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into a private station ) they still regarded as the properest person they could consult: and his advice to sound the tocsin, arm the lower classes of the people, and instantly exile the chiefs of both those unprincipled parties, was as promptly executed, as wisely suggested (0. The Blacks were banished into the neighbourhood of Perugia, where they continued the plots they had begun to hatch; for which purpose their Chief, Corso Donati, repaired secretly to Rome: the Whites were driven to Sarzana, where they suffered shockingly from the mal'aria; so that, upon some of them dying, the rest were permitted to return to Florence about live weeks after they had quitted it. This return was attributed by many to the corrupt influence of money; but the fact is easy to be accounted for without corruption; for the Government had far less cause to reprehend the Whites, who were not guilty of treasonable tampering with foreigners,
(i) Le poete Dante Itait un des Prieurs qui prononcerent cette sentence. Sismondi, Hist. des Repub. Ital. Vol. iv. p ii0. Here is an inaccuracy . Dante was no longer one of the Priors — bis Priorship was from June i5 to August i5 of i3oo. Priorista Fiorentino, p. 4i. But his being consulted by the Priors, their following his advice, and his being dispatched immediately aftar as Ambassador to Rome in order to endeavour to counteract the treasonable intrigues of Donati and the Blacks, are so many proofs of bis high political consequence . It was on this occasion he was over-heard saying to himself—' if I go, who is there to remain ? and, if I remaiu, who is thereto go? ' He was afterwards accused of this as of inordinate vanity. His presence was indeed equally necessary both at Florence andRome: yet even could he havt been in both places at once, the times were so turbulent it would have availtd little.
and it had already doubly chastised them by condemning them to a sickly residence (0. Dante had long ceased to be a Prior; nor does it appear that he had been again consulted by the Priors; otherwise it is reasonable to conclude that he would have reiterated his former advice, to keep the leaders of both factions out of Florence; and would have contented himself with simply transferring the Whites to some less unhealthy place of exile. Amongst these was his friend Guido Cavalcanti; who expired shortly after his arrival at home, in consequence of the Sarzana fever (»). Guido's being a White is no proof however of Dante's being partial to the Whites; since it had not prevented his recommending the sentencing of both them and him to that banishment which was cause of. his death. As speciously might he have been suspected of partiality in favour of the Blacks; because his wife was a Donati, and the worldly interests both of himself and his numerous offspring were intimately connected with the triumph of the Blacks. An unprejudiced person will consider his conduct is an instance of that all-devoted patriotism rarely to be found out of Greece and Rome at their best times; and will observe, that, in counselling the
(i) Even Dino Compagni though allied with the Blacks ( and since he was himself one of the government, no one better knew the true state of things) acknowledges frequently the lesser culpability of the Whites. 1st. Fior. Lib. i.
(a) Torno malato Guido Cavalcanti di che morlo, e di lui fu gran dannaggio. Gia. Villani, Lib. vui. cap. 4i.
banishing of the leading partisans on both sides, he sacrificed to his country, on the one hand his bosom-friend, and on the other the fortunes of himself and family. Unfortunately the /Whites though less traitorous, were not less sanguinary and impetuous than their rivals; having got entrance into Florence anew, they soon found means to render themselves dominant, and, expelling the Blacks altogether, sent them to join their exiled leaders. This is the first banishment to which Ciacco alludes when saying 'One wild faction shall expel her rival;' and it took place in June', I3oi. The epithet wild (selvaggia) was usually given to the Whites, to express the rustic origin of their chiefs, the Cerchi, conformably to what I have already stated: and that this expulsion was attended with much ' rapine,' ( con molta offensione) is also an historical fact. The Black chieftain, Corso Donati, having escaped from Perugia to Rome, engaged Boniface vm. (the Pope alluded
to in the verses 'whose faithless sail, etc' v. Lxviu
tal che teste piaggia) to persuade the brother of Phillip the fair of France, Charles Valois, or lackland , to go against Florence, and make the Blacks masters of the city, under pretence of pacifying it. His Holiness, missing no occasion of exercising a temporal interference, willingly consented; and the French Prince, then about to winter at Rome previous to his Neapolitan expedition (0, had no
(i) Yet the chronicler* of Pistoit (Rer. ItaL Scrip. Vol. xi. p. 379.— C4ST* tI.
objection to a proposal that tended to replenish his military chest: and even the Florentine Government, deeming it better to receive him amicably as Pacihcator, (for such was the new invented title given him by the wily Pontiff (0) than to push him into an alliance with the exiled faction, invited him within their walls. He therefore entered the City in procession on the first of November I3oi ; or nearly six months after the Whites had obtained the ascendancy (»). Charles had come unarmed as a peace-maker; but his concealed pretensions became visible enough in a short time; for only 4 days later, (November 5 ) a solemn Council of the Magistrates being held in one of the Churches, and authority conferred on him by it to reform and pacify the city, the assembly no sooner broke up than it beheld the whole French force drawn up armed in the great square and
M. A Salvi Delle Hist. d! Pistoia, Vol. t. p. »7i ) date Charles' visit before, not after bis expedition: which shows that they are of small authority with regard to any occurrences without the walls of their own city . We may rely on them when they speak of the rich presents made to the needy Frenchman and his Ladv— assai moneta , drappi, e porpora di seta a lui e alia sua Donna.
(i) Un litre nouveau, Pacificaleur dela Toscane. Sismondi,Hist. dm Repub. Ital. Vol. iv. p. u5.
(i) This ascendancy was precarious enough, and many Blacks were concealed in the town and some even in the administration . Nothing more brilliant than the reception of Charles; to whom however, ere entering the gates, an oath was tendered that he would obey the laws of the Republic. He took it without hesitation; although bis determination was to break it as soon as possible in every particular. It reminds one of Caesar's remark, as repeated by Lord Clarendon: Galli ridenies fidein fregeruut • Life, Vol. 4. p. i0.
apparently preparing for a sack (0. Nor was this force inconsiderable; for besides his own 8o0 horse, there came 2oo from Perugia, a pretended guard of honor, some Lucchese and Sienese with divers gentlemen from Romagna , who already were beginning the profession of condottieri, and each of whom brought with him 8 or io horse under pretext of paying court; to not one of whom tho Government dared to deny entrance: so that the whole amounted to an army of at least i20o chosen warriors The people however, indignant at the sight, rushed spontaneously to arms and quickly forced the strangers to lay down theirs. This enthusiasm was for once not factious, but the independent legitimate disdain of a foreign yoke. That it was quite clear from undue partiality to the Whites^ is demonstrated from the fact of their exiled rivals, who came gallopping into the town during the confusion , encountering no obstacle. Yet so sure of the contrary was the Gonfalonier, the elder Cerchi, that, being informed of their approach, he refused to have the gates closed or to permit the Captain of the city to attack them in any way: 'for us to go against them is superfluous' (he cried);'let them come in freely, and
(i) A di 5 . .. fu data autorita al Principe Carlo di riformare la terra con pace: ma appena esci dalla Chiesa, cbe si vide tutta la gente Fraricese armata, e in forma di voler correr la citta. Priorista Finr. p. 44.
(a) Dino Compagni, Lib. a. p. 34 — Sitmondi, Hiit. des Repub. Ital. Vol. It. p. laa.