Imágenes de páginas

elements of their nationality should be abol- , in case of foreign war, each canton could ished, Outside the city of Rome, it only be invited to take part, and had full would be difficult to find a place where liberty to refuse. patriotism and religion are so thoroughly The great vice of their system, hitherto, identified, as in these three primitive can- was the admission to their confederacy of tons. Their greatest patriots have been states foreign to themselves in sentiments those who for their virtues are honored in and in fundamental constitution, and as their sacred temples, and the patron saints unequal in natural virtue as they were of their race have been the preceptors of unlike in national character. But they their political laws. Whoever, then, at- had committed another fault, which, from tacks their civil institutions, appears to this time forth, was to work them still them a profane person, and he that reviles greater evil. This was the permitting their religion as one who plots against their within their borders a class of persons political liberties. And how, in effect, who were not to coalesce with the citizeos could the chapel of Morgarten battle-field and become one people, but under a forbe stript of its Catholic ornaments without eign name to gather in parties, contradestroying the monument of Schwytz's distinguished, isolated from the inhabimost classic ground? Or how could the tants proper of the country. The true polvivid connection of the living race with the icy of Switzerland was certainly to prevent deeds of Tell and Werner Van Stauffach, immigration. The territory of their jurisbe preserved if the pilgrimages to Burglen diction was narrow in extent, and limited and Steinen, and to the other chapels in productiveness. Moreover, they were a erected to their memories, should be abol- people who sufficed for themselves, and ished ? Schwytz in these new quarrels were not likely to be truly benefited by a became the head of the cantons that re- mixture of foreign ingredients.

Their mained Catholic, as Zurich did of the Prot- measures for discouraging the advent of estant. This was the most fatal wound foreigners were therefore, in the given of all to the Swiss leagne. The cantons circumstances, wise. But when the stranwere no longer brethren. Henceforth they gers were permitted to settle in the counfor a long time made war on one another, try, to marry and to propagate their offor patched up a hollow peace from a com- spring, the arrangements of their laws mon fear of the surrounding powers. should have provided for the incorporation No new principle was introduced, but of the race.

* mly the old ones were left to work out The Swiss cantons did not act on so their various effects, till the breaking out discreet a principle. The foreigner that of the French Revolution, when the year entered a canton, even if he were the citi1798 saw the tal subjugation of Switz- zen of another of the confederation, could erland by a French invasion, and the tem- never, nor his children from generation to porary abolition of the constitutional con- generation, obtain the rights of an “ inhabfederacy. Down to this period the inde itant.” He and his descendants still went pendent sovereignty of each canton was by the name of the “ homeless"-Heimathone of the principles most urgently en losen—and posts of honor and even permaforced, and most explicitly guarantied. nent possessions were denied them. Indeed, it was a capital point of their cher- Had they imposed no laws for the proished liberries. There were degrees in this tection of their nationality, it is certain sovereignty, however; for some of the their institutions would have been abused, smaller cantons, that had been admitted and their ears stunned with the confused at a later date, were bound to obey the determination of the majority of the con- *We here especially deprecate any captious mis federacy in matters of war or peace with interpretation of our honest sentiments. The prisall foreign powers. But in what related policy of a country is to encourage immigration, to the interior government of each canton, there thence arises a two-fold national day: First, it was of the essence of a canton to be in of extending in the speediest and most fall manger

possible, the rights, privileges, and affections of the dependent. Moreover, as regards the prin- nation to its new inhabitants, thus making them a cipal cantons, especially the old Waldstaa- home; and then, of discouraging and opposing ell ten and Lucerne, Zurich and Berne, even

political organizations based upon foreign feelings, interests, or appellations.

quarrels of the German party, and the subject to their jurisdiction. Schwytz, Italian party, and the French party; who which possessed at this time several distinwould each have imported into the confed- guished statesmen and patriots, was pareration their own crude notions of r publi- ticularly active in urging the aristocratic canism, and then have fought among them- cantons to a like course. She sent one of selves as to their application, or the expect the greatest of her sons, Charles Reding, ed emoluments. Or, forsooth, some aspir- to Berne, to entreat that canton, which ing little demagogue of native birth would was the one first menaced by France, to have duped a section of them to serve his listen to the reasonable demands of the own ends, and then have talked large people of Vaud, who had long claimed the about the rights and interests of “our right of sovereignty, but were still held in adopted citizens.” But the Swiss, unfortu- subjection to Berne. The Vaudois were nately, in avoiding this, fell into the oppo- now stimulated to insurrection by French site error of oppression and extreme cru- emissaries, while the Republic of that naelty. Now that the events are passed, we tion was threatening and provoking Berne might desire that they had guarded the vir- to give it an occasion of interfering. Berne tuous mean, and while protecting like men acted like a cowardly miser, who hears a their nationality, have extended the hand robber at the door, and instead of running of kindness to the stranger, whenever it to resist him on the threshold, crouches was wise to admit such on any terms to cravenly over his dear bags of gold, and remain on their soil ; and especially to suffers him to enter undisturbed. This provide for the children that should be

canton had not the generosity to make the born in their territory the honor and ad

necessary sacrifices. vantages of citizenship. It was in the To defend such a people against the aristocratical cantons, such as Berne and hosts of the French Republic proved a Zurich, that this state of things was worst, useless waste of energy. And after some and this particularly since the sixteenth ineffectual fighting the troops of the Waldcentury; for since then illegitimate births, staaten became convinced that the people and changes in religion, with other sim- of the aristocratic cantons had neither the ilar grounds, have multiplied, and these courage nor the patriotism to defend their are esteemed causes for outlawry in all country with their lives; and they thereits rigor. Only a few years ago a report fore withdrew to the limits of their own made officially in the Swiss diet repre- cantons. We cannot stop to relate how sented these unfortunates as wandering to much evil the national sentiment had sufthe number of many thousands from place fered by this division of interest and want to place, in all the degradation and suffer- of union between the cantons. But the ing of the Gipsy life. These by no mer ns end of the tragedy is too affecting to be include the entire class of the Heimathlo- passed over in entire silence. The

gallant sen, but we see by it the degrading ten- Aloys Reding and about fifteen hundred dency of the system.

men, nearly all of the canton of Schwytz, When the wild cry of the first French were awaiting the French on the already Revolution echoed through Europe, with glorious Morgarten heights. The other its “ declaration of the rights of man,” it cantons had all succumbed, but it was the could not be heard with indifference by a desire of these heroes not to survive their people like the Swiss. Berne, Zurich, and liberties, but to pour out their blood as a he aristocratic cantons generally, were sacrifice to their country, on this field of he most disquieted, and the Heimathlosen their ancient prowess. Their commander ind the people of the provinces that they explained to them that a death almost cerield as dependencies gave them good rea- tain awaited them, and gave

free leave to on for alarm. When the intentions of those who desired, to withdraw, without a rance to invade Switzerland and to revo- word of reproach from any one. The utionize their government became mani- words of Reding have been preserved by est, the ancient Waldstaaten, Schwytz,

one who was present on the field :ri and Unterwalden, prepared themelves for the contest by removing every “ The only question for us is, to know if ause of discontentment from the people have the virtue to follow the example

ancestors left us on this plain of Morgarten. if they were too brave to fly, they can Let us not deceive one another at an hour so remained to present defenceless breasts ta solemn. I had rather have an hundred men

the plunge of the Swiss bayonets. prepared for every event, and upon whom I can

But at length the very depth of their rely, than five hundred who would spread confusion by their flight, and render vain the sac- patriotism inspired them with a wise rifice of the brave men who would still resist. thought. As they saw the race of thes For me, my course is taken. I will not for- canton being extinguished part by part sake you, nor the peril of our dear country. like their altar candles during the services Death on the field of Morgarten, and no retreat. Tenebræ, the reflection grew urgent: If any are not ready for this, let them depart; then the canton of Schwytz to be wipe. but if you all share my sentiments, let two step out from the face of the earth ? Are the from the ranks, and in your name plight with me our faith."

great deeds of our fathers to be forgottes


or to be rehearsed henceforth only by The soldiers, melted in the tears that strangers ? And in the breasts of secure brave men know how to shed—tears of ad- there sprang up a courage higher than miration and affection—with united voices that by which they had desired to die fa affirmed their constant purpose of standing their country. It was a great confidense by their heroic commander, and gave him in the vitality and force of their nationa the required sign. This was on the first constitution that made them willing to lice of May in the fatal year of '98. Should for it—to live, and to submit, in the fire we record the events of the next four days persuasion that thus they must at length and nights, as they are narrated by regain their liberties. Yet this reasonable the trustworthy and brave old men of and heroic thought seemed too hard for Schwytz who took part in them, and still many of them. At the rate of loss that survive, the story would seem incredible. they had hitherto sustained, two weeks Who, that knows not the Swiss, could would suffice for their entire destruction believe through what distances, and over and though the loss of the French w what craggy pathways in mountain passes, very much greater, it was evident that is trembling old men, with women and little affected them but little, as their supply of children, dragged heavy artillery across new men was without limit. Resistance the country? Or with what speed the was therefore hopeless; yet they found it little bands of Schwytz, with a few from sweet to die for their country, to pour out Uri and Zug, gathered on the final battle their hearts' blood into her bosom while field ? Or how they fought and labored she was yet unpolluted by the foot of the almost without rest for ninety-six hours, conqueror. In a council of war, it rein presence of the vast army of France ? quired all the influence of the priesthood, Never were the French more reckless in and all the motives of their faith, to recomtheir bravery; but men, like the men of cile them to abandon the now fruitless CODSchwytz, could not be vanquished. They test. They yielded, however, at length. might be slain, but even in death they on the express stipulation that the French must be conquerors. So long as the fight should respect their religion, their persons

, ing continued, and so often as the French and their property. This was promised by showed themselves on the plain, they were Schauenburg, the French General

, and be driven from it as the snowflakes before kept his word ; and struck with admiration the tempest. Time would be given but at a heroism that had cost him fifteen of his for a single well-directed fire, when the best men for every one of the Swiss, he adddrum would sound the charging home, ed, moreover, the most distinguished marks and with fixed bayonets they would rush of a regard that did honor to his own senfuriously upon their enemies. The French timents. had previously affected to despise them as In this rapid sketch of the written undisciplined herdsmen; but when they unwritten history of Switzerland, and saw them, in spite of their best directed which we hope has not been without in fire, rush over a level of 3000 feet, with- terest in itself, we have wished to develop out one of them shrinking, or falling into the Swiss character and constitution, and the slightest disarray, the very flower of the thus prepare our readers for a better ap" French army were palsied with terror, and preciation of the political question 10


agitating that country. To the immediate Directory, which is dated April 5th, of consideration of this latter we now proceed. that year, and was therefore framed after

II. The country of Vaud, which, pre- the fall of the democratic cantons of Luvious to the French Revolution, had been cerne, Friburg, and Solothurn, along with a dependency of the canton of Berne, had their aristocratic allies, Berne and Zurich, complained of this unreasonable political and just one month before the prostration inferiority, on the ground of its own im- of Schwytz, which we have a little above portance in wealth and population, and its recorded. obligations to afford its full quota for the common defence of the confederation. “ The French Republic," they say, “in deBerne disregarded its appeal, and as one claring that it is the friend and ally of the vicious extreme always brings on its op- Swiss nation, and promising to protect its rights posite, the Vaudois, instead of persisting assist the inhabitants of the aristocratical states n their lawful demands, in which they in regaining the primitive liberty of which the were powerfully seconded by Schwytz and democratic cantons have always been the he other democratic cantons, gave way to source and exemplars. ecret and treasonable plots for subverting

On the sudden we received from he entire Swiss constitution, and forming the provisional government of Solothurn, the of the whole one consolidated government, plan of a new Helvetic constitution, with a pressn place of a confederacy of states.

ing invitation to concur in it; and learned, at The presiding genius of this wretched of Switzerland would be obliged to submit to

the same time, unofficially, that all the cantons cheme was Cæsar de Laharpe, an inhab-it. ant of Vaud, who formed of his fellow- " In vain should we attempt to describe to itizens the first jacobin or revolutionary you the grief with which it fiús our souls. We lub within the borders of Switzerland, and esteem no misfortune equal to the loss of the crupled nothing to invite the intervention free constitution established by our ancestors, f the French Republic to carry out his adapted to our

wants and manners, and cemented roject by force of arms. In degree as the fort and happiness of which our peaceful val

during ages, by the enjoyment of all the comrench advanced in gaining dominion over | leys are susceptible. le country, the ancient name of Swiss, *“ Permit us in the first place, to ask yon lat the whole league had taken from the plainly what you have found in our constituallant canton of Schwytz, was changed to tions adverse to your principles? Where can le artificial appellation of Helvetians,* you find a mode of government, whose exercise id the new organization was called “The hands of the people, than in ours ?' where

and sovereign rights are more entirely in the elvetic Republic, One and Indivisible.” civil and political equality is more perfect ? ere, all simply, is the origin of that po- where every citizen enjoys a larger measure ical revolution, that within the past year of liberty ? Our chains are but the easy ones s a second time been violently forced of religion and good morals; our yoke but the on Switzerland. And as the contest has laws to which we have ourselves agreed. If en the same, so if the conservative can

in other states the people have much to desire, is in 1847 had wished to remonstrate Tell; with us, who have maintained the con

with us, at least, the children of William th the radicals, they could not have stitution he left us, without any change, and for ind better words or arguments where whose preservation we now appeal to you with h to defend the freedom and sovereignty all the energy that the consciousness of the their respective cantonal governments, most just cause inspires; with us, but one unanin were used by the same cantons against imous wish remains, and that is of remaining

incursions of French jacobinism, in subject to the government which Providence 18. On this account we will quote queathed to us.".

and the courage of our ancestors have bene sentences from the memorial of the

“We, the people of these countries, whose democratic cantons, Schwytz, Uri, Un- sovereignty you have so often promised to rewalden, Zug and Glaris, to the French spect, are ourselves the sovereigns of the can

tons; we elect and displace our magistrates as

we choose ; our councils are elected by the A brilliant political writer of European celebri- several districts, and our representatives are in bears not a name taken from the national lan: the truest manner the representatives of the se, originating itself without anterior delibera- people. "-De Maistre, Principe Generateur.

“Such, in the abstract, are the bases om


How, then, can you | liest acts of the Congress of the European wish to destroy our happiness, by breaking up powers assembled first in Paris, was the reour political organization? What motives can cognition of the independence of Switzeryou have for so doing, or how will it benefit land. Thereupon the ancient cantons of

the confederation instantly reclaimed their And on the same day, to the same Di- separate sovereignty, and measures were rectory, the people of Appenzell, St. taken at the earliest possible date, to reGall, Zaggenburg, Rheinthal, and Sargans, vive the league, with no other difference protested :

than that the states which had before been

dependencies of the ancient cantons were ... Why is it wished to democratize now either incorporated into one or another us? Is not our constitution sufficiently demo- of them, or were themselves erected into cratical ? Are not our people sole sovereign- sovereign confederates; so that in the net are they not their own they confederacy there should be twenty-two not choose their own magistrates, and that ac- independent sovereign cantons. In the cording to a representative system so well contrived that a better is not easy to conceive of ? first movements of the cantons towards These are facts which it is not possible to call renewing the league, Schwytz gave a fresh in doubt.”

proof of that profound political sagacity

that has almost entitled her to the charBut “la grande France," "la grande acter of a prophetic oracle. Uniting in ber nation,” and especially “les grands jaco- sentiments a portion of Unterwalden and bins,” like the empirics of our own day, Appenzell, she refused to unite in the a must needs “re-organize” a society that cient pact, as descrying within the other desired it so little. Something must be cantons a lawless and unfaithful principle. wrong with it, or it would admire their that would not scruple afterwards to abuse medicine. Ubi voluntas, ibi libertas ; and the tie of confederacy to the invasion therefore, when the will of jacobins and her cherished principles in politics and radicals is to demolish existing institutions, religion. The diet of the other cantees to oppress and plunder their neighbors, and none more loudly than Berne a and thus to make themselves rulers and Vaud, protested their good faith, and thus great men, if aught opposes their will, attachment to the time-honored and chery they are greatly grieved at the violence ished principle of the sovereign independe done to liberty.

ence of each canton in all things whatever It was a matter of course that the mo- relating to its internal affairs. Schers ment the force of external pressure was still declined concurrence, until by a seps removed from Switzerland, the Republic rate assurance of the great Europe one and indivisible of Cæsar de Lafarge powers, which were now continuing should fall amid popular execrations. Na- sittings of their Congress at Vienna in 18! poleon himself was obliged to confess, in it had received the solemn endorsement opposition to his earlier conduct, that the all Europe to the bond of the diet, thai. more he became acquainted with that change in this particular of cantonal fre country, the more convinced he was that dom should be made, at least without it could never continue under a single unanimous consent of every single canto government. And in 1802, Lord Hawkes- Upon this doubly guarantied provision bury, in an official note from Downing Schwytz and its companions descended street, declared, in the behalf of England, enter into a league, some of the parties that the crown looked upon the exertions which they could not profess to ested of the Swiss cantons “in no other light trustworthy. But their motive was word than as the lawful efforts of a brave and of them: it was not only in complica generous people to recover their ancient with the entreaties of some of the neares laws.autovernment, and to procure the re- cantons, with whom they sympathised

of a system which experience principles, but also, and chiefly, to be ed to be favorable to the to extend a protection greatly desirable 7 their domestic happi- Friburg, which was like them denoma

in politics and similar in religion, ani f Napoleon, one of the ear- geographically was in an isolated posi

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »