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half a page, but we have not half a page the conspiracy of the Pazzi, by so many to devote to it, and if we had, we could concurring testimonies and authorities, apply it to better purpose,

that if he has been imposed upon by Having thus, we think, vindicated them, or if they have been imposed Mr. Roscoe from the charges of M. upon by each other, or if one impostor Thurot, we are led by him to examine has imposed upon them all, he cannot charges, perhaps, of a more serious still be fairly charged by the Abate nature, and advanced by a writer of Andres with misrepresenting a fact, much greater celebrity, the Abate which rested on such numerous and imAndres, anthor of a voluminous work, posing authorities. We shall not offer “On the Origin, Progress, and present our own opinion on the subject, for the State of wery Branch of Literature," reasons we have already mentioned. As which, as Mr. Roscoe very impartially we ourselves attach little importance to admits, “ is a lasting monument of the the opinions of others when they are of erudition, taste, and judgment of the that nature which require proof, while author." The learned Abate, who be- these proofs are not brought forward, stows very high praises on Mr. Roscoe's we feel we should expose our own Life of Lorenzo, says, notwithstanding, opinions to similar contempt, if we arthat the good faith of the work is bitrarily decided the present question affected by misrepresenting an im- without giving a minute history, not portant fact in the narrative which he only of the arguments, documents, and has given of the conduct of Sixtus IV. authorities, on which our decision was in the conspiracy of the Pazzi. In the founded, but also of those by which it narrative alluded to, Mr. Roscoe ac- might be contravened. In speculative, cuses the Pope of being an accomplice philosophic, or metaphysical subjects, in the murder of Giuliano de Medici, we should not much regard the "mothe brother of Lorenzo ; and in the dest caution" of " distrustful sense,' work before us, he endeavours to justify because we know, that in subjects of the charge, and to shew, that this this nature, the grounds of certainty "weighty imputation on his (the Pope's) are placed equally within the reach of character, rests upon evidence too expli- all mankind, 'and, therefore, we would cit to be misunderstood, and too strong venture to speak “rattling nonsense, to be refuted.” It would be unfair in rather than be totally silent; but in subus to quote the arguments and docu- stantiating historical facts, the grounds ments by which Mr. Roscoe establishes of certainty are frequently contained in these assertions, unless we gave, at the a few rolls of manuscript, which must same time, the opposite arguments and necessarily be placed, in the first indocuments which go to exculpate the stance, within the reach of only a few Pope from so infamous an attempt. In individuals, and, consequently, only all historical controversies, relative to these few, and the few who consult the establishment of facts, or the dis- them, can pronounce with certainty. covery of motives, nothing can be But of all the writers who stand weaker than to draw conclusions from opposed to Mr. Roscoe, M. Simonde de one side of the question, without ex- Sismondi, is, unquestionably, the most amining minutely all the objections formidable. No writer, however, can which are made to it on the other; for be formidable, who has not truth on his if

, after examining both sides of the side, for though some truths are of such question, the impartial inquirer is fre- a nature that they cannot be proved, quently obliged to acknowledge, that he yet they happily possess one advantage, is utterly at a loss how to decide, how and that is, that they cannot be dismuch more incapable would he have proved. An assertion may be true, been of forming a correct judgment, if though the thing asserted inay be of he had not submitted to the drudgery such a nature that it admits of no proof. of comparing, and investigating the But though it is easy to shew the thing value and authenticity of every docu- asserted not proved, it is impossible to ment which serves to elucidate the ques. shew that it is false, except where tion in debate. We shall, therefore, a sophist argues with a fool. In point merely observe, in Mr. Roscoe's de- of argument, we must confess Sismondi fence, that whether he has proved the appears to us to have frequently, the Pope's guilt or not, he is, at least, sup- advantage over Mr. Roscoe; but it is ported in making him an accomplice in where the argument has no reference to

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the character of Lorenzo de Medici. gard to the influence which government When we said that Mr. Roscoe suc- exercises over the character of the peoceeded in vindicating this illustrious ple, and, as the subject is important, personage from the imputations of his we shall place their opinions before opponent, we did not maintain, at the our readers. Sismondi maintains, that same time, that all the arguments which “One of the most important deductions he has used on the occasion were sub- that we can draw from the study of stantially true ; and, therefore, we do history, is, that the government is the pot take upon us to prove, that he has principal cause of the character of a been always successful in his mode of people; that the virtues and the vices treating the subject. We only think of nations, their vigour or their imhim successful, where he and his oppo- becility, their acquirements or their nent kept to the point in debate ; but ignorance, are scarcely ever the effect where he investigates some of Sis- of climate, the attributes of a particumondi's opinions which had no refer- lar race, but are the result of their own ence, except in his own imagination, to laws; that every thing was given by the character of Lorenzo, we apprehend nature to all, but that the government he has ventured assertions which are either secures to, or deprives those who perfectly indefensible. He supposes, submit to it, of the inheritance of the that Sismondi's strictures on the cha- human race. racter of Lorenzo, resulted from his To this Mr. Roscoe replies, “ that if having been guided by a system to the government influences the people, which he made all his opinions con- the people also influence the govern form; and he thinks, at the same time, ment, which is in fact only the result that a writer, guided by a “particular or spirit of the national character, in, hypothesis, is not likely, on all occa- somuch that it has been acutely and sions, to exhibit that impartiality which truly said, that the government of any can only be derived from a total ab- country can never be much worse than sence of all prejudices.” With this the people deserve. In whatever man. opinion we cannot agree, because we ner governments were first established, do not think that "a particular hy, they must have been originally formed pothesis" necessarily involves the con- according to the temper, ability, and

” comitance of “ prejudices." We are views of those by whom they were conno admirers of hypothesis or theories, stituted ; and not only have been, but in general; but yet we believe, that a still are, rather a result than a cause. theory may be right; nor can we admit, And although the government and the that even when it is wrong, the error people must always have a constant arises from the prejudices of the theorist. re-action on each other, yet it must be The man who never knew what the admitted as an incontrovertible maxim, words, hypothesis, theory, or prejudice that it ultimately rests with a people to import, may still be in error; for human modify their government according to reason requires not the bias of pre- their own character, and their own willjudices to render it fallible. The hy

“ What would be the conpothesis by which he imagines Sismondi dition of the people, if their happiness influenced, is, “ that some particular or their misery, their debasement or form of government is pre-eminent, and their improvement, did not essentially entitled to an absolute and unqualified and ultimately depend upon thempreference over the rest.” And it is to selves.” this prejudice, he says, we are to attri- These arguments might have appear. bute" his hostility to the Medici, and, ed very specious to Mr. Roscoe: perin particular, to the character of Lo- haps they were the result of his convicFenzo.” It is scarcely necessary to in- tion; but to us they are one of the many form the reader, that the form of go- proofs, how easy it is to find arguments vernment advocated by Sismondi, is the to support any theory or hypothesis, republican, and that Mr. Roscoe leans however absurd. This is the reason to the mixed form. If we were asked that we distrust theories in general, not our opinion on the subject, perhaps we that we think them necessarily erronewould say, that “ Whatever is best ad

ous. Sismondi charges Mr. Roscoe with ministered is best;" but as Mr. Roscoe imposing upon himself and his readers, and Sismondi are at varianco, with re- in describing the character of Lorenzo,


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but to us it appears, that if ever he im- improvement essentially depend opon posed upon himself, the traces of error themselves, for that cannot depend upare no where so evident as in the view

on a person which another person is at which he has taken of the influence of liberty to disturb. government on the character of a peo- Mr. Roscoe certainly cannot speak ple. Were we not acquainted with the from experience, or his knowledge of loyalty of his principles, we should be general history, when he says, that inclined to charge him with advocating “the government of any country can rebellion and treason; but as we know never be much worse than the people that nothing was farther from his in- deserve." A nation deprived of its litention, we can only say, that his argu- berties, and reduced, after ages of op, ments


for nothing. “What would pression, to barbarism, ignorance, and be the condition of the people,” he says, superstition, cannot perceive the bond“if their happiness, their improvement, age to which they are reduced, and &c. did not essentially depend upon consequently cannot remedy it. But themselves.” If their happiness and do such a people deserve a bad governimprovement, then, depend upon them- ment because they are ignorant. Ignoselves, the just inference is, that when- rance surely is no crime, because noever government opposes this improve thing can be criminal which is unavoidment, the people have a right to sup- able, and ignorance is the unavoidable press the government for opposing that effect of slavery and oppression. If a right which Mr. Roscoe admits belongs nation could become enlightened by a essentially to the people. Now if the wish, they would deserve a bad governpeople of England exercised this right, ment for remaining in ignorance; but whenever government refuses to accom- the most vigorous genius cannot pass modate itself to their wishes, how fre- the twilight confines of barbarism and quently would the standard of rebellion ignorance, can never approach the day; be hoisted in the country ;-how often light of science, where all is night and would our government be remodelled darkness around him, and the avenues and changed. Besides, Mr. Roscoe to knowledge are closed up on every forgets that he is ipso facto maintaining side. It is idle then to maintain, that those republican principles which he the people who are thus the slaves of censures in Sismondi; for if the people tyranny and oppression cannot be much have a right to prosecute their own worse than the tyrants who reduced happiness and improvement, govern- them to slavery, and still continue

them ment can have no right to oppose them. in their chains. It is a mere sophism to There cannot be a right on both sides, say that government is a result and not for two rights, like two truths, can ne- a cause, because all the causes which ver contradict each other. If, then, we perceive in the moral, political, and according to Mr. Roscoe, the right be natural world, are results and causes at on the side of the people, and not on the same moment. We know of no the side of government, it follows, that cause which is not the result of some we have no government but the people higher cause. Even gravitation, which itself, for that government which has is the most general cause to which we no right to act against the will of the can refer the laws of motion, is itself people, is a mere nullity; anól that peo- only the effect of some other cause of ple who possess the right of " modify- which we are ignorant. It is not phiing their government according to their losophy then, to say, that government oun will,(they are Mr. Roscoe's own has no influence over the people, beexpressions) and whom government cause it is not a cause but a result; for consequently can have no right of op- though it is the result or effect of some posing, is virtually, substantially, and other cause, it is still the cause of innuin very fact, the government itself. If merable effects, and may consequently Mr. Roscoe did not intend to deprive be the source of many evils, or of many government of power whenever they blessings to the human race Mr. Rosoppose the people; if he did not intend coe, however, screens it from all responto acknowledge the right of the people sibility by making it an effect and not to prosecute their own happiness in a cause, for wherever there is no causaspite of government, to what purposetion, there can be no responsibility. Goes he tell us, that their happiness and There are two other consequences

which naturally result from Mr. Ros- of cowards in the time of Darius. The coe's view of government, neither of Greeks have not been for ages what which, if we are not mistaken in our they were in the time of Aristides and opinion of Mr. Roscoe's principles, he Themistocles; and the hand of time has would be willing to admit. The first assimilated the genius and character of is, that the human race are not all de- every nation to the varying organizascended from Adam, and that it is com- tion of its government. We must thereposed of different tribes, proceeding fore say we are decidedly of opinion, from different origins. The second is, that the view which Sismondi has taken that neither of these tribes can become of the influence of government over the better or worse than the original laws people, is founded in truth and nature, of their nature have made them; that and that Mr. Roscoe's theory would man is not the creature of circumstances; lead us into more inconsistences than and that the accidents of time and place all the politicians in Europe could recan exercise no influence over him. In concile with each other. "We cannot the first place, if government exercise therefore


with him, when he says no influence over the people, it is im- that Sismondi's political theory has possible to point out any circumstance warped his judgment, and prejudiced or condition in which man can be placed him against the fair fame of Lorenzo that shall be able to improve or deterio

de Medici. We will easily grant, or, rate his nature ; for as the various at least, it is our opinion, that Sismondi conditions of various countries are en- has not done justice to his character; tirely the result of the manner in which but can we refer this want of justice to they are governed, and as government no other cause than political prejudices ? exercises no influence over the people, Who can tell but that the character it follows that the circumstances in which he has given of Lorenzo origiwhich they are placed can exercise none, nated from the corrupt sources through for if they did, we should trace it to that which he derived his information. government which placed them in those Granting, however, that he was not circumstances. If, then, all the endless misguided by the authority of others, variety of conditions and situations in might he not have been prejudiced by which different portions of mankind many other causes besides that of his are placed, leave him exactly as they political theory? Do we not find in the found him, and make him neither bet- very country which we inhabit, men ter nor worse, it follows that all the di

professing the same political creed who versity of manner, character, &c. that are eternally at variance? Do we not we perceive in different nations must find the editors of opposition papers have always existed, because they could quarrel with each other, and quarrel too not have been brought about at any with a spirit of acrimony which they time by the influence of government, or never betray in their contentions with the nature of the circumstances in which the ministerial papers? Human nature they were placed. If then this diver- is acted upon by a thousand influences sity of character always existed, man- which are not connected in the remotest kind must have proceeded from different degree with political theories. Sisorigins. As the government cannot be mondi and Lorenzo were of different much worse than the people, or as, ac- religions, and experience convinces us cording to Mr. Roscoe, it is the people that religious dissensions are conducted that cause the government to be bad, with a spirit of acrimony which politi. both possessing the same nature and cal combatants would be ashamed to character, the consequence is, that wher- acknowledge. But it is not necessary ever there is a bad government, the to seek for the cause of Sismondi's anpeople of that country must have been tipathy to Lorenzo in religion more always bad, for if they had been good than in politics. Bossuet and Fenelon at any time, they would have always professed the same creed, but they could remained so, as they would always pos- not admire each other, and therefore sess governments similar to themselves, we do not see why Mr. Roscoe should which would necessarily be good go- think it necessary to combat and disvernments. This however is contra- prove the political creed of Sismondi, dicted by the history of all ages and in order to defend the character of Locountries. The Persians were a race of renzo, not only because his defence beroes in the time of Cyrus, and a race must stand upon different grounds, but

because Sismondi might have given a very name of Magnificent, by which he more unfavourable character of him is handed down to us, sufficiently testithan he has done, had he professed the fies his liberality and greatness of soul. same political opinions with Mr. Roscoe That his death was a theme of universal himself. Let us then examine the regret, might easily be inferred in the charges which he has brought against absence of historic testimonies, though Lorenzo abstracted from his motives, these testimonies are innumerable, from and see whether they are borne out by the verses of Politiano, the most elegant the general testimony of ancient wri- and refined writer of his age. We canters, for their authority must ultimately not forbear giving the following extract decide every opinion which we can offer from Mr. Roscoe's happy translation of on the subject, as their testimony is the these verses :only source of information to which either Sismondi or we can refer in ex. Through heaven the gleamy lightning flies, amining the character of the illustrious And prone on earth my LAUREL lies; Italian.

That laurel, boast of many a tongue, Sismondi makes two charges,—the whose praises every Muse has sung, one against Lorenzo, the other against And all

the tuneful sisters love;

Which every Dryad of the grove Mr. Roscoe himself. Lorenzo he charges That laurel, that erewhile display'd with having “ corrupted his fellow-citi. Its ample honours ; in whose shade zens by ostentatious and expensive spec. To louder notes was strung the lyre ; tacles,” with having “incurred the re- And sweeter sang the Aonian choir. sentment of his countrymen by his Now silent, silent all around, tyrannical measures." He maintains, And deaf the ear that drank'the sound. that “ the conspiracy of the Pazzi was a struggle for liberty," and that “ so To give the reader the completest safar from being the great character re- tisfaction which he can possibly require presented, he is not to be placed in of Lorenzo's character, we have only to the rank of great men, or even to be refer him to the Appendix to Mr. Rosconsidered as a superior person in coe's “ Illustrations,” where he has poetry, in philosophy, or in art.” Mr. collected so many indisputable authoriRoscoe he charges with having “exalted ties, not only in support of his noble the services of the family, and extenu- and munificent character, but in vindiated or glossed over their crimes.” The cation of his own life of him, that even latter charge is obviously included in scepticism must be silent, though it. the former; for if Lorenzo was that refuses to believe. Indeed, we doubt tyrant which Sismondi represents him whether it be possible to be sceptical to be, Mr. Roscoe must evidently plead after reading this Appendix, and the guilty to both these charges. If he be “ Illustrations” which precede it; and not, it is needless to enter upon Mr. we rejoice to find, that Mr. Roscoe has Roscoe's defence. To acquit Lorenzo not only vindicated the character of of the imputations brought against him, Lorenzo from Sismondi's imputations, is to justify Mr. Roscoe for the exalted but that the documents which he has character which he confers


him. collected on the occasion, will serve to It is obvious, as we have already refute whatever bigotry or prejudice observed, that the question regarding may hereafter advance against the chaLorenzo's character, must be decided racter of Lorenzo the Magnificent. We by the authority of ancient writers and shall conclude our observations on this popular tradition, and not by the indivi- subject, by giving our readers the chadual conjectures or abstract reasoning racter of Lorenzo, from the pen of Sisof any modern writer, who has no oppor. mondi himself. Had we no other means tunity of knowing any thing about the of disproving all that he has advanced matter but what he derives from this to his prejudice, we think the following source alone. Now, if the ques- eulogium would be a sufficient confutas tion is to be determined by authority, tion of it:we have no hesitation to say, that it is Perhaps the first person to whom not only decided, but demonstrated in we may attribute the revival of Italian Mr. Roscoe's favour. Not only history, poetry, was, at the same time, one of but tradition informs us, that he was the greatest men of his age, and of those the Mecenas of his age,the patron of which have since occurred. literature and of genius in distress. The

Such was the brilliant

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