Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

Intoxicated with our first victories, improvident for the future, we forgot the idea revealed by God to those who suffered ; and God has punished our forgetfulness by deferring our triumph. The Italian movement, my countrymen, is, by decree of Providence, that of Europe. We arise to give a pledge of moral progress to the European world. But neither political fictions, nor dynastic aggrandizements, nor theories of expediency, can transform or renovate the life of the peoples. Humanity lives and moves through faith ; great principles are the guiding stars that lead Europe towards the future. Let us turn to the graves of our martyrs, and ask inspiration of those who died for us all, and we shall find the secret of victory in the adoration of a faith. The angel of martyrdom and the angel of victory are brothers; but the one looks up to heaven, and the other looks down to earth; and it is when, from epoch to epoch, their glance meets between earth and heaven, that creation is embellished with a new life, and a people arises from the cradle of the tomb,-evangelist or prophet.

Love, young men, love and venerate the ideal. The ideal is the Word of God. High above every country, high above humanity, is the country of the spirit, the city of the soul, in which all are brethren who believe in the inviolability of thought and in the dignity of our immortal soul; and the baptism of this fraternity is martyrdom. From that high sphere spring the principles which alone can redeem the peoples. Arise for the sake of these, and not from impatience or suffering or dread of evil. Anger, pride, ambition, and the desire of material prosperity, are arms common alike to the peoples and their oppressors, and even should you conquer with these to-day, you would fall again to-morrow; but principles belong to the peoples alone, and their oppressors can find no arms to oppose them. Adore enthusiasm, the dreams of the virgin soul, and the visions of early youth, for they are a perfume of paradise which the soul retains in issuing from the hands of its Creator. Respect above all things your conscience; have upon your lips the truth implanted by God in your hearts, and, while laboring in harmony, even with those who differ with you, in all that tends to the emancipation of our soil, yet ever bear your own banner erect and boldly promulgate your own faith.

Such words, young men, would the martyrs of Cosenza have spoken, had they been living amongst you; and here, where it may be that, invoked by our love, their holy spirits hover near us, I call upon you to gather them up in your hearts and to make of them a treasure amid the storms that yet threaten you ; storms which, with the names of our martyrs on your lips and their faith in your hearts, you will overcome.

God be with you, and bless Italy !

COUNT CAMILLO DI CAVOUR (1810-1861)

THE REGENERATOR OF ITALY

[ocr errors]

T is not as an orator that Cavour ranks high, but as a statesman,
an able and energetic controller of national affairs.

Yet, though not looked on as an eloquent speaker, he could, on occasion, deliver himself pointedly and effectively. As a leader in the movement for the unification of Italy, Cavour was one of the great statesmen of modern times. While the king reigned, the minister ruled—a dictator in position and the power of bending all to his will. The first important step taken by Cavour was to commit Sardinia to the Crimean war. By his management of this he greatly increased the power and prestige of the Sardinian kingdom. The revolutionary work of Garibaldi was encouraged by him, and by taking part in it at the critical moment, he brought about the unity of Italy and the crowning of Victor Emmanuel as the king of the whole country. Then, worn out by the strain, he died, a few months only after his life work was completed.

[ocr errors]

ROME THE CAPITAL OF ITALY [Cavour's natural inclination would have been to make his native Turin the capital of united Italy. But he felt that, for historic and sentimental rcasons, Rome was the only capital to be considered. This conviction he clearly conveyed in the fo'lowing remarks.)

Rome should be the capital of Italy. There can be no solution of the Roman question without the acceptance of this premise by Italy and by all Europe. If any one could conceive of a united Italy with any degree of stability, and without Rome for its capital, I would declare the Roman question difficult, if not impossible, of solution. And why have we the right, the duty, of insisting that Rome shall be united to Italy? Because without Rome as the capital of Italy, Italy cannot exist.

COUNT CAMILLO DI CAVOUR

629

This truth being felt instinctively by all Italians, being asserted abroad by all who judge Italian affairs impartially, needs no demonstration, but is upheld by the judgment of the nation.

And yet, gentlemen, this truth is susceptible to a very simple proof. Italy has still much to do before it will rest upon a stable basis ; much to do in solving the grave problems raised by her unification ; much to do in overcoming all the obstacles which time-honored traditions oppose to this great undertaking. And if this end must be compassed, it is essential that there be no cause of dissidence, of failure. Until the question of the capital of Italy is determined, there will be endless discords among the different provinces.

It is easy to understand how persons of good faith, cultured and talented, are now suggesting, some on historical, some on artistic grounds, and also for many other reasons, the advisability of establishing the capital in some other city of Italy. Such a discussion is quite comprehensible now, but if Italy already had her capital in Rome do you think this question would be even possible? Assuredly not. Even those who are now opposed to transferring the capital to Rome, if it were once established there would not dream of removing it. Therefore it is only by proclaiming Rome the capital of Italy that we can put an end to these dissensions among ourselves.

I am grieved that men of eminence, men of genius, men who have rendered glorious service to the cause of Italian unity, should drag this question into the field of debate, and there discuss it with (shall I say it) with puerile arguments. The question of the capital, gentlemen, is not determined by climate, by topography, nor even by strategical considerations. If these things affected the selection, I think I may safely say that London would not be the capital of England, nor, perhaps, Paris of France. The selection of the capital is determined by great moral rea

It is the will of the people that decides this question touching them so closely.

In Rome, gentlemen, are united all the circumstances, whether historical, intellectual or moral, that should determine the site of the capital of a great State. Rome is the only city with traditions not purely local. The entire history of Rome from the time of Cæsar to the present day is the history of a city whose importance reaches far beyond her confines; of a city destined to be one of the capitals of the world. Convinced, profoundly convinced, of this truth, I feel constrained to declare it solemnly to you and to the nation, and I feel bound to appeal this matter to the patriotism of every citizen of Italy, and to the representatives of her most eminent cities, that discussions may cease, and that he who represents the

sons.

630

COUNT CAMILLO DI CAVOUR

nation before other powers may be able to proclaim that the necessity of having Rome as the capital is recognized by all the nation. I think I am justified in making this appeal even to those who, for reasons which I respect, differ with me on this point. Yet more; I can assume no Spartan indifference in the matter. I say frankly that it will be a deep grief to me to tell my native city that she must renounce resolutely and definitely all hope of being the seat of government.

Yes, gentlemen, as far as I am personally concerned, it is no pleasure to go to Rome. Having little artistic taste, I feel sure that in the midst of the splendid monuments of ancient and modern Rome I will lament the plain and unpoetic streets of my native town. But one thing I can say with confidence: knowing the character of my fellow-citizens; knowing from actual facts how ready they have always been to make the greatest sacrifices for the sacred cause of Italy; knowing their willingness to make sacrifices when their city was invaded by the enemy, and their promptness and energy in its defence; knowing all this, I have no fear that they will uphold me when, in their name and as their deputy, I say that Turin is ready to make this great sacrifice in the interests of united Italy.

I am comforted by the hope-I may even say the certainty-that when Italy shall have established the seat of government in the eternal city, she will not be ungrateful to this land which was the cradle of liberty ; to this land in which was sown that germ of independence which, maturing rapidly and branching out, has now reached forth its tendrils from Sicily to the Alps.

I have said and I repeat: Rome, and Rome only, should be the capital of Italy.

[ocr errors]

PRINCE OTTO VON BISMARCK (1815-1898)

THE MAN OF BLOOD AND IRON

[ocr errors]

EVER has Europe had a political magnate of more dictatorial

disposition, indomitable persistence, and devotion to one idea,

than the great German Chancellor, Otto Edward Leopold, Prince Von Bismarck-Schönhausen. We give his full title, but Bismarck alone is the name by which he is and is destined to be known. His one idea was to revive the German Empire, under the leadership of Prussia. The Holy Roman Empire, once a very powerful organization, under German supremacy, had passed from existence during the Napoleonic period. Bismarck did not wish to revive this, but to form an empire confined to the German States. Appointed Primeminister in 1862, he brought about the war with Denmark in 1864, and with Austria in 1866, followed by alliances between Prussia and the other large German States, and the North German Confederation, composed of twenty-two States. Then, in 1870, came the war with France, followed by the union of all the German States under King William of Prussia, who was crowned Emperor of Germany at Versailles in 1871. Such was the great work of Bismarck's life. Created Prince and Chancellor in 1866, he remained Chancellor of the Empire till 1890. But the new Emperor, William II., was not the man to submit to a dictator, and Bismarck resigned, to dwell in private life for a number of years, a caustic critic of the imperial measures. A formal reconciliation between the Emperor and the “ Man of Blood and Iron” took place in 1894.

LOYALTY TO PRUSSIA [The Imperial crown had been offered to the King of Prussia at an earlier date, but declined. This was after the revolution of 1848, when a German parliament was established and a feeble form of union formed. In the following year the crown

« PreviousContinue »