Apart from politics he took a deep and active interest in the problems of capital and labour, was one of the organizers (1901) and the first president of the National Civic Federation, whose purpose was to solve social and industrial problems, and in December 1901 became chairman of a permanent board of conciliation and arbitration established by the Federation.
The king refused to open parliament unless the barricades were removed, and while the moderate elements attempted to bring about conciliation, the ministry acted with great weakness.
At conciliation, although favoured by Lord Minto, Sicily failed, for Naples wanted one constitution and one parliament, whereas Sicily wanted two, with only the king in common.
The British and French admirals imposed a truce with a view to conciliation, and the king offered the Sicilians the Neapolitan constitution and a separate parliament, which they refused.
While the law was thus sternly enforced, important acts of conciliation and measures of reform were carried out simultaneously.