« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Tuscany; but the bigotry of ecclesiastical power in the one, and the grasp of Austrian power in the other, soon led to a fatal reäction. The course of events and the facts of to-day now indisputably designate Sardinia as the region whence the light is to emanate. Favored, as we have seen, by the character of her people, her local position, and the traits of her past history, the very disaster that checked her army has tended to concentrate and develop the spirit of the age and the elements of constitutional liberty within her borders. The loss of the battle of Novara, and the abdication of Charles Albert, though apparently great misfortunes, have resulted in signal benefits. After securing peace from their adversaries chiefly by a pecuniary sacrifice, the king and citizens of Piedmont turned their energies towards internal reform with a wisdom and good faith which are rapidly yielding legitimate fruit.
Public schools were instituted, the press made free, the Waldenses allowed to quit their valleys, build churches, and elect representatives, the privileges of the clergy abolished, and the two bishops who ventured to oppose the authority of the state, tried, condemned, and banished, the Pope's interference repudiated, the right of suffrage instituted, railroads from Turin to Genoa and from Alessandria to Lago Maggiore constructed, the electric telegraph introduced, liberal commercial treaties formed, docks built, and cheap postal laws enacted. In a word, the great evils that have so long weighed down the people of the Italian peninsula - unlimited monarchical power, aristocratic and clerical immunities derived from the Middle Ages, the censorship of the press, the espionage of the police, and intolerance of all but the Catholic religion —in a great measure, no longer exist in Sardinia. Regarding the constitution of Charles Albert as a sacred legacy, his son and people resolved to uphold and carry out its principles; and they have done so, with scarcely any violence or civil discord. Accordingly, an example is now before the Italians, and within their observation and sympathy, of a free, progressive, and enlightened government; and this one fact is pregnant with hope for the entire nation. Only fanatics and shallow adventurers behold the signs of promise without grateful emotion. The wise and true friends of Italy, at home and abroad, welcome the daily proofs of
a new era for that unhappy land afforded by the prosperity and freedom now enjoyed in Piedmont.
It would be manifestly unjust to ascribe all these propitious changes to the personal influence of D'Azeglio; but he deserves the credit of projecting and successfully advocating many of the most effective ameliorations, and of having been the consistent and recognized expositor of the liberal policy of the state. The accession of Pius IX. was greeted by him with all the delight the hopeful dawn of his career naturally inspired among the Italian patriots. He published
He published a letter full of applause and encouragement, and had a long and satisfactory interview with the new Pope ; and when the bitter disappointment ensued, he carried out, in his official capacity, the sentiments he professed, and to which Pius IX. was shamelessly recreant. Like Henry Martyn, in England, he proposed the emancipation of the Jews in Piedmont, and his philanthropy is manifested in the establishment of public baths and fires for the poor. He took a bold and decided stand against the Pope, and originated the treaty with England. In his address to the Sardinian parliament, on the 12th of February, 1852, he expresses the noblest sentiments and principles, in language of simple and earnest vigor; repudiating what are called reasons of state, maintaining that the same morality is applicable to governments and individuals, that integrity has taken the place of astuteness, that good sense and good faith are all that the true statesman requires to guide him, and that the press and facility of intercourse which enable Turin, Moscow, and Edinburgh, to feel simultaneously the force of public opinion, have emancipated rulers from the narrow resource of subtlety, and induced among all enlightened governments reliance on the absolute power of truth and fidelity. He attributes, in this masterly discourse, the peaceful achievement of so much permanent good in the state, to the virtue of the people, the prudence of the legislature, and the loyalty of the king.
How long Sardinia will be permitted to carry on within her own limits the progressive system, that now so happily distinguishes her from the other continental governments, is extremely doubtful. The asylum she gives to political refugees, the unpleasant truths her free press announces, and the operation of her
free-trade principles, occasion the greatest annoyance to Austria, and excite the sympathetic desires of less-favored states. She has incurred the permanent enmity of the Papal see by suppressing the monasteries and sheltering Protestants; and Count Cavour's plea to the allied Congress for the people of Rome and Naples, only riveted the bonds of despotic sympathy between their eruel and bigoted rulers. It is scarcely to be expected that interference of a more active kind than has yet taken place will not be attempted. Meantime, however, it is but just to recognize the noble example she has set of an enlightened self-government, and to award the highest praise to the generous and judicious statesman at the head of her policy. It will prove a remarkable coincidence if the enterprise recently broached in New York; of a line of steamers between that city and Genoa, is realized; thus uniting by frequent intercourse the commercial emporium of the New World with the birthplace of her discoverer, and opening a direct and permanent communication between the greatest republic of the earth and the one state of Italy which has proved herself sufficiently intelligent, moral, and heroic, to reform peacefully an oppressive beritage of political and social evils.
The efficacy of D'Azeglio's patriotic zeal is, as we have endeavored to show, derived from his knowledge and judgment. Years of exile have not caused him to lose sight of the actual exigencies of the country. Having lived alternately at Turin, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Lucca, and Rome, and visited all parts of the peninsula, he is quite familiar with the condition of the people of the respective states, the special local evils of each administration, and the available resources of the nation. Thoroughly versed in the art, literature, and history of Italy, enjoying the intimacy and confidence of her leading spirits, and practically acquainted with diplomnatic life, his views are not random speculations, but wellconsidered opinions, his aims distinct and progressive, and the spirit in which he works that of a philosopher. The beautiful emanations of his study and genius have awakened, far and wide, the pride and affection of his countrymen. In 1815 he commenced, in the "Antologia Italiana," a new romance, founded on the Lombard league, which the cessation of that journal and the claims of official life have obliged him to suspend. In 1818
he fought in Lombardy; and early in the succeeding year an unostentatious but select and cordial banquet was given him in Rome by his admirers and friends, to congratulate one another on the new hopes of Italian regeneration which events then justified. Of late he has retired from the cares of office and the pursuit of literature, to devote himself, with eminent success, to his original vocation - historical painting.
Through all the chances and changes of the times, the noble author, and statesman, and artist, has serenely maintained his faith and wisely dedicated his mind to his country, emphatically giving utterance to truth and reason, both to fanatical patriots and despotic rulers; to the one demonstrating the inutility of spasmodic efforts, of guerillas, of inadequate resistance and inopportune action ; and to the other calmly proving the absolute folly, as well as wickedness, of a total disregard of the spirit of the
age and the claims of humanity. The present condition and prospects of his native state justify his arguments and realize his dearest hopes; and it is her peculiar glory to have had at the head of her administration not only a liberal and wise statesman, but one of the most gifted and pe triotic of her own sons.
THE GENIAL CHURCHMAN.
The memoirs and correspondence of a man who, for twenty years, was prominent in London society, and pointed out to strangers as eminently noteworthy, must give a desirable insight not only into his personal gifts and character, but into the tendencies and the traits of the circle in which he held so conspicuous a place. In both regards the volumes edited by his daughter justify the anticipation they excite. Here we see portrayed, without exaggeration, the best side of the Churchman, - one of the highest places open to clerical ambition in England, - its lustre enhanced by intelligence, its exclusiveness redeemed by geniality, and its validity vindicated by uprightness and public spitit We recognize the influence and the happiness that may be attained by a kindly, conscientious, fearless, candid dignitary of the Establishment, whose nature is leavened by a rich and persuasive humor, whereby his office, conversation, letters, and presence, are lifted from technicality and routine into vital relations with his fellow-beings and the time. Pleasant and suggestive is the record, full of amenity, and bright, cheerful traits. It is refreshing to meet with so much life, so much liberality, so much humane sentiment, where the conventional and the obsolete so often overlay and formalize mind and manner. Yet there is a distinct limit to this satisfaction. The vantage-ground which ecclesiastical prestige gave to Sydney Smith, his talents and agreeability confirmed; but his sympathies, with all their free play, had a