« VorigeDoorgaan »
Italian States. The inhabitants themselves, as we have seen, were all for fusion with the Sardinian Monarchy; and Cavour's agents in the several states were all working devotedly towards this end. Would Victor Emmanuel venture to accept such an accession of territory? Would the fusion be permitted by the Powers? The official arrangement at Villafranca was that the Hapsburg- 2 Lorraine and Bourbon Dukes should be restored,' but 'without recourse to force.' Napoleon was understood to favour the formation of a Kingdom of Central Italy; but who was to be its King? It was indeed fortunate that at this moment Cavour was served by such men as Ricasoli at Florence, and that he was able to rely on the strong moral support of the Liberal English Ministry which had lately come into power. To the latter Mr Thayer pays a just tribute.
'Setting one of the noblest examples of moral support recorded in modern times, England now came to the rescue of Italy, not entirely nor suddenly, but validly. The motto of Lord John Russell and of Palmerston was "Italy for the Italians." Those statesmen were too genuinely British to dream for a moment that England could send army or fleet to support a people in whose concerns British interests were not involved; but they showed how the moral support of England might be as powerful as the military support which France had embodied in eight score thousand soldiers' (ii, 123). It is truly and, despite a half-sneer (repeated elsewhere), on the whole handsomely said. Moreover, this assistance served its purpose. In 1860 Tuscany, Parma, Modena, and the Roman legations were united by plébiscite to Sardinia; England was resolved to keep the ring for them; and Europe accepted the accomplished fact. On April 2, a Parliament, representing 11,000,000 Italian people, met for the first time at Turin.
The Emperor could not permit so large an aggrandisement of Sardinia without exacting compensation for France. The cession of Savoy and Nice was the price demanded and paid. To the King of Sardinia it was the sacrifice most painful to his heart' to have to surrender to the foreigner 'the cradle of his race.' Mr Thayer is clearly of opinion that the price paid was not too high, and pours some scorn, not undeserved, on the egotism
and megalomania displayed in this connexion by Garibaldi. Nice was his birthplace; therefore it was a place apart from all others-almost a holy place!' Far different was the attitude of Cavour. 'Cavour measured the political field exactly, saw that he had no alternative, and accepted the inevitable not begrudgingly, nor with whimpers and repining, but with the air of one who recognised that the inevitable itself might conceal benefits.' In one sense it did. The real loser by the cession,' as Mr Thayer justly remarks, 'was neither Cavour nor Italy, but Napoleon III.'
With the fusion of Lombardy, the Romagna and the duchies of central Italy with Piedmont, and the cession of Savoy and Nice to France, the curtain falls on the first act in the drama of Italian unity. During that act Cavour sustained the leading part, ably supported by the King; in the second act he shares the stage with Garibaldi. Garibaldi's brilliant achievement in the conquest of Sicily and Naples has been described with inimitable skill by Mr Trevelyan in his last two volumes. Thanks to his effective telling, the story is now familiar to English readers; and it is, therefore, unnecessary to do more, in this place, than direct attention to one or two critical questions which arise in connexion with it.
The first is the relation of Cavour to Garibaldi's Sicilian expedition. The Mazzinians and Garibaldians were prepared to think the worst of the 'low intriguer' who had sold the birthplace of their hero to the 'vulpine knave' in Paris, and declared that he spared no pains to frustrate the objects of the expedition. How far does their view accord with the ascertained facts? Now, as ever, Cavour had a difficult game to play; now, as ever, he played it not only with adroitness and skill, but with a single eye to the best and most permanent interests of his country. In the first place, it is important to bear in mind that, however great the popular enthusiasm aroused by Garibaldi's marvellous exploits in Sicily and Naples, he and his Thousand were, in the eyes of the European Courts, little better than a band of brigands. In the second place, it is indisputable that for the ultimate union of the south with the north Cavour was not less zealous than Garibaldi himself. Nevertheless, he would
have been glad to defer the consummation of the union; and he was supremely anxious that it should be effected without such a shock to the susceptibilities of European diplomacy as would enable the reactionary Courts to interfere with the settlement already attained. Unresting in his patriotic labours, he was also alive to the danger of haste.
'Being a statesman, fully convinced that well-knit states do not spring, like Athena, full grown from the brain of Zeus, Cavour wished' (writes Mr Thayer, ii, 239) 'to hinder a premature union. He would first train the new states in constitutional government, make them feel their common interests, teach them to be Italians instead of Tuscans and Lombards, let Europe acknowledge them as a self-sufficient, well-fused and united nation, and then welcome the brethren of the south. But, without any preparation, to join eleven or twelve millions of the most backward Italians to those of the Centre and the North-to yoke Neapolitans, Sicilians, Romans, each with their special problems, their inveterate provincial characteristics, their feuds, their backwardness in education and morals, their degeneracy due to the organised corrupting influence of Popes and Bourbons-to yoke these to the Piedmontese, already seasoned in parliamentary experience, and to Lombards, Emilians, and Tuscans, who had long had contact with civilisation, was an immense imprudence.'
In the end, the knight-errant forced the statesman's hands. Cavour could not lend the authority of the Government to an attack upon a friendly Italian Power; nor could he stop Garibaldi. Lord Acton describes his conduct as 'a triumph of unscrupulous statesmanship,' and obviously regards Garibaldi as his catspaw. Garibaldi,' he writes ('Essays,' p. 198),' went forth as the instrument of a party that desired a republican Italy, and of a Power (France) that desired a federal Italy, and he did the work of monarchy and unity.' Is it then contended that Garibaldi was the dupe of Cavour, because the latter, powerless to arrest a rash though heroic enterprise, sought to turn it to his country's advantage? That is not the view of the best friends of Italy or of Garibaldi. Mr Trevelyan, after analysing the situation with convincing skill and impartiality, sums up judicially as follows:
'Mazzini and his friends instigated the expedition; Garibaldi and his followers accomplished it; the King and Cavour
allowed it to start, and when it had begun to succeed, gave it the support and guidance without which it must inevitably have failed midway.' ('Garibaldi and the Thousand,' p. 162.) Cavour's friends tell the same story. It is evident,' writes De la Rive, that Cavour was not ignorant of and did not prevent the expedition of Garibaldi . . . I incline to think that his wishes completed what his fear of his own inability to stop it had begun.' Finally, we have Mr Thayer's careful summary of the evidence:
'The freedom with which the conspirators were allowed to make their arrangements; the constant communications between their leaders and the Cavourians; their interviews with Cavour himself, with the King, with Farini; the public subscriptions voted by Cremona, Pavia, Brescia, and other cities, without hint of interference from Turin; the gathering of the volunteers unmolested at Genoa, not once, but twice; the studied inattention of the Genoese officials to the final preparations; the gift to Garibaldi of the National Society's guns and ammunitions, without which he would not have sailed; the failure to order Persano to intercept the shipsthese are facts which, singly and collectively, give the lie to the slander that Cavour and the King's Government refused to aid the enterprise' (ii, 268).
Garibaldi, though not wholly without hesitation, ultimately decided to succour the Sicilian revolutionaries and asked for no leave from the Government. 'I know,' he wrote on his departure to the King, 'that I embark on a perilous enterprise. If we achieve it I shall be proud to add to your Majesty's crown a new and perhaps more glorious jewel, always on the condition that your Majesty will stand opposed to counsellors who would cede this province to the foreigner, as has been done with the city of my birth.' The sequel is well known to all students of history and all lovers of romance. Within two months Garibaldi was master of Sicily; thence he crossed to Spartivento and advanced, virtually unopposed, upon Naples. The Bourbon King left Naples for ever on September 6; and on the following day Garibaldi, amid indescribable enthusiasm, entered the capital.
* One of the most important additions to our knowledge of the crisis made by Mr Trevelyan is his account of the steps by which Lord J. Russell was induced to intervene in such a way as to prevent Napoleon from interfering with Garibaldi's crossing. (G. and the Making of Italy,' pp. 105-7.)
Cavour had been watching the progress of events during the last few months with mingled elation and anxiety. His first hope was that the Monarchy might forestall the advent of the Revolution in Naples. That hope had now perforce to be abandoned. But he never failed in generous appreciation of the man who lost no opportunity of vilifying him.
'To make Italy at this juncture' (he wrote), 'we must not set Victor Emmanuel and Garibaldi in opposition.... Garibaldi has rendered to Italy the greatest services that man could render to her. He has given the Italians confidence in themselves; he has proved to Europe that the Italians know how to fight and die on the field of battle to reconquer their mother country. . . . We must not enter the lists against Garibaldi except in two events: (1) if he wished to involve us in a war with France; (2) if he disowned his programme by proclaiming a different political system from the monarchy under Victor Emmanuel. So long as he is loyal to his flag we must act in accord with him.' (Thayer, ii, 363.)
These are the words not only of a great statesman, but of a great man. The crisis was one to try the temper of the greatest. Garibaldi demanded the confirmation of his dictatorship, and declared that he would not hand over the two Sicilies to the Italian monarchy until he could proclaim Victor Emmanuel as King of Italy in Rome. Everything was now at stake. If we do not arrive on the Volturno before Garibaldi arrives at La Cattolica the monarchy is lost.' Thus Cavour wrote on September 11. Exactly a week later the Sardinian troops met and routed the papal troops at Castelfidardo. The royal army had gone south with a two-fold object-to ward off from the Romagna the attack threatened by the Papacy, and to obstruct, if necessary, the advance of the Garibaldians on Rome. Fortunately, this extreme measure was avoided. Bombino and the Neapolitan army had played Cavour's game for him. For nearly a fortnight (September 19 to October 1) they had engaged Garibaldi on the Volturno without decisive issue. On October 1 Garibaldi won a great victory; the Neapolitan army was scattered; King Francis II fled to Gaeta; and Garibaldi was face to face with Victor Emmanuel, who had joined the army at Ancona on October 3. Go to Naples,' was Palmerston's advice to Cavour, Though all the rest of