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


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The Italian Government, desirous of covering the seizure of Rome under a show of legality, ordered an appeal to be made to the people of the Papal territory, who were invited to vote on the question whether or not they approved of the annexation of Rome to the kingdom of Italy, the spiritual rights of the Pope being preserved. The voting took place on the 2nd October, with the following result: Ayes, 133,681; Noes, 1,507. The Italian Parliament met in December, and sanctioned the transfer of the capital from Florence to Rome. Victor Emmanuel made his public entry into Rome on the 31st December.

The Pope having refused the terms offered through the Count Ponza di San Martino, the following arrangements were made by the Italian Government, with the sanction of the Parliament, without consulting him. He was confirmed in the possession of his sovereign rights, allowed to retain his guards, and provided with an income of 3,255,000 francs (which, however, Pius IX. has never consented to accept). He was to keep the Vatican Palace (the Quirinal Palace being confiscated for the use of the King of Italy), the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, his residence at Castel Gandolfo, and their dependencies. Various provisions were added for the purpose of securing the freedom and inviolability of the Papal correspondence; and it was stated that the seminaries and other Roman Catholic institutions were to derive their authority from the Holy See alone, without any interference from the Italian educational authorities.

Spain, the unlucky causer of the deadly war which had broken out between France and Germany, though earnestly striving after repose and a settled government, failed to obtain it. In March a lamentable incident occurred. Don Henry of Bourbon, brother to the King Consort of Spain, had, for reasons known to himself, espoused the Republican cause, and was incensed against the Duke of Montpensier, the Queen's brother-in-law. who was supposed to be a candidate for the vacant throne. In a manifesto published on the 7th March, Don Henry warned the " French and Spanish conspirators " - at the head of whom he placed the Duke of Montpensier - " that in Spain the man of prestige and national veneration is the illustrious Espartero, and not this braggart of a French pastry-cook." The Duke, though no fire-eater, thought himself bound in honour to challenge the Prince to the combat; a duel took place near Madrid; three shots were exchanged, the adversaries approaching nearer each time, and at the third shot the Prince fell dead. Montpensier was tried by court-martial, and sentenced to a month's banishment, and to pay 6,000 dollars to the family of the Prince.

In May, the names of Espartero and Montpensier were formally before the Cortes as candidates for the throne. But Espartero soon after retired, on the ground of his advanced age; and Prim, whose influence was predominant in the Government, would not hear of the election of the Duke of Montpensier. In June, Queen Isabella abdicated in favour of her son Alfonso, the Prince of Asturias. The next month witnessed Prim's unsuccessful r attempt to secure the elevation to the throne of Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern. Not daunted by so many failures, Prim now turned his eyes again to the House of Savoy, and prevailed on the King of Italy to consent to the acceptance of the Spanish crown by his second son, the Duke of Aosta. In October, this arrangement was given out as completed, subject to the approval of the Cortes. On the 16th November, a formal vote was taken in the Cortes, and there appeared - for the Duke of Aosta, 191 votes; for the Federal Republic, 60; for Montpensier, 27; for a Unitarian Republic, 3. Supported by this decisive majority, Prim proceeded to make all the necessary preparations for the fitting reception of the new sovereign. The Duke and Duchess of Aosta embarked at Leghorn, and landed at Cartagena on the 30th December. They were received by Admiral Topete, and informed by him of a terrible crime which had just occurred in Madrid. On the 28th December, Marshal Prim, while going in his carriage from the Cortes to the Ministry of War, was fired at by some assassins (supposed to be Republican fanatics, to whom Prim was odious as the supporter of monarchy), and severely wounded in the arm and hand. The assassins made their escape. The wounds were at first not believed to be dangerous, but inflammation set in, and Prim expired on the night of the 30th December. When made aware of the rapid approach of death, he bade his friends adieu with composure, only expressing anxiety for the young king, whom he had been the chief agent in raising to the throne. The Cortes voted that Prim - who was but fifty-six years old when thus untimely cut off - had deserved well of his country, and that his family should be placed under the protection of the nation. If he had erred through ambition, the brave Prim was yet a true lover of his country, and a wise, courageous, and sagacious ruler; and at this critical juncture of her affairs, his death was to Spain an unspeakable and irreparable loss.

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

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