Slike strani


It is not one of the least curious be, in spite of herself," the perfidious incidents of the times in which we As usual, however, with live, that two directly opposite move- English diplomatists, but still more as ments should have taken place in the usual with Whig officials, and with countries on either side of the Alps, the gaping good-natured multitude of and that their results should have been the British Islands, those advantages so extremely different from what that may accrue to our country will might have been expected. In one, - come, not through any astuteness of the chosen land of freedom, as it has the government, or its servants, been called, the last home and refuge but through the sheer force of of Liberty, when she had deserted

events urging themselves on in their other and more genial climes,-tlie inevitable course, and filling up the so-called liberals, the democrats, the series of secondary causes and effects radicals, have just undertaken a suc- that compose the history of the cessful crusade against freedom of con- world. science, and have subdued the aristo

To any one contemplating the encratic defenders of religious liberty, viable position and the natural even amidst the strongholds of their advantages of Switzerland, and still mountains. In the other,-long the more to any one looking at the funsupposed seat of despotism in its purest damental character of the Swiss and most unmitigated form, where people, it would seem one of the most liberty and freedom of opinion had difficult political problems to find any not, except during the storm of the cause for internal quarrel and disFrench Revolution, ever shown any union, much less for civil war. Blessed signs of existence,-a most decisive as they are with a country that necesand energetic movement in favour of sitates all the skill and industry of political freedom has taken place, man to bring forth its full powers, and has been originated by the very but which, when man tills its bosom, chief and organ of what the Trans- and pours the sweat of his brow into montane people generally consider as its lap, yields him the sweet return the concentrated expression of all of abundant competence and varied that enslaves and subdues the mind. riches, the Swiss have long been The facts have certainly been un- looked up to with justice as one of expected; they have burst upon the most truly prosperous and thrivEuropean statesmen, or at least upon ing people of Europe. They have those of the northern and western not been tempted to throw aside the courts, unawares; and their ultimate agricultural occupations of their counconsequences appear to be as much try for the dangerous and transitory beyond their ken as they are beyond fluctuations of commerce ; they have their control. The Swiss Federation, remained strong in their national and notwithstanding the proffered media- natural simplicity ; rich, and more tion of the great powers, have settled than rich, in the produce of their their own matters among themselves; lands, raised by the labour of their and the Italians seem inclined to

arms; and, amid the many changes laver leur linge sale en famille, as of other states, when once the fever Napoleon used to recommend people of the revolutionary malady had left to do when the operation was of a tl:em, tranquil and contented, and more than usually unpleasant nature, objects of envy to all surrounding without saying " by your leave, or people. Thus national ambition was with your leave,” to any of the bar

of necessity limited; external aggranbarians that dwell on the northern disement and colonial extension they sides of the Alps. Austria and could know nothing about; their terFrance are equally balked in their ritory was safe from foreign aggresviews upon Switzerland and Italy ;

sion, or was supposed so, and their and the only power that seems likely energies could only expend themto gain any thing by these events will selves on the affairs of their own

[ocr errors]

country. Switzerland remained till sword, the weaker combatant has within the last few years, as it had dropped his point and given up. always been, the “cynosure of neigh- There must have been something bouring eyes” to all Europe ; and false and spurious at the bottom of scarcely à traveller ever wandered all this, or all the braggadocio of the amidst its vales and mountains, but Federalists and the Sonderbund could sighed after a dwelling in that fairy never have been dissipated by a few land, and longed for it as his country shots at Fribourg and Lucerne: one by adoption next after the land of of the two parties at least could not his birth. Of all people in the world, have been in earnest, or they never the Swiss, to external spectators at would have knocked under so easily least, seemed to have the least to and so speedily. Political reasons wish for, and the least cause to be for war cannot become on a sudden discontented either with their coun- so thoroughly fallacious, nor military try or themselves.

resources so thoroughly exhausted, And yet, of a sudden, up rises a as that one day's skirmishing at storm ; the Federation splits; and, Fribourg, and two day's fighting near before men can come to comprehend Lucerne, could suffice to settle the what the mountaineers are quarrel- quarrel. We are inclined, therefore, ling about, swords are drawn, shots to suspect the weaker party to have are fired, a couple of towns are cap- been conscious of wrong in this case, tured, and the war is declared at an though to any impartial observer the end almost before it was known to acts of aggression lay all at the door have commenced. It has been like of the stronger. a drama at the opera. Scene, a rocky How stood the matter? The cendistrict, with a town in the distance: tral cantons, strong in their mountain enter a chorus of peasants, who sing fastnesses, and on the borders of about liberty. Alarums: a band of their sublime lakes, have maintained, soldiers rush in and drive them off under republican forms, the true aristhe stage. Grand cantata of the tocratic spirit, and the ancient relipresident, --and the curtain falls. gion of Switzerland. Those encirSome connoisseurs in the boxes call cling these central states, the dwellers for the manager, and ask when the in the champaign country and in the opera is going to begin, as they wish cities, have gone into the follies of to intervene: the manager enters democracy, and have abandoned more from the side-door, bows humbly, or less the dignity of the old Swiss and intimates that they may have character, to ape the vices, political their tickets returned if they please, and social, of the neighbouring people, the play being over. General disap- whether French or German. Ever pointment!

since the factious burst of pseudoSomething like this would be the patriotism, during the inglorious dramatised history of the late Hel- "Three days" of 1830, the inhabitants vetic disturbances ; so brief, and we of the northern Swiss towns have may almost say so ridiculous, has the had their heads running on the visionwhole seemed. In most countries, ary schemes that have distracted when a civil war is proclaimed, and Frenchmen's brains; and like daws one-third of the nation declares its in peacocks' feathers, or servants in intention of separating from the other their masters' cast-off clothes, have two-thirds, a struggle of some length been trying to imitate the “ virtues," and earnestness of purpose may be political and social, of the Gallic with tolerable certainty predicted: people. Hence has arisen the Radieven in Belgium, we should suppose cal party in the larger cantons ; hence that a civil war would take a month has arisen the crowds of infidels and or two before it could be finally ex- debauchees which have latterly distinguished. But in Switzerland it graced the petty capitals of those appears that the feelings of the belli- cantons; hence the Catholics have gerents, whatever may have been been persecuted and robbed in Argau, their previous intensity, have found and the respectable people of Geneva an easy vent for rapid evaporation ; ousted out of the government by the and after one or two passes with the rabble of that city.

Honce came /

the outcry against the Jesuits, and the for having allowed things to come so former quarrel with Lucerne, in which, rapidly to a crisis. It was a political however, that city came the best mistake of no small gravity to form ont of the struggle : hence an infinity the Sonderbund, and to talk so largely of petty jealousies and heartburnings, of their separate existence, unless and acts of oppression, on the part of they intended to make a more stout the Radical majority against the Ca- stand in defence of their liberties. tholic minority, and hence finally the Although the Radicals were, like all recent resort to arms. The Radical democrats, the aggressors, still the and the stronger cantons have con- aristocrats should not have defied sidered it injurious to their own them so loudly, unless they had better interests, and derogatory to their own grounds for showing such confidence. dignity, that the freedom of opinion The little boy who squares his fists which they claim for themselves even at the bigger one that bullies should exist in its full integrity him, deserves a sound thrashing fer among their Catholic and less power- his impudence, if he is ready to give ful brethren. They have insisted on up at the end of the first round. the abolition of certain religious We believe the policy of the French orders of men within the limits of government to have been the true their territories; and, because the one on this occasion ; it coincided, others have claimed the liberty guas indeed, pretty nearly with that of the ranteed by the Federal compact, they Austrian cabinet. In fact, any gohave envenomed the quarrel so far, as vernment, that wishes to stand, should to bring it to the decision of might be prepared to take the side of the rather than of right. It is in fact, Conservative party, wherever that however, a struggle of the democratic party, in the true sense of the term against the aristocratic party, of which “ Conservative,” exists. It must be the Catholic question is only a parti- prepared, at all times, to support the cular phase; the real bone of con- cause of order and religion against tention was, whether the Democrats that of anarchy and infidelity; and, or Radicals should be endangered in though the French cabinet is not their predominance in the Diet, by the overburdened with feelings of honour compact votes of the Aristocrats or and delicacy, it has a sufficiently Catholics. The expulsion of the strong instinct of self-preservation, to : Jesuits was only a very subordinate induce it to side with its friends part of the question ; and, as it now rather than with its enemies. The stands decided, the supremacy of the policy of the Austrian government Radical and Democratic faction is could not be for a moment doubtful. firmly established.

Austria has always been the friend of It appears to us that, had the can- order and of rational liberty; and it tons of the Sonderbund been governed was her duty, no less than her interest, by clear-headed men, and their armies to take a decided step in favour of the led by men of talent, not only the Forest Cantons. We can conjecture political, but also the military, result no other reason for these two great of the contest would have been essen- powers not having interfered sooner, tially different. The cantons cannot than that they must have been in have been united by any very strong uncertainty as to the intentions of tie, or they never would have broken the Whig cabinet on our side of the off from each other, and made their channel, and that they were checked separate submission, so speedily after in their action by the certainty that the fall of Lucerne. The forces of Prussia must take part in the contest, the Sonderbund cannot have been in virtue of the principality of Neufvery confident in their leaders' abili- chatel. And yet we doubt not that ties, or they never would have given both France and Austria will be up the fight while all the country on sufferers from the impulse given to the south and east of the Lake of Radicalism, by the recent petty triLucerne remained in their possession. umph of its principles within a day's And yet if they were able only to journey of their respective frontiers. carry on the war for ten days or a A French regiment in Geneva, and an fortnight, they were very blameable Austrian one in the Grisons, would have restored the balance of parties, forgotten the glories of their former and would have brought back the history. Some of them will be affiliRadicals to their proper dimensions. ated to the restless family of the It may now be confidently expected Gauls, while the remainder will be that Switzerland will become a little learning over again the first rudiments focus of agitation for the discontented of agricultural and rural prosperity, in both countries; and that it will under the sceptre of the Ostrogoths. exist as a political nuisance under the Swiss freedom and Swiss cominerce nose of each of its powerful neigh- will have disappeared from the land; bonrs, loudly calling for abatement. and English manufacturers will be

England, which, as represented by rejoicing at the bankruptcy of one the present tenants of Downing Street, class of their competitors in European is no doubt inclined to intrigue with or American markets. the Radicals rather than with the Ca- In Italy, it is devoutly believed tholic party in Switzerland, may lay by all English politicians that the ler account to profit by the stagnation genius of catholicism is destructive of which this contest will occasion in the national spirit; and that the long Swiss manufacturing and commercial subjugation of that peninsula to the operations; and may calculate on northern conqueror is to be attributed enriching some of our great exporting to a prostration of moral vigour arishouses at the expense of the manu- ing from the trammels of superstition. facturers of Zurich and Basle. That And yet, what has happened ? A she intended or foresaw this result, new spiritual chief ascends the throne we more than doubt; but it will very at Rome, by accident rather than by probably be a consequence of her design; he pronounces a few magic tardy offer of mediation.

words, and in an instant the sacred As it is, the dignity of position lies fire of liberty, and the desire of realtogether on the side of the Federal sisting foreign oppression, pervade the Diet: they have employed force suc- whole land. Nor are the people only cessfully. Whatever be the merits of affected by this universal enthusiasm : their pretensions, they have imposed even monarchs are carried away by their claims on their opponents both the stream of popular opinion. The promptly and efficaciously; and, more King of Sardinia and the Grand Duke by the faint-heartedness and disunion of Tuscany come forward as the of their enemies than by their own promoters and defenders of Italian valour and concert, they have esta- liberty ; the King of Naples advances blished their sway in undisputed in the same path, though not so tyranny over the whole Federation. rapidly as the revolutionists of his The president of the Diet predicted dominions could wish ; and all but this result, and his words have come Lombardy is thrown into the vortex true. As in the case of the United of political reform. To Pius IX., and States and Mexico, it is the un- to the noble conceptions of his prurighteous cause that has triumphed; dent mind, the whole of the recent and the glory, if there be any, is all movements in Italy may be fairly on one side. But the ultimate conse- attributed. Not but that the public quences of this state of things may mind was anxious for change : there be expected to bring about the decay have long been evils enough rankling of the national character, and there- in the Italian breast to make change fore to undermine the last remaining desirable. Yet had it not been for foundations of Swiss nationality. the circumstance of a potentate, the Whenever a European war again father of his people, and the head of occars, Helvetia will fall as an easy the Roman Catholic religion, coming spoil to be partitioned by France and forward and proclaiming himself faAustria ; and what is more, she will vourable to a political change, the fall unregretted. Her mountains, her whole impulse that now has been lakes and valleys, her forests and her given to the various races of Italy glaciers, will still remain grand and would have been altogether wanting) beautiful, till time itself shall be no It would be, perhaps, idle at the more; but the old Switzers will have present moment to speculate upon become degenerate, and will have the positive direction which this re

suscitation of Italian freedom may political freedom may be the citizens take; the events of a few months of Florence or Rome, the peasants of are not to be trusted, as affording Lombardy and Campania would not any very certain or fixed indication know how to use the advantages put of how the current of the national within their reach, and they would fortunes is destined to run. The but change the rule of the few for the Italians may, perhaps, arrive at a more terrible despotism of the many. gradual and moderate degree of free- Before the Italians can, as a nation, dom, such as may conduce to the be fit for what we call a free governimprovement and elevation of their ment, they must be better educated, national character, and to the raising and better fitted by their moral and of Italy in the scale of European social organisation to understand its powers; or, on the other hand, they nature and advantages. But in order to may run wild into the theory and this, we must first of all see the edupractice of revolutionary wickedness, cation of the people taken up as a and may become the pest and the national object by the national clergy; abhorrence of all Europe, while they and we must further see the morals sink down to a lower and still a lower of the people made a point of all-paradepth in the abyss of political degra- mount importance by the same body of dation. We hope for the former of men, and brought forward into a place these results, but we know that the of greater prominence than the mere latter is by no means improbable; practices of devotion. Can it be any and in order to point out where the boon to confer the political rights of danger of tending towards it lies, we election and self-government on men append the following remarks :- who are still plunged in the depths

In the first place, it must be suffi- of complete ignorance? Can it be ciently obvious to any one, ever so of any use to call upon a nation for little acquainted with the character the exercise of public virtues, when of the Italian people, that the diffe- social and domestic virtues do not rent nations and tribes of that penin- exist among them ? Before the sula are by no means all in the same Italians can be constituted as a degree of preparation and advance- nation of freemen, they i ust be ment for receiving the boon of consti- formed into families of virtu 'is cititutional government. There is a very zens, in which decency and the natuwide difference between the inhabi- ral exercise of the affections may be tants of Milan and those of Naples, firmly established. For if there be between the denizens of the Bolognese one political axiom more fully demonand the shepherds of the Abruzzi, strated by the voice of history than and generally between the dwellers another, it is this, that public freedom in Italian cities and the agricultural can never exist where private vice prepopulation in the bosom, or on the ponderates over private virtue; and skirts, of the Apennines. But to where the sacred ties of domestic apply the same kind of political insti- virtue do not prevail, it is in vain to tutions to all the inhabitants of a look for the bonds of public good. listrict, without regard to their vari- It was the domestic vices of the ous degrees of moral preparation for ancient Romans that first weakit, is to confer on them a punishment ened the empire; and until their rather than a boon, and to do them degenerate descendants shall have veril rather than good. We have too awakened from their moral lethargy, melancholy an example of it at our that empire, that national power, own doors, where the exaggerated shall not rise again. It is, therefore, philanthropy of Englishmen has given a favourable indication for Italy, to the Irish the same political privi- that the movement should have leges as they enjoy themselves, to commenced with the head of the wish that such a fruitful source of national religion; for it may be evil should fall to the lot of any other hoped that a proper course will be people. And so it would be with adopted by the ecclesiastical authorinine-tenths of the people of Italy: ties, and that the amelioration of all however advanced may be the notions ranks and orders of men, clerical as of the upper classes, however ripe for well as lay, will precede and accom

« PrejšnjaNaprej »