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RECENT TOURISTS IN ITALY.*
DESPITE of all the modern facilities of travel, the iron wheel that furrows the sea, and the iron rail that traverses the land--throwing open to the travel. ler the northern regions of Europe, as well as the whole of the oriental world of elder time, and the new world of the West_Italy still maintains her attractions, and invites the denizens of every land to its shores. Little won. der that it should be so. To the scholar, the poet, the artist, the man of refined taste, Italy teems with charms. For him it is still
" The garden of the world, the home Of all Art yields, and Nature can decree."
For him, too, its
" Very weeds are beautiful, its waste More rich than other climes' fertility : Its wreck a glory, and its ruin graced With an immaculate charm, which cannot be de
While the seeker after lost health, and most miserable of all mortals—the thoroughly idle man-each turns his languid steps, with something like hope. fulness, to those salubrious skies and luxurious regions.
If Italy has ever been thronged with travellers, they have also left abundant memorials behind them. To enumerate all the descriptive works on that country, tour-books, and guide-books, romance and novel, history and poem, truth and fiction, would be no light task; and one would imagine that no thing short of some physical conyul. sion, working a change on the face of the country-an irruption from the slumbering craters of her volcanoes, or from the tideless waters of the Me. diterranean-could justify another to pographer to give us his incidents of travel.
No such physical change, it is true, has taken place in Italy; but in the moral features of the land a change has been, and is in progress-partly of
slower growth, and partly, as of late, rapid and violent as the earthquake shock. The spirit of revolution which has swept over the face of Europe, shaking thrones and perplexing nations, has not passed without breathing on Italy. From north to south_from the snow-clad barriers of Helvetia to the vine-clad hills of Sicily-a struggle has convulsed her. Lombardy has risen against the iron rule of Austria, and has struggled with a valour worthy of a better fate than, alas! is now at all likely to be the issue of the contest. Rome, long suffering from the vices of a system as anomalous as it is incompatible with political liberty, has organised the rudiments of popular freedom, and a representative government; and Sicily, in an indescribably short space, has separated from Naples, and worked out for herself a new constitution. With matter so deeply interesting, there is yet room for one who has an investigating spirit, and a philosophic mind, to produce some thing still new upon Italy.
Two works now lie before us, each the production of fellow-citizens, who have not gone vapouring through the land during a three-months'steam tour, but have resided for a period of two years in Italy, and have noted men and manners, according to their different opportunities and powers of observation. Acting on the good old adage of “First come first served,” we shall give precedence to Mr. Geale. Passing down the Rhone from Lyons to Marseilles, where he embarked for Leghorn, Mr. Geale's tour may be said to commence from that point; thence he visited Florence, where he passed a considerable time, and afterwards proceeded to Rome by way of Perugia, returning to the former city by way of Siena. His next tour was to Venice, by Bologna, Ferrara, and Padua, returning by Este, Mantua, and Modena, as far as Pistoja, in which town, and at Lucca, he appears to have passed the summer. Finally, embark ing at Leghorn, he reached Naples, visited, of course, Pompeii and Pæstum, wintered in Rome, and returning once more to Florence, he passed through Bologna, Parma to Milan, and thence by Como and the Spleugen into Switzerland. Mr. Geale is evidently of that class of travellers who have a very keen relish for the beautiful, both in nature and art. His book abounds with vivid and well-written descrip. tions, and, occasionally, judicious cri. ticisms. His style is picturesque and polished, abounding a little too much in sentimentalism and poetical quotations-a fault, indeed, this last, which it seems impossible for a tourist in Italy to avoid—and his personal im. pressions evince that his taste is cor rect and cultivated. However, as we remarked just now, the field of descriptive writing on Italy is so entirely pre occupied by his sedulous predecessors, that we shall not largely transfer to our pages details which can only differ from those with which every reader is familiar, in the mode or force of expression. Let it, then, be understood, once and for all, that in every appropri. ate locality the muse of Byron, the bril liant imaginativeness of De Stael, the elegant annotations of Hobhouse, and the lively, dashing, and fearless piquancies of Miladi Morgan, have all been evoked to illustrate and adorn the sights and scenery of " sunny Italy ;” and this observation we may as well announce as applicable to both our fellow-countrymen whose books are before us.
* “ Notes of a Two Years' Residence in Italy.” By Hamilton Geale, Esq., Barrister-at-law. Dublin : James McGlashan, 21, D'Olier-street. 1848.
« Italy in the Nineteenth Century, contrasted with its Past Condition." By James Whiteside, Esq., A.M., M.R.I.A. London: R. Bentley. 1848.
Mr. Whiteside sought Italy principally to restore the health which severe application to professional toil had somewhat impaired. In Ireland, the reputation of this able lawyer is too well known to require any comment. As an orator, vigorous, sarcastic, and full of playful, but most trenchant humour; dexterous as an advocate, smashing at a cross-examic nation ; an accomplished scholar, and a man of an inquisitive and well-stored mind. Every one looked forward to his promised tour as a work to enter. tain, to interest, and to enlighten. Happily, returning health enabled him to fulfil the expectations of the public. The invalid seems to have shaken off lassitude and depression at an early stage of his journeyings; and
we can scarce lay our finger on a line in which he is dull-never upon a page in which the peculiar features of his mind, a quick conception, and a clear intellect, have not left their impress.
As both our tourists have travelled pretty much over the same ground, we may conveniently consider, in juxtaposition, the observations of each, in relation to subjects somewhat out of the general routine of sight-seers. The social state, the political relations, the habits and nationalities of the various Italian states, have formed the study of each. Each, however, seems to have studied in different lights, characteristic, no doubt, of their several moral and intellectual diatheses. Mr. Geale has contented himself rather with those salient points of national character, which are obvious to ordinary observers, and rarely looks far beneath the surface. Hence he is seldom original. Mr. Whiteside abounds in acute observations, masterly views, clear sketches, a mass of information gathered in every direction, politics, jurisprudence, statistics, and general history ; and adopted, we must say, with a spirit of frank and unbounded appropriation, which the generous and modest nature of an Irishman could alone be capable of achieving.
From every one who visits Italy, Tuscany solicits a very principal share of consideration. The high state of cultivation to which her people have attained beyond the sister states, in laws, social polity, agriculture, and substantial comfort, engage the attention of the philosopher; while the magnificent collections of statuary and paintings in the capital, constitute Florence, in the eyes of the man of taste, the “ Etrurian Athens," which holds him bound by irresistible attractions.
Agriculture in Tuscany is efficiently promoted both in practice as well as in theory. Every acre of land is brought into cultivation-every new improvement in farming is introduced. Farming societies are extensively established, and prizes awarded ; and Mr. Geale assures us that “Florence may now nearly vie with England or Scotland" in the state of her agriculture. Amongst his other great re. forms, the Archduke Leopold, afterwards Emperor of Austria, introduced
We shall not follow our author through his very able and discursive inquiry, in which he institutes a comparison between the land tenures of several continental states. He concludes his disquisition with the following application :
into Tuscany the metaric system, which, notwithstanding some evils necessarily concomitant upon its inter ference with the previous rights of property, has, we believe, been at tended with the happiest results, in the encouragement of the small property class of farmers. Still we are disposed to agree with Mr. Geale, that such a system is manifestly inapplicable to a large and powerful state, and would not be tolerated in a free country. Mr. Whiteside has considered this subject at great length, and with much ability. Having first examined the state of agriculture in Tuscany during the middle ages, he gives us a very laudatory picture of its character at present :
“It might, however, be a useful inquiry, whether something like the Tuscan system of letting could not, to some extent, be introduced into Ireland with advantage. Upon what ground in reason or justice, for example, should a landlord receive, where he has not granted a lease, one farthing of rent, when the whole crop is destroyed by unforeseen calamity, and famine overspreads the land ?"
“The whole country is cultivated (so far as it is capable) as a beautiful garden. The lands at either side of the road from Cortona to Florence (some sixty miles) present a picture of cleanliness, skill, variety of tillage, comfort in the dwellings and appearance of the people, not to be surpassed in any part of Europe. The vale of Arno is celebrated for the superiority of its tillage. I had never seen such an appearance of perfect cultivation ; there is not a spot remaining of natural turf, nor a meadow left to its natural produce; every inch is planted or dressed by the hand of man; even the rivulets are changed into a thousand canals. There is a variety of vegetation, while the surface of the land is shaded by the leaves of the vine.
The character of the landscape is wholly artificial.”
The proposition contained in this question is more specious than sound. In the abstract, the case put never arises save in the con-acre system, the evils of which cannot be sufficiently reprobated; yet, even in that case, natural justice does not interdict the owner from seeking the performance of a contract which he enters into irrespective of providential casualties, and long previous to their occurrence, though charity or expediency may suggest a partial or total remission of it. But in the ordinary cases, where the landlord has granted no lease,” the tenant holds from year to year at a fixed rent, and is seldom disturbed while he pays it. In practice this does not, so far as the question under consideration, differ from that of a tenure by lease. The rent in each case is based on the estimated average product of the land during a number of years; and in each case the tenant has the surplus profits of a favourable year to compensate for the deficiency of a year of failure. Indeed Mr. Whiteside seems to answer himself in a subsequent paragraph :
He then proceeds to show, from tables constructed by Von Raumer, the allocation of the land to the various branches of agriculture, the amount of produce, the net rent, the number of landed proprietors, and their net incomes ; and gives us the following results :
“ The mass of Tuscan landholders enjoy an income varying from eightpence to £3 6s. 8d. per year. This class amounts nearly to 88,000. The next largest class of 31,000 proprietors, have an income varying between £3 6s. 8d. and £16 13s. 4d., per annum. These two classes outnumber infinitely all the rest, and this fact, coupled with the perfect system of cultivation which exists, serves to prove that small holdings are not, as is very commonly supposed incompatible with high skili, industry, and marked superiority in agriculture.”
“Rent should be considered as the setting apart a reasonable portion of the crop for the owner of the land; it follows, when there is no crop, not owing to any default in the farmer, there ought to be no rent. The owner is entitled to the whole produce of the land, minus the hire of the time, labour, and skill which give that produce. In this view, if nothing could be or had been produced without default in the tenant, the owner would be, and should be, the sufferer. If, owing to the character of the people, the division of crop could
not in our country be adopted, the long term and fixed moderate rent, which seems now generally preferred abroad, might. This system, which many persons in Tuscany would prefer to their mezzadria, can easily be adopted when landholders wish to act justly; and then, as the landlord would not share the benefit of any excessive crop, neither ought he to suffer from any unexpected loss.”
Both our authors are eloquent upon the fine arts in Tuscany. Mr. Geale details his own impressions, and, of course, tells us what he thinks of the rival Venuses—the Madonna del Seg. giola, La Fornarina, and the chefs đæuvre of Guido, Rembrandt, Carlo Dolci, and Rubens. Mr. Whiteside gives us a disquisition on the fine arts, clever, though not original, and from some of his views we claim the right to dissent. Nor yet can we express much admiration of the tone or spirit in which he has very unnecessarily introduced, and somewhat dog. matically discussed a polemical ques. tion which unhappily agitates and rends the bosom of our Anglican Church. That Low Church Evangelism and Oxford Tractarianism are proper subjects for the discussion of every member of our Reformed religion, we admit; but a hasty and in cidental assault upon the religious opinions of men, many of whom are as learned as they are practically pious, and unaffectedly sincere, is not likely to effect much good, or indeed to have any effect at all. To assume the mat. ter which one is bound to establish, is an easy method of argumentation—too easy, indeed, for one of Mr. Whiteside's logical acumen to condescend to. To give hard names, and attribute unworthy conduct to others, is the commonest weapon of every puny assailant. Therefore we think Mr. Whiteside's text for his polemical ser. mon is unjustifiable, both in point of dialectics and fair play, when he states that the recent movement at Oxford is to undo the work of the Reformation, and that this object has been prosecuted with craft.
No doubt the movement has led some to err deplorably; but Mr. Whiteside knows their errors do not necessarily establish against all high churchmen the wholesale charge of attempting craftily to undo the Re. formation; and while we regard, with feelings similar to his own, the exam,
ples of religious corruption, error, and credulity, which he exhibits to our view, we cannot but feel that, till he proves Popery and Tractarianism identical, he has left the question in dispute just where he found it. Let us, however, pass from this ungrateful topic, and put ourselves once more under the guidance of Mr. Whiteside in secular matters, than whom, we cheerfully acknowledge, we could not readily find a more agreeable or in. structive companion.
Lawyers are notoriously a bookmaking tribe. To collect and collate
to borrow from their predecessors, rather than originate for themselves is with them a necessity, rather than a choice. Mr. Whiteside has borrow. ed largely from the stores of others; but he has done so in many cases judiciously, and in general candidly. He may fully claim, too, as a merit, rather than plead as an excuse, that he has, in more than one instance, made us for the first time acquainted with facts and essays which had not heretofore passed beyond the boundaries of Italy, and in some cases beyond the circle of a limited class of Italians. We are thus indebted to our author for an admirable and very interesting account of the benevolent institutions of Tuscany, extracted from a work by Signior Turchetti (a summary of which he prints), as well as from other authorities. This is a branch of sta. tistics of great importance; and yet, strange to say, not very much is to be found on the subject in the works of Italian tourists:
“Possibly we may find the germs of the best of our own benevolent societies existed in Tuscany centuries before they were known by us. A brief examination into these remarkable institutions may also enable us to estimate their effect on the morality and habits of the Tuscan people, and it may prove that some charitable institutions, meant for the encouragement of virtue and protec. tion of life, have damaged morality and destroyed life, and so the right application of practical benevolence may be learned.”
Mr. Geale, too, has some excellent observations on the same subject. Upon one subject, Mr. Whiteside seems to have been peculiarly active in his researches in every Italian capital-we mean on the laws and their
tions between the civil and criminal procedure, now too well established to be destroyed with facility, or perhaps safety. The manner in which the proceedings preliminary to the trial are conducted, appears to us to be very admirable. We shall offer no apology for a lengthened extract:
administration. For this his professional habits eminently qualified him, and he has in these volumes collected an amount of information on these matters that form a very valuable accession to our hitherto limited know. ledge of Italian jurisprudence. One of the principal sources of information upon the Florentine laws which our author has consulted, is a treatise by an advocate and eminent jurist of the Dame of Agostino Ademollo upon “ Leopold's Criminal Code.” The work is in five volumes; but Mr. Whiteside gives a brief summary of its principal points. We shall pretermit the historical disquisition in which the learned jurist indulges, touching the gradual progress of criminal pro. cedure from its remotest origin, and content ourselves with some of the more striking characteristics of the code as cited by Mr. Whiteside All crimes must be prosecuted within ten years ; lesser offences within five, and judicial transgressions within one year after the deposition of the judge. This limitation does not, however, preclude a civil action by the injured party for reparation :
“Undoubtedly, there is much reason in this law, so contrary to ours. It is more humane, and not less repugnant to reason. The crime against society may be atoned by a long life of repentance; but the best principle on which to rest the Tuscan law is the difficulty in which, after a long period, the accused might be placed, from the absence or loss of the evidence essential to prove his innocence. In our system, should a prosecutor delay his information twenty years, although competent at any time previously to make it, the long concealment would affect the credit of his statement; in Tuscany, the prosecution, in such a case, would be impossible, and it is very doubtful whether the limitation fixed by Leopold would not be the wiser rule.”
" The Judge of Instruction now be. gins his labours, to digest all the preli. minary information, and systomatize everything bearing on the material fact of the crime. Thus such a brief is prepared for the crown prosecutor as few counsel in our country ever receives. The most scrupulous exactness is enjoined as to the identification of the person accused. We have now another functionary, called the Criminal Notary, in action. His duty consists in the carcful compilation of the process, that is, the indictment, only of a much more full nature than ours. This officer, responsible for the duty of compiling the process, is commanded by the code to be laborious and careful, and he is made responsible for breach of duty. The process, neatly corrected and paged, is now forwarded to il Regio Procuratore, and the accused is apprised of this fact, and then must be added any facts or statements the prisoner may think fit or wish to make, and the whole in a complete form must be forwarded to the tribunal of the first instance.
“Now, the evidence for the public trial must be got up by the officer named Judge of Instruction, and the rules are given, divided into six heads. He is to apply his care-first, to the original relation of the crime (processi verbali); second, to the time and inspection of the place, and instruments, &c., of the crime; third, to the examination of the witnesses ; fourth, to a careful analysis and examination of the documents; fifth, to the statements of the prisoner ; sixth, to the identification of the accused. This officer has express power given by the code to summon all persons before him, and oblige them to declare what they know of the case. If witnesses voluntarily appear before him, he must make a note of that fact in taking down their statement. With respect to the mode of identification, this officer must introduce the accused amidst several other persons, into an apartment, and the accuser is called upon then to identify the person he prosecutes-his mode of doing which must be carefully noted by the official in the process. This Judge of Instruction is authorised by law to issue his warrant against the accused, not only to appear before him for interrogation, but also to secure his person, when not before
Another peculiarity which differ ences the code from that which obtains with us, is, that the criminal prosecution, and the civil injury resulting from the same act, are prosecuted at the same time, and before the same judge. We are not disposed to concur with our author in his commendation of this course. No doubt, it has obvious advantages, but we doubt if it could be made to harmonize with the very artificial state of our jurisprudence, without confounding distinc