The Life and Times of Cavour - Vol. 1

The Life and Times of Cavour - Vol. 1

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The Life and Times of Cavour - Vol. 1

The Life and Times of Cavour - Vol. 1

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Excerpt

The sources for a biography of Cavour are exceptionally rich. Besides eleven volumes of his parliamentary speeches, there are some dozen others containing collections of his letters, his early. diary and autobiographical notes, and three volumes of his leaders, essays, and reviews. In addition, many of his contemporaries have left memoirs in which they describe their relations with him. A considerable number of his diplomatic papers have been published: for the new Kingdom of Italy was well-advised, immediately on its creation, in permitting many documents to be edited, which, in the ordinary course, would have been locked up for half a century or more. The overturn of the Second French Empire also caused the release of testimony which would otherwise still be withheld. Nicomede Bianchi, in his Storia Documenrata, had the great advantage, in chronicling the period from 1850 to 1861, of knowing not merely the sources which he printed, but how to interpret them in the light of documents which he kept back. He knew, also, Cavour's purposes. Still more illuminating to the biographer of Cavour are the voluminous introductions which Luigi Chiala prefixed to the six volumes of Letters. Senator Chiala's unrivaled familiarity with the written evidence was supplemented by an inexhaustible store of personal recollections and of anecdote, and by acquaintance, in many cases most intimate, with Cavour's colleagues and followers.

Among the' supporters of the Monarchy who worked with Cavour, Ricasoli is most amply represented: but the biographies of Arese and Lanza contain much vital material; the volumes of Massimo d'Azeglio's correspondence and of Minghetti's Memoirs, though incomplete, are indispensable; and there are lives, more or less useful, of many of the lesser men. We still lack, however, Rattazzi's and Farini's Papers, as well as adequate biographies of those important politicians.

The writings of Mazzini, on the other hand, are being published in an edition which promises to exceed in vastness all the printed . . .

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