In the evening ’tis pretty, though terrible, to see the bombs, fiery meteors, springing from the horizon line upon their bright path, to do their wicked message. ’T would not be so bad, methinks, to die by one of these, as wait to have every drop of pure blood, every childlike radiant hope, drained and driven from the heart by the betrayals of nations and of individuals, till at last the sickened eyes refuse more to open to that light which shines daily on such pits of iniquity.
SIEGE OF ROME.—HEAT.—NIGHT ATTACKS.—THE
NIGHT BREACH.—DEFECTION.—ENTRY OF THE FRENCH.—SLAUGHTER OF
THE ROMANS.—THE HOSPITALS.—DESTRUCTION BY BOMBS.—CESSATION OF
RESISTANCE.—OUDINOT’S STUBBORNNESS.—GARIBALDI’S TROOPS.—THEIR
MUSTER ON THE SCENE OF RIENZI’S TRIUMPH.—GARIBALDI.—HIS
DEPARTURE.—“RESPECTABLE” OPINION.—THE PROTECTORS UNMASKED.—COLD
RECEPTION.—A PRIEST ASSASSINATED.—MARTIAL LAW DECLARED.—REPUBLICAN
EDUCATION.—DISAPPEARANCE OF FRENCH SOLDIERS.—CLEARING THE
HOSPITALS.—PRIESTLY BASENESS.—INSULT TO THE AMERICAN CONSUL.—HIS
PROTEST AND DEPARTURE.—DISARMING THE NATIONAL GUARD.—POSITION OF MR.
CASS.—PETTY OPPRESSION.—EXPULSION OF FOREIGNERS.—EFFECT OF
FRENCH PRESENCE.—ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE.—VISIT TO THE SCENE OF
STRIFE.—AMERICAN SYMPATHY FOR LIBERTY IN EUROPE.
Rome, July 6, 1849.
If I mistake not, I closed my last letter just as the news arrived here that the attempt of the democratic party in France to resist the infamous proceedings of the government had failed, and thus Rome, as far as human calculation went, had not a hope for her liberties left. An inland city cannot long sustain a siege when there is no hope of aid. Then followed the news of the surrender of Ancona, and Rome found herself alone; for, though Venice continued to hold out, all communication was cut off.
The Republican troops, almost to a man, left Ancona, but a long march separated them from Rome.
The extreme heat of these days was far more fatal to the Romans than to their assailants, for as fast as the French troops sickened, their place was taken by fresh arrivals. Ours also not only sustained the exhausting service by day, but were harassed at night by attacks, feigned or real. These commonly began about eleven or twelve o’clock at night, just when all who meant to rest were fairly asleep. I can imagine the harassing effect upon the troops, from what I feel in my sheltered pavilion, in consequence of not knowing a quiet night’s sleep for a month.