Secret Societies of All Ages: Vol 2 - Charles Heckethorn

IV. The Carbonari

543. History of the Association.—Like all other associations, the Carbonari, or charcoal-burners, lay claim to a very high antiquity. Some of the less instructed have even professed a descent from Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, and have attempted to form a high degree, the Knight of Thebes, founded on this imaginary origin. Others go back only so far as the pontificate of Alexander III., when Germany, to secure herself against rapacious barons, founded guilds and societies for mutual protection, and the charcoal-burners in the vast forests of that country united themselves against robbers and enemies. By words and signs only known to themselves, they afforded each other assistance. The criminal enterprise of Kunz de Kauffungen to carry off the Saxon princes, 8th July 1455, failed through the intervention of a charcoal-burner, though his intervention was more accidental than prearranged. And in 1514 the Duke Ulrich of Wurtemberg was compelled by them, under threat of death, to abolish certain forest laws, considered as oppressive.

Similar societies arose in many mountainous countries, and they surrounded themselves with that mysticism of which we have seen so many examples. Their fidelity to each other and to the society was so great, that it became in Italy a proverbial expression to say, "On the faith of a Carbonaro." At the feasts of the Carbonari, the Grand Master drinks to the health of Francis I., King of France, the pretended founder of the Order, according to the following tradition:—

During the troubles in Scotland in Queen Isabella's time—this Isabella is purely mythical—many illustrious persons, having escaped from the yoke of tyranny, took refuge in the woods. In order to avoid all suspicion of criminal association, they employed themselves in cutting wood and making charcoal. Under pretence of carrying it for sale, they introduced themselves into the villages, aud bearing the name of real Carbonari, they easily met their partisans, and mutually communicated their different plans. They recognised each other by signs, by touch, and by words, and as there were no habitations in the forest, they constructed huts of an oblong form, with branches of trees. Their lodges (vendite) were subdivided into a number of baracche, each erected by a Good Cousin of some distinction. There dwelt in the forest a hermit of the name of Theobald; he joined them, and favoured their enterprise. He was proclaimed protector of the Carbonari.

Now it happened that Francis I., King of France, hunting on the frontiers of his kingdom next to Scotland (sic), or following a wild beast, was parted from his courtiers. He lost himself in the forest, but stumbling on one of the baracche, he was hospitably entertained, and eventually made acquainted with their secret and initiated into the Order. On his return to France he declared himself its protector. The origin of this story is probably to be found in the protection granted by Louis XII. and continued by Francis I. to the Waldenses, who had taken refuge in Dauphine. But neither the Hewers nor the Carbonari ever rose to any importance, or acted any conspicuous part among the secret societies of Europe till the period of the Revolution. As to their influence in and after that event, we shall return to it anon.

The Theobald alluded to in the foregoing tradition, is said to have been descended from the first Counts of Brie and Champagne. Possessed of rank and wealth, his fondness for solitude led him to leave his father's house, and retire with his friend Gautier to a forest in Suabia, where they lived as hermits, working at any chance occupation by which they could maintain themselves, but chiefly by preparing charcoal for the forges. They afterwards made several pilgrimages to holy shrines, and finally settled near Vicenza, where Gautier died. Theobald died in 1066, and was canonised by Pope Alexander III. From his occupation, St. Theobald was adopted as the patron saint of the Carbonari, and is invoked by the Good Cousins in their hymns; and a picture, representing him seated in front of his hut, is usually hung up in the lodge.

544. Real Origin of the Carboneria.—The first traces of a league of charcoal-burners with political objects appear in the twelfth century, probably caused by the severe forest laws then in existence. About that period also the _______ (hewers), large corporations with rites similar to those of the Carbonari, existed in the French department of the Jura, where the association was called le bon cousinage (the good cousinship), which title was also assumed by the Carbonari. Powerful lords, members of the persecuted Order of the Temple, seeing the important services men scattered over so large an extent of country could render, entered into secret treaties with them. It further appears that the Fendeurs formed the first and the Carbonari the second, or higher, degree of the society collectively called the Carboneria. It is also probable that before the French Revolution the then French Government attempted by means of the society, which then exfsted at Genoa under the name of the Royal Carboneria, to overthrow the ancient oligarchical government and annex Genoa to France. It is certain that from 1770 to 1790 most of the members of the French chambers belonged to the Order of the Fendeurs, which continued to exist even under Napoleon I. The Carboneria was introduced into Southern Italy by returning Neapolitan exiles, who had been initiated in Germany and Switzerland, and as early as 1807 Salicetti, the Neapolitan minister of police, spoke of a conspiracy instigated by the Carbonari against the French army in the Neapolitan states. But the society was as yet powerless; when, however, the Austrian war broke out in 1809, and French troops had largely to be withdrawn from Italy, the first and head Vendita was formed at Capua, its rules and ordinances being written in English, because the English Government desired to employ the society as a lever for the overthrow of Napoleon. Before, however, proceeding with the history of the Order, we will give particulars of their ritual and ceremonies.

545. The Vendita or Lodge.—From the "Code of Carbonarism" we derive the following particulars respecting the lodge:— It is a room of wood in the shape of a barn. The pavement must be of brick, in imitation of the mosaic floor of the Masons' lodge, the interior furnished with seats without backs. At the end there must be a block supported by three legs, at which sits the Grand Master; at the two sides there must bs two other blocks of the same size, at which sit the orator and secretary respectively.

On the block of the Grand Master there must be the following symbols:— a linen cloth, water, salt, a cross, leaves, sticks, fire, earth, a crown of white thorns, a ladder, a ball of thread, and three ribbons, one blue, one red, and one black. There must be an illuminated triangle, with the initial letters of the password of the second rank in the middle. On the left hand there must be a triangle, with the arms of the Vendita painted. On the right three transparent triangles, each with the initial letters of the sacred words of the first rank. The Grand Master, and first and second assistants, who also sit each before a large wooden block, hold hatchets in their hands. The .masters sit along the wall of one side of the lodge, the apprentices opposite.

546. Ritual of Initiation.—The ritual of Carbonarism, as it was reconstituted at the beginning of the present century, was as follows. In the initiation:—

"The Grand Master having opened the lodge, says, First Assistant, where is the first degree conferred?

A. In the hut of a Good Cousin, in the lodge of the Carbonari.

G. M. How is the first degree conferred?

A. A cloth is stretched over a block of wood, on which are arranged the bases, firstly, the cloth itself, water, fire, salt, the crucifix, a dry sprig, a green sprig.

At least three Good Cousins must be present for an initiation; the introducer, always accompanied by a master, remains outside the place where are the bases and the Good Cousins. The master who accompanies the introducer strikes three times with his foot and cries: 'Masters, Good Cousins, I need succour.' The Good Cousins stand around the block of wood, against which they strike the cords they wear round the waist and make the sign, carrying the right hand from the left shoulder to the right side, and one of them exclaims, 'I have heard the voice of a Good Cousin who needs help, perhaps he brings wood to feed the furnaces.' The introducer is then brought in. Here the Assistant is silent, and the Grand Master begins again, addressing the new-comer:—

G.M. 'My Good Cousin, whence come you?

I. From the wood.

G. M. Whither go you?

I. Into the Chamber of Honour, to conquer my passions, submit my will, and be instructed in Carbonarism.

G. M. What have you brought from the wood?

I. Wood, leaves, earth.

G. M. Do you bring anything else?

I. Yes; faith, hope, and charity.

G. M. Who is he whom you bring hither?

I. A man lost in the wood.

G. M. What does he seek?

I. To enter our order.

G. M. Introduce him.

The neophyte is then brought in. The Grand Master puts several questions to him regarding his morals and religion, and then bids him kneel, holding the crucifix, and pronounce the oath:

"I promise and bind myself on my honour not to reveal the secrets of the Good Cousins; not to attack the virtue of their wives or daughters, and to afford all the help in my power to every Good Cousin needing it. So help me God!"

547. First Degree.—After some preliminary questioning, the Grand Master addresses the novice thus:—

"What means the block of wood?

N. Heaven and the roundness of the earth.

G. M. What means the cloth?

N. That which hides itself on being born.

G. M. The water?

N. That which serves to wash and purify from original sin.

G.M. The fire?

N. To show us our highest duties.

G. M. The salt?

N. That we are Christians.

G. M. The crucifix?

N. It reminds us of our redemption.

G. M. What does the thread commemorate?

N. The Mother of God that spun it.

G. M. What means the crown of white thorns?

N. The troubles and struggles of Good Cousins.

G. M. What is the furnace?

N. The school of Good Cousins.

G. M. What means the tree with its roots up in the air?

N. If all the trees were like that, the work of the Good Cousins would not be needed."

The catechism is much longer, but I have given only so much as will suffice to show the kind of instruction imparted in the first degree. Without any explanations following, one would think one was reading the catechism of one of those religions improvised on American soil, which seek by the singularity of form to stir up the imagination. But as in other societies, as that of the Illuminati, the object was not at the first onset to alarm the affiliated; his disposition had first to be tested before the real meaning of the ritual was revealed to him. Still, some of the figures betray themselves, though studiously concealed. The furnace is the collective work at which the Carbonari labour; the sacred fire they keep alive, is the flame of liberty, with which they desire to illumine the world. They did not without design choose coal for their symbol; for coal is the fountain of light and warmth, that purifies the air. The forest represents Italy, the wild wood of Dante, infested with wild beasts that is, foreign oppressors. The tree with the roots in the air is a figure of kingdoms destroyed and thrones overthrown. Catholic mysticism constantly reappears; the highest honours are given to Christ, who was indeed the Good Cousin of all men. Carbonarism did not openly assail religious belief, but made use of it, endeavouring to simplify and reduce it to first principles, as Freemasonry does. The candidate, as in the last-named Order, was supposed to perform journeys through the forest and through fire, to each of which a symbolical meaning was attached; though the true meaning was not told in this degree. In fact, to all who wished to gain an insight into the real objects of Carbonarism, this degree could not suffice. It was necessary to proceed.

548. The Second Degree.—The martyrdom of Christ occupies nearly the whole of the second degree, imparting to the catechism a sad character, calculated to surprise and terrify the candidate. The preceding figures were here invested with new and unexpected meanings, relating to the minutest particulars of the crucifixion of the Good Cousin Jesus; which more and more led the initiated to believe that the unusual and whimsical forms with stupendous artifice served to confound the ideas and suspicions of their enemies, and cause them to lose the traces of the fundamental idea. In the constant recurrence to the martyrdom of Christ we may discern two aims the one essentially educational, to familiarise the Cousin with the idea of sacrifice, even, if necessary, of that of life; the other, chiefly political, intended to gain proselytes among the superstitious, the mystics, the souls loving Christianity, fundamentally good, however, prejudiced, because loving, and who constituted the greater number in a Roman Catholic country like Italy then even more than now.

The catechism, as already observed, has reference to the Crucifixion, and the symbols are all explained as representing something pertaining thereto. Thus the furnace signifies the Holy Sepulchre; the rustling of the leaves symbolises the flagellation of the Good Cousin the Grand Master of the Universe; and so on. The candidate for initiation into this degree has to undergo further trials. He represents Christ, whilst the Grand Master takes the name of Pilate, the first councillor that of Caiaphas, the second that of Herod; the Good Cousins generally are called the people. The candidate is led bound from one officer to the other, and finally condemned to be crucified; but he is pardoned on taking a second oath, more binding than the first, consenting to have his body cut in pieces and burnt, as in the former degree. But still the true secret of the Order is not revealed.

549. The Degree of Grand Elect.—This degree is only to be conferred with the greatest precautions, secretly, and to Carbonari known for their prudence, zeal, courage, and devotion to the Order. Besides, the candidates, who shall be introduced into a grotto of reception, must be true friends of the liberty of the people, and ready to fight against tyrannical governments, who are the abhorred rulers of ancient and beautiful Ausonia. The admission of the candidate takes place by voting, and three black balls are sufficient for his rejection. He must be thirty-three years and three months old, the age of Christ on the day of His death. But the religious drama is now followed, by one political.

The lodge is held in a remote and secret place, only known to the Grand Masters already received into the degree of Grand Elect. The lodge is triangular, truncated at the eastern end. The Grand Master Grand Elect is seated upon a throne. Two guards, from the shape of their swords called flames, are placed at the entrance. The assistants take the name of Sun and Moon respectively. Three lamps, in the shape of sun, moon, and stars, are suspended at the three angles of the grotto or lodge. The catechism here reveals to the candidate that the object of the association is political, and aims at the overthrow of all tyrants, and the establishment of universal liberty, the time for which has arrived. To each prominent member his station and duties in the coming conflict are assigned, and the ceremony is concluded by all present kneeling down, and pointing their swords to their breasts, whilst the Grand Elect pronounces the following formula:—

"I, a free citizen of Ausonia, swear before the Grand Master of the Universe, and the Grand Elect Good Cousin, to devote my whole life to the triumph of the principles of liberty, equality, and progress, which are the soul of all the secret and public acts of Carbonarism. I promise that, if it be impossible to restore the reign of liberty without a struggle, I will fight to the death. I consent, should I prove false to my oath, to be slain by my Good Cousins Grand Elects; to be fastened to the cross in a lodge, naked, crowned with thorns; to have my belly torn open, the entrails and heart taken out and scattered to the winds. Such are our conditions; swear!"

The Good Cousins reply: "We swear."

There was something theatrical in all this; but the organisers no doubt looked to the effect it had on the minds of the initiated. If on this ground it could not be defended, then there is little excuse for judicial wigs and clerical gowns, episcopal gaiters, aprons, and shovel-hats, lord mayors' shows, parliamentary procedure, and royal pageants.

550. Degree of Grand Master Grand Elect.—This, the highest degree of Carbonarism, is only accessible to those who have given proofs of great intelligence and resolution. The Good Cousins being assembled in the lodge, the candidate is introduced blindfolded; two members, representing the two thieves, carry a cross, which is firmly planted in the ground. One of the two pretended thieves is then addressed as a traitor to the cause, and condemned to die on the cross. He resigns himself to his fate, as fully deserved, and is tied to the cross with silken cords; and, to delude the candidate, whose eyes are still bandaged, he utters loud groans. The Grand Master pronounces the same doom on the other robber, but he, representing the non-repentant one, exclaims:—

"I shall undergo my fate, cursing you, and consoling myself with the thought that I shall be avenged, and that strangers shall exterminate you to the last Carbonaro. Know that I have pointed out your retreat to the chiefs of the hostile army, and that within a short time you shall fall into their hands. Do your worst."

The Grand Elect then turns to the candidate, and, alluding to the punishment awarded to traitors as done on the present occasion, informs him that he also must be fastened to the cross if he persists in his intention to proceed, and there receive on his body the sacred marks, whereby the Grand Masters Grand Elects of all the lodges are known to each other, and must also pronounce the oath, whereupon the bandage will be removed, he will descend from the cross, and be clothed with the insignia of the Grand Master Grand Elect. He is then firmly tied to the cross, and pricked three times on the right arm, seven times on the left, and three times under the left breast. The cross being erected in the middle of the cave, that the members may see the marks on the body, on a given sign, the bandage being removed, the Cousins stand around the candidate, pointing their swords and daggers at his breast, and threatening him with even a worse death should he turn traitor. They also watch his demeanour, and whether he betrays any fear. Seven toasts in his honour are then drunk, and the Grand Elect explains the real meaning of the symbols, which may not be printed, but is only to be written down, and zealously guarded, the owner promising to burn or swallow it, rather then let it fall into other hands. The Grand Master concludes by speaking in praise of the revolution already initiated, announcing its triumph not only in the peninsula, but everywhere where Italian is spoken, and exclaims:—

"Very soon the nations weary of tyranny shall celebrate their victory over the tyrants; very soon ". . . Here the wicked thief exclaims: "Very soon all ye shall perish!"

Immediately there is heard outside the grotto the noise of weapons and fighting. One of the doorkeepers announces that the door is on the point of being broken open, and an assault on it is heard directly after. The Good Cousins rush to the door placed behind the crosses, and therefore unseen by the candidate; the noise becomes louder, and there are heard the cries of Austrian soldiers; the Cousins return in- great disorder as if overpowered by superior numbers, say a few words of encouragement to the candidate fastened to the cross, and disappear through the floor, which opens beneath them. Cousins, dressed in the hated uniform of the foreigner, enter and marvel at the disappearance of the Carbonari. Perceiving the persons on the crosses, they, on finding them still alive, propose to kill them at once; they charge and prepare to shoot them, when suddenly a number of balls fly into the cave, the soldiers fall down as if struck, and the Cousins re-enter through many openings, which at once close behind them, and shout: "Victory! Death to tyranny! Long live the republic of Ausonia! Long live liberty! Long live the government estabshed by the brave Carbonari!" In an instant the apparently dead soldiers and the two thieves are carried out of the cave; and the candidate having been helped down from the cross, is proclaimed by the Grand Master, who strikes seven blows with his axe, a Grand Master Grand Elect.

551. Signification of the Symbols.—Not to interrupt the narrative, the explanation of the meaning of the symbols, given in this last degree, was omitted in the former paragraph, but follows here. It will be seen that it was not without reason that it was prohibited to print it. The cross serves to crucify the tyrant that persecutes us. The crown of thorns is to pierce his head. The thread denotes the cord to lead him to the gibbet; the ladder will aid him to mount. The leaves are nails to pierce his hands and feet. The pickaxe will penetrate his breast, and shed his impure blood. The axe will separate his head from his body. The salt will prevent the corruption of his head, that it may last as a monument of the eternal infamy of despots. The pole will serve to put his head upon. The furnace will burn his body. The shovel will scatter his ashes to the wind. The baracca will serve to prepare new tortures for the tyrant before he is slain. The water will purify us from the vile blood we shall have shed. The linen will wipe away our stains. The forest is the place where the Good Cousins labour to attain so important a result. These details are extracted from the minutes of the legal proceedings against the conspiracy of the Carbonari.

552. Other Ceremonies and Regulations.—The candidate having been received into the highest degree, other Good Cousins entered the cave, proclaiming the victory of the Carbonari and the establishment of the Ausonian republic, whereupon the lodge was closed. The members all bore pseudonyms, by which they were known in the Order. These pseudonyms were entered in one book, whilst another contained their real names; and the two books were always kept concealed in separate places, so that the police, should they find one, should not be able to identify the conspirator. Officers of great importance were the Insinuators, Censors, Scrutators, and Coverers, whose appellations designate their duties. The higher officers were called Great Lights. Some of the affiliated, reserved for the most dangerous enterprises, were styled the Forlorn Hope; others Stabene, or the "Sedentary," who were not advanced beyond the first degree, on account of want of intelligence or courage. Like the Freemasons, had their own almanacs, dating their era from Francis I. They also had their passwords and signs.

The decorations in the Apprentice degree were three ribbons—black, blue, and red; and in the Master's degree they wore a scarf of the same three colours. The ritual and the ceremonies, as partly detailed above, were probably strictly followed on particularly important occasions only; as to their origin, little is known concerning it—most likely they were invented among the Neapolitans. Nor were they always and at all places alike, but the spirit that breathed in them was permanent and universal; and that it was the spirit of liberty and justice can scarcely be denied, especially after the events of the last decades. The following summary of a manifesto proceeding from the Society of the Carbonari will show this very clearly.

553. The Ausonian Republic.—The epoch of the following document, of which, however, an abstract only is here given, is unknown. The open proceedings of Carbonarism give us no clue, because in many respects they deviate from the programme of this sectarian charter; sectarian, inasmuch as the document has all the fulness of a social pact. But to whatever time these statutes belong, they cannot be read without the liveliest interest.

Italy, to which new times shall give a new name, sonorous and pure, Ausonia (the ancient Latin name), must be free from its threefold sea to the highest summit of the Alps. The territory of the republic shall be divided into twenty-one provinces, each of which shall send a representative to the National Assembly. Every province shall have its local assembly; all citizens, rich or poor, may aspire to all public charges; the mode of electing judges is strictly laid down; two kings, severally elected for twenty-one years, one of whom is to be called the king of the land, the other of the sea, shall be chosen by the sovereign assembly; all Ausonian citizens are soldiers; all fortresses not required to protect the country against foreigners shall be razed to the ground; new ports are to be constructed along the coasts, and the navy enlarged; Christianity shall be the State religion, but every other creed shall be tolerated; the college of cardinals may reside in the republic during the life of the pope reigning at the time of the promulgation of this charter after his death, the college of cardinals will be abolished; hereditary titles and feudal rights are abolished; hospitals, charitable institutions, colleges, lyceums, primary and secondary schools, shall be largely increased, and properly allocated; punishment of death is inflicted on murderers only, transportation to one of the islands of the republic being substituted for all other punishments; monastic institutions are preserved, but no man can become a monk before the age of forty-five, and no woman a nun before that of forty, and even after having pronounced their vows, they may re-enter their own families. Mendicity is not allowed; the country finds work for able paupers, and succour for invalids. The tombs of great men are placed along the highways; the honour of a statue is awarded by the sovereign assembly. The constitutional pact may be revised every twenty-one years.

554. Most Secret Carbonaro Degree.—It was stated in sect. 550 that the Grand Master Grand Elect was the highest Carbonaro degree. But this requires qualification; there was one still higher, called the Seventh, to which few members were admitted. To the Principi Summo Patriarcho alone the real object of Carbonarism was revealed, and that its aims were identical with those of the Illuminati (356). Witt von Dorring (b. 1800), an initiate, tells us in his Autobiography, that the candidate swore destruction to every government, whether despotic or democratic. "The Summo Maestro," he says, "laughs at the zeal of the common Carbonari, who sacrifice themselves for Italian liberty and independence; to him this is not the object, but a means. I received this degree under the name of Giulio Alessandro Jerimundo Werther Domingone." As there were two modes of initiation, one in open lodge and another by "communication," the supreme chief notifying by a document to the new member his election, which was done in De Witt's case, he never took the oath of secrecy, and thus considered himself at liberty to divulge what had been communicated to him.

555. De Witt, Biographical Notice of.—As Jean de Witt was a prominent character in the secret associations of this century, we give a few biographical notes concerning him. Born in 1800 at Altona, he was early placed under the tuition of Pastor Meier of Alsen, who had been a member of the Jacobin club. At the age of seventeen he went to the University of Kiel, and afterwards to that of Jena; in 1818 he joined the Burschenschaft, and was soon after initiated into the sect of the Black Knights, in consequence of which he had to flee to England, where he contributed many articles on German politics and princes full of scandalous details to the Morning Chronicle. Invited by his maternal uncle, the Baron Eckstein, Inspector-General of the Ministry of Police, to come to Paris, he there became acquainted with Count Serre, Minister of Justice, who protected him, whilst De Witt was in close communication -with French and Italian conspirators. In 1821 he was at Geneva as Inspector-General of Swiss and German Carbonari. He was soon after seized in Savoy, and thence taken to Turin, where, however, the Austrian Field-Marshal Bubna, who then commanded all the troops in Upper Italy, and who was a Freemason, treated him with the greatest respect, for as a Freemason De Witt occupied a much higher rank than Bubna; and when the ambassadors of all the Courts at Turin, that of England excepted, insisted on De Witt's extradition to their respective states, he allowed him, on his giving his word of honour to make no attempt at escape, to go Milan, where he was received with great honour in the house of the Chief of Police, Baron von Gohausen.

Bubna had made himself personally answerable to his government for the safe custody of De Witt, and this latter had promised not to escape, though he was allowed to go about almost like a freeman. But when he found that the Austrian authorities intended to begin his trial, he wrote to Bubna that he was determined to make his escape. Orders were sent to watch him closely; but within a week he was in possession of false keys, which fitted all the doors of his prison, and the head gaoler, who had shown himself too zealous in watching him, was transferred to Mantua, and 1200 lire were provided for his journey. He escaped to Genoa, intending thence to sail for Spain, where he was sure of meeting with friends, but finding all vessels bound for that country under close police surveillance, he made his way into Switzerland. Under different names and various disguises he stayed there and in Germany for about a year.

All the German Governments offered a large reward for his apprehension, and at last he was seized at Bayreuth, though he had previously been warned that the police were on his traces, a warning which could only have come from highly-placed officials. And as soon as he was taken some of them waited on him with offers of friendship and protection. But Berlin was then the seat of the Prussian masonic chiefs, and through them De Witt was secretly informed of all the charges which would be brought against him, and the result was that he was acquitted of them all, and restored to liberty, as also was Cousin, a fellow-conspirator and fellow-prisoner.

Cesare Cantu, the Italian historian, accuses De Witt of having, by his own admission, been thoroughly initiated into all the revolutionary plots in Europe but in order to betray them, and stir up discord among them (see II Condliatore e i Carbonari, Milano, 1878, p. 164). De Witt's subsequent career seems to lend some support to this charge. In 1828 he married a wealthy lady, and purchased an estate in Upper Silesia, where he was living in 1855, professing highly conservative principles, in fact, to such a degree as to be charged with belonging to the Ultramontanes, in consequence of which he was detested, and frequently attacked, by the democratic party.

556. Carbonaro Charter proposed to England.—A charter or project, said to have been proposed by the Carbonari to the English Government in 1813, when the star of Napoleon was fast declining, is to the following effect: Italy shall be free and independent. Its boundaries shall be the three seas and the Alps. Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, the seven islands, and the islands along the coasts of the Mediterranean, Adriatic, and Ionian Seas shall form an integral portion of the Roman Empire. Rome shall be the capital of the empire. . . As soon as the French shall have evacuated the peninsula, the new emperor shall be elected from among the reigning familiesof Naples, Piedmont, or England. Illyria shall form a kingdom of itself, and be given to the King of Naples as an indemnity for Sicily. This project in some respects widely differs from the one preceding it, and there is great doubt whether it ever emanated from the Carbonari.

557. Carbonarism and Murat.—The excessive number of the affiliated soon disquieted rulers, and especially Murat, King of Naples, whose fears were increased by a letter from Dandolo, Councillor of State, saying: "Sire, Carbonarism is spreading in Italy; free your kingdom from it, if possible, because the sect is opposed to thrones." Maghella, a native of Genoa, who became Minister of Police under Murat, advised that king, on the other hand, to declare openly against Napoleon, and to proclaim the independence of Italy, and for that purpose to favour the Carbonari; but Murat was too irresolute to follow the course thus pointed out, and declared against the Carbonari. The measures taken by him, however, only increased the activity of the sect and the hopes of the banished Bourbons, who in the neighbouring Sicily watched every turn of affairs that might promise their restoration. Murat proscribed the sect, which induced it to seek the assistance of England, as we have already seen. It also grew into favour with the Bourbons and Lord William Bentinck. The emissaries sent to Palermo, to come to terms with the exiled royal family, returned to Naples with a plan fully arranged, the results of which were soon seen in Calabria and the Abruzzi. The promise of a constitution was the lure with which England whose chief object, however, was the overthrow of Napoleon attracted the sectaries; the Bourbons, constrained by England, promised the Neapolitans a liberal constitution on their being restored to the throne.

The Prince of Moliterno suggested to England that the only means of defeating France was to favour Italian unity; and the idea was soon widely promulgated and advocated throughout the country. Murat sent General Manhes against the Carbonari, with orders to exterminate them. Many of the leaders were captured and executed, but the sect, nevertheless, succeeded in effecting a partial and temporary revolution in favour of the Bourbons; which, however, was soon quelled by the energetic measures of Queen Caroline Murat, who was regent during her husband's then absence. About this time, also, dissensions arose among the members of the sect; its leaders, seeing the difficulty of directing the movements of so great a confederacy, conceived the plan of a reform, and executed it with secrecy and promptitude. The members who were retained continued to bear the name of Carbonari, while those who were expelled, according to some accounts, took that of Calderari (Braziers), and an implacable hatred arose between the rival sects. Murat wavered for some time between the two parties, and at last determined on supporting the Carbonari, who were most numerous. But it was too late. They had no confidence in him; and they also knew his desperate circumstances. Murat fell.

558. Trial of Carbonari.—An extensive organisation for the union of all secret Carbonaro societies was discovered in 1817 by an attempt, which was to have been made at Macerata, on the 24th June in that year, to raise the standard of revolt, but which failed through a mere accident the premature firing of two muskets. A great many of the leading Carbonari were apprehended, and conveyed to the Castle of St. Angelo and other prisons in Rome, where they were tried in October 1818 by order of the pope; five of them were sentenced to death, but the pope mitigated their punishment to perpetual confinement in a fortress; three were sentenced to the galleys for life, which punishment was reduced by the pope to ten years. We learn from this Roman trial that the Republican Brother Protectors one of the branches of Carbonarism swore over a phial of poison and a red-hot iron, "never to divulge the secrets of the society, and to submit in case of perjury to the punishment of dying by poison, and having their flesh burnt by the red-hot iron."

559. Carbonarism and the Bourbons.—King Ferdinand, having, to recover his crown, favoured the Carbonari, when he thought himself again firmly seated on the throne, and secretly disliking the society, endeavoured to kick down the ladder by which he had mounted. The Carbonari, who had restored not only the king, but order in Calabria and the Abruzzi, and rendered roads and property secure the Carbonari, so highly extolled at one time, that the pope had ordered priests and monks to preach, that making the signs of the Carbonaro would suffice to justify Saint Peter to open the gate of Paradise these same Carbonari were now declared the enemies of God and man. The king refused to keep the promises he had made, and forbade the holding of Carbonari meetings. The Prince of Canosa, who became Minister of Police in 1819, determined to exterminate them. For this purpose he formed the Brigands, who had played a part in the sanguinary scenes of 1799, into a new society, of which he himself became the head, inviting all the old Calderari to join him, on account of their enmity to the Carbonari. He required them to take the following oath:—

"I, A. B., promise and swear upon the Trinity, upon this cross and upon this steel, the avenging instrument of the perjured, to live and die in the Roman Catholic and Apostolic faith, and to defend with my blood this religion and the society of True Friendship, the Calderari. I swear never to offend, in honour, life, or property, the children of True Friendship, etc. I swear eternal hatred to all Masonry, and its atrocious protectors, as well as to all Jansenists, Materialists (Molinists?), Economists, and Illuminati. I swear, that if through wickedness or levity I suffer myself to be perjured, I submit to the loss of life, and then to be burnt, etc."

But the king having learnt what his Minister had been attempting without his knowledge, deprived him of his office and banished him; and thus his efforts came to nothing. In 1819 took place the rising at Cadiz, by which the King of Spain, Ferdinand VII. , was compelled to give Spain constitutional privileges. This again stirred up the Carbonari; but there was no unanimity in their counsels, and their intrigues only led to many being imprisoned and others banished. An attempt made in 1820 extorted a constitution; the leader was the Abbe Menichini. The influence of the Carbonari increased; lodges were established everywhere. Between 1815 and 1820, in the Neapolitan states alone, more than two hundred thousand members were affiliated, comprising all classes, from the palace to the cottage; it included priests, monks, politicians, soldiers. Giampietro was then chief of the Neapolitan police, who used the most cruel means to suppress the sect; but public discontent was brought to a climax in July 1820, when two officers, Morelli and Silvati, with one hundred and twenty non-commissioned officers and privates, deserted from their regiment at Nola, and, accompanied by the priest Menichini and some leading Carbonari, took the road to Avellino. Lieutenant-Colonel De Concili, also a Carbonaro, who was in command of the troops at Avellino, joined the insurgents. When the news of these events reached Naples, the students of the University, as well as many of the soldiers forming the garrison of the capital, hastened to De Concili's camp. The house of the advocate Colletta became the centre of action at Naples; all prepared to second the action of their brethren.

The king, advised to send General Pepe against the insurgents, declined the proposal, because Pepe was suspected of being a Liberal. In his stead he sent General Carrascosa, who left Naples on the 4th July; on the 5th he despatched General Nunziante from Nocera, and General Campana from Salerno, against the insurgents. Carrascosa, unwilling to shed the blood of his countrymen, wished to negotiate. But before he could do so, General Campana had suffered a defeat, and the soldiers of Nunziante raised the standard of the Carbonari, and, joining the troops of De Concili, placed themselves under his command. Carrascosa, with the king's connivance, proposed to bribe the leaders of the insurrection with large sums of money to give up the enterprise and leave the country, but before he had an opportunity of making the attempt, the soldiers remaining in Naples, as well as the population, rose against the king, who found himself entirely forsaken. He was compelled to yield.

The Duke of Piccotellis and five other Carbonari presented themselves in the palace and compelled the king to grant them a personal interview, at which they demanded the immediate publication of a Constitution. The king promised one in "perhaps two hours." Piccotellis drawing out his watch held it up to the king's face and said, "It is now one o'clock in the morning; at three o'clock the Constitution must be proclaimed." And he turned bis back on the king, and with his attendants left the room. The king granted the Constitution, though with the mental reserve of overthrowing it on the first favourable opportunity. He swore, nevertheless, in the most solemn manner to keep it; the Carbonari leaders were invited to Naples; the king's son, the Duke of Calabria, became a member of the sect, a fatal concession on its part, for now all its secrets, signs, words, and symbols were openly proclaimed; Carbonarism, in fact, was cunningly betrayed by the king and his satellites.

Russia, Austria, and Prussia threatened to interfere in Neapolitan affairs in favour of Ferdinand; at a secret meeting of some of the oldest Carbonari it was proposed to shut up the king in the Castle of St. Eleno. Unfortunately this advice was not immediately acted on. The Holy Alliance, to save the king's life, which they knew to be in danger, invited him to join the congress at Laybach, that, in common with the European potentates, he might assist in the settlement of the affairs of his own kingdom. Unwisely the Neapolitan parliament allowed him to depart; yet even on board ship the treacherous despot repeated his assurances of maintaining the Constitution he had granted his subjects. But on his arrival at Laybach he declared that, in granting the Constitution, he had only yielded to superior force, and that he was determined to return to Naples as an absolute monarch. The pope absolved him from the oath he had taken, and even in a solemn encyclical commanded priests to violate the secret of the confessional whenever wives, mothers, sisters, or daughters had declared relations to belong to the sect of the Carbonari.

At the request of Ferdinand himself an Austrian army of 50,000 men, with a Russian army in reserve, marched upon Naples. The king on his way south stopped at Florence, where he decorated the Chapel of the Annunciation with gorgeous gold and silver lamps, and the inscription: "Maria' genitrici Dei Ferd. I. Utr. Sic. rex Don. d.d. anno 1821 ob pristinum impcrii decus, ope eius prestaniissima recuperation. (To Mary, the Mother of God, Ferdinand L, King of the Two Sicilies, for the restored splendour of the kingdom, by means of her most valiant help, dedicated these in the year 1821.) Proving once more, if proof were necessary, that "bloodthirsty tyrants are most zealous saints." Every one of the king's immediate attendants had upon him a new cockado bearing the inscription: "Viva Vassoluto potere di Ferdinando I.!"

560. The King's Revenge.—General Pepe, who in his youth had for three years been a prisoner in the horrible prison of Marettimo a rock-hewn cistern turned into a dungeon endeavoured to arrest the advance of the foreigner, but his raw militia were ill prepared to meet the disciplined forces of Austria, who defeated Pe'pe' at Rieti, and followed up this victory by marching on the 23rd March into Naples. Then the king glutted his desire for vengeance. All the past treaties with his subjects were considered as void, and all previous acts of pardon annulled. Not a day passed without the sound of the bell tolling for an execution; thousands of the most respected citizens of Naples were condemned to horrible dungeons in the penal islands off Sicily and Naples or the rock-dungeons of San Stefano and Pantelleria, while numbers fled the country as exiles. Morelli and Silvati were hanged for having deserted their standard, and been the prime movers of the revolution. But the king had entered into a treaty with his people, and sworn to uphold the Constitution he had granted in consequence of the revolution, hence their execution is condemned by logic and justice.

561. Revival of Carbonarism.—Carbonarism marks a transition period in the history of secret societies. From secret societies occupied with religion, philosophy, and politics in the abstract, it leads us to the secret societies whose objects are more immediately and practically political. And thus in France, Italy, and other States, it gave rise to numerous and various sects, wherein we find the men of thought and those of action combining for one common object the progress, as they understood it, of human society. Carbonarisrn, in fact, was revived about the year 1825, and some ten years after combined, or rather coalesced, with the society known as Young Italy, whose aims were identical with those of the Carbonari the expulsion of the foreigner from Italian soil, and the unification of Italy.

The Duke of Modena had for some time coquetted with the Carbonari, in the hope of obtaining through them the sovereignty of the minor duchies, the kingdom of Sardinia and the Lombardo-Venetian states, and had thus encouraged Menotti, the foremost patriot of Central Italy, in counting on his help in driving out the foreigner. When, however, he found that France, on whose co-operation he had relied, would disappoint him, he abandoned the Carbonari and denounced them, but they compelled the Duke to fly to Mantua. They also drove Maria Louisa, the Duchess of Parma, and widow of Napoleon I., into exile. But their triumph lasted only twenty-eight days. At the end of that period the Duke of Modena and the Duchess of Parma were restored by the assistance of Austrian troops, and the Duke caused Menotti to be hanged. From that day the prisons of Modena were filled with Italian patriots. Count Charles Arrivabene said of them,

"No words can give an idea of the horrors of the prisons of Modena when I saw them. . . Excepting the infamous dens of the Papal and Neapolitan states, there is nothing that can be compared with them."

But Carbonarism continued to be at work under the name of Unita Italiana, whose signs and passwords were made public by the prosecution it underwent at Naples in 1850.

562. Carbonarism and the Church.—The Carbonari in the Roman States aimed at the overthrow of the papal power, and chose the moment when the pope was expected to die to carry out their scheme. They had collected large forces and provisions at Macerata; but the sudden recovery of the pope put a stop to the enterprise. The leaders were betrayed into the hands of the government, and some of them condemned to death and others to perpetual imprisonment, though the pope afterwards commuted the sentences (558).

563. Carbonarism in Northern Italy.—In Lombardy and Venetia also the Carbonari had their lodges, and their object was the expulsion of the foreigner, the Austrian. The most important and influential was the Italian Federation. But here also they failed; and among the victims of the failure were Silvio Pellico, Confalonieri, Castiglia, Torelli, Maroncelli, and many others, who, after having been exposed on the pillory at Milan and other places, were sent to Spielberg and other German fortresses.

564. Carbonarism in France.—Carbonarism was introduced into France under the names of Adelphes or Philadelphians, by Jonbert and Dugied, who had taken part in revolutionary movements in their own country in 1820, and after having for some time taken refuge in Italy, where they had joined the Carbonari, brought their principles to France on their return from their expatriation. The sect made rapid progress among the French; all the students at the different universities became members, and ventas were established in the army. Lafayette was chosen their chief. Lodges existed at La Rochelle, Poitiers, Niort, Bordeaux, Colmar, Neuf-Brisach, and Belfort, where, in 1821, an unsuccessful attempt was made against the government—unsuccessful, because in this, as in other attempts, the government knew beforehand the plans of the conspirators, betrayed to them by false Carbonari. Risings in other places equally failed; and though the society continued to exist, and had a share in the events of the revolution of 1830, still, considering the number of its members, and the great resources and influence it consequently possessed, it cannot be said to have produced any adequate results.

565. Carbonarism in Germany.—Carbonari lodges existed in all parts of Germany, but I will mention one only, because of the excitement its discovery caused at the time. In 1849 the police of Bremen arrested one Hobelmann, who was tutor in the family of a Thuringian nobleman, and who proved to be the chief of a Carbonaro sect calling itself the Todtenbund, or "Society of Death," since its aim was to kill all who should oppose its objects. Its statutes, and a long list of persons condemned to death, were found by the police.

566. Carbonarism in Spain.—The sect was introduced into Spain by refugee Italians about 1820, spreading chiefly in Catalonia, without, however, acquiring much influence at first. Their importance dates from the time of the quarrel between the Spanish Freemasons and the Comuneros (1822), when they sided with the former; but when the Freemasons and the Comuneros were reconciled (1823), the Carbonari were opposed by both parties, and lost all influence (522).

567. Giardiniere.—As the Freemasons had their Adoptive Lodges, so the Carbonari admitted women, who were collectively called giardiniere, garden-women, each sister taking the name of a flower. Their mission, of course, was to act as lures or spies. But they also fulfilled higher functions; they alleviated the condition of the prisoners of despotism, especially in Italy, where many lady members of the Societa della Misericordia were Giardiniere, and, having free access to the Austrian prisons in Piedmont, supplemented the scanty food allowed to the imprisoned Carbonari by the authorities with liberal additions.