No. 434.
Mr. Hoffman to Mr. Evarts.

No. 152.]

Sir: Referring to my No. 150, I have the honor to inclose to you herewith a copy of a note I yesterday addressed to Baron Jomini in the case of Mr. Calvocoressi. In accordance with your instructions, I have endeavored to present his case briefly, and as a claim in equity rather than in law.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 152]

Mr. Hoffman to Baron Jomini.

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s note of October 20, 1879, in reference to the case of Mr. Calvocoressi, an American citizen, whose house at San Stefano was occupied by Russian troops during the late war, and much damage done to it and to the furniture.

The principle that neutral property on belligerent territory becomes hostile property as far as the other belligerent is concerned, is so well established, that I had not proposed to claim compensation for Mr. Calvocoressi as of right; but the case appeared to me to be one of peculiar hardship, as I had the honor to state in my note of the 14th April last, and it is as a claim in equity, rather than under international law, that I am instructed to bring it to your excellency’s attention, and to ask for it the favorable consideration of the imperial government.

San Stefano was not the scene of active hostilities, such as would have justified the great damage done to Mr. Calvocoress’s property, and the prolonged occupation of [Page 928] his house, running over many months, was not due to any strategic necessity or urgent military purpose, but was simply for the convenience of the Russian officers. I therefore submit to your excellency that, according to the ordinary usages of war practiced by military commanders, a compensation should have been paid to Mr. Calvocoressi by the military authorities. Your excellency will observe, too, that Mr. Calvocoressi does not complain so much of the ordinary wear and tear of the house and furniture during its occupation, as of the unnecessary and apparently wanton injury done them, amounting to over £1,000 sterling.

It is upon the ground of prolonged occupation not required by military operations, and of damage inflicted far beyond the ordinary wear and tear arising from the occupation of the house and the use of the furniture, that I am instructed to request a favorable consideration of the imperial government for the claim of Mr. Calvocoressi.

I take this opportunity, &c.