Italy's Duty

I

IN 1866, when the peace between Italy, Austria, and Prussia was under discussion, and already it was whispered that Italy would receive neither the Trentino nor Istria, but only the Veneto, Giuseppe Mazzini published, in the Unita Italiana of the twentyfifth of August, an essay to make plain to the people the evils and dangers of such a peace. In this essay the wrongs which Italy had suffered at the hands of Austria are enumerated and pictured with such an abundance of proofs, with such lucidity and wisdom, and with such liveliness and warmth of eloquence, that I cannot resist the temptation to quote part of it.

Mazzini shows that the Julian Alps, the Carnic Alps, the Istrian littoral, and the Trentino are a natural and necessary part of Italy; and that geographers, historians, politicians, and military men have for centuries assigned them to Italy. Istria he calls the eastern door to Italy, the bridge between the Italians and the Hungarians and Slavs. ‘ If we abandon it,’ he says, ‘those people remain our enemies; if it is ours, they are taken out from the army of the enemy and allied to us.’ He explains how the Trentino forms a wedge driven between Lombardy and Venetia, and how from a military standpoint it is the key to the valley of the Po; nature, furthermore, has made it a part of Italy: ‘the olives, the acid fruits, the southern fruits, the climate, in contrast to the valley of the Inn, speak to us and to the traveling stranger of Italy.’ And he continues, ‘Italian are the traditions, the civil customs; Italian are the economic relations, and the natural lines of communication; and the language is Italian: of 500,000 inhabitants only 100,000 are of Teutonic stock, scattered and easy to Italianize. He declares that all the great military authorities down to Napoleon have agreed that Italy’s only valid frontier is that fixed by nature upon the summits which separate the waters of the Black Sea and those of the Adriatic, and he concludes in these words: —

‘Therefore, Italians, by accepting the peace which threatens you, you would not only put a seal of shame upon the brow of the nation; you would not only vilely betray your brothers of Istria, of Friuli, and of the Trentino; you would not only cut off for long years all worthy future for Italy, condemning her to be a power of the third rank in Europe; you would not only lose all the confidence of the people, all initiatory influence with them; but you would yourselves hang over your head the sword of Damocles of foreign invasion. And this sword of Damocles means for you the impossibility of disbanding or diminishing the army; it means the impossibility of economies, uncertainty in all things, absence of all confidence on the part of capitalists, and of all pacific, sure development of industrial life; it means progressive diminution of credit, progressive increase of deficit, with no way out of the difficulty; it means economic ruin and bankruptcy, and finally — since not all of you will be resigned — it means increasing perennial agitation: factions continually stirring up discord; civil war, at some time more or less remote, but inevitable.’

After almost half a century, not a single sentence in these pages is antiquated to-day. It would not be possible, even now, to explain more lucidly the reasons why Italy, at the present moment, ought to take the field with the enemies of Austria, and profit by this occasion, which will not soon recur, to consummate her national unity and to put an end to the Austrian peril, which since 1859 has hung over her head — a continual menace. But if to-day all the reasons are still valid which Mazzini enumerated in 1866, to show that the kingdom of Italy would not be safe, then or in the future, until it had conquered the Italian provinces which are still subject to the Empire of the Hapsburgs, we may now add to those reasons enumerated by Mazzini, two others, which did not then exist.

The first reason is of a military character. Every one knows that in the Adriatic the eastern shore — which belongs at present to Austria— is notched, full of gulfs and bays, and rich, therefore, in excellent harbors. The western shore, on the contrary, — the Italian shore, — is smooth, without gulfs or deep bays, and therefore without harbors. We have nothing to compare with the marvelous natural harbors of Pola and Cattara. Since 1866, naval armaments have had a gigantic growth, and now they seek docks proportioned to their increasing bulk. The little ships which fought in 1866 in the waters of Lissa — many of them wooden — seem like toys to the new generations which have launched on the sea tremendous fleets of steel. For these fleets it is necessary to have formidable bases of operations, immense harbors, and huge arsenals; whence Italy finds herself at a disadvantage, and almost without armament in the Adriatic.

The other reason is national. It is well known that in all Istria the cities have been Italian for many centuries, while the rural districts are inhabited by Slavs. But up to thirty years ago, the Slavs of the country places did not consider themselves a race and a people different from the Italians of the cities. They all learned Italian; they all attended Italian schools; they desired above all to become a part of that Italian middle class, which, in the cities, held in its hands commerce, the liberal professions, culture; moreover, they considered their national tongue a dialect which was only for the family and the home. Many of the Italians who lived in the cities were the sons of italianized Slavs and were proud to consider themselves Italians. One of the most illustrious Italian writers of the nineteenth century, and one of the most famous masters of philology, Niccolò Tommaseo, was a Slav of Zara, italianized, like so many others, by the schools and the culture.

However, during the last thirty years this state of things has been profoundly changed. The Austrian government, in order to weaken the Italian urban element, which it distrusted, has put forth all its strength to kindle a fierce discord in Istria between the Slavs and the Italians, by reviving in the country districts the national Slavic sentiment. The Slavs have been told that they are a people and a race different from the Italians; that their language ought not to hide itself in the homes, like a rude dialect, but ought to come out into the open, to be admitted into the courts, the schools, the public offices, the banks, with the same rights as those accorded to the Italian language. Hence, there is arising to-day in the cities of Istria a Slavic bourgeoisie of professional people, — merchants, employers, professors, the rivals and enemies of Italy. And as the Slavs are more numerous and more prolific than the Italians, it is probable, if Istria remains in the power of Austria, and if Austria continues to aid the Slavs against the Italians, that sooner or later the cities of Istria, including Trieste, will become Slavic.

Within fifty years, the Slavic language will be the speech of Trieste and the Istrian cities, unless we conquer Istria; and every memory of Italy will fade from those lands, which since the days of Augustus have always been Latin. It would be like unmaking the history of Italy. For reasons which it would take too long to enumerate here, it is very difficult in these days for the Italian language to conquer new territories. So much the more is it our duty to see that none of the territories in which Italian is spoken to-day shall forget it. We shall be overwhelmed with shame if we allow the speech of our fathers to be corrupted, little by little, by a new people.

II

Therefore, the reasons are neither few nor of little moment which to-day spur Italy on to unite herself in arms with the coalition which is making war against the Germanic empires. They are reasons so vital that it is easy to foresee that if Italy stands by with folded arms, she may, perhaps, receive a mortal blow. One might suppose, therefore, that the Italian people and the government would be united and agree in the deliberate intention to put an end to delays and to anticipate destiny. This indeed is what outsiders think, and day by day they await Italy’s action. But the weeks pass, and the months, and the great deed is still to be done; for which reason, everywhere, many are turning their heads, surprised, toward the Mediterranean and the long peninsula which it bathes, as if asking, ‘What, pray, is Italy waiting for?’ Every week, from all sides, many letters come to me, all asking the great question, ‘What is Italy going to do? When will the hour of destiny strike?’

But outsiders are deceived. That united, that resolute and unanimous concord of the whole nation, which many strangers attribute to us, does not exist. Never, perhaps, was Italy so perplexed and divided. There are still those — it may seem strange, but it is so — who think that Italy ought to take the field on the side of Austria and Germany against the Franco-AngloRussian coalition. There are those who want Italy to preserve her neutrality till the end, not aiding either side; and finally there are those who want her to range herself on the side of France, England, and Russia, against Austria. Of these three opinions the first is not now professed openly except by the few faithful partisans of the Triple Alliance who still remain; almost the whole country is divided between the second and third; but although it may not be an easy matter to make an exact count of those who profess the one and the other opinion, I do not doubt that the majority are on the side of neutrality. If we scrutinize the political world, we find, as proof, the Socialist party and the Clerical party openly favorable to neutrality; the Radical party, the Republican party, and that party of reform which includes the more moderate section of the Socialists, openly favorable to taking part in the war; the Liberal party, which is the most numerous in Parliament, we find uncertain. Now the Socialists and Clericals are certainly much stronger, and have a much larger following, than the Radicals, the Republicans, and the Reformists.

Turning from the political parties to the country at large, it can safely be affirmed that the people — the peasants and the artisans — are almost all averse to any kind of war, even a war against Austria. The multitude desires peace. The industrial, commercial, and financial classes favor neutrality, although their wider knowledge makes it clear to them that to have peace in this world it is not enough merely to desire it; and so, while they hope that peace will not be broken, they are resigned to war, if war be necessary, as to a misfortune which there is no way of avoiding. The educated middle classes, on the other hand, are bellicose: the bureaucracy, the journalists, the teachers of the common schools, and many professional people — physicians and lawyers. Almost all the important newspapers, which have a wide circulation, are for the war. But these classes, while they have much influence on public opinion, have not yet succeeded in inflaming, from one end of Italy to the other, those portions of the population whose soul is armored in cold prudence and love of quiet.

It is more difficult to say what differences distinguish one region from another. There is never any lack of these differences, in Italy, but this time they are uncertain and confused. It would appear that in the Veneto, which borders upon Austria, the majority are favorable to war. Piedmont, Lombardy, and Liguria are certainly more inclined to neutrality than to war. In central Italy there are certain regions, like Romagna, where even the rank and file seem to be agitated by the breath of the warlike spirit. But, taken as a whole, central Italy also inclines rather to neutrality. On the other hand, it is said that the warlike current is stronger in southern Italy and Sicily. Many people who know those regions intimately have told me this, and I can but take their word for it, as it is two years since I was in southern Italy.

To sum up, Italy hesitates, and while she sides with the coalition, while she desires that England, France, and Russia may be victorious, she leans more to neutrality and peace than to intervention and war. The majority hope and desire that Italy may watch the terrible conflict with folded arms, to the end. It is impossible to understand what has happened and what will happen in Italy unless one takes account of this important fact and interprets events by it. And to get a really clear comprehension of what has happened, and above all of what will happen, it is not enough to know the facts: one must also know the reasons. How does it happen that Italy, in 1915, does not understand better that supreme national necessity which Giuseppe Mazzini explained to her in 1866 with such luminous clearness? How is it that she never seems to get her bearings when even strangers see clearly? Only when we have solved this problem shall we realize fully why this conflict, which ought to be a great national war, has so little popular backing; only then shall we know the significance of all that may arise out of a condition so strange.

III

To appreciate what is happening today in Italy, outsiders, first of all, must not forget that in 1882 Italy contracted an alliance with Austria and Germany, which, after having been renewed several times, is still valid, — at least in theory, — since it was not repudiated even when the European war broke out. In addition, the stranger must know what obligations the alliance with Germany and Austria imposed upon Italy. Of the three allied powers, Italy was the smallest, in extent, of territory, in number of inhabitants and soldiers, in wealth and military prestige; therefore in most things she had to bow to the will of the two more powerful allies. Besides, it is clear that Austria would not have consented to ally herself with Italy if the Italian government had continued to number among her official grievances the territory inhabited by Italians, but included in the Austrian Empire. The renunciation of this territory was, therefore, one of the principal conditions which Austria made in her alliance with Italy. So for thirty-two years the Italian government has been obliged, through the schools, the newspapers, and the parties bound to it, by all the means, indeed, which are at the disposal of a government in Europe, — and they are more numerous and more powerful than in America, — to combat and proscribe the thing which in our political language is called l’irredentismo.1 The government was obliged to do all that it could to make the nation forget that Italians still lived under the sceptre of the Hapsburg; that the eastern boundary was open to hostile invasion; that in the Adriatic, Italy and Austria were enemies, not through the ill-will of men, but through the necessity of things. There were moments in which, if one did not wish to have trouble, it was prudent to speak in a whisper in Italy of Trent and Trieste, of the Italian subjects of Austria and of what concerned them; and it was always more prudent not to talk about them at all, especially for politicians who were, or aspired to be, ministers of state. For such persons, to recall that on the east the boundary could be considered as only provisionally adjusted, was equivalent to renouncing forever all ambition for power. The case of Minister Seismit Doda, about 1890, was a famous one. He was Minister of Finance in a ministry presided over by Crispi; and one day he had the misfortune to be invited to a public breakfast — I do not remember on what occasion — at Udine, a city situated not far from the Austrian frontier. At this banquet there was a young deputy who, at the close, also made a speech, and gesticulating with his arm in the direction of Austria, alluded to the boundary with which Italy could not declare herself contented. The minister listened without moving an eyelash, without making any sign either of approval or of disapproval; and what else could he have done? Nevertheless, for not having protested against the veiled hint as to the boundary of Italy, that minister, within twenty-four hours, was relieved of his portfolio.

I have related this anecdote because it shows, more clearly than long explanations would, how much Italy had to renounce to be able to enter into an alliance with Austria. To put it briefly, it was necessary that the Adriatic problem should no longer exist for the Italian government. Every now and then, when there was a new persecution of the Italian subjects of Austria, which could not be hushed up, or when there was an episode in the struggle between the Italian element and the Slavic element supported by Austria, of which it was necessary to inform the public, they came to remember in Italy that the Adriatic problem could be more easily forgotten than suppressed. But. the government was faithful to its past: it let the first grievance evaporate; then with its newspapers, with its parties, with all the means at its disposal, it exerted itself to reduce the matter to silence. To divert people from Austrian questions, it invented others to take their place. In the article which I wrote for the November number of the Atlantic Monthly, to explain the outbreak of the war, I said that to-day every nation of Europe had to have an enemy; otherwise, it could not excuse to the people either the burdens of the conscription or the military expenses. Italy, having allied herself with Austria, had to find another enemy. She found France. For thirty-two years all the official forces have been strained to persuade the Italian people that its true enemy was France, not Austria; to distract attention from Trent and Trieste, in order to direct it to Nice, to Corsica, and, above all, to Tunis.

The question of the unredeemed provinces of Austria was, therefore, no longer agitated except by the parties of extreme opposition, — particularly by the Radical and the Republican parties, which have never had either a great authority or a large following. Certainly it is not necessary to believe that the Italian government has renounced the Austrian lands inhabited by Italians, as completely as one might have thought from its words and its actions. The art of diplomacy, at least in Europe, is rich enough in expedients with which to violate any clause of a treaty, without appearing to, — even while seeming to obey it. Some day many things which are still hidden will be revealed; then we shall know, perhaps, even how the ministers who persecuted in Italy every irredentist agitation, aided with money, underhandedly and in secret, the Italians of Istria, to struggle against the Slavs and the Austrian government. In other words, the government, while seeming to have set aside all thought of those provinces, thought of them all the time. Furthermore, in the intellectual classes the irredentist tradition was not lost. Giosué Carducci, for example, — the writer whom Italy has canonized as the greatest of the second half of the nineteenth century, the poet on whom, in the last part of his life, the government bestowed the highest official honors, and to whom a magnificent monument is being erected in Bologna, — was an implacable enemy of Austria, an ardent irredentist. In conclusion, the Italian government may have been able to adopt for Trent and Trieste the advice which Gambetta gave to the French for Alsace and Lorraine: ‘Think of it always and never speak of it.’ The government thought to further its own present interests and those of Italy, which seemed to it to be guaranteed by the Triple Alliance; and to postpone consideration of the future.

This sort of politics would have been easy in other times. Unfortunately, we live in the twentieth century. The Italian government did not realize that since 1866 there had taken place in Italy a profound social transformation, which would for the most part make this ingenious plan impossible. Even in Italy the power of the lower classes is much increased. Military service, like the right to vote, has been almost universal. The masses are no longer as ignorant and as docile as they once were: they have their associations, their parties, their newspapers, their ideas, their aspirations, of which the leaders must take account. In Italy, as in every other country of Europe, no government can delude itself into thinking that by the power of the law it can force the masses to enter into a war of whose necessity they are not to a certain degree persuaded. Now in order to persuade these classes — so large, so ignorant, so naturally inclined to the convenience of peace — that Italy ought, if occasion offers, to endeavor to consummate her national unity even by a war, it is not enough to think in silence of the brothers who are still subject to Austria : one must talk to the people continually; one must explain to them what the Austrian peril is, just as in France the people have been talked to incessantly, since 1870, of the German peril; the masses must be so quickened to an interest in what politicians call the Adriatic question, that when an opportunity for war presents itself, the people — even the artisans and peasants who make up the battalions — may be at least in a certain measure ready for the test. But who has spoken to them of Trent and Trieste, in the past thirty years? No one. The literature in which the irredentist tradition is kept alive has never reached the lower classes. The schools, which belong to the government, could not become an organ of irredentist propaganda. Of the political parties, the Conservative and the Liberal, bound to the government, have imitated the government and are wrapped in silence. The Radical and Republican parties, which have always agitated the irredentist generation, have never, as I have said, had a large following among the multitude, except in certain regions.

During the last twenty-five years the Socialist party has acquired great influence with the masses throughout Italy; but the Socialist party has talked to the people of things very different from the unredeemed provinces of Austria. In short, when the European war broke out, the lower classes had but a vague idea of Trent and Trieste, and no idea at all of the Adriatic question. It would, therefore, be a great mistake to think that Trent and Trieste are the Alsace and the Lorraine of Italy. Alsace and Lorraine are two ancient French provinces which were taken from France by force, and the memory of that event has been kept before the popular attention for forty-four years by a tenacious and incessant propaganda. Trent and Trieste are two Italian provinces which have never belonged to Italy; around which there has reigned for thirty-two years, in Italy, a cautious silence, interrupted only now and then by cries of anguish which came across the frontier.

IV

With this in mind, it is easy to understand the terrible position in which the Italian government found itself at the outbreak of the European conflagration. All the toil with which for thirtytwo years it had tried to persuade Italy that her natural enemy was France, was lost in eight days, between July 24 and August 1. I know few cases in history which demonstrate more clearly how impossible it is, either by force or by circumspection, for a government to sustain an inherently artificial policy. Until the twenty-third of July, Italian public opinion was more favorable to Germany than to France. For two years there had been much friction between the two Latin countries on account of the questions arising in the East and in Africa from our war with Tripoli; and the newspapers and the parties associated with the government did not fail to profit by it, in order to irritate public sentiment still more. But on the morning of the twenty-fourth of July, when every one could read in the papers the brutal ultimatum to Servia, popular sentiment began to change. In those last days of the fatal July, little by little a dull irritation grew in souls, as the Italian people saw all the attempts at peace fail, through the obstinate resistance of Austria and Germany. And when, on the first of August, Germany, breaking the suspense, declared war on Russia, precipitating the universal conflagration, there was an explosion of horror and hatred more universal than one would have believed possible, in a people whose government had taught it for so many years to look upon Germany as the first nation in Europe. Italy desired peace; she was prepared to tolerate for the sake of peace many evils and inconveniences of the Triple Alliance, because she had been assured that William II was the emperor of peace, and that if she were allied to the two Germanic empires, war would not convulse Europe. Therefore, in this supreme moment, she could not pardon the two empires for having deceived her, — betraying in that fashion her highest aspiration.

But this public wrath, while fully justified, has leveled to earth at one blow, as by an earthquake, the whole fragile edifice of the foreign policy of the Italian government. The Italian government had reason to declare that the casus fœderis did not exist; but even if it had existed, the government would not have been able to force the nation to shed its blood to defend the cause of the two empires which the Italian people unanimously regarded as aggressors. Nevertheless, neutrality was, and could be, only a temporary expedient. So the government, like all those who have a little common sense and political wisdom, has not been slow to observe that continued neutrality, no matter how much the people desire it, would be a kind of slow national suicide. In fact, all the hypotheses which can be made concerning the results of the conflict appear equally dangerous for us, if we remain quiet and await the issue. If Austria and Germany conquer, Austria will annex Servia, will increase in power, in extent, in numbers, in prestige: she will become the ruler and arbiter of the Adriatic. Italy, which is already smaller and less populous, and finds herself in an unfavorable strategic position, would then have no other refuge but to resign herself to becoming a dependent state of the neighboring empire; the more so, because, for the time being at least, there could be no hope of aid or support for her from France, England, and Russia, conquered and enfeebled. If, instead, the two empires are conquered, and Austria is mutilated without the problem of the irredentist lands being solved, this problem will be propounded anew, and more menacingly, since the Italians, who at first bore with annoyance the Austrian yoke, will no longer be willing to bear it. Trapped between the Austrian government and their own, the Italian subjects will go from bad to worse; and the war which we have avoided to-day, we shall have to fight in a few years under worse conditions. The only way to prevent this danger is to go to war.

Now it is not easy, in a few months, to invent a cause for war against Austria, when we have been allied to her for thirty-two years, and are officially allied to her to-day; when it is necessary to find such a reason as shall justify us, not only before the world, — which at the present moment, after the high-handed behavior and violence of the Germans, would be lenient toward us, — but before the Italian people, who are rather averse to fighting, since they do not understand — no one having ever explained the matter to them — the profound historic and national reasons which justify the war in the eyes of the cultivated classes. In times like ours, in which war is fought by all the people, it is easier, in a few months, to manufacture the arms and munitions that the army may lack, than to prepare the mind of the multitude for a test as serious as a European war.

The entrance of Italy into the conflict is not, therefore, as simple a thing as many outsiders think. The difficulties to be overcome are many and complex. Nevertheless, I believe that eventually Italy will come into the war, against Austria, on the side of France, England, and Russia. Whether this will be in one month or two, when the snows have melted on the Alps, or before, I do not know; and perhaps the government itself is no less ignorant. Events will set the moment. It may be long in coming; but it should come.

The reason is, that although the difficulties and dangers of beginning war are great, there will be a certain moment, — especially if fortune continues, as I believe it will, to be against the Austrian arms, — when the danger of not acting will appear even greater. The reason why it will appear greater, is that, if Austria were conquered and mutilated, without Italy’s having set free the Italian provinces, all Italy — even that part which now is most favorable to neutrality — would understand at last what for a time has been visible to a few men of clearer sight: that the Triple Alliance, and that is to say, all the foreign policy fostered by Italy since 1882, has been an unbroken succession of fatal mistakes. The ultimate result would demonstrate to all what only a few more experienced in these things have seen for some time. The extreme parties of opposition and the malcontents would profit by the public’s state of mind to discover what were the reasons which impelled the government to commit so many and such fatal mistakes. It is difficult to foresee what would be the ultimate effects of such an investigation, in an Italy discontented with the results of the war and torn by the economic crisis which will surely follow it. The dynasty and all the parties and political groups which have governed Italy from 1882 till to-day are together responsible for the foreign policy which now is trembling in the midst of the conflagration and ruin of the European war. The dynasty is responsible because after 1882 it supposed that, this alliance was desired and forced upon it; the parties and political groups, because to please King Humbert and his court they consented, although with some repugnance at first, to assume the constitutional responsibility for it before Parliament. Now time is taking its revenge even on the dynasty of Savoy: its prestige and that of the political parties which have helped it to govern, are rapidly declining; a new spirit of independence, of criticism, and even of revolt, is spreading among the people. I do not know what may happen on that day when, in the midst of a Europe rent by war and restless in the face of such ruin, the Italian people become persuaded that the monarchy, by the mistakes of its foreign policy, has prevented Italy from taking the Italian provinces. It is even possible that the monarchy’s last hour will strike.

In short the Italian government may be obliged to-day or to-morrow to make war upon Austria, because Austria has been allied to us too long — these thirty-two years. It is sufficient to state the situation thus, in order to understand how complicated, obscure, and difficult it is. Since 1859, Italy has, perhaps, never been in such grave and imminent peril. To-day, she pays not only for the mistake of having entered into an alliance with Austria and Germany in 1882, but for a mistake, perhaps more serious than the first, which her government committed within the last decade — that of not being aware that since 1905 the Triple Alliance had changed its character, and from a league of peace had changed little by little into a league of aggression. While I think that Italy would have done better not to link her destiny with the two Germanic empires in 1882, or ever, I myself recognize, however, that, at least, from 1882 to 1900, the Triple Alliance had the merit of assuring peace to Europe. In Germany the generation was governing which had fought the wars of 1866 and 1870, and was content to count its laurels, asking only to keep those gained by such good fortune. But after 1900, little by little, the public spirit changed in Germany; a new generation arose which knew not war, and which was full of pride and new ambitions, which dreamed of the glories and the gains of an active worldly policy. The question of Morocco, opened in 1905, is the first sign of this new Germany, in which warlike ambitions were reawakening. At the same time, Austria, which had not succeeded in suppressing her internal broils by peace, began again to think of saving herself through war. And thus began that agitated period which has culminated in the general war.

Meanwhile, during this decade, the Italian government, because its people still wished peace in Europe above all else, has continued thoughtlessly to delude itself with the idea that Germany was the guardian angel, and the Triple Alliance the shield, of peace. It has, therefore, taken no pains whatever to prepare the nation either morally, materially, or diplomatically, for the approaching crisis. It has renewed the Triple Alliance almost automatically; it has allowed its ancient ties with England to weaken; it has continued to stir up public opinion against France. During the tranquil fifteen years between 1885 and 1900 it spent much money on military preparations, but it has neglected the standing army at a time when its strength should have been increased. Allied with two powers beside whom the country has refused to fight, Italy has allowed herself to be taken by surprise, and has found public opinion inclined toward the powers whose enemy she ought to be. Finally, the government has been so ill-prepared for events as not to understand that neutrality is a kind of national suicide. Thus we run the risk of seeing that begin as an unpopular war, which ought to end our national grievances and bring to fulfillment the work begun at Solferino.

Fortune has helped us before. Perhaps she will also help us this time. But the many friends of Italy all over the world must not have any illusions and must not be amazed if Italy delays her entrance into the campaign. The approaching trial will be sharp and may be actually mortal. Many Italians who love their country and take things literally, do not enjoy quiet slumbers in these times. Would that, this terrible year of anxiety and of trials might quickly pass; and that to-morrow I might awake in 1916, beyond all the horrors and dangers which now weigh on our heads!

  1. The programme of those who aspire to obtain the independence of the Italian provinces still subject to the foreigner. — THE AUTHOR.