Mr. Pendleton to Mr. Bayard.
the United States,
December 3, 1887.
(Received December 19.)
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt
to-day of your instruction No. 265, of the 18th ultimo, in reference to the
case of Hans Jacobsen, arrested on the Island of Alsen, and lately confined
in Flensburg, on the charge of being a deserter from the German army.
I inclose the correspondence had with the consul at Hamburg, by whom the
attention of this legation was called to this case in October last.
The facts and the question are stated in the letter of Mr. Coleman, under
date of October 12, 1887, written by my direction, and the reply of Consul
Lang of October 20, with its inclosure.
From these papers, as well as from the statements made in writing to the
consul by the friends of Jacobsen before the consul called my attention to
the subject, it clearly appears that prior to his emigration to the United
States, to wit, in the month of October, 1878, Jacobsen was summoned for
military service; that he had presented himself, was examined, was accepted
and enlisted. After enlistment he was allowed to return for a few days to
his home, being ordered to report on the 5th November next ensuing. In the
interval he left Germany without leave, going to the United States.
The case falls plainly within the definition of desertion “committed before
emigration,” as understood by the German authorities and by this legation,
as shown by a practice unbroken, as I am advised, since the making of the
treaty of 1868. By Article II of that treaty a naturalized citizen of one
country returning to the other country remains liable to trial and
punishment for an action committed before emigration. I therefore declined
It will be observed that the case of Jacobsen after his arrest was sent to a
military tribunal, which is never done in the case of mere offense against
the civil law, as would be unlawful emigration. It will be also observed
that in the inclosure of Consul Lang’s letter of October 20 last I was given
to understand that Jacobsen’s own version of the facts in his case would be
forwarded to me. As this has never been done, it is to be assumed that he is
satisfied with the statement made in his behalf.
I note the instruction to present Jacobsen’s case to the foreign office, but
in view of the facts as herein stated, and of my former decision not to
intervene, and the reasons for such decision, of which the Department was
necessarily ignorant at the time when the instruction was written, I shall
respectfully take the liberty to suspend compliance therewith until further
instructed by telegraph or otherwise.
Hoping that my action in both respects may meet the approval of the
I have, etc.,
[Inclosure 1 in No. 547.]
Mr. Burke to Mr.
Sir: By direction of Consul Lang and on behalf
of one Hans Jacobsen, I have the honor to transmit to you herewith two
letters which explain themselves, and a military case” form signed by
Hans Jacobsen. There is no doubt of his being an American citizen, as
our record book shows that on August 24 he presented a passport at this
consulate, which was issued at Washington, and received from us a
certificate that he had presented the same. As will be seen from the
above letters, your intervention in his behalf is earnestly
I have, etc.,
[Inclosure 2 in No. 547.]
Name, Hans Jacobsen; place of birth, Sonanby-Schleswig; date of birth,
August 8, 1858; date of emigration to United States, October, 1878; name
of ship and date of sailing, a ship from Denmark; date of arrival in the
United States, end of October or beginning of November; date of
declaration of intention, 16th of December, 1880; date of
naturalization, do not remember, April or May, 1887; date of return to
Germany, 22d or 23d of August, 1887; name of ship, Rugia; date of ship’s arrival, 22d or 23d August, 1887;
purpose of return to Germany, ——; date of intended return to America, in
the spring, 1888; date of military judgment, ——; cause of military
judgment, ——; name of court rendering judgment, ——; amount of fine, ——;
date of payment, or —— cause of non-payment, ———; date of imprisonment,
August 30, 1887; when ordered to leave, ——; date of impressment, ——.
Annex copies of all papers served on you in connection herewith, ——.
I, the undersigned, a naturalized citizen of the United States of
America, solemnly assert the above statement to be true.
[Inclosure 3 in No.
Mr. Lassen to Mr.
Lysabbel pr. Schauby acf Alsen
September 29, 1887.
The undersigned respectfully begs to place the following request before
the esteemed consulate, at the solicitation of the house-owner, Andreas
Jacobsen, of Lysabbelholz:
Hans Jacobsen, a son of the above-mentioned Andreas Jacobsen, emigrated
from here to the United States about nine years ago, after having been
enlisted as a soldier, and without asking for leave. He has remained
uninterruptedly in the United States until August 25, 1887, when he
returned as an American citizen. The day previous (August 24) he
produced his passport (citizen papers) at the esteemed consulate. Soon
after his returning home, on August 31, was, by direction of the
military authorities, arrested and transported to prison in Flensburg.
He is still there, and the probabilities are that the court-martial will
punish him for his above-mentioned emigration. It is possible that he
has already been sentenced.
Such a measure on the part of the military authorities, however, can not
agree with the treaty of February 22, 1868, between the United States
and Prussia regarding the citizenship of such persons who have emigrated
from here to the United States, nor with the instructions pertaining
thereto of the minister of justice of July 5, 1868.
According to these decrees the said Hans Jacobsen can certainly not now
be punished on account of his emigration.
In the name of the said Andreas Jacobsen, father of the American citizen,
Hans Jacobsen, I would most respectfully request the esteemed consulate
to intervene in the behalf of Hans Jacobsen with the proper authorities
and see that his rights are protected, and, if possible, his liberation
Your most obedient,
[Inclosure 4 in No.
Mr. Johanmen to Mr.
In consequence of your esteemed communication of the 4th instant,
addressed to my colleague, Mr. H. Lassen, deputy of the Prussian
legislature, residing at Lysabbel, the latter has instructed me to send
to you the inclosed form, filled in as well as it can be at present, and
to request you at the same time to hasten to the succor of the American
citizen, Hans Jacobsen.
Judgment has not yet been passed, and hence various questions contained
in the form could not be answered. Hans Jacobsen is confined in the
military-arrest establishment of this place.
I avail myself of this occasion to assure you of the very high regard
with which I subscribe myself,
Yours, very respectfully,
Deputy to the
[Inclosure 5 in No. 547.]
Mr. Coleman to Mr.
Legation of the United States of America,
October 12, 1887.
Sir: The letter of October 11, written by Mr.
Burke by your direction, and relating to the case of Hans Jacobsen, has
Replying to the same, I am instructed by the minister to request you to
cause Jacobsen to be informed, through such channels as you shall find
available and convenient, that if he be a deserter, duly recruited for
the German army before his emigration, his naturalization and the
treaties regulating nationality, concluded between the United States and
the German States in 1868, will not protect him from punishment for that
offense on his return to his native country. If it were a case of
emigration merely, and not one of desertion, it would be different. You
will perceive, from article 2 of the inclosed treaty, that he remains
liable to punishment on his return here for an action punishable by the
laws of this country committed before his emigration.
The letter of Deputy Lassen, which you inclose, states distinctly that
Jacobsen had been “zum Soldaten ausgehoben.” If it should, nevertheless,
be ascertained that he was not recruited before his emigration, the
legation will be glad to be informed of the fact, and will take such
steps in his behalf as the circumstances of the case shall warrant.
By direction of the minister.
I remain, etc.,
[Inclosure 6 in No. 547.]
Mr. Lang to Mr.
Sir: Herewith I have the honor of sending you a
copy of a letter received from one H. Lassen, who has conducted the
correspondence with this consulate on behalf of Hans Jacobsen.
It will be seen from this letter that Hans Jacobsen had undergone a
preliminary examination as a recruit in the army of the Imperial
Government, and was accepted and ordered to report for duty anterior to
his departure for America.
I am, sir,
[Inclosure 7 in No.
Mr. Lassen to Mr.
Having received the esteemed communication of the 15th instant of the
highly honored consulate, I have to state in a preliminary way that the
said Hans Jacobsen emigrated to America on the 21st of October, 1878,
after he had been recruited for military service. Pursuant to an order
received by him before his departure he was, however, not to enter upon
service until the 5th of November following.
Upon the question, whether, under these circumstances, before his
emigration he could be regarded as having been placed in the military
service, I will not pass judgment, but in my opinion this is not the
The facts are in reality as stated. I shall, however, in so far as it may
be possible, also cause Hans Jacobsen himself to answer the questions
which have been submitted.
With high respect,