Churchill on Garibaldi

Churchill on Garibaldi

Garibal­di in 1866 (Wiki­me­dia)

A cor­re­spon­dent asks if there were any death­less phras­es by Churchill about the 19th Cen­tu­ry Ital­ian demo­c­ra­t­ic patri­ot Giuseppe Garibal­di (1807-1882).  Per­haps not death­less, but there are a few.

There is no doubt that Churchill read about and respect­ed Garibal­di, whom he men­tions more than a few times in his writ­ings and speech­es. Some say “Blood Toil Tears and Sweat” was a para­phrase of sim­i­lar, ear­li­er lines by Garibal­di, but I think not. In my book Churchill in His Own Words Appen­dix III “Evo­lu­tion of a Phrase,” I note he was using ele­ments of “blood, toil, tears and sweat” as ear­ly as 1899, and Ralph Keyes (The Quote Ver­i­fi­er) men­tions these ele­ments dat­ing back to Cicero, Livy and Donne, which Churchill prob­a­bly read.
Churchill makes ref­er­ences in pass­ing to Garibal­di in his books Great Con­tem­po­raries and Step by Step, and in his speech­es. A quick check of the Churchill Cen­tre web­site yields:

Finest Hour 74, First Quar­ter 1992 (see Churchill Cen­tre web­site), Patrick J.C. Pow­ers: “Savro­la: Churchill’s Pre­mier Lit­er­ary Work”:

The pres­ence in Savrola’s library of Boccaccio’s Decameron, which takes place near Flo­rence, reflects Churchill’s inter­est in the polit­i­cal life of Italy after the col­lapse of Rome. Also, Churchill announced to his moth­er in April 1898 that among his next writ­ing projects would be a biog­ra­phy of Garibal­di, the pop­u­lar 19th cen­tu­ry demo­c­ra­t­ic rev­o­lu­tion­ary. Clear­ly Churchill is pre­oc­cu­pied at this time with the chal­lenge con­front­ed by the pop­u­lar lead­ers Savonaro­la or Garibal­di who, in post-Roman Italy, head­ed demo­c­ra­t­ic efforts to restore and extend the ancient Roman lib­er­ties, and who encoun­tered resis­tance from the demo­c­ra­t­ic pop­u­la­tion they would ben­e­fit and elevate.

This sent me to the Offi­cial Biog­ra­phy, Win­ston S. Churchill by Ran­dolph Churchill and Mar­tin Gilbert (Hills­dale Col­lege Press), where there are  index ref­er­ences to Churchill’s pro­posed life of Garibal­di in bio­graph­ic vol­ume 1 and doc­u­ment vol­ume 2. Also, in doc­u­ment vol­ume 3,  his moth­er writes in 1907 “mind you get Trevelyan’s Garibal­di to read en route” (to Africa, I presume).

I also found an index note to Garibal­di in WSC’s fil­ial biog­ra­phy,  Lord Ran­dolph Churchill, where he quotes his father, “Would you undo the Rev­o­lu­tion of Naples because Garibal­di might not be alto­geth­er a man of your mind? You know you would not; you know that those rev­o­lu­tions were jus­ti­fied by atro­cious Governments.”

Check also the index to Win­ston S. Churchill: His Com­plete Speech­es 1897-1963 (8 vols, 1974). In 1944 he speaks of Ciano, Mussolini’s ill-fat­ed for­eign min­is­ter, “on whom the curse of Garibal­di has ver­i­ta­bly fallen.”


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