No. 947.
Mr. Lothrop to Mr. Bayard.

No. 158.]

Sir: Mr. Isidore Albert, who claims to be a citizen of the United States, has sent to me a petition to His Majesty the Emperor, praying for pardon, which he asks me to present to the Emperor.

The facts of the case, so far as known to me, are disclosed in Mr. Albert’s letter to me, a copy of which is inclosed herewith, and in my reply to him, a copy of which is also inclosed (Nos. 1 and 2).

I should perhaps say that though I have no other information, the internal evidence of his letter leads me to infer that Mr. Albert was not a native citizen of the United States.

I also suspect that when he entered the Russian military service as a medical officer he must have taken an oath of allegiance to the Emperor.

On the whole, I feel satisfied that I ought not to take any official action in the matter without your instructions. I have felt it my duty on so many occasions to remonstrate energetically against the action of the Russian authorities against our citizens in respect to matters which, as we claim, were outside their rightful jurisdiction, that I feel a delicacy in interfering where their jurisdiction is unquestionable.

For this reason I beg to ask your instructions.

Of course, forfeiture of all civil rights and perpetual exile in Siberia for the offense of accepting a bribe of nine rubles seems a most extraordinary sentence. But this is so completely a matter of domestic concern and policy as perhaps to make any remonstrance in that respect inadmissible. Besides, it is not disclosed what was the act for which the paltry bribe was taken. It is possible that it was so grave as to excuse if not justify the severity of the penalty.

I am, etc.,

Geo. V. N. Lothrop.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 158.]

Mr. Albert to Mr. Lothrop.

Sir: My present unfortunate situation compelled me to apply to the aid and protection of your excellency.

I am a citizen of the United States, a graduate as M. D. of the Boston University. In the year of 1879, for some particular reason, I came to the capital of Russia, St. Petersburg, passed examination at the Imperial Medical Academy, got my degrees and a diploma as M. D., entered in the service of the Russian Army as physician, where I served for a term of six years. In the month of March, 1887, I was accused of receiving a present (bribery) of 9 rubl., was apprehended, tried at the military district court of Wilna, was found guilty of the aforesaid offense, and sentenced to be deprived of all my civil rights and privileges as physician and to be sent to Siberia to live here as an outlaw forever! a punishment too severe even for such an offense as I was accused of.

At present I am living at the town of Mariinsk, province of Tomsk, amongst a semi-savage population; have no means to subsist with, as I know no trade or profession but medicine. I would apply to the mercy of His Majesty the Emperor to be pardoned, but to do it in the ordinary way of sending to the committee is no use, because in that [Page 1402] way the Emperor will never see nor read my petition. Therefore I apply to your goodness to procure me, if possible, an opportunity that his Imperial Majesty shall read my petition.

Then I can have some hope to be pardoned.

I am, etc.,

Isidore Albert.

P. S.—I beg your excellency to return me my passport, if not as a useful document at my present state but as a souvenir of my once being a member of the greatest free nation of the world.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 158.]

Mr. Lothrop to Mr. Albert.

Sir: Your letter (apparently of January 2) to me was received to-day and has been carefully read and considered.

It appears by the passport No. 5736, granted to you by the Department of State April 18, 1878, that you were a citizen of the United States; and it further appears by your letter that in 1879 you came to Russia and entered the Imperial Academy of Medicine, where you took a degree as a physician; that you entered the Russian army as a physician, where you served as such for six years; that in March, 1887, you were charged with receiving a bribe of nine rubles, for which you were arrested and tried before a military court of Wilna, found guilty, and sentenced to a forfeiture of civil rights, etc., and to perpetual exile in Siberia, the execution of which sentence you are now undergoing at Mariinsk, in the government of Tomsk. You now ask me to present a petition to the Emperor for your pardon.

It is by no means clear that you did not renounce your American citizenship by entering the military service of Russia, but as I do not know all the facts, I do not assume to pass on that point.

You are undoubtedly aware that when you entered Russia you became subject to its laws so far as your conduct here was concerned, and when you entered its military service you became subject to its military jurisdiction.

Your American citizenship would not shield you from this operation of the local laws. The only intervention that could be made in your behalf was to see that you had a fair trial, and had you appealed to me when you were arrested I should of course have inquired whether such a trial was afforded you.

But you made no appeal to this legation, and I never heard of your case until to-day. The case seems to have been regularly disposed of, and the Government is now executing a regular judgment of one of its courts.

These are the facts as far as made known to me, and they do not disclose any ground on which I can intervene officially without instructions from the Secretary of State. I will therefore at once refer the matter to him, sending a copy of your letter to me and also of this letter.

I return to you herewith your passport.

I sympathize with you, and would be very glad if I could properly aid you.

I am, sir, etc.,

Geo. V. N. Lothrop.