Chapter Xxix

GENERAL PEPE AND THE " ONE BIG UNION "

At the present moment, when we are surfeited with the words unions and mergers, to say nothing of cartels, a new interest is awakened by the perusal of Thomas Frost's book on Secret Societies, from which we extract the following :

" Two results of great importance in the progress of the European revolution proceeded from the events that occurred at Naples in 1820-21. One was the reorganization of the Carbonari, consequent upon the publicity given to the system when it had brought about the revolution, and the secrecy in which it had hitherto been enveloped was no longer deemed necessary ; the other was the extension of the system beyond the Alps. When the Neapolitan revolution had been effected, the Carbonari emerged from their mystery, published their constitution and statutes, and ceased to conceal their patents and their cards of membership. In the Papal States, in Lombardy, and in Piedmont, the veil of secrecy was maintained for a little time longer, partly through the adoption by the Carbonari in those portions of the peninsula of symbols and pass-words different from those of the Neapolitan lodges, partly by the for mation of the various societies of the Adelphi, the Guelphs, the Brother Protectors, and the Italian Federati, which were similar, and yet not the same, though all holding the same principles, and having a common object. But after the collapse of the Piedmontese revolution, so much doubt and fear existed among the leaders as to the extent to which the secrets of the system were known that they were all effaced, and consigned to oblivion. The scattered directors of the movement drew together the broken threads of the conspiracy as soon as they were able, but with a new nomenclature and a new symbolism. 1

" The dispersion of the Carbonaro leaders had, at the same time, the effect of extending the system in France, where it had been introduced towards the end of 1820 and creating centres of revolutionary agitation in the foreign cities in which they temporarily located themselves.

General Pepe proceeded to Barcelona when the counter-revolution was imminent at Naples, and his life was no longer safe there ; and to the same city went several of the Piedmontese revolutionists when their country was Austrianized after the same lawless fashion.

Scalvini and Ugoni took refuge at Geneva ; others of the proscribed proceeded to London. This dispersion, and the progress which Carbonarism was making in France, suggested to General Pepe the idea of an international secret society, which should combine for a common purpose the advanced political reformers of all the European States.

Shortly after his arrival at Madrid, to which city he proceeded from Barcelona, he propounded to two or

1. Thomas Frost, Secret Societies of the European Revolution, vol. II, p. 1 et seq.

three ultra-Liberal deputies the plan of this society, the object of which, he says,

' was to enable the members to correspond and by these means preclude the possibility of a renewal of that want of union which had been experienced amongst the most noted patriots of Spain and Portugal, Naples and Piedmont. Several deputies of the Cortes were inclined to regard such an association as extremely beneficial to the public cause, more especially in their own peninsula, where a great want of concord existed between the Portuguese and the Spaniards. The society was accordingly founded; several members of the Cortes formed part of it, as well as General Ballesteros, Councillor of State. I still preserve the regulations of this society, the great object of which was to open a communication between the most enlightened patriots of the different cities in Europe. It was decided that I should exert myself to give it extension in Lisbon, London and Paris ; and that, in the event of my success, other members should proceed to propagate it over Italy and Germany. '

" Having organized in Madrid the first circle of the Constitutional Society of European Patriots, Pepe proceeded to Lisbon, where he was even more successful in his efforts than in the Spanish capital. Two of the Ministers, and several Councillors of State and members of the Cortes signified their adhesion, and, before Pepe left, a flourishing circle was formed, under the direction of Almeida-Moraes, the president of the Cortes. From Lisbon the general proceeded by sea to London, where, as he says, he soon found that ' a secret society in England among men of mind is a thing quite out of the order of probability '. He mentioned the society to a few, but met with no encouragement. The Duke of Sussex and Sir Robert "Wilson read the statutes and regulations of the society, but only as a matter of curiosity. "

This curiosity is doubtless responsible for the creation of what was later known as The International Committee of London. The particular Duke of Sussex, here referred to was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England from 1813-1843, and this interview with the Italian revolutionary is of great significance showing as it does the effort, at this date, to subvert English Freemasonry to the aims of The International. According to the system which worked out later, English Freemasonry retained, to all appearances, its original autonomy.

But to proceed with the statement of Frost :

" Pepe next opened a correspondence with Lafayette, who hailed the proposed international organization of the secret societies as ' a Holy Alliance opposed to that of despotism, ' and at once associated himself with it. He, with Manuel and Argenson, the triumvirate that was supposed to have directed the Associated Patriots of 1816, were earnestly engaged at that time in the reorganisation of the Carbonari of France, upon a new system, which promised more perfect impenetrability ; and Buonarotti was similarly engaged at Geneva, with a view to renewed operations in Italy. "

" It has been doubted whether Lafayette, Manuel2, and Argenson 3, with others who were supposed to be the leaders of the Carbonari in France, were actually the chiefs of the society; and, with regard to Manuel at least, the point is not susceptible of positive demonstration. There are, in all countries, men of superior station who, when a collision between the people and the Government is impending, are aware of what is going on, and hold themselves prepared to step to the front when the movement has advanced to a point

2. André Jacques Manuel (1791-1857).

3. Marc-René de Voyer, Marquis d'Argenson, harboured Buonarotti, one of the group of conspirators led by Babeuf.

at which they can do so with advantage to the cause and safety to themselves ; but who take care not to commit themselves to it prematurely, or to allow any trace to exist of their connexion with it. This has been thought by some to have been the real position of the individuals whom others have asserted to have been the actual leaders of the Carbonari, as they had previously been held to be of the Associated Patriots ; but though there is no absolute proof that they were the Grand Elect there can be very little, if any, moral doubt upon the point. "

The Author of Secret Societies of the European Revolution writes the foregoing paragraph but fails to explain it.

Who and what are the men he refers to ?

Such indeed are the political principles adopted by the leaders of Freemasonry. Therein lies its power. As soon as any political movement becomes inevitable, as soon as public pressure on an existing government becomes too strong, this sect, in the name of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, takes the secret leadership of the opposing faction. Through the new government which becomes the subservient tool of its capricious master, who, at any moment, may suppress its fledgling, by creating and backing a new opposition, it holds, not the balance of power but all the power.

Thus : Those who rule Freemasonry today, rule the world.

And Frost further adds :

" In 1831, the French Government had not only proclaimed a policy of non-intervention, but had expressly declared that France would not permit intervention on the part of any other Power in the affairs of any nation in Europe. Lafayette was deceived by these professions, and assured Misley (the agent of the Masonic Revolutionary Committee) that the Italians had nothing to fear. "

In that year Masonry made an attempt to cast off the Austrian yoke in Italy by using France as its base of operations. Owing however to French non-cooperation the revolution failed.

" A few days afterwards, Misley and Linati arrived at Marseilles and chartered a vessel, aboard which they put a couple of cannon and twelve hundred muskets. They were joined by General Pepe, Count Grilenzoni, the advocate Mantovani, Dr. Franceschini, and Lieutenant Mori; but, at the last moment, the Prefect received a telegraphic order from Paris to prevent their embarkation and lay an embargo on the vessel. General Pepe evaded the vigilance of the police, however, and contrived to reach Hyeres, where he heard of the entrance of the Austrians into Bologna, and thereupon abandoned his intention of giving the aid of his reputation and experience to the revolutionary cause. "

In connexion with the agitation provoked in Piedmont, during the reign of Charles Albert, by Mazzini's " Young Italy " movement in 1848, the veteran General Pepe again comes into prominence. On March 29, 1848, he arrived at Naples, and was sent for by King Ferdinand who invited him " to form a Ministry, of which he should have the Presidency, with the Ministries of War and Marine. " Every difficulty however was thrown in the way of Pepe's projected military operations, " the Naval Department insisting that the fleet could not convey troops, the King interposing various delays and the Pope refusing permission for more than one battalion or squadron to pass daily. Seventeen thousand troops at last started, but with orders not to cross the Po until the King commanded the passage ! " 4

There was much marching and countermarching but the secret societies had not yet won.

The tangled history of the " Young Italy " movement in its early stages is well explained by Thomas Frost in Secret Societies of the European Revolution, and anyone particularly interested in that phase of political history would do well to refer to this book. Due allowance must however be made for certain omissions and inaccurate deductions on the part of the author who, in 1876, could not have access to information which is now available to anyone seeking it.

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