September 5, 2009

Proclamazioni de Francesco

HM King Francesco II
On September 5, 1860, King Francis II of the Two Sicilies left Naples for Gaeta as the invading forces of Garibaldi approached the southern capital. Before leaving the King issued a final proclamation to his subjects:
"People of Naples:Of all of the duties demanded of a monarch, those performed in times of adversity are the most difficult and solemn, and I intend to carry them out in a manner and spirit befitting a descendant of so long a line of kings .... Regretfully, I must now leave Naples. An unjust war, one which was not wanted by the people, has overrun my kingdom, despite the fact that I was at peace with all of the European powers .... My paramount concern now is to protect this illustrious city, ... to protect its people from ruin and war, to safeguard its inhabitants and their possessions, the holy temples, the monuments, the public buildings, the art galleries, and everything else that constitutes the patrimony of its civilization and greatness, which, belonging to future generations, must not be sacrificed to transitory passions of the moment .... 
"War is approaching the walls of the city; and it is with ineffable sadness that I leave .... I commend the devotion of the ministry ... and I call upon the honor and civic sense of the mayor of Naples and the commander of the police to spare our beloved city the horrors of internal disturbances .... 
"As a descendant of a dynasty that has ruled over this kingdom for 126 years, after having saved it from the prolonged miseries of the viceregal government, my affections remain here. I am a Neapolitan; and cannot bid farewell to my beloved people, my compatriots, without bitter grief. 
"Whatever my destiny may be, I will always cherish for them a lasting and affectionate memory. I recommend to them peace and concord and observance of their duties as citizens. Let not an immoderate attachment for my crown become a source of turbulence. If the course of the present war should lead me back among you, or if on some future day it may please God to restore me to the throne of my ancestors, rendered more splendid by the free institutions with which I have endowed it, what I most fervently pray for is to find my people united, strong, and happy."
(Reprinted from Modern Naples: A documentary history, 1799-1999 by John Santore, Italica Press, 2001, p. 174-175)