The Statesmanship of Cavour
CAMILLO BENSO, — Count Cavour, — who now, in 1848, rose rapidly above Piedmont and Italy, attracting the attention of all Europe, had been born in 1810, under the Napoleonic supremacy. Curiously connecting him with that period was his baptism, when he was held at the font by Napoleon’s sister, Pauline, and received his first name from that of her husband, Camillo Borghese, at that time Napoleon’s lieutenant in Piedmont.
The family of the young count was ancient and honorable, his father a marquis in high public employ and a sympathizer with the old régime; his mother, though a Catholic, descended from Swiss Protestants. Of his near relatives, uncles, aunts, cousins, some were among the highest nobility of Paris and some among that body of liberal thinkers who gave distinction to Geneva. Among the former was the ducal family of Clermont Tonnerre; among the latter, the De la Rives. Among his remoter kinsfolk were men eminent in science and in official life, some conservative, some radical, but all respected as patriotic thinkers; and his constant intercourse with them, the discussions he heard among them, their debates on current questions in which he joined, counted for much in his development, moral and intellectual.
As a second son, his rights to rank and fortune were greatly limited, and he seemed to rejoice that this was so. At ten years of age he was entered at the military academy at Turin, and at sixteen was graduated with especial distinction, receiving a lieutenancy of engineers, an honor rarely bestowed on one so young. An aristocrat in any evil sense he was not. Though never a demagogue in his utterances, his tendencies were, in the truest sense, democratic. Though made a page at the royal court at the age of fourteen, he so disliked court etiquette and made this feeling so evident, that he was soon discharged. His tastes were formathematics, which, both then and in his after life, he pursued far, and also for history, political economy, and social science, and for the English language, as giving, at that time, one of the best keys to these, French he spoke with ease from his childhood, and English he came to speak, at a later period, with much fluency.
As an engineer he was assigned to various duties, —mainly at Genoa, — and, though devoted to mathematics and social science, he did his practical work thoroughly well. But now came trouble. It was the period of the lowest debasement of Italy, and the period also of the second French Revolution, in 1830, which relieved France forever from the elder Bourbons. Naturally he brooded over the iniquities and absurdities which he saw about him, jotted down his reflections from time to time, and let his thoughts be known; as a result he was banished to nominal duties in the mountain districts, and, finally, to virtual imprisonment in the Alpine fortress of Bard, where, during eight months, his companions were of the rudest.
Returning from this captivity, he abandoned his military career, despite the bitter regret of his family. Charles Albert had just come to the throne of Piedmont, and, in view of his mysticism and vacillation, no chance of any public career for a man of liberal views was visible; indeed, the new king had already indicated his hostility to Cavour, declaring him the most dangerous man in the kingdom. Cavour therefore asked permission to take charge of one of the family estates, and became a farmer. At the beginning he was ignorant of the simplest rudiments of agriculture; but his power of thought and work now showed itself, and, before long, he attracted attention far and near by his success in this new profession. From the first, he applied scientific methods, but always under the control of that sound, strong common sense which afterward became so important a factor in his political and diplomatic activity. To the end of his life he cherished the love for farming thus begun, and even in the midst of his most active political services afterward, he continued the steady improvement of agriculture, and thereby deserved well of his country.
But this was by no means all. His activity seemed boundless. While managing great estates and bringing under cultivation large districts hitherto worthless, he established manufactories, mills, a railway, a line of steamers on the Lago Maggiore, a bank at Turin, and much besides. For a wonder, his enterprises succeeded; nine men out of ten, taking up so many avocations, would have ruined themselves and all their friends; but in all this work his foresight, his insight, and, above all, his keen, strong common sense carried him through triumphantly. Though caring little for money, refusing, in one instance, a great bequest, which he might have accepted most honorably, he accumulated in his various enterprises a large private fortune.
During seventeen years — the years between the resignation of his position in the army, in 1831, and the great revolutionary outbreak in Europe in 1848 — he threw himself fully into this practical work. Polit ical life there was none which he cared for: — he was excluded from state service by the prejudices of the king, the aristocracy, and the clergy, but, most of all, by his own self-respect. His high rank, connections, and abilities made him eligible for the foremost offices of the monarchy, but an office-seeker he could not be; for office in itself, or for its emoluments he cared nothing; for power as such he cared nothing; and this was his spirit to the last hour of his life; for office and power he cared only as a means of enforcing his ideas for the good of Italy.
Despite his attention to work remote from political activity, he was constantly under grave and annoying suspicions, both from the government of his own country and from that of Austria. In 1833 the Director General of Police at Milan issued instructions to public officials at the frontier, warning them to be on the watch against one Camillo di Cavour, who “in spite of his youth, is already deeply corrupted in his political principles.”
Still, even under the ban thus laid upon him, both by his own country and by its enemies, and in the midst of all this practical work so remote from politics, he had prophetic dreams. At this very time, he wrote a letter to an intimate friend, in which he said, “I can assure you that I shall make my way. I own that I am enormously ambitious, and when I am minister I hope to justify my ambitions. In my dreams I see myself already minister of the Kingdom of Italy.” And this was written when he was twenty-four, when a “Kingdom of Italy” seemed utterly impossible, and the very mention of it was widely considered treasonable.
Yet, during all those seventeen years, he was preparing himself for far higher service. In the intervals of business he made extended journeys and long stays in Switzerland, France, and England. Visiting Paris, he entered fully into the society of the foremost thinkers, writers, and statesmen, discussed current political problems with them, frequented the parliamentary bodies and studied closely their procedure, attended lectures by the foremost men of science at the Sorbonne and elsewhere, examined thoroughly farms, factories, mines, prisons, — every sort of man or place likely to give him knowledge of value to his country.
In England, also, he made vigorous studies, especially of parliamentary procedure, methods in agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, dealings with pauperism, crime, and every branch of national economy. He also devoted himself, early and late, to British history, — studying carefully, not only the dealings of living statesmen with large questions, but the struggle of Pitt with Napoleon, of Chatham with the Bourbons, and even the policy of Cromwell and the Stuarts in its relations to British freedom and power.
Thus he absorbed ideas of AngloSaxon liberty, and strengthened his faith in free government; in after years this became of vast value to his country, but it brought at first some obloquy, and, especially, the nickname of “My Lord Camillo.” Though there was never a nobleman who cared less for distinctions of rank, and prized more highly eminence in character and attainment and patriotic service, this nickname, for a time, served well the purposes of knaves and fools, for, during a considerable period, it aided in making him the most unpopular man in his country.
Returning home, he redoubled his efforts to improve agriculture, manufactures and commerce, and, what was yet more important at that epoch, to promote discussion, economic and political. To this end he founded an agricultural club and even a “whist club,” — mainly for the purpose of bringing together thinking men, — published articles in newspapers and reviews, and, among these, studies on agriculture, pauperism, and above all, in 1846, in the Paris Revue Nouvelle, a masterly article on railways. That was the period when railway development on the continent was beginning, and beginning very slowly. Franz List, one of the most gifted of political thinkers, had urged it in Germany, failed, and died impoverished and broken-hearted. But Cavour was of sterner stuff; he aroused thought throughout Europe, but especially in Italy, for he dwelt upon the value of railway communication as an agency in the conveyance, not merely of bales and boxes, but of ideas. That which led various Italian princelings and, above all, the Papal Government, to hate them, led him to promote them, for he recognized in these communications a power not only for the introduction of better ideas but also for the unification of his country.1
In the midst of all this work, which required an amazing activity, he found time to cultivate some beautiful friendships and to keep up correspondences which remain among the treasures of literature. His letters to the elder He la Rive, wise, witty, suggestive, are among these; but most striking, perhaps,of all, is his correspondence with the Countess de Circourt. She was of Russian birth, married to a man of eminence in France, and, though she was a hopeless invalid, her salon at Paris was the centre of a large circle of eminent men of various nationalities, among whom was Cavour. With her he found time to discuss all sorts of subjects, grave and gay, light and severe; and their letters, as given to the world by Count Nigra (in his early life one of Cavour’s secretaries, since so distinguished as ambassador to France and to Austria, and, more recently, as president of the Italian delegation at the Peace Conference of The Hague), throw a beautiful light into the depths of Cavour’s character.2
In December, 1847, he founded, at Turin, a newspaper, — The Resurrection,— Il Risorgimento,—and he pressed into the service with him a majority of the leading thinkers of upper Italy, and chief among them, Cesare Balbo, who had already done so much for his country with his famous pamphlet, the Speranze d’Italia.
As a writer, Cavour felt himself lacking much. He confessed that he had never had any adequate training in literature, and his writings certainly lacked largely the beauty which made so many of his contemporaries famous; but his patriotism broke through all obstacles. His style, rough at times but always clear and forcible, held his readers; his knowledge of events and his experience among men convinced them, and his earnestness, rising at times into fervent eloquence, conquered them.3
At first he wrote mainly on large subjects, economical and social, of general value to his country; but more and more he turned to political questions, and was soon recognized as a leader. He was neither a demagogue nor a doctrinaire. He avoided revolution and revolutionary methods; but he believed in revolution when nothing short of it would do, and when it could be controlled by men of thought and knowledge. He believed in the steady development of better institutions rather than in vague declamation, in open discussion rather than in conspiracy, and in right reason rather than in fanaticism. He hated the despotism, not only of tyrants but of mobs, and he disbelieved hardly less profoundly in carbonarism and the plots of Mazzini than in the methods of Francis of Austria and Ferdinand of Naples.
Opposed to him were extremists on both sides, — men calling themselves “Monarchists,” who had ruined or were destined to ruin every monarch who trusted to them; and men calling themselves “Democrats,” or “Republicans,” who had brought to naught every effort in Europe for rational liberty. Revolution was to him the last remedy in the most dire extremity.
Therefore it was, as we have seen, that, when the revolutionary leaven of 1848 began working throughout Europe, and revolutionists in Genoa and elsewhere began declaiming in favor of this or that quackish panacea, Cavour, to save liberty from mobs on one side and monarchy on the other, threw all his power into an effort to secure a constitution. His success was immediate, and the Statuto, advocated by him and issued by King Charles Albert, became at once the corner-stone of Piedmontese liberty, and, finally, of Italian liberty and unity.
The Statuto was no mere makeshift, no worthless promise made by a despot in trouble. Promises made by the Bourbons had come to count for nothing, and promises made by Hapsburgs were little better; pledges from either of these houses had come to be regarded much like those made two centuries before, by Charles the First of England, who had lied to all parties until it was found that putting him to death was the only remedy. But a promise from the House of Savoy was of sterling value, not only in the eyes of Italy, but of Europe. How much it meant was to be seen later, not only in Italy but in Spain and throughout Europe.
The revolutionary movement in Europe spread rapidly and irresistibly. Louis Philippe fled from his throne in France, the King of Prussia was humiliated by the mob in his capital; from every part of Europe despots, great or small, rumbled along the high-roads toward England.
In this general scramble for safety, absolute rulers began to offer reforms and even constitutions, but, erelong, nearly all the petty princelings of Italy fled from their states. Even Rome moved. Pope Pius offered, finally, various reforms, among them a ministry containing, for a wonder, three laymen, and even a parliament, — but this parliament subject to a secret committee of cardinals.
Best of all for Italy was the revolution at Vienna. Milan and Venice rose immediately, and each drove out the Austrian oppressor; Italian patriotism seemed irresistible, and the whole nation rose in aid of these two city-centres of effort for national independence.
Up to this time Cavour had in all his work sought to develop Italian resources, to promote education, to stimulate the arts of peace, to resist everything like revolution. Now comes a sudden change. In all his utterances he is now for war; he declares that, no matter how inferior in forces Piedmont may be, she must march to the aid of Milan and Venice.
To this pressure King Charles Albert yielded, marched his troops against Austria, was, in the first main battle, — Goito, — successful, and entered Milan as a conqueror. As he had promised, his sons supported him bravely. Of one of them, the world was destined to hear much, — as Victor Emmanuel II; the world now began to hear also of one Joseph Garibaldi, fighting in the mountains at the head of volunteers.
But King Charles Albert was no general; his first victory was not vigorously followed up, and calamities came on all sides. Pope Pius, having yielded to the Roman people so far as to send troops to keep the Austrians out of his dominions, began to show an utter unwillingness to do more; he would give no further help to his fellow Italians rebelling against his old friend Austria. Ferdinand of Naples, who had at first, after the NeapoIitan-Bourbon fashion, made every sort of patriotic pledge and proclamation, and had sent ships and troops against Austria, now turned traitor and secretly issued instructions to his admirals and generals, nullifying all their patriotic efforts; other Italian princelings followed his example; in the minds of all these rulers there was working not only a hatred of constitutional liberty, but a jealousy of Piedmont as the head of the new movement, — as the kingdom whose monarch had begun to lead Italy to victory and who might profit by it.
But there came things worse by far than these, — political fooleries of the sort which have generally ruined revolutions. At Milan, the great centre of Lombardy, after days of heroic bravery, came a reign of utter folly, — long and bitter discussions as to what sort of government should be established when Italian liberty should be finally achieved, demands for a constituent assembly, for a convention, for all the fine things which had thitherto brought every European revolution to ruin. It was a folly only comparable with the scenes at Constantinople, nearly five hundred years before, when the leaders gave their time to impassioned debates on theological points, while the Turks were storming the walls of the city. Nor was this all. At Rome things were even worse. Pius IX had wisely selected, as the head of his cabinet, Pellegrino Rossi, a political thinker whose abilities had received the highest recognition in Switzerland and France, a statesman who, though a refugee from Italy, had been made an ambassador at Rome, by the government of Louis Philippe. No thinking man denied Rossi’s high character and great ability, and it was certain that all his influence would be thrown in behalf of constitutional liberty; but meantime had come declarations of schemers and dreamers, demanding fruit on the day the tree was planted, stimulating every sort of outbreak, glorifying every growth of quackery, demanding “government by the people,” —by which they meant the sovereignty of the city mob, — and denouncing Rossi as an incarnation of evil.
The natural result of such denunciations followed, — the same result of unlimited calumny which our own Republic has seen in the deaths of Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. Rossi was assassinated at the door of Parliament, and the Pope, a prisoner at the Quirinal, insulted, terrified, gave up all hope or effort for liberty and fled to Gaëta. From that date, through his entire reign, the longest in the history of the Papacy, Pope Pius remained an utter disbeliever in free government; and not only this but a disbeliever in all freedom of thought, destined, in his famous “Encyclical,” to make the most reactionary declaration against everything like human freedom which the world has ever known.4
Thus it was that “the fool reformer” — the worst plague of thinking statesmen, in all times — had done the work of Austria and the Italian tyrants thoroughly, — as thoroughly as did similar “reformers” in Russia thirty years later, when they assassinated Alexander II., the Czar Emancipator, in the midst of his efforts to give his people constitutional liberty,— and as they are doing it now, under Nicholas II. At this cruel murder of Rossi, all Europe and, indeed, all the world, was disheartened and even disgusted. Charles Albert tried to fight on, but, in July of 1848, at the Battle of Custozza, he was overcome and there came a truce. Now was the time to call in Cavour; but the king still distrusted him, the people misunderstood him, the Turin mob had its way, another period of political folly set in, and, as a result, the Piedmontese army marched once more against Austria, and in March, 1849, at Novara, was soundly and thoroughly beaten. The king abdicates his throne, even on the battlefield, takes refuge in Portugal, and soon dies. Full reaction succeeds throughout Italy, and, indeed, throughout Europe. Austria, in spite of her own troubles elsewhere, is jubilant in Italy. Again her troops enter Milan and Venice; still worse, if possible, a French garrison enters Rome, nominally to control reformers of the sort who had murdered Rossi; and there it remained for nearly twenty years.
All seemed lost. Piedmont, under its new king, Victor Emmanuel II, seemed utterly at the mercy of Austria. The material distress of the little kingdom was of the greatest, but, in spite of it, she showed a moral elevat ion which from the first indicated that she would finally rise above all this calamity; and the main agent in this new effort was Cavour. Up to this time, though recognized as a powerful journalist and man of affairs, he had taken no official part in political life. He had been a candidate for election to parliament and had been beaten; but the people, taught by adversity, seeing that his counsels had been prompted by patriotic foresight, finally elected him. The new king’s ministry was led by D’ Azeglio, but, at last, after various ministerial changes, came a personal catastrophe which ended in a way most unexpected.
Holding the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Navy in the ministry was Santa Rosa, a patriotic writer and scholar, respected and beloved throughout the kingdom. Suddenly, in August, 1850, he was taken with mortal illness. As a writer he had been one of Cavour’s main colleagues in the editorial work of the Risorgimento; as a minister he had aided to carry out one of Cavour’s main ideas, by bringing into Parliament a bill abolishing the mediæval powers of ecclesiastical tribunals. Against this, though the Church had long before agreed to a similar reform in France, there came fierce ecclesiastical protests, and, in his dying hours, Santa Rosa, though a devout Catholic, was refused the last sacraments, by order of Monsignor Fransoni, the Archbishop of Turin. To men of these days such a matter would seem of the least possible consequence, but, to the devout populace of Turin, it seemed an awful catastrophe and they held the archbishop responsible for it. The hatred thus engendered lasted long. It was brought to bear in various ways upon those whose petty spite had caused it and upon the Church at large, but its most noteworthy immediate result was that patriotic pressure now obliged the young king to name Cavour as Santa Rosa’s successor. The king yielded gracefully, but with the jocose warning to all the other ministers that Cavour would some day occupy all their places. As we shall see, this prediction proved virtually true: with the exception of one ministry, that of Justice, Cavour was destined, at various periods, to occupy all the positions in the royal cabinet, and not infrequently several of them at the same time.
Various difficulties followed; but the country soon recognized Cavour as its leader. The special work of his new office was done admirably. The Department of Agriculture he developed as never before; commerce and manufactures he strengthened by the most intelligent scientific and practical methods; as to the navy, there came a stroke of genius, for he placed the great naval arsenal at Spezzia. People complained that it was on the extreme edge of the Piedmontese dominions; but he made little if any reply, treasuring in his heart of hearts the fact that for a future united Italy it was the best site possible.
A dissolution of the ministry having come in 1852, Cavour gave up office for a time, visited France and England, made a closer acquaintance than ever with their leading statesmen, and, most important of all, met for the first time Napoleon III, and had an opportunity to impress his ideas regarding Italy on that monarch, formerly a Carbonaro, now in all his glory as Emperor of the French,— not yet shown to the world by Bismarck as “a great unrecognized incapacity.”
Returning to Turin and again entering the ministry, Cavour’s work became greater than ever. There were more and more trying questions to be settled with Austria; difficulties even more subtle with the Vatican and the clerical party, who sought to save every old ecclesiastical abuse which Cavour wished to remedy.
Nothing could be more unjust than their attacks upon him, for from first to last, against all provocations, he was singularly faithful to the Church. When he felt that the old monkish abuses must, be stopped and sundry revenues of bishops diminished, he used the revenues then obtained, not for civic purposes, greatly as they were needed by the state, but to increase the stipends of the poorer clergy. No maltreatment by the Church ever succeeded in provoking him to take anything like revenge.
The annoyances from the clerical party were, indeed, vexatious. The bad harvests, the coming of the cholera, which science had not yet disarmed, and the death of the queen, with two other members of the royal family, all were exhibited by clerical orators as a divine punishment of Cavour’s government, for its crimes against the Church.
But Cavour presses on none the less vigorously. He begins the new system of Italian railways, makes commercial treaties with the leading European powers, alleviates the suffering of the poor by wiser adjustment of tariffs, visits the cholera hospitals, cheers the patients and sees that the best care is given them, and in the midst of ten thousand matters of business, great and small, carries on continuously his negotiations with France and England looking to the driving of Austria out of Italy.
Three serious difficulties beset him ever more and more. A strong industrial party, vexed by his commercial treaties, which had interfered with their profits, insisted that he was ruining the country financially; the extreme revolutionists, vexed by his coolness toward feather-brained fanatics, insisted that he was ruining the country politically; the all-pervading clerical party, vexed by his suppression of sundry monasteries and church abuses, insisted that he was ruining the people religiously. Calumnies of every sort were invented, — he was making a vast fortune out of the people; he was wrecking the liberties of the people; he was destroying the souls of the people.
He took it all cheerily and pressed on, taking it for granted that the sober second thought of the country would do him justice.
The calumny regarding his self-seeking cleared itself away when the fact became known that on his accepting the post of finance minister he had sold all his stocks and shares which could be directly affected by legislation or by governmental policy.
His method of working through the various parties in parliament also exposed him at times to attack, and even to obloquy. From first to last, he refused utterly to violate the constitution of his country, but he never hesitated to violate party lines and precedents. If he could not work with one party, he made alliance with another; if he could not carry the whole of any one party with him, he found his supporters in various parties. To a man of less genius this would have been perilous, but it -was by this means, especially, that he carried through many of his most important measures, and it was soon felt that his aims were those of his country, and that he rose superior to all parties.5
In January, 1855, he made the first in a series of great moves, not only as an Italian, but as a European statesman. The Crimean War had come. Nicholas I of Russia, a fanatical absolutist, had brought together vast and showy armies and navies, had concentrated great power in the Black Sea, and had, in various ways, shown a determination to take possession of the Turkish Empire in Europe and along the Eastern Mediterranean. Against this, France, England, and Turkey had united and had sent their armies into the Crimea. Suddenly, in January, 1855, Europe was amazed to find that Cavour had joined Piedmont with the three powers against Russia, and had pledged his country, with its four millions of inhabitants, to send 20,000 troops to aid them. Never was there a bolder stroke of policy. Against it were arrayed all his old enemies in parliament and press, and, joined with them, many who had been his oldest and best friends. The aristocracy naturally favored autocratic Russia; the democracy naturally dreaded imperial France. In the debates conservatives and radicals bitterly attacked him; indeed, the argument seemed against him. How absurd to plunge his country, with its four millions of people, into a war against Russia, with her hundred millions! How wicked to join in a war with which Piedmont had nothing to do! How slender the chances that the little Italian army could accomplish anything! How certain that the only possible result would be the impoverishment of the little kingdom! How inevitable that the great powers, having used Piedmont, would, in any treaty which might close the war, ignore her claims and fling her aside!
Against these the arguments of Cavour seemed slender. His main reasons — the necessity of obtaining recognition of Piedmont as a European power, of securing an alliance with the two great powers of Western Europe in order to counter-match Austria, of training an Italian army for a new struggle for independence — he could not avow. Those which he could avow were anything but convincing. Of what avail to say that little Piedmont did not wish Russia to become too strong in the Mediterranean ?
But, despite all this, Cavour defeated his adversaries, won over King Victor Emmanuel and a small majority of the parliament, and sent the little Italian army to the Crimea. At first Europe was inclined to laugh at it. The fable of the Frog and the Ox was recalled in countless satires and caricatures. Ill fortune came; the cholera sadly depleted the little force; there was much delay in its operations; but, finally, came news that it had won a real victory, demanding skill and hard fighting, at the Tcliernaya. The effect was magical. The pride of all Italy was aroused; more widely than ever Cavour was now recognized as the Italian leader; the people at large began to divine his reasons and to do him justice; more and more the idea spread throughout Europe that Italy was determined to have her independence and freedom, and that somehow Cavour would secure it.
At the close of the war, in 1856, came a first open triumph of his policy, for Piedmont, with Cavour as her representative, despite all the opposition of Austria, was admitted to the Congress of Paris.
To many, his position as representing so small a state, among colleagues who represented great empires, seemed ridiculous, and he, knowing that it must be so, was at first very quiet, — not interfering while English, French, Russian, and Austrian statesmen discussed their main interests. But, as these questions grew deeper and broader, his opinion was sought; and, joining in the debate, he was soon seen to be a master. This recognition obtained, he secured a sort of personal alliance with the emperor and his minister, Walewski, and so was able to bring the condition of Italy and the conduct of Austria toward her before the Conference. Naturally Austria protested bitterly; naturally, also, nothing decisive for Italy was then done; but the great thing was that Cavour had spoken, through the Conference, to all Europe. More and more it was seen that the condition of things in Italy was a menace to European civilization; that every town in the Italian peninsula was a centre of fanaticism, and that revolution might spring forth at any moment, to plague all the great powers.
This work done, Cavour returned to Turin and opened a new era in the industrial history of southern Europe by beginning, in 1857, the first of the three great tunnels under the Alps now connecting Italy with the north, — that of Mont Cenis.
But in January of the following year came a calamity. Certain Italian fanatics, at their head Felice Orsini, enraged at Napoleon III, who, in his youth, had taken the oaths of the Carbonari, and, at the height of his power had forgotten them, flung a bomb beneath his carriage. The immediate result was that many innocent people were killed and wounded, while the emperor escaped. The remote result was a decided check to the better feeling toward Italy, a bitter distrust of Italians, a feeling that, after all, Austria might be right in aiding to keep down a people which resorted to such cruelty and folly.
There was a sequence of events and change in sympathies such as we have seen in the whole world of late regarding Russia: at first, strong sympathy with her people and its representatives, but finally, disgust at their folly and cruelty, and a preference for the old despotism over the new. To meet this feeling Cavour felt obliged to bring into the Piedmontese Parliament strong laws against conspirators and assassins. This brought upon him increased hostility from the fanatical element in Italy; but one thing served powerfully to recover the confidence of Europe, and that was the distinction which Cavour drew most powerfully and clearly between a rational evolution of freedom, on one side, and a wild plunge into revolution, on the other. In this he was thoroughly honest. Even in his youth, sketching in an essay his hopes for liberty in Italy and his ideas as to the best means of realizing them, he had declared against sudden and revolutionary changes; to put it in the language of our day, he supported evolution rather than revolution, and, in this new declaration of his creed, Europe recognized him as a true statesman; more than ever it was felt, even by conservatives, that an epidemic of destructive and sterile revolution could best be avoided by releasing Italy from her oppressors.
Six months later came a turning-point. Very privately — indeed, under an assumed name — Cavour visited Napoleon III at the little French watering-place of Plombières. There he brought to bear on the emperor all his skill, in showing that the existing order of things was a menace to the Napoleonic throne as well as to European order, and so cogently that the French monarch entered into a secret agreement with him against Austria.
Returning to Italy, he met at BadenBaden the Prince Regent of Prussia , one of the most thoughtful of men, who had every reason to dread and hate revolution, and who afterward became William I, Emperor of Germany. Undoubtedly, in the conversation which then took place, an impression was made which, at the critical moment during the struggle which followed, did something to prevent the Prussian ruler from interfering in behalf of Austria.
Of course, in all this effort by Cavour, especially with the Emperor Napoleon III, the Italian statesman had to encounter the open hostility and the secret intrigues of the clerical party in France as well as in Italy. Through the Empress Eugénie, a Spanish woman devoted to the Church, they had a hold upon the French court, and in a thousand ways were able to promote what they considered the interests of Austria and of the Vatican,
But, on the first of January, 1859, a speech made by the Emperor Napoleon in the presence of the ambassadors at the Tuileries foreshadowed war with Austria, and in a similar speech at Turin, King Victor Emmanuel, some days later, showed the same intention. Warlike preparations followed, on both sides, Cavour being especially active. His greatest trouble was now due to the vacillation of Napoleon III. The emperor had many misgivings, and did not know his own mind. At times he was bent on peace. England blunderingly interfered and offered her good offices. Worst of all, Russia interposed and urged a special conference of the European powers, thus influencing the emperor so far that he telegraphed Cavour, insisting that he must agree to this. Probably, of all the moments in his life, this was to Cavour the most trying. He telegraphed to the Emperor his agreement; but so bitter was his regret that his friends feared his suicide.
For a moment all his plans seemed wrecked; but he now made a master stroke. Skillfully he provoked Austria to insist that Piedmont should disarm before the assembling of the council, and to declare that if she did not disarm Austria would begin war. Then Cavour simply refused to disarm, — put Austria in the wrong, forced her to fight, and forced Napoleon III to lead French troops into Piedmont against her. Fortunately, too, the generalship of Austria proved as bad as her diplomacy. By a rapid movement the Austrians might have occupied the Piedmontese capital; but there was delay, the allied armies made the most of it, and, on the 12th of June they won the terrible battle of Magenta, and the allied sovereigns entered Milan as conquerors. Shortly afterward came the battle of Solferino, and, while Napoleon III showed none of the military qualities of the man whose name he bore, King Victor Emmanuel gained especial credit for bravery. Austria was completely beaten and it seemed certain that she would now be expelled from the Italian Peninsula. Suddenly came a catastrophe. In his proclamation at the beginning of the war, Napoleon had declared that Italy should be set free, from the Alps to the Adriatic, but, after these tremendous battles, he halted. He evidently feared that Prussia, with her great power, might interfere. He also saw that his army had, probably, gained more prestige in the battles of Magenta and Solferino than it was likely to secure thereafter. There was a vein of sentiment in him, such as the first Napoleon had never shown; the heaps of dead and wounded sickened him, and he dwelt plaintively on the fact that he had lost ten thousand men. The Austrians had retreated within the strong “quadrilateral” formed by their four great fortresses in Northern Italy, and thenceforth war must be a slow, painful effort against Austria, the Papacy, Naples, and, possibly, Prussia.
Therefore it was that suddenly, without notice to Cavour, Napoleon III arranged a meeting with the Austrian emperor at Villafranca, and patched up a peace. In this he set Lombardy free from Austria and virtually gave it, with Milan as its centre, to Piedmont, but he allowed Austria still to retain her hold upon Venice, agreed that the principal petty despots of Central Italy might return to their dominions, and provided for a Central Italian Confederacy, to be presided over by the Pope.6
For a time, Cavour felt that all was lost. He seemed stunned and dazed. He had, indeed, taken Lombardy out of the clutch of Austria; but he had expected far more. He had relied upon the emperor’s word that Italy should be free, “from the Alps to the Adriatic.” In a stormy interview with Victor Emmanuel he denounced the whole procedure, protested against the treaty, begged the king to refuse to sign it, to resist it, and to press on with the Italian army alone. Fortunately Cavour was in this unsuccessful; and now, sooner than attach his signature to the treaty, he retired from the ministry and, apparently, gave up political life. He even left his country, went to Switzerland, and settled down for a time with his old friends on the shores of Lake Leman. But soon his old vigor — indeed, his old cheerfulness — returned. We have the testimony of those who were then with him, to the effect that he soon recovered all his elasticity and devoted himself even more earnestly than before to thinking out new ways and means of accomplishing his great purpose — despite the emperor’s treachery.7
At the Zurich Congress which followed, Napoleon III made proposals utterly incompatible with Cavour’s idea of a united Italy. The emperor, evidently affected by the need of conciliating his French priesthood, suggested various plans, differing from one another in details, but all containing hints, more or less vague, at carrying out his version of Gioberti’s old idea and establishing a confederacy mainly of four states: namely, Piedmont, including Lombardy; Venice, with the minor principalities put back under Austrian slavery; the Papal dominions; Naples,with Sicily; and, possibly, in addition, a little kingdom to be carved out of Tuscany and its neighbors, for his wretched cousin, Prince Jerome Napoleon, — the Pope to be president over the whole.
Curious was it, in connection with this, that Gioberti himself, the renowned author of the confederation idea, had now fully renounced it, had, indeed, avowed a sort of loathing for it, and, in his final book, his Rinnovamento, published shortly before his death just at this time, in 1859, had demonstrated that in his old plan there was no longer any hope, but that Italy must be united as a single kingdom, with Piedmont at its head.
Happily, events in the Italian Peninsula were now far beyond Napoleon’s reach. Though the Villa franca arrangement had contemplated the restoration of the Austro-Italian princelings, it had provided no means of accomplishing this, and the people throughout Middle Italy — indeed, throughout the whole of Italy — had determined that they would not be put back under the old tyranny and would never allow the Austrian satraps to return.
Events followed fast. Cavour was soon drawn out of his retirement. In March, 1860, eight different districts elected him to the approaching Italian Parliament, and again he began his labors. There was much difficulty in keeping the hands of Napoleon III off the growing movements for independence and liberty in Middle Italy, but Cavour was skillful and vigorous, and the main districts of the Papal Kingdom, Tuscany, and adjacent divisions of Italy, by overwhelming majorities, voted themselves out from under Austria, the Pope, and their various princelings, and into the new Kingdom of Italy.
This came as an embarrassing argument to Napoleon III. For when, as President, he had sought the imperial power in France, he had appealed to the French people, and his title to sovereignty rested upon just such a great poplar majority as this which the people of Central Italy now gave Victor Emmanuel. The plebiscite, in these regions of Italy which Napoleon III sought to give back to their old masters, now did its work thoroughly well against him; in every case the vote against the old order of things, and in behalf of annexation to the Italian Kingdom, was virtually unanimous.
Meantime, in the spring of 1860, revolution had broken out in Palermo, and was rapidly undermining Bourbon power in Sicily. On the 11th of May, Garibaldi, with his famous “Thousand,’ landed in the island, and having defeated the armies of the Neapolitan king at Palermo, declared himself dictator in the name of Victor Emmanuel.
In this matter, without doubt, Cavour swerved exceptionally from his fundamental creed, for, while he did not promote the beginnings of Garibaldi’s invasion of Sicily, he had not opposed it, and, when it was under way, he had aided it.
More than this, he now promoted insurrection in Lower Italy, partly to prepare the way for Garibaldi, partly, no doubt, to make good the claims of United Italy against a Garibaldian dictatorship.
Southern Italy was fully ripe for revolution; every sane mind in Europe must have expected it. As far back as 1850 and 1851, Mr. Gladstone, making a long stay in Naples, closely studied the methods of King Ferdinand II, and revealed them in his “Letters to the Earl of Aberdeen,” which, in pamphlet form, were circulated throughout Europe and America. Gladstone had attended the treason trials, visited the prisoners, talked with men of light and leading, and his revelations were damning. The administration of the law was a cruel farce, the government freely suborned witnesses, the prisons were filthy and crowded with men merely suspected of liberalism. Former members of the king’s cabinet, professors in the University, respected citizens of all professions, were languishing in dungeons or working in the chain gang. Among these, one who attracted especial attention was Baron Carlo Poerio, a former minister, whom Gladstone characterized as “a refined and accomplished gentleman, a respected and blameless character,” and who was imprisoned, with fifteen others, in a room less than fifteen feet long and only eight feet high; and there these men lived night and day, always chained two by two. Still another was Settembrini, one of the most beloved and respected professors in the University of Naples, who had sat with the king in council, but who, having incurred the monarch’s dislike by his liberalism, was, at this time, brought out to work in the chain gang in front of the Royal Palace, — His Majesty occasionally going out upon the balcony to enjoy the sight of him.8
Gladstone’s denunciations of this whole system culminated in the declaration that it was “the negation of God, erected into a system of government.” But all opposition was unheeded by Neapolitan royalty. The Holy Alliance found no fault with it, and the Emperor Nicholas of Russia especially honored it, petted its envoy at the Winter Palace, and sent the king two colossal statues in bronze, representing powerful steeds conquered by strong men and typifying the curbing of resistance to authority. These were placed at the entrance of the Royal Palace and there they remain even to this day. It may be added that within a short distance of them now stands a noble statue of Carlo Poerio.9
In 1859 Ferdinand had died and there had come to the throne his son, Francis II, a poor creature, moulded as nearly as possible in his father’s image by his eminent tutor, Archbishop Apuzzo, and by his Jesuit instructors; and, during his reign of two years, he proved himself their apt pupil.
In the summer of 1860, he gave a famous exhibition of tragedy and farce. Garibaldi, with his “Thousand,” having conquered King Francis’s realm of Sicily, despite the 30,000 troops stationed in the island, invaded the mainland, and the young despot attempted to make headway against them by time-honored Bourbon methods. Bringing out one of the old constitutions which his father and grandfather had sworn to and violated, he avowed his willingness, nay, his wish, to swear to observe it. But, alas for him! his fathers had taught the people of Southern Italy the worthlessness of Bourbon promises. More than that, it was speedily made known how this poor young king had been educated. The Catechismo Filosofico, as edited by his tutor, Archbishop Apuzzo, was republished and circulated far and wide, and it called the attention of Italy and the world to the fact that the king, with the approval of his father, had been taught by this ecclesiastical tutor that no oaths sworn by a sovereign to a constitution are binding, not even those made to secure a throne; that the moment a man is made king he is responsible to God alone, and that no oaths to his people can hold him. Jesuit casuistry now recoiled upon its authors; the movement for Italian liberty in Naples carried all before it. In the first days of September, 1860, King Francis fled to the fortress of Gaëta; and, while he there showed himself to be feeble and worthless, his young German queen won the admiration of Europe by virtually taking command and holding that fortress during six months. Then the royal couple escaped, and, having for a time settled in Rome, were able to punish their former subjects by sending bands of brigands among them, robbing, burning, and murdering; but this being finally ended, they retreated to Paris, and were heard of no more save in a romance which exhibited them to the mingled derision and pity of the world.10
On September 7, 1860, Garibaldi entered Naples; and now began a new complication, — for Cavour perhaps the most wearisome of his whole life. With the Garibaldian army had come Italian extremists of every sort, in the midst of them Mazzini, and these, in the interest of their vaguely dreamed republic, did their worst against the annexation of Naples and Sicily to the Italian Kingdom, and won to some of their most troublesome ideas the support of Garibaldi.
The Pope, too, gave great trouble. He obtained an army by summoning foreign volunteers, among them many dismissed from the French army, put them under Lamoricière, who had won respect as a French general, and did his best to make Italian unity impossible. It was serious, indeed, for Cavour to find arrayed against him this triple foe, — the Pope, appealing to the religious world, Mazzini, appealing to lazzaroni republicans, and Garibaldi, flushed with his great victories; but with each and all these foes he at once grappled vigorously. Next to the French alliance it was his greatest stroke of policy. Not waiting for Garibaldi to come northward, he sends an Italian army into the Papal States, and, at Castelfidardo, defeats Lamoricière and disperses the last of papal armies. He strikes no less boldly at Naples, — pushing on Italian troops, with Victor Emmanuel at their head, to cooperate with Garibaldi, but, at the same time, to assert, against the great adventurer, the rights of united Italy to disperse anarchic forces, and establish the claims of right reason. Unmindful of the pretended republican or democratic proclivities of the Neapolitan lazzaroni, who had shown themselves as ready to murder and plunder with hurrahs for liberty as with cheers for King Bomba, he carries through Parliament measures incorporating into the new nation Naples, Sicily, the main part of the Papal territory, Tuscany, and the rest, until he has brought into it all Italy save Venice and Rome.
And now, early in March, 1861, having assembled in Turin the first Italian Parliament, he fully committed it to all his great measures, and, above all, to a United Italy and to Victor Emmanuel as its constitutional king.
The rapidity, vigor, and inspiration of Cavour’s measures carried everything before them. He was now president of the new Ministry of the Italian Kingdom, and summoned to his side as colleagues the foremost men of the whole peninsula, among them such men as Minghetti, Peruzzi, and de Sanctis.
There was, indeed, a painful side to all this, for Cavour had, by some of the measures which he had felt obliged to take, separated himself from many old and devoted friends; and especially had he given offense to some of the best of these by his apparent relinquishment of his old ideas against revolutionary methods.
Even more painful to him was the course of Garibaldi, who bitterly resented various things in Cavour’s statesmanship, and, above all, his surrender of Nice to Napoleon III. In that town Garibaldi was born, and he complained that Cavour had made him a foreigner in his own birthplace. Garibaldi urged the king to dismiss Cavour from the ministry, issued letters against him, and finally entered Parliament in order to attack him.
All this was, indeed, disheartening. Nearly a year before, Cavour, in one of the most powerful and brilliant speeches in parliamentary history, had shown why the cession of Nice and Savoy to France was an absolutely necessary condition to the establishment of Italian unity. ,At times pathetic, at times humorous, at times eloquent, he had defended his policy and convinced the country. He, indeed lamented the necessity of ceding these territories, and this feeling he expressed most nobly; but, as a matter of fact, both Savoy and the city of Nice had long been more French than Italian. In both, French was the language mainly spoken, and many of their deputies in parliament could speak no other. The commerce and the sympathies of both were largely, if not mainly, French. Savoy, though the cradle of the royal house of Italy, was largely in the hands of priests, and constantly in opposition to Italian aspirations. Nice was rapidly becoming a French pleasure ground. That speech of Cavour had, to all appearance, settled the question and opened the way for other questions far more pressing; but now all must begin again and in a way that was discouraging and even exasperating.11
Despite all this, the triumphant general now loudly denounced the triumphant statesman as one who had flung away Italian territory, had made war between brothers, had betrayed liberty; and he united with those who denounced Cavour for selling to France Savoy, the cradle of the new Italian monarchy. Parts of the debate were very painful; but Cavour thoroughly controlled himself and rose quietly above all passion and bitterness. He allowed that the resentment of Garibaldi for the sacrifice of his birthplace was natural, declared that he could not blame him for it, and, at the crisis of the attack, he remained silent. But others came to his defense. The cruel injustice of these charges was manifest to every thinking Italian. The speech of Ricasoli; discussing the whole situation and Cavour’s part in it, has taken its place among the masterpieces of Italian eloquence; and among those who followed him on the same side were men who had long differed with Cavour.
It looked for a time as if civil war between Northern and Southern Italy might ensue; but leaders on both sides showed a determination to allay this bitterness, and finally, in April, 1861, there came a reconciliation, — Cavour and Garibaldi continuing to revere, and to distrust each other.
Now drew on Cavour’s final struggle, — his effort to secure Rome as the national capital; but the Vatican rejected every proposal, and the emperor, to please the clerical party in France, interposed obstaeles to every measure tending to make Italy united and independent. There constantly rose in the emperor’s mind the old vague dreams of an Italian confederacy with the Pope at its head, with a restoration of Bourbons here and Hapsburgs there, and, perhaps, a Bonaparte in Tuscany,— all keeping the country disunited and weak, making it for ever an easy prey to French intrigue or force. But against both Pope and Emperor Cavour steadily maintained his policy of a United Italy under a single head and with a liberal constitution, and he gained steadily upon his adversaries.
But while the steady opposition of the Vatican to every proposal for placing the national capital at Rome was vexatious, and the attitude of the emperor still more so, there came a piece of great good fortune to the Italian cause. This was an occurrence apparently most trifling, and in a Roman provincial city, yet of all things that ever alienated public opinion, — Jew and Gentile, Catholic and Protestant, — throughout the world, from the Papal policy, this proved the most powerful. On the 24th of June, 1858, a devout servant, Anna Morisi, entrusted with the care of a little child, Edgar Mortara, in a Jewish family of Bologna, and anxious to save the child’s soul, had entered into relations with the Holy Inquisition, — the result being that a priest was sent who baptized the infant and then carried off both the maid and the child.
The agonized parents begging for the return of their son, the pontifical authority threatened to put into force against them certain obsolete laws which punished Jews for employing Catholic servants. The parents were not allowed even to see their child. These facts were concealed until about the end of August, 1858, when the story came out and ran like wildfire throughout Italy and, indeed, throughout Christendom. Everywhere the press protested against this monstrous iniquity, save in Austria, where the government forbade any public mention of it. In France the remonstrances became especially bitter, and Veuillot, the most eminent of French ultramontane editors, made matters still worse by defending the abduction of the little Mortara as in conformity with the traditions of the Church, and by calling attention to the fact that this right of abduction had been claimed, as against Protestant children, by some of the most eminent authorities of the French Church, under the old Bourbon monarchy.
All this served to increase the indignation of Christendom, and public opinion became so strong that both France and Great Britain made remonstrances at the Vatican. All to no purpose. The Papal Government simply inserted in their official organ — the Civilta Cattolica — a note declaring the question “ purely spiritual; ” the Pope h ad no response to make to foreign powers. This increased the general indignation, crippled the French clerical party in its efforts to prevent the union of France with Italy during the following year, — and vastly increased the number of those who hoped and prayed that the war of 1859 might result in the substitution of lay for clerical government at Rome.
Two years later the Mortara family brought suit against Anna Morisi for the abduction. To this the Papal Court simply answered that the young woman had entered a convent, and that the whole matter was “purely spiritual.” Finally Prussia showed a disposition to intervene. This seemed so serious that, in some mysterious manner, the Mortara family were persuaded to withdraw their suit, and were even offered restitution of the boy if they would consent to be baptized. Meantime he had become fully converted and the matter ceased to occupy public attention; but probably nothing did more than this apparently petty matter to produce the feeling which at last enabled Italy to make its capital at Rome, without the slightest effective remonstrance from any human being. Nor was this the only result. Whenever any European nation since that time has established unsectarian public schools and the priesthood has protested against them, in the name of the “Rights of Parents ” as regards the education of their children, the Mortara case has been cited as a sufficient answer.
But in these efforts for Italian Unity Cavour sacrificed his life. His daily work was a wonder to all who knew him. During various periods he held several of the most important ministries at the same time, and constantly had to deal with intricate problems in every part of Italy and in many parts of Europe. At these he wrought night and day, — in his bed-chamber, at his work-table, in the audience rooms, in the King’s Cabinet, at the various ministries, in the parliamentary debates, — everywhere ; but so easily, so cheerily, that he and all about him were deceived as to his physical condition.12
Arrived at the age of fifty, in full middle life, he suddenly found himself unable to go on. There was a painful illness of a week, — his powers had at last completely failed him. Pathetic were his attempts to grasp again the various pressing Italian questions. Touching were his final interviews with his dearest friends and with the king. Italy and its future were in all his thoughts. During the last visit of Victor Emmanuel to his bedside, the dying statesman dwelt long upon the difficulties yet to be encountered, but always hopefully. In all his last conversations he held steadily to his declaration, “Italy is made,”— “L’ Italia e fatta.” Most earnestly he urged that no despotic measures should be used under any pretext. Especially touching was his reference to the Neapolitans, his plea for patience with them, corrupted as they had been by centuries of despotism.
Most touching of all was the final scene. Some years before, in the time of the cholera, bearing in mind the refusal of the Archbishop of Genoa to grant the last consolations of the Church to Santa Rosa, Cavour had secured from a kindly friar, “Brother James,” a promise to attend him in his dying hours. This promise was redeemed, and, in the final moment, Cavour grasped the friar’s hand and uttered his last words, — “Brother, brother, a free Church in a free State ” (Frate, frate, una libera chiesa in libero staid).
Thus, in leaving the world, he asserted the great principle for which he had so long labored and which he felt sure gave the best of guarantees to religion as well as to patriotism.
In thus showing his respect for the religion in which he had been born and bred, he was, undoubtedly, actuated both by patriotic and by religious motives. During his last hours he had said, “I die as a good Christian; I have never done evil to any one.”
Sad is it to record the fact that the good priest was severely punished for his kindly act, — was summoned to Rome, removed from his little church, and sent to end his life in a distant monastery.
The completion of Cavour’s work for the unity of Italy followed as if under a natural law. He was succeeded by noble men who, in their turn, were succeeded by men sometimes of high and sometimes of doubtful character. During the nine years following his death, the struggle for complete unity continued and became a fearful tangle of motives and events, — at times heroic, at times scandalous, but all tending toward Cavour’s ideal. During this whole period Garibaldi continues to play his astonishing part, sometimes brilliantly, sometimes absurdly, but ever determined to set Rome and Venice free. He is defeated by the Italians at Aspromonte and by the French at Mentana, but finally sees his dream of United Italy fully realized. For, in 1866, by an alliance with Prussia, Italy wins Venice, and, in 1870, owing to the prostration of Napoleon III by Bismarck, is able to make Rome her capital. The work and the prophecy of Cavour were thus fulfilled.
Not merely by what was done in his lifetime, but also by what followed it, his place in history was made secure. Well was it said by one of the most broadminded, skillful, and truthful of English diplomatists in the nineteenth century, — a statesman who had known Bismarck and Cavour most intimately, and who had studied their careers from every possible point of view, near and distant, — that of the two great statesmen of Europe in the nineteenth century, Cavour was the greater.13
Not at first sight so imposing a figure as Bismarck afterward became, not, apparently, gifted with such prodigious force to make all men bend to his will, not a dictator to the nations about him, crushing all opposition, Cavour’s was a nobler will and power, the will and power to lay the foundations of Italian unity in Italian liberty; to work by means of right reason and not by force; to preserve faith in freedom and justice; to fit the nation for freedom by education; to inspire Italians to win liberty by sound thinking, and to preserve it by political sobriety. All this combined to give him the foremost place not only among Italian statesmen, but among the statesmen of the European Continent, during the nineteenth century.
Since Cavour’s death Italy has taken him to her heart as during his lifetime she never did. His services were of a sort which, while he lived, won respect rather than popularity. He was obliged to injure many interests and to offend many men. He never sought popular plaudits, and, at times, was exceedingly unpopular; more than once his speeches in parliament were drowned by hisses from the galleries. Beloved he indeed was, — deeply beloved by a wide circle of friends; admired he was by a large and ever increasing circle of political thinkers; but other men, during his lifetime, won far more of unthinking applause. Just at the end of his life there did, indeed, come a rapid change. All men of patriotic instincts recognized more and more his supreme service. More and more it was seen that what other statesmen, generals, philosophers, poets, could not do, he had done. More and more the nation came to understand him and, therefore, to love and revere him.
This newer growth of feeling has continued since his death, ever deepening in the convictions of the newer generations. Throughout all the greater districts which he brought into United Italy, now stand noble monuments to his memory; but among all these, the most impressive is the simplest.
Several years before his death, in the thick of his labors and struggles for his country, he had visited the Campo Santo at Pisa; and there, standing upon sacred earth brought from Palestine, amid the frescoes of Orcagna and the memorials of great Italians, he had mused over the future of Italy, and his relation to it. He was not destined to be buried there; his body lies in the little church at Santena, near the homestead he loved so well. But, in the Pisan Campo Santo, among far more pretentious monuments, has been placed his simple bust in marble; and upon the ancient walls behind it have been festooned the colossal chains with which Pisa once prevented the access of Florence and Genoa by the Arno. Having been torn away after a fearful struggle, and displayed for centuries as trophies, at Genoa and Florence, they have, in these latter days, been returned to Pisa, and a simple inscription records the fact that they are restored to United Italy, in token that the ages of disunion are past. No better place could have been found for them, and no more worthy tribute could have been paid to the man whose great genius ended more than a thousand years of internecine struggles among his countrymen, and who, more than any other, finally established Italian independence, unity, and freedom.
- For a very striking passage regarding the early foresight of Cavour in promoting railways, and its effect upon Italian unity, see Zanichelli, introduction to Gli Scritti del Conte di Cavour, Bologna, 1892, p. xlv.↩
- For the De Circourt correspondence, see the English translation by Butler, London, 1894.↩
- For a brief but excellent statement regarding the influence of Cavour’s life as a journalist upon his life as a statesman, see Zanichelli, Cavour, pp. 166 and following.↩
- For interesting and brilliant descriptions and statements of the various episodes in the struggle both before and after the battle of Novara, see W. R. Thayer, The Dawn of Italian Independence, Boston, 1899.↩
- For a convincing exhibition of these revolutionary follies, see Cantu, Histoire des Italiens, vol. 12, livre 18. For some redeeming characteristics of the Italian revolutionists, see Countess Martinengo Cesaresco, Italian Characters, especially the chapters on Bassi, Bixio, and others.↩
- For a succinct but striking picture of the earlier political follies of the mob at Milan in Bonaparte’s time see Lemmi, Le Origini del Risorgimento Italiano, pp. 118 and following. For curious details regarding the earlier patriotic activity of Rossi in Italy see same, pp. 427 and 437.↩
- For an able discussion of this characteristic in Cavour’s statesmanship, see Zanichelli, Introduction to his Scritti di Cavour ; also, one of the later chapters in Dicey’s Cavour.↩
- For letters and dispatches of Cavour and his agents, revealing’ his skill in disentangling and solving the enormous difficulties before and during the war of 1859, see Bianchi, La Politique de Cavour, pp. 334 and following.↩
- For a thoughtful statement of the motives of Napoleon III, in negotiating at Villafranca, see Zanichelli, Cavour, cap. ix ; also Mazade.↩
- For curious details, see General Fleury’s account of his secret mission from Napoleon III to the Emperor Francis Joseph.↩
- For an intensely, interesting account of Cavour’s retirement to Switzerland, at this time, written by one almost constantly with him there, see De la Rive, Cavour, cap, xiii.↩
- Of all the memoirs of this period, those of Settembrini seem to me to throw the clearest light into the methods of Italian tyranny. The account of his rescue by his son is one of the most vivid and fascinating recitals in all history. See Settembrini, Ricordanze della mia Vita, vol. ii, pp. 350 to the end.↩
- A similar pair of statues was sent by Nicholas to his brother-in-law, Frederick William IV, of Prussia, in approval of that monarch’s opposition to constitutional liberty. To one of these statues the Berlin wits gave the name “ Progress Checked,” and to the other, “ Retrogression Encouraged ; ” and they have adorned the entrance of the Royal Palace at Berlin from that day to this. The originals, by Clodt, stand on the Nevsky Bridge at St. Petersburg.↩
- The favor shown King Ferdinand’s minister at St. Petersburg was a matter of jocose remark in the diplomatic corps during the first official residence of the present writer in that city. The representative seemed intellectually well suited to his duties, which were, apparently, little more than to assure the Czar of King Ferdinand’s fidelity to the most extreme theories and practices of despotism.↩
- As to the Apuzzo Catechism, the edition in my possession is that of 1861; the title page, however, speaks of it as a reprint from the edition of 1850.↩
- The romance referred to is by Daudet, Les Rois en Exil.↩
- For Cavour’s main speech in full, with indications of his sway over his audience by his wit, humor, knowledge of affairs, and eloquence, see Artom e Blanc, Cavour in Parldmento, pp. 557 and following.↩
- The present writer knew personally three of Cavour’s colleagues, Minghetti, Peruzzi, and Count Nigra, and was informed by each of these that Cavour very frequently summoned those who worked with him, between four and five o’clock in the morning. Each of these statesmen dwelt on Cavour’s enormous capacity for work, on his quickness, his skill, his thoroughness, and on the fact that, toward the last, he virtually gave no time to rest.↩
- The English diplomatist referred to was Lord Odo Russell, afterward Lord Ampthill. He had long diplomatic service in America, in many parts of Europe, and, especially, in Italy and Germany. Both Cavour and Bismarck he knew intimately, and was beloved and trusted by both ; but, on being asked at Berlin by the present writer which of the two men he considered the greater in his character and work, he made the statement above referred to.↩
- For a masterly development of the reasoning which proves Cavour greater in true statesmanship than Bismarck, see W. R. Thayer, Cavour e Bismarck. Roma, 1906.↩
- I may add to Mr. Thayer’s exhibition of Bismarck’s scorn for popular rights and hatred for parliamentary government that, having heard the great German statesman address the German Parliament on various occasions, I cannot remember one of his speeches which did not, on the whole, betray contempt for his audience and dislike, if not hatred, for its most distinguished thinkers. How far all this differed from Cavour’s feeling may be seen by any one who will take up his parliamentary speeches, as given in Zanichelli and elsewhere.↩