Priests look backward, not forward. They think that there were once men better and wiser than those who now live, therefore priests distrust the living and insist that we shall be governed by the dead. I believe this is an error, and hence I set myself against the Church and insist that men shall have the right to work out their lives in their own way, always allowing to others the right to work out their lives in their own way, too.--Garibaldi
The writer who tells the simple facts in the life of Garibaldi lays
himself open to the charge of evolving melodrama, wild and riotous.
Garibaldi's personal friends and admirers always referred to him in
such words as these: patriot, savior, father-noble, generous, pure-
hearted, unselfish, devoted, philanthropic.
They transferred the infallibility of Pope Pius the Ninth to his
The Pope was not much given to rhetorical lyddite, so when the name of
Garibaldi was mentioned he simply stopped his ears and hissed. He
acknowledged that in all the bright lexicon of words there was not a
symbol strong enough to express his contempt for Joseph Garibaldi.
The actual fact was that Pio Nono, for whom Garibaldi named his
favorite donkey, had very much in common with Garibaldi. Had they met
as strangers on sea or plain, they would have delighted in each
other's society. They were both kind, courteous, considerate, highly
intelligent men. They were lovers of their kind.
Garibaldi's passion was to benefit men by giving them freedom. The
Pope's prayer was to benefit men by giving them religion.
But freedom without responsibility leads to license, and license
unrestrained means slavery, and religion not safeguarded by freedom is
superstition; and what is superstition but slavery?
Before Garibaldi was twenty he began to read Mazzini, whom Margaret
Fuller called the Emerson of Italy--and Margaret Fuller knew both
Emerson and Mazzini intimately and well. She lived for one and died
for the other.
Mazzini, the delicate, the esthetic, the spiritual, the subtle, was a
candle whose beams burned bright for all Italy. His dream of a free
and united Italy caught Garibaldi, the rugged, daring son of the sea,
and fired his heart. Mazzini was a thinker; Garibaldi a fighter.
Italy had twice been queen of the world: first, when Julius Caesar
ushered in an age of light; and second, when Columbus, child of Genoa,
the same city that mothered Mazzini, sailed the seas. The first
Italian Renaissance we call the Age of Augustus; the second, the Age
The third great tidal wave of reason, Garibaldi said, would live as
the Age of Mazzini.
But there be those in Italy now, wise and influential, who call it the
Age of Garibaldi.
Without Mazzini, there would have been no Garibaldi. Italy would today
probably be where she was when these young men conceived their
patriotic dream: the Pope supreme temporal ruler of Rome, and the rest
of Italy divided up into a dozen cringing provinces, each presided
over by a princeling, who, on favor of some patron, Austria, Germany
or France, the favor duly viseed by the Pope, was allowed to call
himself king. The final authority of the Pope was undisputed in things
both temporal and spiritual, and he who questioned or expressed his
doubts was guilty of two crimes: heresy and treason, the two
artificial papier-mache offenses which made the Dark Ages very dark.
The hope of Mazzini was to make Italy a republic. But the time was not
yet ripe. They ousted the Pope, but Fate compromised with Destiny, and
Victor Emmanuel, a republican monarchist from Sicily, was made king in
name, but with a safety-brake in way of a ministry that could annul
And so Mazzini and Garibaldi, each individually a failure, won--
although success came not in the way they expected, nor was it their
That bold and magnificent equestrian statue of Garibaldi crowns the
heights of Rome, looking down upon the Eternal City; the dust of
Mazzini rests in a village churchyard; but both live in the hearts of
humanity as men who gave their lives to make men free.
* * * * *
Garibaldi was born in the city of Nice in Eighteen Hundred Seven,
being one of the advance-guard of a brigade of genius, for great men
come in groups. His parents were poor, and being well under the heel
of the priest, were only fairly honest. The father was a waterman who
plied the Riviera in a leaky schooner--poling, rowing, or sailing, as
Providence provided. Once the good man was returning home after a
cruise where ill luck was at the helm. The priest had blessed him when
he started, and would be on hand when he came back to receive his
share of the loot, for business was then, and is yet, in Italy, a kind
of legalized freebooting. Then it was that the honest fisherman lapsed
and lifted the nets of another between the dawn and the day.
The son, then only twelve years of age, scorned the act and declared
he would steal a ship or nothing. The boy was duly punished in the
interests of piety and also to relieve the pent-up emotions of the
The heroic spirit of Garibaldi was not a legacy from either his father
or his mother. However, they dowered him with health and great bodily
strength, and this physical superiority had much, no doubt, to do in
shaping his life's course.
Men fall victims to their facility. Musicians, for instance, often
become intoxicated by their own sweet sounds, and are lured on to
unseemliness, making much discord in life's symphony.
The late-lamented Brann had a felicity and a facility in the use of
words that finally cost him his life. Men with pistol facility and
word felicity die by the pistol. The brain of the prizefighter does
not convolve: he relies more on his "jabs" than on thoughts that burn
--and those who live by the hammer die by the hammer.
There is no doubt that Garibaldi's romantic career in a lifelong fight
for freedom was born of a liking for the fray, to express it bluntly,
with freedom as a convenient excuse. This sounds unkind, but it is
not. Garibaldi loved peace so much that he was willing to fight for it
While yet a youth he became captain of his father's craft, and
Garibaldi Senior took the wheel and obeyed orders.
Then we hear that Garibaldi was an expert swimmer, a rather unusual
accomplishment for a sailor. He was always on the lookout for an
opportunity to dive overboard, disrobing in the air, and rescuing the
perishing. There is even a legend of his having saved a washer-woman
from drowning when he was but eight years old. A captious critic has
remarked that probably the old lady fell into her washtub. Thereupon,
a kinsman of the great man comes forward to give the facts, which are
that the woman was doing laundry-work by the riverside, and stooping
over, fell into the damp and was rescued by the boy. But it also seems
on the word of Garibaldi himself that the woman would not have fallen
in had not the boy suddenly appeared behind her playing bear, thus
bringing about the catastrophe which he averted.
When Garibaldi was twenty-one he was in command of a small schooner
bound for the Black Sea on a trading expedition. The intent of the
expedition was twofold: to sell the merchandise which the ship
carried, and also if possible to capture certain bands of pirates that
were infesting the dank, dark waters. It is perhaps quite needless to
say that pirates are often men who are engaged in the laudable
undertaking of protecting the shipping from pirates, just as admission
to the bar is a sort of commercial letter of marque and reprisal.
That Garibaldi was a pirate, only his enemies said. But anyway,
Garibaldi and a band of twenty boys, all younger than himself, sailed
away to victory or to death.
It proved to be neither; for they were captured by pirates, who took
their arms, provisions, merchandise, and even their compasses and
clothing, leaving only their ship and the sky overhead and the water
Garibaldi took the capture as coolly as did Caesar under similar
conditions, and talked poetry and philosophy with the pirates, and the
gentlemen gave back a few provisions, with apologies and regrets for
having troubled so fine a gentleman.
The next day, our friends, innocent of clothing, fell in with an
English ship that ministered to their wants. Captain Taylor of the
English ship was so impressed with the young captain that he wrote
home about him, describing his courtesy, intelligence, and poetic
fervor, all made manifest as Garibaldi stood on the deck of his
schooner clad only in a doormat.
At this time Garibaldi had read the history of his country; in
imagination he saw the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was
Rome. And better still, he had figured out in his own mind why sleep
and death, and moth and dust, and rust and ruin had settled down upon
the race, and mankind had endured a thousand years of theological
He knew that save in freedom alone does the intellect flower and
blossom; that joy is the legal tender of the soul; that only through
liberty can men progress and grow; and that great and beautiful work
can be done only by a free and happy people.
The torch that fired his intellect was Mazzini, who was publishing a
little periodical of protest that voiced what its editor felt, who
wrote right out of his heart, and whose cry was, "Freedom and United
Italy--an Italy free from the rule of the Pope."
Mazzini, the son of a doctor, expressed what many thought and felt,
but dare not say. He had stated in no mincing phrase that the rule of
the priest meant mental subjugation and a gradual, creeping, insidious
return of the Dark Ages. He printed it on slips of paper and passed
them out upon the street when but a youth in the High School.
Thereupon, Mazzini had been duly cautioned, and on repeating his
offense his little folder of ideas was suppressed, and the precious
fonts and presses thrown into the sea with the street-sweepings of the
The next month Mazzini's magazine appeared just the same, printed by
night at the office of a friend, and then its author was safely placed
behind prison-bars. The authorities dare not kill him--besides, what
is the use?--but they proposed to teach him a wholesome lesson and
break his fiery spirit if possible, this being the policy that had
continued from the time of Socrates. To hold truth secure by putting
down the man of initiation--the man of insight who could see a better
condition--all who were filled with a discontent that challenged the
perfection of the present order--this to the many meant safety; the
men in power simply taking their cue from the rabble--"Away with him!"
And Garibaldi hearing of the trouble that had come to Mazzini, whom he
admired but had not yet met, hastened home and threw himself into the
cause. He got together a little band of foolish youths, and planned a
He enlisted as a sailor on board the "Eurydice," a government craft,
intending to revolt, steal the ship and go to the rescue of Mazzini.
But about this time Mazzini was released with a warning, it being
thought that a dreamy, penniless lawyer's clerk could not make much
Mazzini and Garibaldi were totally different in their methods and
habits of thought. Garibaldi reverenced Mazzini and called him master,
and Mazzini admired the daring of Garibaldi, and no doubt was
influenced and encouraged by him to continue sending out his little
leaflets of liberty, which were secretly printed and circulated, read
and reread, and passed along. Examined by us now, they seem innocent
indeed, as harmless as pages lifted from Emerson's essay on "Nature,"
but actually they were the dynamite that was to rend the rocks of
Italy's Gibraltar of orthodoxy.
Matters were now culminating fast. Mazzini and Garibaldi were
organizing secret bands of "Young Italy." The arrangement was to
secure and hold a certain point on the Swiss frontier as headquarters,
and from there make open war upon Austria and the Pope. Like John
Brown, these zealous revolutionaries felt sure that, at the call to
arms, the subjugated provinces would cast off their shackles and join
hands with the liberators. They did not realize that slavery is a
condition of mind, and that as a class slaves are quite happy in their
serfdom, being as unaware of their true condition as are those caught
in the coils of superstition. No one sees the coils but the free man
on the outside. The beauty of freedom's fight is that it frees the
The secret societies known as "Young Italy" failed in their secrecy.
No secrets can be kept except for a day. Spies were duly initiated,
and the report of the daily doings was handed in to the Pope and his
council. To capture Garibaldi and Mazzini and hang them would have
been easy; but to do this might bring about the very storm so much
feared. So the word was passed that the conspirators were to be
arrested; a price was placed upon their heads, and an opportunity was
given them to escape.
Mazzini traveled leisurely through France, which offered him safe
passage to London. Garibaldi remained on the border, and with a little
band engaged in joyous guerrilla warfare, hoping for a general revolt.
The time was not yet ripe, and nothing he could then do would gather
up the scattered forces of freedom and crystallize them.
Fighting was then going on in South America--when are they not
fighting in South America?--and Garibaldi thought he saw an
opportunity to strike a blow for freedom, and so he sailed away for
the equator, filled with a passion for freedom, desiring only to give
himself for the benefit of humanity. Yet his heart was with "Young
Italy," and that the time would come when he would return and break
the fetters that the Pope had forged for the minds of men, he always
knew and prophesied. Such was the firm purpose and unwavering faith of
* * * * *
Arriving in South America, Garibaldi took time to investigate
conditions. Then he offered his services to Don Gonzales, who had set
up a republic on a side street, and was fighting the power of the
Emperor of Brazil.
Don Gonzales was delighted with Garibaldi--Garibaldi won every one he
desired to win. He had the rare quality which we call "personal
Garibaldi was fitted out with a ship which he manned with sixteen of
his countrymen--fighters of his own selection, men of his own intrepid
spirit. This crew constituted the navy of the new republic, and
Garibaldi was given the title, "Secretary of the Navy." He called his
ship the "Mazzini," writing to the prophet and patriot in London for
his blessing; but without waiting for it sailed away to victory. The
first bout with the enemy secured them a prize in the way of a ship
four times the size of their own, well provisioned and carrying one
hundred men. Garibaldi at once scuttled his own craft, ran up his flag
on board the prize, and calling all hands on deck solemnly christened
her the "Mazzini," in loving token of the ship just sent to Davy
Jones' locker. Then the question arose, What should be done with the
Garibaldi gave them their choice of being sent ashore in safety, with
a week's provisions and their side-arms, or re-enlisting under his own
glorious banner. The men without parley, one and all cried, "We are
yours to do with as you will!" Emerson says, "The work of eloquence is
to change the opinions of a lifetime in twenty minutes." This being
true, Garibaldi must have been eloquent, and eloquence is personality.
The Corsican, in his Little Corporal's uniform, walked out before the
legions sent to capture him, and before he had uttered a word, they
cried, "Command us!" and threw down their arms.
The power of Garibaldi over men was superb. He won through the
devotion of his soldiers. When he struck he hit quick and hard, and
then he made his victory secure by magnanimity toward the defeated. It
was his policy never to put prisoners in irons, or disgrace or
humiliate them. He banished hate from their hearts by saying: "You are
brave fighters! You are after my own heart. I need you!"
Julius Caesar had a deal of this same temperament, and if the sober,
serious, spiritual and priestly quality of Mazzini could have been
fused with the fighting spirit of Garibaldi we would have had the
Julian soul once more with us. Possibly Rome is not yet dead,
Shakespeare to the contrary notwithstanding.
* * * * *
Garibaldi and his gallant crew on board the "Mazzini" kept the enemy
speculating. On one occasion when pursued, Garibaldi ran his ship up a
narrow bay, one of the winding mouths of the Amazon. The two ships in
pursuit were sure they had him in a trap and followed fast, intending
to drive him so far inland that when the tide turned he would be held
fast on the rocks, and then they could land a force, as they had five
times as many men as he, and shoot his ship full of holes at their
leisure from the shore. But Garibaldi was a sailor, and he had the
true pilot's intuition for finding the channel. Suddenly, as the
pursuing ships rounded a bend, from the height of a commanding
precipice a deadly stream of shot and shell was poured down through
the defenseless decks. And the gunners on the ships could not elevate
their cannon to get the range. Garibaldi had taken his best cannon
from his ship and masked this battery on shore. For two months he had
worked to lure the enemy to their ruin. The scheme worked.
On shore he was equally fertile in resource, and his plan of getting
his troops in the neighborhood of the enemy, and lighting long lines
of campfires so as to mislead as to the number of his troops, was with
him a common form of strategy. Then lo! as his campfires burned
brightly, he would circle the foe and stampede them by simultaneous
attacks on both flanks, making a mob of what twenty minutes before was
He also had a way of retreating before the enemy, and at last making a
seemingly stubborn resistance on some friendly ridge or hilltop. The
enemy would then pause, re-form and charge. But a thousand yards
before the hilltop would be reached, Garibaldi's men, secreted in
sunken roadways or the dry beds of waterways, would rise like
sprouting dragons' teeth and scatter their rain of death. His men wore
bright red shirts so as to protect themselves from the danger of being
shot by their own comrades. Later, the appearance of the red shirt
struck terror to the foe. In Italy now, when you see a red-shirted
brigade, do not imagine it is a volunteer fire-company out for a
holiday--it is merely a company of militia called "The Garibaldians."
Garibaldi became a sort of superstition in South America. His
appearance on land or sea, at seemingly the same time, his sudden
sallies and miraculous disappearances, carried out the idea that he
was the Devil incarnate. The armies sent to capture him came home with
the report, "We would have killed or captured him, but alas, God
ordained that he should not be found!"
Fighting along the shore with simply a few ships, by co-operating with
the land forces, and having that scouted and maligned thing, "horse
marines," at his quick command, he wore the enemy to a frazzle. His
tactics were those of Quintus Fabius, who supplied us our word
"Fabian"--opportunist. Fabius fought the combined hosts of Hannibal
for ten years, as one to five, and was never captured and never
defeated. When peace was declared he dictated his own terms, and was
given royal honors when he rode through the streets of Rome at the
head of his tattered troops, just as Christian DeWet, the valiant
Boer, was tendered an ovation when he visited London, which he had
first festooned with crape.
* * * * *
Garibaldi was operating in a horse country, a country, by the way, in
physical features, not unlike that over which DeWet occasionally rode
at the rate of one hundred miles from sunset to day-dawn. Garibaldi,
although a sailor born, did not ride a horse with face toward the
horse's tail, as sailormen are said to do in one of Kipling's merry
tales. However, he might have done so, for he was a most daring rider,
and in South America filled in the time with many excursions ashore,
where he chose his companions from the ship by lot, there always being
a great desire among the men to follow close to their beloved leader.
He insisted that all of his men should be horsemen as well as
soldiers, for no one could tell when they might have to abandon their
ships and take to the land.
These wild, free excursions into the sparsely settled interior were
not fraught with much danger, for the plainsmen were mostly with the
republic, and Garibaldi took great pains to treat with the citizen's
family. For instance, although cattle were plentiful and of little
value, when he wanted fresh meat he always asked for it. The same with
horses. "Treat citizens as friends, informing them that you come to
protect, not to destroy," was his injunction.
One valuable possession Garibaldi secured in Brazil, however, was
taken without legal permission. It seems Garibaldi on one of his
journeys inland had halted with six of his band for dinner at the
house of a planter and ranchman. The place was fair to look upon, the
house situated in a clump of trees that lined the bank of a stream.
Near at hand were orange-groves and great banks of azaleas in full
bloom. On the hillside were grapes that grew in purple clusters, which
made poor Garibaldi think of his far-off Italy, the home from which he
was exiled, and to which return meant death.
Garibaldi reined into the yard and sat hatless on his horse, looking
at this scene of peace, prosperity, and gentle, smiling beauty. A
sense of loneliness swept over him. He thought of himself as a
homeless outcast, without love, friendless, fighting an eternal fight
for people whom he did not know, and very few of whom indeed knew him
even by name.
A barking of the dogs brought several servants to the door. On seeing
the red-shirted soldiers, their rifles across the pommels of their
saddles, the servants hastily ran back and proceeded to bar the doors
and windows. Garibaldi smiled wearily and was inwardly debating
whether he would try to show the inmates of the house that he was a
friend or ride away.
Just then the door opened and a woman came out on the veranda. She was
a young woman, not over twenty--dark, slight, handsome and
intelligent. She looked at Garibaldi, and her self-possession made the
invincible fighter blush to the roots of his long yellow hair and
tawny beard. She was not afraid. She walked down the steps, and in a
pleasant voice said, "You are Garibaldi." And Garibaldi was on the
point of denying it, for he had not heard a woman's voice in four
months, and was all unnerved. His tongue refused to do its bidding,
and he only bowed, and then tried to apologize for his intrusion.
"You are Garibaldi, and if you insist on remaining to dinner, I will
prepare the meal for you--I can do nothing else."
She spoke in Spanish, and as Garibaldi replied, he was mindful that
his Castilian was terribly broken. Then he spoke in Italian, and when
she answered in very broken Latin, they both smiled. They were even.
When he learned that her husband was not at home, he refused to enter
the house, but sat on the veranda, and there the lady served him and
his companions with her own fair hands, as the servants stood by and
looked on perplexed. Garibaldi did not eat much--his appetite had
vanished. He followed the frail and beautiful young woman furtively
with his eyes as she moved back and forth heaping the plates of his
hungry troopers. He thought she looked sad and preoccupied.
Garibaldi tried to speak, but his Spanish had suddenly taken wing. But
when the lady entered the house and returned with one of Mazzini's
little pamphlets on liberty, he started and then almost sobbed as he
read the well-remembered words, "Do that which is right, and fear no
man, for man was made to be free."
He saw that the pamphlet was one of the master's earliest productions,
and how it should have preceded him four thousand miles he could only
guess, and the lady's command of Italian was not sufficient to
explain. But in his joy he held out his hand to her, and she responded
to his grasp. There was an understanding. They were both lovers of
Garibaldi felt that he must not remain--he must hasten away ere he
said or did something foolish. "You must not come back, my husband is
a royalist," said the lady, "and he will be greatly displeased when he
knows you have been here. But you were hungry and I have fed you--now
good-by." She held out her hand and then hastily broke away before the
soldier could take it. Garibaldi mounted his horse, and followed by
the troopers rode slowly down the bed of the stream, and as they
disappeared into the thicket of azaleas, Garibaldi looked back. The
lady was standing on the veranda leaning against a pillar. She held up
the Mazzini pamphlet. Garibaldi removed his hat.
* * * * *
Garibaldi was on a tour of inspection, getting a good idea of the
coast-line, and patriotism and duty should have kept him steadily on
But something else was tugging at his heart. He rode ten miles, halted
and pitched camp. Early the next morning he rode back alone, leaving
his rifle behind, but keeping his pistols in his belt. He wanted to
see the husband of the beautiful young lady. The man must be a pretty
good kind of man--a royalist by birth probably, but if he could be
rightly informed might become a friend of the cause.
When Garibaldi reached the house, the lady was on the veranda--she
seemed to be expecting him. She was sad, pale, serious, and dressed in
blue. She called her husband out and introduced him, and he and
Garibaldi shook hands. Garibaldi tried to talk with him about Mazzini,
but as near as Garibaldi could guess the rancher had never heard the
The man was fully twenty years older than his wife, and Garibaldi
guessed, from his looks, that his wealth was an inheritance, not an
accumulation. A little further talk and the facts developed as
Garibaldi had suspected--the man was a degenerate scion of Spanish
aristocracy. He seemed too stupid or too indifferent to know who his
visitor was, or what he stood for. He brought out strong drink and
then suggested cards as a diversion.
Garibaldi did not like the looks of the man, and courteously declined
his pasteboard suggestions. All the time the young woman stood a
little way off and looked wistfully at the red-shirted soldier. Her
lips moved in pantomime--she was trying to say something to him.
Garibaldi talked about nothing, laughed aloud, and requested his host
to mix him a drink. While the man was busy at the sideboard, Garibaldi
moved carelessly toward the woman and caught her whispered words, "Do
not drink--go at once--he has sent for help--the place will be
surrounded in half an hour--go, I implore you!"
And all the time Garibaldi talked garrulously and sauntered around the
room. He took up the glass the man handed him, and raising it to his
lips, did not drink--but tossed the contents full into the face of the
person who had prepared the mixture. The man coughed, sputtered, swore
and Garibaldi backed to the door, one hand on a pistol at his belt. He
reached the veranda and looked for his horse. The horse was gone!
Garibaldi sprang back into the house, covering the royalist with his
pistol. "My horse, or you die--order my horse brought to the door!"
The man protested, begged, swore he knew nothing about the horse.
"I'll fetch your horse!" called the woman, and running around the
house brought the horse from a thicket, where it had evidently been
led by some servant. Again Garibaldi backed out of the house,
requesting the man to follow, which he obediently did at a distance of
five paces, his hands high in the air, as if in blessing. With pistol
still in hand Garibaldi mounted the horse, and as he did so the little
lady moaned, "He may kill me for this, but I would do it again--for
you!" Garibaldi kicked his right foot out of the stirrup, and held out
his hand. The lady without the slightest hesitation placed her foot in
the empty stirrup and leaped lightly up behind. As she did so
Garibaldi fired two shots well over the head of the paralyzed husband
of his late wife, and gave his horse the spurs. In a minute horse and
riders, two, were more than a quarter of a mile away over the plain,
the lady seated safely behind, her arms gently but surely enfolding
the red shirt. As they passed over a ridge they looked back, and there
stood the degenerate scion of royalty, his hands high above his head.
He had forgotten to take them down.
* * * * *
But should any prosaic reader imagine that this little story is too
melodramatic to be true, I refer him to the monograph, "Garibaldi the
Patriot," by Alexandre Dumas, who got his data from the record written
by Garibaldi, himself. Moreover, Anita, for it was she, told the tale
to Madame Brabante, who in turn gave the facts to Margaret Fuller
We do not know Anita's last name. When she placed her foot in the
stirrup of Garibaldi's saddle, she gave herself to him, body, mind and
spirit, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, through evil
and good report, forever. By that act she left the past behind: even
the name "Anita" was a name that Garibaldi gave her, and if he ever
knew the story of her life before they met, he never thought it worth
while to mention it. Probably he did not care--life for both of them
really dated from the day they met. He was thirty-one, she was twenty-
When Garibaldi rode into camp, with the lady on the crupper, the six
red-shirted ones in waiting were not surprised. They were never
surprised at anything their master did. They believed in him as they
believed in God--only more so. And so they asked no questions--for
Garibaldi was one of the men that common men never interrogated.
"Break camp!" was the order, and in ten minutes they were on the
march, two men trailing a mile behind as a rear-guard. At midnight
they were safely aboard the good ship "Mazzini."
Anita proved herself a worthy mate for Garibaldi. She was the first
woman to wear a Garibaldi waist, although for the most part she wore
men's clothes, with two pistols in her belt and a rifle in her hands,
and wherever Joseph went, there went Anita. She was his servant, his
slave, his comrade, his wife. Read his autobiography and you will find
how lasting, loyal and tender his devotion was toward her. He was a
fatalist--a man without fear--and many times when surrounded by an
overwhelming foe, he simply bided his time and fought his way through
to safety. "When other men are ready to surrender, I hold fast," he
said. When once cut off by four soldiers of the enemy, and they
approached with loaded rifles and bayonets fixed, he drew his sword
and shouted, "I am Garibaldi--you are my prisoners!" and down went the
At another time he and Anita were caught by a band of forty troopers
in a log cabin in a clearing. They flung open the door, and standing,
one on each side, showed only the long glittering point of a spear
across the doorway. The enemy demanded a parley, but finally, not
knowing the number of persons inside, and realizing that a charge
meant death for two of the company, they withdrew. Silence and the
unknown are the only things really terrible.
And so Joseph and Anita lived and loved and fought, and incidentally
studied the few books which they possessed, and at odd times wrote
poetry. A year after that first ride on the back of the horse that
carried double, a son was born to them. A contemporary tells of seeing
Anita riding horseback, the chubby babe carried like a papoose,
looking out wonderingly at the world, which for him was just six
months old. In three years this baby boy was riding behind his mother
on the crupper, and another baby had come to do the papoose act.
So passed eight years of adventure by land and sea, in wood and vale,
on mountain and plain. Garibaldi had given Brazil all the freedom she
deserved--all she knew how to use. He was crowned as "The Hero of
Montevideo," and could have taken a place high in the councils of the
State. But across the sea he heard the rumble of battle going on in
his beloved fatherland, and the dream of a United Italy was still
vivid in his mind, and of course, vivid, too, in the mind of Anita. So
they sailed away, taking with them a hundred of their loyal, loving
men in the red shirts, who refused to be left behind. Arriving in
Italy, Garibaldi went at once to the home of his mother, who had
mourned him as lost and now received him as one risen from the dead.
Anita and the children appealed to the good woman, and her heart went
out to them, as if, indeed, they were all her own, loved into life.
When all at once, remembering her son's indifference for the Church,
she asked when and where they were married, Joseph looked at Anita,
and Anita looked at Joseph, and then they acknowledged that they had
only been married by a sailor, who had said the ceremony as he
remembered it, adding, "And may God have mercy on your souls." Hastily
the mother packed them off to a priest, who administered the right of
extreme marital unction, and charged them double fee on account of
their carelessness. They paid the fee, laughing inwardly, but glad to
relieve the mother of her qualms.
The children were left in the care of the grandmother, and Joseph and
Anita went forth to enlist under the banner of Charles Albert of
Piedmont and make war on superstition and the Pope.
* * * * *
Charles Albert had been a staunch supporter of the very conditions
against which the striplings, Joseph Mazzini and Joseph Garibaldi, had
made war twenty years previous. But nations, like men, sometimes have
experiences that make them grow by throes and throbs, by leaps and
bounds. The writings of Mazzini had been constantly distributed and
circulated, and the fact that they were tabued by the government added
to the joys of the illicit. A well-defined wave of republicanism swept
the land. Those sensitive to ideas awoke, like lilacs sensitive to the
breath of May.
King Charles Albert, of all the Italian kinglets, alone guessed the
temper of his people, and issued to them a constitution with the right
of franchise. This meant war upon the Austrian protectorate and the
Volunteers from the other provinces flocked to the standard of
Piedmont. And about this time it was that Garibaldi and Anita offered
their services to the insurgent army. Charles Albert feared his old-
time foe, for Garibaldi was of a nature that detested compromise, and
the Piedmontese could not understand how he was willing to fight under
the banner of a king, even a king who had forsworn tyranny and reform.
But other provinces were seceding, and erelong Joseph Garibaldi found
himself at the head of a thousand Neapolitans, all clad in red shirts,
well armed, carrying banners upon which were sentiments like these:
"Man was made to be free!" "Down with priest and Pope!" and "Let us
The reformer paints things with a broom: exaggeration indeed is a
necessary part of his equipment. Garibaldi could not understand that
Italy was not ripe for a simple religion of love for wife, child and
neighbor, paying one's debts, and earning one's daily bread by honest
toil. He could not appreciate that the many really did not care for
either political or mental freedom, much preferring mendicancy to
work, and quite willing to delegate their thinking to a college of
cardinals. And so he waged his earnest fight, with a faith as full and
complete as the faith that actuated Old John Brown, whose soul goes
In Eighteen Hundred Forty-nine, some of the provinces had capitulated
and joined forces with France and Austria, the insurgent leaders
having been promised places in the excise--the compromise hastened no
doubt by cold and hunger. Garibaldi's own force was much reduced and
he took to the mountains, abandoning his cavalry equipment. Orders
were out that he, or any of his band, caught should be shot, without
trial, by fours in presence of their companions and the army. Thirty
of his men and four of his best officers had been so executed.
He and Anita were surrounded and had taken refuge in a cornfield.
Anita was wounded and delirious with thirst and fever. A Garibaldian
had volunteered to go for water across an open field. Garibaldi
watched the man and saw him shot down by French soldiers in ambush. He
remained, knowing the enemy would soon come out of hiding to rob the
dead. Garibaldi waited close beside the body of his dead companion,
and killed with his own hands the man who had done the deed.
He got the water and carried it back to Anita in the cornfield. But
she now had no need of it--she was dead. Garibaldi remained by the
body until nightfall, and then carried it to the house of a peasant
nearby. He made the peasant woman understand that the dead was a
woman, a mother, like herself, and must be given decent burial--the
The torches of the enemy could be seen near at hand, trailing
Garibaldi from the cornfield to the house. He covered the beloved form
with his scarf, and giving the peasant woman his purse, hurried forth
barely in time to elude the pursuers. He made his way alone to the
seashore and found refuge in Venice.
There was a price upon his head, but still there were many throughout
Italy from Milan to Sicily who spoke of him as patriot and savior.
As a diplomatic move Rome relented, and Garibaldi was allowed to move
to Caprera, a rocky island ten miles from the coast. Here he lived
with his mother and children, writing, studying, farming; lived as
Victor Hugo lived at Guernsey, only without the wealth, but in touch
with Mazzini, exiled in London.
In Eighteen Hundred Fifty-three, Garibaldi came to New York and
remained nearly two years. He went into business under an assumed name
and accumulated two thousand dollars, so the little business must have
In Eighteen Hundred Fifty-four Naples was again in revolt, and
Garibaldi heard the trumpets of battle from afar. He returned to
Italy, and with his two thousand dollars bought the Island of Caprera,
that his children might be insured a home, and also, possibly, to
convince the government at Rome that he had come to stay.
Twice he left his beloved Caprera to work out his great dream of a
United Italy. He fought with troops that had no commissary; battled
with superstition; and saw his name belittled by those he sought to
serve. Finally he entered Naples at the head of an army and was
proclaimed Dictator. But statesmanship is business; and business is to
organize and discipline, and use the forces of monotonous peace.
Garibaldi expected too much: he wanted to see the Church uprooted, the
princes sent on their way, and the people supreme. This was not to be.
He did, however, live to see the Pope relinquish his temporal power,
and a United Italy, but with Victor Emmanuel, son of Charles Albert,
as king. The people still wanted a king, and they wanted their Church,
even though an emasculated one.
In Eighteen Hundred Seventy, Garibaldi and his son, the firstborn of
Anita, offered their services to Gambetta and enlisted with France to
fight against Germany. And yet Garibaldi had nothing against Germany,
and had fought France in many a tedious campaign, but he thought that
France now stood opposed to papal power, while Germany sympathized
After the war Garibaldi was elected to the Italian Parliament, and
performed, at least, one good piece of work: he succeeded in getting
an appropriation to erect a statue of Bruno upon the exact spot where
this lover of truth and right was burned alive, by order of the Pope,
for teaching that the earth revolved.
In September, Nineteen Hundred Four, the World's Free-Thought
Convention was held in Rome, and a committee was appointed to decorate
the statue of Bruno and hold at its base a memorial meeting. The
principal address was by Ernst Haeckel. In the course of his remarks
We meet in the Eternal City in the cause of liberty and the cause of
truth. We need to express, each in his own way, unfettered and
unvexed by coercion and fear of suppression, the things we believe
are right and just and beautiful, and should be said. We know but
little, but in this we are agreed--that there is no final, arbitrary
and dogmatic truth. Truth is a point of view; as we know more and
comprehend more, we will express more. Man has today freedom to
breathe, freedom to study, freedom to grow, such as he never before
had since time began. Man has today more faith than he ever had
before--more faith in himself, more faith in his fellows. Thinking,
like the physical act of walking, is a matter of faith. For the
privilege of being here today, in this place, expressing what we
think, we are under special obligations to one man, and the entire
world of progress is under obligation to this man--and that man is
Garibaldi passed peacefully away at his beloved Caprera in Eighteen
Hundred Eighty-two, aged seventy-five, gently ministered to by his
children and grandchildren. The insurance-company that might have
insured his life when he was twenty would have made money on the
transaction regardless of rate. Yet he was the hero of sixty-seven
battles on land and sea, and engaged in more than two hundred personal
encounters, where rifles, pistols, stilettos, swords or cudgels played
their part. Behold the irony of Fate!
No man was ever more detested, hated, feared--no man was ever better
loved. That he was a sternly honest, sincere man, singularly pure in
motive and abstemious in habit, even his bitterest enemies do not
dispute. If Savonarola was God-intoxicated, Garibaldi was freedom-
He refused bribes, declined honors, put aside titles, and died as
penniless as he was born, and as he had lived. His life was
consecrated to one thing--Liberty.