Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 581 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
DANIELE MANIN (1804–18J7), Venetian patriot and states-man, was born in Venice, on the 13th of May 1804. He was the son of a converted Jew, who took the name of Manin because that patrician family stood sponsors to him, as the custom then was. He studied law at Padua, and then practised at the bar of his native city. A man of great learning and a profound jurist, he was inspired from an early age with a deep hatred for Austria. The heroic but foolhardy attempt of the brothers Bandiera, Venetians who had served in the Austrian navy against the Neapolitan Bourbons in 1844, was the first event to cause an awakening of Venetian patriotism, and in 1847 Manin presented a petition to the Venetian congregation, a shadowy consultative assembly tolerated by Austria but without any power, informing the emperor of the wants of the nation. He was arrested on a charge of high treason (Jan. 18, 1848), but this only served .to increase the agitation of the Venetians, who were beginning to know and love Manin. Two months later, when all Italy and half the rest of Europe were in the throes of revolution, the people forced Count Palffy, the Austrian governor, to release him (March 17). The Austrians soon lost all control of the city, the arsenal was seized by the revolutionists, and under the direction of Manin ,a civic guard and a provisional government were instituted. The Austrians evacuated Venice on the 26th of March, and I\Ianin became president of the Venetian republic. He was already in favour of Italian unity, and though not anxious for annexation to Piedmont (he would have preferred to invoke French aid), he gave way to the will of the majority, and resigned his powers to the Piedmontese commissioners on the 7th of August. But after the Piedmontese defeats in Lombardy, and the armistice by which King Charles Albert abandoned Lombardy and Venetia to Austria, the Venetians attempted to lynch the royal commissioners, whose lives Manin saved with difficulty; an assembly was summoned, and a triumvirate formed with Manin at its head. Towards the end of 1848 the Austrians, having been heavily reinforced, reoccupied all the Venetian mainland; but the citizens, hard-pressed and threatened with a siege, showed the greatest devotion to the cause of freedom,all sharing in the dangers and hardships and all giving what they could afford to the state treasury. Early in 1849 Manin was again chosen president of the republic, and conducted the defence of the city with great ability. After the defeat of Charles Albert's f.lorn hope at Novara in March the Venetian assembly voted "Resistance at all costs!" and granted Manin unlimited powers. Meanwhile the Austrian forces closed round the city; but Manin showed an astonishing power of organization, in which he was ably seconded by the Neapolitan general, Guglielmo Pepe. But on the 26th of May the Venetians were forced to abandon Fort Malghera, half-way between the city and the mainland; food was becoming scarce, on the 19th of June the powder magazine blew up, and in July cholera broke out. Then the Austrian batteries began to bombard Venice itself, and when the Sardinian fleet withdrew from the Adriatic the city was also attacked by sea, while certain demagogues caused internal trouble. At last, on the 24th of August 1849, when all pro-visions and ammunition were exhausted, Manin, who had courted death in vain, succeeded in negotiating an honourable capitulation, on terms of amnesty to all save Manin himself, Pepe and some others, who were to go into exile. On the 27th Manin left Venice for ever on board a French ship. His wife died at Marseilles, and he himself reached Paris broken in health and almost destitute, having spent all his fortune for Venice. In Paris he maintained himself by teaching and became a leader among the Italian exiles. There he became a convert from republicanism to monarchism, being convinced that only under the auspices of King Victor Emmanuel could Italy be freed, and together with Giorgio Pallavicini and Giuseppe La Farina he founded the Society Nazionale Italiana with the object of propagating the idea of unity under the Piedmontese monarchy. His last years were embittered by the terrible sufferings of his daughter, who died in 1854, and he himself died on the 22nd of September 1857, and was buried in Ary Scheffer's family tomb. In 1868, two years after the Austrians finally departed from Venice, his remains were brought to his native city and honoured with a public funeral. Manin was a man of the greatest honesty, and possessed genuinely statesmanlike qualities. He believed in Italian unity when most men, even Cavour, regarded it as a vain thing, and his work of propaganda by means of the National Society greatly contributed to the success of the cause. See A. Errera, Vita di D. Manin (Venice, 1872) ; P. de la Farge, Documents, &c., de D. Manin (Paris, 186o) ; Henri Martin, D. Manin (Paris, 1859) ; V. Marchesi, Settant' anni della storia di Venezia (Turin) and an excellent monograph in Countess Martinengo Cesaresco's Italian Characters (London, 1901).
End of Article: DANIELE MANIN (1804–18J7)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.