Lady John Russell eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 463 pages of information about Lady John Russell.

This incident is recorded by several persons to whom Mr. Lacaita told the story. [54] It explains the sudden right-about of English diplomacy at this juncture, which, as Persigny shows in his memoirs, puzzled and astonished him.  For Lord John having received this information, refused to act with France in preventing Garibaldi from crossing the Straits of Messina.  This he accordingly did, and marched straight on to Naples, where he was welcomed as a deliverer; the royal troops deserted or retreated to Capua, and Garibaldi made his entrance into Naples, as was said in the House of Commons, “a simple traveller by railway with a first-class ticket.”  Before the end of October the King of Sardinia and Garibaldi met near Teano and Garibaldi saluted Victor Emmanuel as King of Italy.

[54] Lady John’s diaries of 1860 being lost, this incident is given here on the sole authority of the late Sir James Lacaita.

On October 27, 1860, Lord John wrote a dispatch, in which he said that—­

Her Majesty’s Government can see no sufficient grounds for the severe censure with which Austria, France, Prussia, and Russia have visited the acts of the King of Sardinia.  Her Majesty’s Government will turn their eyes rather to the gratifying prospect of a people building up the edifice of their liberties and consolidating the work of their independence....

Lord John also quoted from “that eminent jurist Vattel” the following words:  “When a people from good reasons take up arms against an oppressor, it is but an act of justice and generosity to assist brave men in the defence of their liberties.”

    Mr. Odo Russell to Lord John Russell

    ROME, December 1, 1860

MY DEAR UNCLE,—­Ever since your famous dispatch of the 27th, you are blessed night and morning by twenty millions of Italians.  I could not read it myself without deep emotion, and the moment it was published in Italian, thousands of people copied it from each other to carry it to their homes and weep over it for joy and gratitude in the bosom of their families, away from brutal mercenaries and greasy priests.  Difficult as the task is the Italians have now before them, I cannot but think that they will accomplish it better than we any of us hope, for every day convinces me more and more that I am living in the midst of a great and real national movement, which will at last be crowned with perfect success, notwithstanding the legion of enemies Italy still counts in Europe.

    Your affectionate nephew,


Such was the second important juncture at which the British Ministry came to the rescue of the Italian nationalists.  If after Villafranca the negotiations which secured the safety of Italy were the work of three men, Palmerston, Lord John, and Gladstone, contending against an indifferent and timid Cabinet and the opposition of the Court—­it is clear that when the success or failure of Italian unity was a second time at stake, the decision and initiative were Lord John’s.

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Lady John Russell from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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