Mr. Bayard to Mr. Winchester.
Washington, January 5, 1888.
Sir: Your dispatch No. 178, of December 22, 1887, has been received. It relates to the application of the cantonal authorities of Zurich, Switzerland, for a passport for Mrs. Eliza Weiss.
It appears from your dispatch that Mrs. Weiss is a Swiss by birth; that in 1873 she married in the city of New York John Weiss, a German subject, who was subsequently naturalized in the United States; that in 1878 the couple went to Europe, and in 1880 Weiss deserted his wife and returned to the United States; and that his wife has since remained abroad, and is now residing, a pauper and mentally diseased, at Wald, in the Canton of Zurich.
The case has several points in common with that of Mrs. Margaret Blümeling, as to which sufficient instructions were sent you on July 11, 1885, and to which you are now referred, as well as to Wharton’s Digest, section 193.
There is, however, a peculiar feature in the present case as to which more particular information is desired. Whether the husband of Mrs. Weiss is still alive is, according to your statement, a matter of doubt; while there is no question that he deserted her in 1880, and has since then done nothing for her support. She is, it appears, a Swiss by birth. Under ordinary circumstances her continuous residence in Switzerland, after such death or desertion, would revive her Swiss domicile and nationality, and preclude her from claiming the rights of a citizen of the United States. If, therefore, you find that she has resided in Switzerland since 1880, apart from her husband, and deserted by him, then you must decline to give her a passport, she, by her election, having ceased to be a citizen of the United States.
Nor is it any objection to this view that she is a lunatic. Even were it proved that she was such at the time of her husband’s desertion, yet the local guardians who then took charge of her were entitled to make such an election in her behalf.
I am, etc.,