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Cornell University Library 
DG 552.M38 1915 

Liberation of Itai 

3 1924 028 295 016 

Cornell University 

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tine Cornell University Library. 

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(riusejjpe Ciujibaldi . 














A Series of Volumes on the most Important Events of the last Half- 
Century, each containing 320 pages or more, with Plans, Portraits, 
or other Illustrations, in extra Crown 8vo. Cloth, 5s. 

THE WAR IN THE CRIMEA. By General Sir Edward 
Hamlet, K.C.B. With Five Maps and Plans, and Four 
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THE INDIAN MUTINY OF 1857. By Colonel Malleson, 
O.S.I. With Three Plans, and Four Portraits on Copper. 
Seventh Edition. 

THE AFGHAN WARS OF 1839-1842 and 1878-1880. By 
Archibald Foebes. With Five Maps and Plans, and Four 
Portraits on Copper. Third Edition. 


Colonel Malleson, C.S.I. With Five Maps and Plans, and 
Four Portraits, 5s. Also New and Cheaper Edition, 2s. net. 

THE LIBERATION OF ITALY, 1815-1870. By the 
Countess Martinengo Cesaresco. With Portraits on Copper. 
Second Edition. 

Uniform with the above. 

Shand. With Pour Portraits on Copper, and Six Plans. 5s. 

"Admirably lucid and well TpropoTtioned."^ Glasgow Herald. 

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' ' Undoubtedly the best summary of modern African history that we have 
had. " — Pall Mall Gazette. 



The old figure of speech ' in the fulness of time ' 
embodies a truth too often forgotten. History 
knows nothing of spontaneous generation ; the 
chain of cause and effect is unbroken, and how- 
ever modest be the scale on which an historical 
work is cast, the reader has a right to ask that 
it should give him some idea, not only of what 
happened, but of why it happened, A catalogue of 
dates and names is as meaningless as the photo- 
graph of a crowd. In the following retrospect, I 
have attempted to trace the principal factors that 
worked towards Italian unity. The Liberation of 
Italy is a cycle waiting to be turned into an epic. 


iv Preface 

In other words, it presents the appearance of a 
series of detached episodes, but the parts have an 
intimate connection with the whole, which, as time 
wears on, will constantly emerge into plainer light. 
Every year brings with it the issue of documents, 
letters, memoirs, that help to unravel the tangled 
threads in which this subject has been enveloped, 
and which have made it less generally understood 
than the two other great struggles of the century, 
the American fight for the Union, and the unifica- 
tion of Germany. 

I cannot too strongly state my indebtedness to 
the voluminous literature which has grown up in 
Italy round the Risorgimento since its completion ; 
yet it must not be supposed that the witness of 
contemporaries published from hour to hour, in 
every European tongue, while the events were 
going on, has become or will ever become value- 
less. I have had access to a collection of these 
older writings, formed with much care between the 
years 1850- 1870, and some authorities that were 
wanting, I found in the library of Sir James 
Hudson, given by him to Count Giuseppe Mar- 

Preface v 

tinengo Cesaresco after he left the British legation 
at Turin. 

There are, of course, many books in which the 
affairs of Italy figure only incidentally, which ought 
to be consulted by anyone who wishes to study 
the inner working of the Italian movement. Of 
such are Lord Castlereagh's Despatches and Cor- 
respondence, and the autobiographies of Prince 
Metternich and Count Beust. 

Perhaps I have been helped in describing the 
events clearly, by the fact that I am familiar with 
almost all the places where they occurred, from 
the heights of Calatafimi to the unhappy rock of 
Lissa. Wherever the language of the Si sounds, 
we tread upon the history of the Revolution 
that achieved what a great English orator once 
called, 'the noblest work ever undertaken by 

The supreme interest of the re-casting of Italy 
arises from the new spectacle of a nation made 
one not by conquest but by consent. Above and 
beyond the other causes that contributed to the 
conclusion must always be reckoned the gathering 

a 2 

vi Preface 

of an emotional wave, only comparable to the 
phenomena displayed by the mediaeval religious 
revivals. Sentiment, it is said, is what makes the 
real historical miracles. A writer on Italian 
Liberation would be indeed misleading who failed 
to take account of the passionate longing which 
stirred and swayed even the most outwardly cold 
of those who took part in it, and nerved an en- 
tire people to heroic effort. 

Sali, Lago di Cards. 



Italy from the Battle of Lodi to the Congress of Vienna, . . page i 



Revolutions in the Kingdom of Naples and in Piedmont — The Conspiracy 
against Charles Albert, . . . . , , 21 



Political Trials in Venetia and Lombardy — Risings in the South and Centre 
— Ciro Menotti, .•...., 40 


Accession of Charles Albert — Mazzini's Unitarian Propaganda — The Brothers 
Bandiera, ....... 56 



Events leading to the Election of Pius IX.— The Petty Princes— Charles 
Albert, Leopold and Ferdinand, , , , , iji 

viii Contents 



Insurrection in Sicily — The Austrians expelled from Milan and Venice— 
CSiarles Albert takes the Field — Withdrawal of the Pope and King of 
Naples — Piedmont defeated — The Retreat, . . . page 91 



Garibaldi arrives — Venice under Manin — The Dissolution of the Temporal 
Power — Republics at Rome and Florence, . . . 120 



Novara — Abdication of Charles Albert — Brescia crushed — French Interven 
lion— The Fall of Rome— The Fall of Venice, . . .137 



The House of Savoy— A King who Keeps his Word — Sufferings of the Lom- 
bards — Charles Albert's Death, . . . , ,165 



Restoration of the Pope and Grand-Duke of Tuscany— Misrule at Naples— 
The Struggle with the Church in Piedmont — The Crimean War, 183 


Pisacane's Landing — Orsini's Attempt— The Compact of Plombi^res — 
Cavour's Triumph, •...,. 208 

Contents ix 



Austria declares War — Montebello — Garibaldi's Campaign — Palestro — 
Magenta — The Allies enter Milan — Ricasoli saves Italian Unity — Acces- 
sion of Francis II.— Solferino— The Armistice of Villafranca, page 227 



Napoleon III. and Cavour— The Cession of Savoy and Nice— Annexations 
in Central Italy, . . . , . , ,251 



Origin of the Expedition — Garibaldi at Marsala — Calatafimi — The Taking 
of Palermo — Milazzo — The Bourbons evacuate Sicily, . , 266 


Garibaldi's March on Naples — The Piedmontese in Umbria and the Marches 
— The Volturno. Victor Emmanuel enters Naples, . . 29S 


The Fall of Gaeta — Political Brigandage — The Proclamation of the Italian 
Kingdom — Cavour's Death, ..... 326 


'ROME OR death!' 

Cavour's Successors — Aspromonte — The September Convention — Garibaldi's 
Visit to England, ....... 340 

X Contents 



The Prussian Alliance— Custoza—Lissa— The Volunteers— Acquisition ot 
Venetia, .,,.... page 356 



The French leave Rome— Garibaldi's Arrest and Escape— The Second French 
Intervention — Monte Rotondo — Mentana, . . . 381 



M. Rouher's ' Never ! '—Papal Infallibility— S^dan— The Ureach in PorU 
Pia— The King of Italy in Rome, .... 397 



GiDSEPPE Garibaldi, . . . , . Frontispiece 

Giuseppe Mazzini, • • • • .60 

King Victor Emmanuel, . . . . . joc 

Count Cavour, ■ , -s • , . . 192 

The Liberation of Italy 



Italy from the Battle of Lodi to the Congress of Vienna. 

The unity of Italy, which the statesmen of Europe and 
all save a small number of the Italians themselves still 
regarded as an Utopia when it was on the verge of 
accomplishment, was, nevertheless, desired and foreseen 
by the two greatest intellects produced by the Italian 
race. Dante conceived an Italy united under the Empire, 
which returning from a shameful because self-imposed 
exile would assume its natural seat in Rome. To him 
it was a point of secondary interest that the Imperial 
Lord happened to be bred beyond the Alps, that he was 
of Teutonic, not of Latin blood. If the Emperor brought 
the talisman of his authority to the banks of the Tiber, 
Italy would overcome the factions which rent her, and 
would not only rule herself, but lead mankind. Vast as 
the vision was, Dante cannot be called presumptuous for 
having entertained it. The Rome of the Caesars, the 
Rome of the Popes, had each transformed the world: 
Italy was transforming it for a third time at that 
moment by the spiritual awakening which, beginning 


2 The Liberation of Italy 

with the Renaissance, led by inevitable steps to the 
Reformation. The great Florentine poet had the right 
to dream that his country was invested with a provi- 
dential mission, that his people was a chosen people, 
which, by its own fault and by the fault of others, had lost 
its way, but would find it again. Such was Dante's so- 
called Ghibelline programme — less Ghibelline than in- 
tensely and magnificently Italian. His was a mind too 
mighty to be caged within the limits of partisan ambitions. 
The same may be said of Machiavelli. He also imagined, 
or rather discerned in the future, a regenerate Italy under a 
single head, and this, not the advancement of any particu- 
lar man, was the grand event he endeavoured to hasten. 
With the impatience of a heart consumed by the single 
passion of patriotism, he conjured his fellow-countrymen 
to seize the first chance that presented itself, promising 
or unpromising, of reaching the goal. The concluding 
passage in the Principe was meant as an exhortation ; it 
reads as a prophecy. 'We ought not therefore,' writes 
Machiavelli, ' to let this occasion pass whereby, after so 
long waiting, Italy may behold the coming of a saviour. 
Nor can I express with what love he would be received 
in all those provinces which have suffered from the foreign 
inundations ; with what thirst of vengeance, with what ob- 
stinate faith, with what worship, with what tears ! What 
doors would be closed against him ? What people would 
deny him obedience? What jealousy would oppose him? 
What Italian would not do him honour ? The barbarous 
dominion of the stranger stinks in the nostrils of all.' 

Another man of genius, an Italian whom a fortuitous 
circumstance made the citizen and the master of a country 
not his own, grasped both the vital necessity of unity from 
an Italian point of view, and the certainty of its ultimate 
achievement. Napoleon's notes on the subject, written at 

Resurgam 3 

St Helena, sum up the whole question without rhetoric but 
with unanswerable logic: — 'Italy is surrounded by the Alps 
and the sea. Her natural limits are defined with as much 
exactitude as if she were an island. Italy is only united 
to the Continent by 1 50 leagues of frontier, and these 1 50 
leagues are fortified by the highest barrier that can be 
opposed to man. Italy, isolated between her natural 
limits, is destined to form a great and powerful nation. 
Italy is one nation ; unity of customs, language and 
literature must, within a period more or less distant, unite 
her inhabitants under one sole government. And Rome 
will, without the slightest doubt, be chosen by the 
Italians as their capital.' 

Unlike Dante and Machiavelli, who could only sow 
the seed, not gather the fruit, the man who wrote these 
lines might have made them a reality. Had Napoleon 
wished to unite Italy — had he had the greatness of mind 
to proclaim Rome the capital of a free and independent 
state instead of turning it into the chief town of a French 
department — there was a time when he could plainly 
have done it. Whether redemption too easily won would 
have proved a gain or a loss in the long run to the popu- 
lations welded together, not after their own long and 
laborious efforts, but by the sudden exercise of the will of 
a conqueror, is, of course, a different matter. The experi- 
ment was not tried. Napoleon, whom the simple splendour 
of such a scheme ought to have fascinated, did a very poor 
thing instead of a very great one: he divided Italy among 
his relations, keeping the lion's share for himself. 

Napoleon's policy in Italy was permanently com- 
promised by the abominable sale of Venice, with her 
two thousand years of freedom, to the empire which, as 
no one knew better than he did, was the pivot of 
European despotism. After that transaction he could 

4 The Liberation of Italy 

never again come before the Italians with clean hands; 
they might for a season make him their idol, carried 
away by the intoxication of his fame ; they could never 
trust him in their inmost conscience. The ruinous 
consequences of the Treaty of Campo Formio only 
ceased in 1866. The Venetians have been severely 
blamed, most of all by Italian historians, for making 
Campo Formio possible by opening the door to the 
French six months before. Napoleon could not have 
bartered away Venice if it had not belonged to him. 
The reason that it belonged to him was that, on the 12th 
of May 1797, the Grand Council committed political 
suicide by dissolving the old aristocratic form of govern- 
ment, in compliance with a mere rumour, conveyed to 
them through the ignoble medium of a petty shop- 
keeper, that such was the wish of General Buonaparte. 
In extenuation of their fatal supineness, it may be urged 
that they felt the inherent weakness of an oligarchy out 
of date ; and in the second place, that the victor of Lodi, 
the deliverer of Lombardy, then in the first flush of his 
scarcely tarnished glory, was a dazzling figure, calculated 
indeed to turn men's heads. But, after all, the only really 
valid excuse for them would have been that Venice lacked 
the means of defence, and this was not the case. She 
had 14,000 regular troops, 8000 marines, a good stock of 
guns — how well she might have resisted the French, 
had they, which was probable, attacked her, was to be 
proved in 1849. Her people, moreover, that basso popolo 
which nowhere in the world is more free from crime, 
more patient in suffering, more intelligent and public- 
spirited than in Venice, was anxious and ready to 
resist ; when the nobles offered themselves a sacrifice 
on the Gallic altar by welcoming the proposed demo- 
cratic institutions, the populace, neither hoodwinked nor 

Resurgam 5 

scared into hysterics, rose to the old cry of San Marco, 
and attempted a righteous reaction, which was only 
smothered when the treacherous introduction of French 
troops by night on board Venetian vessels settled the 
doom of Venice's independence. 

'Under all circumstances,' Napoleon wrote to the 
Venetian Municipality, ' I shall do what lies in my power 
to prove to you my desire to see your liberty consoli- 
dated, and miserable Italy assume, at last, a glorious 
place, free and independent of strangers.' On the loth 
of the following October he made over Venice to Austria, 
sending as a parting word the cynical message to the 
Venetians 'that they were little fitted for liberty: if 
they were capable of appreciating it, and had the virtue 
necessary for acquiring it well and good; existing circum- 
stances gave them an excellent opportunity of proving it' 
At the time, the act of betrayal was generally regarded as 
part of a well-considered plot laid by the French Directory, 
but it seems certain that it was not made known to that 
body before it was carried out, and that with Napoleon him- 
self it was a sort of after-thought, sprung from the desire 
to patch up an immediate peace with Austria on account 
of the appointment of Hoche to the chief command of the 
army in Germany. The god to which he immolated 
Venice was the selfish fear lest another general should 
reap his German laurels. 

Venice remained for eight years under the Austrians, 
who thereby obtained what, in flagrant perversion of the 
principles on which the Congress of Vienna professed 
to act, was accepted in 1815 as their title-deeds to its 
possession. Meanwhile, after the battle of Austerlitz, the 
city of the sea was tossed back to Napoleon, who incor- 
porated it in the newly-created kingdom of Italy, which 
no more corresponded to its name than did the Gothic 

6 The Liberation of Italy 

kingdom of which he arrogated to himself the heirship, 
when, placing the Iron Crown of Theodolinda upon his 
brow, he uttered the celebrated phrase : ' Dieu me I'a 
donn^e, gare a qui la touche.' 

This is not the place to write a history of French 
supremacy in Italy, but several points connected with it 
must be glanced at, because, without bearing them in 
mind, it is impossible to understand the events which 
followed. The viceroyalty of Eugene Beauharnais in 
North Italy, and the government of Joseph Buonaparte, 
and afterwards of Joachim Murat, in the South, brought 
much that was an improvement on what had gone before : 
there were better laws, a better administration, a quick- 
ening of intelligence. ' The French have done much 
for the regeneration of Italy,' wrote an English observer 
in 1810; 'they have destroyed the prejudices of the in- 
habitants of the small states of Upper Italy by uniting 
them ; they have done away with the Pope , they have 
made them soldiers.' But there was the reverse side of 
the medal : the absence everywhere of the national spirit 
which alone could have consolidated the new regime on a 
firm basis ; the danger which the language ran of losing 
its purity by the introduction of Gallicisms ; the shame- 
less robbery of pictures, statues, and national heirlooms of 
every kind for the replenishment of French museums ; 
the bad impression left in the country districts by the 
abuses committed by the French soldiery on their first 
descent, and kept alive by the blood-tax levied in the 
persons of thousands of Italian conscripts sent to die, 
nobody knew where or why ; the fields untilled, and 
Rachel weeping for her children : all these elements 
combined in rendering it difficult for the governments 
established under French auspices to survive the down- 
fall of the man to whose sword they owed their existence. 

Resurgam ^ 

Their dissolution was precipitated, however, by the dis- 
cordant action of Murat and Eugene Beauharnais. Had 
these two pulled together, whatever the issue was it 
would have differed in much from what actually hap- 
pened. Murat was jealous of Eugdne, and did not love 
his brother-in-law, who had annoyed and thwarted him 
through his whole reign ; he was uneasy about his 
Neapolitan throne, and, in all likelihood, was already 
dreaming of acquiring the crown of an independent Italy. 
Throwing off his allegiance to Napoleon, he imagined 
the vain thing that he might gain his object by taking 
sides with the Austrians. It must be remembered that 
there was a time when the Allied Powers had distinctly 
contemplated Italian independence as a dyke to France, 
and there were people foolish enough to think that Austria, 
now she felt herself as strong as she had then felt weak, 
would consent to such a plan. Liberators, self-called, were 
absolutely swarming in Italy ; Lord William Bentinck 
was promising entire emancipation from Leghorn ; the 
Austrian and English allies in Romagna ransacked the 
dictionary for expressions in praise of liberty ; an English 
ofKcer was made the mouthpiece for the lying assurance 
of the Austrian Emperor Francis, that he had no intention 
of re-asserting any claims to the possession of Lombardy 
or Venetia. 

In 1 8 14, Napoleon empowered Prince Eugene to 
adopt whatever attitude he thought best fitted to make 
head against Austria; for himself, he resigned the Iron 
Crown, and his Italian soldiers were freed from their 
oaths. It was not, therefore, Eugene's loyal scruples 
which prevented him from throwing down a grand stake 
when he led his 60,000 men to the attack. It was want 
of genius, or of what would have done instead, a flash 
of genuine enthusiasm for the Italian idea. In place of 

8 The Liberation, of Italy 

appealing to all Italians to unite in winning a country, 
he appealed to one sentiment only, fidelity to Napoleon, 
which no longer woke any echo in the hearts of a 
population that had grown more and more to associate 
the name of the Emperor with exactions which never 
came to an end, and with wars which had not now 
even the merit of being successful. It is estimated 
that although the Italian troops amply proved the 
truth of Alfieri's maxim, that 'the plant man is more 
vigorous in Italy than elsewhere,' by bearing the 
hardships and resisting the cold in Russia better than 
the soldiers of any other nationality, nevertheless 26,000 
Italians were lost in the retreat from Moscow. That 
happened a year ago. Exhausted patience got the better 
of judgment; in April 1814, the Milanese committed the 
irremediable error of revolting against their Viceroy, 
who commanded the only army which could still save 
Italy : the pent-up passions of a long period broke loose, 
the peasants from the country, who had always hated 
the French, flooded the streets of Milan, and allying 
themselves unimpeded with the dregs of the townsfolk, 
they murdered with great brutality General Prina, 
the Minister of Finance, whose remarkable abilities had 
been devoted towards raising funds for the Imperial 
Exchequer. Personally incorruptible, Prina was looked 
upon as the general representative of French voracity; 
he met his death with the utmost calmness, only praying 
that he might be the last victim. No one else was, in 
fact, killed, and next day quiet was resumed, but the 
affair had another victim — Italy. You cannot change 
horses when you are crossing a stream. Prince Eugene 
was in Mantua with a fine army, practically intact, 
though it had suffered some slight reverses ; the 
fortress was believed to be impregnable; by merely 

Resurgam 9 

waiting, Eugene might, if nothing else, have exacted 
favourable terms. But the news of Prina's murder, 
and the blow dealt at his own authority in Milan, 
caused him to give over the fortress and the army to 
the Austrians without more ado ; an act which looked 
like revenge, but it was most likely prompted by 
moral cowardice. The capitulation signed with Field- 
Marshal Bellegarde on the 23rd of April, so exasperated 
the army that the officers in command of the garrison 
decided to arrest Eugene, but it was found that he was 
already on his way to Germany, taking with him his 
treasure, in accordance with a secret agreement entered 
into with the Austrian Field-Marshal. Such was the end 
to the Italian career of Eugene Beauharnais. 

For the Beau Sabreur another ending was in store. 

Back on Napoleon's side in 18 15, his Austrian allies 

having given him plenty of reason for Suspecting their 

sincerity, he issued from Rimini, on the 30th of March, 

the proclamation of an independent Italy from the Alps 

to Sicily. There was no popular reply to his call. 

Italy, prostrate and impoverished, was unequal to a great 

resolve. The Napoleonic legend was not only dead, but 

buried ; Napoleon had literally no friends left in Italy 

except those of his old soldiers who had managed to 

get back to their homes, many of them deprived of an 

arm or a leg, but so toughened that they lived to great 

ages. These cherished to their last hour the worship 

of their Captain, which it was his highest gift to be 

able to inspire. ' I have that feeling for him still, that 

if he were to rise from the dead I should go to him, 

if I could, wherever he was,' said the old conscript 

Emmanuele Gaminara of Genoa, who died at nearly a 

hundred in a Norfolk village in 1892 : the last, perhaps, 

of the Italian veterans, and the type of them all. 

lo The Liberation of Italy 

But a few scattered invalids do not make a nation, 
and the Italian nation in 1815 had not the least wish to 
support any one who came in the name of Napoleon. 
So Murat failed without even raising a strong current of 
sympathy. Beaten by the Austrians at Tolentino on the 
3rd of May, he retreated with his shattered army. In 
the last desperate moment, he issued the constitution 
which he ought to have granted years before. Nothing 
could be of any avail now ; his admirable Queen, the 
best of all the House of Buonaparte, surrendered Naples 
to the English admiral ; and Murat, harried by a crush- 
ing Austrian force, renounced his kingdom on the 30th 
of May. After Waterloo, when a price was set on his 
head in France, he meditated one more forlorn hope ; 
but, deserted by the treachery of his fevi' followers, and 
driven out of his course by the violence of the waves, 
he was thrown on the coast of Calabria with only twenty- 
six men, and was shot by order of Ferdinand of Naples, 
who especially directed that he should be only allowed 
half-an-hour for his religious duties after sentence had 
been delivered by the mock court-martial. His daunt- 
less courage did not desert him : he died like a soldier. 
It was a better end for an Italian prince than escaping 
with money-bags to Germany. Great as were Murat's 
faults, an Italian should remember that it was he who 
first took up arms to the cry which was later to re- 
deem Italy : independence from Alps to sea ; and if he 
stand on the ill-omened shore of Pizzo, he need not 
refuse to uncover his head in silence. 

When Mantua surrendered, the Milanese sent a 
deputation to Paris with a view of securing for Lombardy 
the position of an independent kingdom under an 
Austrian prince. They hoped to obtain the first by 
acquiescing in the second. They were aroused from 

Resurgam 1 1 

their unheroic illusions with startling rapidity. Lord 
Castlereagh, to whom they went first (for they fancied 
that the English were interested in liberty), referred 
them 'to their master, the Austrian Emperor.' The 
Emperor Francis replied to their memorial that Lom- 
bardy was his by right of conquest; they would hear 
soon enough at Milan what orders he had to give them. 
Even after that, the distracted Lombards hoped that 
the English at Genoa would befriend them. All uncer- 
tainty ceased on the 23rd of May 18 14, when Field-Marshal 
Bellegarde formally took possession of Lombardy on 
behalf of his Sovereign, dissolved the Electoral Colleges, 
and proclaimed himself Regent. There was no question 
of reviving the conditions under which Austria ruled 
Lombardy while there was still a German Empire : 
conditions which, though despotic in theory, were com- 
paratively easy-going in practice, and did not exclude 
the native element from the administration. Henceforth 
the despotism was pure and simple ; for Italians to even 
think of politics was an act of high treason. 

It is not generally known that a British army 
ultimately sent to Spain was intended for Italy,* but 
its destination was changed because the Italians showed 
so little disposition to rise against Napoleon. The 
English Government was continually advised by its 
agents in Italy to make Sicily, which was wholly 
in its power, the point d'appui for a really great inter- 
vention in the destinies of the peninsula. ' The grand 
end of all the operations in the Mediterranean,' wrote one 
of Lord Castlereagh's correspondents, ' is the emancipa- 
tion of Italy, and its union in one great state.' Lord 
William Bentinck urged that if Sicily were reunited to 
Naples under the Bourbons, liberty, established there by 
* See Memoirs of Lord Castlereagh, 1848, Vol. i. p. 34. 

12 The Liberation of Italy 

his own incredible efforts, would be crushed, and the King 
would wreak vengeance on the Constitution and its 
supporters. Universal terror, he said, was felt at ' the 
unforgiving temper of their Majesties.' He strongly 
supported a course proposed for her own reasons by 
Queen Caroline : the purchase of Sicily by the English 
Government which could make it 'not only the model 
but the instrument of Italian independence.' 

This way of talking was not confined to private 
despatches, and it was no wonder if the Italians were 
disappointed when they found that England declined to 
plead their cause with the Allies in Paris, and afterwards 
at Vienna. When charged directly with breach of faith 
before the House of Commons, Lord Castlereagh said 
that Austria, being ' in truth the great hinge on which 
the fate of mankind must ultimately depend,' had to be 
paid (this was exactly the sense, though not the form, 
of his defence) by letting her do what she liked with 
Italy. There is a certain brutal straightforwardness in 
the line of argument. Lord Castlereagh did not say 
that independence was not a good thing. He had 
tried to obtain it for Poland and had failed ; he had 
not tried to obtain it for Italy, because he was afraid of 
offending Austria, At least he had the courage to tell 
the truth, and did not prate about the felicity of being 
subjects of the Austrian Emperor, as many English 
partisans of Austria prated in days to come. 

The political map of Italy in the summer of 1814 
showed the Pope (Pius VII.) reinstated in Rome, Victor 
Emmanuel I. at Turin, Ferdinand III. of Hapsburg- 
Lorraine in Tuscany, the Genoese Republic for the 
moment restored by the English, Parma and Piacenza 
assigned to the Empress Marie-Louise, and Modena to 
the Austrian Archduke Francis, who was heir through 

Resurgam 13 

the female line to the last of the Estes. Murat was still 
at Naples, Ferdinand IV. in Sicily, Austria acknowledged 
supreme in Lombardy and Venetia, and the island of 
Elba ironically handed over to Napoleon. These were 
the chief features, so far as Italy was concerned, of the 
Treaty of Paris, signed on the 30th of May 18 14. Next 
year the Congress of Vienna modified the arrangement 
by providing that the Spanish Infanta Maria Louisa, on 
whom had been bestowed the ex-republic of Lucca, 
should have the reversion of Parma and Piacenza, while 
Lucca was to go in the end to Tuscany. Murat having 
been destroyed, the Neapolitan Bourbons recovered all 
their old possessions, San Marino and Monaco were 
graciously recognised as independent, which brought the 
number of Italian states up to ten. The Sardinian 
monarchy received back the part of Savoy which by the 
Treaty of Paris had been reserved to France. It was 
also offered a splendid and unexpected gift — Genoa. 

Lord William Bentinck entered Genoa by a conven- 
tion concluded with the authorities on the 1 8th of April 
1814. A naval demonstration following an ably-conducted 
operation, by which Bentinck's hybrid force of Greeks 
and Calabrese, with a handful of English, became master 
of the two principal forts, hastened this conclusion, but 
the Genoese had no reluctance to open their gates to the 
English commander, who inspired them with the fullest 
confidence. He came invested with the halo of a con- 
stitution- maker-under-difficulties ; it was known that he 
had stopped at nothing in carrying out his mission in 
Sicily ; not even at getting rid of the Queen, who found in 
Bentinck the Nemesis for having led a greater English- 
man to stain his fame in the roads of Naples. Driven 
rather than persuaded to leave Sicily, Marie Antoinette's 
sister encountered so frightful a sea voyage that she died 

14 The Liberation of Italy 

soon after joining her relations at Vienna. Lord William 
had acquired the art of writing the finest appeals to the 
love of freedom; a collection of his manifestoes would 
serve as handy-book to anyone instructed to stir up an 
oppressed nationality. He immediately gave the Genoese 
some specimens of his skill as a writer, and by granting 
them at once a provisional constitution, he dispelled all 
doubts about the future recognition of their republic. 
What was not, therefore, their dismay, when they were 
suddenly informed of the decision of the Holy Alliance 
to make a present of them to the people whom, of all 
others, they probably disliked the most. Italians had 
not ceased yet from reserving their best aversion for their 
nearest neighbours. 

Bentinck did not mean to deceive ; perhaps he thought 
that by going beyond the letter of his instructions he 
should draw his government after him. That he did, in 
effect, deceive, cannot be denied ; even Lord Castlereagh, 
while necessarily refusing to admit that definite promises 
had been made, yet allowed that, 'Of course he would 
have been glad if the proclamation issued to the Genoese 
had been more precisely worded.' The motive of the deter- 
mination to sacrifice the republic was, he said, ' a sincere 
conviction of the necessity of a barrier between France 
and Italy, which ought to be made effectual on the side of 
Piedmont. The object was to commit the defence of the 
Alps and of the great road leading round them by the 
Gulf of Genoa, between France and Italy, to the same 
power to which it had formerly been entrusted. On that 
principle, the question relating to Genoa had been enter- 
tained and decided upon by the allied sovereigns. It was 
not resolved upon because any particular state had un- 
worthy or sordid views, or from any interest or feeling in 
favour of the King of Sardinia, but solely to make him, 

Resurgam 1 5 

as far as was necessary, the instrument of the general 
policy of Europe.' 

A better defence might have been made. Piedmont 
was destined to serve as a bulwark, not so much against 
France, which for the time was not to be feared, as 
against Austria, absolute except for the subalpine king- 
dom in all Italy. But this belongs to the shaping of 
rough-hewn ends, which is in higher hands than those of 
English ministers. The ends then looked very rough- 

Piedmont was a hotbed of reaction and bigotry. 
True, she had a history differing vastly from that of 
th& other Italian states, but the facts of the hour pre- 
sented her in a most unattractive light The Genoese 
felt the keenest heart-burnings in submitting to a de- 
cision in which they had no voice, and which came to 
them as a mandate of political extinction from the same 
powers that confirmed the sentence of death on Genoa's 
ancient and glorious rival. The seeds were laid of dis- 
affection, always smouldering among the Genoese, till 
Piedmont's king became King of Italy. It might almost 
be said that the reconciliation was not consummated till 
the day when the heir and namesake of Humbert of the 
White Hands received the squadrons of Europe in the 
harbour of Genoa, and the proud republican city showed 
what a welcome she had prepared for her sovereign of 
the Savoy race. 

After the Congress of Vienna finished its labours, 
there were, as has been remarked, ten states in Italy, 
but out of Sardinia (whose subjugation Prince Metter- 
nich esteemed a mere matter of time) there was one 
master. The authority of the Emperor Francis was 
practically as undisputed from Venice to the Bay of 
Naples as it was in the Grand Duchy of Austria. The 

1 6 The Liberation of Italy 

Austrians garrisoned Piacenza, Ferrara and Commacchio; 
Austrian princes reigned in Tuscany, Parma, Modena 
and Lucca; the King of Naples, who paid Austria 
twenty -six million francs for getting back his throne, 
thankfully agreed to support a German army to protect 
him against his subjects. In the secret treaty concluded 
between himself and the Emperor of Austria, it was 
stipulated that the King of the Two Sicilies should not 
introduce into his government any principles irrecon- 
cilable with those adopted by His Imperial Majesty in 
the government of his Italian provinces. As for the 
Roman States, Austria reckoned on her influence in 
always securing the election of a Pope who would give 
her no trouble. Seeing herself without rivals and all- 
powerful, she deemed her position unassailable. She 
forgot that, by giving Italy an unity of misery, she was 
preparing the way for another unity. Common hatred 
engendered common love; common sufferings led on 
to a common effort. If some prejudices passed away 
under the Napoleonic rule, many more still remained, 
and possibly, to eradicate so old an evil, no cure less 
drastic than universal servitude would have sufficed. 
Italians felt for the first time what before only the 
greatest among them had felt — that they were brothers 
in one household, children of one mother whom they 
were bound to redeem. Jealousies and millennial feuds 
died out ; the intense municipal spirit which, imperfect 
as it was, had yet in it precious political germs, widened 
into patriotism. Italy was re-born. 

Black, however, was the present outlook. Total com- 
mercial stagnation and famine increased the sentiment of 
unmitigated hopelessness which spread through the land. 
The poet Monti, who, alas! sang for bread the festival 
songs of the Austrians as he had sung those of Na- 

Resurgam 17 

poleon, said in private to an Englishman who asked 
him why he did not give his voice to the liberties of 
his country which he desired, though he did not expect 
to see them : ' It would be ■vox clamantis in deserto ; 
besides, how can the grievances of Italy be made 
known? No one dares to write — scarcely to think — 
politics ; if truth is to be told, it must be told by the 
English ; England is the only tribunal yet open to the 
complaints of Europe.' A greater poet and nobler man, 
Ugo Foscolo, had but lately uttered a wail still more 
despondent: 'Italy will soon be nothing but a lifeless 
carcass, and her generous sons should only weep in 
silence without the impotent complaints and mutual 
recriminations of slaves,' That as patriotic a heart as 
ever beat should have been afflicted to this point by 
the canker of despair tells of the quagmire — not only 
political but spiritual — into which Italy was sunk. The 
first thing needful was to restore the people to con- 
sciousness, to animation of some sort, it did not 
matter what, so it were a sign of life. Foscolo himself, 
who impressed on what he wrote his own proud and 
scornful temperament, almost savage in its independence, 
fired his countrymen to better things than the despairing 
inertia which he preached. Few works have had more 
effect than his Letters of Jacobo Ortis. As often happens 
with books which strongly move contemporaries, the 
reader may wonder now what was the secret of its 
power, but if the form and sentiment of the Italian 
Werther strike us as antiquated, the intense, though 
melancholy patriotism that pervades it explains the 
excitement it caused when patriotism was a statu- 
tory' offence. Such mutilated copies as were allowed 
to pass by the censor were eagerly sought; the young 
read It, women read it — who so rarely read — the mothers 


1 8 The Liberation of Italy 

of the fighters of to-morrow. Foscolo's life gave force 
to his words : when all were flattering Napoleon, he had 
reminded him that no man can be rightly praised till he . 
is dead, and that his one sure way of winning the praise 
of posterity was to establish the independence of Italy. 
The warning was contained in a 'discourse' which Foscolo 
afterwards printed with the motto from Sophocles : ' My 
soul groans for my country, for myself and for thee.' 
Sooner than live under the Austrians, he went into 
voluntary exile, and finally took refuge in England, 
where he was the feted lion of a season, and then for- 
gotten, and left almost without the necessaries of life. 
No one was much to blame ; Foscolo was born to 
misunderstand and to be misunderstood ; he hid him- 
self to hide his poverty, which, had it been known, 
might have been alleviated. His individual tragedy 
seemed a part of the universal tragedy. 

With Foscolo, his literary predecessor Alfieri must 
be mentioned as having helped in rekindling the embers 
of patriotic feeling, because, though dead, he spoke ; and 
his plays, one of which was prophetically dedicated at 
libera Popolo Italiano, had never been so much read. 
The Misogallo, published for the first time after the 
fall of Napoleon, though aimed at the French, served 
equally well as an onslaught on every foreign dominion, 
or even moral or intellectual influence. ' Shall we learn 
liberty of the Gauls, we who taught every lofty thing 
to others?' was a healthy remonstrance to a race that 
had lost faith in itself; and the Austrians were wise in 
discountenancing the sale of a work that contained the 
line which gave a watchword to the future : — 

Schiavi or siam si ; ma schiavi almen frementi. 

Like Foscolo's, Alfieri's life was a lesson in indepen- 

Resurgam 19 

dence : angry at the scant measure of freedom in Pied- 
mont, he could never be induced to go near his sovereign 
till Charles Emmanuel was staying at Florence as a 
proscript. Then the poet went to pay his respects to 
him, and was received with the good-humoured banter : 
' Well, Signor Conte, here am I, a king, in the condition 
you would like to see them all.' 

Against the classical, not to say pagan, leanings of 
these two poets, a reaction set in with Alessandro Man- 
zoni, the founder of Italian Romanticism, to which he 
gave an aspect differing from that which the same move- 
ment wore in France, because he was an ardent Catholic 
at a time when Christianity had almost the charm of 
novelty. His religious outpourings combine the fervour 
of the Middle Ages with modern expansion, and he 
freed the Italian language from pedantic restrictions with- 
out impairing its dignity. It was once the fashion to 
inveigh against Manzoni for, as it was said, inculcating 
resignation ; but he did nothing of the kind. As a young 
man he had sung of the Italians as ' Figli tutti d'un solo 
Riscatto,' and though he was not of those who fight either 
with the sword or the pen, yet that ' Riscatto ' was the 
dream of his youth and manhood, and the joy of his old 
age. His gentleness was never contaminated by servility, 
and the love for his country, profound if placid, which 
appears in every Line of his writings, appealed to a class 
that could not be reached by fiery turbulence of thought. 
In an age when newspapers have taken the place of 
books, it may seem strange to ascribe any serious effect 
to the works of poets and romancists ; but in the Italy 
of that date there were no newspapers to speak of; the 
ordinary channels of opinion were blocked up. Books 
were still not pnly read, but discussed and thought over, 
and every slight allusion to the times was instantly 

20 The Liberation of Italy 

applied. In the prevailing listlessness, the mere fact of 
increased mental activity was of importance. A spark of 
genius does much to raise a nation. It is in itself the 
incontrovertible proof that the race lives : a dead people 
does not produce men of genius. Whatever awakes one 
part of the intelligence reacts on all its parts. You can- 
not lift, any more than you can degrade, the heart of 
man piecemeal. In this sense not literature only but 
also music helped, who can say how effectually, to bring 
Italy back to life. The land was refreshed by a flood 
of purely national song, full of the laughter and the 
tears of Italian character, of the sunshine and the storms - 
of Italian nature. Music, the only art uncageable as the 
human soul, descended as a gift from heaven upon the 
people whose articulate utterance was stifled. And 

. . . No speech may evince 
Feeling like music. 



Revolutions in the Kingdom of Naples and in Piedmont — The Conspiracy 
against Charles Albert. 

Considering what the state of the country was after 
1815, and how apparently inexhaustible were the resources 
of the Empire of which the petty princes of the peninsula 
were but puppets, it is remarkable that political agitation, 
with a view to reversing the decisions of Vienna, should 
have begun so soon, and on so large a scale. Not that 
the nation, as a whole, was yet prepared to move; 
every revolution, till 1848, was partial in the sense that 
the mass of the people stood aloof, because unconvinced 
of the possibility of loosening their chains. But, during 
that long succession of years, the number of Italians 
ready to embark on enterprises of the most des- 
perate character, accounting as nothing the smallness 
of the chance of success, seems enormous when the risks 
they ran and the difficulties they faced are fully recog- 
nised. Among the means which were effective in first 
rousing Italy from her lethargy, and in fostering the will 
to acquire her independence at all costs, the secret society 
of the Carbonari undoubtedly occupies the front rank. 
The Carbonari acted in two ways ; by what they did and 
by what they caused to be done by others who were 
outside their society, and perhaps unfavourable to it, 


22 The Liberation of Italy 

but who were none the less sensible of the pressure it 
exercised. The origin of Carbonarism has been sought 
in vain ; as a specimen of the childish fables that once 
passed for its history may be noticed the legend that 
Francis I. of France once stumbled on a charcoal burner's 
hut when hunting ' on the frontiers of his kingdom next 
to Scotland,' and was initiated into the rites similar 
to those in use among the sectaries of the nineteenth 
century. Those rites referred to vengeance which was 
to be taken on the wolf that slew the lamb ; the wolf 
standing for tyrants and oppressors, and the lamb for 
Jesus Christ, the sinless victim, by whom all the oppressed 
were represented. The Carbonari themselves generally 
believed that they were heirs to an organisation started 
in Germany before the eleventh century, under the name 
of the Faith of the Kohlen-Brenners, of which Theobald 
de Brie, who was afterwards canonised, was a member. 
Theobald was adopted as patron saint of the modern 
society, and his fancied portrait figured in all the lodges. 
That any weight should have been attached to these pre- 
tensions to antiquity may appear strange to us, as it 
certainly did not matter whether an association bent on 
the liberation of Italy had or had not existed in German 
forests eight hundred years before ; age and mystery, 
however, have a great popular attraction, the first as an 
object of reverence, the second as food for curiosity with 
the profane, and a bond of union among the initiated. 
The religious symbolism of the Carbonari, their oaths 
and ceremonies, and the axes, blocks and other furniture 
of the initiatory chamber, were well calculated to im- 
press the poorer and more ignorant and excitable of the 
brethren. The Vatican affected to believe that Car- 
bonarism was an offshoot of Freemasonry, but, in spite of 
sundry points of resemblance, such as the engagements of 

The Work of the Carbonari 23 

mutual help assumed by members, there seems to have 
been no real connection between the two. Political Free- 
masonry remained somewhat of an exotic in Italy, and 
was inclined to regard France as its centre. As far as 
can be ascertained, it gave a general support to Napoleon, 
while Carbonarism rejected every foreign yoke. The 
practical aims of the Carbonari may be summed up in 
two words : freedom and independence. From the first 
they had the penetration to grasp the fact that inde- 
pendence, even if obtained, could not be preserved 
without freedom ; but though their predilections were 
theoretically republican, they did not make a particular 
form of government a matter of principle. Nor were 
they agreed in a definite advocacy of the unity of Italy. 
A Genoese of the name of Malghella, who was 
Murat's Minister of Police, was the first person to give a 
powerful impetus to Carbonarism, of which he has even 
been called the inventor, but the inference goes too far. 
Malghella ended miserably; after the fall of Murat he 
was arrested by the Austrians, who consigned him as 
a new subject to the Sardinian Government, which 
immediately put him in prison. His name is hardly 
known, but no Italian of his time worked more assidu- 
ously, or in some respects more intelligently, for the 
emancipation of Italy. Whatever was truly Italian in 
Murat's policy must be mainly attributed to him. As 
early as 181 3 he urged the King to declare himself 
frankly for independence, and to grant a constitution to 
his Neapolitan subjects. But Malghella did not find the 
destined saviour of Italy in Murat ; his one lasting work 
was to establish Carbonarism on so strong a basis that, 
when the Bourbons returned, there were thousands, if 
not hundreds of thousands, of Carbonari in all parts of 
the realm. The discovery was not a pleasant one to 

24 The Liberation of Italy 

the restored rulers, and the Prince of Canosa, the new 
Minister of Police, thought to counteract the evil done 
by his predecessor by setting up an abominable secret 
society called the Calderai del Contrapeso (Braziers of 
the Counterpoise), principally recruited from the refuse 
of the people, lazzaroni, bandits and let-out convicts, 
who were provided by Government with 20,000 muskets, 
and were sworn to exterminate all enemies of the Church 
of Rome, whether Jansenists, Freemasons or Carbonari. 
This association committed some horrible excesses, but 
otherwise it had no results. The Carbonari closed in 
their ranks, and learnt to observe more strictly their rules 
of secrecy. From the kingdom of Naples, Carbonarism 
spread to the Roman states, and found a congenial soil 
in Romagna, which became the focus whence it spread 
over the rest of Italy. It was natural that it should take 
the colour, more or less, of the places where it grew. In 
Romagna, where political assassination is in the blood 
of the people, a dagger was substituted for the symbolical 
woodman's axe in the initiatory rites. It was probably 
only in Romagna that the conventional threat against 
informers was often carried out. The Romagnols in- 
vested Carbonarism with the wild intensity of their own 
temperament, resolute even to crime, but capable of 
supreme impersonal enthusiasm. The ferment of ex- 
pectancy that prevailed in Romagna is reflected in the 
Letters ajid Journals of Lord Byron, whom young Count 
Pietro Gamba made a Carbonaro, and who looked 
forward to seeing the Italians send the barbarians of all 
nations back to their own dens, as to the most interesting 
spectacle and moment in existence. His lower apart- 
ments, he writes, were full of the bayonets, fusils and 
cartridges of his Carbonari cronies ; ' I suppose that they 
consider me as a ddpdt, to be sacrificed in case of 

The Work of the Carbonari 25 

accidents. It is no great matter, supposing that Italy 
could be liberated, who or what is sacrificed. It is a 
grand object — the very poetry of politics. Only think — 
a free Italy!!! Why, there has been nothing like it 
since the days of Augustus.' 

The movement on which such great hopes were set 
was to begin in the kingdom of Naples in the spring of 
1820. The concession of the hard-won Spanish Con- 
stitution in the month of March encouraged the Neapoli- 
tans to believe that they might get a like boon from 
their own King if they directed all the forces at their 
command to this single end. To avoid being com- 
promised, they sought rather to dissociate themselves 
from the patriots of other parts of Italy than to co- 
operate with them in an united effort. The Carbonari 
of the Neapolitan kingdom, who were the entire authors 
of the revolution, which, after many unfortunate delays, 
broke out on the ist of July, had good cause for thinking 
that they were in a position to dictate terms ; the mistake 
they made was to suppose that a charter conceded by 
a Bourbon of Naples could ever be worth the paper on 
which it was written. Not only among the people, but 
in the army the Carbonari had thousands of followers on 
whom they could rely, and several whole regiments were 
only waiting their orders to rise in open revolt. The 
scheme was to take possession of the persons of the King 
and the royal family, and retain them as hostages till 
the Constitution was granted. Such extreme measures 
were not necessary. The standard of rebellion was raised 
at Monteforte by two officers named Morelli and Silvati, 
who had brought over a troop of cavalry from Nola, 
and by the priest Menechini. In all Neapolitan in- 
surrections there was sure to be a priest ; the Neapolitan 
Church, much though there is to be laid to its account. 

26 The Liberation of Italy 

must be admitted to have frequently shown sympathy 
with the popular side. Menechini enjoyed an immense, 
if brief, popularity which he used to allay the anger of 
the mob and to procure the safety of obnoxious persons. 
The King sent two generals and a body of troops against 
the Chartists, but when the Carbonari symbols were 
recognised on the insurgent flags, the troops showed 
such clear signs of wishing to go over to the enemy 
that they were quietly taken back to Naples. The cry 
of ' God, the King, and the Constitution,' was taken up 
through the land; General Pepe, who had long been a 
Carbonaro in secret, was enthusiastically hailed as 
commander of the Chartist forces, which practically 
comprised the whole army. The King was powerless ; 
besides which, when pushed up into any corner people 
who do not mind breaking their word have a facility for 
hard swearing. On the 13th of July, Ferdinand standing 
at the altar of the royal chapel, with his hand on the 
Bible, swore to defend and maintain the Constitution 
which he had just granted. If he failed to do so, he 
called upon his subjects to disobey him, and God to 
call him to account. These words he read from a 
written form ; as if they were not enough, he added, 
with his eyes on the cross, and his face turned towards 
heaven : ' Omnipotent God, who with Thine infinite 
power canst read the soul of man and the future, do Thou, 
if I speak falsely, or intend to break my oath, at this mo- 
ment direct the thunder of Thy vengeance on my head.' 

The Neapolitans had got their liberties, but they soon 
found themselves face to face with perplexities which 
would have taxed the powers of men both wiser and 
more experienced in free government than they were. 
In the first place, although a revolution may be made 
by a sect, a government cannot be carried on by one, 

The Work of the Carbonari 27 

The Carbonari who had won the day were blind to this 
self-evident truth ; and, to make matters worse, there was 
a split in their party, some of them being disposed to 
throw off the Bourbon yoke altogether ; a natural desire, 
but as it was only felt by a minority, it added to 
the general confusion. Then came, as it was sure to 
come, the cry for separation from Sicily. The Sicilians 
wanted back the violated constitution obtained for them 
by the English in 18 12, and would have nothing to do 
with that offered them from Naples. In every one of 
the struggles between Sicily and Naples, it is impossible 
to refuse sympathy to the islanders, who, in the pride 
of their splendid independent history, deemed themselves 
the victims of an inferior race ; but it is equally impos- 
sible to ignore that, politically, they were in the wrong. 
In union, and in union alone, lay the only chance of 
resisting the international plot to keep the South Italian 
populations in perpetual bondage. The Sicilian revolt 
was put down at first mildly, and finally, as mildness 
had no effect, with the usual violence by the Neapolitan 
Constitutional Government, which could not avoid losing 
credit and popularity in the operation. Meanwhile, the 
three persons who traded under the name of Europe met 
at Troppau, and came readily to the conclusion that ' the 
sovereigns of the Holy Alliance exercised an incontest- 
able right in taking common measures of security against 
states which the overthrow of authority by revolt placed 
in a hostile attitude towards every legitimate govern- 
ment' The assumption was too broadly stated, even 
for Lord Castlereagh's acceptance ; but he was con- 
tented to make a gentle protest, which he further nul- 
lified by allowing that, in the present case, intervention 
was very likely justified. France expressed no dis- 
approval. Only the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden 

28 The Liberation of Italy 

and Spain gave the Constitutional regime tacit support 
by recognising it. The Emperor of Russia was very 
anxious to take part in the business, and would have 
sent off an army instantly had not his royal brother of 
Prussia hesitated to consent to the inconvenience of a 
Cossack march through his territory. The work was left, 
therefore, to the Emperor of Austria. Before entering upon 
it, it occurred to these three to invite the King of Naples 
to meet them at Laybach. They knew his character. 

Ferdinand assured his Parliament that he was going 
to Laybach solely to induce the Holy Alliance to think 
better of its opposition, and to agree, at least, to all 
the principal features of the new state of things. Most 
foolishly the Parliament, which, according to the Con- 
stitution, might have vetoed his leaving the country, let 
him go. Before starting he wrote an open letter to his 
dear son, the Duke of Calabria, who was appointed 
Regent, in which he said : ' I shall defend the events 
of the past July before the Congress. I firmly desire 
the Spanish Constitution for my kingdom ; and although 
I rely on the justice of the assembled sovereigns, and on 
their old friendship, still it is well to tell you that, in what- 
ever circumstance it may please God to place me, my course 
will be what I have manifested on this sheet, strong and 
unchangeable either by force or by the flattery of others.' 

Brave words ! News came in due time of the sequel. 
On the 9th of February 1 821, the Regent received a letter 
from the King, in which he gave the one piece of advice 
that the people should submit to their fate quietly. He was 
coming back with 50,000 Austrians, and a Russian army 
was ready to start if wanted. Nevertheless, to prevent 
a sudden outbreak before the foreign troops arrived, the 
Regent carried on a game of duplicity to the last, and 
pretended to second, whilst he really baulked, the pre- 

The Work of the Carbonari 29 

parations for resistance decreed by Parliament. Baron 
Poerio, the father of two patriot martyrs of the future, 
sustained the national dignity by urging Parliament to 
yield only to force, and to defy the barbarous horde 
which was bearing down on the country. The closing 
scene is soon told. On the 7th of March, in the moun- 
tains near Rieti, General Guglielmo Pepe, with 8000 
regular troops and a handful of militia, encountered 
an overwhelmingly superior force of Austrians. The 
Neapolitans stood out well for six hours, but on the 
Austrian reserves coming up, they were completely 
routed, and obliged to fly in all directions. 

' Order reigned ' in the kingdom of Naples. In Sicily, 
a gallant attempt at insurrection was begun, but there 
was not the spirit to go on with it, and General Rossaroll, 
its initiator, had to fly to Spain. The afterpiece is what 
might have been expected ; an insensate desire for ven- 
geance got hold of Ferdinand, and the last years of his 
life were spent in hunting down his enemies, real or 
imaginary. Morelli and Silvati were hung, the fugitives, 
Pepe and Rossaroll, were condemned to death, but this 
was only the beginning. The Austrian commander 
counselled mercy, but in this respect the King showed an 
independent mind. A court-martial was instituted to 
examine the conduct of ecclesiastics, public functionaries 
and soldiers, from the year 1793 downwards. No one 
was safe who had expressed a dislike of absolutism 
within the last thirty years. A blameless gentleman who 
was a Carbonaro, was conducted through Naples on the 
back of an ass, and beaten with a whip, to which nails 
were attached. Eight hundred persons are said to have 
perished at the hands of the state in one year. Ferdinand 
himself expired on the 3rd of January x82S, after mis- 
governing for sixty-five years. 

30 The Liberation of Italy 

The Neapolitan revolution had just collapsed, when 
another broke out in Piedmont, which, though short in 
duration, was to have far-reaching consequences. 

At that time, the King of Sardinia was Victor 
Emmanuel I., who succeeded his brother Charles Em- 
manuel in 1802, when the latter abdicated and retired 
to Rome, where he joined the Society of Jesus. Victor 
Emmanuel's only son was dead, and the throne would 
devolve on his youngest brother, Charles Felix, Duke of 
Genoa, whom reasons of state led to abandon the wish to 
become a monk, which he had formed as a boy of eleven, 
on being taken to visit a convent near Turin. But Charles 
Felix, though married, was without children, and the 
legitimate heir-presumptive was Charles Albert, Prince of 
Carignano, who represented the younger branch of the 
family, which divided from the main line in the early part 
of the seventeenth century. Charles Albert's father was 
the luckless Prince Charles of Carignano, who, alone of 
his house, came to terms with Napoleon, who promised 
him a pension, which was not paid. His mother, a 
Saxon Princess, paraded the streets of Turin, dressed in 
the last republican fashion, with her infant son in her 
arms. Afterwards, she gave him a miscellaneous educa- 
tion, that included a large dose of Rousseau from a Swiss 
professor. The boy was shifted from place to place, 
happier when his mother forgot him, than when, in 
temporary recollection of his existence, she called him 
to her. Once when he was travelling with the Princess 
and her second husband, M. de Montldart, Charles Albert 
was made to sit on the box of the carriage, in a tem- 
perature many degrees below zero. 

His uncles (as the King and Charles Felix called 
themselves, though they were his cousins) heard with 
natural horror of the vagaries of the Princess of Carig- 

The Work of the Carbonari 31 

nano, and they extended their antipathy from the mother 
to the son, even when he was a child. In Victor 
Emmanuel, this antipathy was moderated by the easy 
good-nature of his character; in Charles Felix, it 
degenerated into an intense hatred. 

It is a singular thing that Prince Metternich, from the 
1 very first, had an instinctive feeling that the unfortunate 
\ boy, who seemed the most hopeless and helpless of human 
creatures, would prove the evil genius of the Austrian 
power. He therefore set to work to deprive him of his 
eventual rights. He was confident of success, as fortune 
had arranged matters in a manner that offered a ready- 
made plan for carrying out the design. Victor Em- 
manuel had four daughters, precluded from reigning by 
the Salic law, which was in force in Piedmont. His wife, 
the Queen Maria Teresa, a woman of great beauty and 
insatiable ambition, was sister to the Austrian Archduke 
Francis d'Este, Duke of Modena. Francis had never 
married, having been robbed of his intended bride, the 
Archduchess Marie-Louise, by her betrothal to Napoleon. 
What simpler than to marry the eldest of the Sardinian 
princesses to her uncle, abrogate the Salic law, and 
calmly await the desired consummation of an Austrian 
prince, by right of his wife, occupying the Sardinian 
throne ? 

The first step was soon taken ; princesses came into 
the world to be sacrificed. The plot ran on for some 
time, the Queen, who was in the habit of calling Charles 
Albert 'that little vagrant,' giving it her indefatigable 
support. Victor Emmanuel was weak, and stood in 
considerable awe of his wife, who had obtained a great 
ascendancy over him in the miserable days of their 
residence in the island of Sardinia. His nephew, who 
was almost or wholly unknown to him, partook of the 

32 The Liberation of Italy 

nature of a disagreeable myth. Nevertheless he had a 
sense of justice, as well as Savoy blood in his veins — he 
resisted; but the day came when his surrender seemed 
probable. Just at that moment, however, the Duke of 
Modena prematurely revealed the project by asking 
through his representative at the Congress of Vienna for 
the port of Spezia, in order that he might conveniently 
connect his own state with his prospective possession, the 
island of Sardinia. Prince Talleyrand was alarmed by 
the vision of Austria supreme in the Mediterranean, 
and through his opposition the conspiracy, for the time, 
was upset, and the rights of Charles Albert were re- 

Curiously enough, Prince Metternich had insisted on 
the young Prince, then seventeen, visiting the head- 
quarters of the Allies. Charles Felix (who was uncon- 
nected with the Modena scheme) wrote a letter to the 
King on this subject, in which he stated it as his belief that 
the Austrian plan was to get Charles Albert accidentally 
killed, or to plunge him in vice, or to make him contract 
a discreditable marriage. This was why they had invited 
him to their camp. He adds the characteristic remark 
that their nephew would be in no less danger at the head- 
quarters of the Duke of Wellington ' a cause de la religion.' 
Have him home and have him married, is his advice. 
' We are well treated, because there is the expectation of 
soon devouring our remains by extingviishing the House 
of Savoy. It is the habit of the cabinet of Vienna ; it 
was thus they made an end of the House of Este.' 

These counsels were the more likely to impress Victor 
Emmanuel from his knowledge that they were inspired 
by no shadow of personal interest in ' the little vagrant,' 
but by the race-feeling alone. The Queen contrived to 
prevent the immediate recall of the Prince of Carignano, 

The Work of the Carbonari 33 

but she was obliged to give way, and he was definitely 
established in Piedmont. In 1818 he was married at 
Florence to the Archduchess Maria Teresa of Tuscany, 
who, on the 14th of March 1820, gave, birth to the child 
that was to become the first King of Italy. 

Very soon after his return to his country, the hopes of 
the Liberal party began to centre in the young Prince, 
whom some of their more ardent spirits already saluted 
as the rising sun. Those who made his acquaintance 
were fascinated by the charm of manner which he could 
always exert when he chose, and were confirmed in their 
hopes by his evident susceptibility to the magnetism of 
new ideas and fatalistic ambitions. What they did not 
perceive was, that in his nature lay that ingrained tendency 
to drift before the wind, which is the most dangerous 
thing in politics. In the mid-sea of events he might 
change his course without conscious insincerity, but with 
the self-abandonment of a mind which, under pressure, 
loses the sense of personal responsibility. 

In Piedmont, Carbonarism had made great way among 
the upper classes and among the younger officers ; the 
flower of the country was enrolled in its ranks, and the 
impatience to take some action towards procuring free 
institutions for themselves, and doing something for their 
Lombard brothers, had reached fever heat in the spring 
of 1 82 1, when the affairs of Naples were creating much 
excitement The principal conspirators, noble young men, 
full of unselfish ardour, were the chosen friends and com- 
panions of the Prince of Carignano. It was formerly the 
opinion that they made him the confidant of their plans 
from the first, that he was one of them, in short — a 
Carbonaro bound by all the oaths and obligations of the 
society. The judgment of his conduct afterwards is, of 
course, much affected by this point ; were the assumption 


34 The Liberation of Italy 

correct, the invectives launched against him, not by any 
means only by republican writers, would hardly seem 
excessive. But by the light of documents issued in recent 
times, it appears more just as well as more charitable to 
suppose that Charles Albert's complicity was of a much 
less precise character. A little encouragement from a 
prince goes a long way. 

According to his own account, he was taken by sur- 
prise when, on the 2nd or 3rd of March, his friends Carail, 
Collegno, Santa Rosa and Lisio came to tell him in 
secret that they belonged to societies which had been 
long working for the independence of Italy, and that 
they reckoned on him, knowing well his affection for his 
country, to aid them in obtaining from the King some 
few first concessions, which would be the prelude of a 
glorious future. It is clear that he ought either to have 
broken with them altogether from that moment or to 
have cast his lot with them for good or evil. He tried 
a middle course. He induced the conspirators to put 
off the revolution by which they intended to enforce 
their demands, and he conveyed to the King information 
of what had happened, asking at the same time that no 
measures should be taken against incriminated persons. 

In fact, no precautions of any kind seem to have been 
taken. Victor Emmanuel, frightened at first, was soon 
reassured. The revolution, which was to have begun 
on the 8th, actually broke out on the loth of March at 
Alessandria, where the counter orders issued at Charles 
Albert's request, after the interview just described, were 
not obeyed. The garrison 'pronounced' in favour of 
the Spanish Constitution. It was now impossible to 
draw back. From Alessandria the revolution spread 
to the capital. The bulk of the army sympathised with 
the movement, and relied on the support of the people. 

The Work of the Carbonari 35 

The greatest ladies mixed with the crowds which gathered 
under the Carbonaro flag — black, blue and red. On the 
other hand, there were a few devoted servants of the 
House of Savoy who beheld these novelties with the 
sensations of a quiet person who sees from his window 
the breaking loose of a menagerie. Invincibly ignorant 
of all that was really inspiring in this first breath of 
freedom, they saw nothing in it but an unwarrantable 
attack on the authority of their amiable, if weak, old 
King, for whom they would gladly have shed every drop 
of their blood — not from the rational esteem which the 
people of Italy, like the people of England, now feel 
for their sovereign, but from the pure passion of loyalty 
which made the cavalier stand blindly by his prince, 
whether he was good or bad, in the right or in the 
wrong. Men of their type watched the evolution of 
Piedmont into Italy from first to last with the same 
presentiment of evil, the same moral incapacity of 
appreciation. A handful of these loyal servitors hur- 
ried to Victor Emmanuel to offer their assistance. They 
marshalled their troop in battle-array in the courtyard 
of the palace. Their arms were antiquated pistols and 
rapiers, and they themselves were veterans, some of 
them of eighty years, mounted on steeds as ancient. 
The King thanked them, but declined their services; 
nor would he give carte blanche to Captain Raimondi, 
who assured him that with his one company he could 
suppress the insurrection if invested with full powers. 
Soon after this refusal, a firing of guns announced that 
the citadel was in the hands of the insurgents. The 
troops within and without fraternised ; it was a fine 
moment for those who knew history and who were bent 
in their hearts on driving the foreigner out of Italy. 
Here at the citadel of Turin, during the siege of 1706, 

36 The Liberation of Italy 

occurred the memorable deed of Pietro Micca, the peas- 
ant-soldier, who, when he heard the enemy thundering 
at the door of the gallery, thought life and the welcome 
of wife and child and the happy return to his village 
of less account than duty, and fired the mine which 
sent him and three companies of French Grenadiers to 
their final reckoning. 

After vacillating for two or three days, Victor Emmanuel 
abdicated on the 13th of March. The Queen desired to 
be appointed regent, but, to her intense vexation, the 
appointment was given to Charles Albert. A more un- 
enviable honour never fell to the lot of man. 

Deserted by the ministers of the crown, who resigned 
in a body, alone in the midst of a triumphant revolution, 
appealed to in the name of those sentiments of patriotism 
which he could never hear invoked unmoved, the young 
Prince uttered the words which were as good as a sur- 
render : ' I, too, am an Italian ! ' That evening he 
allowed the Spanish Constitution to be proclaimed sub- 
ject to the arrival of the orders of the new King. 

The new King ! No one remembered that there 
existed such a person. Nor had anyone recollected 
that the Spanish Constitution abrogated the Salic law, 
and that hence, instead of a new King, they had a new 
Queen — the wife of the Duke of Modena ! An eminent 
Turinese jurisconsulist, who was probably the only pos- 
sessor of a copy of the charter in the town which was 
screaming itself hoarse for it, divulged this awkward 
discovery. Several hours were spent in anxious dis- 
cussion, when the brilliant suggestion was made that 
the article should be cancelled. The article was can- 

But Charles Felix could not be disposed of so easily. 
The news of the late events reached him at Modena of 

The Work of the Cdrbonavi 37 

all places in the world, the rallying-point of the Prince 
of Carignano's bitterest foes. He was not long in send- 
ing his orders. He repudiated everything that had been 
done, and commanded Charles Albert, ' if he had a drop 
of our royal blood left in his veins,' to leave the capital 
instantly for Novara, where he was to await his further 

Charles Albert obeyed. He was accompanied on hi^ 
journey — or, as it may be called, his flight — by such of 
the troops as remained loyal. At Novara he found a 
sentence of exile, in a fresh order, to quit Piedmontese 
territory. Tuscany was indicated as the state where he 
was to reside. 

The Austrians crossed the frontier with the consent 
of the King. Charles Felix's opinion of Austria has 
been already given ; another time he said : ' Austria is a 
sort of bird-lime which, if you get it on your fingers, you 
can never rub off.' If anything was needed to increase 
his loathing for the revolution, it was the necessity in 
which it placed him, as he thought, of calling in this 
unloved ally. But Charles Felix was not the man to 
hesitate. Not caring a straw for the privilege of wearing 
a crown himself, his belief in the divine right of kings, 
and the obligation to defend it, amounted to monomania. 
The Austrian offer was therefore accepted. On her part 
Austria declined the obliging proposal of the Czar of a 
loan of 100,000 men. She felt that she could do the work 
unaided, nor was she mistaken. 

On the 8th of April the Constitutionalist troops which 
marched towards Novara, sanguine that the loyal regi- 
ments there quartered would end by joining them, were 
met by an armed resistance, in which the newly-arrived 
Austrians assisted. Their defeat was complete, and it 
was the signal of the downfall of the revolution. The 

38 The Liberation of Italy 

leaders retired from Turin to Alessandria, and thence to 
Genoa, that had risen last and was last to submit. Thus 
most of them escaped by sea, which was fortunate, as 
Charles Felix had the will to establish a White Terror, 
and was only prevented by the circumstance that nearly 
all the proposed victims were outside his kingdom. 
Capital sentences were sent after them by the folio : there 
was hardly a noble family which had not one of its 
members condemned to death. When his brother, Victor 
Emmanuel, recommended mercy, he told him that he 
was entirely ready to give him back the crown, but that, 
while he reigned, he should reign after his own ideas. 
He seems to have had thoughts of hanging the Prince 
of Carignano, and for a long time he seriously meant to 
devise the kingdom to his son, the infant Prince Victor. 
Thus a new set of obstacles arose between Charles Albert 
and the throne. 

Of the personal friends of that ill-starred Prince all 
escaped. One of them, the noble-minded Count Santorre 
di Santa Rosa, died fighting for liberty in Greece. In the 
miseries of exile and poverty he had never lost faith in 
his country, but fearlessly maintained that ' the emancipa- 
tion of Italy was an event of the nineteenth century.' To 
another, Giacinta di Collegno, it was reserved to receive 
the dying breath of Charles Albert, when as an exiled 
and crownless king he found rest, at last, at Oporto. 

There were deeper reasons than any which appear 
on the surface for the failure of the revolutionary move- 
ments of this period. North and south,N;hough the popu- 
lations exhibited a childish delight at thfe^ overthrow of 
the old, despotic form of government, their effervescence 
ended as rapidly as it began. They did not really under- 
stand what was going on. ' By-the-bye, what is this same 
constitution they are making such a noise about ? ' asked 

The Work of the Carbonari. 39 

a lazzarone who had been shouting ' Viva la Costituzione ' 
all the day. Within a few weeks of the breakdown at 
Novara, Count Confalonieri wrote wisely to Gino Capponi 
that revolutions are not made by high intelligences, but 
by the masses which are moved by enthusiasm, and for 
a possibility of success, the word Constitution, the least 
magical of words, should have been replaced by the more 
comprehensible and stirring call : ' War to the stranger.' 
But this, instead of sounding from every housetop, was 
purposely stifled at Naples, and kept a mysterious secret 
in Piedmont 



Political Trials in Venetia and Lombardy — Risings in the South 
and Centre — Ciro Menotti. 

The Austrians fully expected a rising in Lombardy in 
the middle of March, and that they were not without 
serious fears as to its consequences is proved by the 
preparations which they quietly made to abandon Milan, 
if necessary. The Court travelling-carriages were got 
ready, and the younger princes were sent away. Carbon- 
arism had been introduced into Lombardy the year before 
by two Romagnols, Count Laderchi and Pietro Maroncelli. 
It was their propaganda that put the Austrian Govern- 
ment on the alert, and was the cause of the Imperial 
decree which denounced the society as a subversive 
conspiracy, aiming at the destruction of all constituted 
authority, and pointed to death and confiscation of 
property as the penalty for joining it. There was the 
additional clause, destined to bear terrible fruit, which 
declared accomplices, punishable with life-imprisonment, 
all who knew of the existence of lodges ( Vendite, as they 
were called) or the names of associates, without informing 
the police. In the autumn of 1820, Maroncelli and many 
others, including Silvio Pellico, the young Piedmont- 
ese poet, were arrested as Carbonari, while the arrest of 
the so-called accomplices began with Count Giovanni 
Arrivabene of Mantua, who had no connection with the 
society, but was charged with having heard from Pellico 


Prison and Scaffold 41 

that ^e was a member. Pellico and his companions 
were still lying untried in the horrible Venetian prisons, 
called, from their leaden roofs, the 'Piombi,' when the 
events of 1821 gave rise to a wholesale batch of new 
arrests. As soon as they knew of a movement in 
Piedmont, the Lombard patriots prepared to co-operate 
in it J that they were actually able to do nothing, was 
because it broke out prematurely, and also, to some 
extent, because their head. Count Confalonieri, was 
incapacitated by severe illness. But though their activity 
profited not at all to the cause, it was fatal to themselves. 
The Austrian Government had, as has been stated, a 
correct general notion of what was going on, but at the 
beginning it almost entirely lacked proofs which could 
inculpate individuals. In the matter of arrests, however, 
there was one sovereign rule which all the despotic 
Governments in Italy could and did follow in every 
emergency : it was to lay hands on the most intelligent, 
distinguished and upright members of the community. 
This plan never failed ; these were the patriots, the 
conspirators of those days. The second thing which the 
Austrians made a rule of doing, was to extort from the 
prisoners some incautious word, some shadow of an 
assent or admission which would place them on the track 
of other compromised persons, and furnish them with 
such scraps of evidence as they deemed sufficient, in 
order to proceed against those already in their power. 
In their secret examination of prisoners, they had re- 
duced the system of provocative interrogation to a 
science. They made use of every subterfuge, and, above 
all, of fabricated confessions fathered on friends of the 
prisoner, to extract the exclamation, the nod of the head, 
the confused answer, which served their purpose. The 
prisoners, men of good faith, and inexperienced in the arts 

42 The Liberation of Italy 

of deception, were but children in their hands, and 
scarcely one of them was not doomed to be the in- 
voluntary cause of some other person's ruin — generally 
that of a dear and intimate friend. 

The first to be arrested was Gaetano De-Castillia, 
who went with the Marquis Giorgio Pallavicini on a 
mission to Piedmont while the revolution there was at its 
height. They even had an interview with the Prince of 
Carignano, ' a pale and tall young man, with a charming 
expression' (so Pallavicini describes him), but had 
obtained from him no assurance, except the charac- 
teristic parting word : ' Let us hope in the future.' When 
De-Castillia was arrested, Pallavicini, then a youth of 
twenty, and full of noble sentiments, rushed to the 
director of the police with the avowal : ' It was I who 
induced De-Castillia to go to Piedmont ; if the journey 
was a crime, the fault is mine ; punish me ! ' No error 
could have proved more calamitous; till that moment 
the Austrians were in ignorance of the Piedmontese 
mission ; De-Castillia was arrested on some far more 
trifling charge. Pallavicini's generous folly was rewarded 
by fourteen years' imprisonment, and its first consequence 
was the arrest of Count Confalonieri, at whose instance 
the visit to Turin had been made. For months the 
Austrians had desired to have a clue against him ; the 
opportunity was come at last. 

Federico Confalonieri, brilliant, handsome, persuasive, 
of great wealth and ancient lineage, innately aristocratic, 
but in the best sense, was morally at the head of Lom- 
bardy, by the selection of the fittest, which at certain 
junctures makes one man pre-appointed leader while 
he is still untried. When in England, the Duke of 
Sussex prevailed upon him to become a Freemason, 
but he was not a Carbonaro in the technical sense, 

Prison and Scaffold 43 

though both friends and foes believed him to be one. 
He knew, however, more about this and the other secret 
societies then existing in Italy — even those of the re- 
actionary party — than did most of the initiated. In an 
amusing passage in his memoirs he relates how, when 
once forcibly detained in a miserable hostelry in the 
Calabrian Mountains, a den of brigands, of whom the 
chief was the landlord, he guessed that this man was a 
Calderaio, and it occurred to him to make the sign of 
that bloodthirsty sect. Things changed in a second ; 
the brigand innkeeper was at his feet, the complete 
household was set in motion to serve him. In 1821, 
he founded at Milan, not a secret society, but an associa- 
tion in which all the best patriots were enrolled, and 
of which the sole engagement was the formula, repeated 
on entering its ranks : ' I swear to God, and on my 
honour, to exert myself to the utmost of my power, and 
even at the sacrifice of my life, to redeem Italy from 
foreign dominion.' 

Knowing to what extent he was a marked man, 
Confalonieri would have only exercised common prud- 
ence in leaving the country, but he could not reconcile 
himself to the idea of flight. Anonymous warnings 
rained upon him : most likely they all came from the 
same quarter, from Count Bubna, the Austrian Field- 
Marshal, with whom Confalonieri was personally on 
friendly terms. On the 12th of December the Countess 
Bubna made a last effort to save him ; her carriage was 
ready, she implored him to take it and escape across the 
frontier. He refused, and next day he was arrested. 

Austrian legal procedure was slow ; the trial of the first 
Carbonari, Silvio Pellico and his companions, did not take 
place till 1822. On the 22nd of February the sentence 
of death was read to Silvio Pellico in his Venetian prison, 

44 I'k^ Liberation of Italy 

to be commuted to one of fifteen years' imprisonment at 
Spielberg, a fortress converted into a convict prison in a 
bleak position in Moravia. To that rock of sorrow, con- 
secrated for ever by the sufferings of some of the purest 
of men, Silvio Pellico and Pietro Maroncelli, with nine or 
ten companions, condemned at the same time, were the 
first Italians to take the road. Here they remained for 
the eight years described by the author of Francesca 
da Rimini, in Le Mie Prigioni, a book that served the 
Italian cause throughout the world. Even now some 
Italians are indignant at the spirit of saintly resignation 
which breathes upon Silvio Pellico's pages, at the veil 
which is drawn over many shocking features in the 
treatment of the prisoners ; they do not know the 
tremendous force which such reticence gave his narrative. 
Le Mie Prigioni has the reserve strength of a Greek 

Maroncelli contracted a disease of the leg through the 
hardships endured; amputation became necessary, but 
could not be performed till permission was received from 
Vienna — a detail showing the red-tapism which governed 
all branches of the Austrian administration. This patriot 
went, after his release, to America, where he died, poor, 
blind and mad. Pellico, crushed in soul, devoted his 
latter years entirely to religion. Only men of iron fibre 
could come out as they went in. The Spielberg prisoners 
wore chains, and their food was so bad and scanty that 
they suffered from continual hunger, with its attendant 
diseases. Unlike the thieves and assassins confined in 
the same fortress, the State prisoners were given no news 
of their families. Such was Spielberg, ' a sepulchre 
without the peace of the dead-' 

The State trials of the Lombard patriots in 1823 
resulted in seven capital sentences on the Milanese, 

Prison and Scaffold 45 

thirteen on the Brescians, and four on the Mantuans. 
The fate of the other prisoners depended on that of 
Count Confalonieri, If the sentence on him were not 
carried out, the lives at least of the others might be 
regarded as safe, since he was looked upon as the head. 
It is certain that the authorities, and the Emperor him- 
self, had the most firm intention of having him executed ; 
the more merciful decision was solely due to the Countess 
Confalonieri's journey to Vienna. Accompanied by the 
prisoner's aged father, this beautiful and heroic woman, 
a daughter of the noble Milanese house of Casati, went 
to Vienna before the conclusion of the trial, to be ready 
for any eventuality. When the sentence of death was 
passed, it was announced by the Emperor to old Count 
Confalonieri, whom he advised to return with the Countess 
Teresa as fast as possible if they wished to see the con- 
demned man alive. Undaunted by the news, the brave 
wife sought an interview with the Empress, in whom she 
found a warm advocate, but who was obliged to own, 
after several attempts to obtain a reprieve, that she 
despaired of success. Teresa Confalonieri hurried back 
to Milan through the bitter winter weather, in doubt 
whether she should arrive before the execution had 
taken place. But the unceasing efforts of the Empress 
won the day. The respite was granted on the 13th of 
January ; life-imprisonment was substituted for deatL 
The countess sent her husband the pillow which she 
had bathed with her tears during her terrible journey; 
needless to say that it was not given to him. She died 
broken-hearted with waiting before he was set at liberty 
in the year 1836. 

When Count Confalonieri reached Vienna on his way 
to Spielberg, he was surprised to find himself installed 
in a luxurious apartment, with three servants to wait 

46 The Liberation of Italy 

upon him. Though too ill to touch solid food, a sumptu- 
ous breakfast and dinner were daily set before him ; and 
but for the constant jingle of his chains, he would have 
thought himself in a first-class hotel on a journey of 
pleasure. The object of these attentions was clear when 
one evening Prince Metternich came to see him, and 
stayed for three hours, endeavouring by every exquisite 
flattery, by every promise and persuasion, to worm out 
of him the secrets of which he alone was believed to be 
the depositary. The Austrian Government had spent 
;^6o,ooo on the Milan Commission, and, practically, they 
were no wiser than when it began. Would Confalonieri 
enlighten them ? Whatever scruples he might have felt 
during the trial could be now laid aside ; there was 
no question of new arrests. It was from pure, abstract 
love of knowledge that the Government, or, rather, the 
Emperor, desired to get at the truth. If he preferred 
to open his mind to the Emperor in person. His Majesty 
would grant him a secret audience. Above all, what was 
the real truth about the Prince of Carignano ? 

All the rest was a blind ; it was the wish to have some 
damnatory evidence against Charles Albert, such as 
would for ever exclude him from the throne, that had 
induced the Emperor and his astute minister to make 
this final attempt. 

'Confalonieri need never go to Spielberg,' said the 
Prince ; ' let him think of his family, of his adored wife, 
of his own talents, of his future career, which was on the 
brink of being blotted out as completely as if he were 
dead ! ' Confalonieri was worthy of his race, of his class, 
of himself ; he stood firm, and next morning, almost with 
a sense of relief, he started for the living grave. 

'The struggle was decided,' Prince Metternich had 
said in the course of the interview, ' and decided not only 

Prison and Scaffold 47 

for our own, but for many generations. Those who still 
hoped to the contrary were madmen.' 

Some years of outward quiet doubtless confirmed him 
in the first opinion, while the second was not likely to 
be shaken by the next attempt that was made to take 
up arms for freedom. On the 28th of June 1828, several 
villages in the province of Salerno rose in obedience to 
the harangues of two patriotic ecclesiastics, Canon de 
Luca and Carlo da Celle, superior of a capuchin convent. 
This was meant to develop into a general insurrection, 
but it was nowhere followed up, and the sword of ven- 
geance fell speedily on the wretched villagers. Sur- 
rounded by the royal troops, they were forced into 
submission, many were shot on the spot, others were 
dragged in chains to Salerno, not even a drop of water 
being allowed them during the journey under the scorch- 
ing sun. The village of Bosco was rased to the ground. 
The priest, the monk, and twenty-two insurgents were 
shot after the repression. The heads of the victims were 
cut off and placed in iron cages where their wives or 
mothers were likely to see them. A woman went to 
Naples to beg for the pardon of her two grandsons, by 
name Diego and Emilio. The King, with barbarous 
clemency, told her to choose one. In vain she entreated 
that if both could not be saved the choice should be left 
to chance, or decided by someone else. But no; unless 
she chose they would both be shot. At last she chose 
Diego. Afterwards she went mad, and was constantly 
heard wailing : ' I have killed my grandson Emilio.' 
This anecdote gives a fair notion of Francis I., whose 
short reign was, however, less signalised by acts of 
cruelty, though there were enough of these, than by a 
venality never surpassed. The grooms-in-waiting and 
ladies-of-the-bedchamber sold the public offices in the 

48 The Liberation of Italy 

daylight ; and the King, who was aware of it, thought 
it a subject for vulgar jokes with his intimates. Francis 
died in 1830 of bad humour at the Paris revolution, and 
was succeeded by Ferdinand II., to be known hereafter 
as Bomba — then a clownish youth, one of whose first 
kingly cares was to create St Ignatius Loyola a Field- 

The revolution which upset the throne of Charles X., 
and ushered in the eighteen years' reign of the Citizen 
King, seemed likely to have momentous consequences 
for Italy. The principle of non-intervention proclaimed 
by French politicians would, if logically enforced, sound 
the death-knell of the Austrian power in Italy. Dupin, 
the Minister of War, enlarged on the theme in a speech 
which appeared to remove all doubt as to the real 
intentions of the Government. ' One phrase,' he re- 
marked, ' has made a general impression ; it expresses 
the true position of a loyal and generous Government. 
Not only has the President of the Council laid down the 
principle that France should abstain from intervention ; 
he has declared that she would not tolerate intervention 
on the part of others. France might have shut herself 
up in a cold egotism, and simply said that she would 
not intervene; this would have been contemptible, but 
the proclamation of not suffering the interventions of 
others is the noblest attitude a strong and magnanimous 
people can assume ; it amounts to saying : Not only will 
I not attack or disturb other nations, but I, France, whose 
voice is respected by Europe and by the whole world, 
will never permit others to do so. This is the language 
held by the ministry and by the ambassadors of Louis 
Philippe; and it is this which the army, the National 
Guard, France entire, is ready to maintain.' 

Truly language was invented to travesty the truth, 

Prison and Scaffold 49 

and when French politicians say they are going to the 
right it is an almost sure sign that they are going to 
the left ; nevertheless, is it possible to blame the Italians 
who read in these assurances a positive promise affecting 
their own case ? 

The same assurances were repeated again and again 
through the winter of 1830-31; they were repeated 
authoritatively as late as March in the latter year. Well 
may a French writer inquire: 'Was it insanity or 
treachery ? ' 

The good tidings were published by the Italian 
exiles, who, living close to the great centres of European 
politics, were the first to intoxicate themselves with 
the great delusion. From London, Gabriele Rossetti 
sent the exultant summons : 

Cingi I'elmo, la mitia deponi, 

O vetusta Signora del mondo ; 
Sorgi, sorgi dal sonno profondo, 
lo son I'alba del nuovo tuo di. 

Saran rotte le vostre catene, 

O Fratelli che in ceppi languite ; 
O Fratelli che il giogo soffrite 
Calcherete quel giogo col pife. 

The child beside whose cradle the ode was written, was 
to grow to manhood while Italy still remained ' the 
weeping, desolate mother.' The cry of the poet was not, 
however, without an echo. In 1831, Romagna, Parma 
and Modena rose in rebellion. 

Things had been going, without much variation, from 
bad to worse in the Roman states, ever since 181 5. 
Pius VII. (Chiaramonti), who died in 1823, was succeeded 
by Leo XII. (Genga), an old man who was in such 
enfeebled health that his death was expected at the time 


50 The Liberation of Italy 

of his election, but, like a more famous pontiff, he made 
a sudden recovery, which was attributed to the act of 
a prelate, who, in prayer, offered his own life for the 
Pope's, and who died a few days after resolving on the 
sacrifice. During this Pope's reign, the smallpox was 
rife in Rome, in consequence of the suppression of public 
vaccination. The next conclave, held in 1829, resulted 
in the election of Pius VIII. (Castiglioni da Cingoli), 
who died on the 30th of November 1830, and was followed 
by Gregory XVI. (Cappellari). In each conclave, Austria 
had secured the choice of a ' Zealot,' as the party after- 
wards called Ultramontane was then designated. The 
last traces of reforms introduced by the French disap- 
peared ; criminal justice was again administered in 
secret; the police were arbitrary and irresponsible. All 
over the Roman states, but especially in Romagna, the 
secret society of the Sanfedesti flourished exceedingly ; 
whether, as is probable, an offshoot of the Calderai or 
of indigenous growth, its aims were the same. The 
affiliated swore to spill the last drop of the blood of the 
Liberals, without regard to sex or rank, and to spare 
neither children nor old men. Many Romagnols had 
left their country after the abortive agitation of 1821, 
and amongst these were the Gambas. Count Pietro 
died in Greece, where he had gone on the service of 
freedom. Had he lived, this young man would have 
been sure to win a fair name in the annals of Italian 
patriotism; he should not, as it is, be quite forgotten, 
as it was chiefly due to him that Byron's life took the 
redeeming direction which led to Missolonghi. 

In February 1831, Romagna and the Marches of 
Ancona threw off the Papal Government with an ease 
which must have surprised the most sanguine. The 
white, red and green tricolor was hoisted at Bologna, 

Prison and Scaffold 51 

where, as far as is known, this combination of colours 
first became a political badge. Thirty-six years before 
Luigi Zamboni and Gian Battista De Rolandis of 
Bologna had distributed rosettes of white, red and green 
ribbon ; Zamboni was arrested, and strangled himself, 
afraid of betraying his friends ; De Rolandis was hung 
on the 23rd of April 1796. Such was the origin of the flag, 
but, until 183 1, the Carbonaro red, blue and black was 
the common standard of the revolution. From that year 
forth, the destinies of Italy were accomplished under the 
colours of better augury, so fit to recall her fiery vol- 
canoes, her wooded Apennines, her snow-crowned Alps ; 
colours which in one sense she receives from Dante, who 
clothes in them the vision of the glorified Beatrice. 

The rising at Parma requires but little comment. 
The Empress Marie-Louise neither hated her subjects, 
nor was hated by them, but her engagements with 
Austria prevented her from granting the demanded con- 
cessions, and she abandoned her state, to return to it 
indeed, under Austrian protection, but without the odious 
corollary of vindictive measures which was generally 
meant by a restoration. 

Much more important is the history of the Moden- 
ese revolution. Apologists have been found for the Bour- 
bons of Naples, but, if anyone ever said a good word for 
Francesco d'Este, it has escaped the notice of the present 
writer. Under a despotism without laws (for the edicts 
of the Prince daily overrode the Este statute book which 
was supposed to be in force), Modena was far more in 
the power of the priests, or rather of the Jesuits, than any 
portion of the states of the Church. Squint-eyed, crooked 
in mind and bloodthirsty, Francis was as ideal a bogey- 
tyrant as can be discovered outside fiction. In 1822, he 
hung the priest Giuseppe Andreoli on the charge of 

52 The Liberation of Italy 

Carbonarism; and his theory of justice is amusingly 
illustrated by the story of his sending in a bill to Sir 
Anthony Panizzi — who had escaped to England — for the 
expenses of hanging him in efifigy. 

Francis felt deeply annoyed by the narrow limits of 
his dominions, and his annoyance did not decrease with 
the decreasing chances of his ousting the Prince of 
Carignano from the Sardinian throne. He was intensely 
ambitious, and one of his subjects, a man, in other re- 
spects, of high intelligence, thought that his ambition 
could be turned to account for Italy. It was the mis- 
take over again that Machiavelli had made with Cesare 

Giro Menotti, who conceived the plan of uniting Italy 
under the Duke of Modena, was a Modenese landed 
proprietor who had exerted himself to promote the 
industry of straw-plaiting, and the other branches of 
commerce likely to be of advantage to an agricultural 
population. He was known as a sound philanthropist, 
an excellent husband and father, a model member of 
society. Francis professed to take an interest in indus- 
trial matters ; Menotti, therefore, easily gained access to 
his person. In all the negotiations that followed, the 
Modenese patriot was supported and encouraged by a 
certain Dr Misley, who was of English extraction, with 
whom the Duke seems to have been on familiar terms. 
It appears not doubtful that Menotti was led to be- 
lieve that his political views were regarded with favour, 
and that he also received the royal promise that, what- 
ever happened, his life would be safe. This promise was 
given because he had the opportunity of saving the 
Duke from some great peril — probably from assassina- 
tion, though the particulars were never divulged. 

Misley went to Paris to concert with the Italian com- 

Prison and Scaffold 53 

mittee which had its seat there ; the movement in Modena 
was fixed for the first days of February. But spies got 
information of the preparations, and on the evening ot 
the 3rd, before anything had been done, Menotti's house 
was surrounded by troops, and after defending it, with 
the help of his friends, for two hours, he was wounded 
and captured. Next day the Duke despatched the 
following note to the Governor of Reggio-Emilia : ' A 
terrible conspiracy against me has broken out. The 
conspirators are in my hands. Send me the hangman. 
— Francis.' 

Not all, however, of the conspirators were in his 
hands; tlie movement matured, in spite of the seizure 
of Menotti, and Francis, ' the first captain in the world,' 
as he made his troops call him, was so overcome with 
fright that on the 5th of February he left Modena with 
his family, under a strong military escort, dragging after 
him Giro Menotti, who, when Mantua was reached, was 
consigned to an Austrian fortress. 

Meanwhile, the revolution triumphed. Modena chose 
one of her citizens as dictator, Biagio Nardi, who issued 
a proclamation in which the words ' Italy is one ; the 
Italian nation is one sole nation,' testified that the great 
lesson which Menotti had sought to teach had not fallen 
on unfruitful ground. Wild as were the methods by 
which, for a moment, he sought to gain his end, his in- 
sistence on unity nevertheless gives Menotti the right 
to be considered the true precursor of Mazzini in the 
Italian Revolution. 

Now that the testing-time was come, France threw 
to the winds the principle announced in her name with 
such solemn emphasis. 'Precious French blood should 
never be shed except on behalf of French interests,' said 
Casimir P^rier, the new President of the Council. A 

54 The Liberation of Italy 

month after the flight of the Duke of Modena, the in- 
evitable Austrians marched into his state to win it back 
for him. The hastily-organised little army of the new 
government was commanded by General Zucchi, an old 
general of Napoleon, who, when Lombardy passed to 
Austria, had entered the Austrian service. He now 
offered his sword to the Dictator of Modena, who 
accepted it, but there was little to be done save to retire 
with honour before the 6000 Austrians. Zucchi capitu- 
lated at Ancona to Cardinal Benvenuti, the Papal 
delegate. Those of the volunteers who desired it were 
furnished with regular passports, and authorised to take 
ship for any foreign port. The most compromised 
availed themselves of this arrangement, but the vessel 
which was to bear Zucchi and 103 others to Marseilles, 
was captured by the Austrian Admiral Bandiera, by 
whom its passengers were kidnapped and thrown into 
Venetian prisons, where they were kept till the end of 
May 1832. This act of piracy was chiefly performed 
with a view to getting possession of General Zucchi, who 
was tried as a deserter, and condemned io twenty years' 
imprisonment. Among the prisoners was the young wife ; 
of Captain Silvestro Castiglioni of Modena. ' Go, do 
your duty as a citizen,' she had said, when her "husband 
left her to join the insurrection. ' Do not betray it for 
me, as perhaps it would make me love you less.' She 
shared his imprisonment, but just at the moment of the 
release, she died from the hardships endured. 

By the end of the month of March, the Austrians 
had restored Romagna to the Pope, and Modena to 
Francis IV. In Romagna the amnesty published by 
Cardinal Benvenuti was revoked, but there were no 
executions; this was not the case in Modena. The 
Duke brought back Giro Menotti attached to his 

Prison and Scaffold 55 

triumphal car, and when he felt that all danger was 
past, and that the presence of the Austrians was a 
guarantee against a popular expression of anger, he 
had him hung. 

' When my children are grown up, let them know how 
well I loved my country,' Menotti wrote to his wife on 
the morning of his execution. The letter was inter- 
cepted, and only delivered to his family in 1848. The 
revolutionists found it in the archives of Modena. On 
the scaffold he recalled how he was once the means of 
saving the Duke's life, and added that he pardoned his 
murderer, and prayed that his blood might not fall upon 
his head. 

During the insurrection in Romagna, an event occurred 
which was not without importance to Europe, though it 
passed almost unnoticed at the time. The eldest son of 
Queen Hortense died in her arms at Forll, of a neglected 
attack of measles ; some said of poison, but the report 
was unfounded. He and his brother Louis, who had 
been closely mixed up with Italian conspiracies for more 
than a year, went to Romagna to offer their services as 
volunteers in the national army. By the death of the 
elder of the two, Louis Napoleon became heir to what 
seemed then- the shadowy sovereignty of the Buonapartes. 

No sooner had the Austrians retired from the Lega- 
tions in July 1 83 1, than the revolution broke out again. 
Many things had been promised, nothing performed; 
disaffection was universal, anarchy became chronic, and 
was increased by the indiscipline of the Papal troops 
that were sent to put it down. The Austrians returned 
and the French occupied Ancona, much to the Pope's 
displeasure, and not one whit to the advantage of the 
Liberals. This dual foreign occupation of the Papal 
states lasted till the winter of 1838. 



Accession of Charles Albert — Mazzini's Unitarian Propaganda 
— The Brothers Bandiera. 

On 27th April 1 83 1, Charles Albert came to the throne 
he had so nearly lost. His reconciliation with his uncle, 
Charles Felix, had been effected after long and melan- 
choly preliminaries. To wash off the Liberal sins of his 
youth, or possibly with a vague hope of finding an 
escape from his false position in a soldier's death, he 
joined the Due d'Angouldme's expedition against the 
Spanish Constitutionalists. His extraordinary daring 
in the assault of the Trocadero caused him to be the 
hero of the hour when he returned with the army to 
Paris ; but the King of Sardinia still refused to receive 
him with favour — a sufficiently icy favour when it was 
granted — until he signed an engagement, which re- 
mained secret, to preserve intact during his reign the 
laws and principles of government which he found in 
force at his accession. If there had been an Order 
of the Millstone, Charles Felix would doubtless have 
conferred it upon his dutiful nephew; failing that, he 
presented to him for signature this wonderful document, 
the invention of which he owed to Prince Metternich. 
At the Congress of Verona in 1822, Charles Albert's 
claims to the succession were recognised, thanks chiefly 
to the Duke of Wellington, who represented England 
in place of Lord Londonderry (Castlereagh), that states- 


' Young Italy* 57 

man having committed suicide just as he was starting 
for Verona. Prince Mettemich then proposed that the 
Prince of Carignano should be called upon to enter into 
an agreement identical with the compact he was brought 
to sign a couple of years later. In communicating the 
proposal to Canning, the Duke of Wellington wrote that 
he had demonstrated to Prince Mettemich 'the fatality 
of such an arrangement,' but that he did not think that 
he had made the slightest impression on him. So the 
event proved; baffled for the moment, the Prince managed 
to put his plan in execution through a surer channel. 

With the accession of Charles Albert appears upon 
the political scene a great actor in the Liberation of 
Italy, Giuseppe Mazzini. Young and unknown, except 
for a vague reputation for restlessness and for talent 
which caused the government of Charles Felix to imprison 
him for six or seven months at Savona, Mazzini pro- 
posed to the new King the terms on which he might 
keep his throne, as calmly as Mettemich had proposed 
to him the terms on which he might ascend it. The 
contrast is striking ; on the one side the statesman, who 
still commanded the armed force of three-fourths of 
Europe, doing battle for the holy alliance of autocrats, 
for the international law of repression, for all the tradi- 
tions of the old diplomacy; on the other, the young 
student with little money and few friends, already an 
exile, having no allies but his brain and his pen, who 
set himself, certain of success, to dissolve that mighty 
array of power and pomp. All his life Charles Albert 
was a Faust for the possession of whose soul two irre- 
concilable forces contended ; the struggle was never 
more dramatically represented than at this moment in 
the person of these two champions. 

Mazzini's letter to Charles Albert, which was read by 

58 The Liberation of Italy 

the King, and widely, though secretly, circulated in 
Piedmont, began by telling him that his fellow-country- 
men were ready to believe his line of conduct in 1821 
to have been forced on him by circumstances, and that 
there was not a heart in Italy that did not quicken at 
his accession, nor an eye in Europe that was not turned 
to watch his first steps in the career that now unfolded 
before him. Then he went on to show, with the logical 
strength in developing an argument which, joined to a 
novel and eloquent style, caused his writings to attract 
notice from the first, that the King could take no middle 
course. He would be one of the first of men, or the 
last of Italian tyrants ; let him choose. Had he never 
looked upon Italy, radiant with the smile of nature, 
crowned with twenty centuries of sublime memories, the 
mother of genius, possessing infinite means, to which 
only union was lacking, girt round with such defences 
that a strong will and a few courageous breasts would 
suffice to defend her? Had it never struck him that 
she was created for a glorious destiny? Did he not 
contemplate her people, splendid still, in spite of the 
shadow of servitude, the vigour of whose intellect, the 
energy of whose passions, even when turned to evil, 
showed that the making of a nation was there? Did 
not the thought come to him : ' Draw a world out of 
these dispersed elements like a god from chaos ; unite 
into one whole the scattered members, and pronounce 
the words, " It is mine, and it is happy " ? ' 

Mazzini in 1831 was twenty-six years of age. His 
father was a Genoese physician, his mother a native of 
Chiavari. She was a superior woman, and devoted more 
than a mother's care to the excitable and delicate child, 
who seemed to her (mothers have sometimes the gift of 
prophecy) to be meant for an uncommon lot. One of 

' Young Italy ' 59 

the few personal reminiscences that Mazzini left recorded, 
relates to the time and manner in which the idea first 
came to him of the possibility of Italians doing some- 
thing for their country. He was walking with his mother 
in the Strada Nuova at Genoa one Sunday in April 1821, 
when a tall, black-bearded man with a fiery glance held 
towards them a white handkerchief, saying : ' For the 
refugees of Italy.' Mazzini's mother gave him some 
money, and he passed on. In the streets were many 
unfamiliar faces ; the fugitives from Turin and Ales- 
sandria were gathered at Genoa before they departed 
by sea into exile. The impression which that scene 
made on the mind of the boy of sixteen was never 

Owing to his delicate health, Mazzini's early educa- 
tion was carried on at home, where the social atmosphere 
was that of one of those little centres in a provincial 
capital which are composed of a few people, mostly 
kindred, of similar tastes, who lead useful and refined 
lives, content with moderate ease. The real exclusiveness 
of such centres exceeds any that exists in the most 
aristocratic sphere in the world. The Mazzinis were, 
moreover, Genoese to the core ; and this was another 
reason for exclusiveness, and for holding aloof from the 
governing class. Mazzini was born a few days after 
Napoleon entered Genoa as its lord. He had not, there- 
fore, breathed the air of the ancient Republic ; but there 
was the unadulterated republicanism of a thousand years 
in his veins. 

When he grew to manhood his appearance was strik- 
ing. The black, flowing hair, the pale, olive complexion, 
the finely-cut features and lofty brow, the deep-set eyes, 
which could smile as only Italian eyes can smile, but 
which could also flash astral infinitudes of scorn, the 

6o The Liberation of Italy 

fragile figure, even the long, delicate, tapering fingers, 
marked him for a man apart — though whether a poet 
or an apostle, a seer or a saint, it was not easy to decide. 
Yet this could be said at once : if this man concentrated 
all his being on a single point, he would wield the power, 
call it what we will, which in every age has worked 
miracles and moved mountains. 

Mazzini became a Carbonaro, though the want of 
clear, guiding principles in Carbonarism made him mis- 
doubt its efficacy, and its hierarchical mysteries and 
initiatory ordeals repelled him by their childishness. 
Then followed his arrest, and his detention in the fortress 
of Savona, which was the turning-point in his mental 
life. Before that date he learnt, after it he taught. 
From his high-perched cell he saw the sea and the sky 
— with the Alps, the sublimest things in Nature. The 
voices of the fishermen reached his ears, though he could 
not see them. A tame goldfinch was his companion. 
Here, in a solitude and peace which he remembered with 
regret in the stormy and sorrowful years that were to 
come, he conceived his message and the mission, in which 
he believed to the last day of his life. 

He resolved to found a new association on broader 
and simpler lines than the secret societies of the past, 
which should aim not only at the material freeing of 
Italy from her present bondage, but at her moral and 
religious regeneration. To aim at material progress of 
any kind, without at the same time aiming at a higher 
moral progress, seemed to Mazzini absurd ; to attempt 
to pull down without attempting to build up seemed to 
him criminal. Thus he accused the Socialists of sub- 
stituting the progress of humanity's kitchen for the pro- 
gress of humanity. He believed that Italy, united and 
redeemed, was destined to shed through the world the 

(riuseppe. MazzTJvC. 

* Young Italy* 6i 

light of a new moral unity, which should end the reign 
of Scepticism, triumphant among discordant creeds. 
Mazzini's religious belief was the motor of his whole 
bemg. The Catholicism in which he was outwardly 
brought up never seems to have touched his inner 
nature ; he went through no spiritual wrench in leaving 
a faith that was never a reality to him. The same is 
true of innumerable young Italians, who, when they 
begin to read and study, drift out of their childhood's 
religion without a struggle or a regret. But thought 
and study brought Mazzini what it rarely brings to 
these young men — the necessity to find something in 
which he could believe. He had not long to seek for 
a basis to his creed, because he was one of the men 
from the prophets of old to Spinoza, from Spinoza to 
Gordon, to whom the existence of God is a matter of 
experience rather than an object of faith. Starting 
from this point, he formed his religion out of what he 
regarded as its inevitable deductions. If God existed, 
his creatures must be intended for perfection ; if this 
were the Divine scheme, man's one business was to carry 
it out. He considered the idea of duty separated from 
the idea of God to be illogical. Either the development 
of human things depended on a providential law, or it 
was left to chance and passing circumstance, and to the 
dexterity of the man who turned these to most account. 
God was the sole source of duty ; duty the sole law of 
life. Mazzini did not denounce Catholicism or any 
other religion as false. He saw in it a stepping-stone 
to purer comprehension, which would be reached when 
man's intellect was sufficiently developed for him to be 
able to do without symbols. 

The conscience of humanity is the last tribunal. 
Ideas, as well as institutions, change and expand, but 

62 The Liberation of Italy 

certain fundamental principles are fixed. The family 
would always exist ; property would always exist. The 
first, 'the heart's fatherland,' was the source of the 
only true happiness, the only joys untainted by grief, 
which were given to man. Those who wished to abolish 
the second were like the savage who cut down the tree 
in order to gather the fruit. In the future, free associa- 
tion would be the great agent of moral and material 
progress. The authority which once rested in popes and 
emperors now devolved on the people. Instead of ' God 
and the King,' Mazzini proposed the new formula ' God 
and the People.' By the people he understood no caste 
or class, whether high or low, but the universality of men 
composing the nation. The nation is the sole sovereign ; 
its will, expressed by delegates, must be law to all its 

By degrees certain words acquired more and more a 
mystical significance in Mazzini's mind ; the very name 
of Rome, for instance, had for him a sort of talismanic 
fascination, not unlike that possessed by Jerusalem for 
the mediaeval Christian. When he spoke of the people 
or the republic he frequently used those terms in an ideal 
and visionary sense (as theologians use the Church) rather 
than in one strictly corresponding with the case of any 
existing nation, or any hitherto tried form of government. 
This does not alter the fact that his theories, which have 
been briefly summarised, are not hard to comprehend, 
as has been said by those who did not know in what they 
consisted, nor, taken one by one, are they novel. What 
was new in the nineteenth century was the appearance 
of a revolutionary leader, who was before all things a 
religious and ethical teacher. And though Mazzini never 
founded the Church of Precursors, of which he dreamt, 
his influence was as surely due to his belief in his religious 

* Young Italy' 63 

mission, as was the influence of Savonarola. The Italians 
are not a mystical people, but they have always followed 
mystical leaders. The less men are prone to ideal en- 
thusiasm the more attracted are they by it ; Don 
Quixote, as Heine remarked, always draws Sancho Panza 
after him. 

Mazzini had a natural capacity for organisation, and 
the Association of Young Italy which he founded at 
Marseilles, the first nucleus being a group of young, 
penniless refugees, soon obtained an astonishing develop- 
ment. Up to the time of his ' Letter to Charles Albert,' 
his exile had been so far voluntary that he might have 
remained in Piedmont had he agreed to live in one of 
the smaller towns under the watchful care of the police, 
but he declined the terms, and the first effect of the 
'Letter' was a stringent order to arrest him if he re- 
crossed the frontier. He was not surprised at that result. 
Mazzini's attitude towards the Sardinian monarchy was 
perfectly well defined. Republican himself, even to 
fanaticism, he placed the question of unity, which for him 
meant national existence, above the question of the 
republic. He did not believe that the House of Savoy 
would unite Italy, but if unity could only be had under 
what he looked upon as the inauspicious form of mon- 
archy, he would not reject it. He was like the real mother 
in the judgment of Solomon, who, because she loved 
her child, was ready to give it up sooner than see it cut 
in two. 

Apart from personal ^ hereditary instincts and pre- 
dilections, Mazzini thought that he saw in the glorious 
memories of the Italian republics a clear indication that 
the commonwealth was the form of government which 
ought and would be adopted by the Italy of the future. 
But, unlike most politicians, he laid down the principle 

64 The Liberation of Italy 

that, after all, when free, the nation must decide for itself. 
' To what purpose,' he asks, ' do we constantly speak of 
the sovereignty of the people, and of our reverence for the 
national will, if we are to disregard it as soon as it pro- 
nounces in contradiction to our wishes ? ' 

He did not succeed in making the majority of his 
countrymen republicans, but he contributed more than 
any other man towards inspiring the whole country with 
the desire for unity. Herein lies his great work. With- 
out Mazzini, when would the Italians have got beyond 
the fallacies of federal republics, leagues of princes, pro- 
vincial autonomy, insular home-rule, and all the other 
dreams of independence reft of its only safeguard which 
possessed the minds of patriots of every party in Italy 
and of nearly every well-wisher to Italian freedom 
abroad ? 

In 1831, most educated Italians did not even wish 
for unity, and this is still truer of the republicans than of 
the monarchists. Some, like Manzoni, did wish for it, 
but, like him, said nothing about it, for fear of being 
thought madmen, A flash of the true light illuminated 
the mind of Giro Menotti, but that was extinguished on 
the scaffold. Then it was that Mazzini came forward 
with the news that Italy could only be made free and 
independent by being united ; unity was the ruling 
tendency of the century, and, as far as Italy went, no 
Utopia, but a certain conclusion. This was repeated 
over and over again, wherever there were Italians, over 
the inhabited globe. By means of sailors, ' Young Italy ' 
spread like lightning. Giuseppe Garibaldi was made 
a member by a sailor on the shores of the Black Sea. 

With the masses, unity proved the wonder-working 
word which Confalonieri had said was the one thing 
needful — a word yet fitter to work wonders than 'War 

' Young Italy' 65 

to the Stranger.' Among the cultivated classes, it was 
much slower in gaining ground, and particularly among 
statesmen and diplomatists. But in the end it was to 
convert them all. 

'"Young Italy,"' writes Mazzini, 'closed the period 
of political sects, and initiated that of educational 
associations.' 'Great revolutions,' he says again, 'are 
the work of principles rather than of bayonets.' It was 
by the diffusion of ideas that 'Young Italy' became a 
commanding factor in the events of the next thirty years. 
The insurrectional attempts planned under its guidance 
did not succeed, nor was it likely that they should 
succeed. Devised by exiles, at a distance, they lacked 
the first elements of success. The earliest of these 
attempts aimed at an invasion of Savoy ; it was hoped 
that the Sardinian army and people would join the little 
band of exiles in a movement for the liberation of 
Lombardy. The revolution of 1821 had evidently 
suggested this plan to Mazzini, but it was foredoomed 
to misfortune. The Piedmontese authorities got wind 
of it, and a hunt followed for the members of 'Young 
Italy'; most severe measures were taken; there were 
eleven executions, and numberless sentences to long 
terms of imprisonment. Jacobo Ruffini, the younger 
brother of the author of Dr Antonio, and Mazzini's 
most beloved friend, committed suicide in prison, fearing 
to reveal the names of his associates. The apologists 
for Charles Albert say that if he had not shown the 
will and ability to deal severely with the conspirators, 
Austria would have insisted on a military occupation. 
Whatever were his motives, this is the saddest page 
of his unhappy reign. 

Checked in 1833, the descent on Savoy was actually 
attempted in 1834, with Mazzini's consent, though not 

66 The Liberation of Italy 

by his wish. An officer who had won some celebrity 
in the Polish revolution, General Ramorino, a Savoyard 
by origin, was given the command. Ramorino was a 
gambler, who could not be trusted with money, but 
Mazzini's suspicion that on this occasion he played the 
part of traitor is not proved. However that may be, 
the expedition ended almost as soon as it began. 
Ramorino crossed the frontier of Savoy at the head of 
the column, but when he heard that a Polish reinforce- 
ment had been stopped on the Lake of Geneva, he 
retreated into Switzerland, and advised the band to 
follow him. 

After these events, Mazzini could no longer carry on 
his propaganda in France. He took refuge in England, 
where a great part of his life was to be passed, and of 
which he spoke, to the last, as his second country. The 
first period of his residence in England was darkened by 
the deep distress and discouragement into which the 
recent events had plunged him ; but his faith in the future 
prevailed, and he went on with his work. His endeavours 
to help his fellow-exiles reduced him to the last stage of 
poverty ; the day came when he was obliged to pawn a 
coat and an old pair of boots. These money difficulties 
did not afflict him, and by degrees his writings in 
English periodicals brought some addition to the small 
quarterly allowance which he received from his mother. 
It seems strange, though it is easily explained, that it 
was in London that he first got to know the Italian 
working classes. He was surprised and gladdened by 
the abundance of good elements which he found in them. 
No country, indeed, has more reason to hope in her work- 
ing men than the land whose sons have tunnelled the Alps, 
cut the most arduous railway lines in America and India, 
brought up English ships from the deep, laid the caissons 

' Young Italy ' 6y 

(a task of extreme danger) which support the great 
structure of the Bridge of the Firth of Forth, and left 
their bones to whiten at Panama. ' It is the universal 
testimony,' writes a high American authority, 'that no 
more faithful men have come among us.' What was the 
cause of the slaughter of the Aigues Mortes ? That the 
Italians worked too well. 

Mazzini wrote for his humble friends the treatise on 
T/te Duties of Man, in which he told them that he loved 
them too well to flatter them. Another work that 
occupied him and consoled him was the rescue and 
moral improvement of the children employed by organ- 
grinders, and he was the first to call attention to the 
white slavery to which many of them were subjected. 
He opened a school in Hatton Garden, in which he 
taught, and which he mainly supported for the seven 
years from 1841 to 1848. 

The enterprise of the Brothers Bandiera belongs to 
the history of ' Young Italy,' though Mazzini himself had 
tried to prevent it, believing that it could only end in 
the sacrifice of all concerned. Nor, at the last, did the 
actors in it expect anything else. They had hoped for 
better things ; for a general movement in the South of 
Italy, or at least for an undertaking on a larger and less 
irrational basis. But promises failed, money was not 
forthcoming, and it was a choice between doing nothing 
or a piece of heroic folly. Contrary to Mazzini's en- 
treaties, they chose the second alternative. 

Attilio and Emilio Bandiera were sons of the Austrian 
admiral who, in 1831, arrested Italian fugitives at sea. 
Placed by their father in the Austrian navy, they re- 
nounced every prospect of a brilliant career to enter the 
service of their down-trodden country. When they de- 
serted, strong efforts were made by the Archduke 

68 The Liberation of Italy 

Rainieri, through their mother, to win them back, but 
neither the offers of pardon nor the poor woman's tears 
and reproaches turned them from their purpose. An- 
other deserter was with them, Lieutenant Domenico 
Moro, a youth of great charm of person and disposition, 
who had been employed with a mixed force of English- 
men and Austrians in the Lebanon, where he formed a 
warm friendship with Lieutenant, now Admiral, Sir 
George Wellesley, who still preserves an affectionate 
remembrance of him. Nicola Ricciotti, a Roman subject 
who had devoted all his life to Italy, and Anacarsi Nardi, 
son of the dictator of Modena, were also of the band, 
which counted about twenty. 

The Bandieras and their companions sailed from Corfu 
for the coast of Calabria on the nth of June 1844. ' If 
we fall,' they wrote to Mazzini, ' tell our countrymen to 
imitate our example, for life was given to us to be nobly 
and usefully employed, and the cause for which we shall 
have fought and died is the purest and holiest that ever 
warmed the heart of man.' It was their last letter. 
After they landed in Calabria one of their number dis- 
appeared ; there is every reason to suppose that he went 
to betray them. They wandered for a few days in the 
mountains, looking for the insurgent band which they 
had been falsely told was waiting for them, and then 
fell into an ambush prepared by the Neapolitan troops. 
Some died fighting ; nine were shot at Cosenza, including 
the Bandieras, Mori, Ricciotti and Nardi. Boccheciampi 
the Corsican, whom they suspected of treason, was 
brought up to be confronted with them during the trial ; 
when asked if he knew who he was, Nardi replied : ' I 
know no word in my divine Italian language that can 
fitly describe that man.' Boccheciampi was condemned 
to a nominal imprisonment ; when he came out of prison 

' Young Italy ' 69 

he wrote to a Greek girl of Corfu, to whom he was en- 
gaged, to join him at Naples, that they might be married. 
The girl had been deeply in love with him, and had 
already given him part of her dowry, but she answered : 
' A traitor cannot wed a Greek maiden ; I bear with me 
the blessing of my parents ; upon you rests the curse of 

The martyrdom of the Bandieras made a great im- 
pression, especially in England, where the circumstance 
came to light that their correspondence with Mazzini 
had been tampered with in the English Post Office, and 
that information as to their plans had reached the 
Austrian and Neapolitan Governments through the 
British Foreign Office. The affair was brought before 
the House of Commons by Thomas Buncombe. The 
Home Secretary repeated a calumny which had ap- 
peared many years before in a French newspaper, to the 
effect that the murder of an Italian in Rodez by two of 
his fellow-countrymen was the result of an order from 
the Association of Young Italy. Sir James Graham had 
to apologise afterwards for 'the injury inflicted on Mr 
Mazzini' by this statement, which he was obliged to 
admit was supported by no evidence, and was contrary 
to the opinion of the Judge who tried the case. 

The Times having observed in a leading article that 
the gravity of the fact in question, the violation of private 
correspondence in the Post Office, was not affected by 
the merits or demerits of Mr Mazzini, of whom it pro- 
fessed to 'know nothing,' Thomas Carlyle wrote next 
day a letter containing words which may be quoted 
as some of the best and truest ever written about the 
great Italian : ' I have had the honour to know Mr 
Mazzini for a series of years, and, whatever I may think 
of his practical insight and skill in worldly affairs, I can 

yo The Liberation of Italy 

with great freedom testify that he, if I have ever seen 
one such, is a man of genius and virtue, one of those 
rare men, numerable unfortunately but as units in this 
world, who are worthy to be called martyr souls ; who 
in silence, piously in their daily life, understand and 
practise what is meant by that.' i 

^ It is now Carlyle's turn to be aspersed. Let Mazzini speak for him from 
the grave : ' I do not know if I told you,' he wrote to the Marchesa Eleonora 
Curio Ruffini, in a letter published a few months ago, ' that I have met upon 
my path, deserted enough, I hope, by choice, a Scotchman of mind and 
things, the first person here, up till now, with whom I sympathise and who 
sympathises with me. We differ in nearly all opinions, but his are so sincere 
and disinterested that I respect them. He is good, good, good ; he has 
been, and I think he is still, unhappy in spite of the fame which surrounds 
him ; he has a wife with talent and feeling ; always ailing ; no children. 
They live out of town, and I go to see them every now and then. They have 
no insular or other prejudices that jar upon me. I have grown more in- 
timate with this man in consequence, I think, of an article I wrote here, after 
knowing him, against an historical work of his ; perhaps, accustomed as he 
is to common-place praise, to which he is indifferent, my frankness pleased 
him. For the rest I shall see him rarely, and I can only give him esteem and 
the warmest sympathy — not friendship, which I can henceforth give to no 
one.' (22nd March 1S40.) 


1844- 1847 

Events leading to the Election of Pius IX,— The Petty Princes — 
Charles Albert, Leopold and Ferdinand. 

The day is drawing near when the century which 
witnessed the liberation of Italy will have passed away. 
Already a generation has grown up which can but 
faintly realise the passionate hopes and fears with which 
the steps that led through defeat to the ultimate victory 
were watched, not only by Italians, but by thousands 
who had never set foot in Italy. Never did a series 
of political events evoke a sympathy so wide and so 
disinterested, and it may be foretold with confidence 
that it never will again. Italy rising from the grave 
was the living romance of myriads of young hearts that 
were lifted from the common level of trivial interests 
and selfish ends, from the routine of work or pleasure, 
both deadening without some diviner spark, by a sustained 
enthusiasm that can hardly be imagined now. There 
were, indeed, some who asked what was all this to 
them? What were the 'extraneous Austrian Emperor,' 
or the 'old chimera of a Pope' (Carlyle's designations) 
to the British taxpayer ? Some there were in England 
who were deeply attached still to the ' Great Hinge on 
which Europe depended,' and even to the most clement 
Spanish Bourbons of Naples, about whom strangely beauti- 
ful things are to be read in old numbers of the Quarterly 
Review. But on the whole, English men and women — in 


72 The Liberation of Italy 

mind half Italian, whether they will it or not, from the day 
they begin to read their own literature from Chaucer to 
Shakespeare, from Shakespeare to Shelley, from Shelley 
to Rossetti and Swinburne — were united at that time in 
warmth of feeling towards struggling Italy as they have 
been united in no political sentiment relating to another 
nation, and in few concerning their own country. 

It would be vain to expect that the record of Italian 
vicissitudes during the years when the fate of Italy hung 
in the balance can awake or renew the spellbound interest 
caused by the events themselves. The reader of recent 
history is like the novel reader who begins at the last 
chapter — he is too familiar with how it all ended 
to be keenly affected by the development of the plot. 
Yet it is plain that we are in a better position to ap- 
preciate the process of development than was the case 
when the issue remained uncertain. We can estimate 
more accurately the difficulties which stood in the way, 
and judge more impartially the means that were taken 
to remove them. One outcome of this fuller knowledge 
is the conviction that patriotism was the monopoly of no 
single Italian party. The leaders, and still more their 
henchmen, were in the habit of saying very hard things 
about each other. It was natural and unavoidable ; but 
there is no excuse now for failing to recognise that there 
were pure and devoted patriots on the one side as well 
as on the other — men whose only desire was the salvation 
of Italy, to effect which no sacrifice seemed too great. 
Nor were their labours unfruitful, for there was work for 
all of them to do ; and the very diversity of opinion, 
though unfortunate under some aspects, was not so under 
all. If no one had raised the question of unity before 
all things, Italy might be still a geographical expression. 
If no one had tried to wring concessions from the old 

The Pope Liberator 73 

governments, their inherent and irremediable vices would 
never have been proved ; and though they might have 
been overturned, they would have left behind a lasting 
possibility of ignorant reaction. 

The Great Powers had presented to the Court of 
Rome in 1831 a memorandum, in which various moderate 
reforms and improvements were proposed as urgently 
necessary to put an end to the intolerable abuses which 
were rife in the states of the Church, and, most of all, in 
Romagna. The abolition of the tribunal of the Holy 
Office, the institution of a Council of State, lay education, 
and the secularisation of the administration were among 
the measures recommended. In 1845 a certain Pietro 
Renzi collected a body of spirited young men at San 
Marino, and made a dash on Rimini, where he disarmed 
the small garrison. The other towns were not prepared, 
and Renzi and his companions were obliged to retire into 
Tuscany ; but the revolution, partial as it had been, raised 
discussion in consequence of the manifesto issued by its 
promoters, in which a demand was made for the identical 
reforms vainly advocated by European diplomacy fourteen 
years before. If these were granted, the insurgents en- 
gaged to lay down their arms. The manifesto was written 
by Luigi Carlo Farini, who was destined to play a large 
part in future affairs. It proved to Europe that even the 
most conservative elements in the nation were driven to 
revolution by the sheer hopelessness of the dead-lock which 
the Italian rulers sought by every means to prolong. Mas- 
simo d'Azeglio, who was then known only as a painter of 
talent and a writer of historical novels, first made his mark 
as a politician by the pamphlet entitled Gli ultimi casi 
di Romagna, in which his arguments derived force from 
the fact that, when travelling in the district, he had done 
all in his power to induce the Liberals to keep within the 

74 The Liberation of Italy 

bounds of legality. But he confessed that, when some- 
one says : ' I suffer too much,' it is an unsatisfactory 
answer to retort : ' You have not suffered enough.' Mas- 
simo d'Azeglio had lived for many years an artist's life 
in Rome and the country round, where his aristocratic 
birth and handsome face made him popular with all 
classes. The transparent integrity of his nature over- 
came the diffidence usually inspired by strangers among 
a somewhat suspicious people, and he got to know more 
thoroughly than any other North Italian the real aspira- 
tions of the Pope's subjects. He listened to their com- 
plaints and their plans, and if they asked his advice, he 
invariably replied : ' Let us speak clearly. What is it 
that you wish and I with you ? You wish to have done 
with priestly rule, and to send the Teutons out of Italy ? 
If you invite them to decamp, they will probably say, 
" No, thank you ! " Therefore you must use force ; and 
where is it to be had ? If you have not got it, you must 
find somebody who has. In Italy who has it, or, to 
speak more precisely, who has a little of it ? Piedmont, 
because it, at least, enjoys an independent life, and pos- 
sesses an army and a surplus in the treasury.' His 
friends answered: 'What of Charles Albert, of 182 1, of 
1832?' Now, there was no one who felt less trust in 
Charles Albert than Massimo d'Azeglio ; he admitted it 
with something like remorse in later years. But he be- 
lieved in his ambition, and he thought it madness to 
throw away what he regarded as the sole chance of 
freeing Italy on account of private doubts of the King 
of Sardinia's sincerity. 

Charles Albert had reigned for fourteen years, and 
still the mystery which surrounded his character formed 
as impenetrable a veil as ever. The popular nickname 
of Re Tentenna (King Waverer) seemed, in a sense, 

The Pope Liberator 75 

accepted by him when he said to the Duke d'Aumale in 
1843 '• ' I ^m between the dagger of the Carbonari and 
the chocolate of the Jesuits.' He chose, as bride for his 
eldest son, an Austrian princess, who, however, had known 
no country but Italy. His internal policy was not simply 
stationary, it was retrograde. If his consent was obtained 
to some progressive measure, he withdrew it at the last 
moment, or insisted on the introduction of modifications 
which nullified the whole. His want of stability drove 
one of his ministers to jump out of a window. In spite 
of the candid reference to the Jesuit's cup of chocolate, 
he allowed the Society of Jesus to dictate its will in 
Piedmont. Victor Amadeus, the first King of Sardinia, 
took public education out of the hands of the Jesuits, 
after receiving the following deathbed communication 
from one of the Order who was his own confessor: 
' Deeply sensible of your many favours, I can only show 
my gratitude by a final piece of advice, but of such im- 
portance that perhaps it may suffice to discharge my 
debt. Never have a Jesuit for confessor. Do not ask 
me the grounds of this advice, I should not be at liberty 
to tell them to you.' The lesson was forgotten now. 
Charles Albert was not content to wear a hair-shirt him- 
self; he would have liked to see all his subjects furnished 
with the same garment. The result was, that Piedmont 
was not a comfortable place for Liberals to live in, nor 
a lively place for anyone. Yet there is hardly anything 
more certain than that all this time the King was con- 
stantly dreaming of turning the Austrians out of Italy. 
His government kept its attention fixed on two points : 
the improvement of the army, and the accumulation of 
a reserve fund to be available in case of war. Drill and 
thrift, which made the German Empire out of Prussia, 
if they did not lead straight to equally splendid results 

76 The Liberation of Italy 

south of the Alps, were still what rendered it possible for 
Piedmont to defy Austria when the time came. In 1840, 
Charles Albert wrote to his Minister of War : ' It is a 
fine thing to win twenty battles ; as for me, I should be 
content to win ten on behalf of a cause I know of, and 
to fall in the tenth — then, indeed, I would die blessing 
the Lord.' A year or two later, he unearthed and re- 
assumed the ancient motto of the House of Savoy: 
'J'attends mon astre.' Nevertheless, to the outward 
world his intentions remained enigmatical, and it was 
therefore with extreme surprise that Massimo d'Azeglio 
(who, on his return from the Roman states, asked per- 
mission to inform the King of the impressions made on 
him by his travels) received the injunction to tell his 
Liberal friends 'that when the occasion presented itself, 
his life, the life of his sons, his treasure, and his army 
would all be spent for the Italian cause.' 

The fifteen years' pontificate of Gregory XVI. ended 
on the 1st of June 1846. In spite of the care taken by those 
around him to keep the aged pontiff in a fool's paradise 
with regard to the real state of his dominions, a copy 
of The Late Events in Romagna fell into his hands, 
and considerably disturbed his peace of mind. He sent 
two prelates to look into the condition of the congested 
provinces, and their tour, though it resulted in nothing 
else, called forth new protests and supplications frdm the 
inhabitants, of which the most noteworthy was an address 
written by Count Aurelio Saffi, who was destined to pass 
many honourable years of exile in England. This address 
attacked the root of the evil in a passage which exposed 
the unbearable vexations of a government based on 
espionage. The acknowledged power of an irresponsible 
police was backed by the secret force of an army of 
private spies and informers. The sentiment of legality 

The Pope Liberator 77 

was being stamped out of the public conscience, and with 
it religion and morality. 'Bishops have been heard to 
preach civil war — a crusade against the Liberals ; priests 
seem to mix themselves in wretched party strife, egging 
on the mob to vent its worst passions. There is not a 
Catholic country in which the really Christian priest is so 
rarely found as in the States of the Church.' 

If Gregory XVI. was not without reasons for dis- 
quietude in his last hours, he could take comfort in the 
fact that he had succeeded in keeping railways out of 
all parts of his dominions. Gas and suspension bridges 
were also classed as works of the Evil One, and vigorously 
tabooed. Among the Pope's subjects there was a young 
prelate who had never been able to make out what there 
was subversive to theology in a steam-engine, or why the 
safety of the Papal government should depend on its 
opposing every form of material improvement, although 
in discussing these subjects he generally ended by saying : 
' After all I am no politician, and I may be mistaken.' 
This prelate was Cardinal Mastai-Ferretti, Bishop of 
Imola. Born in 1792 at Sinigaglia, of a good though 
rather needy family, Count Giovanni Maria Mastai was 
piously brought up by his mother, who dedicated him 
at an early age to the Virgin, to whom she believed that 
she owed his recovery from an illness which had been pro- 
nounced fatal. Roman Catholic writers connect the pro- 
mulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception 
with this incident of childhood. After entering the priest- 
hood, young Mastai devoted most of his energies to active 
charity, and remained, as he said, ' no politician,' being 
singularly ignorant of the world and of public affairs, 
though full of amiable wishes that everyone should be 
happy. Some years spent in missionary work in South 
America failed to enlarge his practical knowledge, the 

78 The Liberation of Italy 

limits of which he was the first to recognise — a fact that 
tended to make him all his life the instrument, not of his 
own will, but of the wills of men whom he honestly 
thought cleverer and more experienced than himself. 
His chief friends in his Romagnol diocese, friends on 
the intimate basis of social equality and common pro- 
vincial interests, were sound patriots, though not revolu- 
tionists, and the future Pio Nono involuntarily adopted 
their ideas and sympathies. He saw with his eyes certain 
abuses so glaring that they admitted of no two opinions, 
and these helped to convince him of the truth of his 
friends' arguments in favour of a completely new order 
of things. One such abuse was the encouragement 
given by government to the Society of the Centurioni, 
the latest evolution of the Calderai; the Centurions, 
recruited among roughs and peasants, were set upon the 
respectable middle classes, over which they tyrannised by 
secret accusations or open violence ; it was well under- 
stood that anyone called a Liberal, or Freemason, or 
Carbonaro could be beaten or killed without inquiries 
being made. 

The Bishop of Imola was frequently in the house of 
the Count and Countess Pasolini, who kept their friend 
well supplied with the new books on Italian affairs ; thus 
he read not only D'Azeglio's Casi di Romagna, but also 
Cesare Balbo's Le Speranze d'ltalia, which propounded 
a plan for an Italian federation, and Gioberti's Primato 
■morale e civile degli Italiani, in which this plan was 
elaborately developed, Gioberti indicated the Supreme 
Pontiff as the natural head of the Italian Union, and the 
King of Sardinia as Italy's natural deliverer from foreign 
domination. The eternal fitness of things, and the history 
of many centuries, proved the Pope to be the proper 
paramount civil authority in Italy, ' which is the capital 

The Pope Liberator 79 

of Europe, because Rome is the religious metropolis of 
the world.' An ex-member of 'Young Italy,' a Pied- 
montese by birth, a priest by ordination, Gioberti's pro- 
fession of faith was derived from these three sources, and 
it attracted thousands of Italians by its apparent recon- 
ciliation of the interests of the papacy, and of the 
Sardinian monarchy, with the most advanced views of 
the newest school. History, to which Gioberti appealed, 
might have told him that a reversal of the law of gravity 
was as likely to happen as the performance by the papacy 
of the mission he proposed to it ; but men believe what 
they wish to believe, and his work found, as has been 
said, thousands of admirers, among whom none was more 
sincere than Cardinal Mastai. The day on which Count 
Pasolini gave him a copy of // Primato he created that 
great, and under some aspects pathetic illusion, the 
reforming Pope. 

The Conclave opened on the 14th of June 1846. During 
the Bishop of Imola's journey to Rome a white pigeon had 
perched several times on his carriage. The story became 
known ; people said the same thing had occurred to a 
coming Pope on former occasions, and the augury was 
accepted with joy and satisfaction. He was, in fact, 
elected after the Conclave had lasted only two days, 
while the Conclave which elected his predecessor lasted 
sixty-four. The brevity of that to which Pius IX. owed 
the tiara was looked upon by the populace as something 
miraculous, but it was the result of the well-considered 
determination of the Italian Cardinals not to allow time 
for Austrian intrigues to obtain the election of a Pope 
who would be ruled from Vienna. When the new Pope 
appeared on the balcony of the Quirinal to give his first 
benediction, the people, carried away by his youthful yet 
majestic bearing, and by the hopes which already centred 

8o The Liberation of Italy 

in him, broke into frantic cries of : ' We have a Pope ! 
He loves us ! He is our Father ! ' If they had cried : 
' We have a new heaven and a new earth,' they would but 
have expressed the delirium which, starting from Rome, 
spread throughout Italy. 

On the night of the 6th of December 1846, the 
whole line of the Apennines from Liguria to Calabria 
was illuminated. A hundred years before, a stone 
thrown by the child Balilla had given the signal for the 
expulsion of the Austrians from Genoa : this was the 
memory flashed from height to height by countless 
beacons, but while celebrating the past, they were the 
fiery heralds of a greater revolution. 

The upheaval of Europe did not become a fact, 
however, for another year. Meantime, the Roman 
States attracted more attention than any other part of 
the peninsula, from the curiosity awakened by the pro- 
gress of the experiment of which they were the scene. 
It is not doubtful that at the first moment Pius IX. 
was under the impression that the problem he had taken 
m hand was eminently simple. A little goodwill on the 
part of everybody, an amnesty to heal old sores, and a 
few administrative reforms, ought, he thought, to set 
everything right. Such was not the opinion of intelli- 
gent onlookers who were students of politics — especially 
if they were foreigners, and could therefore keep their 
heads moderately cool in the prevailing excitement. 
The wave of a wand may seem to effect marvels, but 
long and silent causes prepare the way for each 
event. Now what had been going on for years in the 
Roman States was not the process of gradual growth, 
but the process of rapid disintegration. The Temporal 
Power of the Popes had died without anyone noticing 
it. and there was nothing left but a body in the course 

The Pope Liberator 8 1 

of dissolution. Every foreigner in Rome during the 
reign of Gregory XVI. bore witness that his govern- 
ment depended for its existence absolutely on the Swiss 
Guards. In 1845, Count Rossi told Guizot that without 
the Swiss regiments the government in the Legations 
and the Marches ' would be overthrown in the twink- 
ling of an eye.' The British agent in Rome, writing 
during the Conclave, bore this out by the statement, 
which applied not to one portion of the Roman states, 
but to all, that 'the government could not stand with- 
out the protection of Austria and the immediate presence 
of the Swiss.' On the accession of Pius IX., the props, 
such as they were, which had prevented an earlier 
collapse of the Temporal Power, were either removed 
or rendered useless. The Swiss might as well have 
been disbanded at once as retained merely to be a bone 
of contention between the new government and the 
people, since it was understood that a vigorous use 
of their services would never be resorted to ; while 
Austrian protection was transferred from the Pope to 
the disaffected party in the Church, which consisted in 
a large proportion of the cardinals and of the inferior 
clergy who were afraid that, with the reform of abuses, 
they would lose their influence over the lower class of 
their flocks. The English diplomatic agents in Italy 
also firmly believed that Austria coupled with her 
support of the ultramontane malcontents the direct 
encouragement of the disorderly elements of the popu- 
lation. To resist all these contrary forces, Pius IX. 
had only a popularity which, though for the time 
immense, was founded almost completely on imagina- 
tion. 'It was,' said Mr Petre, 'the name and known 
views of Pius, rather than his acts, which aroused so 
much interest.' If for ' known views ' be substituted 


82 The Liberation of Italy 

'supposed views,' the remark exactly describes the 

Popularity is very well, but a government cannot long 
subsist on the single fact of the popularity of the sovereign. 
When the Roman mob began to cry : ' Viva Pio Nono 
solol the fate of the experiment was sealed. Real con- 
trol slipped from the hands that nominally wielded it. 
' The influence,' Mr Petre wrote to Sir George Hamilton, 
' of one individual of the lower class, Angelo Brunetti, 
hardly known but by his nickname of Ciceruacchio, has 
for the last month kept the peace of the city more than 
any power possessed by the authorities, from the com- 
mand which he exerts over the populace.' It was Ciceru- 
acchio who preserved order when in July 1847 the air 
was full of rumours of a vast reactionary plot, which 
aimed at carrying off the Pope, and putting things back 
as they were under Gregory. That such a plot was ever 
conceived, or, at anyrate, that it received the sanction of 
the high personages whose names were mentioned in con- 
nection with it, is generally doubted now ; but it was 
believed in by many of the representatives of foreign 
Powers then in Italy. The public mind in Rome was 
violently disturbed. Austria made the excitement the 
excuse for occupying the town of Ferrara, where, by the 
accepted interpretation of the Treaty of Vienna, she had 
only the right to garrison the fortress. This aggression 
called forth a strong remonstrance from the Pope's Secre- 
tary of State, Cardinal Ferretti ; and though a compromise 
was arrived at through the mediation of Lord Palmerston, 
the feeling against Austria grew more and more exasper- 
ated in the Roman states, and the Pope consented, not, 
it seemed, much against the grain, to preparations being 
taken in hand with a view to the possible eventuality 
of war. 

The Pope Liberator 83 

At this date the Italian question was better appre- 
hended at Vienna than in any other part of Europe. A 
man of Prince Metternich's talents does not devote a 
long life to statecraft without learning to distinguish the 
real drift of political currents. While Lord Palmerston 
still felt sure that reforms, a,nd nothing but reforms, were 
what Italy wanted. Prince Metternich saw that two real 
forces were at work from the Alps to the Straits of 
Messina, and two only : desire for union, hatred of 
Austria. Nor was it his fault if the English Cabinet 
or the rest of the world remained unenlightened. Besides 
enlarging on this truth in frequent diplomatic communi- 
cations, he caused it to be continually dwelt upon in the 
Vienna Observer, the organ of the Austrian Government, 
which printed illustrative quotations from the writings of 
Mazzini, of whom it said that ' he has the one merit of 
despising hypocrisy, and proceeding iirmly and directly 
to his true end. Persons who are versed in history will 
know that this is exactly the same end as that at which 
Arnold of Brescia and Cola di Rienzi formerly aimed. 
The only difference is, that the revolutionary dream has 
in the course of centuries gained in self-reliance and 
confidence.' It may truly be afifirmed after this that 
Metternich 'had the one merit of despising hypocrisy.' 
Exactly the same end as Arnold of Brescia and Cola di 
Rienzi — who better could have described the scheme of 
Italian redemption? 

In the course of the summer of 1847, the Prince 
said more than once to the British Ambassador : ' The 
Emperor is determixied not to lose his Italian dominions.' 
It was no idle boast, the speaker felt confident, that the 
troops in Lombardy and Venetia could keep those pro- 
vinces from taking an active part in the ' revolution ' 
which he declared to be already complete over all central 

84 The Liberation of Italy 

Italy, though the word revolution had never yet been 
mentioned. Nor was it only in the Austrian army that 
he trusted ; Metternich was persuaded that neither in 
Lombardy nor in Venetia was there any fear of a really 
popular and, therefore, formidable movement. He be- 
lieved that Austria's only enemy was the aristocracy. 
He even threw out hints that if the Austrian Govern- 
ment condescended to do so, it could raise a social or 
peasants' war of the country people against their masters. 
This is the policy which has been elaborately followed by 
the Russians in Poland. The Austrians pointed to their 
virtue in not resorting to it; but some tentative experiments 
in such a direction had not given results of a kind to en- 
courage them to go on. The Italian peasant, though ignor- 
ant, had a far quicker innate intelligence than his unfortun- 
ate Polish brother. He did not dislike his masters, who 
treated him at least with easy familiarity, and he detested 
foreigners — those foreigners, no matter of what nation, 
who for two thousand years had brought the everlasting 
curse of war upon his fields. The conscription, which 
carried off his sons for eight years into distant lands, of 
which he could not pronounce the name, was alone 
enough to alienate him from the Austrian Government. 
In hoping to find a friend in the Italian peasant, Metter- 
nich reckoned without his host. On the other hand, he 
was strictly correct in his estimate of the patriotism of 
the aristocracy. The fact always seemed to the Prince 
a violation of eternal laws. According to him, the fore- 
ordained disaffected in every country were drawn from 
the middle classes. What business had noblemen with 
ancient names and fine estates to prefer Spielberg to 
their beautiful palaces and fairy-like villas on the Lom- 
bard lakes? Was it on purpose to spite the best of 
governments, and the one most favourable to the aristo- 

The Pope Liberator 85 

cratic principle, which had always held out paternal 
hands to them ? Could anything be imagined more 
aggravating ? 

This feature in Italian liberation has been kept mostly 
in the background. Democratic chroniclers were satis- 
fied to ignore it, and to the men themselves their 
enormous sacrifices seemed so natural that they were 
very willing to let them pass out of mind. It is in the 
works of those who, while sympathising with Italy, are 
not Italians, that the best record of it is to be found ; 
nowhere better than in a recent book by a French writer, 
M. Paul Bourget, in which occurs the following just and 
eloquent tribute : ' We must say in praise of the aris- 
tocracy on this side of the Alps that the best soldiers of 
independence were nobles. If Italy owes the final success 
to the superior capabilities of Victor Emmanuel and 
Cavour, and to the agitating power of the General of the 
Thousand, it is well not to forget the struggles sustained 
for years by gentlemen whose example did so much to 
raise partisans among the humble. These aristocrats, 
passionate for liberty, have (like our own of the eighteenth 
century) done more for the people than the people itself. 
The veritable history of this Rhorgimento would be in 
great part that of the Italian nobility in which the heroic 
blood of feudal chiefs revolted against the oppressions and, 
above all, the perpetual humiliation, born of the presence 
of the stranger.' 

When Prince Metternich looked beyond the borders 
of those provinces which he said that his Sovereign did 
not intend to lose, he saw sooner than most people that 
a ball was set rolling which would not stop half way 
down the hill. The one element in the situation which 
came as a surprise to him, was that introduced by Pius IX. 
' A liberal Pope is an impossible being ! ' he exclaimed. 

86 The Liberation of Italy 

Nevertheless this impossible being was a reality which 
had to be dealt with. He hoped all along, however, that 
Pius would fall a victim to the monster he had called 
into existence, and his only real anxiety lay where it 
had always lain — on the side of Piedmont. ' Charles 
Albert ought to let us know,' he wrote to the Austrian 
Minister at Turin, ' whether his reign has been only a mask 
under which was hidden the Prince of Carignano, who 
ascended the throne through the order of succession 
re-established in his favour by the Emperor Francis.' 
Considering all things, the endeavour to make it appear 
that the King was indebted for his crown to Austria 
was somewhat venturesome. Charles Albert, Metternich 
went on to say, had to choose between two systems, the 
system now in force, or 'the crassest revolution.' He 
wrote again : ' The King is sliding back upon the path 
which he enters for the second time in his life, and which 
he will never really quit! Words of a bitter enemy, but 
juster than the ' Esecrato o Carignano,' hurled for a 
quarter of a century at Charles Albert by those who only 
saw in him a traitor. 

The constant invocation of the revolutionary spectre 
by the Austrian-statesman convinced the King that the 
wish was father to the thought, and, afraid of introducing 
the thin end of the wedge, he showed himself more than 
ever averse to reforming the antiquated machinery of the 
Sardinian Government. Instead of being the first of 
Italian princes to yield to popular demands, he was 
almost the last. He believed that the question of nation- 
ality, of independence, could be separated from the 
question of free institutions. Of all the chimerical ideas 
then afloat, this was the most chimerical. Even the ex- 
ample of the Pope, for whom Charles Albert felt a 
romantic devotion, was not enough to induce him to open 

The Pope Liberator 87 

the road to reforms. The person who seems first to have 
impressed him with their absolute necessity was Lord 
Minto, whose visit to Turin, in October 1847, coincided 
with the dismissal of Count della Margherita, the 
minister most closely associated with the absolutist and 
Jesuitical regime. Lord Minto was sent to Italy to 
encourage in the ways of political virtue those Italian 
princes who were not entirely incorrigible. His mission 
excited exaggerated hopes on the part of the Liberals, 
and exaggerated wrath in the retrograde party — both 
failing to understand its limitations. The hopes died a 
natural death, but long afterwards, reactionary writers 
attributed all the 'troubles' in Italy to this estimable 
British diplomatist. What is not doubtful is, that, 
accustomed-as they were to being lectured and bullied 
by foreign courts, the Italians derived the greatest en- 
couragement from the openly expressed sympathy of 
well-known English visitors, whether they came in an 
official capacity like Lord Minto, or unofficially like Mr 
Cobden, who travelled as a missionary of Free Trade, and 
was received with rapture — with which, it is to be feared. 
Free Trade had little to do — by the leading Liberals in 
Italy : Massimo d'Azeglio at Genoa, Mancini at Naples, 
Cavour and Scialoja at Turin, Minghetti at Bologna, 
Ridolfi at Florence, and Manin and Tommaseo at 

Towards the end of 1847, there was a curious shuffling 
of the cards in the small states of Lucca and Parma, 
resulting in much irritation, which, in an atmosphere so 
charged with revolutionary electricity, was not without 
importance. The dissolute Bourbon prince who reigned 
in Lucca, Charles Ludovico, had but one desire, which 
was to increase his civil list. He hit upon an English 
jockey named Ward, who came to Italy in the service of 

88 The Liberation of Italy 

a German count, and this person he made his Chancellor 
of the Exchequer. By various luminous strokes, Ward 
furthered his Sovereign's object without much increasing 
the taxation, and when matters began to grow compli- 
cated, and here, too, a cry was raised for a Constitution 
(which had been solemnly guaranteed to the people of 
Lucca at the Congress of Vienna, but had never been 
heard of since), he proposed the sale of the Duchy off- 
hand to Tuscany, with which it would, in any case, be 
united, when, on the death of the ex-Empress Marie- 
Louise, the Duchy of Parma devolved on the Duke of 
Lucca. At the same time, by a prior agreement, a 
district of Tuscany called the Lunigiana was consigned, 
one-half to the Duchess of Parma, and the other to the 
Duke of Modena. The indignation of the population, 
which was made, by force, subject to the Duke of 
Modena, was intense, and the whole transaction of hand- 
ing about Italians to suit the pleasure of princes, or to 
obey the articles of forgotten treaties, reminded the least 
sensitive of the everyday opprobrium of their lot. 

The bargain with Tuscany had been struck only eight 
days when Marie-Louise died — unlamented, since the 
latter years of her reign formed a sad contrast to the 
earlier. Marie- Louise had not a bad disposition, but she 
always let her husband of the hour govern as he chose ; 
of the four or five of these husbands, the last two, and 
particularly the hated Count de Bombelles, undid all the 
good done by their more humane predecessors. The 
Parmese petitioned their new Duke to send the man 
away, and to grant them some measure of freedom. The 
answer he gave was the confirmation of Bombelles in all 
his honours, and the conclusion of a treaty with Austria, 
securing the assistance of her arms. A military force had 
been sent to Parma to escort the body of the late Duchess 

The Pope Liberator 89 

to Vienna ; but on the principle that the living are of more 
consequence than the dead, it remained there to protect 
the new Duke from his subjects. Marie- L.ouise and her 
lovers, Charles Ludovico and his jockey-minister, are 
instructive illustrations of the scandalous point things had 
reached in the small states of Italy. 

There was, indeed, one state in which, though the 
dynasty was Austrian, the government was conducted 
without ferocity and without scandal. This was Tuscany. 
The branch of the Hapsburg- Lorraine family established 
in Tuscany produced a series of rulers who, if they 
exhibited no magnificent qualities, were respectable as 
individuals, and mild as rulers. Giusti dubbed Leopold 
II. 'the Tuscan Morpheus, crowned with poppies and 
lettuce leaves,' and the clear intelligence of Ricasoli was 
angered by the languid, let-be policy of the Grand-Ducal 
government, but, compared with the other populations 
of Italy, the Tuscans might well deem themselves for- 
tunate. Only on one occasion had the Grand Duke 
given up a fugitive from the less favoured provinces, and 
the presence of distinguished exiles lent brilliancy to his 
capital. Leopold II. hesitated between the desire to 
please his subjects and the fear of his Viennese relations, 
who sent him through Metternich the ominous reminder, 
' that the Italian Governments had only subsisted for the 
last ten years by the support they received from Austria ' 
— an assertion at which Charles Albert took umbrage, 
but he was curtly told that he was not intended. In spite 
of his fears, however, the Grand Duke instituted a 
National Guard on the 4th of September, which was 
correctly judged the augury of further concessions. In 
August, the Austrian Minister had distinctly threatened 
to occupy Tuscany, or any other of the Italian duchies 
where a National Guard was granted ; its institution was 

90 The Liberation of Italy 

therefore interpreted as a decisive act of rebellion against 
the Imperial dictatorship. The red, white and green 
tricolor, not yet permitted in Piedmont, floated already 
from all the towers of the city on the Arno. 

Where there were no signs of improvement was in 
the government of the Two Sicilies. King Ferdinand 
undertook a journey through several parts of the country, 
but as Lord Napier, the British Minister, expressed it: 
' Exactly where the grace of the royal countenance was 
principally conferred, the rebels sprung up most thickly.' 
A revolution was planned to break out in all the cities 
of the kingdom, but the project only took effect at 
Messina and at Reggio, and in both places the movement 
was stifled with prompt and barbarous severity. When 
the leader of the Calabrian attempt, Domenico Romeo, a 
landed proprietor, was caught on the heights of Aspro- 
monte, his captors, after cutting off his head, carried it 
to his young nephew, whom they ordered to take it to 
Reggio with the cry of ' Long live the King.' The youth 
refused, and was immediately killed. In the capital, 
Carlo Poerio and many patriots were thrown into prison 
on suspicion. Settembrini had just time to escape to 

The year 1847 closed amid outward appearances of 



Insurrection in Sicily — The Austrians expelled from Milan and Venice 
—Charles Albert takes the Field— Withdrawal of the Pope and 
King of Naples— Piedmont defeated— The Retreat. 

On the 1 2th of January, the birthday of the King of the 
Two Sicilies, another insurrection broke out in Sicily; 
this time it was serious indeed. The City of the Vespers 
lit the torch which set Europe on fire. 

So began the year of revolution which was to see the 
kings of the earth flying, with or without umbrellas, and 
the principle of monarchy more shaken by the royal see- 
saw of submission and vengeance than ever it was by 
the block of Whitehall or the guillotine of the Place 
Louis XV. 

In Italy, the errors and follies of that year were not 
confined to princes and governments, but it will remain 
memorable as the time when the Italian nation, not a 
dreamer here or there, or a handful of heroic madmen, or 
an isolated city, but the nation as a whole, with an un- 
animity new in history, asserted its right and its resolve 
to exist. 


92 The Liberation of Italy 

King Ferdinand sent 5000 soldiers to ' make a garden,' 
as he described it, of Palermo, if the offers sent at the 
same time failed to pacify the inhabitants. These offers 
were refused with the comment : ' Too late,' and the 
Palermitans prepared to resist to the death under the 
guidance of the veteran patriot Ruggiero Settimo, Prince 
of Fitalia. ' Separation,' they said, ' or our English Con- 
stitution of 1812.' Increased irritation was awakened by 
the discovery in the head office of the police at Palermo 
of a secret room full of skeletons, which were supposed 
to belong to persons privately murdered. The Neapoli- 
tans were compelled to withdraw with a loss of 3000 
men, but before they went, the general in command let 
out 4000 convicts, who had been kept without food 
for forty-eight hours. The convicts, however, did not 
fulfil the intentions of their liberator, and did but little 
mischief. Not so the Neapolitan troops, who committed 
horrors on the peasantry as they retreated, which pro- 
voked acts of retaliation almost as barbarous. In a short 
time all Sicily was in its own hands except the citadel of 

It is not possible to follow the Sicilians in their long 
struggle for their autonomy. They stood out for some 
fourteen months. An English Blue-book is full of the 
interminable negotiations conducted by Lord Napier and 
the Earl of Minto in the hope of bringing the strife to an 
end. When the parliament summoned by the revolution- 
ary government declared the downfall of the House of 
Bourbon, all the stray princes in Europe, including Louis 
Napoleon, were reviewed as candidates for the throne. 
The choice fell on the Duke of Genoa ; it was well 
received in England, and the British men-of-war were 
immediately ordered to salute the Sicilian flag. But the 
Duke's reign never became a reality. After an heroic 

The Year of Revolution 93 

struggle, the islanders were subjugated in the spring of 

So stout a fight for independence must win admira- 
tion, if not approval. The political reasons against the 
course taken by the Sicilians have been suggested in a 
former chapter. In separating their lot from that of 
Naples, in rejecting even freedom unless it was ac- 
companied by disruption, they hastened the ruin of the 
Neapolitans and of themselves, and surely played into 
the hands of the crafty tyrant who desired nothing 
better than to fish in the troubled waters of his subjects 

In the gathering storm of January 1848, the first idea 
that occurred to Ferdinand II. was the good old plan 
of calling in Austrian assistance. But the Austrians 
were told by Pius IX. that he would not allow their 
troops to pass through his territory. Had they at- 
tempted to pass in spite of his warning, events would 
have taken a different turn, as the Pope would have 
been driven into a war with Austria then and there; 
perhaps he would have been glad, as weak people com- 
monly are, of the compulsion to do what he dared not 
do without compulsion. The Austrian Government was 
too wise to force a quarrel ; it was easy to lock up 
Austrian subjects for crying 'Viva Pio Nono,' but the 
enormous importance of keeping the Head of the Church, 
if possible, in a neutral attitude could not be over- 
looked. All thoughts of going to Ferdinand's help were 
politely abandoned, and he, seeing himself in a defence- 
less position, and pondering deeply on the upsetting of 
Louis Philippe's throne, which was just then the latest 
news, decided on that device, dear to all political con- 
jurors, which is known as taking the wind out of your 
enemy's sails. The Pope, the Grand Duke of Tuscany 

94 The Liberation of Italy 

and the King of Sardinia, had worried him for six months 
with admonitions. ' Very well,' he now said ; ' they urge 
me forward, I will precipitate them.' Constitution, 
representative government, unbridled liberty of the press, 
a civic guard, the expulsion of the Jesuits ; what mattered 
a trifle more or less when everything could be revoked 
at the small expense of perjury? Ferdinand posed to 
perfection in the character of Citizen King. He re- 
assured those who ventured to show the least signs of 
apprehension by saying : ' If I had not intended to carry 
out the Statute, I should not have granted it.' 

Not many days later, the Grand Duke of Tuscany 
and the King of Sardinia each promulgated a Charter. 
In the case of Charles Albert, it had been formally 
promised on the 8th of February, after sleepless nights, 
severe fasts, much searching of the heart — contrasting 
strangely with the gay transformation scene at Naples ; 
but promises have a more serious meaning to some 
persons than to others. Nor did Charles Albert take 
any pleasure in the shouts of a grateful people. ' Born 
in revolution,' he once wrote, ' I have traversed all its 
phases, and I know well enough what popularity is 
worth — viva to-day, morte to-morrow.' 

In the Lombardo- Venetian provinces all seemed still 
quiet, but the brooding discontent of the masses increased 
with the increasing aggressiveness of the Austrian sol- 
diers, while the refusal to grant the studiously moderate 
demands of men like Nazari of Bergamo and Manin and 
Tommaseo of Venice, who were engaged in a campaign 
of legal agitation, brought conviction to the most cautious 
that no measure of political liberty was obtainable under 
Austrian rule. 

At the Scala Theatre some of the audience had raised 
cries of ' Viva Pio Nono ' during a performance of / Lom- 

The Year of Revolution 95 

bardi* This was the excuse for prohibiting every direct 
or indirect public reference to the reigning Pontiff. Never- 
theless, a few young men were caught singing the Pope's 
hymn, upon which the military charged the crowd. On 
the 3rd of January the soldiers fell on the people in the 
Piazza San Carlo, killing six and wounding fifty-three. 
The parish priest of the Duomo said that he had seen 
Russians, French and Austrians enter Milan as invaders ; 
but a scene like that of the 3rd of January he had never 
witnessed ; ' they simply murdered in the streets.' 

The Judicium Statuarium, equivalent to martial law, 
was proclaimed in February ; but the Viennese revolution 
of the 8th of March, and Prince Metternich's flight to 
England, were followed by promises to abolish the censure, 
and to convoke the central congregations of the Lom- 
bardo- Venetian kingdom. The utmost privilege of these 
assemblies was consultative. In 1815 they were invested 
with the right to ' make known grievances,' but they had 
only once managed to perform this modest function. It 
was hardly worth while to talk about them on the i8th 
of March 1848. 

On the morning of that day. Count O'Donnel, the 
Vice-Governor of Milan, announced the Emperor's con- 
cessions. Before night he was the hostage of the revolu- 
tion, signing whatever decrees were demanded of him 
till in a few hours even his signature was dispensed with. 
The Milanese had begun their historic struggle. 

* On the production of Verdi's opera, / Lombardi alia prima Crociata, 
the Austrian Archbishop of Milan wished the Commissary of Police to pro- 
hibit the performance because it treated of sacred subjects. When it was 
recognised as one of the accelerating causes of the revolution, he drily re- 
marked that they would have done better to take his advice. The grand 
chorus, 'O Signore dal tetto nati6,' in which the censor had only seen a 
pious chant, became the tnorning-song of national resurrection. 

96 The Liberation of Italy 

Taking refuge in the Citadel, Radetsky wrote to the 
Podest^, Count Gabrio Casati (brother of Teresa Con- 
falonieri), that he acknowledged no authority at Milan 
except his own and that of his soldiers. Those who 
resisted would be guilty of high treason. If arguments 
did not avail, he would make use of all the means placed 
in his hands by an army of 100,000 men to bring the 
rebel city to obedience. Unhappily for Radetsky, there 
were not any such 100,000 men in Italy, though long before 
this he had told Metternich that he could not guarantee 
the safety of Lombardy with less than 1 50,000. In spite 
of partial reinforcements, the number did not amount to 
more than from 72,000 to 75,000, while at Milan it stood 
at between 15,000 and 20,000. But if we take the lower 
estimate, 15,000 regular troops under such a commander, 
who, most rare in similar emergencies, knew his own 
mind, and had no thought except the recovery of the 
town for his Sovereign, constituted a formidable force 
against a civilian population, which began the fight with 
only a few hundred fowling-pieces. The odds on the 
side of Austria were tremendous. 

If the Milan revolt had been one of the customary 
revolutions, arranged with the help of pen and paper, its 
first day would have been certainly its last. But even 
more than the Sicilian Vespers, it was the unpremedi- 
tated, irresistible act of a people sick of being slaves. 
At the beginning Casati tried to restrain it; so, with 
equal or still stronger endeavours, did the republican 
Carlo Cattaneo, whose influence was great. ' You have 
no arms,' he said again and again. Not a single man of 
weight took upon himself the awful responsibility of 
urging the unarmed masses upon so desperate an enter- 
prise; but when the die was cast none held back. In- 
itiated by the populace, the revolt was led to its victorious 

The Year of Revolution 97 

close by the nerve and ability of the influential men who 
directed its course. 

Towards nightfall on the l8th, during which day 
there had been only scuffles between the soldiers and 
the people, Radetsky took the Broletto, where the Muni- 
cipality sat, after a two hours' siege, and sent forthwith 
a special messenger to the Emperor with the news that 
the revolution was on a fair way to being completely 
crushed. Meanwhile, he massed his troops at all the 
entrances to the city, so that at dawn he might strangle 
the insurrection by a concentric movement, as in a noose. 
The plan was good ; but to-morrow does not belong even 
to the most experienced of Field-Marshals. 

In all quarters of the city barricades sprang up like 
mushrooms. Everything went, freely given, to their 
construction ; the benches of the Scala, the beds of the 
young seminarists, the court carriages, found hidden in 
a disused church, building materials of the half-finished 
Palazzo d'Adda, grand pianofortes, valuable pieces of 
artistic furniture, and the old kitchen table of the artisan. 
Before the end of the fight the barricades numbered 1523, 
Young nobles, dressed in the velvet suits then in vogue, 
cooks in their white aprons, even women and children, 
rushed to the defence of the improvised fortifications. 
Luciano Manara and other heroes, who afterwards fell at 
Rome, were there to lead. In the first straits for want of 
arms the museums of the Uboldi and Poldi-Pozzoli families 
were emptied of their rare treasures by permission of the 
owners ; the crowd brandished priceless old swords and 
specimens of early firearms. More serviceable weapons 
were obtained by degrees from the Austrian killed and 
wounded, and from the public offices which fell into their 
hands. Bolza, long the hated agent of the Austrian 
police, was discovered by the people, but they did not 


98 The Liberation of Italy 

harm him. Throughout the five days, the Milanese 
showed a forbearance which was the more admirable, 
because there can be no doubt that when the Austrians 
found they were getting the worst of it, they vented their 
rage in deplorable outrages on non-combatants. That 
Radetsky was personally to blame for these excesses has 
never been alleged, and it was perhaps beyond the power 
of the officers to keep discipline among soldiers who, 
towards the end, were wild with panic. 

'The very foundations of the city were torn up,' 
wrote the Field-Marshal in his official report ; ' not 
hundreds, but thousands of barricades crossed the streets. 
Such circumspection and audacity were displayed that 
it was evident military leaders were at the head of the 
people. The character of the Milanese had become quite 
changed. Fanaticism had seized every rank and age 
and both sexes.' 

As always happens with street-fighting, the number 
of the slain has never been really known ; the loss of 
the citizens was small compared with that of the Aus- 
trians, who, according to some authorities, lost 5000 
between killed and wounded. 

Radetsky ordered the evacuation of the town and 
citadel on the night of Wednesday, the 22nd of March. 
The Milanese had won much more than freedom — they 
had won the right to it. And what they had done they 
had done alone. When the news that the capital was up 
in arms spread through Lombardy, there was but one 
gallant impulse, to fly to its aid. But the earliest to 
arrive, Giuseppe Martinengo Cesaresco, with his troop of 
Brescian peasants, found when he reached Milan that 
they were a few hours too late to share in the last shots 
fired upon the retreating Austrians. 

Nowhere, except in Milan, did the revolution meet 

The Year of Revolution 99 

with a Radetsky. The Austrian authorities became con- 
vinced that their position was untenable, and they desired 
to avoid a useless sacrifice of life. This, rather than 
cowardly fears, was the motive which induced Count 
Palfify and Count Zichy, the civil and military governors 
of Venice, to yield the city without deluging it in blood. 
The latter had been guilty of negligence in leaving the 
Venetian arsenal in charge of troops so untrustworthy 
that Manin could take it on the 22nd of March by a simple 
display of his own courage, and without striking a blow, 
but after this first success on the side of the revolution, 
which supplied the people with an unlimited stock of 
arms and ammunition, the Austrians did well to give way, 
even from their own point of view. At seven o'clock on 
the evening of the 22nd of March, the famous capitulation 
was signed. Manin's prediction of the previous day, 
' To-morrow the city will be in my power, or I shall be 
dead,' had been realised in the first alternative. 

Daniel Manin, who was now forty-four years of age, 
was by profession a lawyer, by race a Jew. His father 
became a Christian, and, according to custom, took the 
surname of his godfather, who belonged to the family of 
the last Doge of Venice. Manin and the Dalmatian 
scholar, Niccolo Tommaseo, had been engaged in patiently 
adducing proof after proof that Austria did not even 
abide by her own laws when the expression of political 
opinion was concerned. At the beginning of the re- 
volution they were in prison, and PalfTy's first act of 
surrender was to set them free. Henceforth Manin was 
undisputed lord of the city. It is strange how, all at 
once, a man who was only slightly known to the world 
should have been chosen eis spokesman and ruler. It 
did not, however, happen by chance. The people in 
Italy are observant ; the Venetians had observed Manin, 

lOO The Liberation of Italy 

and they trusted him. The power of inspiring trust was 
what gave this Jewish lawyer his ascendancy, not the 
talents which usually appeal to the masses. He had 
not the advantage of an imposing presence, for he was 
short, slight, with blue eyes and bushy hair; in all 
things he was the opposite to a demagogue ; he never 
beguiled, or flattered, or told others what he did not 
believe himself. But, on his side, he knew the people, 
whom most revolutionary leaders know not at all. ' That 
is my sole merit,' he used to say. It was that which 
enabled him to cleanse Venice from the stain of having 
bartered her freedom for the smile of a conqueror, and 
give her back the name and inheritance of ' eldest child 
of liberty.' 

It was a matter of course that emancipated Venice 
should assume a republican form of government. Here 
the republic was a restoration. At Milan the case was 
different ; there were two parties, that of Cattaneo, which 
was strongly republican, that of Casati, which was strongly 
monarchical. There was a third party, which thought of 
nothing except of never again seeing a soldier with a 
white coat. By mutual agreement, the Provisional 
Government declared that the decision as to the form 
of government should be left to calmer days. For a 
time this compromise produced satisfactory results. 

The revolution gained ground. Francis of Modena 
executed a rapid flight, and the Duke of Parma presently 
followed him. By the end of March, Lombardy and 
Venetia were free, saving the fortresses of the Quadri- 
lateral. The exception was of far greater moment than, 
in the enchantment of the hour, anyone dreamt of con- 
fessing. Mantua, Legnano, Peschiera and Verona were 
so many cities of refuge to the flying Austrian troops, 
where they could rest in safety and nurse their strength. 

The Year of Revolution loi 

Still, the results achieved were great, almost incredible ; 
with the expectation that Rome, Naples, Tuscany and 
Piedmont would send their armies to consolidate the work 
already done, it was natural to think that, whatever else 
might happen, Austrian dominion was a thing of the 
past Alessandro Bixio (brother of the General), who 
was a naturalised Frenchman, wrote to the French 
Government on the 7th of April from Turin: 'In the 
ministries, in meetings, in the streets, you only see and 
hear people to whom the question of Italian independence 
seems to be one of those historical questions about which 
the time is past for talking. According to the general 
opinion, Austria is nothing but a phantom, and the army 
of Radetsky a shadow.' Such were the hopes that pre- 
vailed. They were vain, but they did not appear so 

Pius IX. seemed to throw in his lot definitely with the 
revolution when, on the 19th of March, he too granted 
a Constitution, having- previously formed a lay ministry, 
which included Marco Minghetti and Count Pasolini, 
under the presidency of Cardinal Antonelli, who thus 
makes his first appearance as Liberal Premier. That the 
Roman Constitution was an unworkable attempt to re- 
concile lay and ecclesiastical pretensions, that the proposed 
Chamber of Deputies, which was not to make laws affect- 
ing education, religious corporations, the registration of 
births and marriages ; or to confer civil rights on non- 
catholics, or to touch the privileges and immunities of the 
clergy, might have suited Cloud-cuckoo-town, but would 
not suit the solid earth, were facts easy to recognise, but 
no one had time to pause and consider. It was sufficient 
to hear Pius proclaim that in the wind which was up- 
rooting oaks and cedars might be clearly distinguished 
the Voice of the Lord. Such utterances, mingled with 

102 The Liberation of Italy 

blessings on Italy, brought balm to patriotic souls. The 
Liberals had no fear that the Pope would veto the 
participation of his troops in the national war, for they 
were blind to the complications with which a fighting 
Pope would find himself embarrassed in the middle of 
the nineteenth century. But the other party discerned 
these complications from the first, and knew what use to 
make of them. 

The powers of reaction had only to catch hold of a 
perfectly modern sentiment, the doctrine that ecclesiastics 
should be men of peace, in order to dissipate the myth 
of a Pope liberator. It was beside the question that, from 
the moment he accepted such a doctrine, the Pope con- 
demned the institution of prince-bishoprics, of which he 
represented the last survival. Nor was it material that, 
if he adopted it, consistency should have made him carry 
it to its logical consequence of non-resistance. By aid of 
this theory of a peaceful Pontiff, with the threat, in re- 
serve, of a schism, Austria felt confident that she could 
avoid the enormous moral inconvenience of a Pope in 
arms against her. 

Either, however, the full force of the influence which 
caused Pius IX. to draw back was not brought to bear 
till somewhat late in the day, or the part acted by him 
during the months of March and April can be hardly 
acquitted of dissimulation. War preparations were con- 
tinued, with the warm co-operation of the Cardinal 
President of the Council, and when General Durando 
started for the frontier with 17,000 men, he would have 
been a bold man who had said openly in Rome that they 
were intended not to fight. 

While the Pope was still supposed to favour the war 
Ferdinand of Naples did not dare to oppose the en- 
thusiasm of his subjects, and the demand that a Neapoli- 

The Year of Revolution 103 

tan contingent should be sent to Lombardy. The first 
relay of troops actually started, but the generals had 
secret orders to take the longest route, and to lose as 
much time as possible. 

Tuscany had a very small army, but such assistance 
as she could give was both promised and given. The 
fate of the Tuscan corps of 6000 men will be related 
hereafter. The Grand Duke Leopold identified himself 
with the Italian cause with more sincerity than was to 
be found at Rome or Naples ; still, the material aid that 
he could offer counted as next to nothing. 

There remained Piedmont and Charles Albert. Now 
was the time for the army which he had created (for 
Charles Felix left no army worthy of the name) to assert 
upon the Lombard fields the reason of its existence. 
War with Austria was declared on the 23rd of March. 
It was midnight ; a vast crowd waited in silence in 
Piazza Castello. At last the windows of the palace were 
opened, a sudden flood of light from within illuminating 
the scene. Charles Albert stepped upon the balcony 
between his two sons. He was even paler than usual, 
but a smile such as no one had seen before was on his 
lips. He waved the long proscribed tricolor slowly over 
the heads of the people. 

The King said in his proclamation that 'God had 
placed Italy in a position to provide for herself ('in 
grado di fare da s^ '). Hence the often repeated phrase : 
'L' Italia fari da sh' He told the Lombard delegates, 
who met him at Pavia that he would not enter their 
capital, which had shown such signal valour, till after 
he had won a victory. He declared to all that his 
only aim was to complete the splendid work of libera- 
tion so happily begun ; questions of government would 
be reserved for the conclusion of the war. Joy was the 

104 The Liberation of Italy 

order of the day, but the fatal mistakes of the campaign 
had already commenced ; there had been inexcusable 
delay in declaring war ; if it was pardonable to wait for 
the Milanese initiative, it was as inexpedient as it seemed 
ungenerous to wait till the issue of the struggle at Milan 
was decided. Then, after the declaration of war, consider- 
ing that the Sardinian Government must have seen its 
imminence for weeks, and indeed for months, there was 
more time lost than ought to have been the case in 
getting the troops under weigh. Still, at the opening 
of the campaign, two grand possibilities were left. The 
first was obviously to cut Radetsky off in his painful 
retreat, largely performed along country by-roads, as 
he had to avoid the principal cities which were already 
free. Had Charles Albert caught him up while he was 
far from the Quadrilateral, the decisive blow would have 
been struck, and the only man who could save Austria 
in Italy would have been taken prisoner. Radetsky 
chose the route of Lodi and the lower Brescian plains 
to Montechiaro, where the encampments were ready 
for the Austrian spring manoeuvres : from this point 
an easy march carried him under the walls of Verona. 
Here he met General d'Aspre, who had just arrived 
with the garrison of Padua. D'Aspre, by skill and re- 
solution, had brought his men from Padua without losing 
one, having refused the Paduans arms for a national 
guard, though ordered from Milan to grant them. ' You 
come to tell me all is lost,' said the Field-Marshal when 
they met. ' No,' rejoined the younger general, ' I come 
to tell you all is saved.' 

This great chance missed, there was another which 
could have been seized. Mantua, extraordinary to re- 
late, was defended by only three hundred artillerymen 
and a handful of hussars. It would have fallen into 

The Year of Revolution 105 

the hands of its own citizens but for the presence of 
mind of its commandant, the Polish General Gorzhowsky, 
who told them that to no one on earth would he deliver 
the keys of the fortress except to his Emperor, and that 
the moment he could no longer defend it he would blow 
it into the air, with himself and half Mantua. He showed 
them the flint and the steel with which he intended to 
do the deed. Enemy though he was, that incident 
ought to be recorded in letters of gold on the gates of 
Mantua, as a perpetual lesson of that most difficult thing 
for a country founded in revolution to learn : the mean- 
ing of a soldier's duty. 

It is easy to see that, if Charles Albert had made an 
immediate dash on Mantua, the fortress, or its ruins, would 
have been his, to the enormous detriment of the Austrian 
position. But this chance too was missed. On the 31st 
of March, the 9000 men sent with all speed by Radetsky 
to the defenceless fortress arrived, and henceforth Mantua 
was safe. Charles Albert only got within fifteen or 
sixteen miles of it five days later, to find that all hope of 
its capture was gone. 

The campaign began with political as well as with 
military mistakes. At the same time that the King of 
Sardinia was declaring in the Proclamation addressed 
to the Lombards that, full of admiration of the glorious 
feats performed in their capital, he came to their aid 
as brother to brother, friend to friend, his ambassadors 
were trying to persuade the foreign Powers, and especially 
Austria, Prussia and Russia, that the only object of the 
war was to avoid a revolution in Piedmont, and to pre- 
vent the establishment of a republic in Lombardy. No 
one was convinced or placated by these assurances ; far 
better as policy than so ignominious an attempt at 
hedging would have been the acknowledgment to all the 

io6 The Liberation of Italy 

world of the noble crime of patriotism. But, as Massimo 
d'Azeglio once observed, Charles Albert had the in- 
curable defect of thinking himself cunning. It was, 
moreover, only too true that, although in these diplomatic 
communications the King allowed the case against him 
to be stated with glaring exaggeration, yet they con- 
tained an element of fact. He was afraid of revolution 
at home; he was afraid of a Lombard republic; these 
were not the only, nor were they the strongest, motives 
which drove him into the war, but they were motives 
which, associated with deeper causes, contributed to the 
disasters of the future. 

The Piedmontese force was composed of two corps 
d^arm^e, the first under General Bava and the second 
under General Sonnaz : each amounted to 24,000 men. 
The reserves, under the Duke of Savoy, numbered 12,000. 
Radetsky, at first (after strengthening the garrisons in 
the fortresses), could not put into the field more than 
40,000 men. As has been stated, the King assumed 
the supreme command, which led to a constant wavering 
between the original plan of General Bava, a capable 
officer, and the criticisms and suggestions of the staff". 
The greatest mistake of all, that of never bringing into the 
field at once more than about half the army, was not with- 
out connection with the supposed necessity, based on poli- 
tical reasons, of garrisoning places in the rear which might 
have been safely left to the care of their national guards. 

Besides the royal army, there were in the field 
17,000 Romans, 3000 Modenese and Parmese, and 6000 
Tuscans. There were also several companies of Lom- 
bard volunteers, Free Corps, as they were called, which 
might have been increased to almost any extent had 
they not been discouraged by the King, who was believed 
to look coldly on all these extraneous allies, either from 

The Year of Revolution 107 

doubt of their efficiency, or from the wish to keep the 
whole glory of the campaign for his Piedmontese army. 

The first engagements were on the line of the Mincio. 
On the 8th of April the Sardinians carried the bridge of 
Goito after a fight of four hours. The burning of the 
village of Castelnuovo on the 12th, as a punishment for 
its having received Manara's band of volunteers, excited 
great exasperation ; many of the unfortunate villagers 
perished in the flames, and this and other incidents of 
the same kind did much towards awakening a more 
vivid hatred of the Austrians among the peasants. 

After easily gaining possession of the left (Venetian) 
bank of the Mincio, Charles Albert employed himself 
in losing time over chimerical operations with a view 
to taking the fortresses of Peschiera and Mantua, now 
strongly garrisoned, and impregnable while their pro- 
visions lasted. This object governed the conduct of 
the campaign, and caused the waste of precious months 
during every day of which General Nugent, with his 
30,000 men, was approaching one step nearer from the 
mountains of Friuli, and- General Welden, with his 10,000, 
down the passes of Tyrol. If, instead of playing at 
sieges, Charles Albert had cut off these reinforcements, 
Radetsky would have been rendered powerless, and the 
campaign would have had another termination. Never 
was there a war in which the adoption of Napoleon's 
system of crushing his opponents one by one, when he 
could not outnumber them if united, was more clearly 

General Durando crossed the Po on the 21st of April 
with 17,000 men, partly Pontifical troops and partly volun- 
teers, to which weak corps fell the task of opposing 
Nugent's advance in Venetia. The colours of the Pon- 
tifical troops were solemnly blessed before they left 

io8 The Liberation of Italy 

Rome, but as the order was only given to go to the 
frontier, and nothing was said, though everything was 
understood, about crossing it, the Pope was technically 
able to assert that the war was none of his making. 
His ministry ventured to suggest to him that the situa- 
tion was peculiar. Now it was that Catholic Austria 
and Russia, herself schismatic, flourished in the face of 
the Pope the portentous scare of a new schism. It is 
said that the Pope's confessor, a firm Liberal, died just 
at this time, not without suspicion of poison. Thoroughly 
alarmed in his spiritual capacity, the Pope issued his 
Encyclical Letter of the 29th of April — when his ministers 
and the whole country still hoped from day to day 
that he would formally declare war — in which he pro- 
tested that his sacred ofiice obliged him to embrace all 
nations in an equal paternal love. If his subjects, he 
added, followed the example of the other Italians, he 
could not help it : a half-hearted admission which could 
not mitigate the indignation which the document called 
forth. With regard to Durando's corps, the Pope did what 
was the best thing under the altered circumstances ; he 
sent L. C. Farini as envoy to the King of Sardinia, with 
the request that he would take the Roman troops under 
his supreme command, the Papal Government agreeing 
to continue the pay of such of them as belonged to 
the regular army. Pius IX. made one last effort to 
help his fellow-countrymen which people hardly noticed, 
so futile did it appear, but which was probably made 
in profound seriousness. He wrote a letter to the Em- 
peror of Austria begging him to make all things right 
and pleasant by voluntarily withdrawing from his Italian 
dominions. Popes had dictated to sovereigns before 
now ; was there not Canossa ? Besides, if a miracle 
was sought, why should not a miracle happen? Pope 

The Year of Revolution 109 

and Emperor shaking hands over a free Italy and a 
world reconciled — how delightful the prospect! Who 
can doubt that when the Pope wrote that letter all the 
beautiful dreams of Cardinal Mastai carried him once 
more away (it was the last time) in an ecstasy of blissful 
hopes? 'Let not your Majesty take offence,' ran the 
appeal, ' if we turn to your pity and religion, exhorting 
you with fatherly affection to desist from a war which, 
powerless to re-conquer the hearts of the Lombards and 
Venetians, can only lead to a dark series of calamities. 
Nor let the generous Germanic nation take offence if 
we invite it to abandon old hatreds, and convert into 
useful relations of friendly neighbourhood a dominion 
which can be neither noble nor happy if it depend 
only on the sword. Thus we trust in the nation itself, 
honestly proud of its own nationality, to no longer make 
a point of honour of sanguinary attempts against the 
Italian nation, but rather to perceive that its true honour 
lies in recognising Italy as a sister.' 

The Emperor received the bearer of the letter with 
coldness, and referred him to his ministers, who simply 
called his attention to the fact that the Pope owed 
the Temporal Power to the same treaties as those 
which gave Austria the possession of Lombardy and 

The day after the publication of the Encyclical, that 
is to say, the 30th of April, the Piedmontese obtained their 
first important success in the battle of Pastrengo, near 
Peschiera. Fighting from daybreak to sundown, they 
drove the enemy back into Verona, with a loss of 1200 
killed and wounded. The Austrians were in rather in- 
ferior numbers ; but the victory was highly creditable to 
the hitherto untried army of Piedmont, and showed that 
it contained excellent fighting material. It was not fol- 

no The Liberation of Italy 

lowed up, and might nearly as well have never been 

The Neapolitan troops, of whom 41,000 were pro- 
mised, 17,000 being on the way already, were intended 
to reinforce Durando's corps in Venetia. With the two 
or three battalions which Manin could spare from the 
little army of Venice, the Italian forces opposed to 
Nugent's advance would have been brought up to 60,000 
men ; in which case not even Charles Albert's ' masterly 
inactivity ' could have given Austria the victory. 

The Neapolitan Parliament convoked under the new 
Constitution was to meet on the 15th of May. A dispute 
had been going on for several days between the Sovereign 
and the deputies about the form of the parliamentary 
oath, the deputies wishing that the Chambers should be 
left free to amend or alter the Statute, while the King 
desired that they should be bound by oath to maintain 
it as it was presented to them. It was unwise to pro- 
voke a disagreement which was sure to irritate the 
King. However, late on the 14th, he appeared to yield, 
and consented that the wording of the oath should be 
referred to the discussion of Parliament itself. It seems 
that, at the same time, he ordered the troops of the 
garrison to take up certain positions in the city. A 
colonel of the National Guard raised the cry of royal 
treason, calling upon the people to rise, which a portion 
of them did, and barricades were constructed in the 
Toledo and other of the principal streets. A more 
insane and culpable thing than this attempt at revolu- 
tion was never put in practice. It was worse even than 
that 20th of May at Milan, which threw Eugene into 
the arms of Austria. Its consequences were those which 
everyone could have foreseen — a two days' massacre in 
the streets of Naples, begun by the troops and continued 

The Year of Revolution 1 1 1 

by the lazzaroni, who were allowed to pillage to their 
hearts' content; the deputies dispersed with threats of 
violence, Parliament dissolved before it had sat, the 
original Statute torn up, and (by far the most import- 
ant) the Neapolitan troops, now at Bologna, recalled to 
Naples. This was the pretty work of the few hundred 
reckless rioters on the isth of May. 

Had not Pius IX. by this time repudiated all part 
in the war, the King of the Two Sicilies would have 
thought twice before he recalled his contingent, though 
the counsels of neutrality which he received from another 
quarter — from Lord Palmerston in the name of the 
English Government — strengthened his hand not a little 
in carrying out a defection which was the direct ruin of 
the Italian cause. When the order to return reached 
Bologna, the veteran patriot. General Pepe, who had 
been summoned from exile to take the chief command, 
resolved to disobey, and invited the rest to follow him. 
Nearly the whole of the troops were, however, faithful 
to their military oath. The situation was horrible. The 
choice lay between the country in danger and the King, 
who, false and perjured though he might be, was still 
the head of the State, to whom each soldier had sworn 
obedience. One gallant officer escaped from the dilemma 
by shooting himself Pepe, with a single battalion of 
the line, a company of engineers, and two battalions of 
volunteers, went to Venice, where they fought like heroes 
to the end. 

On the 27th of May, Radetsky, taking the offensive 
with about 40,000 men, marched towards Mantua, near 
which was stationed the small Tuscan corps, whose com- 
mander only received when too late General Bava's order 
to retire from an untenable position. On the 29th the 
Austrians, in overwhelming numbers, bore down upon 

112 The Liberation of Italy 

the 6000 Tuscans at Montanara and Curtatone, and 
defeated them after a resistance of six hours. The 
Tuscan professor, Giuseppe Montanelli, fell severely 
wounded while holding the dead body of his favourite 
pupil, but he recovered to show less discretion in 
politics than he had shown valour in the field. 

Peschiera, where the supplies were exhausted, capi- 
tulated on the 30th, and the day after found 22,000 
Piedmontese ready to give Radetsky battle at Goito, 
whence, after a severe contest, they drove him back to 
Mantua. The Austrians lost 3000 out of 25,000 men. 
The honours of • the day fell to the Savoy brigade, 
which was worthy of its own fame and of the future 
King of Italy, who was slightly wounded while leading 
it. Outwardly this seemed the most fortunate period 
of the war for Charles Albert, but that had already 
happened which was to cause the turning of the tide. 
Nugent, with his 30,000 men, had joined Radetsky. 
His march across Venetia was harassed by the in- 
habitants, who left him no peace, especially in the 
mountain districts, but the poor little force of Romans 
and volunteers under Durando and Ferrari was unable 
to seriously check his progress in the open country, 
though he failed in the attempt to take the towns of 
Treviso and Vicenza in his passage. The repulse of 
the Austrians, 18,000 strong, from Vicenza on the 23rd of 
May, did great credit to Durando, who only had 10,000 
men, most of them Crociati, as the volunteers were called, 
whose ideas about fighting were original. It is hard to 
see how this General could have done more than he did 
with the materials at his disposal, or in what way he 
merited the abuse which was heaped upon him. The 
case would have been very different if his hybrid force 
had been supported by the Neapolitan army. 

The Year of Revolution 1 1 3 

Nugent was ordered by Radetsky to let the inter- 
mediate places alone, and to come on to him as fast as 
circumstances would admit. The junction of their troops 
was, the Field-Marshal saw, of vital necessity, but when 
this was achieved, and when Welden had also brought 
his 15,000 fresh men from Tyrol, he turned his attention 
to Vicenza, since, as long as that town remained in 
Durando's hands, Venetia would still be free. He con- 
ceived the bold plan of making an excursion to Vicenza 
with his complete army, while Charles Albert enjoyed the 
pleasant illusion that the Austrians were in full retreat 
owing to his success at Goito. The result of Radetsky's 
attack was not doubtful, but the defence of the town on 
the loth of June could not have been more gallant ; the 
3500 Swiss, the Pontifical Carabineers, and the few other 
troops belonging to the regular army of the Pope did 
wonders. Cialdini, the future general, and Massimo 
d'Azeglio, the future prime minister, fought in this action, 
and the latter was severely wounded. After several hours' 
resistance there was nothing to be done but to hoist the 
white flag; Radetsky's object was accomplished, the 
Venetian terra firma was practically once more in the 
power of Austria. On the 14th he was back again at 
Verona without the least harm having happened in his 

Only military genius of the first order could now 
have saved the Piedmontese, and what prevailed was the 
usual infatuation. Charles Albert's lines were extended 
across forty miles of country, from Peschiera to Goito. 
On the 23rd of July the Austrians fell upon their weakest 
point, and obliged Sonnaz' division to cross over to the 
right bank of the Mincio. On the 24th, the King suc- 
ceeded in dislodging the Austrians from Custoza after 
four hours' struggle ; but next day, which was spent 


114 The Liberation of Italy 

entirely in fighting, Radetsky retook Custoza, and 
obliged the King to fall back on Villafranca. Now be- 
gan the terrible retreat on Milan, performed under the 
ceaseless fire of the pursuers, who attacked and defeated 
the retreating army for the last time, close to Milan, on 
the 4th of August. Radetsky had with him 45,000 men ; 
Charles Albert's forces were reduced to 25,000. He had 
lost 5000 since he recrossed the Mincio. He begged for 
a truce, and, defeated and undone, he entered the city 
which he had vowed should only receive him victorious. 

To suppose that anything could have been gained by 
subjecting Milan to the horrors of a siege seems at this 
date the veriest madness ; whatever Charles Albert's sins 
were, the capitulation of Milan was not among them. 
The members of a wild faction, however, demanded 
resistance to the death, or the death of the King if he 
refused. It is their severest censure to say that their 
pitiless fury is not excused even by the tragic fate of 
a population which, having gained freedom unaided less 
than six months before, saw itself given back to its 
ancestral foe by the man in whom it had hoped as a 
saviour. They saw crimes where there were only 
blunders, which had brought the King to a pass only 
one degree less wretched than their own. Crushed, 
humiliated, his army half destroyed, his personal ambi- 
tion — to rate no higher the motive of his actions — 
trodden in the dust ; and now the name of traitor was 
hissed in his ears by those for whom he had made these 

Stung to the heart, the King instructed General Bava 
to tell the Milanese that if they were ready to bury 
themselves under the ruins of the city, he and his sons 
were ready to do the same. But the Municipality, con- 
vinced of the desperateness of the situation, had already 

The Year of Revolution 115 

entered into negotiations with Radetsky, by which the 
capitulation was ratified. On this becoming known, the 
Palazzo Greppi, where Charles Albert lodged, was the 
object of a new display of rage ; an attempt was even 
made to set it on fire. During the night, the King 
succeeded in leaving the palace on foot, guarded by a 
company of Bersaglieri and accompanied by his son, 
the Duke of Genoa, who, on hearing of his father's 
critical position, disobeyed the order to stay with his 
regiment, and came into the city to share his danger. 

The next day, the 6th of August, the Austrians re- 
entered Milan. They themselves said that the Milanese 
seemed distraught. The Municipality was to blame for 
having concealed from the people the real state of things, 
by publishing reports of imaginary victories. Had the 
unthinking fury of the mob ended, as it so nearly ended, 
in an irreparable crime, the authors of these falsehoods 
would have been, more than anyone else, responsible for 
the catastrophe. 

The campaign of 1848 was finished. From the 
frontier, Charles Albert issued a proclamation to his 
people, calling upon the Piedmontese to render the 
common misfortunes less difficult to bear by giving his 
army a brotherly reception. ' In its ranks,' he concluded, 
•are my sons and I, ready, as we all are, for new sacrifices, 
new hardships, or for death itself for our beloved father- 

The political and diplomatic transactions connected 
with the war in Lombardy were the subject after it 
closed of much discussion, and of some violent recrimi- 
nations. Even from the short account given in these 
pages, it ought to be apparent that the supreme cause of 
disaster was simply bad generalship. Contemporaries, 
however, judged otherwise; if they were monarchists. 

ii6 The Liberation of Italy 

they attributed the failure to the want of whole-hearted 
co-operation of the Provisional Governments of Lombardy 
with the liberating King ; if they were republicans, they 
attributed it to the King's want of trust in the popular 
element, and anxiety lest, instead of receiving an increase 
of territory, he should find himself confronted with a new 
republic at his door. Both parties were so far correct 
that the strain of double purposes, or, at least, of incom- 
patible aspirations which ran through the conduct of 
affairs, militated against a fortunate ending. The Pied- 
montese Government, even had it wished, would have 
found it difficult to adhere strictly to the programme of 
leaving all political matters for discussion after the war. 
What actually happened was that the union, under the 
not altogether attractive form of Fusion with Piedmont 
(instead of in the shape of the formation of an Italian 
kingdom), was effected at the end of Jurte and beginning 
of July over the whole of Lombardy and Venetia, in- 
cluding Venice, where, perhaps alone, the feeling against 
it was not that of a party, but of the bulk of the popula- 
tion. Manin shared that feeling, but his true patriotism 
induced him to push on the Fusion in order to avoid the 
risk of civil war. He retired into private life the day it 
was accomplished, only to become again by acclamation 
Head of the State when the reverses of Sardinia obliged 
the King's Government to renounce the whole of his 
scarcely - acquired possessions, not excepting Modena, 
which had been the first, by a spontaneous plebiscite, to 
elect him Sovereign. 

The diplomatic history of the war is chiefly the 
history of the efforts of the English Cabinet to pull up a 
runaway horse. Lord Minto had been sent to urge the 
Italian princes to grant those concessions which Austria 
always said (and she was perfectly right) would lead to a 

The Year of Revolution 117 

general attack upon her power, but when the attack be- 
gan, the British Government strained every nerve to limit 
its extension and diminish its force. That Lord Palmer- 
ston in his own mind disliked Austria, and would have 
been glad to see North Italy free, does not alter the 
fact that he played the Austrian game, and played it with 
success. He strongly advised every Italian prince to 
abstain from the conflict, and it is further as certain as 
anything can well be, that his influence, exercised through 
Lord Normanby, alone averted French intervention in 
August 1848, when the desperate state of things made 
the Italians willing to accept foreign aid. What would 
have happened if the French had intervened it is interest- 
ing to speculate, but impossible to decide. Their help 
was not desired, except as a last resource, by any party 
in Italy, nor by any man of note except Manin. The 
republicans wished Italy to owe her liberation to herself; 
Charles Albert wished her to owe it to him. The King 
also feared a republican propaganda, and was uneasy, not 
without reason, about Savoy and Nice. Lamartine would 
probably have been satisfied with the former, but it is 
doubtful if Charles Albert, though capable of giving up 
his crown for Italy, would have been capable of renounc- 
ing the cradle of his race. When Lamartine was suc- 
ceeded by Cavaignac, perhaps Nice would have been 
demanded as well as Savoy. That both the King and 
Mazzini were right in mistrusting the sentiments of the 
French Government, is amply testified by a letter written 
by Jules Bastide to the French representative at Turin, in 
which the Minister of Foreign Affairs speaks of the 
danger to France of the formation of a strong monarchy 
at the foot of the Alps, that would tend to assimilate the 
rest of Italy, adding the significant words: 'We could 
admit the unity of Italy on the principle and it the form 

ii8 The Liberation of Italy 

of a federation of independent states, each balancing the 
other, but never a unity which placed the whole of Italy 
under the dominion of one of these states.' 

Whether, in spite of all this, a political mistake was 
not made in not accepting French aid when it was first 
offered (in the spring of 1848) must remain an open 
question. When the French came eleven years later, 
they were actuated by no purer motives, but who would 
say that Cavour, instead of seeking, should have refused 
the French alliance ? 

One other point has still to be noticed : the proposal 
made by Austria in the month of May to give up Lom- 
bardy unconditionally if she might keep Venetia, which 
was promised a separate administration and a national 
army. Nothing shows the state of mind then prevailing 
in a more distinct light than the scorn with which this 
offer was everywhere treated. Lord Palmerston declined 
to mediate on such a basis ' because there was no chance 
of the proposal being entertained,' which proved correct, 
as when it was submitted to the Provisional Government 
of Milan, it was not even thought worth taking into 
consideration. No one would contemplate the sacrifice 
of Venice by a new Campo Formio. 

Far, indeed, was Austria the victorious in August 
from Austria the humiliated in May. On the 9th of 
August, Hess and Salasco signed the armistice between 
the lately contending Powers. The next day the 
Emperor Ferdinand returned to his capital, from which 
he had been chased in the spring. He might well 
congratulate himself upon the marvellous recovery of 
his empire ; but the revolution in Hungary was yet to 
be quelled, and another rising at Vienna in October tried 
his nerves, which were never of the strongest. On the 
2nd of December he abdicated in favour of his young 

The Year of Revolution 119 

nephew, the Archduke Francis Joseph, who had been 
brought face to face more than once on the Mincio 
with the Duke of Savoy, whom he rivalled in personal 

On the loth of December, another event occurred 
which placed a new piece on the European chess-board : 
Louis Napoleon was elected to the Presidency of the 
French Republic 




Garibaldi Arrives — Venice under Manin — The Dissolution of the 
Temporal Power — Republics at Rome and Florence. 

While the remnant of the Piedmontese army recrossed 
the bridge over the Ticino at Pavia, crushed, though 
not through want of valour, outraged in the person of 
its King, surely the saddest vanquished host that ever 
retraced in sorrow the path it had traced in the wildest 
joy, a few thousand volunteers in Lombardy still refused 
to lay down their arms or to recognise that, after the 
capitulation of Milan, all was lost. Valueless as a fact, 
their defiance of Austria had value as a prophecy, and 
its prophetic aspect comes more clearly into view when 
it is seen that the leader of the little band was Garibaldi, 
while its standard-bearer was Mazzini. These two had 
lately met for the first time since 1833, when Garibaldi, 
or ' Borel,' as he was called in the ranks of ' Young Italy,' 
went to Marseilles to make the acquaintance of the head 
and brain of the society which he had joined, as has been 
mentioned, on the banks of the Black Sea. 

'When I was young and had only aspirations,' said 
Garibaldi in London in April 1864, ' I sought out a man 
who could give me counsel and guide my youthful 
years ; I sought him as the thirsty man seeks water. 
This man I found ; he alone kept alive the sacred fire, 
he alone watched while all the world slept ; he has 

The Downfall of Thrones 121 

always remained my friend, full of love for his country, 
full of devotion for the cause of freedom : this man is 
Joseph Mazzini.' 

The words spoken then — when the younger patriot 
was the chosen hero of the greatest of free nations, while 
the elder, still misunderstood by almost all, was shunned 
and calumniated, and even called 'the worst enemy of 
Italy' — gave one fresh proof, had one been wanting, that, 
though there have been more flawless characters than 
Garibaldi, never in a human breast beat a more generous 
heart. Politically, there was nearly as much divergence 
between Mazzini and Garibaldi as between Mazzini and 
Cavour ; the master thought the pupil lacked ideality, 
the pupil thought the master lacked practicalness ; but 
they were at one in the love of their land and in the 
desire to serve her. 

On parting with Mazzini in 1833, Garibaldi, then 
captain of a sailing vessel, went to Genoa and enrolled 
himself as a common sailor in the Royal Piedmontese 
Navy. The step, strange in appearance, was certainly 
taken on Mazzini's advice, and the immediate purpose 
was doubtless to make converts for ' Young Italy ' among 
the marines. Had Garibaldi been caught when the 
ruthless persecution of all connected with ' Young Italy ' 
set in, he would have been shot offhand, as were all 
those who were found dabbling with politics in the 
army and navy. He escaped just in time, and sailed 
for South America. 

The Gazzetta Piemontese of the 17th of June 1834 
published the sentence of death passed upon him, with the 
rider which declared him exposed to public vengeance ' as 
an enemy of the State, and liable to all the penalties of a 
brigand of the first category.' He saw the paper ; and it 
was the first time that he or anyone else had seen the name 

122 The Liberation of Italy 

of Giuseppe Garibaldi in print ; a name of which Victor 
Emmanuel would one day say that ' it filled the furthest 
ends of the earth.' 

Profitable to Italy, over nearly every page of whose 
recent history might be written 'out of evil cometh 
forth good,' was the banishment which threw Garibaldi 
into his romantic career of the next twelve years be- 
tween the Amazon and the Plata. Soldier of fortune 
who did not seek to enrich himself; soldier of freedom 
who never aimed at power, he always meant to turn 
to account for his own country the experience gained 
in the art of war in that distant land, where he rapidly 
became the centre of a legend, almost the origin of a 
myth. Antique in simplicity, singleness, superabundance 
of life, and in a sort of naturalism which is not of 
to-day ; unselfconscious, trustful in others, forgiving, 
incapable of fear, abounding in compassion. Garibaldi's 
true place is not in the aggregation of facts which we 
call history, but in the apotheosis of character which we 
call the Iliad, the Mahabharata, the Edda, the cycles of 
Arthur and of Roland, and the Romancero del Cid. 

In childhood he rescued a drowning washerwoman ; 
in youth he nursed men dying of cholera ; as a veteran 
soldier he passed the night among the rocks of Caprera 
hunting for a lamb that was lost. No amount of habit 
could remove the repugnance he felt at uttering the 
word 'fire.' Yet this gentle warrior, when his career 
was closed and he lay chained to his bed of pain, en- 
dorsed his memoirs with the Spanish motto : ' La guerra 
es la verdadera vida del hombre.' War was the veritable 
life of Garibaldi ; war, not conspiracy ; war, not politics ; 
war, not, alas ! model farming, for which the old chief 
fancied in his later years that he had discovered in 
himself a vocation. 

The Downfall of Thrones 123 

Riding the wild horses and chasing the wild cattle of 
the Pampas, his eyes covering the immense spaces un- 
trodden by man, this corsair of five-and-twenty drank 
deep of the innocent pleasures of untamed nature, when 
not occupied in fighting by land or sea, with equal 
fortune; or rather, perhaps, with greater fortune and 
greater proof of inborn genius as commander of the 
naval campaign of the Parana than as defender of Monte 
Video. No adventures were wanting to him ; he was 
even imprisoned and tortured. In South America he 
found the one woman worthy to bear his name, the lion- 
hearted Anita, whom he carried off, she consenting, from 
her father and the man to whom her father had betrothed 
her. Garibaldi in after years expressed such deep con- 
trition for the act which bore Anita away from the quiet 
life in store for her, and plunged her into hardships which 
only ended when she died, that, misinterpreting his re- 
morse, many supposed the man from whom he took her 
to have been already her husband. It was not so. 
Shortly before the Church of San Francisco at Monte 
Video was burnt down (some twenty years ago), the 
marriage register of Garibaldi and Anita was found in 
its archives, and a legal copy was made. In it she is 
described as ' Dona Ana Maria de Jesus, unmarried 
daughter of Don Benito Rivevio de Silva, of Laguna, 
in Brazil.' The bridegroom, who during all his American 
career had scarcely clothes to cover him, parted with his 
only possession, an old silver watch, to pay the priest's 
fees. Head of the Italian Legion, he only took the 
rations of a common soldier, and as candles were not 
included in the rations, he sat in the dark. Someone 
reported this to the Government, who sent him a present 
of ;^20, half of which he gave to a poor widow. 

When the first rumours that something was preparing 

1 24 The Liberation of Italy 

in Italy reached Monte Video, Garibaldi wrote a letter 
offering his services to the Pope, still hailed as Champion 
of Freedom, and soon embarked himself for the Old 
World, with eighty-five of his best soldiers, among whom 
was his beloved friend, Francesco Anzani. Giacomo 
Medici had been despatched a little in advance to confer 
with Mazzini. At starting, the Legion knew nothing of 
the revolution in Milan and Venice, or of Charles Albert 
having taken the field. Great was their wonder, there- 
fore, on reaching Gibraltar, to see hoisted on a Sardinian 
ship a perfectly new flag, never beheld by them out of 
dreams — the Italian tricolor. 

So Garibaldi returned at forty-one years of age to the 
country where the sentence of death passed upon him 
had never been revoked. Before the law he was still 
' a brigand of the first category.' Nor was he quite sure 
that he would not be arrested, and, as a precaution, when 
he cast anchor in the harbour of his native Nice, he ran 
up the Monte Videan colours. It was needless. Throngs 
of people crowded the quays to welcome home the 
Ligurian captain, who had done great things over sea. 
Anita was there ; she had preceded him to Europe with 
their three children, Teresita, Menotti and Ricciotti. 
There, also, was his old mother, who never ceased to be 
beautiful, the ' Signora Rosa,' as the Nizzards called her. 
She was almost a woman of the people, but the simple 
dignity of her life made all treat her as a superior being. 
To her prayers, while she lived. Garibaldi believed that 
he owed his safety in so many perils, and after her death 
the soldiers used to say that on the eve of battles he 
walked apart communing with her spirit 

From Nice, Garibaldi went to Genoa, where he took a 
last leave of his friend Anzani, who returned from exile 
not to fight, as he had hoped, but to die. The day before 

The Downfall of Thrones 125 

he expired, Medici arrived at Genoa ; he was very angry 
with the Chief, in consequence of some disagreement as 
to the place of landing. Anzani said to him entreatingly : 
'Do not be hard, Medici, on Garibaldi; he is a pre- 
destined man : a great part of the future of Italy is in 
his hands.' The counsel from dying lips sank deep into 
Medici's heart ; he often disagreed with Garibaldi, but to 
his last day he never quarrelled with him again. Long 
years after, if friction arose between Garibaldi and his 
King, it was Medici's part to throw oil on the waters. 

Garibaldi sought an interview with Charles Albert, 
and offered him his arms and the arms of his Legion, 
'not unused to war.' Pope or prince, little it mattered 
to him who the saviour of Italy should be. But Charles 
Albert, though he was polite, merely referred his visitor 
to his ministers, and the inestimable sword of the hero 
went begging for a month or more, till the Provisional 
Government of Milan gave him the command of the 
few thousand volunteers with whom we saw him at the 
conclusion of the campaign. The war was over before 
he had a chance of striking a blow. His indignant cry 
of defiance could not be long sustained, for Garibaldi 
never drove men to certain and useless slaughter ; when 
the real position of things became known to him, he 
led his band over the Swiss confines, and bid them wait 
for a better and not distant day. 

Under Manin's wise rule, which was directed solely 
to the preservation of peace within the city, and re- 
sistance to the enemy at its gates, Venice remained 
undaunted by the catastrophes in Lombardy, after all 
the Venetian terra firma had been restored to Austria. 
(Even the heroic little mountain fort of Osopo in the 
Friuli was compelled to capitulate on the 12th of October.) 
The blockade of the city on the lagunes did not prevent 

126 The Liberation of Italy 

Venice from acting not only on the defensive but on the 
offensive ; in the sortie of the 27th of October, 2500 
Venetians drove the Austrians from Mestre with severe 
losses, carrying back six captured guns, which the people 
dragged in triumph to the Doge's palace. A cabin-boy 
named Zorzi was borne on the shoulders of the soldiers 
enveloped in the Italian flag ; his story was this : the 
national colours, floating from the mast of the pinnace 
on which he served, were detached by a ball and dropped 
into the water ; the child sprang in after them, and with 
a shout of Viva t Italia, fixed them again at the mast- 
head under a sharp fire. Zorzi was, of course, the small 
hero of the hour, especially among the women. General 
Pepe commanded the sortie, with Ulloa, Fontana and 
Cosenz as his lieutenants ; Ugo Bassi, the patriot monk 
of Bologna, marched at the head of a battalion with the 
crucifix, the only arms he ever carried, in his hand. The 
success cost Italy dear, as Alessandro Poerio, poet and 
patriot, the brother of Baron Carlo Poerio of Naples, 
lost his life by a wound received at Mestre. But the 
confidence of Venice in her little army was increased a 

The most important event of the autumn of 1848 
was the gradual but continuous break-up of the Papal 
authority in Rome. The meeting of the new Parliament 
only served to accentuate the want of harmony between 
the Pope and his ministers ; assassinations were frequent ; 
what law there was was administered by the political 
clubs. In Count Terenzio Mamiani, Pius IX, found a 
Prime Minister who, for eloquence and patriotism, could 
hardly be rivalled, but hampered as he was by the op- 
position he encountered from the Sovereign, and by the 
absence of any real or solid moderate constitutional 
party in the Chamber oi Deputies, Mamiani could carry 

The Downfall of Thrones 127 

out very few of the improvements he desired to effect, 
and in August he retired from an impracticable task, 
to be replaced by men of less note and talent than 

Wishing to create fresh complications for the Pope, 
the Austrians invaded the Legations, regardless of his 
protests, and after the fall of Milan, General Welden 
advanced on Bologna, where, however, his forces were 
so furiously attacked by the inhabitants and the few cara- 
bineers who were all the troops in the town, that they 
were dislodged from the strong position they had taken 
up on the Montagnola, the hill which forms the public 
park, and obliged to fly beyond the city walls. Radetsky 
disapproved of Welden's movements on Bologna, and 
ordered him not to return to the assault. 

Had the Austrians returned and massacred half the 
population of Bologna, the Pope might have been saved. 
When Rome heard that the stormy capital of Romagna 
was up in arms, once more, for a moment, there were 
united counsels. ' His Holiness,' ran the official pro- 
clamation, ' was firmly resolved to repel the Austrian 
invasion with all the means which his State and the well- 
regulated enthusiasm of his people could supply.' The 
Chamber confirmed the ministerial proposal to demand 
French help against Austria. But all this brave show of 
energy vanished with the pressing danger, and Bologna, 
which, by its manly courage, had galvanised the whole 
bloodless body-politic, now hastened the hour of dissolu- 
tion by lapsing into a state of deplorable anarchy, the 
populace using the arms with which they had driven 
out the Austrians, to establish a reign of murder and 
pillage. L. C. Farini restored something like order, 
but the general weakness of the power of government 
became every day more apparent. 

128 The Liberation of Italy 

The Pope made a last endeavour to avert the cata- 
strophe by calling to his counsels Count Pellegrino Rossi, 
a man of unyielding will, who was as much opposed to 
dem^ogic as to theocratic government. Rossi, having 
been compromised when very young in Murat's enter- 
prises, lived long abroad, and attained the highest offices 
under Louis Philippe, who sent him to Rome to arrange 
with the Pope the delicate question of the expulsion of 
the Jesuits from France, which he conducted to an ami- 
cable settlement, though one not pleasing to the great 
Society. Not being one of those who change masters 
as they change their boots according to the state of the 
roads, the ambassador retired from the French service 
when Louis Philippe was dethroned. As minister to the 
Pope, he made his influence instantly felt ; measures 
were taken to restore order in the finances, discipline in 
the army, public security in the streets, and method 
and activity in the Government offices. The tax on 
ecclesiastical property was enforced ; fomenters of 
anarchy, even though they wore the garb of patriots, 
and perhaps honestly believed themselves to be such, 
were vigorously dealt with. If anyone could have given 
the Temporal Power a new lease of life, it would have 
been a man so gifted and so devoted as Pellegrino Rossi, 
but the entire forces, both of subversion and of reaction, 
were against him, and most of all was against him the 
fatality of dates. Not at human bidding do the dead 
arise and walk. The most deeply to be regretted event 
that happened in the course of the Italian revolution 
gave his inevitable failure the appearance of a fortuitous 

Parliament, which had been prorogued on the 26th 
of August, was to open on the 15th of November. 
Anarchy, black and red, was in the air. Though disorders 

The Downfall of Thrones 1 29 

were expected, Rossi made no provision for keeping the 
space clear round the palace where Parliament met; 
knots of men, with sinister faces, gathered in all parts 
of the square. Rossi was warned in the morning that 
an attempt would be made to assassinate him ; he 
was entreated not to go to the Chamber, to which he 
replied that it was his duty to be present, and that if 
people wanted his blood they would have it sooner or 
later, whether he took precautions or not. Two police- 
men to keep the passage free when he reached the 
Chamber would, nevertheless, have saved his life. As 
he walked from his carriage to the stairs, an unknown 
individual pushed against him on the right side, and 
when he turned to see who it was, the assassin plunged 
a dagger in his throat. He fell, bathed in blood, to 
expire without uttering a word. 

In the Chamber, the deputies proceeded to business ; 
not one raised an indignant protest against a crime 
which violated the independence of the representatives of 
the nation. The mere understanding of what liberty 
means is absolutely wanting in most populations when 
they first emerge from servitude. 

After the craven conduct of the deputies, it is no 
wonder if the dregs of the people went further, and 
paraded the streets singing songs in praise of the assassin. 
The Pope summoned the Presidents of the two Chambers 
and Marco Minghetti, whom he requested to form a new 
ministry. But the time for regular proceeding was past ; 
the city was in the hands of the mob, which imposed on 
the Pope the acceptance of a ministry of nonentities 
nominated by it. The Swiss Guard fired on the crowd 
which attempted to gain access to the Quirinal ; the 
crowd, reinforced by the Civic Guard, returned to the 
attack and fired against the walls, a stray shot killing 


130 The Liberation of Italy 

Monsignor Palma, who was in one of the rooms. The 

Pope decided on flight. He left Rome in disguise during 

the evening of the 2Sth of November. After gaining the 

Neapolitan frontier, he took the road to Gaeta. The 

illusion of the Pope Liberator ended with the Encyclical ; 

the illusion of the Constitutional Pope ended with the 

flight to Gaeta. Pius IX. was only in a limited degree 

responsible for his want of success, because the task he had 

set before him was the quadrature of the circle in politics. 

The weight of a less qualified responsibility rests upon 

him for his subsequent actions. On the 3rd of December 

Parliament voted a proposal to send a deputation to the 

Pope, praying him to return to his States. To give the 

deputation greater authority, the Municipality of Rome 

proposed that the Syndic, the octogenarian Prince Corsini, 

should accompany it. It also comprised two ecclesiastics, 

and thus constituted, it left Rome for Gaeta on the sth of 

December. On the borders of the Neapolitan kingdom 

its passage was barred by the police, and it was obliged to 

retrace its steps to Terracina. Here the deputation drew 

up a letter to Cardinal Antonelli (no longer the patriotic 

minister of the spring), in which an audience with the 

Sovereign Pontiff was respectfully requested. The answer 

came that the Pope would not receive the deputation. It 

was an answer that he was at liberty to make, but it 

should have meant abdication. If, called back by the 

will of the Parliament of his own making, the Sovereign 

deigned not even to receive the bearers of the invitation, 

in what way did he contemplate resuming the throne ? 

It was only too easy to guess. The Head of Christendom 

had become a convert of King Ferdinand of Naples, 

otherwise Bomba. By a path strewn with the sinister 

flowers of war did Pius IX. meditate returning to his 

subjects — by that path and no other. 

The Downfall of Thrones 131 

The Galetti-Sterbini ministry, appointed by the Pope 
under popular pressure a few days before his departure, 
remained in charge of affairs, somewhat strengthened by 
the adhesion of Terenzio Mamiani as Minister of Foreign 
Affairs. Mamiani at first declined to form part of the 
ministry, but joined it afterwards with self-sacrificing 
patriotism, in the hope of saving things from going to 
complete rack and ruin during the interregnum caused by 
the withdrawal of the Head of the State. He only retired 
from the ungrateful ofiSce when he saw the imminence of 
a radical change in the form of government, which was 
not desired by him any more than it had been by 

The mass of the population of the Roman States had 
desired such a change ever since the days of Gregory ; 
the temporary enthusiasm for Pius, if it arrested the flow 
of the stream, did not prevent the waters from accumulat- 
ing beyond the dyke. One day the dyke would burst, 
and the waters sweep all before them. 

A Constituent Assembly was convoked for the Sth of 
February 1849. The elections, which took place on the 
2 1st of January, were on this basis : every citizen of more 
than twenty-one years was allowed to vote ; every citizen 
over twenty-five could become a deputy ; the number of 
deputies was fixed at two hundred; a candidate who 
received less than 500 votes would not be elected. On 
the 9th of February, the Constituent Assembly voted the 
downfall of the Temporal Power (free exercise of his 
spiritual functions being, at the same time, assured to the 
Supreme Pontiff), and the establishment of a republican 
form of government. The Roman Republic was pro- 
claimed from the Capitol. 

Ten votes were given against the republic. No 
government ever came into existence in a more strictly 

132 The Liberation of Italy 

legal manner. Had it not represented the true will of 
the people, the last Roman Commonwealth could not 
have left behind so glorious, albeit brief, a record. 

A youthful poet, descendant of the Doges of Genoa, 
Goffredo Mameli, whose ' Fratelli d'ltalia ' was the battle- 
hymn to which Italy marched, wrote these three words 
to Mazzini : ' Roma, Repubblica, Venite.' So Mazzini 
came to Rome, which confided her destinies to him, as 
she had once confided them to the Brescian Arnold and 
to Cola di Rienzi. Not Arnold — not Rienzi in his nobler 
days — dreamed a more sublime dream of Roman liberty 
than did Giuseppe Mazzini, or more nearly wrote down 
that dream in facts. 

Originally the executive power was delegated to a 
committee, but this was changed to a Triumvirate, the 
Triumvirs being Armellini, Saffi and Mazzini. Mazzini's 
mind and will directed the whole. 

On the 1 8th of February, Cardinal Antonelli demanded 
in the Pope's name the armed intervention of France, 
Austria, Spain and Naples, ' as in this way alone can 
order be restored in the States of the Church, and the Holy 
Father re-established in the exercise of his supreme autho- 
rity, in compliance with the imperious exigencies of his 
august and sacred character, the interests of the universal 
Church, and the peace of nations. In this way he will be 
enabled to retain the patrimony which he received at his 
accession, and transmit it in its integrity to his successors.' 

The Pope, who could not bring himself to stain his 
white robes with the blood of the enemies of Italy, called 
in four armies to shoot down his subjects, because in no 
other way could he recover his lost throne. 

Pius IX. was the twenty-sixth Pontiff who called the 
foreigner into Italy. 

The final conquest of the Pope by the party of 

The Downfall of Thrones 133 

universal reaction could only be effected by his isolation 
from all but one set of influences ; this is precisely what 
happened at Gaeta. There are reasons for thinking that 
his choice ot the hospitality of the King of the Two 
Sicilies, rather than that of France or Spain or Sardinia, 
was the result of an intrigue in which Count Spaur, the 
Bavarian minister who represented the interests of 
Austria in Rome after that power withdrew her am- 
bassador, played a principal part. Even after Pius 
arrived at Gaeta, it is said that he talked of it as the 
first stage of a longer journey. He had never shown 
any liking for the Neapolitan Bourbons, and the willing- 
ness which he expressed to Gioberti to crown Charles 
Albert King of Italy if his arms were successful, was 
probably duly appreciated by Ferdinand II. To save 
the Pope from absorption by the retrograde party, and 
to avoid the certainty of a foreign invasion, Gioberti, who 
became Prime Minister of Piedmont in November 1848, 
was anxious to occupy the Roman states with Sardinian 
troops immediately after the Pope's flight, when his 
subjects still recognised his sovereignty. Gioberti re- 
signed because this policy was opposed by Rattazzi and 
other of his colleagues in the ministry. It would have 
been a difficult rdle to play ; Sardinia, while endeavouring 
to checkmate the reaction, might have become its in- 
strument. The failure of Gioberti's plan cannot be re- 
gretted, but his forecast of what would happen if it were 
not attempted proved to be correct. 

Soon after the arrival of his exalted guest. King 
Ferdinand with his family, a great number of priests, 
and a strong escort, moved his residence from the capital 
to Gaeta. The modified Constitution, substituted for the 
first charter after the events of the isth of May, was 
still nominally in force ; Parliament had met during the 

134 T^^ Liberation of Italy 

summer, but the King solved the riddle of governing 
through his ministers, on purely retrograde principles, 
without paying more heed to the representatives of the 
nation than to the benches on which they sat. Prorogued 
on the 5th of September, Parliament was to have met on 
the 30th of November, but when that date approached, it 
was prorogued again to the ist of February. ' Our misery 
has reached such a climax,' wrote Baron Carlo Poerio, 
' that it is enough to drive us mad. Every faculty of the 
soul revolts against the ferocious reactionary movement, 
the more disgraceful from its execrable hypocrisy. We 
are governed by an oligarchy ; the only article main- 
tained is that respecting the taxes. The laws have ceased 
to exist ; the Statute is buried ; a licentious soldiery rules 
over everything, and the press is constantly employed 
to asperse honest men. The lives of the deputies are 
menaced. Another night of St Bartholomew is threatened 
to all who will not sell body and soul.' Ferdinand 
only waited till he had recovered substantial hold over 
Sicily to do away with even the fiction of parliamentary 
government. Messina had fallen in September, though 
not till half the city was in flames, the barbarous cruelties 
practised on the inhabitants after the surrender exciting 
the indignation of the English and French admirals who 
witnessed the bombardment. This was the first step to 
the subjection of Sicily, but not till after Syracuse and 
Catania fell did the King feel that there was no further 
cause for anxiety — the taking of the capital becoming a 
mere question of time. He was so much pleased at the 
fall of Catania that he had a mock representation of the 
siege performed at Gaeta in presence of the Pope and of 
half the sacred college. 

On the 13th of March Prince Torelli handed the Presi- 
dent of the Neapolitan Chamber of Deputies a sealed packet 

The Downfall of Thrones 135 

which contained a royal decree dissolving Parliament. 
Naples was once more under an irresponsible despotism. 
The lazzaroni of both the lower and higher classes, if 
by lazzaroni may be understood the born allies of ignor- 
ance, idleness and bigotry, rejoiced and were glad. Nor 
were they few. Unlike the Austrians in the north, 
Ferdinand had his party ; the ' fidelity of his subjects ' 
of which he boasted, was not purely mythical. Whether, 
considering its basis, it was much to boast of, need not 
be discussed. 

In March, the happy family at Gaeta was increased 
by a new arrival. Had he been better advised, Leopold, 
Grand Duke of Tuscany, would have never gone to 
breathe that malarious atmosphere. He had played no 
conjuror's tricks with his promises to his people ; Aus- 
trian though he was, he had really acted the part of 
an Italian prince, and there was nothing to show that 
he had not acted it sincerely. But a persistent bad 
luck attended his efforts. Though the ministers ap- 
pointed by him included men as distinguished as the 
Marquis Gino Capponi, Baron Ricasoli and Prince Cor- 
sini, they failed in winning a strong popular support 
Leghorn, where the population, unlike that of the rest of 
Tuscany, is by nature turbulent, broke into open revolu- 
tion. In the last crisis, the Grand Duke entrusted the 
government to the extreme Liberals, Montanelli the pro- 
fessor, and Guerrazzi the novelist ; both were honourable 
men, and Guerrazzi was thought by many to be a man 
of genius. The vigorous rhetoric of his Assedio di 
Firenze had warmed the patriotism of many young 
hearts. But, as statesmen, the only talent they showed 
was for upsetting any regime with which they were 

The Grand Duke was asked to convoke a Constituent 

136 The Liberation of Italy 

Assembly, following the example of Rome. If every part 
of Italy were to do the same, the constitution and form 
of government of the whole country could be settled 
by a convention of the various assemblies. The idea 
was worthy of respect because it pointed to unity ; but 
in view of the existing situation, Tuscany's solitary ad- 
hesion would hardly have helped the nation, while it 
was accompanied by serious risks to the state. The 
Grand Duke seemed about to yield to the proposal, 
but, on receiving a strong protest from the Pope, he 
refused to do so on the ground that it would expose 
himself and his subjects to the terrors of ecclesiastical 
censure. He still remained in Tuscany, near Viareggio, 
till he was informed that a band of Leghornese had 
set out with the intention of capturing his person. Then 
he left for Gaeta on board the English ship Bull Dog. 
The republic had been already proclaimed at Florence, 
with Montanelli and Guerrazzi as its chief adminis- 
trators. It succeeded in pleasing no one. Civil war 
was more than once at the threshold of Florence, for 
the peasants rose in armed resistance to the new gov- 
ernment. In less than two months the restoration of 
the Grand Ducal authority was accomplished almost 
of itself Unfortunately, the Grand Duke who was to 
come back was not the same man as he who went away. 
The air of Gaeta did its work 




Novara — Abdication of Chailes Albert — Brescia crushed — French Inter- 
vention—The Fall of Rome— The Fall of Venice. 

In the spring of 1848, a date might be found when 
every Italian ruler except the Duke of Modena wore 
the appearance of a friend to freedom and independence. 
In the spring of 1849 no Italian prince preserved that 
appearance except the King of Sardinia. Many causes 
contributed to the elimination, but most of all the logic 
of events. It was a case of the survival of the fittest. 
What seemed a calamity was a step in advance. 

Early in March, the Marquis Pallavicini, prisoner of 
Spielberg, had a long interview with Charles Albert 
They sat face to face talking over Italian matters, and 
the King said confidently that the army was now flourish- 
ing; if the die were cast anew, they would win. At 
parting he embraced the Lombard patriot with the 
words : ' Dear Pallavicini, how glad I am to have seen 
you again ! You and I had always the same thought ; 
the independence of Italy was the first dream of my 
youth ; it is my dream still, it will be till I die.' 

Some characters grow small in misfortune, others 
grow great The terrible scene at the Palazzo Greppi, 
the charge of treason, the shouts of 'death,' had left 


138 The Liberation of Italy 

only one trace on Charles Albert's mind : the burning 
desire to deliver his accusers. 

The armistice was denounced on the I2th of March, 
a truce of eight days being allowed before the recom- 
mencement of hostilities. There is such a thing in 
politics as necessary madness, and it may be doubted 
if the Sardinian war of 1849 was not this thing. The 
programme oi fare da se had now to be carried out in 
stern earnest. Sardinia stood alone, neither from south 
of the Apennines nor from north of the Alps could 
help be hoped for. France, which was meditating quite 
another sort of intervention, refused the loan even of 
a general. 'They were not going to offend Austria to 
please Piedmont,' said the French Cabinet. Worse than 
this, the army was not in the flourishing state of which 
the King had spoken. The miseries of the retreat, but 
infinitely more, the incidents of Milan, though wiped 
out by the King from his own memory, were vividly 
recollected by all ranks. Affection was not the feeling 
with which the Piedmontese soldiers regarded the ' fratelli 
Lombardi.' Did anyone besides the King believe that 
this army, which had lost faith in its cause, in its leaders 
and in itself, was going to beat Radetsky? The old 
Field-Marshal might well show the wildest joy when 
the denunciation of the armistice was communicated to 
him. And yet the higher expediency demanded that 
the sacrifice of Piedmont and of her King for Italy should 
be consummated. 

Rattazzi announced the coming campaign to the 
Chambers on the 14th of March ; the news was well 
received; there was a general feeling that, whatever 
happened, the present situation could not be prolonged. 
With regard to the numbers they could put in the field, 
Austria and Sardinia were evenly balanced, each having 

At Bay 139 

about 80,000 disposable men. The request for a French 
marshal having been refused, the chief command was 
given to Chrzanowski, a Pole, who did not know Italian, 
had not studied the theatre of the war, and was so little 
favoured by nature that, to the impressionable Italians, 
his appearance seemed ludicrous. This deplorable ap- 
pointment was made to satisfy the outcry against Pied- 
montese generalship ; as if it was not enough, the other 
Polish general, Ramorino, accused of treachery by the 
revolutionists in 1832, but now praised to the skies by 
the democratic party, was placed in command of the 
fifth or Lombard division. 

Though Radetsky openly gave the word ' To Turin ! ' 
Chrzanowski seems to have failed to realise that the 
Austrians intended to invade Piedmont. He ordered 
Ramorino, however, with his 8000 Lombards, to occupy 
the fork formed by the Po and the Ticino, so as to 
defend the bridge at Pavia, if, by chance, any fraction 
of the enemy tried to cross it. What Ramorino did 
was to place his division on the right bank of the Po, 
and to destroy the bridge of boats at Mezzana Corte 
between himself and the enemy. The Austrians crossed 
the Ticino in the night of the 20th of April, not with 
a fraction, but with a complete army. Ramorino was 
deprived of his command, and was afterwards tried by 
court-martial and shot. Whether his treason was inten- 
tional or involuntary, it is certain that, had he stemmed 
the Austrian advance even for half a day, the future 
disasters, if not averted, would not have come so rapidly, 
because the Piedmontese would have been forewarned. 
On the evening of the 21st, General D'Aspre, with 15,000 
men, took a portion of the Sardinian army unawares 
near Mortara, and, owing to the scattered distribution of 
the Piedmontese, who would have outnumbered him had 

140 The Liberation of Italy 

they been cencentrated, he succeeded in forcing his way 
into Mortara by nightfall. The moral effect of this first 
reverse was bad, but Chrzanowski rashly decided staking 
the whole fate of the campaign in a field-day, for which 
purpose he gathered what troops he could collect at 
La Biccocca, a hill capped with a village about a mile 
and a half from Novara. Not more than 50,000 men 
were collected; some had already deserted, and 20,000 
were doing nothing on the other side of the Po. 

Towards eleven o'clock D'Aspre arrived, and lost no 
time in beginning the attack. He sent post-haste to 
Radetsky, Appel and Thurn to bring all the reinforce- 
ments in their power as fast as possible. D'Aspre's 
daring was rewarded by his carrying La Biccocca at 
about mid -day, but the Duke of Genoa retook the 
position with the aid of the valorous 'Piemonte' brigade, 
and by two p.m. D'Aspre's brave soldiers were so 
thoroughly beaten, that nothing could have saved his 
division from destruction, as he afterwards admitted, 
had Chrzanowski joined in the pursuit instead of stay- 
ing behind with more than half the army, in accordance 
with a preconceived plan of remaining on the defensive. 

At two o'clock on the 23rd of March, the news started 
on the wings of the wind, and, as great news will do, 
swiftly reached every part of the waiting country, that the 
Sardinians were getting the best of it, that the cause 
was saved. Men who are not very old remember this 
as the first strong sensation of their lives — this, and its 

Appel and Thurn, and Wratislaw and the old Field- 
Marshal were on the march, and by four o'clock they 
were pouring their fresh troops upon the Piedmontese, 
who had not known how to profit by their success. 
Heroism such as few battlefields have seen, disorder 

At Bay 141 

such as has rarely disgraced a beaten army, were 
displayed side by side in Charles Albert's ranks. At 
eight in the evening, the whole Sardinian army re- 
tired into Novara; the Austrians bivouacked on La 
Biccocca. The Sardinians had lost 4000 in dead and 
wounded ; the losses of the victors were a thousand 

All the day long the King courted death, pressing 
forward where the balls fell like hail and the confusion 
was at its height, with the answer of despair to the 
devoted officers who sought to hold him back : ' Let 
me die, this is my last day.' But death shuns the 
seeker. Men fell close beside him, but no charitable 
ball struck his breast. In the evening he said to his 
generals : ' We have still 40,000 men, cannot we 
fall back on Alessandria and still make an honour- 
able stand?' They told him that it could not be 
done. Radetsky was asked on what terms he would 
grant an armistice ; he replied : ' The occupation of a 
large district in Piedmont, and the heir to the throne 
as a hostage.' Then Charles Albert knew what he 
must do. ' For eighteen years,' he said, ' I have made 
every effort for the good of the people; I grieve to 
see that my hopes have failed, not so much for myself 
as for the country. I have not found death on the 
field of battle as I ardently desired ; perhaps my 
person is the only obstacle to obtaining juster terms. 
I abdicate the crown in favour of my son, Victor 
Emmanuel.' And turning to the Duke of Savoy he 
said : ' There is your King.' 

In the night he left Novara alone for Nice. As he 
passed through the Austrian lines, the sentinels were 
nearly firing upon his carriage ; General Thurn, before 
whom he was brought, asked for some proof that he 

142 The Liberation of Italy 

was in fact the ' Count de Barge ' in whose name his 
passport was made out. A Bersagliere prisoner who 
recognised the King, at a sign from him gave the 
required testimony, and he was allowed to pass. At 
Nice he was received by the governor, a son of 
Santorre di Santa Rosa, and to him he addressed the 
last words spoken by him on Italian ground : ' In 
whatever time, in whatever place, a regular govern- 
ment raises the flag of war with Austria, the Austrians 
will find me among their enemies as a simple soldier.' 
Then he continued his journey to Oporto. 

The principal side-issue of the campaign of 1849 
was the revolution at Brescia. Had the original plan 
been carried out, which was to throw the Sardinian 
army into Lombardy (and it is doubtful whether, even 
after Radetsky's invasion of Piedmont, it would not have 
been better to adhere to it), a corresponding movement 
on the part of the inhabitants would have become of 
the greatest importance. To Brescia, which was the 
one Lombard town where the Piedmontese had been 
received in 1848 with real effusion, the Sardinian 
Minister of War despatched Count Giuseppe Martinengo 
Cesaresco with arms and ammunition, and orders to 
reassume the colonelcy of the National Guard which 
he held in the previous year, and to take the general 
control of the movement as far as Brescia was con- 
cerned. Martinengo succeeded in transporting the arms 
through the enemy's country from the Piedmontese 
frontier to Iseo, and thence to his native city. When 
he reached Brescia, he found that the Austrians had 
evacuated the town, though they still occupied the 
castle which frowns down upon it. This was the 23rd 
of March : Novara was fought and lost. Piedmont was 
powerless to come to the assistance of the people she 

At Bay 143 

had commanded to rise. What was to be done ? Plainly 
common sense suggested an honourable compromise with 
the Austrian commandant, by which he should be allowed 
to reoccupy the city on condition that no hair of the 
citizens' heads was touched. This is what Bergamo and 
the other towns did, nor are they to be blamed. 

Not so Brescia. Here, where love of liberty was 
an hereditary instinct from the long connection of 
Brescia with free Venice, where hatred of the stranger, 
planted by the ruthless soldiery of Gaston de Foix, 
had but gone on maturing through three centuries, 
where the historical title of 'Valiant,' coming down 
from a remote antiquity, was still no fable; here, with 
a single mind, the inhabitants resolved upon as desper- 
ate a resistance as was ever offered by one little town 
to a great army. 

The Austrian bombardment was begun by the Irish 
General, Nugent-Lavall, who, dying in the midst of it 
left all his fortune to the heroic city which he was 
attacking. The Austrians, flushed with their victory 
over Charles Albert's army of 80,000, were seized with 
rage at the sight of their power defied by a town of 
less than half that number of souls. But with that 
rage was mingled, even in the mind of Haynau, an 
admiration not to be repressed. 

Haynau who was sent to replace Nugent, was 
already known at Brescia, where he had been ap- 
pointed military governor after the resumption of 
Austrian authority in 1848. In order to punish the 
'persistent opposition manifested to the legitimate 
Imperial and Royal Government,' and as an example 
to the other towns, he had imposed on the Brescian 
householders and the landed proprietors of the pro- 
vince a fine of half a million francs. 

144 'I'f'^ Liberation of Italy 

He now returned, and what he did may be best 
read in his own report on the operations. ' It was 
then,' he wrote, 'that began the most murderous fight; 
a fight prolonged by the insurgents from barricade to 
barricade, from house to house, with extraordinary ob- 
stinacy. I should never have believed that so bad a 
cause could 'have been sustained with such perseverance. 
In spite of this desperate defence, and although the 
assault could only be effected in part, and with the help 
of cannons of heavy calibre, our brave troops with heroic 
courage, but at the cost of great losses, occupied a first 
line of houses ; but as all my columns could not penetrate 
into the town at the same time, I ordered the suspension 
of the attack at nightfall, limiting myself to holding the 
ground conquered. In spite of that, the combat con- 
tinued late into the night. On the ist of April, in the 
earliest morning light, the tocsin was heard ringing with 
more fury than ever, and the insurgents reopened fire 
with an entirely new desperation. Considering the gravity 
of our losses, as well as the obstinacy and fury of the 
enemy, it was necessary to adopt a most rigorous mea- 
sure. I ordered that no prisoners should be taken, but 
that every person seized with arms in his hand should be 
immediately put to death, and that the houses from which 
shots came should be burnt. It is thus that conflagra- 
tions, partly caused by the troops, partly by the bombard- 
ment, broke out in various parts of the town.' 

During the ten days' struggle, the citizens did not 
flinch for a moment. Count Martinengo was the guiding 
spirit of the defence, and scarcely left the most exposed 
of the barricades night or day. From the nobles to the 
poorest of the people, all did their duty. A youtji named 
Tito Speri led and animated tfie populace. The horrors 
of the repression make one think of the fall of Khartoum. 

At Bay 145 

Not even in Hungary, where he went from Brescia to con- 
tinue his ' system,' did Haynau so blacken his own and 
his country's name as here. In a boys' school kept by a 
certain Guidi, the master's wife, his mother and ten of his 
pupils were slaughtered. A little hunchback tailor was 
carried to the barracks to be slowly burnt alive. But 
stray details do not give the faintest idea of the whole. 
And for all this, Haynau was in a far higher degree re- 
sponsible than the actual executants of the vengeance 
to which he hounded on his ignorant soldiers, maddened 
with the lust of blood. 

Such was General Haynau, ' whose brave devotion to 
his master's service was the veteran's sole crime,' said the 
Quarterly Review (June 1853), but who was judged other- 
wise by some in England. Wherefore was he soundly 
beaten by the brewers in the employment of Messrs 
Barclay & Perkins ; and the nice words of the Quarterly 
could not undo that beating, redress for which Lord 
Palmerston blandly advised the complainant to seek 
'before the common tribunals.' He thought it best to 
neglect the advice, and to leave the country. 

Among the curious taxes levied at Brescia during the 
six months after its fall was one of ;^500 for 'the ex- 
penses of the hangman.' Count Martinengo escaped 
after the Austrians were in possession of the town 
through the courageous assistance given to him by a few 
young men of the working class. Camozzi's band of 
Bergamasques, which started for the relief of the sister 
city, was driven back with loss. 

The end was come, but woe to the victors. 

Following the Italian flag to where it still floated, we 
pass from Brescia in the dust to Rome still inviolate, 
though soon to be assailed by the bearers of another 
tricolor. A few days after Novara, the Triumvirate 


146 The Liberation of Italy 

issued a proclamation, in which they said : ' The Republic 
in Rome has to prove to Italy and to Europe that our 
work is eminently religious, a work of education and of 
morality ; that the accusations of intolerance, anarchy 
and violent upturning of things are false ; that, thanks to 
the republican principle, united as one family of good 
men under the eye of God, and following the impulse of 
those who are first among us in genius and virtue, we 
march to the attainment of true order, law and power 
united.' Englishmen who were in Rome at the time 
attest how well the pledge was kept. Peace and true 
freedom prevailed under the republican banner as no 
man remembered them to have prevailed before in Rome. 
The bitter provocation of the quadruple attack was not 
followed by revengeful acts on the parts of the govern- 
ment against those who were politically and religiously 
associated with him at whose bidding that attack was 
made. Nothing like a national party was terrorised or 
kept under by fear of violence. ' That at such a time, 
writes Henry Lushington, who was not favourable to 
Mazzini, 'not one lawless or evil deed was done would 
have been rather a miracle than a merit, but on much con- 
current testimony it is clear that the efforts of the govern- 
ment to preserve order were incessant, and to a remarkable 
degree successful' He adds that the streets were far 
safer for ordinary passengers under the Triumvirs than 
under the Papacy. 

Of great help in quieting the passions of the lower 
orders was the people's tribune, Ciceruacchio, who had 
not put on black cloth clothes, or asked for the ministry 
of war, or of fine arts, according to the usual wont of suc- 
cessful tribunes. Ciceruacchio had the sense of humour of 
the genuine Roman popolano, and it never came into his 
head to make himself ridiculous. His influence had been 

At Bay 147 

first acquired by works of charity in the Tiber floods. 
Being a strong swimmer, he ventured where no one else 
would go, and had saved many lives. At first a wine- 
carrier, he made money by letting out conveyances and 
dealing in forage, but he gave away most of what he 
made. He opposed the whole force of his popularity to a 
war of classes. 'Viva chi c'ia e chi non c'ia quattrini ! ' * was 
his favourite cry. Once when a young poet read him a 
sonnet in his honour he stopped him at the line ' Thou art 
greater than all patricians,' saying that he would not have 
that published : ' I respect the nobility, and never dream 
of being higher than they. I am a poor man of the 
people, and such I will always remain.' 

When the siege came, Ciceruacchio was invaluable 
in providing the troops with forage, horses, and even 
victuals, which he procured by making private sorties 
on his own account during the night ; his intimate know- 
ledge of every path enabling him to go unobserved. He 
planned the earthworks, at which he laboured with his 
hands, and when fighting was going on, he shouldered 
a musket and ran with his two sons, one of them a mere 
child, to wherever the noise of guns directed him. No 
picture of Rome in 1849 would be complete without 
the burly figure and jocund face of Angelo Brunetti. 

The republican government found Rome with a mere 
shadow of an army ; the efforts to create one had been 
too spasmodic to do anything but make confusion worse 
confounded by changes and experiments soon abandoned, 
Perseverance and intelligence now had a different result, 
and the little army, called into existence by the republic, 
proved admirable in discipline, various and fantastic as 
were its components. 

Towards the end of April, Garibaldi, who had been 

* 'Long live who has money and who has none." 

148 The Liberation of Italy 

stationed at Rieti, was ordered to bring his legion to 
Rome. Those who witnessed the arrival saw one of the 
strangest scenes ever beheld in the Eternal City, The 
men wore pointed hats with black, waving plumes ; thin 
and gaunt, their faces dark as copper, with naked legs, 
long beards and wild dark hair hanging down their backs, 
they looked like a company of Salvator Rosa's brigands. 
Beautiful as a statue amidst his extraordinary host rode 
the Chief, mounted on a white horse, which he sat like 
a centaur. ' He was quite a show, everyone stopping 
to look at him,' adds the sculptor Gibson, to whom these 
details are owed. ' Probably,' writes another English- 
man, ' a human face so like a lion, and still retaining the 
humanity nearest the image of its Maker, was never seen.' 
Garibaldi wore the historic red shirt, and a small cap 
ornamented with gold. 

The origin of the red shirt might have remained in 
poetic uncertainty had it not been mentioned a few 
years ago in a volume of reminiscences published by 
an English naval officer. The men employed in the 
Salad^ros or great slaughtering and salting establish- 
ments for cattle in the Argentine provinces wore scarlet 
woollen shirts ; owing to the blockade of Buenos Ayres, 
a merchant at Monte Video had a quantity of these on 
his hands, and as economy was a great object to the 
government, they bought the lot cheap for their Italian 
legion, little thinking that they were making the ' Camicia 
Rossa ' immortal in song and story. 

The coming to Rome of the 1200 legionaries aroused 
private fears in the hearts of the more timid inhabitants, 
but Garibaldi knew how to keep his wild followers in 
hand, and gallant was the service they rendered to 
Roman liberty. 

That liberty was now on the eve of its peril. The 

At Bay 149 

preliminaries of the French intervention in Rome are 
tolerably well known ; here it suffices to say that every 
new contribution to a more precise knowledge of the 
facts only serves to confirm the charge of dissimulation, 
or, to use a plainer and far better adapted word, of dis- 
honesty, brought against the French government for 
their part in the matter. White, indeed, do Austria, 
Spain and Naples appear — the avowed upholders of 
priestly despotism — beside the ruler of republican 
France and his ministers, whose plan it was not to 
fight the Roman republic : fighting was far from their 
counsels, but to betray it. It is proved that the restora- 
tion of the Temporal Power was the aim of the ex- 
pedition from the first ; it is equally proved that the 
French sought to get inside Rome by distinct disclaimers 
of any such intention. ' We do not go to Italy,' they said, 
' to impose with our arms a system of government, but 
to assure the rights of liberty, and to preserve a legitimate 
interference in the affairs of the peninsula.' They adopted 
a curious method of assuring the rights of liberty. 

The Pope would not have anything to do with the 
affair. ' If you say openly that you are going to give me 
back my Temporal Power, well and good ; if not, I prefer 
the aid of Austria.' So he replied to the flattering tales 
whispered in his ear, while tales no less flattering were 
being whispered in the ear of Mazzini. He declined to 
give the French any guarantees as to his future mode of 
governing ; it cannot be said, therefore, that they were 
under the delusion that they were restoring a con- 
stitutional sovereign. 

Efforts have been made to cast the responsibility of 
the Roman intervention entirely on Louis Napoleon. 
Even Mazzini favoured that view, but it is impossible to 
separate the President of the Republic from the 325 

150 The Liberation of Italy 

deputies who voted the supplies for the expedition on 
the 2nd of April. Does anyone pretend that they were 
hoodwinked any more than Ledru Rollin was hood- 
winked, or the minority, which, roused by his vigorous 
speech, voted against the grant? Louis Napoleon was 
far less Papal in his sentiments than were most of the 
assenting deputies ; his own opinion was more truly 
represented by the letter which, as a private citizen, he 
wrote to the ' Constitutionnel ' in December 1848 than by 
his subsequent course as President. In this letter he 
declared that a military demonstration would be perilous 
even to the interests which it was intended to safeguard. 
He had but one fixed purpose : to please France, so as 
to get himself made Emperor. France must be held 
answerable for the means taken to please her. 

General Oudinot landed at Civitavecchia on the 25th of 
April, his friendly assurances having persuaded the local 
authorities to oppose no resistance, an unfortunate error, 
but the last The correct judgment formed by the Roman 
Government of the designs of the invaders was con- 
siderably assisted by a French officer, Colonel Leblanc, 
who was sent to Rome by Oudinot to come to an agree- 
ment with Mazzini for the amicable reception of the 
French, and who, losing his temper, revealed more than 
he was meant to reveal. His last words, ' Les Italiens ne 
se battent pas,' unquestionably expressed the belief of the 
whole French force, from the general-in-chief to the 
youngest drummer. They were soon going to have a 
chance of testing its accuracy. 

The Roman Assembly passed a vote that 'force 
should be repelled by force.' Well-warned, therefore, 
but with the proverbial cceur Uger, Oudinot ad- 
vanced on Rome with 8000 men early on the 30th of 
April. At eleven o'clock the two columns came in 

At Bay 151 

sight of St Peter's, and soon after, the first which moved 
towards Porta Angelica was attacked by Colonel Masi. 
Garibaldi attacked the second column a mile out of 
Porta San Pancrazio. At the first moment the superior 
numbers of the French told, and the Italians fell back 
on Villa Pamphily, but Colonel Galetti arrived with 
reinforcements, and before long Garibaldi drove the 
French from the Pamphily Gardens and had them in 
full retreat along the Civitavecchia road. Oudinot was 
beaten, Rome was victorious. 'This does not surprise 
us Romans ; but it will astonish Paris ! ' ran a manifesto 
of the hour ; the words are a little childish, but men are 
apt to be childish when they are deeply moved. And 
as to the astonishment of Paris, all the words in the 
world would fail to paint its proportions. Paris was 
indeed astonished. 

Garibaldi had not the chief command of the Roman 
army, or he would have done more ; there was nothing 
to prevent the Italians from driving Oudinot into the 
sea. The Triumvirate, when appealed to directly by 
Garibaldi, refused their sanction, either fearing to leave 
the capital exposed to the Neapolitans who were advanc- 
ing, or (and this seems to have been the real reason) 
still hoping that France would repudiate Oudinot and 
come to terms. Garibaldi was right on this occasion, 
and Mazzini was wrong. When you are at war, nothing 
is so ruinous as to be afraid of damaging the enemy. 

The French ministers, bombarded with reproaches 
by friends and foes, and most uneasy lest their troops in 
Italy should be destroyed before they could send rein- 
forcements, did disown Oudinot's march on Rome, and 
Ferdinand de Lesseps was despatched nominally 'to 
arrange matters in a pacific sense,' but actually to gain 

152 The Liberation of Italy 

In a sitting in the French Assembly, a member of 
the opposition said to the President of the Council : ' You 
are going to reinstate the Pope I ' ' No, no,' ejaculated 
Odilon Barrot. ' You are going to do the same as 
Austria,' cried Lamorici^re. ' We should be culpable if 
we did,' was the answer. Lesseps' instructions, very 
vague, for the rest, were given to him in this spirit. 
That Lesseps acted in good faith has been generally 
admitted, and was always believed by Mazzini. It was 
to the interest of the French Government to choose a 
tool who did not see how far he was a tool. But if 
Lesseps had no suspicions, if he had not strong suspicions 
of the real object of his employers, then he was already 
at this date a man singularly easy to deceive. 

The French envoy was commissioned to treat, not 
with the Triumvirate, but with the Roman Assembly : a 
piece of insolence which the former would have done well 
to reply to by sending him about his business. Lesseps 
however, thought that he would gain by speaking in 
person to Mazzini, and in order that the interview should 
remain a secret, he decided to go to him alone in the 
dead of the night and unannounced. Having made the 
needful inquiries, he proceeded to the palace of the Con- 
sulta, the doors of which seem to have been left open all 
night ; there were guards, but they were asleep, and the 
French diplomatist traversed the long suite of splendid 
apartments, opening one into the other without corridors. 
At last he reached the simply-furnished room where, 
upon an iron bedstead, Mazzini slept. Lesseps watched 
him sleeping, fascinated by the beauty of his magnificent 
head as it lay in repose. He still looked very young, 
though there was hardly a state in Europe where he was 
not proscribed. When Lesseps had gazed his full, he 
called ' Mazzini, Mazzini ! ' The Triumvir awoke, sat up 

At Bay 153 

and asked if he had come to assassinate him ? Lesseps 
told him his name, and a long conversation followed. 
One thing, at least, that Lesseps said in this interview 
was strictly true, namely, that Mazzini must not count on 
the French republican soldiers objecting to fire on re- 
publicans: 'The French soldier would burn down the 
cottage of his mother if ordered by his superiors to do 
so.' The discipline of a great army is proof against 

Lesseps was himself in much fear of being assassinated. 
He believed that his footsteps were dogged by three in- 
dividuals, one of whom was an ex-French convict. He 
complained to Mazzini, who said that he could do nothing 
which probably shows that he gave no credence to the 
story. Then Lesseps had recourse to Ciceruacchio, 'a 
man of the people who had great influence on the popula- 
tion, and who had organised the revolution.' The tribune 
seems to have quieted his fears and guaranteed his safety. 

The French envoy could not help being struck by the 
tender care taken of his wounded fellow-countrymen by 
the Princess Belgiojoso and other noble ladies who at- 
tended the hospitals. Of prisoners who were not wounded 
there were none, as they had been sent back scot-free to 
their general a few days after the 30th of April. He was 
struck also by the firm resolve of all classes not to restore 
the Pope. Some liked the existing government, some 
did not, but all prayed heaven to be henceforth delivered 
from the rule of an infallible sovereign. 

Whatever was the measure of confidence which 
Mazzini felt in Lesseps, he was firm as iron on the 
main point — the non-admittance of the ' friendly ' French 
troops into Rome. Lesseps dragged on the negotiations 
till his government had finished the preparations for 
sending to Rome a force which should not be much 

154 The Liberation of Italy 

less than twice in number the whole military resources 
of the republic. Then they recalled him, and, in order 
not to be bound by anything that he might have said, 
they set about the rumour that he was mad. Indignant 
at such treatment, Lesseps left the diplomatic service, 
and turned his attention to engineering. This was the 
origin of the Suez Canal. 

While all these things were going on, the Austrians 
moved from Ferrara and Modena towards Bologna, the 
Spaniards landed at Fiumicino, and 16,000 Neapolitans, 
commanded by Ferdinand II., encamped near Albano. 
Garibaldi was attacked on the 9th of May by the Nea- 
politan vanguard, which he obliged to fall back. On the 
1 8th, he completely defeated King Ferdinand's army 
near Velletri, and the King ordered a general retreat into 
his own dominions, which was accomplished in haste and 

By the end of May, Oudinot's forces were increased 
to over 35, 000 men. The defenders of Rome, under the 
chief command of General Rosselli, were about 20,000, 
of whom half were volunteers. Colonel Marnara's 
Lombard Legion of Bersaglieri was, in smartness of 
appearance and perfect discipline, equal to any regular 
troops ; in its ranks were the sons of the best and richest 
Lombard families, such as Dandolo, Morosini and many 
others. Medici's legion was also composed of educated 
and well-to-do young men. The Bolognese, under the 
Marquis Melara, had the impetuous daring of their race, 
and Count Angelo Masina did wonders with his forty 
lancers. Wherever Garibaldi was — it was always in the 
hottest places — there were to be seen, at no great dis- 
tance, the patriot monk, Ugo Bassi, riding upon a fiery 
horse, and the young poet of Free Italy, Goffredo Mameli, 
with his slight, boyish figure, and his fair hair floating in 

At Bay 155 

the breeze. Nor must we omit from the list of Garibaldi's 
bodyguard Forbes, the Englishman, and Anghiar, the 
devoted negro, who followed his master like a dog. 

Oudinot formally disavowed all Lesseps' proceedings 
from first to last, and announced, on the ist of June, that 
he had orders to take Rome as soon as possible. Out of 
regard, however, for the French residents, he would not 
begin the attack ' till the morning of Monday the 4th.' 
Now, though no one knew it but the French general, that 
Monday morning began with Sunday's dawn, when the 
French attacked Melara's sleeping battalion at the 
Roman outposts. It was easy for the French to drive 
back these 300 men, and to occupy the Villa Corsini 
('Villa,' in the Roman sense, means a garden) and the 
position dominating Porta San Pancrazio; but Galetti 
came up and retook them all, to lose them again by nine 
o'clock. Then Garibaldi, who was ill, hurried to the 
scene from his sick-bed, and thrice that day he retook 
and thrice he lost the contested positions — a brief state- 
ment, which represents prodigies of valour, and the obla- 
tion of as noble blood as ever watered the earth of Rome. 
Melara, Masina, Daverio, Dandolo, Mameli : every school- 
boy would know these names if they belonged to ancient, 
not to modern, history. Bright careers, full of promise, 
cut short ; lives renounced, not only voluntarily, but with 
joy, and to what end? Not for interest or fame — not 
even in the hope of winning ; but that, erect and crowned 
with the roses of martyrdom, Rome might send her dying 
salutation to the world. 

At sunset the French had established their possession 
of all the points outside the Gate of San Pancrazio, 
except the Vascello, a villa which had been seized from 
their very teeth by Medici, who held it against all 
comers. Monte Mario was also in their hands. 

156 The Liberation of Italy 

Mazzini, whose judgment was obscured by his attri- 
bution of the Italian policy of France to Louis Napoleon 
alone, hoped for a revolution in Paris, but Ledru Rollin's 
attempt at agitation completely failed, and the country 
applauded its government now that the mask was thrown 
away. The reasons for revolutions in Paris have always 
been the same ; they have to do with something else 
than the garroting of sister-republics. 

Oudinot tightened his cordon ; on the i2th of June 
he invited the city to capitulate. The answer was a 
refusal ; so, with the aid of his excellent artillery, he 
crept on, his passage contested at each step, but not 
arrested, till, on the 27th, the Villa Savorelli, Garibaldi's 
headquarters, fell into the hands of the enemy, and, on 
the night of the 29th, the French were within the city 
walls. St Peter's day is the great feast of Rome, and 
this time, as usual, the cupola of St Peter's was illumin- 
ated, the Italian flag flying from the highest point. The 
thunderstorm, which proverbially accompanies the feast, 
raged during the night ; the French shells flew in all 
directions ; the fight raged fiercer than the storm ; 
Medici held out among the crumbling walls of the 
Vascello, which had been bombarded for a week ; the 
heroic Manara fell fighting at Villa Spada ; Garibaldi 
descending into the mH^e, dealt blows right and left : he 
seemed possessed by some supernatural power. Those 
around him say that it is impossible that he would have 
much longer escaped death, but suddenly a message 
came summoning him to the Assernbly — it saved his 
life. When he appeared at the door of the Chamber, 
the deputies rose and burst into wild applause. He 
seemed puzzled, but, looking down upon himself, he 
read the explanation ; he was covered with blood, his 
clothes were honeycombed by balls and bayonet thrusts. 

At Bay 157 

his sabre was so bent with striking that it would not go 
more than half into its sheath. 

What the Assembly wanted to know was whether 
the defence could be prolonged ; Garibaldi had only to 
say that it could not. They voted, therefore, the follow- 
ing decree : ' In the name of God and of the People : the 
Roman Constituent Assembly discontinues a defence 
which has become impossible, and remains at its post' 
At its post it remained till the French soldiers invaded 
the Capitol, where it sat, when, yielding to brute force, 
the deputies dispersed. 

Mazzini, who would have resisted still, when all re- 
sistance was impossible, wandered openly about the city 
like a man in a dream. He felt as though he were look- 
ing on at the funeral of his best-beloved. How it was 
that he was not killed or arrested is a mystery. At the 
end of a week his friends induced him to leave Rome 
with an English passport. 

On the 2nd of July, before the French made their 
official entry, Garibaldi called his soldiers together in the 
square of the Vatican, and told them that he was going 
to seek some field where the foreigner could still be 
fought. Who would might follow him ; ' I cannot offer 
you honours or pay ; I offer you hunger, thirst, forced 
marches, battles, death.' 

Three thousand followed him. Beside her husband 
rode Anita ; not even for the sake of the child soon to 
come would she stay behind in safety. Ugo Bassi was 
there ; Anghiar was dead, Mameli was dying in a hos- 
pital, but there was ' the partisan or brigand Forbes,' as 
he was described in a letter of the Austrian general 
D'Aspre to the French general Oudinot, with a good 
handful of Garibaldi's best surviving officers. Cice- 
ruachio came with his two sons, and offered himself as 

158 The Liberation of Italy 

guide. No one knew what the plan was, or if there was 
one. Like knights of old in search of adventures, they 
set out in search of their country's foes. It was the last 
desperate venture of men who did not know how to yield. 

After wandering hither and thither, and suffering 
severe hardships, the column reached the republic of 
San Marino. The brave hospitality of that Rock of free- 
dom prevented Garibaldi from falling into the clutches 
of the Austrians, who surrounded the republic. He 
treated with the Regent for the immunity of his fol- 
lowers, who had laid down their arms ; and, in the 
night, he himself escaped with Anita, Ugo Bassi, Forbes, 
Ciceruacchio and a few others. They hoped to take 
their swords to Venice, but a storm arose, and the boats 
on which they embarked were driven out of their 
course. Some of them were stranded on the shore which 
bounds the pine-forest of Ravenna, and here, hope being 
indeed gone, the Chief separated from his companions. 
Of these, Ugo Bassi, and an officer named Livraghi, 
were soon captured by the Austrians, who conveyed them 
to Bologna, where they were shot. Ciceruacchio and his 
sons were taken in another place, and shot as soon as 
taken. The boat which contained Colonel Forbes was 
caught at sea by an Austrian cruiser : he was kept in 
Austrian prisons for two months, and was constantly 
reminded that he would be either shot or hung ; but the 
English Government succeeded in getting him liberated, 
and he lived to take part in more fortunate fights under 
Garibaldi's standard. 

Meanwhile, Anita was dying in a peasant's cottage, 
to which Garibaldi carried her when the strong will and 
dauntless heart could no longer stand in place of the 
strength that was finished. This was the 4th of August 
Scarcely had she breathed her last breath when Garibaldi, 

At Bay 159 

broken down with grief as he was, had to fly from the 
spot. The Austrians were hunting for him in all direc- 
tions. All the Roman fugitives were proclaimed out- 
laws, and the population was forbidden to give them 
even bread or water. Nevertheless — aided in secret by 
peasants, priests and all whose help he was obliged to 
seek — Garibaldi made good his flight from the Adriatic 
to the Mediterranean, the whole route being overrun by 
Austrians. When once the western coast was reached, 
he was able, partly by sea and partly by land, to reach 
the Piedmontese territory, where his life was safe. Not 
even there, however, could he rest ; he was told, politely 
but firmly, that his presence was embarrassing, and for 
the second time he left Europe — first for Tunis and then 
for the United States. 

While the French besieged Rome, the Austrians had 
not been idle. They took Bologna in May, after eight 
days' resistance ; and in June, after twenty days' attack 
by sea and land, Ancona fell into their hands. In these 
towns they pursued means of 'pacification' resembling 
those employed at Brescia. All who possessed what by a 
fiction could be called arms were summarily slaughtered. 
At Ancona, a woman of bad character hid a rusty nail 
in the bed of her husband, whom she wished to get rid 
of; she then denounced him to the military tribunal, and 
two hours later an English family, whose house was near 
the barracks, heard the ring of the volley of musketry 
which despatched him. Austria had also occupied the 
Grand Duchy of Tuscany ; and when, in July, Leopold 
II. returned to his state, which had restored him by 
general consent and without any foreign intervention, 
he entered Florence between two files of Austrian 
soldiery, in violation of the article of the Statute to 
which he had sworn, which stipulated that no foreign 

i6o The Liberation of Italy 

occupation should be invited or tolerated. The Grand 
Duke wrote to the Emperor of Austria, from Gaeta, 
humbly begging the loan of his arms. Francis Joseph 
replied with supreme contempt, that it would have been 
a better thing if Leopold had never forgotten to whose 
family he belonged, but he granted the prayer. Such 
was the way in which the House of Hapsburg-Lorraine, 
that had done much in Tuscany to win respect if .not 
love, destroyed all its rights to the goodwill of the Tuscan 
people, and removed what might have been a serious 
obstacle to Italian unity. 

Austria, unable alone to cope with Hungary, com- 
mitted the immeasurable blunder of calling in the 200,000 
Russians who made conquest certain, but the price of 
whose aid she may still have to pay. Venice, and Venice 
only, continued to defy her power. Since Novara, the first 
result of which was the withdrawal of the Sardinian Com- 
missioners, who had taken over the government after the 
Fusion, Venice had been ruled by Manin on the terms 
which he himself proposed : ' Are you ready,' he asked 
the Venetian Assembly, * to invest the Government with 
unlimited powers in order to direct the defence and main- 
tain order ? ' He warned them that he should be obliged 
to impose upon them enormous sacrifices, but they replied 
by voting the order of the day: 'Venice resists the 
Austrians at all costs ; to this end the President Manin is 
invested with plenary powers.' All the deputies then 
raised their right hand, and swore to defend the city to the 
last extremity. They kept their word. 

It is hard to say which was the most admirable: 
Manin's fidelity to his trust, or the people's fidelity to him. 
To keep up the spirits, to maintain the decorum of a 
besieged city even for a few weeks or a few months, is a 
task not without difficulty; but when the months run 

At Bay i6i 

into a second year, when the real pinch of privations 
has been felt by everyone, not as a sudden twinge, 
but as a long-drawn-out pain, when the bare neces- 
sities of life fail, and a horrible disease, cholera, 
enters as auxiliary under the enemy's black-and- 
yellow, death - and - pestilence flag ; then, indeed, the 
task becomes one which only a born leader of men 
could perform. 

The financial administration of the republic was a 
model of order and economy. Generous voluntary assist- 
ance was afforded by all classes, from the wealthy patrician 
and the Jewish merchant to the poorest gondolier. 
Mazzini once said bitterly that it was easier to get his 
countrymen to give their blood than their money ; here 
they gave both. The capable manner in which Manin 
conducted the foreign policy of the republic is also a 
point that deserves mention, as it won the esteem even 
of statesmen of the old school, though it was powerless to 
obtain their help. 

The time was gone when France was disposed to do 
anything for Venice ; no one except the Archbishop of 
Paris, who was afterwards to die by the hand of an 
assassin, said a word for her. 

In the past year. Lord Palmerston, though he tried 
to localise the war, and to prevent the co-operation of the 
south, abounded in good advice to Austria. He repeated 
till he was tired of repeating, that she would do well to 
retire from her Italian possessions of her own accord. If 
the French did not come now, he said, they would come 
some day, and then her friends and allies would give her 
scanty support. As for Lombardy, it was notorious that 
a considerable Austrian party was in favour of giving it 
up, including the Archduke Ranieri, who was strongly 
attached to Italy, which was the land of his birth. As 


1 62 The Liberation of Italy 

for Venice, Austria had against her both the principle of 
nationality, now the rallying cry of Germany, and the 
principle of ancient prescription which could be energeti- 
cally invoked against her by a state to which her title 
went back no farther than the transfer effected by Buona- 
parte in the treaty of Campo Formio. These were his 
arguments; but he was convinced, by this time, that 
arguments unsupported by big battalions might as well 
be bestowed on the winds as on the Cabinet of Vienna. 
From the moment that Radetsky recovered Lombardy for 
his master, the Italian policy of the Austrian Government 
was entirely inspired by him, and he was determined that 
while he lived, what Austria had got she should keep. 
It was thus that, in reply to Manin's appeal to Lord Palmer- 
ston, he only received the cold comfort of the recommenda- 
tion that Venice should come to terms with her enemy. 

The Venetian army of 20,000 men was reduced by 
casualties and sickness to 18,000 or less. It always did 
its duty. The defence of Fort Malghera, the great fort 
which commanded the road to Padua and the bridge 
of the Venice railway, would have done credit to the 
most experienced troops in the world. The garrison 
numbered 2500 ; the besiegers, under Haynau, 30,000. 
Radetsky, with three archdukes, came to see the siege, 
but, tired with waiting, they went away before it was 
ended. The bombardment began on the 4th of May; 
in the three days and nights ending with the 2Sth over 
60,000 projectiles fell on the fort. During the night of 
the 25th the Commandant, Ulloa, by order of Govern- 
ment, quietly evacuated the place, and withdrew his 
troops ; only the next morning the Austrians found 
out that Malghera was abandoned, and proceeded to 
take possession of the heap of ruins, which was all that 

At Bay 163 

After the beginning of July, an incessant bombard- 
ment was directed against the city itself. Women and 
children lived in the cellars ; fever stalked through the 
place, but the war feeling was as strong as ever — 
nay, stronger. Moreover, the provisions became daily 
scarcer, the day came when hunger was already 
acutely felt, when the time might be reckoned by 
hours before the famished defenders must let drop 
their weapons, and Venice, her works of art and her 
population, must fall a prey to the savage vengeance 
of the Austrians, who would enter by force and 
without conditions. 

And this is what Manin prevented. The cry was 
still for resistance ; for the first time bitter words were 
spoken against the man who had served his country so 
well. But he, who had never sacrificed one iota to 
popularity, did not swerve. His great influence pre- 
vailed. The capitulation was arranged on the 22nd, and 
signed on the 24th of July. Manin had calculated cor- 
rectly; on that day there was literally nothing left to 
eat in Venice. 

In the last sad hours that Manin spent in Venice 
all the love of his people, clouded for an instant, burst 
forth anew. Not, indeed, in shouts and acclamations, 
but in tears and sobs ; ' Our poor father, how much 
he has suffered 1 ' they were heard saying. He em- 
barked on a French vessel bound for Marseilles, poor, 
worn out and exiled for ever from the city which he 
had guided for eighteen months ; if, indeed, no spark 
of his spirit animated the dust which it was the first 
care of liberated Venice to welcome home. The Aus- 
trians broke up his doorstep on which, according to a 
Venetian custom, his name was engraved. Another 
martyr, Ugo Bassi, had kissed the stone, exclaiming 

164 The Liberation of Italy 

' Next to God and Italy — before the Pope — Manin ! ' 
The people gathered up the broken fragments and kept 
them as relics, even as in their hearts they kept his 
memory, till the arrival of that day of redemption which, 
in the darkest hour, he foretold. 



The Hoase of Savoy — A King who keeps his Word — Sufferings of 
the Lombards — Charles Albert's Death. 

Circumstances more gloomy than those under which 
Victor Emmanuel II. ascended the throne of his ancestors 
it would be hard to imagine. 

An army twice beaten, a bankrupt exchequer, a 
triumphant invader waiting to dictate terms ; this was 
but the beginning of the inventory of the royal inherit- 
ance. The internal condition of the kingdom, even apart 
from the financial ruin which had succeeded to the hand- 
some surplus of two years before, was full of embarrass- 
ments of the gravest kind. There was a party represent- 
ing the darkest - dyed clericalism and reaction whose 
machinations had not been absent in the disaster of 
Novara. Who was it that disseminated among the troops 
engaged in the battle broadsides printed with the words : 
' Soldiers, for whom do you think you are fighting ? The 
King is betrayed ; at Turin they have proclaimed the 
republic ' ? There were other broadsides in which Austria 
was called the supporter of thrones and altars. The 
dreadful indiscipline witnessed towards the end of, and 
after the conflict was due more to the demoralising doc- 
trines that had been introduced into the army than to 
the insubordination of panic. There was another party 


1 66 The Liberation of Italy 

strengthened by the recent misfortunes and recruited by 
exiles from all parts of Italy, which was democratic to 
the verge of republicanism in Piedmont and over that 
verge at Genoa, where a revolution broke out before the 
new King's reign was a week old. Constitutional govern- 
ment stood between the fires of these two parties, both 
fanned by Austrian bellows, the first openly, the second in 

Victor Emmanuel was not popular. The indifference 
to danger which he had shown conspicuously during the 
war would have awakened enthusiasm in most countries, 
but in Piedmont it was so thoroughly taken for granted 
that the Princes of the House of Savoy did not know 
fear, that it was looked on as an ordinary fact. The 
Austrian origin of the Duchess of Savoy formed a peg on 
which to hang unfriendly theories. It is impossible not 
to compassionate the poor young wife who now found 
herself Queen of a people which hated her race, after 
having lived since her marriage the most dreary of lives 
at the dismallest court in Europe. At first, as a bride, 
she seemed to have a desire to break through the frozen 
etiquette which surrounded her ; it is told how she once 
begged and prayed her husband to take her for a walk 
under the Porticoes of Turin, which she had looked at 
only from the outside. The young couple enjoyed their 
airing, but when it reached Charles Albert's ears, he 
ordered his son to be immediately placed under military 
arrest. The chilling formalism which invaded even the 
private life of these royal personages, shutting the door to 
'good comradeship' even between husband and wife, may 
have had much to do with driving Victor Emmanuel from 
the side of the Princess, whom, nevertheless, he loved and 
venerated, to unworthy pleasures, the habit of indulgence 
in which is far easier to contract than to cure. 

JCin^ Vzcbor SErtvmaiviLel . 

• y attends mon Astre ' 1 67 

The King's address at this time was not conciliatory, 
and, indeed, it never lost a bluntness which later harmon- 
ised well enough with the reputation he gained for 
soldierly integrity, but which then passed for aristocratic 
haughtiness. His personal friends were said to belong to 
the aristocratic or even the reactionary party. In the 
perplexities which encompassed him, he could not reckon 
on the encouragement of any consensus of good opinion 
or confidence. He was simply an unknown man, against 
whom there was a good deal of prejudice. 

Radetsky did not refuse to treat with Charles Albert, 
as has been sometimes said, but the intolerably onerous 
terms first proposed by him showed that he wished to 
force the abdication which Charles Albert had always 
contemplated in the event of new reverses of fortune. 
Radetsky was favourably disposed to the young Duke 
of Savoy, as far as his personal feeling was concerned, 
a fact which was made out in certain quarters to be 
almost a crime to be marked to the account of Victor 
Emmanuel. The Field-Marshal did not forget that he 
was the son-in-law of the Austrian Archduke Ranieri ; 
it is probable, if not proved, that he expected to find 
him pliable; but Radetsky, besides being a politician 
of the purest blood-and-iron type, was an old soldier 
with not a bad heart, and some of his sympathy is to 
he ascribed to a veteran's natural admiration for a daring 
young officer. 

On the 24th of March, Victor Emmanuel, with the 
manliness that was born with him, decided to go and 
treat himself for the conditions of the armistice. It was 
the first act of his reign, and it was an act of abnega- 
tion ; but of how much less humiliation than that per- 
formed by his father twenty-eight years before, when 
almost on the same day, by order of King Charles Felix, 

1 68 The Liberation of Italy 

the Prince of Carignano betook himself to the Austrian 
camp at Novara, to be greeted with the derisive shout 
of: 'Behold the King of Italy!' Little did Radetsky 
think that the words, addressed then in scorn to the 
father, might to-day have been addressed in truthful 
anticipation to the son. 

The Field-Marshal took good care, however, that 
nothing but respect should be paid to his visitor, whom 
he received half-way, surrounded by his superb staff, 
all mounted on fine horses and clad in splendid accoutre- 
ments. As soon as the King saw him coming, he 
sprang from his saddle, and Radetsky would have done 
the same had not he required, owing to his great age, 
the aid of two officers to help him to the ground. After 
he had laboriously dismounted, he made a military salute, 
and then embraced Victor Emmanuel with the greatest 
cordiality. The King was accompanied by very few 
officers, but the presence of one of these was significant, 
namely, of the Lombard Count Vimercati, whom he 
particularly pointed out to Radetsky. 

While observing the most courteous forms, the Field- 
Marshal was not long in coming to the point. The 
negotiations would be greatly facilitated, nay, more, 
instead of beginning his reign with a large slice of 
territory occupied by a foreign enemy for an indefinite 
period, the King might open it with an actual enlarge- 
ment of his frontier, if he would only give the easy assur- 
ance of ruling on the good old system, and of re-hoisting 
the blue banner of Piedmont instead of the revolutionary 
tricolor. The moment was opportune; Victor Emmanuel 
had not yet sworn to maintain the Constitution. But 
he replied, without hesitation, that though he was ready, 
if needs be, to accept the full penalties of defeat, he 
was determined to observe the engagements entered 

* y attends mon Astre ' 169 

into by his father towards the people over whom he was 
called to reign. 

One person had already received from his lips the 
same declaration, with another of wider meaning. Dur- 
ing the previous night, speaking to the Lombard officer 
above mentioned, the King said : ' I shall preserve intact 
the institutions given by my father ; I shall uphold the 
tricolor flag, symbol of Italian nationality, which is 
vanquished to-day, but which one day will triumph. 
This triumph will be, henceforth, the aim of all my 
efforts.' In 1874, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of 
Novara, Count Vimercati wrote to the King of Italy 
from Paris to remind him of the words he had then spoken. 

When the King started for his capital, Radetsky 
offered to draw up his troops as a guard of honour over 
the whole extent of occupied territory between Novara 
and Turin. The offer was declined, and Victor Em- 
manuel took a circuitous route to avoid observation. His 
journey was marked throughout by a complete absence 
of state. Before he arrived, a trusty hand consigned to 
him a note written in haste and in much anguish by the 
Queen, in which she warned him to enter by night, as 
he was likely to have a very bad reception. On the 
27th of March he reviewed the National Guard in the 
Piazza Castello on the occasion of its taking the oath 
of allegiance. The ceremony was attended by Queen 
Maria Adelaide in a carriage with her two little boys, 
the Princes Umberto and Amedeo. There was no hostile 
demonstration, but there was a most general and icy 

That evening, the terms of the armistice were com- 
municated to the Chamber, As was natural, they evoked 
the wildest indignation, a part of which fell undeservedly 
on the King. Twenty thousand Austrians were to 

170 The Liberation of Italy 

occupy the district between the Po, Sesia and Ticino 
and half the citadel of Alessandria. The excitement 
rose to its height when it was announced that the 
Sardinian Fleet must be recalled from Venetian 
waters, depriving that struggling city of the last visible 
sign of support from without. The Chamber sent 
a deputation to the King, who succeeded in persuad- 
ing its members that, hard though the terms were, there 
was no avoiding their acceptance, and that the original 
stipulations were harder still. 

On the 29th, Victor Emmanuel took the oath to 
observe the Statute, to exercise the royal authority 
only in virtue of the laws, to cause justice to be fairly 
and fearlessly administered, and to conduct himself 
in all things with the sole view to the interest, honour 
and prosperity of the nation. 

A trifling accident occurred which might have been 
far from trifling ; one of the ornaments of the ceiling of 
the Palazzo Madama, where the Parliament assembled, 
fell close to the King. As it was of great weight, it 
would have killed anyone on whom it had fallen. ' Never 
mind that,' said the King in Piedmontese dialect to 
Colonel Menabrea, who was near him, 'it will not be 
the last ! ' 

The ministry which held office under the late King 
resigned; a new one was formed, in which General 
Delaunay was President of the Council, and Gioberti 
minister without a portfolio. The King was advised 
to dissolve the Chamber, which had been elected as a 
war parliament, and was ill-constituted to perform the 
work now required. General La Marmora had orders 
to quell the insurrection at Genoa, the motive of which 
was not nominally a change of government, but the 
continuance of the war at all costs. Its deeper cause lay 

' y attends mon Astre ' 171 

in the old irreconcilability of republican Genoa with 
her Piedmontese masters, breaking out now afresh under 
the strain of patriotic disappointment. Like the isth 
of May at Naples, the Genoese revolution was a folly 
which can hardly be otherwise described than as a crime ; 
it happened, however, that in Piedmont there was a 
King who had not the slightest intention of turning it into 
an excuse for a royal hark-back, Austria and France 
offered Victor Emmanuel their arms to put down the 
revolution, but, declining the not exactly disinterested 
attention, he made a wise choice in La Marmora, who 
accomplished the ungrateful task with expedition and 
humanity. An amnesty was granted to all but a very 
few participators in the revolt. On the brief black list 
when it was submitted to the King was the name of the 
Marquis Lorenzo Pareto, who at one time had held the 
Foreign Office under Charles Albert. As Colonel of the 
Genoese National Guard, his responsibility in joining the 
insurrection was judged to be particularly heavy; but 
the King refused to confirm his exclusion from the 
amnesty. ' I would not have it said,' he objected, ' that 
I was harsh to one of my father's old ministers.' 

The conception of Victor Emmanuel as a bluff, easy- 
going monarch is mistaken. Very few princes have had 
a keener sense of the royal dignity, or a more deeply- 
rooted family pride, or, when he thought fit to resort to it, 
a more decisive method of preventing people from taking 
liberties with him. But he knew that, in nearly all cases, 
pardon is the best of a king's prerogatives. 

An instance to the point happened when he came to 
the throne. Two officers of the royal household had caused 
him annoyance while he was Duke of Savoy by telling tales 
of his unconventionality to his easily-scandalised father. 
To them, perhaps, he owed the condign punishment he had 

172 The Liberation of Italy 

undergone for the famous promenade under the Porticoes. 
At anyrate, they had procured for the Duke many bad 
quarters-of-an-hour, but the King, when he became King, 
chose to be completely oblivious of their conduct, and they 
remained undisturbed at their posts. To those who pointed 
to King Leopold of the Belgians, or to any other foreign 
example of a loyal sovereign who understood the needs 
of his people as a model for Victor Emmanuel to imitate, 
he was in the habit of replying : ' I remember the history 
of my fathers, and it is enough.' 

' The Persians,' says the Greek historian, ' taught their 
children to ride and to speak the truth.' In a land that 
had seen as much of enthroned effeminacy and menda- 
city as Italy had seen, a prince fond of manly exercise 
and observant of his word was more valuable than a 
heaven-sent genius, and more welcome than a calendar 
saint. Piedmont only could give such a prince to Italy. 
Its kings were not Spaniards who, by way of improvement, 
became lazzaroni, nor were they Austrians condemned by 
a fatal law to revert to their original type; they were 
children of the ice and snow, the fellow-countrymen of 
their subjects. All their traditions told of obstinacy and 
hardihood. They brought their useful if scarcely amiable 
moral qualities from Maurienne in the eleventh century. 
The second Count of Savoy, known as Amadeus with the 
Tail, son of Humbert of the White Hands, founder of the 
House, went to the Holy Roman Emperor with such a 
body of retainers that the guards refused them entrance 
to the Council Chamber. ' Either I shall go in with my 
Tail or not at all,' said Humbert, and with his Tail he 
went in. This was the metal of the race. Even at the 
time when they were vassals of the Empire, they expected 
to dictate rather than to obey. They studiously married 
into all the great royal houses of Europe. Though they 

' y attends mon Astre * 173 

persecuted their Vaudois subjects, who were only in 1848 
rewarded by emancipation for centuries of unmerited 
sufferings and splendid fidelity, yet the Princes of Savoy 
had from the first, from the White-Handed Humbert him- 
self, held their heads high in all transactions with the Holy 
See, between which and them there was an ever-returning 
antagonism. Not to the early part of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, when the rebound from revolutionary chaos did not 
suffice to denationalise the Kings of Sardinia, but sufficed 
to ally them with reaction, ought we to turn if we would 
seize the true bearings of the development of the Counts 
of Maurienne into Kings of Italy. At that moment 
the mission of Piedmont, though not lost, was obscured. 
What has rather to be contemplated is the historic ten- 
dency, viewed as a whole, of both reigning house and 
people. No one has pointed out that tendency more 
clearly than the anonymous author of a pamphlet entitled 
Le Testament politique du Chevalier Walpole (published at 
Amsterdam in 1769), who was able to draw the horoscope 
of the House of Savoy with a correctness which seems 
almost startling. He was not helped by either sympathy 
or poetic imagination, but simply by political logic. 
Sardinia, he said, was the best governed state in Europe. 
Instead of yielding to the indolent apathy in which other 
reigning families were sunk, its princes sought to improve 
its laws and develop its resources according to the wants 
of the population and the exigences of the climate. Fin- 
ance, police, the administration of justice, military disci- 
pline, presented the picture of order. From the nature of 
the situation, a King of Sardinia must be ambitious, and 
to satisfy his ambition he had only to bide his time. 
Placed between two great Powers he could choose for his 
ally whichever would give him the most, and by playing 
this mute rdle^ it was impossible that he would not here- 

1 74 The Liberation of Italy 

after be called upon to play one of the most important 
parts in Europe. Italy was the oyster disputed by 
Austria and France ; might it not happen that the King 
of Sardinia, becoming judge and party, would devour the 
oyster and leave the shells to the rival aspirants ? It was 
unlikely, added this far-seeing observer, that the Italian 
populations should have got so inured to their chains as 
to prefer the harsh, vexatious government of Austria to 
the happy lot which Sardinian domination would secure 
to them, but even if they had become demoralised to this 
extent, they could not resist the providential advance of 
a temperate, robust and warlike nation like Piedmont, 
led by a prince as enlightened as the King (Charles Em- 
manuel) who then reigned over it. 

The metaphor of the oyster recalls another, that of 
Italy being an artichoke which the House of Savoy was to 
devour, a leaf at a time. Whether or not a Duke of 
Savoy really invented this often-quoted comparison, it is 
certain that power was what the rulers of Piedmont cared 
for. They were no more a race of scholars and art 
patrons than their people was a people of artists and 
poets. There is a story to the effect that one Duke of 
Savoy could never make out what poetry was, except 
that it was written in half lines, which caused a great 
waste of paper. The only poet born in Piedmont found 
the country unlivable. Recent research among the arch- 
ives at Turin revealed facts which were thought to be not 
creditable to certain princely persons, and a gleaning was 
therefore made of documents to which the historical 
student will no longer have access. The step was ill ad- 
vised ; what can documents tell us on the subject that we 
do not know? Did anyone suppose that the Savoy 
princes were commonly saints ? Sainthood has been the 
privilege of the women of the family, and they have kept 

* y^ attends mon Astre ' 175 

it mostly to themselves. But peccable and rough though 
the members of this royal house may have been, very few 
of them were without the governing faculty. ' Cast bien 
le souverain le plus fin que j'ai connu en Europe/ said 
Thiers of Victor Emmanuel, whose acquaintance he made 
in 1870, and in whom he found an able politician instead 
of the common soldier he had expected. The remark 
might be extended back to all the race. They under- 
stood the business of kings. A word not unlike the ' Tu 
regere imperio populos, Romane, memento ' of Virgil was 
breathed over the cradle at Maurienne. If it did not send 
forth sons to rule the world, its children were, at least, to 
be enthroned in the capital of the Caesars, and to make 
Italy one for the first time since Augustus. 

From April to August 1849, the peace negotiations 
dragged on. The pretensions of Austria were still ex- 
orbitant, and she resisted the demand which Piedmont, 
weak and reduced though she was, did not fear to make, 
that she should amnesty her Italian subjects who had 
taken part in the revolution. Unequal to cope with the 
difficulties of the situation, the Delaunay ministry fell, 
and Massimo d'Azeglio was appointed President of the 
Council. This was a good augury for Piedmont ; 
D'Azeglio's patriotism had received a seal in the wound 
which he carried away from the defence of Vicenza. 
Honour was safe in his hands, whatever were the sacri- 
fices to which he might be obliged to consent. 

Some pressure having been put on Austria by France 
and England, she agreed in July to evacuate Alessandria, 
and to reduce the war indemnity from 230,000,000 francs 
to 75,000,000, which Piedmont undertook to pay, onerous 
though the charge was in her deplorable financial con- 
dition. But the amnesty question was the last to be 
settled, and in this Piedmont stood alone. France and 

1 76 The Liberation 0/ Italy 

England gave her no support ; the other Powers were 
against her. The Piedmontese special envoy at Milan, 
Count Pralormo, wrote to Prince Schwarzenberg on the 
2nd of July that his Government could not give up this 
point. It was a conscientious duty so universally and 
strongly felt, that they were readier to submit to the con- 
sequences, whatever they might be, than to dishonour 
themselves by renouncing it. In other words, they were 
ready to face a new war, abandoned to their fate by all 
Europe, to undergo a new invasion, which meant the 
utter destruction of their country, rather than leave their 
Lombard and Venetian fellow-countrymen to the revenge 
of Austria. Count Pralormo added that he was speaking 
not only in the name of the ministry, but of the King and 
the whole nation. The risk was no imaginary one ; there 
were many in Austria who desired an excuse for crushing 
the life out of the small state which was the eternal thorn 
in the side of that great Empire. Few remember now the 
sufferings of Piedmont for Italy, or the perils, only too 
real, which she braved again and again, not from selfish 
motives — for the Piedmontese of the old, narrow school, 
who said that their orderly little country had nothing to 
gain from being merged in a state of 25,000,000 were 
by no means in error — but from genuine Italian fellow- 
feeling for their less happy compatriots beyond their 

At last, when the armistice concluded on the morrow 
of Novara had been prolonged for five months, the 
treaty of peace was signed. Prince Schwarzenberg 
offered to further reduce the indemnity, 75,000,000 
to 71,000,000, but D'Azeglio having agreed to the 
former figure, preferred to abide by his agreement. 
He thought, probably, that he would thus gain some 
concession as to the amnesty, and, in fact, Austria 

' y attends mon Astre ' 177 

finally consented to pardon all but a small number of 
the persons compromised in the late events. D'AzegHo 
still stood out, but finding that there was no shadow 
of a chance of obtaining more than this, he reluctantly 
accepted it. The great mass, the hundred thousand and 
more fugitives who had left their homes in Lombardy 
and Venetia, were, at any rate, promised a safe return. 
The city of Venice, as yet undominated, though on the 
brink of her fall, was totally excluded. The list of 
those whose banishment from Lombardy was con- 
firmed, comprises the noblest names in the province ; 
with the exception of a few who were excluded from 
the amnesty on the score that, before the revolution, 
they were Austrian functionaries, nearly every un- 
pardoned Lombard was noble : Casati, Arese, Borromeo, 
Litta, Greppi, Pallavicini, and the Princess Cristina 
Belgiojoso of Milan, the two Camozzis of Bergamo, and 
G. Martinengo Cesaresco of Brescia. 

It must not be imagined that this amnesty ushered 
in a reign of oblivion and mildness. It seemed, rather, 
that Austria, afraid of the moral consequences of the 
return of so many unloving subjects, redoubled her 
severity. The day following the promulgation of the 
amnesty was the i8th of August, the Emperor of 
Austria's birthday. In the morning, placards dissuad- 
ing the citizens from taking part in the official rejoicings 
were to be seen on the walls of Milan. The persons 
who put these up were not caught, but in the course 
of the day a crowd, consisting of all classes, made 
what the official report called 'a scandalous and anti- 
politic demonstration,' raising revolutionary cries, and 
even saying uncomplimentary things of His Majesty, 
and worse still, of the Austrian soldiers. During this 
'shameful scene,' of which the above is the Austrian 


178 The Liberation of Italy 

and hence the most highly-coloured description, the 
military arrested at hazard some of the crowd, who, 
by a ' superior order,' were condemned to the following 
pains and penalties : — 

1. Angelo Negroni, of Padua, aged thirty, proprietor, 

forty strokes ; 

2. Carlo Bossi, watchmaker, aged twenty-two, forty 

strokes ; 

3. Paolo Lodi, of Monza, student, aged twenty-one, 

thirty strokes ; 

4. Giovanni Mazzuchetti, Milanese, barrister, aged 

twenty-four, thirty strokes ; 

5. Bonnetti, Milanese, lithographer, aged thirty-one, 

fifty strokes ; 

6. Moretti, Milanese, domestic servant, aged twenty- 

six, fifty strokes ; 

7. Cesana, artist, aged thirty-two, forty strokes ; 

8. Scotti, shopkeeper, of Monza, fifty strokes ; 

9. Vigorelli, Milanese, proprietor, fifty strokes ; 

10. Garavaglia, of Novara, aged thirty-nine, thirty 

strokes ; 

11. Giuseppe Tandea, Milanese, aged forty, twenty- 

five strokes ; 

12. Rossi, Milanese, student, thirty strokes; 

13. Carabelli, workman, forty strokes; 

14. Giuseppe Berlusconi, fifty strokes ; 

1 5. Ferrandi, bookseller, thirty strokes ; 

16. Ernestina Galli, of Cremona, operatic singer, aged 

twenty, forty strokes ; 

17. Maria Conti, of Florence, operatic singer, aged 

eighteen, thirty strokes. 

There were other sentences of imprisonment in 

' y^ attends mon Astre ' 179 

irons and on bread and water, but the roll of the 
bastinado, extracted from the official Gazzetta di Milano 
may be left to speak for all the rest, and to tell, with 
a laconicism more eloquent than the finest rhetoric, 
what the Austrian yoke in Italy really meant. 

A few days after, the military commandant sent 
the Milanese Municipality a bill for thirty-nine florins, 
the cost of rods broken or worn-out, and of ice used to 
prevent gangrene, in the punishment administered to the 
persons arrested on the i8th of August. Sixty strokes 
with the Austrian stick were generally enough to prove 
fatal. Women were flogged half-naked, together with 
the men, and in the presence of the Austrian officers, 
who came to see the spectacle. 

When the treaty of peace with Austria was signed, 
there arose a new difficulty ; the Sardinian Chamber of 
Deputies refused to approve it. Some of the deputies 
asked why they should be called upon either to accept or 
reject it, on which they were reminded of the 75,000,000 
francs indemnity, funds for the discharge of which could 
not be legally raised without a parliamentary vote. The 
reluctance to share in an odious though necessary re- 
sponsibility made these novices in representative gov- 
ernment anxious to throw away the greatest, if not the 
sole guarantee of constitutional freedom. Brofferio, by 
far the ablest man of the extreme radical party, who 
had opposed all peace proposals as long as Rome and 
Venice still resisted, now advised his friends to bow 
before the inevitable. But they did not comply, and 
the ministers had no other alternative than to resort to 
a fresh appeal to the country. 

The crisis was serious, because no amount of loyalty 
on the part of the head of the state can save liberty 
when the representatives of a nation, taking the bit 

i8o The Liberation of Italy 

between their teeth, set themselves deliberately to work 
to make government impossible. People are too fond 
of talking of liberty as if it were something locked up 
in a box which remains safe as long as the guardian 
of the box does not steal it or sell it Liberty is in 
the charge of all and at the mercy of all. There were 
not wanting persons who blamed the new dissolution 
as unconstitutional, and who called the proclamation of 
Moncalieri which announced it an act of despotism and 
of improper interference with the independence of the 
electors. It is hardly too much to say that it was this 
royal proclamation that saved Piedmont. The King 
appealed to Italy and to Europe for judgment on the 
conduct of the late Chamber. Having signed, he said, 
a 'not ruinous' treaty with Austria, which the honour 
of the country and the sanctity of his word required 
to be faithfully executed, the majority sought to make 
that execution legally impracticable. He continued : 
' I have promised to save the nation from the tyranny 
of parties, whatever be the name, scope and position of 
the men who constitute them. These promises I fulfil 
by dissolving a Chamber which had become impossible, 
and by convoking the immediate assemblage of another 
parliament ; but if the electors of the country deny me 
their help, not on me will fall henceforth the responsi- 
bility of the future ; and if disorders follow, let them 
complain, not of me, but of themselves. Never, up till 
now, has the House of Savoy had recourse in vain to 
the faithfulness, wisdom and honour of its peoples. I 
have therefore the right to trust in them on the present 
occasion, and to hold for certain that, united together, 
we shall save the constitution and the country from the 
dangers by which they are menaced.' 

The Proclamation produced a great effect, and the 

' y attends mon Astre ' 1 8 1 

parliament which met on the 20th of December con- 
tained a working majority of men who were not only 
patriotic, but who were also endowed with common sense. 
When the ratification of the peace came on for discussion, 
there was, indeed, one deputy who spoke in favour of 
immediate war, which, in a fortnight, was to effect the 
liberation, not only of Lombardy and Venetia, but also 
of Hungary, a speech worth recalling, as it shows how 
far madness will go. The debate concluded with a 
vote authorising the King's government to fully carry 
out the treaty of peace which was concluded at 
Milan on the 6th of August 1849, the ayes being 
137 against 17 noes. Piedmont had learnt the bitter 
but useful lesson, that if you play and lose, you must 
pay the cost. 

He who had played and lost his crown had already 
paid the last fee to fortune. Charles Albert was now 
a denizen of the Superga — of all kings' burial places, 
the most inspiring in its history, the most sublime in 
its situation. Here Victor Amadeus, as he looked down 
on the great French army which, for three months, had 
besieged his capital, vowed to erect a temple if it should 
please the Lord of Hosts to grant him and his people 
deliverance from the hands of the enemy. Five days 
later the French were in flight. All the Alps, from 
Mon Viso to the Simplon, all Piedmont, and beyond 
Piedmont, Italy to the Apennines, can be scanned from 
the church which fulfilled the royal vow. 

To the Superga the body of Charles Albert was 
brought from the place of exile. Before the coffin, his 
sword was carried ; after it, they led the war-horse he 
had ridden in all the battles. After the war - horse 
followed a great multitude. He had said truly that it 
was an opportune time for him to die. The pathos of 

1 82 The Liberation of Italy 

his end rekindled the affections of the people for the 

As in the Mosque of dead Sultans in Stamboul, so 
in the Mausoleum of the Superga, each sovereign occu- 
pied the post of honour only till the next one came to 
join him. But the post of honour remains, and will 
remain, to Charles Albert. His son lies elsewhere. 



Restoration of the Pope and Grand Duke of Tuscany — Misrule at Naples 
— The Struggle with the Church in Piedmont — The Crimean War. 

The decade from 1849 to 1859 may seem, at first sight, 
to resemble an interregnum, but it was an evolution. 
There is no pause in the life of nations any more than 
in the life of individuals : they go forward or they go 
backward. In these ten years Piedmont went forward; 
the other Italian governments did not stand still, they 
went backward. The diseases from which they suffered 
gained daily upon the whole body-politic, and even those 
clever foreign doctors who had been the most convinced 
that this or that remedy would set them on their feet, 
were in the end persuaded that there was only one place 
for them — the Hospital for Incurables. After the fall 
of Rome, Pius IX. issued a sort of canticle from Gaeta, 
in which he thanked the Lord at whose bidding the 
stormy ocean had been arrested, but he did not even so 
much as say thank you to the French, without whom, 
nevertheless, the stormy ocean would have proceeded 
on its way. To all suggestions from Paris that now 
that victory had been won by force the time was come 
for the Sovereign to give some guarantee that it would 
not be abused, the Pope turned a completely deaf ear. 


184 The Liberation of Italy 

' The Pope,' said M. Drouyn de Lhuys to the Nuncio in 
Paris, ' prefers to return to Rome upon the dead bodies 
of his subjects rather than amidst the applause which 
would have greeted him had he taken our advice.' That 
advice referred in particular to the secularisation of the 
public administration, and this was exactly what the Pope 
and the ex-Liberal Cardinal Antonelli, now and hence- 
forth his most influential counsellor, were determined 
not to concede. They had grown wise in their genera- 
tion, for a priest whose ministers are laymen is as much 
an anomaly as a layman whose ministers are priests. 
The French government desired that the Statute should 
be maintained, and demanded judicial reforms and an 
amnesty for political offenders. None of these points 
was accepted except the last, and that only nominally, 
as the amnesty of the i8th of September did not put 
a stop to proscriptions and vindictive measures. Count 
Mamiani, whose stainless character was venerated in all 
Italy, and who had devoted all his energies to the attempt 
to save the Papal government after the Pope's flight, 
was ruthlessly excluded, and so were many other persons 
who, though liberal-minded, had shown signal devotion 
to the Holy See. All sorts of means were used to 
serve the ends of vengeance ; for instance, Alessandro 
Calandrelli, a Roman of high reputation, who held office 
under the republic, was condemned to death for high 
treason, and to twenty years at the galleys, on a trumped- 
up charge of theft, which was palpably absurd ; but the 
Pope, while quashing the first sentence, confirmed the 
second, and Calandrelli would have remained in prison 
till the year of grace 1870, as many others did, but for 
the chance circumstance that his father had been a friend 
of the King of Prussia, who took up his cause so warmly 
that after two years he was let out and sent to Berlin 

The Revival of Piedmont 185 

where the King and A. von Humboldt received him with 
open arms. 

These were the auspices under which Pius IX. re- 
turned to Rome after seventeen months' absence. A 
four-fold invasion restored the Temporal Power, which 
F^nelon said was the root of all evil to the Church, but 
which, according to Pius IX., was necessary to the 
preservation of the Catholic religion. The re-established 
regime was characterised by Lord Clarendon at the Con- 
gress of Paris as ' the opprobrium of Europe.' The Pope 
tried to compensate for his real want of independence 
(for a prince who could not stand a day without foreign 
bayonets, whatever else he was, was not independent) 
by laughing at the entreaties of France to relieve that 
advanced nation from the annoyance of having set up 
a government fit for the Middle Ages. He rated at its 
correct value the support of Napoleon, and believing it 
to be purely interested, he believed in its permanence. 
The President had thought of nothing in the world but 
votes, and he thought of them still. The Roman Ex- 
pedition secured him the services of M. de Falloux as 
minister, and won over to him the entire Clerical 
Party, including Montalembert and the so-called Liberal 
Catholics. ThuSj and thus only, was the leap from the 
Presidental chair to the Imperial throne made possible. 
The result was flattering, but still there are reasons to 
think (apart from Prince J6r6me Napoleon's express 
statement to that effect) that Napoleon III. hated the 
whole business from the bottom of his soul, and that of 
his not few questionable acts, this was the only one of 
which he felt lastingly ashamed. Seeing that the com- 
munications of his ministers failed in their object, he 
tried the expedient of writing a private letter to his 
friend Edgar Ney, couched in the strongest terms of 

1 86 The Liberation of Italy 

disapproval of the recalcitrant attitude of the Papal 
Government This letter was published as it was in- 
tended to be, but in the Roman States, except that its 
circulation was forbidden, no notice was taken of it. 
Though the incident may be regarded as a stroke of 
facing-both-ways policy, the anger expressed was pro- 
bably as sincere as any of Napoleon's sentiments could 
be, and the letter had the effect of awakening the idea 
in many minds that something of the former Italian 
conspirator still existed in the ruler of France. The 
question arose. What sort of pressure would be needed 
to turn that germ to account for Italy ? 

In the kingdom of Naples, where the laws, to look at 
them on paper, were incomparably better than those in force 
in the Roman States, the administration was such as would 
have disgraced a remote province of the Turkish Empire. 
The King's naturally suspicious temperament was worked 
upon by his courtiers and priests till he came to detect in 
every Liberal a personal antagonist, whose immunity from 
harm was incompatible with his own, and in Liberalism 
a plague dangerous to society, which must be stamped 
out at all costs. Over 800 Liberals were sent to the 
galleys. The convictions were obtained, in a great pro- 
portion of cases, by false testimony. Bribes and secret 
protection in high quarters were the only means by 
which an innocent man could hope to escape ; 50^00 
persons were under police supervision, to be imprisoned 
at will. The police often refused to set at liberty those 
whom the judges had acquitted. The government had a 
Turkish or Russian fear of printed matter. A wretched 
barber was fined 1000 ducats for having in his posses- 
sion a volume of Leopardi's poems, which was described 
as 'contrary to religion and morals.' 

What was meant by being an inmate of a Neapolitan 

The Revival of Piedmont 1 87 

prison was told by Mr Gladstone in his two ' Letters to 
the Earl of Aberdeen,' which the latter sent to Prince 
Schwarzenberg, the Austrian Prime Minister, with a 
strong appeal to him to make known their contents to 
the King of the Two Sicilies, and to use his influence 
in procuring a mitigation of the abuses complained of. 
Prince Schwarzenberg did nothing, and it was then that 
the 'Letters' were published. The impression created 
on public opinion was almost without a parallel. The 
celebrated phrase, ' The negation of God erected into a 
system of government,' passing into currency as a short 
history of Bourbon rule at Naples, kept alive the wrath- 
ful feelings which the ' Letters ' aroused, even when these 
ceased to be read. Some small errors of fact (such as 
that of stating that all the prisoners were chained, whereas 
an exception was made of those undergoing life sentences) 
were magnified by the partisans of Ferdinand 1 1. ; but the 
truth of the picture as a whole was amply confirmed from 
independent sources. Baron Carlo Poerio (condemned 
to nineteen years' imprisonment) was chained to a com- 
mon malefactor, the chain never being undone, and pro- 
ducing in the end a disease of the bone from which he 
never recovered. His case was that of all the political 
prisoners in the same category with himself. Luigi 
Settembrini and the others on whom sentence of death 
had been passed, but commuted into one of life im- 
prisonment, were not chained, but they were put to 
associate with the worst thieves and assassins, while their 
material surroundings accorded with the moral atmo- 
sphere they were forced to breathe. 

The Neapolitan prisoners did more than suffer for 
freedom ; they delivered the name of their country from 
being a reproach among the nations. They showed what 
men the South of Italy can produce. Those who wish to 

1 88 The Liberation of Italy 

know what types of probity, honour and ideal patriotism 
may grow out of that soil, which is sometimes charged 
with yielding only the rank weeds planted by despotism, 
may read the letters and memoirs of the noble Poerios, of 
Settembrini, gentlest but most fearless of human souls, 
of the Calabrian Morellis, all patriots and martyrs ; of the 
Duke Sigismondo Castromediano, who lately, in his old 
age, has set down a few recollections of the years he spent 
at the Neapolitan galleys. He records in these notes what 
he calls the most perilous moment in his life. It was 
when he was summoned, with six fellow-prisoners who 
had asked for and obtained freedom, to hear, as he feared, 
his own pardon pronounced. For pardon was equivalent 
to dishonour ; it was granted either in consequence of 
real submission and retraction, or in order to be able to 
blacken the character of the pardoned man by falsely as- 
serting that such submission had been made. His fear 
was groundless. He had been led out, perhaps, in the 
hope that the example of the others would prove con- 
tagious. He was not pardoned. As he returned to his 
prison, he thanked Divine Providence for the chains which 
left him pure. 

Strange to tell, Ferdinand H. rendered one consider- 
able service to the national cause ; not that he saw it 
in that light, but the service was none the less real 
because its motive was a narrow one. Austria proposed 
a defensive league between the Italian Sovereigns : de- 
fensive not only with the view to outward attack, but 
also and chiefly against 'internal disorder.' Piedmont 
was to be invited to join as soon as she had renounced 
her constitutional sins, which it was sanguinely ex- 
pected she would do before very long. Meanwhile Parma, 
Modena, Tuscany and Rome embraced the idea with 
enthusiasm, but the King of the Two Sicilies, who dimly 

The Revival of Piedmont 189 

saw in it an opening for interference in his own peculiar 
governmental ways, boldly declined to have anything to 
do with it. And so, to Prince Schwarzenberg's serious 
disappointment, the scheme by which he had hoped to 
create an absolutist Italian federation, came to an un- 
timely end. 

The Grand Duke of Tuscany timidly inquired of the 
Austrian premier if he might renew the constitutional 
rigime in his state. Schwarzenberg replied with the 
artful suggestion that he should hear what the Dukes of 
Modena and Parma, the Pope, and King Ferdinand had 
to say on the subject. Their advice was unanimously 
negative : Cardinal Antonelli going so far as to declare 
that Constitutionalism in Tuscany would be regarded 
as a constant menace and danger to the States of the 
Church. The different counsels of Piedmont, conveyed 
by Count Balbo, weighed little against so imposing an 
array of opinion, backed as it was by the Power which 
still stabled its horses in the Convent of San Marco. 
The Tuscan Statute was formally suspended in September 

From that day forth, Tuscany sank lower and lower 
in the slough. To please the Pope, havoc was made of the 
Leopoldine laws — named after the son of Maria Theresa, 
the wise Grand Duke Leopold I. — laws by which a 
bridle was put on the power and extension of the Church. 
The prosecution and imprisonment of a Protestant couple 
who were accused of wishing to make proselytes, pro- 
claimed the depth of intolerance into which what was 
once the freest and best-ordered government in Italy 
had descended. 

The ecclesiastical question became the true test ques- 
tion in Piedmont as well as id Tuscany, but there it had 
another issue. 

I90 The Liberation of Italy 

It had also a different basis. In Piedmont there were 
no Leopoldine laws to destroy ; what was necessary was 
to create them. To privileges dating from the Middle 
Ages which in the kingdom of Sardinia almost alone 
had been restored without curtailment after the storm 
of the French Revolution, were added the favours, the 
vast wealth, the preponderating influence acquired during 
Charles Felix' reign, and the first seventeen years of 
that of Charles Albert Theoretically, the Statute swept 
away all privileges of classes and sects, and made citizens 
equal before the law, but to put this theory into practice 
further legislation was needed, because, as a matter of 
fact, the clergy preserved their immunities untouched 
and showed not the slightest disposition to yield one 
jot of them. The Piedmontese clergy, more numerous 
in proportion to the population than in any state 
except Rome, were more intransigent than any ecclesi- 
astical body in the world. The Italian priest of old 
days, whatever else might be said about him, was rarely 
a fanatic. The very nickname ' Ultramontane ' given 
by Italians to the religious extremists north of the 
Alps, shows how foreign such excesses were to their own 
temperaments. But the Ultramontane spirit had already 
invaded Piedmont, and was embraced by its clergy with 
all the zeal of converts. There was still a Foro Ecclesi- 
astico for the arraignment of religious offenders, and this 
was one of the first privileges against which Massimo 
d'Azeglio lifted his ' sacrilegious ' hand. To go through 
all the list would be tedious, and would demand more 
explanation regarding the local modes of acquisition and 
tenure of religious property than would be interesting 
now. The object of the Siccardi laws, as they were 
named after the Minister of Grace and Justice who 
introduced them, and of the stronger measures to which 

The Revival of Piedmont 191 

they led up, was to make the priest amenable to the 
common law of the land in all except that which referred 
to his spiritual functions ; to put a limit on the amass- 
ment of wealth by religious corporations ; to check the 
multiplication of convents and the multiplication of feast 
days, both of which encouraged the people in sloth and 
idleness ; to withdraw education from the sole control of 
ecclesiastics ; and finally, to authorise civil marriage, but 
without making it compulsory. The programme was large, 
and it took years to carry it out. The Vatican contended 
that it was contrary to the Concordat which existed be- 
tween the Holy See and the Court of Sardinia. Massimo 
d'Azeglio replied that the maintenance of the Concordat, 
in all its parts, meant the ruin of the state ; that he had 
tried every means of conciliation, made every effort to- 
wards arriving at a compromise, and that since his en- 
deavours had failed in consequence of the refusal of the 
Vatican to abate pretensions which it neither could nor 
did enforce in Austria, Naples or Spain, heaven and the 
world must judge between Rome and Piedmont, between 
Cardinal Antonelli and himself. 

The struggle throughout was bitter in the extreme, 
but its most striking incident was the denial of the last 
Sacraments to a member of the Government, the Minister 
of Agriculture, Santa Rosa, who happened to die soon 
after the passing of the Act abolishing the Foro Ecclesi- 
astico. Santa Rosa was a sincerely religious man, but 
he resisted all the attempts of the priest to extort a 
retractation, and died unabsolved rather than leave a 
dishonoured name to his children. 

The popular indignation excited by this incident 
was in proportion with the importance attached to out- 
ward observances of religion in Catholic countries; the 
government had to protect the Archbishop of Turin 

192 The Liberation of Italy 

from violence, while, at the same time, they sent him 
for a month to the Citadel for having forbidden his 
clergy to obey the law on the Foro Ecclesiastico. He 
and one or two of the other bishops were afterwards 
expelled from the kingdom. An unwelcome necessity, 
but whose was the fault ? In other countries, where the 
privileges claimed by the Piedmontese clergy had been 
abolished for centuries, did the bishops dictate revolt 
against the law? If not, why should they do so in 
Piedmont ? 

The successor of Santa Rosa in the ministry was Count 
Cavour, who thus in 1850 for the first time became an 
oiiBcial servant of the state. When D'Azeglio submitted 
the appointment to the King, Victor Emmanuel re- 
marked that, though he did not object to it in the least, 
they had better take care, as this man would turn them 
all out before long. This man was, in fact, to stand at 
the helm of Piedmont, with short intervals, till he died, 
and was to carve out from the block of formless marble, 
not the Italy of sublime dreams, which, owing her de- 
liverance to her sons alone, should arise immaculate from 
the grave a Messiah among the nations, but the actual 
Italy which has been accomplished ; imperfect and 
peccable as human things mostly are, belonging rather 
to prose than to poetry, to matter than to spirit, but, for 
all that, an Italy which is one and is free. 

Fifty years ago a great English writer pointed out 
what the real Italy would be, if it were to be ; ' The 
prosperity of nations as of individuals,' wrote Mr Ruskin 
in one of his earliest papers, ' is cold and hard-hearted 
and forgetful. The dead lie, indeed, trampled down 
by the living; the place thereof shall know them no 
more, for that place is not in the hearts of the survivors, 
for whose interest they have made way. But adversity 

CaiAJiT (. fii-'-ouj: 

The Revival of Piedmont 193 

and ruin point to the sepulchre, and it is not trodden 
on ; to the chronicle, and it does not decay. Who would 
substitute the rush of a new nation, the struggle of an 
awakening power, for the dreamy sleep of Italy's deso- 
lation, for the sweet silence of melancholy thought, her 
twilight time of everlasting memories ? ' 

There is the case, stated with beautiful lucidity, ot 
the somewhat ghoulish dilettantism which, enjoying 
tombs, would condemn all mankind to breathe their 
atmosphere. It is not, however, in order to discuss that 
view that the passage is quoted, but because of its 
relevancy to what Cavour attempted and what he did. 
Never was there a mind which cherished fewer illusions. 
He believed that the pursuit of the unattainable was still 
more a political crime than a political blunder. He was, 
in this, what is now called an opportunist, and he was 
also an opportunist in believing that though in politics 
you can choose your aim, you can very rarely choose 
your means. He held (and this was the reason that 
he was so profoundly hated by men of very different 
parties) that to accomplish great changes you have to 
make sacrifices, not only of the higher sort, but, in a 
certain sense, also of the lower. As he thought that the 
Austrians could not be expelled from Italy for good 
and all without foreign help, he contemplated from the 
first securing that foreign help, though no one would 
have been more glad than he to do without it. He 
thought that Italian freedom could not be won without 
a closer alliance with the democratic party than poli- 
ticians like D'Azeglio, who had the fear of the ermine, 
of tarnishing its whiteness, would have ever brought 
themselves to acquiesce in, and he therefore immediately 
took steps to establish that alliance. Cavour had no 
faith in the creation of ideally perfect states, such as the 


194 T^^ Liberation of Italy 

Monarchy of Dante or the Republic of Mazzini, but he 
did think that a living land was better than a dead one, 
that the struggle of an awakening power, the rush of a 
new nation, was infinitely to be preferred to the desola- 
tion of dreamy sleeps, sweet silences, and everlasting 
memories that spelt regrets. 

It may be possible now to see clearly that if no one 
had tried for the unattainable, Cavour would not have 
found the ground prepared for his work. The apprecia- 
tion of his rank among Italian liberators rests on a 
different point, and it is this : without a man of his 
positive mould, of his practical genius, of his force of 
will and force of patience, would the era of splendid 
endeavours have passed into the era of accomplished 
facts ? If the answer to this is ' No,' then nothing can 
take from Cavour the glory of having conferred an 
incalculable boon on the country which he loved with a 
love that was not the less strong because it lacked the 
divinising qualities of imagination. 

An aristocrat by birth and the inheritor of consider- 
able wealth, Cavour was singularly free from prejudices • 
his favourite study was political economy, and in quiet 
times he would probably have given all his energies to 
the interests of commerce and agriculture. He was an 
advocate of free trade, and was, perhaps, the only one 
of the many Italians who fited Mr Cobden on his visit 
to Italy who cared in the least for the motive of his 
campaign. Cavour understood English politics better 
than they have ever been understood by a foreign states- 
man ; his article on Ireland, written in 1843, may still 
be read with profit. Before parliamentary life existed 
in Piedmont, he took the only way open of influencing 
public opinion by founding a newspaper, the Risorgimento, 
in which he continued to write for several years. In 

The Revival of Piedmont 195 

the Chamber of Deputies he soon made his power felt 
— power is the word, for he was no orator in the ordinary 
sense ; his speeches read well, as hard hitting and logical 
expositions, but they were not well delivered. Cavour 
never spoke Italian with true grace and ease though 
he selected it for his speeches, and not French, which 
was also allowed and which he spoke admirably. His 
presence, too, did not lend itself to oratory ; short and 
thickset, and careless in his dress, he formed a con- 
trast to the romantic figure of D'Azeglio. Yet his 
prosaic face, when animated, gave an impressive sense 
of that attribute which seemed to emanate from the 
whole man : power. 

It needed a more wary hand than D'Azeglio's to 
steer out of the troubled waters caused by the ecclesi- 
astical bills, and to put the final touches to the legis- 
lation which he, to his lasting honour be it said, had 
courageously and successfully initiated. In the autumn 
of 1852 D'Azeglio resigned, and Cavour was requested 
by the King to form a ministry. He was to remain, 
with short breaks, at the head of public affairs for the 
nine following years. 

At this time the government of Lombardy and 
Venetia was vested in Field - Marshal Radetsky, with 
two lieutenant-governors under him, who only executed 
his orders. Radetsky resided at Verona. Politically and 
economically the two provinces were then undergoing 
an extremity of misery ; the diseases of the vines and 
the silkworms had reached the point of causing absolute 
ruin to the great mass of proprietors who, reckoning 
on having always enough to live on, had not laid by. 
Many noble families sank to the condition of peasants. 
The taxation was heavier than in any other part of 
the Austrian Empire; in proof of which it may be 

196 The Liberation of Italy 

mentioned that Lombardy paid 80,000,000 francs into 
the Austrian treasury, which, had the Empire been 
taxed equally, would have given an annual total of 
1,100,000,000, whereas the revenue amounted to only 
736,000,000. The land tax was almost double what 
it was in the German provinces. Italians, however, 
have a great capacity for supporting such burdens 
with patience, and it is doubtful whether the 
material aspect of the case did much to increase 
their hatred of foreign dominion. Its moral aspect 
grew daily worse ; the terror became chronic. The 
possession of a sheet of printed paper issued by 
the revolutionary press at Capolago, on the lake of 
Lugano, was enough to send a man to the gallows. 
These old, badly printed leaflets, with no name of 
author or publisher attached, but chiefly written in the 
unmistakable style of Mazzini, can still be picked up 
in the little booksellers' shops in Canton Ticino, 
and it is difficult to look at them without emotion. 
What hopes were carried by them. What risks were 
run in passing them from hand to hand. Of what 
tragedies were they not the cause! In August 1851, 
Antonio Sciesa, of Milan, was shot for having one 
such leaflet on his person. The gendarmes led him 
past his own house, hoping that the sight of it would 
weaken his nerve, and make him accept the clemency 
which was eagerly proffered if he would reveal the 
names of others engaged in the patriotic propaganda. 
' Tiremm innanz ! ' (' come along ') he said, in his rough 
Milanese dialect, and marched incorruptible to death. 
On a similar charge, Dottesio and Grioli, the latter a 
priest, suffered in the same year, and early in 1852 
the long trial was begun at Mantua of about fifty 
patriots whose names had been obtained by the aid 

The Revival of Piedmont 197 

of the bastinado from one or two unhappy wretches 
who had not the fortitude to endure. Of these fifty, 
nine were executed, among whom were the priests 
Grazioli and Tazzoli, Count Montanari of Verona, and 
Tito Speri, the young hero of the defence of Brescia. 
Speri had a trifling part in the propaganda, but the 
remembrance of his conduct in 1849 ensured his con- 
demnation. He was deeply attached to the religion 
in which he was born, and his last letters show the 
fervour of a Christian joined to the calmness of a stoic. 
If he had a regret, it was that he had been unable 
to do more for his country; but here too his simple 
faith sustained him. Surely the Giver of all good 
would not refuse to listen to the prayers of the soul 
which passed to Him through martyrdom. ' To-morrow 
they lead me forth,' he wrote. ' I have done with this 
world, but, in the bosom of God, I promise you I will do 
what I can.' So did this clear and childlike spirit carry 
its cause from the Austrian Assizes to a higher tribunal. 

In the spring of 1853 there was an attempt at a rising 
in Milan from which the mass of the citizens stood aloof, 
if they even knew of it till it was over ; an attempt ill- 
considered and not easily justified from any point of 
view, the blame for which has been generally cast on 
Mazzini ; but though he knew of it, he was unwilling 
that its authors should choose the time and mode of 
action which they chose. He was, moreover, misin- 
formed as to the extent of the preparations, since no 
Milanese of any standing gave his support to the plan. 

On the plea that the Lombard emigration was con- 
cerned in the abortive movement, which was by no means 
consistent with facts, the Austrian Government sequestered 
the landed property of the exiles and voluntary emi- 
grants, reducing them and their families (which in most 

igS The Liberation of Italy 

instances remained behind) to complete beggary. Nine 
hundred and seventy-eight estates were placed under 
sequestration. The Court of Sardinia held the measure 
to be a violation of the amnesty, which was one of the 
conditions of the peace of 1850. The Sardinian Minister 
was recalled from Vienna, and the relations between the 
two governments were once more on a footing of open 

Not less important was the moral effect of the seques- 
trations in France and England, but particularly in 
England. They acted as the last straw, coming as they 
did on the top of the flogging system which had already 
enraged the English public mind to the highest degree. 
The Prince Consort wrote in March to his brother : ' To 
give you a conception of the maxims of justice and policy 
which Austria has been lately developing, I enclose an 
extract of a report from Turin which treats of the decrees 
of confiscation in Italy. People here will be very in- 
dignant.' He goes on to say (somewhat too broadly) 
that the English upper classes were till then thoroughly 
Austrian, but that she had succeeded in turning the 
whole of England against her, and there was now no one 
left to defend her. 

Austria, through Count Buol, complained that she was 
' dying of legality,' but England took the Sardinian view 
that the sequestrations directly violated the treaty be- 
tween the two Powers. In the Austrian Note of the 9th 
of March, it was distinctly declared that Piedmont would 
be crushed if she did not perform the part of police-agent 
to Austria. Cavour's uncowed attitude at this crisis was 
what first fixed upon him the eyes of European diplomacy. 

In the course of the summer, the Duke of Genoa, 
Victor Emmanuel's brother, paid a visit to the English 
Court, where the Duke of Saxe-Coburg was also staying, 

The Revival of Piedmont 199 

by whom he was described as ' one of the cleverest and 
most amiable men of our time.' Sunny Italy, adds Duke 
Ernest, seemed to have sent him to England so that by 
his mere presence alone, in the prime of his age, he might 
make propaganda for the cause of his country. The 
Queen presented her guest with a handsome riding-horse, 
and when he thanked her in warm and feeling terms, 
she spoke the memorable words, the effect of which 
spoken at that date by the Queen of England can hardly 
be imagined : ' I hope you will ride this horse when the 
battles are fought for the liberation of Italy.' 

The battle-day was indeed to come, but when it 
came the sword which the young Duke wielded with 
such gallantry in the siege of Peschiera would be 
sheathed for ever. The Prince Charming of Casa Savoia 
died in February 1855, leaving a daughter to Italy, the 
beloved Queen Margaret. 

In the space of a few weeks, Victor Emmanuel lost 
his brother, his mother, and his wife. The King, who 
felt keenly when he did feel, was driven distraught with 
grief ; no circumstance was wanting which could sharpen 
the edge of his sorrow. The two Queens, both Austrian 
princesses, had never interfered in foreign politics ; what 
they suffered they suffered in silence. But they were 
greatly influenced by the ministers of the religion which had 
been a comfort of their not too happy lives, and they had 
frequently told Victor Emmanuel that they would die 
of grief if the anti-papal policy of his government were 
persisted in. Now that they were dead, every partisan 
of the Church declared, without a shadow of reticence, 
that the mourning in which the House of Savoy was 
plunged was a clear manifestation of Divine wrath. Victor 
Emmanuel had been brought up in superstitious surround- 
ings ; it was hardly possible that he should listen to these 

200 The Liberation of Italy 

things altogether unmoved. But on this as on the 
other occasions in his life when he was to be threatened 
with ghostly terrors, he did not belie the name of ' Re 
Galantuomo,' which he had written down as his pro- 
fession when filling up the papers of the first census 
taken after his accession — a jest that gave him the title 
he will ever be known by. Harassed and tormented 
as the King was, when the law on religious corporations 
had been voted by the Senate and the Chamber, and 
was presented to him by Cavour for signature, he did 
his duty and signed it. The commentary which came 
from the Vatican was the decree of major excommunica- 
tion promulgated in the Consistory of the 27th of July 
against all who had approved or sanctioned the measure, 
or who were concerned in putting it into execution. 

The law was known as the ' Rattazziana,' from 
Urbano Rattazzi, whom Cavour appointed Minister of 
Grace and Justice, thereby effecting a coalition between 
the Right Centre, which he led himself, and the Left 
Centre, which was led by Rattazzi ; an alliance not 
pleasing to the Pure Right or to the Advanced Left, 
but necessary to give the Prime Minister sufficient 
strength to command the respect, both at home and 
abroad, which can only be won by a statesman who is 
not afraid of being overturned by every whiff of the 
parliamentary wind. The ' Legge Rattazziana ' certainly 
aimed at asserting the supremacy of the state, but in 
substance it was an arrangement for raising the stipend 
of the poorer clergy at the expense of the richer benefices 
and corporations, and save for the bitter animosity of 
Rome, it would not have excited the degree of anger 
that descended upon its promoters. In a country where 
the Church had a rental ot 15,000,000 francs, there 
were many parish priests who had not an income of ;^20 ; 

The Revival of Piedmont 201 

a state of things seen to be anomalous by the best 
ecclesiastics themselves, but their eiiforts at conciliation 
failed because the Holy See would not recognise the 
right of the civil authority to interfere in any question 
affecting the status or property of the clergy, and this 
right was the real point at issue. 

In these days, Cavour came to an understanding with 
a friendly monk in order that when his last hour arrived, 
he should not, like Santa Rosa, go unshriven to his 
account. In 1861, Fra Giacomo performed his part in 
the agreement, and was duly punished for having saved 
his Church from a scandal which, from the position of the 
great minister, would have reached European dimensions. 

Cavour's work of bringing into order the Sardinian 
finances, which, from the flourishing state they had 
attained prior to 1848, had fallen into what appeared the 
hopeless confusion of a large and steadily increasing deficit, 
is not to the ordinary observer his most brilliant achieve- 
ment, but it is possibly the one for which he deserves praise. It could not have been carried through 
except by a statesman who was completely indifferent to 
the applause of the hour. During all the earlier years 
that he held office, Cavour was extraordinarily unpopular. 
The nickname of ' la bestia neira ' conferred on him by 
Victor Emmanuel referred to the opinion entertained of 
him by the Clerical party, but he was almost as much a 
' bestia neira ' to a large portion of the Liberals as to the 
Clericals or to the old Piedmontese party. His house 
was attacked by the mob in 1853, and had not his ser- 
vants barred the entrance, something serious might have 
occurred. Happily the King and the majority in the 
Chamber and in the country had, if not much love for 
Cavour, a profound conviction that he could not be done 
without, and that, consequently, he must be allowed to 

202 The Liberation of Italy 

do what he liked. Thus the large sacrifices he demanded 
of the taxpayers were regularly voted, and Cavour could 
afford to despise the abuse heaped upon himself since he 
saw his policy advancing to maturity along a steady line 
of success. 

When, in 1854, Cavour resolved that Piedmont should 
join France and England in the coming war with Russia, 
it seemed to a large number of his countrymen that he 
had taken leave of his senses, but the firm support which 
in this instance he found in the King enabled him next 
year to equip and despatch the contingent, 15,000 strong, 
commanded by General La Marmora, which not only won 
the respect of friends and foes in the field, but offered an 
example of efficiency in all departments that compared 
favourably with the faulty organisation of the great armies 
beside which it fought. Its gallant conduct at the battle 
of the Tchernaja flattered the native pride, and when, 
in due time, 12,000 returned of the 15,000 that had gone 
forth, the increased credit of Piedmont in Europe was 
already felt to compensate for the heavy cost of the 

Among the Italians living abroad, Cavour's motives 
in taking part in the Crimean War were, from the first, 
better understood than they were at home. Piedmont, by 
qualifying for the part of Italian advocate in the Councils 
of Europe, gave a guarantee of good faith which patriots 
like Daniel Manin and Giorgio Pallavicini accepted as 
a happy promise for the future. It was then that a large 
section of the republican party frankly embraced the 
programme of Italian unity under Victor Emmanuel. 
They foresaw that a repetition of the discordant action of 
1848 would end in the same way. Manin wrote to 
Lorenzo Valerio in September 1855: 'I, who am a 
republican, plant the banner of unification ; let all who 

The Revival of Piedmont 203 

desire that Italy should exist, rally round it, and Italy 
will exist.' The ex-dictator of Venice was eking out a 
scanty livelihood by giving lessons in Paris ; he had only 
three years left to live, and was not destined to see his 
words verified. But, poor and sick and obscure though 
he was, his support was worth kgions. 

It was not the first time that Italian republicans had 
said to the House of Savoy : If you will free Italy we are 
with you ; but the circumstances of the case were com- 
pletely changed since Mazzini wrote in somewhat the 
same language to Charles Albert a quarter of a century 
before. Both times the proposal contained an ultimatum 
as well as an offer, but Manin made it without second 
thoughts in the strongest hope that the pact would be 
accepted and full of anticipatory joy at the prospect of 
its success ; while by the Genoese republican it was 
made in mistrust and in the knowledge that were it 
accepted (which he did not believe), its acceptance, 
though bringing with it for Italy a state of things which 
he recognised as preferable to that which prevailed, 
would bring to him personally nothing but disappoint- 
ment and the forfeiture of his dearest wishes. 

It is difficult to say what were at this date Cavour's 
own private sentiments about Italian unity. Though he 
once confessed that as a young man he had fancied him- 
self Prime Minister of Italy, whenever the subject was 
now discussed he disclaimed any belief in the feasibility 
of uniting all parts of the peninsula in one whole. He 
even called Manin ' a very good man, but mad about 
Italian unification.' It wanted, in truth, the prescience 
of the seer rather than the acumen of the politician to 
discern the unity of Italy in 1855. All outward facts 
seemed more adverse to its accomplishment than at any 
period since 181 5. Yet it was for Italy that Cavour 

204 The Liberation of Italy 

always pleaded ; Italy, and not Piedmont or even 
Lombardy and Venetia. He invariably asserted the 
right of his King to uphold the cause of all the popu- 
lations from the Alps to the Straits of Messina. If he 
adopted the proverb ' Chi va piano va sano,' he kept in 
view the end of it, ' Chi va sano va lontano.' In short, if 
he did not believe in Italian unity, he acted in the same 
way as he would have acted had he believed in it. 

It is evident that one thing he could not do. What- 
ever was in his thoughts, unless he was prepared to 
retire into private life then and there, he could not 
proclaim from the house-tops that he espoused the 
artichoke theory attributed to Victor Amadeus. There 
were only too many old diplomatists as it was, who 
sought to cripple Cavour's resources by reviving that 
story. The time was not come when, without 
manifest damage to the cause, he could plead guilty 
to the charge of preparing an Italian crown for his 
Sovereign. ' The rule in politics,' Cavour once observed, 
' is to be as moderate in language as you are resolute 
in act.' 

At the end of 1855, Victor Emmanuel, with Cavour 
and Massimo d'Azeglio, paid a visit to the French and 
English Courts. He was received with more marked 
cordiality at the English Court than at the French. 
No Prince Charming, indeed, but the ideal of a bluff 
and burly Longobard chief, he managed to win the 
good graces of his entertainers, even if they thought 
him a trifle barbaric. The Duchess of Sutherland 
declared that of all the knights of St George whom 
she had ever seen, he was the only one who would 
have had the best of it in the fight with the dragon. 
The Queen rose at four o'clock in the morning to take 
leave of him. Cavour was so much struck by the interest 

The Revival of Piedmont 205 

which Her Majesty evinced in the efforts of Piedmont 
for constitutional freedom, that he did not hesitate to 
call her the best friend his country possessed in England. 

It is not generally known, but it is quite true, that 
Victor Emmanuel wished to contract a matrimonial 
alliance with the English royal family. He did not 
take Cavour into his confidence, but a high English 
personage was sounded on the matter, a hint being 
given to him to say nothing about it to the Count. 
The lady who might have become Queen of Italy was 
the Princess Mary of Cambridge. The negotiations 
were broken off because the young Princess would not 
hear of any marriage which would have required her 
living out of England. 

The Congress which met in Paris in February 1856 
for the conclusion of the peace between the Allies and 
Russia was to have far more momentous results for 
Italy than for the countries more immediately con- 
cerned in its discussions, but, contrary to the general 
impression, it does not appear that these results were 
anticipated by Cavour. He even said that it was idle 
for Sardinia to send delegates to a congress in which 
they would be treated like children. Cavour feared, 
perhaps, to lose the ground he had gained in the 
previous year with Napoleon III., when the Emperor's 
rather surprising question : ' Que peut-on faire pour 
ritalie?' had suggested to the Piedmontese statesman 
that definite scheme of a French alliance, which hence- 
forth he never let go. In any case, when D'Azeglio, 
who was appointed Sardinian representative, refused 
at the last moment to undertake a charge for which he 
knew he was not fitted, it was only at the urgent 
request of the King that Cavour consented to take 
his place. When once in Paris, however, he warmed 

2o6 The Liberation of Italy 

to the work, finding an unexpectedly strong ally in 
Lord Clarendon, He won what was considered in all 
Europe a great diplomatic triumph, by getting a special 
sitting assigned to the examination of Italian affairs, 
which had as little to do with the natural work of the 
Congress as the affairs of China. The chief points 
discussed at the secret sitting of the 8th of April were 
the foreign occupations in Central Italy, and the state 
of the Roman and Neapolitian governments, which was 
stigmatised by Lord Clarendon in terms much more 
severe than Cavour himself thought it prudent to use. 
Count Buol, the chief Austrian representative, grew 
very angry, and his opposition was successful in re- 
ducing the sitting to a mere conversation ; but what 
had been said had been said, and Cavour prepared 
the way for his future policy by remarking to every- 
one : ' You see that diplomacy can do nothing for us ; 
the question needs another solution.' Lord Clarendon's 
vigorous support made him think for a moment that 
England might take an active part in that other solu- 
tion, and with this idea in his mind he hurried over 
the Channel to see Lord Palmerston, but he left 
England convinced that nothing more than moral 
assistance was ever to be expected from that quarter. 
The Marquis Emmanuel d'Azeglio, who for many 
years represented Sardinia, and afterwards Italy, at 
the Court of St James, has placed it on record that 
the English Premier repeatedly assured him that an 
armed intervention on behalf of Italian freedom would 
have been much to his taste, but that the country would 
not have been with him. It is certain that Cavour 
would have preferred an English to a French alliance ; 
as it was not to be had, he reposed his sole hopes in 
the Emperor Napoleon, who had not the French people 

The Revival of Piedmont 207 

really more with him in this matter than Lord Palmerston 
had the English — nay, he had them less with him, for 
in England there would have been a party of Italian 
sympathisers favourable to the war, and in France, 
there was no one except Prince Napoleon and the 
workmen of Paris. But the French Emperor was a 
despotic sovereign, and not the Prime Minister of a 
self-governing country. After all, some good may 
come out of despotism. 

Upon Cavour's return to Turin, he received not only 
the approval of the King and Parliament, but also con- 
gratulations from all parts of Italy. His position had 
gained immensely in strength, both at home and abroad. 
Yet the power of the Clerical party in Piedmont was still 
such that, in the elections of 1857 — the first that had 
taken place since the legislation affecting the Church — 
they obtained seventy seats out of a total of two hundred. 
Cavour did not conceal his alarm. What if eight years' 
labour were thrown away, and the movement of the State 
turned backward ? ' Never,' he said, ' would he advise a 
coup d'itat, nor would his master resort to one ; but if 
the King abdicated, what then?' Victor Emmanuel 
said to his Prime Minister : ' Let us do our duty ; stand 
firm, and we shall see ! ' He often declared that, sooner 
than beat a retreat from the path he had entered on, he 
would go to America and become plain Monsii Savoia ; 
but he never lost faith in the predominating patriotism 
and good sense of his subjects ; and at this time, as at 
others, he proved to be right. The crisis was surmounted. 
On the one hand, some elections were invalidated where 
the priests had exercised undue influence ; and, on the 
other, Rattazzi, who was especially obnoxious to the 
Clerical party, retired from office. Cavour thus- found 
himself still able to command the Chamber. 



Pisacane's Landing — Orsini's Attempt — The Compact of Plombi^res — 
Cavour's Triumph. 

In spite of the accusation of favouring political assassin- 
ation which was frequently launched against the Italian 
secret societies, only one of the faithless Italian princes 
came to a violent death, and his murder had no connec- 
tion with politics. Charles III., Duke of Parma, was 
mortally stabbed in March 1854; some said that the 
assassin was a groom whom he had struck with a riding- 
whip ; others, that he was the father or brother of one 
of the victims of the Duke's dissolute habits. The 
Duchess, a daughter of the Duke de Berry, assumed the 
Regency on behalf of her son, who was a child. She 
began by initiating many reforms ; but a street disturb- 
ance in July gave Austria the desired excuse for 
meddling in the government, when all progress was, of 
course, arrested. 

In December 1856, a soldier named Agesilao Milano 
attempted to assassinate the King of the Two Sicilies 
at a review. He belonged to no sect, but he had long 
premeditated the act A few days later an earthquake 
occurred in the kingdom of Naples, by which over ten 
thousand persons lost their lives. Ferdinand II. grew 
morose, and shut himself up in the royal palace of 


Premonitions of the Storm 209 

Caserta. The constant lectures of France and England 
annoyed him without persuading him to take the means 
to put a stop to them. Not till 1859 did he open the 
doors of the prisons in which Poerio, Settembrini, Cas- 
tromediano and their companions were confined. Many- 
plans were made, meanwhile, for their liberation, and 
English friends even provided a ship by which they were 
to escape ; but the ship foundered : perhaps fortunately* 
as Garibaldi, with characteristic disinterestedness, had 
agreed to direct the enterprise, which could not have 
been otherwise than perilous, and was not unlikely to 
end in the loss of all concerned. 

Disaster attended Baron Bentivegna's attempt at a 
rising at Taormina in 1856, and Carlo Pisacane's landing 
at Sapri in the summer of the following year had no 
better result. Pisacane, a son of the Duke Gennaro di 
San Giovanni of Naples, had fought in the defence of 
Rome and was a firm adherent of Mazzini, in conjunc- 
tion with whom he planned his unlucky venture. Pisa- 
cane watched the growing ascendency of Piedmont with 
sorrow ; he was one of the few, if not the only one of 
his party to say that he would as soon have the dominion 
of Austria as that of the House of Savoy. But if he 
was an extremist in politics, none the less he was a 
patriot, who took his life in his hands and offered it 
up to his country in the spirit of the noblest devotion. 
He had the slenderest hope of success, but he believed 
that only by such failures could the people be roused from 
their apathy. ' For me,' he wrote, ' it will be victory 
even if I die on the scaffold. This is all I can do, and 
this I do; the rest depends on the country, not on me. 
I have only my affections and my life to give, and I 
give them without hesitation.' 

With the young Baron Nicotera and twenty-three 


2IO The Liberation of Italy 

others, Pisacane embarked on the Cagliari, a steamer 
belonging to a Sardinian mercantile line, which was 
bound for Tunis. When at sea, the captain was fright- 
ened into obedience, and the ship's course was directed 
to the isle of Ponza, where several hundred prisoners, 
mostly political, were undergoing their sentences. The 
guards made little resistance, and Pisacane opened the 
prisons, inviting who would to follow him. The first, 
plan had been to make a descent on San Stefano, the 
island where Settembrini was imprisoned, but that good 
citizen had refused to admit the liberation of the non- 
political prisoners, which was an unavoidable feature in 
the scheme. With the addition of about three hundred 
men, Pisacane left Ponza for the mainland and disem- 
barked near the village of Sapri, in the province of 
Salerno. From information received, he imagined that 
a revolutionary movement was on the point of break- 
ing out in that district. Nothing could be further from 
the fact. The country people did all the harm they 
could to the band, which, after making a brave stand 
against the local militia, was cut to pieces by the royal 
troops. Pisacane fell fighting ; those who were not 
killed were taken, and amongst these was Nicotera, 
who was kept in prison till set free by Garibaldi. 

The Cagliari was captured and detained with its crew. 
As two of the seamen were British subjects, the English 
Government joined Sardinia in demanding its restitu- 
tion, which, after long delays, was conceded. 

In 1857, the Emperor of Austria relieved Field- 
Marshal Radetsky, then in his ninety-third year, of the 
burden of office. He was given the right of living in 
any of the royal palaces, even in the Emperor's own 
residence at Vienna, but he preferred to spend the one 
remaining year of his life in Italy. At the same time 

Premonitions of the Storm 211 

the Archduke Maximih'an was appointed Viceroy of 
Lombardy and Venetia. A more naturally amiable and 
cultivated Prince never had the evil fate forced upon 
him of attempting impossible tasks. Just married to 
the lovely Princess Charlotte of Belgium, he came to 
Italy radiant with happiness, and wishing to make 
everyone as happy as he was himself. Not even the 
chilling welcome he received damped his enthusiasm, 
for he thought the aversion of the population depended 
on undoubted wrongs, which it was his full intention 
to redress. He was to learn two things; firstly, that 
the day of reconciliation was past : there were too 
many ghosts between the Lombards and Venetians, and 
the House of Hapsburg. Secondly, that an unseen hand 
beyond the Brenner would diligently thwart each one of 
his benevolent designs. The system was, and was to 
remain, unchanged. It was not carried out quite as it 
was carried out in the first years after 1849. The exiles 
were allowed to return and the sequestrations were re- 
voked. It should be said, because it shows the one 
white spot in Austrian despotism, its civil administra- 
tion, that on resuming their rights of ownership the 
proprietors found that their estates had not been badly 
managed. But the depressing and deadening influence 
of an anti-national rule continued unabated. Lombardy 
and Venetia were governed not from Milan, but from 
Vienna. Very small were the crumbs which the Viceroy 
obtained, though he went on a journey to Austria ex- 
pressly to plead for concessions. It is sad to think 
what an enlightened heir to the great Austrian empire 
was lost, when Napoleon III. and his own family sent 
Maximilian of Hapsburg to Queretaro. 

While Cavour had come to the conclusion that the 
aid which he believed essential for the expulsion ofthe 

212 The Liberation of Italy 

Austrians could only come from the French Emperor, 
this sovereign was regarded by a not inconsiderable 
party of Italians as the greatest, if not the sole, obstacle 
to their liberation. All those, in particular, who came 
in contact with the French exiles, were impressed by 
them with the notion that France, the real France, was 
only waiting for the disappearance of the Man of De- 
cember to throw herself into their arms. Among the 
Italians who held these opinions, there were a few with 
whom it became a fixed idea that the greatest service 
they could render their country was the removal of 
Napoleon from the political scene. They conceived and 
nourished the thought independently of one another ; 
they belonged to no league, but for that reason they 
were the more dangerous ; somewhere or other there 
was always someone planning to put an end to the 
Emperor's life. It is not worth while to pause to dis- 
cuss the ethics of political assassination ; civilisation has 
decided against it, and history proves its usual failure 
to promote the desired object. What benefit did the 
Confederate cause derive from the assassination of 
the good President Lincoln, or the cause of Russian 
liberty from that of Alexander II. ? What will Anarchy 
gain by the murder of Carnot? It is certain, however, 
that never were men more convinced that they were 
executing a wild kind of justice than were the men who 
plotted against Napoleon III. They looked upon him 
as one of themselves who had turned traitor. There is 
a great probability that, in his early days when he was 
playing at conspiracy in Italy, he was actually enrolled 
as a Carbonaro. At all events, he had conspired for 
Italian freedom, and afterwards, to serve his own selfish 
interests, he extinguished it in Rome. The temporal 
power of the Pope was kept alive through him. 

Premonitions of the Storm 213 

A true account of the attempts on Napoleon's life will 
never be written, because the only persons who were able 
and willing to throw light on the subject, ex-police agents 
and their kind, are authorities whose word is worth a very 
limited acceptance. It is pretty sure that there were more 
plots than the public ever knew of, and that in some cases 
the plotters were disposed of summarily. Most of them 
were poor, ignorant creatures, but in January 1858 an 
attempt was made by a man of an entirely different 
stamp, Felice Orsini. 

Born at Meldola in Romagna in 18 19, he was of the 
true Romagnol type in mind and body ; daring, resource- 
ful, intolerant of control. From his earliest youth all his 
actions had but one object, the liberation of his country 
His youthful brain was enilamed by Alfieri and Foscolo 
who remained his favourite authors. He hated Austria 
well, and he hated the Papal government as no one but 
one of its own subjects could hate it. ' When the French 
landed in Italy ' (he told his judges) ' it was hoped that 
they were come as friends, but they proved the worst of 
enemies. For a time they were repulsed, then they re- 
sumed the cloak of friendship, but only to wait for rein- 
forcements. When these arrived they returned to the 
assault, a thousand against ten, and we were judicially 
assassinated.' A succinct and true narrative. 

During the republic Orsini was sent to Ancona, 
where anarchy had broken out ; by vigorous measures he 
restored perfect order. In 1854 he was arrested in 
Hungary and condemned to death, but he escaped from 
Mantua under romantic circumstances and reached Eng- 
land, where the story of his audacious flight won for him 
many sympathisers. He was often seen in society. On 
one occasion he was asked to meet Prince Lucien 
Buonaparte. Orsini knew Mazzini, but he was impatient 

214 The Liberation of Italy 

of his mystical leanings, and he disapproved of such en- 
terprises as Pisacane's, by which, as he thought, twenty or 
thirty men were sacrificed here or there without anything 
coming of it. He finally repudiated Mazzini's leadership, 
and in March 1857 he wrote to Cavour, asking him for a 
passport to return to Italy, and placing at the disposal of 
the Sardinian government ' the courage and energy which 
it had pleased God to give him,' provided that govern- 
ment left wavering behind, and showed its unmistakable 
will to achieve the independence of Italy. Cavour sent 
no reply, ' because,' he said later, ' the letter was noble 
and energetic, and I should have had to pay Orsini com- 
pliments which I did not deem fitting.' Unlike Victor 
Emmanuel, who in after years carried on regular negotia- 
tions with Mazzini, Cavour, while ready to make an 
alliance with the Radicals in the Chamber, was extremely 
loth to have anything to do with actual revolutionists. 
His not answering Orsini's letter certainly led up to the 
attempt of the 14th of January 1858. 

Having quarrelled with Mazzini, and receiving no en- 
couragement from Cavour, Orsini evolved the plan which 
on that day he endeavoured to put into execution. He 
would have preferred to act alone, but since that was im- 
possible, he sought and found without much difficulty two 
or three accomplices. One of these, Fieri, a teacher of 
languages, was arrested by the police, who recognised 
him as an old conspirator, before he threw the bomb 
which he was carrying. The other bombs were thrown 
just as the carriage containing the Imperial party drove 
up to the opera house. A number of people in the street 
were killed or injured, but the Emperor and Empress 
escaped unhurt. When they entered the theatre the 
Rutli scene of the conspirators in Guillaume Tell was 
being performed. Not a breath of applause greeted them 

Premonitions of the Storm 215 

though everyone knew what had happened. Napoleon 
III. had a striking proof of how little hold he possessed 
on the afifections of his subjects. 

When at his trial Orsini was asked what he expected 
would happen if he had succeeded in killing the Emperor, 
he answered : ' We were convinced that the surest way 
of making a revolution in Italy was to excite one in 
France, and that the surest way of making a revolution 
in France was to kill the Emperor.' There is a good 
deal of curious evidence to show that very elaborate pre- 
parations had been made for a revolution in Paris. The 
French police had orders, however, to keep all this aspect 
of the affair out of sight. It was to be made to appear 
the isolated act of a misguided Italian patriot. 'The 
world possesses an Orsini legend,' writes the late Duke of 
Saxe-Coburg, who was present at the event, having been 
invited to join the Emperor at the opera, ' which is quite 
at variance with facts.' The duke clearly thinks that the 
conviction of the instability of his throne which was 
brought home to the Emperor on this occasion, was one 
of the causes which decided him to try the diversion of 
public opinion into other channels by means of a foreign 

Everything was done to make Orsini a hero in the 
eyes of the French public, and to excite sympathy in his 
cause. Jules Favre by his eloquent defence in which he 
pleaded not for the life, but for the honour of his client, 
and still more Orsini's own letter to the Emperor, pro- 
duced a powerful impression ; there was a dramatic in- 
terest in the man who, disdaining to crave clemency for 
himself, tried a last supreme effort in the service of the 
country he had loved too well. ' Deliver my fatherland, 
and the blessings of twenty-five million citizens will be 
with you.' So concluded the letter in which Orsini told 

2 1 6 The Liberation of Italy 

Napoleon, that till Italy was free there would be no peace 
for Europe — nor for him. It was whispered that the 
Emperor had a secret interview with the condemned man 
at the Mazas prison ; at any rate, when Orsini mounted 
the scaffold, he was borne up, not only by his invincible 
courage, but by the strongest hope, if not the certainty, 
that his last prayer would have only a short time to wait 
for fulfilment. 

Though persons who were able to read the signs of 
the times no longer doubted that Napoleon had resolved 
to solve the Italian question by force of arms, it suited 
his purpose to occupy the public mind for the moment 
with the furious agitation against England and Piedmont 
as ' dens of assassins,' which led to the fall of the Palmer- 
ston administration on the Conspiracy Bill, and seemed 
to almost place in jeopardy the throne of Victor Emmanuel. 
Napoleon sent the King of Sardinia demands so sweeping 
in language so threatening, that the old Savoy blood was 
fired, and Victor Emmanuel returned the answer : ' Tell 
the Emperor in whatever terms you think best that this is 
not the way to treat a faithful ally ; that I have never 
tolerated violence from anyone ; that I follow the path of 
unstained honour, and for that honour I am only answer- 
able to God and to my people. That we have carried 
our head high for 850 years, and no one will make me 
lower it ; and that, nevertheless, I desire nothing better 
than to remain his friend.' This reply was benevolently re- 
ceived ; Cavour passed through the Chambers a bill which, 
though not corresponding to the extravagant pretensions 
of the , French Government, gave reasonable security 
against the concoction of plots of a criminal nature; 
Napoleon expressed himself satisfied, and three months 
after, despatched Dr Conneau to Turin, to mention, quite 
by the way, to the Piedmontese minister, that he would be 

Premonitions of the Storm 217 

glad to have a conversation with him on Italian affairs. 
This was the preliminary of the interview of Plombi^res. 

Plombi^res is a watering-place in the Vosges, which 
became famous on the 20th of July 1858, the day on 
which Napoleon III. and Cavour entered into the com- 
pact that laid down the conditions of the Italian war. 
The Emperor was to bring 200,000 men into Italy, and 
the King of Sardinia undertook to furnish 100,000. The 
Austrians were to be expelled from Italy. The kingdom 
of Upper Italy would embrace the Legations and the 
Marches then under the Pope. Savoy would be ceded 
to France. The marriage of the Emperor's cousin with 
the Princess Clotilde was not made a condition of the 
war, and only in case it had been made a condition, was 
Cavour empowered to agree to it. He, therefore, left it un- 
certain ; but he came away from Plombi^res convinced that 
nearly everything depended upon its happening. Napoleon 
was beyond measure anxious for a marriage which would 
ally him with one of the oldest reigning families in 
Europe. It would be a fatal mistake, Cavour thought, to 
join the Emperor, and at the same time, to offend him in 
a way which he would never forget. Directly after the 
interview, he wrote a long letter to the King to persuade 
him to yield the point. After all, where would the 
Princess find a more promising match ? Was it easy to 
provide husbands for princesses ? Were not they gener- 
ally extremely unhappy in marriage ? What had hap- 
pened to the King's four aunts, all charming princesses, 
who had married the Duke of Modena, the Duke of 
Lucca, the Emperor Ferdinand of Austria, and the King 
of Naples? Had they been happy? Prince Napoleon 
could not be so very bad, as he was known to have 
hurried to Cannes to pay a last visit to a woman whom 
he had loved, a great actress, then upon her deathbed- 

2 18 The Liberation of Italy 

This reminiscence was a singular one to evoke under the 
circumstances, but Cavour was not an Englishman, and 
he was not impressed by the propriety of drawing a veil 
over facts which everyone knew. 

The King's instinct told him that his young daughter, 
pious and simple and destitute even of that seasoning of 
vanity which is so good and necessary a thing in a 
woman, but proud at heart like all her race, would derive 
no compensation from the outward brilliancy of the Im- 
perial Court for the absence of domestic joy which would 
be her wedded lot unless a surprising change came over 
the bridegroom. When, however, he was persuaded of 
the importance, or rather, of the essential character of the 
concession, he said to Cavour : ' I am making a great 
sacrifice, but I yield to your arguments. Still my con- 
sent is subordinate to the freely given consent of my 
daughter.' The matter was referred to the Princess, who 
answered : ' It is the wish of my father ; therefore this 
marriage will be useful to my family and my country, and 
I accept.' An answer worthy of one who, twelve years 
later, when the members of the Imperial House were 
flying, remained quietly in Paris, saying: 'Savoy and 
fear are not acquainted.' 

The marriage was celebrated at Turin in January. 
The King made a present to Cavour, as a souvenir of 
the event, of a ring representing two heartseases. In 
thanking him, the minister said : ' Your Majesty knows 
that I shall never marry.' ' I know,' replied the King ; 
' your bride is the country.' 

Though warlike rumours circulated off and on, the 
secret of the understanding arrived at in the Plombiferes 
interview was well preserved, and the words spoken by 
Napoleon to the Austrian Ambassador at the New Year's 
Day reception fell on Europe with the effect of a bomb- 

Premonitions of the Storm 219 

shell Turning to Baron Hubner, he said : ' Je regrette 
que les relations entre nous soient si mauvaises ; dites 
cependant k votre souverain que mes sentiments pour lui 
ne sont pas changes,' 

Even Cavour was startled. Probably till that moment 
he had never felt sure that Napoleon would not after 
all throw the Italian cause to the winds. The Emperor's 
invariable method in dealing with men was to mystify 
them. He was pleased to pose as a faithful ally, but 
human intellect was insufficient to fathom what he meant. 
On this system, skilfully pursued, was reared the whole 
fabric of Louis Napoleon's reputation for being a pro- 
found politician. Bearing the fact in mind, we can easily 
see why that reputation crumbled away almost entirely 
when the present became the past. There are few cases 
in which there is more disagreement between the judg- 
ment of contemporaries and that of immediate posterity 
than the case of the French Emperor. 

The least surprised, and, among Italians, the most 
dissatisfied at the New Year's Day pronouncement was 
Mazzini, who when he read it in the Times next morning felt 
that the Napoleonic war closed the heroic period of Italian 
Liberation. To men like Mazzini failure is apt to seem 
more heroic than success, and the war of 1859 did close 
the period of failure. The justification for calling in 
foreign arms could only be in necessity, and Mazzini 
denied the necessity. Charles Albert denied it in 1848 
with no less "confident a voice. Then, indeed, there did 
appear a chance of Italy making herself, bat was there the 
slightest prospect, eleven years later, of that chance being 
repeated ? Each student of history may answer for him- 
self What is plain is, that France and Sardinia together 
were to find it an exceedingly hard task even to drive the 
Austrians out of Lombardy. 

2 20 The Liberation of Italy 

The unconquerable dislike of men of principle, like 
Mazzini, to joining hands with the author of the coup d^tat 
was perfectly explicable. There were doubtless some 
sincere Bulgarian patriots who disliked joining hands 
with the Autocrat of all the Russias. The gift of freedom 
from a despot means a long list of evils. Mazzini grasped 
the maleficent influence which Napoleon III. would be in 
a position to exercise over the young state ; he knew, 
moreover, when only two or three other persons in Europe 
knew it, that the bargain of Plombi^res was on the prin- 
ciple of give-and-take. How Mazzini was for many years 
better informed than any cabinet in Europe, remains a 
secret. ' I know positively,' he wrote on the 4th of 
January 1859, 'that the idea of the war is only to hand 
over a zone of Lombardy to Piedmont, and the cession of 
Savoy and Nice to France : the peace, upon the offer of 
which they count, would abandon the whole of Venetia to 
Austria.' A month before this he had disclosed what 
was certainly true, namely, that Napoleon wanted to 
place a Murat on the throne of Naples, and to substi- 
tute Prince Napoleon for the Grand Duke of Tuscany, 
The point that is doubtful in the above revelation is the 
statement that the Emperor never meant to emancipate 
Venetia. The probabilities are against this. He may 
however, have questioned all along whether his troops 
with those of the King of Sardinia, would display a 
superiority over the Austrian forces sufficiently incontest- 
able for him to risk taking them into the mouse-trap of 
the Quadrilateral. In this one thing Napoleon was amply 
justified — in having no sort of desire to take a beaten army 
back to Paris. 

Mazzini, with the more extreme members of the Party 
of Action (including Crispi), issued a protest against the 
Napoleonic war, with the advice to have nothing to do 

Premonitions of the Storm 221 

with it or its authors. But Italy thought otherwise, and 
Garibaldi, the man who of all others most nearly repre- 
sented the heart of Italy, rejoiced and was glad. He 
did not believe a word about the proposed cession of 
Savoy and Nice ; no one did, except Mazzini and his 
few disciples. What he saw was, that a great step to- 
wards independence was about to be taken. In 1856, 
he not only adhered to Manin's call to all Italians to 
rally round the house of Savoy, but went further than 
Manin in accepting unconditionally what he called the 
'Savoy Dictatorship,' to which he left full liberty of 
choice in the matter of ways and means. He did justice 
then to Cavour's patriotism : it was only after the sacri- 
fice of Nice that a feeling of bitter antagonism grew up 
in him for the man who he thought had deceived Italy 
and himself. In December 1858, on a summons from 
Cavour, he left Caprera (the island which he had bought 
with a little inheritance falling to him on the death of 
his brother) and proceeded to Turin, where he was 
informed of a plan for a rising in Massa and Carrara, 
which was originally intended to be the signal of the 
war. The plan was given up, but in March 1859, 
Garibaldi was told by Victor Emmanuel in person of 
the imminence of war, and was invited to take part in 
it as commander of an auxiliary corps of volunteers 
which took the name of 'Cacciatori delle Alpi.' In 
this way, all his own followers, not only those in arms, 
but the great mass of the people which was obedient 
to his lead, became enrolled in the service of the Sar- 
dinian monarchy ; a fact of capital importance in the 
future development of affairs. Without it, the Italian 
kingdom could not have been formed. And this fact 
was due to Cavour, who had to fight the arrayed strength 
of the old, narrow, military caste at Turin, which had 

222 The Liberation of Italy 

succeeded in getting Garibaldi's sword refused in 1848, 
and wished for nothing in the world more than to get 
it refused in 1859. Near the end of his life, Cavour 
said in the Chamber that the difficulties he encountered 
in inducing the Sardinian War Office to sanction the 
appointment were all but insurmountable. Unfortun- 
ately, the jealousy of the heads of the regular army 
for the revolutionary captain never ceased. As for 
Cavour, even when he opposed Garibaldi politically, he 
always strove to have the highest personal honour paid 
to the man of whom he once wrote ' that he had rendered 
Italy the greatest service it was possible to render her.' 

True to his role of mystification, one week after the 
shot fired on the 1st of January, Napoleon inserted an 
official statement in the Moniteur to the effect that, 
although public opinion had been agitated by alarming 
rumours, there was nothing in the foreign relations of 
^France to justify the fears these rumours tended to 
create. He continued on this tack, with more or less 
consistency, to the very verge of the outbreak of hos- 
tilities. ' The Empire was peace,' as it was always 
announced to be in the intervals when it was not war ; 
there was no more harmless dove in Europe than the 
person enthroned in the Tuileries. These assurances 
were given more credence than they deserved by the 
Conservative Cabinet then in power in England, and 
the British ministers believed to the last that war would 
be averted, to which end they strained every nerve. 
Besides the wish felt by every English government to 
preserve European peace, there was at this juncture, 
not only in the Cabinet, but in the country, so much 
fear of Napoleon's ambition and restlessness, that for 
the time being, sympathy with Italy was relegated to 
a second place. 

Premonitions of the Storm 223 

Meanwhile there was no want of plainness in the 
language employed in Piedmont. In opening the second 
session of the sixth Sardinian Parliament, Victor Em- 
manuel pronounced, on loth January, the historic phrase 
declaring that he could not remain insensible to the cry 
of grief, il grido di dolore, that reached him from all 
parts of Italy. Every corner of the fair country where 
the Si sounds was electrified. The words, as has since 
become known, were introduced into the speech by the 
King himself. As Cavour had foreseen, Austria played 
into his hands. To Lord Malmesbury's appeal to evacu- 
ate the Roman Legations, and to use Austrian influence 
with the Italian princes in procuring the concession of 
necessary reforms. Count Buol replied in terms that were 
the reverse of obliging : ' We do not mean to abdicate 
our right of intervention, and if we are called upon to 
help the Italian sovereigns with our arms, we shall do ' 
so. We shall not recommend their governments to 
undertake any reforms. France plays the part of pro- 
tectress of nationalities ; we are, and shall be, protectors 
of dynastic rights.' Finally, England proposed a con- 
gress with a view to general disarmament. Piedmont, 
counting on the madness of her adversary, risked agree- / 
ment with this plan. Austria gave a peremptory refusal 
to have anything to do with it. 

Cavour now asked Parliament to vote a war loan of 
;f 2,000,000, which was passed by a majority of 81 out of 
151 votes. No foreign banker would undertake to/ 
negotiate the loan, but it was twice covered by Italian 
buyers, nearly all small capitalists, who put their money 
into it as a patriotic duty. Amongst the few deputies 
who opposed the loan was the old apostle of retrogression, 
Count Solaro della Margherita, who raised his solitary 
voice against the tide of revolution ; and the Savoyard 

224 The Liberation of Italy 

Marquis Costa de Beauregard, whose speech was pathetic 
from the melancholy foreboding which pervaded it that 
the making of Italy meant the unmaking of Savoy. 
Speaking in the name of his fellow-countrymen, the 
Marquis reconfirmed the profound love of Savoy for her 
Royal House and her total lack of solidarity with the 
aspirations of Italy. With time the Savoyards might 
have learnt to be Italians as their king had learnt to be 
an Italian king. Or they might not. Possibly the best 
solution would have been to join Savoy to the Swiss 
Confederation, though the martial instincts of the race 
were not favourable to their conversion into peaceful 
Helvetic citizens. From one point of view, that of 
military defence, the retention of the province was of 
infinitely more moment to the future Italy than to little 
Piedmont. Sardinia could keep the peace with France 
for an indefinite period ; Italy cannot. What is true of 
Savoy is far more true of Nice. To have it in foreign 
keeping is to have a very partially reformed burglar 
inside your house. 

* Notre roi,' said an old ragged fisherman of the Lac de 
Bourget to the writer of this book, — ' Notre roi nous a 
vendus.' Not willingly did Victor Emmanuel incur that 
charge, in which the rebound from love to hate was so 
clearly heard ; not willingly did he give up Maurienne, 
cradle of his race, Hautecombe, grave of his fathers. It 
was the greatest sacrifice, he said, that Italy could have 
asked of him. Nor is there any reason to doubt his word. 
But it is incorrect to suppose, as many have supposed, 
that Cavour promised at Plombieres to give up Savoy 
(Nice he did not promise) without the King's knowledge. 
Before he went there, he had brought Victor Emmanuel 
over to his own belief, justified or not, that without a bait 
Napoleon could not be got to move. Directly after the 

Premonitions of the Storm 225 

interview, he wrote a full account of it to the King, in 
which he said : ' When the future fate of Italy was 
arranged, the Emperor asked me what France would 
have, and if your Majesty would cede Savoy and the 
county of Nice ? ' To which Cavour answered ' Yes ' ./ 
as to Savoy, but objected that Nice was essentially 
Italian. The En\peror twirled his moustache several 
times, and only said that these were secondary questions, 
about which there would be time to think later. 

Austria was always appealing to the right of treaties / 
and the right of nations ; not, as it happened, with much 
reason, for she had ridden or tried to ride rough-shod 
through as many treaties and through quite as many 
rights as most European Powers. In 18 16 she was so 
determined to possess herself of Alessandria and the 
Upper Novarese that Lord Castlereagh advised Piedmont 
to join the Austrian Confederation, as then and only then 
the Emperor might withdraw his pretensions to this 
large slice of territory of a Prince with whom he was 
at peace. If he did withdraw them, it was not from 
respect for the treaties which, a year before, had con- 
firmed the King of Sardinia's rights as an independent 
sovereign, but from respect for the untoward results to 
himself which he was afraid, on reflection, might arise 
from enforcing his claims with the bayonet. But people-, 
forget; and it was of vital consequence that virtuous 
Austria should figure in the coming conflict not as the 
victim of aggression but as the aggressor. On all sides it 
was said that the Austrian Government would never 
commit an error of such magnitude ; only Cavour thought 
the contrary. ' I sh&W force her to declare war against us,' 
he told Mr Odo Russell in December 1858. When asked 
by the incredulous diplomatist at what date he expected 
to perform so great a feat, Cavour quietly answered : ' In 


226 The Liberation of Italy 

the first week of May.' War was actually declared a 
few days sooner. 

For months Austria had been pouring troops into 
Italy, a large portion of which were massed on the 
frontier line of the Ticino. Who shall count the number 
of the men brought to fight and die in the Italian plains 
between 1848 and 1866 to sustain for that short time 
the weight of a condemned despotism ? The supply was 
inexhaustible ; they came from the Hungarian steppes, 
from the green valleys of Styria, from the mountains of 
Tyrol, from the woodlands of the Banat and of Bohemia ; 
a blind million battling for a chimera. They came, and 
how many did not return ? 

Austria's final refusal to adhere to the Congress 
scheme meant, of course, war, and Cavour called the 
Chamber and demanded a vote conferring upon Govern- 
ment the power to take such prompt measures as the 
situation required. ' We trust,' he said, ' that the Chamber 
will not hesitate to sanction the proposal to invest the 
King with plenary powers. Who could be a better 
guardian of our liberty ? Who more worthy of the faith 
of the nation ? He it is whose name a ten years' reign 
had made synonymous with honour and loyalty ; who has 
always held high the tricolor standard of Italy, who now 
prepares to unsheath his sword for freedom and inde- 

When Cavour walked out of the Chamber after the 
vote had been taken, he said : ' I am leaving the last 
sitting of the Piedmontese Parliament, the next will be 
that of the Kingdom of Italy.' At that moment, if ever 
in his career, the great minister who had fought so long a 
fight against incalculable obstacles learnt what it is to 
taste the sweetness of triumph. 



Austria declares War — Montebello — Garibaldi's Campaign — Palestro — 
Magenta — The Allies enter Milan — Ricasoli saves Italian Unity 
— Accession of Francis II. — Solferino — The Armistice of Villafranca. 

Baron von Kellersperg reached Turin on the 23rd 
of April, bringing with him the Austrian ultimatum : 
' Disarmament within three days, or war.' Cavour read 
the document, and then drew his watch out of his 
pocket. It was half-past five in the afternoon. At the 
same hour on the 26th, he gave Baron von Kellersperg 
the answer ; ' Sardinia having accepted the principle of 
a general disarmament, as formulated by England, with 
the adhesion of France, Prussia and Russia, the Sar- 
dinian Government has no other explanation to make.' 
The retort was justified. Austria, which now required 
Sardinia to disarm, had refused to disarm herself. She 
must take the consequences. 

The British Government made a last desperate effort 
to maintain peace, and the Austrians always said that 
this was their ruin, as it delayed the invasion of Piedmont 
for a week. On the 29th appeared the Emperor Francis 
Joseph's Declaration of War, and on the same day the 
first Austrian columns crossed the Ticino. The Austrian 
commander-in-chief was Count Gyulai, who was in high 
favour with the aristocratic party, by which his appoint- 


228 The Liberation of Italy 

ment was suggested to, if not forced upon, the Emperor. 
The latter, not altogether easy in his mind about Gyulai's 
capabilities, commissioned General Hess, in whom he 
placed full confidence, to keep his eye on him. Hess 
could not, however, do much more than take notes of 
one of the most remarkable and providential series of 
blunders ever committed by the commander of an army. 

In spite of the delay which the Austrians ascribed 
to the English peace negotiations, there was time for 
them to destroy the Sardinian army before the French 
came up. Gyulai had 100,000 men in the theatre of war, 
a number increased up to 200,000 during the campaign. 
Both Sardinia and her ally mustered much fewer men 
than were spoken of at Plombieres. The Piedmontese 
could dispose of 56,000 infantry, formed in five divisions, 
one division of cavalry numbering 4,000, and one brigade 
of volunteers, to which the name was given of ' Cacciatori 
delle Alpi.' The enrolment of these was stopped when it 
had reached the small figure of 4,500 men, a figure that 
looks out of all proportion with the brilliant part they 
played. The same iniiuences which cut short the enrol- 
ment prevented Cavour from keeping his distinct promise 
to give Garibaldi, now invested with the official rank 
of major-general, 10,000 regulars, with a battery and a 
troop of horse. 

The French army consisted of 128,000 meri, includ- 
ing about 10,000 cavalry. The Emperor's Government 
had notified beforehand to Vienna that the passage of 
the Ticino by the Austrian troops would be considered 
equivalent to a declaration of war, and accordingly, on 
the 29th of April, diplomatic relations between the two 
Powers were broken off. The French forces had been 
really on the move for more than a week — ever since, 
in fact, by what the Marquis of Normanby called ' an 

The War for Lombardy 229 

unpardonable breach of confidence,' the intention of 
Austria to invade Sardinia was communicated to Paris. 
The mobilisation was conducted with rapidity ; in spite 
of the snow, which lay deep on the Mont Cenis, the first 
corps, under Marshal Baraguay d'Hilliers, made a swift 
march over the Alps, and the foremost division entered 
Turin on the 30th of April. The troops of Canrobert 
and Niel, who commanded the third and fourth corps, 
were sent by Toulon and Marseilles, while the generals 
themselves went on to Turin in advance. MacMahon's 
corps, which was the second, was on its way from 
Algiers. The fifth corps, under the command of Prince 
Napoleon, was despatched at a later date to Tuscany, 
where it was kept in a state of inactivity, which suggested 
rather a political than a military mission. General Reg- 
nault de Saint-Jean d'Angdly commanded the Imperial 
Guard. Napoleon III. assumed the supreme command 
of the allied armies, with General Vaillant as head of 
the staff. 

The condition of neither French nor Austrian army 
was satisfactory. The former had more modern arms 
and a greater proportion of old soldiers, but it was gener- 
ally thought that the French cavalry, so far superior to 
the Prussian in the war of 1870, was inferior to the 
Austrian in 1859. The commissariat and ambulance 
arrangements of the French were disgraceful, though 
they had this advantage, that when there was food to 
be had the soldiers were allowed to eat it, while the 
Austrians were limited to half-a-pound of beef a day, 
and were only allowed to cook once in the twenty-four 
hours, which led to their having constantly to fight fasting. 
In point of discipline, they were probably superior to the 
French, who fought, however, and this should always 
be remembered of them in Italy, with the best will in 

230 The Liberation of Italy 

the world. They carried about their pet monkt/s and 
dogs, and were always good-humoured and in good 
spirits, even when wounded. What would have been 
the effect on them of even a single defeat is a question 
which it is useless to discuss. 

In Napoleon's proclamation to the French people it 
was stated that the scope of the war was to give Italy 
to herself, not to make her change masters ; the recom- 
pense of France would be to have upon her frontiers a 
friendly people which owed its independence to her. As 
things stood there were but two alternatives : Austria 
supreme as far as the Alps, or Italy free to the Adriatic. 
On the 1 2th of May, the Imperial yacht, the Reine 
Hortense, steamed into the harbour of Genoa with the 
Emperor on board. A splendid reception awaited him, 
and amongst the first to greet him was Cavour. 'You 
may well rejoice,' said Napoleon, as he embraced the 
Sardinian statesman, ' for your plans are being realised.' 

Gyulai, who had insisted on invading Piedmont, con- 
trary to the opinion of Hess (who counselled waiting for 
reinforcements on the left bank of the Mincio), wasted 
his time after crossing the Ticino in making plans and 
changing them while he could unquestionably have 
thrown himself on Turin had he possessed more re- 
solution, and this was the only operation that could 
have justified the initial folly of the invasion. The 
taking of the capital might not have altered the fortunes 
of the war, but it would have had all the appearance 
of a triumph, and would have raised the moral of the 
Austrian soldiers. The allies had time to concentrate 
their forces near Tortona, and it was left to them to 
assume the offensive. The Austrians retired towards the 
Apennines, but made a forward movement on the 20th 
of May with the object of seizing the heights of Casteggio 

The War for Lombardy 231 

which command the road to Piacenza; they were met 
by the allies at the village of Montebello where Marshal 
Lannes obtained a victory in 1800. The allies were 
completely successful in this first battle, the honours 
of the day falling to the Sardinian cavalry, which showed 
great gallantry. The Austrian forces were considerably 
superior in strength. 

Almost at the same time as the engagement of 
Montebello, Garibaldi with his diminutive army (which 
through the weeding-out of men unfit for service was 
reduced to about 3,500 before it took the field), crossed 
the Lago Maggiore, and advanced boldly into the heart 
of the epemy's country. The volunteers had no artillery, 
and by way of cavalry only some forty or fifty were 
mounted on their own horses and dignified with the 
name of 'guides.' They were badly armed and worse 
equipped; the only good thing they had was an ex- 
cellent ambulance organised by Dr Bertani, Garibaldi's 
surgeon-general from Roman days downwards. But 
they formed a picturesque sight as they marched along 
gaily to the everlasting song, ' Addio, mia bella, addio ' ; 
and a physiognomist would have been struck by their 
intelligent and often distinguished faces : nobles and 
poets, budding doctors and lawyers, bristled in the ranks, 
while the officers were the still young veterans of 1848- 
1849 ; Cosenz, hero of Venice ; Medici, the defender of the 
Vascello ; Bixio, Sirtori, Cairoli — all the Knights of the 

Moving swiftly from place to place, and appearing 
where and when he was least expected, Garibaldi took 
the entire country of the Lombard lakes. Gyulai, who 
at first looked upon the Garibaldian march as a simple 
diversion intended to draw off his attention, now be- 
came concerned, and dispatched Urban with 1 0,000 men 

232 The Liberation of Italy 

to destroy the volunteers, and stem the insurrection 
which everywhere followed in their wake. On the 27th 
of May Garibaldi drove Urban from his position near 
San Fermo, and that commander had his mission still 
unfulfilled when he received the order to retreat after 
the battle of Magenta. The volunteers were free to 
pursue their way to Brescia and the Valtellina, where 
they performed many feats in the latter period of the 
war, winning the admiration of Hayn, the Austrian 
general opposed to them, which he was generous enough 
to express in no measured terms. 

The great war was meanwhile approaching its climax. 
After Montebello the whole French army executed 
a secret flank movement, changing its position from 
Voghera, where Gyulai believed it to be, and whence he 
expected it to move on to Piacenza, to the line of the Sesia, 
between Cameriano and Casale. To mask the main 
operations, the Sardinian forces were sent to Palestro, 
on the other side of the Sesia. On the 30th of May, 
they drove in the outposts of the enemy, and on the 31st 
fought the important engagement by which the Austrian 
attempt to retake Palestro was repelled, and great 
damage caused to Zobel's corps, which was obliged 
to leave eight guns sticking in the mud. The French 
Zouaves of the 3rd regiment fought with the Piedmontese, 
and made the battle famous by the reckless valour of 
their bayonet charges. Victor Emmanuel, deaf to all 
remonstrances, placed himself at their head, in con- 
sequence of which they elected him their corporal, an 
honour once paid to the first Napoleon. 

There is reason to think that after Palestro, Gyulai, 
having at last realised what Napoleon was about, wished 
to evacuate Lombardy, but was prevented from doing so 
by strong protests sent by the Emperor Francis Joseph, 

The War for Lombardy 233 

who was at Verona. The Austrian army was in full re- 
treat when it was pulled up near Magenta, with the object 
of checking the advance of the French, who had already 
begun to cross the Ticino by the bridges of San Martino 
and Buffalora, which the Austrians had tried to blow up, 
but had not succeeded from want of proper powder. In 
the great battle of the 4th of June, Austrians and French 
numbered respectively about 60,000 men ; no Pied- 
montese were engaged till the evening, when a battalion of 
Bersaglieri arrived. The Imperial Guard, with which was 
Napoleon, had to bear the brunt of the fight for four 
hours, and ran a good chance of being annihilated ; not a 
brilliant proof of French generalship, but happily the 
Austrians also committed grave mistakes. MacMahon's 
arrival at five in the afternoon prevented a catastrophe, 
and the fighting, which continued far into the night, was 
from this moment attended by results on the whole 
advantageous to the French. Not much more can be 
said. Magenta was very like a drawn battle. The 
Austrians are calculated to have lost 10,000 men, the 
French between 4,000 and 5,000. It was expected that the 
Austrians would renew the attack, but on the 5th, Gyulai 
ordered the retreat, which was the last order he had the 
opportunity of giving, as he was deprived of his command 
immediately after. 

At mid-day on the Sth, Milan, which was trembling 
on the verge of revolution, made the pleasurable discovery 
that there were no Austrians left in the town. The 
municipality sent out delegates with the keys of the city 
to Victor Emmanuel. At ten a.m. on the 7th, MacMahon's 
corps began to file down the streets. Words cannot de- 
scribe the welcome given to them. How MacMahon lifted 
to his saddle-bow a child that was in danger of being 
crushed by the crowd will be remembered from the 

234 "^^^ Liberation of Italy 

pretty incident having passed into English poetry. On 
the 8th, the King and the Emperor made their entry 
amidst a new paroxysm of enthusiasm. Napoleon is re- 
ported to have exclaimed : ' How this people must have 
suffered ! ' In his proclamation ' to the Italian people,' 
which bears the same date as his entry into Milan, he 
renewed the assurance of the disinterested motives which 
had brought him to Italy : ' Your enemies, who are also 
mine, have endeavoured to diminish the universal sym- 
pathy felt in Europe for your cause, by causing it to be 
believed that I am making war for personal ambition, or 
to increase French territory. If there are men who fail to 
comprehend their epoch, I am not one of them. In the 
enlightened state of public opinion now prevailing, true 
greatness lies in the moral influence which we exercise 
rather than in sterile conquests.' The proclamation 
ended with the words: 'To-morrow you will be the 
citizens of a great country.' Not the least effusive de- 
monstrations were reserved for Cavour, who joined his 
Sovereign a few days after the battle of Magenta. 

Leaving the Milanese to put their faith in princes 
while yet there was time, a glance must be taken at what 
had been going on in the rest of Italy, which was becom- 
ing a great nation far more rapidly, and in a much fuller 
sense than Napoleon III. expected or wished. When 
Austria sent her ultimatum to Turin, the Sardinian minis- 
ter at the Court of Tuscany invited the Grand Duke's 
Government to take part in the war of liberation. This 
they refused to do. On perceiving, however, that he 
could not depend on his troops, the Grand Duke pro- 
mised to co-operate with Piedmont, but his advisers did 
not now think it possible to save the grand ducal throne, 
unless Leopold II. abdicated in favour of his son, who was 

The War for Lombardy 235 

not burdened with the fatal associations of the reaction of 
ten years before. Leopold probably thought that even 
his abdication would not keep out the deluge, and he 
took the more dignified course of declining to yield to 
force. On the 27th of April, accompanied by the Corps 
Diplomatique as far as the frontier, he left Tuscany. A 
Provisional Government was formed with Peruzzi at its 
head, which hastily raised 8000 men for immediate service 
under the command of General Ulloa, Before long Prince 
Napoleon, with the fifth corps of the French army, landed, 
for no reason that could be avowed, at Leghorn. The real 
motive was to prepare the way for the fabrication of a 
new kingdom of Etruria, which existed already in 
Napoleon's brain. This masterpiece of folly had but a 
lukewarm supporter in Prince Napoleon, who was the 
only Napoleon and about the only Frenchman (if he 
could be called one) who grasped the idea of the unity of 
Italy and sincerely applauded it. Had J^rdme Napoleon 
been born with the least comprehension of self-respect 
and personal dignity, his strong political intelligence and 
clear logical discernment must have produced something 
better than the most ineffectual career of the century. 

On the 8th of May, Baron Ricasoli took office under 
the Provisional Government as Minister of the Interior, 
and for nearly twelve months he was the real ruler of 
Tuscany. He had an ally of great strength, though of 
humble origin, in Giuseppe Dolfi, the baker, of whom it 
was currently said that any day he could summon 10,000 
men to the Piazza della Signoria, who would obey him to 
the death. To Dolfi it was due that there were no dis- 
orders after the Grand Duke left. What Italy owes to 
the Lord of Brolio, history will never adequately state, 
because it is well-nigh impossible fully to realise how 
critical was her position during all that year, from 

236 The Liberation of Italy 

causes external and internal, and how disastrous would 
have been the slightest mistake or wavering in the direc- 
tion of Tuscan affairs, which formed the central hinge of 
the whole complicated situation. Fortunate, indeed, was 
it that there was a man like the Iron Baron, who, by 
simple force of will, outwitted the enemies of Italy more 
thoroughly than even Cavour could do with all his astute- 
ness. Austere, aristocratic, immovable from his purpose, 
indifferent to praise or blame, Ricasoli aimed at one point 
— the unity of the whole country ; and neither Cavour's 
impatience for annexation to Piedmont, nor the scheme 
of Farini and Minghetti for averting the wrath of the 
French Emperor by a temporary and preparatory union of 
the central states, drew him one inch from the straight road, 
which was the only one he had ever learnt to walk in. 

In June, the Duke of Modena and the Duchess-Regent 
of Parma found it impossible to remain in their states, 
now that Austrian protection was withdrawn. The latter 
had done what she could to preserve the duchy for her 
young son, but the tide was too strong. These revolu- 
tions were accomplished quietly ; but, some months after, 
on the incautious return to Parma of a man deeply impli- 
cated in the abuses of Charles III.'s government — Colonel 
Anviti — he was cruelly murdered ; an act of vengeance 
which happily remained alone. 

After the battle of Magenta, when the Austrian troops 
were recalled from the Marches and Romagna, those dis- 
tricts rose and demanded the dictatorship of Piedmont. 
Napoleon foresaw that this would happen as far back 
as the Plombi^res interview, and at that date it did not 
appear that he meant to oppose it. But now, in Paris, 
the Clerical party were seized with panic, and the Empress- 
Regent, then, as always, completely under their control, 
did all in her power to arouse the Emperor's oppositioa 

The War for Lombardy 237 

The Pope, on his part, knowing that he was secure in 
Rome — thanks to the French garrison, which, though it 
hated its office, as the French writer Ampere and others 
bore witness, was sure to perform it faithfully — had the 
idea of sending his Swiss troops to put down the growing 
revolution. With these, and a few Roman troops of the 
line, Colonel Schmidt marched against Perugia, where, in 
restoring the Papal authority, he used a ferocity which, 
though denied by clerical writers, was attested by all con- 
temporary accounts, and was called 'atrocious' by Sir 
James Hudson in a despatch to Lord John Russell. The 
significance of such facts, wrote the English minister at 
Turin, could only be the coming fall of the Pope's 
Temporal Power. 

L. C. Farini was sent by Victor Emmanuel to ad- 
minister the provinces of Modena and Parma, and 
Massimo d'Azeglio was charged with the same mission 
in Romagna. The Marches of Ancona had been re- 
covered by the Papal troops, which were concentrated in 
the district called La Cattolica, near Rimini. A volunteer 
corps, under the Piedmontese General Mezzacapo, was 
entrusted with the task of preventing them from crossing 
into the Legations. 

In the month of May, when the allies were reaping 
their first successes, an event occurred at Caserta which 
precipitated crisis in the South Italy. Ferdinand II. died 
at forty-eight years of age of a terrible complaint which 
had attacked him a few months earlier, when he went to 
meet his son's bride, the Princess Maria Sofia of Bavaria, 
sister of the Empress of Austria. The news from Upper 
Italy hastened his end ; he is said to have exclaimed not 
long before he died : ' They have won the cause ! ' 

The accession of a youth, of whom nothing bad was 
known to a throne that had been occupied by a sovereign 

238 The Liberation of Italy 

so out of place in modern civilisation as Ferdinand, 
would appear at first sight a fortunate circumstance 
for the chances of the dynasty ; but it was not so. In 
an eastern country it matters little whether the best 
of the inhabitants loathe and detest their ruler; but it 
matters much whether he knows how to cajole and 
frighten the masses, and especially the army, into obedi- 
ence. Naples, more Oriental than western, possessed 
in Ferdinand a monarch consummately expert in this 
side of the art of government. Though without the 
higher military virtues, his army was his favourite play- 
thing ; he always wore uniform, never forgot a face he 
had once seen, and treated the officers with a rather 
vulgar familiarity, guessing at their weaknesses and 
making use of them on occasion. The rank and file 
regarded him as a sort of supernatural being. Francis 
II., who succeeded him, could scarcely appear in this light 
even to the most ignorant. Popular opinion considered 
him not quite sound in his mind. Probably his timorous, 
awkward ways and his seeming stupidity were simply 
the result of an education conducted by bigoted priests 
in a home that was no home : populated as it was by 
the offspring of a stepmother who hated him. His 
own mother, the charming Princess Cristina of Savoy, 
died while the city was rejoicing at his birth. The 
story is well known of how, shortly after the marriage, 
Ferdinand thought it diverting to draw a music-stool 
from under his wife, causing her to fall heavily. It 
gives a sample of the sufferings of her brief married life. 
An inheritance of sorrow descended from her to her child. 
If Francis II. was not popular, neither was the new 
queen. Far more virile in character ind in tastes than 
her husband, her high spirit was not what the Neapo- 
litans admire in women, and those who were devoted 

The War for Lombardy 239 

to the late King accused her of having shown impatience 
during his illness for the moment when the crown would 
fall to Francis. Malicious gossip of this kind, however 
false, serves its end. Thus, from one cause or another, 
the young King exercised a power sensibly weaker than 
that of his father, while, besides other enemies, he had 
an inveterate one in his stepmother, who began weaving 
a conspiracy to oust him from the throne and place 
on it the eldest of his half-brothers. This plot received, 
however, very little popular support. 

The Sardinian Government sought to persuade Francis 
to join in the war against Austria ; disinterested counsel, 
as in taking it lay his only hope, but it was opposed by 
England, Russia and France. In July two of the Swiss 
regiments at Naples mutinied. The Swiss Government, 
becoming alive to the discredit cast on the country by 
mercenary service, had decided that Swiss subjects serving 
abroad should lose their rights as citizens of the Confedera- 
tion whilst so employed, and that they should no longer 
introduce the arms of their respective cantons into their 
regimental colours. This was the immediate cause of 
their insubordination. The mutineers, most of whom 
were unarmed, were ruthlessly shot down in the Campo 
di Marte to the terror of the population, and the two 
Swiss regiments which remained quiet were dissolved ; 
by which the monarchy lost the troops that were chiefly 
to be depended on in emergencies. The Austrians and 
Bavarians imported in their stead did not form separate 
regiments, but were incorporated among the native troops, 
though the regiments that contained them were commonly 
called 'Bavarian.' They only partially filled the place 
of the Swiss. 

Between the 4th and the 24th of June, no engage- 

240 The Liberation of Italy 

ment of any magnitude was fought in Lombardy except 
the attack on Benedek at Melegnano, a battle in which 
the French lost most men, and gained no strategical 
advantage. It was supposed to have been fought be- 
cause Napoleon I. had gained a victory in the same 
neighbourhood. The Austrians retreated to the Mincio, 
destroying the bridges over the Adda, Serio, Oglio and 
Mella as they went ; these rivers the allies had to make 
repassable, which is the excuse given for the dilatory 
nature of their pursuit of the enemy. The Emperor 
Francis Joseph had now assumed the command, with 
Hess as his principle adviser, and Wimpffen and Schlick, 
famous as the ' One-eyed,' as heads of the two great corps 
into which the army was divided. 

On the 22nd of June, the Austrians were ranged along 
the left bank of the Mincio from Peschiera to Mantua, 
and the French were massed near Montechiaro, on the 
Brescia road, which Napoleon had made his headquarters. 
In withdrawing all their men from the right bank of the 
river, the Austrians desired to create the impression that 
they had finally abandoned it. It was their plan, which 
did not lack boldness, to throw the whole army back 
upon the right bank, and to perform a concentric move- 
ment on Montechiaro, where they hoped to fall unawares 
on the French and destroy them. They were confident 
of success, for they knew what a good stand they had 
made at Magenta, and now that Gyulai was got rid of, 
and the young Emperor had taken the field, they did 
not doubt that fortune would turn her wheel. To these 
men of many nations, the presence of their Emperor was 
the one inspiration that could rouse them, for if they 
were fighting for anything, it was for him in the most 
personal sense ; it was to secure his mastery of the 
splendid land over which he looked from the castle of 

The War for Lombardy 241 

Valleggio, on the 23rd ol June, whilst his brilliant staff 
stood round, waiting for the signal to mount and clatter 
down the steep road to the Mincio bridge. The army 
now advanced along all its line. 

Even the soberest writers have not resisted making 
some reference to the magnificent scene of to-morrow's 
battle. On one side, the mountain bulwarks rising tier 
on tier, gorgeous with the transcendent beauty of colour 
and light of the Italian summer ; on the other, the vine- 
clad hillocks which fall gently away from the blue lake 
of Garda till they are lost in the 

harvest shining plain 

Where the peasant heaps his grain 
In the garner of his foe. 

The 24th of June was to decide how much longer the Lom- 
bard peasant should labour to fill a stranger's treasury. 

The calculations of the Austrians were founded on 
the slowness which had hitherto characterised Napoleon's 
movements. Hess thought that two days might be 
safely allowed for the Austrian advance, and that the 
enemy would remain passive on the west bank of the 
river Chiese, waiting to be attacked on the asth. If 
the operation could have been performed in one day, 
and it is thought that it could, there would have been 
more prospect of success. But even then, the original 
plan of attacking the allies west of the Chiese could 
not have been carried out, as on the 23rd the whole 
allied army moved forward, the French occupying Cas- 
tiglione and Lonato, and the Sardinians Rezzato and 
Desenzano, on the lake of Garda. It is not clear how 
far the allies believed in the Austrian advance ; that 
they had warning of it from several quarters is certain. 
For instance, a gentleman living at Desenzano heard 


242 The Liberation of Italy 

from the country people, who, for marketing or other 
purposes, constantly go to and fro between that place 
and Peschiera, that the Austrians had ordered a quantity 
of country carts and transport waggons to be in readi- 
ness on the 23rd, and he hastened with the intelligence 
to the Piedmontese General Delia Rocca, who, in a 
fine spirit of red-tapism, pooh-poohed the information. 
The French encountered several Austrian patrols in the 
course of the day, but they were inclined to think that 
the Austrians were only executing a reconnaissance. On 
the whole, it seems that the conflict came as a surprise to 
both sides. 

The Emperor of Austria, after accompanying the 
advance for a short distance, returned with Hess to 
Valleggio for the night. Napoleon slept at Monte- 
chiaro. The Austrian forces bivouacked on the little 
hills between Solferino and Cavriana, They rested 
well, still confident that no fighting would be done 
next day. At two in the morning, the French began 
to move in the direction of Solferino, and the Sardinians 
in that of Peschiera. There is a legend, that in the 
grey mists of dawn an advance party of French cavalry 
espied a huge and gaunt hussar standing by the road- 
side. For a moment the figure was lost sight of, but 
it reappeared, and after running across the road in 
front of the French, it turned and dealt th? officer 
who led the party so tremendous a blow that he fell 
off his horse. Then the adventurous Austrian fled, 
followed by a volley from the French troopers ; the 
sound vibrating through the dawn stillness gave the 
call to arms to the contreisted hosts. The battle of 
Solferino had begun. 

The news flew to Montechiaro and to Valleggio. 
Napoleon started for the scene of action with the 

The War for Lombardy 243 

Imperial Guard; Francis Joseph's staff was sent for- 
ward at six a.m., but the Emperor and Hess did not 
start till later. At near nine, the staff was looking 
for the Emperor, and the Emperor was looking for 
the staff in the open country about Volta j the sixty 
or seventy staff-officers dashed across ploughed fields 
and over hedges and ditches, in a style which would 
have done credit to an English fox-hunt. This remark- 
able incident was in keeping with the general manage- 
ment of the battle on the part of the Austrians, who 
had been fighting for many hours before the commander- 
in-chief arrived. After his arrival, they continued fight- 
ing without any visible plan, according to the expedients 
of the divisional generals. The particular expedient 
adopted by General Zedwitz was to withdraw 15,000 
men, including six regiments of cavalry, from the field. 
At a critical moment, Count Clam Gallas had the mis- 
fortune to lose his artillery reserve, and sent everywhere 
to ask if anyone had seen it. The Prince of Hesse, 
acting without orders, or against orders, separated his 
division from Schwarzenberg's and brought it up at the 
nick of time to save the Austrians, when they were 
threatened with actual destruction, at two o'clock in 
the afternoon. 

At that hour the French were in possession of the 
Spia d' Italia, and of all the heights of Solferino. They 
had been engaged in attacking them since eight in the 
morning. Napoleon having seen at once that they were 
the key to the position, and must be taken, cost what 
it might. The cost was great; if there is any episode 
in French military history in which soldiers and officers 
earned all the praise that can be given to brave men, 
it is the taking of these Solferino hills. Again and 
again Forey's division and Bazaine's brigade returned 

244 The Liberation of Italy 

to the charge ; the cemetery and streets of Solferino 
were piled up with their dead, mingled with the 
dead of the defenders, who contested every inch of 
ground. The individual valour of the French soldiers 
in that six hours' struggle made it possible to win the 

The Austrians, however, after their desperate straits 
at two o'clock recovered to so great an extent that, 
h^d Zedwitz returned with his cavalry, as the Emperor 
was hoping that he would, the day might still have 
been theirs. Even as it was, MacMahon's corps swerved 
under Zobel's repulse of his attack on San Cassiano, 
and Niel, in the plain, was dangerously hard pressed by 
Schwarzenberg. But, by degrees, the French recom- 
menced gaining and the Austrians losing ground, and 
at six p.m., the latter were retreating in good order, 
defending each step before they yielded it. 

In the last stage of the battle the French limbered 
up their guns in the belief that a vast reserve of Austrian 
cavalry was galloping into action. What made them 
think so was a dense yellowish wall advancing through the 
air. Had they been natives, they would have recognised 
the approach of one of those frightful storms which 
bring devastation in their train, and which, as they 
move forward in what appears a solid mass, look to 
the inexperienced eye exactly like the clouds of dust 
raised by innumerable horsemen. The bursting of the 
storm hastened the end of the fight. 

All the day another fight, separate from this, had 
been going on between Benedek and the Sardinian army 
near the knoll of San Martino, overlooking the lake of 
Garda. The battle, which began in the early morning 
among the cypresses that crown the hillock, raged till 
seven p.m. with a fury which cost the Piedmontese over 

The War Jor Lombardy 245 

4,000 in dead and wounded. It consisted largely in 
hand - to - hand fighting, which now gave an advantage 
to the Austrians, now to the Italians ; many of the 
positions were lost and re-taken more than half-a-dozen 
times ; the issue seemed long doubtful, and when Bene- 
dek, who commanded his side with unquestionable ability, 
received orders from the field of Solferino to begin a 
retreat, each combatant was firmly convinced that he 
was getting the best of it. Austrian writers allege that 
this order saved the Sardinians from defeat, while in 
both Italian and French narratives, the Piedmontese are 
represented as having been already sure of success. The 
courage shown alike by Piedmontese and Austrians could 
not be surpassed. Victor Emmanuel, as usual, set an 
example to his men. 

An incident in the battle brings into striking relief 
what it was this bloody strife was meant to end. An 
Austrian corporal fell, mortally wounded by a Bersagliere 
whom he conjured, in Italian, to listen to what he had 
got to say. It was this : Forced into the Austrian 
army, he had been obliged to serve through the war, 
but had never fired his rifle on his fellow-countrymen ; 
now he preferred to die rather than defend himself. So 
he yielded up his breath with his hand clasped in the 
hand which had slain him. 

The Austrians lost, on the 24th of June, 13,000 men in 
killed and wounded ; the French, 10,000. It was said 
that the frightful scene of carnage on the battlefield 
after Solferino influenced Napoleon III. in his desire to 
stop the war. Had that scene vanished from his recol- 
lection in June 1870? 

Even a field of battle, with its unburied dead, speaks 
only of a small part of the miseries of a great war. 
Those who were at that time at Brescia, to which town 

246 The Liberation of Italy 

the greater portion of the French wounded and all the 
worst cases were brought, still shudder as they recall 
the dreadful human suffering which no skill or devotion 
could do more than a very little to assuage. The noble 
Brescian ladies who had once nursed Bayard, turned, 
with one accord, into sisters of charity ; every house, 
every church, became a hospital, all that gratitude and 
pity could do was done ; but many were to leave their 
bones in Italy, and how many more to go home maimed 
for life, or bearing with them the seeds of death. 

Other reasons than those of sentiment in reality 
decided Napoleon's course. Though these can only be 
guessed at, the guess, at the present date, amounts to 
certainty. In the first place, the skin-deep rejoicings in 
Paris at the news of the victories did not hide the fact 
that French public opinion, never genuinely favourable to 
the war, was becoming more and more hostile to it. 
Then there was the military question. It is true that 
the Fifth Corps, estimated at 30,000 men, had, at last, 
emerged from its crepuscular doings in Tuscany, and 
was available for future operations. Moreover, Kossuth 
paid a visit to the Imperial headquarters, and held out 
hopes of a revolution in Hungary which would oblige 
the Austrian Emperor to remove part of his troops from 
the scene of the war. Nevertheless, Napoleon was by 
no means convinced that his army was sufficient to take 
the Quadrilateral. He realised the bad organisation 
and numerous shortcomings of the forces under him 
so vividly that it seems incredible that, in the eleven 
following years, he should have done nothing to remedy 
them. He attributed his success mainly to chance, 
though in a less degree to a certain lack of energy in 
the Austrians, joined with the exaggerated fear of re- 
sponsibility felt by their leaders. He never could 

The War for Lombardy 247 

thoroughly understand why the Austrians had not won 
Solferino. Naturally, he did not express these opinions 
to his marshals, but there is ample proof that he held 
them ; and if the fact stood alone, it ought not to be 
difficult to explain why he was not anxious for a continu- 
ance of the war. 

But it does not stand alone. Napoleon feared being 
defeated on the Rhine as well as in the Quadrilateral. 
Prussia had six army corps ready, and she was about to 
move them. That, after her long hesitations, she resolved 
to intervene was long doubted, but it cannot be so after 
the evidence which recent years have produced. 

At the time things wore a different complexion. 
Europe was never more amazed than when, on the 6th 
of July, Napoleon the victor sent General Fleury to 
Francis Joseph the vanquished with a request for an 
armistice. One point only was plain ; an armistice 
meant peace without Venetia, and never did profound 
sorrow so quickly succeed national joy than when this, 
to contemporaries astonishing intelligence, went forth. 
But the blow fell on no Italian with such tremendous force 
as on Cavour. 

There are natives of Italy who appear to be more 
cool, more calculating, more completely masters of them- 
selves, than the men of any other nationality. Cavour 
was one of these. But there comes, sooner or later, 
the assertion of southern blood, the explosion of feeling 
the more violent because long contained, and the cool, 
quiet Italian of yesterday is not to be recognised except 
by those who know the race intimately well, and who 
know the volcano that underlies its ice and snow as well 
as its luxuriant vegetation. 

On Wednesday, the 6th of June, the French army was 
spread out in battle array along the left bank of the 

248 The Liberation of Italy 

Mincio, and everything led to the supposition that a new 
and immediate battle was in contemplation. The Pied- 
montese were engaged in making preparations to 
invest Peschiera. Napoleon's headquarters were at 
Valleggio, those of the King at Monzambano. By the 
evening a very few persons had picked up the information 
that Napoleon had sent a messenger to Verona. Victor 
Emmanuel knew nothing of it, nor did any of the French 
generals except Marshal Vaillant, but such things leak 
out, and two or three individuals were aware of the journey 
to Verona, and spent that night in racking their brains as 
to what it might mean. Next day at eleven o'clock 
General Fleury returned ; the Austrian Emperor had 
accepted the armistice. Further secrecy was impossible, 
and like lightning the news flashed through the world. 

Cavour rushed from Turin to Desenzano, where he 
arrived the day before the final meeting between Napo- 
leon and Francis Joseph. He waited for a carriage in the 
little cafi in the piazza ; no one guessed who it was, and 
conversation went on undisturbed : it was full of curses 
on the French Emperor. Mazzini, someone said, was 
right ; this is the way the war was sure to end. When a 
shabby conveyance had at length been found the great 
statesman drove to Monzambano. There, of course, his 
arrival did not escape notice, and all who saw him were 
horrified by the change that had come over his face. 
Instead of the jovial, witty smile, there was a look of 
frantic rage and desperation. What passed between him 
and his Sovereign is partly a matter of conjecture ; the 
exact sense of the violent words into which his grief 
betrayed him is lost, in spite of the categorical versions 
of the interview which have been printed. Even in a fit 
of madness he can hardly have spoken some of the words 
attributed to him. That he advised the King to with- 

The War for Lombardy 249 

draw his army or to abdicate rather than agree to the 
peace which was being plotted behind his back, seems 
past doubting. It is said that after attempting in vain to 
calm him, Victor Emmanuel brought the interview to 
a sudden close. Cavour came out of the house flushed 
and exhausted, and drove back to Desenzano. He had 
resigned office. 

The King showed extraordinary self-control. Bitter 
as the draught was, he saw that it must be drunk, and he 
was determined to drink it with dignity. Probably no 
other Italian grasped as clearly as he did the real 
reason which actuated Napoleon ; at any rate his chival- 
rous appreciation of the benefits already received, closed 
his lips to reproaches. 'Whatever may be the decision 
of your Majesty,' he said to the Emperor on the eve 
of Villafranca, ' I shall feel an eternal gratitude for what 
you have done for the independence of Italy, and I beg 
you to believe that under all circumstances you may 
reckon on my complete fidelity.' 

If there was sadness in the Sardinian camp, so there 
was in that of Austria. The Austrians by no means 
thought that the game was up for them. It would be 
interesting to know by what arguments Napoleon per- 
suaded the young Emperor to renounce the hope of 
retrieving his disasters, whilst he slowly pulled to pieces 
some flowers which were on the table before which he 
and Francis Joseph sat. When they left the house, the 
heir to all the Hapsburgs looked pale and sad. Did he 
remember the dying counsels of 'Father' Radetsky — 
not to yield if he was beaten on the Mincio, on the 
Tagliamento, on the Isonzo, before the gates of Vienna. 

When, on the evening of the same day, the Emperor 
of Austria signed the preliminaries of peace, he said 
to Prince Napoleon, who took the document to Verona 

250 The Liberation of Italy 

for his signature : ' I pray God that if you are ever a 
sovereign He may spare you the hour of grief I have 
just passed.' Yet the defeat of Solferino and the loss 
of Lombardy were the first steps in the transformation 
of Radetsky's pupil from a despot, who hourly feared 
revolution in every land under his sceptre, to a wise and 
constitutional monarch ruling over a contented Empire. 
To some individuals and to some states, misfortune is 




Napoleon III. and Cavour — The Cession of Savoy and Nice — 
Annexations in Central Italy. 

Napoleon's hurried journey to Turin on his way back 
to France was almost a flight. Everywhere his re- 
ception was cold in the extreme. He was surprised, he 
said, at the ingratitude of the Italians. It was still pos- 
sible to ask for gratitude, as the services rendered had 
not been paid for; no one spoke yet of the barter of 
Savoy and Nice. But Napoleon, when he said these 
words to the Governor of Milan, forgot how the Lombards, 
in June 1848, absolutely refused to take their freedom at 
the cost of resigning Venice to Austria. And if Venice 
was dear to them and to Italy then, how much dearer had 
she not become since the heroic struggle in which she 
was the last to yield. The bones of Manin cried aloud 
for Venetian liberty from his grave of exile. 

Venice was the one absorbing thought of the moment ; 
yet there were clauses in the brief preliminaries of peace 
more fraught with insidious danger than the abandon- 
ment of Venice. If the rest of Italy became one and 
free, it needed no prophet to tell that not the might of 
twenty Austrias could keep Venetia permanently outside 
the fold. But if Italy was to remain divided and enslaved. 


252 The Liberation oj Italy 

then, indeed, the indignant question went up to heaven 
To what end had so much blood been shed ? 

When he resolved to cut short the war. Napoleon 
still had it in his power to go down to history as the 
supreme benefactor of Italy. He chose instead to be- 
come her worst and by far her most dangerous enemy. 
The preliminaries of peace opened with the words : ' The 
Emperor of Austria and the Emperor of the French will 
favour the creation of an Italian Confederation under the 
honorary presidency of the Holy Father.' Further, it 
was stated that the Grand Duke of Tuscany and the 
Duke of Modena would return to their states. Though 
Napoleon proposed at first to add, ' without foreign armed 
intervention,' he waived the point (Rome was in his mind) 
and no such guarantee was inserted. Here, then, was 
the federative programme which all the personal influence 
and ingenuity of the French Emperor, all the arts of 
French diplomacy, were concentrated on maintaining, 
and which was only defeated by the true patriotism and 
strong good sense of the Italian populations, and of the 
men who led them through this, the most critical period 
in their history. 

In England Lord Derby's administration had fallen 
and the Liberals were again in power. Napoleon was so 
strangely deluded as to expect to find support in that 
quarter for his anti-unionist conspiracy. His earliest 
scheme was that the federative plan should be presented 
to Europe by Great Britain. Lord John Russell answered : 
' We are asked to propose a partition {morcellement) of the 
peoples of Italy, as if we had the right to dispose of 
them.' It was a happy circumstance for Italy that her 
unity had no better friends than in the English Government 
during those difficult years. Cavour's words soon after 
Villafranca, ' It is England's turn now,' were not belied. 

What Unity Cost 253 

One thing should have made Napoleon uneasy ; a man 
like Cavour, when his blood is roused, when his nature is 
fired by the strongest passions that move the human 
heart, is an awkward adversary. If there was an instant 
in which the great statesman thought that all was lost, it 
was but an instant. With the quick rebound of virile 
characters he recovered his balance and understood his 
part. It was to fight and conquer. 

' Your Emperor has dishonoured me,' he said to M. 
Pietri in the presence of Kossuth (the interview taking 
place at Turin on the 1 5th of July). ' Yes, sir, he has dis- 
honoured me,' and he set forth how, after promising to hunt 
the last Austrian out of Italy, after secretly exacting the 
price of his assistarice to which Cavour had induced his 
good and honest King to consent, he now left them 
solemnly in the lurch ; Lombardy might suffice ! And, 
for nothing to be wanting, the King was to be forced into 
a confederation with Austria and the Italian princes under 
the presidency of the Pope. After painting the situation 
with all the irony and scorn of which he was master, he 
gave his note of warning : ' If needs be, I will become a 
conspirator, I will become a revolutionist, but this treaty 
shall never be executed ; a thousand times no — never ! ' 

The routine business of the Prime Minister still fell to 
Cavour, as Rattazzi, who succeeded him, had not yet 
formed his cabinet. He was obliged, therefore, to write 
officially to the Royal Commissioners at Modena, 
Bologna and Florence to abandon their posts. But in 
the character of Cavour, the private citizen, he telegraphed 
to them at the same time to remain and do their duty. 
And they remained. 

On one point there was a temporary lull of anxiety. 
Almost the last words spoken by Napoleon to Victor 
Emmanuel before he left Turin were : ' We shall think 

254 The Liberation of Italy 

no more about Nice and Savoy.' 'The mention of Nice 
shows that though it had not been promised, Napoleon 
was all along set upon its acquisition. It is impossible 
to say how far, at the moment, he was sincere in the 
renunciation. That, very soon after his return to Paris, he 
was diligently weaving plans for getting both provinces 
into his net, is evident from the tenor of the articles and 
notes published in the ' inspired ' French newspapers. 

Two chief motives can be divined for Napoleon's de- 
termined opposition to Italian unity which never ceased 
till S6dan, The first was his wish, shared by all French 
politicians, that Italy should be weak. The second was 
his regard for the Temporal Power which proceeded from 
his still being convinced that he could not reign without 
the Clerical vote. The French prelates were perpetually 
giving him reminders that this vote depended on his 
keeping the Pope on his throne. For instance, Cardinal 
Donnet told him at Bordeaux in October 1859, that he 
could not choose a better way of showing his appreciation 
of the Blessed Virgin than ' en menageant un triomphe a 
son Fils dans la personne de son Vicaire.' It would be a 
triumph which the Catholic world would salute with trans- 
port. Hints of this sort, the sense of which was not hard 
to read, in spite of their recondite phraseology, reached 
him from every quarter. He feared to set them aside. 
The origins of his power were too much tainted for him 
to advance boldly on an independent policy. Thus it 
was that bit by bit he deliberately forfeited all title to 
the help of Italy when the same whirlwind that dashed 
him to earth, cleared the way for the final accomplish- 
ment of her national destinies. 

Whilst Victor Emmanuel was more alive than Cavour 
to the military arguments in favour of stopping hostilities 
when the tide of success was at its height, he was not one 

What Unity Cost 255 

whit more disposed to stultify his past by becoming the 
vassal at once of Paris and Vienna. In a letter written to 
the Emperor of the French in October, in answer to a 
very long one in which Napoleon sought to convert him 
to the plan of an Austro-Italian Confederation, he wound 
up by saying : ' For the considerations above stated, and 
for many others, I cannot, Sire, second your Majesty's 
policy in Italy. If your Majesty is bound by treaties 
and cannot revoke your engagements in the (proposed) 
congress, I, Sire, am bound on my side, by honour in the 
face of Europe, by right and duty, by the interests of my 
house, of my people and of Italy. My fate is joined 
to that of the Italian people. We can succumb, but 
never betray. Solferino and San Martino may sometimes 
redeem Novara and Waterloo, but the apostasies of princes 
are always irreparable. I am moved to the bottom of my 
soul by the faith and love which this noble and unfortun- 
ate people has reposed in me, and rather than be unworthy 
of it, I will break my sword and throw the crown away 
as did my august father. Personal interest does not 
guide me in defending the annexations ; the Sword 
and Time have borne my house from the summit of 
the Alps to the banks of the Mincio, and those two 
guardian angels of the Savoy race will bear it further 
still, when it pleases God.' 

The events in Central Italy to which the King alludes 
were of the highest importance. L. C. Farini, the Sar- 
dinian Royal Commissioner at Modena, when relieved 
of his office, assumed the dictatorship by the will of the 
people. L. Cipriani became Governor of Romagna, and 
at Florence Ricasoli continued at the head of affairs, 
undismayed and unshaken in his resolve to defeat the 
combined machinations of France and Austria. In 
August the populations of Modena, Reggio, Parma and 

256 The Liberation of Italy 

Piacenza declared their union with Piedmont by an all 
but unanimous popular vote, the two last provinces placing 
themselves for temporary convenience under the Dictator 
Farini. A few days later, Tuscany and Romagna voted 
a like act of union through their Constituent Assemblies. 
The representatives of the four States, Modena, Parma, 
Romagna and Tuscany, formally announced to the great 
Powers their choice of Victor Emmanuel, in whose rule 
they recognised the sole hope of preserving their liberties 
and avoiding disorder. Delegates were sent to Turin 
with the offer of the crown. 

Peace, of which the preliminaries only were signed at 
Villafranca, was not yet definitely concluded, and a large 
French army was still in Italy. The King's government 
fared therefore to adopt the bold course of accepting the 
annexations outright, and facing the responsibilities 
which might arise. Victor Emmanuel thanked the dele- 
gates, expressing his confidence that Europe would not 
undo the great work that had been done in Central Italy. 
The state of things, however, in these provinces, whose 
elected King could not yet govern them, was anomalous, 
most of all in what related to defence ; they being 
menaced on the Austrian side by the Duke of Modena, 
and on the South by the Papal troops in the Cattolica. 
An armed force of 25,000 men was organised, of which 
the Tuscan contingent was under the command of Gari- 
baldi, and the rest under that of the Sardinian GeneraJ 
Fanti, 'lent' for the purpose. Garibaldi hoped not 
merely to defend the provinces already emancipated, but 
to carry war into the enemy's camp and make revolution 
possible throughout the States of the Church. To the Party 
of Action the chance seemed an unique one of hasten- 
ing the progress of events. Unaccustomed as they were 
to weigh diplomatic difficulties, they saw the advantages 

WAai Unity Cost 257 

but not the perils of a daring course. Meanwhile Napo- 
leon threatened to occupy Piacenza with 30,000 men on 
the first forward step of Garibaldi, who, on his side, 
seemed by no means inclined to yield either to the 
orders of the Dictator Farini, or to the somewhat violent 
measures taken to stop him by General Fanti, who in- 
structed the officers under his command to disobey him. 
It was then that Victor Emmanuel tried his personal in- 
fluence, rarely tried without success, over the revolution- 
ary chief, who reposed absolute faith in the King's 
patriotism, and who was therefore amenable to his 
arguments when all others failed. The general was 
summoned to Turin, and in an audience given on the 
1 6th of November, Victor Emmanuel persuaded him 
that the proposed enterprise would retard rather than 
advance the cause of Italian freedom. Garibaldi left for 
Caprera, only insisting that his 'weak services' should 
be called into requisition whenever there was an oppor- 
tunity to act 

Before quitting the Adriatic coast the hero of Rome 
went one evening with his two children, Menotti and 
Teresita, to the Chapel in the Pine Forest, where their 
mother was buried. Within a mile was the farmhouse 
where he had embraced her lifeless form before undertak- 
ing his perilous flight from sea to sea. In 1850, at Staten 
Island, when he was earning his bread as a factory hand 
he wrote the prophetic words : ' Anita, a land of slavery 
holds your precious dust ; Italy will make your grave 
free, but what can restore to your children their incom- 
parable mother?' Garibaldi's visit to Anita's grave closes 
the story of the brave and tender woman who sacrificed 
all to the love she bore him. 

After sitting for three months, the Conference which 
met at Zurich to establish the definite treaty of peace 


258 The Liberation of Italy 

finished its labours on the loth of November. The 
compact was substantially the same as that arranged at 
Villafranca. Victor Emmanuel, who had signed the Pre- 
liminaries with the reservation implied in the note : ' In 
so far as I am concerned,' preserved the same liberty of 
action in the Treaty of Zurich, He still hesitated, how- 
ever, in assuming the government of the central provinces, 
and even the plan of sending the Prince of Carignano 
as governor fell through in consequence of Napoleon's 
opposition. His hesitations sprang from the general 
apprehension that a hint from Paris might any day be 
followed by a new eruption of Austrians in Modena and 
Tuscany for the purpose of replacing the former rulers of 
those states on their thrones. Such a fear existed at the 
time, and Rattazzi's timid policy was the result ; it is im- 
possible not to ask now whether it was not exaggerated ? 
'What statesman,' wrote the Prince Consort in June 1859, 
' could adopt measures to force Austrian rule again upon 
delighted, free Italy ? ' If this was true in June was it 
less true in November? For the rest, would not the 
supreme ridicule that would have fallen on the French 
Emperor if he encouraged the Austrians to return to 
Central Italy after driving them out of Lombardy, have 
obliged him to support the principle of non-intervention, 
whether he wished it or not ? England was prepared to 
back up the government of Piedmont, in which lay a 
great moral force. It is plain that the long wavering 
about what ought to be done with the central provinces 
is what cost the country Savoy and Nice, or at any rate, 
Nice. Napoleon did all in his power to prevent and to 
retard the annexations, especially that of Tuscany, which, 
as he said, ' would make Italian unity a mere question of 
time,' but when he found that neither threats nor blandish- 
ments could move the population from their resolve to 

What Unity Cost 259 

have Victor Emmanuel for their king, he decided to sell 
his adhesion for a good price. Compelled for the sake of 
appearances to withdraw his claim after the abrupt ter- 
mination of the war, he now saw an excellent excuse for 
reviving it, and he was not likely to let the opportunity 

At this period there was continual talk, which may or 
may not have been intended to end in talk, of a Congress 
to which the affairs of Italy were to be referred. It gave 
an opening to Napoleon for publishing one of the anony- 
mous pamphlets by means of which he was in the habit of 
throwing out tentative ideas, and watching their effect. 
The chief idea broached in Le Pape et le Congres was the 
voluntary renunciation by the Pope of all but a small zone 
of territory round Rome ; it being pointed out that his 
position as an independent sovereign would remain un- 
affected by such an act, which would smooth the way to 
his assuming the hegemony of the Italian Confederation. 
The Pope, however, let it be clearly known that he had 
no intention of ceding a rood of his possessions, or of 
recognising the separation of the part which had already 
escaped from him. Anyone acquainted with the long 
strife and millennial manoeuvres by which the Church 
had acquired the States called by her name, will under- 
stand the unwillingness there was to yield them. To do 
Pius IX. justice, an objection which merits more respect 
weighed then and always upon his mind. He thought 
that he was personally debarred by the oath taken on 
assuming the tiara from giving up the smallest part of the 
territory he received from his predecessor. The Ultra- 
montane party knew Ihat they had only to remind him of 
this oath to provoke a fresh assertion oi Non possumus. 
The attitude of the Pope was one reason why the Con- 
gress was abandoned ; but there was a deeper reason. A 

26o The Liberation of Italy 

European Congress would certainly not have approved 
the cession of Nice and Savoy, and to that object the 
French Emperor was now turning all his attention. 

At Turin there was an ignoble cabal, supported not 
so much, perhaps, by Rattazzi himself as by followers, the 
design of which was to prevent Cavour from returning to 
power. Abroad, the Empress Eugenie, who looked on 
Cavour as the Pope's worst foe, did what she could to 
further the scheme, and its promoters counted much on 
the soreness left in Victor Emmanuel's mind by the scene 
after Villafranca. That soreness did, in fact, still exist ; 
but when in January the Rattazzi ministry fell, the King 
saw that it was his duty to recall Cavour to his counsels, 
and he at once charged him to form a cabinet. 

That Cavour accepted the task is the highest proof of 
his abnegation as a statesman. He was on the point of 
getting into his carriage to catch the train for Leri when 
the messenger reached the Palazzo Cavour with the royal 
command to go to the castle. If he had refused office 
and returned to the congenial activity of his life as a 
country gentleman, his name would not be attached to 
the melancholy sacrifice which Napoleon was now deter- 
mined to exact from Italy. The French envoy. Baron de 
Talleyrand, whose business it was to communicate the un- 
welcome intelligence, arrived at Turin before the collapse 
of Rattazzi ; but, on finding that a ministerial crisis was 
imminent, he deferred carrying out his mission till a more 
opportune moment. 

On the 1 8th of January i860, the Emperor admitted 
to Lord Cowley that, though there was as yet no arrange- 
ment between himself and Victor Emmanuel on the sub- 
ject, he intended to have Savoy. After the long series 
of denials of any such design, the admission caused the 
most indignant feeling in the English ministers and in the 

WAai Unity Cost 261 

Queen, who wrote to Lord John Russell : ' We have been 
made regular dupes.' She went on to say that the revival 
of the English Alliance, and the hymns of universal peace 
chanted in Paris on the occasion of the Commercial Treaty, 
had been simply so many blinds, ' to hide from Europe a 
policy of spoliation.' Cavour came in for a part of the 
blame, as, during the war, he denied cognisance of the 
proposal to give up Savoy. The best that can be said of 
that denial is, that it was diplomatically impracticable for 
one party in the understanding of Plombi^res to make 
a clean breast of the truth, whilst the other party was 
assuring the whole universe that he was fighting for an 

When the war was broken off, Cavour fully expected 
that Napoleon, of whom he had the worst opinion, would 
then and there demand whole pay for his half service ; 
and this had much to do with his furious anger at Villa- 
franca ; but later, in common with the best-informed 
persons, he believed that the claim was finally with- 
drawn. When, however, Napoleon asked again for the 
provinces — not as the price of the war, but of the an- 
nexations in Central Italy — Cavour instantly came to 
the conclusion that, cost what it might (and he thought 
that, amongst other things, it would cost his own repu- 
tation and popularity), the demand must be granted. 
Otherwise Italian unity would never be accomplished. 

In considering whether he was mistaken, it must 
not be forgotten that the French troops were still in 
Italy. Not to speak of those in Rome, Marshal Vaillant 
had five divisions of infantry and two brigades of cavalry 
in Lombardy up to the 20th of March i860. The engage- 
ment had been to send this army home as soon as the 
definite peace was concluded ; why, then, was it still 
south of the Alps four months after? 

262 The Liberation of Italy 

In spite of this, however, and in spite of the difficulty 
of judging an act, all the reasons for which may not, 
even now, be in possession of the world, it is very hard 
indeed to pardon Cavour for having yielded Nice as well 
as Savoy to France. The Nizzards were Italians as the 
lower class of the population is Italian still ; they had 
always shown warm sympathy with the hopes of Italy, 
which could not be said of the Savoyards ; and Nice was 
the birthplace of Garibaldi ! 

England would have supported and applauded resist- 
ance to the claim for Nice on general grounds, though 
her particular interest was in Savoy, or rather in that 
part of the Savoy Alps which was neutralised by treaty 
in 1 8 14. It was the refusal of Napoleon to adopt the 
compromise of ceding this district to Switzerland which 
caused the breach between him and the British ministry. 
From that moment, also, Prussia began to increase her 
army, and resolved, when she was ready, to check the 
imperial ambition by force of arms. ' The loss of Alsace 
and Lorraine,' writes an able publicist, M. E. Tallichet, 
'was the direct consequence of the annexation of Nice 
and Savoy.' 

If anything could have rendered more galling to 
Italy the deprivation of these two provinces, it was the 
tone adopted in France when speaking of the transac- 
tion. What were Savoy and Nice ? A barren rock and 
an insignificant strip of coast! The French of thirty- 
four years ago travelled so little that they may have 
believed in the description. The vast military import- 
ance of the ceded districts has been already referred to. 
Some scraps on the Nice frontier were saved in a curious 
way : They were spots which formed part of the favourite 
playground of the Royal Hunter of the Alps, and it was 
pointed out to Napoleon that it would be a graceful act 

What Unity Cost 263 

to leave these particular ' barren rocks ' to his Sardinian 
Majesty. The zig-zags in the line of demarcation which 
were thus introduced are said to be of great strategic 
advantage to Italy. So far, so good ; but it remains true 
that France is inside the Italian front-door. 

At the elections for the new Chamber in March i860, 
the Nizzards chose Garibaldi; and this was their real 
plebiscite — not that which followed at a short interval, 
and presented the phenomenon of a population which 
appeared to change its mind as to its nationality in the 
course of a few weeks. In voting for Garibaldi, they 
voted for Italy. 

The Nizzard hero made some desperate efforts on 
behalf of his fellow-citizens in the Chamber, not his 
natural sphere, and was on the brink of making other 
efforts in a sphere in which he might have succeeded 
better. He had the idea of going to Nice with about 
200 followers, and exciting just enough of a revolution to 
let the real will of the people be known, and to frustrate 
the wiles of French emissaries and the pressure of govern- 
ment in the official plebiscite of the isth of April. The 
story of the conspiracy, which is unknown in Italy, has 
been told by one of the conspirators, the late Lawrence 
Oliphant. The English writer, who reached Turin full 
of wrath at the proposed cession, was introduced to 
Garibaldi, from whom he received the news of the pro- 
posed enterprise. Oliphant offered his services, which 
were accepted, and he accompanied the general to 
Genoa, where he engaged a diligence which was to carry 
the vanguard to Nice. But, on going to Garibaldi for 
the last orders, he found him supping with twenty or 
thirty young men ; ' All Sicilians ! ' said the chief. ' We 
must give up the Nice programme ; the general opinion 
is that we shall lose all if we try for too much.' He 

264 The Liberation of Italy 

added that he had hoped to carry out the Nice plan 
first, but now everything must be sacrificed to freeing 
Sicily. And he asked Oliphant to join the Thousand, 
an offer which the adventurous Englishman never ceased 
to regret that he did not accept. As it was, he elected 
to go all the same to Nice, where he was the spectator 
and became the historian of the arts which brought about 
the semblance of an unanimous vote in favour of annexa- 
tion to France. 

The ratification of the treaty — which, by straining the 
constitution, was concluded without consulting Parlia- 
ment — was reluctantly given by the Piedmontese Cham- 
bers, the majority of members fearing the responsibility 
of upsetting an accomplished fact. Cavour, when he laid 
down the pen after signing the deed of cession, turned to 
Baron de Talleyrand with the remark : 'Now we are accom- 
plices 1 ' His face, which had been depressed, resumed 
its cheerful air. In fact, though Napoleon's dislike of 
the central annexations was unabated, he could no longer 
oppose them. Victor Emmanuel accepted the four crowns 
of Central Italy, the people of which, during the long 
months of waiting, and under circumstances that applied 
the most crucial test to their resolution, had never swerved 
from the desire to form part of the Italian monarchy 
under the sceptre of the Re Galantuomo. The King of 
Sardinia, as he was still called, had eleven million sub- 
jects, and on his head rested one excommunication the 
more. The Bull fulminated against all who had, directly 
or indirectly, participated in the events which caused 
Romagna to change hands, was published a day or two 
before the opening of the new Parliament at Turin. 

Addressing for the first time the representatives of 
his widened realm, Victor Emmanuel said : ' True to the 
creed of my fathers, and, like them, constant in my 

WAai Unity Cost 265 

homage to the Supreme Head of the Church, whenever 
it happens that the ecclesiastical authority employs 
spiritual arms in support of temporal interests, I shall 
find in my steadfast conscience and in the very tradi- 
tions of my ancestors, the power to maintain civil liberty 
in its integrity, and my own authority, for which I hold 
myself accountable to God alone and to my people.' 

The words : ' Delia quale debbo ragione a Dio solo 
ed ai miei popoli,' were added by the King to the speech 
prepared by his ministers ; it was noticed that he pro- 
nounced them with remarkable energy. The speech con- 
cluded: 'Our country is no more the Italy of the Romans, 
nor the Italy of the Middle Ages ; no longer the field for 
every foreign ambition, it becomes, henceforth, the Italy 
of the Italians.' 



Origin of the Expedition — Garibaldi at Marsala — Calatafimi — The 
Taking of Palermo — Milazzo — The Bourbons evacuate Sicily. 

During the journey from Turin to Genoa, Garibaldi 
was occupied in opening, reading and tearing up into 
small pieces an enormous mass of letters, while his 
English companion spent the time in vainly speculating 
as to what this vast correspondence was about. When 
they approached Genoa, the floor of the railway carriage 
resembled a gigantic wastepaper basket. It was only 
afterwards that Lawrence Oliphant guessed the letters 
to be responses to a call for volunteers for Sicily. 

The origin of the Sicilian expedition has been related 
in various ways ; there is the version which attributes 
it entirely to Cavour, and the version which attributes 
it to not irresponsible personages in England. The 
former was the French and Clerical official account ; the 
latter has always obtained credence in Germany and 
Russia. For instance, the late Duke Ernest of Saxe- 
Coburg said that ' the mystery of how 1 50,000 men were 
vanquished by a thousand Red-shirts was wrapped in 
English bank-notes ! ' Of this theory, it need only be 
said that the notion of Lord Palmerston (for it comes to 
that) supporting a foreign revolution out of the British 
exchequer is not one that commends itself to the belief 


The March of the Thousand. 267 

of the average Englishman. With regard to the other 
theory — namely, that Cavour 'got up' the Sicilian ex- 
pedition, it has been favoured to a certain degree, both 
by his friends and foes ; but it will not bear careful 
examination. As far as Sicily goes (Naples is another 
thing), the most that can be brought home to Cavour 
is a complicity of toleration ; and even this statement 
should be qualified by the addition, 'after the act' It 
is true that, in the early days after Villafranca, he had 
exclaimed : ' They have cut me off from making Italy 
from the north, by diplomacy; very well, I will make 
her from the south, by revolution ! ' True, also, that 
earlier still, in 1856, he expressed the opinion, shared 
by every man of common sense, that while the Bourbons 
ruled over the Two Sicilies there would be no real peace 
for Italy. Nevertheless, in April i860, he neither thought 
the time ripe for the venture nor the means employed 
adequate for its accomplishment. He was afraid that 
Garibaldi would meet with the death of the Bandieras 
and Pisacane. No one was more convinced than Cavour 
of the importance of Garibaldi's life to Italy ; and it is 
a sign of his true superiority of mind that this conviction 
was never entertained more strongly than at the moment 
when the general was passionately inveighing against 
him for the cession of Nice. To Cavour such invectives 
seemed natural, and even justified from one point of 
view ; they excited in him no bitterness, and he was 
only too happy that they fell upon himself and not upon 
the King, since it was his fixed idea that, without the 
maintenance of a good understanding between Victor 
Emmanuel and Garibaldi, Italy would not be made. 
Few men under the sting of personal attacks have shown 
such complete self-control. 

As has been stated, when Francis II. ascended the 

268 The Liberation of Italy 

Neapolitan throne, he was invited to join in the war 
with Austria, and he refused. Since then, the same 
negative result had attended the reiterated counsels of 
reform which the Piedmontese Government sent to that 
of Naples — the young King showing, by repeated acts, 
that not Sardinia but Rome was his monitress and 
chosen ally in Italy. The Pope had lately induced 
the French General Lamorici^re to take the command 
of the Pontifical troops, and he and the King of Naples 
were organising their armies, with a view to co-operating 
at an early date against the common enemy at Turin. 
In January i860, Lord Russell wrote to Mr Elliot, the 
English Minister at Naples : ' You will tell the King 
and his Ministers that the Government of her Majesty 
the Queen does not intend to accept any part in the 
responsibility nor to guarantee the certain consequences 
of a misgovernment which has scarcely a parallel in 
Europe.' Mr Elliot replied, early in March : ' I have 
used all imaginable arguments to convince this Govern- 
ment of the necessity of stopping short on the fatal 
path which it has entered. I finished by saying that 
I was persuaded of the inevitable fall of his Majesty 
and the dynasty if wiser counsels did not obtain a 
hearing, and requested an audience with the King ; since, 
when the catastrophe occurs, I do not wish my con- 
science to reproach me with not having tried all means 
of saving an inexperienced Sovereign from the ruin 
which threatens him. The Ministers of France and 
Spain have spoken to the same effect.' Even Russia 
advised Francis to make common cause with Piedmont. 
In April, Victor Emmanuel wrote to his cousin, ' as a 
near relative and an Italian Prince,' urging him to 
listen while there was yet time to save something, if 
not everything. ' If you will not hear me,' he said, 

The March of the Thousand 269 

'the day may come when I shall be obliged to be the 
instrument of your ruin ! ' 

It has been said that the Sardinian Government, in 
tendering similar advice, hoped for its refusal and con- 
templated the eventuality hinted at with the reverse of 
apprehension. Of course this is true. Yet the responsi- 
bility of declining to take the only course which might by 
any possibility have saved him must rest with the King of 
Naples and not with Victor Emmanuel and his Ministers. 
The attempt to make Francis appear the innocent victim 
of a diabolical conspiracy will never succeed, however 
ingenious are the writers who devote their abilities to so 
unfruitful a task. 

To trace the real beginning of the expedition we 
must go back to the summer of 1859. When the war 
ended in the manner which he alone had foreseen, 
Mazzini projected a revolutionary enterprise in the south 
which should restore to the Italian movement its purely 
national character and defeat in advance Napoleon's 
plans for gathering the Bourbon succession for his cousin, 
Prince Murat. He sent agents to Sicily, and notably 
Francesco Crispi, who, as a native of the island and a 
man of resource and quick intelligence, was well qualified 
to execute the work of propaganda and to elude the 
Bourbon police. Crispi travelled in all parts of Sicily for 
several months, and in September he was able to report 
to Mazzini that the insurrection might be expected in a 
few weeks — which proved incorrect, but only as to date. 
Mazzini forbade his agents to agitate in favour of a 
republic ; unity was the sole object to be aimed at ; unity 
in whatever form and at whatever cost. 

In March i860 he had an interview in London with 
the man who was to become the actual initiator of the 
revolutionary movement in South Italy. This was 

270 The Liberation of Italy 

Rosalino Pilo, son of the Count di Capaci, and descended 
through his mother from the royal house of Anjou, whose 
name, Italianised into Gioeni, is still borne by several noble 
families in Sicily. Rosalino Pilo, who was now in his 
fortieth year, had devoted all his life to his country's 
liberties. After 1849, when he was obliged to leave 
Sicily, he sold his ancestral acres to supply the wants of 
his fellow exiles, and help the work of revolutionary 
propaganda. Handsome in person, cultivated in mind, 
ready to give his life, as he had already given most of 
what makes life tolerable, to the Italian cause, he won the 
affection of all with whom he was brought in contact, and 
especially of Mazzini, from whom he parted after that last 
interview radiant with hope, and yet with a touch of 
sadness in his smile, as if in prevision that the place 
allotted to him in the ranks of men was among the sowers, 
not among the reapers. 

Rosalino Pilo believed, as Mazzini believed, that 
Sicily was ripe for revolution, but he realised the fact 
that under existing circumstances there was an exceeding 
probability of a Sicilian revolution being rapidly crushed. 
It was the tendency of Mazzini's mind to think the con- 
trary ; to put more faith in the people themselves than in 
any leader or leaders ; to imagine that the blast of the 
trumpet of an angered population was sufficient to bring 
down the walls of all the citadels of despotism, however 
well furnished with heavy artillery. Pilo saw that there 
was only one man who could give a real chance of suc- 
cess to a rising in his native island, and that man was 
Garibaldi. As early as February he began to write to 
Caprera, urging the general to give his co-operation to 
the projected movement. It is notorious that the scheme, 
until almost the last moment, did not find favour with 
Garibaldi. In spite of his perilous enterprises, the chief 

The March of the Thousand 271 

had never been a courtier of failure, and he understood 
more clearly than his correspondent what failure at that 
particular juncture would have meant. The ventures of 
the Bandieras and of Pisacane, similar in their general 
plan to the one now in view (though on a smaller scale), 
ended in disasters, but disasters that were useful to Italy. 
A disaster now would have been ruinous to Italy. Gari- 
baldi's hesitations do not, as some writers of the extreme 
party have foolishly assumed, detract from his merit as 
victorious leader of the expedition ; they only show him 
to have been more amenable to political prudence than 
most people have supposed. 

Rosalino Pilo wrote, finally, that in any case he was 
determined to go to Sicily himself to complete the pre- 
parations, and he added : ' The insurrection in Sicily, con- 
sider it well, will carry with it that of the whole south of 
the peninsula,' by which means not only would the 
Muratist plots be frustrated, but also a new army and 
fleet would become available for the conquest of inde- 
pendence and the liberation of Venetia. The writer con- 
cluded by wishing the general ' new glories in Sicily in 
the accomplishment of our country's redemption.' 

True to his word, Rosalino Pilo embarked at Genoa 
on the 24th of March, on a crazy old coasting vessel, 
manned by five friendly sailors. He had with him a 
single companion, and carried such arms and ammunition 
as he had been able to get together. Terrible weather 
and the deplorable condition of their craft kept them at 
sea for fifteen days, during which time something of great 
importance happened at Palermo. On the 4th of April 
the authorities became aware that arms and conspira- 
tors were concealed in the convent of La Gancia, which 
was to have been the focus of the revolution. Troops 
were sent to besiege the convent, which they only sue- 

272 The Liberation of Italy 

ceeded in taking after four hours' resistance ; its fall was 
the signal for a general slaughter of the inmates, both 
monks and laymen. The insurrection was thus stifled in 
its birth in the capital, but from this time it began to 
spread in the country, and when, at last, Rosalino Pilo 
landed near Messina on the loth of April, he found that 
several armed bands were already roving the mountains, 
as yet almost unperceived by the Government, which had 
gone to sleep again after its exhibition of energy on the 4th. 
Events were, however, to awake it from its slumbers, and 
to cause it to renew its vigilance. It required all Rosa- 
lino Pilo's skill and courage to sustain the revolution of 
which he became henceforth the responsible head, till the 
fated deliverer arrived. 

Pilo's letters, brought back to Genoa by the pilot who 
guided him to Sicilian waters, were what decided Gari- 
baldi to go to the rescue. Some, like Crispi and Bixio, 
warmly and persistently urged him to accept the charge ; 
others, like Sirtori, were convinced that the undertaking 
was foredoomed, and that its only result would be the 
death of their beloved captain ; but this conviction did 
not lessen their eagerness to share his perils when once 
he was resolved to go. 

Like all born men of action. Garibaldi did not know 
what doubt was after he came to a decision. From that 
moment his mental atmosphere cleared ; he saw the 
goal and went straight for it. In a surprisingly short 
time the expedition was organised and ready to leave. 
' Few and good,' had been the rule laid down by Gari- 
baldi for the enrolments ; if he had chosen he could have 
taken with him a much more numerous host. When it 
was the day to start, few they were (according to the 
most recent computation the exact number was 1072 
men), and they were certainly good. The force was 

The March of the Thousand 273 

divided into seven companies, the first entrusted to the 
ardent Nino Bixio, who acted in a general way as 
second-in-command through both the Sicilian and Nea- 
politan campaigns, and the seventh to Benedetto Cairoli, 
whose mother contributed a large sum of money as well 
as three of her sons to the freeing of Southern Italy. 
Sirtori, about whom there always clung something of the 
priestly vocation for which he had been designed, was 
the head of the staff; TUrr (the Hungarian) was adju- 
tant-general. The organisation was identical with that 
of the Italian army ' to which we belong,' said Garibaldi 
in his first order of the day. 

One name is missing, that of Medici, who was left 
behind to take the command of a projected movement 
in the Papal States. By whom this plan was invented is 
not clear, but simultaneous operations in different parts 
of the peninsula had been always a favourite design of 
the more extreme members of the Party of Action, and 
Garibaldi probably yielded to their advice. All that 
came of it was the entry into Umbria of Zambianchi's 
small band of volunteers, which was promptly repulsed 
over the frontier. Medici, therefore, remained inactive 
till after the fall of Palermo ; he headed the second ex- 
pedition of 4,000 volunteers which arrived in time to take 
part in the final Sicilian battles. 

Garibaldi's political programme was the cry of the 
Hunters of the Alps in 1859 : Italy and Victor Emmanuel. 
Those who were strict republicans at heart, while abstain- 
ing from preaching the republic till the struggle was over, 
would have stopped short at the first word Italy. But 
Garibaldi told Rosalino Pilo, who was of this way of 
thinking, that either he marched in the King's name or 
he did not march at all. This was the condition of his 
acceptance, because he esteemed it the condition on which 


274 The Liberation of Italy 

hung the success of the enterprise, nay more, the existence 
of an united Italy. 

The Thousand embarked at Quarto, near Genoa, during 
the night of the 5th of May on the two merchant vessels, 
the Piemonte and Lombardo, which, with the complicity of 
their patriotic owner, R. Rubattino, had been sequestered 
lor the use of the expedition. On hearing of Garibaldi's 
departure, Cavour ordered Admiral Persano, whose squad- 
ron lay in the gulf of Cagliari, to arrest the expedition 
if the steamers entered any Sardinian port, but to let it 
go free if they were encountered on the high seas. Per- 
sano asked Cavour what he was to do if by stress of 
storms Garibaldi were forced to come into port? The 
answer was that ' the Ministry ' decided for his arrest, 
which Persano rightly interpreted to mean that Cavour had 
decided the contrary. He resolved, therefore, not to stop 
him under any circumstances, but the case did not occur, 
for the fairest of May weather favoured the voyage, and 
six days after the start the men were quietly landed at 
Marsala without let or hindrance from the two Neapoli- 
tan warships which arrived almost at the same time as 
the Piemonte and Lombardo, an inconceivable stroke of 
good fortune which, like the eventful march that was to 
follow, seems to belong far more to romance than to 

On the day before, the British gunboat Intrepid (Cap- 
tain Marryat), and the steam vessel Argus, had cast anchor 
in the harbour of Marsala. Their presence was again and 
again spoken of by Garibaldi as the key to the mystery 
of why he was not attacked. No matter how it was done 
— it may have been a mere accident — but it can hardly be 
doubted that the English men-of-war did practically cover 
the landing of the Thousand. Lord John Russell denied 
emphatically to the House of Commons that they were 

The March of the Thousand 275 

sent there for the purpose, as to this day is believed by 
some grateful Italians, and by every Clerical writer who 
handles the subject. The British Government had early 
information of Italian revolutionary doings, just then, 
through Sir James Hudson, who was in communication 
with men of all shades of opinion, and it is credible that 
orders which must necessarily have been secret, were 
given to afford a refuge on board English ships to the 
flying patriots in the anticipated catastrophe. More 
than this is not credible, but the energy shown by Cap- 
tain Marryat in safeguarding the interests of the British 
residents at Marsala caused the Neapolitan ships to delay 
opening fire till the very last Red-shirt was out of harm's 
way on dry land. Then and then only did they direct 
their guns on the Piemonte and Lombardo, and fire a few 
shots into the city, which caused no other damage than 
the destruction of two casks of wine. 

On the 1 2th, Garibaldi left Marsala for Salemi, a 
mountain city approached by a steep, winding ascent, 
where he was sure of a warm reception, as it had already 
taken arms against the Bourbon king. Hence he pro- 
mulgated the decree by which he assumed the dictator- 
ship of Sicily in the name of Victor Emmanuel. 

The Neapolitan army numbered from 120,000 to 
1 30,000 men ; of these 30,000 were actually in Sicily at the 
time the Thousand landed at Marsala, 18,000 being in and 
about Palermo, and the rest distributed over the island. 
At Salemi, Garibaldi reviewed his united forces : he 
had been joined by 200 fresh volunteers, and by a fluctu- 
ating mass of Sicilian irregulars, which might be esti- 
mated to consist of 2,000 men, but it increased or decreased 
along the road, because it was formed of peasants of the 
districts traversed, who did not go far from their homes. 
These undisciplined bands were not useless, as they gave 

276 The Liberation of Italy 

the Bourbon generals the idea that Garibaldi had more 
men than he could ever really count upon, and also the 
peasants knew the country well. When they came under 
fire they behaved better than anyone would have ex- 
pected. The first batch joined the Thousand half-way 
between Marsala and Salemi. There might have been 
fifty of them, dressed in goat-skins, and armed with the 
old flint muskets and rusty pistols dear to the Sicilian 
heart, which he would not for the world leave behind 
were he going no farther than to buy a lamb at the fair. 
The feudal lord marched at the head of his uncouth 
retainers — a company of bandits in an opera — yet, to 
Garibaldi, they seemed the blessed assurance that this 
people whom he was come to save was ready and willing 
to be saved. He received the poor little band with as 
much rapture as if it had been a powerful army, and, in 
their turn, the impressionable islanders were enraptured 
by the affability of the man whom the population of 
Sicily soon came seriously to consider as a new Messiah. 
It is a fact that the people of Southern Italy did believe 
that Garibaldi had in him something superhuman, only 
the Bourbon troops looked rather below than above for 
the source of it. The picturesque incidents of the historic 
march were many ; one other may be mentioned. While 
the chief watered his horse at a spring a Franciscan friar 
threw himself on his knees, and implored to be allowed to 
follow him. Some of the volunteers thought the friar a 
traitor in disguise, but larger in faith. Garibaldi said : 
' Come with us, you will be our Ugo Bassi.' Fra Pantaleo 
proved of no small use to the expedition, 

A glance at the map makes clear the military situa- 
tion. Garibaldi's objective was Palermo, and if anything 
shows his genius as a Condottiere it is this immediate 
determination to make straight for the capital where the 

The March of the Thousand 277 

largest number of the enemy's troops was massed, instead 
of seeking an illusionary safety for his weak army in the 
open country. As the crow flies the distance from Mar- 
sala to Palermo is not more than sixty or seventy miles, 
but the routes being mountainous, the actual ground to 
be covered is much longer. About midway lies Calata- 
fimi, where all the roads leading from the eastern coast to 
Palermo converge, and above it towers the immensely 
strong position called Pianto dei Romani, from a battle in 
which the Romans were defeated. These heights com- 
mand a vast prospect, and here General Landi, with 
3,000 men and four pieces of artillery, prepared to inter- 
cept the Garibaldians with every probability of driving 
them back into the sea. 

The royal troops took the offensive towards ten 
o'clock on the 15th of May. They met the Red-shirts 
half way down the mountain, but were driven up it 
again, inch by inch, till, at about three o'clock, they 
were back at Pianto dei Romani. A final vigorous 
assault dislodged them from this position, and they 
retreated in disorder to Calatafimi. Not wishing to 
tempt fortune further for that day. Garibaldi bivouacqued 
on the field of battle. In a letter written to Bertani, 
on the spur of the moment, he bore witness with a 
sort of fatherly pride to the courage displayed by the 
Neapolitans : ' It was the old misfortune,' he said, ' a 
fight between Italians ; but it proved to me what can 
be done with this family when united. The Neapolitan 
soldiers, when their cartridges were exhausted, threw 
stones at us in desperation.' How then, with much 
superior numbers and a seemingly impregnable position, 
did they end in ignominious flight? The answer may 
be found in the reply given to Bixio, bravest of the 
brave, who yet feared, at one hotly-contested point, that 

278 The Liberation of Italy 

retreat was inevitable. ' Here,' retorted the chief, ' we die! 
Men who really mean to conquer or die can do miracles. 

The moral effect of the victory was tremendous. 
The world at large had made absolutely sure of the 
destruction of the expedition. ' Garibaldi has chosen to 
go his own way,' said Victor Emmanuel ; ' but if you 
only knew the fright I was in about him and the 
brave lads with him ! ' In Sicily, where the insurrec- 
tionary activity of April was almost totally spent, the 
news sent an electric shock of revolution through the 
whole island. In the mountains Rosalino Pilo still re- 
sisted, weary of waiting for the help that came not, dis- 
couraged or hopeless, but unyielding. Food and ammuni- 
tion were almost gone ; his ragged band, held together 
only by the magnetism of his personal influence, began to 
feel the pangs of hunger. A price was set on his head, 
and he was harassed on all sides by the Neapolitan 
troops, whose attacks became more frequent now that 
the Government realised that there was danger. He 
knew nothing of Garibaldi's movements; but he was 
resolved to keep his promise as long as he could : to 
hold out till the chief came. At the hour when every- 
thing looked most desperate, a messenger arrived in 
his camp with a letter in Garibaldi's handwriting, which 
bore the date of the i6th of May. 'Yesterday,' it ran, 
' we fought and conquered.' Never was unexpected news 
more welcome. Filled with a joy such as few men 
have tasted, Rosalino read the glad tidings to his men. 
' The cause is won,' he said. ' In a few days, if the 
enemy's balls respect me, we shall be in Palermo.' 

Meanwhile Garibaldi had occupied Calatafimi, and was 
proceeding towards Monreale, from which side he con- 
templated a descent on the capital. On the high table- 
land of Renda he met Rosalino Pilo with his reanimated 

The March of the Thousand 279 

band. That day the Garibaldian army, all told, amounted 
to men. On the 21st of May, Rosaline was ordered 
to make a reconnaissance in the direction of Monreale ; 
while carrying out this order a Neapolitan bullet struck 
his forehead, causing almost instantaneous death. ' I am 
happy to be able to give my blood to Italy, but may 
heaven be propitious once for all,' he had written when he 
first landed, words realised to the letter. 

The Neapolitans were put in high spirits by Rosalino 
Pilo's death ; the discomfiture of Calatafimi was forgotten ; 
they represented Garibaldi as a mouse that was obligingly 
walking into a well-laid trap. In fact, his position could 
not have been more critical, but he had recourse to a 
stratagem which saved him. He succeeded in placing 
the enemy upon a completely false scent. Abandoning 
the idea of reaching Palermo from the east (Monreale), 
he decided to attempt the assault from the south (Plana 
de' Greci and Misilimeri), but, all the while, he continued 
to throw the Sicilian Picciotti on the Monreale route, and 
gave them orders to fire stray shots in every direction 
and to light innumerable camp-fires. These troops fre- 
quently came in contact with the Neapolitans in trifling 
skirmishes, and kept their attention so well occupied that 
General Colonna, in command of the force sent in search of 
the ' Filibuster,' did not doubt that the whole Garibaldian 
army was concentrated over Monreale. Garibaldi rapidly 
moved his own column by night to its new base of opera- 
tions. The ground was steep and difficult, and a storm 
raged all the night ; fifteen years later he declared that 
none of his marches in the virgin forests of America was 
so arduous as this. While the Neapolitans remained 
in ignorance of these changes, three English naval officers, 
guided by a sort of sporting dog's instinct, happened to 
be driving through the village of Misilmeri just after 

28o The Liberation of Italy 

Garibaldi established his headquarters in that neigh- 
bourhood. Of course it was by chance ; still, Misilmeri 
is an odd place to go for an afternoon drive, and the 
escapade ended in the issue of a severe warning to Her 
Majesty's officers and marines to keep in future ' within 
the bounds of the sentinels of the royal troops.' Luckily 
record exists of the experiences of Lieutenant Wilmot 
and his two companions at Misilmeri. Garibaldi, on hear- 
ing that three English naval officers were in the village, 
sent to invite them to the vineyard where he was taking 
his dinner. They found him standing in a large enclosure 
in the midst of a group of followers who all, like himself, 
wore the legendary red flannel shirt and grey trousers. 
Fra Pantaleo's brown habit formed the only exception. 
Several Hungarian officers were present, and by his 
father stood Menotti, then a stout youth of nineteen, with 
his arm in a sling from the severe wound he received at 
Calatafimi. Around were soldiers who looked like mere 
boys. They gazed with delight on the English uniforms. 
Garibaldi requested his guests to be seated and to partake 
of some freshly-gathered strawberries. He spoke of his 
affection and respect for England, and said it was his hope 
soon to make the acquaintance of the British admiral. 
He mentioned how he had seen and admired from the 
heights the beautiful effect of the salutes fired in honour 
of the Queen's birthday, two days before. He then re- 
tired into his tent, made of an old blanket stretched over 
pikes ; a child, under the name of a sentiy, paced before 
it to keep off the crowd. 

To ;complete the deception of the enemy the Gari- 
baldian artillery, under Colonel Orsini, was ordered to 
make a retrograde march on Corleone previous to joining 
the main force at Misilmeri. Orsini narrowly escaped 
getting caught while executing this movement, and for the 

The March of the Thousand 281 

sake of celerity was obliged to throw his five cannon 
(including one taken at Calatafimi) down deep water 
courses. He returned to pull them out again when the 
immediate danger was past. General Colonna, who 
followed him closely, was convinced that the whole of the 
Garibaldians were in disorderly retreat as witnessed by 
the mules and waggons purposely abandoned by Orsini 
along the route. For four days Colonna believed that he 
had Garibaldi flying before him, and sent intelligence to 
that effect to Naples, whence it was published through the 
world. On the fifth day he was immeasurably surprised 
by hearing that Garibaldi had entered Palermo ! 

It was at early dawn on Whitsunday, the 27th of May, 
that Garibaldi reached the threshold of the capital, and 
after overcoming the guard at Ponte dell' Ammiraglio, 
pushed on to Porta Termini, the strategic key to the city. 
The royalists, though taken by surprise in the first 
instance, had time to dispose a strong force behind walls 
and barricades before Garibaldi could reach the gate, and 
it required two hours of severe fighting to take the 
position. Many Red-shirts were killed, and Benedetto 
Cairoli received the severe wound from which he never 
wholly recovered. Success, however, was complete, and 
the Palermitans got up to find, to their frantic joy, the 
Liberator within their gates. According to the old usage 
their first impulse was to run to the belfries in order to 
sound the tocsin, but they found that the royalists had 
removed the clappers of the bells. Nothing daunted, 
they beat the bells all day with hammers and other 
implements, and so produced an indescribable noise which 
had a material influence on the nerves of the terrified 
Neapolitan troops. Being disarmed, the only other help 
which the inhabitants could render to their deliverers was 
the erection of barricades. 

282 The Liberation of Italy 

Even after Garibaldi's entry, it is thought that General 
Lanza could have crushed him in the streets by sheer 
force of superiority in numbers and artillery had he made 
proper use of his means. However, at about three p.m., 
he chose the less heroic plan of ordering the castle and 
the Neapolitan fleet to bombard the city. Most of his 
staff opposed the decision, and one officer broke his 
sword, but Lanza was inexorable. The measure so 
exasperated the Palermitans that even had it achieved its 
end for the moment, never after would they have proved 
governable from Naples. Thirteen hundred shells were 
thrown into the city. Lord Palmerston denounced the 
bombardment and its attendant horrors as ' unworthy of 
our time and of our civilisation.' The soldiers helped the 
work by setting fire to some quarters of the city. Among 
the spots where the shells fell in most abundance was the 
convent of the Sette Angeli. The Garibaldians escorted 
the nuns to a place of safety and carried their more 
valuable possessions after them. The good sisters were 
charmed by the courtesy with which the young Italians 
performed these duties. 

Fighting in the streets went on more or less continu- 
ously, and the liberators kept their ground, but every 
hour brought fresh perils. A Bavarian regiment arrived 
to reinforce General Lanza, and the return of the Neapoli- 
tan column from Corleone was momentarily expected. 
The Garibaldians, and this was the gravest fact of all, 
had used almost their last cartridge. The issue of the 
struggle was awaited with varying sentiments on board 
the English, French, Austrian, Spanish and Sardinian 
warships at anchor in the bay. Admiral Mundy had 
placed his squadron so close to the land that the ships 
were in danger of suffering from the bombardment, a 
course attributed to the humane desire to afford a refuge 

The March of the Thousand 283 

for non-combatants, and in fact, the officers were soon 
engaged in entertaining a frightened crowd of ladies and 
children. The Intrepid in particular, was so near the 
Marina that a fair swimmer could have reached it in a 
few minutes ; nobody guessed, least of all Garibaldi, that 
her mission in the mind of the British admiral was to 
save the chiefs own life in what seemed the likely case of 
its being placed in peril. 

Admiral Mundy begged the authorities to stop the 
bombardment before the city was destroyed, but Lanza 
appeared to have no intention of yielding to his counsels, 
and it is still uncertain what at last induced him on the 
30th of May to sue the Filibuster, hastily transformed 
into his Excellency, for an armistice of twenty-four 
hours. ' God knows,' writes Garibaldi, ' if we had want 
of it ! ' The royalists had lost nearly the whole city 
except the palace and its surroundings, and, cut off from 
the sea, they began to feel a scarcity of food, but not 
to a severe extent. It seems most probable that with 
his men panic-stricken and constantly driven back in 
spite of the bombardment, Lanza looked upon the game 
as lost, when had he known the straits to which the 
Garibaldians were reduced for ammunition, he might 
have considered it as won. 

An unforeseen incident now occurred ; the royalist 
column, recalled from Corleone, which was largely com- 
posed of Bavarians, reached Porta Termini and opened a 
furious fire on the weak Garibaldian detachment stationed 
there. Was it ignorance or bad faith ? Lieutenant Wil- 
mot, who happened to be passing by, energetically waved 
his handkerchief and shouted that a truce was concluded ; 
the assailants continued the attack till an officer of the 
Neapolitan staff who was in conference with Garibaldi at 
the time hurried to the spot, at his indignant request, 

284 The Liberation of Italy 

and ordered them to desist. A few minutes later, Gari- 
baldi himself rode up in a wrathful mood, and while he 
was renewing his protests, a shell fell close by him, thrown 
from a ship which re-opened the bombardment on its own 
account. Lieutenant Wilmot, who witnessed the whole 
affair, was convinced that there was a deliberate plan to 
surprise and capture the Italian chief after he had granted 
the armistice. 

At a quarter past two on this eventful day, the 30th of 
May i860. Garibaldi and the Neapolitan generals, Letizia 
and Chretien, stepped on board the flag-ship Hannibal 
which Admiral Mundy offered as neutral ground for 
their meeting. Curiously enough, both parties, reaching 
the mole simultaneously, were rowed out in the same 
ship's boat, which was waiting in readiness. The Nea- 
politans insisted that Garibaldi should go on board first, 
either from courtesy or, as the admiral suspected, out 
of desire to find out whether he would be received with 
military honours. With instinctive tact he had donned 
his old and rather shabby uniform of a major-general in 
the Sardinian army ; the admiral's course was, therefore, 
marked out, and Garibaldi received the same salute as the 
two generals who followed him. After a foolish attempt 
on the part of the Neapolitan officers to make themselves 
disagreeable, which was repressed with dignified decision 
by Admiral Mundy, business began, and things went 
smoothly till the fifth article of the proposed convention 
came under discussion : ' That the municipality should 
direct a humble petition to his Majesty the King ex- 
pressing the real wants of the city.' ' No,' cried Gari- 
baldi, starting to his feet, ' the time for humble petitions 
to the King, or to anyone else, is past ; I am the muni- 
cipality, and I refuse.' General Letizia grew excited at 
this declaration, but afterwards he agreed to submit the 

The March of the Thousand 285 

question of quashing the fifth article to his chief, General 
Lanza. The armistice was prolonged till nine the next 

As soon as he was back on shore, Garibaldi issued a 
manifesto, in which he announced that he had refused 
a proposal dishonouring the city, and that to-morrow, 
at the close of the armistice, he should renew hostilities. 
There was a splendid audacity in the threat ; his powder 
was literally exhausted ; nothing was left for him to do 
but to die with all his men, and to do this he and they 
were unquestionably ready. The conduct of the citizens 
was on a level with the occasion. As soon as the mani- 
festo came to be known, the inhabitants rushed to the 
Palazzo Pretorio, where the man who had so proudly 
answered in their name, addressed them in these terms : 
' People of Palermo ; the enemy has made me propositions 
which I judged humiliating to you, and knowing that you 
are ready to bury yourselves under the ruins of your city, 
I refused.' Those who were present say that never did 
Garibaldi seem so great as at that moment. The answer 
was one deafening shout, in which the women and chil- 
dren joined, of 'War! war!' In the evening the city 
was illuminated as on a feast-day. 

Once more in history, the game of greatly dan^ng suc- 
ceeded. Appalled by the reports of the dreadful threats 
emanating from a population without arms, and a handful 
of volunteers without powder, distrustful henceforth of 
the courage of his soldiers, and, if the truth must be told, 
of the fidelity of his fleet, Lanza sent General Letizia to 
Garibaldi betimes, on the 31st of May, with an uncondi- 
tional demand for the continuance of the armistice. A 
convention was drawn up, which conceded the fullest 
liberty to the royalists to supply their material wants, 
succour the wounded, and, if they desired, embark them 

286 The Liberation of Italy 

on board ships with their families for Naples. Garibaldi, 
always humane, had a special tenderness for the victims 
of that civil strife which his soul abhorred, and he never 
forgot that the enemy was his fellow-countryman. His 
influence sufficed to secure to the royal troops an im- 
munity from reprisals which was the more creditable 
because some horrid crimes had been done by miscreants 
in their ranks when they found that they were getting 
the worst of it in the street-fighting. Unfortunately the 
same mercy was not extended to some of the secret 
agents of Maniscalco, head of the Sicilian police, who, 
discovered in hiding-places by the mob, were murdered 
before any protection could be given them. At the time 
the act of barbarity was judged, even by English 
observers, with more leniency than it deserved (because 
cruelty can have no excuse), so great was the disgust 
excited by the most odious system of espionage ever put 
in practice. 

The convention bore the signatures of 'Ferdinando 
Lanza, General-in-Chief,' and of ' Francesco Crispi, Secre- 
tary of State to the Provisional Government of Sicily.' 
One article provided for the consignment of the Royal 
Mint to the victors ; a large sum was stored in its coffers, 
and Garibaldi found himself in the novel position of being 
able to pay his men and the Silician squadre, and to send 
large orders for arms and ammunition to the Continent. 

General Letizia made two journeys to Naples, and on 
his return from the second he came invested with full 
powers to treat with Garibaldi for the evacuation of the 
city. On the 7th of June, 15,000 royal troops marched 
down to the Marina to the ships that were to take them 
away. At the entrance of the Toledo, the great main street 
of Palermo, Menotti Garibaldi was on guard, on a pranc- 
ing black charger, with a few other Red-shirts of his own age 

The March of the Thousand 287 

around him, and before this group of boys defiled the might 
and pomp of the disciplined army to which King Bomba 
had given the thoughtful care of a life-time. 

The closing formalities which wound up these events 
at Palermo formed a fitting ending to the dramatic scenes 
which have been briefly narrated. On the 19th, General 
Lanza went on board the Hannibal to take leave of the 
British admiral. He was covered with decorations and 
attended by his brilliant personal staff. There, in the 
beautiful bay, lay the ship on board which he was to sail 
at sunset, and twenty-four steam transports were also there, 
each filled with Neapolitan troops. The defeated general 
was deeply moved as he walked on to the quarter-deck. 
'We have been unfortunate," he said — words never spoken 
by one officer of unquestioned personal courage to another 
without striking a responsive chord. When he quitted 
the Hannibal, the English admiral ordered the White 
Flag of the King of the Two Sicilies to be hoisted at the 
foretop-gallant masthead for the last time in Sicilian waters; 
and a salute of nineteen guns, the salute due to the direct 
representative or alter ego of a sovereign, speeded the 
parting guest. Thus, wrapped in the dignity of mis- 
fortune, vanished the last semblance of the graceless and 
treacherous thraldom of the Spanish Bourbons in the 
capital of Sicily. The flag of Italy was run up on the 
tower of the Semaphore. Everywhere the revolution 
triumphed except at Messina, Milazzo and Syracuse. 
Even Catania, where a rising had been put down after 
a sanguinary struggle, was now evacuated and left to 

So the 20th of June dawned, and the Queen's ships in 
the harbour put forth all their bravery of flags in com- 
memoration of her accession, which display was naturally 
interpreted by the Palermitans as a compliment to the 

288 The Liberation of Italy 

Dictator, who had fixed that day for calling on the British, 
French and Sardinian admirals and on the captain of the 
United States frigate Iroquois. With what honours the 
American captain received him is not recorded ; for certain 
it was with cordial goodwill ; of the others, Admiral Mundy 
treated him as on the previous occasion ; the French admiral 
affected to consider him a 'simple monsieur' who had 
unexpectedly come to call, whilst Admiral Persano, on 
board the Maria Adelaide, gave him a salute of nineteen 
guns, which formed a virtual recognition on the part of 
Piedmont of his assumption of the dictatorship. Cavour 
had ordered Persano to act on his own responsibility as 
the exigencies of the hour demanded, and the admiral 
knew that these vague instructions assigned him a more 
vigorous policy than the other ministers would have 
agreed to officially. His bold initiative was therefore justi- 
fied. As some severe words-will have to be said of Persano 
in a later chapter, it is well to remark here that during his 
Sicilian command he behaved like a thorough patriot, 
although it was not in his power to render such great 
moral services to freedom as were undoubtedly rendered 
by Admiral Mundy, who at the same time acted with so 
much tact that his neutrality was not impugned, and he 
even won the equal personal gratitude of both parties. 
On the other hand, the Austrian commodore, Baron von 
Wiillersdorf, succeeded in pleasing no one and no one 
pleased him. He did not expect that the Garibaldians 
would lose much love to him, but he took it unkindly that 
the royalists fired at his boat with himself in it, and 
the Austrian flag at the stern. In high dudgeon he re- 
lated this grievance to his British colleague, who gently 
suggested that since Austria had always supported the 
Bourbon system of Government, it was hardly strange 
if the royalists were hurt at receiving neither assistance 

The March of the Thousand 289 

nor even sympathy from the Austrian squadron which 
witnessed their destruction. The remark was acute; even 
Austria was, in fact, tired of the Bourbons of Naples ; a 
portent of their not distant doom. But it was not likely 
that the royalists should appreciate the phlegmatic atti- 
tude of their erewhile protectors. 

The concluding military operations in Sicily presented 
a more arduous task than, in the first flush of success, might 
have been anticipated. In the general panic, one, if one 
only, royalist officer, Colonel Del Bosco, turned round 
and stood at bay. His spirited course was not far from 
undoing all that had been done. Fortunately Garibaldi 
had received important reinforcements. General Medici 
touched the Sicilian shores three days after the evacua- 
tion of Palermo with 3500 volunteers, well-armed and 
equipped out of the so-called ' Million Rifle Fund,' which 
was formed by popular subscription in the north of Italy. 
The Dictator went as far as Alcamo to meet the hero of 
the last glorious fight of Rome, whom he greeted with 
delight and affection. Later, arrived the third and last 
expedition, consisting of 1500 men under Cosenz, till 
recently commander-in-chief of the Italian army. The 
Sicilian squadre had been brought into something like 
military organisation ; and an Englishman, Colonel Dunne, 
had raised a picked corps of 400 Palermitans which 
contained, besides its commander, between thirty and 
forty of his countrymen, and was hence called the English 
Regiment. This battalion was ready to do anything and 
go anywhere ; it performed excellent work both in Sicily 
and on the mainland.* 

' Of Garibaldi's foreign officers, Colonel (afterwards General) Dunne was 
one of the most marked personalities. WTien quite a young man he sold his 
commission in the English army and took to fighting under many flags. In 
the Crimean War he commanded a company of Bashi Bazouks, He had in 


290 The Liberation oj Italy 

Garibaldi arranged his forces in three divisions ; one, 
under Tiirr, was sent to Catania ; the second, under 
Bixio, to Girgenti ; the third, under Medici, was to follow 
the northern sea-coast towards Messina, the strongest 
position still in the enemy's hands. All three were 
ultimately to converge with a view to the grand object of 
crossing over to the mainland. Medici had 2500 men ; 
the royalists in and about Messina could dispose of 15,000. 
The Garibaldians did not expect much opposition till they 
got near Messina, but when they reached Barcelona they 
heard that the garrison of Milazzo had been reinforced by 
Del Bosco with 4000 men, with the evident design of cutting 
off their passage to Messina. It is said that this move 
was made in consequence of direct communications be- 
tween that officer and Francis II., whose ministers had 
already decided to abandon the whole island. But Del 
Bosco secretly assured his King that such a measure was 
not necessary, and that he would undertake not only to bar 
Medici's advance, but to march over the dead bodies of 
the Garibaldians to Palermo. Milazzo is a small hilly 
peninsula, on which stands a fort and a little walled city. 
The spot was well chosen. On the 17th of July, Del 

him more than a dash of Gordon, of Burton, and like them he could do 
what he chose with untamed natures. If he was not obeyed fast enough he 
adopted rather strong measures. A Sicilian company, under fire for the first 
time, failed to show sufficient promptitude in executing an order to escalade 
a wall and jump into a garden, from which the enemy was keeping up a 
brisk fire. Dunne caught up half-a-dozen of the men into his saddle and 
pitched them bodily over the wall. The effect was singular, for seeing the 
Garibaldians falling from the clouds, the Neapolitans took to their heels, ex- 
claiming : ' They can fly ! they can fly ! ' Generally, however, he infused 
his own courage into all who served under him with a touch, perhaps, of his 
own &talistic mysticism. It was a strange experience to hear this courteous, 
mild-mannered gentleman lament that Rome had not been burnt down ; the 
disappearance of the scene of so many awful crimes he regarded necessary 
as a moral sanitary measure. 

The March of the Thousand 291 

Bosco attacked the Garibaldian right, and it was not 
without difficulty that Medici retained his positions. 
Some further reinforcements were sent to Del Bosco 
from Messina, though not so numerous as they ought to 
have been, but they would have almost ensured him the 
victory had not Medici also received help ; Cosenz' column, 
and, yet more important. Garibaldi himself with the 1000 
men he had kept in Palermo, hastening at full speed to the 
rescue. The belligerents were, for once, about equally 
balanced in numbers when on the 20th of July Garibaldi 
attacked Del Bosco with the purpose of driving him on 
to the tongue of the peninsula, thus cutting him off from 
Messina and leaving the road open. A desperate en- 
gagement followed. The Neapolitans showed that they 
could fight if they were properly led, and inflicted a loss 
of 800 in killed and wounded (heavy out of a total of 
5000) on their gallant opponents. Garibaldi's own life was 
nearly sacrificed. He was standing in a field of prickly 
pears in conversation with Major Missori when a party 
of the enemy's cavalry rode up, the captain of which 
dealt a violent blow at him with his sword, without know- 
ing who it was. Garibaldi coolly parried the blow, and 
struck down his assailant, while Missori shot the three 
nearest dragoons with his revolver. Hearing the noise, 
other Garibaldians hurried up, and the chief was saved. 
For a long time the issue of the battle remained uncer- 
tain, and it was only after hours of severe fighting that 
Del Bosco was compelled to recognise his defeat, and to 
take refuge on the projecting strip of land as Garibaldi 
had meant that he should do. 

A few days later, four transports arrived in the 
bay of Milazzo to carry Del Bosco and his men to 
Naples. The ministry had prevailed, and the complete 
abandonment of the island was decreed. General Clary 

292 The Liberation of Italy 

commandant of Messina, informed Garibaldi that he 
had orders to evacuate the town and its outlying forts ; 
the citadel would be also handed over if the Dictator 
would engage not to cross to the mainland, but this 
conditional offer was declined. The citadel of Messina 
therefore remained in the power of the royalists, but 
on agreement that it should not resume hostilities unless 
attacked. It only capitulated in March 1861. Garibaldi 
reigned over the rest of the island. The convention 
was signed on the 28th of July by Marshal Tommaso 
de Clary for the King of Naples, and Major-General 
Giacomo Medici for the Dictator. 

Before following Garibaldi across the Straits, some 
allusion is called for to the general political situation 
both in Sicily and in Italy. And first as regards Sicily. 
When a government is pulled down another must be 
set up, and the last task is often not the easiest. 
Garibaldi appointed a ministry in which the ruling 
spirit was Francesco Crispi. A Sicilian patriot from 
his youth, and one of the Thousand, he has been judged 
the man best fitted to direct the helm of United Italy 
in days of unexampled difficulty. This is enough to 
prove that he was not the first-come ignoramus or 
madman that some people then liked to think him. 
But Crispi had the art of making enemies, nor has he 
lost it. Though volumes have been written on the 
civil administration under the dictatorship, the writers' 
judgments are so warped by their political leanings 
that it is not easy to get at the truth. It would have 
been strange had no confusion existed, had no false 
steps been made ; yet some of the old English resi- 
dents in Sicily say that the island made more real 
progress during the few months of Garibaldi's reign 
than in all the years that have followed. Towards 

The March of the Thousand 293 

the end of June, Garibaldi appointed Agostino Depretis 
as Pro-Dictator. Of the many decrees formulated and 
measures adopted at this period, Garibaldi, who had 
many other things to think of, was personally respon- 
sible only for those of a philanthropic nature. Busy as 
he was, he found time to inquire minutely into the 
state of the population of Palermo, and he was horrified 
at the ignorance and misery in which the poorer classes 
were plunged. Forthwith, out came a bushel-basket of 
edicts and appeals on behalf of these poor children of 
the sun. He visited the orphan asylum and found 
that eighty per cent, of the inmates died of starvation. 
One nurse had to provide for the wants of four infants. 
Garibaldi wrote off an address to the ladies of Palermo, 
in which he implored them to interest themselves in 
the wretched little beings created in the image of God, 
at the sight of whose wasted and puny bodies he, an 
old soldier, had wept. He had money and food distri- 
buted every morning to the most destitute, at the 
gates of the royal palace, where he lived with a fru- 
gality that scandalised the aged servants of royalty 
whom he kept, out of kindness, at their posts. Theo- 
retically, he disapproved of indiscriminate almsgiving, 
but in the misery caused by the recent bombardment, 
such theories could not be strictly applied, or, at any 
rate, Garibaldi was not the man to so apply them ; 
whence it happened that though, as de facto head of 
the State, he allowed himself a civil list of eight francs 
a day, the morning Md never far advanced before his 
pockets were empty, and he had to borrow small sums 
from his friends, which next morning were faithfully 

When he walked about the town, the women pressed 
forward to touch the hem of his poncho, and made 

294 "^^^ Liberation of Italy 

their children kneel to receive his blessing. On one 
occasion a convent of nuns, from the youngest novice 
to the elderly abbess, insisted on giving him the kiss 
of peace. An idolatry which would have made any- 
one else ridiculous ; but Garibaldi, being altogether 
simple and unselfconscious, was above ridicule. One 
of the good works that he initiated was the transfor- 
mation of the Foundling Hospital, of which the large 
funds were turned to little account, into a Military 
School under the direction of his best officers. In less 
than a month the school could turn out two smart 
battalions, and there were few mornings that the Dic- 
tator did not go to watch the boys at their drilL He 
encouraged them with the promise that before long he 
would lead them himself to the wars. 

Such actions smell sweeter from the dust, than the 
old story of the antagonism that sprang up in those 
days between Garibaldi and Cavour, between Crispi 
and La Farina. This dualism, as it was called, was 
the fruit of a mutual distrust, which, however much to 
be deplored, was not to be avoided. Although Cavour 
had a far juster idea of Garibaldi than that entertained 
by his entourage, he was nevertheless haunted by the 
fear that the general's revolutionary friends would per- 
suade him to depart from his programme of ' Italy and 
Victor Emmanuel,' and embark upon some adventure 
of a republican complexion. He was also afraid that 
the Government of the Dictator would, by its uncon- 
ventional methods, discredit the Italian cause in the 
eyes of European statesmen. These reasons caused 
him to desire and to endeavour to bring about the im- 
mediate annexation of Sicily to the Sardinian kingdom. 
On the other hand. Garibaldi's faith in Cavour had 
ceased with the cession of Nice, and he believed him to 

The March of the Thousand 295 

be even now contemplating the cession of the island 
of Sardinia as a further sop to Cerberus — a project 
which, if it existed nowhere else, did exist in the mind 
of Napoleon III. With regard to immediate annexa- 
tion, he had no intention of agreeing to it, and for one 
sufficing reason : had he consented he could not have 
carried the war of liberation across the Straits of Messina. 
His Sicilian army must have laid down their arms 
at a command from Turin were it given. And it 
would have been given. 

La Farina, like Crispi, a Sicilian by birth, arrived 
suddenly at Palermo, representing Cavour, as everyone 
thought, but in reality he represented himself. Strong- 
willed and prejudiced, he was, in his own way, a per- 
fectly good patriot, and he had done all that was in 
his power (though not quite so much as in later years 
he fancied that he had done) to aid and further the 
expedition of the Thousand. But he tried to force the 
annexation scheme by means so openly hostile to the 
government of the day, that Garibaldi at length sent 
him on board Persano's flag-ship with a request that 
the admiral would forward him to Turin. 

After the evacuation of Messina by the royal troops, 
Garibaldi received persuasions of all sorts to let the 
kingdom of Naples alone. On the part of King Francis 
an offer was made to him of 50,000,000 francs and the 
Neapolitan navy in aid of a war for the liberation of 
Venice. Almost simultaneously he received a letter from 
Victor Emmanuel sent by the hand of Count Giulio 
Litta, in which the writer said that in the event of the 
King of Naples giving up Sicily ' I think that our most 
reasonable course would be to renounce all ulterior under- 
takings against the Neapolitan kingdom.' This was the 
first direct communication between the King and 

296 The Liberation of Italy 

Garibaldi since the latter's landing at Marsala ; it is to be 
surmised that of indirect communications there had been 
several, and that they took the form of substantial 
assistance, sent, probably without Cavour being aware of 
it, for Victor Emmanuel carried on his own little con- 
spiracies with a remarkable amount of secrecy. What 
induced him now to address words of restraint to 
Garibaldi in the midway of his work, wAs the arrival of 
a letter from Napoleon III. in which the Emperor urged 
him in the strongest manner to use his well-known 
personal influence with the general to hold him back. It 
was not easy for Victor Emmanel to refuse point blank 
to make the last effort on behalf of his cousin. Francis 
had appointed a constitutional ministry, promised a 
statute, granted an amnesty and engaged to place him- 
self in accord with the King of Sardinia, adopted even 
the tricolor flag with the royal arms of Bourbon in the 
centre. Concessions idle as desperate on the 25th of 
June i860, the date which they bore. Their only con- 
sequence then was to facilitate the fall of the dynasty, the 
usual result of similar inspirations of the eleventh hour. 
Had all this been done on the day of the King's accession 
it might have imperilled Italian unity — not now.^ But the 
fatal words, ' Too late,' would have fallen with ill grace 
from Victor Emmanuel's lips. Garibaldi answered his 
royal correspondent that when he had made him King of 
Italy he would be only too happy to obey him for the 
rest of his life. 

The King's letter, though delivered after the battle of 

' Since the issue of this book, evidence has come to light to show that 
Francis II. did desire to take these measures immediately, but that he was 
dissuaded by the warning that by doing so ' he would dishonour his father's 
memory ' ; an argument which probably has been pressed with fatal success 
on more than one heir to absolutism. 

The March of the Thousand 297 

Milazzo, was written before it. That event convinced 
Cavour, and doubtless the King with him, that it was 
utterly impossible to arrest the tide at Cape Faro. It 
convinced him of a great deal more. He saw that if 
Piedmont continued much longer a passive spectator of 
the march of events, she would lose the lead forever. 
And he prepared to act. 

Meanwhile counsels reached Garibaldi from quite a 
different quarter not to abandon Naples, but to go there 
from Rome instead of by Calabria. This daring scheme 
was favoured by Mazzini, Nicotera, Bertani ; indeed, by 
all the republicans. A corps of about 8000 volunteers 
was ready to start for a descent on the coast of the Papal 
States. At present it was in the island of Sardinia 
awaiting the arrival of Garibaldi to assume the command. 
And now occurred Garibaldi's mysterious disappearance 
from Cape Faro, which at the time excited endless 
curiosity. The truth was, that he actually went to 
Sardinia, but instead of taking command of the volunteers 
bound for Rome, he induced them to alter their plans and 
to join his Sicilian army in the arduous undertaking 
before it of overthrowing the Bourbons in the Neapolitan 
kingdom. Thus he gained a reinforcement of which he 
knew the enormous need, for though he was willing to 
face difficulties, he was not blind to them, as were many 
men of the extreme party. He also prevented what 
would have been a step of exceeding danger to the 
national cause, as it would have obliged the Sardinian 
Government to break off all relations with Garibaldi and 
to use force against the patriots in suppressing a move- 
ment which, if successful, would have brought a hostile 
French army into Italy. 



Garibaldi's March on Naples — The Piedmontese in Umbria and the 
Marches — The Volturno — Victor Emmanuel enters Naples. 

The Italian kingdom is the fruit of the alliance between 
the strong monarchical principles of Piedmont and the 
dissolvent forces of revolution. Whenever either one side 
or the other, yielding to the influence of its individual 
sympathies or prejudices, failed to recognise that thus 
only, by the essential logic of events, could the unity 
of the country be achieved, the entire edifice was placed 
in danger of falling to the ground before it was 

When Garibaldi stood on Cape Faro, conqueror and 
liberator, clothed in a glory not that of Wellington or 
Moltke, but that of Arthur or Roland Or the Cid Cam- 
peador ; the subject of the gossip of the Arabs in their 
tents, of the wild horsemen of the Pampas, of the fishers 
in ice-bound seas ; a solar myth, nevertheless certified 
to be alive in the nineteenth century — Cavour under- 
stood that if he were left much longer single occupant 
of the field, either he would rush to disaster, which 
would be fatal to Italy, or he would become so power- 
ful that, in the event of his being plunged, willingly or 
unwillingly, by the more ardent apostles of revolution 
into opposition with the King of Sardinia, the issue of 
the contest would be by no means sure. To guard 


The Meeting of the Waters 299 

against both possibilities, Cavour decided to act, and to 
act at once. He said of the conjuncture in which he 
was placed that it was not one of the most difficult, 
but the most difficult of his political life. But he proved 
equal to the task, which does the more honour to his 
statesmanship because his first plan failed completely. 
This plan was, that the Neapolitan population should 
overthrow Francis II., and proclaim Victor Emmanuel 
their King before Garibaldi crossed the Straits. But 
the Neapolitans would not move hand or foot till Gari- 
baldi was among them. The fact that when Cavour was 
convinced that the Bourbon dynasty at Naples was about 
to fall, he tried to hasten its collapse by a few weeks or 
days, was made the most of by his enemies as an ex- 
ample of base duplicity. At this distance of time, it 
need only be said that whether his conduct of affairs 
was scrupulous or unscrupulous, it deceived no one, for 
the Neapolitan King and his friends were well con- 
vinced that the Filibuster of Caprera was their less 
deadly foe than the Prime Minister of Piedmont. 

But of all the foes of Franceschiello, to use the 
diminutive by which, half in pity, half in contempt, 
the people of Naples remember him, the most irrevocably 
fatal was himself Two courses were open to him 
when, after losing Sicily, he saw the loss of his other 
kingdom and of his throne staring him in the face. 
One was to go forth like a man at the head of his 
troops to meet the storm. There had been such a 
thing as loyalty in the Kingdom of Naples ; not loyalty 
of the highest sort, but still the sentiment had existed. 
Who knows what might not have been the effect of 
the presence of their young Sovereign on the broken 
moral of the Neapolitan soldiers? 'Sire, place your- 
self at the head of the 40,000 who remain, and risk a 

300 The Liberation of Italy 

last stake, or, at least, fall gloriously after an honour- 
able battle,' was the advice given him by his minister 
of war, Pianell. But his stepmother or somebody 
(certainly not his wife) said that the sacred life of a 
king ought to be kept in cotton wool, like other curi- 
osities. Meanwhile his uncle, the Count of Syracuse, 
proposed the other course which, though not heroic, 
would have been intelligible and even patriotic. This 
was to absolve his subjects from their obedience, and 
embark on the first available ship for foreign parts. 
Fitting the action to the word, the Count himself 
started for Turin. Francis awaited the doom of those 
who only know how to take half measures. 

The demoralisation, not only of the troops but of 
every branch of the public administration in the king- 
dom of Naples, was not yet a certified fact ; and the 
enterprise which Garibaldi at Cape Faro had before 
him, of invading the dominions of a monarch who still 
had a large army, and whose subjects showed not the 
slightest visible sign of being disposed to strike a blow 
for their own freedom, looked rather fabulous than 
difficult. The only part of the Regno where the people 
were taking action was in the furthermost region of 
Calabria; a fortunate circumstance, since it was the 
first point to be attacked. Calabria, which had con- 
tributed its quota to the Thousand, contained more 
patriotic energy than the rest of the Regno put to- 
gether. On the 8th of August, Garibaldi sent over a 
small vanguard of 200 men under a Calabrian officer, 
with the order to join the Calabrian band of insur- 
gents which was hiding in the woods and gorges of 
Aspromonte, and to spread the news that his own 
coming would not be long delayed. The Neapolitan 
generals had acquired the idea that, instead of these 

The Meeting of the Waters 301 

few men, a large force had already disembarked, and 
so turned their attention to the mountains ; while Gari- 
baldi, after throwing the war-ships in the Straits on 
an equally false scent by various intentionally abortive 
operations, crossed in the night of the 19th and 
effected a landing not far from Reggio, of which, for 
both moral and strategic reasons, it was of vital im- 
portance to gain possession as soon as possible. He 
took with him 4500 men, and had between 14,000 and 
15,000 more in readiness to follow. The royalist army 
in Calabria numbered about 27,000, including the gar- 
rison of Reggio, 2000 men, under the command of 
General Galotti. On the 20th, Bixio attacked the out- 
posts; and on the 21st, Garibaldi fought his way into 
the city — not, however, without meeting a strong resist- 
ance on the part of the garrison, which might have 
been continued longer, and even with a different result, 
had not the Calabrian insurgents hurried down from 
Aspromonte on hearing the sound of guns, their sud- 
den appearance making the Royalists think that they 
were being attacked on all sides. Next day the castle 
surrendered, and thus a quantity of valuable war 
material fell into Garibaldi's hands. His luck had not 
deserted him. 

Cosenz and Medici landed their divisions in the 
night of the 21st of August, near Scilla, in the neigh- 
bourhood of which General Briganti had massed his 
Neapolitans, 7000 strong. On the 23rd, Briganti found 
himself attacked on the south and north — from Scilla 
by Cosenz, and from Reggio by Garibaldi. His posi- 
tion was critical but not desperate had he been able 
to depend upon his men, who were more numerous 
than their combined opponents ; but he saw at once 
that fighting was the last thing they meant to do, and 

302 The Liberation of Italy 

he had no choice but to surrender at discretion, almost 
without firing a shot. Unfortunately, Garibaldi had 
no power to keep prisoners of war, even if he wished 
to do so. Who was to feed and guard them ? Now, 
as subsequently, he bade the disbanded troops go where 
they listed, undertaking to send to Naples by sea 
as many as desired to go there. About a thousand 
accepted ; the rest dispersed, forming the first nucleus 
of the semi-political and wholly dastardly brigandage 
which was later to become the scourge of Southern Italy. 
Their earliest exploit was the savage murder of General 
Briganti, whom they called a traitor, after the fashion 
of cowards. This happened at Mileto on the 2Sth of 
August, when Briganti was on his way to join General 
Ghio, who had concentrated 12,000 men on the town 
of Monteleone. Garibaldi, whose sound principle it was 
to dispose of his enemies one by one as they cropped 
up, prepared to attack Ghio with his whole available 
forces, but he was spared the trouble. He came, he saw, 
and he had no need of conquering, for the soldiers of 
that bad thing that had been Bourbon despotism in 
the Italian south vanished before his path more quickly 
than the mists of the morning before the sun. No 
grounds that will bear scrutiny have ever been adduced 
for the reactionary explanation of the marvel : to wit, 
that the Neapolitan generals were bribed. By Cavour ? 
The game would have been too risky. By 'English 
bank-notes,' that useful factor in European politics that 
has every pleasing quality except reality? It is not 
apparent how the corruptibility of the generals gives a 
better complexion to the matter, but the writers on the 
subject who are favourable to Francis II. seem to think 
that it does. Panic-stricken these helpless Neapolitan 
officers may deserve to be called, but they were not 

The Meeting of the Waters 303 

bought. And they had cause for panic with troops of 
whose untrustworthiness they held the clearest proofs, 
and with the country up in arms against them ; for a 
few days after the taking of Reggio this was the case, 
and this was by far the greatest miracle operated by 
Garibaldi. The populations shook off their apathy, and 
not in Calabria only but in the Puglie, the Basilicata, 
the Abruzzi, there was a sudden awakening as from a 
too long sleep. When Garibaldi got to Monteleone he 
found that Ghio had evacuated the town. He pursued 
him to Soveria, where, on the 30th of August, the 12,000 
men laid down their arms. A few days later, another 
officer. General Caldarelli, capitulated with 4000 men. 
Garibaldi's onward march was a perpetual,;?^^/ everywhere 
he was received with frantic demonstrations of delight 
Still there was one point between himself and the capital 
which might reasonably cause him some anxiety. There 
were 30,000 men massed near Salerno, in positions of 
immense natural strength, where they ought to have 
been able to stop the advance of an army twice the size 
of Garibaldi's. How this obstacle was removed is far 
more suggestive of a scene in a comic opera than of a 
page in history. Colonel Peard, 'Garibaldi's English- 
man,' went in advance of the army to Eboli, where he 
was mistaken, as commonly happened, for his chief. 
He was past middle age; very tall, with a magnificent 
beard and a stern, dictatorial air, which answered ad- 
mirably to the popular idea of what the conqueror of 
Sicily ought to be like, although there was no resem- 
blance to the real person. It happened that Eboli was 
a royalist town and beyond the pale of declared re- 
volution — a placid and antiquated little city with a for- 
gotten air, where life had been probably too easy for 
its inhabitants to wish for a change. But the supposed 

304 The Liberation of Italy 

arrival of the Terrible Man turned everything upside- 
down. Peard, with Commander Forbes, who was fol- 
lowing the campaign as a non-combatant, rode up to 
the house of the old Syndic, who instantly became their 
devoted servant. Like wildfire spread the news — the 
whole population besieged the house, brass bands re- 
sounded, Chinese lanterns were hung out ; the Church, 
led by the bishop, hurried to the spot, the Law, headed 
by a judge, closely following, while the wives of the 
local officials appeared in perfectly new bonnets. They 
all craved an audience, and the same answer was given 
to all : that General Garibaldi was much fatigued and 
was asleep — so he was, but ninety miles away. He 
would be pleased to receive the deputations if they 
would return punctually at half-past three a.m. In the 
meantime, Peard was in an inner room, engaged in 
cannonading Naples with telegrams. He had sent for 
the telegraph master, who came trembling like an aspen, 
and from whom it was elicited that he had already 
telegraphed to the Home Office at Naples, and to the 
general commanding at Salerno, that Garibaldi was in 
the town. Peard remarked casually that he supposed 
he knew his life was in jeopardy, and then handed him 
the following message : ' Eboli, 11.30 p.m.— Garibaldi has 
arrived with 5000 of his own men, and 5000 Calabrese 
are momentarily expected. Disembarkations are ex- 
pected in the bay of Naples and the gulf of Salerno 
to-night. I strongly advise your withdrawing the gar- 
rison from the latter place without delay, or they will 
be cut off.' This was despatched to General Ulloa, 
whom rumour reported to have been just made minister 
of war, and was signed in the name of one of his per- 
sonal friends. The rumour was false ; but the telegram, 
of course, reached the desired quarter, and the name 

The Meeting of the Waters 305 

attached removed all doubt of its genuineness. It was 
hardly sent off when a despatch came from the real war 
minister, asking the telegraph clerk if news had been 
received of the division Caldarelli? To this Peard 
answered that General Caldarelli and his division had 
gone over to Garibaldi yesterday, and now formed part 
of the national army. Similar information was sent to 
General Scotti at Salerno. Finally, the Syndic of 
Salerno was asked if he had seen anything of the Gari- 
baldian expeditions by sea? 

Satisfied with his work. Colonel Peard, who knew that 
there were Neapolitan troops within four miles of Eboli, 
and who did not think that things looked entirely reassur- 
ing, decided to beat a somewhat precipitous retreat. He 
told the Syndic that he was going to reconnoitre in the 
direction of Salerno, and that his departure must be kept 
a dead secret, but as soon as he was out of the town he 
turned the horses' heads backwards towards the Gari- 
baldian lines. He was still accompanied by Commander 
Forbes, to whom, during their midnight drive, he related 
his performance on the telegraph wires. ' What on earth 
is the good of all this ? ' said Forbes ; ' you don't imagine 
they will be fools enough to believe it ? ' ' You will see, 
answered the colonel, ' it will frighten them to death, and 
to-morrow they will evacuate Salerno.' And, in fact, at 
four o'clock in the morning the evacuation was begun in 
obedience to telegraphic orders from Naples. 

The 30,000 men recalled from Salerno and the adja- 
cent districts marched towards Capua. The river Vol- 
turno, which runs by that fortified town, was now chosen 
as the line of defence of the Bourbon monarchy. 

On the 5th of September the King and Queen with 
the Austrian, Prussian, Bavarian and Spanish ministers, 
left Naples for Gaeta on board a Spanish man-of-war. 


3o6 The Liberation of Italy 

The King issued a proclamation of which the language 
was dignified and even pathetic : it is believed to have been 
written by Liborio Romano, the Prime Minister, who was 
at the same moment betraying his master. Be that as it 
may, the King's farewell to his subjects and fellow-citizens 
might have touched hearts of stone could they but have 
forgotten the record of the hundred and twenty-six years 
of rule to which he fondly alluded. As it was, in the vast 
crowds that watched him go, there was not found a man 
who said, ' God bless him ; ' not a woman who shed a tear. 
Had any one of the bullets aimed at Ferdinand II. taken 
fatal effect, it would have been a less striking punish- 
ment for his political sins than this leaden weight of 
indifference which descended on his son. 

In the Royal Proclamation Francis II. stated that he 
had adhered to the great principles of Italian nationality, 
and had irrevocably surrounded his throne with free in- 
stitutions ; nevertheless it is alleged on what seems good 
authority that in those last days he veered round to the 
party of the Queen Dowager, who was doing all she could 
to provoke the lazzaroni to reaction. It was also believed 
at Naples that he left orders for Castel Sant' Elmo to 
bombard the town if Garibaldi entered. 

The Dictator was so much pleased with Colonel Peard's 
telegraphic feats at Eboli, that he sent him on to Salerno 
to repeat the farce. Peard's despatches determined the 
departure of the Court, and it was to him (in the belief 
that he was Garibaldi) that Liborio Romano, three hours 
before the King embarked, addressed the celebrated tele- 
gram invoking the ' most desired presence' of the Dictator 
in Naples. With this document in his hand, Peard went 
out with the National Guard to meet the real Garibaldi 
who was on his way from Auletta. The Dictator hailed 
his double with the cry of ' Viva Garibaldi,' in which 

The Meeting of the Waters 307 

Cosenz and the other officers cordially joined. The entry 
of the Liberator into Salerno was greeted with the wildest 
enthusiasm, the wonderful beauty of the surroundings 
seeming a fitting setting for a scene like the vision of 
some freedom- loving poet. 

Next morning at half-past nine, Garibaldi, with thir- 
teen of his staff, started by special train for the capital. 

It must be remembered that though the army of 
Salerno was recalled to the Volturno, no troops had been 
withdrawn from Naples. The sentries still paced before 
the palaces and public offices, the barracks held their 
full complement, Castel Sant' Elmo had all its guns in 
position. These troops quartered in the capital, where 
everything contributed to stimulate their fidelity, were 
of different stuff from Ghio's or Caldarelli's frightened 
sheep; a White Terror, a repetition of the isth of May 
1848, would have been much to their mind. There had 
been no actual revolution ; nothing officially proved that 
Naples had thrown off the royal allegiance. Such were 
the strange circumstances under which Garibaldi, without 
a single battalion, came to take possession of a city of 
300,000 inhabitants. 

Courage of this sort either does not exist, or it is 
supremely unconscious. It is likely, therefore, that the 
Dictator gave no thought to the enormous risk he ran, 
but his passage from the station to the palace of the 
Foresteria, where he descended, was a bad quarter-of-an- 
hour to the friends who followed him, and to whom his 
life seemed the point on which Italian regeneration yet 
hung. A chance shot fired by some Royalist fanatic, 
and who could measure the result ? As he passed under 
the muzzle of the guns at the opening of the Toledo, he 
gave the order : ' Drive slower, slower — more slowly still.' 
And he rose and stood up for a moment in the carriage 

3o8 The Liberation of Italy 

with his arms crossed. The artillerymen, who had begun 
to make a kind of hostile demonstration, changed their 
minds and saluted. The sullen looks of the royal soldiers 
was the only jarring note in the display of intoxicating 
joy with which the Neapolitans welcomed the bringer of 
their freedom ; freedom all too easily had, for if any- 
thing could have purified the Neapolitans from the evil 
influences of servitude, it would have been the necessity 
of paying dearly for their liberties. The delirium in the 
streets lasted for several days and nights ; what the con- 
sequences would have been of such a state of madness 
under a paler sky, it is not pleasant to reflect ; here, at 
least, there were no robberies, no drunken person was 
seen ; if there were some murders, a careful inquiry made 
by an Englishman showed that the number was the same 
as the average number of street-murders through the year. 
At night, when the word passed ' II Dittatore dorme,' it 
was enough to clear the streets as if by magic near the 
palace (a private one) where in a sixth floor room the 
idol of the hour slept. The National Guard, who were 
the sole guardians of order, behaved admirably. 

For a few days such of the townsfolk as had not 
completely lost their heads, underwent acute anxiety as 
they gazed at the frowning pile of Sant' Elmo ; but 
finally the officers in command of the garrison decided 
to capitulate, contrary, in this instance, to the wishes of 
the soldiery. The royal troops marched out of the city 
towards Capua on the nth of September. 

Garibaldi's first act had been to hand over the Nea- 
politan fleet in the bay to Admiral Persano, a solemn 
reassertion of his loyalty to Victor Emmanuel, whom, in 
his every utterance, he held up to the people as the best 
of kings and the father of his country. He instructed 
his Neapolitan officer, Cosenz, to form a ministry, and 

The Meeting of the Waters 309 

wrote to the Marquis Pallavicini, the prisoner of Spiel- 
berg, inviting him to become Pro-Dictator. Had a man 
of authority like Pallavicini, who also entirely possessed the 
Dictator's confidence, at once assumed that office, much 
of the friction which followed might have been spared. 
But he did not enter into his functions till October, and in 
the meanwhile the ' dualism ' of Sicily broke out in an 
exaggerated form, each side sincerely believing the other 
to be on the verge of ruining the country to which they 
were both sincerely attached. The appointment of Dr 
Bertani as Secretary of the Dictatorship gave rise to 
controversies which even now, when the grave has closed 
over the actors, are hardly at rest. It is time that they 
should be. Apart from the war about persons, some 
of them not very wise persons, and apart from the fears 
entertained at Turin, that the freeing of the Two Sicilies 
would drift into a republican movement : fears which 
were invincible, though, as far as they regarded Garibaldi, 
they were neither just nor generous, the question resolved 
itself, as was the case in Sicily, into whether the unifica- 
tion of Italy was to go on or whether it was to halt? 
Garibaldi refused to give up Sicily to the King's govern- 
ment because he intended making it the base for the 
liberation of Naples. Events had justified him. He now 
refused to hand over Naples because he intended making 
it the base for the liberation of Rome. It has been seen 
that he and he alone prevented an attempt at a landing 
in the Papal states from being made in the month of 
August. In deciding, however, that it was expedient to 
finish one enterprise before beginning another, he did not 
give up Rome : he merely chose what he thought a safer 
road to go there. And he now declared without the 
least concealment that he intended to proclaim Victor 
Emmanuel King of Italy from the Quirinal. 

3IO The Liberation of Italy 

Would events have justified him again ? There was 
a French garrison in Rome; this, to Cavour, seemed a 
conclusive answer. 

Cavour was engaged on a series of measures, un- 
scrupulous manoeuvres as some have called them, mas- 
terpieces of statesmanship as they have been described 
by others, by which he got back the reins of the Italian 
team into his own hands. The plan of an annexionist 
revolution in Naples before Garibaldi arrived had failed. 
So much discontent was felt at the apparent indiffer- 
ence, or, at least, ' masterly inactivity ' of the Sardinian 
government in presence of the great struggle in the south 
that Cavour began to be afraid of a revolution breaking 
out in quite a different quarter, in Victor Emmanuel's 
own kingdom. It was at this critical juncture that he 
resolved to invade the Papal states, and take possession 
of the Province of Umbria and the Marches of Ancona. 

The decision was one of extreme boldness. For 
three months Cavour had been stormed at by all the 
Foreign Ministers in Turin, excepting Sir James Hudson, 
but, as he wrote to the Marquis E. D' Azeglio : ' I shall not 
draw back save before fleets and armies.' 

Austria, France, Spain, Russia and Prussia now broke 
off diplomatic relations with Sardinia, What would be 
their next act ? The danger of Austria intervening was 
smaller than it then appeared ; Austria was too much 
embarrassed in her own house, and especially in Hungary, 
for her to covet adventures in Italy. But the French 
Government did, in the plainest terms, threaten to inter- 
vene, and this notwithstanding that the Emperor himself 
appeared to be convinced by Cavour's argument, that the 
proposed scheme was the only means of checking the 
march of revolution, which from Rome might spread to 
Paris. By announcing one line of policy in public and 

The Meeting of the Waters 3 1 1 

another in private, Napoleon left the door open to adopt 
either one or the other, according to the development of 
events. In the sequel, the Papal party had a right to say 
that he lured them to their destruction, as their plan of 
operations, and in particular the defence of Ancona, was 
undertaken in the distinct expectation of being supported 
by the French fleet. 

As early as April i860, the Pope invited the Orleanist 
General Lamoriciere to organise and command the forces 
for the defence of the Temporal Power, which he had 
summoned from the four quarters of the Catholic world. 
5(X)0 men, more or less, answered the call ; they came 
chiefly from France, Belgium and Ireland. Of his 
own subjects the Pope had 10,000 under arms. In a 
proclamation, issued on assuming the command, La- 
moriciere compared the Italian movement with Islam- 
ism, a comparison which aroused intense exasperation 
in Italy, where the rally of a foreign crusade against the 
object which was nearest to Italian hearts, and for which 
so many of the best Italians had suffered and died, could 
not but call up feelings which in their turn were expressed 
in no moderate language. It was a fresh illustration of 
the old truth — that the Papal throne existed only by 
force of foreign arms, foreign influence. Lamoricifere's 
' mercenaries ' did much harm to the Pope's cause by 
bringing home this truth once more to the minds of all. 
That the corps contained some of the bluest blood of 
France, that there were good young men in it, who 
thought heaven the sure reward for death in defence of 
dominions painfully added in the course of centuries 
by devices not heavenly to the original patrimony of 
Peter, did not and could not reconcile the Italians to 
the defiance thrown down to them by a band of strangers 
in their own country. 

312 The Liberation of Italy 

Before the opening of hostilities, Victor Emmanuel 
offered Pius IX. to assume the administration of the 
Papal states (barring Rome) while leaving the nominal 
sovereignty to the Pope. Nothing came of the proposal, 
which was followed by a formal demand for the dissolu- 
tion of Lamorici^re's army, and an intimation that the 
Sardinian troops would intervene were force used to put 
down risings within the Papal border. On the nth of 
September, symptoms of revolution having meanwhile 
broken out in the Marches, General Fanti in command 
of 3S,ooo men crossed the frontier. Half these forces 
under Fanti himself were directed on Perugia ; the other 
half under Cialdini marched towards Ancona. The 
garrisons of Perugia and Spoleto were compelled to 
surrender, and Lamoriciere found his communications 
cut off, so that he could only reach the last fortress in 
the power of the Papal troops, Ancona, by fighting his 
way through Cialdini's division, which by rapid marches 
had reached the heights of Castelfidardo. His men 
passed the day of the 17th in religious exercises, and in 
going to confession ; the vicinity of the Holy House of 
Loreto, brought hither by angels from Bethlehem, filled 
the young Breton soldiers with transports of religious 
fervour. Lamoriciere had taken from the Santa Casa 
some of the flags of the victors of Lepanto to wave over 
his columns. In the battle of the next day the French 
fought with the gallantry of the Vend^ans whose de- 
scendants they were, and the Irish behaved as Irishmen 
generally behave under fire, but the Swiss and Romans 
mostly fought ill or not at all. Lamoriciere excused 
the conduct of the latter on the ground that they were 
young troops; it is likely that they had but little 
eagerness to fire on their fellow-countrymen. Being 
Italians, and above all being Romans, they assuredly were 

The Meeting of the Waters 313 

not sustained by one scrap of the mystical enthusiasm of 
the French : such a state of mind would have been in- 
comprehensible to them. They knew that so far as 
dogmas went Victor Emmanuel was as good a Catholic 
as the Pope. It is surprising that with part of his force 
demoralised Lamorici^re was still able to hold his own 
for three or four hours. General Pimodan and many 
of the French officers were killed ; Lamorici^re could 
say truly : ' All the best names of France are left on the 

After the victory of Castelfidardo, the Sardinian 
attack was concentrated on Ancona. Admiral Persano 
brought the squadron from Naples to co-operate with 
Fanti's land forces, and the fortress capitulated on the 
29th of September. The campaign had lasted eighteen 
days. The Piedmontese held Umbria and the Marches, 
and a road was thus opened for the army of Victor 
Emmanuel to march to Naples. During the progress of 
these events Garibaldi was preparing for the final struggle 
on the Volturno. He had not yet given up the hope of 
carrying his victorious arms to the Capitol, and from the 
Capitol to the Square of St Mark. The whole republican 
party, and Mazzini himself, who had arrived in Naples, 
ardently adhered to this programme. Their argument 
was not without force, risk or no risk, when would there 
be another opportunity as good as the present ? It was 
very well for Cavour to look forward, as he did to the 
day of his death, to a pacific solution of the Roman 
question ; Mazzini saw — in which he was far more clear- 
sighted than Cavour — that such a solution would never 
take place. His arrival at Naples caused alarm at Turin, 
both on account of his presumed influence over Garibaldi, 
the extent of which was much exaggerated, and from the 
terror his name spread among European diplomatists. The 

314 The Liberation of Italy 

Dictator was asked to proscribe the man whose latest act 
had been to give the last 30,000 francs he possessed in 
the world to the expenses of the Calabrian campaign. 
He refused to do this. ' How could I have insisted upon 
sending Mazzini into exile when he has done so much for 
Italian unity ? ' he said afterwards to Victor Emmanuel, 
who agreed that he was right. However, he allowed the 
Pro-Dictator Pallavicini to write a letter to Mazzini, 
inviting him to show his generosity by spontaneously 
leaving Naples in order to remove the unjust fears occa- 
sioned by his presence. Mazzini replied, as he had a 
perfect right to do, that every citizen is entitled to re- 
main in a free country as long as he does not break the 
laws. And so the incident closed. 

While the Party of Action urged Garibaldi not to give 
up Rome, other influences were brought to bear on him 
in the opposite sense, and especially that of the English 
Government, which instructed Admiral Mundy to arrange 
a ' chance ' meeting between the Dictator and the English 
Minister at Naples, Mr Elliot, on board the flagship 
Hannibal. Mr Elliot pointed out the likelihood of a 
European war arising from an attack on Venice, and the 
certainty of French intervention in case of a revolu- 
tionary dash on Rome. Garibaldi replied that Rome 
was an Italian city, and that neither the Emperor nor 
anyone else had a right to keep him out of it. ' He was 
evidently,' writes Admiral Mundy in reporting the in- 
terview, ' not to be swayed by any dictates of prudence.' 

In Sicily, the rival factions were bringing about a 
state approaching anarchy, but a flying visit from 
Garibaldi in the middle of September averted the 
storm. At this time. Garibaldi's headquarters were at 
Caserta, in the vast palace where Ferdinand II. breathed 
his last. The Garibaldian and the Royal armies lay 

The Meeting of the Waters 315 

face to face with one another, and each was engaged 
in completing its preparations. It might have been 
expected, and for a moment it seems that Garibaldi 
did expect, that after the solemn collapse of the Nea- 
politan army south of Naples, the comedy was now 
only awaiting its final act and the fall of the curtain. 
But it soon became apparent that, instead of the last act 
of a comedy, the next might be the first of a tragedy. 
The troops concentrated on the right bank of the 
Volturno amounted to 35,000, with 6000 garrisoning 
Capua. About 15,000 more formed the reserves and 
the garrison of Gaeta. The position on the Volturno 
was favourable to the Royalists ; the fortress of Capua 
on the left bank gave them a free passage to and fro, 
while the Volturno, which is rather wide and very deep, 
formed a grave impediment to the advance of their 
opponents. But the chief reason why there was a 
serious possibility of the fortunes of war being reversed 
lay in the fact that the moral of these troops was good. 
All the picked regiments of the army were here, in- 
cluding 2500 cavalry. The men were ashamed of the 
stampede from the south, and were sincerely anxious 
to take their revenge. Thus the Neapolitan plan of a 
pitched battle and a victorious march on Naples was by 
no means foredoomed, on the face of things, to failure. 

In Garibaldi's short absence at Palermo, the Southern 
Army (as he now called his forces) was left under the 
command of the Hungarian General Tiirr, as brave 
an officer as ewr lived, and a fast friend to Italy, but 
his merits do not undo the fact that as soon as the 
Dictator's back was turned, everything got into a 
muddle. Pontoon bridges had been thrown across the 
river at four points ; availing himself of one of these, 
Tiirr crossed the Volturno with a view to taking up a 

3i6 The Liberation of Italy 

position on the right bank at a place called Caiazzo, a 
step which, if attempted at all, ought to have been 
supported by a very strong force. On the 19th of 
September, Caiazzo was actually taken, but on the 21st 
the Royalists came out of Capua with 3000 men and de- 
feated with great loss the thousand or fewer Garibaldians 
charged with its defence, only a small number of whom 
were able to recross the bridges and join their com- 
panions. The saddest part of this adventure was the 
slaughter of nearly the whole of the boys' company — 
lads under fifteen, who had run away from home or 
school to fight with Garibaldi, Fight they did for five 
mortal hours, with the heroism of veterans or of children. 
Only about twenty were left. 

When Garibaldi returned from Sicily, this was the 
first news he heard, and it was not cheering. The 
Royalists, who thought they had won another Waterloo, 
were in the wildest spirits, and the march on Naples 
was talked of in their camp as being as good as accom- 

Garibaldi's lines were spread in the shape of a semi- 
circle, of which the two ends started from Santa Maria 
on the left, and Maddaloni on the right, with Castel 
Morone at the apex. The country is hilly, and this 
fact, together with the great distance covered, divided 
the 20,000 men into a number of practically distinct 
bodies, each of which, in the decisive battle, had to 
fight its own fight. Here and there improvised forti- 
fications were thrown up. Garibaldi was aware that 
his line of battle was perilously extended, but the 
necessity of blocking all the roads and by-ways which 
led to Naples, dictated tactics which he was the last 
to defend. 

The best policy for the Royalists would have been 

The Meeting of the Waters 3 1 7 

to bring overwhelming numbers to bear on a single 
point, and, breaking the line, to march straight on the 
capital. They were doubtless afraid of an advance 
which would have left a portion of the Garibaldian 
army unbeaten in their rear. Nevertheless, of the 
chances that remained to them, this was the best. At 
Naples there were no Garibaldian troops to speak of, 
and the powers of reaction had been working night 
and day to procure for the rightful King the reception 
due to a saviour of society. Perhaps they would not 
have completely failed. There were nobles who were 
sulking, shopkeepers who were frightened, professional 
beggars with whom the Dictator had opened a fierce 
but unequal contest, for no blue-bottle fly is more 
difficult to tackle than a genuine Neapolitan mendi- 
cant ; there were priests who, though not by any means 
all unpatriotic, were beginning to be scared by Gari- 
baldi's gift of a piece of land for the erection of an 
English church, and by the sale of Diodati's Bible 
in the streets. And finally, there was the Carrozzella 
driver whom a Garibaldian officer had struck because 
he beat his horse. These individuals formed a nucleus 
respectably numerous, if not otherwise respectable, of 
anxious watchers for the Happy Return. 

If anyone question the fairness of this catalogue of 
the partisans of the fallen dynasty, the answer is, that 
had their ranks contained worthier elements, they would 
not have carefully reserved the demonstration of their 
allegiance till the King should prove that he had the 
right of the strongest. 

Towards five o'clock in the morning of the ist of 
October, the royalists, who crossed the river in three 
columns, fired the first shots, and the fight soon 
became general. King Francis had come from Gaeta 

3i8 The Liberation of Italy 

to Capua to witness what was meant to be an auspicious 
celebration of his birthday. General Ritucci held the 
chief command. Of the Garibaldians, Milbitz and 
Medici commanded the left wing (Santa Maria and 
Sant' Angelo), and Bixio the right (Maddaloni), while 
Castel Morone, through which a road led to Caserta, 
was entrusted to Colonel Pilade Bronzetti and three 
hundred picked volunteers. Garibaldi's own head- 
quarters was with the reserves at Caserta, but he 
appeared, as if by magic, at all parts of the line during 
the day, sometimes bringing up reinforcements, some- 
times almost alone, always arriving at the nick of time 
whenever things looked serious, to help, direct and 
reanimate the men. A dozen times in these journeys by 
the rugged mountain paths he narrowly escaped falling 
into the enemy's hands. No trace of uneasiness was 
visible on his placid face ; there was, however, more than 
enough to make a man uneasy. In the early part of the 
battle, both Medici and Bixio were pushed back from 
their positions. Only Pilade Bronzetti with his handful 
of Lombard Bersaglieri never swerved, and held in check 
an entire Neapolitan column, whose commander (Perrone) 
has been blamed for wasting so much time in trying to 
take that position instead of joining his 2000 men 
to the troops attacking Bixio, but his object was to 
march on Caserta, where his appearance might have 
caused very serious embarrassment. 

Up to midday the Royalists advanced, not fast, indeed, 
but surely. They fired all the buildings on their path, and 
amongst others one in which there were thirty wounded 
Garibaldians who were burned to death. It was said to 
be an accident, but such accidents had better not happen. 
Victory seemed assured to them. It is not disputed 
that on this occasion they fought well, and they had all 

The Meeting of the Waters 319 

the advantages of ground, numbers and artillery. But 
the volunteers, also, were at their best ; they surpassed 
themselves. If every man of them had not shown the 
best military qualities, skill, resource, the power of re- 
covery, Francis II. would have slept that night at 

Medici acted with splendid firmness, but at the most 
critical moment he had Garibaldi by his side. Bixio was 
left to fight his separate battle unaided (so great was the 
chief's confidence in him), and consummately well he 
fought it. After the middle of the day, the Garibaldians 
began to retake their positions, and at some points to 
assume the offensive ; still it was five o'clock before 
Garibaldi could send his famous despatch to Naples : 
' Victory along all the line.' The battle had lasted ten 

The Sicilians and Calabrese under Dunne, who stemmed 
the first onset at Casa Brucciata, and under Eber, whose 
desperate charge at Porta Capua ushered in the changing 
fortunes of the day, rivalled the North Italians in steadi- 
ness and in dash. The French company and the Hun- 
garian Legion covered themselves with glory; it 
was a pity there was not the English brigade, 600 
strong, which mismanaged to arrive at Naples the day 
after the fair. Had they been in time for the fight, they 
would doubtless have left a brighter record than the only 
one which they did leave : that of being out of place in a 
country where wine was cheap. 

Putting aside Dunne and a few other English officers, 
England was represented on the Volturno by three or 
four Royal Marines who had slipped away from their 
ship, the Renown, and were come over to see the ' fun.' 
It seems that they did ask for rifles, but they did not get 
them, their martial deeds consisting in the help they gave 

320 The Liberation of Italy 

in dragging off two captured field -pieces. Never did an 
exploit cause so much discussion in proportion with its 
importance ; the Neapolitan Minister in London informed 
Lord John Russell that a body of armed men from the 
British fleet had been sent by Admiral Mundy to serve 
pieces of Garibaldian artillery. 

Of all the striking incidents of the day, that which 
should be remembered while Italy endures, was the de- 
fence of the hillock of Castel Morone by Bronzetti and 
his Lombards. Their invincible courage contributed in 
no small degree to the final result. One man to eight, 
they held their own for ten hours; when summoned to 
yield by the Neapolitan officer, who could not help 
admiring his courage, Pilade Bronzetti replied : ' Soldiers 
of liberty never surrender ! ' It was only in the moment 
of victory that Perrone passed over their dead bodies 
and uselessly advanced — which cost him dear on the 

The Garibaldian losses were 2000 killed and wounded 
and 1 50 prisoners ; the Neapolitans had the same number 
placed hors de combat, and lost 3000 prisoners. 

Garibaldi had none but his own men ; the report that 
the battle had been won by soldiers of the Sardinian army 
who arrived in the afternoon was false, because they did 
not arrive till next day, when a battalion of Piedmontese 
Bersaglieri took part in defeating Perrone's column, which 
(it is hard to say with what idea) descended nearly to 
Caserta, as its commander wished to do on the first. Did 
Perrone not know of the defeat of yesterday? His 
column was surrounded and all the men were taken 

After the battle of the Volturno the belligerents re- 
occupied the positions on the right and left banks of that 
river which they held before Military critics speculate 

The Meeting of the Waters 321 

as to why Garibaldi did not follow up his advantage, and 
the opinion seems general that he did not feel himself 
strong enough to do so- The fortress of Capua was a 
serious obstacle, but Garibaldi was not accustomed to 
attach much weight to obstacles whatever they were, and 
it is pretty certain that he would have gone in pursuit 
had he not received a letter from Victor Emmanuel, who 
bade him wait till he came. 

By this time he had abandoned all thoughts of march- 
ing on Rome. From the moment that the King's army 
started for Naples he understood that persistence in the 
Roman programme would lead to something graver than 
a war of words with the authorities at Turin. Always 
positive, he gathered some consolation from the gain to 
Italy of two Roman provinces, Umbria and the Marches, 
and trusted the future with the larger hope. 

Constitutional government triumphed over the old 
absolutism and over the new dictatorship. And here it 
may be noted that Constitutional government, which 
never had a more sincere and faithful votary than Cavour, 
found no favour with Garibaldi at any period of his life. 
Its hampering restrictions, its slow processes, irritated his 
mind, intolerant of constraint, and he failed to see that this 
cumbersome mechanism still gives the best, if not the 
only, guarantee for the maintenance of freedom. The 
sudden transition of Southern Italy from a corrupt des- 
potism to free institutions brought with it a train of evils, 
but there was no alternative. If Italy was to be one, all 
parts of it must be placed under the same laws, and that 
at once. 

On the nth of October the Sardinian parliament 
sitting at Turin passed all but unanimously the motion 
authorising the King's Government to accept the annexa- 
tion of those Italian provinces which manifested, by 


322 The Liberation of Italy 

universal suffrage, their desire to form part of the 
Constitutional Monarchy. Cavour's speech on this 
occasion was memorable : ' Rome,' he said, ' would in- 
evitably become the splendid capital of the Italian 
kingdom, but that great result would be reached by 
means of moral force ; it was impossible that enlightened 
Catholics should not end by recognising that the Head 
of Catholicism would exercise his high office with truer 
freedom and independence guarded by the love and 
respect of 22,000,000 Italians than entrenched behind 
25,000 bayonets.' Of Venice, the martyr-city, he said 
'that public opinion was rapidly turning against its 
retention by Austria, and that when the great majority 
of Germans refused to be any longer accomplices in ' its 
subjection, that subjection would be brought to a close 
either by force of arms or by pacific negotiations.' 

The "words were strangely prescient at a time when 
the Prince Regent of Prussia was making most mel- 
ancholy wails over the fall of the Neapolitan King. 
The Prussian Government issued a formal protest, which 
Cavour met by observing that Prussia, of all Powers, had 
the least reason to object, as Piedmont was simply 
setting her an example which she ought to follow and 
would follow, the mission of the two nations being 
identical. He already thought of Prussia as an ally: 
' Never more French alliances,' he was once heard to 

On the same day, the nth of October, Victor 
Emmanuel crossed the Neapolitan frontier at the head 
of the army which Cialdini led to victory at Castelfidardo. 
The King published a proclamation, in which he said 
that he closed the era of revolution in Italy. Other 
bodies of Piedmontese troops had been despatched by 
sea to Naples and Manfredonia. The passage of the 

The Meeting of the Waters 323 

Piedmontese troops over the Abruzzi mountains was 
opposed both by a division of the Bourbon army and 
by armed peasants, who burnt a man alive at a place 
called Isernia ; but their advance was not long delayed. 

The Neapolitans now began to retire from the right 
bank of the Volturno, and retreat towards the Garigliano, 
their last line of defence. Garibaldi crossed the river 
with 5000 men, and moved in the direction by which the 
vanguard of the Piedmontese was expected to arrive. 
At daybreak on the 26th of October, near Teano, the 
Piedmontese came in sight. Garibaldi, who had dis- 
mounted, walked up to Victor Emmanuel and said : 
' Hail, King of Italy ! ' 

Once before the title was given to a prince of the 
House of Savoy — to Charles Albert, in the bitterest 
irony by the Austrian officers who saw him flying from 
his friends and country by order of his implacable uncle. 
A change had come since then. 

Victor Emmanuel answered simply : ' Thanks,' and 
remained talking for a quarter of an hour in the 
particularly kind and affectionate manner he used with 
Garibaldi, but at the end of the interview, when the 
leader of the volunteers asked that in the imminent 
battle on the Garigliano they might have the honour 
of occupying the front line, he received the reply : ' Your 
troops are tired, mine are fresh, it is my turn now.' 

Garibaldi said sadly that evening to an English 
friend : ' They have sent us to the rear.' It was the first 
sign of the ungenerous treatment meted out to the 
Garibaldian army to which the King lent himself more 
than he ought to have done. He promised to be present 
on the 6th of November, when Garibaldi reviewed his 
volunteers, but after keeping them waiting, sent a 
message to say that he could not come. The la-st 

324 The Liberation of Italy 

meeting of all between the chief and his faithful followers 
was at Naples, on the occasion of the distribution of 
medals to as many as were left of the Thousand — less 
than half. In all his farewell addresses the same note 
sounded : ' We have done much in a short time. . . . 
I thank you in the name of our country. . . . We 
shall meet again.' 

The plebiscites in Umbria and the Marches and in the 
kingdoms of Naples and Sicily took place in October. 
The formula adopted at Naples was more broadly framed 
than in the previous plebiscites ; it ran : ' The people desire 
an united Italy under the sceptre of the House of Savoy,' 
The vote was almost unanimous. 

On the 7th of November, Victor Emmanuel made 
his entry into Naples, with Garibaldi at his side. Next 
day, in the great throne-room of the palace, the king- 
maker delivered to the King the plebiscites of the Two 

Garibaldi had nothing more to do except to pay a last 
visit to Admiral Mundy, whose flagship still lay at anchor 
in the bay. This duty was performed in the grey dawn 
of the 9th of November. 'There is the ship which is 
to carry me away to my island home,' he said, pointing 
to an American merchant vessel, ' but. Admiral, I could 
not depart without paying you a farewell visit. Your 
conduct to me since our first meeting at Palermo has 
been so kind, so generous, that it can never be erased 
from my memory ; it is engraven there indelibly— it will 
last my life.' 

On leaving the flagship he rowed straight to the 
American vessel, which soon afterwards steamed out of 
the bay. The parting salute fired by the guns of the 
Hannibal ^zs all the pomp that attended his departure. 
Several hours later the people of Naples knew that their 

The Meeting of the Waters 325 

liberator had gone to dig up the potatoes which he had 
planted in the spring. 

By Cavour's advice, Victor Emmanuel offered Gari- 
baldi a dukedom and the Collar of the Annunziata, which 
confers the rank of cousin to the King, besides riches 
to support these honours. He refused everything, and 
returned to Caprera poorer than when he left it. 



Beginnings of the Italian Kingdom— Tlie Fall of Gaeta— Political Brig- 
Tandage — he Proclamation of the Italian Kingdom— Cavour's Death. 

The Neapolitan army retreated, as has been already 
stated, beyond the Garigliano. Capua, isolated and sur- 
rounded, could render no material service to the royal 
cause ; it capitulated on the 2nd of November, though 
not until the town had been bombarded for forty-eight 
hours. The siege was witnessed by Victor Emmanuel, 
who said to General Delia Rocca : ' It breaks my heart to 
think that we are sending death and destruction into an 
Italian town.' Two days after the surrender of Capua, 
Cialdini threw a bridge over the Garigliano near its 
mouth, an operation covered by the guns of Admiral 
Persano's squadron. His first attempt on the 29th of 
October had met with a decided repulse, another proof 
that this last remnant of the Neapolitan army was not 
an enemy to be despised. The second attempt, however, 
was successful ; part of the Neapolitans fell back upon 
Gaeta, and the other part fled over the Papal frontier. 

Gaeta, the refuge of the Pope and the fugitive Princes 
in 1848, now became the ultimate rock of defence of the 
Bourbon dynasty. The position of the fortress is ex 
tremely strong and not unlike Gibraltar in its main feat- 
ures. A headland running out into the sea and rising to 


Beginnings of the Italian Kingdom 327 

a height of three or four hundred feet, it is divided by a 
strip of sand from the shore-line. The principal defences 
were then composed of a triple semi-circle of ditches and 
ramparts one higher than the other. Had the country 
been flat the difficulties of the siege would have been 
much increased ; its hilly character allowed Cialdini to 
fix his batteries on heights which commanded the top of 
the Gaeta hill. But to profit by this, the Piedmontese 
were obliged to make fourteen miles of roads by which 
to bring up their artillery. For a month, 10,000 out of 
the 20,000 besiegers were at work with the spade. The 
defending force amounted to 11,000 men, and was com- 
manded by General Ritucci. From the first, it was 
certain that the obstinate stand made at Gaeta could 
only result in what Lord John Russell called a useless 
effusion of blood ; nevertheless it seems to have been 
prompted by a real belief that Francis would still recover 
his kingdom. The precedent of his father's return from 
Gaeta may have strengthened the King's illusion ; every 
day he received highly-coloured reports of a gathering 
reaction, and as the French fleet in the bay prevented 
Admiral Persano from attacking from the sea, he believed 
that the time which he could hold out was indefinite. 
This policy of the French Government need not have 
greatly cheered him, as its motive was less to help Francis 
than to prepare the way, by hampering the Piedmontese, 
for a little fishing in troubled waters. Prince Murat, 
descendant of the Beau Sabreur, was busy writing pro- 
clamations to remind the world that if Francis were im- 
possible and Victor Emmanuel ' wanted finish,' there was 
an elegible young man ready to sacrifice the charms of 
the Boulevards for the cares of kingship. 

On the representations of the British Government the 
Emperor withdrew his fleet in January, advising Francis II. 

328 The Liberation of Italy 

to renounce a hopeless resistance. But at this eleventh 
hour the King had adopted the principle of 'no sur- 
render,' and he meant to stick to it. It is difficult to 
blame him ; at anyrate, much more serious is the blame 
due to the methods of warfare which he was to adopt or 
to approve thereafter. His young Queen, who was fre- 
quently seen on the ramparts encouraging the artillery- 
men at their guns, had probably much to do with his 
virile resolution. The fortress was now attacked by land 
and by sea, and the bursting of a powder-magazine inside 
the walls hastened its doom. On the 15th of January the 
Neapolitans laid down their arms, the King having left 
his dominions by sea. The first act of the conquerors in 
the half-ruined town was to attend a mass for the repose 
of the souls of the brave men, friends and foes, who had 
fallen during the siege. Noisy rejoicings would have 
been unseemly, for the vanquished were fellow-country- 

The telegram announcing the fall of Gaeta went to 
Caprera ; Garibaldi read it, and a weight was taken off 
his mind. ' Civil war is at an end,' he announced to the 
little party round the supper-table; 'Cialdini with our army 
is in Gaeta ; now the Italians will not cut one another's 
throats any more.' Later in the evening he seemed so 
depressed that they thought him ill; Colonel Vecchj 
bent to his bedside to discover what was the matter. 
He found him reading the Times, and inquired why he 
had become so suddenly sad. After a pause. Garibaldi 
said : ' Poor boy ! Born at the foot of a throne and per- 
haps not by his own fault, hurled from it. He too will 
have to feel the bitterness of exile without preparation.' 
' Is that all ? ' asked Vecchj. ' Do you think it nothing ? ' 
was the answer. ' Why then,' persisted Vecchj, half in 
jest, ' did you go to Marsala ? ' * It was the duty of us all 

Beginnings of the Italian Kingdom 329 

to go,' Garibaldi said quickly, ' else how could there have 
been one Italy?' 

Francis II. would have been happy had he found 
counsellors to persuade him to keep pure such titles 
to sympathy as he then possessed. Decorum, if not 
humanity, should have urged him to retire, surrounded 
by the solitary flash of glory cast on his fallen cause by 
the brave defence of Gaeta. But the revolution, the new 
Islam, if it could not be conquered must be made to 
suffer for its triumph. Hence the exiled King was 
advised to call in murder, pillage and rapine as accom- 
plices. The political brigandage which followed the 
downfall of the King of the Two Sicilies began after the 
battle of the Volturno and extended over five years. Its 
effect on the general situation was nil ; it harassed and 
distracted the Italian Government and created the odious 
necessity of using severe repressive measures, but it never 
placed the crown in danger. One effect it did have, and 
that was to raise all over Italy a feeling of reprobation 
for the late dynasty, which not all the crimes and follies 
of the two Ferdinands and the first Francis had succeeded 
in evoking. How many bright lives, full of promise, were 
lost in that warfare which even the sacred name of duty 
could not save from being ungrateful and inglorious ! 
Italians who have lost their children in their country's 
battles have never been heard to complain ; nowhere was 
the seemliness of death for native land better understood 
than it has been in the Italy of this century, but to lose 
son or brother in a brigand ambush by the hand of an 
escaped galley-slave — this was hard. The thrust was 
sharpened by the knowledge that the fomenter of the 
mischief was dwelling securely in the heart of Italy, the 
guest of the Head of the Church. From Rome came 
money and instructions ; from Rome, whether with or 

330 The Liberation of Italy 

without the cognizance of the authorities, came recruits. 
The Roman frontier afforded a means of escape for all 
who could reach it, however red their hands were with 
blood. What further evidence was needed of the im- 
possibility of an indefinite duration of this state within a 
state ? 

King Francis held back at first, but his uncle, the Count 
of Trapani, who openly abetted the brigand partisans, 
drew him more and more into collusion with them and 
their works. The Belgian ecclesiastic, Mgr. de M^rode, 
who had then an influence at the Vatican not possessed 
even by Antonelli, looked, unless he was much belied, 
with a very kind eye upon the new defenders of throne 
and altar. Efforts have been made to represent the war 
as one carried on by loyal peasants. No one denies that 
every peasants' war must assume, more or less, an aspect 
of brigandage ; nevertheless there have been righteous 
and patriotic peasants' wars, such as that of the Klephts 
in Greece. The question is. Whether the political 
brigandage in South Italy had any real affinity with the 
wars of the Klephts, or even of the Carlists ? And the 
answer must be a negative. 

The partisan chiefs in the kingdom of Naples were 
brigands, pure and simple, most of whom had either been 
long wanted by the police, or had already suffered in 
prison for their crimes. They organised their troops 
on the strict principles of brigand bands, and proposed 
to them the same object : pillage. ' Lieut.-General ' 
Chiavone who had a mania for imitating Garibaldi, was 
the least bad among them ; unlike his prototype, he did 
not like being under fire, but neither did he care to spill 
innocent blood. What, however, can be said for Pilone, 
' commander of His Majesty's forces ' on Vesuvius ; for 
Ninco Nanco, Bianco dei Bianchi, Tardio, Palma ; for 

Beginnings of the Italian Kingdom 331 

Carusso, who cut the throats of thirteen out of fourteen 
labourers and told the one left to go and tell the tale ; for 
the brothers La Gala, who roasted and ate a priest ? 
It was said that no horror committed during the Indian 
Mutiny was here without a parallel. 

Of respectable Neapolitans who held responsible posts 
under the late rigime not one joined the bands, but they 
contained French, Austrian and Belgian officers, and one 
Prussian. A nephew of Mgr. de M6rode, the young 
Marquis de Traz6gnies, was with Chiavone ; the Carlist, 
Jos^ Borj^s, was with a scoundrel named Crocco. Borjfes' 
case is a hard one. He had been made to believe in the 
genuine character of the insurrection and thought that 
he was giving his sword to an honourable cause. The 
melancholy disillusion can be traced in the pages of a 
note-book which he kept from day to day, and which fell 
into the hands of the Italians when he was captured. 
The brief entries show a poetic mind ; he observes the 
fertile soil, deploring, only, that it is not better cultivated ; 
he admires the smiling valleys and the magnificent woods 
whose kings of the forest show no mark of the centuries 
that passed over their fresh verdure. At first Borj^s 
was pleased with the peasants who came to him, but as 
they were few, he was obliged to join Crocco's large band, 
and he now began to see, with horror, what kind of 
associates he had fallen amongst. He had no authority ; 
the brigands laughed at his rebukes ; never in his life, 
he writes, had he come across such thieves. Before the 
enemy they ran away like a flock of sheep, but when 
it was safe to do so, they murdered both men and 
women. In desperation, Borj^s resolved to try and get 
to Rome, that he might lay the whole truth before the 
King, but after suffering many hardships, he was taken 
with a few others close to the Papal frontier and was 

332 The Liberation of Italy 

immediately shot. He died bravely, chanting a Spanish 

Borj^s' journal notes the opposition of all classes, 
except the very poorest and most ignorant. Was it to 
be believed, therefore, that this mountain warfare, how- 
ever long drawn out, could alter one iota the course of 
events? If Francis II. supposed the insurrection to be 
the work of a virtuous peasantry, why did he allow them 
to rush to their destruction ? 

The task of restoring order was assigned to General 
Cialdini. He found the whole country, from the Abruzzi 
to Calabria, terrorised by the league of native assassins 
and foreign noblemen. The Modenese general was a 
severe officer who had learnt war in Spain, not a gentle 
school. If he exceeded the bounds of dire necessity he 
merits blame ; but no one then hoped in the efficacy of 
half measures. 

One element in the epidemic of brigandage, and 
looking forward, the most serious of all, was an un- 
conscious but profoundly real socialism. If half-a-dozen 
socialistic emissaries had assumed the office of guides 
and instructors, it is even odds that the red flag of com- 
munism would have displaced the white one of Bourbon. 
This feature became more accentuated as the struggle 
wore on, and after experience had been made of the 
new political state. The economic condition of a great 
part of the southern population was deplorable, but 
liberty, so many thought, would exercise an instantaneous 
effect, filling the mouths of the hungry, clothing the 
naked, providing firing in winter, sending rain or sun- 
shine as it was wanted. But liberty does none of these 
things. The disappointment of the discovery did not 
count for nothing in the difficulties of that period; it 
counts for everything in the difficulties of this. 

Beginnings of the Italian Kingdom 333 

The reorganisation of the southern provinces pro- 
ceeded very slowly. The post of Lieutenant-Governor 
was successively conferred on L. C. Farini, Prince Eugene 
of Carignano, and Count Ponza d! S in Martino ; for 
a short time Cialdini was invested with the supreme 
civil as well as military power. None of these changes 
met with entire success. The government was some- 
times too weak, sometimes too arbitrary ; of the great 
number of Piedmontese officials distributed through the 
south, a few won general approval, but the majority 
betrayed want of knowledge and tact, and were judged 
accordingly. It was a misfortune for the new adminis- 
tration that it was not assisted by the steam power of 
moral enthusiasm which appeared and disappeared with 
Garibaldi. There is a great amount of certainty that 
the vast bulk of the population desired union with Italy ; 
but it is equally certain that the new Government, though 
not without good intentions, began by failing to please 
anybody, and the seeds of much future trouble were 

On the i8th of February 1861, the first Italian legis- 
lature assembled at Turin in the old Chamber, where, by 
long years of patient work and self-sacrificing fidelity to 
principle, the possibility of establishing an Italian constitu- 
tional monarchy had been laboriously tested and estab- 
lished. Only the deputies of Rome and Venice were still 
missing. The first act of the new parliament was to pass 
an unanimous vote to the effect that Victor Emmanuel 
and his heirs should assume the title of King of Italy. 
The Italian kingdom thus constituted was recognised 
by England in a fortnight, by France in three months, 
by Prussia in a year, by Spain in four years, by the 
Pope never. 

After the merging of Naples in the Italian body 

334 "^^^ Liberation of Italy 

politic, one of the thorniest questions that arose was 
the disposal of the Garibaldian forces. The chief im- 
plored Victor Emmanuel to receive his comrades into 
his own army, a prayer which the King had not the 
power, even if he had the will, to grant, as in the con- 
stitutional course of things the decision was referred to 
the ministers, who, again, were crippled in their action 
by the military authorities at Turin. Though it is 
natural to sympathise with Garibaldi in his eagerness 
to obtain generous terms for his old companions -in- 
arms, it may be true that his demand was not one that 
could be satisfied in its full extent. The volunteers 
were not inferior to the ordinary soldier; about half 
of them were decidedly his superior, but they were a 
political body improvised for a special purpose, and it 
is easy to see how many were the reasons against their 
forming a division of a conventional army like that of 
Piedmont. Nevertheless, the means ought to have been 
found of convincing them that their King and country 
were proud of them, that their great, their incalculable 
services were appreciated. That such means were not 
found was supposed to be the fault of Cavour. It was 
only in 1885, on the publication of the fourth volume 
of the Count's letters, that it became known how strenu- 
ously he had fought for justice. Military prejudice was 
what was really to blame; General Fanti, the Minister 
of War, even provoked Cavour into telling him 'that 
they were not in Spain, and that in Italy the army 
obeyed.' ' A cry of reprobation would be raised,' he wrote, 
' if, while the Bourbon officers who ran away disgracefully 
were confirmed in their rank, the Garibaldians who beat 
them were coolly sent about their business. Rather than 
bear the responsibility of such an act of black ingrati- 
tude, I would go and bury myself at Leri. I despise the 

Beginnings of the Italian Kingdom 335 

ungrateful to the point of not feeling angered by them, 
and I forgive their abuse. But, by Heaven, I could not bear 
the merited blot of having failed to recognise services such 
as the conquest of a kingdom of 9,000,000 inhabitants.' 

Cavour, in fact, did obtain something ; much more 
than the army authorities wished to give, but much less 
than Garibaldi asked or than the Count would doubt- 
less have given had not his hands been tied. And, 
doubtless, he would have given it with more grace. 

As it was, the volunteers were deeply offended and 
sent their griefs by every post to Caprera. Garibaldi, who 
refused every favour and honour for himself, was worked 
up into a state of fury by what he deemed the wrongs of 
his faithful followers, and in April he arrived unexpectedly 
at Turin to plead their cause before the Chamber of 
Deputies. Perhaps by a wise presentiment he had re- 
fused to stand for any constituency ; but when Naples 
elected him her representative, almost without opposi- 
tion, he submitted to the popular will. At Turin he 
fell ill with rheumatic fever, but on the day of the debate 
on the Southern Army he rose from his bed to take his 
seat in the Chamber. The case for the volunteers was 
opened, and this is worthy of note, by Baron Ricasoli, 
aristocrat and conservative. Afterwards Garibaldi got up 
— at first he tried to make out the statistics and parti- 
culars which he had on paper, but blinded by passion and 
by fever, he threw down his notes and launched into a 
fierce invective against 'the man who had made him a 
foreigner in his own birthplace and the government which 
was driving the country straight into civil war.' At the 
words ' civil war ' Cavour sprang to his feet, unwontedly 
moved, and uttered some expressions of protest, which 
were lost in the general uproar. When this was quieted, 
Garibaldi finished his speech in a moderate tone, and then 

336 The Liberation of Italy 

General Bixio rose to make that noble appeal to concord 
which, had he done nothing else for Italy, should be a 
lasting title to her gratitude. ' I am one of those,' he said, 
' who believe in the sacredness of the thoughts which have 
guided General Garibaldi, but I am also one of those who 
have faith in the patriotism of Count Cavour. In God's 
holy name let us make an Italy superior to the strife 
of parties.' He might not be making a parliamentary 
speech, he added, but he would give his children and 
his life to see peace established — words flowing so 
plainly from his honest heart that savage indeed would 
have been the enmity which, for the time, at least, was not 
quelled. Cavour grasped the olive branch at once; all 
his momentary ire vanished. He made excuses for his 
adversary ; from the grief which he had felt himself when 
he advised the King to cede Savoy and Nice, he could 
understand the general's resentment. He had always 
been, he said in general terms, a friend to the volunteers. 
What he did not even remotely suggest was the dissen- 
sion which existed between himself and his military 
colleague on the subject of the Garibaldians. The least 
hint would have gained for Cavour any amount of ap- 
plause and popularity ; but he preferred to bear all the 
blame rather than bring the national army into disfavour. 
Garibaldi replied ' that he had never doubted the Count's 
patriotism ; ' but at the end of the three days' debate 
he declared himself dissatisfied with the Ministerial as- 
surances touching the volunteers in particular and the 
country's armaments as a whole. As Cavour left the 
Chamber after the final night's sitting, he remarked to 
a friend — all his fine equanimity returned ; ' And yet, and 
yet, when the time comes for war, I shall take General 
Garibaldi under my arm and say : " Let's go and see what 
they are about inside Verona ! " ' 

Beginnings of the Italian Kingdom 337 

Cialdini tried to stir up the quarrel anew by a letter 
full of foolish personalities; but to this sort of attack 
Garibaldi was impervious. It mattered nothing to him 
that a man should make rude remarks about his wearing 
a red shirt. He admired the victor of Castelfidardo as 
one of Italy's best soldiers. He was, therefore, perfectly 
ready to embrace Cialdini at the King's request before he 
left Turin for Caprera. It cost him more to consent to an 
interview of reconciliation with the Prime Minister in the 
royal presence, because his disagreement with Cavour was 
purely political and impersonal, and was rooted more 
deeply in his heart than any private irritation could be ; 
but he did consent, and the interview took place on 
the 23rd of April. Probably Victor Emmanuel in after 
days was never gladder of anything he had done than of 
having caused his two great subjects — both his subjects 
born — to part for the last time in this mortal life in 

On one other memorable occasion the man who, at 
twenty-two, said that he meant to be Prime Minister of 
Italy, and who now, at fifty-one, was keeping his word, 
filled with his presence the Chamber of which he seemed 
to incarnate the life and history — which may be said 
to have been his only home, for Cavour hardly had a 
private life. Very soon the familiar figure was to vacate 
the accustomed place for ever. 

An obscure deputy put a question on the 25th of 
May, which gave Cavour the opportunity of expounding 
his views about Rome still more explicitly than in the 
previous autumn. It was impossible, he said, to conceive 
Italian unity without Rome as capital. Were there any 
other solution to the problem he would be willing to give 
it due consideration, but there was not. The position of 
a capital was not decided by climatic or topographical 


33^ The Liberation of Italy 

reasons: a glance at capitals of Europe was sufficient 
to certify the fact; it was decided by moral reasons. 
Now Rome, alone out of the Italian cities, had an un- 
disputed moral claim to primacy. 'As far as I am 
personally concerned,' he said, ' I shall go to Rome with 
sorrow ; not caring for art, I am sure that among the 
most splendid monuments of ancient and modern Rome 
I shall regret the sedate and unpoetic streets of my 
native town.' It grieved him to think that Turin must 
resign her most cherished privilege, but he knew his 
fellow-citizens, and he knew them to be ready to make 
this last sacrifice to their country. Might Italy not for- 
get the cradle of her liberties when her seat of govern- 
ment was firmly established in the Eternal City ! 

He went on to say that he had not lost the hope that 
France and the Head of the Church would yield to the 
inexorable logic of the situation, and that the same gener- 
ation which had resuscitated Italy would accomplish the 
still grander task of concluding a peace between the 
State and the Church, liberty and religion. These were 
no formal words ; Cavour's whole heart was set on their 
realisation. He did not doubt that the knot, if not 
untied, would be cut by the sword sooner or later. He 
felt as sure as Mazzini felt that this would happen; 
but more than any man of any party he had reckoned 
the cost of ranging the Church with its vast potential 
powers for good, for order, for public morality, among 
the implacable enemies of the nascent kingdom. And, 
therefore, his last public utterance was a cry for religious 

Always an immense worker, in these latter months 
Cavour had been possessed by a feverish activity. ' I 
must make haste to finish my work,' he said ; ' I feel that 
this miserable body of mine is giving way beneath the 

Beginnings of the Italian Kingdom 339 

mind and will which still urge it on. Some fine day you 
will see me break down upon the road.' On the 6th of 
June, after two or three days of so-called sudden illness, 
he broke down upon the road. 

Fra Giacomo, faithful to his old promise, administered 
the sacraments to the dying minister, who told Farini 
'to tell the good people of Turin that he died a Christian.' 
After this his mind rambled, but always upon the themes 
that had so completely absorbed it : Rome, Venice, 
Naples — ' no state of siege,' was one af his broken 
sayings that referred to Naples. It was his farewell pro- 
test against brute force in which he had never believed. 
' Cleanse, them, cleanse them,' he repeated ; cleanse the 
people of the South of their moral contagion ; that, not 
force, was the remedy. He was able to recognise the 
King, but unable to collect the ideas which he wished to 
express to him. 

Cavour's death caused a profound sensation in Europe, 
and in Italy and in England awakened great sorrow. 
Hardly any public man has received so splendid a tribute 
as that rendered to his memory in the British Houses of 
Parliament. The same words were on the lips of all : 
What would Italy do without him ? Death is commonly 
the great reminder that no man is necessary. Nations 
fulfil their destinies even though their greatest sons be 
laid under the turf And Italy has fulfilled her destinies, 
but there are Italians who believe that had Cavour lived 
to complete his task, although his dream of an Eirenicon 
might never have been realised, their country would not 
have passed through the selva selvaggia of mistakes and 
humiliations into which she now entered. 



Cavour's Successors— Aspromonte— The September Convention- 
Garibaldi's Visit to England. 

There were two possible successors to Cavour, the 
Tuscan, Bettino Ricasoli, and Urban Rattazzi, a Pied- 
montese barrister. The first belonged to the right, the 
second to the left centre in the Parliamentary combinations. 
Cavour had no very close personal relations with either, 
but he knew their characters. Rattazzi formerly held 
ministerial office under him, and the long Tuscan crisis of 
1859, looked at, as he looked at it, from the inside, gave 
him opportunities of judging the Iron Baron who opposed 
even his own will on more than one occasion in that great 
emergency. Ricasoli was rigid, frigid, a frequenter of the 
straightest possible roads ; Rattazzi, supple, accommo- 
dating, with an incorrigible partiality for umbrageous 
by-ways. He was already an ' old parliamentary hand,' 
and in the future, through a series of ministerial lapses, 
any one of which would have condemned most men to 
seclusion, he preserved his talent for manufacturing 
majorities and holding his party together. Choosing 
between these two candidates, Cavour before he died gave 
his preference to Ricasoli, who was charged by the King 
with the formation of a ministry in which he took the 
Treasury and the Foreign Office. 


Rome or Death 341 

Ricasoli was without ambition, and he rather under 
than over-rated his abilities, but he went to work with 
considerable confidence in his power of setting everything 
right. A perfectly open and honest statesman ought to 
be able, he imagined, to solve the most difficult problems. 
Why not, except that the world is not what it ought to 
be ? In home politics he offended the Party of Action 
by telling them plainly that if they broke the law they 
would have to pay the cost, and he offended his own 
party by refusing to interfere with the right of meeting 
or any other constitutional right of citizens, whether they 
were followers of Mazzini or of anybody else, as long as 
they kept within legal bounds. He wrote an elaborate 
letter to Pius IX., in which he sought to persuade the 
Pontiff of the sweet reasonableness of renouncing claims 
which, for a very long spell, had cast nothing but dis- 
credit on religion. Ricasoli's attitude towards the 
Temporal Power was unique in this century. Like 
Dante's, his hatred of it was religious. He was a 
Catholic, not because he had never thought or studied, 
but because, having thought and studied, he assented, 
and from this standpoint he ascribed most of the wounds 
of the Church to her subordination of her spiritual 
mission to material interests. He encouraged Padre 
Passaglia to collect the signatures of priests for a 
petition praying the Pope to cease opposing the desires 
of all Italy ; 8943 names were affixed in a short time. 
The only result of these transactions was that Cardinal 
Antonelli remarked to the French Government that the 
Holy See would never come to terms with robbers, and 
that, although at war with the Turin Cabinet, ' the Pope's 
relations with Italy were excellent' More harmful to 
Ricasoli than the fulminations of the Vatican was the 
veiled but determined hostility of Napoleon III. Cavour 

342 The Liberation of Italy 

succeeded in more or less keeping the Emperor in 
ignorance of the degree to which their long partnership 
resembled a duel. He made him think that he was 
leading while he was being led. With Ricasoli there 
could be no such illusions. Napoleon understood him 
to be a man whom he might break, not bend. He 
thought it desirable to break him, and Imperial desires 
had many channels, at that time, towards fulfilment. 

The Ricasoli ministry fell in February 1862, and, 
as a matter of course, Rattazzi was called to power. 
The new premier soon ingratiated himself with the 
King, who found him easier to get on with than the 
Florentine grand seigneur ; with Garibaldi, whom he 
persuaded that some great step in the national redemp- 
tion was on the eve of accomplishment ; with Napoleon, 
who divined in him an instrument. Meanwhile, in his 
own mind, he proposed to eclipse Cavour, out-manoeuvre 
all parties, and make his name immortal. This remains 
the most probable, as it is the most lenient interpretation 
to which his strange policy is open. 

Garibaldi was encouraged to visit the principal towns 
of North Italy in order to institute the Tiro Nazionale 
or Rifle Association, which was said to be meant to 
form the basis of a permanent volunteer force on the 
English pattern. For many reasons, such a scheme was 
not likely to succeed in Italy, but most people supposed 
the object to be different — namely, the preparation of 
the youth of the nation for an immediate war. The 
idea was strengthened when it was observed that Tres- 
corre, in the province of Bergamo, where Garibaldi 
stopped to take a course of sulphur baths, became the 
centre of a gathering which included the greater part 
of his old Sicilian staff. There was no concealment 
in what was done, and the Government manifested no 

Rome or Death 343 

alarm. The air was full of rumours, and in particular 
much was said about a Garibaldian expedition to Greece, 
for which, it was stated and re -stated, Rattazzi had 
promised ;£'40,ooo. That Garibaldi meant to cast his 
lot in any struggle not bearing directly on Italian affairs, 
as long as the questions of Rome and Venice still hung 
in the balance, is not to be believed. A little earlier 
than this date, when asked if he would accept the 
supreme command of the Federal army in the war 
for the Union, he declined the invitation, attractive 
though it must have been to him, both as a soldier 
and an abhorrer of slavery, because he did not think 
that Italy could spare him. But the ' Greek Expedition, 
though a misleading name, was not altogether a blind. 
Before Cavour's death, there had been frequent discussion 
of a project for revolutionising the east of Europe on 
a grand scale ; Hungary and the southern provinces ot 
the Austrian Empire were to co-operate with the Slavs 
and other populations under Turkey in a movement 
which, even if only partially successful, would go far 
to facilitate the liberation of Venice. It cannot be 
doubted that Rattazzi's brain was at work on some- 
thing of this sort, but the mobilisation, so to speak, 
of the Garibaldians suggested proceedings nearer home. 
Trescorre was very far from the sea, very near the 
Austrian frontier. 

In spite of contradictions, a plan for invading the 
Trentino, or South Tyrol, almost certainly did exist. 
Whether Garibaldi was alone answerable for it cannot 
be determined. The Government became suddenly alive 
to the enormous peril such an attack would involve, 
and arrested several of the Garibaldian oiificers at Sar- 
nico. They were conveyed to Brescia, where a popular 
attempt was made to liberate them ; the troops fired 

344 ^-^^ Liberation of Italy 

on the crowd, and some blood was shed. Garibaldi 
wrote an indignant protest and retired, first to the villa 
of Signora Cairoli at Belgirate, and then to Caprera. He 
did not, however, remain there long. 

After this point, the thread of events becomes tangled 
beyond the hope of unravelment. What were the causes 
which led Garibaldi into the desperate venture that ended 
at Aspromonte? Recollecting his hesitation before as- 
suming the leadership of the Sicilian expedition, it 
seemed the more unintelligible that he should now 
undertake an enterprise which, unless he could rely on 
the complicity of Government, had not a single possi- 
bility of success. His own old comrades were opposed 
to it, and it was notorious that Mazzini, to whom the 
counsels of despair were generally either rightly or 
wrongly attributed, had nothing to do with inspiring 
this attempt. In justice to Rattazzi, it must be allowed 
that, after the arrests at Sarnico, Garibaldi went into 
open opposition to the ministry, which he denounced 
as subservient to Napoleon. Nevertheless, with the 
remembrance of past circumstances in his mind, he 
may have felt convinced that the Prime Minister did 
not mean or that he would not dare to oppose him by« 
force. One thing is certain ; from beginning to end he 
never contemplated civil war. His disobedience to the 
King of Italy had only one purpose — to give him 
Rome. He was no more a rebel to Victor Emmanuel 
than when he marched through Sicily in i860. 

The earlier stages of the affair were not calculated 
to weaken a belief in the effective non-intervention of 
Government. Garibaldi went to Palermo, where he 
arrived in the evening of the 28th of June, The young 
Princes Umberto and Amedeo were on a visit to the 
Prefect, the Marquis Pallavicini, and happened to be 

Rome or Death 345 

that night at the opera. All at once they perceived 
the spectators leave the house in a body, and they 
were left alone ; on asking the reason, they heard that 
Garibaldi had just landed — all were gone to greet him ! 
Before the departure of the Princes next day, the chief 
and his future King had an affectionate meeting, while 
the population renewed the scenes of wild enthusiasm 
of two years ago. Some of Garibaldi's intimate friends 
assert that when he reached Palermo he had still no 
intention of taking up arms. He soon began, however, 
to speak in a warlike tone, and at a review of the 
National Guard in presence of the Prefect, the Syndic, 
and all the authorities, he told the ' People of the Ves- 
pers ' that if another Vespers were wanted to do it, 
Napoleon III., head of the brigands, must be ejected 
from Rome. The epithet was not bestowed at random ; 
Lord Palmerston confirmed it when he said from his 
place in the House of Commons : ' In Rome there is 
a French garrison ; under its shelter there exists a 
committee of 200, whose practice is to organise a band 
of murderers, the scum and dross of every nation, and 
send them into the Neapolitan territory to commit 
every atrocity ! ' As a criticism the words are not less 
strong ; but the public defiance of Napoleon, and the 
threat with which it was accompanied, dictated one 
plain duty to the Italian Government if they meant to 
keep the peace — the arrest of Garibaldi and his em- 
barkation for Caprera. 

This they did not do ; confining themselves to the 
recall of the Marquis Pallavicini. Garibaldi went over 
the ground made glorious by his former exploits — past 
\ Calatafimi to Marsala. It was at Marsala that, while he 
harangued his followers in a church, a voice in the crowd 
raised a cry of ' Rome or death !' ' Yes : Rome or death ! ' 

34^ The Liberation of Italy 

repeated Garibaldi ; and thus the watchword originated 
which will endure written in blood on the Bitter Mount 
and on the Plain of Nomentum. Who raised it first? 
Perhaps some humble Sicilian fisherman. Its haunting 
music coming he knew not whence, sounding in his ear 
like an omen, was what wedded Garibaldi irrevocably to 
the undertaking. It was the casting interposition of 
chance, or, shall it be said, of Providence? Like all 
men of his mould, Garibaldi was governed by poetry, 
by romance. Besides the general patriotic sentiment, 
he had a peculiar personal feeling about Rome, 'which 
for me,' he once wrote, 'is Italy.' In 1849, the Assembly 
in its last moments invested him with plenary powers 
for the defence of the Eternal City, and this vote, never 
revoked, imposed on his imagination a permanent man- 
date. ' Rome or death ' suggested an idea to him which 
he had never before entertained, prodigal though he had 
been of his person in a hundred fights : What if his own 
death were the one thing needful to precipitate the solu- 
tion of the problem ? 

From Marsala he returned to Palermo, where, in the 
broad light of day, he summoned the Faithful, who came, as 
usual, at his bidding, without asking why or where ? — the 
happy few who followed him in 1859 and 1 860 ; who would 
follow him in 1867, and even in 1870, when they gave their 
lives for a people that did not thank them, because he willed 
it so. He sent out also a call to the Sicilian Picciotti, 
the Squadre of last year ; and it is much to their credit 
that they too who cared possibly remarkably little for 
Roma Capitate, obeyed the man who had freed them. 
And Rattazzi knew of all this, and did nothing. 

On the 1st of August, Garibaldi took command of 
3000 volunteers in the woods of Ficuzza. Then, indeed, 
the Government wasted much paper on proclamations, 

Rome or Death 347 

and closed the door of the stable when the horse was 
gone. General Cugia was sent to Palermo to repress the 
movement. Nevertheless Garibaldi, with his constantly 
increasing band, made a triumphant progress across the 
island, and a more than royal entry into Catania. At 
Mezzojuso he was present at a Te Deum chanted in his 
honour. On the 22nd, when the royal troops were, it 
seems, really ordered to march on Catania, Garibaldi took 
possession of a couple of merchant vessels that had just 
reached the port, and sailed away by night for the Cala- 
brian coast with about 1000 of his men. 

By this time the Italian Government, whether by spon- 
taneous conviction or by pressure from without, had 
resolved that the band should never get as far as the 
Papal frontier. If Garibaldi knew or realised their re- 
solution, it is a mystery why he did not attempt to effect 
a landing nearer that frontier, if not actually within it. 
The deserted shore of the Pontine marshes would, one 
would think, have offered attractions to men who were as 
little afraid of fever as of bullets. A sort of superstition 
may have ruled the choice of the path, which was that 
which led to victory in i860. It was not practicable, 
however, to follow it exactly. The tactics were different. 
Then the desire was to meet the enemy anywhere and 
everywhere ; now the pursuer had to be eluded, because 
Garibaldi was determined not to fight him. Thus, in- 
stead of marching straight on Reggio, the volunteers 
sought concealment in the great mountain mass which 
forms the southernmost bulwark of the Apennines. The 
dense and trackless forests could have given cover for 
a long while to a native brigand troop, with intimate 
knowledge of the country and ways and means of obtain- 
ing provisions — not to a band like this of Garibaldi. 
They wandered about for three days, suffering from 

348 The Liberation of Italy 

almost total want of food, and from the great fatigue 
of climbing the dried -up watercourses which serve as 
paths. On the 28th of August they reached the heights 
of Aspromonte — a strong position, from which only a 
large force could have dislodged them had they de- 
fended it. 

General La Marmora, then Prefect of Naples, and com- 
mander-in-chief of the army in the south, reinforced the 
troops in Calabria to prevent Garibaldi's advance, but 
the direction of the decisive operation fell by accident 
to Cialdini, whom the Government despatched to Sicily 
when they tardily made up their minds to take energetic 
measures. On his voyage to Messina, Cialdini heard 
that the volunteers had already crossed the Straits ; he 
therefore changed his course, and hastening to Reggio, 
invested himself with the command on the mainland. 
At Reggio he met Colonel Pallavicini, whom he ordered 
in terms that might have been more suitable had he 
been engaged in hunting brigands, 'to crush Garibaldi 
completely, and only accept from him unconditional 
surrender.' Pallavicini started with six or seven bat- 
talions of Bersaglieri. It was the 29th of August. 
Garibaldi saw them coming when they were still three 
miles off. He could have dispersed his men in the 
forest and himself escaped, for the time, and perhaps 
altogether, for the sea which had so often befriended him 
was not far off. But although he did not mean to resist, 
a dogged instinct drove away the thought of flight. In 
the official account it was stated that an officer was sent 
in advance of the royal troops to demand surrender. No 
such officer was seen in the Garibaldian encampment till 
after the attack. The troops rapidly ascended an emin- 
ence, facing that on which the Garibaldians were posted, 
and opened a violent fusillade, which, to Garibaldi's dismay, 

Rome or Death 349 

was returned for a few minutes by his right, consisting 
of young Sicilians who were not sufificiently disciplined 
to stand being made targets of without replying. The 
contention, however, that they were the first to fire, has 
the testimony of every eye-witness on the side of the 
volunteers against it. All the Garibaldian bugles 
sounded ' Cease firing,' and Garibaldi walked down in 
front of the ranks conjuring the men to obey. While 
he was thus employed, a spent ball struck his thigh, 
and a bullet entered his right foot. At first he remained 
standing, and repeated, ' Do not fire,' but he was obliged to 
sit down, and some of his officers carried him under a tree. 
The whole ' feat of arms,' as General Cialdini described it, 
did not last more than a quarter of an hour. 

Pallavicini approached the wounded hero bareheaded, 
and said that he made his acquaintance on the most 
unfortunate day of his own life. He was received with 
nothing but kind praise for doing his duty. The first 
night was passed by the prisoner in a shepherd's hut. 
The few devoted followers who were with him were 
strangely impressed by that midnight watch ; the moon 
shining on the forest, the shepherds' dogs howling in the 
mountain silence, and their chief lying wounded, it might 
be to death, in the name of the King to whom he had 
given this land. 

Next day, in a litter sheltered from the sun with 
branches of wild laurel. Garibaldi was carried down the 
steep rocks to Scilla, whence he was conveyed by sea to 
the fort of Varignano. It was not till after months of acute 
suffering, borne with a gentleness that made the doctors 
say : ' This man is not a soldier, but a saint,' that, through 
the skill of the French surgeon, N^laton, the position of 
the ball w£is determined, and its extraction rendered 

350 The Liberation of Italy 

A general amnesty issued on the occasion of the mar- 
riage of the King's second daughter with the King of 
Portugal relieved the Government of having to decide 
whether Garibaldi was to be tried, and if so, what for ; 
but the unpopularity into which the ministry had fallen 
could not be so easily dissipated. The Minister of Foreign 
Affairs (Durando) published a note in which it was stated 
that Garibaldi had only attempted to realise, in an ir- 
regular way, the desire of the whole nation, and that, 
although he had been checked, the tension of the situation 
was such that it could not be indefinitely prolonged. 
This was true, but it hardly improved the case for the 
Government. In Latin countries, ministers do not cling 
to power ; as soon as the wind blows against them, they 
resign to give the public time to forget their faults, and to 
become dissatisfied with their political rivals. Usually a 
\rery short time is required. Therefore, forestalling a vote 
of censure in the Chambers, where he had never yet had 
a real majority, Rattazzi resigned office with a parting 
homily in which he claimed to have saved the national 

The administration which followed contained the well- 
known names of Farini, Minghetti, Pasolini, Peruzzi, 
Delia Rovere, Menabrea. When Farini's fatal illness set 
in, Minghetti replaced him as Prime Minister, and 
Visconti Venosta took the Foreign Office. They found 
the country in a lamentable state, embittered by Aspro- 
monte, still infected with brigandage, and suffering from 
an increasing deficit, coupled with a diminishing revenue. 
The administrative and financial unification of Italy, still 
far from complete, presented the gravest difficulties. The 
political aspect of affairs, and especially the presence of 
the French in Rome, provoked a general sense of insta- 
bility which was contrary to the organisation of the new 

Rome or Death 351 

state and the development of its resources. The ministers 
sought remedies or palliatives for these several evils, and 
to meet the last they opened negotiations with France, 
which resulted in the compromise known as the September 
Convention. It was long before the treaty was concluded, 
as for more than a year the French Government refused 
to remove the garrison on any terms ; but in the autumn 
of 1864 the following arrangement was signed by both 
parties : that Italy should protect the Papal frontier from 
all attack from the outside ; that France should gradually 
withdraw her troops, the complete evacuation to take 
place within two years ; thiat Italy should waive the right 
of protest against the internal organisation of the Papal 
army unless its proportions became such as to be a mani- 
fest threat to the Italian kingdom ; that the Italian capital 
should be moved to Florence within six months of the 
approval of the Convention by Parliament 

These terms were in part the same as those proposed 
by Prince Napoleon to Cavour shortly before the death of 
that statesman, who had promised to support them as a 
temporary makeshift, and in order to get the French out 
of Italy. But they were in part different, and they con- 
tained two new provisions which it is morally certain that 
Cavour would never have agreed to — the prolongation of 
the French occupation for two years (Cavour had insisted 
that it should cease in a fortnight), and the transfer of the 
capital, which was now made a sine qud non by Napoleon, 
for evident reasons. While it was clear ^that Turin could 
not be the permanent capital of a kingdom that stretched 
to ^tna, if once the seat of government were removed to 
Florence a thousand arguments and interests would spring 
up in favour of keeping it there. So, at least, it was sure 
to seem to a foreigner. As a matter of fact, the solution 
was no solution ; the Italians could not be reconciled to 

352 The Liberation of Italy 

the loss of Rome either by the beauty and historic 
splendour of the city on the Arno, or by its immunity from 
malaria, which was then feared as a serious drawback, 
though Rome has become, under its present rulers, the 
healthiest capital in Europe. But Napoleon thought 
that he was playing a trump card when he dictated the 
sacrifice of Turin. 

The patriotic Turinese were unprepared for the blow. 
They had been told again and again that till the seat of 
government was established on the Tiber, it should abide 
under the shadow of the Alps — white guardian angels of 
Italy — in the custody of the hardy population which had 
shown itself so well worthy of the trust. The ministry 
foresaw the effect which the convention would have on 
the minds of the Turinese, and they resorted to the weak 
subterfuge of keeping its terms secret as long as they 
could. Rumours, however, leaked out, and these, as 
usual, exaggerated the evil. It was said that Rome was 
categorically abandoned. On the 20th of September 
crowds began to fill the streets, crying : ' Rome or Turin ! ' 
and on the two following days there were encounters 
between the populace and the military, in which the 
latter resorted to unnecessary and almost provocative 
violence. Amidst the chorus of censure aroused by 
these events, the Minghetti cabinet resigned, and General 
La Marmora, who, as a Piedmontese, was fitted to soothe 
the excited feelings of his fellow-citizens, was called upon 
to form a ministry. 

The change of capital received the sanction of Parlia- 
ment on the 19th of November. Outside Piedmont it 
was not unpopular ; people felt that, after all, it rested 
with themselves to make Florence no final halting-place, 
but a step towards Rome. The Papal Government which 
had been a stranger to the late negotiations, expressed a 

Rome or Death 353 

supreme indifference to the whole affair, even to the con- 
templated departure of the French troops, 'which con- 
cerned the Imperial Government, not the Pope,' said 
Cardinal AntonelH, ' since the occupation had been de- 
termined by French interests.' It cannot be asserted that 
the Pope ever assumed a gratitude which he did not feel 
towards the monarch who kept him on his throne for 
twenty years. 

This year, 1864, was marked by an incident which, 
though not a political event, should never be forgotten 
in the history of Italian liberation — Garibaldi's visit to 
England. He came, the prisoner of Aspromonte, not the 
conqueror of Sicily : a distinction that might have made 
a difference elsewhere, but the .English sometimes worship 
misfortune as other peoples worship success. No sovereign 
from oversea was ever received by them as they received 
the Italian hero ; a reception showing the sympathies of 
a century rather than the caprice or curiosity of an hour. 
Half a million throats shouted London's welcome; the 
soldier of two worlds knew the roar of battle, and the 
roar of the sea was familiar to the Nizzard sailor, but 
it is said that when Garibaldi heard the stupendous and 
almost awful British roar which greeted him as he came 
out of the Nine Elms station, and took his seat in the 
carriage that was to convey him to Stafford House, 
he looked completely disconcerted. From the heir to 
the throne to the crossing - sweeper, all combined to 
do him honour; where Garibaldi was not, through the 
breadth of the land the very poor bought his portrait 
and pasted it on their whitewashed cottage walls. 
London made him its citizen. The greatest living 
English poet invited him to plant a tree in his garden : 
a memory he recalled nearly at the close of his own 
honoured life : — 


354 I'he Liberation of Italy 

Or watch the waving pine which here 
The warrior of Caprera set, 
A name that earth shall not forget 

Till earth has rolled her latest year. 

Garibaldi showed himself mindful of old friends ; at 
the opera he recognised Admiral Mundy in a box, and 
immediately rose and went to offer him his respects. 
At Portsmouth, he not only went to see the mother of 
Signora White-Mario (the providence of his wounded in 
many a campaign), but also paid an unrecorded visit to 
two maiden sisters in humble circumstances, who had 
shown him kindness when he was an exile in England ; 
they related ever afterwards the sensation caused by his 
appearance in their narrow courtyard, where it was difficult 
to turn the big carriage which the authorities had placed 
at his disposal. He twice met the great Italian whom 
he addressed as Master : transferring, as it were, to 
Mazzini's brows the crown of glory that surrounded his 
own. Another exile, Louis Blanc, used to tell how, when 
he went to call on Garibaldi, he found him seated on a 
sofa, receiving the homage of the fairest and most illus- 
trious members of the English aristocracy; when the 
Friend of the People was announced (a title deserved by 
Louis Blanc, if not for his possibly fallacious theories, 
still for the rare sincerity of his life), the hero started to 
his feet and most earnestly begged him to sit beside 
him. ' Which I could not do ! ' the narrator of the scene 
would add with a look of comical alarm for his threatened 

These friendly passages with the proscripts in London, 
as well as the stirring appeal spoken by Garibaldi on 
behalf of the Poles, did not please foreign Powers. The 
Austrian ambassador shut himself up in his house; it 
was remarked that the only members of the diplomatic 

Rome or Death 355 

body who were seen at the Garibaldi fites were the 
representatives of the United States and of the Sublime 
Porte. The Emperor Napoleon was said to be angry. 
Lord Palmerston assured the House of Commons that no 
remonstrance had been received from France or from any 
foreign government, and that if it had been received, it 
would not have been heeded. Yet the English Govern- 
ment took the course of hinting to the guest of England 
that his visit had lasted long enough. In some quarters 
it was reported that they feared disturbances among the 
Irish operatives in the manufacturing towns, had he gone, 
as he intended, to the north. Whatever were the motives 
that inspired it, their action in the matter cannot be re- 
membered with complacency, but it was powerless to 
undo the significance of the great current of enthusiasm 
which had passed through the English land. 



The Prussian Alliance — Custoza — Lissa — The Volunteers — 
Acquisition of Venetia. 

The change of capital was carried out in 1865, and the 
lull which followed gave an appearance of correctness to 
the surmise that if the September Convention had not 
solved the Roman question, it had, anyhow, reduced it 
to a state of quiescence. But there were other reasons 
why Rome was kept, for the moment, not indeed out of 
mind, but out of sight. The opinion grew that the 
emancipation of Venice, too long delayed, ought to take 
precedence of every other political object. On this point 
there was no disagreement among the 22,000,000 free 
Italians, who felt the servitude of Venice to be an hourly 
disgrace and reproach ; no one even ventured to preach 
patience. A curious chapter might be written on the 
schemes woven between the Peace of Villafranca and the 
year 1866, for the realisation of the unfulfilled promise of 
freedom from Alps to sea. Foremost among the schemers 
was Victor Emmanuel, and if some persons may be 
shocked by the idea of a royal conspirator, more will 
admire the patriotism which made the King hold out 
his hand to Mazzini, whose sentiments about monarchy, 
and especially about the Savoy dynasty, were a secret to 
no one, least of all to him. But as Mazzini placed those 


The War for Venice 357 

sentiments on second rank to the grand end of Italian 
unity, so the King, to serve the same end, showed him- 
self superior to prejudices which in most men would have 
proved insuperable. The fact that Victor Emmanuel 
opened negotiations with Mazzini, and maintained them, 
oiif and on, for years, proves amongst other things, that 
he knew the exiled patriot better than the world yet 
knew him. He may have understood that by turning 
republican sympathies into the groove of unity (not their 
necessary or even their most natural groove), Mazzini 
made an Italian kingdom possible. There is reason to 
think that the King's ministers were kept entirely 
ignorant of his correspondence with the Agitator. The 
letters were impersonal drafts carried to and fro by 
means of trusted emissaries ; each party freely expounded 
his views, and stated the terms on which his support could 
be given. Victor Emmanuel's favourite idea was a re- 
volution in Galicia. When Garibaldi returned from 
England he was nearly commissioned to start for Con- 
stantinople, whence he was to lead an expedition through 
Roumania into Galicia. It seems to have been due to 
Garibaldi's own good sense that so extremely un- 
promising a project was abandoned. General Klapka 
was another of Victor Emmanuel's secret revolutionary 
correspondents. The very wildness of the plans that 
floated in the air betokened the feverish anxiety to do 
something which had taken hold of all minds. 

In 1865 a scheme of a different sort, and of moment- 
ous consequences, grew into shape. It was a scheme 
of which Cavour first guessed the possibility, as well 
as the far-reaching results. In August 1865 Count 
Bismarck asked General La Marmora whether Italy 
would join Prussia in the contingency of a war with 
Austria? Only a year before he was still thinking of 

35^ The Liberation of Italy 

carrying out his policy with the aid of Austria, and he 
had offered to help her to wrench Lombardy from Italy 
(and from France if she intervened), in payment for her 
consent to his designs. But now, though the Austrians 
did not even remotely suspect it, his thoughts were 
resolutely turned to the Italian alliance. Without this 
alliance Italy might, indeed, have acquired Venice, but 
would the German Empire have been founded ? 

For a time the proposal was suspended, owing to the 
temporary understanding concluded between Prussia and 
Austria at Gastein ; and in the interim, General La 
Marmora urged the Viennese Government to cede 
Venetia in return for a compensation of five hundred 
million francs. But those whom the gods would destroy 
they make mad, Austria preserved her infatuated sense 
of security almost till the rude awakening caused 
by the rifle-shots that ushered in the campaign of 

One thing which contributed to keeping Europe in 
the dark as to the impending cataclysm was the character 
and known tendencies of King William I. of Prussia, 
whose conservative, not to say retrograde sentiments 
made it difficult to picture him at the head of what was 
really a great revolutionary movement, in spite of the 
militarism that surrounded it. With consummate art, 
Count Bismarck little by little concentrated all his 
master's ideas about royal divinity in general into one 
overwhelming belief in his own divine right to be 
German Emperor, and so transformed an obstacle into 
the corner-stone of the edifice he wished to build. But 
this could hardly be foreseen. At the New Year's Day 
reception of 1866, Napoleon announced an era of 
universal peace ; henceforth all nations were to arrange 
their differences amicably, as had been done at Gastein 

The War for Venice 359 

If the illusion was complete, it was destined to be of 
short duration. 

In the spring the Prussian proposal to Italy was 
formally renewed, and this time it was accepted. The 
secret treaty of an offensive and defensive alliance for 
three months was signed on the 8th of April. Less 
than three weeks later, Austria, which was slowly begin- 
ning to feel some uneasiness, proposed to Napoleon the 
cession of Venetia, while exacting from Italy only a 
simple promise of neutrality in case of war. General La 
Marmora held the honour of the country and his own 
to compel fidelity to the prior arrangement with Prussia, 
and he refused the tempting offer. His choice has been 
variously characterised as one of common honesty and of 
uncommon magnanimity ; at all events, it was of incalcul- 
able advantage to Prussia, which already gave signs of 
not being a particularly delicate-minded ally. When La 
Marmora asked Bismarck whether, in case Austria took 
the initiative of attacking Italy, Prussia would intervene, 
the answer was ' No.' 

The three countries now pushed on their war prepara- 
tions : Austria with less ardour than the others, as she 
still failed to more than faintly realise her danger. The 
Italian army, which the opening of the year found in a 
deplorably unserviceable condition, was rapidly placed on 
a war-footing, and, considering the shortness of the time 
allowed for the work, and the secrecy with which, at the 
outset, it had to be conducted, it is generally agreed that 
La Marmora produced surprising results. As was natural 
in an army which, except for the old Piedmontese nucleus, 
might almost be called improvised, the weakest points 
were the cavalry and the artillery. The infantry was 
good ; not only the picked corps of Bersaglieri, but also 
the line regiments were equal to any troops likely to be 

360 The Liberation of Italy 

opposed to them. No one can see the fine appearance of 
a line regiment marching down the streets of an Italian 
town without receiving the impression that, however much 
the other branches of the service may have improved 
since the Sixties, the fondest hopes of Italy in case of war 
still lie in that common soldier who best supported the 
rigours of the Russian snows. 

Unfortunately, the attention paid to the army was not 
extended to the fleet, which continued totally unready ; 
nor was the organisation of the volunteers carried out in 
an efficient manner. The excuse afterwards advanced 
was that not more than 15,000 enrolments were expected, 
while the actual figure reached 35,000. Besides being 
from its very bulk less manageable than the ' few and 
good' of 1859, this mass of men was ill-provided with 
officers who could inspire and keep discipline. Garibaldi's 
own generals, Bixio, Medici, Cosenz and Sirtori, were now 
all in the regular army, and therefore not free to join him. 
He begged for the loan of a few regular officers, indicat- 
ing amongst other names that of Colonel Pallavicini, who 
commanded against him at Aspromonte : a trait charac- 
teristic of the man. But this assistance, though promised, 
was not granted, and the same was the case with the guns 
which were vainly asked for. Without charging La 
Marmora with a deliberate intention of neglecting the 
volunteers, it must be owned that under the influence of 
the prejudice which holds irregular troops in small es- 
teem, he did not do for them what ought to have been 
done if their services were accepted at all. 

The Austrian Southern Army, excellent in discipline 
and equipment though weak in numbers, was commanded 
up to the outbreak of the war by Field-Marshal Benedek, 
but he was called to Vienna to take command of the 
unfortunate army of operation against Prussia, and was 

The War for Venice 361 

succeeded in Italy by the Archduke Albrecht, with 
General Von John, an officer of the first capacity, as 
chief of the staff. 

The numerical strength of the forces which could be 
put in the field has been stated with startling divergence 
by different military writers on the war, but every calcula- 
tion gives the Italian side (exclusive of the volunteers) a 
superiority of not less than two to one. The Austrian 
mobilised army has been reckoned at as low a figure as 
63,000, certainly an understatement, as it appears that the 
Archduke mustered not less than 70,000 at the battle of 
Custoza. That he mustered on that day every man he 
could produce is probably a fact. Had the Italian generals 
followed the same rule, however enormous their other 
errors might have been, they would have won. Of all 
conceivable faults in a military commander that which is 
the least pardonable is the neglect to crush his antagonist 
by force of superior numbers when he has them at his 
disposal. How many great military reputations have been 
built up, and justly built up, on the care never to meet an 
enemy without the odds being largely in your favour ! 

For obvious political reasons the King of Italy assumed 
the supreme command of the army, with General La 
Marmora as chief of the staff. Cialdini had been offered 
the latter post, but he declined it, objecting, it is said, to the 
arrangement by which the real head of the army has no 
guarantee against the possible interference of its nominal 
head. When La Marmora went to the front. Baron 
Ricasoli took his place as Prime Minister ; Visconti- 
Venosta became Minister of Foreign Affairs ; and the 
Ministry of the Marine was offered to Quintino Sella, who 
refused it on the ground that he knew nothing of naval 
matters. It was then offered to and accepted by a man 
who knew still less, because he did not even know 

362 The Liberation of Italy 

his own ignorance, Agostino Depretis, a Piedmontese 

Before the commencement of hostilities a secret treaty 
was concluded between Napoleon III. and the Austrian 
Government, according to which Venetia was to be ceded 
to the Emperor for Italy, even if Austrian arms were 
victorious both on the Mincio and on the Maine. 
Napoleon's real purpose in this singular transaction is not 
perfectly clear ; but he was probably acting under a 
semi-romantic desire to have the appearance of completing 
his programme of freeing Italy from the Alps to the 
Adriatic which had been interrupted at Villafranca. In 
spite of his enmity towards Italian unity, there is no 
reason to doubt that he was in very few things as sincere 
as in the wish to see the Austrians out of Italy. His 
reckonings at this time were all founded on the assump- 
tion that Prussia would be defeated ; he even seems to 
have had some hopes of getting the Rhine bank in re- 
turn for his good offices on behalf of that Power with 
triumphant Austria. Be this as it may, he inspired 
the Italian Government (or rather La Marmora, for there 
were then two Italian Governments, and the real one was 
on the Mincio) with his own expectation of Prussian 
disasters, and it is possible that this expectation had a 
material and unfavourable influence on the manner of 
conducting the war in Italy. 

Through the Prussian Minister at Florence, General 
La Marmora received the draft of a plan of campaign 
which is known to have been prepared by Count Moltke,; 
in it the great feature was a descent on the Dalmatian 
coast. From an independent quarter he received another 
plan in which a descent on the east coast of the Adriatic 
was contemplated, the main difference being that Istria, 
instead of Dalmatia, was proposed for the landing-point. 

The War for Venice 363 

This second plan was modestly submitted to him by 
Garibaldi, who was thus in substantial accord with the 
Prussian strategist. The prospect which either of these 
plans opened was one of great fascination. What Italian 
can look across the sea to where the sun rises and forget 
that along that horizon lies a land colonised by Rome 
and guarded for four hundred years by Venice ? 

Istria was marked out by Dante as the frontier province 
of Italy: 

Si come a Pola presso del Quarnero 
Che Italia chiude e i suoi termini bagna. 

It forms, with the Trentino, what is called Italia Irredenta. 
Although the feeling of Italians for unredeemed Italy is 
not what their feeling was for Lombardy or Venetia, it is 
a mistake to imagine that they have renounced all aspir- 
ations in that direction. Only fanatics of the worst kind 
would be disposed to attempt, in the present situation, to 
win those provinces by force, but that has nothing to do 
with the matter. The aspiration exists and cannot help 
existing. It has always been shared by patriots of all 
denominations. An English statesman who called on 
Pius IX. was somewhat surprised by the Pope saying that 
Italian unity was very well, but it was a pity it did not 
include Trento and Trieste. 

The case of Dalmatia is different ; there the mass of 
the population is unquestionably of a non-Italian race, 
though that race is one which, whenever left to itself, 
seems created to amalgamate with the Italian. Slav and 
Teuton are racially antagonistic, but the Slav falls 
into Italian ways, speaks the Italian language and mixes 
his blood with Italian blood : with what results Venice 
can tell. For more than two thousand years the civilis- 
ation of Dalmatia has been exclusively Latin ; the Roman 
column points to the Venetian Campanile; all the 

364 The Liberation of Italy 

proudest memories are gathered round the Lion of St 
Mark, which in every town, almost in every village, recalls 
the splendid though not blameless suzerainty of the 
Serene Republic. The sky, the olive-groves, the wild 
pomegranates make us think of Salerno ; by the spoken 
tongue we are often reminded of Tuscany, for few Italian 
dialects are so pure. The political subjection of the 
country to Italy dates from Augustus ; its political sub- 
jection to Austria dates from Napoleon. Dalmatia, with 
the glorious little commonwealth of Ragusa, and the free 
city of Cattaro, was bartered away with Venice at Campo 
Formio ; and as with Venice, so with Dalmatia, the Holy 
Alliance violated its own principle of restoring the proe- 
Napoleonic state of things and confirmed the sale. 

At the beginning of the war, Austria did not ignore 
that her loss of territory might exceed Venetia. The 
Archduke Albrecht, in his proclamation to his soldiers, 
appealed to them to protect their mothers, wives and 
sisters from being ruled by a foreign race. 

Even a successful raid upon Dalmatia or Istria need 
not have given those districts to Italy, but it would have 
brought such an event within the range of a moderately 
strong political telescope. The Slavs (erected since into a 
party hostile to their Italian fellow-citizens by a fostering 
of Panslavism which may not, in the long run, prove sound 
policy for Austria) were then ready to make friends with 
anyone opposed to their actual rulers. They would not 
have been easy to govern after an Italian invasion ; still 
less easy to govern would the Latin element have been, 
which was and is Italianissimo. Since Prussia became 
the German Empire, she has set her face against Italian 
extension eastward, but in 1866, had her advice been 
intelligently acted upon, it might have generated facts the 
logic of which none would have had the power to stay. 

The War for Venice 365 

Moltke's plan more than hinted at a march on Vienna 
by the Semmering, and this is what is supposed to have 
induced La Marmora to treat it with scorn. With the 
bogey of Prussia vanquished before his eyes, he doubtless 
asked what the Italians would do at Vienna if they got 
there? He put the plan in his pocket, and showed it 
neither to his staff nor to the King, who would certainly 
have been attracted by it, as he had set his heart on the 
volunteers, at least, crossing the Adriatic. With regard 
to the campaign at home, both Moltke and Garibaldi 
counselled turning the Quadrilateral in preference to a 
direct attack upon fortresses which had been proved 
impregnable except with the assistance of hunger, and 
at present they were better provisioned than in 1848. 
The turning of the Quadrilateral meant the adoption of 
a route into Venetia across the Po below Mantua. An 
objection not without gravity to that route was the un- 
favourable nature of the ground which, being marshy, 
is liable after heavy rains to become impassable. But 
against this disadvantage had to be weighed the ad- 
vantage of keeping out of the mouse-trap, the fatality of 
which needed no new demonstration. 

In Italy it is common to hear it said that it was neces- 
sary to station a large army on the Mincio to bar the 
Archduke's path to Milan. But apart from the rumoured 
existence of a promise to the French Emperor not to 
invade Lombardy, it was unlikely that so good a general 
as the Archduke would have taken his small army far 
from the security it enjoyed among the four fortresses 
which, if the worst came to the worst, assured him a 
safe line of retreat. 

The plan adopted by La Marmora is vaguely said to 
have been that which was prepared by the French and 
Sardinian staffs for use in 1859, had the war been con- 

366 The Liberation of Italy 

tinued. But in what it really consisted is not to this day 
placed beyond dispute. The army, roughly speaking, 
was divided into halves ; one (the larger) half under the 
King and La Marmora was to operate on the Mincio ; the 
other, under Cialdini, was to operate on the lower Po. It 
is supposed that one of these portions was intended to act 
as a blind to deceive the enemy as to the movements of 
the other portion ; the undecided question is, which was 
meant to be the principal and which the accessory ? 

The volunteers were thrown against the precipices of 
the Tridentine mountains, where a detachment of the 
regular army, well-armed and properly supplied with 
artillery, would have been better suited for the work. 
The Garibaldian headquarters was at Salo on the Lake 
of Garda. Less than half of the 35,000 volunteers who 
appear upon paper, were ever ready to be sent to the 
front. It was widely said that only patriotism pre- 
vented Garibaldi from throwing up his command, so 
dissatisfied was he with the conduct of Affairs. 

Prussia invaded Hanover and Saxony on the i6th 
of June, and declared war with Austria on the 21st, 
one day after the Italian declaration of war had been 
delivered to the Archduke Albrecht. On the 23rd La 
Marmora's army began to cross the Mincio. It con- 
sisted of three corps d'armie under the command of 
Generals Durando, Cucchiari and Delia Rocca, each 
corps containing four divisions. The force under Cial- 
dini was composed of eight divisions forming one corps 
(iarm^e. An Italian military writer rates the numbers 
at 133,000 and 82,000 respectively. La Marmora ac- 
quired the belief that the Archduke's attention was 
absorbed by Cialdini's movements on the Po, and that 
his own operations on the Mincio would pass un- 

The War for Venice 367 

While the Italian commander had no information of 
what was going on in the enemy's camp, the Archduke's 
intelligence department was so efficient that he knew 
quite well the disposition of both Italian armies. Cial- 
dini's advance, if he meant to advance, was checked 
by floods. On the night of the 23rd most of La Mar- 
mora's force bivouacked on the left (Venetian) bank of 
the Mincio. No reconnaissances were made ; everyone 
supposed that the Austrians were still beyond the 
Adige, and that they intended to stay there. The King 
slept at Goito. 

Before the early dawn next morning the whole Italian 
army of the Mincio had orders to advance. The soldiers 
marched with heavy knapsacks and empty stomachs, 
and with no more precautions than in time of peace. 
The Austrian Archduke was in the saddle at four a.m., 
and watched from an eminence the moving clouds of 
dust which announced the approach of his unsuspect- 
ing foe. 

La Marmora's intention had been to occupy the 
heights of Santa Giustina, Sona and Somma Campagna, 
but the Archduke anticipated his design, and while the 
Italians were moving from the Mincio, the Austrians 
were ranging themselves in those positions. At half- 
past five on the midsummer Sunday morning, the Aus- 
trian advance guard led by Colonel Pulz came up with 
Prince Humbert's division near Villafranca. The battle 
began dramatically, with a charge of the splendid Polish 
and Hungarian Hussars, who dashed their horses against 
the Italian squares, in one of which, opportunely formed 
for his shelter, was the gallant heir to the throne. Bixio's 
division was also engaged in this prelude, which augured 
not ill for the Italians, since at about eight o'clock Pulz 
received the Archduke's orders to retire. 

368 The Liberation of Italy 

The first hours of the battle were spent in fortuitous 
encounters along the extensive chain of hillocks which La 
Marmora had intended to occupy. As the Italians ap- 
proached each position they found it in the possession of 
a strong force of the enemy. On the right, however, 
Custoza and the heights between it and Somma Cam- 
pagna had not been occupied by the Austrians. Here 
La Marmora placed the flower of his army, the Sardinian 
and Lombard Grenadiers, the latter commanded by Prince 
Amedeo. The fighting continued through the day over 
very widely distributed ground, but from about nine in 
the morning the supreme interest was concentrated at and 
near Custoza, in which the Archduke promptly detected 
the turning-point of the battle. To wrest Custoza from 
the hold of the Italians was to the Austrians on the 24th 
of June 1866, what the taking of the crest of Solferino 
had been to the French on the 24th of June 1859. La 
Marmora in person led the Grenadiers into action ; they 
proved worthy of their reputation, but after losing a great 
many men, Prince Amedeo being among the wounded, 
they were obliged to retreat At about mid-day, how- 
ever, the Italian prospects improved so much that in the 
opinion of Austrian military writers, with moderate rein- 
forcements they would have had a strong probability of 
winning the battle. La Marmora saw the importance of 
getting fresh troops into the field, but, instead of sending 
for the divisions under Bixio and Prince Humbert, which 
since eight a.m. had been fretting in inaction close by, 
at Villafranca, he rode himself to Goito, a great distance 
away, to look after the reserves belonging to the 2nd 
corps d^armie ; a task which any staff officer could have 
performed as well. This inexplicable proceeding left the 
army without a commander-in-chief. The generals of 
division followed their individual inspirations, Govona, 

The War for Venice 369 

Pianel and Cugia especially distinguishing themselves : 
it is sad to think that death has removed these three 
officers from the Italian ranks. But the Austrians fatally 
gained ground, and as the afternoon closed in the Arch- 
duke began to feel sure that the Italian reinforcements 
whose arrival he had so much feared, were never coming. 
He therefore prepared for the final effort which was to 
give him the well-deserved honours of the day. Towards 
seven o'clock in the evening, his soldiers succeeded in 
storming the heights of Custoza, and Austria could write 
a second battle of that name among her victories. 

The Italians lost 720 killed, 31 12 wounded and 3608 
prisoners. The Austrian loss was 960 killed, 3690 
wounded and 1000 prisoners. Both sides were much 
tried by the scorching midsummer sun, but the Italians 
laboured under the additional drawback of having to 
fight fasting. In his report, the Archduke Albrecht men- 
tioned that the prisoners said they had not tasted food 
for twenty-four hours. In the same report, he did ample 
justice to the courage of the Italian soldiers. 

As has been stated, the Archduke fought Custoza with 
not less, probably with rather more, than 70,000 men 
The force which La Marmora placed in the field was 
actually inferior in number. The divisions of Bixio and 
Prince Humbert were kept doing nothing all day at a 
stone's throw from the scene of action. Of the whole 
2nd corps eTarmSe only a trifling detachment ever reached 
the ground. Inexplicably little use was made of the 
Italian cavalry. 

This bungling had lost the battle, but the fact that 
on the morrow, six divisions of the army of the Mincio 
were practically fresh, might have suggested at a general 
of enterprise to try again, since it was known that the 
Archduke had not a single new man to fall back on. 

2 A 

ZJ^ The Liberation of Italy 

And there was Cialdini on the Po with his eight divisions 
that had not been engaged at all. But, instead of adopt- 
ing a spirited course, the Italian authorities gave way to 
unreasoning panic. It appears, unfortunately, that the 
King was the first to be overcome by this moral vertigo. 
The long and fiercely discussed question of who tele- 
graphed to Cialdini : ' Irreparable disaster ; cover the 
capital,' seems to have been settled since that general's 
death in 1892. It is now alleged that the telegram, the 
authorship of which was disowned by La Marmora, was 
signed by the King's adjutant, Count Verasio di Cas- 
tiglione. Cialdini obeyed the order and fell back on 
Modena. Whether he was bound to obey an almost 
anonymous communication signed by an irresponsible 
officer is a moot point ; it is reported that he repented 
having done so to the last day of his life. 

A great event now happened across the Alps ; one of 
the decisive battles of the world was lost and won on the 
5th of July at Sadowa near Koniggratz in Bohemia. 
The fate of Europe was shaped on that day for decades, 
if not for centuries. Of the immediate results, the first 
was the scattering to the wind of all calculations based 
upon a long continuance of the war, the issue of which, 
as far as Prussia was concerned, could not be regarded as 
doubtful. In respect to Italy, Austria's first thought was 
to prevent her from taking a revenge for Custoza. She 
attempted to compass this by ceding Venetia to Napoleon 
two days after Sadowa. It was making a virtue of neces- 
sity, as she was bound in any case to cede it at the con- 
clusion of the war ; but as the secret of the treaty had 
been well kept, the step caused great surprise, and in 
Italy, where the public mind had leapt from profound 
discouragement to buoyant hope, the impression was one 
of embarrassment and mortification. Italy was distinctly 

The War for Venice 371 

precluded by her engagement with Prussia from accept- 
ing Napoleon's invitation to conclude a separate peace. 
Meanwhile, Austria gained by the move, as it set her at 
liberty to recall the larger part of her troops from Venetia 
for the defence of Vienna. Her honour did not require 
her to contest the ground in a province which she had 
already given away. When Cialdini, at the head of the 
reorganised Italian army of which he now held the chief 
command, advanced across the Po to Padua, he found the 
path practically open. 

It was still possible for Italy to accomplish two things 
which would have in a great measure retrieved h-zx prestige. 
The first was to occupy the Trentino ; the second was to 
destroy the Austrian fleet. With the means at her dis- 
posal she ought to have been able to do botL 

In the earlier phases of Italian liberation, no one dis- 
puted that if Lombardy and Venetia were lost to the 
Empire the Tridentine province, wr dged in as it is between 
them, would follow suit. When, in 1848, Lord Palmerston 
offered his services as mediator between Austria and re- 
volted Italy, it was on a minimum basis of a frontier north 
of Trento. The arguments for the retention of Trieste — 
that Austria had made it what it was ; that Germany 
needed it as a seaport, etc. — were inapplicable here ; and 
even after the defeat of Custoza, an occupation of the 
Trentino, had it happened in conjunction with a naval 
victory, would have opened a fair prospect to possession. 
But there was no time to lose, and much time was lost by 
ordering Garibaldi to descend to the southern extremity 
of the lake of Garda to ' cover Brescia ' from an imaginary 
attack. When the fear of an Austrian invasion subsided, 
and Garibaldi returned to the mountains, he endeavoured 
to re-take the position of Monte Suello which he had pre- 
viously held, but the attempt failed. The volunteers were 

372 Tki Liberation of Italy 

forced to retire with great loss, and the chief himself was 
wounded. On the i6th of July the volunteers renewed 
their advance up the mountain ravines, and, after taking 
Fort Ampola, reached the village of Bezzecca, where they 
were attacked by the Austrians early on the 2ist. Each 
side claimed that sanguinary day as a victory ; the Gari- 
baldians remained masters of the ground, but the Austrians 
in retiring, took with them a large number of prisoners. 
The losses of the volunteers on this and other occasions 
when they were engaged were disproportionately heavy. 
They were spendthrift of their lives, but in war, and 
especially in mountain warfare, caution is as needful as 
courage, and in caution they were so deficient that they 
were always being surprised. General Kuhn's numerically 
inferior force of tried marksmen, supported by good 
artillery and favoured by ground which may be described 
as one great natural fortification, had succeeded up till 
now in holding the Trentino, but his position was becom- 
ing critical, because while Garibaldi sought to approach 
Trento from the west, Medici with 10,000 men de- 
tached from the main army at Padua, was ascending the 
Venetian valleys that lead to the same destination from 
the east. Kuhn was therefore on the point of being taken 
between two fires when the armistice saved him. 

These operations on the Tridentine frontier, though not 
without a real importance, passed almost unnoticed in the 
excitement which attended the first calamitous appear- 
ance of United Italy as a naval power. 

When invited to assume the command of the Italian 
fleet. Admiral Persano twice refused ; it was only when 
the King pressed upon him a third invitation that he 
weakly accepted a charge to which he felt himself un- 
equal. He had been living in retirement for some years, 
and neither knew nor v/as known by most of the officers 

The War for Venice 373 

and men whom he was now to command. The fleet 
under his orders comprised thirty-three vessels, of which 
twelve were ironclads. The Austrian fleet numbered 
twenty-seven ships, including seven ironclads. When 
the war broke out, both fleets were far from ready for 
active service ; but, while the Austrian Admiral Teget- 
hoff" said nothing, but worked night and day at Pola 
to make his ships and his men serviceable, Persano 
despatched hourly lamentable reports to the Minister 
of Marine, without finding the way to bring about a 
change for the better. He wasted time in minutiae, 
and took into his head to paint all the Italian ships a 
light grey, which was of the greatest use to the Austrians 
in the battle of Lissa, as it enabled them to distinguish 
between them and their own dark-coloured ships. 

After long delaying at Taranto, Persano brought his 
fleet to Ancona ; and, two days later, Tegethoff appeared 
in front of that town — not knowing, it seems, that the 
Italian squadrons had arrived. Tegethoff" was bound 
on a simple reconnaissance, and, after firing a few shots, 
he sailed away. On this occasion, Persano issued orders 
so hesitating and confused that the Austrian admiral 
must have correctly gauged the capacity of the man 
opposed to him, while the superior officers of the Italian 
fleet were filled with little less than dismay. A strong 
effort was made to induce Depretis to supersede Persano 
then and there ; he promised to do so, but it is said that 
the fear of offending the King prevented him. Instead, 
he set about showering instructions on the admiral, the 
worth of which may be easily imagined. The mistrust 
felt by the fleet in its commander invaded all ranks ; 
and if it did not break out in open insubordination, it 
deprived officers and men of all confidence in the issue 
of the campaign. 

374 The Liberation of Italy 

Left to himself, Persano would have stayed quietly 
at Ancona, but the imperative orders of a cabinet 
council, presided over by the King, forced him to take 
some action. Against the advice of Admiral Albini, 
but in agreement with another admiral, Vacca, Persano 
decided to attack the fortified island of Lissa, on the 
Dalmatian coast. Though Lissa is a strong position, 
the usual comparison of it with Gibraltar is exaggerated. 
It ought to have been possible to land the Italian troops 
which Persano had with him under cover of his guns, 
and to take the island before Tegethoff came up. The 
surf caused by the rough weather, to which he chiefly 
attributed his failure, would not have proved an insuper- 
able obstacle had the ships' crews been exercised in land- 
ing troops under similar circumstances. 

Persano reached Lissa on the morning of the i8th 
of July, and began a tremendous bombardment of the 
forts, which, though answered with the highest spirit by 
the Austrians, did most deadly damage to their batteries. 
In fact, by the evening, except one or two at a high 
elevation, they were practically silenced. At six o'clock 
Captain Saint Bon took the Formidabile into the narrow 
harbour to silence the inner works : a murderous fire 
rained on the corvette from Fort Wellington, which was 
too high for the Italian guns to get it into range. 
Though Saint Bon's attempt was not successful, the 
Italians had effected most of what they aimed at, and 
might have effected the rest had they continued the 
bombardment through the night, and so given the Aus- 
trians no time to repair their batteries, but at sunset 
Persana withdrew his fleet to a distance of eight miles. 
The Austrians worked all night at mending the batteries 
that could still be used, and hoped in the coming of 

The War for Venice 375 

The telegraph cable connecting the neighbouring 
island of Lesina with the coast, and so with Pola, had 
been cut by Persano's orders ; but either (as the writer 
was told on the spot last year) there was another line 
that was not noticed, or before the cable was destroyed 
the official in charge got off a message to Tegethoff, 
informing him of the arrival of the Italian fleet. An 
answer, to the effect that Tegethoff would come to the 
rescue as soon as possible, fell into the hands of the 
Italians, but Persano appears not to have believed in it. 

The 19th was spent in attempts at landing, which 
the surf and the energetic play of the repaired batteries 
rendered fruitless. The bombardment was renewed, but 
it was not well conducted. Saint Bon, who made another 
plucky entry into the harbour, was unsupported, and, 
after an hour's fighting, he was obliged to retire, his ship 
having suffered severely. 

Next morning there was a blinding summer storm, but 
at about eight o'clock the Esploratore distinguished the 
forms of ironclads through the rain, and signalled to 
Persano : ' Suspicious vessels in sight' Persano answered : 
' No doubt they are fishing-boats.' When obliged to ad- 
mit the truth he gave the order to unite, his ships being 
scattered in all directions with everything on board at 
sixes and sevens. The troops which had again been 
attempting to land, were in boats, tossed about by the 
heavy sea. The surprise was complete. 

Persano fought the battle of Lissa with nine ironclads, 
most of which had received some injuries during the 
bombardment. He ordered his wooden ships to keep out 
of the action altogether. Tegethoff had seven ironclads 
and fourteen wooden vessels, all of which he turned to 
the best account. 

Just before the battle Persano left his flagship, the Re 

37^ The Liberation of Italy 

d Italia, and went on board the Affondatore. By some- 
body's mistake it was a long time before the Affondatore 
hoisted the admiral's flag, and the fleet continued to look 
to the Re d' Italia for signals when he was no longer on 

Contrary to a well-known rule in naval science, Per- 
sano formed his squadron in single file, and quite at the 
beginning of the battle Tegethoff managed to break the 
line by dashing in between the first and second division 
whilst they were going at full speed, and under a furious 
cannonade from their guns. This daring operation placed 
him in the middle of the Italian ironclads, which, well 
directed, could have closed round him and destroyed him, 
but they were not directed either well nor ill — they were 
not directed at all. Persano put up contradictory signals, 
most of which were not seen, and those which were seen 
meant nothing. The plan followed by Admiral Tegethoff" 
may be best described in his own words : ' It was hard 
to make out friend from foe, so I just rammed away at 
anything I saw painted grey.' Two Italian vessels had 
been already damaged, but not vitally injured, by the 
Ferdinand Max, when in the dense smoke a vast wall 
of grey appeared close to the bows of the Austrian 
flagship, which, to the cry of ' Ram her ! ' put on full 
steam and crashed into the enemy's flank. The shock 
was so great that the crew of the Max were thrown 
about in indescribable confusion. The Italian ship was 
the Re ditalia, the flagship which did not carry the 
admiral. She quivered for one, two, some say for three 
minutes in her death agony, and then went down in two 
hundred fathoms of water. 

After the Re ditalia was struck, one of her seamen, 
thinking to assert a claim to pity, began to lower her 
flag, but a young ofiicer pushed him aside and hoisted it 

The War for Venice 377 

again ; so the great ship sank with her colours flying. 
The incident was noticed by the Austrians, who spoke of 
it in feeling terms. Willing enough were they to help, 
for after the first cheer of triumph they felt sick with 
horror at their own work, the fearful work of modern 
naval warfare. There were 550 men on board the doomed 
ship. Tegethoff shouted for the boats to be lowered, and 
signalled to the despatch boat Elizabeth to pick up all she 
could, but two Italian ironclads were bearing down upon 
him, and little could be done to save the drowning multi- 
tude either by the Austrians or by their own people. 
Persano did not know of the disaster till some hours after 
it happened. 

The sea had scarcely closed over the Re tUtalia when 
another misfortune occurred ; the gunboat Palestro took 
fire. Her captain, Alfredo Cappellini, disembarked the 
sick and wounded, but remained himself with the rest of 
the crew, endeavouring to put out the fire. The ship 
blew up at 2.30 p.m., and over two hundred perished with 

Persano, still on the Affondatore, now led his fleet out 
of action, and it was the first time he had led it during the 
day. Tegethoff gazed after the vanishing squadron with 
anxiety, as had Persano turned and renewed the battle 
from a distance, he could have revenged his defeat at 
close quarters without receiving a shot, owing to the 
longer range of his guns. But for such an operation skil- 
ful manoeuvring was wanted, and also, perhaps, more pre- 
cision in firing than the Italian gunners possessed. At 
any rate, Persano had no mind for new adventures. He 
took what remained of his fleet straight back to Ancona, 
where the Affondatore sank in the harbour from injuries 
received during the battle. For three days the Italian 
people were told that they had won a victory, then the 

37^ The Liberation of Italy 

bitter truth was known. The admiral, tried before the 
Senate, was deprived of his rank and command in the 
Italian navy. The politician who, when convinced of his 
unfitness, yet had not the nerve to remove him from his 
post, died, full of years and honours, Prime Minister of 

Lissa was fought on the 20th of July. On the 25th, 
Prussia signed the preliminaries of peace with Austria 
without consulting her ally, who, if unfortunate, had 
been eminently loyal to her. Thus the whole forces 
of the Empire, not less than 350,000 men, were let loose 
to fall upon Italy, Such was the wrathful disappoint- 
ment of the Italians at their defeats by land and sea, 
that if a vote had been taken they would possibly have 
decided for a renewal of the struggle. Ricasoli was 
inclined to risk war rather than bow to the Austrian 
demand that the evacuation of the Trentino should 
precede the conclusion of an armistice. At this crisis, 
La Marmora acted as a true patriot in forcing the hand 
of the Ministry by ordering the recall of the troops 
and sending General Petitti to treat directly with the 
Austrian military authorities. 'They will say that 
we have betrayed the country,' said the King in the 
interview in which these measures were concerted; to 
which La Marmora answered : ' Come what may, I 
take the whole responsibility upon myself.' 'This is 
too much,' replied Victor Emmanuel with tears in his 
eyes ; ' I, also, will have my part in it' In which brief 
dialogue the character of the two men stands revealed ; 
men who might fall short in talent or in judgment, 
not in honour. 

The volunteers, so many of whose comrades lay dead 
along the mountain gorges — who believed, too, that they 
were in sight of the reward of their sacrifices — were 

The War for Venice 379 

thrown into a ferment, almost into a revolt by the order 
to retreat. They had expected in a day or two to shake 
hands with Medici, who, after some hard fighting, was 
within a march of Trento. The order was explicit : 
instant evacuation of the enemy's territory. Garibaldi, 
to whom from first to last had fallen an ungrateful 
part, took up his pen and wrote the laconic telegram : 
' Obbedisco.' ' I have obeyed,' he said to the would-be 
mutineers, 'do you obey likewise.' Someone mur- 
mured 'Rome.' 'Yes,' said the chief, 'we will march 
on Rome.' 

The armistice was signed at Cormons on the 12th 
of August, and the treaty of peace on the 3rd of 
October at Vienna. Italy received Venice from the 
hands of the French Emperor, whose interference since 
the beginning of the campaign had incensed Prussia 
against her ally without benefiting the Power which he 
affected and, perhaps, really meant to serve. Italy would 
have received Venetia without his interposition, for be- 
sides the Prussian obligation to claim it for her, Austria 
had no further wish to keep it. Despite the fact that 
Italian populations still remained under the rule of the 
Empire, the melancholy book of Austrian dominion in 
Italy might be fairly said to be closed forever. A new 
era was dawning for the House of Hapsburg, which was 
to show that, unlike the Bourbons, it could learn and 

The comedy of the cession of Venice to Napoleon 
was enacted between General Le Bceuf and General 
Alemann, the Austrian military commandant. Among 
other formalities, the French delegate went the round 
of the museums and galleries to see that everything was 
in its place. Suddenly he came upon a most suspicious 
blank. 'A picture is missing here,' he said. 'It is, 

380 The Liberation of Italy 

blandly assented the Austrian officer. 'Well, but it 
must be sent back immediately — where is it ? ' 'In the 

At last Austrians and French departed, and Italy 
shook off her mourning, for however it had come about, 
the great object which had cost so much blood, so many 
tears, was attained ; the stranger was gone ! 

Out of 642,000 votes, only 69 were recorded against 
the union of Venetia with the Italian kingdom. When 
the plebiscite was presented to the King, he said : ' This 
is the greatest day of my life : Italy is made, though not 
complete.' On the 7th of November he entered Venice, 
and of all the pageants that greeted him in the hundred 
cities of Italy, the welcome of the Bride of the Adriatic 
was, if not the most imposing, certainly the fairest to 
see. More touching, however, than the glorious beauty 
of the Piazza San Marco and the Grand Canal in their 
rich adornment, was the universal decoration of the 
poorest quarters, which were all flagged and festooned 
so thickly that little could be seen of the stones of 
Venice. One poor cobbler, however, living at the end 
of a blind alley, had no flag, no garland to deck his 
abode : he had therefore pasted three strips of coloured 
paper, red, white and green, over his door, inscribing on 
the middle strip these words, which in their sublime 
simplicity merit to be rescued from oblivion : * O mia 
cara Italia, voglio ma non posso fare piu per te.' 

The Iron Crown of the Lombard Kings of Italy, 
which the Austrians had taken away in 1859, was 
brought back and restored to the Cathedral of Monza. 
Less presumptuous than Napoleon, Victor Emmanuel 
never placed the mystical fillet upon his head, but it 
was carried after his coffin to the Pantheon. 



The French leave Rome — Garibaldi's Arrest and Escape — The Second 
French Intervention — Monte Rotondo — Mentana. 

The words of Victor Emmanuel to the Venetian Depu- 
tation contained a riddle easy to solve : what was meant 
by the 'completion' of Italy was the establishment of 
her capital on the Tiber. In most minds there was an 
intense belief in the inevitability of the union of Rome 
with the rest of Italy, but no one saw how it was to 
be brought about. What soothsayer foretold S6dan ? 

In the first period after the war, domestic difificulties 
fixed the attention of the Italian Government on the 
present rather than on the future. An insurrection at 
Palermo assumed threatening proportions owing to the 
smallness of the garrison, and might have had still more 
serious consequences but for the courage and presence 
of mind shown by the Syndic, the young Marquis di 
Rudini. Crime and poverty, republican hankerings, the 
irritation of the priesthood at recent legislation, and 
most of all, the feeling that little had been done since 
i860 to realise the millennium then promised, contributed 
to the outbreak which was quelled when troops arrived 
from the mainland, but the ministers were blamed 
for not having taken better precautions against its 
occurrence. Another stumbling-block lay in the path 


382 The Liberation of Italy 

of Ricasoli, namely, the application of the law for the 
suppression of religious houses, and the expropriation 
of ecclesiastical property. After an unsuccessful en- 
deavour to cope with it, he dissolved the Chamber, but 
the new Parliament proved no more willing to support 
his measures, which were of the nature of a compromise, 
than the old one, and he finally resigned office. He was 
succeeded by Urban Rattazzi, under whose administra- 
tion a measure was passed which, though drastic in 
appearance, has not prevented the re-establishment of a 
great many convents of which the property was bought 
in under the name of private individuals. Every Catholic 
country has seen the necessity sooner or later of putting 
a check to the increase of monasticism, but it may be 
a matter of regret that in Italy, the toleration granted to 
the learned community of Monte Cassino was not ex- 
tended to more of the historic monasteries. The absten- 
tion of the Clerical party from the voting urns deprived 
them of an influence which, on such points as these, 
they might have exercised legitimately and perhaps 
beneficially. To that abstention, the disequilibrium of 
Italian political life, from first to last, is largely due. 

The time allowed to the French under the Sep- 
tember Convention for the evacuation of Rome expired 
in December 1866, and at the opening of the new year, 
for the first time since 1 849, the Eternal City was with- 
out a garrison in the service of a foreign Power. While 
executing their engagement, the French Government 
took occasion to say that they kept their hands per- 
fectly free as concerned future action. The anomalous 
obligations of the September Convention now came 
into force, and it was not long before their inconvenience 
was felt. Had Ricasoli remained at the head of affairs 
the status quo might have lasted for a time; because, 

The Last Crusade 383 

although he was an unflinching opponent of the Tem- 
poral Power, he would have made it clear that since 
the Convention existed he meant to respect it, and to 
make others respect it. He had shown that he could 
dare, but that was when he bore himself the whole 
responsibility of his daring. He was not the man to 
tolerate heroic imprudence in others with the mental 
reservation of owning or disowning the results, as might 
prove convenient. Rattazzi, on the other hand, was 
believed to answer very closely to this description ; 
and patriots who were willing to bear all the blame in 
case of failure and yield all the praise in case of success, 
began once more to speculate on the profit to the 
national cause which might be extracted from the 
peculiarities of his character. Aspromonte, that should 
have placed them on their guard, had the contrary 
effect, for it was supposed that the Prime Minister was 
very anxious to wipe that stain from his reputation. 

Nevertheless, the Party of Action considered that, 
for the present, the wisest course was to wait and 
watch the development of events. This was Mazzini's 
personal view, but Garibaldi, almost alone in his dissent, 
did not share it. Impelled partly, no doubt, by the 
impatience of a man who sees the years going by and 
his own life ebbing away without the realisation of its 
dearest dream, but partly also by the deliberate belief 
that the political situation offered some favourable 
features which might not soon be repeated, Garibaldi 
decided to take the field in the autumn of 1867. His 
friends, who one and all tried to dissuade him, found 
him immovable. It is too much to say that he expected 
assistance from the Government, but that he hoped to 
draw Rattazzi after him is scarcely doubtful, and he 
had good reason for the hope. 

384 The Liberation of Italy 

In Rattazzi's own version and defence of his policy, 
it is set forth that before the die was cast he did all that 
was humanly possible to prevent the expedition, but that 
having failed, he intended sending the Italian army over 
the frontier in the wake of the broken-loose condottiere. 
Though this gives a colour of consistency to his conduct, 
it is not satisfactory as an explanation, and still less as 
an apology. 

General La Marmora, who had always opposed the 
Convention, though he belonged, to the party which made 
it, once declared that 200,000 men would not be sufficient 
to hold the Papal frontier against a guerilla invasion. 
True as this may be, it is impossible to resist the con- 
clusion that a minister who had resolutely made up his 
mind to prevent any attempt from being made would 
not have acted as Rattazzi acted. The Prime Minister 
thought that he was imitating Cavour, but in reality he 
simply imitated the pendulum of a clock. 

Rattazzi's taste was for intrigue rather than for adven- 
ture in the grand sense. An adventurous minister would 
have accelerated the enterprise to the utmost, in secret or 
not in secret, and would then have preceded Garibaldi to 
Rome before the Clerical party in France had time to 
force Napoleon to act. The rest could have been left to 
the Roman people. What they did in 1870 they would 
have done in 1867 ; they were ready to acclaim any con- 
quering liberator ; they were not ready to make a revolu- 
tion on their own account, and with all their leaders in 
prison or in exile, they are hardly to be blamed for it. For 
such a policy Italy might have pleaded that necessity 
which knows no law. Everybody allowed that if Gari- 
baldi went to Rome the Italians must go there too: 
the very security of the Pope demanded it — at least, he 
said so. As to the first part of the programme, com- 

The Last Crusade 385 

plicity in the preparation of the movement, it would 
have been an infringement of the Convention, but had 
France kept the Convention ? French bishops recruited 
soldiers for the Pope in every province of France, and 
the Antibes Legion was drawn, officers and men, from 
the French army. When some of the men deserted, the 
French War Office sent General Dumont to Rome to look 
to the discipline of the regiment. Those who argued 
that the spirit, if not the letter, of the agreement had 
been already evaded, could make out a good case for 
their position. 

It has been suggested that this is what Rattazzi's 
policy would have been, but for the opposition of the 
King. Were it so, the minister ought to have resigned 
at the beginning of the proceedings instead of at the end. 
That in the ultimate crisis it was the King who pre- 
vented the troops from moving is a fact, but the pro- 
pitious moment was then past and gone. 'Do as you 
like, but do it quickly,' Napoleon said to Cavour when 
Cialdini was to be sent to the Cattolica. And it was done 

After letting Garibaldi make what arrangements and 
issue what manifestoes he chose for six weeks, Rattazzi 
suddenly had him arrested at Sinalunga on the 23rd of 
September. The only consequence was fatal delay ; not 
knowing what to do with their prisoner, the Government 
shipped him to Caprera. Personally he was perfectly 
free; no conditions were imposed; but nine men-of-war 
were despatched to the island to sweep the seas of erratic 
heroes. In spite of which, Garibaldi escaped in a canoe 
on the 14th of October. 

That night, between sundown and moonrise, there was 
only one hour's dark, but it sufficed the fugitive to make 
good his passage from Caprera to the island of Maddalena. 

3 B 

386 The Liberation of Italy 

A strong south-east breeze was blowing \ the waves, 
however, were rather favourable to the venture, as they 
hid the frail bark from any eyes that might be peering 
through the night. Garibaldi did not fear ; he had often 
put out on this terrible sea when lashed to fury to 
succour sailors in their peril. On reaching Maddalena 
he scrambled over the rocks to the house of an English 
lady who was delighted to give him hospitality. Next 
evening he proceeded to Sardinia, from which, after 
several adventures, he sailed for the Tuscan coast in a 
boat held in readiness by his son-in-law, Canzio. And 
so, to the amazement of friends and foes, he arrived in 
Florence, where, before many hours were past, he was 
haranguing the enthusiastic crowd from a balcony. 

Garibaldi had escaped, but the mischief done to the 
movement by the loss of nearly a month could not be 
remedied. Although large armed bands under Acerbi, 
Nicotera and Menotti Garibaldi were gathered near 
Viterbo, as usually happened in the absence of the chief, 
nothing effectual was done. But it was in Paris that the 
delay brought the most ruinous results. 

The history of the second French expedition to Rome 
will never be satisfactorily told, because, while the out- 
ward circumstances point one way, the inward proba- 
bilities point another. Napoleon had said that if the 
Convention were not observed he would intervene, and 
he did intervene; nothing could seem simpler. Yet it 
is not doubtful that, in his inmost heart, he was wishing 
day and night that something would turn up to extricate 
him from the Roman dilemma once for all. While he 
hesitated, the Clerical party in France did not hesitate. 
Not a moment was thrown away by them. Towards the 
middle of October, it was reported that ' half royalist and 
half Catholic France will be in Rome in the course of 

The Last Crusade 387 

the week. Men with names belonging to the proudest 
French nobility — the De Lusignans, De Clissons, De 
Lumleys, De Bourbon-Chalens, etc., are chartering 
vessels, arriving in Rome by scores and hundreds, and 
hence hurrying to the front to take their places as 
privates in the Zouaves.' That, however, does not de- 
scribe the most important sphere of their activity which 
was the ante-chamber, nay, the boudoir of St Cloud. In 
that palace, three years later to be rased to the ground 
by the Germans, the net was woven which every day 
closed tighter and tighter round Napoleon, till he was 
enveloped in its meshes past escape. Ever since De 
Morny's death, the influence nearest the throne had been 
increasing in strength; it is needless to say in which 
direction it was exercised. Napoleon was ill ; Maxi- 
milian's ghost floated over him ; he felt his power slipping 
from his hands in spite of the noise and show of the 
Exhibition, which was supposed to mark its zenith. The 
words of the old pact with the Royalists buzzed in his 
ears : ' Do you keep the Pope on his throne, and we will 
keep you on yours.' And he yielded. 

The 'principle' of French intervention was adopted by 
the council of ministers on the 17th of October. Then, 
and not till then, Rattazzi decided to send the Italian 
troops over the frontier. On finding that neither the 
King nor several of his colleagues in the ministry would 
support him, he resigned office on the 19th of the month. 

It was on the day after that Garibaldi appeared in 
Florence. As there was no ministry, no one thought it 
his business to interfere with him. Cialdini, whom the 
King had requested to form a cabinet, did go and ask 
him to keep quiet till there was some properly qualified 
person to arrest him ; but this, not unnaturally, he declined 
to do. He left Florence by special train for Terni, 

388 The Liberation of Italy 

whence he crossed the frontier and joined the insurgent 
bands near Rome. 

From the 19th to the 26th, Napoleon again and again 
ordered and countermanded the departure of the trans- 
ports from Toulon. On the last date the final order was 
given and the ships started. The news must have just 
reached Paris that the King had called upon General 
Menabrea to undertake the task which had been aban- 
doned by Cialdini, whose name recalled Castelfidardo 
too strongly to have a sound welcome either in the 
Vatican or at St Cloud. When Napoleon heard that 
Menabrea was to be Rattazzi's successor, he knew that 
there was no fear that the new Government, carried away 
by the popular current which was manifestly having its 
effect on the King, should, after all, order the Italian army 
to the front. Menabrea, the Savoyard who in i860 
chose the Italian nationality which his son has lately 
cast away, was the old opponent of Cavour in the 
Turinese chamber, and of all Italian politicians he was 
the most lukewarm on the Roman question. All chance 
of a collision between the French and Italian armies was 
removed. Menabrea did occupy some positions over the 
Papal frontier, it would be hard to say with what inten- 
tion, unless it were to appear to fulfil a sort of promise 
given by the King during the ministerial interregnum. 
The troops were ordered on no account to attack the 
French, and as soon as the Garibaldian campaign was 
at an end, they were brought home. It was not worth 
while to send them with their hands tied to almost 
within earshot of where other Italians were fighting and 
falling. Menabrea's attitude towards the volunteers was 
immediately revealed by the issue of a royal proclama- 
tion, in which they were declared rebels. The French 
were free to act. 

The Last Crusade 389 

All this time the revolution in Rome, which it was 
admitted on all sides would have gone far towards cutting 
the knot, did not begin. Besides the cause already 
assigned, the absence of the heads, there was another, 
the almost total lack of arms. To remedy this, Enrico 
and Giovanni Cairoli, with some seventy followers, tried 
to take a supply of arms up t>e Tiber to Rome. Only 
the immense importance of the object could have justified 
so desperate an attempt. Obliged to abandon their boats 
near Ponte Molle, they struck off into the Monti Parioli, 
where they were attacked, within sight of the promised 
land, at a spot called Villa Gloria. Their assailants were 
three times their number, and those who were not killed 
were carried prisoners to Rome. Among the killed was 
the captain of the band, who fell in the arms of his 
young brother. As Enrico Cairoli lay dying, the French 
Zouaves (was this the chivalry of France ?) charged the 
two brothers with their bayonets, piercing Giovanni with 
ten wounds, from injuries arising from one of which he 
expired a year later, after long torments. ' Dastardly 
French ! ' cried Enrico with his last breath. They were 
the third and fourth sons of Adelaide Cairoli who died 
for their country. One only of her five children remained 
to stand by her own death-bed — Benedetto, the future 
Prime Minister, and saviour of King Humbert from the 
knife of an assassin. 

The Papal army was composed of 13,000 men. General 
de Courten commanding the portion of it which could 
be spared out of Rome. The Breton, Colonel Charette, 
had charge of the Zouaves. Since the French garrison 
left, much trouble had been taken to make this force 
efficient. Under Garibaldi's own orders there were be- 
tween 7000 and 8000 volunteers. Those who have made 
a higher estimate have included other bands which, either 

390 The Liberation of Italy 

from the difficulty of provisioning a larger number, or from 
want of time for concentration, remained at a distance. 

The chief's arrival soon infused new life into the 
camp. On the 24th he moved towards Monte Ro- 
tondo, one of the castellated heights near Rome, which 
commands the Nomentane and Tiburtine ways to the 
south, and the railway and Via Salara to the west. It 
was generally considered the most important military 
position in the Papal states. The garrison was small, 
but, perched as they were on a hill crest which looks 
inaccessible, the defenders might well hope to hold out 
till help came from Rome, They had artillery, of which 
the volunteers had none, and the old castle of the Orsini, 
where they made their principal stand, was well adapted 
for defence. From the morning of the 2Sth till midnight, 
the Garibaldians hurled themselves against the walls of 
the rock town without making much way ; but at last 
the resistance grew weak, and when the morning light 
came, the white flag was seen flying. At four in the 
afternoon of the 26th a Papal column tardily arrived 
upon the scene, but they perceived that all was over at 
Monte Rotondo, and, after firing a few musket shots, 
they fled to Rome in disorder. 

Garibaldi rode into the cathedral, where he fixed his 
quarters for the night. In Italy churches have ever been 
applied to such uses. After the reduction of Milan, 
Francesco Sforza rode into the Duomo, and when King 
Ladislaus of Naples conquered Rome, he rode into the 
basilica of St John Lateran. The guerilla chief bivouacked 
in a confessional, while his Red-shirts slept where they 
could on the cathedral floor. Four hundred of them had 
been killed or wounded in the assault. 

The prisoners of war were brought before Garibaldi, 
who praised their valour and sent them under an escort 

The Last Crusade 391 

to the Italian frontier. Two or three were retained for 
the following reason. Garibaldi had heard of the Cairolis' 
heroic failure, and after his victory his first thought was 
of them and of their sorrowing mother. He asked Sig- 
nora Mario if there were any notabilities among the Papal 
prisoners. She mentioned Captain Quatrebras and others, 
and he sent her into Rome on a mission to the Papal 
commander with a view to exchanging these prisoners 
for the wounded Giovanni and for his brother's body. 
The proposal was accepted, and the compact kept after 
Mentana had changed the aspect of affairs. 

' Garibaldi at the gates ! ' was the news that spread 
like wildfire through Rome on the evening of the 26th 
of October. Terror, real terror, and no less real joy filled 
all hearts ; but the sides were soon to be reversed. An- 
other piece of news was not long in coming : ' The French 
at Civita Vecchia ! ' 

The French arrived on the 29th, and on the same day 
Garibaldi advanced almost to the walls of Rome, still 
hoping for a revolutionary movement to break out within 
the city ; but the information which he then received 
deprived him finally of this hope, and he gave the order 
to return to Monte Rotondo. Volunteers have the de- 
fect of being soldiers who think ; on this occasion they 
thought that the backward march was the beginning of 
the end — that, in short, the game was up. A third of the 
whole number deserted, and took the road towards the 
Italian frontier. Garibaldi himself seems to have had a 
first idea of crossing into the Abruzzi, and there waiting 
to see what turn events would take ; but he did not long 
entertain it, and, when he again left Monte Rotondo, it 
was with the fixed design of fighting a battle. He ex- 
pected, however, to fight the Papal troops alone, and not 
the French. 

392 The Liberation of Italy 

This was very nearly being the case. On the ist of 
November, the Papal General Kanzler called on General 
De Failly at Civita Vecchia, and found him, to his con- 
cern, by no means anxious to rush into the fray. Even 
when sending the troops, Napoleon seems to have hoped 
to escape from being seriously compromised. He pro- 
bably thought that the moral effect of their landing would 
cause Garibaldi to retire, and that thus the whole affair 
would collapse. But the Papal authorities did not want 
it to collapse ; they wanted more bloodshed, and if the 
words which express the ungarnished truth as acknow- 
ledged by their own writers and apologists, sound in- 
decent when describing the government of the Vicar of 
Christ, it only shows once more the irreconcilability of 
the offices of priest and king in the nineteenth century. 
Kanzler insisted that a crushing blow must be inflicted 
on the volunteers before they had time to retreat. He 
argued so long and so well that De Failly promised him 
a brigade under General Polh^s to aid in the attack which 
he proposed to make on Monte Rotondo. 

The Papal forces left Rome by Porta Pia, and took 
the Via Nomentana, which leads to Monte Rotondo by 
Mentana. They were on the march at four o'clock a.m. 
Garibaldi had ordered his men to be ready at dawn on 
the same day (it was the 3rd of November) ; but Menotti 
suggested that, before they started, there should be a 
distribution of shoes, a consignment of which had just 
reached the camp. Many of the volunteers were bare- 
foot, which gives a notion of their general equipment. 
Garibaldi, who rarely took advice, yielded to his son. 
Had he not done so, before the Papal army reached 
Mentana, he would have been at Tivoli. One delay 
brings another, and it was midday when the march be- 
gan. Garibaldi looked sad, and spoke to no one, but 

The Last Crusade 393 

hummed some bars of Riego's hymn, the Spanish song 
of freedom, full of a wild, sweet pathos, to which his 
tanned-faced legionaries had marched under the Monte 
Videan sun. Could he but have had with him those 
r'j-ong warriors now ! He mounted his horse, put it to a 
gallop, which he rarely did, and, riding down the ranks ol 
the column, took his place at its head. When he arrived 
at the village of Mentana, he heard that the Pontificals 
were close by, and he waited to give them battle. 

Mentana lies in a depression commanded by the neigh- 
bouring mounds, not a good configuration for defence. 
This village in the Roman Campagna sprang into history 
on a November day one thousand and sixty-seven years 
before, as the meeting-place of Charlemagne and Leo III. 
Here they shook hands over their bargain : that the Pope 
should crown the great Charles Emperor, and that the 
Emperor should assure to the Pope his temporal power. 
And now the ragged band of Italian youths was come to 
say that of bargains between Popes and Emperors there 
had been enough. 

They numbered less than 5000. General De Failly 
reckoned the Papal troops engaged at 3000 and the 
French at 2000, but Italian authorities compute the 
former at a higher figure. The most experienced of the 
Garibaldian officers thought that the attackers were twice 
as numerous as they were. At the first onslaught great 
confusion prevailed among the volunteers. Mentana 
seemed lost, but the sound of the guns they had captured 
at Monte Rotondo restored their moral, and making a 
gallant rush forward they retook the principal positions 
with the bayonet. As they saw the Pontificals swerve 
back they uttered cries of joy. It was two o'clock. The 
enemy's fire slackened ; something was going on which 
the volunteers could not make out. All at once there 

394 T^^^ Liberation of Italy 

was a sharp unfamiliar detonation, resembling the 
whirring sound of a machine. The French had come 
into action. 

A hailstorm of bullets mowed down the Garibaldian 
ranks. Their two guns were useless, for the ammunition, 
seventy rounds in all, was exhausted. They fought till 
four o'clock — till nearly their last cartridge was gone ; 
then they slowly retreated. Very few of them guessed 
what that peculiar sound meant, or imagined that they 
had been engaged with the French, but next morning 
Europe knew from General De Failly's report that ' the 
Chassepots had done wonders.' 

Garibaldi left the field, haggard and aged, unable to 
reconcile himself to a defeat which he thought that more 
discipline, more steadiness in his rank and file, would 
have turned into a victory. He had always demanded 
the impossible of his men ; till now they had given it 
to him. In time he judged more justly. Those miser- 
ably-armed lads who lately had been glad to eat the 
herbs of the field, if haply they found any, stood out for 
four hours against the pick of two regular armies, one of 
which was supposed to be the finest in the world. They 
had done well. 

Mentana remained that night in the hands of 1500 
Garibaldians, who still occupied the castle and most of 
the houses when the general retreat was ordered. In the 
morning the Garibaldian officer who held the castle 
capitulated, on condition that the volunteers ' shut up in 
Mentana' should be reconducted across the frontier; 
terms which the French and Papal generals interpreted to 
embrace only the defenders of the castle. Eight hundred 
of the others were taken in triumph to Rome. It would 
have been wiser to let them go. The Romans had been 
told that the Garibaldians were cut-throats, incendiaries, 

The Last Crusade 395 

human bloodhounds waiting to fly at them. What did 
they behold ? ' The beast is gentle,' as Euripides makes 
his captors say of Dionysus. The stalwart Romans 
saw a host of boys, with pale, wistful, very young-looking 
faces. If anything was wanting to seal the fate of the 
Temporal Power it was the sight of that procession of 
famished and wounded Italians brought to Rome by the 

The victors, however, were jubilant. Their inharmoni- 
ous shouts of Vive Pie Neuf vexed the delicate Roman 
ears. It was the battle-cry of the day of Mentana. 
Begun by the masked, finished by the unmasked soldiers 
of France, Mentana was a French victory, and it was 
the last. 

The Garibaldian retreat continued through the night 
to Passo Corese on the Italian frontier. The silence of 
the Campagna was only broken by little gusts of a chilly 
wind off the Tiber ; it seemed as if a spectral army 
moved without sound. Garibaldi rode with his hat 
pressed down over his eyes ; only once he spoke : ' It is 
the first time they make me turn my back like this,' he 
said to an old comrade, ' it would have been better . . .' 
He stopped, but it was easy to supply the words : ' to 

As he was getting into the train at Figline, with the 
intention of going straight to Caprera, he was placed 
under arrest by order of the Italian Government. His 
officers had their hands on their swords, but he forbade 
their using force. The arrest seemed an unnecessary 
slight on the beaten man, who had loved Italy too well. 
But General Menabrea, who ordered it, believes that he 
thereby saved Italian unity. According to an account 
given by him many years after to the correspondent of 
an English newspaper, Napoleon wrote at this juncture 

396 The Liberation of Italy 

to King Victor Emmanuel, that as he was not strong 
enough to govern his kingdom, he, Napoleon, was about 
to help him by relieving him of all parts of it except 
Piedmont, Lombardy and Venetia. The arrest of 
Garibaldi, by showing that the King 'could govern,' 
averted the impending danger. In communicating it to 
Napoleon, the King is said to have added ' that Italians 
would lose their last drop of blood before consenting to 
disruption,' a warning which he was not unlikely to give, 
but the whole story lacks verisimilitude. It appears 
more credible that an old man's memory is at fault than 
that a letter, so colossally insolent, was actually written. 
Menabrea, and even the King, may have feared that some- 
thing of the kind was in the mind of the Emperor. 

As after Aspromonte so after Mentana ; Garibaldi 
was confined in the fortress of Varignano, on the bay 
of Spezia. A few weeks later he was released and sent 
to Caprera. As he left the fortress-prison he wrote the 
words : ' Farewell, Rome ; farewell, Capitol ; who knows 
who will think of thee, and when ? ' 

The last crusade was over; destiny -would do the 



M. Rouher's ' Never ' — Papal Infallibility — S^dan — The Breach in 
Porta Pia — ^The King of Italy in Rome. 

Mentana had its epilogue in the debate in the French 
Corps L^gislatif, which lasted from the 2nd to the 5th of 
December. Jules Favre proposed a vote of censure on 
the Ministry for their Roman policy. The most dis- 
tinguished speaker who followed him was Thiers, who, 
said that though in opposition, he would support the 
Government tooth and nail in their defence of French 
interests at Rome. The debate was wound up by the 
memorable declaration of the Prime Minister, Rouher, 
that ' never ' should Italy get possession of Rome. ' Is 
that clear?' he asked. It was quite clear. The word 
escaped him, he afterwards said, in ' the heat of impro- 
visation.' The French Chamber confirmed it by throwing 
out Favre's motion by 237 votes against 17. 

Now, indeed, the Ultramontanes were jubilant through- 
out the world. Napoleon was compromised, enmeshed 
beyond extrication. 

Of all these events, Prussia, or rather the great man 
who was the brain of Prussia, took attentive note. He 
was convinced that the wonders accomplished by the 
Chassepot at Mentana would soon lead France to try 
the effect of the new rifle on larger game. Among the 


39^ The Liberation of Italy 

measures which he took with a view to that contingency, 
his correspondence with Mazzini is not the least remarli- 
able. It began in November 1867, and was continued 
for a year. The object of both Bismarck and Mazzini 
was to prevent Italy from taking sides with France. The 
negotiations were carried on partly through Count d'Use- 
dom, Prussian Minister at Florence, and partly through 
other intermediaries. Mazzini began by saying, that 
although the Chancellor's methods of unification had not 
his sympathy, he admired his energy, tenacity and inde- 
pendence ; that he believed in German unity and opposed 
the supremacy which France arrogated to herself in 
Europe. He engaged to use his influence in Italy to 
make it difficult for an Italian Government to take up 
arms for the victors of Mentana. Bismarck was well 
aware that in speaking of his influence the writer used no 
idle phrase, but possibly one of his reasons for continuing 
the correspondence was to find out what Mazzini knew of 
the hidden plots and counter plots then in manufacture 
both in Paris and at Florence, because the Italian was 
more conversant with diplomatic secrets than any man 
living, except, perhaps. Cardinal Antonelli. In April 
1868, Mazzini received through the Prussian Embassy at 
Florence, a document which even now possesses real in- 
terest on the relative advantages to Italy of a French or 
German Alliance. The whole question turned, observed 
the Prussian Chancellor, on the mastery of the Medi- 
terranean : here France and Italy must find themselves 
at variance whether they willed it or not. 'The con- 
figuration of the terrestial globe not being amenable to 
change, they will be always rivals and often enemies.' 
Nature has thrown between them an apple of discord, the 
possession of which they will not cease to contest. The 
Mediterranean ought to become an Italian lake. ' It is 

Rome, the Capital 399 

impossible for Italy to put up with the perpetual threats 
of France to obtain the mastery over Tunis, which would 
be for her the first stage to arriving in Sardinia.' 

At the Berlin Congress eight years later, Prince Bis- 
marck pressed the same views upon Count Corti, the 
Italian delegate. He would have been glad to see the 
Italians go to Tunis, but Count Corti ingenuously replied : 
' You want to make us quarrel with France.' Meanwhile 
the Englishman who represented France and the English- 
man who represented England were discussing the same 
subject, and out of their discussion arose the French 
occupation of Tunis. Disquieting rumours got about at 
once, but they were dispelled. ' No French Government 
would be so rash,' said Gambetta, ' as to make Italy the 
irreconcilable foe of France.' M. Waddington declared 
that he was personally opposed to the acquisition of 
Tunis, and gave his word of honour that nothing would 
be done without the full consent of Italy. What was 
done and how it was done is known to all. And so it 
happens that a great French naval station is in course 
of construction almost within sight of Sicily and of 

In the document communicated by Bismarck to 
Mazzini, there is a curious inclusion of Trieste among 
Italian seaports which seems to indicate that he was still 
not averse from a rectification of the Italian north-east 
frontier. Whence it may be supposed that he expected 
to find Austria ranged on the part of France in the 
struggle for the Rhine bank. To explain how it was 
that this did not happen, we must leave the Chancellor 
and the Revolutionist, and see what at the same time was 
going on between Napoleon on the one side and Austria 
and Italy on the other. 

The French Emperor was not so infatuated as to cOurt 

400 The Liberation of Italy 

the risk of making war on Prussia single-handed if he 
could avoid it. He hoped for a triple alliance of France, 
Austria and Italy, or, if that could not be compassed, a 
dual alliance of France with either of these Powers. Now, 
wisely or unwisely, both the Italian and Austrian Govern- 
ments were far from rejecting these proposals off-hand. 
The secret negotiations lasted from 1868 till June 1869. 
They took the shape of informal letters between the King 
of Italy and Napoleon, and of private communications 
with Count Beust through Prince Metternich, the Austrian 
Ambassador in Paris, who was the intimate friend and 
confidant of the Emperor and Empress. General Mena- 
brea was not let into the secret till later. With regard to 
Victor Emmanuel, there is no doubt that he wished with 
all his heart to be able to do a good turn to his Imperial 
ally of 1859 if the occasion presented itself. Some men 
see their wives even to old age as they saw them when 
they were young and fair. The first print on the retina 
of the mental vision was so strong that no later impres- 
sion can change or efface it. This hallucination is not 
confined to the marital relationship, and Victor Emmanuel 
never left off seeing Napoleon in one sole light : as the 
friend of Solferino. It may be that he perceived what the 
Italians did not perceive : that the obligation was owed 
to Napoleon alone, while all France had a part in the 
subsequent injuries. At any rate the idea of refusing the 
Emperor's appeal was repugnant in the extreme to the 
Italian King, who personally would have strained any 
point rather than give that refusal. 

The King, however, and General Menabrea, who was 
finally admitted into the conspiracy, could not be blind to 
the fact that an unpopular war might create so great an 
agitation in the country that the dynasty itself would be 
in danger. A war for France while the French were in 

Rome, the Capital 401 

Rome would have raised one storm of indignation from 
Palermo to Turin. So their ultimatum was this : Rome 
capital of Italy, or no alliance. 

There remained Austria, but if Napoleon ever hoped 
to conclude a separate treaty with her, he was to discover 
his mistake. From the moment that Austria resigned 
the Iron Crown, the symbol of her Italian power, she 
acted towards Italy with a loyalty that has few parallels 
in history. And she, too, replied to Napoleon : Rome 
capital of Italy, or no alliance.^ 

The Vatican has never forgiven this to Austria. At 
the present hour, while republican France with her open 
antagonism to all religion, is the favoured daughter of the 
Church, Austria, the only country in Europe except Spain 
where the Roman Catholic cultus retains all its original 
pomp and almost all its mediaeval privileges, meets from 
the Vatican a studied plan of opposition, the object of 
which can only be to bring her Government to a deadlock. 
From France the Pope still hopes for aid in the recovery 
of his temporalities ; from Austria he knows that he will 
never receive it. So much have politics and so little has 
religion to do now, as in all ages, with the motives that 
govern the Holy See. 

Ahi, Costantin, di quanto mal fu matre 

Non la tua conversion, ma quella dote 
Che da te prese il primo ricco patre 1 

The years 1868 and 1869 passed uneventfully for Italy 
In the former year Prince Humbert married his cousin 
Margherita of Savoy. He was previously engaged to the 
Archduchess Matilda, the only daughter of the Victor of 

• See Les Alliances de PEmpire en 1869 et 1870 par le Prince Napoleon 
Bonaparte: 1878. 

2 C 

402 The Liberation of Italy 

Custoza, but the young Princess met with a terrible death 
just when the betrothal was about to be announced. No 
one worthier to receive from Adelaide of Burgundy the 
lovely title of Queen of Italy could have been found than 
the Princess Margaret, who inherited the sunny charm 
which had endeared her father, the Duke of Genoa, to all 
who knew him. 

In the autumn of 1869 another domestic event, the 
severe illness of Victor Emmanuel, gave rise to an inci- 
dent which made a deep impression in Italy, and attached 
the nation by one link more to the King of its choice. 
The illness which seized Victor Emmanuel at his hunting- 
box of San Rossore, in a malarious part of Tuscany, 
proved so serious that his life was despaired of. A priest 
was called to hear the King's last confession, and to 
administer the Sacraments for the dying. After hearing 
the confession, the priest said he could not give absolution 
unless Victor Emmanuel signed a solemn retractation of all 
the acts performed during his reign that were contrary to 
the interests of the Church. The King answered, without 
a moment's hesitation, that he died a Christian and a 
Catholic, and that if he had wronged anyone he sincerely 
repented and asked pardon of God, but the signature 
demanded was a political act, and if the priest wished 
to talk politics his ministers were in the next room. 
Thither the ecclesiastic retired, but he very soon re- 
turned, and administered the rite without more ado. 
What had passed was this : General Menabrea, with a 
decision for which he cannot be too much praised, 
threatened the priest with instant arrest unless he sur- 
rendered his pretensions. Only those who know the 
extraordinary terror inspired in an Italian Catholic by 
the prospect of dying unshriven can appreciate the 
merit of the King, whose faith was childlike, in standing 

Rome, the Capital 403 

as firm in the presence of supernatural arms as he stood 
before the Austrian guns. 

Menabrea's administration was then upon the eve of 
falling. The cause was one of those financial crises that 
were symptomatic of a mischief which has been grow- 
ing from then till now, when some critics think they see 
in it the fatal upas tree of Italy. The process of trans- 
forming a country where everything was wanting — roads, 
railways, lines of navigation, schools, water, lighting, sani- 
tary provisions, and the other hundred thousand require- 
ments of modern life — into the Italy of to-day, where all 
these things have made leaps almost incredible to those 
who knew her in her former state, has proved costly with- 
out example. During the whole period it has been neces- 
sary to spend in ever-increasing ratio on the army and 
navy, and this expenditure, though emphatically not 
the chief, has yet been a concomitant cause of financial 
trouble. The point cannot be inquired into here of how 
far greater wisdom and higher character in Italian public 
servants might have limited the evil and reconciled pro- 
gress with economy ; but it may be said that if the path 
entered upon by the man who took charge of the ex- 
chequer after Menabrea's fall, Quintino Sella, had been 
rigorously followed by his successors, the present situa- 
tion would not be what it is. 

Giovanni Lanza assumed the premiership in the gov- 
ernment in which Sella was Minister of Finance. Both 
these politicians were Piedmontese, and both were known 
as men of conspicuous integrity, but Lanza's rigid conser- 
vatism made it seem unlikely that the Roman question 
would take a fresh turn under his administration. In 
politics, however, the unlikely is what generally happens ; 
events are stronger than men. 

On the 8th of December the twenty -first Ecu- 

404 The Liberation of Italy 

menical Council assembled in Rome. From the day of 
its meeting, in spite of the strenuous opposition of its 
most learned and illustrious members, there was no more 
doubt that the dogma under consideration would be voted 
by the partly astute and partly complaisant majority than 
that it would have been rejected in the twenty preceding 
Councils. On the i8th of July 1870, the Pope was pro- 
claimed Infallible. 

That was a moment of excitement such as has not 
often thrilled Europe, but the cause was not the In- 
fallibility of Pius IX. On the i6th. Napoleon de- 
clared war with Prussia. War, like death, comes as a 
shock, however plainly it has been foreseen ; besides, it 
was only the well-informed who knew how near the 
match had been to the powder-magazine for two years 
and more. Whether the explosion, at the last, was 
timed by Napoleon or by Bismarck is not of great 
importance ; it could have been but little delayed. 
Napoleon was beset alike by the revolutionary spectre 
and by the gaunt King of Terrors ; he knew the throw 
was desperate, but with the gambler's instinct, which 
had always been so strong in him, he was magnetised 
by it because it was desperate. Pitiful egotist though 
he was, history may forgive him sooner than it forgives 
the selfish Chauvinism of Thiers, who had been 
goading his countrymen to war ever since Sadowa, 
or the insane bigotry of the party which, having 
triumphed over revolution at Mentana, now sought 
to triumph over heresy in what the Empress called 
' Ma guerre.' 

Napoleon had the remaining sagacity to see the 
extreme danger of leaving a few thousand men isolated 
in Rome at a time when, happen what might, it would 
be impossible to reinforce them. Directly after declaring 

Rome, the Capital 405 

war, notwithstanding the cries of the Ultramontanes, he 
decided on recalling the French troops. He induced the 
Italian Government to resume the obligations of the Sep- 
tember Convention, by which the inviolability of the Papal 
frontier was guaranteed. Lanza is open to grave criticism 
for entering into a contract which it was morally certain 
that he would not be able to keep. Perhaps he hoped 
that Napoleon would himself release Italy from her bond. 
But the ' Jamais ' of Rouher stood in the way. Could 
the Emperor, after such boasting, coolly throw the Pope 
overboard the first time it suited his convenience ? More- 
over, his present Prime Minister, M. Emile Ollivier, when 
the question was put to him, did not hesitate to renew the 
declaration that the Italians must not be allowed to go to 

Napoleon made some last frantic efforts to get Austria 
and Italy to befriend him unconditionally. How far he 
knew the real state of his army before he declared war 
may be doubtful, but that he possessed overwhelming 
proof of it, even before the first defeats, cannot be doubted 
at all. His heart was not so light as his Prime Minister's. 
At the end of July he sent General Tiirr on a secret 
mission to try and obtain the help of Austria and Italy. 
The Hungarian general wrote from Florence, that unless 
something could be done to assure Italy that the national 
question would be settled in accordance with the wishes 
of her people, the Italian alliance was not possible. 
The Convention, he pointed out, was a bane instead of 
a boon to Italy. This letter was answered by a tele- 
gram through the French Ambassador at Vienna : 
' Can't do anything for Rome ; if Italy will not march, 
let her stand still.' 

As in the former negotiations, Austria took her stand 
on precisely the same ground as Italy. And thus it was 

4o6 The Liberation of Italy 

that France plunged into the campaign of 1870 single- 

After Worth, and once more after Gravelotte, the 
endeavour to draw Italy into the struggle was renewed. 
Napoleon was aware that Victor Emmanuel was wildly 
anxious to come to the rescue, and on this personal 
goodwill his last hope was built. Prince Napoleon was 
despatched from the camp at Chalons to see what he 
could do. At this eleventh hour (19th August) Napoleon 
was ready to yield about Rome. At the camp, the in- 
fluence which guided him in Paris was less felt, or it 
is probable that he would not have yielded even now. 
Prince Napoleon carried a sheet of white paper with the 
Emperor's signature at the foot. He showed it to Lanza 
when he reached Florence, and told him to fill it up as 
he chose. Whatever he asked for was already granted. 
A month before, such terms would have won both Italy 
and Austria — not now. 

The Prince found his father - in - law eager to give 
the 50,000 men that were asked for, but the ministers 
protested that the Italian army was unprepared for war. 
Still, to satisfy the King, who signified his irritation so 
clearly to Lanza that this good servant was on the point 
of resigning, they agreed to submit the case to Austria ; 
if Austria would co-operate, they would re-consider their 
decision. Austria replied : ' Too late.' 

When, in 1873, Victor Emmanuel paid a visit to 
Berlin, he caused some sensation at a grand State 
banquet by saying to his host : ' But for these gentlemen ' 
(and he waved his hand towards the ministers who 
accompanied him) ' I should have gone to war with 
you.' Courtiers did not know which way to look, but 
the aged Emperor was not displeased by the soldierly 
bluntness of the avowal. 

Rome, the Capital 407 

Prince Napoleon remained in Florence, throwing away 
his eloquence, till the and of September cut short the 
argument. When he had left his cousin, the Emperor 
was resolved to fall back on Paris according to Mac- 
Mahon's plan, but the ministers and the Empress Regent 
forced him to his doom. On the 2nd of September 
Sddan was lost ; on the 4th the Empire fell. 

'And to think,' exclaimed Victor Emmanuel when 
he heard the news, 'that this good man was always 
wanting to give me advice ! ' 

From the date of the declaration of war, and still 
more since the evacuation of Rome by the French troops 
(begun on the 29th of July, ended on the 19th of August), 
Italy had been too deeply agitated for any sane person 
to suppose that the prescriptive right of the nation to 
seize the opportunity which offered itself of completing 
its unity could be resisted by the artificial dyke of a 
compromise which made the Government the instrument 
of France. Lanza was determined to maintain order ; 
he had Mazzini arrested at Palermo, and suppressed 
disorders where they occurred, but the rising tide of 
the will of the people could not be suppressed, and had 
the ministry resisted it, something more than the ministry 
would have fallen. 

In justification of Lanza's slowness to move, and of 
the apparent, if not real, unwillingness with which he took 
every forward step, it is contended that more precipitate 
action would have caused what most people will agree 
would have been a misfortune for Italy, the departure 
of the Pope from Rome. It was only on the 29th of 
August that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Visconti- 
Venosta, sent a memorandum to the European Powers 
which announced that the Government had decided on 
occupying Rome at once. A week after, the fall of 

4o8 The Liberation of Italy 

the Empire came as a godsend to the ministry which 
had possibly hardly deserved such a stroke of luck. 
They were no longer hampered by the September Con- 
vention, because the September Convention was dead. 
This was amply admitted by Jules Favre, though he 
declined to denounce the treaty formally ; even a French 
Radical, in the hour of setting up the Republic, was afraid 
to proclaim aloud that France renounced all claim to 
interfere in her neighbour's concerns. 

Of the other Powers, Switzerland signified her approval, 
and the rest engaged to abstain from any opposition. 

The King addressed a letter to the Pope, in which, 
with the affection of a son and the faith of a Catholic, 
he appealed to his spirit of benevolence and his Italian 
patriotism to speak the word of peace in the midst of the 
storm of war that was distracting Europe, and to accept 
the love and protection of the people of Italy in lieu of 
a sovereignty which could not stand without the support of 
foreign arms. Pius IX. merely answered by saying that 
the letter was not worthy of an affectionate son, and that 
he prayed God to bestow upon His Majesty the mercy of 
which he had much need. To the bearer of the royal 
appeal. Count Ponza di San Martino, he said that he might 
yield to violence, but would never sanction injustice. 

This was about the time that the Pope, on his side, 
wrote an appeal not, be it observed, to any Catholic mon- 
arch, but to King William of Prussia, who would certainly 
not have read unmoved the complaint of one who, like 
himself, was crowned with white hairs, but Count Bis- 
marck took the precaution of causing the letter not to 
reach his master's hands till the Italians were in Rome. 

The day following the Pope's interview with Count 
Ponza, the nth of September, the Italian troops received 
the order to enter the Papal states. For several weeks 

Rome, the Capital 409 

five divisions under General Cadorna had been in course 
of concentration along the frontier ; this force now 
marched on Rome. Bixio was sent to Civita Vecchia 
where resistance was expected, and had been ordered by 
Kanzler, but the native element prevailed over the foreign 
in the garrison, and the Spanish commandant, Colonel 
Serra, interpreting the wishes of the Roman troops, sur- 
rendered without firing a shot. 

Great was the indignation of the French and Belgian 
Zouaves. They were resolved that the same thing 
should not happen in Rome. That there was a chance 
of avoiding bloodshed may be inferred, from Count 
Arnim's numerous journeys between the Vatican and 
General Cadorna's headquarters outside Porta Salara; 
the Prussian representative hoping till the last moment to 
arrange matters in a pacific sense. Cardinal Antonelli is 
said to have been nearly persuaded, when he received a 
message from Colonel Charette in these terms : ' You 
had better go to mass while we look after defending 
you.' The war party so far carried the day that the 
Pope adhered to his plan of ' sufficient resistance to show 
that he yielded only to force.' 

At half-past five on the morning of the 20th of Septem- 
ber, all attempts at conciliation having failed, the Italian 
attack was opened upon five different points. Porta San 
Pancrazio, Porta San Giovanni Laterano, Porta San 
Lorenzo, Porta del Popolo and Porta Pia. General Maz6 
de la Roche's division attacked the latter gate, and the 
wall near it, in which a breach was rapidly effected by the 
steady fire of the Italian batteries, though it was not till 
past eight o'clock that it seemed large enough to admit of 
an assault. Then the 41st of the line, and the 12th and 
34th Bersaglieri were ordered up, and dashed into the 
breach with the cry of ' Savoia ! Savoia ! ' The challenge 

4IO The Liberation of Italy 

was returned by the Zouaves with their ' Vive Pie Neuf.' 
They had been already ordered to desist, as the Pope's in- 
structions were clear, ' to stop when a breach was made ; ' 
but on the plea that the order was sent to them verbally 
they continued firing. When the written order came, 
they displayed a white handkerchieffastened to a bayonet, 
and at this point the fight was over. Hundreds of Roman 
exiles poured through the breach after the soldiers ; 
15,000 of them had arrived or were arriving at the gates 
of the city. 

At the same time the white flag was hoisted on Porta 
Pia, but on the advance of the 40th Regiment and a 
battalion of Bersaglieri, shots were fired which killed and 
wounded several officers and men ; when they saw their 
companions falling, the troops could not be restrained 
from scaling the barricade which had been formed to de- 
fend the gate, and surrounding and capturing the Zouaves 
who were behind it. The whole Diplomatic Corps now 
came out in full uniform to urge General Cadorna to 
effect the occupation as quickly as possible, that order 
might be maintained. By midday, the Italian troops had 
penetrated into most parts of the city left of the Tiber ; 
as yet there was no formal capitulation on the part of 
the Zouaves, and their attitude was not exactly reassuring. 
This did not prevent the population, both men and 
women, from filling the streets and greeting the Italians 
with every sign of rejoicing. They cheered, they wept, 
they kissed the national flag, and the cry of Roma Capi- 
tate drowned all other cries, even as the fact it saluted 
closed the discords and the factions of ages. 

In the afternoon all the Papal troops were persuaded 
to lay down their arms, which, in the case of the 
foreigners, were given back to them. Next day they 
were reviewed by General Cadorna. As the Italians 

Rome, the Capital 411 

presented arms to the retiring host, some of the Antibes 
Legion shouted at them : ' We are French, we shall meet 
you again.' The Roman troops were sent to their homes ; 
the foreigners conducted to the frontier. Charette and 
other of the French officers went to the battlefields of 
their prostrate country, and thus it came to pass that 
the Pope's defenders were found fighting side by side 
with Garibaldi ; they, indeed, only doing their simple 
duty, but he, acting on an impulse of Quixotic generosity 
which was repaid — the world knows how ! 

Cadorna received three pressing requests from the 
Pope to occupy the Leonine City, and the third he 
granted. The idea of leaving the part of Rome on which 
the Vatican stands under the Pope's jurisdiction had 
been long favoured by a certain class of politicians, and 
Lanza made a last effort to give it effect by excluding 
the Leonine City from the plebiscite which was ordered 
to take place in Rome and in the Roman province on the 
and of October. It was in vain. The first voting urn to 
arrive at the Capitol on the appointed day was a glass 
receptacle borne by a huge Trasteverino, and preceded by 
a banner inscribed : ' Cittcl Leonina Si.' As the Govern- 
ment had not supplied the inhabitants with an official 
urn, it occurred to them to provide themselves with an 
unofficial one in which they duly deposited their votes. 
The Roman plebiscite yielded the results of 133,681 affir- 
mative and 1 507 negative votes. 

In December the Italian Parliament met for the last 
time in the Hall of the Five Hundred. ' Italy,' said the 
King in the speech from the throne, ' is free and united ; 
it depends on us to make her great and happy.' Of this 
last session at Florence the principal labour was the Act 
embodying the Papal guarantees which was intended to 
safeguard the legitimate independence and decorum of 

412 The Liberation of Italy 

the Holy See on the lines formerly advocated by Cavour. 
Neither extreme party was satisfied, but it seemed at 
first not unlikely that the Pope would tacitly acquiesce in 
the arrangement. The first monthly payment of the 
national dotation, calculated to correspond with his civil 
list, was accepted. But though the influence of Cardinal 
Antonelli and the Italian prelates had been sufficient to 
keep the Pope in Rome, the influence of those who 
wished him to leave it was strong enough to establish 
at the Vatican the intransigent policy which has been 
pursued till now. 

During the flood of the Tiber which devastated the 
city that winter, the King of Italy paid a first informal 
visit to his capital, accompanied only by a few attend- 
ants, and bent on bringing help to the suffering popula- 
tion. In July 1872, he made his solemn entry, and at 
the same time the seat of Government was transferred to 
the Eternal City. 

Victor Emmanuel could say what few men have been 
able to say of so large a promise : ' I have kept my word.' 
He gathered up the Italian flag from the dust of Novara, 
and carried it to the Capitol. In spite of the grandeur of 
republican tradition in Italy, and the lofty character of 
the men who represented it during the struggle for 
unity, a study of these events leaves on the mind the 
conviction that, at least in our time, the country could 
neither have been freed from the stranger nor welded 
into a single body-politic without a symbol which 
appealed to the imagination, and a centre of gravity 
which kept the diverse elements together by giving the 
whole its proper balance. The Liberating Prince whom 
Machiavelli sought was found in the Savoyard King. 
'Quali porte se gli serrerebbono ? Quali popoli gli 

Rome, the Capital 413 

negherebbono la obbedienza? Quale invidia se gli 
opporrebbe ? Quale Italiano gli negherebbe I'ossequio ? ' 
To fill the appointed part Victor Emmanuel possessed 
the supreme qualiiication, which was patriotism. Though 
he came of an ambitious race, not even his enemies 
could with any seriousness bring to his charge personal 
ambition, since every step which took him further from 
the Alps, his fathers' cradle, involved a sacrifice of tastes 
and habits, and of most that made life congenial. When 
his work was finished, though he was not old, he had the 
presentiment that he should not long survive its com- 
pletion. And so it proved. 

In the first days of January 1878, the King was 
seized with one of those attacks on the lungs which his 
vigorous constitution had hitherto enabled him to throw 
off. But in Rome this kind of illness is more fatal than 
elsewhere, and the doctors were soon obliged to tell him 
that there was no hope. 'Are we come to that?' he 
asked; and then directed that the chaplain should be 
summoned. There was no repetition of the scene at 
San Rossore ; the highest authority had already sanc- 
tioned the adminstration of the Sacraments to the dying 
King, nay, it is said that the Pope's first impulse was to 
be himself the bearer of them. At that hour the man 
got the better of the priest ; Francis drove out Dominic. 
The heart that had been made to pity and the lips that 
had been formed to bless returned to their natural func- 
tions. When the aged Pius heard that all was over, he 
exclaimed : ' He died like a Christian, a Sovereign and an 
honest man (galantuomo).' Very soon the Pope followed 
the King to the grave, and so, almost together, these two 
historical figures disappear. 

Six years before, solitary and unsatisfied, Mazzini 
died at Pisa, his heart gnawed with the desire of the ex- 

414 The Liberation of Italy 

treme, as the hearts have been of all those who aspired 
less to change what men do, or even what they believe, 
than what they are. More deep than political regrets 
was the pain with which he watched the absorption of 
human energies in the race for wealth, for ease, for 
material happiness ; he discerned that if the egotism of 
capital led to oppression, the egotism of labour would 
lead to anarchy. To the end he preached the moral law 
of which he had been the apostle through life. His last 
message to his countrymen, written when the pen was 
falling from his hand, was a warning to Italian working- 
men to beware of the false gods of the new socialism. 
When others saw darkness he saw light ; now, Cassandra- 
like, he saw darkness when others saw light ; yet he did 
not doubt the ultimate triumph of the light, but he no 
longer thought that his eyes would see it, and he was 
glad to close them. 

Less sad, notwithstanding his physical martyrdom, 
were Garibaldi's last years. Italy showed him an un- 
forgetting love ; when he came to the continent, the same 
multitudes waited for him as of old, but instead of cheers 
there was a not less impressive silence now, lest the 
invalid should be disturbed. Soon after the transfer of 
the capital he went to Rome to speak in favour of the 
works by which it was proposed to control the inunda- 
tions of the Tiber, and it was curious to hear it said on 
all sides that, of course, the Tiber works must be taken in 
hand as Garibaldi wished it. Pius IX. summed up the 
situation wittily in the remark : ' Lately we were two here ; 
now we are three.' The old hero invoked the day when 
bayonets might be turned into pruning-hooks, but he by 
no means thought that it had arrived, and in the mean- 
while he urged the Italians to look to their defences, 
and above all, 'to be strong on the sea, like England.' In 

Rome, the Capital 415 

the matter of government he remained the impenitent 
advocate of the rule of one honest man — call him Dictator 
or what you please, so he be one! Garibaldi died at 
Caprera on the 2nd of June 1882. 

The play was ended, the actors vanished : 

AoVs xporov, x.a> iravree ii/iiis fifra, "XJ^fo-i xru'ir^sart. 

A new epoch has begun which need not detain the 
chronicler of Italian Liberation. The prose of possession 
succeeds the poetry of desire. Nothing, however, can lessen 
the greatness of the achievement. With regard to the 
future, it may be allowable to recall the superstition which, 
like so many other seemingly meaningless beliefs, becomes 
full of meaning when read according to the spirit : that a 
house stands long if its foundations be watered with the 
blood of sacrifice. No work of man was ever watered 
with a purer blood than the restoration of Italy to the 
ranks of living nations. And the last word of this book 
shall be Hope. 



Albrbcht, Archduke, 364, 369. 
Alessandria, 225. 
Alfieri, 8, 18. 
Alemann, General, 379. 
Amedeo, Prince, i6g, 344, 368. 
Amadeus, Victor, 73. 
Amadeus with the Tail, 172. 
Ampfere, 237. 
Andreoli, Giuseppe, 51. 

iAntonelli, Cardinal, loi, 130, 1841 X89, zgi, 39S, 
,409-. ^ 

Anzani, Francesco, 124. 
Appel, General, 14a 
Amim, Count, 409. 
Aspre, d'. General, 104, 139, 140. 
Aspromonte, 300, 348, 350. 
Austerlitz, 5. 

Azeglio, Massimo d', 73, 74, 113, 17s, 190, 195, 

Bandibra, 67-69. 

Bassi, Ugo, 154, 163. 

Bastide, Jules, 117. 

Bavaj General, 106, 114. 

Bazaine, Marshal, 243. 

Beauharnais, Eugene, 6-9. 

Beauregard, Costa de, 224. 

Bellegarde, Marshal, 9-1 1. 

Benedek, 240, 244, 245. 

Bentinck, Lord William, 7, 11, 13, 14- 

Bentivegna, Count, 209. 

Berlin, Congress of, 399. 

Bertani, Dr, 231, 297, 309. 

Beust, Count, 400. 

Bianchi, B. dei, 330. 

Bismarck, 358, 397-8* 408. 

Bixio, loi, 272, 301, 318, 360, 368, 408 

Boccheciampi, 68. 

Borj^s, Josfe, 331. 

Brescia, Revolution at, 142, 232, 245, 343. 

Briganti, General, 301, 302. 

Brofferio, 179. 

Bronzetta, Pilade, 318, 320. 

Buhna, Count, 43. 

Brunetti, Angelo, 82. 

Buol, Count, 223. 

Buonaparte, Joseph, 6. 

Buonaparte, Lucien, 213. 

Cadorna, Gen., 408-9, 410-11. 

Caiazzo, 316. 

Cairoli, Benedetto, 281, 389, 391. 

Calabria helps Garibaldi, 300. 

Calandrelli, 184. 

Calatafimi, 278. 

Calderai del Contrapeso, 24. 

Campo Formio, Treaty of, 4. 

Canrobert, General, 229. 

Capponi, 39, 135. 

Caprera, 321, 325, 328, 337, 385, 396. 

Capua, War around, 305, 318 ; capitulation, 

Carignano, Prince of, 30, 32, 37. 

Carignano, Eugene de, 333. 

Carlyle, Thomas, 6g. 

Caroline, Queen, 13. 

Casati, 100. 

Caserta, 314, 318. 

Carusso, 331. 

Castelfidardo, 322, 337. 

Castelnuovo, burning of village, 107. 

Castel Sant' Elmo, 306, 307. 

Castiglione, Count, 370. 

Castlereagh, Lord, n, 12, 14, 27. 

Cattaneo, 100 ; party of, 

Cavour, Count, 85 ; becomes minister, 192 ; 
resolves Piedmont shall join Allies in 
Crimean War, 202 ; visits England, 204 ; 
meets Napoleon at Plombiferes, 247 ; resigns 
office, 249 ; recalled, 260 ; resolves to invade 
Papal States, 310 ; Garibaldi's veterans, 335 ; 
Rome to be capital, 337 ; death, 339. 

Centurioni, Society of, 78. 

Charette, General, 389. 

Charles III., 208, 236. 

Charles Albert, 30, 31, 34, 36, 38, 46 ; acces- 
sion, 56 ; Re Tentenna, 74 ; promulgates 
Charter, 94 ; retreat to Milan> 114 ; abdicates, 
141 ; burial, 181. 

Charles Emmanuel, 19, 30. 

Charles Felix, Duke of Genoa, 30, 31, 36, 56. 

Charles Ludovico, 87. 

Chiavone, General, 330. 

Chretien, General, 284, 286. 

Chrzanowski, 139, 140. 

Cialdini, General, 322, 338, 332, 348, 366, 370, 

Cipriani, L., 255. 

2 D 



Civita Vecchia, the French at, 391-408* 

Clam Gallas, Count, 243. 

Clarendon, Lord, 185, 206. 

Clary, General, 292. 

Clotilde, Princess, 217, 218. 

Colonna, General, 281. 

Commacchio, 16. 

Confalonieri, Count, 39, 41, 42, 43, 45, 64. 

Conneau, 216. 

Corsini, Prince, 130, 135. 

Corti, Count, 399. 

Cosenz, 301, 308, 360. 

Cowley, Lord, 260. 

Crispi, Francesco, 269, 292, 294. 

Cristina, Princess, 238. 

Crocco, 331. 

Custozza, 114, 370. 

Dalmatia, sold with Venice, 364. 
Dante, 1-3, 341, 363. 
De Castillia, 42. 
Del Bosco, 290, 291. 
Depretis, Agostino, 293- 
D'Este, Francis, 31, 51. 
Dolfi, Giuseppe, 235. 
Drouyn de Lhuys, 184. 
Dunne, Colonel, 289, 319. 
Durando, Generalj 102, 107, 112. 

Eboli, 303. 

Elliot, Mr, 314. 

Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Coburg, 199, a66. 

Falloux, de, 183. 
Fanti, General, 257, 312, 334. 
Farini, L. C, 73i iz?' =37) 255) 257. 333. 339- 
Faro, Cape of, 297, 29B, 300. 
Favre, Jules, 215, 397. 

Ferdinand IL, 48, 90, 92, 93, 102, 188, 237. 
Ferdinand III., 12, 26, 28. 
Ferdinand, Emperor of Austria, 118. 
Ferrara, Austrians in, 16. 
Ferretti, Cardinal, 82. 
Fleury, General, 247. 
Florence, capital of Italy, 352-411. 
Forbes, Commander, 304, 305. 
Foscolo, Ugo, 17, 18. 
Fra Giacomo, 201, 339. 
Francis I., 47. 

Francis II., 238, 267, 295, 299, 306, 327, 330. 
Francis Jbseph, Emperor, 119, 160, 227, 240, 
242, 249. 

Gaeta, Fall of, 317-326. 

Gamba, Pietro, 24, 50. 

Garobetta, 399. 

Gaminara, Emmanuele, 9. 

Garibaldi, Giuseppe, 64, 120 ; declared enemy 
of the State, 121 ; in South America, 123 ; 
marries Anita, 123 ; in Rome, 148 ; death of 
Anita, 158; leaves Caprera, 221, 256-263^ 
Sicilian expedition, 256 ; march on Naples, 
298; Battle of Solferino, 319 ; of Garigliano, 
323 ; returns to Caprera, 325, 334, 347 ; 

wounded, 349 ; arrested, 383 ; in Rome, 391 ; 

defeat at Mentana, 394 ; death, 414. 
Garibaldi, Menotti, 257, 280, 286, 386, 392. 
Garigliano, Battle of, 323. 
Genoa, ceded to Sardinia, 13-15. 
Genoa, Charles Felix, Duke of, 30-32 
Ghio, General, 302, 303. 
Giacinta di CoUegno, 38. 
Gioberti, 78, 133. 
Gladstone, W. E., 1B7. 
Goito, Battle of, 112. 
Gravelotte, Battle of, 405. 
Gregory XVI. , 50, 76, 77. 
Guerrazzi, 135, 136. 
Gyulai, Count, 227, 230, 231, 240. 

Haynau, General, 145, 162. 

Hess, General, 228, 23a, 242, 

Hilliers, Baraguay d', 229. 

Hoche, 5. 

Hortense, Queen, 55_. 

Humbert of the White Hands, 172. 

Immaculate Conception, Doctrine of, 77. 

Jesuits, sr, 75, 128, 379. 

Kanzler, General, 392. 
Kellersperg, Baron von, 2271 
Klapka, General, 357. 
Kohlen-Brenners, 22. 
Kossuth, 246, 253. 
Kuhn, General, 372. 

Laderchi, Count, 40. 

La Farina, 295. 

La Gala, 331. 

Lamartine, 117- 

La Marmora, General, 170, 171, 202,348, 35a, 

357f 359> 361-366. 
Lamoriciere, General, 311, 313. 
Lannes, Marshal, 231. 
Lanza, General, 282, 283, 2S6, 403, 406, 407. 
Le Bceuf, General, 379. 
Leo XII., 49. 
Leopardi, 186. 
Leopold II., 89, 159, 234. 
Lesseps, Ferdmand, 15T, 154. 
Letizia, General, 284, 286. 
Liborio Romano, 306. 
Lincoln, President, 343. 
Lissa, Battle of, 374. 
Lodi, 4. 

Lombardy, trials in, 40; Revolution, zoo, x6tf. 
Louis Philippe, 128. 
Lucca, 16. 

Machiavelli, 2, 3, 52, 4x2. 
MacMahoD, Marshal, 229, 233, 244, 406. 
JSilagenta, Battle of, 232, 234, 236. 
Malghplla, 23. 
Malmesbury, Lord, 223. 
Mamelli, Goffredo, 154, 155. 
Manin, Daniel, 99, iz6, z6e>, x6S, 203. 



Mantua, Prince Eugene in, 8-xo; gallant 

defence, 105. 
Manzoni, Alessandro, ig. 
Margaret, Queen, 199, 401. 
Maria Adelaide, Queen, i6g> 
Maria Teresa, Queen, 31. 
Marie Louise, Empress, I2,l3i ; death, 88 
Marie Soiia, Princess, 237. 
Mamiani, Terenzio, 126, 131. 
Maroncelli, Pietro, 44. 
Marryat, Captain, 274. 
Marsala, 274, 276, 345. 
Martinengo, Count, 145. 
Mary, Princess, of Cambridge, 205. 
Mastai Ferretti, Cardinal, 77. 
Matilda, Archduchess, 401. 
Maxiiuilian, Archduke, 211. 
Mazzini, Giuseppe, 53, 57, 58 ; early life, 59 ; 
becomes a Carbonaro, 60; Association of 
Young Italy, 63 ; takes refuge in England, 66 ; 
writes 'Duties of Man,' 67 ; meets Garibaldi, 
120 ; at Rome, 132, 157 ; letters from 
Orsinii 214 ; .protests against Napoleonic 
war, 220,^ in Naples, 313, 354-357 ; corre- 
sponds with the king, 398 ; arrested, 407 ; 
death, 413. 
Medici, Giacomo, 124, 125, 155, 231, 273, 289, 

202, 301, 318, 360. 
Melegnano, Battle of, 240. 
Menabrea, General, 388-395, 400-402, 
Menechini, 25. 
Menotti, Giro, 52, 53, 64. 
Mentana, Battl^ of, 392-397, 404. 
Merode, Marquis de, 330. 
Messina, held by Royal troops, 290 ; evacu- 
ated, 295. 
Mettemich, Prince, 15, 32, 46, 56, 83, 84, 86, 

95, 400. 
Mezzacapo, 237. 
Micca, Pietro, 36. 
Milan, revolt, 8-10 ; fighting in the city, 95 ; 

Austrains depart, 233. 
Milano, Ageslao, 208. 
Milazzo, Battle of, 290. 
Mincio, Battle of, 107, 241, 365, 366, 369. 
Minghetti, Marco, loi, 129. 
Minto, Lord, 87, ii6. 
Misilmeri, 280. 
Misley, Dr, 52. 
Missori, Major, 291.^ 
Modena, revolution in, 53. 
Monreale, 278. 
Montalembertj 185. 
Montanelli, Giuseppe, 112, 135, 136. 
Monti, 16. 

Montebello, Battle of, 231. 
MorelH, 25, zg. 
More, Domenico, 68. 
Moscow, retreat from, 8. 
Mundy, Admiral, 282, 283, 287, 288, 314, 320, 

324, 354. 
Murat, Joachim, 6, 7, zo, 13, 23. 

Napier, Lord, go, 92. 

Naples, 25-29, loi ; massacre, no; misrole m, 

186-187; Galibaldi's march on, 299; King 
enters, 324. 

Napoleon Buonaparte, 2-10, 240. 

Napoleon IIL, 55 ; elected President of French 
Republic, iig, 149; letter to Ney, 185; at- 
tempt on his life, 212; compact at Plom- 
biferes, 217, 253 ; demands Nice and Savoy, 
260-262; era of peace, 358. 

Napoleon, Prince, i8s, 229, 235, 351, 406. 

Nelaton, Dr, 349. 

Ney, Edgar, 185. 

Nice, cession of, 221, 224, 258, 262. 

Nicotera, 209, 297. 

Niel, 220, 244. 

Ninco-Nanco, 330. 

Normanby, Lord, 117, 228. 

Novara, 37-39 ; battle of, 141, 412. 

Nugent, General, 107, 112, 113, 143. 

O'pONNEL, Count, 95. 
Oliphant, Laurence, 263, 26C, 
Olivier, Emile, 405. 
Orsini, Colonel, 280. 
Orsini, Felice, 213, 216. 
Oudinot, General, 150, 156. 

Palermo, strange discovery, 92 ; Sicilian ex- 
pedition, 271-290 ; insurrection, 381. 

Pallavicini, Giorgio, 42, 137, 309, 314, 344, 
348, 360. 

Palma, 330. 

Palmerston, Lord, 83, in, 117, 161, 266, 282, 
355. 371- 

Panizzi, Anthony, 32. 

Paris, Treaty of, 13 ; Congress of, 185. 

Parma, 12-16. 

jlia, 341. 

Pastrengo, Battle of, 109. 

Peard, Colonel, 303-306. 

PelUco, Silvio, 40, 43. 

Pepe, Guglielmo, 29, in, 126. 

Perier, Casimir, 53. 

Persano, Admiral, 274, 288, 308, 372, 377. 

Peschiera, 112,, 240, 242, 248. 

Petitti, General, 378. 

Petre, 8r, 82. 

Piacenza, garrisoned by Austrians, 16. 

Piedmont, Revolution in, 33 ; struggle with 
the Church, 189-192. 

Pietri, 253. 

Pilone, 330. 

Pilo, Rosalino, 170, 278, 

Pisacane, Carlo, 209. 

Pius VII., 12, 49. 

Pius VIII., 50. 

Pius IX., 78 ; election, 79, 93 ; grants consti- 
tution, loi ; encyclical letter, 108 ; flight to 
Gaeta, 130 ; calls foreign aid to support tem- 
poral power, 132; thanksgiving, 183, 259; 
character, 311 ; calls to arms, 363, 408 ; 
death, 413. 

Flombi^res, 217; meeting between Napoleon 
and Cavour. 

Poerio, Carlo, 90, 126, 134. 

Pralormo, Count, 176. 



Prina, General, 8. 
Prince Consort, ig8, 258. 

Raobtsky, g6, 104, iii, 139, 162, 167, 195^ 249. 

Ralmondi, Captain, 35, 

RatCazzi, 138, 200, 207, 252, 260, 340, 342, 350, 

382, 384. 
Reggio, 301, 347. 
Renzi, Pietro, 73. 
Ricasoli, Baron, 135, 235, 336, 255, 335, 340, 

Rienzi^ Cola di, 132. 
Rimini, 9. 
Risorgimento, 194. 
Rolandis, de, 51. 

Romagna, Carbonarism in the, 24, 50. 
Rome, Entry of French, 137 ; French depart 

from, 382 ; declared capitalf 412. 
Romeo, Domenico, 90. 
Rossaroll, General, 29. 
Rossetti, Gabriele, 49. 
Rossi, 81, X28. 
Rouher, 397, 405. 
Ruffini, Jacobo, 63. 
Ruskin, J., 102- 

Russell, Lord John, 252, 268, 274, 377, 
Russell, Odo, 225. 

Sadowa, Battle of, 370. 

Salemi, 275. 

Salerno, 305. 

San Bon, 374. 

Sanfedesti, Secret Society of, 50. 

San Marino, 13, 73. 

San Martino, Count, 408. 

Santa Rosa, 191. 

Santorre di Santa Rosa, 38. 

Sardinia — ^War with Austria, 137. 

Savoy, 13 ; cession of, 221, 224, 258, 259, 262. 

Schmidt, Colonel, 237. 

Schwarzenberg, Prince, 176, 187, 243, 244. 

Sella, Quintino, 361. 

Settembrini, 209. 

Sicily— Insurrection, 91; Sicilian expedition, 


Silvati, 25, 29. 

Sirtori, 272, 360. 

Speri, Tito, 144. 

Spielberg, 44. 

Solaro della Margherita, 223. 

Solferino, Battle of, 243, 245. 

Superga, the, 181. 

Talleyrand, Prince, 32, 260, 264* 
Tardio, 330. 

Tchernaja, Battle of, 202. 
Tegethoff, Admiral, 373-377» 
Theobald de Brie, 22. 
TheodoKnda, Crown of, 6. 
Thiers, 175, 397. 404- 

Thurn, General, 140, 
Ticino, T20, 139, 226, 228, 233. 
Tolentino, Battle of, 10. 
Torelli, Prince, 134, 
Tortona, 230. 

Trazegnies, Marquis de, 331. 
Trentmo, 343, 363, 371, 
Trescorre, 342, 343. 
Tarr, General, 315, 405. 

Ulloa, General, 304. 
Ultramontanes, 190, 259, 397, 404. 
XJmberto, Prince, 169, 344, 367, 36S, 401. 
Urban, 231, 232. 

Vacca, Admiral, 374. 

Vaillant, General, 229, 261. 

Vecchj, Colonel, ^28. 

Venice, 3-5 ; political trials in, 40-44 ; Austrians 
expelled, 99 ; re-occupied by Austria, 160-163, 
251, 322) 356, 371 ; united to Italy, 379. 

Venosta, 350, 361, 407. 

Verona, Congress of, 56. 

Victor Amadeus, 181. 

Victor Emmanuel I., at Turin, 12 ; King of 
Sardinia, 30 ; abdicates, 36 ; recommends 
mercy, 38. 

Victor Emmanuel II. ; accession, 141 ; un- 
popularity, 165-166 ^ visits English and 
French courts, 204 ; invites Garibaldi to join 
bis armYi 221 ; enters Milan, 234 ; courage 
at Soferino, 245 ; peace with Austria^ 249 ; 
letter to Napoleon, _ 255 ; hailed King of 
Italy, 323 ; entry into Naples, 324 ; in 
Venice, 380 ; illness, 402 ; visit to Berlin, 
406 ;^ death, 413. 

Victoria, Queen, 26r. 

Vienna, Congress of, 13, 15, 32, 10 ; Treaty of, 

Vimercati, Count, 168, 169. 

Volturno, 307, 313, 315 ; Battle of, 319. 

Waddington, 399. 
Welden, General, 127. 
Wellesley, Admiral, 68. 
Wellington, Duke of, 56. 
William I. , Emperor, 358, 4o3. 
Wilmot, Lieutenant, 280, 284. 
Warth, Battle of, 405. 
Wratislaw, 140, 

Young Italy, Association of, founded by 
Mazzini, 63. 

Zamboni, Luigi, 51- 

Zedwitz, 243, 244. 

Zobel, 232. 

Zorzi, 126. 

Zucchi, General, 54. 

Zurich, Conference of, 257 ; Treaty of, 238. 

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