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which they entered, after those who took refuge therein.

During thefe proceedings, Mafaniello was publicly acknowledged as their general, and complimented with the title of Saviour and Father of his country. Having accepted of the command, amidst the loud huzzas of the rioters, and thanked them in a pertinent fpeech; the first official ftep he took, was, by beat of drum throughout the whole city and fuburbs, to fummon the people to against the tyranny of the government, and the oppreffion of the taxes; and he foon found himself at the head of a force that nothing could withstand.



In vain were folemn proceffions made by the religious orders, and prayers offered up by them for the restoration of peace; thefe, nor the interference of the most popular characters among the nobility and clergy, could appeafe in the leaft the diftractions that reigned. The viceroy and his whole court were confounded at the extravagance of the mob; and thinking himself no longer fafe in the caftle of St. Elmo, he removed, in the middle of the night, to Caftlenovo.


It has been thought by many, that the viceroy did not act with that vigour upon this occafion he ought to have done. Had he had refolution enough to have oppofed them at the beginning, he might cafily, 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 propofed feveral falutary regulations with regard to the price. of provifions, 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 themselves 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, Masa

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A tatter'd robe might vail a lordly mind:
In life's low walk, the hero oft we find;
Who bravely struggles for his country's good,
And feals his noble efforts with his blood.

AFTER many changes and revolutions,

the ancient kingdom of Naples fubmitted to the power of the House of Austria; and by their large and voluntary contributions, the inhabitants gave, from time to time, the most undoubted proofs of their fidelity and obedience to that illuftrious family.

But this liberality was exerted at an expence the people were ill able to bear. They were oppreffed with heavy and increasing exactions, till at length the neceffary provisions for the support of life grew dear. This beHistory of Masaniello,


got difcontent; tumults and infurrections followed; which were attended with murder and bloodshed, and all thofe outrages that are the fure confequences of popular fury and distraction.

Philip the Fourth, king of Spain, of whose dominions Naples conftituted a part, experienced no fmall fhare of this generosity from the Neapolitans; and in the year 1647, it was propofed by government to present him with a further donative. Philip was fenfible of their affection; but those who made the offer, did not confider the inability of the people. All kinds of commodities. being already taxed, it was difficult to contrive a method whereby to raise the money. So that they were obliged, in the present neceffity, to lay a gabel (or tax) upon every fort of fruit; by which the common people were deprived of their ufual nourishment and support, and reduced to the lowest misery and diftrefs.

This gabel was collected with severity for feven months; but it grew at last so insupportable, that the inhabitants of every part of the kingdom determined to bear the burden no longer, and to get rid not only of Dd 4


this, but of all the other impofts. And their defign was attended with fuccefs, beyond their most fanguine expectations. There are certain limits fixed by nature in the mind of man, beyond which oppreffion becomes intolerable; heavy loads and exactions then beget defpair, and oppofition, even at the hazard of fortune and death, enfues.

The city of Naples was extremely populous; and as many families were undone by the weight of the taxes, particularly by that on fruit, whenever the Duke d'Arcas, their viceroy, went out from his palace, he was furrounded by multitudes, who made known to him the hardships they fuffered, and fupplicated for relief. This not availing, they one day peremptorily demanded a release from the most burthenfome taxes, and threatened him with having recourfe to desperate means, if their demand was not complied with. The viceroy was fo terrified at these threats, that he promised them to take off the gabel, and returned, not without apprehenfions of the confequences, to his palace. But being naturally indolent, and unfixed in his refolutions, he neglected to do any thing in the affair, thinking it would fubfide of itfelf.

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