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Mission of Rinuccini as Papal Nuncio.
authorises the nuncio to act upon the mere recital of his powers without exhibiting the original, and which therefore seems to justify his refusal to produce them when required by the archbishop. The result of the appeal was a remittal of the sentence to the nuncio for reconsideration, a measure probably equivalent to a disapproval of the expediency of the measure, avoiding a decision on the question of law. The court of Rome might perhaps, among other motives for evading a reversal of the judgment, be influenced by an unwillingness to countenance even indirectly the objections to the sentence arising from the illegality of the whole proceeding by statute law, which in the minds of the lay nobility, and even with some of the clergy, had weighed more than any arguments against its canonical validity. From time to time the nuncio had from the first been irritated by the dislike of foreign jurisdiction and the reverence for English law, which he found rooted in the minds of Irish statesmen; and even though he succeeded in establishing a court for ecclesiastical purposes, he was often thwarted with doubts as to the sovereignty of the pope, and scruples as to an infringement of the deep-rooted loyalty to the king, opinions which he can only refer to as grievous and shocking, 'massime acerbe,' or cose orribili.'
In January the indignation produced by the trial and death of the king made all attempts to separate the new confederates hopeless. Ormond had resumed the government with the concurrence of almost every party, though O'Nial still held aloof, and soon afterwards joined the English in despair. Even the northern Scotch were converted to royalism, though it naturally appeared that they hated the papists and malignants more than they loved the king; and Sir Charles Coote, who commanded for the parliament in Connaught, declared his disapprobation of the execution of Charles. The intimation of the lord-lieutenant that the nuncio must leave the kingdom was soon followed by his departure. He sailed from Galway in the same vessel which had brought him to Ireland, and arrived safely in Normandy, where he found that France was in universal confusion from the commencing troubles of the war of the Fronde. His interviews with the disaffected chiefs, with Longueville in Normandy, and Condé at Dijon, seem to have roused the ancient suspicion of Mazarine, and Bagni again looked with an evil eye on the neighbourhood of a possible successor. On his arrival in Rome he was, according to some writers, ordered to confine himself to his diocese, though his present biographer asserts that he was offered a high post near the person of the pope, as the reward of his faithful services. Not long afterwards he retired to Fermo, where he died in 1653.
The events which followed his departure showed that he had
not been the sole cause of Irish dissension. Thwarted by the clergy, disobeyed by the factious cities, constantly suspected, insulted and calumniated, Ormond struggled in vain to uphold the cause of Ireland. It is gratifying to remember that he placed implicit trust in O'Nial, when that gallant chieftain joined him in consequence of the hostility he met with from his English allies; but his death, which soon followed, and that of his chief adviser, and successor in command, Ever Mac Mahon, Bishop of Clogher, who having been the ablest assistant of Rinuccini, became for the sake of his country the faithful ally of Ormond, broke up the army of Ulster, which had so long been the mainstay of the war. After the suicidal refusal of Limerick to admit a garrison from his army, embarrassed by the declarations against popery extorted from the young king in Scotland, and at last excommunicated by the clergy, the lord-lieutenant retired from Ireland, in the hope that his deputy, Clanricarde, might, as a Catholic, be better obeyed. But not even the progress of Cromwell and Ireton could bring the Irish to unity, nor was there now any hope of victory. Clanricarde, faithful to the last, kept the war alive in the west and the north, till, in pursuance of the king's express commands recalling him from a useless struggle, he made terms for himself, and the troops immediately under his command, and was allowed to retire to the continent. The subsequent treatment of Ireland by the conquerors does not belong to our present subject.
Notwithstanding his errors and ill fortune, there is much in Rinuccini's career which is not unworthy of respect. We see nothing to censure in the direction of his wishes to the absolute triumph of the Catholic cause untainted by heretic assistance, nor was he wrong in his judgment that the confederates had within themselves sufficient material resources to ensure an unaided victory. His error consisted in obstinate blindness to the community of feeling and interest between the Catholic and the Protestant aristocracy. The leaders of the confederacy, Muskerry, Mountgarret, Castlehaven, and Taaffe, were identified by a thousand points of connexion with Ormond, and in the presence of a common enemy were not likely to be kept apart by the single difference of religion. A prudent statesman would have discovered from the first the impossibility of entire success: a reasonable man would at least have acknowledged it after the breaking up of the siege of Dublin. But the nuncio was, in modern language, a statesman of principle, so firmly bent on an imaginary object, as to be incapable of falling back on a practicable alternative. It was in his power to cement a league, which for the time could have driven all invaders into the sea, which might possibly have changed the fate of England, and, at the worst, might have yielded
Mission of Rinuccini as Papal Nuncio.
on favourable conditions. The Catholics, forming the bulk of its strength, would have been too formidable for neglect, and could have forcibly claimed the gratitude of their allies. But Protestants would have been allowed to ring church bells in Dublin, and private masses would have been said in houses, and monks might have walked beyond their cloisters unaccompanied and out of costume. The image of order and pomp in the nuncio's mind would have been disturbed, his conscience would have accused him of partaking in the unclean thing. He preferred to accomplish all at once without reference to expediency, and consequently without hope of durability. Because he had held ever aloof from heretics; because he had taught Waterford and Galway to imitate the splendour of Italian processions; because he had planted the tree of Catholicism in full leaf and flower as he loved to see it, he felt sorrow without remorse when it withered and died, when masses and processions were abolished, and priests and monks were hung like bandits-liberaverat animam suam.' Such are statesmen of so called principle, and of religious principle in particular. Yet in comparison with his Protestant contemporaries of the same occupation the nuncio rises high in our respect and esteem. He had all the bigotry and intolerance of a priest, but he had also the activity and talents of an Italian: when we think of the Scotch divines who superintended the morals of Charles II., and promised victory to Leslie, and argued about Providence against the conclusive logic of Cromwell, we are inclined for the time to look upon Rinuccini as a wise man, a statesman, and a general.
In reading the narrative of the war for its intrinsic interest, most men would sympathise with the Catholic cause and regret its final defeat. An Englishman may pause before he wishes that Cromwell should have failed in subduing Ireland, recollecting the great power which would have accrued to the crown, and which might have afterwards enabled the Stuarts to crush in the bud the opening destinies of England. But there can be but one opinion, that if it could not be exclusively Protestant, it would have been better for Ireland itself to become Catholic, while Catholicism was still allied to loyalty. It is unpleasant to remember that two centuries have done little to increase the healthiness of her condition, new causes of dissension arising where old divisions have grown over with time. The old Irish and the old English have become nearly indistinguishable, but the fury of religious hatred has not abated, and the power of the priesthood has been strengthened. In the time of Charles I. the landed gentry and the great nobility were for the most part of the religion of the people, and sharing their feelings had it in their power to mitigate their virulence. The land is now in the hands of Pro
testants, whose loyalty may be undoubted, but who can no longer secure the adherence of their dependents. It is not improbable that the people may still retain something of their old feeling of attachment to the crown; but under our modern constitution the crown has ceased to be a substantive power, though its share in the government is weighty. On the other hand, the feeling of England has become friendly to the people of Ireland, on whom the change may perhaps produce a beneficial effect, if it is ever suffered to penetrate to their knowledge. A more valuable security against the worst of evils for Ireland is the great increase of the relative strength of the imperial government. The thorough amalgamation of England and Scotland, and the great development in modern times of the available resources of civilised states, has made Ireland, notwithstanding the increase of its population, more incapable of open opposition than it was in the seventeenth century. With peace there is always hope, though proposed remedies for Irish evils have hitherto been generally based on unattainable conditions. When it is proposed to establish a strong Executive, to substitute the Catholic for the Protestant church, it would be as easy and as useless to propose at once the results which such measures are intended to accomplish. The government which should take the first step would array against it the majority in Ireland and a great party in England; and if it was found that the first step was intended as the foundation of the second, the indignation of the remaining population of both countries would swell the opposition to overflowing. We by no means here intimate that either measure is desirable. It is enough, with the example of Rinuccini before us, to advise men to attempt what is practicable.
ART. II. Was ich erlebte: aus der Erinnerung niedergeschrieben. (Events of my Life.) Von HEINRICH STEFFENS. 7ter und 8ter Band. Breslau. 1843.
HENRY STEFFENS, by birth a Norwegian, now a professor in Berlin, is well known to the literary and scientific world as a natural philosopher, and a novel writer of no vulgar mark. In the present volumes he has given us personal memoirs of his share of the great European movement made by the Germans against Napoleon in the years 1813 and 1814; and the value of the contributions thus made to the history of that important period, cannot, we think, be better expressed than in the following words of the author himself.
"Generally speaking," says he, "there is no literary undertaking more difficult than a genuine historical account of the wars of modern
The Liberation War in Germany.
times. Since the art of war has become a regular science, the narration of wars assumes a character only too like the exposition of a fixed system; and as the battles themselves, whatever motives may influence them, are at bottom combats of military principles rather than of moral agents; so the account of them is apt to reduce itself to a mere dry detail of marches and counter-marches, of advancing and retreating armies, of the quantity of ammunition taken, and the number (often not at all to be depended on) of killed, and wounded, and taken prisoners; or it takes the shape of a regular scientific exposition, which annihilates all that is living and characteristic, and commands a sort of general interest only when something external and accidental interferes to modify the action of the scientific principle. In works of this kind, whatever is purely human appears as a disturbing element, and, where it cannot be altogether omitted, is only tolerated. The individual man, just because in his greatest moments he contains something mysterious and unfathomable, is rejected as incompatible with the ordered rigour of the system; every irregular outburst of vital poetry is inadmissible. Even that which is purely accidental, and beyond the control of human measurement, and which, were it let alone, might assume a character of sublimity, is often forced to appear on the historical stage as the result of a plan that, in fact, did not exist till after the victory was gained. In the narrations of Herodotus and Thucydides again these opposing elements interpenetrate one another, and are essentially one. Men are placed before us in earnest struggle for all that makes human existence valuable and forces the heart of man to feel strongly for man; and this living centre of interest, amid all the formal machinery of military circumstance, is never lost sight of. I have, accordingly, determined to relate my experience of German history, within my own narrow sphere, simply as I experienced it, with every personal feeling and relation as it arose within me or stood before me; and this method of treatment is likely to be satisfactory even to the already well instructed reader, just in proportion to the disrespect shown to every thing merely personal by the modern historians. I have no inclination, of course, to detract from the high merits of those who have treated these matters systematically; but the simple narration of a man of letters, who took part in the struggle, when already advanced in life, will not be without an interest of its
These remarks express a feeling to which not Coleridge only and Carlyle, among recent British spokesmen, have given strong utterance; but which must have been felt, more or less, by almost every person of sentiment in these times who has read or attempted to read modern history. A good battle, well described, now and then may possess a pictorial and an artistical value, even when it wants a true human interest; but a series of battles, minutely described, can have merely a scientific interest to those by whom they are minutely studied; and are to the general reader (especially where plans are not supplied) wearisome, and, except as an