Mr. Dix to Mr. Seward

No. 279.]

Sir: Your dispatch No. 205, in regard to Philip Brailly, was received last evening. He was released from imprisonment some time since. You will perceive, by the inclosed copy of a dispatch addressed by me to the Marquis de Moustier, on the 20th September last, that the case was promptly attended to as soon as it was brought to my notice. It turned out that Brailly, instead of going before one of the civil judges to show that he had been naturalized as a citizen of the United States, made his application to a council of war, under bad advice, and did not take with him the proofs of his naturalization.

On being advised officially of these facts by the Marquis de Moustier, I sent him a copy, certified under the seal of the legation, of Brailly’s certificate of naturalization, and he was promptly released. The imperial government only asked that he should satisfy the established form of proceeding by going before a civil tribunal with his certificate and passport, and show that he had been naturalized as a citizen of the United States.

He was at the legation about a week ago to procure his certificate, and as I have heard nothing from him since, I have no doubt that the matter has been satisfactorily arranged. He spoke of the great kindness with which he had been treated by the imperial authorities, and regarded his confinement as a detention rather than ah imprisonment.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Dix to the Marquis de Moustier

Sir: It has been reported to me that Philip Brailly, a citizen of the United States, naturalized on the 23d of August, 1858, has been condemned by le premier consul de guerre of Paris to six months’ imprisonment for insoumission, and that he is now detained at the prison Rue du Cherche-Midi, No. 37.

The naturalization papers of Brailly are in possession of this legation, and they show him, as above stated, to have been a citizen of the United States more than 10 years.

His condemnation is so directly at variance with the principle by which similar cases have been decided by the imperial government, that I deem it only necessary to call [Page 454] your excellency’s attention to the subject to insure immediate action with a view to redress the wrong which has been committed.

In your excellency’s dispatch of 27th June, 1867, concerning a case then pending, you said: “Mr. Karcher having lost the quality of a Frenchman for more than three years, the offense with which he is charged is now covered by prescription. The minister of war has, therefore, considered it his duty to direct that this individual, who, moreover, has been up to this time provisionally at large, and who has not been subjected to any judicial process, should be merely erased from the list of delinquents at the recruiting, depot of the lower Rhine.”

Your excellency will not be surprised, in view of the assurance conveyed by this decision, that the course of the consul de guerre in Brailly’s case should be a source of extreme sensibility, and that your prompt interposition should be most earnestly invoked.

I avail myself of the occasion to renew the assurances of the very distinguished consideration with which I am, &c.,


His Excellency the Marquis de Moustier, Minister of Foreign Affairs.