78 – The Conscripts Substitute
While the fierce war of 1848 was raging and covering the beautiful hills and valleys of Italy with many dead and wounded, a young man was, by the law of conscription of his country, called to the perils of the battle-field. The father’s tender affection led him to try every means to procure a substitute – but all in vain. One of the young man’s cousins, his noble and generous heart touched, took his hand and said ‘Cesare, thy sorrow is worse than death to me; give me thy uniform; it will fit me, I will go to the battlefield in thy stead. If I should die, only remember that I have loved thee’. The brave fellow at last persuaded Cesare to accept this proof of his friendship; so they went to the War Office to settle the substitution. In the excess of his gratitude the conscript’s father offered the cousin £100 but he refused it, saying ‘it is love not money that leads me to take his place.’ He went, he fought, he died. A grateful heart raised a monument to his memory, with this epitaph “the redeemed conscript Cesare Manati, to his voluntary substitute Carlo Donaldi.” But a faint shadow of the unbounded love of Jesus, the Son of God. He came and “gave His life a ransom ”He died for thee, reader.