Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

66

[ocr errors]

his Highness his respectful and eternal May God reward you! and also his gratitude, he swore on the Koran that happy Lordship, the President of the he never would attempt to disturb our Republic, and his Lordship the Minisrule in Africa, and that he would sub- ter of War, whose generosity procured mit, without any ulterior design, to the me the honour of your visit and the will of France. Abd-el-Kader added, favour of your letter. that it would be quite to mistake the Beginning of Redjib, year 1267. spirit and the letter of the law of the “This is written according to my inProphet, to imagine that it allowed any tentions, violation of engagements towards Chris- ABD-EL-KADER BEN Makhi EDDIN.” tians, and he pointed out to the prince The above will give some idea of the a verse in the Koran which formally style of the Emir's conversation, which, condemns, without any exception or like that of all those of Eastern origin, reservation, who ever violates sworn is ornamented, and abounds in imagery, faith, even with unbelievers. In the parable, and metaphorical expressions. opinion of all intelligent Arabs, the You perhaps suffer from cold?" said conquest of Africa is a fait accompli ; the prefect who received him. “Oh they see in the constant superiority of no," said the Emir, “ the warmth of our arms a marked manifestation of the your friendship has dispersed the cold.” will of God. A royal and generous

After his release from Amboise, and policy is the only one that befits a great pending the negotiations which were to nation, and France will be thankful to transfer him to the dominions of the the prince for having followed it. Abd- Sultan, he visited Paris, where his preel-Kader will remain at the Chateau sence created quite a furore. The ladies d'Amboise until all the necessary mea- of Paris, as we learn from the newssures have been taken connected with his papers, vied with each other in sending removal, and his residence at Broussa.” | to the Arab chief, various little presents

The liberation of Abd-el-Kader pleased and billets doux. He visited the opera, the French nation, and not less so be- saw many reviews got up in his honour, cause the President had, by his secrecy, received presents from the Emperor rendered it almost another coup d'étåt. elect, and was the lion of the day. In It was only a few moments before the return for his liberation he acted a interview at Amboise that Louis Napo- somewhat theatrical part in claiming leon had communicated to General St. the right to vote, and in throwing his Amaud, minister of war, that he was "oui,” into the electoral urn. Probably going to set Abd-el Kader at liberty on some thought the part was too ridiculous the spot. The long confinement of the and dramatic, but Abd-el-Kader, an Emir had aroused sympathy in England, absolute monarch himself, would cerand one noble Marquis had often tainly look upon the acts of the present pleaded with the · President for his Emperor with a very different eye than liberation,

we do. In him, with his peculiar noThe following is the copy of a letter tions of French manners and customs, addressed by Abd-el-Kader to the Mar- the act should perhaps be regarded as quis of Londonderry, who had interested a token of gratitude. Be it as it may, himself particularly in endeavouring to it clashed with preconceived opinions obtain his release.

of the stern desert chieftain. " PRAISE TO THE ONLY GOD.

He is now forty-five years of age, and "To his Lordship the Cid, General Mar-markable.

in personal appearance is somewhat re

His countenance is pale, quis of Londonderry! Irishman by and of a handsome regularity of feabirth, dwelling in England, -greet- ture, and is habitually clothed with a ing!

grave and melancholy aspect. The dark “I have received a copy of the letter stain which he wears upon the edges written to you by his happy Lordship, of his eye-lids, gives his eyes an expresthe source of good, his Lordship the sion of fatigue and suffering. Small and President, chief of the French Republic, thin moustaches, and a black beard, orand also a copy of that which you for- nament his face, which is surrounded merly wrote to him.

by a silken veil depending from his "Our brother, the Cid Captain Bois- turban, which is made of a large kerchief sonet, has also communicated to me the rolled, and twisted three times round letter which transmitted your greetings. his head. His outward garment is a

long kaik of brown serge, which allows chieftain passed the rest of the time in his bare arms to be visible.

reading or in meditation. The zmala (family and suite) of the Such is Abd-el Kader. In releasing Emir, on bis arrival in France, num- him Louis Napoleon acted wisely. He bered ninety-six persons, that is thirty drew a marked contrast, which the nafour men, thirty-two women, and thirty tion felt, between the conduct of the children. The whole suite had to ob- English towards Napoleon, and his own serve the greatest economy, having but towards his captive. Set at liberty in their own clothes and a few livres. The the manner he has been, and arrived in Emir brought with him into France a Broussa, on friendly terms with the few thousand francs, the produce of Sultan, he may probably forward the the sale of his horses. Yet from this designs of the Emperor, or he may lead small sum he gave on quitting Pau the armies of the Sultan against Russia, three hundred francs to be distributed should a disturbance between those amongst the poor of the town. Each powers ensue. But these are mere speday at three o'clock, his suite and him- culations ; certain it is, that he is less self performed their devotions in com- dangerous when free and on parole, mon, the prayer is followed by a portion than when incarcerated at Amboise. of the Koran being read aloud. The

F.

COLA DI RIENZO.

In the earlier half of the fourteenth cen- / both interested and vindictive, than by tury the condition of Italy presented genuine patriotic feeling, we need not one of those anomalous phenomena marvel that the whole country became which sometimes arise in the history of a prey to all the horrors of intestine nations. While it was the wealthiest, warfare. So much was this the case, the most commercial, and the most en- that the roads and rivers throughout lightened of all the kingdoms of Europe, the entire peninsula were impassable it was at the same time the most dis- to travellers who should venture to traturbed and the most distracted, inter- verse them without a powerful military nally, of any. A prey to two contend- escort. The castles of the powerful ing factions, the Guelphs and the barons who fought on either side, inGhibellines (terms Italianized from the stead of being garrisoned by disciplined German words “ Wolf,” and “Waiblin- soldiers, in regular pay, were in the gen,") it had become the arena of every hands of a savage banditti, who as the species of dissension and violence. The sole recompense for their services in Guelphs, in some degree, zealous for the war, were permitted to levy contribuindependence of their country, fought tions upon all, of whatever party or prounder the papal standard, while the fession, who were so unfortunate as to Ghibellines Hocked round the German fall into their hands. Violence, rapine, eagle, the imperialists having usurped and murder passed unpunished and the titles and prerogatives of the empire unjudged, unless indeed the victim of of Charlemagne, which the French, outrage had friends or partisans suffithrough their weakness and pusillani- ciently powerful to avenge his wrongs, mity, had been unable to retain. Per- because both the judicial and executive haps, had the patriotism of either party powers were at the disposal of the very been sincere, the conflict would have parties against whom they ought in been brought to a decisive issue, and the justice to have been directed. Even in power of the various states might have Rome itself the barons had fortified been permanently consolidated under all the strong places and castles of the one rule—whether papal or imperial it ecclesiastical states, and bad taken forwould have signified but little to the cible possession of all the palaces beharassed population. As it is plain, how longing to the popes. The papal court, ever, that the adverse factions were sway it will be remembered, was, by Clement ed infinitely more by personal motives, the fifth, removed to Avignon in 1309,

a step to which the poet Petrarch and the nobles at first derided him as a many other writers of the day, attri- political quack, and sneered at the buted the aggravated miseries which possibility of effecting a change in had long afflicted Italy and at length government by the means of pictures consummated the downfall of her an- and allegories; many of them, nevercient glory

theless, came away from his orations It was in the spring of the year 1347, seriously impressed with the truths he when the rival houses of the Colonna proclaimed. and the Orsini divided the whole of the Rienzo steadily adhered to his project, aristocracy of Rome into two raging and on the first day of Lent, 1347, he factions, whose assassinations, rob- affixed on a church door the following beries, and conflagrations spread havoc announcement, “ In a few days the and dismay among the peaceful citizens, Romans will return to their ancient that Nicholas Rienzi Gabrini, or, as he Good Establishment.” He then colwas named by his cotemporaries, Cola lected his partisans on the Mount DI RIEnzo, made his first effectual Aventine, and implored them as true appeal to the Roman people. This Romans to assist him in saving their remarkable man, the son of a tavern- country. His audience were moved to keeper and a laundress, but well-edu- tears at his appeal; but he reanimated cated, handsome, and naturally elo- their courage with assurances that it quent, had conceived a strong desire rested with them alone to restore the of reforming the government of Rome, Roman government and reduce the and nourished an implacable hatred of rebels. He told them that the Pope her lawless oppressors. He had already sanctioned his proceedings; and he been chosen as one of a deputation to administered an oath upon the Evanthe Pope at Avignon, before whom he gelists that they would concur with had boldly accused the barons as the him in endeavouring to restore their authors of all the evils which oppressed ancient freedom. the city. Upon his return he found But the time for action was now at himself in possession of the respect of hand, and he resolved to seize the first his fellow-citizens through the fearless favourable moment for depriving the integrity he had shewn, for which, more-lawless nobles of their authority. Acover, he was persecuted by the Cardinal cordingly, on the 19th of May, during Colonna. His first step was to form a the absence of the senator, old Stefano party upon whom he thought he could Colonna, from Rome, he having departed depend; but he soon found that he with a number of his followers to supermust have recourse to the people them- intend a convoy of grain to Corneto, selves in order to redeem the city from Rienzo proclaimed by sound of trumpet anarchy, and restore that equal reign that every Roman was to meet him on of justice and law which he emphati- the morrow to take measures for the cally called the “Good Establishment.” “Good Establishment.” Having passed Being a notary by profession, his the night in the performance of thirty functions called him continually to the masses, he appeared on the following Capitol. Having there assembled the morning, escorted by a hundred men-atmultitudes, he caused a painting to be arms, at the head of a huge procession exhibited, in which the city of Rome which directed its course towards the was represented as a woman overcome Capitol. Arrived at the foot of the with fear and anguish, seated upon the grand staircase, Cola turned towards deck of a vessel in distress and fast the people, and demanded their approval going to pieces; around her were the of the laws which he had laid down, wrecks of four other vessels, on each and caused them to be read in a loud of which was the corpse of a female, voice. They provided for the public representing Babylon, Carthage, Troy, security in general: a guard of both and Jerusalem. With this picture horse and foot was to be quartered in as a text, Rienzo declaimed with elo- that part of the city for the protection quence against the nobles who had of the citizens, and cruisers were to be brought the vessel of the state to such stationed in the Tiber to protect the a pass.

shipping and commerce. The right of By these and similar means he the nobles to keep fortresses was abolsucceeded in arousing the resolution of ished; all places of defence were to be the populace to be free; and though delivered to the delegates of the people; granaries were to be established; the of Italy appeared prepared to second poor were assured of alms; and the his enterprise. magistrates bound to administer justice Rienzo, now at the height of his greataccording to law.

ness, began to show the first symptoms These laws were enthusiastically re- of that vanity which ultimately caused ceived by the people, and Rienzo was his ruin. He assumed the title of the invested with the sovereign power to August Tribune and Illustrious Deput them into exccution. Colonna, the liverer of the Republic. He has, howsenator, on hearing of this, returned in ever, been wrongly blamed for severities haste to Rome with his followers. Cola, at this period of his career, which were the next day, sent him an order to quit nothing more than acts of strict justice. the city: the old man contemptuously If he cleared the Roman territory from tore it in pieces and threatened to have cut-throats, ravishers, and plunderers, the Tribune thrown out of window. the circumstances of the times clearly On this Rienzo rung the alarm-bell, admitted of his doing so by the most assembled his followers, and attacked summary process. the quarters of the baron, who had Having at length succeeded in rebarely time to escape to his castle at ducing the nobles to a state of submisPalestrina with a single servant. The sion, he made a report of their humiliarest of the barons thought fit to quit tion to the pontifical court at Avignon, the city when ordered to do so; and that he might appear at least to act their strong places were consigned to with the concurrence of his holiness. the guardianship of companies of mili- But the height which he had climbed tia. The bands of bravoes and plun- turned his head; and, dizzy with the derers were made over to justice, and grandeur of his exaltation, he gave the Rienzo was hailed as the liberator of reins to his vanity, and lost by the most his country:

paltry and contemptible of the human Having thus delivered the city from passions all that he had acquired by her cruel and despotic plagues, the the exercise of the noblest qualities. Tribune turned his attention to the He strove to augment his importance surrounding districts. He sent orders by gewgaw processions and public specto all of any rank to repair to the Cap- tacles, gorgeous robes, banners and itol, to swear fealty to the constitution. standards. He paraded the city with One of the young Colonnas, who had a globe in his hand, as a symbol of the come to Rome from curiosity, found it destined sway of the empire. He mulprudent to take the oath. Others soon tiplied fêtes and ceremonies from the arrived, of either faction, and the con- sheer love of pomp; and debased his stitutional oath was administered to all greatness by aping royalty. He was alike, even to merchants, private gen- served by lords, and his wife was waited tlemen and citizens.

upon by the ladies of the court. He After the long reign of anarchy and kept a luxurious table, and launched into terror, the Romans were delighted with the most unqualified extravagance. All their newly-recovered liberty. Mean- this scandalized that idea of propriety while the Tribune sent ambassadors to of which even the vulgar have a keen the Pope to demand his approbation; sense, and substituted ridicule for reveand zealous partisans among the learned rence in the popular mind. Rienzo's at the pontifical court were not wanting relations, connected with the wine-shop to his cause. The security restored to and the wash-tub, when raised, as they the highways was hailed as a benefit to were, to the highest dignities, reaped the whole Christian world, at a time reproach rather than respect for the airs when the passion for pilgrimages uni- they assumed. When the populace saw versally prevailed. The couriers of his uncle, the barber, equipped with Rienzo were favourably received in all sword and helmet, instead of razor and the neighbouring states, and the au- bason, and attended by an escort of thority of the man of the people was the magnates, whose chins he had so generally acknowledged Petrarch cor- lately shaved, they indulged in a laugh responded with him, and wrote in his —ominous of the future. As a crownpraise.

The Florentines sent him a ing absurdity, Rienzo must needs be hundred horsemen, and offered more; made a knight-a title utterly at vari the Perugians sent him sixty men-at- ance with that of Tribune. The cerearms; the Siennes, fifty; and the whole mony, however, took place, and was preceded by a festival, the most sump: prayers of others, he pardoned their tuous and luxurious ever seen. Clad pretended crimes, and immediately in scarlet and the finest fur, the besotted loaded them with favours and important Cola was girded with the sword of chi. commissions. But the favour which valry by Vico Scotto, a Roman knight. comes upon the heels of an nnmerited Mass was then celebrated with all the injury demands little gratitude; and ceremonies observed at the consecration the nobles were no sooner out of prison of royalty. During their performance and beyond the walls of Rome, than. Rienzo advanced towards the people, they sought for vengeance. The once and with a loud voice summoned the furious rivals, the Colonnas and OrsiPope and all his cardinals to Rome- nis, now conspired together, fortified challenged Louis of Bavaria and Charles the castle of Marino, and collected conof Bohemia to show their right to the siderable forces before Rienzo could empire; declared the whole of the Italian anticipate their measures. They raised cities to be free, and conferred the rights the standard of revolt, overthrew a numof Roman citizenship upon them all; ber of strongholds, and carried devastahe then called the world to witness that tion to the gates of Rome. Rienzo was the election of the Roman emperor be- no warrior. For a long time he tried longed to the city of Rome, to its peo- the virtue of proclamations and threats; ple, and to all Italy: with that, drawing but at length, forced to arms by the his sword and striking the air with it clamours of the people, who suffered the in the direction of the three parts of the loss of their crops and cattle, he was world, he exclaimed, “This is mine ! compelled to call out the militia. At this is mine! this is mine!" Directly the head of more than 20,000 men, he afterwards he despatched his summonses marched forth, and laid waste the terto the Pope and the two emperors. ritory of Marino. After a week's cam

The Pope's vicar, the bishop of Or- paign without fighting, he led back his vieto, though thunderstruck, as he forces to the city. Here he proudly might well be, at this boldness, protest- assumed the Dalmatian mantle, the ed through a notary that the Tribune costume of emperors, and received the assumed such power without his consent Pope's legate who had arrived at Rome or that of the Pope; but Cola drowned for the purpose of vindicating the authe protest with the din of the drums thority of the pontiff. and trumpets. A magnificent banquet In the mean time revolt had broken followed this ceremony, at which the out at Palestrina, under the conduct of poor vicar did not refuse to attend, and the Colonnas, who, relying on the aid of to eat alone at a marble-table with the their partisans in Rome, advanced at Tribune, whose wife presided at the new the head of 10,000 men to within four palace at the head of the wives and miles of the city gates. Rienzo, though daughters of the nobility.

in command of considerable forces, had All this fêteing and feasting wasted not courage to sally forth, but contented the public revenues, and raised alarm himself with haranguing the citizens in sober minds. At one of Rienzo's within the walls. Bravado rather than festivals, shortly after, the old Colonna courage seemed indeed the prevailing who had threatened to throw him out quality on either side, and threats, abuse, of window, took an occasion gently to and denunciations were exchanged inreprove him for his pomp and extrava- stead of blows. At length, through the gance. Stung with the reproof, the rashness of John Colonna, (grandson Tribune sallied angrily from the hall of the old senator,) who rushed alone without replying, and gave immediate through one of the gates of the city, orders to arrest all the nobles present, where he was speedily surrounded and under the pretext of a conspiracy: He put to death, both parties were drawn next day convoked an assembly in the into a conflict, which resulted most disCapitol, and announced his determina- astrously for the barons : six of the tion to cut off the heads of all the nobles, Colonnas, and five other principal nobles whom, he alleged, he had found guilty perished on the spot, and Rienzo's vicof treason. Confessors were sent to the tory was complete. His pride and v&imprisoned magnates to take their last nity now dilated beyond measure; and confessions previous to execution; but he returned in triumph to the Capitol. whether he only intended to frighten He boastfully harangued the people, them, or whether he was moved by the and forbade funeral honours to be paid

« НазадПродовжити »