No. 124.
Mr. Lowell to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 350.]

Sir: The case of John R. McCormack, a prisoner in Clonmel jail, who asserts his American citizenship, and sends me a certificate of naturalization bearing the name of John McCormiek, is one of those that will still embarrass me with the question of continuous domicile, even should he succeed in establishing his identity with the person named in the certified extract from the record of the justice’s court of the district of Troy, New York, on which he bases his claim for my intervention in his behalf.

The date of the certificate of naturalization is the 25th October, 1867. A letter from Mrs. McCormack informs me that her husband returned to Ireland in 1869, and has continuously resided there ever since (with the exception of a visit to the United States in 1873) as the publisher and editor of a local newspaper.

The United States have from the first justly insisted on and have finally established the principle of the right of expatriation; but when a man has completed the process of expatriating himself and returns to the land of his birth, I should be glad to be instructed how far his residence there may be prolonged without extinction of the acquired and revival of the original allegiance; over how many years may the animus revertendi be reasonably considered elastic enough to stretch; and what kind or continuity of business pursuit may be supposed to establish the animus manendi.

In treaties with the North German Confederation and with Würtemberg, [Page 240] the United States have agreed to consider two years as the reasonable limit beyond which a continuous residence in his native country by the naturalized citizen of another will be considered as establishing the animus manendi. Some of the decisions of the court seem to imply a much shorter period.

In the cases of most, if not all, the so-called American suspects in Ireland, continuous residence has exceeded this term; in some it has greatly exceeded it; in the case of McOorraack it has apparently extended to thirteen years- I cannot help thinking that the British Government would be justified in questioning the final perseverance (if I may borrow a theological term) of adopted citizenship under adverse circumstances like these.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 350.]

Mr. McCormack to Mr. Barrows.

Dear Sir: I beg to bring under your notice that I am an American citizen, suffering imprisonment under the English coercion act. I am guiltless of any crime punishable by law, and what I request is that, in pursuance of a resolution passed by the United States legislature, you use your office in securing for me that protection which I claim as a citizen of the United States, and that justice which, only through your government, I can obtain. If the government of this most unhappy country has a charge against me, all I ask is that I be brought to trial and given a chance of refuting the charge before one of the legal tribunals of the country. If there be no charge against me other then, perhaps, that of fallacious suspicion, founded upon the whisper of an ambitious policeman, or grounded on the elastic information of a hireling informer, then I think it is no more than ordinary justice to demand my release or my trial. It is not necessary, however, that I should here enter into a discussion of the injustice which I am suffering at the hands of a rather strange government and the action, nay the duty, of that magnanimous government which you represent, and which I have sworn to maintain. For the present I think it sufficient to inform you of my position, and to request that you will see to it.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 350.]

Mr. Barrows to Mr. McCormack.

Sir: I am in receipt of yours of the 23d, and in reply beg to inform you that the fact of your being an American citizen confers upon you no immunity from arrest and imprisonment under the coercion act. The minister can interfere only:

When such person being in Ireland in the prosecution of his lawful private business, and taking no part in political meetings or partisan disturbances, has been arrested by obvious mistake; or,
When a distinction has been made to the disadvantage of the prisoner on the ground of his American nationality.

The above are the decisions of Minister Lowell, under whose instructions I am acting. Should there be a peculiar hardship in your case, not affected by these decisions, please submit all the facts in the case, together with evidence of your American citizenship, and the matter shall have my prompt attention

I remain. &c.,

United States Consul.
[Page 241]
[Inclosure 3 in No. 350.]

Mr. McCormack to Mr. Barrows.

Dear Sir: Herewith I forward you certificate of my American citizenship, and beg to request that you will lose no time in forwarding it to Mr. Lowell. I lost the original document, and in consequence of your reply tome last February, I neglected sending for a duplicate until the 20th ultimo. I trust that Mr. Lowell will lose no time in representing my case, as I am now undergoing my fourth month’s imprisonment without the slightest shadow of a charge against me. Of course my business as a journalist and newspaper proprietor is suffering severely through this most wanton outrage perpetrated on me by the British Government, and I think it would be nothing more than ordinary justice that Mr. Lowell should demand compensation for me for the losses which I have sustained. I shall expect at least that my trial or unconditional release will be demanded forthwith. Surely four months should be time enough for the British authorities to trump up a charge against me if they could, but I defy them to do so.

It might be necessary for me to explain the slight difference between the name under which I was arrested and that in my certificate of citizenship. The name under which I was arrested is John R. McCormack, the R being used by me from my mother, whose name is Ryan, in order to distinguish me from several John McCormacks in Tipperary, amongst them three first cousins of my own. Of course I am prepared to prove that I am the actual person mentioned in the inclosed duplicate.

Your faithful fellow-citizen,

[Inclosure 4 in No. 350.]

Mr. Barrows to Mr. Lowell.

Sir: I have the honor to transmit here with copy of the naturalization papers of John R. McCormack, an American suspect, at present confined in Naas jail.

Mr. McCormack wrote me from Clonmel jail, where he was then confined, on the 23d February last, stating his case, and I replied to him the next day. His letter to me and a copy of my reply are submitted herewith, together with Mr. McCormack’s letter of April 18.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure 5 in No. 350]

Mr. Lowell to Mr. Barrows.

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 19th instant, inclosing two letters from Mr. John R. McCormack, a suspect confined in Clonmel prison, to yourself, a copy of your letter to him, and his certificate of naturalization.

Will you be kind enough to state to Mr. McCormack that I shall give proper attention to his case.

I am, &c.,