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able body by insurgents, whom the heavy yoke of the then existing government of Naples had galled and fretted into rebellion. The poor fisherman saw himself in a moment exalted to the rank and circumstances of the most absolute prince, and surrounded by one hundred and fifty thousand persons, all ready to obey his smallest signal. He immediately selected as his companions, Perrone, and a fellow named Arpaja, two violent and perverse men, and began without scruple, to dispose, command, to execute justice, and to confer favour, with such absolute authority, and such sudden and summary execution, that never even had Ottoman Sultan been so feared and obeyed.
The Duke of Arcos, perceiving that the revolution was thus fearfully increasing, wrote a conciliatory billet to Masaniello, promising to grant all the demands of the infuriated populace. He required all the advantages contained in the act of privilege granted by Charles V. This demand being received, a council was held, and it was determined to deceive the people by sending forth a false copy of the said privileges through the medium of the Duke di Matalone; but this fraud was by some means discovered by Masaniello, who, on finding himself deluded, ordered the Duke de Matalone to be imprisoned; and had it not been for the agency of Perrone, who had once been employed in the duke's household, that nobleman would have fallen a victim to the indignation of the Demagogue.
Masaniello, by this new provocation, was so inflamed to rage and desperation, that he gave sudden orders to his mutineers to burn sixty of the most considerable houses, that is to say, the habitations of all those members of the government who had in any way been connected with the impost, or other legal aggravations of the people. The wild agents of Masaniello, having received from the hand of their chief a list of instructions, commenced their work of destruction, by setting fire to the palace of the Duke di Caivano : the women and children flocking to the scene, with straw, pitch, and faggots, and every means they could procure, to increase and accelerate the conflagration, crying aloud, "Let us burn out these thieves!" The same ruin happened to the two splendid palaces of Tommaso Dachino, and Zavaglios a Spaniard, both of them materially interested in the levy of the taxes. It was a very striking circumstance, that, in so many conflagrations, in which the destruction of gold, plate, jewels, and other wealth, was computed to amount to more than six millions of crowns, not an individual was found who dared appropriate to himself so much as a pin ; on the contrary, if the impetus of the flame cast any thing forth of the general wreck, it was instantly thrown back into the fire; the Neapolitans exhibiting in this, a wonderful resistance to nature, as they had ever been remarkable for lightness of hand.
Masaniello rode through the city with his truncheon of command, a train of one hundred thousand armed men at his horse's heels, while he exercised the sovereign sway in the dress of a poor fisherman, ragged and bare legged; loudly disclaiming all ambitious feelings or motives. The viceroy and cardinal were compelled to pay him unqualified submission; and he was equally obeyed by the spiritual power, for priests, monks, and prelates were at his feet, and all the churches offered up
especial prayers for his preservation. On the third day of his empire, he declared his intention of holding a conference, for the purpose of treating with the viceroy. He caused the cardinal archbishop to be summoned to his presence, and having attired himself magnificently in a robe of silver brocade, he proceeded in a coach with that reverend personage to the castle of St Elmo, escorted by an immense multitude.
The cardinal, Masaniello with one of his relations, (dressed in cloth of gold,) and two tribunes of the people, entered the castle; the guards received the Demagogue with the utmost honour, and the viceroy believed himself compelled to meet and welcome his fearful visitor with the most profound bows. The poor fisherman coolly, and without astonishment or embarrassment, accepted the unwonted homage. As the conference in which the viceroy and Masaniello were engaged, naturally drew to some length, the people who waited in the piazza became impatient, and no longer beholding their chief, a suspicion arose among them that he had met with foul play, that he had perhaps been arrested and thrown into prison; this suggestion was sufficient to excite instantaneously the most horrible tumults; the Duke of Arcos was obliged, in order to appease the people, to show himself at the window with his arm round the neck of Masaniello, and loading him with feigned caresses. "Wilt thou," said Masaniello to the prince, "have an example of the implicit obedience of the Neapolitan people ?" And without awaiting a reply, he ordered the people to shout, "Long live the Duke di Arcos !" Then he commanded them to cease. Then he desired them to divide and leave an open road through their ranks, now to be covered now uncovered, and a thousand similar absurdities: the whole was performed with the most submissive exactness. The treaty being concluded in conformity with the will of Masaniello, he quitted the castle, leading with him the cardinal, and entered the church del Carmine, where, being seated on two velvet seats, they read the articles to the people, who hailed them with the most overwhelming and stunning outcries of applause.
Meanwhile a report became prevalent through the city, that the Duke di Matalone had caused two vaults to be charged with gun-powder, in order to involve the heads of the people in sudden destruction, as they had been accustomed to select a spot near these said vaults for their place of council; it was added moreover, that the viceroy, with the connivance of Matalone, had dissembled in his concessions to the people, in order to gain time for the execution of their designs. This rumour, whether it was utterly false, or whether it had any real basis, proved a tremendous stimulus to the passions of the people, who rushed upon the palace of Matalone, in the piazza di Chiaja, and with great fury betook themselves to the work of havoc, setting fire to this noble edifice, and utterly destroying whatever it contained. Naples did not boast a more splendid palace, besides that it abounded in gems, gold, and precious furniture. They exerted themselves strenuously to obtain possession of the person of Matalone, but he was so fortunate as to escape from their pursuit 'by a precipitate flight: but the baffled crowd then turned their vengeance against Don Guiseppe Caraffa, brother of the Duke, who had taken
refuge in the convent of Santa Maria Nuova; but the sanctuary availed him nothing, the blood-thirsty multitude penetrated to his hidingplace, dragged him forth, murdered him without mercy, and divided his body into portions, which they hung up as objects of menace and warning in different parts of the city.
Masaniello, having now attained the seventh day of his unlimited rule, began to show palpable symptoms of a disordered intellect. He would furiously tear off his clothes in the midst of the piazza, and having stripped himself quite naked, demanded another dress; he would imitate the noise and roarings of wild beasts, neigh like a horse, bray like an ass, howl like a wolf, &c. He issued the most ridiculous and fantastical decrees, gave the most discordant and contradictory orders at the same moment, dispatching on the same errand eight or ten people; he ran sword in hand through the city, wounding without scruple or exception, whomsoever he met; he plunged into water with all his clothes on, and having thus bathed, lay down in the fiercest aim of the sun-beam. He sentenced one to be hanged, another to be broken on the wheel, a third to be cruelly whipped; some he imprisoned, others he condemned to the galleys, and arriving at the utmost pitch of insolence, he broke out into sallies of intolerable violence against the associates and counsellors of his own choice, scrupling not to strike them with his fist or his staff, as he was provided for the occasion; commanding and acting with insane or brutal caprice. This madness was attributed to various causes; some placed it to the account of his incessant vigils, and to the immensity of thoughts and speculations working together in the brain of an illiterate, base, and unexperienced person; while the more prevalent idea (and the truth of which has been since farther confirmed) accused the Duke di Arcos of having, while they conferred together in the castle, administered to the Demagogue a beverage so composed as to produce the effect of a total derangement of intellect.
As if pursued by furies, Masaniello would rise in the dead of night, crying, "Am I a monarch, and do I not command? Up! up! and follow me!" He frequently exclaimed, that if the Duke di Matalone were but his friend, he would rule the world. He insisted that the nobles should kneel wheresoever they met him, and because Don Ferrante Caracciolo, and the great master of the horse, had neglected to descend from their carriage to perform the exacted homage, they were compelled to kiss his feet in the public market-place, amid the hisses and insults of the people. He afterwards complained of the contumacy of the cardinal, who had failed to pay him a visit; his eminence lost no time in remedying a fault whose consequences would have been difficult to calculate; he lavished titles of honour and terms of applause on the tyrant, who replied sneeringly, "The visit of your eminence, though late, is nevertheless dear to me!"
The madness of Masaniello soon rendered him insupportable, even to his chosen companions; it happened that, in one of his fits of fury he violently ill-treated one of his counsellors named Genovino, and next proceeded to the same outrages with another called Arpaja: these men, being driven by conduct past all endurance, to revenge, ran to the viceroy, whom they intreated to deliver them from such a heavy and
odious yoke. The viceroy, encouraged by this schism among the insurgents, ventured to order the arrest of Masaniello, who was accordingly seized as he returned from the harbour where he had been to inspect the vessels, and to promote new captains to the command of the galleys, but he was speedily liberated by a desperate effort of the multitude, and by them he was aided in his retreat to the church del Carmine, where, having ascended a pulpit, he made a frantic address to the people, which lasted for the space of an hour; when, being exhausted, he retired to take rest in the cell of a friar; but while he stood leaning against a window, the brothers Catanei and Ardizone, with a numerous train of men armed with fire arms; rushed upon him, crying, "Long live the King of Spain and the Duke di Arcos! and perish Masaniello!" Thus crying, they aimed their pieces at the unfortunate Demagogue, who fell pierced by innumerable balls, exclaiming with his last breath, "Ah! ye ungrateful traitors!" His body was dragged naked through the city, and his head was exposed on a pole in the market-place, all the people exclaiming at the sight of it," Long live the King of Spain! and let no one on pain of death speak more of Masaniello!"
Such was the end of the fisherman Masaniello: and never did the page of history afford a more striking example of the versatility of the multitude, and of the inconstancy of fortune.
THE ISLES OF GREECE.
THE isles of Greee, the isles of Greece !
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung
The Scian and the Teian muse,
The hero's harp, the lover's lute,
The mountains look on Marathon
And Marathon looks on the sea;
I dreamed that Greece might still be free;