1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Garibaldi, Giuseppe
GARIBALDI, GIUSEPPE (1807-1882), Italian patriot, was born at Nice on the 4th of July 1807. As a youth he fled from home to escape a clerical education, but afterwards joined his father in the coasting trade. After joining the "Giovine Italia" he entered the Sardinian navy, and, with a number of companions on board the frigate "Euridice," plotted to seize the vessel and occupy the arsenal of Genoa at the moment when Mazzini's Savoy expedition should enter Piedmont. The plot being discovered, Garibaldi fled, but was condemned to death by default on the 3rd of June 1834. Escaping to South America in 1836, he was given letters of marque by the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which had revolted against Brazil. After a series of victorious engagements he was taken prisoner and subjected to severe torture, which dislocated his limbs. Regaining liberty, he renewed the war against Brazil, and took Porto Allegro. During the campaign he met his wife, Anita, who became his inseparable companion and mother of three children, Anita, Ricciotti and Menotti. Passing into the service of Uruguay, he was sent to Corrientes with a small flotilla to oppose Rosas's forces, but was overtaken by Admiral Brown, against whose fleet he fought for three days. When his ammunition was exhausted he burned his ships and escaped. Returning to Montevideo, he formed the Italian Legion, with which he won the battles of Cerro and Sant'Antonio in the spring of 1847, and assured the freedom of Uruguay. Refusing all honours and recompense, he prepared to return to Italy upon receiving news of the incipient revolutionary movement. In October 1847 he wrote to Pius IX., offering his services to the Church, whose cause he for a moment believed to be that of national liberty.
Landing at Nice on the 24th of June 1848, he placed his sword at the disposal of Charles Albert, and, after various difficulties with the Piedmontese war office, formed a volunteer army 3000 strong, but shortly after taking the field was obliged, by the defeat of Custozza, to flee to Switzerland. Proceeding thence to Rome, he was entrusted by the Roman republic with the defence of San Pancrazio against the French, where he gained the victory of the 30th of April 1849, remaining all day in the saddle, although wounded in the side at the beginning of the fight. From the 3rd of May until the 3oth of May he was continuously engaged against the Bourbon troops at Palestrina, Velletri and elsewhere, dispersing an army of 20,000 men with 3000 volunteers. After the fall of Rome he left the city at the head of 4000 volunteers, with the idea of joining the defenders of Venice, and started on that wonderful retreat through central Italy pursued by the armies of France, Austria, Spain and Naples. By his consummate generalship and the matchless endurance of his men the pursuers were evaded and San Marino reached, though with a sadly diminished force. Garibaldi and a few followers, including his devoted wife Anita, after vainly attempting to reach Venice, where the tricolor still floated, took refuge in the pine forests of Ravenna; the Austrians were seeking him in all directions, and most of his legionaries were captured and shot. Anita died near Comacchio, and he himself fled across the peninsula, being assisted by all classes of the people, to Tuscany, whence he escaped to Piedmont and ultimately to America. At New York, in order to earn a living, he became first a chandler, and afterwards a trang skipper, returning to Italy in with a small fortune, and purchasing the island of Caprera, on which he built the house thenceforth his home. On the outbreak of war in he was placed in command of the Alpine infantry, defeating the Austrians at Casale on the 8th of May, crossing the Ticino on the 23rd of May, and, after a series of victorious fights, liberating Alpine territory as far as the frontier of Tirol. When about to enter Austrian territory proper his advance was, however, checked by the armistice of Villafranca.
Returning to Como to wed the countess Raimondi, by whom he had been aided during the campaign, he was apprised, immediately after the wedding, of certain circumstances which caused him at once to abandon that lady and to start for central Italy. Forbidden to invade the Romagna, he returned indignantly to Caprera, where with Crispi and Bertani he planned the invasion of Sicily. Assured by Sir James Hudson of the sympathy of England, he began active preparations for the expedition to Marsala. At the last moment he hesitated, but Crispi succeeded in persuading him to sail from Genoa on the 5th of May 1860 with two vessels carrying a volunteer corps of 1070 strong. Calling at Talamone to embark arms and money, he reached Marsala on the 11th of May, and landed under the protection of the British vessels "Intrepid" and "Argus." On the 12th of May the dictatorship of Garibaldi was proclaimed at Salemi, on the 15th of May the Neapolitan troops were routed at Calatafimi, on the 25th of May Palermo was taken, and on the 6th of June 20,000 Neapolitan regulars, supported by nine frigates and protected by two forts, were compelled to capitulate. Once established at Palermo, Garibaldi organized an army to liberate Naples and march upon Rome, a plan opposed by the emissaries of Cavour, who desired the immediate annexation of Sicily to the Italian kingdom. Expelling Lafarina and driving out Depretis, who represented Cavour, Garibaldi routed the Neapolitans at Milazzo on the 20th of July. Messina fell on the 20th of July, but Garibaldi, instead of crossing to Calabria, secretly departed for Aranci Bay in Sardinia, where Bertani was fitting out an expedition against the papal states. Cavour, however, obliged the expedition to sail for Palermo. Returning to Messina, Garibaldi found a letter from Victor Emmanuel II. dissuading him from invading the kingdom of Naples. Garibaldi replied asking “permission to disobey.” Next day he crossed the Strait, won the battle of Reggio on the 21st of August, accepted the capitulation of 9000 Neapolitan troops at San Giovanni and of 11,000 more at Soveria. The march upon Naples became a triumphal progress, which the wiles of Francesco II. were powerless to arrest. On the 7th of September Garibaldi entered Naples, while Francesco fled to Gaeta. On the 1st of October he routed the remnant of the Bourbon army 40,000 strong on the Volturno. Meanwhile the Italian troops had occupied the Marches, Umbria and the Abruzzi, a battalion of Bersaglieri reaching the Volturno in time to take part in the battle. Their presence put an end to the plan for the invasion of the papal states, and Garibaldi unwillingly issued a decree for the plébiscite which was to sanction the incorporation of the Two Sicilies in the Italian realm. On the 7th of November Garibaldi accompanied Victor Emmanuel during his solemn entry into Naples, and on the morrow returned to Caprera, after isbanding his volunteers and recommending their enrolment in the regular army.
Indignation at the cession of Nice to France and at the neglect of his followers by the Italian government induced him to return to political life. Elected deputy in 1861, his anger against Cavour found violent expression. Bixio attempted to reconcile them, but the publication by Cialdini of a letter against Garibaldi provoked a hostility which, but for the intervention of the king, would have led to a duel between Cialdini and Garibaldi. Returning to Caprera, Garibaldi awaited events. Cavour’s successor, Ricasoli, enrolled the Garibaldians in the regular army; Rattazzi, who succeeded Ricasoli, urged Garibaldi to undertake an expedition in aid of the Hungarians, but Garibaldi, finding his followers ill-disposed towards the idea, decided to turn his arms against Rome. On the 29th of June 1862 helanded at Palermo and gathered an army under the banner “Roma o morte.” Rattazzi, frightened at the prospect of an attack upon Rome, proclaimed a state of siege in Sicily, sent the fleet to Messina, and instructed Cialdini to oppose Garibaldi. Circumventing the Italian troops, Garibaldi entered Catania, crossed to Melito with 3000 men on the 25th of August, but was taken prisoner and wounded by Cialdini’s forces at Aspromonte on the 27th of August. Liberated by an amnesty, Garibaldi returned once more to Caprera amidst general sympathy.
In the spring of 1864 he went to London, where he was accorded an enthusiastic reception and given the freedom of the city. From England he returned again to Caprera. On the outbreak of war in 1866 he assumed command of a volunteer army and, after the defeat of the Italian troops at Custozza, took the offensive in order to cover Brescia. On the 3rd of July he defeated the Austrians at Monte Saello, on the 7th at Lodrone, on the 10th at Darso, on the 16th at Condino, on the 19th at Ampola, on the 21st at Bezzecca, but, when on the point of attacking Trent, he was ordered by General Lamarmora to retire. His famous reply "Obbedisco" ("I obey") has often been cited as a classical example of military obedience to a command destructive of a successful leader’s hopes, but documents now published (cf. Corriere della sera, 9th of August 1906) prove beyond doubt that Garibaldi had for some days known that the order to evacuate the Trentino would shortly reach him. The order arrived on the 9th of August, whereas Crispi had been sent as early as the 16th of July to warn Garibaldi that, owing to Prussian opposition, Austria would not cede the Trentino to Italy, and that the evacuation was inevitable. Hence Garibaldi’s laconic reply. From the Trentino he returned to Caprera to mature his designs against Rome, which had been evacuated by the French in pursuance of the Franco-Italian convention of the 15th of September 1864. Gathering volunteers in the autumn of 1867, he prepared to enter papal territory, but was arrested at Sinalunga by the Italian government and conducted to Caprera. Eluding the surveillance of the Italian cruisers, he returned to Florence, and, with the complicity of the second Rattazzi cabinet, entered Roman territory at Passo Corese on the 23rd of October. Two days later he took Monterotondo, but on the 2nd of November his forces were dispersed at Mentana by French and papal troops. Recrossing the Italian frontier, he was arrested at Figline and taken back to Caprera, where he eked out his slender resources by writing several romances. In 1870 he formed a fresh volunteer corps and went to the aid of France, defeating the German troops at Chatillon, Autun and Dijon. Elected a member of the Versailles assembly, he resigned his mandate in anger at French insults, and withdrew to Caprera until, in 1874, he was elected deputy for Rome. Popular enthusiasm induced the Conservative Minghetti cabinet to propose that a sum of £40,000 with an annual pension of £2000 be conferred upon him as a recompense for his services, but the proposal, though adopted by parliament (27th May 1875), was indignantly refused by Garibaldi. Upon the advent of the Left to power, however, he accepted both gift and pension, and worked energetically upon the scheme for the Tiber embankment to prevent the flooding of Rome. At the same time he succeeded in obtaining the annulment of his marriage with the countess Raimondi (with whom he had never lived) and contracted another marriage with the mother of his children, Clelia and Manlio. In 1880 he went to Milan for the inauguration of the Mentana monument, and in 1882 visited Naples and Palermo, but was prevented by illness from being present at the 600th anniversary of the Sicilian Vespers. On the 2nd of June 1882 his death at Caprera plunged Italy into mourning.
See Garibaldi, Epistolario, ed. E.E. Ximenes (2 vols., Milan, 1885), and Memorie autografiche (11th ed., Florence, 1902; Eng. translation by A. Werner, with supplement by J.W. Mario in vol. iii. of 1888 ed.); Giuseppe Guerzoni, Garibaldi (2 vols., Florence, 1882); Jessie White Mario, Garibaldi e i suoi tempi (Milan, 1884); G.M. Trevelyan, Garibaldi’s Defence of the Roman Republic (London, 1907), which contains an excellent sketch of Garibaldi’s early career, of the events leading up to the proclamation of the Roman Republic, and a picturesque, detailed and authoritative account of the defence of Rome and of Garibaldi’s flight, with a very full bibliography; also Trevelyan’s Garibaldi and the Thousand (1909).
(H. W. S.)