed fifty guineas towards the erection of the memorial, was a special admirer of the old cardinal, having been his neighbor for one whole summer on the hills of Tusculum and Albano.16 Kelly says in connection with his visits: “It is said on good authority that one of the brothers of George IV. took a journey to Frascati, to receive in orthodox fashion from the hands of Henry IX. the healing touch which had been denied to the rulers of his own dynasty,” and that knowing the cardinal's pretence to a royal title, he, the son of George III., had not hesitated to comply with his wish.

English describers of Rome are in the habit of quoting with relish the well-known passage of Lord Mahon: “Beneath the unrivalled dome of St. Peter's lie mouldering the remains of what was once a brave and gallant heart; and a stately monument from the chisel of Canova, and at the charge, I believe, of the house of Hanover,17 has since risen to the memory of James III., Charles III., and Henry IX., kings of England, names which an Englishman can scarcely read without a smile or a sigh.” Lord Mahon could have saved both his smiles and his sighs if he had simply read with care the epitaph engraved on the monument, which says: “To James III., son of James II., King of Great Britain, to Charles Edward, and Henry, Dean of the Sacred College, Sons of James III., the last of the Royal House of Stuart.” Let us join, however, with Lord Mahon in the prayer which is heard so often in Roman funeral services: Peace be with them! REQUIESCANT IN PACE!

  • 1.

    State Archives, in the Campo Marzio, vol. 6166, p. 475.

  • 2.

    See Lord Fitzmaurice's article in the Academy, quoted by A. H. Smith, “Catalogue of…Marbles at Lansdowne House,” p. 7.

  • 3.

    These subjects have been engraved by Cunego, Morghen, and others.

  • 4.

    Smith, A Catalogue, p. 58; Dallaway, Anecdotes, p. 365.

  • 5.

    Catalogue given by Agostino Penna, in his Viaggio pittorico della Villa Adriana, Roma, 1833. The exploration of the Pantanello lasted from 1769 to 1772. Piranesi gives another excellent account in the description of his plan of Hadrian's Villa.

  • 6.

    Compare Helbig's Guide, vol. i. p. 236, n. 331, and p. 217, n. 304.

  • 7.

    “Stampa di un bue arrostito intero, ripieno di diversi animali, comestibili in publica piazza, da distribuirsi al volgo, in occassione delle allegrezze celebrate in Roma dal Card. Howard, per la nascita del principe Giacomo.” Roma, 1688.

  • 8.

    After the death of his parents and brother the Savelli manor passed into the hands of Cardinal York. An English visitor who saw it about 1800 gives the following details: “Cardinal Stuart…has a palace in Albano, which was given him by the Pope. He never resides there, but successively lent it to the Spanish ambassador, and to the princesses Adélaide and Victoire, aunts of the unfortunate Lewis XVI.…This palace…is furnished in the plainest manner, and in one of the principal rooms are maps of London, Rome, and Paris, as also one of Great Britain, on which is traced the flight of the late Pretender.” See Description of Latium, p. 69, London, 1805.

  • 9.

    Literature: Vita di Maria Clem., etc., Bologna, 1744; Parentalia Mariœ Clem. Magnœ Brittanniœ reginœ, Romaæ, 1735; Solenni esequie di Maria Clem., etc., celebrate in Fano, Fano, 1735; Casabianca Francesco, Epicedium pro immaturo funere Mariœ Clem., Romæ, 1738; Il Cracas, n. 3960, 3322, 2990; Pistolesi, Il Vaticano descritto, vol. i. p. 257.

  • 10.

    See Francesco Cecconi, Roma antica e moderna, 1725, p. 669.

  • 11.

    The “mezzi bajocchi” were coined for the first time in 1611, by Pope Paul V., Borghese.

  • 12.

    The criticism is by Valesio.

  • 13.

    Compare L'Ascanius moderne, ou l'illustre aventurier, histoire de tout ce qui est arrivé de plus mémorable et secret au prince Charles, etc., Edinbourg, 1763.

  • 14.

    Compare Life of Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York, by Bernhard W. Kelly, London, Washbourne, 1899: “A good little work, which might have been much better had its author gone to such accessible sources as von Reumont's Gräfin v. Albany, Mr. Lang's Pickle the Spy, and above all James Browne's History of the Highlands. The last, a great but neglected storehouse of Jacobite lore, contains more than a score of letters by, to, or about the cardinal” (Athenæum).

  • 15.

    There is a fine portrait of the Cardinal by Pompeo Batoni in the National Portrait Gallery. Sins of the Drunkard, a temperance tract by him, is read to the present day, I believe, in every church of the diocese of Liverpool, twice a year.

  • 16.

    The Alban and Tusculan hills have always been in favor with the English visitors to Rome since the eighteenth century, and there is no villa in that district which might not be associated with an historical name. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester lived some months in the Villa Albani at Castel Gandolfo, and the Duke of Sussex passed a whole summer at Grottaferrata, within the diocese of the last of the Stuarts. Pius VI. gave a dinner to the duke in the farmhouse of la Cecchignola, on the Via Ardeatina, where the venerable old Pontiff used to go in the mouth of October, to amuse himself with the Paretajo. The Paretajo consists of a set of very fine nets spread vertically from tree to tree in a circular grove, in the centre of which flutter the decoy birds. At the time of the great flights of migratory birds the catching of one or two hundred of them in a single day is not a rare occurrence, if the Paretajo is skillfully put up.

  • 17.

    The monument was really erected at the expense of Pius VII.

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