, commonly called Massaniello, one of the names introduced in biographical
, commonly called Massaniello, one of the names introduced in biographical collections, although more properly belonging to history, was a fisherInan of Naples, and the author of a temporary revolution, which ended as such tumultuous measures generally end, without meliorating the state of the people who have been induced to take an active part in them. In 1623, when this man was born, the kingdom of Naples was subject to the house of Austria, and governed by a viceroy. The Neapolitans had supported the government in this house with great loyalty and liberality, and submitted themselves to many voluntary impositions and burthensome taxes in support of it. But in 1646, the necessities of the king requiring it, a new donative was projected, and a design was formed to lay a fresh tax upon fruits, comprehending 9,11 sorts, dry or green, as far as mulberries, grapes, figs, apples, pears, &c, The people, being thus deprived of their ordinary subsistence, took a resolution to disburden themselves, not only of this, but of all other insupportable exactions formerly imposed. They made their grievances known to the viceroy by the public cries and lamentations of women and children, as he passed through the market place, and petitioned him, by means of the cardinal Filomarino, the archbishop, and others, to take off the said tax. He promised to redress the grievance, and convened proper persons to find out some method to take off the tax on ifruits. But the farmers, because it was prejudicial to their interest, found some secret means to frustrate his endeavours, and dissuaded him from performing his promise to the people; representing to him, that all the clamour was made by a wretched rabble only, not worth regarding.