VICTOR-EMMANUEL IL, the first king of a united Italy, was the son of Charles-Albert (q.v.),of Sardinia, and was born Mar. 14, 1820. He was, a pupil of the Jesuits, but under his father's superintendence received an excellent education; and, being heir to the throne, he commanded, in accordance with an old custom of his house, the brigade of Savoy in the campaign of 1848-1849, and displayed great gallantry at Goito and Novara. On the evening of the latter battle, his father, seeing the hopelessness of the strug gle. and unwilling to bow to the onerous conditions offered by Radetsky, abdicated in favor of Victor-Emmanuel, who, being the husband of the archduchess Adelaide (the cousin of the Austrian emperor) and uncommitted to the view's of the Italian ultra-democrats, might hope to obtain more favorable terms from the victor. Victor-Emmanuel thus ascended the throne of Sardinia, Mar. 23, 1849, and restrained effectually, for a time, the enthusiasm of the more ardent among the national party, though, on the other hand, he maintained, with the utmost fidelity, the provisions of the liberal constitution granted by his father. He made a happy choice of ministers in such men as Cavour, D'Azeglio, etc., whose policy it was to increase the strength and importance of the country by improved administra tion, rigid economy in the finances, care of the army, and encouragement to trade by the conclusion of commercial treaties with foreign nations. They saw too clearly that despite the intense and almost unanimous desire for unity throughout Italy, a contest single-handed with Austria was utterly hopeless, and preferred, till a more convenient sea son, to seem to renounce all idea of any such project. The property of the state was sold, and various measures calculated to greatly diminish the privileges, and restrict within moderate limits the inordinate influence of the clergy, adopted—changes which brought upon the king the thunders of the Vatican ; but Victor-Emmanuel, nothing daunted, pro tested by a vigorous " memorandum." and more obstinately asserted and maintained his independence of the papacy. The revolt at Genoa was sternly suppressed; but the king and his ministers were, in secret, by no means displeased to see that the feeling of nation ality was still vigorous; for, following the traditional policy of the house of Savoy, be was only biding his time to " descend with the valley of the Po," and swallow " another leaf of the artichoke." With the view of improving his position in Europe, and gaining a place at its council-board, he sent an army of 17,000 men, under La 3Iarinora, to take part in the Crimean war on the side of Turkey; and visited (1855) iu person the courts of Paris and London, being received by French and English with great enthusiasm. After the peace of Paris (1856) he entered into a closer alliance with France, gave his elder daughter Clotilde in marriage (Jan. 30, 1859) to prince Napoleon, and, backed by the French arms, provoked a war with Austria. The campaign was brief but decisive—
the Austrians were routed in every battle, and the Italians were hailing with exultation the near approach to fulfillment of their long-cherished dreams of unity, when the sud denly concluded peace between France and Austria at Villa-Franca dashed their hopes to the ground. The Milanese (minus the fortresses of Mantua and Pesehicra) only was to the Sardinian monarchy, and for this the king-ceded Nice and Savoy (the cradle of his race) to France as the price of its alliance. But the people of central Italy refused indignantly the offer of prineg Napoleon as their sovereign; and Tuscany, Modena, Parma. and the Romagna. renouncing their allegiance to their respective sovereigns, voted for annexation to Sardinia, and were formally adopted by Victor-Emmanuel, as his subjects., This was a greater advance toward the unification of Italy than the French emperor wished, and accordingly, Victor-Emmanuel, who was still dependent on his ally for safety, though secretly favorable to Garibaldi's expedition to Sicily, disavowed all knowledge of this project, and after the island was conquered without a blow being struck by a single Sardinian soldier, forbade the " Italian liberator" to pass over to the continent; yet he subsequently, with the consent of Napoleon III., sent an army to aid Garibaldi in conquering Naples, and formally accepted the sovereignty of the Two Sicilies. But in 1862 Garibaldi, thinking that the conquest of Rome in the same way would be equally accept able to his sovereign, returned to Sicily, raised an army of volunteers, and was rapidly advancing on the ancient capital, when Victor-Emmanuel, forced by France, put an end to the expedition by capturing Garibaldi and his army at Aspromonte. Though proclaimed by the senate and house of deputies king of Italy in Feb. 1861,Victor-Emmanuel prudently postponed all attempts to annex Rome and Venice; and directed his attention to the inter nal' affairs of his kingdom, which was much distracted by the intrigues of the sovereigns whom lie had supplanted. At length, in the quarrel between Prussia and Austria for supremacy in Germany, appeared his opportunity; and an offensive and defensive alli ance with Prussia was followed by an Italian invasion of Venetia (June, 1866). The Italians were defeated in the bloody battle of Custozza; but the disasters which befell Austria in her simultaneous contest with Prussia, forced the Austrian empire ultimately to surrender Venetia. In Aug., 1870, after the outbreak of the war between France and Germany, the last detachment of the French garrison which had occupied Rome since 1849 was withdrawn; the imperial city, finally united to the kingdom, became the capital of Italy and the seat of Victor-Enimanuel's court. The last years of Victor Emmanuel's life were uneventful. He died after a short illness, Jan. 9, 1878, and was succeeded by his son Humbert.