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There are, indeed, who from the tween laws and capricious dictates; darkest prejudice, or most corrupt and, keeping the original intention venality, would endeavour to reason of government ever in view, we mankind out of their original and should take care that no more regenuine feelings, and persuade them straint be laid upon natural liberty, to substitute artificial sentiment in than what the necessities of society place of that which is implanted require. by God and nature. They would Perhaps the limits between the maintain, that slavery will from ha- power of government and the liberty bit become easy, and that mankind of the people should not be too are truly better, when under con strictly marked out. Men of taste tinement and subjection to the arbi- reckon that picture hard, where the trary will of a few.
outlines are so strong as to be clearly Such doctrine as this could never seen. They admire a piece of painthave gained any ground, had it been ing where the colours are delicately addressed to calı reason alone. Its blended, and the tints which point partisans therefore have found it ne- out every particular object are sof. Cessary to address themselves to the tended into cach other by an insenimagination and passions; to call in sible gradation. So in a virtuous the aid of enthusiasm and supersti- state there should be such a mutual tion; in some countries to instil à confidence between the government strange love and attachment to their and the people, that the rights of sovereigns; and in others to propa- each should not be expressly defined. gate certain mystical notions, which But flagrant injustice, on one side the mind of man is wonderfully ready or other, is not to be concealed ; and to receive, of a divine right to rule; without question, it is the privilege as if their Sovereigns had descended of ihe side that is injured to vindifrom heaven. This last idea has cate itself. been cherished for ages, from the Liberty is indeed the parent of fe“ Cara Deum soboles ;"--" The be. licity, of every noble virtue, and even loved offspring of the Gods,” among of every art and science. Whatever the Romans, to those various cle- vain attempts have been made to vated and endearing opithets, which raise the generous plants under an modern nations have thought proper oppressive climate, have only shown to bestow upon their Sovereigns. more evidently the value of freedom.
But, whatever sophism may be It is therefore no wonder that the devised in favour of slavery, patience world has at all times been roused under it can never be any thing but at the mention of liberty; and that the effect of a sickly constitution, we read, with admiration and a vir: which creates a laziness and despon- tuous enthusiasm, the gallant atdency, that puts men beyond hopes chievements of those who distinand fears; mortifying ambition, and guished themselves in the glorious other active qualities, which free- cause; and the history of states who dom begets; and instead of them af were animated with the principle of fording only a dull kind of pleasure, freedom, and made it the basis of of being careless and insensible. their constitution.
There is no doubt, but by entering Should any one transmit to poste. into society mankind voluntarily rity the annals of an enslaved nation, give up a part of their natural rights, we should sleep over whole ages of and bind themselves to the obedience the humble detail. Everything of laws calculated for the general would be so poor, soʻtame, and so good. But we must distinguish be- abject, that one might as well peruse tiveen authority and oppression ; be the records of a prison.house,
But we have a manly satisfaction proofs or it are to be found in the in reading the history of the ancient annals of our own country. . Romans, even abstracting from their B ut a most distinguished example connections and their broils with of it actually exists in the island of other states. Their internal progress Corsica. There, a brave and resoalone affords ample matter of specu- lute nation has now, for upwards of lation to a judicious and spirited ob- six and thirty years, maintained a server of human nature. We love constant struggle against the opto trace the various springs of their presion of the republic of Genoa. conduct, and of their advancement These valiant islanders were for a in civilisation. We contemplate with long time looked upon as an incon. pleasure the ferments between the siderable band of malcontents, as a patricians and plebeians, the strong disorderly troop of rebels, who would exertions of rude genius, the vigo- speedily be compelled to resume rous exercises and hardy virtues of those chains which they had fro. men uncontrouled hy timid subjec- wardly shaken off. They have howtion.
I ever continued steady to their purThey who entertain an extrava: pose. Providence has favoured them, gant veneration for antiquity would and Europe now turns her eyes upon make us believe, that the divine fire them, and with astonishment sees of liberty has been long agoexhausted, them on the eve of emancipating and that any appearances of it which themselves for ever from a foreigu are to be found in modern times are yoke, and becoming a free and in. but feeble and dim. They would dependent people, notwithstanding make us believe that the world is the present efforts of the French to grown old, that the strength of hu- enslave them. man nature is decayed, and that we The earliest accounts that we have are no more to expect those noble of Corsica are to be found in Hieru. powers which dignified men in former dotus. He tells us, that its first in. ages.
habitants were Phenicians; for that But the truth is, that human na. Cadmus, the son of Agenor, when ture is the same at all times, and ap- wandering in quest of Europa, fell pears in different lights merely from upon this island, which was named a difference of circumstances. In Callista, and left there süme of his the language of the schoolímen, the countrymen, with his own cousin substance is fixed, the accidents only Membleareus. vary. Rome has yet the seven hills This account of ihe first scopling on which the conquerors of the world of Corsica is a very curious piece of riwelt, and these are inhabited by ancient history. It is indeed very Romans. Athens still occupies the probable, that the Phenicians, or space from whence philosophy and the Phoceans, were its original inha. genius diffused a radiance to all the bitants; secing they were the first nations around, and is possessed by great navigators in the western part Athenians. But neither of these of the world, and sent out colonies peuple now retain any resemblance to many distant countries. of their illustrious ancestors; this is t afterwards got the name of intirely owing to the course of poli- Kúpvos, Cyrnus, from the number of tical events, which bas produced a its promontories, and Isidorus retotal change in their manners. lates the manner in which it got the
That the spirit of liberty has flou name of Corsica. According to him, rished in modern times, we may ap- Corsa, a Ligurian woman, having peal to the histories of the Swiss, often observed a bull to swim over and of the Dutch; and the boldest to the island, and return much fatter, she had the curiosity to follow Pepin, and others, by Charles Marhim in a little vessel, and so disco- tel. The Corsicans shew to this day vered the island, with all its beauty a fountain, called by the name of and fertility. Upon which the Li. Charles, in the pieve of Alesani, and, gurians sent thither a colony; and as they say, on the spot where this from Corsa, who had made the dis- gallant Prince vanquished the Moors. covery, they called the island Corsica. By the Kings of France, Corsica
Whatever may be in this conjec. was resigned, in a perpetual gift, to ture, it is certain, that its next mas. the holy see. The Saracens howters were the Carthaginians, who ex- ever, from time to time, returned; tended their conquests over all the so that the Pope had but a very feed islands of the Mediterranean. ble and uncertain sway.
Corsica next passed under the do- The Genoese, availing themselves minion of Rome. In the first Punic of the distracted state of the island, war, and about the 4930 year from had very early contrived to settle a the building of the city, Lucius Cor. colony at Bonifaccio; and, embolnelius Scipio conquered the island. dened by degrees, they landed troops
The Romans founded two colonies on other parts of the country, and bein Corsica. The island was, like gan to bear a formidable appearance. other provinces, governed by a præ This could not fail to incense the tor. It was also made to serve for court of Rome, and to draw down a place of exile, and was very pro- upon them the thunders of the vati. per for what they called “ Relegatio can, from whence the holy father in insulam, banishment to an island." used, in those ages, to fulminate But the Romans never had a firm with serious effect against the greatest hold of this country, where that spi- powers in Europe. Accordingly, rit of liberty, which tyrants call re- the Genoese were excommunicated bellion, was ever breaking forth. by Pope Gregory the Seventh, which
On the irruption of the barbarous made them at that time desist from nations, Corsica shared the same their project. fate with the other dominions of the In this fluctuating situation Cor. ruined empire. It fell a prey to the sica continued, till one of the popes, Goths, who established there the but which of them historians are not feudal system, as they did in every agreed, sent thither Hugo Colonna, other country to which their arms a nobleman of Rome, acconipanied penetrated.
by several others of the Roman noFrom this period, the history of bility, with a good force under his Corsica is for many ages a continued command, in order to expel the inseries of war, ravage and destruction fidels from the island. When Coby a variety of contending powers, lonna landed, he was joined by When the power of the Saracens rose many of ihe inhabitants, who, durto that height, of which we reading the struggle which had been subwith amazement, they drove the sisting so long, and with such vieGoths from Corsic:a, and maintained lence, had again and again endeathe dominion there for a considerable voured to maintain themselves in a time; and it is believed that they state of freedom, and had elected a first gave the title of kingdom to certain number of chiefs, to whom Corsica ; and to, this day the coat they gave the title of Caporali. armorial of the island bears a Moor's These Caporali gave all the aid in head on its shield. At last, Corsica · their power to Colonna; and, by was actually conquered by one of their influence over the people, they the Kings of France; some say by soon brought together such a body of men, that Colonno was enabled different authors, the island enjoyed totally to rout the Saracens, and to more repose and tranquillity during dispossess them for ever.
this period, than it has ever been The Moors being rendered despe- known to enjoy. rate by this unexpected blow, were But this calm was of short endurforced to quit the island ; but before ance; for, the Genoese irritated to they went, they burnt all that they find themselves now effectually ex. possibly could ; and to this we must cluded from an island on which they greatly impute the desolation which had long set their hearts, and being, is yet to be seen in Corsica, and the over and above, the determined rivals destruction of their ancient monu- of Pisa, a keen and obstinate war ments and public archieves.
was carried on between these states; Hugo Colonna setiled in Corsica, at last, the Genoese prevailed, in having obtained from the pope dis- the famous sea-fight at Malora, near tinguished honours and extensive the mouth of the Arno; after which grants. The family of Colonna is they got intirely the mastery of Pisa, one of the most illustrious, and most and so were al length enable to seize ancient in the world. So early as upon Corsica, about the beginning the year 1200, mention is made of of the fourteenth century. Pietro Colonna, the eighth of the Thus were the Corsicans, for the name. The branch which settled in first time, brought under the power Corsica continued longin great splen- of the Genuese; with whom they dor, enjoying the noble fief of Istria; have since had such struggles for but by the confusions and troubles that freedom, which they appear to which the island has been thrown have at all times attempted to recover. into, by the bloody contests between In reviewing these strange and rathe Genoese and the patriotic Corsi- pid revolutions which this island has cans, that family hath suffered pro- undergone, we may join with Senec: digiously, and its possessions are re- in reflecting on the mutability of buduced to a very narrow compass. man affairs, and be silent on the The present head of the family is a changes which happen to individuals, worthy, sensible man, and very zea- when we contemplate the vicissitudes lous in the great cause. It is pro- of a whole nation. bable, that the Corsican.counts, mar. The Genoese having obtained the quisses, and barons, derive their ori. undoubted possession of Corsica, they gin from this period.
were eager to enjoy their power, and The island remained for some time thought they could not fully enjoy in tolerable quiet. But partly from it, but by exercising the most severe the dissentions of different parties dominion. What we have long anx. among themselves, ever impatient of iously desired acquires in our minds contradiction, and partly from the an imaginary, an extravagant value; repeated attacks of the Genoese, and, when we actually become poswhose hankering after this little sessed of it, a moderate and reason kingdom still continued, there were able fruition seems insipid and unsuch disorders, and such a defect satisfactory to our heightened exof good government, that the pope pectations. We are even, as it were, thought proper to make it over to the uncertain if we really have it. And Pisans, who were then in great power generally we never rest, till, by abu
The Pisans, while their republic sing our powers, we destroy what flourished, and their force was con- we esteemed so highly. siderable, maintained their authority An individual, who acquires a over Corsica to scry good purpose; large fortune, and a state, which and, as far as we can gather from acquires an increase of dominion, may be very properly compared.- could have secured their attachment He who gets a large fortune thinks and obedience, by insensibly leadhe cannot shew his command of ing them to a participation of the riches, but by such acts of profusion culture and felicity of civil life, and as must quickly dissipate them. And accustoming them to consider the a state, which has acquired an in- Genoese as their fellow-subjects and crease of dominion, thinks its sove- friends.. reignty is not sufficiently manifested, They took a direct contrary course; but by such acts of arbitrary oppres- their oppression was heavy, their syssion as must tend to force its sub- tem was not to render the Corsicans jects to throw off their allegiance. happier and better, but by keeping For however a people may, from in- them in ignorance, and under the dolence, from timidity, or from 0- most abject submission, to prevent ther motives, submit for a season to their endeavouring to get free; while a certain degree of tyranny ; if it is Genoa drained the island of all she long continued, and pushed to an possibly could get, chusing rather exorbitant length, nature will re- even to have less advantage by tye volt, and the original rights of men ranny, than to have a much greater will call for redress.
advantage, and risque the conseThe Genoese were the worst na quences of permitting to the inhabi. tion to whom Corsica could have tants the blessings of freedom. fallen. The Corsicans were a peo- In this unhappy situation was ple, impetuous, violent, and brave; Corsica. Osten did the natives rise who had weathered many a storm; in arms; but, having no head to di. and who could not have been go- rect them, they were immediately verned, but by a state of which they' quelled. So apprehensive however stood somewhat in awe, and which, were the Genoese, that, according by humanity and proper encourage to their own historian Filippini, they ment, might have conciliated their burnt 120 of the best villages in affections. Whereas the Genoese Corsica, while 4000 people left the were a nation of republicans just in island. the neighbourhood of the islanders; About the year 1560, Corsica rewho had long been their enemies; vived under the conduct of a great who had made so many cunning hero, who arose for the deliverance and impotent attempts to seize up- of his country. This was Sampiero on the island; that, although, by di Bastelica. He early discovered the unexpected course of events, extraordinary parts and spirit. He they were now masters of it, the was created colonel of the Corsicans Corsicans could not look upon them in France, and distinguished himwith any respect. And as it has self in almost every one of the great been always remarked that the fo- actions of that nation in his time. reign subjects of a little republic are After the death of Francis I. he went much worse used than those of a home to his native country; where great kingdom; they had reason to he married Vannina, heiress of the expect nothing but avowed tyranny house of Ornano, of the most anfrom Genoa.
cient and rich of the Corsican nobis Accordingly the Genoese, who lity; and from this time he was gewere themselves in an unstable and nerally called Sampiero di Ornano. perilous condition, seeking the protec- Being moved with the miserable, tion sometimes of one powersul state, state of his countrymen, he resolved and sometimes of another, did not to procure them relief; and for this treat the Corsicans with that gentle. a very favourable opportunity then ness and confidence, which alone presented itself.