Daniele Manin (13 May 1804 – 22 September 1857) was an Italianpatriot and statesman from Venice. He is considered by many Italian historians a hero of the Italian unification (Risorgimento).
The heroic but hopeless attempt of the Bandiera Brothers, Venetians who had served in the Austrian navy against the Neapolitan Bourbons in 1844, was the first event to cause an awakening of Venetian patriotism. In 1847 Manin presented a petition to the Venetian congregation, a powerless consultative assembly tolerated by Austria, informing the emperor of the wants of the nation. He was arrested on a charge of high treason (18 January 1848), but his arrest only served to agitate of the Venetians, who were beginning to appreciate Manin.
Two months later, when all Italy and half the rest of Europe were in the throes of revolution, the people of Venice forced Count Pallfy (Erdődy Pállfy Alajos gróf), the Austrian governor, to release Manin (17 March). The Austrians soon lost control of the city: the Arsenal was seized by revolutionaries and, under the direction of Manin, a civic guard and a provisional government were instituted. The Austrians withdrew from Venice on 26 March and Manin became president of the re-created Republic of San Marco. He had already been in favour of Italian unity, but not anxious for annexation to Piedmont because he would have liked to enlist French aid. He gave in to the will of the majority of his compatriots and resigned his powers to the Piedmontese commissioners on 7 August. But after the Piedmontese defeat at Custoza, and the armistice in which King Charles Albert abandoned Lombardy and Venetia to Austria, the Venetians attempted to lync hthe royal commissioners, whose lives Manin saved with difficulty. An assembly was summoned, and a triumvirate formed with Manin at its head.
Towards the end of 1848 the Austrians, having been heavily reinforced, reoccupied all the Venetian mainland. The citizens, however, hard-pressed and threatened with a siege, showed the greatest devotion to the cause of freedom, all sharing in the dangers and hardships and giving what they could afford to the state treasury. Early in 1849 Manin was again chosen president of the Republic, and conducted the defence of the city with great ability.
After the defeat of Charles Albert's troops at Novara in March, the Venetian assembly voted "Resistance at all costs!" and granted Manin unlimited powers.
Meanwhile, the Austrian forces closed round the city. Manin showed a good capability of organization, in which he was ably seconded by the Neapolitan general, Guglielmo Pepe, who led the Neapolitan army to defend Venice against his king's order. But on 26 May the Venetians were forced to abandon Fort Marghera, halfway between the city and the mainland; food was becoming scarce, on 19 June the powder magazine blew up, and in July cholera broke out. The Austrian batteries, subsequently, began to bombard Venice itself, and when the Sardinian fleet withdrew from the Adriatic the city was also attacked by sea, while demagogues caused internal trouble.
At last, on 24 August 1849, when all provisions and ammunition were exhausted, Manin, who had courted death in vain, succeeded in negotiating an honorable capitulation, on terms of amnesty to all save Manin himself, Pepe and some others, who were to go into exile. On 27 August Manin left Venice forever on board a French ship.
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