In the discussion of the 1823 intervention in Spain in "The Ankle-Chain Must Have Undergone a Certain Preparatory Manipulation," there's a reference to, "beside the son of France as generalissimo, the Prince de Carignan, afterwards Charles Albert, enrolling himself in that crusade of kings against people as a volunteer, with grenadier epaulets of red worsted."
Charles Albert was a prince, later king of Piedmont-Sardinia. He came to Spain after being involved in a failed attempt to bring a Spanish-inspired constitution to Piedmont-Sardinia. The events were full of intrigue, and Charles Albert managed to piss off both the revolutionaries and the rest of the royal family by effectively betraying both sides at different times. He managed to issue a constitution during his brief regency, but it was rescinded as soon as the king got back.
His participation in crushing the liberals in Spain was therefore widely considered hypocritical, which is probably why Hugo comments ironically on his "enrolling himself in that crusade of kings against people as a volunteer." Possibly more important to Hugo, Charles Albert had previously been an officer under Napoleon.
Fighting against the Spanish constitutionalists got Charles Albert back in the king's good graces. As king Charles Albert was initially fairly conservative and repressed the Young Italy movement, but became more liberal as time went on. He redeemed himself during 1848, by issuing a constitution, for good this time, and trying to unite the country (he failed in this and abdicated). This constitution, unlike that of other Italian states, was not rescinded in the reaction that followed 1848.
Last edited by between4walls
on Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
Here day embraces night, and says: I will die with you and you will be reborn with me. From the heavy embrace of all desolations springs faith.
The real name of devotion is disinterestedness.