Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blaine.

No. 276.]

Sir: Referring to your instruction No. 251 of April 30 last, in relation to the status of Mr. H. C. Quinby (whose name, up to this moment, has, in the body of all papers, including those presented by himself, been spelled Quimby), I have the honor to acquaint you that to-day Mr. Quinby called at the legation to make a formal request for a passport, and, using the same application paper which had been filled up under his direction at Liverpool in February last, with certain changes made upon my suggestion, with his entire concurrence, in order to exhibit the facts of the case with brief precision, he completed an application, of which a copy is inclosed. I thereupon informed him that I did not consider it within my instructions to issue a passport to a citizen of the United States whose domicile, while conducting an entirely local business, had been maintained in England for 34 years, he expressing without reservation the intention of never returning to the United States to resume the duties of citizenship there. In giving him my reasons for the refusal, I was careful to inform him that it involved no expression of opinion on my part as to his status as a citizen of the United States if he should at any time resume his residence therein.

I also informed him that, if he so desired, I would transmit his application to the Department of State; but he declined this and requested permission to take it away with him, for the express purpose of having it presented directly to the Department, instead of through the legation. I acceded to his request, keeping a duplicate original application for the files of the legation.

It is proper to add that our interview was entirely pleasant, his feeling in the matter being well indicated by a letter of his published in the Boston Post of April 23, 1890, of which he was good enough to hand me a copy, herewith inclosed.

I have, etc.,

Robert T. Lincoln.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 276.]


No. —, issued ——, 18—.

I, Henry Clay Quinby, a native and loyal citizen of the United States, hereby apply to the legation of the United States at London for a passport for myself, accompanied by my wife, Marion Grey Quinby née Newell.

I solemnly swear that I was born at Westbrook, in the State of Maine, on or about the 24th day of April, 1831; that my father was a native citizen of the United States; that I am domiciled in England, my present residence being at Liverpool, England, where I follow the occupation of dentist; that I took up my domicile in England in the year 1856, and that upon my last visit I left the United States in July, 1889, and [Page 343] am now sojourning at Liverpool; that I intend never to return to the United States with the purpose of residing and performing the duties of citizenship therein; and that I desire the passport for the purpose of travel, and that I own taxable property in the State of Minnesota.

Oath of allegiance.

Further, I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, so help me God,

H. C. Quinby.

Legation of the United States at London.

Sworn to before me, this 9th day of July, 1890.

[seal.] Robert T. Lincoln.

Description of applicant.

Age, 58 years; stature, 5 feet 6½ inches, English; forehead, low; eyes, blue; nose, small, straight; mouth, small; chin, covered with beard; hair, brown gray; complexion, light ruddy; face, round, full.


February 13, 1890.

I hereby certify that I know the above-named Henry Clay Quinby personally, and know him to be a native-born citizen of the United States, and that the facts stated in his affidavit are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

A. G. Inglis.

I certify that the above identification is satisfactory to me.

Thos. H. Sherman,
United States Consul.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 276.—Boston Post, Wednesday morning, April 23, 1890.]

the American citizen abroad.

To the Editor of the Post:

Sir: I have been under the impression all my life that a man who had been born and educated in the United States and grown up there to early manhood might venture to go abroad and live abroad for any length of time without losing his nationality, unless he chose to do so and by his own act become a subject of some other nation; but it seems that this is not the view taken by the State Department at Washington. I am an American. My ancestors emigrated to New England in 1650, and I have no doubt they had their full share of the struggles and hardships which all those early colonists had to endure, and which made their country dear to them when, surely against their will, they fought for and obtained their independence. I was born in New England, and lived there until some years after I came of age, and then for business purposes I came to England, and, with an occasional visit to the United States, I have lived here since 1856; but, although there have been inducements to do so, I have never made myself a British subject, preferring to retain my citizenship and rights as an American.

A few weeks ago my wife and I proposed a trip to northern Italy by way of Paris, Basle, and the St. Gothard, and, as the Germans in their wisdom have prohibited the crossing of their frontier from France directly into Germany without the production of a passport, it became necessary for me to procure one of those important documents in order to make the journey in that direction. In my ignorance I certainly did not suppose that I should have any other difficulty about obtaining a passport than that of identifying myself. Therefore, in going to the consul to get the necessary papers I took with me a friend who was known at the consulate and who had known me for about 25 years, and, under oath, he vouched for my being the man I represented myself to be. The consul’s duty was simply to fill up certain papers stating the place and date of my birth, my height, the color of my hair and eyes, the [Page 344] shape of my nose, etc.; and then came the question when I proposed to resume residence in the United States. This I could not answer, for how can a man who retains his health and strength say when he will give up his business, or, if doing a good business at 60 years of age, how can he think of making a change which would break it all up? The papers were to go, when filled up, to the legation in London, and the consul warned me that he doubted whether Mr. Lincoln could grant me a passport unless I gave a definite answer to that question; but I thought the point was too absurd to be pressed, and I took the papers to the legation myself, when the first question asked was when I proposed to go back and take up my residence in the United States, and, as I could not answer that, I was told that I could not have the protection of a passport from the United States Government, and there was therefore nothing for it but that, at considerable inconvenience, I must change my route of travel into Italy. In fact, I am denationalized against my will, and I could not have believed that this was the intention of the State Department in Washington if I had not been shown a paragraph in what I suppose was a book of instructions issued by that Department to its officials in foreign countries, which paragraph explicitly forbids the granting of a passport to any man who has any hesitation about stating a definite time when he intends to return to, and take up a permanent residence in, the United States.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Henry Clay Quinby.