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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

RIVERSIDE



MEMOIRS OF
FRANCESCO CRISPI




Photo: Ciacomo Brogi. Firenze.

FRANCESCO CRISPI



THE MEMOIRS

OF

FRANCESCO CRISPI

x

Translated by
MARY PRICHARD-AGNETTI

from the Documents
Collected and Edited by

THOMAS PALAMENGHI-GRISPI



VOLUME II
THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE



HODDER AND STOUGHTON

NEW YORK AND LONDON

MCMXII



ss

1 /} i

1 ' 3



CONTENTS

FOREIGN POLITICS, MEMOIRS, AND DOCUMENTS
CHAPTER I

A SECRET MISSION

PAGE

A 'great Italy The new kingdom The foreign policy of
the Right Andrassy and Bismarck in 1873 are un-
successful in concluding an entente intime with the
ministers of the Right Irredentists and the Italo-
Austrian relations The Turco- Russian war French
republican institutions in danger Necessity for Italy
to cast off inertia The mission entrusted to Crispi by
Victor Emmanuel and Minister Depretis at the end of
August 1877 Crispi's memoirs and his correspondence
with Victor Emmanuel and Depretis ; conferences with
Decazes, Gambetta, Thiers, Bismarck, Derby, Gladstone,
Andrassy, and others Crispi opens negotiations with
Prince Bismarck for an Italo-German alliance, . . 1

CHAPTER II

ITALY'S FOREIGN POLICY FROM 1878 TO THE
TRIPLE ALLIANCE

Count Corti refuses the proposal for a secret understanding
with England on the eve of the Berlin Congress How
France obtained carte blanche for Tunis The policy
of isolation Irredentist movement makes Austria
threaten to cross frontier Benedetto Cairoli's partiality
to France does not prevent occupation of Tunis
Documentary history of England's abstention from
interference At that time Italy might have occupied
Tripoli Disappointed in France, she turns to Germany
Forerunners of the Triple Alliance Count Maffei
The treaty of May 20, 1882, 92



vi MEMOIRS OF FRANCESCO CRISPI

CHAPTER III

THE EGYPTIAN QUESTION IN 1882

PA.OE

Italy refuses to intervene in Egypt when invited by Eng-
land to do so Crispi's journey to Berlin and London
Interviews with Count Hatzfeldt and Lord Granville
Nine letters from Crispi on the advisability of Italy's
acceptance of the English proposal, . ..125

CHAPTER IV

FROM THE FIRST TO THE SECOND TRIPLE
ALLIANCE TREATY

The original error : the Emperor of Austria fails to come
to Rome Consequently the King and Queen of Italy
cannot go to Berlin A conference between Prince
Bismarck and the Duke of Genoa : likelihood of war
coming from France and Russia Prince Frederick
William at Rome The Italian Cabinet dissatisfied with
the allies General Robilant, Minister of Foreign
Affairs A further opinion of Prince Bismarck's on the
situation in 1885 Negotiations for renewing the Triple
Alliance The arguments by means of which Prince
Bismarck induced England to stipulate an agreement
with Italy concerning the Mediterranean The new
treaty of February 20, 1887, 156

CHAFFER V
CRISPI AND THE BULGARIAN QUESTION

The ministerial crisis of February 1887 Crispi's attitude;
his talks with the King ; his appointment as Minister
of the Interior The Bulgarian Question and the con-
duct of the Italian government before and after Crispi's
assumption of control of our foreign policy as regards
affairs in the East Correspondence and documents
Italy proposes and prevails upon the Powers to accept
the non-intervention policy in Bulgaria The Triple
Alliance for Eastern Affairs, . . . . .165



CONTENTS vii

CHAPTER VI

THE FIRST JOURNEY TO FRIEDRICHSRUH

FADE

Crispi and France Crispi's opinion of the Empire and of
the Republic The Paris Exposition of 1889, and
monarchical Europe Crispi's first journey to Fried-
richsruh to see Prince Bismarck ; their conversation
The Turin speech, 193

CHAPTER VII

THE RUPTURE OF COMMERCIAL RELATIONS
WITH FRANCE

Negotiations for the renewal of the Franco-Italian treaty
of commerce Boselli's semi-official mission to Paris ;
his letters to Crispi Political and economic reasons
which led to the tariff war From Crispi's diary for
October and December 1887 ; international questions
A conversation between the Czar and Prince Bismarck
False documents The consular incident at Florence, 241

CHAPTER VIII
FROM CRISPI'S DIARY I DIPLOMATIC INTERCOURSE

FROM JANUARY UNTIL THE END OF JUNE 1888
Germany and Russia in a conversation with Prince
Bismarck The publication of the Austro-German treaty
of 1879 Italy and Russia in a conversation between
Crispi and the Ambassador Uxkull Flourens wishes to
avoid the Franco-Russian alliance Information con-
cerning the internal situation in France Military pre-
parations in France The Crown-Prince of Germany
in Liguria Death of William r. The Italian and
Austrian fleets at Barcelona Cordial relations existing
between Crispi and Bismarck A sharp verbal encounter
between Bismarck and Ambassador Herbette Death
of Frederick HI. King Humbert expresses his desire
to go to Berlin, 277

CHAPTER IX
ANOTHER FRANCO-ITALIAN INCIDENT

The question with France concerning taxation in Massowah ;
three diplomatic Notes by Crispi on Italy's rights and



viii MEMOIRS OF FRANCESCO CRISPI

PAGK

the annoyance caused by France The Powers decide
in favour of Italy From Crispi's diary ; Spain and the
Vatican King Louis of Portugal alarmed concerning
our sovereign's excursion into Romagna Crispi pays
Prince Bismarck a second visit The Austrian Grand
Chancellor meets Crispi at Eger, ..... 307



CHAPTER X

A THIRD INCIDENT WITH FRANCE

A spurious letter from Felix Pyat William n. in Rome
Conferences between Crispi and Count Herbert Bis-
marck Documentary account of the incident concern-
ing Italian schools at Tunis From Crispi's Diary The
situation in France at the close of the year 1888,. . 339

CHAPTER XI
1889

The Balkan Federation and Crispi's initiative The Paris
Exposition is inaugurated The danger of war with
France : Cardinal Hohenlohe's mission to Leo xm. :
Cucchi's mission to Prince Bismarck Italians in Paris
Abolition of differential duties and the hostility of
France Spuller's opinion of the French press, . . 379

CHAPTER XII

1890 TUNIS AND TRIPOLI

Prince Bismarck's dismissal; the Imperial rescripts con-
cerning the protection of the working classes ; Emperor
William's explanations ; Crispi and Bismarck The
proposed annexation of Tunis by France ; Crispi's
opposition ; the support of the great Powers ; the
Crispi-Salisbury correspondence Tripoli for Tunis
The fortifications at Biserta In anticipation of Italian
occupation of Tripoli, ....... 427

INDEX, .......... 477



FOREIGN POLITICS, MEMOIRS
AND DOCUMENTS

CHAPTER I

A SECRET MISSION

A great Italy The new kingdom The foreign policy of the Right
Andrassy and Bismarck in 1873 are unsuccessful in concluding an
entente intime with the ministers of the Right Irredentists and
the Italo-Austrian relations The Turco-Russian war French
republican institutions in danger Necessity for Italy to cast off
inertia The mission entrusted to Crispi by Victor Emmanuel
and Minister Depretis at the end of August 1877 Crispi's memoirs
and his correspondence with Victor Emmanuel and Depretis ;
conferences with Decazes, Gambetta, Thiers, Bismarck, Derby,
Gladstone, Andrassy, and others Crispi opens negotiations with
Prince Bismarck for an Italo-German alliance.

THE vision of a great Italy enabled the mighty Italians to
whom the world owes modern Italy to endure not only exile
and imprisonment, but every form of persecution that despotic
government could contrive. In Mazzini's mind the idea of
greatness was correlative with that of unity, while in federa-
tion he saw but ' perpetual weakness.' The glories which our
divided peoples had achieved were looked upon as pledges for
greater glories to follow when these divided peoples should
be united in one state. For thirty years Mazzini himself
preached that we had a ' mission of universal civilisation ' to
carry out, a mission upon which we had entered by the force
of our arms in the days of Rome's greatness, which the
example set by free communes had continued to preach in
mediaeval times, and which our learning and our arts had
carried far afield at the time of the Renaissance.

The new kingdom did not at once attain to the fulness of
its independence, and the policy that brought the French
VOL. II. A



2 MEMOIRS OF FRANCESCO CRISPI

forces on to the plains of Lombardy in 1859 continued to hold
Italy in subjection to Napoleon in. for many years to come.
Francesco Crispi, who, with Mazzini, had championed the
principle that union should be achieved without the help of
the foreigner and by our own unaided efforts, fought against
French interference in our affairs from the moment of con-
voking the first Italian Parliament. He was one of the most
fervid adversaries of the 'September Convention' (1864);
he opposed the permanent quartering of French troops on
Roman territory ; and in 1870 he was the leading spirit of the
Left party, which finally forced the more than reluctant Right
party to assert the national right to occupy Rome.

From the moment of the proclamation of the Republic in
France, until the Italian Left rose to power (March 18,
1876), our foreign policy, deprived of the guidance which
it had heretofore found at Paris, amounted to nothing at all.
The army was disorganised, the navy had been destroyed
after Lissa, and those in authority had justified their inaction
by alleging our weakness and the necessity of carrying out the
programme for internal reorganisation. Even the visits
which King Victor Emmanuel n. had been prevailed upon to
pay to the courts of Vienna and Berlin in September 1873
had rendered Italy's international position more rather than
less difficult, for while emphasising our desire henceforth to
lean more in the direction of the Central Powers, they made it
clear to France that the days of the Franco-Italian alliance
were over. The Hon. Minghetti and the Hon. Visconti-
Venosta, who accompanied the King on the journey, were
assured both by the Austro-Hungarian chancellor, Count
Andrassy, and by the German chancellor, Prince Bismarck,
that they felt 'tres vivement le desir d'une entente intime. 1
With a view to ingratiating himself with the Italian ministers,
Andrassy declared explicitly and frankly that he would lend
no sort of support to the Pope's querimonious demands, which
at that time were still being hopefully and vigorously pressed,
and that he would abstain from all co-operation with France
in affairs relating to the Papacy. He went so far as to give a
proof of his amicable intentions by informing the ministers
that he had already refused to grant a certain locality for
which the Vatican had applied, and where it was proposed to



A SECRET MISSION 3

hold the next Conclave, and said he was fully determined to
persevere in his refusal. Nor did Bismarck show himself more
favourably disposed towards the Pope, to whom, on the third
of that very month of September, he had persuaded the
Emperor to send a refusal to grant certain modifications
concerning ecclesiastical legislation which the Vatican had
solicited. But while he fully realised that, in dealing with the
Pontiff, Italy was bound to exercise a certain amount of con-
sideration, he demanded that with France she should refrain
from a concessionary policy, which would only encourage in-
creased demands from that country. He ended by declaring
that Germany would never permit an attack upon Italy.

The two ministers, who appear to have left Rome with the
intention of proposing a dual alliance with Germany, abstained
from making any proposal whatsoever, and returned to Italy,
flattering themselves that, without assuming any obligations,
they might now rely upon Germany and Austria, and at the
same time preserve the good will of France. But this proved
a fleeting dream.

Very soon the movement among the Irredentists furnished
Austria with a pretext for alarm. At first the govern-
ment was not suspected of encouraging the hopes of the
' party of delirium,' that aimed at territorial expansion at
Austria's expense ; and Count Andrassy, through his am-
bassador at Rome, Count WimpfFen, proposed that the two
countries should co-operate in combating the danger which
threatened to disturb their friendly relations co-operation
on Italy's part being expected to manifest itself mainly in
helping Austria to discover ' the promoters and agents of the
annexationist propaganda.'

The relations between Italy and Austria improved some-
what during the opening months of the year 1875. The
Emperor Francis Joseph came to Venice to return the visit
the King of Italy had paid him in Vienna, and received a
warm welcome. In February 1876, however, the activity of
the Irredentist party began to increase; preparations for
sending Italian volunteers into Dalmatia were set afoot ; the
Austrian government adopted energetic measures, and many
Italians were arrested at Ragusa and Trieste. In June the
festivities at Milan and Legnano in commemoration of the



4 MEMOIRS OF FRANCESCO CRISPI

hundredth anniversary of the League of the Lombard Com-
munes, and the revival of the circumstances connected with
it, in which the greater part of the Italian press freely in-
dulged, gave rise to much ill-feeling in Austria.

Upon the outbreak of the Turco-Servian war, with fighting
in Montenegro and Albania, Austria began to suspect the
sincerity of our policy. Servia solicited Italy's mediation,
but the Austro-Hungarian Cabinet would not hear of this.
There were meetings in Milan, in Rome, and in other cities
protesting against the Austrian policy. Austria allowed her
embassy at Rome to remain unoccupied, and the entire press
of the Empire, led by the official journals themselves, attacked
Italy with extreme violence, accusing the government of
collusion with the Irredentists. Our ambassador, Count di
Robilant, suddenly found himself most uncomfortably situated
in Vienna, and applied for a long leave of absence.

It was only natural that Austria should be greatly incensed
against Italy. Doubting the policy of this country as she did,
she was not free to face Russia, who was preparing for war
with Turkey, and she found herself entirely at the mercy of
Germany.

In January 1877 a new ambassador to the Quirinal was
appointed in the person of Baron Haymerle; but ill-feeling
did not abate. Italy's offer of a conference for the adj ustment
of the Eastern question was declined by Andrassy, who
found a new source of vexation in the suspicion, suggested to
him, it is said, by a foreign government, of secret negotiations
between Ignatieff and Robilant for a Russo-Italian entente.
In May news came that Austria was arming on our frontiers,
and a plenipotentiary extraordinary, who was followed almost
immediately by 2000 Austrian pilgrims, came to Rome to
do homage to the Pope. In July our diplomatic inter-
vention on behalf of Montenegro met with a rebuff at Vienna,
where it was supposed to be but a preliminary to military inter-
vention in Albania. In August serious complications arose
The chief clerk of the Italian consulate at Vienna, and the
military attache at our embassy there, were both accused of
espionage, and the attacks of the press became so violent that
the military attache was forced to leave Vienna.

Meanwhile the war between Russia and Turkey had broken



A SECRET MISSION 5

out, and was being waged with varying fortune. On April 27
the Russian minister, Nelidoff, left Constantinople with all the
members of the embassy, and on the morrow the Russian army
crossed the Turkish frontier. On April 28 the Roumanian
Chamber sanctioned a convention with Russia permitting the
passage of Russian troops through the territory of the
principality, and on May 10 Prince Charles himself took
command of the army ; while in Turkey the ' Holy War " was
proclaimed on May 20, and Roumania declared her own
independence and war against the Turks simultaneously. On
June 22 the Russians crossed the Danube ; on July 5 their
vanguard occupied Tirnovo; on July 19 they were defeated
at Plevna, and on the thirtieth at Kassanyk. Then the
fortunes of war appeared to change. On August 24 the Prince
of Roumania assumed command of both the Russian and
Roumanian armies assailing Plevna, and on the twenty-eighth
Suleyman Pasha was defeated at Schipka.

Grave events were also taking place in France, concerning
which the whole of Europe was in a state of apprehension.
On the fourth of May of that same year (1877) the French
Chamber had brought in a resolution urging the government
to make use of the means at its disposal to suppress the
clerical movement, and Jules Simon, President of the Cabinet,
had accepted it. Hereupon Marshal MacMahon, President
of the Republic, despatched a letter to Jules Simon on May 16,
challenging him to justify the passive attitude he had main-
tained towards the Chamber, and upbraiding him for having
been unable to exert sufficient influence to ensure the triumph
of his own principles. The Simon Ministry resigned, and on
the day following the reactionary De Broglie-Fortou Ministry
was formed, in which, thanks to pressure brought to bear by
MacMahon, the Due de Decazes was retained as Minister of
Foreign Affairs. During its debate of the seventeenth the
Chamber, in accordance with a proposition of Leon Gambetta's,
resolved that * they could place no confidence in any cabinet
save in one that was free to act and determined to govern
according to republican principles, which alone can ensure order
at home and peace abroad. 1

On the eighteenth the President of the Republic sent a
message to the Chamber, in which he announced the prorogation



6 MEMOIRS OF FRANCESCO CRISPI

of the parliamentary session, and explained the causes of this
ministerial crisis.

Hereupon the party of the Left in the Senate published a
manifesto declaring that the crisis had been provoked without
cause, while the deputies of the extreme Left in the Chamber
published a second manifesto that pronounced the act of May
16, and those acts that followed, to be both illegal and
unconstitutional.

On May 23 Minister de Broglie despatched a circular to all
the procurators-general stimulating them to greater vigilance
and energy in the strict enforcement of obedience to the laws
that protect morals, religion, and property against the attacks
of the press, and especially against the diffusion of false reports
disturbing to public opinion. On June 2 the President of
the Municipal Council of Paris was arrested in consequence of
seditious language he had used against the President of the
Republic in a speech delivered at St. Denis. That same day
the Minister of the Interior, Fortou, issued a circular ordering
all persons publishing newspapers or circulating libellous
literature to be strictly watched. On June 8 the President
of the Municipal Council was sentenced to fifteen months' 1
imprisonment and a fine of 2000 francs. On June 17 the
Due de Broglie read a message from the President of the
Republic to the Senate, inviting that body to consent to the
dissolution of the Chamber, in conformity with Article v. of
the statute regulating public offices. The dissolution of the
Chamber was decreed on June 22. Meanwhile, on the
nineteenth, the Chamber had expressed by vote its distrust of
the ministry, and on the twenty-first had refused to sanction the
Revenue Bill, granting supplemental credit to the War Depart-
ment alone. On the twenty-fourth the Left both in the Chamber
and in the Senate declared that the country was in honour bound
to re-elect those deputies who had expressed their distrust of the
ministry by vote. The Chamber was finally dissolved on the
twenty -fifth, and on September 22 the electoral colleges were
convoked for October 14.

Italy could not, might not, remain inactive during these
momentous times through which Europe was passing. The
possibility of the triumph of the clerical party in France
had to be provided for, as this event would have constituted



A SECRET MISSION 7

a serious and immediate danger for us. Austria's attitude
in all dealings with Italy had become so hostile and so
menacing that corrective measures were necessary, and finally,
in consequence of the Turco-Russian war, changes in the
Balkan peninsula were in view which Italy could not disregard.
Francesco Crispi, fully alive to all these contingencies, and
convinced that, the Left party having now come into power,
our foreign policy should assume a new direction, an attitude
at once of prudence and daring, more in keeping with our
country's importance among European nations, and with our
legitimate interests, succeeded in obtaining the appointment
to carry out the mission of which he himself has left us an
account in the following pages :

ROME, 25 August, 1877.

YOUR EXCELLENCY, As long ago as the year 1861
Commendatore Mancini proposed to His Excellency
Baron Ricasoli, who was then President of the
Council of Ministers, to open negotiations with the
different European governments for the purpose of
stipulating an international code which should
regulate the juridical position of citizens of the
respective countries and their civil rights, in respect
to the laws obtaining in the several states. Owing
to the conditions that prevailed at that time nothing
came of that proposal. Nevertheless, the Italian
government, alive to the interests of progress and
civilisation, did not hesitate to endorse, under
Article in. of the civil code of 1865, the principle
that foreigners must be admitted to the enjoyment
of those civil rights which our own citizens possess.

In order, however, that this principle may produce
useful and far-reaching results it should be endorsed
by the legislatures of the other states as well, and
its observance must be ensured by international
agreements.

His Majesty's government has sought in every



8 MEMOIRS OF FRANCESCO CRISPI

way to bring about such agreements. In the year
1867 Commendatore Mancini, on visiting Paris,
Brussels and Berlin, undertook to ascertain the
views of those governments upon this important
question.

The advances made by this distinguished jurist
were favourably received, but circumstances inter-
vened which prevented the achievement of any
practical results.

As Your Excellency is about to visit the above-
named capitals I should be grateful if, in the course
of the conversations you will hold with those of
influence and competence with whom you are sure
to come in contact, you would seek to ascertain
whether their governments are disposed to resume
negotiations. Your Excellency, who had so
large a share in the compiling of those statutes
which regulate civil conditions in Italy, is better
able than any one else to point out the advantages
of our proposal.

I thank Your Excellency in anticipation of your
efforts, and I take this opportunity once more to
assure you of my most sincere esteem.

MELEGARI.
To His Excellency

Signor Commendatore Crispi,

President of the Chamber of Deputies.

TURIN, 26 August.

At eleven A.M. I visit the King.

TURIN, 27 August.
At ten A.M. I again visit the King.

TURIN, 27 August, 1877.

MY DEAR DEPRETIS, As I have already tele-
graphed you, I am leaving to-night at 6.30. I shall



A SECRET MISSION 9

meet Bargoni l at the station and he will give me
your letter.

His Majesty sent for me and I was with him a
long time. He was in his usual good spirits,
although Correnti, who saw him this morning at 8,
had found him somewhat ruffled. He has no hope
of any settlement forthcoming from the war in the
East, and he also is of opinion that it is too late and
that there is no room for us. Nevertheless he
urged me to do my best to obtain an advantageous
footing. His tone changed when we discussed that
other matter which is the real object of my journey.
The King feels the need of crowning his life-work
with a victory which shall give our army the power
and prestige it now lacks in the eyes of the world.
He speaks as a soldier, and I fully understand him.
Poor Bixio, who died so sad a death, having been
denied the joy of fighting a last battle for the
glory of our country, had the same aspiration.

Unfortunately, moreover, the King is right. If
the leaders had not failed us in 1866 and we had
conquered in Venetia and on the Adriatic, the
Austrians would not dare to write and speak of us as
they do, the Italian army would be a power in Europe,
which to-day it is not, and Italy's voice would
command greater respect than it does in the
different Cabinets.

Let us, if possible, make good this deficiency,
and justify our pretensions to cleverness as diplo-



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