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that his statements should be received in the first instance with incredulity, and that he had himself felt that incredulity, but that it has yielded to conviction step by step. (P. 41.)
Guided by his own heart, — the heart is always in its right place in a gentleman, as was said by the knight who refused to commit an unworthy act, which, it was urged, would remain a secret,- Mr. Gladstone determined on endeavouring to mitigate the horrors which he had witnessed, and to expose the infamies which he had discovered, no matter at what sacrifice. We confess we envy his party a man, whose talents we have often admired, but whose generosity of feeling had not been sufficiently appreciated; and, far from grudging him the universal approbation with which his noble vindication of the rights of humanity has been greeted, we cannot avoid muttering to ourselves, — Cum talis sis, utinam noster esses !
Although there have been now and then whispers of disapprobation, such as, What are the sufferings of some Neapolitans to Mr. Gladstone? Mr. Gladstone's resolution in publishing what he saw has been generally applauded. Would any man stand by without expressing his horror, were a child murdered under his eyes ?-and, yet, what is that to him? Had the case been one of illegality only,—had there been no other charge against the Government of Naples, than that every day and in every act of its existence it violates the fundamental law of the land, - that law which the King, in the most awful and solemn manner, spontaneously swore to maintain, on his word as a king, and on his soul as a Christian,- there might have been some excuse on the part of Mr. Gladstone if, out of respect to a political line of conduct, which we freely admit to be very often the least objectionable to follow, he had repressed bis private feelings as an Englishman. But this illegalitygross, flagrant, and universal as it is,— becomes totally insignificant in comparison with the other features of the case, features which convert every man who feels for his fellowcreatures as Christians ought, into an avenger of outraged humanity, and give him a mission to expose, if he cannot otherwise amend, a gigantic iniquity, such as has rarely in the history of man trampled upon earth, or lifted its audacious front to heaven.
There is a bond of flesh that unites man to man,there is a community of nature and of lot, of thought and feeling, of hope and aspiration, of weakness, of sorrow, of suffering, which under certain circumstances compels us with a power paramount to that of ordinary rules of conduct, -framed upon the supposition of an average standard of behaviour among
men,- to act in an exceptional manner. The present, - We confidently appeal to those who have any knowledge of the facts,- is one of those anomalous cases for which no ordinary rule can provide, and which is, therefore, to be decided on its special merits.
In his admirable Letters Mr. Gladstone has been particularly careful— perhaps too much so-to guard himself from being supposed to mix up the question of the illegality of the Government, with the means which that Government adopts to support it. The Neapolitan Government is struggling to protect its utter illegality by a tyranny unparalleled at this moment in any part of the globe, and scarcely with a rival in the annals of older atrocities. To say 'unparalleled at this moment'is saying little. That might be true were it in point of cruelty, corruption and iniquity, only a little more than primus inter pares. But it is much more. It is a Government which stands in a class and constitutes a genus by itself; it surpasses by a considerable distance any other well-ascertained case even of Italian tyranny. It purchases perjury by bribery in all ranks,- in its police agents, in its witnesses, in its instruments of execution, whom it dignifies with the name of judges. It views the use of these means as sanctified by the end, which end is rank murdermurder carried into effect by the application of the slowest refinement of misery in the persons of their unhappy victims, and veiled under the mask of hypocrisy. It perpetrates these enormities upon such a scale, that whole classes are included under its fell swoop. Above all, and as a whole, that class is most persecuted which constitutes the real vitality of a nation —the middle class in its widest acceptation, but particularly in its upper portion which embraces the professions, — the most cultivated and most progressive part of the nation. Let the heartless and pedantic politicians of the selfish school consider these facts; not feeling in themselves the courage to imitate Mr. Gladstone, they may well envy him that success, from which they in vain try to detract by their craven scruples; Virtutem videant intabescantque relictâ. · We are told that a few of the political friends of Mr. Gladstone have not been overpleased that a man filling so prominent a political position should have done what, as a party man, he ought, in their opinion, to have avoided. We think, on the contrary, that the party to which Mr. Gladstone belongs will benefit from his noble efforts in favour of the oppressed and persecuted; and were we of a different opinion, we should be still more disposed to admire Mr. Gladstone's manly conduct Political principles, moreover, are not the worse for being seasoned with a
Trefinement pied into effethe end, whic
King of Naples deceived by his Ministers.
soupçon of humanity. We are not sure that Mr. Gladstone has not sacrificed too much to his position as a statesman in forbearing from unfolding the foul case against the Neapolitan Government in that assembly of gentlemen where his words are always received with profound attention, and where generous sentiments are certain to find sympathy. Whatever may be thought of Mr. Gladstone's reserve in this respect, of this we are satisfied, that nothing could be more considerate than his proceedings towards a party which, volens nolens, he feels to have something in common with his. Before exposing to the publie atrocities the unveiling of which must make even a Neapolitan Government shake - trepidant immisso lumine Manes — Mr. Gladstone addressed his First Letter, privately, to Lord Aberdeen, disclosing important facts, in the hope that, being made known in the proper quarter through so influential a channel as his Lordship, some remedy might be applied.
* But,' says Mr. Gladstone in his Second Letter, the manner in which it (the First Letter] had been received in the quarter directly affected by my allegations, had entirely convinced me that it would not be warrantable to trust any longer, in this case, to the mere force of expostulation, before, driven from the definite hopes which I had founded upon your assistance, I committed my First Letter to the press.'
Here we pause merely to remark, in justice to the King of Naples, that we have good ground for affirming that he never saw Mr. Gladstone's First Letter before it was printed, although it was intended that he should do so. Whether he has seen it even now, is more than we can say; and that he may not even now know all the iniquities which Mr. Gladstone with so much precision and moderation relates, is very probable; for since his ministers, treating His Majesty as a cipher and a mere tool in their hands, took it upon themselves to keep from him the whole truth, as we know, we may very well doubt whether even a part was ever communicated to His Sicilian Majesty. The character of the facts disclosed by Mr. Gladstone is by this time well known over all the civilised world in which — republican France, of course, its foreign legations and the agents of the Neapolitan Police excepted-not a voice has been raised to palliate them. In England, where the letters of Mr. Gladstone are circulating by thousands, it is hardly necessary to do more than allude to them.
Although the guilt or innocence of the gentlemen now dying a lingering death in the Neapolitan dungeons does not in the least affect the value of Mr. Gladstone's disclosures, we think, nevertheless, that it is desirable, particularly with
the view of giving an insight into the nature and working of the Neapolitan Government, to relate the history of one or two of the crimes imputed to the persons now suffering as guilty of them. The deeds which we shall have to record would seem to proceed from a government bent only upon destroying the fundamental truths of religion and morality, in order to substitute for them falsehood, thirst for blood, the gratification of all the meanest and most degrading passions, and relying only on brute force for securing their triumph — the triumph of vice in its most revolting nakedness -- the oppression of virtue in its noblest form; in short, adopting the phrase which Mr. Gladstone quotes, the negation of God reduced to a system.
Poerio, Settembrini, Agresti, Faucitano, Romeo, Pironti, Nisco, and all those of whom Mr. Gladstone speaks in his Letters, were accused of belonging to a secret Society called l'Unità Italiana. Now we have looked very carefully over all the documents to which we could possibly obtain access, but we have not found any proof of the existence of such a society which would justify one of our magistrates in committing a prisoner. We will rest on the authority of the prosecutor to show how rotten is the whole case. The speech of this public officer contains extracts from documents which, it is contended, prove the existence of the Society ; but besides that they are only extracts, their authenticity is far from proved. And when a Government, its courts of law, and its police are capable of forging documents, as we shall show to have been the case at Naples, we are at liberty to more than doubt the authenticity of what purports to be the statutes and blank diplomas of the Society I'Unità Italiana. But, what is more, no proof has been offered by the public accuser that the persons accused ever saw the statutes in question, or that the Society, to which they were charged to belong, was the same with that to which the statutes and diplomas referred.
From the same speech of the public accuser, we shall extract some specimens of judicial logic, judicial fairness, and judicial evidence; from them, better than from any comment, the absurdity of the charges and the iniquity of the judgment may be inferred. One of the accusations was, that the members of l'Unità Italiana were conspiring to establish a republic, and that Nicola Nisco, one of the alleged directors of the Society, was very eager to enlist partisans in this cause. As a proof of this, the public accuser states that sundry captains of the National Guard in the Principato Ulteriore
• Listened to the perfidious insinuations of Nisco, and that the most criminal correspondence by letters, of which Nicola Riano and
harged to in question. Ccuser that the
Speech of Angelillo, the Public Accuser.
Crescenzio Petrillo were the bearers, was carried on between the conspirators. I cannot lay before you,' says the worthy Angelillo,
the mad words which were used in that correspondence, because the several letters having remained in the hands of the conspirators, they have escaped the judicial researches. But the object of that correspondence was too well shown by the incautious conduct of the captain of the National Guard of Montefredino, and of some of his dependents, who, after having read one of those letters, which, at Nisco's request, was taken to them by Crescenzio Petrillo, in April, 1848, in this man's presence, overcome by an irresistible enthusiasm, each of them broke out in the elegant exclamation: “ Then, by “ heaven! we must proclaim the Republic!” And this is, moreover, proved by the Captain of Solofra, who, on receiving a similar letter, strongly urged the bearer of it to conceal in future such letters about his person near the skin, to avoid getting into trouble. From these exhortations, even that uneducated and half-witted man argued that the object of that correspondence was to collect forces and to proclaim the Republic. In the same manner and for the same purpose Nisco held a correspondence with the districts of Montesarchio and of Cervinara, and also with the city of Benevento; and his correspondents there were Joseph de Ferrariis, Frederic Verna, Salvator Sebariani, persons of the same party, and well known for destructive intentions.* And we may well believe that these persons were not idle, for Sebariani, more daring than the others, attempted a revolt at Benevento; but not succeeding, he was sent to prison.' (Angelillo, pp. 17, 18.)
And the Court, worthy of such an Attorney-General, quotes in its judgment against Nisco such proofs as these, almost word for word; only adding that at the trial the faithful messenger Petrillo explained' that the unanimous exclamation of the Captain of Montefredino and his friends about the proclamation of the Republic, were uttered in this manner: Nisco wishes to
be elected deputy, and we will have the Republic,'— an 'ex
planation' utterly unintelligible, and making darker what was before incredible. Comments are superfluous; only we beg to observe, that at pages 25. and 55. of these same precious · Con
clusions,' the guilt of Nisco is argued from his having been a candidate for the place of Deputy to Parliament for his own native province.
Another specimen of evidence worth notice, is that of a person of the name of Margherita, who, being himself accused, endeavoured, but unsuccessfully, to escape a severe punishment by calumniating, clumsily in most cases, his. co-accused. The
* It is necessary to note that Benevento belongs not to the kingdom of Naples, but to the Papal States.