The question as to the protection of British subjects in the East does not come within the scope of this memorandum, but it would require careful attention in case any alteration of the present law of allegiance were contemplated.

The following instruction was addressed, in 1849, to Mr. Murray respecting the amount of protection to be granted, in Egypt, to aliens who had obtained letters of naturalization in England:1

“Your inquiry arises out of three questions which have been put to you by Mr. Walne, Her Majesty’s consul at Cairo; and I will give answers to those questions.

“The first question is, whether Greek houses in Egypt, being branches of establishments belonging to Greeks who have been naturalized in England, are entitled to protection?

“Upon this point I have to answer that those members of such houses who are not naturalized British subjects cannot claim for themselves nor for their branch house British privileges, merely because another member of the house residing elsewhere has been naturalized in England.

“The second question is, whether British protection is to be extended in Egypt tp subjects of the kingdom of Greece who have obtained letters of naturalization in England and have returned to the Levant?

“The answer to this is, that, if these persons have been legally naturalized in England, they are entitled everywhere but in the kingdom of Greece to the privileges of British subjects.

“The third question is, whether Greek rayahs, resuming their residence in the Ottoman territory, after having obtained naturalization in England, are to be protected?

“The answer is, that these persons cannot, within the country of their natural allegiance, that is to say, within the Ottoman Empire, claim to be considered British subjects, because natural allegiance in the country of a man’s birth overrides privileges obtained by naturalization elsewhere.”

In 1851 this instruction was modified as regards Mr. Cassavetti, a Greek naturalized British subject resident in London, and Her Majesty’s consul-general in Egypt was instructed to afford to his branch establishments at Cairo and Alexandria the same protection as would have been afforded to the branch establishments of an English firm.2

A similar instruction was sent to Mr. Consul Brant in the case of Mr. Calimachi, a Greek, the agent, at Trebizond, of Mr. Mathew Schilizzi, a resident in London.3

In 1855 like protection was extended to Messrs. Bogni and Kotti, Greek agents, at Galatz, for M. Theologo.4

In 1856 Mr. P. Theologo was informed that his naturalization would not entitle him to protection in Turkey, he having been born in Broussa in Asia Minor.5

In 1858 protection in Egypt was refused to Mr. Giro, a native of Lemnos; but, in the following year, it was decided that, bearing in mind the peculiar relations between Egypt and the Porte, he might properly receive British protection in Egypt, unless the Egyptian authorities objected6

In October, 1859, a question was raised as to the nationality of Mr. John Asian, born at Cerigo, but who had not complied with the provisions of the Ionian law in order to constitute himself an Ionian citizen.

Eventually it was arranged that protection should be afforded to him until he had an opportunity of returning to the Ionian Islands and completing his naturalization there.7

In 1861 Mr. Sophocles Theologo was informed that his agent at Galatz was not entitled to personal protection for himself or his concerns; but that the interests he represented, as the agent of a naturalized British subject resident in London, would be entitled to such protection.8

In April, 1861, an application was made for British protection on behalf of the estate of a bankrupt, Mr. Rodocanachi, a native of Scio, who had been naturalized as a British subject in 1855.9

As his certificate of naturalization contained an express exception of “any rights and capacities of a natural-born British subject out of or beyond the dominions of the British Crown and the limits thereof,” (the usual clause at that date,) and Mr. Rodocanachi was at Constantinople in no danger of molestation, Her Majesty’s government refused to interfere.

In the case of Themistocles George Asian, who claimed to have his declaration of part-ownership in a British vessel registered at the Cairo consulate in 1861, it was decided that the question of Mr. Aslan’s right to have his declaration of part-ownership in a British vessel attested at the British consulate at Cairo depended not upon the terms of his letters of naturalization, nor upon the circumstance of his having or not having a [Page 1351] foreign passport, but upon the provisions of “the Merchant Shipping Act, 17 and 18 Vic., cap. 104, sec. 18.” By that act persons who are naturalized by or pursuant to statute are rendered capable of being owners or part-owners of a British ship only if they “are and continue to be, during the whole period of their so being owners, first, resident in some place within Her Majesty’s dominions, or second, if not so resident, members of a British factory or partners in a house actually carrying on business in the United Kingdom, or in some other place within Her Majesty’s dominions.” Mr. Aslan, it appeared, was not a person fulfilling the first of these conditions, but it did not appear whether he was or was not a member of a British factory, or a partner in a house actually carrying on business within Her Majesty’s dominions. If he was, the application made by him to the British consul at Cairo ought to be complied with; if not, he was by law incapable of being owner or part-owner of a British ship, and the ship of which he was owner or part-owner could not be deemed to be British; in which case the consul ought not to attest his declaration.1

The clause in Mr. Aslan’s letters of naturalization excepting from the grant “any rights and capacities of a natural-born British subject out of and beyond the dominions of the British Crown and the limits thereof,” was intended only to prevent the person thereby naturalized from claiming, by virtue of his naturalization, as against foreign governments while within their territories, the benefit of the status of a British subject. It was not intended to be applicable to the right and capacity of the person naturalized, (provided he fulfills the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Act,) to be and continue, while locally resident beyond the limits of Her Majesty’s dominions, an owner or part-owner of a British ship, and to do, while there, all acts proper to be done by him in that character. Such a right is not one of which any foreign locality can be predicated, merely because the person entitled to it may happen to be residing abroad; it is in its nature essentially a British right, its subject being a British ship having its port of registry within the dominions of the British Crown, and, if locality was to be ascribed to it at all, it must follow the port or domicile of the ship, and not the residence of the owner.

In December, 1862, Mr. Sophocles Theologo was informed “that a foreign house, having foreign interests, although connected with the English house, and being conducted by foreigners and in a foreign country, cannot claim the protection of a British consul, except in so far as the direct interests of British subjects, apart from those of foreigners, are involved.”2

In 1864 Sir E. Hornby was authorized to register Messrs. Cuppa as British subjects, reserving any rights of allegiance which might be preferred against them by the country of their birth.

These gentlemen were Ionians by birth, sons of an Ionian who had commanded, as a British naval officer, a scamparia or gunboat, in the war with France, and they claimed, accordingly, to be British subjects, under the act 13 Geo. II., cap. 3.3

In the case of M. Mavrogodato,4 in 1866, it was decided that “although in strictness a foreigner who is merely naturalized in Great Britain has no title to British protection abroad, the good offices of Her Majesty’s representatives may as a general rule be properly extended to such persons elsewhere than in the dominions of the state to which they owe natural allegiance;” and that such claim as M. Mavrogodato might have to those good offices in the Ottoman dominions must be “subject to the determination of any question which may be raised by the Turkish government, arising out of his place of birth, and that if that question is raised M. Mavrogodato must be prepared to establish to his excellency’s satisfaction that he forms one of a class of persons over whom the Porte has renounced its right of regarding them as its subjects, notwithstanding their birth in its territory.”

  1. To Mr. C. Murray, consular, No. 13, November 17, 1849.
  2. To Mr. D. Cassavetti, February 22, 1851.
  3. To Mr. Brant, consular, No. 4, August 26, 1852.
  4. To Mr. Theologo, January 12, 1855.
  5. To Mr. P. Theologo, February 8, 1856.
  6. To Mr. Giro, September 7, 1858; to Mr. Muller, No. 2, February 14, 1859.
  7. To Mr. Colquhoun, consular, No. 36, December 9, 1850.
  8. To Mr. Theologo, November 11, 1861.
  9. Messrs. Wilson, Dodgshun, and Papayanni, April 2, 1861.
  10. Acting consul at Cairo, No. 25, May 30.1861. Law officers, August 9, 1861.
  11. To Mr. Theologo, December 24. 1862.
  12. Sir E. Hornby, No. 42; June 22. 1864. Law officers; July 23, 1864.
  13. May 14, 1866.