LIFE AND TIMES
William E. Gladstone
by John Clark Ridpath
PETER FENELON COLLIER, PUBLISHER
Gladstone Begins to be International—Declarations of Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies—insurrections against Him—His Armies Subdue the Revolt—Gladstone, in Naples, Investigates the Prisons—His Two Letters to the Karl of Aberdeen—He Disclaims the Purpose of Interference—Not the Administration of the King, but Cruelties and Outrages under Discussion—How Justice had been Perverted and the Judiciary Corrupted in Naples—”The Negation of God Reduced to a System’’—Numbers in the Prisons—Character of the Neapolitan Judiciary—Particular Cases of injustice and Cruelty—A Sensation Produced in England—Lord Aberdeen Appealed to—Character of Gladstone’s Charges—Severity of his Arguments—He Answers the Apologists for the Government of Naples—The Case of Bolza—Citations from Farini and Bernetti—The Administration at Rivarola—Edict of the Duke of Modena Effect of Gladstone s Philippic—Official Reply of the Neapolitan Government—Gladstone’s Rejoinder De I.acy Evans’s Paper in the Commons—Palmerston's Embarrassment—His endorsement of Gladstone—Farreadiing Influence of the Discussion—Gondon’s Rant—Gladstone’s Third Publication on the Subject His Unassailable Position Closing Words of the Controversy—Attitude of the Government of Naples— Suffering in the Dungeons—England and France Withdraw their Representatives—The Revolution Brings Francis to his Knees—Gladstone’s Translation of The Roman State—His Criticisms of that Work—The Three Questions Suggested—Gladstone’s Answers Tkereto—What He Perceived in this Controversy,
First International Episode.
This a remarkable circumstance that the first International impression produced by William E. Gladstone was the result of his personal agency, and not of his political or parliamentary offices. The event referred to began with an incident that might be regarded as an accident. In 1851 he brought him self more than ever to the attention of Europe and the world by two letters which he wrote to his friend George Hamilton Gordon, Earl of Aberdeen, who was soon to become Premier of England. The source and character of the letters and their influence on the opinion of the day may be under stood from a consideration of the following circumstances: In 1830 Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies, carne to the throne. He was then twenty years of age. He began his reign with the publication of many specious promises of reform. fi e would reform the finances, the political conditions, the whole administration of the kingdom. All the while he was laying plans for the subversion of the few remaining liberties of his subjects. He was a shrewd prince, poorly educated, vain, and superstitious. He had the ability to hold the reins of power, but he regarded the people as the mere materials of his craft.
Ferdinand was indifferent to the wishes and sentiments of foreign countries. He took for his first wife a daughter of Victor Emmanuel, and for his second (in 1836) Maria Theresa, daughter of Archduke Charles of Austria. Henceforth he stood in with Austria, and, feeling secure in his alliance, adopted nearly all the methods of despotism. Between the years 1837 and 1848 there were no fewer than five insurrections against him. That of the last-named year was so serious, and so greatly convulsed Sicily, that the king thought it better to conciliate the insurgents. This he did by promising a liberal Constitution. A national election was held and a chamber of a hundred and forty deputies chosen. Ferdinand prescribed an intolerable oath for the members of the National Assembly, and when they would not take it he ordered the dissolution of the body.
This was in March of 1849. Tumults broke out in Naples and in Sicily. The king’s armies were ordered to suppress the insurrection, and this they did by bombarding several cities. The innocent and the guilty were visited with indiscriminate violence. The king got for himself the title of II Bomba! A System of espionage and arbitrary arrest was adopted; seventy-six out of the one hundred and forty deputies were seized and thrown into prison. The Neapolitan jails and filthy dungeons were crowded with victims. Public officers and patriots, including a noble member of the late ministry, were ignominiously chained and thrust into prison holes along with the basest criminals. Terror did its perfect work, and for the nonce King Ferdinand flattered himself that he had “restored order!”, It happened that Mr. Gladstone spent the winter months of 185051 in Naples. It appeared that he had no thought in going thither of espousing the cause of the persecuted Neapolitan patriots. He soon learned, on inquiry, that the absent opposition of the Chamber of Deputies was in prison! Some had hed to foreign parts. It was estimated that the prisons held twenty thousand, though it was after ward ascertained that this estimate was too great by several thousand. Mr. Gladstone began to examine the condition of affairs for his own information. He became at once convinced of the horrid political depravity in the government. Moved by humane sentiments, and pressing forward under the liberal impulses which had carried him to his present stage in the public life of England, he determined, in his private capacity as an English citizen, to attack the monstrous condition of affairs in the kingdom of Naples.
The result was that he composed and sent to the Karl of Aberdeen, as said above, two letters, in which he described in terms of dignified severity the condition of things in Naples and Sicily. The letters were at once published, and produced one of the greatest sensations of the day. The author at the outset declared that he had not visited Naples with the conscious intention or design of becoming a critic or censor with respect to the abuses of the government. He was not there to promote the opinions or sentiments of Great Britain; but the conditions which he had found obliged him, from a deep sense of duty, to denounce to his countrymen and the world the dreadful, almost unnameable, abuses and crimes which prevailed in the administration of the Neapolitan government.
He next pointed out the principal reasons which impaled him to write and publish his Communications. In the first place, the present practices of the government of Naples with respect to political offenders he had found to he an outrage on religion, civilization, humanity, and decency. In the next place, the practices of the government in Naples were producing by the law of contraries a reign of anarchy, democratic turbulence, republicanism, not accordant with the real sentiments of the people. In the third place, the writer, being a member of the Conservative party in England (observe that in 1851 Gladstone still called himself a Conservative), must unconsciously sympathize with the established governments of Europe, rather than with those who assailed those governments; and for this reason he must do what he could do to prevent the overthrow of the European governments by revolts against them on account of their abusive characters.
Mr. Gladstone declared that he was not passing judgment on the administration of the king’s government as to its imperfections and occasional or incidental corruptions and cruelties; but he attacked it because of its constitutional, systematic, and persistent outrages of all law and humanity. He impeached the government of Ferdinand because it was in contempt of the opinions of mankind and indifferent to all the humanities. He declared that the violence done by the king and his minions was carried on for the purpose of breaking “every other law, unwritten and eternal, human and divine; it is,” said he, “the Wholesale persecution of virtue, when united with intelligence, operating upon such a scale that entire classes may with truth be said to be its object, so that the government is in bitter and cruel, as well as utterly illegal, hostility to whatever in the nation really lives and moves and forms the mainspring of practical progress and improvement; it is the awful profanation of public religion, by its notorious alliance in the governing powers with the violation of every moral ride under the stimulus of fear and vengeance; it is the perfect prostitution of the judicial office which has made it, under veils only too threadbare and transparent, the degraded recipient of the vilest and clumsiest forgeries, got up will fully and deliberately, by the immediate advisers of the crown, for the purpose of destroying the peace, the freedom, aye, and even, if not by capital sentences, the life of men among the most virtuous, upright, intelligent, distinguished, and refined of the whole community; it is the savage and cowardly System of moral, as well as in a lower degree of physical, torture, through which the sentences obtained from the debased courts of justice are carried into effect.
“The effect of all this is a total inversion of all the moral and social ideas. Law, instead of being respected, is odious. Force, and not affection, is the foundation of government. There is no association, but a violent antagonism, between the idea of freedom and that of order. The governing power, which teaches of itself that it is the image of God upon earth, is clothed in the view of the overwhelming majority of the thinking public with all the vices for its attributes. I have seen and heard the strong and too true expression used, ‘ This is the negation of God erected into a system of Government.’”
We may not here enter into the discussion of the total accuracy of the charges which Gladstone made against the administration of the Two Sicilies. It could not well be known how many, or even exactly who, had been seized, imprisoned, or driven into exile. Certain it was in a general way that a majority of the National party in the Chamber of Deputies, hundreds of leading patriots, and thousands of their followers had been either banished or imprisoned. Nor would the government permit anyone to ascertain the extent of the outrage. In course of time it was ascertained that the numbers given by Mr. Gladstone, after his own investigations in Naples, were somewhat above the mark; but on the other hand the horrors of the prisons, the methods of punishment adopted, the cruelty of the police, and the relentless indifference of the king and all his under officers, were found to exceed not only Gladstone’s account of the matter, but the very limits of human belief.
Some of the things proved with respect to the prison discipline could hardly be accepted as possible this side of the age of the Inquisition. It was established as a fact that the dungeon holes in which most of the prisoners were confined were so loathsome and pestilential that the physicians sent thither at intervals could not enter them. An arrangement was made that the sick or dying should be brought forth to apartments that were less stinking and infectious than those in which they were confined. There, at the risk of their lives, the doctors might administer to those whom the government really desired to die as quickly as possible. In some cases it was proved that the patriots were tortured.
The superior criminal court of Naples at first, as the story ran, was divided about evenly on the question of trying justly those that were brought to that tribunal. But some of the judges were the willing tools of the king and the ministry. They, assuming authority, gave significant hints to their fellow judges that if the decisions were not in accord with the prevailing authority they who rendered such judgments might be in the same category with the prisoners. I hose arrested were chained two and two, and were not allowed to take off their manacles in prison. In one case a patriot was tortured by having a pointed instrument thrust repeatedly under his nails. In other cases the chains were so heavy that the enfeebled prisoners could not stand up.
The patriot Carlo Poerio was one of the most eminent victims of these indescribable outrages. Another was called Settembrini. Another was Signor Pironte, who had himself been a judge of the court. A fourth was the Baron Porcari. It was manifest that it was the policy of the government to extinguish the patriots by the method of horrid imprisonment, enforced with starvation and disease. The belief prevailed that the ministers and sovereign had not the courage to execute even those who were condemned to death, but chose rather by processes cowardly and inhuman to put them into a condition in which they must perish as in a chamber of horrors.
The first of Mr. Gladstone’s letters was published in April of 1851, and produced a great sensation in England. This he followed up with the second letter in July of the same year. We shall here present a few extracts from the latter communication as an example of the severity of the arraignment which he made of the Neapolitan authorities. The epistle was written in a tone as elevated as it was severe. The writer, addressing the Earl of Aberdeen, says: “I have felt it my bounden duty to remit my statements by publication to the bar of general opinion—of that opinion which circulates throughout Europe with a facility and force increasing from year to year, and which, however in some things it may fall short or in others exceed is so far, at least, impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel that its accents are ever favorable to the diminution of human suffering.
“To have looked for any modification whatever of the reactionary policy of a government, in connection with a moving cause so trivial as any sentiments or experience of mine, may be thought presumptuous or chimerica]. What claim, it may be asked, had I, one among thousands of mere travellers, upon the Neapolitan government? The deliberations which fix the policy of States, especially of absolute States, must be presumed to have been laborious and solid in some proportion to their immense, their terrific power over the practical destinies of mankind; and they ought not to be unsettled at a moment’s notice in deference to the wishes or the impressions of insignificant, or adversely prepossessed, or at best irresponsible individuals.
“My answer is short. On the government of Naples I had no claim whatever; but as a man I felt and knew it to be my duty to testify to what I had credibly heard, or personally seen, of the needless and acute sufferings of men. Yet, aware that such testimony, when once launched, is liable to be used for purposes neither intended nor desired by those who bear it, and that in times of irritability and misgiving, such as these are on the continent of Europe, slight causes may occasionally produce, or may tend and aid to produce, effects less inconsiderable, I willingly postponed any public appeal until the case should have been seen in private by those whose conduct it principally touched. It has been so seen. They have made their option; and while I reluctantly accept the consequences, their fading to meet it by any practical improvement will never be urged by me as constituting an aggravation of their previous responsibilities....
“My assurance of the general truth of my representations has been heightened, my fears of any material error in detail have been diminished, since the date of my first letter, by the negative but powerful evidence of the manner in which they have been met. Writing in July, I have as yet no qualification worth naming to append to the allegations which I first put into shape in April. I am indeed aware that my opinion with respect to the number of political prisoners in the kingdom of the Two Sicilies has been met by an assertion purporting to be founded on returns that instead of twenty thousand they are about two thousand. Even this number has not always been admitted; for I recollect that in November last they were stated to me, by an Englishman of high honor and in dose communication with the court, to be less than one thousand. I have carefully pointed out that my statement is one founded on opinion; on reasonable opinion as I think, but opinion still. Let the Neapolitan government have the full benefit of the contradiction I have mentioned. To me it would be a great relief if I could honestly say it had at once commanded my credence. The readers of my letters will not be surprised at my hesitation to admit it. But this I would add: the mere number of political prisoners is in my view, like the state of the prisons, in itself, a secondary feature of the case. If they are fairly and legally arrested, fairly and legally treated before trial, fairly and legally tried, that is the main matter. Where fairness and legality preside over the proceedings we need have no great fear about an undue number of prisoners. But my main charges go to show that there is gross illegality and gross unfairness in the proceedings; and it is only in connection with the proof of this that the number of prisoners and the state of the prisons come to be matters of such importance....
“I do not intend to add to the statements of fact contained in my last letter, though they are but a portion, and not always the most striking portion of those which I might have produced. One reason of this is that they are, as I think, sufficient for their purpose; and another, that by a different course I should probably put in jeopardy, not indeed the persons who made them to me, but those whom the agents of the police might suppose, or might find it convenient to pretend that they supposed, to have so made them....
“That my statements should be received in the first instance with incredulity can cause me no dissatisfaction. Nay, more; I think that, for the honor of human nature, statements of such a kind ought to be so received. Men ought to be slow to believe that such things can happen, and happen in a Christian country, the seat of almost the oldest European civilization. They ought to be disposed rather toset down my assertions to fanaticism or folly on my part than to believe them as an overtrue tale of the actual proceedings of a settled government. But though they ought to be thus chs posed at the outset, they will not, I trust, bar their minds to the entrance of the light, however painful be the objects it may disclose. I have myself felt that incredulity, and wish I could have felt it still; but it has yielded to conviction step by step, and with fresh pain at every fresh access of evidence. I proceed accordingly to bring the readers mind, so far as I am able, under the process through which my own has passed, and to state some characteristic facts, which may convey more faithfully than abstract description an idea of the political atmosphere of Italy....
“There was lately a well-known officer of police in Milan named Bolza. In the time of the Revolution of 1848 the private notes of the government on the character of its agents were discovered. Bolza is there described as a person harsh, insincere, anything but respectable, venal, a fanatical Napoleonist until 1815, then an Austrian partisan of equal heat, ‘and tomorrow a Turk, were Soliman to enter upon these States;’ capable of anything for money’s sake against either friend or foe. Still, as the memorandum continues, ‘he understands his business, and is right good at it. Nothing is known of his morals or of his religion.’ But a work published at Lugano contains his last will, and this curious document testifies to the acute sense which even such a man retained of his own degradation. ‘ I absolutely forbid my heirs,’ he says, ‘ to allow any mark, of whatever kind, to be placed over the spot where I shall be interred; much more any inscription or epitaph. I recommend my dearly beloved wife to impress upon my children the maxim that, when they shall be in a condition to solicit an employment from the generosity of the government, they are to ask for it elsewhere than in the department of the executive police; and not, unless under extraordinary circumstances, to give her consent to the marriage of any of my daughters with a member of that Service.’ " I shall next name two facts which are related by Farini, the recent and esteemed writer of a history of the States of the Church since 1815: ‘ There exists a confidential circular of Cardinal Bernetti, in which he orders the judges, in the case of Liberals charged with ordinary offences or crimes, invariably to inflict the highest degree of punishment.’
“Bernetti was not an Austrian partisan; it is alleged that he was supplanted (early in the reign of Gregory XVI) through Austrian influence. His favorite idea was the entire independence of the pontifical State, and, therefore, the circular to which I have referred is purely Italian.
“This was under Gregory XVI. Under Leo XII Cardinal Rivarola went as a legate a Intere into Romagna. On the 3ist of August, 1825, he pronounced sentence on five hundred and eighty persons. Seven of these were to suffer death; forty-nine were to undergo hard labor for terms varying between ten years and life; fifty-two were to be imprisoned for similar terms. These sentences were pronounced privately, at the simple will of the Cardinal, upon mere presumptions that the parties belonged to the liberal sects, and, what is to the ear of an Englishman the most astounding fact of all, after a process simply analogous to that of a grand jury (I compare the process, not the person), and without any opportunity given to the accused for defense!
“I may add a reference to an edict published by the Duke of Modena on the i8th of April, 1832. This edict ordains that political prisoners may be sentenced to any punishment materially less than that provided by law upon proof of the offense without any trial or form of proceeding whatever, in cases where it has been attired not to disclose the names of the witnesses or not to make known the purport of their evidence. With these reduced punishments exile was to be ordinarily combined, and fines as well as other appendages might be added at discretion! The edict may be seen in the notorious newspaper called La Voce della Verità, No. 110.”
These blows of the Englishman went home, and a sentiment was created against the Neapolitan government as difficult to resist as though there had been a threatened invasion. Such was the effect that the authorities of Naples must needs reply; but their attempt to refute Gladstone and justify themselves was a miserable failure. The pamphlet which embodied the official defense of Ferdinand II was sent to London, to the government, with the request that copies be forwarded to all the European courts to which Mr. Gladstone’s letter had gene. Such was the character, however, of the Neapolitan communication—so inconsequential was the argument and false the spirit of the reply—that Lord Palmerston declined to send it anywhere, saying that he would not be “accessory to the circulation of a pamphlet which in my [his] opinion does no credit to its writer or the government which he defends or to the political party of which he professes to be the Champion.” In a less official manner he told Prince Castelcicala, minister of the Neapolitan government, that he (Lord Palmerston) had become convinced of the truthfulness of Mr. Gladstone’s revelations, and that he hoped the government which the prince represented, laying the matter to heart, would hasten to reform the abuses which were a scandal to civilization.
Since the reply of the Neapolitan government to Gladstone’s open letters entered denial of his charges he published, in the beginning of 1852, An Examination of the Official Reply. He began with this significant quotation from “Richard III:”
Clarence.— Relent and save your souls.
First Maniera.—Relent! his cowardly, and womanish.
Clarence.—Not to relent is beastly, savage, devìlish.
This headpiece was significant of the severity with which Gladstone handled the document which the government of Naples had thundered against him. He said in the beginning that he did not expect to be encountered by a responsible antagonist. The answer to his first two letters had come from Naples under the title of “A Review of the Errors and Misrepresentations Published by Mr. Gladstone in Two Letters Directed to the Earl of Aberdeen but if the object of a title, said he, be to give a correct description, the Neapolitan paper ought to have been denominated “A Tacit Admission of the Accuracy of Nine Tenth Parts of the Statements Contained in the Two Letters to the Karl of Aberdeen.” The author of the denial had set up as a headline the Latin aphorism, “To err, to know nothing to deceive, we consider both wicked and base.” Gladstone declared that this motto was conspicuously appropriate! The author of the denial, instead of arguing the truth or falsity of Gladstone’s contention, charged him with levity, with ignorance, with consorting with anarchists and criminals. To this Gladstone replied:
“But, indeed, all these charges of levity, of ignorance, of herding with republicans and malefactors, and the rest, are not worth discussing; for the whole matter comes to one single issue—are the allegations true, or are they false? If they are false I shall not be the man to quarrel with any severity of reproach that may be directed against me; but if they are true, then 1 am quite sure the Neapolitan government will take no benefit by insinuating doubts whether sentiments like mine, even if well founded, ought to be made known, or by taking any trivial and irrelevant objection to my personal conduct or qualifications.”
We shall not here pursue the argumentation and refutation of Gladstone in support of his former letters, and to the confusion of his adversaries. In the meantime the matter had broken out in Parliament. At the session of 1851, soon after the appearance of Gladstone’s first letter, Sir De Lacy Evans offered a paper in the House of Commons to the following effect:
“From a publication entitled to the high est consideration it appears that there are at present above twenty thousand persons confined in the prisons of Naples for alleged political offenses; that these prisoners have, with extremely few exceptions, been thus immured in violation of the existing laws of the country, and without the slightest legal trial or public inquiry into their respective cases; that they include a late prime minister and a majority of the late Neapolitan Parliament, as well as a large proportion of the most respectable and intelligent classes of society'; that these prisoners are chained two and two together; that these diains are never undone, day or night, for any purpose whatever, and that they are suffering refinements of cruelty and barbarity unknown in any^ other civilized country. It is consequently asked if the British minister at tire court of Naples has been instructed to employ his good offices in the cause of humanity for the diminution of these lamentable severities, and with what result?”
It is one of the rights and methods of the British Parliament to put questions of this kind, prefaced with explanatory statements, to the ministers of the crown. Government must answer the interrogatories as a rule, or, refusing to answer, subject themselves to further criticism. To interrogate is a method of the opposition. The question put in this case to Lord Palmerston was embarrassing; for the long-standing policy of Great Britain has been one of non-interference with the political affairs of other States. Great Britain under her constitution has no right to interfere. International law, however, in cases of extreme cruelty, inhumanity, barbarity, con cedes the right of a civilized and humane government to interfere.
In the case under consideration, moreover, the sentiment of the English nation was overwhelmingly against the Neapolitans. Lord Palmerston could only answer that government had heard with pain the confirmation of the statements published by several persons in a position to know. Such statements had been mutually established by indubitable testimony. Government had learned with regret the calamitous condition of affairs at Naples. It was not the part of government to interfere formally with that of Naples. The question, he regretted to say, was one of internal administration, which Naples might determine for herself. Speaking of Mr. Gladstone, he added, “At the same time Mr. Gladstone—whom I may freely name, though not in his capacity as a member of Parliament—has done him self, I think, very great honor by the course he pursued at Naples, and by the course he has followed since; for I think that when you see an English gentleman, who goes to pass a winter at Naples, instead of confining him self to those amusements that abound in that city, instead of diving into volcanoes and exploring excavated cities—when we see him going to courts of justice, visiting prisons, descending into dungeons, and examining great numbers of the cases of unfortunate victims of illegality and injustice, with a view after-ward to enlist public opinion in the endeavor to remedy those abuses—I think that is a course that does honor to the person who pur sues it; and concurring in feeling with him that the influence of public opinion in Europe might have some useful effect in setting such matters right, I have thought it my duty to send copies of his pamphlet to our ministers at the various courts of Europe, directing them to give to each government copies of the pamphlet, in the hope that, by affording them an opportunity of reading it, they might be led to use their influence in promoting what is the object of my honorable and gallant friend—a remedy for the evils to which he has referred.” This was the highest possible testimony to the value and efficacy of the revelations which Mr. Gladstone had made.
The reference in Lord Palmerston’s reply to sending copies of Glad stone’s pamphlet to the various courts of Europe suggests the importance of the subject and the far-reaching influence which the rising English states man was now able to exercise, not only in his own country, but also abroad. His Communications to the Earl of Aberdeen produced animosity with a certain class of publicists in several parts of Europe. Alleged answers to his charges appeared in several capitals. Even in London there was an in significant—and scurrilous—reply. In Paris, M. Jules Gondon, editor of l'Univers, attempted to defend the government of Ferdinand II. Hewould have that monarch to he “the most dignified and the best of kings. In the article of Gondon there was an abundance of vituperation, bigotry, mere outcry and rant, but hardly any attempt to discuss the facts. Of like character was another pamphlet published in Paris by Alphonse Valleydier. In this production there was much personal abuse. 1 he writer seemed to think that by denouncing Gladstone he could disprove his charges—this being indeed the universal and invariable method of the flippant politician in whatever part of the world. Like papers appeared in Turin and Naples; but there was not one of them of sufficient dignity to require an answer, or even permit it, with the exception of the official paper issued by the Neapolitan government.
Gladstone, in his third publication, that is, in An Examination of the Official Reply, courageously and severely placed side by side his own allegations and the admissions, either expressed or implied, of the Neapolitan critic, and showed that his own charges had not been refuted at all. He found only five points in the whole contention in which he had been in error. He had made a mistake relative to Settembrini’s being tortured. He had also erred in saying that that prisoner had been put into double irons for life. He had made an overstatement in regard to the number of patriot judges who, at Reggio, had been driven from office for acquitting some innocent political prisoners; of the judges so dismissed there were only three instead of six, as he had stated. He admitted a fourth error respecting seventeen sick prisoners, who were said to have been murdered in the jail of Procida. Finally, he had erred in saying that certain prisoners were still confined in dungeons, though they had been openly acquitted of the crimes for which they had been arrested. These prisoners had been liberated a short time after their acquittal. Beyond these admissions of mistake Gladstone actually made good all that he had published in his first letters, and then proceeded to intensify his charges with additional proofs, and added instances of barbarity which in our times would be sufficient to drive even the Turk from his throne.
The Gladstonian publications could not really be answered at all. The government at Naples was put under the necessity of apologizing for its apology rather than attempting further to confute what the English states man had written. His appeal had been made simply to the public opinion of Europe. Though there had been attempted replies, the sentiment of every enlightened government was against that of King Ferdinand to the extent that he must either reform or suffer universal reprobation. Concluding his review of all the facts and his special answer to the Neapolitan official reply, Mr. Gladstone said:
“And now I have done; have uttered, as I hope, my dosing word. These pages have been written without any of those opportunities of personal communication with Neapolitans which, twelve months ago, 1 might have enjoyed. They have been written in the hope that, by thus making through the press, rather than in another mode, that rejoinder to the Neapolitan reply which was doubtless due from me, I might still, as far as depended on me, keep the question on its true ground, as one not of politics, but of morality, and not of England, but of Christendom and of mankind. Again I express the hope that it may not become a hard necessity to keep this controversy alive until it reaches its one only possible issue, which no power of man can permanently intercept. I express the hope that while there is time, while there is quiet, while dignity may yet be saved in showing mercy, and in the blessed work of restoring Justice to her seat, the government of Naples may set its hand in earnest to the work of real and searching, however quiet and unostentatious, reform; that it may not become unavoidable to reiterate these appeals front the hand of power to the one common heart of mankind; to produce those painful documents, those harrowing descriptions, which might be supplied in rank abundance, of which I have scarcely given the faintest idea or sketch, and which, if they were laid front time to time before the world, would bear down like a deluge every effort at apology or palliation, and would cause all that has recently been made known to be forgotten and eclipsed in deeper horrors yet; lest the strength of offended and indignant humanity should rise up as a giant refreshed with wine, and, while sweeping away these abominations front the eye of heaven, should sweep away along with them things pure and honest, ancient, venerable, salutary to mankind, crowned with the glories of the past, and still capable of hearing future fruit.” The controversy thus begun and thus ended, so far as Gladstone was concerned, diffused itself through England and a large part of the Continent. The publications which were made against the government of Naples were able and based on facts; those in defense of that government were simply denunciatory, and were based on vague assertions. The only question remaining t,o be considered was whether Ferdinand and his ministry would reform or whether they would defy the civilized sentiment of the world.
For the time being they close to defy. They coupled their unsupported denials with persistency in the wrong and a covert defense of their policy. There was no immediate relaxation of the barbarism which had prevailed in the kingdom of Naples. For several years things went on as before, and the cries of the imprisoned patriots were swallowed up in silence.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the incarcerated died in dungeon. Many distinguished men thus perished. In some cases banishment was substituted for death. One shipload of convicts, who should have graced the Chamber of Deputies, was sent to America; but the vessel was landed at Cork instead. The greater part of the sixth decade went by, and the day of the regeneration of Italy under Mazzini, Garibaldi, Cavour, and Victor Emmanuel dawned before the wretched victims of political persecution reached the end of their fate. The doctrine of non-interference which England had so long professed would hardly permit her to take up the cause of the Neapolitan patriots; and by the same reason other governments were also restrained.
This condition dragged itself along until 1856, when both England and France, becoming wearied at last of holding diplomatical intercourse with such a government as that of Francis II (who had now succeeded his father Ferdinand on the throne of the Two Sicilies), withdrew their representatives from the court of Naples, leaving the king and his effete despot ism to the sharpening sword of Garibaldi.
With the beginning of the revolution of 1860 the Italian patriots carne on as an army with banners. Vainly did King Francis make believe that he would now reform; that he would grant a new constitution; that he would keep faith and behave affectionately toward his beloved subjects. He could not appease their anger with overtures and sophistical pledges. They knew him too well—him and his antecedents.
‘‘The devil was sick, the devil a monk would be!”
He was treated accordingly. His kingdom was absorbed into United Italy. William E. Gladstone had combined his energies and indignation with the purposes of Count Cavour and the audacious patriotism of Garibaldi to make all Italy free, from the Alps to Sicily.
The render of this work must be surprised at the ceaseless activities which marked the career of Gladstone at every stage of his progress. He was strong and industrious. In constitution he was as robust as an oak. Idleness with him was impossible. Lord Palmerston very significantly referred to the fact that Mr. Gladstone, instead of devoting himself to those Neapolitan amusements qiuc ad animum effeminandum pertinent, gave his whole energies while residing at Naples to the good of his country and the welfare of mankind. It was while living at that ancient city in the winter of 185051 that he undertook and completed the translation of the first two volumes of Luigi Carlo Farini’s history, entitled The Roman State from 1815 to 1850. This work carne into his hands while he was making an examination of the progress of Italian events in the first half of our century.
Gladstone was a student. He found in Farini an excellent account of the ecclesiastical and civil chaos which remained to the nineteenth century from ancient Rome and the mediaeval papacy. Farini, moreover, was one of those patriotic men who must needs be in sympathy with all the friends of progress. He knew and admired Gladstone and corresponded with him, and to him dedicated the concluding volume of his history of the Roman State. He supported the English statesman in his attack on the abuses and despotism of the Neapolitan government. He added his own authority to that of Gladstone in his contention with the apologists for Ferdinand II, saying in one of his Communications relative to the condition of affairs in the kingdom of the Two Sicilies: “The scandalous trials for high treason still continue at Naples; accusers, examiners, judges, false witnesses, all are bought; the prisons, those tombs of the living, are full; two thousand citizens, of all ranks and conditions, are already condemned to the dungeons, as many to confinement, double that number to exile—the majority guilty of no crime but that of having believed in the oaths made by Ferdinand II.” It is thus that history with a burning pen writes everlasting contempt on the brazen forehead of every tyranny in the world.
Mr. Gladstone did excellent work in his translation of The Roman State. He not only translated the work, but reviewed it elaborately in the Edinburgh Review for April, 1852. In the course of this critique the writer considers the reforming period in the life of Pius IX; the diplomacy of the court of Rome; the powerless condition of the pope in temporal matters; the relations of the civil and spiritual power; the seeming impossibilities of making the Roman State constitutional; ecclesiastical caste and influence in Italy; the moderation of the Roman people; the Italian insurrections and the Roman debt; the allocution of the holy father, of 1848; the Constitution of the same year; the papacy in the Middle Ages; a comparison of Rome in the years 1809 and 1849 I the temporal sovereignty of the pope; the difficulty of replacing it with secular authority; the extension of the Italian question into Europe, etc. In the course of the article he touched upon nearly all of the leading issues that were then becoming uppermost in Europe, and showed his ability to handle the largest interests in a states manlike manner. In one paragraph he proceeds thus:
“1. Can the temporal government of the popes accommodate itself to constitutional forms?
“2. If not, can it or ought it to endure?
“3. If not, then in what manner should the political void be filled and the see of Rome provided for with a view to the interests of the Roman subjects, the disappointment of the revolutionary speculations in Italy or elsewhere, and the just claims of the see itself as the ecclesiastical center of the largest among Christian communions?”
The render need not be told of the overwhelming importance of such questions as those here presented. At the middle of the century they were paramount to almost every other question whatsoever. How far-reaching were bis views might be seen in the paragraph touching the proposition that the affairs of Italy were national rather than International—that they related to herself and not to other States. On this subject he says:
“Let us now examine the assertion that the settlement of Roman affairs is the concern solely of the Roman Catholic powers. In 1849 the meaning of this doctrine was that the decision should lie with France and Austria, Spain and Naples. Now it should be considered who are excluded and who are included by this principle. It excludes at a stroke three of the live great powers of Europe—England, Russia, and Prussia; of those powers by whom, and by whom alone, European questions, properly so called, have of late years usually been weighed. It includes, on the other hand, Spain and Naples, neither of which can without qualification be called even independent powers; the latter of them vibrating, not only to every shock, but to every rumor, to every whisper of change, in whatever part of Europe, at the beck of Austrian and Russian influence even for the purposes of internal government, and depending on their armed strength in the last resort for the maintenance of what must be called, however abusively, her institutions. England, Russia, Prussia shut out; Spain and Naples taken in: the first is foolish, the latter ludicrous. States never dreamt of in the settlement of ordinary European questions have but a feeble claim, indeed, to intermeddle with that which is the most delicate and difficult of them all, requiring at once the finest finger and the strongest arm. But if Naples and Spain are thus to interfere, where are Belgium and Sardinia? Do not, at any rate, allow the Roman question to become the game of those whose only title, as compared with others, to a share in it must be the wish to intermeddle, to intrigue, to promote covert purposes, under the mask of such as can more easily be avowed. If Belgium and Sardinia be inferior in population to Spain and Naples they are not so much inferior in strength, as they are certainly superior in intelligence and independence.”
Mr. Gladstone was himself aware of the breadth and outreaching antenne? of the questions which he was considering! He saw dearly enough that on the civil as well as the ecclesiastical side the general disturbance in Italy might be felt with more or less distinctness to the outposts of the civilized world. In the conclusion of his article in the Edinburgh Review o he says:
“We have thus endeavored, with great rapidity, to traverse or skim an almost boundless field. Many of its tracks which we have barely touched, such as the details of the Plan reforms, the policy of France in 1S49, the actual condition of the Roman States, and the enormous difficulties in which the friends of the popolar cause in Italy entangle themselves by their views of the question of national independence, demand and would well repay the pains of a separate discussion. But we must dose with a recommendation to the reader to avail himself of the lights thrown upon Italian history and politics by the recent literature of the country. We do not refer only to well-known names, such as those of Balbo, Gioberti, and D’Azeglio, but to some yet more recent works. Gualterio is of the Constitutional party, like Farini; his work abounds in valuable documents, and is, we believe, trustworthy, but it is too bulky for our common literature. Farini is admirable, both for general ability and moral tone and for the indulgent fairness with which he States the case of the popedom and the pope. In other matters, especially, for instance, when he deals with the more advanced shades of liberalism, he can lay about him with considerable vigor; but, upon the whole, we believe that his history has quite enough of the judicial tone to secure to it the place of a high permanent authority in Italian questions. The Memorie Storiche of Torre are the production of a writer about halfway between Farini and Mazzini in opinion. They are written with a lively dearness and with every appearance of sincere intention; they likewise contain important military details. Ricciardi’s Histoire de la Revolution d'Italie cu 1848 is the production of an intelligent, straight forward, and thoroughgoing Republican, and may be consulted with advantage in order to obtain the prospect of the whole subject from his point of view. As a Neapolitan he deals most copiously with that portion of the case which is well handled, in the constitutional sense, by Massari, in the Casi di Napoli. As to the literature of the late struggle on the reactionary side we know not where to look for it. The Ultimi 69 Giorni della Republica in Romana has absolutely nothing but extravagant party spirit to recommend it. But all genuine historical memoirs of Roman affairs well deserve a peculiar attention from English readers, for their importance extends far beyond the range of mere local interest; they belong to a chapter of human history only now beginning to be opened, but full of results of deep and as yet uncertain moment to every country in Chris-tendom.”.
Here, then, at the conclusion of what may well be denominated the first International episode in the career of Gladstone, we make a pause in following this aspect of his activity and purpose, and return to the consideration of his parliamentary life in England.
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