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apparently the strongest,—those of marriage,—the still surer bonds of consanguinity, relax and are broken, when good fortune abandons us.
While Napoleon was successful, Joachim served him as faithfully when on a throne, as he had done while a general; the idea of tempting his fidelity never occurred to any one: but it did so, when the emperor's good fortune failed. Then the voice of the enemy reached the ear of Joachim, and he listened to those who whispered that the interests of bis own crown were not those of the imperial diadem. If neither Joseph nor Eugene imitated his example, it was because the first was not supported by a Spanish army; and the other was not a sovereign prince, while the army which he commanded contained more French than Italians. Suppose prefects instead of viceroys and kings, and all departments of the great empire, instead of kingdoms; and you will readily see that Napoleon, in his reverses, need not have feared defection, or treachery, either in Spain or in Italy.
Who will dare to maintain, that if France had not been united, concentrated in Paris under the hand of a committee of public safety, she would have come off victorious in her struggle with all Europe? In times of difficulty—in moments of action-unity is life, the want of it death. Even after the disasters of Napoleon in the Russian campaign, if the princes of the North had remained, each in his capital, and from thence directed their respective armies, Napoleon would have died on the throne: but they united,—they marched together, and resigned their individual wishes; yet, in spite of these sacrifices, had they met with reverses, they would have been disunited.
Venice alone resisted the celebrated league of Cambray, better than all the coalesced states of Italy would have done; they who long before, for want of union, had the shame of allowing Charles VIII. to escape.*
It is easy to say, that the confederate states would submit to a commander-in-chief; each state would desire to give its own orders and instructions to the general of its own soldiers; and the want of unity, jealousies and egotism, would soon occasion disorder in the federal army. In the Spanish Peninsula, the French marshals served under a prince superior in talent to them all; they were equally interested in the military successes of the empire. But when Napoleon departed, rivalry and jealousies arose ; and these were the true causes of their reverses and England's success.
The advantages which Italy would derive from concentration in time of war, appear to us great and incontestable; without mentioning those which a single government would confer on the country in time of peace. We have not touched on the inconveniences which Italy, from the length of form of its country, would be subject to under such a government, nor the laws by which she might avoid, or at least diminish, these inconveniences. We leave that case to those of
* If the forces of the different confederated Italian states bad acted in concert, the audacious Charles VIII. and his gang, instead of making good their retreat, would have fallen into the power of the Italians. Such a lesson to the French prince would have preserved Italy from the invasions of Lewis XII., of Francis I., and Charles V.
our fellow countrymen who are more experienced than we are in the science of law and political economy. It would be easy to demonstrate that the towns of Turin, Genoa, Milan, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Naples, Messina, Catano, and Palermo, would derive from Italian unity and the administration of wise laws, a better guarantee for their material interests, than they could any how obtain as the capitals of small states.
The truths which we have endeavoured to develope, are applicable to any nation which is in a position to require self-defence; and the Italians, more than any other people,are so situated. Accustomed for centuries to live separately, the Italian population have as yet but one common desire,—that of independence; but one common aversion,that of absolute governments. A Piedmontese is almost a foreigner to a Sicilian, and a Sicilian to a Lombardian, or a Venetian. Though sprung from the same race, and born in the same clime, they have not lived under the same laws. Their individual vivacity and aptitude to excellence and great deeds, so often found among them, encourage this tendency to separation; which on this account it is particularly necessary to correct, as fatal alike to their liberty and nationality. So much the more fatal now, than formerly, as the strength of our neighbours is increased.
France, which now contains thirty-four millions of inhabitants, will end by extending her boundaries to the Rhine,-by taking Savoy, and consequently, so far augmenting her population. Austria becomes more and more warlike, and her population daily increases. Against these two compact powers, what could Italy effect, if divided into small states ?
Italian unity would accustom the people to more frequent intercourse than heretofore; to know each other better; to place the resources of the country and individual talents in common; to give union to their forces, - to organize them by the same military laws, and to follow one wisely arranged system of defence for the whole Peninsula, -Sicily included.
Were an Italian Congress assembled to deliberate on this question of unity, we should avail ourselves of our civic rights to address to them the following words :-“ Legislators of our country, may your knowledge and patriotism enable you to devise laws, whose wisdom may tend to diminish the inconveniences inevitable to Italy from its union under a single government. Combine, as much as possible, the general weal with that of each province; but may your first law condemn as parricides the Italians who oppose the unity of the Peninsula, while our neighbours, France and Austria, are able to call forth armies of four or five hundred thousand men."
And should any town, deluded by egotism, dare to oppose the sovereign will of the Italian Government, let it be treated with the severity with which the rich and populous city of Lyons was treated by the committee which saved France, when the great nation was aitacked by all the kings of Europe.
Tendency of the People. This question appears, at first, of deeper interest than that of the preceding chapter; but if we consider the situation of Italy, with respect to the rest of Europe, we shall find it to be of less importance. Its union under a single government is, in our opinion, a vital question; it is the “ to be, or not to be,” of the English poet. Without this concentration, our independence would be always precarious. When a civilized and intelligent people, like the Italians, have risen in arms and become their own masters, they may choose their own government; and if they find themselves deceived in their choice, they may modify it at leisure.
At all events, if to rescue Italy from a foreign yoke, ought to be the first object of the attention and the efforts of the Italians,-to seek the form of government most favourable to their interests, and most conformable to the wishes of the nation, is an employment not less worthy their consideration; and to prevent, or, at least, to diminish, the differences of opinion likely to exist on this important point, it must be of great utility to prepare their minds, by an examination of the subject.
We shall avoid abstract principles and vague theories, which seldom furnish results useful to society. To determine on a proper choice, it is not sufficient to be assured of the wishes of the majority of the influential classes of society we must also consider the political position of the rest of Europe ;—for at the present period, more than ever, Europe resembles a family, the members of which, not much of the same mind and animated by reciprocal jealousy, are mutually watching each other.
Mankind ever have been, and ever will be, variable in their opinions and feelings; especially with respect to the systems they may adopt for their own government. We need not have recourse to ancient history to be convinced of this truth,-to those generations of antiquity who believed themselves so advanced in the science of legislation, yet who had not discovered the possibility of combining liberty with monarchy. In our own days, the example of England proves nothing. If the authority of the kings who succeeded the Stuarts was limited, the aristocracy, under the cloak of parliamentary forms, possessed boundless power. They guaranteed individual liberty to the people, in order to enjoy it themselves; but, at the same time, they turned to their own profit the courage and activity which the British people have displayed, both at home and abroad, -reducing the majority of the nation to misery; they distribute to them daily, degrading alms to preserve them from famine.
Since fifty years, Europe has been divided into three systems, despotism, republicanism, and constitutional monarchy.
Despotism is not a principle with any people, but it is one in the eyes of princes and aristocrats interested in the maintenance of their power and privileges. If the multitude who submit to this despotism
were permitted to reason, or were sufficiently enlightened to comprehend their position, they would most certainly not submit to it.
Republican principles have caused great commotion in Europe. Wherever they have not annihilated despotism, they have more or less shaken it;—they end by yielding to constitutional monarchies, which have borrowed from republics the greater part of their institutions.
At the present epoch, the people who still submit to absolute princes, aspire with more or less unanimity, with more or less energy, to a national representation. Even in Russia, they no longer restrain themselves to conspiring against the despot, - they also conspire against despotism.
In countries governed by representative monarchies, the princes, by the force of habit, and whatever was their origin, are ever seeking to restrain popular liberty, while the people are striving to defend it, according to the relative vigour which they may possess.
In France and in the Spanish Peninsula, the leaning of the majority is towards a democratic monarchy. In England, a million electors are not thought sufficient; and in the House of Commons, the abolition of the Lords has been mentioned. Ten years ago, a member of parliament who had dared to hint such a proposal, would have been in danger of losing his head. In France, also, an augmentation of the number of electors is demanded; they possess real sovereignty, since their deputies frame the laws, and accept or reject the ministers, who govern according to the will of the Chambers, which is considered the will of the country.. No law against equality would pass in France, yet the greater part of the nation are opposed to a republic;—that republic without which the French would be far from equal, and to which they owe the greater part of the institutions which they enjoy.
This is the present state of Europe; and on this state of things Italy must ponder, before she decides between a constitutional monarchy and a republic,- for she can entertain no question about a third kind of government.
After having shown what has been passing in Europe during the last fifty years, it remains for us to examine the events which have occurred in Italy during the same period. The past will best assist us in our search after what should be the future government and policy of the Italians.
In the first years of the French Republic, her armies entered Italy; they said to the Italians,"Despotism is leagued against the liberty of our country, and to prevent its propagation among our neighbours. The French people seek the alliance of other nations to combat all the despots of Europe; unite yourselves to us against the common enemy." The Italians of the higher classes of society, and those most distinguished by their intelligence, embraced the French cause; those of a lower and less cultivated class, were opposed to it. The first believed, that, in order to obtain liberty, they must submit for a time to the humiliating presence of the stranger; the second, deaf to the voice of liberty, which long habits of submission to arbitrary rule and the authority of the clergy made them misunderstand, saw only an oppressor in the stranger who came to set them free, and they rose to repulse him. Civil war broke out in many provinces of Italy,
especially in the South : Italian republicans were seen fighting in the French ranks, against Italian defenders of absolute princes, under the standards of Austria and England. On which side, let us ask, was true patriotism? But before we answer this question, we must reflect, that without the efforts of the republican party, the people of Italy would be far from being so advanced in their political opinions as they are at present. It must also be remarked, that in blaming the republican party, you censure, at the same time, such men as Rossi, Serillo, Cirillo, Mario Pagano, whose virtue was equal to their knowledge, and who glutted the vengeance of despotism on the scaffold; and the first nobles of the country, who sacrificed their prerogatives and a portion of their wealth to the general interest. Of this number were, the Duke d'Andria, the Prince Strangoli, the Duke de Genaso (a youth of eighteen), a Colonna (brother of the Prince Stigliano), and so many others; all unmercifully sacrificed by absolute power as soon as it was re-established. Where is the Italian who will dare to condemn the intentions of those men, great by their virtues and high talents, or distinguished by their social position, and all equally heroic by the courage with which they confronted and suffered death?
Napoleon was scarcely made emperor, when a republic was no longer heard of, either in France or Italy. Not only the obscure republicans of the Peninsula, but even those who had escaped the sword of the Italian princes—those who were returned from exile,mall declared in favour of the imperial monarchy, which was then called liberal. The codes, institutions, administration, and military organization of the empire were prefixed to the Austrian government in Lombardy, and to that of the other Italian princes who showed themselves the enemies of all progress.
It is true, that in the South, the people who had in the first instance opposed the republicans, kept up an insurrectionary war against the French and their partisans for three years. Soon after, and as by magic, these same people renounced their hatred to liberal institutions; adopting the opposite opinions, the Calabrians, who had fought with so much vigour and obstinacy in favour of despotism during the republic and the first years of the French empire, were the first to feel that the system of Napoleon was insufficient, and to desire a representative government. The Carbonari of Calabria were the first Italians whose blood was shed for having conspired against the despotism of Napoleon in Italy; and if their doctrines, though progressing, still required time to develope themselves and assume consistency, yet they were not long in doing so.
In the mean time, all the provinces of Italy, which either directly or indirectly depended on Napoleon, sent the Aower of their youth to join his armies. The Italians of all classes were mutually reconciled : they seemed to feel that, in order to form their political education, and prepare themselves for better days, they must for a time second the system in activity.
Such was the position of the Italians, when, with the fall of the Empire, they again saw their hopes destroyed. If, during those ten years, the Italians, who thought themselves more patriotic than their neighbours, had made any demonstration in favour of a republican or