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there is in the world of literature. Few sayings, have been more affirmatively fixed upon one person, than that language was meant to conceal thoughts has been upon the wary Talleyrand; yet, we find that in the third number of the Bee, published in 1759, Goldsmith wrote an especial paper on the use of language, in which he argued, that the true use of speech was not to express wants, but to conceal them.
Much has been said--a great deal more than was probably deserved in respect to Goldsmith's conversational mediocrity. Upon this subject Mr. Forster has added a new anecdote, communicated by Mr. Rogers, the poet :
The poet of the “ Pleasures of Memory," interested in all that concerned the elder poet, whose style he made the model for his own finished writings, knew Cooke well in the latter days of his life, and gives a curious illustration of the habit he then had fallen into when he spoke of his celebrated friend. “Sir," he said, on Mr. Rogers asking him what Goldsmith really was in conversation, “ he was a fool. The right word never came to him. If you gave him back a bad shilling, he'd say, ' Why, it's as good a shilling as ever was born. You know he ought to have said coined. Coined, sir, never entered his head. He was a fool, sir.”
Born was probably used, as is often the case, in common parlance, especially with persons of quick conception, figuratively. These captious verbal criticisms, often attest a matter of fact stupidity, quite as open to criticism, and certainly more pragmatical and dull, than the error, or rather the liberty taken with language, on the other side. When Cumberland spoke of Goldsmith not knowing the difference of a turkey from a goose, the remark was applied to his undertaking to write a work on natural history, and not to his conversational powers. So also Walpole's designation of the poet, as "an inspired idiot;" Johnson's assertion, that " he had made up his mind about nothing;" and Warton's, that he was a solemn coxcomb; have more reference to the poet's worldly wisdom, than to his powers of conversation. The only distinct asseveration on this subject is that of Garrick.
The object and purpose of this biography is explained by Mr. Forster in his pleasing dedicatory sonnet to Mr. Charles Dickens :
Genius and its rewards are briefly told :
THE NEW ORDER OF POLITICS.
In the moral and the political world, as in the physical, it would appear, that as certainly as there is action, so also there is re-action.
The history of the revolutionary storm of recent times, is like the record of a tornado, so swift, so impetuous, and so devastating has its progress been. There was not only no time for resistance, there has scarcely yet been time to contemplate events calmly. That time has, however, now arrived, and the result is, a conviction that there is already a general re-action in favour of peace and order. An universal sentiment has sprung up among the enlightened of all classes and all nations, that under the sacred banner of liberty, individuals have been shielding mere projects of personal aggrandisement, that the most liberal monarchs may, after all, be the most ambitious of dominion, that the most ardent democrats may be the greatest tyrants, and that never has freedom in every form been so placed in such great jeopardy, as wherever existing institutions have been made to give bodily way before the insatiable clamour of the populace.
Bishop Eylert, the court chaplain and loyal biographer of the late King of Prussia, Frederick William III., says that his majesty once spoke to him to this effect : “ Every man has å two-fold calling, the one for Heaven, the other for earth ; as an immortal being there ought to be no bounds to his moral culture, and the greater his moral culture the greater his usefulness as a member of society; therefore I establish schools and reward schoolmasters and clergymen who have been efficient in this pure sphere of action. But from the other point of view, that which involves their earthly calling, I am of a different opinion; the earthly destination of man forms itself according to the position in which he is born; for such calling he must be taught, so that he possess the
knowledge and dexterity; more is not requisite. Acquirements beyond the sphere of their rank and calling make men forward, presuming, and disputative, and lead to the pernicious inclination for making comparisons."
In other words, lead to discontent. Cultivate the moral and intellectual nature, and man learns to be contented with his lot; but weaken both by a vain, discursive, and fruitless pursuit after political amelioration, and disappointment and disgrace is the inevitable result. The sum-total of every
uneducated man's individual politics is, that he-for some especial reasons best known to himself-should be favoured or supported by the state, that is, by the rest. The law of the country is the expressed or written opinion of the majority of the necessity there is that each individual should look after his own affairs and not those of his neighbour, Hence there is a natural and constant antagonism between the law and the indolence or cupidity of the individual. To attempt to keep the law —that is existing institutions—fixed, when all the world is by the very essence of its creation, in eternal progress, is absurd. The business of man is not only to preserve, but also to improve ; but improvement can only come of wisdom, and we know from high authority that the wise in heart receive commandments, but that prating fools scorn law and fall
. Wisdom and understanding, knowledge and discretion, can only exist in
minds trained to a greater or less degree by moral and intellectual culture, and all progress must, to be really such, have its origin from the same undefiled sources. In our times the law, as already imposed in some countries, is sought to be derived from the least educated and the least cultivated classes of the community. It is obviously the duty of every wise man to oppose himself to such an invasion of unfledged and foolish opinions with as much earnestness as he would secure his house against the intrusion of the untamed creatures of the wilderness. Everett has beautifully said, “ that it is an enlightened moral public sentiment that must spread its wings over our dwellings, and plant a watchman at our doors." The more necessary is this the case now, as the sentiment which wishes to force itself up to the surface of society is neither moral nor wise, and the watchman is more inclined to leave his door, to prey upon his fellow-creature, than to guard his own interests and insure the prosperity of himself and of those dependent upon him, by that line of conduct which has, from the creation of man, been the only true, lasting, and righteous means of attaining happiness and independence.
It will be well worth while, amidst the din of perpetual changes, the utter disregard of old existing treaties, conventions, and agreements, the overthrow of hereditary claims and forms of government, and the perplexities, kingly ambitions, national movements
, wars, spoliations, regeDerations, and extinctions that are taking place, as natural results of the new order of politics that has sprung up so simultaneously throughout Europe, to contemplate for a moment the progress of events with something like the calmness of the historian—the more especially with the future object in view of tracing these events to their ultimate developments, and to the results which they will entail, for better or worse, to a general humanity.
II.— NEW ORDER OF POLITICS IN ITALY.
The succession to power of Pope Pius IX., his decree for re-organising the council of state, and his other liberal measures, undoubtedly gave great impetus to the liberal movement in Italy. When by virtue of the treaty of Paris of 1817, by which the succession to Parma after Maria Louisa's death was guaranteed to the Duchess of Lucca and her male descendants, the reigning duke attempted to establish his claim, he was unable to do so without having recourse to an influence which, from not possessing a truly national character, was distasteful to the feelings of the people. Yet from the time of Charles V. to that of the Empire, Parma and Piacenza have been ruled by Austrian or Spanish princes, and in virtue of the same treaty the principality reverted to Austria, in the event of the extinction of the house of the Infanta Maria of Spain and of Lucca.
The commencement of the new year was signalised by popular demonstrations at Genoa and at Pisa ; the long-stifled agitation in Milan began to assume the more formidable character of acts of open violence, and the insurrectionary spirit soon extended as far as the Venetian provinces. The first serious riots in Milan occurred on the 3rd of January, when the people, with an audacity of which they were not before deemed capable, attacked and disarmed several military posts, and the troops being ordered to fire, many people were killed. Already on the first of the month the people of Rome had only been prevented by the civic guard from attacking the houses and persons of the Jesuits. It was in vain that the new pope took steps to modify the organisation of the body in such a way as to deprive the institution of a political character. Jealousy of superior talent and the popular abhorrence of intrigue and of power, often obtained by corrupt and profligate means, insisted upon the expulsion of the order from its main stronghold, and from whence it has now scattered itself, like evil tidings, throughout Austria, the Levant, Malta, and even Great Britain.
At Naples considerable agitation had manifested itself at the same early period of the year, and the city was daily patrolled by large detachments of Swiss and of native troops. In 1821 the demands for a constitution had been defeated by an Austrian army entering the capital, and, strange to say, a Spanish dynasty still looked in 1848 to the court of Vienna as the arbiter of its political fate. Modena, a fief of the empire, and which in the event of the extinction of the house of D'Este reverted to Austria, had, at the same time united itself with Parma, Lucca, and Austria, in a treaty of alliance defensive and offensive, as well as a customs' league to counterbalance the Italian league.
Insurrections broke out in Sicily and soon spread to the Calabrias and the Abruzzi. Messina rose on the 12th of January to establish what was designated as “institutions in conformity with the progress and will of Europe, of Italy, and of Pius IX.," and a provisional government was established at Palermo. Neapolitan troops sent against the city of St. Rosalia, under the command of Louis Count of Aquila, met with an unexpected check, and to add to the difficulties of the government, the pope peremptorily refused passage through his dominions to an Austrian force destined to assist King Ferdinand in putting down the revolt. In the face of these difficulties King Ferdinand had no alternative ; but before the month, so eventful in the history of his government, was expired, to proclaim a change of ministry, and to promise a constitution on the basis of the French charter.
A still more extraordinary manifestation on the part of royalty to meet the spirit of the times, and, by the tranquil completion of reforms, to avert those disorders which were everywhere beginning to endanger the tranquillity and even the destinies of countries, showed itself at the same period in the publication, by King Leopold II., Imperial Prince of Austria and Grand-duke of Tuscany, under date of the 31st of January, 1848, of orders for a bill for the reform of the law on the press, and another for the reform of council of state.
Early in February a still greater impetus was given to the movement, by the act of King Charles Albert of Sardinia, granting a constitution to his states. The new Neapolitan constitution was also published on the 12th, but the Sicilians continued to hold out for a parliament of their
The Grand-duke of Tuscany had decreed a representative govern; ment, and the Pope had called Father Ventura to his councils, and had publicly declared his intention of granting constitutional institutions to the people.
Such was the state of things when the Revolution of the 24th of February, in Paris, burst upon an astonished world. At that moment the contest in Sicily was at its acmé; almost every district on the other
side of the Alps was in a state of excitement, and deeply imbued with the spirit of insurrection. The Pope had, after a long conference with the Consistory, ordered a commission to be formed, to consider what extension could be given to the fundamental laws of the state, without compromising the position and the prerogatives of the pontifical power. Martial law had, on the other hand, been proclaimed in Lombardy, on the 22nd, two days before the French Revolution. Upon the arrival of the news of this last event, King Charles Albert hastened to have his long-promised constitution published. This was on the 5th of March. On the 9th, the ministry not being sufficiently liberal to keep pace with the progress of their sovereign, they had to give way to the Count Cæsar Balbo and the Marquis Laurent Pareto, of Genoa.
The people of Lombardy did not fail for a moment to profit by the fall of Prince Metternich and the embarrassment of Austria, to raise the standard of revolt. On hearing of the insurrection at Vienna, the Milanese at once sent a deputation to the governor to demand the liberation of political prisoners and the institution of a national guard, promising, in case their demands were granted, not to molest the Austrian troops. On the refusal of the governor to accede to this request, the population took up arms, and set about erecting barricades. The hotel of the police was carried, and a provisional government installed, under the presidency of the Podesta Casati. The fighting lasted five days; and at length Marshal Radetski, not having been willing to have recourse to a bombardment, withdrew his troops to the central strongholds of Verona and Mantua, with the Adige in front of his line.
Charles Albert, anxious to profit by the success of the Milanese, issued a proclamation on the 23rd of March, in favour of the independence or Lombardy and Venice, and declared it to be his intention to march to their relief. This movement was, however, neutralised by a simultaneous one on the part of Tuscany and the Roman States, which, by sending aid both to the Lombarders and to the Venetians, whose insurrection followed closely upon
that of Milan, put it out of Charles Albert's power urging in return, for the armed assistance then lent to the Lombardo-Venetian people (supposing it to be ultimately successful, which is not at all likely) any demands in which personal aggrandisement should be placed more prominently forward than a real regard for the liberties of Italy.
It was truly characteristic of the spirit that animated the French Republic, and which had sent, under the flimsy pretence of political regeneration, bands of armed marauders into Belgium, Baden, and other bordering territories, that while the King of Sardinia was actually marching ostensibly to the aid of Italian regeneration, they (the French) advanced into Savoy, to force republican disorganisation upon the inhabitants, and being ultimately ignominiously expelled the country, they signalised their retreat by the indiscriminate plunder of friends and foes.
The ruling princes of Parma and Modena, although, like the King of Naples, personally adverse to the cause, have all been carried away by the enthusiasm of their subjects in the cause of Italian liberty, and have sent in, or are preparing to send in, their contingents, notwithstanding the remonstrances of more staid and sober governments, Great Britain included, to an army, whose ranks are already swelled by volunteers from Tuscany, the Roman and Sardinian States, and from Italian Tyrol.
The reaction that may be anticipated will be fearful. German Tyrol