Mr. Marsh to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I shall avail myself of the earliest private opportunity to forward to you the journals and other publications recently issued at Turin which contain the history of the deplorable events of the last week, and of the negotiations [Page 337] which led to these events, with such observations on them as the best information at my command suggests. In the mean time, for reasons which need not be suggested, I limit myself to the statement of a very few facts. The number of lives lost in the collisions between the citizens, the police, and the soldiery, is believed to be larger than has been publicly admitted. Some well-informed persons estimate it at not less than a hundred, but I think that this is probably an exaggeration.
There is good reason to believe that the police is in a great measure responsible for the first resort to actual violence; and the government has tacitly admitted this by dissolving the branch of that service which is thought especially culpable.
As to the conduct of the ministry of the interior, which is fiercely assailed, it is difficult to get at the truth; but I find it impossible to resist the conclusion that a less precipitous and more conciliatory course on its part would have saved the effusion of much of the innocent blood which has been shed—I say innocent, because it is positively asserted, and is, so far as I know, an undisputed fact, that not one of the citizens killed or wounded was found to have been armed.
It is also stated, and I have not seen the statement contradicted, that the death of most, if not all, of the soldiers who were killed is to be ascribed to the folly of their commanders, who posted them on three sides of a public square of no great extent, so that when the order was given to fire on the crowd in the centre the opposite lines of troops were exposed, at very short range, to each other’s balls.
General La Marmora has not yet succeeded in forming a ministry. Baron Ricasoli has been in consultation with La Marmora, and it is hoped that he will accept a place in the cabinet. No man deserves or enjoys the confidence of the Italian people in a higher degree than Ricasoli, and I know of nothing which would go further to calm the present excitement than his acceptance of the position of minister of foreign affairs.
The Opinione, of this city, which was understood to be the special organ of Mr. Monghetti, and which, I suppose, expresses the views of General La Marmora, admits this morning, for the first time, that the treaty which had been declared by the government journals to be already complete and binding must be submitted to Parliament.
The stipulations of the convention have not yet been made public, and of course it is impossible to pronounce at present how far the sanction of the legislature is required for its validity.
The fifth section of the constitution of 1848 is as follows:
“The executive power belongs to the King alone. He is the supreme head of the state; commands all the forces by land and by sea; concludes treaties of peace, alliance, commerce, and others, giving notice thereof to the Chambers as soon as the interest and the safety of the state permit, and adding the necessary communications. Treaties involving a burden to the finances or changes of the territory of the state shall not have effect until the assent of the Chambers is obtained.”
The written treaty may be unobjectionable, but it is hardly to be supposed that Parliament will sustain the government in carrying out any convention without satisfactory assurances as to the nature and extent of the secret articles and moral guarantees which may accompany it.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.