Sant' Ilario eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 497 pages of information about Sant' Ilario.
of the mountains, Garibaldi appears to have believed to be the southern key to the Campagna.  In consequence of the protestations of the French minister to the court of Italy, and perhaps, too, in consequence of the approach of a large body of French troops by sea, the Italian Government again issued a proclamation against Garibaldi, who, however, remained in his strong position at Monte Rotondo.  Finally, on the 30th of October, the day on which the French troops re-entered Rome, the Italians made a show of interfering in the Pope’s favour, General Menatiea authorising the Italian forces to enter the Papal States in order to maintain order.  They did not, however, do more than make a short advance, and no active measures were taken, but Garibaldi was routed on the 3d and 4th of November by the Papal forces, and his band being dispersed the incident was at an end.  But for the armed intervention of France the result would have been that which actually came about in 1870, when, the same Convention being still valid, the French were prevented by their own disasters from sending a force to the assistance of the Pope.

It is not yet time to discuss the question of the annexation of the States of the Church to the kingdom of Italy.  It is sufficient to have shown that the movement of 1867 took place without any actual violation of the letter of the Convention.  The spirit in which the Italian Government acted might be criticised at length.  It is sufficient however to notice that the Italian Government was, as it still is, a parliamentary one; and to add that parliamentary government, in general, exhibits its weakest side in the emergency of war, as its greatest advantages are best appreciated in times of peace.  In the Italian Parliament of that day, as in that of the present time, there was a preponderance of representatives who considered Rome to be the natural capital of the country, and who were as ready to trample upon treaties for the accomplishment of what they believed a righteous end, as most parliaments have everywhere shown themselves in similar circumstances.  That majority differed widely, indeed, in opinion from Garibaldi and Mazzini, but they conceived that they had a right to take full advantage of any revolution the latter chanced to bring about, and that it was their duty to their country to direct the stream of disorder into channel which should lead to the aggrandisement of Italy, by making use of Italy’s standing army.  The defenders of the Papal States found themselves face to face, not with any organised and disciplined force, but with a horde of brutal ruffians and half-grown lads, desperate in that delight of unbridled license which has such attractions for the mob in all countries; and all alike, Zouaves, native troops and Frenchmen, were incensed to the highest degree by the conduct of their enemies.  It would be absurd to make the Italian Government responsible for the atrocious defiling of churches, the pillage and the shocking crimes of all sorts, which marked the advance or retreat of the Garibaldians; but it is equally absurd to deny that a majority of the Italians regarded these doings as a means to a very desirable end, and, if they had not been hindered by the French, would have marched a couple of army corps in excellent order to the gates of Rome through the channel opened by a mob of lawless insurgents.

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Sant' Ilario from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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