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p. 28.

“ He was confined in an airy convent at Pescia, and the means of writing were not denied him; he had permission to search the library of the monks, and, with this condition, imprisonment would not have appeared hard, if the health of his mother had not failed from vexations and anxiety. Examinations had not been able to produce a single charge against him, but still his promised enlargement was deferred from day to day, from month to month ; this feverish expectation wore out the strength of Madame de Sismondi. With gay and gentle chat her son endeavoured to divert her grief.

66 • You do not know the history,' wrote he, of one of your English notes, found when they took away my pens and ink, and carried to the commandant, then to the vicar, who each did their utmost to find some learned philologist who could explain it. At last an abbé presented himself; but in vain had he recourse to the dictionary ; understanding nothing of this conjuring book, he ended by declaring himself too orthodox to decipher the writing of a woman. Then they sent to Pistoia ; the gentle. men translators could not understand how writing in English could only be about my dinner and my supper ; in short, they understood nothing about it, because they wished to understand too much.'”

The mother of Sismondi had naturally enough conceived a strong prejudice against the principles of the French Revolution, the assumed regard for political freedom and the rights of man, which had caused her so much suffering. “ She could not forget that it was the inroad of new ideas which had exiled her from her country, that a republican soldier had nearly killed her son before her eyes, that it was in the name of liberty that her guest, her friend, had been shot, almost in her presence.” Her son remonstrated and argued against this indiscriminate censure of a great cause on account of the unworthy conduct of those who advocated and upheld it; and his letters on this subject certainly lost none of their force from the circumstance that they came from the depths of an Austrian prison.

6. If you could say, These are tyrants, monsters, Frenchmen; they only do what it is their business to do; injustice triumphs, it is the lot of human kind; virtue will have its turn, you would console yourself,' wrote Charles to his mother. But no, these are the favorites of your heart, those whom you so ardently wished for, those from whom you expected so many benefits, who deceive you with so much cruelty. You do not know how to reconcile your opinions, your feelings, and your sufferings ; and till you are convinced that there is neither honor, justice, virtue, nor happiness for a country except in freedom, and that a counter-revolution is a hundred times worse than a revolution, you will doubly suffer.'

“Do not blaspheme philosophy,' he again writes, for she is gentle and consoling, and religion still more so.

The sermon I read to-day enchanted me; the text was, “ The works of the wicked are deceitful.” I read it in Italian to my priest, and I do not think the words have lost any thing of their eloquence, it is become so easy to me to translate as I read.'

pp. 28, 29.

66 the

We know nothing of the circumstances which caused Sismondi, while in Tuscany, to be repeatedly imprisoned by both parties ; on this point, as on many others, the information afforded by M. Mignet's eulogy of him before the French Academy, and by the extracts from the unpublished memoir of his life and labors, is provokingly imperfect. He was the last person, we should suppose, to engage willingly in political agitations and conspiracies. He liked the quiet of a country life, his tastes were literary and refined, and at no period of his subsequent career did he ever betray the disposition of a demagogue, a seeker of court favor, or a revolutionist. But he was frank and decided in the expression of his opinions, and, refusing to side entirely with either party, was probably unreserved in his condemnation of both. · I am accused of no fact,” he writes ; witnesses have only their opinions to allege.” The following passages are taken from notes written in English, with a

pencil, and sent secretly to his mother, while he was in prison, in January, 1796 :

“Do you still blaspheme the noble English liberty, the habeas corpus, the trial by jury, and fixed laws ? Even the poor copy which the French have preserved of them would shelter us from the injustice under which I am suffering, if we were in France.”

“ I am not a Frenchman, I do not approve their actions nor their government, [at this time he had been arrested by the French party,] but I adhere more firmly than ever to the opinion, that without liberty there is neither honor, nor justice, nor virtue, nor happiness, and that a counter-revolution is still worse than the revolution which preceded it. I am not a friend to democracy, but I should be ashamed to call myself an aristocrat,

-p. 29.

and to bear this name in common with the lower nobility of Pes. cia.”

And again he writes :

“ As to politics, I would say little. My opinions on liberty are too steady ever to change : as to the French, what they make me suffer will not make me think worse of them, nor will it ever make me think better of kings and their satel. lites.” — p. 30.

After 1797, it does not appear that Sismondi was ever again molested on account of his political opinions, and the rest of his life presents but few incidents besides those which usually mark the career of a person devoted constantly to literary and scientific pursuits. But his turn of mind was not that merely of a recluse scholar, uninterested in what was passing around him, and busied only with abstract speculations and the history and literature of the past. On the contrary, his studies and successive publications all had a practical aim ; even his researches in history, which absorbed so much of his attention, were undertaken only with a view to investigate the causes which affect the present condition of mankind, and to elucidate the political and social economy of states by the experience of former ages. He was no dreamer, no mere enthusiast, though he retained to the last the generous sympathies, the quick and warm-hearted benevolence, which were first developed in the political fancies of his boyhood ; he was constantly in search of the means of eradicating vice and misery from the community, and of providing for the comfort and independence, the general well-being, of all classes in society. The spirit of a comprehensive and judicious philanthropy is the characteristic feature of all his writings, and gives them an interest far beyond that of the subjects of which they respectively treat.

In 1796, the year after his removal to Italy, Sismondi began his Inquiries into the Constitutions of Free Nations, a task which occupied most of his time for five years, though it was never completed or published. The subject at that time had unusual interest, as the French had hardly ceased making experiments upon it on a grand scale at Paris, and some of the strongest heads in Europe and America were still affected, through their hopes and fears as to the result of these trials, with a sort of political delirium. Sober goodsense, a great aversion to extremes, and much historical research, the fruits of which were skilfully applied to illustrate and confirm his doctrines, were displayed in the only portions of this extensive work which ever saw the light; that is, in some political essays which were published in 1836, as the first volume of his Studies in the Social Sciences. His original design was very comprehensive. “In the first two books were contained the exposition of my principles of liberty and government, in the third the analysis of the British constitution, in the fourth that of the French republic, in the fifth the ancient constitutions of Spain, in the sixth those of the Italian republics ; the four following, on Sweden, Poland, the Hanseatic towns, and the United States of America, were scarcely sketched out.”

." We

We may well suppose that a person engaged in such speculations became an object of suspicion to the despotic government of Austria, then wrestling with the athletic young democracy of France for the preservation of her power in Italy. But her fears were unfounded; so temperate an exhibition of political doctrine, not gilded by rhetorical ornament or fervid declamation, nor seasoned by appeals to popular prejudices, need not have alarıned either the legitimatists or the radicals. Sismondi would have been too soon, by at least a quarter of a century, in setting forth his calm and philosophical view of the matter; it was well that the publication even of a part was deferred till the storm had subsided.

The labor bestowed on this unpublished work, in one respect at least, was not without results ; it gave a new direction to his studies, and finally led him to undertake one of the two great histories with which his name is inseparably connected. In 1798, he writes, “ My inquiries into the constitutions of the Italian republics obliged me to study their history, and from this period are dated my endeavours to become master of it, and my resolution to write it.”

But his appearance before the public as the historian of the Italian republics was still long delayed from the difficulty of finding a publisher, and from the extent and intricacy of the inquiries which formed the necessary preliminaries to so great an undertaking. Meanwhile, his pen was not idle, and his thoughts recurred to those great problems in the social condition of man which were ever the leading objects of his attention. His taste and feelings ever inclined more to political and economand to bear this name in common with the lower nobility of Pes.

cia.”

- p. 29.

And again he writes :

“ As to politics, I would say little. My opinions on liberty are too steady ever to change : as to the French, what they make me suffer will not make me think worse of them, nor will it ever make me think better of kings and their satellites." - p. 30.

After 1797, it does not appear that Sismondi was ever again molested on account of his political opinions, and the rest of his life presents but few incidents besides those which usually mark the career of a person devoted constantly to literary and scientific pursuits. But his turn of mind was not that merely of a recluse scholar, uninterested in what was passing around him, and busied only with abstract speculations and the history and literature of the past.

On the contrary, his studies and successive publications all had a practical aim ; even his researches in history, which absorbed so much of his attention, were undertaken only with a view to investigate the causes which affect the present condition of mankind, and to elucidate the political and social economy of states by the experience of former ages. He was no dreamer, no mere enthusiast, though he retained to the last the generous sympathies, the quick and warm-hearted benevolence, which were first developed in the political fancies of his boyhood ; he was constantly in search of the means of eradicating vice and misery from the community, and of providing for the comfort and independence, the general well-being, of all classes in society. The spirit of a comprehensive and judicious philanthropy is the characteristic feature of all his writings, and gives them an interest far beyond that of the subjects of which they respectively treat.

În 1796, the year after his removal to Italy, Sismondi began his Inquiries into the Constitutions of Free Nations, a task which occupied most of his time for five years, though it was never completed or published. The subject at that time had unusual interest, as the French had hardly ceased making experiments upon it on a grand scale at Paris, and some of the strongest heads in Europe and America were still affected, through their hopes and fears as to the result of these trials, with a sort of political delirium. Sober good

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