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allow itself to be caught, and ordered the valor might have made them a blessing to friendly pie to be conveyed to Padua, and their beautiful country, but who plunged delicately nourished.
it deeper and deeper into those feuds But it is time to close this sketch of the which finally, by destroying the resources life of this famous chieftain—the most in- of its vitality, rendered it an easy prey to human of those numerous Italian warriors | the grasping stranger. of the middle ages, whose science and
THE SWISS REVOLUTION.
The idea and sentiment of liberty must is ready to suffer, and thus the struggle is be very deep in human nature, or man continued and perpetuated. Liberty must would not still cling to it-seek it, as be
dear to the human heart. he does, after all that has transpired to But the name of liberty has been asmake him abandon it. The mightiest em umed, and its privileges abused by monpires have exerted and exhausted their strous broods, so numerous and odious, mightiest efforts to stifle its breathings that memory refuses to rehearse their Monarchs of every name have made it the catalogue. When worthlessness would one long scheme and purpose of their lives seek for distinction, or misrule for power, to cause it to perish in their dominions, or cupidity for fortune, or hatred for venand to root it out from the memories of geance, or voluptuousness for unbridled their subjects; and, at death, they have license, how often has each called itself left their partial successes therein as choice the advocate of liberty! How often have jewels for the inheritance of their houses, they joined their forces to assault authority and have imposed the continuance of the and good order! How often, especially tradition as one of the most solemn of du- in the days nearest our own, have they ties. The talents of all the wily counsellors made the name of liberty the rallying cry that bounties and patronage could win, of crime, and a sound portending calamity have been concentrated in plotting its ruin. and woe to the citizens of quiet and peace! The ministers of religions, false and true, Thus have the powers of evil availed to have been wheedled to betray it, or forced bury the graceful form of liberty beneath to become its executioners. Men, in the hideous ruins, or to shroud it in lurid attempt to defend it, have poured out their colorings, till the poet has described it, blood like water ; have desolated their and the painter figured it, and a sentiment best-loved hearths; have made their own too common stamped it, even on a nation's wives widows, and their children orphans; currency, but as a zoneless bacchanal. have watered with their tears the cap- Still men, and the lovers of man, have not tive's bread, and have felt through dreary ceased, from amid the cloudy terrors of evil years the dungeon mildew devouring their fashionings, to invoke it with their voices, members and gnawing at their vitals. and to evoke it by their good deservings. And as each old generation passes away, Again, then, liberty must be something it perceives that the price of liberty is con very dear to man, and, moreover, very tinual sacrifice and heroic suffering, and noble in itself, that it is thus sought after that, even thus, its rescue is but partial and thus loved. and soon declines; and yet the eye
of the The sentiment of liberty is indeed someveteran kindles with that of the youth, thing very noble, for by it God has distinand their voices unite in invoking that for guished man from the lower parts of crewhich the one has suffered, and the other lation, which are governed by necessary VOL. II. NO. I. NEW SERIES,
laws; and it is very dear to man's heart, | Alps, were intended but as torch-lights for because it is a necessary condition of his | the assassins of Europe, as firebrands for essential nature.
a continental conflagration, as signals for For, whether in aspiration or in act, the overthrow, not of thrones, but of law liberty is the element that girdles round -not of kings, but of nations and their the throne of the mind. And, though it most cherished institutions. Oppressors self be not reason, it yet, with equal step, disregarded and have fallen ; and if. any accompanies all the operations of reason, movement has indeed been made towards and without it reason becomes unreason. securing the true and reasonable rights of And yet reason is not the seat of the liber- the people in parts of Europe, we may be ty that so encompasses it, but that other sure that their late masters look with refaculty, which, in the triune spirit, is or-gret not more poignant on what they have dained the scholar and yet the mistress of lost, than do the jacobins centred in Switreason—the scholar to be enlightened by zerland on what they have thereby failed it as to what is truth, and the mistress to to gain. Switzerland, indeed, is a little force it, despite its lessons, into perverse country, but the questions that have shaken windings, or to compel it to the just appli- her concern all Europe. Wisdom must cation of its teachings.
prevent their consequences, or time will This faculty, need we say it, is the will, show them yet further; for the secret lodges in naming which we have said free will, of Berne have purposes not yet fulfilled. since these two are so knit that without But if Swiss affairs interest the adjoinfreedom there is no will, and without will ing nations of Europe by their actual tenthere is no freedom. Ubi voluntas, ibi dencies, they may interest others in the liberlas.
way of solemn lessons. For us republiBut in our first parents' fall, the human cans, for us constitutional republicans, oh! will was perverted, and two kinds of liber- how many lessons might be drawn from ty were lost: liberty from sin, and liberty the history, and at length from the calamifrom misery. Liberty from necessity was ties of an elder republic; and how many preserved to man, as a ground of merit or arguments might be found in the causes demerit. This is what we understand by of those calamities, for principles whose natural liberty; and from all that we have application our national interests are at said, we may gather why man so clings to this moment loudly demanding. These seeking it, and has so abused it.
we cannot pretend to discuss at length, We have been meditating on the recent nor as their importance would warrant, in tragedies of Swiss revolution ; and who- the present essay ; but we shall nevertheever is acquainted with the long history less have natural occasion to indicate some of that romantic confederacy, and under of them less or more pointedly, and shall stands the guilty violence that has just thus leave them to the reflection or to the now dishonored virginal freedom on the minuter examination of our readers. mountains of Uri and of Schwytz, will The race which has rendered Switzeragree, with a burning heart, that all we land famous in modern Europe, were emihave said of liberty, and more than we are grants from the remote North. Passing sufficient to say, has been illustrated, has by their earliest struggles and sufferings been embodied in their annals.
amid the rugged Alps, the records of Pens of an authority, and tongues of an which are more or less uncertain, we find eloquence, far other than ours, have been them, early in the ninth century, possessed pleading, in Europe, the cause of prostrate, of liberty and a formal constitution ; for outraged Switzerland. They cried in the Louis le Debonnaire, in extending to them ears of the great powers of Europe, while the paternal protection of the Carlovingian the great nations of Europe were yet empire, expressly guarantied to them the powers, that the conspiracy of revolution preservation of these. The fundamental ists in the city of Berne was not a local provisions of this constitution bear a most affair ; that the ruin of the Swiss constitu- striking resemblance to the laws of the antion was not the end, but only the means cient Scandinavians, as they may be found of the conspirators; that the flames of detailed in the poetical legends that have civil war, kindled in the homesteads of the come down to us from Olaus and Johannes
Magnus,* or as they have at a later date | till the people of the Waldstaaten found. been collected and critically examined by that this chieftainship of a stranger was the learned Messenius, in his “Scondia likely to be abused to purposes of foreign Illustrata.” This constitutional corre- aggression; and with the manly energy spondence in their social fabric between that they have ever displayed in coping Switzerland and the extreme North, of it- with perils, they compelled the Count of self proves the origin of the race, and is at Hapsburg, elevated though he now was to the same time an illustration of the truth, the position of emperor, to retrench himthat constitutions which show the vigor of self within the faculties that had been conpermanence and vitality, which success ceded to him. A solemn renewal of the fully resist encroachments from without, alliance between the three Waldstaaten and bind firmly to one another their con was consequently made in the year 1291, stituents from within, are not the handi and on the same occasion they re-enacted work of political forecast, nor are hewn an ancient law, that no man who was of out as a creation de novo by the statesmen foreign birth, be his qualifications or his of an incipient people; but that their character what they might be, should ever foundation, on the contrary, is in the pub- exercise the office of a judge among them. lic synderesis of the primitive community, They applied the same rule to their clergy and their shapings are the gradual results with a few exceptions, and this identity of of the practical needs and peculiar position sympathy between the people and their of each nation as it grows towards maturity. pastors has been a powerful promoter of
Switzerland, which, since the Congress the union that has always existed in these of European powers at Vienna in 1815, countries, between their patriotism and has consisted of twenty-two cantons, takes their religion. its name from the canton of Schwytz
, When Rodolph of Hapsburg died, his which was the first nucleus of the confede house began the base, degenerate course ration, and has ever been the soul of its that has ended by rendering it, first the glory, and the noblest guardian of its lib- enemy, and now, at length, the laughingerties. Uri and Unterwalden, co-ordinate stock of Christendom. At the
very beginin race and origin with Schwytz, were al ning of the fourteenth century, Albert, ways knit to it in feeling, and, from early son of Rodolph, set about the task of wanin the twelfth century, formed with it a tonly injuring the Waldstaaten, that he regular defensive league. These three can- might thence find occasion to reduce them tons formed the Waldstaaten, or Woodland beneath his iron yoke. What kind of sucStates. The customs and manners, and cess he had has become matter of story the complete sovereignty of each canton, and of song wherever patriotism or political by stipulation, remained inviolable ; but liberty is prized. He sent the notorious Gesthe entire support of the three was pledged ler to administer justice in Schwytz and Uri, to resist any foreign interference. About and Beringer in like capacity to Unterwalthe middle of the thirteenth century, they den. But these emissaries of oppression chose the celebrated Rodolph of Hapsburg had scarcely had time for more than to to be the head and arbiter of their league. commence their task, when Werner Von This was in evident obedience to the pre- Stauffach, Arnold Anderhalden, and Walvailing sentiment of Europe at that time, ter Furst, meeting together by night at the whose aspirations were for an emperor of great rock which marks the boundary beall Christendom, to be elected, not less for tween Uri and Unterwalden, on the Lake his high personal worth, than for the ex- of Waldstaaten, plighted there their troth tent of his material resources; and to to one another that, God helping, they whom, therefore, all disputes between na would set their country free. This was tions might be referred for a rightful ad on the 17th of November, 1307. justment—a magnificent conception, but was fixed, upon which each of them, with why has it proved so unsatisfactory in a chosen band of patriots, was, in their repractice ?
spective cantons, to raise the cry of liberty, The same century had not passed away to which they well knew that every Swiss
heart was ready to answer at the cost of Historia Gentium Septentrionalium, Basileæ, 1567.
its blood. But in the interval of the oath
and its intended accomplishment, the son- | influence of the later confederate cantons in-law of Walter Furst, the heroic Tell of became active. Lucerne, Zurich, and Berne Burglen, rid Switzerland and the world of were republican, not by fundamental conGesler, and, as is well known, retrieved stitution, but by the force of circumstances; the fortunes of his country.
they had never the sentiment of liberty at Eight years later Prince Leopold, heart, and accordingly they were eager to brother of Frederic, came against the seize on foreign possessions, not to free Waldstaaten to take an Austrian ven them from oppression, but to substitute geance, with more than ten thousand men. themselves as new masters. After this These he had considered amply sufficient evil example, the original cantons were wherewith to chastise a handful of unruly drawn away, and they too would become mountaineers. Some thirteen hundred suzerains. To this unhappy course Uri Swiss assembled and met them on the presented a glorious and a holy exception. henceforth classic heights of the plain of It refused its share in the partition of the Morgarten. Leopold escaped with the foreign possessions, professing that the remnant of his shattered host. Hitherto wars they had undertaken were in obedithe Swiss had lived together as a band of ence to their conscience and their country, brothers; we have now no record of the and that they would not defile themselves slightest internal troubles having ever dis- by receiving any other recompense. turbed their repose. But as usual, prosper Schwytz pursued for a while another ity brought them friends. Zug, Glarus, and course, and was thereby led to quarrel and Lucerne, sought admission to so valiant a at length to fight with Zurich, in the mainconfederacy. Why not admit them? The tenance of only probable rights. But same greedy house of Hapsburg, with its Zurich, which had been a traitor from the double-faced eagle, was seeking their de beginning, forgetting her solemn covenant struction, that had sought the ruin of the with the confederacy, and forgetting the Waldstaaten. Besides, to have them for special obligations that she owed to the allies would be not only to increase the nu elder cantons, called in the aid of Austria, merical strength of their fighting men, but | and had France likewise to a certain exto throw a friendly wall between the Ger- tent engaged to assist her with troops. man empire and the original cantons. They The faith of treaties was guarded by the were admitted. Then Zurich, and at length ancient Swiss with unparalleled fidelity. Berne, sought part in the league. The That their forefathers had given their word latter had domestic feuds to be thus ap- for such or such a thing, sufficed them for peased, as well as foreign enemies to be a reason to forego or to suffer, rather than repelled. The principle of new accessions to violate the legacy of their maply honor. had been once acted upon—why should The confederates, therefore, were stung to the action not be repeated ? No reason the quick by the turpitude of Zurich's conwas found, and anew the hand was ex duct, and willingly espoused the cause of tended to them also. With one partial Schwytz. The armed forces that were asand temporary exception, the Waldstaaten sembling to attack them seemed certain to have always sufficed for themselves and overwhelm them by their numbers, and their own defence, but how seldom have were of noted valor. But a band of only they sufficed for the fickle Lucernese, and sixteen hundred men, mostly from the the factious men of Zurich and of Berne.
Waldstaaten, burst upon them like an Nevertheless, hitherto the admission of avalanche of their native Alps, and swept the latter cantons seemed almost acts of them from the country. Zurich, left to generosity, and it cannot be denied that herself, soon felt the misery of her isolafor a while the new allies rendered im- tion, and begged to be received again into portant aid in the wars of the Swiss with the confederacy. The professing penitent the Austrians. But as their arms were was forgiven by the good Swiss, and once always successful, new territories were more took her place in the league—soon from time to time falling into their hands, again to give its members fresh trouble. or were ceded to them by feudal powers. The date of its reconciliation was A. D. Among these were Baden, Bremgarten, 1460. and Mellingen. It was here that the evil New wars followed, with Austria and
with Burgundy, and the successes of the Von Fluhe, by standing steadfast to their Swiss arms and the possessions they thus constitution, and suffering severely for its acquired, were again the bane of their in- conservation. ternal peace. Lucerne, Zurich, and Berne, In the second year of the sixteenth centhe feeblest on the field of battle, wished tury, two other states, Schaffhausen and to be stoutest in dividing the booty, on ac- Bale, which had been dependencies, becount of their numerous aristocracy and came confederates; and finally, in 1513, superior wealth already acquired. At the Appenzell was added to their number. diet of Stantz their bitter contentions came This was the last addition till the dissoluto a head, and they were about to sepa- tion of the confederacy by the French rate to engage in the bloodiest of their Revolution, and its restoration by the allied civil wars, when in a manner marvellous, powers at the Congress of Vienna, A. D. (miraculous say the chronicles,) all pas-1815. sions were quelled by the sudden appear But the golden age of the Swiss repubance in the diet of a gray-haired hermit lic seemed already past. Some cantons, named Nicholas Von Fluhe. This was one indeed, more, and others less, and the anof those wonderful characters that we find cient Waldstaaten least of all, yet all in from time to time in the pages of history, their degree, were infected with the desire particularly during the middle ages, living of the riches and aggrandizement with in continual and utter solitude ; but who which they had been brought into contact, at length, at some imminent national crisis, Thence began the disposition to sell their burst upon the theatre of events, the most services to foreign princes, for the hope foreign to their habits and thoughts, con- of greater gain; and in the pursuit of this centrating and expending in a few short they treasured up for themselves causes of days, or even hours, the intellectual ener- deeper sorrow, or abandoned themselves to gies of an entire and remarkable life, hold- the evil courses of the nations with whom ing every eye, hushing every murmur, cap- they mingled. And thus the sons of this tivating every heart by the unearthly ma virtuous and heroic republic, after that, jesty of their mien, rebuking error, rectify- like Samson, they had with their naked ing mistakes, denouncing judgments of hands rent the jaws of the lion of imperial terror upon disobedience, finally restoring despotism that roared against them, returnorder to the distracted state, setting the ing after many days to the decaying carpolitical vessel upon her true course, and case, drew forth indeed meat from the then delivering up the helm to capable eater and sweetness from the strong; but governors, and vanishing as suddenly as in the end found something sweeter, to they had appeared, and leaving those they their corrupted taste, than honey, and had delivered thankful for the benefit, but something stronger than a lion,--and the bewildered at the method.
Nazarite laid down his head in the lap of Such an one was the venerable hermit European vices, and was shorn of the locks of the Alps, Nicholas Von Fluhe, who of his glory. appeared in this diet of Stantz in 1481, To the dissensions and quarrels between composed the disputes of the cantons, in the cantons, was now soon to be added the duced them to renew their federal league intensity of religious hatred; for we are with each other, and moreover to admit arrived at the period of the great ecclesithe states of Friburg and Solothurn to the astical revolutions of the sixteenth century. standing of confederate cantons, assuring Zurich and Berne were predisposed to them, on the faith of prophetic vision, that change, and were accordingly the first to these two cantons would continue thankful embrace the new doctrines of Calvin and for the favor, and would yet render signal Zuingle. God knows they had need enough services to the interests of the league. In of a change, if it could but have inspired the then actual state of the confederacy them with some sentiments of virtue or of their admission was undoubtedly sound honor. Zurich became the champion of policy, both from the local position they the reformed creed, and exerted itself to occupied, and from the stable character of the utmost in its propagation. As to the their population. They have, or at least ancient Waldstaaten, such a revolution Friburg has, verified also the promises of | must have been impossible till the prime