File No. 294.11Ei5/35.
The Attorney General of Massachusetts to the Secretary of State.
Boston, November 24, 1914.
Sir: The following is a statement of the facts, in the Eills case, which I understand you wish to use in dealing with the representatives of His Imperial Majesty the Mikado of Japan.
Harriet and John Eills were married in 1904. In 1907 their only child, Olga, was born. Mr. Eills was engaged from time to time in various professions in various different localities.
In the fall of 1911 they settled in Chicopee, Hampden County, Massachusetts. For some time their married life had been unhappy.
Early in February, 1912, Mr. Eills, a woman doctor friend of his from Boston, and a Chicopee doctor, executed the necessary affidavits to have Mrs. Eills committed by the judge of the Chicopee police court to the insane hospital at Northampton. The hospital authorities, after a careful examination for about two weeks, found that she was not insane and had never been insane, and accordingly discharged her. The Chicopee doctor, a reputable physician, has since stated that he relied entirely upon the woman doctor and executed the papers as a matter of professional courtesy. The judge who committed her later signed the warrant for the arrest of Eills for perjury in connection with the commitment affidavit.
As soon as Mrs. Eills was released she petitioned the Probate Court of Hampden County (case 34221) for custody of Olga. This petition was allowed by the Probate Court April 2, 1912. Mr. Eills at once appealed to the Superior Court (case 3061). On February 21, 1913, the Superior Court affirmed the order of the Probate Court, except that the days on which Mr. Ellis was permitted to have the child were specified.
At both trials there were introduced writings of Mr. Eills in favor of “free love,” and other writings of his, tending to show that for some time he had planned the false imprisonment of his wife, so as to be free to devote his time to other women. Copies of the two decrees and a memorandum of the judge of the Superior Court are enclosed.
The day following the decree of the Superior Court was one of the days when Mr. Eills was to be permitted to have the child. He took her, left the Commonwealth in violation of the decree, and went directly to Japan, where he has remained ever since.[Page 592]
The mother left no stone unturned to find her child, and finally in September, 1913, after the police had given up hope, located Mr. Eills in Tokyo.
The District Attorney of Hampden County at once requested extradition on the perjury charge. A copy of the requisition is doubtlessly in your files. The Imperial Government of Japan refused to surrender Mr. Eills, for the reason that a false oath by the petitioner in a legal proceeding is not perjury in Japan; which ruling the Commonwealth did not feel inclined to contest.
The Eills case has had wide publicity and presents a particularly flagrant example of defiance of our courts. His apparent immunity, it is feared, will lead others to disrespect Massachusetts decrees. In accordance with my statutory duty to enforce the orders of our courts, in cases of great public concern, I have appealed to you to secure, if possible, through diplomatic channels, the enforcement of this decree.
Very truly yours,