Last updated Dec. 12, 1999

Garibaldi's Letter to President Lincoln, August 6, 1863. 1


In the midst of your titanic struggle, permit me, as another among the free children of Columbus, to send you a word of greeting and admiration for the great work you have begun. Posterity will call you the great emancipator, a more enviable title than any crown could be, and greater than any merely mundane treasure, You are a true heir of the teaching given us by Christ and by John Brown. If an entire race of human beings, subjugated into slavery by human egoism, has been restored to human dignity, to civilization and human love, this is by your doing and at the price of the most noble lives in America.

It is America, the same country which taught liberty to our forefathers, which now opens another solemn epoch of human progress. And while your tremendous courage astonishes the world, we are sadly reminded how this old Europe, which also can boast a great cause of liberty to fight for, has not found the mind or heart to equal you.


1. Giuseppe Garibaldi, Scritti politici e militari, ed. Domenico CiÓmpoli, Rome 1907, Vol. I, 350.


General Garibaldi said this about his religious beliefs.

As may be supposed, the priests attacked the General, and accused him far and wide of being an atheist. This false and foolish charge led to his delivering the following address before twenty thousand people at Padua:

"It is in vain that my enemies try to make me out an atheist. I believe in God. I am of the religion of Christ, not of the religion of the Popes. I do not admit any intermediary between God and man. Priests have merely trust themselves in, in order to make a trade of religion. They are the enemies of true religion, liberty, and progress; they are the original cause of our slavery and degradation, and in order to subjugate the souls of Italians, they have called in foreigners to enchain our bodies. The foreigners we have expelled, now we must expel those mitered and tonsured traitors who summoned them. The people must be taught that it is not enough to have a free country, but that they must learn to exercise the rights and perform the duties of free men. Duty! duty! that is the word. Our people must learn their duties to their families, their duties to their country, their duty to humanity"

Garibaldi proceeded next to the University of Padua; and there, standing before the statue of Galileo, he uncovered his head, saying,

"Who, remembering Galileo, his genius and his life, the torture inflicted upon him, the martyrdom he suffered-he, I say, who, remembering this, does not despise the priests of Rome, is not worthy to be called a man or an Italian"

General Garibaldi: The Rule of the Monk; or Rome in the 19th Century, London, 1870, Vol. II, p.91.


Proposals put to an International Congress for Peace at Geneva, 1867 2

1. All nations should be regarded as sisters.

2. War between them should be thought of as impossible.

3. All international quarrels ought to be decided by a Congress.

4. The members of this Congress should be democratically elected.

5. All peoples, however small, should have the right to representation in this Congress.

6. The papacy, being the most harmful of all secret societies, ought to be abolished.

7. I propose that this present Congress should formally adhere to the religion of God, by which I mean those elements of religion that are demonstrably true and reasonable (Scripture alone), and we should pledge ourselves to propagate it.

8. The priesthood of revelation and of ignorance should be replaced by one of wisdom and intelligence.

9. Democracy alone can put an end to wars.

10. The only legitimate wars are those where a tyrant is opposed by those he has enslaved.


2. Giuseppe Guerzoni, Garibaldi: con documenti editi e inediti, Florence, 1882, Vol. 11, 485.


Back to Main Menu