TO OUR WELL-BELOVED SON, THE BAILLI DE LITTA,
Monastery of Cassini, near FIorence,
5th November 1798,
PIUS P. P. VI.
BELOVED SON, - Our Salutation and Apostolic Benediction.
We were seized with horror upon the reception of your first dispatch, containing the protest and manifest of the Grand Priory of Russia upon the subject of the loss of Malta, and to learn that the Grand Master, in order to save his private interests, had had the unworthy weakness of sacrificing that of the entire Order.
His Majesty, the-Emperor of All the Russias, who will use his utmost endeavours to re-establish the privileges and the honour of the Priory, being in possession of the facts of the case, has every reason to employ his power to re-establish the said Priory in its primitive prerogatives and rights.
We shall co-operate with the authority which is needed, because in addition to the printed Act, signed by the Emperor, all the other Langues and Priories are invited, general and particular, to join in the said Act, so that the Order may be restored to its ancient splendour. And being aware that in a body composed of so many and divers nations, unless a preponderance of number intervened, nothing would be done obliging and compelling the individual members to observe the new law. Moreover it will be much more honourable and satisfactory for the Russian Priory to learn the same ideals prevail among many of the brethren to vindicate the common honour. The crime, such as it has been represented, is enormous, indeed it could not be more atrocious, and having taken the measure against the Grand Master he so ignominiously deserves it will be necessary to use the same against each of those Knights who, for a vile interest, were associated with him in this horrible scene.
We shall be desirous of knowing how many of the Knights of other Langues agree with the noble sentiments of the Emperor, and what may be the resolution which they may take in order to sanction it, for the example of others. Giving you, &c. (Signed) PIUS VI, Pope.