Harpers Weekly Article

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Harpers Weekly published this article, the week after the death of Giuseppe Garibaldi.

10th June 1882 – IN GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI, who died at Caprera on the evening of June 2, of bronchitis, Italy has lost her most illustrious citizen.  To him, even more than to CAVOUR, MAZZINI, or VICTOR EMANUEL, she owes her liberty and unification.  

A man of the people, brave, chivalrous, unselfish, enthusiastic in the cause of human liberty, by his example and daring deeds he roused his countrymen to the great struggle which, after many disasters and disheartening reverses, resulted in the complete overthrow of the foreign tyranny under which Italy had groaned for generations.

He was the idol of the people.  Had he chosen, he might have been the Dictator of Italy; but with a patriotism which sought nothing but the good of his country, he put aside the temptation in order that the Italian states might be merged into one strong nationality.  

His life was full of adventure.  He served as a soldier in many lands, but always as a lover of human liberty, never as a mercenary.

GARIBALDI was born at Nice, of poor parents, on the 22d of July, 1807.  At an early age he embraced his ancestral calling of a sailor, and was for several years engaged in the coasting trade in various parts of the Mediterranean.

At the age of twenty-four he became acquainted with MAZZINI, with whom he was concerned in an unsuccessful conspiracy against CHARLES ALBERT, the King of Sardinia.  Compelled to leave his country,  he eventually made his way to South America, and soon after his arrival in that country engaged in the privateer service of the revolted republic of Rio Grande against Brazil, and experienced the various vicissitudes of victory, defeat,  Imprisonment, shipwreck. and escape in the revolutionary war. Amidst his troubles and dangers by land and sea, he found comfort in his marriage with a Brazilian lady, named ANITA, to whom he was devotedly attached, and who fully returned his affection.

In 1847, hearing of the elevation of PIUS 1X. to the papacy, and persuaded of his liberal tendencies, GARIBALDI offered him his services, but they were not accepted.  He then offered his sword to CHARLES ALBERT, then in the field against Austria, and upon being repulsed by that monarch, repaired to Milan, where he was commissioned by the provincial government to organize Lombard volunteers for the war of freedom.  

After the flight of the Pope, GARIBALDI visited Rome, where he found the people rejoicing over the proclamations of a republic, under which he was elected to the Constituent Assembly.  He received orders to watch with his troops the movements of the King of Naples, but was called from this duty in order to resist the French army, which was then proceeding to invest the Roman territory.  

A severe battle took place on the 30th of April, in which GARIBALDI, after a hard struggle against superior discipline and numbers, drove the French soldiers from the field.  This victory was followed up by another, over the Neapolitan army, on the 9th of May.  Rome, however, after a terrible struggle, which raged without intermission from the 23d to the 28th of June, fell into the hands of the French; and on the 2d of July GARIBALDI, with 5000 of his volunteers, took his departure to carry on the war against the Austrians and the King of Naples. But misfortunes overpowered him. Many of his soldiers surrendered to the enemy, and his faithful ANITA, who had shared all his dangers, yielded up her life, a victim to anxiety and fatigue.

Then came the episode of his life in America — as a soap and candle manufacturer on Staten Island, a merchant in Cincinnati, a wanderer in California; and then a brief return to his old business as a trader in the Mediterranean.  Having amassed a little capital, he purchased the small island of Caprera, off the coast of Sardinia, where he settled down as an agriculturist, determined to await events.

The opportunity came in 1859, when he was summoned by VICTOR EMANUEL to Turin to concert the plan which he was to play against the Austrians, then threatening Sardinia.  He received a commission as Lieutenant-General, and found himself at the head of a choice band of 8000 volunteers, with which he left Turin on the 20th of May, and carried on a guerrilla warfare, which greatly harassed the Austrians.  His followers — soon increased to 17,000 men — took Varese, Camerlata, and Como, and were successful at Bergamo, Brescia, and Rezzato.

After the hasty Treaty of Villafranca, which put an end to the war, leaving Venice in the hands of the Austrians, GARIBALDI retired from his command, and resigned his rank in the Italian army, in order that he might be free to engage in his long-meditated expedition for the liberation of the Two Sicilies from the misrule of FRANCIS II.  When all was ready, be embarked at Genoa for Sicily on the 5th of May, 1860; landed on the 10th at Marsala, where he proclaimed himself Dictator of Sicily, in the name of VICTOR EMANUEL, and preceded to take Palermo and Messina. He, then crossed the straits, landed in Calabria, and possessed himself of Naples, which he entered on the 9th of September.  There he proclaimed VICTOR EMANUEL amidst general enthusiasm and rejoicing.  The Neapolitan army was defeated on the 1st of October; on the 21st the people of Naples voted in favour of annexation to the Sardinian state; on the 7th of November VICTOR EMANUEL entered Naples, and on the 27th the army of GARIBALDI was disbanded.

GARIBALDI now retired to Caprera again, where he matured his plans for the ill-advised and unsuccessful expedition against Rome, in which VICTOR EMANUEL was obliged to take part against him.  In 1864 he paid a short visit to England, where he was received with great enthusiasm, and again retired to Caprera. He took an energetic part in the campaign of 1866, which gave Venice to Italy; but still restless under the exclusion of Rome from the kingdom, he began an agitation in 1867 for the annexation of the Papal States.  This brought him again into collision with the Italian government, and he suffered arrest and imprisonment.  He succeeded, however, in escaping, and entered the Pontifical States at the head of a small force.  After a few unimportant successes, he was defeated by the combined French and Papal forces at Mentana on the 4th of November.  On the evening of the same day he was arrested, and conducted to the fortress of Varignano, near Spezia. Owing to a severe illness, it was soon deemed expedient to transport him to Caprera.

With the exception of the brief episode of service in France during the Franco-German war, GARIBALDI’S military career was now ended.  He lived to see the desire of his heart fulfilled in the restoration of Rome as the capital of united Italy; and although he would have preferred a republic, he gave a loyal support to the monarchy, offering the only practicable solution of the great problem of Italian freedom and unity.

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