to Mr. Evarts
Berlin , August 7, 1878. (Received August 29.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 20, communicating the decision of the imperial government in the case of Carl Ganzenmüller, and my own [Page 230] protest against the principle therein involved, together with my dispatch No. 25, reporting a private conversation with Mr. von Bülow, minister of foreign affairs, upon the same subject, I have now the honor to inform you that I have received a communication from the foreign office, a copy and translation of which I herewith forward (inclosure 1), which terminates the case in an unexpected manner.
In his correspondence with this legation, claiming its intervention with the imperial government in his behalf, the said Ganzenmüller was more than emphatic in his declarations of bona fide American citizenship, and his intention shortly to return to the land of his adoption. As a specimen of his manner of writing, the last letter received from him is appended (inclosure 2). It is dated on the 12th of June, and it now appears that on the 13th he made application to the authorities of Baden to resume his former citizenship in that state, thus confirming the ground assumed by them in justification of their former action, that he never intended to return to the United States.
It will readily be perceived that this action of Ganzenmüller is directly prejudicial to all cases of prolonged residence on the part of naturalized citizens. A further and very unnecessary difficulty is often created by the latter in refusing to declare in advance the probable term of their stay when asked to do so by the local authorities. The case of Gustav Weil, also mentioned in my dispatch No. 20, proves to have been directly occasioned by such refusal; but I am glad to state that it has been favorably settled. The experience of this legation includes so many instances of ignorant and overweening assumption of rights, that a certain amount of indiscretion, to use no stronger term, may be reasonably inferred in at least half the cases where an appeal is made for official intervention. Within the past fortnight a German-American forwarded the evidences of his citizenship accompanied by the bitter complaint that he was not allowed to vote at the election on the 30th ultimo; another, who has been residing for several years at Lübeck, demanded to be exempted from the sanitary law requiring the vaccination of his child; and a third requested the legation to divorce him from his wife! In another instance a man of property in this capital, who acquired American citizenship in order to avoid military duty, and never intends to return to the United States, forwarded a gross attack upon the legation, of which he was the author (printed in a German paper of New York) the day before calling to claim its assistance.
In view of the prevailing political agitation in Germany, and the increased tendency toward repressive measures on the part of the government, it would be well if naturalized citizens contemplating a visit to their former homes were officially advised that many possible annoyances may be avoided by declaring the probable term of their stay to the local German authorities on arriving, by abstaining from irritating political discussions, and by quietly obeying such municipal laws and regulations as apply to temporary as well as permanent residents. If this course were generally followed it would not only relieve the legation of much unnecessary investigation, but would also enable it to decide more intelligently and justly in regard to cases requiring official intervention. It may be charitably presumed that a considerable amount of the offenses are ignorantly committed, through the lack of that thorough political education which restrains most native-born American citizens visiting Europe from coming into conflict with the local authorities.
I have, &c.,