Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 4, 1882
Mr. Sargent to Mr. Frelinghuysen
Berlin , October 9, 1882. (Received October 25.)
Sir: I have the honor to transmit a return of so-called military cases of naturalized Americans which have been disposed of since the date of the last report, to September 1, 1882. A number of cases are still pending, including Nos. 88 and 92. Nos. 80 and 81 are only inferentially settled.
These cases do not represent nearly all the work of the legation in such matters. Many cases of threatened or feared oppression by the local authorities are brought to the attention of the legation. The fear in some of these cases may be groundless, but adverse action is often averted by certified copies of the treaty of 1868, and of the circular of the minister of justice, enjoining on local authorities observance of the treaty rights of naturalized Americans. These papers the legation furnishes; and they do excellent work in advising the local authorities of their duty in the premises. The legation is thus relieved, and is able to relieve the imperial foreign office of a crowded calendar of such cases.
I have, &c.,
report of military cases disposed of between june 30, 1881, and september 1, 1882.
- Bernhard Gherson, alias Benjamin Davis.—Called in person at the legation in the early part of May, 1881, and said that he was a naturalized American citizen temporarily residing in Posen on account of his father’s business and his wife’s critical state of health. He likewise stated that he had already resided in Germany more than the [Page 187] two years allowed by the treaty, and that the police of Wreschen had notified him to leave, but that he was anxious to be allowed to remain until August 1 next, by which time he hoped that his father’s business would be wound up and his wife would be strong enough to travel. On the 9th of May the legation applied to the foreign office for the requisite permission for Gherson to prolong his stay, and on the 25th of May the legation was informed, in reply, that Gherson would not, for the present, be interfered with, and on the 13th July, that the desired prolongation of his stay was granted, of which he was duly informed.
- Marcus Lewin.—Was born at Ritschenwalde, Prussia, on the 9th of June, 1856, and emigrated on the 10th July, 1872, to the United States, where he was naturalized on the 22d October, 1878. In April, 1881, he returned to his native town, and on the 4th of May was compelled by the authorities of Rogasen to pay a fine of 180 marks for avoidance of military duty, although he exhibited his American certificate of naturalization and passport. The former document was sent by the burgomaster of Ritschenwalde to the. German consul-general at New York for authentication. The legation called the attention of the foreign office to the case on the 27th May, 1881, and in September next was informed in reply that the fine had been remitted by imperial order, of which fact Mr. Lewin, who was by that time in America, was duly informed.
- Eugene Eger.—Was born at Merane, Saxony, May 28, 1856, and emigrated June 17, 1871, to the United States, where he was naturalized October 24, 1878. On the 19th of May, 1881, he returned to Germany with the intention of remaining there six months only. On his arrival at his native place he was arrested and imprisoned for evasion of military duty, but released on payment of 275 marks. The legation called the attention of the foreign office to the case on the 2d June, and on the 8th July was informed that the fine would be remitted, which information was at once conveyed to Mr. Eger, though the consul at Chemnitz. Nothing further has been heard by the legation in regard to the matter. It is therefore presumed that the money was repaid.
- William Brink.—Was born March 9, 1858, at Hückenwagen, near Dusseldorf, Prussia, and emigrated with his mother to the United States in 1872, at the age of fourteen, to join his father, who had emigrated in 1871, and who had been naturalized November 2, 1876, as a citizen of the United States. On June 4, 1881, the father and son returned to Germany on a visit for a few weeks; and on the 18th of the same month the son was arrested by the local authorities of his native town, hurried off to Cologne, and there enrolled in the Seventy-sixth Regiment of Infantry. The legation was informedof the case by the consul at Barmen on the 20th June, and at once wrote to the foreign office. On the 10th of July a reply was received informing the legation that Brink had been released on the 30th of June, of which fact the legation had already been informed by the consul at Barmen. On July 16 an instruction was received from Washington to apply for his release, which was replied to in accordance with the facts. The case was supposed to be ended, when the legation was again apprised by the consul that a fine had been imposed on Brink, and on the 28th of July the foreign office was again written to on the subject, and on the 3d of September a reply was received stating that the fine had been annulled; and the legation finally heard from the consul that Brink had received back his money.
- Arnold Oelrich.—Was born at Elmshorn, Schleswig-Holstein, April 20, 1856, and emigrated in November, 1871, at the age of fifteen years, to the United States, where he was naturalized February 20, 1877. After a residence of over 9 years in the United States, he returned on the 11th June, 1881, to his native place on a visit, and was soon compelled to pay a fine of 204 marks for neglect of military duty, in spite of his exhibiting proofs of American citizenship. The legation intervened for him on June 23, 1881, immediately on hearing of his case; and on the 11th July was informed by the foreign office that his fine would be repaid. The following month the legation was instructed from Washington that Oelrich’s brother said the fine had never been repaid, but a correspondence with the consul at Hamburg revealed the fact that this was not so, and that the fine had been duly repaid him, and that he had left for America, which was communicated to the Department of State in dispatch 249 on the 5th September, 1881. Mr. Oelrich subsequently wrote to the legation from America informing it that he was entirely pleased with its successful effort in his behalf.
- George Weigand.—Was born at Philadelphia, November 29, 1860, and was the son of Mr. Philip Weigand, who emigrated to America in 1850, and was naturalized therein October, 1850. George Weigand visited Germany for the first time in 1871, and after traveling some months in Switzerland and France took up his residence in Cologne. On July 24, 1881, he was summoned to do military service in the Twenty-eighth Regiment. On the 6th of July, 1881, the legation addressed a note to the foreign office requesting an investigation of the case and received a preliminary reply on the 9th July. But no final answer having been received up to the 15th of February, 1882, another note was sent to the foreign office, calling attention to the case, which was replied to on the 18th of February, to the effect that Weigand would not [Page 188] be further molested; this was at once communicated to him through the consul at Cologne and his father’s citizen paper returned.
- George E. B. Boettcher.—Was born at Breslau, October 26, 1851, and emigrated in March, 1871, to the United States, where he was naturalized November 4, 1878, after which he became an officer in the American merchant marine. On July 1, 1881, he arrived at Bremerhaven-Geestemünde as first mate of the ship John de Costa, and made a visit to his parents at Breslau. On his return to Geestemünde he was summoned to pay a fine of 195 marks or go to prison. As the local authorities entirely disregarded the consul’s intervention, a note was addressed to the foreign office as soon as the case became known to the legation, requesting that orders might be sent by telegraph that Boettcher be not molested, as his ship was to sail in two days. This was done, and Boettcher sailed in his ship at the appointed time. On December 9 the foreign office informed the legation that Boettcher’s fine was entirely remitted. This information was transmitted, together with his certificate of naturalization, at once to Mr. Boettcher, through the consul at Bremerhaven.
- John B. Bruns.—Was born at Haren, Prussia, September 3, 1853; left Germany in 1868. As a sailor he was two years at sea. He arrived in the United States in 1870, and was naturalized there in 1876. In February, 1880, he took a passport from the Department of State, and in July, 1881, returned to Germany on a visit. On the 6th of July he was arrested and imprisoned for three days at Meppen; and on the 9th was forced to pay a fine of 200 marks or remain in prison eighteen months longer, although the authorities saw his American papers. The legation, on investigating the case, found that Mr. Bruns’ residence in the United States before naturalization had been interrupted by a long interval spent in Germany and elsewhere, and also that during this interval he took out a German passport in Germany. His naturalization seemed therefore contrary to the laws of the United States for such cases, as well as contrary to the terms of the naturalization treaty of 1868 between Germany and the United States. Before intervening, the case was therefore reported to Washington in dispatch No. 235, August 8, 1881, and in response, in instruction No. 257, of the 26th of August, the Department of State disagreed with the legation in its view of the case, and directed intervention for Mr. Bruns. A note was accordingly addressed to the foreign office on the 15th September in his behalf, and on the 11th October a reply was received stating that his fine had been remitted. Of this he was duly informed, and his papers were returned to him December 30, 1881. The interesting point in this case is the construction put upon the term “uninterrupted residence” as required by the laws and treaties of the United States.
- Dr. Singruen.—Was born at Staufen, Baden, December 13, 1852, and emigrated in 1872 to the United States, where he was duly naturalized in Baltimore, September 7, 1877. In the same year he returned to Europe and resided principally in Austria. On the 17th July, 1881, he arrived at his native place in Germany on a visit to his parents. Immediately on his arrival he was arrested for neglect of military duty, and was not released until he had deposited the sum of 190 florins as security for the payment of the fine of 300 marks imposed upon him by the court at Freiburg, in Baden. The authorities finally informed him that as he appeared to be an American citizen this deposit would be returned, but, as no result followed, he appealed to the legation, which, after investigating the case, intervened with the foreign office for him on the 26th of October, 1881. On January 20, 1882, the amount of the fine was received in Austrian money as originally deposited by him, less the trifling costs of the investigation of the case, deducted by the local authorities, though it resulted in his favor. This was at one forwarded to Dr. Singruen, and the receipt duly acknowledged by him.
- Benny and Henry Oppenheimer.—Were born at Washington, in the United States the former on May 22, 1857, and the latter July 6, 1859. They returned with their parents to Germany in October, 1865, and have resided there ever since with them. On July 1, 1881, the elder of them being now twenty-four years old, and the younger sixteen, they were notified by the authorities of Frankfort that they could no longer be allowed to reside there, and that their cases would be reported to the authorities at Weisbaden unless they became German citizens in fourteen days. The legation, having been personally applied to by their parents to intervene for them, addressed a note to the foreign office on November 8, 1881, asking that, as they were native-born American citizens, they be not further molested. On the 13th of June the foreign office informed the legation that the appropriate authorities had been instructed to abstain from all hostile measures against the brothers until the conclusion of the investigation. So long a time having since elapsed, and no further complaint having been made, this case may be regarded as practically settled.
- Edward Cordes.—Was born at Hamburg, August 9, 1853; emigrated November 28, 1872, to the United States, where he resided uninterruptedly over five years, and was naturalized January 4, 1878. In April, 1878, he returned to Pyrmont, in Germany, where he has remained ever since. On March 10, 1881, he received a summons to appear before the amts court at Pyrmont, and in reply to their questions announced his intention to retain his American nationality and to return to America, but requested [Page 189] permission to remain some months longer, in order to close up his business affairs with his brother. Mr. Cordes represents that he understood that a verbal promise was given to take this request into consideration and to send him a reply; consequently he did not leave at once for America, but went over to England. On May 18 he was sent for again by the amts court, as he supposed, to receive the reply to his request. But to his surprise he was at once taken to Arolsen, and put into the regiment at that place. The legation entered into a correspondence with Mr. Cordes and his brother to ascertain whether it was ever his intention to return to America, and if he would still do so at once if liberated. The replies were so evasive and unsatisfactory that the legation did not feel authorized to intervene, especially as Cordes, having actually resided more than the two years allowed by treaty, was consequently liable to be considered by the German Government to have forfeited his American nationality. On the 26th, November, however, as both brothers promised that Cordes should return at once to America, if liberated, the legation addressed a request to the foreign office asking for his liberation as a favor, as his stay over the two years was, as he supposed, by the permission of the authorities. No reply has ever been received from the foreign office to this note, and a letter to Edward Cordes’ brother to know whether Cordes was still in the army or not remained also unanswered.
- P. S.—Under this date, October 9, 1882, just as this report is being sent off, comes a letter from Mr. Cordes, stating that he has been discharged from military service, and will return to the United States in eight days.
- William Buder.—Was born at Hochdorf, Wurtemberg, August 10, 1845; emigrated May 25, 1872, at the age of twenty-seven, to the United States, where, after serving five years in the United States Army, he was naturalized October 14, 1878. On the 11th November, 1881, he returned to Germany, and on the 23d of the same month was arrested and taken to prison in Kirchheim, where he was confined in the company of a common criminal, and only released on the 30th. The legation immediately on hearing of the case applied to the foreign office for his release, which was readily granted. By the correspondence subsequently held with the foreign office, it appeared that Buder had not produced any evidence of his American nationality, though in his statement made to the consul he asserted that he had. The case seems to have been finally settled to his satisfaction.
- Johannes Blum.—The attention of the legation was first called to this case by one Hulziger, who, on January 11, 1881, wrote from the United States as the attorney for Johannes Blum, also residing there. In this communication the legation was asked to ascertain why a certain inheritance due Mr. Blum at Harburg had not been delivered over to Mr. Blum’s duly accredited agent. In the course of a correspondence with the consul at Hamburg, near which city Harburg is situated, it was ascertained that the inheritance could not be paid over, owing to an attachment placed upon the same by the authorities to secure a contumacial judgment imposed on Mr. Blum for avoidance of military duty. The legation thereupon notified Mr. Blum of that fact, and after receiving back a “military case” form, transmitted to him to be filled in, intervened in his behalf with the foreign office on December 20, On July 6, 1882, the foreign office informed the legation that the fine had been remitted and the attachment removed. The legation at once informed Mr. Blum through his agent of this gratifying result, and advised him how to proceed to secure possession of the inheritance.
- Joseph Gruszynski.—On the 11th of January, 1882, Mr. Joseph Gruszynski wrote to the legation informing it that he was a naturalized citizen of the United States, and asking its intervention to protect him from the payment of a fine of 180 marks for violation of military duty with the alternative of imprisonment. The data furnished in the case not being sufficient, the legation transmitted to him, on the day of the receipt of his complaint, the customary “military case” form to be filled in and returned. On the 16th of January, immediately upon the receipt from Mr. Gruszynski of the needful information, the legation addressed a note to the foreign office in his behalf. On the 19th of January the foreign office informed it in reply that an investigation had been ordered, and on the 26th of that month that the fine had been duly remitted. The legation at once informed Mr. Gruszynski that he need fear no further molestation; and as nothing further has been heard from him, it would seem that all proceedings against him have been discontinued.
- Charles Richard Waentig.—On March 13, 1882, the legation received a letter from Charles R. Waentig written from the United States, in which he informed it that he was a naturalized citizen of the United States, and that a fine for violation of military duty had been imposed upon him by the Saxon authorities, which he begged the legation would have removed. He also wrote that he had instructed a friend in Germany, who had the custody of his papers, to transmit them here. Mr. Waentig’s letter containing all needed information, and his papers arriving on the 15th of March the legation on that day submitted his case to the foreign office. Mr. Waentig had emigrated to the United States at the age of eighteen, in 1873, and had been naturalized there on September 28, 1880. In the spring of 1881 he revisited his native place in [Page 190] Saxony for a few weeks. While there he was informed of the imposition of the fine of 300 marks. He contested the matter in the local courts, but unsuccessfully; and then returned to the United States, and subsequently appealed to this legation. In reponse to its note, the legation was informed by the foreign office on April 19, 1882, that the authorities had been duly instructed to desist from all proceedings against Mr. Waentig. The legation at once conveyed to Mr. Waentig this satisfactory intelligence, and returned him his passport and certificate of naturalization.
- John Sens or Sins.—Instructions from the Department of State, dated January 19 last and received on February 1, following, directed the legation to intervene in behalf of Mr. Sens who had been fined for neglect of military duty. The data furnished the Department by Mr. Sens’ agent in the United States proving too meager, the legation addressed itself directly to that gentleman, inclosing the “military case” form to be filled out and returned. The legation then informed the Department of the course it had taken, and its action was subsequently approved.
- On March 24 following, the needed information having on that day been received from the United States, the legation submitted the case to the foreign office. The chief facts were the following: Mr. Sens was born in Alsace-Lorraine in 1858, emigrated in March, 1874, to the United States, where he was naturalized and where he still resides. In May, 1881, the land court imposed a fine of 680 marks on him for non-performance of military duty, and his property was attached to secure payment. The legation at once informed the Department of State that it had intervened. On March 27 the foreign office informed the legation that an investigation had been ordered, and on August 25 last that the fine had been remitted and the attachment removed. The legation at once acquainted the Department of State and Mr. Sens’ agent with this favorable result of its intervention, anticipating an inquiry as to the progress made in the case, which was subsequently received from the Department. The result in this case was the more gratifying for the reason that Mr. Sens was a native of Alsace-Lorraine, and as affording ground for the belief that the German Government is not now disposed to insist on the ground taken in August, 1880, which excluded naturalized American citizens of Alsace-Lorraine birth from the benefits of the treaties with the German States, regulating nationality since all such cases submitted to and passed upon by the German Government, five in number, have been favorably decided.
- Alexander Unterseh.—Under date of April 4 last, Unterseh informed the legation that he was a naturalized citizen of the United States, complained that he had been threatened by the authorities with enrollment in the army, and requested the legation to intervene in his behalf. On April 6, the day of the receipt his communication, the legation wrote to Unterseh requesting him to furnish it with the information called for in the inclosed “military case” form. Having received this information on the 13th instant, the legation at once intervened for him with the foreign office. The facts it was able to present were the following: he was born at Neudorf February 2, 1851, and emigrated in 1872, at the age of twenty-one, to the United States, where he was naturalized October 20, 1880, returning to Germany on a visit, as he alleged, in August, 1881, where he claims to have been threatened as above stated.
- In reply to its communication the foreign office informed the legation on April 17 that an investigation of the case had been ordered, and on September 5 following that Unterseh had declared it to be his intention to remain in Germany permanently. Upon the receipt of this note the legation immediately wrote to Unterseh, communicating its contents, and calling his attention to the fact that the declaration he was represented to have made was equivalent to a renunciation of his naturalization under Article 4 of the treaty of February 28, 1868, a copy of which was inclosed to him with the article marked. No answer was received from him, and none was expected, it being pretty evident that he had voluntarily relinquished his American citizenship in order to remain permanently in Germany. On September 25 the legation reported the case fully to the Department of State.
- Adolph König.—This case is unfinished.
- Henry Bolln.—An instruction was received from the Department of State on the 27th of April last, directing that an informal enquiry be made at the German foreign office as to whether Mr. Henry Bolln was regarded as on military service in Germany, and whether he could safely revisit that country. Though satisfied that he could safely return, as he had never been enrolled in the German army, the legation informally applied to the foreign office, and has been informed that there is no obstacle in the way of Mr. Bolln revisiting Germany. This information has been conveyed to Mr. Bolln. The principal facts in the case were as follows: Mr. Bolln was born in Schleswig-Holstein in 1274, went before a board of officers at Kiel in 1868, was found qualified for service as a one year volunteer, and was directed to report for service to such regiment as he might select, before October, 1871, or as soon as war should be declared. Without having reported for military service he emigrated in 1869 to the United States, where he was naturalized in March, 1875.
- Bernhard Horstmann.—On May 1 last the legation received a telegram from Colon Horstmann, stating that his son Bernhard, who had emigrated in 1872 to the [Page 191] United States, where he was naturalized, had been arrested by the military authorities without reason, at Burgsteinfurt, where he was making a visit; the father asked that his immediate release be effected. The legation at once addressed a note to the foreign office in behalf of Mr. Horstmann, and at the same time wrote to his father inclosing a “military case” form to be filled in with further necessary data. On May 4 an answer was received from the father conveying further information in the case, but containing no allusion to the fact that his son was charged with desertion. The additional information thus obtained was at once transmitted to the foreign office, which in a note to this legation, dated the 5th and received the 8th of May, informed it that an investigation had been ordered. On the 8th of May the father wrote to the legation, in a letter received here on May 10, that his son was charged with desertion, but the father urged that the charge was not true. On May 29 a note from the foreign office, dated May 26, was received here, informing the legation that the investigation had resulted in showing that Bernhard Horstmann was properly held as a deserter from the First Westphalian Regiment No. 13, and that he had been sentenced to a fine of 150 marks and to six months’ imprisonment for desertion, which action was in accord with the provisions of the treaty of February 22, 1868. On the day of the receipt of this note the legation communicated the result of the investigation to Mr. Horstmann’s father, and also to the Department of State, with copies of the entire correspondence.
- It would appear also that Mr. Horstmann had also applied directly to the Government at Washington for aid, as a telegram was received here from the Department of State on May 30, directing intervention in the case. The legation, having anticipated the wishes of the Department, informed it by wire on the same day that he was held for desertion, and that the correspondence had already been transmitted to Washington. On June 12 a letter of the 9th of that month was received from Bernhard Horstmann, protesting that he was innocent of any knowledge of being a deserter, and had been informed in the United States by an agent that he could safely revisit Germany. The result of the investigation was at once communicated to him in reply, and he was informed that it had been conveyed to his father at an earlier date; and the latter correspondence was on the same day transmitted to the Department of State.
- The facts stated by Mr. Horstman in the military case form, and submitted to the foreign office upon intervention in his behalf, were the following: He was born at Hollich, near Burgsteinfurt, Germany, February 25, 1851, and emigrated November 10, 1872, to the United States where he was naturalized in 1881. In February, 1882, he returned to his native place, where he was arrested for desertion on April 29 last.
- Otto Schatz.—On the 24th of May the legation received a telegram from Schatz, stating that he would be put in the military service the next day, and that Mr. Lipke, a member of the German Parliament, would call at the legation with his papers and explain the case. The visit of Mr. Lipke and Mr. Kapp, both members of the Reichstag, did not throw any light on the case or the facts of his enrollment. Schatz followed up his telegram with a letter, dated 24th May, which stated that the authorities had not given the option to him of leaving Germany beyond asking whether he meant to do so, though not giving the date of this inquiry, which it subsequently appeared was as long before as July, 1881, and two years after his return to Germany. At once, on the receipt of this letter, the legation addressed a note to the foreign office, asking that Schatz’s case might be investigated, and that he might be released from military service pending the investigation. Schatz was then informed that the legation had intervened for him, and a “military case” form was sent for him to fill out with the particulars of his emigration. In this he stated that he was born in Greussen, December 24, 1854; that he emigrated to America in July, 1872; was naturalized August 24, 1879; returned to Germany June 17, 1879, and intended to go back to the United States in 1882.
- On June 14 a reply was received from the foreign office, which stated that Schatz had previously returned to Germany in 1878, and that on his second visit in 1879 he had gone into business with his brother in Greussen, and also addressed a direct petition to the Emperor, asking permission to reimmigrate, to become again a Germany citizen, and to be dispensed from actual military service; that he was informed in reply that he was quite at liberty, under the treaty, without permission, to recover his German citizenship, and that no bargain could be made with him as regards military service, which is obligatory; that two years later an admonitory demand was made on him whether he intended to return to America or not; that in reply to this Schatz was understood to signify his intention of leaving, but did not do so. He was therefore finally summoned before a military commission, and as he only protested for family reasons against being enrolled, and did not suggest going to America, or that he still claimed American citizenship, he was, after the usual medical examination, mustered into the Seventy-first Regiment of Infantry. In face of this statement, which seemed to show sufficient consideration, and repeated warnings to Schatz on the part of the military authorities, and a direct offer on his part to become a German citizen, if exempted from military service, taken in connection with his having deliberately overstayed the two years allowed by the treaty, and having gone into [Page 192] business with his brother, the legation did not feel justified in protesting against the action of the German Government, unless directed to do so by the Department. Accordingly, the whole correspondence was inclosed to the Department, and Schatz was notified that nothing more could be done for him without instructions from the Department. July 19 an instruction from the Department, received August 3, approved of the course of the legation.
- Gustav Schumann.—This case is unfinished.
- Louis Lewin.—On July 17 last, Mr. Lewin called in person at this legation, and made the following statements: He was born at Wreschen, in Prussia, May 15, 1856, and emigrated in May, 1873, at the age of seventeen, to the United States, where he was naturalized April 10, 1882. On May 25 last, he returned to Germany to make a brief visit to his relatives. Lewin was on July 14, following, informed by the local authorities that he must pay 150 marks or suffer one month’s imprisonment for violation of military duty. When Lewin protested against such action and appealed to his American citizenship and treaty rights, he was told by the officials that all that made no difference; that officer, however, finally agreed to accept security to be furnished upon demand by the 17th of that month, and discharged Lewin for the time being. The legation advised him to again call the attention of the local authorities at Wreschen to the provisions of the treaty of February 22, 1868, and also to exhibit to them certain decrees furnished him by the legation which were issued in execution of that treaty by the royal Prussian ministers of justice and the interior on the 5th and 6th of July, 1868. This course having been pursued by Lewin, but without any good effect, the local land court judge remarking that the law had been changed, and that he would issue a warrant (steckbrief) to arrest Lewin, if not found when wanted, the legation on July 24 presented the above facts to the foreign office, and asked for a speedy discontinuance of hostile proceedings against Mr. Lewin. On July 28 a note was received from the foreign office stating that an investigation had been ordered, and on the 14th of August, following, a second note, in which the legation was informed that the fine had been remitted and that Mr. Lewin would not be further molested. This gratifying intelligence was conveyed to Mr. Lewin through his family at Wreschen, he having in the mean time returned to the United States.