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cracy. He was under the influence of all the | Presbyterians-for this he forsook them. He feelings by which the gallant cavaliers were fought their perilous battle; but he turned misled. But of those feelings he was the mas- away with disdain from their insolent triumph. ter and not the slave. Like the hero of Homer, He saw that they, like those whom they had he enjoyed all the pleasures of fascination; vanquished, were hostile to the liberty of but he was not fascinated. He listened to the thought. He therefore joined the Independents, song of the Sirens; yet he glided by without and called upon Cromwell to break the secular being seduced to their fatal shore. He tasted chain, and to save free conscience from the the cup of Circe; but he bore about him a sure paw of the Presbyterian wolf. With a view antidote against the effects of its bewitching to the same great object, he attacked the sweetness. The illusions which captivated licensing system in that sublime treatise which his imagination never impaired his reasoning every statesman should wear as a sign upon powers. The statesman was a proof against his hand, and as frontlets between his eyes, the splendour, the solemnity, and the romance His attacks were, in general, directed less which enchanted the poet. Any person who against particular abuses than against those will contrast the sentiments expressed in his deeply-seated errors on which almost all abuses Treatises on Prelacy, with the exquisite lines are founded, the servile worship of eminent on ecclesiastical architecture and music in the men and the irrational dread of innovation. Penseroso, which were published about the same time, will understand our meaning. This is an inconsistency which, more than any thing else, raises his character in our estimation; because it shows how many private tastes and feelings he sacrificed, in order to do what he considered his duty to mankind. It is the very struggle of the noble Othello. His heart relents; but his hand is firm. He does naught in hate, but all in honour. He kisses the beautiful deceiver before he destroys her.

That he might shake the foundations of these debasing sentiments more effectually, he always selected for himself the boldest literary services. He never came up to the rear when the outworks had been carried and the breach entered. He pressed into the forlorn hope, At the beginning of the changes, he wrote with incomparable energy and eloquence against the bishops. But, when his opinion seemed likely to prevail, he passed on to other subjects, and abandoned prelacy to the crowd of writers who now hastened to insult a falling party. There is no more hazardous enterprise than that of bearing the torch of truth into those dark and infected recesses in which no light has ever shone. But it was the choice and the pleasure of Milton to penetrate the noisome vapours and to brave the terrible explosion. Those who most disapprove of his opinions must respect the hardihood with which he maintained them. He, in general, left to others the credit of expounding and defending the popular parts of his religious and

That from which the public character of Milton derives its great and peculiar splendour still remains to be mentioned. If he exerted himself to overthrow a foresworn king and a persecuting hierarchy, he exerted himself in conjunction with others. But the glory of the battle, which he fought for that species of freedom which is the most valuable, and which was then the least understood, the freedom of the human mind, is all his own. Thousands and tens of thousands among his contemporaries raised their voices against ship-money and the star-chamber. But there were few in-political creed. He took his own stand upon deed who discerned the more fearful evils of those which the great body of his countrymen moral and intellectual slavery, and the bene- reprobated as criminal, or derided as parafits which would result from the liberty of the doxical. He stood up for divorce and regicide. press and the unfettered exercise of private He ridiculed the Eikon. He attacked the prejudgment. These were the objects which Mil- vailing systems of education. His radiant and ton justly conceived to be the most important. beneficent career resembled that of the god of He was desirous that the people should think light and fertility, for themselves as well as tax themselves, and be emancipated from the dominion of prejudice as well as from that of Charles. He knew that those who, with the best intentions, overlooked these schemes of reform, and contented themselves with pulling down the king and imprisoning the malignants, acted like the heedless brothers in his own poem, who, in their eagerness to disperse the train of the sorcerer, neglected the means of liberating the captive. They thought only of conquering when they should have thought of disenchanting.

"Oh, ye mistook! You should have snatched the wand:
Without the rod reversed,
And backward mutters of dissevering power,
We cannot free the lady that sits here
Bound in strong fetters fixed and motionless."

To reverse the rod, to spell the charm backward, to break the ties which bound a stupefied people to the seat of enchantment, was the noble aim of Milton. To this all his public conduct was directed. For this he joined the

"Nitor in adversum; nec me, qui cætera, vincit Impetus, et rapide contrarius evehor orbi." It is to be regretted that the prose writings of Milton should, in our time, be so little read. As compositions, they deserve the attention of every man who wishes to become acquainted with the full power of the English language. They abound with passages compared with which the finest declamations of Burke sink into insignificance. They are a perfect field of cloth of gold. The style is stiff, with gorgeous embroidery. Not even in the earlier books of the Paradise Lost has he ever risen higher than in those parts of his controversial works in which his feelings, excited by conflict, find a vent in bursts of devotional and lyric rapture. It is, to borrow his own majestic language, "a sevenfold chorus of hallelujahs and harping symphonies."t

*Sonnet to Cromwell.

The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelacy, Book II.

We had intended to look more closely at These are perhaps foolish feelings. Yet we their performances, to analyze the peculiari- cannot be ashamed of them; nor shall we be ties of their diction, to dwell at some length sorry if what we have written shall in any deon the sublime wisdom of the Areopagitica, gree excite them in other minds. We are not and the nervous rhetoric of the Iconoclast, and much in the habit of idolizing either the living to point out some of those magnificent pas- or the dead. And we think that there is no sages which occur in the Treatise of Reforma- more certain indication of a weak and ill-regution and the Animadversions on the Remon-lated intellect than that propensity hich, for strant. But the length to which our remarks want of a better name, we will venture to have already extended renders this impossible. christen Boswellism. But there are a few chaWe must conclude. And yet we can scarce-racters which have stood the closest scrutiny ly tear ourselves away from the subject. The and the severest tests, which have been tried days immediately following the publication of in the furnace and have proved pure, which this relic of Milton appear to be peculiarly set have been weighed in the balance and have apart and consecrated to his memory. And not been found wanting, which have been dewe shall scarcely be censured if, on this his clared sterling by the general consent of manfestival, we be found lingering near his shrine, kind, and which are visibly stamped with the how worthless soever may be the offering image and superscription of the Most High. which we bring to it. While this book lies These great men we trust that we know how on our table, we seem to be contemporaries to prize; and of these was Milton. The sight of the great poet. We are transported a hun- of his books, the sound of his name, are redred and fifty years back. We can almost freshing to us. His thoughts resemble those fancy that we are visiting him in his small celestial fruits and flowers which the Virgin lodging; that we see him sitting at the old or- Martyr of Massinger sent down from the gargan beneath the faded green hangings; that dens of Paradise to the earth, distinguished we can catch the quick twinkle of his eyes, from the productions of other soils, not only rolling in vain to find the day; that we are by their superior bloom and sweetness, but by reading in the lines of his noble countenance their miraculous efficacy to invigorate and to the proud and mournful history of his glory heal. They are powerful, not only to delight, and his affliction! We image to ourselves the but to elevate and purify. Nor do we envy breathless silence in which we should listen the man who can study either the life or the to his slightest word; the passionate venera- writings of the great Poet and Patriot without tion with which we should kneel to kiss his aspiring to emulate, not indeed the sublime hand and weep upon it; the earnestness with works with which his genius has enriched our which we should endeavour to console him, if literature, but the zeal with which he laboured indeed such a spirit could need consolation, for for the public good, the fortitude with which the neglect of an age unworthy of his talents he endured every private calamity, the lofty and his virtues; the eagerness with which we disdain with which he looked down on temptashould contest with his daughters, or with his tion and dangers, the deadly hatred which he Quaker friend, Elwood, the privilege of read- bore to bigots and tyrants, and the faith which ing Homer to him, or of taking down the im- he so sternly kept with his country and with mortal accents which flowed from his lips. his fame.

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monly described would seem to import that he was the Tempter, the Evil Principle, the dis coverer of ambition and revenge, the original

THOSE who have attended to the practice of our literary tribunal are well aware that, by means of certain legal fictions similar to those of Westminster Hall, we are frequently en-inventor of perjury; that, before the publicaabled to take cognisance of cases lying beyond tion of his fatal Prince, there had never been a the sphere of our original jurisdiction. We hypocrite, a tyrant, or a traitor, a simulated need hardly say, therefore, that, in the present virtue or a convenient crime. One writer instance, M. Périer is merely a Richard Roe-gravely assures us, that Maurice of Saxony that his name is used for the sole purpose of learned all his fraudulent policy from that exbringing Machiavelli into court-and that he ecrable volume. Another remarks, that since will not be mentioned in any subsequent stage it was translated into Turkish, the Sultans of the proceedings. have been more addicted than formerly to the custom of strangling their brothers. Our own foolish Lord Lyttleton charges the poor Floren. tine with the manifold treasons of the House of Guise, and the massacre of St. Bartholomew. Several authors have hinted that the Gunpow

We doubt whether any name in literary history be so generally odious as that of the man whose character and writings we now propose to consider. The terms in which he is com

FERIER. Paris, 1825.

* Euvres complétes de Machiavel, traduites par J. V. der Plot is to be primarily attributed to his doctrines, and seem to think that his effigy

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ought to be substituted for that of Guy Fawkes, covered-in his Comedies, designed for the
in those processions by which the ingenuous entertainment of the multitude-in his Com-
youth of England annually commemorate the ments on Livy, intended for the perusal of the
preservation of the Three Estates. The Church most enthusiastic patriots of Florence-in his
of Rome has pronounced his works accursed History, inscribed to one of the most amiable
things. Nor have our own countrymen been and estimable of the Popes-in his Public
backward in testifying their opinion of his Despatches-in his private Memoranda, the
merits. Out of his surname they have coined same obliquity of moral principle for which
an epithet for a knave-and out of his Chris- the Prince is so severely censured is more or
tian name a synonyme for the Devil.*
less discernible. We doubt whether it would
be possible to find, in all the many volumes
of his compositions, a single expression indi-
cating that dissimulation and treachery had
ever struck him as discreditable.

It is indeed scarcely possible for any person, not well acquainted with the history and literature of Italy, to read, without horror and amazement, the celebrated treatise which has brought so much obloquy on the name of Machiavelli. Such a display of wickedness, naked, yet not ashamed, such cool, judicious, scientific atrocity, seem rather to belong to a fiend than to the most depraved of men. Principles which the most hardened ruffian would scarcely hint to his most trusted accomplice, or avow, without the disguise of some palliat ing sophism, even to his own mind, are professed without the slightest circumlocution, and assumed as the fundamental axioms of all political science.

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After this it may seem ridiculous to say, that we are acquainted with few writings which exhibit so much elevation of sentiment, so pure and warm a zeal for the public good, or so just a view of the duties and rights of citizens, as those of Machiavelli. Yet so it is. And even from the Prince itself we could select many passages in support of this remark. To a reader of our age and country this inconsistency is, at first, perfectly bewildering. The whole man seems to be an enigma—a grotesque assemblage of incongruous qualitiesIt is not strange that ordinary readers should selfishness and generosity, cruelty and benevoregard the author of such a book as the most ience, craft and simplicity, abject villany and depraved and shameless of human beings. romantic heroism. One sentence is such as a Wise men, however, have always been in-veteran diplomatist would scarcely write in clined to look with great suspicion on the an- cipher for the direction of his most confidengels and demons of the multitude; and in the tial spy: the next seems to be extracted from present instance, several circumstances have a theme composed by an ardent schoolboy on led even superficial observers to question the the death of Leonidas. An act of dexterous justice of the vulgar decision. It is notorious perfidy, and an act of patriotic self-devotion, that Machiavelli was, through life, a zealous call forth the same kind and the same degree republican. In the same year in which he of respectful admiration. The moral sensi composed his manual of Kingcraft, he suffered bility of the writer seems at once to be Two imprisonment and torture in the cause of morbidly obtuse and morbidly acute. public liberty. It seems inconceivable that characters altogether dissimilar are united in the martyr of freedom should have design- him. They are not merely joined, but inter edly acted as the apostle of tyranny. Several woven. They are the warp and the woof of eminent writers have, therefore, endeavoured his mind; and their combination, like that of to detect, in this unfortunate performance, the variegated threads in shot silk, gives to the some concealed meaning more consistent with whole texture a glancing and ever-changing the character and conduct of the author than appearance. The explanation might have that which appears at the first glance. been easy, if he had been a very weak or a very affected man. But he was evidently neiather the one nor the other. His works prove beyond all contradiction, that his understand ing was strong, his taste pure, and his sense of the ridiculous exquisitely keen.


This is strange-and yet the strangest is behind. There is no reason whatever to think, that those amongst whom he lived saw any

One hypothesis is, that Machiavelli intended to practice on the young Lorenzo de Medici fraud, similar to that which Sunderland is said to have employed against our James the Second, that he urged his pupil to violent and perfidious measures, as the surest means of accelerating the moment of deliverance and revenge. Another supposition, which Lord Bacon seems to countenance, is, that the trea-thing shocking or incongruous in his writings. tise was merely a piece of grave irony, in- Abundant proofs remain of the high estimation tended to warn nations against the arts of in which both his works and his person were ambitious men. It would be easy to show that held by the most respectable among his conneither of these solutions is consistent with temporaries. Clement the Seventh patronised many passages in the Prince itself. But the the publication of those very books which the most decisive refutation is that which is fur-council of Trent, in the following generation, nished by the other works of Machiavelli. In pronounced unfit for the perusal of Christians. all the writings which he gave to the public, Some members of the democratical party cenand in all those which the research of editors sured the secretary for dedicating the Prince to a has, in the course of three centuries, dis-patron who bore the unpopular name of Medici. But to those immoral doctrines, which have since called forth such severe reprehensions, no exception appears to have been taken. The cry against them was first raised beyond the Alps-and seams to have been heard with

Nick Machiavel had ne'er a trick,
Tho' he gave his name to our Old Nick.
Hudibras, Part III. Canto I.

But, we believe, there is a schism on this subject among
the antiquaries.

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amazement in Italy. The earliest assailant, as | been to substitute a moral for a political servifar as we are aware, was a countryman of our tude, to exalt the Popes at the expense of the own, Cardinal Pole. The author of the Anti- Cæsars. Happily the public mind of Italy had Machiavelli was a French Protestant. long contained the seeds of free opinions, which were now rapidly developed by the genial influence of free institutions. The people of that country had observed the whole machinery of the church, its saints and its miracles, its lofty pretensions and its splendid ceremonial, its worthless blessings and its harmless curses, too long and too closely to be duped. They stood behind the scenes on which others were gazing with childish awe and interest. During the gloomy and disastrous centuries They witnessed the arrangement of the pul which followed the downfall of the Roman Em- leys, and the manufacture of the thunders. pire, Italy had preserved, in a far greater de- They saw the natural faces and heard the nagree than any other part of Western Europe, tural voices of the actors. Distant nations the traces of ancient civilization. The night looked on the Pope as the vicegerent of the which descended upon her was the night of an Almighty, the oracle of the All-wise, the umarctic summer-the dawn began to reappear pire from whose decisions, in the disputes before the last reflection of the preceding sun- either of theologians or of kings, no Christian set had faded from the horizon. It was in the ought to appeal. The Italians were acquaint time of the French Merovingians, and of the ed with all the follies of his youth, and with Saxon Heptarchy, that ignorance and ferocity all the dishonest arts by which he had attained seemed to have done their worst. Yet even power. They knew how often he had em then the Neapolitan provinces, recognising the ployed the keys of the church to release him authority of the Eastern Empire, preserved self from the most sacred engagements, and its something of Eastern knowledge and refine wealth to pamper his mistresses and nephews. ment. Rome, protected by the sacred charac-The doctrines and rites of the established reter of its Pontiffs, enjoyed at least comparative ligion they treated with decent reverence. But security and repose. Even in those regions though they still called themselves Catholics, where the sanguinary Lombards had fixed they had ceased to be Papists. Those spiritual their monarchy, there was incomparably more arms which carried terror into the palaces and of wealth, of information, of physical comfort, camps of the proudest sovereigns excited only and of social order, than could be found in their contempt. When Alexander commanded Gaul, Britain, or Germany. our Henry the Second to submit to the lash before the tomb of a rebellious subject, he was himself an exile. The Romans, apprehending that he entertained designs against their liberties, had driven him from their city; and, though he solemnly promised to confine himself for the future to his spiritual functions, they still refused to re-admit him.

That which most distinguished Italy from the neighbouring countries was the importance which the population of the towns, from a very early period, began to acquire. Some cities founded in wild and remote situations, by fugitives who had escaped from the rage of the barbarians, preserved their freedom by their obscurity, till they became able to preserve it In every other part of Europe, a large and by their power. Others seemed to have re- powerful privileged class trampled on the peotained, under all the changing dynasties of ple and defied the government. But in the invaders, under Odoacer and Theodoric, Narses most flourishing parts of Italy the feudal noand Alboin, the municipal institutions which bles were reduced to comparative insignifihad been conferred on them by the liberal cance. In some districts they took shelter policy of the Great Republic. In provinces under the protection of the powerful commonwhich the central government was too feeble wealths which they were unable to oppose, either to protect or to oppress, these institu- and gradually sunk into the mass of burghers. tions first acquired stability and vigour. The In others they possessed great influence; but citizens, defended by their walls and governed it was an influence widely different from that by their own magistrates and their own by- which was exercised by the chieftains of the laws, enjoyed a considerable share of republi-Transalpine kingdoms. They were not petcan independence. Thus a strong democratic ty princes, but eminent citizens. Instead spirit was called into action. The Carlovingian of strengthening their fastnesses among the Sovereigns were too imbecile to subdue it. mountains, they embellished their places in The generous policy of Otho encouraged it. the market-place. The state of society in the It might perhaps have been suppressed by a Neapolitan dominions, and in some parts of close coalition between the Church and the the Ecclesiastical State, more nearly resembled Empire. It was fostered and invigorated by that which existed in the great monarchies of their disputes. In the twelfth century it Europe. But the governments of Lombardy attained its full vigour, and, after a long and and Tuscany, through all their revolutions, doubtful conflict, it triumphed over the abili- preserved a different character. A people, ties and courage of the Swabian Princes. when assembled in a town, is far more formidable to its rulers than when dispersed over a wide extent of country. The most arbitrary of the Caesars found it necessary to feed and divert the inhabitants of their unwieldy capi

It is, therefore, in the state of moral feeling among the Italians of those times, that we must seek for the real explanation of what seems most mysterious in the life and writings of this remarkable man. As this is a subject which suggests many interesting considerations, both political and metaphysical, we shall make no apology for discussing it at some length.

The assistance of the ecclesiastical power had greatly contributed to the success of the Guelfs. That success would, however, have been a doubtful good, if its only effect had

tal at the expense of the provinces. The citi zens of Madrid have more than once besieged their sovereign in his own palace, and extorted from him the most humiliating concessions. The sultans have often been compelled to propitiate the furious rabble of Constantinople with the head of an unpopular vizier. From the same cause there was a certain tinge of democracy in the monarchies and aristocracies of Northern Italy.

a hundred and seventy thousand inhabitants.
In the various schools about ten thousand
children were taught to read; twelve hundred
studied arithmetic; six hundred received a
learned education. The progress of elegant
literature and of the fine arts was proportioned
to that of the public prosperity. Under the
despotic successors of Augustus, all the fields
of the intellect had been turned into arid
wastes, still marked out by formal boundaries,
still retaining the traces of old cultivation, but
yielding neither flowers nor fruit. The deluge
of barbarism came. It swept away all the
landmarks. It obliterated all the signs of for-
mer tillage. But it fertilized while it devas
tated. When it receded, the wilderness was
as the garden of God, rejoicing on every side,
laughing, clapping its hands, pouring forth in
spontaneous abundance every thing brilliant,
or fragrant, or nourishing. A new language,
characterized by simple sweetness and simple
energy, had attained its perfection. No tongue

Thus liberty, partially, indeed, and transiently, revisited Italy; and with liberty came commerce and empire, science and taste, all the comforts and all the ornaments of life. The crusades, from which the inhabitants of other countries gained nothing but relics and wounds, brought the rising commonwealths of the Adriatic and Tyrrhene seas a large increase of wealth, dominion, and knowledge. Their moral and their geographical position enabled them to profit alike by the barbarism of the West and the civilization of the East. Their ships covered every sea. Their fac- ever furnished more gorgeous and vivid tints tories rose on every shore. Their money- to poetry; nor was it long before a poet apchangers set their tables in every city. Manu-peared who knew how to employ them. Early factures flourished. Banks were established. in the fourteenth century came forth the Di The operations of the commercial machine vine Comedy, beyond comparison the greatest were facilitated by many useful and beautiful work of imagination which had appeared since inventions. We doubt whether any country the poems of Homer. The following genera of Europe, our own perhaps excepted, have at tion produced, indeed, no second Dante; but the present time reached so high a point of it was eminently distinguished by general inwealth and civilization as some parts of Italy tellectual activity. The study of the Latin had attained four hundred years ago. Histo-writers had never been wholly neglected in rians rarely descend to those details from Italy. But Petrarch introduced a more prowhich alone the real state of a community found, liberal, and elegant scholarship; and can be collected. Hence posterity is too often communicated to his countrymen that enthu deceived by the vague hyperboles of poets and siasm for the literature, the history, and the rhetoricians, who mistake the splendour of a antiquities of Rome, which divided his own court for the happiness of a people. Fortu- heart with a frigid mistress and a more frigid nately John Villani has given us an ample and muse. Boccaccio turned their attention to the precise account of the state of Florence in the more sublime and graceful models of Greece. earlier part of the fourteenth century. The revenue of the republic amounted to three hundred thousand florins, a sum which, allowing for the depreciatio of the precious metals, was at least equivalent to six hundred thou-nouring and flattering Petrarch. Embassies sand pounds sterling; a larger sum than Eng-from rival states solicited the honour of his inJand and Ireland, two centuries ago, yielded an-structions. His coronation agitated the court nually to Elizabeth-a larger sum than, accord- of Naples and the people of Rome as much as ing to any computation which we have seen, the the most important political transactions could Grand-duke of Tuscany now derives from a have done. To collect books and antiques, to territory of much greater extent. The manu-found professorships, to patronise men of facture of wool alone employed two hundred learning, became almost universal fashions factories and thirty thousand workmen. The among the great. The spirit of literary recloth annually produced sold, at an average, search allied itself to that of commercial enfor twelve hundred thousand florins; a sum terprise. Every place to which the merchantfairly equal, in exchangeable value, to two princes of Florence extended their gigantic millions and a half of our money. Four hun- traffic, from the bazaars of the Tigris to the dred thousand florins were annually coined. monasteries of the Clyde, was ransacked for Eighty banks conducted the commercial ope- medals and manuscripts. Architecture, paintrations, not of Florence only, but of all Europe. ing, and sculpture were munificently encou The transactions of these establishments were raged. Indeed it would be difficult to name an sometimes of a magnitude which may surprise Italian of eminence during the period of which even the contemporaries of the Barings and we speak, who, whatever may have been his the Rothschilds. Two houses advanced to general character, did not at least affect a love Edward the Third of England upwards of of letters and of the arts. three hundred thousand marks, at a time when the mark contained more silver than fifty shillings of the present day, and when the value of silver was more than quadruple of what it Bow is. The city and its environs contained

From this time the admiration of learning and genius became almost an idolatry among the people of Italy. Kings and republics, cardinals and doge vied with each other in ho

Knowledge and public prosperity continued to advance together. Both attained their meridian in the age of Lorenzo the Magnificent. We cannot refrain from quoting the splendid passage, in which the Tuscan Thucydides de

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