He had to steer a middle course between the extremes represented by the Carbonari on the one hand and the Sanfedisti on the other, and he consistently refused to employ the cruel and inquisitorial methods in vogue under his successors.
And his minister Cardinal Consalvi oppression had not been very severe, and Metternichs proposal to establish a central inquisitorial tribunal for political offences throughout Italy had been rejected by the papal government.
A conspiracy, planned with the object, among others, of kidnapping the emperor while on a visit to Venice and forcing him to make concessions, was postponed in consequence of the coup detat by which Louis Napoleon became emperor of the French (1852); but a chance discovery led to a large number of arrests, and the state trials at Mantua, conducted in the most shamelessly inquisitorial manner, resulted in five death sentences, including that of the priest Tazzoli, and many of imprisonment for long terms. Even this did not convince Mazzini of the hopelessness of such attempts, for he was out of touch with Italian public opinion, and he greatly weakened his influence by favoring a crack-brained outbreak at Milan on the 6th of February 1853, which was easily quelled, numbers of the insurgents being executed or imprisoned.
Superseded was not indigenous to Russia, but had been set up by Peter the Great, who had taken as his model the inquisitorial procedure at that time in vogue on the continent of western Europe.
Without taking a degree he removed his name from the college books in April 1798, as a protest against the inquisitorial examination of the political views of the students conducted by Lord Clare as chancellor of the university.