When Private Vice Meets Public Virtue: The End of Count Giuseppe Brebbia’s Career as a Public Official

Filippo Rossi

Università degli Studi di Milano


Abstract: Milano, 1827. The criminal proceeding against Count Giuseppe Brebbia, a Lombardo-Venetian’ senior official accused of misfeasance, is of considerable significance to investigate the interlinkage between social classes and administration assessment in the first years of Austrian restoration in Italy. At that time, undeniable signs of Adelstand’s difficulties in handling public affair occurred, mainly at local level. The questions of how and why an impersonal administration rose can be answered only taking a closer look at this trial, around which many social and political interests clustered around.

Keywords: Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom; criminal law; public administrations and bureaucracy; provincial delegations; social classes

In the summer of 1827, Austrian authorities became aware of some questionable conduct surrounding the management of theFondo di Primitiva Istruzione, a government institution set up to pay primary school teachers in the department of Mella[1]. They promptly summoned Giuseppe Brebbia to provide answers, as the recently-appointed counselor of the Milanese government was also the former provincial delegate of Brescia[2].

This was not the first time that the high official had been ordered to account for issues regarding the institution, which he had administered up until the previous year[3]; yet this time, the withdrawals were far too substantial for the eagle eye of the empire to ignore. Despite the fact that the Fondo received an annuity of approximately 80,000 lire[4], thirty years had passed since its establishment and it found itself having to deal with inexplicably meager resources[5]: £ 57,680.27 of «active loans» and £ 25,123.83 of «income properties». In short, an initial estimate put the deficiency at a hefty 131,755.23 Austrian lire[6].

The expense items aroused suspicion as well, as the descriptions listed («classified police expenses»; «repayable subsidies»; «salary advances») had everything to do with the administration of the provincial delegation and nothing to do with running a scholastic institution. Thus, the authorities called for an immediate explanation, as well as the prompt repayment of all amounts taken out of the coffers[7]: Brebbia, however, did not do exactly as ordered, as a series of complications would result in his waiting until 5 October to deposit a modest partial payment of 18,000 lire in the institution’s funds[8], and only after having reached an agreement with the Imperial-Royal tax authorities to do so. Though there may be interesting aspects to consider from a civil-law point of view, what really makes this matter so compelling is the criminal case that was looming on the horizon.

The Austrian criminal code (Franziskana) – famous for investing the powers of both judge and examining magistrate in the same person – had provided for the introduction of a criminal procedure in Lombardy starting in 1816[9]. The various steps could be described as a mix of repressive measures with the occasional glimmer of respect for civil liberties, and they were distinctly inquisitorial in nature: it would start with the «notice of crime» and proceed to verify the existence of «legal evidence» («preliminary investigation», §§ 211-333 of the first part). From there, a search for «piena prova» (incontrovertible evidence, as provided for by either the «ordinary inquisition process» or «special inquisition», §§ 334-414) would led to the sentencing phase (§§ 415-444)[10]. In addition, the Austrian regime also charged the judge with acting as the defense attorney of the accused, a peculiarity that arose from the fact that «defense was one of the official duties in criminal proceedings» (§ 337)[11].

The Habsburg obsession with ‘formalizing’ all administrative affairs meant that the proceedings were meticulously transcribed. As such, we are able to consult a step-by-step record that takes us from beginning to end in an intricate and sensitive case[12]. In accordance with the tasks assigned to him by the Strafgesetz, a judge operating in the Italian Länder had to first open an investigation so as to establish valid grounds for bringing charges. Thus, the initial phase of this case saw the loyal magistrate sleuthing behind the scenes as thoroughly as he could, and almost two years after the first injunction, he finally had enough evidence to issue a decree that called for the opening of a «special inquisition».

The charge brought against the counselor on 4 May 1829 would have set anyone’s pulse racing: abuse of power, on the grounds of having maliciously taken advantage of his official capacity and breaching the duties thereof, thereby causing great detriment to the public administration[13]. To make matters worse, it was also held that he had breached his oath of allegiance in the form of aggravated theft, thus constituting grounds for a concurrent charge of treason[14].

Brebbia was promptly suspended from all official duties without pay and placed under arrest: he had been deemed a ‘flight risk’, and there was also the fear that he could tamper with evidence[15]. For the Milanese aristocrat, the next stop on this tumultuous journey would be prison[16]. This level of severity was nothing out of the ordinary for the Habsburg criminal procedure, as preliminary detention was considered a fundamental and instrumental part of exercising criminal jurisdiction: indeed, it was no coincidence that the code provided for «criminal arrest» and «preliminary examination of the accused» (§§ 281-306, first part)[17] immediately following the «investigation» (§§ 226-280), as it was an appropriate way to cap off this initial phase[18].

The second phase of the processura focused on gathering legal proof of guilt of the person placed under investigation, and whose status was «aggravated by the existence of legal evidence of a crime»[19]. In this case, it became very difficult to substantiate the allegations against the Count. The only irrefutable fact available was that the accused had reached an agreement with the Imperial-Royal tax authorities in which he undertook to pay back the missing money to the Fondo[20]. This sort of unsolicited apology on his part – an excusatio non petita – might have been incriminating, but from a penal point of view it was irrelevant: according to the Franziskana, «when deciding on a case, only that which has been legally proven may be held as true» (§ 396).

In that regard, the magistrates had some initial hurdles to overcome, as they were faced with a lack of evidence: the Fondo’s cash books had been missing for some time. For Gaudenzio De Pagave, who was Brebbia’s successor to the Brescia delegation, this was somewhat embarrassing to admit[21]. Yet in the spirit of fair play, De Pagave sought to release the Count of all responsibility, as he felt any potential involvement on the part of Brebbia was unlikely and unsubstantiated[22]: to what advantage, he argued, seeing as how he had already declared himself the debtor for sums that he had even partly repaid? De Pagave was of the opinion that in order to track down the culprit, it was necessary to shift the focus elsewhere: namely, to someone who was afraid of being connected to the crime, and who would have had no difficulty in eliminating evidence of the misdeed; in short, someone who could have easily arranged for all responsibility to fall upon the then delegate[23].

Now, it would be a mistake to claim that Brebbia had absolutely nothing to do with the missing books. But then again, he would have never been able to withdraw all of that money without paying off the officials in charge of the institution’s financial administration: namely, the cashier, Giovanni Cantoni, and the accountant, Antonio Superti. The former was in charge of payments and balancing the fund’s budget[24]: his malfeasance could be inferred based on the amount of money he was paid by Brebbia himself, in what were only described as «advances»[25]. The latter was responsible for approving accounts that had clearly been forged, and his wrongdoing could also be deduced from the disappearance of the books, a fact for which he was at least strictly liable: had they been kept properly, those records would not have vanished so soon after the investigation began[26]. Lucky for them, these hypotheses, which were certainly well-founded, were nonetheless tenuous in terms of probative value, and as such insufficient to include as the «legal evidence» required by § 281 of the first part of the code.

In the end, it would be the provincial delegation’s expense reports that revealed the fraudulent workings behind the Brebbia administration’s ‘creative’ money management scheme: the listed descriptions showed substantial cash withdrawals had been made to compensate for the payment of classified police expenses, not to mention «salary advances»[27]. Put briefly: the Count was trying to make up for the Fondo’s losses by dipping into the delegation’s funds!

The prosecution was pleased, as it had finally found the foothold it needed to knock down this house of lies once and for all. In fact, even if one admitted that the civil unrest of the early 1820s had indeed called for «costly surveillance», the 88,279.25 Austrian lire withdrawn between 1821 and 1825 still came off as an exorbitant amount of money; all the more so if one considered that in the same time period, the Count had requested a hefty 49,302.19 lire from the general director of police, for the same reason no less[28].

And it was hard to turn a blind eye to the regrettable event that had occurred in September of 1825, when a certain Professor Horaczech was to be sent back to Moravia, and to do so the then delegate had withdrawn 1,705.29 lire not once, but twice: one withdrawal had been from the scholastic fund, while the other from a fund for the secret police. Brebbia, however, had not repaid the amount relative to the unjustified withdrawal, and to make up for the deficiency, there had been no other choice but to dock the sum from the professor’s pension[29].

Yet what counted more than anything else were the statements made during interrogation, a phase that was known as «ordinary examination»[30]. Standing before the ‘three-headed dog’ that was the Lombardo-Venetian criminal judge, Brebbia did not attempt to evade questioning: rather, he sought to fend off attack by adopting a clumsy and awkward defense. After admitting to his mistakes, the ex-delegate assured the judge that he had not misappropriated the Fondo’s resources «with iniquitous intent», but rather to deal with his own «domestic needs», and that he had done so with the intention of paying the money back; at a certain point, however, his accumulation of debt had become so uncontrollable that it became impossible for him to make good on the repayment[31].

Luce meridiana clarioris : in light of the confession, the actual facts of the case could now be held as legally true, thus eliminating the need for due process and further investigation[32]. In an inflexible criminal procedure that revolved around legal evidence, an admission of guilt was tantamount to a relevatio ab onere probandi, meaning that the Austrian judge was now relieved of the burden of proof. Just three months after the trial had begun[33], the judge was now in the position to make a ruling in the case.

Thus, on 25 August 1829, Giuseppe Brebbia was found guilty of abuse of power. He was sentenced to two years of carcere duro (harsh imprisonment), stripped of his nobility, and ordered to pay all court costs; this, of course, in addition to compensating the Fondo for the damages incurred[34].

While the sentence might not have been lenient, it was not as harsh as it could have been: at the time, the standard sentence for that crime was harsh imprisonment for one to five years, which could potentially be extended to ten years based on a «higher degree of malice, and the significance of damage»[35]. The complete text of the ruling delivered by the court of first instance is missing, but it seems reasonable to attribute this act of measured clemency to a combination of «mitigating circumstances relative to the offender» (§ 39): namely, his irreproachable behavior before the crime (letter b), his willingness to compensate for the damage caused (letter g), and above all, his confession (letter h)[36].

There is also another factor to consider. It is a well-known fact that the Austrian system provided for a series of checks in the most serious of crimes[37], in order to ensure greater certainty in sentencing and at the same time compensate for the lack of a defense attorney during trial: as such, all court documents relating to the case were sent to the court of appeal (§ 433), and from there to the supreme court, known as the Lombardo-Venetian Senate of the Supreme Court of Justice (§ 442).

The court of appeal’s task was to ensure the proper application of criminal law: in this case, the ruling at first instance was upheld, though the sentence was reduced «for the purpose of mitigation» to two years of ordinary imprisonment[38].

The counselors of the Senate continued the trend of progressively reducing Brebbia’s original sentence by putting forward an even more lenient proposal. While all of the senators «unanimously» confirmed the defendant’s guilt, only five magistrates suggested commuting the sentence to one year’s imprisonment, and in the end the entire assembly proposed that His Majesty «reduce the sentence, for the purpose of a pardon, to the time served under arrest up until that moment»[39]. Even though the emperor would not ultimately accept this request[40], it was clear that the judges did not have it in them to come down mercilessly on the Count.

There were a few factors that had worked in the Count’s favor. First of all, not only had Brebbia been held in high regard for his loyalty to the regime, but also for his commitment and dedication to the administration of a turbulent province during some difficult years. This loyalty and selflessness – the highest values that the Austrians asked of their officials – had allowed the Milanese nobleman to garner the esteem and respect of the empire’s upper echelons. Those same high officials, however, would eventually be put in the difficult and somewhat embarrassing position of removing Brebbia from public office.

Though he did not know Brebbia personally, Governor Franz Hartig felt there was a special set of mitigating circumstances working in the Count’s favor[41]. And so too did the general director of police, Carlo Torresani, who wrote a most heartfelt report to the Governor to inform him of the situation. Normally parsimonious with praise, he described a Beamte who had had a «long and brilliant career», who had been «appreciated for his noble and courteous ways», who – it was true – had «erred by making use of some funds under his tutelage meant for the public administration», but that «he did so without committing an immoral act». And Torresani lauded Brebbia for the economic sacrifice he had made in agreeing to repay such a considerable amount of debt, which in his view was only further testament to the Count’s good intentions; moreover, he would repay the sum «with the appropriate interest on the amount owed»[42].

Similar considerations had indeed led the magistrates to conclude that the delegate’s conduct had not been the result of a «well-thought-out deliberation», but rather an improper decision made without reflecting upon his duties, and even less upon the potential consequences of his actions[43].

Yet one fact remained: the case against the Count had been brought to three trials, and though the sentence had been gradually reduced, the verdict had stayed the same. In short, the judicial system believed that the elements of the crime as described in § 85 of the criminal code did in fact exist. After all, the provincial delegate was tasked with overseeing and safeguarding the empire’s resources, and those of the Fondo, «due to its very nature and purpose, and to the duties of the Authority in charge of it», were to be considered «a sacred object, not to be touched for any other purpose»; as such, it was clear that any misappropriation of the institution’s money could only have resulted in charges against him for abuse of power[44].

There was no doubt about the defendant’s «culpability» according to Vincenzo Raicich, the reporting judge for the supreme court trial. In his opinion, not only was the commission of the crime clearly evidenced by the amount of embezzled money, but also by the way in which the offender carried out the withdrawals. Indeed, if «it was already abuse to use the money of a charitable Institution for purposes other than those for which the money was meant», then «such an arbitrary act is all the graver, when that purpose is for private use»[45].

Placing all the facts in a legal context, the magistrates took a number of erroneous assertions off the table. First of all, contrary to what was initially alleged, they excluded the possibility of concurrent offenses having been committed: namely, the Count’s conduct could not be considered grounds for a charge of treason, as such a charge implied a direct connection to «the property of others as entrusted […] by virtue of public office»[46], and Giuseppe Brebbia could not have managed the Fondo’s money without going through Cantoni and Superti. Even the special inquisition had acknowledged that there were doubts surrounding this issue[47]: Brebbia had not had direct access to the misappropriated funds, and therefore the intervensio possessionis (change of possession), which was a fundamental element of the crime, could not be legally proven.

Secondly, the fact that Brebbia had attempted to repay the embezzled money did not even partially absolve him of criminal liability. Indeed, this had no bearing on the charge of abuse of power, because § 85 clearly stipulated that «the law only provides for the potential damage [caused], and any indemnification that should perchance be provided after the fact does not invalidate the criminal nature of the action»[48]. Likewise, even a charge of theft would not have been affected by Brebbia’s attempt at reparations. The law provided for ‘exoneration’ if the stolen property was returned in full, in a timely fashion and before the public authorities became aware of the crime[49], but Brebbia’s case clearly did not meet those conditions, as he had only partially repaid the amount he owed, and had been late in doing so[50].

Moreover, the magistrates did not lend any credence to Brebbia’s spurious and fanciful theory that as the supposed administrator of the Fondo – having identified himself as such in report n. 9938, dated 6 June 1819 – he had had the power to use its money at will[51]. In their eyes, this was nothing but a laughable attempt at «vain refuge», and was not worthy of the slightest consideration: even if the management of the institution did not fall within the duties of provincial delegate, there were specific rules in place – set forth in both the civil code and in several circular letters – that forbade «any guardian» from claiming the right to use money to his own benefit[52]. What’s more, any respectable public official could certainly not «in such a strange and bizarre manner authorize operations that he himself had put into action in his own interest or for secret, illegitimate purposes»[53].

The duty of «administration or oversight» meant that Brebbia would never have had the authority to make such arbitrary decisions, and each of the three courts had taken this into account when issuing their sentences[54].

With the punishment of a rogue official, human dignity and institutional dignity converge. Thus, the House of Austria had no intention whatsoever of absolving Brebbia by citing his innocence of the crime, or even a lack of evidence[55]: on the contrary, the official was held to his undeniable responsibilities. They used no uncertain terms in denouncing him for having stained «the integrity and purity that each Royal Clerk, especially high-ranking Officials, must exemplify», and they stripped him of his prestigious public office, as the high ranks had definitively lost all confidence in him due to his conduct[56].

None other than the governor of Lombardy himself reaffirmed the upper echelon’s stance on the matter: even if one were to ignore the conviction delivered by the supreme court, which by law would have resulted in Brebbia’s removal from office[57], «the arbitrary and illegal withdrawals made by Count Brebbia in his capacity as Delegate, from a public fund under his charge and tutelage, and put to his private use, would be such an [egregious] offense, that it alone could have resulted in that grave disciplinary action»[58].

Indeed, the Count had been granted somewhat special treatment up until that point: the court of appeal had even moved to sentence him to ordinary imprisonment after his initial sentence of the much harsher carcere duro[59]. But once the conviction was delivered in Milan, there was a marked turnaround and the government counselor was a dead weight to be unloaded as soon as possible.

What was unfolding bordered on damnatio memoriae. But upon further reflection, perhaps such a reversal was not to be unexpected: after all, in the kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, a public official was looked to as a repository of public virtue; he was a living, idealized model that the sovereigns hoped could inspire profound feelings of loyalty and respect for the res publica on the part of the kingdom’s subjects[60].

It was no coincidence that after the «opening of the special inquisition», the ‘imperial eagle’ had swooped in to conceal the Count’s inopportune arrest from its subjects, in anticipation of how the matter would unfold: in a world of appearances, nothing was to disturb the regular course of events. None other than the general director of police himself had dealt with the issue, and he had been quick to report the success of his operation to the governor, stating that everything had gone swimmingly, «without anybody noticing a thing»[61].

And yet, while Brebbia was left to his fate – as he appealed to the sovereign for «any means to free himself and his innocent victims from the distress caused by his first and only transgression»[62] – the sad ending to Giuseppe’s career was also the consequence of an inveterate vice that ran in the family.

Indeed, the Brebbia family’s financial situation had been anything but stable since the late 18th century: there was no other explanation for the considerable sum of money (24,000 lire!) lent to Francesco Brebbia and his sons Giuseppe and Luigi by Pietro and Alessandro Verri on 27 March 1783. The loan – which was to be paid back at 5% interest over three years – was so substantial that it required a special dispensation from the Senate, as the Count had guaranteed repayment with the income earned on a trust (Pietro was not concerned, however, as he considered Francesco «a temperate, punctual and honorable man»[63]). A few years later, Francesco would have his wife register «596 poles and 13 planks estimated to be worth 2293.5.3. scudi» in his name, so that he could then transfer them to Count Andrea Passalacqua Lucini on 14 August 1792[64]: it is very likely that this was yet another debt to be settled. In the autumn of 1827, his inept first-born son was only able to reimburse a very small portion of what he had so inexpertly embezzled; Giuseppe was already in prison by the spring of 1829, when the family’s financial status had become so precarious that his relatives were no longer able to come to his aid, and he was forced to ask the court for financial support during his incarceration (as per § 313)[65].

Yet not all of the blame lay with Giuseppe. Indeed, the wealthy, notable and liberal province of Brescia certainly needed more than a tarnished coat of arms at the helm of its government in order to feel represented. While it was true that Giuseppe had given in «to a sort of hereditary disease in his family by spending beyond his means»[66], things would have been better had the regime appointed someone who would have exalted the province’s pedigree and heritage; someone who would have made his mark on the way the province was run and have his own success come to be identified with the position itself. This was certainly not the case with the poor Count, whose family funds had already been in dire straits for some time. In short, though he had proved himself a fairly capable Beamte over his career, it had been an ill-advised decision to appoint Brebbia to Brescia: it had only damaged the efforts of a foreign government to be socially accepted by a demanding province with a strong, class-driven identity[67].

The center-periphery dialectic was an unavoidable variable to consider when building and managing an imperial system[68], but it did not account for all the factors at play in what was still a ‘trial phase’ for the kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. One must only take a closer look at how the functions of local government were put in practice to get a clearer idea of what the role of provincial delegate entailed: while the position’s responsibilities made it an extremely delicate office to hold, it was tremendously appealing to those who wished to hold it.

Delicate indeed. A telling memorial written around that time period revealed that «little is needed to be a counselor of the government», but that on the contrary, «the good government of a province requires greater intelligence, more skill, more knowledge of the world, a conviction that the public Spirit of the citizens towards the Sovereign must be preserved as is when favorable, and if it is not too favorable, that it may become so». The key to success, therefore, was staying in contact with the people, in order to examine things from up close. Thus, it had been a wise decision to call Brebbia back to the capital and assign him a role in Government, where high-ranking officials had nothing to deal with except «the things on [their] desk». All the more so considering that he was in such «bad shape» physically that he had actually been impeded in his work[69].

On the other hand, it would not be fair to accuse these provincial officials of being unjustifiably ambitious. After all, the law itself provided for it, as demonstrated by some of the broadly-defined tasks that were assigned to the provinzial Delegiert in the Istruzioni published on 26 May 1817: «inform and consult» the government; «oversee […] all things related to the public administration»; «take definitive measures […] for public order»; what’s more, this same legislation allowed delegates to expand these powers at their discretion during emergencies (§15)[70]. A counselor of the government had far less authority, as the organic laws of 1815 commanded his strict subordination to the «aulic ministers whose orders he must carry out» (§ 4)[71].

Of course, a delegate was expected to be willing to travel, as duly confirmed by the regulatory framework in place. There was indeed historical precedent: the protocol under Joseph II had provided for the heads of departments to make periodic visits to their offices, a practice that could even be partially traced back to the Spanish reign[72]. A circular letter sent out on 17 December 1817 recalled as much, ordering provincial officials to personally inspect their areas of jurisdiction at least once a year, not necessarily in one fell swoop but «even in various phases […] in order to enlighten the government as to the wishes and needs of the citizenry, and as to the conduct of its local administrations»[73].

In short, this was one of the few opportunities left for those in the noble ranks to show what they were made of in terms of running an administration: the imperial system was not yet fully operational, and there was still some control to be had at this intermediate level in the Italienische Provinzen[74]. Although the new political climate was not particularly hostile to the Adelsstand, the latter had lost much of its past glories: from the period under French rule to the return of the Austrians, ‘bureaucratic reform’ had cut all ties to the venality and inheritance of office. Any members of the nobility who wished to undertake a public career would now have to be properly inserted into the government hierarchy: they were to be subjected to an oath of office and all the symbolism that that entailed; they were to respect the rules of public office if they wished to remain in that role; and they were to comply with any procedures put into place to remove them from office in the event of serious offenses. Put briefly, they were to be treated on the same terms as any other official: the conclusion of the so-called ‘dethronement of the noble ranks’[75].

While the Napoleonic élite were being deprived of their rank in those early years of Lombardy-Venetia, the bourgeoisie had not yet formed. Consequently, the Lombard aristocracy was able to assert itself in the management of local affairs, if nothing else because there were quite a few positions to be covered, in addition to the fact they put up less resistance to the changes taking place. It is no secret that the initial appointments of high officials to the provincial government had one thing in common, «which evens out the apparent lack of homogeneity: namely, membership of the nobility»[76]. From this point of view, Giuseppe Brebbia’s curriculum was very similar to that of the other provincial delegates at the time, as were his origins. It would not be until the decades to follow – and the change would become increasingly apparent from the late 1830s to 1848 – that a more clear-cut ‘professional calling’ emerged, thus marking a new way of becoming part of the establishment[77].

Even though social class and administrative institutions were inextricably tied, it is certainly not difficult to see that therein lay a fundamental contradiction: on the one hand, the central government was relying on a ‘traditional’ aristocracy that represented the society’s élite, «a landed nobility that, on a provincial level, counted the most important and influential people among its ranks»[78]; on the other hand, the Habsburg regime aspired to a modern sense of impersonal, or better still, classless administration. Therein lay the empire’s weakness in mediating between the political and social spheres during this stage of their rule; that is, before the cards would be reshuffled in the bourgeoisie’s favor.

And just when the time was ripe to take stock of what was, for the most part, the positive work that had been carried out by the aristocrats in the department, Count Giuseppe Brebbia of Milan risked stoking tensions and throwing everything out of balance with his misconduct, which very well might have be the spark that set off the powder keg. No wonder, then, that the upper echelons took immediate action to contain the damage; that they carefully performed a thorough investigation; and that they discreetly and promptly took all the necessary steps to eventually remove him from office and deliver a sentence in the utmost secrecy.

Of course, whether they were counselors or magistrates, the fact that the high officials of Lombardy had to bring one of their own to trial clearly put them in a difficult position, and no less so when it came time to permanently dismiss him from his post. In sum, can it be said the scandal surrounding the Fondo di primitiva istruzione was actually the first step towards a change in how one gained access to local government? That finally, it was no longer social prestige that opened the doors to the high ranks, but rather the high ranks that opened the doors to social prestige?

Not yet. Rather, I would say that the problem was still being ‘digested’ towards the end of the 1820s, and while there was growing awareness that the traditional order was flawed, there were still no signs of making any radical adjustments. Witness Brebbia’s replacement to the Brescia delegation, Gaudenzio De Pagave: a man of similar ‘caliber’, he was a capable official who belonged to the gentry, and indeed his social class had had a decades-long history of members in public office[79].

[1] Counselor of government Luigi Crespi to Brebbia, July 14, 1827 (Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 102, n. 87/geheim). For some information about the Fondo – created by the Brescia provisional regency on September 30, 1797 (when «Brotherhoods and charities had been suppressed and all their properties had been confiscated, devolving their funds to communes and provinces to aid primary education», ibidem, n. 1266/geheim), later placed under the direction of departmental administration in accordance with the law of July 24, 1802, and still not yet abolished when the Austrians came back to Italy – seePiano provvisorio per la pubblica istruzione del Dipartimento del Mella (found in Archivio di Stato di Milano, hereinafter Asmi, Studi, parte moderna, fold. 396, file 1); report n. 16125 of Prefecture of Mella department to minister of interior, November 14, 1803 (ibidem, file. 11), M. Agosti, La tradizione pedagogica bresciana nei secoli XIX e XX, in Storia di Brescia, vol. IV, Dalla Repubblica bresciana ai giorni nostri (1797-1963), Milano 1964, pp. 787-789 e 821-822). With regard to Fondo’s workforce cfr. Almanacco Imperiale Reale per le provincie del Regno Lombardo-Veneto soggette al governo di Venezia per l’anno 1843, Milano 1844, p. 310. For a detailed bibliography on brotherhoods and other aid agencies, see M. Gazzini, Confraternite e società cittadine nel medioevo italiano, Bologna 2006, pp. 22-57.

[2] Eldest child of Francesco (1750-1818) and Camilla Arrigoni (1753-1843), heir of an old noble family, the House of Brebbia Counts of Barzago (see, amongst others, Alberi genealogici della case nobili di Milano, con uno scritto di C. Manaresi, introduzione di M.P. Zanoboni, blasonature di C. Maspoli, Milano 2008, pp. 236-237), Giuseppe (1777-May 24, 1851) gradually rose through the public service ranks. In March of 1802 he became an apprentice in the Italian Republic ministry of justice, and two years later he was promoted to administrative assistant. Starting on September 16, 1808, he served in the same capacity in the Council of State’s legislative and ecclesiastical sections (see Raccolta delle leggi, decreti e circolari che si riferiscono alle attribuzioni del Ministero dell’Interno del Regno d’Italia, vol. I, Milano 1808, p. 11), where, on December 14, he was appointed as an additional member. After Lombardy was re-assigned to Austria, he embarked again on an administrative career, holding higher and more sensitive positions: member of the committee for the liquidation of the public debt from December 1814, on January 19, 1816, he was made provincial delegate of Sondrio (cfr. Gazzetta di Milano, Milano 1822, n. 22, January 22, 1816, p. 95). In 1817 he was placed in charge of the more prominent delegation of Brescia (where he took office the following year, on February 11). With the sovereign resolution of June 19, 1826, Emperor Francis finally declared Brebbia’s appointment as an additional counselor of the Lombardy presidency government («Consigliere soprannumerario presso questo Governo») (see protocol July 12, 1826, n. 21864/4088, in Asmi), Uffici e Tribunali regi, parte moderna, fold. 479, file Brebbia Conte Gius., e Presidenza del Governo, fold. 105, n. 570/geheim, May 28, 1827, Stato personale di Servizio del Conte Giuseppe Brebbia).

[3] Cfr., e.g., Luigi Crespi to Brebbia, June 11, 1827 (Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 102, n. 87/geheim).

[4] Brescia provincial delegate Gaudenzio De Pagave to President of Milanese government Giulio Strassoldo, February 18, 1829, Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 110, n. 217/geheim.

[5] De Pagave to Strassoldo, December 17, 1827, report drafted in despatch n. 791/geheim of July 18, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 102, n. 1266/geheim

[6] Then rose to 142,384.39 lire, as a result of supplementary investigations (Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 102, nn. 788, 931, 1180, 1183 and 1184/geheim).

[7] See Crespi to Brebbia, n. 327/geheim, August 27, 1827, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 102, n. 87/geheim.

[8] Report n. 931/geheim, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 102.

[9] See sovereign resolution of October 22, 1815, in circular letter of October 26, 1815 (Raccolta degli Atti del Governo e delle disposizioni generali emanate dalle diverse autorità in oggetti sia amministrativi che giudiziarj, Milano 1815-1839, from now on only Atti del Governo, 1815, vol. II, second part, n. 55, p. 361). In Venetian territory the 1803 penal code had been in force since July 1, 1815 (cfr. sovereign resolution of April 24, 1815, in Collezione delle leggi, istruzioni e disposizioni di massima pubblicate o diramate nelle provincie venete in oggetti di amministrazione politica, camerale e giudiciaria, Venezia 1815, vol. II, first part, p. 139).

[10] Codice Penale Universale Austriaco, coll’Appendice delle più recenti norme generali. Seconda versione ufficiale, Milano 1815 (hereinafter only Codice Penale). Similar, but simplified, the procedure for serious police trangressions: §§ 293-406, second part. On this, see E. Dezza, L’impossibile conciliazione. Processo penale, assolutismo e garantismo nel codice asburgico del 1803, in Saggi di storia del processo penale nell’età della codificazione, in Casi, fonti e studi per il diritto penale, S. Vinciguerra (ed.), serie III, vol. 19, Padova 2001, pp. 141-169, previously in Codice penale Universale austriaco (1803), Casi, fonti e studi per il diritto penale, ristampa anastatica con scritti di S. Ambrosio, A. Cadoppi, A. Cavanna, C. Carcereri de Prati, M.A. Cattaneo, M. da Passano, P. de Zan, E. Dezza, P. Pittaro, P. Rondini, S. Tschigg, S. Vinciguerra, S. Vinciguerra (ed.), serie II, vol. 18, Padova 2001, pp. CLV-CLXXVIII.

[11] Cfr. Dezza, L’impossibile conciliazione [note 10], p. CLXXIII, and Id., Il nemico della verità. Divieto di difesa tecnica e giudice factotum nella codificazione penale asburgica (1768-1873), in M.N. Miletti (ed.), Riti, tecniche, interessi. Il processo penale fra Otto e Novecento: Atti del Convegno (Foggia, 5-6 maggio 2006), Milano 2006, pp. 32-47.

[12] See, generally, N. Raponi, Il Regno Lombardo-Veneto (1815-1859/66), in Amministrazione della giustizia e poteri di polizia dagli stati preunitari alla caduta della destra: Atti del LII Congresso di storia del Risorgimento italiano (Pescara, 7-10 novembre 1984), Roma 1986, p. 99; L. Rossetto,Un protagonista nascosto: il ruolo del fascicolo nella giustizia criminale asburgica in territorio veneto, in G. Chiodi-C. Povolo (edd.), Amministrazione della giustizia penale e controllo sociale nel Regno Lombardo-Veneto, Sommacampagna 2007, pp. 61-91.

[13] Codice Penale, first part, § 85.

[14] Codice Penal e, first part, § 161. For an account of the oath of loyalty which all Lombardy-Venetian employees took, see, at length, A. Arisi Rota, Pubblici impiegati e processi politici nel Lombardo-Veneto degli anni Trenta, in Storia Amministrazione Costituzione, 9 (2001), p. 118, and also F. Rossi, Il cattivo funzionario. Fra responsabilità penale, amministrativa e disciplinare nel Regno Lombardo-Veneto, Milano 2013, pp. 153-155.

[15] Asmi, Uffici e Tribunali regi, parte moderna, fold. 479, session of May 15, 1829. With regard to the suspension from service (with or without pay) see circular n. 17043-2375 P, June 18, 1828, in Atti del Governo, 1828, vol. I, second part, n. 27, p. 76, and also Rossi, Il cattivo funzionario [note 14], pp. 278-279.

[16] General police director of Lombardy Carlo Giusto Torresani to Strassoldo, n. 2538 PR, May 4, 1829, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 117, n. 374/geheim, and also Asmi, Uffici e Tribunale regi, parte moderna, fold. 479, session of the government of May 15.

[17] The police interrogation, technically speaking. In this regard, see L. Garlati, Il volto umano della giustizia. Omicidio e uccisione della giurisprudenza del Tribunale di Brescia (1831-1851), Milano 2008, pp. 70-72, note 194.

[18] Cfr. G.A. Castelli, Manuale ragionato del codice penale, e delle gravi trasgressioni di polizia ossia Prontuario per agevolare ai pubblici funzionarj criminali e politici la notizia di tutte le disposizioni che hanno rapporto con ciascun paragrafo di detto Codice penale, e delle gravi trasgressioni, ed in ispecie quelle state pubblicate posteriormente alla sua attivazione ecc. ecc., 4 voll., Milano 1833-1834, vol. II, § 281, pp. 72-73 and Garlati, Il volto umano della giustizia [note 17], pp. 69-70.

[19] Codice Penale, first part, § 281.

[20] See supra, text and note 8.

[21] «With reference to the disappearance of acts, records and documents, the Delegation can only refer to the reports of March 16 and April 19, 1828. […] Up to now, the search for cash books has not led to any results» (De Pagave to president of criminal court in Milan, Giovanni Gognetti, 12 May, 1829, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 117, n. 429/geheim).

[22] De Pagave to Strassoldo, n. 298 PR, May 26, 1829, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, cart. 110, n. 472/geheim. In response Count Brebbia will blame his successor for the loss of records (see Crespi to Strassoldo, n. 1369/geheim, February 23, 1831, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 148, n. 954/geheim).

[23] De Pagave to Strassoldo, n. 429/geheim, May 17, 1829, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 117.

[24] De Pagave to Gognetti, May 12, 1829, n. 409/geheim, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 117.

[25] De Pagave to Gognetti, n. 283 PR, May 20, 1829, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 117, n. 446/geheim.

[26] De Pagave to Strassoldo, n. 298 PR, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold 110, nn. 446 and 472/geheim.

[27] De Pagave to Gognetti, May 12, 1829, n. 409/geheim, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold 117.

[28] Gognetti to Strassoldo, n. 2908 PR, May 28, 1829. The certified abstract demonstrating the liquidation of his accounts, as provided by the then-delegate, shows that Brebbia’s excuses are full of holes: from June, 1821 to April, 1825 he had a «permanent fund» of £ 1,200 for secret expenses, which rose to £ 1,500 on June 14, 1822».

[29] Gognetti to Strassoldo, May 28 (Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold 117, n. 483/geheim).

[30] Codice Penale, first part, §§ 348-373. That is, the «structured examination of the accused» (S. Jenull, Commentario sul Codice e sulla processura criminale della Monarchia Austriaca ossia il diritto criminale austriaco esposto secondo i suoi principj ed il suo spirito da Sebastiano Jenull, Dottore in legge, Professore ordinario delle scienze politiche, e del diritto criminale privato austriaco. Prima versione italiana dal tedesco. Con l’aggiunta delle leggi e disposizioni colle quali venne posto in attività il Codice predetto nel Regno Lombardo-Veneto, 4 voll., Milano 1816, vol. III, § 348, p. 322). For a discussion in detail about the meaning of the word, and especially about thedifference between costituto sommario and ordinario, see Garlati, Il volto umano della giustizia [note 17], pp. 70-72, note 194; with regard to interrogation see also A.A. Cassi, Negare l’evidenza e avere salva la vita. Codice penale e tribunali speciali nei processi contro la Carboneria bresciana, in L’ABGB e la codificazione asburgica in Italia e in Europa: Atti del Convegno Internazionale, Pavia, 11-12 settembre 2002, Padova 2006, pp. 317-337, p. 327.

[31] Asmi, Senato lombardo veneto, Protocolli di consiglio, fold. 132, protocol November 17, 1829, spokesman counselor Raicich, p. 2966.

[32] On this aspect, see Dezza, Il nemico della verità [note 11], pp. 60-61.

[33] Cfr. Mazzetti to Hartig, n. 14254, December 28, 1830, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 136, n. 1285/geheim.

[34] In the court of appeal’s sentence we can find the ruling (conchiuso) of the first instance (see Sentenza del 25 agosto 1829, n.° 1908, dell’I.R. Tribunale Criminale in Milano, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 136, n. 1825/geheim, and also in Asmi, Senato lombardo veneto, Protocolli di consiglio, fold. 132, protocol November 17, 1829, p. 2962).

[35] Codice Penale, first part, § 87.

[36] See G. Chiodi, Il fascino discreto del libero convincimento. Per un identikit del giudice penale lombardo-veneto, in Amministrazione della giustizia penale [note 12], Sommacampagna 2007, p. 23.

[37] For a detailed account see Garlati, Il volto umano della giustizia [note 17], pp. 29-30, and for a general discussion, Dezza, L’impossibile conciliazione [note 10], p. CLXXII.

[38] Cfr. Sentenza n.° 9133, Milano, dall’I.R. Tribunale d’Appello generale il 8 ottobre 1829, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 136, n. 1825/geheim, and also Asmi, Senato lombardo veneto, Protocolli di consiglio, fold. 132, protocol November 17, 1829, p. 2962.

[39] Asmi, Senato lombardo veneto, Protocolli di consiglio, fold. 132, protocol November 17, 1829, pp. 2970-2972.

[40] Sovereign resolution of February 6, 1830, in Asmi, Senato lombardo veneto, Protocolli di consiglio, fold. 133, protocol February 25, 1830, p. 485.

[41] President of the government of Lombardy Franz Hartig to Smira (= Sua Maestà Imperiale Reale Apostolica, His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty), n. 1363/geheim, April 26, 1832, ASMi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 176.

[42] Torresani to Hartig, n. 4141 PS, June 28, 1832, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 176, n. 641/geheim. On Carlo Giusto Torresani de Lanzfeld (1779-1852), cfr. Biographischer Lexicon des Kaiserthum Oesterreichs, vol. XLVII, Wien 1833, p. 161; P. Pedrotti, Contributo alla biografia di Carlo Giusto Torresani, in Lombardia nel Risorgimento italiano, 16 (1929), pp. 3-55; M. Bellabarba, Il «fondamento dei miei regni». Giudici, cultura politica e letteratura nell’Impero austriaco di primo Ottocento, in M. Bellabarba, B. Mazhol, R. Stauber, M. Verga (ed.), Gli imperi dopo l’Impero nell’Europa del XIX secolo, Bologna 2008, p. 286.

[43] Asmi, Senato lombardo veneto, Protocolli di consiglio, fold. 132, protocol November 17, 1829, p. 2967.

[44] Counselor Vincenzo Raicich (Asmi, Senato lombardo veneto, Protocolli di consiglio, fold. 132, protocol November 17, 1829, p. 2963).

[45] Asmi, Senato lombardo veneto, Protocolli di consiglio, fold. 132, protocol November 17, 1829, p. 2963.

[46] See Codice penale, first part, § 167. «The crime of treason cannot be committed by anyone other than he to whom the thing has effectively been entrusted».

[47] Crespi to Hartig, n. 1369/geheim, February 23, 1831, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 148, n. 954/geheim.

[48] Asmi, Senato lombardo veneto, Protocolli di consiglio, fold. 132, protocol November 17, 1829, p. 2965. See also Hartig to Ranieri, n. 1361/geheim, April 26, 1831, and Crespi to Hartig, February 23, 1831 («the crime of abuse of power […] cannot be invalidated by the provision of indemnification»), Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 148, n. 954/geheim.

[49] «any theft or robbery shall cease to be a crime when the offender has compensated for all of the damage caused by his action before the authorities have been informed of his guilt» (Codice penale, first part, § 167).

[50] President of court of appeals in Milan Carlo Della Porta to Hartig, n. 58 PS, April 21, 1831 (Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 148, n. 954/geheim).

[51] The report shows that he «replaced his precedessor» in the administration of the Fondo (Crespi to Hartig, n. 1369/ geheim, February 23, 1831, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 148, n 954/geheim).

[52] Cfr. Codice Civile Generale Austriaco. Edizione seconda e sola ufficiale, Milano 1815, first part, §§ 234-236; circulars dated June 9, August 13 and 21, 1828, in Atti del Governo, 1818, vol. I, second part, n. 101, pp. 353-354, vol. II, second part, n. 134, pp. 457-458, and n. 143, pp. 468-475.

[53] Crespi to Hartig, n. 1369/geheim, February 23, 1831, Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 148.

[54] Della Porta to Hartig, n. 58 PS, April 21, 1831, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 148, n. 954/geheim.

[55] Codice Penale, first part, §§ 427 e 428.

[56] Crespi to Hartig, n. 1369/geheim, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 148, n. 954/geheim).

[57] V. Guazzo, Il funzionario pubblico ossia Manuale pratico-disciplinare pegl’impiegati regii, pegli addetti ai Corpi tutelati e pei disciplinati dallo stato, in cui sono e saranno raccolte tutte le prescrizioni delle leggi civili, giudiziarie, amministrative (politico-camerali), ecclesiastiche, militari e penali di ogni genere che si riferiscono al personale di tutti i pubblici funzionarii, Venezia 1846, tit. XII, cap. IV, §§ 113 e 125, pp. 207 e 209, especially § 99, p. 206. In particular, see F. Rossi, Il cattivo funzionario [note 14], pp. 105-106, 216, 238-239.

[58] Hartig to Ranieri, n. 1363/geheim, April 26, 1831, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 148, n. 954/geheim.

[59] Codice Penale, first part, §§ 12 e 13.

[60] Cfr. C. Mozzarelli, Il modello del pubblico funzionario nella Lombardia austriaca, in L’educazione giuridica, vol. IV, Il pubblico funzionario: modelli storici e comparativi, part. II, L’età moderna, Perugia 1981, pp. 439-459; Rossi, Il cattivo funzionario [note 14], pp. 55-86.

[61] Torresani to Strassoldo, n. 2538 PR, 4 maggio 1829, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 117, n. 374/geheim, and also Asmi, Uffici e Tribunale regi, parte moderna, cart. 479, government session of May 15.

[62] Hartig to Smira, n. 1363/geheim, April 26, 1832, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 176, n. 641/geheim.

[63] Letter of March 15, 1783, cited in G. di Renzo Villata, Verri contro Verri. «Una famiglia sbranata pel delirio di pochi anni» (1782-post 1709), in Edizione nazionale delle opere di Pietro Verri, vol. V, Scritti di argomento familiare e autobiografico, (ed. G. Barbarisi), Roma 2003, pp. 727-728). For a good description of Senato dispensations, see A. Monti, Iudicare tamquam Deus. I modi della giustizia senatoria nel Ducato di Milano tra Cinque e Settecento, Milano 2003, pp. 184-216.

[64] Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 125, n. 1184/geheim.

[65] In addition to an imprisonment treatment ensuring only their survival, the criminal code allowed detainees «to dispose of their property» and even «to receive aid from other people», usually close relatives (see Codice Penale, first part, § 312).

[66] Torresani to Hartig, n. 4141 PS, June 28, 1832, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 176, n. 641/geheim.

[67] Cfr. C. Mozzarelli, Sovrano, aristocrazia e amministrazione: un profilo costituzionale, in P. Schiera (ed.), La dinamica statale austriaca nel XVIII e XIX secolo, Bologna 1981, pp. 127-159, particularly p. 147, and also A. Gottsmann,I rapporti politici e istituzionali tra il veneto e l’area centro-europea nell’Ottocento, in La storia e le tradizioni del Veneto. Le relazioni e la forma della comunicazione tra l’area veneta e il mondo germanico: Atti del convegno, Venezia 2003, p. 165.

[68] Cfr. L. Mannori Introduzione, in L. Mannori (ed.), Comunità e poteri centrali negli antichi Stati italiani: Atti del Convegno «Comunità e poteri centrali negli antichi Stati italiani», Napoli 1997, pp. 38-42; Id., Modelli di governo territoriale nell’età della Restaurazione, in F. Micolo, G. Baggio, E. Fregoso (edd.), Diritto, cultura e riforme nell’età di Maria Luigia: Atti del Convegno – Parma, 14 e 15 dicembre 2007, Parma 2011, pp. 242-243.

[69] Pro Memoria per VE il Signor Conte Presidente di Strassoldo, August 29, 1825, in Asmi, Presidenza di Governo, fold. 57, n. 1104/geheim. This was confidential information taken from a report on higher officials in Lombardy, drafted by Giulio Strassoldo on July 24, 1825 (in Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv, Verträulichen Akten, fold. 56-10, file CCXVIII, pp. 38-66, particularly pp. 38-44).

[70] Istruzioni per le imperiali regie delegazioni del regno lombardo-veneto approvate da S.M. con risoluzione sovrana data a Klausenburg il 26 agosto 1817, in Atti del Governo, 1818, vol. I, second part, n. 16, §§ 3-4, 14 and 16, pp. 62-92. Cfr., on the theme, N. Raponi, Politica e amministrazione in Lombardia agli esordi dell’unità. Il programma dei moderati, Milano 1967, p. 31; B. Mazhol-Wallnig, Ordinamento centrale e amministrazioni locali: burocrazia austriaca nella tensione tra interessi statali e interessi locali. La provincia di Verona 1848-1859, in I problemi dell’amministrazione austriaca nel Lombardo-Veneto: Atti del Convegno di Conegliano organizzato in collaborazione con l’Associazione Italia-Austria 20-23 settembre 1979, p. 30; Gottsmann, I rapporti politici e istituzionali [note 67], pp. 161-182; Rossi, Il cattivo funzionario [note 14], pp. 29-30; L. Rossetto, Il commissario distrettuale nel Veneto asburgico. Un funzionario dell’Impero tra mediazione politica e controllo sociale (1819-1848), Bologna 2013, p. 208.

[71] Regolamento per il Governo ed il Senato politico, cap. II, §§ 3-11, found in A. Sandonà, Il Regno lombardo veneto. La costituzione e l’amministrazione. Studi di storia del diritto: con la scorta degli atti ufficiali dei Dicasteri centrali di Vienna, Milano 1912, pp. 105-110, and also Rossi, Il cattivo funzionario [note 14], pp. 23-24.

[72] See edict of January 20, 1784, in Biblioteca Ambrosiana, ms. H 113 suss., Raccolta di Piani, Regolamenti ed Ordini, pp. 145-183, found, in printed version, in ASMi, Uffici e Tribunali regi, parte moderna, fold. 3, under the title Disposizione di SMIRA L’Imperadore Giuseppe II ai corpi dei Dipartimenti sul modo di trattare gli uffici pubblici, datata in dicembre 1783, avanti la sua partenza per l’Italia. Tradotta dal tedesco. In this regard, see C. Mozzarelli, Per la storia del pubblico impiego nello Stato moderno: il caso della Lombardia austriaca, Milano 1972 e A.A. Cassi, Il bravo funzionario asburgico tra Absolutismus e Aufklärung: il pensiero e l’opera di Karl Anton von Martini (1726-1800), Milano 1999, p. 304). For the previous period one can think of the visitors («visitatori»), Spanish nobles in whom the king had complete confidence, sent to the Duchy of Milan to verify the office attendance of Italian public employees (see F. Chabod, Usi e abusi nell’amministrazione dello Stato di Milano a mezzo del ‘500, inStudi storici in onore di Gioacchino Volpe per il suo 80° compleanno, vol. I, Firenze 1958, pp. 93-194, D. Sella, Sotto il dominio della Spagna, in D. Sella, C. Capra (edd.), Il Ducato di Milano dal 1535 al 1796, Torino 1984, p. 40, C. Porqueddu, Amministrazione centrale e amministrazioni periferiche in Lombardia tra ‘500 e ‘600, in Comunità e poteri centrali [note 68], pp. 89-92). For a detailed account of visits between the 16th and 17th centuries within Italian territories, see A. Dani, Le visite negli Stati italiani di Antico regime, in Le Carte e la Storia, 18.1 (2012), pp. 43-62.

[73] Atti del Governo, 1817, vol. II, second part, n. 186, pp. 454-455, also cited in A. Lorenzoni, Instituzioni del diritto pubblico interno per il Regno Lombardo-Veneto, vol. I, Padova 1835, § 45, p. 55.

[74] On this, see cfr. F. Arese, Nobiltà e patriziato nello Stato di Milano, in S. Pizzetti (ed.), Dallo Stato di Milano alla Lombardia contemporanea, vol. I, Milano 1980, pp. 71-96; A. De Maddalena, E. Rotelli, G. Barbarisi (edd.), Economia, istituzioni, cultura nella Lombardia di Maria Teresa, vol. III, Istituzioni e società, Bologna 1983; M. Meriggi, Amministrazioni e classi sociali nel Lombardo-Veneto (1814-1848), Bologna 1983, especially pp. 87-149; M. Bigaran (ed.),Istituzioni e borghesie locali nell’Italia liberale, Milano 1986; B. Mazohl Wallnig,Österreichischer Verwaltungstaat und administrative Eliten im Königreich Lombardo-Venetien (1815-1859), Mainz 1993; E. Tonetti,Governo austriaco e notabili sudditi. Congregazioni e Municipi nel Veneto della Restaurazione (1816-1848), Venezia 1997; L. Rossi,I ceti nobiliari europei nell’800, Napoli 1998, especially pp. 72-75 and 147-155; G. Melis (ed.),Le Élites nella storia dell’Italia Unita, Napoli 2003; W. Heindl,Bureaucracy, Officials, and the State in the Austrian Monarchy: Stages of Change since the Eighteen Century, in Austrian History Yearbook, 37 (2006), pp. 35-57; A.G. Manca-F. Rugge (edd.), Governo rappresentativo e dirigenze amministrative (secoli XIX-XX)/Repräsentative Regierung und führende Beamte (19.-20 Jarhundert), Bologna-Berlin 2007; M. Meriggi, Gli stati italiani prima dell’Unità, Bologna 20112, especially pp. 125-154.

[75] Quote from Mazhol-Wallnig, Ordinamento centrale e amministrazioni locali [note 70], p. 33.

[76] Meriggi, Amministrazioni e classi sociali [note 74], p. 102.

[77] On this matter see C. Mozzarelli, Il modello del pubblico impiegato nel Lombardo-Veneto della Restaurazione, in F. Valsecchi-A. Wandruzka (edd.), Austria e province italiane 1815-1918. Potere centrale e amministrazioni locali, Bologna 1981, pp. 279-300; W. Heindl, Gehorsame Rebellen. Bürokratie un Beamte in Österreich 1780 bis 1848, Wien 1991.

[78] Gottsmann, I rapporti politici e istituzionali [note 67], p. 166.

[79] On De Pagave (1776-1833) see ASMi, Uffici e Tribunali Regj, parte moderna, fold. 594; Meriggi, Amministrazioni e classi sociali [note 74], pp. 105-106; Rossi, Il cattivo funzionario [note 14], pp. 32 e 212.

The Flogging Machine. Romagnosi in Search of the Perfect Punishment

Loredana Garlati

Università degli studi di Milano-Bicocca


Abstract: In 1806 Luosi submitted its draft penal code to Romagnosi, which wrote a new draft code, the Progetto sostituito, and wrote the Motivi. In this essay I’ll examine an instrument ingenious and terrible, the flogging machine, and the philosophy of punishment that prevailed in the first decade of the nineteenth century in Italy. In that period the achievements of the Enlightenment mingled with emerging repressive maneuvers.

Keywords: Romagnosi, Gian Domenico; Progetto sostituito; Criminal law; Flogging machine; Penalties

Table of contents: 1. Utilitarianism, proportionality and repressive effectiveness of the punishment.2. “False pretenses of humanity”: rethinking capital punishment.3. The flogging machine from juridical engineering to penal economy.

1. Utilitarianism, proportionality and repressive effectiveness of the punishment. – Gian Domenico Romagnosi, major protagonist in 17th-18 th century legal culture, is particularly identified with the 1807 Code of Criminal Procedure. It was the only ‘national’ code to be adopted in the years when Napoleonic Imperialism was imposed on Italy with weapons and laws. He was the expression of that fertile Po Valley breeding ground, which in the second half of the 18th century onwards directed men and ideas to set up new Italian criminal laws: the fervor of Verri and Beccaria had left worthy heirs, who between 1790 and 1810 were active in conciliating the great tradition of the past with the new instances of the present.

Many of the laws written in those years, which were very different from each other in content and political inspiration, bear the authoritative imprint of their author: it is what happened with the Progetto sostituito of the penal code written by Romagnosi in 1806, a document, as Friedman states that is not entirely unknown to scholars of criminal law history[1]. However, still today it has not been fully analyzed[2], which is the reason why in this short essay we will delineate a few considerations on the topic of exacerbation of penal sanctions, since, as expressed by Romagnosi in his Motivi that accompanies the Progetto sostituito[3], it is the sanctions, intended as the truly operational part of the code, that determine the positive or negative outcome of a penal law[4].

It is difficult to explain the Romagnosian conception of punishment in a few words: he partly takes refuge in what Pessina defined as the absurd hypothesis of the social contract[5] of the Beccarian school[6]

sostituendovi la dottrina che lo stato sociale è il vero stato di natura dell’uomo come quello ch’è fondato nella necessità di fatto della natura umana (substituting the doctrine that the welfare state is the true natural state of man, like that which is founded on the basic needs of human nature)[7]

and generates a theorization in which opposing forces merged and were reconciled, such as the general-preventive goal to be achieved through exemplarity, respecting utilitarian criteria and efficacy and the rigorous observance of principles of proportionalism and retribution[8].

Far from any humanitarianism, Romagnosi writes that in order to achieve such results, the punishments must be characterized by certainty and rigor and that prevention leads to

trattare il colpevole (che è sempre un essere umano) come un mezzo per un fine – l’esempio dato agli altri, l’intimidazione a scopi di difesa sociale e di lotta alla criminalità – che è a lui estraneo ed è proprio della società intesa come ente collettivo (treating the offender (who is still a human being) as a means to an end – the example given to others, using intimidation as a social defense mechanism and for fighting crime – which is alien to him, with society understood as a collective entity)[9].

At the same time, the search for an appropriate proportionalist ideology allows to mitigate the negative consequences inherent in the acceptance of the idea of exemplary punishment, which often risks, if used for responding to the mere objective of prevention, to appear excessive respect to the seriousness of the offense.

However, it is the utilitarian inspiration which our author believes is victorious, through the establishment of a quantitative relationship between crime and punishment, well expressed by terminology borrowed from the vocabulary of arithmetic.

If from Beccaria on, the intent of the ‘modern’ penal lawyer was to maintain the difficult balance between protection of civil liberties and statism, compensating social defense with the protection of individual rights (and thus balancing contractualism with utilitarianism), Romagnosi breaks this symmetry suppressing

uno dei due termini dell’equazione e ponendo l’accento esclusivamente sull’esigenza della difesa sociale, con risultati potenzialmente inaccettabili per chi professa una visione liberale e garantistica del diritto penale (one of the two terms of the equation, and exclusively focusing on the need for social defense, with potentially unacceptable results for those who profess a liberal and protective view of civil liberties in penal law)[10].

The theoretical substrate of the composite is the raw material with which the author shapes his belief: for Romagnosi only the punishments giving the impression of physical pain were effective, and therefore useful, in the belief that man is able to become accustomed to anything (hard work, lack of food, and loss of freedom), but the prospect of real, acute, periodic and repeated suffering will always be unbearable.

This is what emerges from Genesi del diritto penale, the work of a lifetime, which was first published in 1791, but as is well known, it took Romagnosi other thirty-two years to complete it[11]. And it is also what emerges from the analysis of the Progetto sostituito. It is the first significant element: it reveals, in fact, close consistency between the speculative Romagnosi and the Romagnosi legislator. Not only. It is undeniable that he saw an opportunity in the occasion offered to him by Luosi to render his philosophy of law patrimony into normative precepts, which in light of the experience he had acquired in the editing of his’ penal code[12], made the draft a training ground for experimentation of the doctrinal construction[13].

The topic of exacerbation of punishment, while representing only a fragment of the entire picture on regulations, is still able to offer significant insights.

It is necessary to make a first consideration: stiffer penalties responded perfectly to the values preached by the mature enlightenment. The doctrinal and legislative works of the time show that humanitarianism with which we usually consider the vision of penal law of the philosophes, in reality only leave a mark on a period or, rather, involve only some of its exponents. In fact, there is another side, equally significant, that fully adheres to the rigid rationalism of punishment and which re-presents it from a conservative viewpoint, fitting in with the general climate of regression which affects society, institutions, and legal policy. Adherence to this second consideration reaches its zenith in the years of frantic transition from the old to the new system, when that exasperated esprit de géométrie is recovered from the penal justice system during the enlightenment, functional to the new repressive demands, with disconcerting results at times.

It is what happened with Romagnosi: Romagnosi liked little or nothing about the correction (penal) building erected by Luosi. He criticized the lack of effectiveness, as well as the absence of any possibility for the ranking and proportionality of the sanctions. At the basis of the system, Romagnosi sustained, a sentence of absolute value was necessary, which could serve as the foundation for the evaluation of all the others, with which to exacerbate, increase, combine, or transform the punishment to fit the multitude of practical cases[14]. The words of Luosi, instead, were limited to finding the sanctions in traditional apparatus, aimed at affecting freedom, substance or honor, more often ineffective and therefore useless:

per chi non ha sostanze la classe della pena pecuniaria è nulla; e il numero maggior dei delinquenti è fra quelli che non posseggono nulla. Per chi non conosce il sentimento della riputazione o si è avvezzato a sprezzarlo, l’infamia di fatto è nulla: e la riputazione non ha luogo che fra gente onesta. La perdita della libertà per chi trae una vita dura ed uniforme o è nulla, o presto diviene nulla e non colpisce la fantasia degli spettatori come convien ad una pena. Rimangono le fatiche corporali e i dolori fisici positivi. Le prime non affettano quasi mai con quel terrore che fa d’uopo alla punizione. I secondi poi (a riserva della morte) è d’uopo ottemperarli in maniera che nel mentre in cui possano incuter timore e servir di correzione non attentino all’esistenza e non lascino rotture corporali permanenti onde ridurre un uomo nell’impotenza di usare in appresso delle sue membra (for those without property, the class of the pecuniary punishment means nothing; and the greatest number of offenders is among those who possess nothing. For those unfamiliar with the sentiment of reputation or are accustomed to scorning it, infamy is in fact nothing: reputation has no place except among honest people. The loss of liberty for those who lead a hard and flat life is either null or will soon become null and does not capture the imagination of the audience as a punishment behooves. Bodily fatigue and positive physical pain remain. The first one almost never instills the terror that is necessary in a punishment. The latter (subject to death) is then necessary so that they can infuse terror and serve as a form of correction. It does not make an attempt on his life, nor leave permanent physical damage that would leave a man without the power to use his limbs afterwards)[15].

It was therefore necessary to devise something that would serve as a perpetual supplement, which was corrective to the imperfections present in any kind of punishment. But such a remedy, according to Romagnosi, already existed and it was flogging, to be applied with a special machine he had designed[16], capable of transforming the “engineering of penal law” of the author into engineering tout court[17].

In these pages we will deal exclusively with the discipline of flagellation designed for punishments of criminal sentences, divided into major and minor criminal penalties[18] (for which sentences of the local police came after), a classification coordinated by the jurisdiction of the different courts[19].

The punishments for the worst crimes corresponded, in Luosi’s version, to the sentences for serious felonies[20]: there were eight in both normative texts, and notwithstanding the different classificatory labels, they totally overlapped. The lists began with the death penalty, moving on to shackles, penitentiary, prison, the pillory, the posting of the notice, permanent disqualification from holding public office or from the exercise of an art or trade, ending with exile[21]. The first four were major and not cumulative; the last four were accessory and used for increasing the basic sanction[22].

Even death, which in the legislative proposal of Luosi would seem aseptically imparted by beheading[23], in reality, forms of exacerbation were found as an exception in order to satisfy proportionalist-remunerative demands.

2. “False pretenses of humanity”: rethinking capital punishment. – The Luosi draft, in fact, ‘limited’ itself to asking for a more impressive apparatus for the execution of the death penalty (the so-called morte specialmente esemplare) in the case of particularly serious crimes, the determination of which was strictly left to the law. Once a beheading took place, the head was hoisted up on a pole with a sign indicating the name and country of the offender, title and aggravating quality of the crime: the macabre trophy was displayed for an entire day[24].

On this point, in fact, Luosi contradicted his previous draft of 1801[25], which in part was modeled on the lines of those in the arsenal of sanctions[26], however varying the punitive strategy.

In the 1801 draft, death did not experience any exacerbation or ex post[27] theatricality. The afterthought, a few years later, can perhaps be attributed to a political and ideological change: after the revolutionary code[28] and following the end of the Terror experience, Benthamite utilitarian-style philosophies began to take root in France, sending the principles expressed by Beccaria[29] to the background and almost to eliminating any memory of them. Anthropological pessimism spread skepticism on the possibility of entrusting the objective of social rehabilitation of the offender to the sentence.

Il diritto penale è quindi riscoperto e rivalutato unicamente nelle sue potenzialità terroristiche dissuasive, cioè quale argine al dilagare dei delitti e come strumento atto a presidiare la pubblica sicurezza e le istituzioni politiche costituite. In tal modo ritorna in auge la teorica dell’esemplarità della pena (di cui Bentham è appunto uno dei moderni profeti) (Penal law was therefore only rediscovered and re-evaluated as a potential terrorist deterrent, ie as a barrier to the spread of crime and as a tool for protecting public security and the established political institutions. In this way, the theoretical exemplary sentence came back into vogue (for which Bentham is one of the modern prophets.)[30]

Already the draft of the Code criminel elaborated in France in 1801, which inspired the future Code of 1810[31], contemplated a gruesome scenographic framework accompanying the extreme sentence, reserved for those who had committed the most heinous crimes, such as parricide, uxoricide, murder, arson, poisoning and sadism. In this kind of theatre pièce next to the red tunic of revolutionary memory, not missing was the public display of the convicted person for an hour, the placard of infamy, the amputation of his right hand before the death sentence itself[32]: a choreography in part maintained in the final 1810 version[33].

A further step came with the Act of 25 February 1804[34]: despite having achieved a modest objective compared to the original ambitious program of the unification of criminal law, this measure assumed great political and legal importance, showing how

«tra il legislatore repubblicano e i principi umanitari dell’illuminismo penale si fosse scavato un solco incolmabile» («between the Republican legislator and the humanitarian principles of penal enlightenment an impassable chasm had been dug»)[35].

The law aimed to bring back repressive characteristics and ferocious intimidation to punishment, combined with the fulfillment of the demand for proportionality and exemplarity. If Luosi did not fail to criticize it at first, he instead seemed to follow certain postulates in his draft in 1806, in line with the main issues of criminal policy that were unraveling in France. It could not be otherwise, given the institutional and administrative interdependence between the two territorial realities, on one side and on the other of the Alps.

The comments accompanying the Luosi draft of 1806 show some regret for having again included death among the sentences:

ai piedi dell’altare della Giustizia […] dovemmo fare il duro sacrificio de’ liberali nostri principi, e impor silenzio ai voti del nostro cuore, allorché convinti da una fatale esperienza con linee di sangue vergammo noi pure fra le pene quella di morte (at the foot of the altar of Justice […] we had to make the hard sacrifice with ‘our liberal principles, and impose silence to the votes of our heart, when convinced by a fatal experience, with lines of blood we also wrote the death sentence among the others)[36].

He returns however, to impose a healthy and lucid realism that still gives space, albeit limited, to the ‘mournful’ remedy:

la fredda ragione ha soggiogato il sentimento. Ella colla verità di sua luce impedì ai nostri sguardi d’essere abbarbagliati da quei falsi lampi d’umanità, di filosofia, d’eloquenza che scintillarono sull’orizzonte di Europa nel secolo diciottesimo e strapparono al consenso di alcuni celebri e grandi Regnanti l’abolizione della pena di morte (cold reasoning has subdued feeling. With the truth of its light it prevented us from being dazzled by those false pretenses of humanity, philosophy and eloquence that glowed on the horizon of Europe in the 18th century and obtained consent for the abolition of the death penalty by several renowned and great Rulers)[37].

Romagnosi used harsher tones, introducing the distinction between simple and qualified death, but did not indicate the concrete ways of enforcing it in the Progetto sostituito[38]. However, it is inevitable that in the crimes in which the offender goes beyond the sentiments of natural instincts and good behaviour, or where an excess of evil passion is found, which can bring horror and indignation to the social collectivity, the legislature cannot, according to the Parmanese jurist, settle for an ordinary form of death. A punishment which is identical in the way it is enforced would induce the multitudes to equate the crimes of different types and to give the same reprehension to the murder of a villain as to that of a prince or equalize the killing of an outsider to that of one’s own parents[39] .

According to Romagnosi, therefore, even death should instill terror in its application, but in a different way than what was prepared by the European legislation of that time, which was not very able to fulfill that goal. The theatricality foreseen by the revolutionary code of 1791 did not seem appropriate: the red robes imposed on the murderers, the arsonists and the poisoners, the black veils with which they covered the face of the parricide[40], or the various symbolisms are more « propri a far ridere che a recar spavento (fit to make people laugh than to make them afraid)»[41].

Article 5 of the Law of February 25, 1804, reproduced in the Luosi draft, showed instead according to Romagnosi, obvious confusion between the purpose of the publicity of the sentence and the reason that had induced the legislature to choose the fixing of the truncated head of the offender on a pole as exemplary death[42]. Therefore, a punishment capable of generating fear which was proportionate to the gravity of the crime was lacking[43], since the penalty is sought to be terrible in order to adequately fulfill its objective, which is to correct the offender (objective which Romagnosi does not believe in), but to prevent, in an intimidating prospect, the future commission of crimes. It is appropriate that the legislator is guided by sole necessity and utility (the two terms being constantly referred to), avoiding certain manners or not giving in to the lure of some sirens[44].

Bisogna anche guardarsi da una certa zerbineria legislativa che con un’aria plausibile ci trascina a far l’apoteosi d’una femminile ritrosia nell’irrogare i supplizi […]. Ci vuol violenza, è vero, a dettar certe pene a sangue freddo, ma bisogna vincersi. Bisogna anche affrontare la pretesa umanità del secolo e dichiarare che il fine della punizione è quello di incutere terrore (It is important to look out for a certain legislative gallantry which with a plausible air leads us to make the apotheosis of a feminine reluctance in imposing the punishments […]. It takes violence, it is true, to order certain punishments in cold blood, but this has to be accepted. We must also address the alleged humanity of the century and declare that the purpose of punishment is to instill terror[45].

These arguments reappeared in the 1809 draft, entrusted to a commission of jurists, among which the name of Romagnosi stands out. After the failure to proclaim the treatise of 1806, work in the field of criminality resumed and three years after the Progetto sostituito, exemplarity and severity of the punishment became the trade-mark of the newly proposed legislation: an already tried terrorist apparatus not far from the transalpine legislation which was due to enter into force in 1811 and for which the Italian ruling class shared the centralist framework[46], and at the same time was in line with the continuity of the Romagnosian ideology.

3. The flogging machine from juridical engineering to penal economy. – In a society beset by the increase of crime and obsessed by the need to maintain public order, penal law is perceived as a ‘military’ defense of power, and not as a pedagogical tool.

Exemplarity is the watchword that can guarantee punishments aimed at achieving control of the society, or a cold social hygienism[47]. More than the crime-punishment relationship, it is necessary to look at the offender-punishment relationship, based on a kind of psychic determinism: the sentence must win over the criminal tendency with its psychological pressure. If the sentences must instill fear, not as a result of the wickedness of the legislator-man, but as a cold calculation of need, then Romagnosi contrived the most bizarre punishment to do this, and at the same time was more cynically utilitarian than it is possible to imagine: the flogging machine.

This would seem to be a step backwards compared to what was asserted by members of the insurgents of jurists against flogging in Lombardia. It had an Austrian matrix, present in the Josephine Code of 1787[48] and later with the development of the Code of 1803[49], and was considered shameful for a population of superior refinement and culture such as the Lombardy one.

In reality, the floggings were a remedy which were hated more in form than in substance, as confirmed by a number of previous projects completed in the Milanese area: the generalized contempt for this form of hardening of the sentence clashed with the need to scale the punishment not only in regard to the type of offense, but also to the social background of the offender, in clear opposition to the principle of equality of the legal subject who was the recipient of the law[50].

First Beccaria[51], Luigi Villa[52] and Peter Mantegazza[53] who had not spread an inflamed announcement, but had used caution: it was necessary to restrict the use of the floggings to the lowest social classes (not having the honor that such a punishment risked offending), or, on the contrary, to extend the provision to all, but avoiding its enforcement in public in order to spare the person from consequent infamy.

Romagnosi, therefore, seemed to fit into the heart of Italian culture (Lombardia in particular), where tensions resumed and were taken to extreme consequences.

The proposed proportionalist model of enlightenment, in an attempt to objectify the criminal proceedings, structured the relationship between crime and punishment on formal logic criteria. The cases were classified according to a scale of severity of the values, which would have had to correspond to the sentences according to applicative automatisms that were extremely simplified and impersonal. This scheme, however, was not enough to ensure compliance with the principle of proportionality, which descended from the general to the particular, to create an almost tailor-made sentence for each person, rather than entire criminal categories. If the idea of proportion is therefore the foundation around which the punitive system hinges, flogging, for Romagnosi, is the unit of measure.

The Progetto sostituito does not provide us with much useful information on the system of flogging. Here we find only cold and impersonal regulations. Article 115, in fact, limits itself to pointing out that flagellation may be used only as a supplement or exacerbation[54], with the sole exception for the local police punishments, which could increase to the rank of principal sentence in cases established by law[55], and did not ever constitute exacerbation of the death penalty[56].

Title VIII, devoted entirely to the subject, was composed of ten intricate provisions describing the implementation of the flogging. It could take place only in cases expressly provided by law, with regard to both men and women in life sentences, in penitentiaries, houses of correction or fortresses, in the presence of the prison ‘population’. When it constituted an increase in the sentence of shackling or in penitentiaries, for the first time it was executed in front of the entire community, except in the case of women or children under the age of twenty[57].

The last four long and complicated rules governing how the number of strokes were to be imposed in minute detail, as determined in practice by the courts from a minimum and a maximum set by the law, which also indicated the times of recurrence of the punishment. The calculation was extremely complex, and this is not the place to go into detail: it is sufficient to recall that the absolute maximum limit of possible lashings to be imposed in a single session was sixty and the minimum was six, to be repeated even once a week[58].

The real source of knowledge of Romagnosi’s thinking was Motivi, which revealed a dark side of penal thought by an author who was often celebrated as the founder of modern and liberal criminal law. Proceeding by degrees, first with logical arguments and then juridical ones, according to a dialectical pro and contra scheme, the Emilian lawyer was first committed to demonstrating the falsity of certain critical statements against such a form of exacerbation, to then launch into a passionate defense of flogging, by proving both the need and the opportunity.

Si è proclamata la dolcezza delle pene e si è declamato contro la loro severità. Ma dolcezza e severità sono due parole relative le quali non determinano nulla di preciso, non danno niuna direzione particolare; non esimono regola alcuna, non operano nulla, non dicono nulla. Il legislatore non conosce veramente che necessità e moderazione. La necessità viene determinata dalla ragione della pubblica sicurezza cui deve difendere dai danni dei facinoroso. La moderazione è lo spirito col quale egli non eccede i confini di questa necessità. La dolcezza degenera in debolezza allorché il freno contro il delitto non è abbastanza efficace a spegnere le cagioni. La severità degenera in tirannia allorché si tormenta al di là del bisogno della completa sicurezza (He proclaimed the mildness of the sentences and ranted against their severity. But mildness and severity are two related words that do not determine anything specific, nor give any particular direction, nor express any law, nor serve anything or say anything. The legislator knows nothing but necessity and moderation. The need is determined by reason of public security which must be defended from the damage of the ruffians. Moderation is the spirit in which one does not go beyond the boundaries of this need. Mildness degenerates into weakness when the deterrent against crime is not effective enough to extinguish the causes. A heavy hand degenerates into tyranny when it torments beyond the need of complete safety[59].


farebbe d’uopo d’una tale pena che lasciasse una memoria salutare nella correzione, in vece di lasciare il confuso sentimento d’una privazion che svanisce troppo presto; e non agisce acutamente su la memoria di chi la provò, e su la fantasia di chi ne fu spettatore (such a punishment is needed that leaves a healthy memory in the correction, instead of leaving a confused feeling of privation that vanishes too soon and does not act acutely on the memory of those who experienced it, and the imagination of those who were spectators)[60].

Starting from these premises, Romagnosi believed that any criticism of flogging responded more to common approaches than to any real negative effects regarding it, with the result that a judgment which was legally impartial and neutral hid a misguided sense of ethics and morality[61].

The author invites those who criticize such a solution, considering it barbaric and uncivil, to reflect on the commonly accepted opinion that the floggings are an excellent remedy for those individuals, such as street thugs, for whom traditional penalties are ineffective. Neither a fine nor imprisonment are an effective punitive response to offenders who usually are without property or are poor, ready to see prison not as an affliction but as a delight; exile would be excessive and suspension from a trade for those who do not have one would be impractical. All that can be done is to beat the thief with twelve or fifteen well-aimed lashes to quell any foolish ambition or criminal passion[62]. The echo of Kaunitz resonates here in a report from 17 May 1780, complaining about the action by the Senate for the ordinary sentences of boys who were lazy or addicted to petty theft, for which the chancellor suggested instead to adopt a summary and cursory procedure, in imitation of what was happening in Vienna: once captured, they had to be beaten, for one day or more[63].

Romagnosi also recalled that the beatings were a common tool of domestic discipline. In likening the sovereign or the government to the good father of a family, it would hence allow it to also imitate those private punishments[64].

The real motives for the support of flagellation are found in the reasoning of penal economy, which imposes the use of everything that could be helpful to achieve the goal. If the Penal Code is not a statute of chivalry, as noted by the jurist from Salsomaggiore, the law of necessity must follow[65], which requires the legislator to render the goal of prevention into legal precepts, including general and special penalties[66], identified on the basis of scalability to allow for a proportional adjustment to the crimes[67]: it is the speculation of Genesi translated into practice.

Here, then, the flogging machine, simple and frightening at the same time, consists of a large wooden base « come quella che serve alle ruote colle quali si fa la corda (like that which serves the wheels to make cord with)»[68], on which other boards are erected perpendicular to it, crossed by a twisted wood that moves by rotation. At one end of this wooden cross hangs a large iron rod that is used to turn the wood.

Of the wooden cross in object a hole is made at a certain distance from the opposite end of the highest part

Pel ricordato legno trasversale si pratichi ad una certa distanza dall’estremità opposta a quella da cui pende il vette un foro» per inserirvi una corda di ferro e un bastone, munito di un globo mobile di piombo di vario peso

in modo che si possa levare a piacere. Il bastone sorta fuori dal globo, e all’estremità del medesimo pendono verghe di sanguine o di cornio, fissate in guisa da mutarle ad ogni opportunità (insert an iron cord and a stick, fitted with a movable lead ball of various weights so that it can be changed at will. The stick rises from the ball, and at the end of it dogwood or cornel rods, fixed in such a way that they could easily be changed)[69].

The description is accompanied by detailed calculations and measurements[70], which if adhered to allow the machine to act not as a means to inflict pain freely, but as a dispenser of fair and impartial punishment. The condemned man lies with bare shoulders at a distance sufficient enough to allow the ends of the rods to hit his entire back. From the part of the plank the lever is lifted a little more than a quarter of a circle and is set free, in order to move the rods, which will rise and lower with momentum that is proportional to the weight of the offender and that of the globe, striking blows with the force and the strength that is opportune to wield. This result is obtained by changing the weight of the movable ball placed at the end of the rod[71].

The flogging machine, therefore, allows to mitigate the abstract equality of the sentences, which do not consider the impact of personal reflections and the dissimilar social harm procured by the execution of the punishments in the hands of anyone different from them for sex, age, education, but especially for their perception of their sense of honour[72]. The necessary relativism inherent in the nature of things cannot answer with the uniformity of the law, in order to not risk creating a penal law which is unfair, improvident and defective, even if it theoretically meets the principles of equity[73].

There is no shortage of information on how to fulfill and comply with the proportionalist principle in order to avoid monstrous aberrations. Thus, the punishment by flogging must be inversely proportional to the time of the principal penalty.

It should, however, also take into account the specific physical constitution of the condemned: so that each time that the flogging is imposed with a greater number of blows, a longer interval is established between the successive ones, in order to allow a complete recovery[74].

In accordance with the principle of proportionality, Romagnosi followed a generally accepted rule, i.e. the shorter the sentence time, the stronger, though more infrequent, must be the floggings

perché nella memoria più forti rimangono le rimembranze dolorose non in proporzione della ripetizione, ma in proporzion della forza delle impressioni ricevute nell’atto della sensazione. Ora nella condanna di tempo minore più presto procurandosi la libertà del delinquente era d’uopo di preparare nell’anima di lui una più viva memoria salutare di castigo valevole a frenarlo dal ricadere nel delitto allorché fosse in libertà (because in the strongest memories the painful memories remain not in proportion to the repetition, but in proportion to the strength of the impressions received in the action of the sensations. Now in shorter sentences, in procuring the freedom of the criminal sooner it was necessary to prepare a strong memory of punishment in his soul, in order to stop him from committing crime when released)[75].

Each time that the flogging is prepared with the highest possible number of blows, it is expected to take place in the prison in the presence of all prisoners who have not been condemned to receive the same punishment:

ivi essendovi altri condannati che non furono assoggettati a così fatta pena, era d’uopo che allo spettacolo del dolore del paziente si avvezzassero ad associare l’idea del maggior dolore all’idea del delitto maggiore di quello ch’essi commisero (since there were other prisoners not subject to such a punishment, it was necessary that the exhibition of the victim’s suffering would make them associate the idea of more intense suffering to the idea of a more severe crime than the one which they themselves had committed)[76].

In as much as this practice was reserved for the most heinous crimes, it was therefore very rare. Thus, inurement to the spectacle of suffering was avoided and the goal of leaving a strong impression on the soul of the spectator was reached.

Collo stabilire per tanto le sole pene comuni, altro non si fa che tessere la prima orditura della ragion criminale. Il compimento sta nella pena supplementare di un valor certo e tale che si possa dividere in tutte le frazioni necessarie a pareggiare l’efficacia della pena. Avvi altre pene, fuorché quella che io ho suggerito, che soddisfaccia a questa mira? (With the establishment therefore of only the common sentences, it does nothing else but weave the first array of criminal reason. The fulfillment lies in the additional punishment of a certain value, which we can divide into all the fractions that are necessary to equalize the effectiveness of the punishment. Are there other punishments, outside what I have suggested, that satisfy this purpose?)[77]

“È una macchina curiosa” disse l’ufficiale all’esploratore, abbracciando con uno sguardo in certo senso ammirato la macchina, che pur conosceva bene (“It ‘a curious machine,” said the officer to the explorer, embracing with a look, in some way admiring the machine, that he nonetheless knew well).

A machine consisting of a bed, boards, wheels and a glass harrow with needles embedded in it, was used to inscribe the name of the law violated on the body of the condemned. Everyone, through the window, could see how the inscription was written on the body: a long needle wrote and a short one sprayed water to wash away the blood and thus keep the writing clear. The needles embroidered the man’s back, deeper and deeper: it took six hours before the prisoner lost consciousness, twelve to die, and the sentence was finally executed.

Kafka, about a century after Romagnosi, in his short story “In the Penal Colony”[78], for one of those curious and perhaps inexplicable coincidences, blends fiction and reality. Its pages of hallucinated normality are most likely worthy for showing us how sometimes what appears as a choice that is rationally needed in the spasmodic search of the perfect punishment, can transform into a nightmare of horror through the intervention of a morbid human inclination.

We must perhaps give credit to artistic transfiguration to guess what the fate of the machine devised by Romagnosi would have been if it had been really used? The intuition of the literary genius helps us to reflect on the potentially devastating outcomes inherent in blind adherence to the canons of geometric rationalism of enlightenment memory.

[1] G. S. Tempia, Il progetto di codice penale di G.D. Romagnosi, in «Rassegna Nazionale», 20, 4 (1884), pp. 611-620; F. Luzzatto, Giandomenico Romagnosi. Suo soggiorno a Milano e sua collaborazione al Progetto di codice penale del Regno Italico (1806-1814), in «La Scuola Positiva», n.s. XV, 1 (1935), pp. 393-412; M. Roberti,Milano capitale napoleonica. La formazione di uno Stato moderno. 1796-1814, vol. II, Milano 1947, p. 81; E. Dezza,Il codice di procedura penale del Regno italico (1807). Storia di un decennio di elaborazione legislativa, Padova 1983, pp. 247-255; Id., Appunti sulla codificazione penale nel primo Regno d’Italia: il progetto del 1809, in Id., Saggi di storia del diritto penale moderno, Milano 1992, p. 236; A. Cadoppi, L’albero genealogico dei codici penali italiani. Spunti di riflessione dal codice penale del Canton Ticino del 1816, in Codice penale della Repubblica e Cantone del Ticino (1816) S. Vinciguerra (ed.), Padova 2006, p. CLXXV, E. Dezza, Multa renascentur quae iam cecidere. La plurisecolare vicenda del Progetto sostituito di Giandomenico Romagnosi, in Criminalia, 2009, pp. 157-187.

[2] R. Isotton, Il Progetto sostituito di codice penale per il Regno d’Italia di G.D. Romagnosi (1806). Prima trascrizione, in «Diritto penale XXI secolo», anno V, 1 (2006), p. 120. For the origin and structure of this project see pp. 119-130.

[3] The two part manuscript is preserved at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale of Florence (Fondo Nazionale 1806, II, IV, 189). The first part is the Progetto Sostituito, parte prima. Disposizioni Generali, tit. I-XII with 240 articles [from now on, Progetto sostituito]. The second part is the Motivi delle Note marginali e del Progetto Sostituito [from now on, Motivi ]. The transcription of the Progetto by R. Isotton is used in this essay, (nt. 2), pp. 131-177. The Motivi, instead, has not been transcribed yet.

[4] Motivi (nt. 3), Appendice al titolo delle pene, All’articolo XLII, Sezione Prima § 1, f. 26.

[5] E. Pessina, Letteratura del diritto criminale, in P. Rossi, Trattato di diritto penale, Torino 1859, p. 566.

[6] On common and contrast points between Romagnosi and Beccaria see R. Ghiringhelli, Introduzione a Genesi del diritto penale (1791), Milano 1996, pp. 93-98.

[7] Pessina, Letteratura (nt.5), p. 566.

[8] Cfr. G. Tarello, Storia della cultura giuridica moderna. Assolutismo e codificazione del diritto, Bologna 1976, pp. 383-392.

[9] M.A. Cattaneo, I principi dell’illuminismo giuridico penale, in Diritto penale dell’Ottocento. I codici preunitari e il codice Zanardelli, Padova 1999, p. 17.

[10] Isotton, Il Progetto sostituito (nt. 2), p. 129. «Il principio della difesa può apportare, nelle sue rigorose applicazioni, a tragiche conseguenze (si può sacrificare l’innocente per un interesse di difesa) e […] ad applicazioni saltuarie di ingiustizia» (G.F. Falchi, Il pensiero penalistico di G.D. Romagnosi, Padova 1933, p. 48).

[11] «Qual è la regola giustificante l’uso delle pene? La sola Necessità» (Genesi del diritto penale, Pavia 1791 libro II, capo I, § 470). «Col dire, che la pena è necessaria a reprimere il delitto, cosa si suppone egli? Non sembra egli, che dir si voglia, ch’ella sia mezzo efficace ad ottenere un tal fine?» (libro II, capo I, § 473). «L’ Efficacia della pena sull’anima del delinquente è in generale il Risultato de’ rapporti, che passano fra il dolore o minacciato, o irrogato, e l’anima sensibile, e ragionevole, cui s’intima, e si fa sentire […] Dunque l’efficacia della pena, in ultima guisa, risulta in ragion composta della natura, e forza del dolore, e della natura, e forza dell’anima umana assieme combinate» (libro II, capo III, § 496). Siamo ai primi cenni di elaborazione della teoria della spinta criminosa, destinata a rappresentare «una delle più acute intuizioni nella storia del diritto penale» [Ghiringhelli, Introduzione (nt. 6), p. 49, ma in generale cfr. pp. 46-63]. E la «storia, formalmente assente dall’impostazione generale, entra di prepotenza» nel penale [P. Nuvolone, Delitto e pena nel pensiero di G.D. Romagnosi, in «Studi parmensi», 10 (1961), p. 182, ma si vedano pp. 175-183].

[12] Romagnosi, not satisfied by the draft of the law presented by Luosi, guilty, in his opinion, of having limited himself «passare grossolanamente e rapidamente in rivista i delitti e tassarli con una pena qualunque», drew up an alternative «col quale ho riformato, rifuso e aggiunto quanto mi pareva mancare nel progettato codice». The text of Luosi’s commision according to Romagnosi was a «rapsodia dei Codici longobardi, borgognoni, ripuai e un affare tutt’al più di semplice a b c della legislazione penale»; it was unable to represent the “new” and uniqueness that Italian civilization deserved [lettera di Romagnosi del 26 agosto 1806, edita in Tempia,Il progetto (nt. 1), pp. 617-619, in Luzzatto, Giandomenico Romagnosi (nt. 1), pp. 396-398 e in Lettere edite ed inedite di G. D. Romagnosi, a cura di S. Fermi, Milano 1935, lett. n. 63, pp. 96-99].

[13] «Questo manoscritto inedito ad occasione di applicare alla legislazione i principi della Genesi, rappresenta l’espressione del maturato pensiero del Romagnosi; e non è forse senza fondamento il congetturare che per questo egli pensasse più tardi ad un rifacimento della Genesi, nel quale di tutto si sarebbe tenuto il debito conto, onde ne nascesse un vero e proprio trattato di diritto penale» [Luzzatto, Giandomenico Romagnosi (nt. 1), p. 399].

[14] Motivi (nt.3), Appendice al titolo delle pene, All’art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 1, f. 29.

[15] Motivi (nt.3), Appendice al titolo delle pene, All’art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 1, ff. 29-30.

[16] «L’esacerbazione delle pene si fa a colpi di verghe sul dorso denudato da infliggersi con una data macchina decretata dalla legge. § I. Questa macchina è fatta in guisa che si possa graduare la forza dei colpi a piacere. § II: Presso tutti i Tribunali aventi giurisdizione criminale esiste la macchina del flagello» [Progetto sostituito (nt. 3), tit. VIII, art. 151, p. 162 ed. cit.].

[17] Isotton, Il Progetto sostituito (nt. 2), p. 129.

[18] Cfr. Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XI, § 2, f. 13.

[19] Progetto sostituito (nt. 3), tit. V, art. 103, p. 154 ed. cit..

[20] Correctional punishements and those of the local police came afterwards (Progetto del Codice penale pel Regno d’Italia col rapporto che ne contiene i motivi, tit. II, art. 11, inCollezione dei Travagli sul Codice Penale del Regno d’Italia, vol. I, Brescia 1807 [d’ora in poi Progetto (1806)]. See alsoRapporto che contiene i motivi del progetto del Codice penale, in Collezione dei Travagli, pp. 139-150 [d’ora in poi Rapporto]).

[21] Progetto (1806) (nt. 20), art. 12; Progetto sostituito (nt. 3), artt. 104, § 1 e 113, pp. 154 e 156 ed. cit

[22] Progetto (1806) (nt. 20), art. 13; Progetto sostituito (nt. 3), art. 114, pp. 156-157 ed. cit..

[23] Progetto (1806) (nt. 20), art. 16 § 1; Progetto sostituito (nt. 3), art. 116, p. 157 ed. cit..

[24] Progetto (1806) (nt. 20), art. 16 §§ 2-3. «La pena di morte deve riguardarsi per la più terribile e la più imponente nella sua intensità. È perciò ch’ella deve infliggersi senza esacerbazione né addizione di altra pena. Noi abbiamo adottato per l’esecuzione di questa pena il taglio della testa: e sebbene costretti a introdurre una specie di morte esemplare, più imponente cioè nell’apparato, per estendere in qualche modo la gradazione delle pene, col seguire, ma senza ferocia, i gradi di malvagità dei più consumati delinquenti, ci siamo però guardati dall’inasprire coi tormenti l’ultimo fato di chi è pur uomo, quantunque della più turpe scelleraggine macchiato. Vi ha un confine anche nella pena, dove l’umanità arresta la spada della Giustizia. Rimangono per sempre condannati all’esecrazione di chiunque ha palpito di cuore quei feroci Legislatori che con brutale compiacenza gareggiarono nel trovar nuovi modi per esacerbare la pena di morte, e variar lo strazio de’ sciagurati colpevoli» [Rapporto (nt. 20), pp. 151-152].

[25] Cfr. A. Cavanna,Codificazione del diritto italiano e imperialismo giuridico francese nella Milano napoleonica. Giuseppe Luosi e il diritto penale, in Id., Scritti (1968-2002), II, Napoli 2007, pp. 904-918. On the figure of Luosi see Giuseppe Luosi, giurista italiano ed europeo: traduzioni, tradizioni e tradimenti della codificazione a 200 anni dalla traduzione in italiano del Code Napoléon , Modena 2009.

[26] Progetto di codice penale (1801-1802) [from now on Progetto (1801-1802)], edito in A. Cavanna – G. Vanzelli, Il primo progetto di codice penale per la Lombardia napoleonica (1801-1802), Padova 2000, pp. 239-342. Refer to § 35, p. 252.

[27] Progetto (1801-1802) (nt. 26), § 37, p. 252.

[28] The 1791 penal law stated that the death penalty consisteddans la simple privation de la vie, sans qu’il puisse jamais être exercé aucune torture envers les condamnés ( Loi du 25 septembre 1791. Code pénal, parte I, titolo I, art. 2).

[29] On common points between Bentham and the idéologues and the perfect harmony of his philosophy with the expectations and the unrest of the post-termidorian society, see S. Solimano, Verso il Code Napoléon. Il progetto di codice civile di Guy Jean-Baptiste Target (1798-1799), Milano 1998, pp. 69-87. Sull’influenza del pensiero di Bentham nella codificazione penale francese e sulle relative critiche a Beccaria v. pp. 147-157.

[30] G. Vanzelli, Il primo progetto di codice penale per la Lombardia napoleonica (1801-1802), in A. Cavanna – G. Vanzelli, Il primo progetto (nt. 26) p. 59, nt. 123.

[31] On the exact dates of this project, completed in 1802, see, cfr. Solimano, Verso il Code Napoléon (nt. 29), p. 149, nt. 141 and bibliography ivi citata; M. Da Passano, Emendare o intimidire? La codificazione del diritto penale in Francia e in Italia durante la Rivoluzione e l’Impero, Torino 2000, pp. 101-112; Id., I tribunali francesi e il progetto Target. La parte generale, in Codice dei delitti e delle pene pel Regno d’Italia (1811), rist. anast., Padova 2002, pp. XXXV-LXVII; S. Solimano, L’edificazione dell’ordine giuridico napoleonico: il ruolo di Guy Jean-Baptiste Target, in Codice dei delitti e delle pene pel Regno d’Italia, rist. anast., Padova 2002, pp. LXIX-XC; A. Cavanna, Storia del diritto moderno in Europa. Le fonti e il pensiero giuridico, 2, Milano 2005, pp. 590-592.

[32] Solimano, Verso il Code Napoléon (nt. 29), p. 151, nt. 151.

[33] Cfr. M. Da Passano, La pena di morte nella Francia rivoluzionaria e imperiale, in «Materiali per una storia della cultura giuridica», 27 (1997), pp. 379-426.

[34] Sugli omicidj, le ferite, e li furti, e sulle prove, e sull’applicazione delle pene tanto ne’ delitti suddetti, quanto in tutti gli altri delitti (25 febbraio 1804) , in Bollettino delle leggi della Repubblica italiana, pt. I, Milano 1804 pp. 86-112. The 1804 law established that for six crimes, defined as very atrocious (parracide, poisoning, homicide, treason, homocide united with armed robbery or accompanied by robbery, art. 4, p. 88), death must be specialmente exemplary, executed by decapitation, with the head exhibited afterwards «sopra un’asta con cartello indicante nome, cognome e patria del reo; il titolo del delitto, e la qualità di parricidio, latrocinio, o altra che abbia reso atrocissimo l’omicidio, e vi si conserva esposta per le rimanenti ore del giorno» (art. 5, p. 88. Sul punto cfr. C. Danusso, Carlo Bellani: valori etici e pragmatismo di un magistrato al servizio della giustizia, in Ius Mediolani, Milano 1996, pp. 841-842). On the iter compiled on this law see, Vanzelli, Il primo progetto di codice penale (nt. 30), pp. 129-135.

[35] Vanzelli, Il primo progetto di codice penale (nt. 30), p. 135.

[36] Rapporto (nt. 20), pp. 150-151.

[37] Rapporto (nt. 20), p. 150.

[38] Progetto sostituito (nt. 3), art. 116 § 1, p. 157 ed. cit..

[39] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XVI, § 7, f. 17.

[40] Loi du 25 septempre 1791 (nt. 28), parte I, titolo I, art 4.

[41] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XVI, § 7, f. 17.

[42] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XVI, § 7, f. 17.

[43] «La via la più naturale colla quale gli uomini manifestarono sempre la loro detestazione e il loro orrore per qualsiasi o reale o supposto misfatto si fu quella della grandezza e dello spavento dei supplici. Non istà in mano del legislatore il modellare i sentimenti naturali come a lui piace. Bisogna guardarsi che una malintesa dolcezza non li seduca suo mal grado, e non renda le sue leggi ludibrio del robusto e intraprendente malfattore» [Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XVI, § 7, f. 17].

[44] «Se parliamo delle pene che si applicano esse devono essere attinte non dai pregiudizi della moda o da una vaga e mal definita premura di dolcezza […], bensì dalla cognizione solida delle cagioni del delitto, della sensibilità, delle abitudini e del temperamento comune dell’azione a cui si danno le leggi […]. Se parlassi ad uomo meno superiore dell’E.V. io dovrei temere di naufragare contro i pregiudici della moda che infetta anche le leggi penali, le quali non debbono avere altra norma che la necessità della cosa, necessità che delude tutte le zerbinerie dei piccoli legislatori e colla forza irrefragabile dell’esperienza costringe quel governo che si lasciò sedurre da loro ad una vergognosa resipiscenza quasi sempre peggiore delle cattive leggi che adottarono» [ Lettera 26 agosto 1806, Corrispondenza Romagnosi-Luosi, in Luzzato, Giandomenico Romagnosi (nt. 1), p. 397].

[45] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XVI, § 7, ff. 17-18.

[46] Dezza, Il codice (nt. 1), p. 159, for an overview see, pp. 140-178.

[47] A. Cavanna, Il Codice penale napoleonico. Qualche considerazione generalissima, in Id., Scritti (nt. 25), p. 1225.

[48] Codice generale sopra i delitti e le pene , Vienna-Rovereto 1787, parte I, cap. II, § 32 e parte II, cap. II, § 11.

[49] Codice penale universale austriaco , Milano 1815, parte I, sez. I, capo II, § 20 e parte II, sez. I, capo II, § 16.

[50] Compare with La ‘magnifica ossessione’. Il sistema delle pene nel codice giuseppino:le contraddizioni di un sistema ‘illuminato’, in Codice generale austriaco dei delitti e delle pene (1787), rist. anast., Padova 2005, pp. CLXIII-CLXVIII.

[51] If in Dei delitti e delle pene Beccaria flawlessly sustained equality of punishments for all subjects without distinction (C. Beccaria, Dei delitti e delle pene, Edizione nazionale delle Opere di Cesare Beccaria, diretta da L. Firpo e G. Francioni, Milano 1984, § XXI, pp. 73-75), twenty years later, in his Brevi riflessioni intorno al Codice generale sopra i delitti e le pene, he urged to consider the differences of social class when imposing a political sanction: «si deve avere moltissimo riguardo alla condizione delle persone, perché il bastone che può correggere un facchino, avvilisce e annienta un nobile, un onesto negoziante, e qualunque civile persona, e involge tutta la loro famiglia nella più luttuosa ignominia» (C. Beccaria,Brevi riflessioni intorno al Codice generale sopra i delitti e le pene, per ciò che risguarda i delitti politici, in C. Cantu’, Beccaria e il diritto penale, Firenze 1862, Appendice, p. 350).

[52] Luigi Villa, the attorney general and tax lawyer who developed a project for the adaptation of the Josephine code of 1787 so that it could enter into force in the territories of Lombardia, sustained that if inflicted in private, the blows could be saved among the «rimedi correttori». Only in the case – added Villa – where the possibility of a revision of the charge of the offender and therefore a possible social recovery was ruled out in advance, was it possible to keep the flogging public. Further caution consisted of limiting the number of blows, in containing the number to fifty for men and thirty for women, not because of abstract evaluation of principles, but in consideration of the complex physical structure of the Lombards, who would not have been able to support more without seriously risking their health. (L. Villa, Originale codice delle Leggi Criminali e Politiche rassegnato al R. Governo dal Procuratore Generale della Camera Ligi Villa nel 1787 7 Giugno , edito in P. Rondini, Il progetto di codice penale per la Lombardia austriaca di Luigi Villa [1787]. Pietra scartata o testata d’angolo?, Padova 2006, p. 286. See also, pp. 121-122 and in particular nt. 169).

[53] The reference is from my essay, Nella disuguaglianza la giustizia. Pietro Mantegazza e il codice penale austriaco (1816), Milano 2002, pp. 96-111.

[54] Progetto sostituito (nt. 3), art. 115, p. 157 ed. cit.

[55] Progetto sostituito (nt. 3), art. 154, p. 162 ed. cit.

[56] Progetto sostituito (nt. 3), art. 155, p. 162 ed. cit.

[57] Progetto sostituito (nt. 3)., artt. 150-153, p. 162 ed. cit..

[58] Progetto sostituito (nt. 3), artt. 156-159, pp. 163-164 ed. cit..

[59] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Prima, § 7, f. 26.

[60] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 1. f. 30

[61] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 2, f. 30.

[62] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 3, f. 31.

[63] Cfr. G.P. Massetto, Aspetti della prassi penalistica lombarda nell’età delle riforme: il ruolo del Senato milanese, in Id., Saggi di storia del diritto penale lombardo (Secc. XVI-XVIII), Milano 1994, pp. 365-368.

[64] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 3, f. 31.

[65] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 2, f. 30.

[66] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 4, f. 31.

[67] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 5, f. 32.

[68] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 6, f. 33.

[69] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 6, f. 33.

[70] Some examples, the perpendicular boards were five feet long and were about seven feet away from each other. The board on which the offender lay down on was half a foot below the machine and so on [Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 6, f. 33].

[71] «Affinché poi nel discendere non oltrepassi la perpendicolare e faccia solamente la metà dell’oscillazione, senza di che egli tenterebbe anche di infrangere le verghe, si contrapponga alla direzione della perpendicolare un macigno, o grosso tronco fitto in terra contro il quale vada a sbattere il detto vette discendendo, e rimbalzi tosto. Acciocché poi il movimento sia più regolare, e intervenga il meno d’arbitrio possibile, si costruisca a fianco del detto vette un congegno di due legni alti un piede circa più della macchina, framezzo a’ quali giri una carrucola. Una corda legata all’estremità del globo o bastone di ferro passi per questa carrucola. L’esecutore mediante questa corda alza il detto vette fin dove può giungere e lo lascia cadere tutto di un tratto. Il corpo del condannato non dovrà mai avere il capo volto verso la parte dalla quale si dà moto alla macchina» [Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 6, ff. 33-34].

[72] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 8, f. 34.

[73] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 8, f. 36.

[74] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 9, f. 37.

[75] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 9, f. 37.

[76] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 9, f. 37.

[77] Motivi (nt. 3), Tit. II, All’Art. XLII, Sez. Seconda, § 8, f. 36.

[78] F. Kafka, Nella colonia penale [1914], in Racconti, ed Mondatori, Meridiani Collezione, Milano 2006, pp. 285-318.