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until he can translate, with fluency, into French, either from Latin or English, and then only in the form of remarks upon his daily lessons. Both master and pupil should now speak nothing but French. As a recreation, the biography of the most celebrated French writers should be related, intermixed with amusing anecdotes, and in the form of conversations. In writing the above sketch we have been prevented by our limits from going into that detail which the subject would bear. We hope, nevertheless, that enough has been said to show what might be done, in comparison with what really is done. Two years of study, commencing at the age of ten or twelve, according to circumstances, arranged in this manner, would better answer the purpose than the four or five which are often spent in conjugating the verbs avoir and être, with occasional digressions upon the genders of nouns and the irregular verbs, which leave the pupil with a knowledge of the language of the same quality as that possessed by the leaves of his dictionary, only not quite so accurate.
In conclusion, the writer of this article hopes that, as the above remarks are founded on experience, they may be entitled to some attention. He is aware that it is impossible to lay down absolute rules for teaching any subject: those which he has briefly described are such as he has found useful, and it is for this reason that he submits them to the judgment and criticism of others.
STATE OF EDUCATION IN TUSCANY IN THE YEAR 1830. THE Country whose intellectual condition and resources we propose to describe is of small extent, not exceeding in length, from north to south, one hundred and sixty miles, and in average breadth scarcely reaching sixty *. But with the exception of the unwholesome maremme, or marsh lands, overflowed by the sea, it swarms with population; the whole amounting to one million three hundred thousand. Every step we tread calls to mind illustrious actions and immortal men; nor are there wanting, even at this day, a few choice spirits worthy at least to keep alive the fire on the altars which a grateful country has erected to the memory of their great predecessors.
There was never a more favourable moment than the present for observing the moral condition of this country. Tuscany never appeared to advantage in time of war, for, with
* The area of Tuscany, including Elba, is generally stated at about 8500 sq. miles.
the exception of that portion of the population which derives its name from the city of Arezzo, whose emblem is a wild horse escaped from the hand which attempted to lead it, the Tuscans are, perhaps, the most pacific people on the face of the earth. Now, however, that the sweeping storm of French revolutionary fury has long ceased, and the tumbling billows which it raised are laid to rest, the rich treasures of the Tuscan mind, the gems of its genius, and its clear depths of thought, are fully discerned, which, in the troubled waters, escaped the most accurate observer *.
I. The Tuscan Church, and Education of Ecclesiastics.
In order to understand the moral condition of any Catholic country, it is indispensable, in the first place, to have correct ideas of the description and numbers of its ecclesiastical body. The Tuscan government, like every other absolute monarchy, takes good care not to make known to its subjects their own economical condition, as this might be supposed to imply in the people a right to discuss and to regulate it. There is, therefore, nothing left for us but to form our estimates of the unknown from the little that is known.
The population, amounting to about one million three hundred thousand, and the beneficed clergy and curates serving parishes being found in the country to be in a somewhat less ratio than one to 500 souls, and in the cities somewhat exceeding this, we may take the medium, which will give us an amount of 2600. The secular clergy, and the religious or regular clergy, who have no stated ecclesiastical employment, are always found somewhat to exceed in numbers those who have. So that, allowing 800 for the excess of the latter above the former, which is a low computation, we shall have, for the whole ecclesiastical body of the Tuscan dominions, the gross amount of 6000.
It is one of the functions of this body to take part in the national education, and the greater part of them are actually so occupied; hence it will be seen how vast a sphere of influence over the public mind is open to them. In the Uni
versities, the Colleges, the Seminaries, who is it that ascends the Professor's chair to become the source of illumination, as far as it is to be diffused, among the middle classes of the community?—The Ecclesiastic. In the splendid palace of the noble, who is to communicate ideas worthy of his high station, to the hope of an illustrious house -The Eccle
* Written in May, 1830. The revolutionary spirit, which has since shown itself in Italy, has affected Tuscany far less than any other portion of that country. -April, 1831.
siastic. And in the remote country commune, who puts the spectacles on his nose, and takes the dreaded sceptre in hand, to teach the A B C to the ploughboy, and the hoc genus, hæc musa, to him who may aspire himself to become a public instructor?-The Ecclesiastic.
To such an extreme is this system carried, that even the instructress of the young ladies in the Conservatorio, whose office it is to superintend their progress in the noble arts of spelling and embroidery, must be an oblata, an offering, one who has taken the veil, a species of priestess.
Before, therefore, we attempt to determine any further questions, let us see how the educators are educated-how far the fountains of public instruction are themselves pure, and whether they are likely to send forth sweet waters or bitter. Instead of trusting to circumstances or the future inclination of their offspring to direct them in their way of life, as in England, a child is hardly born to Italian parents before they begin to think to what art or profession they shall destine him. And if holy orders be the object of parental preference, the most anxious care is taken that, in that tender age, in which he can have neither affirmative nor negative voice in the business, his childish spirit should be bent towards the employment of those acts and the repetition of those forms which the Church enjoins. The little trembling lips murmur with frequent prayers, the sign of the cross is duly made on the infant breast, the rosary is handled betimes, the tender fingers are dipped in holy water, and the child soon goes by the name of abbatino, and learns to regard himself as a sort of sacred person devoted to the service of the Deity. At seven he goes to the public school, and between ten and twelve he is immured within the gloomy walls of the Seminary for Priests, and now (if not before, as, through the zeal of parents, is sometimes the case) he assumes the priestly garments, which, while they remind him of the decorum necessary to be observed in his manners, fix unalterably in his mind the feelings of the caste.
Here it will be naturally inquired whether it is probable, from circumstances, that the parents are influenced in general by worthy motives in the choice of a profession for their son? We think that the probability is in favour of their being so, since they must disregard the calls of immediate interest, which is, in general, most clamorous for indulgence, in order to attend to that which is more remote. The child could be more profitably employed, by a needy parent, in learning some mechanical art; for it is a very remarkable fact, and of great importance in forming an estimate of the moral condition of the Tuscan people, that whereas, in most
other countries, the learner must pay the master for his instructions in any art he may wish to acquire, in Tuscany the master is obliged to remunerate the services of the learner. This is a part of the wise policy of the Tuscan government, by which the useful arts are encouraged and a greater degree of respectability is secured to the ecclesiastical body. The three pauls a week which a father can receive for the labours of each of his sons placed with a carpenter or other mechanic, form a salutary counterbalance to the remote prospect of that greater ease, respectability, and comfort which will hereafter be enjoyed by the churchman. A still further check is imposed by the circumstance that the parents must expend a considerable sum on a son who is destined for holy orders. By them must be defrayed the expense of his priests' garments, about seven crowns a year-a much larger sum than would be necessary for one who was learning any useful art. By them also must, in general, be paid the sum of at least thirty-six crowns per annum, which, under the title of retta, is demanded for the board of each pupil at the Seminary of Priests. At the seminaries at Pisa and Florence fifty-six crowns per annum are paid at present.
On the other hand, the remote advantages of bringing up a son to the Church are very considerable. Devoted to celibacy, and having necessarily few wants from the simplicity of living which decorum requires, it is natural that, if well disposed, he should contribute to the maintenance of his parents in old age, and to the advancement in life of the children of his brothers and sisters; and, should there be no hope of his ever rising higher than to be one of the numerous Canons of the twenty-one Cathedrals of Tuscany, the seven hundred crowns per annum he would enjoy without labour in this situation hold out a sufficient inducement. In order to be entitled to holy orders, it is necessary that the individual should beclare himself to be worth thirty crowns per annum, so that the absolutely indigent are excluded. A nomination to a benefice to that amount is allowed to be equivalent to property. Benefices of this low amount are very commonly held by young Corsican clergy, who have been very indifferently educated in their own country, but from their hardy mountain constitutions and habits can live on the smallest pittance. There are supposed to be 300 of this humble class in Tuscany, who appear to correspond to our Westmoreland curates.
Before we proceed any further, it may be proper, once for all, to enter into some explanation of the value of the Tuscan coins, and, what is of more importance to be borne in mind, the relative value which Tuscan ideas and modes of living
attach to certain sums of money as compared with the ideas and modes of living of the English. The value of a paul is sixpence, although, from the rate of exchange having for many years past been in favour of England, a sixpence is worth a fraction more than a paul; 40 of the former, or 17. sterling, being equal to about 43 or 45 of the latter. The scudo, or crown, contains ten pauls, and may therefore be reckoned at five shillings. Such is the actual value of the pieces of money of which we shall in this narrative have occasion to speak. But even an Englishman travelling in Tuscany, with all the mistakes into which his ignorance will lead him, and all the imposition to which it will lay him open, will find, if he is possessed of the average degree of prudence, that a paul, or sixpence, will be worth to him as much as a shilling would in England. And when we take further into account the bargains which a native will be enabled to make in dealing with his countrymen, (and how great a difference this will make in a year's expenses cannot be conceived by those who do not intimately know the Italian character,) and the low scale at which the ideas of expense and modes of living are fixed, compared with the English, a paul may be said to be equal to two shillings, or four times its nominal value. So that when we have said, above, that the Tuscan parent can obtain three pauls per week for the labour of each of his boys, it is the same thing as if we had said of an English parent that he could obtain six shillings. In the same way, when he pays 36 crowns for the board of his son, he may be considered as paying 367.; and the canonicate to which that son may aspire may be regarded as bringing him in 7001. sterling per annum. We should, however, exclude from the comparison those parts of England in which, from the great abundance of fish or poultry, the means of sustenance are remarkably cheap, such as Cornwall, and, until of late years, Devonshire; and we would compare Leghorn with Bristol; Pisa, the seat of the principal Tuscan University, with Oxford; Siena with Chester or Norwich, Florence with London, and the provincial parts of Tuscany in general with the inland counties of England. For example, eight lofty and good-sized apartments, with kitchen, may be obtained, by an Italian, in Florence, at 50 crowns per annum, i. e. 127. 10s. sterling.
At seven years of age it is time that our young Ecclesiastic should go to the public school, where, at the expense of the commune or of a pious foundation, the future priest is instructed by one who already bears that sacred character. Here he learns reading, writing, arithmetic, and the rudi