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our author, 'will sell cheaper, weight for weight, than a fat one, it is the interest of the butcher to sell as much bone as he can, and refuse to treat with the owner of the fat ox.' The cheaper he can buy his ox,-the baser meat, in short, the ox is likely to prove,-the higher will be his gains. The state of the butcher market on the baronial territories may, then, be easily conceived. Nor is it those great articles alone to which the monopoly of the baron extends; he seems to have hardly omitted any thing which was the object of consumption among his people. The sale of cheese, oil, wine, lard, &c. is claimed as his exclusive privilege; and he sells the monopoly in the same manner as that of the baker and the butcher. He even monopolizes the business of innkeeper; and the premium paid for his license absorbs,' says Mr Leckie, so great a share of the profit, that the innkeepers are among the most miserable and dirty of the people. Besides his various monopolies, a duty is levied for the baron upon every head of cattle slaughtered. If he has oil in his magazines, he orders the purchaser of his monopoly for selling oil to buy nowhere but of himself, and prohibits the oil of the neighbouring districts from being received within his territories ; whence his vassals are sometimes compelled to purchase their oil 20 per cent. dearer than it might be bought at a village two miles distant.
It is impossible,' says our author, in concluding his statements on this part of the subject, to enumerate the various methods taken to oppress this unfortunate people, who, added to these evils, support the whole weight of the public impositions. Thus, on the one hand, the barons contribute nothing to the support of the state ; on the other, they enjoy the faculty of oppressing their countrymen.
The courts of justice in Sicily are in a situation corresponding to the other inftitutions of the kingdom. Besides the courts, established by the barons within their own domains, where the paffions of the lord, and the avarice of the judge, are the ruling principles, the Tribunal of Patrimony, from the right which it has af-fumed to interfere as the guardian of the king's interests, in all questions of property, has erected itself into a court of law; and there are two other general tribunals for civil causes. The salaries of the judges are trifling ; their chief emoluments depending upon the fees of suits, and the bribes which they openly receive. The administration of justice, Mr Leckie represents as venal and opprefive to an extraordinary degree. The judge receives private visits from both parties, to instruct him beforehand, on the merits of the cause. The litigants, however, are not confronted, till the question is brought to a public hearing. The great business of the court then seems to be, to embroil and perplex the
As the fees, both of the judges and the lawyers, are in proportion to the number of hearings and decisions, a cause may be tried five times, and the last decision given in such undefined and equivocal terms, that it is frequently the cause of a fresh suit. Even this is not pronounced in open court, but is sent by the judge in writing from his own house; and is not made public, except by report. In criminal causes, the witnesses are not examined in public, or confronted with the accused. When thrown into prison, such is the negligence in bringing them to trial, that they often remain till both they and the accusation, says our author, are forgotten. The torture to make the person accused confess, is still an expedient of the criminal courts of Sicily; and one singular species is here employed. The victim is locked up in an arched dungeon, to be tortured into confession by famine, and the horror of his situation. If he persists in his refusal, he either dies of hunger, or, after the time which seems good to his judges, is permitted to depart. Mr Leckie, however, has been more anxious to impress his readers with a conviction of the fact, that the administration of justice in Scily is venal and corrupt, of which no one who is acquainted with the order of affairs in other places in a similar state of society, will have any doubt, than to convey to us a knowledge of the mode in which the courts of that island dispense injustice. So little, however, has been hitherto put in writing respecting the administration, curious in all its parts, of this country, that he would have performed an acceptable service, had he been somewhat more sparing in his reflections, and somewhat more liberal of his facts.
With the education and character of the Sicilian nobility, the rest of Europe is much better acquainted, than with the political institutions of which they have been the authors. On this point, therefore, a few words will suffice. Some one of the lower order of the priesthood is generally taken into the house, at a wretched salary, to teach the young lord the elements of reading and writing, and some rudiments of the Latin language. This man is more on a level with the servants, than the heads of the family. He is the confessor and spiritual guide of the domestics, which naturally places him much in their society; creates familiarity between them; and habituates him to their vices and manners. It is his business to accommodate himself to all circumstances with unwearied pliability; and as cunning and servility are the principal means of lightening his burdens, he is feldom deficient in those accomplishments. He is very often the house-íteward, and almost always the confidant of the maiter or mistress in their amours. With this man the pupils spend a great part of their time among the servants, witnesses of the arts which they mutually practile,
and successful disciples in the lessons of duplicity and falsehood, which are there fo forcibly taught. These, with the mummery of the Roman Catholic religion, in which they are carefully trained, are the principal acquirements which they derive from their master. He is uniformly their sycophant, indulgent to their floth and other vices, and ever ready to conceal or palliate their faults and deficiencies. From this precious tuition they pass into the hands of another set of priests at their colleges, where they are taught a little Catholic theology, the history of the saints, and a little school logic; but not one branch of knowledge fitted to enlarge the mind, or benefit fociety. About the age of fourteen or fifteen, they return to their parents' house, and enter upon the routine of noble or fashionable life,-the chase, and dissipation in the capital. The females are immured in convents of the grosselt ignorance till marriage. It is no uncommon thing for a woman of high rank to be unable either to read or write. • All orders of the clergy, whether secular or regular, are,' says Mr Leckie,' with few exceptions, illiterate, ignorant, and immoral.' As the fees of ordination are a considerable perquisite of the bishops, and as it is a great object of pride, in every family not in fordid neceffity, to have one of the family a priest, the number of clergy far exceeds even the immenfe funds destined for their support. A great proportion of them are in the very lowest condition; and, notwithstanding the fuperftition of the people, have funk and degraded the profession. The stupidity of the declamations addreiled from the pulpit, exceeds the belief of those who are acquainted only with the preachers of this country, in the fields, and at the corners of the streets.
Among the other particulars in the situation of Sicily, the condition of the army is, at this moment, an important object of attention. A small number only of the younger branches of the noble families choose the military life. The pay of the officers is wretched, and inadequate to support the appearance of a gentleman. They are chiefly composed of an inferior sort of people drawn from the towns, mixed with Swiss, Greek and Italian adventurers; of course, there is among them no high sentiment of military honour. Their profession is a mean one, in their own eyes, and in those of others. There is no ambition, therefore, to excel in it. The discipline of the army is in the most wretched state ; and its civil affairs, in the hands of contractors, present nothing but a scene of plunder and disorder.
Such is a picture of the present situation of Sicily. Our author has discharged an important duty in directing towards it the attention of his countrymen. Our principal object, in the present article, is to contribute our assistance in preiling it upon their notice. It is much to be regretted that so little is known on the
subject; for it is a picture, with some light adaptations, applią cable to a considerable part of Europe,--to all those countries, where the feudal institutions, and the Catholic religion remain in force, to a great proportion of the Austrian dominions,-to Spain, as she was before her resurrection,-to Portugal,--to a great part of Italy,--and in some measure to Poland. Rullia, with confiderable differences in the form of her religion, and of her political institutions, is, nevertheless, in a condition perfectly analogous. The situation of Sicily, indeed, has been so little described in books, that one hardly knows where to send the inquirer for instruction. The documents for Mr Leckie's account have been chiefly derived from a work composed under the direction of the Marquis Caraccioli, who was viceroy of Sicily about twenty-five years ago, and, among other vain efforts towards reform, employed a Neapolitan lawyer, named Simonetti, to draw up a representation of the fyftem of revenue and taxation. In the work, too, of Filangieri on the Science of Legislation, some important details are to be found. It will be a shame to the British army, if they quit Sicily, after having remained idle in it so long, and leave their countrymen still ignorant of any thing which can interest a liberal mind, in the general administration of the country, or the condition and sentiments of the people.
After having fulfilled our purpose in pointing out the unhappy government of Sicily as an object of instructive contemplation, we thall not add many words on what remains of Mr Leckie's performance. His great object in drawing the picture, is to point out the folly of expecting any asistance from Sicily, or countries governed like Sicily, in our great plan of opposing the extension of French dominion and power. He afferts, indeed, and there is but too much probability in the affertion, that we have much more to fear than to hope, both from the Sicilian government and the Sicilian people. The king, whose fole delight is in the chafe, and who has the most insuperable aversion to business, is governed by the queen, who, in her turn, is governed in the following manner. One of her chief favourites : is an emigrant Frenchman, who has a wife in Paris, with whom he corresponds, and is the tool of another intriguer of the fame country. Another of her counsellors, is the Prior Serrati, the minister of Finance, who is well known to be entirely in the French interest; and the third is Circello, who was chosen minister for foreign affairs, apparently (as a blind to the English minister) contrary to her wishes, but in reality according to her directions. The queen, it is known, has the utmost aversion to the English ; and though she is mean enough to treat them when present with the grosselt flattery, she has been heard publicly to de
clare, that she never sees an Englishman but she feels the guillotine
As it is perfectly vain to expect to oppose the French by the efforts of corrupt governments, such as that of Sicily, and the other allies with whom we have hitherto acted, there is no other expedient, according to Mr Leckie, but that of erecting a barrier of good governments against the overwhelming torrent. Alas! the erection of good governments, we fear, is not so easy an enterprize as Mr Leckie seems to imagine. Yet there is something plausible and flattering in his scheme. The Continent, he thinks, we must abandon to Bonaparte ; but we have the empire of the fea; and in that may be included, if we choofe it, the empire of the islands. In the islands, from the entrance of the Baltic, to the bottom of the Levant, we may, in his opinion, erect empires, which will surround Bonaparte as fortresses; afford' points of attack against him in all directions ; maintain on the ocean an immense commerce ; afford an innumerable population, from which we may with safety recruit for the defence of our distant settlentents; and, by the profperity they will attain, console human nature, in some measure, for the miseries which continental delpotism imposes upon it. He does not explain, very distinctly, the mode in which he would have the British government to proceed. He seems to conclude, that, in most places, we should find the people fully prepared to cooperate with us. In the Greek islands,