Culture: Campanian / Neapolitan Italian
Setting: banditry, Italian unification, Campania 19thc
Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)
* Leeds 1974 p99-100
"The people of the south had to adjust to a new system of law. Many Piedmontese had only supported the Risorgimento on condition that their own laws and traditions should apply to the new state. They felt that any scheme for unity which allowed freedom to the regions would eventually break up, or play into the hands of corrupt local officials. Thus in November 1859 Piedmontese laws had rapidly been applied to Lombardy, and to other regions after 1860. The government thought it was a waste of time to study other systems and local preferences, but in many areas it seemed as if unity had imposed yet another foreign domination.
"Economic, social and political grievances led to a revival of brigandage, which found favour among the Church and ex-Bourbon supporters. The exiled King Francis soon found himself involved in the schemes of the Legitimist Party in Rome, becoming the centre of a counter-revolution which, having no hope of victory by way of the ballot box, found its outlet chiefly in brigandage. Clara Tschudi, a Norwegian writer, describes how the brigands 'from time to time, shouting cheers meanwhile for the dethroned King, made incursions into Neapolitan territory; but, as a rule, drew back hastily across the frontier, into the security of the Papal dominions; the great ladies of the Legitimist Party asked their friends among the officers to wink at the doings of the brigands, and consequently, when the French succeeded in capturing a few of these banditti, they handed them over at once to the Papal officials, who let them go on their way. The Queen-Dowager spent a large part of her fortune in supporting the brigands, who performed their feats in the name of the royal family. Francis also gave all he could spare from the crumbs he had been able to save.
"The brigands were not merely seeking plunder, but also aiming to incite the people of the Two Sicilies to revolt by revealing the misery that Piedmont had brought. A Bourbon supporter, Giuseppe Tardio, went ot Rome and put himself at the head of a band of criminals. In July 1862, without attempting to conceal his identity, he issued a proclamation: 'To the People of the Two Sicilies. Citizens! The factious despotism of the Piedmontese government seduced you, at the conquest ofthe kingdom, with deceptive promises. You have reaped bitter fruits therefrom. This fair country is reduced to a province, you are oppressed with taxes and loaded with misery and desolation.'"