Vittorio Emmanuele II. - 19th Century Encyclopedia Entries



Nordisk Familjebok 1876-1899, Meyer 1885-1892,


Nordisk Familjebok 1876-1899, Article : Viktor Emanuel (2) (1893)
Vittorio Emmanuele, King of Sardinia (as such Vittorio Emmanuele II.), later King of Italy, born on March 14th 1820. As his father, Carlo Alberto, because of his liberal views, in 1823 was forced to fight in Spain against the cause of freedom, Vittorio Emmanuele was raised by his grandfather on the side of his mother, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who was one of Europe's most reactionary [princes]. By the Jesuits the boy was now raised in such a strictly clerical spirit, which he never was able to overcome. His father, after his succession to the throne (1831) gave the boy a strict militaristic education, without failing to have him taught in the sciences. When the war with Austria broke out in 1848, Vittorio Emmanuele, who as the crown prince was addressed as Duke of Savoy, commanded the Savoyan brigade and stood out because of his shining courage in the Battle of Goito, in which he was wounded. Even in the defeat at Novara on March 23rd 1849 he stood out by his bravery, without being able to prevent the defeat. On the evening of the day of the battle his father abdicated in favour of his son. Despite Vittorio Emmanuele succeeded in obraining a tolerable peace with Austria, he was not well received by the people, as he had been raised by Jesuits, and, since 1842, was married to an Austrian Archduchess, Adelheid (born in 1822, died in 1855). Since he very much has changed the people's perception of him. Because the liberal constitution, which Carlo Alberto had given his people, was maintained by his son, while the other Italian princes cancelled the constitutions which they just had given their states. Vittorio Emmanuele also knew how to choose enlightened, prudent advisors. Massimo d'Azeglio became his first prime minister. At his advice, laws were passed which abolished a separate church jurisdiction, and the property of the dead hand was restricted (see under main morte). In September 1850 Count Cavour entered the cabinet as minister for trade and agriculture, not without certain opposition by Vittorio Emmanuele, who, when Cavour was suggested for the position, said : "Do I not see, my lords ministers, that this guy comes to kick you all out ?" In November 1852 Cavour became prime minister. By his prudent financial measures Sardinia progressed in strength and prosperity. The king supported him both in this, and in his foreign policy, even, although rather against his own sentiment, in his church policy, which often deeply hurt the king's religious sensitivity, as did Cavour's suggestion of the introduction of civil marriage (1852) and of the confiscation of the property of monasteries (1855), which the king resisted. When Cavour requested his demission, and there was nobody else who could form a cabinet, the king dropped his opposition to the law, but, when he signed the law in the presence of the ministers, said "the next time I emigrate to America, rather than touching such matters". Vittorio Emmanuele, as much as Cavour, rejected to establish communication with the democratic leaders, such as Depretis, Valerio and Brofferio, who, because of their hatred of Austria, supported Vittorio Emmanuele's and Cavour's policy. On January 26th 1855 Sardinia joined an alliance with the western powers against Russia, which marks the beginning of a policy, which should make Vittorio Emmanuele king over all Italy. In consequence of this policy Sardinia participated in the Congress of Paris in 1856, which provided it the opportunity to speak for the Party of Italian Unity. Both Vittorio Emmanuele and Cavour went to Paris, where Cavour in the name of the king requested reforms in Austria's Italian possessions and in the Papal State. These demands won the support of England [!] and especially of Russia, and even Napoleon III. showed himself benevolent to Italy. There even for the first time a Franco-Sardinian alliance against Austria was suggested, although such an alliance was not concluded before the meeting Cavour had with Napoleon III. at Plombieres in 1858. In order to strengthen the alliance, Vittorio Emmanuele gave his oldest daughter Clotilda as a wife to Prince Napoleon (1859). With all his available resources, Vittorio Emmanuele prepared for the war against Austria, and his people rallied around him with an unprecedented enthusiasm, and, except for Mazzini and his supporters, even so radical party leaders such as Manin, La Farina, Pallavacino and Garibaldi joined the king. When Vittorio Emmanuele rejected Austria's ultimatum demanding the demobilization of Sardinia, on April 29th 1859 Austrian troops invaded Piemonte. As the French at that time had not yet joined forces with the Sardinians, Austria, if it only would have attacked, should have crushed the little Sardinian army which Vittorio Emmanuele personally commanded. In the skirmish at Palestro on May 31st he faught with such a courage, that the French Zouave regiment an admiration promoted him to honorary corporal. Napoleon promoted him to major in the same regiment. The victories of Magenta and Solferino lead to the preliminary peace of Villafranca (July 11th 1859) and the Peace of Zürich (November 10th that year). Although Sardinia received Lombardy, neither Vittorio Emmanuele and Cavour nor the Italian people were satisfied in their hopes. But in August the king said to a deputation : "for the time being, one can not go further, but you should never forget, that now and always will do for Italy what I can". Already at the beginning of 1860 Tuscany, Parma and Modena, which had expelled their princes, and the Legations by plebiscites deided to unite with Sardinia, which approved of this. Sardinia had to pay for the annexation of these territories with the cession of Nizza and Savoy to France. Crying like a child, Vittorio Emmanuele signed the document with which he ceded the homeland of his dynasty and the cradle of the monarchy. Garibaldi's legendary campaign of conquest against Sicily. and Naples, secretly supported by Vittorio Emmanuele's government, and the conquest of Umbria and the Marches by Vittorio Emmanuele's troops, which limited the Papal State to the environs of Rome, almost completed Italy's unity. At the head of an army of 30,000 men the king himself moved on Capua, and placed his army between Garibaldi's troops and the Papal State. He did this, because he wanted to prevent Garibaldi from implementing his intention to march against the Frenchmen in Rome, a step which would have risked the entire unification project. When Vittorio Emmanuele and Garibaldi met for the first time on Neapolitan territory, Garibaldi took off his hat and shouted with a moved voice : "I greet the King of Italy !", after which both, after exchanging greetings, first they long shook each other's hand silently and, while they already spoke with each other, then held each other's hand for a quarter of an hour. The troops of Vittorio Emmanuele completed the conquest of the city of Naples, and on November 7th the king ceremoniously entered the city, himself driving the wagon in which he and Garibaldi rode. When Garibaldi was about to depart to Caprera, he in his farewell proclamation he uttered the following words : "Fate has given Italy in Vittorio Emmanuele a marvellous gift. Every Italian must rally behind him, loyally hold on to him. In front of the galant king every suspicion must disappear, any wrath dissolve." On February 18th 1861 the first general parliament was opened, in Turin. All Italy, except for Venice and "Saint Peter's Patrimonium" were represented in the latter. On March 17th it decided, that the various territories now united should be called Kingdom of Italy, and in consequence, Vittorio Emmanuele assumed the title "King of Italy". The three great men who laid the foundation of modern Italy held curious positions to each other, as they complemented each other, and as they all three had been indispensable in the process of Italian unification. Vittorio Emmanuele highly respected Cavour, admired his skill as a statesman, fully trusted him and his policy, but for his person the king the king did not feel any sympathy or warm good will. Garibaldi was not quite a personal friend of Cavour, whose policy he called "raking policy". On the other hand, Vittorio Emmanuele and Garibaldi had the greatest sympathies for each other, they also were very befriending natures, but by character much unlike the raking master Cavour. This disregarded, Cavour moderated and lead Garibaldi, without the knowledge of the latter, through Vittorio Emmanuele. But after Cavour's death, on June 6th 1861, Vittorio Emmanuele beither knew nor understood how to guide Garibaldi. For the latter the work of unification could quickly be continued. The war cry of him and his followers was "Rome or death !" Garibaldi's expedition against Rome in 1862, which the government had to stop with the force of arms, ended with Garibaldi taken as a prisoner to Aspromonte, a fact which caused severe fermentation and unrest among the people. The larger part of the cabinet and of the generals wanted to use the victory to crush the "Action Party" by sentencing Garibaldi severely. This step, which could have been fatal for the new kingdom, was prevented by Vittorio Emmanuele, by him granting an amnesty on October 7th 1862, which lead to the consequence that council president Ratazzi resigned on December 1st. Much miscontent was caused by the treaty with France of September 15th 1864, which in September caused riots in Turin. According to this treaty, the French were to evacuate Rome, and the Italian government obliged itself to neither attack Rome, nor to permit any such attack. Seemingly the thought of Rome as the kingdom's capital was given up, as the capital was moved from Turin to Florence, where Vittorio Emmanuele took up his residence in 1865.
The alliance with Prussia and the war with Austria in 1866 gained Venice for Italy, despite defeats at Custozza and Lissa. Garibaldi's imprudent attempt to acquire the remainder of the Papal State for Italy resulted in his defeat at Mentana in 1867 and the reoccupation of Rome by the French. The question of Rome therefore became all the more a burning one, but the war of 1870 to 1871 between France and Germany produced a solution favorable to Italy. On September 20th 1870 Rome was taken by Italian troops, in January 1871 king and parliament decided that it was to become the capital of the kingdom, on July 2nd that year Vittorio Emmanuele ceremonially entered the city and took up his residence in the Quirinal. He was a constitutional king to a high degree, and therefore during his rule, parliamentary government developed.
In 1873, Vittorio Emmanuele with prime minister Minghetti and minister of foreign affairs Visconti-Venosta visited Vienna and Berlin, which prepared an improvement of relations between Italy and Austria. In April 1875 in Venice the king received the counter-visit of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, and here the full reconciliation between both states and their princes took place. In October that year Kaiser Wilhelm I. paid a visit to Vittorio Emmanuele in Milan. From this time onward Italy gradually moved closer to Germany and Austria, which ended in an alliance, the so-called Triple Alliance (see there). After an illness lasting several days, Vittorio Emmanuele died in Rome on January 9th 1878, and was buried in the Pantheon. The city of Turin has erected two statues of him (modelled by Costa and Vela). A monument of him was dedicated in Florence in 1890, in Rome a large-scale monument presently is in the works.
In regard to his outward appearance, Vittorio Emmanuele was a stocky, broad-shouldered and full of vitality. He grew a large mustache. He was a master in bodily exercise. Exceptional courage he proved both in the rain of bullets in battle and during the hunt of mountain goats. He had a weakness for women. After the death of his wife (January 20th 1855) he was in an intimate relationship with Rosa Vercellana, the daughter of a tambour major, whom he married in 1869, during an illness, and whom he gave the title Countess Mirafiore. Despite his anti-church policy, Vittorio Emmanuele was a faithful Catholic, in certain cases tending toward bigotry. While dying, he told his confessor that he died a Catholic, that he always had been devoted to the pope's person, and that he deeply regretted, that by any of his actions he caused the personal displeasure of the pope. But in all his action he had wanted to fulfill his duty as a citizen and prince, without wanting to interfere in the rights of the pope and the church. Pius IX. and the king personally were good friends. At one occasion, in regard to the policy of Vittorio Emmanuele, the pope said : "Vittorio Emmanuele is a lamb, Napoleon the wolf." Vittorio Emmanuele had all the most characteristic traits of his family, a certain tendency toward mysticism, and in certain cases cold, calculating reason. He was good-hearted and generous, and therefore his affairs [private state] was poor. As state finances were poor, he reduced his civil list. In his first marriage, in addition to the aforementioned daughter Clotilda, he had the sons Umberto (successor to the throne), Amadeo (Duke of Aosta, for a few years King of Spain), Otto Eugenio Duke of Monferrato, born in 1846, died in 1864, and daughter Maria Pia, married to King Louis of Portugal. The sons in his later marriage caused him a lot of grief.

source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg

Meyer's Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, Article : Viktor Emanuel (2)
Vittorio Emmanuele II., King of Italy, son of King Carlo Alberto of Sardinia, born on March 14th 1820, at the side of his father participated in the campaigns against Austria, where he was hit by a bullet in his thigh, by the abdication of Carlo Alberto (after the defeat at Novara) on March 23rd 1849 he became King of Sardinia under difficult circumstances. He concluded peace with Austria, and with the aid of skilled ministers, such as d'Azeglio and Cavour, he tried to heal the country's wounds. Simultaneously he introduced a number of important reforms, and in Sardinia a vivid constitutional life flourished, on the basis of orderly freedom, therefore the name of Vittorio Emmanuele became the most popular in Italy. In the treaty of April 10th 1855 during the Crimean War he joined the western powers, later visited the courts of Paris and London, and, by marrying off his daughter Clotilda with Prince Napoleon, he tied together the dynasties of Savoy and France. So he secured the aid in arms of France and the benevolent neutrality of England [!] in the war against Austria 1859, in the course of which he personally proved great courage. To the unification of Italy he sacrificed the ancestral land of his dynasty, and he did not shy away from, during the movement toward unification 1860-1861, which resulted in the annexion of central and southern Italy, appearing in the eyes of Europe's monarchs as an ally of the revolution, [while simultaneously] appearing in the eyes of some impatient compatriots as a reactionary, while simultaneously, with conscious discipline he observed his duties as a constitutional monarch. On March 17th 1861 he assumed the title of a King of Italy. By the war of 1866 he received Venice, which he entered on November 7th. In 1870 he felt obliged by gratitude to aid Napoleon against Germany, but he gave in to the opposite view of his ministers, when France's alleged military superiority proved to be an illusion. Also the occupation of the remainder of the Papal State, and of Rome, he only ordered at the urgent suggestions by the ministers, as he personally always maintained friendly relations with Pius IX., despite being excommunicated. In order to secure his country against Ultramontane intrigues, he joined the Three Emperors' League, and in September 1873 he toured the courts of the Emperors of Austria and Germany. He received countervisits in 1874 in Venice and Milan. After brief illness he died suddenly on January 9th 1878 in Rome, and was buried on January 17th in the Pantheon.
Since April 12th 1842 the king was married to Adelheid, daughter of Archduke Rainer of Austria. She died on January 20th 1855. The marriage produced : Clotilda, born on March 2nd 1842, since January 1859 wife of Prince Jerome Napoleon, Umberto, the present King of Italy, born on March 14th 1844, Amadeo, Duke of Aosta, born on March 30th 1845, Otto Eugenio, Duke of Monferrato, born on June 11th 1846, he died in January 1864, Maria Pia, born on October 16th 1847, since October 6th 1862 married to King Louis of Portugal. In second marriage Vittorio Emmanuele was married to Rosina, Countess Mirafiore, the sons of her caused him great grief. He was of stocky, strong stature, had expressive facial features, a head ornated with a large mustache. In his habits he was extraordinarily simple, by character upright, moderate and conservative, but also prudent and generous. His favorite pastime was the hunt, favorably of ibex.
See : Rüffer, Könige. (Wien 1878); Massari, La vita ed il regno di Vittorio Emanuele (Milan 1878, 2 vols.); Bersezio, Il regno di Vittorio Emanuele II (Turin 1878-1889, vol. 15).

source in German, posted by Retro Bibliothek





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DOCUMENTS Article Victor Emmanuel III. [!, typo; article on V.E. II.], from EB 1911
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