Sunday, 12 December 2010

king v pope

Ufficiale di Stato Maggiore in alta uniforme. Regno di Sardegna, Italia 1848pegaso models .
Sardinian high command officer 54mm
Mentana had its epilogue in the debate in the French Corps Législatif, which lasted from the 2nd to the 5th of December. Jules Favre proposed a vote of censure on the Ministry for their Roman policy. The most distinguished speaker who followed him was Thiers, who said that though in opposition, he would support the Government tooth and nail in their defence of French interests at Rome. The debate was wound up by the memorable declaration of the Prime Minister, Rouher, that 'never' should Italy get possession of Rome. 'Is that clear?' he asked. It was quite clear. The word escaped him, he afterwards said, in 'the heat of improvisation.' The French Chamber confirmed it by throwing out Favre's motion by 237 votes against 17.

plastic soldiers of the sixties depicting the volunteers and austrians

Now, indeed, the Ultramontanes were jubilant throughout the world. Napoleon was compromised, enmeshed beyond extrication.
papal troop enactors

Of all these events, Prussia, or rather the great man who was the brain of Prussia, took attentive note. He was convinced that the wonders accomplished by the Chassepot at Mentana would soon lead France to try the effect of the new rifle on larger game. Among the  measures which he took with a view to that contingency, his correspondence with Mazzini is not the least remarkable. It began in November 1867, and was continued for a year.
 The object of both Bismarck and Mazzini was to prevent Italy from taking sides with France. The negotiations were carried on partly through Count d'Usedom, Prussian Minister at Florence, and partly through other intermediaries. Mazzini began by saying, that although the Chancellor's methods of unification had not his sympathy, he admired his energy, tenacity and independence; that he believed in German unity and opposed the supremacy which France arrogated to herself in Europe.
 He engaged to use his influence in Italy to make it difficult for an Italian Government to take up arms for the victors of Mentana. Bismarck was well aware that in speaking of his influence the writer used no idle phrase, but possibly one of his reasons for continuing the correspondence was to find out what Mazzini knew of the hidden plots and counter plots then in manufacture both in Paris and at Florence, because the Italian was more conversant with diplomatic secrets than any man living, except, perhaps, Cardinal Antonelli.
In April 1868, Mazzini received through the Prussian Embassy at Florence, a document which even now possesses real interest on the relative advantages to Italy of a French or German Alliance.
The whole question turned, observed the Prussian Chancellor, on the mastery of the Mediterranean: here France and Italy must find themselves at variance whether they willed it or not. 'The configuration of the terrestrial globe not being amenable to change, they will be always rivals and often enemies.' Nature has thrown between them an apple of discord, the possession of which they will not cease to contest. The Mediterranean ought to become an Italian lake. 'It is impossible for  Italy to put up with the perpetual threats of France to obtain the mastery over Tunis, which would be for her the first stage to arriving in Sardinia.'Ufficiale dei bersaglieri 1870pegaso models . officer of bersaglieri 54mm 1870

At the Berlin Congress eight years later, Prince Bismarck pressed the same views upon Count Corti, the Italian delegate. He would have been glad to see the Italians go to Tunis, but Count Corti ingenuously replied: 'You want to make us quarrel with France.' Meanwhile the Englishman who represented France and the Englishman who represented England were discussing the same subject, and out of their discussion arose the French occupation of Tunis. Disquieting rumours got about at once, but they were dispelled. 'No French Government would be so rash,' said Gambetta, 'as to make Italy the irreconcilable foe of France.' M. Waddington declared that he was personally opposed to the acquisition of Tunis, and gave his word of honour that nothing would be done without the full consent of Italy. What was done and how it was done is known to all, a great French naval station almost within sight of Sicily and of Malta.papal zouae mirliton

In the document communicated by Bismarck to Mazzini, there is a curious inclusion of Trieste among Italian seaports which seems to indicate that he was still not averse from a rectification of the Italian north-east frontier. Whence it may be supposed that he expected to find Austria ranged on the part of France in the struggle for the Rhine bank. To explain how it was that this did not happen, we must leave the Chancellor and the Revolutionist, and see what at the same time was going on between Napoleon on the one side and Austria and Italy on the other.
Prussian drummer 75mm ,war with France

 The French Emperor was not so infatuated as to court the risk of making war on Prussia single-handed if he could avoid it. He hoped for a triple alliance of France, Austria and Italy, or, if that could not be compassed, a dual alliance of France with either of these Powers.
Now, wisely or unwisely, both the Italian and Austrian Governments were far from rejecting these proposals off-hand. The secret negotiations lasted from 1868 till June 1869. They took the shape of informal letters between the King of Italy and Napoleon, and of private communications with Count Beust through Prince Metternich, the Austrian Ambassador in Paris, who was the intimate friend and confidant of the Emperor and Empress.
General Menabrea was not let into the secret till later. With regard to Victor Emmanuel, there is no doubt that he wished with all his heart to be able to do a good turn to his Imperial ally of 1859 if the occasion presented itself. Some men see their wives even to old age as they saw them when they were young and fair. The first print on the retina of the mental vision was so strong that no later impression can change or efface it. This hallucination is not confined to the marital relationship, and Victor Emmanuel never left off seeing Napoleon in one sole light: as the friend of Solferino. It may be that he perceived what the Italians did not perceive: that the obligation was owed to Napoleon alone, while all France had a part in the subsequent injuries. At any rate the idea of refusing the Emperor's appeal was repugnant in the extreme to the Italian King, who personally would have strained any point rather than give that refusal.menabrea

The King, however, and General Menabrea, who was finally admitted into the conspiracy, could not be blind to the fact that an unpopular war might create so great an agitation in the country that the dynasty itself would be in danger. A war for France while the French were in Rome would have raised one storm of indignation from Palermo to Turin. So their ultimatum was this: Rome capital of Italy, or no alliance.

There remained Austria, but if Napoleon ever hoped to conclude a separate treaty with her, he was to discover his mistake. From the moment that Austria resigned the Iron Crown, the symbol of her Italian power, she acted towards Italy with a loyalty that has few parallels in history. And she, too, replied to Napoleon: Rome capital of Italy, or no alliance. above and below  papal zouave by tattica and strategia

The Vatican has never forgiven this to Austria. At that present hour, while republican France with her open antagonism to all religion, was the favoured daughter of the Church, Austria, was the only country in Europe except Spain where the Roman Catholic cultus retained all its original pomp and almost all its mediæval privileges, met from the Vatican a studied plan of opposition, the object of which could only be to bring her Government to a deadlock. From France the Pope still hoped for aid in the recovery of his temporalities; from Austria he knows that he would never receive it. So much had politics and so little had religion to do now, as in all ages, with the motives that govern the Holy See.
Plastico della battaglia di lecco 1799 presso il Museo Manzoniano di Lecco
abbiati war games creations do some wonderful italian towns

Ahi, Costantin, di quanto mal fu matre

Non la tua conversion, ma quella dote

Che da te prese il primo ricco patre!

The years 1868 and 1869 passed uneventfully for Italy. In the former year Prince Humbert married his cousin Margherita of Savoy. He was previously engaged to the Archduchess Matilda, the only daughter of the Victor of Custoza, but the young Princess met with a terrible death just when the betrothal was about to be announced. No one [ worthier to receive from Adelaide of Burgundy the lovely title of Queen of Italy could have been found than the Princess Margaret, who inherited the sunny charm which had endeared her father, the Duke of Genoa, to all who knew him.
burnt to death in front of her family

In the autumn of 1869 another domestic event, the severe illness of Victor Emmanuel, gave rise to an incident which made a deep impression in Italy, and attached the nation by one link more to the King of its choice. The illness which seized Victor Emmanuel at his hunting-box of San Rossore(below), in a malarious part of Tuscany, proved so serious that his life was despaired of. A priest was called to hear the King's last confession, and to administer the Sacraments for the dying. After hearing the confession, the priest said he could not give absolution unless Victor Emmanuel signed a solemn retractation of all the acts performed during his reign that were contrary to the interests of the Church.
 The King answered, without a moment's hesitation, that he died a Christian and a Catholic, and that if he had wronged anyone he sincerely repented and asked pardon of God, but the signature demanded was a political act, and if the priest wished to talk politics his ministers were in the next room.
Thither the ecclesiastic retired, but he very soon returned, and administered the rite without more ado. What had passed was this: General Menabrea, with a decision for which he cannot be too much praised, threatened the priest with instant arrest unless he surrendered his pretensions.
Only those who know the extraordinary terror inspired in an Italian Catholic by the prospect of dying unshriven can appreciate the merit of the King, whose faith was childlike, in standing as firm in the presence of supernatural arms as he stood before the Austrian guns.

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