OCR Interpretation


The mirror. (Stillwater, Minn.) 1894-1925, January 11, 1906, Image 1

Image and text provided by Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90060762/1906-01-11/ed-1/seq-1/

What is OCR?


Thumbnail for

SJe MIRROR
j USf _ -
Tr~<g«d st " te .
Vou XIX.—No. 26
HOW ITALY BECAME A GREAT POWER.
NOWADAYS the newspapers
very frequently use the word
“Great Power,” spelled with a
capital ‘G” and “P.” The
majority of readers has but a very im
perfect idea as to the meaning of this
expression, further than what ip im
plied by the word itself. The Great
Powers are of European origin, and
constitute a political state of affairs,
expressing the existence of a power, or
influence, which entitles the country so
designated to rank as an equal with the
most powerful nations of Europe—now
of the world. The advent of a new
Great Power on the political horizon is
usually heralded to the world by the
other Great Powers through their rais
ing the ranks of their representatives to
the new power from ministers to am
bassadors. About fifteen years ago
such an interchange of ranks com
menced between the United States and
the six European Great Powers. Jap
an, which made such a brilliant mili
tary and naval showing in her late war
with Russia, has not as yet been accep
ted as a Great Power, and, probably,
will not be so accepted until she has
demonstrated that her sphere of influ
ence extended beyond the immediate
vicinity of her island home. The
manner in which some countries be
came Great Powers is highly instruct
ive. Of all the countries, the case of
Italy is the most unique, and as inter
esting as it is anomalous. For this
reason I shall present it as an illus
tration; tho, in order to insure correct
understanding, it becomes necessary to
bear in mind the political status quo
of Italy during the last sixteen
centuries.
Since the downfall of the Roman
Empire no country in the whole world
has been visited by so many vicissi
tudes as the Peninsula of Italy. In
vaded, overrun and possessed in turn
by the Goths under Theodoric and his
successors, by the Greeks under
Belisarius and Narses; by the Huns
under Attila and Alaric, the unhappy
country entered the times of the middle
ages only to be exposed to still greater
evils; for Italy now became the com
mon battlefield, not only of half a doz
en foreign countries, but also of
individual provinces and cities of their
own country. The German emperors,
especially those of the House of Saxony,
Hohenstanfen and Hapsburg, appeared
to take as much interest in Italian as in
German affairs. The French and
Spaniards also frequently took a hand
in the matter, and the bones of con
tention of the different countries were
combated for on Italian soil. Even
the German Landsknechte, a band of
freebooters, held the upper part of the
peninsula in abject subjugation at two
different times. The hand of destiny
supplemented the destructions made
by the hand of man; for po other
European country has been ravished
so frequently by pests, (the black death)
cholera, and other epidemic diseases in
their worst form, as unfortunate Italy.
In point of barbarity and cruelty, the
Italian cities and provinces far sur
passed the foreign invaders.
War, strife and turmoil reigned su
preme in Italy; not during years or dec
ades, but during centuries —fourteen
consecutive centuries. In all that time,
not even an attempt at unification was
made. On the contrary, every city
looked out for her individual interest,
and was a mortal enemy to even her
nearest neighbors, with whom she was
in almost continuous warfare In spite
ofallthis, Italy showed such an ex
traordinary amount of vitality, as has
never been equaled by any other
country. Venice and Genoa, under
the reign of the Doges, and entirely
through their own exertions and
maritime enterprises, became im
mensely wealthy and powerful, and at
times were factors in the world poli
tics, which had to be reckoned with by
all other nations. To a lesser extent,
similar renown was temporarily
acquired by the cities like Florence,
Ravenna, Milan and many others.
STILLWATER, MINNESOTA, THURSDAY, JANUARY 11, 1906.
Rome stands in a class by herself—
above all others—the like of which the
world has never seen, and never will
see again. Like under the Caesars, the
Eternal City, under the pontificate of
many “strong” popes, exercised a world
influence under which many of the
most powerful emperors and kings
were forced to bow their heads and to
submit humbly to the dictates issued
from Rome—dictates which referred as
well to temporal as to spiritual affairs.
Emperor Henry IV. was forced by Pope
Gregory VII. (Hildebrant) to make a
pilgrimage to the Italian Castle of
Canossa, and there, during inclement
weather, had to do penitence by stand
ing barefooted in the castle yard for
three days before the great pope deigned
to accept him into his good graces. It
matters little that the emperor, in after
years, managed to punish this same
pope severely; for the humiliation be
had to endure will remain an eternal
blot on himself and on Germany. Of
course, this was the most flagrant ex
hibition of papal power; but through
out the entire history of the middle
age, even up to the middle of the last
century, history presents an almost
continuous succession of the papal in
fluence in temporal affairs of state.
While strife and bloodshed could be
found everywhere in Italy, science and
the fine arts flourished to a very high
degree. The painters, sculptors, poets
and musical composers and astrono
mers rank among the greatest of their
profession—many of them as the great
est of all. It is only necessary to
mention such names as Titian,
Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michael
Angelo, Dante, Galileo, etc. The com
posers, tho not ranking with the great
masters of Germany, have created a
very large amount of highly tuneful
and very popular music.
As it is impossible to do full justice
to the Italian vitality in a condensed
sketch of this kind, I shall now pic
ture the Italy of the year 1859—only
forty-six years ago. Then the penin
sula contained a conglomeration of
small independent states, none of
which had any political connection
with another, altho the influence of the
House of Hapsburg was felt in several
of them. In the North, Lombardy and
Venetia, the two richest provinces of
Italy, constituted parts of the Austrian
Empire. In the extreme Northwest,
was the little Kingdom of Sardinia,
reigned over by Victor Emanuel, the
only Italian ruler who was not exe
crated by his subjects. Tuscany was
an independent grandduchy, and
Parma and Modena were independent
duchies. In the South was the King
dom of both the Sicilys, which had
been shockingly mismanaged by their
king and his predecessors. In the
center of the peninsula, completely
separating the North from the South,
was the papal dominion, reigned over
by Pope Pius IX., the temporal sover
eign.
The two French revolutions, the rev
olutionary movement of 1848, the spirit
of the times and, above all, the odious
tyranny of the princes, had made the
Italian people ripe for revolution. But
whenever an agitator made himself
conspicuous, he was quickly imprisoned
or had to flee the country, and that
generally ended his career. Only one
little, sickly man made an exception
from the general rule. This man was
Mazzini, to whom, more than to any
body else, the credit for the liberation
of Italy must be given; for to his un
tiring efforts,'and to his educating the
masses of the people in the principles
of freedom, is due the spirit Which led
to the overthrow of the obnoxious
princes. Mazzini, after being impris
oned and exiled for political agitation,
fled to England. From there he made
strenuous propaganda for the cause of
Italy, and he managed to flood every
Italian city and village with his pam
phlets—not once, but continually for
a number of years.
Still, it is very doubtful that Maz
zini’s efforts could have succeeded,
“IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND.»
were it not that Victor Emanuel had
become entangled with Austria on
account of some/ possessions in Lom
bardy. Very fortunately, Victor
Emanuel had ar£ excellent adviser in
the person of-jbis prime minister,
Cavour, one of the greatest diplomats
of modern times, who managed to in
terest .N apoieon 111. in the Sardinian
cause. The war of 1859 was the out
come of Cavour’s negotiations,
Tho the A ustriaus fought bravely,
they were beaten by the French-
Italian forces at Magenta and
Solferino, and Austria then ceded Lom
bardy to Napoleon who, in turn, ceded
his claim to Victor Emanuel. Not,
however, until the latter had promised
to let France have Savoy with Nice;
for the shrewd French emperor was
not the kind of man to give anything
without receiving a substantial quid
pro quo.
Meanwhile Mazzini had called on
Garibaldi, the great Italian patriot and
soldier, who was then engaged in fight
ing for the liberation of Brazil, to re
turn to Italy and assume the leadership
of the revolutionary army about to be
created. Garibaldi returned in the
spring of 1860, and soon after, on a
dark night, he with only 1000 adherents,
took ship at Genoa, and sailed for the
Island of Sicily. There the people
flocked to his standards; Palermo was
captured after desperate resistance;
Garibaldi and his men crossed over to
the mainland; drove the Sicilian sol
diery before them; marched finally into
Naples; and, amidst the enthusiastic
acclamations of the civilized world,
forced the tyrannical Bourbon king
(Bomba) to flee into an exile from
which he never returned. Garibaldi
was just about marching on Rome to
drive the pope out of that city, when a
“halt” was called by tlye French em
peror. Moved partly by the traditions
of his great uncle, and partly by the
wishes of his religiously inclined con
sort, the Empress Eugenie, Napoleon
111. quickly sent a French fleet with
landing forces to Civita Vechia, the
Port of Rome, and threatened Victor
Emanuel with immediate armed in
terference, if Garibaldi were not cau
tioned against entering the papal
dominion. But he allowed the driving
out of the Princes of Tuscany, Parma
and Modena. Of course, Victor Eman
uel could Trot afford to incur the
enmity of France; and Garibaldi re
ceived his orders and withdrew dis
gusted and heartsore to his island home
at Caprera.
Six years afterwards, when Prussia
fought the German States and Austria,
the former country formed an alliance
with Victor Emanuel. Tho the Ital
ians were beaten by the Austrians on
land (Custozza) and, very badly, at sea
(Lizza), the Italians yet reaped the
fruit of their alliance with the victor
ious Prussians, and Francis Joseph
was compelled to cede Venetia, his
last foothold on Italian soil, to Victor
Emanuel, who now became King of
all Italy, except cf its most vital part,
the City of Rome.
Again four later, when after
the battle of Selan, Napoleon 111., the
self-constitutec protector of the papal
dominion, had %68n taker, to the Castle
of Wilhelmshoh, a powerless prisoner
in the hands of the victorious Germans,
the last real obstacle to the unification
of Italy was removed. In October
1870 Victor Emanuel quietly marched
a small army into Rome, installed him
self in the papal residence, the Quir
inal; and from that day to this, Pius IX.,
and then Leo XIII., and now Pius X.,
have remained virtual, tho voluntary,
prisoners in the Vatican, and the unity
of Italy became an actual fact.
In spite of t&is result, the existence
of newly crested Italy appeared of a
very problematic nature—very precar
ious indeed. is but a poor
country. Thb Lombardy and Ve
netia may be called the very garden of
Europe, and tho the vegetation in the
plain lands of the South is absolutely
luxurious, these plains are few and far
between, as the barren slopes and
mountains of the Apennines, which
extend North and South on the entire
peninsula, cannot be used for agricul
tural purposes. Neither can Italy be
called a manufacturing country. Vic
tor Emanuel commenced his reign with
an empty treasury, but with debts far
out of proportion to the resources of
the country. An army and navy had
to be created, for it might be needed at
any moment. The pope considered the
temporal power indispensable to the
proper exercise of his duties as head
of his church, and he and his two suc
cessors have never ceased to protest
against the annexation of their terri
tory, and firmly expect to be reinstated
at the first presentable opportunity,
and such an opportunity did not ap
pear remote at that time. Under these
circumstances, it caused great surprise
when all at once, probably on the initi
ative of Bismarck and Disraeli, first
England, then Germany, France, Rus
sia and, much later, Austria raised the
ranks of their ministers to the Quirinal
(for the Vatican is separately repre
sented) to ambassadors, thereby ac
knowledging the new kingdom as a
Great Power.
Only once before, in the history of
Europe, had a comparatively small
country been acknowledged as a Great
Power. That was Prussia under Fred
erick the Great. But Frederick had
clearly demonstrated his title to the
distinction by having successfully com
bated against Russia, Austria, the
German States, France and Sweden;
sometimes even against two and three
of these at one and the same time.
Italy had gained her independence only
in a very small part by her own valor
and exertion, but had to thank her uni
fication to France and Prussia. How
ever, just at that time the map v of
Middle Europe had been changed al
most out of recognition, and a number
of countries appeared to be sitting on a
powder magazine. It is very probable
that at that time Victor Emanuel
promised to establish a powerful army
and navy, which, in fact, he did estab
lish, thereby making Italy a recognized
power in all affairs centering in the en
vironment of the Mediterranean.
Since then, conditions have greatly
changed. When Italy entered into the
Triple Alliance with Germany and
Austria, a still further augmentation
of her forces became incumbent on her,
tho her financial condition was already
as desperate as desperate could be.
The consequence was, that during the
last ten years she was compelled to
financial intrenchment by gradually
decreasing her standing army, and by
keeping her navy solely in necessary
repairs. It can hardly be said that at
present Italy is entitled to be counted
a great power. If the death of Francis
Joseph should be followed by a disso
lution of the Austrian Empire, an
eventuality that has to be reckoned
with, an upheaval of that part of
Europe is sure to occur, and then the
tebt of Italy’s strength may come. Let
us hope that the finest country of Eu
rope will not again become a prey to
foreigners; nor to her own disunited
people.
Tho this sketch was written in its
entirety from memory, without the use
of notes or books of reference, the his
torical events may be accepted as cor
rect in all particulars. The few
comments at the close of the article,
however, are a mere expression of per
sonal opinion, and must be taken for
what they may be worth. 1680. ,
If All Were Honest.
IF ALL mankind were made honest
at one and the same time, what an
awful confusion there would be;
what congeries of conditions and
situations; what intricate problems
would confront and confuse; what a
vacillating, rolling, tumbling and heav
ing of awkward motions would surge
under, through and above the whole
social fabric.
Conditions, positions, situations and
fortunes reversed, or materially al
tered. Life presenting a regenerated
form, irrecognizable by no one.
In this new state the industrial fields
T ERMB: iii °®P er y oar - in advance
1 Six Months 50 cents
would be revolutionized. There would
be no longer a necessity for the manu
facture of such articles as burglar
proof safes, vaults, and similar
appliances. The large army of men now
policing towns and cities would be no
longer needed. All bond and guaran
tee companies—now seemingly indis
pensable—with their multitude of of
ficers and clerks, would ceaee to be of
use.
Jails, workhouses and prisons would
be abandoned. Judges, lawyers and
the greater part of public officials
would have no longer a calling. That
large body of national jockeys, famil
iarly termed diplomats, who ride for
the people, on every pretext of interest,
in the great international races, would
find the services so reduced and simpli
fied that a limited few would be suffi
cient to accomplish all the work
necessary between the different coun
tries.
Armies and navies would cease to
be; and with them their many adjuncts;
arsenals, military schools, manufac
tories of arms and ordnance, and the
various paraphernalia requisite for
their equipment.
Banks, both national and state,
would be almost a superfluity. Na
tional treasuries, the great storehouses
of a country’s wealth, would have out
lived their days of usefulness, and
henceforth be made to serve the people
in a capacity befitting the changed
condition.
Just think! Jurists, lawyers, states
men, politicians of every class, even
kings and presidents all on a common
level with mankind. Oh, what a spec
tacle! These high and mighty of the
land; these immaculate statesmen;
these jealous guardians of public
honor; these irreproachable custodians
of a nation’s integrity; these divine
rulers, all changed to mere men by the
erasure of the simple prefix* dis from
the word dishonest—all these gracefully
quitting their lofty places and turning
to apprenticeships or even begging for
permission to a back seat in the
primary classes at some industrial col
lege, whereby they may learn the art
of earning a livelihood, now encum
bent on their reversed position. Yet
all this would be as nothing compared
to the extraordinary phenomenon that
would take place when the stupendous
effort was made to disgorge, from dis
honest coffers, the multiplied millions
of illgotten dollars, and return them to
their rightful owners.
The old proverb, “One’s meat is
another’s poison,” must remain ever
true. Opposing forces are manifest in
all nature, and therefore must be right.
The real architectural substance of this
world is the two polar elements, each
essential to the other, good and evil,
i. e., honesty and dishonesty, on which
it all turns.
Who may say that there was not in
the great creative laboratory two dis
tinct and opposing elements, honesty
and dishonesty, if you like, which the
Divine Ruler saw fit to thrust on ter
restrial domains, for a purpose unintel
ligible to us, where they may combat
each other with absolute freedom;
finally, bringing about a result or con
dition in perfect harmony with the
divine plan.
Individuals and nations may, and do,
heroically, struggle with and combat,
as best they can, all motives of dis
honesty, but they will never be able to
entirely subdue them. You dreamers
of Utopia, ( awakel Know once and
for all that no such condition can ever
exist. Recognize the fact that this
vision you have so constantly, and
valiantly pursued, and that has as
constantly eluded you, is only the
shadow of the real, cast from the
celestial abode on high, and can never
be grasped by mortal hands. Paul.
Lawyer—You say you left home on
the 10th? Witness—Yes, sir. Law
yer—And came back on the 25th?
Witness—Yes, sir. Lawyer (severely)
—What were you doing in the interim?
Witness—Never was in such a place.—
Baltimore American. ,

xml | txt