Mr. Breckinridge to Mr. Olney.

No. 489.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith copy of a letter, without date, from Mrs. Louisa Lassonne, who wishes a renewal of her passport, and to request the ruling of the Department upon the case.

This is a case where the lady, the widow of a naturalized American citizen, confesses to having no identity with the United States or purpose of going there. Upon the other hand, she pleads inability to go, from poverty and the infirmities of age; but it does not appear that the necessity of her stay abroad has arisen from any vocation such as the Department usually accepts as sufficient ground for protracted absence. The case is a sympathetic one, but I feel that I can not accede to her application without special authority to do so.

I have, etc.,

Clifton R. Breckinridge.

Mrs. Lassonne to Mr. Breckinridge.

Sir: I heard from Mr. Billhardt, the American consul at Moscow, that you refuse to give me a new passport on the plea that you wish to know a little more about me.

Well, I, Mrs. Louisa Lassonne, a native of Switzerland, born in Vevey, Canton de Vaud, was married in the year 1874, on the 9th of May, to Mr. Charles Lassonne, a naturalized citizen of the United States of America, at St. Petersburg, at the United States legation, by R. I. Hall, in the presence of Marshal Jewell, then ambassador of the said legation.

I am an old woman, weak and sickly, a widow; I earn my bread by teaching; in the winter I give lessons, in the summer I travel about with families at whom I engage as governess.

I never was in America, and can not go there if I wished, having no means; and what should I do there, I being a stranger, rather to say, foreign to the country; in which way could I get my existence; and should I say it frankly, I thought that I had a right to the aid and protection from the country I became a citizen by legal rights, and instead of that I am refused a passport. I ask for it lawfully, by appellation, as I have been told to do by Mr. Billhardt. I will hope, sir, that after this explanation you will not refuse to issue me a passport; if in a contrary case, please teach me what I have to do in future.

With high respect, etc.,

L. Lassonne.