Mr. Davis to Mr. Hoar.

Sir: I am instructed by the Secretary of State to ask your opinion in the following case:

Applications are made in behalf of five persons in the island of Curaçoa for passports. They were all born in that island except one, who was born in Saint Thomas. All are over twenty-one except one, who is a youth of fifteen. Four of them are children of a native citizen of the United States of America, domiciled at Curaçoa, who would appear not to have resided in this country since 1811. The other is the son of a native citizen whose residence is not stated. It does not appear affirmatively that any of the applicants have resided or intend to reside in the United States, or that more than one of them has ever been in this country.

The act of 1855 (10 U. S. Statutes, p. 604) provides that “persons heretofore born or hereafter to be born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, whose fathers were or shall be at the time of their birth citizens of the United States, shall be deemed and considered, and are hereby declared to be, citizens of the United States: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers never were citizens of the United States.”

It is provided by chapter 127 of the laws of 1856, (11 U. S. Statutes, p. 60,) that passports shall not be “granted or issued to or verified for any other persons than citizens of the United States.”

This Department desires to know whether these applicants are citizens of the United States, and, as such, whether they are entitled to passports.

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

Assistant Secretary.

Hon. E. Rockwood Hoar,