File No. 2976/16.
Memorandum from the Italian Embassy.
Washington , February 15, 1908 .
By a “memorandum” dated December 23 last, the Department of State was pleased to advise the royal embassy that it had received assurances from the governor of the State of Kentucky that there was no further danger of a recurrence of the regretted disturbances [Page 491] affecting the stores of tobacco belonging to His Majesty’s Government, The governor himself had also added that he had taken steps to have the situation thorughly inquired into, and should protection be found necessary, he would not fail to take immediate measures for the protection of the Italian Government’s interests at the places named.
In fact, while the state of things would at present appear to be more reassuring, the serious attempt—happily balked by the watchman of the property—to destroy, in the night of the 28th to 29th of January last, the factory of the Royal Government, of Madisonville, Ky., by fire and petroleum, and other damages inflicted by well-known assailants on various tobacco planters, leave room for a suspicion that the present truce is but transient and that, a few weeks hence, when the stores are well stocked with tobacco, grave occurrences will again take place unless the protective action of the State authorities be effective and energetic.
As in Kentucky, the situation in the State of Tennessee appears to give cause for serious apprehension. Indeed, facts of special gravity have quite recently taken place there, among which it may be well to recall, for instance, the attempt of three negroes—probably acting for others—to destroy by means of petroleum and dynamite the Royal Government’s factory (Hayes Sory Tobacco Co.) at Clarksville, Tenn., in the night of the 21st and 22d of January last. Fortunately, they were discovered in time by the watchman of the place and the criminal act, which might have caused enormous loss of life and property if carried out, was energetically defeated.
His Majesty’s Government having four large tobacco factories in Kentucky [Tennessee] (Clarksville, Springfield, Martin, and Paris) finds in these threatening prospects serious reason to apprehend injury to its interests in that State also. The royal embassy, therefore, while renewing its appeal to the Federal Government in order that it will by all means at its disposal urge upon the proper authorities of Kentucky the continuance of the measures of prevention and protection they have initiated and promised, earnestly begs that the attention of the governor of Tennessee be promptly called to the alarming condition of affairs hereinbefore set forth, so that nothing be omitted on his part to avert by prompt and energetic provisions the apprehended occurrence of unpleasant incidents.