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tal at the expense of the provinces. The citi- ' a hundred and seventy thousand inhabitants. zens of Madrid have more than once besieged In the various schools about ten thousand their sovereign in his own palace, and extorted children were tanght to read; twelve hundred from him the most humiliating concessions. ' studied arithmetic; six hundred received a The sultans have often been compelled to pro- learned elucation. The progress of elegant pitiate the furious rabble of Constantinople literature and of the fine arts was proportioned with the head of an unpopular vizier. From' to that of the public prosperity. Under the the same cause there was a certain tinge of despotic successors of Augustus, all the fields democracy in the monarchies and aristocracies or the intellect had been turned into arid of Northern Italy.

wastes, still marked out by formal boundaries, Thus liberty, partially, indeed, and transient- still retaining the traces of old cultivation, but ly, revisited lialy; and with liberty came com- yielding neither flowers nor fruit. The deluge merce and empire, science and iaste, all the of barbarism came. It swept away all the comforts and all the ornaments of life. The landmarks. It obliterated all the signs of forcrusades, from which the inhabitants of other mer tillage. But it fertilized while it devas countries gained nothing but relics and tated. When it receded, the wilderness was wounds, brought the rising commonwealths as the garden of God, rejoicing on every side, of the Adriatic and Tyrrhene seas a large in- laughing, clapping its hands, pouring forth in crease of wealth, dominion, and knowledge. spontaneous abundance every thing brilliant, Their moral and their geographical position or fragrant, or nourishing. A new language, enabled them to profit alike by the barbarism characterized by simple sweetness and simple of the West and the civilization of the East. energy, had attained its perfection. No tongue Their ships covered every sea. Their sac- ever furnished more gorgeous and vivid tints tories rose on every shore. Their money to poetry; nor was it long before a poet apchangers set their tables in every city. Manu-peared who knew how to employ them. Early factures flourished. Banks were established. in the fourteenth century came forth the DiThe operations of the commercial machine vine Comedy, beyond comparison the greatest were facilitated by many useful and beautiful work of imagination which had appeared since inventions. We doubt whether any country the poems of Homer. The following genera. of Europe, our own perhaps excepted, have at tion produced, indeed, no second Dante; but the present time reached so high a point of it was eminently distinguished by general inwealth and civilization as some parts of Italy tellectual activity. The study of the Latin had attained four hundred years ago. Histo- writers had never been wholly neglected in rians rarely descend to those details from Italy. But Petrarch introduced a more prowhich alone the real state of a community found, liberal, and elegant scholarship; and can be collected. Hence posterity is too often communicated to his countrymen that enthudeceived by the vague hyperboles of poets and siasm for the literature, the history, and the rhetoricians, who mistake the splendour of a antiquities of Rome, which divided his own court for the happiness of a people. Fortu- heart with a frigid mistress and a more frigid nately John Villani has given us an ample and muse. Boccaccio turned their attention to the precise account of the state of Florence in the more sublime and graceful models of Greece. earlier part of the fourteenth century. The From this time the admiration of learning revenue of the republic amounted to three and genius became almost an idolatry among hundred thousand florins, a sum which, allow the people of Italy. Kings and republics, caring for the depreciation of the precious metals, dinals and doges, vied with each other in howas at least equivalent to six hundred thou- nouring and flattering Petrarch. Embassies sand pounds sterling; a larger sum than Eng- from rival states solicited the honour of his inand and Ireland, two centuries ago, yielded an-structions. His coronation agitated the court nually to Elizabeth-a larger sum than, accord- of Naples and the people of Rome as much as ing to any computation which we have seen, the the most important political transactions could Grand-duke of Tuscany now derives from a have done. To collect books and antiques, to territory of much greater extent. The manu- found professorships, to patronise men of iacture of wool alone employed two hundred learning, became almost universal fashions factories and thirty thousand workmen. The among the great. The spirit of literary recloth annually produced sold, at an average, search allied itself to that of commercial enfor twelve hundred thousand florins; a sum terprise. Every place to which the merchantfairly equal, in exchangeable value, to two princes of Florence extended their gigantic millions and a half of our money. Four hun. traffic, from the bazaars of the Tigris to the dred thousand florins were annually coined. monasteries of the Clyde, was ransacked for Eighty banks conducted the commercial ope- medals and manuscripts. Architecture, paintrations, not of Florence only, but of all Europe. ing, and sculpture were munificently encouThe transactions of these establishments were raged. Indeed it would be difficult to name an sometimes of a magnitude which may surprise Italian of eminence during the period of which even the contemporaries of the Barings and we speak, who, whatever may have been his :he Rothschilds. Two houses advanced to general character, did not at least affect a love Edward the Third of England upwards of of letters and of the arts. three hundred thousand marks, at a time when Knowledge and public prosperity continued the mark contained more silver than fifty shil- to advance together. Both attained their meri. lings of the present day, and when the value dian in the age of Lorenzo the Magnificent. ni silver was more than quadruple of what it We cannot refrain from quoting the splendid ouw is. The city and its environs contained passage, in which the Tuscan Thucydides ile


scribes the state of Italy at that period :-Ri-' of society which facilitated the gigantic con. dotta tutta in somma pace e tranquillità, colti- quests of Attila and Timour. vata non meno ne' luoghi più montuosi e più l But a people which subsists by the cultiva. sterili che nelle pianure e regioni piu fertili

, tion of the earth is in a very different situation. nè sottoposta ad altro imperio che de 'suoi me i The husbandman is bound to the soil on which desimi, non solo era abbondantissima d'abita. he labours. A long campaign would be ruin. tori e di ricchezze; ma illustrata sommamente ous to him. Still his pursuits are such as give dalla magnificenza di molti principi, dallo to his frame both the active and the passive splendore di molte nobilissime e bellissime strength necessary to a soldier. Nor do they, citti, dalla sedia e maestà delle religione, fiori- at least in the infancy of agricultural science, va d'uomini prestantissimi nell'amministra- demand his uninterrupted attention. At parzione delle cose pubbliche, e d'ingegni molto ticular times of the year he is almost wholly nobili in tutte le scienze, ed in qualunque arte unemployed, and can, without injury to him. preclara ed industriosa.”* When we peruse self, afford the time necessary for a short expeihis just and splendid description, we can dition. Thus, the legions of Rome were supscarcely persuade ourselves that we are read- plied during its earlier wars.

The season, ing of times, in which the annals of England during which the farms did not require the and France present us only with a frightful presence of the cultivators, sufficed for a short spectacle of poverty, barbarity, and ignorance. inroad and a battle. These operations, too From the oppressions of illiterate masters, and frequently interrupted to produce decisive rethe sufferings of a brutalized peasantry, it is sults, yet served to keep up among the people a delightful to turn to the opulent and enlighten- degree of discipline and courage which render. ed States of Italy—to the vast and magnificent ed them, not only secure, but formidable. The cities, the ports, the arsenals, the villas, the archers and billmen of the middle ages, who, museums, ihe libraries, the marts filled with with provisions for forty days at their backs, every article of comfort and luxury, the manu- left the fields for the camp, were troops of the factories swarming with artisans, the Apen- same description. nines covered with rich cultivation up to their But, when commerce and manufactures very summits, the Po wafting the harvests of begin to flourish, a great change takes place. Lombardy to the granaries of Venice, and car. The sedentary habits of the desk and the loom rying back the silks of Bengal and the firs of render the exertions and hardships of war inSiberia to the palaces of Milan. With pecu- supportable. The occupations of traders and liar pleasure, every cultivated mind must re- artisans require their constant presence and pose on the fair, the happy, the glorious Flo- attention. In such a community, there is little rence-on the halls which rung with the mirth superfluous time; but there is generally much of Pulci-the cell where twinkled the midnight superfluous money. Some members of the solamp of Politian–the statues on which the ciety are, therefore, hired to relieve the rest young eye of Michel Angelo glared with the from a task inconsistent with their habits and frenzy of a kindred inspiration—the gardens engagements. in which Lorenzo meditated some sparkling The history of Greece is, in this, as in many song for the May-day dance of the Etrurian other respects, the best commentary on the virgins. Alas, for the beautiful city! Alas, history of Italy. Five hundred years before for the wit and the learning, the genius and the Christian era, the citizens of the republics the love!

round the Ægean Sea formed perhaps the finest

militia that ever existed. As wealth and re. "Le donne, e cavalier, gli affanni, gli agi,

finement advanced, the system underwent a Che ne'nvogliav' amore e cortesia, La dove i cuor' son fatti ei malvagi.”'t

gradual alteration. The Ionian States were

the first in which commerce and the arts were A time was at hand, when all the seven vials cultivated, -and the first in which the ancient of the Apocalypse were to be poured forth and discipline decayed. Within eighty years after shaken out over those pleasant countries, the battle of Platxa, mercenary troops were time for slaughter, famine, beggary, infamy, everywhere plying for battles and sieges. In slavery, despair.

the time of Demosthenes, it was scarcely posIn the Italian States, as in many natural bo- sible to persuade or compel the Athenians to dies, untimely decrepitude was the penalty of enlist for foreign service. The laws of Lycur. precocious maturity. Their early greatness, gus prohibited trade and manufactures. The and their early decline, are principally to be at- Spartans, therefore, continued to form a nationai tributed to the same cause-the preponderance force, long after their neighbours had begun to which the towns acquired in the political sys- hire soldiers. But their military spirit declined tem.

with their singular institutions. In the second In a community of hunters or of shepherds, century, Greece contained only one nation of every man easily and necessarily becomes a warriors, the savage highlanders of Ætolia, soldier. His ordinary avocations are perfectly who were at least ten generations behind their compatible with all the duties of military ser-countrymen in civilization and intelligence. vice. However remote may be the expedition All the causes which produced these effects on which he is bound, he finds it easy to trans- among the Greeks acted still more strongly on port with him the stock from which he derives the modern Italians. Instead of a power like his subsistence. The whole people is an army; Sparta, in its nature warlike, they had amongst the whole year a march. Such was the state them an ecclesiastical state, in its nature pa.

cific. Where there are numerous slaves, every * Guicciardini, lib. i. + Dante Purgatorio, xiv. freeman is induced by the strongest motives !)


familiarize himself with the use of arms. The | the King of Naples or the Duke of Milan, the commonwealths of Italy did not, like those of Pope or the Signory of Florence, struck the Greece, swarm with thousands of these house bargain, was to him a matter of perfect in.lifhold enemies. Lastly, the mode in which mi- ference. He was for the highest wages and litary operations were conducted, during the the longest term. When the campaign for prosperous times of Italy, was peculiarly un- which he had contracted was finished, there favourable to the formation of an eficient mili- was neither law nor punctilio to prevent him tia. Men covered with iron from head to foot, from instantly turring his arms against his armed with ponderous lances, and mounted on late masters. The soldier was altogether dishorses of the largest breed, were considered as joined from the citizen and from the subject. composing the strength of an army. The in- The natural consequences followed. Left to fantry was regarded as comparatively worth the conduct of men who neither loved those less, and was neglected till it became really so. whom they defended, nor hated those whom These tactics maintained their ground for cen- they opposed-who were often bound by turies in most parts of Europe. That foot sol- stronger ties to the army against which they diers could withstand the charge of heavy ca- fought than the state which they served--who valry was thought utterly impossible, till, to- lost by the termination of the conflict, and wards the close of the fifteenth century, the gained by its prolongation, war completely rude mountaineers of Switzerland dissolved changed its character. Every man came into the spell, and astounded the most experienced the field of battle impressed with the knowgenerals, by receiving the dreaded shock on ledge that, in a few days, he might be taking an impenetrable forest of pikes.

the pay of the power against which he was The use of the Grecian spear, the Roman then employed, and fighting by the side of his sword, or the modern bayonet, might be acquir- enemies against his associates. The strongest ed with comparative ease. But nothing short interest and the strongest feelings concurred to of the daily exercise of years could train the mitigate the hostility of those who had lately man at arms to support his ponderous panoply been brethren in arms, and who might soon te and manage his unwieldy weapon. Through- brethren in arms once more. Their common out Europe, this most important branch of war profession was a bond of union not to be forbecame a separate profession. Beyond the gotten, even when they were engaged in the Alps, indeed, though a profession, it was not service of contending parties. Hence it was generally a trade. It was the duty and the that operations, languid and indecisive beyond amusement of a large class of country gentle- any recorded in history, marches and counter

It was the service by which they held marches, pillaging expeditions and blockades, their lands, and the diversion by which, in the bloodless capitulations and equally bloodless absence of mental resources, they beguiled combats, make up the military history of Italy their leisure. But, in the Northern States of during the course of nearly two centuries. Italy, as we have already remarked, the grow- Mighty armies fight from sunrise to sunset. A ing power of the cities, where it had not exter- great victory is won. Thousands of prisoners minated this order of men, had completely are taken; and hardly a life is lost! A pitched changed their habits. Here, therefore, the prac- battle seems to have been really less dangerous tice of employing mercenaries became univer- than an ordinary civil tumult. sal, at a time when it was almost unknown in Courage was now no longer necessary even other countries.

to the military character. Men grew old in When war becomes the trade of a separate camps, and acquired the highest renown by class, the least dangerous course left to a their warlike achievements, without being government is to form that class into a stand- once required to face serious danger. The ing army. It is scarcely possible, that men political consequences are too well known. can pass their lives in the service of a single The richest and most enlightened part of the state, without feeling some interest in its world was left undefended, to the assaults of greatness. Its victories are their victories. every barbarous invader-to the brutality of Its defeats are their defeats. The contract Switzerland, the insolence of France, and the loses something of its mercantile character. fierce rapacity of Arragon. The moral effects The services of the soldier are considered as which followed from this state of things were the effects of patriotic zeal, his pay as the tri- still more remarkable. bute cf national gratitude. To betray the power Among the rude nations which lay beyond which employs him, to be even remiss in its the Alps, valour was absolutely indispensable service, are in his eyes the most atrocious and Without it, none could be eminent; few could degrading of crimes.

be secure. Cowardice was, therefore, naturally When the princes and commonwealths of considered as the foulest reproach. Among Italy began to use hired troops, their wisest the polished Italians, enriched by commerce, course would have been to form separate mili- governed by law, and passionately attached to tary establishments. Unhappily this was not literature, every thing was done by superiority done. The mercenary warriors of the Penin- of intelligence. Their very wars, more pacific sula, instead of being attached to the service than the peace of their neighbours, required of different powers, were regarded as the com- rather civil than military qualifications. Hence, mon property of all. The connection between while courage was the point of honour in the state and its defenders was reduced to the other countries, ingenuity became the point of mossimple naked traffic. The adventurer honour in Italy. brought his horse, his weapons, his strength, From these principles were deduced, by proand his experience into the market. Whether cesses strictly analogous, two opposite sysfems of fashionable morality. Through the of his victim. Something of interest and regreater part of Europe, the vices which pecu- spect would have mingled with their disap. liarly belong to timid dispositions, and which probation. The readiness of his wit, the are the natural defence of weakness, fraud, clearness of his judgment, the skill with which and hypocrisy, have always been most disre- he penetrates the dispositions of others and putable. On the other hand, the excesses of conceals his own, would have insured to him haughty and daring spirits have been treated a certain portion of their esteem. with indulgence, and even with respect. The So wide was the difference between the Italians regarded with corresponding lenity Italians and their neighbours. A similar difthose crimes which require self-command, ference existed between the Greeks of the se. address, quick observation, fertile invention, cond century before Christ, and their masters and profound knowledge of human nature. the Romans. The conquerors, brave and

Such a prince as our Henry the Fifth would resolute, faithful to their engagements, and have been the idol of the North. The follies strongly influenced by religious feelings, were, of his youth, the selfish and desolating ambi- at the same time, ignorant, arbitrary, and tion of his manhood, the Lollards roasted at cruel. With the vanquished people were deslow fires, the prisoners massacred on the field posited all the art, the science, and the literaof battle, the expiring lease of priestcraft re- ture of the Western world. In poetry, in newed for another century, the dreadful legacy philosophy, in painting, in architecture, in of a causeless and hopeless war, bequeathed to sculpture, they had no rivals. Their manners a people who had no interest in its event, were polished, their perceptions acute, their every thing is forgotten, but the victory of invention ready; they were tolerant, assable, Agincourt! Francis Sforza, on the other hand, humane. But of courage and sinceriiy they was the model of the Italian hero. He made were almost utterly destitute. The rude war. his employers and his rivals alike his tools. riors who had subdued them consoled them. He first overpowered his open enemies by the selves for their intellectual inferiority, by help of faithless allies; he then armed himself remarking that knowledge and taste seemed against his allies with the spoils taken from only to make men atheists, cowards, and his enemies. By his incomparable dexterity, slaves. The distinction long continued to be he raised himself from the precarious and de- strongly marked, and furnished an admirable pendent situation of a military adventurer to subject for the fierce sarcasm of Juvenal. the first throne of Italy. To such a man much The citizen of an Italian commonwealth was was forgiven-hollow friendship, ungenerous the Greek of the time of Juvenal, and the Greek enmity, violated faith. Such are the opposite of the time of Pericles, joined in one. Like errors which men commit, when their morality the former, he was timid and pliable, artful and is not a science, but a taste; when they abandon unscrupulous. But, like the latter, he had a eternal principles for accidental associations.

country. Its independence and prosperity We have illustrated our meaning by an in- were dear to him. If his character were de. stance taken from history. We will select graded by some mean crimes, it was, on the another from fiction. Othello murders his other hand, ennobled by public spirit and by an wife; he gives orders for the murder of his honourable ambition. lieutenant; he ends by murdering himself. A vice sanctioned by the general opinion is Yet he never loses the esteem and affection of merely a vice. The evil terminates in itself. a Northern reader-his intrepid and ardent A vice condemned by the general opinion prospirit redeeming every thing. The unsuspect- duces a pernicious effect on the whole characing confidence with which he listens to his ter. The former is a local malady, the latter a adviser, the agony with which he shrinks from constitutional taint. When the reputation of the thought of shame, the tempest of passion the offender is lost, he too often flings the rewith which he commits his crimes, and the mains of his virtue after it in despair. The haughty fearlessness with which he avows Highland gentleman, who, a century ago, lived them, give an extraordinary interest to his by taking black mail from his neighbours, character. Iago, on the contrary, is the object committed the same crime for wbich Wild of universal loathing. Many are inclined to was accompanied to Tyburn by the huzzas of suspect that Shakspeare has been seduced into two hundred thousand people. But there can an exaggeration unusual with him, and has be no doubt that he was a much less ilepraved drawn a monster who has no archetype in man than Wild. The deed for which Mrs. human nature. Now we suspect, that an Brownrigg was hanged sinks into nothing, Italian andience, in the fifteenth century, would when compared with the conduct of the Roman have felt very differently. Othello would have who treated the public to a hundred pair of inspired nothing but detestation and contempt. gladiators. Yet we should probably wrong The folly with which he trusts to the friendly such a Roman if we supposed that his disposiprofessions of a man whose promotion he had tion was so cruel as that of Mrs. Brownrigg. obstructed—the credulity with which he takes In our own country, a woman forfeits her unsupported assertions, and trivial circum- place in society, by what, in a man, is too stances, for unanswerable proofs--the violence commonly considered as an honourable dis. with which he silences the exculpation till the tinction, and, at worst, as a venial error. The exculpation can only aggravate his misery, consequence is notorious. The moral prin. would have excited the abhorrence and disgust ciple of a woman is frequently more impaired of the spectators. The conduct of lago they by a single lapse from virtue, than that of a would assuredly have condemned; but they man by twenty years of intrigue. Classical would have condemned it as we condemn that antiquity would furnish us with instances


stronger, if possible, than those to which we is insensible to shame, but because, in the sohave reterred.

ciety in which he lives, timidity has ceased to We must apply this principle to the case be- be shameful. To do an injury openly is, in his fore us. Habits of dissimulation and falsehood, estimation, as wicked as to do it secretly, and no doubt, mark a man of our age and country far less profitable. With him the most honouras utterly worthless and abandoned. But it by able means are—the surest, the speediest, and no means follows that a similar judgment the darkest. He cannot comprehend how a would be just in the case of an Italian of the man should scruple to deceive him whom he middle ages. On the contrary, we frequently does not scruple to destroy. He would think find those faults, which we are accustomed to it madness to declare open hostilities against consider as certain indications of a mind alto a rival whom he might stab in a friendly emgether depraved, in company with great and brace, or poison in a consecrated wafer. good qualities, with generosity, with benevo- Yet this man, black with the vices which we lence, with disinterestedness. From such a consider as most loathsome-traitor, hypocrite, state of society, Palamedes, in the admirable coward, assassin—was by no means destitute dialogue of Hume, might have drawn illustra- even of those virtues which we generally contions of his theory as striking as any of those sider as indicating superior elevation of charac. with which Fourli furnished him. These are ler. In civil courage, in perseverance, in prenot, we well know, the lessons which historians i sence of mind, those barbarous warriors who are generally most careful to teach, or readers were foremost in the battle or the breach, were most willing to learn. But they are not there. far his interiors. Even the dangers which he fore useless. How Philip disposed his troops avoided, with a caution almost pusillanimous, at Chæronea, where Hannibal crossed the Alps, never confused his perceptions, never parawhether Mary blew up Darnley, or Siquier shot lyzed his inventive faculties, never wrung out Charles the Twelfth, and ten thousand other one secret from his ready tongue and his inquestions of the same description, are in them- scrutable brow. Though a dangerous enemy, selves unimportant. The inquiry may amuse and a still more dangerous accomplice, he was us, but the decision leaves us no wiser. He a just and beneficent ruler. With so much unalone reads history aright, who, observing how fairness in his policy, there was an extraordi. powerfully circumstances influence the feel-nary degree of fairness in his intellect. Indif. ings and opinions of men, how often vices pass ferent to truth in the transactions of life, he into virtues, and paradoxes into axioms, learns was honestly devoted to the pursuit of truth in to distinguish what is accidental and transitory the researches of speculation. Wanton cruin human nature, from what is essential and elty was not in his nature.

On the contrary, immutable.

where no political object was at stake, his disIn this respect no history suggests more im- position was soft and humane. The suscepti. portant reflections than that of the Tuscan and bility of his nerves, and the activity of his Lombard commonwealths. The character of imagination, inclined him to sympathize with the Italian statesman seems, at first sight, a the feelings of others, and to delight in the chacollection of contradictions, a phantom, as rities and courtesies of social life. Perpetually monstrous as the portress of hell in Milton, half descending to actions which might seem to divinity, half snake, majestic and beautiful mark a mind diseased through all its faculties, above, grovelling and poisonous below. We he had nevertheless an exquisite sensibility both see a man, whose thoughts and words have no for the natural and the moral sublime, for connection with each other; who never hesi- every graceful and every lofty conception. tates at an oath when he wishes to seduce, who Habits of petty intrigue and dissimulation never wants a pretext when he is inclined to might have rendered him incapable of great betray. His cruelties spring, not from the heat general views; but that the expanding effect of blood, or the insanity of uncontrolled power, of his philosophical studies counteracted the but from deep and cool meditation. His pas- narrowing tendency. He had the keenest en. sions, like well-trained troops, are impetuous joyment of wit, eloquence, and poetry. The by rule, and in their most headstrong fury fine arts profited alike by the severity of his never forget the discipline to which they have judgment, and the liberality of his patronage. been accustomed. His whole soul is occupied The portraits of some of the remarkable with vast and complicated schemes of ambi- Italians of those times are perfectly in harmotion. Yet his aspect and language exhibit no- ny with this description. Ample and majestic thing but philosophic moderation. Hatred and foreheads; brows strong and dark, but not revenge eat into his heart: yet every look is a frowning; eyes of which the calm full gaze, cordial smile, every gesture a familiar caress. while it expresses nothing, seems to discern He never excites the suspicion of his adver- every thing; cheeks pale with thought and sesary by petty provocations. His purpose is dentary habits ; lips formed with feminine delidisclosed only when it is accomplished. His cacy, but compressed with more than mascuface is unruffled, his speech is courteous, till line decision, mark out men at once enterpris. vigilance is laid asleep, till a vital point is ex- ing and apprehensive; men equally skilled in posed, till a sure aim is taken; and then he detecting the purposes of others, and in constrikes-for the first and last time. Military cealing their own; men who must have been courage, the boast of the sottish German, the formidable enemies and unsafe allies; but men, În volous and prating Frenchman, the roman- at the same time, whose tempers were mild and tic and arrogant Spaniard, he neither possesses equable, and who possessed an amplitude and nor values. He shuns danger, not because he subtlety of mind, which would have rendered

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