15 SEPTEMBER 1855, Page 11


A MISTAKE which might induce the reader of the daily journals totally to misconceive the actual state of Italy would be to con- sider the present period of time separately from the past. That error would make him either exaggerate the appearance of move- ments, and anticipate some happy coup-de-theatre, converting "the oppressed nationalities" into happy peoples, and turning "King Bombe" into Pantaloon, the Czar Alexander into the Clown of the European pantomime ; or it would make the reader

who takes repose in an easy scepticism disbelieve that there can be " anything in it," and dismiss the outward signs of the time as superficial changes that signify nothing. The fact is, that the principal movement at Naples, the appearance of some war-ship French or English to awake the placid echoes of the Bay and to shake King Ferdinand's diaphragm with an uneseapeable tremonr, has little to do in working the change that unquestion- ably goes forward in Italy ; but the real progress belongs to abid- ing causes long resident in the peninsula and inherent in the genius of the people. The very letter of Lucien Murat, which has been published in the London papers only in a mutilated form, belongs to 1854. It is an effusion of confidences "to a relation," intended probably for a rather extensive " private " circulation ; and it simply points out Prince Lucien as a person who considers himself " the only solution" of the Neapolitan question, but decidedly disposed to await an invitation before he takes any step. Prince Lucien is not a leading agitator, but only pretends to be an historical personage, transmitted from the past, and available for the future if occasion should arise. He is decidedly not an active element in the Vesuvian commotion. The wrongs of the ex-Minister Saliceti, " spretteque in- kirk fornite," were equally perennial, and were only brought into ac- tivity by the exciting causes of King Ferdinand's own restless, cowardly cruelty. It is the Bourbon crown that is the blister; but it is a blister upon the mildest and most inert people on earth, and the Neapolitans themselves will only be an adjective in any larger and more energetic movement that may arise elsewhere. Those signs which point to the moat positive, and perhaps even

speediest results, belong to the perennial movements. We have oftener than once pointed to the quasi-Protestantism which is arising in Italy, not by a severance of the people from the Roman Catholic communion, but by a practical independence in temporal Matters from the jurisdiction of the Pope, whose authority in such matters is gradually placed under that of the civil powers. Spain has always adhered to that theory dogmatically, but has lately asserted it with a roundness and explicitness which derive new political force and effect from being communicated to the great bulk of the town population through a press. Sardinia has not only braved excommunication, but has opened her press to a dis- cession. on the rights of the Church, which is even more fatal to the authority of the Pope than a direct hostility would be. The comparative merits of clerical and civil jurisdiction in temporal matters is discussed with a freedom and an analytical vigour, and defended by an indiscretion and rancorous bigotry, that must place the hundreds of thousands of the reading population in a very fair

position to be judges, and that in an Italian state where a politi- cal constitution, with self-government, is in actual working. ruder the impulse of Pontifical Government, the same discussion has begun to show itself in a fantastical and alarming manner be- fore the very eyes of the Pope. On Monday week, the Pope had resolved to take a walk outside the Porta del Popolo ; and he had descended from his carriage, when suddenly a crowd of skin-dressers, who had assembled in joyous bands to celebrate in a fantastical manner the day of their Saint, Bartholomew, came along the road in full ca- reer. The attendants of the Pope endeavoured to arrest the career of the carriages in which some of the skin-dressers were ; but the servants were jostled out of the way, and the holiday. makers galloped on with utter disregard of the Holy Father ; who showed some alarm on the occasion. A coachman was after- wards arrested ; but no punishment of the driver can efface the disclosure of popular disregard for the Pontif£ Nor was that the only adventure which he met on the same day. Passing along the Via di Ripetta, he found a number of people assembled, who be- gan to cry for " Bread !" and when he gave them his benedietioa, cries were heard of " Anything besides benediction—we want bread !" Not the " super-substantial bread " of which the Downy Testament speaks, but the plain bread which the baker prepares, and which in Rome is officially sold under price to the poorest. This is drawing the comparison between spiritual and temporal jurisdiction in a manner to bring it painfully close to the Sovereign Pontiff; particularly as he has more blessings than pence or bread.

A pamphlet that has been put forward as the organ of the Muratist party in Naples looks anxiously for a union between Piedmont and Naples. This is natural. Prince Lucien declares himself in favour of constitutional government ; constitutional go- vernment is established in the Sardinian states, but the position of the Sardinian states, even in reference to their international rela- tions, belongs to a series of causes infinitely more extended than the present day, going far beyond 1848. A correspondence has just been published which took place in 1783-'4 between the Go- vernment of the King of Sardinia and its representatives in Paris and Berlin. Whether the motive of the correspondence originated with the King, 'Victor Amadeus the Third, or with his Idiaister, Count Peronee, does not appear from the passages that have come before us; but it would seem that the King had the larger share in suggesting it. His attention was drawn to the state of the Crimea, where the Khan Gueray appeared to be re- established, but where he was menaced by the military pre- parations of Austria and Russia in a manner unmistakeable. The King sees in these preparations a decided intention to make approaches upon Turkey ; he points out that Spain and the West- ern Powers, in common with Italy, have an interest in defending the independence of Turkey and preventing Russia from establish- ing herself on the Mediterranean; he tells his ministers at the French and Prussian courts to explain his sentiments, and if they can to bring about a league for the protection of Turkey by stop- ping the progress of Russia and Austria in the Crimea. "It would not be wonderful," writes the Ring, on the 8th of April 1783, "if Austria were not to act hostilely in the first instance, but were to limit herself to the prudent precautions of watching over her own frontier, ready in the sequel to take her part ac- cording to events; so that in that guise she might have the air of conceding to the insinuations made to her by the powers interested for the Porte, and at the same time would make a true diversion favourable to Russia." King Victor Amadeus sees only one diffi- culty in the league that he recommends,—that of securing the naval assistance of England, who could scarcely be brought to act concurrently with France.

The parallel with the present day is remarkable ; the differences are equally striking. England and France act as one ; the league is complete by the naval assistance of England,—a grand compen- sation for that defection of Prussia, which has made her forfeit her place in Europe. But by whom is this correspondence published ? By Signor eastern, the Director of the National Archives of Sar- dinia ; the publication being therefore a quasi-official act sanc- tioned by Count Peronne's successor, Count Cavour. Thus it is not only a parallel, but a continuance of those causes whieh have elevated the noble house of Savoy to take a lead amongst the statesmen and powers of Europe.