OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Chapter LIX, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8 page 2


Pages: 1 <2> 3 4 5

Garibaldi pursued his conquering march with the utmost rapidity. On arriving at Monteleone, he found that the Neapolitan corps under General Ghio had decamped the evening before. Hastening on to Tiriolo, he was joyfully greeted by the National Guards. At Savoria a sudden attack spread terror amongst the royal troops, though the town contained 7,000 infantry, with cavalry and artillery. Colonel Peard was sent forward to General Ghio to demand that he should capitulate, to which he assented without any difficulty. When the Garibaldians entered the town, they found the soldiers utterly disorganised, screaming, shouting, and cursing. Loose horses wandered about, kicking furiously right and left while the conquerors endeavoured to catch them; the horses thus showing more spirit than their masters. Ghio and his officers were spectators of that scene, and they seemed as unconcerned as if it were a Chinese army that was breaking up. They were so mean as to beg from Garibaldi some arrears of pay, and the expenses of their journey to Naples.

At length the Liberator arrived at Salerno, which was his last resting-place before entering the capital. It is stated that here he had again to encounter the intrigues of Cavour, who, observing that success was about to crown his enterprise, and that Naples was on the point of being freed, organised a committee for maintaining order, and had sent a Dr. Tomassi to present an address to the General, announcing 'that he was going to organise a provisional government, and to annex Naples to Piedmont. This impertinence was properly rebuked by Garibaldi; and, to counteract such discreditable intrigues, another committee was organised by Dr. Bertani, by which the ascendancy of the Liberator was secured throughout the whole Neapolitan kingdom. Before departing for the capital, he said, "I shall be loyal to Victor Emmanuel; I love him as my life. I have served him without an oath. I shall do all in my power to procure the annexation of Naples to Sardinia, under the government of the King; but this I must do in my own manner. I must also endeavour to obtain for this measure the entire support of the people."

Garibaldi showed his consummate tact in managing people by winning their love and confidence. As an example of this, he exchanged his wide-awake for one of the peculiar sugarloaf hats worn by the people of Calabria. All his staff followed his example - a measure which not only identified them with the population, but proved an infallible claim on their hospitality. Alexandre Dumas took up a position in the Bay of Naples in his own yacht, where he exerted himself as an active agent of Garibaldi, distributing his proclamations and manifestoes, in order to excite the spirit of revolt against the King of Naples, persisting in this course in spite of remonstrances and threats. He also distributed arms and ammunition, and converted his yacht into a factory for making Garibaldian shirts. Instead, however, of his being arrested, he was visited in his yacht by Don Liborio Romano, Home Secretary of Francis II., who seeing that the revolution would be irresistible, declared himself to be an ardent Garibaldian, and offered his co-operation to the revolutionary cause for his country's good. On the 5th of September it was decided that the King and Queen, with their court, should quit Naples, and retire to Gaeta, leaving their loyal ministers and generals to defend the capital and throne as well as they could. The royal proclamation, in which the King took leave of his subjects for a time, was written by this same Don Liborio Romano. In this proclamation the young sovereign recited his grievances. He complained of an unjust war, carried on in contravention to the law of nations, the enemy invading his states, though he was at peace with all the European powers. He had changed the order of government; he had given his adhesion to the great principles of Italian nationality; yet all were not sufficient to avert the war which was now approaching the walls of the city; and, with unutterable grief, he had to depart with a portion of his army - to betake himself whither the defence of his rights called him. He departed with a view of securing that illustrious city from ruin and war - of saving her inhabitants and all their property, her sacred churches, her monuments and public buildings, her collections of art - all that formed the patrimony of her civilisation and of her greatness. He called upon the honour and the civic feeling of the Mayor of Naples, and of the Commandant of the National Guard, to spare his beloved city the horrors of internal discord, and the disasters of civil war, for which purpose he conceded to them the widest powers they might require. He concluded as follows: -

" As the descendant of a dynasty which has reigned upon this continent for one hundred and twenty-six years, after haying preserved it from the horrors of a long viceroyalty, the affections of my heart are here I am a Neapolitan, and could not, without bitter grief, address words of farewell to my most dearly beloved people - to my fellow citizens. Whatever may be my destiny, be it prosperous or adverse, I shall always preserve for them a passionate and affectionate remembrance. I recommend to them concord, peace, and strict observance of their civic duties. Let not an excessive zeal for my dynasty be made a pretext for disturbance. Whether from the fortunes of the present war I return shortly among you, or whatever be the time at which it may please the justice of God to restore me to the throne of my ancestors - a throne made all the more splendid by the free institutions with which I have irrevocably surrounded it, all that I pray from this time forth is, to behold again my people united, strong, and happy. "Francis II."

On the same day that this was issued, three hours before the departure of his royal master, Liborio Romano dispatched the following telegram to Garibaldi: -

"To the invincible Dictator of the two Sicilies, - Naples expects you with anxiety, to confide to you her future destinies." At six o'clock on the evening of the 7th of September, the King and Queen, accompanied by the gentlemen of the royal household, and the ambassadors of Spain, Austria, and Bavaria, steamed along the bay to Gaeta. It is stated that not a man of the populous city was seen to mourn - not one to bid a last farewell to the departing royal family. Except the ministers and courtiers, there was no one beneath the deserted porticoes of the palace. Among these were the Prince Torrela, who could not conceal his emotion, though he had been persecuted by the Government. The King and Queen, when about to embark, noticed his tears; stepping forward, the former offered his hand to his faithful subject, and turning to his wife, said - " You see, Maria, who are our true friends in misfortune, they are those who would have a right to remember that in other times they have been wronged by my Government. Thanks, prince," he added, "I shall never forget the kindness you have shown to me on this trying day." Thus mournfully, without any royal honours, without even the recognition of their rank by the Neapolitan vessels in the harbour, the last of the Bourbons passed away from Naples - from the last throne which a member of that infatuated race was permitted to occupy.

Immediately after the departure of the King, an address to the inhabitants was issued by the authorities, which commenced as follows: - "Citizens! - The King is leaving. In the presence of a great misfortune, and of another principle which triumphs, your conduct cannot be doubtful. The former imposes on you reserve in the presence of fallen majesty; the other demands of you self-denial, prudence, and civil courage. No one of you will disturb the development of the heroic destinies of Italy; no one will think of lacerating the country with flagitious or vindictive hands. Thus acting, citizens, you will not render useless the magnanimous sacrifices of those who, whilst confronting the cruel uncertainties of the position, have sacrificed themselves for the public good."

As soon as the King had departed, the ministers who had been left to preserve order held a meeting, and decided that a deputation should proceed at once to Salerno, and make arrangements for the public entry of Garibaldi into the capital. Aware of these proceedings, he issued a proclamation to the people of Naples, stating that as soon as the Syndic, and the commander of the National Guard at Naples, whom he expected, should arrive, he would promptly appear among them. To this proclamation Liborio Romano replied: -

"To the invincible Garibaldi, Dictator of the Two Sicilies, - The people of Naples are awaiting your arrival with the utmost impatience, to hail you as the Redeemer of Italy, and to place in your hands their own destinies and the guidance of the commonwealth. Subject to your authority, I shall remain responsible for order and public tranquillity. Your own words, which I have made known to the people, give the securest pledge for the success of my undertaking. Awaiting your further orders, I remain, with profound respect, "Liborio Romano."

The deputation to Garibaldi arrived at Salerno on the 6th of September. Everywhere along the line from Naples to that town there was an interminable scene of movement and gaiety, with incessant cheering, and shouting, "Viva Garibaldi!" "Viva V Italia!" In front, behind, everywhere, arose the same deafening cry, uttered in the most discordant tones. "The warrior of Freedom" made his entrance into Naples, accompanied only by a few followers. He passed unguarded under the guns of Castel Nuovo and St. Elmo, still garrisoned by the troops of the departed King. One account states that at his approach some of the artillerymen made a sort of hostile display, upon perceiving which the General stood up in the carriage with his arms crossed, and looked steadfastly at them. The artillerymen then gave him the usual military salute. When they came up to the grand guard, the officer there ordered the soldiers to fire, but they refused to obey. Another account, still more theatrical, states that when Garibaldi entered the city, without a single file of his own troops to back him, and saw the artillerymen beside their guns, "lighted match in hand," waiting but the word of command to fire, he turned his eyes with a long gaze towards the royal palace, that stronghold of secular tyranny; and as the carriage in which he sat came fully within the range of the guns, "Drive slower, slower - more slowly still," was the order that he gave. And the hostile soldiery, amazed, almost terrified into admiring sympathy with the man they were there to crush, flung down their matches, and waved their caps in the air with shouts of "Viva Garibaldi!"

It was, indeed, a wonderful revolution; accomplished, so far as Naples was concerned, without the shedding of a drop of blood, or a single act of violence. Surrounded as Garibaldi was by the emancipated people, who almost adored him, he knew that not one of those soldiers would dare to molest their Liberator. As his carriage advanced with difficulty through the applauding multitude, the crowd grew thicker and thicker. At last the hero arrived at the Palace of Porestiera, where he was received by the National Guard and the Municipal Council. In compliance with the demand of the people, he immediately showed himself on the balcony, and delivered a brief address, in which he told them that they must prove to Italy that they were the worthy descendants of Massaniello. In the meantime, the Marquis Villa Marina, with the Sardinian Admiral Persano, had arrived at the palace to confer with the Dictator, and to explain to him the political situation of the country. As soon as he could extricate himself from a crowd of petitioners and beggars of every degree - military and civil, clerical and lay - all soliciting favours as martyrs to the cause of liberty, and victims of " Bourboni," all fawning upon the victor in the most slavish spirit, he wrote an address to the people of Naples, in which he said -

"It is with respect and love that I present myself to this noble and imposing centre of the Italian population, which many centuries of despotism have not been able to humiliate, nor induce to bow the knee at the sight of tyranny. The first necessity of Italy was harmony, in order to unite the great Italian family. To-day Providence has created that harmony through the sublime unanimity of all our provinces, for the constitution of the nation; and for unity, the same Providence has given to our country Victor Emmanuel, whom we from this moment may call the true father of our Italian land. Victor Emmanuel, the model of all sovereigns, will impress upon his descendants the duty that they owe to the prosperity of a people which has elected him for their chief with enthusiastic devotion. The Italian priests, who are conscious of their true mission, have, as a guarantee of the respect with which they will be treated, the ardour, the patriotism, and the truly Christian conduct of their numerous fellow ecclesiastics, who, from the highly praiseworthy monks of Lagrancia to the noble-hearted priests of the Neapolitan continent, one and all, in the sight, and at the head of our soldiers, defied the greatest dangers of battle. I repeat it, concord is the first want of Italy; so we will welcome as brothers those who once disagreed with us, but who now sincerely wish to bring their stone to raise up the monument of our country. Finally, respecting other people's houses, we are resolved to be masters in our own house, whether the powerful of the earth like it or not. "Giuseppe Garibaldi."

The Dictator, declining to take up his residence in a royal palace, was conducted, at his own request, to Palazzo D'Angri, having first gone to the cathedral to hear the Te Deum sung in honour of his victories. At night the city was illuminated. The people from the surrounding villages had flocked in, and with the multitude had mingled some of the Garibaldian troops, which had arrived from Salerno. From the Palazzo Reale to the top of the Toledo was one compact mass of men, women, and carriages, walking and driving in all directions, the people shouting with frantic joy; the ragged lazzaroni mixing in the crowd of gaily-dressed gentry, monks, priests, and soldiers. " Here a Garibaldian was carried in triumph upon the shoulders of two of the National Guard; there Father Pantalio was borne from one place to another by the eager crowd, who wanted to kiss him. Neapolitans do everything by means of pantomime; and when they were no longer able to shout 'Viva VItalia Una,' they held up the fourth finger of the right hand, and thus expressed their meaning. Women, beardless boys, old men with bowed figures and trembling steps, were there shouting and gesticulating. Here comes the carriage of the Duchess Bobino; it stops, and a travelled-worn, dust-covered Garibaldian is invited to take a seat near the ladj\ Other Garibaldians are rolling along in the elegant carriages of the aristocracy. Others, again, in the humble carrozzela. Nobody would have thought that so many vehicles could be found in Naples." The great point of interest was Garibaldis hotel. It was late, and the wearied soldier had retired to rest. But how was it possible to sleep amidst the incessant cries that rent the air? His officers held a consultation. One of them appeared on the balcony, and, addressing the people, said - "The Dictator is gone to bed; please do not disturb him." From that moment, as if the whole multitude had been struck dumb, the noise ceased; not a cry was heard through the Toledo. " The crowd bent their heads on the palm of the right hand, thus expressing that the dweller in the Palazzo D'Angri is reposing. The sign makes its way from one end of Toledo to the other like an electric spark, and no one again ventures to break the silence." All business was suspended in Naples for two days after Garibaldi's entrance, the entire population being in a state of excitement bordering on madness. This was heightened by the national festival of Piedgrotta, in honour of the Virgin Mary, who was believed by the populace to have taken the side of Garibaldi. "The manner in which order was maintained," says Admiral Mundy, " amid such a scene of wild fanaticism, was indeed a miracle, almost as great as the entry of the chieftain into the city; yet not a drunken person was to be seen, and upon its being made known to this impassioned throng that the Dictator was retiring to rest, the orgies were at once discontinued, and quietude restored. No words can express the frantic joy of the people."

<<< Previous page <<< >>> Next page >>>
Pages: 1 <2> 3 4 5

Pictures for Chapter LIX, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8 page 2

The Palace at Naples
The Palace at Naples >>>>
Austrian troops in Italy
Austrian troops in Italy >>>>

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About