« EdellinenJatka »
he could not speak officially, he thought Victor Emanuel might say that ‘the creation of a large kingdom in the north of Italy was a matter so much affecting the balance of power that he could not undertake the decision of such a question without European consent ; but in the meantime he would be prepared to defend Tuscany against the danger of internal disorder.’ This opinion was quite enough for the people of Central Italy. From the 1st of October the government of Tuscany was conducted in Victor Emanuel's name; and, on the 9th of November, the Tuscan Assembly appointed Victor Emanuel's cousin, Prince Carignan, Regent of the Duchy. This movement was too rapid for Napoleon to endure. He bluntly told Victor Emanuel that, if Prince Carignan went to Central Italy, France would abandon him. And on receiving this threat Piedmont again turned to Lord John. If he were only assured of English support against Austria, Victor Emanuel declared that he would persevere in Prince Carignan's appointment. Such an assurance Lord John could not, of course, give ; and Prince Carignan accordingly refused the proffered nomination, but substituted a Piedmontese statesman, Signor Buoncompagni, in his room. While France was showing a steady disposition to concede to England, and Central Italy was displaying a firm resolution to throw in its lot with Piedmont, Austria, though too angry to be silent, was too timid to strike. In July the Grand Duke of Tuscany offered to abdicate in favour of his son. In September Austria admitted that she had no intention of using force; while in November it was shrewdly conjectured that she was pursuing a policy of delay in the hope that events might give her either an excuse or an opportunity for interference. Delay, however, did not operate in favour of Austria. The long negotiations at Zurich were at last concluded and the invitations to the Congress were issued. As ‘the Emperor of the French [had] repeatedly declared himself opposed to the employment of force for the purpose of restoring the Grand Duke of Tuscany and the Duke of Modena; as the preamble of the treaty declared that both Emperors were desirous not only to put an end to the calamities of war, but also to prevent the renewal of the complications which had given rise to it, by contributing to erect on solid and durable bases the internal and external independence of Italy; as, moreover, “deliberation on the means by which this end is to be accomplished [formed] the sole object of the proposed congress,' Lord John considered that he was justified in advising the Queen to accept the invitation on the part of England, and named the beginning of January as a suitable time for the meeting of the Congress. The Congress, however, was never destined to meet. Late in December the famous pamphlet, “Le Pape et le Congrès,' appeared in Paris. Attributed to the Emperor Napoleon, it produced a feeling of dismay and distrust both at Rome and at Vienna. The Austrian Government required an engagement that France would neither introduce nor support at the Congress the measures which were advocated in the pamphlet, and, failing to obtain the requisite assurance, declined to enter into conference. The French Foreign Minister–Count Walewski—unable to secure an official disavowal of the pamphlet, resigned his office, and was succeeded by M. Thouvenel. The arrangement, which it had taken months to conclude, was abruptly ended ; and a definite settlement seemed more remote than ever. Lord John was not disconcerted by the new dilemma; he was steadily set on ensuring the success of his policy “Italy for the Italians; ' and, as the chances of the Congress receded, was prepared with France and Sardinia to prevent Austrian intervention. The alarm of the Queen, who thought her Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary were driving the country into war, and the hesitation of a section of the Cabinet, induced him to modify his proposal in form ; and, in the middle of January 1860, he brought forward a fresh project, proposing that—
1. France and Austria should agree not to interfere for the future by force in the internal affairs of Italy unless called upon to do so by the unanimous consent of the five great powers of Europe.
2. The Emperor of the French should concert with his Holiness the Pope as to the evacuation of Rome by the troops of France.
3. The internal government of Venetia not to be in any way matter of negotiation between the European powers.
4. Great Britain and France to invite the King of Sardinia to agree not to send troops into Central Italy until its several States and provinces shall, by a new vote of their Assemblies after a new election, have solemnly declared their wishes as to their future destiny. Should that decision be in favour of annexation to Sardinia, Great Britain and France will no longer require that Sardinian troops should not enter those States and provinces.
Lord John made the first three of these proposals both to Austria and France. The fourth of them he made to France alone ; communicating it, however, to Austria, and stating that he did not ask her assent to it. M. Thouvenel, on the part of France, substantially assented to the first three points; he added that the Emperor considered the principle laid down in the fourth point equitable and practical, though he thought himself bound in honour to address himself to Austria before formally adopting it. Count Rechberg, on the contrary, though he received the communication with ‘composure and affability,' at once declared that he did not think that the Emperor of Austria would “consent to enter into any formal or binding agreement not to interfere in Italian affairs. . . . The Imperial Cabinet could not loudly proclaim a policy of non-intervention, though “it might have no intention of interfering by force of arms in the Italian States.' To France he used even stronger language: ‘I will tell you,' so he said to the French Ambassador, ‘we have no intention of interfering in Italy; we are not going to invoke again the dangers from which we have escaped.'
It was clear from these facts that the end was coming very near. Lord John was persistently saying that the future of Italy should be settled by Italians. Napoleon had, over and over again, promised that French force should not be employed in opposition to their decision ; and now Austria, though protesting against the doctrine of non-intervention was forced to admit that she did not intend to interfere. While the external aspect of affairs had improved, the internal condition of Italy was stronger; for Count Cavour had again returned to office, and the control of Italian policy had passed into firm hands.
Indirectly the return of Count Cavour to power was due to Lord John. At his suggestion the Count had been nominated to represent Piedmont at the Congress; and when the idea of a Congress fell through he wrote to Sir James Hudson, “I hope Cavour will come to Paris and London, congress or no congress.’ “As oaks grow from acorns,' Sir James Hudson replied, “so even did this curt invitation produce its fruit in the downfall of the Cabinet.’ The process was as follows: Count Cavour declined to leave Italy unless he received a guarantee that the Piedmontese Parliament should be assembled at the earliest possible opportunity, viz. the 20th of March. ‘The personal dignity of the King,' who at that time had no love for the Count, “was offended at the notion of [his] requiring a guarantee;’ and Count Cavour thereupon flung up the mission. The friends of both parties were startled at this failure, and came to Sir James Hudson, who had no difficulty in drawing up a form of words which secured the objects of the Count and respected the susceptibilities of the King. But the members of the Rattazzi Cabinet could not close their eyes to the fact that the incident had displayed their own weakness and the Count's strength." They accordingly resigned office, and Victor Emanuel sent for Count Cavour. Lord John saw at once the full importance of the change. Writing to Sir James Hudson on the last day of January, he said— The critical moment has arrived, and I am delighted to have Cavour's sense and ability to conduct matters at Turin instead of the late incapables. The crisis had indeed come. In the next few weeks events marched at railway speed. Though M. Thouvenel, by the Emperor's desire, brought forward an alternative scheme for constituting Tuscany into a separate principality,” Lord John declined to recommend any plan but his own, which had been virtually adopted by the Italians. M. Thouvenel's project fell, in consequence, still-born. By the middle of March the new vote, which Lord John had recommended, was taken in Central Italy. The people, by a practically unanimous voice, decided on annexation to Piedmont. With England approving, and France assenting to the scheme, Austria abstained, as she had already said she should abstain, from interference; and the first great step was taken in the advance which was ultimately to lead to a United Italy.
| Sir James Hudson added, ‘I was not a little astonished to learn that I was accused of having exercised an undue pressure upon the Rattazzi Cabinet (if I had had the power it would have been by the application of hemp to its windpipe, and not by sending a scrap of paper), which had forced its chief to tender his resignation to the King. . . . I cannot say that I was particularly affected by the intelligence but I deemed it advisable to enter a protest against the truth of that asserticin.”
* On this subject, as well as on the whole Italian policy of France from 1860 to 1863, a good deal of light has been thrown by the publication of the correspondence between M. Thouvenel and the Duc de Grammont, the French Ambassador at Rome, under the title of Le Secret de l’Empereur. This work, however, only reached the present author while he was passing the proofs of this Memoir through the press.
Lord Palmerston had written to Lord John three months before—
If you should succeed in establishing a respectable State in Northern and Central Italy founded upon the free will and choice of the people, you will erect for [? your] administration of the affairs of Europe, monumentum acre perennius, and which I am convinced will not suffer by the fuga temporum.
The work which had then seemed almost impossible had been accomplished.
Unhappily, there was one drawback to this success. It will be recollected that, more than a year before, Lord John, writing to Lord Minto, had alluded to a story, which he had heard on competent authority, that Italy had secured the assistance of Napoleon in her forthcoming struggle with Austria by promising the annexation of Savoy to France. After his accession to office Lord John received satisfactory assurance that the project was abandoned ; and it is probable that, if the Treaty of Villafranca had been strictly carried out, the arrangement—if there was a formal arrangement— would not have been revived. When Central Italy, however, threw in its lot with Piedmont, the situation was altered. A nation—containing some IO,OOOOOO persons—was constituted on the flank of France; and Napoleon believed, or affected to believe, that the safety of France required a redistribution