« AnteriorContinua »
the Rhine, could no more dream of the conquests which ruined the Empire: a return to those ambitious projects would be impossible. The Italians, the allies of France, if she were menaced by the Northern Powers, would become her greatest enemies, if she sought to extend her territory beyond the Alps or the Rhine; this enmity would be inspired by the most powerful of all feelings,--that of self-preservation.
It may be answered, that England would regard Italian prosperity with jealousy; for with that would revive the maritime activity of Venice, Genoa, and the coasts of Amalf. But this narrow-minded jealousy no longer exists among the free people of the present epoch. In 1816, England was seen combating the African rulers for the benefit of all the maritime powers ; renouncing herself the advantages which the British flag might have derived from this barbarian warespecially from their attacks on the Italians by sea. But what progress has not England made in generous policy since 1816? The advantages which the English have derived from the French Revolution of 1830, have opened their eyes to their real interests—have shown them, that the superiority of England to other nations, which the Tories endeavoured to establish, was profitable to the Tories, but injurious to the people.*
But suppose a war between England and Russia,-a war which public opinion regards as inevitable;- we believe, not only that the alliance of independent Italy would be highly advantageous to England; but that such an alliance would be indispensable to enable her to act on the offensive successfully against her enemy. If the British Government would courageously devote itself to the interests of its country, it would lose not a day in declaring itself for Italian independence. It would regard this political act as its first and firmest step, as well as the most advantageous, against the ambition of the Czars.
* To throw more light on this subject, we will add, that, in 1830, towards the end of October, we went from Paris to London. Generals Lafayette, Lamarque, and Mons. Manguin, expressed a wish, that we would let them know in what man. per the English liberals would consider the aggrandisement of France to Mont Cenis and the Rhine. Mr. Brougham (since Lord Brougham) told us to write to General Lafayette, and say that the liberal party in England would with pleasure see France take possession of Savoy and extend her territory to the Rhine. “Why do you, sir, who are so eminently English, give such advice?"-"Because," answered he, " the more liberty there is on the Continent, the more will there be in England ;liberty cannot be firmly established on the Continent without France, and France must be great and powerful to serve as a support to continental liberty.” My friends in Paris were charmed with this language of the first English orator. General Haso alone, strong in his own opinion, would never believe in the sympathy of the English people for France. On his return from Antwerp, he said to us :-" Did you see how your English, with their sympathy for us, endeavoured to thwart us in Belgiam?"_“I perceived it ;-but the English Ministry, which follows the Tory politics at no great distance, do not represent the free majority of the people. Besides, there is a great difference between sending commissioners to your camp, and showing themselves disposed to make war on you. An unpopular war in Eng. land would now be impossible." What would General Haxo, that great warrior and patriot, have said, bad he lived to see the ovation of Marshal Soult in London? We wish to show, in this note, that the English people have opened their eyes to their true interests. That they have seen, that though the Tories may find it to their advantage to protect European aristocracy, under the banners of absolute kings,-that they are interested in aiding the cause of the people.
Before showing the many ways in which Italy may be of service to England, by opposing the ambitious proceedings of her adversary, it is indispensable that we should combat the opinion which the Tories, those enemies to liberty, both at home and abroad, have endeavoured to establish in England. They have succeeded in making the British Cabinet regard as an axiom, that an alliance with Austria is eminently useful and necessary to England, in order to keep Russia in check. We do not deny, that before the French Revolution of 1789, the Austrian alliance may have been very serviceable to the interests of Great Britain ; for before that epoch, Austria, dreading neither France, nor Italy, nor any of the other provinces of her empire, was free in her movements. At present, when France and Russia are become more powerful than heretofore,—when the Porte is weakened,—when Hungary and Gallicia cause much embarrassment to Austria, -and when Italy, instead of assisting her as formerly, absorbs a large portion of her forces, -Austria is happy if she can keep her own. One of the most eloquent of the French deputies, alluding probably to these circumstances, said :-"Austria is the most impotent of all the European states; her frontiers are open to all; and if she did but menace us, we should, overwhelm her with the weight of Italy."
If Austria, in order to second the wishes of England, were to turn her arms against Russia, no more would be wanting to excite the Italians to take up arms, and the French to march upon the Rhine and Savoy. The Russians themselves, whose only religion is the extension of their own territory towards more genial climates, would provoke insurrection in Italy by a thousand means.
Behold, then, reasons more than sufficient to show that Austria, apparently so powerful, would be incapable of menacing Russia, in such a manner as to produce a useful diversion in favour of England.
Having shown that Great Britain would have nothing to hope from an alliance with Austria,-let us examine whether England, wishing to show herself favourably disposed towards Italy, need fear the hostility of Austria, or the result of her alliance with Russia.
We shall show, in the next chapter, with what small means England need second the efforts of Italy.
Above all, an Austro-Russian alliance would be monstrous; for if Austria clings tenaciously to Italy, we believe that a wise policy would make her hesitate much, between the loss of the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom and the invasion of Russia, menacing her independence. If, aided by England, Austria could not dispose of any considerable force against Russia, how could she act efficaciously in favour of the Czar, if England, with France for her ally, assisted the Italians ? For France, tantalized by the Rhine and Savoy, would not allow such an opportunity to escape her.
In fine, it may be supposed that the Russians, by an alliance with Austria, would be able to dispose of that part of their forces, which they would otherwise have employed against her. But this supposition also fails, when we reflect on what has already been said of the weakness of the Austrian Government, and her political position. This power, which makes so much noise in the world, is, nevertheless, so feeble, that the Russians, being at war with them, may boldly send
their forces elsewhere, without needing an army to watch the Austrian movements.
One other objection the advocates of Tory opinions would not fail to bring forward. The Italians, they would urge, having to attack the Austrians in their own country, would not be able to assist England against Russia. Our reply is this:-According to the declaration lately made by the French Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mons. Molé), whose propensities are anything but warlike, the Austrian army would be gravely compromised, if it passed' the Po;-by this we do not understand advancing a few leagues, as far as Modena or Bologna, but approaching the Tronto. If to the actual declarations of France, the assistance of England were added, the passage of the Po, by an Austrian army, would be impossible: inasmuch as, then, the ten millions of Italians on the right side of the river might immediately organize considerable and sufficient forces for the offensive and defensive operations, of which we shall speak in the next chapter; and as allies of England, they might detach considerable bodies of troops to the Black Sea, by the way of Pouille, Corfu, and Greece. The coasts of Italy would be to the English a most useful point of embarkation; they would find there not only land forces, but mariners, steamboats, and stores.
When Napoleon contemplated carrying war into the East, he early turned his thoughts to the Adriatic coasts. In consequence of his orders, Joachim prepared to put the port of Brundisi in good order; where the efforts of Cæsar to prevent the landing of Pompey's army are still visible. *
Thus, by protecting Italian independence, England would satisfy the sage views of her Government, on the political equilibrium of Europe; gratify the reasonable sympathies of her people; and procure for herself an important point d'appui, to defend and maintain her influence in Asia, without having anything to fear from Austria, or
* Letter from King Joachim to Colonel P. * Monsieur le Colonel,
" You will go to Leue, and from thence to Manfredonia, re-ascending the coast. You will present yourself to the different overseers and under-overseers at Brundisi ; you will particularly occupy yourself in reconnoitring the different establishments which exist there, and ascertaining how many troops might be lodged there-how many galley-slaves-how much time would be required to put these settlements in order-how many months of the year are unhealthy there ;consult the principal inhabitants on the expense thought necessary to clear this post, and the time it would take by employing 2,000 men. You will give me an account of the armament of Brundisi-of its forts--in fine, of its general means of defence.
“Wherever you go, you will get the best information of the state of public spiritthe degree of confidence which the authorities of the place, civil and military, enjoy. You will inform yourself of the price of grain, and whether the subsistence of the population is assured: but this information must be obtained with great discretion, and in a manner that may avoid spreading any alarm. You will collect the news which the English agents are pleased to spread, and you will endeavour to destroy the effects of whatever might tend to trouble public tranquillity and impede the march of government.
* You will write to me regularly by every courier, and by an extraordinary estefette if you have anything particular to communicate. ** I pray God, Mons. le Colonel, to keep you under his holy protection.
“(Signed) J. NAPOLEON." N.S.- VOL. vi.
making any real sacrifice, by renouncing her alliance. In fact, by independent Italy, England would attach Greece, as with a link, to the anti-Russian and representative system.
One may be surprised that these truths should have escaped the observation of the English, who observe and calculate everything. In truth, they have not escaped their keen-sighted remarks; but the interests of Great Britain have not always been the interests of the Tories, who governed her till yesterday, and who have been succeeded by the Whigs, who are more timid than their predecessors, and but little less egotistical. Both Tories and Whigs will ever reject the advantages which England would derive from protecting liberty abroad, which would produce a reaction on liberty at home, and on which they endeavour to encroach as much as possible. Both Tories and Whigs exhibited symptoms of alarm at the celebrated discourse of Canning, who only unveiled to his country her force and superiority over other powers, if she would declare herself for the liberty of the people. In fact, the Tories themselves, when not only the prosperity of Great Britain, but her very existence, and consequently their own, was at stake;—when the star of Napoleon was still brilliant; the Tories, I say, excited King Joachim Murat to proclaim the independence of Italy. They gave a constitution to Sicily, and obliged Caroline of Austria to quit that island, via Constantinople, and take refuge in Vienna, on account of her opposition to Sicilian liberty
Thus did they treat this same Caroline, whose devotion to English interests had twice lost her the crown of Naples. In fine, it was the Tory Government who sent English agents to encourage Italian Carbonarism in 1813 and 1814, with the view of proclaiming Italian independence by means of this association. The object of the Tories was then to emancipate Italy from the power of Napoleon—from that colossus, formidable even in his unexampled reverses.
And when, after quitting Elba, this indomitable genius again appeared in France, the Tory Government had given orders to their ambassador at Vienna, not only to recognize Joachim as King of Naples, but also to sign a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, with him.
Thus this unfortunate prince would have preserved his crown, and become the right arm of England on the Continent, had he deferred his attack on the Austrians in Romania but eight or ten days.
The proclamation of Lord William Bentinck, promising the Genoese the restitution of their ancient republic, is still in the memory of the Italians.
Hitherto we have only spoken of the advantages which England would derive from an alliance with Italy restored to liberty. We have said nothing of the reparation which the justice of the British nation owes to the Italians of the South, the Neapolitans and Sicilians.
To the first, to efface the remembrance of the best blood of their country, spilt through the fatal and shameful weakness of Nelson, in 1799,- not for the sake of expelling the French from the country (for they had already evacuated it,) but for the sake of destroying its liberty and of restoring it to a weak and vindictive despotism; to the Sicilians, to compensate them for the institutions which they lost, and which were solemnly guaranteed to them by England.
We have not dwelt on events which belong rather to history than to the present moment, because we do not wish to stray from our demonstration on the material interest that England would have in protecting the independence of Italy. But when England shall be governed by a minister of larger and nobler views-a minister who will devote himself to the interests of twenty-four millions of British subjects, rather than to the exclusive wishes of a caste, we might say to such a minister,-“ Remember, that if the greatest people in the world carried their victorious eagles so far and wide, it was rather by the moral effect of their justice and magnanimity than by the power of their legions."
CHAPTER II. On the Means to be employed by France and England to assist the Italians
to conquer their Independence. It is a generally received opinion, that vigorous and long-continued assistance would be necessary to enable the Italians to conquer their independence.
Even lately, the President of the French Cabinet said to the deputies of the country," If Austria repassed the Po, I should demand from you a hundred million (francs), and a hundred thousand men." The French had reason to be alarmed at the immense sacrifice deemed necessary to oppose the invasion of Southern Italy by German soldiers. *
The alarm caused by such a demand, would be but too just; for supposing that the Northern coalition had not yet openly declared itself against France, it would nevertheless be necessary that she should busband her resources, and hold herself in readiness to repulse any aggressions on her Alsace and Flanders frontiers, with which she is constantly menaced.
The arrival of 100,000 French soldiers in Italy, would, no doubt, rouse the whole country. We should see a part, if not the whole, of Piedmont, and the Italians beyond the Po, declare themselves against Austria. The numerous forces of the Sardinian Government would hasten to join the tri-coloured flag, and augment the force of the French army; but Southern Italy could render no assistance to this army, whose scene of action must necessarily be Lombardy and the Venetian territory, where Austria has prepared her strongest means of defence, and concentrated her best and most nunerous forces,-to use a vulgar but apposite expression, it would be taking the bull by the horns ; it would make a reverse possible and such a reverse, while it might be fatal to the French, would inevitably be so to the Italians, by throwing terror and dismay among their ranks.f
* Such is the state of Italian spirit, that if these phrases were generally known in the provinces of the two Sicilies, the people of that country would probably renew the insurrection of 1820, though sensible men are well aware that there is a wide difference between threats and the execution of them.
+ When we admit the possibility of the French army losing a battle in the plains