페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

was heard but his. It was about this time, we being on a voyage to Nicomedia, that I had a conversation with an old Venetian, who had mixed in his breast the leaven of the GalloItalian republicanism of 1797, with the dregs of the liberalism of 1848. He had served both as a sailor and soldier, under Napoleon Bonaparte; he had fled from Venice in 1815, he did not allege political causes for his flight, he was silent and perhaps prudently so on this part of his history; but since then, he had practised as a doctor in Algiers, in Tunis, and in Egypt, and was now in the sultan's army, and was going into Asia to examine the recruits they were catching in the mountains. He was infinitely rejoiced at the present aspect of affairs. “As for Carlo Alberto,' said he, he will flare for a day, and then go out like a snuffed candle-80 will all kings. As for the pope, he is an old woman, and teaches a religion fit only for old women. We men of liberal principles, are neither Roman catholics, nor of any other religion. The world is too enlightened for that; but Pius ix. has played our cards for us, and we will let him play on a little longer, until we shall have no further need of him, and then we can cut off the old fool's head.' I have softened his language, and have taken out certain expletives which would not well bear repeating. This old, whitebearded and moustachioed adventurer, was no doubt an ey aggerated specimen of the class to which he belonged; but I know that sentiments very similar to his, were and are entertained very generally by men of his school.

At Malta our author came under the inconvenient operation of the quarantine laws, at which place he was much shocked with English economy and Italian liberalism. At Malta he embarked in a French government steamer for Messina and Naples. At Messina he met with but few traces of that terrible bombardment of which the papers were full. At Naples was anchored that gallant English fleet " which had been made to play the part of a bully.” In the town itself much improvement had been made. The people were better dressed than when Mr. Macfarlane was there in 1820. There he found the account of the mischief done by the king's troops in the attack on the barricades in May very much overcharged; but, alas, the culinary art had been neglected, the hotels and ristorati had sadly declined; and yet, "Naples used to be such a very distinguished place for good eating and drinking." author bore this heavy trial with becoming fortitude. Not 80, however, did an old Tuscan gentleman with whose politics we dare venture a wager our author perfectly agreed, who, being disappointed in asking for mustard, exclaimed, “Good God! you have got a constitution, and you have got no mustard."

Yet our

Here is a dainty dish for our financial reformers.

“During all these periods of crisis, the British minister to the court of Naples was absent from his post, and quietly enjoying himself in England. This envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary is, as every one knows, the Hon. William Temple, brother to Lord Palmerston. At the time of our arrival, he had been on leave of absence more than a year, and he was not then expected back very soon, because, as we were told, his house at Naples was to undergo a thorough repair, and the smell of fresh paint and plaster was very offensive to him. Surely in a city containing half a million of inhabitants and hundreds of spacious, airy palaces, a good temporary residence might have been found for this honourable diplomatist. Is our national diplomacy to be made dependent on the quickness or slowness of plasterers and painters? Is a minister to prolong his absence from his post, which, considering the circumstances of the times, had been far too long, and scandalously too long, on account of petty personal discomfort, which a little foresight might have provided against, and from which the outlay of a few pounds sterling would have rescued his suscep-ible nerves ?” Are our foreign relations become a farce, and at this, the most awful crisis which modern Europe has witnessed, and when a general war can be avoided only by diligent, upright, and enlightened diplomacy ? Our well-paid envoys, wherever they may be, have duties to perform, or they have none. have duties, they ought to be at their post to perform them; if they have none, their pay is so much money robbed from the people of these kingdoms. Delegatus non potest delegare. This ancient rule ought to be made peremptory in diplomacy; even with the assent of the Foreign Office, an ambassador or minister, excepting in rare cases, ought not to be allowed to delegate his secretary. If the moderately paid secretary is equal to his work, why have a minister, or why pay both? Mr. Temple took his departure from Naples at the very moment when there was a prospect of difficult work to do; when the revolutionary spirit was beginning to manifest itself in an alarming manner in central and upper Italy; when, if ever, he ought to have been at his post, and when a British minister, properly impressed with his duties, would have hurried back to his post, if he had been absent from it. During the many years that Mr. Temple had been envoy extraordinary at Naples, he certainly had no extraordinary or bard work to complain of. He had led one of the easiest and pleasantest lives in the most beautiful country in Europe. Except in discussing the wearisome question about sulphur and brimstone, which, after all, was not settled by him,

If they

but by his brother, Lord Palmerston, he had done very little, and had but very little to do. The first fresh hour after breakfast must have been more than enough for his usual daily work ; and he had secretaries and attaches to help him, and a consul and vice-consul under him, to attend to commercial business. He bore the character of an easy, self-indulging, somewhat indolent man; but amiable, accessible, prudent, and dispassionate. He was of mature age,-an advantage in his favour, for youthful diplomatists do not generally inspire confidence or impose respect. The king of Naples had at one time entertained a strong prejudice against him, believing that he had co-operated with Lady S-in inveigling his brother, the Prince of Capua, into his mèsalliance with Miss Penelope Smith; but this had been cleared up, to the perfect exculpation of Mr. Temple. The king's prejudices had been removed, and from that time his majesty had shown a preference to the advice and counsel of the English minister. Ferdinand had regretted his departure, and had many times strong motives to wish for his return.

“Mr. Temple left behind him, as chargé d'affaires, the secretary of legation, Lord Napier, an inexperienced young man, and who looked younger than he was. They say in Scotland that there never was a Napier without ability, or without a bee in his bonnet. In this young lord's bonnet the bee is said to hum so loudly as to drown the voice of discretion, and common sense, and common diplomatic decorum. He openly rejoiced when the democratic revolution ferment began at Naples, and prognosticated that nothing but good to the country could possibly proceed from it. As the revolutionists grew bolder, his admiration for them seemed to increase. When the Sicilians rose in rebellion, his sympathies were all with them. Unhappily, the society and advice of old age came in to the aid of his juvenile indiscretion. Lord Minto, in the course of his roving and (in part) illegal commission, arrived at Naples, after having fraternized with the liberals all through Italy, and (metaphorically, at least) hoisted the black flag in front of well nigh every royal palace in the peninsula. But there is scarcely any metaphor in saying that Lord Napier, representing the representative of Queen Victoria, 'patted on the back' sundry of the instigators of the desperadoes who made the barricades of the 15th of May, and whose success, had it been obtainable or possible, must have ended in the death of King Ferdinand, or in his precipitate flight, with his whole family; in plunder, anarchy, massacre, for the city of Naples, and a long and bloody war for the kingdom. Lord Napier made his house a place of rendezvous for all the fiery young men of the Neapolitan society, and hmself the centre of a political faction; he collected all his in

telligence from these sources : he would apply to none others ; he avoided the men of the moderate party; he turned the cold shoulder on gentlemen with whom he had been intimate, because they accepted office under the king, because they became constitutional ministers of the crown. If he did not himself indulge in an indecent licence of language against these ministers and the king, he allowed such language to be used in his presence. La bestia,' the beast, was about the mildest epithet applied to Ferdinand by Lord Napier's associates."

The following passage we recommend to the attention of Mr. Cobden. “Of all the corps in our service there is not one which so much needs revision and reform as the corps diplomatique. It is extravagantly costly, and in general miserably inefficient. Where it is not dissipated, negligent, slothful, it is perversely active. Where it is active in intermeddling with the internal policy of a country, it is notoriously careless of the interests of British subjects living in or trading with that country. It has adopted as a principle that such interests are not to be allowed to interfere with local political views, and plans for reform and regeneration."

It is notorious that two of a trade never agree; still there is much, we believe, of truth in our author's remarks on Mr. Whitesides, who, however, saw with very different eyes to those of Mr. Macfarlane, the movements in favour of reform. At Pompeii our author is surprised to find that for the present the works there are stopped, in consequence of scarcity in the Neapolitan treasury. At Rome, our author was prepared to find what he did—a city without a government. “But I,” so he says, “was scarcely prepared for the extent to which communist ideas had spread, or for the boldness with which they were uttered in public places. We were sitting one afternoon in the shady side of the Collisseum, when a coachman who had driven us from St. Peter's, and two men who were loitering about the ruins, fell into a hot argument about the war of independence, the pope, the taxes, and politics in general. The coach. man, who was a Trastenerino, was very loyal, as the common people on his side of the Tiber have long had the reputation of being He said that it was quite true that Rome was in a very bad way; that there was nothing doing, nothing spending, for the benefit of honest working men; but that this state of things was not owing to the Santo Padre, but to the war and the troubles, and those who had caused them. 'But,' said one of the men, 'they say in the clubs and in the coffee-houses, and in the journals, that it was all owing to the pope not being sincere that the war turned out so badly; and that if Pius, and Charles Albert, and the Grand Duke of Tuscany had done their duty,

and not betrayed the cause, we Italians by this time might have plundered Vienna, and have taken from the Tsadeschi all that they have taken from us; and that even now, if we were to renew the war

“Stop!' said the Trastenerino; 'the little war we had has drained us dry. Men will not march without shoes, and food, and some money.

War cannot be carried on without money, and it appears that there is no money. “No money!' said his antagonist; what confessor put that idea into your head ? There is plenty of money in Rome, only honest men will not go boldly and take it. The pope has money, the cardinals have treasures, the princes and nobles are rich with their great estates; the bankers and merchants are rich, and the great shop-keepers, and thousands who live and do nothing. Why should they be richer than you or I? If we take what they have, there will be enough to carry on the war, and divide among the poor, and to make you and me, and all of us, better off than we are now. The Trastenerino shook his head, as if doubting. But why not?' said the third man of the party; 'what right have all those signorini to be rich, and keep us poor, and make us pay rent for land, and oppress and suck our blood ? All men are equal, and I say, divide! and let us have equal shares. For my part, I would begin with the Prince of Borghese--per Dio, io mangerei !' (by God, I would eat him up!) And the fellow really looked as if he could have swallowed the prince and all his estates at one gulp.”

From Rome Mr. Macfarlane proceeded to Florence, where he also found communism. On the way thither he was joined by an old priest. He was very ugly, and very yellow, and very caustic; he was all legs and arms and head. “ He was a keen, worldly man, of the higher or more prosperous class, partaking in none of the popular superstitions, and having no heavier burden of belief than he could carry without breaking his curved and very short back. The complexion of the times had made him atrabilious. He had a very neat and strong English carpet-bag, which he had deposited in one of half-a-dozen bedchambers, which opened upon the sala. The waiter, a little boy, not knowing which chamber had been taken by the priest and which by us, asked him if that were his sacco. Hem! hem !' quoth the priest; 'if there is still the law of meum and tuum, I should certainly say that the bag is mine; if now-a-days a gentleman and a sacerdote can claim a right of property, I should say that is my property.' The boy grinned, with difficulty understanding that the bag was his, not ours. The ancient Arciprete struck the haft of his knife on the table, looked at me with his bright eyes, and went off at once. La

« 이전계속 »