S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.


  • [Camille Benso, Count di Cavour, an illustrious Italian statesman; born at Turin, Aug. 10, 1810; elected to the Sardinian chamber of deputies, 1849, after having for years defended the cause of Italian independence by voice and pen; minister of commerce, 1850; of finance, 1851, prime minister, 1852; arranged with Napoleon III. the war against Austria, 1859, but resigned after the peace of Villa Franca; resumed office, 1860, and was the first prime minister of the kingdom of Italy; died June 6, 1861.]
  • In my dreams I see myself already minister of the kingdom of Italy.

  • In a letter to the Marchese Barollo, Oct. 2, 1832, when Italian independence was but a dream, he showed what was the ruling thought of his life. The cause to which he devoted himself was the constitutional unity of his country, the entire peninsula. “Italy,” he said, “must be made by liberty, or I despair of making her at all.” He explained the condition of things following the defeat of Novara, and the abdication of Charles Albert, in 1849, by the simple statement, “We existed, and every day’s existence was a gain.”
  • He silenced a deputy who laughed while he was praising English institutions in the Sardinian Parliament, by suggesting that “the laugh could only proceed from some one whose name has never reached England.”
  • His recipe against being ennuyé was effective: “I persuade myself that no one is tiresome.”
  • “In politics,” he declared, “nothing is so absurd as rancor.”
  • Cavour was never married. He parried the jokes of the king on the subject of his celibacy by an allusion to the nobler devotion of his life: “Italy is my wife: I will never have another.”
  • Any one can govern by a state of siege.

  • In his last illness; referring to government by armed force, when the laws are for the time being suspended.
  • In a speech after the annexation of Naples by Garibaldi in 1860, he made the important announcement which will be forever associated with the name of Cavour: “We are ready to proclaim in Italy this principle, ‘A free church in a free state.’” They were also his last words, to the priest in attendance upon him: “Frate, frate, libera chiesa in libero stato.” Montalembert wrote in the preface to his own works, published in Paris in 1860: “In a word, the free church in a free state has been the programme which led me to my first efforts, and which I continue to regard as just and true, reasonable and practical, after the studies and struggles of thirty years.”