Imatges de pÓgina

tantly, too, I carnot doubt ; for the fare ; as to Lord Palmerston, who ablest Italian statesman of his day has done so much during the last ten could not but feel that it was not al. years of his career, from 1848 to together safe for constitutional Pied- 1858, to dim the lustre of its earlier mont to place her lot in the hands of period, he has long since been judged the despotic sovereign of the French and condemned in Italy as one who, “ I love and laud the brilliant valour to earn a little claptrap popularity of the French armies,” said a well- at home, has trifled with the hopes, known member of the Left of the the feelings, and the lives of the Sardinian Chamber, the advocate Liberal party in this peninsula. Valerio, in the debate of the 7th May So Cavour turned to France, as his 1856, “ but I do not forget what sort last hope. History, which will hereof liberty French armies brought into after clear up much that must at Italy towards the end of the last cen- present be mere matter of surmise, tury, and at the beginning of the will doubtless one day give the world present." Neither is it likely that some insight into the commencement Cavour's memory failed him on this and progress of the negotiations bepoint. But to attain his object some tween two of the most remarkable risk must be run. From his own men of the present day. Whatever speech, on the first day of the debate the exact date at which they began, juist referred to, it is clear that the the world in general had little suspiEnglish plenipotentiaries at the Paris cion of them before the spring of last Congress held out hopes of a move- year, and it was later still before wment, on the part of Great Britain, easiness began to be felt with regard in the affairs of Italy, which no effi- to the events that might be their cacious steps were afterwards taken result. Indeed, people were long into fulfil. The sympathies and con- credulous of the pass to which the victions expressed were never prac- Italian question might bring Europe tically acted upon. It is to be sup- —the pass in which we now stand, posed that Cavour waited some time, the brink of a great war. Napoleon's and did not neglect to refresh the promises of a pacific policy, so long memory of his English friends, before as the rights and honour of France casting himself into the perilous em- were respected, had been accepted by brace of imperial France. If there the multitude-or at least by certain be any trait in his character which European governments-as sterling we are justified in believing sincere coin of purest metal. Lately we have and unteigned, it is his attachment been told that the interests of France to England, an attachment founded are wherever there is a wrong to reon admiration for the English char- dress. Such a doctrine as this gives acter and institutions, and increased wide latitude, and might easily prove in warmth by his friendship with fatal to the much-vaunted Anglomany English public men. An Ital. French alliance, and reduce the pompian friend of Cavour's, who for some ous profession that L'Empire, c'est years has been in very frequent in- la pair, to mere wind. Notwithstandtercourse with him, assured me that ing Napoleon's declaration that his he had seen the firm and energetic policy was the preservation of peace, Sardinian minister actually shed tears there were many who believed that of grief at the failure of all his efforts this was only a temporary blind, a to induce the English Government to mask assumed to serve a purpose, the take effectual action in behalf of Italy. simulated gentleness of the young He beheld it, on the contrary, draw- tiger, waiting till claws and teeth ing closer to Austria. Lord Claren- were fully grown. There are not don's sympathy appeared to have wanting grounds for a suspicion that spent itself in words; Lord John Napoleon III. considers war and conRussell

, it is true, had vehemently quest indispensable to the maintedenounced the foreign occupation of nance of his dynasty. With an Italy, but the Italians could not for- only son the Emperor cannot but get an unlucky speech of his, in which sometimes anxiously reflect on the he had declared that to Austria alone best means of securing his child's seat must Italy look for her future wel- on the throne of France, and one


means likely to have suggested itself for instance, as the carving out of a to him is the aggrandisement of his kingdom in Italy for Prince Napoleon empire. France, he may think, would Jerome, the establishment of a Murat be the more likely tenaciously to ad- at Naples, and even the reacquisihere to and stubbornly to defend a tion of the Rhine frontier. If he endynasty whose fall might be the oc- tertains any plans for acquiring Italcasion of stripping her of its con- ian provinces, or for planting a relaquests. True, that Savoy and Nice tion in Italy, I believe that they are are but a petty addition to the great unknown to the Piedmontese GovernFrench Empire, but who shall war- ment, and would hardly be ever conrant that to such modest strips of curred in by it. There can be little territory are limited the ambitious doubt, on the other hand, that Savoy projects of a Napoleon ? His desire and Nice would be ceded to France. for military distinction, and confidence The story goes that in the first inin his skill as a comma

mander, are known stance the King of Sardinia, whilst beyond a doubt; he repines at the agreeing to cede Savoy, in return for lot of a carpet-general, “who never the Italian provinces that were to be set an army in the field ” with any acquired for him, desired to retain more formidable foe in front than the Nice, but that peremptory insistance peaceable bushes of the valley of the from Paris compelled him to give Marne. There are other reasons, too, way. He then, it is said, would have why the French Faust should have stipulated for the command of the lent a willing ear to the temptations army. The brief and decided reply of the Piedmontese Mephistopheles. is asserted to have been, “ la The origin and traditions of his family France se bat, elle commande.” This give him a natural strong interest in may be a mere tale, but scarcely any Italy, and he has various grounds for one attempts to deny the certainty, dislike and ill-will towards Austria. or, at the very least, the strong proPersonal motives also combined. He bability, of the cession of Nice and had been literally within a hair's- Savoy. Depend upon it that not a breadth of falling a victim to an foot of Italian ground will be given Italian assassin. No possible precau- up,” lately said a deputy, not a born tion, no serried guards or vigilant Piedmontese, who is one of Cavour's police, could insure him against the intimates. The obvious inference is renewal of such attempts, made by that there is an intention of abandondesperate fanatics resolved before- ing ground that is not Italian. hand to the sacrifice of their own Amongst the reasons that have inlives. Within the last few months duced the Emperor Napoleon to back it was admitted, in a private con- the Italian policy of Piedmont, we versation, by one of the most promi- must not forget the recent marriage. nent supporters and advisers of the It is not to be said that the political Emperor, that this personal danger alliance was a consequence of the was a strong incentive to him to marriage, but rather that the marstrive for such changes as might riage was one of the conditions on satisfy the Italians, and disarm that which France engaged herself. It class of them which ill-treatment and was so understood here ; indeed eo loss of hope convert into assassins. obvious was it, that even those who That this should be one of the Em- would fain have given another colourperor's motives cannot be considered ing to the affair scarcely ventured the surprising, but it is rather a curious attempt. The war party, who desired reflection that, should it lead him to and extolled the union as an imporwar, the lives of tens of thousands, tant step in furtherance of their plans, perhaps of hundreds of thousands- Jooked half ashamed of it when it of human creatures will be sacrificed came to the point. It was such a to give safety to the existence of one manifest case of barter and sacrifice. man. I say nothing of the vast de- It is well known that the hand of the signs of conquest that some have child-princess had long been sought attributed to Napoleon, with no bet- by the French Court-as long, I beter grounds than their own imagina- lieve I may positively say, as two tion and a seeming probability; such, years ago. The youth of the lady

would have been an obstacle to the was signed, and then, but then only, marriage taking place sooner than it did the partisans of war, who were did, but it is well understood that also the sole supporters of the marthere were other obstacles to its riage, seem to breathe freely, as if taking place at all, and that small they felt relief that all risk was at an encouragement was given by the King end of a defeat of that move in their of Sardinia to the first overtures. game. The whole course of the affair Without going into considerations had the appearance as if some of the out of the domain of the political parties to it were ashamed of it, and writer, it is evident that the disparity eager to have it over, whilst others of age and the character of the pro- were in desperate fear of something posed bridegroom could not but cause intervening between cup and lip. reflection on the part of a father who There were, of course, whilst the thing had his daughter's happiness at heart. was pending, many stories current of Neither was the proud and ancient reluctance on the part of the Princess, house of Savoy likely to consider it- of tears shed, of paternal persuasion, self honoured by an alliance with the and even of paternal hesitation in Buonaparte family. There were abun- presence of a daughter's grief, but no dant reasons, in short, for the reluc- one can say what degree of truth tance which Victor Emmanuel showed there was in this gossip, and the proto give his consent. But reasons of bability is that there was no great state, and perhaps ambition, at last difficulty in reconciling so young a prevailed. There was something girl to an exchange from the dull life strange, to an observer on the spot, and Court of Turin to the splendours in various circumstances connected of Paris, even though the husband with the marriage. When it first was with whom that exchange was saddled stated to be certain, or nearly so, might not be exactly to her taste. The about the middle of January last, it comments of the opposition, however, took the Piedmontese public by sur- were bitter in the extreme, and, the prise, for previous rumours had been marriage being taken in connection forgotten or unheeded. The impres- with the anticipated cession of Savoy sion made in Turin was most unfa- as the price of hoped-for extension of vourable, and people openly blamed dominion in Italy, the King was acthe King for what they called sacri- cused, by not a few persons, of having ficing his daughter. The public sacrificed his daughter, sold the birthlooked upon the marriage as a settled place of his forefathers, and of having, thing, although it was not officially besides, made a bad bargain-since it announced, and their manifest disap- was held to be doubtful whether he probation seemed rather to dash the would ultimately secure and retain exultation of the party which built the promised advantages. This was great hopes upon the alliance. harsh measure, for it has not yet been Whether it was to give people time proved, however strongly suspected, to get accustomed to the idea, and so that Victor Emmanuel has been acto lessen the outcry against it, I can- tuated by ambitious motives. His not say, but to the last moment, up admirers scout the idea. The sufferto a very few days before the wedding, ings of Italy, they maintain, alone the confidants and adherents of the have incited him to his present government spoke of it as still uncer- hazardous course. Relieve those, tain. Perhaps it really was so. There and he seeks no personal gains, no has been much talk since of certain transmutation of the little Kingdom conventions, before whose conclusion of Sardinia into a powerful North the marriage could not take place or Italian State, comprising, as has been even be considered quite certain, and suggested, in addition to his present which were not concluded until the dominions, Lombardy and Venice, very eve of the ceremony. The for- Parma, Modena, and the Legations. mal demand of the hand of Princess This may be so, but it is hard to beClotilda of Savoy was made on the lieve. Men act most frequently from 230 January, about ten days after mixed motives. The King of Sarthe news of the coming event first dinia may feel sympathy and comtranspired. On the 29th the contract passion for the oppressed States of Italy, but probably even his most from Austrian rule. Some embarrassardent friends and supporters do not ment might ensue with respect to the in their hearts believe that he is not, numerous emigrants (now to be reckin some measure, urged on by ambi- oned by thousands, and who soon, tion. He has now, at any rate, ad- if the present state of affairs lasts any vanced to a point whence it would be time longer, will be reckoned by tens difficult to recede. He might, it is of thousands), who flock hither from true, if he desired it, and if misgiv- other Italian countries to take service ings grew into alarm at the idea of under the Sardinian flag. But this his small State being crushed and is a detail, and need not be weighed obliterated in the course of the fright- upon. The finances, grievously burful collision between two such powers thened by the Cavour policy, would as France and Austria-backed, as offer greater difficulties. Upon this they would in all probability be, be- branch of the subject, however, it is fore the struggle had lasted long, by unnecessary to dwell at length. It the other great governments of Eu- is of more interest to consider what rope-he might, I fully believe, yet is likely to be done than what might draw out of the perilous game, and be done. The truth is, that the calm, as far as his own dominions are country which has been represented concerned, the storm his policy has as the most eager champion of Italian raised. This may appear incredible independence, even though that were to persons abroad, who have accepted to be obtained only by war, is in fact, all the tales that have been promul- as far as the majority of the nation gated concerning the immense ex- is concerned, the one that would be citement in Piedment, and the fanatic the least willing to run the immense spirit here prevailing. But if there hazards implied in the course advobe a war party here, there is also a cated by its King and his priinepeace party, and, moreover, of those minister. The reason is evident : who cry out for war, and for Italian Piedmont prospers and progresses independence at any price, there are under her constitutional regime ; many who do so with little reflection she is attached to her liberties and or conviction of their own, but be- her dynasty, and does not desire to cause they believe that their King risk either or both in a contest for wishes it. There is a strong habit of Italian independence,-a question, loyalty in this old monarchical coun- moreover, which the great majority try, and the King, although he has of the people do not in reality at all never taken much pains to court understand, or greatly trouble their popularity, is beloved because he heads about. But they detest the is King, and possesses immense in Austrians, and owe them a grudge fluence over his subjects. Were it for their reverse at Novara. They known that he had changed his views, are told that the King desires war ; my belief is, that the Piedmontese he himself, with rather unkingly inwould quietly acqniesce ; the 600,000 discretion, has repeatedly and plainly Savoyards would yreatly rejoice ; the intimated as much ; and so their province of Nice would certainly not combined antipathy and loyalty be dissatisfied ; and there would be make them throw up their hats and no cause for apprehension of disturb- cry "Viva il !” and “Death to ances in the scantily-peopled island the Austrians !” of Sardinia--the most backward and With the leading incidents of the the least enlightened of all the Sar- present year in Northern Italy you dinian states. There would be other are well acquainted, and I may pass dangers, difficulties, and disagree them over with a rapid pen. The augables; but they would proceed chiefly mentation of the Austrian army in from without. The King's popularity Lombardy, and the near approach of in Lombardy, now to all appearance a strong body of troops to the Piedgreat, would be utterly lost as soon montese frontier, followed closely upas the Lombards saw an indication on Louis Napoleon's ominous address of a disposition to settle the Italian to Baron Hübner on New Year's Day, question on terms that should not and nearly coincided with the King include their complete emancipation of Sardinia's speech at the opening of the Legislative Chambers, in which increased their military force and he declared his sensibility to the cry preparations in their Italian proof suttering that reached him from vinces ; Piedmont had thousands of various parts of Italy. This speech men working at the fortifications of produced a great sensation, and ex- Alessandria, and she called out her alted the hopes of the Italian na- contingent, thereby raising her regutional party to an extravagant pitch. lar army to at least 80,000 men, inThe Piedmontese press-a consider- dependently of the volunteers who able portion of which is in the hands were being organised at various deof emigrants, and which is quite in pots under the command of Garibaldi its infancy, and distinguished by and other soldiers of fortune and great intemperance of speech, ludi- partisan chiefs. From the opposite crous vanity, and very little ability- banks of the Ticino, Piedmont and shrieked its warwhoops as violently Austria breathed defiance at each as if it thought that its puny notes other, whilst France notoriously prewould pervade all Europe, and raise pared to aid the weaker party. War a crusade against Austria. The only appeared inevitable and close at effect they produced was further to hand ; but Europe-two of whose embitter the Austrians and inflame greatest governments, and the whole the Italians. Count Cavour, all this of its people except the Italians, were time, was bent on war. In the month earnest in desiring the maintenance of January, the inquiry was addressed of peace—had not yet said its last to him from an intluential quarter, word. The voice of public opinion, whether he should be disposed to which, in our century, and in highly agree to a congress, coulil it be civilised countries, the most rigid brought about, as was not improba- despotism is powerless wholly to ble, for the settlement of the Italian silence, made itself heard-earnest question. His reply was a decided and indignant in England, angry and negative. He would hear of nothing stern in Germany, in France in small but war, and a clean sweep of every but unmistakable accents. German from Italian soil. Since And how do we stand now, in the then he has seen fit to modify his middle of the month of April ? Certone, or, I should rather say, he has tainly in great danger of war, but become less confident than he then yet not without hopes of peace. It was of foreign support ; for Pied- is impossible to deem one's-self safe mont, its King, and its prime-minis- from war, when two armies which, ter, can only have importance so long just ten years ago, were hacking at as a great power like France was each other in the firld, stand, armed willing to back them with its armies. to the teeth, with little to separate Prince Napoleon's arrival in Turin, them save a shallow stream ; when and the quickly ensuing, marriage, so many angry passions have been were a further source of rejoicing and aroused, and so many interests emsecurity to the partisans of war. But barked in the cause of strife. There as war is an expensive pastime, next is, then, great peril of a conflict came the demand for a loan, con- which, if once commenced, would ceded by the Chamber after a stormy probably quickly grow into one of debate, during which the dislike of the most tremendous and sanguinary Savoy to the Cavour policy broke out the world has witnessed. The expeby the organ of two of the deputies rience of our own century, fertile for that province. The conviction though its earlier portion and some that a conflict was at hand became of its more recent years were in hard80 strong and general throughout foughten fields, enables us to form Italy that volunteers poured in, espe- but an imperfect idea of what a gencially from Lombardy, eager to serve eral war in Europe would be at the under the Sardinian flag. The flower present day, with the enormous of the young nobles of Milan pre- armies now on foot, or that could be sented themselves to serve as private in a few weeks made efficient, and dragoons. There can be no doubt of with the aid of the terrible inventhe strength of the feeling that im- tions and appliances of science. Vetpels to such a course. The Austrians erans now living - English, French,

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