The Political Life and Letters of Cavour, 1848-1861

The Political Life and Letters of Cavour, 1848-1861

The Political Life and Letters of Cavour, 1848-1861

The Political Life and Letters of Cavour, 1848-1861

Excerpt

The following volume is a sequel to my Early Life and Letters of Cavour, which told the story of Cavour's preparation for political life. It is based mainly upon Cavour's correspondence and speeches and is designed to give an uninterrupted view of his diplomacy. This has entailed a certain sacrifice of dramatic interest, for the war of 1859 and the Garibaldian Epic of 1860 are dealt with only as viewed from the windows of the Foreign Office at Turin.

In the statesmanship of Cavour three distinct phases may be observed. The first, which extended from his appointment as Minister of Commerce in 1850 to the close of the Congress of Paris in 1856, was characterized by an attempt to solve the Italian problem by diplomacy. The restoration of economic prosperity at home and the recovery of the national prestige abroad were the first objectives aimed at. Cavour worked to shift the moral support of Europe from Austria to Italy, and by his alliance with France and England in the Crimea and his influence with Napoleon at the Congress of Paris, so far succeeded that Austria emerged from the Congress almost isolated in Europe, while the cause of Italy became a European problem. All hopes, however, of a solution by peaceful methods proved vain. Nothing could be done without revising the Treaty of Vienna, and the nerves of Europe, badly frayed by the events of 1848, would stand no tampering with the settlement upon which the whole political structure of Europe rested.

Cavour had always believed war to be inevitable, and after the failure of the Congress of Paris to do anything for Italy, his diplomacy entered its second phase, which was to fight intervention with intervention and to make war on Austria in alliance with France. The result was . . .

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