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It has been thought by many, that the viceroy did not act with that vigour upon this occafion he ought to have done. he had refolution enough to have opposed them at the beginning, he might eafily, it is fuppofed, have fuppreffed the tumults; and even in this ftage of the commotions, had he put himself at the head of his troops, and exerted his authority, the rioters must have laid down their arms.
The duke, however, took a more lenient courfe, and thought to win them by acts of kindness and popularity; he proposed several falutary regulations with regard to the price of provisions, and an abatement of the taxes; but it was now too late. The fury of the people was not in the leaft abated by any of his propofals; nothing but fire and defolation could fatisfy them, and they proceeded in their outrages.
Towards the evening they began to range themfelves under fome order and difcipline; and during the night they kept regular watch, and made every preparation for purfuing their plan of reform.
On the 8th, before it was clear day, Mafaniello
niello appeared in the great market-place; and, having taken an account of the arms and ammunition that had been collected, he computed how many troops could be supplied with them; this done, he divided his military rabble into regiments and companies, among whom he diftributed the arms. And with fuch exactnefs were all his orders, even thus early, obeyed, that by a motion of his hand, they would have cut the throats of all the nobility, and have fet every house on fire.
Nothing now was to be heard in the ftreets but the noife of drums and trumpets, and the clafhing of arms. The colours of each corps were regularly displayed; and Mafaniello's followers no longer appeared to be a rabble rout, but a formidable and wellordered army, abfolutely at the command of their general. And what was ftill more furprizing, and tended to increase the terror and aftonishment of the court, the country people thronged into the town in great multitudes, armed with pitchforks, fpades, pikes, and other rural implements, and breathing nothing but fire and deftruction. Nor were the women, in this general confufion, wanting in their zeal; for they affembled in great numbers,
one hundred and fixty companies of horfe and foot, confifting in all of about fifty thoufand men.
Numberless were the praifes and bleffings bestowed upon Mafaniello, as he paffed along the streets, by the fpectators, who, out of a grateful fenfe of the great deliverance he had wrought for them, honoured him with the glorious title of THE SAVIOUR OF
COUNTRY. Nor did they express their gratitude more by their words, than by their actions. The men ftrewed the way before him with palm and olive branches; while the ladies, from their windows and balconies, which were hung with the richest filks and tapestries, curtfied as he went by, and threw down flowers and garlands. The air was filled with the harmony of mufical inftruments, and nothing was to be heard but univerfal founds of joy and triumph.
Mafaniello being arrived at Caftlenovo, the captain of the viceroy's guard came out to falute him in the name of his Excellency, and bid him welcome to the palace. The General returned the compliment in a few words, uttered with great gravity, and then making a fign to the people that they fhould Ff 2
feveral ftreets, and took every precaution to fecure his palace, and the fortifications he held, from any attempts of the rebels. At the fame time, he endeavoured to foften the people, by increafing the affize of bread; and, instead of pursuing the advice of the council, which was to make a fally from the caftle with a strong body of the guards, and thus repel force by force, his Excellency, being tender of the lives of the people, thought proper to try as yet more gentle measures. He accordingly sent a soft and condescending letter to Mafaniello, wherein he granted. what had been demanded the day before, viz. That the obnoxious taxes fhould be taken off, and the people fablished in their privileges.
But the haughty general only grew the more imperious upon this condefcenfion; and, rising higher in his demands, declared, "that he would be fatisfied with nothing lefs than a restitution of the whole of the privileges granted to the Neapolitans by King Ferdinand, and Charles the Fifth of glorious memory, whofe arms and name he had against his houfe. To this were added many requifitions relative to the future government of the city, which the viceroy thought too injurious to the authority and prerogative of
his royal mafter to be complied with. He ftill, however, promised to make every reafonable conceffion, if they would lay down their arms, and quietly enter upon a treaty of fettlement and accommodation.
The paffions of the rioters were too much inflamed to be satisfied with any thing but the whole of their demands, and they proceeded to fresh acts of violence ;--nor could the interceffion of the principal noblemen— the remonftrances of the archbishop of Naples, who was held in the greatest veneration by them-the prayers of the clergy---the expofition of the hoft, and of the miraculous blood and facred head of Saint Gennaro---nor repeated proceffions, allay the tumult. They would accept of no offers short of fecing the original charters of Ferdinand and Charles, (which, by fome means or other, were not to be found among the archives), and having them folemnly ratified by the viceroy and the different councils.
Though Mafaniello, as already observed, had been advanced to be generaliffimo of the mob, upon account of his courage and natural bravery, yet the people at the fame time appointed an old prieft, named Julio Genovino,