“Reflecting that there is a state of life worse than death, if the war you wage should put us in that state, it will be better to close our eyes for ever than to see the interminable oppressions of oar country.
“I wish you well, and desire fraternity.
ANSWER OF THE TRIUMVIRATE.
“We have the honor to transmit to you the answer of the Assembly.
“We never break our promises. We have promised to defend, in execution of orders from the Assembly and people of Rome, the banner of the Republic, the honor of the country, and the sanctity of the capital of the Christian world; this promise we shall maintain.
Observe the miserable evasion of this missive of Oudinot: “The fortune of war has conducted us.” What war? He pretended to come as a friend, a protector; is enraged only because, after his deceits at Civita Vecchia, Rome will not trust him within her walls. For this he daily sacrifices hundreds of lives. “The Roman people cannot be hostile to the French?” No, indeed; they were not disposed to be so. They had been stirred to emulation by the example of France. They had warmly hoped in her as their true ally. It required all that Oudinot has done to turn their faith to contempt and aversion.
Cowardly man! He knows now that he comes upon a city which wished to receive him only as a friend, and he cries, “With my cannon, with my bombs, I will compel you to let me betray you.”
The conduct of France—infamous enough before—looks tenfold blacker now that, while the so-called Plenipotentiary is absent with the treaty to be ratified, her army daily assails Rome,—assails in vain. After receiving these answers to his letter and proclamation, Oudinot turned all the force of his cannonade to make a breach, and began, what no one, even in these days, has believed possible, the bombardment of Rome.
Yes! the French, who pretend to be the advanced guard of civilization, are bombarding Rome. They dare take the risk of destroying the richest bequests made to man by the great Past. Nay, they seem to do it in an especially barbarous manner. It was thought they would avoid, as much as possible, the hospitals for the wounded, marked to their view by the black banner, and the places where are the most precious monuments; but several bombs have fallen on the chief hospital, and the Capitol evidently is especially aimed at. They made a breach in the wall, but it was immediately filled up with a barricade, and all the week they have been repulsed in every attempt they made to gain ground, though with considerable loss of life on our side; on theirs it must be great, but how great we cannot know.
Ponte Molle, the scene of Raphael’s fresco of a battle, in the Vatican, saw again a fierce struggle last Friday. More than fifty were brought wounded into Rome.