« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
This principle is too well established to admit of serious controversy. If one of our native or naturalized citizens were to expose himself to punishment by the commission of an offense against any of our laws, State or national, and afterwards become a naturalized subject of a foreign country, he would not have the hardihood to contend, upon voluntarily returning within our jurisdiction, that his naturalization relieved him from the punishment due to his crime. Much less could he appeal to the government of his adopted country to protect him against his responsibility to the United States or any of the States. This government would not for a moment listen to such an appeal.
Whilst these principles cannot be contested, great care should be taken in their application, especially to our naturalized citizens. The moment a foreigner becomes naturalized his allegiance to his native country is severed forever. He experiences a new political birth. A broad and impassable line separates him from his native country. He is no more responsible for anything he may say or do, or omit to say or do, after assuming his new character than if he had been born in the United States. Should he return to his native country, he returns as an American citizen, and in no other character. In order to entitle his original government to punish him for an offense this must have been committed while he was a subject and owed allegiance to that government. The offense must have been complete before his expatriation. It must have been of such a character that he might have been tried and punished for it at the moment of his departure. A future liability to serve in the army will not be sufficient; because before the time can arrive for such service he has changed his allegiance and has become a citizen of the United States. It would be quite absurd to contend that a boy brought to this country from a foreign country, with his father's family, when but twelve years of age, and naturalized here, who should afterwards visit the country of his birth when he had become a man, might then be seized and compelled to perform military service, because if he had remained there throughout the intervening years, and his life had been spared, he would have been bound to perform military service. To submit to such a principle would be to make an odious distinction between our naturalized and native citizens.
In my letter to Mr. Hofer of the 14th ultimo, I confine the foreign jurisdiction in regard to our naturalized citizens to such of them as
were in the army or actually called into it” at the time they left Prussia; that is, to the case of actual desertion or a refusal to enter the army after having been regularly drafted and called into it by the government to which at the time they owed allegiance. It is presumed that neither of these cases presents any difficulty in point of principle. If a soldier or a sailor were to desert from our army or navy, for which offense he is liable to a severe punishment, and after having become a naturalized subject of another country, should return to the United States, it would be a singular defense for him to make that he was absolved from his crime because after its commission he had become a subject of another government. It would be still more strange were that government to interpose in his behalf for any such reason. Again, during the last war with Great Britain, in several of the States, I might mention Pennsylvania in particular, the militiaman who was drafted and called into the service was exposed to a severe penalty if he did not obey the draft and muster himself into the service, or in default thereof procure a substitute. Suppose such an individual, after having incurred this penalty, had gone to a foreign country and become naturalized there, and then returned to Pennsylvania, is it possible to imagine that for this reason the arm of the State authorities would be paralyzed, and that they could not exact the penalty? I state these examples to show more clearly both the extent and the limitation of rightful Hanoverian jurisdiction in such cases. It is impossible to foresee all the varying circumstances which may attend cases as they may arise; but it is believed that the principles laid down may generally be sufficient to guide your conduct.
It is to be deeply regretted that the German governments evince so much tenacity on this subject. It would be beter, far better for them, considering the comparatively small number of their native subjects who return to their dominions after being naturalized in this country, not to attempt to exact military service from them. They will prove to be most reluctant soldiers. If they violate any law of their native country during their visit, they are, of course, amenable like other American citizens. It would be a sad misfortune if, for the sake of an advantage so trifling to such governments, they should involve themselves in serious difficulties with a country so desirous as we are of maintaining with them the most friendly relations. It is fortunate that serious difficulties of this kind are mainly confined to the German States; and especially that the laws of Great Britain do not authorize any compulsory military service whatever. From these views it will be seen, that if the case of Mr. Ernst has been correctly stated by his friends, he has been deeply wronged by the authorities of Hanover, and is entitled to the most prompt redress. You will lose no time, therefore, in bringing the subject to the attention of the minister of Hanover at Berlin, and will request him to present it at the earliest possible moment to his government, in order that full justice may be done to Mr. Ernst without unnecessary delay. This government has no desire to interfere in the slightest degree with the domestic affairs of Hanover, or to excuse its citizens who visit that kingdom, for any crime which they may commit against its peace and order. It only demands, as it surely may rightfully do, that when its citizens who go there, submit themselves in good faith to its laws, and conduct themselves in a peaceable and orderly manner, they shall be protected in their persons and property, and shall be permitted to enter and leave the kingdom without molestation. To this protection they are clearly entitled by our treaty with Hanover of November, 1840, which is still in force. The first article of this treaty provides that “there shall be between the territories of the high contracting parties, a reciprocal liberty of commerce and navigation ;' that "the inhabitants of their respective states shall mutually have liberty to enter * * * the territories of each party where foreign commerce is admitted ;" and that they shall be permitted to sojourn and reside in all parts whatsoever of said territories, in order to attend to their affairs * * * provided they submit to the laws, as well general as special, relative to the right of residing and trading.” Even in the absence
of this treaty, or of any treaty between the parties, for the government of either to seize a citizen of the other, whom it might find sojourning peaceably within its territories, and force him to do duty in its army, would be regarded as not only an unfriendly act to the government of that citizen, but as inconsistent, also, with the civilization of the present day. Under the provisions, however, to which I have just referred, such an act would be unquestionably an act, also, of bad faith. By this treaty, every inhabitant of the United States has a right to visit Hanover and sojourn there in the prosecution of his business, without any let or hindrance whatever, 80 long as he submits to the laws. No distinction is made in this respect between a native citizen and a naturalized citizen of the United States, nor could this government have ever consented to a treaty in which such a distinction was embraced. But.every "inhabitant,” whether belonging to one or the other of these classes, is entitled to all the benefits of the treaty, while he obeys the laws. If he fails to comply with this condition, he forfeits the protection which he might otherwise claim, and becomes liable to suffer the penalty of the law which he has broken; but if, without such forfeiture, he is unjustly wronged in his person or his property, he is entitled to full redress for such wrongs, by whomsoever committed. This is the rule which the President expects to be applied in the case of Mr. Ernst, and you will accordingly demand his immediate discharge from his compulsory service, and full reparation for whatever injury he has suffered either in person or property. It is due, also, to the friendly relations which exist between Hanover and the United States that an occurrence like this should be rendered, by such wise provisions as may be found necessary for the purpose, impossible in the future, and that thus the harmony and good understanding which now happily subsist between them may not be disturbed hereafter by any similar cause.
Mr. Ernst is represented to be now serving at Nordesheim, in the third regiment of Hanoverian infantry. I inclose the description of his person, which accompanied his application for a passport. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
LEWIS CASS. JOSEPH A. WRIGHT, Esq., &c., &c., &c., Berlin.
The minister of foreign affairs has advised me, to-day, that the Prince Regent has granted a full pardon to Francis A. Hoffmann, as cintemplated by my dispatch No. 66. Mr. Hoffmann left this country without performing his military duty, after he was twenty years of age, and settled in Illinois. Since then he has been a member of the legislature and a candidate for lieutenant governor of the said State. He returned to Prussia, and spent several days, during this year, in Berlin, and in the place of his birth, yet he was not disturbed, and now he receives a full pardon.
It is evident that this government does not wish to have any difficulty with the United States on the question of military service, and is disposed to yield in individual cases; but it will make great opposition to surrendering the principle involved.
In my opinion, the prompt stand taken by the President in the case of Christian Ernst, upon the principle involved in his case, will triumph. I should be pleased to receive a copy of the unanswerable opinion of the Attorney General in the case of Christian Ernst. I have the honor to be, &c., &c., &c.,
JOSEPH A. WRIGHT.
Mr. Wright to Mr. Cass.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Berlin, August 10, 1859. Sir: I have the honor to forward herewith copies of the correspondence with Baron Reitzenstein, the chargé d'affaires of his Majesty the King of Hanover at this court, during the absence of the minister plenipotentiary of Hanover, in reference to the release of Christian Ernst from the Hanoverian army.
Mr. Butler, of his own accord, and at his own expensephas visited Ernst, at Nordheim, notwithstanding that Baron Reitzenstein and the minister of foreign affairs of Prussia endeavored to dissuade him from what they considered "a dangerous errand.”
The details which he then obtained, being found important in the treatment of this case, they have been set forth in the communication which is dated the 9th. I am now momentarily expecting the chargé's reply.
It is not true, as stated by many of the American newspapers, that "there are several American citizens in the Prussian army." I know of none. John Statz's case, reported by my predecessor, was the last, and it is believed that he is now released. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOSEPH A. WRIGHT. Hon. LEWIS Cass,
Secretary of State.
Mr. Wright to Baron Reitzenstein, the Chargé d'Affaires pro tempore
of his Majesty the King of Hanover, at the Court of Berlin.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Berlin, August 6, 1859. MONSIEUR LE BARON: Having had the honor to read to you upon yesterday, the 5th instant, the dispatch from my government concerning the case of Christian Ernst, a citizen of the United States, who is now being forced to serve in the army of his Majesty the King of Hanover, and to request that you will apply immediately to your government for full powers to treat this case with me, I being now authorized by my government, I have the honor to comply with your request to furnish you with a copy of said dispatch, herewith annexed, and to beg that you will call the immediate attention of your government to its matter.
I seize this occasion, Monsieur le Baron, to assure you of my distinguished consideration.
J. A. WRIGHT.
port, annis person to three deas m
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Berlin, August 11, 1859. MONSIEUR LE BARON: Since my several interviews with you in reference to the discharge of Christian Ernst from the Hanoverian army, I have been made acquainted with additional facts connected with his arrest and treatment through so authoritative a source that I feel it my duty to submit them to your government, through you, for their immediate consideration.
I am advised that at the time of the arrest of Christian Ernst, at the town of Peine, in the Kingdom of Hanover, he was rudely deprived of his passport, and of some of one hundred and sixty rix-thalers, which he had about his person; also, that he was placed in the common prison, during from two to three days each, of the towns of Peine, Hanover, and Nordheim, where he was made to eat the food and keep the company of criminals, until he was forced by four men to put on the uniform of the Hanoverian infantry. Christian Ernst left Hanover when nineteen years of age, before he had ever received an intimation of any duty to serve in its army. He left his native country, having committed no offense against its laws, and without any debts, and sought in the United States a future home—an undoubted right in the nineteenth century. Therefore, on his return to his native land, Christian Ernst visits Hanover, as an American citizen, and in no other character.
In submitting to you, Monsieur le Baron, a copy of the dispatch from the government of the United States in reference to Christian Ernst, as well as during the several conversations which we have had on the subject, I have flattered myself with the belief that the government of his Majesty the King of Hanover would at once see the pro