Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward

No. 1489.]

Sir: I obtained an interview on Tuesday last with Lord Stanley for the purpose of renewing the representations as directed in your dispatch No. 2087, of the 5th of November, respecting the difficulties growing out of the state of things in Ireland. I explained the precise nature of the question as applicable to naturalized American citizens. I read to him the chief passages of your dispatch, and concluded by asking him to reconsider the former decision of the government so far as it relates to supplying better security to our citizens in that island.

His lordship asked me if I had any special measure to suggest. I said, nothing beyond that already specified in your dispatch No. 2049, of August last, and the later one already referred to. He said that passports had long since proved to be of little avail. Unless the descriptions were very accurate, they were easily transferred from hand to hand; besides which, they had become rather obsolete here. At any rate, it seemed to him that whatever evidence was necessary to identify citizens was a thing to be supplied in America, and therefore should be suggested from there. He asked me some questions about the forms of naturalization. I said that they always involved the issue of formal certificates in the last stage of the process. Why, he asked, would not that do? I said it might, in most cases, provided it was given to be understood that they were essential as a protection. But, in course of time, many were lost by neglect to preserve them, or other accident, and it was a long process from here to procure official copies. There was also a class of cases of children under age at the time of naturalization [Page 31] who grew up and claimed citizenship by virtue of the act of their father, without need of any legal process for themselves. That claim was recognized with us. Some cases of this kind had occurred since I had been here. There had been much trouble in consequence, and some hardship.

His lordship said he was at a loss to perceive what they could do, but he would take the matter into further consideration and consult with Lord Mayo about it. I said that, so far as I knew, there was no case left of arrest and detention without assigned cause and provision made for trial.

The question was, therefore, at present, only one of a prospective character. His lordship said he believed this state of things would not last much longer.

I gently reminded him of the fact that this had been announced very formally last year; yet, here we were. He admitted the truth of it, but rested on the discouragement incident to the failure of all the schemes.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


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