no. 18, p. 72 Thursday May 3/1810
Pontremoli, April 15
On the 9th day of this month, at 10 o'clock in the evening, the famous sig. Alexandro Malaspina, of the Marquisate of Mulazzo, passed away in the prime of life at the age of about 55. His plentiful and rare talents in the most difficult sciences, his voyages around the globe, his pitiful circumstances (which nonetheless never oppressed him), the greatness of his mind, as well as of his birth, may serve to awaken some fluid and elegant pen to accord him praise commensurate with his worth. The conspicuous philosophical resignation of him to whom this praise is due and his extraordinary spiritual calm, constantly maintained throughout the entire course of a long and painful illness, were other characteristics of his soul which well deserve to be known and admired. It was the Capuchin Lecturer, Father Domenico Vincenzo da Parma (the learned and elegant orator who for the past two Lents has fulfilled, to universal acclaim, the apostolic office in our cathedral) who assisted him in his last hours. Subsequently, our foremost medical practitioner, Dr. Jacopo Barbieri (1), having performed the autopsy on the corpse in the presence of the physician Dr. Giuliani and other professors, found a large scirrotic tumour, which had already progressed to the cancerous state, in the lower extremity of the colon, a great part of the rectum and thereabouts; this was the cause of his death, as was foreseen by the experienced professor Barbieri from the very first moment he was called to attend (2).
(*) This newspaper is irrecoverable. The text here translated is drawn from a manuscript by the Florentine Giuseppe Stiozzi Ridolfi. This friend of Malaspina copied the article and sent it to Father Massimiliano Ricca, who proposed to write the obituary of the Navigator. (APSF, Ricca-Malaspina Collection, document 80.)
(1) Jacopo Barbieri was a well-known and well-regarded doctor in Pontremoli. See N. MICHELOTTI, "Alessandro Malaspina nella Pontremoli primo Ottocento," Il Corriere Apuano, November 16 & 23/1985.
(2) This is the only known reference to the nature of Malaspina's illness.
Text and modern Italian version courtesy of Dario Manfredi, translated by John Black.
Updated: January 21, 2015