Imatges de pàgina

We should have wished to see the subject treated of by men who, more than ourselves, have made the theory of government the special object of their studies. We addressed two of our friends, of wellknown talent; they answered us,-“ Undertake it yourself; your patriotism will inspire you more surely than our learning." Was it right to follow their advice? Of this the Italians, more severe than others, will be the best judges.

Before entering on this subject, we must refer to another; or rather, we must combat a prejudice, which has taken root, not only among foreigners of high intellectual merit, but even sometimes among our countrymen.

“The Italians," say they, "are not united;" "they do not understand one another;" “they are wanting in sympathy and affection :" these are phrases to be heard everywhere. But if such be really the disposition of the inhabitants of the different states of Italy towards those born without the political limits of their native soil ;-if the inhabitants of one state are born enemies to the next;-it must be admitted, that the Italian princes show but little sense, when, in the quarrels which arise belween themselves and their subjects, they address themselves to strangers, who make them pay dearly for their assistance, instead of calling in their neighbours, and opposing the inhabitants of the North of the Peninsula to those of the South; or subduing the Italians of one state by the Italians of another. In 1821, instead of imploring succour from the Ultramontains, the King of Naples would have done better by applying to his brother the King of Sardinia ;-be might have said, “Your subjects are enemies to me and my people ; your army will seize with delight this opportunity of crushing these Neapolitan rebels, whom they detest; and of enriching themselves with my treasures, which I must otherwise lavish on the Austrians." Yet this idea, which seems so natural, never occurred to Ferdinand.

The priestly king of the Roman states was still more senseless, when, in 1831, he trusted to the protection of Austria, instead of asking the assistance of Ferdinand of Sicily, whose pious devotion to the Church was so well known, and whose subjects, it is said, hate the Romans.

But facts speak loudly against these pretended assertions. When the Austrians advanced towards Naples with the élite of their forces, the Piedmontese, instead of declaring themselves enemies to the Neapolitans, acted towards them as brothers in generosity and affection; they took up arms against the enemies of the Neapolitan branch of the Italian family, without waiting the result of a struggle, of which the failure could not but be fatal to them.

Some days later, a number of Piedmontese, betrayed by him who was at once their prince and accomplice, were reduced to the necessity of seeking refuge;- but where ? At Genoa, among men considered their implacable enemies : these shut their gates to the foreign army; the refugees received succours of money and provisions from the inhabitants; means were furnished them, and they sailed for Barcelona. : As soon as the constitution of Spain was proclaimed at Turin, the Genoese followed the general movement, without heeding their

peculiar interests, or looking back on their ancient and illustrious republic.

In 1831, the Romagnols, instead of fearing the Neapolitan troops, resolved to join them, and advance to Abruzzo. Would to Heaven the provisional government had executed this intention, instead of trusting to the fallacious declarations of the French minister!

When, in 1815, Joachim entered Bologna, at the head of the Neapolitan troops, who were closely pursuing the Austrians, they were received there as brothers, who came to break their brother's bonds; and when, in a retrograde movement, the Neapolitans were defending the passage of the Reno, half a league from Bologna, the inhabitants of that town voluntarily exposed themselves to the fire and slaughter of the Austrians, in order to tend the wounded of the Neapolitan army, at the moment they were in full retreat.

Hitherto we have only advanced facts, to put our readers in a position to judge how far the opinion is ill founded, that the Italians are wanting in mutual sympathy. Let us now consult their political sentiments, and see if that divergency, so unjustly attributed to them, really exists.

At the epoch that the republican army of France entered Italy, the inferior classes of society, from the Alps to Sicily, were opposed to principles of liberty, while the middle classes were favourably disposed to them. Thus, the same vicissitudes, the same inspirations, the same ideas, were manifested in the north, middle, and south of Italy.

In the time of the Empire, when the same people had made some progress in liberal ideas, and considered the Code Napoléon more favourable to their interests, than the ancient feudal laws to which they were subject, the national guards, from the coast of Genoa to that of Calabria, and from thence to Trieste, fought furiously against the English, who were auxiliaries of the feudal powers;- if the Sicilians declared in their favour, it proves still more forcibly the accordancy of political opinions amongst the Italians-since, to induce the Sicilians to proclaim themselves in favour of the English, the latter were obliged to do more than the Code Napoléon, and give the Sicilians a constitution, with two Chambers.

Nearly all the states of Italy have at different epochs proclaimed a constitution for themselves, but not one of these constitutions has differed essentially from the rest. It is true that they existed but for a short period; yet, during their brief continuance, no Italian either emigrated or was exiled for any opinions he entertained contrary to the political change which his country had adopted.

We have just said, that while the English occupied Sicily, they gave the Sicilians a constitution resembling their own; nevertheless, when, in 1820, the Spanish constitution was proclaimed at Naples, the inhabitants of Palermo, while arming themselves to render Sicily independent, adopted the Spanish constitution which the Neapolitans had chosen for themselves, rather than the re-establishment of that which the English bad given them,

Thus, these eomities, these supposed antipathies, so frequently alleged against the people on either side the Pharos, furnish no solid argument to those who endeavour to prove Italian unity impossible

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We might add, that after a convention signed between the army disembarked in Sicily and the town of Palermo, that island offered a corps of 15,000 men, accoutred at their own expense; and these troops would have been sent to the frontiers to combat the common and real enemy of all Italy, viz. the Austrians. *

But this is not the moment to enter on these details, or to revive bilter recollections. Besides, after this movement on the part of the people of Palermo, though Sicily was left without any Neapolitan troops for two months, no other town imitated the capital, which alone took up arms to separate herself from the Neapolitan provinces. But had all Sicily followed for a moment the example of Palermo, it would not prove that the Sicilians were opposed to the union of Italy. Thus, we believe, we have demonstrated, by the preceding examples, that from the Alps to Trepana there exists no real differences of opinion among the Italians on great political questions.

Certain jealousies, certain tendencies to criticise, and even to depreciate one another, are also alleged against the Italians. But was it not the same between the people of Provence, of Gascony, of Burgundy, of Normandy, of Picardy, &c., before their great revolution ? Since that period, the inhabitants of the different provinces, having often fought and bled under the same standard, and fraternized on the field of battle—there, petty animosities, if not wholly extinct, are greatly diminished. Is it not the same in every family, however small? If you live in their intimacy, you will hear each member of it occasionally blame or complain of the others; but should a stranger find fault with any one of them, all will instantly join against him.

Another question presents itself, -a question very important in the eyes of those persons, who, desiring to judge Italy, without studying it deeply, often commit real anachronisms. How, say they, can you get rid of the Pope ? what would you do with him? History will teach us. We there learn that the temporal power of the head of the Church was conferred on him by a stranger, and by a foreign power alone is it retained. Without going far back, we see that, in 1831, the Pope's sovereignty would have ceased to exist, if Austria had not lent it her support. It is asked what the Italians would do with the Holy Father? They would make him a real pope. They would bring back the popedom to its primitive limited power. They would put an end to the scandal—the nameless absurdity-of a priestly king. Machiavel has compared the Popes of Italy to a stone, which, placed between the lips of a wound, for ever prevents it from healing. The Italian wound is the division of the Peninsula into many states, strangers to each other.

We have still another objection to contend with, which is in every mouth, but which, to the Italians themselves, presents no serious difficulty-the capital ! In what country is the capital more plainly indicated than in that which possesses Rome? Even if this city were not in a central position,-if it were not extensive, and well placed in a military point of view,--would not the name of Rome alone suffice to

The Neapolitan general who entered Palermo was so beloved, that the inhabitants baptized their children, who were born soon after this event, by his name.

silence all rivalry? With mankind, imagination is every thing, especially with the inhabitants of the South; with the Italians, engrossed as they are with the thoughts of their political regeneration, moreover, to the titles already enumerated, the ancient capital of the world unites others not less important. The Tiber, which bathes its walls, opens for her, at no great distance, a free access to the sea; the steamboats which ascend the river give her the advantage of a maritime position, and facilitate the communication between the capital and the provinces. A railroad between Rome and Cività Vecchia would render this intercourse still more speedy.

In a military point of view, Rome could not be better situated. Between that city and the Alps two barriers exist, which the Italians might easily render insurmountable--Bologna and Foligno; and as a great nation, in the choice of its capital, should consider the most distant future, it should be counted among the circumstances favourable to Rome, that if once the Italians had organized their marine of steamboats and batteries for the defence of their coasts, a disembarkation towards the mouth of the Tiber would be extremely difficult.

In fine, to leave nothing unforeseen, by fortifying Mount Mario, in a moment of great reverse, the valuable property of the people might be safely lodged in those fortifications. The Italian Government and Congress sitting in Rome would be sure of a retreat towards Foligno, Abruzzo, or Gaëta.

If Italy did not possess Rome, we should say that its capital ought to be a seaport. The same may be said of England, Ireland, and Spain. We have often heard the Spaniards regret that their capital was not one of their maritime forts. We have even heard them say, that if Spain and Portugal should ever become a single state, Lisbon ought to be the capital. As to Italy, Rome is there, and all question on the subject is thus decided.

We have shown, that the obstacles brought forward to prove the impossibility of Italian union, either do not exist, or may be surmounted. Let us now pass to the examination of this important question;- Which would be best for Italy,-her division into many states joined by a federative covenant, or the union of all the states under one government?

The more a people are numerous, intellectual, or intelligent, the less are the results of these qualities remarkable, when they are ruled by a single government. The most brilliant individuality is in a great measure eclipsed under a concentrated power. Had Greece been united under a single government, we should probably never have heard tell either of Spartans, or Athenians, or Thebans. If, in the early ages, Italy had formed a single state, Rome, the glory of the world, would never have appeared. The mighty deeds of Carthage, of Venice, of Genoa, and Florence, belonged to the population of these cities alone. If, on the fall of the empire of Cæsar, one of the barbarian princes had constituted the Italian empire, so as to assure its duration,all that the middle ages produced, that was great or useful to mankind, would probably have remained unknown to us. In a word, the more numerous a society becomes, the less do deeds and individuals attain perfection. This maxim is true, even in an

N. S.-VOL. VI.

army; for in all ages it has not been the most numerous which have been models for imitation; and Rome, in her aggrandisement, too clearly proved that perfectibility is not the property of large masses.

In our own days, Great Britain equally proves this incontestible truth. She, among all the nations of Europe, is the only one who has been long in possession of a representative government, the liberty of speech and of the press. She contains twenty-four millions of inhabitants; yet, how many of these inhabitants are happy and civilized ? What millions of English among the lower classes would exchange their lot with the people of Tuscany, or even the peasants of Lom. bardy, where the stranger has not yet succeeded in destroying all popular ease and comfort!*

On the other hand, the Greeks and the Italians of the middle ages paid dearly for their civilization, their great exploits, and the glory of having given birth to so many illustrious men. Italy, in the middle ages, rescued Europe from the state of barbarism in which she was plunged; she taught the laws of commerce to the then known world. Both in London and Paris we still find a Lombard Street. She carried the cultivation of the arts and sciences into all countries. The Kremlin at Moscow is the work of an Italian. To the Ultramontanes she taught the science of war; and to France in particular the theory of fortifications, which she has since carried to a high degree of perfection. But why have these benefits, conferred by Italy on other nations, been turned against Italy?

For one reason alone,-the division of Italy into many states. Vainly will it be said, that-thanks to the experience of others, in the method of constituting confederations—the same evil results need no longer be feared. These evils and difficulties are in the very nature of all confederations : you may imagine laws of preservation and union; you may triumph a first, even a second time; you may repulse Xerxes, but Philip appears,—the most distant states abandon those nearest the enemy, and liberty disappears.

To destroy the Swiss independence, neither that union of feeling which the French Republic inspired, nor the genius of Napoleon, were wanting. In recent times, had the French Government been strong in national opinion, her army might have entered Switzerland without serious opposition, owing to its division into cantons. But if the resources of that country were concentrated, if there were unity among her forces, she might still, on all occasions, defend her independence. The irresolution of many of the cantons has diminished the confidence of the Swiss in their own strength; and their mountains, their lakes and rivers, have, in their eyes, ceased to be impregnable ramparts.

The inconveniences of confederations are particularly shown in moments of great danger; that is, when it is too late to remedy them. Whatever title it may bear,-alliance, or confederation,—these re-unions of state and contingent force are ever uncertain. The ties which are

* We do not pretend to say that the number of inhabitants is directly opposed to the general good of a people, but still it is in a great measure so; less, however, than Ultra-Toryism, than that selfish aristocracy, pitiless to the miseries of the British people.

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