13 JANUARY 1855, Page 12


IN order to estimate the possibility of a more enlightened policy in the government of Italy, it is necessary to survey the actual state of the peninsula ; which is remarkable, and certainly unlike what it ever has been before. The Republican idea, which Rienzi transmitted from the classic times, is kept alive by the Democratic party ; but the tradition has been totally altered in that Republic which is to unite all Italy, without regard to an invincible diver- sity of race, genius, and tongue, that would indicate a federation as the only approach to unity. The Democratic party looks to a democracy in lieu of the aristocratic republics of Venice and Rome; and it is now, in the persons of its disciples, wandering, concealed, begging for tribute from the poor, and begging so hard that it urges its votaries to pledge their watches and trinkets for the cause. To understand the full force of this exhortation, it must be remembered that the peasantry habitually wear gold or silver bracelets, ear-rings, hair-combs, waist-belts, &c.; and that a girl's dowry sometimes consists in these investments. Such is the party that has from 1821 to 1831 and 1848 carried on the most active agitations to procure proselytes. It was the accuser of Charles Albert because he declined to go to new lengths in the Democratic march. The party is widely diffused, but daily losing recruits to the Muratists in the South and the Constitutionalists in the North.

In the South, we see a strange and humiliating spectacle. The rope has recently manufactured a new impracticable doctrine, for the purpose of strengthening the dogmatic mystery of the Church, and of silencing schismatics whose predecessors are among the canonized! He has affirmed the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary ; and six hundred prelates met to enjoy a corporate paroxysm of pious ecstacy at the event. Naples, who has recently declined to be considered a fief of the Church, professes to share the ecstaoy ; to celebrate the new blessing the King parades the streets of Naples with a huge doll, and occasionally drops a pious tear in the tenderness of delight ; and he places his army under the protect- ing care of the Immaculate Conception. Conceive a military force deriving shelter from that obstetric dogma with which the Pope disturbs the ancient mystery of his Church! Is not this dogma- tism running to dregs? Is it possible that any Neapolitan of decent education can witness such a ceremony with such results, for such a purpose, and not blush to be ruled by the doll-bearing, weeping, lla Bombardator ? And the Pontiff, who thus beatifies the faithful, could not keep his throne if he were not sustained there by the French bayonets ; for a reduced allowance of which Cardinal Antonelli proclaims his gratitude. Monarchs sustain this manufacturer of dogmas, because his is the only shop at which can be procured the genuine old divine right. Reigning upon suf- ferance, with a French bayonet in one hand and the Immaculate Conception in the other—attended by Naples 4 qui l'admire," and crowned by Isabella the Second of Spain for his conception of the immaculate—is not Pius the Ninth a doomed thing?

Now look to the North, where the Sardinian Government, once disturbed by insurrections, threatened by a neighbouring empire, divided in councils by lurking religious habits, opposed by an organized clergy in every church of the land, has at last suc- ceeded in establishing representative government working actively but steadily ; is engaged in effecting a monastic reformation, though without technically abandoning the Roman Church ; is taking her place among the recognized states of Europe ; and is acquiring a moral weight which encourages the liberality of her statesmen while it conciliates the impatience of more extreme politicians.

Next to that state lie the Austrian provinces. Austria has undertaken to confront in hostile attitude the power that preserved to her Hungary. Our own Government has expressly declined to inherit that office from Russia, or to guarantee Austria against her own subjects. Should European war break out, the soldiers that the Emperor would employ to keep down Italy or Hungary will be wanted elsewhere. France, however friendly, to Sardinia, must be fully engaged by Russia : and the Czar will be seeking allies

among the disaffected in the North of Italy, the bigoted in the South. A common danger will then menace both Sardinia and Austria. We are recapitulating facts, and their proximate but inevitable sequels ; facts and sequels so obvious, that they must have entered into the survey of statesmen at Vienna. No allies could then keep Hungary and Italy so well for Austria as Hun- garians and Italians.