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Piedmont; now it is despised for not having risen to the grandeur of the conception of a United Germany and a United Italy. The sorrows of Norway and the wrongs of Denmark, which Lord Grey was wont to dwell upon with frantic pathos, are absolutely forgotten now; but in their place we hear suggestions from Liberal authorities, quite in the spirit of Lord Castlereagh's policy, that it might be desirable to submit Denmark to the same fate as Norway, and so to oppose a United Scandinavia to the westward march of Russia.
In truth, it was very easy for Mr. Brougham to launch vigorous invectives at Lord Castlereagh, for considering Courts, not Peoples,' in his negotiations; but if Mr. Brougham had himself been installed in Vienna with despotic power over all Europe, he would have been compelled to hurl the same censures at himself. It was impossible for any statesman to consult the wishes of the peoples, for the simple reason that the peoples had no enduring and settled wishes to consult. The comparison between the national grievances of that time and the facts as they exist now, is a commentary on the durability of national sentiments which cannot be too attentively studied. With the solitary exception of Poland, there is not a single grievance of that date which was endowed with sufficient vitality to last for the space of a generation.
a generation. Norway was the first victim that moved the pity of the Opposition of that day. The forcible union of the Swedish and Norwegian crowns was denounced as the most profligate measure of modern times.' To judge by the language that was used, one might have thought that a new partition of Poland was in contemplation, that Norwegian independence would be vindicated by some new Kosciusko, and that pauper Norwegian nobles would be met with for the next half-century begging for alms or courting heiresses in every capital in Europe. No one could have doubted from the tone of their advocates that the Norwegians were unalterably attached to the Danish connection. But if the Congress of Vienna had acted on any such assumption, they would have been grievously mistaken. The transference was effected with scarcely a struggle, and since the day that it was completed the Norwegians have been as contented and prosperous a people as any on the Continent. The next subjects of commiseration were Genoa and Ragusa. Both had been independent republics, and both under the new arrangements were incorporated into the dominions of neighbouring potentates. Genoa really had some cause of complaint. Lord William Bentinck, whose vigorous sense and high ability were occasionally marred by a tendency to sentimental politics, had been imprudent enough to promise the Genoese that their ancient form of government should be revived. He acted in entire opposition to his orders, which he either misconstrued or despised. Lord Castlereagh had no inclination to revive these petty sovereignties in the neighbourhood of France. Experience had proved that they were dead relics of a bygone state of things, and that in the existing condition of military science they were incapable of self-defence, and only a temptation to aggressive neighbours. The subsequent fate of Cracow has justified the conclusions which he formed. But the Genoese did not take this view of the matter. They hated the Piedmontese with all the hatred that national neighbourhood seems peculiarly calculated to inspire. Moreover, there were motives of a less ignoble cast to prejudice them against the change. Genoa had a splendid history to look back upon, and its inhabitants were naturally unwilling that theirs should be the generation that should bring that history to a close. For themselves influential citizens could not look without dismay upon the destruction of all municipal ambitions which would be dealt by the conversion of Genoa into a mere seaport of Turin. All these feelings combined to make the Genoese passionately anxious to recover their lost independence. They sent in a vehement protest to the Congress of Vienna, and even went so far as formally to entrust their papers to Mr. Whitbread, that he might fight their battle in the House of Commons. Here, if anywhere, one would have thought, was a strong national sentiment which would make Genoa a thorn in the side of Piedmont so long as the ill-assorted union should continue. But all this wrath and fury has passed away like a summer shower. Lord Castlereagh was firm, and the annexation was carried through. The union has increased the prosperity of the Genoese to a point which, if they had remained independent, they never could have reached ; and, by giving strength to Piedmont, it has laid the foundation on which the genius of Cavour has been able to build a glorious structure. Prussian Saxony and Rhenish Prussia are cases of the same kind. In disposing of them, their ancient state was absolutely disregarded. They were both applied, without the slightest reference to their former sovereigns, to the object of strengthening Prussia by the addition of provinces nationally allied and geographically important. In the execution of this transfer the right of conquest alone was relied upon, and no account was taken of the wishes of the populations. To them the change at the time was profoundly distasteful. In Saxony the influential portion of the community were keenly sensitive to the loss of importance which a small State suffers when it is merged into a greater; and in the new Rhenish acquisitions
the people had in addition to regret the loss of many undoubted improvements which the French had introduced. A long time passed away before the discontent was pacified and the new populations became Prussian in heart. In 1820 Mr. Lamb writes to his Government that, owing to the misgovernment of Berlin, their feelings were as hostile as ever. Even in 1838, when the affair of the Archbishop of Cologne was pending, Varnhagen doubted whether the precedent of Belgium would not be followed on the Rhine, and the Prussian connection be violently shaken off. But in course of years, habit and mild government have done their work. The grievances of the new Prussian provinces have gone the way of the grievances of Genoa and Norway. They pointed many an eloquent outburst in their time, and now that they have played their part they are consigned to the limbo where forgotten party cries repose.
It is clear, therefore, that if Lord Castlereagh and his colleagues at Vienna had taken the advice of their contemporary critics, they would not have consulted the ultimate wishes of the populations with whom they were dealing. They would have abandoned great political objects for the sake of deferring to a national sentiment, which in spite of its seeming earnestness was only a passing whim. Whatever they had done, they could not have produced greater contentment in these various countries than that which prevails at present; but, if they had done as they were bidden by their opponents at the time, they would have produced it at the gratuitous cost of sacrificing the strategic advantages which, as matters stand, they have secured. against the accusers who lived at the same time and enjoyed the same means of judging as themselves, their historical justification has been complete. On the other hand, unless they had possessed the gift of prophecy, it would have been impossible for them to have anticipated the charges of inore recent critics. Upon the points where their structure ultimately gave way, not a symptom of weakness was then to be seen. There was not a cloud to indicate danger in those quarters of the horizon from which the storm that should try it so severely was to arise. Hungarian insurrections, Turkish wars, Italian revolutions, were causes of disturbance which it never at that time occurred to statesmen to guard against or patriots to predict. The Turks were not even mentioned at the Congress of Vienna. The ambition of Russia to push her frontier westward very nearly broke up the Congress in confusion ; and her preparations for extending it towards India were sufficiently active to cause considerable apprehension to English diplomatists. But in 1815 the decay of Turkey did not seem imminent; and no one could have guessed that from her weakness could have proceeded the first fatal blow against the European system which the Congress were building up. The loyalty of Hungary was so unimpeachable that the Hungarian regiments were noted by English envoys as the most anti-democratic in the Austrian army. Even in Italy, at the time the Congress was sitting, there was no trace of the discontent which a few years afterwards became so menacing. The idea of Italian unity might have germinated in a few poetical minds; but it would have been passed by as a student's dream if there had been no misgovernment to warm it into life. The wishes of the various populations were bent on objects little reconcilable with the idea of Italian unity. Genoa, as we have seen, longed only for an independent existence of its own. Mr. Cooke, a gentleman of great experience and sagacity, who was himself of opinion that an ecclesiastico-civil potentate is a monster,' reported, nevertheless, to Lord Castlereagh in 1815, that the Romans in general were attached to the ecclesiastical government;' and that Murat's proclamations for the independence of Italy, and his invitations to the Italians to enlist under his banners, were treated hitherto with ridicule.' In the same year the Foreign Secretary is informed by another of his correspondents that the Tuscans are much attached to their sovereign the Archduke.' Sicily notoriously dreaded nothing so much as an administrative union with Naples. Milan was infested by secret societies, but the mass of the people forced the Senate to declare against the Viceroy, who was keeping out the Austrians; and Lombardy, as a whole, only petitioned for the modest favour of being governed by a resident Archduke instead of direct from Vienna. Nor was there any ground for believing that the rule of Austria would be oppressive. Her system of government before the revolutionary war had been so successful, that those who had lived under it looked back to it with genuine affection, and longed to resume their allegiance. The devoted efforts which the Tyrolese made to exchange the government of Munich for that of Vienna form one of the most striking chapters of the revolutionary war. Lord Burghersh, in his report to Lord Castlereagh, gives a very emphatic testimony to the existence of a similar feeling of intense devotion among the population of Breisgau—what is now the southern part of Baden -towards their ancient master. And in Belgium the feeling was so strong, that it was with great difficulty that the people were induced to renounce the hope that Austria would again undertake to govern them. They had no desire to be united to any of their neighbours. They hated the French, abominated the Prussians, and had no great admiration for the Dutch. Vol. 111.-No. 221.
All that they desired was to return under the shadow of that sceptre which our generation has been accustomed to regard as the embodiment of all that is feeble, and incompetent, and tyrannical. It is too true that a change soon came over this affectionate relation between the crown of Austria and its subjects. The Viennese Government had learnt the art of harsh and oppressive administration from its revolutionary conquerors, and as soon as the peace gave it leisure it put the lesson into practice. Scarcely was the House of Hapsburg re-established in its former grandeur than it entered upon that steady career of misgovernment which it has pursued with so much perseverance up to the present day. The Austrian name became odious in Italy and the Tyrol within a very few years of the peace of 1815 ; and now, after many years of vain conflict with disaffection, the dynasty has so completely forfeited its ancient character, that probably a large majority of its subjects would hail its overthrow with joy.
It is absurd, therefore, to speak as if the events of the last two or three years were a condemnation of the policy supported by Lord Castlereagh at Vienna. As the facts lay then before his eyes, there was not the slightest probability that the arrangements the Congress were making in Italy would ever disturb the peace of Europe. There was no general discontent with the ancient dynasties, and nothing in the traditional character of Austrian Government to create that discontent where it had not existed before. Least of all was it probable that any movement in Italy would take the direction of Italian unity. The common tendency of mankind is not towards union, but secession. The promptings of neighbourly jealousy find a much readier ear than the dull suggestions of statesmanlike policy, and in Italy these jealousies have always raged with peculiar violence. Lord Castlereagh would have been mad if he had acted on the supposition that the union of all Italian States into a single nation would ever become the object of Italian aspirations. The creation of a United Italy, had it been possible, would have been in the genius of Lord Castlereagh's policy. He would have valued it, as we value it now, for the strength it would have afforded to the European equilibrium, and the bulwark it would have opposed to France. It effects the very object for which he laboured to build up the kingdoms of Sardinia and the Netherlands, and for which, under the inspiration of Mr. Pitt, he invited Prussia to the left bank of the Rhine. But even if he had had the power, he was too wise to have attempted to manufacture empires on such a scale. He knew that to compress into an artificial unity the various races of the Italian Peninsula, who