Count Vinci to Mr. Adee.


Sir: In your excellency’s note of the 9th instant, in reply to my previous communication of the 8th instant, in which I had the honor to transmit to your Department of State the report which I had received from Cavaliere Romano concerning the Tallulah lynching, you alluded to the weight of the documents issued by the district court of the seventh district of Louisiana and parish of Madison to the three Difatta brothers, which documents accompanied the said report of Cavaliere Romano.

Your excellency remarked that it appears from those documents that, by a decision of a competent court, the Difatta brothers had acquired full and final rights as citizens of the United States and of Louisiana.

As this construction does not agree with that which I placed upon the documents in question, I have the honor to set forth the reasons which have induced this royal embassy to come to the opposite conclusion.

According to the laws of the United States, as stated in section 2165 et seq. of the Revised Statutes of the United States, a foreigner may become a citizen of the United States in the following order and in no other:

He must make a declaration under oath, at least two years before his definite admission to citizenship, that it is his intention to become a citizen of the United States.
At the time of his admission, at least two years after the first declaration, he must make a second declaration, renouncing all allegiance to any other sovereign, etc.

This being the case, the documents issued by the district court of [Page 458] the seventh district of Louisiana, parish of Madison, not being in conformity with the provisions of the said sections of the Revised Statutes of the United States, do not appear to this royal embassy strictly regular, or such as to confer full United States citizenship upon the Difatta brothers.

They must either be regarded as the first naturalization papers—and in that case the decision of the said district court is irregular and void, because, contrary to the laws of the United States, it was pronounced, not after at least two years, but on the very day on which the Difatta brothers made their first declaration of intention—or they must be regarded as second and final naturalization papers, and the irregularity is evident in this case likewise, because it appears from the documents themselves that the first declaration of intention, instead of having been made at least two years previously, as required by the laws of the United States, was not made by the Difatta brothers until the very day on which the said district court declared them citizens of the United States.

For these reasons this royal embassy is of the opinion that Francisco, Carlo (alias Pasquale), and Giuseppe Difatta had not acquired United States citizenship and were still Italian subjects.

I shall be much obliged to your excellency if you will kindly inform me of the views of the Department of State with regard to the foregoing opinions; and, thanking you in advance, I avail myself, etc.,

G. C. Vinci.