No. 305.

Mr. Pendleton to Mr. Bayard.

No. 47.]

Sir: Referring to Mr. Kasson’s No. 223, of April 4, last, concerning the case of Ernst F. Heitmüller, I have the honor to transmit herewith a note received from the foreign office informing me that the return of the fine paid by him has been ordered.

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.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 47.—Translation.]

Count Hatzfeldt to Mr. Pendleton.

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 ordered.

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.