Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Gallenga, Antonio Carlo, Napoleone

1386312Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement, Volume 2 — Gallenga, Antonio Carlo, Napoleone1901Henry Richard Tedder

GALLENGA, ANTONIO CARLO NAPOLEONE (1810–1895), author and journalist, the eldest son of a Piedmontese of good family from Castellamonte in the Canavese, a district of the province of Ivrea, was born at Parma on 4 Nov. 1810. He was sent to school at the age of five and graduated at the university of Parma at eighteen. The excitement of politics drew him from the study of medicine when the news of the French revolution of 1830 roused all Italy. For a few months at the commencement of 1831 young Gallenga was 'a conspirator, a state prisoner, a combatant and a fugitive, and for the five ensuing years an exile' (Episodes of my Second Life, i. 3). He rashly thought it would further the aims of la giovine Italia to take the life of King Carlo Alberto. 'Supplied with a passport, money, and letters by Mazzini, he proceeded to Turin in August 1833 under the false name of Louis Mariotti' (Gallenga, History of Piedmont, iii. 338; Mazzini's own story is told in his Scritti editi ed inediti, iii. 340-4). Gallenga waited two months in unaided solitude for the opportunity, which fortunately never came, to strike the blow which he had thought would be heroic, but which he afterwards 'learnt to execrate as a crime' (Episodes, ii. 272). He travelled in Provence and Burgundy, lived in Corsica for two years, and was for some time in Malta and Tangier, earning a precarious livelihood by teaching. He left Gibraltar for New York on 15 Aug. 1836, supplied with one or two letters of introduction, little money, and a very slight knowledge of English. He retained the name of Luigi Mariotti, under which he was known for many years. Befriended at Cambridge, by Edward Everett, the American scholar, Gallenga became professor at a college for young ladies, published a volume of Italian verse (1836), reprinted at London in 1844 as 'Oltremonte ed Oltremare,' took private pupils, studied English literature, and delivered a discourse which had the distinction of being printed in the 'North American Review.' In January 1838 he gave a course of lectures which afterwards formed the basis of his 'Italy.' Within eighteen months after landing in America, friendless, almost penniless, and ignorant of the language, he had become an accepted contributor to the leading reviews, a successful lecturer and teacher, but he was not satisfied with his prospects. He says, 'Fond as I was of reading, my instincts were not at all literary. ... I had to give up all hope of being a soldier ; but I was still a patriot, a man of action' (ib. i. 295-6). After several efforts to obtain a professorship he came to England on 2 June 1839. He brought letters of introduction, made the acquaintance of Browning, John Kenyon, Crabb Kobinson, Rogers, and Monckton Milnes, found work as teacher and translator, and endeavoured to secure a commission in the army of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

His restless spirit was turned to his native country, and in order to avoid the police he accepted an invitation to live with an English family at Florence, and started from London in April 1840, having made arrangements for the printing of his American lectures in the 'Metropolitan Magazine.' The Tuscan authorities, however, compelled him to leave Florence : he returned to London, and between 1841 and 1842 wrote many articles on Italian subjects for the 'Foreign Quarterly,' the 'Westminster,' and other reviews, and visited Wales. In April 1841 his lectures were reprinted with additions under the title of 'Italy : General Views of its History and Literature in reference to its present state,' 2 vols. cr. 8vo, reprinted in 1846 as 'Italy, Past and Present' (two editions) ; a German translation by J. B. Seybt was published at Leipzig in 1846. Disraeli and Bulwer Lytton praised the book ; the latter said, 'I never saw any approach to such a style in a foreigner before, as full of beauty in diction as in thought.' It was not successful pecuniarily, but it brought the author many acquaintances, among others Leigh Hunt, George Lewes, Tom Hood, Thackeray, and Ainsworth. Mazzini took him to see Carlyle. He declined an offer from Bulwer Lytton to become his private secretary, and started at a day's notice to undertake a professorship of modern languages at King's College, Windsor, near Halifax, Nova Scotia. After fifteen months' absence he returned to London, where he lived from 1843 to 1848. 'With all my distaste for the teacher's trade, I found myself bound to it faster than ever' (Episodes, ii. 147). In 1846 he was naturalised. He wrote a few short stories of Italian life, reprinted as 'The Blackgown Papers' (1846, 2 vols. cr. 8vo), and a novel, recording with some fictitious incidents his own exploits during the political disturbances of Central Italy in 1831, which appeared in the 'Metropolitan Magazine,' afterwards published as 'Castellamonte ' (1854, 2nd ed. 1856, 2 vols., anonymous; the first part was translated in the 'Rivista Contemporanea,' 1857). He married an English lady in July 1847, and then resumed his own name, although that of Mariotti appeared on the title-pages of his books until 1865.

Gallenga was appointed professor of Italian language and literature at London University College in 1848, an unremunerative office which he held until 1859. A second edition of his 'Italy, Past and Present' was projected with chapters on Foscolo, Manzoni, Pellico, Mazzini, and others, forming an additional volume. This appeared in 1848 under the title of 'Present State and Prospects of Italy.' In the year of revolution Gallenga tells us that 'my country called: I must answer her cry. I was Italy's soldier and must join her standards' (ib. ii. 163). He visited Turin, Milan, and Parma, was unsuccessful in his military aspirations, and acted as chargt d'affaires at Frankfort. After an absence of about twenty months he returned to London in October 1849. Cavour called on him in 1852 to induce him to take up his abode in his native state. A trip to Turin in the same year was extended to the Canavese district whence his family had their origin, and he returned with the determination to write a 'History of Piedmont.' This work, his most ambitious literary undertaking, was published in 1855, 3 vols., the first book which came out under his own name ; an Italian version by the writer appeared at Turin in 1856. In 1854 he went back to Italy and was elected, through the influence of Cavour, a deputy in the Piedmontese parliament, for some time acted as correspondent of the 'Daily News' at Turin, and contributed many articles to Italian reviews 'as the censor of the faults and vices of the Italian people' (ib. ii. 267), a course which did not tend to make him popular among his fellow countrymen. His wife died, leaving a son. His enemies brought up the old story of his youthful regicidal attempt, and he found it necessary to return to London in 1857. The following year he was married a second time to an English lady.

His method of teaching was to use no grammar, but to jot down, lesson by lesson, whatever rules and examples might be required. These gradually developed into 'Mariotti's Italian Grammar,' of which Rolandi published twelve editions, with constant improvements, between 1858 and 1881. In 1859 he went to Italy as correspondent of the 'Times' with the French army, and remained five years in the country as representative of that journal. From 1859 to 1864 he was a deputy of the Italian chamber. He was with Garibaldi as a correspondent in 1860. In 1863 he was sent by the 'Times' as war correspondent to the United States, and held the same office in Denmark in 1864. In 1865 he was a special correspondent in various continental cities, and in the following year visited Spain. Between 1866 and 1873 he lived in London and wrote leading articles for the 'Times,' chiefly on foreign subjects, travelling abroad from time to time on special missions. The Cuban insurrection occupied him in the early part of 1873. In 1874 he was in Spain again; between 1875 and 1877 he lived at Constantinople as 'Times' correspondent, and in 1879 was entrusted with a fourth mission to Spain. The experience gained in most of these travels he recorded in book form. His connection with the 'Times' ceased in 1883, but his pen never was idle; his last work was a novel. He died at The Falls, Llandogo, 17 Dec. 1895, in his eighty-sixth year.

Gallenga was not one of the great special correspondents, but he achieved remarkable success as a journalist, when it is remembered that he came to that profession at the age of fifty, that he wrote in a foreign language, that he was naturally shy and diffident, without any of the qualifications of an interviewer, short-sighted, of poor memory for facts and faces, and of awkward manners. But he was a man of strong character, fond of travelling and seeing the world, full of observation, honest and straightforward, with great natural shrewdness and power of application. His command of English was remarkable both in speaking and writing; although he boasted that he had never opened an English grammar, by incessant painstaking he had acquired a lively and forcible style. He spoke Spanish with fluency and correctness. He was 'a typical Piedmontese, shrewd, tenacious, economical, and uncompromising' (Athenæum, 21 Dec. 1895).

Besides the books mentioned above he wrote:

  1. *'The Age we Live in: Bull and Nongtongpaw,' London, 1845, 8vo.
  2. *'Latest News from Italy,' London, 1847, 8vo.
  3. 'A che ne siamo? Pensieri di un' Italiano d'oltremonti,' Torino, 1849, 8vo (anon.).
  4. *'Scenes from Italian Life,' London, 1850, 8vo (tales, partly translated in 'Rev. Contemporanea,' 1858).
  5. *'Italy in 1848,' London, 1851, 8vo.
  6. *'A Historical Memoir of Fra Dolcino and his Times: being an account of a general struggle for Ecclesiastical Reform and of an Anti-heretical Crusade in Italy in the early part of the 14th Century,' London, 1853, 8vo.
  7. *'Country Life in Piedmont,' London, 1858, 8vo.
  8. ' Manuale dell' Elettore,' Siena, 1861, 8vo.
  9. ' The Invasion of Denmark in 1864,' London, 1864, 2 vols. 8vo (some of his letters to the 'Times' translated under the title of Krigen i Slesvig,' 1864, 8vo, Copenhagen).
  10. 'The Pearl of the Antilles,' London, 1873, 8 vo (Italian translation, 1874).
  11. 'Italy Revisited,' London, 1875, 2 vols. 8 vo.
  12. ' Two Years of the Eastern Question,' London, 1877, 2 vols. 8vo.
  13. 'The Pope [Pius IX] and the King [Vittorio Emanuele],' London, 1879, 2 vols. 8vo.
  14. 'South America,' London, 1880, 8vo.
  15. 'A Summer Tour in Russia,' London, 1882, 8vo (Italian translation, Parma, 1883).
  16. 'Iberian Reminiscences: Fifteen Years' Travelling Impressions of Spain and Portugal,' London, 1883, 2 vols. 8vo.
  17. 'Democracy across the Channel,' London, 1883, cr. 8vo (the same in Italian).
  18. 'Episodes of my Second Life,' London, 1884, 2 vols. 8vo.
  19. 'Jenny Jennett: a Tale without a Murder,' London, 1886, 2 vols. cr. 8vo.
  20. 'Italy, Present and Future,' London, 1887, 2 vols. 8vo (Italian version, Florence, 1886).
  21. 'Vini Italian!' (Esposizione Italiana di Londra, 1888), London, 1888, 8vo.
  22. 'Thecla's Vow,' London, 1898, cr. 8vo (a posthumous novel). Numbers 1, 2, 4 to 7, to which an asterisk is prefixed, were published with the name of Mariotti.

[Autobiographical Recollections in Gallenga's Episodes of my Second Life, 188i, 2 vols.; Men and Women of the Time, 14th ed. 1895, pp. 325–z6; Allibone's Dictionary, 1870, ii. 1219; Kirk's Supplement to Allibone, 1891, i. 644; Times, 19 Dec. 1895; Athenæum, 21 Dec. 1895, p. 873; Annual Register, 1895, p. 220; A. de Gubernatis, Dictionnaire International des Ecrivains du Jour, 1890, ii. 1017; A. Bertollotti, Passeggiate nel Canavese, Ivrea, 1867-9, 3 vols. 8vo; Edinburgh Review, April 1900.]

H. R. T.