Mr. Willis to Mr. Gresham.
Honolulu , March 7, 1895 . (Received March 28.)
Sir: On the 1st instant I received a certified copy of the record of the trial before the military commission, on a charge of treason, of C. T. Gulick, William H. Ricard, Thomas B. Walker, and William T. Seward, which is herewith transmitted.1 Messrs. Ricard and Walker are British subjects. Mr. Gulick and Mr. Seward claim to be American citizens. This claim as to Mr. Seward is not disputed by this Government. As to Mr. Gulick, however, it is denied on the ground that he was naturalized under the Monarchy. The same question occurs in the case of J. F. Bowler, to which I have referred in my No. 88 of the 23d ultimo. The opinion of our Government upon this subject was, as therein stated, declared by Mr. Frelinghuysen in the case of P. C. Jones, citing 8 Opinions, 139: “To constitute repatriation there must be an actual removal, followed by a foreign residence, accompanied by authentic renunciation of preexisting citizenship.” A similar question was decided by Mr. Bayard in his No. 61 of September 30, 1887, who seems to have based his opinion largely upon the political conditions then existing here. Cognate inquiries have been answered by the Department in No. 63 of August 18, 1887, and No. 71 of January 5, 1888. I inclose copies of the correspondence on the subject.
These decisions, that without express renunciation of allegiance our citizens did not under the Monarchy forfeit their right to protection, seem to be borne out by the constitutional provisions of the present Government on the subject.
Section 2 of article 19 reads: “Every person receiving letters of denization shall take the oath prescribed in article 101 of this constitution, and shall thereupon be subject to all of the duties and obligations of a citizen.” The oath mentioned is “to support the constitution, laws, [Page 849] and Government of the Republic of Hawaii,” which I construe by reason of the words in italics to be equivalent to the “oath of allegiance,” the taking of which made a naturalized citizen under the Monarchy. That something more than this is necessary to absolve the citizen from his allegiance to his former government is shown by article 18, section 2, which requires of an alien desiring citizenship to take “the oath prescribed in article 101, and an oath abjuring allegiance to the government of his native land and of allegiance to “the Republic of Hawaii.”
Without undertaking to discuss the question of citizenship, I have ventured, while awaiting your instructions, to offer the above suggestions touching one phase of it. The questions other than that of citizenship I have not felt at liberty thus far to discuss with this Government.
With renewed assurance of high regard, etc.,
- Not printed.↩