CORRESPONDENCE RESPECTING THE LANDING
OF GENERAL GARIBALDI IN SICILY
Presented to both Houses of Parliament Command of Her Majesty.
PRINTED BY HARRISON AND SONS.
LIST OF PAPERS.
|1. The Secretary to the Admiralty to Mr. Hammond||May 17,||1860||1|
|2. The Secretary to the Admiralty to Mr. Hammond||May 22,||1860||3|
Sir, Admiralty, May 17, 1860.
I AM commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to send you herewith, for the information of Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, a copy of a letter from Vice-Admiral Fanshawe, dated the 12th instant, with copy of its inclosure, reporting the circumstances attending the landing of General Garibaldi in Sicily.
I am, &c.
(Signed) W. G. ROMAINE.
Sir, “Marlborough,” at Malta, May 12, 1860.
WITH reference to the sixth paragraph of ray letter of the 7th instant, acquainting you, for the information of the Lords Commissioners of thc Admiralty, that the “Intrepid,” on being relieved by the “Scylla,” would proceed to Palermo, and return to Malta, calling at Trapani, Marsala, and Girgenti, on her way;
2.I have the honour to request you will be pleased to inform their Lordships that the “Intrepid” arrived at Marsala yesterday, meeting the “Argus” there, which sloop had been sent by Captain Cochrane to remain a few days, in consequence of the Vice-Consul and British residents having been called upon to deliver up their arms, the the purpose of at fording them any protection that might be necessary; and the “Intrepid” has just arrived here bringing me the intelligence that about 4 p.m. yesterday, whilst Commauder Marryat was on shore at Marsala, learning from the Acting Vice-Consul the state of the town and country, two small merchant-steamers, under Sardinian coloure, steamed rapidly in, and threw on shore, with the assistance of boats from the place, large bodies of armed ltalian soldiers, who quickly moved up and look possession of the town without any opposition, there being no troops in the place, and were well received by the population.
3.Commander Marryat reports the force landed to consist of 2,000 men under General Garibaldi. I inclose a copy of his letter of proceeding for their Lordships’ information.
I have, &c.
(Signed) ARTHUR FANSHAWE.
Sir, Intrepid, May 12, 1860.
IN compliance with your orders, delivered to me by Captain Lambert, of Her Majesty’s ship “Scylla,” I left Messina, on tbe evening of the 9th instant, for Palermo, where I arrived the following morning early, and communicated with Captain Cochrane, of Her Majesty’s ship “Amphion,” who informed me 1 was to proceed to join your flag, calling at Trapani, Marsala, and Girgenti on the way.
On the 11th, I saw the Vice-Consul at the first-named place. He stated that demonstrations had occurred there, in which high and low, rich and poor, joined: all the people had, however, been disarmed by an order of their General, himself amongst the number, which had caused him much annoyance; but, as the Consul at Palermo has referred this question to our Minister at Naples, I advised him to wait his answer.
Thence I proceeded to Marsala, where I was joined by Her Majesty’s ship “Argus.” Whilst on shore, learning from the Vice-Consul the state of the town and country, two steamers carne in sight, under Sardinian colours, and, steaming right up to the mole, began to discharge large bodies of armed men.
I should mention that the largest steamer of the two grounded about 100 yards from the end of the mole, but boats of all kinds were soon around her to assist in landing the men.
Five or six miles distant was a Neapolitan steamer of war, and, further off, a large sailing frigate. The first bore up for the port, and was within easy range. of her guns before half. the men were out of the vessel aground, but, for some reason, did not open tire till they were all formed and marching into the town. The frigate also carne down, with a strong breeze, in time to deliver one ineffectual broadside.
The Commander of the steamer went on board the “Intrepid,” and made some inquiries about these troops, and stated that he must open fire directly, and requested any English officers who might be in the city would leave immediately.
I sent an officer there accordingly, and hoisted the general recall, but the gates had been seized by the new arrivate, and they were stopped, very civilly, and informed they must get a permit from General Garibaldi, who, of course, granted it.
Accompanied by Commander Ingram and Mr. Cossins, now acting for the Vice-Consul, I went on board the Neapolitan steamer. The officer in command told me that a large body of armed foreigners had landed, and that he had been obliged to fire on them. He seemed excessively nervous and agitated about the affair, and I observed they particularly avoided firing on the steamers, which stili kept Sardinian colours flying, without a pendant.
On our return to the “Intrepid,” I found a Neapolitan officer on board, who had come from another steamer. He had been sent by the Commander, with a request that I would send a boat, accompanied by this officer, to the Sardinian steamers, asking them to surrender; which I most positively declined to do, for these reasons: if the vessels were totally abandoned, which I fully believed they were, he simply wanted the use of the English flag to ascertain the fact; and if, on the contrary, they stili had men on board, it might be asserted our flag was used for the means of making them surrender. Eventually, boats were sent on board, manned and armed, from all the Neapolitan vessels of war, the Sardinian colours hauled down, and possession taken.
I should add that, when on board the steamer that was firing, I requested that the English flag, wherever it was flying, should be respected, which the officer said should be most strictly done.
Considering this to be the most important event that has occurred during the insurrection in Sicily, I deemed it advisable to come on here with all dispatch to inform you of it; and as, by going to Girgenti, I should have been too late to afford you the opportunity of writing to England by this day’s mail, I have not complied with that portion of Captain Cochrane’s instructions.
Her Majesty’s ship “Argus” J left at Marsala, where she will remain for the protection of British interests for some days longer.
The nearest troops to Marsala are stationed at Trapani, and number 900; but those with Garibaldi are stated to be 2,000 in number, and very fine men, many wearing the English Crimean medal, and lately in the Italian campaign.
I have, &c.
(Signed) J. H. MARRYAT.
Sir, May 22, 1860.
I AM commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to send you herewith, for the information of Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, a copy of a letter from Vice Admiral Sir Arthur Fanshawe, dated the 14th instant. with copies of its three inclosures, relating to the landing of General Garibaldi in Sicily, and the state of affairs in that island.
I am, &c.
(Signed) W. G. ROMAINE
Sir, “Marlborough, at Malta, May 14, 1860.
WITH reference to my letter of the 12th instant, reporting the landing of General Garibaldi at Marsala, and inclosing a copy of a letter from Commander Marryat, of the “Intrepid,” for the information of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, I have the honour to request you will be pleased to lay before their Lordships the copy of another letter from Commander Marryat, more fully detailing all the particulars which I required from him, in consequence of a telegram I received last night from Her Majesty’s Minister at Naples, informing me that “a British ship of war is reported to have hindered the Neapolitan frigate from firing upon the invasion.” This letter will, I think, convey a complete refutation of the report (which I presume had reached his Excellency through the Neapolitan Government) of the interference of our ships.
I have also to request you will acquaint their Lordships that I sent the “Assurance” to Girgenti and Marsala on Saturday, for the purpose of obtaining further information of General Garibaldi’s movements, and the state of feeling in the country, and whether any further protection was required at either place for British interests.
The “Assurance” returned this afternoon, and I inclose a copy of Commander Aynsley’s report on these points, for their Lordships’ information.
From the report of the state of Palermo dated the 10th instant, which I received from Captain Cochrane, of Her Majesty’s ship “Amphion,” a copy of which I inclose, it appears that extraneous aid had been expected by the Sicilians, and suspected by the authorities, and the state of that city had become more unsatisfactory for some days previous to his report.
I have, &c.
(Signed) ARTHUR FANSHAWE.
Sir, “Amphion,” Palermo, May 10, 1860.
I HAVE (he honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 7th instant, receive d this morning by Commander Marryat, and to report that, on the 4th, the state of siege was renewed in the city by a Proclamation of the Viceroy, who took advantage of the occasion to compliment the people on their excellent behaviour during the period of its continuance.
On the 5th another Proclamation appeared, calling upon the community to deliver up their arms, and informing them that, after the expiration of twenty- four hours, anv person found with arms in his possession would be tried by a court-martial.
Demonstrations in favour of the Italian cause have continued to occur, but without ending in anything but a few fresh arrests. Last night, however, one of a more serious nature took place in the Via Macqueda, where a very considerable concourse of people collected between 6 and 7 o’clock. They were not dispersed without the troops having to make use of their arms; and it is stated that several people were killed and wounded. The truth, however, is not yet known.
I am informed that, in consequence of this affair, steamers have been despatched along the coast for troops to reinforce the garrison, which had been much reduced by the number of men sent out to scour the country.
The state of the city has been decidedly more unsatisfactory for some days past, notwithstanding the efforts of the police to create a better appearance by forcibly opening the shops, &c. Inflammatory manifestoes are constantly circulated to keep up the excitement. Some of these 1 inclose: they describe in strong terms the hatred of the people to the present Government. The police do not seem able to put a stop to their circulation.
There can be no doubt that the Sicilians are expecting extraneous aid. Whether they have grounds for these expectations it is impossible to say; but if we are to judge from the manner in which all the disposable Neapolitan vessels are kept cruizing off the coast, the inference must be that the authorities dread something of the kind.
With regard to the island generally, I believe that things are quieter, although the troops stili occasionally meet with opposition; but these are isolated cases, the corps being too strong to allow of any serious resistance. There can, however, be no doubt that the revolutionary spirit throughout the island, although dormant, is stili as strong as ever, and ready to break out into a dame at any moment.
I have, &c.
(Signed) THOMAS COCHRANE.
Sir, “Assurance,” at Malta, May 14, 1860.
I HAVE the honour to report my arrivai here at 2 p.m., having, in pursuance of your orders of the 12th instant, left Malta at 6 o’clock on the evening of that day.
I arrived at Girgenti at 8 a.m. on the 13th, and after communicating with the Vice-Consul left just before noon for Marsala, which place I reached at 7-30 p.m. I communicated with Commander Ingram of the “Argus” and Her Majesty’s Vice-Consul, and finding nothing to detain me, I left on my return to Malta at 10 30 p.m.
I found everything at Girgenti in a quiet state, the news of Garibaldi's landing having been concealed by the authorities: all that was generally known was that a party of Italian refugees had landed at Marsala.
On the evening of the 11th, a Neapolitan steamer arrived from the direction of Marsala, took on board 1,000 troops and left immediately for the westward, and from information subsequently received at Marsala, she was seen beyond Trapani; so that she must have gone either to Castellamare or Palermo.
Another body of 1,000 men left Girgenti at the same time by land for Annetate, where their head-quarters are now established.
Considerable discontent was expressed by these two bodies of troops (some of whom had arrived from Messina about twenty-four hours previously) at having so soon to go into the country to meet the insurgents.
They had been sent for the purpose of disarming the inhabitants, but bad not done so, owing to their sudden removal. There are now about 100 troops still left in Girgenti. No political arrests had taken place. No mail had been received from Palermo of a later date than that of Garibaldi's landing.
There was no fear of British interests suffering from a rising of the population in favour of Garibaldi, the inhabitants being a well-disposed class, and not given to pillage.
At Marsala I was informed that Garibaldi had left that place on the morning of the 12th, with 1,800 of his own men, each armed with a breech loading rifle and a revolver, four field-pieces, plenty of ammunition, and spare arms: about 150 volunteers had been raised in Marsala.
He arrived at Salemi, six miles distant, yesterday, having been joined on his march by several bands of men from the country. There were no towns on his line of march; but he had been well received by the inhabitants of Salemi, and it is supposed that he intends to go on to Palermo for the purpose of organizing the men now in arms round that city.
There are several towns on his road to Palermo which, it is expected, will all declare in his favour as he proceeds, and that he will be joined by a large number of volunteers from each. As yet none of his emissaries have arrived at Girgenti, but he sent a telegraphic message to Messina immediately he landed, and then caused the wires to be cut, destroying the semaphore at the same time.
All the roads round Marsala are closed as regards mail communication, and it was reported that the gates of Trapani were shut, and no intercourse allowed with the country. The felons in the jail at Marsala had been again released under the idea that they were political prisoners.
Both at Girgenti and Marsala every one seemed to be of opinion that, as soon as the news of Garibaldi’s landing should be known throughout Sicily, every Sicilian would declare in his favour.
His original force appears to have been composed of a very superior class of men, consisting of Venetians, students from Padua, some Piedmontese and some Sicilian refugees—Colonel Lamasa (who was reported to have landed at Cephala) being amongst the number; and I am told, on very good authority, 'that no landing has as yet taken place on any other part of the island, but I cannot discover if any is expected.
I have, &c.
(Signed) C. M. AYNSLEY.
(Extract.) “Intrepid,” Malta, May 14, 1860.
IN compliance with your directions to me to report ftdly upon the landing of an armed force at Marsala on the 1 lth instant, I have the honour to lay before you the following information.
As it may be necessary to account for two English vessels of war being at Marsala at the rime of the occurrence, I must request your attention to the movements of the “Intrepid” and “Argus” during the two previous days (viz., 9th and 10th).
On the 9th, Her Majesty’s ship “Scylla” relieved the “Intrepid” at Messina, Captain Lambert giving me orders to proceed to Palermo, where I should receive further instructions from Captain Cochrane, of Her Majesty’s ship “Amphion.”
I arrived at Palermo early on the 10th, and found the “Argus” and “Amphion” there, the former vessel being moored inside the Mole.
In consequence of orders from Captain Cochrane, the “Argus” and “Intrepid” left the port about 9 p.m. the same evening.
I was to proceed in the “Intrepid” to Trapani, Marsala, and Girgenti, ascertain the state of these places, and bring you the latest information direct to Malta.
Commander Ingram was to go to Marsala and inquire into the alleged grievances of some British subjects, who have been disarmed there by order of the General commanding in the district, and who considered they had not sufficient protection for their property in the event of any of the numerous bands (robbers supposed to be in the country making a descent upon their wine Stores. He was to use his own discretion as to remaining there for two or three days, or returning to Palermo directly.
To carry out these orders, as I have mentioned above, both vessels left Palermo about 9 p.m. on the 10th. “Intrepid” called in at Trapani, and I communicated with Her Britannic Majesty’s Consul there. Between 7 and 8 a.m. on the 11th, whilst at anchor here, the “Argus” passed through the Straits, and eventually both vessels arrived at Marsala within twenty minutes of each other, and between half-past 10 and 11 a.m.
Commander Ingram considering it likely that he would have to stay there three or four days, anchored about three miles out, where the hook of directions states the best holding-ground to be.,1, on the contrary, knowing I was to remain but a few hours, brought up as dose to the shore as I could, distant from three quarters of a mile to a mile from the lighthouse at the end of the Mole.
At 11 30 we landed, having got pratique; and being met by Mr. Cossins, the gentleman acting for the Vice-Consul, proceeded to his house, where some other English residents shortly arrived.
The case of their disarmament was fully discussed, but as that subject has been referred to the Minister at Naples, it is unnecessary to say anything about it here.
We then drove through the town with these gentlemen, visited the cathedral, and eventually went out to their wine Stores, which are three in number, distant or rather extending from half-a-mile to one mile and a-half from the city.
Whilst here an Englishman carne to report that two steamers were coming in from the north-west with Sardinian colours flying.
We immediately ascended to a look-out place, and with a telescope watched the whole proceeding.
The head most and smallest steamer had a boat in tow, which gave us the idea at the time of having been seized off the land, and made to do the duty of pilot.
There was no hesitation shown in bringing the vessels in; they steamed round the bows of the “Intrepid,” and steered direct for the Mole, where they arrived about 2 p.m., the first one getting in all right, the second grounding within 100 yards of it.
At this time there were three Neapolitan vessels of war in sight cruizing between Marsala and Mazzara, a town twelve miles to the southward, viz., two steamers, and a sailing-frigate, six miles only from the Sardinian vessels.
Before the Neapolitan arrived within range, the first Sardinian had discharged all his living cargo, which consisted of armed men, to all appearance well disciplined, as they fell into companies on landing, shouldered their muskets, and marched off in perfect order.
The one which had grounded, however, having to land all her men in boats, had not succeeded in getting more than one-fourth out of the ship, when the Neapolitan carne within easy range of his guns; his bulwarks were down, and.guns laid, and we watched with some curiosity to see the result of his firing.
Before this I had advised the owners of two or three English schooners to get their vessels out of the port, as they seemed to me to run a risk of being hit: but the wind being dead in, they could not be removed; consequently they had to take their chance.
The Neapolitan, however, instead of opening fire, lowered a boat, and sent it towards the Sardinians; but when half the distance between the two ships had been traversed, the officer suddenly turned his boat round, and pulled back to his own vessel as fast as he could.
We now made sure the firing would commence, but we were surprised to see him paddling out towards the “Intrepid,” instead of frustrating at once the further landing of the expedition. The Commanding Officer of the “Intrepid” states that he was hailed by the Commander of the Neapolitan, and asked if there were any English troops on shore. The reply he received was, “No.” The Commanders of the two English men-of-war are on shore, and two or three officers. Shortly afterwards an officer carne on board, and asked for me, and seemed anxious to know when I should return. A boat had, however, been sent to me before his arrival, and I had sent an officer into the town to recall every one to their ships. By this time, all of the expedition had landed (4 o’clock), and be then began to open tire.
Commander Ingram, Mr. Cossins, and myself, now went on board to see the Commander of the Neapolitan. He informed us that large bodies of armed men had landed, and that he was obliged to tire on them, to which not the slightest objection was made, and nothing more passed than a request from us that he would respect the English flag, whenever he saw it flying, which he faithfully promised to do. Whilst we were on board, he continued his firing, and even offered a kind of apology for the shot going so low; but he said he did not wish to tire into the town, only on the armed men marching from the Mole to the City Gate.
As we left the steamer, the frigate arrived under sail, and fired a useless broadside; but before they could re-load the guns, the new arrivals were safely inside the walled town of Marsala.
On my return to the “Intrepid,” I found an officer from the other Neapolitan steamer, on board. He had come to ask me to send a boat to the Sardinian vessels with him to get them to surrender. This I declined to do, as it was very evident that the use of our flag was only required to ascertain whether they were deserted or not. In the former case, thev would come to a knowledge of the fact, without running the risk of any injury to themselves; in the latter, they would have had the benefit of it to assist them morally in enforcing a surrender.
A short time after my refusal, boats manned and armed were sent in, and the vessels being totally abandoned were taken possession of, and the Sardinian colours hauled down.
6 p.m.—Whilst this was going on, I got under weigh, to bring you the Information, as I calculated I could reach Malta in time to allow you to forward the intelligence to England by Saturday’s mail.
Before I left, Commander Ingram had shifted the “Argus” to the ancho- rage of “Intrepid,” in order to communicate more easily with the shore, and to protect British interests.
The whole of the above I was an eye-witness of, and an actor in.
It is hardly necessary for me to add, that the report current in Naples, as conveyed to you by telegraph from Her Majesty’s Minister, is entirely without foundation. To say that it is mischievous is to use too mild a term, as it brings a false accusation against the Commanders of two English vessels of war, who happened to be there by the merest chance at the time of this occurrence, and who were as much astonished at it as people never dreaming of such a thing could be.
I may, however, be allowed, under the circumstances, to offer you an opinion on some of the facts of the case.
So impressed was I with the idea that the Commander of the Neapolitan steamer would open fire an hour before he did that I advised the removal of English vessels out of the port.
It was in his power to place his steamers within 200 or 300 yards of the Sardinian aground, and in 6uch a position that every shot fired by bim would have raked her from stem to stern, whilst the deck was crowded with men, and one may feel convinced that all landing by boats would have ceased. He also would probably have. exploded the boilers, and no one can say what havoc would have been committed.
On the other hand, nothing but indecision and indiscretion were visible, that is, if it was his object to prevent a landing.
I have been at a loss to account for the question whether there were any English troops on shore. It may have been that the red shirts or coats of some of the landing party misled the Neapolitans; but stili, as the Sardinian steamers had their colours flying, one cannot imagine they supposed English troops to come from on board them.
The following is a statement of the officers belonging to the “Intrepid” who were on shore at the time of this affair:—
Whilst pulling in to the landing-place, they observed two steamers coming in from the north-west. When entering the town they saw several people on the walls, amongst whom were women and children, all looking to seaward, but they took hardly any notice of them at the time.
After visiting the churches and other parts of the town, as they were passing through the main Street their attention was drawn to a large concourse of people at the principal gate, and beyond the crowd many bayonets werè visible: the people were shouting “Viva l’Italia!” and they took it for a demonstration; they did not, however, join them, but went into a café dose to, imagining the arms they had seen belonged to Neapolitan soldiery.
Whilst sitting here, the first thing that called forth any remark was a man in peasant’s costume, keeping guard the other side of the Street, and several bodies of men passing at intervals along the road. Some men apparently officers then entered the café armed with swords and revolvers, and it being noticed that they spoke Italian, the idea occurred that they were others than Neapolitans; particularly as one of them had an English Crimean, and several the Sardinian Crimean medal. In consequence of this inquiries were made, and they then ascertained a landing had been effected, on which they thought it advisable to leave the town and go to the Consul’s house; but on arriving at the gate they were stopped by an officer in Sardinian uniform, who informed them they could not pass without an order from General Garibaldi, who was at the other gate: accordingly they went there and got permission through an officer who spoke to an elderly man seated in a chair with a red garment on, and a wide-awake hat containing a feather and tricolour cockade.
The officers then left the town and came on board, directly they were met by the officer telling them to do so.
It is their opinion that 2,000 men landed from the steamers, but this number may possibly be lessened.
The men were all well armed and fine-looking fellows, many having medals, amongst which were a few English Crimean ones.
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