17 NOVEMBER 1860, Page 9


Belfast, Nov. 13, 1860.

Sirc,—I did not see the letter on "The Future Capital of Italy," in your number of the 3d, till a Week after publication. Your correspondent thinks that Rome ought to be retained as the Papal residence, under an independent municipality, and that Venice will be the best capital for the Italian kingdom. I am a Protestant, and think that the.wishes and natural rights of the Italian people ought to take precedence of ecclesiastical con- venience; but even if the Roman Catholic powers permit Rome to be ever annexed to the Italian kingdom, I do not think so unhealthy a site ought to be chosen as the capital. Settino. Rome out of the question, your correspondent thinks Venice has the first claim, both on account of its historic glories and its commercial position. I think this a misconception. Venice has certainly a glorious history to boast of, but, like that of Rome, it is in a great degree extra- Italian. The preeminence in that history which is identified with the true glories of the Italian nation belongs neither to Venice nor Rome, but is nearly equally shared between Milan and Florence. But Florence has the advantage of Milan in its more central situation, as well as in its literary and artistic associations : and its dialect is the purest form of Italian.

Venice does not occupy a central situation, and its harbour is not parti- cularly good. If a sea-port is Chosen, moreover, it ought rather to be on the west than the east side of Italy ; looking towards France and England, rattier than Austria and Turkey. Perhaps the best way of illwould be to build a new capital on the Gulf of Spezzia. This is sufficiently central : it is, I believe, the best harbour in Italy, and one of the best in the 'world. Mountain barriers and political barriers have, till now, shut it out from the rest of Italy ; but the latter have ceased to exist, and the fernier may be tunnelled. Italy, no doubt, means to he a naval power, and for this purpose a maritime capital will probably be desirable.

Respectfully yours,

J. J. 31.