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ever perverted, was, indeed, in the last analysis, the cause at once of her economical success and her political eminence. To have one's name on the baptismal roll of the Commune, preserved in the beautiful temple whose bronze gates were the delight of Michael Angelo, was in the palmy days of the State an enviable privilege, and an assurance of future civic rights and possible distinction. And, amid all the rancors and feuds at home, the children of the Republic strove to keep a firm and proud front to the world, and do their native city honor,-- a course which Mr. Trollope aptly compares to the family pride which ignores domestic quarrels in society, and is there loyal to the claims of lineage and name. · Nor should it be forgotten, that the power of the guilds, and the patriotism of the burghers, however perverted by faction, came gallantly to the rescue in crises of anarchy, as when Lando the wool-comber was made gonfaloniere by an insurrection of the lowest class, and wisely and firmly secured law and order, and transferred the municipal power unstained to the Signiory. That body was a great representative fact in republican Florence, and all over Europe. It embodied triumphantly the public opinion of the State ; and, though often baffled, betrayed, and besieged in the Palazzo Publico, kept the fame and faith of the city with singular courage and wisdom. The federal principle, though secondary and casual, was not without influence.. Florence ever maintained a Tuscan policy, not only striving to merge outlying baronies in the Commonwealth, but protecting the neighboring free cities from the usurpation of foreign invaders, whose presence before Bologna, Lucca, or Pistoja was to her a sufficient cause of war. Thus she recognized an identity of interest, and anticipated their eventual annexation, -on much the same principle as we advocate and maintain what is called the Monroe doctrine in our foreign policy.
It is impossible to follow the thoughtful annalist, and verify link by link the chain of cause and effect whereby the development of the democratic principle in the Middle Ages was alternately vindicated and thwarted, without recognizing the identical action and re-action which have governed modern politics. Mr. Trollope finds a striking parallel between the animus and aims of the dominant Florentine parties and the Whigs and Tories of Great Britain; and he compares the commercial and manufacturing growth of Florence with that of England. But these affinities extend still further, and history repeats itself more in detail. The American reader especially will be struck with the counterparts, both in the struggle of parties and the exigencies of public affairs, between the first centuries of the Tuscan Commonwealth and the recent experiences of his own country. There is the same great divi. sion, sometimes latent, but always at work, of radicals and conservatives; the same bitter injustice born of political animosity; the same traditional tactics ; the same encroachments of politicians upon the domain of statesmanship; the same disastrous interference of the civil authority with military movements; even the identical abuses of bounty-brokerage, and lapses of patriotic disinterestedness in the blind egotism of party zeal, redeemed at the critical moment by the noble uprising of the people. Ambition and civic self-assertion, as a motive, were the same in medieval and in modern times; and the political philosophy of the Florentine democratic artisan, six centuries ago, may be given in the language of the English radical workman to-day:
“ It isn't a man's share just to mind your pin-making or your glassblowing, and higgle about your own wages, and bring up your family to be ignorant sons of ignorant fathers, and no better prospect : that's a slave's share. We want a freeman's share; and that is to think and speak and act about what concerns us all, and see whether these fine gentlemen who undertake to govern us are doing the best they can for
Curiously similar also is the resort to factitious expedients in the vain attempt to remedy vital errors of polity and principle,-tinkering constitutions, modifying official tenures, as if nominal could secure real reforms. Podestas, priors, councils of eight and ten, of peace and war, captains of the people and of parties, the fearful ordini della Giustizia, every function and form of rule, had the same difficulties to contend with, the same intricate problem to solve; and it was only when intelligent patriotism gained the ascendency that the suicidal career of unscrupulous faction was checked. But, like an insidious and deadly virus, this latter bane and blight infected the body politic, until the pure and primitive aspirations for freedom waned; and, despite her great financial resources, credit abroad, and prosperity at home, the free burghers of Florence became the vassals of a family whose wealth, astuteness, and despotic instincts were embellished, but unredeemed, by lavish patronage of Art and Letters that sustained the prestige of Florence in peerless distinction long after the eclipse of her political independence.
* Felix Holt the Radical.
ART. IV.-LIFE, CHARACTER, AND WORKS OF MADAME
1. Madame Swetchine, sa Vie et ses Euvres. Publiées par M. LE
COMTE DE FALLOUX. 2 vol. in-12. 2. Lettres de Madame Swetchine. Publiées par M. LE COMTE DE
Falloux. 2 vol. in-8. 3. Madame Swetchine, Journal de sa Conversion, Méditations et Prières.
1 vol. in-12. 4. Correspondance du R. P. Lacordaire et de Madame Swetchine. Publiées
M. LE COMTE DE FALLOUX. 1 vol. in-8. 5. Lettres Inédites de Madame Swetchine. Publiées par M. LE COMTE
DE FALLOUX. 1 vol. in-8.
To those who have a taste for it, there is no study which in importance or in interest can compare with the direct study of human nature and human experience, as illustrated by individual examples. If the students are curious as to the secrets of greatness, and themselves emulous of excellence, the attraction of the study is much enhanced when it deals with persons of extraordinary powers and careers. It then becomes fascinating. Beautiful and noble souls can find nothing so charming as a beautiful and noble soul.
In range, exaltation, and refinement of character, Madame Swetchine towers imposingly above the crowded mediocrities of her century. Such were the energy and co-ordination of her faculties, the richness of her acquisitions, the gracious dignity of her manners, the devotedness of her life, and the perfection of her ideal, that she would have been an exceptional figure in any society of any age; and, in ours, she appears unique. She was remarkable alike for the comprehensiveness and intensity of her nature, the height of her aims, the wisdom of her thoughts and conduct, the great impression she made on those about her, the exquisite precision of her knowledge of the human heart, and the serene selfpossession and worldly detachment to which she attained. Her trials were severe, her experience was profound, her spirit was saintly. The struggles and continuous victory of her life and death furnish a model marked by as few flaws as are to be discerned in almost any of those whom we rank among the choicest specimens of our kind. Through her social charm and distinction, the published productions of her pen,
and the unstinted influence of her many illustrious friends, she has already entered on the inheritance of an enviable fame. We now ask the reader to accompany us in a brief study of the career and the characteristics of this admirable woman.
Sophie Soymonof, descended from an ancestry of moderate rank, but distinguished for taste and achievements both in letters and arms, was born in Moscow, in the year 1782. Her father was soon afterwards called, as secretary to Catherine the Second, to occupy apartments in the imperial palace. Thus familiarized with the proudest scenes of Moscow and St. Petersburg, the earliest impressions of the Russian maiden were naturally associated with the grandest memories and hopes of her native land. Her father, delighted with her rapid development, assiduously devoted himself to her education. She manifested equal aptitude for languages, music, drawing, and designing. From a very early age, she showed
great originality and force of character. In her eighth year, she ardently desired a watch, and her father promised her
With feverish excitement she awaited the day. Receiving the watch, and bearing it away in transports of joy, the thought suddenly struck her, that there was one thing which would be more beautiful than the watch; namely, to make a voluntary sacrifice of it. She immediately returned the long-coveted prize to her father, avowing the motive of her determination. Fixing a penetrating look on her, he took it and locked it up without a word. The little girl, growing up amidst pictures, medals, bronzes, and marbles, was familiar with the chief personages of fable and history; but she experienced an insuperable repugnance to a collection of mummies which her father kept in a cabinet. Blushing at her weakness, she resolved to overcome it. One day she opened the door, seized the nearest mummy, and clasped it to ber bosom. The shock was so extreme that she fainted. Her father, hearing the fall, rushed in, and learned how bravely she had purchased the victory over her terror; for, from that time, the mummies were nothing more to her than objects of curiosity.
The imaginative and affectionate Sophie retained her attachment to dolls beyond the years of childhood. She formed romantic friendships with them, gave them names, animated them with intellectual and moral interests, assigned them parts in dialogues and plays. A vast gallery, full of gilding and chandeliers, adjoined the parlor of her father; and this she was frequently allowed to illuminate, and use as a theatre for her puppets. After passing her sixtieth year, she thus referred to these early days: “ The vivid pleasure with wbich I used to enter into these little dramas, the ardor with which I made designs, prepared transparencies and painted them, invented emblems and devices, was incredible. My heart beat with rapture during the preparations; but an unutterable, devouring melancholy filled me when the lights began to go out. God, the world, entire Christianity, already dawn in the soul of a child; and never since has any form of the Sic transit gloria mundi burdened me with so profound a sadness."