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The French taxed each city, not only for works of utility and comfort, but also to raise triumphal monuments to the glory of their masters; they wished to see an appearance at least of mirth; they gave popular fêtes with the money of the community; they provided the music, and insisted that the company should dance. Under Austrian rule the fêtes have been discontinued, certainly, but the works of public utility have been completed. If the French made two roads over the Alps, the Austrians have made six. The costly reparations of the cathedral of Milan, and even the triumphal arch at the northern entrance of the city, though a monument humiliating to Austria, have been finished. The French system of centralization reduced the provincial cities to utter insignificance. Venice, despoiled and degraded, was slipping from its shores into the sluggish canals which the Government thought it not worth while to clean. In this state the marvellous city was handed over to the Emperor of Austria. The curse of Marino Faliero seemed upon it. Daily petitions were offered up at Vienna to enable the fallen noble to destroy the palace of his ancestors and sell the materials. An Imperial decree put a stop to this devastation, and the foresight of the Government has saved the city from a calamity more irreparable than any inflicted by Attila. Justice, as we have before said, is administered with an impartiality unknown in the rest of Italy, and perhaps not valued by Italians. Domestic tranquillity is not disturbed by the tyranny or gallantry of police-agents and foreign fortune-hunters. Vienna has not been declared the centre of European civilization, and Italy has not been despoiled to adorn it. The German governors, civil and military, are maintained on frugal and moderate salaries, and the Court of the Viceroy is on a scale of unostenta. tious simplicity, while the domestic habits and private virtues of the royal family form a noble contrast with the disorderly conduct of the Buonapartes whom their chief intruded on the country, and surrounded with theatrical trappings and factitious titles.
No assertion has been more fearlessly made, and more constantly repeated, than that Italians are never preferred by the German government to posts of honour in their own country. When the Austrians first re-assumed possession of Lombardy, Italians were named to numerous offices, nor were they removed but at the reiterated complaints of their own countrymen.
Municipal jealousy interfered also with these appointments: the Venetians thought it hard that a country which had governed itself for many centuries should receive a governor from Milanand Milan would have received the appointment of a Venetian governor as the last degradation. Many such appointments were tried; but the choice was not always fortunate; displaced officials
proclaimed the injustice of the Government, while, in fact, they should rather have praised its forbearance. It would be easy, if it were not invidious, to quote examples : let it suffice that the experiment failed, and the Italians themselves were the first to admit it.
The patience and forbearance of the Austrian soldiers and officers in Italy has often been our astonishment. We have constantly seen them exposed in public places to the most contemptuous and injurious treatment. Every such place resounds with abuse of the Government, and sufficiently disproves the alleged activity of the police. As we said at the outset, it is chiefly among the upper
classes of society that the Germans are thus unpopular. Let us repeat our warning too. Europe will probably not again suffer its surface to be overrun by French armies. İtaly may never again bé exposed to the tyranny or the contemptuous forbearance of French generals; but the noble of Northern Italy has a worse waríare to expect, should he be abandoned to the tender mercies of his own peasantry by the withdrawal of the protecting influence of Austria.
While doing its utmost to repress innovation, no government can have shown itself more careful of existing rights, or less inclined to cruelty or vengeance than hers in Italy. It has restrained the severity of neighbouring princes :-even the rebels of the late Duke of Modena were protected from his pursuit, denied to his demand, and suffered to seek their safety in Switzerland.
It was the dread of innovation that prompted the occupation of Ferrara—a measure in our opinion precipitate and impolitic; the dominions of the Pope should have been held sacred from invasion ; and the pretences, too, by which the measure is excused are most frivolous. The citadel of Ferrara, at a distance from the town, and commanding the mouth of the Po, was assigned by treaty to Austria as an important military station for the protection of Northern Italy. It was by no means intended that this possession should compromise the Pope's independence, or enable the Emperor to dictate the sort of government he should adopt in his own dominions. The alleged ambiguity in the wording of an article in the Treaty of Vienna could not with fairness be interpreted in favour of the stronger party; neither, even if it were, could the exercise of that right be considered less hostile now, since it had been waived before. If Austrian officers were insulted in the streets of Ferrara, they should have abstained from visiting there; if an insult offered to an individual of a powerful nation were to justify the occupation of the territory
where the alleged offence was given, a precedent would be established by which treaties are made waste paper, and of which Austria might be the first to feel the effects. But while we condemn this measure itself, we deplore it still more if it is to be the cause of an English intervention in the internal affairs of Italy. We trust that, whatever may have been the Earl of Minto's commission, he had no authority to plunge us in this new sea of difficulties.
The statesman who signed the Treaty of Vienna understood British interests better than the brilliant orators who have attacked it. We have since departed from all his principles, and what has been the result? Our desertion of the loyal parties in some of our colonies, and of the material interests of others, tend alike to the aggrandizement of the United States. Our desertion of the Sultan has increased the power of Russia and of France, and has been the means of introducing French civilization into Africa, propagated by the humane Cubières. In Spain and Portugal we have prolonged the horrors of civil warfare, and tarnished our laurels by the discomfiture of a British army on the very scene of former glory. We have toiled for the advantage of the new French dynasty;
we have assisted to do what Louis XIV. and Buonaparte never accomplished; and have indirectly promoted intrigues which would have disgraced the cabinet of Versailles when presided over by a Pompadour or a Du Barry. If under the specious pretence of liberty and civilization we assist in de spoiling Austria of her natural influence in Italy, we shall not forward the views of the Italians in self-government; but we shall aggrandize our rivals by assigning the first interest in Italy to France, and by uniting the Illyrian provinces of the Venetian empire to Russia.
As for the Pope, we (though good Protestants) wish bim too well to desire to see him continue in his present course—a course that can only lead to embarrassment and worse: but we must repeat that we should have thought better of him, both as a priest and as a politician, if he had not interfered in Ireland to prolong discontent and ignorance, and if he had interfered in Switzerland to stop the effusion of blood.
Art. XI.-1. Letter from an Irish Proprietor [the_Earl of
Devon) to the Ministers of Religion of the District. Begg and
Son, London, 1847. 2. On Poor-Law and Labour-Rate : a Letter from an Irish Land
owner. By J. Hamilton, A.M. Dublin, 1847. THE anticipation of our last Number has been exactly realized.
Ministers have called Parliament together at an unusual and inconvenient season, for, we might almost think, no other purpose -certainly with no other result—than to increase the alarm of the friends of our existing institutions and exhibit their own extreme inconsistency and weakness. The symptoms of their inadequacy to cope with the difficulties of the times—which they have largely contributed to create and complicate-are obvious to every attentive observer; this feebleness in the Government is in our judgment a great aggravation, if not a main cause of the public danger, we feel it our duty to expose it in some of its more prominent features : not assuredly in any hostility to the individual men, nor even to the ministry—for we see no present probability of any better, and a possibility of a worse—but to warn, as far as our humble voice can reach, the Country that the measures of the socalled Government are not the result of any clear views, fixed principles, or substantive system of their own, but a compound of expedients, compromises, and makeshifts, by which they endeavour to balance themselves between their discordant supporters, and to play over again the old Whig game of occupying Place, which they are alike unequal to fill and unwilling to resign.
Such an administration has no efficiency, but for mischief. The weakest can pull to pieces—to build, or even to maintain, requires thought and strength. The essence—the first principle on which the abstract necessity and utility of any kind of government rests is resistance. If every man or knot of men are to have their own way, there is no need of a costly and cumbrous machine to regulate and control them: the very terms-duty,' 'law,' 'constitution,' government'—imply restraint and pre-suppose force and power in the governing body, the existence of which in the
present case no one will be bold enough to assert. The ministry will, no doubt, obtain sometimes large, but always precarious majorities, by only venturing on half measures of either good or evil, or by indulging in turns the various factions on whose support it exists, by the sacrifice of some interest or lopping off some portion of the constitution to which these happen severally to object. Happy should we think ourselves if we could hope to awaken in them some salutary apprehension of the pit into which this downward
path must lead them, and into a disposition to deserve from the Country at large such a degree of confidence and support as would enable them to conduct the
government on sounder principles than in their present ambiguous and precarious position they can venture to avow.
When they took what looked like courage, but was, as we shall show, the very reverse, to the extent of suspending Peel's Charter Act, they, we believe, expected that their measure would never be acted on, and hoped that they should therefore not have to apply to Parliament for an indemnity. They seem, however, subsequently to have changed this opinion, and the obtaining this indemnity was the first motive publicly assigned, and it was a sufficient one, for the assembling Parliament. We concur with the opinion of Lord Stanley, that their proceeding did require an act of indemnity, or at least some formal parliamentary sanction. Their letter to the Bank, though from circumstances beyond their control not acted upon, was an infraction of the law-just as it would be at common law a misdemeanour to advise, instigate, and aid the commission of an offence, though it had happened, from extraneous causes, that the offence had not been ultimately committed. When, in former times of scarcity, a government had laid an embargo on the export of grain, they came to Parliament for an indemnity, even when no attempt to export had been made, and therefore no actual illegality committed. The cases seem exactly parallel. Indeed, Lord Lansdowne, in one of his speeches on the Irish case, inadvertently admitted this doctrine, by asserting, very truly,
that to excite persons to violate the law was of itself a misdemeanour at
'Her Majesty's speech will commence with a statement of the reasons which have rendered it necessary to summon the new Parliament at this season of the year. The commercial pressure, though happily somewhat abated, still prevails to a ruinous extent, and calls for relief. In order to allay the excessive feelings of distrust which lately prevailed, Her Majesty's Ministers felt it their duty to interfere, as they believe wisely and successfully, with the operation of the Bank Charter Act. For this interference, though only permissive, and not carried into effect, the sanction of the Legislature will be solicited.'--(Times, 23rd November.)