1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cavallotti, Felice

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20131061911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 5 — Cavallotti, Felice

CAVALLOTTI, FELICE (1842–1898), Italian politician, poet and dramatic author, was born at Milan on the 6th of November 1842. In 1860 and 1866 he fought with the Garibaldian Corps, but first attained notoriety by his anti-monarchical lampoons in the Gazzetta di Milano and in the Gazzettina Rosa between 1866 and 1872. Elected to parliament as deputy for Corteolona in the latter year, he took the oath of allegiance after having publicly impugned its validity. Eloquence and turbulent, combativeness in and out of parliament secured for him the leadership of the extreme Left on the death of Bertani in 1886. During his twelve years’ leadership his party increased in number from twenty to seventy, and at the time of his death his parliamentary influence was greater than ever before. Though ambitious and addicted to defamatory methods of personal attack which sometimes savoured of political blackmail, Cavallotti’s eloquent advocacy of democratic reform, and apparent generosity of sentiment, secured for him a popularity surpassed by that of no contemporary save Crispi. Services rendered in the cholera epidemic of 1885, his numerous lawsuits and thirty-three duels, his bitter campaign against Crispi, and his championship of French interests, combined to enhance his notoriety and to increase his political influence. By skilful alliances with the marquis di Rudini he more than once obtained practical control of the Italian government, and exacted notable concessions to Radical demands. He was killed on the 6th of March 1898 in a duel with Count Macola, editor of the conservative Gazetta di Venezia, whom he had assailed with characteristic intemperance of language. By his death the house of Savoy lost a relentless foe, and the revolutionary elements in Italy a gifted, if not entirely trustworthy, leader.  (H. W. S.)