Mr. Hoffman to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Copenhagen, July 27, 1883. (Received August 11.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I learned lately that an unpleasant question is pending between Great Britain and Denmark which may possibly affect us, and I therefore report it.
Denmark requires that every foreigner residing and doing business in the island of St. Thomas shall take the oath of allegiance to the King of Denmark. British subjects, therefore, under these circumstances, must give up their business or abjure their British nationality, thus losing, under an act of Parliament, their rights as British, subjects, and among others the important right for a merchant to own British vessels.
Great Britain has remonstrated rather warmly, basing her remonstrances principally upon the ground of reciprocity, no such demand being made upon Danish subjects residing and doing business in British colonies. But Denmark does not seem to be disposed to make any concession, her object being to make every business resident dependent solely upon Danish courts and officers, and to prevent all appeal to a foreign consul.
I am not aware that the matter has ever been brought to your attention as regards American citizens, but in view of the possibility of the question arising I have thought it best to inform you of the action of the British Government.
I am, &c.,