It will be perceived from Count Hatzfeldt’s note that Heitmüller’s statements
as to aggravating circumstances in his case are denied by the implicated
officials, and the Imperial authorities credit these denials.
As I am advised that Heitmüller can produce no corroborating evidence, I
suppose it would be hardly worth while to press the claim further; and this
course I shall adopt, awaiting whatever further instruction the honorable
Secretary may think proper to send me in the case.
[Inclosure in No.
Count Hatzfeldt to
July 28, 1885.
Referring to the note of the legation of the 29th of January last,
relating to the penal case against Ernst F. Heitmüller, who had
emigrated to the United States and become naturalized there, and while
returning its Inclosure, the undersigned has the [Page 427] honor to communicate the following to Mr. George
H. Pendleton, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the
United States of America.
Ernst Freidrich Heitmüller, born at Hüpede on the 25th of December, 1860,
was by a valid judgment of the land court at Hanover, dated June 19,
1882, sentenced to pay a fine of 300 marks or suffer two months
imprisonment for violation of military duty. Having returned to his
native place on December 5, 1884, he was on the 11th of that month
arrested by order of the “Kreis-Hauptmann” at Wennigsen and conducted to
the prison at Hanover to suffer his punishment. He was expressly
informed at the time that he could avert his imprisonment by the payment
of the fine. On the 6th of January following, the amount of 300 marks
(actually paid in cash 240.54 marks) was paid and he was on the same day
set at liberty.
There was then paid back to him the surplus amount of 59 marks and 46
pfennigs remaining after the deduction of the costs arising from the
examination and execution of judgment as well as of the remainder of the
fine. Thereupon the remainder of the fine imposed, in so far as the same
had not been canceled by the imprisonment, was remitted by the Imperial
pardon, and the repayment of the entire sum of 300 marks was
As regards the complaints stated in the note referred to, the
investigation instituted has shown that the “Gemeinde-Vorsteher” (chief
magistrate), Hüpede, was not occupied with the matter at all, and also
that Heitmüller made no assertion of his American citizenship either to
the gendarme who arrested and conducted him to the prison or to the
“Kreis-Hauptmann (circuit chief) of Wennigsen, who directed his
conveyance thither. Just as little did he call the attention of any of
the prison officers to his American certificate of naturalization, and
to none of them did he declare that he wished to pay the fine or that he
desired to write a letter. In particular he made no such declaration to
the inspector in chief, who visited his cell several times and spoke
with him. It is true that upon his delivery at the prison there was
taken from him by the “Hausverwalter” (house manager), in addition to
his other effects, his American certificate of naturalization; but no
reproach can be made to that official for making no particular
announcement of the fact, as the latter manifestly did not know the
significance of this document in a foreign language, and could not
estimate the consequences to Heitmüller that might be connected
therewith. That Heitmüller asserted his American citizenship to the
Hausverwalter is distinctly denied by that official. The state attorney
at Hanover first learned of the American citizenship of Heitmüller when
the latter, after his release, personally made
claim to the repayment of the entire amount he had paid. The occurrence
explains itself, therefore, by a mistake for which responsibility can
hardly be imputed to the officials concerned.
The undersigned avails, &c.