and how apparently inexhaustible were the resources of the Empire of which the petty princes of the peninsula were but puppets, it is remarkable that political agitation, with a view to reversing the decisions of Vienna, should have begun so soon, and on so large a scale.
Not that the nation, as a whole, was yet prepared to move; every revolution, till 1848, was partial in the sense that the mass of the people stood aloof, because unconvinced of the possibility of loosening their chains.
But, during that long succession of years, the number of Italians ready to embark on enterprises of the most desperate character seems enormous when the risks they ran and the difficulties they faced are fully recognised.
The Carbonari acted in two ways; by what they did and by what they caused to be done by others who were outside their society, and perhaps unfavourable to it, but who were none the less sensible of the pressure it exercised.
The origin of Carbonarism has been sought in vain; as a specimen of the childish fables that once passed for its history may be noticed the legend that Francis I. of France once stumbled on a charcoal burner's hut when hunting 'on the frontiers of his kingdom next to Scotland,' and was initiated into the rites similar to those in use among the sectaries of the nineteenth century.
Those rites referred to vengeance which was to be taken on the wolf that slew the lamb; the wolf standing for tyrants and oppressors, and the lamb for Jesus Christ, the sinless victim, by whom all the oppressed were represented.
The Carbonari themselves generally believed that they were heirs to an organisation started in Germany before the eleventh century, under the name of the Faith of the Kohlen-Brenners, of which Theobald de Brie, who was afterwards canonised, was a member.
Theobald was adopted as patron saint of the modern society, and his fancied portrait figured in all the lodges. That any weight should have been attached to these pretensions to antiquity may appear strange to us, as it certainly did not matter whether an association bent on the liberation of Italy had or had not existed in German forests eight hundred years before; age and mystery, however, have a great popular attraction, the first as an object of reverence, the second as food for curiosity with the profane, and a bond of union among the initiated.
The religious symbolism of the Carbonari, their oaths and ceremonies, and the axes, blocks and other furniture of the initiatory chamber, were well calculated to impress the poorer and more ignorant and excitable of the brethren.
The Vatican affected to believe that Carbonarism was an offshoot of Freemasonry, but, in spite of sundry points of resemblance, such as the engagements of mutual help assumed by members, there seems to have been no real connection between the two.
As far as can be ascertained, it gave a general support to Napoleon, while Carbonarism rejected every foreign yoke.
The practical aims of the Carbonari may be summed up in two words: freedom and independence.
From the first they had the penetration to grasp the fact that independence, even if obtained, could not be preserved without freedom. Nor were they agreed in a definite advocacy of the unity of Italy.
heres a plastic figure I converted into a bersaglieri in battle. I used Pattex tile putty that is like plastic. Its unfinished as needs to be done better as regards the paint job plus I intend to fix metal bayonet.