Mr. Gresham to Mr. Willis.
Washington , April 5, 1895.
Sir: It appears from your No. 88, of February 28, that on the 22d of that month J. F. Bowler was convicted before a military commission sitting at Honolulu for participation or complicity in the disturbance or uprising in Hawaii early in January, and sentenced to imprisonment at hard labor for five years and to pay a fine of $5,000; that he now claims protection as an American citizen, and that the Hawaiian authorities assert he is not entitled to such protection because he is a naturalized citizen of that Government.
When Mr. Bowler left this country and went to Hawaii does not appear, but on March 18, 1895, he voluntarily took an oath to support the constitution and laws of the Hawaiian Islands and bear true allegiance to the King, without expressly renouncing or reserving his allegiance to the United States. Section 432 of the statute prescribing this oath (Compiled Laws of Hawaii, 1884) provides that every foreigner so naturalized shall be deemed for all purposes a native of the islands, subject only to their laws, and entitled to their protection, and no longer amenable to his native sovereign while residing in the Kingdom, nor entitled to resort to his native country for protection or intervention; that for every such resort he shall be subjected to the penalties annexed to rebellion, and that, having been thus naturalized, he shall be entitled to all the rights and immunities of a Hawaiian subject. I am informed that the supreme court of Hawaii has held that the taking of this oath operates to naturalize the alien and admit him to full citizenship. It is not claimed that, since 1885, Mr. Bowler ever returned to the United States or resided elsewhere than on the islands.
This Government has never held to the doctrine of perpetual allegiance; on the contrary, from its organization it has maintained that the right to throw off one’s natural allegiance and assume another is inalienable. “Expatriation,” said Attorney-General Black in 1859, “includes not only emigration out of one’s native country, but naturalization in the country adopted as a future residence.” The effect of naturalization is to place the adopted citizen in the same relation to the Government as native citizens or subjects. The right of the Hawaiian Government, with his consent, to adopt Mr. Bowler as fully as if he had been born upon its soil is as clear as his right to expatriate himself. He manifested his intention of abandoning his American citizenship by taking the oath to support the constitution and laws of Hawaii and bear true allegiance to the King, and, so far as is known, he manifested no contrary intention before his arrest. That oath is inconsistent with his allegiance to the United States. By taking it he obligated himself to support the Government of his adoption, even to the extent of fighting its battles in the event of war between it and the country of his origin. He could not bear true allegiance to both Governments at the same time.
The President directs that you inform Mr. Bowler he is not entitled to the protection of the United States; that in similar cases you will be guided by the views herein expressed, and that you furnish the minister for foreign affairs with a copy of this instruction.
I am, etc.,