Saturday, 19 June 2010


In December 1856, a soldier named Ageslao Milano attempted to assassinate the King of the Two Sicilies(above) at a review.
Stazione di Pietrarsa where there is a fascinating railway museum and this statue of the King of Two Sicilies
 He belonged to no sect, but he had long premeditated the act. A few days later an earthquake occurred in the kingdom of Naples, by which over ten thousand persons lost their lives.
 Ferdinand II. grew morose, and shut  himself up in the royal palace of Caserta. The constant lectures of France and England annoyed him without persuading him to take the means to put a stop to them.
Naples Navy 1850
 Not till 1859 did he open the doors of the prisons in which Poerio, Settembrini and their companions were confined.

Swiss artillery in service of Naples
Many plans were made, meanwhile, for their liberation, and English friends even provided a ship by which they were to escape; but the ship foundered: perhaps fortunately, as Garibaldi, with characteristic disinterestedness, had agreed to direct the enterprise, which could not have been otherwise than perilous, and was not unlikely to end in the loss of all concerned.

Disaster attended Baron Bentivegna's attempt at a rising at Taormina in 1856, and Carlo Pisacane's landing at Sapri in the summer of the following year had no better result.
Swiss 30th regiment
 Pisacane, a son of the Duke Gennaro di San Giovanni of Naples, had fought in the defence of Rome and was a firm adherent of Mazzini, in conjunction with whom he planned his unlucky venture.

13th battalion Swiss
jager naples 1849
 Pisacane watched the growing ascendency of Piedmont with sorrow; he was one of the few, if not the only one of his party to say that he would as soon have the dominion of Austria as that of the House of Savoy. But if he was an extremist in politics, none the less he was a patriot, who took his life in his hands and offered it up to his country in the spirit of the noblest devotion.
 He had the slenderest hope of success, but he believed that only by such failures could the people be roused from their apathy.
 'For me,' he wrote, 'it will be victory even if I die on the scaffold. This is all I can do, and this I do; the rest depends on the country, not on me. I have only my affections and my life to give, and I give them without hesitation.'

With the young Baron Nicotera and twenty-three others, Pisacane embarked on the Cagliari, a steamer belonging to a Sardinian mercantile line, which was bound for Tunis. When at sea, the captain was frightened into obedience, and the ship's course was directed to the isle of Ponza, where several hundred prisoners, mostly political, were undergoing their sentences.
The guards made little resistance, and Pisacane opened the prisons, inviting who would to follow him.
The first plan had been to make a descent on San Stefano, the island where Settembrini was imprisoned, but that good citizen had refused to admit the liberation of the non-political prisoners, which was an unavoidable feature in the scheme.
 With the addition of about three hundred men, Pisacane left Ponza for the mainland and disembarked near the village of Sapri, in the province of Salerno. From information received, he imagined that a revolutionary movement was on the point of breaking out in that district.

sapri today above.Here Francesco the Seconds statue at the Railway Museum of Naples
 Nothing could be further from the fact. The country people did all the harm they could to the band, which, after making a brave stand against the local militia, was cut to pieces by the royal troops.
 Pisacane fell fighting; those who were not killed were taken, and amongst these was Nicotera, who was kept in prison till set free by Garibaldi.

The Cagliari was captured and detained with its crew. As two of the seamen were British subjects, the English Government joined Sardinia in demanding its restitution, which, after long delays, was conceded.

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