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This, we think, is striking ; and striking passages, written with much strength of feeling and considerable choice of expression, are to be found scattered through the whole volume. Take, for instance, the following reflections, after a visit to Pæstum.
• Few places combine within such narrow limits so rich a train of various meditation, for persons of whatever disposition or habit, as this city upon the Gulf of Salerno. At a point, removed from the sight of civilized life, surrounded with th“ relics of men who lived in the highest stage of luxury, he who can only admire the skill which raised an architrave, and he who has fancy enough to picture the living scene of a Grecian city while sitting on its tomb, will find no other interruption than the rapid movement, now and then, of a beautiful lizard, which he has startled from basking in the sunshine. The still sea at a distance, and the dark mountains upon the opposite side, are both so far away, that not even the dashing of the water, or the wandering of the clouds, distracts the soul from the present vision. The noxious Malaria has thinned the region of its inhabitants, and left it to excite, by its solitude, an unbroken chain of musing in one who, in his pilgrimage over Italy, pauses at this remote point.
'It was from Pæstum that I was to turn my face homeward. The eye, which is insatiable, had beheld the choicest wonders of the world, and it was suitable that the last object should be such a ruin,-simple and majestic, like the Pantheon-lasting as the Coliseum_and lonely as the trackless desert.
• A journey in Italy may be compared not unaptly with the course of human life. The plains of Lombardy, and the vale of Arno, are rich, and smooth, and beautiful as youth ; we come to Rome for the sights, and experience, and reflections, which suit manhood; we return after the bustle of life to the comforts congenial to age, and which are provided in sunshine, and air, and the bounties of nature, as we find them at Naples ; and we at last behold Pæstum, as the soberest evening scene, which shuts up our wearisome pilgrimage, and ends our toil.
• The fate of empires and cities concerns us little in comparison with our own destiny; for each man's bosom is a little world, and is all the world to him.' pp. 12–14.
As a general remark upon this somewhat singular and original work, it may be observed, that the author is more at home in the South of Italy, than anywhere else; for, as might well be foreseen, his feelings and fancy are both more appropriately and more earnestly excited amidst the solemn ruins, and the ecclesiastical magnificence of modern Rome, than by the manners and scenery of the countries of the north.
In one point of view, indeed, few subjects can be more interesting than the present state of Rome ;-Rome, we mean, considered as a diminished and decaying city, annually consumed by the increasing pestilence of the Malaria, whose ruins are destined at some period, and, perhaps, at no very remote one, to be left as desolate as the ruins of Pæstum or Volterra. That this is inevitable has long been admitted with more or less distinctness; but never shown by any connected notices of the past progress of this mysterious pestilence, compared with its present extent ; for the Romans have seemed to be unwilling to meet the subject in all its alarming magnitude ; and strangers have rarely examined it with interest and thoroughness.
The Mal'aria, or bad air, as it is called, is a state of the atmosphere, or of the soil, or of both, in different parts of Italy, producing in the warm season, and especially in the months of August and September, a fever,* more or less violent according to the nature of the exposure ; but generally fatal, where the exposure has been long continued, or the place among the more dangerous. It is found in very different situations—situations, indeed, so different, that we can hardly be justified in believing it always to proceed from the same cause. We hear of it in the rice grounds of Lombardy, on the highlands near Padua, on the summits of the Radicofani, and round the Gulf of Salerno. But it is nowhere so formidable as at Rome, for it nowhere else prevails over a tract of country so extensive, or is followed by consequences indicating so fatal a degree of activity in the cause. The infected district, of which Rome is almost the centre, extends on the coast from Leghorn to Terracina, and from the sea back to the Appenines, nearly two hundred miles in length and sometimes above thirty in breadth. How many perish annually from the peculiar disease contracted within these limits, it is not possible to determine ; because the persons employed here in cultivating the soil do not live on it permanently, and
* An instance of death from this cause occurred in 1819 as early as April. But such cases, we believe, are rare.
as soon as they find themselves infected endeavor to seek a place in some of the towns, or return home to be restored or to die. The number, however, is very great. Above four thousand perished by it in the hospitals of Rome alone in 1801, and the yearly list seldom falls below thirteen hundred.* Indeed, it is now a settled point, that human life cannot be supported where the Mal’aria prevails with a considerable degree of intensity; and those who have survived one season of exposure to it, under such circumstances, are generally its victims, if their poverty forces them a second year within its influence.
A century ago, and indeed much later, it was generally believed that the Malaria was a dense exhalation chiefly from the Pontine marshes, brought to Rome in the latter part of the summer by the south westerly winds, which then prevail nearly the whole time. In consequence of this, the small number of houses built beyond the capitol, in modern times, have generally been constructed with few or no windows towards the south west, lest the infection should gain access by them. But it has since been found to enter gradually at the northern side of the city, and at the same season, notwithstanding the prevalence of opposing winds, and, therefore, this doctrine, which was always obliged to contend with the fact, that the Pontine marshes are forty miles from Rome, seems now to have little left for its support.
That the Pontine marshes are unhealthy from the decay of vegetable matter, there can be no doubt; and it is probable they always were so. Pliny, indeed, speaks of a large number of cities that filled them with population and life, before all record of Roman history; but, the tradition he followed is probably fabulous, and the first authentic information we get concerning them is, that they were drained in the year of Rome 442 by Appius Claudius, when he built his famous Appian Way through the midst of them. But in time his
* The number of patients received into the Santo Spirito Hospital at Rome in 1818, of the disease produced by the Mal'aria, was 8137, and the number of deaths was 363. The number received in 1819 was 6134, and the number of deaths was 258. Bark is the only remedy employed. The Prince of the Peace, who died of it in 1820, took six pounds in substance, and an English gentleman, who suffered severely from it the same year, but survived, took thirteen pounds. In 1819, 2960 pounds were consumed in the Santo Spirito Hospital, and in 1818, 3200 pounds. This account relates to but one Hospital.
canal ceased to fulfil its purpose. Horace, indeed, passed through it on his merry journey to Brundusium, and saw evidently more than one village on its borders; but Julius Cæsar had already found the whole relapsing, and formed a magnificent project for a perpetual drain and purification of the whole extent of the marshes, by carrying through their centre the bed of the Tyber, and discharging its waters at Terracina, above thirty miles from its natural outlet. He was, however, prevented from undertaking it by bis sudden death. They were, probably, drained again by Trajan, and certainly, in the year 500, by Theodorick; but from this time, as everywhere else in Italy, the works of antiquity, here, too, went to decay. About the year 1300, Boniface VIII ventured to do something, and almost three centuries later, the restless spirit of Sixtus V made an experiment of an enormous canal ; but both failed. The road was still obliged to go round by the declivity of the Appenines, and the immense surface of the marshes was still left, as Statius saw it, one vast bog.
At last, between 1778 and 1788, Pius VI, acting under the persuasion, that the pestilence of the Malaria came to Rome from the Pontine marshes, undertook to reduce them, at once, to a state fit for cultivation. An immense number of lives was consumed in the enterprise; but he succeeded so far as to build through the midst of this watery waste a magnificent road twenty four miles long accompanied, like the Appian way, by an ample canal, which, when the French were masters of Rome, was enlarged and furnished with subsidiary sluices, that have remained ever since in efficient operation. Still, however, the Pontine marshes cannot be said to be reclaimed. Of the one hundred and thirty eight square miles of which they are composed, not above twenty have been reduced to a state of cultivation ; and of the remainder a large proportion is still under water. The whole is as much subject as ever to exhalations, that produce fatal fevers during the summer months; and it remains, therefore, as dreary a waste now, as it was when Appius Claudius built the solid causeway, that has disappeared forever in its bosom. Human habitations, there are none, except those supported by the government ; and the very postillions, that are obliged to convey those travellers whom necessity brings there at the dangerous season, are convicts, for whom this service is only a commutation of punishment. Wherever the eye turns, the view is, at last, closed up by a rank and impenetrable growth of saplings and bushes, that, on such a soil, can never gain the height of trees; and in the intervals, where these are not found, thousands of horses and buffaloes are wandering about in herds nearly wild, followed sometimes, though rarely, by a wretched herdsman, broken down with squalid infirmities, and as rude and untamed as themselves.
That the exhalations from such a vast extent of country as this, so long the seat of fatal disease, may, as the vulgar have believed from the time of Pliny to our own days, produce some effect on the atmosphere in the city of Rome, when the wind has long blown from the south west, is very possible. It is not, however, credible, that they are the entire or even principal cause of the Malaria there; for this pestilence prevails in other parts of Italy remote from all marshy grounds; it prevails near Rome over a dry surface vastly greater, than the whole surface of the Pontine marshes ; the city itself is forty miles distant from them; and, for the last twenty years, the Mal'aria has been entering from the north against the current of the winds, as fast as it has from the south, where it is supposed to be favored by them.
We must, therefore, seek for its chief cause in the very soil it lays waste; or, in other words, in the territory which passes under the name of the Campagna di Roma, whose centre is Rome itself. This territory is entirely of volcanic formation; is broken into gentle undulations; is raised considerably above the level of the sea; and is quite dry. It is, therefore, in all respects, different from the Pontine marshes, and yet is no less the seat of disease, and no less deserted and waste.
How long it has been unhealthy, from the causes that have now depopulated above a thousand square miles of fruitful territory, it is not easy to determine. The neighborhood of Rome, according to Livy's account, was not in good reputation above three centuries before the Christian æra. Strabo speaks of Lanuvium and Antium; and Seneca of Ardea, as unhealthy; and that the city itself was partially so, we may fairly infer from the beautiful descriptions in Horace, and the constant allusions in Suetonius, Juvenal and Tibullus, to the villas that were scattered from the hills of Tivoli to Baja and Capræa, where the luxurious patricians, and their more luxu