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Italo-Roman War - 1860

Civil war broke out between Naples and Sicily. Sardinia and Piedmont, under Victor Emmanuel and his Minister, Cavour, now took the lead. The cabinet of Vienna, harassed by repeated memorials on the subject of their tyranny in Lombardi, complained to Europe that Piedmont was a standing menace to Italian peace, withdrew its minister from Turin, and demanded the disarmament of the Sardinian kingdom. Louis Napoleon now prepared himself for war. On January 1, 1859, Vittorio Emmanuele opened parliament with a speech which declared the coming struggle: "We are not insensible to the cry of suffering that rises to us from so many parts of Italy." The words Grido di dolore were understood to be the watchword of the war. France became the ally of Sardinia and Piedmont in 1859.

In spite of attempts at mediation by Great Britain, Austria presented an ultimatum, April 23, 1859. In the early summer of 1860 the French crossed the Alps. The puppets of Parma, Tuscany, and Modena fled, as usual, before the gathering storm - this time never to return. The battles of Magenta (June 4th) and Solferino (June 24th) opened Lombards to the French and Sardinian troops, as far as the Quadrilateral of fortresses protecting Venice. There Louis Napoleon sheathed his sword. He met the emperor Francis Joseph at Villa Franca, and, without consulting his allies, agreed to an armistice. At Plombieres he had declared that he meant to free Italy from the Alps to the Adriatic. But now he agreed upon the Mincio as the future boundary between Sardinia and Austria. Venice was not to lie liberated. Terrible was the disappointment of the Piedmontese, who had made vast sacrifices for this campaign, and who felt that their king had been insulted.

By the Peace of Villa Franca in July, followed by the Treaty of Zurich, November 10, 1859, Austria; ceded Lombardy but rIot Venice. Tuscany, Parma Modena, and Romagna were united to Piedmont by their own vote. Yet Louis Napoleon was incapable of more. He knew himself to be no general, and he had good reason to be certain that, if he pushed Austria too far, Prussia would take up arms and carry war to France upon the Rhine. Moreover, the gain to Italy proved greater than at first appeared. Tuscany, Modena, Parma, and Romagna declared their determination to join the kingdom. In March, i860, the annexation of Central Italy to Sardinia was effected, and approved by the French emperor.

It now appeared that, according to a hitherto secret understanding with Cavour, Louis Napoleon was to take Savoy and Nice as the price of his assistance. This sacrifice of their ancient home, the cradle of their dynasty, the house of Savoy made to the Italian cause. But it was long before the Italians forgave Cavour. He had to bear reproaches from all quarters, especially from Ciaribaldi, who was never tired of repeating, "That man has made me a foreigner in my own house."

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:28:14 ZULU