Lyttelton Times, Volume XV, Issue 857, 26 January 1861, Page 2
(From the ' Home News,' November 26.)
The history of Italy since the date of our last presents few incidents, but they are of the most momentous character. The first event to be re-, corded is a victory obtained by King Victor Emmanuel over the Neapolitan troops in Campana, midway between Teano arid Sesso, in the plain that separates Capua from the Garigliano. The result was disastrous for the Royalists who were compelled to fall back on the river, leaving the forces in Capua totally isolated. The occasion was not lost upon Garibaldi, who soon afterwards commenced the bombardment and, in due time, compelled the whole garrison to capitulate. The King subsequently crossed the river, and successfully effected the concentration of his troops on the left or southern bank. Garibaldi, thus delivered from the urgent necessities of the campaign, was enabled to direct his attention to the consolidation of his victories ; and the next incident in order of historical statement was the entry of King Victor Emmanuel into Naples, to receive the votes, and take possession of his new kingdom, with Garibaldi seated by hisside. There was great rejoicing and enthusiasm; and early the next morning, his glorious work done, Garibaldi, unattended, quietly took his departure for his naked rock on the island of Caprera. His withdrawal threw a sudden gloom over the city, which subsequent circumstances has deepened. In fact it must be acknowledged that there is great uneasiness in Naples, and that a reactionary movement is rapidly spreading through the bulk of the people. His Majesty, who is of a somewhat stern, if not a phlegmatic temperament, has not; „adapted _. himself io. the situation; he does not show himself as often as his Neapolitan subjects desire; arid the new appointments have not given satisfaction to the party by whose devotion the liberation of Italy has been achieved, and his Piedmontese Majesty raised to a pinnacle of glory which he could never have conquered for himself. The exclusion of the Mazzinians from all opportunities of public utility, however it may be partially justified on other grounds, is unwise and dangerous; but the nomination to the Lieutenancy of Sicily of Montezemolo, who was the Governor of Nice at the time of the annexation, jind J&e^tjroduciioji.of JL% . JParjna. Into_ the Ministry, are open affronts to Garibaldi. The liberal party—-that is the national party—cannot be expected to accept such appointments quietly; and we may anticipate demonstrations of some sort as the royal machinery begins to be put in working order. Indeed they have already begun. Five provinces of the Neapolitan territory are declared in a state of siege, the excuse for these repressive measures being the necessity of calming the popular mind in a period of transition. The proceeding which has given the greatest offence is the course that has been taken; with Garibaldi's followers. Those gallant fellows, who are the real liberators of Italy, instead of receiving some national mark of gratitude and honour, have been disbanded, with permission for such as choose to enter the Piedmontese army on condition that they bind themselves to two years' service, and to such as prefer to return home their travelling expenses are offered. This treatment has very naturally awakened much bitter feeling.
As for Garibaldi, after Having, single-handed, broken down the, Neapolitan tyranny, and relieved the Roman States of their clerical oppressors, he has gone at once, by choice, into close retirement. Every step of his progress has been marked by. a dignity, grandeur, and simplicity which, transcend the noblest examples of Roman story. But his career is not ended. His temporary withdrawal from the field, the final laurels of which he leaves to be gathered by the King he has himself made, is only a preparation for fresh and still more important campaigns. In his farewell proclamation, he calls upon his late companions in arms to hold themselves in readiness for the resumption of hostilities in March next, probably in February, He tells them that a million of men will be wantecl. one of those fiery exaggerations, for which due allowances must be made in cooler latitudes, but which will be appreciated at its true value by the eager combatants to whom it is addressed. These vast designs clearly point to Venetia and Rome. Garibaldi's ' mission' is avowedly unfinished until he has opened up Italy from the Alps to the Adriatic, and proclaimed the new kingdom from the summit of the Quirinal. We believe he will accomplish a purpose, which, in spite of unprecedented difficulties, he has hitherto pursued with a steadiness, resolution, and prudence from which we are justified in anticipating ultimate success.
Towards the seaboard, incidents of a different complexion have occurred. : As we had ventured to anticipate, the Sardinian admiral took up his station in front of Gaeta, and the first we heard of him was that he had opened a cannonade upon the royalists ' near' that place. But this report did not come alone. It was accompanied by a statement to the effect, that the cannonade had no sooner commenced than it was stopped by the interference of the French admiral, who, says the curt but unmistakeable telegram, 'despatched the frigate Descartes to stop the firing.' The Sardinian admiral expressed his regret at the course which the French admiral had taken, and without further parley withdrew his vessels, and sailed back to Naples. The explanation since given of this affair is, that the French admiral rather exceeded his orders, the whole object being to secure the exking's, personal safety. This flimsy excuse has deceived nobody.. But we shall probably never know the real cause of this strange and useless interference. Even if Franois be screened by the sea, he must at last fall by the land.
All our. items of intelligence from the neighbourhood of Gaeta show that the royal cause is reduced to the last extremity. A large body of Bourbon troops, amounting, it is said, to no less than 15,000, with 4,000 horses, and 32 guns, being somewhere outside Gaeta on the northern side, closely pressed by General Fanti's corps, and cut off from communication with the fortress, retreated rather than surrender, and were pursued by the Sardinians. In this strait the Royalists took refuge in the Papal States, entering by the road of Tereoina, and advanced about 25 miles,into the'interior, as far as Cisterna, where they were Btopped and disarmed
by the Papal and French troops. A dig. oussion has arisen between the French and Pied." montese government concerning thamattriel of war taken on this occasion. General Goyon refuses to give it up to the Piedmontese government, which he does not recognise as having any rights in thn matter, and he.also declines restoring ifc to Francis Ho holds it, apparently, until events shall havV finally decided the sovereignty of Naples, which France considers in suspense so long as there are " two Richards in the fieM."
Of the proceeding* olMsfee ex-King little is known and little can be knaijrn" till the explosion of the fortress about his ears shajU have cleared him out It is understood that his ex-Majesty has resolved to hold out to the last, and is consequently deter. mined to sacrifice the lives of the handful of troons left to him—if they will let him. Upon their con. currency in the hopeless prolongation of the siego everything depends at present. A plot against the King's life, and the lives of the members of his family, has been already detected, and three persons implicated in it have been executed. But it j a said that the conspiracy is so extensively laid that its ramifications cannot be traced, so that the hazard is not yet over. Nothing more probable Whilst Rome is burning, however, Nero fiddles At a moment when the wretched cause in which he he is embarked is exposed to imminent peril by treason from within and artillery from without Francis, late the Second, plays his fiddle in Gaeta' as gaily as ever, decorating General Goyon and Admiral Barbier de Tinari with the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Jannarius, just as if nothing were happening outside the walls to turn the pageant to dust and ashes. We are daily in expectation of receiving tidings of the catastrophe of this dismal burlesque. Some of the Bourbon troops have been beaten under the walls, and have either effected their escape into the fortress, or been taken prisoners, for /accounts differ on that point. The place has been invested on the land side; the besiegers are rapidly advancing their lines, and closing up round the doomed sanctuary of the last Bourbon king of the Italian blood; and nothing remains to complete the work,but the presence of Victor Emmanuel, who is hourly looked for. In the meanwhile, the' Dowager Queen, the head and front of all' this obstinacy, has gone to Rome with the King's children, his wife and brothers alone remaining with him.. His situation is becoming desperate. Within the last few days he is said to have burst a blood vessel.,
Rome maintains a discreet silence. There is hardly a stir in her solemn councils. We hear indeed, of stormy meetings of" the cardinals at which the question of withdrawing the Pope from Rome, and so giving up the game, has heen discussed, but nothing determined. Pending the solution of this intrinsic problem, the Roman Catholic world has been again urgently solicited for subscriptions for the support of his Holiness. The Roman Catholic world has not yet realised the appalling fact that his Holiness has been docked of a considerable portion of his revenues, and that the holy treasury is reduced to a condition very nearly bordering upon bankruptcy. It is out of this state of things that the question of flying or staying rises just now, assumes a practical character which it never had before. Prom whatever point of view the case of the Pope may be regarded, the prospect is equally discouraging. In Prance there is a rumour that the eldest son of the Church is about to take his Father's functions into his own hands. The Gallican Church is looking up again, and. talking about electing its own priests and bishops, and depositing the veto in the supreme discretion of the emperor, thus dispensing with the sanction and authority of the Pope altogether. Visibly the Pope's kingdom is rapidly ceasing to be of this world. If matters go on much longer at this rate, we must not be surprised to find the Vatican converted into a winter palace for Louis Napoleon. .
General Klapka, after visiting Turin, has appeared at Naples. There are whispers on his track which heighten the piospects of a lively spring. No less 50,000 Hungarian uniforms are said to be in 'progress amongst the array tailors of Turin, and an Hungarian brigade, based upon the corps that fought under Garibaldi, is about to be formed. If we connect these whispers with others that come to as from Germany, we shall be able to piece out a very tolerable speculation. It seems that attempts have been made to smuggle arms and ammunition through Prussia into Hungary and Poland, and that certain Hull and Newcastle colliers are charged by the Austrian officials with being engaged in the same trade. To, these reports, as helping us to a glimpse of what is probably in progress, may be added, the aspect presented by Warsaw, when the three sovereigns met there there the other day. The people were calm, and manifested no enthusiasm in the streets, and when the emperors went to the theatre, the boxes of the gentry were empty. These are signs not to be.mistaken. A year or two ago they would have foreboded nothing more than a straggling riot; but kings aud peoples have undergone a sea-change in the interval, and such indications can no longer be safely set down at their old value. .
The new Hungarian constitution, says a contemporary, has been baptized in blood. This is a terrible announcement, a little exaggerated in the expression, but true enough as to the fact. Conflicts have taken place in the streets of Pesth between the people and the Austrian soldiery, and, if the reports that have reached us be correct, the soldiers were the originators of the feud, and acted throughout with their habitual violence and brutality. The simple facts of the case seem to be that, after the first burst of credulous enthusiasm was over, the new constitution, when it came to be examined, was found to be defective in the principal features of concession which the people.had been led to expect, and a reaction took place. A general illumination was talked of, but General Benedek prudently discouraged it, apprehensive, no doubt, that it might provoke an opposition, and lead to serious results. Certain of the inhabitants, however, who were otherwise obnoxious to the popular party, did illuminate, and some mischievous boys broke their windows. This small expression of opinion, which might have been regarded as the first exercise of freedom under the new constitution, supplied a sufficient pretext for retaliation, aud the Austrians fell upon the people in the streets, and committed those savage excesses for which they have acquired so infamous a celebrity amongst the armies of Europe.
As far as anything is known of the curious touch-and-go meeting at Warsaw, nothing definitive has been done, except an agreement that it is not desirable to convene a congress on the Italian question. This may be described as a negation ot action, rather than action itself. The three sovereigns seem disposed to accept and leave things as they are in Italy. Count Rechberg has informed the diplomatic corps that Austria desired to know whether Russia and Prussia would recognize the new Italy; also what they would do if Austria were attacked by Sardinia, aided by another great Power, and what Prussia would do in the event of a war involving any of the territory of the Germanic Confederation. We are not in possession of the categorical answers of the Powers to these demands, but a circular is in preparation on the subjeot in Vienna which will probably give us.ample information. Austria herself has been abundantly explicit as to her own intentions. She is determined to do two very wise things—to main* tain her defensive policy, arid not to interfere with her. neighbours. -