I have to compliment you for a fair analysis, Alessandro. 👍👍
Pius IX was the only figure which would be acceptable to the Delegates without opposition or too many second thoughts. The Presidency, as offered by Ferdinando/Cavour has some strings attached, though: the "Principals", which may not be the easiest pill to swallow for a man like Mastai Ferretti. We'll have to wait a bit to see how the chips fall, and anyway there may be some resistance even at the Convention (Cattaneo, just to make a name, was not exactly a fan boy of the Pope). Obviously the Conservative Faction in the Curia will not be enthused by this offer: the worried expression of Monsignor Coboldi Bussi is quite a give away. ;)

Much as the idea of Maria Cristina as President of the Confederation appeals to me, there are paths where not even I dare to thread XDXD
You are right, though, in complimenting Cavour for his speech: I believe he covered all possible angles in a very smooth and effective way, although I am not sure if I am the best judge of that ;);)
And now I realized that we have reached post #500. Thank you all folks!!!!
 
Narrative Interlude #33: Case Rubicon
Case Rubicon
Villa Borghi, 6 April 1848 - Noon


Prince Ferdinando was quietly congratulating Camillo Benso on a speech very well done, when his aide approached him:
"An urgent message from our embassy in Rome, Your Highness. It has just been decoded and is marked Priority/Secret."
"Thank you, Augusto." Ferdinando opened the message, and read it intently. He stood thinking for a few seconds, then he handed it to Cavour: "Case Rubicon, Camillo."
While the count was reading, he turned to his aide: "I will need Admiral Graziani and General Menabrea quickly, Augusto. Fetch them for me, please. I'll be in the usual meeting room."
Camillo had finished reading the message: "It's happening, and faster than we thought."
"A good sign: it smells of desperation. Desperate people are known to make mistakes, mistakes we avoid by planning for different contingencies in advance. Camillo, please bring colonel Bignami to the meeting room: do it personally, but try to be inconspicuous. We do not want anybody suspect that a crisis is brewing in Rome, not today, at least." Awed, Camillo did not respond: he just did as his... friend? Lieutenant? No.. as his Commander-in-Chief ordered.

Ferdinando started walking toward the main staircase, returning the greetings of the delegates, but stopping only to collect Count Mocenigo on the way, murmuring: "A word in private, my dear Count ".
By the time Ferdinando and Mocenigo reached the meeting room, Cavour and Bignami were already there.
"Your Highness, Count Mocenigo: may I introduce Colonel Bignami, Commander of the National Guard in Bologna and just recently arrived from Ferrara?"
"Welcome to Isola della Scala, colonel. I heard many good things of yourself and of your men (1). I understand you have travelled here in order to ask for a chance to play a more active role in the war."
"I do thank Your Highness for your kind words, on behalf of my men, too. It is true: we would like to play some role in the war, if there is an opportunity." The colonel was standing at a rigid parade rest.
"An opportunity has indeed come up, Colonel, and for an independent command too." The prince smiled thinly, before continuing: "Let us be seated. Two other participants in this little meeting are expected, and they should be here shortly. "
As on cue, there was a knock on the door, and Menabrea and Graziani entered. "Welcome gentlemen, please be seated too. Augusto, please remain in the corridor and make sure we are not disturbed."

"Gentlemen, before starting: the information I am going to present is strictly confidential, and cannot be revealed to anyone without our explicit consent. Is this understood?"
The prince waited for a round of confirmations before continuing:
"I have just received an important message from Marquis Pareto (2), our ambassador in Rome. Trouble has been brewing in that city for the last couple of weeks, and I am sure that everyone remembers the disorders of 29 March, when a peaceful demonstration ended up in a riot and was brutally repressed. Two thirds of the Roman National Guard have volunteered to fight in the war, and the battalions left home are too undermanned to guarantee the order in the city, as they have done since the Holy Father granted them leave to be mustered. The presence of volunteers in Friuli and in Dalmatia is certainly welcome, but we would be undutiful sons of Mother Church if we were not concerned with the possibility of increasing unrest and civil disturbances in Rome. This eventuality was discussed with Gen. Durando and Admiral Graziani during my recent visit in Venice. The government of the Republic of St. Mark and General Ferrari, commanding the volunteers, were also made privy to the plans, denominated Case Rubicon, that have been prepared as a contingency. As a consequence, 7,000 volunteers from the Papal States were kept in Ferrara, as a strategic reserve for any possible need.

When Case Rubicon was discussed, it was assumed that the possibility of unrest in Rome would have been detected early enough to make sure that the Papal Volunteers would have the time to reach Rome before it was too late. Unfortunately, it appears that events are moving at a very fast pace. The telegram sent by Marquis Pareto is very revealing in this regard. The Holy Father has rescinded the obligation for all Jews to be confined in the Ghetto, and the wall surrounding it was demolished on 31 March. The following day, the Ghetto was assaulted by bands of marauders (3), allegedly protesting Jewish competition on the labor market. There has been an attempt to blame Jacobins and liberals for this outrage, but the ambassador is positive that the assault was fueled by sermons preached in the parish churches close to the Ghetto, and criminals and ruffians were part of it. Similarly, ferocious brawling has erupted between carters and draymen based in Rome and their competitors from the countryside (4). It may seem a little thing, but Roman populace is dependent on a steady flow of foodstuff from the country to the city, and these disturbances are increasing their discontent. It is believed that agents provocateurs have been instrumental in firing up the brawling. Finally, the Austrian embassy in Rome has increased their pressure on the Secretary of State, openly threatening a schism if Papal troops cross the border to fight against the troops of another Catholic monarch. Obviously this was not an issue when Austrian troops occupied Bologna for 5 years in the 1830s, or when the same troops garrisoned the citadel of Ferrara for a mere 30 years."

Ferdinando's irony was as dry as the Sahara desert, but then he continued in a very formal tone:
"I have decided, under my authority as Commander-in-Chief, to activate Case Rubicon and I do hereby inform the Government of the Republic of St. Mark, pursuant to our alliance treaty. Do you concur, Count Mocenigo?"
The count paled a bit, this development was completely unexpected, but there was a core of steel under his suave and courteous appearance and he did not hesitate: "I do concur, Your Highness."
"Very well.. The commander of the fortress of Ferrara is in possession of sealed orders for this contingency: he will be notified of the activation of Case Rubicon, and six fully manned battalions of the Roman Volunteers will be released immediately, to be transported by sea to Ancona. Admiral Graziani, you will provide the required ships: time is of essence here, and I expect the troops to board ships and depart for Ancona on the morning tide of 10 April. You will also send a message to General Ferrari in Dalmatia, informing him of the activation of Case Rubicon. He knows what to do. Both Gen. Ferrari and the Volunteers should be in Ancona by the evening of April 11. Can this schedule be met?"
"I am confident we can do it, assuming that sea and wind conditions are not too bad. I will send immediately the necessary orders."
"Colonel Bignami, now is your turn. Six battalions of Volunteers, chosen among those mustered in the Legations, will ensure that civilian order is not disrupted in Bologna and in Romagna: I'd suggest three battalions in Bologna and three in Imola. These battalions will leave Ferrara on 10 April, and should be in place not later than 12 April: it is just a couple of days of easy march. You will be in charge of them, with the brevet rank of Brigadier, and are authorized to deploy according to your needs: within the boundaries of the strategic goal, it is an independent command. Congratulations on your promotion, Brigadier Bignami."
A murmur of approval around the table.
"Thank you, Your Highness. I would have never thought my command would be in Bologna... So be it. With your permission, I will leave immediately for Ferrara to collect my battalions."
"You will do nothing like that, Brigadier. Today you will continue to attend the Convention, and the celebration which is likely to follow. Tomorrow you will leave for Bologna... for family reasons. I want you to start assessing the situation on the ground: the battalions can march under the command of their senior colonel, and you can meet them close to the city. Your task is not to repress an insurrection, but to guarantee that law and order are not disturbed: a fit task for the National Guard. The Legate, Cardinal D'Amat, is leaning towards the liberals, and should not oppose your efforts. Be on guard anyway against agents provocateurs, who might try to fuel discontent, and also against bands of Centurioni (5). I suggest you may say you are patrolling against bands of Austrian stragglers roaming the countryside. If the objection is that no one has seen such stragglers...it's because you are just doing a stunning job."
The prince stopped for a moment, then went on:
"Before releasing you to your tasks, gentlemen, I want to make one point crystal clear: Case Rubicon is not aimed against the Holy Father and the Constitutional Government of the Papal States, but rather intends to defend them against the plots of the reactionaries in the Curia, aided and abetted by the Austrian Embassy in Rome. I have always had the utmost respect for the Holy Father, whom I wish to hail soon as President of the Italian Confederation." He sounded very sincere. A princely pause, before ordering: "Dismissed."

When Ferdinando left the meeting room, his aide handed him another message.
The prince read it quickly, and smiled: "Archduke Ranieri has accepted the parley, Camillo. It has been arranged for the day after tomorrow, as proposed. It will be at one hour past noon, at Cavidavid (6). An easy ride. I will take Menabrea and Graziani with me, and also a Tuscan officer. Ask Ricasoli if there is any objection to colonel Montanelli: the man has proved his mettle, and the Volunteers will be pleased. Let us show my dear father-in-law that the Italian Confederacy is already a reality."

Somewhere in the Tyrrhenian Sea, noon

Vincenzo Gioberti was standing right on the ship's bow, staring intently at the horizon, lost in thought. He knew he was still far away from Rome, but deep inside, he had the certainty that the Almighty was giving wings to this very ship, to hasten the pace of history, to finally... He had to pause for a second, to puke in the sea for the hundredth time. His eyes were sparkling though, in stark contrast with his greenish complexion. He put a hand to his chest, as if he could feel Italy's destiny in the form of the sealed parchment he was to deliver to the Pope, but it was not yet there: it would be waiting for him in Rome. Pius IX, the Pope he had dreamed about, almost summoned to history by his pen and prayers, when he had written "Del Primato morale e civile degli Italiani"(7) would finally be offered his rightful place. He could picture the moment he would deliver the message, the smile on the Pope's face, bells ringing and people singing, no, they were angels... He felt compelled to sing as well, a mighty hymn in his thin voice...
"Rex tremendae maiestatis, qui salvandos salvas gratis, salva me, fons pietatis"(8)
How fit, the Angels were singing the Dies Irae... Wait, really?

Footnotes
  1. ITTL Bignami had led a column of National Guards in support of the Modenese insurgents, after the duke fled to Austria​
  2. Historical. A cousin of the Sardinian Foreign Minister​
  3. Historical. IOTL it happened a week later than TTL, but again on the day after the demolition of the Ghetto wall.​
  4. Historical.​
  5. Historical. The "Centurioni" were a paramilitary militia recruited by the Conservative Faction of the Curia among vagrants and petty criminals, and used to repress civil disturbances. Their crimes against civilians during the insurrection of Rimini in 1845 had attracted universal condemnation​
  6. A small hamlet, 5 miles south of Verona​
  7. "On the moral and civil primacy of the Italians", written in 1843. With millions of copies sold, it was massively influential in the debate over the liberation and unification of Italy.​
  8. "King of fearsome majesty, Who gladly saves those fit to be saved,save me, O fount of mercy." The eighth stanza of the medieval hymn "Dies Irae" ("Day of Wrath").​
Made in @LordKalvan & Tarabas​
 
"Case Rubicon"...wait what??? But... that's...🤯🤯🤯...oh boy, did Ferdinando just found an excuse to put the papal state and the eternal city itself under "martial law" with the pretest of protecting the population and the Holy See itself against Austrian "spy" and "traitor" member of the Curia who's working with said spy? Well... that's a way to put f*****g pressure on a guy, let alone the Pope itself. And nobody can attack his narrative 🤔 not without risking to be accused of being an "agitator" against the order this honest and fellow Christians soldier/volunteer are upholding... God if before Ferdinando put the Pope in check now he checkmate him 😯😵🤯
 
"Case Rubicon"...wait what??? But... that's...🤯🤯🤯...oh boy, did Ferdinando just found an excuse to put the papal state and the eternal city itself under "martial law" with the pretest of protecting the population and the Holy See itself against Austrian "spy" and "traitor" member of the Curia who's working with said spy? Well... that's a way to put f*****g pressure on a guy, let alone the Pope itself. And nobody can attack his narrative 🤔 not without risking to be accused of being an "agitator" against the order this honest and fellow Christians soldier/volunteer are upholding... God if before Ferdinando put the Pope in check now he checkmate him 😯😵🤯
Don't get into a tizzy ;)
Ferdinando has explained very clearly that he's just facilitating the return of a few regiments of the National Guard to Rome, with the aim of putting a lid on the unrest in the city. Unrest which is fueled by the reactionaries in the Curia in cahoots with the Austrians.
In his own words:
I want to make one point crystal clear: Case Rubicon is not aimed against the Holy Father and the Constitutional Government of the Papal States, but rather intends to defend them against the plots of the reactionaries in the Curia, aided and abetted by the Austrian Embassy in Rome. I have always had the utmost respect for the Holy Father, whom I wish to hail soon as President of the Italian Confederation
The only troops which are moving to Rome are National Guard battalions mustered there: no other Italian state is going to interfere into an internal crisis of the Papal States (although, to be precise, I cannot make any guarantee for a possible intervention of Neapolitan troops: Ferdinando di Borbone has not sent any delegate to Isola della Scala, and it is known that confidential letters has been exchanged between Rome and Naples). :)

Everything will be made clear pretty soon ;)
 
Don't get into a tizzy ;)
Ferdinando has explained very clearly that he's just facilitating the return of a few regiments of the National Guard to Rome, with the aim of putting a lid on the unrest in the city. Unrest which is fueled by the reactionaries in the Curia in cahoots with the Austrians.
In his own words:

The only troops which are moving to Rome are National Guard battalions mustered there: no other Italian state is going to interfere into an internal crisis of the Papal States (although, to be precise, I cannot make any guarantee for a possible intervention of Neapolitan troops: Ferdinando di Borbone has not sent any delegate to Isola della Scala, and it is known that confidential letters has been exchanged between Rome and Naples). :)

Everything will be made clear pretty soon ;)
Ok I can't wait 😁😁😁
 
Narrative Interlude 34: Stand and Be Counted - Part 3
Stand and Be Counted - Part 3
Villa Borghi, 6 April 1848 - Afternoon


The Delegates and the Observers filed in the ballroom, and took again their seats.
Count Mocenigo spoke: "Honorable Delegates and Observers, we are reconvened. Count Cavour is available to provide any clarification you might further need in relation to the proposal to form an Italian Confederation, the Presidency of which would be offered to the Pope. In consideration of the importance of the topic we are discussing, the Observers will also be entitled to ask questions."

"Signor Presidente, I ask to be recognized."
"I recognize Marquis Capponi, from Tuscany."
"Count Cavour, you spoke about the protection that the Confederation will provide for all its Member States in case of external aggression. What would the Confederation do in case of internal aggression?"
"Thank you for your question, Marquis Capponi. I assume you are referring to unlawful insurrection in a member state, or an internal coup d'etat toppling a democratically elected government. It is obviously a very sensitive topic, which needs to be addressed in the future Confederal Constitution, since it impinges not only on the principal of the independence of each Member State in its internal affairs but also on the bill of rights to be guaranteed by said Constitution. I assume that the Confederation will have its own Judicial Branch, which will rule on the merits of the cases that it will be referred to it: let's call it a Supreme Court. In my opinion, this Supreme Court will also deal with all the cases where individuals might claim that their constitutional rights have been trampled by the Judiciary or by the Legislative branch of a Member State. I apologize if my answer is not fully exhaustive, but, as I said, this issue must be settled by the future Constitutional Convention."

Capponi was followed by Carlo Cattaneo:
"Count Cavour, you mentioned that the Constitutions granted in some of the Italian States were similar, but not identical. It looks to me that the most significant difference among them regarded the powers retained by the monarch, under constitutional rule. In most of the cases, these powers remained quite significant and could easily set aside Parliament, or at least veto legislation. Wouldn't be better to include among the Principals that the sovereignty of Parliament should be supreme?"

It was a hard question, but not an unexpected one. Cavour had prepared an answer: after all, he had the same question asked of him in Turin when Carlo Alberto granted the Statute:
"You cut to the heart of the problem, signor Cattaneo. My answer is no, and I will explain why. First of all, the balance of power among the three branches of government, executive, legislative and judicial, must be defined and put in place by the Constitutional Convention. I would recommend giving them some freedom in their deliberations, since there is not way to achieve a perfect balance but, on the other hand, different systems have been set in place and proved worthwhile. In any case, the draft of the Constitution needs to be approved by a plebiscite, which means that the people of Italy will make the final decision. In second place, I will be so bold to quote one of my own editorials, written barely one month ago: "Parliaments have a way to claim back for their own even those powers that have not been granted from the beginning." (1) If I wanted to be flippant, I might have said that the ultimate power is the power of the purse."

The next question was even harder to answer, and came from Monsignor Corboli Bussi:
"Count Cavour, first of all I want to thank you for your kindness in accepting questions even from a mere observer as I am. I am not attending this convention as a delegate, since the issue of an Italian Confederation was not on the table when I was given my remit and ordered to come to Isola della Scala. My words are mine alone, as an individual, and should not be construed as representing in any way the position of the government of the Papal States, much less the position of His Holiness the Pope, who said: "Quando il Papa vuole dire qualcosa, parla da solo."(2) With all due respect, there is a reason why in the Constitution granted by the Holy Father requires that every decision of the parliament be reviewed and approved by the Curia presided by the Pope: every law must be be in full compliance with the Catholic doctrine (3). What are you going to do should His Holiness refuse the offer of the Presidency? I have to remind you that the book of Signor Gioberti did not even include your "Principals", and even so never received an official imprimatur."

There was a sudden silence in the room.

"Monsignore, I have the utmost confidence in the Holy Father. After his election, he has given multiple proofs of his commitment to liberal ideals: he has pardoned political prisoners and exiles, he has allowed the mustering of a National Guard, in Rome and in other cities, he has sent Papal troops to join us in the war and blessed the Volunteers who marched with them, he has ordered the demolition of the walls of the Ghetto. He has blessed Italy. I do believe that an Italian Confederation can truly blossom under his wise guidance. His Holiness will have to decide himself whether to accept our offer, or refuse it. We can only pray for his continued health, and also that God may lend him His wisdom and His mercy.
There is no alternate plan: "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof"(4)".

Butter would not have melt in Cavour's mouth, but the most savvy political operators were not deceived. Count Mocenigo's thoughts were pretty typical: "The first commandment in politics is "You shall always have an alternate plan". Having got to know Prince Ferdinand and Cavour well enough, I am sure that they have more than one alternate plan, and can only thank God for that."

Other questions followed, but nothing really consequential. Then Giuseppe Ferrari rose to speak:
"I don't have an additional question, but I have however to deliver a warning to this assembly. As you certainly know, I have just recently arrived from Paris where I could witness the insurrection of 14 February, which led to the abdication of Louis Philippe and the proclamation of a republic in France. As far as revolutions go, it was almost bloodless: the walls of the July Monarchy crumbled down almost immediately under the onslaught of the alliance of liberals and democrats. So far so good, but then the differences between the two wings of the insurgents soon started to become visible. The liberals fought for their rights, to get into the seats of power and to break the grip of the 500 Notables who, under the leadership of Guizot, had governed France for 18 years: they got their prizes, the bourgeois revolution won. Their allies in the fight, the democrats, got nothing. There is just a single democrat in the Executive Committee which is governing France. Be warned, though: the democrats did not fight to become part of the establishment. They fought on behalf of the dispossessed, the day labourers, the unemployed, the destitute, who cannot put food on the table for their families, who cannot find work, who have to live in cramped, filthy, unhealthy tenements in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, and many other French cities. The 18 years during which Guizot ruled France were a time of momentous societal change: in a nutshell, the industrial revolution. Unfortunately, all these changes were governed by laissez faire: thousands of people moved from the countryside to Paris and the other cities looking for work, accepting low pay and long hours to feed themselves and their families; at the same time, artisans, who had always managed a decent way of life, were ruined by the competition of the newfangled factories. Then the economical crisis came, and not just once: the bourgeoisie could weather the storm, but the poor couldn't. Thousands of workers lost their jobs, and had no alternatives. No one was hiring, the government was not helping: they were let to fend for themselves. Even worse, the harvests has been bad for the past two years, and the price of food has outrageously increased. No surprise that they listen to the call for change, that they are ready to man the barricades, to march shoulder to shoulder in the streets of Paris: what have they to loose? They have been used to achieve victory, but now that the bourgeoisie has won, they are easily forgotten. A few paltry measures are passed: National Workshops are set up, public works are started to provide employment, but these measures cost money, and the bourgeoisie resents spending it on behalf of the poor. Taxes are raised, and everyone is howling like a branded calf: there is already significant unrest in the countryside, protests against the hated "45 centimes", the extra money they have to pay. Tax records are burned, tax gatherers manhandled, riots break out. Still, the poor classes in the cities don't have enough to feed their families, and their anger grows with their hunger.
I make this prediction (5): if things do not change, if these wounds are not healed, the liberals will look back to an alliance with the reactionaries, to keep at bay the poor and the hungry; then the masses will raise, and a bloody revolution will start. Think well, delegates, because the clock is ticking: the situation in Italy is not the same as in France, but it is not so different either. Either you will look after the needs of the poorest classes, or you will have to face a revolution here too, and I know on which side I will be. (6)"

There was no answer to give at this time, but the impassionate speech of Giuseppe Ferrari cast a gloom over the audience.
Cavour was uneasy: in the 1830s he had taken a keen interest in the development of the Poor Laws in England, which had barely put a plaster on a gaping wound, and knew Ferrari was only telling the truth, even if it was an uncomfortable one for a person of his class. Some solution needed to be found before it was too late. He made a note to talk to Ferrari in the next few days: at least he would discover if the philosopher had some practical suggestion to make, or if he was just a prophet of doom. Similar thoughts were crossing the mind of Ricasoli: he had pointed out to the Grand Duke and the Consiglio di Buon Governo the need to address the complaints of the stevedores and porters in Livorno before they became a threat to the economy and the social peace of Tuscany (7). Maybe he should talk to Ferrari, to understand what could be done: any port in a storm.

The silence was broken by Count Mocenigo: "Signori Delegati, you have been presented the scheme for an Italian Confederation proposed by the Kingdom of Sardinia, with its presidency offered to Pope Pius IX. You have heard the questions asked and the replies of Count Cavour. It is now the time for a decision: all in favor, stand and be counted."

All the delegates were on their feet, shouting: "Viva Pio IX!"

Footnotes​
  1. Cavour wrote this line in an editorial published by "Il Risorgimento" on 10 March 1848 IOTL​
  2. "When the Pope wants to say something, he speaks himself". IOTL Pius IX said these words after receiving the news of Durando's speech to the troops​
  3. Historical: the Curia retained the ultimate approval on every law voted by the Assembly, and this was usually interpreted to cover even laws which had nothing to do with matters regulated by Catholic doctrine​
  4. Matthew 6:34 (the Sermon on the Mount)​
  5. IOTL Ferrari's dire prediction proved true: the elections of late April returned an Assembly skewed toward the center- right, with a strong presence of monarchists. The Commission set up in March to find ways to ameliorate the conditions of the poorest classes proved ineffective, and a majority in the Assembly started to demand an end to the National Workshops. The leftist deputies at the Assembly found themselves sidelined, and turned to the masses of unemployed to exert pressure on the government. By mid May, a major march was called in Paris, ostensibly to support the independence of Poland: it ended up in an assault on the Assembly, which polarized the political atmosphere even more. A "party of Order" coalesced in the Assembly, with monarchist support. The National Workshops were closed on 21 June, the same day the Left called the people to the insurrection. In order to repress it, general Cavaignac became prime minister, with full powers. The insurrection was broken between 23 and 26 June (The Bloody Days of June), leaving more than 10,000 dead: 1,500 soldiers, 3,000 insurgents and 6,000 civilians. 4,000 arrests followed: the French liberal revolution was already walking on a path that would have ended with the election of Louis Napoleon as president and the subsequent coup which created the Second Empire.​
  6. The whole speech of Ferrari is based on historical events which happened in France before his departure for Milan, when news of the Milanese insurrection reached Paris.​
  7. See Interlude 11 "La Bella Tuscanina​
Made in @LordKalvan & Tarabas
 
Cavour has enough good sense to admit that Ferrari is right, despite being far from a socialist himself.

I wonder if this means that Ferrari, through no fault of his own, has accidentally paved the way for a Cavourian version of Bismarckian state socialism.
 
Cavour has enough good sense to admit that Ferrari is right, despite being far from a socialist himself.

I wonder if this means that Ferrari, through no fault of his own, has accidentally paved the way for a Cavourian version of Bismarckian state socialism.
IOTL, Cavour's first publication was an essay on the condition of the poor and the workers in the Sardinian States (IIRC in 1834, which was part of the European-wide study the British government led before the introduction of the Poor Laws), and his conclusions were fairly accurate: he stated clearly that the workers led a precarious life, in which it was nearly impossible to save money, for instance. In 1848, his analysis of the fear that the French revolution inspired outside France was that "this fear is caused neither by the Republic nor by democracy, but by the Specter (sic!) of Communism." Ferrari's speech is giving him firsthand proof that something needs to be done, and a clear hint at the direction to take, I believe.
 
Amazing new chapter 🤩🤩🤩 Great job guys!!!!
Thanks Alessandro, happy you liked it :) :)
Cavour has enough good sense to admit that Ferrari is right, despite being far from a socialist himself.

I wonder if this means that Ferrari, through no fault of his own, has accidentally paved the way for a Cavourian version of Bismarckian state socialism.
You say it as if it would be a bad thing.
With all his defects, Bismarck was not unable to change tack in internal politics if he realized his first approach was not producing results: the Kulturkampf and the anti-socialist laws didn't work as he anticipated, and he moved on to a Concordat and to measures to appease the working class which were much more effective and ultimately insured social peace in Germany (and also allowed the SDP to become the strongest party in Germany, although this may have been a product of the law of unintended consequences). The Italian approach IOTL included the "tassa sul macinato" in 1868 and the cannons of Bava Beccaris in 1898. You can tell me which is the smarter way of dealing with social unrest ;).

However, Staatsozialism, tassa sul macinato and Bava Beccaris happened IOTL, and may (or most likely may not) happen ITTL.
The point I was trying to make is that IOTL the informal alliance between liberals and democrats started to break down pretty soon (it happened in France and in the Germanies, for example, and also in Italy and in the Habsburg empire, although in the last two there were also other quite important factors at play), and it paved the way for the ultimate victory of the reactionaries in the second half of 1848 and in 1849.
The speech given by Ferrari may fall on more fertile ground ITTL, and hopefully might pave the way for a better future (which will be harshly criticized, no doubt about it, by both the extreme left and the extreme right, but that is part of the game) and Ferrari himself might play a significant role in building this different future. Time will tell.
 
Narrative Interlude #35: Stand and Be Counted - Part 4
Stand and Be Counted - Part 4
Villa Borghi, 6 April 1848 - Evening


There was no formal dinner planned: delegates and observers partake of a cold collation, then dispersed in small groups, quietly discussing the events of the day. Everyone was waiting for the final draft of the offer to the Pope, which was being formalized by a few secretaries under the supervision of Cavour and Mocenigo. The dominant emotion was satisfaction, even elation: a momentous decision had been taken, the future history of Italy would be mightily influenced by today's deliberation, there was a promise in the air that the future would bring freedom, security, prosperity. At the same time there were undercurrents of worry crossing the room: would the Pope accept the offer? would it be well received when each delegation brought it home? and what about the warning of Ferrari? A common prayer was mentally recited by many: "May God forbid that the results which had been achieved are wasted by the collapse of social order and revolution. Libera nos a malo".

The entrance of Prince Ferdinand, followed by Cavour and Mocenigo, provided a welcome distraction.
"Good evening, gentlemen. I have good news for you all. First of all, the proposal to be sent to the Pope is ready for the signatures. It is truly a formality, since it will be sent by telegraph to the embassy of Sardinia in Rome, where it will be copied on parchment and delivered to His Holiness by Marquis Pareto and Signor Gioberti. The signed copy will follow, but it will take 4 days to reach Rome, even by fast courier. The second good news is that Archduke Ranieri has agreed to the parley we proposed. It is scheduled for the day after tomorrow, at a hamlet near Verona. The third good news is that I received a letter from Signor Manzoni. Besides his warm congratulations for what has been achieved, he sent me a copy, on his own hand, of one of his lyrics, which has not yet been published.
It is dedicated to all the fallen during the past month of March, soldiers, volunteers and civilians, and is aptly titled March 1848 (1).
I read a few stanzas, and found them very moving. It is only proper that you all may share this treat, the perfect ending of a very important day. The reading will be in about an hour. Now let's proceed with the signatures, please."

====================================

The signatures were completed, while the ballroom was prepared for the reading,
Ferdinando led Maria Cristina and Cristina di Belgioioso into the room, and sat in the first row. The other guests followed, filling in all the places. The last stragglers were forced to stand along the wall.

Captain Augusto di Cavour had been selected as reader, much to his chagrin: Augusto did not feel comfortable being at the center of the attention of the whole room. He started reading, in a strong male voice:

Soffermati sull’arida sponda
vòlti i guardi al varcato Ticino,
tutti assorti nel novo destino,
certi in cor dell’antica virtù,
han giurato: non fia che quest’onda
scorra più tra due rive straniere;
non fia loco ove sorgan barriere
tra l’Italia e l’Italia, mai più! (2)

There were 13 stanzas in the poem, and Augusto read them all in a religious silence.
Then a thunderous applause came: Manzoni's words had put fire in every heart.



Footnotes
  1. IOTL, Alessandro Manzoni wrote this lyric in 1821, when the hopes of the insurrection in Piedmont (and in other parts of Italy, namely Naples and Sicily) fired the imagination of Lombard patriots. A number of Piedmontese officers (all of them members of the Carbonari) mutinied in Alessandria, asking for a constitution based on the Spanish constitution of 1812. King Vittorio Emanuele I (who was in Sardinia) refused to grant the constitution, and abdicated in favor of his brother Carlo Felice. Since Carlo Felice was in Modena at the time, Carlo Alberto was made Regent, and granted the Constitution. Carlo Felice countermanded the concession, and ordered him to leave Turin to join the loyal regiments in Novara. Carlo Alberto caved, and left in the night, abandoning the conspirators. The original title of the lyric was Marzo 1821, but it was not published at the time, since all insurrections were quickly quashed. Manzoni partly rewrote the poem in 1848, but IOTL he kept the original title. The different events of TTL have convinced him to change it.
  2. I have been unable to find a professional translation of March 1821. I have been however able to find this translation posted by Fabio Paolo Barbieri https://fpb.livejournal.com/387822.html . Following the link, the complete text of March 1821 and its translation can be found. We propose the following alternative translation of the first stanza :
Lingering on the arid shore
their gazes turned at at the Ticino just crossed,
all absorbed in their new destiny,
certain in their hearts of their ancient virtue,
they swore: no more shall this wave
flow between two foreign shores;
let there be no place where barriers arise
between Italy and Italy, never again!
Made in @LordKalvan
 
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I reread the first chapter of the story and now I think I know the answer to my questions; Pius IX, I'm afraid will refuse, and a Roman Repulic will be declared.
 
I reread the first chapter of the story and now I think I know the answer to my questions; Pius IX, I'm afraid will refuse, and a Roman Repulic will be declared.
As mentioned some pages ago in the thread, part of the first chapters need extensive reediting to be consistent with some changes we decided later (a remarkable example being the role played by Garibaldi, who is still traveling by sea and will hardly get a chance to fight in Dalmatia as originally planned). That being said, one of the most difficult things to obtain plausibly (assuming one wants such an outcome) is a State of the Church which is also a functional part of a broader Italian Confederation, Pious IX or not.
 
As mentioned some pages ago in the thread, part of the first chapters need extensive reediting to be consistent with some changes we decided later (a remarkable example being the role played by Garibaldi, who is still traveling by sea and will hardly get a chance to fight in Dalmatia as originally planned). That being said, one of the most difficult things to obtain plausibly (assuming one wants such an outcome) is a State of the Church which is also a functional part of a broader Italian Confederation, Pious IX or not.
Well, usually I favor interesting outcomes over plausible ones, but I suppose you are right ;)
 
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