Friday, January 21, 2022

The Long Defeat: Italy

 From Charles Coulombe at Catholicism:

When the French Revolution broke out, the Italian Peninsula was divided among several rulers. Piedmont and Sardinia were the domain of the ancient House of Savoy, as a Kingdom named after the large island. But Sardinia was not the Savoys’ only title; they claimed to be Kings of Jerusalem as well, and after the death of Cardinal York (Henry IX) in 1807, Charles Emmanuel IV would become heir to the claims of the House of Stuart. Moreover, the head of the House of Savoy was also “Perpetual Vicar of the [Holy Roman] Empire in Italy.” This was ironic, because the Habsburg Emperor himself was Duke of Milan, and in that capacity ruled all Lombardy, and had charge of the ancient Iron Crown of Lombardy — symbol of the old and long-gone Kingdom of Italy of Charlemagne’s time. Two other branches of the Habsburgs ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Duchy of Modena, while Bourbons were Dukes of Parma and Kings of the Two Sicilies. The Papal States encompassed central Italy, while the two ancient oligarchic republics of Venice and Genoa still functioned according to their ancient constitutions. Between 1789 and 1815, all of these would collapse under French assault and — with the exceptions of Genoa and Venice — be reborn at the Congress of Vienna. Nevertheless, French rule brought forth all sorts of Catholic Counter-Revolutionary movements: the Massa Cristiana in Piedmont, the Veronese Easter, the “Viva Maria” rising in Tuscany, the Sanfedisti in Naples, and various other examples of Insorgense as required.

As in the rest of Europe, the Restoration era in Italy brought a number of important Counter Revolutionary writers to public notice: in Sardinia (in addition to Joseph de Maistre, who despite writing in French was a subject of the Savoys) was the eminent political theorist, Clemente Solaro, Count Della Margherita (1792-1869), whose political career was prematurely cut short for reasons we shall examine shortly; Monaldo Count Leopardi (1776-1849), who despite being layman was from the Papal States; and Antonio Capece Minutolo, Prince di Canosa, from the Two Sicilies. All three argued for the traditional religious and political arrangements their respective countries had developed over the centuries. But in 1831, Charles Felix, King of Sardinia, died. Having only daughters, the throne of Sardinia went to his distant cousin, Charles Albert, Prince of Carignano. His oldest brother, Victor Emmanuel I, had abdicated the Sardinian throne in 1821 in Charles Felix’s favour, but retained the inherited the Stuart claims to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland that had passed to the House of Savoy when Henry IX died in 1807. These were passed on to Victor Emmanuel’s eldest daughter, Maria Beatrizia, who married Francis IV, Duke of Modena. (Read more.)


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