BESIDE the practical, judicious, far-sighted Cavour, Garibaldi was a strange, romantic figure, devoid of judgment, but able to lead men and to overthrow kingdoms. He had previously, as a republican, been in conflict with the Sardinian monarchy. Sailing secretly from Genoa with his thousand red shirts, he raised a revolt in Sicily. The Bourbon government's mercenary troops were outmatched by Garibaldi's irregular forces. England discouraged Austrian intervention. Garibaldi overran Sicily and Naples, proclaimed himself Dictator, and prepared to invade the Pope's dominions. Victor Emmanuel and Cavour persuaded Napoleon that it was essential that they should occupy the Papal States, which they did, and Garibaldi in the south was prevailed on to accept Victor Emmanuel as king. He then withdrew to live in the small island of Caprera. The Pope retained Rome and its immediate vicinity, Austria held Venice, but the rest of Italy-twenty-three million souls-was now unified, and amid genuine enthusiasm from every part of his very heterogeneous dominions, Victor Emmanuel opened an Italian parliament at Turin.
Very soon afterwards Cavour died at the age of fifty-one. The union of Italy was his work more than any one else's, and he is also entitled to credit for his Liberal policy in Piedmont and the Liberal features of the Italian constitution.
His king, Victor Emmanuel, had the princely qualities of discernment and modesty. He was destined to complete Cavour's work and save it from the reaction which might easily have followed. The republican, Mazzini, the other great name of this Risorgimento, or resurrection of Italy, would not acknowledge the work of Cavour and Victor Emmanuel. He had for thirty years been engaged in republican plots against the Sardinian government (in its unregenerate phase before 1848) and against the Austrians, and he condemned Garibaldi's compromise. No one did so much to keep Italian nationalism alive during the 'thirties and 'forties, or to gain it the goodwill of educated people in England. He regarded Cavour and Victor Emmanuel as cunning materialists who stole the fruits of other men's devotion, and made a tool of the unsubtle Garibaldi. Though he might with advantage have remembered the fable of the dog who lost the bone for the shadow, he expressed the noblest side of national feeling, and emphasised the duties as well as the rights of man.
Greatly though these eminent men disliked each other, they agreed in subordinating other hatreds to detestation of Napoleon III. Specimens of invective can be found in the verse of Swinburne. Yet mixed as Napoleon's motives were, he alone made it possible to fight the Austrian army. He obtained no gratitude; French nationalism was alarmed by the strong rival state in the Mediterranean area, while French clerics did not welcome the humiliations inflicted on the Pope. Rome had now to be garrisoned by French troops.