BLTC Press Titles


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The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll


Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll


Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Garibaldi and the making of Italy

by George Macaulay Trevelyan

Excerpt:

Albssandro Manzoni.1

'Oh days of our country's ransoming! Unhappy for ever shall he be who shall like a stranger hear of it from afar, from the lips of others; who when he tells the tale to his children on a time, must say sighing, " I was not there ;" who shall not have hailed on that day of days our holy, conquering banner.'

A New nation cannot be made solely by the skill of a great statesman playing on the mutual jealousies of Foreign Powers. The making of nations requires the self-sacrifice of thousands of obscure men and women who care more for the idea of their country than for their own comfort or interest, their own lives or the lives of those whom they love. Cavour, with the help of England's attitude of 'non-intervention,' could, at best, only keep the ring while the revolutionaries struck down the Neapolitan Kingdom. It remained to be seen whether volunteers would go out in sufficient numbers to enable Garibaldi to defeat the 100,000 Bourbon troops

1 From Manzoni's Ode ' Marzo, 1821,' dedicated ' To the illustrious memory of Theodore Koerner, poet and soldier of German independence, killed at Leipaig, 1813. A name dear to all the peoples who fight to defend or to recover a fatherland.' This ode was published by Manzoni first in 1848, and again in 1860. The verse printed above was frequently quoted by Italians in reference to 1860.

who, even after the fall of Palermo, refused to embrace the national cause. The Italian revolution had produced martyrs by the hundred; could it now produce effective soldiers by the thousand? The active patriots came from among all classes of the town population, and from the leaders of the rural districts, but the common peasantry of the North, though most of them had now been converted to the National cause, did not cross the sea to join Garibaldi. A severe strain was therefore put on the cities of North Italy, not at that date as wealthy as they have since become, to supply at a few weeks' notice, out of the civil population, a complete army of volunteers. The strain was the more severe because so large a portion of the patriotic youth of the Peninsula had already enlisted in the regular army of Piedmont, which, so long as Garibaldi was on the warpath, was urgently required for home defence against a possible attack from Austria. Yet within three months of the capture of Palermo more than 20,000 volunteers were shipped off south from Genoa and Leghorn.1

The great majority of these Northerners proved in the battle of the Volturno that they could fight bravely. And it is reasonable to suppose that nine-tenths of them went to the war mainly from patriotic motives, for there was no compulsion to enlist except public opinion, no reward except mental satisfaction. The pay offered was insufficient to supply their daily needs on a campaign where the plunder even of food was punished by death, and where the improvised commissariat was always insufficient, and often non-existent. When Garibaldi at Palermo heard complaints of the irregularity of the pay, he said to Bandi: 'What do you want with pay? When a patriot has eaten his bowl of soup and when the affairs of the country are going well, what more can any one want?' However, he agreed to fix a scale, and thenceforward officers received two francs a day, and privates one franc or less. The Intendant General calculated two

1 See Appendix B, below. Expeditions of Volunteers who joined Garibaldi.

SPIRIT OF THE NORTHERN VOLUNTEERS 33

francs per man as the average for pay and maintenance combined, including both officers and privates in the estimate.1

Neither was there any prospect that at the end of the war the spoils would be divided among the actual victors. For the South was to be liberated, not conquered; and furthermore the Garibaldini well knew that they were fighting to win a kingdom for a Royal Government suspicious of them if not of their leader, and fully equipped with place-hunters of its own. Financially, far more was given up than was gained by the Garibaldino— though exceptions could be named. Physically, the campaign was no holiday; in the mountains of Sicily and Calabria these town-bred youths of an unathletic community were exposed to the utmost hardships of hunger and thirst, heat, cold, and rain, and to the thousand petty miseries of campaigning in a half-barbarous country, all of which, as privileges of a patriot's life, the old South-American guerilla expected his followers to enjoy as much as he did himself. All this they endured, and the tortures of wounds treated in illprovided field hospitals, with an uncomplaining courage which aroused the wonder of their British companions in arms.


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