ITALY BECOMES AN EUROPEAN STATE 1800's
After Novara (March 23, 1849) there was little hope for the revolted states. Ferdinand, who had moved his court to Gaëta, was able to suppress the revolt in Sicily, and the Pope, after having refused to receive a mission from Rome, asking him to return as the spiritual head of the church, called on France, Austria, Spain, and Naples to restore him to his supreme authority. The Pope returned to Rome from Gaëta the following April, maintained in his restored temporal power by the troops of France in Rome, and those of Austria elsewhere.
The old ideas of liberalism had been irreparably shaken, and thenceforth he who had in the beginning been looked on as the rising star of the liberals was sustained in his sovereignty only by the arms of foreign invaders, whom he had called on to restore him to his temporal power---arms stained with the blood of those who had acclaimed him in his accession as the deliverer from Austrian dominion.
The progress of liberalism among the people, however, was not stopped. Over 30,000 Romans had signed an address asking the withdrawal of the French corps of occupation. And the Italian Chamber (March 27) declared Rome to be the capital of Italy, asserting that the Pope could exercise his sublime office in a freer and more independent way guarded by the affection of 22,000,000 Italians than guarded by 25,000 foreign bayonets.
After his father’s abdication the first labors of King Victor Emmanuel on coming to the throne were to make terms with conquering Austria and to suppress a revolt in Genoa, which on learning of the armistice had declared for a Republic. He performed both labors, not acceptably at the time, perhaps, but wisely; and when he had done so he had established his position as a King who kept his word. Against the warnings of Austria he stood by liberal government; swore to observe the Statute (or Constitution) given by his father, and became later, in consequence of his observance of his oath, first King of Italy. The government fell; the Parliament was dissolved; the King appealed to the people with success; and a liberal ministry came in, who stood for the people against both Austria and Rome.
The Prime Minister, D’Azeglio, proceeded to put through ecclesiastical and corporate reforms, which brought him into conflict with the Vatican. But he won. Into this new Ministry came a man who was to prove Italy’s greatest statesman, and probably the first statesman of his time: Count Camillo Cavour. His public career, brief in time---for he died early---but most brilliant in its accomplishment, placed him in the first rank of statesmen. Representative of an old and noble Genoese house, he was representative also of Italian aspiration for Liberty, which is as much as to say hostility to Austria. Like many others, he had undergone exile or imprisonment at Bard for his liberal views, and, with far-sighted wisdom, he struck at the root of the trouble, irrespective of whether his acts were popular or not. He reorganized the finances of the Kingdom of Sardinia, impaired by two unsuccessful campaigns; and in the face of Excommunication he passed laws regulating clerical corporations, which asserted the supremacy of the State. Determined to place Italy among the Great Powers he, with far-sighted sagacity, joined England and France, and sent a contingent of 15,000 troops to the Crimea. It was a bold and apparently groundless “play to the galleries.” In fact, however, it placed the Kingdom of Piedmont, as representative of Italy, before Europe as an integer in European politics. He secured her a place in the Congress that settled the questions of the war, and got the affairs of Italy discussed before the congress---though only informally.
In all this, though he moved but a step at a time, and often but slowly, he was moving against Austria. To this end he worked up an alliance with France, and to secure it he made sacrifices which cost him his popularity but eventually led to Italy’s freedom and union. The conference which he had with Napoleon at Plombières, at the latter’s instance in 1858, disclosed to him Napoleon’s aims, including his desire to ally his house to the House of Savoy through marriage between his cousin and the Princess Clotilde of Savoy with an eye to future Italian interests----certainly including the throne of Tuscany. But he did not flinch nor did King Emmanuel. On the eve of the outbreak of war against Austria, in which France---or Napoleon III---had agreed to join---for a compensation---Cavour played a bold game and assented to the suggestion of a European congress to settle Italian affairs. Austria refused, as, of course, he was satisfied she would, and poured troops into Italy, which was arming eagerly.
On April 23, 1859, the Austrian Commissioner, Baron von Kellersberg, handed Cavour Austria’s ultimatum: “Unarm in three days, or War.” Cavour looked at his watch. At the same hour three days later he handed the Austrian Commissioner his reply: “Sardinia had no further explanations to make.” On the 29th the Emperor Francis Joseph declared war, and Austrian troops invaded Piedmont. Garibaldi had been offered a command by Victor Emmanuel, and to him rallied the forces of freedom. “Badly armed and worse equipped,” they yet represented Italy, fighting under the banner of Italy borne by the House of Savoy, and led by the most popular patriot in Italy.
Napoleon, with his eye on both Tuscany and, as is now known, the Sicilies, brought his armies into Italy---one of them landing at Leghorn in Tuscany. And on the 31st of May the allies won the battle of Palestro, and on the 4th of June the battle of Magenta, forcing the evacuation by the Austrians of Lombardy. Modena and Parma rose in revolt and joined Piedmont.
On the 24th of June the French won the battle of Solferino and the Sardinian-Italian army won the battle of San Martino above Lake Garda. Then on the 6th of July Napoleon, to the amazement of the Italians, secretly sent a messenger to the Austrian Emperor, asking for an armistice. Prussia, with six army corps, it is said, was about to move to Austria’s aid.
Napoleon leaned to a Confederation of Italian states under the nominal Presidency of the Pope. He was far from desiring a United Italy. Cavour, in desperation, resigned office, declaring that Napoleon had dishonored him by getting him to allow his King to go to war to release Italy and then leaving him in the lurch.
he revolutionary spirit of Italy, however, was not to be appeased by such an experiment as a Confederation. Modena, Reggio, Parma, Piacenza, having driven out their Austrian scions, voted in August for union with Piedmont. Tuscany and Romagna, through their Constituent Assemblies, soon followed the example. Notice of their choice was given to the great powers by Modena, Parma, Tuscany, and Romagna, and delegates went to Turin to offer the crown to Victor Emmanuel. His government, in view of the dangers incurred by such action, with three armies, arrayed against them---for the Austrians were backing the Duke of Modena; the papal troops were in the field; and, above all, Napoleon’s army was ready to march---deferred acceptance of the tempting offer. Garibaldi headed a popular army that was raised in Tuscany; but, Napoleon threatening to occupy Piacenza should he advance, Count Ricasoli, the patriot Dictator of Tuscany, opposed him, and finally Victor Emmanuel satisfied him that the cause of Italy would best be subserved by prudence, and be reluctantly yielded. The Peace of Zurich was signed November 10, 1859.
Cavour had resigned in rage when Napoleon asked an armistice after Solferino. King Victor Emmanuel could not resign. He had, as he wrote the French Emperor, joined his fate to that of the Italian people, and therefore he declined to second the French Emperor’s plan for an Austro-Italian federation. He wrote as follows to Napoleon in answer to a letter from him:
If Your Majesty is bound by treaties and cannot revoke your engagements in the [proposed] congress, I, Sire, am bound on my side by honor in the face of Europe; by right and duty, by the interests of my house, of my people and of Italy. My fate is joined to that of the Italian people. We can succumb; but never betray. Solferino and San Martino may sometime redeem Novara and Waterloo; but the apostacies of princes are always irreparable. I am moved to the bottom of my soul by the faith which this noble and unfortunate people has reposed in me, and rather than be unworthy of it, I will break my sword and throw my crown away, as did my august father. Personal interest does not guide me in defending the annexations. The sword and time have borne my house, from the summit of the Alps to the banks of the Mincio, and those two guardian angels of the Savoy race will bear it farther still, when it pleases God.
The idea of a Congress to settle the affairs of Italy, which Napoleon III promoted with a view to securing a sort of Confederacy of Italian states, with the Pope as honorary head and the Temporal power limited to a small territory about Rome, fell through. The scheme might have been impracticable in any event, and certainly the Pope opposed it.
In January Rattazzi’s ministry fell, and Cavour was recalled to power just as Napoleon announced his demand for Savoy and Nice as the price of his acquiescence in the annexation of the central states that had offered Victor Emmanuel their thrones. It was bitter; but it was necessary, and Cavour and Victor Emmanuel accepted it. Garibaldi never forgave Cavour for it. Victor Emmanuel also lost the birthplace of his family. It was Napoleon’s aggression here which contributed to arouse Prussia, and later bore such grievous fruit.
Garibaldi was soon after elected by the Niçois as their representative in a popular plebiscite, held before the one arranged by France, and he was on the eve of going to Nice and starting a revolution to counteract the French Government’s moves in relation to the formal plebiscite set for the 15th of April, 1860, when a larger and more far-reaching enterprise presented itself to him: the liberation of Sicily and the uniting of southern Italy with northern Italy. Mazzini, who had sent Francisco Crispi to Sicily, among other agents, had long been at work with this end in view. On the 24th of March Count Rosalino Pilo, a Sicilian patriot, had gone as an advance courier to Sicily with a small cargo of arms, which he landed near Messina on the 19th of April, a few days after the government had sacked a monastery at Palermo, which was a secret arsenal for the revolutionists. Pilo wrote letters back to Genoa which decided Garibaldi to turn from Nice to Sicily. He was farsighted enough to know that a republican uprising could not secure the great prize, and his cry was, Italy and Victor Emmanuel.
On the night of May 5 Garibaldi embarked from Quarto, near Genoa, with 1,072 men---known as the “Thousand”---on two boats, the Piemonte and the Lombardo, for Marsala, Sicily, where he landed safely. Cavour gave orders that he was not to be meddled with on the high seas, but should not, in view of the ministry’s orders, be allowed to land in a Sardinian port.
The result of the enterprise is one of the most astonishing chapters in history. By sheer audacity and courage, united to skill, in union with the sentiments of the people of Sicily, Palermo, though defended by 18,000 regular troops, was captured by Garibaldi’s little force, swelled now by local volunteers to perhaps some 5,000 men. He became Dictator, and, sweeping on, soon conquered the island. Having expelled the Neapolitan forces therefrom, he turned his attention to Naples.
His progress in Sicily was such as to excite apprehensions in various quarters and of various kinds. Cavour and Victor Emmanuel had possibly some question as to how far this a-conquering knight-errant could be controlled---and certainly as to whether he might not by an unsuccessful throw lose the great stake he had won. It was even suggested that should the King of Naples consent to give up Sicily, he should be let alone by Garibaldi. Mazzini and the extremists thought he should address himself next to the conquest of Rome, and a force of 8,000 volunteers was gathered to undertake this step from Sardinia.
The King of Naples, to escape the impending convulsion, yielded too late to persuasion, granted an amnesty, promised a Constitution, hoisted the Tricolor with the Bourbon arms in it, and offered 50,000,000 francs and the Neapolitan navy to help secure Venice for Piedmont---all to no purpose. Garibaldi induced the volunteers in Sardinia to join him, and, crossing the straits into Calabria, which was breaking forth into revolution, captured Reggio; passed on victoriously till he frightened the king and court out of Naples and, entering the city almost alone, assumed the title of Dictator, and as a first step handed over the Neapolitan navy to the Sardinian Government.
The statesmen of the Sardinian, or, as it was now called, the Italian Kingdom---the King and Cavour---had, meantime, recognized the fact that they must not longer remain at the window as mere spectators, but must take an active part in the movements going on in southern Italy or else the fruits of it might be gathered by others or lost altogether. They decided to invade the Papal States, and, in the face of threats from nearly every European continental Power, the step was taken. Austria, France, Spain, Prussia, and Russia broke off diplomatic relations with them. France threatened to intervene. And from France, Belgium, and Ireland flocked, at the call of the Pope, volunteers to defend the Temporal power. But Cavour and Victor Emmanuel kept on; for the stake was Italy. An offer made to the Pope to leave him Rome and the nominal Sovereignty of the Papal States, which were, however, to be administered by the King of Italy, was declined or ignored, and on the 11th of September the forces of King Victor Emmanuel crossed the frontier. They captured quickly Perugia and Spoleto, and after a victory over the papal forces at Castelfidardo, attacked Ancona, which was taken on the 29th of September, opening the road to Naples, where Garibaldi lay on the Volturno, facing the still large army of King Ferdinand, which was burning to wipe out the disasters of Southern Italy; and where Garibaldi had fought and won a battle on October 1, a few days before Victor Emmanuel crossed the Neapolitan frontier.
On the 11th of October the Piedmontese Parliament authorized the King’s government to accept the annexation of those States or Provinces which desired to become a part of the Kingdom.
On the 26th of October the King of Sardinia and Piedmont, at the head of his army, reached Teano, where Garibaldi awaited him. The Dictator dismounted and advanced to meet the King, and, taking off his cap, hailed him as “King of Italy.” On the 7th of November, 1860, the plebiscites of the two Sicilies were handed him.
The seizure and capture of Gaëta in January (15), 1861, completed the conquest of Southern Italy. For years, however, under the fostering influence of the Roman Government, whose guest, Francis Joseph (son of Ferdinand II), expelled from Naples, now was, Revolution, degenerated into sheer Brigandage, was kept alive until finally put down with a strong hand.
Only Rome and Venice still remained outside united Italy; the former supported by France, the latter possessed by Austria. The initial act of the first Italian Parliament, which met in Turin on February 18, 1861, was to confer on Victor Emmanuel and his heirs the title of “King of Italy.” The new kingdom was recognized by England in a fortnight, by France in three months, by Prussia in a year, by Spain in four years, but never by the Pope.
Among the difficulties of the new situation was that relating to Garibaldi and his volunteers. The great patriot had rendered immeasurable service to the country-such immeasurable services that they could not be estimated. He declined the Dukedom and Honors offered by Victor Emmanuel, and retired, like Cincinnatus, to his little farm, to Caprera. Naples elected him a representative and he took his seat in the Chamber, where he was soon in conflict with Cavour, whom he erroneously held responsible for the ingratitude shown the Garibaldians. In fact, Cavour had done his best for them.
Cavour’s course was almost run. A little later he passed away, completely exhausted by his vast labors for Italy. Happily the King had already brought him and Garibaldi together. Garibaldi, however, was not always easy to lead. He had one aim only, and he pursued his course steadfastly ---to free Italy and make her one. He knew one means only ---by arms. With Venice still under Austrian dominion, and Rome excluded from Freedom, he could not rest. No protests nor warnings availed. Venice first drew his attention; but in view of the vast difficulties and enormous dangers to be encountered in that enterprise, it was deferred for the time being, and after a visit to Sicily, where he preached a crusade against Napoleon III, he, on August 22, crossed the straits into Calabria at the head of some 1,000 volunteers, with the war-cry, “Rome or Death.” For the King of Italy to permit him to pass meant war with Napoleon, and probably the undoing of all that had been done. Garibaldi was proclaimed a rebel; his expedition was presented as “an appeal to rebellion and civil war” (August 3, 1862), and his way was barred at Aspromonte (August 28, 1862) by the troops of Victor Emmanuel, who fired on the Garibaldians, wounding Garibaldi as he was walking down his lines endeavoring to hold his volunteers in check and prevent their firing on the royal troops. He seated himself and awaited capture by the royal commander, who approached bareheaded, and he was borne off in a litter to Verignano, where later he was released under a general amnesty.
Garibaldi’s arrest created a situation impossible to sustain and the Ministry fell promptly. In 1864 the situation was somewhat improved by a Convention under which France agreed to withdraw her troops in two years. Italy was to protect the papal confines from invasion, not to protest against the papal army, and to move her capital to Florence within six months. From this last Napoleon expected certain results to ensue. One was to embitter Piedmont. Another was to fix Florence as the permanent capital in central Italy and eliminate glances at Rome. Mazzini characterized the Convention as “Aspromonte in permanence.”
Meantime, a new factor had entered into the European problem. Bismarck, who was the dominant statesman of his time, controlled the destinies of Europe from his rise to power in 1862 until long after his downfall at the hands of the young Emperor, William II in 1890. It, indeed, might be said that he has controlled those destinies down to the present time. He had conceived and he now nourished the idea of a great German Empire, headed by Prussia, with the King of Prussia to rule over it as Emperor. Having in the reorganization of the Prussian army a fine instrument and one which he deemed adequate to his purpose, he, in 1864, drew in Austria to act with Prussia and take from Denmark the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. To carry out his plans it was necessary to curb France. At one time he coolly considered helping Austria seize Piedmont and beat France, should the latter intervene. Another method of obtaining his aim, however, attracted him more and he saw in Italy’s hatred of Austria and fear of France an important aid to the first steps in his ambitious and far-reaching scheme. He accordingly felt out the Italian Government, where he found its head, La Marmora, favorable to Prussia as against Austria. A commercial treaty was negotiated in 1865, and General Govone, whose influence was very potent in Italy, was invited to Berlin, where a treaty was arranged in March, 1866, and signed in April.
Then, having quarrelled with Austria over the division of what may be termed the booty of the war with Denmark, and having secured from Napoleon III the guaranties of benevolent neutrality in exchange for vague promises of permission for French expansion along the Rhine, and bringing Italy to his aid with the lure of the unredeemed provinces of Venetia and Trentino, Bismarck made war on Austria. The treaty of April 8 provided that both parties should make war on Austria simultaneously, and that neither should make peace without the other. Italy observed her agreement and refused Austria’s offer of the Veneto if she would remain neutral; thus placing herself in peril of having to fight Austria alone; as Bismarck notified La Marmora that he would not consider the treaty operative should Austria attack either party before both made war on her. Italy had proposed the year before to Austria the cession of Venetia in consideration of 50,000,000 francs, an offer which Austria had promptly rejected.
Austria soon after proposed to cede Venetia to Napoleon III, for Italy, in consideration of a guaranty of Italy’s benevolent neutrality. It was too late. Italy had made her alliance and stood to it. A little later Austria agreed secretly with Napoleon to give him Venetia---bordered, indeed, by certain lines destined to play an important part half a century later---to be handed over to Italy. She retained Trent, Eastern Friuli, Istria, and Dalmatia---all Venetian or Italian territory and Italian at heart.
On June 20 Italy declared war on Austria. Prussia, whose armies had on the 16th invaded Hannover and Saxony, declared war on the 21st. Garibaldi was, of course, in the field, but at Lake Garda with a badly equipped force of volunteers.
On the 24th of June, 1866, a battle was fought at Custozza in which, though their losses were heaviest, the Austrians at the close of the day held the battle-field, and at most it would be considered a drawn battle. The stars, however, were with Italy.
On the 3d of July, at Sadowa, near Königgratz in Bohemia, Prussia won a battle over Austria which eventually made her the head of the German states and led to changes which but yesterday were being fought out by half the world. Two days after this defeat Austria ceded Venetia, or a part of it, to Napoleon III for Italy. It was a manoeuvre which had in view two things: to diminish the value of the territory ceded by rendering permanent a confine which favored Austria; and to secure a benefit from France by enabling her to place Italy under obligation to her.
Italy well understood the grounds of the concession, and it looked for a time as though she would stand on her original claim and fight her way through. Austria, however, won successive victories, both by diplomacy and by arms, and Italy, abandoned by Prussia, was forced to make peace.
Napoleon, after the armistice, demanded of Prussia, as recompense for his part, German territory on the left bank of the Rhine; but abandoned the claim on Bismarck’s firm refusal. Later, however, his representative, Benedetti, treated with Bismarck for an extension of German power over the South German states, and the extension of French territory to take in Luxemburg and Belgium. Bismarck did not sign this, but kept a copy of the proposal in the handwriting of Benedetti, and in 1870 published it, with great effect both on the German states and on England and Russia.
After the battle of Custozza, Garibaldi was recalled from the Trentino, where he was successful, to help “cover the capital” from an apprehended Austrian invasion, and when this danger passed he went back to fight his way through to the position he had left. A stiff battle on the 21st of July left him master of the field, though it was a Pyrrhic victory. On the 20th the Italian fleet, which had been ordered to attack and capture, if possible, Trieste, an order which was disregarded, was, owing to incompetent handling, completely defeated near Lissa, off the Dalmatian coast, which it was trying to seize. On the 26th Prussia made peace with Austria, leaving Italy to fight on alone, and an armistice was the result. Garibaldi, ordered to retire when but a few miles from Trent, replied laconically:
“And now to Rome,” said his disgruntled followers.
“Yes, to Rome,” he said. But the way was yet long and rough.
Thus ended Italy’s third War of Independence. In December, 1866, the withdrawal of the French garrison from Rome was concluded under the September convention of 1864. Ricasoli, who had succeeded La Marmora, endeavored to come to an understanding with the Vatican as to a modus vivendi; but found himself balked by the intractableness of the Pope, even on such questions as a customs union, a postal agreement, and common action against brigandage. The Pope refused to treat. The hopes of those who had trusted to see Rome the capital at that time were revived.
The rumors that the Romans were ready to rise had started a movement for an invasion of papal territory which had been quickly suppressed (June, 1867) by the royal troops. But to prevent a more serious movement, France mobilized 40,000 men at Toulon to prevent the realization of Italian aspiration. Garibaldi, however, was not to be daunted.
Garibaldi made ready to move on Rome, but was arrested September 23 at Sinalunga by the Italian Government and sent to Caprera, whence he escaped in an open boat and eventually made his way to the Tuscan coast to join the volunteer bands which were raised by the Republicans to capture Rome. But it was too late. French intervention was decided on, and on October 17, 20,000 French troops landed at Civita Vecchia, the Italian minister’s decision to send troops to Rome was half-hearted---and, in any event, was too late, as Victor Emmanuel recognized. An attack on Rome by a small force under the Cairoli brothers, with a view to starting a Revolution, failed; but Garibaldi, having joined the volunteers, changed the situation. On the 25th of October he stormed and captured Monte Rotondo, above the Tiber, a dozen or so miles east of Rome. It was too late. On the 25th the French arrived---and Garibaldi was compelled to retire from the gates of Rome to Mentana, ten or a dozen miles away. Here he was attacked by the papal forces on the morning of the 3d of November. These he was driving back when the French arrived on the scene and defeated him. He was later arrested by the Italian troops and once more was confined in Varignano.
France, with “chassepots that performed wonders” at Mentana, was to reap a bitter harvest from that sowing. She had for some time viewed with natural anxiety the growing power of her warlike neighbor beyond the Rhine, strengthened as Prussia was by her victory over Austria in 1866. In 1867 the dispute over Luxemburg brought her to the brink of war with Prussia, and the next year she would not have been averse to entering into treaty relations with Italy and Austria could she have arranged acceptable terms.
The King, indeed, never forgot what Italy owed to France for assistance rendered in earlier days; but the Italian public was still suffering deeply from resentment over France’s action regarding Rome, and her victory at Mentana still rankled. Moreover, Rome, as the capital, was a sine qua non, and this Napoleon was not ready to concede.
France had not only returned to Italy and defeated her aspiration for Rome as her capital, but in the debate in the French Chamber, Rouher, the premier, declared that “Never should Italy have Rome,” and he was sustained by an overwhelming vote. This “never” had sunk deep in the Italian heart.
The battle of Sadowa had further-reaching consequences ---as the German chancellor intended it to have---than the mere primacy of Prussia among the Germanic states. He looked forward now to a great German Empire. But the powerful South-German states---Bavaria, Baden, and Würtemburg---were jealous of Prussia, and it was necessary to bring them around. To effect this there must be a National cause which should appeal to a National spirit. France furnished this in the affair of the Spanish marriage. In Prussia the long-headed chancellor, with his eye fixed on the future, was casting about to circumvent France, whose growing power might frustrate his far-reaching designs. He went to work on Italy. He took up Mazzini, with whom he had one thing in common: to prevent Italy’s entangling herself with France. It was clear enough to him that Italy must have, if not then, in the course of events, aspirations along the Mediterranean. He dangled hopes of Tunis before him. The Mediterranean should become an Italian lake. France and Italy must always be rivals, often foes, he declared. He even referred to Trieste. So it went on.
Meantime, Napoleon was trying to get Italy and Austria into an alliance with him. The obstacle was Rome. Rome was the natural capital of Italy. As for Napoleon, with his troops garrisoning the Eternal City and himself supported in France by the Clericals against the Progressives of every stripe, it was impossible for him to yield to the claim of Italy.
Napoleon’s policy was beginning to make itself extensively felt. The annexation of Nice and Savoy by France had aroused the suspicion and the apprehension of more than one of her neighbors. Napoleon’s attitude to some extent kept up the apprehension. Bismarck, looking about to strengthen the Hohenzollern House, put forward a member of that house, Prince Leopold, as a candidate for the throne of Spain. France opposed and, indeed, resented this idea.
Napoleon, who had been intriguing as to the matter with both Austria and Italy, felt strong enough to demand of Prussia an official confession of the failure of the German plan. Events hastened. Bismarck presently felt ready. The story of Napoleon’s despatch is known. Bismarck, in transmitting the despatch to the public, altered it sufficiently to make its positive tone appear yet more peremptory, and published both the Emperor’s despatch and the King of Prussia’s refusal. The situation was one which rallied the German states to the side of Prussia. Napoleon on the 15th of July declared war on Germany, and the result of the war united the German states under the King of Prussia, defeated France, took from her Alsace and Lorraine, created the German Empire, strengthened the primacy among the Germanic states already taken from Austria, and changed the course of European history. The besides those mentioned, was the immediate consequence, increased prestige of the Imperialistic Powers.
Two days after the fall of Napoleon III the dogma of Papal Infallibility was declared by the Ecumenical Council in Rome---and Pius IX was declared infallible. Napoleon had done his best to get Italy to come to his aid, withdrawing his garrison from Rome in early August, and Austria was sounded, but the latter deemed the time for intervention passed. Sedan occurred on the 2d of September, 1870, and two days later the French Empire fell.
Italy’s opportunity had come. It was the hour for which she had waited so long. The way to Rome was now open, and the aspiration of the Italian people who had suffered and undergone so much, was too ardent to be withstood. Lanza, the Prime Minister, conservative as he was, moved with deliberation, it is true; but, though Mazzini was arrested, he knew what the will of the people was. And on August 29 Visconti Venosta, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced to the European powers that Italy would take possession of Rome immediately. The King wrote a letter to the Pope begging him to accept the love and protection of the Italians rather than insist on a sovereignty which existed only by the support of foreign arms. The Pope declined; he wrote to William of Prussia, but the letter reached him when Victor Emmanuel was in Rome.
On the 11th of September, 1870, the Italian forces crossed the papal frontier, where they had been concentrated awaiting developments. On the morning of the 20th of September negotiations for the pacific surrender of the city having failed, an attack was made at several points; and about eight o’clock a breach having been battered in the wall a few hundred feet from the Porta Pia, the Italians, under General Cadorna, rushed in. A sharp fight took place between the Italian assailants and the defending Swiss Guards and French Zouaves in the Papal service, who defended the Porta Pia, but the issue could not be doubted, though the Zouaves did not lay down their arms until late in the day. The Diplomatic Corps urged upon the occupying forces the immediate restoration of order; for the situation appeared critical. Thee Leonine city beyond the Tiber, however, was not taken possession of until a request for protection had come three times from the Vatican.
A plebiscite was set for October 2 and the Leonine city was not included; but the people there set up an urn of their own, and delivered it first of all the urns at the capitol that evening. The total vote stood 133,681 for, and 1,507 against, the new government. So Rome became the capital of a once more United Italy, and Victor Emmanuel could say: “Here we are, and here we shall stay.”
Italy’s position, following the last step by which her union had become established “from the Alps to the sea,” was a peculiar one and, quite apart from military conditions, not free from perils. To gauge it accurately and get a clear idea of her condition then, and her progressive action since, a brief glance must be given to the European powers about her at the time when she entered on her new career, and to their situation and aspirations, and another glance must be directed to the internal situation within Italy herself, and especially within Rome.
The keys of St. Peter are not the only keys held by the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. Holding these, he has also the keys of the solution of many a far-reaching problem. It is difficult for one exempted by heredity, birth, and training from the teachings of the Church of Rome to realize the power that it exercises over the minds of those subjected from birth to its profound influences. And the Head of this power is the Pope. The power exists in all lands, extends to the uttermost parts of the earth; and the centre of it all is the Pope, encircled and surrounded by Curia and Hierarchy---the most completely organized, cohesive body on Earth to-day, or that has ever been on Earth. It is not an individual question of an individual. The Pope is doubtless himself as much bound by the traditions of the Holy See as, and possibly even more than, any one else. This is why the situation of the new government in Rome found its first, most difficult and perplexing if not perilous problem in Rome itself---the problem which is known there as the “Roman question.
It had been so from the beginning of the struggle for Italian unity. Even before the claim to Rome as the capital of Italy had been advanced, and while the devoted Catholic, Charles Albert, was King, the Pope, Pius IX, then in the first flush of his early liberalism, had found himself shackled by his bonds. He wrote the Austrian Emperor exhorting him with fatherly affection to withdraw voluntarily from Italy. The letter has a curiously familiar sound to those familiar with the encyclicals of the present occupant of St. Peter’s chair. He exhorted the Austrian Emperor “to desist from a war which, powerless to reconquer the hearts of the Lombards and Venetians, only leads to a dark series of calamities.” “Nor let the generous Germanic nation,” he proceeds, “take offense if We write it to abandon old hatreds and convert into useful relations of friendly neighborliness a dominion which can be neither noble nor happy if it depend only on the sword. Thus, We trust in the nation itself, justly proud of its own nationality, to make no longer a point of honor of sanguinary attempts against the Italian nation; but rather to feel that its true honor lies in recognizing Italy as a sister.
It was to this letter that the reply was given that the same treaties which gave the Pope his Temporal power gave to Austria Lombardy and Venetia.