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We believe, then, that in order to prevent the possibility of a reverse, and, at the same time, not to weaken the army on other points, France ought not to send a large army into Italy.
To second the efforts of the Italians with success, numerous forces would not be needed. It would suffice, in the first instance, that, imitating the English debarkation in Sicily-(but more faithful to their engagement than the British Cabinet)—the French Government should say to the Italians ;-—" People of Northern, Middle, and Southern Italy,- we have seen you, at different periods, by your own efforts, and without foreign aid, overcome your absolute Governmeats and give yourselves liberal institutions ; your princes would seek in vain, even among their well-paid troops, a single Italian soldier who would willingly embrace their cause. They have had the başeness to call in foreigners to their aid. The yoke, or, to say the least, the interested protection of Austria, was more dear to them than their people's love. But the moment is arrived when we can no longer tolerate any such intervention ; our interest and our sympathy alike compel us to interfere.”
The effect which such a declaration would produce on the minds of the Italians, an Italian alone can appreciate. It is even unnecessary to ask their sentiments. Austria herself has expressed them, when she sent her troops into Piedmont to replace on its absolute throne the Sardinian dynasty, on which the Piedmontese had imposed a constitution.
The Pope and the King of the Two Sicilies have expressed them, when they called Austria to their assistance ;—when the Austrian army evacuated these countries, these princes, by hiring Swiss soldiers at an exorbitant price (thus plunging their country in misery), proclaimed to the world the aversion which their subjects felt to arbitrary government.
As a pledge of the fulfilment of her promise, and as a means to render it efficacious, France need only station 30,000 men on the Alps, in a fortified camp, and at the same time land 2,000 more in one
of Lombardy, we are far from partaking the opinion which the Northern courts endeavour to establish; they believe that the French owed their former successes only to republican enthusiasm ; or, later, to the genius of Napoleon. We were very young when the political vicissitudes of our country made us combat in the ranks of those astonishing French legions, whose impetuous onset was sustained longer than appears credible; thus we could never want confidence in the French armies, and Constantine is there to tell of their recent bravery. Lieut.-Gen. Fleury, on returning from Africa, expressed to us the lively satisfaction he had felt on seeing several foreign officers, witnesses of the brilliant valour of his young soldiers, who braved danger with an intrepidity worthy the heroes of Marengo. Fleury added, that at the assault of Constantine, the French soldiers recalled to his recollection the energetic ardour which the light-armed soldiers of Italy had displayed in Catalonia in the hour of danger, during the first campaigns of the Empire in that country. Yet the towns which were the birth-places of those brave soldiers, who, for the glory of the Italian name, lavished their lives in distant countries, are now groaning under a foreign yoke ; and the sons and nephews of these heroic men, compelled at this moment to serve under a hated standard, are disgraced by the whip, or the law which exposes them to that degrading punishment; and hitherto the French have tranquilly regarded the ambition of this enemy of Italy, who was also so fatal to the Empire, and might again become so to the constitutional monarchy which has emanated from the French people.
of the Sicilian provinces. More than half the Sardinian troops would join the French army on the Alps : and the landing of 2,000 French soldiers in Sicily would, in a few days, rouse to arms the whole population of Italy between Bologna and Palermo. Can this be doubtful, since it was seen that, in 1820 and 1831, these provinces armed themselves, and gave themselves institutions without the aid of France, nay, what is more, against the wishes of the Government of France.
After these results, the appearance of some French ships of war before Genoa, would make that place declare itself for the Italian cause. We who know, who are compelled to know, the spirit of the people in Italy, --instead of fearing that such rapid results would be doubtful,-rather apprehend that many towns, still guarded by Austrian bayonets, would not have patience to await the favourable moment, and would expose themselves to the vengeance of the common enemy.
In the space of a month, the twelve millions of Italians beyond the Po, would have organized 120,000 soldiers, of which 40,000 picked men, without horses, artillery, or arms, would be sent to Toulon, in a hundred large galleys. France would furnish this corps with artillery, arms, and horses, and dispose them either on the Rhine or the Alps.
In our own days, we have seen the Italians proceed more rapidly than this. . Thus, in 1800, those who entered the ranks of the First Consul, when they arrived at Mont St. Bernard, -where, with the mind, rather than the eye, they viewed the country for which they were about to combat—they hastened onwards without inquiring whether they should find any other nourishment than the herbs growing in the vale of Valdovia-other roads than the apparently inaccessible mountains covered with snow-or other hosts than the Austrians in arms, who awaited them at Varillo to obstruct their passage.
By following the plan proposed, France, without compromising her army, would find it augmented by 70,000 men from Piedmont and the South of Italy. These combined forces should station themselves between the Alps and Genoa, without any anxiety for the Italians beyond the Po, who would be occupied with their own organization, and without any fear of the progress of the enemy,
for reasons which we are about to explain.
What would be the conduct of Austria, occupied at once in keeping in check the Venetian provinces and Piedmont, ever ready to rise against her? Would she attack the French on the Alps, or march upon Genoa ? In either case, it would be Austria who would now take the bull by the horns. Would the Austrians pass the Po? If they dared to undertake such a campaign, the Italians would allow them to advance to Abruzzo, to Gaëta, even to Naples. But such a supposition is inadmissible; for in this case, the Franco-Italian army would not advance to Milan,-it would do better,—it would disembark a portion of its army in Tuscany, and the enemy would be taken in flank, having the population on all sides against them.
One may rather suppose, that the Austrians would hold themselves on the defensive in Lombardy. In this case, would not Middle Italy take possession of Venice, and from thence menace Trieste and all the Adriatic coast? for the Italians of the South, either with their own ships, or aided by the French navy, would be superior to the Austrians by sea.
In order to demonstrate that Austria possesses forces more than sufficient to carry on the war in Italy, it may be urged that, in 1814, while engaged in combating the French army, commanded by Beauharnois, in Italy, she sent another army into France. But at that time, the Austrians in Italy, instead of fearing the attacks of 12,000,000 of Italians beyond the Po, had the Sicilians and the English, under Lord Wm. Bentinck, on their side, besides Joachim, King of Naples, and his army; they occupied only a few provinces in Lombardy, and the French army which opposed them was not numerous. In the circumstances we are now supposing, the situation of the Austrians in Italy would be much more difficult.
The Italians of the South, being masters of the Adriatic, might either harass the enemy in all directions in Lombardy, or menace them in their empire, on the side of Istria or Dalmatia. So that Austria would have something else to do than to attack France, or assist her enemies with troops in a general war. Under these circumstances, the French would perceive the advantage to themselves of not having to encounter the Austrians on the banks of the Rhine.
As for Italy, if once the South, the country between the Po and the river Genes and Piedmont, either wholly or in part, should have entered into the Italian system, her independence would be assured. They might combat the enemy, not only as we have already shown, on the side of Ravenna, Venice, and Dalmatia, but they might man@uvre on the side of Genoa ;-in fine, their troops, who would have combated with the French troops, and their divisions which had fought on the Adriatic shores, would march against the enemy in Lombardy, and would maintain that brilliant reputation which they so justly acquired during the empire.
We have developed our idea sufficiently to prove to the French, that Italian independence might be obtained at no great sacrifice, and without compromising the French army; that this enterprise could not fail of success; and that this success would be of indisputable advantage to both nations. For independent Italy would establish a just balance between the constitutional and the absolute Governments of Europe. If Italy were free, France would no longer be isolated, or subject to continual alarms from her Northern neighbours.
But if the material interests of the moment blind France to her actual position with regard to the Northern Powers, and make her lose sight of this vital question ;-if, instead of France, Great Britain should be willing to undertake an expedition, so conformable to her true interests, so worthy her high political reputation—which would at once raise her in her own estimation, and make the world forget the wrongs which her prolonged Tory government has inflicted on foreign nations ;should the British Government, by adopting Canning's views, prove to mankind, that, by increasing their liberty at home, they can still better prove the energy of a Cromwell government abroad ;-if England, in fine, would declare herself for Italian independence, she might realize it as completely, and, perhaps, more promptly than France.
Besides, the British nation, without being compelled, like France, (as we have already shown,) to assist Italy for the sake of her own
preservation, would nevertheless reap more benefit from this, than she has hitherto derived from any other European alliance.
We need not point out to England the spot on which she should commence her operations, for she wants no instruction; she knows that Sicily yearns to receive her. The Sicilians have much to forgive the British Government, but they would forget the unjust egotism of the Tories, and hail with joy the British flag, under a truly national Cabinet.
The appearance of English vessels on their coasts would decide the Sicilians to declare against their absolute government, as speedily as a courier would make the tour of the island.* The news of this movement in Sicily could scarcely reach the southern mainland, before the standard of Italian independence would float in Calabria, in Abruzzo, and Romagna. Even lately, the feeble and undecided manifestations of Cutano flew with the rapidity of lightning, and was re-echoed from the banks of the Tronto. Genoa, as well as Italy beyond the Po, would speedily embrace the cause of liberty; and France, having an eye on the Rhine and Savoy, would not allow such a favourable occasion to escape.
But what would be the conduct of Austria in the midst of this commotion? If she advanced southward, it would be a piece of good fortune for the Italians. The enemy would find them, not as in 1821, not only abandoned by all Europe, but having all Europe against them; for both France and England sent their squadrons to Naples, with intentions hostile to the principles the nation had already proclaimed, and which foreign Governments would not admit. What a difference between seeing oneself at war with the whole of Europe, and being protected by England, with Sicily as a citadel of retreat; and France, who in 1821 sent thirty-six millions of francs to Austria, to enable her to march on Naples,-to see her now disposed to fall on the enemies of Italy if they passed the Po. What courage would not such an auxiliary inspire in the Italians. For supposing France unwilling to take the initiative; war once seriously commenced between Austria and Italy, France could not long remain a calm spectator of a contest between her friends and enemies, in interest and sympathies. A contest of which the issue would so powerfully influence her own future destiny.
It results from this, that the Austrian army would not be allowed to pass the Po; and that the Italians of the South, not having the advantage of engaging the enemy in those favourable positions which the inequality of the soil between Romagna and Calabria presents, must in the first instance harass the enemy, and then engage them face to face,
The rest would be chiefly accomplished in the manner already pointed out, supposing Italy assisted by France. The Italians, at the commencement of their operations, supported by the English fleet, would take possession of Venice: masters of the Adriatic, they would menace and harass Austria, sometimes on her own territory, sometimes in Lombardy, never allowing her a moment's repose.
* To those who desire to know the real spirit of the people of Sicily, we will say, that lately, when the cholera broke out in that island, the inhabitants profited by the embarrassments of the Government to revolt against their absolute rulers. On this occasion, the want of general combination was the cause of failure. A great number of citizens were executed ; as if the cholera had not carried off victims enough in this unhappy island, which is still plunged in disorder and misery.
The better to effect the moral discipline of the Italian army, it might be expedient, in the first instance, to let them engage in the Austrian provinces, washed by the sea; for it is in the nature of military men to learn the art of war better when far from their homes.
Hungary might, perhaps, profit by Austria's embarrassments, when she was thus attacked by a people, who have no other ambition than to defend their liberties against a Government, which is also endeavouring to destroy Hungarian liberty.
The Italian troops, once organized and accustomed to an uninterrupted war of detail, it would be time to attack the Austrians in their positions. This decisive movement should be made from Genoa. Then would the Piedmontese justify the reputation they enjoy, of brave soldiers and inveterate enemies to the Austrian name. The junction of the Italian forces, right of the Po, with those of Piedmont, would be the coup de grace to the Austrian army in Italy.
We frequently pass over the intervals which separate a proposition from the means employed to attain its execution; because we do not here propose to trace, either a plan of campaign, or a system of organization for the Italian army. These particulars have been treated of by the writer in a preceding publication.
But it may easily be seen, after what we have said here, that England would undertake neither a rash nor an expensive expedition, by assisting the Italians to regain their independence.
Nevertheless, if the hard fate of our country makes us think that it would not be a weakness on their parts, to imitate the United States of America, who invoked foreign aid against an enemy from whom they were separated by the Atlantic; if the present position of Italy makes us judge it useful, or necessary, to point out to France and England the best method of assisting us, and to demonstrate that this assistance would be in uniformity with their own interests : do not, therefore, suppose for an instant, - Italian people,—that we want confidence in your determined will, or in your energy. We have shown, in another work, how Italy alone might conquer her independence. We have pointed out how this object may be obtained by a population of twenty-four millions of inhabitants; in a country, where the soil is peculiarly adapted to defensive warfare, and in a climate which communicates to its inhabitants that elasticity and intelligence, for which, even in the most unfortunate periods of their history, they have ever been remarkable.
When we inhabited our native land, when we had a lever in our hands, we did not think of writing ;—we consulted not the dispositions of foreign Governments towards our country ;-we sought not to know if their sympathies were with us. We were occupied in endeavouring to turn the good qualities of our countrymen to the best account, in embuing them with those ideas of nationality most suited to silence that fatal egotism which rules and humiliates mankind.
If on the subject of the independence of their country and its political institutions, the princes who rule Italy were of the same mind as the people, we will not say a Manfred, or the father of that hero;