Monday, January 16, 2017

Quotes on the Italianity of Fiume

Here we have numerous impartial observations on the Italianity of Fiume, taken from English and other non-Italian sources:
“While we are passing the night under Arbe, it will not perhaps be without interest to say a little about the language and culture of this and kindred towns on the islands and coast of Dalmatia. the town Italian is spoken: and I may notice that this is the characteristic of the whole coast on this side of the Gulf; and that not only in the towns which, as Arbe, were long under Venetian rule, but those also which never were thus connected with that republic; such as Fiume, about which one traces a number of characteristics similar to what one finds in the city of the doges itself. Thus the wife of the young man...having the head-dress, black veil, slippers, manners, and much of the character of a Venetian. And this prevalence of the Italian language and ethos exists, it is to be observed, not only in the maritime cities...”
—William Frederick Wingfield, A Tour in Dalmatia, Albania and Montenegro, 1859
“...the lower basin of the Isonzo, Gorizia, Trieste, Parenzo, Pola, and all the towns of maritime Istria are Italian, and the Italianissimi of Trieste are consequently justified in aspiring to a union with Italy. Fiume, on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Quarnero, is likewise Italian, whilst in Zara, Spalato, and other towns of Dalmatia the Italians are in a majority.”
—Élisée Reclus, The Earth and Its Inhabitants: The Universal Geography, Volume 3, 1878
“The Italian language is spoken by almost the entire population of the Kingdom of Italy, in the two little states of Monaco and San Marino, on the island of Corsica, in the Swiss canton of Ticino, and several communes of the cantons Grisons and Valais, in the southern part of the Tyrol, in Triest and other cities of Istria and Dalmatia, and in the Hungarian free city of Fiume.”
—The Cyclopaedia of Education, 1883
“The bay of Fiume is charming... Italian is the prevailing tongue spoken, and is used in the courts of law. ...Hungarian, which is nominally the official language, is only spoken by the Hungarian officials themselves, who have to make use of the Italian language in their communications with the local municipal authorities. ... There is also a good-sized Theatre, with periodical performances in Italian.”
—Sir Robert Lambert Playfair, Handbook to the Mediterranean, Volume 2, 1890
“Confusion of tongues is, in fact, constant at Fiume. The majority of the population is really Italian in race and language...”
—Harriet Waters Peston, Some Reminiscences of Eastern Europe, The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 76, 1895
“She [Italy] wants to unite all her children under one roof. Hence she wants the city of Fiume, of whose 60,000 population, so a Fiuman municipal official told me, two-thirds are Italian, a sixth Slav, and the remaining sixth mixed. To confirm this preponderance, I walked everywhere in the city yesterday, specially in the sparsely settled quarters, where at least the little children would not be withheld from speaking their mother tongue. Yet everywhere I heard only Italian. I was well prepared, therefore, for my official's conclusion: 'As between Italians and Croats there is no question as to where the city's political control should be. It should be with the Italians.' ...the Entente Allies would deny justice to Italy unless she had Fiume too.”
—Elbert Francis Baldwin, The Question of Fiume, The Outlook, Volume 122, 1919
“Fiume has long resisted Croatian aggression. In 1776 we Americans were not the only ones who struggled for independence. The Fiumani did too. In that year the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria assigned Fiume to Croatia—just as President Wilson would do to-day. After three years of resistance, the Fiumans obtained a charter from the Empress reuniting them to Hungary, but according them full autonomy. A century later Croatian domination was again imposed and thrown off. ...Fiume impressed me as having the independent spirit of the old Greek and Italian cities... Mr. John Mitchell, a Scotchman, has lived sixteen years in Trieste. ... He thinks that the only solution for the peace of the whole region lies in giving Italy political control of the city proper of Fiume, and in making its port free, like Hamburg...”
—Elbert Francis Baldwin, The Question of Fiume, The Outlook, Volume 122, 1919
“It is not Italy which demands Fiume, but Fiume which demands annexation to Italy for the protection of its own interests, and to meet the wishes of its citizens, composed for the greater part of Italians, as the following graphic statistics will show. Even before the Italian troops entered the city, the National Council of Fiume, in an extraordinary session held on October 30, 1918, voted voluntarily for the annexation of the city to the kingdom of Italy. ... On April 18, 1919, Fiume voted a second time by plebiscite to be united to the kingdom of Italy. The commerce bodies, educational associations and sporting interests were unanimous in the desire. The city sent seventy odd telegrams to the Peace Conference in Paris, asking for the unconditional annexation of Fiume to Italy.”
—Henry Isham Hazelton, Fiume: The Superlatively Italian City, 1919
“While Fiume never has formed a part of [modern] Italy, it has remained Italian ever since its foundation 1,100 years ago. Rising on the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Tarsica destroyed by Charlemagne in 800, it never once has lost its pure Italian character. This is attested by all its artistic monuments and intellectual life, by all the acts of its administrative and business life, which with its language, laws and habits have preserved its complete Italianism in every age of its existence. ... On all maps, in all treaties, in all laws, in all protocols, Fiume always has been called Fiume, the Italian word for river... The fact that Fiume, while not belonging to Italy, has remained wholly Italian for over a thousand years, is the strongest proof which could be adduced to my mind, that it is an Italian city. In the political and business life of Fiume, the Croats always have been looked upon as strangers.”
—Henry Isham Hazelton, Fiume: The Superlatively Italian City, 1919
“Fiume is the last Italian outpost in the Julian Alps, the extreme bulwark of Latin civilization. Fiume has been through long centuries an Italian radiating center in the Gulf of Quarnero. Volosca, Abbazia, Laurano, Albona, Moschiena, Veglia, Cherso, Arbe and other places have preserved their Italianism, thanks to the sturdy national character of the Gem of the Quarnero.”
—Henry Isham Hazelton, Fiume: The Superlatively Italian City, 1919
“The city of Fiume has an Italian population, which, after a census made in 1918, represents three fourths of the entire population. It counts 28,911 Italians against 10,927 Croats, Slovenes, and Serbs, and 6,000 Hungarians and Germans. ... It is to be seen, therefore, how much the Italian element is in the majority at Fiume. ... One might almost fancy himself at Budapest. But in the street, it is the Italian speech which meets the ear at every step. In order to understand the question of Fiume, it seems to me necessary to show how this town, or better, this commune, has been jealous of its independence for centuries, has been opposed to all Austrian, Hungarian, or Croat domination and attached to its Italianism. Always struggling against the Slav influence, the Italian element has kept to its Italian sentiments in a state of extreme tension. ... The independence of the city and its Italian character are thus the two essential factors of the question.”
—Joseph Galtier, A Visit to Fiume, The Living Age, Volume 301, May 24, 1919
“In 1776, Maria Theresa breaking the tradition of history united Fiume to Croatia. The town resisted and revolted so well that after three years, Maria Theresa was forced to abrogate the decree of 1776. Closer to our times, in 1848, the Croats occupied the city by force. The struggle, constant and bitter, lasted nineteen years, until 1867, an epoch in which both Croatia and Hungary recognized the privileged situation of Fiume. The Italians of Fiume accepted so little the Croat domination that the governor of Fiume, in 1861, declared that because of the ‘constant struggle of party,’ the town and district of Fiume was to be considered in a state of siege. ... Let us take note also that the Croats, before 1867, invited the citizens of Fiume to send deputies to the Diet of Agram to ask for the union of Fiume with Croatia; these deputies, however, brought only a protestation against all projects of union.”
—Joseph Galtier, A Visit to Fiume, The Living Age, Volume 301, May 24, 1919
“Fiume lies within the Julian Alps, that natural boundary that terminates near Portori, opposite the island of Veglia. For many centuries it has been an international football, tossed from one ownership to another. The town itself is old Roman and was destroyed by Charlemagne. It was once a fief of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. It belonged to Venice for one year. Finally it went over to the control of Austria. ... But we do know, that in spite of all barterings, vicissitudes, this plaything of the powers has retained its Italian character. It has ever aspired to be a part of the Italian kingdom. Of its diverse population, sixty-five per cent are Italian, and a plebiscite would quickly decide the national determination of the city. ... Fiume can never again belong to Austria, nor to Croatia... It must either be a part of Italy or become a free port.”
—Herbert D. Ward, Italy's Aim in the World War, 1919
“The orders from Budapest having always been in Italian; in the courts, Italian was spoken and the Hungarian governor, on taking office, came to the hall of the Municipal Council to take the oath in Italian and to swear respect to the privileges of Fiume. As soon as this violation of customary usage was known, the town covered itself with the Italian colors. ... The Italians of Fiume are more Italian than the Italians. ... To conclude, I do not think it doubtful that the city of Fiume is Italian by a large majority. Even at the time of the Pragmatic Sanction, the delegation from Fiume which signed the document had Italian names; twenty-eight names, indisputably Italian. Recently, an American arriving at Fiume had the idea of going to the cemetery to read the names on the tombs. This performance gave the municipality the idea of a referendum at the cemetery. The dead were to vote. The result was decisive, more than eighty per cent of the inscriptions are in Italian. ... I do not think that the Jugo-Slavs contest the Italian majority of Fiume. ...I repeat, the question of Fiume is already decided for anyone who visits the town; Fiume is Italian.”
—Joseph Galtier, A Visit to Fiume, The Living Age, Volume 301, May 24, 1919
“On the left or west bank of the river is Fiume, with approximately 40,000 inhabitants, of whom very nearly three-fourths are Italian. ... Her [Italy's] sentimental claims are based on the ground that the city's population, character, and history are overwhelmingly Italian. I have already stated that the Italians constitute about three-fourths of the total population of Fiume, the latest figures, as quoted in the United States Senate, giving 29,569 inhabitants to the Italians and 14,798 to the Slavs. There is no denying that the city has a distinctively Italian atmosphere, for its architecture is Italian, that Venetian trade-mark, the Lion of St. Mark, being in evidence on several of the older buildings; the mode of outdoor life is such as one meets in Italy; most of its stores and banks are owned by Italians, and Italian is the prevailing tongue. ... The Italians of Fiume, as I have already shown, outnumber the Slavs almost three to one, and it is they who are demanding so violently that the city should be annexed to Italy on the ground of self-determination.”
—A. Alexander Powell, The New Frontiers of Freedom, Scribner's Magazine, Volume 67, 1920