No. 498.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Gorham.

No. 100.]

Sir: Your dispatch, No. 130, relating to the demand by Belgium for the extradition from Holland of Adolph Schmiderberg, has been received. In addition to the instruction in my No. 99, the perusal of your No. 130 induces me to point out to you the propriety of inquiring, with some particularity, when and where Schmiderberg was naturalized as a citizen of the United States, of ascertaining whether he has a certificate of naturalization, how long he resided in the United States before obtaining it, how long he has resided away from the United States since obtaining it, what his pursuits in Europe have been, and what evidence there is of an intent on his part to return to this country.

[Page 780]

The criminal law of this country asserts jurisdiction over all offenses committed within the territorial limits of the State or Territory enacting the law, but over no crimes committed beyond it. An American citizen, therefore, committing an offense in Europe, cannot be punished for that offense by the infliction of any punishment under American laws, and will escape punishment altogether if he can claim the protection of his Government against a demand for extradition.

On motives of general policy it would not be thought worth while to authorize any intervention in favor of a criminal in such case, even if he were a native-born citizen. In the case of a naturalized citizen, the representative of the Government should further inquire whether he be a bona-fide naturalized citizen, and whether he has done any act indicating a purpose to forfeit his acquired citizenship.

In the present case the Department, referring to its former instructions, confides in your discretion and good judgment.

I am, &c.,