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Galilei, TorriceUi, Fontana, Volta, remain valuable


and authentic relics. Beasts, birds, fishes, mine-
rals — of all these a beginning, a groundwork.
Flowers of wax, admirably executed, but perish-
able. The anatomical cabinet, likewise of wax, an
object of the admiration of all connoisseurs.

Professor Amici showed us the extraordinary
power of his microscope, and of a telescope made
by him. He denied the circulation of the sap in
plants, which our S — pretends to have demon-
strated, particularly in the chelidonium. The
movement does not take place, he says, through
internal force, but is the effect of warmth operating
from without. In like manner, he declared himself
against the attempt of certain German botanists,
who transform all vegetable males into females, or
(by an inverse emancipation) assign to the former
the functions of the latter. The minute explanation
of this subject, addressed by him to a young mar-
chese, (translated into animal language,) would
furnish a complete catechism of midwifery. Zeiter's
saying, " You know not what I can go through,"
involuntarily occurred to me on this occasion.

In the evening I rode with the Abbate Becchi
(that inexpressibly attentive friend) to Fiesole. A
series of the most delightful prospects, where not
interrupted by the confounded walls, with all the
plains, hills, and mountains that have been so fre-
quently mentioned. The terrestrial sea, tinted with


every shade of green, intersected by the silver stripe
of the Arno. About Florence and its gigantic
dome (that central point of the landscape,) num-
berless white, glistening houses, casinos and villas,
everv where sprinkled. A most serene, cloudless
sky, painted at sunset with all colours ; and over
hill and dale was shed at the same time that magic
mist which at once poetically envelops and beautifies
every thing in a veil varying from dark blue to
celestial rosy red. By the road side, cheerily
ascending and descending, with friendly greetings,
the damsels of Fiesole, to whom I dare not refuse
the testimony of beauty, as I can to many Italian


Tuscany — Leopold's Legislation — Agriculture — Halflings.

Florence, June Sth.
The house of Austria is in general represented
as having an inordinate inclination to keep things
just as they are, nay to stand stock-still, or even to
go backward instead of forward. And yet the very
reverse of all this might be proved. The great
changes which the world hailed with such loud
applause when they made their appearance among
our western neighbours had been set on foot much
earlier in all the main points by Austrian sovereigns.


with the rejection only of the absolutely violent and
extravagant. To say nothing of JosejDh II. (whom
many censure for that which they admire in others,)
I have already shown how much that was great
and praiseworthy Maria Theresa did for Lom-
bardy ; and in the very same spirit her son Peter
l^eopold acted in regard to Tuscany from 1765
to .1790.

More than twenty years before the commence-
ment of the French revolution, he abolished the
ancient regulations relative to treasures and mines,
limited the right of hunting, suppressed the guilds,
as well as most of the exemptions from taxes and
feudal abuses, permitted the free cultivation of
tobacco, and put an end to the forced grinding of
corn and olives. Useless orders from the authori-
ties (for example, when the vintage was to begin,
how the land should be cropped, and so forth,)
ceased. There was no further question about fixing
the prices of grain and bread, and a free trade in
corn in the interior, and (without any protecting
duty) with foreign countries, took the place (that is
to say when there was no dearth) of complicated and
ever- varying regulations ; and experience has veri-
fied the policy of this system up to the present day.
In like manner discontent at the excessive restraints
imposed upon the use of the woods caused them to
be thrown open to all. This, however, though


attended with much benefit, led to abuses, and
the hills were stripped, because the cupidity of man,
though it cannot take away future corn crops be-
forehand, can destroy woods and forests for centu-
ries to come, A milder criminal code took the
place of rigorous laws, a new municipal regulation
that of unsatisfactory provisions. Attention was
paid to schools, universities, and archives, and long
before Necker's time a public account of the income
and expenditure of the state was rendered. The
Church was obliged to confine herself to her own
sphere, acquisitions in mortmain were restricted,
and a series of important laws relative to landed
property enacted. They aimed principally at di-
minishing the insecurity of possession for a term,
or at least procuring for the possessor for a
term a share in the improvements of the soil. In
the first place, all the lands of the crown and of
corporations were to be converted, as far as possible,
into property of the tenants, and the quit-rent to
assume a fixed character ; but all without infringing
the rights and income of the original proprietors,
as the same thing has been attempted and accom-
plished in the Prussian dominions. The redemption
of fixed taxes was allowed without being compul-
sorily prescribed.

In short, Tuscany had — without pretending to
deny partial mistakes and imperfections — completed


her revolution in a mild peaceable way before that
of France commenced, and took but little pleasure
in the innovations which the envoys of so-called
liberty forced upon her. The French commissaries
therefore declared to the inhabitants, " Ye who
throw down the trees of liberty, proclaim, in so
doing, that ye will remain slaves for ever. Reason
does not exist for you, and ye are unworthy to
enjoy the rights of man.'"'

After the fall of Napoleon, the French code, and
many regulations (oppressive more especially for
the proprietors in chief) were abolished ; other
things, however, as being useful and judicious, were
retained, as, for instance, regulations respecting
trusts, municipal laws which no longer appeared
adapted to the times, commercial law, &c.

Great as were the changes made by Leopold's
legislation in the domains, in feudal and ecclesias-
tical property, and in regard to the disposal of
landed property, they scarcely affected the state of the
mezzajuoli, halflings, tenants who cultivate lands on
condition of sharing the produce with the landlords.
Panegyrists, keeping the state of Tuscany more
especially in view, assert that, of all the predicaments
in which a farmer can be placed, this is best for
forming the head and heart, for teaching tempe-
rance, and for giving a property that cannot be
misused. The mezzajuolo has no taxes to pay.


knows no cares. He has no trouble with buying
and selling, with men-servants and women-servants;
he has no expenses, needs no capital, finds every-
where an adequate return for his labour, is co-pro-
prietor without inconvenience, and content without
passion and irritation. Between him and his land-
lord there subsists a paternal, a human relation, a
relation of real community, such as the feudal sys-
tem perhaps aimed at but never attained.

If we consider and compare the Tuscan and Mi-
lanese co-partner, their clothing, habitation, fare,
their appearance and their behaviour, there is no
doubt that those light points are more conspicuous
in the former than in the latter. But here there is
no absolute exemption from shadow. In the first
place, many landlords assert that in Tuscany they
are placed in too unfavourable and the farmers in
too favourable a situation ; that they had too libe-
rally lent a hand to expensive improvements, the
produce of which went chiefly into the pockets of
the latter ; that the debts of the farmers commonly
fell upon them, and that they very often maintained
themselves longer in undisturbed possession than
the impoverishing landlords ; that finally, they were
not to be diverted by any remonstrances from their
vicious system of management, and by their nega-
tive obstinacy tired out the most patient.

Others again remark that the disposition of igno-


rant landlords to interfere in the system of manage-
ment can but operate detrimentally, and their
declining; circumstances arise from other causes than
the too favourable position of the farmer. The
very precarious nature of the crop, (especially
grapes and olives,) it is easier for the landlord to
get over than the tenant, and the latter scarcely
ever has opportunity to lay by any thing. Nay,
such an acquisition of capital would act detrimen-
tally in driving him out of his condition, as no
other way presents itself to him for thriving within
his natural circle. Thus, then, he lives on from
year to year, making no provision for the future,
and though custom leaves him in general in posses-
sion, still there are not wanting instances of his
burdens being increased, and of the exercise of the
right of turning him out without assigning a reason.
If, moreover, the landlord is sometimes saddled with
debts of the tenants, this is an argument against the
whole system ; since either necessity obliged him to
contract debts, or the landlord cannot keep a suffi-
ciently vigilant eye upon the idle and the disorderly.
In order to remedy several of these inconveni-
ences, it has been proposed, instead of the merely
verbal agreement for a year almost universally cus-
tomary, to substitute written contracts. To this it
has been objected : the usage is clear, certain, and
well known. Amidst the infinite diversity of cir-


cumstances, a fixed form of agreement would either
be too particular, and therefore unsuitable, or it
must be confined to generals, and consequently of
no use. The genuine foundation of this compact,
mutual confidence, must suffer from the introduc-
tion of written agreements ; mistrust would take its
place, and the tenant, unable to write or read, would
at last have the worst of it, and be subjected to
harder conditions. If defects exist, they lie not in
the forms but in the persons and in other causes.

When I consider all that I have heard and read
in praise and censure of the system of the mezza-
dria, the following appears to be the result.

Firstly — In certain states of society it is a natural
condition ; but it affords no general rule for all
countries and all times.

Secondly — The well-being or discomfort of land-
lords and tenants depends less on the main condition
of a division of the produce, than upon other minor
conditions, circumstances, and customs.

Thirdly — The mezzadria invariably secures, by
the division in kind, against extreme poverty ; but,
on the other hand, it prevents advancement, and
keeps persons in the same state of mediocrity.
Hence the country people say, Chi e nato povero
sard sempre povero — whoever is born poor will al-
ways be poor. So long as another proverb is gene-
rally recognized, on account of its truth — Tante


vmte^ tante cadute — every change of tenants is a
loss — the worst degeneracy is avoided. But if,
from the increase of population and the increased
offers of tenants, a mischievous disposition to aug-
ment their burdens should seize the landlords, then,
in place of the humane, the paternal, the joint
interest, there will succeed a frightful tyranny, an
execrable monopoly of private property, the impo-
verishment and degeneracy of whole nations. From
this state of Ireland, Tuscany, thank God, is far
removed ; and whoever is acquainted with the Irish
principle of letting for money, must admit that the
abolition of the mezzadr'ia and the adoption of that
money-letting system would be a retrograde step
for Tuscany, and the adoption of the joint crop
system a great advance for Ireland. As, however,
many Italian writers know nothing of Germany,
they treat this subject as though there were no other
and better system than those two. Of this more

How is it, then, that individuals assert that not
only do the landlords wish for a fixed rent instead
of the division in kind, but also that the tenants
wish to become farmers ? So that it is rather po-
verty, convenience, and ignorance, than any other
reasons, which deter from a modification of the
system. On this subject I shall quote some passages
from the instructive Giornale agrario. Retrench-


ment of expence on the part of the higher classes,
says M. Landucci,* and activity on the part of
individuals, afford the only means of retrieving
deranged circumstances. Then property will no
longer be managed and possessed by distant and
embarrassed proprietors, who think of nothing but
how to obtain the highest possible income for the
moment, reg-ardless what mischief and diminished
produce may ensue in future.

The minute attention of small proprietors, it is
said in another place,f gives to every country a
great number of useful and productive economical
establishments, and is attended with the improved
cultivation of large tracts of land. For the benefit
of agriculture (says M. Bonarotti, v. 108, and
to the same effect M. Landucci, vii. 379,) and for
the advantage of intelligent proprietors, I should
like to associate myself with those who prefer letting
for long terms, and still more would I recommend
the fixed rent.

Without, then, shutting the eyes to the fair side
of the Tuscan 7nezzadriu, or wishing for a sudden
change ; without ever recommending a violent one ;
all these remarks nevertheless point to the possibi-
lity of, and even a disposition to, modifications.
But if it is not wished that this should occasion
greater loss than gain, the mezzadria must not, as
* Vol X. p. 163. t Vol. vii. p. 256.


M. Ricci justly maintains, be exchanged for an
Irish or even an English system of letting for a
term.* In this course there are steps which cannot
be avoided, and on each the country people are fain
to linger, so long as the possible evils and abuses
are not converted into real. Then the tenant ac-
cepted for a year will have recourse to tenure for a
term, the tenant for a term to the hereditary tenure
or the hereditary rent, and lastly the hereditary
farmer to absolutely free property.

With increasing consciousness of their own worth,
all are thronging towards this last and highest step,
which leads more than any other to the corporeal
and intellectual development of man, reconciles
being and havino[ with one another, and becomes
the richest source of the noblest love of country.

But, with the acquisition or the renting of pro-
perty, every thing is not accomphshed and placed
on one and the same permanently prosperous foot-
ing; on the other hand, the new state has also its
new and peculiar dangers. To wish to return on
account of these to the no-property system, would
be preferring slavery to liberty, because the latter
also generates abuses. For the family right and
hereditary right of the proprietors, for the rights of
the first born, and those born afterwards, for the
union and division of estates, various regulations
* Vol. vii. p. 302.

VOL. ir. c


may be framed according to circumstances^ witliout
attempting to interfere in every thing. Two dan-
gers in particular must not be overlooked : the
first, an immoderate division of landed property in
populous countries ; and secondly, the buying up
of small landed properties, by which one would be
thrown back again to the beginning.

But enough for to-day, though the subject is by
no means exhausted. Thus we might inquire, for
instance, whether the living in close villages as in
Germany, or in scattered dwellings like the Italian
husbandmen, deserves the preference ? whether the
precarious culture of the vine and olive does not
particularly require long leases .f' whether the Eng-
lish manufacturing population would not be great
gainers if they could be metamorphosed into half-
lings, or if the system of the mezzaihia could be
applied to them ?


Tuscany — Cadastre — Land-Tax — Municipal Institutions.

Florence, Jvn:e 9th.

To the statements given in ray last letter may be

appropriately appended some particulars concerning

the Florentine cadastre. The defects of the former

one led, on the 8th of January, 1818, to the order


for preparing a new one ; and, after the persons
charged with this commission had minutely in-
formed themselves of the mode of proceeding ob-
served in other countries, and laid down general
principles, they commenced their operations. In
1828 the measurements were finished, in 1829 the
maps, in 1830 the valuation, and in 1834 the new
and more equitable divison of the old tax. There
was found to be a superficial extent of 6,389,000
qiiadrati, of 10,000 Tuscan fathoms each, about a
French arpent j of these 209,000, (in roads, rivers,
&c.) were not taxable ; so that there remained
6,180,000 liable to tax, which formed 2,276,000
separate pieces (appczzamentij .

The year 1818 and the lowest average prices
were taken as the groundwork, for calculating the
produce, and any objections which the tax-payers
had to make were listened to. It was on the net
income only that the tax was to be levied. The
expences of the land-owners for rivers, dams, and
the like, were very properly deducted, for they
amount annually to four million and a half lire ;
and regard was likewise paid to the heavy rates
with which landed property is burdened on the part
of the communes. As, namely, the land-tax con-
stitutes by far the greater portion of the income of
the communes, and must cover the most conside-
rable part of the expenditure, it amounts to from

c 2


1 ^ lire to 20 £, or on an average 9 7;^ lire per
cent., or more than the government levies for its

The taxable rent (which, from the mode of
valuation, is far below the actual produce) amounts
to 44,339,000 lire, cf which 13,232,000 arise from
houses and manufactories. A quadrate yields a
produce of 7 7^^ lire, and the landed property of
each person (a patrimony) about 299 lire.

The followine: table furnishes information con-
cerning the division and produce of landed pro-

Net Income.

K umber of

Tutal Income.

Between 1 & 100 hre.


2,622,000 lire.

Up to 500







































Above 100,000




Among the greater landed proprietors, the state,
or the reigning family, is by far the highest, though
I observe the foundling hospital set down as de-
riving a net income from land of 191,000 lire.

Respecting the share of the different branches of
the clergy, I have been furnished with the follow-

Simple benefices (benefizi sem~
plici) derive from landed property

a net income of. 429,000 lire.

Canonicates and benefices binding

to residence 327,000

Fraternities 14,000

Convents of Monks 542,000

Nuns 594,000

Bishops 301,000

Churches 46,000

Parsonages 1,144,000

Charitable Institutions 39 1 ,000

Total, (including the hundreds) 3,790,000

If the domains be added, there is about one
eighth part of the landed property immoveable in
the same hands.

The subjoined table shows how the land is em-
ployed, the space occupied by each branch of agri-
culture, and the net rent.


Quadrati. Produce. Net Rent per


Vine 644,000 12,239 M lire 19 lire.

Vine & Olive 462,000 7,195 15,57

Arable Land 997,000 4,622 4,63

Wood of all

kinds 1,661,000 2,971 1,79

Chestnuts ... 361,000 1,144 3,17

Natural & ar-
tificial Mea-
dows 79,000 865 10,83

Pasture 1,870,000 1,462 0,78

Various Pro-
ductions... 73,000 604

Buildings (7^6-

bricati) 28,000 13,232

Total in round

Numbers 6,180,000 44,339,000, or about ten

million dollars.

This table shows in an instructive manner, not
only the space occupied by each branch of" agricul-
ture, but also its productiveness, and accounts for
the disposition to extend the one and contract
others, for instance, to turn woodland and pasture
to other purposes.

The preparation of the new cadastre cost 1 —^
lire per quadrate in the state of the church, 1 ,^ in
France, and 1 ^^ in Tuscany.


The state will annually levy as before a net re-
venue of about 3,150,000 lire, or 7 lire in 100.

I now come to another subject. It is a remarkable
phenomenon, that the cities and communes which
were once so omnipotent in Italy have gradually
lost almost all their rights, and become subject to a
nearly arbitrary superior direction. Sensible of
this defect, the Archduke Leopold says, in his new
municipal regulation of the 26th of May, 1774, that
he hopes a more intimate acquaintance with their
wants, as well as the right of examining the receipts
and the expenditure of the communes, of assessing
the taxes, and of giving their consent in all matters,
will awaken and strengthen the zeal of the citizens
for the general welfare. By virtue of this law^
amended in 1816, every one is inserted in the
register of citizens who possesses landed property,
and pays annually a certain amount of taxes. The
clergy, institutions, the treasury, &c, also possess
the like right, and upon occasion appoint a repre-
sentative to exercise it. In every town there are a
gonfaloniere, or burgomaster, several priors or mu-
nicipal councillors, and a greater council. The
number of the members of the latter, as well as that
of the priors, differs, and is not governed by any
general principle. Thus we find in

Florence . 11 priors and 20 councillors
Prato . . 8 „ 16


Plstoja . 7 priors and 12 councillors
Arezzo . . 7 ,, 16 „

Fiesole .2 „ 5 ,,

St. Casciano 5 „ 20 „

The gonfaloniere is appointed by the grand-duke
for three years, from among the citizens and on
the proposal of the superior authorities. Half of
the priors and all the councillors are changed an-
nually. The mode of their election is this: the
names of all the citizens written on tickets are put
into a bag, from which two tickets are drawn for
every office that is to be filled. Any person en-
gaged in petty traffic may be set aside by the
magistracy ; and, finally, the proveditore del camere
always selects from the two which he pleases. The
gonfaloniere, priors, and councillors receive no
salary, excepting the produce of certain rates.
Whoever refuses to take the office pays a fine of
from 50 to 100 lire. The clergy and officers of
government are exempt : convents and Jews ap-
point a deputy. The administrative functions are
in the hands of the gonfaloniere and the priors ; but
in many cases they are obliged to obtain the assent
of the government. On quitting office, a year must
elapse before a person can again be gonfaloniere or
prior, and three years before a member of the council
can be re-elected. Every municipal officer must
be at least thirty years old, and at least two-thirds


of them must be present at every meeting for the
despatch of business. The great council has no
continuous functions, nor any permanent superin-
tendence over receipts and expenditure; but is
only heard on occasion of innovations, sales, impo-
sition of taxes, and the like. The lower class of
inhabitants pay a fixed and very moderate sum to
the city taxes ; so that the chief burden rests upon
the ground landlords, more especially as very few
towns of Tuscany supply any part of their wants by
a tax on articles of consumption.

Such are the principal features of a well-meant
municipal regulation ; but whicl), on the whole, is
still imperfect and confers but scanty rights. It
would certainly be an improvement if the drawing
from among the whole of the citizens were to cease,
a wider sphere of action were assigned to the council,
the term for which the priors hold office were length-
ened, and the towns were left to propose their own

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