Neither Depretis, Nicotera, Crispi, Cairoli nor Zanardelli was disposed permanently to recognize the superiority of any one chief.
Crispis position was shaken by a morally plausible but juridically untenable charge of bigamy, ~ li while on the 8th of March the election of Cairoli, an a t~o opponent of the ministry and head of the extremer section of the Left, to the presidency of the Chamber, induced Depretis to tender his resignation to the new king.
Cairoli succeeded in forming an administration, in which his friend Count Corti, Italian ambassador at Constantinople, accepted the portfolio of foreign affairs, Zanardelli the ministry of the interior, and Seismit Doda the ministry of finance.
A highly imaginative flufancial exposition by Seismit Doda, who announced a surplus of 2,400,000, paved the way fora Grist Tax Reduction Bil],which Cairoli had taken over from the Depretis programme.
In spite of the courage and presence of mind of Cairoli, who received the dagger thrust intended for the king, public and parliamentary indignation found expression in a vote which compelled the ministry to resign.
For twelve years these committees had remained comparatively inactive, but in 1878 the presence of the ex-Garibaldian Cairoli at the head of the government, and popular dissatisfaction at the spread of Austrian sway on the Adriatic, encouraged them to begin a series of noisy demonstrations.
Austria, indeed, might easily have been persuaded to ignore the Irredentist agitation, had not the equivocal attitude of Cairoli and Zanardelli cast doubt upon the sincerity of their regret.
Repression, not prevention became the official formula, the enunciation of which by Cairoli at Pavia caused Count Corti and two other ministers to resign.
The fall of Cairoli, and the formation of a second Depretis cabinet in 1878, brought no substantial change in the attitude of the government towards Irredentism, nor was the position improved by the return of Cairoli to power in the following July.
Depretis, who had succeeded Cairoli in December 1878, fell in July 1879, after a vote in which Cairoli and Nicotera joined the Conservative opposition.
On 12th July Cairoli formed a new administration, only to resign on 24th November, and to reconstruct his cabinet with the help of Depretis.
Depretis and Cairoli did neither the one nor the other.
Although Cairoli, upon learning of the Anglo-Ottoman convention in regard to Cyprus, had advised Count Corti of the possibility that Great Britain might seek to placate France by conniving at a French occupation of Tunisia, neither he nor Count Corti had any inkling of the verbal arrangement made between.
While excitement over Tunisia was at its height, but before the situation was irretrievably compromised to the disadvantage of Italy, Cairoli had been compelled to resign by a vote of want of confidence in the Chamber.
An attempt by Depretis to recompose the Cairoli ministry proved fruitless, and after eleven precious days had been lost, King Humbert was obliged, on the i9th of April 1881, to refuse Cairolis resignation.
The conclusion of the treaty of Bardo on the 12th of May, however, compelled Cairoli to sacrifice himself to popular indignation.
Again Sella was called upon, but again the dog-in-the-manger policy of Depretis, Cairoli, Nicotera and Baccarini, in conjunction with the intolerant attitude of some extreme Conservatives, proved fatal to his endeavours.
Depretis then succeeded in recomposing the Cairoli cabinet without Cairoli, Mancini being placed at the foreign office.
When, in course of time, the extended suffrage increased the Republican and Extreme Radical elements in the Chamber, and the Liberal Pentarchy (composed of Crispi, Cairoli, Nicotera, Zanardelli and Baccarini) assumed an attitude of bitter hostility to Depretis, the Right, obeying the impulse of Minghetti, rallied openly to Depretis, lending him aid without which his prolonged term of office would have been impossible.
The 19th of April 188o received a formal undertaking from Cairoli that Assab would never be fortified nor be made a military establishment.
Minister of public works in the first Depretis cabinet of 1876, and minister of the interior in the Cairoli cabinet of 1878, he in the latter capacity drafted the franchise reform, but created dissatisfaction by the indecision of his administrative acts, particularly in regard to the Irredentist agitation, and by his theory of repressing and not in any way preventing crime, which led for a time to a perfect epidemic of murders.
Overthrown with Cairoli in December 1878, he returned to power as minister of justice in the Depretis cabinet of 1881, and succeeded in completing the commercial code.
The fall of Cairoli led to Mancini's appointment (1881) to the ministry of foreign affairs in the Depretis administration.
BENEDETTO CAIROLI (1825-1889), Italian statesman, was born at Pavia on the 28th of January 1825.
The prestige personally acquired by Benedetto Cairoli was augmented by that of his four brothers, who fell during the wars of Risorgimento, and by the heroic conduct of their mother.
When in 1876 the Left came into power, Cairoli, then a deputy of sixteen years' standing, became parliamentary leader of his party, and, after the fall of Depretis, Nicotera and Crispi, formed his first cabinet in March 1878 with a Francophil and Irredentist policy.
On the 3rd of July 187 9 Cairoli returned to power, and in the following November formed with Depretis a coalition ministry, in which he retained the premiership and the foreign office.
Cairoli was one of the most conspicuous representatives of that type of Italian public men who, having conspired and fought for a generation in the cause of national unity, were despite their valour little fitted for the responsible parliamentary and official positions they subsequently attained; and who by their ignorance of foreign affairs and of internal administration unwittingly impeded the political development of their country.
Overthrown by Cairoli in March 1878 on the grist-tax question, he succeeded, in the following December, in defeating Cairoli, became again premier, but on the 3rd of July 1879 was once more overturned by Cairoli.
In November 1879 he, however, entered the Cairoli cabinet as minister of the interior, and in May 1881 succeeded to the premiership, retaining that office until his death on the 29th of July 1887.