Friday, 3 April 2009


News came in due time of the sequel. On the 9th of February 1821, the Regent received a letter from the King, in which he gave the one piece of advice that the people should submit to their fate quietly.
 He was coming back with 50,000 Austrians, and a Russian army was ready to start if wanted.
 Nevertheless, to prevent a sudden outbreak before the foreign troops arrived, the Regent carried on a game of duplicity to the last, and pretended to second, whilst he  really baulked, the preparations for resistance decreed by Parliament. Baron Poerio, the father of two patriot martyrs of the future, sustained the national dignity by urging Parliament to yield only to force, and to defy the barbarous horde which was bearing down on the country.
 The closing scene is soon told. On the 7th of March, in the mountains near Rieti, General Guglielmo Pepe, with 8000 regular troops and a handful of militia, encountered an overwhelmingly superior force of Austrians. The Neapolitans stood out well for six hours, but on the Austrian reserves coming up, they were completely routed, and obliged to fly in all directions.
square of the bourbon palace naples

'Order reigned' in the kingdom of Naples. In Sicily, a gallant attempt at insurrection was begun, but there was not the spirit to go on with it, and General Rossaroll, its initiator, had to fly to Spain.

Born in Naples from a family of Swiss origin he entered as a cadet in the Neapolitan Army in 1793. In 1799 he joined the Parthenopaean Republic and was appointed captain. Captured by the Sanfedisti and condemned to death he escaped repairing in France; then he re-entered in Italy with Napoleon Bonaparte serving in the Italian Legion.

Rosaroll fought in the Battle of Marengo, later entering in the Army of the Cisalpine Republic. In Milan he wrote his famous treatise on the Art of the fencing


He returned to Naples with general Masséna in 1806. For his brave conduct in the campaign of Sicily of 1811 with Joachim Murat, in 1812 he achieved the rank of Maréchal de camp and was created Baron of the Empire. Again with general Murat he participated to the Russian campaign.

After the Restoration (1815) Giuseppe Rosaroll received from king Ferdinand of Bourbon (Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies) the command of a brigade and then of the division of Messina. In this period he wrote numerous treatises on military technique.

As commander of Messina in March 1821 he tried to organize the military forces of the Two Sicilies stationed in Sicily and Calabria for an extreme resistance against the Austrians entered in the Kingdom in order to repress the Constitutional Revolt of 1820.

Forced to escape to a death sentence for this act (sentence of 27 February 1823), he went in Spain where he joined the ranks of the liberal constitutionalist forces (1822-23). When, in the spring of the 1823, the Spanish revolution was suffocated by the intervention of the reactionary forces of the French Army, general Giuseppe Rosaroll moved again first to England and then to Greece in order to help the Greeks in the fight for their independence. He died in combat in Nauplia fighting as a simple soldier, before obtaining any commission in the Greek Revolutionary Army

 The afterpiece is what might have been expected; an insensate desire for vengeance got hold of Ferdinand, and the last years of his life were spent in hunting down his enemies, real or imaginary. Morelli and Silvati were hung, the fugitives, Pepe and Rossaroll, were condemned to death, but this was only the beginning. The Austrian commander counselled mercy, but in this respect the King showed an independent mind. A court-martial was instituted to examine the conduct of ecclesiastics, public functionaries and soldiers, from the year 1793 downwards. No one was safe who had expressed a dislike of absolutism within the last thirty years. A blameless gentleman who was a Carbonaro, was conducted through Naples on the back of an ass, and beaten with a whip, to which nails were attached. Eight hundred persons are said to have perished at the hands of the state in one year. Ferdinand himself expired on the 3rd of January 1825, after misgoverning for sixty-five years.Ferdinando I delle Due Sicilie

The Neapolitan revolution had just collapsed, when another broke out in Piedmont, which, though short in duration, was to have far-reaching consequences.

At that time, the King of Sardinia was Victor Emmanuel I., who succeeded his brother Charles Emmanuel in 1802, when the latter abdicated and retired to Rome, where he joined the Society of Jesus. Victor Emmanuel's only son was dead, and the throne would devolve on his youngest brother, Charles Felix, Duke of Genoa, whom reasons of state led to abandon the wish to become a monk, which he had formed as a boy of eleven, on being taken to visit a convent near Turin. But Charles Felix, though married, was without children, and the legitimate heir-presumptive was Charles Albert, Prince of Carignano, who represented the younger branch of the family, which divided from the main line in the early part of the seventeenth century. Charles Albert's father was the luckless Prince Charles of Carignano, who, alone of his house, came to terms with Napoleon, who promised him a pension, which was not paid. His mother, a Saxon Princess, paraded the streets of Turin, dressed in the last republican fashion, with her infant son in her arms. Afterwards, she gave him a miscellaneous education, that included a large dose of Rousseau from a Swiss professor. The boy was shifted from place to place, happier when his mother forgot him, than when, in temporary recollection of his existence, she called him to her. Once when he was travelling with the Princess and her second husband, M. de Montléart, Charles Albert was made to sit on the box of the carriage, in a temperature many degrees below zero.

His uncles (as the King and Charles Felix called themselves, though they were his cousins) heard with natural horror of the vagaries of  the Princess of Carignano, and they extended their antipathy from the mother to the son, even when he was a child. In Victor Emmanuel, this antipathy was moderated by the easy good-nature of his character; in Charles Felix, it degenerated into an intense hatred.

It is a singular thing that Prince Metternich, from the very first, had an instinctive feeling that the unfortunate boy, who seemed the most hopeless and helpless of human creatures, would prove the evil genius of the Austrian power. He therefore set to work to deprive him of his eventual rights. He was confident of success, as fortune had arranged matters in a manner that offered a ready-made plan for carrying out the design. Victor Emmanuel had four daughters, precluded from reigning by the Salic law, which was in force in Piedmont. His wife, the Queen Maria Teresa, a woman of great beauty and insatiable ambition, was sister to the Austrian Archduke Francis d'Este, Duke of Modena. Francis had never married, having been robbed of his intended bride, the Archduchess Marie-Louise, by her betrothal to Napoleon. What simpler than to marry the eldest of the Sardinian princesses to her uncle, abrogate the Salic law, and calmly await the desired consummation of an Austrian prince, by right of his wife, occupying the Sardinian throne?

The first step was soon taken; princesses came into the world to be sacrificed. The plot ran on for some time, the Queen, who was in the habit of calling Charles Albert 'that little vagrant,' giving it her indefatigable support. Victor Emmanuel was weak, and stood in considerable awe of his wife, who had obtained a great ascendancy over him in the miserable days of their residence in the island of Sardinia. His nephew, who was almost or wholly unknown to him, partook  of the nature of a disagreeable myth. Nevertheless he had a sense of justice, as well as Savoy blood, in his veins—he resisted; but the day came when his surrender seemed probable. Just at that moment, however, the Duke of Modena prematurely revealed the project by asking through his representative at the Congress of Vienna for the port of Spezia, in order that he might conveniently connect his own state with his prospective possession, the island of Sardinia. Prince Talleyrand was alarmed by the vision of Austria supreme in the Mediterranean, and through his opposition the conspiracy, for the time, was upset, and the rights of Charles Albert were recognised

Nice piece from Italy of the famous Nizza cavalry regiment by amati

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