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Popular commotions from whatever caufes they spring, produce fimilar mifchiefs; the angry paffions of men are roused; the restraints of religion and law are laid afide; all the fury which can inflame the breaft and confume civil fociety burst forth. A fatal inftance of this is exhibited in the war in the Valteline and the factions which distracted the Grifon country in the year 1620,
"The rage of party difplayed itfelf now with more malignity than ever. The people,' fays one of their hiftorians, refembled a fwarm of bees newly expelled from the hive, which roam wide in fear and trepidation, and know not where to fettle, or whither to fly for fafety or protection.' The Planta faction refumed an afcendency: they came in force to Coire; and in order to retaliate the feverities that had been exercised against them, erected a third criminal tribunal, in which Rudolph took the lead. New victims were selected: a loofe was given to the favage paffions of the populace; and the acts of cruelty that were now practifed fpread a general confternation among the distracted people, This gave rife to a third, or, as it was named, the neutral party,' which propofed a mutual amneity, on condition that neither a Salis, nor a Planta, fhould, during a certain period, hold any public office; that no foreign penfions should be received by individuals; and that no foreign minifter be fuffered to refide in the country. This propofal, which was adopted, ferved 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 jurifdictions, which, in its turn, proceeded with exceffive 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 confufion which now prevailed throughout the country,
"Meanwhile the rage of frantic bigotry burft out with unexampled fury in the subject province of the Valtel ne. After repeated murmurs, and various attempts to exclude the proteftants from the province, the alarm bells tolled early on the nineteenth of July, throughout the valley; and a carnage inftantly began, the particulars of which have been detailed by a great number of writers, and have filled all Europe with horror and deteftation, Several of the magif trates, and their fubftitutes, and numbers of the proteftant clergy, were butchered with the most remorfelefs and inhuman barbarity, Sixty perfons were murdered at Tirano; at Teglio the affaffins, after having put to death a minifter in the pulpit, and a great part of his congregation, demolished the church at Sondrio they formed the palace in which the governor refided, and dragged him and his fa, mily into the Engadine, telling him that they would no longer fubmit to the fway of heretics; the houfes of all the proteftants were pillaged and demolished, A butcher boafted that he had in one day flaugh, tered eighteen helplefs victims. A proteftant woman, who, with her infant daughter, had taken refuge in this country from the perfecutions
in Italy, was affailed by a band of merciless ruffians, and ordered to abjure her faith; but the, clafping her child in her arms, firmly refufed to yield compliance; the monsters ftrove to tear the child from her, but the, preffing it ftill clofer to her bofom, boldly bid them defiance; finding they could not prevail, they ftabbed her to the heart, and mangled her lifelefs corpfe. The peafants, 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 fteep precipices, and many they caft into the rivers and torrents; many perished by the hands of their own brethren and nearest kinfmen, who coveted their property. The horrors of this, and many fubfequent days of havock and difmay, are too fhocking to be dwelt upon any longer than the teftimony of history abfolutely requires. The Duke of Feria, at this time governor of Milan, never cleared himself from the imputation of having abetted this dreadful confpiracy.”
The following obfervations are so just and so well expressed on the nature of republican governments, and fo well calculated to fupprefs a growing fpirit of difcontent, that the temptation of quoting them is too ftrong to be refifted, nor would our readers, we are perfuaded, thank us for refifting it.
"It feems to be the peculiar fate of republics, that when by great unanimity and vigorous exertions, they have at length fucceeded to repel and difcourage the attacks of foreign enemies, the dæmon of difcord invades the peaceful commonwealth, and prompts men of a restless spirit, and high ambition, to cavil at the authorities in which, perchance, no fhare has been allotted them and thefe, fhould the rulers happen not to be endowed with fufficient prudence, wifdom, and moderation, either to retrain their feditious practices, or to yield to their just demands, are sure to raise a clamour that will ever end in faction and domeftic ftrife. Of fuch men there are numbers in every ftate; and as no government upon earth can be perfect, they will always find plaufible pretences for arraigning either some inftitution, or the conduct of fome envied or perhaps offending magiftrate. In a well regulated monarchy, fuch men are long kept in awe by the vigour, the ftability, and fplendor of the throne: but in a republic, and especially in a fmall democracy, where individuals maintain a familiar intercourfe among themselves, no fuch fafcinating influence commands the deference of the fubordinate ranks, in favour of those who fteer the helm. This no doubt is a trite obfervation; and yet the difregard of it has hurried many states into abfolute destruction, and many focieties and individuals into deplorable calamities: and to none perhaps does it apply more aptly than to the fmall and once flourishing republic of Geneva, which probably might ftill be happy, had the contending parties been wife enough to admit, that the best criterion of a good government is the profperity of the community."
'The author's remarks on the origin of the French revolu tion are alike judicious and fatisfactory.
"No event in history will perhaps ever afford fo much matter for fpeculation 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 progrefs, 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 fimilar nature has probably ever called forth fo many energies and virtues, or fet loofe fuch a variety of vices and destructive paffions, as the convulfion we are doomed to witnefs. While a few attentive obfervers have laboured, with abundance of ingenuity, to trace the whole cause of the evil up to the pernicious efforts of a few mifcreants, endowed with great genius, courage, and perfeverance, but with a malevolence which could only be gratified by the miferies infeparable from anarchy and sedition; others have derived the calamity from the great change introduced within this century into the ftate of fociety, by the rapid influx of wealth from both the Indies, which, falling chiefly to the lot of the industrious, raised the lower claffes nearer to a level with the fuperior orders; and by the improved cultivation of the mind, which infenfibly introduced a fpirit of inquiry, and a prefumptuous arrogance, that gradually led men to over-rate the powers of reafon, and unfitted them for the subordination, without which no government can possibly subsist. Many alfo have not fcrupled to decide that a thorough change in the polity of Europe had become unavoidable, through the many glaring defects in most of the exifting governments, rendered ftill more infupportable by the incapacity and mal-administration of thofe to whom the direction of affairs had been committed.
"All these, no doubt, have fome fpecious arguments in their favour; but pofterity, whenever it fhall explore the complicated maze of caufes and effects which have brought on the eventful period we live in, will probably difcover that many and various circumstances have co-operated to produce the evil. While the malignity of the first 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, inconfiftency, and weakness of those who ought to have averted the storm, may have contributed to facilitate the operations of the agitators, who had confpired the downfall of all regular government. As feeds will germinate only in adapted foils; as, in inveftigating the powers of a machine, we calculate reciprocal reaction as well as the force to be applied; fo muft we admit that the promoters of fedition, the dextrous artificers of ruin, have manifeftly taken into the line of account, the very feeble refiftance they were likely to encounter in the execution of their deftructive plans. Future historians will probably eftimate the pernicious effects of the puerile ambition and love of innovation, which, at this momentous crifis, actuated the first fovereign of Europe; the avowed irreligion of the great Fre
deric; and the wanton dereliction of all principle of the proud Semiramis of the north: they will duly appreciate the inordinate selfishness of thefe three potentates, and their mutual accord in a flagrant act of injuftice, which in a private individual would have been deemed an atrocious theft; which at once broke through the faith of treaties, and damped the confidence nations had till then placed in the law that governed their relative concerns. Future annalists will probably deduce from thefe and fimilar causes, an inevitable relaxation in the ties of reverence and loyalty which ought at all times to bind the people to their fovereign, and a political indifference which gave too free a fcope to the diforganizers of our days, who were too keen and indus❤ trious not to avail themselves of the encouragement fo profufely held out to them.
"In France the means of refiftance were still more feeble than in other parts of the Continent; and here, accordingly, the feeds of fedition first broke out into open infurrection. That country had patiently fupported two long reigns of depravity and enormous profufion, which had fo embarraffed its finances that the benevolent monarch who fucceeded, unwilling to recur to the defpotic means used by his two predeceffors, loofened the reins of his government by demanding voluntary fupplies, which his people would ftill have cheerfully granted, had not various concomitant circumftances damped their loyalty, and alienated the ardent zeal for the glory of their monarchs, for which that nation had been long eminently diftinguifhed. Thofe to whom the adminiftration of public affairs had been configned were, for the most part, men deftitute of the kill and vigour which the dangers of the times imperiously demanded. The glaring inftances of depravity, moreover, not only winked at by the government, but even countenanced by the examples of thofe of higher ranks and in confpicuous ftations, had long fince offended and alarmed even the well-difpofed part of the nation, and greatly favoured the fpirit of infubordination which gradually burst forth in all quarters. To this fpirit the improvident Vergennes gave additional vigour by his moft impolitic American war, which, while it countenanced an open refiftance 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 fovereign was greatly impaired by his frequent diffenfions with his parliaments, whom the people had accustomed themfelves to look upon as their fteady advo cates, and whom repeated fucceffes had taught to aim at further tri umphs. Defigning men were not wanting, who eagerly embraced the opportunity of accelerating the disturbances which they faw were now impending, and from which they had no doubt of deriving effen.. tial advantages. Aware that in order to arrive at their ends they muft fubvert the prefent fyftem of fociety, they refolved to rouze the inferior claffes by the fafcinating cry of liberty and equality, which they well knew no labourer, no journeyman, no vagrant of idle propenfities and vicious habits would be difpofed to fupprefs; and The partition of Poland,"
by a fpecious tender of a reprefentation in the government, which men even of fuperior rank will often be inclined to favour, deeming it much more eligible to have an oftenfible share in the administration of public affairs, than to adhere to the peaceful enjoyment of domeftic comforts, and the improvement of their private fortunes by the honeft arts of induftry and economy.".
The account of the invafion of this once happy country, the diffolution of their confederacy, and the fubjugation of a brave and free people, by a nation of banditti, combining the moft confummate fraud with the moft open violence, cannot be perused without mingled fenfations of pity, indignation, and horror.
“About five in the morning of this eventful day, Gen. Schawemburg attacked on a fudden the front and each flank of the poft 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 thoufand horfe affailed the Swifs, who had no cavalry to oppofe; and what galled them far more, a numerous train of horse artillery, the first that had ever paffed their frontiers, fpread death and difmay throughout their ranks. The fierceness of the refiftance 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 progrefs. The diminished bands, feeing themfelves on the point of being furrounded, fell back to the village of Urteren, where they ftood a fecond conflict. Unable, however, to maintain themselves they took poft at the Grauholtz, an almost impenetrable pafs, about four miles from Berne, where, their right being covered by a rock, and the left by a fwampy wood, they hoped effectually to fecure themselves by an abbatis in front. The struggle had been no where fo obftinate, nor the carnage fo great as at this poft. 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 poft no longer tenable. They fell back, but formed anew, and stood a fourth attack about a mile behind this laft ftation, and notwithstanding their heavy loffes, and their being exhausted with fatigue and want of fuftenance, they yet fought a fifth time before the gates of Berne! Men, women, children, and the cattle grazing on the meadows, fell promifcuously by the bayonets, fabres, and cannon of the invaders: yet these victims belonged to a people who are faid to have called in a foreign power to free them from the tyranny of an oppreffive govern
"Berne, throughout this awful day, heard the inceffant roar of cannon and musketry from various quarters, and faw the laft difafterous conflict under its own walls. No preparations whatever had been made for the defence of the city, Horror and despair feized all the inhabitants. In this extremity the new regency, in its laft agony, demanded a capitulation, or rather a fafe-guard against the licentioufnefs of the