Imagens das páginas

The Scientific Congress of Milan.

the time; and that they had no opportunity to get in a word.


The fact is,

that the two rival sciences ought each to have formed a section; and such will, doubtless, be the case at future meetings.

Among many matters of interest was the formation of a society for the improvement of Italian wines. The aim and ambition of the society is the exclusion of French and other foreign wines from the peninsula, by those fair and legitimate means, by which only an enlightened commercial code would ever seek to exclude the commodities of rival producers ;-by the amelioration, namely, of their own home products. We have very little doubt that nature has been sufficiently bountiful to her favoured Italy, to enable her to accomplish this great and praiseworthy object entirely. But she has a long and difficult path of improvement to traverse before she can hope to achieve it. She is probably equally defective in her culture of the vine, and her mode of managing its produce at present. The society of which we are speaking purposes to direct its efforts to both these objects. Several Italian wines, from different parts of the peninsula, were produced at the public dinner-tables of the Congress; and the amount of body and flavour, in many of them, was such as to leave little doubt on the minds of competent judges, that judicious improvements in cultivation, vintaging, and making, would enable the vineyards which produced them to compete with the finest products of France or Germany. The prevailing fault was the too great astringency. It was the wish of several members of the society, that one of its laws should bind all those enrolled in its ranks to use no foreign wines. But this was resisted by the majority ;-on higher grounds, we think, than a mere unwillingness to impose privations on their appetite. The true method of stimulating the producer to improve his produce, is not, surely, to persuade the consumer to content himself with that which is inferior.

It would be easy, and not uninteresting, to point out the leading faults of the Italian wine-growers and wine-makers, and to indicate the principal difficulties with which the society for the improvement of Italian wines will have to contend ;-but it would lead us too far a-field, at present. It may be mentioned that the best wines produced at the Milan meeting were from Calabria, from Sicily, and from Piedmont.

A very handsome work on Milan and its environs, in two volumes, royal 8vo., composed expressly for the occasion, and printed at the expense of the municipality, was presented to every member of the meeting. A commemorative medal in bronze was also struck by the same wealthy and munificent body, and presented to each member.

We have only one other remark to make in conclusion. It was the opinion of many of those Italians who most deeply mourn the present condition of their country, and most earnestly look forward to its regeneration, that the true friends of Italian progress ought to abstain from attending the Milan Congress. "It is a favour," they argued, "granted by Austria ;-it becomes us to accept of none from her. No results, be assured, will be permitted by our jealous tyrant, which can, in any way, tend to the social amelioration of Italy, and every voluntary contact with the government of the stranger, serves but to accustom us to our chains, and thus to rivet them the more firmly."

We cannot concur in the tone of this reasoning. We cannot comprehend any principle of delicacy or honour which should restrain the Italians from seizing and making the most of any and every concession that can be wrung from their oppressors. And as for the favour granted by Austria, Italy ought to know right well that nothing in this kind would be granted that her tyrant felt she could venture to withhold. But it is exactly herein that lies the hope of Italy and of other peoples similarly situated. It is that by degrees,---all too slow, alas!-but still by sure and irresistible degrees the general progress of

the world, and of European public opinion, drags on in its resistless march the slowest and most reluctant to move forward. The tendency of these meetings, despite the jealous caution and watchfulness of Austria,-despite the feudal exclusiveness of a semi-barbarous nobility, whose anti-social prejudices are artfully fostered by the common foe,-despite the attempted restrictions of an un-Italian president,-despite the opposition of the church and its headthe tendency of these meetings is to accelerate the period of Italian regeneration. Austria knows it. The Pope knows it. Little Duke of Modena knows it. And fain would they crush the Association to-morrow if they thought they could do so without incurring a still greater danger. But a run-away horse can be restrained only to the extent of the strength of the rein. If that breaks the driver's position is infinitely worse.






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