Imatges de pàgina

representative government, or even of Italian independence, would they have been considered as acting better for their country's interests than the many others, who were fighting in the hope of raising Staly, and rendering her glorious in the eyes of other nations? or than those who in posts of civil administration in the interior were labouring for the welfare and amelioration of their country? The first, by seeking prematurely to bring about a change, for which no one was prepared, would but find themselves much farther removed from the particular object which they wished to obtain ; while the others, though pursuing a longer route, were slowly, but surely, approaching it.

In 1820, Carbonarism was spread over all the provinces of the kingdom of Naples; it had penetrated even into the ranks of the army; among the ten thousand militia of the two provinces of Avellino and Soggia, there was not a man who was not a Carbonaro. The army, the militia, and a general who dared to second the nation's wishes, which accorded with his own, overturned the absolute government of Ferdinand. But it was not the general who imposed the Spanish constitution on the king; on the contrary, he received a royal manifesto from the monarch, which granted the Spanish constitution to the Neapolitans.

This Spanish constitution, in spite of its faults, was universally desired by the Italians; this was proved some months later by the Piedmontese, who attacked their absolute government, and proclaimed that of Spain in their turn. If any one in this insurrection had spoken of Italian independence, or a republic, he would have acted against the interests of the Revolution. *

In 1831, Central Italy overturned the Papal Government, with that of Modena and Parma, yet no other political system was proclaimed. Should this indecision be attributed to timidity, or want of patriotism? Certainly not :- the circumstances in which the Italians of these provinces were placed, made them believe that the good of their country obliged them to wait the developement of other events, before they hoisted any standard.

Let us suppose, that, in 1831, the French King had said to the Provisional Government of Bologna :-“Proclaim my son King of

Those persons deceive themselves, who say that nothing can be worse than such a choice. The Spanish constitution did not alarm the Allies sufficiently to make them march their troops to destroy it; but to declare Italy independent, or to proclaim a republic, would have been to provoke sure and sudden hostilities, which the Two Sicilies would have been unable to repel. The Neapolitan general had, at his disposal, only 20,000 men; the Piedmontese and Lombards wrote to him to say, that they were unable at the moment to send him assistance. Austria, instead of passing the Po with 52,000 men, might have sent double the number; for at that epoch she had no enemy to oppose her, and all Europe for her allies. If the Neapolitan parliament had not consented to this departure of the king, the Government at Vienna, seeing him always at Naples, would have hesitated, before advancing its troops to the frontiers of the kingdom. They were eight months in deciding on this step, with King Ferdinand in their power, and under the influence of the Congress of Laybach; and it may be presumed that, without this circum. stance, with some defections less, and more vigour and foresight on the part of the parliament,-the Neapolitans would have succeeded in defending their independence.

Italy, and I will give you all the assistance in my power.” Would a single sensible republican have been found to refuse such an offer ? If, on the other hand, France had been a republic, and that she had offered the same assistance to Bologna, as soon as the government should proclaim itself republican,-would any partisan of representative monarchy have opposed this imitation of France ?

Thus the love of their country induced the most loyal patriots of Italy to pronounce in favour of a republican government in the time of the French Republic; to embrace the institutions of the Empire in the time of Napoleon, and to proclaim the constitution of Spain in 1820; in fine, in 1831, to free themselves from a foreign yoke, and the absolute government of their own princes; the Italians waited to obtain from circumstances, the lights necessary to proclaim, not perhaps the best system, but that which they could best hope to establish and maintain.

Cato ceased not to be a good citizen, when he declared for the dictatorship of Pompey, because it appeared to him less dangerous than that of Cæsar: so Machiavel, at one time a martyr to his republican principles, ended by desiring a dictator, to render Italy independent. Thus Carnot, when he pronounced himself on the side of Napoleon in his last efforts against the enemy, was not less a patriot, than Carnot presiding at the Committee of Public Safety, and giving instructions to republican generals-instructions which led to victory.

It is an acknowledged axiom, that the same system of government cannot be chosen, even by the same people, at every epoch of their political existence; sometimes, on account of the state of men's minds and the social combinations of their internal administration ; sometimes, on account of their position with regard to foreign nations.

We seem to hear the Italians say to us, “ Enough of the past; let us consider the future." If we could foresee precisely the state of public feeling in Italy and the political state of Europe, at the time she may be free to choose her own institutions, we should not hesitate a moment to express our opinion on the political system most conformable to the interests of the country. The engineer, who is consulted on the best manner of fortifying a town, will necessarily demand the particulars of its site, and the nature of the surrounding country, before giving his answer.

In like manner, we have many questions to ask, and cases to examine and foresee, before determining to which system of government the preference should be given. If, however, we cannot foretell with precision, all the circumstances in which Italy may be placed, at an epoch which is, perhaps, not far distant, it will not be difficult to point them out with tolerable exactitude, which we shall endeavour to do.

At the same time, we shall explain our own views on each hypothesis ; not in conformity with our vows and wishes, but in consequence of our long meditations on facts.

The French yoke, during their dominion in Italy, was not only less operous and less oppressive than that of Austria, but in many respects, during its first years, was useful to the country. But as these advantages rendered it more solid, it was on this very account more to be

V. S.-VOL. VI.


dreaded, and the Italians should have been more impatient to throw it off. At present, every thing is changed, and we are as far from the French Revolution, as if centuries had intervened.

France no longer thinks of the conquest of Italy; Savoy and the Rhine are the boundaries of her ambition, and for these they have a right to desire; if they judge prudently, nothing more or less is wanting to secure their political stability. Now to dream of the conquest of Italy, would be to dream an impossibility,- for neither princes, nor people, would be with them. Without one or other of these allies, no foreigner, however powerful, would succeed in his projects of ambition. Thus Italy, instead of regarding France with jealousy, should consider her as the corps de bataille of that liberal column, which is bound to keep itself closely united and under arms, while the North of Europe is ruled by absolute princes.

The progress which the people of more than the half of Europe have made in the path of liberty, necessarily places us in the alternative of adopting a democratic monarchy, like France, or a republican government; between the dangerous division of Italy into petty states, (which must be the consequence of a republic,) or the bad faith of princes, to which a monarchy would expose her. If Italy were placed as the Spanish Peninsula, behind the great bulwark of France, or if she were an island, or if Europe did not still contain many absolute princes,-her choice would be easy; if she found herself deceived, she would have leisure to change her system,--and the more readily in Italy, because civil war is not probable, as we shall show hereafter. Placed as we are between Sylla and Charybdis, history cannot guide us. We have already remarked, that the union of sage liberty with a powerful sceptre, was unknown to the ancients; the kings of Sparta have nothing in common with the kings of our day. If we wished to take an example from some modern nations, and to consider the last epochs of English history, what do we see in that country? A powerful aristocracy interposed between the people and the king. The free countries of Europe will no longer bear this aristocracy, which even in England is now attacked and undermined to its base.

Another question, not yet well determined in constitutional monarchies, is, whether the power of a king should extend, during war, to the command of his armies. England, being an island, has not had much occasion to examine so delicate a question. We boldly advance, that in 1821, Naples would not have been invaded by Austria, if the Regent had not been commander-in-chief of the army.

In like manner, in 1823, the French would not have succeeded in Spain, had there been no treachery on the part of the sovereign. We are not ignorant that the responsibility of the ministry, and of the minister of war in particular, may be objected; but in time of war, this responsibility, far from being real, cannot even assume the appearance of being so.

Nor does history furnish us a single example of a compact republic of twenty-four millions of inhabitants. The United States are, and will long remain, in a distinct position, since they have no neighbours to fear; besides, they form a confederation, and cannot be a model for á state in which unity should be the principle. In the midst of these

difficulties, which, the more they are considered, the more serious they appear, we will take three cases, to which independent Italy is obnoxious.

First, Suppose an Italian Congress assembled to deliberate on the form of government desirable to be selected for united Italy. According to our views, if the Congress saw royalty established in France, it should determine on royalty for Italy.

Secondly, If this same Congress found France a republic, it should proclaim a republican government for Italy.

Thirdly, If Italy decided for a confederation, the Congress should adopt the republican form for every state, without any.exception.

In the first case, we think that Italy should be monarchical, in order to remain the ally of France, and act in concert with her, for the extension of the representative system in Europe, and to avoid, during the first years of her independence, in her political youth, a war with the absolute princes; which, if Italy were a republic, would, sooner or later, become inevitable; during which war the constitutional princes might not content themselves with mere good wishes for the absolute powers.

In proclaiming royalty, the Italians should remember, that it is not such and such a king who has sought to encroach on the liberties of the people; but that nature has formed men weak and vain, incapable of resisting flattery, and that Aatterers are ever urging kings to invade their people's rights.

It would be difficult, but still possible, to imagine laws which should diminish the power of corruption, which most of the constitutional monarchs possess. We should profit by the faults which France committed in 1830, which every one now perceives, and which some future period will repair.

In the second supposition, that of France being a republic, united Italy should also adopt their form of government; not only to remain in peace with her natural ally, and make common cause with her against all arbitrary power, but from a still stronger motive. Italy, bordering on France, could not remain a monarchy if France were a republic. There are too many ties between the two peoples, too much imagination among the Italians, for it to be possible to be otherwise. The Italians should then cordially hail this indispensable republic; they might burn their ships; they would place themselves on the summit of a high mountain, where a purer air is inhaled, but where there is also a precipice at its feet. It was this air which animated feeble humanity when she formed a Themistocles, an Agis, an Epamidondas, a Regulus, a Cato, an Andria Doria.

Nevertheless, before declaring for a republic,- for that structure ever stately in the eye of an Italian,-the Congress should consult the direct wishes of all the citizens, in order to give an extended and solid base to the new social edifice. Napoleon, who as a statesman committed great faults, which conducted him to St. Helena, acted with great political ability, when he consulted the will of the French people on his election to the imperial throne.

In the third supposition, that of confederated Italy, this confederation, though in our opinion full of danger, should be composed only of republican states, whatever the government then established in France.

It is not to us that the perils to which a federative Italian republic would be exposed need be pointed out; but these perils would neither be so great, nor so imminent, as they would be in a confederation of princes. Such a confederation would have all the inconveniences of a republican league, and it would be even less compact, without possessing the virtue, the energy, the good faith, or the poetry of sentiment, which in other times rendered the Italian people of the middle ages so illustrious.

We have only spoken of three cases in which independent Italy might find herself placed; we are aware that there may be many others, but we have deemed it useless to enter into further details, and have contented ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

Let us imagine that while Italy was exerting herself to conquer her independence, an ambitious prince, foreign or Italian, should present himself, giving pledges—we will not say of good faith, which in politics are inadmissible, but-of elevation of mind; and that this prince had so committed himself that retreat was impossible: Italy should not hesitate for a moment to decree the crown to such a prince. A royal usurper in Italy would be compelled to march with the nation, on account of the numerous plots and competitors he would have to fear: on the other hand, if in the independent war Italian blood was shed under a republican standard, if victories were gained under this flag, it would be against the national interest to attempt to control its impetuosity from respect to certain principles.

Politics, like other human actions, are controlled by imperious circumstances. For ourselves, if, after discussing such weighty interests, we may be permitted to express the ardent wishes we form for the future destiny of our country, we declare, that in the present state of Europe, we should, in the first instance, desire to see her choose a constitutional monarchy founded on the widest basis; or else, provisionally, a dictatorial government, under such name and form as circumstances might demand. We should desire this monarchy, or this dictatorship, according as the Italians should be in a state to enjoy more or less complete liberty; according as the political situation of the rest of Europe would place the absolute princes in a position to oppose a government without a king: not that we fear popular commotions,—we, whose political career has been so tempestuous—who have never hesitated between the interests of our country and the favour of kings,-we, who repeat, from our very souls

“ Io per tranquilla servitu non congio

Libertà non tranquilla.” But we are convinced, with so numerous a population, in a country of such length, inhabited by men of such lively imaginations, in the midst of the agitations and controversies of a republican system, it would be impossible to form and cement a compact and solid union. We are convinced that Italy will, for a time at least, require a unity of will and action-a consistency and constancy of measures, which may protect her from danger; and we believe that the republican

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