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confiscation, the clergy offered to compound
with the National Assembly for four hundred
millions of francs, ready money. The
Venetians valued the fortune of their clergy
at two hundred and six millions of ducats.
From the district of Venice, which had
only two millions and a half of inhabitants,
were sent to Rome, within ten years, two
million seven hundred and sixty thousand
one hundred and sixty-four scudi. From
Austria, within forty years, one hundred
and ten million four hundred and fourteen
thousand five hundred and sixty scudi. If
these statements be correct, and they are
taken from reliable sources, the calculation
would seem much too low, according to
which, within six hundred years, only one
billion nineteen million six hundred and
ninety thousand of florins had been paid to
Rome by all the Roman Catholics.


WE are the first people on the face of the
earth! Everybody knows it. If you look
a little closely into the minds of any of the
continental people, you will find that the
fact is recognised, if not altogether and
always admitted. That rumbustious young
dog of a son of ours on the other side of
the Atlantic, maintains, indeed, that while
the Britisher whips all creation, he whips
the Britisher. John Bull listens to the
boast not quite displeased. The old
gentleman, though he growls occasionally, is
at heart proud of the vigour, and promise,
and dare-devil ways, of his offspring, and
feels much as the old Somersetshire farmer
did, when to his son's vaunt that "Feather
whops all the parish, and I whops feather!"
he replied: "Ah! and thee couldstn't ha'
done it, lad, if thee'st had ever another

It is pretty clear, then, that we are the
first people in the world. But it is also
pretty clear, that we are in the habit of so
providing for the aged, the infirm, the
destitute, and the helpless among us, that
constant judicial inquiries are needed to
look into the cases of shocking death that
result from our method of giving relief.

It may not be amiss to lay before the
English public some account of the mode
in which these things are managed in a
country, which is by no means deemed by
anybody to be the first, or among the first,
in the world. The Italians, whatever their
shortcomings may be, have at least this
very promising characteristic; they are by
no means self-satisfied. They are fully
persuaded that their country is behindhand in
the great race of progress and civilisation.
They are convinced that they have much to
learn in almost every department of social
life, and they are very ready to learn from
any who can teach them. The present
writer was invited, by the director of the
Florence workhouse, to visit the
establishment under his care. Of course a citizen
of that proud country, which is recognised
as "marching in the van" of civilisation,
was received with a becoming sense of
inferiority. It was hoped, perhaps, that he
would offer some improving suggestions
drawn from the practice of our great
metropolitan workhouses: say from the
grammatical, humane, and intellectual St.

Florence has but one poor-house for the
whole city. It is an immense mass of
building, covering an area considerably
larger, I should imagine, than that of
Lincoln's-inn-fields. It differs from almost
all the other public establishments of
Florence, in that the building, before it was
dedicated to its present use, consisted of
two convents. All the others occupy what
was once upon a time one convent only.
Museums, colleges, government
departments, charitable institutions, all were
formerly convents. It is quite a matter of
course in the City of Flowers. And Florence
points to the fact as a proof that she also
has shaken off her long sleep, and is on the
march forward.

The huge mass of the Florence poor-
house once formed the two convents of
Monte Domini and Montecelli. Hence
the popular phrase in Florence for being
reduced to destitution, is "going to Monte
Domini." The building is situated near
the old wall of the town, in a very open
and airy locality, at the far end of the
Via dei Malcontenti; not named so, be
it observed, with any reference to the
inmates of the great workhouse, but so
called in former ages, before workhouses
existed, because criminals on the way to
execution passed by that route from the
prison to the Florentine Tyburn.

The administration of this vast establishment
is not entrusted to any "board," nor
is the director elected by the rate-payers.
He is appointed by the corporation, and is
an enlightened and highly cultivated
gentleman, whose whole soul is in his work, and
whose special fitness for his place is very
obviously marked by that infallible
characteristic of a zealous and able administrator;