Rassegna storica del Risorgimento

1860 ; GLADSTONE WILLIAM EWART
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QJLADSTONE ON THE ITALIAN QUESTION
JANUARY 1860
On January 3, 1860 Gladstonc wrote in his diary: I aat up fcill 2 A. M. with iy letter to Ld. J. Russell about Italy, and had an alinosi sleepless night for it. *) In this lettor, here published for the first timef Gladstone discusses the proposed Anglo-Freneh defensive alliance, and states at length his views on the situation in Italy.
In the early months of 1859, once Napoleon III's New Year's Day alga.' tùie had awakened Europe to the inuninence of a war between France and Austria over Italy, English policy strove frantically for peace. Malmesburj'i the Tories* Foreign Seeretary, sent Lord Cowley (English Ambassador in Paris) on a special mission to Vienna, and at the last moment invoked the mediation protocol of the Treaty of 1856. Then, having failed to prevent the war, England declared herself neutra!. But, as Gladstone points out, by these eflfbrts, though uusuccessful, she had abandoned her pretence of isolationism and accepted responsibility in the Italian Question.
The Tory Government's policy at first won general approvai: cren Lord Palmerston took his stand on the sane ti ty of treaties. England was stili the advocate of Italiana' freedom, but she wanted peace. Moreovér, almost no one trusted the French Emperor's professions of disinterest: We need not cnlarge, thundered the Times, on the grossness of the artifice which seeks, after so many ycars, to paini upon us the Bmperor Louis Napoleon as the enemy of any abuse however inveterate, or the champion of any reforni however necessary. 2) French support in fàct compromised the Italian. cause in English eyes: The sympathies of the country, wrote Lord Derby to the Queen, are neither with France nor with Austria, but were it not for the intervention of France, they would be general in favour of Italy. 3)
As Gladstone told Cobden, it was... the authority and zeal of Lord Pal­merston and Lord John Russell in this question, that kindled the country.4) They were helped by Austria's aggression. During the general èlection (April-May) Palmerston made what the Queen calledcbad and mischievous speeches, not at ali in accordance with the feclings of the country, 5) and Russell took a similar line. And when Parliament met, the two Old Italian Masters sank their differences to defeat the Tories on a motion of no confidence, Gladstone accepted office under Palmerston: The over-whelming interest and weight of the Italian Question, and of our foreign policy in connection with it, joined to my entire mistrust of the former government in relation to it, led me to decide without one moment's he3i-
lì **<*, Lif" f Gladstone, London, Macmillan, 1903, vcd. II, p. 14. *) The Times, January 10, 1859.
a 3> tÈ B* ami VISCOUNT ESHEB, Ltuer, of Qucm Vittori* (Jfl37-67), London, Murray, J908, voi. m, p. 337. Juan 2, 1859. *-ooaon,
*) MDULBY, op. dt voi. II, p. 13.
5) BKKSON and Esima, qp. e., voi. HI, p. 332. May 3, 1859.