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cy of Italy could be made to revolve round | pence that would purchase the rusty bit of the Popedom and never surrender one valu- iron of which it is formed ;” and another, as able privilege of liberty or sacrifice an item well informed upon the subject of its bistoof freedom for the alliance. When Italy ry as the first was upon that of its materials, turns from questions of foreign war and feelingly observes that “ it is impossible to foreign aggression, and addresses herself to contemplate without emotion the last de the hard task of international organiza- scendant of the Cæsars handing over to a tion, she will have great need of the Pope. stranger the ancient hereditary diadem of With those rude uncivilized populations of his illustrious house.” Sicily and Calabria, a whisper from the The last descendant of the Cæsars" is of Vatican will do more than a clank of a course Francis Joseph. Yet, if he be at all hundred battalions. You want the priest, the descendant of the Cæsars, why is he to and bear in mind that he is of no value to be the last ? There is, we thought, an you, when he has conformed to your views Austrian Prince Imperial, who has, we preand adopted your opinions. You want him sume, “descended from the Cæsars" (if in all his ignorance and bigotry; you want this is the proper phrase for being born in him full of all the prejudices of his caste. the Imperial family) later than his father. It is then that he sways the masses. It is We say nothing of the collateral branches, then that he is a power and a force. in which there seems to be no fear of the
It will be many a long day before the en- race of Cæsars becoming extinct. The lightenment of free institutions shall pene- stranger is “ Victor Emmanuel,” and the trate through the darkness of the barbarism hereditary diadem ” of the House of Hapsor lower Italy. It is not in one or even in burg is the iron crown. By what strange two generations that free speech or free fatality is it that, even among well-educated thought, trial by jury, or liberty of the men, nire out of ten cannot venture either press, will appeal to these wild disciples of to speak or write upon any subject connectthe stiletto and the knife. The one.link ed with "the Holy Roman Empire that ties them to any semblance of civiliza- out falling into errors as absurd as that tion is the Church: take care how you which regards the iron crown as the heredirelax this. Woe to you if you break it tary diadem of Francis Joseph. asunder before you have found a safe and óf the “iron crown" a very small portrustworthy substitute for it!
tion is iron. The crown, like must other I am not blind to the difficulties of treat- crowns, is made of gold and precious stones. ing with Romanism, and I know what a Inside it is encircled with a narrow iron rim hopeless task it is to approach by "reason which derives its value and its sanctity from those who meet you only. with a con- a tradition that it is actually made out of science;” but, I repeat, Pio Nono is better some of the nails of the Cross. Helena, the than Mazzini, and the choice is between mother of Constantine, is said them.
brought them from the Holy Land upon
the occasion of the visit in which she ascertained the true place of the sepulture of Christ
. By her an iron rim formed of these nails was given as a precious gift to the first Christian Emperor. There is no very clear
or distinct account of the manner in which From the Saturday Review.
this iron rim got into possession of the LomTHE IRON CROWN.
bard kings. But unquestionably at a very
early period the “ iron crown formed a The handing over of the “ Iron Crown part of the regalia of the sovereignty which, to Victor Emmanuel is unquestionably an under the name of the Italian Kingdom, had event of singular interest in connection been constituted in North Italy by Alboin, with the ancient traditions of Italian history. the chief of the Lombard invaders. Like most matters connected with Italy, it About the middle of the sixth century has given to sensation writers in newspa- the Lombards – or, as the original pers an opportunity of displaying an amount was, the Long-bearded Men - had, wrested of ignorance almost more sensational, cer- from the feeble hand of the Emperors % tainly more amusing, than the high-flown district occupying nearly the northern half periods in which it is exhibited. One writer of the Italian peninsula, with a small terri: sentimentally informed his readers that tory in the south. Pavia was the capital of “this precious remnant of the past " was, in this monarchy, and, by whatever means the point of actual value, “ worth only the few Lombards may have acquired the sacred
relic, the iron crown was the crown of the German institution under the control of Italian Kingdom. Charlemagne married a German Diet, and wholly separated from the daughter of the last king of the Lom- Rome. The somewhat shadowy prerogbard race. Ultimately, he divorced his wife atives which had belonged to the Italian and deposed his father-in-law, crowning him- monarchy became, like the Imperial title, self in the Cathedral of Milan with the iron attached directly to the German sovereign,
To the title of King of Italy, which without any assumption of the Italian crown. he thus acquired, the Pope and the Senate The princes of the House of Hapsburg acalmost immediately added that of Emperor quired at last possessions in Northern Italy of Rome. But, though the dignities were in their own right. In all the later settlethus united in one person, they were per-, ments or divisions of Italian territory the .. fectly distinct, and were held in distinct old Italian Kingdom had wholly disappeared. rights. Charles was, in fact, King of the Its iron crown, however, remained at Milan; Franks, King of Italy, and he was also Ern- and because Milan was under the rule of peror of Rome.
the sovereign of Austria, the sovereign of On the extinction of the descendants of Austria became the keeper of the crown. Charlemagne, native princes seized, one In 1806, as our readers know, the Emperor after another, on the Italian crown. Some Francis laid down the Imperial crown then of them succeeded in obtaining the title of erroneously called that of Germany, and Emperor of Rome. No family, however, the Holy Roman Empire came formally to succeeded in firmly establishing its title, an end. From that hour there was no one and after some years of civil war, the Kings who could put forward any pretensions of Germany were invited to the sovereignty, to wear the iron crown of Alboin and the and finally it was settled that the Kingdom old Lombard kings. There was neither of Italy should be appendant to the German King of Italy nor Emperor of Rome. Na
The King of Germany (there never poleon had some shadow of claim to it when was an Emperor) was elected by the chiefs he declared himself King of a so-called Kingof the German tribes. By virtue of that dom of Italy, and mimicked. Charlemagne election he became King of Italy, and en- by placing it with his own hands upon his titled to wear the iron 'crown; and, as King head. After the downfall of Napoleon the of Italy, he acquired an. inchoate right to Congress of Vienna established a be Emperor of Rome a right, however, Kingdom in Northern Italy in favour of which required confirmation by the Roman Austria. But, with the most persevering Pontiff and Senate. Under this Imperial obstinacy, the Emperor, acting on the adsystem three perfectly distinct sovereignties vice of Metternich, refused to permit his were united in the successor of Charlemagne. new dominion to be called the Kingdom of Elected King of Germany, he was crowned Italy; it was, indeed, as a concession to his at Frankfort with the silver crown which Italian subjects that he condescended to be was worn by the chief of the German na- crowned with the old iron crown as King of tions. From this he proceeded either to the realm, to which he gave the outlandish Milan or Monza, where he was crowned title of “ the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom.” King of Italy with the iron crown; after- Such were the vicissitudes of this celewards he presented himself at Rome, and brated “iron crown.". Originally it was the received from the Pope the coronation with- royal symbol of the Lombard sovereigns of out which he had no claim to any Imperial the old Kingdom of Italy established by Altitle. He never was Emperor until he was boin 1,300 years ago. Passing with that crowned Emperor of Rome, and for centu- kingdom to Charlemagne from the monarchs ries no King of Germany ever ventured to of the Lombard race, it became in time assume the Imperial title until he had re- appendant to the silver crown of the elected ceived coronation from the Pope.
German kings. Surviving the realm which This Imperial system really ceased with it represented, it remained through many a the election of Rudolph, the founder of the long year an unused and almost forgotten House of Hapsburg, to the Germanic crown. relic of the past. It was brought from its. The Popes denied the Emperor all author- obscurity by Napoleon, in order, if possible, ity at Rome. The German Diet asserted to connect with old titles a revolutionary the title of their chief to be Emperor with throne. It became then the diadem of one out any assent or coronation from the Pope. who was indeed a stranger. It is at last Gradually the “ Empire," although it never restored to an Italian prince. Possibly no legally bore the title of German, became existing dynasty can show a perfect approGerman, and not Roman. “ The Holy priateness in the wearing of that crown. Roman Empire became exclusively a The authority and the royalty it represents
are things of the long-forgotten past, of thor's good intentions ; and we need not which there is no representative in the solve the difficult problem, whether a study present. Victor Emmanuel might probably of elaborate pictures of all the tortures find it hard to make himself out the successor which the human mind can conceive forms, of the “ long-bearded” Alboin, or the inher on the whole, a healthy religious exercise. itor of his crown. All that can be said is We may say at once that the book, conthat the King of Italy has a better title to sidered merely as a work of art, is rather wear the iron crown than any other living better than the ordinary run of second-rate man. Certainly the most sensitive senti- novels. There is indeed no proof of much mentalist may be spared any anguish he imaginative force, and still less is there might feel in the thought that poor Francis much power of the grotesque, although that Joseph, “the last descendant of the Cæ- power is almost a necessary relief to the sars," in giving up the iron crown of Alboin, painful impression made by a constant is parting with the ancient hereditary dwelling upon horrors. Some sort of grim diadem of his house." Until after the erec humour is desirable as a contrast to the pretion of the newfangled “ Lombardo-Vene- vailing gloom, and to show that the pictures tian" Kingdom in 1815, not one of his presented to us are to be taken rather symancestors ever had it on his head.
bolically than literally. What there is of the grotesque is an involuntary result of the attempt to produce a lifelike effect by prosaic details. Thus the letters are sup posed to be conveyed from the writer to the
receiver by the agency of ghosts, some of From the Saturday Review. them “ very estimable ghosts.” One night
the receiver happens to lay his pen aside so LETTERS FROM HELL,
as to form a cross with his pencil. The ghost The author of this ingenious work in
is so much startled at this symbol that " be forms us, in a very solemn preface, that if dropped the letter in the spittoon and fled any one entertains any doubt of the authen- away.”. It will be seen from this that the ticity of these letters it will be the worse for
author's conception of hell includes a very the doubter. He adds that he hesitated for a
strong resemblance to our own world. This long time before publishing them.
is, in fact, the main principle of the book ; assurance that they might prove the salva- tions and passions is described with some
and the ghastly mimicry of human occupation of many, and the perdition of a few, did not satisfy me.
The case of these latter literary force. The hell of the letters is by lay, heavily on my mind.” The book, as it no means the hell of Dante -a place of will be seen, is therefore not a mere povel, rather an expansion of the admirably de
infinitely varying physical tortures. It is but is intended to effect the collateral pur-scribed scene in Redgauntlet, where the adpose of frightening a great many people into venturous -piper finds Claverhouse and his salvation. Of its success in this direction it is scarcely our province to form any opin- repetition of their earthly revels
. Human companions employed over
a diabolical ion; and we are the more careful to avoid a nature, the author oddly remarks, is much rash excursion beyond our proper sphere, as the same everywhere - even in hell. The we find that hell is peopled to a great extent letters are pretty
much after the manner of by reviewers; for reviewers, we are told, those of a newspaper correspondent, except
are sarcastic, greedy, and sordid to a de- that a large part of them is naturally degree.” Not only are there in hell“ a goodly voted to personal reminiscences; they innumber of professional reviewers,” but even clude accounts of excursions to different the damned avoid them as if they were mad dogs, “ for they are as snappish as ever,
parts of hell, of conversations with many and form one of the worst plagues in hell." distinguished characters, and remarks as to Moreover, all the malicious reviews are there. Thus we find that there is a great
in which business is transacted read by the damned as soon as they appear deal of society, sometimes of an exclusive on earth. We have no desire for such an kind; but all the mirth is unreal;, - that extension of our circulation, and will confine ourselves to the mere literary merits of person is not to be found in hell who can the work. We shall thus be free, at any ing witticism." There is a public prome,
give utterance to a really refreshing, amusrate, from the crime of sneering at the au- nade, where people are to be seen dressed • Letters from Hell. By M, Rowel. London : but all the dandies know that they are as
in the fashion of every country and century; Richard Bentley. 1866.
ridiculous as the rivals at whom they are ness, and only regret that he is no longer compelled to scoff, and that, gorgeous as able to find satisfaction in it. Instead of their dresses may be, they do not really this, we find this lost soul constantly exhide their nakedness ; for, in hell, “naked- pressing sentiments which would be creditness is the universal law." There are beg-able in any position of life. Perhaps they gars in hell; the most troublesome are the may be suspected as being rather too uncmissionaries, who have made false reports of tuous in tone. The overflowing of love to their successes, baptizing without being par- all mankind, the absence of any repining ticular as to conversion, and who still go against the justice of his punishment, and about “ beseecbing people in the most impor- the desire to draw useful morals from every tunate way to be baptized." There are point of the story, are exhibited with an balls and social gatherings of all sorts, where eagerness calculated to throw doubt upon every one talks scandal of the worst kind their sincerity. His tone rather unpleasantly about his neighbours, and is irresistibly im- reminds us of the convicts who are trying to pelled to listen to scandal about himself
. get on the weak side of the chaplain. The There are churches in hell which are throng- interstices of descriptions of life in hell are ed with worshippers, who, when they try to filled with such matter as this: It is still sing hymns, break out into lewd and blas- vouchsafed you, late though it be, to begin phemous songs, and where the preacher a new life. But delay not to enter upon makes hideous grimaces, and pours out a that blessed road which leads from star to flood of abominable balderdash. There are star into the Kingdom of Glory. Oh, only towns and palaces and theatres, for when- do not delay!” And there are many other ever a number of spirits unite to desire any- remarks of a still more decidedly religious thing, their wish is at once accomplished ; character. From this we must infer that the result, however, is a mere phantasm, and one of the incidental occupations of persons is incapable of giving real pleasure. Sol- in the unfortunate position of the letterdiers can still carry on imaginary wars, and writer is to produce raw materials for tracts. sensualists seek for illusory gratifications; We do not argue as to the intriosic probabiliin short, the chief horror of hell is that every ty of such an hypothesis ; but its dramatic one is doomed to act in accordance with his propriety seems, to say the least of it, to be old propensities, but finds that they never doubtful. An evil spirit whose chief punishgive him more than a shadowy image of ment it is that, although unable to gratify bis pleasure.. A short conversation with one earthly passions, he is constantly possessed. ghost brings out the continuity of worldly by them without the capacity for resistance, associations. The writer sits down beside should not be constantly overwhelming us a young lady of admirable beauty and mod- with pious advice. It tends to convince us esty, dressed all in white, and asks her, that the section of society to which be belongg. " Are
you the White Lady ?” “ I don't know is by no means wanting in persons of very what you mean,” she replies. “I am Emily excellent character, though in a very unFlemming.” “Flemming and Sparkman, comfortable position. To be just, indeed, Glasgow, Trentbury Square? I blurted we must contess that the author seems to out." The ghost podded her head in assent, accept this conclusion. He takes
great and proceeded to tell a story which, but for pains to tell us that not only is kell paver? her peculiar situation, we should have been with good intentions, but that it is actually tempted to describe as a wilful fabrication. filled by a large number of persons distin
There is one obvious difficulty in the guished by exemplary qualities. There is, he way of working out this conception. It says, a general opinion that a man must is of course necessary to represent the be exceedingly wicked to find himself in damned as suffering from the continuance hell; but it is really inconceivable how of their evil desires
, which they have little can send a person there. He meets, become incapable of even attempting to for example, a young woman, whose worse resist. A sort of impotent recollection of fault is " an excessive devotion to her husattempts to repent is all that remains. band.” She is punished by his arrival at the The writer, for example, endeavours to say same destination with his heart occupied by the Lord's Prayer, but after trying it twen- another passion. One of the sins for which ty or a hundred times, he only gets through the author himself is punished is that he the first two words, and then tries to say it bad been merciful to a certain evildoer, not backwards with equally ill success. Hence, from pure merey, Lut from the feeling that to be consistent, it would seem that he he had previously been too severe.
& Oh! should express sentiments of a kind befitting these good deeds," be exclaims, "how many his position. He should glory in his wicked- I have they brought into misery?” Another
"noble-hearted” artist, who had died in principal persons described are an old defence of his country, is damned because aunt, whose efforts to improve the charache had been too much disposed to make an ter of her nephew were singularly thrown idol of his profession. We are not, there away; and a virtuous young woman fore, surprised to hear that, as most persons named Lili, who is so obtrusively holy die unawares, “most of them awaken in and innocent, and disposed to adminishell." Of the theological value of this ter good advice, as to be not a little of a opinion, we can of course say nothing ; but, bore. There is another young woman, artistically, it weakens the effect, for a rea- whom the writer has been guilty of seduson like that which interferes with the dra- cing; and it is a source of very just annoymatic propriety of Paradise Lost. We be- ance to him, though some of the details are gin, in fact, to feel our sympathies enlisted rather disagreeable, that he cannot tell what the
wrong side. It is true that there are has become of their illegitimate child. Of a great many murderers and other evildoers these recollections, which he is very fond of encountered by the author, some of whose bestowing upon us at considerable length, crimes are recounted at considerabe length. we grow rather tired, as they are obviously We are introduced, amongst other historical a mere device for introducing a great quancharacters, to Pontius Pilate, who is always tity of sermonizing, which would not come endeavouring to cleanse his hands from the with equal grace from the mouth of a damnstains of blood ; to Judas Iscariot, who tries ed rit. The truth is that the author's incessantly to get behind other ghosts and description of hell, whether it is or is not a bang round their necks, his intention in legitimate mode of insinuating good advice, which, we are told, “is not quite clear”; is considerably spoilt by all this infusion of to Joe Smith, the Mormon prophet, and to feeble advice. If the author had been conMahomet, wbo is rather unfairly classed tent simply to depict its horrors as forcibly with so contemptible an impostor; and to a as he could, and to leave us to draw our own Spanish kiny, who gives out a notice that conclusions, there are some proofs that he he will “ allow himself to be burned alive, might really have drawn an effective, though after having most graciously submitted to a borrible, picture ; there are many passages trial by torture in extenso. About six hun- which are not wanting in the power suitable dred heretics will most respectfully wait to such a purpose. But, as we have said, upon His Majesty, and will, pro formâ, ac- the mixture of inferior sermonizing very company His Supreme Highness to hell.” much spoils the effect. It reminds us rather And, besides these monsters, there are a of the “ spheres imagined by spirit-rapvariety of fancy murderers and perpetrators pers than of the forcible, if gross, pictures of various crimes. Of the propriety of the sen- produced by the imagination of the middle tence passed upon such offenders there can ages. Hell, as here described, has been so of course be no doubt; but it only renders much refined away, by a compromise with more questionable the poetical justice of in- certain modern prejudices, that it loses its termingling them with ladies who have been reality. It is good neither to amuse pbilostoo fond of their husbands, and with noble- ophers nor to frighten the ignorant; there hearted and patriotic gentlemen who have is a feeble attempt to fit it for the age, which been too zealous in the pursuit of their art. only makes it a washed-out representative If there were any gradation in the tortures of the hell of bolder and coarser fancies. to which they are subjected, we should not We must add that one rather incongruous be so much shocked. As it is, we cannot effect is produced by the extreme interest help feeling a certain sympathy with the taken by the spirits in the Schleswig-Holsufferers which detracts very perceptibly stein question and the events of the Danish from the desirable unity of effect.
It is due to the fact — unnoticed in We have said nothing of the character of the title-page - that the book is a translathe supposed author of these revelations. tion from the Danish ; but it interferes not Interwoven with the description of the a little with the harmony of the picture. place of torment, there are a great number Perhaps, however, the Schleswig-Holstein of personal recollections. These are, on the question is not an inappropriate subject for
ole, of a very feeble character. The meditation in such a region.