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Modern History Sourcebook:
Documents of Italian Unification, 1846-61

The Program of Count Cavour, 1846:
The history of every age proves that no people can attain a high degree of intelligence and morality unless its feeling of nationality is strongly developed. This noteworthy fact is an inevitable consequence of the laws that rule human nature. . . .Therefore, if we so ardently desire the emancipation of Italy--if we declare that in the face of this great question all the petty questions that divide us must be silenced--it is not only that we may see our country glorious and powerful but that above all we may elevate her in intelligence and moral development up to the plane of the most civilized nations. . . .This union we preach with such ardor is not so difficult to obtain as one might suppose if one judged only by exterior appearances or if one were preoccupied with our unhappy divisions. Nationalism has become general; it grows daily; and it has already grown strong enough to keep all parts of Italy united despite the differences that distinguish them.
Count Cavour:
Speech to the Piedmont Chamber of Deputies, 1858
:
After the disaster of Novara and the Peace of Milan [1849], two courses were open to us. We could, bowing to adverse fate, renounce all the aspirations which had guided King Carlo Alberto during the last years of his reign, seal ourselves up within our frontiers, think only of the material and moral interests of this country [Piedmont-Sardinia]. . . On the other hand, we could, while accepting all the hardships imposed by accomplished facts, keep alive the faith that inspired the great actions of King Carlo Alberto, and, while declaring our firm intention to respect treaties, maintain in the political sphere the enterprise which was defeated in the military sphere [Italian unification]. . . In recent years, therefore, we have tried to do away with the last hindrances to our country, and we have lost no occasion to act as the spokesman and defender of the other peoples of Italy. This policy found one such occasion in the Crimean War. . . .Our hopes were not disappointed in regard to the credit that Piedmont would acquire. As for the defense of the rights of Italy, that was our task in the course of the Congress of Paris. . . .it was an outstanding fact that the cause of Italy was for the first time supported by an Italian power.
Report of the meeting of Count Cavour with Emperor Napoleon III of France, 1858:
The Emperor started by saying that he had decided to support Sardinia with all his forces in a war against Austria, provided that the war was undertaken for a non-revolutionary cause, which could be justified in the eyes of diplomacy and still more of public opinion in France and Europe.
Speech of Vittorio Emanuele I, King of Italy, 1861:
Free, and nearly entirely united, the opinion of civilized nations is favorable to us; the just and liberal principles, now prevailing in the councils of Europe, are favorable to us. Italy herself, too, will become a guarantee of order and peace, and will once more be an efficacious instrument of universal civilization. . . .These facts have inspired the nation with great confidence in its own destinies. I take pleasure in manifesting to the first Parliament of Italy the joy I feel in my heart as king and soldier.

Source:

From: D. Zanichelli, ed., The Writings of Count Cavour (Bologna, 1892), II:4-50; The Annual Register or a View of the History and Politics of the Year 1858 (London, 1859), pp. 186-188; Count C. Arrivabene, Italy under Victor Emmanuel (London, 1862), I:349-353.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State Fullerton

This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.
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(c)Paul Halsall May1998
halsall@murray.fordham.edu