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officers in the army, and nearly all the civil authorities, CHAP. resigned their situations. The consequences were soon felt. On the 17th November a general council of officers 1820. was held, at which Colonel Castro Sepulveda, who was at the head of the moderate party, laboured so assiduously to convince them of their error, that, after a debate of six hours, resolutions were passed to the effect that the state of public opinion in the capital required that those who had resigned should resume their situations ; that the election of the Cortes shall be made according to the Spanish system, but no other part of the Spanish constitution adopted till the Cortes had met and considered the subject. The reaction was now complete : upon these resolutions being intimated to the officers of the late Government who had resigned, they resumed their functions. Silviera was, with the general concurrence of the people, ordered to quit the city in two hours, which he did amidst loud acclamations, and the ascendancy of the moderate party was for a time established. But it was for a time only. The fatal step had been taken, the irrecoverable concession made. The resolution that the Cortes should be elected on the Spanish principle, which was a single 1 Ann. Hist. chamber and universal suffrage, and that there should be *. 481. a member for every thirty thousand inhabitants, neces- 1820, 237, sarily threw the power into the hands of the multitude, de Lisbon,
Nov. 18, and precluded the possibility of anything like a stable or 1820. free constitution being formed.1
ITALY was not long of catching the destructive flame
101. which had been kindled, and burned so fiercely, in the CommenceSpanish peninsula. The career of reform was begun in forms in Piedmont on the 25th February 1820, by a decree of Italy. the King of Sardinia, which created a commission composed of the most eminent statesmen and juris-consults, to examine the existing laws, and consider what alterations should be made to bring them into harmony with the institutions of other countries and the spirit of the
CHAP. age; and even in the realm of Naples, the germ of prac
tical improvement had begun to unfold itself. The ex1820.
cessive increase of the land-tax, which had in some places risen to thirty-three per cent, had tended to augment in that country the general discontent, which in the inhabitants of towns, and the more intelligent of those in the country, had centred in an ardent desire for representative institutions, which they regarded as the only effectual safeguard against similar abuses in time to come. The government of Murat, and the society of the French officers during eight years, had confirmed these ideas, and augmented the importunity for these institutions. This desire had been fanned into a perfect passion in Sicily by the experiment which had been made of a representative government of that country by the English during the war, which was in the highest degree popular with the liberal leaders. But it had been found by experience to be so alien to the character and wants of the rural inhabitants,
that it fell to the ground of its own accord after the withColletta, drawal of the English troops on the peace; and the only Historia di Napoli, trace of the constitutional régime which remained was the 1790, 1825, ii. 330, 340'; ominous word “uno budgetto," a money account, which iii. 488.“ had been imported from their Gothic allies into the har
monious tongue of the Italian shores.1
Ferdinand the king had, in accordance with the de102. Breach of clared wishes of the most intelligent part of his subjects, the king's
announced the acceptance by the Government of a cona constitu
stitutional régime during the crisis which preceded the
fall of Napoleon and conclusion of the war. Before July 25. leaving the Sicilian shores to reoccupy the throne of his May 1815. fathers, on the dethronement of Murat in 1815, he had
issued a proclamation, in which he announced “ The people will be the sovereign, and the monarch will only be the depositary of the laws, which shall be decreed by a constitution the most energetic and desirable.” These words diffused universal satisfaction, and, like Lord William Bentinck's celebrated proclamation to the Genoese
Ann, Hist. 1
nds of the King
he had not the ball but simple
in the preceding year, were regarded with reason as a CHAP. pledge of the future government under which they were – to live.* But it soon appeared that these promises, like those of the German sovereigns during the mortal agony of 1813, were made only to be broken. Whatever the individual wishes of Ferdinand may have been, ? Ann. Reg.
í 1820, 238; he was overruled by a superior influence, which he had Ann. Hist.
oli of the iii. 488; no means of withstanding. By a secret article of the Coll treaty between Austria and Naples, concluded in 1815, 330, 342; it was expressly stipulated that “his Neapolitan majesty Mov: 24; should not introduce in his government any principles cueil Di
plomatique, irreconcilable with those adopted by his Imperial majesty lii. 224. in the government of his Italian provinces.”i The hands of the King of Naples were thus tied by
9 103. an overwhelming power, which he had not the means, Progressive even if he had possessed the inclination, to resist. All reforms
a already inthat could be done was to introduce local reforms, and in correct in a certain degree local abuses ; and some steps towards a representative government had already been taken in this way. Provincial and municipal assemblies had been authorised, which had commenced some reforms and suggested others, and were in progress of collecting information from practical men as to the real wants and requirements of the country. But these slow and progressive advances by no means suited the impatience of the ardent Italian people, and least of all, of that energetic and enthusiastic portion of them who were enrolled ii. 338, 341;
Ann. Hist. in the SECRET SOCIETIES which already overspread that iii. 488;
Ann. Reg. beautiful peninsula, and have ever since exercised so im- 1820, 238. portant an influence on its destinies.2
Secret societies banded together for some common purpose are the natural resources of the weak against the
* “ De' cinque fogli del re, scritti in Messina dal 20 al 24 maggio erano i sensi: pace, concordia, oblio delle passate vicende ; vi traluceva la modesta confessione de' propri torti; parlavasi di leggi fondamentali dello stato, di libertà civile, di formali guarentigie ; e così vi stava adombrata la costituzione senza profferirseno il nome.”- COLLETTA, Historia di Napoli, ii. 261.
perpeor exista 'Engla
CHAP. strong, of the oppressed against the oppressors. It is
the boast, and in many respects the well-founded boast, 1820.
of free nations, that by removing the necessity which has Origin of produced it, they alone have succeeded in eradicating this
14- dreadful evil from the social system. Where men are
permitted to combine openly, and the constitution affords a legitimate channel of complaint, the necessity of secret associations is removed, and with that removal their frequency is much abated. Yet is it not altogether removed : the desire to compass even legitimate ends by unlawful means sometimes perpetuates such societies when the necessity for them no longer exists; and the Ribbonism of Ireland and trades-unions of England remain a standing reproof against free institutions, and a lasting proof that the enjoyment of even a latitudinarian amount of liberty sometimes affords no guarantee against the desire to abuse its powers. In Italy, however, at this time, the despotic nature of the institutions had given such societies a greater excuse—if anything can ever excuse the banding together of men by secret means and guilty acts, to overturn existing institutions.
The CARBONARI of Italy arose in a very different 105. Their origin interest from that to which their association was ultivious his- mately directed. They were founded, or perhaps taken tory.
advantage of, by Queen Caroline, on occasion of the French invasion of Naples in 1808; and it was by their means that the resistance was organised in the Abruzzi and Calabria, which so long counterbalanced the republican influence in the southern parts of the Peninsula. Subsequently they were made use of by Murat at the time of the downfall of Napoleon, to promote his views for the formation of a great kingdom in Italy, which should be free from Tramontane influence, and restore unity, independence, prosperity, and glory to the descendants of the former masters of the world. Being directed now to a definite practicable object, which had long occupied the Italian mind, which had been the dream of
its poets, the aspiration of its patriots—which it was CHAP. hoped would rescue it from the effects of the “ fatal gift – of beauty" under which it had so long laboured, and terminate a servitude which clung to it conquering or conquered *—this association now rapidly increased in numbers, influence, and the hardihood of its projects. It continued to grow rapidly during the five years which succeeded the fall of Napoleon and re-establishment of the Bourbon dynasty in Naples; and as the desires of peace had come in place of the passions of war, it had grown up so as to embrace considerable portions of the members, and by far the greater part of the talent and energy of the State. It had comparatively few partisans in the rural districts, among which ancient influences still
i Colletta, retained their ascendancy; but in the towns, among the in- ii. 340, 345; corporations, the universities, the scholars, the army, and leque the artists, it had nearly spread universally; and it might,
uy , anu su 18" 1 'Histoire with truth be said, that among the 642,000 persons who de Naples,
28,35; Ann. in Italy were said to be enrolled in its ranks, were to be Hist. iii.
488, ii. 298, found nearly the whole genius, intelligence, and patriotism 299. of the land.1
Governed both by princes of the house of Bourbon, and intimately connected for centuries by political alli- Commence
ment of the ance, intermarriage of families, and similarity of manners, Neapolitan Naples had for long been influenced in a great degree by Tev the political events of Spain. Upon a people so situated, actuated by such desires, and of so excitable a temperament, the example of the Spanish revolution operated immediately, and with universal force. The Carbonari over the whole Peninsula were speedily in motion, to effect the same liberation for it as had already been achieved without serious effusion of blood in Spain ; and as it was known that the Franc-Communeros of that country had played an important part in its revolution, sanguine hopes were entertained that they might be equally successful in their patriotic efforts. Their great
* “ Vincitrice o vinta sempre asserva.”