Tuesday, February 24, 2009

a bungled rebellion

From the Journals of Lord Byron
February 24, 1821.

Rode, &c. as usual. The secret intelligence arrived this morning from the frontier to the Ci. is as bad as possible. The plan has missed — the Chiefs are betrayed, military, as well as civil — and the Neapolitans not only have not moved, but have declared to the P. government, and to the Barbarians, that they know nothing of the matter!!!

Thus the world goes; and thus the Italians are always lost for lack of union among themselves. What is to be done here, between the two fires, and cut off from the Northern frontier, is not decided. My opinion was, — better to rise than be taken in detail; but how it will be settled now, I cannot tell. Messengers are despatched to the delegates of the other cities to learn their resolutions.

I always had an idea that it would be bungled; but was willing to hope, and am so still. Whatever I can do by money, means, or person, I will venture freely for their freedom; and have so repeated to them (some of the Chiefs here) half an hour ago. I have two thousand five hundred scudi, better than five hundred pounds, in the house, which I offered to begin with.

Notes to the text:

have declared to the P. government - Byron refers to the Papal government, the rulers of the Papal States. The barbarians are the Austrian army under General Frimont.

have declared to the P. government, and to the Barbarians, that they know nothing - There are a couple of reasons why the Neapolitan Carbonaris might have distanced themselves from the Carbonari in the Papal States. Most likely they recognized their inability to fight the Austrian army that far north. The lines of communication and supply would be to long and they suffered from disunity, disorganization, lack of popular support, and a lack of financial resources.

{General Frimont, leader of the invading Austrian army; source: Austro-Hungarian Land Forces 1848-1918}

Some sources:

Life of Lord Byron, Vol. 5 (Moore edition)

Works of Lord Byron (Prothero edition)

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