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History of Modern Europe 1792-1878 by C. A. Fyffe

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heard that Austria was to be offered the Danubian Provinces upon condition
of giving up northern Italy; that Piedmont was to receive Lombardy, and in
return to surrender Savoy to France; that, if Austria should decline to
unite actively with the Western Powers, revolutionary movements were to be
stirred up in Italy and in Hungary. Such reports kindled the King's rage.
"Be under no illusion," he wrote to his ambassador; "tell the British
Ministers in their private ear and on the housetops that I will not suffer
Austria to be attacked by the revolution without drawing the sword in its
defence. If England and France let loose revolution as their ally, be it
where it may, I unite with Russia for life and death." Bunsen advocated the
participation of Prussia in the European concert with more earnestness than
success. While the King was declaiming against the lawlessness which was
supposed to have spread from the Tuileries to Downing Street, Bunsen, on
his own authority, sent to Berlin a project for the annexation of Russian
territory by Prussia as a reward for its alliance with the Western Courts.
This document fell into the hands of the Russian party at Berlin, and it
roused the King's own indignation. Bitter reproaches were launched against
the authors of so felonious a scheme. Bunsen could no longer retain his
office. Other advocates of the Western alliance were dismissed from their
places, and the policy of neutrality carried the day at Berlin.

[Relation of the Western Powers to the European Concert.]

The situation of the European Powers in April, 1854, was thus a very
strange one. All the Four Powers were agreed in demanding the evacuation of
the Principalities by Russia, and in the resolution to enforce this, if
necessary, by arms. Protocols witnessing this agreement were signed on the
9th of April and the 23rd of May, [470] and it was moreover declared that
the Four Powers recognised the necessity of maintaining the independence
and the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. But France and England, while they
made the presence of the Russians in the Principalities the avowed cause of
war, had in reality other intentions than the mere expulsion of the
intruder and the restoration of the state of things previously existing. It
was their desire so to cripple Russia that it should not again be in a
condition to menace the Ottoman Empire. This intention made it impossible
for the British Cabinet to name, as the basis of a European league, that
single definite object for which, and for which alone, all the Powers were
in May, 1854, ready to unite in arms. England, the nation and the
Government alike, chose rather to devote itself, in company with France, to
the task of indefinitely weakening Russia than, in company with all Europe,
to force Russia to one humiliating but inevitable act of submission.
Whether in the prosecution of their ulterior objects the Western Courts
might or might not receive some armed assistance from Austria and Prussia
no man could yet predict with confidence. That Austria would to some extent
make common cause with the Allies seemed not unlikely; that Prussia would
do so there was no real ground to believe; on the contrary, fair warning
had been given that there were contingencies in which Prussia might
ultimately be found on the side of the Czar. Striving to the utmost to
discover some principle, some object, or even some formula which might
expand the purely defensive basis accepted by Austria and Prussia into a
common policy of reconstructive action, the Western Powers could obtain
nothing more definite from the Conference at Vienna than the following
shadowy engagement:--"The Four Governments engage to endeavour in common to
discover the guarantees most likely to attach the existence of the Ottoman
Empire to the general equilibrium of Europe. They are ready to deliberate
as to the employment of means calculated to accomplish the object of their
agreement." This readiness to deliberate, so cautiously professed, was a
quality in which during the two succeeding years the Courts of Vienna and
Berlin were not found wanting; but the war in which England and France now
engaged was one which they had undertaken at their own risk, and they
discovered little anxiety on any side to share their labour.

[Siege of Silistria, May.]

[The Principalities evacuated, June.]

During the winter of 1853 and the first weeks of the following year
hostilities of an indecisive character continued between the Turks and the
Russians on the Danube. At the outbreak of the war Nicholas had consulted
the veteran Paskiewitsch as to the best road by which to march on
Constantinople. Paskiewitsch, as a strategist, knew the danger to which a
Russian force crossing the Danube would be exposed from the presence of
Austrian armies on its flank; as commander in the invasion of Hungary in
1849 he had encountered, as he believed, ill faith and base dealing on the
part of his ally, and had repaid it with insult and scorn; he had learnt
better than any other man the military and the moral weakness of the
Austrian Empire in its eastern part. His answer to the Czar's inquiries
was, "The road to Constantinople lies through Vienna." But whatever
bitterness the Czar might have felt at the ingratitude of Francis Joseph,
he was not ready for a war with Austria, in which he could hardly have
avoided the assistance of revolutionary allies; moreover, if the road to
Constantinople lay through Vienna, it might be urged that the road to
Vienna lay through Berlin. The simpler plan was adopted of a march on the
Balkans by way of Shumla, to which the capture of Silistria was to be the
prelude. At the end of March the Russian vanguard passed the Danube at the
lowest point where a crossing could be made, and advanced into the
Dobrudscha. In May the siege of Silistria was undertaken by Paskiewitsch
himself. But the enterprise began too late, and the strength employed both
in the siege and in the field operations farther east was insufficient. The
Turkish garrison, schooled by a German engineer and animated by two young
English officers, maintained a stubborn and effective resistance. French
and English troops had already landed at Gallipoli for the defence of
Constantinople, and finding no enemy within range had taken ship for Varna
on the north of the Balkans. Austria, on the 3rd of June, delivered its
summons requiring the evacuation of the Principalities. Almost at the same
time Paskiewitsch received a wound that disabled him, and was forced to
surrender his command into other hands. During the succeeding fortnight the
besiegers of Silistria were repeatedly driven back, and on the 22nd they
were compelled to raise the siege. The Russians, now hard pressed by an
enemy whom they had despised, withdrew to the north of the Danube. The
retreating movement was continued during the succeeding weeks, until the
evacuation of the Principalities was complete, and the last Russian soldier
had recrossed the Pruth. As the invader retired, Austria sent its troops
into these provinces, pledging itself by a convention with the Porte to
protect them until peace should be concluded, and then to restore them to
the Sultan.

[Further objects of the Western Powers.]

With the liberation of the Principalities the avowed ground of war passed
away; but the Western Powers had no intention of making peace without
further concessions on the part of Russia. As soon as the siege of
Silistria was raised instructions were sent to the commanders of the allied
armies at Varna, pressing, if not absolutely commanding, them to attack
Sebastopol, the headquarters of Russian maritime power in the Euxine. The
capture of Sebastopol had been indicated some months before by Napoleon
III. as the most effective blow that could be dealt to Russia. It was from
Sebastopol that the fleet had issued which destroyed the Turks at Sinope:
until this arsenal had fallen, the growing naval might which pressed even
more directly upon Constantinople than the neighbourhood of the Czar's
armies by land could not be permanently laid low. The objects sought by
England and France were now gradually brought into sufficient clearness to
be communicated to the other Powers, though the more precise interpretation
of the conditions laid down remained open for future discussion. It was
announced that the Protectorate of Russia over the Danubian Principalities
and Servia must be abolished; that the navigation of the Danube at its
mouths must be freed from all obstacles; that the Treaty of July, 1841,
relating to the Black Sea and the Dardanelles, must be revised in the
interest of the balance of power in Europe; and that the claim to any
official Protectorate over Christian subjects of the Porte, of whatever
rite, must be abandoned by the Czar. Though these conditions, known as the
Four Points, were not approved by Prussia, they were accepted by Austria in
August, 1854, and were laid before Russia as the basis of any negotiation
for peace. The Czar declared in answer that Russia would only negotiate on
such a basis when at the last extremity. The Allied Governments, measuring
their enemy's weakness by his failure before Silistria, were determined to
accept nothing less; and the attack upon Sebastopol, ordered before the
evacuation of the Principalities, was consequently allowed to take its
course. [471]


[The Allies land in the Crimea, Sept. 14.]

[Battle of the Alma, Sept. 20.]

The Roadstead, or Great Harbour, of Sebastopol runs due eastwards inland
from a point not far from the south-western extremity of the Crimea. One
mile from the open sea its waters divide, the larger arm still running
eastwards till it meets the River Tchernaya, the smaller arm, known as the
Man-of-War Harbour, bending sharply to the south. On both sides of this
smaller harbour Sebastopol is built. To the seaward, that is from the
smaller harbour westwards, Sebastopol and its approaches were thoroughly
fortified. On its landward, southern, side the town had been open till
1853, and it was still but imperfectly protected, most weakly on the
south-eastern side. On the north of the Great Harbour Fort Constantine at
the head of a line of strong defences guarded the entrance from the sea;
while on the high ground immediately opposite Sebastopol and commanding the
town there stood the Star Fort with other military constructions. The
general features of Sebastopol were known to the Allied commanders; they
had, however, no precise information as to the force by which it was held,
nor as to the armament of its fortifications. It was determined that the
landing should be made in the Bay of Eupatoria, thirty miles north of the
fortress. Here, on the 14th of September, the Allied forces, numbering
about thirty thousand French, twenty-seven thousand English, and seven
thousand Turks, effected their disembarkation without meeting any
resistance. The Russians, commanded by Prince Menschikoff, lately envoy at
Constantinople, had taken post ten miles further south on high ground
behind the River Alma. On the 20th of September they were attacked in front
by the English, while the French attempted a turning movement from the sea.
The battle was a scene of confusion, and for a moment the assault of the
English seemed to be rolled back. But it was renewed with ever increasing
vigour, and before the French had made any impression on the Russian left
Lord Raglan's troops had driven the enemy from their positions. Struck on
the flank when their front was already broken, outnumbered and badly led,
the Russians gave up all for lost. The form of an orderly retreat was
maintained only long enough to disguise from the conquerors the
completeness of their victory. When night fell the Russian army abandoned
itself to total disorder, and had the pursuit been made at once it could
scarcely have escaped destruction. But St. Arnaud, who was in the last
stage of mortal illness, refused, in spite of the appeal of Lord Raglan, to
press on his wearied troops. Menschikoff, abandoning the hope of checking
the advance of the Allies in a second battle, and anxious only to prevent
the capture of Sebastopol by an enemy supposed to be following at his
heels, retired into the fortress, and there sank seven of his war-ships as
a barrier across the mouth of the Great Harbour, mooring the rest within.
The crews were brought on shore to serve in the defence by land; the guns
were dragged from the ships to the bastions and redoubts. Then, when it
appeared that the Allies lingered, the Russian commander altered his plan.
Leaving Korniloff, the Vice-Admiral, and Todleben, an officer of engineers,
to man the existing works and to throw up new ones where the town was
undefended, Menschikoff determined to lead off the bulk of his army into
the interior of the Crimea, in order to keep open his communications with
Russia, to await in freedom the arrival of reinforcements, and, if
Sebastopol should not at once fall, to attack the Allies at his own time
and opportunity. (September 24th.)

[Flank march to south of Sebastopol.]

[Ineffectual Bombardment, Sept. 17-25.]

The English had lost in the battle of the Alma about two thousand men, the
French probably less than half that number. On the morning after the
engagement Lord Raglan proposed that the two armies should march straight
against the fortifications lying on the north of the Great Harbour, and
carry these by storm, so winning a position where their guns would command
Sebastopol itself. The French, supported by Burgoyne, the chief of the
English engineers, shrank from the risk of a front attack on works supposed
to be more formidable than they really were, and induced Lord Raglan to
consent to a long circuitous march which would bring the armies right round
Sebastopol to its more open southern side, from which, it was thought, an
assault might be successfully made. This flank-march, which was one of
extreme risk, was carried out safely, Menschikoff himself having left
Sebastopol, and having passed along the same road in his retreat into the
interior a little before the appearance of the Allies. Pushing southward,
the English reached the sea at Balaclava, and took possession of the
harbour there, accepting the exposed eastward line between the fortress and
the Russia is outside; the French, now commanded by Canrobert, continued
their march westwards round the back of Sebastopol, and touched the sea at
Kasatch Bay. The two armies were thus masters of the broken plateau which,
rising westwards from the plain of Balaclava and the valley of the
Tchernaya, overlooks Sebastopol on its southern side. That the garrison,
which now consisted chiefly of sailors, could at this moment have resisted
the onslaught of the fifty thousand troops who had won the battle of the
Alma, the Russians themselves did not believe; [472] but once more the
French staff, with Burgoyne, urged caution, and it was determined to wait
for the siege-guns, which were still at sea. The decision was a fatal one.
While the Allies chose positions for their heavy artillery and slowly
landed and placed their guns, Korniloff and Todleben made the
fortifications on the southern side of Sebastopol an effective barrier
before an enemy. The sacrifice of the Russian fleet had not been in vain.
The sailors were learning all the duties of a garrison: the cannon from the
ships proved far more valuable on land. Three weeks of priceless time were
given to leaders who knew how to turn every moment to account. When, on the
17th of October, the bombardment which was to precede the assault on
Sebastopol began, the French artillery, operating on the south-west, was
overpowered by that of the defenders. The fleets in vain thundered against
the solid sea-front of the fortress. At the end of eight days' cannonade,
during which the besiegers' batteries poured such a storm of shot and shell
upon Sebastopol as no fortress had yet withstood, the defences were still

[Battle of Balaclava, Oct. 25.]

Menschikoff in the meantime had received the reinforcements which he
expected, and was now ready to fall upon the besiegers from the east. His
point of attack was the English port of Balaclava and the fortified road
lying somewhat east of this, which formed the outer line held by the
English and their Turkish supports. The plain of Balaclava is divided by a
low ridge into a northern and a southern valley. Along this ridge runs the
causeway, which had been protected by redoubts committed to a weak Turkish
guard. On the morning of the 25th the Russians appeared in the northern
valley. They occupied the heights rising from it on the north and east,
attacked the causeway, captured three of the redoubts, and drove off the
Turks, left to meet their onset alone. Lord Raglan, who watched these
operations from the edge of the western plateau, ordered up infantry from a
distance, but the only English troops on the spot were a light and a heavy
brigade of cavalry, each numbering about six hundred men. The Heavy
Brigade, under General Scarlett, was directed to move towards Balaclava
itself, which was now threatened. While they were on the march, a dense
column of Russian cavalry, about three thousand strong, appeared above the
crest of the low ridge, ready, as it seemed, to overwhelm the weak troops
before them. But in their descent from the ridge the Russians halted, and
Scarlett with admirable courage and judgment formed his men for attack, and
charged full into the enemy with the handful who were nearest to him. They
cut their way into the very heart of the column; and before the Russians
could crush them with mere weight the other regiments of the same brigade
hurled themselves on the right and on the left against the huge inert mass.
The Russians broke and retreated in disorder before a quarter of their
number, leaving to Scarlett and his men the glory of an action which
ranks with the Prussian attack at Mars-la-Tour in 1870 as the most
brilliant cavalry operation in modern warfare. The squadrons of the Light
Brigade, during the peril and the victory of their comrades, stood
motionless, paralysed by the same defect of temper or intelligence in
command which was soon to devote them to a fruitless but ever-memorable
act of self-sacrifice. Russian infantry were carrying off the cannon from
the conquered redoubts on the causeway, when an aide-de-camp from the
general-in-chief brought to the Earl of Lucan, commander of the cavalry,
an order to advance rapidly to the front, and save these guns. Lucan, who
from his position could see neither the enemy nor the guns, believed
himself ordered to attack the Russian artillery at the extremity of the
northern valley, and he directed the Light Brigade to charge in this
direction. It was in vain that the leader of the Light Brigade, Lord
Cardigan, warned his chief, in words which were indeed but too weak, that
there was a battery in front, a battery on each flank, and that the
ground was covered with Russian riflemen. The order was repeated as that
of the head of the army, and it was obeyed. Thus

"Into the valley of Death
Rode the Six Hundred."

How they died there, the remnant not turning till they had hewn their way
past the guns and routed the enemy's cavalry behind them, the English
people will never forget. [473]

[Battle of Inkermann, Nov. 5.]

The day of Balaclava brought to each side something of victory and
something of failure. The Russians remained masters of the road that they
had captured, and carried off seven English guns; the English, where they
had met the enemy, proved that they could defeat overwhelming numbers. Not
many days passed before our infantry were put to the test which the cavalry
had so victoriously undergone. The siege-approaches of the French had been
rapidly advanced, and it was determined that on the 5th of November the
long-deferred assault on Sebastopol should be made. On that very morning,
under cover of a thick mist, the English right was assailed by massive
columns of the enemy. Menschikoff's army had now risen to a hundred
thousand men; he had thrown troops into Sebastopol, and had planned the
capture of the English positions by a combined attack from Sebastopol
itself, and by troops advancing from the lower valley of the Tchernaya
across the bridge of Inkermann. The battle of the 5th of November, on the
part of the English, was a soldier's battle, without generalship, without
order, without design. The men, standing to their ground whatever their own
number and whatever that of the foe, fought, after their ammunition was
exhausted, with bayonets, with the butt ends of their muskets, with their
fists and with stones. For hours the ever-surging Russian mass rolled in
upon them; but they maintained the unequal struggle until the arrival of
French regiments saved them from their deadly peril and the enemy were
driven in confusion from the field. The Russian columns, marching right up
to the guns, had been torn in pieces by artillery-fire. Their loss in
killed and wounded was enormous, their defeat one which no ingenuity could
disguise. Yet the battle of Inkermann had made the capture of Sebastopol,
as it had been planned by the Allies, impossible. Their own loss was too
great, the force which the enemy had displayed was too vast, to leave any
hope that the fortress could be mastered by a sudden assault. The terrible
truth soon became plain that the enterprise on which the armies had been
sent had in fact failed, and that another enterprise of a quite different
character, a winter siege in the presence of a superior enemy, a campaign
for which no preparations had been made, and for which all that was most
necessary was wanting, formed the only alternative to an evacuation of the

[Storm of Nov. 14.]

[Winter in the Crimea.]

On the 14th of November the Euxine winter began with a storm which swept
away the tents on the exposed plateau, and wrecked twenty-one vessels
bearing stores of ammunition and clothing. From this time rain and snow
turned the tract between the camp and Balaclava into a morass. The loss of
the paved road which had been captured by the Russians three weeks before
now told with fatal effect on the British army. The only communication with
the port of Balaclava was by a hillside track, which soon became impassable
by carts. It was necessary to bring up supplies on the backs of horses; but
the horses perished from famine and from excessive labour. The men were too
few, too weak, too destitute of the helpful ways of English sailors, to
assist in providing for themselves. Thus penned up on the bleak promontory,
cholera-stricken, mocked rather than sustained during their benumbing toil
with rations of uncooked meat and green coffee-berries, the British
soldiery wasted away. Their effective force sank at midwinter to eleven
thousand men. In the hospitals, which even at Scutari were more deadly to
those who passed within them than the fiercest fire of the enemy, nine
thousand men perished before the end of February. The time indeed came when
the very Spirit of Mercy seemed to enter these abodes of woe, and in the
presence of Florence Nightingale nature at last regained its healing power,
pestilence no longer hung in the atmosphere which the sufferers breathed,
and death itself grew mild. But before this new influence had vanquished
routine the grave had closed over whole regiments of men whom it had no
right to claim. The sufferings of other armies have been on a greater
scale, but seldom has any body of troops furnished a heavier tale of loss
and death in proportion to its numbers than the British army during the
winter of the Crimean War. The unsparing exposure in the Press of the
mismanagement under which our soldiers were perishing excited an outburst
of indignation which overthrew Lord Aberdeen's Ministry and placed
Palmerston in power. It also gave to Europe at large an impression that
Great Britain no longer knew how to conduct a war, and unduly raised the
reputation of the French military administration, whose shortcomings, great
as they were, no French journalist dared to describe. In spite of Alma and
Inkermann, the military prestige of England was injured, not raised, by the
Crimean campaign; nor was it until the suppression of the Indian Mutiny
that the true capacity of the nation in war was again vindicated before the

[Death of Nicholas, March 2, 1855.]

[Conference of Vienna, March-May, 1855.]


"I have two generals who will not fail me," the Czar is reported to have
said when he heard of Menschikoff's last defeat, "Generals January and
February." General February fulfilled his task, but he smote the Czar too.
In the first days of March a new monarch inherited the Russian crown. [474]
Alexander II. ascended the throne, announcing that he would adhere to the
policy of Peter the Great, of Catherine, and of Nicholas. But the proud
tone was meant rather for the ear of Russia than of Europe, since Nicholas
had already expressed his willingness to treat for peace on the basis laid
down by the Western Powers in August, 1854. This change was not produced
wholly by the battles of Alma and Inkermann. Prussia, finding itself
isolated in Germany, had after some months of hesitation given a diplomatic
sanction to the Four Points approved by Austria as indispensable conditions
of peace. Russia thus stood forsaken, as it seemed, by its only friend, and
Nicholas could no longer hope to escape with the mere abandonment of those
claims which had been the occasion of the war. He consented to treat with
his enemies on their own terms. Austria now approached still more closely
to the Western Powers, and bound itself by treaty, in the event of peace
not being concluded by the end of the year on the stated basis, to
deliberate with France and England upon effectual means for obtaining the
object of the Alliance. [475] Preparations were made for a Conference at
Vienna, from which Prussia, still declining to pledge itself to warlike
action in case of the failure of the negotiations, was excluded. The
sittings of the Conference began a few days after the accession of
Alexander II. Russia was represented by its ambassador, Prince Alexander
Gortschakoff, who, as Minister of later years, was to play so conspicuous a
part in undoing the work of the Crimean epoch. On the first two Articles
forming the subject of negotiation, namely the abolition of the Russian
Protectorate over Servia and the Principalities, and the removal of all
impediments to the free navigation of the Danube, agreement was reached.
On the third Article, the revision of the Treaty of July, 1841, relating
to the Black Sea and the Dardanelles, the Russian envoy and the
representatives of the Western Powers found themselves completely at
variance. Gortschakoff had admitted that the Treaty of 1841 must be so
revised as to put an end to the preponderance of Russia in the Black Sea;
[476] but while the Western Governments insisted upon the exclusion of
Russian war-vessels from these waters, Gortschakoff would consent only to
the abolition of Russia's preponderance by the free admission of the
war-vessels of all nations, or by some similar method of counterpoise.
The negotiations accordingly came to an end, but not before Austria,
disputing the contention of the Allies that the object of the third
Article could be attained only by the specific means proposed by them,
had brought forward a third scheme based partly upon the limitation of
the Russian navy in the Euxine, partly upon the admission of war-ships of
other nations. This scheme was rejected by the Western Powers, whereupon
Austria declared that its obligations under the Treaty of December 2nd,
1854, had now been fulfilled, and that it returned in consequence to the
position of a neutral.

Great indignation was felt and was expressed at London and Paris at this
so-called act of desertion, and at the subsequent withdrawal of Austrian
regiments from the positions which they had occupied in anticipation of
war. It was alleged that in the first two conditions of peace Austria had
seen its own special interests effectually secured; and that as soon as the
Court of St. Petersburg had given the necessary assurances on these heads
the Cabinet of Vienna was willing to sacrifice the other objects of the
Alliance and to abandon the cause of the Maritime Powers, in order to
regain, with whatever loss of honour, the friendship of the Czar. Though it
was answered with perfect truth that Austria had never accepted the
principle of the exclusion of Russia from the Black Sea, and was still
ready to take up arms in defence of that system by which it considered that
Russia's preponderance in the Black Sea might be most suitably prevented,
this argument sounded hollow to combatants convinced of the futility of all
methods for holding Russia in check except their own. Austria had
grievously injured its own position and credit with the Western Powers. On
the other hand it had wounded Russia too deeply to win from the Czar the
forgiveness which it expected. Its policy of balance, whether best
described as too subtle or as too impartial, had miscarried. It had
forfeited its old, without acquiring new friendships. It remained isolated
in Europe, and destined to meet without support and without an ally the
blows which were soon to fall upon it.

[Progress of the siege, January-May, 1855.]

[Canrobert succeeded by Pélissier, May.]

[Unsuccessful assault, June 18.]

[Battle of the Tchernaya, Aug. 16.]

[Capture of the Malakoff, Sept. 8.]

[Fall of Sebastopol, Sept. 9.]

The prospects of the besieging armies before Sebastopol were in some
respects better towards the close of January, 1855, than they were when the
Conference of Vienna commenced its sittings six weeks later. Sardinia,
under the guidance of Cavour, had joined the Western Alliance, and was
about to send fifteen thousand soldiers to the Crimea. A new plan of
operations, which promised excellent results, had been adopted at
headquarters. Up to the end of 1854 the French had directed their main
attack against the Flagstaff bastion, a little to the west of the head of
the Man-of-War Harbour. They were now, however, convinced by Lord Raglan
that the true keystone to the defences of Sebastopol was the Malakoff, on
the eastern side, and they undertook the reduction of this formidable work,
while the British directed their efforts against the neighbouring Redan.
[477] The heaviest fire of the besiegers being thus concentrated on a
narrow line, it seemed as if Sebastopol must soon fall. But at the
beginning of February a sinister change came over the French camp. General
Niel arrived from Paris vested with powers which really placed him in
control of the general-in-chief; and though Canrobert was but partially
made acquainted with the Emperor's designs, he was forced to sacrifice to
them much of his own honour and that of the army. Napoleon had determined
to come to the Crimea himself, and at the fitting moment to end by one
grand stroke the war which had dragged so heavily in the hands of others.
He believed that Sebastopol could only be taken by a complete investment;
and it was his design to land with a fresh army on the south-eastern coast
of the Crimea, to march across the interior of the peninsula, to sweep
Menschikoff's forces from their position above the Tchernaya, and to
complete the investment of Sebastopol from the north. With this scheme of
operations in view, all labour expended in the attack on Sebastopol from
the south was effort thrown away. Canrobert, who had promised his most
vigorous co-operation to Lord Raglan, was fettered and paralysed by the
Emperor's emissary at headquarters. For three successive months the
Russians not only held their own, but by means of counter-approaches won
back from the French some of the ground that they had taken. The very
existence of the Alliance was threatened when, after Canrobert and Lord
Raglan had despatched a force to seize the Russian posts on the Sea of
Azof, the French portion of this force was peremptorily recalled by the
Emperor, in order that it might be employed in the march northwards across
the Crimea. At length, unable to endure the miseries of the position,
Canrobert asked to be relieved of his command. He was succeeded by General
Pélissier. Pélissier, a resolute, energetic soldier, one moreover who did
not owe his promotion to complicity in the _coup d'état_, flatly
refused to obey the Emperor's orders. Sweeping aside the flimsy schemes
evolved at the Tuileries, he returned with all his heart to the plan agreed
upon by the Allied commanders at the beginning of the year; and from this
time, though disasters were still in store, they were not the result of
faltering or disloyalty at the headquarters of the French army. The general
assault on the Malakoff and the Redan was fixed for the 18th of June. It
was bravely met by the Russians; the Allies were driven back with heavy
loss, and three months more were added to the duration of the siege. Lord
Raglan did not live to witness the last stage of the war. Exhausted by his
labours, heartsick at the failure of the great attack, he died on the 28th
of June, leaving the command to General Simpson, an officer far his
inferior. As the lines of the besiegers approached nearer and nearer to the
Russian fortifications, the army which had been defeated at Inkermann
advanced for one last effort. Crossing the Tchernaya, it gave battle on the
16th of August. The French and the Sardinians, with little assistance from
the British army, won a decisive victory. Sebastopol could hope no longer
for assistance from without, and on the 8th of September the blow which had
failed in June was dealt once more. The French, throwing themselves in
great strength upon the Malakoff, carried this fortress by storm, and
frustrated every effort made for its recovery; the British, attacking the
Redan with a miserably weak force, were beaten and overpowered. But the
fall of the Malakoff was in itself equivalent to the capture of Sebastopol.
A few more hours passed, and a series of tremendous explosions made known
to the Allies that the Russian commander was blowing up his magazines and
withdrawing to the north of the Great Harbour. The prize was at length won,
and at the end of a siege of three hundred and fifty days what remained of
the Czar's great fortress passed into the hands of his enemies.

[Exhaustion of Russia.]

[Fall of Kars, Nov. 28.]

[Negotiations for peace.]

The Allies had lost since their landing in the Crimea not less than a
hundred thousand men. An enterprise undertaken in the belief that it would
be accomplished in the course of a few weeks, and with no greater sacrifice
of life than attends every attack upon a fortified place, had proved
arduous and terrible almost beyond example. Yet if the Crimean campaign was
the result of error and blindness on the part of the invaders, it was
perhaps even more disastrous to Russia than any warfare in which an enemy
would have been likely to engage with fuller knowledge of the conditions to
be met. The vast distances that separated Sebastopol from the military
depôts in the interior of Russia made its defence a drain of the most
fearful character on the levies and the resources of the country. What tens
of thousands sank in the endless, unsheltered march without ever nearing
the sea, what provinces were swept of their beasts of burden, when every
larger shell fired against the enemy had to be borne hundreds of miles by
oxen, the records of the war but vaguely make known. The total loss of the
Russians should perhaps be reckoned at three times that of the Allies. Yet
the fall of Sebastopol was not immediately followed by peace. The
hesitation of the Allies in cutting off the retreat of the Russian army had
enabled its commander to retain his hold upon the Crimea; in Asia, the
delays of a Turkish relieving army gave to the Czar one last gleam of
success in the capture of Kars, which, after a strenuous resistance,
succumbed to famine on the 28th of November. But before Kars had fallen
negotiations for peace had commenced. France was weary of the war.
Napoleon, himself unwilling to continue it except at the price of French
aggrandisement on the Continent, was surrounded by a band of palace
stock-jobbers who had staked everything on the rise of the funds that would
result from peace. It was known at every Court of Europe that the Allies
were completely at variance with one another; that while the English
nation, stung by the failure of its military administration during the
winter, by the nullity of its naval operations in the Baltic, and by the
final disaster at the Redan, was eager to prove its real power in a new
campaign, the ruler of France, satisfied with the crowning glory of the
Malakoff, was anxious to conclude peace on any tolerable terms. Secret
communications from St. Petersburg were made at Paris by Baron Seebach,
envoy of Saxony, a son-in-law of the Russian Chancellor: the Austrian
Cabinet, still bent on acting the part of arbiter, but hopeless of the
results of a new Conference, addressed itself to the Emperor Napoleon
singly, and persuaded him to enter into a negotiation which was concealed
for a while from Great Britain. The two intrigues were simultaneously
pursued by our ally, but Seebach's proposals were such that even the
warmest friends of Russia at the Tuileries could scarcely support them, and
the Viennese diplomatists won the day. It was agreed that a note containing
Preliminaries of Peace should be presented by Austria at St. Petersburg as
its own ultimatum, after the Emperor Napoleon should have won from the
British Government its assent to these terms without any alteration. The
Austrian project embodied indeed the Four Points which Britain had in
previous months fixed as the conditions of peace, and in substance it
differed little from what, even after the fall of Sebastopol, British
statesmen were still prepared to accept; but it was impossible that a
scheme completed without the participation of Britain and laid down for its
passive acceptance should be thus uncomplainingly adopted by its
Government. Lord Palmerston required that the Four Articles enumerated
should be understood to cover points not immediately apparent on their
surface, and that a fifth Article should be added reserving to the Powers
the right of demanding certain further special conditions, it being
understood that Great Britain would require under this clause only that
Russia should bind itself to leave the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea
unfortified. Modified in accordance with the demand of the British
Government, the Austrian draft was presented to the Czar at the end of
December, with the notification that if it as not accepted by the 16th of
January the Austrian ambassador would quit St. Petersburg. On the 15th a
Council was held in the presence of the Czar. Nesselrode, who first gave
his opinion, urged that the continuance of the war would plunge Russia into
hostilities with all Europe, and advised submission to a compact which
would last only until Russia had recovered its strength or new relations
had arisen among the Powers. One Minister after another declared that
Poland, Finland, the Crimea, and the Caucasus would be endangered if peace
were not now made; the Chief of the Finances stated that Russia could not
go through another campaign without bankruptcy. [478] At the end of the
discussion the Council declared unanimously in favour of accepting the
Austrian propositions; and although the national feeling was still in
favour of resistance, there appears to have been one Russian statesman
alone, Prince Gortschakoff, ambassador at Vienna, who sought to dissuade
the Czar from making peace. His advice was not taken. The vote of the
Council was followed by the despatch of plenipotentiaries to Paris, and
here, on the 25th of February, 1856, the envoys of all the Powers, with the
exception of Prussia, assembled in Conference, in order to frame the
definitive Treaty of Peace. [479]

[Conference of Paris, Feb. 25, 1856.]

[Treaty of Paris, March 30, 1856.]

In the debates which now followed, and which occupied more than a month,
Lord Clarendon, who represented Great Britain, discovered that in each
contested point he had to fight against the Russian and the French envoys
combined, so completely was the Court of the Tuileries now identified with
a policy of conciliation and friendliness towards Russia. [480] Great
firmness, great plainness of speech was needed on the part of the British
Government, in order to prevent the recognised objects of the war from
being surrendered by its ally, not from a conviction that they were
visionary or unattainable, but from unsteadiness of purpose and from the
desire to convert a defeated enemy into a friend. The end, however, was at
length reached, and on the 30th of March the Treaty of Paris was signed.
The Black Sea was neutralised; its waters and ports, thrown open to the
mercantile marine of every nation, were formally and in perpetuity
interdicted to the war-ships both of the Powers possessing its coasts and
of all other Powers. The Czar and the Sultan undertook not to establish or
maintain upon its coasts any military or maritime arsenal. Russia ceded a
portion of Bessarabia, accepting a frontier which excluded it from the
Danube. The free navigation of this river, henceforth to be effectively
maintained by an international Commission, was declared part of the public
law of Europe. The Powers declared the Sublime Porte admitted to
participate in the advantages of the public law and concert of Europe, each
engaging to respect the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire,
and all guaranteeing in common the strict observance of this engagement,
and promising to consider any act tending to its violation as a question of
general interest. The Sultan "having, in his constant solicitude for the
welfare of his subjects, issued a firman recording his generous intentions
towards the Christian population of his empire, [481] and having
communicated it to the Powers," the Powers "recognised the high value of
this communication," declaring at the same time "that it could not, in any
case, give to them the right to interfere, either collectively or
separately, in the relations of the Sultan to his subjects, or in the
internal administration of his empire." The Danubian Principalities,
augmented by the strip of Bessarabia taken from Russia, were to continue to
enjoy, under the suzerainty of the Porte and under the guarantee of the
Powers, all the privileges and immunities of which they were in possession,
no exclusive protection being exercised by any of the guaranteeing
Powers. [482]

[Agreement of the Conference on rights of neutrals.]

Passing beyond the immediate subjects of negotiation, the Conference
availed itself of its international character to gain the consent of Great
Britain to a change in the laws of maritime war. England had always
claimed, and had always exercised, the right to seize an enemy's goods on
the high sea though conveyed in a neutral vessel, and to search the
merchant-ships of neutrals for this purpose. The exercise of this right had
stirred up against England the Maritime League of 1800, and was condemned
by nearly the whole civilised world. Nothing short of an absolute command
of the seas made it safe or possible for a single Power to maintain a
practice which threatened at moments of danger to turn the whole body of
neutral States into its enemies. Moreover, if the seizure of belligerents'
goods in neutral ships profited England when it was itself at war, it
injured England at all times when it remained at peace during the struggles
of other States. Similarly by the issue of privateers England inflicted
great injury on its enemies; but its own commerce, exceeding that of every
other State, offered to the privateers of its foes a still richer booty.
The advantages of the existing laws of maritime war were not altogether on
the side of England, though mistress of the seas; and in return for the
abolition of privateering, the British Government consented to surrender
its sharpest, but most dangerous, weapon of offence, and to permit the
products of a hostile State to find a market in time of war. The rule was
laid down that the goods of an enemy other than contraband of war should
henceforth be safe under a neutral flag. Neutrals' goods discovered on an
enemy's ship were similarly made exempt from capture.

[Fictions of the Treaty of Paris as to Turkey.]

The enactments of the Conference of Paris relating to commerce in time of
hostilities have not yet been subjected to the strain of a war between
England and any European State; its conclusions on all other subjects were
but too soon put to the test, and have one after another been found
wanting. If the Power which calls man into his moment of life could smile
at the efforts and the assumptions of its creature, such smile might have
been moved by the assembly of statesmen who, at the close of the Crimean
War, affected to shape the future of Eastern Europe. They persuaded
themselves that by dint of the iteration of certain phrases they could
convert the Sultan and his hungry troop of Pashas into the chiefs of a
European State. They imagined that the House of Osman, which in the stages
of a continuous decline had successively lost its sway over Hungary, over
Servia, over Southern Greece and the Danubian Provinces, and which would
twice within the last twenty-five years have seen its Empire dashed to
pieces by an Egyptian vassal but for the intervention of Europe, might be
arrested in its decadence by an incantation, and be made strong enough and
enlightened enough to govern to all time the Slavic and Greek populations
which had still the misfortune to be included within its dominions.
Recognising--so ran the words which read like bitter irony, but which were
meant for nothing of the kind--the value of the Sultan's promises of
reform, the authors of the Treaty of Paris proceeded, as if of set purpose,
to extinguish any vestige of responsibility which might have been felt at
Constantinople, and any spark of confidence that might still linger among
the Christian populations, by declaring that, whether the Sultan observed
or broke his promises, in no case could any right of intervention by Europe
arise. The helmsman was given his course; the hatches were battened down.
If words bore any meaning, if the Treaty of Paris was not an elaborate
piece of imposture, the Christian subjects of the Sultan had for the
future, whatever might be their wrongs, no redress to look for but in the
exertion of their own power. The terms of the Treaty were in fact such as
might have been imposed if the Western Powers had gone to war with Russia
for some object of their own, and had been rescued, when defeated and
overthrown, by the victorious interposition of the Porte. All was hollow,
all based on fiction and convention. The illusions of nations in time of
revolutionary excitement, the shallow, sentimental commonplaces of liberty
and fraternity have afforded just matter for satire; but no democratic
platitudes were ever more palpably devoid of connection with fact, more
flagrantly in contradiction to the experience of the past, or more
ignominiously to be refuted by each succeeding act of history, than the
deliberate consecration of the idol of an Ottoman Empire as the crowning
act of European wisdom in 1856.

[The Danubian Principalities.]

[Alexander Cuza Hospodar of both Provinces.]

[Complete Union, 1862.]

[Charles of Hohenzollern, Hereditary Prince, 1866.]

Among the devotees of the Turk the English Ministers were the most
impassioned, having indeed in the possession of India some excuse for their
fervour on behalf of any imaginable obstacle that would keep the Russians
out of Constantinople. The Emperor of the French had during the Conferences
at Paris revived his project of incorporating the Danubian Principalities
with Austria in return for the cession of Lombardy, but the Viennese
Government had declined to enter into any such arrangement. Napoleon
consequently entered upon a new Eastern policy. Appreciating the growing
force of nationality in European affairs, and imagining that in the
championship of the principle of nationality against the Treaties of 1815
he would sooner or later find means for the aggrandisement of himself and
France, he proposed that the Provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia, while
remaining in dependence upon the Sultan, should be united into a single
State under a prince chosen by themselves. The English Ministry would not
hear of this union. In their view the creation of a Roumanian Principality
under a chief not appointed by the Porte was simply the abstraction from
the Sultan of six million persons who at present acknowledged his
suzerainty, and whose tribute to Constantinople ought, according to Lord
Clarendon, to be increased. [483] Austria, fearing the effect of a
Roumanian national movement upon its own Roumanian subjects in
Transylvania, joined in resistance to Napoleon's scheme, and the political
organisation of the Principalities was in consequence reserved by the
Conference of Paris for future settlement. Elections were held in the
spring of 1857 under a decree from the Porte, with the result that
Moldavia, as it seemed, pronounced against union with the sister province.
But the complaint at once arose that the Porte had falsified the popular
vote. France and Russia had now established relations of such amity that
their ambassadors jointly threatened to quit Constantinople if the
elections were not annulled. A visit paid by the French Emperor to Queen
Victoria, with the object of smoothing over the difficulties which had
begun to threaten the Western alliance, resulted rather in increased
misunderstandings between the two Governments as to the future of the
Principalities than in any real agreement. The elections were annulled. New
representative bodies met at Bucharest and Jassy, and pronounced almost
unanimously for union (October, 1857). In the spring of 1858 the Conference
of Paris reassembled in order to frame a final settlement of the affairs of
the Principalities. It determined that in each Province there should be a
Hospodar elected for life, a separate judicature, and a separate
legislative Assembly, while a central Commission, formed by representatives
of both Provinces, should lay before the Assemblies projects of law on
matters of joint interest. In accordance with these provisions, Assemblies
were elected in each Principality at the beginning of 1859. Their first
duty was to choose the two Hospodars, but in both Provinces a unanimous
vote fell upon the same person, Prince Alexander Cuza. The efforts of
England and Austria to prevent union were thus baffled by the Roumanian
people itself, and after three years the elaborate arrangements made by the
Conference were similarly swept away, and a single Ministry and Assembly
took the place of the dual Government. It now remained only to substitute a
hereditary Prince for a Hospodar elected for life; and in 1866, on the
expulsion of Alexander Cuza by his subjects, Prince Charles of
Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, a distant kinsman of the reigning Prussian
sovereign, was recognised by all Europe as Hereditary Prince of Roumania.
The suzerainty of the Porte, now reduced to the bare right to receive a
fixed tribute, was fated to last but for a few years longer.

[Continued discord in Turkish Empire.]

[Revision of the Treaty of Paris, 1871.]

Europe had not to wait for the establishment of Roumanian independence in
order to judge of the foresight and the statesmanship of the authors of the
Treaty of Paris. Scarcely a year passed without the occurrence of some
event that cast ridicule upon the fiction of a self-regenerated Turkey, and
upon the profession of the Powers that the epoch of external interference
in its affairs was at an end. The active misgovernment of the Turkish
authorities themselves, their powerlessness or want of will to prevent
flagrant outrage and wrong among those whom they professed to rule,
continued after the Treaty of Paris to be exactly what they had been before
it. In 1860 massacres and civil war in Mount Lebanon led to the occupation
of Syria by French troops. In 1861 Bosnia and Herzegovina took up arms. In
1863 Servia expelled its Turkish garrisons. Crete, rising in the following
year, fought long for its independence, and seemed for a moment likely to
be united with Greece under the auspices of the Powers, but it was finally
abandoned to its Ottoman masters. At the end of fourteen years from the
signature of the Peace of Paris, the downfall of the French Empire enabled
Russia to declare that it would no longer recognise the provisions of the
Treaty which excluded its war-ships and its arsenals from the Black Sea. It
was for this, and for this almost alone, that England had gone through the
Crimean War. But for the determination of Lord Palmerston to exclude Russia
from the Black Sea, peace might have been made while the Allied armies were
still at Varna. This exclusion was alleged to be necessary in the interests
of Europe at large; that it was really enforced not in the interest of
Europe but in the interest of England was made sufficiently clear by the
action of Austria and Prussia, whose statesmen, in spite of the discourses
so freely addressed to them from London, were at least as much alive to the
interests of their respective countries as Lord Palmerston could be on
their behalf. Nor had France in 1854 any interest in crippling the power of
Russia, or in Eastern affairs generally, which could be remotely compared
with those of the possessors of India. The personal needs of Napoleon III.
made him, while he seemed to lead, the instrument of the British Government
for enforcing British aims, and so gave to Palmerston the momentary shaping
of a new and superficial concert of the Powers. Masters of Sebastopol, the
Allies had experienced little difficulty in investing their own conclusions
with the seeming authority of Europe at large; but to bring the
representatives of Austria and Prussia to a Council-table, to hand them the
pen to sign a Treaty dictated by France and England, was not to bind them
to a policy which was not their own, or to make those things interests of
Austria and Prussia which were not their interests before. Thus when in
1870 the French Empire fell, England stood alone as the Power concerned in
maintaining the exclusion of Russia from the Euxine, and this exclusion it
could enforce no longer. It was well that Palmerston had made the Treaty of
Paris the act of Europe, but not for the reasons which Palmerston had
imagined. The fiction had engendered no new relation in fact; it did not
prolong for one hour the submission of Russia after it had ceased to be
confronted in the West by a superior force; but it enabled Great Britain to
retire without official humiliation from a position which it had conquered
only through the help of an accidental Alliance, and which it was unable to
maintain alone. The ghost of the Conference of 1856 was, as it were,
conjured up in the changed world of 1871. The same forms which had once
stamped with the seal of Europe the instrument of restraint upon Russia now
as decorously executed its release. Britain accepted what Europe would not
resist; and below the slopes where lay the countless dead of three nations
Sebastopol rose from its ruins, and the ensign of Russia floated once more
over its ships of war.


Piedmont after 1849--Ministry of Azeglio--Cavour Prime Minister--Designs of
Cavour--His Crimean Policy--Cavour at the Conference of Paris--Cavour and
Napoleon III.--The Meeting at Plombières--Preparations in Italy--Treaty of
January, 1859--Attempts at Mediation--Austrian Ultimatum--Campaign of
1859--Magenta--Movement in Central Italy--Solferino--Napoleon and Prussia
--Interview of Villafranca--Cavour resigns--Peace of Zürich--Central Italy
after Villafranca--The Proposed Congress--"The Pope and the Congress"--
Cavour resumes office--Cavour and Napoleon--Union of the Duchies and the
Romagna with Piedmont--Savoy and Nice added to France--Cavour on this
cession--European opinion--Naples--Sicily--Garibaldi lands at Marsala--
Capture of Palermo--The Neapolitans evacuate Sicily--Cavour and the Party
of Action--Cavour's Policy as to Naples--Garibaldi on the Mainland--Persano
and Villamarina at Naples--Garibaldi at Naples--The Piedmontese Army enters
Umbria and the Marches--Fall of Ancona--Garibaldi and Cavour--The Armies on
the Volturno--Fall of Gaeta--Cavour's Policy with regard to Rome and
Venice--Death of Cavour--The Free Church in the Free State.

[Piedmont after 1849.]

In the gloomy years that followed 1849 the kingdom of Sardinia had stood
out in bright relief as a State which, though crushed on the battle-field,
had remained true to the cause of liberty while all around it the forces of
reaction gained triumph after triumph. Its King had not the intellectual
gifts of the maker of a great State, but he was one with whom those
possessed of such gifts could work, and on whom they could depend. With
certain grave private faults Victor Emmanuel had the public virtues of
intense patriotism, of loyalty to his engagements and to his Ministers, of
devotion to a single great aim. Little given to speculative thought, he saw
what it most concerned him to see, that Piedmont by making itself the home
of liberty could become the Master-State of Italy. His courage on the
battlefield, splendid and animating as it was, distinguished him less than
another kind of courage peculiarly his own. Ignorant and superstitious, he
had that rare and masculine quality of soul which in the anguish of
bereavement and on the verge of the unseen world remains proof against the
appeal and against the terrors of a voice speaking with more than human
authority. Rome, not less than Austria, stood across the path that led to
Italian freedom, and employed all its art, all its spiritual force, to turn
Victor Emmanuel from the work that lay before him. There were moments in
his life when a man of not more than common weakness might well have
flinched from the line of conduct on which he had resolved in hours of
strength and of insight; there were times when a less constant mind might
well have wavered and cast a balance between opposing systems of policy. It
was not through heroic greatness that Victor Emmanuel rendered his
priceless services to Italy. He was a man not conspicuously cast in a
different mould from many another plain, strong nature, but the qualities
which he possessed were precisely those which Italy required. Fortune,
circumstance, position favoured him and made his glorious work possible;
but what other Italian prince of this century, though placed on the throne
of Piedmont, and numbering Cavour among his subjects, would have played the
part, the simple yet all momentous part, which Victor Emmanuel played so
well? The love and the gratitude of Italy have been lavished without stint
on the memory of its first sovereign, who served his nation with qualities
of so homely a type, and in whose life there was so much that needed
pardon. The colder judgment of a later time will hardly contest the title
of Victor Emmanuel to be ranked among those few men without whom Italian
union would not have been achieved for another generation.

[Ministry of Azeglio, 1849-52.]

[Cavour Prime Minister, 1852.]

On the conclusion of peace with Austria after the campaign of Novara, the
Government and the Parliament of Turin addressed themselves to the work of
emancipating the State from the system of ecclesiastical privilege and
clerical ascendency which had continued in full vigour down to the last
year of Charles Albert's reign. Since 1814 the Church had maintained, or
had recovered, both in Piedmont and in the island of Sardinia, rights which
had been long wrested from it in other European societies, and which were
out of harmony with the Constitution now taking root under Victor Emmanuel.
The clergy had still their own tribunals, and even in the case of criminal
offences were not subject to the jurisdiction of the State. The Bishops
possessed excessive powers and too large a share of the Church revenues;
the parochial clergy lived in want; monasteries and convents abounded. It
was not in any spirit of hostility towards the Church that Massimo
d'Azeglio, whom the King called to office after Novara, commenced the work
of reform by measures subjecting the clergy to the law-courts of the State,
abolishing the right of sanctuary in monasteries, and limiting the power of
corporations to acquire landed property. If the Papacy would have met
Victor Emmanuel in a fair spirit his Government would gladly have avoided a
dangerous and exasperating struggle; but all the forces and the passions of
Ultramontanism were brought to bear against the proposed reforms. The
result was that the Minister, abandoned by a section of the Conservative
party on whom he had relied, sought the alliance of men ready for a larger
and bolder policy, and called to office the foremost of those from whom he
had received an independent support in the Chamber, Count Cavour. Entering
the Cabinet in 1850 as Minister of Commerce, Cavour rapidly became the
master of all his colleagues. On his own responsibility he sought and won
the support of the more moderate section of the Opposition, headed by
Rattazzi; and after a brief withdrawal from office, caused by divisions
within the Cabinet, he returned to power in October, 1852, as Prime


Cavour, though few men have gained greater fame as diplomatists, had not
been trained in official life. The younger son of a noble family, he had
entered the army in 1826, and served in the Engineers; but his sympathies
with the liberal movement of 1830 brought him into extreme disfavour with
his chiefs. He was described by Charles Albert, then Prince of Carignano,
as the most dangerous man in the kingdom, and was transferred at the
instance of his own father to the solitary Alpine fortress of Bard. Too
vigorous a nature to submit to inaction, too buoyant and too sagacious to
resort to conspiracy, he quitted the army, and soon afterwards undertook
the management of one of the family estates, devoting himself to scientific
agriculture on a large scale. He was a keen and successful man of business,
but throughout the next twelve years, which he passed in fruitful private
industry, his mind dwelt ardently on public affairs. He was filled with a
deep discontent at the state of society which he saw around him in
Piedmont, and at the condition of Italy at large under foreign and clerical
rule. Repeated visits to France and England made him familiar with the
institutions of freer lands, and gave definiteness to his political and
social aims. [484] In 1847, when changes were following fast, he founded
with some other Liberal nobles the journal _Risorgimento_, devoted to
the cause of national revival; and he was one of the first who called upon
King Charles Albert to grant a Constitution. During the stormy days of 1848
he was at once the vigorous advocate of war with Austria and the adversary
of Republicans and Extremists who for their own theories seemed willing to
plunge Italy into anarchy. Though unpopular with the mob, he was elected to
the Chamber by Turin, and continued to represent the capital after the
peace. Up to this time there had been little opportunity for the proof of
his extraordinary powers, but the inborn sagacity of Victor Emmanuel had
already discerned in him a man who could not remain in a subordinate
position. "You will see him turn you all out of your places," the King
remarked to his Ministers, as he gave his assent to Cavour's first
appointment to a seat in the Cabinet.

[Plans of Cavour.]

[Cavour's Crimean policy.]

The Ministry of Azeglio had served Piedmont with honour from 1849 to 1852,
but its leader scarcely possessed the daring and fertility of mind which
the time required. Cavour threw into the work of government a passion and
intelligence which soon produced results visible to all Europe. His
devotion to Italy was as deep, as all-absorbing, as that of Mazzini
himself, though the methods and schemes of the two men were in such
complete antagonism. Cavour's fixed purpose was to drive Austria out of
Italy by defeat in the battle-field, and to establish, as the first step
towards national union, a powerful kingdom of Northern Italy under Victor
Emmanuel. In order that the military and naval forces of Piedmont might be
raised to the highest possible strength and efficiency, he saw that the
resources of the country must be largely developed; and with this object he
negotiated commercial treaties with Foreign Powers, laid down railways, and
suppressed the greater part of the monasteries, selling their lands to
cultivators, and devoting the proceeds of sale not to State-purposes but to
the payment of the working clergy. Industry advanced; the heavy pressure of
taxation was patiently borne; the army and the fleet grew apace. But the
cause of Piedmont was one with that of the Italian nation, and it became
its Government to demonstrate this day by day with no faltering voice or
hand. Protection and support were given to fugitives from Austrian and
Papal tyranny; the Press was laid open to every tale of wrong; and when,
after an unsuccessful attempt at insurrection in Milan in 1853, for which
Mazzini and the Republican exiles were alone responsible, the Austrian
Government sequestrated the property of its subjects who would not return
from Piedmont, Cavour bade his ambassador quit Vienna, and appealed to
every Court in Europe. Nevertheless, Cavour did not believe that Italy,
even by a simultaneous rising, could permanently expel the Austrian armies
or conquer the Austrian fortresses. The experience of forty years pointed
to the opposite conclusion; and while Mazzini in his exile still imagined
that a people needed only to determine to be free in order to be free,
Cavour schemed for an alliance which should range against the Austrian
Emperor armed forces as numerous and as disciplined as his own. It was
mainly with this object that Cavour plunged Sardinia into the Crimean War.
He was not without just causes of complaint against the Czar; but the
motive with which he sent the Sardinian troops to Sebastopol was not that
they might take vengeance on Russia, but that they might fight side by side
with the soldiers of England and France. That the war might lead to
complications still unforeseen was no doubt a possibility present to
Cavour's mind, and in that case it was no small thing that Sardinia stood
allied to the two Western Powers; but apart from these chances of the
future, Sardinia would have done ill to stand idle when at any moment, as
it seemed, Austria might pass from armed neutrality into active concert
with England and France. Had Austria so drawn the sword against Russia
whilst Piedmont stood inactive, the influence of the Western Powers must
for some years to come have been ranged on the side of Austria in the
maintenance of its Italian possessions, and Piedmont could at the best have
looked only to St. Petersburg for sympathy or support. Cavour was not
scrupulous in his choice of means when the liberation of Italy was the end
in view, and the charge was made against him that in joining the coalition
against Russia he lightly entered into a war in which Piedmont had no
direct concern. But reason and history absolve, and far more than absolve,
the Italian statesman. If the cause of European equilibrium, for which
England and France took up arms, was a legitimate ground of war in the case
of these two Powers, it was not less so in the case of their ally; while if
the ulterior results rather than the motive of a war are held to constitute
its justification, Cavour stands out as the one politician in Europe whose
aims in entering upon the Crimean War have been fulfilled, not mocked, by
events. He joined in the struggle against Russia not in order to maintain
the Ottoman Empire, but to gain an ally in liberating Italy. The Ottoman
Empire has not been maintained; the independence of Italy has been
established, and established by means of the alliance which Cavour gained.
His Crimean policy is one of those excessively rare instances of
statesmanship where action has been determined not by the driving and
half-understood necessities of the moment, but by a distinct and true
perception of the future. He looked only in one direction, but in that
direction he saw clearly. Other statesmen struck blindfold, or in their
vision of a regenerated Turkey fought for an empire of mirage. It may with
some reason be asked whether the order of Eastern Europe would now be
different if our own English soldiers who fell at Balaclava had been
allowed to die in their beds: every Italian whom Cavour sent to perish on
the Tchernaya or in the cholera-stricken camp died as directly for the
cause of Italian independence as if he had fallen on the slopes of Custozza
or under the walls of Rome.

[Cavour at the Conference of Paris.]

[Change of Austrian policy, 1856.]

At the Conference of Paris in 1856 the Sardinian Premier took his place in
right of alliance by the side of the representatives of the great Powers;
and when the main business of the Conference was concluded, Count Buol, the
Austrian Minister, was forced to listen to a vigorous denunciation by
Cavour of the misgovernment that reigned in Central and Southern Italy, of
the Austrian occupation which rendered this possible. Though the French
were still in Rome, their presence might by courtesy be described as a
measure of precaution rendered necessary by the intrusion of the Austrians
farther north; and both the French and English plenipotentiaries at the
Conference supported Cavour in his invective. Cavour returned to Italy
without any territorial reward for the services that Piedmont had rendered
to the Allies; but his object was attained. He had exhibited Austria
isolated and discredited before Europe; he had given to his country a voice
that it had never before had in the Councils of the Powers; he had produced
a deep conviction throughout Italy that Piedmont not only could and would
act with vigour against the national enemy, but that in its action it would
have the help of allies. From this time the Republican and Mazzinian
societies lost ground before the growing confidence in the House of Savoy,
in its Minister and its army. [485] The strongest evidence of the effect of
Cavour's Crimean policy and of his presence at the Conference of Paris was
seen in the action of the Austrian Government itself. From 1849 to 1856 its
rule in Northern Italy had been one not so much of severity as of brutal
violence. Now all was changed. The Emperor came to Milan to proclaim a
general amnesty and to win the affection of his subjects. The sequestrated
estates were restored to their owners. Radetzky, in his ninety-second year,
was at length allowed to pass into retirement; the government of the sword
was declared at an end; Maximilian, the gentlest and most winning of the
Hapsburgs, was sent with his young bride to charm away the sad memories of
the evil time. But it was too late. The recognition shown by the Lombards
of the Emperor's own personal friendliness indicated no reconciliation with
Austria; and while Francis Joseph was still in Milan, King Victor Emmanuel,
in the presence of a Lombard deputation, laid the first stone of the
monument erected by subscriptions from all Italy in memory of those who had
fallen in the campaigns of 1848 and 1849, the statue of a foot-soldier
waving his sword towards the Austrian frontier. The Sardinian Press
redoubled its attacks on Austria and its Italian vassals. The Government of
Vienna sought satisfaction; Cavour sharply refused it; and diplomatic
relations between the two Courts, which had been resumed since the
Conference of Paris, were again broken off.

[Cavour and Napoleon III.]

[Meeting at Plombières, July, 1858.]

Of the two Western Powers, Cavour would have preferred an alliance with
Great Britain, which had no objects of its own to seek in Italy; but when
he found that the Government of London would not assist him by arms against
Austria, he drew closer to the Emperor Napoleon, and supported him
throughout his controversy with England and Austria on the settlement of
the Danubian Principalities. Napoleon, there is no doubt, felt a real
interest in Italy. His own early political theories formed on a study of
the Napoleonic Empire, his youthful alliance with the Carbonari, point to a
sympathy with the Italian national cause which was genuine if not profound,
and which was not altogether lost in 1849, though France then acted as the
enemy of Roman independence. If Napoleon intended to remould the
Continental order and the Treaties of 1815 in the interests of France and
of the principle of nationality, he could make no better beginning than by
driving Austria from Northern Italy. It was not even necessary for him to
devise an original policy. Early in 1848, when it seemed probable that
Piedmont would be increased by Lombardy and part of Venetia, Lamartine had
laid it down that France ought in that case to be compensated by Savoy, in
order to secure its frontiers against so powerful a neighbour as the new
Italian State. To this idea Napoleon returned. Savoy had been incorporated
with France from 1792 to 1814; its people were more French than Italian;
its annexation would not directly injure the interests of any great Power.
Of the three directions in which France might stretch towards its old
limits of the Alps and the Rhine, the direction of Savoy was by far the
least dangerous. Belgium could not be touched without certain loss of the
English alliance, with which Napoleon could not yet dispense; an attack
upon the Rhenish Provinces would probably be met by all the German Powers
together; in Savoy alone was there the chance of gaining territory without
raising a European coalition against France. No sooner had the organisation
of the Danubian Principalities been completed by the Conference which met
in the spring of 1858 than Napoleon began to develop his Italian plans. An
attempt of a very terrible character which was made upon his life by
Orsini, a Roman exile, though at the moment it threatened to embroil
Sardinia with France, probably stimulated him to action. In the summer of
1858 he invited Cavour to meet him at Plombières. The negotiations which
there passed were not made known by the Emperor to his Ministers; they were
communicated by Cavour to two persons only besides Victor Emmanuel. It
seems that no written engagement was drawn up; it was verbally agreed that
if Piedmont could, without making a revolutionary war, and without exposing
Napoleon to the charge of aggression, incite Austria to hostilities, France
would act as its ally. Austria was then to be expelled from Venetia as well
as from Lombardy. Victor Emmanuel was to become sovereign of North-Italy,
with the Roman Legations and Marches; the remainder of the Papal territory,
except Rome itself and the adjacent district, was to be added to Tuscany,
so constituting a new kingdom of Central Italy. The two kingdoms, together
with Naples and Rome, were to form an Italian Confederation under the
presidency of the Pope. France was to receive Savoy and possibly Nice. A
marriage between the King's young daughter Clotilde and the Emperor's
cousin Prince Jerome Napoleon was discussed, if not actually settled. [486]

[Cavour in view of the French Alliance.]

From this moment Cavour laboured night and day for war. His position was an
exceedingly difficult one. Not only had he to reckon with the irresolution
of Napoleon, and his avowed unwillingness to take up arms unless with the
appearance of some good cause; but even supposing the goal of war reached,
and Austria defeated, how little was there in common between Cavour's aims
for Italy and the traditional policy of France! The first Napoleon had
given Venice to Austria at Campo Formio; even if the new Napoleon should
fulfil his promise and liberate all Northern Italy, his policy in regard to
the centre and south of the Peninsula would probably be antagonistic to any
effective union or to any further extension of the influence of the House
of Savoy. Cavour had therefore to set in readiness for action national
forces of such strength that Napoleon, even if he desired to draw back,
should find it difficult to do so, and that the shaping of the future of
the Italian people should be governed not by the schemes which the Emperor
might devise at Paris, but by the claims and the aspirations of Italy
itself. It was necessary for him not only to encourage and subsidise the
National Society--a secret association whose branches in the other Italian
States were preparing to assist Piedmont in the coming war, and to unite
Italy under the House of Savoy--but to enter into communication with some
of the Republican or revolutionary party who had hitherto been at enmity
with all Crowns alike. He summoned Garibaldi in secrecy to Turin, and there
convinced him that the war about to be waged by Victor Emmanuel was one in
which he ought to take a prominent part. As the foremost defender of the
Roman Republic and a revolutionary hero, Garibaldi was obnoxious to the
French Emperor. Cavour had to conceal from Napoleon the fact that Garibaldi
would take the field at the head of a free-corps by the side of the Allied
armies; he had similarly to conceal from Garibaldi that one result of the
war would be the cession of Nice, his own birthplace, to France. Thus
plunged in intrigue, driving his Savoyards to the camp and raising from
them the last farthing in taxation, in order that after victory they might
be surrendered to a Foreign Power; goading Austria to some act of passion;
inciting, yet checking and controlling, the Italian revolutionary elements;
bargaining away the daughter of his sovereign to one of the most odious of
mankind, Cavour staked all on the one great end of his being, the
establishment of Italian independence. Words like those which burst from
Danton in the storms of the Convention--"Perish my name, my reputation, so
that France be free"--were the calm and habitual expression of Cavour's
thought when none but an intimate friend was by to hear. [487] Such tasks
as Cavour's are not to be achieved without means which, to a man noble in
view as Cavour really was, it would have been more agreeable to leave
unemployed. Those alone are entitled to pronounce judgment upon him who
have made a nation, and made it with purer hands. It was well for English
statesmen and philanthropists, inheritors of a world-wide empire, to
enforce the ethics of peace and to plead for a gentlemanlike frankness and
self-restraint in the conduct of international relations. English women had
not been flogged by Austrian soldiers in the market-place; the treaties of
1815 had not consecrated a foreign rule over half our race. To Cavour the
greatest crime would have been to leave anything undone which might
minister to Italy's liberation. [488]

[Treaty of January, 1859.]

[Attempts at mediation.]

[Austrian ultimatum, April 23.]

Napoleon seems to have considered that he would be ready to begin war in
the spring of 1859. At the reception at the Tuileries on the 1st of January
he addressed the Austrian ambassador in words that pointed to an
approaching conflict; a few weeks later a marriage-contract was signed
between Prince Napoleon and Clotilde, daughter of Victor Emmanuel, and part
of the agreement made at Plombières was embodied in a formal Treaty.
Napoleon undertook to support Sardinia in a war that might arise from any
aggressive act on the part of Austria, and, if victorious, to add both
Lombardy and Venetia to Victor Emmanuel's dominions. France was in return
to receive Savoy, the disposal of Nice being reserved till the restoration
of peace. [489] Even before the Treaty was signed Victor Emmanuel had
thrown down the challenge to Austria, declaring at the opening of the
Parliament of Turin that he could not be insensible to the cry of suffering
that rose from Italy. In all but technical form the imminence of war had
been announced, when, under the influence of diplomatists and Ministers
about him, and of a financial panic that followed his address to the
Austrian ambassador, the irresolute mind of Napoleon shrank from its
purpose, and months more of suspense were imposed upon Italy and Europe, to
be terminated at last not by any effort of Napoleon's will but by the rash
and impolitic action of Austria itself. At the instance of the Court of
Vienna the British Government had consented to take steps towards
mediation. Lord Cowley, Ambassador at Paris, was sent to Vienna with
proposals which, it was believed, might form the basis for an amicable
settlement of Italian affairs. He asked that the Papal States should be
evacuated by both Austrian and French troops; that Austria should abandon
the Treaties which gave it a virtual Protectorate over Modena and Parma;
and that it should consent to the introduction of reforms in all the
Italian Governments. Negotiations towards this end had made some progress
when they were interrupted by a proposal sent from St. Petersburg, at the
instance of Napoleon, that Italian affairs should be submitted to a
European Congress. Austria was willing under certain conditions to take
part in a Congress, but it required, as a preliminary measure, that
Sardinia should disarm. Napoleon had now learnt that Garibaldi was to fight
at the head of the volunteers for Victor Emmanuel. His doubts as to the
wisdom of his own policy seem to have increased hour by hour; from Britain,
whose friendship he still considered indispensable to him, he received the
most urgent appeals against war; it was necessary that Cavour himself
should visit Paris in order to prevent the Emperor from acquiescing in
Austria's demand. In Cavour's presence Napoleon seems to have lost some of
his fears, or to have been made to feel that it was not safe to provoke his
confidant of Plombières; [490] but Cavour had not long left Paris when a
proposal was made from London, that in lieu of the separate disarmament of
Sardinia the Powers should agree to a general disarmament, the details to
be settled by a European Commission. This proposal received Napoleon's
assent. He telegraphed to Cavour desiring him to join in the agreement.
Cavour could scarcely disobey, yet at one stroke it seemed that all his
hopes when on the very verge of fulfilment were dashed to the ground, all
his boundless efforts for the liberation of Italy through war with Austria
lost and thrown away. For some hours he appeared shattered by the blow.
Strung to the extreme point of human endurance by labour scarcely remitted
by day or night for weeks together, his strong but sanguine nature gave
way, and for a while the few friends who saw him feared that he would take
his own life. But the crisis passed: Cavour accepted, as inevitable, the
condition of general disarmament; and his vigorous mind had already begun
to work upon new plans for the future, when the report of a decision made
at Vienna, which was soon confirmed by the arrival of an Austrian
ultimatum, threw him into joy as intense as his previous despair. Ignoring
the British proposal for a general disarmament, already accepted at Turin,
the Austrian Cabinet demanded, without qualifications and under threat of
war within three days, that Sardinia should separately disarm. It was
believed at Vienna that Napoleon was merely seeking to gain time; that a
conflict was inevitable; and that Austria now stood better prepared for
immediate action than its enemies. Right or wrong in its judgment of
Napoleon's real intentions, the Austrian Government had undeniably taken
upon itself the part of the aggressor. Cavour had only to point to his own
acceptance of the plan of a general disarmament, and to throw upon his
enemy the responsibility for a disturbance of European peace. His reply was
taken as the signal for hostilities, and on the 29th of April Austrian
troops crossed the Ticino. A declaration of war from Paris followed without
delay. [491]

[Campaign of 1859.]

[Battle of Magenta, June 4.]

For months past Austria had been pouring its troops into Northern Italy. It
had chosen its own time for the commencement of war; a feeble enemy stood
before it, its more powerful adversary could not reach the field without
crossing the Alps or the mountain-range above Genoa. Everything pointed to
a vigorous offensive on the part of the Austrian generals, and in Piedmont
itself it was believed that Turin must fall before French troops could
assist in its defence. From Turin as a centre the Austrians could then
strike with ease, and with superior numbers, against the detachments of the
French army as they descended the mountains at any points in the semicircle
from Genoa to Mont Cenis. There has seldom been a case where the necessity
and the advantages of a particular line of strategy have been so obvious;
yet after crossing the Ticino the Austrians, above a hundred thousand
strong, stood as if spell-bound under their incompetent chief, Giulay.
Meanwhile French detachments crossed Mont Cenis; others, more numerous,
landed with the Emperor at Genoa, and established communications with the
Piedmontese, whose headquarters were at Alessandria. Giulay now believed
that the Allies would strike upon his communications in the direction of
Parma. The march of Bonaparte upon Piacenza in 1796, as well as the
campaign of Marengo, might well inspire this fear; but the real intention
of Napoleon III. was to outflank the Austrians from the north and so to
gain Milan. Garibaldi was already operating at the extreme left of the
Sardinian line in the neighbourhood of Como. While the Piedmontese
maintained their positions in the front, the French from Genoa marched
northwards behind them, crossed the Po, and reached Vercelli before the
Austrians discovered their manoeuvre. Giulay, still lingering between the
Sesia and the Ticino, now called up part of his forces northwards, but not
in time to prevent the Piedmontese from crossing the Sesia and defeating
the troops opposed to them at Palestro (May 30). While the Austrians were
occupied at this point, the French crossed the river farther north, and
moved eastwards on the Ticino. Giulay was thus outflanked and compelled to
fall back. The Allies followed him, and on the 4th of June attacked the
Austrian army in its positions about Magenta on the road to Milan. The
assault of Macmahon from the north gave the Allies victory after a
hard-fought day. It was impossible for the Austrians to defend Milan; they
retired upon the Adda and subsequently upon the Mincio, abandoning all
Lombardy to the invaders, and calling up their troops from Bologna and the
other occupied towns in the Papal States, in order that they might take
part in the defence of the Venetian frontier and the fortresses that
guarded it.

[Movement in Central Italy.]

The victory of the Allies was at once felt throughout Central Italy. The
Grand Duke of Tuscany had already fled from his dominions, and the
Dictatorship for the period of the war had been offered by a Provisional
Government to Victor Emmanuel, who, while refusing this, had allowed his
envoy, Boncampagni, to assume temporary powers at Florence as his
representative. The Duke of Modena and the Duchess of Parma now quitted
their territories. In the Romagna the disappearance of the Austrians
resulted in the immediate overthrow of Papal authority. Everywhere the
demand was for union with Piedmont. The calamities of the last ten years
had taught their lesson to the Italian people. There was now nothing of the
disorder, the extravagance, the childishness of 1848. The populations who
had then been so divided, so suspicious, so easy a prey to demagogues, were
now watchful, self-controlled, and anxious for the guidance of the only
real national Government. As at Florence, so in the Duchies and in the
Romagna, it was desired that Victor Emmanuel should assume the
Dictatorship. The King adhered to the policy which he had adopted towards
Tuscany, avoiding any engagement that might compromise him with Europe or
his ally, but appointing Commissioners to enrol troops for the common war
against Austria and to conduct the necessary work of administration in
those districts. Farini, the historian of the Roman States, was sent to
Modena; Azeglio, the ex-Minister, to Bologna. Each of these officers
entered on his task in a spirit worthy of the time; each understood how
much might be won for Italy by boldness, how much endangered or lost by
untimely scruples. [492]

[Battle of Solferino, June 24.]

In his proclamations at the opening of the war Napoleon had declared that
Italy must be freed up to the shore of the Adriatic. His address to the
Italian people on entering Milan with Victor Emmanuel after the victory of
Magenta breathed the same spirit. As yet, however, Lombardy alone had been
won. The advance of the allied armies was accordingly resumed after an
interval of some days, and on the 23rd of June they approached the
positions held by the Austrians a little to the west of the Mincio. Francis
Joseph had come from Vienna to take command of the army. His presence
assisted the enemy, inasmuch as he had no plan of his own, and wavered from
day to day between the antagonistic plans of the generals at headquarters.
Some wished to make the Mincio the line of defence, others to hold the
Chiese some miles farther west. The consequence was that the army marched
backwards and forwards across the space between the two rivers according as
one or another general gained for the moment the Emperor's confidence. It
was while the Austrians were thus engaged that the allied armies came into
contact with them about Solferino. On neither side was it known that the
whole force of the enemy was close at hand. The battle of Solferino, one of
the bloodiest of recent times, was fought almost by accident. About a
hundred and fifty thousand men were present under Napoleon and Victor
Emmanuel; the Austrians had a slight superiority in force. On the north,
where Benedek with the Austrian right was attacked by the Piedmontese at
San Martino, it seemed as if the task imposed on the Italian troops was
beyond their power. Victor Emmanuel, fighting with the same courage as at
Novara, saw the positions in front of his troops alternately won and lost.
But the success of the French at Solferino in the centre decided the day,
and the Austrians withdrew at last from their whole line with a loss in
killed and wounded of fourteen thousand men. On the part of the Allies the
slaughter was scarcely less.

[Napoleon and Prussia.]

[Interview of Villafranca, July 11.]

[Peace of Villafranca.]

[Treaty of Zürich, Nov. 10.]

Napoleon stood a conqueror, but a conqueror at terrible cost; and in front
of him he saw the fortresses of the Quadrilateral, while new divisions were
hastening from the north and east to the support of the still unbroken
Austrian army. He might well doubt whether, even against his present
antagonist alone, further success was possible. The fearful spectacle of
Solferino, heightened by the effects of overpowering summer heat, probably
affected a mind humane and sensitive and untried in the experience of war.
The condition of the French army, there is reason to believe, was far
different from that represented in official reports, and likely to make the
continuance of the campaign perilous in the extreme. But beyond all this,
the Emperor knew that if he advanced farther Prussia and all Germany might
at any moment take up arms against him. There had been a strong outburst of
sympathy for Austria in the south-western German States. National
patriotism was excited by the attack of Napoleon on the chief of the German
sovereigns, and the belief was widely spread that French conquest in Italy
would soon be followed by French conquest on the Rhine. Prussia had
hitherto shown reserve. It would have joined its arms with those of Austria
if its own claims to an improved position in Germany had been granted by
the Court of Vienna; but Francis Joseph had up to this time refused the
concessions demanded. In the stress of his peril he might at any moment
close with the offers which he had before rejected; even without a distinct
agreement between the two Courts, and in mere deference to German public
opinion, Prussia might launch against France the armies which it had
already brought into readiness for the field. A war upon the Rhine would
then be added to the war before the Quadrilateral, and from the risks of
this double effort Napoleon might well shrink in the interest of France not
less than of his own dynasty. He determined to seek an interview with
Francis Joseph, and to ascertain on what terms peace might now be made. The
interview took place at Villafranca, east of the Mincio, on the 11th of
July. Francis Joseph refused to cede any part of Venetia without a further
struggle. He was willing to give up Lombardy, and to consent to the
establishment of an Italian Federation under the presidency of the Pope, of
which Federation Venetia, still under Austria's rule, should be a member;
but he required that Mantua should be left within his own frontier, and
that the sovereigns of Tuscany and Modena should resume possession of their
dominions. To these terms Napoleon assented, on obtaining a verbal
agreement that the dispossessed princes should not be restored by foreign
arms. Regarding Parma and the restoration of the Papal authority in the
Romagna no stipulations were made. With the signature of the Preliminaries
of Villafranca, which were to form the base of a regular Treaty to be
negotiated at Zürich, and to which Victor Emmanuel added his name with
words of reservation, hostilities came to a close. The negotiations at
Zürich, though they lasted for several months, added nothing of importance
to the matter of the Preliminaries, and decided nothing that had been left
in uncertainty. The Italian Federation remained a scheme which the two
Emperors, and they alone, undertook to promote. Piedmont entered into no
engagement either with regard to the Duchies or with regard to Federation.
Victor Emmanuel had in fact announced from the first that he would enter no
League of which a province governed by Austria formed a part, and from this
resolution he never swerved. [493]

[Resignation of Cavour.]

[Central Italy.]

Though Lombardy was gained, the impression made upon the Italians by the
peace of Villafranca was one of the utmost dismay. Napoleon had so
confidently and so recently promised the liberation of all Northern Italy
that public opinion ascribed to treachery or weakness what was in truth an
act of political necessity. On the first rumour of the negotiations Cavour
had hurried from Turin, but the agreement was signed before his arrival.
The anger and the grief of Cavour are described by those who then saw him
as terrible to witness. [494] Napoleon had not the courage to face him;
Victor Emmanuel bore for two hours the reproaches of his Minister, who had
now completely lost his self-control. Cavour returned to Turin, and shortly
afterwards withdrew from office, his last act being the despatch of ten
thousand muskets to Farini at Modena. In accordance with the terms of
peace, instructions, which were probably not meant to be obeyed, were sent
by Cavour's successor, Rattazzi, to the Piedmontese Commissioners in
Central Italy, bidding them to return to Turin and to disband any forces
that they had collected. Farini, on receipt of this order, adroitly
divested himself of his Piedmontese citizenship, and, as an honorary
burgher of Modena, accepted the Dictatorship from his fellow-townsmen.
Azeglio returned to Turin, but took care before quitting the Romagna to
place four thousand soldiers under competent leaders in a position to
resist attack. It was not the least of Cavour's merits that he had gathered
about him a body of men who, when his own hand was for a while withdrawn,
could pursue his policy with so much energy and sagacity as was now shown
by the leaders of the national movement in Central Italy. Venetia was lost
for the present; but if Napoleon's promise was broken, districts which he
had failed or had not intended to liberate might be united with the Italian
Kingdom. The Duke of Modena, with six thousand men who had remained true to
him, lay on the Austrian frontier, and threatened to march upon his
capital. Farini mined the city gates, and armed so considerable a force
that it became clear that the Duke would not recover his dominions without
a serious battle. Parma placed itself under the same Dictatorship with
Modena; in the Romagna a Provisional Government which Azeglio had left
behind him continued his work. Tuscany, where Napoleon had hoped to find a
throne for his cousin, pronounced for national union, and organised a
common military force with its neighbours. During the weeks that followed
the Peace of Villafranca, declarations signed by tens of thousands, the
votes of representative bodies, and popular demonstrations throughout
Central Italy, showed in an orderly and peaceful form how universal was the
desire for union under the House of Savoy.

[Cavour's Plans before Villafranca.]

[Central Italy after Villafranca. July-November.]

[Mazzini and Garibaldi. August-November.]

Cavour, in the plans which he had made before 1859, had not looked for a
direct and immediate result beyond the creation of an Italian Kingdom
including the whole of the territory north of the Po. The other steps in
the consolidation of Italy would, he believed, follow in their order. They
might be close at hand, or they might be delayed for a while; but in the
expulsion of Austria, in the interposition of a purely Italian State
numbering above ten millions of inhabitants, mistress of the fortresses and
of a powerful fleet, between Austria and those who had been its vassals,
the essential conditions of Italian national independence would have been
won. For the rest, Italy might be content to wait upon time and
opportunity. But the Peace of Villafranca, leaving Venetia in the enemy's
hands, completely changed this prospect. The fiction of an Italian
Federation in which the Hapsburg Emperor, as lord of Venice, should forget
his Austrian interests and play the part of Italian patriot, was too gross
to deceive any one. Italy, on these terms, would either continue to be
governed from Vienna, or be made a pawn in the hands of its French
protector. What therefore Cavour had hitherto been willing to leave to
future years now became the need of the present. "Before Villafranca," in
his own words, "the union of Italy was a possibility; since Villafranca it
is a necessity." Victor Emmanuel understood this too, and saw the need for
action more clearly than Rattazzi and the Ministers who, on Cavour's
withdrawal in July, stepped for a few months into his place. The situation
was one that called indeed for no mean exercise of statesmanship. If Italy
was not to be left dependent upon the foreigner and the reputation of the
House of Savoy ruined, it was necessary not only that the Duchies of Modena
and Parma, but that Central Italy, including Tuscany and at least the
Romagna, should be united with the Kingdom of Piedmont; yet the
accomplishment of this work was attended with the utmost danger. Napoleon
himself was hoping to form Tuscany, with an augmented territory, into a
rival Kingdom of Etruria or Central Italy, and to place his cousin on its
throne. The Ultramontane party in France was alarmed and indignant at the
overthrow of the Pope's authority in the Romagna, and already called upon
the Emperor to fulfil his duties towards the Holy See. If the national
movement should extend to Rome itself, the hostile intervention of France
was almost inevitable. While the negotiations with Austria at Zürich were
still proceeding, Victor Emmanuel could not safely accept the sovereignty
that was offered him by Tuscany and the neighbouring provinces, nor permit
his cousin, the Prince of Carignano, to assume the regency which, during
the period of suspense, it was proposed to confer upon him. Above all, it
was necessary that the Government should not allow the popular forces with
which it was co-operating to pass beyond its own control. In the critical
period that followed the armistice of Villafranca, Mazzini approached
Victor Emmanuel, as thirty years before he had approached his father, and
offered his own assistance in the establishment of Italian union under the
House of Savoy. He proposed, as the first step, to overthrow the Neapolitan
Government by means of an expedition headed by Garibaldi, and to unite
Sicily and Naples to the King's dominions; but he demanded in return that
Piedmont should oppose armed resistance to any foreign intervention
occasioned by this enterprise; and he seems also to have required that an
attack should be made immediately afterwards upon Rome and upon Venetia. To
these conditions the King could not accede; and Mazzini, confirmed in his
attitude of distrust towards the Court of Turin, turned to Garibaldi, who
was now at Modena. At his instigation Garibaldi resolved to lead an
expedition at once against Rome itself. Napoleon was at this very moment
promising reforms on behalf of the Pope, and warning Victor Emmanuel
against the annexation even of the Romagna (Oct. 20th). At the risk of
incurring the hostility of Garibaldi's followers and throwing their leader
into opposition to the dynasty, it was necessary for the Sardinian
Government to check him in his course. The moment was a critical one in the
history of the House of Savoy. But the soldier of Republican Italy proved
more tractable than its prophet. Garibaldi was persuaded to abandon or
postpone an enterprise which could only have resulted in disaster for
Italy; and with expressions of cordiality towards the King himself, and of
bitter contempt for the fox-like politicians who advised him, he resigned
his command and bade farewell to his comrades, recommending them, however,
to remain under arms, in full confidence that they would ere long find a
better opportunity for carrying the national flag southwards. [495]

[The proposed Congress.]

Soon after the Agreement of Villafranca, Napoleon had proposed to the
British Government that a Congress of all the Powers should assemble at
Paris in order to decide upon the many Italian questions which still
remained unsettled. In taking upon himself the emancipation of Northern
Italy Napoleon had, as it proved, attempted a task far beyond his own
powers. The work had been abruptly broken off; the promised services had
not been rendered, the stipulated reward had not been won. On the other
hand, forces had been set in motion which he who raised them could not
allay; populations stood in arms against the Governments which the
Agreement of Villafranca purported to restore; the Pope's authority in the
northern part of his dominions was at an end; the Italian League over which
France and Austria were to join hands of benediction remained the
laughing-stock of Europe. Napoleon's victories had added Lombardy to
Piedmont; for the rest, except from the Italian point of view, they had
only thrown affairs into confusion. Hesitating at the first between his
obligations towards Austria and the maintenance of his prestige in Italy,
perplexed between the contradictory claims of nationality and of
Ultramontanism, Napoleon would gladly have cast upon Great Britain, or upon
Europe at large, the task of extricating him from his embarrassment. But
the Cabinet of London, while favourable to Italy, showed little inclination
to entangle itself in engagements which might lead to war with Austria and
Germany in the interest of the French Sovereign. Italian affairs, it was
urged by Lord John Russell, might well be governed by the course of events
within Italy itself; and, as Austria remained inactive, the principle of
non-intervention really gained the day. The firm attitude of the population
both in the Duchies and in the Romagna, their unanimity and self-control,
the absence of those disorders which had so often been made a pretext for
foreign intervention, told upon the mind of Napoleon and on the opinion of
Europe at large. Each month that passed rendered the restoration of the
fallen Governments a work of greater difficulty, and increased the
confidence of the Italians in themselves. Napoleon watched and wavered.
When the Treaty of Zürich was signed his policy was still undetermined. By
the prompt and liberal concession of reforms the Papal Government might
perhaps even now have turned the balance in its favour. But the obstinate
mind of Pius IX. was proof against every politic and every generous
influence. The stubbornness shown by Rome, the remembrance of Antonelli's
conduct towards the French Republic in 1849, possibly also the discovery of
a Treaty of Alliance between the Papal Government and Austria, at length
overcame Napoleon's hesitation in meeting the national demand of Italy, and
gave him courage to defy both the Papal Court and the French priesthood. He
resolved to consent to the formation of an Italian Kingdom under Victor
Emmanuel including the northern part of the Papal territories as well as
Tuscany and the other Duchies, and to silence the outcry which this act of
spoliation would excite among the clerical party in France by the
annexation of Nice and Savoy.

["The Pope and the Congress," Dec. 24.]

[Change of Ministry at Paris, Jan. 5, 1860.]

[Cavour resumes office, Jan. 16.]

The decision of the Emperor was foreshadowed by the publication on the 24th
of December of a pamphlet entitled "The Pope and the Congress." The
doctrine advanced in this essay was that, although a temporal authority was
necessary to the Pope's spiritual independence, the peace and unity which
should surround the Vicar of Christ would be best attained when his
temporal sovereignty was reduced within the narrowest possible limits. Rome
and the territory immediately around it, if guaranteed to the Pope by the
Great Powers, would be sufficient for the temporal needs of the Holy See.
The revenue lost by the separation of the remainder of the Papal
territories might be replaced by a yearly tribute of reverence paid by the
Catholic Powers to the Head of the Church. That the pamphlet advocating
this policy was written at the dictation of Napoleon was not made a secret.
Its appearance occasioned an indignant protest at Rome. The Pope announced
that he would take no part in the proposed Congress unless the doctrines
advanced in the pamphlet were disavowed by the French Government. Napoleon
in reply submitted to the Pope that he would do well to purchase the
guarantee of the Powers for the remainder of his territories by giving up
all claim to the Romagna, which he had already lost. Pius retorted that he
could not cede what Heaven had granted, not to himself, but to the Church;
and that if the Powers would but clear the Romagna of Piedmontese intruders
he would soon reconquer the rebellious province without the assistance
either of France or of Austria. The attitude assumed by the Papal Court
gave Napoleon a good pretext for abandoning the plan of a European
Congress, from which he could hardly expect to obtain a grant of Nice and
Savoy. It was announced at Paris that the Congress would be postponed; and
on the 5th of January, 1860, the change in Napoleon's policy was publicly
marked by the dismissal of his Foreign Minister, Walewski, and the
appointment in his place of Thouvenel, a friend to Italian union. Ten days
later Rattazzi gave up office at Turin, and Cavour returned to power.

[Cavour and Napoleon, Jan-March.]

[Union of the Duchies and the Romagna with Piedmont, March.]

[Savoy and Nice ceded to France.]

Rattazzi, during the six months that he had conducted affairs, had steered
safely past some dangerous rocks; but he held the helm with an unsteady and
untrusted hand, and he appears to have displayed an unworthy jealousy
towards Cavour, who, while out of office, had not ceased to render what
services he could to his country. Cavour resumed his post, with the resolve
to defer no longer the annexation of Central Italy, but with the heavy
consciousness that Napoleon would demand in return for his consent to this
union the cession of Nice and Savoy. No Treaty entitled France to claim
this reward, for the Austrians still held Venetia; but Napoleon's troops
lay at Milan, and by a march southwards they could easily throw Italian
affairs again into confusion, and undo all that the last six months had
effected. Cavour would perhaps have lent himself to any European
combination which, while directed against the extension, of France, would
have secured the existence of the Italian Kingdom; but no such alternative
to the French alliance proved possible; and the subsequent negotiations
between Paris and Turin were intended only to vest with a certain
diplomatic propriety the now inevitable transfer of territory from the
weaker to the stronger State. A series of propositions made from London
with the view of withdrawing from Italy both French and Austrian influence
led the Austrian Court to acknowledge that its army would not be employed
for the restoration of the sovereigns of Tuscany and Modena. Construing
this statement as an admission that the stipulations of Villafranca and
Zürich as to the return of the fugitive princes had become impracticable,
Napoleon now suggested that Victor Emmanuel should annex Parma and Modena,
and assume secular power in the Romagna as Vicar of the Pope, leaving
Tuscany to form a separate Government. The establishment of so powerful a
kingdom on the confines of France was, he added, not in accordance with the
traditions of French foreign policy, and in self-defence France must
rectify its military frontier by the acquisition of Nice and Savoy (Feb.
24th). Cavour well understood that the mention of Tuscan independence, and
the qualified recognition of the Pope's rights in the Romagna, were no more
than suggestions of the means of pressure by which France might enforce the
cessions it required. He answered that, although Victor Emmanuel could not
alienate any part of his dominions, his Government recognised the same
popular rights in Savoy and Nice as in Central Italy; and accordingly that
if the population of these districts declared in a legal form their desire
to be incorporated with France, the King would not resist their will.
Having thus consented to the necessary sacrifice, and ignoring Napoleon's
reservations with regard to Tuscany and the Pope, Cavour gave orders that a
popular vote should at once be taken in Tuscany, as well as in Parma,
Modena, and the Romagna, on the question of union with Piedmont. The voting
took place early in March, and gave an overwhelming majority in favour of
union. The Pope issued the major excommunication against the authors,
abettors, and agents in this work of sacrilege, and heaped curses on
curses; but no one seemed the worse for them. Victor Emmanuel accepted the
sovereignty that was offered to him, and on the 2nd of April the Parliament
of the united kingdom assembled at Turin. It had already been announced to
the inhabitants of Nice and Savoy that the King had consented to their
union with France. The formality of a _plébiscite_ was enacted a few
days later, and under the combined pressure of the French and Sardinian
Governments the desired results were obtained. Not more than a few hundred
persons protested by their vote against a transaction to which it was
understood that the King had no choice but to submit. [496]

[Cavour on the cession of Nice and Savoy.]

That Victor Emmanuel had at one time been disposed to resist Cavour's
surrender of the home of his race is well known. Above a year, however, had
passed since the project had been accepted as the basis of the French
alliance; and if, during the interval of suspense after Villafranca, the
King had cherished a hope that the sacrifice might be avoided without
prejudice either to the cause of Italy or to his own relations with
Napoleon, Cavour had entertained no such illusions. He knew that the
cession was an indispensable link in the chain of his own policy, that
policy which had made it possible to defeat Austria, and which, he
believed, would lead to the further consolidation of Italy. Looking to
Rome, to Palermo, where the smouldering fire might at any moment blaze out,
he could not yet dispense with the friendship of Napoleon, he could not
provoke the one man powerful enough to shape the action of France in
defiance of Clerical and of Legitimist aims. Rattazzi might claim credit
for having brought Piedmont past the Treaty of Zürich without loss of
territory; Cavour, in a far finer spirit, took upon himself the
responsibility for the sacrifice made to France, and bade the Parliament of
Italy pass judgment upon his act. The cession of the border-provinces
overshadowed what would otherwise have been the brightest scene in Italian
history for many generations, the meeting of the first North-Italian
Parliament at Turin. Garibaldi, coming as deputy from his birthplace, Nice,
uttered words of scorn and injustice against the man who had made him an
alien in Italy, and quitted the Chamber. Bitterly as Cavour felt, both now
and down to the end of his life, the reproaches that were levelled against
him, he allowed no trace of wounded feeling, of impatience, of the sense of
wrong, to escape him in the masterly speech in which he justified his
policy and won for it the ratification of the Parliament. It was not until
a year later, when the hand of death was almost upon him, that fierce words
addressed to him face to face by Garibaldi wrung from him the impressive
answer, "The act that has made this gulf between us was the most painful
duty of my life. By what I have felt myself I know what Garibaldi must have
felt. If he refuses me his forgiveness I cannot reproach him for it." [497]

[The cession in relation to Europe and Italy.]

The annexation of Nice and Savoy by Napoleon was seen with extreme
displeasure in Europe generally, and most of all in England. It directly
affected the history of Britain by the stimulus which it gave to the
development of the Volunteer Forces. Owing their origin to certain
demonstrations of hostility towards England made by the French army after
Orsini's conspiracy and the acquittal of one of his confederates in London,
the Volunteer Forces rose in the three months that followed the annexation
of Nice and Savoy from seventy to a hundred and eighty thousand men. If
viewed as an indication that the ruler of France would not be content with
the frontiers of 1815, the acquisition of the Sub-Alpine provinces might
with some reason excite alarm; on no other ground could their transfer be
justly condemned. Geographical position, language, commercial interests,
separated Savoy from Piedmont and connected it with France; and though in
certain parts of the County of Nice the Italian character predominated,
this district as a whole bore the stamp not of Piedmont or Liguria but of
Provence. Since the separation from France in 1815 there had always been,
both in Nice and Savoy, a considerable party which desired reunion with
that country. The political and social order of the Sardinian Kingdom had
from 1815 to 1848 been so backward, so reactionary, that the middle classes
in the border-provinces looked wistfully to France as a land where their
own grievances had been removed and their own ideals attained. The
constitutional system of Victor Emmanuel, and the despotic system of Louis
Napoleon had both been too recently introduced to reverse in the minds of
the greater number the political tradition of the preceding thirty years.
Thus if there were a few who, like Garibaldi, himself of Genoese descent
though born at Nice, passionately resented separation from Italy, they
found no considerable party either in Nice or in Savoy animated by the same
feeling. On the other hand, the ecclesiastical sentiment of Savoy rendered
its transfer to France an actual advantage to the Italian State. The Papacy
had here a deeply-rooted influence. The reforms begun by Azeglio's Ministry
had been steadily resisted by a Savoyard group of deputies in the interests
of Rome. Cavour himself, in the prosecution of his larger plans, had always
been exposed to the danger of a coalition between this ultra-Conservative
party and his opponents of the other extreme. It was well that in the
conflict with the Papacy, without which there could be no such thing as a
Kingdom of United Italy, these influences of the Savoyard Church and
Noblesse should be removed from the Parliament and the Throne. Honourable
as the Savoyard party of resistance had proved themselves in Parliamentary
life, loyal and faithful as they were to their sovereign, they were yet not
a part of the Italian nation. Their interests were not bound up with the
cause of Italian union; their leaders were not inspired with the ideal of
Italian national life. The forces that threatened the future of the new
State from within were too powerful for the surrender of a priest-governed
and half-foreign element to be considered as a real loss.


Nice and Savoy had hardly been handed over to Napoleon when Garibaldi set
out from Genoa to effect the liberation of Sicily and Naples. King
Ferdinand II., known to his subjects and to Western Europe as King Bomba,
had died a few days before the battle of Magenta, leaving the throne to his
son Francis II. In consequence of the friendship shown by Ferdinand to
Russia during the Crimean War, and of his refusal to amend his tyrannical
system of government, the Western Powers had in 1856 withdrawn their
representatives from Naples. On the accession of Francis II. diplomatic
intercourse was renewed, and Cavour, who had been at bitter enmity with
Ferdinand, sought to establish relations of friendship with his son. In the
war against Austria an alliance with Naples would have been of value to
Sardinia as a counterpoise to Napoleon's influence, and this alliance
Cavour attempted to obtain. He was, however, unsuccessful; and after the
Peace of Villafranca the Neapolitan Court threw itself with ardour into
schemes for the restoration of the fallen Governments and the overthrow of
Piedmontese authority in the Romagna by means of a coalition with Austria
and Spain and a counterrevolutionary movement in Italy itself. A rising on
behalf of the fugitive Grand Duke of Tuscany was to give the signal for the
march of the Neapolitan army northwards. This rising, however, was expected
in vain, and the great Catholic design resulted in nothing. Baffled in its
larger aims, the Bourbon Government proposed in the spring of 1860 to
occupy Umbria and the Marches, in order to prevent the revolutionary
movement from spreading farther into the Papal States. Against this Cavour
protested, and King Francis yielded to his threat to withdraw the Sardinian
ambassador from Naples. Knowing that a conspiracy existed for the
restoration of the House of Murat to the Neapolitan throne, which would
have given France the ascendency in Southern Italy, Cavour now renewed his
demand that Francis II. should enter into alliance with Piedmont, accepting
a constitutional system of government and the national Italian policy of
Victor Emmanuel. But neither the summons from Turin, nor the agitation of
the Muratists, nor the warnings of Great Britain that the Bourbon dynasty
could only avert its fall by reform, produced any real change in the spirit
of the Neapolitan Court. Ministers were removed, but the absolutist and
anti-national system remained the same. Meanwhile Garibaldi was gathering
his followers round him in Genoa. On the 15th of April Victor Emmanuel
wrote to King Francis that unless his fatal system of policy was
immediately abandoned the Piedmontese Government itself might shortly be
forced to become the agent of his destruction. Even this menace proved
fruitless; and after thus fairly exposing to the Court of Naples the
consequence of its own stubbornness, Victor Emmanuel let loose against it
the revolutionary forces of Garibaldi.


[Garibaldi starts for Sicily, May 5.]

[Garibaldi at Marsala, May 11.]

Since the campaign of 1859 insurrectionary committees had been active in
the principal Sicilian towns. The old desire of the Sicilian Liberals for
the independence of the island had given place, under the influence of the
events of the past year, to the desire for Italian union. On the
abandonment of Garibaldi's plan for the march on Rome in November, 1859,
the liberation of Sicily had been suggested to him as a more feasible
enterprise, and the general himself wavered in the spring of 1860 between
the resumption of his Roman project and an attack upon the Bourbons of
Naples from the south. The rumour spread through Sicily that Garibaldi
would soon appear there at the head of his followers. On the 3rd of April
an attempt at insurrection was made at Palermo. It was repressed without
difficulty; and although disturbances broke out in other parts of the
island, the reports which reached Garibaldi at Genoa as to the spirit and
prospects of the Sicilians were so disheartening that for a while he seemed
disposed to abandon the project of invasion as hopeless for the present. It
was only when some of the Sicilian exiles declared that they would risk the
enterprise without him that he resolved upon immediate action. On the night
of the 5th of May two steamships lying in the harbour of Genoa were seized,
and on these Garibaldi with his Thousand put to sea. Cavour, though he
would have preferred that Sicily should remain unmolested until some
progress had been made in the consolidation of the North Italian Kingdom,
did not venture to restrain Garibaldi's movements, with which he was well
acquainted. He required, however, that the expedition should not touch at
the island of Sardinia, and gave ostensible orders to his admiral, Persano,
to seize the ships of Garibaldi if they should put into any Sardinian port.
Garibaldi, who had sheltered the Sardinian Government from responsibility
at the outset by the fiction of a sudden capture of the two merchant-ships,
continued to spare Victor Emmanuel unnecessary difficulties by avoiding the
fleet which was supposed to be on the watch for him off Cagliari in
Sardinia, and only interrupted his voyage by a landing at a desolate spot
on the Tuscan coast in order to take up artillery and ammunition which were
waiting for him there. On the 11th of May, having heard from some English
merchantmen that there were no Neapolitan vessels of war at Marsala, he
made for this harbour. The first of his two ships entered it in safety and
disembarked her crew; the second, running on a rock, lay for some time
within range of the guns of a Neapolitan war-steamer which was bearing up
towards the port. But for some unknown reason the Neapolitan commander
delayed opening fire, and the landing of Garibaldi's followers was during
this interval completed without loss. [498]

[Garibaldi captures Palermo, May 26.]

On the following day the little army, attired in the red shirts which are
worn by cattle-ranchers in South America, marched eastwards from Marsala.
Bands of villagers joined them as they moved through the country, and many
unexpected adherents were gained among the priests. On the third day's
march Neapolitan troops were seen in position at Calatafimi. They were
attacked by Garibaldi, and, though far superior in number, were put to the
rout. The moral effects of this first victory were very great. The
Neapolitan commander retired into Palermo, leaving Garibaldi master of the
western portion of the island. Insurrection spread towards the interior;
the revolutionary party at Palermo itself regained its courage and prepared
to co-operate with Garibaldi on his approach. On nearing the city Garibaldi
determined that he could not risk a direct assault upon the forces which
occupied it. He resolved, if possible, to lure part of the defenders into
the mountains, and during their absence to throw himself into the city and
to trust to the energy of its inhabitants to maintain himself there. This
strategy succeeded. While the officer in command of some of the Neapolitan
battalions, tempted by an easy victory over the ill-disciplined Sicilian
bands opposed to him, pursued his beaten enemy into the mountains,
Garibaldi with the best of his troops fought his way into Palermo on the
night of May 26th. Fighting continued in the streets during the next two
days, and the cannon of the forts and of the Neapolitan vessels in harbour
ineffectually bombarded the city. On the 30th, at the moment when the
absent battalions were coming again into sight, an armistice was signed on
board the British man-of-war _Hannibal_. The Neapolitan commander gave
up to Garibaldi the bank and public buildings, and withdrew into the forts
outside the town. But the Government at Naples was now becoming thoroughly
alarmed; and considering Palermo as lost, it directed the troops to be
shipped to Messina and to Naples itself. Garibaldi was thus left in
undisputed possession of the Sicilian capital. He remained there for nearly
two months, assuming the government of Sicily as Dictator in the name of
Victor Emmanuel, appointing Ministers, and levying taxes. Heavy
reinforcements reached him from Italy. The Neapolitans, driven from the
interior as well as from the towns occupied by the invader, now held only
the north-eastern extremity of the island. On the 20th of July Garibaldi,
operating both by land and sea, attacked and defeated them at Milazzo on
the northern coast. The result of this victory was that Messina itself,
with the exception of the citadel, was evacuated by the Neapolitans without
resistance. Garibaldi, whose troops now numbered eighteen thousand, was
master of the island from sea to sea, and could with confidence look
forward to the overthrow of Bourbon authority on the Italian mainland.

[The Party of Action.]

During Garibaldi's stay at Palermo the antagonism between the two political
creeds which severed those whose devotion to Italy was the strongest came
clearly into view. This antagonism stood embodied in its extreme form in
the contrast between Mazzini and Cavour. Mazzini, handling moral and
political conceptions with something of the independence of a
mathematician, laid it down as the first duty of the Italian nation to
possess itself of Rome and Venice, regardless of difficulties that might be
raised from without. By conviction he desired that Italy should be a
Republic, though under certain conditions he might be willing to tolerate
the monarchy of Victor Emmanuel. Cavour, accurately observing the play of
political forces in Europe, conscious above all of the strength of those
ties which still bound Napoleon to the clerical cause, knew that there were
limits which Italy could not at present pass without ruin. The centre of
Mazzini's hopes, an advance upon Rome itself, he knew to be an act of
self-destruction for Italy, and this advance he was resolved at all costs
to prevent. Cavour had not hindered the expedition to Sicily; he had not
considered it likely to embroil Italy with its ally; but neither had he
been the author of this enterprise. The liberation of Sicily might be
deemed the work rather of the school of Mazzini than of Cavour. Garibaldi
indeed was personally loyal to Victor Emmanuel; but around him there were
men who, if not Republicans, were at least disposed to make the grant of
Sicily to Victor Emmanuel conditional upon the king's fulfilling the will
of the so-called Party of Action, and consenting to an attack upon Rome.
Under the influence of these politicians Garibaldi, in reply to a
deputation expressing to him the desire of the Sicilians for union with the
Kingdom of Victor Emmanuel, declared that he had come to fight not for
Sicily alone but for all Italy, and that if the annexation of Sicily was to
take place before the union of Italy was assured, he must withdraw his hand
from the work and retire. The effect produced by these words of Garibaldi
was so serious that the Ministers whom he had placed in office resigned.
Garibaldi endeavoured to substitute for them men more agreeable to the
Party of Action, but a demonstration in Palermo itself forced him to
nominate Sicilians in favour of immediate annexation. The public opinion of
the island was hostile to Republicanism and to the friends of Mazzini; nor
could the prevailing anarchy long continue without danger of a reactionary
movement. Garibaldi himself possessed no glimmer of administrative faculty.
After weeks of confusion and misgovernment he saw the necessity of
accepting direction from Turin, and consented to recognise as Pro-Dictator
of the island a nominee of Cavour, the Piedmontese Depretis. Under the
influence of Depretis a commencement was made in the work of political and
social reorganisation. [499]

[Cavour's policy with regard to Naples.]

[Garibaldi crosses to the mainland, Aug. 19.]

Cavour, during Garibaldi's preparation for his descent upon Sicily and
until the capture of Palermo, had affected to disavow and condemn the
enterprise as one undertaken by individuals in spite of the Government, and
at their own risk. The Piedmontese ambassador was still at Naples as the
representative of a friendly Court; and in reply to the reproaches of
Germany and Russia, Cavour alleged that the title of Dictator of Sicily in
the name of Victor Emmanuel had been assumed by Garibaldi without the
knowledge or consent of his sovereign. But whatever might be said to
Foreign Powers, Cavour, from the time of the capture of Palermo, recognised
that the hour had come for further steps towards Italian union; and,
without committing himself to any definite line of action, he began already
to contemplate the overthrow of the Bourbon dynasty at Naples. It was in
vain that King Francis now released his political prisoners, declared the
Constitution of 1848 in force, and tendered to Piedmont the alliance which
he had before refused. Cavour, in reply to his overtures, stated that he
could not on his own authority pledge Piedmont to the support of a dynasty
now almost in the agonies of dissolution, and that the matter must await
the meeting of Parliament at Turin. Thus far the way had not been
absolutely closed to a reconciliation between the two Courts; but after the
victory of Garibaldi at Milazzo and the evacuation of Messina at the end of
July Cavour cast aside all hesitation and reserve. He appears to have
thought a renewal of the war with Austria probable, and now strained every
nerve to become master of Naples and its fleet before Austria could take
the field. He ordered Admiral Persano to leave two ships of war to cover
Garibaldi's passage to the mainland, and with one ship to proceed to Naples
himself, and there excite insurrection and win over the Neapolitan fleet to

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