Imagens das páginas

engage the attention of the traveller. His researches should pe. netrate deeper into the history, the changes, the elevations, and the falls, of all the various States through which he passes. Italy is, itself, a very lecture upon the science of politics, not an abstract and delusive theory, but in the most extended practice. He who can pass over the changes and the convulsions which this divided country has experienced within this last eventful century, without tracing them up to their various causes; and without examining every link in the chain of events, from the days of its ancient grandeur, to the hour of its present de. gradation, is not worthy the name of an Italian traveller.

Many specious reasons have been advanced and defended to palliate the injustice and impolicy of suffering Austria to take possession of Italy. In a former number, while speaking of a late production of the celebrated Archbishop of Malines *, we placed the question beyond the power of dispute, as far as it concerns the pretended political balance of Europe ; the position is not less true in regard to Italy itself. The Austrian government is the worst government the Italians could possibly have; and the annihilation of Genoa, and the consolidation of other principalities under the German sway, far from lessening the evil, will only encrease discontent. The Sicilian press, the only free press that exists at present on the Continent, will continually shew to its country men the dejection of their situation, and point to the cause which has at once blastel all their bopes, and almost blotted their name out from amongst the nations of Europe. Do the powers of Congress, does Francis 1. think, that the Italians will submit to such an ignominy? If they think so, they are much, very much mistaken. Armed force, in the general subversion of Europe, may, perhaps, depress for a while the just bursts of national indignation ; but when the regular affairs of their own dominions will have lulled the sovereigns of Europe into a thoughtless security, as to what passes without, then they will find the impolicy, nay the folly, of the doctrine which caused them to consider meu as mere objects of exchange, and territories as portions of an open common.

We have been led into much thought by the perusal of the little volume which now lies open before us; and though it be but rather an hasty account of a very interesting tour, yet the author now and iben, without even being aware of it, retails some anecdotes, which too well establish the truth of our doc. trine.

• Vide British Critic, New Series, July, 1816; Article, Con. gress of Vienna, page 46.

“ Trieste " Trieste is very prettily situated at the foot of a mountain, over which others rise in succession. They are all covered with ncat white painted country-houses, the residences of the richest merchants; and, being scattered in every direction, have a very pleasing effect from the sea.

“ The vessel was ordered into the quarantine harbour, round which a lazaretto is built for the reception of passengers, and into which we were removed as soon as we had passed an examination before a medical man. We were then told that we must remain there during thirty days before we should be at liberty, and which, I believe, we should have done but for a circumstance which, though pleasant to me individually, might have been of serious consequence to the town, as the public health might have been completely sacrificed for the sake of interest. Another vessel arrived from Malta on the same day with us, bringing only one passenger, a Jew. This Jew was the son of a rich merchant, who had frequently lent money to the Austrian government. It so happened that, about the eighteenth day after our confinement, certain holidays occurred. The family, not having seen their Joseph for some years before, were very anxious to have him with thein on that occasion ; and the father used all his in Auence with the police to get him liberated. He petitioned day after day, and at last obtained his wish. The son was let out, after we had all retired to rest at night; but in the morning, upon hearing of the event, we began to remonstrate with the guardian or keeper for this partiality. We were answered, that in a short time we should be at liberty also, but were desired to be silent. Several passen. gers who had arrived only one day after us, were obliged to perform their allotted time.'P. 12.

Such is the government to whom we have consigned a nation, whose members, on every account possess qualifications which would render them the masters of their masters, if detur nobilivri could confer command. But, unfortunately, the division of Italy into so many little principalities has always made that beautiful country

“ Pugnar col brando di straniere genti
Per servir

sempre o vincitrice, o vinta.” But in order to give our readers a proper idea of Italy, and of the Austrian government, we must take a short view of what has happened from the first conspiracy which tyramy formed against the liberties of the Italiany, to the time when the dawn of freedom began to break forth in Tuscany, under the government of Leopoldo.

About the iniddle of the XVth century, when literature, cul. tivation, and learning, began from every quarter to extend the progress of the human mind, when the productions of antiquity were no longer lost to the moderns; when the ardour for lite. rary glory had affected even the chiefs of the many principalities into which Italy was divided; at this period, from the very seat which, above all others, ought to have espoused the cause of knowledge, a persecution was directed against literature, which bas produced some very deplorable consequences in the annals of buman improvement. The city of Rome, urged by the example of other capitals, had been desirous of establishing within its walls an academy, consecrated to the promotion of literature, and the study of the classics. The learned Popes who had been raised to the chair of St. Peter, in the begivning of that century, had endeavoured to encourage this zeal, which they regarded as necessary to the improvement of mankind, and beneficial even 10 the cause of religion. In these circumstances a young man, an illegitimate offspring of a noble family, changing his own name into that of an ancient Roman, under the appellation of Tullius Pomponius Lætus, succeeded to his master, the famous Valla, in the chair of Latin eloquence, in the year 1451. A great adınirer, even to enthusiasm, of ancient philosophy and ancient literature, he collected about him those who shared his partiality, all of wion, after his example, assumed Latin and Grecian names. It is asserted, that in their meetings, Lætus and his companions dared to shew their predi. lection in favour of the manners, legislation, philosophy, and their accusers even pretend, religion of the ancients. Paul II. who was then the reigning Pontiff, but who had not been raised by science, as many of his predecessors, to the chair of St. Peter, being naturally suspicious, jealous, and cruel, had already taken umbrage at the spirit of research which characterized the new philosophers. He had foreseen how the rapid progress of knowledge would lessen the authority of the Church; and he considered the zeal which the scholars felt in favour of antiquity as a conspiracy against the state, and an altempt against religion.


In this temper of mind, the academy founded by Lælus seemed to him to deserve the utmost rigour. In the middle of the carnival * of the year 1648, whilst the whole of the Roman people were engaged in feasting, he caused all the acadeinicians

* The carnival all over the Continent is a period of frolic, during which masks are allowed to go about, and generally once a week assemble at a public ball. The duration of such a period depends on Easter ; it invariably begins on the 17th of January, and ends on the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday,


to be arrested. Pomponius Lætus alone was not of the num. ber. During the last three years, since the election of Paul, he had resided at Venice, but as he still corresponded with all the scholars of Rome, the Pontiff regarded him as the very chief of the conspirators. Intrigue, however, supplied the Pope with what he could not obtain by open force. The Senate of Venice was weak enough to listen to the intreaty of the treacherous Pontiff, and Lætus became a prisoner of the Inquisition. There all the imprisoned academicians were delivered to all the horrors of inquisitorial torture. One of them, Agostino Campano, a young man of great expectation, died under the torments; the others, amongst whom there were Lætus, and Platina the historian of the Popes, suffered every species of torture without in the least confessing themselves guilty of the crime, on the supposition of which they were so cruelly persecuted. This fortitude in his victims enraged the Pontiff'; in a fit of his mad passion he went to the Castle of St. Angelo, and in his presence he caused the interrogatory and the torments to be again applied. His object was, by the most excruciating pain, to surprise in some heresy the victims of his tyranny. Exaspe. rated at the failure of his vile attempt, he declared that he would persecute and punish as an heretic whomsoever should pro. nounce, even in jest, the name of Accademia ; and after having kept in prison for a year longer his miserable captives, he dise missed them without even acknowledging their innocence. The death, however, of Paul, put an end to this most barbarous persecution, and Sixtus IV. his successor, entrusted to Platina the care of the Vatican library, and allowed Lætus to recanmence his public lectures. Lietus performed his duty with his usial diligence; he even succeeded in collecting anew his disperseil acadeny. Esteemed and respected for the probity of his murals and the simplicity of his manners, he dedicated the remainder of his life to the study of the monuments of Roine, and his death, which happened in the year 1498, was considered as a public calamity. His funeral was most pom pous, never had greater honour been paid to a scholar.

This persecution, which had been carried on by Paul II. was a diiect attack upon the progress of knowledge, but afa fected only scholars; the events whicla followed were of another description, spreading that calamity throughout Italy which overwhelmed all classes of people. The origin of so tremen. dous an evil must be dated from the invasion of Italy under Charles VIII. four years before the death of Lælus. The pila lage of the different towns, the defeat of their several armies, the distress and the death of a great number of great men, which at all times are the unavoidable consequences even of th:


mnost VOL, VII. SEPTEMBER, 1816,

most just war, were not the only dreadful consequences of this sad event. It did more ; it put an end to the independance of the Italians. From that time for more than half a century, the French, the Spaniards, and the Austrians, disputed amongst themselves for the possession of their different provinces. The fortune of Charles V. and of his gloomy and sanguinary son, put an end to the ruinous war, and to the immediate calamities which it had caused; without, however, preventing the consequences to which they had given occasion. The state of Milan and the kingdom of Naples fell under the dominion of the house of Austria, but all the other states, notwithstanding the shadow of independence which they still preserved, treinbled before the powerful giant, and did not dare to refuse any thing to the imperious monarch. Every sentiment, every species of national pride, became then extinct, as soon as a sovereign no longer enjoyed the right of protecting lois unfortunate subjects against the wrath of a rapacious and a foreign viceroy.

This degradation, more even than public calamities, effectually ruined Italy during the sixteenth century, thongh both of them concurred to hasten the catastrophe. If these however could have had an end, if Italy, after fifty years of war, had been restored in the same circumstances in which she was at the end of the fifteenth century, there is no doubt that the cultivation of fine arts, and the tradition of the progress of the humaa mind would have been preserved by the great men, who still existed. Notwithstanding the misfortunes and oppression of half a century, these men would have recovered their country from the fall she had made, and perhaps no blank would have been perceived in the history of the human mind. But these calamities, which afflicted Italy during the sixteenth century, however dreadful, were less fatal to knowledge than the death-like rest which succeeded them. A regular, universal, and systematic oppression followed the violence of war; and the whole face of Italy was then changed. Iustead of the princes who from the thrones of Naples and Milan had afforded protection and encouragement to arts and sciences, a cruel, mercenary, and bigotted Spaniard, governed through the miserable aid of spies and informers. Indeed such was the dread that Italy felt of the power of Charles V. and Philip II. that the princes shared with their subjects the degradation of their country. The Consaga of Mantua plunged in pleasure and vice in order to forget the danger of their situation. Alphonso II. endeavoured, in Modena and Ferrara, to conceal, under the appearance of pomp, the grandeur which he had lost. The Florentine republic, the Aihens of the middle ages, the cradle of all arts and of all sciences, instead of the first Medicis, the patrons

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