|LIFE OF CARDINAL MEZZOFANTI|
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In the end of the year 1845, Nicholas, the late Emperor of Russia, (who of course is an authority also on the Polish language,) came to Rome, on his return from Naples, where he had been visiting his invalid Empress. The history of his interview with the Pope, Gregory XVI., and of the apostolic courage and candour with which, in two successive conferences, that great pontiff laid before him the cruelty, injustice, and impolicy of his treatment of the Catholic subjects of his empire, is too well known to need repetition here. It was commonly said at the time, and has been repeated in more than one publication, that the Pope's interpreter in this memorable conference was Cardinal Mezzofanti. This is a mistake. The only Cardinal present at the interview was the mild and retiring, but truly noble-minded and apostolic, Cardinal Acton.
A .few days, however, after this interview, M. Boutanieff, the Russian minister at Rome, wrote to request that Cardinal Mezzofanti would wait upon the Emperor ; and a still more direct invitation was conveyed to him, in the name of the Emperor himself, by his first aide-de-camp. The Cardinal of course could not hesitate to comply. Their conversation was held both in Russian and in Polish. The
Emperor was filled with wonderland confessed that, in either of these languages it would be difficult to discover any trace of foreign peculiarity in the Cardinal's accent or
manner. It is somewhat amusing to add, that the Cardinal is said to have taken some exceptions to the purity, or at least the elegance, of the Emperor's Polish conversational style.
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