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Chapter XXVI, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 9 page 3


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When the tidings of this new inroad reached France, orders were given for the immediate departure of the expedition from Toulon. At the same time, a Foreign Office circular of the Count de Moustier (October 25) informed the world, that France was compelled again to send her troops to Rome, owing to the apparent inability of the Italian Government to perform that duty of protection towards the Holy Father to which it was bound under the September Convention; but that as soon as the Pontifical territory should be liberated, and its security re-established, the French troops would be withdrawn. General Dumont, commanding the expedition, entered Rome on the 30th October.

The forces which the Papal General had at his disposal for the defence of Rome amounted to about 3,000 men. One half of these were the Papal Zouaves, a corps first organised by General Lamoricière in 1860, and then consisting almost entirely of young Frenchmen and Belgians of good family. Since then, its composition had come to be of a miscellaneous character; even Englishmen and Irishmen were found in its ranks; and the names of Watts Russell and Collingridge occur among the slain at Monte Libretti and Mentana. The corps was commanded by a Swiss officer, Colonel Allet; next in command to whom was Lieutenant-Colonel de Charrette, a name which we shall meet again on a wider field. The remainder of the Papal force was composed in about equal proportions of Swiss carabineers, Pontifical gendarmes, cavalry, and artillery, and the remains of the Antibes Legion.

From Monte Rotondo, the Garibaldians showed a disposition to move towards Tivoli, and General Kanzler resolved to attack them on the march. On the morning of the 3rd November, he drew out his little army from the Porta Pia, and advanced towards Mentana (the ancient Nomentum), having the Tiber on his left, and supported on the right by a body of 2,000 French, under the order of General Polhès. The Garibaldian out-posts were met with on some low hills covered with vineyards on either side of the road in front of Mentana. These were driven in by the Papal Zouaves, and the whole Garibaldian force was forced back on Mentana and Monte Rotondo. Under cover of these villages they rallied and renewed the contest, endeavouring, with the aid of their great superiority of numbers, to envelop both wings of the Pontifical army. Seeing this, and having no more of his own column in reserve, General Kanzler requested support from General Polhès. The French, who had hitherto taken no part in the action, immediately sprang to the front with characteristic élan and drove back the Garibaldians on both flanks. The defeated revolutionists shut themselves up within the walls of Mentana and Monte Rotondo, the former of which General Kanzler attempted to carry by assault, but found it fortified by barricades, and flanked by isolated houses all bristling with sharp-shooters, so that he abandoned the attempt. The victorious troops bivouacked on the position which they had won; in the morning, a " parlementaire " came from the Garibaldians to treat with the Papal General for the surrender of Mentana. Many prisoners had meantime been made; and as the disposal of these was a matter of some difficulty, General Kanzler agreed to permit the remaining defenders of Mentana to evacuate the place and re-cross the frontier, leaving their arms behind them. The defenders of Monte Rotondo had abandoned it during the night and fled. Garibaldi himself, if General Kanzlers account may be trusted, was never seen in the first line during the action, and retired before its close to Monte Rotondo, whence, on the same evening, he passed the frontier. With the exception of the profanation of churches, the revolutionists do not seem to have been guilty of any great excesses while they were in Pontifical territory. The result of the battle of Mentana was to clear of invaders every part of the Patrimony of St. Peter. The loss of the Garibaldians was very severe; out of a total of about 9,000 men, upwards of 600 were killed, and a proportionate number wounded; while nearly 1,400 were made prisoners. On the side of the Romans, thirty men were killed and a hundred and three wounded in the Pontifical army; of the French allies but two were killed and thirty-six wounded.

After Mentana, the French troops were withdrawn to Civita Vecchia; Napoleon being reluctant to recall them to France till tranquillity were entirely restored in Italy. The Italian regular troops, which had advanced across the frontier when the French came to Rome, and occupied Acqua Pendente and Frosinone, were now withdrawn. The experience of this short conflict convinced the Cabinets of Europe that the Pope now possessed a force sufficient to guarantee the security of the temporal power against all irregular and revolutionary attempts, if Italy was only moderately faithful to the stipulations of the September Convention. As to the population, its general feeling was evidently one of neutrality; it had something to gain and something to lose, whichever side might win. In France, the conduct of the Garibaldians aroused general indignation, and was denounced in unmeasured terms by the bishops and clergy. In the course of a debate in the Senate on the late events, the Cardinal- Archbishop of Rouen said: " Italian unity is the work of secret conspiracies, of fraud, corruption, intimidation, violence, and crime. And in the direct ratio of its formation, we have seen a recrudescence of insults directed against France; ingratitude has lately been pushed to its extreme limits. God grant that this Prussia of the south may not become a peril for us; it is already a threat. I know that many say, 'The Pope can remain free in the Vatican, while Victor Emmanuel and his Parliament sit in the Capitol/ But the Catholics will never accept these terms; will never endure that the successor of St. Peter, the vicar of Christ, the regulator of two hundred millions of Catholic consciences, should be at the mercy of a King of Italy.... What, then, are we now to do? I do not ask you to give the death-blow yourselves to this kingdom of Italy, since you have willed its existence; but as this new Power declares itself incompatible with that which constitutes the life of the moral world of the universe, let us await the dispensations of Providence; let us disengage our own responsibility; let us allow that to crumble to pieces which is destined to perish; and let us remain the protectors and defenders of that which cannot fail. Let us stay at Rome till the Sovereign Disposer of all events shall have pronounced, and till the future shall have brought about a situation in which the august Head of the Church can repose in security on his time-honoured throne, re-established in all the conditions of its dignity and independence."

The project of a federal union between the most important of our North American colonies, which had been for several years in course of preparation, was brought this autumn to a happy and successful completion. The policy of the Home Government had for years pointed in the direction of retrenchment and concentration; the English army, it was said, was too small to be distributed in driblets over the face of the world wherever an English colony might have planted itself; nor was it just that the British taxpayer should pay for the protection of those who were generally better off than himself. The colonies, therefore, must learn the art of self-defence, and also pay the cost of their tuition; on other terms, their allegiance was not worth retaining. Such was the language now commonly heard within the walls of Parliament; and the colonies wisely bowed to the change in public sentiment, and took measures to provide for their own military and naval defence. In North America, the proximity of a powerful nation, federally constituted, the central government of which had just stood the strain of a gigantic war, naturally disposed the minds of Canadians and Nova-Scotians to ideas of union. After long and careful negotiation, terms were agreed upon between Canada (Upper and Lower), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick; Prince Edward's Island and Newfoundland preferring to stand neutral to the arrangement for the present. By an Act of Parliament passed on the 29th March, 1867, it was provided that the Queen in Council might declare by proclamation, within six months from the passing of the Act, that the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick should form one dominion under the name of Canada, and that the first Senate of the said dominion should be nominated by the Crown. This legislation was in pursuance of the Act of Union already passed by the different colonial Legislatures, and was directed to give validity thereto. Seventy-two persons were accordingly nominated by the Crown to seats in the first Canadian Senate - twenty- four for the province of Quebec (Lower Canada), twenty- four for the province of Ontario (Upper Canada), twelve for Nova Scotia, and twelve for New Brunswick. The new Parliament, consisting of a Senate and a House of Commons, presided over by Lord Monck, the Governor- General, met at Ottawa (the rising town on the river of the same name, which had been selected as the political capital of the dominion) on the 7th November, 1867. Lord Monck, in his speech opening the session, congratulated the assembled legislators in fitting terms on the crowning of the edifice which they had so long been patiently building up by the legislative sanction recently extended to the Act of Union under which they were assembled that day. That Act, he continued, "has laid the foundation of a new nationality, which, I trust and believe, will ere long extend its bounds from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean."

In the United States the conflict of authority between the President and the Congress still continued. Congress passed a number of Acts, with a view to that peculiar reconstruction of the South which they had determined upon. The President vetoed these Acts; then the Congress passed them into law by a two-thirds vote over the President's veto. Motions for the impeachment of the President were twice introduced in Congress, and received with favour, but ultimately miscarried. Mr. Johnson dismissed Mr. Stanton from the Foreign Office in August, or rather suspended him, for Mr. Stanton disputed the President's right to dismiss him, and turned over the office to General Grant.- In the South, although, by the appointment of men of conciliatory character and democratic politics as military governors, the President strove to mitigate for the people the bitterness of subjugation, recent legislation was now beginning to work with disastrous effect. Under the laws operating to the enfranchisement of the blacks and the disfranchisement of the whites, power had passed, or was rapidly passing, in many of the Southern States, into the hands, partly of the negroes themselves, partly of a class of white men still more degraded than they - " carpet-baggers " from the North (so called, we believe, because on their arrival south their whole worldly goods were generally such as could be easily stowed in a carpet-bag), and a few wretched renegades, natives of the country itself, who were willing to fatten on the misery and ruin which surrounded them. A vast number of the whites were disfranchised, owing to having taken part in the late war. After the work of the registration of voters was finished, there was a negro majority of upwards of 38,000 in Louisiana, and in Tennessee nine-tenths of the republican (i.e., anti-Southern) voters were negroes. In South Carolina power passed completely away from the planters to their former slaves. So miserable was the state of things for those who were the owners of the soil and the natural leaders of society, that, in the address of a negro candidate for Congress in the state of Georgia, he promised that, if elected, he would do all he could to ameliorate the condition of the whites! The following extract from the New York Herald will be found instructive, although the picture which it draws - coming as it does from a well-known and not very scrupulous organ of the Democratic party - may perhaps be regarded as somewhat too highly coloured: -

" Briefly, we may regard the entire ten unreconstructed Southern States, with possibly one or two exceptions, as forced by a secret and overwhelming revolutionary influence to a common and inevitable fate. They are all going one way. They are all bound to be governed by blacks, spurred on by worse than blacks - white wretches who dare not show their faces in respectable white society anywhere. This is the most abominable phase barbarism has assumed since the dawn of civilisation. It was all right and proper to put down the Rebellion. It was all. right, perhaps, to emancipate the slaves, although the right to hold them had been acknowledged before. But it is not right to make slaves of white men, even though they may have been former masters of blacks. This is but a change in a system of bondage that is rendered more odious and intolerable because it has been inaugurated in an enlightened, instead of a dark and uncivilised age."

It is but fair, however, to give a quotation representing the views of the Republicans, which we will take from Mr. Grant Duff's " Political Survey," published in 1868. It runs thus: - " The prevailing party, who have carried these measures, have an answer which at least deserves to be weighed.... Since you cannot protect the negro, they say, the only chance of his salvation is to give him political rights. These of themselves constitute a safeguard of his person and property. If the negro ticket is worth anything in elections, this consideration will generally supersede at once the hatred of race and the revengeful spirit of defeat. Whether a negro be or be not a man, in the true sense of the word, which is a subject of dispute in the South, it is at all events very certain that a voter is. When not only the enjoyment of party victory, but the more substantial delight of place and power, depend on the influence which may be obtained over him, he will be protected by an influence much stronger than either the sense of justice or the fear of justice."

There will be no difference of opinion as to the necessity that the blacks should be protected; but that object might surely have been obtained in another way. It might have been obtained by the military occupation of the former slave-holding states for a period sufficiently long to ensure that the emancipation which the war had wrought for the blacks was really and practically enjoyed by them, and that the new state of things produced by freedom was sincerely accepted by all classes. Of this, good men at the South would not have complained. What they did complain of was this. They said that under a show of obtaining protection for the blacks, but really in order to spare expense, and keep up the semblance of democratic government without its reality, the political, intellectual, and social civilisation of a great part of the South had been either ruined or retarded for several generations; tyranny of the vilest kind had been allowed to be exercised by instruments the most base and ignoble; and the dominant party at the North, not content with conquering their enemies, had steeped them to the lips in undeserved degradation.

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Pictures for Chapter XXVI, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 9 page 3

Salzburg
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Naval review at Spithead
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International Exhibition at Paris, 1867
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Marshal Bazaine
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