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and this, as we have seen, was almost without exception thrown in favor of freedom. The path to emancipation was widened and rendered more facile, the rights of the freedman were protected, the sufferings of the slave were alleviated. The Church stood with its ecclesiastical censures between the master and the bondsman, as the sole guardian of the friendless, and sought by its teachings to show that a being made in the image of his Creator should not be the property of his fellow-creature.
Its practice was frequently at variance with the spirit of its preaching, but not in this particular more than in a thousand others. If the example of the Church be sufficient to justify transgressions of the law of God, it would be easy to make a satisfactory defence of all the sins of the Decalogue from the ecclesiastical history of the first six centuries. These things demonstrate the fallibility of human nature: they prove nothing more. The teachings of Christ have not extirpated pride, envy, cruelty, covetousness, and sloth; nor has the sacred character of the priest in any age exempted him from the weakness which we all inherit.
Religion tells us to look upon all mankind as brethren, and leaves us to improve the lesson. How slowly this has been learned, the annals of Christendom for fifteen hundred years render only too apparent. It were easy, if space permitted, to follow up our theme, and show how successive causes interfered to prevent the more speedy liberation of the slave, in tracing the slow and painful steps by which the only humane civilization which the world has seen has been evolved, under the guidance of Christianity, from the iron institutions of feudalism. The results of this slow process have been to render general emancipation for the first time possible. Few can doubt that this is owing solely to Christianity; and as it has already done so much for man, we may reasonably and reverently anticipate the time when the chattelism of Virginia and Mississippi will be looked back to by the descendants of those who now defend it with much the same disgust as that with which we now regard the capricious cruelty of the feudal system, or the rude blood-mongering of the Salian lawgivers.
ART. III.-La Diplomatie Vénitienne. Les Princes de l'Europe, au 16ieme Siècle. François I., Philippe II., Catharine de Médicis, les Papes, les Sultans, etc., etc. D'après les Rapports des Ambassadeurs Vénitiens. Par M. ARMAND BASCHET. Ouvrage enrichi de nombreux Fac-simile. Paris: Henry Plon, Imprimeur Editeur. 1862. 8vo. pp. 616.
THIS handsome volume is the result of the researches of M. Baschet during a residence of five years in Venice, under the patronage successively of the Minister of Public Instruction and of the Minister of State in France. The archives of the ancient republic were opened to the author by the Austrian Minister, Baron Bach, at the request of Count Bourqueney, Ambassador of France at Vienna. These archives contain plentiful material for illustrating the history of France during a long period; and M. Baschet proposes to publish, under the general title of La Diplomatie Vénitienne, a series of volumes drawn from their invaluable stores of manuscripts. Among the special subjects to which these volumes will be dedicated are the following: "Audiences de Catherine de Médicis," "Euvres secrètes du Conseil de Dix," "L'Emprunt de la France à Venise sous Charles IX.," "Henri III. à Venise," "Guise, Sixte Quint et Philippe II., d'après les Venitiens," "Henri IV. et la Republique Sérénissime," "Audiences et Conversations politiques du Cardinal de Richelieu."
The present volume, and two others to complete this portion of the work, will treat exclusively of the "Relations" or Reports presented by the ambassadors of Venice on their return from their missions, and of their despatches during their period of service. The former have been better known than the latter; but both make a series of rare and original documents, worthy of complete and extensive study, as affording much curious and important information of men and manners in the long course of time over which they extend.
Venice is an exhaustless mine of research; its ancient government offers, both in its politics and its administration, an admirable example of sagacity and vigor expended in all directions whence it could draw glory and renown. In the singular
organization of this ancient state, its diplomatic system presents many curious and striking features. The exceptional usages and duties established for the honor and dignity of its diplomatic body, the minute and incessant attention to make it influential, considerable and considerate, powerful, and felt to be so, in every court and kingdom of Europe, exhibit a view of Venice of the highest interest. From the close of the twelfth to the middle of the seventeenth century, Venetian diplomacy achieved and maintained its greatness and reputation. During this long period its activity was incessant, both in the East and in the West.
M. Gachard, in his Monuments de la Diplomatie Vénitienne (a memoir presented to the Belgian Academy in 1853), says that, "At a time when almost everywhere else in Europe the administration of all branches of government was given up a prey to confusion and anarchy, when political science was in its infancy, the Grand Council of Venice had already determined by careful orders the exact duties of those who were chosen by the Republic to represent it abroad."
When an ambassador of the Republic of Venice had completed the fixed term of his service in some foreign mission, it was the usage for him to present to the Senate, within fifteen days of his return, a solemn written discourse, under the title. of Relazione, or Report upon the government to which he had been accredited; on leaving the hall, the original was deposited with the Chancellor, who at once placed it in the Secreta specially designated for these documents. This remarkable custom lasted down to the close of the Republic, in 1797; and as it originated at an early period, it supplied an extraordinary series of papers on public affairs. The fire of 1577, by which some of the halls of the Doge's palace were ruined, destroyed the text of the oldest of these reports; but the libraries of St. Mark and of the Doge's palace, as well as the archives of state, dating from 1492, are rich in these contemporaneous records of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Within the last few years, a large share of public attention has been drawn to them; and much private research has been expended in reproducing such of these valuable papers as have been specially required in particular branches of
historical study, or in illustration of special events and the characters of individuals.
M. Baschet's work has a wider scope. He first exhibits a brief view of the progress of Venetian diplomacy and its results to Venice itself, and then he shows the value of these collections to historians and students of the political affairs of Europe; and he adds an elaborate account of the various reprints and republications of and from these sources. The volume is also enriched with copies of autographs of the great personages specially mentioned; and a brief summary of the documents from which these are taken furnishes food for the curious and material for the antiquarian. The best account of the early days of Venetian diplomacy, M. Baschet tells us, is given in the Storia documentata di Venezia, by Romanin. The first decree in reference to the Relazione, or Report of Ambassadors, is dated in 1285, and the next in 1296.
During the earlier history of Venice, an ambassador could remain at one place only two years; in the fifteenth century, the time was extended to three years. The object of this regulation was to prevent too great personal intimacy on the part of the representatives of the Republic with either foreign courts or people. During his residence abroad, he maintained a steady correspondence with the Senate, and made gradual preparation for the Relazione with which his embassy was to be closed, and which was to afford him the opportunity of establishing his name and reputation at home, and give proof of the value of his services. The advantages of this admirable custom, so peculiar to Venice, (legge nostra laudatissima, it was pronounced by Daniele Barbarigo in 1552,) are very plain. A clear view of the political condition of allied and neighboring states and princes was furnished with precision and at almost regular intervals.
The Senate was fully informed of the power, the resources, the character, the strength, and the weakness of every government near which it was represented. Nicolo Tiepolo, in his report of a mission to Charles V. in 1535, said: "Before me, many senators, some present, some, alas! dead, have fully and admirably described the prince from whose court I come; and
* In ten volumes, 8vo, Venice, 1853-1860.
what I shall say will be only an addition to the intimate knowledge already possessed by this Senate of the acts and words of the great Emperor, supplying the events of the last few months, 'perche le cose de principi e stati umani di giorno in giorno si vanno in diversi modi mutando,' because the affairs of princes and powers change from day to day."
Pietro Duodo, the ambassador from Venice to Henry IV. of France, after the Treaty of Vervins, thus states the main divisions of the report which he read to the Senate: "The principal points of my relation are as follows,-the kingdom, the chief of the state, the princes and the nobility, the clergy, the people, the council of the cabinet, the royal family, the king himself, his personal appearance, and the conditions and character of his policy." This programme, enounced with such rapidity and clearness, is almost exactly that of all the Relazioni. A manuscript document, found among the papers bequeathed by the last of the illustrious family of Contarini-Corfu to the library of St. Mark, sets forth, under the title of Ricordi per Ambasciatori, those things which should make the subject of a report, "queste cose si ricercano per far una relazione": "The situation of the country, its ancient and modern designations, the part of the world in which it lies, its latitude and longitude, its boundaries, its extent, its divisions and subdivisions, its principal cities, its seaports, its fortresses, its bishops and archbishops, its rivers, its mountains, its forests, and its high roads. It should speak of the inhabitants, their customs, usages, and traditions, their religion and superstitions; their munitions of war, and the strength of their forces, military and naval; the arts and trades which they exercise, and those particularly in which they excel; their productions.and importations and manufactures. An account should be given of the government, its officers and ministers, its powerful alliances and surrounding neighbors; the character and condition of the people; particulars concerning the king, his genealogy, his physiognomy, his life and his habits, his popularity, his revenues and his expenditures, his court, and the princes with whom he is friendly, and those with whom he is at enmity."
* Bib. Marciana, MSS. Contarini, CLXXXVII.