The Alta Vendita: The Development of the Theory of Alta Commercio

Letter from Vindice, written from Castellamare, to Nubius, on 9th August 1838. In it he develops the theory of Alta Commercio:

“What does the world care about an unknown corpse, spread out on the public street by the vengeance of the secret societies? What does it matter to the people that the blood of a workman, of an artist, of a gentleman or even of a prince has been shed by virtue of a sentence by Mazzini or by one of his assassins who seriously enjoys the Sainte-Vehme? The world doesn’t even have time to pay attention to the last moans of the victim: he passes and forgets. We, dear Nubio, we alone are the ones who can suspend his march. Catholicism, even less than the Monarchy, does not fear the tip of a style; but these two foundations of social order can fall under the weight of corruptionLet us therefore never tire of bribing. Tertullian rightly said that the blood of martyrs was the seed of Christians. Now it is decided in our councils that we no longer want Christians: therefore let us not make martyrs; but we popularize vice among the multitudesLet them breathe it with their five senses, drink it, become saturated with it; and this land, where Aretino has sown, is always willing to receive obscene and lewd teachings. Make vicious hearts and you will no longer have Catholics. Remove the priest from work, from the altar and from virtue: deftly try to occupy his thoughts and his time elsewhere. Make him idle, gluttonous and patriotic, he will become ambitious, scheming and perverse. You will thus have accomplished your task far better than if you had broken the point of your dagger into the bones of some poor penitent. As for me, I don’t want to, and I believe that you too, Nubio, don’t want to become a common conspirator and thus spend your life on the old path of conspiracies.”

We have undertaken corruption on a grand scale, the corruption of the people through the clergy, and of the clergy through us, the corruption which must lead us to the burial of the Church. One of our friends, a few days ago, laughed philosophically at our plans and said : “To overthrow Catholicism we must first suppress the woman”. This sentence is true in one sense, but since we cannot suppress the woman, let us corrupt her together with the Church. Corruptio optimi pessima . The purpose is very beautiful to tempt men like us ; not let’s get away from it to run after some miserable satisfaction of personal revenge. The best dagger to assassinate the Church and strike it in the heart, is corruption. So work to the end!”

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