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Popular commotions from whatever causes they spring, produce fimilar mischiefs; the angry passions of men are roused; the restraints of religion and law are laid aside; all the fury which can inflame the breast and consume civil society burst forth, A fatal instance of this is exhibited in the war in the Valteline and the factions which distracted the Grifon country in the year 1620. rs The rage of party displayed itself now with more malignity than
• The people,' says one of their historians, ' resembled a swarm of bees newly expelled from the hive, which roam wide in fear and trepidation, and know not where to settle, or whither to fly for Safety or protection.' The Planita faction resumed an ascendency : they came in force to Coire; and in order to retaliate the severities that had been exercised against them, erected a third criminal tribu. nal, in which Rudolph took the lead, New victims were selected : a loose was given to the favage paflions of the populace ; and the acts of cruelty that were now practised spread a general consternation among the distracted people. This gave rise to a third, or, as it was named, the neutral party,' which proposed a mutual amneity, on condition that neither a Salis, nor a Planta, should, during a certain period, hold any public office ; that no foreign pensions should be received by individuals; and that no foreign minister be suffered to reside in the country, This proposal, which was adopted, served indeed to counterbalance, but by no means to allay the virulence of the two contending parties. The Salis faction raised a fourth criminal tribunal at Davos, in the league of the ten jurisdictions, which, in its turn, proceeded with excessive rigour, by tortures, fines, and capital punishments, against the friends, relations, and dependants of the Plantas ; and no one could forebode the end of the calamities and confusion which now prevailed throughout the country,
“ Meanwhile the rage of frantic bigotry burst out with unexampled fury in the subject province of the Valtel ne. After repeated murmurs, and various attempts to exclude the protestants from the province, the alarm bells toiled early on the nineteenth of July, throughout the valley; and a carnage instantly began, the particulars of which have been detailed by a great number of writers, and have filled all Europe with horror and detestation, Several of the magis. frates, and their substitutes, and numbers of the protestant clergy, were butchered with the most remorseless and inhurjan barbarity, Sixty persons were murdered at Tirano ; at Teglio the affaffins, after having put to death a minister in the pulpit, and a great part of hiş congregation, demolished the church i at Sondrio they formed the palace in which the governor resided, and dragged him and his fa, mily into the Engadine, telling him that they would no longer submit to the fway of heretics: the houses of all the protestants were pillaged and demolished, A butcher boasted that he had in one day flaugh tered eighteen helpless victims. A protestant woman, who, with hex infant daughter, had taken refuge in this country from the persecutions
in Italy, was affailed by a band of merciless ruffians, and ordered tą abjure her faith; but the, clasping her child in her arms, firmly refused to yield compliance ; the monsters ftrove to tear the child from her, but she, presling it still closer to her bosom, boldly bid them defiance ; finding they could not prevail, they stabbed her to the heart, and mangled her lifeless corpse. The peasants, in hopes of exempting themselves from the future payment of their dues, were particularly hoftile to their lords, landlords, and creditors; they pursued, like game, the unhappy fugitives, who fought refuge in the mountains, woods, and remote caverns; they hurled many of them, with their wives and innocent children, down the steep precipices, and many they cast into the rivers and torrents; many perished by the hands of their own brethren and nearest kinsmen, who covered their property: The horrors of this, and many subsequent days of havock and dismay, are too shocking to be dwelt upon any longer than the testimony of history absolutely requires. The Duke of Feria, at this time governor of Milan, never cleared himself from the imputation of having abetted this dreadful conspiracy.”
The following observations are so just and so well expressed on the nature of republican governments, and so well calculated to suppress a growing spirit of discontent, that the temptation of quoting them is too strong to be resisted, nor would our readers, we are persuaded, thank us for resisting it,
“ It seems to be the peculiar fate of republics, that when by great unanimity and vigorous exertions, they have at length succeeded to repel and discourage the attacks of foreign enemies, the dæmon of discord invades the peaceful commonwealth, and prompts men of a restless spirit, and high ambition, to cavil at the authorities in which, perchance, no share has been allotted them : and these, Mould the rulers happen not to be endowed with sufficient prudence, wisdom, and moderation, either to reitrain their feditious practices, or to yield to their juft demands, are sure to raise a clamour that will ever end in faction and domestic Arife. Of such men there are numbers in every state ; and as no government upon earth can be perfect, they will always find plausible pretences for arraigning either some inftitution, or the conduct of fome envied or perhaps offending magiftrate. In a well regulated monarchy, such men are long kept in awe by the vigour, the stability, and splendor of the throne : but in a republic, and especially in a small democracy, where individuals maintain a familiar intercourse among themselves, no such fascinating influence commands the deference of the subordinate sanks, in favour of those who steer the helm. This no doubt is a trite observation ; and yet the disregard of it has hurried many states into absolute destruction, and many societies and individuals into deplorable calamities : and to none perhaps does it apply more aptly than to the small and once fourishing republic of Geneva, which probably might ftill be happy, had the contending parties been wise enough to admit, that the best criterion of a good government is the prosperity of the community.”
The author's remarks on the origin of the French revolu. tion are alike judicious and satisfactory.
- No event in history will perhaps ever afford so much matter for speculation to moral, as well as political theorists, as the tremendous revolution which has of late been spreading horror and devastation over the fairest part of Europe. The investigation of its origin and pro. gress, whenever it can be entered into with the ample stock of materials, in which we shall yet awhile be deficient, will be attended with the greater difficulty, as no former conflict of a similar nature has probably ever called forth so many energies and virtues, or set loose such a variety of vices and destructive pallions, as the convulsion we are doomed to witness. While a few attentive observers have labour. ed, with abundance of ingenuity, to trace the whole cause of the evil up to the pernicious efforts of a few miscreants, endowed with great genius, courage, and perseverance, but with a malevolence which could only be gratified by the miseries inseparable from anarchy and sedition ; others have derived the calamity from the great change introduced within this century into the state of society, by the rapid influx of wealth from both the Indies, which, falling chiefly to the lot of the industrious, raised the lower classes nearer to a level with the superior orders; and by the improved cultivation of the mind, which in ensibly introduced a spirit of inquiry, and a presumptuous arrogance, that gradually led men to over-rate the powers of reason, and unfitted them for the subordination, without which no government can possibly subfift. Many also have not scrupled to decide that a thorough change in the polity of Europe had hecome unavoidable, through the many glaring defects in most of the existing governments, rendered still more insupportable by the incapacity and mal-adminiftration of those to whioin the direction of affairs had been committed.
“ All these, no doubt, have some fpecious atguments in their fa. vour; but pofterity, whenever it shall explore the complicated maze of causes and effects which have brought on the eventful period we live in, will probably discover that many and various circumstances have co-operated to produce the evil. While the malignity of the firit promoters of revolutionary principles will unquestionably be found to have been the prime and most efficient agent ; it will be fair to calculate how far the torpor, inconsistency, and weakness of those who ought to have averted the storm, may have contributed to facilitate the operations of the agitators, who had conspired the downfall of all regular government, As feeds will germinate only in adapted foils; as, in investigating the powers of a machine, we calculate reciprocal reaction as well as the force to be applied ; so muft we admit that the promoters ot fedition, the dextrous artificers of ruin, have manifestly taken into the line of account, the very feeble resistance they were likely to encounter in the execution of their destructive plans. Future hiitorians will probably estimate the pernicious effects of the puerile ambițion and love of innovation, which, at this momentous crisis, actuated the first foyereign of Europe'; the avowed irreligion of the great Fre
deric; and the wanton dereliction of all principle of the proud Semi. ramis of the north : they will duly appreciate the inordinate selfishness of these three potentates, and their mutual accord in a flagrant act of injustice, * which in a private individual would have been deemed an atrocious theft; which at once broke through the faith of treatics, and damped the confidence nations had till then placed in the law that go. verned their relative concerns. Future annalists will probably deduce from these and similar causes, an inevitable relaxation in the ties of reverence and loyalty which ought at all times to bind the people to their sovereign, and a political indifference which gave too free a scope to the disorganizers of our days, who were too keen and industrious not to avail themselves of the encouragement fo profusely held out to them.
“ In France the means of resistance were still more feeble than in other parts of the Continent; and here, accordingly, the seeds of fedition first broke out into open insurrection. That country had patiently supported two long reigns of depravity and enormous profufion, which had so embarrassed its finances that the benevolent mo. narch who fucceeded, unwilling to recur to the despotic means used by his two predecessors, loosened the reins of his government by de. manding voluntary supplies, which his people would still have cheerfully granted, had not various concomitant circumstances damped their loyalty, and alienated the ardent zeal for the glory of their monarchs, for which that nation had been long eminently distinguished. Those to whom the adminiftration of public affairs had been consigned were, for the most part, men deftitute of the skill and vigour which the dangers of the times imperiously demanded. The glaring instances of depravity, moreover, not only winked at by the government, but even countenanced by the examples of those of higher ranks and in conspicuous ftations, had long since offended and alarmed even the well disposed part of the nation, and greatly favoured the spirit of insubordination which gradually burst forth in all quarters. To this fpirit the improvident Vergennes gave additional vigour by his most impolitic American war, which, while it countenanced an open reliftance to the established authorities, greatly increased the spreading evil by an additional derangement of the finances, All this, too, happened at a time when the popularity of the sovereign was greatly impaired by his frequent diffenfions with his parliaments, whom the people had accustomed themselves to look upon as their steady advo, cates, and whom repeated successes had taught to aim at further tri, umphs. Designing men were not wanting, who eagerly embraced the opportunity of accelerating the disturbances which they saw were now impending, and from which they had no doubt of deriving essen, . tial advantages: Aware that in order to arrive at their ends they muft fubvert the present fyftem of society, they resolved to rouze the inferior classes by the fascinating cry of liberty and equality, which they well knew no labourer, no journeyman, no vagrant of idle propensities and vicious habits would be disposed to suppress; and * The partition of Poland."
by a specious tender of a representation in the government, which men even of superior rank will often be inclined to favour, deeming it much more eligible to have an ostensible share in the adminiftration of public affairs, than to adhere to the peaceful enjoyment of domes. tic comforts, and the improvement of their private fortunes by the honest arts of industry and economy.”
The account of the invasion of this once happy country, the dissolution of their confederacy, and the subjugation of a brave and free people, by a nation of banditti, combining the most consummate fraud with the most open violence, cannot he perused without mingled sensations of pity, indignation, and horror.
.“ About five in the morning of this eventful day, Gen. Schawemburg attacked on a sudden the front and each flank of the post of Frauenbrunnen; the place where, in a horrid night, the Berners, above four centuries ago, had defeated the Cambrian Ap Griffith, and his terrific English bands. Two thousand horse affailed the Swiss, who had no cavalry to oppose ; and what galled them far more, a numerous train of horse artillery, the first that had ever passed theic frontiers, spread death and dismay throughout their ranks. The fierce. ness of the resistance was unexampled. Women, endeavouring to obstruct the effect of the artillery, are known to have placed themselves before the mouths of the cannon, and to have hung on the wheels in order to impede their progress. The diminished bands, secing themfelves on the point of being surrounded, fell back to the village of Urteren, where they stood a second conflict. Unable, however, to maintain themselves they took post at the Grauholtz, an almost impene. trable pass, about four miles from Berne, where, their right being covered by a rock, and the left by a swampy wood, they hoped effec. tually to secure themselves by an abbatis in front. The struggle had been no where so obstinate, nor the carriage so great as at this post. At length, however, an opening having been made in the abbatis by the artillery, and a party of the enemy having climbed up the rock, and turned the right flank of the Bernese infantry, they found this post no longer tenable. They fell back, but formed anew, and stood a fourth attack about a mile behind this last station, and notwithstanding their heavy losses, and their being exhausted with fatigue and want of fultenance, they yet fought a fifth time before the gates of Berne! Men, women, children, and the cattle grazing on the meadows, fell promiscuously by the bayonets, fabres, and cannon of the invaders : yet these victims belonged to a people who are said to have called in a foreign power to free them from the tyranny of an oppressive government.
“ Berne, throughout this awful day, heard the incessant roar of can non and musketry from various quartețs, and saw the last disasterous conflict under its own walls. No preparations whatever had been made for the defence of the city, Horror and despair seized all the inhabita ants. In this extremity the new regency, in its laft agony, demanded a capitulation, or rather a fafe-guard against the licentiousness of the