The Times/1892/Obituary/Francis Nevile Reid
Mr. Francis Nevile Reid, who died at Ravello on the 12 inst. at the age of 66, will be greatly missed and sincerely mourned throughout the beautiful region of southern Italy where he had lived for something like 40 years. A member of a wealthy Scottish family, he suffered, as a very young man from delicacy of the chest; and as, during a journey in Italy, he found great good from the air of Ravello, above Amalfi, he bought land there, and the half ruined Palazzo of the once famous Rufoli family, and there he henceforth made his home. In those days the hill country of the kingdom of Naples was about the most backward and barbarous part of Italy; and Mr. Reid set himself to introduce some kind of civilization into his commune and neighbourhood. He made the Palazzo habitable, while preserving its ancient features with loving care; he gave employment to the underfed and underpaid people; he gradually organized a decent municipality; and, in the end, a few years ago, he succeeded in getting the excellent carriage road made to Amalfi, thus opening up the district and immensely increasing its chance of prosperity. Many were the difficulties that he had to overcome, especially from the small bourgoizie, who complained that he raised the rate of wages that they had to pay; and on one occasion, a few years ago, the ghastly murder of a local friend and partisan of his, in a quarrel arising out of this partisanship, reminded him of the real savagery that still remained among the people of Ravello. More than once, in the old days, he had a narrow escape from the brigands, who, in the last years of Bomba and after his overthrow, infested the mountains of the Surrentine peninsular. Once, as Mr. Reid, his wife, and her mother were about to sit down to dinner, the village cobbler ran in to tell them that 70 of these scoundrels were assembling in the Piazza, and that he would be seized on ten minutes. He and the ladies just succeeded in slipping away down a narrow path to Minori, the little seaport 1,000ft. below. where they took boat for Capri, staying there till order was restored. General Pallavicini swept the mountains clear of brigands, and since that time Mr. Reid has been able to live and carry on his career of quiet beneficence undisturbed. It is hard to estimate what a loss his death will cause throughout that lovely but very poor region, to which, for a generation of more, he has literally been a Providence. His heir is his nephew, the son of Sir James Lacaita.