A History of the Polish Intelligentsia – Part 2
Edited By Jerzy Jedlicki
Chapter 6: Jump into an abyss
Warsaw and the country-at-large, 1862-1864 1. Impatience On 5th May 1860, Giuseppe Garibaldi, together with his thousand valorous men, set forth on two pretendedly hijacked ships from near Genoa, sailing south- wards. 11th May saw him land at the western headland of Sicily; the conquest of Palermo came on 27th May. Two months later, he appeared in Messina: the factual dictator of the whole island. Europe held its breath. A legion of journalists, adventurous tourists and fe- male admirers of the General drifted behind the Redshirts’ camps and supply columns. Thousands of volunteers streamed in, more than filling the gaps caused by the fallen or wounded. August 1860 saw Garibaldi ferry through the strait and cross Calabria like a whirlwind, suppressing the tenfold larger crews of the stupefied King of the Two Sicilies. On 7th September, the minister of police be- trayed his ruler and let Garibaldi into Naples, without a struggle. The victorious commander offered Naples and Sicily, on 26th October, to Victor Emanuel II, King of Sardinia and Piedmont, addressing him, for the first time as ‘the King of Italy’ – true, not the whole of it yet then. This marked the peak moment of his European fame and the legend of the ‘Hero of the Two Worlds’ found a more fertile ground nowhere else than in Po- land. Garibaldi was popular there already before – as a dauntless, although los- ing, defender of the Roman Republic in 1849; young people in the Kingdom, to the fury of Paskevich and...
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