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Edmond François Valentin About
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about The Roman Question.

This is the principle of the foreign occupation.  We are one hundred and thirty-nine millions of Catholics, who have violently delegated to three millions of Italians the honour of boarding and lodging our spiritual chief.  If we were not to leave a respectable army in Italy to watch over the execution of our commands, we should be doing our work by halves.

In strict logic, the security of the Pope should be guaranteed at the common expense of the Catholic Powers.  It seems quite natural that each nation interested in the oppression of the Romans should furnish its contingent of soldiers.  Such a system, however, would have the effect of turning the castle of St. Angelo into another Tower of Babel.  Besides, the affairs of this world are not all regulated according to the principles of logic.

The only three Powers which contributed to the re-establishment of Pius IX. were France, Austria, and Spain.  The French besieged Rome; the Austrians seized the places of the Adriatic; the Spaniards did very little, not from the want either of goodwill or courage, but because their allies left them nothing to do.

If a private individual may be permitted to probe the motives upon which princes act, I would venture to suggest that the Queen of Spain had nothing in view but the interests of the Church.  Her soldiers came to restore the Pope to his throne; they went as soon as he was reseated on it.  This was a chivalrous policy.

Napoleon III. also considered the restoration of the Pope to a temporal throne necessary to the good of the Church.  Perhaps he thinks so still—­though I couldn’t swear to it.  But his motives of action were complicated.  Simple President of the French Republic, heir to a name which summoned him to the throne, resolved to exchange his temporary magistracy for an imperial crown, he had the greatest possible interest in proving to Europe how republics are put down.  He had already conceived the idea of playing that great part of champion of order, which has since caused him to be received by all Sovereigns first as a brother, and afterwards as an arbitrator.  Lastly, he knew that the restoration of the Pope would secure him a million of Catholic votes towards his election to the imperial crown.  But to these motives of personal interest were added some others, if possible, of a loftier character.  The heir of Napoleon and of the liberal Revolution of ’89, the man who read his own name on the first page of the civil code, the author of so many works breathing the spirit of new ideas and the passionate love of progress, the silent dreamer whose busy brain already teemed with the germs of all the prosperity we have enjoyed for the last ten years, was incapable of handing over three millions of Italians to reaction, lawlessness, and misery.  If he had firmly resolved to put down the Republic at Rome, he was not less firm in his resolution to suppress the abuses, the injustice, and all the traditional oppressions which drove the Italians to revolt.  In the opinion of the head of the French Republic, the way to be again victorious over anarchy, was to deprive it of all pretext and all cause for its existence.

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