No. 177.
Mr. Comly to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 223.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit correspondence with Peter Cush-man Jones, esq., an American merchant, planter, shipper, and sugar factor residing at Honolulu, as to the present status of Americans who have taken the oath of allegiance to Hawaiian kings (inclosures 1 and 2).

There are a number of verbal applications of the same sort.

The apprehension of wasteful legislation by the ignorant natives who now control the politics of the country through the efforts of white and native demagogues to stir up hatred against the more prosperous foreigner, has moved some of the Americans, who, like Mr. Jones, are most largely interested in business here, to seek such protection of the American flag.

The status of these men becomes a matter of importance, and I respectfully ask an instruction from the Secretary of State on this point.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 223.]

Mr. Jones to Mr. Comly.

Sir: I am very desirous of placing myself under the protection of the United States if it is possible for me to do so.

In order that you may fully understand my case I beg to submit to you the following facts: I am an American by birth, having been born in the city of Boston, Mass., in the year 1837, where my ancestors for many generations were born.

[Page 345]

In the year 1857 I came to these Islands and established myself in business, marrying the daughter of Mr. E. 0. Hall, who was connected with the American mission.

In the year 1864 I had an opportunity of purchasing a vessel under the Hawaiian flag. I applied to the collector of customs, Mr. W. Goodale, to see if I could arrange to have the vessel placed in the name of some Hawaiian subject in order to avoid taking the oath of allegiance to the Hawaiian Government, as was required by all owning vessels under that flag. He replied that if any person made oath that he was owner of the vessel he would be obliged to take such oath as being true. Not wishing to ask any person to take a false oath I concluded to take the oath of allegiance, after being assured that should I return to Boston I would be entitled to all the rights and privileges of an American citizen after a residence of six months in that city, and also after satisfying myself that I was not called upon to forswear my allegiance to my native country. I herewith submit a copy of the oath taken by me:

“The undersigned a native of the United States of America lately residing in Honolulu, being duly sworn, upon his oath declares that he will support the contitution and laws of the Hawauan Islands, and bear true allegiance to His Majesty Kamehameha IV.”

Having become a citizen of Hawaii, and having property of my own, I felt it my duty to vote and use my influence on all occasions for good government, and I have always endeavored to do my duty in this respect. But the majority of the voters here are irresponsible natives with little or no property to protect, and I feel a want of security under the present state of things, and am consequently very anxious to feel if possible that I may be secure. I accordingly make this application to you, assuring you of my willingness to renounce my allegiance to Hawaii, and taking any oath, however strong, which will reinstate me as an American citizen. I would add that I have never been a candidate for any political office in the Hawaiian Government, the only object inducing me to swear allegiance to Hawaii being for business purposes. Asking your early consideration of this matter,

I have the honor, &c.,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 223.]

Mr. Comly to Mr. Jones.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the. receipt of your note dated May 26th, handed to me last night.

The oath of allegiance which you have taken differs from the oath of naturalization in the United States, in this, that it does not require the person taking it to renounce in terms any other former allegiance, while the oath of naturalization does require not only a general but a specific renunciation—forever; first, of “all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty”; and second, “and particularly” by a name, “to the prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of which the alien may be at the time a citizen or subject.”

The question remains whether one does not impliedly renounce his old allegiance in taking up a new one.

No one can be a citizen of two countries at once; neither can he lay down and take up his allegiance at his own pleasure or interest.

Your application for rehabilitation, so far as this legation is concerned, seems to me to involve only this one question—whether you are a subject of the kingdom to which you have sworn allegiance, or remain a citizen of the United States.

If you are now a citizen, you have been a citizen all along from the beginning, and need no restoration. If you are not a citizen, I do not know of any provision which may restore you to citizenship by six months’ return residence in Boston. The naturalization laws point out the only way, so far as I know, in which one, not a citizen, may become a citizen of the United States.

A number of our countrymen who are in the same uncertain condition as yourself with regard to their citizenship, and who, as well as yourself, have large material interests vested here, and the same grave apprehensions as to the outcome of certain threatened dangers, have lately applied to me verbally, in terms similar to those of your note, intending if possible to claim the protection of the American flag.

In order that this legation may be put in a position to give an authoritative response in such cases, I shall take occasion to submit a copy of your note to the honorable Secretary of State, and ask an instruction covering your points of inquiry.

I have, &c.,