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country around Lake Como.

Meanwhile the allied armies had defeated the Austrians at Magenta and
Solferino, and Louis Napoleon had effected the celebrated treaty with
Austria at Villa-Franca, arranging for a confederation of all the
Italian States under the Papal Protectorate, and the cession of Lombardy
to Sardinia. This inconclusive result greatly disgusted all the Italian
patriots. Cavour resigned at once, but soon after was induced to resume
his post at the head of affairs. Venice and Verona were still in
Austrian hands. As the Prussians showed signs of uneasiness, it is
probable that Louis Napoleon did not feel justified in continuing the
war, in which he had nothing further to gain; at all events, he now
withdrew. Garibaldi was exceedingly indignant at the desertion of
France, and opposed bitterly the cession of Nice and Savoy, - by which he
was brought in conflict with Cavour, who felt that Italy could well
afford to part with a single town and a barren strip of mountain
territory for the substantial advantages it had already gained by the
defeat of the Austrian armies.

The people of the Italian States, however, repudiated the French
emperor's arrangements for them, and one by one Modena, Tuscany, Parma,
and the Romagna, - the upper tier of the Papal States, - formally voted
for annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia; and the king, nothing loath,
received them into his fold in March, 1860. This result was in great
measure due to the Baron Ricasoli of Tuscany, an independent
country-gentleman and wine-grower, who had taken active interest in
politics, and had been made Dictator of Tuscany when her grand duke fled
at the outbreak of the war. Ricasoli obstinately refused either to
recall the grand duke or to submit to the Napoleonic programme, but
insisted on annexation to Sardinia; and the other duchies followed.

Garibaldi now turned his attention to the liberation of Naples and
Sicily from the yoke of Ferdinand, which had become intolerable. As
early as 1851, Mr. Gladstone, on a visit to Naples, wrote to Lord
Aberdeen that the government of Ferdinand was "an outrage on religion,
civilization, humanity, and decency." He had found the prisons full of
state prisoners in the vilest condition, and other iniquities which were
a disgrace to any government. The people had attempted by revolution
again and again to shake off the accursed yoke, and had failed. Their
only hope was from without.

It was the combined efforts of three men that freed Southern Italy from
the yoke, - Mazzini, who opened the drama by recognizing in Sicily a
fitting field of action; Cavour, by his diplomatic intrigues; and
Garibaldi, by his bold and even rash enterprises. The patriotism of
these three men is universally conceded; but they held one another in
distrust and dislike, although in different ways they worked for the
same end. Mazzini wanted to see a republican form of government
established throughout Italy, which Cavour regarded as chimerical.
Garibaldi did not care what government was established, provided Italy
was free and united. Cavour, though he disapproved the rashness of
Garibaldi, was willing to make use of him provided he was not intrusted
with too high a command. Moreover, there were mutual jealousies, each
party wishing to get the supreme direction of affairs.

The first step was taken in 1860 by Garibaldi, in his usual fashion.
Having gathered about a thousand men, he set sail from Genoa to take
part in the Sicilian revolution. Cavour, when he heard of the
expedition, or rather raid, led by Garibaldi upon Sicily in aid of the
insurrectionists, ostensibly opposed it, and sent an admiral to capture
him and bring him back to Turin; but secretly he favored it. The
government of Turin held aloof from the expedition out of regard to
foreign Powers, who were indignant that the peace of Europe should be
disturbed by a military adventurer, - in their eyes, half-bandit and
half-sailor. Lord John Russell, however, in England, gave his
encouragement and assistance by the directions given to Admiral Mundy,
who interposed his ships between the Neapolitan cruisers and the
soldiers of Garibaldi, then marching on the coast. France remained
neutral; Austria had been crippled; and Prussia and Russia were too
distant to care much about a matter which did not affect them.

So, with his troop of well-selected men, Garibaldi succeeded in landing
on the Sicilian shores. He at once issued his manifesto to the people,
and soon had the satisfaction to see his forces increased. He first came
in contact with the Neapolitan troops among the mountains at Calatafimi,
and defeated them, so that they retired to Palermo. The capital of
Sicily could have been easily defended; but, aided by a popular
uprising, Garibaldi was soon master of the city, and took up his
quarters in the royal palace as Dictator of Sicily, where he lived very
quietly, astonishing the viceroy's servants by his plain dinners of soup
and vegetables without wine. His wardrobe was then composed "of two
pairs of gray trousers, an old felt hat, two red shirts, and a few
pocket-handkerchiefs."

On the 17th of July, 1860, Garibaldi left Palermo, and embarked for
Milazzo, on the northwest coast of Sicily, where he gained another
victory, which opened to him the city of Messina. The Neapolitan
government deemed all further resistance on the island of Sicily
useless, and recalled its troops for the defence of Naples. At Messina,
Garibaldi was joined by Father Gavazzi, the finest orator of Italy, who
had seceded from the Romish Church, and who threw his whole soul into
the cause of Italian independence. Garibaldi now had a force of
twenty-five thousand men under his orders, and prepared to invade the
peninsula.

On the 17th of August he landed at Taormina with a part of his army, and
marched on Reggio, a strong castle, which he took by assault. This
success gave him a basis of operations on the main land. The residue of
his troops were brought over from Messina, and his triumphal march to
Naples immediately followed, not a hand being raised against him. The
young king Francis II. fled as the conqueror approached, - or rather I
should say, deliverer; for Garibaldi had no hard battles to fight when
once he had landed on the shores of Italy. His popularity was so great,
and the enthusiasm of the people was so unbounded, that armies melted
away or retired as he approached with his Calabrian sugar-loaf hat; and,
instead of fighting, he was obliged to go through the ordeal of kissing
all the children and being hugged by all the women.

Naples was now without a government, and Garibaldi had no talent for
organization. The consequence was that the city was torn by factions,
and yet Garibaldi refused to adopt vigorous measures. "I am grieved," he
said, "at the waywardness of my children," yet he took no means to
repress disorders. He even reaped nothing but ingratitude from those he
came to deliver. Not a single Garibaldian was received into a private
house, while three thousand of his men were lying sick and wounded on
the stones of the Jesuit College. How was it to be expected that
anything else could happen among a people so degraded as the
Neapolitans, one hundred years behind the people of North Italy in
civilization, in intelligence, in wealth, and in morals, - in everything
that qualifies a people for liberty or self-government?

In the midst of the embarrassments which perplexed and surrounded the
dictator, Mazzini made his appearance at Naples. Garibaldi, however,
would have nothing to do with the zealous republican, and held his lot
with the royalists, as he was now the acknowledged representative of the
Sardinian government. Mazzini was even requested to leave Italy, which
he refused to do. Whether it was from jealousy that Garibaldi held aloof
from Mazzini, - vastly his intellectual superior, - or from the conviction
that his republican ideas were utterly impracticable, cannot be known.
We only know that he sought to unite the north and the south of Italy
under one government, as a preparation for the conquest of central
Italy, which he was impatient to undertake at all hazards.

At last the King of Naples prepared to make one decisive struggle for
his throne. From his retreat at Gaeta he rallied his forces, which were
equal to those of Garibaldi, - about forty thousand men. On the 1st of
October was fought the battle of Volturno, as to which Garibaldi, after
fierce fighting, was enabled to send his exultant dispatch, "Complete
victory along the whole line!" Francis II. retired to his strong
fortress of Gaeta to await events.

Meanwhile, on the news of Garibaldi's successes, King Victor Emmanuel
set out from Turin with a large army to take possession of the throne of
Naples, which Garibaldi was ready to surrender. But the king must needs
pass through the States of the Church, - a hazardous undertaking, since
Rome was under the protection of the French troops. Louis Napoleon had
given an ambiguous assent to this movement, which, however, he declined
to assist; and, defeating the papal troops under General Lamoricière,
Victor Emmanuel pushed on to Naples. As the King of Piedmont advanced
from the north, he had pretty much the same experience that Garibaldi
had in his march from the south. He met with no serious resistance. On
passing the Neapolitan frontier he was met by Garibaldi with his staff,
who laid down his dictatorship at his sovereign's feet, - the most heroic
and magnanimous act of his life. This was also his proudest hour, since
he had accomplished his purpose. He had freed Naples, and had united the
South with the North. On the 10th of October the people of the Two
Sicilies voted to accept the government of Victor Emmanuel; and the king
entered Naples, November 7, in all the pomp of sovereignty.

Garibaldi's task was ended on surrendering his dictatorship; but he had
one request to make of Victor Emmanuel, to whom he had given a throne.
He besought him to dismiss Cavour, and to be himself allowed to march on
Rome, - for he hated the Pope with terrible hatred, and called him
Antichrist, both because he oppressed his subjects and was hostile to
the independence of Italy. But Victor Emmanuel could not grant such an
absurd request, - he was even angry; and the Liberator of Naples retired
to his island-home with only fifteen shillings in his pocket!

This conduct on the part of the king may seem like ingratitude; but what
else could he do? He doubtless desired that Rome should be the capital
of his dominions as much as Garibaldi himself, but the time had not
come. Victor Emmanuel could not advance on Rome and Venice with an "army
of red shirts;" he could not overcome the armed veterans of Austria and
France as Garibaldi had prevailed over the discontented troops of
Francis II., - he must await his opportunity. Besides, he had his hands
full to manage the affairs of Naples, where every element of anarchy had
accumulated.

To add to the embarrassments of Victor Emmanuel, he was compelled to
witness the failing strength and fatal illness of his prime minister.
The great statesman was dying from overwork. Although no man in Europe
was capable of such gigantic tasks as Cavour assumed, yet even he had to
succumb to the laws of nature. He took no rest and indulged in no
pleasures, but devoted himself body and soul to the details of his
office and the calls of patriotism. He had to solve the most difficult
problems, both political and commercial. He was busy with the finances
of the kingdom, then in great disorder; and especially had he to deal
with the blended ignorance, tyranny, and corruption that the Bourbon
kings of Naples had bequeathed to the miserable country which for more
than a century they had so disgracefully misgoverned. All this was too
much for the overworked statesman, who was always at his post in the
legislative chamber, in his office with his secretaries, and in the
council chamber of the cabinet. He died in June, 1861, and was buried,
not in a magnificent mausoleum, but among his family relations
at Santena.

Cavour did not, however, pass away until he saw the union of all
Italy - except Venice and Rome - under the sceptre of Victor Emmanuel.
Lombardy had united with Piedmont soon after the victory at Solferino,
by the suffrages of its inhabitants. At Turin, deputies from the States
of Italy, - except Venice and Rome, - chosen by the people, assembled, and
formally proclaimed Italy to be free. The population of four millions,
which comprised the subjects of Victor Emmanuel on his accession to the
throne, had in about thirteen years increased to twenty-two millions;
and in February, 1861, Victor Emmanuel was by his Senate and Chamber of
Deputies proclaimed King of Italy, although he wisely forbore any
attempt actually to annex the Venetian and Papal States.

Rome and Venice were still outside. The Pope remained inflexible to any
reforms, any changes, any improvements. _Non possumus_ was all that he
deigned to say to the ambassadors who advised concessions. On the 7th of
September, 1860, Victor Emmanuel sent an envoy to Rome to demand from
his Holiness the dismissal of his foreign troops; which demand was
refused. Upon this, the king ordered an army to enter the papal
provinces of Umbria and the Marches. In less than three weeks the
campaign was over, and General Lamoricière, who commanded the papal
troops, was compelled to surrender. Austria, Prussia, and Russia
protested; but Victor Emmanuel paid little heed to the protest, or to
the excommunications which were hurled against him. The Emperor of the
French found it politic to withdraw his ambassador from Turin, but
adhered to his policy of non-intervention, and remained a quiet
spectator. The English government, on the other hand, justified the
government of Turin in thus freeing Italian territory from
foreign troops.

Garibaldi was not long contented with his retirement at Caprera. In
July, 1862, he rallied around him a number of followers, determined to
force the king's hand, and to complete the work of unity by advancing on
Rome as he had on Naples. His rashness was opposed by the Italian
government, - wisely awaiting riper opportunity, - who sent against him
the greatest general of Italy (La Marmora), and Garibaldi was taken
prisoner at Aspromonte. The king determined to do nothing further
without the support of the representatives of the nation, but found it
necessary to maintain a large army, which involved increased
taxation, - to which, however, the Italians generously submitted.

In 1866, while Austria was embroiled with Prussia, Victor Emmanuel,
having formed an alliance with the Northern Powers, invaded Venetia; and
in the settlement between the two German Powers the Venetian province
fell to the King of Italy.

In 1867 Garibaldi made another attempt on Rome, but was arrested near
Lake Thrasimene and sent back to Caprera. Again he left his island,
landed on the Tuscan coast, and advanced to Rome with his body of
volunteers, and was again defeated and sent back to Caprera. The
government dealt mildly with this prince of filibusters, in view of his
past services and his unquestioned patriotism. His errors were those of
the head and not of the heart. He was too impulsive, too impatient, and
too rash in his schemes for Italian liberty.

It was not until Louis Napoleon was defeated at Sedan that the French
troops were withdrawn from Rome, and the way was finally opened for the
occupation of the city by the troops of Victor Emmanuel in 1870. A Roman
plebiscite had voted for the union of all Italy under the constitutional
rule of the House of Savoy. From 1859 to 1865 the capital of the kingdom
had been Turin, the principal city of Piedmont; with the enlargement of
the realm the latter year saw the court removed to Florence, in Tuscany;
but now that all the States were united under one rule, Rome once again,
after long centuries had passed, became the capital of Italy, and the
temporal power of the Pope passed away forever.

On the fall of Napoleon III. in 1870 Italian nationality was
consummated, and Victor Emmanuel reigned as a constitutional monarch
over united Italy. To his prudence, honesty, and good sense, the
liberation of Italy was in no small degree indebted. He was the main
figure in the drama of Italian independence, if we except Cavour, whose
transcendent abilities were devoted to the same cause for which Mazzini
and Garibaldi less discreetly labored. It is remarkable that such great
political changes were made with so little bloodshed. Italian unity was
effected by constitutional measures, by the voice of the people, and by
fortunate circumstances more than by the sword. The revolutions which
seated the King of Piedmont on the throne of United Italy were
comparatively bloodless. Battles indeed were fought during the whole
career of Victor Emmanuel, and in every part of Italy; but those of much
importance were against the Austrians, - against foreign domination. The
civil wars were slight and unimportant compared with those which ended
in the expulsion of Austrian soldiers from the soil of Italy. The civil
wars were mainly popular insurrections, being marked by neither cruelty
nor fanaticism; indeed, they were the uprising of the people against
oppression and misrule. The iron heel which had for so many years
crushed the aspirations of the citizens of Venice, of Milan, and Rome,
was finally removed only by the successive defeats of Austrian armies
by Prussia and France.

Although the political unity and independence of Italy have been
effected, it is not yet a country to be envied. The weight of taxation
to support the government is an almost intolerable burden. No country in
the world is so heavily taxed in proportion to its resources and
population. Great ignorance is still the misfortune of Italy, especially
in the central and southern provinces. Education is at a low ebb, and
only a small part of the population can even read and write, except in
Piedmont. The spiritual despotism of the Pope still enslaves the bulk of
the people, who are either Roman Catholics with mediaeval superstitions,
or infidels with hostility to all religion based on the Holy Scriptures.
Nothing there as yet flourishes like the civilization of France,
Germany, and England.

And yet it is to be hoped that a better day has dawned on a country
endeared to Christendom for its glorious past and its classic
associations. It is a great thing that a liberal and enlightened
government now unites all sections of the country, and that a
constitutional monarch, with noble impulses, reigns in the "Eternal
City," rather than a bigoted ecclesiastical pontiff averse to all
changes and improvements, having nothing in common with European
sovereigns but patronage of art, which may be Pagan in spirit rather
than Christian. The great drawback to Italian civilization at present is
the foolish race of the nation with great military monarchies in armies
and navies, which occupies the energies of the country, rather than a
development of national resources in commerce, agriculture, and the
useful arts.

AUTHORITIES.

Alison's History of Europe; Lives of Cavour, Mazzini, Garibaldi; Fyffe's
Modern Europe; Mackenzie's History of the Nineteenth Century; Biography
of Marshal Radetsky; Annual Register; Biography of Charles Albert;
Ellesmere, as quoted by Alison; Memoirs of Prince Metternich; Carlo
Botta's History of Italy.



CZAR NICHOLAS.


1796-1855.

THE CRIMEAN WAR.

For centuries before the Russian empire was consolidated by the wisdom,
the enterprise, and the conquests of Peter the Great, the Russians cast
longing eyes on Constantinople as the prize most precious and most
coveted in their sight.

From Constantinople, the capital of the Greek empire when the Turks were
a wandering and unknown Tartar tribe in the northern part of Asia, had
come the religion that was embraced by the ancient czars and the
Slavonic races which they ruled. To this Greek form of Christianity the
Russians were devotedly attached. They were semi-barbarians, and yet
bigoted Christians. In the course of centuries their priests came to
possess immense power, - social and political, as well as ecclesiastical.
The Patriarch of Moscow was the second personage of the empire, and the
third dignitary in the Greek Church. Religious forms and dogmas bound
the Russians with the Greek population of the Turkish empire in the
strongest ties of sympathy and interest, even when that empire was in
the height of its power. To get possession of those principalities under
Turkish dominion in which the Greek faith was the prevailing religion
had been the ambition of all the czars who reigned either at Moscow or
at St. Petersburg. They aimed at a protectorate over the Christian
subjects of the Porte in Eastern Europe; and the city where reigned the
first Christian emperor of the old Roman world was not only sacred in
their eyes, and had a religious prestige next to that of Jerusalem, but
was looked upon as their future and certain possession, - to be obtained,
however, only by bitter and sanguinary wars.

Turkey, in a religious point of view, was the certain and inflexible
enemy of Russia, - so handed down in all the traditions and teachings of
centuries. To erect again on the lofty dome of St. Sophia the cross,
which had been torn down by Mohammedan infidels, was probably one of the
strongest desires of the Russian nation; and this desire was shared in a
still stronger degree by all the Russian monarchs from the time of Peter
the Great, most of whom were zealous defenders of what they called the
Orthodox faith. They remind us of the kings of the Middle Ages in the
interest they took in ecclesiastical affairs, in their gorgeous
religious ceremonials, and in their magnificent churches, which it was
their pride to build. Alexander I. was, in his way, one of the most
religious monarchs who ever swayed a sceptre, - more like an ancient
Jewish king than a modern political sovereign.

But there was another powerful reason why the Russian czars cast their
wistful glance on the old capital of the Greek emperors, and resolved
sooner or later to add it to their dominions, already stretching far
into the east, - and this was to get possession of the countries which
bordered on the Black Sea, in order to have access to the Mediterranean.
They wanted a port for the southern provinces of their empire, - St.
Petersburg was not sufficient, since the Neva was frozen in the
winter, - but Poland (a powerful kingdom in the seventeenth century)
stood in their way; and beyond Poland were the Ukraine Cossacks and the
Tartars of the Crimea. These nations it was necessary to conquer before
the Muscovite banners could float on the strongholds which controlled
the Euxine. It was not until after a long succession of wars that Peter
the Great succeeded, by the capture of Azof, in gaining a temporary
footing on the Euxine, - lost by the battle of Pruth, when the Russians
were surrounded by the Turks. The reconquest of Azof was left to Peter's
successors; but the Cossacks and Tartars barred the way to the Euxine
and to Constantinople. It was not until the time of Catherine II. that
the Russian armies succeeded in gaining a firm footing on the Euxine by
the conquest of the Crimea, which then belonged to Turkey, and was
called Crim Tartary. The treaties of 1774 and 1792 gave to the Russians
the privilege of navigating the Black Sea, and indirectly placed under
the protectorate of Russia the territories of Moldavia and
Wallachia, - provinces of Turkey, called the Danubian principalities,
whose inhabitants were chiefly of the Greek faith.

Thus was Russia aggrandized during the reign of Catherine II., who not
only added the Crimea to her dominions, - an achievement to which Peter
the Great aspired in vain, - but dismembered Poland, and invaded Persia
with her armies. "Greece, Roumelia, Thessaly, Macedonia, Montenegro, and
the islands of the Archipelago swarmed with her emissaries, who preached
rebellion against the hateful Crescent, and promised Russian support,
Russian money, and Russian arms." These promises however were not
realized, being opposed by Austria, - then virtually ruled by Prince
Kaunitz, who would not consent to the partition of Poland without the
abandonment of the ambitious projects of Catherine, incited by Prince
Potemkin, the most influential of her advisers and favorites. She had to
renounce all idea of driving the Turks out of Turkey and founding a
Greek empire ruled over by a Russian grand duke. She was forced also to
abandon her Greek and Slavonic allies, and pledge herself to maintain


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Online LibraryJohn LordBeacon Lights of History, Volume 10 European Leaders → online text (page 7 of 19)