In the spring of 1908 there were agrarian strikes at Parma; the labor contracts had pressed hardly on the peasantry, who had cause for complaint; but while some improvement had been effected in the new contracts, certain unscrupulous demagogues, of whom Alceste De Ambris, representing the syndacalist wing of the Socialist party, was the chief, organized a widespread agitation.
In war they trembled at the sound of a trumpet, in peace they quaked before the shouting of their own demagogues; and during the assault of Philip II.
On re-entering Milan Charles Albert was badly received and reviled as a traitor by the Republicans, and although he declared himself ready to die defending the city the municipality treated with Radetzky for a capitulation; the mob, urged on by the demagogues, made a savage demonstration against him at the Palazzo Greppi, whence he escaped in the night with difficulty and returned to Piedmont with his defeated armp. The French Republic offered to intervene in the spring of 1848, but Charles Albert did not desire foreign aid, the more so as in this case it would have had to be paid for by the cession of Nice and Savoy.
To him the people of Italy owe a great debt, for if he failed in his object he at least materialized the idea of the Risorgimento in a practical shape, and the charges which the Republicans and demagogues brought against him were monstrously unjust.
But he unfortunately associated himself with the demagogues Saturninus (q.v.) and Glaucia, in order to secure the consulship for the sixth time (100).