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of demanding fresh orders of the King, by representing to him the wishes of the nation and the state of the country. A congress, in which were assembled men attached to such opposite opinions, could only take a palliative resolution ; this kind of transaction between two parties must have augmented, in a government already so feeble and so timid, that inclination to inaction, which becomes so culpable and so fatal in revolutionary times, and which condemns those who pursue it to the just disdain of the people whom they have lost.
What were those constitutional chiefs doing, however, who were so ardent to produce the Piedmontese revolution, and who appeared so indifferent to secure the results of it? Nearly all of them were at Alexandria, where they were occupied with military preparations, in provoking the orders of the government, and anticipating them wherever they could when they judged it necessary; Ansaldi continued to preside over the provisional junta, and paid indefatigable attention to public business. None of them repair to. Turin at the moment of the installation of the constitutional government. In no way eager to exercise the power and direct events, they wished to deprive the enemies of liberty even of the pretext of calumny, and aspired only to the honor of defending their country in the rank in which the government would have placed them; Dalpozzo and Villamarina being in the ministry; Cisterna and Marentini' in the junta, while so many other friends of liberty living at Turin appeared to them at first to guranty the interests of the country. Nevertheless when the Prince proclaimed an amnesty for the troops who had taken part in the movements of the revolution, the constitutional chiefs saw with pain a measure so contrary to the principles of liberty, and sent their protestation to the Prince. Luzzi, Lisio and Baronis carried it to Turin, and were at the same time charged by the junta of Alexandria, who were left without instructions by the government, to demand positive orders of the Regent, on which they might regulate their conduct.
On their return to Alexandria they found there Charles de St. Marsan, returned from his expedition to Novaro, which had been successful. Having been received with enthusiasm at Casal and at Verceil, he had afterwards marched with 300 Infantry and
1 The Abbé Marentini inspired confidence among the friends of liberty, because he was an enlightened and virtuous man, and of a great character. But M. de Beauchamp,
who is very partial to “ directing committees," says in his work, that Marentini and Santa-Rosa were members of that of Turin, when the Revolution burst forth. Unfortunately for M. de Beauchamp, these two individuals saw each other for the first time at the junta, on the 20th of March, ten days after that edent took place.
200 Cavalry on Novaro, where the Count de la Tour; governor of the division, had shut himself. up with 1500 men : the two chiefs agreed to a suspension of arms, and sent an officer to Turin with the intelligence. He brought back the news of the abdication of the King, and the installation of the Regent; the two parties then united, and St. Marsan entered Novaro in the midst of a multitude of people intoxicated with joy. He might easily have seized upon the command, as the majority of the soldiers, and all the people were on his side, had he not wished to set an example to the army of returning to military discipline. He then took the orders of the governor, and submitted himself with loyalty. In this manner Novaro, which was to have become the focus of a counter revolution, and the place through which the enemy were to pass, was abandoned to the Count de la Tour; but Charles St. Marsan, saw him then freely disposed to defend the constitutional government, and did not suspect that orders, dated from Modena, would arrive in a few days to shake the fidelity of a general who defended our frontier.
The friends of liberty at Alexandria began to conceive serious alarms for the situation of the country, when Luzzi, Lisio and Baronis told them the danger of the capital, showing to them the hesitation and uncertainty in the measures of the Ministry, the discouragement among the citizens, the ill-disguised hope of the enemies of the constitution, public opinion disappointed, and the Regent embarrassed with his situation, losing all his time in useless audiences, and feeling no anxiety but that of impeding the useful projects of the Minister of War and the interior. It was then that they decided the Count Santa Rosa to repair to Turin. He only consented in the hope of determining the Prince and the junta to declare war against Austria. Lisio and Collegno set out along with him. On their arrival they repaired to the Prince; he shut
up in his apartment, saying he was unwell. His design of abandoning his country was already conceived, and he had not sufficient resolution to encounter the looks of those three ardent and staunch patriots. The latter presented themselves before the junta, where Santa-Rosa spoke with stern frankness. They listened for the first time to a language corresponding to the gravity of the circumstances, and appeared to be moved by it.
The same day the Prince named the Count Santa-Rosa regent of the Ministry of War : Villamarina, overwhelmed with disease and labor, and disgusted with the Prince, had given in his resignation. The Chevalier Bussolino, Major-General, and assistant to the minister, was naturally called to replace him ; but the Prince thought he could better disguise his projects by the choice of a manwho possessed all the confidence of the constitutional party.
The new ministry were immediately installed : it was on the evening of the 21st of March, and the rumor of the departure of the Prince had been already privately circulated. The minister of the interior-mentioned it to the Prince with equal sincerity and address, but Charles Albert made a jest of it as being only an idle tale; he assigned to the two ministers an hour's labor for the next morning, and departed during the night. He was accompanied by the body guards, the light artillery, and the light horse of Savoy and Piedmont, cavalry regiments.
Here commences the second period of the constitutional government; having been abandoned by a chief, the violator of his oaths, its fall appeared certain, and its enemies thought they might now reckon
it. - The news of the departure of Charles Albert was scarcely known, when the public gave themselves up to disappointment: Two sentiments pervaded all hearts : that of indignation against the culpable Prince, and the regret of seeing the cause of Piedmontese liberty for ever lost. The junta was on the point of being dissolved; the greater part of its members demanded their dismissal. The country was in the greatest danger of falling into anarchy, when the Chevalier Dalpozzo forcibly recalled such a situation to the members of the junta, who had the courage again to assemble on the 22d of March. The privy counsellors of the Prince, and a deputation of Decurional Body of the city of Turin,' were called to the assembly. The first declared they had no knowledge of the departure of the Prince, and were ignorant of his motives for that step ; they refused besides participating in the deliberations of the junta, and withdrew; the Decurions assisted in the debates, and applauded the resolution adopted by the junta, of retaining the reins of government in their hands until the receipt of new orders should arrive from the King or the Regent.
The Count Santa Rosa would have opposed this declaration, which was in no way dictated by constitutional principles, had he not seen the impossibility of preserving Turin, with the exception of the citadel : the constitutional government had no force there in which he could rely. The royal Carbineers and the regiment of Savoy were against him; the artillery, composed of heterogeneous elements, displayed an attitude at least vacillating, and the best citizens appeared dejected. In this state of affairs, the minister
The city of Turin is administered by sixty magistrates called Decurions, and presided by two Syndics, who change annually. This administration (the ancient forms of which are no doubt imperfect, but greatly preferable to an organisation which makes the municipal power a blind instrument of government) had always resolutely defended its rights against several minisiers of Victor Emmanuel.
of war resolved to retire to Alexandria with the garrison of the citadel, and to confide the latter to the national guard of Turin,' who were under the orders of the decurional body: he made his dispositions accordingly. It was then that the Prince of Cisterna, and the Marquis of Prié, believing themselves on the eve of the re-establishment of that absolute royalty which had sworn a deadly war against them, set out for Geneva,
But the minister of war changed his resolution at eight o'clock the same evening, having received intelligence that the regiment of Queen's Dragoons had quitted the army of Novaro, amidst shouts of Long live the Constitution, and this spontaneous movement having rallied his hopes, he repaired to the junta, but not thinking that he ought to submit a decision of such great importance to the deliberation of a body but momentarily stept aside from the constitutional line, he simply announced that the orders for departure were countermanded, and told the reason for this measure.
The next day Santa-Rosa published an order of the day in the following terms :
“Charles Albert of Savoy, Prince of Carignan, invested by his Majesty Victor Emmanuel with the authority of Regent, has named me, by his decree of the 21st of this month, Regent of the ministry of war and the marine.
“I am a legitimately constituted authority; and it is my duty, in the terrible circumstances in which the country finds itself, to make known to my companions in arms, the voice of an affectionate subject and of a loyal Piedmontese,
« The Prince Regent has abandoned the capital on the night of the 21st of this month without informing either the national junta or his own ministers.
« Let no Piedmontese accuse the intentions of a Prince whose liberal heart, and devotion to the Italian cause, have been until now the hope of all honest men. A small number of men, deserters of their country, and servants of Austria, have no doubt, deceived by an odious tissue of falsehoods, a young Prince who has had no experience of troublesome times.
“A declaration signed by the King, Charles Felix, has appeared
Piedmont; but a Piedmontese King in the midst of the Austrians, our unavoidable enemies, is a captive King ; nothing of what he says can, nor ought to be, regarded as coming from him. Let him address us from a free soil, and we shall then prove to him that we are his children.
« Piedmontese soldiers, national guards, do you wish for civil war? Do you wish for foreign invasion, the devastation of your fields, fire, the pillage of your cities and your villages ? Do you wish to lose your glory, and to sully your standards ? Continue
as you are. Let armed Piedmontese rise up one against the other !; Let the breasts of brothers be turned against brothers!
« Commanders of corps, Officers, Sub-Officers and Soldiers, there is only one mode of salvation ; rally under your colors, surround them, seize them, and run to plant them on the banks of the Tesino and the Pô: the country of the Lombards awaits you, that territory which will dévour its enemies at the sight of your avant-guard. Woe to him whom different opinions on the insti
, tutions of his country shall delay this necessary resolution! He will neither be worthy of conducting Piedmontese soldiers, nos of the honor of bearing the name.
“Companions in arms! this epoch is European. We are not abandoned ; France also raises head, too long humbled under the yoke of the Austrian Cabinet, and is about to tender to you a pow. erful hand.:
“Soldiers and National guards, extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary resolutions. If you hesitate, no more country, no more honor ; all is lost. Reflect upon it, and do your duty ; the junta and the ministers will perform theirs. Your energetic union will restore courage to Charles Albert, and the King Charles Felix will one day thank you for having preserved to him his throne.'
This order of the day was communicated to the junta by the Minister of War. It breathed a very different language to the declaration issued the preceding evening : thus the majority of its members did not approve of it. Santa Rosa told them : « You may disown me if you will, but I shall not the less on that account perform my duty.
Piedmont was informed, by this step, that the constitutional government still existed. Never perhaps did any act of a minister produce more effect on public opinion. It required nothing short of such bold conduct to support it after the terrible blow which had been given to it by the defection of Charles Albert.
The Minister of War did not confine himself to mere words : he immediately sent off couriers to put the troops in movement on all points of the kingdom. Five battalions of the garrison of Genoa, three of Nice and Savona, and three of Savoy, received orders to repair to Alexandria on double allowance. General Bellotti was ordered to take the command of the division of No
I have more than once witnessed the indignation of the Count SantaRosa, when an interpretation was given to these words, hostile to the government of the house of Bourbon. Santa Rosa alluded to a new ministry more attached to the execution of the Charter, more in harmony with the opinion of the French, and capable of rendering to the monarchy the political preponderance of the fine days of Henry IV. and Louis XIV. who never would have allowed Austria to dictate laws to Italy.