from the foreigner and from despotic government, and her unification as a great nation, became a life 'mission.' A movement for its accomplishment had been initiated in conspiracies and insurrectionary attempts of secret societies; gradually there spread a passionate longing for national independence and liberty through all classes, and Italy arose in her chains nerved to heroic effort. A people which has been enslaved for many centuries can regenerate itself only through virtue and through death,' Mazzini had written in the programme of his revolutionary periodical, Young Italy, in 1831. Italians must be brought to realise that their sole path to victory lies through sacrificeconstancy in sacrifice.' And the issue of the struggle proved that the Italian people was ready for Mazzini's teaching. For thirty years bands of its chosen patriots courted death in hopeless insurrection in all parts of the peninsula; tens of thousands of Italians, representing much of the best blood and intellect in the country, bore with unsurpassed heroism the horrors of Austrian, Papal, and Bourbon dungeons, or silently endured suffering and poverty in exile. The religion of sacrifice never counted nobler disciples in a patriotic cause than in this great struggle for Italian nationality. Faith' and 'The Future' were other of Mazzini's watchwords. 'Twenty millions of men, strong in the justice of their cause, and of a determined will, are invincible,' he declared; and this faith, shared by a great body of the people, sustained the country in its long, desperate revolutionary effort.


But there were many differences of political creed to be adjusted among the Italian patriots before the harmony of action essential to success could be attained. Republicans and Monarchists, Unitarians and Federalists, had first to test the relative strength of their parties, as well as the fitness of their respective forms of government for Italy. Furthermore, local jealousies and ambitions still clashed with the national sentiment. By reason of these dissensions the great revolutions of 1848 and 1849, which shook every throne in the peninsula save one, and forced Papal and ducal sovereigns to fly, ended everywhere abortive. The despots returned to their petty thrones in the Duchies and the Papal States; the oppression of foreign autocratic rule was again riveted upon the Lombardo-Veneto; and all the constitutions which the revolution had secured at great sacrifice were blotted out save one-that granted in Piedmont by the House of Savoy. Only in the little subalpine kingdom of less than five million inhabitants was parliamentary government preserved for the people.

2 Mazzini. Scritti editi ed inediti, v. 2. Imola, Paola Galeati, 1907, p. 78. This is the National Edition of Mazzini's works of which eleven volumes have been published, and of which about fifty more are in preparation by the leading authority on Mazzini, Professor Mario Menghini,

But this experiment in liberty in Piedmont was the doom of tyranny, domestic and foreign, throughout Italy. The parliament at Turin proved to be a training school for the Italian. nation. Exiles from all the Italian States sat in its councils; and the House of Savoy won the confidence of all Italy through loyalty to the cause of freedom and progress as laid down in its legislation. On the 7th of March 1850 a young Piedmontese deputy, who was destined within a decade to stand forth as the first statesman and diplomat of Europe, Count Camillo Cavour, won his first oratorical triumph in parliament.

Go forward boldly on the path of reform [he urged]. By so doing you will make it possible for constitutional monarchy to strike such firm root in the country, that even when a revolutionary tempest shall rise about us, the monarchy will not only be able to resist effectively, but gathering to itself all the living forces of Italy, it will be in a position to lead our nation to the high destinies to which it has been called.3

Such was the programme of Cavour, and under his remarkable leadership Piedmont carried out the programme to the letter. Italy must be made with liberty,' Cavour went about repeating, ' otherwise we must give up all idea of making her." This was the keynote of his statesmanship. And the training of the Italian people in constitutional liberty begun by him opened wide the pathway of future progress.

One other historical fact must be brought forward before Italy's condition at the close of 1860 can be fairly understood. Constitutional government could prepare Italy for unity, but it could not alone supply the enthusiasm needed to urge the country to a supreme effort by which that unity was to be finally won. Cavour saw this early in his public career, and realised that the revolutionary party was still indispensable to the success of the Italian cause. For him the revolutionary spirit was one of the 'living forces of Italy' to be conciliated and drawn to the constitutional monarchy; the revolutionists were to be encouraged and organised, under loose and covert government control, to work for the overthrow of the despotic Italian governments and the unification of the country. This power of grasping, controlling, and utilising, instead of attempting to destroy the vigorous forces of the revolutionary element, has been, and is, one of the principal features in Italian internal policy. In studying Italy either in its awakening or in its present conditions this must be kept constantly in mind. The skill with which Cavour aided, used, and controlled Garibaldi, letting loose the revolutionary energy of his day, only to check it and pacify it at the moment when it threatened.

Cavour. Discorsi parlamentari, v. 1. Roma, Eredi Botta, 1863, p. 409. Nicomede Bianchi. Il Conte di Cavour. 5a edizione. Torino, Unione Tipografico-Editrice, Ottobre 1863, p. 120.

destruction to the State, finds its analogy in Giolitti's treatment of the Socialists in the last decade. Such a policy is possible only in a country where the spirit of Jacobinism is supplanted by the spirit of compromise, and by a political common sense that is ready to accept what is attainable and reasonably advantageous. Garibaldi commanding five thousand revolutionary troops fought beside Napoleon the Third and Victor Emmanuel in the campaign of 1859; and the great revolutionary coup was his famous filibustering expedition of the Thousand, to which Victor Emmanuel later referred as a movement which it had been his duty not to prevent. With the Thousand and its reinforcements Garibaldi freed the Two Sicilies south of the Volturno from the Bourbons; and in less than three weeks after the publication of the famous proclamation that has been quoted, Victor Emmanuel joined the great revolutionary leader, and, relegating the twenty thousand victorious revolutionary troops to the reserve with pleasant compliments, rapidly finished off the Bourbon overthrow with his own regular army.

Before this campaign was over, the results of the plebiscite held in Southern Italy on the 21st of October were proclaimed at Naples and Palermo; the Two Sicilies were found to have pronounced for a United Italy with Victor Emmanuel its constitutional king' by 1,734,000 votes against 11,000. Similar plebiscites had been held in Tuscany, Parma, Modena, and the annexed portions of the Papal States, where the results had been everywhere equally overwhelming in favour of Unity and the House of Savoy. Victor Emmanuel had become king of fourfifths of Italy, not by conquest but by consent-by the will of the people.

On the 18th of February 1861 the first Italian parliament was opened at Turin. Extravagant hopes had been raised by the triumph of Unity, but there were difficult problems yet to be solved. The people had been constant in sacrifice in the long period of armed conflict. Would it prove itself, in the prosaic period of reconstruction and consolidation that must follow, equally ready to bear further burdens, and sink local ambitions and personal jealousies in fraternal abnegation? For centuries Italy had been misgoverned, and the fruits of misgovernment had been accumulated in all the late despotic States of the peninsula. The rehabilitation of the country would require not only patience and wise administration, but an outlay of capital that would call

"Just criticism has been made of the method in which this vote was cast, but that the majority of the people was overwhelmingly favourable to Victor Emmanuel there can be no question. The real plebiscite was the popular ovation at Garibaldi's triumphal entry into Naples in an open carriage without troops on the 7th of September, while the soldiers of the Bourbon king whom he was overthrowing were still in the city. After that a popular vote was a mere formality.

It was

for immense loans and a heavy increase in taxation. easy to determine the course that must be followed from the recent experience of Piedmont, where despotic government had ceased with the granting of the constitution in 1848. During the twelve years of parliamentary government that had followed in the subalpine kingdom, the reforms in administration and education, the reorganisation and increase of the army and navy, the construction of much needed public works, together with the enormous cost of the campaigns of 1848, 1849, 1855, and 1859, had brought heavy financial burdens. The public debt had been increased sevenfold; government expenses had multiplied, and were greatly in excess of receipts, in spite of the fact that taxes had been nearly doubled; and as the natural result government credit had been much weakened." On the other hand these reforms and large government expenditures had been followed by remarkable development. Commerce had much more than doubled from 1851 to 1859. The laws of October 1848, obliging all towns and villages to maintain schools for elementary education, had been so thoroughly enforced that the number of illiterates in Piedmont had been reduced from 75 per cent. to 50 per cent. Eight hundred and fifty kilometres of railway had been constructed. And the army organisation had reached an efficiency that won for the Piedmontese troops in the Crimea the hearty admiration and sympathy of their English and French allies.

What had been done in Piedmont in the twelve years beginning in 1848 had placed her, as Cavour had foreseen, in a position to lead the nation.' But could this same programme of thoroughgoing reform and seemingly ruinous government expenditure be carried out, with equally rapid and happy results, for a population of twenty-one millions comprising the ex-subjects of seven despotic governments, differing widely in education, temperament, traditions, and economic interests? Lombardy, the Duchies, and even the Papal States differed relatively little from Piedmont, but the nine millions of the Two Sicilies were far behind the Italians of the north and centre in both educational

'The statistical statements in the following pages are based upon figures obtained from many different sources. The official statistics of Italy are to be found in the Annuario Statistico Italiano, but no volume in this series has been published since 1907. For the earlier period statistics are only fragmentary, but the source generally quoted by the Italian Government in its comparative statements is a publication bearing the same title as the above issued by Correnti and Maestri in 1858 and 1864. The best history of Italian finance is that written by Achille Plebano, Storia della finanza italiana 1861-1901. Torino, Roux Frassati e C., 1899-1902, but it relates principally to the national budgets.

'While Government Four per Cent. bonds had been selling on the Bourse in Paris at premiums ranging from 10 per cent. to 25 per cent. in the decade before 1848, in 1859 Government Five per Cent. bonds had dropped to 72.

and economic development. In the Two Sicilies in 1860, 88 per cent. of the population was illiterate. There was but 124 kilometres of railway in the whole kingdom, or one and a-third kilometres to every 100,000 inhabitants, against twenty kilometres in Piedmont, and twenty-five kilometres in France to every 100,000 inhabitants. Proper carriage roads, harbours, and docks were likewise wanting. The army and navy had been disorganised by the revolution. Industry had been equally disorganised, and was ill prepared to meet the demands of fresh taxation. And the national spirit in the south was not what it was in the north.

Northern Italy is made [murmured Cavour on his deathbed in June 1861], there are neither Lombards, nor Piedmontese, nor Tuscans, nor Romagnols; we are all Italians; but there are Neapolitans still. Oh! there is much corruption in that country. It is not their fault, poor people, they have been so ill-governed. . . . The country must be made moral, children and youth must be educated, asylums and military colleges must be created. . . . Anyone can govern with the state of siege. I will govern the Neapolitans with liberty, and will show what ten years of liberty can do for their beautiful country.

The dying statesman saw in the midst of disorganisation, corruption, illiteracy, economic stagnation, and threatened bankruptcy, but one bright spot on the horizon of Southern Italy; it was the same that throughout had been the pole-star of his policyconstitutional liberty. Italians were at length free and masters of their own destinies, and although in the hour of supreme need death was removing the great leader, his policy as revealed in the last decade of parliamentary Piedmontese government would be treasured as the heritage of all Italy.

It has been said that it was a great misfortune that Cavour did not live for at least another five years, not only that the country might have benefited further from his leadership, but that he and Italy's future statesman, Francesco Crispi, might have come to know and understand one another better, and that Cavour's mantle might have fallen directly upon the shoulders of Crispi. Perhaps with five years more of Cavour's life this understanding and succession would have been obtained, but even as it was Crispi, the conspirator and fiery revolutionist, had at this time already come to understand parliamentary rule, and to appreciate the fact that ' governing with liberty' did not mean governing with perpetual revolution. In the years immediately following Cavour's death the services which Crispi, as one of the leaders of the left, rendered in enforcing respect for parliamentary authority among members of his party, particularly in the south where education in self

8 Ernesto Artom. L'opera politica del Senatore I. Artom. v. 1. Bologna, Zanichelli, 1906, p. 374.

« VorigeDoorgaan »