to Mr. Evarts.
Rome, November 19, 1878. (Received December 7.)
Sir: In anticipation of your telegram of congratulation received yesterday, I had, at an earlier hour, repaired to the foreign office and expressed, to Count Maffei, acting minister of foreign affairs, what I was sure must be the sentiments of the Government and people of the United States on the escape of His Majesty King Humbert from the nefarious attempt upon his life, which has so deeply touched not only his people, but the entire civilized world, so far as the knowledge of it has yet reached. Upon receipt of the intelligence of the event at Rome, M. de Kendell, ambassador of Germany and head of the diplomatic corps at this capital, telegraphed to Mr. Cairoli the congratulations of his colleagues, both on the escape of the King and upon the part which Mr. Cairoli himself had so happily played in defending his majesty against the attack of the assassin.
Upon the first announcement of this event, the feeling of satisfaction at the King’s escape overpowered for the moment the sentiment of horror which the crime now so well calculates to excite, but the deliberate character of the act and its close resemblance to other recent attempts of the same sort are now producing a sense of insecurity and alarm, which cannot fail to be augmented by the atrocious violence perpetrated at Florence on occasion of the demonstration of popular loyalty and gratification at the failure of the detestable act of which the King-was the intended victim.
That the assassin was the instrument of an international or other treasonable conspiracy does not yet appear, and so far as is now known, his crime is an isolated manifestation of the tendencies of certain social influences which seem to be everywhere in action. These influences, though productive of the same effects in Italy as elsewhere, are by no means to be ascribed altogether to the same causes. The Italian people, of the class most easily tempted to crimes of violence, are little influenced by theories as to the rights of man and the abuses of the existing order of society, and are generally moved by personal resentment or cupidity to acts of vengeance or plunder. Something, however, of what is vaguely called internationalism, has found its way among the inferior ranks in Italy, and the apostles of the disorganizing doctrines embraced in that designation are aided by influences, one of which may be said to be peculiar to the kingdom, and to others which are operating at this moment with greater intensity in Italy than in any other country known to me. The first of these causes is the impression produced by the incessant attacks of the partisans of the lately deposed rulers of the country, both lay and ecclesiastical, upon the family of Savoy and their government, as spoilers and usurpers, which, in a large number of citizens of every rank, have prevented the development of a feeling of loyalty to the dynasty, as a rightful depository of the supreme authority, and deprived it of the reverence with which public opinion in many monarchical countries invests loyalty, as in some sort a sacred institution.
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I have, &c.,