Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

which it causes is equally felt by rich and correspondence between princes and genepoor. It is in every one's mouth ; and rals afforded, most naturally suggested the the stranger is no less annoyed by its in importance of such an engine in matters of quisitiveness regarding himself, than he internal police; and in the Flemish intrigues, is surprised at the lamblike submissive

and the Milan conspiracies, in the time of ness and fear which it universally in- Joseph the Second, it already appeared in spires."

full and successful operation.

“The "Turn and Taxis' post, which had In times of popular disturbance or

its central bureau at Vienna, was presided revolution, these agents are peculiarly over at first by a plenipotentiary secret serviceable to the state, in denouncing counsellor,' and, under the reign of Joseph the leading men of the opposition for al the Second, was connected with the police leged crimes; in discovering the secret of the city, and with the most secret cabinet intentions of political clubs, or inventing of the Einperor, and its operations brought them where none exists; in fomenting to great perfection by his prime minister, discords among the insurgents, to whom

Kaunitz they profess to belong; in getting up pre

“Later, it was called the “Chiffre Cabitences of plots for the massacre of certain

net,' and had its bureau in the Imperial citizens; and in creating disgust in the

Palace, in that portion of the building frontminds of moderate men, by menacing vio

ing the Joseph's Place, known as the Stalllence, or exaggerating the designs of re

burg.' The principal post in Vienna closed

in the evening, most punctually, at seven publicans and socialists. More than half

o'clock, and the letter-bags apparently started the bloody conspiracies with which the

off, but they were with great rapidity congovernment papers teem, during heated veyed to the 'Chiffre Cabinet,' in the Stallpolitical dissensions, are the pure invention burg. of the police, who thereby frighten timid “Here, by the assistance of a large numand conservative souls into reaction. ber of clerks (who, composed of two sets,

It has been no unusual thing for these worked both night and day), the corresmercenaries to irritate the working people pondence of ambassadors, bankers, foreign into actual outbreak, or to gather nume

agents, and any letters calculated to exeite rous bands of felons, to commit violence

suspicion, were quickly selected from the and crimes, in order that the government

mass, and with great circumspection opened, might get the credit, in suppressing them,

examined, and copied, a proceeding which

lasted usunlly until midnight, but frequently of having saved society from disorder and

until daylight, when the mail at length anarchy. Louis Napoleon has been a

started in truth, upon its destination. large dealer in this kind of salvation.

“The lives of the officers and clerks in (7.) But no branch of this hidden surveil

this department must have been truly delance is more execrable than that which

plorable. Although well remunerated, they exists in the post-offices of some of the were, indeed, but little better than state despotic governments. Letters are sup prisoners. They were so strictly watched by posed, even in semi-barbarous nations, to the police, that the minutest matters of pripossess somewhat of a sacred and inviola vate conduct and character were familiarly ble character, while among civilized men,

known. How they lived, what they exthey are like the confidential whispers of

pended, where they went, who visited them friend to friend, or the profoundest do

and their families; in short, all that they mestic communion of man and wife. There

said or did were matters with which the

police was at all times perfectly cognizant. is many a villain who would eagerly rob

“By the intense application necessary to a sanctuary, who would yet hesitate about

the unravelling of diplomatic ciphers, and breaking a seal. But what barbarians

which was carried on with great succese, and rascals are loath to do, is a part of many of their principal adepts lost their the regular machinery of government in minds. But the most serious ills under despotic states. They force their sub which they labored, says the historian, were jects to intrust correspondence to their the injuries to conscience in the commission offices, and then pry into it to find motives of perjury and forgery, which in the course for some petty persecution against their of their duties they were not unfrequently liberty and peace. What double atro compelled to undergo. Hormeyer, the able city! Mr. Stiles, in his work on Austria,

historian of Austria, and for a long time where this infamous system is more sys

keeper of the Imperial archives in Vienna, tematically pursued than elsewhere, has a

after a quarrel with the Austrian officials,

entered, in the same capacity, the service of most interesting history of the practice.

Bavaria, and there, in his last works, writ

ten but a few years since, he exposes all the "The first regular post established in Cen details of this iniquitous procedure, which, tral Europe, that of the 'Turn and Taxis,' but for that circunstance, might have rewas distinguished by such a system of espio mained to this day undivulged. nage. The knowledge of the affairs of other "A correspondence, he relates, was carried governments, which the examination of the on for the space of fourteen years, by the

He says:

66

Chiffre Cabinet, with a person in Bohemia, whose letters had afforded grounds for suspeeting his loyalty. Assuming the name, and imitating the handwriting of his correspondent in Vienna, they pretended to approve his designs, encouraged him to a full disclosure of his plans, as well as accomplices, and when they were sufficiently divulged, which it seems took fourteen years to accomplish, the whole party were immediately seized and committed for trial.

The letters were opened, and the seals instantly imitated with a skill that defied detection. The copies of all such correspondence, whose importance warranted the labor necessary in transcribing them, were by order of the Emperor Francis, laid upon his table each day at 7 o'clock, by which hour he returned from the morning mass, and the perusal of these documents, together with the reports of the secret police upon the foreign ambassadors and ministers, their indulgences, expenses, connections and transactions in the city, and which were also

presented at the same hour, constituted, it is said, by far the most agreeable portion of his matinal exercises.

* What at first gave great importance to this proceeding—the examination of the mails—was the extent of the system, that it embraced the entire bounds of the German Empire, and extended even to the Baltic Sea and to Ostend, limits within which no state or family secrets could possibly remain saered. By it all the intrigues carried on in relation to the Spanish, Polish, and Swedish crowns were fully disclosed; but owing to the very importance and extent of these discoveries, they could not long remain concealed, and the correspondence between Russia and Prussia in regard to Poland in 1772 coming to light in this manner, led to the establishment of separate government mails and private couriers. To this day no foreign ambassador or minister to Vienna thinks for a moment of committing his dispatches to an Austrian post, but private couriers take charge of and convey their entire correspondence.

“But even these, as Hormeyer discloses, cannot be implicitly relied on. The Prussian couriers, he relates, as early as the reign of Joseph the Second were bribed for life. At the first post station near Pirna, upon the frontiers of Saxony and Austria, from its retired position being a suitable location, a small house was erected, and there a branch of the Chiffre cabinet was located. Upon the expected arrival of the Berlin couriere, they, with their dispatches, were taken charge of by the Austrian agents, conveyed in their own postchaises, and during the most rapid driving they always managed to take full copies of all the important communications. In this way they continued their journey together to the last post station before Vienna, where the dispatch-bag was returned to the courier, and he and the Austrian agents separated, the one directing his way to the Russian embassy, the other to

the foreign office in the Ballhaus Plate ; and, at the same moment that Count Keller, the Prussian ambassador, was examining the original dispatches, Prince Kaunitz, imperial prime minister, would be occupied in reading the copies.'

There is reason to believe that the French government resorts to a similar treachery to discover information ; and we know that even in England, Sir James Graham, to the utter disgrace of his order and his country, avowed openly that he had violated the letters of Mazzini.

(8.) But all these shifts and expedients to maintain the ascendency of the ruling classes would be in vain, if they were not backed up by Force. Force is after all their main reliance, and that is concentrated and embodied in staNDING ARM ES. Two millions of soldiers, well-trained, well-furnished, and constantly on the alert, are the watch-dogs of absolutisın, ready to pounce at any moment upon intractable citizens. “They are my extinguishers," said a royal fellow once to a foreigner; to which the foreigner replied, "What if the extinguishers themselves take fire ?" But they have provided pretty well against that. Coming from the people, it might be imagined that in all times of excitement, they would sympathize with the people ; sometimes they do, when there is a terrible havoc among the crowned heads; but there are many adroit arrangements to prevent such sympathy. Apart from the esprit du corps, which is always operative among troops, and the difficulties of revolt, under the rigor of army discipline, there is this special precaution used. The troops are removed from the localities where those sympathies would naturally lead them to side with the people, are taken away from among their friends and neighbors, and their own people, and sent into distant parts, where the hatreds of nationality, carefully kept up and inflamed, make them indifferent at least to the popular cause.

Thus the Hungarians are dispatched to Italy, and the Italians into Hungary, the Croats to Poland and the Poles to Germany. Feeling themselves strangers among strangers, with old animosities of race rankling in their breasts, they are prepared for the work of butchery.

When this cunning device fails, there is yet another resort. It is in the mutual alliance which the monarchs of the different nations have pledged and sworn to each other,-an alliance by which they are bound in all desperate struggles with their subjects, to come to each other's aid. It originated in that series of colossal conspiracies against the rights and liberties, which followed what was called the

Congress of Vienna, in 1815, when the This, then, is the way they manage to sovereigns of Europe, disregarding the govern the people in Europe. By the skilnationalities of race, natural sentiments, ful use of patronage, of the church, and of traditional remembrances, and popular education ; by the denial of the press, of feeling, partitioned soils and souls, accord free-locomotion, and of the rights of trade; ing to their dynastic interests, and swore by the organization of a ubiquitous police, to sustain each other in the infamous and by the distribution of standing armies, wrong, for ever. A more execrable plot they bamboozle, delude, suppress, and was never conceived, and yet for thirty constrain, until the wretched people, imyears it has been executed with an un poverished, ignorant, separated, and set at swerving, relentless, and deadly decision. enmity with each other, are reduced to a Italy, Poland, Spain, and Hungary have slavery from which it seems almost madbeen sacrificed in succession to its infernal ness for them to hope to escape. Yet, as requirements. The rivers of Europe have it is the nature of wrong and malevolence been made to run with blood for its sake, to dig its own grave, their case is not the prisons of Europe are filled with its utterly given over to despair, and, in some victims, thousands of the noblest men in future paper, therefore, we shall take ocexile curse it in the bitterness of their casion to show how Thought is subtler hearts, and the sighs of orphans, and the than the police, and Truth stronger than groans of widows, bear it to the throne of the sword. God for his eternal vengeance.

THE AMBASSADOR IN SPITE OF HIMSELF.

OUR.country bids fair to be known as

UR

Dethroned monarchs and jail-breakers, usurpers and pickpockets, conspirators against dynasties and fugitives with their friends' wives, outlawed patriots and fraudulent bankrupts, disappear from Europe to find their way here by the over-sea railroad; and the most famous among them sink, after a few days of newspaper notoriety and gossip, to the same forgetfulness as the meanest. The home-keeping American, if he patiently bide his time, may hope to see the actors on the foreign stage, political as well as dramatic, with greater probability than Barnum would promise a succession of shows. The Connecticut Yankee will point you out the cave where the regicide puritan hid himself from the avenger of blood; the New-Yorker, as the locomotive of the Hudson River Railroad is gaining its topmost speed, after leaving the dépôt at 31st-street, sees on a low rocky point the tan vats, where (some say) Talleyrand curried hides, as more recently Garibaldi made candles in Staten Island ; on the curving shore of the Delaware lies the princely domain which a Bonaparte enriched with the spoils of Spain, and a few miles above, on the opposite bank, stand the stables of the country-house from which Moreau went back to die on the field in arms against his master and France. Many of us remember Louis Philippe as à "schoolmaster abroad” among us, rejected by a Philadelphia lady, and looking as like as two pears to Dr. Hare; Louis Napoleon, his now Imperial

supplanter, whose boots the representatives of the oldest names of France are eager to lick, was voted by the few who knew him, a worthless, dirty. debauched vagabond; one Murat put up his shingle as an attorney-at-law in Florida, while his fat brother fought cocks among blackguards at Bordentown. The Hungarian demagogue, half-orator, half-prophet, whose oriental eloquence shook the Continent like an earthquake, after showing, like his types of Greece and Rome, a little white feather, strolls and stars it among our staring democrats for a dollar a head and expenses; nor may the time be far distant, when Pio Nono, again abandoning the City of Martyrs, will sing:

" I've been Rome-ing, I've been roaming," within the classic cloisters of Fordham; and now reigning sovereigns and haughty aristocrats find a safe hedge in our banks and state-funds should the cards be dealt against them at home. Odd, isn't it? that the “insecure and ephemeral republic, which has in its bosom the elements of its own destruction," should be used as the ultimate asylum of life and fortune, when the arsenals and treasurehouses gray with the moss of centuries, crumble before revolutionary fires! and that those who can stir so furiously the caldrons of popular passion, despite of the police and bayonets of strong governments, fail to make on this side of the Atlantic any more fuss than a nine days' wonder!

* Nothing that is rich and strange,
But doth suffer a sea-change."

Foreigners laugh at our love of a furor; actually occurred. I give it as I had it but we hard-working people must have from the lips of a friend, who heard the our fun, and we crowd it hard into our hero of the adventure relate it himself. few leisure hours, making it out of what -There lived in a neighboring city a most we please. Wellington himself, had he worthy man, who by a long and honoracome here, could not have been fêted more ble prosecution of an extensive trade, had than Dickens, who, with all his genius, won both large fortune and high repuproved himself a snob; and Victoria tation. Sometimes, by artful persuasion, might fall behind Jenny Lind. Thackeray he could be induced to give, though relucis lionized as much as Morpeth, and Mr. tantly, an account of a singular passage G. P. R. (are there any more initials ?) in his early life. The recital would set James, the Man voluminous, out-tales the table in a roar, which was no way among us the most Bashaw magnificent checked by the grave vexation which he of them all. We even meet them on their showed over his remembered troubles. own ground; Jim Crow and his wife oust Others might laugh at them, but they Punch and Judy from the puppet-show had no fun for him. box, where their “flag has waved a thou - When I was quite young, he would sand years;” while Uncle Tom and Topsey say, I was placed with the well-known carry off the admiration of a Parisian firm of & Co., and at the age of carnival, from “the nephew of my uncle” eighteen had gained their confidence so and his imperial Eugenie. Nay, should far, as often to be intrustel with importhe privileged blood run out over there, it tant business, which fired my ambition to will go hard but we can supply them. A the highest pitch. About that time the few years since (according to certain gene firm resolved to send one of their best alogists), a legitimate Stuart domiciled on ships with a large cargo

of

piece goods Long Island; a legitimate Bonaparte on a long trading voyage to the East, and lives a citizen of Maryland; a legitimate to my extreme gratification, I was apBourbon (tu ipso teste, Ó Pùtnam!) pointed supercargo to act in concert with turns up in a swarthy, self-denying, the captain in the management of the humble missionary among the Mohawks; venture. The captain was a most kind you can see by the armorial bearings on and intelligent man, whose society was of the long line of carriages in front of Grace great use to me. Our voyage out was church every fine Sunday, that an heir to speedy, and our operations for some time every coronet in Britain may be found by very successful. I often congratulated scarching the cod-fish warehouses of New myself on my share of the profits, but York; or should his ex-democratic majesty more on the credit I should have with my during his visit to Europe, find a queen principals for discharging so well the duor heiress-apparent anxious for progeny, ties they had assigned me. This was my he may negotiate a marriage on behalf constant theme when conversing with the of Prince John, than whom she cannot captain, scarcely less delighted than myfind a more vigorous or better husband self. Not all the strange wonders of the among her royal cousins. We cannot eastern world, the magnificent scenery spare him, however, until he has smashed along the shores of continent and island, the aldermen, after which he will be up to the voluptuous fragrance of “the spicy any amount of emancipation and reform. breezes," or the clear grandeur of the

—But I beg pardon. I sat down to sparkling heavens, could seduce me from write a story, and have been wandering considering, night and day, how I should in a fit of patriotic ardor. I meant to sell the piece goods, and buy a return say, in the beginning, that many a man, cargo to the best advantage. Every who might have been notable elsewhere evening the invoices with my well worn from facts in his career, is allowed here to letter of instructions were spread out on remain in obscurity, of which I was going the cabin table, and I went to my berth to give an example.

to dream of balance-sheets and future The English, stimulated by their zcal copartnerships. for illuminating the heathen and removing -But a sad disaster came over our oppression, are now pushing a disinterest hopes. One of those frequent storms ed crusade over the Burman empire; but which are experienced only in those latiis it known to you, patient reader of Put tudes, suddenly fell upon us. nam, that so far back as the first French hours we drifted on in utter darkness Republic, an ambassador from that great except when the lightning kindled the nation, and he an American, was received foaming waves to flames. Every thing with high honors at the Court of Ava ? that human skill and daring could do was Severtheless so it was, and that is the done by our noble captain and his hardy story I have to tell-a'true story-not a crew; but the elements were too much romance but a veracious narrative of what for us. Spar after spar was shivered, the

For many

tiller ropes parted and the rudder un pened to be there, treated us with great shipped. When thus crippled and at the kindness, but none more so than a Colonel mercy of winds and waves, a terrible cry Symes, who sent us all the clothing we came aft of "Breakers ahead!” and be stood in need of from his own wardrobe, fore a word could be spoken, the ship was besides many other attentions. This Col. lifted high on a rolling sea, and flung Symes was an eminently sensible gentlebodily on an outlying reef. The shock man, who had been sent there by the threw some overboard, and for a few mo British East India Company to negotiate ments stupefied the rest. Death stared preliminaries for a commercial treaty with us fiercely in the face-I was little more the king of the country; but he told us than a boy, and life was dear to me-I that although he had been several weeks thought of home and those I loved—I waiting for it, he had not yet received pertried to think of eternity—but amidst all mission to go up the river to Ava, where I could not help thinking of the piece the court was held. Although treated goods--what would become of them in every other respect with great diswhen the vessel broke up ? would they tinction and hospitable provision for his sink among the astonished fishes, or be comforts, he was quite chased by the delay; strewed along the shores to be picked up yet the importance of his mission comby the natives? What would our House pelled him to endure as a diplomat what at home think of us ? Would they ever

he fretted at as a soldier. He was fond find out how well we had managed, and of talking his troubles over with me, how much we had made for them before mainly, I suppose, because the modesty the wreck ?-All these and a thousand of my youth made me a deferential lismore such thoughts passed through my tener. You will judge from this how mind with incredible quickness, and not much we owed to our English friends, and withstanding most vigorous efforts to how loath we would have been willingly turn it on religious things, the piece goods to be of any hindrance to them, Colonel would struggle to be uppermost. I have Symes particularly heard that Napoleon's last words were, Things went on in this way for several ** Tête d'armée !" mine, had I perished weeks, the captain and myself lodging then, would have been, " Piece goods !” together, and listlessly waiting for some

But we were saved. When at our utmost vessel to come in, which we might purextremity, there came a calm as sudden chase or charter ; when one morning, as as the storm. The breakers were still we were over our breakfast, we heard a dashing over us, but as the morning sun great noise of music, or what the people broke through the clouds, they subsided there mean for music-blowing of horns, rapidly, and we were able to judge of our beating of tom-toms, and gongs, and other situation. The ship was clearly lost to horrid things. It came nearer and nearer, us, though her hull, perched upon rocks and halted before the door of our humble bare at low water, was as yet but little house. On going to the window we saw, to broken, and I saw that the piece goods our astonishment, the street for a considewere for the most part undamaged. Som rable distance crowded with military, horse boats from the coast came off to us, and and foot. A superbly dressed officer, whom we managed to learn that we were a few they seemed to be escorting, dismounted leagues from the town of Rangoon, at the amidst another grand flourish of the muprincipal mouth of the river Irrawaddy. sic, and, leaving his richly caparisoned

To our still greater satisfaction, two horse in the care of a servant, bowed his English trading brigs, on hearing of a head under the low portal, and entered vessel being cast away, ran down to us, the house. That he came to visit us we and as they were nearly empty, we were had not the slightest idea, until he flung able to transfer a large, and the best part open the door and salaamed us to the of the cargo (which, being piece goods, ground. Even so respectful a gesture could be more easily handled) from our failed to allay the alarm the captain and stranded vessel into theirs. More intent I felt for our lives, and the piece goods, upon saving the piece goods, we had taken which were stowed in the rear of the nothing from the cabin but the ship's dwelling; but, while we were alternately papers and the captain's instruments, be exchanging looks with each other and fore a change in the tide filled it with staring at our remarkable visitor, a meekwater, leaving us only the clothes we looking native stole to his side and made stood in. The chief men of the town per signs that he would act as interpreter, mitted us to land and store our piece which he afterwards did in very broken goods, and we intended, if possible, to pur English. chase some vessel in wbich to prosecute My lord,” said he, “who is a very our voyage. The captains of the English great man and brave general, has been brigs, and some other English who hap sent by the most mighty king, at whose

« PoprzedniaDalej »