« PreviousContinue »
discover the planner or perpetrator of this cirme. No euch discovery was made.
3. One of young Foscari's footmen, named Olivier, had been observed loitering near Donato's house, on the evening of the murder ; he fed from Venice next morning. These, with other circumstances of less importance, created a strong suspicion that Foscari had engaged this man to commit ihe murder.
4 Olivier was taken, brought to Venice, put to the tor. ture, and confessed nothing ; yet the Council of Ten being prepossessed with an opinip of their guilt, and imagining that the master would have less resolation, used him in the same cruel manner. The unhappy young man, in the midst of his agony, continued to assert, that he knew 10. thing of the assassination.
5. This convinced the court of his firmness, but not of his innocence ; yet as there was no legal proof of his guilt, they could not sentence him to death. He was condemned to pass the rest of bis life in banishment, at Canea, in the island of Candia.
6. This unfortunate youth bore his exile with more impatience than be had done the rack : he often wrote to his relations and friends, praying them to intercede in his behalf, that the term of his banishinent might be abridged, and that he might be permitted to return to his family before he died. All his applications were fruitless ; those to whoin he addressed himself had never interfered in his favor, for fear of giving offence to the obdurate Council, had interfered in vain.
7. After languishing five years in exile, having last all hope of return, through the interposition of his own family or countrymen, in a fit of despair he addressed the Duke of Milan, putting him in mind of services which the Doge, his father had rendered him, and b gging that he would use his powerful influence with the state of Venice that his sentence might be recalled.
8. lle entrusted his leiter to a merchant, going from Canea to Venice, who promised to take the first opportunity of sending it from thience to the Duke ; instead of which, this wretch, as soon as he arrived at Venice, delivered it to the chiefs of the Council of Ten.
9. This conduct of young Foscari appeared criminal in the eyes of those judges : for by the laws of the republic, all its subjects are expressly forbidden claiming the protection of foreign princes, in any thing which relates to ihe government of Venice.
10. Foscari was therefore ordered to be brought from Candia, and shut up in the state prison. There the chiefs of the Council of Ten rdered him once more to be put to the torture, to draw from him the motives which determined him to apply to the Duke of Milan. Such an exertion of law is, indeed, the most fagrant injustice.
11. The miserable youth declared to the Council, that he wrote the letter in the full persuasion that the merchant, whose character he knew, would betray him, and deliver it to them ; the consequence of which, he foresaw, would be his being ordered back a prisoner to Venice, the only means he had in his power of seeing his parents and friends ; a pleasure for which he had languished, with insurmountable desire, for some time, and which he was willing to purchase at the expense of any danger or pain.
12. The judges, little affected with this generons instance of filial piety, ordained, that the unhappy young man should be carried back to Candia, and there be imprisoned for a year, and remain banished to that island for life, with this condition, that if he should make any more applications to foreign powers, his imprisonment should be perpetual. At tine same time they gave permission, that the Duge and his lady might visit their unfurtunate son,
13. The Doge was, at this ne, very old ; he had been in possession of the office above thirty years. Those wretched parents had an interview with their son in one of the apartments of the palace; they emb aced him with all the tenderness which his misfortunes and his filial affection deserved.
14. The father exhorted him to bear his hard fate with firmness. The son protested, in the most moving terms, that this was not in his power; that however ot: crs could support the dismal loneliness of a prison, he could not; that his heart ivas for.ned for friend hip, and the reciprocal endearments of social life; with ut wbich, his soul sunk into dejection worse than cea !, f. im which alone he should look
for relief, if he should again be confined to the horrors of a prison! and, melting into tears, he sunk at his father's feet, imploring bim io take compassion on a son who had ever loved him with the most dutiful affection, and who was perfectly innocent of the crime of which he was accused.
15. He conjured hin, by every bond of nature and religion, by the bowels of a father and the mercy of a Redeemer, to use his influence with the council to mitigate their sentence, that he might be saved from the most cruel of all deaths, that of expiring under the slow tortures of a broken heart, in a horrible banishment from every creature he loved. “My son,” replied the Doge, “submit to the laws of your country, and do not ask of me what is not in my power to obtain."
16. Having made this effort, he retired to another apartment ; and unable to support any longer the aculeness of his feelings, sunk into a state of insensibility, in which condition he remained till some time after his son had sailed on his return to Candia.
17. Nobody has presumed to describe the anguish of the wretched mother. Those who are endowed with the most exquisi'e sensibility, and who have experienced distresses in some degree similar, will have the justest idea of what it was.
18. The accumulated misery of those unhappy parents touched the hearts of some of the most powerful Senators, who applied with so much energy for a complete pardon for young Foscari, that they were on the point of obtaining it; when a vessel arrived from Candia, with tidings, that ihe miserable youth had expired in prison, a short time after his return.
19. Some years after thio, Nicholas Erizzo, a noble Venitian, being on his death bed, confessed that bearing a violent resentment against the Senator Donato, he had committed the assassination for which the unhappy family of Foscari had suffered so much.
20. At this time the sorrows of the Doge were at an end; he had existed only a few months after the death of
His life had been prolonged, till he beheld his son persecuted to death for an infamous crime; but not till he
should see this foul stain washed from his family, and the innocence of his beloved son made manifest to the world.
21. The ways of Heaven never appeared more dark and intricate, than in the incidents and catastrophe of this mournful story. To reconcile the permission of such events to our ideas of infinite power and goodness, however difficult, is a natural attempt in the human mind, and has exercised the ingenuity of philosophers in all ages ; while, in the eye of Christians, those seeming perplexities afford an additional proof, that there will be a future state in which the ways of God to man will be fully justified.
PART OF CICERO'S ORATION AGAINST VERRES:
ASK now, Verres, what you have to advance against this charge? Will you pretend to deny it ? Will you pretend that any thing false, that even any thing aggravated is alleged against you.
2. Had any prince, or any state, committed the same outrage against the privilege of Roman citizens, should we not think we had sufficient reason for declaring immediate war against them?
3. What punishment, then, ought to be inflicted upon a tyranoical and wicked prætor, who d:rred at no greaterdistance than Sicily, within sight of the Italian coast, to put to the infamous death of crucifixion that unfortunate and inno. cent citizen, Publius Gavius Confanus, only for his having asserted his privilege of citizenship, and declared his intention of appealing to the justice of his country against a cruel oppressor, who had unjustly confined him in prison at Syracuse whence he had just made his escape?
4. The unhappy man, arrested as he was going to embark for his native country, is brought before the wicked prætor. With eyes darting fury, and a countenance distorted with cruelty, he orders the helpless victim of his rage to be stripped, and rods to be brought; accusing him but without the least shadow of evidence, or even of suspicion, of having come to Sicily as a spy.
5. It was in vain that the unhappy man cried out, “I am a Roman citizen; I have served under Lucius Pretius,
who is now at Panormus, and will attet my innocence." The blood-thirsty prætor, deaf to all he could urge in his givn defence, ordered the infamous punishment to be inAicted.
6. Thus, fathers, was an innocent Roman citizen pubLicly mangled with scourging; whilst the only words he uttered amidst his cruel sufferings were, “I am a Roman citi zen!" With these be hoped to defend himself fiom violence and infamy. But of so little service was this privilege to him, that while he was asserting his citizenship, the order was given for his execution ; for his execution upin the cross.
7. O Liberty! O sound, once delightful to every Roman Qar; O sacred privilege of Roman citizensiip! once sacred! now trampled upon! But what ihen? Is it come to this? Shall an inferior magistrate, il governor, who hoids his power of the Roman people, in a Roman provitice with in sight of Italy, bind, ecourge, torture with fire and red hot plates of iron, and at last put to the infamous death of the cross, a Roman citizen?
8. Shall neither the cries of innocence expiring in ag. ony, nor the tears of pitying spectators, nor the maje ty of the Roman commonwe: th, nor the fear of the justice of his county, restrain the lica ntious and wanton cruelty of a monster, who, in confidence of his own riches, strikes at the root of liberty and sets mankind at defiance?
9. I conclude with expressing my hopes, that your wisdom and justice, fathers, will nut, by suffering the atrocious. and unexampled insolence of Caius Verres to escape the due punishment, leave room to apprehend the danger of a to al subversion of authority, and introduction of general anarchy and confusion,
HISTORY OF WILLIAM TELL.
EFORE Switzerland was delivered from the dominion of Austria, a governor of that naiion resided in the city of Alto: ff named Gesler; who by, abusing the power entru ted to him, iniquitously exercised the most