“Saturday, January 1, 1831. At the beginning of the year, as with us, you hear the salutation of ‘felicissimo capo d’anno,’ and the custom of calling and felicitating friends is nearly the same as in New York, with this difference, indeed, that there is no cheer in Rome as with our good people at home.
“Friday, January 14. In the afternoon Count Grice and the Honorable Mr. Spencer, son of Earl Spencer, who has within a few years been converted to the Catholic faith, called. Had an interesting conversation with him on religious topics, in which the differences of the Protestant and Catholic faiths were discussed; found him a candid, fair-minded man, but evidently led away by a too easy assent to the sophistry and fable which have been dealt out to him. He gave me a slight history of his change; I shall see him again.
“Tuesday, January 18. Called with Count Grice on the Honorable Mr. Spencer at the English College and was introduced to the rector, Dr. Wiseman. After a few moments went into the library with Mr. Spencer and commenced the argument, in which being interrupted we retired to his room, where for three hours we discussed various points of difference in our faith. Many things I urged were not answered, such as the fruits of the Catholic religion in the various countries where it prevails; the objection concerning forbidding to marry; idolatry of the Virgin Mary, etc., etc.; yet there is a gentleness, an amiability in the man which makes me think him sincere but deceived.
“Wednesday, February 2. Went this morning at ten o’clock to hear a sermon by Mr. Spencer in the chapel of the English College. It was on the occasion of the festa of the purification of the Virgin. Many parts were good, and I could agree with him in the general scope of his discourse.
“While we were in the chapel the cannon of St. Angelo announced the election of the new Pope. I hurried to the Quirinal Palace to see the ceremony of announcing him to the people, but was too late. The ceremony was over, the walled window was broken down and the cardinals had presented the new Pope on the balcony. He is Cardinal Cappellari who has taken the title of Gregorio XVI. To-morrow he will go to St. Peter’s.”
FEBRUARY 10, 1831—SEPTEMBER 12, 1831.
Historic events witnessed by Morse.—Rumors of revolution.—Danger to foreigners.—Coronation of the new Pope.—Pleasant experience.—Cause of the revolution a mystery.—Bloody plot foiled.—Plans to leave for Florence.—Sends casts, etc., to National Academy of Design.—Leaves Rome.—Dangers of the journey.—Florence.—Description of meeting with Prince Radziwill in Coliseum at Rome.—Copies portraits of Rubens and Titian in Florence.—Leaves Florence for Venice.—Disagreeable voyage on the Po.—Venice, beautiful but smelly.—Copies Tintoret’s “Miracle of the Slave.”—Thunderstorms.—Reflections on the Fourth of July.—Leaves Venice.—Recoaro.—Milan.—Reflections on Catholicism and art.—Como and Maggiore.—The Rigi.—Schaffhausen and Heidelberg.—Evades the quarantine on French border.—Thrilling experience.—Paris.