Ruffo Scilla coming to London as special papal envoy, and the duke of Norfolk being received at the Vatican as the bearer of the congratulations of the queen of England.
When the kingdom of Naples was overrun by the French and the Parthenopaean Republic established (1799), Cardinal Ruffo, acting on behalf of the Bourbon king Ferdinand IV., who had fled to Sicily, undertook the reconquest of the country, and for this purpose he raised bands of peasants, gaol-birds, brigands, &c., under the name of Sanfedisti or bande della Santa Fede (" bands of the Holy Faith").
But although, like his fellow-brigands under Ruffo, he styled himself "the faithful servant and subject of His Sicilian Majesty," wore a military uniform and held militaryrank, and was even created duke of Cassano, his atrocities were worthy of a bandit chief.
Meanwhile the court at Palermo sent Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo, a wealthy and influential prelate, to Calabria, to organize a counter-revolution.
Ruffo, with the addition of some Russian and Turkish allies, now marched on the capital, whence the French, save for a small force under Mejean, withdrew.
On the 13th of June Ruffo and his hordes reached Naples, and after a desperate battle at the Ponte della Maddalena, entered the city.
For weeks the Calabresi and lazzaroni continued to pillage and massacre, and Ruffo was unable, even if willing, to restrain them.
Consequently Ruffo was desperately anxious to come to terms with the Republicans for the evacuation of the castles, in spite of the queen's orders to make no terms with the rebels.
Ruffo indignantly declared that once the treaty was signed, not only by himself but by the Russian and Turkish commandants and by the British captain Foote, it must be respected, and on Nelson's refusal he said that he would not help him to capture the castles.
Croce, Studii storici sulla rivoluzione Napoletana del 1799 (Rome, 1897); Freiherr von Helfert has, attempted the impossible task of whitewashing Queen Mary Caroline in his Konigin Karolina von Neapel and Sicilien (Vienna, 1878) and Maria Karolina von Osterreich (Vienna, 1884), while in his Fabrizio Ruffo (Italian edition, Florence, 1885) he gives a rose-coloured" portrait of that prelate and his brigand bands; see also H.
He entered the army at an early age, but in 1799 he took part in the republican movement at Naples inspired by the French Revolution; he fought against the Bourbon troops under Cardinal Ruffo, was captured and exiled to France.