« AnteriorContinuar »
It is possible that Cavour would have seized the opportunity to abandon the treaty. Certainly Napoleon, the champion of popular sovereignty, to which title he owed his throne, would have been in a position sufficiently embarrassing. It is noteworthy that the specific charges of pressure and corruption which were so freely advanced in the Italian Chamber against the vote of Nice were not urged against the vote of Savoy. There was no charge of manipulation of the ballots nor of any pressure other than moral. Surprisingly enough, there was scarcely any attack on the proclamations issued in Savoy as unneutral nor emphasis on the undoubted activity of the priests for union. In the final debates of May 24–27 in the Chamber the fact of the French nationality of Savoy was admitted by Rattazzi and the other critics of the government, and opposition to the cession was based on wholly different grounds, namely, those of historical claims and strategic value. The most spirited attacks on the conduct of the vote are to be found in Laurence Oliphant's articles from Savoy to the London Times which was, of course, in sympathy with the British Government's opposition to the cession. Oliphant had gone to Savoy to revive the waning resistance to the cession and to prevent a vote for the “blackguard Emperor.” His evidence of lack of freedom of the vote in Savoy is largely frivolous, as examination of the Times articles shows, nor are his generalities and inferences worth serious consideration.
It is apparent from the almost unanimous character of the vote for France that something more than the exhortation and argument of the Savoyard officials would be necessary to account for it. With a secret ballot, corruption, manipulation and imminent danger of general calamity would be necessary to provoke such a result against the popular inclination. Certainly there is no need of explaining the vote of Savoy by corruption, pressure or manipulation. The truth appears to be that in Savoy the already existing French party had been greatly strengthened by the events which occurred immediately before the plebiscite. Already smarting under consciousness of a different origin, resenting administration from Turin, the sudden accretion of millions of Italians which had come to Piedmont through the votes of Tuscany and Emilia made the Savoyards, never enthusiastic over the Italian war, fearful of being completely submerged in the new kingdom. The French promise of a zone and of capital to carry out the material developments which Savoy so sorely needed, and which have served to double her wealth, furnished the economic argument. To the strong Savoyard national pride, the fear of dismemberment of the northern provinces was sufficient of a patriotic argument. Fear of Cavour's anti-clerical policy united the nobles, lawyers and priests, who, in that somewhat patriarchal society had great influence over the peasants. It is significant that although, ten years later, opportunity to escape from French allegiance presented itself with the Franco-Prussian war, there appears to have been no movement of such a nature.
1 See the London Times, April 28, 1860. The most convincing argument made by Oliphant is that the officials not only posted their own proclamations urging union, but would not allow anti-union posters to be posted. He also charges that French agents were carrying on propaganda — which was to be expected and was, if not accompanied by threats or bribery, a legitimate activity — and that the zeal of the authorities in satisfying their curiosity regarding the presence at the polls, without registration tickets, of two strange Englishmen, himself and his companion, showed that the vote was not free - a conclusion which is an apparent nonsequitur. He makes no suggestion of military coercion nor of direct bribery. Oliphant's efforts to stir up an opposition were hopeless, as he himself admitted. “There is not the slightest chance of a row," he wrote home, “the people are like sheep.” It is evident that, apart from his opposition to Napoleon, he was not sorry to have a chance to ridicule the workings of universal suffrage. Oliphant had gone for adventure and copy," as well as for a political purpose, and was determined to find it. “It is great fun to have another object than churches and picture galleries,” he wrote home. It is interesting to find that Garibaldi's interpellation of April 12 and the plan for breaking the ballot-boxes and forcing another election in Nice were attributed to him. Margaret O. W. Oliphant, Memoir of the Life of Laurence Oliphant and of Alice Oliphant, his Wife, vol. 1, p. 249 et seq.
Sicily and Naples, 1860 The republicans, the ground cut from under them in Northern and Central Italy by the votes of Tuscany and Emilia, had turned to the provinces of the Marches and Umbria which were still under papal rule, and to the kingdom of the two Sicilies, where the Bourbons still refused a constitution. In conjunction with local leaders Mazzini's agents, Rosalino Pilo and Francisco Crispi, had planned a revolution in Sicily which, early in April, had become an open revolt of such proportions as to induce Garibaldi to put himself at the head of the expedition in its aid.
It is unnecessary to enter here on the tangled web of diplomacy which followed or on the picturesque adventure of Garibaldi's Thousand. On May 14, having landed at Marsala, Garibaldi, from Salemi, proclaimed himself Dictator "on the invitation of noted citizens, and the deliberations of the free communes of the Island." I By the end of July the whole island, with the exception of Messina, was in his hands.
There were four parties in Sicily, autonomists, republicans, Sardinians and Bourbon sympathizers. Desire for autonomy, which was largely desire for freedom from Neapolitan domination, was a political tradition. Illiteracy was high and, except for the brief period in 1848, Sicilians had had no experience in self-government. The strength of the new party for union with Sardinia was uncertain, though it was evident that it was fast increasing with the successes in northern Italy. The plan of the republicans was to delay the decision of the question of the political future of Sicily until Rome and Naples were free. Though both Sardinians and republicans had supported the expedition, Garibaldi was a republican at heart, and the republicans looked on the expedition as their own.
1 Documents, post, p. 620.
Cavour, through fear of a republic of southern Italy, as well as for diplomatic reasons, was anxious for immediate annexation. For this purpose he wished a vote to be taken at once. Garibaldi opposed such action on the ground that it would interfere with the expedition to Naples. This division of counsel lasted through June, the republicans in their propaganda against union earnestly appealing to the ancient Sicilian love of autonomy. On June 23 Garibaldi yielded so far as to publish an elaborate electoral law, establishing universal suffrage, excluding only religious orders, condemned criminals, and those under punishment for crime and misdemeanors, and offering alliance with Sardinia, a solution which appealed to France and Great Britain who both preferred the autonomy of Sicily to further union.”
Preparations for the Neapolitan expedition were now under way. On July 22, Garibaldi named Depretis, an agent of Cavour, as pro-dictator of Sicily, and as a final act caused the Sardinian constitution to be proclaimed on August 3. On August 20, Garibaldi landed on the mainland and began his triumphal march to Naples, which he entered on September 7.
In Naples there had been far less desire for union with Sardinia than in Sicily 3 and the Bourbon placemen could be counted on to oppose it vigorously. The feeling for autonomy was strong and to this the republicans addressed themselves. The diplomatic reasons for Cavour's desire for immediate annexation were increasing, while the republican policy of delay appeared to be gaining headway with Garibaldi's increasing successes. Efforts to forestall Garibaldi by a revolution in Naples were futile. The army and civilians were deserting the Bourbons in vast numbers, but the people were too enervated by Bourbon misrule to stir. Garibaldi's reception on entering Naples on September 7 was one of wild enthusiasm. Bourbons, republicans, nationalists, police, national guards and clericals, all joined in the demonstration. The victories of the Piedmont troops over the papal forces and Garibaldi's triumphs over the Bourbons soon disposed of all resistance. Alarmed at the growth of republican prestige, Ricasoli and the other Sardinian leaders urged on Cavour immediate annexation by a declaration of parliament. Tempting as was this solution, Cavour refused to abandon his policy of basing the Sardinian title on a popular vote.
1 Le assemblee del risorgimento, vol. 15, p. 1011, for text.
2 England had, however, signified that she would abide by a popular vote in Naples as she had in Central Italy. Villamarina to Cavour, April 4, 1860, Chiala, vol. 4, p. cxxxv.
3 Ibid., vol. 4, p. cxxxv, Villamarina to Cavour.
* It was proposed not only that parliament declare that all of Italy belonged to the kingdom but that parliament should surrender its power to the King who should be made a dic1 Documents, post, p. 623.
The situation was brought to a head by the increasing acuteness of the struggle in Sicily where Depretis, the pro-dictator, was working for a plebiscite and Garibaldi opposing it. Depretis resigned and the struggle was taken by Cavour to Parliament where on October 2, after announcing the situation in Sicily and Naples and the revolt in Umbria and the Marches, he laid his policy of popular consultation before the Chamber and asked for a vote of confidence. There could be no clearer statement of repudiation of title by conquest or devotion to the principle of self-determination than this made by Cavour. After protracted discussion the government's bill passed the Chamber by a vote of 296-6 and the Senate by a vote of 84–12, the opposition being largely from the clericals, although this measure meant the annihilation of the revolution.
On October 5th, Mordini, the new pro-dictator of Sicily, working with the autonomists, issued a decree convoking the electors not for a plebiscite but to choose delegates to a representative assembly, hoping by means of the delay consequent on this method to stave off annexation. The primary assemblies were convoked for October 21. The attempt to interpose an assembly was repeated at Naples by Crispi, the leader of the republicans. Pallavicino, the Neapolitan pro-dictator, was for a plebiscite, Garibaldi supported Crispi; Pallavicino resigned. The next morning the city was strewn with white slips marked “Yes” and memorials supporting Pallavicino were signed by citizens and National Guards. When Garibaldi saw the strength of the popular demand for a plebiscite he yielded. Almost simultaneously news was received of Cavour's victory in parliament.
Pallavicino was restored to office and, on October 8, issued a decree calling the people of the continental provinces to meet in primary assemblies on October 21, the day already set for the elections in Sicily, in order to accept or reject the following "plebiscite”: “The people wish Italy, united and indivisible, with Victor Emanuel as Constitutional King, and his legitimate descendants.” The qualifications for suffrage are the same as those of northern Italy, for here where the rate of illiteracy was far higher than in the north, it was even more essential to omit a literacy qualification if a real expression of the popular will was desired. The rate of illiteracy in Naples was, however, not so high as that in Sicily, where only one in ten could read and write. tator until all Italian questions were settled. To this Cavour answered that the sympathies of liberal Europe would be sacrificed as well as the legal liberty which he wished to be the inseparable companion of the independence of the nation. (Cavour to Salvagnoli, October 2, Chiala, vol. 4, p. 23.) “I am a son of Liberty, and it is to her that I owe all that I am. If it be necessary to put a veil upon her statue, it will not be for me to do it,” he wrote, and again, “ The parliamentary road is longer, but it is more secure." (Cavour to the Countess Anastasia de Circourt, ibid., p. 25.)
Hoping to forestall a demand for a plebiscite in Sicily, Mordini, on October 9, convoked the Sicilian Assembly for November 9, but Garibaldi, having yielded in Naples, abandoned the plan of the assembly in Sicily and caused a proclamation similar to the Neapolitan one to be issued there on October 15. By this proclamation the assemblies already convoked for the 21st were to cast their votes, not for representatives as first planned, but directly on the question of union.' Then, unwilling that the royal title should be based wholly on a plebiscite and without formal recognition of his agency, Garibaldi, on the same day, issued another decree announcing the union of the two Sicilies with the constitutional kingdom of Victor Emanuel.2
The votes were held in both Naples and Sicily on October 21. The result was overwhelmingly for Sardinia, although the conditions surrounding the vote of Naples and the continental provinces were attacked with bitterness by those opposed to the result, and to some extent with reason. tion of whether order or anarchy reigned in the city of Naples was a matter of controversy. Disorder and violence of party feeling were to be expected as a legacy from the Bourbon rule. Although the Sardinian troops did not enter Naples until October 29, and Victor Emanuel had, from Ancona promised to defend the right of the people to legally and freely manifest their will, it was inevitable that the authenticity of the vote, taken as it was under Sardinian auspices, should be contested. In at least some of the country parts there appears to have been disorder. On October 27 Elliot reported a movement in favor of the Bourbons, about Isernia. It was supported chiefly by the peasants. Such attempts to restore the Bourbons were being ignored by the press and concealed by the authorities. The republicans had been dealt a severe blow by Pallavicino who had suppressed the political clubs. Money and ships had been sent by Sardinia. It is asserted that the authorities clapped the reactionaries in prison, thus depriving the plebiscite of value. Intrigue was everywhere. The criminal classes were quick to make the most of the opportunity offered them by an interregnum and it was doubtless the desire to restore order and prosperity which won the support of the several parties to the cause of annexation.*
That there were suggestion and intimidation there is no doubt, and the method of voting whereby the elector must choose his ballot from one of the
1 Documents, post, p. 635.
4 Elliot, the British Minister at Naples, in a dispatch to Lord John Russell says that many would wish autonomy if secure from the return of the Bourbons, but are obliged to vote in either the affirmative or the negative, and, to escape continued disorganization, many who are separatists at heart will give the affirmative vote.” Parliamentary Papers (2757],