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The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
  William Godwin
  Emma Goldman
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  Errico Malatesta
  Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
  Max Stirner
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  Anarchist History
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  Haymarket Massacre
  Spanish Civil War
Ernest Alfred Vizetelly. The Anarchists: Their Faith and Their Record. Turnbull and Spears Printers, Edingurgh, 1911.




(1877- 1878)

The introduction of Anarchism into France, Spain and Italy--The Rising of Benevento--Anarchism reaches Belgium, Holland and Germany--The German Socialist Extremists--Prince Bismarck's Attempts to suppress Socialism--The Emperor William I.--Attempt on his life by Hoedel--Hoedel's Antecedents and Opinions-- Regicide and the Anarchists--Dr Nobiling, his Position and Principles--His Attempt on the Kaiser--Trial and Execution of Hoedel--Death of Nobiling--Threatening Letters to the Kaiser and Bismarck--Repressive Measures in Germany--A new Reichstag and an anti- Socialist Law--Mistaken Policy of Bismarck-- Alphonse XII., King of Spain--His Life attempted by Moncasi and Otero y Gonzalez--Humbert, King of Italy, and the Situation in his Kingdom--His Life attempted by Passanante- Cairoli and Giamettine save the King--Demonstrations and Bombs--Outcome of Passanante's Attempt--Queen Victoria and Madden--France and the International.

FROM Switzerland, Bakunin's habitat, Anarchism soon spread to other countries. Its theories having been adopted by several French exiles, partisans of the Paris Commune, it speedily made its way into France, either through their agency or that of the journal called " L'Avant Garde," to which we previously alluded. That organ having been killed by repeated prosecutions, was replaced in or about 1878 by another entitled " Le Revolte," which was produced by Prince Kropotkin, Herzig, Dumartheray and Elisee Reclus. Within a few years Anarchist groups were already to be found in several towns of Southern France, notably Lyons, Grenoble, Vienne, Roanne, Villefranche Saint Etienne, Beziers, Narbonne and Cette.

From the south of France one of Bakunin's former partisans named Fanelli carried the doctrines of Anarchism across the Pyrenees into Catalonia, where they speedily recruited adherents, notably at Barcelona and Tarragona. Meantime Count Carlo Cafiero, Enrico Malatesta and others introduced Anarchist theories into Italy where groups sprang up in several of the northern cities such as Milan, Bologna, Forli and Ravenna, and also at Rome and Naples. To Cafiero and Malatesta must be ascribed the first outburst of militant Anarchism. Already in October 1876, the year of Bakunin's death, they had laid down, at a Congress at Berne, the proposition that insurrection was the only efficacious mode of propaganda. In pursuance of that idea, and in conjunction with a friend named Ceccarelli, they indoctrinated a number of Neapolitan peasants, and in the course of 1877 stirred up an armed rising in the rural districts around Benevento. They seized several villages, notably Letino and San Gallo, and appropriated the municipal funds, which they distributed among their followers; but troops were sent against them and the insurrection was soon suppressed, several men being captured and consigned to prison. The real character of the movement was scarcely recognised at the time, but it undoubtedly sprang from Cafiero's propaganda of Anarchism. It was, however, but a sudden, brief, spasmodic outburst not imitated elsewhere.

In Belgium the Anarchist theories were first diffused by Gerambon, Piette, Huyskens and Chauviere, most of whom were seceders from the old International. The new ideas found little favour in Holland, where they were supported solely by a small group at Amsterdam. And, at first, they recruited only very few partisans in Germany, where the influence of Bakunin's antagonist, Karl Marx, remained so great. Nevertheless, Proudhon's Anarchist views had found disciples there in Karl Grun and Moses Hess, the latter of whom had produced works entitled " Philosophic der That " and " Sozialismus " as far back as 1843; and it was a German named Schwab who in or about 1877 first carried Anarchism across the Atlantic, forming a small group of the party at Saint Louis. Further, it was in Germany that occurred the very first Anarchist regicidal attempt--the inauguration of the so- called Propaganda by Deed in respect to rulers and their ministers.

It was perhaps only natural that Anarchism should spring up amidst the frequent disputes which arose between the different Socialist factions already existing in Germany, the followers of Marx, Lassalle, Liebknecht and Bebel, the so- called Federalists, Mediators, Katheder- Socialisten and others. The views of those sects often failed to satisfy the more revolutionary spirits, and thus already in 1878 Anarchist groups certainly existed in the cities of Leipzig and Berlin. Among the more extreme Socialists, moreover, there was a physical force party, whose leaders included three deputies to the Reichstag, Johann Most, a former journeyman bookbinder, Hasselmann, who was nicknamed the German Marat, and a certain Fritzsche, whose views were equally advanced.

Prince Bismarck, the Imperial Chancellor, who had coquetted with Socialism in former days, and even favoured its early development, thinking it might serve him as a weapon against Ultra- Conservative and Ultramontane tendencies, had become, by 1875, apprehensive with respect to the progress it was making, and had forthwith proposed to the Reichstag a variety of repressive measures which were not adopted. He afterwards endeavoured to introduce into a new penal code a clause punishing with imprisonment any person who might publicly excite the various cIasses of society one against the other, or who might attack such institutions as marriage, family and property. The Reichstag however, refused to pass that clause, and for a time the Socialists were able to pursue their propaganda subject to existing legislation. The aspirations of the more extreme sects were fully indicated by their literature. " In all Germany," said one of their journals about this time, " there will soon only remain two parties, those who possess and those who do not possess, the deceivers and the deceived, the satiated and the hungry. The struggle between them has already begun, and it will end by the destruction of the old forms of society. Come, Socialist toilers, set to it ! Long live the Commune ! " In a wild song written by a Socialist working man and sung at the party gatherings during the elections of 1877 there occurred the significant words: " We will not vote for a Black (i.e. a clerical) nor even for a White and Black (the colours of - the Prussian flag), for the Devil is black and Death is white.... Let us vote Red. Red is the colour of love which springs from the heart. Let us, then, vote Red. The Red Flag will bring us Liberty ! " Yet another song of the time, one set to the music of " La Fille de Madame Angot," had this chorus:

" Hier Petroleum, da Petroleum,

Petroleum um und um,

Lass die Humpen frish voll pumpen Dreimal hoch Petroleum ! "

That was inspired by a recollection of the burning of the monuments of Paris in the last days of the Commune, and was as plain an indication as could have been supplied of the tendencies by which the extreme German Socialists were swayed. In spite of the Reichstag's attitude the Government did not remain inactive. Many Socialist journalists were arrested, and at one moment the " Freie Presse " of Berlin had its editor and three Of its chief contributors in prison, their arrests being effected in a most summary fashion without any attempt at explanation, and without any steps being taken for bringing the assumed offenders to trial. We know, however, that Bismarck was at this time contemplating a fresh appeal to the hitherto recalcitrant Reichstag in order to induce it to give the Government sufficient powers to crush the revolutionary agitation, which, in his opinion, was becoming more and more dangerous. The accuracy of this view was fully demonstrated on May II, 1878, when an attempt was made upon the life of the Kaiser. William I., German Emperor and King of Prussia, was then in his eighty- second year, but still vigorous. From his earliest youth he had been a soldier, and had spent his life in uniform. During the reign of his elder brother, Frederick William IV., otherwise " King Clicquot," he had been very unpopular, notably during the revolutionary troubles of 1848, when he found it expedient to reside for a time in England. Varnhagen von Ense wrote of him at that period: " It is not merely in these days of riot that he has revealed his military haughtiness, his thirst for retaliation, his desire to crush the masses by means of the soldiery, his contempt for all civic rights, and his ambition to consolidate the principles of authority by the shedding of blood. Such language has been continually on his lips for months past." ID 1857 Prince William became Regent of Prussia owing to the collapse of his brother, whose mind had been shattered by his bibulous habits, and who was now in such an ignoble condition that he frequently perpetrated gross breaches of decorum--one of the least of these being to wash his face in his soup at state dinners. Early in 1861 King Clicquot died and William then became ruler de jure as well as de facto. He still remained unpopular owing to his policy of absolute rule coupled with stringent plans of military reorganisation, and shortly after his accession to the throne an attempt was made on his life at Baden- Baden by a student named Oscar Becker. On the eve of his coronation in the ensuing month of October the new King assembled the members of the Prussian Landtag and said to them: " The rulers of Prussia receive their crowns from God To- morrow, then, I shall take the crown from the Lord's table and place it on my head. This signifies royalty by God's grace, and therein lies the sacredness of the crown which is inviolable. I know that you will so understand the ceremony which I have summoned you to witness."

That address, in which the reader will recognise the spirit that has so often animated the monarch's grandson the present Kaiser, was soon followed by a bitter struggle with the Prussian Chambers on the question of supplies. Three years later, however, the Schleswig- Holstein War diverted attention from constitutional grievances, and then in turn came the triumphs over Austria in 1866 and over France in 1870-71 The prestige of repeated victories and the restoration of the Germanic Empire ended by procuring for the monarch considerable personal popularity among his subjects, including even the more liberally minded of them, who, in respect to constitutional questions, reserved their enmity for his powerful Chancellor. The Socialists, of course, regarded the sovereign with dislike, and many of them were often prosecuted for lese- majeste. Still, even among them, the surprise was profound when in May 1878, as we previously mentioned, there came a deliberate attempt to assassinate the laurel- crowned victor of Sedan.

He was taking his customary afternoon drive in an open carriage, accompanied on this occasion by his daughter the Grand Duchess of Baden, when, at about half- past three o'clock, while he was passing along Unter den Linden--being near the Russian embassy, about half- way between the Brandenburg Gate and the Royal Palace--a young fellow came up behind the vehicle, and fired at him with a revolver. But the bullet missed its mark, and seeing this the would- be regicide darted across the road, crouched down, and fired a second shot, with, however, precisely the same result. Nevertheless, the Grand Duchess of Baden was so terribly frightened by this attack that she sank back in the carriage, swooning. Not so the old Kaiser. He had smelt powder too often to take alarm; and his only feeling was one of profound surprise. " What ! is it possible that these shots are intended for me ! " he exclaimed. Then, standing up in order that the people who were running to the spot might see he was unhurt, he bade his coachman stop and his chasseur alight in order to secure the culprit. The latter tried to escape, and fired repeatedly though uneffectually at those who endeavoured to stop him; but near the corner of Schadow Strasse he encountered several people, and after a desperate struggle, during which one gentleman received such severe internal injuries that he died from them two days afterwards, the would- be regicide was at last arrested.

The Kaiser drove back to his palace, whither all the authorities speedily repaired to congratulate him on his fortunate escape. That evening he showed himself both at the Opera and at the Schauspielhaus, where the audiences greeted him enthusiastically. Moreover, Berlin was illuminated, and great crowds gathered in the streets to cheer the old Emperor and his daughter as they drove to one and the other theatre; whilst congratulatory telegrams continued to arrive at the palace from every other crowned head and chef d'etat. The very first of those messages was one from Marshal MacMahon, then President of the French Republic. The young man who had been arrested was named Emil Heinrich Max Hoedel, and his nominal calling was that of a tinsmith. He was a Saxon by birth, a native of Leipzig, and although he had barely attained manhood he already had a deplorable record. In his childhood he had developed thieving propensities to an unwonted degree, and had been flogged by the police and consigned for some years to the reformatory at Zeitz. Later after he had been pronounced physically unfit for military service, he had joined the Socialist party in his native city. But neither the theories of Marx nor those of Lassalle satisfied him, and when an Anarchist group was formed at Leipzig he promptly became one of its adherents. At the same time he did not sever his connection with the Socialists. In fact, he acted as a subscription agent for the " Vorwarts " and the " Fackel," the two Leipzig Socialist organs, in which capacity he repaired to Austria and Hungary, whence the police expelled him in 1877. In the following spring he arrived in Berlm, where he assumed the name of Lehmann, and became affiliated to three of the most advanced Socialist societies. He had now quite discarded the calling of tinsmith, for which he had been trained at the Zeitz reformatory, and appears to have subsisted chiefly by selling Socialist periodicals.

It seems clear that it was his association with the small Anarchist group at Leipzig which first inspired Hoedel with the idea of making an attempt on the Kaiser. It was shown at his trial that already in his Leipzig days he had spoken of the inefficacy of mere Socialist agitation and reform, and hinted at the necessity of striking down kings and emperors. That idea eventually possessed him. A few days before the affair in Unter den Linden, having gone to a photographer's studio to have his portrait taken, he had remarked to the master of the establishment that he was putting money in his way. He would soon be a famous man and thousands of his portraits would be sold " when a certain piece of intelligence was Hashed through the world." Those words fully indicated that the young fellow had deliberately premeditated his deed.

But there was more to come. Hoedel's attempt to shoot the Kaiser occurred, as we have said, on May II; and on Sunday, June 2, there came a second one, this being made by a certain Karl Eduard Nobiling, a doctor of philosophy and a gentleman by birth and associations.] It would be, of course, both wrong and foolish to assert that every regicide or would- be regicide has necessarily been an Anarchist. History proves the contrary. There were regicides, and many of them, long before the days of the Anarchist sect. To take but a few examples from the annals of France, Jacques Clement, who assassinated Henri III., was a monk imbued with the ideas of the " League "; Ravaillac, who killed Henri IV., was an ultramontane Catholic; the men who attempted to blow up First Consul Bonaparte with the infernal machine of the Rue Nicaise, were Royalists bent on restoring the Bourbons; Louvel, who despatched the Duke de Berri, was a Bonapartist who wished to deprive the senior branch of the Bourbons of the chance of leaving any posterity; Orsini and the other Italians who aimed at the life of Napoleon III. were men whose idea was to punish him for not intervening to free their country from Austrian domination. Again, the comparatively recent assassination of King Carlos of Portugal was simply the work of Republican revolutionaries having no connection with the Anarchist sect.

Reverting to Nobiling his case was peculiar. The truth appears to be that, like Hoedel, he stood on the borderline separating Socialism from militant Anarchism. In some respects he was certainly a prototype of the Anarchist solitaires of later times. We have already said that he was of gentle birth. Born at Kollno, near Birnbaum, in the province of Posen, on April 10, 1848, he was the son of a landowner and a lady of title. He had brothers serving as officers in the Prussian army, and for his own part had studied at the universities of Halle and Leipzig, where, however, the violence of his views had led to his being nicknamed the petroleur.

It was in October 1877 that Nobiling first took up his residence in Berlin, whence he carried on a fairly extensive correspondence with Paris and London, which it is supposed, was connected with the Socialist agitation in Germany. At the same time, however, he took no part whatever in any of the Socialist meetings at Berlin, but led a very retired life, just like the Anarchist solitaires to whom we have referred. It is at least known, however, that he deemed " the suppression of monarchs to be necessary for the good of the Commonwealth," and it is quite certain that he long premeditated his attempt upon the Kaiser.

After reaching Berlin Nobiling repeatedly changed his lodgings there, and, at last, in January 1878, was able to secure rooms on the second floor of No. 18 Unter den Linden, which he doubtless considered suitable for the purpose he had in view He then bided his time, living meanwhile in an irreproachable manner, paying his way out of his private means and the money he earned by contributing to various scientific periodicals. After Hoedel's attempt on the Kaiser, he expressed to some of his few acquaintances a kind of cynical satisfaction that it should have failed, as he did not regard the young tinsmith as a sufficiently worthy instrument for such an important deed. He undoubtedly felt that he was better qualified to undertake it himself, and made every preparation with that object. On June 2 he drafted and deposited in a prominent lace on his writing table a memorandum of the amounts which he owed to his landlady and his laundress, directing that they should be paid out of a sum of some [[sterling]]7 which would be found in the table drawer. He then placed in readiness a revolver and a double- barrelled gun, the latter being heavily loaded with shot, which he may have thought would prove more effectual than bullets at such a range; and seating himself at his window, overlooking the Linden, he waited for the Kaiser to pass on the afternoon drive in which he still indulged without any extra precautions being taken, in spite of Hoedel's recent attempt on his life. It was between two and three o'clock when the imperial carriage came in sight, and as it passed the Kaiser Gallerie, Nobiling appears to have covered the Emperor, and then to have kept the muzzle of his weapon dead on the latter's head until the carriage was directly in front of the window. At a moment when the Kaiser was acknowledging the salutes of some bystanders, Nobiling fired. The monarch, carrying his hand to his face, half rose from his seat, and the carriage, which had suddenly stopped, was by his orders on the point of turning round, when Nobiling discharged his second barrel. This time the Kaiser sank back in the vehicle, and the bystanders could see that he was bleeding profusely from the face. He was, moreover, wounded in the head, the back, the arms, and hands, and for a moment the spectators imagined that he had been killed.

But some police agents, followed by a few zealous citizens, had already rushed into the house where Nobiling resided, and the door of his room was speedily burst in. Nevertheless' he still had time to turn his revolver against himself, fire it, and fracture his skull before he was seized and pinioned. Bleeding and, no doubt, suffering acutely, he still momentarily retained command of his faculties, and after hastily confessing his deed attempted to justify it by his convictions. He even acknowledged that he had accomplices, but refused to name them, and shortly afterwards became totally unconscious.

Meantime the Kaiser had been driven back to his palace, put to bed and examined by his doctors, who found thirty small shot embedded in various parts of his person. He, retaining all his composure, seemed inclined to make light of his injuries, and sent word to Nasr- ed- Deen, Shah of Persia, who was then visiting Berlin, that a little contretemps would prevent him from dining with him that evening. But the muscles of the arms began to swell, and it soon became evident that although the Emperor's injuries did not endanger his life, some time must elapse before he would recover. It was necessary, moreover, that his hands and arms should remain bandaged, and on that account an imperial decree was issued investing the Crown Prince (afterwards the Emperor Frederick) with the duty of representing his father in the current business of government and of signing all documents which required the royal sign manual.

At that moment the famous Berlin Conference following the Russo- Turkish war--the Conference which, according to Beaconsfield and Salisbury, resulted for England in " peace with honour," that is the acquisition of Cyprus --was on the point of being held, and the Crown Prince represented his father throughout the sojourn of the various European plenipotentiaries in the Prussian capital. Kaiser William, indeed, as soon as he had sufficiently recovered to bear the fatigues of a journey was moved to his castle of Babelsberg, near Potsdam, there to recuperate.

Meantime Hoedel was brought to trial before the High Court of State, which he at first confronted with a defiant mien, thereby leading many to imagine that he intended to glory in his deed. But to the general amaze he absolutely denied having fired at the Kaiser at all He had been out of work for a long time, said he, and finding himself destitute had resolved to commit suicide. If he had selected Unter den Linden as the scene of this act of self- destruction it was, he declared, with the object of acquainting fashionable people with the misery prevalent among the working classes. His counsel pictured him as a victim of delusions and as a man who might well have intended to commit suicide, but that theory was completely demolished by the production of a letter which Hoedel had addressed to his parents since the attempt, and in which he plainly stated that " he had sacrificed his life to the public weal, that he regretted having missed his aim, and that the good cause would not be lost owing to his mishap." After twenty minutes deliberation (July IO), the court adjudged the prisoner to be guilty and sentenced him to death. It was with apparent indifference that he heard the announcement of his fate. The sentence was carried into effect at Berlin on August 16, the long interval which was allowed to elapse after the trial being due to a variety of causes, among which was a desire on the part of the authorities to ascertain whether Hoedel and Nobiling had been in any way connected. Such would not seem to have been the case if one may judge by the answers which Hoedel gave to the questions put to him by the officials. As for Nobiling no explanation could be obtained from him. After swooning away soon after his arrest he never recovered consciousness but lingered through June, July and August, literally between life and death, and incapable of making any further statements respecting his crime, even had he desired to do so. At last, on September 9, he died of his self inflicted wounds.

Meantime the Kaiser was being strongly guarded at

Babelsberg for fear lest any further attempt should be made upon him. None occurred, but the authorities remained in a state of apprehension, owing to the many threatening letters which were addressed to the aged monarch, letters which subsequently followed him to Toeplitz and Gastein, and which warned him against daring to return to Berlin, as should he do so he would be promptly put to death by more able men than Hoedel and Nobiling. Threatening letters also pursued Prince Bismarck wherever he went at this juncture, and it seemed not unlikely that some attempt might be made on him also.

At this period Berlin was so crowded with troops that one might have thought the city in a state of siege, and the hand of the law fell right heavily on every Socialist or Anarchist who talked at all uncautiously. In some instances the authorities were justified in the course they took, in others their rigour was excessive. From the beginning of June till the middle of August no fewer than 563 persons were tried for insulting the Kaiser or approving the attempts of Hoedel and Nobiling, and regretting they had failed. In only 42 instances were the prisoners acquitted; in 521 cases (which included those of 31 women) they were convicted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment amounting in the aggregate to 812 years. These were entirely trials by judges or magistrates; in no single instance did the prisoners have the advantage of trial by jury; and the convictions continued at the average rate of ten per diem during three months subsequent to the date we have given above, the terms of imprisonment meted out to the convicted parties tanging from one month to four years. In five instances persons thus accused of lese- majeste committed suicide. It should be added that while the great bulk of the prosecutions took place in Berlin there were others at Bonn, Breslau, Bochum, Mannheim and Halle.

In a few notable instances the government failed to secure the support of the judicial bench. For instance, the Socialist deputy, Hasselmann, had been arrested on various treasonable charges, soon after Hoedel's attempt, but though he was brought before court after court until the supreme tribunal was reached, the judges refused to Convict him. Further, the Reichstag, in which the National Liberals were then the most important party, again refused to pass an anti- Socialist bill which Prince Bismarck placed before it, and he then had to appeal to the Federal Council to dissolve the imperial parliament. At the elections on July 30 the Socialist candidates polled considerably more votes than they had done the previous year, but the majority of the new Reichstag was not unfavourable to the Chancellor's desire for repressive measures, and thus his anti- Socialist bill was now referred to a committee which adopted most of its provisions. Others it altered. For instance, for the purposes of the measure, it defined the term Socialist as referring to a person or a theory that aimed at the subversion of existing institutions by physical force, whereas Bismarck had wished to apply it to all who might endeavour to effect that object even by constitutional agitation and gradual undermining. It also restricted the operation of the bill to a period of two years and a half, and stipulated that five judges, instead of five functionaries, should serve on the special Commission of Appeal.

During the debates in the Reichstag several leading Socialists, including, notably, Liebknecht, expressly repudiated the crimes of Hoedel and Nobiling, and protested against the special legislation directed against their party. Nevertheless, the bill became law towards the end of October, and the Government at once put it into force. Before the end of the year the sale of 45 Socialist newspapers, German or foreign ones, and of 151 other publications had been prohibited; while 174 clubs or associations had been suppressed, in addition to 21 trades unions. Further, a " minor state of siege', was proclaimed in Berlin, by virtue of which the authorities expelled about fifty persons, who were considered " dangerous to public security," among then, being deputies Hasselmann, Fritzsche, and Johann Most.

Writing on this very subject thirty- two years ago we pointed out that although outwardly the German body politic had been pretty well cleansed of Socialism, the latter had in reality only been driven deeper into the system, and that the ultimate result of such a mode of treatment was well known. It was, indeed, both unjust and ridiculous to make every Socialist sect, without any distinction whatever, responsible for the attempts of Hoedel and Nobiling. Yet such was Bismarck's mistaken policy, and it came to pass that Socialism really gathered strength from the harsh repressive measures to which it was subjected. It is now a greater factor than ever in North German political life, and if the authorities of present times still keep it in some degree in check this is less by the virtue of exceptional laws than by that of the various measures which have been adopted to improve the lot of the working- classes. At the same time Bismarck's policy may be partly explained, if not justified, by the fact that the year 1878 was marked not only by the attempts on the Emperor William, but by others on the sovereigns of Russia, Spain and Italy. Thus the Chancellor became more and more inclined to extreme courses, the most drastic, indeed, that he could devise visiting his wrath not only on the Physical Force Socialists and the little group of Anarchists which had collected in Germany, but likewise on all the pacific Socialists, those who were merely bent on realising their ideal by constitutional means.

The plots which occurred in Russia at this time were, of course, Nihilistic, and may therefore be left on one side; but the attempt which was made on the life of the King of Spain was distinctly the work of a Catalan Anarchist) one of those who had adopted the teachings of Fanelli. In 1868 Alphonse, Prince of Asturias, then eleven years old, had accompanied his mother, Isabella II., into exile; and for six years or so his home was in Paris. But in 1874, after Spain had made a variety of experiments, sandwiching an Italian sovereign, Amadeus, Duke of Aosta, between two Republics, the young Prince was recalled and proclaimed King by Primo de Rivera and Martinez Campos. The liberal part of the nation accepted him less on account of any particular merit he possessed than because, in the tottering condition of the Republic, he was deemed to be the lesser of two evils, for if the throne did not go to him it would probably be secured by the Pretender, Don Carlos, who, since 1872 had been at the head of a dangerous insurrection in the north of the Peninsula.

Alphonse XII. was still only seventeen when he ascended the throne, and naturally enough, official accounts notwithstanding, he did little or nothing personally to subdue the Carlists. But they were subdued, and the young King was hailed with the title of " El Pacificador." In January 1878, when he was little more than twenty, he espoused his cousin, the beautiful Dona Maria de las Mercedes, a girl in her eighteenth year, and the younger daughter of the Duc de Montpensier. It was a love match, and the marriage was contracted in spite of the violent opposition of that depraved elderly lady, ex- Queen Isabella. But in June the same year, two days before her birthday, the young wife, who had been seized with gastric fever, suddenly expired, to the great grief of her husband and the regret of all who were acquainted with her charm and goodness of heart. In the autumn, in order to divert his mind, the King went on a tour of inspection through the north of Spain, and had barely returned to Madrid, when on October 25, while he was driving through the Calle Mayor, which runs from the Armoury to the Puerta del Sol, a young fellow in a blouse rushed forward and fired two pistol shots at him.

Neither took effect, and the King's assailant thereupon endeavoured to escape, but there are always a good many loungers about this part of Madrid, and these, shaking off their usual air of apathy, speedily surrounded and secured the culprit. In fact there was a likelihood of his being lynched had not the police energetically intervened. The prisoner's name was Juan Oliva Moncasi. He was a native of the province of Tarragona, a cooper by calling--one of the men, in fact, who make the casks in which so- called " Spanish port " is shipped to England--and he was already a married man although only twenty- three years old. He frankly admitted that he had come to Madrid a fortnight previously with the express intention of assassinating the King. The authorities not unnaturally thought that he might have accomplices, and his trial was postponed pending investigations, but they yielded virtually no result, though a good many people were arrested, and others were subjected to searching interrogatories. In the end, Moncasi alone was brought to trial, and early in January 1879, having been found guilty, he perished by the Spanish mode of. execution, the garrote, on the Campo de Guardias, outside Madrid, his execution being witnessed by a crowd of 50,000 persons.

As in the case of Cafiero and Malatesta in Italy, Anarchism, at this time, was not known to the Spanish authorities as a distinct doctrine. Thus Moncasi was generally described as a revolutionary Socialist or Internationalist, though some folk thought that his deed was of Carlist inspiration. There is no doubt. however, that he was one of Fanelli's followers. His attempt on the young widowed King had at least one result of importance. Dona Maria de las Mercedes had died too soon to leave offspring; and, influenced by Moncasi's crime, which, though in itself abortive, might be the signal for other and more successful attempts, the royal advisers deemed it urgent that the succession to the throne should be assured. This led to early negotiations with the House of Austria, and the King's marriage on November 29, 1879, to the Archduchess Maria Christina. Sentimental people thought that he had forgotten the beautiful Mercedes far too soon, but if his first union had been really a love match, his second was due solely to political considerations. There seemed to be justification for that speedy second marriage, for a month after its solemnisation, that is, on December 30, 1879, the King again became the target for an assassin's bullets.

On this occasion Alphonse and his consort were in a carriage near the palace gates, when a youth of twenty, named Francisco Otero y Gonzalez, fired at them twice, but each time unsuccessfully, for the first bullet passed between the royal pair, and the second through the hat of one of their attendants. Still it was a narrow escape. The culprit was apprehended and a number of other arrests were made, but it has always been doubtful whether this particular attempt had any real political significance, for Otero y Gonzalez, who was in service as a pastry- cook's assistant, was a young fellow of very weak intellect, and may merely have yielded to some aberration.

But let us now revert to 1878, and turn to Italy, where, in the month of November, King Humbert I. was assailed by one of Cafiero's disciples, a desperate Neapolitan Anarchist named Giovanni Passanante. Until then, it had been claimed by the House of Savoy that, ever since the days of Humbert of the White Hands, the virtual founder of their line, who ruled over Savoy, Aosta and the Lower Valais in the eleventh century, not one of them had been attacked by an assassin. At the time of Passanante's attempt King Humbert had been less than a year upon the throne, his father, Victor Emmanuel II., the re galantuomo, having succumbed to, pleurisy and fever on the 8th of the previous January Here let us mention that at Victor Emmanuel's obsequies a bomb had been thrown at the Corps of Veterans--the survivors of those who had taken part in the struggle for national independence--but it would be wrong to assume that this was the deed of any Anarchist or revolutionary Socialist. The latter, at all events, were represented among the Veterans, and there are reasons for thinking that the outrage was the outcome of the Papacy's loss of temporal power, a protest, so to say, against the spoilation of Holy Church, and the glorification of the usurping House of Savoy.

Within a month of Victor Emmanuel's demise Pius IX. followed him to the grave, and on February 20, Cardinal Pecci was elected to the throne of St Peter and took the name of Leo XIII. Thus there was both a new King and a new Pope in Rome. Both had anxious times before them. The position of the Church need not here detain us, but the reader may be reminded that the young Kingdom of united Italy was at this period in a difficult position. On bad terms with France, it had followed for some years, at a respectful distance, in the wake of the alliance of the Three Emperors (Gennany, Austria and Russia) established at Berlin in 1872, but it had ended by becoming almost isolated, owing largely to the Italia irredenta agitation which was fostered by enthusiasts of the Garibaldian school. The country was also in a bad way financially. There had been attempts to effect too many things by means of a slender purse; and corruption, also, was rife in certain official and parliamentary circles. In the summer of 1878 the results of the Berlin Conference displeased many people, who held that Italian interests had been sacrificed, and the Italia irredenta agitation then became far more violent than previously. Demonstrations took place all over the country, notably at Milan, Genoa, Florence Bologna, Rome and Ravenna, where the cry of Evviva Trento e Trieste libere ! was on thousands of tongues. Again, there was considerable social unrest owing to the economic situation to which we have referred. During the spring a strange affair took place in Tuscany where a certain David Lazzaretti, of peasant extraction, had some years previously founded a religious Socialist sect. Clad in semi- regal and semi- pontifical garb " the Saint," as he was called, endeavoured to stir up the peasantry and in fact collected between two and three thousand followers, with whom he proceeded to proclaim the Christian Republic. It was all very suggestive of the semi- Anarchical Adamite and Anabaptist movements of long ago, but it was of much briefer duration, for the carabinieri being called out, an affray ensued and Lazzaretti was shot dead.

A Cabinet presided over by Agostino Depretis was in office when King Humbert ascended the throne, but m March it resigned owing largely to a scandal which was created by the matrimonial entanglements of Francesco Crispi, the Foreign Minister. A new administration was then formed by Benedetto Cairoli, an able and liberal- minded man, who, like Crispi, had taken a prominent part in the struggle for Italian independence.

He experienced great difficulty in coping both with the Italia irredenta agitation, which, as we have said, became acute during the summer, and with the social unrest caused by the lack of money. The times were indeed missed the great crural artery. Still he did not relax his hold, though there is no telling what might have been the result of the struggle had not a municipal guard named Telemaco Giamettine rushed up, and secured Passanante from behind.

The prisoner being in safe custody, the royal carriage was driven in all haste to the palace, where Cairoli, whose wound had bled profusely, was at once put to bed and medically attended. For some little time it seemed as if his condition was not without danger. The King's injury, however, was much less serious. As at Berlin and Madrid, on the occasion of the attempts on William I. and Alphonse XII., so at Naples was the Italian sovereign the recipient of countless telegrams congratulating him on his escape. Foremost among these was a message from the new Pope, Leo XIII., who declared that he prayed God for the preservation of his Majesty's health. The Pontiff rightly put from him at that moment all thought of the fact that King Humbert was, in the Church's eyes, the usurper of Rome, the ruler who withheld from her the so- called patrimony of St Peter; and strong expression of sympathy came, too, from a very different quarter. The old Republican, Aurelio Saffi, one of the Roman triumvirate of 1849, protested vigorously against what he regarded as " an insane misdeed." Demonstrations in favour of the royal house also took place in many parts of the peninsula; but in two cities they were marred by the throwing of bombs. One was hurled into a crowd of citizens and students at Pisa, and another at a detachment of the Corps of Veterans at Florence. In the former instance little harm was done, but in the latter case three persons were killed and several wounded. We have not hesitated to admit that clerical fanaticism may have prompted the outrage at the funeral of Victor Emmanuel; but we do not think it had any thing to do with the affairs at Pisa and Florence As we pointed out early in this chapter Anarchists were already to be found in many cities of Northern Italy.

Passanante, who was twenty- nine years old and followed the calling of a cook, described himself to his judges as an Internationalist, and a programme of the International Working Men's Association was, indeed, found at his lodgings. But he was not an Internationalist of Karl Marx's school. His explanations showed that his views were those of the dissidents who had followed Bakunin's leadership, the views carried into Italy by Cafiero and others. He wished, he said, to see misery cease--and so do all of us--but he also desired not merely the abolition of monarchies--he frankly declared that he detested kings--but the abolition of all authority as well. Ergo he was an Anarchist, and, as his attempt on King Humbert demonstrated, a militant one, a believer in that Propaganda by Deed which Hoedel had begun. Tried and convicted, he was sentenced to death in March 1879, but about a fortnight later the King commuted the penalty into one of imprisonment for life.

The affair inspired Cairoli's colleagues in the ministry with a desire to follow the policy of stern repression inaugurated by Prince Bismarck, but the Italian Legislature, in spite of its undoubted sympathy both with the sovereign and with the prime minister, was averse from extreme courses, and this brought about the Cabinet's resignation and the advent of a new Depretis Ministry, which offered to maintain order with the aid of the existing laws. In defence of that policy it must be said that nineteen years elapsed before there was another attempt on King Humbert's life.

To finish with that regicidal year 1878, we will add that an interpreter of languages, appropriately named Madden, then addressed to the Home Office sundry letters in which he threatened to kill Queen Victoria, and that his insanity was proved. Further, the French Government (Marshal MacMahon being president of the Republic) instituted proceedings against Jules Guesde and some eighty other Socialists for attempting to revive the International Association in France. It had been Suppressed there by a law passed in March 1872 (under Thiers's presidency) owing to the participation of several of its members in the Commune of Paris, and naturally enough the French Conservatives who had risen to power did not desire its revival. On the other hand, although the Anarchists were now gradually increasing in numbers in France, there was as yet no attempt to put the Propaganda by Deed into practice in that country.

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