"La Festra di Cattreda, or commemoration of the placing of the chair of St. Peter, on the 18th of January, is one of the most striking ceremonies, at Rome, which follow Christmas and precede the holy week. At the extremity of the great nave of St. Peter's, behind the high altar, and mounted upon a tribune designed or ornamented by Michael Angelo, stands a sort of throne, composed of precious materials, and supported by four gigantic figures. A glory of seraphim, with groups of angels, shed a brilliant light upon its splendors. This throne enshrines the real, plain, worm-eaten wooden chair, on which St. Peter, the prince of the apostles, is said to have pontificated; more precious than all the bronze, gold, and gems with which it is hidden, not only from impious, but holy eyes, and which once only, in the flight of ages, was profaned by mortal inspection.

"The sacrilegious curiosity of the French, however, broke through all obstacles to their seeing the chair of St. Peter. They actually removed its superb casket, and discovered the relic. Upon its mouldering and dusty surface were traced carvings, which bore the appearance of letters. The chair was quickly brought into a better light, the dust and cobwebs removed, and the inscription (for an inscription it was), faithfully copied. The writing is in Arabic characters, and is the well known confession of Mahometan faith—'There is but one God, and Mahomet is his prophet.' It is supposed that this chair had been, among the spoils of the Crusaders, offered to the church at a time when a taste for antiquarian lore, and the deciphering of inscriptions, were not yet in fashion. The story has been since hushed up, the chair replaced, and none but the unhallowed remember the fact, and none but the audacious repeat it. Yet such there are, even at Rome!"—Ireland's Anecdotes of Napoleon.