The scramble to get hold of potentially incriminating documents from the Banca Romana had been intense. Giovanni Giolitti had been desperate to secure as much material as he could. Giolitti decided to make the documents in his possession public, placing a sealed file — the famous ‘plico’ — in front of Biancheri, the Chamber President. The general feeling in political circles was that Giolitti had shot himself in the foot, but also damaged Francesco Crispi. Crispi's opponents got a platform from which to launch a general attack on his morality. This chapter looks at the plico controversy, the proroguing of parliament that was denounced by Crispi's opponents in politics as an act of violence, Crispi's series of victories in Africa, the 1895 elections, Crispi's view of the cataclysm of war as a crucial agent of patriotism, and the Battle of Adua on March 1, 1896 pitting Italy against Ethiopia.
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