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Life & Writings of yoseph Mazzini










V. 3

Autobiographical Notes continued (1862)
Principles of Cosmopolitanism (1834)
Autobiographical Notes continued (1862)
Persecution of the Exiles (1834)
Pact of Fraternity of Young Europe (1834)
Autobiographical Notes continued (1862)
Letter to the Abbé Lamennais (1834) .
Autobiographical Notes continued (1862)
On the Revolutionary Initiative (1834)
Autobiographical Notes continued (1862)
Summary of Articles from La Jeune Suisse (1835)
Preface to the Republication of " Faith and the Future


"Faith and the Future "(1835) ....

Autobiographical Notes continued (1S62)

Violation of Mazzini' s Correspondence (1844)

" Italy, Austria, and the Pope : " a Letter to Sir James

Graham, Bart. (1845)
Records of the Brothers Bandiera, and their Fellow

Martyrs at Cosenza (1844) .
Autobiographical Notes continued (1862)


7 15








N.B. — The figures within brackets denote the dates of the
writings comprised in this volume.

191 010

Autobiographical & Political.

THE first period of Young Italy was con-
cluded, and concluded with a defeat.

Was I to retire from the arena, renounce all
political life, wait patiently until time, or men more
capable or more daring than myself, should have
matured the destiny of Italy, silently pursue the
path of my own individual development, and con-
centrate myself in those studies most congenial to
my nature ?

Many advised me to do this. Some, because
they were convinced that Italy, radically corrupted
by long servitude, would never accept our ideal,
and work out its triumph through her own efforts ;
others, because they were already weary at the
commencement of the struggle, desirous of occupy-
ing themselves with their own individual existence,
and terrified at the tempest visibly darkening above
our heads.

And the circumstances that ensued after the
unfortunate expedition of Savoy, gave weight to
their arguments. A tremendous clamour of blame



2 Life & Writings of Mazzini :

arose, uttered by all the worshippers of success.
The waves had beaten and broken against the
rocks, and were now retiring.

From Italy we heard of naught but discourage-
ment. News came to us of flights, desertions,
imprisonment, and disorganisation. Around us in
Switzerland, the favour with which our design had
at first been received had given place to irritation.
Geneva was tormented by diplomatic notes, impe-
rious commands to get rid of us accompanied by
threats ; and now that we were fallen, the majority
began to imprecate against us as foreigners who
endangered the tranquillity of the country, and
destroyed the harmony and good-will existing
between Switzerland and the European govern-
ments. The Federal authorities despatched com-
missioners, and set on foot trials and inquiries.
Our war stores were seized ; our financiary re-
sources were almost exhausted ; while the con-
dition of the exiles, the greater number of whom
were without the necessaries of life, was wretched
in the extreme, and suffering and disappointment
were already sowing the seeds of dissension and
recrimination even amongst ourselves. Darkness
and gloom were on every side. It is true that we
received assurances of an imminent and probably
victorious republican insurrection in France, but I
believed the French initiative to be over ; and this :
our only promise of better things, left me in-

Autobiographical & Political. 3

credulous. More powerful upon me than any
advice, or any danger, was the exceeding grief and
anxiety of my poor mother. Had it been possible
for me to have yielded, I should have yielded to

But there was that within me which outward
circumstances were unable to overcome. My na-
ture was strongly subjective, and master of itself.
Even at that time I regarded self as an active
force, called upon to transform the medium by
which it was surrounded, rather than passively to
submit to its influence. The life within me radiated
from the inward to the outward, not from the out-
ward to the inward.

Ours was not an enterprise of mere reaction ; nor
like the movement of the sick man who strives to
ease his sufferings by changing his position. We
sought liberty, not as an end, but as a means by
which to achieve a higher and more positive aim. We
had inscribed the words Republican Unity upon our
banner. We sought to found a nation, to create a
people. What was a defeat to men with such an aim
as this in view ? Was it not a part of our educa-
tional duty to teach our party a lesson of calm en-
durance in adversity ? Could we teach this lesson
better than by our own example ? And would not
our renunciation have been received as a new
argument proving the impossibility of unity ? The
fundamental vice of Italy, by which she was con-

4 Life & Writings of Mazzini:

demned to impotence, was clearly no lack of desire
of freedom : it was a want of confidence in her
own strength, a tendency to discouragement, and
the want of that constancy of purpose, without
which even virtue is fruitless. It was a fatal want
of harmony between thought and action.

The moral education of the people, by means
of writings and lectures on a scale proportionate to
the necessity of the case, which might have cured
this radical vice, was rendered impossible in Italy
by the scourge of police persecution. A living
apostolate was therefore necessary ; a nucleus of
men strong in determination and constancy, and
inaccessible to discouragement ; men capable of
defying persecution, and meeting defeat with the
smile of faith, in the name of a great idea ; of suc-
cumbing one day but to arise again the next ; men
ever ready to do battle, and, spite of time or ad-
verse fortune, ever full of faith in the final victory.
Ours was not a sect, but a religion of patriotism.
Sects may be extinguished by violence — religions

I shook off my doubts and determined to

It was evident that our work in Italy was un-
avoidably retarded. Some time must be allowed
to elapse in order that our men might recover
themselves, and that our masters might believe
their victory secure and sink again into repose.

Autobiographical & Political. 5

But we might, in the meantime, make up for our
losses at home by exertion abroad, and endeavour
to ensure our second rising the support of foreign
allies and of European opinion.

During the accomplishment of the gradual dis-
solution which I recognised of every foregone re-
generative principle, or initiative of European pro-
gress, I conceived that we might prepare the way for
the only idea I believed to have power to resuscitate
the Peoples — the idea of Nationality — and for the
initiative influence of Italy in the coming move-
ment. Nationality, and the possibility of an Italian
initiative — such was the duplex ruling thought of
all my labours from 1834 to 1837.

Our publications had attracted attention abroad.
The daring attempt upon Savoy had collected a
multitude of exiles around our committee. The
greater number of these were Germans and Poles ;
but there were some from France, Spain, and else-
where. Amongst these I may mention Harro
Haring, a writer of merit and a true pilgrim of
liberty ; for he had fought and striven in her cause
in Poland, Germany, and Greece. Born on the
shores of the North Sea, he cherished the aspiration
and idea of Scandinavian unity ; an idea shared
only by myself at that time, but nevertheless
destined sooner or later to be realised. Before per-
secution should scatter us to different centres, I
determined to sow amonsj these exiles the first

6 Life & Writings of Mazzini :

seeds of that Alliance of the Peoples universally
invoked, but seldom attempted.

The Carbonari, headed in France by Buonarroti,
Teste, and (I think) Voyer d'Argenson, naturally
endeavoured to extend their work into all lands,
and admitted men of every nation into their ranks.
But it was a cosmopolitan association, in the philo-
sophical sense of the word. It recognised only
the human race and individuals; and it regarded
its members simply as individuals. In their Ventes
neither altar nor banner was raised in the name
of the Fatherland. When once initiated, the
Pole, the Russian, the German, all became Car-
bonari and nothing more. Idolatrously worship-
ping the doctrines of the French Revolution,
they went not a step beyond. Their aim was
the conquest for each and all men of what they
termed their rights, rights of liberty and equality,
nothing more. They regarded every collective
idea, and consequently the national idea, as use-
less, or — if judged by its results in the past — as

Theoretically, their error lay in their blindness
to the fact that the individual has no rights except
as a consequence of duties fulfilled ; they forgot
that the law of the individual can only be deduced
from the law of the species ; they denied the
instinct of collective life within us, and the concep-
tion of the work of transformation which every

Atdobiographical éf Political. 7

individual is bound to endeavour to accomplish on
earth for the good of humanity.

Practically, their error lay in attempting to act
with a lever from which the fulcrum was with-
drawn, and thus condemning themselves to im-

"If by cosmopolitanism* we understand the
brotherhood of all men, love for all men, the
destruction of those hostile barriers which separate
and give rise to antagonistic interests among the
peoples — then are we all of us cosmopolitans. But
the mere affirmation of these truths is not sufficient.
The true question for us is the practical question.
How are we to triumph over the league of the
governments founded upon privilege ? This re-
quires an organisation, and every method of organi-
sation requires a determinate starting-point and a
definite aim. Before we speak of putting a lever
in motion, we must not only possess a lever, but a
definite object upon which to exert its power.

" For us the starting-point is Country; the object
or aim is Collective Humanity.

" For those who call themselves cosmopolitans,
the aim may be Humanity ; but the starting-point
is Individual Man.

" This distinction is vital : it is almost identical

* From an article of mine in La Jeune Suisse, 30th March 1836.
The ideas expressed in that article were the ruling ideas of all my
labours in 1834.

8 Life & Writings of Mazzini :

with the distinction which separates the be-
lievers in association from those who recognise no
other instrument of action than unlimited liberty.
Alone in the midst of the immense circle by
which he is surrounded, whose boundaries extend
beyond the limits of his vision ; possessed of no
other weapons than the consciousness of his rights
(often misconceived), and his individual faculties —
which, however powerful, are incapable of extending
their activity over the whole sphere of application
constituting the aim, — the cosmopolitan has but
two paths before him. He is compelled to choose
between despotism and inertia.

" Let us suppose him gifted with a logical in-
tellect. Finding himself unable to emancipate the
world alone, he readily accustoms himself to believe
that the work of emancipation does not concern
him. Unable to achieve the true aim by the ex-
ertion of his unaided individual faculties, he takes
refuge in the doctrine which makes rights both the
aim and the means. When he finds the free ex-
ercise of his rights denied him, he does not combat
or die in their defence ; he either resigns himself to
his fate, or goes elsewhere. He adopts the maxim
of the egotist ; ubi bene ibi patria. He learns to
await better things from circumstances or the na-
tural course of events, and gradually becoming con-
verted into a patient optionist, he limits his own
action for good to the practice of charity. Now

Autobiographical cf Political. 9

he who limits his activity to the practice of mere
charity in times like our own, deserves to be accused
of inertia, and betrays his duty. This sort of
charity was the virtue of an epoch now concluded,
and morally inferior to our own.

" Let us suppose him of illogical mind, and ready
to contradict himself. Desirous of reducing his
idea to action at any cost, and feeling the want of
a fulcrum to his lever, he endeavours to supply the
absence of a real legitimate force by the introduc-
tion of a force either artificial or usurped. Hence
the theories of inequality, the hierarchies, arbitrarily
ordained from the highest to the lowest, into which
the system-monger reformers of the present day
appear doomed to fall. Hence — and this applies
to both our examples — the materialism inevitably
introduced sooner or later into every doctrine based
upon the conception of individuality.

" I do not say that all cosmopolitans accept
these consequences. I merely say that logically
they are bound to admit them. Those who take a
different course follow the impulse of the heart
rather than the teachings of the intellect, and are
with us in fact, although, through long habit or in-
attention to the true significance of words, they are
enamoured of a name.

" The first species of cosmopolitan is but too
common everywhere, and has been frequently re-
presented on the stage. The second is common

io Life & Writings of Mazzini :

amongst writers, especially the French. But all
these soi disant cosmopolitans, who deny the special
mission of the different races, and affect contempt
for the idea and the love of nationality, so soon as
any question of action, and therefore of organiza-
tion, arises, invariably seek to make the centre of
the movement their own country or their own city.
They do not destroy nationality, they only con-
fiscate all other nationalities for the benefit of their
own. A chosen people, a Napoleon-people, is the
last word of all their systems ; and all their nega-
tions of nationality bear within them the germ of
an usurping nationalism ; usurping — if not by force
of arms, which is not so easy at the present day —
by the assumption of a. permanent, exclusive, moral,
and intellectual initiative, which is quite as danger-
ous to those peoples weak enough to admit it, as
any other form of usurpation.*

"The adversaries of the national idea are un-
consciously influenced by a prejudice, which I can
well understand, although I do not share it. They
derive their definition of the word Nationality from

* The doctrines of Christianity itself did not go beyond the con-
ception of the individual, and were of necessity doomed to pass
through the two logical phases of which I have spoken here.

In the first epoch of its existence, Christianity, with regard to the
earthly portion of the human problem, remained inert, resigned, and
contemplative. In the second epoch, when seeking to solve that
problem — in the sublime but unsuccessful attempt of Gregory VII. —
it became despotic. — (1862.)

Autobiographical cf Political. 1 1

the history of the past. Hence their objections
and suspicion.

"But we, believing in the collective life of hu-
manity, reject that past. The nationality we in-
voke can be denned only by the peoples, when free
and associated in brotherhood. The nationality of
the peoples has never existed as yet — it is a thing
of the future. We find no nationality in the past
save that defined by kings, by the treaties drawn
up by privileged families. Those kings thought
only of their own interests, those treaties were
drawn up in the secresy of cabinets by individuals
who had no true mission ; the people had no voice
in them ; they were inspired by no conception of
humanity. How should there be any sacredness
in them ?

" The country of kings was their own family —
their own dynasty and race. Their aim was their
own aggrandisement at the expense of others.
Their whole doctrine might have been summed up
in one proposition — the weakening of the mass, for
the furtherance and security of their own individual

"Their treaties were merely compromises with
necessity ; their every peace was merely a truce ;
their balance of power an attempt to avert possible
attacks, and inspired by a constant sense of hos-
tility and distrust.

" This distrust is revealed in all the dealings of

12 Life £f Writings of Mazzini:

their diplomacy. It determines their alliances, and
is especially evident in that treaty of Westphalia
which forms a portion of European international
law at the present day, the fundamental idea of
which is the assertion and guardianship of the
legitimacy of royal races. Was it possible that the
Europe of kings should either conceive or realise
the idea of association, and the peaceful organisation
of the nations ?

" The Europe of kings recognised no great prin-
ciple superior to all partial and secondary interests ;
no common faith or belief, to serve as a basis and
pledge of stability for its acts. The doctrine of the
legitimacy of royal races consecrated the right of
privileged personages as sole judges and arbitrators
of the future. And the result has been a wretched
nationalism, which is a mere parody upon national-
ity such as we understand it at the present day.

"The great and inevitable opposition to this
false idea of nationality which ensued, was a direct
consequence of the spirit of Christianity, which
admits of no enemies amongst mankind ; and of
the spirit of progress, which has prepared the way
for association. Philosophy and political economy
introduced cosmopolitanism among us. Cosmo-
politanism preached the doctrines of equality of
rights for all men, and of free-trade in commerce
through Anacharsis Clootz, and other orators of
the Convention, created a new literature with ro-

Atttobiographical & Political. 13

manticism, and did in all things what oppositions
generally do ; it exaggerated the consequences of
a principle true in itself, and, seeing none but regal
nationalities, and countries in which the peoples
had no existence, it denied both the fatherland and
the nation, and admitted only the world and man-

" From that time forward the People entered
the arena, and at the present day all things are
transformed by the presence of that new element
of life. Romanticism, commercialism, and cosmo-
politanism are of the past, as things that have ful-
filled their mission. The Nationality, which is the
creation of kings, is now upheld solely by brute
force, and will inevitably be overthrown sooner or
later. The nationalism of the peoples is rapidly
dying out, condemned alike by experience and the
severe lessons taught by the failure of all attempts
at regeneration made by one people alone, or
under the influence of local egotism. The first
people that arises in the name of the new life of
the Peoples will reject all idea of conquests, other
than those achieved by the example and apostolate
of truth. The period of Cosmopolitanism is there-
fore concluded : the period of Humanity has begun.

" Now, Humanity is the association of Nation-
alities, the alliance of the peoples in order to work
out their missions in peace and love ; the organisa-
tion of free and equal peoples that shall advance

14 Lifeàf Writings of Mazzini :

without hindrance or impediment — each supporting
and profiting by the other's aid — towards the pro-
gressive development of one line of the thought of
God, the line inscribed by Him upon the cradle,
the past life, the national idiom, and the physiog-
nomy of each. And in this progress, this God-
directed pilgrimage of the peoples, there will be
neither conquest nor threat of conquest, because
there will be neither man-king nor people-king,
but only an association of brothers whose interests
and aim are identical. The law of duty, openly
acknowledged and confessed, will take the place of
that disposition to usurp the rights of others which
has hitherto governed the relations between people
and people ; and which is in fact naught other than
the foresight of fear. The ruling principle of inter-
national law will no longer be to secure the weakness
of otJiers, but the amelioration of all through the
work of all : the progress of each for the benefit of the

" Such is the future towards which all our efforts
must henceforth be directed.

" But to attempt to cancel the sentiment of the
fatherland from the heart of the peoples — abruptly
to suppress every nationality — to confound the
different missions assigned by God to the different
tribes of the human family — to bring that hierarchy,
formed by providential design, of the various asso-
ciations of men down to the level of I know not what

Atitobiographical & Political. 15

aimless Cosmopolitanism — to clash to pieces the
ladder by which humanity is destined to ascend to
the ideal, — is to attempt the impossible. All labour
directed to that aim would be but labour lost, and
impotent to transform or falsify the character of the
epoch, the mission of which is to harmonise the idea
of fatherland and nationality with the idea of hu-
manity ; but it might retard the accomplishment of
that mission.

" The Pact of humanity cannot be signed by
individuals, but only by free and equal peoples,
possessing a name, a banner, and the consciousness
of a distinct individual existence. If you desire
that the peoples should become such, you must
speak to them of country and nationality, and im-
press in vivid characters upon the brow of each the
sign of their existence and baptism as a nation.

" The peoples will never take a definite initia-
tive until they have a definite part to play. You
must assign this definite part to each. You cannot
complete the work by breaking the instrument :
you cannot apply a lever if the fulcrum be with-

" Nations do not die before they have fulfilled
their mission. You cannot destroy them by deny-
ing that mission ; but you may retard their or-
ganisation and activity."

Such were the ideas by which I believed our
work should be directed, and they were confirmed

1 6 Life & Writings of Mazzini :

by my method of understanding and interpreting
history. I looked upon the long series of epochs
throughout the course of which the progress of
humanity is gradually evolved, as an equation con-
taining many unknown quantities, and saw that
every epoch disengages. one of these quantities in
order — to use the expression of the algebraist —
to transfer it to the number of known quantities
contained in the other member of the equation.

The unknown quantity of the Christian epoch,
concluded by the French Revolution, I believed
(for reasons which I may perhaps develope in
another volume) to be the individual.

The unknown quantity of the new epoch was
collective humanity, and hence I deduced the duty
of association.

The school in which the equation was to be
solved, was Europe : therefore the political organ-
isation of Europe must of necessity precede every
other. And this organisation could only be effected
by the peoples, freely united in a common faith,
and believing in a common aim ; each of them
assuming a definite task and special mission for
the accomplishment of that aim. It would be
necessary to form a new European Charter before
any real advance could take place, before Europe
could recognise a new synthesis, and consecrate to
its realisation the forces now consumed in inter-
necine strife.

Autobiographical & Political. 17

I regarded the question of Nationality — as it
ought to be regarded by all of us — not as a mere
tribute to local pride or local rights, but as a
question of European division of labour ; and I
believed that this question of Nationality was des-
tined to give its name to the century. Italy — the
Italy I foresaw and loved — might, I thought, be-
come the initiatrix of the National movement in
Europe. And she will be so yet, if she free her-
self from her present cowardly and immoral tribe
of rulers, and awaken to a sense of her duty and
her power.

I believed it necessary to extend our labours

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