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pagna, it has not been indifferent to their improvement. It has not failed to apply the only remedy at its command to the existing evil. In the year 1471, Sixtus the Fourth issued a decree to the following effect :-“ Considering the number of famines to which Rome has been of late years exposed, owing chiefly to the small amount of lands which have been sown or laid down in tillage, and that the owners prefer allowing them to remain uncultivated and pastured only by cattle, to having them cultivated for the use of men, on the ground that the latter mode of management is more profitable than the former......we decree,” &c. The decree goes on to enforce, under severe penalties, the cultivation of a considerable portion of the Campagna in grain. This decree was renewed in 1523 by Clement the Seventh, and we refer to it as illustrative at once of the abiding cause of the desolation of the Campagņa, and of the anxiety to reclaim it uniformly evinced by the government of the Papal States. In 1783, Pius the Sixth, after having ordained a new cadastre or general survey of the Agro Romano, made it obligatory on the proprietors to sow annually 85,000 acres with grain. The selfishness of the landholders, however, soon rendered this salutary regulation inoperative. “The proprietors and farmers, says Nicolai," "combined to oppose the execution of this decree, the former declaring that they must have a higher rent than the latter professed themselves
In order to give an impulse to agricultural industry, and to check the growing rage for extensive pasturage, Pius the Seventh, in 1802, laid an impost of five pauli per rubbio on the uncultivated land immediately round the towns, and deducted the same amount from the tax on cultivated lands. There may be a class of political economists with whom such measures as these find little favour. It may probably be deemed unworthy an energetic government to attempt by mere fines or fiscal regulations of any description to arrest the depopulation of the Campagna, much more to restore life and industry to its unhealthy solitudes. But if we may be allowed to judge small things by great, the Roman government, though it had done nothing for the improvement of the Agro Romano, beyond the imposition of the finest which we have
able to pay
* Nicolai, iii. 133.
referred to, might well bear comparison with other governments vastly more powerful and infinitely more pretentions. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when introducing his next budget, should succeed in laying a special tax, be it more or less, upon every acre in Ireland that is actually waste, and that can be made fit for the spade or hoe, his name will be long held in benediction, if not by the landlords, at least by the people of the sister island.
It is unnecessary to dwell in detail upon the history of the efforts made by Pius the Sixth, and continued with so much energy by Pius the Seventh, to drain the Pontine Marshes and restore the Campagna to agriculture.
We have already made it abundantly evident that the Popes, so far from having caused the desolation of the Agro Romano, found it a deserted maremme, and that they bave employed all the resources at their command in effecting its improvement. For the rest we shall conclude by quoting the words of Alison :
“ The desolation of the Campagna must have been owing to some causes peculiar to the Roman States, or rather to that part of those states which adjoins the city of Rome, for in other parts of the ecclesiastical territories, particularly in the vicinity of Ancona, and the slope of the Apennines towards Bologna, agriculture is in the most flourishing state. The hills and declivities are there cut out into terraces, and cultivated with garden husbandry, and in as perfect a style as in the mountains of Tuscany. The Marches of Ancona contain 426,222 inhabitants, (in the year 1846) spreal over 2,111 square miles, which is about 200 to the square mile; but cousidering how large a part of the territory is barren rock, the proportion on the fortile parts is about 300 to the square mile, while the average of England is only 260. The soil is cultivated to the depth of two and three feet. It is in vain, therefore, to say that it is the oppressiou of the Papal government, the indolence of the cardinals, and the evils of an elective monarchy, which have been the causes of the ruin of agricultural industry in the vicinity of Rome. These causes operate just as strongly in the other parts of the Papal States, where cultivation, instead of being in a languishing is in the most flourishing condition. In truth, so far from having neglected agriculture in this blasted district, the Papal government, for the last two centuries, has made greater efforts to encourage it than all the other powers of Italy put together."
Art IX.-1. The Life and Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop
of Canterbury and Legate of the Holy See. By John Morris, Canon of Northampton. London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans,
and Roberts, 1859. 2. Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. A Biography. By James
Craigie Robertson, Canon of Canterbury. London : Murray, 1859.
E ought long ago to have invited the attention of our
readers to Canon Morris' interesting Publication. As we read it, we are frequently reminded of the elegant passage in the preface of Canon Tierney's “ History of Arundel," in which he describes the importance of local histories as enabling us to understand the general histories of the kingdoms to which they belong. We seem to gain a better insight into the iron rule of our Norman kings, and to appreciate more truly the courage of any who ventured to oppose the lawless exercise of their might, when we peruse the Monograph which Canon Morris has so judiciously presented to the public. He allows us to see the worldly spirit of their government, when, forgetful of some of the better traditions of the Conqueror, they seemed to inherit only his subjugating power, that they might display it in the rude tyranny of William Rufus against St. Anselm, and in the more crafty and more Machiavellian policy of Henry II. against St. Thomas.
These must have been difficult times for the pious and gentle priests and monks, who wished to toil quietly and earnestly for the good of souls. They saw churches, of which the splendid architecture excites our admiration at this day, raised by the very princes that were striving with so much perseverance against the rights of the clergy who were to minister in them; they witnessed the increase of religious foundations and endowments made or sanctioned on one day by the monarchs, who the next day were ready to seize the temporalities of bishoprics and other benefices, and who cared not how long the flocks remained without their shepherds. It must have been perplexing to honest and simple-minded men to know when they were to trust the king and when they ought to suspect him. Even the selection of great and holy bishops, like St. Edward or St. Thomas, would increase the trial of those who would have
doubted and watched the conduct of the sovereign if they had seen him uniformly bent upon securing the promotion of time-serving and unworthy ecclesiastics to the sees which he happened to allow to be filled up. Some, too, would suppose, perhaps, that questions of privileges and precedence were matters of secondary or even trivial importance, and would show but faint sympathy for those who were engaged in discussing the prerogatives of one see or the exemptions of another. We must live in the times to comprehend the position of the men whose characters have impressed themselves upon our history, and we must look at the struggle from the side of those who maintained it against such fearful odds. Bishop Milner always studied history in the lives of the Saints, and it was bis habit to contemplate, with the feeling of her best soldiers and most upright defenders, the warfare of the Church. If the angels rejoice in the triumph of St. Thomas, and if the Church summons all her children to share in their gladness, Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes sub honore Beati Thomæ martyris de cujus passione gaudent Angeli et collaadant Filium Dei, we ought to study his life and estimate his actions by the light of his own principles. The principles must have been real which supported him, alone and single-handed, against the apathy of friends, the subserviency of his colleagues, and the energy of his open enemies. By the help of this biography we are enabled to see him as he was in the day of his contest at Northampton, looking up at the cross and accepting the death which then seemed so near, but which was to hang over his head through so many eventful years. His tall and noble figure passes before our eyes, and we think how painful to one so true and constant in friendship as he was, must have been the desertion of those whom he had esteemed and loved, and the misery that afterwards brought his supporters and retainers to knock at the gates of his retreat at Pontigny. We are near him as he is forced to leave the flock to which he was so devoted, to spend his energy in exile, and we see him when he weeps as he thinks of the ravages of the wolves that were to enter the fold during his absence. We take our place amongst the children who wait for him at the cross-roads, that they may receive from his hands the holy Chrism of Confirmation, and we hear their simple expressions of wonder and affection after he has left them. In these pages we can
follow him through the joyful as well as through the sorrowful passages of his course. We watch the progress of the eager youth who plunges into the stream in pursuit of his game, and follow him until he ripens into the earnest and vigorous champion of the Church; we see him amongst the scholars of Merton and the Canons of Southwark preparing to pass his exile amongst the monks of Pontigny, the cherished friend and companion of old and young. We discern the strong-minded and impartial judge, under the “scarlet and grey cloak” of the Chancellor, no less than when he presides in the Archiepiscopal and Legatine Courts. We little suspect, indeed, that his splendid
robes hide a rough hair shirt; and yet we might have noticed a spirit of child-like cheerfulness which none but the mortified can unite with the possession of wealth and the state and circumstance of rank. How little the world has hardened his generous and confiding heart, we feel and comprehend, when we think of him waiting on the poor in the early morning, or welcoming them as his retinue when his armed men forsook him for the king ; so, too, when we find him willing again to trust, on the judgment of others, the very men whose hollowness and insincerity his penetrating and calm glance had discovered from the first. In his letters he reveals to us all the depth and earnestness of that heart which prosperity had not changed, which adversity had not weakened, nor calumny soured, and when we consider how inany of his letters have remained to us, we cannot but admire the Saint, who was in the least as well as in the most studied of the series, always worthy of his station, and always eqnal to his responsibilities and superior to his trials. His letters show us his clear and unswerving conviction of the justice of the cause with which his name has ever been identified.
We wish that Canon Morris had added a chapter on the letters of St. Thomas, and he would have made it one of the most interesting in the volume, if we may judge from the care, and diligence, and clearness with which he has presented conversations and minute incidents to his readers. We do not quite approve of the adoption of fanciful titles for his chapters, and we are more disposed to question the expediency of them in a work which in other respects has carefully avoided the prevailing familiarity of expression which in our language does not suit grave and religious subjects.