to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
London, May 4, 1882. (Received May 18.)
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.,