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When a people has deliberative assemblies, and a free press, and the right of meeting to discuss public affairs, it will, if oppressed, instantly have recourse to the means of redress, which such institutions afford. If it have them not, it will, as we remarked in the case of the Poles, fly for remedy to the device of secret conspiracies. The Germans prepared, by these latter means, their emancipation from the power of the French Empire ; and the Italians have but copied the example of their masters in their plans of relief from the power of the Germans. Even the association of the Carbonari was founded, as Mr. A. H. Everett justly remarks, under the patronage and encouragement of the allied powers, and for objects precisely similar to those, for which it is employed at this day. * But how pliant and ingenious are royal reasoners, when moving in their own exclusive interest ! That, which it was laudable and patriotic for the Italians to do in opposition to French invaders, is impious and seditious when aimed against Germans.
Occasionally, then, the Italians, - exercising the inalienable right of every people, that of changing their constitution of government at will, and expelling invaders whensoever they may, have from time to time risen upon their oppressors, and with their unarmed and poorly combined masses changed their rulers and remodelled their public institutions. But forth with, before they can form a government or gather the means of military defence, a neighboring power, reckoning thirty millions of subjects, and always ready to act on the offensive, marches its disciplined myriads into Piedmont, Naples, or the States of the Church, as the case may be, - and the dungeon, the scaffold, or a file of soldiers completes the tragedy of
* Everett's Europe, p. 141. See Lyman's Italy, p. 281.
INSURRECTION IN ROMAGNA.
Such was the course of things in 1820; such has it been since the Revolution of the Three Days. And they, who are so ready to impute cowardice or treachery to the Italians, do it with little reflection or disposition to consider the true state of the facts. Poland might defend herself long and well, for she had a disciplined native army to begin with, and to compose the nucleus of a powerful defensive force. But the armed men of Naples, Lombardy, and Romagna bave been German invaders or Swiss mercenaries, not native Italians; and it is, to the Italians, the very agony of their grief, that they are given up to the Austrians bound hand and foot, the helpless victims of barbaric spoliation.
It would seem that the disastrous results of the constitutional movements of Piedmont and Naples in 1820, - when the whole South of Europe was agitated with plans of peaceful revolution, which the armed interposition of the Holy Alliance defeated, it would seem that those results had rendered the same countries less disposed, than other parts of Italy, to renew the attempt. At any rate, when the shock of the French Revolution of July was vibrating through all Europe, it was in the States of the Church that, among the Italians, its influence was most strongly felt. Lord Byron's correspondence and journals, during his residence in Romagna, would prepare the mind to look to the Legations for revolt on the first auspicious occasion. It is unnecessary, therefore, to have recourse to the supposed agency of French emissaries to account for the recent disturbances of Italy. All the elements of combustion had long been smouldering under the surface, and the sympathetic influence of the Three Days was quite enough to blow them into flame. What the Italian patriots asked and were anxious to obtain
was not the volunteer aid of France, nor any stimulus from French prompting, but only the assurance that the cabinet of Louis Philippe would maintain the principle of non-intervention, and would maintain it actively as well as passively, above all in reference to Austria.
Insurrection began at Modena. A conspiracy had been organized in the Legations and in the neighboring States, the object of which was, of course, to substitute a confederation of Italian republics in place of the existing governments. On the 3rd of February 1831, a party of the conspirators being assembled at the house of a Modenese gentleman, named Menotti, to make arrangements for decisive action, the Police gained knowledge of it, and the house was surrounded by the military, and carried after a vigorous defence, Menotti and thirty of his associates being made prisoners. This event seemed to be a fatal blow to the success of the Modenese patriots; but meanwhile the conspirators having been more fortunate in Bologna, the people of Modena took courage, insurrection became general in Modena and Reggio, and the Duke was forced to take refuge in Mantua, a provisional government, consisting of a dictator and three consuls, having been installed in his capital.
The insurrection broke out in Bologna on the 4th of February. The Archbishop Legate was absent at Rome, taking part in the pending election of a successor to Pope Pius VII. The people compelled the Prolegate to subscribe a paper for the appointment of a provisional government, and the transfer to it of the garrison of the city; and the temporal authority of the Pope was declared to be at an end. Encouraged by the success of the rising at Bologna, the people elsewhere throughout the Legations, from Bologna
INTERFERENCE OF AUSTRIA.
to Ancona, overpowered the military and the local authorities, and proceeded to declare themselves independent of the Papal See. No resistance was encountered except at Ancona, and that was rather a show of opposition than a serious reality. The first intelligence communicated to the new Pope, Gregory XVI, late the Cardinal Mauro Capellari, was of the revolt of so large a portion of the States of Church, being all north of the Appennines.
The example of Bologna and Modena was followed in Parma, with some singularities of circumstance. A deputation of the citizens waited on the Duchess, and very politely made known to her that they had no further occasion for her assistance in the government, and requested her to step into her carriage, and leave the city; which, of course, Maria Louisa was fain to do; whereupon a civic congress was convened, and a provisional government established.
On all hands, great anxiety was felt to know what course Austria and France would pursue in reference to these events. Tuscany seemed tranquil under the paternal rule of the Grand Duke; and as the Lombardo-Venetian provinces were occupied by 100,000 Austrian soldiers, there was little hope of any rising in Milan. The patriots in the Legations despatched agents to Paris to ascertain the views and purposes of the French government, in case the cabinet of Vienna should decide upon hostile operations. It is averred that they received the strongest assurances from Count Sébastiani, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, of the determination of his government to enforce, as well as maintain, neutrality. The language employed by the Ministers in the Chambers, then as before, was to the same effect. But at length Austria signified her determination not
to permit revolutionary movements in any part of Italy. Hitherto', said Metternich, we have allowed France to put forward the principle of noninterference,
but it is time she should know that we do not recognize it as far as regards Italy. We will carry our arms wherever insurrection may extend. If this interference should bring about war, let war come ! We would rather incur every chance of it, than be exposed to the risk of perishing in the midst of popular commotions'. *
The Austrians entered the Legations in March, with 20,000 men, who quickly overturned every thing which the patriots had done, restoring the functionaries of the Duke of Modena, the Duchess of Parma, and the Pope, in their respective territories, with scarcely any bloodshed, as the insurgents were in no condition to oppose a disciplined foreign army, and could not obtain aid from France. They restored the former rulers of the country thus easily; but they did not-and could not restore tranquillity, or render the people contented with governors thus imposed upon them by foreigners at the point of the bayonet.
The refusal or neglect of the French government to secure to the Italian patriots the enjoyment of their rights, by resisting or punishing the interference of the Austrians, exposed Louis Philippe to the imputation of bad faith abroad as well as at home, because he had undoubtedly induced the world to suppose that he intended to sustain by force, the principle of non-intervention, as the fundamental doctrine of the foreign policy of France. But intrinsic difficulties seemed to stand in the way of doing it in the present case. It was impossible to do it without directly attacking Austria, - making war against her in form.
* Sarrans, La Fayette et La Révolution, tom. ii, p. 48, trans. p. 42.