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ART. IV.-1. Lettere di Gino Capponi e di altri a lui. Raccolte e pubblicate da A. CARRARESI. 4 vols. 8vo. Florence: 1882-6.

2. Gino Capponi, i suoi tempi, i suoi studi, i suoi amici. Memorie raccolte da M. TABARRINI. 8vo. Florence: 1879.

3. Gino Capponi, ein Zeit- und Lebensbild. Von A. VON REUMONT. 8vo. Gotha: 1880.

4. Scritti editi e inediti di Gino Capponi. Per cura di M. TABARRINI. 2 vols. 8vo. Florence: 1877.


N the eve of the dissolution of the first Napoleonic Empire a new race of men had sprung up in Italy, different in many respects from any of the generations which had preceded it, and no less unlike the one now living after it. Eighteen years of French occupation (1796-1814) had no doubt inflicted grievous calamities on the country, but were not without some important compensating results for the inhabitants. The invaders had given the long-prostrate nation a standard and a name. They had trained the youth to arms. They had called upon them to be men.

The mass of the people, it is true, would soon have sunk back into its former slough. But submission was not in every case without protest; not without the consciousness of intolerable, unmerited wrong; not without hope of eventual redress. In every town and district of the Peninsula there were interpreters of national aspirations. Every locality had its acknowledged leaders. These were for the most part men of high standing, of independent means, of unblemished character, and considerable attainments. And the most conspicuous of them was the Marquis Gino Capponi of Florence. Gino Capponi was twenty-three years old at the fall of Napoleon, and he died in 1876, in his eighty-fourth year. He went therefore through every phasis of the revival of Italy. He saw the last Austrian battalion rowed out of the Venetian lagoons. He saw the French flag hauled down from the battlements of Castle St. Angelo. He lived to witness all those portentous changes which so many of his fellow-workers and fellow-sufferers had desired to see, but which their shorter span of life did not allow them to see. Capponi's heart-longing was fulfilled. Yet there was for him no unalloyed happiness. Perhaps the success which transcended his most sanguine hopes exceeded also his most ardent wishes. Perhaps he got more than he had bargained for.

Memoirs of Gino Capponi were published in Florence by the senator Marco Tabarrini, in 1879, and in the following year, at Gotha, by Alfred von Reumont, a Prussian diplomatist long a resident of Florence and Rome; both wellknown men and perfectly competent to deal with the subject. But now we have here before us, in four volumes, the whole of Capponi's private correspondence from his early youth to only a few months before his death; 1,045 of his letters addressed to almost every man of note among his European contemporaries and as many of their answers to him; long letters a good number of them, relevant to almost every interesting topic of the day and meant for the intimacy of private intercourse-a mass of documents equally available for a biography of the man and for the history of his time.

This correspondence has been put together with great care by Signor Alessandro Carraresi, for five-and-thirty years in attendance upon the Marquis in the capacity of an amanuensis (his oculus cæco, as Capponi himself called him), during the progress of that ophthalmic affliction which in. 1840 had already disabled him for unassisted literary work, and which ended in total blindness many years before the end of his life.

The first letters in this collection are written in the country at Monsoglio, Varramista, and other of the Capponi villas, in holiday time, to his tutor the Abate Giovambatista Zannoni to whom he was evidently much attached, and whom in later years he addressed in the loving words of Dante to the shade of Brunetto Latini, whose dear, benign, 'paternal image' met him in the lower regions, reminding him of the sage who, when in the flesh, had taught him 'the way to win eternity.'*

To the same kind instructor were also sent the short accounts of Capponi's first juvenile trips to Rome, Naples, and Sicily; nor is the tutor forgotten when, after 1814, peace had re-opened the communication across the Alps, and the young nobleman, complying with the fashion, set out on his two years' European tour, through France to England,

'In la mente m' è fitta, ed or m' accora,
La cara e buona imagine paterna
Di voi quando nel mondo ad ora ad ora

Mi 'nsegnavate come l' uom s'eterna.'

(Inferno, xv. 82.) Lett. 18, to the Abate Zannoni, London, Nov. 5, 1819, vol. i. p. 40.

Scotland, and Ireland, and back vid Holland, Germany, and Switzerland; only returning to Florence at midsummer in 1820. He was then twenty-eight years old, and the tutor had heard reports of the golden opinion' his former pupil had gained wherever he went, by his talents and his good manners doing honour to himself and to his country;' reports which had been to him (Zannoni) one of the 'greatest consolations he had ever experienced.'*

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Capponi came into the world richly endowed by nature and fortune. He belonged to one of those historical families whose name alone is acknowledged as true nobility in a country where titles are from their cheapness of no more account than mere dross. He was tall, handsome, of a manly bearing and refined manners, of studious habits, of ready sympathies; earnest, sociable; and he deserved the designation given to him by Vincenzio Monti and Giulio Perticari of Milan, two of the great lights of the Napoleonic era, who in a joint letter dubbed him the Pattern, or Mirror ' of Gentlemen.' †


Capponi came back from his wanderings an altered man. He awoke as from a dream to find himself famous, but he had to pay dearly for the distinction he had achieved. He was no longer inclined to echo his countrymen's pious wish that the whole world should be but one vast Tuscany.' ‡ The more he had seen of other lands, the less favourably he thought of his miserable country;'§ yet the stronger grew his patriotism. Italy was not what he had believed and wished it to be: the stronger the reason for him to devote his life to making it what it should be. That was henceforth the aim of all his thoughts and deeds.

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Like Alfieri and other noble-minded Italians, Capponi fell in love with England at first sight. I am,' he writes, 'delighted, very greatly delighted, with my stay in England, and prefer it to any other country.' || On the Boulevard, in Paris, he misses those blessed goodly English faces which 'make of a man a rational being.' He envies the friend


* Zannoni's Letter, Nov. 28, 1819, vol. i. P. +Al fiore dei cavalieri.'-Monti and Perticari's Lett., Dec. 31, 1821, Milan, vol. i. p. 134.

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'Deh chè non è tutto Toscana il mondo ?'

§ Lett. 57 to Barone Friddani, Flor., May 23, 1823, vol. i. p. 157. Sto volentieri molto, anzi moltissimo in Inghilterra, e di preferenza a qualunque altro paese.'-Lett. 17, to Marquis Giuseppe Pucci, Dublin, Oct. 13, 1819, vol. i. p. 32.

'Benedette quelle buone faccie degl' Inglesi che ispirano la

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whom he has left in dear Bond Street,'* and in any fit of ill humour he declares that he will go back to Piccadilly and there abide to the end of his days.' He congratulates Foscolo on his living in what is called the land of hypocrisy,' adding that, if he can manage it, he will go back among the hypocrites and be one of them, for hypocrisy at least implies some shame of the vices which other nations seem anxious to parade and boast of.' † He laughs to scorn the fears his friends entertained of the riots which he might have to witness in a country torn by unbridled political factions; contending that no people had so sound an instinct 6 of that order on which true freedom must needs be based as 'the English.' And his valet tells us how they chanced to be at a place called Salisbury at the mayor's election; an occasion on which, he had been told, these people cudgel ' each other within an inch of their lives;' but he, on the contrary, found it all great fun.' He attended his master at the banquet of the mayor-elect, where the Signor Gino proposed the health of the worthy magistrate in an English speech, at which all present greatly marvelled.' §

On the other hand, Capponi could not think of his homeward journey without a shudder. He contrasted the anniversary of the happy day he left Paris with a friend, both bound to London, with the leave-taking from the same friend, in the same city of Paris, but with Capponi this time, alas! on his way back to Florence. He acknowledged that his longing for home has grown much cooler than he would wish; and the idea of his return does not in the least smile upon him.

There was enough indeed in the condition of his country at this juncture to perplex and distress the mind of any man anxious for its honour or welfare. Men were still stunned by the great catastrophe of 1814. They could scarcely believe that the 'independence' so loudly proclaimed ragionevolezza!'-Lett. 47, to Ugo Foscolo, Paris, Dec. 29, 1819, vol. i. p. 47.

Oh beato Bond Street ! Adhæreat lingua mea faucibus meis si non meminero tui !'-Lett. 26, to Ugo Foscolo, vol. i. p. 73. + Lett. 51, to Foscolo, May 10, 1822, vol. i. p. 142.

Lett. 18, to Abate Zannoni, London, Nov. 5, vol. i. p. 37. § Lett. of the valet, Antonio or Tonino Morelli, London, July 18, and Edinburgh, Aug. 18, 1819, vol. i. pp. 33, 35.

p. 98.

Lett. 34, to Count Girolamo Vela, Flor., April 12, 1821, vol. i.

Lett. 26, to Ugo Foscolo, vol. i. p. 73.

by the Allied Powers for all nations should in the case of Italy be construed into an extension of Austria's dominion over a large part of the peninsula and into a boundless increase of her indirect ascendency over the rest. Their minor states, their own princes-the Italians reasonedwhether natives or aliens, ought at least to wish to be masters within their territories; and, that being the case, it ought to be possible for well-meaning subjects to come to terms with them. The Cadiz proclamation on January 1 of that very year (1820) had been sufficient to enable the Spaniards to wrest from their Bourbon a most liberal constitution; and the example had been followed at Naples a few months later with the most signal success. What was there to prevent Piedmont, Parma, Modena, or especially Tuscany, doing the same? or why should not the Italians go their way unmolested, as the Spaniards had hitherto been doing with the applause of Europe, and with the apparent acquiescence of the Allied Sovereigns?

Alas! Capponi's disposition was not sanguine enough to share the common delusion. It was, doubtless, the commotion spread all over the world by the report of those happy, bloodless revolutions which determined his reluctant journey across the Alps. He was still at Geneva in June 1820, and yet able in the following month to send from Florence to his friend Pucci in London a clear account of the situation in Italy, clear though guarded, in consideration of the watchful activity of the police and the insecurity of letters at the post-office. In Naples, he thought, the new order of things proceeded with the same energy which insured from the first the success of the movement. Little to fear from discord or anarchy on the mainland. But matters went otherwise across the Strait, where the Sicilians, with his friend Ruggero Settimo at their head, were standing up for what is now called 'Home Rule'-i.e. for a prince and parliament of their own; insisting on a separation which, he says, were it even expedient for them, 'would be a fatal blow to the common cause.' In Romagna, he continues, there is ferment; but in Piedmont as yet both army and people give no sign. The Government receives daily hints of the party favourable to a constitution; but they know they have to settle accounts with Austria, which threatens an occupation of Alessandria, is sending twentythree regiments into Lombardy, and has entrusted the

*Lett. 29, Flor., Aug. 24, vol. i. p. 83.

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