The Italian Alessandro Gavazzi was a remarkable character. Priest, patriotic propagandist and preacher, he exercised considerable influence in mid-nineteenth century Scotland. Born to a diplomatic and legal family, he was the son of a professor of law in the University of Bologna. After entering the Barnabite order at fifteen, he subsequently proved a remarkably popular preacher in Naples, Leghorn and Northern Italy before serving four years in Parma, 1841–44. He claimed to have preached 4,000 sermons in fifteen years. Later when a prison chaplain-general supervising some 5,000 inmates, his reading of Beccaria turned him to penal reform and the abolition of capital punishment. In Perugia, he was alienated by the reactionary clerical domination of the university. After further service in Spoleto, Assisi, Ancona and Pieve he was silenced for his fiery liberal views until after the election of Pius IX in June 1846.