31 AUGUST 1878, Page 3

The faller story received this week of the strange Italian

fanatic who perished last Sunday week (August 18th), in a mad attemi4 to assert his Messiahship.against the Italian police, seems to illustrate how deep at the present moment is the vague unrest even amongst the most credulous of Italian peasants. David Lazzer- etti, or David the Saint, was a native of Arcidosso, in the province of Grosseto, in Tuscany, born about the year 1830 of the humblest parents. He learned to read, but was early taken from school to drive a cart. Nevertheless ha fed his mind on all sorts of dreams, and is said to have served as a Garibaldian, and also to have attempted literature without success. In 1868, he disappeared from his native place; and when he reappeared, he had entered on the role of a,fanatic. He had let his beard grow, had got a brand, which he declared to be miraculous, on his forehead, spoke in short, rapt sentences, and claimed to be a reincarnation of Christ. His wild gestures, uncared-for dress, and fanatical accents produced a great effect. He took up his residence on Monte Labro, 3,000 feet above the sea, where a hermitage was built for him; chose twelve apostles, and in time got a following of many thousands. Latterly he had announced that it was necessary to exterminate the priests and two-thirds of mankind, in order to complete the redemption of the rest of the human race. Within twelve years, he said, he would have annihilated all the empires, kingdoms, and republics of the universe, and would form them into one, from which would depend thirteen monarchies. On August 18th he made a great procession to Arcidosso, was met and warned back by the police, attacked them, and TM killed by a shot in the forehead. The power he wielded was no doubt that of a fanatic, but the human passion to which he appealed was a Socialist kind of hunger, such as that which assumes atheistic forms in Germany, though it takes wilder and more visionary phases amongst the peasantry of the South.