Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Appleton to Thomas Jefferson, 2 November 1820

From Thomas Appleton

Leghorn 2nd November 1820—

The tranquility of Sicily is restored, by the Surrender of Palermo to the neapolitan arms; the low populace have been disarm’d, & the factious leaders have been Sent to Naples.—The attitude of the Kingdom of Naples, is imposing in the highest degree—the Capital has a well-organiz’d national guard of 30,000–men, commanded by tried & experienc’d officers—the provinces are guarded by two or three hundred thousand guarillos, Similar to those of Spain during the invasion of the french; while an army of 120,000–regulars guard the frontiers.—the government progress with persevering dignity & energy, while the innumerable defiles, present infinite obstacles to a foreign invasion. Should the Empr of Austria, who discovers great irritation, put his foot on the roman territory, it will be as certainly invaded by the Neapolitans, who have declared to His Holiness, they shall not respect it any longer, than it is respected by the Emperor of Austria; and the enthousiasm of the Romans, is in no wise inferior to the Neapolitans: indeed, they have already discover’d the greatest impatience of the Slavery they now endure.—In a very recent reply of the Neapolitans, to the notes of the Empr to the German States, it appears, that King Murat had been prevented giving a constitution to his Subjects, by1 the Emperor of Austria; and that in the tour of the latter, the last year, through Italy, he drew from all the Sovereigns of Italy, a promise, that they should not give constitutions, of any description, to the Subjects of their Several States.—The great question, which now occupies all Italy is: will the Emperor confine his views, Solely to the preservation of his italian States; or will he invade the neapolitan territory, in the hope of destroying the free government they have adopted? the opinion of all judicious men is, that he will adopt the former, knowing as they well do, the infinite obstacles to accomplish the latter, guarded by innumerable defiles in all the avenues, and by a million of determin’d men.—but, Sir, in giving you the opinion of the most judicious, it is no other, than the path, he ought to pursue, for the preservation of what he now holds; experience, however, teaches us, that implicit reliance should not be plac’d on Sovereigns adopting the wisest measures; and many, among the best inform’d, of the numerous obstacles to his Success in Offensive warfare, yet reflecting on the passion and irritation of the austrian cabinet, from the moment they learnt the revolution of Naples; and the ardent wish the Emperor discover’d, when last in Italy, to form a confederacy, of which, he propos’d himself, as chief & in which he was frustrated; these considerations may induce him, to hearken rather to the fallacious Suggestions of agrandizing his power in Italy, than to the wise result of calm deliberation.—in short, Sir, should he adopt offensive measures, he will, by a strange fatality, act in perfect conformity, to what he would be advis’d, were his council compos’d of the most liberal and patriotic italians, who wish the establishment of liberal constitutions, throughout the whole extent of Italy.   24 Novr2 1820.—I left my letter open to this day, & to the moment of departure of the vessel, to add, if possible, some conclusive acts of the assembly of the Sovereigns at Tropaw, in relation to Italy; but to the present time, they are envellop’d in mystery & obscurity—no event has, hitherto, occurr’d, which can throw any light, on their future3 purposes; nor any one in Naples, to diminish the hopes and expectations of good men.—Accept, Sir, the renewal of

my invariable respect & esteem

Th: Appleton

inclos’d is a duplicate rect of mad: Pini—

RC (DLC); subjoined to Dupl of Appleton to TJ, 10 Oct. 1820; endorsed by TJ as a letter of “Nov. 2. & 24. 20” received 15 Apr. 1821 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Bernard Peyton, 6 July 1821, on verso; addressed: “For Thomas Jefferson, esq—Monticello—Virginia U: S. America”; stamped “SHIP”; franked; postmarked New York, 10 Apr. FC (Lb in DNA: RG 84, CRL); in Appleton’s hand; at head of text: “The following was written with the duplicate of my letter of 10th Octr 1820”; at foot of text: “Sent by Eliza Ann. Golden for N-York & inclos’d duplicate rect of mad: Pini.” Enclosure: Dupl of enclosure to Appleton to TJ, 10 Oct. 1820.

guarillos: “guerrillas.” his holiness was Pope Pius VII. The italian states under Austrian control at this time were the northern provinces of Lombardy and Venetia.

Delegations led by Emperor Francis I of Austria, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, and the crown prince of Prussia (subsequently King Frederick William IV) met at Troppau (tropaw) (later Opava, Czech Republic) in the autumn of 1820 to discuss the revolution in Bourbon-ruled southern Italy. The resulting Troppau Protocol declared that states whose governments or constitutions had been changed significantly as a result of revolutionary upheaval ceased to be members of the alliance. If they posed a threat, either directly or indirectly, to their neighbors, then the allies bound themselves to use all means, including force, to restore the old order (Paul W. Schroeder, Metternich’s Diplomacy at Its Zenith, 1820–1823 [1962], 60, 80–1).

1FC: “through the intervention of.”

2Remainder of text in FC reads “I added in Substance, that no event had to that time occur’d to give any clearer view of the purposes of the Empr nor any in Naples to lessen the hopes & expectations of all good men—I am &c T.A.”

3Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Alexander I, emperor of Russia; and Congress of Troppau search
  • Appleton, Thomas; and P. Mazzei’s estate search
  • Appleton, Thomas; letters from search
  • Appleton, Thomas; on Italy search
  • Austria; and Italy search
  • Eliza Ann (ship) search
  • France; and Spain search
  • Francis I, emperor of Austria; and Italy search
  • Frederick William, crown prince of Prussia (later King Frederick William IV); and Congress of Troppau search
  • Germany; and revolution in Naples search
  • Golden, E. (ship captain) search
  • Italy; and revolution in Naples search
  • Italy; T. Appleton on search
  • Murat, Joachim, king of Naples; reign of search
  • Naples, kingdom of (later Kingdom of the Two Sicilies); revolution in search
  • Palermo, Italy; falls to Neapolitan troops search
  • Pini, Elisabetta Mazzei (Philip Mazzei’s daughter; Andrea Pini’s wife); and P. Mazzei’s estate search
  • Pius VII, pope; and revolution in Naples search
  • Spain; resists Napoleonic rule search
  • Troppau, Congress of search