Antonio — Government policy — General pardons— Statistics of education — Ignorance of wives and mothers. XV Pi. Besides, our poetry and our religion have given to the character of a shepherd a tone of peaceful contemplation and gentle goodness, not at all consistent with the life of men who tend their pwn flocks on the hills by day and steal tiiose of their neighbours in the valleys by night.
We know, however, that the struggle between Rome and the Samnites began with efforts on the part of the former to check the incursions of the mountaiQeers. Some perished by the heat, others were suffo- oated by the smoke, and ihB rest threw them- selves desperately into the flames. According to Livy, two thousand bandits perished in this atrocious massacre. These mountain tribes contributed not a little io the conquest by Borne of tiie rival cities in the plains. Capua was at one time a city of so mucli wealth, enter- prise, and luxury, that he must have been a pro- phet who could have predicted its inferiority to the military camp on the Tiber.
But Capua, despised, and frequently assaulted by the armed shepherds of the Appennines, was compelled to ask protection of Eome. The matter ended in the subjection of Capua to her stronger sister. On the other side, these same mountaineers did not scruple to ally themselves with Eome, as A means of devastating the cities of the plains. The spoils of the cities of Latium and Campania were promised to the fierce moun- taineers as a reward for their services against the rebels.
I allude to the disgraceful sur- render of a Roman army at the Caudine Forks. The shepherds offered to guide the Roman soldiers through the mountain passea which led to the besieged city. The legions set out under the deceitful guides. They were led into a narrow and deep valley, flanked on either hand by almost perpendicular heights whose summits were crowned with deep and dark woods. Suddenly the path was found blocked up in their faces by a mass of trees felled across it from rock to rock.
The soldiers turned back, and found the entrace to the valley closed in the same way. Raising their eyes, they saw the mountain crests covered with armed men. Pontius had the Roman army in his power.
The Samnite chief did neither. He humiliated the Bomana by obligiiig Hiern to pass tmder the yoke, and then liberated them on oaths and conditions, the religious sanctity of which Roman astuteness found means to break. Moving down into Calabria, we might go feirther bade, and inquire into the origin of these mountain tribes.
Bnt not on this account did the Brntii cease to be the terror of the plains. Conquered at last, and reduced to the rank of slaves and menials, there is no reason to believe that the caves and heights of tiie Appennines did not continue to conceal the remnants of the terrible race, who contruued to live on a scale less ambitious the life of their better days. In fact, two centuries later, when Catiline organized his conspiracy or rebellion, he relied for support not so much upon the dis- contented and vicious classes in Rome, as upon the inhabitants of the Central and Southern Appennines.
The shepherd slaves of the cava- liers in Apulia and Brutium were ripe for a sanguinary revolt. All the savage heights of the mountains which encircle Rome were brist- ling with armed men. It is admitted that Spartacus collected from slaves, gladiators, pirates, robbers, and assassins an army of seventy thonsand men; that he de- feated four consular armies, and might have sacked Eome itself, if he could have main- tained discipline in so vast a collection of law- less men.
This great rising under Spartacus gives us a vivid glimpse of the hfe then led in the high valleys of these mountains. Catiline failed for want of time to orgtoize his revolution: perhaps because he threw himself into the Tuscan rather than into the Calabrian Appennines, where Spartacus had waged such successful war with the legions of the Eepublic. These disbanded veterans consti- tuted the most valuable part of the army of Catiline.
In the same way, in all the modem developments of brigandage into political im- portance, the disbanded soldier has been found a most troublesome and dangerous brigand. The reason is simple. Bandini on Eutropius, b. Under the Empire, slavery and the absorption of the lands of the many into the large estates of the few, contributed to in- crease the number of those who, fugitive in the mountains, sought to avenge upon society the vast and towering injustice under which they had groaned, A grave historian enumerates six classes of people in the first three centuries of the Empire.
Their condition grew every day more desperate, for the rapacious demands of the superintendents grew larger with every day; and if, when the cup of their misery was fuU, they fled, leaving farm, house, family, and sought refuge with some other proprietor, they could be recovered, as American fugitive slaves in the happy times of James Buchanan, If such were the free colonists, what were the slaves?
They were divided into two classes; those bom on the estates, and those purchased. This last class was the most miserable of the human race. They toiled by day in chains, and slept by night in subter- ranean dimgeons.
Prisoners of war and the inhabitants of captured or rebellious cities, they had passed from freedom in their native lands to the lowest depths of slavery. There was a very active commerce throughout all the empire in these slaves, and the populations of entire cities were sometimes sold under the spear of the prsetor. IS This is cause. Now let us look at the effect. In vain a sanguinary law condemned to death all the slaves of an assassinated master.
Vengeance and desperation continued to multiply crime. Those who succeeded in obtaining ven- geance, or who had not been able to obtain it but had incurred suspicion, fled to the woods to pur- sue the life of robbers. Their assaults upon society sometimes almost took the character of a civil war rather than that of disorders by a band of highwaymen. In South Italy, under the Empire, deducting the mountain refugees, nine-tenths of the rural population must have been poor colonists and elaiei.
The wealthy citizen, however, had means of drfence. He could procure the armed protection of the Govern- ment. On the other hand, the humble renter or proprietor, was obliged to submit withoui hope of remedy, to repeated incursions, which wasted his field, deprived him of his cattle, laid his house in ashes and lefb him without his wife and his daughters to weep over a hopeless ruin.
He either abandoned his little estate altogether or sold it to some wealUiy neighbour. The smaU proprietors and colonists, oppressed by the agents of the- Government, the tax-farmers, the large proprietors and the ban- dits, yielded to their fate and sank out of sight in the vast class of miserdbhs which lay groaning beneath them. The only relief from the horrible servitude to which all classes of rural labourers were reduced, was found in escape to the free air and bold life of a bandit. Nor do the materials for iMs histery exist. We know, bowever, that after the fall of the Empire of the West, the same causes, endur- ing with varying intensity, contributed to make the mountains sanctuaries alike of the guilty and of the innocent.
The successive revolutions of government, which swept across these provinces between Julius Caesar and the Spanish conquest of the Two SiciKes, contributed the same elements and the same results. Asiatic, Carthagenian, Greek, Goth, and Saracen, have mingled their blood to make up the race which has never loved any king, and trusts its safety under the protection of no law. Their origin accounts for the rural Neapo- litans, and nothing else wiU.
This strong, robust race, who know no fear, respect no law, and call no man master, whose mothers are braver and stronger than the men of other lands, draw their blood from fountains out of which neither fear nor pity, nor any of the tender and gentle sentiments of human n6,ture, were wont to flow.
We find brigandage mentioned in the earliest notices of the modefm history of these provinces, and during the government by Spanish viceroys it is a constant feature of the times. The mo- ment the historian casts his eye outside of the city of Naples, it falls upon this scourge of the pro- vinces. Many of the viceroys fought the bandits, some claimed the merit of exterminating them. Often they were not new. Brigandage begins in June, attracts the attention of the viceroy in Ailgust ; an army is sent against it in September ; there are many skirmishes in October and November; in December the general returns to Naples to report, for the hundredth time, that brigandage is extinguished in the provinces.
The fact is, that the brigands have finished their cam- paign, and are living peacefully with their families in the scattered villages of the higher valleys. The peasants and shepherds, by necessity not by inclination, allies of the bandits, secrete the fugitives, or report them killed. They send the vice-regal troops on perilous and useless marches in search of men who can never be found, because they are no longer assassins and robbers but peaceful denizens of the towns. A collection of all the notices which the his- tory of the vico-regal government aflfords would be tiresome for its sameness.
I select two periods separated by a century. In both these we shall find brigandage wearing its modem dress. The first period embraces the last fifteen years of the sixteenth, the second the correspond- ing years of the seventeenth, century. In , when Pope Sixtus V. No longer a few persons scattered and apparently insignificant, they had become large bands nrpn- bering some hundreds; and, not content with infesting the open country, they stormed con- siderable villages and committed in them every species of crime. Sextns V. His next step was to establish a good understand- ing with the Grand Duke, and so put a stop to ihe perpetual migrations -of the bandits from one state to the other.
At the same period, brigandage in the Nea- politan provinces took on a character of extreme gravity. He was cap- turedby Miranda, and executed, after undergoing the most frightful tortures, by being revolved upon a wheel and broken with strokes of a ham- mer. Sextus and Miranda entered into an arrange- ment by which the soldiers of each were allowed to pursue the brigands over the frontier. The two governments seem to have vied with each other in diligent and persevering hostility against the bandits, but without any important result.
The reason of their ill success is the same which makes the problem of the Italian Govern- ment in these provinces so difficult to-day. The daring bandit very nearly turned the tables on his foe. Spinelli narrowly escaped with his life, and Sciarra acquired additional fame. He eacke4 Serra Capriolo, Vasto and the city of liucera.
The bishop of this last city fled for safety into the bell-tower of tia. The latter were paralyzed by mutual suspicions and fears. The bandits had a perfect solidarity of feeling and interest. He grew staronger and more trouble- some with every campaign. The Viceroy now resorted to an artifice. The Uscocdd were ravaging the territory of Venice, and all the eflTorts of the republic had failed to carush them.
The Venetians were advised to em- ploy Sciarra in this service, and they invited him to undertake the war. The bandit paid little attention to the invitation;. He accomplished what Spinelli had failed to do.
A diverse society
He did not, however, relinquish his dominion in the Abruzzi. His companions, under the com- mand of his brother, carried on there a brigand war on a smaller scale, but with considerable success, and their lives and property were pro- bably as secure as those of any portion of the ItaHan people at that period.
During one of these visits to his brother, Sciarra fell a victim to the envy or revenge of one of his subordinates, named Battitello, who received from the Papal general for the assassi- nation of his master his own pardon and that of thirteen companions. A story of Sciarra has been preserved, which true or false, has its value. A poor traveller was one day brought bound into the presence of the chief. The band broke into rapturous applause. King Marco knelt and kissed the hand of the great and unhappy poet.
Then he ordered his bundle to be restored, and accompanied him down into the plain. Don Gaspare de Haro, previously ambassador at the Court of Eome, assumed the vice-regal government in this year, Brigajidage, imiversal in the provinces, was pushing its lang- dom to the very gates of Naples. The causes of this disorder were various, and it is not easy to group them into a picture. The bands were on excellent terms with their more peaceful neighbours, and no peasant would have dared to expose their retreatsi, much less to make any eflfort to destroy them.
Nor was this the feult of the peasant. Good or bad, right or wrong, the bandit was king, and could exact obedience. But if we would know what these men really were, how coarse, brutal and desperate, we must read the histories of their times. This passage from Giannone affords a glimpse of them :— "They inspired the weak with fear, some- times by threatening them, often by disfiguring them and outraging them in a thousand other ways.
The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain
They extorted by force whatever their whims dictated. They covered with their pro- tection the most criminal persons; there was nothing in which they did not mix their in- trigues, and force the weak to do their will. They compelled fathers to give their daughters in marriage to men of their choosing, and they pre- vented marriages which did not please them.
In brief, they had reduced the citizens to a miser- able slavery. Now look at the provinces :— " The greater part of the bandits were sus- tained by the diflferent barons and other powerfiil persons, who sheltered and fed them, and, by means of letters and messengers, warned them of the plans laid for their capture or destruction.
He extended the principle of this edict to all the armed rascals of the kingdom. The object of this decree was to destroy the solidarity among the bandits themselves, to demoralize them by introducing suspicion and treachery into the very camp of the outlawed chiefs. The death of Sciarra, a hundred years before, and our knowledge of the character of the times, tend to prove that the measure was not likely to be attended with ill success. In the following year, Haro added to this a decree, by which he endeavoured to break up the intimate relations between the bandits and the rest of his subjects.
It became an oflfence punishable with death to give them a morsel of food, or information re- specting the troops of the Viceroy. Haro seems to have been the Manhds of his time. He spread dismay among the brigands by detaching a con- siderable portion as informers ; aad he alarmed the barons in their castles by a system which suspended their Hves on the evidence of any couple of bandits whom they might have be- ficiended, or whose spoils they might have sharei The next step was a campaign against the bands.
This contest assumed almost the dimen- 8 Ofls of a civil war. The brigands fled into the mountains of the Ab- ruzzi, aud carried on their depredations from bases less accessible to the artillery of Haro. It was not necessary to bring the bandit into the military post alive. His head served the same purpose and secured the same reward. The virtue of the brigands was not proof against the temptation. It was a new branch df their trade, with perhaps larger profits and the superadded favour of the government.
All suppressions of brigandage show that these robbers like, once in a whUe, to wipe out the old record, and begin life anew. Gatalogae of crime wliicli they liave written. Haro added the most imperative instructions to his civil and military subordinates, and, in short, organized the provinces into a general revolt against brigandage. The success of these measures was such that Haro acquired the fisane of having exterminated the evil. What he actually accomplished was to reduce brigandage to the ordinary dimensions firom which it had swollen during the govern- ment of his feeble predecessors.
This scourge of society continued in the Nea- politan provinces xmder the Bourbon kings. So long as it did not assume extraordinary propor- tions, the Government gave little attention to its ravages. He promised pardon to all malefactors who should voluntarily return to obedience. The brigands were invested with ihs character of honest men by a decree which pardoned them for the grossest crimes on the sole condition of returning to obe- dience ; and the material weakness of the government was proclaimed, while its moral authority was prosteited. The very attempt of Ferdinand to repress the brigands iucreased their number, and prepared the way for the hor- rors of The Frencli revolution, so extravagant, frenzied and bloody, so barren of immediate popular bene- fits, sowed over the soil of Europe the seeds of constitutional freedom, which, after three-fourths of a century, are beginning to promise fruit.
One century may not suflSce to reconstruct the Christian world upon the basis of this political creed ; for the education of the people and the destruction of feudal ideas are the work of generations. But it is certain that the basis of the great struggle which con- vulses our society is the conflict of these opposing theories, on the one side the rights of crowns, on the other the rights of man. The aspirations of peoples battle with the ambitions of princes.
These hostile elements may be reconciled for temporary purposes, and, while the ground is be- ing prepared, just minds will not desire to pre- maturely hasten a harvest in which humanity has an eternal stake. But the battle must be waged for the protection of the tender blade, while assi- 'duous culture of the people prepares it to gather the full corn in the ear. They had a thousand arguments, drawn from their own observation, their own Bufferings and their own degradation, with which to enforce their demands for a change in the government; but a revolution, modelled on the pattern of that of Paris, could scarcely have found a less congenial soil in Madagascar.
There was no powerful middle class possessed of in- telligence and property, to initiate, organize and sustain liberty. Sagacious absolutists had comprehended, before the French revolutionists announced their splendid dream, that the growth of the middle classes, educated and prosperous, was a menace for the feudal inheritance over which kings reigned.
In Naples the outlines of this policy were traced with remarkable dis- tinctness in the whole history of the Bourbon dynasty. There was freedom to be filthy, ignorant and vicious ; honesty, learning and prosperous industry were causes for suspicion, purchase, or imprisonment. The army of the French Bepubhc under Bonaparte was professedly sent into Italy to further tiie progress of the new ideas, and to realize the hopes of Italians.
Bonaparte was on the eve of becoming master of the army and of the nation; but during this period of transformation he spoke the language, and encouraged the aspira- tions df the time. For a similar reason, hour' geoia is used in this work to describe the middle class in South Italy. The clubs of patriots in Naples invited the Prendi soldiers as dehveverB, and, irMle ihe liroops of the Bepablic mordhed into the kingdom, made diligent efEbrts to organize revolution within the capital.
Tlrase efforts must have been fruitless but for the foreign force which came to their aid. The Tacitus of Italian historians has finely contrasted the Neapolitan and French revolutions. In France, political wants found voice in pqpular tumults ; in Naples these popular risings were unknown, or, at least, wanting, at this period. In France these clamours of the nation stimulated revolution and secured its success.
Nor was the victory due alone to force of arms. The coup de main of that conflict was the patronage of San Gennaro by the French general, A certain Michele il Pazzo, a lazzarone, had been elected, in a tumul- tuous assemblage, one of the plebeian leaders. He seems to have been one of those astute brutes which the plebs of that period produced in abun- dance to reinforce the ranks of the camorra and brigandage. The French having obtained possession of the forts on the 22nd, Championnet asked a parley of the Boyalists, and besought the people in the name of San Gennaro to cease a useless resistance.
A mountain was beliered to be a city, and made the capital of a canton. The territory of one commune was thrown into different cantons, while some rirers I dupHoated, and entire distriott omitted. Paazo had become the mouthpiece of the goveniment in its addresses to the populace, who did not even know the lan- guage of their bourgeois fellow-citiisens.
The gentlemen were colonels in the womb; I became one through equaUty. Once men were bom to greatmess, now a man becomes great. OTatize populations who could neither read nor understand the Italian tongue. They found a few sincere partisans and a large number of men disgusted with despotism, anxious to wreak pri- vate vengeance, or hopeful of reward under the Eepublic.
Still, when the most liberal allowance has been made for all these adhesions, it must be admitted that the revolution was neither accepted nor rejected by the rural districts. It was a rare oxKJasion for the professional brigands. The old order was shaken, but not fallen ; the new only nominally dominant. The partisans and emissaries of Ferdinand encouraged brigandage as a means of discrediting the govern- ment, cutting oflF its communications, and ex- hausting its military strength in hopeless but perpetual struggles with insignificant bands of robbers, kidnappers and assassins.
The Uberals and the French had all become the legitimate booty of these servants of Ferdinand. All pretence of restraint was removed. This was the great harvest of the brigands. The character of the men who led these hordes of assassins shows clearly the motives which collected and held them together. In he became a partisan leader for the cause of Ferdinand.
The chief object of his expeditions was to restore the fugi- tive monarch to the throne; but most of his companions aimed at plunder and blood. Fra Diavolo has become famous among these robber chieftains. Scribe and Auber have made him the subject of one of their best melodramas.
Colletta says it is a proverb of the Neapolitan lower classes that the priests and the devil are invincible. Others tell us that he was origi- nally designed for the Church, and acquired his title while he wore the cassock. It is certain that the name was given him in his native village, and that he himself, proud of a title which indi- cated the cunning of a priest and the malice of the devil, continued to retain it after his talents for murder had attracted the attention of the. General Championnet confessed that this band gave him more difficulty than any division of the royalist army.
The horrible cruelties related of him surpass beUef. He caused them to be bound to trees and burned aKve, while the inhabitants of neigh- bouring villages danced around this auto-da-fi. He had now acquired fame, and visited his royal master to receive honours and particular instructions. His reception was of the most flattering character.
The king made him a brevet-captain; the queen marked her admira- tion and gratitude by placing upon his finger a beautiful emerald ring. The ring is preserved in the family of his son, the Cavalier Pezza, who receives from the king of Italy the pension which Ferdinand settled upon Fra Diavolo. I admit that he is a brigand chiefs but I must also admit that he has served us well. It is then necessary to use him, and not to displease him.
At the same time, it is necessary to persuade him that he must keep the rein of discipline over himself and his people, if he really wants to acquire favour with me. Thecjr Aowibhe impremions which thisinonaterleft upon those who wece nearest to his person. FamiKes, villageB or comniunes raised the baaner of. The life-long brigands found their account in this disorder.
They sacked and mur- dered with impunity. There were daily conflicts, and assassinations were even more frequent. One of the incidents of this social war illus- trates the fierceness of a large portion of this population. Francesco Serao was a bishop at Picemo. He had been obnoxious to the Papal See for Jansenist opinions, and had been sustained by the Bourbon government. At this period, he was suspected of being 9. His house was assailed, he was dragged from his knees before the cross into the street ; there he was brutally murdered, and his head carried upon the point of a lance around the town.
The crime was committed by several plebeians of brigand blood. Niccolo Addone, a rich devotee of the Church and a secret friend of the Republic, resolved to avenge the death of the bishop. He availed himself of treachery, feigned to be delighted at the fate of the bishop. In his old age, the same man was a violent partisan and poUtical informer of the Second Ferdinand.
Though these conflipts bore no resemblance to a regular war, they were swollen beyond the ordi- nary limits of brigandage. But underneath these violent deeds the brigand collected booty and satiated his thirst for blood. Thje first had been a servant in livery, the second a soldier and deserter, Colonna and Corbara were rognes by profession — and ell were fleeing from Corsica to escape punishment.
They had intended to embark for Corfii, but meeting by chance with a certain Grironda, the genius of the Apulian devised a brilliant scheme to promote their fortunes. Corbara took the part of Prince Francesco, the heir to the throne; Colonna figured as an officer of the royal household ; Boc- chiciampe as a brother of the King of Spain ; and De Cesare as Duke of Saxony. With this fraud, they raised the provinces in favour of the king.
They levied and collected taxes, and made a triumphal march to Otranto — the false prince everywhere receiving a more implicit obedience than real ones ordinarily obtain from their people. The credulity of the masses and the concur- rence of bishops and archbishops, of barons and Bourbon officers, in this deception are alike wonderful. Nor does the marvel stop here. The effect of tliis deception was immense. The presence of the prince impKed that the king was about to be restored.
He issued a prockmation appointing the brother of the King of Spain and the Duke of Saxony viceroys in his absence, and departed with Cokmna, ostensibly for Sicily.
It was natural that as the contest went on, the priests, who had in some instances favoured the Eevolution, should taike position in solid phalanx against, the Bepublic. Disorder was producing its legitimate fruits. The wavering partisans of liberal ideas began to clamour against a govern- ment wliich could give no protection to its citizens, which was only powerful to awaken a hostility it could not subdue.
The prisons disgorged their foul contents all over the land. The clergy, the Boarbon- ists and the brigands, were in full revolt against the liberty, equality and fraternity of the French Utopians. He had great natural cunning and audacity, but. Pius VI. Ruffo gained wealth so rapidly that he incurred the suspicion of the Papal courts and was removed from the treasury. In the meantime, he obtained from Ferdinand the office of Intendente of the royal house at Gaserta. In he became a cardinal and returned to Rome to assist the Pope in the straits of revolution.
RuflFo ftimished Ferdinand the most powerftd aid to hia restoration. He found the imbecile tyrant shivering with dread of assassins and traitors. This was the case with the queen and his whole court. The French princesses arrived in the meantime at Palermo, and reported that the popular movement produced by the felse prince had been real and extended ; that in Apulia the royal cause was really dominant. He was received as an ally by the priests, the nobility and the partisans of the king.
His astuteness saved him from attempting at first any appiroach to a legitimate war. These were to be the earthly rewards of royalty ; he added celestial delights for obedience, and eternal pains for rebellion. The rabble took up its line of march as a dis- orderly religious procession. Sacchinelli in his bio- graphy says : " Unfortunately there were among these troops aMassins and robbers impelled by thirst for rapine, yengeaacei and blood," p It is not my purpose to follow the.
He landed at Bagnara on the 8th of February, and Naples capitulated to the forces under his command on the 23rd of June. He owed his success in some measure to the aid of Turks, Busiltans and English, allied with Ferdinand against the French, in some degree also to the incapacity for govern- ment of the men elevated to the control of the Republic; but his expedition would have been impossible without the brigands and the imder- lying conditions out of which brigandage grows.
There are two episodes of this march which illustrate its whole character : Cotrone and Alta- mura. The account which I give is taken from Sacchinelli, the biographer of Buffo, who declares that he writes his book to relieve the reputation of the cardinal from the aspersions of Botta, Coletta and Cuoco.
This corps iras under tihe cojiiunsaid of a certain lieutenant- eol H]kel Perezj but he was aiocompanied by. It was the capital of one of the republies of Magna Greoia,. It is to-day a village containing a population of about seven thousand souls. The cardinal was at Catanzaro, to avoid being held personally responsible for the etime. The inhabitants imderstood perfectly well that this was an invitation to permit their tibroats to be cut without resistance.
The vicissitudes of these two men are a picture of that year of grace, Crotone was abandoned to a desolating sack, which in four days reduced it to a smoking ruin. The cardinal had overshot the mark. The object sought had been attained; a terrible example had been given to republican cities, the clamour of his irregular troops had for a moment been hushed, and notice had been given to all the brigands of the kingdom that substantial rewards were to be had in the Bourbon service.
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On the other hand, however, those who were loaded down with spoils wished to return to their homes in order to secrete their gains, and those who had been so unfortunate as not to share in the sack murmured against their leader. The night before, the greater part of the army of two thousand men, including its heavy reinforcement between Catanzaro and Cotrone, had disappeared. The cardinal found only Pansanera and a few of his companions. The rest of this force had gone to hide the jewels, plate, and money, gained in the service of his Most Christian Majesty, the King of the Two Sicilies.
They informed the cardinal that they could not remain longer in his service. They suddenly remembered that their families were in danger; that the cardinal had not been able to supply them with food; that the season was cold; and that the service of the King was hard and unprofitable. In spite of the utmost efforts of Buffo and his faithful Pansanera, the greater part of the army deserted. A force of twenty thousand men was reduced in two days to scarcely one-fourth of that number. All promised to return, and it is probable that many did so, for on the 5th of April the VOL. This army received a reinforcement of a novel character — nothing less than a thousand convicts released from the prisons of Sicily, and organized into a regiment under the command of Panedigrano, another assassin transformed into a saint by the miracle-working cardinal.
Sacchi- nelli's account of this affair is so ingenious, that I cannot forbear translating it. The reader should remember that the writer is defending Euffo from the aspersions of Botta and OoUetta. It is suflScient to reply, that if Ferdinand reigned in Sicily he had control of the prisons.
If he did not reign in Sicily, Euffo was nothing more nor less than a b;rigand. But the genius of Euffo turned the evil into a blessing to the cause, and converted this unpromising human clay into brigadier- generals and saints. The disorder and peril increased, when the companies of irre- gular troops became anxious to go home to defend their families and houses.
It will be seen, too, that the cardinal was again threatened with the loss of his army. Without loss of time, he ordered the army to be intrenched in Corighano, under the command of his brother, the inspector-general. Probably most military men will agree that it was a stroke of genius. By the use of gentleness, with assurances and promises, he succeeded admirably, and, in a very short time, recalled to obedience, and united in one body a thousand of these convicts.
He put this corps under the command of Niccola Ghialtieri, alias Panedigrano ; who, being also a pardoned bandit, gave great aid in this operation. This man, having served in the camp of San Germane, was acquainted with the military service, and rendered great aid in the taking of the capital, as will hereafter appear. He received a liberal allowance of pay, and, in command of his thousand cut-throats, was sent off on a delicate mission.
On the Tyrrhene shore the English naval forces and the clerical party had fomented a reaction. Both were clamorous that the cardinal should march by that route directly upon Naples. He repaid the compliment of the English in sending him convicts, and furnished the bishops of Policastro and Torrusio with the nucleus of a reactionary army, by sending Panedigrano to co- operate with Trowbridge, and aid the prelates in organizing the insurgent masses in their dioceses.
About the Ist of May he appears to have re- sumed his march; and on the 7th he closely invested Altamura. It contained about twenty-four thousand inhabitants, some thousands of republican fugitives from the other towns of that region, and a small republican army. The patriots had resolved upon a vigorous re- sistance, and hoped for the assistance of the French army. The ingenious account of Sacchinelli will serve to show the state of parties, and the animus with which the siege was conducted on one side and resisted on the other. On that occasion, the engineers, Vinpi and OHvieri, having advanced too far in a reconnoisance of the enemy's position, were tmfortunately captured by his cavalry.
Don BafFaelle Veccliioni, with credentials for a parley, and instructions to propose to the generals Mastrangelo and Palomba good terms for the surrender of the place without hostiUties, and for the liberation of the two engineers. Peasant populations, brigand bands and the irregular soldiers of the cardinal, all scenting the slaughter, and rushing off in a disordered mass behind the assaulting columns.
The soldiers remembered that the sackof Cotrone had been given to a select few, and were deter- mined that no such partiality should be shown at Altamura. So complete was this stampede of the sacred legions of the Christian army, that '' the cardinal and his suite were abandoned at Matera, in the palace of the Duke of St. Candida, with only a guard of two hundred soldiers of the line and a picket of cavalry. Sacchinelli tells us that the entire population left in the night so secretly that their departure was not suspected until the gates were fired the next morning.
It is every way improbable that from a closely-invested city not less thaa thirty thousand people escaped in a single night without the knowledge of the besiegers. His genius shines out again with peculiar splendour. It is commonly supposed that bandit chiefs, from the beginning of the world, have maintained order by dividing the stolen goods on some equitable ratio. A general clamour was diffused on the instant throughout the aimy that they ought to destroy the city, and not to leave one stone upon another. The only measures tiie cardinal was able to take were to prevent the de- sertion of his troops after the sack, and to prevent an assault in the rear by the fleeing enemy.
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