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the oven of the baker it is indispensable; and as a means of producing rapid ignition, of the loss of timber consumed on the hearth or in the stove, it is almost as valuable. Thus again we see another point of disparity between the alleged desolation and sterility of the Campagna and the real unproductive, and now worthless waste lands of Ireland.
Against the line of argument which we bave been pursuing, it may be objected that, instead of comparing the Papal Government with that of any other country, we should judge of it on the merits; the partial and unjust rule of England over Ireland being surely no palliation or pretext for maladministration of the States of the Church. Nor is this objection, to a certain extent, without force. It would indeed be preposterous to excuse the guilty neglect of one set of men, because of the more heinous crime committed, or the more cruel oppression practised by another. But when the greater wrong-doer, with an utter insensibility to shame, stands on the house-top to proclaim the faults of his neighbour, then the accusation, though wellgrounded, is unbecoming, and if without foundation, is utterly base and infamous. And that the accusation so often brought by the English press and from English platforms against the Pope's Government, on the subject of the Campagna, is completely devoid of foundation, we shal} now prove. We do not of course undertake to demonstrate that the best possible means which could have been employed for the reclamation and improvement of the Campagna, have been at all times applied by the Popes. In the most successful results of human policy we see but very few and scanty illustrations of optimism. We merely maintain that, considering the nature of the difficulties to be encountered, and the resources given to cope with them, the Popes have done at least as much for the Campagna, as under similar circumstances, might be reasonably expected from any other civil government.
We will not pause to analyze the physical impediments which at present stand in the way of cultivating the Campagna, and which should be removed in order to make it a fit abode for human life. Whether owing to the chemical properties of a soil so highly volcanic, or that the vapours borne from the coast into the interior, are intercepted by the surrounding mountains, and thus remain suspended, and as it were, stagnant over the plains-what
VOL. XLVIII.-No. XCV.
ever, in a word, may be the true physical cause of the phenomenon, certain it is that the atmosphere, particularly in the calm and sultry months of summer, is loaded with pestilence. The baneful effect of the malaria is said to be felt by the traveller even while passing, without delay, through the Pontine Marshes. During the night a sojourn there is especially dangerous ; " death bestrides the evening gale. The air being thus tainted with disease, at least for a considerable period of the year, it is obvious that without the strongest incentives men will not be found to risk health and life in tilling the Campagna. Hence it is only at the approach of winter that labourers from the adjoining hills, or from Naples, can be induced to accept employment in it-and at the first appearance of the dreaded malaria, the hardiest of them fly again to their rude homes.
An indispensable preliminary, then, for rendering the Campagna habitable, is the disappearance of the malaria. Accordingly, the question at once arises, can the malaria be made to disappear before the appliances of human skill and industry? Weighty authorities have answered in the negative :
“I will boldly affirm," says Howard, a most intelligent traveller, " that the most striking parts, the whole plain between Rome and Tivoli, and the Pontine Marshes, never were, or could be, in a much better state than at present. I have walked over, in shooting, a great part of the plain, between Rome and Tivoli, and the soil, which consists of a deep white crystallised sand, generally covered with a coat of black sand, not half an inch, and oftener pot a quarter of an inch deep, evidently proves that it never could be in à state of ordinary cultivation. Immense expense may have carried soil to some spots to make gardens ; but even that adventitious fertility could not be of long duration ; it would soon disappear through the hungry uaconnected sand beneath.”
Eustace is of much the same opinion.
"From these observations," he writes, “I am inclined to infor that the air of the Campagna could never have been more healthy than it is at present. I admit, however, that cultivation and population might then have counteracted the causes above mentioned ; and I must observe also, that at a very remote period those causes did not perhaps exist, and that many portions of land, now marshes, might then have be covered with the sea, as the flatness of the coast, and the consequent shallowness of tho water, must have been
considerably increased in the course of time by the perpetual depositions of the Tiber."
In fact, the insalubrity of the district in the vicinity of Rome is repeatedly referred to by ancient as well as modern writers, for instance, by Horace, Juvenal, Martial, Frontonius, &c., who describe the atmosphere of the city itself as unwholesome during the great heats. It rests, then, upon unquestionable authority that, even from a very early date, disease in some form, at certain seasons, habitually hovered about the Campagna; and that even the hardy huntsman, if overtaken amid its plains, by the shades of night, was not at all proof against the influence of its vapours. Nor does the presence of such architectural remains as the famous Lucullan Villa afford any fair presumption to the contrary; if the Campagna had not its beauties, and its pleasures, and attractions, the rich epicurean would not, doubtless, have selected it even as a temporary abode ; but it is certain that Lucullus did not permanently dwell in the Agro Romano, he himself, as Plutarch tells us, having boasted that he changed his climate with the storks and cranes.
And if the air of the Campagna be thus prejudicial to health, the same holds true to a greater or less extent of all the low plains that border on the Mediterranean. It is no less true with regard to portions of Greece, Sicily, Asia Minor, Spain, than of the Agro Romano. Three thousand men of Wellington's army suddenly fell sick during the campaign of 1811, in Estremadura, on the banks of the Gaudiana. Sir James Clarke was of opinion that the agues, generated by the marshy fens of Lincolnshire, are of the same nature as the intermittent fevers caught from exposure to the air of the Campagna. It is evident, then, that the present physical condition of the Agro Romano interposes a most serious difficulty to its being cultivated and made a fitting abode for men. Does there exist any such impediment to the reclamation of the waste lands of Ireland ? Does the breeze come down from the desolate hills of Connaught laden with pestilence and death? Does the wild wave, as it rolls unbroken across the Atlantic, threaten with fatal malaria the peasant who should venture to occupy and improve the now worthless tracts of Munster? There may, indeed be a social pestilence to bar his way and deaden in
him the spirit of enterprise ; but as to every influence of kind nature it is put forth to invite, not to repel his toil.
While referring to the physical obstacles which at present impede the complete cultivation of the Campagna, we would not by any means be understood as adhering to the opinion that these obstacles are simply and absolutely insurmountable. Difficulties no less formidable, and even of the same class, have often yielded in the presence of well-directed energy. The Savannas of America, it is known, resent the first touch of adventurous labour, and in most instances meet it with noisome and pestiferous exhalations. Time and perseverance, however, subjugate the stubborn soil, and make it, like a wild animal tamed, entirely subservient to human use. The Campagna Felice of Naples was once a more deserted wilderness than the Agro Romano ; in the fourth century of our era it was peopled only by the buffalo and the boar of the forest. It is now, as its name indicates, a happy valley, teeming with verdure and beauty, abounding in pomegranates and figs, and clusters of grapes, a land which, in very deed, floweth with milk and honey. Similar changes have been wrought in some parts of Tuscany. In fact there is almost nothing of a social or political nature which may not be effected by courage and industry; to them belongs the magic power by which the ancients imagined that sand was transmuted into gold. We are far, then, from maintaining that the Campagna is absolutely irreclaimable; on the contrary, we believe it possible that it should again become what it was when the ploughshare of Cincinnatus upturned his humble freehold, or when the Lucullan villa first rose in ostentatious splendour amid its hills. We are merely anxious to direct attention to the acknowledged fact that the present physical condition of the Agro Romano presents difficulties in the way of its complete reclamation which, though absolutely capable of being overcome, are yet undoubtedly of the greatest magnitude; so that, if the Papal Government has not entirely succeeded in conquering these difficulties, it may yet well afford to bear comparison with such a government as that of rich and powerful England.
But it is perhaps chiefly to the continued operation of the moral or social causes which first brought on the depopulation of the Campagna, that we are to attribute its present condition. Among the most prominent of those
causes is to be reckoned the abandonment of agriculture and active husbandry by the inhabitants, living in the immediate vicinity of Rome. By the fall of Carthage the conquerors obtained undisputed mastership of the shores of the Mediterranean, and thus found easy access to the rich granaries of Egypt and Africa. The importation of foreign corn into Italy was immense; and in the neighbourhood of the city of Rome it was soon found to be much more lucrative to let out the land for pasturage than to till and cultivate it. The result was an almost complete abandonment of agriculture.
“ At Hercule, writes Tacitus, "olim ex Italia legionibus longuinquas in provincias commeatus portabantur ; nec nunc inefecunditate laborant: sed Africam potius et Egyptum exercemus, navibusque et casibus vita populi Romani commissa est.' Pliny declares, that in his own time the eviction of human beings from their holdings, to make way for droves of cattle-a system by the way which seems to be rapidly gaining favour in Ireland-had already proved ruinous to Italy. “Verumque confitentibus latifundia perdidere Italiam : imo ac provincias.” “Since the age of Tiberius, observes Gibbon, “the decay of agriculture had been felt in Italy; and it was a just subject of complaint that the lives of the Roman people depended on the accidents of the winds and the waves. And in another place he says: “Under the Emperors the agriculture of the Roman provinces was insensibly ruined, and the government was obliged to make a merit of remitting tributes, which their subjects were utterly unable to pay.
Thus the abandonment of agricultural industry dates at least as far back as the reign of Tiberius; nor can we trace any abatement of the evil under his Christian successors. All their efforts to arrest the depopulation of the country were unavailing; the desert, says Michelet,* extended daily, and the people in the fields yielded to despair, as a beast of burden sinks under his load and refuses to rise.
The explanation of this extraordinary disappearance of the rural population we have already to some extent anticipated. Besides the physical condition of the country in
* Michelet, Histoire de France, i. 108.