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Chapter LIX, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8 page 3


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The Neapolitan garrison, however, which still held the fortress of St. Elmo, overlooking and commanding the town, occasioned much anxiety, as the troops remained faithful to the King, and they might possibly bombard the city. But the alarm was set at rest by the capitulation of the garrison. The Dictator addressed to them a proclamation, stating that he wished to fight by their side against the enemies of their country. Italy, trampling upon the fragments of her chains, pointed to the north, and the path of honour lay towards the last lurking-place of tyrants. It was in the same conciliatory spirit he wished to deal with the civil administration. But here again he had to contend with the persevering intrigues of his enemies at Turin, among whom, it is to be regretted, that the great statesman Cavour must be numbered, influenced, no doubt, by his dread that the republican party should make Garibaldi the instrument of carrying out their designs, and so defeat his purpose of establishing a united kingdom of Italy under Victor Emmanuel. The Dictator had also to contend with the bitter rivalries of political parties and interested individuals. The difficulties of the situation were rendered still greater by the presence of Mazzini in Naples. Had the General maintained his dictatorship pure and absolute, he might have got on better; but, as in Sicily, he appointed a ministry, by whom he was thwarted and compromised. And besides, no sooner was the ministry created, than intrigues were hatched to destroy it. " The intriguers took advantage of his well-known patience, and, by their detestable conduct, rendered civil government, if not impossible, at least most difficult." His humanity also got him into trouble. He was soon at war with the whole tribe of drivers of public conveyances, whose brutal cruelty to animals was notorious. The state of the prisons also received his immediate attention. They were cleansed, ventilated, and rendered habitable by human beings, large windows being substituted for little slits in the thick walls. But the terrible dungeons of the Castle of St. Elmo were not allowed to be used at all. Garibaldi's intense love of justice, and abhorrence of all sorts of abuses, made him an energetic, practical reformer from the moment he got power. He was also an ardent lover of religious freedom, and accordingly one of his first acts as Dictator of Naples was to grant a piece of ground to the English Protestants for a church.

At this time Garibaldi exposed himself to much unmerited censure. Alexandre Dumas had rendered important services to the national cause, as we have seen, having risked both his yacht and his life as a propagandist in the Bay of Naples. As a reward for these services he was appointed Superintendent of Museums and Excavations, for which his only remuneration was the free use of a small palace for one year only. The other was the appointment of Colonel Peard to the command of the English Legion. Colonel Peard was an English gentleman of good family and fortune, who was so affected by Mr. Gladstone's picture of the Neapolitan prisons, that when the Italian war broke out, he volunteered as a private soldier in the Chasseurs of the Alps, and fought under Garibaldi throughout the Lombard campaign; he also accompanied the General in the Sicilian expedition, and rendered important services during the war for the liberation of Naples. His appointment was highly popular at first, though in the end his connection with the Legion did not prove altogether satisfactory; but for such unforeseen results the General could not be fairly held responsible.

The French ambassador and the Papal legate remained at Naples, and their presence was felt in the mysterious influence they exercised on the Bourbon party of the capital. The former took no pains to disguise his dislike of the new rulers, and one of the French naval officers publicly confessed that he considered Garibaldi the enemy of God. On the 9th of September, Mi. Elliot, the British Minister at Naples, received a telegram from Lord John Russell, desiring him to express to General Garibaldi the hope that no attack would be made upon Venetia. As ambassador to the fallen king, he could hold no direct communication with the conqueror; but he managed to be on board the Hannibal when the General came to return the visit of Admiral Mundy. When the admiral paid his visit, Garibaldi, being much fatigued, was lying on the bed with his slippers on, conversing with Lord Llanover and other friends. When his gallant visitor was announced, he said it would not do to receive him in his slippers, so he began to pull on his boots, and in this position the Dictator was surprised by the entrance of his friend. The latter observes, "We were both amused at this little disorder of dress, but immediately holding out his hand, he said, I am indeed glad to see you. I told you, admiral, when we parted at Palermo, that we should meet again at Naples.' On my saying I wished to speak to him privately, he requested Lord Llanover and his companions to leave us together. When alone, I informed him that Her Majesty's Minister had a communication to make to him from Lord John Russell. On hearing this name, before I could finish the sentence, he exclaimed, 'Lord Russell is an excellent man, and a true friend of Italy.' I proceeded to say that if he would come on board the Hannibal the following day, Mr. Elliot would meet him in my cabin, and would there make known to him the message from Her Majesty's Government. Garibaldi, in his usual quick way, replied, 'Certainly, anything you wish I am always ready to do. I will get a boat from Admiral Persano, and be on board the Hannibal at eleven o'clock, if that hour will suit. I shall be glad to make the acquaintance of Monsieur Elliot, who, I believe, is connected by marriage with Lord Russell.' I thought it strange that this circumstance, so entirely of a family nature, should have been known to the Dictator; and from whom could he have learned it?" The city was again illuminated at night, and the effect, when viewed from the sea, was very beautiful. On September 10th General Garibaldi and Mr. Elliot, met on board the Hannibal at eleven o'clock. "After I had made Her Majesty's Minister and the Dictator acquainted with each other, I requested the latter to desire his attendant staff to leave the cabin, as Mr. Elliot was desirous of a private conversation, and Captain Farquhar took them on the lower deck to watch the gunnery exercise. Mr. Elliot having expressed to General Garibaldi the astonishment with which, in common with all the world, he had witnessed the marvellous results he had accomplished with such trifling means, informed him that though he could have no official relations with him, he should remain at Naples until he received further instructions from Her Majesty's Government. This information appeared to give great satisfaction to the Dictator, who said he fully understood that official intercourse was not practicable. Mr. Elliot then informed him that Lord John Russell had charged him to express the hope that no attack would be made on Venetia, as, in his lordship's opinion, it would be calculated to bring the greatest calamities upon Italy. Garibaldi replied by stating that he would make no concealment of his plans, which were plain and straightforward. He intended to push on at once to Rome, and there place the crown of United Italy on the head of King Victor Emmanuel, upon whom would devolve the task of the liberation of Venetia, and in which he would himself be but the lieutenant of His Majesty. If that liberation could be accomplished by purchase or by negotiation, so much the better. He added that he was sure that Lord John Russell, in counselling the abandonment of Yenetia, did not fairly represent the generous feelings of the people of England towards the Italian nation, although he cheerfully recognised the obligation Italy was under to Her Majesty's Government for the sympathy they had exhibited with regard to Rome. ' Rome is an Italian city, and neither the Emperor nor any one else has a right to keep me out of it.' It will be remarked that Garibaldi made a difference between Rome and Venice. Rome is the capital of the country - that must be had at all risks. He will never abandon the Venetian cause, but was content to wait for it, and obtain it by purchase, if possible."

At sunset, on September 11th, the rest of the royal troops marched out of the city towards Capua, with a sullen determination and defiance in their looks and bearing, which plainly showed that they felt no goodwill to the cause of the Dictator. It was evident, from this and other facts, that the royal party was resolved to make an effort to recover the kingdom, and that there must still be some fighting before the work of independence was fully accomplished, and the kingdom that had been won permanently secured. The speedy annexation of Naples to Piedmont was, therefore, most desirable; and the main difficulty which stood in the way was the antagonism between Garibaldi and Cavour. The former wrote to the King requesting that the obnoxious minister might be removed from office; but Victor Emmanuel answered that he could not, as a constitutional sovereign, withdraw a minister who enjoyed the confidence of the majority of his subjects. Garibaldi, however, lost no time in making all necessary arrangements for the annexation, which was hastened by the march of events in another quarter. The celebrated French general, Lamoricière, had tendered his sword to the Pope, and had organised an army of volunteers which began to assume alarming proportions. Garibaldi would have marched to meet this new enemy, and would have attacked Rome. The French garrison of that city must then have interfered, and Prance would have been forced into actual war against the liberators of Italy. This complication of circumstances led the Emperor to consent to the invasion of the Papa! States by Victor Emmanuel, which was the very thing that Cavour desired, and which was thought to be the master-stroke of his political genius. In his view, it had become imperatively necessary to stop Garibaldi's progress, to restore Sardinia to the position of leader of the Italian revolution, and to annex Naples without delay to Northern Italy. Besides, the growth of Lamoricière's army on the extended and defenceless frontier of Tuscany was dangerous to Sardinia. Consequently, with but a few days' notice, the Sardinian army crossed the Papal frontier, scattered Lamoricière's forces, compelling himself to fly for safety, and added some of the finest provinces in Italy to the new Italian kingdom. " Thus," says Colonel Chambers, " when at the head of his victorious army, Victor Emmanuel passed from the Papal States into the kingdom of Naples, Garibaldi could no longer claim alone the title of the Deliverer of Italy. The revolution was defeated by its own weapons, and again the policy of Cavour became the policy of Italy." Mr. Stansfeld, M.P., whose resignation of office in consequence of his friendship for Mazzini made his name so familiar to the public, thus wrote upon this subject: - " On the 10th of September, 1860, after the invasion by Garibaldi of the Neapolitan States, Cavour wrote to Baron Talleyrand, 'If we are not at the Cattolica before Garibaldi, we are lost; the revolution will invade Central Italy. We are forced to act.' Again, in a circular of M. Thouvenel, of October, 1860, I find these words, 'Signor Farini (sent, by Cavour) has explained to the Emperor, at Chambery, the very embarrassing and dangerous position in which the triumph of the revolution, to a certain extent personified in Garibaldi, threatens to place the Government of His Sardinian Majesty. Garibaldi was on the point of freely traversing the Roman States, raising the population as he went; and had he once passed that frontier, it would have been utterly impossible to prevent an attack on Venice. The Government of Turin had one mode left open to it to prevent that eventuality, and that was to enter the Marches and Umbria as soon as the arrival of Garibaldi had produced disturbances, and re-establish order without infringing on the authority of the Pope; and if need were, to give battle to the revolution in the Neapolitan territory, and request a congress to immediately decide the destinies of Italy. Now, certainly," continued Mr. Stansfeld, " these professions of motive cannot be said to be very creditable to Cavour, and they look as unlike as possible to the arguments of a patriot having the accomplishment of his country's unity, above everything else, at heart." Garibaldi acted in a very different spirit, when, on the 27th of September, he announced to the people the success which had crowned the Sardinian arms. The General addressed the populace from a balcony of the palace in the following laconic speech: - "People of Naples, - Our brethren of the Italian army, commanded by the gallant General Cialdini, combat the enemies of Italy and conquer. The army of Lamoricière has been defeated by those valiant men. All the provinces enslaved by the Pope are free; Ancona is ours. The valiant soldiers of the army of the North have passed the frontier, and are on Neapolitan soil. "We shall soon have the good fortune to clasp their victorious hands."

Towards the middle of September Garibaldi had permanently established his head-quarters in the magnificent palace of Caserta, the summer residence of the ex-royal family. He always rose at three in the morning, attended to the business of the State, consulted with the Ministry, and then received all visitors without distinction of rank. When business was disposed of, he would frequently climb up the steep rock of St. Angelo, and spend hours gazing upon the Neapolitan camp, the windings of the Volturno, and the ramparts of Capua, scarcely perceptible in the far distance. It was there he studied the field of his future military operations. The organisation of the army was his first care after his arrival in Naples. Volunteers were constantly pouring in from Genoa and Leghorn. The irregular forces of Calabria and Basilicata were drilled; the former making a division of 10,000 strong, under Baron Stoco; the latter, a brigade of 2,200 under Brigadier Corte. Altogether Garibaldi could muster an army of 37,000 men by the middle of September. He distributed his forces so as to be in a position to be ablp to repel any attack that might be made by the Royalists, and to be at the same time free to cross the Volturno, and assume the offensive. The armies of Francis II., which proved unexpectedly loyal, occupied two extreme points, one leaning towards the Mediterranean, the other towards the Apennines, and extending from point to point, a distance of about thirty miles; the rear being protected by the frontier of the Papal States, and strongly supported by the fortress of Gaeta; while its front was covered by the course of the Volturno - a deep, muddy river, very difficult to ford. Upon this river, and flanked by it on three sides, stood the ancient fortress of Capua, in which there was a strong garrison, supplied by provisions both by sea and land, and which the King had every reason to expect would hold out until his Austrian and Papal reinforcements should arrive. From this position he could threaten Naples at any moment. Garibaldi saw this advantage; and to guard against the danger, he occupied the towns of Maddaloni, Caserta San Leucio, St. Angelo, and Santa Maria, leaving the National Guard to garrison the capital.

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Pictures for Chapter LIX, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8 page 3

The Palace at Naples
The Palace at Naples >>>>
Austrian troops in Italy
Austrian troops in Italy >>>>

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