to Mr. Hanna.
Washington, March 27, 1888.
Sir: In your No. 121, of January 20 last, you inform the Department that one Walter E. Bartel made application to you for a passport, alleging that he was a naturalized citizen of the United States, of German birth, recently residing at Bayonne, N. J., and that he had lost his certificate of naturalization. Mr. Bartel not being able to furnish due proof to supply this loss, you properly declined to issue the passport.
Afterwards the applicant produced the affidavits of two American sea-captains who, you state, were well known to the consul of the United States as good and true men. In these affidavits the affiants declared that they knew Mr. Bartel was a naturalized citizen under the laws of the State of New York, and that his representations were true.
You then issued the passport, and now ask the judgment of the Department on the propriety of your action.
The fact to be shown was the issuance by a competent court of record of a decree of naturalization. It seems very improbable that these sea-captains could swear to that fact or that their testimony was other than hearsay or belief. The evidence on which you granted the passport has not been submitted, and the Department is consequently not in a position to decide the question authoritatively, but the statements made in your dispatch create a presumption that your action was improvident.
Your full report, with copies of the affidavits, will, however, be awaited.
I am, etc.,