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oil is of a bad flavour, and used only in manufactories. The income of the proprietors is mostly derived from this source, and would be large if they could find an outlet for their produce. As it is, they complain of great difficulty in meeting the demands of government. At the present moment the circulating medium has been almost entirely abstracted by the Austrian soldiers, who have been in the occupation of the country for the last few years. The Austrian soldiers are kept under strict discipline, and are in general a prudent, saving race of men. They have not expended in the Neapolitan territory a single farthing they could avoid, carrying off the greater part of their pay in silver to their own country. This immense drain of silver has reduced the provinces to the primitive operation of barter, and rendered the payment of taxes nearly impossible. In Apulia, I hear that the proprietors have been allowed to put under the care of officers appointed by government a certain quantity of grain, which is to be sold when a market can be found, and the proceeds will be considered as deducting in part from the sum at which they are rated. As long, however, as the grain remains unsold, the proprietors are considered liable to be called on for all arrears. It is said that they have proceeded in some instances to confiscate the furniture and even the agricultural implements of the poorer classes, but such a proceeding is more likely to have originated in the officious zeal of some of the magistrates than from orders issued by government. The poverty of the people is extreme, and the lower classes are kept often by the distribution of the superfluous produce among them. I dismissed my guide at S. Biagio, and proceeded forward to Nicastro, which I found to be situated in the post-road, which I had left three days ago at Carpenzano. Observing the sign of La Gran Bretagna, I thought that I could not do less than honour it with my company, and I found it really a very respectable inn. Nicastro is a large, well-built town, highly romantic in its appearance, from the woody hills with which it is surrounded, and the lofty towers of an old castle that commands it. This is the castle in which Henry, eldest son of the Emperor Frederick II., was confined for having embraced the Guelph party against his father. Nothing could be more beautiful than the valley through which I passed after leaving S. Biagio. The ground was strewed with flowers, and hedges of laurels, myrtles, and pomegranates, made it a very paradise. The foliage gave an agreeable shade, and afforded shelter to thousands of singing-birds. In the evening I ascended the hill above the town, from which there is a most charming view—a vast horizon bounded by the sea and illumined by the setting sun, whose rays tinged the bay of St. Euphemia. The Sinus Terinaeus, which I have already mentioned, was a picture of the most enchanting description, and I regretted when the shades of evening forced me to retire. I was surprised to find a small stream, Terravecchia, passing through a portion of the city, and this during winter becoming a mountain torrent, has frequently committed great depredations, carrying off the houses and even the inhabitants. It is a proof of their apathy that no means should be used to get rid of this nuisance. . The inhabitants told me that the years 1662 and 1783 were marked in their calendar with a black mark on account of these inundations; in the latter year more than one hundred of the inhabitants lost their lives, and in the same year they suffered from an
earthquake. Wherever we find a river in this country, we are sure to discover that it is a source of danger and not of profit; it desolates the lands through which it passes, leaving in its course a noxious deposit of mud, which spreads the seeds of disease over a wide district. Whoever can afford it, fly the low ground and take refuge in the mountains, where they find a pure and more temperate atmosphere. This morning I left Nicastro at daybreak, and passed through the plains, famed for a battle, 4th July, 1806, between the English troops under Sir John Stuart and the French under General Regnier. Our arms were attended with success; the French losing two thousand men, and the English only three or four hundred. The expedition, however, was ill judged, and after the loss of a considerable number of men by the noxious heats of summer, we re-embarked and retired to Sicily. The plain extends for upwards of twenty miles, is low and marshy, being traversed by the river Lamato, the ancient Lametes, which overflows its banks in the winter season. I had hired a mule this morning to convey me to Maida, though it was no great distance, as I was told that I should find some difficulty in fording the river. Except in the immediate vicinity of Nicastro the country was uncultivated, serving, however, for pasture to large herds of buffaloes and wild horses. The few peasants whom we passed had a sickly appearance, and showed evident marks of being subject to the pestilential effluvia of the marshes. As we crossed the Lamato, which was of considerable size, we met a party of gendarmes in attendance on one of the magistrates, and though they looked suspiciously they allowed me to pass unquestioned. Maida, situated, on a hill overlooking the plain, contains about three thousand inhabitants, and though it would require little to unite the village by a good road to the main trunk which penetrates the country, I found that no attempt had been made to do so, and I had to climb by a narrow and rugged path, which could only be safely passed by the sure-footed mules of Calabria. Being situated almost equidistant from two seas, and in that part of Calabria which is least mountainous, it enjoys a free current of air that renders a sojourn here delightful at this season of the year. I reached Maida at an early hour, and as I had a letter of introduction to the judge of the district, I waited on him, and was received with great kindness. Having explained the objects I had in view, I expressed myself desirous of conversing with any of the inhabitants, whom he might consider likely to give me information respecting the peculiar customs or antiquities of Maida. He kindly promised to attend to my request, and a short time afterwards begged me to follow him, when you may imagine my surprise at being ushered into a kind of court-house, where he had assembled all the respectable inhabitants of the village to meet me. The judge introduced me to them, when I rose, and, addressing them in the best Italian I could muster, expressed myself delighted to make their acquaintance, stating how much pleasure I had received from my solitary tour through this remote but beautiful part of Italy, and how much gratitude I felt for the hospitality and genuine kindness I had uniformly met from all classes, both rich and poor. One of them rose and said that he was expressing the sentiments of his friends around him, when he intimated his surprise that I should undergo all this danger and fatigue for what they considered such a very inadequate object. To that I said that I would answer in the very beautiful language of one of the noblest poets in the world, their own Horace, and whose poems many of them, no doubt, knew by heart (Ep. i. ii. 16):
Rursus, quid virtus et quid sapientia possit,
I repeated the words with our Scotch accent, and one of them immediately remarked, that we must pronounce the Latin language as they did, as he understood the passage perfectly from my distinct enunciation. He said that he was afraid that the Italians had changed places with the “Ultimi Britanni,” and that high civilisation had passed from Italy to Great Britain, which now occupied the noble position in the world which their ancestors had maintained in former times. To this I could only say, while acknowledging the compliment, that I trusted there was a good time coming, and that no one would rejoice more than the inhabitants of the British Isles to hear a rustling in the dead bones of their country. I passed, however, from this dangerous subject to the peculiar features of Maida and its vicinity. There are salt springs above the village; but what I thought to be of more value, seams of coal, antimony, and alabaster are found in the neighbourhood, which will, no doubt, hereafter be turned to account.
While we were thus seated, I observed the room gradually to fill with the peasantry, and found that a man was brought up for trial on a charge of assaulting a woman. The friends of the parties, however, had induced them to make up the matter, though the woman seemed still disinclined to drop the prosecution; the peasant was dismissed by the judge with a grave rebuke.
The French certainly conferred a great benefit on the country by reforming the legal code, which, before their time, exhibited a strange incongruous mass. This part of Italy had been in the possession of Normans, Lombards, French, Spaniards, Germans, and each in their turn had added to the laws already in force. The Code Napoleon now, however, supersedes these multifarious enactments, modified, indeed, by the immemorial customs of the country, though it was not without a struggle that it maintained its ground on the return of the Bourbons. They made an attempt to re-establish the ancient order of things; the benefit of the change, however, had become so evident, that the most devoted friends of the Bourbons insisted that the organic law of Murat should be continued, and Ferdinand I. was obliged to yield. Alas, however, if the human agents be corrupt, quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Under the pretext of adding to the safety of the innocent, they have contrived to aggravate the difficulties to be encountered, and to make them nearly insuperable. Before a trial can come on, if more than one has been implicated, they require the presence of all the accused, however numerous they may be, of their defenders and their witnesses. It then only requires the real or imagined indisposition of one of the parties to lengthen out a trial to doomsday. The result of all this is, that the unhappy accused generally sink under the weight of these pretended securities. It is curious to find that the law of the Two Sicilies and Scotland agrees in this, that they admit on a trial a verdict of “non constat,” “not proven,” and that this verdict, as with us, is admitted whenever there is a presumption but not legal proof against the individual. . In this country, however, the accused falls out of Scylla into Charybdis; it would have been better for him to have been condemned. He escapes, no doubt, from the hands of justice, but it is only to fall into far worse—into the hands of the executive. Like to that statue of antiquity which had the appearance of wishing to caress those whom they presented to it, and which stifled while caressing, the police lay their hands on such an individual, plunges him into its dungeons, and forgets his existence. Of such an one we may well say, in the words of their own poet Dante,
Lasciate ognisperanza, voiche ‘ntrate.
The executive does not find the supreme court of justice always so obedient to its behests as it could wish ; high-minded men refuse, as our Charleses and Jameses found, to carry out their unjust commands. This court tries, though, alas! not always successfully, to preserve intact the independence of the magistracy, and to defend the innocent against the oppressive acts of government. And what I was still more delighted to find, the advocates boldly defended the accused, speaking and acting in a way that showed they were prepared to brave the vengeance of an unforgiving government in the defence of what they considered right. I find by the last census that there are eight thousand advocates and attorneys, and of these Naples contains upwards of three thousand. Every church is still considered a sanctuary, and the influence of the Jesuits is so powerful, that their college and monastery are regarded in the same light. As a proof of this, I heard the following statement from one of the English merchants at Naples. In some pecuniary transactions he had been grossly defrauded by a Neapolitan, and he resolved to punish him by imprisonment, which the law allows. To escape this punishment, the culprit took refuge in the college of St. Ignazio, belonging to the Jesuits; and though the law does not recognise its sacred character, no officer could be found who would brave the vengeance of that powerful body by putting the order of arrest in execution. It is only between sunrise and sunset that a person can be arrested; and, accordingly, that gentleman returned to his family in the evening, where he remained at his ease. It was only after repeated application by the English authorities that the law was at last enforced.
As soon as the judge had transacted his business, he proposed that we should proceed to examine an ancient castle, and the ruins of the church
of St. Constantine. The castle has no appearance of being of an earlier date than the thirteenth century, and if a Roman station, called by geographers Ad Turres, ever existed at this spot, all vestiges of it have long since disappeared. None of the inhabitants had ever heard of any antiquities being discovered in this vicinity. The church—now called Constantine—to which they attached much interest, had been nearly destroyed by the famous earthquake of 1783, and it still remained as the earthquake had left it. It is said that the Emperor Constantine, on his way to found his eastern empire, stopped at this village and consecrated a pagan temple, which he found on this spot to the worship of the true God
After dinner I proposed, while my host was enjoying his siesta, to visit the small village of Vena, a few miles from Maida, which I had learnt was an Albanian colony; and though my host thought the heat was so great as ought to deter me, I started, with one of the armed police as my guide. I wished him to leave his arms, as an unnecessary encumbrance, which, however, he refused to do. The heat was certainly excessive, and had I not been ashamed to return without accomplishing my object, I should have abandoned my intention of proceeding to Vena. We again descended to the channel of the river Lamato, which I forded on my guide's back, and on ascending the hill on the opposite side I found myself on a piece of table-land of several miles in extent, at the extremity of which the village of Vena was placed. We did not meet a single individual till we approached the village. The inhabitants were attending evening mass, so that I had a good opportunity of examining the costumes of the peasantry, and their external appearance. The chapel was small, and crowded principally by women, so devoutly engaged in prayer that even the presence of a stranger did not attract their attention. Their features were more distinctly oval than those of Italian women, and they had high cheek-bones, so as to remind me forcibly of my own countrywomen. I observed none striking for their personal charms, but there was a modesty and simplicity particularly pleasing. Their gowns were richly embroidered, the colours being generally bright blue or purple. Their hair was fantastically arranged, so as to tower above their head like an ancient helmet. Lord Broughton, in his “Travels in Albania in 1809 and 1810” (chap. xii.), says, “The dress of their women is very fantastical, and different in different villages. Those of Cesarades were chiefly clothed in red cotton (I never observed the colour elsewhere), and their heads were covered with a shawl, so disposed as to look like a helmet, with a crest and clasp under the ears.”. This helmet-like appearance of their hair was particularly striking. They had a perfect acquaintance with the Italian language, though they employed the Albanian in conversation with each other. I have much difficulty in discovering any of their peculiar customs, as it has seldom occurred to them that they differ from the rest of the world; but on inquiring whether their marriage ceremonies varied in any respect from that observed by the other Italians, one of them mentioned the following custom: “It is a dance called Valle, which must precede the ceremony. The women unite in a ring, clasping the hands of each other, and, with a flag carried in front, proceed dancing and singing the warsongs of their country, when they were fighting with the Turks. This takes place as they are conveying the young bride to her husband's house.”