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They still use the Greek rite at marriage. . There are two crowns prepared for the bride and bridegroom, which, after being blessed, are placed on their heads, and then on the pillows of the bed. The armed Pyrrhic dance, they say, is still known to them under the name of Albanese, or Zamico. These Albanians settled in the kingdom of Naples in the fifteenth century, at the time that their own country was overrun by the Turks, preferring to be exiles rather than give up the religion of their fathers. They at that time belonged to the Greek Church; but it is long since they submitted to the authority of the Pope, and I do not hear that any force was used to bring about the change. I regretted that the day was now fast drawing to a close, as it prevented any further intercourse with the inhabitants of Wena. I hurried away, and reached Maida after sunset, only too happy if I had been allowed to retire to rest; but I had yet to undergo the fatiguing honour of supping in company with the principal people of Maida. After they dispersed I had still to arrange for my next day's journey, and I found these brigands again start up as a bugbear. Everywhere they seem to abound, rendering life here little enjoyable. The distances, too, between the villages I find to be too great to allow of my continuing on foot, and I must therefore hire a mule and muleteer. On this I have determined; but would you believe it, that the judge knew no one on whose fidelity he could depend, or who might not give information to parties, who would waylay me? To obviate this as far as possible, it was arranged that I should have a muleteer for next day, without telling him the direction in which I should proceed; and this is what has been determined on.
I HAVE invariably abstained from expressing any opinion respecting the political administration of the Neapolitan government, unless circumstances naturally led to the subject, and I have not then concealed the sentiments which a British subject usually holds respecting the advantages of a constitutional form of government, guarding myself, at the same time, against giving an opinion whether it would be suited for the present state of this people. I have observed the same rule in respect to religion, though, when I am asked to state what objections I have to the Roman Catholic Church, I have never hesitated to point out those doctrines and that part of her government from which I dissented. I have thus endeavoured to steer a middle course, not wishing to intrude may own opinions on others, and, at the same time, having no desire that there should be any concealment respecting them. Following this rule very strictly, you will be surprised, in my account of this day's proceedings, to hear that I was on the point of being arrested for using what m opponent was pleased to call language defamatory of the Holy Catholic Church. I started at daybreak on a good stout mule on my way to visit Pizzo, the spot where the brave but unfortunate Murat met his fate. The country continued to exhibit a very uncultivated appearance, being at first covered with marshes, though the scenery was in many parts magnificent; the mountains were wooded to the top, and till I approached the sea I traversed a forest of oaks and cork-trees. It is from these woods that my guide told me the brigands issue on unprotected travellers, and he pointed to several rude crosses, which had been erected where murders were committed. They were adorned with faded garlands of flowers, which reminds us of what Tibullus (Eleg. i. 1, 2) says:
Nam veneror, seu stipes habet desertus in agris,
“For I offer my adorations, whether a lonely trunk in the fields or an old altar by the roadside has garlands of flowers.” No brigands, however, made their appearance, and I cannot help feeling somewhat callous to the alarming reports with which the inhabitants are constantly assailing me. The road, running along a natural platform for many miles, was delightfully shaded by lofty trees, and occasionally we had glimpses of the sea, slightly rippled by a breeze, which reached us sufficiently to cool the air. I cannot conceive a more beautiful scene than that through which I passed. At last I reached Pizzo, which stands close to the sea, a short distance from the post road, and when I entered the principal locanda, I was surprised to be addressed in French by a person who was seated at one of the tables. I made no concealment as
to my object or my country, entering freely into conversation with him. He artfully led me to the subject of religion, and, believing that I was conversing with a person unconnected with the country, I made no secret of my opinions respecting the ignorance of the clergy, and the superstitious character of the people. ...You may judge of my surprise and indignation when, on rising from dinner, he coolly said that the sentiments which I had expressed on these subjects were of a kind that he, as lieutenant of gendarmes, should find it his duty to put me under arrest. The heat of the day had caused him to sit undressed, so that I was not aware that he was one of the officers belonging to government. I saw at once that he was an unprincipled bully, and I determined to meet him without flinching, thinking it likely that he would be afraid to put his threat in execution if he found that I was not so unprotected as my present appearance might have led him to believe. I told him that I had imagined that I had been addressing a French gentleman; I found, however, that I had been conversing with a person who had acted the dishonourable part of entrapping me into a conversation on a subject on which I had no desire to speak, and was then going to take advantage of my candour to curry favour with his government for zeal in its cause. My arrest could only inconvenience me for a short time, as I had letters to all the chief magistrates in his district from the most influential men in Naples, and their guarantee for my honour would, I trust, bear down any statement which he could bring against me. ... I should take care, at the same time, that his conduct should, through the English minister at Naples, be represented in the proper quarter for animadversion, and I should demand his dismissal as satisfaction for my unjust imprisonment. I told him that I was aware of instances in which Englishmen had been treated by Neapolitans in the way that he threatened, but I also knew that these very men were afterwards placed by their government at the disposal of those Englishmen for punishment. At the same time I pulled out a letter, and asked if he could read the address. He acknowledged that it was to the royal governor of his province. I showed him another to the supreme judge. I saw at once by his confusion and cowed look that I had judged rightly of my man, and I now dared him to put his threat into execution. His tone was completely changed, and he assured me, in a humble manner, that he had had no intention to exert his authority, though others in his place might possibly have done so. He showed a desire to make up for the annoyance he had given me, and I thought it impolitic to take any further notice of what had taken place. Though I showed a bold front on the emergency, I did not feel sure that I might not have been considered to have broken the law technically by my line of argument, as the penal code contains this enactment: “Whoever teaches against the Catholic doctrine in order to change it, shall be banished from the kingdom for life.” I am quite certain that any faltering on my part would have ensured my arrest, which would have been very annoying, and I resolved in my own mind that I should be still more cautious for the future, and steer clear of such a pitfal. Hearing that I was anxious to visit the spot where Murat had fallen, the lieutenant offered to accompany me, and to employ his official authority to obtain from the gaoler some account of his last moments. As I thought that I might, perhaps, have some difficulty in getting admittance to the prison, I accepted his offer, though I had no confidence in his honour, and imagined that this kindness might only be a pretenee to get me within the walls of the prison without exciting the attention of the inhabitants. I showed, however, no appearance of shrinking, though it was an anxious moment when I heard the gate grate behind me. The gaoler was introduced, and his appearance was not so prepossessing as to make me wish for a more intimate acquaintance. There was, of course, no longer any necessity for concealment, and as the lieutenant seemed to take no further steps, I became convinced that my suspicions were uniust. J You may have read a detailed account of Murat's trial and condemnation, but you may find it interesting to hear the statement of the gaoler, who evidently considered himself the most important personage in the transaction. It was on a Sunday morning, October 8, 1815, that two small vessels were seen to approach Pizzo without attracting much attention from the inhabitants, who were employed at the time in hearing mass. Murat and thirty of his followers landed immediately, without a single question being asked, and proceeded to the public square, where he found the legionary soldiers on duty in that very uniform which he had himself bestowed upon them. He exclaimed, “Ah, my brave legionaries, you still wear my uniform;” and, naming one whom he recognised, he said, “Do you not know me, your king, Joachim Murat’” To this one of them answered, “Ferdinand is our king, by whom we are paid.” Meanwhile, a crowd of people had collected round him, and he urged them to cry, “Viva Joachimo Murat l” and to pull down the flag which was displayed on the castle, calling it a “mappino,” a “rag.” This word is Neapolitan, and is used to signify the towel made use of in the kitchen by the cook to clean her dishes, and was, no doubt, used by Murat in contempt. . It is derived from the Latin, mappa. When no one offered to do so, he upbraided them as a mere band of brigands and traitors to their sovereign. As no one seemed willing to bring forward the horses for which he called, he inquired for the road to Monteleone, the chief city in the vicinity, and began to mount the hill to the post-road. In the mean time a person had proceeded to give information to the commanding officer that Murat had landed, and was haranguing the soldiers in the public square. The result was soon known, and the direction in which he was proceeding. The officer immediately ordered a party of men to hurry forward to the point, where the road from Pizzo joined that to Monteleone, while he himself followed in the direction that Murat had taken. Murat had reached the heights where the two roads meet, when an officer stepped forward, and said, “I arrest you in the name of King Ferdinand as a traitor.” Murat's men immediately prepared to resist, and had levelled their guns, when Murat called out to them not to fire, while the officer opposed to him ordered his men to aim at Murat, yet not one shot took effect. It is difficult to account for Murat's indecision at this moment, as no one who has read his history can doubt that he was brave to a fault, but instead of making any resistance, he fled down a precipitous bank and reached the shore. In all prints that you may have seen of him, you will find him represented with long cavalry boots and enormous spurs. He was dressed in this way at the time, and as he attempted to leap into a fisherman's boat, his spurs got entangled in a net and held him fast till his opponents got up, when he was taken prisoner. Then began one of those disgraceful scenes which have only too often taken place when the tide of popular favour has turned against some unfortunate wretch. A few years before, the inhabitants of Pizzo would have crouched before his chariot-wheels; now, they heaped on him every species of indignity. They spat in his face, they tore his clothes, and even plucked the hair from his head and whiskers. I am ashamed to say that the women were more savage than the men, and if the soldiers had not come up and rescued him from their hands, his life would have been sacrificed to their fury. He was carried to the castle, and thrust into a low and dirty dungeon, into which I entered. A telegraphic despatch was sent to the commander of the forces in the district, General Nunziante, who hurried forward without delay, with all the troops he could collect, and took military possession of Pizzo. The exking was placed at his disposal, and he }. no longer any reason to complain of his treatment. Everything was granted that was consistent with his safe custody, and it is only justice to the military officers whose duty it was to act against him, to state that from them he received no treatment unworthy of the high station which he had once held. On Thursday morning orders were received from government to proceed to his trial, and a military commission of twelve persons was formed in order that all legal forms might be complied with. He was even allowed to employ in his defence, if he chose, a person who is called the advocate of the poor. There could be no doubt that he had forfeited his life by an attempt to excite rebellion; every government must possess the power to punish by the extreme penalty of the law any one who shall attempt to depose it. The exact grounds, however, of his condemnation arose, I believe, from his contravention of a law which he had himself enacted. By the quarantine laws, death is the penalty incurred by any one who shall land in the kingdom of Naples from a vessel that has not received “pratique”—that is to say, which has not remained in harbour a certain time under the surveillance of the officers of health. The object, you know, is to guard against the introduction of the plague from the East, and the penalty was one which he had himself sanctioned. This, I believe, was the technical grounds of his condemnation, but even without this he must have fallen a victim to his want of success. After the examination of some witnesses, and no attempt of defence being made by Murat, the military commission retired for a short time to consider its verdict, soon, however, returning, when the president, General Nunziante, addressed Murat somewhat to the following effect: “General Murat, our consciences are clear; you are condemned to death by your own law, and you must die. If you wish a confessor, you shall have one summoned immediately.” He requested that a confessor should be sent for, adding, that he could not believe that Ferdinand would confirm his condemnation; but there was to be no forgiveness for him ; orders had already been given that the law should immediately take effect. It is said that General Nunziante was so deeply affected at the part he was obliged to act, that he retired from the room, and did not again make his appearance. While he was waiting for the confessor, Murat said, “Officers, you have done your duty,” and at the same time requested that paper should be furnished him that he might write a few lines to