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the harvest;, they expect that ploughing and reaping should be the work of a single day. It has fallen to the lot of one man alone in the annals of revolutions to find a nation's gratitude unwavering. :: It would be a curious subject for inquiry, to examine whether this exception has not been owing to the blind malice of the people's ancient oppressors ; and no problem in moral mathematics would better reward t) : trouble of a solution in the present day, than to investigate what share of Ireland's love Daniel O'Connell owes to Tory persecution, and what is nearly the same thing, to Tory infatuation.
But the perils of a popular leader end not here; his first struggles are usually made alone and single-handed: as success begins to dawn upon his efforts, he finds by his side a host of young and enthusiastic associates, whose zeal is far from being tempered with discretion. Where is the man who has ever led an arduous struggle, that had not often to curse the support tendered him by the race of the "feather-heads ?" It requires no very minute knowledge of history, no very extensive acquaintance with human nature, to recognize the characteristics of this race, and to mark the mischief they have done to the cause of freedom. The dupes of vanity, they deem themselves as meritorious as their leader, they become jealous of his fame, they strive to outbid him in popularity; “ they will not (forsooth?) submit to be led by any man;" pursuing their mischievous career, they destroy in weeks the labour of years. Weak and powerless for good, they are potent for evil. Let those who wish to raise a fallen people beware of the “ feather-heads !”
Among all the changes of realms, and the chances of time, human nature remains unalterable. The observations we have made are not applicable merely to a particular country or a particular age; they belong to every country and to every age; they are written in legible characters on the pages of every nation's history; they are deducible from the laws that regulate the mind of every individual. They are developed with all the beauties of poetry, and all the truth of philosophy, in Mr. Bulwer's magnificent production, now under our consideration ; but they may also be found by those who take the trouble of searching for them, in the most common abridgements of history, ever thumbed by a school-boy. In more than one sense, history may indeed be compared to an old almanac, for the cycle of its reproduction of human crime and folly is almost as fixed as the course of the seasons,
In directing the attention of our readers to the portraiture of Rienzi, as drawn by Mr Bulwer, we mean to say very little on the beauty of the fiction, or the facts of the history; we shall
view the story rather as the development of a problem in political philosophy, the first vigorous effort made to determine the intellectual process of a struggle for freedom, both in national and individual mind; and consequently, as a subject fraught with the most important lessons.
Mr Bulwer, following closely the facts of authentic history, describes Cola Rienzi.as an ardent scholar, who read much, and thought more; such a man was likely to commit the fatal error of mistaking memory for hope, of looking for a nation of Catos among a race of Catalines. His character is well brought out in a conversation with his younger brother, part of which we will quote:
« • Dear brother,' said the elder, ''I cannot express to thee how I enjoy these evening hours. To you alone I feel as if I were not a mere visionary and idler when I talk of the uncertain future, and build up my palaces of the air. Our parents listen to me as if I were uttering fine things out of a book : and my dear mother, Heaver bless her, wipes her eyes, and says, “Hark, what a scholar he is !' As for the monks, if I ever dare look from my Livy, and cry, “Thus should Rome be again l' they stare, and gape, and frown, as though I broached an heresy. But you, sweet brother, though you share not my studies, sympathize so kindly with all their results—you seem so to approve my wild schemes, and to encourage my ambitious hopes that sometimes I forget our birth, our fortunes, and think and dare as if no blood, save that of the Teuton Emperor, flowed through our veins.'
“• Methinks, dear Cola,' said the younger brother, that Nature played us an unfair trick—to you she transmitted the royal soul, derived, though obscurely, from our father's parentage; and to me only the quiet and lowly spirit of my mother's humble lineage.'
• Nay,' answered Cola, quickly, ‘you would then have the brighter share,—for I should have but the Barbarian origin, and you the Roman., Time was, when to be a simple Roman was to be nobler than a northern king-Well
, well, we may live to see great changes!' “I shall live to see thee a great man, and that will content me,' said the younger, smiling affectionately; "a great scholar all confess you to be already: our mother predicts your fortunes every time she hears of your welcome visit to the Colonna.'
“ • The Colonna!' said Cola, with a bitter smile; 'the Colonna-the pedants !—They affect, dull souls, the knowledge of the past, play the patron, and misquote Latin over their cups ! They are pleased to welcome me at their board, because the Roman doctors call me learned, and because nature gave me a wild wit, which to them is pleasanter than the stale jests of a hired buffoon. Yes, they would advance my fortunes—but how? by some place in the public offices, which would fill a dishonoured coffer, by wringing, yet more sternly, the hard-earned coins from our famishing izens! If there be a vile thing in the world, it is a plebeian, advanced by patricians, not for the purpose of righting his own order, but for playing the pander to the worst interests of
VOL. I. NO, I.
theirs. He who is of the people but makes himself a traitor to his birth, if he becomes a puppet for these tyrant hypocrites to lift up
their hands and cry—“See what liberty exists in Rome, when we, the patricians, thus elevate a plebeian! Did they ever elevate a plebeian, if he sympathized with plebeians ? No, brother; should I be lifted above our condition, I will be raised by the arms of my countrymen, and not upon their necks.' “All I hope is, Cola, that you
fellow. citizens, forget how dear you are to us. No greatness could ever reconcile me to the thought that it brought you danger.'
"And I could laugh at all danger, if it led to greatness—But greatness—greatness! Vain dream! Let us keep it for our night sleep. Enough of my plans; now, dearest brother, of yours.””—Vol. 1, pp. 6-8.
Cola Rienzi leaving his brother at the foot of Mount Aventine, went to procure a manuscript from a friendly friar. During his absence à party of the Orsini, bent on plundering a barge belonging to the Colonna, passed by and seized the boy, lest he might give the alarm. But the rival faction had armed bands ready to protect their property, they defeated the Orsini, and began to butcher without mercy the crowd that followed, partly to witness the fray, partly in the hopes of plunder. The younger Rienzi, though a partisan of the Colonnas, fell in the indiscriminate slaughter, and mark how lightly the murder of a plebeian sits on the conscience of his enemies !
“ The bugles, in a few minutes, brought back the pursuers, among them, the horseman whose spear had been so fatally misused. the leader of those engaged in the conflict with Martino di Porto, and the gold wrought into his armour, with the gorgeous trappings of his charger, betokened his rank.
“Thanks, my son, thanks,' said the old Colonna to this cavalier, ' you have done well and bravely. But tell me, knowest thou, for thou hast an eagle eye, which of the Orsini slew this poor boy?-_a foul deed; his family, too, our clients !
“Who? yon lad?' replied the horseman, lifting the helmet from his hea and wiping his heated brow; 'say you so! how came he, then, with Martino's rascals ? I fear me the mistake hath cost him dear. I could but suppose him of the Orsini rabble, and so-and so—'
“ • You slew him l' cried Rienzi, in a voice of thunder, starting from the ground. “Justice! then, my Lord Stephen, justice ! you promised me justice, and I will have it!
« My poor youth,' said the old man, compassionately, “you should have had justice against the Orsini, but see you not this has been an error? I do not wonder you are too grieved to listen to reason now. We must make this up to you.'
“ • And let this pay for masses for the boy's soul; I grieve me much for the accident,' said the younger Colonna, flinging down a purse of gold. 'Ay, see us at the palace next week, young Cola-next week.
My father, we had best return towards the boat; its safeguard may require us yet.' “ •Right, Gianni ; stay, some two of you, and see to the poor
lad's corpse ;-a grievous accident! how could it chance ?'
“ The company passed back the way they came, two of the common soldiers alone remaining, except the boy Adrian, who lingered behind a few moments, striving to console Rienzi, who, as one bereft of sense, remained motionless, gazing on the proud array as it swept along, and muttering to himself, “ Justice, justice! I will have it yet.'”—Vol. I. pp. 21, 22.
This reckless disregard for the life of one belonging to an inferior caste, is perfectly true to nature; it has been and it still is displayed in every country in the world blighted by an ascendancy. Look at the Cromwellian aristocracy of Ireland. The army led by Oliver Cromwell into that unhappy island, was composed of the most fanatical, ignorant, and brutalized portion of the parliamentary army. They conquered almost without a struggle, not by their superior skill or courage, but by the incomprehensible folly of their adversaries, the impartial treachery of Ormond, who betrayed all sides alike, the treason of Lord Broghill, and the savage hate of the renegade Inchiquin for his countrymen. They preserved their estates after the restoration, by abandoning every principle for which they had fought and bled, by entering into alliance with “ Church and King,” in the strictest sense of Dr. Parr's interpretation of that hackneyed phrase, “a Church without a religion, and a King above the law;" and these men, the lowest of the low in origin, hireling plunderers in their early life, traitors to their own principles at its close, assumed to themselves the state and dignity of an aristocracy by blood, and begat a posterity whose family pride is the most marked element of their character. The sons of pious trumpeters, inspired drummers, and preaching corporals, sneer at what they are pleased to call the vulgar names of the native Irish gentry, men descended from an ancient line of princes, and “over the tombs of whose ancestors minsters have been builded.”
But Ireland had one aggravation to her misery from which Rome, even in its worst days, was free; the representatives of her ancient kings, the descendants of the O'Briens, who conquered the Danes at Clontarf; and of the O'Neills, who maintained the last struggle for independence against the Anglo-Normans in Ulster, leagued themselves with the oppressor and the spoiler, abandoned their hereditary mottoes for some unmeaning phrase in Norman French, or barbarous Latin, and affected to bewail the misfortune of their being born to a name, to which an O was prefixed. It may, and it probably will be asked, why a nation claiming such intelligence as the English, should so long have
supported an ascendancy contemptible in its origin, odious through every portion of its existence, and ruinous in all its influences ?
The answer is easy; English ministers were ambitious of imaginary sovereignty, they gloried to speak of our kingdom of Ireland, and they patronized the colonial ascendancy, because its members formed an army of occupation, and were contented to be the abject slaves of England, provided they were allowed the privilege of making the native Irish, slaves in their turn. To give all parties due credit, their atrocious compact was tolerably well observed; but Englishmen of the present day have become thoroughly ashamed and heartily tired of their bargain, for a tremendous load of debt has taught them that injustice is about the most worthless, and at the same time the most expensive piece of luxury in which a nation can ever indulge.
Let us contemplate Rienzi in his solitary chamber, contemplating projects which the few will call treasonable, and the many patriotic.
“Yes,' said Rienzi, breaking suddenly from his reverie, yes, the day is at hand when Rome shall rise again from her ashes ; Justice shall dethrone Oppression ; men shall walk safe in their ancient Forum. We will rouse from his forgotten tomb, the indomitable soul of Cato! There shall be a people once more in Rome! And I–I shall be the instrument of that triumph—the restorer of my race—mine shall be the first voice to swell the battle cry of freedom-mine the first hand to rear her banner-yes, from the height of my own soul as from a mountain, I see already rising the liberties and the grandeur of the New Rome, and on the corner-stone of the mighty fabric posterity shall read my name.'” -Vol. I. pp. 85, 86.
We have no certain information of the grounds on which the real Rienzi based his lofty hopes and high aspirations; they were probably vague, shadowy, and unsubstantial; but the Rienzi of Bulwer's romance appeals to what are now glorious realities, or at least
Coining events that cast shadows before ;" and whose advent may be predicted with as much certainty as the rising of the sun. He is rather inconsistently described as pouring forth his glowing enumeration of the means by which he hopes to establish freedom and social happiness to the Bishop of Orvietto, a prelate whose character neither history nor romance could deem fit to be a worthy auditor of the following noble effusion :
“ My Lord,' answered Rienzi, judge, by one fact, how strongly I am surrounded by friends of no common class: thou knowest how loudly I speak against the nobles—I cite them by their name, I beard the Savelli
, the Orsini, the Colonna in their very hearing. Thinkest thou that they forgive me? thinkest thou that, were only the plebeians