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Rudini, Antonio Starabba, Marquis Di

RUDINI, ANTONIO STARABBA, MARQUIS DI (1830-1908), Italian statesman, was born at Palermo on the 6th of April 1839. In 1859 he joined the revolutionary committee which paved the way for Garibaldi's triumphs in the following year; then after spending a short time at Turin as attache to the Italian foreign office he was elected mayor of Palermo. In 1866 he displayed considerable personal courage and energy in quelling an insurrection of separatist and reactionary tendencies. The prestige thus acquired led to his appointment as prefect of Palermo, and while occupying that position he put down brigandage throughout the province; in 1868 he was prefect of Naples. In October 1869 he became minister of the interior in the Menabrea cabinet, but he fell with that cabinet a few months later, and although elected member of parliament for Canicatti held no important position until, upon the death of Minghetti in 1886, he became leader of the Right. Early in 1891 he succeeded Crispi as premier and minister of foreign affairs by forming a coalition cabinet with a part of the Left under Nicotera; his administration proved vacillating, but it initiated the economies by which Italian finances were put on a sound basis and also renewed the Triple Alliance. He was overthrown in May 1892 by a vote of the Chamber and succeeded by Giolitti. Upon the return of his rival, Crispi, to power in December 1893, he resumed political activity, allying himself with the Radical leader, Cavallotti. The crisis consequent upon the disaster of Adowa (ist March 1896) enabled Rudini to return to power as premier and minister of the interior in a cabinet formed by the veteran Conservative, General Ricotti. He concluded peace with Abyssinia, but endangered relations with Great Britain by the unauthorized publication of confidential diplomatic correspondence in a Green-book on Abyssinian affairs. To satisfy the anti-colonial party he ceded Kassala to Great Britain, provoking thereby much indignation in Italy. His internal policy was marked by continual yielding to Radical pressure and by persecution of Crispi. By dissolving the Chamber early in 1897 and favouring Radical candidates in the general election, he paved the way for the outbreak of May 1898, the suppression of which entailed considerable bloodshed and necessitated a state of siege at Milan, Naples, Florence and Leghorn. Indignation at the results of his policy led to his overthrow in June 1898. During his second term of office he thrice modified his cabinet (July 1896, December 1897, and May 1898) without strengthening his political position. In many respects Rudinr, though leader of the Right and nominally a Conservative politician, proved a dissolving element in the Italian Conservative ranks. By his alliance with the Liberals under Nicotera in r8gr, and by his understanding with the Radicals under Cavallotti in r894-98; by abandoning his Conservative colleague, General Ricotti, to whom he owed the premiership in 1896; and by his vacillating action after his fall from power, he divided and demoralized a constitutional party which, with greater sincerity and less reliance upon political cleverness, he might have welded into a solid parliamentary organization. At the same time he was a thorough gentleman and grand seigneur. One of the largest and wealthiest landowners in Sicily, he managed his estates on liberal lines, and was never troubled by agrarian disturbances. The marquis, who had not been in office since 1898, died on the 6th of August 1908, leaving a son, Carlo, who married a daughter of Mr Henry Labouchere.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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