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A Historical Essay on the Neapolitan Revolution of 1799

A Historical Essay on the Neapolitan Revolution of 1799

Vincenzo Cuoco
Bruce Haddock
Filippo Sabetti
Translated by David Gibbons
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 336
  • Book Info
    A Historical Essay on the Neapolitan Revolution of 1799
    Book Description:

    Deeply influenced by Enlightenment writers from Naples and France, Vincenzo Cuoco (1770-1823) was forced into exile for his involvement in the failed Neapolitan revolution of 1799. Living in Milan, he wrote what became one of the nineteenth century's most important treatises on political revolution.

    In hisHistorical Essay on the Neapolitan Revolution of 1799, Cuoco synthesized the work of Machiavelli, Vico, and Enlightenment philosophers to offer an explanation for why and how revolutions succeed or fail. A major influence on political thought during the unification of Italy, theHistorical Essaywas also an inspiration to twentieth-century thinkers such as Benedetto Croce and Antonio Gramsci.

    This critical edition, featuring an authoritative translation, introduction, and annotations, finally makes Cuoco's work fully accessible to an English-speaking audience.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2024-7
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Vincenzo Cuoco and the Nature of Revolution and Constitutionalism
    (pp. xi-xxxvi)
    Bruce Haddock and Filippo Sabetti

    Vincenzo Cuoco was born in the village of Civitacampomarano, near Campobasso, in 1770 to a professional family with deep roots in the Molise countryside. His origins gave little inkling of the place that he was later to occupy in the intellectual history of Naples and Italy and the study of revolutions and constitutionalism. He is one of the few Italian theorists of the French revolutionary and Napoleonic period to attain a European significance, as his work was almost immediately translated into French¹ and German. He has been hailed at various times by thinkers as diverse as Manzoni, de Sanctis, Croce,...

  5. Principal Events in Vincenzo Cuoco’s Life
    (pp. xxxvii-xxxviii)
  6. Translator’s Note: The Words and Structures of Cuoco’s Revolution
    (pp. xxxix-xlix)
    David Gibbons
  7. Maps
    (pp. l-lii)
  8. Historical Essay on the Neapolitan Revolution of 1799
    (pp. 1-2)
  9. Author’s Preface to the Second Edition (1806)
    (pp. 3-10)
  10. Letter by the Author to N.Q.
    (pp. 11-13)

    When I began to concern myself with the history of the Neapolitan Revolution, I had no purpose other than to alleviate the leisure and tedium of exile. It is a sweet thing to recall past storms when in harbour. I had achieved my objective. I would not have thought of anything else, if you and the other friends to whom I read the manuscript had not believed it could be useful for some other purpose.

    Is it not strange how the world goes? The king of Naples declares war on the French, and is defeated. The French conquer his kingdom,...

  11. I Introduction
    (pp. 14-16)

    I undertake to write the history of a revolution which intended to bring about the happiness of a nation, but in fact caused its ruin.¹ We will see that, in less than a year, a great kingdom was overthrown while it threatened to conquer Italy; an army of 80,000 men was defeated, dispersed, and destroyed by a handful of soldiers; a weak king, counselled by cowardly ministers, abandoned his dominion (stati) without any danger; freedom was born and established when it was least hoped for; fate itself fought for the good cause, and human errors destroyed the work of fate,...

  12. II Europe after 1793
    (pp. 17-19)

    Before dealing with our own revolution, it is worth going back somewhat further and dwell briefly on the events that preceded it; to see what the state of the nation was, the reasons which caused it to be involved in the war, the ills that it suffered, and the good for which it hoped. In this way, the reader will be better placed to understand the causes and to judge, more soundly, the effects.

    From 1789 onward, France had carried out the greatest revolution spoken of in history. There was no example of a revolution which, in seeking to reform...

  13. III Italy until the Peace of Campo Formio
    (pp. 20-23)

    In just a short space of time, the French were seen to be victors and lords of Flanders, Holland, Savoy, and the whole immense stretch of land running along the left bank of the Rhine. However, they did not enjoy such swift success in Italy; their armies remained for three years at the foot of the Alps, which they were unable to pass, and which they perhaps might have never been able to, had Bonaparte’s genius not called forth victory in these places, too.

    When the Italian mission was entrusted to Bonaparte [in 1791], it was virtually a lost cause....

  14. IV Naples – The Queen
    (pp. 24-28)

    There remained the Kingdom of Naples; and at that time at least, the French possibly had neither the interest nor the desire to attack it. But familial relations with the sovereigns of France, the preponderant influence of the British cabinet, the queen’s character – everything conspired in the Court of Naples to fuel that hatred which, right from the outset and more passionately than in any other court in Europe, had been displayed against the French Revolution.¹ On her journey through Germany and Italy upon the occasion of her daughter’s marriage, the queen had been the prime mover in the...

  15. V State of the Kingdom – Humiliation of the Nation
    (pp. 29-30)

    It was almost as though Acton and the queen conspired to lose the kingdom. The queen displayed the highest disdain for everything that was national. Was a genius needed? He had to come from the Arno.¹ Was a good man needed? Then he had to come from the Danube.² We were inundated by a horde of foreigners, who occupied every post, took up all the incomes without having any talent or manner (costume), and insulted those whose means of subsistence they were robbing. National merit was forgotten, depressed, and could think itself fortunate when it was not persecuted.³

    What was...

  16. VI State Inquisition
    (pp. 31-38)

    Once our emotions take a certain direction, they cannot be halted. Hatred follows scorn, and after hatred come suspicion and fear. The queen, who did not love the nation, feared being hated by it; and like any other, this emotion, albeit pitiful, needs encouragement. Anyone who spoke ill of the nation was well received by her.

    The novelty of political opinions increased her suspicions, and provided new means for the courtiers to win her affections. Acton used them in order to have Medici¹ and some of his other illustrious rivals defeated. In doing so, he opened the floodgates, and desolation...

  17. VII Causes and Effects of Persecution
    (pp. 39-44)

    I shall stop; my mind recoils at the memory of so many horrors. But where did so much hostility towards the French Revolution in the minds of the sovereigns of Europe come from? Many other nations had changed form of government. There is barely a century that cannot count such a change: but those changes had never affected anyone other than the courts directly attacked, nor had they produced any suspicion or persecution in the other nations. A few years previously, the American sages had carried out a revolution that was not so different from the French one, and the...

  18. VIII Public Administration
    (pp. 45-54)

    While the nation was humiliated and oppressed through various means (arti), increasing misery was wrought by the disorder found in every branch of public administration. From the arrival of Charles III,¹ the Neapolitan nation had begun to find relief from the incredible ills it had suffered through two centuries of vice-regal government. The authority of the barons, who previously had not allowed the inhabitants to have either real or personal property, was diminished. Ordinary taxes were made certain by means of a new land register, which, if not the best that there could be, was at least the best there...

  19. IX Finances
    (pp. 55-59)

    Anyone who compares the sum of the taxes which we paid with that paid by the other nations in Europe will believe that we were not the most oppressed. Anyone who compares the sum of the taxes we paid at the times of Charles III with those which we paid subsequently in the times of Ferdinand will perhaps see that the difference was not that great. But in the meantime, the needs of the nation had grown, and those of the court had grown too. The nation came to pay more because in reality it had less to spare, while...

  20. X Trade
    (pp. 60-63)

    Fifteen years previously, the banks’ disorder would perhaps either not have taken place or would have been more tolerable, for the nation’s tax revenue at that time was sufficient to fill the hole made by the banks, or at least to keep as much money in them as was required for circulation. It is a truth universally acknowledged that part of the cash may be missing from the public deposits without the paper losing its credit; but circulation must be fully operative, and while part of the nation is returning its paper, another has to be depositing new bills. Now...

  21. XI War
    (pp. 64-68)

    Such was the state of the kingdom at the end of the summer of 1798, when Nelson’s victory on the seas of Alexandria,¹ the lack of French troops in Italy, the mercenary promises of some Frenchman, the new alliance with Russia, and above all the British cabinet’s intrigues, led the king of Naples to believe that the time had come to reshape Italian affairs.

    On the one hand, the Roman republic, the scene of the first [Neapolitan] military operations, resembled a desert more than it did a state, and rather than opposing invaders, the few men who inhabited it were...

  22. XII War (cont.)
    (pp. 69-73)

    War was resolved upon. A proclamation was published, in which the king of Naples declared in equivocal terms that he wished to preserve the friendship which he had with the French republic, but that he felt slighted by the occupation of Malta, an island which belonged to the Kingdom of Sicily; and that he could not allow the pope’s lands to be invaded, for he loved him as his old ally and respected him as the head of the Church. He would have his army march in order to restore Roman territory to its lawful sovereign (though it was not...

  23. XIII The King’s Flight
    (pp. 74-76)

    Governments are like men, in that all passions are useful to the wise and disastrous to the foolish. Rather than inspiring prudence and caution, the Neapolitan court’s fear of the French was the cause of disastrous cowardice. By fearing them, they made them more terrifying than they were.

    A few days before war was declared, someone at the court told me it was wise counsel not to let the soldiers know they were going to fight the French. It was with this in mind that the ambiguous terms in which the proclamation was couched were conceived, namely, to conceal the...

  24. XIV Anarchy in Naples and the Arrival of the French
    (pp. 77-83)

    In the history of Italy, the events at the end of the eighteenth century resembled those seen at the end of the fifteenth. In both periods, the same events were produced by the same causes, followed by the same effects. In both periods, the kingdom was lost by the work of a small number of enemy forces. In the fifteenth century, the parties which divided the kingdom were the ones which attracted the war; in the eighteenth, war and defeat were what caused the parties to arise. In the former, the king tried every means to avoid war; in the...

  25. XV Why Did Naples Not Become a Republic after the King’s Flight?
    (pp. 84-87)

    The king had departed, the people did not want him any longer. He had taken the love of national independence (which some considered to be a form of attachment to the old slavery) to the point of madness. When the Neapolitan people sent their deputation to Championnet, they meant to say only this: “The French republic was at war with the king of Naples; and the king has now departed. The French nation had no war with the Neapolitan nation, so why do the French soldiers want to conquer those who voluntarily offer them their friendship?” Such language was wise,...

  26. XVI State of the Neapolitan Nation
    (pp. 88-94)

    The French army entered Naples on 22 January [1799].¹ Championnet’s first concern was to “install” an interim government which, while serving the nation’s temporary needs, at the same time was expected to prepare the state’s permanent constitution. Such an important responsibility was entrusted to twenty-five² persons divided up into six “committees,” which concerned themselves with the details of the administration, and exercised what was called “executive power.” When gathered together, they constituted the legislative assembly.

    The six committees were: 1. central; 2. domestic; 3. war; 4. finance; 5. justice and police; and 6. legislation. The persons elected to the government...

  27. XVII Ideas of Patriots
    (pp. 95-97)

    What should have been done, then, to propel the revolution in the Neapolitan kingdom?

    The first step was to ensure that all the patriots were in agreement on their ideas, or at least that they agreed on the government.

    Of our patriots (if I may be permitted an expression appropriate to all revolutions, and not offensive to those who were good patriots), many had the republic on their lips, many had it in their heads, but very few had it in their hearts. For many the revolution was a question of fashion, and they were republicans only because the French...

  28. XVIII The French Revolution
    (pp. 98-103)

    I thought I was reflecting on the Neapolitan revolution, but in fact I was writing the history of the revolution of all peoples of the earth, especially the French Revolution. The misconceptions that our own people had of this revolution contributed in no small measure to our ills.

    They wanted to imitate everything in it. There was much as good as was bad, which the French themselves would one day realize; but our people were not prepared to wait for the judgments of posterity, nor were they able to predict them. They believed that the French Revolution was the work...

  29. XIX How Many Ideas Did the Nation Have?
    (pp. 104-110)

    The damage that excessively abstract ideas of liberty do is that they displace liberty as they seek to establish it. Liberty is a good thing, because it produces many other benefits such as security, comfortable existence, populousness, moderation in taxes, increase in industry, and many other tangible benefits; and because the people love such benefits, they also come to love liberty. A man who comes and orders a people to love liberty without procuring such advantages for them would be like Marmontel’s Alcibiade, who wanted to be loved “for himself.”¹

    The Neapolitan nation wished to see several things: order re-established...

  30. XX Project of an Interim Government
    (pp. 111-113)

    In the state in which the Neapolitan nation found itself, the choice of those who would form the provisional government was more important than might be thought. In this connection, we shall report what some proposed to Championnet and his advisers.

    The first step in a passive revolution is to win over popular opinion; the second is to involve the highest number of people in the revolution. These two operations, while apparently different, are in practice one and the same, because the same step that involves the highest number of persons in a revolution also allows popular opinion to be...

  31. XXI Principles That Were Followed
    (pp. 114-117)

    I beg all those who read this chapter not to think that my intention is to write a satire of the patriots. If a patriot is a man who loves his country, then am I myself not a patriot? How could I condemn a name that honours so many of my friends for whose distance or loss I now beweep? We may be proud that our class of patriots in Naples was the best. There, and perhaps there alone, the revolution was not carried on by those who wanted it merely because they had nothing to lose. But amid such...

  32. XXII Accusation against Rotondo: The Censure Commission
    (pp. 118-121)

    From the first days of the republic,¹ a war began to be waged against all public employees: accusation upon accusation, deputation upon deputation. All that anyone who aspired to hold a position had to do was to put himself at the head of a number of patriots and make some noise. Since everything revolved around vague words that no one understood, there was no place for reason. Number and noise, the first force that men turn to in civil conflict until they move on to others which are crueller and more effective, had to prevail. All a reasonable and decent...

  33. XXIII Laws – Fideicommissa
    (pp. 122-124)

    I am following the course of my ideas rather than that of the times. So many events accumulated and meshed together into so short a space of time that, rather than follow each other, they overlap to the point that it is impossible to judge them properly unless we observe how they relate to each other.

    The moment when a people rise up in revolution is like the moment when an assembly is in uproar. Disagreements and the heat of the dispute arouse so much and such varied clamour that the voice of reason cannot be heard. If a man,...

  34. XXIV Feudal Law
    (pp. 125-130)

    Feudal law required lengthier revision and involved interests harder to reconcile. The law onfideicommissatook little away from those who possessed them, and what little it did take from them was given to their children and brothers. The law on fiefs took a great deal from the landowners and gave it to outsiders who at times were also their enemies. However, to abolish the fiefs was the general wish of the whole nation. The inhabitants of the provinces burned with such impatience that they had virtually forced the king to strike blows against feudalism, blows which seemed to favour...

  35. XXV Religion
    (pp. 131-134)

    Today, the ideas of the European peoples have reached such a state that a political revolution is virtually impossible without also leading to a religious revolution, whereas in the past it was mostly a religious revolution which ushered in a political one. Can we perhaps infer from this that modern revolutions are more short-lived than ancient ones?¹

    In France, the religious part of the revolution had to be violent, because the state of the nation in this sense was violent. All extremes were united in France. France had exalted papal authority in Europe. It had also been the first to...

  36. XXVI The Troops
    (pp. 135-137)

    A new government has more need of force (forza) than an old government does, because however just the law may be, its implementation can never be safely entrusted to public custom.¹ Under a new government, the wicked, who are never in short supply, have greater scope for slandering and shirking, while the weak are all the more easily seduced or led astray in the doubtful wavering between old and new opinions.

    The French, however, obstructed every attempt at organizing a force in the Neapolitan republic. Their first mistake was to fear the capital too much; the second, not to fear...

  37. XXVII The National Guard
    (pp. 138-140)

    Our government reduced itself to placing all the country’s hopes on the national guard. But the national guard is the strength of the people, not that of the government.

    All was lost in France when the government believed it did not need any other force. The Vendée rebellion was never tamed; murderers filled the streets; there was no longer public safety, and instead of calm there were uprisings. The first shortcoming of every national guard is that it is more inclined to enthusiasm than to hard work. The second is that when it does not defend the entire nation, or...

  38. XXVIII Taxes
    (pp. 141-142)

    On entering Naples with his victorious army, Championnet imposed a tax of two and a half million ducats, to be paid within two months. Such an imposition was utterly exorbitant for a city already decimated by the immense depredations perpetrated by the previous government. Championnet could have asked for double the amount gradually, over a longer period of time. When Championnet realized this, he repented and showed repentance about it, but he did not withdraw the tax. Instead, he taxed the province for 15 million in turn.

    But who could explain what I might describe as the almost capricious way...

  39. XXIX Commissioner Faipoult
    (pp. 143-144)

    Eventually Faipoult arrived. He issued an edict, repeating a decree made by the executive Directory, which stated everything that the conquest had given the French nation. Conquest was mentioned, after freedom had been promised so many times; and to reconcile the edict with the promise, everything that belonged to the fugitive king was referred to as the “fruits of the conquest.”

    But which of the king’s properties did not belong to the nation? The royal palace, which his father had certainly not brought with him from Spain, was called “the king’s land.” The lands of the Order of Malta and...

  40. XXX Provinces – Formation of the Departments
    (pp. 145-146)

    What, meanwhile, was the state of the provinces? Eventually they attracted the attention of the government, which until that time had been perhaps excessively preoccupied by the capital alone. The best course of action would have been to make as few changes as possible; but as is always the case, they began by making as many as possible, and the least necessary ones at that. Most revolutions have unhappy results because of undue pressure to change the names of things.

    They started with reform of the departments. The Frenchman Bassal,¹ who had arrived with Championnet, wanted to take charge of...

  41. XXXI The Organization of the Provinces
    (pp. 147-150)

    Perhaps the best method for organizing the provinces was to use the constituted authorities already in place. All the provinces had recognized the new government. The old authorities should have been destroyed or maintained. I do not know which of these alternatives was preferable. But I do know that neither was followed, and the compromise solutions neither removed enemies nor added friends.

    The new government issued an edict ordering the old authorities in the provinces to remain in operation until new arrangements had been made. Meanwhile “democratizers,” who clashed with the old authorities’ jurisdiction on every occasion, were sent everywhere;...

  42. XXXII The Expedition against the Insurgents in Apulia
    (pp. 151-155)

    The Neapolitan nation was no longer one: its territory could be divided into democratic and insurgent. The insurrection was gaining grounds in Abruzzo, and becoming linked to those in Sora and Castelforte. These insurrections were in large part due to the lack of foresight and numbers on the part of the French. Determinedly pushing their conquest forward, they did not leave sufficient troops behind to achieve staying power; nor did it occur to them to organize a government. So what did they leave behind? Anarchy. It is not possible for anarchy to last long, more than five days. What had...

  43. XXXIII Schipani’s Expedition
    (pp. 156-158)

    Schipani¹ was like Cleon² of Athens and Santerre³ of Paris. Full of the most passionate zeal for the revolution, highly qualified to take the stage and play the leading character in a tragedy on Brutus, he was appointed commander of an expedition to pass through Roman and Greek Calabria, that is, through the two hardest provinces to bring under control and to govern, due to the harshness of the terrain and the character of the inhabitants. He only had 800 men with him, but they were all brave, and only slightly fewer in number than the enemy forces.

    Schipani marched....

  44. XXXIV The Organization of the Provinces (cont.)
    (pp. 159-161)

    This was the state of things when the departmental authorities, who had already been sent into the departments, started work on organizing the municipalities.

    For a revolution, no subject is of greater importance than the selection of town councillors. On them depends the government’s ability to ensure its authority is applied appropriately in all places; on them depends the government’s ability to ensure it is loved or hated. The people know only their municipal council, and judge those whom they do not know on the basis of that.

    To elect the local councillors in a nation which had had a...

  45. XXXV Lack of Communication
    (pp. 162-163)

    While the government was concerning itself with the appearance of organization, it was neglecting, or rather was forced to neglect, the most essential part of true organization, which consists in keeping the lines of communication open between the different parts of a nation. The government would have been without excuse had such neglect been deliberate; but it was, rather, an inevitable consequence of the feebleness of power and of being poorly directed. If a small force, apportioned well, and acting continuously on all points (or at least the main ones), would have been sufficient to prevent, obstruct, and remove ills,...

  46. XXXVI Police
    (pp. 164-165)

    The royalists had freer and more extensive communication throughout our territory than the republican government. All of Calabria was open to them; the whole Mediterranean coast from Castelvolturno to Mondragone was open, with the result that the insurgents in those places were strengthened by, and received arms and munitions from, the rulers of the waves, that is, the British. Proni, too, who commanded the uprising in Abruzzo, opened up the sea.¹ All these insurrections were converging on Naples, and they had secret correspondents within Naples itself giving them reliable news of the internal weaknesses.

    Nothing was neglected as much as...

  47. XXXVII Procida – Expedition to Cuma – Navy
    (pp. 166-167)

    The [anti-republican] conspirators’ first plan was for the British to occupy Ischia and Procida, as they did, to make it easier for them to maintain contacts in Naples and to lend a hand in other operations at the appropriate time. This inconvenience was anticipated, but the government did not have sufficient forces to retain Procida; and the French did not understand the danger of losing it.

    Once the British became rulers of Procida, they attempted a landing on the coast opposite at Cuma and Miseno. A detachment consisting of a few of our men occupied the coastline and thwarted it....

  48. XXXVIII Ideas of Terrorism
    (pp. 168-170)

    The history of a revolution is not so much the history of its facts as that of its ideas. As a revolution is no more than the effect of a people’s common ideas, those who through repeated observation come to know the course of such ideas may be said to have gained every profit from its history. For individuals, the history of facts is the same as the history of ideas, for individuals cannot help but be consistent with themselves. But when nations operate en masse (which is what happens in a revolution), there are inconsistencies and uniformities, similarities and...

  49. XXXIX The New Constitutional Government
    (pp. 171-172)

    The patriots also demanded reform of the government, and perhaps there was something to that. Leaving aside the private motives which led some to shout louder than was necessary, a reform was certainly needed. Abrial eventually arrived as the commissioner charged with organizing our state, and set about doing so.¹

    But in the old government there were many who enjoyed the public’s confidence, either because they deserved it, or because they had usurped it; and as is always the case, the latter (who in fact were very few in number) were more accepted, more illustrious than the former, for the...

  50. XL Patriotic Salons
    (pp. 173-177)

    Some felt that the revolution could be made more “active” by adopting the tactic of patriotic salons; hence these were instituted. But how on earth could they hope to achieve that? I can see no other way of making a revolution active than by persuading the people to take part in it. If the revolution is active, the people join forces with the revolutionaries; if it is passive, the revolutionaries must join forces with the people, and in order for them to do so, they must distinguish themselves as little as possible from them. In either case, the real patriotic...

  51. XLI Constitution – Other Laws
    (pp. 178-180)

    Such were the ideas of the people. Since the powers had been divided, the cares of the republic were divided too. Released from the cares of governing, the legislative commission had concerned itself solely with the constitution, the plans for which, drawn up by our Pagano, had already been completed. But judgment on this matter will be given elsewhere,¹ for the constitution, having neither been published nor executed, had no part in the events of our republic.

    Other more urgent needs now demanded the legislative commission’s attention.

    It concerned itself with repairing the mess that had been made of the...

  52. XLII Abolition of Head Tax and of Duties on Flour and Fish
    (pp. 181-184)

    For a legislator to be judged fairly, it has to be independent; for its laws to be effective, it has to be free. When other men or other matters work to restrain its thoughts and deeds, when sovereignty is divided, demanding to see a legislator that holds the heart of the nations in its hands is pointless. [In such a condition] timid counsel is given, half-way measures are adopted; between imperious necessity and precipitous occasion often the best counsel cannot be followed, or can only be followed when the opportunity has passed; and in its transactions (operazioni), only purity of...

  53. XLIII The French Are Recalled
    (pp. 185-188)

    But now we have reached the unhappy days of our republic. The ills so long neglected, now enormous, overwhelmed us and threatened to oppress us. Calabria was lost entirely, and the insurgents there were already communicating with those of Salerno and Cetara, reaching as far as Castellamare occupied by the English. The flag of the proud Britons was seen flying victorious opposite the capital city.

    The French took back Castellamare and Salerno; Cetara was destroyed. But a few days later the French were called back to upper Italy and were forced to abandon Neapolitan territory. They sought to portray their...

  54. XLIV Ettore Carafa Recalled from Apulia
    (pp. 189-191)

    The French had to use arms to open a way for themselves to retreat, and they lost quite a few men on the island of Sora and in the valleys of Castelforte. As soon as they left, new insurrections broke out in many places.

    Roccaromana² instigated an insurrection in his territories, near the walls of Capua. He became the main instrument of the nobility, to which he belonged, and the people, with whom he had standing. The government had disgusted him, having downgraded him because of suspicions possibly entertained too early:³ but they were unable to keep him under observation,...

  55. XLV Cardinal Ruffo
    (pp. 192-194)

    Meanwhile Ruffo was triumphing in Calabria. From Sicily, where he had followed the court in its flight, he returned to Calabria virtually alone; but the lands where he stopped were those of his family, where his reputation gave him some followers. They were joined by those in the Sicilian islands who, sentenced to prison, were now promised pardon. The criminals who had been banished or exiled from Calabria were promised immunity. Ruffo was joined by the provincial governor Winspeare¹ and the auditor Fiore.² Immunity, plunder, looting, easy promises, and superstitious fanaticism; all helped to increase the number of his followers.³...

  56. XLVI The Minister of War
    (pp. 195-196)

    The full extent of the danger resulting from not taking sufficient notice of the insurrections had been explained to the [republican] minister of war¹ on thousands of occasions. But he believed, and had persuaded the government to believe, that these were merely rumours spread by alarmists. Spreading rumours reached a point where a very strict law was enacted against them;² but the law should have been made to prevent alarmists from misleading the people, not so that the government could be misled by flatterers.

    On this point the government was ill served by its agents, both internal and external, for...

  57. XLVII Defeat at Marigliano
    (pp. 197-198)

    But who could dissuade the minister of war from the idea of defending the republic in the capital? He wanted to defend it in his own way. He deployed only a few forces, which at one point would have sufficed to prevent the insurrection from arising, but now that it had started were insufficient to combat it.

    He had led the government and the nation to believe that he could count on 8,000 line troops, but this column, which could have been deployed to set up a camp to defend Naples, was never seen in its entirety. Many believed that...

  58. XLVIII Surrender
    (pp. 199-202)

    Naples had not yet been taken. Our men fought unsuccessfully on the day of 13 June at the Ponte della Maddalena, and were forced to retreat inside the garrisons (castelli). The government had already retreated into the Castello Nuovo. Only the Castello del Carmine,¹ which is no more than a coastal battery and cannot be defended by land, fell into the hands of the insurgents.

    But what castle in Naples, apart from Sant’Elmo, can be defended? The best option would have been to abandon the city, form a column of patriots, which given the need might well have become numerous,...

  59. XLIX Persecution of the Republicans
    (pp. 203-215)

    Following Mégeant’s departure, the full horror of the fate that threatened the republicans was unfurled.

    One of the customary State Councils (Giunte) was set up in the capital. Two months earlier, a man named Speziale,¹ sent expressly from Sicily, had opened a slaughterhouse for human flesh in Procida, where a tailor was sentenced to death for having sewn republican clothes for the citizens, as was a notary, who had done nothing whatsoever throughout the entire duration of the republic, and had remained perfectly impartial. “He is a schemer,” said Speziale; “it is right that he should die.” By his order,...

  60. L Some of the Patriots
    (pp. 216-222)

    After the fall of the republic, Naples presented only an image of squalour. Everything that was good, great, industrious there was destroyed. Moreover, barely a few of its illustrious men were left, having escaped almost miraculously from the shipwreck, wandering, without family or homeland, across the immense surface of the earth.

    The loss to the nation in terms of industry may be estimated at more than 80,000 ducats: it lost almost the same amount in furniture, silver, and confiscated property; the product of four centuries was destroyed in moments. British monopolists were seen trading the masterpieces of Neapolitan painting, which...

  61. LI Conclusion
    (pp. 223-225)

    The king, led astray by false counsel, brought ruin to the nation. His ministers either did not love the nation or did not care for it; hence it was bound to be lost, and it was. The republicans, with the purest of intentions, with the warmest of patriotic love, and with no shortage of courage, lost their lives and the republic. They fell, with the country, victims to that order of things which they sought to resist, but to which in the end they were forced to give in.

    A delayed or failed revolution is a terrible thing from which...

  62. Appendix I: Fragments of Letters by Vincenzo Cuoco Addressed to Vincenzio Russo
    (pp. 226-272)
  63. Appendix II: List of Patriots Who Died on the Scaffold
    (pp. 273-280)
  64. Bibliography
    (pp. 281-291)
  65. Index
    (pp. 292-312)
  66. Back Matter
    (pp. 313-314)