Sometimes spelled Maffia, a name for a Sicilian secret society active early in the nineteenth century, perhaps more usually the title is employed to mean the persons impatient and contemptuous of constitutional processes of law who reserve vengeance for execution by themselves. The Chief of Police of New Orleans was killed, following the severity of his course in hunting the murderers of an Italian. Several Mafiusi were implicated, six were acquitted but the verdict was credited to the fears of the jury, and the gaol was entered by a mob and eleven prisoners were lynched, March 14, 1891 (see Carbonari, Camorra, and Secret Societies).
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