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THE

ART. IV.-1. Lettere Edite ed Inedite di Camillo Cavour. Rac

colte da L. Chiala. Six volumes. Torino, 1884-7. 2. Il Conte di Cavour avanti 1848. Per Domenico Berti.

Roma, 1886. 3. Diario Inedito del Conte di Cavour. Publicato per cura di

D. Berti. Roma, 1888.
THE publications at the head of this article enable us, for

the first time, to see Cavour as he lived and worked. Much relating to his great achievement is still withheld from publicity ; but though the record of revelations is incomplete, these volumes afford ample means for discovering Cavour's real character. It is true we have already had interesting Memoirs of Count Cavour; notably one by Monsieur de la Rive, who,

nsman, had special advantages. The portraitures in those sketches amount, however, to mere glimpses at the matured statesman vigorously engaged in portions of the great work of his life. The inner process, through which his powerful nature matured the faculties that enabled him to shape successfully a great political transformation, is not laid bare in those fragmentary notices. The admirable mettle of Cavour's nature was due to a blending of elements varied in their tone, and distinct in their source; and their fusion was phenomenal. Fanciful conceptions, rhetorical declamation, theatrical rhapsody, which elicit ready applause from the inflammable enthusiasm of his countrymen, never had the slightest attraction for Cavour; they were thoroughly distasteful to his keenly discriminating, yet warmly appreciative, instinct. Massiveness was the cardinal feature of Cavour's nature. In his activity there was nothing spasmodic; it worked with indefatigable precision at high pressure; being fed from a seemingly drainless store of buoyant vitality, and directed in its application by a clearsightedness of transcendent keenness. No waste occurred in the expenditure of this superior force; to indulge in letting off mere intellectual fireworks was wholly foreign to Cavour's temperament. He contrived to infuse seriousness into whatever he took in hand, not through any false emphasis drawn from inflated sentiment, for no one could be more free from any tinge of bombast, but from his breadth and power of mind. While persistent and grave in serious pursuits, Cavour had high animal spirits. The healthy texture of his nature, inseparable from a fund of passion, caused him to enter briskly into the pleasures of life, and gave him a strong dash of fun. But in Cavour the sense of fun differed considerably from the type

of fun prevalent amongst his countrymen. The comic vein of

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Italy is brilliant, but pre-eminently caustic; it is by nature uproarious, and instinctively prone to buffoonery; in its sallies the wit sparkles, but also stings with a facetiousness sharply satirical. Astoundingly free, often audaciously licentious, it breaks out into romps and jokes of a practical kind. Pulcinello is the embodiment of Italian instinct for fun; the Carnival, with its rollicking Harlequinades and pungent Pasquinades, is the expression of Italian merriment. There is abundance of rattle and movement and salt; but what it lacks is that deeper, though less flashing, vein of comedy which constitutes humour. The literature, resplendent with a galaxy of glittering Boccaccios and Ariostos and Castis, cannot show a single star bright with the cheerfulness that beams in Fielding or Cervantes. Cavour had a store of fun that chuckled with intense inward glee, instinctively expressed by an inveterate habit of rubbing his hands together; and his sarcasm, from the bantering tone of his humour, created a drollery that raised hearty laughter, without subjecting the victim of its ridicule to writhe with viciously inflicted pain.

During his earlier career, Cavour was considerably misunderstood. He was looked on generally as a person of superior but headstrong and imperious acuteness, with a keen eye for the practical side of things, quick in the discernment of undertakings that promised remunerative return, but at heart indifferent to liberal principles, and by no means fond of really popular institutions. When the events of 1848 opened the door to public life, Count Cavour found entry barred by popular distrust. This was due not merely to aristocratic connection and family antecedents: the whole tone of Cavour's utterances jarred on the then state of popular feeling. To a public quite untrained in self-discipline, delirious in the gush of emotional enthusiasm, surging in the transports of a political whirlpool, Cavour spoke with unruffled self-composure in clear incisive accents, which sounded utterly out of tune to fevered ears. Amidst general confusion and a shrill chorus of discordant declamation, Cavour preserved presence of mind, and exhibited indifference to personal consequences at once irritating and imposing. He encouraged one day, and sharply rebuked the next, the populace and its favourites, like one judging from a higher level their performance on the world's stage. How was it that this Piedmontese country gentleman of aristocratic birth, reared in the stifling atmosphere of the most retrograde of reactionary states, had contrived to gather in himself qualifications which enabled him to retain an unfaltering clearness of insight, while all around were frantically groping a way

through through the fog and darkness of revolutionary convulsion ? This problem we are enabled to unravel, thanks to the present publications.

Cavour belonged to the very flower of Piedmontese nobility, and in the Piedmont before 1848 that implied a great deal. Nowhere was the chasm wider between Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie ; and the rigid etiquette enjoined at Court, partaking of Spanish punctiliousness, gave solemn confirmation to this distinction. ‘Not that the Piedmontese aristocracy were lacking in qualities higher than mere caste prejudice. They were proudly exclusive; but they were likewise distinguished for manliness in the field and for strength of character. The Alfieris and the Revels, the De Maistres and the Ponza di San Martinos, the D'Azeglios, and a host of other names, represent attested gallantry and acknowledged vigour of mind. But in temperament and in habit they were essentially aristocrats; at Turin they lived exclusively amongst themselves. Except in the garb of ecclesiastical orders, no bourgeois element was ever admitted on a footing of equality within familiar circles inside their vast but gloomy mansions. It seems certain that, in the twelfth century, the Santena property was held by a Cavour. More interesting is the fact that, in the great political Reformer of Italy, there mingled the blood of St. Francis de Sales and of a stubborn Huguenot who preferred voluntary exile to the sacrifice of conviction. The central figure in the Cavour household was the grandmother. She was a de Sales by birth, daughter to the Marquis de Duingt, seigneur of a turreted castle, for eight centuries the family stronghold, perched on a rugged peak above the Lake of Annecy in Savoy. The determined resoluteness of the Savoyard race was strong in this brave lady. Vicissitudes consequent on French invasion were encountered with an unflinching spirit. Not only the family plate, but the most cherished heirlooms, even St. Francis's silver holy-water basin, were sold to meet the wants of relatives; notably to provide an outfit for the father of Camillo, when compelled to enter the

On the installation of Pauline Borghese in Turin, the Marchesa Cavour was induced to grace her court, with the rank of first lady in waiting, on condition, however, that her relatives should be erased from the list of proscribed Royalists. After the Restoration the Marchesa resided in the family mansion in Turin, where, with unchallenged authority, she ruled the family circle down to her death in 1849. Though she was in temper and habit essentially an Aristocrat, her intelligence was too vigorous to be subject to the petty prejudices of a stifling reaction. Democracy was not to her taste, but she

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could sympathize with the national cause, when she saw her Sovereign go into the field to do battle in its behalf. When Camillo threw himself into the political arena, he was not rebuked as an apostate. “Ah Marina,' a Piedmontese expression of endearment, exclaimed Cavour in 1848, you and I understand each other thoroughly, for at heart you have always been a bit of a Jacobin !'

The Marchese Michele, Cavour's father, was a good specimen of the Piedmontese gentleman. He was courageous and shrewd, active in administrative business, and of strongly Conservative opinions ; though by no means blind to facts. Ties of exceptional intimacy existed between the Marchese and Charles Albert, both before and after the latter mounted the throne. These relations involved the Marchese in the unpopularity attaching to the King during the greater part of his reign. By royal decree the Marchese filled the office of Vicario, or Chief Magistrate of Turin. To fix the market price of articles of food and to direct the city police were amongst his duties. It became generally believed, that the Marchese used his authority for his own profit as corn-grower, and that he pandered to his Sovereign's love for denunciation of suspected Liberals. It is clear from Signor Berti's volume that the Marchese was greatly wronged in this estimate of his character. A thorough Tory in politics, a convinced Catholic in religion, he was too straightforward to lend himself to unworthy practices; while his common-sense prevented his faith from degenerating into bigotry. Compelled to retire from active service owing to a severe wound, the Marchese Michele came to Geneva. The visit resulted in his marriage with the Countess Adele de Sellon, sprung from a Huguenot stock. This alliance involved living in contact with the best types of Protestant thought and Protestant persuasion, an element of incalculable quickening force when thus injected into the dense texture of the reactionary and persecuting Catholicism then dominant in Piedmont. It is true that in consequence of their marriage the three Sellon sisters joined the Church of Rome; none, however, became affected with intolerance. Of the three sisters, Cavour's mother was the last to change her creed. Only after the birth of her second son did she take this step; being induced, according to one version, by the rare goodness of her mother-in-law and the example of her sisters ;' but according to another, by the desire to remove a standing cause of estrangement between herself and the world she was living in. Whatever may have been the motive for change, the Marchesa Adele preserved unwarped in her later

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profession the genial character of her original sympathies. The most philosophic Italian churchman of the century, the illustrious Abate Rosmini, has emphatically testified to this lady's superior qualifications; he pronounced her a woman adorned by every virtue, and in conversation charming. This high estimate is confirmed by her letters, which reveal a genuinely affectionate intelligence, with a striking power of observation. No exaggeration, and no asperity marked the tone of the religion of Cavour's mother; the spirit of Pharisaism was foreign to her nature; and her judgment was imbued with the best Christian essence, the spirit of charity. She could feel as others felt. To this was due the absolute trust her son always reposed in her. Between Cavour and his mother, it would seem, there were no secrets. He confided to her what sons ordinarily might be afraid to let a mother peer into. He spoke to her when he refrained from speaking to others; and in matters that touched him most closely, it was to his mother Cavour instinctively went for counsel and for sympathy. This unaffected piety in the parent was productive of positive results. Both sons were conspicuous, though in different modes, for a lively religious sentiment. The elder, the Marchese Gustavo, became an attached disciple of Rosmini. His brother was pre-eminently distinguished amongst his political confederates by appreciative recognition of what is radical in religious sentiment. Against the extravagances of ecclesiastical pretensions Cavour was prompt in the assertion of civil rights, but at no time was he indifferent to the mighty forces enshrined in the moral claims of religion. He had none of the priest-baiting propensities of many Italian Liberals, notably those of Carbonaro origin.

A figure not less important in this family circle was the brother of these three sisters, the Comte de Sellon. The Cavour family made frequent visits to Geneva, so that the Sellon house was hardly less familiar to its members than the big Turin mansion. Between uncle and nephew there sprang up strongly sympathetic relations. The boy was attracted by his relative's instructive activity of mind; and his association with Geneva was so complete, that the French language was more natural to him than Italian. It is true the Piedmontese aristocracy, mainly from Savoyard connection, spoke French largely amongst themselves. Still it is singular that the Italian statesman, who for all time must stand identified with the creation of United Italy, never had at his command the graces of the Italian language. Cavour never acquired a scholarly style. To the last he reverted instinctively to the French language in

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