CHARLES ALBERT (Italian : Carlo Alberto I; 2 October 1798 – 28 July 1849) was the King of Sardinia from 27 April 1831 to 23 March 1849. His name is bound up with the first Italian constitution, the Albertine Statute and the First Italian War of Independence (1848–1849).
During the Napoleonic period, he resided in France, where he received a liberal education. As Prince of Carignano in 1821, he granted and then withdrew his support for a rebellion which sought to force Victor Emmanuel I to institute a constitutional monarchy. He became a conservative and participated in the legitimist expedition against the Spanish liberals in 1823.
He became king of Sardinia in 1831 on the death of his distant cousin
Charles Felix , who had no heir. As king, after an initial
conservative period during which he supported various European
legitimist movements, he adopted the idea of a federal Italy, led by
the Pope and freed from the
House of Habsburg
Charles Albert led his forces against the Imperial Austrian army in
First Italian War of Independence (1848–1849), but was abandoned
Pope Pius IX and
Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies and was defeated
in 1849 at the Battle of
The attempt to free northern Italy from Austria represents the first
attempt of the
House of Savoy
Charles Albert received a number of nicknames, including "the Italian
Hamlet" (given to him by
* 1 Early life and studies
* 1.1 The Napoleontic period
* 2 First Period in
* 2.1 Marriage and personality * 2.2 Participation in the Revolution of 1821 * 2.3 The regency and the Spanish Constitution
* 3 Reactionary period (1821-1831)
* 3.1 Florence
* 3.2 Spanish Expedition
* 3.3 Visit to Paris and return to
* 4 Pro-Austrian period (1831-1845)
* 4.1 Conflict with Louis Philippe\'s France * 4.2 Philosophy of rule * 4.3 Reforms and cultural initiatives * 4.4 Support for Spanish and Portuguese reactionaries * 4.5 Opposition to "Young Italy" * 4.6 Law reform * 4.7 Beginning of crisis with Austria
* 5 Liberal sovereign (1845-1849)
* 5.3.1 Initial campaign * 5.3.2 Events in Milan and the armistice of Salasco * 5.3.3 The second campaign and the abdication
* 6 Exile (1849)
* 6.1 Voyage to Portugal
* 6.2 Final days in
* 7 Legacy * 8 Family and children * 9 Ancestry * 10 See also * 11 Notes * 12 Further reading * 13 External links
EARLY LIFE AND STUDIES
Charles Emmanuel, Prince of Carignano , father of Charles Albert. Maria Christina of Saxony , mother of Charles Albert.
He was born at the
Palazzo Carignano in
THE NAPOLEONTIC PERIOD
Charles Albert's father, Charles Emmanuel of Carignano, had studied
in France and had been an officer in the French army. Sympathetic to
liberalism, he travelled to
On 16 August 1796, Charles Emmanuel of
When he was twelve years old, Charles Albert and his mother were
finally granted an audience with Napoleon, who granted the boy the
title of count and an annual pension. Since it was no longer
appropriate for him to be educated at home, Charles Albert was sent to
the Collège Stanislas in Paris in 1812. He remained at the school for
two years, but did not attend regularly; instead he attended only to
sit exams, apparently with success. In the meantime, Albertina had
After Napoleon's defeat at the
Battle of Leipzig
FIRST PERIOD IN TURIN (1814-1821)
Youthful portrait of Charles Albert.
After Napoleon was defeated for good, the new king Louis XVIII
celebrated the restoration of the
Bourbon dynasty in Paris on 16 May
1814. Among those present at the festivities were princess Maria
The re-establishment of peace in Europe meant that Charles Albert
could return to Turin, and he was advised to do so by his tutor, count
Alessandro Di Saluzzo di Menusiglio (it), and by Albertina. He left
Paris (and his step-father) and arrived in
Thus he was assigned a mento to counter the liberal ideas that he had learnt in France. The first of these was Count Filippo Grimaldi del Poggetto , and after he had failed, the dragoon, Policarpo Cacherano d\'Osasco . Although he was better equipped for the task, he was not able to influence the mindset of Charles Albert, who began to suffer from anxiety at this time.
MARRIAGE AND PERSONALITY
Maria Theresa von Habsburg-Lorraine , Charles Albert's wife.
The court decided that marriage would provide the prince with internal equilibrium. The chosen bride, accepted by Charles Albert, was the sixteen-year-old daughter of Ferdinand III of Tuscany , Maria Theresa von Habsburg-Lorraine , a relative of the queen of Sardinia, Maria Theresa of Austria-Este . Charles Albert traveled to the Grand duchy of Tuscany and then to Rome on 18 March 1817 and, after a 6 month engagement, he married Maria Theresa on 30 September in Florence Cathedral .
The wedding was followed by a ball organised by the Sardinian embassy
in Florence. After that, on 6 October, the couple departed for
Piedmont. On 11 October, they reached
Castello del Valentino
The young Maria Theresa was very shy and religious - very different from Charles Albert's temperament. The couple resided in the Palazzo Carignano, to which Charles Albert began to invite young intellectuals with whom he shared liberal ideas. The most intimate of these friends were Santorre di Rossi de Pomarolo , Roberto d’Azeglio , Giacinto Collegno , Cesare Balbo , Guglielmo Moffa di Lisio Gribaldi and Carlo Emanuele Asinari di San Marzano.
In these years, Charles Albert also suffered from a deep religious crisis. This led to a friendship with the French diplomat Jean Louis de Douhet d'Auzers and a visit by the prince to Rome in 1817 to visit the former king Charles Emmanuel IV, who had retired to a monastery. In the years following his marriage, however, Charles Albert had extramarital affairs with several women, including Marie Caroline de Bourbon , widow of the Duke of Berry .
Maria Theresa had two miscarriages - the second in 1819 as a result of a carriage accident - but gave birth to a son on 14 March 1820, Victor Emmanuel , the future king of Italy.
PARTICIPATION IN THE REVOLUTION OF 1821
Charles Albert promises his support to the conspirators behind the 1821 revolution, in a print from 1850-1875.
After the 1820 uprising in
The conspirators had no desire to abolish the House of Savoy, but claimed, on the contrary, that they hoped to force it to grant reforms which would grant it the gratitude of the people. During the months of preparation, Charles Albert had assured them of his support and on 6 March he confirmed this, declaring that he supported armed action. They were to raise troops, surround King Victor Emmanuel I 's residence at Moncalieri and demand that he grant a constitution and declare war on Austria. Charles Albert was to play the role of mediator between the conspirators and the king.
But on the morning of the next day, 7 March, Charles Albert had second thoughts and informed the conspirators of this. Indeed, he summoned the Minister of War, Alessandro Di Saluzzo di Menusiglio and told him that he had discovered a revolutionary plot. There was an attempt to halt the conspiracy, which nevertheless continued to grow more bold on the next day, with another visit by di Rossi and di Marzano. Yet, they grew uncertain and gave orders to cancel the insurrection, which was due to break out on 10 March. The same day, Charles Albert, full of regret, raced to Moncalieri, where he revealed everything to Victor Emmanuel I and begged for a pardon. The situation had reached a tipping point. In the night, the garrison of Alessandria , commanded by one of the conspirators (Guglielmo Ansaldi), rose up and took control of the city. At this point the revolutionaries decided to act, despite the abandonment of the prince.
THE REGENCY AND THE SPANISH CONSTITUTION
Victor Emmanuel I The decree by which Charles Albert announced the Spanish Constitution of 1821.
On 11 March 1821,
Victor Emmanuel I called a meeting of the council
of the Crown, in which Charles Albert also participated. Along with
the majority of those who were present, Charles Albert declared his
willingness to grant the constitution. Rumours spread however that
armed intervention to restore order in Italy by a joint Austrian and
Russian force were imminent. The king decided to wait, therefore, but
the next day, the Citadel of
Only 23 years of age, Charles Albert found himself in charge of resolving a serious political crisis which he himself had been responsible for provoking. The old ministers abandoned him and he wasforced to nominate a new government: the lawyer Ferdinando dal Pozzo as Minister of the Interior, the general Emanuele Pes di Villamarina as Minister of War, and Lodovico Sauli d\'Igliano as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He tried to negotiate with the rebels, with no results. Terrified, he claimed that it was impossible to take any decisions without the agreement of the new king and therefore sent Charles Felix a letter with an account of the events that had taken place and a request for instructions. But he was also afraid that he would become the object of popular anger if he continued to delay and so, on 13 March 1821, Charles Albert published a proclamation conceding the Spanish Constitution, with the reservation that this grant was pending the approval of the king.
On 14 March, the regent decided to form a Junta which would be able
to act as guardians of the parliament. The head was Canon Pier
Bernardo Marentini, a
Jansenist , who was Vicar-General of the
Meanwhile, the representatives of liberals of Lombardy had arrived:
Giorgio Pallavicino Trivulzio , Gaetano Castiglia, and Giuseppe
Arconati Visconti . They asked Charles Albert to declare war on
Austria in order to free Milan, but the prince refused. Instead, he
accepted the advice of Cesare Balbo, who reported the discipline of
the armed forces, stopped excesses and firmly established the troops
loyal to the king. Charles Felix himself, however, had responded very
badly to the news of his brother's abdication, which he considered an
"abominable act of violence" and, from Modena, he sent an order to
Charles Albert, ordering him to come to
REACTIONARY PERIOD (1821-1831)
Charles Albert, Prince of Carignano in a French lithograph of the period.
At midnight on 21 March 1821, Charles Albert secretly departed from
the Palazzo Carignano. His departure was not discovered by the
revolutionaries until the next day. From
Rondissone , on the 23 of
March he made for San Germano , from which he intended to travel to
Novara, which remained loyal to the king. At
On the afternoon of 2 April 1821, the prince arrived in Florence. His
wife and son, who had been in France, followed on the 13th. The
Prince's father-in-law, Grand Duke Ferdinand III granted them the
Palazzo Pitti as a residence. In May, Charles Felix, who had
successfully secured Austrian assistance to restore order, met with
Victor Emmanuel I at
As a result of this decision and the circumstances, Charles Albert decided to disavow his liberal ideas - especially as Charles Felix had entertained the idea of eliminating him from the line of succession and passing the crown straight to his son Victor Emmanuel. Charles Felix asked the opinion of Metternich on this, who was unexpectedly opposed to the idea.
On 16 September 1822, the infant Victor Emmanuel barely escaped from
a fire in his cot, exposing the tenuous nature of the line of
succession, which was taken out of danger by the birth of a second
son, Ferdinand , on 15 November. In Florence, Charles Albert
cultivated various cultural interests. He became a collector of old
books, but was also interested in contemporary authors, acquiring the
Alphonse de Lamartine
Hundred Thousand Sons of Saint Louis Charles Albert
as a hero of the
Battle of Trocadero
At the beginning of 1823, Duke Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême assumed command of the French expeditionary force which the European powers had entrusted with the task of suppressing the liberal revolution there and restoring King Ferdinand VII to the Spanish throne, after he had been captured by Spanish revolutionaries in Cadiz. Charles Albert wished to demonstrate his penitence and therefore asked to be part of the contingent. He wrote to Charles Felix on this subject for the first time on 20 February 1823, but only received permission to depart on 26 April.
On 2 May, Charles Albert embarked on the Sardinian frigate Commercio
At the end of August 1823, with the French fleet aiding from the sea, the troops launched an assault on the Trocadero . Charles Albert fought at the head of the troops crossing the canal - the sole point of entry to the fortress. He plunged into the water holding the flag of the 6th regiment of the royal guards, forded the canal and leapt into the enemy trenches. He sought to prevent the enemy prisoners being killed, and the French soldiers gave him the epaulettes of an officer killed in the assault, so that he might be distinguished from a regular granadier.
He remained at his post until nightfall and the next day he was among the first to break into Trocadero. King Ferdinand VII and queen Maria Josepha , his cousin, were freed and embraced him in joy at seeing him. On 2 September there was a grand military parade, after which the Duc d'Angoulême decorated Charles Albert with the Cross of the Order of Saint Louis .
VISIT TO PARIS AND RETURN TO TURIN
The facade of Racconigi Castle , the preferred residence of
Prince Charles Albert. Charles Albert returns to
With the dissolution of the expeditionary force, Charles Albert
King Charles Felix of Sardinia decided that, as a result of his success, it was time for Charles Albert to return to Turin. The prince was required, however, to swear "to respect and religiously maintain all the fundamental laws of the monarchy when I ascend to power, which have led to fortune and glory over the centuries." On 29 January 1824, Charles Albert received permission to depart for Turin. At a final meeting with Louis XVIII, he received some advice on rulership and was enrolled in the Order of the Holy Spirit , the most prestigious chivalrous order of the French monarchy.
On 2 February, Charles Albert departed and on the 6th he reached Mont
Cenis , where he received orders to enter
Once he had returned to Turin, Charles Albert resided mainly at Racconigi Castle , where he began preparations for reigning. He began to study a subject whichreceived little attention at court - the economy - and in 1829 he received permission to visit Sardinia. As a result of this visit, he gained an accurate understanding of conditions on the island. He was a prolific writer. In 1827, along with his wife, he wrote 38 fairy tales for their children in French, the language which the family used at home, entitled Contes moraux ("Moral Tales"). The next year, he tried his hand at comedy and after that he occupied himself with literary criticism and history. He would publish three works: Notes on the Waldensians , Records of Andalusia and Voyage to Sardinia. Charles Albert regretted all of these and subsequently ordered them to be withdrawn from circulation. He also wrote a great volume of letters and literary exercises.
Despite the conservative attitudes of the period, Charles Albert also
supported literati who held liberal ideas, such as Carlo Giuseppe
Guglielmo Botta , whose books were banned in Piedmont. He own the
ACCESSION TO THE THRONE
Charles Albert after his coronation, by Ferdinando Cavalleri (1831).
In 1830, Charles Felix became very ill. He summoned Charles Albert to his sick-bed on 24 April 1831. The entire government was present in the room as the king said to the ministers, "Behold my heir and successor, I am sure that he will act for the good of his subjects."
Charles Felix died on 27 April at 2:45 pm. Charles Albert closed the
corpse's eyes and kissed its hand and then assumed the throne. He
received the dignitaries of court and brought his sons into the Royal
Palace . At 5pm, the troops in rendered their oaths to the new king at
the direction of Governor Ignazio Thaon di Revel , who published the
proclamation relating to this. Thus the throne passed to the house of
PRO-AUSTRIAN PERIOD (1831-1845)
Thus Charles Albert came to the throne aged 33. His health was poor;
he suffered from a liver disease. His faith added to his suffering; he
wore a cilice and slept alone on an iron bed, waking at 5am every
morning and celebrating two masses per day. He worked from 10am to 5pm
everyday without interruption. He ate little and suffered from
frequent religious crises, but never renounced extramarital affairs
even so. The most significant of these was his relationship with Maria
Antonietta di Robilant (1804-1882), daughter of Friedrich Truchsess zu
Waldburg (1776-1844), the Prussian ambassador to
CONFLICT WITH LOUIS PHILIPPE\'S FRANCE
Charles Albert at the time of his accession to the throne.
Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Sicile, duchesse de Berry , whom Charles
Albert assisted in a failed attempt to place a Bourbon on the French
throne. Portrait by
The new king was affected by the
In accordance with this legitimist position, Charles Albert lent
support to his close friend Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Sicile, duchesse
de Berry in December 1823 when she sought to place her son, Henri , on
the French throne. She was the widow of the
Duc de Berry
Despite the advice of the French ambassador to exercise prudence, in
1832, Charles Albert loaned Marie-Caroline a million francs and placed
a steamer at her disposal for transporting legitimist volunteers to
France. The plot was discovered and failed; the steamer was stopped at
Marseilles and the volunteers were defeated at
Vendée in a few hours.
Marie-Caroline fled, but was soon arrested in Nantes and imprisoned in
the Citadel of Blaye , near
PHILOSOPHY OF RULE
Charles Albert displayed similar conservativism in internal politics. When the minister of war, Matteo Agnès Des Geneys (1763-131) died, he replaced him with Carlo San Martino d'Aglie, who was not very popular at the time. He retained Vittorio Amedeo Sallier della Torre as Minister of Foreign Affairs until 1835, when he replaced him with the extremely conservative Clemente Solaro . These apppointments were made with the intent of restoring a ministerial oligarchy. In 1831 he appointed Gaudenzio Maria Caccia, Count of Romentino (1765-1834) as minister of Finance, Giuseppe Barbaroux as Minister of Justice, and the reformer, Antonio Tonduti, Count of Escarèna (1771-1856), as minister of the Interior. On 5 April 1832, d'Aglie was replaced as Minister of War by Emanuele Pes di Villamarina .
In June 1831,
REFORMS AND CULTURAL INITIATIVES
A room in the
Notwithstanding this conservatism, Charles Albert established a
Council of State of 14 members who were to investigate the laws and
made some moves to modernise the country. He abrogated the special
exemptions on import duty for members of the royal family and royal
officials, abolished torture, prohibited the mutilation of the corpses
of executed criminals and the confiscation of the property of
criminals. He also gave notable attention to culture. In 1832, he
established the Pinacoteca Regia e della Galleria Reale in the Palazzo
Madama (now the
Charles Albert accompanied these measures with an economic policy of liberalisation of commerce. In 1834, the tax on grain was reduced and the next year, the export of raw silk was made legal. Duties on the import of raw materials (coal, metals, textiles) were subsequently reduced and the acquisition of industrial machinery from abroad was supported. Despite having impinged on some minor sources of state income, the balance of the kingdom was positive from 1835, and it was possible to entertain ambitions for the improvement of agriculture, roads, railroads, and ports.
Charles Albert also reformed the army, reformed the law codes, instituted a Court of cassation , and eliminated feudalism in Sardinia, in 1838. He enabled the opening of institutes of credit, he reformed the public agencies and the state, and reduced the control of the religious hierarchy somewhat. The royal court, however, was full of clerics - at least fifty of them - and the court was sumptuous for such a small kingdom. There were a great number of cooks, butlers, waiters, carpenters, squires, stallers, pages, footmen, masters of ceremonies, etc.
SUPPORT FOR SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE REACTIONARIES
After the death of king
Ferdinand VII of Spain , the nation was
divided into two factions: the anti-liberal reactionaries who
supported the legitimist aspirations of
Don Carlos and the
constitutionalists who defended Maria Christina\'s regency on behalf
Similarly, in the Portuguese
OPPOSITION TO "YOUNG ITALY"
The meeting of Mazzini and Garibaldi at the headquarters of "Young Italy" in Marseilles 1833. Both of them plotted against Charles Albert and his kingdom and were condemned to death in absentia.
At the time of Charles Albert's ascent to the throne in 1831, there
were riots in Rome, the carbonari revolt of
Ciro Menotti in Modena,
and an insurrection in
The Kingdom of Sardinia was also troubled by the plots of revolutionaries in these years, and even by an attempted invasion. In April 1833 in Genoa, two low-ranking officers were arrested for a scuffle and it was discovered that they belonged to Giuseppe Mazzini 's Young Italy . They supplied various names and investigations were expanded to other garrisons. Charles Albert, who considered Mazzini's association the "most terrible and bloody," ordered the investigation to continue until it got to the bottom of the matter, acting in accordance with the law, but with utmost severity.
In the end, twelve people were executed by firing squad and two
committed suicide in gaol. Twenty-one were condemned to death but
could not be executed because they had escaped or, like Mazzini, had
been abroad the whole time. Charles Albert granted no pardons and the
ambassadors of France, and Britain in
Since the insurrections had failed, Mazzini began to plan a military
expedition. In 1834, he attempted to organise a force in ], which
In these circumstances, Charles Albert realised the necessity of granting reforms to make the kingdom more modern and to satisfy the needs of the populace. Immediately on ascending to the throne he had named a commission which had been tasked with creating new civil, criminal, commercial and procedural laws.
This process of reform took a very long time, but eventually, on 20 June 1837, the new civil code, partially inspired by the Napoleonic Code , was promulgated. The king also participated in the drafting of the new criminal code, which was published on 26 October 1839. During the process, Charles Albert insisted on the concept of corrective justice , limiting the death penalty as much as possible. Nevertheless, he ordained very severe penalties for those guilty of sacrilege or suicide (whose last wills and testaments had no legal power). In 1842, finally, the commercial code and the code of criminal procedure, with innovative guarantees of the rights of the accused, were promulgated.
BEGINNING OF CRISIS WITH AUSTRIA
In 1840 the Oriental Crisis , which placed Louis Philippe's France in
conflict with the other European great powers, inspired Charles Albert
to begin thinking about a programme of territorial expansion in the Po
valley. In the same year, a commercial crisis erupted between Turin
and Vienna, regarding an old treaty in which the Kingdom of Sardinia
undertook not to provide salt to Switzerland. Following the breach of
this treaty, Austria increased the customs duty on Piedmontese wine
entering Lombardy-Veneto by 100%. Charles Albert's response was to
threaten to build a railroad from
These were still only minor disputes and diplomatic relations between the two states continued to be generally good, culminating in the magnificent wedding of Charles Albert's eldest son, Victor Emmanuel and Adelaide of Austria , daughter of Ranier Joseph of Habsburg-Lorraine , who was the Austrian Viceroy in Lombardy-Veneto and Charles Albert's brother-in-law, since he had married his sister Elisabeth in 1820. Victor Emmanuel and Adelaide were thus first cousins.
LIBERAL SOVEREIGN (1845-1849)
Carlo Alberto in the Anti-Austrian period. The elderly Austrian chancellor, Klemens von Metternich , who requested clarification on the policy of the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1846.
In 1845, revolutionary movements erupted in
Understandably, on 8 June 1846, on the orders of Chancellor
Metternich , the Austrian ambassador to Turin, Karl Ferdinand von Buol
, asked Charles Albert to clarify his position - was he with Austria
or with the revolutionaries? The
King of Sardinia hesitated. In the
meanwhile, on 16 June,
Pope Pius IX had been elected as Pope. His
first order of business was to grant an amnesty to those condemned of
political crimes. The new pope then protested against Austria for
In the same way, in September 1847, Cesare Trabucco , Charles Albert's secretary, was authorised to write a letter on 2 September, in which the king expressed his hope that God would grant him the power to undertake a war of independence in which he would take command of the army and the Guelph cause. These declarations made Charles Albert far more popular. However, he continued to break up anti-Austrian demonstrations because the court and government remained divided. De La Tour, Foreign Minister Solaro della Margarita , and Archbishop Liugi Fransoni considered the anti-Austrian policy exceptionally dangerous, but it was supported by Minister of War di Villamarina , Cesare Alfieri di Sostegno , Cesare Balbo , Massimo and Roberto d’Azeglio , and the young Count Cavour .
Meanwhile the demands of the people became pressing and were not always accepted. In this period, for example, Charles Albert did not accept a Genoese delegation which called for the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Kingdom, whom he had already banned from polical writings. He did however implement the so-called Perfect Fusion of the Savoyard state on 29 November 1847, which extended the reforms carried out on the mainland to the island of Sardinia.
At the beginning of 1848, news arrived that following the outbreak of
Spring of Nations , Ferdinand II had granted a constitution in the
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. In
THE ALBERTINE STATUTE
Albertine Statute Edict of 8 February 1848 Ewhich
informed the public of the concession of the Statute and outlined its
contents in 14 articles. Charles Albert signs the Statute on 8
March 1848. Celebrations in the Piazza San Carlo in
On 7 Jauary 1848, at the hotel Europa in Turin, there was a meeting of the city's journalists at which Cavour, director of the Risorgimento, proposed to request a constitution from the king. The majority of the ministers were also in favour of the concession of a constitution, ad of ensuring that one was not imposed by the people. Charles Albert was not sure what to do, unwilling to make the wrong decision and considered abdicating as Victor Emmanuel I had in similar circumstances. He sent for his son to prepare him for the succession, but his son managed to convince him to retain his position.
On 7 February, a extraordinary Council of State was convented. Seven ministers, the holders of the order of the Annunciation , and other high dignitaries were present. All of them spoke and the discussion went on for many hours. Charles Albert, pale, listened in silence. De La Tour, Carlo Giuseppe Beraudo di Pralormo (it), and Luigi Provana di Collegno (it) were opposed to the constitution. During the lunch break, Charles Albert received a delegation from the capital, which asked for the constitution for the good of the people and in order to safeguard order.
It was now necessary to make a decision and, at last, Giacinto Borelli, Minister of the Interior, was appointed to draft the Constitution immediately. The document was approved and was named the "Statute." Charles Albert had stated that he would not approve the document if it did not clearly state the pre-eminent position of the Catholic religion and the honour of the monarchy. Since he had received these things, he approved it. The meeting was dissolved at dawn.
Around 3:30 in the afternoon on the 8th of February, a royal edict was publsihed in the streets of Turin, which laid out the 14 articles which formed the basis of the Statute for a system of representative government. By 6pm, the city was entirely lit up and massive demonstrations in favour of Charles Albert were held.
The edict specified that the Catholic faith was the sole state religion, that executive power belonged to the king, as did command of the armed forces. Legislative power was vested in two chambers, one of which would be elected. The free press and individual liberty were guaranteed. The full version of the Statute, with all its articles, was finally agreed on 4 March 1848 and approved the same day by Charles Albert. The announcement of the Statute was met with great enthusiasm throughout Piedmont. The first constitutional government, presided over by Cesare Balbo , was sworn in on 16 March 1848, two days before the beginning of the Five Days of Milan .
THE SPRING OF NATIONS
Revolutions of 1848
Elected in 1846, the new pope
In Milan, it was expected that Charles Albert would take the
opportunity to declare war on Austria. A clear message from
You may be assured, sirs, that I am giving every possible provision: that I burn with desire to bring to your aid all that is in my power and that I will grasp even the smallest pretext that presents itself.
Although the Kingdom's resources were small, the Piedmontese army began to mobilise. The majority of the troops were deployed on the western border, since the eastern border was safeguarded by the treaty of alliance with Austria. But Charles Albert realised that this was a unique opportunity to expand his holdings into Lombardy. Thus he told the Milanese that he would intervene on their behalf if they agreed to join the Kingdom of Sardinia.
On 23 March 1848, the Piedmontese embassy to Milan returned to Turin with news that the Austrians had been forced to evacuate the city and that a provisional government headed by Gabrio Casati had been established, which asked Charles Albert to become an ally. Clearly not very enthusiastic about the idea of annexation, the Milanese asked the king to keep his troops outside the city and to adopt the tricolor of the Cisalpine Republic as his flag.
Although he had received no guarantee that the Milanese would agree
to annexation, Charles Albert accepted the conditions of the Milanese
and asked only that the flag of the house of
FIRST ITALIAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
On 23 March 1848, the proclamation of Charles Albert to the people of Lombardy and Veneto was published, in which he assured them that the Piedmontese troops, "... go now to offer, in the final trials, that help which a brother expects from a brother, a friend from a friend. We will comply with your just requests, trusting in the aid of God, who is clearly with us, of God, who has given Italy Pius IX, of God, whose miraculous prompting places Italy in the position to act for itself." Thus, the war began.
The federalist Carlo Cattaneo was not impressed, "Now that the enemy is in flight, the king wants to come with the whole army. He should have sent us anything - even a single cart of powder - three days ago. There was heard, in Piedmont, for five days, the thundering of the guns which consumed us: The king knew and did not move."
Charles Albert (with the spyglass) and the Piedmontese commanders at the Battle of Pastrengo .
Charles Albert left
At the opening of hostilities, on the 8th and 9th of April, Italian
sharpshooters had achieved success in the first battle of the campaign
Battle of Goito Bridge . After crossing the
Mincio with his
army, Charles Albert achieved another victory on 30 April at Pastrengo
, where he saw the front lines. The units under his command attacked
some Austrians who had been dispersed by a charge of the carabinieri
on horseback. On 2 May, in the midst of this triumphant atmosphere,
news arrived that
Nevertheless, the Papal soldiers in the army did not withdraw, choosing to remain to fight as volunteers, but Charles Albert had lost the moral justification for his mission. His dream of becoming the sword of the papacy and king of an Italy united under the Pope, as Vincenzo Gioberti had proposed, was thwarted. Yet the king was undiscouraged and continued to advance towards Verona, where a harsh and indecisive battle was fought with the Austrians at Santa Lucia on 6 May.
Two further events followed in the next few days. On 21 May, the
contingent of 14,000 men from the Neapolitan army which were en route
to fight against the Austrians, were ordered by Ferdinand II to return
home in light of Pius IX's decision. Then on 25 May, the Austrian
reinforcements which had been travelling through Veneto, joined
Radetzky's troops at Verona. Charles Albert was ambitious but had only
modest strategic abilities and he could not realistically continue the
war alone. The
Battle of Goito and the surrender of Peschiera on 30
May were his last successes. The Austrians conquered
In the meantime, on 8 June, the Milanese and Lombards had voted with
an overwhelming majority to join the Kingdom of Sardinia, as had the
citizens of the Duchy of
Events In Milan And The Armistice Of Salasco
Charles Albert on the balcony of the Palazzo Greppi in Milan on
5 August 148, attermpting to calm forces opposed to the surrender of
the city; painting by
Carlo Bossoli . Flag donated by the women
of Milan in the summer of 1848. Displayed in the Royal Armoury of
On the evening of 27 July 1848, the Austrians agreed to grant a truce
if the Piedmontese withdrew to the west bank of the Adda (a little
more than 20 km east of Milan), surrendered all the fortresses,
including Peschiera and yielded the Duchies of
Although the Austrian proposal had been rejected, his troops ended up having to withdraw to the Adda anyway, because the Oglio was judged to be an inadequate defensive line. At the Adda, some manouvres taken by a general on his own initiative left a division isolated and made it necessary to withdraw again, in order to retreat inside the walls of Milan. Charles Albert went to the Palazzo Greppi , ignoring the Milanese desire to resist, he negotiated the surrender of the city to the Austrians in exchange for permitting the safe withdrawl of the army to Piedmont.
The day after, the Milanese learnt of the agreement and revealed their fury. The crowd protested in front of the Palazzo Greppi and when the King ame out on the balcony, they fired their rifles at him. According to the noblewoman Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso , who participated actively in the riots in Milan:
A contingent of the national guard went up to interrogate Charles Albert on the reason for the surrender. He turned them away, but was forced despite himself to follow some deputies onto the balcony, from which he spoke to the people, apologising for his ignorance of the true feelings of the Milanese, saying that he was delighted that they came to the defence so quickly, and solemnly promising to strive for them with his last drop of blood. A round from a rifle was fired against Charles Albert. At the final words of his speech, the indignant crowd shouted "If you're so wounded from surrendering!" Then the king took a piece of paper from his pocket, which he held up for the people to see, and ripped it to pieces.
The Charles Albert's second son, Ferdinand and general Alfonso Ferrero La Marmora carried the king to safety. In the night he departed from Milan with the army.
On 8 August, general Carlo Canera di Salasco (it) returned to Milan
and negotiated an armistice with the Austrians, known as the Armistice
of Salasco, which was signed on 9 August. Charles Albert ratified the
armistice despite some opposition, including from Gioberti, who
remained confident of aid from France. The king said that the former
French foreign minister,
Alphonse de Lamartine
The Second Campaign And The Abdication
See also: Battle of Novara (1849) Charles Albert reopened hostilities with Austria on 20 March 1849, but the second campaign lasted only four days. Charles Albert abdicates in favour of his son Victor Emmanuel.
The king was not proud of the campaign and, once he had written a
record of the first campaign, Charles Albert decided to break the
armistice. On 1 March, at the inauguration of the legislature, he
spoke clearly about war and Chamber responded positively. For the
imminent resumption of hostilities, the king was convinced to renounce
effective command of the army, which he continued to hold formally.
Rather than appointing a Piedmontese general, he selected the Polish
Wojciech Chrzanowski as commander of the army. On 8 March, the
council of war in
The war did indeed resume on that day. On 22 March, Charles Albert
Returning to the Palazzo Bellini in Novara, the king declared,
"Bicocca was lost and retaken three or four times, before our troops
were forced to yield... the Major General employed all his strength,
my sons did everything they could, the Duke of
Austria's conditions were very harsh: occupation of the Lomellina and the fortress of Alessandria, as well as the surrender of all the Lombards who had fought against Austria. Charles Albert asked the generals if it was possible for a final push to open a path to Alessandria. They said it was not: the army was in pieces, discipline had crumbled, many soldiers fighting in the campaign were despoiling the houses in the countryside and they feared an attack on the king himself.
At 9:30 pm on the same day, Charles Albert summoned his sons, Chrzanowski, generals Alessandro Ferrero La Marmora , Carlo Emanuele La Marmora (it), Giovanni Durando , Luigi Fecia di Cossato (it) (who had negotiated the armistice) and minister Carlo Cadorna . He confessed that he had no choice but to abdicate. They tried to dissuade him, but, in the hope that Victor Emmanuel could get better terms, he ended the discussion, "My decision is the fruit of mature reflexion. From this moment, I am no longer the king; the king is Victor, my son."
Charles Albert in
Charles Albert's eldest son became king of Sardinia as Victor Emmanuel II and agreed an armistice with Radetzky on 24 March 1849 at Vignale, effectively obtaining more favourable terms than previously offered. The Austrians were to occupy Lomellina for a while and only half of the fort of Alessandria, with "permission" rather than "by right." .
VOYAGE TO PORTUGAL
Charles Albert, however, had left Palazzo Bellini in
The former king continued via
Charles Albert continued through
FINAL DAYS IN OPORTO
The death of Charles Albert in a contemporary print. The plaque in Piazza Carlo Alberto, Oporto.
Once his arrival in
Despite my abdication, if ever a new war arises against Austria... I will come running immediately, even if only as a simple soldier, among the ranks of her enemies... I am equally raised up by the thought and the hope that... the day will come which I tried to bring about... The nation could have had a better prince than me, but not one that loved her more. To make her free, independent and great... I carried out every sacrifice with a happy heart... I sought death and did not find it... — Charles Albert to Collegno and Cibrario, May 1849, in Bertoldi "> Equestrian statue ofCharles Albert at Casale Monferrato .
In the month after his arrival, his health had deteriorated
irreparably. From 3 July, he was assisted by the doctor Alessandro
Riberi , whom Victor Emmanuel had sent from Turin. He was no longer
able to get out of bed and coughing fits were ever more frequent. He
passed the night of the 27th July in great difficulty. On the morning
of 28 July, he seemed better, but then deteriorated as a result of a
third heart attack. The Portuguese priest don Antonio Peixoto, who had
assisted him spiritually, met with him and administered extreme
unction . Charles Albert whispered in
His body was embalmed and displayed in the Cathedral of
Among the indigenous princes, the number one enemy of Italian freedom
was and is Charles Albert. Italians should bear in mind and repeat
every hour the old saying: "God watch over my friends, so that I can
watch over my enemies". From Ferdinand of the
House of Bourbon
An American historian says he was
A strange pathetic being, at odds with himself and his time; compounded of monkish asceticism and soldierly courage; autocratic, but irresolute; holding his honor dearer than his life, yet pursued through life by accusations of dishonor: such was Charles Albert, to whom when he had passed beyond the reach of their praises or their blame, his countrymen gave the epithet 'magnanimous'.
FAMILY AND CHILDREN
In 1817, Charles Albert married his second cousin once removed, Maria Theresa of Austria , the youngest daughter of Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany , and Princess Luisa of Naples and Sicily . The couple had the following children:
Victor Emmanuel II (1820–1878); married
Adelaide of Austria .
* Prince Ferdinand of
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ANCESTORS OF CHARLES ALBERT OF SARDINIA
16. Victor Amadeus I, Prince of Carignano
8. Louis Victor, Prince of Carignano
17. Maria Vittoria Francesca of
4. Victor Amadeus II, Prince of Carignano
21. Jeanne Henriette Marguerite de Durfort
11. Louise de Rohan
23. Eléonore Eugénie de Béthisy de Mézières
1. CHARLES ALBERT OF SAVOY
3. Princess Maria Christina of Saxony
28. Count Aleksander von Krasiński
14. Count Stanislaus von Corvin-Krasinski
29. Salomea Trzcińska
30. Stefan Humiecki, Woivode of Podole
15. Aniela Humiecka
31. Katarzyna Krosnowska
* ^ Bertoldi & p. 252
* ^ A B Bertoldi & pp. 25-26
* ^ Bertoldi & pp. 26-27
* ^ In this period, Charles Albert grew a great deal. As an adult
he was 2.03 m tall.
* ^ Bertoldi & 28, 31-32
* ^ Bertoldi & 33
* ^ Bertoldi & pp. 34-35
* ^ Bertoldi & 35-36
* ^ Victor Emmanuel I's second child had been male, but died at the
age of three, and his other four children were daughters who were
excluded from the succession by
Bertoldi — pp. 251-252 * ^ Bertoldi & pp. 258-259 * ^ Bertoldi & pp. 260-265 * ^ Bertoldi & p. 266 * ^ Archivo pittoresco Volume XI. Castro Irmão & C.ª. 1868. * ^ Bertoldi & pp. 266-267 * ^ Bertoldi & pp. 268-269 * ^ Bertoldi & pp. 270-271 * ^ Bertoldi & pp. 271-272 * ^ Comandini & Vol. II (dal 1826 al 1849), p. 1705, 1710, 1712, 1714 * ^ ( Neue Rheinische Zeitung , No. 73, 12 August 1848). * ^ Thayer, 1:103
* Robertson, Priscilla. Revolutions of 1848: a social history (1952). pp 309-401. * Smith, Denis Mack, Modern Italy: A Political History (University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, 1997). * Thayer, William Roscoe (1911). The Life and Times of Cavour vol 1. old interpretations but useful on details * "Charles Albert" 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
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