The Collected Letters, Volume 28


JWC TO KATE STERLING ; 16 February 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530216-JWC-KS-01; CL 28: 44-45


Wednesday night [16? February 1853]

Dearest Kate

Mrs Hawks had a very little note from him this morning. from which I understand the whole miserable business. In forty eight hours more, the Insurrection was to have broken out in a great many towns at once. But a dis[c]overy1 had been made at Milan of the Milan part of it—and a search for Arms was the consequence— They failed in discovering the depot of arms, indeed the whole of what is called the Material of War remains intact—but these poor men, some seventy in all knew that they were doomed and said “better to die fighting than on the scaffaold”2—and rushed out with their poinards not in hope of overturning the government but of obtaining themselves a handsome death— A great number of Mazzinis and Kossuth's proclamations were in readiness to be circulated at the commencement of the general insurrection and these unfortunates had obtained two copies; that was all that were “posted up” but enough to give the stamp of Mazzini's authority to the madness in the eyes of all Europe.3 When Mazzini heard what had been dis[c]overed,4 he sent an express to every town except Bologna where the conspiracy was on foot to order them to keep quiet—to Milan also he sent but the answer was from these few poor fellows “We will die fighting not like sheep be butchered” Mazzini is still safe so far as a man can be safe in a country where every means of travelling is cut off—and not a soul allowed to pass out of it—he speaks nevertheless of returning to England in two months— He says that he knows nothing of Saffi and Pestrucci5 except that they are not taken—what a fright Madam Pepoli would have been in had she known of the volcano under her feet at Bologna. I trust nothing has happened there Mazzini dreaded it might compromise itself not having time to warn it—

your loving