Imagens das páginas
PDF

submitted to the injunction with a humility which did him honour; partly from a candid acknowledgment within himself, that his impetuosity might have carried him beyond the bounds of propriety, and partly from sincere affection at that time to Pio Nono: though a suspicion that the Holy Father's character was deficient in stability and truth was then first awakened in his mind, and unhappily but too fatally confirmed by succeeding circumstances.

It was in the month of January, during the temporary disgrace of Gavazzi, that the dreadful onslaught was made at Padua, by the Austrian troops, upon the student population of that city, who, carried away by the impetuosity of youth, had manifested their love of liberty in a defiance of their oppressors, by whom they had been brutally insulted. This attack they had no power to resist. Pity and horror were alike raised by the sanguinary deed, as base as it was cruel, for where was the honour of victory over those nho had no means of contest? The execrations of the people mingled with the shrieks and wailings of desolated mothers, the groans of bereaved fathers— the remaining youths were hastily recalled to their homes, the university broken up, and prayers were offered and solemn funeral rites performed, in many of the chief cities, for those who had fallen untimely on the unequal field, like flowers cut off in their bloom. Home shared in the general feeling; her students implored Gavazzi to pay the tribute of his eloquence to their brothers, murdered in the streets of Padua. Grief and rage unchained his tongue; he thundered forth, in the Church of the University, a philippic against tyranny in all its hideous forms, and lamented over its recent victims, with an agony of regret that at once melted his congregation into woman's weakness, and roused in them the most ardent desire to avenge those for whom they mourned. This harangue was a deep aggravation, at the Vatican, of Gavazzi's previous offence; he was condemned to expiate it in the Convent of Polveriera, from whence, as though its discipline, notorious for its severity, was yet not severe enough, he was secretly transferred' to the Capuchin Convent of Genzano. But he was not destined to imprisonment and inactivity. The proclamation of the republic in France, and the temporary triumph of the liberal party at Vienna, were events that carried the hopes of Italy up to their climax. One long cry of brotherhood and unity sounded through the land, and troops were sent from all parts, into Lombardy, and to Venice, to repel the hordes which Austria was certain to pour upon those points, as soon as she should recover from the stupor of the blow she had received. At Rome sprang up, as if by magic, an army of youthful volunteers, whose "kauti virile" and " ardeur palriolique," drew forth the warmest eulogiums from the high-spirited and munificent Princess Belgioso, who repeatedly witnessed their courage, and who had herself conducted into the field a regiment fitted out solely at her own individual expense.

These were not times to keep a man like Gavazzi shut up in a convent—and he was soou to be seen

parading the streets of Rome with a tri-coloured cross upon his broad breast, the emblem at once of his devotion to his sacred calling and to his country. Often have we seen him thus decorated, shedding the light of his resplendent countenance from the gallery of the Chamber of Deputies, on the speakers below; often heard his animating exhortations ring through the arches of the Colosseum, his voice, all-powerful though it be, almost overwhelmed in the thunders of applause his arguments called forth. All parties owned the power of his eloquence, and the force of his reasoning, and when the troops were summoned to the Vatican, to receive on themselves, their arms, their banners, and their cause, the Papal benediction, and the blessing of God, Gavazzi was nominated the chaplain in chief. That same evening he was admitted to a private interview with Pio Nono, who in the course of it invested him with full power to exercise due authority over the other chaplains, and graciously bestowed upon him a special blessing, for his welldoing in his new vocation. The Holy Father moreover favoured him with some communications which he had much rather have been without, as they only tended to confirm in him the suspicions he had already begun to entertain, as to the Pontiff's firmness and sincerity in the cause of emancipation. In short, he was given to understand that the passage of the Po was permitted by Pio Nono, not to vindicate the rights of the Italian nation, nor to repel the Austrian aggression of them,—not for any veneration of liberty in itself, or desire to extend its blessings among his people,—in short, not for any great national or disinterested cud whatsoever, but solely for the recovery of the petty territory of Polesine for the Holy See! Such was the footing, whether true or not, upon which the Holy Father chose to put an expedition that exposed the flower of his subjects to death, in order, we may presume, to leave himself "a hole to creep out at," if interrogated by his "trusty and well-beloved cousin " of Austria, as to his motives for sanctioning the expedition.

To track the progress of Gavazzi through the Roman States is unnecessary; at Perugia, Padua, Venice, everywhere his voice was heard appealing, encouraging, beseeching, warning, threatening,—everywhere it was listened to with enthusiastic delight, and no doubt his eloquence was one of the most powerful weapons that were employed at that time in the liberal cause. As brave in the field as he was eloquent in the forum, his tall figure might be seen in the thickest of the fight, comforting the dying, or carrying off the wounded to a place of safety. Four of his brothers attended him in this campaign, and proved themselves worthy of the name which he was destined to render celebrated throughout the whole civilized world. In the retreat of the Piave he was exposed to great personal insult from the enemy, and often incurred considerable danger: returning to Florence, he resumed his discourses there, but was soon seized by the authorities, and conveyed across the frontier. He then sought shelter with a relative a few miles from Bclogna, but his hiding-place being discovered, orders were issued for his arrest: lie was enabled, however, to escape to Milan, by the kindness of Cardinal d'Amat, the Governor of Bologna, who contrived to warn him of his peril, and scut him money to facilitate his departure. At Milan he found the state of parties, harassed, irritated, and distrustful of each other, unfavourable to his declamations; and the case was the same at Genoa, to which city he repaired after the capitulation of Milan. Bologna proved a more congenial field; he was implored by the inhabitants to raise his voice against the dreadful crime of assassination, which, joined to the horrors, of brigandage, was then carrying terror into the bosoms of the most respectable families. Taking Aucona in his way, he there greatly strengthened the public feeling in favour of liberty; and, arriving at Bologna, he added the force of his eloquence to the calmer arguments and judicious measures of Galletti, by which tranquillity and order were in a great measure restored. His reward was an order for his arrest, despatched from Rome by Rossi, and carried into immediate execution by that minister's colleague, Zucchi. Gavazzi was now in more real peril than he had perhaps ever been exposed to, amid a shower of bullets, with destruction stalking round him. Though still retaining the titular dignity of Chaplaiu-in-Chicf to the Pontilical Forces, and of which no step had been taken by the Papal Court to deprive him, he was sent like a common malefactor to Corncto. In the dungeons of that town, devoted solely to the imprisonment of priests, and wherein are practised severities and cruelties that would not be allowed in any civil establishment, not even for the most atrocious crimes, Gavazzi might, under the ancien regime, have languished out the remainder of his days, unheard of, amid chains and stripes, hunger and filth, and every species of insult, companioned with the most guilty and most degraded of men, the very dregs of a venal and corrupt priesthood; but in passing through Viterbo, the people flew to his rescue, and carried him off in triumph from the grasp of his guards. This bold manifestation of popular feeling alarmed the papal government so much that an order was instantly sent in confirmation of his release. Immediately quitting the Roman States, he retraced his steps to Venice, where, however, he was now coldly received; the public sentiments had undergone a change; he was accused, though very unjustly, of advocating Communism, and pushing all his opinions to the ultra: but soon a gleam of brilliant light shot once more across his path. The Pope fled from Rome; the government was left in the hands of Gavazzi's admirers and friends; joyfully he presented himself among them, joyfully was he welcomed by them. Soon were his courage and his eloquence called forth—the approach of the Trench roused them to the utmost, and once more he might be seen, foremost in the place of danger, waving his cross on the city walls, bearing the wounded to the hospital, blessing the dying, consoling the alflictcd— everywhere the zealous priest, the devoted citizen, the brave patriot. But Rome fell at last, and Gavazzi, unable to endure the spectacle of her second subjuga

tion, sought refuge in England, where, for many months after his arrival, he had to struggle with povertj aud all its degrading attendants. He made his first appearance before the public on occasion of delivering a funeral oration in honour of his friend and townsman, the excellent priest, Ugo Bassi, basely and secretly murdered at midnight, in his native city, by the Austrians, under the pretended legality of martial orders. We were among the auditors of that evening, and cannot imagine it possible ever to forget the effect which his commanding figure, his noble attitudes, his varied and most expressive action, the deep pathos of his voice, the dignified energy of his grief, produced upon his impressionable countrymen,—and we may add upon ourselves,—as he eulogized the virtues of lis martyred brother in spiritual arms, and loaded fill solemn maledictions the tyranny that sought to extend itself throughout Europe by the destruction of ill who attempted to obstruct its course.

From this time Gavazzi's fortunes began to assume somewhat of a brighter aspect. Simple in bis personal habits as a monk in his cell, very little was sufficient for his actual need; he had now made himself known —soon he was applied to for instruction, which furnished him from day to day with the means of support. At length his fellow-exiles in this country, duly appreciating how valuable his abilities would prove in giving publicity to their cause, clubbed their slender pittances together, to procure him a suitable room wherein to deliver a course of lectures upon the errors aud abuses of the Church of Rome, and the mal-adrninistration of the temporal government of the Pope. The interest of the public was speedily excited in the lecturer, and has continued to increase until he has acquired a universal popularity. He is indeed, we should imagine, at this moment, the most powerful and accomplished orator in Europe—nature has given him every requisite talent, and circumstances have combined to draw forth all his extraordinary qualifications. He is equally to be desired as an advocate, and dreaded as an opponent. He is not one of the mealy-mouthed who

"never mentions Hell to ears polite;"

nor of the over refined and subtle reasoners who wast* their finer wits in trying, like the gifted Burke, to

"cut blocks with a razor."

He employs expressive terms, and striking illustrations: —and if his constitutional impetuosity, his zeal in the cause of his country's freedom, and the peculiar genius of his mother-tongue, sometimes hurry him into personal vituperation, and coarseness of epithet or comparison, it can only be said that violent diseases require violent remedies; the abuses, the turpitude aud the tyrannies of the papal court, as proved by all history, cannot be exaggerated by any language; the iniquities of its secret proceedings require to be stated by a bold voice, nor can they be detected and laid faithfully open by a keener eye, a more unflinching hand, than that of this warrior-priest, whose constant text seems to be

"Cry aloud—spare not!'

LITE IN PBAIRIE LAND.

BY ELIZA W. FAENHAlt.

'this work, which has been universally admired, both in Xogliod and America, for its vivid pictures of western life, as well ss the beauty of its style, has, strange to say, never been reprinted in this country, and it is accordingly introduced to our readers in the foil confidence that it will afford them no small measure of gratification.]

Chapter I.

Embarkation for the Illinois—Western steamboats in general—The Hanner in particular—Her captain and crew—Hooshier bride and bridegroom—A walk-in St. Louis—A horrible talo of Lynching.

Os the morning of one of the last days of April, IS—, there was a small party of persons collected in the cabin of a steamboat which had just arrived at St. Louis from Louisville, discussing some topic which seemed to possess for them an engrossing interest. This party consisted of six persons, four ladies and two gentlemen, all evidently travellers. Tbe question was how and when they should prosecute the remainder of their voyage up the principal eastern tributary which the father of waters receives above the Ohio. One of the gentlemen had explored tbe forest of steamboats which crowded the wharf of this growing city, and reported that there was but one advertised "For the Illinois this evening, without fail;" that he could not get on board of her, but thought her appearance extremely unpromising. It was near the close of the week, and as the other gentleman was a clergyman, and he and his party had, moreover, no dear friends from whom they had been separated seven long years, awaiting their arrival, they concluded to stop till the succeeding one. They accordingly went on shore, and the writer aud her companion set out, accompanied by a cartman and sundry trunks, chests, &c, to find the elegant, fait-sailing, high-pressure boat that was going "up the Illinois this evening, without fail."

We had travelled far enough on the western waters already to have learned that the "this evening" of the bills might possibly be adjourned twenty-four or even thirty-six hours; but faith is no less requisite on western steamboats than elsewhere, and summoning all ours, we embarked ourselves and our baggage on board the "Banner." We soon found the faith which led us on board was a mere rush-light to that necessary to keep ns there. If steamboats had been running on the Illinois at the time when Noah "plored the summit of Ararat, ono would have affirmed that this very "Banner " was the pioneer of that period. But there is a story to be told, by-and-by, of the Crst craft of this kind that ever went up the Illinois, and its effect on the settlers, which unfortunately conflicts with this supposition, and drives the antiquarian to a period comparatively modern, as that 'Inch gave birth to the Banner. She was not a very kfge boat, but what sho wanted in size was amply Wmpensated in filth. One flight of stairs between 'he cabins was carpeted, and sundry small patches »nu remained on the floor of that in which we ate, being too firmly fastened by mingled grease and clay

to be easily removed. It is not perhaps generally known, that these articles, properly compounded, make a paste which is quite firm and nearly insoluble in cold water. I mention it for the benefit of the unenlightened, and can bear ample testimony to its virtues, having seen them repeatedly demonstrated in various ways at the west. The floors were broken, the stairs dilapidated; there was no linen for the berths, the hurricane deck leaked, and its edge was hung with delicate filaments of tar, which the warmth of the sun often drew to an inconvenient length and sometimes quite severed, irrespective of the welfare of those passing beneath. The waste of steam was so great that the wheels effected only about four revolutions a minute, and the boat had a strange habit, which I could not then fully comprehend, but which has sinoe been satisfactorily explained by a scientific friend, of occasionally running twice or thrice her length, with considerable rapidity, and then suddenly lurching so as to throw every thing to the larboard. She averaged five of these spasms a day. There was a one-handed chambermaid on board, a one-eyed cook, and a three-fingered boy to wait at table. But all these imperfections were more than compensated by the exquisite finish and perfection of the captain. He was a soft-voiced, red-haired gentleman, in white silk hose, and Trench pumps, umbrageous ruffles, and a light satin cravat; who had strangely enough been transferred from his natural profession of lounging in the Broadway of some western town, to the command of this antediluvian piece of water craft. One could draw his portrait this day, by adding a thatch of red bristles over the mouth, and substituting for the silken hose, gaiters of the neatest fit and finish. On deck he wore lemon-coloured gloves. The first polish of the laundress was taken off his snowy linen pantaloons when I first saw him, and the plaits of his ruffle had relaxed a little from their precise angles, but the satin cravat, the pumps and hose, were unexceptionable. He walked with a mincing, uneasy gait through the little hall which led to the ladies' cabin, and presented himself before my astonished eyes—one delicate glove drawn on, and the other straightened in his hand— with a bow that would have graced the drawing-room of St. James's.

"It's a ver-ry-warm day, miss." I looked my astonishment, and was about informing him that the gentlemen's cabin was in some other part of the boat, when he laid his white hand on one of the filthy chairs, and placing it near the door, seated himself upon it, with such an at-horac sort of air, looking at the same time so familiar with the filth aud disorder about, that I felt convinced he must be a part of the establishment. He must either be the captain or clerk, for the cook is black, and none of the hands would dare undertake a prank of this kind. These thoughts passed rapidly through my mind, while the object of them was adjusting his cravat, arranging his hair, and passing his cambrio handkerchief slowly over his moist forehead, so that, notwithstanding my deliberation, I. replied, before he was entirely prepared to continue the conversation, that so far as the temperature was concerned, I was happy to be able to coincide with him.

"You are going up the Illinois, miss?"

"I am delighted with your sagacity, sir," I replied; "that forms a part of my present expectation."

"Have you ever been up?"

"Never, sir."

"Then you have a delightful trip before you."

"I admire your taste," I replied, glancing at the naked floor, the mutilated chairs, and the greasy berths.

"How far up do you go, miss?"

"I am not informed, sir, as to the exact distance."

"You have recently arrived in this region, I presume P"

"I have, sir."

"I shall have great pleasure in carrying so intelligible a young lady into the country."

"You flatter me."

"0 no, miss, I believe I speak truth."

"Your sagacity, sir, is beyond praise."

Before lie had time to reply, a young chap in a red calico shirt, with a face dirtier than I can describe, presented himself at the door and bawled out, "Cappen, please to come Ayur.1 John's dead done with whiskey, the new engineer's gone off on a spree, and th' ain't nobody to keep the fire up." Hereupon the '* cappen" rose and departed, with a pompous solicitation that I would excuse his absence.

He had been gone but a very few moments when the one-handed chambermaid entered, directing in a raw Hooshier girl who had been our fellow-passenger from Louisville. Poor child! even her eyes, trained as they were to rude sights, looked astonished at the poverty and filth about her. I did not wonder that she started with an exclamation of delight and said, "I'm right glad to see you!" though we had never exchanged a word before. She was a tall, dark featured person, with a head of fine black hair that flowed to her feet when the horn comb was withdrawn from it. Her stature was large, her hands and feet proportionably so. She was accompanied by a man whose relation to her had excited a good deal of speculation among us. Ho was several years her senior; had lost three of his front teeth, wore a red flannel shirt with a standing collar of the same, supported by a cotton pocket-handkerchief, a fur cap, and the thickest of all possible boots, the tops of which were just invaded by the bottoms of a pair of jean pantaloons. His attentions to his travelling companion were so peculiar that we had been in a delightful state of uncertainty all the way as to what this relation could be. They were authoritative enough for those of a father, but then their age forbade the supposition. He might have been an uncle, but she never called him so; possibly a cousin, but no woman ever so prized the attention of a mere cousin. He could scarcely have been a brother, because there was

(1) It is difficult to convey by any written combination of letters the sound of this word as uttered by the natives of these regions. It is more like yut preceded by h sharply aspirated, than anything else to which I can liken it.

not the fahitest resemblance between them. What 'j then could he be? We had examined and rejected' every supposition but that of his being her husband;!! but nobody would listen to that, because supported by no probabilities. The riddle was turned over to me for solution. It cannot be wondered at, that in such desperate circumstances, I looked upon their . entrance as quite a providence, and reciprocated the self-gratulation expressed by my fellow-passenger.

She seated herself on one chair, deposited bet bundle on another, and laughing the while, exclaimed, "This hyur boat ain't set out so smart by a heap i: t'other. I 'lowed we shouldn't have such a fine phs to be in ail the way."

"Why," said I, "had you been told that the boats up the Illinois were so poorly furnished?"

"No, I never heern nothin about 'em, but 'tain't h natur to have such carpets, and cheers, and gkssei everywhere; it costs a heap to have 'em."

Poor child! the splendours of a comfortable eibii had been to her like the show of regal magnifieenK to a peasant; and she could say with poor Hkdi though not in language so sentimental, "I Law, I knew it could not last!"

In a few minutes her companion made his appearance, and announced that he had toted the plunder aboard, and as the boat wa'nt goin to start till after night, he was goin up to see the place. He gave In no invitation to accompany him, nor did she seem Id expect it. I did not wish to broach lie question it once, so we had a few words on indifferent topics, til Hal (I believe I have forgotten to say that my trafellia; companion bore that convenient eoubriquet) entered and asked mc if I would like to stroll an hour or two over the western city.

"Most gladly," I replied; "a wilderness and motto were preferable to this tedious place."

"Have you seeu the captain?" was his next questim

"Yes; he has paid his respects formally."

"Well, he's a character, isn't he, to finish off such i boat as this? but we'll have some fun out of tin before we part."

We sallied forth, and my heart really ached as IW' the solitary girl sitting there, robbed of all the spfadour that had so delighted her senses for the last fe» days, and alone. She looked sad, and I made E interrogative sign to Hal about asking her to acet* pany us, with all the oddities of her person and apparel but he shook his head. When we were out, I asked why he had refused my request.

"Why," said he, "Mr. Red-flannel may prefer to escort his wife himself, and his preference might be expressed rather strongly if he found me doing it without his consent. We don't know how tin* Hooshiers will receive any civilities to which thej art not accustomed; and you have heard enough of tt< modes in which they express their displeasure, to * aware that it is no slight thing to awaken it. 1" see that clump of trees yonder in the skirt of the city.

"Yes; but what have they to do with the iwentoefl of insult or wrong?"

"Much. There is a heap of ashes under one of them with which this pleasant wind is playiug, as if they were not the most revolting object that could be found on the face of this republic."

"And what, pray, renders them such? Your face tells a tale of horror."

"And well it may; for last night, only last night, a man, an unfortunate and guilty one it may be, but still a man, and a citizen of this proud state, was tied to that tree and burned alive!"

"Merciful heaven, it cannot be!"

"Yes, it is even so, and a crowd of people were gathered around to witness the fearful spectacle."

"And was there no heart during all that period of agony to relent and turn the tide of fury into pity and tenderness? A word uttered in the spirit of human love must have done it, methinks, and made the most violent ready to bear their suffering victim away in their arms."

"It remained unspoken, then; for the damning (act is recorded on earth as well as in heaven."

"It surely must blast the peace of every person who had any knowledge of it and did not interpose to prevent it. But what was his offence? Surely it must have been very aggravated to have awakened such awful vengeance."

"I have not learned the precise circumstances, but rumour (and that from those who approved, or at least suffered the disgraceful event to take place, would, we nny suppose, attribute to him his full measure of iniquity) says that he had led a desperate sort of life on the river and in its vicinity. His final offence was stabbing an officer who attempted to arrest him for some recent crime."

"Did the wound produce instant death?"

"No. I believe the man is still living, or at least survived some hours. I have understood that he was very much esteemed, and had a family of small children. But these are less than feather weights in the scale that will balance the guilt of his murderers."

"These things are awful truly, and disgraceful too, if we consider the boasted supremacy and efficiency of our laws. I trust the like does not occur so often that the city is not agitated by it."

"No, such extreme cases do not; but this is only an extreme one of a class of public offences that are frequent here. Individual or associated feeling often assumes the prerogative of law in the infliction of lesser punishments."

"Well, it is not perhaps, on reflection, so extraordinary as it seems at first sight to us. We come from a region comparatively old, where time has defined right and interest, and developed more fully the power of law, and established rules of action. Here all is new. Passion may break forth and do its fatal misdeeds, before the slower majesty of law is perceived ty the turbulent actors to be sufficient for their purposes. Such scenes must exhibit clearly to every reflecting mind the necessity of framing in our seasons of entire self-possession rules by which we will abide when these have passed away. Fanatical liberalists

may term them shackles to restrain our future freedom, but I would that every one of such might stand beside that funeral dust. Before the awful truth taught there, his ravings for large liberty would shrink into their true insignificance."

"But if such lessons are not learned from the pages of history, black with the records of fouler violence than this, how shall the shallow minds which reject them there, imbibe them here?"

"True; but we are wandering far, and your horrible recital has been so painful that I am less disposed to walk than before I heard it. Let us return."

Chapter, II.

Departure from St. Louis—The first night on board tno Banner— The next morning—Speed of our boat—Junction of the Missouri and Mississippi—Xanding at Alton—Unpardonable behaviour of the boat under trying circumstances—Disaster to tho captain—A specimen of Hooshier indignation.

Ojt reaching the wharf, we found things wearing a very busy appearance. The engine was wheezing like an asthmatic, some rough-looking men were toting plunder on board, the captain stood upon the guard with both gloves drawn on and buttoned, the hands were moving about as if intent on business, and things began to wear quite the aspect of departure. This wa3 encouraging.

"Will you start to-night, captain?" said Hal.

"Certainly, sir," taking out his repeater. "Bing the bell, Jack. That's our first bell; we shall be off in an hour."

"Beally," said I, as we walked np the street, "this affair has some creditable points; its punctuality for instance."

"Yes, you'll learn the value of that when our friends who wait here till Monday pass us halfway up the Illinois."

"Now out upon your croaking, and let's put a cheerful face on the attempt, since we have made it."

The hour extended from one o'clock to six. We left the wharf just as the sun was setting, and if the reader escapes a common-place description of spires gilded by his last rays, of windows blazing with crimson and golden light, of trees shaking their small foliage in the evening wind, and of the dying hum of the city, stealing fainter and fainter on our ears as the muddy waters parted slowly before our prow, he may thank the Banner and her peerless captain. Either were sufficient to have put to flight the sentimentality of a legion of school-misses,—both together quite routed mine; not to mention our red-flannelled Hooshier, or his long-haired bride. Every thing about mo was so thoroughly uncomfortable, that I felt no disposition to rest in any anticipation short of that which pictures the homes and faces we so longed to see. Three days of this dismal journeying were reported to lie between us and them, and it required under such circumstances some heroism in man or woman to look forward through their tedious length.

I was fatigued, and requested the chambermaid to prepare my berth as early as possible. She offered me a very disinterested piece of advice in reference to its which I shall give here for the benefit of such as may

« AnteriorContinuar »