Secret Societies of All Ages: Vol 2 - Charles Heckethorn

V. Miscellaneous Italian Societies

568. Guelpluc Knights.—One of the most important societies that issued, about the year 1816, from the midst of the Carbonari was that of the Guelphic Knights, who were very powerful in all parts of Italy. A report of the Austrian police says: "This society is the most dangerous, on account of its origin and diffusion, and the profound mystery which surrounds it. It is said that this society derives its origin from England or Germany." Its origin, nevertheless, was purely Italian. The councils consisted of six members, who, however, did not know each other, but intercommunicated by means of one person, called the "Visible," because he alone was visible. Every council also had one youth of undoubted faith, called the "Clerk," to communicate with students of universities, and a youth called a "Friend," to influence the people; but neither the Clerk nor the Friend were initiated into the mysteries of the Order. Every council assumed a particular name, such as "Virtue," "Honour," "Loyalty," and met, as if for amusement only, without apparatus or writing of any kind. A supreme council sat at Bologna; there were councils at Florence, Venice, Milan, Naples, etc. They endeavoured to gain adherents, who should be ignorant of the existence of the society, and should yet further its ends. Lucien Bonaparte is said to have been a "great light" among them. Their object was the independence of Italy, to be effected by means of all the secret societies of the country united under the leadership of the Guelphs.

569. Guelphs and Carbonari.—The Guelphs in reality formed a high vendita or lodge of the Carbonari, and the chiefs of the Carbonari were also chiefs among the Guelphs; but only those that had distinct offices among the Carbonari could be admitted among the Guelphs. There can be no doubt that the Carbonari, when the sect had become very numerous, partly sheltered themselves under the designation of Guelphs and Adelphi or Independents, by affiliating themselves to these societies.

570. The Latini.—This sect existed about 1817. Only those initiated into the higher degrees of Carbonarism could become members. In their oath they declared:

"I swear to employ every means in my power to further the happiness of Italy. I swear religiously to keep the secret and fulfil the duties of this society, and never to do aught that could compromise its safety; and that I will only act in obedience to its decisions. If ever I violate this oath, I will submit to whatever punishment the society may inflict, even to death."

The most influential vendite were gradually merged in this degree.

571. The Centres.—An offshoot of Carbonarism was the society formed in Lombardy, under the designation of the "Centres." Nothing was to be written; and conversation on the affairs of the Order was only to take place between two members at a time, who recognised each other by the words, "Succour to the unfortunate," and by raising the hand three times to the forehead, in sign of grief. The Centres once more revived the hopes of Murat. A rising was to take place under his auspices against the detested Austrians; the ringing of the bells of Milan was to be the signal for the outbreak; and it is said that "Vespers" had been arranged, from which no Austrian was to escape alive. But on the appointed day fear or horror held the hand that was to have given the signal, that of General Fontanelli. Hence, fatal delay and the discovery of the secret. For Bellegarde or Talleyrand sent a certain Viscount Saint-Aignan among the conspirators, who after having discovered all their plans, betrayed them to Austria, and was never heard of again. Austria seized the ringleaders and instituted proceedings against them, which lasted about three years, and were finally closed by delivering it is not known why, but probably through Carbonaro influence very mild sentences against the conspirators.

572. Italian Litterateurs.—This sect, introduced into Palermo in 1823, had neither signs nor distinctive marks. In every town there was a delegate, called the "Radical," who could affiliate unto himself ten others or more, acquiring the name of "decurion," or "centurion." The initiated were called "sons," who in their turn could affiliate unto themselves ten others, and these could do the same in their turn; so that thus a mighty association was formed. The initiated were called "Brethren Barabbas," Christ representing the tyrant, and Barabbas the people a singular confusion of ideas, by which the victim slain on the cross for the redemption of human conscience and thought was considered as an example and upholder of tyranny. But it was a symbolism which concealed juster ideas, and more conformable with truth. They recognised each other by means of a ring, and attested their letters by the well-known initials I.N.R:I. The society was much feared and jealously watched, and helped to fill the prisons. It only ceased when other circumstances called forth other societies.

573. Societies in Calabria and the Abruzzi.—These districts, by their natural features and the disposition of their inhabitants, were at all times the favourite resorts of conspirators. We there find the sects of the "European Patriots or White Pilgrims," the "Philadelphians," and the "Decisi," who thence spread into other Italian provinces, with military organisation, arms, and commanders. The first two partly came from France; nor were their operations, as the names intimate, confined to the peninsula. The lodges of the "Decisi" (Decided) were called "Decisions," as the assemblies of the Patriots were called "Squadrons," each from forty to sixty strong, and those of the Philadelphians, "Camps." The Decisi, whose numbers amounted perhaps to forty thousand, held their meetings at night, carefully guarded by sentinels; and their military exercises took place in solitary houses, or suppressed convents. Their object was to fall upon Naples and proclaim a republic; but cinfcim stances were not propitious. Their leader, Giro Annichiarico, a priest, was a man of great resources and vast influence, so that it was necessary to despatch against him General Church, who captured him and had him shot. As Giro was rather a remarkable personage, a brief account of him may not be uninteresting.

574. Giro Annichiarico.—This priest was driven from society by his crimes. He was accused of murder, committed in a fit of jealousy, and sentenced to fifteen years of exile, although there is strong reason to believe that he was innocent. But instead of being permitted to leave the country, according to the sentence, he was for four years kept in prison, whence at last he made his escape, took refuge in the forests, and placed himself at the head of a band of outlaws, and, as his enemies declare, committed all kinds of enormities. At Martano, they say, he penetrated into one of the first houses of the place, and, after having offered violence to its mistress, massacred her with all her people, and carried off 96,000 ducats.

He was in correspondence with all the brigands; and whoever wished to get rid of an enemy, had only to address himself to Giro. On being asked, after his capture, how many persons he had killed with his own hand, he carelessly answered, "Who can remember? Perhaps sixty or seventy." His activity, artifice, and intrepidity were astonishing. He was a first-rate shot and rider; his singular good fortune in extricating himself from the most imminent dangers acquired for him the reputation of a necromancer, upon whom ordinary means of attack had no power. Though a priest himself, and exercising the functions of one when he thought it expedient, he was rather a libertine, and declared his clerical colleagues to be impostors without any faith. He published a paper against the missionaries, who, according to him, disseminated illiberal opinions among the people, and forbade them on pain of death to preach in the villages, "because, instead of the true principles of the Gospel, they taught nothing but fables and impostures." Probably Giro was pretty correct in his estimate of their performances. He could be generous on occasions.

One day he surprised General D'Octavio, a Corsican, in the service of Murat—who pursued him for a long time with a thousand men—walking alone in a garden. Giro discovered himself, remarking, that the life of the general, who was unarmed, was in his hands; "but," said he, "I will pardon you this time, although I shall no longer be so indulgent if you continue to hunt me about." So saying, he leaped over the wall and disappeared. His physiognomy was rather agreeable; he was of middle stature, well made, and very strong. He had a verbose eloquence. Extremely addicted to pleasure, he had mistresses, at the period of his power, in all the towns of the province over which he was continually ranging.

When King Ferdinand returned to his states on this side the Taro, he recalled such as had been exiled for political opinions. Giro attempted to pass for one of these, but a new order of arrest was issued against him. It was then that he placed himself at the head of the Decisi. Many excesses are laid to their charge. A horde of twenty or thirty of them overran the country in disguise, masked as punchinellos. In places where open force could not be employed, the most daring were sent to watch for the moment to execute the sentences of secret death pronounced by the society. It was thus that the justice of the peace of Luogo Rotondo and his wife were killed in their own garden; and that the sectary, Perone, plunged his knife into the bowels of an old man of seventy, and afterwards massacred his wife and servant, having introduced himself into their house under pretence of delivering a letter.

As has already been intimated, it was finally found necessary to send an armed force, under the command of General Church, against this band of ruffians. Many of them having been taken, and the rest dispersed. Giro, with only three companions, took refuge in one of the fortified farm-houses near Francavilla, but after a vigorous defence was obliged to surrender. The Council of War, by which he was tried, condemned him to be shot. A missionary offered him the consolations of religion. Giro answered him with a smile, "Let us leave alone this prating; we are of the same profession; don't let us laugh at one another." On his arrival at the place of execution, Giro wished to remain standing; he was told to kneel, and did so, presenting his breast. He was then informed that malefactors like himself were shot with their backs to the soldiers; he submitted, at the same time advising a priest, who persisted in remaining near him, to withdraw, so as not to expose himself. Twenty-one balls took effect, four in the head, yet he still breathed and muttered in his throat; the twenty-second put an end to him. This fact was confirmed by all the officers and soldiers present at his death. "As soon as we perceived," said a soldier very gravely, "that he was enchanted, we loaded his own musket with a silver ball, and this destroyed the spell."

After the death of the leader, some two hundred and thirty persons were brought to trial; nearly half of them, having been guilty of murder and robbery with violence, were condemned to capital punishment, and their heads exposed near the places of their residence, or in the scene of their crimes.

575. Certificates of the Decisi.—To render the account of the Decisi as complete as it need be, I subjoin a copy of one of their patents or certificates:—

[Italian Societies] from Secret Societies of All Ages: Vol 2 by Charles Heckethorn


The Salentine Decision. Health!
No. 5, Grand Masons.

[Meaning of Initials: The Decision of (the Lodge of) Jupiter Tonans hopes to make war against the tyrants of the universe.]

The mortal Gaetano Caffieri is a Brother Decided, No. 5, belonging to the Decision of Jupiter the Thunderer, spread over the face of the earth, has had the pleasure to belong to this Salentine Republican Decision. We invite, therefore, all Philanthropic Societies to lend their strong arm to the same, and to assist him in his wants, he having come to the decision to obtain liberty or death. Dated this day, the 20th October 1817.

Pietro Gargaro, the Decided Grand Master, No. 1.
Vito de Serio, Second Decided.
Gaetano Caffieri, Registrar of the Dead.

The letters in italics in the original were written in blood. The upper seal represents fasces planted upon a death's head, surmounted by the Phrygian cap, and flanked by hatchets; the lower, thunderbolts casting down royal and imperial crowns and the tiara. The person in whose favour the certificate is issued, figures himself among the signatures with the title of Registrar of the Dead, that is, of those they immolated *to their vengeance, of whom they kept a register apart. The four points observable after the signature of Pietro Gargaro indicate his power of passing sentence of death. When the Decisi wrote to any one to extort contributions, if they added these four points, it was known that the person they addressed was condemned to death in case of disobedience. If the points were not added he was threatened with milder punishment. Their colours, yellow, red, and blue, surrounded the patent.

576. The Calderari.—This society, alluded to before, is of uncertain origin. Count Orloff, in his work, "Memoirs on the Kingdom of Naples," says they arose in 1813, when the reform of Carbonarism took place. Canosa, on the other hand, in a pamphlet published at Dublin, and entitled, "The Mountain Pipes," says they arose at Palermo, and not at Naples. In the former of these towns there existed different trade companies, which had enjoyed great privileges, until they lost them by the constitution of Lord William Bentinck. The numerous company of braziers (calderari) felt the loss most keenly, and they sent a deputation to the Queen of Naples, assuring her that they were ready to rise in her defence. The flames of the insurrection were communicated to the tanners and other companies, and all the Neapolitan emigrants in Sicily. Lord William Bentinck put the emigrants on board ship and sent them under a neutral flag to Naples, where Murat received them very kindly. But they were not grateful. Immediately on their arrival they entered into the secret societies then conspiring against the French Government, and their original name of Calderari was communicated by them to the conspirators, before then called "Trinitarii." We have seen that on the return of Ferdinand, Prince Canosa favoured the Calderari. He styled them the Calderari of the Counterpoise, because they were to serve as such to Carbonarism. The fate of Canosa and that of the Calderari has already been mentioned (557, 559).

577. The Independents.—Though these also aimed at the independence of Italy, yet it appears that they were not disinclinetf to effect it by means of foreign assistance. The report at that time was that they actually once intended to offer the crown of Italy to the Duke of Wellington; but this is highly improbable, since our Iron Duke was not at all popular in Italy. But it is highly probable that they sought the co-operation of Russia, which, since 1815, maintained many agents in Italy—with what purpose is not exactly known; the collection of statistical and economical information was the ostensible object, but Austria looked on them with a very suspicious eye, and watched them narrowly. The Independents had close relations with these Russian agents, probably, as it is surmised, with a view of turning Russian influence to account in any outbreak against Austria.

578. The Delphic Priesthood.—This was another secret society, having the same political object as the foregoing. The Delphic priest, the patriotic priest, the priest militant, spoke thus: "My mother has the sea for her mantle, high mountains for her sceptre;" and when asked who his mother was, replied: "The lady with the dark tresses, whose gifts are beauty, wisdom, and formerly strength: whose dowry is a flourishing garden, full of flagrant flowers, where bloom the olive and the vine; and who now groans, stabbed to the heart." The Delphics entertained singular hopes, and would invoke the "remedy of the ocean" (American auxiliaries) and the epoch of "cure" (a general European war). They called the partisans of France "pagans," and those of Austria, "monsters"; the Germans they styled "savages." Their place of meeting they designated as the "ship," to foreshadow the future maritime greatness of Italy, and the help they expected from over the sea; their chief was the "pilot."

579. Egyptian Lodges.—Immediately after the downfall of Napoleon, societies were formed also in foreign countries to promote Italian independence. The promoters of these were chiefly exiles. Distant Egypt even became the centre of such a propaganda; and under the auspices of Mehemet Ali, who aspired to render himself independent of the Sublime Porte, there was established the Egyptian rite of Cagliostro with many variations, and under the title of the "Secret Egyptian Society." Under masonic forms, the Pacha hoped to further his own views; and especially, to produce political changes in the Ionian Islands and in Italy, he scattered his agents all over the Mediterranean coasts. Being masonic, the society excluded no religion; it retained the two annual festivals, and added a third in memory of Napoleon, whose portrait was honoured in the lodge. The rites were chiefly those of the ancient and accepted Scotch. Women were admitted, Turks excluded; and in the lodges of Alexandria and Cairo, the Greek and Arab women amounted to more than three hundred. The emissaries, spread over many parts of Europe, corresponded in cipher; but of the operations of the society nothing was ever positively known.

580. American Hunters.—The Society of the "American Hunters" was founded at Ravenna, shortly after the prosecutions of Macerata, and the measures taken by the Austrian Government, in 1818, against the Carbonari. Lord Byron is said to have been at its head, having imbibed his love for Italy through the influence of an Italian beauty, the Countess Guiccioli, whose brother had been exiled a few years before. Its ceremonies assimilated it to the "Comuneros "of Spain, and it seems to have had the same aims as the Delphic Priesthood. The saviour was to come from America, and it is asserted that Joseph Bonaparte, the ex- King of Spain, was a member of the society. It is not improbable that the partisans of Napoleon gathered new hopes after the events of 1815. A sonnet, of which the first quatrain is here given, was at that time very popular in Central Italy, and shows the direction of the political wind:—

"Scandalised by groaning under kings so fell,

Killing Europe with dismay in ev'ry part,

We are driven to solicit Bonaparte

To return from Saint Helena or from hell."

The restored sect made itself the centre of many minor sects, among which were the "Sons of Mars," so called because composed chiefly of military men; of the "Artist Brethren"; "the Defenders of the Country"; the "Friends of Duty"; and others, having the simpler and less compromising forms of Carbonarism. In the sect of the "Sons of Mars," the old Carbonari vendita was called "bivouac"; the apprentice, "volunteer"; the good cousin, "corporal"; the master, "sergeant"; the grand master, "commander"; and the chief dignitaries of Carbonarism still governed, from above and unseen, the thoughts of the sect. Many other sects existed, of which scarcely more than the names are known, the recapitulation of which would only weary the reader.

581. Secret Italian Society in London.—London was a great centre of the sectaries. In 1822, a society for liberating Italy from the Austrian yoke was formed in that city, counting among its members many distinguished Italian patriots. Austria took the alarm, and sent spies to discover their plans. These spies represented the operations of the society as very extensive and imminent. An expedition was to sail from the English coasts for Spain, to take on board a large number of adherents, land them on the Italian shores, and spread insurrection everywhere. The English general, Robert Wilson, was said to be at the head of the expedition; of which, however, nothing was ever heard, and the Austrian Government escaped with the mere fright.

582. Secret Italian Societies in Paris.—A society of Italians was formed in Paris, in 1829; and in 1830, French Liberals formed a society under the title of "Cosmopolitans," whose object was to revolutionise all the peoples of the Latin race, and form them into one grand confederacy. La Fayette was at its head, but the man who was the real leader of the movement was totally unknown to the public. Henry Misley seemed occupied only in the sale of the nitre and wheat of his native country, Modena, and afterwards was engaged in the construction of railways in Italy and Spain. But he was the intimate friend of Menotti, and the connecting link between the Italian Carbonari and the revolutionary movement in France. He was also active, from 1850 to 1852, in placing Louis Napoleon at the head of the French nation, co-operating with Lord Palmerston, who, as a Mason, was the great friend and protector of the European revolution, and was the first to recognise Louis Napoleon as Emperor of the French, not hesitating, to further his objects, to falsify despatches which had already received the royal signature. But when Garibaldi, in 1864, visited England, Lord Palmerston co-operated with Victor Emmanuel and Louis Napoleon in restraining the Italian patriot from coming in contact with the revolutionary leaders then in this country, lest he, in conjunction with them, should plan expeditions, which might have interfered with his (Lord Palmerston's) or the King of Italy's plans. Garibaldi was surrounded with a brilliant suite, and overwhelmed with official fetes. Then Dr. Fergusson declared that Garibaldi's health demanded his immediate return to Italy. His intended visit to Paris was stopped by the Duke of Sutherland taking him in his yacht to the Mediterranean; but Mazzini informed Garibaldi of the scheme to keep him an honoured prisoner, and Garibaldi insisted at Malta on returning at once to Caprera.

583. Mazzini and Young Italy.—Joseph Mazzini, who sixty years ago was a prisoner in Fort Savona for revolutionary speeches and writings, may be looked upon as the chief instigator of modern secret societies in Italy having revolutionary tendencies. The independence and unity of their country, with Rome for its capital, of course were the objects of Young Italy. One of the earliest of these societies was that of the Apophasimenes, many of whom Mazzini drew over to his "Young Italy" association. Here are some of the articles of the "Organisation of Young Italy":—

  • (1.) The society is founded for the indispensable destruction of all the governments of the Peninsula, in order to form one single State with the republican government.
  • (2.) Fully aware of the horrible evils of absolute power, and the even worse results of constitutional monarchies, we must aim at establishing a republic, one and indivisible.
  • (30.) Those who refuse obedience to the orders of this secret society, or reveal its mysteries, die by the dagger without mercy. 31. The secret tribunal pronounces sentence, and appoints one or two affiliated members for its execution.
  • (32.) Who so refuses to perform such duty assigned to him, dies on the spot.
  • (33.) If the victim escapes, he shall be pursued, until struck by the avenging hand, were he on the bosom of his mother or in the temple of Christ.
  • (34.) Every secret tribunal is competent not only to judge guilty adepts, but to put to death any one it finds it necessary to condemn. (Sig.) Mazzini.

We have seen, in the account of the Mafia (329), that Mazzini constantly recommended the use of the dagger though he took good care to avoid personal danger; and, to give but one instance, that he did not hesitate to employ it, by proxy, was proved in the case of Signer Emiliani, who was assassinated, by Mazzini's order, which is still existing, signed by Mazzini, and countersigned by the secretary La Cecilia, in the streets of Rhodez, a town in the department of the Aveyron, seventy miles from Toulouse. Mazzini had come from Geneva on purpose to sit in judgment on Signor Emiliani, who was accused of having opposed the plans of the Mazzinists.

Committees were established in all parts of the Peninsula; the presses, not only of Italy, but also of Marseilles, London, and Switzerland, were largely employed to disseminate the views of the conspirators; and the police, though they considered themselves well informed, were always at fault. Thus Livio Zambeccari, a leading member, went from Bologna to Naples, thence into Sicily, held interviews with the conspirators, called meetings, and returned to Bologna, whilst the police of Naples and Sicily knew nothing at all about it. General Antonini, under a feigned name, went to Sicily, passed himself off for a daguerreotypist, and lived in great intimacy with many of the officials without being suspected. A Piedmontese officer, who had fought in the Spanish and Portuguese revolutionary wars, arrived at Messina under a Spanish name, with letters of introduction from a Neapolitan general, which enabled him to visit and closely inspect the citadels, this being the object of his journey. Letters from Malta, addressed to the conspirators, were intercepted by the police, but recovered from them before they had read them, by the address and daring of the members of Young Italy. A thousand copies of a revolutionary programme, printed at Marseilles, were smuggled into Italy in a despatch addressed to the Minister Delcaretto. Though occasionally the correspondence fell into the hands of the authorities as, for instance, on the 4th June 1832, the Custom-house officers of Genoa seized on board the steamer Sully, coming from Marseilles, a trunk full of old clothes, addressed to Mazzini's mother, in the false bottom of which were concealed a large number of letters addressed to members of Young Italy, revolutionary proclamations, lists of lodges, and instructions as to the proposed rising. Then the revolutionary correspondence was carried on by means of the official letters addressed to the Minister Santangelo, at Palermo. A well-known Spanish general, who was one of the conspirators, whose departure and object had been publicly announced in the French papers, went from Marseilles to Naples, and the police were unable to catch him. Italian and other Continental revolutionists in those days, and later on, received much moral support from Lord Palmerston, wherefore it was a saying of Austrian Conservatives

"If the devil has a son,

Surely it's Lord Palmerston."

Panizzi also, a Carbonaro, exiled from Italy, and for many years Chief Librarian of the British Museum, was an ardent supporter of Italian unification.

584. Mazzini, the Evil Genius of Italy.—Gregory XVI. died in 1846. The Italians thought this the favourable moment for general action, and the revolutions of Rome, Naples, Palermo, Florence, Milan, Parma, Modena, and Venice followed in quick succession. But they failed, and their failure notably that of the operations of Charles Albert was due to the political intrigues carried on by the Mazzinists, who tampered with the fidelity and discipline of the Sardinian army. Mazzini, in those days, ruined the national cause, and rejoiced in that ruin, because he was not the leader of the enterprise. Later on, his Roman triumvirate led to the French occupation of Rome, and to the return to that city of Italy's greatest curse, the pope.

Many of Garibaldi's noble efforts were thwarted or frustrated by Mazzini's revolutionary fanaticism; and yet such is the mockery of Fate! that selfish demagogue who, to gratify his political crotchets, sent hundreds of misguided youths to a violent death, has a statue in the Palazzo del Municipio at Genoa, an honour which posterity will certainly rescind. Like O'Donovan Rossa, he planned his murderous schemes at a safe distance, taking care never to imperil himself personally, and if danger came near, to run away. In the expedition to Savoy in January 1834, Mazzini at Carra brandished his rifle to rush to the combat, but was conveniently seized by a fit and carried across the border in safety. In 1833 Louis Mariotti (a pseudo-name), provided with a passport and money by Mazzini, attempted Charles Albert's life; shortly after another man made the same attempt he had a dagger which was proved to have belonged to Mazzini: this hero was one of the first to take flight when Radetzky entered Milan. When in that city he thwarted the endeavours of the royal commissioners to procure men and money, and fed the republican animosities towards the Piedmontese in every part of Italy. The king knew of the Mazzinian manoeuvres, and therefore did not make peace after his defeat, for the republicans would have said he had thrown up the cause of Italy.

585. Assassination of Rossi.—This adventurer was born at Carrara, and began his public career as a member of the provisional government of Bologna, when Murat attempted the conquest of Italy. At his master's defeat, he fled into Switzerland, where the Diet entrusted him with the revision of the pact of 1815; in the changes he proposed, radicalism was carried to its utmost limits, and aimed at the overthrow of the Federal Government. With such antecedents, it was but natural that Rossi became a member of Young Italy; though Mazzini placed no faith in him, for he knew that the ci-devant Carbonaro had no fixed political convictions. For this once violent demagogue, having, in the July revolution of 1830, assisted Louis Philippe to ascend the French throne, accepted from him the title of count and peer of France, and was sent as ambassador to Rome.

Though he had once belonged to the secret societies of Italy, and by Gregory XVI. been designated as the political renegade, he eventually accepted office under Pius IX., who in 1848, a short time before his flight from Rome, had no one to appeal to, to form a new ministry, but this very adventurer, who did so by keeping three of the portfolios in his own hands, viz., those of Finances, Interior, and Police, whilst the other ministers mutually detested each other; a fact from which Rossi expected to derive additional advantages. His political programme, which excluded all national participation or popular influence, filled Young Italy with rage. At a meeting of Young Italy, held at the Hotel Feder at Turin, the verdict went forth: Death to the false Carbonaro! By a prearranged scheme the lot to kill Rossi fell on Canino, a leading man of the association, not that it was expected that he would do the deed himself, but his position and wealth were assumed to give him the most; ready means of commanding daggers. A Mazzinian society assembled twice a week at the Roman theatre, Capranica. At a meeting of one hundred and sixteen members, it was decided, at the suggestion of Mazzini, that forty should be chosen by lot to protect the assassin. Three others were elected by the same process they were called feratori; one of them was to slay the minister.

The 15th of November 1848, the day fixed upon for the opening of the Roman Chambers, was also that of Rossi's death. He received several warnings, but ridiculed them. Even in going to the Chancellerie, he was addressed by a priest, who whispered to him, "Do not go out; you will be assassinated." "They cannot terrify me," he replied; "the cause of the Pope is the cause of God," which is thought by some to have been a very noble answer, but which was simply ridiculous, because not true, and was, moreover, vile hypocrisy on the part of a man with his antecedents. When Rossi arrived at the Chancellerie, the conspirators were already awaiting him there. One of them, as the minister ascended the staircase, struck him on the side with the hilt of a dagger, and as Rossi turned round to look at his assailant, another assassin plunged his dagger into Rossi's throat. The minister soon after expired in the apartments of Cardinal Gozzoli, to which he had been carried. At that very instant one of the chiefs of Young Italy at Bologna, looking at his watch, said, "A great deed has just been accomplished; we no longer need fear Rossi."

The estimation in which Rossi was held by the Chamber cannot have been great, for the deputies received the news of his death with considerable sang-froid; and at night a torchlight procession paraded the streets of Rome, carrying aloft the dagger which had done the deed, whilst thousands of voices exclaimed, "Blessed be the hand that struck Rossi! Blessed be the dagger that struck him!" A pamphlet, published at Rome in 1850, contains a letter from Mazzini, in which occur the words: "The assassination of Rossi was necessary and just."

In the first edition I added to the foregoing account the following note:

"P.S. Since writing the above I have met with documents which induce me to suspend my judgment as to who were the real authors of Rossi's assassination. From what I have since learnt it would seem that the clerical party, and not the Carbonari, planned and executed the deed. Persons accused of being implicated in the murder were kept in prison for more than two years without being brought to trial, and then quietly got away. Rossi, shortly before his death, had levied contributions to the extent of four million scudi on clerical property, and was known to plan further schemes to reduce the influence of the Church. But the materials for writing the history of those times are not yet accessible."

More than twenty years after the above was written, now in 1896, the question is as much involved in doubt as ever. True, one Santa Constantini, a radical fanatic, as he was called on his conviction, has been proved to have struck the fatal blow, but as to who instigated him to do the deed, opinions are still divided; the secret has not oozed out. The reasons for attributing the death of Rossi to the Carbonari or the Jesuits are of equal weight on both sides.

The assassination of Rossi and the commotions following it, led, as is well known, to the pope's flight to Gaeta. During his absence from Rome, Mazzini was the virtual ruler of that city, which was during his short reign the scene of the greatest disorders, of robberies, and assassinations. But Rome gained nothing by the restoration of the pope through French arms; the papalians, when once more in power, raged as wildly against the peaceful inhabitants as the Mazzinists had done. The Holy Father personally, and the cardinals and other dignitaries of the Church, caused thousands of the inhabitants of Rome to be cast into noisome dungeons, many of them underground, where they were starved or killed by bad treatment, or after long-delayed trials condemned to the most unjust punishments. I could give numerous instances, did they enter into the scope of this work. The subsequent action of Carbonarism, its renewal of the war against the pope, the collapse of the latter's army, largely composed of Irish loafers, who entered Rome in potato sacks, with a hole for the head and two for the arms, and his final overthrow, are matters of public history.

586. Sicilian Societies.—Sicily did not escape the general influence. In 1827 there was formed a secret society in favour of the Greek revolution, the "Friends of Greece," who, however, also occupied themselves with the affairs of Italy. There was also the "Secret Society of the Five," founded ten years before the above, which prepared the insurrection of the Greeks. In Messina was formed the lodge of the "Patriotic Reformers," founded on Carbonarism, which corresponded with lodges at Florence, Milan, and Turin, by means of musical notes. But the Sicilian Carbonari did not confine themselves to political aims: to them was due in a great measure the security of the roads throughout the island, which before their advent had been terribly infested by malefactors of every kind, who almost daily committed outrages against peaceful travellers.

587. The Consistorials.—But the conspirators against thrones and the Church were not to have it all their own way; clerical associations were formed to counteract their efforts. The sect of the "Consistorials" aimed at the preservation of feudal and theocratic dominion. The rich and ambitious patricians of Rome and other Italian states belonged to it; Tabot, an ex-Jesuit and Confessor to the Holy Father, was the ruling spirit. It is said that this society proposed to give to the Pope, Tuscany; the island of Elba and the Marches, to the King of Naples; Parma, Piacenza, and a portion of Lombardy, with the title of King, to the Duke of Modena; the rest of Lombardy, Massa Carrara, and Lucca, to the King of Sardinia; and to Russia, which, from jealousy of Austria, favoured these secret designs, either Ancona, or Genoa, or Civita Vecchia, to turn it into their Gibraltar. From documents found in the office of the Austrian governor at Milan, it appears that the Duke of Modena, in 1818, presided at a general meeting of the Consistorials, and that Austria was aware of the existence and intentions of the society.

588. The Roman Catholic Apostolic Congregation.—It was formed at the period of the imprisonment of Pius VII. The members recognised each other by a yellow silk ribbon with five knots; the initiated into the lower degrees heard of nothing but acts of piety and charity; the secrets of the society, known to the higher ranks, could only be discussed between two; the lodges were composed of five members; the password was "Eleutheria," i.e. Liberty; and the secret word "Ode," i.e. Independence. This sect arose in France, among the Neo-catholics, led by Lammenais, who already, in the treatise on "Religious Indifference," had shown that fervour which afterwards was to carry him so far. Thence it passed into Lombardy, but met with but little success, and the Austrians succeeded in obtaining the patents which were given to the initiated, two Latin texts divided by this sign,

A | R

meaning Congregazione Catholica Apostolica Romana, and their statutes and signs of recognition. Though devoted to the independence of Italy, the Congregation was not factions; for it bound the destinies of nations to the full triumph of the Roman Catholic religion. Narrow in scope, and restricted in numbers, it neither possessed nor, perhaps, claimed powers to subvert the political system.

589. Sanfedisti.—This society was founded at the epoch of the suppression of the Jesuits. There existed long before then in the Papal States a society called the "Pacific" or "Holy Union," which was established to defend religion, the privileges and jurisdiction of Rome, and the temporal power of the popes. Now from this society they derived the appellation of the Society of the Holy Faith, or Sanfedisti. The way in which the existence of the society was discovered, was curious. A friend of De Witt (555) during carnival time in 1821, entered a shop in the Contrada di Po at Turin to purchase a costume. He was examining a cassock, when he noticed a pocket in it, containing some papers. He bought it and took it home. The papers gave the statutes, signs, passwords, etc., of the Sanfedisti. The owner of the cassock, one of the highest initiates, had been struck by apoplexy, and his belongings had been sold.

Finding themselves discovered, the Sanfedisti changed the password and sign, making, instead of the former one, an imperceptible cross with the left hand on the left breast. They had been in existence long before 1821; in France they conspired against Napoleon, who sent about twenty of them to prison at Modena, whence they were released by Francis IV. The supposed chiefs, after 1815, were the Duke of Modena and Cardinal Consalvi. The first had frequent secret interviews with the cardinals, and even the King of Sardinia was said to be in the plot. Large sums also are said to have been contributed by the chiefs to carry on the war against Austria, which, however, is doubtful. Some attribute to this society the project of dividing Italy into three kingdoms, expelling the Austrians and the King of Naples; others, the intention of dividing it into five, viz., Sardinia, Modena, Lucca, Home, and Naples; and yet others and these latter probably are most in the right the determination to perpetuate the status quo, or to re-establish servitude in its most odious forms. They also intrigued with Russia, though at certain times they would not have objected to subject all Italy politically to the Austrian eagle, and clerically to the keys of St. Peter.

Their machinations at home led to much internal dissension and bloodshed; their chief opponents were the Carbonari. At Faenza the two parties fought against one another under the names of "Cats" and "Dogs." They caused quite as much mischief and bloodshed as any of the bands of brigands that infested the country, and their code was quite as sanguinary as that of any more secular society. They swore with terrible oaths to pursue and slay the impious liberals, even to their children, without showing pity for age or sex. Under the pretence of defending the faith, they indulged in the grossest licentiousness and most revolting atrocity. In the Papal States they were under the direction of the inquisitors and bishops, who, especially under Leo XII., gave them the greatest encouragement; in the kingdom of Naples, under the immediate orders of the police. They spread all over Germany, where Prince Hohenloh-Schillingsfurst, Bishop of Sardica, protected them. Prince Julius de Polignac was head of the society in France.