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sure was brought to bear upon him by the English Government, and by o'her governments as well, to induce him to refrain from disturbing the peace of Europe. He was probably quite sincere in the assurances he repeatedly gave that he was doing his best to prevent a rupture with Austria; and he would possibly have given much to avoid the quarrel. The turn of his mind was such that he scarcely ever formed any resolution or entered into any agreement but the moment the step was taken he began to see reasons for wishing that he had followed a different course. In this instance it is evident that he started at the sound hinself had made. It was not, however, any longer in his power to guide events. He was in the hands of a stronger will and a more daring spirit than his own. In the career of Count Cavour our times have seen perhaps the most remarkable illustration of that great Italian statesmanship which has always appeared at intervals in the history of Europe. There may be very different opinions about the political morality of Cavour. Rather, indeed, may it be said that his strongest admirer is forced to invent a morality of his own, in order to justify all the political actions of a man who knew no fear, hesitation, or scruple. Cavour had the head of a Machiavelli, the daring of a Cæsar Borgia, the political craft and audacity of a Richelieu. He was undoubtedly a patriot and a lover of his country; but he was willing to serve his country by means from which the conscience of modern Europe, even as it shows itself in the business of statesmanship, is forced to shrink back. If ends were to justify means, then the history of United Italy may be the justification of the life of Cavour; but until ends are held to justify means one can only say that he did mar. vellous things; that he broke up and reconstructed political systems; that he made a nation; that he realized the dreams of Dante, and some of the schemes of Alexander VI., and that he accomplished all this for the most part at the cost of
other people, and not of Italians. Louis Napoleon was simply a weapon in the hands of such a man. Cavour knew precisely what he wanted, and was prepared to go all lengths and to run all risks to have it. When once the French Emperor had entered into a compact with him there was no escape from it.
Cavour did not look like an Italian; at least a typical Italian. He looked more like an Englishman. He reminded Englishmen oddly of Dickens's Pickwick, with his large forehead, his general look of moony good-nature, and his spectacles. That common-place homely exterior concealed unsurpassed force of character, subtlety of scheming, and a power of will.
Cavour was determined that France should fight Austria. If Louis Napoleon had shown any decided inclination to draw back, Cavour would have flung Piedmont single-handed into the fight, and defied France, after what had passed, to leave her to her fate. Louis Napoleon dared not leave Piedmont to her fate. He had gone too far with Cavour far that. The war between France and Austria broke out. It was over, one might say, in a moment. Austria had no generals; the French army rushed to success; and then Lous Napoleon stopped short as suddenly as he had begun. He had proclaimed that he went to war to set Italy free from the Alps to the sea; but he made peace on the basis of the liberation of Lombardy from Austrian rule, and he left Venetia for another day and for other arms. He drew back before the very serious danger that threatened on the part of the German States, who showed ominous indications of a resolve to make the cause of Austria their own if France went too far. He held his hand from Venetia because of Prussia ; seven years latter Prussia herself gave Venetia to Italy.
The English government had made futile attempts to thwart the outbreak of war. Lord Malmesbury had elaborated quires of heavy commonplace in the vain hope that
the great conflicting forces then let loose could be brought back into quietude by the gentle charm of plenteous platitude. Meanwhile the Conservative Government could not exactly live on the mere reputation of having given good advice abroad to which no one would listen. They had to do something more at home. They began to roll a tub. While Europe was aflame with war passion and panic, the Conservatives determined to try their hand at a Reform Bill. Mr. Disraeli, as leader of the House of Commons, knew that a Reform Bill was one of the certainties of the future. It suited him well enough to praise the perfection of existing institutions in his parliamentary and platform speeches ; but no one knew better than he that the Reform Bill of 1832 had left some blanks that must be, one day or another, filled up by some government. Lord John Russel had made an attempt more than once and failed. He had tried a Reform Bill in 1852, and lost his chance because of the defeat of the ministry on the Militia Bill; he had tried another experiment in 1854, but the country was too eager about war with Russia to care for domestic reform, and Lord Johu Russell had to abandon the attempt, not without an emotion which he could not succeed in concealing. Mr. Disraeli knew well enough that whenever Lord John Russel happened to be in power again he would return to his first love in politics, a Reform Bill. He knew also that a refusal to have anything to do with reform would always expose the Tories in office to a coalition of all the Liberal fractions against them. At present he could not pretend to think that his party was strong. The Conservatives were in office, but they were not in power. At any moment, if the Liberals chose, a motion calling for reform, or censuring the government because they were doing nothing for reform, might be brought forward in the House of Commons, and carried in the teeth of the Tory party. Mr. Disraeli had to choose between two dangers. He might risk all by refusing re. form; he might risk all by attempting reform. He thought on the whole the wiser course would be to endeavour to take possession of the reform question for himselt and his party.
The reappearance of Mr. Bright in politics stimulated no doubt this resolve on the part of the Conservative leader. We speak only of the one leader; for it is not likely that the Prime Minister, Lord Derby, took an active interest in the matter. Lord Derby had outlived political ambition, or he had had perhaps all the political success he cared for. There was not much to tempt him into a new reform campaign. Times had changed since his fiery energy went so far to stimulate the Whigs of that day into enthusia ‘m for the bill of Lord Grey. Lord Derby had had nearly all in life that such a man could desire. He had station if the highest; he had wealth and influence; he had fame is a great parliamentary debater. Now that Brougham had ceased to take any leading part in debate he had no rival in the House of Lords. He had an easy buoyant tempera. ment; he was, as we have said already, something if a scholar, and he loved the society of his Homer and his Horace, while he could enjoy out-door amusement as w ll as any Squire Western or Sir Hildebrand Osbaldisto ? of them all. He was a sincere man without any pretence, nd, if he did not himself care about reform, he was not likely to put on any appearance of enthusiasm about it. Nor did he set much store on continuing in office. He would be the same Lord Derby out of office as in. It is probable, therefore, that he would have allowed reform to go its way for him, and never troubled ; and if loss of office came of his in difference he would have gone out of office with unabated cheerfulness. But this way of looking at things was by no means suitable to his energetic and ambitious lieutenant Mr. Disraeli had not nearly attained the height of his ambition, nor had he by any means exhausted his political
energies. Mr. Disraeli, therefore, was not a man to view with any satisfaction the consequences likely to come to the Conservative party from an open refusal to take up the cause of reform. He had always, too, measured fairly and accurately the popular influence and the parliamentary strength of Mr. Bright. It is clear that, at a time when most of the Conservatives, and not a few of the Whigs, regarded Mr. Bright as only an eloquent and respectable demagogue. Mr. Disraeli had made up his mind that the Manchester orator was a man of genius and foresight, wh: must be taken account of as a genuine political power. Mr. Bright now returned to public life. He had for a long time been withdrawn by ill-health from all share in political agitation, or politics of any kind. At one time it was indeed fully believied that the House of Commons had seen the last of him. To many his return to Parliament and the platform seemed almost like a resurrection. Almost immediately or his returning to public life he flung himself into a new agi tation for reform. He addressed great meetings in the north of England and in Scotland, and he was induced to draw up a Reform Bill of his own. His scheme was talked of at that time by some of his opponents as though it were a project of which Jack Cade might have approved. It was practically a proposal to establish a franchise precisely like that which we have now, ballot and all, only that it threw the expenses of the returning officer on the county or borough rate, and it introduced a somewhat large measure of redistribution of seats. The opponents of reform were heard everywhere assuring themselves and their friends that the country in general cared nothing about reform. Mr. Bright himself was accredited with having said that his own effort to arouse a reforming spirit even in the North was like flogging a dead horse. But Mr. Disraeli was far too shrewd to be satisfied with such consolations as his followers would thus have adıninistered. He knew well enough that the