AN HISTORICAL SURVEY -- NOT TO BE PASSED OVER, EXCEPT BY THOSE WHO DISLIKE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY READ
Years had passed away, and the death of the Roman boy, amidst more noble and less excusable slaughter, was soon forgotten, -- forgotten almost by the parents of the slain, in the growing fame and fortunes of their eldest son, -- forgotten and forgiven never by that son himself. But, between that prologue of blood, and the political drama which ensues, -- between the fading interest, as it were, of a dream, and the more busy, actual, and continuous excitements of sterner life, -- this may be the most fitting time to place before the reader a short and rapid outline of the state and circumstances of that city in which the principal scenes of this story are laid; -- an outline necessary, perhaps, to many, for a full comprehension of the motives of the actors, and the vicissitudes of the plot.
Despite the miscellaneous and mongrel tribes that had forced their settlements in the City of the Cæsars, the Roman population retained an inordinate notion of their own supremacy over the rest of the world; and, degenerated from the iron virtues of the Republic, possessed all the insolent and unruly turbulence which characterised the Plebs of the ancient Forum. Amongst a ferocious, yet not a brave populace, the nobles supported themselves less as sagacious tyrants than as relentless banditti. The popes had struggled in vain against these stubborn and stern patricians. Their state derided, their command defied, their per-