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strangers, they have been the fathers of their country; Germans, they have identified themselves with Italy; Austrians, they have striven successfully to improve and enlighten their subjects.
We pass over the uninteresting reign of Francis the Second, first sovereign of the Austrian dynasty, and proceed to give some account of the administration of his son, Peter Leopold the First. It was in 1765 that this illustrious prince, third son of Francis by the celebrated Maria Theresa, ascended the throne of Tuscany at the age of eighteen.
"Cosimo I. mounted the same throne, at the same age, two hundred and twenty-eight years before; but the contrast of the times is less striking than that of the two sovereigns, and the means they made us of: this to augment his wealth and personal power at the national expense; that to diminish both for the national benefit: the one to satisfy a deep designing ambition; the other to bend his ambition to the public good. Cosimo was a sagacious barbarian, Leopold a civilized and enlightened man."-Vol. vi. p. 51.
His father, an absentee, had rather augmented than diminished the excessive taxation already in existence, and had made amelioration hopeless by farming the public revenue. In one point his government had made great reforms, they had commenced a contest with Rome, and endeavoured to free both crown and country from papal despotism.
"A prohibition in 1757 against further acquisition of property by ecclesiastical bodies first began the quarrel. The next Church grievance was the substitution of a lay censor instead of the grand Inquisitor .. complaints, accusations, and recriminations followed; and when at last the Pisan Inquisitor whipped a man nearly to death on the nominal charge of heresy, but really for protecting his daughter from priestly concupiscence, the inquisitorial prisons were at once closed by government, and two laymen appointed to superintend all trials in that court."
This in itself was an important blessing. Other ecclesiastical evils there were in the abused rights of sanctuary, and the enormous number of the regular clergy, besides points of patronage and discipline, and various sources of mischief-the government of Ferdinand abolished the right of sanctuary, and suppressed a large number of convents, with the forced consent of the pope.
Besides, however, difficulties of this nature, Leopold found agriculture, finance, law, and morals, all in the lowest condition, whilst each year as it passed, saw the Tuscan people more miserable, poor, spiritless, and degraded, than they had been the year before. The excellent monarch immediately set to work to reform all these things, and continued his noble course of active
and self-sacrificing benevolence during his whole reign of five and twenty years.
He entirely remodelled the fiscal system, and the civil and criminal laws; and attempted to secure the partial freedom of the Tuscan Church; he encouraged agriculture by removing its fetters, by enacting wise regulations, and by spending vast sums with great judgment in recovering waste land, and draining marshes; and by every means in his power he attempted to eradicate the vices and meannesses, and to exalt the moral, social, and intellectual character of his subjects.
"It would appear, that this youthful sovereign, almost as soon as he had informed himself of the real condition and general administration of Tuscany, began to conceive the plan of a liberal constitution, by the proposed subjection of monarchical power to public opinion, as expressed by freely chosen representatives. His incipient acts were, however, more substantially and practically directed to alleviate actual misery, and lighten the most galling burdens of existing law; to study the character of a nation for whom he was about to legislate; to examine the physical features and resources of Tuscany, and consider the regulations best suited to its people, not only as correctives of moral vice, but preparations for more liberal government."-Vol. vi. p. 78.
"Leopold very soon perceived the necessity of simplifying and diminishing the confused mass of antique laws and offices, whose accumulation had become detrimental to public interests... public interest required that the knife and caustic should be applied with a steady and determined hand; unsparingly, but gradually; and so as not to risk life in the cure of disorders so inveterate."-p. 84.
"Probably," says Captain Napier, no Church establishment ever needed regeneration more than Tuscany at this period: from accounts still extant, it seems as if all the 'most revolting crimes of man were concentrated there, either as peculiar attributes of the priesthood, or of those malefactors to whom they gave shelter and encouragement."p. 91.
The statements by which our author supports this assertion are truly appalling.
"In the midst of this pollution, adds he, the rural clergy of inferior rank, the real working pastors, were dragging on a wretched existence through want of means, and timidly looking to government for justice; the slender stipend of these poor clergymen precluded all almsgiving, and impeded instruction in the rural districts, because no man of education would submit to such penury, if any other means of life were practicable."-p. 93.
"Amongst a multiplicity of administrative bodies, the municipal magistracies, corporations, and provincial governments throughout
Tuscany, which formed a sort of frame-work for national representation, were amongst the most prominent objects of Leopoldine reforms. Such were the principal objects upon which the Grand Duke of Tuscany's mind fixed its attention at an age when most youths are still under tutelage, or plunged in the seductive streams of thoughtless pleasure." -p. 96.
To remedy these evils he bent the whole power of his mind, during the entire course of his reign; and though some of his measures were despotic, and some of his principles erroneous, we should judge mildly of the well-meant, even though grave, mistakes of that rarest and noblest of all earthly characters, a patriot king.
"To stimulate individual co-operation in objects of universal good, freedom of thought, public discussion, and unfettered action, were indispensable; and for this the whole municipal system was re-organized, and the administration of its finances, with all other local business, left to the communities, unchecked either by government or any extraneous magistracy. These were designed to be primary assemblies in the future national meetings of a constitutional representation. . . . The perfect liberty of trade, and the free disposal of private property... the equalizing of every body before the law. . . the demolition of every exclusive privilege that related to magisterial honours or civic distinction in the Florentine citizenship; the dissolution of trade corporations with all their load of statutes; an extension of the regency's law against the acquisition of lands in mortmain; and the subjecting of ecclesiastical possessions to the same taxes as lay property, were all benefits too plain and too general to be easily undervalued or misconceived."p. 97.
“As a further step towards clearing the new constitution of undue influence, all private crown property was administered by a department distinct from that of public revenue: this, as far as it went, was to meet the household expense, and became subject to law and taxation like any other private property no means were left untried which he thought might assist in preparing the public mind to appreciate the great change that he was so anxiously working out for Tuscany; he therefore broke the accustomed silence of Florentine law courts by encouraging forensic eloquence in the Italian tongue. . . . He thought it especially necessary to encourage the habit of public speaking in those who were destined to influence a free national assembly, and therefore decreed, that all civil cases should be vocally pleaded before the courts, thus making use of the latter as schools of reasoning and eloquence for future senators."-p. 105.
"From the first moment of his accession, the Grand Duke cast about for other means of alleviating public misery, besides mere legislation, which, although it made bread cheap, would not immediately produce the money to buy it; but considering that every absolute government
was either directly or indirectly bound to find employment for the people, he resolved, with a good heart and empty exchequer, but aided by a loan from Genoa, to resume a very ancient project of the republic, namely, the opening of a communication between Tuscany and Modena. ... The opening of this communication with Modena, besides present employment, was expected to bring a more direct trade into Tuscany, and thus avoid one point of contact with the Ecclesiastical States, through which it had hitherto been compelled to pass. About the same moment, also, the way leading under the walls of Florence, from San Gallo to the Porta di Prato, was begun with the same benevolent object; and in 1767 new roads were opened through all the Tuscan communities, for the mere purpose of public employment. Actual distress rendered this more immediately necessary than existing commercial wants, and Leopold's regulations for carrying the edict into action are marked by a well-considered benevolence even in the minutest branches: he commands that the poorest should be first employed; that separate parties of men, women, and children should be classed at work according to their strength, and that the work should be of the simplest form, in order to be embraced by the capacity of all: that regular artificers should be rarely employed, and never to the detriment of field labourers. The result was an almost entire cessation of distress, and the infusion of fresh life into internal commerce by increased facility of communication."-p. 128.
"The tenth year of Peter Leopold's reign (1775), began with cheerful prospects; public burdens and public expenses had been lessened, the debt partially liquidated and its interest reduced, commerce and agriculture relieved, waste lands recovered and cultivated, desolation arrested in the Maremma, Tuscany secured from dearth, education promoted, learning and the fine arts encouraged, civil law reformed, religion fostered, the priesthood improved, morality promoted, and a broad foundation for civil and political liberty established."—p. 184.
We must refer the reader to book iv. chap. 10 of this History, for a detailed account of the exertions of Leopold and his excellent friend Bishop Ricci, to reform the Tuscan Church, and for the proceedings of a convocation summoned by that prince, and dismissed by him on the 5th of June, 1787. The chapter on the Maremma will be read with great interest, describing as it does the way in which that once fertile tract became the abode of desolation and pestilence, the futile attempts of preceding governments to remedy these evils, and the consequent misery of the inhabitants, decreased in numbers and degraded in character, until Leopold succeeded in producing a great and beneficial change.
"The prince has well performed his part; he has drained the country, not of gold, but death: he has purged the air, controlled the waters, shortened time and space, lessened expense, spread education, removed all the moral and political degradation of the province, freed the transfer VOL. XI.-NO, XXI.-MARCH, 1849.
of property, loosened it from other ties, broken down (as far as justice warranted) all great possessions; encouraged colonization and building, compelled Nature herself to submit her laws to human reason in the more useful forms of art and science, and left all future improvement to native energy and the impulse already given by his own wisdom and beneficence!"-p. 447.
These disjointed extracts give but an imperfect view of the benevolence, energy, enlightenment, and wisdom of this illustrious prince; nor have we been able to give any idea of the difficulties of every kind with which he had to contend. That he was not as entirely successful as he wished to be need not surprise us; and we shall conclude this brief sketch of his career by the apt words of his historian,
"If permanent effects on national character, comforts, and general happiness, be a criterion of excellence and greatness, the comparative state of Tuscany, now and formerly, will surely entitle him to these epithets the benevolence of Nerva, Trajan, and the Antonines died with them, but his may still be found in every Tuscan cottage."
His accession to the Imperial throne in 1790, and consequent abdication of Tuscany, was a severe check to the progress of improvement, followed as it was by his death in 1792. His son, Ferdinand III., ascended the throne as a minor, and was consequently placed under a regency, which was not animated by the spirit of Leopold. Tuscany, however, was soon drawn into the vortex of European war, and frequently changed hands until 1814, when Ferdinand was restored: that prince died in 1824, after a very popular reign of ten years, much regretted by every class of his people. He was succeeded by Leopold II.
And here we must close this brief sketch: for while we write we know not what may be taking place. We had hoped a short time since for a different conclusion to that which now appears imminent; we had thought it not impossible that the Papal States would have been incorporated with those of Tuscany under the sovereignty of the exiled Grand Duke; such would probably have been the case had Leopold the Second been a less scrupulous man, in the case which led to his exile undoubtedly over scrupulous.
In the day of their adversity and his prosperity, the Carbonari canvassed the idea of making him king of all Italy, should they ever regain the ascendant. The plan was a wise one, for alone of all the princely houses of Italy, had that of Lorraine been distinguished as governing for the good of the people, and Leopold possessed. Has his exile entirely cancelled these strong claims on