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procession bears a lighted torch, and, as they move onward, the melancholy chant for the dead sounds along the ranks. The motley group, with their voice of wailing, their fantastic dresses, and their numerous lights, seem more like a train of spirits from the world beneath than any thing of earthly origin. The corpse is placed in a church near the altar for twenty-four hours, and during this time all the faithful who enter, pray for the repose of the departed spirit. The number of masses chanted by the priests, for the benefit of the dead, depends upon the amount paid them for this object. The body, when buried in a church, is placed in a rough coffin, and lowered into a vault, which is covered by one of the large stones of the pavement. There are one hundred and seventy-one churches in Rome, in which the dead may be buried, and all who can afford it secure a burial in these sacred vaults. They are each about ten feet square, and seven deep, and in those churches where they are not well closed, and burials are numerous, the stench during warm weather is sometimes so great that public service is omitted. In Spain, and elsewhere in Europe, the custom of burying in churches has been prohibited by law, but the revenue arising from it has caused it still to be retained extensively in Italy.
The poor, and those who die in charitable establishments, in both Spain and Italy, are thrown naked into large pits. Of these the hospital of Spirito Santo, at Rome, has one hundred and thirty-six, dug on the top of a hill near the city, and the hospital of St. John has thirty-six. The annual number thus buried in pits, in Rome, is nearly two thousand ; and the expense of each burial, including transportation, wax-lights, and the mass, is one dollar sixty-seven cents. The average number of such burials, in the Campo Santo of Naples, is fifteen or twenty daily, and surely there can be nothing more unchristian, beastly, and horrid, than this method of disposing of the dead.
No Jews, Pagans, or heretics (among the last of which Protestants are ranked) can be buried in churches, or in consecrated ground. The same is true also of persons killed in duels, of those who have not each year consessed their sins, and partaken of the sacrament, and of all who commit suicide, unless, before death, they shall have given evidence of repentance. Sailors have commonly an image of the cross, made with India ink, upon their arms, or some part of the body, that thus, should they be wrecked, and their bodies cast by the waves upon the shore of some Catholic country, they might pass for true sons of the Church, and receive a Christian burial. Nothing surely can be more inhuman and unchristian than to cast out, as unclean, the mortal remains of those, whose only crime was a fancied error in matters of religious faith.
The secret political associations which have existed in Italy, during the present century, deserve a passing notice, from the influence which they have exerted there, and the light which they cast on the character of the people. In imitation of the freemasons, and other similar fraternities, in the North of Europe, these societies assumed the names of various handicraft trades and employments, such as Carbonari or Charcoal-makers, Crivellari or Sieve-makers, and Calderari or Braziers. They were known to exist at Civita Vecchia as early as 1813, and were afterwards found to have been organized in every part of Italy. The coat of arms of the Carbonari was two swords, united with a large star above them, implying that their designs were favored of Heaven, a bust of Brutus, with a hand before it, holding a dagger over the head of a wolf, this animal being an emblem of the then existing governments of Italy. They had also a collection of signs, which were emblematical, – such as the cross on which tyrants were to be crucified ; a crown of thorns, to pierce their heads, and a ladder, with which they were to ascend the scaffold. They took their oath of secrecy and union over a burning iron and a bottle of poison, thus implying that, should they violate their pledge, the iron might burn their fesh, and the poison be their drink. Bologna, Ferrara, and Ancona, were their head-quarters. They had a secret alphabet, invented by one of their number, which they used in correspondence, and signal figures, like those used on board ships of war. Of these 300·14 meant that Napoleon had entered London, and 103 that the American squadron had come into the bay of Naples, to assist in revolutionizing Italy, which event was confidently expected.
The designs of these associations were essentially agrarian, and they aimed not merely to overthrow civil governments, but also to lessen the prices of food, and abolish all taxes. The Pope, and the king of Naples, when restored to power, issued edicts against freemasons, and other secret societies, but without effecting their suppression. Owing, however, to the vigilance of the existing governments, through spies
and otherwise, many leaders and members of these associations have been seized from time to time, in various parts of Italy, and thus has any general rising, in favor of independence and a constitutional government, been prevented. Still, should any extensive political commotion hereafter arise in Italy, these societies would exert an important influence in deciding the final result.
When Naples was taken by the French, under Joseph Bonaparte, the two princes, Charles and Leopold, retreated to the southern part of Italy with 17,000 men, and, being unsuccessful there, they finally passed over into Sicily, leaving most of their troops behind them. These men, uniting with the bands of robbers, murderers, and fugitives from justice among the mountains, formed several small armies of banditti, who were engaged in constant warfare with the French. Murat himself, when king of Naples and escorted by a guard of horsemen, was attacked in the day-time, and three of his suite were killed.
After the return of the king of Naples to his throne, in 1815, forty thousand men who were opposed to him were organized in certain districts of the kingdom, — the nobility and higher orders assuming the title of Patrioti, and the lower classes that of Philadelphi.. They had uniforms, committees, standards, and camps, and practised regular military exer. cise. The leaders surrounded themselves with hired bands of robbers and assassins, and odious persons were freely put to death and their property confiscated. The darkest and most bloody scenes of the French Revolution were reënacted, and the state of the country was awful indeed. At length, in 1818, General Church, an English officer of distinction, intrusted with almost supreme power by the king, and aided by an army of nine thousand men, marched against the insurgents. By seizing and shooting many of the leaders, by frequent engagements with detached parties of the insurgents, and finally by a proclamation of general amnesty to all except notorious offenders, he at length succeeded in restoring peace and order. In those times of darkness many robber-chieftains distinguished themselves by their deeds of bold and reckless courage and cruelty, and remnants of these bands still exist among the robbers of Southern Italy.
Still, it is by no means true, that the existence of robbers in Italy has been mainly owing to the prevalence of wars and civil revolutions; for, during many centuries of peace, the mountains of Calabria, and those on the frontiers of the Papal States, have been the favorite haunts of banditti. The policy of the Catholic church, in granting an asylum and pardon to robbers and murderers, for the sake of the money paid by such criminals, alike for the forgiveness of their own sins, and for masses for the benefit of the souls of those who were murdered by them, has done much to perpetuate violence and crime. Still, it is true, that individuals have now and then appeared, wbo, rising above the corrupt and demoralizing influence of the Catholic faith, have asserted the rights of justice and humanity, as opposed to lawless aggression and violence. As an example of this, we may refer to Sextus the Fifth, who was chosen Pope in 1585. On the day that he was crowned, five hundred robbers, murderers, and assassins entered, of their own accord, the prisons of Rome, that thus they might receive the pardon uniformly granted on the accession of a new Pope, to those who surrendered themselves. Not only did he try and punish them, however, but also seized and beheaded those whom he knew to have been guilty of flagrant crimes, from confessions made to him when a priest. So much an object of terror did he thus become, that for a long time, his name, like that of king Richard of England, in the East, was used by mothers as a means of frightening their children into silence or submission. About the year 1687, there were put to death at Naples, or banished, two thousand six hundred and fifty robbers, in the space of eighteen months.
In 1818, a tribunal was established at Frosinone, in the southern part of the Papal States, for the trial of robbers and other criminals of a similar cast. From the records of this tribunal it appears, that about two hundred persons are convicted yearly, and condemned to death or the galleys. Lists of robbers are published from time to time, by this tribunal, and four hundred dollars are offered for the head of a leader, and two hundred for that of a follower. Between Naples and Rome, a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, more than three hundred soldiers are employed as escorts to carriages, and as guards. In one place there are five stations in a distance of seven miles, and a corporal and ten men at each station, who patrol from post to post every three hours in the night. There are, besides these, more than one thousand five hundred soldiers stationed at the towns on this route ; and patroles of citizens are supported at public expense, in
towns infested by robbers. The inhabitants are also assembled, when necessary, by the tolling of the village bells.
There are some Lancasterian and other schools for common education, in Rome, together with numerous colleges and higher seminaries of learning. Without dwelling in detail upon the management of these institutions, it may be well to give a brief sketch of one of them, as presenting a favorable specimen of the course of instruction pursued in the higher colleges at Rome.
The Gregorian College is a large and beautiful edifice near the Doria palače, in Rome. It forms a quadrangle, having a large court in the middle. The schoolrooms are ranged along three sides of the square. The fourth side communi. cates with the boarding establishment, the rooms of the professors, and other officers; the library and the church of St. Ignatius, which belongs to the College. This college was founded by Gregory the Thirteenth, in 1592, and the direction of it was given to the Jesuits, who, when they were suppressed, in 1773, had ten establishments in Rome. A commission was then appointed to regulate education in the Roman States. A “Congregation of Studies," with a Cardinal at its head, took charge of the College, and appointed its Masters and Professors. Boys enter when quite young, with merely a knowledge of the rudiments of Latin grammar.
During the two first years Latin authors are read, with a special reference to the grammatical structure of the language. The third year is spent in studying the elegances of the Latin language; such as figures of oratory, poetical beauties, forms, and metres. The fourth year is spent on rhetoric, embracing some Latin, but more Greek. During the fifth year, algebra and geometry are studied in the morning, and logic and metaphysics in the afternoon. The sixth year is occupied with physics, chemistry, natural history, and ethics.
After the course in philosophy is finished, those destined for the church remain four years longer in the College, and study scholastic and dogmatic theology, the Hebrew language, and the Holy Scriptures. Those who wish to go further in any of the sciences, or to take degrees in the learned professions, repair to the Gymnasium, or University of Rome, which was founded in the thirteenth century. It has professors of civil and canon law, medicine, experimental philosophy, oriental languages, divinity, and other branches.