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Mr. Blaine to Mr. Louell.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, May 27, 1881. SIR: I transmit herewith, for your information, an advance copy of my report on the Boyton case, which was laid before the Senate by the President on the 20th instant. I am, &c.,
JAMES G. BLAINE.
(Inclosure in No. 167.]
(Senate Ex. Doc. No. 5, special session.)
Message from the President of the United States, transmitting a report of the Secretary of
State in reference to Senate resolution of the 12th ultimo touching the case of Michael P. Boyton.
May 20, 1881.—Read and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations and ordered to be printed.
To the Senate of the United States :
I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of State, with accompanying papers, submitted in response to the Senate resolution of the 12th ultimo, touching the case of Michael P. Boyton.
JAMES A. GARFIELD. EXECUTIVE MANSION,
Washington, May 20, 1881.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, May 20, 1881. To the PRESIDENT: The Secretary of State, to whom was referred the resolution of the Senate of the United States of the 12th ultimo, requesting the President, “if in his judgment not incompatible with the public interest, to communicate to the Senate any information in possession of the government touching the alleged arrest and imprisonment of Michael P. Boyton, who claims to be a citizen of the United States, by the authorities of Great Britain," has the honor to report as follows:
Mr. Michael P. Boyton, to whom the resolution refers, was one of the defendants or * traversers" in the state prosecutions at Dublin, which were held in December and Jannary last. He was proceeded against in common with prominent members of Parliament from Ireland and officers of the Irish Land League. In the “criminal information,” filed as a form of indictment in the Crown Office on the ed of November, 1880, be was described as “Mr. Michael Boyton, paid agent of the Land League.” The proceedings began on the 28th of December, 1880, and were terminated on the 25th of January, 1881, by the disagreement of the jury. In this trial no claim of American citizenship was presented in behalf of Mr. Boyton.
Mr. Byton, however, visited the United States consulate in Dublin on or about the 9th of November, 1880, and produced a passport, No. 28820, issued to him by the State Department under date of November 20, 1866, requesting its visa. Mr. Barrows, the consul, through a misapprehension of his official duty in the premises, declined to attach the desired vísa, on the ground that Mr. Boyton was one of the traversers in the pending state trial, and thereupon reported his action and asked the Department to instruct him as to his course in case Mr. Boyton should apply to him for protection as an American citizen. The Department answered Mr. Barrows, postponing instructions as to any future application Mr. Boyton might make for protection until the case should arise, but approving his refusal to grant a visa, not on the ground which Mr. Barrows had alleged, but because of a long-standing executive order requiring that a passport, in order to render it available, must be renewed at the end of two years. In the instructions to Mr. Barrows the Assistant Secretary stated for the consul's informa
tion that the passport was regularly issued, inasmuch as Mr. Boyton appeared, by the records of the Department, to be a native-born citizen of the United States, having been born in the State of New York.
Early in February last Mr. Boyton made application to the consulate at Dublin for a new passport, wbich application was, under the rules, transmitted with the old passport to the United States legation at London, where alope j'assports can be issued to American citizens in Great Britain. In bis letter of communication, Mr. Barrows conveyed to Mr. Lowell tbe impression that the Department had approved bis refusal to attach a risa to the passport, on the ground that Mr. Boyton was one of the "traversers” in the state trial ; w bereupon Mr. Lowell asked for the correspondence in the case, and at the same time suggested Mr. Boyton's direct application to the legation.
Mr. Barrows, on the 14th of February, sent to Mr. Lowell the correspondence bad with the Departinent on the subject, and mentioned the circumstance that Mr. Boyton had told him that he was not a native-born citizen, having been born in Ireland, but taken to America when he was a child.
This statement being in conflict with that in Mr. Assistan's Secretary Hay's dispatch to the consul, that Mr. Boyton, shown by the Department records to have been born in the State of New York, attracted the attention of Mr. Lowell, who duly instructed Mr. Barrows that the possession of an old passport, if erroneously issued, as would now appear, would not, of itself, entitle Mr. Boyton to a new one; but that if, as he declared, he was born in Ireland and taken to America when a child, it would be necessary for him to prove that his father was naturalized there.
Mr. Boyton seems to have taken no further action in the premises until some weeks later, when he was arrested.
On the 2d of March last, the British Parliament passed the measure commonly known as the “coercion act,” giving to the government fuller powers than it had previously possessed in connection with proceedings for sedition and inciting to unlawful acts. Under that statute a warrant for the arrest of "Michael P. Boyton, of Kildare," was issued March 7, 1881, and Mr. Boyton was arrested on the 8th. He at once telegraphed to Mr. Lowell, demanding the protection of the Government of the United States. Mr. Lowell thereupon had several interviews with the British secretary of state for foreigo affairs in regard to Mr. Boyton's complaint, and also promptly instructed Mr. Barrows to visit the prisoner in Kilmainbam jail and obtain the proofs in relation to his American citizenship, and, if the fact of such citizensbip were satisfactorily ascertained, to take energetic steps for his protection.
Mr. Barrows, on the 11th of Marcb, on receiving Mr. Lowell's instructions, visited Mr. Boyton in Kilmainbam jail, and received from bim circumstantial declarations that he was born in Ireland in September, 1846 ; that bis father, with his ten children, of whom Michael was the eldest, emigrated to the United States in 1859, and settled at Pittsburg, Pa., where he was naturalized, as stated, in 1860 (altbough this statement was after wards qualified), and that he (the son) bad served in the United States Navy in 1864 and 1865. Mr. Barrows reported these declarations to Mr. Lowell, with a written protest of Mr. Boyton against his arrest and imprisonment. Thereupon Mr. Lowell endeavored to remove the doubts naturally suggested by the discrepancies between Mr. Boytou's statements and the State Department's record in the matter of bis application for a passport, and to this end wrote directly to the prisoner on the 17tb of Marcb, asking explanations. Mr. Boyton responded the next day, by making a verbal statement to Mr. Consul Barrows, denying the record in regard to his passport, alleging his father's full naturalization, but without assigning any date to that aot, and reasserting bis claim to American citizenship by reason of his father's naturalization while he, Michael P. Boyton, was still a minor.
Before Mr. Lowell could take any action on this prima facie assertion of citizenship, he received from Mr. Boyton a letter under date of March 22, offering to make oath that the record of the State Departmeut in the matter of bis passport was entirely erroneous, reiterating his statement of his father's naturalization, and advancing a new claim to citizenship in liis own behalf on the ground that he had become ipso facto a citizen by service in the United States Navy during the war of the rebellion. In support of this latter claim be referred to "the bill passed by Congress naturalizing the soldiers and sailors of the war."
To this Mr. Lowell replied, correcting the mistaken impression of the law entertained by Mr. Boyton, by showing that it could not of itself create him a citizen; but, even if applicable to the case of a person serving in the Navy during the rebellion, wonld still require personal application to the courts onder specified conditions of residence, &c., which in the present case was not alleged to have been made. Mr. Boyton's rejoiner, dated 31st March, denied the construction of the law given by the minister, and asked Mr. Lowell to inform bin definitely whether be declined to accept the State Department's passport of 1861 as evidence of his American citizenship. The minister's reply, April 2, for reasons sufficiently appearing in the preceding correspondence, declined to accept that passport as evidence.
Meanwhile the Department had given to Mr. Boyton's case the urgent and solicitous
attention due to its exceptional gravity. The question of United States citizenship being of the essence of any successful appeal to the British Government for clemency or immediate justice in Mr. Boyton's behalf, every effort has been made to substantiate the status claimed for him. It is, however, no more apparent to the Department at the present time than it was a month ago that Mr. Boyton is entitled to protection as a citizen of the United States.
The claim of citizenship, as formulated by Mr. Boyton, has had three distinct bases. These are:
1st. The issuance of a passport to M. P. Boyton, by Mr. Seward, then Secretary of State, on November 20, 1866. As will be seen from the accompanying papers (Appendix No. 7), Mr. Boyton made oath on that day, before the passport ofHcer of the Department of State, that he was born in the State of New York on or about the 5th day of September, 1844, and that he was a native and loyal citizen of the United States. The passport issued to bim agreed with that affidavit. As all the evidence now submitted to me contradicts that statement, and as Mr. Boyton himself seems prepared to make oath that the record is “entirely erroneous," and that he was born in Ireland on the 5th of September, 1846, I am constrained to disregard that passport as. issued on mistaken evidence of right thereto. For, under the law and the rules of the Department, bad the applicant been known to be, as is pow asserted, an alien minor, a passport would have been refused to him unless upon production of legal proof of his father's paturalization.
20. The alleged naturalization of Mr. Terence Boyton, father of Mr. Michael P. Boyton, while the latter was still a minor. The affidavits submitted by the family of Mr. Boyton the elder, agreeing with the corrected statements of Mr. Michael P. Boytov, leave no room to doubt that the father came to the United States in 1859, settled at Pittsburg, in Pennsylvania, declared his intention to become a citizen before the court of quarter sessions of Allegheny County, on the 22d of August, 1860, and subsequently removing to Newport, R. I., died there in 1870. Although several statements are presented that Mr. Terence Boyton was known to have been naturalized at some time, Fet the date is not fixed, and no legal proof of the fact is adduced. The widow of Mr. Terence Boyton affirms that her husband was duly naturalized "on or about 1860," and that she saw his papers and beard them read. The son, in his letter to Mr. Lowell, at first assigned the same date, which is evidently erroneous, as the record of the court sbows that the father the merely declared his intention to become a citizen. This record has been promptly produced by the friends of Mr. Boyton, who seem, however, to be unable to produce the like evidence of Mr. Terence Boyton's naturalization. Admitting that Mr. Michael P. Boyton was born, as stated by him, on the 5th of September, 1846, it is necessary to prove that his father completed bis naturalization in due form of law on or before the 5th of September, 1867, in order to entitle him, the son, to the rights and benefits of citizenship under existing laws. The circumstances, as stated, that Mr. Terence Boyton was drafted in 1862, and that he voted at several elections in Pittsburg, neither establish the fact nor the date of bis alleged naturalization.
3d. The alleged operation of law in the case of an alien serving in the Navy of the United States during the war of the rebellion. The legal question involved is so concisely and lucidly set forth in Mr. Lowell's letter of March 25, 1881, to Mr. Boyton, that I need do no more than refer to that opinion as correctly representing the view of the Department. The law appealed to did not naturalize any one without his violation and concurrence, but required his recourse to the courts, merely facilitating the process of naturalization; and there is no reason to suppose that Mr. Boyton ever availed himself of that statuto, even if its applicability in his instance were beyond question.
That Mr. Michael P. Boyton has for years honestly believed himself to be a citizen of the United States, and that he has lived and acted in that belief without troubling himself to verify the law and the facts in his case, is to my mind perfectly clear. Unfortunately, however, questions of naturalization and citizenship depend upon law and fact, and not upon sentiment or belief. The proof which would be necessary to establish tbe personal status of citizenship in the simplest case in which it might be involved before our own courts is not the less necessary in the wider range of international jurisprudence, and in matters perbaps vitally affecting the mutual relations of independent states. It is especially, none the less necessary in questions arising with Great Britain, in view of the existence of a specific treaty between the two countries in the matter of naturalization, which makes the operation of law within the United States necessary to assure to a former British subject recognition in Great Britain of the rights of American citizenship.
I view Mr. Boyton's case, in all these lights, as one of hardship, and no means have been spared to relieve him. The representations of the Uuited States minister at London, and of the consol at Dublin, have secured for him every possible attention in mitigation of the discomforts of his detention. Were I in possession of proof of the naturalization of the father during the son's minority, or of the performance of
any legal act by the son, whereby the latter's citizenship would be established, I would not hesitate to take every step warrantable by international law and justice in his behalf. Even as it is, so strongly does his case appeal to sympathy that, if the sense of the Senate should favor such a course, I would cheerfully counsel the President to appeal to the friendly benevolence of the British Government, representing Mr. Boy. ton's position as that of a man who, secure for years in the self-conviction of his rights as a citizen, has failed to fortify them as he could have done by law long ago, and nrging his immediate trial if evidence exists against him to warrant such proceeding, or release on condition of returning to this country, here to acquire the status and fulfil the obligations of a faithful and law-abiding citizen.
The official correspondence in the case and the evidence possessed as to Mr. Boyton's allegiance are herewith transmitted. As evidence of the widespread interest excited in this country by the arrest of Mr. Boyton, I also have pleasure in laying before you for transmission to the Senate a selection of the appeals which have been addressed to the administration by societies and individuals throughout the Union. Respectfully submitted.
JAMES G. BLAINE.
LIST OF ACCOMPANYING PAPERS.
1. Consul Barrows to Mr. Hay, No. 71, Dublin, November 11, 1880.
Consul Barrows to Mr. Hay.
CONSULATE OF THE UNITED STATES,
Dublin, November 11, 1880. SIR: I have the honor to report that a day or two since Mr. Michael P. Boyton, who represented himself to be an American citizen, produced to me a passport issued to him by the State Department requesting me to rise it. The passport in question was issued November 20, 1866, signed by Secretary Seward (No, 28820), and describes Boyton as twenty-two years of age. "Inasmuch as Boyton is one of the traversers in the state prosecutions now pending I have thought it my duty to refuse the services requested. Mr. Boyton has been several times in the United States since the issuance of his passport. He has not called for the document since leaving it here.
I may add that this is the only case which has been brought to my notice officially in connection with the state prosecutions, wherein naturalized American citizens now in Ireland are liable to be concerned.
I bave to ask that full instructions be sent me in case Mr. Boyton claims American protection. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
B. H. BARROWS,
United States Consul. Hon. John HAY,
Assistant Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Hay to Consul Barrows.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, December 2, 1890. Sir: Your dispatch of the 11th ultimo, No. 71, in relation to the passport of Michael P. Boyton, bas been received.
Mr. Boyton appears by the records of the Department to be a native-born citizen of the United States, having been born in the State of New York.
The passport in question was regularly issned to him, but the executive regulations upon the subject require that a passport in order to render it available must be reDewed at the end of two years. "You wer- therefore right in refusing your rise in the present instance, the document being fourteen years old.
Wich reference to your course in case Mr. Boyton sball hereafter make application to you for protection on tbe ground of his American citizenship, it is not expedient to give you aug special instructions on that question in advance of its actual occurrence. should any such applicatiou be made to you by Mr. Boyton, it will be proper for you to report the facts to the Department, and at the same time to the American minister at London, wi b a view to such instructions as may then be found necessary and proper.
Mr. Boyton is no doubt aware of the general rule of international law, namely, that a citizen of one country who becomes either a resident or sojourner in another, and offends against the criminal laws of the latter, is amenable to those laws in the same manner and to the same extent as a citizen or subject of the country whose laws may be thns contravened. I am, sir; your obedient servant,
Consul of the United States, Dublin.
Mr. Lowell to Mr. Blaine,
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
London, March 12, 1881. Sir: I bave the honor to acquaint you that, on the 10th of February last, I received a letter from B. H. Barrows, esq., the consul of the United States at Dublin, inclosing an old passport issued to Michael P. Boyton (one of the traversers in the late state trials in Dublin) on the 20th November, 1866, by Mr. Seward, then Secfetary of State. He stated that Mr. Boyton had applied to him to visa this passport, which he bad refused, and that he bad reported his action to the Department of State,
bich bad approved of the same, and that at Mr. Boyton's request he now forwarded the old passport to me, asking whether, under the circumstances, I could issue to him a new one.
I replied to Mr. Barrows, on the 10th of February, that under ordinary circumstances Mr. Boyton, upon producing bis old passport, proving that he is the person named therein, and taking the oath prescribed by statute, would be entitled to a new passport; that if the Department of State approved of Mr. Barrows's refusal to visa his old papers upon the ground that he was one of the traversers in the late state trials, tbis would be a reason why I should not give him a new passport; but if Mr. Barrows's action was approved because it would have been irregular to visa a passport more than two years after its date, there would be no objection perhaps to issuing another one, it being understood that it would be necessary in such case for Mr. Boyuton to present himself in person at this legation, and take the affidavit required by law. I requested Mr. Barrows to send me a copy of his correspondence with the Department on this snbject.
I received a reply to this letter from Mr. Barrows on the 15th of February, a copy of which I herewith inclose. He also sent me copies of his letters to Mr. Hay, Assistant Secretary of State, dated on the 12th of November last, and of Mr. Hay's answer to the same, dated on the 2d of December last.
You will observe that Mr. Boyton stated to Mr. Barrows that he was not a nativeborn citizen, baving been born in Ireland but taken to America when he was a child. He appears to have declared in his application to the State Department that he was born in the State of New York,
I answered Mr. Barrows's letter on the 16th of February to the effect that if Mr. Boyton was taken to America when a child and claimed citizenship on that ground, it would be necessary for him to prove that his father was naturalized there. I herewith inclose a copy of this letter.
No further correspondence upon this subject took place until the 8th of March instant, when I received late in the evening a telegram from Mr. Boyton, dated at Kildare, Ireland, in the following words: "I am an American citizen and protest against an outrage to which I have been this day subjected by being arrested on a warrant which charges no offense. I claim the protectiou of my government."