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vents, than to the tradesmen who inhabit the adjacent streets. For this reason I am a good deal surprised, that no pretext, or subterfuge, has been found, no expedient fallen on, no treaty or convention made, for appropriating part of this at least, to the use of some set of people or other. If the clergy were to lay their hands on it, this might be found fault with by the king; if his majesty dreamt of taking any part of it for the exigencies of the state, the clergy would undoubtedly raise a clamour; and if both united, the pope would think he had a right to pronounce his vote : but if all these three powers could come to an understanding, and settle their proportions, I am apt to think a partition might be made as quietly as that of Poland.
Whatever scruples the Neapolitan clergy may have to such a project, they certainly have none to the full enjoyment of their revenues. No class of men can be less disposed to offend providence by a peevish neglect of the good things which the bounty of heaven has bestowed. Selfdenial is a virtue, which I will not say they possess in a smaller degree, but which, I am sure, they affect less than any other ecclesiastics I know; they live very much in society, both with the nobles and citizens. All of them, the monks not excepted, attend the theatre, and seem to join most cordially in other diversions and amusements; the common people are no ways offended at this, or ima. gine that they ought to live in a more recluse manner. Some of the orders have had the address to make a concern for their temporal interest, and a desire of seeing them live full, and in something of a jolly manner, be regarded by the common people as a proof of zeal for religion. I am informed, that a very considerable diminution in the number of monks has taken place in the kingdom of Naples since the suppression of the Jesuits, and since a liberty of quitting the cowl was granted by the late pope; but still there is no reason to complain of a deficiency in this order of men. The richest and most commodious convents in Europe, both for male and female
potaries, are in this city; the most fertile and beautiful bills of the environs are covered with them ; a small part of their revenue is spent in feeding the poor, the monks distributing bread and soup to a certain number every day before the doors of the convents. Some of the friars study physic and surgery, and practise these arts with great applause. Each convent has an apothecary's shop belonging to it, where medicines are delivered gratis to the poor, and sold to those who can afford to pay. On all these accounts the monks in general are greater favourites with the common people than even the secular clergy; all the charity of the friars, however, would not be able to cover their sins, if the stories circulated by their enemies were true,—by which they are represented as the greatest profligates and debauchees in the world. Without giving credit to all that is reported on this subject, as the Neapolitan monks are very well fed, as this climate is not the most favourable to continency (a virtue which in this place is by no means estimated in proportion to its rarity), it is most likely that the inhabitants of the convents, like the inhabitants in general, indulge in certain pleasures with less scruple or restraint than is usual in some other places. Be that as it may, it is certain that they are the most superstitious of mankind; a turn of mind which they communicate with equal zeal and success to a people remarkably ignorant, and remarkably amorous. The seeds of superstition thus zealously sown on such a warm and fertile, though uncultivated, soil, sometimes produce the most extraordinary crops of sensuality and devotion that ever were seen in any country.
The lazzaroni, or black-guards, as has been already observed, form a considerable part of the inhabitants of Naples; and have, on some well-known occasions, had the government for a short time in their own hands. They are computed at above thirty thousand; the greater part of them have no dwelling-houses, but sleep every night under porticos, piazzas, or any kind of shelter they can find. Those of them who have wives and children, live in the
suburbs of Naples near Pausilippo, in huts, or in caverns or chambers dug out of that mountain. Some gain a livelihood by fishing, others by carrying burdens to and from the shipping; many walk about the streets ready to run on errands, or to perform any labour in their power for a very small recompense. As they do not meet with constant employment, their wages are not sufficient for their maintenance; the soup and bread distributed at the doors of the convents supply the deficiency. The lazzaroni are generally represented as a lazy, licentious, and turbulent set of people ; what I have observed gives me a very different idea of their character. Their idleness is evidently the effect of necessity, not of choice ; they are always ready to perform any work, however laborious, for a very reasonable gratification. It must proceed from the fault of government, when such a number of stout active citizens remain unemployed ; and so far are they from being licentious and turbulent, that I cannot help thinking they are by much too tame and submissive. Though the inhabitants of the Italian cities were the first who shook off the feudal yoke, and though in Naples they have long enjoyed the privilege of municipal jurisdiction, yet the external splendour of the nobles, and the authority they still exercise over the peasants, impose upon the minds of the lazzaroni ; and however bold and resentful they may be of in. juries offered by others, they bear the insolence of the nobility as passively as peasants fixed to the soil. A coxcomb of a volanti tricked out in his fantastical dress, or any of the liveried slaves of the great, make no ceremony of treating these poor fellows with all the insolence and insensibility natural to their masters ; and for no visible reason,, but because he is dressed in lace and the others in ragy. Instead of calling to them to make way, when the ni ise in the streets prevents the common people from hearing the approach of the carriage, a stroke across the shoulders with the cane of the running footman, is the usual warning they receive. Nothing animates this people to insurrection, but some very pressing and very universal
cause; such as a scarcity of bread : every other grievance they bear as if it were their charter. When we consider thirty thousand human creatures without beds or habitations, wandering almost naked in search of food through the streets of a well-built city; when we think of the opportunities they have of being together, of comparing their own destitute situation with the affluence of others, one cannot help being astonished at their patience.
Let the prince be distinguished by splendour and magnificence; let the great and the rich have their luxuries ; but, in the name of humanity, let the poor, who are will- . ing to labour, have food in abundance to satisfy the cravings of nature, and raiment to defend them from the inclemencies of the weather !
If their governors, whether from weakness or neglect, do not supply them with these, they certainly have a right to help themselves. Every law of equity and common sense will justify them, in revolting against such governors, and in satisfying their own wants from the superfluities of lazy luxury.
Naples. I have made several visits to the museum at Portici, principally, as you may believe, to view the antiquities dug out of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The work. pub. lishing by government, ornamented with engravings of the chief articles of this curious collection, will, in all probability, be continued for many years, as new articles worthy of the sculptor's art are daily discovered, and as a vast mine of curiosities is supposed to be concealed in the unopened streets of Pompeii. Among the ancient paintings, those which ornamented the theatre of Herculaneum are more elegant than any that have hitherto been found at Pompeii. All those paintings were executed upon the stucco which lined the walls; they have been sawed off with great labour and address, and are now preserved in
glass cases ; the colours, we are told, were much brighter before they were drawn out of their subterraneous abode, and exposed to the open air; they are, however, still wonderfully lively; the subjects are understood at the first glance by those who are acquainted with the Grecian history and mythology. There is a Chiron teaching Aehilles to play on the lyre, Ariadne deserted, the Judgment of Paris, some Bacchantes and Fauns; the largest piece represents Theseus's victory over the Minotaur. It consists of seven or eight figures very well grouped; but a Frieze, with a dancing woman, on a black ground, not above ten inches long, is thought the best.
We ought not, however, to judge of the progress which the ancients had made in the art of painting, by the degree of perfection which appears in those pictures. It is not probable that the best paintings of ancient Greece or Italy were at Herculaneum ; and, if it could be ascertain, ed that some of the productions of the best masters were there, it would not follow that those which have been discovered are of that class. If a stranger were to enter at random a few houses in London, and see some tolerably good pictures there, he could not with propriety conclude that the best of them were the very best in London. The paintings brought from Herculaneum are perfect proofs that the ancients had made that progress in the art, which those pictures indicate ; but do not form even a presumption, that they had not made a much greater. It is almost demonstrable that these paintings are not of their best. The same school which formed the sculptor to cor, rectness, would form the painter to equal correctness in his drawings, however deficient he might be in all the other parts of his art. Their best statues are correct in their proportions, and elegant in their forms; these paintings are not correct in their proportions, and are comparatively inelegant in their forms.
Among the statues, the drunken Faun and the Mercury are the best. There are some fine bronze busts; the intaglios and cameos, which hitherto have been found