Italian Independence and Austrian Oppression seem to be on the
eve of a struggle for life and death. More connected ac- counts from Rome and other parts of Italy leave no doubt that .the conspiracy detected in the middle of last month was a deli- berate and extensive plot, contrived with the knowledge and sanction of Austria, to b'ng destruction upon the government of Pius the Ninth, and so to destroy the prospect of Italian nation- ality which has at last dawned upon the peninsula. The plan appears now to be thoroughly understood. It was to create a bloody anarchy in Rome ; to abduct the Pope, in a compulsory Sight of pretended safety to Naples ; and to call for the inter- vention of Austria. The name of France is associated with that of Austria in the report. It is proper that the actual ifittuation of affairs in Italy should be thoroughly compre- bonded. The Pope has introduced the political spirit of West- pat Europe, that of responsible government, into the strong- held of Italian Absolutism ; he has inspired his people with con- ladence, and has created the spectacle unknown to modern Italy, of a people and a government acting in concert. That his moderate but firm policy is practical—that it is really bolder and stronger than more violent demonstrations—is shown by the traitorous hostility which it has excited. Austria has roused herself to the contest, not with a band of rebels, but with Italy and her Pontiff. The people of Italy will side with their Holy Father. Formerly, if Austria crossed her own boundary into Italy, France also occupied some commanding position. At present the family of Louis Philippe is bent, for family objects, on con- ciliating Austria. The Ministerial organs in Paris have en- deavoured to make light of the momentous crisis in Italy—to treat it first as a hoax, and then as a trifle exaggerated. M. Guizot speaks eloquently and well of Pius and his works : we hope there is to be no connivance, by the Government of France at the invasion of Italy, which Austria has already begun. Now gathered together under their native prince, with other princes of the peninsula sure to join their forces, the people of Italy are able to achieve their own independence. They have for the first time attained that possibility, in this year 1847. But they are not strong enough, not perhaps sufficiently hardened in war or in mutual faith, to cope with Austria and France united.
But it is impossible that they can remain exposed to that un- natural alliance. If ever England was bound to speak up for humanity and freedom, this is the time. The fate of Italy hangs on the lips of statesmen inured to the vindication of freedom and national rights : at a word from England, the French people will rouse itself to the popular mission, and force its Government to obey the spirit of France instead of Austria. Let the English people understand that a passive policy at this moment is really connivance at handing over Italy to hopeless thraldom.