Italy: A Popular Account of the Country, Its People, and Its Institutions (Including Malta and Sardinia)

Italy: A Popular Account of the Country, Its People, and Its Institutions (Including Malta and Sardinia)

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Italy: A Popular Account of the Country, Its People, and Its Institutions (Including Malta and Sardinia)

Italy: A Popular Account of the Country, Its People, and Its Institutions (Including Malta and Sardinia)

Read FREE!

Excerpt

In introducing this work to the notice of those interested in the extension of our knowledge of foreign countries, I may be allowed to say a few words as to what seem to me its merits. It aims at giving a concise and comprehensive account of Italy, it enumerates its natural beauties and advantages, and shows how all these are connected with its geological formation; it brings before us the stately Po travelling in its self-made bed above the level of the adjacent plain, the meandering Volturno alternately lengthening its course by new curves and shortening it by substituting the chord for the arc in old ones, the rushing Ofanto, with its ruinous floods, and the mighty falls of the Tosa. It tells of the bridge that once stretched from Sicily to Africa, and how, when the elephants that came by it were cut off by its destruction, they dwindled in size, till they became extinct. It describes the mighty flow of lava from Vesuvius and Etna, destructive at first, but fertilizing after many years. It gives a sketch of the history of the peninsula, telling of the long misgovernment by foreign and native tyrants, and how its long delayed and hardly-won unity failed to bring about all the prosperity that might have been expected, owing to shortsighted or half-hearted policy, and to the real or supposed necessity of keeping up an expensive war establishment, and thus burdening the country with taxes on everything that could be taxed. It shows how real progress is being made in spite of this dead weight of taxation, and gives elaborate statistics from which we may gather the exact way in which the development of trade and manufacture has been hindered by false political economy, conclusions which are all the more striking as they force themselves upon us in spite of the author's own somewhat heretical economic views. It describes the various populations . . .

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