Mr. Iddings to Mr. Hay.

No. 477.]

Sir: I beg leave to inclose herewith a clipping, with translation, from L’ltalie, a daily newspaper printed in Rome in French, and another from the daily newspaper La Tribuna, also published in Rome. That from L’ltalie is of the date of the 25th instant, and that from La Tribuna of the 24th. Both refer to the lynchings at Tallulah and represent fairly public opinion which gets into print. In private conversation Italians seem to understand pretty well how such incidents occur.

I have, etc.,

Lewis Morris Iddings.
[Inclosure 1.—Clipping from L’ltalie of July 25, 1899.]

the tallulah lynching.

It is not necessary for us to describe the feelings of horror with which we are filled by the Tallulah lynching, of which our compatriots were the victims. Unhappily this detestable form of administering justice is one of the customs of the Americans of the United States, and the indignant outcries of the civilized world have not yet been able to report it. As our dispatches announce, the Italian Chargé d’Affaires at Washington has already taken the first steps to obtain reparation for the outrage, and the Federal Government will surely not refuse to accord it.

But this reparation, we do not hesitate to admit, can not go beyond a pecuniary indemnification to the families of the individuals so barbarously lynched, and this only in the event of their not having already taken the first steps toward being naturalized as Americans.

In that case the Federal Government would not be able to do anything.

A number of our confrères are astonished that in the face of a fact so abominable as the lynching of four or five human beings, it should not be possible either to claim, or obtain, a more substantial reparation than the payment of an indemnity, more or less large, to the families of the victims. Nevertheless this is the fact, and all protests against it would be futile.

The Constitution of the United States gives the President of the Republic no power over the internal affairs of the different States. The governor of Louisiana has no account to render to the President of the Confederation in regard to what takes place in his State. The governor is as powerful at home as the President is at Washington. Louisiana has its laws, its magistrates, its parliament, its customs, and if President McKinley should seek to impose his will upon it, he would receive a peremptory refusal, and not only that, but he would raise up against him the whole public opinion of America. This American Constitution is, without doubt an anomaly, above all from the European point of view. It is difficult to admit that a State should not be able to answer for the acts which take place under the shadow of its flag. All idea of reciprocity, which is the basis of good relations, falls in prices. If in a small village of Lombardy, or Piedmont, an American had been outraged, or killed unjustly, it is the Government at Rome that would have to answer for it.; It is therefore incomprehensible that the Washington Government should not do the same when an Italian is injured in Louisiana or Ohio.

[Page 446]

However, the American Constitution is what it is, and must be so accepted. We have not the least doubt but what the Federal Government will do its duty, and that it will do it in the full measure demanded by the atrocity of this last lynching; but our confrères would do well not to expect a larger reparation than can be obtained.

Another question, and a much graver one, ought, in our opinion, to be made the subject of serious discussion in the Italian press. We ought to examine and determine just how far the protection of the Italian Government should be extended to its emigrants. For our part we maintain that it is absurd to wish to protect two million men scattered to the four corners of the earth, and who expatriated themselves solely for their own personal benefit.

There is no government in the world that can protect, under all possible and imaginary conditions, so numerous a body of men, the greater number of whom offer insufficient guaranties. The Government ought to free itself from such a burden, and declare by a law that it extends its protection only to Italians traveling abroad, and not to those who settle there for reasons of personal interest. It is the only wise measure to adopt. If the question should be seriously discussed, we would not hesitate to prove it by means of arguments, in our opinion, unanswerable. Unhappily, however, it is no longer possible to discuss thoroughly, either in Parliament or in the press, the great problems which interest the country. Could this question of protection to emigrants ever give rise to a ministerial crisis? Not at all. Therefore—(alors).