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that if the number of miles from the foot of the
Alps to the toe of the boot were measured,
Rome might be found nearer to the middle of
such a line. But, if the centre of the population,
instead of that of the soil be soughtand
it is of course this which is requiredFlorence
would be found to come nearer to the requirement.
All the miles to be travelled by the
representatives of the kingdom in coming to their
parliamentary duties, would be fewer if the
capital were at Florence than if it were at Rome.

In the next place, Florence is very favourably
placed in a military point of view. It is from
its position more secure from a hostile coup de
main than any of its rival sisters. And to many
minds, this will appear not the least of its
numerous advantages.

Then again, in point of climate and sanitary
considerations, it fairly bears the bell among all
the first-class cities of Italy. The death rate
is more favourable than in any of them; and
the medical statistics indicate, with regard to all
the great classes of disease which chiefly shorten
and destroy life, that the prevalence of them in
Florence is below the average.

There still remains to be mentioned one of
the most important considerations; many people
will say, the most important of all. If Italy
wills to be a homogeneous and united nation, it
is exceedingly desirable that it should have a
homogeneous and single language. Few,
perhaps, save those who have dwelt much in Italy,
are aware of the degree to which the want of
such a language extends. It is not merely that
the Piedmontese, the Lombard, the Venetian,
the Bolognese, and the Neapolitan populace
speak all of them dialects mutually unintelligible,
and all equally unlike the language of Italian
literature; but even the educated classes in all
these districts often are unable, and always are
unwilling, to use any but their own provincial

"You have had a great treat," said I once to
an Italian friend in Paris, who had been sitting
at dinner by the side of a very distinguished
exile, and talking all the time as fast as their
tongues could go, "you have had the great
treat of a good bout of Italian talk." "Much
better than that," was the reply, "we have been
talking Milanese." The true delight of these
two compatriot exiles meeting on a foreign soil
was to hear the dear abominable jargon which
brought back to their recollections the drawing-
rooms and promenades of Milan.

It is needless to spend a word in insisting on
the supreme importance to the newly-born
nation of putting an end to this diversity of
tongues; the importance of it to the literature,
to the forensic and legislative eloquence, and
even to the social progress, of the nation. And
it is equally unnecessary to point out the well
of pure and undefiled Italian. Lombards,
Romans, Neapolitans, all consider themselves
co-heirs of the Tuscan literature. But if Dante
is to be an Italian and not a Tuscan glory, the
"bel paese ove il sì suona" must not be confined
to the banks of the Arno. In fact, Florence is,
and indefeasibly must be, the intellectual,
literary, and educational capital of Italy. And
how far more completely and efficiently it could
exercise its functions as such for the benefit of
the nation, if it be also the political and social
capital, must be evident to every one.

Finally, there is one other consideration, which,
though of less political or social importance than
those which have been spoken of, is yet worthy
of being taken into account. No city in Italy
unless it be poor, hapless, lone Venicehas
such a provision of public buildings as Florence.
And they, indeed, are stored with associations
which may be invoked to some good purpose. If
there is on the face of the earth one spot which
more than another may be deemed the veritable
cradle of modern European liberty, it is that
noble old "Hall of the Five Hundred," in the
Palazzo Vecchio, at Florence. Should that be
selected as the chamber of meeting of a new
Five Hundred, chosen from all Italy to uphold
the principles once maintained there by five
hundred Florentine citizens, there would hardly
be among them a "soul so dead" as not to feel
his patriotism exalted and his eloquence warmed,
by the mute witnesses looking down on him from
the pictured walls which have re-echoed the brave
words of so many generations of free citizens.

It would be tedious to enter on a long
catalogue of the noble edifices, such as any capital
in Europe might be proud of, which adorn every
part of Florence. Those who have ever seen
them will admit, not only that their abundance
is such as to offer ready provision for well-
nigh every need of the chief city of a great
people, butwhat is of more consequencethat
the style and character of their architecture is
such as worthily to represent the grand and
severe majesty of a free people.

Nature and art, past history and present
convenience, agree in designating the city of flowers
and flower of cities, Firenze la gentile, as the
capital of Italy. There is good reason to
believe that most of the best heads and most
influential men in Italy have come to the
conclusion that such is the case. There can be no
doubt that if the question were to be settled
after the fashion of the election of the Greek
general of old, by the majority of second votes of
all the candidates, fair Florence would come out
of the scrutiny without a black ball.

    Now ready, price 5s. 6d., bound in cloth,
               THE THIRD VOLUME
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