Cavour’s Final Problems, 1860–1861

  • Denis Mack Smith


Cavour’s restless mind was never happy unless he was two stages ahead of the field and considering some possible, or even improbable, turn of events. At the same time as his troops were invading central and southern Italy, he was getting ready for another war against Austria. Until the British knew about this, they were trying to persuade the Austrians that a peaceful surrender of Venice would be in the interests of European peace. Cavour, however, said he did not want a peaceful cession, for a war would help to weld the nation together. A secret cargo of arms on its way to the Balkans then inadvertently fell into unfriendly hands, and, though Cavour disclaimed all knowledge of it, his agents had forgotten to remove the labels which showed that the crates came from the royal arsenals in Turin and Genoa. A European war was precisely what the British wanted to avoid, and they accordingly showed much less interest in helping Italy to win Venice.


Final Problem General Hilarity Secret Cargo Italian History Regular Army 
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Copyright information

© Denis Mack Smith 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denis Mack Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.All Souls CollegeOxfordUK

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