Imágenes de páginas

declare it a Free Town under his own captainship. Now, this he was loth to do, as it would have brought him into a fresh conflict with the Italian Government whose prisoner he had repeatedly been, and which had for several years treated him as a virtual captive in his own island home.

He therefore preferred withdrawing himself from the importunate demands addressed to him in regard to the deliverance of his own native town.

In the second instance, he no doubt expected that, if he served the French Republic, its Government and people would afterwards prove their own generosity by the retrocession of Nizza. French journals actually held out this prospect to him, when he landed at Marseilles. Thus the Egalité' declared that, after he would have helped France - we shall restore to him his native home, his beloved Nizza.'

To all evidence, these were Garibaldi's political and personal considerations. In his hope of regaining Nizza he was, however, egregiously deceived. Nay, at the Assembly of Bordeaux he was personally treated in the most insulting manner, being denied even the right of speech.

A few years afterwards, he wrote to me from Caprera, on Dec. 30, 1874:

My dear Blind,

You, as a friend and colleague in political views, are no doubt well convinced that I did by no means intend combating Germany in 1870 and '71. I rather served the Republican principle. With you, I am happy to see the progress made by the popular party in your country-a country which is certainly well worthy of marching in the vanguard of human emancipation.

I have sent my letter to Bordone for publication to Mrs. Chambers, Putney House, Putney, London, s.w. You will find it in the English journals.

Greetings to your family from

Yours sincerely


In Germany, this declaration of Garibaldi was received with satisfaction. He had evidently been much disappointed as regards France, and was seeking to approach Germany once more. The struggle then carried on from Berlin against the theocratic pretensions of the Roman Church he followed attentively with his best wishes. The joy at seeing him so openly return to his former sympathies gave rise to a poetical address in an influential Leipzig periodical, which took the above letter for its text.



ON affairs connected with the Papacy I had repeatedly been in correspondence with him, he himself opening up the subject, more specially, as early as 1867. On October 10 of that year he wrote from Caprera:

'I had read your beautiful letter, concerning me, in the English journals. Pray, accept my fullest gratitude!

"From you, the courageous representative of Germany, your brethren of Italy hope for co-operation with a view to the abolition (extinction) of the Papacy which degrades our fatherland and whole mankind.

'My warmest greetings to your wife and your family from
"Yours for life,


Frequent rumours as to the imminent probability of the death of Pius IX. kept the correspondence on this subject going. In 1875, the German Government at last virtually ceased to have any diplomatic representation at the Vatican. This cessation de facto, the Liberals of Germany wished to render permanent, on principle. They held that the mixed spiritual and political claims of the Papacy to rule over the nations of the world was an insult offered to the sovereignty of each country, whether under monarchical or republican government. In England, Archbishop Manning-whom many thought to be a possible candidate for the Papal throne with a view of getting more converts to the Roman Church in this countryhad formulated the outrageous pretensions of the Supreme Pontiff in the most uncompromising language; for instance by the war-cry :"No peace; no, not even a truce!' 10

I informed Garibaldi, on March 23, 1875, of what I believed, or knew, to be some of the coming measures in the Parliament at Berlin in reference to the cloisters, and so forth. I also mentioned the extra-official suggestions made to the Italian Government, on the part of Germany, for a change in the so-called Law of Guarantees, which still ensures the semi-sovereign position of the Pope. But the root of the evil did not seem to me to be touched by these procedures.

'My conviction is '-I wrote to him- that a real step in advance could only be made by prohibiting the Conclave of Cardinals from meeting again at Rome, or on any part of the Italian territory, for the object of electing a Pope. If the Italian Parliament adopted a law in this sense, forbidding at the same time to any Pope to hold a Court in your country; if your nation would thus formally and

10 Speech made at the Academia of the Catholic Religion, in London, 1873.

[ocr errors]

solemnly break with the theocratic past, a deep impression would be created, and respect would increase, among all enlightened nations, for New Italy. If the Vatican did at last cease to be the nest of a dark reaction; if those expressions: the Holy See of Rome,' 'the Papal Court of Rome,' had no longer any meaning even, because no Papal Court could legally exist at Rome: the effect of this revolution of ideas would be immense all over the world. You who are engaged upon so meritorious a work as is the sanitation of the Campagna, you could render to humanity another great service by proposing a measure tending to the suppression of the poisonous malaria exhaling from the Vatican. . . . Little time is left yet. Little time is left yet. Who knows whether the day for the meeting of a Conclave does not quickly approach!... May I hope that your voice will proclaim the necessity, for Italy, of breaking with the Papacy by refusing a place of election and residence to it?'

I had hoped Garibaldi would make a corresponding motion in Parliament of which he was a member. He replied from Caprera, by return, on March 28, 1875:

'I believe there is not a country in the world less Catholic than Italy. Government and the upper classes affect a Catholic devotion which in reality they have not. As to the mass of the people, it is by no means Catholic, and one only sees bigoted old women in the priestly booths (boutiques prêtines).

'To obtain from Government and from the majority of the Chamber a law prohibitory of the Papacy, is for the moment more difficult than may be imagined.

'Nevertheless you may reckon upon the fact of the great majority of the Italian nation sympathising with Germany in her war to the death (guerre à outrance) against Jesuitism under all its forms.'

But though Garibaldi did not think, then, that the moment was opportune for an effective parliamentary move against the Law of Papal Guarantees, he afterwards accepted the chairmanship of an Association which was founded for that object after the election of Leo XIII. A number of meetings have since been held in Italy on the lines of the programme above indicated; and it may be predicted with certainty that no efforts will be spared until the movement shall be attended with success.

[ocr errors]

Curiously enough, Garibaldi had originally been destined, by his mother, to become a Roman Catholic priest! From the trammels imposed upon his mind, he, however, soon broke loose. Year by year, he became a more decided opponent of Papal theocracy. The Roman priesthood he called the Cholera morbus of Italy.' Those who were lagging behind in the struggle against Vaticanism, he charged with pandering to the intellectual prostitution of the people. In the name of mental freedom and educational progress he waged a persistent war against the pernicious influence of the Romanist priesthood.

One of his first decrees, after the conquest of Naples, was the establishment of free schools, on the gratuitous principle, for the children of the Lazzaroni. Truly, a necessary reform; for, out of each thousand inhabitants in the Two Sicilies of either sex, 835 males and 938 females could then neither read nor write-the result of this 'clerical' system of education!

For many years Garibaldi held the position of Grand-Master of the Masonic Lodges of Italy. When at Geneva, during a meeting of the League of Peace and Liberty, a deputation of Swiss Freemasons came to see him, an attempt was made to induce him to speak out on the subject of his belief. He replied :—

I have been a sea-captain on long voyages. I have crossed the Ocean many a time. At night, I had before me the starry sky; below me, the gigantic deep. There I cultivated my religion: it is that of Alexander von Humboldt.'

In this matter he was different from Mazzini, and towards the end of his life grew still more different from him. A Deist at first, Garibaldi latterly followed, in his speculative views on the Universe, the school of advanced philosophers and scientists, though he did not, probably, come to their views by the laborious road of extensive special studies.

On his part, Mazzini, all through his life, had for his device: Dio e il Popolo.' Historically speaking, strange as it may sound, he had even a word to say for the claims of the Popes in the Middle Ages. He believed in Rome as the Eternal City by decree of Providence,' before which men should kneel down in worship.' He spoke of a trinity of her mission,' which he said was the incarnation of the Word.'" All this went utterly against the grain of the Liberal and progressive parties of Europe. Few, however, were aware of these writings of Mazzini, as they were in Italian.

In a pamphlet published in exile he seemed to justify, retrospectively, the old Popish claims, previous to the Reformation, as against the independence of the various governments or nations of Europe. In vain did I ask him whether this view did not involve a condemnation of the Reformation, of the martyrs that had preceded it-ay,

"Tyrants and false prophets may delay, but none can prevent the incarnation of the Word. For while many cities have perished on earth, and many will yet perish in their turn, Rome is, by decree of Providence, divined by the nations, the Eternal City, because to her has been entrusted the mission of spreading over the world the word of Unity. . . . As the Rome of the Caesars, having united a vast zone of Europe through the power of Action, was followed by the Rome of the Popes, which united Europe and America through the power of Thought: so will the Rome of the People succeed the other two, and, in the religion of Thought and Action conjoined, unite Europe and America, and the rest of the terrestrial world. And when the Pact of the New Faith shall be displayed upon the pantheon of humanity which the nations will one day build up between the Capitol and the Vatican, and dominating both: the long dissonance between Heaven and Earth, soul and body, matter and spirit, reason and faith, will cease into harmony of life.'-Words to the Youth of Italy. By G. Mazzini. 1859.

of Arnold of Brescia. The publication of the pamphlet nearly brought about a rupture between him and Ledru-Rollin-a Deist, but a strong opponent of the priesthood-who had become an exile through having espoused Mazzini's cause in 1849. Whilst firmly opposing these strange ideas of Mazzini-Canossa not being exactly the shrine at which I could worship-I urgently dissuaded LedruRollin from his intention of breaking with his old associate, who represented so powerful a force in the Democratic camp. I was glad, after a while, to have succeeded in bringing them again together.

When Professor Moleschott, the German scientist, was called to the chair of physiology at Turin, Mazzini, who first learnt the fact from me, gave vent to utter dismay. Dr. Ludwig Büchner, another distinguished German scientist, having expressed his admiration for Mazzini's political aspirations, and desiring, through my mediation, to get his likeness with the autograph of his name, it was with difficulty I could persuade Mazzini to grant the request. He finally gave the photograph with his name, but adding the inscription: Malgré All this was often painful, though the playful humour which Mazzini possessed soon helped to get over the unpleasant incident.

I well remember how many years afterwards, in 1870, when he thought there might be a chance of the Democratic party of Italy getting the upper hand at Rome, he fervently spoke of the desirability of proclaiming a kind of State creed through a National Constituent Assembly. It was to be a religious system not bound to special Church tenets,' but still a profession of faith acknowledged and proclaimed by the representatives of the people in Parliament. The conversation took place in presence of a well-known English writer who had expressed to me a strong desire to make the acquaintance of the great Italian leader.

Mazzini's health was then already deeply shaken. Knowing this, as well as the excitability which the subject in question easily aroused in him, I pointed out, as mildly as possible, that irrespective of the opposition which his idea would encounter from a great many men of the highest culture, even a very large number of those who held the same faith as he himself would no doubt object to such State intervention in religious affairs; the whole course of modern development being directed towards the freedom of the individual in matters of belief or philosophical speculation. But he professed to be an "authoritarian' on principle, and insisted on his view with unbending energy. 'Of course '-he added- the doctrine of eternal damnation would have no place in the profession of faith to be publicly proclaimed by the Assembly.'

Garibaldi was utterly opposed to these notions, as his honorary chairmanship of a Society of Freethinkers at Venice shows.

« AnteriorContinuar »