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celebrated code of laws and a generally enlightened system of government did much to improve the condition of the country. But the burdens of the conscription and of heavy taxes (not with a view to national freedom, but for the prosecution of wars arising from the insatiable ambition of the Emperor), rendered the Italians weary of a rule which was after all but that of a foreign power. The other nations of Europe viewed this de facto possession of Italy by France as unjust in itself and as dangerously increasing French preponderance. Nor can this discontent of Italy and of Europe be deemed other than just and natural.
Upon the fall of Napoleon, the treaties of Vienna professed to undo that which had been done in Italy by the French revolutionary wars and those of the empire. The Neapolitan Bourbons were restored to the thrones of Naples and Sicily. The Papal authority was re-established throughout the States of the Church. The house of Hapsbourg-Lorraine was reinstated in Tuscany. The kingdom of Sardinia, incorporated into the French empire by Napoleon, again appeared as an independent state. Lombardy was replaced under the sway of Austria.
To this general rule of restoring the old order of things, an exception, deserving particular notice, was made in the case of Venice. For centuries she had been an independent republic, and was so still in 1796, when Bonaparte commanded the French republican armies in Northern Italy. Having revolutionised the Venetian government, he established over it a so-called Protectorate. In the following year he handed over Venice and all her territory, as far as the Adige, to Austria, by the treaty of Campo-Formio, which was signed on the 17th October 1797. His government had, in a despatch dated the 29th September, expressly ordered him not to give up Venice to Austria, and had spoken of the “shame of abandoning" to that power the Queen of the Adriatic. The Directory, however, after some hesitation, ratified this act of their general, who thus, to suit his own purpose, blotted out the old republic from the map of Europe, and incorporated her with the Austrian empire.
Again, by the treaty of Presbourg, in 1805, Napoleon separated Venice and all its territory from Austria, and so united Venetia to that northern Italian kingdom, over which he placed, as viceroy, his stepson, Eugène Beauharnais.
Had the statesmen assembled at Vienna in 1815 been true to their own principle of undoing the work of their arch-enemy Napoleon, they would have restored, if not the Venetian republic, at least an independent state of Venice. Instead of doing so, they united Venice to Lombardy, thereby creating the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom, which they gave to Austria. Thus the republic of Venice was once again incorporated with that empire, and thus the statesmen who framed the treaties of Vienna renewed the flagrant act of robbery and injustice perpetrated at Campo-Formio by Bonaparte, of whose system they professed to be the uncompromising opponents.
This policy was rendered the more obviously unjust by the language addressed to the Italians in December 1813, and in March 1814, by the allied Austrian and English generals, who, while then endeavouring to drive the French from Italy, sought to win the Italians to their standard. The Austrian general, Count Nugent, commences his proclamation, “To the peoples of Italy,” dated Ravenna, 10th December 1813, with these words: “You have been sufficiently oppressed, -you have groaned beneath a yoke of iron. Our armies are come into Italy for your deliverance !” In his enthusiasm for Italian freedom he does not hesitate to add further on the following sentence: “You must all become an independent nation." General Bentinck, the commander of the English forces, in his proclamation dated Leghorn, 14th March 1814, declares, amongst other things, that “we do not ask you to come to us; we ask you to make good your own rights, and to be free!”
Yet the Austrian and English statesmen at Vienna, when they had full possession of Italy, disregarded those stirring promises of independence and freedom addressed by the generals of their allied sovereigns to the Italians, re-enacted Bonaparte's violent spoliation of Venice, and riveted at Vienna the chains forged at Campo-Formio. Thus were broken the promises of liberty held out to Italians when the allies sought to rouse them to arms against the French; and thus the special defenders of legitimist principles endorsed the lawless wrong of France's revolutionary general.
Surely these facts must have escaped the memories of English writers and speakers, when, after the conclu
sion of the war of 1859, they made Napoleon III. the object of their sarcasms and attacks, because he failed to carry out his promise to free Italy from the “Alps to the Adriatic.”
The Congress of Vienna effected, in fact, no other change in Italy than that of substituting for the rule of Napoleon the supremacy of Austria. Lombardy and Venetia were now hers. Entrenched within the famous Quadrilateral, her will was law to the petty Italian courts, each of whom aped the manners and customs of their powerful brethren of the Holy Alli
Such was the result brought about by the Austro-English allies, whose commander-in-chief, Count Nugent, had called upon you“ frank and courageous Italians to effect, arms in hand, the restoration of your prosperity and your country. You will do it so much the more effectually, as you will be aided to repulse whoever opposes this result. You must all become an independent nation.” Has Garibaldi himself ever asked for more? Are the legitimists of Europe aware that the demands of Italy's popular hero are but identical with the promises of the Austrian generalissimo ? Count Nugent's proclamation thus concludes: “Show your zeal for the public welfare, and your happiness will depend on your fidelity to those who love you and defend you, In a short time your lot will cause envy, your new condition will excite admiration.
By order of Count NUGENT.
“RAVENNA, December 10, 1813."
What that new condition did excite will best be gathered from the history of the next thirty years or more which terminated in the great uprising of 1848.
An acquaintance with the state of Italy, from 1815 to 1859, is absolutely necessary to all who would rightly understand how the formation of the present kingdom of Italy has been brought about. Without that knowledge, which alone gives the clue to the final result, nothing but blunders and confusion can ensue, arising, either from absolute ignorance or from mistaking some momentary or trivial circumstances (which may have had a temporary influence on the course of events) for the real causes which have resulted in the establishment of the Italian constitutional monarchy of which Victor Emmanuel is the chosen ruler. Such knowledge will also demonstrate clearly the reason why Venetians and Italians are unanimous in demanding that Venetia should become an integral portion of the kingdom of Italy.
The years which elapsed between the conclusion of the treaties of Vienna in 1815, and the era of Italian reforms and revolutions in 1847 and 1848, are amongst the saddest in the history of Italy. The courts avowed ultra theories of divine right, and carried out the complete repression of all popular demands. The arm of military power, sometimes their own, sometimes that of Austria, crushed every effort to oppose, or even mitigate, the severity of the rulers. The press was stifled by a rigid and benighted censorship. Arbitrary power of every kind was employed to restrain the dreaded