Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 4, no. 25, November 1859

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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 25, November, 1859

by Various (#25 in our series by Various)
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Title: Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 25, November, 1859
Author: Various
Release Date: November, 2005 [EBook #9391] [This file was first posted on September 28, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

E-text prepared by Joshua Hutchinson, Tonya Allen, and Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders


Late in the autumn of 1836, an Austrian brig-of-war cast anchor in the harbor of New York; and seldom have voyagers disembarked with such exhilarating emotions as thrilled the hearts of some of the passengers who then and there exchanged ship for shore. Yet their delight was not the joy of reunion with home and friends, nor the cheerful expectancy of the adventurous upon reaching a long-sought land of promise, nor the fresh sensation of the inexperienced when first beholding a new country; it was the relief of enfranchised men, the rapture of devotees of freedom, loosened from a thrall, escaped from _surveillance_, and breathing, after years of captivity, the air where liberty is law, and self-government the basis of civic life. These were exiles; but the bitterness of that lot was forgotten, at the moment, in the proud consciousness of having incurred it through allegiance to freedom, and being destined to endure it in a consecrated asylum. In that air, when first respired, on that soil, when first trod, they were unconscious of the lot of strangers: for there the vigilant eye of despotism ceased to watch their steps; prudence checked no more the expression of honest thought or high aspiration; manhood resumed its erect port, mind its spontaneous vigor; nor did many moments pass ere friendly hands were extended, and kindly voices heard, and domestic retreats thrown open. Their welfare had been commended to generous hearts; and the simple facts of their previous history won them respectful sympathy and cordial greeting.
Prominent amid the excited group was a tall, well-knit figure, whose high, square brow, benign smile, and frank earnestness bespoke a man of moral energy, vigorous intellect, and warm, candid, tender soul. Traces of suffering, of thought, of stern purpose were, indeed, apparent; but with and above them, the ingenuousness and the glow of a brave and ardent man. This was ELEUTARIO FELICE FORESTI,--subsequently, and for years, the favorite professor of his beautiful native language and literature in New York,--the favorite guest and the cherished friend in her most cultivated homes and among her best citizens,--the Italian patriot, which title he vindicated by consistency, self-respect, and the most genial qualities. The vocation he adopted, because of its availability, only served to make apparent comprehensive endowments and an independent spirit; the lady with whom he read Tasso, beside the chivalrous music of the "Jerusalem Delivered," learned to appreciate modern knighthood; and the scholar to whom he expounded Dante, from the political chart of the Middle Ages, turned to an incarnation of existent patriotism. Not only by the arguments of Gioberti, the graphic pictures of Manzoni, and the terse pathos of Leopardi, did he illustrate what Italy boasts of later genius; but through his own eloquent integrity and magnetic love of her achievements and faith in her destiny. The savings of years of patient toil were sacrificed to the subsistence of his poor countrymen who came hither after bravely fighting at Rome, Venice, Milan, and Novara, to have their fruits of victory treacherously gathered by aliens. Infirmity, consequent upon early privation and the unhealed wounds of long-worn chains, laid the stalwart frame of the brave and generous exile on a bed of pain. He uttered no complaint, and whispered not of the fear which no courage can quell in high natures, that of losing "the glorious privilege of being independent": yet his American friends must have surmised the truth; for, one day, he received a letter stating that a sum, fully adequate
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