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Cavour consulted no one but Ricasoli, Minghetti, and the King. All were favourable, and a letter of acceptance was sent back to Paris. But the discussion of the date to be fixed for evacuation caused some little delay, and Cavour's days were numbered. Nothing had been settled when he breathed his last on June 16. When an attempt was made by his successor to continue the negotiations the Emperor drew back, and so the matter dropped for the time. In fact Ricasoli was personally obnoxious to the Emperor as well as to the clericals, and despite his honest efforts no real progress was made with the Roman question during his administration.
In the spring of 1862 intrigue drove this statesman from office, to make way for Urbano Rattazzi, the evil genius of his country and his king. •He believes neither in God nor 'in devil, and knows not the very meaning of “principle,” are Mazzini's words of him. These expressions may seem harsh to apply to a man who was uncorrupt in public and blameless in private life, and whose genuine courtesy and gentle winning manners never made an unnecessary enemy. But to his versatility and parliamentary cleverness there corresponded no constructive ability, no vigour in action or decision in difficulty. Accident rather than conviction had thrown Rattazzi into an opposition to Cavour, which naturally led to the leadership of the Left in the Chamber; but he formed no party of adherents, he developed po policy, he inspired no opinions. His desire to please made him acceptable at Court, where his helpfulness in the King's private difficulties was much preferred to La Marmora's scoldings. Unfortunately the same quality led to a yielding acquiescence in the rash schemes of the party of action, whose enthusiasms be did not really share. • Personal • ambitions,' says Mr. King, sheer love of caballing, a 'courtier's deference to the King, weighed more with this • man of little ideas and little intrigues, and urged him 'to strange ventures, and a game whose winning meant dishonour.'
Under Rattazzi the Roman question entered on a more dangerous phase. He had neither the wisdom nor the strength of will to curb the impatience of the forward party, whilst he lacked the courage to throw himself along with them into a rash but noble policy of open attack upon Venetia or Rome, in defiance of the Emperors and their armies. His relations with the men of action had long been intimate, and he probably fancied that he could profit
by their aggressiveness and yet evade responsibility. But the game of 1860 could not be played again, not even had a Cavour been there to play it. Within six months of taking office Rattazzi had risked the loss of the newly-won independence by his rash connivance with Garibaldi's raid on Rome, and at the same time jeopardised the popularity of the monarchy by wounding and arresting the old hero, when the expedition was stopped by the royal troops on the heights of Aspromonte.
The secret history of this affair, as well as of all the relations between Rattazzi, Garibaldi, and the King, is very obscure. Mr. Stillman, after remarking that it will possibly never be known, expresses his preference for the hypothesis • that Garibaldi was in secret agreement with the King, if 'not with Rattazzi, and that the expedition had the distinct assent of the King; but that after it was fairly embarked the Emperor of the French suddenly came forward with 'an imperious demand on the Italian Government to stop • Garibaldi on his way.'
In a posthumous volume, published last year, Signor Minghetti writes :
Here we should relate, what history has not yet revealed, how Garibaldi in accord with the King and with Rattazzi designed an expedition to Greece in order to carry revolution into the Danubian provinces still subject to Turkey; how England skilfully thwarted the plan, through the instrumentality of Sir James Hudson, who was summering on the Lago Maggiore; how Garibaldi was left free by the Italian Government to organise volunteers in Sicily, as it was still supposed that he had the eastern expedition in view; how then all of a sudden he turned his arms on Rome ; in what manner Rattazzi, overwhelined by this change, tried to ward off the blow; and how, at length, he resisted Garibaldi and defeated him at Aspromonte. All this forms a very curious episode of the time, but this is not the place to tell it.' This allusion indicates a view somewhat more favourable to the straightforwardness of Rattazzi, but not flattering to his acuteness.
Meanwhile the Emperor had again turned his mind to the withdrawal of his troops, for which he was genuinely anxious. This time he felt his way at Rome with proposals including a French guarantee of the territorial status quo, to be further confirmed by the signatories of the Treaty of Vienna, the assumption by Italy of nearly the whole of the pontifical debt, and, on the Pope's side, the concession of administrative reforms and liberties. These terms were obviously very unfavourable to Italy, and could hardly have been accepted by any Government at Turin. Fortunately they were rejected by the Papal Court in language so uncompromising that, in other circumstances, it might have led to almost unconditional evacuation. But Aspromonte had supervened, with its awkward consequences.
The repression of the Garibaldian attempt caused Rattazzi's Government to feel confused and shamefaced before public opinion, which suspected it of having acted under foreign dictation, and not on its own convictions. To neutralise these suspicions, and rehabilitate the Ministry in public esteem, General Durando, who held the portfolio for foreign affairs, penned an injudicious note to France and a violent circular to the Italian Legation.
'All Italy demanded its capital. The problem remained as it had been formulated by Garibaldi, and its solution was urgent. The state of things was insupportable, and would drive the Government to extreme measures, the consequences of which would not fall on Italy alone, but might compromise the interests of the Catholic world and the peace of Europe.'
The impression made in Paris was very bad, and was not much modified by a somewhat milder note to France on October 8. The Catholic party there gained the ascendent. On the 15th Thouvenel was replaced at the foreign office by Drouyn de Lhuys, who was no friend to Italy. The 26th brought a very sharp reply from him :
• After referring to the repression of Garibaldi's attempt, General Durando appropriates his programme, and, affirming the right of Italy to Rome, claims in the name of his Government that this capital shall be handed over, and the Holy Father dispossessed. In the presence of this solemn affirmation and peremptory demand, any discussion seems to me useless, and any attempt at compromise illusory.' When the Chamber met again in November, Left and Right joined in attacking the discredited Cabinet. On December 1 Rattazzi resigned, and was succeeded by Farini, whose health soon broke down. His place was taken by Minghetti in the following March, with Pasolini, and subsequently Visconti Venosta, at the foreign office. Pisanelli, Peruzzi, Amari, Manna, Spaventa, Ricci, Della Rovere and Menabrea were his other colleagues. None of them were Piedmontese, except Della Rovere, and, in a sense, Menabrea, who was a Savoyard. It was impossible for any Ministry to invite another rebuff from Drouyn de Lhuys, and the question of the French occupation now remained dormant till the spring of 1864, when it was revived by alarming reports of Pius IX.'s health. His end was supposed to be imminent. La Marmora wrote, from his command in the Neapolitan provinces, to ask what course he was to take should the Pope die. Minghetti approached Rouher, the French Minister of State, who was known to be more favourably disposed than Drouyn, and received an encouraging reply. This was in the middle of April. A few days later Count Pepoli, the Italian minister at the Court of St. Petersburg, was passing through Paris. Now Pepoli, besides being a Bolognese, and consequently a fellow-countryman of Minghetti's, was a grandson of Murat's and a relation of the Emperor, who took occasion of his presence to ask for a memorandum on the Roman question. Pepoli referred to Minghetti, and the result was Visconti Venosta's despatch of May 29, calling the Emperor's attention to the eventuality of the Pope's death, and the importance of arriving at soine agreement before that occurrence. Drouyn de Lhuys replied stiffly, after his usual manner, so Pepoli was authorised to return to Paris and again see the Emperor personally. This he did at Fontainebleau in company with Nigra ; who describes the interview in a despatch, some passages of which we shall quote:
After Pepoli and Nigra had pointed out the difficulties which might arise on the Pope's death, the Emperor replied, protesting that he had, and had always had, a lively desire to withdraw the French garrison from Rome, but that he could not do so, unless he were certain that the withdrawal of the troops would not have, as its necessary and immediate consequence, the fall of the temporal power. “ If Italy pledges herself," he said, “to respect and make others respect the pontifical territory, I have no reason to doubt that the King's Government will keep the pledge; but will this conviction find its way into the minds of the masses of the Catholics ? There exists a resolution of the Italian Parliament which proclaims Rome as the capital; if I sign the treaty that you propose, people will cry out that it is a farce. Everyone believes that the Italian Government is only keeping its seat at Turin until it is able to remove it to Rome. To generate in Catholic opinion the conviction that the Italian Government will keep a promise of not attacking, and not allowing an attack upon, the Papal States, it would be necessary that you should offer a practical guarantee, which would demonstrate that the treaty is not a make-believe.” To these words Pepoli replied that he knew that the Government of the King, independently of the question now under discussion, and for reasons of internal administration, had the intention of proposing to H.M. the Emperor the removal of the capital from Turin to some other city of Italy, and asked whether this change would not constitute in the eyes of the Emperor such a guarantee as he was looking for. H.M., after a few seconds' reflection, said that if this change were to take place, it seemed to him of such a nature as to attain the end in view, and to generate that confidence of which he had spoken, and added that that being established, he would have no difficulty in signing the treaty.' Had or had not Pepoli been authorised to make this suggestion ? Or did it really originate with the Emperor? It is not clear. Perhaps some day Signor Visconti Venosta may explain. At any rate the idea was not new. More than a year before General Cialdini had written a memorandum for the then Minister of War recommending the removal of the capital from Turin on military grounds :
• The cession of Nice and Savoy and the new delimitation of our frontiers on the side of France do not permit the capital of the kingdom to remain any longer at Turin, on which city 200,000 Frenchmen could descend in a few marches by several roads. The capital of Italy, if it were not to be Rome, should certainly be Florence or Naples.' The rest of Italy, particularly the south, grumbled at the preponderance of Piedmont, and disliked the flood of Piedmontese employés, with their bureaucratic pedantry and uncouth speech. Rattazzi was said to have promised the Neapolitans, when on a visit to their city, that Naples should become the capital. Now that there was a Ministry from which Piedmontese were so conspicuously absent, there seemed to be greater chances of a removal. Had not Peruzzi, fishing for his beloved Florence, declared in the Chamber, in Rattazzi's time, that Italy could not be governed from Turin ? Even Mordini the Radical--no moderate he--bad quite recently argued for the change in order to Italianise' the administration. But we have Minghetti's own evidence that the transfer had not been actually decided upon already. 'Had that been so, all appearance of pressure on the part of France would be "removed.'
La Marmora was at once taken into confidence, and informed of the momentous interview at Fontainebleau, but without being in the first instance told distinctly that the removal of the capital was to be the guarantee. He read between the lines and guessed it for himself. Here is his characteristic reply :
Naples : 12th July. Dear President,-- I thank you for your long and interesting letter. On the Roman question allow me to express to you at once my inti-. mate conviction that it does not suit us in any way to enter into treaty