to Mr. Lee.
Washington, July 24, 1886.
Sir: Your dispatch, No. 193, of the 1st instant, in reference to the application of Albert Landau for a passport, has been received.
In the attached memorial Mr. Landau alleges that he was duly naturalized in Philadelphia during the year 1854, and that subsequently in the same year, having obtained a passport from this Department, he returned to Europe. During the following year, it is alleged, he lost both his record of naturalization and his passport, but obtained another passport from the legation at Constantinople. This was subsequently canceled when a new passport was given him by the consul-general at Alexandria, Egypt, in 1863; the latter passport he is unable to produce. He has not, apparently, visited the United States since 1854. He now desires a new passport to be issued to him by your legation.
It is not necessary to consider whether naturalization can be proved by parole, in case of destruction of the record, for in this case there is no adequate proof that the record of naturalization ever existed. But even supposing that Mr. Landau’s naturalization were duly proved, I hold that he is not now entitled to a passport. He was naturalized, so he claims, in 1854, at Philadelphia. He was in the Levant in 1857, and there amassed a fortune, with which, about 1868, he retired to Vienna. During the whole of this period, according to his own statement, he was absent from the United States. This absence, therefore, commencing almost at the instant of his naturalization, continued over thirty [Page 12] four years, during which time he performed none of the duties, nor made any of the contributions, of a citizen to the support or welfare of the country of his adoption, although during a portion of that time all the resources of that country were severely drawn upon. Had he paid an income tax, as by law he should have done if he retained his citizenship during the period when that tax was imposed, it would be easy for him to establish such payment. No attempt has been made to do so, and we must therefore presume that no such tax was paid. Had he paid taxes to the State of Pennsylvania, in which it is to be inferred from his statements he claims to have been domiciled, this also could be easily proved; and that no such proof is offered justifies the presumption that none of such taxes were paid. He keeps exempt from all taxation in this country the wealth he has accumulated, under the protection of a passport and alleged citizenship of this Government, and he thus stands aloof, demanding the protection of allegiance while abandoning all its duties, and, from a foreign land, applies to this Government for a passport which, without his performing any of the duties of a citizen of the United States, would relieve him, so far as the interposition of the United States could do so, from the duties of a subject of Austria. This is not a case in which the United States can or ought to interpose. If Mr. Landau had ever any title to be considered a citizen of the United States, he has abandoned it. Citizenship of the United States, it is my duty to say, is a high privilege, and, when granted to an alien, confers great prerogatives, whose maintenance, when they are honestly procured and faithfully exercised, the United States will exert its fullest powers to vindicate. These prerogatives are granted to protect, not merely men of wealth, such as the present memorialist, but the humblest and most friendless immigrant who seeks shelter and a home on these shores. But the enjoyment of the prerogatives is conditioned on the performance of the correlative duties of loyal service, of love to the country of adoption, of support of the country when she needs support, and of payment of the just taxes that country imposes upon all its citizens. When the performance of that duty ceases, then cease the prerogatives of the citizenship on which they are conditioned. As far as I can judge from what is before me in the present case, these duties of citizenship have been steadily evaded by non-residence and have never been performed by the memorialist. Whatever may have once been his title to citizenship, it was long since abandoned by him. His application for a passport should, therefore, be refused.
I am, sir, &c.,