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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Sidenote Gioberti Sidenote Pius IX


[Sidenote:

Attempts to kill French king]

[Sidenote: Louis Napoleon escapes from Ham]

Another attempt to kill King Louis Philippe by one Lecompte in April had been frustrated by the Guards. On July 29, Joseph Henry risked his life in the seventh attempt at the assassination of the King. Louis Bonaparte, the quondam king of Holland, who resigned his throne rather than submit to his brother Napoleon's demands, died in his sixty-eighth year. His namesake, Prince Louis Napoleon, imprisoned in the fortress of Ham, succeeded in making a sensational escape disguised in the garb of a stone mason. Once more he returned to his exile in England.

[Sidenote: Schleswig-Holstein question]

On July 8, King Christian VIII. of Denmark published an open letter in which he reasserted the union of the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein with Denmark regardless of the differing systems of succession prevailing in these provinces. The question of succession was so intricate that the Chancelleries of Europe despaired of satisfactory solution. Inasmuch as Schleswig and Holstein had been recognized as German principalities entitled to representation in the Germanic Confederation, the German people as such objected to their absolute incorporation with Denmark. The storm raised over King Christian's letter was such as to forebode no other settlement than by arms.

justify;">[Sidenote: Gioberti]

[Sidenote: Pius IX.]

[Sidenote: Early Papal measures]

Pope Gregory XVI. died at Rome in his eighty-first year. At the time of his death the Papal prisons were filled with conspirators and reformers, among whom were some of his best subjects. His death gave new hope to the followers of Gioberti, whose political dreams depicted a new Italy, regenerated by the moral force of a reforming Papacy. Austria's candidate for the Papacy having failed to secure the requisite number of votes in the College of Cardinals, Mastai Ferretti, Bishop of Imola, was elected, and on June 17 assumed the title Pius IX. The choice of this popular prelate was taken to be a tribute to Italian feeling. The first acts of Pio Nono confirmed this impression. Universal amnesty was extended to political prisoners. Hundreds of Italian patriots who had been sentenced to imprisonment for life were set free. When, in addition to this, permission was given to the citizens of Rome to enroll themselves in the new civic guard, all Rome gave itself up to popular rejoicings. The climax of national enthusiasm was reached when the new Pope took occasion to voice a formal protest against the designs of Austria upon Ferrara.

[Sidenote: Revolt of Cracow]

[Sidenote: Anarchy in Austrian-Poland]

[Sidenote: Cracow incorporated in Austria]

[Sidenote: Tennyson on Poland]

For the time being the Austrian Government was too preoccupied with its troubles at home to carry its Italian policy to extremes. The Polish refugees at Paris had long determined to strike another blow for the freedom of their country. It was arranged that the Polish provinces in Austria and Prussia should rise and revolt, early during this year, and extend the revolution to Russian Poland. But the Prussian Government crushed the conspiracy before a blow was struck. In Austria the attempt was more successful. Late in February insurrection broke out in the free city of Cracow. General Collin occupied the city, but his forces proved too weak. The Polish nobles around Tarnow in Northern Galicia raised the standard of revolt. Some 40,000 Polish insurgents marched on Cracow. A severe reverse was inflicted upon them by the government troops. Now the peasants turned against the nobles, burning down the largest estates and plunging the country into anarchy. The landowners, face to face with the humiliating fact that their own tenants were their bitterest foes, charged the Austrian Government with having instigated a communistic revolt. In a circular note to the European courts, Metternich protested that the outbreak of the Polish peasantry was purely spontaneous. A simultaneous attempt at revolution in Silesia was ruthlessly put down. Austria, Russia and Prussia now revoked the treaty of Vienna in regard to Poland. Cracow, which had been recognized as an independent republic, was annexed by Austria with the consent of Russia and Prussia, and against the protests of England, France and Sweden. New measures of repression against Polish national aspirations were taken in Russia. The last traces of Poland were blotted from the map of nations. It was then that Tennyson wrote his famous sonnet on Poland:


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