Mr. Jackson to Mr. Olney .

No. 329.]

Sir: Respectfully referring to my dispatch, No. 323, of the 2d instant, relative to the case of Mr. Louis Stern, at Kissingen, I have the honor to inclose herein copies of certain correspondence in the matter, and to report further in regard to it.

On the 2d instant, after the dispatch above, referred to had been written, I sent a letter to Mr. Stern, and on the 3d and 4th instant I received letters from him, copies of all of which are herein inclosed (Nos. 1, 2, and 3).

The trial took place on Monday, the 5th, and it appears from a letter from the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg, of the 7th instant (inclosure No. 7), which I received to-day in reply to my letter to him of the 6th (inclosure No. 5), that Mr. Stern “was found guilty of having resisted the authority of the State, and of having insulted a Royal official; and was sentenced to two weeks’ imprisonment and to pay a fine of 600 marks,” the charge of fraud having apparently been dropped. Mr. Stern had on the day after the trial sent me a telegram asking advice, to which I replied by telegram (inclosure No. 4) and letter (inclosure No. 6), and after the receipt of which I cabled (on the 6th instant) the Department.

The sentence in the case was a surprise to everybody. It was a foregone conclusion that Mr. Stern would be found guilty, but a fine was all that was expected, and that, it appears, is all that was asked for by the prosecuting officer. The Bavarian Government did all it could to bring about such a result, and only the independence of the judge made a sentence of imprisonment possible.

[Page 461]

I saw Count Lerchenfeld again last night, and was told by him that the only way in which Mr. Stern could avoid going to jail would be by pleading for and obtaining a pardon or a commutation of the sentence from the prince regent of Bavaria—advice which I had already given Mr. Stern.

A copy of my letter to the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg (inclosure No. 5) was transmitted to Consul-General Mason, at Frankfort on the Main, and to-day I received a letter from him (inclosure No. 8) commenting upon it, and to this I have replied that I think it advisable that the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg, should make a report to the Department of State upon the whole case.

I have, etc.,

John B. Jackson
.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 329.]

Mr. Jackson to Mr. Stern .

M. No. 7344.]

Sir: Respectfully referring to my letter to you of the 31st ultimo, M. No. 7336, I have to inform you that the Bavarian minister here called on me this afternoon and showed me a copy of a letter1 addressed by his Government to the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg, in reply to the petition submitted in your behalf. As the U. S. commercial agent has probably already shown you the letter, I need not communicate its contents to you. I venture, however, to express the hope that it may be found possible for you to arrange with Baron Thuengen as indicated in the letter. I am told that other matters will be settled as speedily as possible.

I am, etc.,

John B. Jackson,
Chargé d’Affaires.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 329.]

Mr. Stern to Mr. Jackson .

My Dear Sir: I have your favor of the 31st ultimo, and taken note of its contents.

The authorities here informed me last Wednesday that I was at liberty to leave Kissingen; but as the trial has been set for next Monday morning I will remain.

The charge that I was making preparations for flight was simply trumped up, for on the day of the occurrence, my family had been here three weeks, the usual stay for guests taking the cure; furthermore, the proprietor and parties testify, as you will perceive from the documents sent you from Munich, that I had given them notice on the 10th of July of my intention to leave the following Tuesday. I have asked Consul Carpenter, from Fürth, and the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg, to be present at the trial Monday morning.

With many thanks for the interest you are taking in my behalf, I remain,

Yours, very truly,

Louis Stern
.
[Page 462]
[Inclosure 3 in No. 329.]

Mr. Stern to Mr. Jackson .

My Dear Sir: In answer to yours of the 2d, received to-day, I beg to state that the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg sent me a copy of the letter he received from the Bavarian Government, and my lawyer has been conferring with the authorities here, without any result, for the reason that the retraction demanded by the gentleman was such that, considering the wide publicity the affair has now reached, I could not conscientiously sign the same.

Will inform you of the result of the trial by telegraph Monday.

Most respectfully, yours,

Louis Stern
.
[Inclosure 4 in No. 329.—Telegrams.]

Mr. Stern to Mr. Jackson (received August 6, 1895).

Verdict a surprise. While even prosecuting attorney proposed line, judge pronounced two weeks’imprisonment and 600 marks. Do not know at present what further steps I will take. Please advise me how embassy thinks about the matter.

Louis Stern
.

Embassy to Mr. Stern (sent August 6, 1895).

If appeal to higher court thought useless, your only recourse is to petition for pardon. Sentence has been reported to State Department.

Embassy.
[Inclosure 5 in No. 329.]

Mr. Jackson to the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg.

M. No. 7355.]

Sir: Please transmit to the embassy directly and as soon as possible a copy of the letter addressed to you by Baron von Crailsheim on the 1st instant in regard to the case of Mr. Louis Stern, Kissingen. This copy should have been sent through the consulate-general at Frankfort as soon as the letter was received, but in view of the delay which would be occasioned if this, the proper course, were now followed, you are authorized to send the copy to the embassy directly, and at the same time to report on the trial, which it is understood took place yesterday, and upon any decision which may have been given.

Your attention is also called to paragraph 396 of the Consular Regulations of 1888.

I am, etc.,

John B. Jackson,
Chargé d’Affaires.
[Page 463]
[Inclosure 6 in No. 329.]

Mr. Jackson to Mr. Stern .

M. No. 7363.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 2d and 3d instant and of your telegram of yesterday, to which I at once replied. I am very sorry that you were not able to come to a satisfactory understanding with Baron Thuengen, as, after reading your letter to him of the 19th ultimo, I had anticipated no difficulty on that score. Now, it seems that on his complaint the more severe sentence has been given; at least that is the impression which I receive from the newspaper report—the only report which I have seen as yet. I doubt, moreover, if an appeal to a higher court would be of any advantage. Count Lerchenfeld told me that, on account of the embassy’s supporting the petition in your behalf, it had been arranged that the trial should take place in a minor court, in order that the sentence might be a mild one and it seems doubtful, therefore, whether the sentence would be reduced on appeal, and the delay occasioned by such an appeal would certainly be disagreeable. Certain well-meant but overzealous action on the part of your friends—particularly in the way of sending notices to the newspapers—has, as I am informed, stirred up a feeling of antagonism which can not fail to be prejudicial to your interests. As you have probably seen, the action of the embassy in interesting itself at all in the case has been severely criticised in some quarters.

I have, as it is, done everything which I thought I could properly do in your behalf, and I have at the same time held myself ready for any suggestion from you as to further action; and now, barring an appeal, the only course which in my opinion is open to you with any prospect of advantage to you arising from its adoption is an appeal to the clemency of the prince regent of Bavaria, either that the sentence of imprisonment should be commuted into a fine or for an entire pardon. Should you make such a petition it would be greatly to your interest if your friends or lawyers would refrain from any attempt to influence public opinion through the press.

I am, etc.,

John B. Jackson,
Chargé d’Affaires.
[Inclosure 7 in No. 329.]

The U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg to Mr. Jackson .

Sir: In receipt of your favor, dated the 6th instant. I beg leave to include a copy of a communication addressed to me by the Bavarian minister of foreign affairs in response to my protest sent at the authorization of the United States embassy. This copy would have been transmitted previous to this had it not been for the fact that the Stern case at Kissingen occupied all my attention and gave me more work than I could attend to. I regarded it as my duty, not only as an official of the United States Government, but as an American citizen, to aid Mr. Stern by every means in my power, and more especially to [Page 464] influence public opinion, which at first was opposed to Mr. Stern as a foreigner, in his favor. To this effect I telegraphed to the New York Herald (Paris edition), controverting the entirely incorrect and misleading statements published by it. In so doing I regarded my action as a service in helping an American to secure his rights, but was not conscious of having violated the provisions of paragraph 396 of the Consular Regulations of 1888. With the exception of the instance cited, no communication, has been given by me to the press.

The result of the trial which I attended last Monday, August 5, and which lasted uninterruptedly from 8.30 a.m. until 6 p.m., Mr. Louis Stern, of New York, was found guilty of having resisted the authority of the State and of having insulted a Royal official, and was sentenced to two weeks’ imprisonment and to pay a fine of 600 marks. The court appeared to consider the circumstance that Baron von Thüngen had first insulted Mr. Stern and his wife by doubting their word as of small moment, in spite of the fact that during the course of the trial Mr. Stern satisfactorily proved his son to be over 15 years of age.

As witnesses for Mr. Stern there appeared, besides myself, Mr. Adams, a member of the New York board of school inspection; Mr. Claussenius, Austrian consul-general in Chicago; Mr. Panizza, hotel proprietor; the porter of the hotel, and the district physician, Dr. Galser. The persons named testified to the honorable character and prominent position of the accused, as well as to the latter’s state of health. It should not be forgotten that the State’s attorney claimed only damages and no imprisonment; the judge, therefore, gave a heavier sentence than was demanded, remarking, nevertheless, at the same time that he had taken the exceptional moderating circumstances into consideration. Whether Mr. Stern, whom I left yesterday, will appeal from the verdict or petition the Crown to change the punishment by imprisonment to a corresponding fine is still undecided. I desire in this connection to state that in Kissingen itself no verdict calling for imprisonment was anticipated. As soon as the text of the verdict is in my possession I shall transmit the same to the embassy.

I think it advisable to remark in conclusion that in an unofficial as well as my official capacity (as far as I was authorized to proceed by my superiors in office) I made every effort to aid a countryman who, in my opinion and in that of many others, has been maltreated; this aid was appreciated by none more than by Mr. Stern himself. Nevertheless, I should not have proceeded officially in the matter and acted according to the instructions contained in Consular Regulations, if I had not been commissioned to do so, in the first instance by my immediate superior, Consul-General Mason, and, secondly, by the United States embassy. As the embassy refers me, by a statement in its favor of the 6th instant, to paragraph 396 of Consular Regulations, I would like to observe on this point that I am not conscious of having violated that paragraph or any of the other “regulations” in question, but am, on the contrary, convinced of having done my full duty as an officer of the Government and United States citizen, and feel satisfied of having accomplished everything possible under the circumstances.

I respectfully request the embassy to inform me whether I should transmit a copy of the proceedings and report of the case to the Department of State.

I am, etc.,

Louis Stern,
Commercial Agent of the United States.
[Page 465]
[Subinclosure—Translation.]

Baron Crailsheim to the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg.

No. 10379.]

Sir: In response to your communication bearing date of the 29th ultimo, I-have the honor to reply as follows:

With the consideration of the accusation brought against Mr. Louis Stern, of New York, the ministers to whose departments the case can properly be referred have already been occupied. The functions of the ministers in this regard, however, are considerably circumscribed, partly due to the independence under the laws of the courts, partly to the severity of the insult offered by Mr. Louis Stern to the Royal district court assessor, Baron von Thuengen, in the latter’s capacity as substitute bath commissioner, and which undoubtedly require corresponding atonement.

The ministers mentioned have, however, ordered that the efforts to bring about a reconciliation in the matter between Baron von Thuengen and Mr. Louis Stern be continued to the end that the accusation on the ground of insult be withdrawn, or, if this prove unfeasible, to have the State’s attorney present a claim for a comparatively mild punishment.

As regards the accusation on the ground of resistance to the authority of the State, the only thing that now remains, after the Royal district court has decreed the opening of the case in the premises, is to await the result of the trial before the court and jury at Kissingen.

Concerning that portion of your honor’s protest which treats of the refusal to let Mr. Louis Stern leave Kissingen and to take carriage rides, in fact, to avoid all actions which might be interpreted as attempt to escape, according to the sense of paragraph 120 of the criminal laws, I have the honor to inform you that, in conformity with a notice served at the Royal district court in Schweinfurt by the State’s attorney, all such restrictions have since been withdrawn by order of court.

As the same recital of the facts in the case as given by your honor has reached me, in conjunction with the declaration of the impartial, i. e., nonparticipant American citizens whose names are likewise attached to your protest, I respectfully request your honor to inform the individuals in question of this communication to yourself.

Please be assured in this connection of my highest esteem.

Von Crailsheim.
[Inclosure 8 in No. 329.]

Mr. Mason to Mr. Jackson .

Sir: I am duly in receipt of your communication, No. 7356, of yesterday’s date, transmitting a copy of your letter of the same date to the commercial agent of the United States at Bamberg.

I have already noticed and called the attention of the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg to the gross impropriety of his communication to the Paris New York Herald concerning the case of Mr. Stern, and referred him to paragraph 396 of the Regulations.

As the present incident is likely to have some importance I feel it due to the embassy to report that on Sunday, July 28, the morning after the incident at Kissingen, I telegraphed the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg to go immediately to Kissingen, report to Mr. Stern, who I then understood to be under arrest, and do all in his power to protect him in his rights as a citizen of the United States.

Several days afterwards the U. S. commercial agent forwarded to me from his office in Bamberg copies of some of the documents in the case, all of which were in German. I returned the papers to him, with instructions to prepare a complete report of the entire proceeding, what [Page 466] he had done in reference thereto, and to forward it, with the documents and translations of the same, through this office to the Department of State.

As you have requested him to furnish such a report to your embassy, I wish to inquire whether such report will be sufficient and will be transmitted by you to the Department, or whether I shall still require a copy of the same to be sent from here to the Department.

It will be of course remembered that the agency at Bamberg is a small office, with no allowance for clerk hire, and as the U. S. commercial agent has probably no assistance in copying, translating, etc., I wish to spare him unnecessary labor in that respect.

I am, etc.,

Frank H. Mason,
Consul-General.
  1. See p. 465, post.