king naples subjects
FERDINAND II. (1810-1859), king of the Two Sicilies, grandson of the preceding, and son of Francis I., was born at Palermo, January 12, 1810. On succeeding his father in 1830, he published an edict in which he promised to "give his most anxious attention to the impartial administration of justice," to reform the finances, and to "use every effort to heal the wounds which had afflicted the kingdom for so many years ; " but these promises seem to have been meant only to lull discontent to sleep, for while the existing burden of taxation was only slightly lightened, corruption began gradually to invade all departments of the administration, and an absolutism was finally established harsher than that of all his predecessors, and supported by even more extensive and arbitrary arrests. Ferdinand, was naturally shrewd, but badly educated, grossly superstitious, and possessed of inordinate self-esteem. Though he kept the machinery of his kingdom in a high state of efficiency, he made little account of the wishes or welfare of his subjects, and did not deem it of much importance to be on good terms either with them or with foreign states. In 1832 he married Christina, daughter of Victor Emmanuel, and shortly after her death in 1836 he took for a second wife Maria Theresa, daughter of Archduke Charles of Austria. After his Austrian alliance the bonds of despotism were more closely . tightened, and the increasing discontent of his subjects was manifested by abortive attempts at insurrection in 1837, 1841, 1844, and 1847, and in 1848 by a general rising in Sicily, on account of which the king judged it prudent to promise a constitution. A dispute, however, arose as to the nature of the oath which should be taken by the members of the chamber of deputies, and as neither the king nor the deputies would yield, serious disturbances began to occur in the streets of Naples; and the king, making these the excuse for withdrawing his promise, on the 13th March 1849 dissolved the national parliament. The efforts at revolt were renewed in Sicily, but were speedily quelled, chiefly by the bombardment of the principal cities of the state, an expedient which won for Ferdinand the epithet of " Bomba." During the last years of his reign espionage and arbitrary arrests prevented all serious manifestations of insubordination among his subjects. In 1851 the political prisoners of Naples were calculated by Mr Gladstone to number 13,000, and so great was the scandal created by the rule of terror which prevailed that in 1856 France and England, though vainly, made diplomatic representations to induce a mitigation of its rigour and the proclamation of a general amnesty. An attempt was made to assassinate Ferdinand in 1857. He died May 22, 1859.
See Correvonclenee respecting the Affairs of Naples-and Sicily, 1848-49, presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of lirr Majesty, 4th May 1849 ; Two Letters to the Earl of Aberdeen, by Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, let. ed. 1851 (an edition published in 1852, anal the subsequent editions, contain an Examination of the Official Reply of the .Neapolitan Govern in cat) ; supplementary chapter to the English translation of Coletta's History of „Voyles; and Dawburn, Naples and King Ferdinand, 1858.