To allow him to dissolve parliament, entrusted Signor Giolitti, a Piedmontese deputy, sometime treasury minister in the Crispi cabinet, with the formation of a ministry of the Left, which contrived to obtain six months supply on account, and dissolved the Chamber, The ensuing general election (November 1892), marked by unprecedented violence and abuse of official pressure upon B k the electorate, fitly ushered in what proved to be scandals, the most unfortunate period of Italian history since the completion of national unity.
The Socialist party, which had grown powerful under a series of weak-kneed administrations, now began to show signs of division; on the one hand there was the revolutionary wing, led by Signor Enrico Fern, the Mantuan deputy, which advocated a policy of uncompromising class warfare, and on the other the riformisti, or moderate Socialists, led by Signor Filippo Turati, deputy for Milan, who adopted a more conciliatory attitude and were ready to ally themselves with other parliamentary parties.
The latter accepted the task, and the new administration included Signor Tittoni, late prefect of Naples, as foreign minister, Signor Luigi Luzzatti, the eminent financier, at the treasury, General Pedotti at the war office, and Admiral Mirabello as minister of marine.
Italian action was hastened by news that, in December 1884, an exploring party under Signor Bianchi, royal commissioner for Assab, had been massacred in the Aussa (Danakil) country, an event which aroused in Italy a desire to punish the assassins and to obtain satisfaction for the still unpunished massacre of Signor Giulietti and his companions.
Consequently the minister of education, Signor Rava, concocted a body of rules which, it was hoped, would satisfy every one: religious instruction was to be maintained as a necessary part of the curriculum, but in communes where the majority of the municipal councillors were opposed to it it might be suppressed; the council in that case must, however, facilitate the teaching of religion to those children whose parents desire it.
Signor Fortis then became premier and minister of the interior, Signor Maiorano finance minister and Signor Carcano treasury minister, while Signor Tittoni, Admiral Mirabello 1905 and General Pedotti retained the portfolios they had held in the previous administration.
For this unfortunate combination Signor Sonnino himself was not altogether to blame; having lost many of his most faithful followers, who, weary of waiting for office, had gone over to the enemy, he had been forced to seek support among men who had professed hostility to the existing order of things and thus to secure at least the neutrality of the Extreme Left and make the public realize that the reddest of Socialists, Radicals and Republicans may be tamed and rendered harmless by the offer of cabinet appointments.
The fall of the Rudini cabinet in June 1898, however, enabled Signor Ferdinando Martini and Captain Cicco di Cola, who had been appointed respectively civil governor of Eritrea and minister resident at Adis Ababa, to prevent the cession of Sera and OkulKusai, and to secure the assent of Menelek to Italian retention of the Mareb-Belesa-Muna frontier.
Upon the fall of the Saracco cabinet (9th February 1901) Visconti Venosta was succeeded at the foreign office by Signor Prinetti, a Lombard manufacturer of strong temperament, but without previous diplomatic experience.
When it was found that there was to be no direct compensation for Italy a storm of indignation was aroused against Austria, and also against Signor Tittoni.