Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

The pernicious policy of WILLIAM PITT, involves no less certain ruin to the proud pre-eminence of Britain's Glory, if not counteracted by a timely recurrence to those sounder maxims which he advocated in the dawn of his career.

The body of OCTAVIUS CESAR was carried to the funeral pile, on the shoulders of Roman Senators, statues were raised to his memory, and divine honors were decreed to his remains.

The obsequies of WILLIAM PITT were no less publicly performed, statues still commemorate his achievements, and his principles are idly cherished by selfish or infatuated par

tizans.

OCTAVIUS CESAR, however, when he abandoned the cause of the republic, united with the adherents of his own family, against the men by whom his uncle had been publicly assassinated.

But WILLIAM PITT, by a more flagrant dereliction of principle, entered into the closest alliance with the political enemies of his father, against his own most early and disinterested friends.

OCTAVIUS CESAR also, when he attained the object of his ambition, became the patron of literature and the arts; whilst men of liberal and enlarged minds, who had strenuously opposed his advancement, by their genius and acquirements conferred real splendor on his Imperial Court.

WILLIAM PITT, however, in the plenitude of his power, regardless of all liberal patronage, allowed the merits and services of his early friends to be forgotten, amidst the promotion of men, by whom his dawning efforts had been most contemptuously opposed.

The sanguinary and perfidious measures, which marked the early progress of OCTAVIUS CESAR, no longer sullied his conduct on the attainment of the sovereign power; and after a long and prosperous administration of the Government, he left ROME the mistress of surrounding nations, in the enjoyment of a stable peace.

The cold calculating policy of WILLIAM PITT, on the contrary, was protracted to the close of his career; for, with the infatuated wish to check the progress of public reformation, he involved his country in a most disastrous war; and after contributing largely to the subjugation of Europe, like another Phaeton, incompetent to guide the chariot of his father,

he perished amidst the conflagrations, which he had so rashly caused.

OCTAVIUS CESAR, therefore, having been proclaimed AuGUSTUS, by the general voice of his country, has been honored with the eulogy of some of the most distinguished writers of his own and each succeeding age.

But WILLIAM PITT, having no corresponding claims to the applause of the historian and the poet, however flattered by his adherents, as a heaven-born Minister, or the Saviour of his country, will be more justly appreciated by posterity, as the bane of Europe, and the chief destroyer of his country's weal.

Whilst, therefore, in the fortune and character of these two men, the similarity at times appears so striking, the equally marked contrast is by no means favorable to the character of William Pitt.'

NICOLA RIENZI-NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE.

NICOLA RIENZI, surmounting the disadvantages of birth, by the assiduous cultivation of his talents, was roused to lament the fall of ancient Rome with enthusiasm, by studying her history and eloquence in the writings of Cicero and Livy.

NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE, more indebted to education than to family, was excited to emulate the fame of ancient heroes, by familiarising his mind to their actions, so forcibly described by Plutarch.

[ocr errors]

RIENZI, distinguished by his eloquence at an early age, had been advantageously employed in the civil service of his country, before he was called upon by the public voice to take the lead in measures of redress.

BUONAPARTE'S military talents had been successfully displayed in a rapid career of conquest, before he was looked up to as a Statesman, qualified to direct the councils of his country in arduous times.

The arrogance and corruption of the Roman Nobles, had excited a general disgust; and, in pointing out the crimes and

'Plutarch: Vita. Antonii. Taciti Annales, l. 1. §§. 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 10. II. § 3. III. §. 5, 6. Suetonii Vita Augusti. Parliamentary History, 1780-1806. State Trials, Court Calendar, &c.

[ocr errors]

1

follies of their rulers, RIENZI had taught the people, under his auspices, to look forward to the restoration of the good

estate.'

The tyranny and peculation of the French Directors, had produced reverses which destroyed their influence; whilst Buonaparte, by his former successes, having dazzled the minds of the people, he was hailed as the harbinger of returning victory and renown.

A well managed conspiracy transferred to RIENZI, the supreme direction of affairs; whilst the countenance of the Pope's Vicar gave strength to his authority, as sanctioned by the Holy See.

A successful attack on the public functionaries, placed BUONAPARTE at the head of the GOVERNMENT; whilst the alliance of the Pope, and of hereditary rulers, was not long withheld.

With the modest title of TRIBUNE, RIENZI long maintained his sovereign power, enacting the most salutary laws for the administration of justice, and enforcing his authority by a regular and permanent force.

Under the successive titles of FIRST CONSUL and EMPEROR, BUONAPARTE long asserted an unbounded sway; and after the arrangement of a Code of Laws, at once simple and comprehensive, maintained his power with equal vigor and effect.

Without the fear of sacrilege, RIENZI applied the treasures of the Apostolic chamber to the public service, and by a judicious economy, improved the finances of the State.

BUONAPARTE seized the treasures of surrounding nations with unsparing hands; and, without bearing severely on the industry of his own people, maintained a long series of expensive wars.

RIENZI received the oath of fidelity from the several orders of society; and, boasting that he had delivered the throne and patrimony of St. Peter, had his title publicly confirmed by the Pope.

BUONAPARTE'S sovereignty was also sanctioned by a great majority of the people; and when he had secured their acquiescence in the succession of his family, he was crowned by

Il buon stato, the ancient free Government of Rome.

the Pope, and received as a son-in-law, by the Emperor Francis II.

Under the Government of RIENZI, justice was impartially administered at ROME; and, as birth and privilege afforded no protection to offenders, robbery ceased, agriculture florished, and trade revived.

In FRANCE and ITALY, during the dominion of BUONAPARTE, a strict administration of justice was enforced; and, as all feudal exemptions and odious monopolies had been abolished by the revolution, agriculture florished, crimes decreased, and the condition of the people was improved.

Hence RIENZI was celebrated by Petrarca, as the deliverer of his country, and regarded as the reviver of her good estate.

Hence also BUONAPARTE was by some proclaimed the champion of freedom, and revered as a defender of the people's rights.

But RIENZI, more eloquent than judicious, more enterprising than resolute, was devoid of cool commanding reason; and, as prudence could never have erected, it did not fortify his throne.

The mind of Buonaparte was more vigorous and active, than comprehensive and enlarged; and, with talents "to fight his way to the summit of human greatness," he wanted the rarer gift, to preserve his equilibrium, when the giddy eminence was attained.

The sonorous epithets of NICOLA, the severe and merciful Deliverer of Rome, Defender of Italy, Friend of Mankind, of Peace and Justice, which RIENZI arrogated, were altogether inconsistent with the ancient style of the office which he bore.

Nor were the titles of NAPOLEON THE GREAT, Emperor of France, King of Italy, Preserver of the Confederation of the Rhine, or the inflated language of BUONAPARTE's eulogists, less incompatible with his early conduct, as the champion of a republic, where all titles were formally proscribed.

RIENZI, deviating from the rules of frugality and abstemiousness, provoked the plebeians by his luxury, and magnificence in dress; whilst without acquiring the majesty, he degenerated into the vices of a king.

BUONAPARTE, disdaining the rigid maxims of republican economy, attempted to dazzle by splendid establishments

and magnificent exhibitions; emulating the extravagance of hereditary rulers, without inheriting their exemption from censure and distrust.

[ocr errors]

RIENZI, ambitious of the honors of chivalry, became as odious to the people, whom he deserted, as he already was to the Nobles, whom he adopted on receiving the order of the Holy Spirit.

BUONAPARTE, aspiring after royal distinctions, forfeited the confidence of the republicans whom he abandoned, without gaining the friendship of those Sovereigns, whose alliance he anxiously sought.

RIENZI, at a splendid banquet, silencing the Vicar's feeble protest, dined alone at a table reserved for the Supreme Pontiff, where he displayed seven crowns, representing the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

BUONAPARTE sat covered with a velvet hat and feather, in a congress of bare-headed Sovereigns, when entertaining at Paris the assembled Princes of the Confederation of the Rhine.

The fame and fortunes of RIENZI were diffused in every quarter of the world; and the deliverance of Rome inspiring him with the idea of uniting Italy into one federative republic, he was encouraged by the countenance of foreign Ministers, and the concurrence of the smaller States.

The celebrity of BUONAPARTE resounded through every portion of the globe; and the complete discomfiture of the allied armies, inducing him to melt down various independent States into one tremendous military Empire, the leading powers of continental Europe successively acquiesced in his schemes.

RIENZI Summoned the Pope and Cardinals to return to Rome, from Avignon; two pretending Emperors, Charles of Bohemia, and Louis of Bavaria, with the Electors of Germany, to say on what pretence they usurped the rights of the Roman people; and, brandishing his sword to the three quarters of -the world, declared-this is mine.

BUONAPARTE deprived the Pope of his temporal authority, and two rival kings of Spain of their dominions; compelled the House of Austria to relinquish the sovereignty of the Ger:man Empire; and, after carrying his arms into various parts of Europe, arrogantly presumed to dictate to the whole."

« AnteriorContinuar »