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But the plan of a consolidation of the German states is a chimerical and impracticable scheme. Northern and Southern Germany might have a joint interest in a defensive alliance, because they are exposed to the same danger from Russia and from France ; but in everything else they are antagonistic. They have no concurrent commercial relations, no oneness of intellectual character, no common sympathies. They profess religions which, just in proportion as they influence their votaries at all, create between them an irreconcilable discordance of opinion, principles, purposes, and tastes. Their sole bond of union is that upon which infinitely too much stress has been laid, — the community of language; and even this extends but to the educated classes, for the speech of the Styrian boor is as widely distinguished from that of the peasant of Hanover, as the dialect of Yorkshire from either, and the entire valley of the Rhine might far more fitly be organized as one state, than the opposite slopes that feed the Elbe and the Danube. The German states can be united only by the sword, and held together only by fetters of iron. They can never harmonize for good, and their whole history proves them incapable of combining for aught but purposes of evil. Better the confusion of Babel than a “national unity" like this.
But let us come to the commencement de la fin, the beginning of the end, the Peace of Villafranca. It is very solemnly denied that the great neutral powers had proposed or agreed upon any terms of peace whatever. Well, La Santità di Nostro Signore, the Holiness of our Lord, Pope Pius IX., also denies, under the Fisherman's seal, the massacre at Perugia, for the perpetration of which he promoted Colonel Schmidt to the rank of General, and bestowed on him dispensations and indulgences ad libitum ;* and the Giornale di Roma, inspired by an infallible Vatican, most impudently quotes our countryman, Mr. Perkins, as testifying that “the troops behaved with a moderation that could hardly have been expected, after the provocation to which they had been exposed."
* The Pope, in a recent letter to the Vicar-General, Cardinal Petrozzi, warns the faithful “ not to weep over the lying (menzognere) and imaginary reports of a massacre at Perugia."
The world will give equal credit to the cabinets and the pontiff. It would not be easy to prove that the powers in question had entered into formal written stipulations, and sent a sheriff's officer to serve a duly certified copy of them on Napoleon III. and Francis Joseph, but in diplomacy as much is done by signs as in a street conversation between two Italian beggars. The expression of the Prussian Prince Regent's fears, that the malarious atmosphere of the Mantuan' marshes might prove prejudicial to the French Emperor's health, in case he should undertake the siege of that fortress, accompanied with appropriate gesticulations on the part of the envoy, and some such cabalistic phrases as “territorial circumscrip tions,” “ some cession of territory," and the like, would mean that Prussia would treat the invasion of the Quadrangle as a casus belli between herself and France, and, while producing the desired effect, would leave the former power quite at liberty to say that she never made any proposals on the subject of a peace. But though perhaps Prussia did not make what she is pleased to style “ proposals” in 1859, it is remarkable that the basis of the Peace of Villafranca is precisely what Prussia did propose in 1849,* namely, the possession of the line of the Mincio by Austria, “ comme point stratégique," with the stipulation that the Italian territory retained by the empire should form a part of an Italian confederation. The selection of this boundary was founded on the opinion of “ German officers," that the line of the Mincio was, in a strategical point of view, necessary to Germany"! The line of the Mincio necessary to the defence of Vienna and Berlin against invasion by martial and ambitious Italy! General Jackson thought Texas necessary, in a strategical point of view, to the defence of Washington against a coup de main by the British forces in Canada, and Mr. Buchanan entertains very similar opinions upon the importance of Cuba as a coast-guard for the city of Pittsburg. It does not appear that these far-sighted professors of the science of grand-tactics inquired what sort of a line was strategically necessary to the defence of the Lombardo-Piedmontese frontier, and we have little doubt that the military oracles who gave this opinion were the very same “ German officers” who,
* L'Empereur Napoléon III. et l'Italie, p. 18.
with such wisdom and integrity of purpose, advised Sultan Abdool Medjeed to secure Constantinople against attack from Russia, by leaving the Bosphorus undefended and fortifying the Dardanelles.
But though we do not profess to state precisely what England and Prussia did to bring about the peace, we do certainly know that they did not do that which, by every consideration of honor and conscience, they were bound to do. They ought to have said to both parties, frankly and unequivocally, the moment that Austria commenced the war under circumstances of such unparalleled wrong and outrage, that they would sustain France and Sardinia in their just demand of the liberation of Italy from all foreign domination, and her restoration to political independence and the undisturbed right of selfgovernment. Had they adopted the programme of Napoleon, Italy would very speedily have reformed herself. The present generation of Italians is not the race described by the tourists and diplomates of the last. Austria and Rome and the Neapolitan Bourbons, hard schoolmasters indeed, have taught Italy great lessons, and we believe her people are now prepared to vindicate their claim to a worthy place among the enlightened nations of the earth.
In point of intelligence, the middle and lower ranks in Italy are much superior to the same classes in Germany, and, so far as the charities of life belong to the department of ethics, in morals also. Stupidity, churlishness, and rudeness are as rare among the Italian peasantry, as they are general among the German ; and as for the hotel-keepers, traders, and vetturini, while in Italy you may be flattered or argued by them into paying a few shillings above a reasonable reckoning, you will in Germany be treated with boorish insolence, if you refuse to submit to an extortion of as many pounds. With respect to the educated classes, the relative position of the two nations is reversed, and the German is superior to the Italian, in just the same proportion as his advantages of education are greater. The reason of this lies in the intellectual constitution of the races. The German is just what books and scholastic discipline make him, and in German life there is no social training which alone supplies their place. Take these away, and you have but a coarsely organized and intensely animal being left. The Italian, on the other hand, has original endowments, a facility and a flexibility of nature, and habits of associate life, which enable him to form and develop a character without the aid of the artificial means which are indispensable to the German. The Italians are inherently and collectively a civilized people; the German must be reclaimed and civilized de novo, in each individual case. It is well remarked by About, that the Italians have in all ages shown great aptitude for the functions of legislation and administration, and these are qualities specially important in the reconstruction of a homogeneous and well-compacted state out of the chaos into which Guelphs and Ghibellines, Popes and Cæsars, Medici and Bourbons, have thrown the Italian peninsula. So far as the Italians of our day have been tried, they have proved eminently successful in political construction and organization. The example of Sardinia is a triumphant refutation of the thousand times repeated slander, that the Italians are incapable of maintaining or comprehending a constitutional government; and the history of the Roman Republic of 1849, for the moderation, wisdom, liberality, efficiency, and integrity of its administration, stands entirely alone in the annals of political revolution, unless, indeed, it finds its parallel in the noble spectacle presented by Tuscany, in her late quiet dismissal of her treacherous sovereign, and her orderly submission to the provisional authorities, during the exciting period of the war. When we compare facts like these with the imbecility of the leaders, the violences and the jealousies of the popular masses, and the lamentable disorder and con- . fusion that reigned paramount in all the revolutionary movements of 1848 in Germany, we must admit that it does not become the Teuton to reproach the Italian with a want of capacity for political reform, or for administering a liberal government.
The true character of the peace, and its future influences on the cause of Italy, will depend very much upon details, which may be so framed in drawing up the treaty as very essentially to modify the interpretation of the protocol. What these details will be can only be known after the conference
at Zurich, and we shall then be still just as much in the dark as we now are with regard to possible secret stipulations between the high contracting parties, which may control the meaning of the details as effectually as the details overrule the apparent signification of the provisional arrangement. Thus, it is evident that the Mincio was proposed by Prussia as a frontier, for purposes of offence, not of defence. It was selected as a strategical line, which would enable Austria to recover Lombardy, and commence hostile operations against Piedmont, just when it suited her convenience to do so, and the dishonesty of such a proposal can be equalled only by its impudence. Now, in arranging the formal stipulations of the treaty, Napoleon may insist on some counter security, which shall leave the newly acquired territory of Sardinia not absolutely at the mercy of a dishonorable and revengeful enemy, as by the naked words of the convention of Villafranca it now is, or he may give Austria, at the cost of Sardinia, some equiralent for the loss of the province she has surrendered. Again, the expression, the fugitive Dukes' “ return,” may be made a mere prediction, not binding those who uttered it, or it may prove a formal compact to restore those petty tyrants by force of arms. The ground which the French Emperor will take will be very much influenced by the position of England and Prussia, unless he is already committed too far to retreat. From Prussia, no generous or honorable policy is to be expected; and even were she better disposed, the rampant “nationality” of Germany might render it difficult for her to take the initiative in wiser counsels. With respect to England, the overthrow of the Derby Administration, and the avowed sympathies of one or two of the present Cabinet, give reason to hope that the new ministers will repair the wrong committed by their predecessors, and take energetic measures to obtain terms which shall secure at once the liberties of Italy and the peace of Europe. Prussia, with all her despotic proclivities, would probably yield to the wishes of England, if that power should firmly insist on a wise and fair adjustment of points yet open for discussion, and Austria will subscribe to any terms which both shall agree with France in dictating. Upon these Protestant states there may yet depend the determina