Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, With the Annual Message of the President, Transmitted to Congress December 2, 1895, Part I
Mr. Olney to Baron Thielmann.
Washington, September 26, 1895.
Excellency: I have the honor to solicit your kind intervention in favor of an estimable American citizen who, as a result of trial before a Bavarian court of justice, has been made the subject of a sentence so severe and so out of proportion to the offense charged as to inevitably [Page 470] shock the sense of justice of every impartial person to whom the facts are made known.
The case referred to is that of Mr. Louis Stern, who was proceeded against by the authorities of Kissingen, Bavaria, on the charge of insulting a Royal official and resisting public authority. The facts in the case have been very fully elicited by the reports of the United States ambassador at Berlin, who, it appears, has been in communication on the subject with the representative of Bavaria at the Prussian capital. But I find so connected and graphic a recital of all the incidents of the affair in a letter addressed to this Department by Mr. Simon H. Stern, a prominent lawyer of New York, who, although no connection of Mr. Louis Stern, was by chance present in Kissingen at the time of the occurrences and a personal witness to the events he describes, that I send you a copy thereof for your perusal. The statements of this letter are in close conformity with those of Mr. Runyon’s dispatches derived, as I have before said, from Bavarian authority for the most part, and I can not permit myself to doubt the substantial accuracy of Mr. Simon Stern’s narrative, as I can not but commend his careful and temperate presentment of the case.
The proceedings against Mr. Stern seem to me to have been gratuitously and undeservedly onerous from the beginning—from the imposition of the excessive bail to the final sentence which adds to a fine the humiliation of personal imprisonment. It is only to this last feature of the case, however, that your attention is now invited and in respect of which your interposition is desired. Mr. Stern ought not to be subjected to the crowning indignity of the imprisonment provided for by the sentence. He ought to be relieved from it, primarily, of course, in simple justice to himself, because in no possible view of his offense is any such chastisement justified. But he ought also to be so relieved in the higher and greater interest of the cordial relations between this country and that you so worthily represent. That they will not be seriously impaired, whatever happens to Mr. Stern, is altogether probable and is most devoutly to be wished. Yet estrangements of great nations have not infrequently grown from equally small beginnings and it is not too much to say that if the merits of Mr. Stern’s application and the earnest appeal of this Government are not sufficient to secure him the just relief asked for, the most unfavorable impressions are only too likely to be widely entertained by the people of this country both of the justice meted out to American citizens in the States of Germany and of the attitude of the Imperial Government in this regard.
On these grounds I request your good offices with the Royal Government of Bavaria through such channel as may be most appropriate to the end that an American citizen of universally reputed worth and standing in the great mercantile community of New York may not unjustly suffer the personal degradation to which the extraordinary action of the Bavarian tribunal has most unwarrantedly condemned him.
Inasmuch as time presses, I have to ask that you will kindly use the telegraph, as far as may be conveniently possible, in furtherance of the request herein made.
Mr. Simon H. Stern to Mr. Adee.
Sir: Referring to our interview in the above matter on Thursday last, at which Mr. Isaac Stern, of this city, was present, I now beg to [Page 471] lay before you, under your kind permission, the details which I then hastily mentioned.
Mr. Louis Stern is a citizen of the United States, residing in the city of New York, and is a member of the well-known firm of Stern Brothers, merchants, carrying on business at No. 34 West Twenty-third street, New York City. Mr. Stern is a member of the Chamber of Commerce of the city of New York, a bank director, a director of one of the largest orphan asylums in the city of New York, and a member of several leading clubs. Mr. Stern ranks very high in the business and social community of this city, and is well known as a dignified, polished, and courteous gentleman.
In the early part of the spring of this year he departed from this country with his family to make a tour of Europe. His party consisted of himself and his wife, four children, a governess, a tutor, and two female servants. For the purpose of taking the cure afforded by the waters and régimé of Kissingen, in Bavaria, Germany, Mr. Stern and his family proceeded to that place about June 20 last.
The springs of water which are used by those taking the cure are situated in a park at Kissingen called the “Kur-Garten.” In that park is also a building which is called the “Kursaal,” and which is devoted to the use of visitors to Kissingen, and contains a reading room, music room, restaurant, and a ballroom. Visitors remaining longer than a certain number of days are taxed, and required to pay for the benefits of the springs, and for music furnished to the visiting public. This is known as the cure and music tax, which includes also the privilege of attending entertainments offered at the Kursaal. On every Thursday night during the season a ball is given.
On June 27 Mr. and Mrs. Stern, accompanied by their son Melville, a young gentleman then of the age of 15 years and 2 months, attended a ball given at the Kursaal. A servant connected with the establishment accosted Mr. Stern and said that his son would not be permitted to dance, as he was under 15 years of age. Mr. Stern replied that his son was over 15 years of age, and the boy was then permitted to dance without any further interference.
The following Thursday night, July 4, there was another ball. On that occasion Melville attended the ball to meet some young lady relatives, but was unaccompanied by his parents. When the boy entered the ballroom he said “good evening” to the servant who had spoken to his father at the previous ball, and the man answered politely with the same salutation, and Melville danced without interference of any sort.
On the following Thursday evening, July 11, Mr. and Mrs. Stern attended the ball accompanied by their son Melville, and it was on this evening that the unfortunate occurence, which has been the subject of so much unpleasantness, happened. Melville started to dance with a young lady cousin, when one of the Kursaal servants came to him and asked him to leave the room. Melville stated that he did not see why he should do so, inasmuch as he was more than 15 years of age. The servant, however, insisted that he must leave the room and acted as if he were going to compel his exit. Mr. and Mrs. Stern seeing that there was threatened trouble, proceeded from the place where they were standing to the boy, and at the same time another gentleman, at that time entirely unknown to Mr. and Mrs. Stern and Melville, also came to the place where the boy was standing. The gentleman referred to, it subsequently transpired, was Herrvon Thuengen, the assistant Badekommissar, who, it appears, was in charge of the ballroom, in the same [Page 472] capacity as a floor manager would be at a ball in this country. Herr von Thuengen was not in uniform, nor did he carry any insignia of office, nor was there any other indication of his being a person in authority. He is a young gentleman apparently about 28 years of age. Herr von Thuengen stated to Mr. Stern that his son must leave the room. Mr. Stern replied that he could not understand why his son should leave the room, inasmuch as the boy was over 15 years of age, and therefore had a perfect right to be there. Herr von Thuengen vouchsafed, however, no explanation, gave no reason for his direction, but when Mr. Stern had finished, curtly and shortly stated, “He must leave the room.” Thereupon Mrs. Stern, believing that the gentleman had not fully understood her husband, and believing that he could not be aware of this proposed infringement of her son’s rights, stated to him that her son ought not to be required to leave the room, that he had not been guilty of any misconduct, and that as he was over 15 years of age he had a right to remain. Herr von Thuengen received Mrs. Stern’s statements not only very coldly but even most rudely, by his manner, and did not deign to make any explanation of his course to her, but pausing after she had finished, as if to make sure that she had finished entirely, said again, “He must leave the room.”
While the words “he must leave the room” are not offensive words in themselves, and the criticism could be made that Herr von Thuengen might have been somewhat more polite to both Mr. and Mrs. Stern in the use of the words he did employ, and while it would strike any disinterested person that an effort should have been made by him to have given this lady and gentleman some sort of satisfaction, nevertheless that is a matter of taste, and for the lack of it alone Mr. Stern might not have been justified in becoming as angry as he did; but an important point right here lies in this, that outside of the short, curt, peremptory words used, was the extremely offensive manner of Herr von Thuengen. While Mr. Stern was addressing him he held himself rather side wise, stood very rigidly, and looked upon Mr. Stern in a very supercilious and contemptuous manner; and he acted likewise toward Mrs. Stern while she was addressing him. The truth is that his manner toward Mr. and Mrs. Stern was far more offensive than the words he uttered. In homely language, it was such as to make a man’s blood boil; and that this is not an isolated instance of such conduct on his part is shown by what happened in the interview between him and Messrs. Adams and Clausenius, hereinafter referred to.
Mr. Stern at the time of this occurrence, it is proper to state, was not quite in a normal condition of health. He had been undergoing a strict and severe treatment under the guidance of a physician at Kissingen for several weeks, and for a day or two previous to this occurrence had actually been in bed suffering from a severe attack of nervousness, which had necessitated visits from his physician several times a day. It is possible that had he been in good health at the time of the occurrence, notwithstanding the great provocation, he might have swallowed all the offensiveness of which he and his wife were the victims, and left the room without remark; but, as it was, Herr von Thuengen’s peremptory language and extremely offensive manner to both his wife and himself, and the evident intention on the part of Herr von Thuengen not to accept the word of this lady and gentleman as to their son’s age, worked upon Mr. Stern in such a way that he could not resist resenting at once what he considered very gross insults. Mr. Stern became much excited, and said to Herr von Thuengen, “You are a very common person, and if this were in the garden I would box your ears.”[Page 473]
Mrs. Stern then took her son and danced with him. Herr von Thuengen then stopped the music and closed the ball. The guests started to leave the room, as did also Mr. and Mrs. Stern and their son. Mr. Stern continued under great excitement, and as he was leaving the room went through a doorway at which Herr von Thuengen was standing and again said to him: “You are a very common person and I ought to box your ears.” This second outbreak was because of the excitement under which Mr. Stern was laboring by reason of the insults he and his wife had received, and aggravated by the manner in which Herr von Thuengen looked at him as he was leaving the room. To give some idea of Herr von Thuengen’s manner, I beg to quote his own language as taken from what I am informed are the official notes on the trial of the case, hereinafter referred to, at Kissingen: “Darauf hin habe ich ihn einfach von oben bis unten gemessen und ihn stehen lassen,” a fair translation of which, I think, would be as follows: “Thereupon, I simply measured him from head to foot and let him stand.”
The next morning Mr. and Mrs. Stern went to the Kursaal and complained to Herr von Thuengen’s superior of the treatment they had received from Herr von Thuengen. Mr. Stern’s attention was then called to a certain declaration which had been made as to the ages of his children. A blank form is filled out at the time of the arrival of guests at hotels and lodging houses at Kissingen, calling for the names of the heads of the families and the number of the party. In Mr. Stern’s case the porter of the hotel where he had lodgings had filled up the blank form with the full names of Mr. and Mrs. Stern and the employees accompanying them, and further stated “four children under the age of 15 years.” He filled up this blank without consultation with Mr. Stern or any member of the family and simply assumed that the children were of the ages as stated. I was at Kissingen this summer with my family and the blank form referred to was filled up by the porter of the hotel at which I stopped without any consultation with me, and, as I was informed and believe, in most instances this matter of the form is attended to by the porters of the hotels.
When Mr. and Mrs. Stern called on the superior officer above referred to to make a complaint, the form filled up by the porter with the statement therein contained that Mr. Stern’s children were all under 15 years of age was presented to him, and he was asked about it. He explained that that was the first time he had seen the form, and that any statement therein to the effect that one of his children, Melville, was under 15 years of age, was erroneous, and that he had never given any such information. Subsequently this matter of the form was made the subject of a judicial inquiry, and Mr. Stern having stated that he was not responsible for the error concerning his son’s age, and the porter of the hotel having stated to the judge that he alone was responsible for the error, and that he had filled up the form without consultation with Mr. Stern, it was decided that Mr. Stern’s version was correct, and that was the end of the matter so far as any charge against him was concerned on that head.
This matter, however, of the form was very frequently referred to in all the discussions of the subject by the friends of Herr von Thuengen, and was used as a sort of make-weight. Mr. Stern and his friends who knew of the matter supposed, after the discussion with Herr von Thuengen’s superior officer, that the matter was ended; but on the following Sunday summonses were served on Mr. and Mrs. Stern, Melville Stern, and the hotel porter, returnable at different hours on the following Tuesday.[Page 474]
Many months before this Mr. Stern had engaged lodgings at a hotel at Bad-Gastein, in Austria, and had intended leaving Kissingen on the very Tuesday on which he was summoned to court. He had notified the landlord of the hotel at Kissingen some time previous that he would vacate his rooms on that Tuesday, and these rooms had been engaged for occupation by some other gentleman with his family, to begin on the same Tuesday.
Under these circumstances Mr. Stern consulted the only lawyer at Kissingen, Mr. Winter, with the view of having the day of inquiry referred to in the summons changed from Tuesday to the day previous, Monday, so that it might be disposed of and he be enabled to carry out his intention of leaving Kissingen on Tuesday. Mr. Winter believed it could be accomplished. I was present during the interview between Mr. Stern and Mr. Winter. The latter-named gentleman, after hearing the entire matter of the controversy that had taken place at the Kursaal and the hotel notice and everything that could be said about it, thought very lightly of the matter, and gave it as his opinion that under the circumstances the court would hear the matter on Monday as a matter of courtesy to Mr. Stern, and thought the court might impose a fine of about 50 marks because Mr. Stern had offended a public official (he having explained that Herr von Thüngen was a public official), and that no matter what order or direction he might have given, whether right or wrong, Mr. Stern had no right to disobey his orders; but the penalty, in his opinion, would not be more than the fine of 50 marks, possibly less; and Mr. Winter promised to see the judge for the purpose of having the hearing on Monday.
On Monday Mr. Winter did not report to Mr. Stern, for the reason that he had some other pressing matter to attend to, and therefore Mr. Stern went personally to the judge to ask him to have the matter taken up immediately and disposed of, as he wanted to leave with his family and had made all arrangements to that end. The judge questioned Mr. Stern in regard to the form that had been filled up by the porter hereinbefore mentioned, and also had the hotel porter sent for and took his statement, and then indicated that he was satisfied that Mr. Stern was not responsible for any error in the filling up of the form. The judge then stated that the Stadt Anwalt (district attorney), Herr von Baumer, wished to see him, and referred him to that gentleman, who was in court. The latter requested Mr. Stern to follow him to his room. Mr. Stern complied. When they were together in the district attorney’s room the latter said to Mr. Stern, “Consider yourself under arrest.” Mr. Stern replied, “What can I do?” to which question he received no answer. Mr. Stern then said, “Can I give bail?” The district attorney then stated, “I could permit you to give bail, but it would be high, very high.” Mr. Stern said, “How high?” After reflection the district attorney replied, “I will take bail in the sum of 80,000 marks.” Mr. Stern then said, “May I go to my hotel and get my letter of credit?” to which the district attorney replied, “You may go to your hotel accompanied by a gendarme.” Mr. Stern said, “If I go to the hotel accompanied by a gendarme it will alarm my wife very much. May I send for my letter of credit?” and permission was granted that the letter of credit should be sent for. I was present when a messenger from the district attorney’s office came to Mrs. Stern with a written request for a letter of credit of Mr. Stern’s, and assisted her in getting the same and handing it to the very rude and offensive messenger who brought Mr. Stern’s request.
On receipt of the letter of credit Mr. Stern, accompanied by the district attorney, went to the office of a banker at Kissingen who is [Page 475] mentioned in the letter of credit as a correspondent of the bankers issuing the same, and asked for 80,000 marks. The banker did not have that amount on hand, but arranged, partially by money and partially by securities and by the retention of the letter of credit, to place the 80,000 marks in the hands of the district attorney a day or two afterwards, and as soon as the banker could obtain all the money. That was considered sufficient as bail and Mr. Stern was permitted to go. Before leaving the presence of the district attorney, however, the district attorney said to Mr. Stern, “Remember, you must not leave Kissingen; do you understand that?” Mr. Stern replied, “I understand what you say.” The district attorney then said, “Another thing, you must not go to the railway station.” Mr. Stern replied, “I understand what you say.” The district attorney then said, “You must not drive in a carriage; do you understand that?” to which Mr. Stern replied, “I understand what you say.”
Mr. Stern having reported all this to me, I advised him to employ suitable counsel with whom to consult, and who should be requested to take such steps as were necessary for Mr. Stern’s protection, and the same was done. A lawyer residing at Munich came to Kissingen and took charge of the matter on Mr. Stern’s behalf.
There were so many disagreeable features connected with this matter, such as the public discussion of it by the visitors to and the residents of Kissingen; the necessity of Mr. Stern’s giving up the comfortable lodgings which he had been occupying, because of a long prior engagement of the same by another guest, and of being compelled to occupy lodgings which were not agreeable to himself and his family, and the sense of humiliation which Mr. Stern suffered by reason of the enormous amount of bail exacted from him for what was generally considered a comparatively small offense, and the restriction that had been placed upon him of leaving Kissingen although he had given this enormous amount of bail, and the restriction which prevented him from even taking a drive in a carriage, and the restriction which had been imposed upon him of not attending certain places in the Kursaal, and the loss of health, very visible to everybody, which he suffered from all these things, induced me to use my utmost endeavors to extricate Mr. Stern from his unpleasant situation as speedily as possible, and I advised him, as did his counsel, notwithstanding his sense of wrong done him, to write a letter of apology to Herr von Thuengen, in the hope that the latter would magnanimously accept the same and hasten a conclusion of an affair which could not be agreeable to anybody. Mr. Stern accordingly did, on the 19th of July, address a letter and had the same delivered to Herr von Thuengen, of which the following is a copy:
Kissingen, 19 Juli, 1895.
Hochgeehrter Herr Baron: Gestatten Sie mir, mich hiermit an Sie zu wenden und schenken Sie den nachfolgenden ernstgemeinten und aufrichtigen Worten ein gütiges Gehör. Im Custande höchster Erregtheit, ja gänzlicher Selbstvergessenheit zu dessen Erklärung, nicht Entschuldigung, Ich auf meine Krankheit verweisen darf, habe ich schwere Beleidigungen gegen Sie ausgesprochen. Ich nehme diese Aeusserungen mit tiefstem Bedauern zurück und bitte, Sie mir zu verzeihen. Ich selbst werde es mir niemals vergeben, einem Ehrenmann und Beamten in diesir Weise verletz zu haben. Aber ich fühle das Bedürfniss Ihnen, dem ich so grosses Unrecht zugefügt habe Rückhaltlos auszusprechen, wie sehr ich das Geschene bereue. Seien Sie überzeugt, sehr geehrter Herr Baron, dass ich nicht aus Rücksicht auf die gegen mich schewebende Anklage diese Bitte an Sie richte, sondern weil es mich drängt, meine verehlung, wie vor mir Selbst, so auch vor Ihnen und der Oeffentlichkeit ehrlich einzugestehen. Genehmigen Sie deshalb zugleicht mit meiner herzlichen Bitte die Versicherung meiner ausgezeichneten und volkommenen Hochachtung.
A translation of which is about as follows:
Kissingen, 19th July, 1895.
Highly honored Mr. Baron:
Permit me hereby to address you, and accord to the following sincere and candid remarks a favorable hearing.
In a condition of highest excitement—yes, in entire self-forgetfulness—as an explanation of which and not as an excuse for, I may attribute to ray illness—I offered you a great insult. I deeply regret the same, and withdraw the remarks I made, and beg of you forgiveness for the same. I shall never forgive myself for having wounded in this manner a gentleman and an official. But I feel the necessity of saying to you to whom I have done this great wrong and without aggravation, how much I regret what has occurred. Be assured, highly honored Mr. Baron, that it is not on account of the pending charge that I make this request of you but because I am impelled thereto because of the wrong that I wish to admit having committed, in honesty to myself, yourself, and the public. Accept, therefore, at the same time with my heartfelt wish, the assurance of my highest and fullest regard.
This letter was handed to Herr von Thuengen by Dr. Bernstein, Mr. Stern’s lawyer, who at the same time stated to the former that Mr. Stern had no objection whatever to this letter being published in any newspapers that Herr von Thuengen might designate, and was also entirely willing that a copy of the letter might be posted on a board in the Kur-Garten, which is used for various notices of a public character. At this interview Herr von Thuengen having uttered a disparaging opinion of Mr. Stern’s standing in the community in which he lives, many American citizens, then visitors at Kissingen, in the interest of peace, united in certifying to Mr. Stern’s high character and reputation, and such certificates were presented to Herr von Thuengen for his consideration. He did not, however, send any reply either to Mr. Stern’s letter, or pay any attention, so far as we could learn, to the certificates which had been presented to him.
At this time Richard H. Adams, esq., of the city of New York, and a citizen of the United States, was at Kissingen. Mr. Adams is a retired merchant, a gentleman closely identified with all the German-American interests in New York City, was for many years the president of the Liederkranz Society of the city of New York, one of the largest German social organizations of this country, and a very intellectual man, speaking the German language with extraordinary fluency and in a most choice way, as was universally acknowledged.
At the same time Consul Clausenius, who for thirty years has acted as consul at Chicago for the Prussian Government, the German Empire, and at present for Austria-Hungary, was also at Kissingen. Mr. Clausenius was born in Germany, is a gentleman 70 years of age, has a handsome and imposing appearance, and most gentlemanly and polished manners. He is a gentleman who would inspire respect from everybody.
Messrs. Adams and Clausenius, without any heat whatever, expressed their feelings in regard to Mr. Stern’s matter, and declared that they were of the opinion that he had been and was being outrageously treated; and they finally concluded that if they could have a personal interview with Herr von Thuengen they could persuade him to discontinue any further prosecution of Mr. Stern and get his consent to be entirely satisfied with the apology Mr. Stern had offered, and his willingness to have such apology made public in any way that Herr von Thuengen might consider requisite. In that view Dr. Bernstein, Mr. Stern’s lawyer, made an appointment with Herr von Thuengen to meet Messrs. Adams and Clausenius. They met Herr von Thuengen, and Mr. Adams [Page 477] went over the matter from beginning to end, introducing every element in his address to Herr von Thuengen that human ingenuity could devise, as it appeared to some of those who heard him and all of those to whom his address was repeated, and Mr. Clausenius stated his concurrence with all that Mr. Adams had said. While Mr. Adams was speaking to Herr von Thuengen, the latter stood partially side wise in a doorway and did not utter a word in response. In fact, he scarcely showed any indication of life, except for a moment, and when Mr. Adams said in sub stance in one part of his speech, “We have all made mistakes at some time in our lives; we are only human beings; I have made mistakes, and probably you, sir, at some time of your life have made one.”
At Mr. Adams’s suggestion of the possibility of Her von Thuengen’s making a mistake, the latter drew himself up slowly and rigidly to his extreme height, dilated his eyes, raised his head slightly, and appeared to be inexpressibly astonished at such a suggestion. He then relaxed his body again and his other features referred to, and continued to listen without any comment of any kind. A few days thereafter Dr. Bernstein received from Her von Thuengen a form of letter which the latter proposed Mr. Stern should sign, not as an apology, but as a prayer for forgiveness. The terms of that letter were so vile and infamous that no man with a spark of manhood in him could have signed it. It required Mr. Stern to make admissions against himself that were not only utterly false, but low and debasing to an extreme degree. It seems almost needless to say that this very mean proposition was promptly rejected, and all further attempts either to placate Herr von Thuengen or to ask for either ordinary, genteel, or humane consideration from him were abandoned.
Thereafter many Americans united in a petition to the minister of justice of Bavaria, requesting some relief to Mr. Stern from the unlawful acts which had been perpetrated against him. This petition was signed by many Americans at Kissingen who knew Mr. Stern and who knew of him, among others Hon. William Waldorf Astor and the United States consuls at Fuerth and Bamberg, and other petitions were presented to the Bavarian authorities. These had the effect of obtaining for Mr. Stern some of the rights which had been denied him. Prominently I may mention that it was directed that inasmuch as Mr. Stern had given bail the law in such cases should be followed and he be permitted to go at will until his trial, it being the purpose for which he had given bail.
In the meantime the trial had been set down for a certain Tuesday, the date of which I have forgotten, and Mr. Stern and his counsel were fully prepared for the trial on that day and were willing and eager that it should proceed. There could not be a better time for the trial than on the day originally fixed for it. All his witnesses, including myself, were at Kissingen. A number of witnesses, including myself, were prepared to leave Kissingen, some of them, having finished a cure, being prepared to follow out the original plans of their tours. Without any notice, however, either to Mr. Stern or his counsel, and not in open court, the trial was postponed for three weeks from the day originally set for it, and, as Mr. Stern was advised, renewed adjournments of the trial could be had for such periods as suited the wishes of the district attorney and the prosecutors, without notice. Under these circumstances, some of the witnesses Mr. Stern intended calling at the trial, among whom was myself, could not wait, and left Kissingen, and thus Mr. Stern was deprived of the benefit of their testimony. He was also advised that the testimony of such witnesses could not be taken by deposition.[Page 478]
I believe that the petitions of the American citizens to the higher authorities of Bavaria, above referred to, prevented postponements of the trial according to the will of the district attorney and the prosecutors, and that uncertainty of the time of trial was disposed of by them.
The trial did take place on August 5 last, and resulted in a judgment of the court that Mr. Stern should be imprisoned for two weeks and pay a fine of 600 marks. From that judgment Mr. Stern appealed, and renewed his bail of 80,000 marks. I believe that subsequently, at the suggestion of General Runyon, ambassador of the United States at Berlin, the appeal was withdrawn and a petition addressed to the authority having power to remit that part of the sentence of the judge requiring imprisonment. Of course Mr. Stern was compelled to withdraw his appeal if he asked for a remission of the imprisonment part of the sentence, so as to be consistent. Such an application, I believe, has been made by our ambassador at Berlin, which is still pending, and, as I am informed, will probably be determined some time during October next.
I did not understand you, sir, to call upon me or intimate that you desired to hear any argument, or my views as to what I consider constituted gross outrages on Mr. Louis Stern, nor as to unlawful measures employed to harrass, annoy, and humiliate him, and therefore I refrain from making any extended comments in those connections. If, however, the foregoing statement of facts does not make it clear that I am correct in my judgment, it would afford me great pleasure to be heard by you, for which purpose I will be happy to proceed to Washington on your suggestion to that effect.
Mr. Louis Stern, so far as I know, has never uttered a complaint against any lawful proceeding that was instituted against him in this unfortunate matter, because he recognizes, as I do, and as every sensible man must, that an American citizen, either at home or abroad, must be law-abiding, and has no reason to complain if, by reason of undue, excitement or ignorance or other cause, he infringes upon the laws, but must bear the lawful consequences. It does seem, however, to him and to his numerous friends that have been heard from on the subject, that the extraordinary and unusual amount of bail required from him for comparatively so small an offense was not in the interest of justice and fairness, but was in the nature of a persecution. Very few Americans traveling abroad provide themselves with so large a sum of money, and it was merely by a fortunate accident that Mr. Stern was enabled to furnish the bail and save himself from the mortification as well as discomfort of imprisonment in the common gaol of Kissingen.
The directions of the prosecuting officer to Mr. Stern, after he had given bail, such as the order not to leave Kissingen, or to go to a railway station, or to ride in a carriage, and the order that he should not go to certain parts of the Kursaal, certainly seem not to have been given in the spirit of fairness and justice, but were direct acts of persecution, happily rectified by the higher authorities of Bavaria when their attention was called to the same. The unreasonable postponement of the trial, when Mr. Stern was ready for it, and for a long period whereby he lost the benefit of the attendance of witnesses, is on a par with the unlawful acts above referred to, and in my opinion very clearly shows the animus of the so-called prosecution against him. The very harsh and severe sentence by the judge for a not very grave offense, it seems, also shows an animus which is to be deplored. I do not believe that a citizen of any other country would have been so harshly dealt with, especially after he had made so many efforts to repair the slight wrong he had done.[Page 479]
The reason why I say that a citizen of no other country would have been so harshly dealt with is because I know much of life in Germany, having visited it frequently and resided among the people at one time for a period of about eight months, in a position where I could observe closely. Instead of the liberality of Americans being appreciated at its worth, my experience is that a certain class of people in Germany, in which I count a gentleman like Herr von Thuengen, while gladly accepting the same, looks upon the liberality of Americans with envy and hatred. Most of the generous, kindly impulses of Americans are things they do not understand, nor can they understand the acquirement of wealth by so many Americans—the result of industry and brains; the former, at least, is certainly not exercised by the class to which I refer; nor do the dignity and worth of labor and commerce appeal to them favorably; on the contrary, they arouse their contempt. There is abundant evidence of this.
I arrived at Kissingen the night of July 11, and remained there until a short time before the trial was had. I constantly advised with Mr. Stern in the matter, as well as with his counsel, and knew as much of what was transpiring during the time I was at Kissingen as did Mr. Stern himself. I also discussed the matter with Messrs. Adams and Clausenius, the United States consuls at Fuerth and Bamberg, and also with many other persons, and it is from my own knowledge and on the information I received that I base the statements of facts herein contained.
(Mailing of this matter delayed until September 21, 1895.)