Churchill on Garibaldi
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.
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.”
One thought on “Churchill on Garibaldi”
Very interesting Richard. Many thanks.