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Rome, 1870

Another four years went by before Rome could be added to the Italian union. Guarded by French troops and protected by an agreement between Napoleon and Italy, the Temporal Power was secure for the time being. The opportunity came, however, with the Franco-Prussian war of 1870.

The French troops were withdrawn in July. On September 11 General Cadorna in command of the Italian forces entered the papal territory with sixty thousand men and advanced without opposition to the walls of Rome. Here there was a show of resistance, the Pope wishing to appear to yield only to force. A breach having been made in the walls, he ordered the resistance to cease, and on September 20, Cadorna, followed by thousands of Roman exiles, marched into the city.

Cadorna, on the day after his entrance, had issued a proclamation promising that the question of future sovereignty should be decided by a free vote of the inhabitants of Rome and its provinces. The Italians, wishing to give every appearance of freedom, had ordered that in each province and commune giuntas should be erected, which should have charge of the administration of the plebiscite. These giuntas were to be convoked by the military commanders placed over the provinces. The military officials were to merely lend their influence toward the establishment and prestige of the giuntas and to aid in giving them a common form. There were in Rome three parties: those loyal to the papal government; the republicans who were still mindful of their success under Mazzini and Garibaldi in 1848; and the party for union with the Kingdom of Italy. Immediately on Cadorna's entrance the republicans at once became active. On the next day a great assembly called by the republican leaders met in the Coliseum and elected a giunta of fortytwo persons, which was superseded, however, by another and smaller one, appointed on the same day by Cadorna. Practically all of the eighteen names on Cadorna's giunta had been included in the forty-two selected by the republicans but the republican leaders had been omitted.? In spite of its origin this second giunta did not exhibit the quiescent obedience which was, perhaps, expected, but protested against both the administrative officials and the wording of the vote for the plebiscite which was sent from Florence. The formula which had contained a guarantee of the independence of the Pope having been changed to that used in the other plebiscites, the vote, by a decree of September 29, was fixed for October 2.

i Raffaele Cadorna, La liberazione di Roma, p. 232. 2 Documents, post, pp. 705 and 706.

3 Dispatches of Mr. Jervoise to Earl Granville, Documents, p. 535. Florence was at that time the capital of Italy.

The vote was to be by universal suffrage. The list of accredited voters was to be furnished by the priests and by the presidencies of Rome. The further provisions of the decree are similar to those of the other plebiscites. It

appears that the ballots were to be distributed before the voting, possibly to obviate the criticism brought against the vote of Naples and Sicily.

The final registration was put in the hands of a special committee of twelve which was to appoint sub-committees to preside at the registration booths and there verify the claims of the registrants and furnish them with certificates as electors. Rome was divided into sections for both registration and vote. In the provinces the vote was taken in each communal headquarters.

There are two stories with reference to the vote of Rome. The Italian version is that the vote was a spontaneous expression of national enthusiasm. The Gazzetta ufficiale of Florence for October 3rd gives dispatches containing accounts of the vote in the different towns. The lame and sick, it reported, were being carried to the voting places in Viterbo and Rome. The tradesmen and craftsmen were marching with bands and flags to the polls. In Labrica the polls opened at 9 o'clock. By 10 o'clock more than one-half of the population had voted. In Terracina the National Guard and all the city officials marched in a body in which the clergy were represented. The order was perfect, the enthusiasm indescribable. Cadorna, writing from Rome on the day of the voting gives a description of the scene there. “It is the day of the plebiscite," he wrote. “ It is an admirable spectacle. The people, marching in bodies, have passed under the balcony with flags flying, acclaiming the King of Italy the liberator of Rome, on their way to the Campidoglio to deposit their votes in the urn. I have exerted not the least pressure. It will be a solemn plebiscite.” 2

The papal story is, however, far different. According to this version the support of the Italian cause was due to Italian money which was plentiful, and to the presence of the troops, which the papal authorities accused of looting and violence. Appearance of wide support was given by the numbers of returned émigrés and men from all parts, who had poured into Rome with Cadorna. The Pope had issued an order prohibiting all Roman Catholics from taking part in the election on the ground that participation would seem to authorize the invaders to question the sovereign right of the Papacy. To

1 Gazzetta ufficiale del Regno d'Italia.
2 Letter of Cadorna. Le assemblee del risorgimento, vol. 6, p. Ixxxii.

3 Count de Beauffort Histoire de l'invasion des États pontificaux. Rev. James MacCaffrey History of the Catholic Church in the Nineteenth Century, vol. 1, 2d ed., p. 432. A Guggenberger — A General History of the Christian Era, p 340. Donat Sampson The Last Ten Years of the Temporal Power American Catholic Quarterly Review, vol. xxiv, p. 170. As most of the Papal historians make this statement, it is doubtless accurate.


balance the Catholic abstentions all absent Romans were summoned to return and the Italian authorities had forced the railways to give free transportation to any man presenting a certificate from a prefect attesting his status as a native of Rome. Countless Italians, born in all parts of the peninsula seized this opportunity for an excursion to the Eternal City, and only too easily secured registration cards with which they swelled the affirmative vote.1 Contrary to the decree, those who had been under judicial sentence for crime were also registered, they assert, while those known to be against the union were omitted. Even camp-followers were allowed to vote and whole companies of Italian soldiers, 4 as well as boys under age. As electoral certificates bore no designations as to district, and need not be surrendered on casting a vote, with one such certificate a man might vote in as many districts as he pleased, and many strangers availed themselves of the opportunity. To calm the fears of the timorous that a vote for union would cause the Powers, and especially Prussia, to look with disfavor on Italy, copies of a spurious letter purporting to be from the King of Prussia to the Pope in which the King refused to aid in a protest against “his brother the King of Italy,” were sold by thousands on the day of the election. Further propaganda of a nature most unfair to the papacy was carried on by means of posters which ridiculed the papal rule and misrepresented its policyBribery and falsification of the returns is also charged. Had the plebiscite been honestly taken, however, the church would still have held it invalid on the ground that the people had no right to transfer their civil allegiance from the Pope.8

It had been intended not to attempt to take a vote in the Leonine City but to leave it to the Pope. At the earnest desire of some of the inhabitants, however, Cadorna assumed the responsibility of placing in a neighboring district an electoral urn for the votes of the city.

The returns from the communes and the city of Rome were received by the giunta, verified, and proclaimed from the Capitoline stairs. In the whole They give no citations, however, and no trace of the document can be found in any of the usual collections. By the decree Non Expedit, of February 29, 1868, Pius had already forbidden Catholics to participate in parliamentary elections under the Italian government.

1 Der Italienische Raubzug, p. 207. De Beauffort, p. 392. Guggenberger, p. 340. Donat Sampson, op. cit, p. 170

2 Der Italienische Raubzug, p. 208.
3 De Beauffort, p. 392.
4 Rev. Richard Brennan. Life of Pope Pius IX.
5 Guggenberger, p. 340.
6 De Beauffort, p. 392.

7 Letter of Cardinal Antonelli to the papal nuncios, November 8, 1870, Acta Sanctae Sedls, 1870–71, vol. 6, p. 216. Cf. also ibid., Appendix V, p. 251.

8 The whole Papal side of the Roman Question was set forth in the Encyclical Letter of November 1, 1870, entitled Respicientes ea omnia. Acta Sanctae Sedis, vol. 6, pp. 136–145.

The papal condemnation of transfer of allegiance had been repeatedly stated. Cf. espeterritory, it was announced, there had been 135,291 votes cast in favor of union and 1,507 against.' In Rome itself 68,466 had voted. Several of the commentators assert that it was a physical impossibility for so many votes to be cast in the time and with the facilities offered. Owing to the papal interdiction, not a single negative vote had been cast in the Leonine City.

The presentation to Victor Emanuel of this last and crowning act of union was made with great ceremony on October 9. The King, surrounded by the royal suite, the Ministry, both houses of parliament, and the high military officials received the delegates from the Roman giunta, and those from each of the provinces. The King accepted the votes, declaring that they completed Italian unity and reconsecrated the foundations of the national pact, and a royal decree, confirmed later by parliament, incorporated Rome in the kingdom“ in view of the result of the plebiscite by which the citizens of the Roman Provinces have declared for union with the Constitutional Kingdom of Victor Emanuel II and his successors."


The year 1856 marks not only the end of the Crimean War but also an innovation in international diplomacy. For the first time in history an international congress of great Powers, which had met to settle the future of a small, weak, and disunited people, postponed their action until they should have ascertained the desire of the people themselves, and, as a further innovation, they provided that this desire should be expressed by a vote taken under the supervision of an international commission.

The two Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, which now form the State of Rumania, although of the same racial texture, had from the beginning maintained a separate existence from each other, and had developed a separate history. In the Middle Ages the struggle for self-preservation cially the Encyclical of December 8, 1864. As for universal suffrage, Pius IX, in 1873, characterized it as une plaie horrible qui afflige la société humaine ... une plaie destructive de l'ordre social et qui mériterait à juste titre d'être appelée le mensonge universel.” Cf. “Le suffrage universel jugé par Pie IX,” in the Revue catholique des institutions et du droit, 1874, vol. 3, p. 66. The quotation is from a speech of Pius to the French pilgrims on May 5, 1873.

1 Documents, post, p. 715. The population of the Roman provinces in 1871 was 836,704, of which number 267,467 were males over 21. It is stated by a Jesuit writer that four months later a formal petition was signed by 27,161 Romans, born or legally domiciled, male, of voting age, and enjoying civil rights, stating that they remained faithful to the overturned government. Charles van Duerm, Vicissitudes politiques du pouvoir temporel des papes de 1790 à nos jours. p. 422. He cites La lettre du pape et l'Italie officielle, 64.

Cf. article by John Francis Maguire, Dublin Review, January, 1871, vol. 16 (new series), p. 32.

3 Documents, post, p. 720, note.

against the attacks of Turks, Hungarians, Poles, and Tartars had proved too great for the tiny Principalities. At last, in the 15th and 16th centuries, each, although Christian, had sought peace through the protection of Turkish suzerainty. In the Capitulations then entered on each had retained its autonomy, which included the right to make treaties with foreign Powers. The constant turmoil and intrigue consequent on the political jealousy of the contending claimants to the thrones of the Principalities soon furnished Turkey with an excuse for substituting princes of her own choice as governors, and the autonomy of the Principalities gradually became a name only.

The growth of Turkish power in the Principalities had awakened the alarm of Russia, intent as she was on the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and the control of the Bosphorus. To counteract the growth in Turkish influence, she had put redoubled vigor into pushing her claim to the championship of all the Christians of the East, and with such success that the Russian protectorate over the Principalities had been formally recognized by the Porte in a series of conventions ending with the Treaty of Adrianople in 1829. Turkish suzerainty, however, was still recognized by the payment of annual tribute and the right of investiture of the hospodars.

The unity of the Rumanian race had been a favorite doctrine of the Moldavian historians of the 18th century, but the movement had assumed no practical importance until the beginning of the 19th century, when the nationalist idea spread to the two Principalities from the Rumanians of Transylvania, who were held under Magyar and Hapsburg domination. Perpetuation of the separate existence of the Principalities had favored Turkish encroachment and had therefore been a cardinal tenet of the Turkish rule. Russia, willing to strengthen them against Turkey as well as hopeful of their eventually accepting a Russian prince, had shown sympathy with the unionist idea, and under the Russian protectorate the two Principalities had been given a joint administration. By the Treaty of Adrianople, it had been agreed that the internal constitution of the Principalities should be regulated by an organic act, to be drawn up according to the wishes of divans of the notables of each territory. In the final act, drawn up under the tutelage of Russia, confirmed by the Turkish and Russian governments and promulgated in 1834, were placed two articles expressing a desire for ultimate union. This Or

1 ORGANIC ACT, SECTION 5, ARTICLE 425.- L'origine, la religion, les usages et la conformité de langue des habitants dans les 2 Principautés, ainsi que le besoin mutuel, contiennent, dès le principe, les éléments d'une union intime qui a été entravée et retardée par des circonstances fortuites et secondaires. Les avantages et les conséquences salutaires résultant de la réunion de ces 2 peuples ne sauraient être révoqués en doute. Les éléments de la fusion du peuple Moldo-Valaque sont déjà posés dans ce règlement par l'uniformité des bases administratives des 2 pays. British and Foreign State Papers, vol. 32, 1843–1844, p. 786.

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