Centro Risorse Territoriale di Pesaro e Urbino

San Marino, a 1769 Guide

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The road from La Catolica to Pezaro skirts the territories of this small republic, concerning the government of which we referred ourselves to the description given of it by Mr. Addison, who went in person to get a thorough knowledge of it. This little state was on the point of losing its liberty, by cardinal Alberoni's enterprise against it, during his legation in Romania (* about 1750). The management and execution of this project would do honour to the cardinal's bravery, had it been against a people, whom a slender regard to the Roman purple would not have restrained from offering at a defence. The cardinal's red vestment, and a Te deum, in which he was seized with a panic, gave a sanction to this enterprize: Benedict XIV, disowned it, yet he kept the original charters of this republic, the cardinal having purloined them; and they were lodged in the Vatican Archivio .

I knew at Rome a petty Curial, or limb of the law, born at San Marino, who had sacrificed his small fortune purely to recover the most essential of those charters, which accordingly he had got safely conveyed back among the records of his country. I likewise frequently saw at Rome, among the Minims of la Trinita di monte, another member of the same republic, the very counter-part of Rabelais's Parnurgus, a complete master of the Latin and Greek, and even of the vulgar Greek; well versed in geometry, chymistry, and especially botany; he had travelled over the greatest part of Asia, even as far as the kingdom of Thibet, always footing it, and without equipage or so much as money. He lived at Rome from hand to mouth, placing all happiness in liberty and chearfulness, which he looked upon as incompatible with dependance. The first time I saw him was in the laboratory of la Trinita di monte , where, with all the vehemence of pulpit elocution, he was holding forth, facing the apothecary of the convent, who, according to the constitution of those places, was one of the society, on miracles and conversions, the marvellous of which increasing in a climax, at length set the pious brother a weeping and sobbing most cordially. In the opinion of this odd creature, the world afforded nothing comparable to ancient Rome, except his dear republic of St. Marino: it was indeed the only thing he could speak of with any seriousness. He proposed, after a few more perambulations, to go and end his days in his Ithaca, and devote his abilities and discoveries in promoting its happiness.

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