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soon disinterred, but very unfortunately, if they consumed away their lives by starvation. Those who were loy chance out of doors, were saved, yet not all, for some were swallowed in abysses which opened at their feet, and some were carried off by the retreating waters of the sea, and others were struck by heavy bodies, borne along by the tornado. Unhappiest were the survivors, for they looked on the ruins of their houses, under which lay their wives, their parents,
and their children. “ At the first shock, no sign in heaven or earth had given notice of the danger; but at the movement, and at the sight of the falling ruins, all minds were paralyzed, so that in the bewilderment of
very instinct of self-preservation was lost, and men stood astonished and immovable. When reason returned, the first feeling of those who had escaped, was a certain joy at their good fortune, but a transient joy, oppressed immediately by the thought of their families lost, of their houses destroyed; and among so many present shapes of death, and the fear of their last day near at hand, they were yet even more tormented with the idea that their friends might yet be alive under the ruins, and seeing the impossibility of aiding them, they were fain to hope, a wretched and fearful consolation, that they had perished. Many fathers and husbands were seen wandering about the ruins which they supposed covered the persons who were dear to them; they could not move the masses that lay over them; they would beg in vain for aid from the passers by, and at last lie down and groan night and day, upon the frag
“ But the saddest fate, beyond any description or any comprehension, was of those who, buried under the ruins, waited with anxious and doubtful hope for aid, and accused the slowness, the avarice, and the ingratitude of their friends, and those who, in life, had been most dear to them; and when exhausted with grief and fasting, and sense and memory giving way to stupor, they perished, the last sentiments that failed, were their indignation against their relations, and hatred to the human race. Many were disinterred by the zeal of friends, and some by the earthquake itself, which disturbed the first ruins it had made, and restored them to the light. When all the bodies were dug out, it was perceived that a quarter of the whole might have been saved, if assistance had been timely, and that the men had died in the act of laboring to clear away the ruins, but the women with their hands covering their faces, or desperately twisted in their hair; and mothers were found who, careless of themselves, had sheltered their children by arching their own bodies over them, or holding out their arms toward those objects of their love, where, hindered by the ruins, they could not come to them. Many new instances were collected of masculine courage and feminine affection. There was a child not yet weaned, taken out nearly dead, on the third day, which yet survived. A pregnant woman remained thirly hours under the
stones, and was released by the affectionate care of her husband; she bore a child a few days after, with which they lived many years in health. When she was asked what she thonght about, while buried up, she said, “I waited.” A girl of eleven was taken out the sixth day, and lived; another of sixteen, Eloisa Basili, remained eleven days, holding in her arms a little boy, who died on the fourth day, so that when taken out, his body was corrupted ; yet she could not release herself from it, being so closely bound in by the fragments around her. She counted the days by a little light which penetrated down through a chink.
“ Some instances of animal tenacity of life were more remarkable. Two mules lived under a mass of ruins, one twenty-two days, the other twenty-three; a fowl lived twenty-two days, and two asses that were buried lived thirty-two days. And these brutes, as well as the men, when restored to the light, exhibited a sort of stupid weakness, no desire of food, and an almost inextinguishable thirst, - ordinary effects of long fasting. Some of the men were restored to health and cheerfulness, others remained sad and sickly : and this difference was made by being succored before they had lost all hope, or after it was gone. The young Eloisa Basili, though beautiful, and living at ease in her master's house, and much sought for and admired for her adventure, never smiled during the remainder of her life. Those who were disinterred, when they were asked about their thoughts while underground, would state the things I have related, and then every one would add, · So much I remember, and then I fell asleep.' They did not live long : the sad Eloisa Basili died young, before she was twenty-five; she would not marry, nor take the veil as a nun; she loved to be alone, and to sit under a tree, out of sight of cities or houses; and if she saw a little boy, she would turn her eyes another way.
“ The aid to those who were buried was slow, but not by fault of their friends or of the people; for even in the time of
Calabrian earthquake, men are, as always, rather good than bad, yet with some examples of profound wickedness, and some of heroic virtue. A rich man excavated the ruins of his house till he found bis money, which he took, and then desisted, though he left beneath the ground, perhaps still living, his uncle, his brother, and his wife. Two brothers had disputed a rich succession, and, as it happens in family quarrels, were much exasperated against each other. Andrew was buried in his house ; Vincenzo inherited the patrimony in question, but anxious and restless, he thought only of releasing his brother, and succeeded in getting him out alive. The magistrates were hardly re-established in their offices, when the ungrateful Andrew, refusing all propositions of compromise, renewed the law-suit, which he lost."
Colletta's want of practical skill as an author is visible enough in certain parts of this extract. He wants the tact
of distribution and art of continuity in his incident, and misses therefore much effect, which a coquettish writer for a magazine would not have failed to have brought out. considering here, for instance, the state of mind and sufferings of those who were buried alive, he gives you the instances among which you find the beginning of the story of Eloisa Basili; another portion comes in to exemplify the effect on their feelings after they were saved; and a third and last, when he speaks of their having lived in general but a few years after their escape. He was thinking of the principles, and not of what might be made out of the incidents. But in his political and military narrations, the mornentum of his subject-matter keeps up his continuity ; and though he never loses sight of principles, but on the contrary refers to them constantly, and discusses them ably and freely, and above all impartially, yet he does not allow himself, as here, to throw all that was said and done into mere corollaries. With due allowance for a reasonably good command of language, a clear head, and a full knowledge of his subject, we may attribute Colletta's success, his high and just reputation as a historian, in a very great degree to this - that in describing scenes in which he had been active, parties with which his own passions and interests had been bound up, and men who had been his personal friends or bitter enemies, who had done him great benefits or injuries, he kept his eye fixed on Truth. Under her behests he questioned his memory and his judgment ; at her command he passed sentence of condemnation on many things he wished to believe; but at the same time he was enabled to fix in the eyes of the world and of posterity an enduring stigma on those characters and dogmas which reason, liberty, and humanity unite to execrate and condemn.
Art. VII. — History of the Peninsular War. By ROBERT
SOUTHEY, LL.D., Poet-Laureat, etc. New Edition, in Six Volumes. London: 1838. John Murray.
In Napoleon Bonaparte we have a striking exception to the truth of the maxim, that “the evil men do lives aster them.” So strong a glare has been thrown around bin, by his splendid genius and his brilliant successes, that men's eyes have been blinded to his true character, and the crimes and cruelties by which he obtained, and for a time secured bis triumphs, have been lost sight of, in the admiration for the mighiy results effected by his unparalleled power and ambition. The monuments which an admiring age has raised to his glory and greatness, speak only of his martial exploits and his grand achievements; they say nothing of the vast amount of human misery which it cost to make ihis one man great. For the most part, the pen of the historian also has lent itself to perpetuate the deception and the flattery, but, in a few instances, it has, on the other hand, dared to record the truth. Of this latter class, and pre-eminently distinguished in its class, is the work whose title is written in our rubric. Its recent reprint has furnished us an occasion for calling our readers' attention to it; and we assure them, that it will richly repay them for the time they may bestow upon its perusal. It recommends itself by every requisite of a good history; fidelity, learning, deep insight into the character of the people described, sound judgment, inpartiality, and a conscious sense of responsibility in the writer, and an admirable historical style. It is not, however, our purpose to enter minutely into the merits of the book, but to fill up our allotted space with a consideration of its principal subject, especially in a moral point of view, and to that we pass at once.
Bonaparte was the proper result of the French revolution and its principles; yet, inasmuch as those principles were nominally free, and tended to overthrow the old tyranny of established order, there was found a party in England to echo them across the channel. The views and feelings of this party were, of course, adopted on this side of the Atlantic. “As a general rule, our notions of European politics are second-hand, and we naturally prefer those which bear the stamp of “liberal.” Thus, the Emperor of the French
having been associated by no indirect chain of ideas, with republicanism and hostility to the old aristocracy, it became a part of our political creed to make an idol of one before whom legitimacy had been compelled to bend the knee.
We are no friends to that furious republicanism which cannot rest in peace until thrones and principalities, all over the world, are displaced by popular governments, no matter how. Kings may be unjustly dethroned, and subjects, in their rebellion, sin against Him, by whom kings reign. We wrong our republicanism, by acting as if it taught us a different lesson ; for thus we array against it the facts of history, and the deductions of reason, and the declarations of the word of God. So rapid of late has been the growth of radicalism in our land, and so busy and artful have demagogues been in nursing it, that a falsehood so great as this, has become almost an essential part of our republican creed.
It is but one of the manifestations of this error, to feel kindly towards the usurping governments that succeeded the old French monarchy. Even the last form of Bonaparte's authority, when all the powers of government were centred in himself, and exercised at the promptings of a bad ambition, meets either downright approval or faint condemnation, because there is supposed to be something popular even in his worst usurpations. In like manner are his followers regarded. They were of common origin, and acquired all their renown in contending against long-constituted power, and, therefore, we take sides with them and their master, and are deaf to all the arguments of outraged humanity. Now, such sympathy is surely no more worthy of our respect, than that silly admiration which is caught by military fame, and that criminal idolatry which worships intellect. If these furnish us with no excuse for not measuring Bonaparte and his generals by the Christian's standard of morality, neither does that. An imagined identity, or similarity, or consanguinity of political views, ought to influence our judgment no more than great talents or great success. If we find that they really have influence, an endeavor, however feeble, to counteract them, is praiseworthy labor. Such an endeavor we purpose making in a brief and necessarily imperfect examination of the morality of the French during the Peninsular war, in which we shall not pretend to complete impartiality; for though we have no prejudices that would lead us
NO. XVI.-VOL. VIII.