The New Italian America
The New Italian America
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines Celso Cesare Moreno's role in a new Italian America as a kind of senior mediator between the American establishment and the immigrant “reality.” After suffering defeat in the Italian elections, Moreno returned to the United States to resume his lobbying activities in Congress and the White House. In the new America, he discovered that Italian emigration and newspapers have both grown numerically. This chapter shows how Moreno emerged as an influential spokesman and a combative defender for Italian Americans. The discussion focuses on Moreno's lobbying, beginning with his involvement in the U.S. presidential election of 1884, followed by his campaign against the padrone system which he had denounced in the 1870s. The chapter also considers Moreno's dispute with Baron Francesco Saverio Fava, Italy's first ambassador to Washington; his testimony in both the Senate and the House of Representatives regarding immigration; and his imprisonment for libel.
Returning to the United States, Moreno resumed his now long-standing habits as a lobbyist in Washington, buzzing around the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House. In the White House garden he cut cinnamon and coffee leaves to send to Faldella and explained that he had collected the seeds of those plants in Sumatra and replanted them there in the past.1 Newspapers remained an integral part of his world. Moreno continuously proposed articles and submitted letters to a number of Italian, Italian American, and American papers (above all the Washington Post, which became one of his regular outlets, although his pieces were submitted as letters to the editor). At the same time, he maintained, as was his custom, a robust correspondence with numerous personalities on both sides of the Atlantic. His disappointment over the failed election had to be strong, but the Capitano Marittimo—as we have often observed—was not the type to be discouraged: “There are injustices and misfortunes which make man superior. I am sorry that I have not yet received and endured enough!” he confided to Faldella.2
The America in which Moreno resumed his place was very different from the place he had left only four years earlier. Italian immigration was, (p.124) numerically, relatively small during the “heroic” times of his first campaign against the exploitation of the “child slaves” but in the meantime it had transformed into a full river. In addition to the pioneering newspapers in New York and San Francisco, L’Eco d’Italia and La Voce del Popolo, there were numerous other newspapers for the many Italian communities now present in almost all the states of the union. On September 29, 1880, Il Progresso Italo-Americano began publication in New York. It was destined to become the most popular and longest-lived Italian newspaper in America, and its example encouraged the birth of others. Giovanni Francesco Secchi de Casali, Moreno’s old friend turned bitter enemy, had transformed his Eco d’Italia into a daily, and in subsequent years other daily newspapers would emerge, from San Francisco’s L’Italia (1886) to New York’s Cristoforo Colombo (1887) and L’Araldo Italiano (1894), to Philadelphia’s La Voce del Popolo (1893), as well as many periodicals, including Philadelphia’s weekly Il Vesuvio and Chicago’s L’Italia, both launched in 1886.
Moreno, who in some way belonged to the “aristocracy” of Italian pioneers in America (not a few of whom watched the spectacle of the new mass immigration with a certain unease, so miserable and different were they from the old exiles of the Risorgimento), did not hesitate to make contact with this new reality, soon becoming a sort of star in the Italian press, which was inclined to take an interest in a man who was always making news and who did not hesitate to use the pen as a hatchet. Moreno was able to inject himself into the new Italian American context as a kind of senior mediator between the American establishment and the immigrant “reality,” an influential spokesman and a combative defender. In this capacity, as he attempted to write a new and updated chapter in his historic battle against “Italian slavery” in America, he began to take an active role in the initiatives and public demonstrations promoted by many emigrant associations.
Italian emigration was becoming an exodus of biblical proportions. The poorest of the Mezzogiorno swelled its ranks, with unprecedented waves of illiterate and very poor laborers, and ethnic prejudice grew around them. White, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant America watched the new “wops” and “dagoes” with horror and an attitude very different from the warmth and sympathy with which they had viewed the arrival of the heroes of the Risorgimento. Moreno, the fortunate pioneer who was fated to have relationships with the most eminent American statesmen, had suddenly become a rather authoritative spokesman for a minority that disturbed the dreams of the conformists and occupied Protestant missionaries busy bringing the light of civilization to the fetid slums now called “Little Italy.” (p.125) It was a world that needed to be led by the hand through the difficult process of Americanization.
An important test for Moreno presented itself almost immediately with the 1884 presidential campaign. The choice was between his friend James G. Blaine, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, senator, and secretary of state; and Grover Cleveland, the Democratic candidate who won the election, becoming the twenty-second president of the United States. Moreno presided over a meeting of five hundred naturalized Italians at the Fencing Academy on Baxter Street in New York. He explained, with his famous rhetorical fervor, that Blaine was a statesman. In the course of his career he had proved himself the “Demosthenes of both Houses,” as well as “the Cavour of this Republic,” illustrious precedents that would certainly have allowed him, once elected, “to immortalize” his administration. With his typical didactic tone, Moreno told his compatriots that the Democratic party was not what that adjective meant in Italy or in Europe, but that instead its leaders were all “well-known businessmen,” which made them very different from the Republicans, whose party was “the advocate and protector of the worker” and, even more important, “of the Italian exiles.” He called on them to take an active role in the politics of their adopted country, a call received with thunderous applause and bolstered by Moreno’s election to the presidency of a new Italian American Republican association. Over the years, for reasons that we will see, the Captain would become an admirer of Cleveland, and he remained loyal to him even after his defeat by Benjamin Harrison. Moreno even predicted Cleveland’s 1893 reelection and openly sided with the Democrats, accusing the Republicans of relying on a “terrible” Italian delegation to the national party committee.3
The Italian American arena was an interesting diversion, to be cultivated methodically and profitably. But there remained many other things for Moreno to do, and some of them, as we know, were particularly close to his heart. In Washington, the Captain waited while Congress debated “a subsidy of several million dollars for my Transpacific cable” to complete the concession already obtained.4 The captain also said that he was grappling with a book that he also wanted to publish in Italy, perhaps with Sommaruga, which had published Faldella’s Roma borghese. He also announced the American publication of another book “towards the end of November, at the opening of Congress.”5 He did not lose sight of the Hawaiian situation, and he followed developments in Italian politics with almost morbid interest. He felt the need to make his voice heard on one of the most sensational cases of the time, an incident which gripped Italy and (p.126) elsewhere: the conviction of Professor Pietro Sbarbaro, a journalist and republican member of Parliament, for defamation. He expressed what he claimed was the opinion of an “eminent” American senator, namely that the Italian courts had behaved like their colleagues during the time of Savonarola.6
But overseas adventures were of even greater interest to him. He had much to say on the topic, and in August 1881 he sent his friend Faldella the draft of a document that he claimed would provide Luigi Roux’s Gazzetta Piemontese with a tantalizing scoop about the behavior of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pasquale Stanislao Mancini. “To you, Mr. Faldella, my good cannoniere … I entrust this bomb. Shoot it from the cannon of Mr. Roux and others.” However, we do not know what was in the news bomb, which would supposedly have revealed “governmental gangrene.” The Gazzetta decided not to pounce on it. But Minister Mancini’s profile was such that we can guess the issue of contention. Mancini was the architect of Italy’s entrance into the Triple Alliance with Austria and Germany in 1882, an alliance that Moreno called “the hybrid alliance of the month of June with the month of January.”7 Mancini was also a staunch proponent of colonialism, which began that year with the occupation of the Eritrean port of Assab. He resigned in 1885, when he was unable to obtain a majority to support his policies in the Chamber of Deputies.
In Moreno’s view, Italy, its ministers, and its diplomats cared little and poorly for foreign affairs. “Is it possible that as soon as they enter into the diplomatic corps these men become moles and rabbits if not puppets in the hands of the bureaucracy?” the Captain asked.8 On another occasion he could not help but remark, “The ministers of Vittorio Emanuele let the great opportunity of Sumatra escape. Umberto paid too dear a price for the arid beaches of Africa. They do not realize that they are fighting the battles of the weak, perfidious, selfish, and greedy shopkeepers of England. O what blindness!”9
The subject was certainly not new. But in this new climate of mass emigration it took on a different dimension. Moreno, used to being a player, could not tolerate the fact that upstart emigrants, the so-called prominenti, could overshadow him, perhaps with the complicity of the diplomatic representatives, whom he resumed attacking with his usual contempt because he considered them “ignorant, incompetent, timid, and corrupt” to the point that “the prestige of the Italian name is going quickly into the Sun Set [sic].”10 Now, however, the wrongdoings of these “ministers and consuls” were enough “to shame and make even the most skeptical blush.” It foreshadowed the imminent resumption of his campaign against the “trafficking (p.127) of young Italian slaves and adult men and women” and now even seemed to affect the Crown’s behavior. Moreno wrote to Faldella that “recently the Queen of Italy wanted to mimic her husband’s ministers and made the mistake of appointing four daughters of tavern keepers, shopkeepers, grocers, and butchers of America as ladies of her court, thus giving the women of Italy an inferiority complex. This is an undeserved and cruel insult.”11
We do not know whom Moreno was specifically talking about. But he is clearly referencing the widespread custom among the Italian American prominenti and their family members of trying and often succeeding in obtaining absurd, impressive-sounding honorifics to solidify their new social status. These steps up the social ladder, which the immigrant press stressed emphatically and often with unintentional humor, harmed Italy’s reputation and made “those abroad believe us a people in decline,” unable to withstand competition from other nations.
It was in this context that he reached his decision to wage a new battle against the exploitation of Italians. It was no longer just the painful issue of the wandering children but a much larger problem involving tens of thousands of people and enormous economic interests that could unleash dangerous social and labor tensions against the newcomers. Italians were extremely low-priced labor at the mercy of their unscrupulous compatriot intermediaries, the bosses or padroni who easily recruited them from the multitudes of the new immigrants.
The Captain was alert, sniffing the wind. He had just returned to America when the columns of Il Progresso began to get worked up over the problem. In June 1884 he found a more effective platform in the New York Herald, which interviewed him on the tenth anniversary of the passing of the so-called Moreno Bill. Moreno said that between Mulberry and Baxter Street there were hundreds of “men, women, and children that are owned, body and soul, by men, some of whom are wealthy and go around the world with their head held high, with a great pretense of respectability.”12
The 1874 law had some effect on preventing the false adoption of children, but now the situation was “worse than before,” with cases of mistreatment comparable to those in the American South before the Civil War. Moreno spoke about poor people who arrived in America ignorant of everything and fell into the trap of the padroni. They signed illegal contracts believing that they were under the protection of generous compatriots who would protect them against Americans’ hatred and contempt. In this way, the immigrants became heavily indebted to the padroni and this debt was the chain from which they could never free themselves. In the (p.128) end, “instead of earning something to take back home, as everyone hoped when they came to America to ‘make their fortune,’ they were poorer than when they had arrived.”13
In January 1885, Moreno raised his voice to denounce the existence of an organization that recruited Italian “slaves” in America on a vast scale. The occasion arose when the city of Washington, D.C., through Commissioner Lydecker, refused an offer from two Italian “businessmen,” the owners of the firm Bertola, Gennaro & Co., who “promised to provide any number of Italian workers (read: slaves) for any work in Washington.” Not content to stop there, they asked interested potential contractors to send them their address. Lydecker had detected the scam and avoided it. In a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, Moreno observed that it was certainly not the first time that someone tried to import “cheap slave labor” in the nation’s capital as well as many other cities. He claimed to be well informed about trafficking by similar “crooked padroni” who formed a vast and multipronged organization with the support of “friends and accomplices” in all states. He recalled having already addressed the problem in 1873–74, at the time of the Moreno Bill, and hoped that Congress would again address it, perhaps passing a new law that would push the “infamous padroni and their equally infamous accomplices back into the sea.”14
The timing of Moreno the lobbyist was admirable: Congress was working on an “imported contract labor bill” to suppress large-scale labor contracting like the padrone system in effect among Italian immigrants and others in America. Always in search of transatlantic support for his convoluted maneuvers, Moreno found it in one of the proponents of the Patto di fratellanza, the operaista (labor organizer) Antonio Maffi. He sent Maffi copious documentation about the problem of the padroni and their alleged accomplices whom he claimed were in the consulates. Maffi encouraged him to pursue the issue, offering to call the government’s attention to this disgrace.15
Only those who remembered the “Moreno style” exhibited fifteen years earlier could have understood that behind those references to “friends” and “accomplices” gathered threatening storm clouds, and that before long the new campaign would erupt, recalling his memorable duel with Consul De Luca. Perhaps the first references to specific people were in a long article called “Italian Slavery” published on April 12, 1885, in the Philadelphia Times. Moreno, introduced as a former member of parliament who had “an important position among Europe’s men of thought,” accused Consul Arrigo Pignatelli of being the head padrone in Philadelphia, succeeding (p.129) Count Galli in this position. He then proceeded to accuse several other people in various cities.16
After this sortie, the frequency of Moreno’s denunciations became impressive. He was at the head of constant, obstinate journalistic activity in the newspapers, Italian American organizations, and important labor organizations like the Knights of Labor. On February 26, 1886, the Captain appeared in Washington in front of the House Labor Committee, presided over by Congressman Foran of Ohio, and testified in support of the law to abolish the padrone system.
Moreno dredged up the past, returning to his accusations against Consul De Luca, and claimed that at least eighty thousand Italian “slaves” had been transported to America. New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, in that order, were the three cities most affected by the phenomenon. In Chicago, Moreno continued, the Italian consul (in reality a consular agent), Agostino Scuitti, was involved in trafficking. He was the “principal owner” of approximately five thousand slaves. In Philadelphia, Consul Galli and his assistants, Pignatelli, Scarlatti, and Rondinella, were involved; in Baltimore, Consul Barrilis; in Denver, Consul Cupelli; as well as the Consul of San Francisco. According to Moreno, the traffic was overseen in several places in New York, and the Captain provided the addresses: 85 Broadway, 15 Center Street, and a house on Mulberry Street, in the heart of Little Italy. Moreover, the trafficking “organ” was the newspaper L’Eco d’Italia, while the head of the New York padroni was Joseph Vallosio. (Moreno had argued with him in 1873 during the Associazione Donnarumma’s annual picnic.) Moreno claimed that Vallosio was the “night watchman” of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and in cahoots with Luigi Palma di Cesnola, the museum’s director. Another Italian of high reputation, Doctor Tullio de Suzzara Verdi, was supposedly the organization’s head in Washington. Therefore, Moreno asked Congress to pass a law prohibiting the traffic and a resolution requiring the secretary of state to make the Italian government recall its “corrupt Italian consuls.”17
When they published the news, the newspapers also included the perspectives of the accused. The New York Times interviewed Francesco Zanolini, one of the owners of L’Eco d’Italia, who called Moreno’s accusations the ravings of an “agitator” who had previously attacked almost all the Italians of a certain rank living in the United States. They could trace his accusations against the newspaper to his years-long resentment over imaginary wrongs inflicted by its founder and former owner Giovanni Francesco Secchi de Casali. L’Eco d’Italia made a similar statement to the Washington Post: The editor said, “In Italy, we find better material with (p.130) which to fill our papers.” Giovan Barrista Raffo, the consul in Washington, called the accusations “absurd” and made by a person “unworthy of belief.” His deputy said that Moreno was definitely crazy. American journalists asked their Italian American colleagues for insight. Moreno, the editors of L’Eco told them, “is always trying to make trouble. We do not consider him or his statements worthy of notice. He is simply a tramp, in one place today and another tomorrow, picking up a precarious living.”
Italian American journalists could not find enslaved Italians, at least not in New York, where many immigrants were very poor and engaged in very hard labor. Perhaps many were also dirty and inclined to use a knife, but in no case could the picture Moreno painted be considered truthful.18 The Chicago Tribune briefly spoke with Consul Scuitti, who, when the reporters informed him of the accusations that had been made, showed great astonishment and claimed to be completely uninvolved in the alleged activities. He added that he only knew Moreno by reputation and that he did not like him. Some time back, Moreno had claimed that there were three thousand enslaved Italian children in Chicago alone, and that news had proved completely false.
The next day, also pressed by reporters for the Tribune, Consul Scuitti gave an extended interview with was prominently published.19 The reporter who visited Scuitti in his office wrote that the Genoese septuagenarian had quick black eyes, was “gray-headed, and with a bountiful beard, white and flowing “and was “sitting at his desk, with a trembling pen in his hand and old-fashioned, silver-rimmed spectacles near the tip of his nose.” He looked like an old gentleman “without a moral or intellectual trait of the slave-driver or padrone.” Scuitti asked how he could have been the owner of fifty thousand Italian slaves when all the Italians in Chicago added up to sixty thousand at most. And besides, there was no trace of slaves in Chicago. Scuitti had been at his post for ten years, since Consul General De Luca had appointed him in 1876,20 and he did not have the slightest knowledge of the existence of a padrone system. He admitted, however, he had previously received some sign, though he claimed he had never been able to prove the validity of the accusations. Therefore, he believed that if something of the sort—particularly child slaves—existed, there was no one responsible for it in Chicago. Italian law, said Scuitti, would never have permitted anything like it:
You cannot take Italian children here without the consent of their parents or guardians. If an Italian living in Chicago wanted to bring his wife or children here, he must come to me and obtain a certificate (p.131) which says that he will be able to support them after their arrival and promise to send the children to school, and only on the basis of this statement will they get permission to emigrate from the Italian government. And then, in New York and elsewhere, there have been founded organizations to suppress any deal that favors the padroni. So you see how absurd and false Moreno’s claims are.
The consul was adamant, but the unnamed reporter in front of him must have been a tough nut to crack. He abruptly shifted his questions from the children to the more general issue of Italian workers, abruptly asking him, “What do you think about the statement made to the commission by Congressman Lawler, alleging that he knew about hundreds of Italians working on the streets of Chicago for about 90 cents a day?”
Scuitti replied that he did not know anything about it. But if it was true, it meant that these poor people had been cheated because of their ignorance of the language and American customs. The interview ended shortly thereafter, but not the article, which continued with a detailed investigation into the phenomenon’s past and present. The article recounted cases of children who had been exploited with the agreement of their parents or guardians. It went back over cases to 1870 and gathered opinions about Moreno’s accusations. The general consensus was that, while they were not completely unfounded, the accusations at least seemed “exaggerated.”21
On one side, there was an underestimation of the heavy exploitation of Italian labor that was very much present and constantly denounced. Adolfo Rossi, the first editor of Il Progresso Italo-Americano, who would later become the general commissioner for immigration in the first decade of the twentieth century and then the ambassador in Buenos Aires, agreed with Moreno and wrote that “our government … has never done anything to protect the wellbeing and morality of the Italian colonies in North America, and it is no wonder that there the mafia and camorra flourish as in the worst of Bourbon times and the Italian, illiterate, slasher, exploiter or exploited, is greater despised than the Irish or Chinese.”
It was not an isolated accusation. Emilio Franzina, the most important scholar of Italian emigration, has argued that “there is no doubt about the negligence and arrogance with which the offices, whether staffed by professionals or the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ appointees, operated, even in America.”22 On the other hand, Moreno’s accusations seemed decidedly over the top. In many, if not all, cases, they seemed to be vendettas or uncalled-for provocations. Surely his attack on L’Eco d’Italia was inspired by old grudges. Moreno had a strange—and it would be tempting to say almost (p.132) pathological—taste for revenge against guilty persons who enjoyed greater social respectability, as he did in the attacks he hurled at Cesnola and Suzzara Verdi.
The accusations against Cesnola and the Museum “provoke a smile of contempt,” the editor of Il Progresso Italo-Americano told the Washington Post.23 At that time, Cesnola was doubtlessly the most eminent Italian in the United States. From Rivarolo Canavese in Piedmont, he was a year younger than Moreno. He was a veteran of the war in Crimea as well as the Civil War, in which he had fought as colonel in the cavalry and earned a Medal of Honor. He had been the American consul in Cyprus. There, he undertook archeological excavations that produced a rich collection acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he had served as its first director since 1879. His reputation established him in a sphere thousands of miles from the world into which Moreno wanted to drag him.
Similarly, Tullio de Suzzara Verdi, a political exile from Mantua who arrived in the United States in the middle of the century, had created an enviable position for himself. He had been the personal doctor to Secretary of State Steward, chairman of the District of Columbia Board of Health, a pioneer of homeopathy, and the author of numerous scientific publications. In 1894 he published a book on his experiences in the United States that was published in Italy as Vita americana (American Life). Widely respected, he was not a credible target. His biggest sin in Moreno’s eyes—apart from having doubted Moreno’s role in passing the 1874 law—was probably having lived for many years in the principal theater of Moreno’s endeavors, Washington, while enjoying a much better reputation. He also had considerable wealth, enough to permit him and his family to frequent the best company, to participate in the society events that occupied the newspapers, to study in the best universities, and to take vacations in Europe. In 1891, one of Suzzara Verdi’s daughters, Sophie, married Alfred Jerome Weston of New York, a contributor to Scribner’s Magazine and later a contributor to the Washington Post on cultural topics. Francis Fava, the son of the Italian ambassador to the United States, had been the witness at their wedding.24 That was perhaps enough to rouse the ire of Moreno, a man of talent who had never had the luck to be appreciated to that degree. Hence he had a real hatred, which was reciprocated, for that doctor of whom the Capitano Marittimo had on various occasions spoken very badly, and whose name he had enjoyed mangling in many ways, such as “De Stuffato” and “De Sozzura.”25 In the face of such indignant denials, Moreno, as usual, decided to return blow for blow. With the excuse of (p.133) intervening in a debate over the celebration of Columbus Day, he repeated his accusations against L’Eco. He called the newspaper the “organ of the padroni” and claimed it was “associated with every shame, harm, and humiliation that the Italians and the prestige of their name had had to suffer in this country for more than a quarter century.”26
The padroni system which Moreno had denounced in the 1870s for its abuse of children, and which he had tried to stop with the measures discussed in Chapter 4, was by no means extinct. Instead, it had evolved into a less primitive means of legally exploiting the growing masses of Italian immigrants. Scholars delineate a second phase of the phenomenon in which the padroni controlled the compensation of their slaves, who were employed in marginal occupations as newsboys, flower and fruit sellers, beggars, shoe shiners, and sometimes prostitutes. The padroni took their earnings and gave them back a modest stipend (“$40 a year was considered a fair salary”).27
Now this relationship took on a new dimension. The padroni became mediators with absolute authority who, at their pleasure, decided the work to be done, the hours worked, the penalties inflicted, and, naturally, the wages. For the American employer, the padrone was the man who could guarantee the efficiency and reliability of his subjects in Little Italies. More than a few banchisti (the owners of agencies which provided various services to emigrants, including sending their remittances to Italy) acted as agents who acquired orders in various parts of the country. They relied on expert labor recruiters who could bring squads of Italian workers to construction sites while exercising iron control over them. All the money the workers earned ended up in their hands. The cost of room and board was deducted from these modest salaries, so the workers were completely at their recruiters’ mercy and heavily indebted to them. The entire system was out of any labor union’s regulatory control and undoubtedly an advantage for American industry during an era of enormous works and frenetic transformation.
The system was familiar to Italian immigrants. In fact, it was one of the most frequent themes in the popular theater produced in New York’s Little Italy. In Bernardino Ciambelli’s pioneering feuilleton The Mysteries of Mulberry Street (1893), the protagonist has a past as a padrone, and there were numerous references to the issue. The terminology used recalls Moreno’s bitter polemics. In the novel’s initial pages, Ciambelli, after having explained that the Civil War had freed an “immense mass of blacks, who for so long groaned under the baton of ferocious and cruel (p.134) masters,” turns to the present and shows how these inhuman times are far from over:
It seemed that after so solemn an act was forever ended, the sad odyssey of men treated like beasts, oppressed by poorly paid work, always threatened, held on a leash like wild beasts. It seemed so, but it was not: because the slavery of blacks had been substituted by that of whites. Africa no longer sent its sons, but Europe sent hundreds of hundreds.
Here it is not the novelist who speaks, but it is history, sad, true, nefarious, that unfolds day by day, hour by hour, for the workers, wronged by the villains, who had given themselves to the white slave trade.28
But there was more. Ciambelli, a journalist involved with various Italian American newspapers, discusses a case in his novel that Moreno himself, relying on the testimony of a man named Domenico Speroni, had raised on the pages of New York’s Cristoforo Colombo on April 10, 1891. Violent and unscrupulous bosses had recruited Italian workers to go to South Carolina and “remove from the water, which he was in up to his knees, large shells.” In the novel, the episode is set in a phosphate mine, still in South Carolina: “The phosphate is covered by water, and the workers must be in that water for hours, searching, rummaging in the sand in search of it.” The entire chapter was punctuated with unmistakable references to Moreno’s article.29
The Padrone Act (the law that our Capitano Marittimo was in the habit of calling the “Moreno Bill”) had been passed in 1874 with the support of Senator Charles Sumner. Now it was followed by the Alien Contract Labor Law, also known as the Foran Act, encompassing the name of Ohio representative Martin Foran. Others, including the Knights of Labor, had called for it since 1883. The law was enacted on February 26, 1885, the first of a series of measures intended to eradicate the importation of foreign contract labor. The law levied heavy fines against the businessmen and captains of ships on which the laborers were found traveling. It gave American immigration inspectors the power to reject immigrants suspected of having obtained a labor contract before departure. For Terence V. Powderly, the head of the Knights of Labor and the future Commissioner General of Immigration, those workers represented a threat to the union as well as a weapon in the hands of employers anytime they needed to break a strike. Samuel Gompers’s American Federation of Labor (AFL) (p.135) had a similar perspective, sharing the tendency, widespread in those years, to support immigration restriction.
Moreno was obviously inclined to view the investigating commission’s work as confirmation of the merits of his own long-standing insights. In the summer of 1888, he said he was ready to provide new testimony about the padrone system, and a few months later he denounced a merchant in San Francisco named Zabaldano. Moreno accused him of running a ranch in Cloverdale, California where a hundred Italians were imported in violation of the law and forced to work “eighteen hours a day for $20 a month, excluding room and board.”30 Moreno, who had written a letter to King Vittorio Emanuele I during the previous decade, now decided to write directly to the new king of Italy, his son Umberto I, to show him the gravity of the situation. Moreno reminded the king that if the Italian diplomatic service had listened to him since 1871 “the Italian name would not be so disparaged in America today.” Moreno promised to continue his denunciations (“I will pursue the wrongdoers without pause”) and repeated his usual accusations against the ambassadors and consuls, singling out the New York consulate as “the headquarters of the entire affair.” Moreno knew about Italian Prime Minister Francesco Crispi’s shakeup of the diplomatic corps, but, as he asked the king, “What is the sense in recalling the consul when the camorra of the consulate remains standing?”31
Between 1887 and 1891, there were new appointments, transfers, and promotions in the Italian diplomatic corps involving almost five hundred people, including consuls, vice consuls, and consular agents, mainly in Brazil and the United States. Consuls Raffi of New York and Lambertenghi of San Francisco were recalled and major changes affected the offices in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago, Baltimore, and Boston.32 Moreno was aware of this but still furious. In his letters to Faldella, he launched into obsessive, repetitive tirades against the diplomatic corps. Moreno had already begun fixating, though only in his private correspondence, upon his future (and fatal) “big target.” The consuls had been recalled “although very late,” “but Ambassador Fava in Washington, guilty as the rest of them, is left to dishonor the name of Italy in America.”33
The consulates were dens of every vice, not only involved in the infamous traffic in human flesh, but they were also responsible, as he wrote to Faldella “for all the scams which harm Italian emigration” including “so many small and large inheritances of dead Italians which disappear in foreign lands to the detriment of their heirs in Italy.” Revisiting his Hawaiian memories, Moreno told the story of a man from Genoa, Giovanni Appiani,
(p.136) the only Italian living in the Sandwich Islands after my departure, who died September 6, 1880 and with a false will dated the same month and year, that is two days after his death, a German shop boy from a small shop of beer, wine, gin, aquavit, and whiskey and the Royal Italian Consul by the name of A. Schaeffer came into possession of the will … he produced the false will and the lame hocus pocus that Appiani was married to a local woman with children in a country in which marriage does not exist he also produced a marriage certificate created by the owner of his shop the German Catholic missionary Herman: all this is possible in the legations and consulates of Italy abroad—they divide the spoils with their greatest and most guilty accomplice in the diplomatic corps the corrupt Peiroleri.34
The Capitano Marittimo was not aware that the powerful Augusto Peiroleri, his contemporary from Turin, had also fallen under the ax of Crispi’s revolution in the diplomatic corps. But apart from that detail, Moreno was convinced of the fact that “any outrage can be done with impunity against Italians by foreigners in their country and abroad!!” Less than three years after the massacre in New Orleans (and five years before the massacre in Aigues-Mortes), that statement could have been viewed as a sinister prophecy. Moreno considered the tragedy in New Orleans as a direct consequence of the “trafficking in human flesh” that was “the cause of all the evils and the sum of all the shame and guilty not excluding that of New Orleans.” That was what he wrote to Faldella, also sending him “a copy … of the arguments that the American Government will use in the judgment in New Orleans against the claims of the Italian Government.”35
In 1889, both the Senate and the House of Representatives created committees to investigate immigration, and evidence emerged that agents and shipping companies had repeatedly violated the law. Moreno testified on March 20, 1890. He spoke on behalf of his fellow Italians but, as Keith Fitzgerald, a scholar of late nineteenth-century American identity, has observed, Moreno ended up conforming to the prevailing climate. He made a distinction between the “desirable” elements, in his view the Italians who “had fought for liberty,” and the undesirables who the padroni subjugated likes slaves.36
In his statement in front of the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, Moreno resumed his usual accusations against a long line of diplomatic representatives. He elaborated on a theme that he had previously raised in front of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Labor presided over by Congressman Foran on February 26, 1886: Moreno stated that if the 750,000 Italians currently residing in the United States (p.137) were freed, it would be “an excellent acquisition for this country,” and could make it “fertile like Italy from the Hudson to the Mississippi.” Unfortunately, tens of thousands of Italians were “held in the most abject slavery by cruel padroni and their shameless accomplices.” While Italians’ conditions were good or acceptable in California, the heart of the problem was cities on the East Coast, particularly New York, where most Italian immigrants worked for the padroni.
Moreno had an exchange with Representative Covert about the 1874 law’s efficacy. Moreno said that it was a good law but it was not “enforced” as it should have been. Each time that they had tried to enforce it, the consuls claimed that the alleged “slaves” were children or relatives of the padroni. Therefore, there needed to be a new, “more restrictive” provision to prevent the padroni from taking hold of immigrants in Castle Garden and sending them across the country. Moreno, responding to Covert, said that he was against the admission of lunatics and those unable to work. Criminals—among whom he claimed were many padroni who had escaped Italy’s prisons or justice more generally—would never become good citizens. Moreno added, “Those who were brought by the padroni are undesirable because they are slaves and are inclined to resort to desperation because of the padroni’s cruelty.” When the representatives asked how so many people believed the promises of the padroni and accepted their tyranny, Moreno said that consular officials were able to take advantage of their total ignorance “of the laws, customs, and language of this republican nation.”37
In a climate of mounting restrictionist sentiment, an Immigration Act was passed in 1891 that strengthened controls but did not yet restrict arrivals. Italians were the most discussed immigrants. The 1890s, which began with the horrific lynching in New Orleans, would be among the most incredible of their American story.
Now Moreno had advanced far forward in his battle, utilizing, as usual, the press, particularly the immigrant press. Though it was surely an optimistic idea, he believed that at his side to defeat the “nefarious traffic in Italian slaves” were all the most important Italian American newspapers, scattered from the Atlantic to the Pacific and directed by “gentlemen, scholars, thinks, and patriots” (including those, such as L’Eco, that had ridiculed him for his recent attacks) who “have taken to heart the mission of journalism, which is to tell the truth, to educate, and to elevate the people.”38
Only one target remained: Baron Francesco Saverio Fava, the Kingdom of Italy’s first ambassador to Washington. When the Captain made his distinction between the Italians who had fought for liberty and those who (p.138) had not, he had Fava in mind. Before Fava, who was originally from Salerno, had passed into the service of the house of Savoy, he had been a diplomat for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Fava had served in Algiers, Genoa, Trieste, Marseille, Malta, and Smyrna. He was transferred to Monaco shortly before the fall of the Bourbons. Suspended from service in 1862, at the age of thirty, he was readmitted into the profession for the new Kingdom. He was first sent to Bern, then to The Hague, Constantinople, Bucharest, and Buenos Aires. In 1881, Fava was appointed ambassador to Washington, which was then considered a second-rank position. He remained there, feeling sometimes as though he was in exile, until 1901 when, retired, he was appointed senator.39
Those crucial twenty years were the years in which the United States emerged as a great world power. It was not by chance that the Italian legation was elevated to an embassy in 1893. Fava, occupied with many pressing issues, must have felt on his neck the breath of his implacable tormentor: Celso Cesare Moreno.
The first face-off between the two took place on June 6, 1890. Moreno told the San Francisco Chronicle that he had confidential information from Italy, and he spread the rumor that the Italian government considered recalling Fava, who Moreno had already accused of supporting the traffic in slaves in defiance of the 1874 law. Now Moreno added another accusation: Fava and Consul General Riva had appropriated a considerable sum of money and bought 11,000 quintals of tobacco from a business in Kentucky on behalf of the Italian state, paying a price considerably above market value. According to Moreno, the Italian government had ordered an investigation into the case. Riva had already been recalled and Fava would be soon, to be substituted by the Marquis Dall’Ungaro. The news was false, and Fava’s friends condemned it. Tullio de Suzzara Verdi, for example, knowing who the source was, called it “the ravings of a madman” and “the invention of a scoundrel.”40
In the meantime, Moreno had failed to bring the campaign to Italy, either through the media or politics. The newspapers were not the problem. Moreno inundated them with letters, articles, and complaints, almost all written in the form of “circulars” but with such strong tones that he almost always succeeded in whetting a correspondent’s appetite for the news. In a piece in Florence’s L’Elettrico (July 18, 1890) he accused the ministers and consuls of complicity in the “traffic of Italian slaves,” with only minor variations from his articles in the American press. He was also mentioned in the influential Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, which, albeit with some caution, wanted to use the report as a tool in its own (p.139) campaign against the liberal Italian state. In light of Pope Pius IX’s famous Non possumus, which rejected the privileges that the Kingdom of Italy offered him under the 1871 Law of Guarantees, the magazine reaffirmed “the absurdity of the Pope, his liberty guaranteed by those who hold him prisoner” and brandished a religious message for the purposes of colonialism from Asia to Africa and Oceania. The magazine, referring to the newspaper article, remarked: “We refrain from any comment. … But we ask if it would be possible, that people and states would resign themselves to see the influence of the Papacy exploited by a Government that can be gravely branded in this manner by its former diplomat or servant.”41
Perhaps not even Moreno, the anticlerical who passed himself off as the nephew of a bishop, could have imagined being able to take so much credit in the most illiberal of Catholic publications. But, as he wrote to Faldella, he “surpass[ed] the Jesuits in influence.”42
Politics also served him. By December 1888, he had succeeded in having his complaint heard in the Chamber of Deputies. The issue was raised by a deputy of the historic left, Michele Ungaro, based on an article by Moreno in Il Progresso Italo-Americano.43 Moreno now turned to Ruggero Bonghi, a moderate Neapolitan deputy, former Minister of Education, and friend and confidant of Alessandro Manzoni. Moreno sent him newspaper clippings documenting the conditions of Italians in America and a letter written on letterhead from the U.S. House of Representatives. “The Italian slaves” the Captain wrote to his illustrious correspondent, “are bought and sold, rented and beaten like beasts of burden and worse than black slaves in the southern states before the Civil War.” Moreno reminded him how it was “an anomaly that Italy sent its delegates to the Congress of Brussels for the purpose of abolishing the black slave trade in Africa while it permitted thousands of free Italians to leave Italy’s shores and swell the already great number of Italian slaves in America.” All this happened, of course, “with the complicity of the Ministers and Consuls of Italy.” According to Moreno, Crispi was “misinformed” about the problem because of the diplomatic corps’ intrigues.44
Moreno chose Bonghi to bring an echo of his American campaign to Parliament because Bonghi was Crispi’s long-time adversary. (“In the twenty-seven years that we have been together in the Chamber, I believe over a hundred votes, in ninety-nine we have found ourselves against each other,” Bonghi reminded Crispi on May 3, 1888, during a lively debate in the Chamber about the complicated African situation.)45 Bonghi took the bait, making an inquiry to the prime minister and interim minister of foreign affairs, “to know if he has knowledge of the accusations made in the (p.140) congressional commission in Washington on Italian immigration in the United States against our consuls and ministers, and if he intends to find out whether they are true or false, according to the case, or punish the guilty or protest against the accusers.”
Bonghi received an irritated response from Crispi during a session of the Chamber of Deputies on January 29, 1891:
Not only do I know about the unjust accusations made against our consul in New York and our minister in Washington by Mr. Celso Cesare Moreno, but I have acted because they have asked for a strict account of them, and so that this cruel slander might obtain the consequences it deserves.
It is enough to know who Cesare Moreni is, who changed his name to Celso Cesare Moreno, trying to make us believe that he is the nephew of the bishop of Ivrea. From investigations made, we have proof that the charges made by this individual have no foundation whatsoever.
Not content with mocking him, Crispi, amidst the deputies’ laughter (indicated in the stenographic report of his speech), added new blows to the definitive demolition of the accuser’s credibility:
Mr. Celso Cesare Moreno, the new edition [laughter] was in the bersaglieri, but was not reenlisted because of his misconduct. He runs around the entire world; was in Peking, the United States, and then in the Hawaiian Islands, where the good prince made him minister of foreign affairs, but after a week had to dismiss him because he learned that he was an adventurer.
Such a person could not be considered credible: his were only “lies.” Moreover, “after the latest law it is not possible that the trafficking in children that occurred before is taking place.”
But the combative Bonghi did not give up. He interjected loudly: “A word for the consul!” And Crispi did not make him ask:
I can assure you … that Mr. Celso Cesare Moreno, with his stories, only intends to seek revenge upon our consul and our minister, who have made very grave reports about him, in keeping with what has already learned about him from Peking and other places.
Now he is in the United States of America; he has its citizenship … and from his new position he tries to revile our representatives abroad in every way.
(p.141) At that point, Bonghi appeared convinced. He thanked Crispi, and told him “the reputation of our representatives in America is itself enough to convince me and everyone else that all of the accusations made were false.” Moreover, Bonghi said that Baron Fava was universally recognized for his honesty, most recently in a letter from Blaine, which was “full of confidence and praise.” But all this did not invalidate the need to be vigilant about the condition of Italian emigration in America, which was now “broken,” and ran the risk of further damaging “the reputation of the Italian name in those lands.”46
American and Italian American newspapers, particularly Il Progresso Italo-Americano on January 20, 1891, also followed the parliamentary investigation, encouraged by Moreno. Moreno wrote to Bonghi, not yet over the disappointing outcome of the investigation:
Various newspaper correspondents and reporters went to the boarding house where Fava lives for news of the question and its proponent, and since Minister Fava does not know how to speak English he responded through an interpreter, a former barber by the name of Verdi with various aliases, who is the de facto minister of Italy while Fava and the exbarber are the objects of public ridicule and public scorn in Washington.
Here we outline Moreno’s accusations against Baron Fava. Important parts of the picture are that the ambassador did not know English, he lived in a boarding house without the least regard for the national honor, and he kept company with people of dubious reputation, or at least individuals considered as such by Moreno, since in this case he was referencing the aforementioned Doctor Tullio de Suzzara Verdi. With diabolical irreverence, Moreno told Bonghi that Fava, speaking with a journalist, “had painted the honorable Bonghi in quite gloomy colors” also depicting Moreno “as a brigand from Calabria escaped from the galleys of Italy.” In short, Moreno was enjoying himself in addition to being indignant. After all, “calling me a fugitive brigand is not a new thing, ministers Corti and Blanc [Italian diplomats in the United States] said that before, Fava and minister De Luca said it in Peking in 1879 when I was there in China, and the Italian consul in Honolulu in the Sandwich Islands said it in 1880, this Italian consul is a German … professional waiter and spirit-seller who many times served me at table with an apron on his stomach.”
To bolster his credibility even further, Moreno enclosed two clippings: one from an American newspaper and the other probably taken from the (p.142) Italian American newspaper Cristoforo Colombo (a newspaper which was opposed to Fava). The articles, which drew upon the New York World of January 15, 1891, related a curious episode that happened on January 14 at the Metropolitan Club of Washington. A young naval officer, who had gone to the Italian legation several times to speak with Fava about certain issues without ever finding him, met him by chance at the Club. When Fava gave him a business card to direct him to the legation’s secretary, he had thrown it in Fava’s face. The episode had only avoided a violent outcome thanks to the intervention of third parties. Moreno remarked that “this affront is a result of the traffic in Italian honors carried out by Fava and Riva.”47
At that point, as we have seen, Bonghi had decided to abandon an issue that seemed not to lead anywhere. Moreno expressed his regret for this decision, reminding him in a letter how “instead of continuing on the straight path of his inquiry against Fava and other terrible representatives of Italy abroad, he passed arms and information to the opposing camp.”48 Above all, Moreno immediately wanted to retaliate against Crispi, and he did so in an article in Genoa’s L’Epoca at the end of February 1891. Moreno called Crispi “the pontiff of official disgrace,” and predictably took advantage of the opportunity to repeat his accusations against the entire diplomatic corps. He wanted to drag two other figures into the supposed tobacco scandal (“the swindled government of Italy paid enormously and the Italian people smoked badly”): the Florentine-American banker Egisto Fabbri and Adriano Lemmi, a grandmaster of Italian freemasonry and Crispi’s old friend.49
Crispi referred to him as “a certain Moreno,” and we can imagine with what sense of liberation the Captain greeted the kingdom’s new prime minister, Rudinì, in 1891. Moreno dedicated an essay to him in the Washington Post, praising his intelligence, firmness, and courage, but also warning him: “Hopefully, for the good and prestige of Italy, prime minister Rudinì will not allow himself, as did his predecessor, to be erroneously informed by minister and consuls supported by the ministry’s bureaucracy, on the true state of men and Italian affairs in foreign lands.”50
Moreno’s obsession remained the same: attacking Ambassador Fava. This “priority” occupied a position of dramatic prominence in Moreno’s life alongside the Hawaiian question. (Not being equipped with the Captain’s ability to play on multiple tables, we are obliged to examine these two trajectories separately.) Soon the (false) news of Ambassador Fava’s recall to Italy would prove almost a prophecy. In April 1891 Fava was officially recalled—not because of scandals or embezzlement, but because of the (p.143) lynching in New Orleans. On March 14, 1891, eleven Sicilians were taken from a courtroom where they had just been acquitted for insufficient evidence on charges that they had murdered the local police chief. An angry mob murdered them in the street. The relationship between Italy and the United States entered a critical phase. Italy demanded an immediate trial of the perpetrators of the massacre, but the United States responded that federal authorities could not interfere in individual states’ judicial affairs. Fava held repeated meetings with Secretary of State Blaine, and on March 31, having been recalled by Rome, he took his leave.51
The controversy reached a boiling point. Other lynchings followed in Denver (1893, one victim), Boone, Kentucky (1894, one victim), Huerfano County, Colorado (1895, three victims), Spring Valley, Illinois (1895, one victim), Hahnville, Louisiana (1896, three victims), and finally Tallulah, Louisiana, where five Italians were murdered on July 19, 1899.52 Even among American observers, the federal government’s Pilate-like position raised more than a scandalized doubt about how New Orleans had conducted the investigation into the tragic episode. As an important Italian American journalist wrote thirty years later:
it was denounced to the civilized world—and it had to make America burn with shame—along with the Grand Jury called to investigate, since it welcomed the assassins, those who lynched the Italians, to its breast, and the New York Herald, in its May 12, 1892 edition, recounted the horrific circumstances in these words: “the Grand Jury maintained a stony silence when a witness, asked if he could identify another of the lynchers, responded by immediately pointing his finger at a member of the jury.”53
Moreno decided to take advantage of Fava’s absence and spew a torrent of jokes, insults, and insinuations against him. He blabbed a series of private facts about the ambassador to the newspapers, portraying him as a “windbag”: “He wears a monocle, spats, a big cane, and has the manners of an aged dandy. He loves high society and spends most of his time in an exclusive circle. He accepts all invitations to dinner because it is more enjoyable than dining at home, and also cheaper.”
It was said that a decade earlier Fava was rich, thanks to his wife’s patrimony, but that, after a stormy marriage, she left him and went to live in Paris, where his son lived too, a respected engineer who had broken ties with his father. It was also said that, reduced to living on his meager salary, he had tried to make his fortune in the stock market and had lost everything, and that things had not improved with real estate speculation.54 (p.144) Moreno added additional details to this unflattering portrait. He revealed that Fava had used the $5,000 that the government gave him annually to rent a respectable residence for completely different purposes, and he lived in a little room inside a building on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, where there was a black barbershop and an Italian bakery on the corner. Moreno claimed that he had learned that the ambassador paid an average of $14 per month to rent space for the Italian legation, and he claimed to have documented the scam, even sending a series of photograph to Prime Minister Rudinì.55
The Captain, as he already had with Bonghi, sent his dossier to Matteo Renato Imbriani, a patriot and deputy of the historic left, and to Felice Cavallotti, a far-left deputy famous for his duels. Two new parliamentary questions were born. Prime Minister Rudinì, decidedly embarrassed, had not responded to Cavallotti’s inquiry with Crispi’s passion. He declared that, until proven otherwise, he kept his faith in official sources.56 After an absence of more than a year, during which the crisis between the United States and Italy passed from collective hysteria, including fears that the powerful Italian navy would attack the American coast, to a contentious solution that provided compensation for the families of the lynching victims, Fava, welcomed by the immigrant community, resumed his post in Washington on May 16, 1892, “without any serious satisfaction having been given to Italy.”57 The ambassador continued supporting the Italian cause for a long time, and he tried to get the lynching cases heard in federal court. This, however, was impossible, as we have observed, because of congressional opposition from southern segregationists. (African Americans were far more numerous victims of lynchings.)58
Moreno, though distracted by events in Hawaii, did not back down. Through L’Eco d’Italia, he resumed calling for the ambassador’s immediate removal because of a supposed rivalry between him and Riva, the consul in New York. It was an old story dating back to 1889. There were a variety of views about the construction of an “Italian institute” that would be the most effective instrument for fighting against the abuses of the padroni. Since 1883, as he himself would later recall, Fava adopted the same point of view as Moreno. He worked for the creation of an office to rescue Italians who had just landed “from the rapaciousness of greedy speculators, mostly Italians, accustomed to exploiting them into extreme poverty.” He tried, with little success, to divert new immigrants to destinations other than metropolitan areas where they could be employed in agriculture.59
It was clear to everyone, especially journalists in the nation’s capital for whom Moreno was a familiar figure, that the Captain had “one absorbing (p.145) object in life, which is the political destruction of the Italian Ambassador,” which was almost a “monomania.” Fava, when asked why he did not respond to Moreno’s attacks with legal action, preferred to shrug and say, “Oh, it keeps him employed, and it does not hurt me.” The gossip about the ambassador’s marriage was also invented. The New York Times contacted Fava’s son, Francis, an American citizen and professor of civil engineering at Columbia College. He denied everything.60
The question finally seemed to lose steam. Occasionally, however, Moreno sent ambiguous messages that sounded like allusions to complicity between crime and the consular services. In September 1893, for example, “Don Caesar,” as journalists sometimes called him, claimed that an unknown man had confronted him in the Pension Français restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. The man said that he was the son of the chancellor of the Italian legation, and he threatened to stab Moreno if he did not stop his defamatory articles. The man escaped before the police could intervene.61 A year later, Moreno reported that a man stopped him on the corner of Fourteenth Street and threatened his life because the Captain had called the Immigration Bureau’s Superintendent Stump an importer of Italian contract labor. “We are two brothers: one or the other, or both together, will blow off your head and we have good and influential friends who will stand by us,” the big man had yelled. Moreno had maintained a perfect calm and explained that it was the authorities, and not him, who demanded respect for the law Congress approved on February 23, 1887. He then tried to get the man to tell him his name, but in vain. He commented theatrically, “If my head is going to be blown off, I should like to know who is going to do it.”62
But Moreno was not mollified at all. He entrusted the pages of the African American newspaper The Colored American with his most violent attack against the ambassador and his gang, a choice that does not seem accidental in that climate of xenophobia and racism.63 The article, with the usual formulas, accused “Don Basilio” Fava (as Moreno had taken to calling him, alluding, with in a reversal of roles, to the character in the Barber of Seville who sang the famous aria “La calunnia è un venticello”) of collusion with the padroni. The Ellis Island office had been entrusted to Alessandro Old-rini, but Moreno considered Dr. Onofrio Abruzzo, a respected doctor from Brooklyn engaged in a dispute with the padroni, better for the position.64 Oldrini allegedly had no other purpose than to “deceive, trick, and dupe the police, as he deceived the immigration commissioners.”
On this occasion, Moreno also displayed the anti-Semitism that he sometimes unleashed. He called Fava a Jew in whom all the race’s shortcomings (p.146) appeared in the highest degree, “like stinginess, greed, thirst for profit, and avarice.” The attack was perhaps based on the fact that during more than a decade of service in Bucharest, the ambassador had repeatedly supported the rights of the large Jewish community. The community was subjected to abuse and violence, especially in Moldavia. The Italian government, at Fava’s urging, took the stance that the Jewish community should be protected and naturalized. By the early 1870s, the Italian government was one of the most active supporters of this position, alongside the United States.65
Fava again refused to file a libel suit, but in July 1895, in “an unprecedented action,” the U.S. Attorney issued a grand jury indictment against Moreno for libel. As proof of Fava’s innocence, the case files cited 1884 correspondence between the ambassador and Secretary of the Treasury Carlisle on the need to suppress the padroni. For this purpose, Fava appointed Oldrini (the “self-styled Professor, Count Oldrini”) to the Ellis Island office that aided Italian emigrants in order to “promote their welfare and give information to the officials of the [U.S.] Government of any violation of the immigration or contract labor laws.”66 Oldrini, Moreno alleged, hid the illegal traffic from American authorities as the office’s head.
An arrest warrant was issued for Moreno and a subpoena for Fava. The Ambassador never showed up. As one scholar has written, Fava probably feared that so much publicity would damage him. Deputy Sheriffs Wilkinson and Hempstead arrested Moreno on the morning of July 12 while he was at the Tremont House hotel restaurant. Accompanied by the lawyers John B. and Eugene J. O’Neill, Moreno was taken to the Second Criminal Court in front of Judge Cole. The judge set bail at $1,000, which was paid by a guarantor, Thomas E. Kirby, and Moreno was released pending a trial date set for October.67
At this point, an explanation of the much-contested Italian office at Ellis Island is needed. During his time in Washington, Fava repeatedly raised the issue of providing more rational outlets for the flood of Italian emigration. He tried redirecting a portion of it toward agriculture and the southern United States, particularly Arkansas, where a model agricultural colony had been created. Fava was convinced that “the best safeguard for adult immigrants was to separate them from the padroni upon their arrival on Ellis Island.” To do this, the ambassador worked with the American Secretary of the Treasury to open an office on Ellis Island where there would also be an office of the Bank of Italy to protect emigrants’ savings. The idea was to collaborate closely with American authorities and provide new arrivals with the assistance necessary to avoid the negative influence of labor brokers as well as the so-called banchisti who were often their principal (p.147) allies. Fava obtained Secretary Carlisle’s approval in 1894. At that time, no other European nation had a similar organization.68
Moreno’s specter even haunted the office’s organizing phase. At one point, Fava asked the Department of the Treasury if Moreno had a job with the Bureau of Immigration. The Department responded negatively. Moreno noted that Fava’s request for information “had not originated from the best motives or from the kindest sentiments toward me.” In a letter, Moreno told Carlisle that he had had a meeting, followed by a letter, with Superintendent of Immigration Herman Stump, but he had never tried to obtain such employment.69
In August, there was a brief exchange of letters and a conversation between Moreno and Stump. The superintendent had asked him to put into writing “your opinions about the most suitable instructions” for the suppression of the padrone system, and Moreno had done so. Despite this, as Teresa Fava Thomas notes, “Stump generally maintained a good relationship with the Italian Bureau even praising them in one of his Washington reports.”70
As he waited for his trial, the Captain made a show of optimism. A New York Times reporter wrote, “Mr. Moreno rejoices in the opportunity thus given him of airing his visionary theories, and announces that his prosecution affords him an opportunity he long has been waiting for.” The American government’s good intentions risked producing an undesired effect. The trial had every appearance of becoming a powerful megaphone for Moreno’s accusations, which the newspaper believed unfounded, but they could still cause “considerable personal annoyance to the amiable Italian Ambassador.” In fact, Moreno was preparing something like a nightmare for Fava. Moreno announced that he would represent himself and that he would question Fava for a week. Considering the Capitano Marittimo’s incredible capacity for histrionics and the stir the case was already making in the press, a truly spectacular event loomed.71
A hearing took place in front of Judge Cole in criminal court in the District of Columbia. Fava was absent, and the court police declared him unreachable. It was the morning of the August 10. To open, District Attorney Birney said that for the first time in the history of the United States they were judging a person for defaming a diplomatic representative of a “friendly power” in the press and that perhaps a degree of “scandal” could be glimpsed in the affair. Colonel W. A. Cook, assisted by his colleague J. B. O’Neill, handled Moreno’s defense. Cook immediately asked for a postponement, claiming that there had not been enough time to prepare a defense. Birney replied that there had been sufficient time since July 11. After a “notable quibble,” the court ordered that they proceed.
(p.148) Birney exhibited the incriminating article and the correspondence between Fava (absent due to commitments in New York) and secretaries Gresham and Carlisle in order to show that the ambassador had maintained a firm position against the padrone system. At that point, Cook asked that Fava be heard, and he tried to argue that Fava’s absence was a valid reason for a new trial, insinuating that he, and not the government, initiated the case. Cook added that if the request was accepted, they would need to prove how the Ambassador was “in complete sympathy with the padroni.” The witnesses were called, first James E. Cooper, the editor of a newspaper in which the defamatory article appeared. He confirmed that Moreno was its author. Then Detective Mattingly was called, who declared under oath that Moreno had showed him the article and said that he had written it. Alessandro Oldrini, the Italian official at Ellis Island, was also called, and finally Moreno himself. Moreno repeated his accusation that the ambassador not only knew about the padrone system but that he was also its accomplice. An obvious objection was raised: Moreno had to prove this, and if he could not, he would have had to refrain from making this claim. The parties having been heard, Judge Cole formally turned the case over to the jury, which retired at 2:15 p.m. and returned with a guilty verdict eight minutes later. Colonel Cook asked that Moreno’s bail be set at the same amount as before, since a request for a new trial was pending. But Judge Cole, at Birney’s suggestion, raised the bail to $3,000. This time Kirby did not come forward to pay it. The wait for a guarantor dragged on until late afternoon, when Moreno finally realized that he had to prepare for jail.72
Things had gotten ugly for “Don” Celso. He had been arrested while waiting for Judge Cole to sentence him. Word spread that he had taken more moderate advice and was preparing to withdraw his request for a new trial. Instead, he would rely on the mercy of the court so that he could receive a financial penalty, rather than a prison sentence.73 On Monday, November 11, Moreno’s lawyer withdrew the request. The Captain gave a defense of himself in which he talked about his arrival in the United States, how he had become a citizen, and his dedication to combatting the shame of the padrone system. What he had published had been for that purpose and if, in the heat of the moment, he had done something against the law, he was sorry, but he had no regrets. Judge Cole interrupted him: “I have no doubt that the system exists in this country as you have portrayed it in the objectionable article.” Moreno, perhaps emboldened by the statement, insisted: “I think it an outrage that a man should be tried and convicted for doing good.” But Cole reminded him that defamation was a serious crime (p.149) that could not be escaped by paying a small fine. It was afternoon when Cole issued his verdict: “I feel compelled, against my personal inclination, to impose imprisonment.” He sentenced Moreno to ninety days in the district prison. A reporter noted that the Captain, although upset that he had not escaped with only a fine, gathered his papers without showing any emotion and prepared to return to the prison where he had been since the end of the trial.74
Another reporter who despised Baron Fava was convinced that Moreno’s fate was the result of the Italian legation’s intimidation of the poor witnesses who were needed to confirm the Captain’s accusations but who instead had not shown up. The reporter recalled that moment years later: “It was a pitiful sight to see Moreno … who responded to an accusation of libel, agony evident on his face that neither pen nor brush could have sketched it in the moment in which it appeared clear that the poor Italians for whom he had done his best would not dare to show up at the trial to support his accusations.”75
The crime for which he had been sentenced was not insignificant. Moreno was no longer young and he decided to play the last card he held, asking President Cleveland for a pardon. In the newspapers he circulated the rumor that Fava had signed a petition to that effect or made a personal appeal to the president—in vain.76
Since Moreno was still an interesting character, journalists did not forget about him after his imprisonment. Some wanted to visit him to see how he was doing, and it was not a bad idea. On Sunday, November 17, a journalist from the Washington Post went to the district prison and approached a series of inmates, including the Capitano Marittimo. Moreno, while rattling off a list of wrongs endured that needed redress, was mindful of how Faldella had depicted him. He told the reporter how, that day, he had prepared his “Italian salad.” The reporter noted the aristocratic behavior of a diplomat, his beard and his silvery white hair, his full cheeks and healthy coloring. Moreno’s manners were “exquisite,” as he recounted “with a softly modulated accent all his own” the story of his troubles and a conviction that he believed unjust.
I am very glad that you have come to me, more glad than I can tell you. For I want the world to know about my case. To-morrow, or perhaps the next day, I will lay the facts before your honorable President, and ask him to take me out of this place. I hope to be pardoned. Why, I am known and very well known. See! Here are the certified copies from the files in the State Department! And see! That certificate is (p.150) signed by Mr. Bayard, who was then Secretary of State! Please, publish this, so that the world may know.
At that point, Moreno had pulled out a letter, yellowed with age, that bore the stamp of the Department of State. It was a letter of recommendation, dated May 4, 1868, that the American ambassador in Paris, John A. Dix, had given Moreno to show William Seward when he arrived in the United States. The Captain was proud of it, and he considered the memento proof of his respectability. He told the reporter that whatever he wrote in Italy or America he had been for the sole purpose of ending the shady trafficking of the padroni that kept their poor compatriots in slavery.77
During his imprisonment, Moreno made his voice heard again. He wrote to the Washington Post to commemorate his “discovery” of the island of Pulau Weh, where, he had recently read, Russia intended to build a refueling station for its fleet so that it would no longer have to depend on British or Japanese stations. The Captain recalled offering the island to the United States, saying that he still had the June 11, 1868, document in which he offered it to Congress for $750,000. The newspaper added that Moreno was well and that he passed his time reading newspapers and chatting in the prison’s “big rotunda” with everyone who stopped him. Above all, he wrote.78
As if the sentence had not been enough, as soon as Moreno was out of jail he published a new collection with his usual stubbornness. The pamphlet was bilingual (Italian and English) and contained clippings and various documents about his campaign against the padroni. It was published on February 21, 1896, less than a month after the Captain had finished his sentence. It was titled History of a Great Wrong: Italian Slavery in America/Storia di un gran male: Schiavitù italiana in America. An excessively long subtitle called for the attention of The representatives of the King of Italy, Ambassadors Corti, Blanc, and Fava; the past and present Consuls, the padroni, their accomplices, and the Agents/Brokers. The horrors, miseries, cruelties, atrocities, thefts, disappointments, tears, desolation, sorrows, crimes, punishments, demoralization, tormented, and tormentors. The only Italian section, which began on page 30 of 53, began with a title page that included the following: “Celso Cesare Moreno, the well-known gentleman and Italian patriot, tells the truth about the infamous Italian padroni, the ignorant, corrupt, despised, and ridiculed Ambassador Don Basilio Fava, the consuls of the King of Italy and the unhappy Italian slaves in America.”
The English part opened with a preface (pages 1–8) titled “A Deplorable Error” in which a rather combative Moreno lamented that he had been (p.151) denied “man’s most sacred right,” that is, “to defend himself when he is certain he is right.” While the court allowed the reading of Fava’s messages to American authorities about the creation of the Ellis Island office for the protection of Italian immigrants, it had not permitted a public reading of the Captain’s materials. In court, Moreno had recalled the words of the Irish patriot Robert Emmett, who had exclaimed before his English judges: “I was condemned before being judged.” Moreno claimed to have put great faith in the judicial process to order to raise his voice even louder against the “great evil” of the padroni.
Moreno criticized the ratio that his American judge had supposedly employed, “the greater the truth, the great the defamation,” an idea that seemed to him not just unfair but “un-American.” Thirty-five years after the abolition of slavery, it must have been disgusting for Americans to see their court take the side of the Italian padroni and punish the man who had fought them for twenty-six years. He had been denied freedom of thought and of the press. Moreover, history was repeating itself. Moreno had touched the same violent destiny that had already touched Charles Sumner, John Brown, and President Lincoln. He only hoped that Judge Cole and District Attorney Birney would one day recognize their error.
Moreno reiterated that he had never met Fava nor desired to meet him. In a strange assertion for the man who bragged about his American citizenship, he added, “I pay taxes in Italy, so I contribute to his annual salary of $16,000, and for this I have the right and the duty to object to his base and shameful manner of representing the great Italian nation.” Moreno returned to his usual arguments that the embassy was housed in a third-rate pension and that the ambassador had lunch with anyone “like a wandering beggar” between Washington and New York, New London and Newport, Lenox, Boston, and Bar Harbor, for the sole purpose of profiting from the funds that Rome allotted for his food.
Moreno also resumed his anti-Semitic insults and connected them to his attacks on the false nobility:
Fava is a name of a bean that is given in Italy to horses, mules, and donkeys, like in America you give them oats. Fava means this, and does not refer to any noble or feudal title; it follows that the title of Baron and Baroness de Fava is simply ridiculous and vacuous, and similarly are the titles of count given to the barbers Verdi and Oldrini in Washington, and to L. P. Cesnola in New York, friends and advisers to Fava. Moreover, there is in Italy no hereditary noble title among Jews, who are not lords nor have ancestors.
(p.152) In a crescendo of fury, he also described former Prime Minister Crispi and Minister of Foreign Affairs Blanc as “two of the most immoral, corrupt, mercenary, and despised charlatans of Italian politics,” and insulted their wives Lina Barbagallo and Therry Blanc. In the Italian pages of his pamphlet, he heavily insinuated that the latter had been a prostitute.79 He maintained that Crispi and Blanc, fearing that the trial might pose a danger, had interfered with it, pouring 50,000 lire, taxpayers’ money, into it for a good outcome. The padroni contributed $10,000 for the same purpose. Moreno was very vague on the details, and he did not say if this money was used to soften some official. Nevertheless, he spewed bile against Fava, who was always “deaf, blind, and dumb” with the padroni. He claimed that it “is not a myth, but a fact” that appointing Oldrini to the Italian Office had perpetuated the desires of the padroni. Moreno then made a (wrong) prediction: that on March 5, with the opening of the Italian Parliament and the fall of the current cabinet, the diplomatic corps would also collapse.
Moreno also cast suspicion on the agricultural colony in Sunnyside, Arkansas, and on the nature of its labor contracts, which, as an exception to the rule, had recruited seven hundred Italian laborers through an agreement negotiated between Austin Corbin and the mayor of Rome, Prince Ruspoli. Sunnyside’s vast cotton plantations represented the possibility of realizing Fava’s dream to send the best Italian laborers to the United States. Between 1895 and 1897, a sizeable contingent of workers had arrived with a guarantee of fair economic treatment and the possibility of owning their own homes in the future. Corbin’s death in 1896 and various difficulties ultimately caused the project to fail, but at the time of Moreno’s publication, there was still some reason for hope. But the Capitano Marittimo was unable to restrain himself, and he alleged, among other things, that Fava’s son was the owner of some lands involved in the operation.
The History of a Great Wrong (which in Italy received the honor of a favorable review by the great Luigi Einaudi of Dogliani)80 was a comprehensive collection of articles. The first was the article from Colored America that had sparked the legal action. Others were connected to the first, successful campaign in defense of the child slaves, a problem that Moreno could say that he had fought against for some time. He launched “a crusade” to rekindle the theme in 1885, asking Senator Blair of New Hampshire and a delegation from the American Federation of Labor to propose a law forbidding the importation of Italian contract labor. The following year he repeated the request to Representatives Martin Foran of Ohio and Lowering of Massachusetts (page 9–17). The articles from the 1880s discussed (p.153) measures to be adopted on the theme of “imported contract labor.” There was also Senator Blair’s speech from the debate over law 2550, printed in the Congressional Record on February 18, 1885, in which Blair read an open letter from Moreno.
In many of the documents, the Captain repeated his assessment that complicity in the trafficking of workers was an expression of organized crime, often called “camorra,” sometimes “mafia”: “an association or gang … of criminals that have ramifications in all the cities, towns, villages, and rural districts in this vast continent and even in Washington under the eyes of the Goddess of Liberty.”81
In the long run, this focus on organizations that broke the law made an impression on America, practically becoming the cornerstone of anti-Italian prejudice during the severe economic crisis of the 1890s, a time when many people called for the doors of immigration to be closed. In one of the most recent studies of the Moreno case, Teresa Fava Thomas argues that the Captain’s long campaign against Fava, although apparently fruitless, should be considered one of the impetuses behind that closure. We can ask ourselves if Moreno was aware of this. Did he know, as he was denouncing the dubious collusion between the padroni and diplomats, that he was in the service of anti-Italian, and more generally, xenophobic, designs?
We tend to doubt this, but there are certainly some moments from that campaign that elicit questions, and some positions that lend themselves to ambiguous interpretations. Perhaps the Captain did not realize that, at a certain point, there were those who thought to take advantage of him. Or perhaps he did have doubts, but, seized by his irrepressible desire for self-aggrandizement, he did not understand the full meaning of what was happening.
Among the many materials in History of a Great Wrong was an article from Washington’s Daily Critic on November 1, 1890. The article reported that in New Orleans, where there was an ongoing investigation into events that would lead to the lynching of eleven Sicilians the following year, “a frightening Italian secret society, the Mafia” had called for the death of Hennessy, the chief of police. That “trail” led directly to Moreno’s testimony in front of the Senate immigration committee the previous March 20. He spoke about the Camorra and the Mafia, which was received as indirect confirmation of Italians’ guilt. In fact, the mayor of New Orleans sent Moreno a message praising him for “his statements made to the Senate commission,” which seemed to mirror the situation in New Orleans.82 As Fava Thomas noted, “While Moreno denounces lynching he earns praise from Mayor Shakespeare who helped shield the lynchers.” She also (p.154) suggested an interesting comparison. Moreno’s obsessively repeated accusations resembled the anticommunist tirades of Joseph McCarthy, with whom Moreno also shared insufficient evidence and numbers that were always contradictory.
According to Fava Thomas, however, under the new McKinley administration (1896) Moreno’s accusations ended up dealing a great blow to the project for the expansion of the Italian Bureau of Ellis Island. The meeting of two technically opposed points of view produced insurmountable obstacles for the Italian office that Fava wanted. The first was the position of mayors who feared that immigration would steal work from Americans and allow dangerous people into the country at a time when the anarchist threat was acute. The second was supporters of a politics of power whose position would be boosted by war in 1898. The two viewpoints were embodied by Terence Powderly, the grand master of the Knights of Labor and the superintendent of immigration after succeeding Stump in 1897; and the Republican senator from Massachusetts, Henry Cabot Lodge, who became the voice of the Immigration Restriction League, which was particularly opposed to Italian immigrants.
Moreno influenced both Powderly and Lodge. In 1899, Powderly was called to testify in front of the U.S. Industrial Commission about the status of labor. He said that not only did Italians fail to respect the Alien Contract Labor Law, but the Italian Office, which he had already had tried to abolish the year prior, helped them do this. He identified Moreno as his source: “I have heard him say that the Bureau is only an agency of the padroni.” The accusation provoked astonishment in Rome because it was based on the fantasies of an ex-convict. There was even more astonishment and protests from Fava when the Commission interrogated the head of the Italian Bureau, Egisto Rossi, demonstrating considerable preconceptions about the Office’s activities. It ultimately had to close.
(1.) Moreno to Faldella, Washington, 19 October 1885.
(3.) News of the meeting, held on September 29, was in the New York Star and in the New York Sun, and also reprinted by the Chicago Tribune (“Italians and Poles,” October 2, 1884). On Moreno’s support of the Democratic Party, see “Per un nostro concittadino,” Gazzetta di Dogliani, January 16, 1893, which reproduces an article that appeared in the Courier Journal of Louisville, Kentucky.
(4.) Moreno to Faldella, Washington, 19 October 1885.
(6.) “Giudizi americani sulla condanna di Sbarbaro,” Gazzetta Piemontese, December 16, 1885.
(9.) Moreno to Faldella, 28 January 1888.
(14.) “The Italian Padroni,” Washington Post, January 29, 1885.
(17.) “80,000 Italian Slaves,” Chicago Daily Tribune, and “Slaves to Padrones,” New York Times, February 27, 1886.
(18.) “Italian Slavery in America,” Washington Post, February 28, 1886.
(19.) “The Padrone System,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 28, 1886.
(24.) Many books that address the Italian experience in America dedicate ample space to Palma di Cesnola. For a more recent and specific contribution, see Palombi 2006. It discusses the bitter conflict over the illegal exportation of art from Italy to America that pitted Cesnola against Rodolfo Lanciani. On Suzzara Verdi, see Durante 2001, 505–516. On the Suzzara-Weston marriage, see “Alfred Jerome Weston of This City Married to Miss Verdi,” New York Times, June 7, 1891.
(26.) Celso Caesar Moreno, “The Organ of the Italian Padroni,” Chicago Daily Tribune, October 30, 1886.
(29.) Moreno’s article, accompanied by Speroni’s testimony, is in HGW, 39–40. The resulting narrative is in Ciambelli 1893, I, 22–24. The South Carolina case raised an uproar; other horrific testimony was reported in L’Eco d’Italia (“L’atroce martirio di 150 braccianti italiani nel South Carolina,” December 15, 1891).
(33.) Moreno to Faldella, 5 May 1888.
(34.) Moreno to Faldella, 2 February 1888.
(35.) Moreno to Faldella, 24 November 1891.
(38.) Celso Caesar Moreno, “The Italian Press in America,” Washington Post, April 30, 1889.
(40.) “Minister Fava Not Recalled,” Washington Post, June 9, 1890.
(41.) “Il Non possumus del Papa e la conciliazione,” in La Civiltà Cattolica VII, no. 966 (1890): 641–658. L’Osservatore Romano, the Holy See’s daily newspaper, had already published Moreno’s 1886 arguments in front of the Chamber of Deputies. See HGW, 37.
(44.) Moreno to Bonghi, 4 April 1890, Archivio di Stato di Napoli, Archivio privato Ruggiero Bonghi, busta 11, 667.
(47.) Moreno to Bonghi, 31 January 1891, ASN, Archivio privato Ruggiero Bonghi, busta 11, 668.
(48.) Moreno to Bonghi, 20 December 1891, ASN, Archivio privato Ruggiero Bonghi, busta 11, 669.
(50.) Celso Caesar Moreno, “Italy’s New Premier,” Washington Post, February 3, 1891.
(52.) There is an ample bibliography on anti-Italian violence in the United States. Among the most recent contributions, see Salvetti 2003 and the impressive “Timeline of Tears” in Borsella 2005, 52. Moreno (HGW, 32) also lists many episodes of violence.
(54.) “Baron Fava’s Recall,” Los Angeles Times, April 3, 1891.
(55.) “Charges Against an Italian Consul,” Chicago Daily Tribune, October 10, 1891. Moreno had already told the story of Fava’s undignified lodgings, described as a “furnished room,” to Cristoforo Colombo on April 10 and then to the Washington Herald on May 3, 1891. He talked about “a simple boardinghouse” with San Francisco’s La Voce del Popolo on May 25 under the title “Le meschinità di Fava.”
(60.) “Baron Fava’s Trip Home,” New York Times, September 19, 1892.
(61.) “An Unwelcome Visitor to Mr. Moreno,” Washington Post, September 30, 1893.
(64.) Abruzzo made his views on the issue known. See his letter “Le Infamie dei Bosses,” L’Eco d’Italia (New York), March 1, 1891.
(p.210) (67.) “Celso Caesar Moreno Gives Bail,” Washington Post, July 13, 1895.
(69.) “Not in Government Employ” and “Moreno and the Immigration Bureau,” Washington Post, September 19 and October 13, 1894.
(71.) “At the National Capital,” New York Times, July 20, 1895.
(72.) “Libelled Baron Fava,” The Sun, New York; “Fava’s Libeler Guilty,” Chicago Daily Tribune; “Moreno Guilty,” Los Angeles Times; and especially “Moreno Guilty of Libel,” The Morning Times and “Don Celso Moreno Still in Jail,” The Evening Times (Washington, DC), all October 30, 1895.
(73.) “Moreno May Be Sentenced Monday,” Washington Post, November 10, 1895.
(74.) “Moreno Goes to Jail for Ninety Days,” New York Times; “Moreno Sent to Jail,” Washington Post; “Moreno Sent to Jail,” Morning Times, all November 12, 1895.
(75.) “Smith D. Fry, His Career Closed,” Barton County Democrat, June 21, 1901.
(76.) “Kalākaua’s Ex-Minister,” Los Angeles Times, November 16, 1895.
(77.) “Sunday Behind Walls,” Washington Post, November 18, 1895.
(79.) The repeated references in HGW to the wife of the then-Minister of Foreign Affairs Alberto Blanc, the Cuban Dolores Natalia (Natividad) Terry y Dorticos, are dark. See page 50 in particular.
(80.) Luigi Einaudi, “Italiani in America,” La Stampa (Turin), June 4, 1897.