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- History of Modern Europe 1792-1878 - 140/202 -


to reach Venice, which was still uncaptured. Driven to the eastern coast and surrounded by the enemy, he was forced to put to sea. He landed again, but only to be hunted over mountain and forest. His wife died by his side. Rescued by the devotion of Italian patriots, he made his escape to Piedmont and thence to America, to reappear in all the fame of his heroic deeds and sufferings at the next great crisis in the history of his country.

[The restored Pontifical Government.]

It had been an easy task for a French army to conquer Rome; it was not so easy for the French Government to escape from the embarrassments of its victory. Liberalism was still the official creed of the Republic, and the protection of the Roman population from a reaction under Austrian auspices had been one of the alleged objects of the Italian expedition. No stipulation had, however, been made with the Pope during the siege as to the future institutions of Rome; and when, on the 14th of July, the restorations of Papal authority was formally announced by Oudinot, Pius and his Minister Antonelli still remained unfettered by any binding engagement. Nor did the Pontiff show the least inclination to place himself in the power of his protectors. He remained at Gaeta, sending a Commission of three Cardinals to assume the government of Rome. The first acts of the Cardinals dispelled any illusion that the French might have formed as to the docility of the Holy See. In the presence of a French Republican army they restored the Inquisition, and appointed a Board to bring to trial all officials compromised in the events that had taken place since the murder of Rossi in November, 1848. So great was the impression made on public opinion by the action of the Cardinals that Louis Napoleon considered it well to enter the lists in person on behalf of Roman liberty; and in a letter to Colonel Ney, a son of the Marshal, he denounced in language of great violence the efforts that were being made by a party antagonistic to France to base the Pope's return upon proscription and tyranny. Strong in the support of Austria and the other Catholic Powers, the Papal Government at Gaeta received this menace with indifference, and even made the discourtesy of the President a ground for withholding concessions. Of the re-establishment of the Constitution granted by Pius in 1848 there was now no question; all that the French Ministry could hope was to save some fragments in the general shipwreck of representative government, and to avert the vengeance that seemed likely to fall upon the defeated party. A Pontifical edict, known as the Motu Proprio, ultimately bestowed upon the municipalities certain local powers, and gave to a Council, nominated by the Pope from among the persons chosen by the municipalities, the right of consultation on matters of finance. More than this Pius refused to grant, and when he returned to Rome it was as an absolute sovereign. In its efforts on behalf of the large body of persons threatened with prosecution the French Government was more successful. The so-called amnesty which was published by Antonelli with the Motu Proprio seemed indeed to have for its object the classification of victims rather than the announcement of pardon; but under pressure from the French the excepted persons were gradually diminished in number, and all were finally allowed to escape other penalties by going into exile. To those who were so driven from their homes Piedmont offered a refuge.

[Fall of Venice, Aug. 25.]

[Sicily conquered by Ferdinand, April, May.]

Thus the pall of priestly absolutism and misrule fell once more over the Roman States, and the deeper the hostility of the educated classes to the restored power the more active became the system of repression. For liberty of person there was no security whatever, and, though the offences of 1848 were now professedly amnestied, the prisons were soon thronged with persons arrested on indefinite charges and detained for an unlimited time without trial. Nor was Rome more unfortunate in its condition than Italy generally. The restoration of Austrian authority in the north was completed by the fall of Venice. For months after the subjugation of the mainland, Venice, where the Republic had again been proclaimed and Manin had been recalled to power, had withstood all the efforts of the Emperor's forces. Its hopes had been raised by the victories of the Hungarians, which for a moment seemed almost to undo the catastrophe of Novara. But with the extinction of all possibility of Hungarian aid the inevitable end came in view. Cholera and famine worked with the enemy; and a fortnight after Görgei had laid down his arms at Vilagos the long and honourable resistance of Venice ended with the entry of the Austrians (August 25th). In the south, Ferdinand of Naples was again ruling as despot throughout the full extent of his dominions. Palermo, which had struck the first blow for freedom in 1848, had soon afterwards become the seat of a Sicilian Parliament, which deposed the Bourbon dynasty and offered the throne of Sicily to the younger brother of Victor Emmanuel. To this Ferdinand replied by a fleet to Messina, which bombarded that city for five days and laid a great part of it in ashes. His violence caused the British and French fleets to interpose, and hostilities were suspended until the spring of 1849, the Western Powers ineffectually seeking to frame some compromise acceptable at once to the Sicilians and to the Bourbon dynasty. After the triumph of Radetzky at Novara and the rejection by the Sicilian Parliament of the offer of a separate constitution and administration for the island, Ferdinand refused to remain any longer inactive. His fleet and army moved southwards from Messina, and a victory won at the foot of Mount Etna over the Sicilian forces, followed by the capture of Catania, brought the struggle to a close. The Assembly at Palermo dispersed, and the Neapolitan troops made their entry into the capital without resistance on the 15th of May. It was in vain that Great Britain now urged Ferdinand to grant to Sicily the liberties which he had hitherto professed himself willing to bestow. Autocrat he was, and autocrat he intended to remain. On the mainland the iniquities practised by his agents seem to have been even worse than in Sicily, where at least some attempt was made to use the powers of the State for the purposes of material improvement. For those who had incurred the enmity of Ferdinand's Government there was no law and no mercy. Ten years of violence and oppression, denounced by the voice of freer lands, had still to be borne by the subjects of this obstinate tyrant ere the reckoning-day arrived, and the deeply rooted jealousy between Sicily and Naples, which had wrought so much ill to the cause of Italian freedom, was appeased by the fall of the Bourbon throne. [442]

[Germany from May, 1848.]

[The National Assembly at Frankfort.]

[Archduke John chosen Administrator, June 29.]

We have thus far traced the stages of conflict between the old monarchical order and the forces of revolution in the Austrian empire and in that Mediterranean land whose destiny was so closely interwoven with that of Austria. We have now to pass back into Germany, and to resume the history of the German revolution at the point where the national movement seemed to concentrate itself in visible form, the opening of the Parliament of Frankfort on the 18th of May, 1848. That an Assembly representing the entire German people, elected in unbounded enthusiasm and comprising within it nearly every man of political or intellectual eminence who sympathised with the national cause, should be able to impose its will upon the tottering Governments of the individual German States, was not an unnatural belief in the circumstances of the moment. No second Chamber represented the interests of the ruling Houses, nor had they within the Assembly itself the organs for the expression of their own real or unreal claims. With all the freedom of a debating club or of a sovereign authority like the French Convention, the Parliament of Frankfort entered upon its work of moulding Germany afresh, limited only by its own discretion as to what it should make matter of consultation with any other power. There were thirty-six Governments in Germany, and to negotiate with each of these on the future Constitution might well seem a harder task than to enforce a Constitution on all alike. In the creation of a provisional executive authority there was something of the same difficulty. Each of the larger States might, if consulted, resist the selection of a provisional chief from one of its rivals; and though the risk of bold action was not denied, the Assembly, on the instance of its President, Von Gagern, a former Minister of Hesse-Darmstadt, resolved to appoint an Administrator of the Empire by a direct vote of its own. The Archduke John of Austria, long known as an enemy of Metternich's system of repression and as a patron of the idea of German union, was chosen Administrator, and he accepted the office. Prussia and the other States acquiesced in the nomination, though the choice of a Hapsburg prince was unpopular with the Prussian nation and army, and did not improve the relations between the Frankfort Assembly and the Court of Berlin. [443] Schmerling, an Austrian, was placed at the head of the Archduke's Ministry.

[The National Assembly. May-Sept.]

In the preparation of a Constitution for Germany the Assembly could draw little help from the work of legislators in other countries. Belgium, whose institutions were at once recent and successful, was not a Federal State; the founders of the American Union had not had to reckon with four kings and to include in their federal territory part of the dominions of an emperor. Instead of grappling at once with the formidable difficulties of political organisation, the Committee charged with the drafting of a Constitution determined first to lay down the principles of civil right which were to be the basis of the German commonwealth. There was something of the scientific spirit of the Germans in thus working out the substructure of public law on which all other institutions were to rest; moreover, the remembrance of the Decrees of Carlsbad and of the other exceptional legislation from which Germany had so heavily suffered excited a strong demand for the most solemn guarantees against arbitrary departure from settled law in the future. Thus, regardless of the absence of any material power by which its conclusions were to be enforced, the Assembly, in the intervals between its stormy debates on the politics of the hour, traced with philosophic thoroughness the consequences of the principles of personal liberty and of equality before the law, and fashioned the order of a modern society in which privileges of class, diversity of jurisdictions, and the trammels of feudalism on industrial life were alike swept away. Four months had passed, and the discussion of the so-called Primary Rights was still unfinished, when the Assembly was warned by an outbreak of popular violence in Frankfort itself of the necessity of hastening towards a constitutional settlement.

[The Armistice of Malmö, Aug. 26.]

[Outrages at Frankfort, Sept. 18.]

The progress of the insurrection in Schleswig-Holstein against Danish sovereignty had been watched with the greatest interest throughout Germany; and in the struggle of these provinces for their independence the rights and the honour of the German nation at large were held to be deeply involved. As the representative of the Federal authority, King Frederick William of Prussia had sent his troops into Holstein, and they arrived there in time to prevent the Danish army from following up its first successes and crushing the insurgent forces. Taking up the offensive, General Wrangel at the head of the Prussian troops succeeded in driving the Danes out of Schleswig, and at the beginning of May he crossed the border between Schleswig and Jutland and occupied the Danish fortress of Fredericia. His advance into purely Danish territory occasioned the diplomatic intervention of Russia and Great Britain; and, to the deep disappointment of the German nation and its Parliament, the King of Prussia ordered his general to retire into Schleswig. The Danes were in the meantime blockading the harbours and capturing the merchant-vessels of the Germans, as neither Prussia nor the Federal Government possessed a fleet of war. For some weeks hostilities were irresolutely continued in Schleswig, while negotiations were pursued in foreign capitals and various forms of compromise urged by foreign Powers. At length, on the 26th of August, an armistice of seven months was agreed upon at Malmö in Sweden by the representatives of Denmark and Prussia, the Court of Copenhagen refusing to recognise the German central Government at Frankfort or to admit its envoy to the conferences. The terms of this armistice, when announced in Germany,


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