But, to turn from this unpleasant episode of Beccarias life, Catharine II., soon after his return to Milan, invited him to St. Petersburg, to assist in the preparation of her intended code of laws. It would seem from one of Pietro Verris letters that Beccaria was at first inclined to accept the proposal, but it is improbable that any such offer would really have tempted him to exchange Italian suns for Russian snows, even if Kaunitz and Firmian had not resolved to remove the temptation, by making his talents of service at home. This they did by making him Professor of Political Economy in the Palatine School of Milan, in November 1768; and his published lectures on this subject form the largest work he ever wrote. Discovery of the Great West.
Reproduced by Andr & Sleigh, Ld., Bushey, Herts.When the visitors entered a village, their first question was, "How many deaths?" "The hunger is upon us," was everywhere the cry; and involuntarily they found themselves regarding this hunger as they would an epidemic, looking upon starvation as a disease. In fact, as they passed along, their wonder was, not that the people died, but that they lived; and Mr. W. E. Forster, in his report, said, "I have no doubt whatever that in any other country the mortality would have been far greater; and that many lives have been prolonged, perhaps saved, by the long apprenticeship to want in which the Irish peasant has been trained, and by that lovely, touching charity which prompts him to share his scanty meal with his starving neighbour. But the springs of this charity must be rapidly dried up. Like a scourge of locusts, the hunger daily sweeps over fresh districts, eating up all before it. One class after another is falling into the same abyss of ruin."4x