Much has occupied my mind since we last corresponded six years ago. The local officials here in Calabria keep me busy with various matters, ranging from relations with the local peasants to dealing with pressures from the national government in Rome. The family has been healthy, thank the Lord, and doing well. Marcella sends her love. We hope everyone in your family is doing as well.
The general mood among the populace down here is rather agitated. Although there is little in the way of violence, as there had been twenty years ago, the peasants are not content. They seemed to have expected that unification would have brought about tremendous changes in their lifestyles, all for the better. Unfortunately, Calabria remains almost as poor as it had been prior to unification. Industrialization has yet to reach us in any real sense. Residents of Calabria have had to accept the reality that the region remains agricultural in nature. Those who wish to enjoy the higher wages of industrial employment have had to move to the northern regions and compete with the locals up there, or use all of their resources to make the move to America.
At least the rampant crime of previous years has abated. Travelers can at least expect some reasonable degree of safety while moving between towns. In spite of our proximity to Sicily, the mafia does not control the countryside of Calabria. The improvements made to the roads in our region has had some civilizing effect upon the populace, proving to them that the national government has not forgotten to distribute some of the country's wealth in the South.
On the other hand, the burdensome taxes remain. The peasants feel that they have been forced to shoulder an unfair burden by the government. Their wages and lifestyles remain below those of their countrymen in the North, yet the government requires that they pay the same taxes. They seem to feel no hope of improving their living cond...