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ATLANTIC MONTHLY. A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS. VOL. IV.—NOVEMBER, 1859.—NO. XXV. E. FELICE FORESTI. Late in the autumn of 1836, an Austrian brig-of-war cast anchor in the harbor of New York; and seldom have voyagers disembarked with such exhilarating emotions as thrilled the hearts of some of the passengers who then and there exchanged ship for shore. Yet their delight was not the joy of reunion with home and friends, nor the cheerful expectancy of the adventurous upon reaching a long-sought land of promise, nor the fresh sensation of the inexperienced when first beholding a new country; it was the relief of enfranchised men, the rapture of devotees of freedom, loosened from a thrall, escaped from surveillance, and breathing, after years of captivity, the air where liberty is law, and self-government the basis of civic life. These were exiles; but the bitterness of that lot was forgotten, at the moment, in the proud consciousness of having incurred it through allegiance to freedom, and being destined to endure it in a consecrated asylun, , In that air, when first respired, on that soil, when first trod, they were unconscious of the lot of strangers: for there the vigilant eye of despotism ceased to watch their steps; prudence checked no more the expression of honest thought or high as

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piration; manhood resumed its erect port, mind its spontaneous vigor; nor did many moments pass ere friendly hands were extended, and kindly voices heard, and domestic retreats thrown open. Their welfare had been commended to generous hearts; and the simple facts of their previous history won them respectful sympathy and cordial greeting. Prominent amid the excited group was a tall, wellrknit figure, whose high, square brow, benign smile, and frank earnestness bespoke a man of moral energy, vigorous intellect, and warm, candid, tender soul. Traces of suffering, of thought, of stern purpose were, indeed, apparent; but with and above them, the ingenuousness and the glow of a brave and ardent man. This was Eleutarto Feltce Foresti,—subsequently, and for years, the favorite professor of his beautiful native language and literature in New York,— the favorite guest and the cherished friend in her most cultivated homes and among her best citizens,—the Italian patriot, which title he vindicated by consistency, self-respect, and the most genial qualities. The vocation he adopted, because of its availability, only served to make apparent comprehensive endowments and an independent spirit; the lady with whom he read Tasso, beside the chivalrous music of the "Jerusalem Delivered," learned to appreciate modern knighthood ; and the scholar to whom he expounded Dante, from the political chart of the Middle Ages, turned to an incarnation of existent patriotism. Not only by the arguments of Gioberti, the graphic pictures of Manzoni, and the terse pathos of Leopardi, did he illustrate what Italy boasts of later genius; but through his own eloquent integrity and magnetic love of her achievements and faith in her destiny. The savings of years of patient toil were sacrificed to the subsistence of his poor countrymen who came hither after bravely fighting at Rome, Venice, Milan, and Novara, to have their fruits of victory treacherously gathered by aliens. Infirmity, consequent upon early privation and the unhealed wounds of long-worn chains, laid the stalwart frame of the brave and generous exile on a bed of pain. He uttered no complaint, and whispered not of the fear which no courage can quell in high natures, that of losing "the glorious privilege of being independent": yet his American friends must have surmised the truth; for, one day, he received a letter stating that a sum, fully adequate for two years' support, remained to his credit on the books of a merchant,— one of those mysterious provisions, such as once redeemed a note of Henry Clay's, and of which no explanation can be given, except that "it is a way they have" among the merchant princes of New York. By a providential coincidence, surgical skill, at this juncture, essentially improved his physical condition; but it became indispensable, at the same time, that he should exchange our rigorous clime for one more congenial; and he sailed five years ago for Italy, taking up his residence in Piedmont, where dwell so many of the eminent adherents of the cause he loved, and where the institutions, polity, and social life include so many elements of progress and of faith. It was now that those who knew him best, including some of the leading citizens of his adopted city, applied to the Executive for his appointment as United States Consul at Genoa. There was a singular propriety in the request . Having passed and honored the ordeal of American citizenship, and being then a popular resident of the city which gave birth to the discoverer of this continent,—familiar with our institutions, and endeared to so many of the wise and brave in America and Italy,— illustrious through suffering, a veteran disciple and martyr of freedom,—he was eminently a representative man, whom freemen shsuld delight to honor; and while it then gratified our sense of the appropriate that this distinction and resource should cheer his declining years, we are impelled, now that death has canonized misfortune and integrity, to avail ourselves of the occasion to rehearse the incidents and revive the lessons of his life.* Underlying the external apathy and apparently frivolous life of the Italian peninsula, there has ever been a resolute, clear, earnest patriotism, fed in the scholar by memories of past glory, in the peasant by intense local attachment, and kindled from time to time in all by the reaction of gross wrongs and moral privations. Sometimes in conversation, oftener in secret musing, now in the eloquent outburst of the composer, and now in the adjuration of the poet or the vow of the revolutionist, this latent spirit has found expression. Again and again, spasmodic and abortive emeutes, the calm protest of a .D'Azeglio and the fanaticism of an * It is to be lamented that Foresti had not anticipated our purpose with that consecutive detail possible only in an autobiography. uLe Scene dcl Cnrccre Duro in Austria" writes the Marquis Pallavicino, "non sono ancora la storia del Ventuno. Un uomo potrebbe scriverla e svelare molte infamie tuttavia occulte del governo Austriaco. Quest' uomo e Felice Foresti. II quale abbandonb gli agi Americani per combattere un' altra volta, guerriero canuto, le gloriose battaglie dell' Italico risorgimento. II martiro scriva: e la sua penna, come quella d' un altro martire,— Silvio Pellico,— sara una spnda nel cuorc dell' Austria."—Notes to Spiclbergo e Gradisca. bracing atmosphere of modern civilization and enlightened activity, to the passive, silent endurance of obsolete feudalism. It was the inevitable and deliberate protest against this wicked and absurd reaction which gave birth to the political organization of the Carbonari; wherein the noblest men and the wisest princes of that day enrolled themselves; and the inefficiency of whose far-reaching, secret, and solemn aims can be accounted for only by the fatal error of trusting in the magnanimity of an order born to hereditary power, and overlooking, in their municipal fraternities, the vast importance of the more scattered, but not less capable and patriotic agricultural class. Foresti was born at Conselice in the Ferrarese. Few American travellers linger in Ferrara. Fresh from the more imposing attractions of Florence or Venice, this ancient Italian city offers little in comparison to detain the eager pilgrim; and yet to one cognizant of its history and alive to imaginative associations, this neglect might increase the charm of a brief sojourn. It is pleasant to explore the less hackneyed stories of history and tradition, to enjoy an isolated scene fraught with grand or tender sentiment, to turn aside from the trampled highway and the crowded resort, to listen to some plaintive whisper from the Past amid the deserted memorials of its glory and grief. Such a place is Ferrara. The broad and regular streets and the massive palaces emphatically declare its former splendor; and its actual decadence is no less manifest in the grassgrown pavement of the one and the crumbling and dreary aspect of the other. It requires no small effort of fancy, as we walk through some deserted by-way, wherein our footsteps echo audibly at noonday, to realize that this was the splendid arena where the House of Este so long held sway, limited in extent, but in its palmy days the centre of a brilliant court, a famous school of pictorial art, the seat of a university whose fame drew scholars from distant Britain, and whose ducal family gave birth to the Brunswick dynasty, whence descended the royalty of England. The city dates its origin from the fifth century, when its marshy site gave refuge from the pursuing Huns, and the ambition of its rulers gradually concentrated around the unpromising domain those elements of ecclesiastical prestige, knightly valor, artistic and literary resources which enriched and signalized the Italian cities of the Middle Ages. Enlightened, though capricious patronage made this haltingplace between Bologna and Venice, Padua and Rome, the nucleus of talent, enterprise, and diplomacy, the fruits whereof are permanent. But there are two hallowed associations which in a remarkable degree consecrated Ferrara and endeared her to the memory of later generations: she gave an asylum to the persecuted Christian Reformers, and was the home and haunt of poets. It is this recollection which stays the feet and warms the heart of the transatlantic visitor, as he roams at twilight around the venerable castle "flanked with towers," traces the dim fresco in a church Giotto decorated, reads "Parisina" in Byron's paraphrase near the dungeons where she and her lover were slain, or gazes with mingled curiosity and love on the chirography of St Chrysostom, the original manuscripts of Tasso, Ariosto, and Gnarini, or the inscription of Victor Alfieri ia the Studio Publico. It is because Calvin was here sheltered, and Olympia Morata found sympathy and respect,—because the author of "Jerusalem Delivered" here loved, triumphed, and despaired, and the author of the " Orlando Furioso" so assiduously labored for his orphaned family, the exacting Cardinal Ippolito. and the cause of learning, and strung a lyre which has for centuries vibrated in the popular heart and fancy,— because, in a word, Ferrara contains the prison of Tasso, and the home of Ariosto, who called her "citta bene avtentxiroaa," as did Tassoni the "gran donna del Po,"—that the desolate old city is revived to the imagination, with its hundred thousand people, its gay courtiers and brave knights,

Orsini, sacrifices of property, freedom, and life,— all the more pathetic, because to human vision useless, — have made known to the oppressor the writhings of the oppressed, and to the world the arbitrary rule which conceals injustice by imposing silence. The indirect, but most emphatic utterance of this deep, latent self-respect of the nation we find in Alfieri, whose stern muse revived the terse energy of Dante; and in our own day, this identical inspiration fired the melancholy verse of Leopardi, the letters of Foscolo, the novels of Guerrazzi, and the tender melody of Bellini. Recent literature has exhibited the conditions under which Italian Liberals strive, and the method of expiating their self-devotion. The novels of Ruffini, the letters of the Countess d'Ossoli, the rhetoric of Gavazzi, and the parliamentary reports of Gladstone, the leading reviews, the daily journals, intercourse with political refugees, and the personal observations of travel, have, more or less def,nitely, caused the problem called the "Italian Question" to come nearer to our sympathies than any other European exigency apart from practical interests. Moreover, the complicated and dubious aspect of the subject, viewed by transatlantic eyes, has, within the last ten years, been in a great measure dispelled by experimental facts. That Italy needs chiefly to be let alone, to achieve independence and realize a noble development, civic, economical, and social, every intelligent traveller who crosses the Austrian frontier and enters the Sardinian state, knows. A greater contrast, as regards productive industry, intellectual enterprise, religious progress, comfort, and happiness, no adjacent countries ever exhibited; constitutional freedom, an unrestricted press, toleration, and public education on the one hand, and foreign bayonets, espionage, and priestcraft on the other, explain the anomaly. In Venice the very trophies of national life are labelled in a foreign tongue, the caff'es of Milan resound with Teutonic gutturals, and un

der the arcades of Bologna every other face wears the yellow beard of the North; yet the family portraits in the vast palace-chambers, the eyes and dialect of the people, the monumental inscriptions, announce an indigenous and superseded race; their industry, civil rights, property, and free expression in art, literature, and even speech, being forcibly and systematically repressed : while in the mountains of Savoy, the streets of Turin, and the harbor of Genoa, the stir and zest, the productiveness, and the felicity of national life greet the senses and gladden the soul. Statistics evidence what observation hints; Cavour wins the respect of Europe; D'Azeglio illustrates the inspiration which liberty yields to genius; journalism ventilates political rancor ; debate neutralizes aggressive prejudice; physical resources become available; talent finds scope, character self-assertion; Protestantism builds altars, patriotism shrines; and genuine Italian nationality has a vital existence so palpably reproachful of circumjacent stagnation, ruin, and wrong, that no laws or material force can interpose a permanent obstacle to its indefinite extension and salutary reign. In his first youth, Foresti imbibed the creative spirit breathed into the social and civic life of Italy by Napoleon's victories and administration; it was at that vivid epoch when the military, political, artistic, and literary talent of the land, so long repressed and thwarted by superstition and despotism, broke forth, that his studies were achieved. We have only to compare what was done, thought, and felt in the Peninsula, during the ten years between the coronation of Bonaparte at Milan and his overthrow at Waterloo, with the subsequent dearth of national triumphs in every sphere, and with the inert, apprehensive, baffled existence of the Italians in the grasp of reinstated and reinforced imbecile, yet tyrannic governments, to appreciate the feelings of a young, well-born, gifted citizen, when suddenly checked in a liberal and progressive career, and remanded, as it were, from the

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