« AnteriorContinuar »
deeply tainted with the same characteristics. The seditious spirit of the Press spread to the masses, especially in Palermo; the operatives there became chiefly disciples of the Republicans, whilst the peasantry held more by the monastic orders, which are always Autonomist. On the one hand the Press strove hard to inoculate the people with virulent hatred of everything that represented religion, whilst on the other, the basest vulgar superstitions were fostered in preference to that faith which purifies the heart.'-Ibid.*
Such were the fruits of the pro-dictatorship which should have prepared the soil in Sicily for the reception of the King's Government. When it came to an end the ground was left rank not only with the numberless weeds which the old rule had bequeathed, but also with those which the pro-dictatorship had planted or revived ; and the Italian Government had the eradication of both crops to take in hand. The time that should have been seized to deal with this task, one that needed no small amount of sagacity, vigour, and pertinacity, was lost in endless changes of the form and personnel of the local government; and none of these forms or persons sped better than the pro-dictatorship in resolving the pressing questions of practical administration. The primary one of public security had been solved under the Bourbons by the notorious Manescalchi, after a fashion indeed characteristic of the dynasty, but still with such effect that life and property were in great measure protected; whilst under Italian Government, in its various phases, the degree of protection they have enjoyed has been something too deplorable to dwell on. Things had come to such a pitch that in the season preceding the outbreak it was often said in Palermo, Better Manescalchi back again than these bunglers.' The revolution, to be sure, was not made for the sake of better public security. But, as surely, it was not expected that the first-fruits of that great event would be the entire privation of such security.
• The fact is that the Italian Government, whilst accepting the Revolution, and owing its position to the Revolution, has never attempted to guide that movement in its course and necessary consequences, but in shrinking from such a task has left it in the hands of the enemies, or false friends, of the United Monarchy, or has allowed individual caprices to make child's-play of the internal administration, and has subjected itself to be drawn hither and thither like a ship without a rudder. . . Though the States which the Revolution united were all Italian, they were made up of communities whose nature, temper, necessities, and institutions varied greatly. No serious attempt has been made to study these varying necessities, institutions, and habits, to guide the introduction of the new institutions among them, or to consider the manner in which these new institutions would affect them. All that has been done has been to pour out these last upon their heads, more like a deluge of wrath than like a benignant dew. Ibid.
We have seen a proclamation regarding compositions for illicit gains, issued in the name of the Archbishop of Palermo and affixed to the church doors in this year 1866, which could scarcely have been outdone in Germany in 1517.
been seemed without
To this add constant changes in all the departments of administration, often violent and contradictory, and in matters of no pressing moment, suggested by individual theories, not by political urgency. Naturally most of these changes worked badly, and so of course new changes followed. This kind of action has applied more or less to all the provinces of Italy, but above all to Sicily. The province which perhaps presented most peculiarities and required most study has had the least, and thus has continued to be the most difficult to rule, the most incorrigible, the most dangerous, the head-quarters of dissatisfaction and disaffection.
No proof of ignorance could be more flagrant than the state in which the Government left the island before the outbreak of September. A good deal has since been written about the malandrinaggio of the province, and about the National Guard of Palermo. But if the Government knew the state of these matters how could it dare to leave the province stript of troops as it did? Three or four battalions of effective soldiers would have made all the difference; one such, in fact, would have sufficed to cut short the outbreak the first day. If the Government did not know these things, what did it know about governing the island ? They must needs wait for a flagrant outbreak, and then indeed there was hurry-skurry, despatch of armies, ironclads, bombshells, and martial law. Could anything indicate administrative incapacity more seriously than that a great city of the kingdom of Italy should have been brought to need such deplorable extremities?
• It is nonsense to lay all this load of incapacity on the shoulders of Torelli and Pinna. Both of these were personally men of respectable capacity, but in their day came to a climax that administrative inaptitude which had become systematic throughout the whole direction of affairs in Sicily.
If ever, by good luck, a man came to Sicily who had a special faculty for understanding it, and gradually bringing back its affections to the King's Government, by some ill luck before long he was sure to be hurried away again as if he had been a public scourge. Thus, for example, when the Marquis Gualterio had just entered on his difficult task with rare promise and sagacity, the hopes excited were cut short by his removal, which
seemed to be ordered on the part of Government with no more scruple than if they had been changing an office copyist. A country so peculiar as Sicily can never be understood or rationally governed under this constant change of rulers. How is it possible even to enter on a task so full of thorns, with the constant expectation of removal hanging over one's head ? How is it possible that the political training which Sicily needs so sorely can advance under such a system?'-Ibid.
The general result of what has been said is, that it is a mistake to attribute the week's anarchy at Palermo to such matters as Bourbonism, Clericalism, Republicanism, and so forth, as
The fact that these elements possessed any force to dispute with one another the preference of the people, and the small display of active loyalty in resisting them, only show that the King's Government had lost the popular confidence and respect : the result, in great part, of enduring mismanagement in the administration.
The writer whom we have so largely quoted concludes by making certain suggestions towards the reform of that Inettitudine Governativa which has to answer for so much mischief in Sicily. With some of these, touching the defects of the Parliament itself, we need not meddle. • But,' he aptly observes, what might not the eight-and-forty Sicilian representatives effect for the island, if they were to lay aside their party dissensions and individual crotchets and act in combination on all questions affecting the island, bringing to bear on them that practical knowledge which they possess, or ought to possess? What they do now, Heaven knows! but it is anything but this.'
A main cause, however, of the absence of intelligent, consistent, and apt administration in Sicily appears to have been the introduction of an exaggerated system of centralised rule after the French pattern, which could nowhere be more completely out of place than in its application to Italy as a whole, at least for the next half century, probably for all time. The capital of Italy will soon, we trust, be a closed question ; but whether that capital be Rome or Florence, it is never likely to grow to monstrous proportions, or to become the one dominant centre and influence, the heart and brain of the country, such as Paris is to France. Italy, it is probable, and it is to be hoped, will always possess a plurality of nervous centres, and find her strength and peculiar life in so doing. The misapplication of the centralising system, with its tendency to mechanical uniformity, to the constant shifting of officials, to continual change of rules which have scarcely time to be known before they are superseded, and to the obliteration of local institutions
without any ground in economy or use, but only in a passion for barren uniformity, not only keeps up a constant irritation, but leaves everything undone for the development of local life and activity, which Sicily so much needs, and of which it has such vast capabilities. Manufactures are insignificant; agriculture, for which the island was once so famous, is in its rudest state; commerce is scanty, considering the capacity of the island; there is little growth in proportion to what is taking place elsewhere; and the present course of administration does scarcely anything to develope these. Nothing would so much stimulate life in the island as the completion of three or four lines of railway. One, indeed, is on the point of being opened between Messina and Catania ; but on the Palermo side the only result of five years' work is an easy section of twenty-four miles, the further prosecution of which has been suspended since the war began. Such backwardness could scarcely have occurred had the province been administered by men who had had time as well as capacity to know and understand the necessities of their charge, and, from their knowledge, weight to carry its requirements to accomplishment. A Government is wanted with a power of initiative which the present system will never afford. It needs not only men of capacity, but that they should hold office for a term of years and have considerable discretionary powers. Service in Sicily, no doubt, is distasteful, from causes obvious enough to those who have read this paper, as well as from others; but inducements must be found, from interest or ambition, to overcome this distaste. We believe we should indicate the sort of government that Sicily wants tolerably well to Englishmen who know anything of India, by saying that it should be treated in great measure as a “non-regulation province.'
Rudini, the gallant and outspoken Sindaco, in his letter to Baron Ricasoli of 11th October, after saying that the local administration itself must not be omitted from
the causes of the insurrection, proceeds: “And I must say frankly, that many grave and respectable people begin to doubt if there has ever been anything deserving to be called a local Government in Palermo at all. I cannot charge my memory with all the names of those who have successively administered the province in the course of six years; these perpetual changes have stamped the Government with a character of weakness and inconstancy.'
We have endeavoured to ascertain accurately the number of changes which the Sindaco's memory failed to carry,
Between the assumption of the Dictatorship by Garibaldi in May, 1860, and the entrance of Cadorna as Royal Commissioner in Sept
ember, * The list is as follows:- Dictator, (1) Garibaldi; Prodictators, (2) Sirtori, (3) Depretis, (4) Mordini; Lieutenants-General, (5) Montezemolo, (6) Della Rovere, (7) Pettinengo; Prefects, (8) Torelli, (9) Pallavicino, (10) (Pro-Preject) De Ferrari, (11) Cugia; Royal Coinmissioners, (12) Brignone, (13) Demonale; Prefects, (14) (Pro-Prefect) Murgia, (15) De Cossilla, (16) Gualterio, (17) Torelli; Royal Commissioner (18) Cadorna.
ember, 1866, the province of Palermo has had just seventeen chief rulers, so that the average duration of rule has been less than four months and a half. Is it needful to say any morewe might almost ask, Was it needful to say anything but this—to account for the disorganisation of the province ?
ART. VI.-1. Nouveau Code des Chasses. Paris, 1851, 2. Report from the Committee of the House of Commons on the
Game Laws. 1846. 3. Okes' Game Laus. London, 1863. 4. Law Journal Reports. 1865. W! THERE the passionate instinct of the sportsman is strong,
the poacher is the very incarnation of crime. With the philanthropist, on the other hand, game is the needless cause of offence; were there no game, the poacher would be a virtuous peasant. The demagogue regards game with all the fondness of a partisan, as a stock subject of class abuse, a perpetual provocative to the poor against the rich. The legislator recognises the practical anomalies in the constitution which the magistrate feels in the administration of the game laws.
The statesman, the farmer, and the naturalist weigh the damage inflicted by ground game on growing crops and the demoralising influence of poaching, against the benefits derived from winged game and the manly training afforded by field sports for the youth and spirit of the country. All these considerations lead to two questions, the one legal, the other social : 1st. Whether there be any such property in game as entitles it to the protection of law; 2ndly. Whether game should be suffered to co-exist with the improved cultivation of modern times. Public attention has often of late been pointed in this direction. Murderous conflicts between poachers and gamekeepers, the crops of tenant farmers destroyed by hares and rabbits, thousands of pheasants bred up by aristocratic poulterers to be despatched in turn by their friends, the aristocratic butchers, are all well known sensation subjects. They are periodically exposed by the press, and in many instances meet with the merited censure of all right thinking men. The sores of the system have been laid bare to