Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 1, 1879
Mr. Everett to Mr. Evarts.
Berlin, March 21, 1879. (Received April 12.)
Sir: I have the honor to inclose a report of such cases of naturalized Americans as have required the intervention of the legation with the German foreign office from the 3d October, 1877, to the 3d December, 1878—24 in all.
The favorable operation of the treaty of 1868, under which the legation has claimed an exemption from German laws in these cases, is shown by the fact that in only three of them—Kokett, Wackermann, and Steffan—has our intervention been unavailing.
Kokett’s case was one of forfeiting his bail on a charge of inciting to emigration, and did not bring him within the scope of the treaty. Wackermann would not have been expelled from Germany had he applied in time to the legation for aid; and the case of Steffan was one of Lèse Majesté, for which he was condemned to a long imprisonment, and the terms of the treaty could not be invoked in his behalf. Owing to the political excitement in Germany, resulting from a recent attack on the Emperor’s life, the government refused to grant any remission of his sentence.
Two men, Klagges (7) and Ganzenmüller (9), voluntarily resumed their German nationality while the legation was intervening in their behalf.
Thus it may be said that in every ease of timely intervention, based on the treaty of 1868, the legation has been successful in securing the rights of American citizens.
Besides these 24 cases, the legation sent in, on the 24th December, the case of Frank Lutz, forcibly enrolled at Jülich, but as this case is still undecided, it is not here included.[Page 368]
Since the 6th January of the current year, there have been added seven new cases, which are not here inserted, as only one of them is definitely decided, and the end of the year 1868 seemed to be an approximate chronological limit for the list.
I have, &c.,
list of military cases requiring intervention.
1. Martin Zimmer.—A native of Hesse-Darmstadt, emigrated to the United States October, 1868, at the age of fourteen, with written permission from the authorities; married in the United States; was naturalized there in 1877; returned to Germany in September, 1877, to visit his parents; on the 23d September, 1877, was arrested and forcibly enrolled in the One hundred and eighteenth Prussian Regiment as an “unsafe person liable to military service.” Zimmer had also, during his absence in America, been sentenced to a tine of 150 marks for evasion of military service. The case having been substantiated by the proper affidavits before the United States consul at Mayence, the legation sent it in to the minister of foreign affairs on the 3d of October, 1877, with a request for Zimmer’s liberation. On the 26th of November, 1877, a note was received from the foreign office saying that Zimmer was discharged from military service on the 15th October, which the legation had for over a month already known through the consul, and had reported to the Department of State in dispatch No. 12, of the 29th October, 1877, approved in Instruction 409.
2. Benjamin Becker.—Born in Minversheim 26th February, 1854; emigrated to the United States in 1872; declared Ms intention 8th May, 1875; was naturalized 30th October, 1877; returned to Germany 1st December, 1877: was ordered to leave Alsace by the royal kreiss director of Strasbourg 3d December, 1877; sent his statement to the legation 6th December, 1877; and again wrote on 17th December, 1877, to say that the local officials ignored the copy of the ministerial decrees sent by the legation, and ordered him to leave in eight days. On the 19th December the legation represented the case to the German Government, and on the 31st December received a reply from the foreign office that the local authorities had been ordered to desist from annoying Becker while the case was being examined into; and again, on the 6th March, 1878, that Becker would be allowed to remain for the present. This result was duly communicated to Becker. Since then nothing more has been heard from him. The case being quickly decided, and not involving personal liberty, was not reported to the Department.
3. C. A. F. Weibezahl.—This case came originally to the legation from the Department of State by Instruction 411, on the 5th of December, 1877. Weibezahl was a German citizen, residing in New York, occupied as a teacher, without any intention of being naturalized as an American citizen, but looking forward to eventually returning to Germany to enjoy an inheritance. He applied through the Secretary of State to be released from military obligation in Germany on account of bad sight. The legation sent in the request to the foreign office on the 21st December, 1877, and on the 28th February received a reply that Weibezahl must furnish a certificate of defective sight from a certain German physician in New York, after an examination in the presence of the German consul. This having been reported to the Department, the required certificate arrived in Berlin on the 2d May, 1877, was forwarded the same day to the foreign office, and on the 20th June a reply was received from the German Government that Weibezahl had been put on to the list of reserves, which was at once communicated to him through the Department of State, in dispatch No. 24, of the 28th of June, 1877. This case is only remarkable as being that of a person not only having no claim to be considered an American citizen, but even positively refusing to be naturalized, and yet expecting the American Government to intercede in his behalf to avert the penalty of avoiding military service in his own country.
4. Hermann Labischinsky.—Born in Gnesen, Germany, 4th October, 1854; emigrated to the United States 18th May, 1871, at the age of seventeen; was naturalized 20th September, 1876; returned to Germany 22d August, 1877; was fined soon after arrival for evasion of military duty, and paid his fine on the 3d December, 1877. He had no intention of remaining in Germany. The legation was informed of the case on the 19th December, sent it in to the foreign office on the 28th December, and on the 28th April of the following year only was informed by the German Government that Labischinsky was pardoned, and that his fine was remitted. By that time Labischinsky had left for America. The legation, on the 29th April, 1878, informed him of his pardon, and has heard no more of him, so it is presumed that the money was repaid to > his relatives.[Page 369]
5. Ernst Eggers.—Was born at Edemssen, Hanover, 25th March, 1846; emigrated to the United States in May, 1867, at the age of 21; declared his intention to become a citizen 16th October, 1868, but was not naturalized till 1st February, 1878. He wrote to this legation from Appleton, Wis., 5th October, 1877, to say that his property in Germany had been attached, to the amount of 1,050 marks, for violation of military duty. As soon as satisfactory evidence in support of his case had been received, it was sent to the German Government, and on the 29th March, 1878, an answer was received from the foreign office, that the attachment had already expired by limitation, of which Eggers was at once informed. This is the only case on the records of the legation of the statute of limitation annulling a military fine.
6. Jacob Kowalski.—Was born at Kamen, West Prussia, 28th July, 1850; emigrated to the United States 17th April, 1869, when nearly nineteen years of age; was naturalized 2d September, 1877, after a residence of eight years; was fined 300 marks in his absence by the Prussian authorities, for desertion. As soon as satisfactory proofs of his statements had been received, the legation made a representation in his favor to the German Government. After nearly seven months, a reply was received from the foreign office, that Kowalski had been pardoned by the Emperor, and his fine remitted, of which he was at once informed. Nothing has since been heard from him, and his case, presenting no points of difficulty or interest, was not reported to the Department.
7. Frank Klagges.—Was born in Westphalia, in 1837; emigrated to the United States in November, 1864, and was naturalized about ten years later. In 1875, he returned on a visit to Germany for his health, and in March, 1878, was informed by the local authorities of Meerholtz, near Frankfort-on-the-Main, that he must become a German citizen within four weeks or return to the United States. The case was strongly recommended to the legation by the consul-general at Frankfort-on-the-Main, who ascertained that Klagges was a quiet, inoffensive man, in delicate health, with a wife and newly-born child, who was unable to cross the ocean so soon. As Klagges had exceeded the two years visit allowed by the treaty, the legation could only ask as a favor of the German Government, which it did on the 5th of April, 1878, that he might be allowed to remain until his wife was strong enough to travel. The foreign office, on the 19th July, 1878, in answer to this appeal, informed the legation that Klagges had decided to become a German citizen. This case is noticeable only as being one where the German authorities have required a naturalized American over the military age to leave the country, and also where a naturalized American has voluntarily relinquished his acquired citizenship after eleven years’ residence in the United States.
8. Philip Flatan.—Was born at Czarlowitz 1st October, 1854; emigrated to the United States 1st September, 1872; was naturalized 15th October, 1877. He returned to Germany 15th February, 1878, to visit his parents, at Parlin, near Mazilno Posen, and soon after his arrival presented himself to the local authorities as an American citizen on a visit there. To his astonishment he was informed that his citizen papers and passport were of no value, and that he must furnish a certificate of baptism and be mustered into military service. As he did not comply with this, an order for his arrest was issued, in consequence of which he was in great distress, and appealed to the legation for assistance on the 12th April, 1878. His case was sent to the foreign office on the 15th April, and on the 9th May a reply was received, that he would not be annoyed during the investigation of his case, and finally, on the 9th June, a second note from the foreign office informed the legation that no more proceedings would be taken against him, of which he was at once notified.
9. Karl Ganzenmüller.—Was born at Linsheim, Grand Duchy of Baden, in 1851; emigrated with the permission of the authorities in 1869; was naturalized 12th July, 1875; returned to Germany 17th July, 1875, and had resided at his old home ever since, ostensibly to take care of his parents. On the 11th April, 1878, he was ordered to leave Germany, on the ground that his example was prejudicial to the public safety, or to turn German and perform military duty. He based his right to stay over two years on the fact that the separate treaty between Baden and the United States does not contain the two years clause of the general treaty. He appealed for protection to the legation, and on the 30th April, 1878, Mr. Everett, then chargé d’affaires, called the attention of Mr. von Bülow to this case, and especially to the new precedent established, of allowing a local police regulation to override an international treaty.
No answer being received from the German Government, and Ganzenmüller continuing to inform the legation that he was ordered to leave, in spite of the representation of the United States consul in the town where he resided, the case was reported by Mr. Bayard Taylor to the Department of State on the 15th June, 1878. The case was complicated by the fact that Ganzenmüller had exceeded the two-years’ stay allowed by the general treaty of 1868, though that point was not adverted to until later.
On the 13th June, 1878, a note was received from the German foreign office, inclosing the reply of the Baden authorities, which confirmed the decree of expulsion, on the ground that Ganzenmüller was a foreigner, because the special Baden treaty did not have the two years’ clause of the general treaty in it, and that he was expelled because his example in emigrating to avoid military service and then returning to stay was [Page 370] a dangerous one, though they offered him the choice of remaining and becoming a German citizen again. This note was immediately replied to by Mr. Taylor, who repudiated this doctrine in the most energetic terms, as showing that American citizenship in itself was dangerous, and rendering useless the treaty between the two countries. The answer was at once forwarded to the Department of State in Mr. Taylor’s dispatch of 15th June, 1878, and the views of the Department requested.
On the 3d August, a note was received at the legation from Mr. von Phillipsborn, in charge of the foreign office, saying that Ganzenmüller had decided to become a German citizen again, of which the Department was immediately informed in dispatch 37, of 12th August, and the case was thus brought to an end.
This case is interesting on account of the distinction made by the Baden Government between their treaty and the general one, and also because they expelled a naturalized foreigner for setting a bad example, and, in their own words, that “the practical success obtained in the evasion of military duty, without final emigration, may be as practically set aside.”
10. Albert Kokott, a naturalized American citizen, wrote to the legation on the 8th May, 1878, from Glasgow, saying that as he was passing through Berlin, on his return to America after visiting his relatives in Germany, he was beset by a party of emigration agents, who, on his refusal to buy their tickets, had him arrested and taken to prison, from which, after being confined two days, he was released only on giving bail in 500 marks to reappear to answer charge. Mr. Kokott also stated that he was obliged to return at once to America on account of the ill health of his wife. The legation sent a statement of the case with Mr. Kokott’s citizen-papers to the foreign office on the 14th May, 1878, and on the 19th July received a reply that Mr. Kokott was arrested on a charge of inciting to emigration, and not for failure in military duty, as the legation had supposed. On the 28th August a letter was received from Mr. Kokott in America, asking what had been done in his case, and the legation replied that his case not coming under the treaty, and having forfeited his bail, there did not seem to be any means of helping him. Since then nothing more has been heard of him.
11. Julius Baumer’s case was received on the 17th May, 1878, from the Department of State (Instruction 442, 30th April, 1878), which directed the legation to inquire from the foreign office into his case of expulsion from Germany, and to request that measures might be taken to avoid similar cases in future, and also that Baumer might be reimbursed for his losses. The case was as follows:
Julius Baumer was born in Westphalia in 1848; emigrated to America in February, 1868, at the age of twenty, with written permission to emigrate, and released from all allegiance to the King of Prussia. He was naturalized 6th of November, 1876, in Illinois, returned to Germany on a visit in 1877, and was informed on the 12th of October, 1877, that he must leave Germany in eight days or perform military duty. Baumer appealed to the ministry of the interior, without success, but did not apply to the legation. The legation addressed a note to the foreign office on the 18th May, 1878, and on the 25th May received a long reply, to the effect that Baumer, in answer to his appeal, had been allowed to remain over a year longer, and that he did not avail himself of this permission, but voluntarily left Germany in January, 1878; also, that he would have been allowed to remain had his case been brought at once to the notice of the government through the legation, and was at liberty to return at once to Germany if he wished, but that all indemnity for his expulsion was refused. This reply was forwarded to the Department, and subsequently printed in response to a resolution of Congress of 5th December, 1878, calling for the correspondence in the case. Since then nothing more has been heard at the legation of Baumer.
The important point of this case is that the German Government, apart from the peculiar circumstances of this particular case, justified the measure of expulsion itself, on the ground that every sovereign state is entitled under international principles from actuating motives of internal state police or state policy to refuse to foreigners the privilege of sojourn, and that a renunciation of this right is nowhere contained in the treaty of 22d February, 1868. To judge of the sufficiency of their motives in a special case appertains to the constitutionally appointed powers of the state so exercising its sovereign rights.
12. Joseph Wackermann. —A native of Alsace; emigrated to the United States in 1872, at the age of 16; was naturalized on the 8th March, 1877, and in the same year returned to visit his family in Germany. The police authorities, however, of his native place, in May, 1878, notified him that he must leave the country within 14 days. He complained to the legation on the 14th May, 1878, and inclosed a testimonial to his good conduct from the burgomeister; and after a due investigation of his case the legation sent it, on the 29th May, to the foreign office, with a request that the order for his expulsion should be rescinded. The first effect of this was a telegraphic order to the authorities to desist from proceedings against Wackermann till his case could be investigated; and on the 23d August an answer was received from the foreign office justifying the expulsion on the same grounds as that taken in the case of Ganzenmüller, [Page 371] viz, that his example in returning after emigration was injurious to the young men of the place. The minister at once protested energetically against this argument, and reported the case to the Department of State 2d September, which approved his course. On the 25th September Wackermann is supposed to have left. On the 24th January, 1879, the legation received a note from the foreign office, in reply to Mr. Taylor’s arguments, and adhering to their sentence of expulsion, on the ground that the burgomeister who granted a testimonial in Wackermann’s favor was a near relative of his and did not state the truth; asserting, also, that Wackermann was dissipated, spending his time in taverns, perpetrating wild mischief, and in one of his excesses shooting himself in the hand, and that he generally set a bad example to other youths in the place. This note was sent, with a translation, to the Department of State on the 27th January 1879.
13. John Gottfried Berude.—Was born in Prussia 24th April, 1849; emigrated to America in August, 1870, but was shipwrecked on the way and did not arrive in California till December, 1871. There he was naturalized in 1877, and came to Germany on a visit in May, 1878, intending to be in San Francisco again by the end of July of the same year, to take command of a ship.
Soon after his arrival at Litzmandorf he was arrested for non-payment of a military fine of 30 thalers, and subsequently taken to Brieg, and on the 28th May, 1878, forcibly enrolled in the Fifty-first Regiment of Prussian Infantry. His appeal for protection reached the legation on the 1st June, 1878, and after proper investigation into the truth of his case, a demand for his release was made to the foreign office on the 6th June. On the 21st August a preliminary answer was received, saying that Berude was released, which the legation had already heard on the 28th June from Berude himself, who, with unexampled courtesy, thanked the legation for their successful intervention, and left for California to take command of his ship. On the 9th November a second note from the foreign office informed the legation that the fine was wholly remitted under the Emporer’s pardon.
14. Gustav Weil.—Born at Steinsfurth, Grand Duchy of Baden, 27th July, 1855; emigrated to the United States 20th September, 1872, at the age of seventeen; was naturalized 18th February, 1878; returned to Germany 5th May, 1878, with the intention of only remaining a few months. On the 23d May he was told he must leave the country in fourteen days under a local law, as in the preceding case of Ganzenmüller, for setting a bad example to other young men. As soon as the case could be investigated in person by the consul at Manheim, Mr. Bayard Taylor sent in a strong remonstrance to the foreign office on the 14th June, and on the 3d August received an answer that Weil would be allowed to remain two years, of which he was informed on the 5th August, and his citizen paper returned to him, since when nothing has been heard from him. This case was reported to the Department of State, together with the Ganzenmüller case, on the 15th June. According to the report made to the legation by the consul, the said Weil would not have been troubled by the local authorities if, on his arrival, he had shown his citizen paper and announced his intention of soon returning to America; but their action at the same time in the Ganzenmüller and Wackermann cases would seem to render this somewhat doubtful.
15. Christian Henkes.—Born 10th May, 1853; emigrated to the United States 10th March, 1869, at the age of sixteen; was naturalized 28th November, 1874; did not return to Germany, but on the 1st October, 1875, was fined 600 marks by the court of Aix-la-Chapelle, which his father paid in April, 1878. The case was brought to the notice of the legation in April, 1878, by Mr. Du Bois, United States commercial agent at Aix-la-Chapelle, and after the requisite papers substantiating the case had been received from America, the legation called the attention of the foreign office to it, 15th June, 1878, but owing to the troubles in Germany during that summer no answer was received till the 5th February, 1879, when the foreign office informed the legation that the fine was remitted as usual by special pardon of the Emperor, which was at once communicated to Mr. Henkes through the commercial agent at Aix-la-Chapelle, since when no more has been heard from him.
16. Alex. F. Wallner.—Was born at Saint Petersburg, Russia, on the 19th (7th) November, 1848; emigrated to the United States 16th September, 1871; was naturalized 6th October, 1876, and returned the same month to Germany. On the 1st June, 1878, he was compelled under penalty of imprisonment to pay a fine of forty-two marks; On the 18th June, 1878, the legation sent a note to the foreign office, with Wallner’s citizen paper, requesting that the fine might be remitted and repaid. On the 3d September a favorable answer was received from the foreign office, of which Wallner was informed, and his citizen-paper at the same time returned to him. The citizen-paper was acknowledged by his agent, and nothing more has been heard of him.
17. Gustav Folte, jr.—A native of Sommerfeld, Germany; emigrated to the United States 9th March, 1873, at the age of eighteen, and after five years’ residence there was naturalized on the 9th April, 1878. In the same month he returned to Germany, intending to remain only a few months. Soon after his arrival he was registered as a recruit, and sentenced to a fine of 185 marks, or an imprisonment of 30 days, for neglect [Page 372] of military duty. The fine was paid, and the legation was appealed to for protection. On the 13th July, 1878, the legation petitioned the foreign office for repayment of the fine, and in December, 1878, was informed in reply that it would be repaid. Folte had, in the meantime, become very impatient, and, after addressing several reproachful letters to the legation, had left for America, leaving his address behind him. The reply of the German Government was sent to him as soon as received, and his citizen-papers returned to him. But, subsequently, another note had to be addressed to the foreign office on account of delay and official formalities in the way of payment, brought by Folte to the notice of the legation.
18. F. E. O. Klein.—Was born at Jastrow, in Prussia, on the 17th August, 1851; emigrated to the United States in June, 1869; was naturalized 3d April, 1877; returned to Germany 26th April, 1877, and on the 17th August had an execution for a military fine levied upon him, and his watch and chain taken from him. The legation brought the case to the notice of the foreign office on the 17th August, 1877, and on the 13th September received a reply that Klein’s effects would not be sold, of which Mr. Klein was informed on his presenting himself at the legation just before his departure for America. He desired the effects to be sent to his father when returned.
On the 28th September another note was received at the legation from the foreign office, to the effect that the pardon of Klein had been recommended to the Emperor, and on the 13th November another note was received announcing his pardon and the remission of his fine. On the 29th December, however, the legation received a letter from Klein’s father, complaining that the jewelry had not been restored, and in June of the following year another letter from Klein himself, in America, to the same effect. On the 8th July, 1878, the legation again brought the case to the notice of the foreign office, and received a reply on the 16th August that the effects should be restored, of which Mr. Klein was at once informed. Notwithstanding this, on the 5th December, 1878, another letter from Klein, in America, was received, saying that his father had not yet received the jewelry. The legation at once wrote to the father, telling him to go and demand it of the local authorities, and to inform the legation of the result. His application proving to be unavailing, the legation, for the third time, brought the case to the notice of the foreign office, 21st January, 1879, with an earnest request for the return of the jewelry, and supposed that this would end the case, but on the 19th February the legation was informed by him that his property had been sold, which opened the correspondence again, and the case is still unsettled.
19. Emil David complained to the legation July 11, 1878, that a fine of 177 reichmarks had been wrongfully collected from him for the alleged evasion of military duty, pleading his rights as a naturalized American, visiting Germany. On the same day the legation wrote to him, inclosing the “military case” forms to be filled out, with the date needed by the legation, before intervening. From his answer it appeared that he emigrated to the United States in 1864, at the age of 21; was naturalized in 1871, and came back to Germany in April, 1878, after a residence of fourteen years in the United States, for a short visit to his native place, with the intention of returning to his adopted country in the month of August following. The case was immediately presented to the foreign office, and dispatch urged, as Mr. David intended soon returning to America. On December 6 the foreign office informed the legation that the fine was remitted. As Mr. David had in the meanwhile returned to America, the fine was repaid to his father, as he had requested.
20. Mr. George Wehrung, a naturalized citizen of the United States, informed the legation, in a letter from America, received on the 14th June, 1878, that his property in Germany had been attached for alleged violation of military duty. On the same day the legation wrote to him for such particulars as would enable it to intervene in his behalf with the German Government. Being in possession of the necessary facts, after some further correspondence, the legation, on August 19, presented his case to the German foreign office.
From Mr. Wehrung’s statements it appeared that he was born March 14, 1845, emigrated in 1871 to the United States, where he was naturalized October 7, 1876, and where he still resides. Attention was called to a probable confounding of his name with that of his brother, owing to an erroneous entry on the military rolls. Mr. Wehrung was at once informed of the steps taken by the legation. On the 17th December following, the foreign office notified the legation that the attachment on Mr. Wehrung’s property had been removed, and Mr. Wehrung was at once informed of the successful result of the legation’s efforts in his behalf.
21. Johannes Kehr emigrated to the United States in June, 1868, at the age of 19; he was naturalized in November, 1876, and came to Germany on a visit in August, 1877, with the intention of returning to America in 1879. On September 2, 1878, the legation received a letter from Mr. I. Kehr, stating that his son, Johannes Kehr, a naturalized citizen of the United States, had, on the 27th ultimo, after a sojourn in Germany of only a year, been arrested by the authorities of the Grand Duchy of Hesse, and forcibly enrolled in the army, notwithstanding his plea of American citizenship. The legation immediately wrote for more particular information and for Mr. Kehr’s certificate [Page 373] of naturalization, inclosing at the same time a “military case” form to he filled out. After some delay, occasioned by the father failing to return the military form as directed, he having preferred to first make some personal efforts for his son’s release, the form containing the necessary statement of facts was received by the legation on October 11. On the same day the legation addressed the Imperial Government in behalf of Mr. Kehr, and on the 25th of October received a note in reply, to the effect that Mr. Kehr had been released. A bill of damages was soon after sent to the legation by Mr. Kehr’s father, for presentation to the German Government. The legation declined to comply with this request unless instructed to do so by the Department of State.
22. Elie Bloch.—Was born at Isdenheim, Alsace, July 23, 1851; emigrated to the United States in September, 1872; was naturalized June 27, 1878, and returned to Germany on September 11 following. On the 4th of October, 1878, the legation received letter from Mr. Bloch, informing it that he was a naturalized citizen of the United States, revisiting his native Alsace, and complaining that during his absence in America an attachment had been placed on his property to cover a judgment obtained against him for alleged violation of military duty, and that he had left his native place for the time being and gone to Switzerland, being apprehensive that proceedings would be instituted against his person also. The legation immediately wrote to him for papers and particulars, inclosing “military case” form to be filled out. On the 23d of October, after receiving the needful information from Mr. Bloch, the legation addressed the Imperial Government in his behalf. The legation advised Mr.’ Bloch to return to his native place pending the investigation of his case, and on January 27 informed him that the Imperial Government had, under date of the 25th instant, notified the legation that Mr. Bloch would be permitted to reside for the unexpired period of two years’ visit at his native place, unmolested in person or property.
23. William Krotz.—On the 9th October, 1878, the legation received a letter from a Mr. Koelker, a notary public in New York, informing it that Mr. William Krotz, a naturalized American, still residing in his adopted country, desired the intervention of the legation to procure the removal of an attachment placed on his property in Würtemberg, to cover a judgment obtained against him for violation of military duty in Germany. Mr. Koelker was at once written to, and the “military case” form inclosed to be filled out with the necessary particulars in the case. Having on the 26th of November following received the information called for, the legation at once presented Mr. Krotz’s case to the Imperial Government, although apprehensive from the statement of facts made to it that he might be held to be technically, at least, a deserter.
It appeared from Mr. Krotzs’ statement that he emigrated at the age of twenty-two to the United States, in 1865, after having served as a soldier in the Würtemberg army for about a year and a half, when he furnished a substitute to serve a year for him, and received a leave of absence for one year. After his arrival in the United States he concluded not to return to Germany at the expiration of his leave and was naturalized in October, 1872. On Februarys following, the legation received a preliminary reply from the Imperial Government, informing it that as far as the investigation had then proceeded it appeared that Mr. Krotz had been condemned in contumaciam for desertion, and promising a further reply when the investigation should have been concluded. On the 17th February, a further reply was received from the German Government, informing the legation that Mr. Krotz, who had gone abroad on a leave of indefinite length, had, in 1866, in contumaciam been found guilty of desertion, and that his property had, therefore, pursuant to Würtemberg law, been attached until his return or until the expiration of the term established by the law of limitations. The legation was also informed that under this law the attachment would cease with the end of the year 1879, when Mr. Krotz’s property would be at his free disposal. The legation notified Mr. Krotz of the result.
24. William Steffan.—On July 17, 1878, the legation received a letter from one Joseph Schnitz, stating that his brother-in-law, William Steffan, had been condemned to two years’ imprisonment for insulting His Majesty the German Emperor, and asking his intervention to procure the remission of his punishment. The legation at once wrote to the American consul at Cologne, near which city the offense had been committed, asking him to investigate and report on the case.
On the 19th of October following, a communication was received from the Department of State, instructing the legation to use, under certain circumstances, its good offices in behalf of Steffan. The legation immediately wrote a second time to the consul at Cologne for information in the case. Owing probably to a change in the consular office at that city, which had occurred in the interval and also to the temporary absence of the consul, a report was not received until the 27th of November. The consul informed the legation that he had only been able to ascertain that Steffan had been convicted of insulting the Emperor; that the offense was considered grave. The legation at once addressed the Imperial Government, asking its clemency on the ground of its suggestions contained in the instruction from the Department of State. [Page 374] On December 20 a note was received from the foreign office expressing regrets at its inability to recommend a pardon for Steffan, owing to the aggravated nature of his offense, and inclosing a copy of the proceedings, showing the exact nature of that offense. The result was at once reported to the Department of State and a copy and translation of the papers transmitted.