“For my part,” said a great fat Neapolitan,
“I don’t care the value of a bit of orange-peel for politics. I am willing to believe we’ve got a bad government, because all the world says we have, and because our King never dare show himself in public. All I can say is, that my grandfather made 20,000 ducats as a manufacturer; that my father doubled his capital in trade; and that I bought an estate which, in my tenants’ hands, pays me six per cent. for the investment. I eat four meals a day, I’m in vigorous health, and I weigh fourteen stone. So when I toss off my third glass of old Capri wine at supper, I can’t for the life of me help crying, ’Long live the King!’”
A huge hog which happened to cross the street as the Neapolitan reached his climax, gave a grunt in token of approbation.
The “hog” school is not numerous in Italy, whatever superficial travellers may have told you on that head. The most highly-gifted nation in Europe will not easily be persuaded that the great end of human existence is to eat four meals a day.
But let us suppose for an instant that all the Pope’s subjects are willing to renounce all liberty,—religious, political, municipal, and even civil,—for the sake of growing sleek and fat, without any higher aim, and are content with the merely animal enjoyments of health and food; do they find in their homes the means of satisfying their wants? Can they, on that score at least, applaud their Government? Are they as well treated as beasts in a cage? Are the people fat and thriving? I answer, No!
In every country in the world the sources of public wealth are three in number: agriculture, manufactures, and commerce. All governments which do their duty, and understand their interests, emulate one another in favouring, by wholesome administrative measures, the farm, the workshop, and the counting-house. Wherever the nation and its rulers are united, trade and manufactures will be found clinging round the government, and increasing even to excess the population of the capital cities; while agriculture works her greatest miracles in the circuit which is the most immediately subject to the influence of authority.
Borne is the least industrious and commercial city in the Pontifical States, and its suburbs resemble a desert. You must travel very far to find any industrial experiment, or any attempt at trade.