Mr. Olney to Mr. Breckinridge.

No. 167.]

Sir: Your dispatch No. 188, of the 19th ultimo, was duly received. The Department was pleased to see the interest you were taking in the case of the unfortunate man Henry Topor, and approves your temperate but earnest note of December 20 to Prince Lobanow on the subject.

Since your dispatch came to hand a letter has been received from Mrs. Topor, in which she refers to the detention of her husband in the insane asylum at Tloorki, but makes no reference to the penal charge [Page 525] against him, disclosed by your dispatch, of having become a citizen of the United States without Imperial permission.

Whatever be the importance of the principle involved in the assertion of enforcement by Russia of the claim to punish a native Russian upon return to Russia for the alleged offense of becoming a citizen of the United States in conformity with the laws thereof, it is trusted that in the present instance the mental disease of Mr. Topor and the irresponsibility thereby implied will take his case out of the general category of controversy and lead to lenient and considerate treatment of this unfortunate man.

I have advised Mrs. Topor of the purport of this instruction to you and have told her that in the event of your efforts for her husband’s release being successful, you will aid his return to the United States upon provision being made for his journey. In a somewhat similar case recently occurring in Germany, but, however, without the complication of the peculiar political charge which seems to lie against Mr. Topor in respect to his change of naturalization, provision for an attendant to take charge of the sufferer on his journey was imposed as a condition to his release.

Your dispatch does not disclose the character and extent of Mr. Topor’s mental infirmity, but should circumstances make it advisable to do so you will propose or assent to the employment of a suitable custodian for the home journey if the relatives provide the necessary funds for that purpose.

I am, etc.,

Richard Olney.