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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Radetzky fell back upon Verona


"Never fear the vile men of

the law; the police, the troops, sympathize with you. Down with the Ministry! Dissolve the Parliament! The Charter, and no surrender!" At the National Convention, Vernon declared: "If a few hundreds do fall on each side, they will only be the casualties in a mighty movement." On April 10 a great demonstration was to be held on Kensington Common. In anticipation, special constables to the number of 170,000 were sworn in to keep the peace; troops were quartered in the houses of the main thoroughfares; two thousand stands of arms were supplied to the officials of the General Post-Office; the Custom House, Bank, Exchange, and other public buildings were similarly equipped; the Admiralty was garrisoned by a body of marines, and the Tower guns were mounted. On the eventful morning, London assumed a military guise such as it had never worn before. Traffic was suspended along the streets for fear that the vehicles should be employed, as in France, in the construction of barricades. Finally a proclamation was issued warning people against collecting for disorderly purposes. The military arrangements were in the hands of the Duke of Wellington. Owing to these thorough precautions the threatened mass meeting collapsed. The procession was never held. The whole affair was covered with ridicule. The "monster petition" was found to contain not six million signatures as was alleged, but only 1,975,469, and many of these proved to be fictitious, whole sheets being found to be in the same handwriting,
and containing such names as Victoria Rex, Prince Albert, Punch, and so forth.

[Sidenote: Collapse of Chartism]

[Sidenote: End of Feargus O'Connor]

In the words of a contemporary, "Chartism had received its death-blow. O'Brien, Vincent, and others endeavored to revive it, but in vain. Its members fell off in disappointment and allied themselves with reformers of greater moderation, and Feargus O'Connor, who for ten years had madly spent his force and energy in carrying forward the movement, gave it up in despair. Everything he had touched had proved a failure. From being an object of terror, Chartism had become an object of ridicule. O'Connor took the matter so much to heart that he soon became an inmate of a lunatic asylum, and never recovered his reason."

[Sidenote: Progress of Italian Revolution]

[Sidenote: Austrians driven northward]

[Sidenote: Radetzky seeks refuge]

All Italy now, from the southern shores of Sicily to the Alps, was in a blaze of insurrection. Venice, Piedmont and Lombardy were in arms. Charles Albert, the King of Sardinia, put himself at the head of the movement in northern Italy. From all parts of Italy volunteers crowded to his banners. In defiance of the Pope's orders a compact body of these volunteers marched from Rome. Radetzky, the Austrian commander, a veteran of all the Austrian wars since the outbreak of the French Revolution, had long prepared for this struggle by formidable fortifications at Verona. When Milan revolted and the Austrian Vice-Governor, O'Donnell, was captured, Radetzky evacuated the city at the approach of Charles Albert's army from Piedmont. His outlying garrison was cut off by the Italians. Preferring the loss of Milan to a possible annihilation of the army, Radetzky fell back upon Verona. On the banks of the Adige, about twenty-five miles east of the Mincio, he rapidly concentrated all available forces, while the Italians threw up intrenchments on the Mincio. There, with the armies of Piedmont and Lombardy in front of him and the revolutionary forces of Venice behind him, Radetzky stubbornly held his ground. Nothing remained to Austria on Italian ground but Verona and the neighboring fortresses on the Adige and Mincio.


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