Friedrich von Raumer.

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de Rivera, a well-informed and intelligent writer.


says : " Ever since the time of the Anjouvins, the
exchequer and the feudal barons have pressed
heavily upon the country. All the principal taxes
were laid upon the lower classes, while the nobility
and clergy were mostly exempted. To this were
added, under the Spanish Habsburgers, a wretched
oppressive administration, exactions of money
merely to be sent abroad, excessive levies of sol-
diers, foohsh monopolies of the government, at-
tacks and plunder by the Saracens, pestilence and
contagious diseases. Hence poverty, celibacy, in-
activity, emigrations. The people, depressed by so
much injustice and calamity, fell into a sort of
apathy, from which no viceroy ever thought of
rousing them. They durst not bake in their own
ovens, grind at their own mills, press olives at their
own presses, because ancient custom or privileges
stood in the way.""

Force had created and introduced the pretended
right, and for the sake of a few highly-favoured
persons the whole civil society was daily retrograd-
ing, till Charles III. interposed to check its back-
ward course. He was, however, obliged to stop
half way, and it was not till the 19th century that
the feudal system, in all its parts, gave way to the
more urgent wants and wishes of the times. By a
law of Joseph's, of the year 1 806, it is enacted : " The
feudal system, and all feudal jurisdiction, are abo-
hshed ; all towns, villages, hamlets, are subjected to


the general laws of the country. The nobility,
however, transmit rank and title to their descen-
dants in the order of primogeniture. All feudal
dues to the exchequer cease, and feudal estates are
subject to the same taxes as others. All burdens,
services, and duties of a personal nature, which feu-
dal laws were accustomed to require and to levy
under whatever name or title, from communes or
individuals, are abolished without compensation.
Without compensation also are abolished all pro-
hibitive rights (monopolies) in so far as they did
not originate in purchase, or in a burdensome
manner. Rivers are public property. The feu-
dahty of offices as well as fideicommissa shall cease ;
but rights, incomes, and dues attached to things
and land, shall continue to subsist."

A second law of the year 1809 is still more rigid.
By virtue of it were abolished all rights of pastur-
age which the lords exercised upon the meadows or
lands of other persons ; so were all tithes upon
meat, all taxes upon cattle and fireplaces, without
compensation. Any one who hopes to gain an
exemption from this enactment must produce his
proofs in the course of the year 1809, before the
board to be appointed for this special purpose. How
difficult it was to produce such proofs is apparent
from those words of the law which define the grounds
of decision. And if — it is there said — a compen-
sation for service may appear possible, still the


total worth of the lands assigned for cultivation is
fully compensated by the increase of persons and
fireplaces, from which new dues and burdens of
various kinds have been levied. Moreover, all
these dues press more especially upon the lower
classes of the people.

Well-founded as many of these complaints were
respecting arbitrary impositions upon the poor and
weak, the commission, acting upon such instructions
and views, could not itself avoid falling into many
precipitate and arbitrary proceedings and violations
of property. Murat therefore dissolved it in 1810,
and transferred its duties to the ordinary authori-
ties. These duties were augmented, inasmuch as
all services, relations of dependence, imposts, com-
mon rights, were declared dissoluble and redeem-
able ;* and to this end averages of ten years and
estimates by competent persons were taken for the
groundwork. Disputes were mostly decided by the
juge de paix^ but in particular cases appeal might
be made to a higher tribunal.

These important, and, upon the whole, in spite
of many defects, salutary changes, had been so far
carried into effect under foreign rule, that it was
impossible to strike into a different track, or to

• A praiseworthy law reliitive to the division of commou
lands, of the year 1792, was unfortunately rendered ineflBca-
cious by opposition of all kinds. — Bianchini, Storia delle
Finanze di Napoli, iii. 79-


replace things on their old footing. But, after Fer-
dinand's restoration, the spirit and temper of the
government were so altered that it lent a more wil-
ling ear to the complaints of the possessors of feudal
property, strove to obtain and secure for the nobility
more favourable rights, confirmed the allodial suc-
cession in fiefs, and permitted the founding of
majorats (in 1818 and 1822) upon the following
conditions: — Nobles alone can found majorats, and
each requires the confirmation of the crown. They
must not exceed the amount of the property which
the owner has a right to dispose of. None of them
shall produce a larger income than 30,000, or a
smaller than 2000 Neapolitan ducats, which may
arise from land, ground rent, or money in the public

The important effects of a legislation like that
here described upon country and nation have been
so frequently discussed, that any further considera-
tion or opinion on the subject appears superfluous.
A few local remarks in addition may not be mis-

1. The number of landed proprietors, as vs^ell as
their activity, has been very much increased by it ;
though many of the smaller, by the unlimited divi-
sion of landed property, have been at last forced to
sell and to descend into the class of mere labourers.
On the other hand, alienations of this kind led to
the augmentation of a class of land-owners, whose


property forms perhaps the happiest medium be-
tween too Httle and too much.

2. The system of the mezzadria^ the halfling, is
almost unknown in the NeapoUtan dominions. Pro-
prietorship predominates, and, where that is want-
ing, lease and rent supply its place. The former,
if not for a long term, at least for several years as
in Sicily, where the leases, confined in general to
three years, deter from all improvements and are
the ruin of agriculture.

3. The nobility, with very few exceptions, care
nothing at all about agriculture. For this disposi-
tion, unfortunately so general and so injurious in
Italy, there were other peculiar reasons in Naples :
in the first place, the insecurity of residence in
country mansions ; and secondly, the solicitude of
the kings to draw the feudal nobles to the capital,
and to make them dependent on the court. Nei-
ther of these reasons exists in the same degree as
formerly, and thus the nobility will, it is to be
hoped, become more and more convinced that he
loses power and influence who is not active enough
to acquire and not provident enough to save.

4. Though there is no want of capital in the
country, the rate of interest is very high, and the
difficulty of obtaining a loan very great. This
arises from the distrust of the capitalists, occasioned
by very defective arrangements respecting mort-
gages, erroneous or even knavish appraisements,



partiality of the authorities, tardiness of lawsuits,
&c. Thus the agriculturist and the manufacturer
are irequently in want of capital to go on with, or
they are furnished with it on conditions, for the
ftilfilment of which no natural or safe profits can
suffice. Hence bankruptcies and redoubled dis-


Naples — Administration — Miniicipal Institutions.

Naples, July 9tli.
Perhaps I had done better to have given a va-
riety of statistical particulars relative to the extent,
the nature, the population of the country, and the
like, before entering upon the subjects of my last
letters. But constitution and administration operate
just as powerfully upon material circumstances as
these do upon them, and so I will follow up my
reports on the constitution, the clergy, and the
nobility, with another on the administration. As
this was copied under Joseph and Joachim almost
entirely from the French model, and much con-
nected with the ministry and the council of state
has been retained, I abstain from repeating what is
generally known on that subject, and extract what
follows from the laws relative to towns and com-
munes issued between the years 1806 and 1809.


The towns are divided, according to their popu-
lation, into three classes, having fewer than 3000
inhabitants, from 3000 to 6000, and above 6000.
Among the latter are reckoned also those which are
the seat of an intendant, a court of appeal, or a
tribunal of first instance. They are under the
intendant of the province and the minister of the
interior. The decurions, elected from among the
heads of families paying taxes, consult, under the
presidency of a syndic, on the affairs of the com-
mune. All proposals relative to receipts and ex-
penditure require the confirmation of higher autho-
rity. Additional centimes to the land-tax constitute
the principal i-evenue.

In Naples, the magistracy consists of a syndic,
12 elect, 12 assistants, and 12 canzellieri, for the
twelve divisions of the city. The canzellieri alone
receive pay. All are appointed by the king, on the
recommendation of the minister of the interior, in
general for three years. The king, moreover, no-
minates thirty proprietors as decurions for four

The magistracy manages the property of the
city, originates proposed measures, assesses the
taxes, attends to the execution of higher orders
relative to recruiting, quartering, public festivities,
and the like ; superintends the police of the mar-
kets and the paving of the streets, the relief of the

L 2


poor, charitable foundations, the fountains, aque-
ducts, stalls, &:c.

Proposed regulations, and likewise the accounts
of the year, are submitted to the decurions. The
syndic alone corresponds with the intendant, as does
the representative of each district with the syndic.
The whole system of police is under the direction
of a prefect.

So much for the laws of that time, which, from a
prevailing predilection for centralisation, conferred
no real power or importance on the communes.
There is indeed reason to doubt whether, if greater
concessions had been made, there would then have
been the least obedience left, or whether in general
a free municipal system is possible without power-
ful influence of the government, in cases where i'ew
persons are capable and disposed to tyrannise over
the communes, or excited parties are opposed to
one another.

After the return of King Ferdinand, there was
issued in the year 1816 an important and circum-
stantial law relative to the general administration of
the country, the principal provisions of which I
subjoin. The administration refers either to the
province, or to the district, or to the commune.
The first officer in every province is the intendant.
He is at the head of the whole administration, is
the immediate director of all communes and public
institutions, conducts the tax department, the po-


lice, and all military matters, unless these are
assigned to other special authorities. His chief
assistant and fellow-labourer is the secretary-general.
The council {consiglio) of the intendancy, formed
after the model of the French conseil de prefecture,
consists of from three to five members ; the intend-
ant has the casting vote. Besides the right of
judging in certain fiscal or administrative processes,
it is the duty of this body to give its opinion when
asked on a variety of subjects.

In every province there is further a provincial
council composed of from fifteen to twenty members,
which assembles once a year for at most twenty days,
and must not consult upon any matters but such as
are submitted to it. The intendant opens the sit-
tings, and the resolutions are transmitted by him to
the minister of the interior for further considera-
tion, distribution, and reply. The council of the
province examines the proposals of the district coun-
cils, draws up under the direction of the intendant
the projects proposed for the province, gives opinions
concerning the course of the administration, appoints
deputies to superintend and inspect public works,
proposes resources for defraying the expenses of
them, examines the accounts of disbursements, &c.

The district council of ten members has the same
functions within a smaller circle as the provincial
council in the province.

In every commune there must be, for the pur-


poses of administrations, a syndic, two elect, a de-
curicnat or communal council, and a proportionate
number of subordinate officers. The syndic, with
the advice of the elect, conducts the whole adminis-
tration and is president of the decurions. These
assess the taxes, propose the additional centimes,
examine projects, and have a right to express their
opinion respecting all the concerns of the town. They
nominate the syndic — this nomination, however, is
subject to the approbation of the higher powers — the
elect and the inferior municipal officers. They pro-
pose a triple list of persons for the provincial and
district councils. The number of the decurions is
from 8 to 30, acccording to the population of the
place, and at least one third of them must be able
to read and write.* Their consultations are held
with closed doors, and none of their resolutions can
be carried into execution without the approbation
of the intendant. In case of disagreement, the mi-
nistry decides Naples has a syndic, twelve elect,
and thirty decurions.

In every commune a list is drawn up of persons
qualified for town, district, and provincial officers.
In order to be admitted into it a person must pos-

• In Prussia all public and communal officers must be able
to read and write. Nay, when the commanders of regiments
find that a recruit is not master of these attainments, they are
required to communicate the fact to the proper authorities,
that an investigation may be set on foot respecting the defi-
cient or fruitless instruction.


sess, in towns of the first class, an income liable to
taxation of at least 24 Neapolitan ducats (dollars);
or have carried on for five years some liberal trade
{artiliberali). In towns of the second and third class
an income of 18 and 12 ducats is sufficient, and the
carrying on of some trade, or a farm of a certain
extent. One fourth of the decurions go out an-
nually ; the intendant extracts from the above-men-
tioned list thrice the number to supply their places,
and the minister chooses at pleasure.

The decurions of every commune having under
3000 inhabitants propose one candidate for the pro-
vincial council; the decurions of each town con-
taining from 3000 to 6000 inhabitants propose two
for the provincial and two for the district council.
Still larger towns have a right to propose three.
They must stand in the list of eligible persons, and
have an income of at least 400 ducats. From among
those proposed the government nominates the new
fourth of the councillors who annually enter upon

The syndics and the elect continue in office three
years, but they may be confirmed for three years
more, if they themselves and the decurions wish it,
and the government consents.

The intendants have a yearly salary of from 3000
to 4400 ducats; the secretaries-general from 940 to
1300 ; and the councillors of intendancy from 500
to 700. None of the syndics or of the elect receives


pay ; those of Naples only were formerly allowed

The property of towns is required to be kept se-
parate from that of the state and of private persons,
and, as far as circumstances permit, to be placed out
at interest. All exemptions from communal bur-
dens are abolished.

In case the imposition of a tax on articles of
consumption should become necessary for the pur-
pose of covering the town-disbursements, it is laid
in preference on articles of luxury, and not on those
of prime necessity. The tax on grinding in parti-
cular is never to exceed one carlin per tomolo.

Such are the principal provisions of this law.
That, in its application, all deciding power lies in
the hands of the intendant and of the government ;
on that point there is but one voice. Neither can
it well be otherwise where it appeared necessary to
specify that at least one third of the deputies of
terms should be able to read and write. But whe-
tiier every thing possible is done on the part of the
government to train up the communes to a more
living, a more efficient existence; whether, in pro-
portion to the extent and the enlightenment of the
communes, their rights and their independence are
extended ; whether the citizens display so much
intelligence, moderation, and impartiality, that the
government can without apprehension allow them
to act more freely — these and other questions of


equal importance are not easy, and least of all for a
foreigner, to answer and to decide.


Naples — Penal and Civil Laws — Statistics of Crimf^.

Naples, July 10th.

As the new Neapolitan code of laws is essentially
copied from the French, I need not give any general
account of it ; I shall therefore merely notice some
points, which are either treated differently or derive
particular interest from their bearing upon country
and people.

The civil code treats in three books and 2187
paragraphs of persons and things, the various kinds
of property, and the way of acquiring it.

With respect to marriage, it has no civil validity
(either for the parties themselves or for the children)
if it is not contracted in the sight of the church, in
the forms prescribed by the council of Trent. Be-
fore the wedding {celeb raziofie)^ the couple must,
however, fulfil what is enjoined concerning the civil
act {atto civile) for the execution of which civil
officers are appointed. The law of the country
limits its provision? concerning marriage to the civil
and political effects; but leaves, on the other hand,
all the duties that religion imposes untouched and
unchanged. No marriage can lawfully take place

L 5


before the bridegroom is fourteen and the bride
twelve years of age. The permission for complete
divorces, granted in the time of the French, is abo-
lished. The husband can only prefer a complaint
on account of adultery. The guilty wife is con-
fined from three months to two years in a house of
correction. The adulterer is fined from 50 to 500
ducats. If the husband, after the expiration of his
guilty wife's confinement, perceives no signs of pe-
nitence or amendment, he can send her for five years
to a convent i^far la deimorare in nu retiro). In-
quiries concerning paternity are forbidden, but al-
lowed relative to maternity.

No one who has children may give while living
or bequeath at his death more than half his pro-
perty to others. If a father dies intestate, the chil-
dren inherit in equal shares.

Unless there is an express agreement to the con-
trary, every farmer has a right to renewal of his
lease. The death of the farmer, or the sale of the
land, does not dissolve the contract. The farmer
has no right to remission, if the loss is less than half
the yearly produce.

The principles and application of the administra-
tive law {droit administrat'if) are copied from the
French mode of proceeding.

The penal code awards, as capital punishments,
beheading, hanging, and shooting. Theft is pu-
nished with imprisonment; murder, together with


robbery, with death. Fraudulent bankrupts are
imprisoned in chains for from one to two years. He
who pirates a book loses all the copies, and is con-
fined for a longer or shorter period, according to
circumstances. Similar punishments are awarded
to the managers of theatres who violate the property
of authors. Whoever burns, breaks in pieces, or
destroys the host, in contumely of the catholic re-
ligion, shall be hanged. Whoever teaches against
the catholic doctrine in order to change it shall be
banished from the kingdom for life. Ecclesiastics,
who, in the performance of their official duties, cri-
ticize laws in the intention of exciting discontent
against the government, shall be imprisoned for a
longer or a shorter time.

Begging is punished with imprisonment ; firstly,
when it is practised against the laws in places where
there are public institutions for paupers ; secondly,
when healthy persons beg from mere habit; thirdly,
when needy persons proceed to threats or acts
against the authorities.*

Participation in secret societies is punished with
banishment, nay, even with death, in case of more
heinous guilt, or an intention to overthrow the go-

The civil code treats in minute detail and with
great predilection the new institution of arbitrators

* All these useful provisions are not actually enfurcfd iu


or mediators (conciUatm'i). The special purpose of
their appointment is to strive with all their might
to put an end to hatred and animosities among the
inhabitants of the communes ; they are likewise, on
application, to settle disputes as they arise. The
arbitrator is moreover empowered to adjust finally
personal disputes about moveable things up to the
value of five ducats ; but he must not interfere in
any contention about immoveable objects.

The proceedings in penal cases are upon the
whole modelled after the French, and in many
parts public; but the institution of the jury has
not been adopted.

According to the commercial code, all those are
considered as bankrupts,

1 . Whose household expenses, of which a written
account is required to be kept, are declared to be
extravagant ;

2. Who lose large sums at play, or merely in
unsafe speculations ;

3. Who, though their debts exceed their pro-
perty by 50 per cent., have, nevertheless, borrowed
money and parted with goods at prices far below
their value.

The cases in which a bankruptcy must be de-
clared fraudulent are determined with the like

The statistics of civil and penal jurisprudence,
published by Parisio, the minister, in 62 and 45


tables, deserve particular and most honourable
mention. They exhibit the number, the object,
the treatment, the increase and decrease of law- suits,
the time that they lasted, the nature of the decision,
the activity of each authority, &c. which might
furnish occasion for many interesting reflexions, if
this were the proper place for them. I shall ex-
tract only the following: Among 5813 accused
there were 5466 males, and 347 females, 99 under
14, and 13 between 71 and 80 years of age ; 1293
between 26 and 30; 1236 between 21 and 25;
849 between 31 and 35 ; 753 between 15 and 20 ;
631 between 36 and 40. Among these 3000 were
unmarried, 2421 married, 392 widowed persons.
Again, 3316 were country- people, 1923 artisans
and servants (artiyiani e domestici), 364 pro-
prietors of land ("possidenfi), 139 engaged in
liberal arts (^arti liberali) 71 civil officers. There is
one accused to every 1020 persons, one condemned
to 1438: 95 accused were sentenced to death:
104 accusations took place on account of offences
against religion, 996 for slaying, (from parricide
down to the accidental and unintentional taking of
life) 431 for wounding, 86 for rape, 1703 for
violations of property. There is one accused to
540 males, 8586 female?, 1099 unmarried, 903
married, 1142 widowed persons. In Capitanata,
there is one condemned to 607 persons, in Ab-
rezzo ultra, one to 2611. The proportion of the


accused was one in 559 country-people, 199 arti-
sans and servants, 508 occupied in liberal arts,
2819 landed proprietors. A new and instructive
survey will be speedily published for the years
1834 to 183.

I have already remarked elsewhere that the
greater or smaller number of crimes often indicates
the state of jurisprudence rather than that of
morals, and that external circumstances very often
have the most important influence in this particular ;
for instance, increase in the price of wood without
any rise of wages for daily labour in the number of
persons committed for stealing wood.


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