Page images
[ocr errors]

joyed. In their writings and in their speech, they were no longer the slaves of bigotry, or the victims of depotism. The prohibition which the Court of Rome had passed on the reading of most of the Italiani classics, did not hinder Leopold from haring them reprinted. Motives of prudence, however, persuaded him to direct his printer, Magi of Leghorn, to publish them under the false date of London. Under his reign, Beccaria published his great work, Dei delitti e delle Pene; though con. sisting of very few pages, it has justly been regarded by all the nations of Europe as an excellent code of criminal legislation. The freedom with which this Italian nobleman speaks of the different laws and measures of his own as well as of other governmenis, will for ever form the eulogy of Leopold, and justify the attachment which the Tuscans still retain for his memory.

The example of Tuscany was soon followed by Naples. The quarrels which arose between the King and the Pope, conceriing the nomination of the Bislinps, produced the full investigation of the rights which the Court of liome claimed on the kingdom of Naples. Giannone had already paved the way; but his Istoria civile del regno di Napoli had been so strictly forLidden, and the author so shamefully persecuted and betrayed, that few of the Italians knew how the Pipes had usurprd to then selves the authority which they now assumed But the negli enre of he Emperor in protecting Gia none, and the vileness of the King of Savoy in beraying him, did not prevent Ferdinand IV. now reigning in Naples, from graruing to his subjects the full freedom or writing ou the usurpations of the Popes, in regard to the Ghinca.

This Ghinda was a tribute, consisting of one hundred ducats and a white mute, which the King of Qales paid every year to the l'ope or the day of St. Peter (29th of June) as an acknowledgment of having received from the Holy See the investiture of the kingdom. On the dispute of the nomination of the Bi. shops, the Pope quoted the Ghivea, to prove that the King of Naples was a vassal of the Pontiff, and as such could not posɛess the authoriiy of nominating the Bishops. The King of Naples, by stopping the payment of de Ghinea ex facto, proved zbai he was vot a vas al of the Pope, and gave full liberty to his şubjects to expose the usurpations of Rome.

Giannone and Beccaria paved the way to Filangieri; and notwithstanding all the anecdotes which scurrility has report. od of Ferdinand, certain it is that the world owes to bim, and to him alone, the publication of La Science della Legislazione, as we bave it at present. It is notorious, that the censors of the press had refused the impriinatur, and it is equally uncontrovertible, that from their sentence there was no appeal.


Fortunately for the cause of knowledge, Filangieri was a chainberlain, and, though a courtier, he could not suppress before his inaster the grief which the intolerance of the censors of the press bad caused him. To ask, to learn, and to remove the cause of his chamberlain's grief, was but one act in Ferdinand. The eensors were surprised at an act of authority, which deprived the Clergy of their greatest power ; but the King, in regard to the Bishops, had already given them a lesson of resolution, which persuaded them to be silent.

It is on account of these independent principles of action, that the French Revolution met with so little success both in Tuscany and Naples, notwithstanding the faults of their respective goveruments. The Neapolitan republic did not survive six months; the Tuscan still less. Contrary to the other provinces of Italy, they submitted to Buonaparte, but they would never taste the principles of the revolutionary system. They had no tyrannical Nobles, no bigotted and intolerant Clergy. They could never relish the liberty and equality which overturned the very basis of society, however they might have wished for the reform of the faults which they saw in their governments. This has afterwards been performed by the French; and though Buonaparte has not done for the Italians as much as he has had it in his power, certain it is that he improved the morals of the people, and has altered the very face of the country. The ItaJians now are no longer the same people of fifty years ago. In point of activity, industry, courage, and acquirements, they are highly improved. They fully know their rights as men and as citizens, and they are aware of the superiority which, on many accounts, they possess over their masters.

The mild and prudent resolutions which the rulers of Tuscany and Naples have adopted, will make the rest of the Italians feel the weight of those measures which will be enforced by their respective goa vernments. They will learn with sorrow, that they are no longer a nation, and they will never forget of what they have, of what they might have been. History will teach them that their present situation is precisely the same as it was during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with one addition, that the reaction of the Clergy may perhaps add a fresh weight to the religious intolerance, which in some measure was curbed even during those turbulent ages. How much then is to be deplored the policy which has again been introduced into Italy, and that it is again to be subjected to the Austrians, the King of Sardinia, and the Pope. Objectionable as it was in many respects, the plan of Buonaparte, in regard to Italy, was certainly superior to that which the Allied Sovereigns adopted at the Congress of Vienna. Under the French, the Italians were in some measure and on many accounts free; but now they are slaves. The jealousy of a foreign government has expelled every idea of liberty. In. numerable spies consign over to the executioner the victims which are to be butchered under the sanction of the law, whilst armed forces pay 110 respect but to the command of the despot who puts them into motion. If amidst these oppressive ineasures, any little remainder of freedom could still be found, it is entirely destroyed by the reaction of the Catholic Clergy, and by the rapacity with which tbey endeavour to secure to them. selves what they liad once lost even beyond the hope of regaining


Now that the scene is again changed, we find that the Clergy are by no means bebind in their efforts to restore to themselves the power which they enjoyed in ancient days. For this reason, we witness their reactiou not only as a means to counteract what has been done for these five and twenty years past, but also to overstretch the point, and bring matters back as they were, during the fourteenth and fifteenth century, with the addi. tional chance of being able to go further, and obtain that which was denied even during those bigotted ages. Hence the catechism of Bossuet, which ever since its publication has been generally considered as the mildest formulary of the Roman Catholic Religion, has been now laid aside, as heretical and dangerous. Hence the young candidate for orders is no longer examined in the Gospels and in the four (Ecumenical Councils, but only in the Canons of the Council of Trent. And though this wonderful Council, in regard to its dogmas, has been rejected by all the Catholic nations of Europe, yet such is the force of ambitious infatuation, the restored Catholic Clergymen now hold it out as the very object to which all their views must tend. Philosophy, mathematics, the higher branches of divinity itself, all sciences, in short, have been laid aside. Thus Mahomet forced ignorance on the Turks, that they might better keep the precepts of the Koran.

Art. III. The Russian Prisoner of War among the French.

By Moritz Von Korzebue, Lieutenant on the General Staff of the Imperial Russiar: Army, &c. Edited, with the Addition of a Preface and Postscript, by the Author's Fathet, Á. Von Koizcbue. Translated from the German. pp. 324. gs. boards. Gale and Feuver. 1816.

THE hardships, we might almost say, horrors, which must await a prisoner of war who follows a retreating army through a bleeding and exhausied country, are more than those ndio

live in ease and affluence can, even in imagination, admit. It is well, therefore, that these scenes of human misery should occasionally be presented to their view, that their hearts may be softened to the calamities of others, and hardened to their own; that wbile they are taught to extend their pity to the misfortunes of others, they may also learn to bear with patience the few privations which the fluctuating times in which their lot is cast, may inflict upon themselves; that they may know how to estimate the blessings which this favoured island has long enjoyed, and how to adore that good Providence which has protected it from those extremities of woe by which other nationis have been so severely visited.

The parrative before us is the production of Moritz Von Kotzebue, a lieutenant-general on the staff of the Russian army, and son of A. Von Kotzebue, whose writings against Buonaparte are too highly esteemed to need our panegyric. We esteem him higher, perhaps, as a political than a dramatic author. It was written originally in German, and though containing the adventures of the son, was doubtless corrected and amended by the father. For the truth of each single and separate circumstance we are neither wise enough nor bold enough to vouch; we do not, however, hesitate to declare our conviction of the general truth of the whole. There is a simplicity and artlessness in the narrative which no fiction can reach.

General Kotzebue was attached to the corps of Count Wittgenstein, and, on the 10th of August, 1819, was with the ad. vanced guard at Bolo, a small town about a mile and a half from Polotzk. We would caution the reader, once for all, that throughout this narrative by a mile, the author means a Gera man mile, equivalent to about five of our own.

While rec01noitering the enemy's position in a strange wood, he suddenly came upon a Bavarian picket, by whom he was surrounded and taken prisoner. He was conducted imniediately to Polotzk, the head quarters of General St. Cyr. By him he was committed to the care of his aid de camp, the son of Marshal Mas. sena. This - rencontre was somewhat extraordinary, as before the last battle, Kotzebue and Massena, being both at their several out-pists, had drank a fiask of wine together in the most friendly manner, which the courtesy of war allows to those on such stations; when the trumpet sounded for parting, they mutually promised protection to each other, should cisher be taken prisoner. Kotzebue was now comfortalıly lodged in a convert of Jesuits; during this time he received many civilities from General St. Cyr, of whom he speaks in terms of unfeigned respect. After six days, he was committed, with a detachment of sixty prisoners, to an escort of twenty men, commanded by

Lieutenant Lieutenant Pineda, a native of Holland, with these he was to march to Wilna.

“ Wer-sumed oir march, without beat of drum, or any rigid enforcement of authority on the part of the lieutenant, who treated us with kindness, only requiring that no one should separate from the party.

We yet wanted three miles of the distance necessary to complete our day's march, and the heat was most insupportable. I was unaccustomed to long travelling on foot, and consequently suffered much from fatigue. We once stopped to rest on a piece of rising ground, situated near a chapel, which was surrounded by trees ; it had of course been plundered, and had frequently answered the purpose of a stable. We there stretched ourselves upon some filthy straw, and woe to him who after this had no change of linen, for every one unavoidably carried off an addition to all the evils of his last quartering. Pineda and I went into the pulpit, and devoured our bread with keen appetites. The poor liungry sol. diers, who had lain down in the chapel, turned with longing eyes towards the pulpit. Do you see your men?' said I to the lieu. tenant, pointing to them.--- I see them,' answered he, “but cannot assist them. It will be asked how we existed. Great God! we devoured every thing that came in our way. Potatoe fields and gardens of all descriptions were industriously ransacked, and we thought ourselves happy when we found a single potatoe or a cabbage leaf, which we threw into the common cooking-pan, and soup made of these materials formed our only support. In this manner we subsisted eight days.

“ The drum beat for our departure. We proceeded sorrowfully onwards, and beheld on every side houses levelled with the ground, trees cut down, and roads destroyed. But if our eyes were shocked by this spectacle, our olfactory organs had to encounter a more offensive salutation; for the dead bodics, both of men and horses, which we fell in with at every short distance, so infected the air, that we were frequently compelled to go a hundred paces out of our way to avoid them. The half-cloathed prisoners, who had before employed their hands in holding together the rags which hung about their bodies, now felt inclined to hold their noses also; and thus there frequently arose a combat between the feelings of shame and disgust, in which the latter remained in most cases victorious.

“ Towards evening we perceived, on the border of a lake, a large house, the root of which was still remaining; and our conductor surprised us with the welcome announcement, that we were now near our object. Oppressed with hunger and fatigue, I threw myself upon the steps which led to the door; and, accord. ing to Pineda's assurance, iny countenance displayed a most me. lancholy expression. The poor prisoners were marched into the court-yard, and lodged in an out-building, which in better times had given shelter to cows. The prudent lieutenant caused every hole to be blocked, and surrounded the stable with sentinels,


« PreviousContinue »