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that is given of his death, has no tendency to diminish our partiality. It is recorded by Abulfazi and other native historians, that in the year after these Memoirs cease, Hûmâiûn, the beloved son of Baber, was brought to Agra in a state of the most miserable health:
“ When all hopes from medicine were over, and while several men of skill were talking to the emperor of the melancholy situation of his son, Abul Baka, a personage highly venerated for his knowledge and piety, remarked to Baber, that in such a case the Almighty had sometimes vouchsafed to receive the most valuable thing possessed by one friend, as an offering in exchange for the life of another. Baber, exclaiming that, of all things, his life was dearest to Hûmâiûn, as Hûmâiûn's was to him, and that, next to the life of Hûmâiûn, his own was what he most valued, devoted his life to Heaven as a sacrifice for his son's! The noblemen around him entreated him to retract the rash vow, and, in place of his first offering, to give the diamond taken at Agra, and reckoned the most valuable on earth : that the ancient sages had said, that it was the dearest of our worldly possessions alone that was to be offered to Heaven. But he persisted in his resolution, declaring that no stone, of whatever value, could be put in competition with his life. He three times walked round the dying prince, a solemnity similar to that used in sacrifices and heave-offerings, and retiring, prayed earnestly to God. After some time he was heard to exclaim, * I have borne it away! I have borne it away! The Musulman historians assure us, that Hûmâiûn almost immediately began to recover, and that, in proportion as he recovered, the health and strength of Baber visibly decayed. Baber communicated his dying instructions to Khwajeh Khalifeh, Kamber Ali Beg, Terdi Beg, and Hindu Beg, who were then at Court, commending Hûmâiîn to their protection. With that unvarying affection for his family, which he showed in all the circumstances of his life, he strongly besought Hûmâiûn to be kind and forgiving to his brothers. Hûmâiûn promised, and, what in such circumstances is rare, kept his promise."
Art. III. Memorie Venete di Giovanni Gallicioli, prete,
per la nuova Collegione di documenti per servire alla Storia Veneziana Venezia, 1826.
As the new collection of materials for the
history of Venice, which is here announced, has not yet been completely published, we know not how much of Gallicioli's work it will prise. We happen to have in our possession, however, a complete copy of that elaborate work; and are strongly tempted to introduce it to the knowledge of our readers, as it is, we believe,
in very few hands, and we do not think it probable that they will meet with any account of it elsewhere. So little indeed is it known, that even M. Daru, whose laborious researches, perhaps, no other documents have escaped, neither refers to it in the body of his work, nor names it in the list of the books he consulted. The author was long Greek professor in Venice; and published his voluminous work on the antiquities of that city in 1795-6; soon after which he died at an advanced age.
His researches are neither directed by a spirit of philosophy, nor pursued with a view to support any political system or party. Neither the character of his mind, indeed, nor his habits or taste in composition, seem to have fitted him for any higher task than that of investigating and compiling the most minute, and apparently the most insignificant matters of fact. In the discharge of this task, however, he is indefatigable and exact. He takes care to inform us, for instance, how many hundred candles were burnt round the coffin of a citizen in the year 958; what description of stuffs the daughter of another brought her husband as a dower in the year 867, and what was the nature and course of the nuptial festivities; what was the ordinary diet of the people; what variety of the Venetian dialect was at that time current among them, and what again was the style afterwards adopted by Marco Polo and those merchants who gratified the curiosity, and awakened the wonder of their fellow citizens, by the relation of their adventures in Arabia and Persia. He quotes and expounds the remains of monumental inscriptionsstill existing in the churches of Venice, and transcribes marriage-articles registered by ancient notaries, and fragments of the account-books and ledgers of the earliest merchants of Venice. His great merit, however, is, that he was not deterred by the profound obscurity which covered the history of Venice for nearly ten centuries; but plunged without fear, and laboured without disgust, in an abyss in which he had no professed guide, and but few accidental assistants.
The earliest of her annalists is not older than the end of the thirteenth, or beginning of the fourteenth centuries: But the minute facts, of an anterior date, which Gallicioli has rescued from oblivion, are like lamps, which, though dim and feeble, yet enable us, by their number and arrangement, to find our way through the thick darkness which surrounds us. Thus, the magnificent obsequies of a private citizen afford some indication of the general wealth of the republic: The marriage ceremonies and festivities illustrate the domestic and national manners; while the account-books throw a still stronger and steadier light, both on the state of the language in this most ancient of Italian cities, and on the extent of her commerce, and the character of her citizens, in an age when they were at once merchants and soldiers, travellers and conquerors. From these materials, trivial as they at first sight appear, we derive most valuable information for determining our judgment of that proud and singular Democracy, which, with progressive modifications, and through sanguinary vicissitudes, subsisted in the republie for nearly a thousand years.
We shall now endeavour to lay before our readers a rapid survey of this constitution, from its origin, in the beginning of the fourth century, to its subversion by the Aristocracy, at the beginning of the fourteenth.
An accurate knowledge of these memorable institutions, of the circumstances in which they originated, and the corruptions into which they passed, must appear the more desirable and curious, when it is considered, that as this remarkable state arose before the empire of Rome was swept away, endured through the barbarism of the northern irruptions, and was finally extinguished within our own times, its history forms a connecting chain-we believe the only one that can now be traced-between the Europe of the Romans, of the middle ages, and of modern history! It is as if we were questioning the sole survivor of these great and overwhelming revolutions, and inquiring into the habits and constitution of a yet living antediluvian.
But, independently of this consideration, the mere fact that this state preserved its independence for fourteen hundred years, would offer ample inducements to investigate the cause of a political longevity without a parallel in the annals of human society: And the curiosity which this phenomenon is calculated toexcite, is further increased by the recollection, that Venice owed its existence to a handful of fugitives, who sought shelter among the rocks and marshes of the Adriatic; that her power rose to a formidable height with astonishing rapidity, while her commercial prosperity kept pace with her power, and soon reached a pitch unknown to the greatest states of antiquity; and that this double power, maintained almost without interruption for nearly eleven centuries, declined at last, not from any principle or accident of internal decay, but through the unavoidable influence of extrinsic events, which surrounded her with formidable rivals, or raised up against her new and irresistible enemies. The invasion of her possessions and colonies in the Levant and the Mediterranean by the new-sprung power of the Turks; the maritime expeditions of the Portuguese, and their consequent trade with India- the discovery of America- the powerful military establishments set on foot by all the monarchs of Europe, and the occupation of a great part of Italy by one or other of them, all combined to rob Venice of her supremacy, and to beset her with growing dangers.
But however unlooked for were these events, and however irresistible their nearly simultaneous operation, though they unavoidably abridged the power and undermined the greatness of the Republic, they were not necessarily inconsistent with the maintenance of her independence. They coincided, however, in point of time, with the gradual subversion of her Popular institutions—the mainspring of her internal prosperity, and of her former influence in Europe. The pomp and splendour, however, of her latter days still remained unimpaired; and for more than three centuries after these events, her new constitution underwent no change; and after being so long stationary in appearance, though in fact verging to decay, the last seventy years of her political existence were passed in profound peace.
This state of things would doubtless have continued, had not the mighty shocks of that revolution which has agitated nations and overthrown monarchies of much greater strength, combined with her own decrepitude to hasten her dissolution. In that mighty convulsion, she fell—unresisting, and almost unnoticed.
What were the peculiarities of the government and the people, who could thus maintain their independence and substantial prosperity for a period so much beyond the ordinary duration of separate and especially small nations, has never been very satisfactorily explained. Her history has been attempted, with various degrees of fidelity and talent, by many native and some foreign authors; but the documents most essential to the inquiry were, by the very laws of the Republic, long concealed among the mysteries of the State Inquisition; and we may form some notion of the difficulty of obtaining any accurate knowledge of her internal affairs, when we recollect that even Cardinal Bembo, though a patrician of Venice, a zealous champion of her fame, and the most distinguished writer of his time, could not overcome the jealousy excited by his connexion with the Court of Rome. His native city, indeed, appointed him her historiographer, but denied him access to her archives.* His work is
* We learn this fact from a writer who was at once Doge and historian of the literature of the Republic :
"Se la storia del Bembo paresse a taluno un po' troppo asciutta, e vi desiderasse ricercati più a fondo i nascosti pensieri de' Principi, è da sapere
per essere il Bembo uomo di Chiesa, e però non partecipe del Governo, gli fu chiuso l'adito ai pubblici archivi; onde penuriò di consequently without spirit or anthority, and remarkable rather for an ostentatious display of a classical style, than for the clear statements and fearless devotion to truth which should characterise a historian. Accordingly, it is not read,—and, in fact, is not readable.
The archives, containing the more important secrets of the state, were, for the first time, disclosed, at the fall of the Republic, by the French; when, among those who eagerly explored that chaos of interminable documents, no one laboured with so much zeal and discernment as M. Daru. His history, accordingly, possesses very high merits, though combined with many defects, some of which we shall now endeavour to supply. In particular, he does not appear to have perceived that the State Inquisition insinuated itself into the very vitals of a constitution previously free, and resting on the two great principles of hatred to monarchy, and jealousy of all political dependence upon, or even close connexion with, any other people. In this point of view, the history of the ten centuries of the Venetian Democracy acquires a new and most important interest for the philosopher as well as for the statesman. If we should ever continue our dissertations beyond that epoch, M. Daru shall certainly be our historical leader, as his industry, learning, and sagacity, well entitle him to be. But with regard to this earlier period, and the first rudiments of that State Inquisition, which gives its character to all later transactions, we cannot adopt him as our guide.
That the seeds of this all-powerful and most despotical tribunal were sown in the very foundations of the Venetian constitution, and were striking their roots, deeply, though in secret, for the first ten centuries of its existence, had long been our impression and belief, though resting upon little else than the general character of the people and the course of the government. Recent discoveries, however, have turned these impressions into certainty; and the facts and documents now brought to light have sufficiently cleared up this important part of its story.
Detestation of the government of one man, and an inflexible determination to remain a separate and distinct people, were, as we have already said, the two principles by which the Venetians were guided from their birth as a nation, and upon which they
notizie, e fu costretto a cercarle alla meglio da memorie private. Di che molto si duole egli medesimo, particolarimente in una lettera a Giambattista Rannusio, Segretario del Consiglio di Dieci."-Foscarini, Litteratura Venezia, lib. 3.