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French ride one hobby at a time, and their discretion. "Soldiers,” cried the they ride it to death. Their first in- great bandit, “ you are ill-fed and stinct, upon gaining the mastery over half-naked; your Government themselves, was centralization. They you much, and gives nothing ; your were out of conceit with old France, so valour and endurance do you honour, they turned for novelty to ancient Rome. but bring you neither profit nor glory. Rome had absorbed the world ; Paris I am about to lead you into the most began by sucking up France; and as fertile plains of the world. You will French arms crossed the frontiers, find there great cities and rich provinces. country after country sunk into the You will find there glory and riches. same all-swallowing whirlpool.
Will your courage fail you ?” They found in Italy a land that had It is seldom that soldiers, and esexcelled in art. They determined that pecially hungry seldiers, require exhorthat artistic pre-eminence should hence- tations to make themselves at home in forth be French ; and, to begin, that an invaded cuntry. Italy was no foe to Italian art should be made French. No France. The Italians had not, since the one could have better seconded, or in- Middle Ages, been better off than before deed anticipated their views, than the 1789; but they all read French, and young soldier of Fortune who led the most of them believing in that Millenway across the Alps. It will, perhaps, nium of human brotherhood that the never be possible to sound the real French Republic had proclaimed, looked depths of Napoleon's mind. Look at his forward to the arrival of those soldiers bust by Canova, at Chatsworth, and as to the coming of a legion of deliverthere is something in that brow that ing angels.
ing angels. Austria and, at her sugprostrates you before it as before a Mil- gestion, Piedmont, were up in arms at tonian Satan. But a human mind is the the Alps. The other Italian princes, result of nature, and also of culture, and before whom the head of Louis XVI. no one has ever inquired with sufficient had been rolled in defiance, had joined diligence into the early readings of the the league of kings, but had scarcely Cadet of the school of Brienne, and of taken the field. Venice and Genoa the sub-lieutenant of artiliery in lodgings were neutral, and it was only owing over tradesmen's shops in provincial to the supineness of this latter Retowns. Napoleon partly was born, public that Bonaparte found a loophole partly made himself a sham Roman in in the Alpine armour of Italy, and made a sham Rome. He knew a little of his way to the wealthiest plains of the ancient Ronie, but nothing of what world. The thunder of his victorious came after it.
To Christian charity cannon at Montenotte struck dismay into and knightly truth or honour he was the hearts of the Italian princes, who an utter stranger. He had one idol, all sued for peace. Napoleon had soon self; one allar, France ; and the altar no other enemy than the Austrian in was to be to him a footstool to the Italy. The whole nation hailed him as throne. He stood upon the Alps a deliverer. In most districts, and eswhere Brennus and Hannibal, Charle- pecially in Modena and Bologna, Italian mugne, Charles VIII., and so many Ievolutions paved the way for French other leaders of hosts had stood before conquest. Liberty, however, is not to him. Most of them pointed out to be had without being paid for, and the their followers the land of the sun, and understanding between the French told them of the genial climate, the Directory and their general was that luscious fruits, the pleasures that the Italians should handsomely bleed awaited them as the reward of their for it. “ The Duke of Parma,” Bonatoil. Napoleon spoke of all that, and parte writes, “will make proposals of of something besides. Before the French
peace to you. Keep him in play till I had made their way into Italy, her make him pay the costs of the camwealth was emphatically placed at paign.” He adds that at first he had thought of mulcting neutral Genoa to manuscripts, and also machines, mathethe amount of three millions. But he matical instruments, maps, &c.—the had thought better of it, and would "&c.," of course, left to the commissioner's make it fifteen. The general was at interpretation Monge and Berthollet first induced to punish individual acts were employed at Pavia "enriching our of robbery, wishing to reduce looting to botanical garden and museum of natural a system; but the fellow-feeling was history, and were thence to proceed to very strong upon him.“ Poor devils !” Bologna on the same errand.” Bouaparte he said, “they have reached the pro- requisitioned all the best horses of the mised land, and they are naturally wealthy Milanese, and sent one hundred anxious to enjoy it. This fine country, of them to the Directory "to replace,” as guaranteed from pillage, will afford us he wrote, “ the indifferent ones you now considerable advantages. The single drive in your carriages." province of Mondovì (a mountain dis- By the truce of Bologna, and the trict) will have to pay one million." peace of Tolentino, the Pope had also
Jiuney and money's worth as much to deliver thirty millions in gold as the country could yield; but that and diamonds, 400 horses, as many was not enough. It is difficult to know mules, oxen, and buffaloes, and above into whose head the notion of wounding all things, one hundred pictures, busts, Italy to the heart by taking her great vases, statues, &c., always at the plunhandiworks from her first sprang up.
derer's choice, but with an especial But at an early epoch in 1796 the Direc- stipulation for a bronze bust of Junius tory sent the following instructions: “If Brutus, and a marble one of Marcus the Pope makes us advances, the first Brutus, the two saints to which the thing required will be his prayers." French Republicanism of those times Then some of Rome's beautiful monu- paid especial worship. ments, her statues, her pictures, her Rome, however, could not hope to buy medals, her libraries, her silver Ma- herself off at so low a price. One year donnas, and even her bells, all this to later, the French broke into the city; indemnify us for the costs of the visit they spirited away the Pope; overran we shall have paid her.” On May 1st the Vatican; took all the furniture, busts, Bonaparte asks for a list of the pictures, statues, cameos, marbles, columns, and statues, and antiquities to be found at even locks, bars, and the very nails. Milan, Parma, Piacenza, Bologna, &c. The Quirinal and Castel Gandolfo On the 6th he begs that three or four shared the same fate, and with these celebrated artists may be sent to him to the Capitol, and many private palaces choose what is suitable to “ take” and and villas—those of Albani, Doria, Chigi, send to Paris. The Directory, less nice the Braschi palace, and that of the Carin their choice, advise that “nothing dinal of York, were either partially rifled should be left in Italy that our political or thoroughly gutted. The Sixtine and situation allows us to carry off, and other chapels were plundered, and a which may be useful to us." A wide vast amount of church plate, most of field of operation was thus left to the it of old and choice workmanship, Republican general, who did not fail to taken. They took a Monstrance from avail himself of it. Parma had to pay St. Agnese, which was private protwo millions in gold, and besides horses, perty of the Doria family, worth cattle, and provisions without end, 80,000 Roman crowns. They burnt twenty pictures at the French commis- the priests' vestments to get at the gold sioner's choice, among which San of their embroidery. The sacking went Girolamo, the masterpiece of Correggio, on throughout Rome and the provinces. which the poor Duke offered to ransom The French soldiers were always in at one million. Milan, so loud in her arrear of their pay, if paid at all; and greetings to her deliverers, had to pay the example of their officers taught twenty millions, besides pictures, statues, them to help themselves to whatever
came to hand. Along with the armies the mountains. The magnificent private there came swarms of camp-followers, collection of the Bevilacqua family was sutlers, brokers, hucksters, and other taken away bodily. The same fate had
professionals,” always ready to rid the the Muselli and Verità museums in troops of their heaviest in pediments, that city. Gems of inestimable value and in their hands all went to pot;
were lost, among others the famous genius was rated at its mere worth or cameo of the Ægean Jupiter. Greek weight in gold and silver, and thus and Roman medals disappeared; with much that was taken from Italy never them the splendid collection of the reached France. All this havoc, how- Aldine editions ; more than 200 Greek, ever, was not sufficient to satisfy the Latin, and Arabic manuscripts, on greed of the Directory ; tremendous parchment, paper, and silk paper, taxes were laid on the rich : Prince
among them two very precious Arabic Chigi had to pay 200,000 crowns ; MSS. on silk paper, given as a present Volpato, a print-seller, 12,000.
to the Republic by Cardinal Bessarion But even more melancholy was the in the fifteenth century.
As far as fate of the Venetian provinces. The the French went, the plunder exRepublic had never been at war with tended. The couvent libraries of TreFrance, but France had broken her viso, Padua, Verona, and San Daniele neutrality as she had done before with of Friuli were ransacked; from the lastGenoa ; she had stirred up the demo- named they took eight manuscripts crats in the country, fomented disturb- anterior to the thirteenth century. The ances, moved heaven and earth till bronze horses of Lysippas, and the she had picked a quarrel ; then made lions from the Piræus, were among the peace, and, as its first condition, im- spoils. 200,000 sequins, the property posed the usual tax of twenty pictures of the fugitive Duke of Modena, were and five hundred manuscripts ; then taken from the Austrian Legation, a violently broke into the Monti di power with which France was then Piétà, or state loan offices, at Verona treating for peace.
Whatever could and Vicenza, taking from that of not, in the hurry and confusion of deVerona alone more than fifty millions parture, be removed, was sold on the in plate and jewellery, and much pro- spot for anything it would fetch : first perty belonging to the poor, and sacked under pretext of subsidizing the Venetian the devoted city for eight days, during Republicans, partisans of France, who which private and public galleries, bad to take refuge in Lombardy; and, libraries, museums, and churches were when these indignantly refused to accept at the ravager's discretion. In the alms out of the ruin of their country, meanwhile Napoleon was meditating without any further pretext. What could Campo Formio and the cession of Venice neither be carried away nor fiud purto Austria. Before the city was given chasers was barbarously broken up or up instructions came from Bonaparte mutilated. There is something inexin a few words to “take whatever would plicable and incredible, in the wanton be useful for France; all that was in ferocity with which the French dealt Venetian ports and arsenals for Toulon; with Venice, a country which had never all that was in churches or palaces for wronged them, but which they had Paris.” Many churches in Venice and deeply wronged, which they betrayed, in Verona still bear the marks of French murdered, and slandered aiter the rapacity. The Doge's palace, itself a murder. Serrurier burnt the Bucenmuseum of all that was beautiful and taur in San Giorgio, regardless of the precious in works of Greek, Roman, or fine old carvings which ade it really Italian genius, was stripped to the bare valuable, to get at the pal..y gold of its walls; all the best Titians and Tintorets, ornaments. Such was the farewell of the works of Paul Veronese, Bellini, the “Grande Nation" to Venice ! Mantegna, and Pordenone, had to cross It would be an impracticable and
hardly a profitable task to enumerate domains of the Beautiful. ALoreto, all the deeds of spoliation perpetrated on the approach of the French troops, by the armies of the French Directory the treasures of the famous “Holy as they extended their occupation of House” had been conveyed to Rome by Italy from town to town. From 1796 the Papal authorities. But the invaders, to 1798 the soldier had the country at with their generalissimo at their head, his own discretion. Bonaparte made, after taking the gold and silver ornaas we have said, some attempts at first ments of the shrine, to the value of one to check the rapacity of his troops. He million, laid hands on the black Mawent the length of inflicting punish- donna, a rudely carved wooden image, ment in cases of the most flagrant out utterly worthless as a work of art, but rage.
But he was not without sym deriving all its interest from the tradipathy for them. Italy was to them the tion respecting its authority—it is one land of promise: it was natural that of the many handiworks attributed to they should wish to enjoy its fruits; and St. Luke—and the endless wonders it if he was under necessity to interfere had for ages performed in behalf of its with their depredations, it was only worshippers. The image of Loreto was because he looked upon the fine country for a few years exhibited in the National as a cow to be milked methodically and Library at Paris, as a defunct idol,” by wholesale. But for the rest, French and was only restored to its altar when commanders and officers of all ranks the Concordat of 1801 announced to gave the first example of insatiable France that “idolatry” was again to be greed ; and the few who had conscience the fashion. Had General Bonaparte and honour enough to deplore the ex been omnipresent and omnipotent, he cesses of which they were witnesses, would probably have left little behind ; and either threw themselves between but his lieutenants and subalterns exthe plunderers and the plundered ceeded even him in rapacity, and were people, or sent remonstrances to the far more hasty, more indiscriminate and home authorities at Paris, to mitigate destructive in their proceedings. We the miseries of the conquered or “libe have seen that the direst excesses in rated ” land—such as St. Cyr in Rome, Rome and Venice, though they took Villetard in Venice, and Championnet place by Bonaparte's orders, were comin Naples—were speedily recalled, and mitted in his absence, in many cases by men less influenced by scruples were men who, though not more ruthless, sent to take their places. With respect were more reckless and unsparing than to the fine arts, already, on the day on himself. which the peace of Tolentino was signed, Between 1798 and the following General Bonaparte was able to year, during Bonaparte's absence in nounce to the Directory that the mem Egypt, the French lost in Italy all the bers of the Artistic and Scientific Com ground the great conqueror had won. mission-Finette, Barthelemi, Moitte, He recovered it at Marengo at a single Thouin, Monge, and Berthollet—had stroke in 1800, and by that time having admirably acquitted themselves of their attained supreme power in France as task. They made a rich harvest at First Consul, he had already conceived Ravenna, Rimini, Pesaro, Loreto, and the scheme of that universal monarchy Perugia; and its products were im into which the lands beyond the Alps, mediately sent off to Paris. Added beyond the Rhine, and the Pyrenees, to what is to be taken at Rome, the were to be incorporated. It was then General concluded, “France would thus that his crude notions about ancient have everything beautiful that there Rome were made subservient to his was in Italy, except a few objects still boundless aspirations. From the Conuntouched at Turin and Naples.” Much, sulate to the Empire, there was, in his however, went to Paris that could not mind, only one step. The dix-huit strictly be said to appertain to the Brumaire had left him without a rival
or a partner of his power. It had made of almost all of them. But the right him Cæsar, and from that time it was of conquest had never been exercised not merely France but Europe that he
at the expense
of Italian genius. claimed as his domain. Paris was to The French themselves had under be the Rome of the modern world. It Charles VIII., Louis XII., and Francis I. was to become the museum of universal come into Italy as little better than bargenius, to bring together into one vast barians: their brains had caught fire at collection all that the most gifted the sight of all that southern beauty nations had ever contributed to art and magnificence; the last-named monand science, and, besides, all that the arch made his palace a home to Italian care and diligence of the various states artists, but he showed as much venerahad laid up as monuments illustrating tion as love for Italian art. In the bands the annals of the past. In other words, of the Spaniards, the most bigoted and there was to be only one gallery of improvident, and of the Germans, the picture and sculpture, only one museum most harsh and unsympathetic of rulers, of antiquity and science, and only one Art had suffered no outrage. Centuries archive-and all that in Paris.
had elapsed since pictures or statues had not long before Napoleon perceived that come in as spoils in the train of victohe had been in too great a hurry at rious armies. The Venetians and other Tolentino, when he declared that what Italians had brought home the stupen
was worth taking in Italy was dous works of the East; among others already taken. The rifling of museumis those bronze borses from the Bosphorus, and galleries, of churches and convents, and those lions from the Piræns, of went on throughout the Napoleonic which they were in their turn robbed period. At Naples France claimed, no by the French.' But those were deeds one knows on what right, all the of the Middle Ages. The Italians were splendid heritage of the Farnese. At the last of the Europeans who fell back Florence a violent hand was laid on the from the East before the tide of Mahogalleries on the ground that the Grand medan invasion. They knew that only Duke had, when he quitted his capital, what they took could be saved ; that with the permission of the French, and what remained behind would perish by a convention with them, removed either through the violence or the with him a few gems from the collection neglect of the Moslem. It was not in the Pitti palace. The pretext was only with the consent, but with the that France would henceforth “provide co-operation of the Greek and other against the chance of any art-treasures Levantine populations, that these treafalling into the hands of her enemies," were slipped off to the West. precisely as at Venice, at the moment Greek artists and scholars migrated of delivering the doomed city into the to Italy, together with their art and hands of Austria, she had robbed, burnt, literature. Had not Italy been preor otherwise destroyed whatever there pared for their reception by her adwas in the arsenal or the harbour, lest vanced culture, the relics of Greek Venetian ships and stores should enable learning, the monuments of Greek the German Emperor to construct a fleet. genius, would have found nowhere a
It is not difficult to imagine the im- resting-place. But far different were the pression made on the ravaged population conditions of Italy at the close of the by this long-continued and systematic eighteenth century. The Italians have work of unprecedented vandalism. Italy at all times carried their love of the Beauhad been overrun by foreign armies for tiful to a fault. Art, on its re-awakenmany centuries. After a brief respite during the era of the Republic of the i In the darkest Middle Ages, during the Middle Ages, the country had become
wars between Venice and Genoa, it is on record the battlefield of all nations, and had
that Doria, Master of the Lagoons, vowed that
he would "bridle” the horses of St. Mark, passed successively into the possession but he never thought of stcaling them.