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folemnity to the church of Carmine, to offer up his thanks to Heaven for the deliverancehe had experienced; and having again confirmed the articles of the laft treaty, returned to his palace, with the universal acclamation of that very rabble, who, but a few days before, had pulled him by the whiskers, and offered him all manner of indignities.
Thus rofe and fell, Mafaniello d'Amalphi, the dread of the Spaniards, the avenger of public oppreffions, and the faviour of his country. Antiquity cannot furnish us with a fimilar example; and after ages will hardly believe to what a height of power this fisherman arrived at, who, trampling barefoot on a throne, and wearing a mariner's cap instead of a diadem, in the space of four days, raised an army of above one hundred and fifty thousand men, and made himself master of one of the most populous cities in the world. In fhort, it may be averred, without exaggeration, that neither the most formidable tyrant, nor the most beloved prince, were ever so much dreaded, or fo foon obeyed, as Mafaniello was, during his fhort, but ftupendous reign. His orders were without reply; his decrees without appeal; and the destiny G g
of all Naples might be faid to have depended upon a fingle motion of his hand.
This is the more amazing, as he had never had any education, and had always paffed among those of his acquaintance, for a simple, joking fellow; and yet, all on a fudden, he was feen to act and fpeak as if he had been long converfant in politics, and the management of public affairs. In the very heat of the commotions, he made, and maintained the most useful orders and regulations, with more wifdom and difcretion than the wifeft legiflators, and the moft experienced generals, could have been capable of. With what art and addrefs did he not infinuate himself into the hearts of fo many thousands, by far his fuperiors; encouraging the fearful, extolling the bold, reproaching the coward, and pathetically defcribing to all the miferable ftate of their country, and animating them to revenge and redrefs themfelves!
In fhort, when we reflect upon the magnitude of the enterprize which he projected and executed; the indefatigable affiduity with which he applied himself to it (an affiduity that robbed him of the hours of nou
rifhment and repofe, and made him dictate to seven secretaries at a time); the just feverity, which, though it compelled him to put many persons to death, never exerted itself on any whofe crimes had not deserved it; and above all, that noble and generous difinterestedness, which kept him poor in the midst of fuch vaft heaps of wealth; we may truly say, that Mafaniello was endowed with all thofe qualifications, high birth excepted, that conftitute the GREAT MAN, and which muft render his name immortal.
The policy of the viceroy, in caufing Mafaniello to be put to death, has admitted of fome doubt. For, although the fedition which he was the first promoter of, seemingly tended to the hurt of the ftate, and the weakening of the fovereign authority, yet his loyalty to the king of Spain, throughout the whole, was never to be doubted: And the very abolishment of the gabels would, inftead of leffening his revenue, have proved beneficial to his Catholic Majefty, as Mafaniello had taken measures for prefenting him with a very large donative, had he lived.
Having mentioned the ingratitude of the people of Naples, in forfaking their great deGg 2 liverer,
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