Mr. Harris to Mr. Hay.

No. 42.]

Sir: I have the honor to submit the following case:

1. In 1848 a native of Bohemia, then a lad, emigrated to the United States. His surname was Eisenschimmel, but he cast this off and took the surname of Alexander, by which he was there known, as appears by his membership certificates in the Masonic and other orders.

2. On October 5, 1868, he was naturalized in one of the district courts in the State of Nevada, under the name of E. Alexander.

3. In 1872 he returned to Austria, and resumed the name of Eisenschimmel, but there is no evidence that he intended thereby to abandon his allegiance to the United States.

4. In May, 1874, he married a subject of Austria, in Vienna, where he resided continuously, with his family, until his death, which occurred in 1888. During his residence in Vienna he carried on the business of a photographer.

5. A widow and three children, issue of the marriage, survived him. They have since the death at all times resided as a family in Vienna. The children are now 22, 20, and 19, respectively.

The family have at least sufficient means to support them comfortably, but no part of the estate is in the United States, unless a few shares of stock in a mine be so considered, and that is for sale.

Mr. Alexander never returned to the United States after his arrival here in 1872, and no member of his family has ever been in America.

6. His widow, Elenore Eisenschimmel, now applies to this legation for a passport, and exhibits a passport, numbered 714, issued herein on September 28, 1896, and states that she was then told that when that expired she would be entitled to another.

I am entirely satisfied as to the identity of her husband. I shall not [Page 76] question the fact that, at the time of the marriage, the husband was a citizen of the United States, for there is no evidence that he then had the intention of abandoning his adopted nationality. It would seem to follow, therefore, under section 1994, Revised Statutes of the United States, that by the marriage the wife ipso facto became also a citizen of the United States.

Whether this status of citizenship continued to exist at the times the several children were born, so that they may, on coming of age, elect to be citizens of the United States, is not present for consideration.

The only question is whether Mrs. Elenore Eisenschimmel is entitled to a passport.

I have declined to grant one. The grounds may be summarized as follows:

  • First. The continuous residence in Vienna by the husband from the marriage to his death—a period of fourteen years—tends strongly to show that he had abandoned his allegiance to the United States, and that her status, under the circumstances, followed her husband. They had at all times ample means to enable the family to go to America. The only reason now put forward to meet this presumption is that their parents were living in this country, and both the husband and the wife wished to be with them.
  • Second. The conduct of the applicant since the death of the husband tends to the same conclusion. She had the means at command, on becoming the head of the family, to go to the United States. She elected to remain here, and educate the children in the schools and under the influence of this Monarchy.
  • Third. In her previous verified application for a passport she stated that she would, within two years, go to the United States and perform her duties of citizenship. She is unable to give a substantial reason for the failure to observe this obligation. That put forward is that she did not want to take the children from their schools in Vienna.

Under these circumstances it would seem to encourage bad morals, if not worse, to condone the breach and issue a second passport. Mrs. Eisenschimmel is an educated and cultivated woman, and I told her at the time of declining to issue the passport that I would submit my action to you for review and instructions.

This case affords the opportunity to say that I find it not uncommon for native-born subjects of this Monarchy to emigrate to and become naturalized citizens of the United States, and then return to this country and biennially renew their passports, making at such times the declaration of intention to return to and assume the duties of citizenship in the United States, which is not kept. It seems to me this practice ought to be broken up. If such intention is not fulfilled during the life of a passport, I submit, another should not be issued until this legation is satisfied that there was good reason why the holder of the passport did not return to the United States; and also further satisfied that the applicant intends, in good faith, if given another passport, to keep the obligation and return. It also appears to me that in such cases the second or other subsequent affidavit is not conclusive; but the legation may and should make further investigation and act upon the whole case.

I will be pleased to receive specific instructions in this regard.

I have, etc.,

Addison C. Harris.