Mr. Willis to Mr. Gresham.
Honolulu , February 23, 1895 . (Received March 8.)
Sir: I inclose herewith a memorandum of an interview with Mr. Hatch, minister of foreign affairs, on the 18th instant, in regard to the case of J. F. Bowler, who has asked the protection of our Government as an American citizen, and who is now serving his sentence in prison.
I also inclose copy of the correspondence on the subject; also copy of the record of proceedings.
It is claimed that Mr. Bowler is not entitled to the protection of our Government because he was naturalized under the Monarchy. He has not taken the oath of allegiance to the Republic. Section 130, Hawaiian Civil Code, sets forth the oath of allegiance as follows:
The undersigned, a native of ——, being duly sworn, upon his oath declares that he will support the constitution and the laws of the Hawaiian Islands, and bear true allegiance to His Majesty ——, the King.
The taking of the above oath naturalizes the alien and admits him to Hawaiian citizenship. (Reports of Supreme Court of the Hawaiian Islands, Vol. V., p. 169.)
Mr. P. C. Jones, whose letter of inquiry as to his present citizenship I inclose in a dispatch of this date, having taken the oath of allegiance [Page 836] to the Monarchy, applied in the year 1882 to our Government for information touching his right to protection. Mr. Frelinghuysen replied:
In the absence of a direct judicial determination of the question, I do not feel disposed to deny to Mr. Jones any right or privilege pertaining to his character of American citizenship, and therefore, while the Department will not undertake to express any authoritative opinion on the effect which his course in Hawaii may ultimately have on his status in that regard, you are authorized to extend to him such protection as may be properly due to a citizen of the United States residing in and having acquired a commercial domicile in a foreign State. This protection must, of course, be limited and qualified by the liabilities and obligations incident to such commercial domicile.
If you should conclude that Mr. Bowler is entitled to protection, there are several questions suggested in the record and in the interview with Mr. Hatch, the most important of which is that of jurisdiction.
The record came half an hour ago and I have thought it proper to send without delay.
With assurances, etc.,