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Upon the receipt of an imperfect note from Wolfram, announcing his enrolment into the Prussian army, I left Berlin immediately for the fortified town of Cüistrin, where I saw Wolfram wearing the Prussian uniform; found him in a very depressed state of spirits, and heard from his own lips a statement of the facts contained in the annexed note. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. G. W. BUTLER, Jr. Hon. Lewis CASS,
Secretary of State.
Mr. Butler to Baron Schleinitz.
Berlin, August 16, 1860. MONSIEUR LE BAROX: The undersigned, chargé d'affaires pro tempore of the United States, regrets exceedingly that already, only five days after being received by your excellency as the guardian pro tempore of the United States near the court of Berlin, he should be compelled to call your immediate attention to a most aggravated violation of the rights of a citizen of the United States.
In the month of April, 1853, a subject of the King of Prussia, Joseph William Wolfram, aged eighteen years, received from the proper authorities in the neighborhood of the home of his birth, viz., the vicinity of Filchne, in the district of Garnikan, Prussia, a pass-card, such as would enable him to reach the city of Bremen, from whence he sailed in the month and year above named for the city of New York, in the United States, for the purpose of joining his father, then in feeble health, who had established himself in the United States some time before. The undersigned will here state, for the purpose
of giving your excellency a perfect understanding of his case, that Wolfram had never received at said time admonition from the authorities of Prussia, high or low, that he owed service, either civil or military, to its Crown; and that being aware that it was not necessary to possess a passport in travelling to the United States via Bremen, he did not delay his urgent departure long enough to obtain a regular permit of emigration from the government of Prussia. Wolfram, having inhabited the State of Ohio, one of the United States, during five consecutive years after he had declared therein his intention to become a citizen of the United States, in the month of May of the present year took out regularly his naturalization papers, and with these he obtained immediately his passport as a citizen of the United States, signed by the Hon. Lewis Cass, Secretary of State. Learn ing from his relatives in Prussia that he had inherited some property in their neighborhood, and that the sum of fifty thalers had been extorted from said property in satisfaction of the legal penalty prescribed against the offence which he bad innocently committed in quitting Prussia without a passport, Wolfram left the United States in July last, in the panoply of his Ainerican passport, to look after his interests in Prussia. Arrived in the district of Garnikan, he presented himself voluntarily before a neighboring magistrate for the purpose of inquiring whether the anxiety of certain relatives as to his liability to render military service was well founded, and with the view of making known to said authorities that he considered such a demand impossible since he was clothed with the sacred garb of American citizenship. Having acted in an honorable manner, Wolfram remained passive until the 10th instant, when he was summoned peremptorily to report himself for military service at Cüstrin, near Frankfort-on-the. Oder, where, upon his arrival, a uniform was placed upon him by force, and he was enrolled in the ninth company of the fusileer battalion of the fifth Brandenbarg infantry regiment, number forty-eight.
The undersigned is aware the Prussian government asserts the right to exact military service of every Prussian-born subject at some time or other, but the undersigned does not doubt that your excellency is aware that the government of the United States, when expounding the right of expatriation a year since, proclaimed to the world that it was resolved to protect from foreign military ser: vice every naturalized citizen of the United States who emigrated from the land of his birth in his youth, and before he was subjected to the demand for military service ; therefore, the undersigned prays your excellency, who, through the extreme civilities of official intercourse, understands so well how to preserve the present amicable relations of Prussia, to give this case your earnest and immediate attention, confident that you will not permit either the usual dilatory course in these matters or the demands of private life to obstruct a speedy and candid atonement for the violation of the personal liberty of an American citizen.
Surely your excellency will perceive the propriety of making the most prompt explanations in person to his royal highness the Prince Regent, in order to prevent a derangement of those very amicable relations which, commencing with Washington and Frederick the Great, have been happily preserved by their suc
The undersigned seizes this occasion, with great pleasure, to assure your excellency of his most distinguished consideration.
E. G. W. BUTLER, JR. His Excellency LE BARON DE SCHLEINITZ,
Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Butlcr to Mr. Cass.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Berlin, August 17, 1860. Sir: Though my despatch No. 2 was sent only yesterday, I consider it my duty to forward immediately a copy of my note of this morning to the minister of foreign affairs in the case of Marcus Lissner. It is astonishing that two such grievous cases should occur at the same time. I imagine that they result from the preparations for war which this kingdom is now making, since war may result from the laudable efforts which are now being made to form a united Italy. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. G. W. BUTLER, JR. Hon. Lewis Cass,
Secretary of State.
Mr. Butler to Baron de Schleinitz.
Berlin, August 17, 1860. MONSIEUR LE BAROX : The undersigned, chargé d'affaires pro tem. of the United States, having had the honor to state to your excellency, through a communication dated yesterday, the 16th instant, his views concerning the imprisonment into the Prussian army of Joseph Wolfram, a naturalized citizen of the United States, will not detain your attention long in presenting the nearly similar case of Marcus Lissner. Marcus Lissner left Prussia, the land of his birth, at sixteen years of
for the United States; where, five years after recording his declaration of intention to become a citizen of the United States, he took out his naturalization papers, and subsequently a passport from the State Department at Washington city.
Many years afterwards, in the month of July of the present year, being in bad health, he has visited temporarily the town of his birth, viz. Neustadt, on the Warthe, in Prussia. Only a few days arrived, he has received an official summons to report himself at the headquarters of the second battalion of the second Posen Landwehr regiment, in the town of Schrimur ; is now fearing military arrest at any moment; and has been warned not to leave the limits of the above named town.
Informed that Marcus Lissner has already in terror taken an oath to serve faithfully the crown of Prussia, the undersigned desires to express here his astonishment that the authorities of this great kingdom should consent to resort for its maintenance to the services of a soldier who has taken antagonistic oaths, and to express the hope that when Marcus Lissner shall owe again his liberty to the protection of the American flag, he will comprehend more fully the meaning of the proud exclamation, “I am an American citizen.”
The undersigned hastens to demand that your excellency will take immediate measures to prevent the outrage which would be enacted by the contemplated arrest of Marcus Lissner, and thereby avoid a serious derangement of the felicitous relations which the undersigned, upon his advent to his present authority, has found existing between the liberal constitutional monarchy of Germany and the great republic.
The undersigned seizes with aviility his right to confide the adjustment of so delicate a matter to the amiable disposition and renowned diplomatic experience of your excellency, to whom he begs to renew the assurances of his most distinguished consideration.
E, G. W. BUTLER, JR. His Excellency LE BARON DE SCHLEINITZ,
Minister for Foreign Affairs, gr., 4., gr.
Mr. Butler to Mr. Cass.
Berlin, August 20, 1860. SIR : Since the morning of the 16th I have been having two or three conferences daily with M. de Gruner, the acting minister for foreign affairs absence of Baron de Schleinitz. M. de Gruner states constantly that I may rest assured that the cases of Wolfram and Lissner will be amicably adjusted.
I have the honor to forward herewith a copy of a note dated yesterday, and addressed to M. de Gruner, in reference to Marcus Lissner. I have reason to hope for the gratification of said request. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. G. W. BUTLER, JR. Hon. Lewis Cass, Secretary of Stale.
Mr. Butler to Monsieur de Gruncr.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Berlin, August 19, 1860. MONSIEUR DE GRUNER: Since I had the honor of conversing with you last evening, I have been informed that Marcus Lissner has been ordered to assume the Prussian uniform to-day at Schrimun. Therefore, I pray you to take the necessary steps, during the absence of his excellency the minister for foreign affairs, to prevent so great a wrong. Please receive assurances of my very distinguished consideration.
E. G. W. BUTLER, JR. Monsieur de GRUNER,
Under Secretary of State, fc., fr., dr.
Mr. Butler to Mr. Cass.
LEGATION OF THE UNITEV States,
Berlin, September 15, 1860. Hovored Sir: You are familiar, no doubt, with the case of Joseph William Wolfram, a naturalized citizen of the United States, now serving in the Prussian army, through my despatch No. 2, dated August 16, 1860.
When visiting Wolfram at the fortified town of Cüstren, I became so much interested in his case, because he seemed to grieve his present condition, and because he promised to take my advice, and to refuse, at the penalty of severe punishment, to swear upon the flag of Prussia to support its crown, that I resolved to show him my appreciation of his conduct in refusing to take so improper an oath as Lissner (the other American citizen now in the same position) has taken, by making earnest personal exertions to have him released from the
Consequently I sent my servant on Sunday last, in charge of my horse, prior to my departure, to take an apartment for me in the town of Furstenwald, during the five days' maneuvres of the 25,000 troops composing the body guard of the sovereign of Prussia, in order that I might have frequent opportunities of being thrown in contact with the prince regent, who I knew was to command there in person, and thereby have an opportunity to request the release of Wolfram.
An opportunity being presented, I said to the prince regent, that when acting as chargé d'affaires pro tem. of the United States, recently, I had (as I had a right to do) demanded the release of Wolfram, but that, tired of awaiting a reply to my demand, I desired “ as a private citizen” to ask verbally Wolfram’s immediate release.
Your excellency will not be surprised to hear that their royal highness the prince regent and (his brother) prince Charles should have perceived that a member of the Butler family displays some military taste. They were so much pleased at my constant and earnest pursuit of the said maneuvres, that they frequently conversed with me in a confidential manner at considerable length. The prince regent said to me that he was endeavoring during this summer to have conferences with the sovereigns of all the “great powers,” that he may maintain peace, if possible, but that he had now returned home to prepare his battalions for war, because he fears very much that he shall be forced to require their services before long.
Arriving with the prince regent at the summit of a hill which overlooked the entire forces engaged in the sham battle of the third day, at the moment when he was expressing his delight at a charge of heavy cavalry under the command of his son, Prince Frederick William, I said, “with the permission of your royal highness, I will say, that he who commands 180,000 such soldiers does not need the forced military services of an American naturalized citizen, and that it seems to me that the present moment is a most appropriate one for you to apply the noble sentiment of ex-President Pierce, “the hour of triumph should be the hour of magnanimity;" and to say for Wolfram, with whose case I have already made you familiar, “grace.”
My appeal had a good effect, for the prince regent called upon an adjutant and directed that a report of the case of Wolfram should be made to him, in person, as soon as possible; and turning to me said, “Remain content; the pardon shall be granted, if possible, as a personal favor to you, Mr. Butler." I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. G. W. BUTLER, JR. Hon. Lewis CASS, Secretary of State.
Mr. Wright to Mr. Cass.
[Extract.] No. 145.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Berlin, September 26, 1860. SIR: I have had two interviews with the minister of foreign affairs, who has returned to Berlin. He promises prompt investigations and answers in the cases of Wolfram, Lissner, and Evens.
I fear now that the ministry here, influenced by the belief entertained by the prince regent, that frequent pardons for the benefit of persons similarly situated to Wolfram and Lissner, encourage emigration from this country, have become less favorable to our claims. This vexed question cannot be settled, in my opinion, without certain treaty stipulations.
I suggest, respectfully, that this subject shall receive the attention of the President in his next annual message. It is the only document which receives proper consideration in Germany, and which is published generally in the newspapers.
I am disappointed in not having received as yet an official note from the consal at Munich, in relation to the cases pending with the Bavarian government. Having placed in the hands of its minister for foreign affairs, while at Munich, oy printed copy of the correspondence in reference to the claims of Prussia for military service, I beg to receive several additional copies.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOSEPH A. WRIGHT. Hon. Lewis Cass, Secretary of State.
Mr. Wright to Mr. Cass.
Berlin, October 13, 1860. SIR: *
The cases of Wolfram and Lissner have been nearly two months before the Prussian government, aud yet it makes no reply. I have called the attention of Baron de Schleinitz repeatedly to the great impropriety of claiming military service in these cases, and to the importance of a speedy decision thereof, and have as often received assurances that both cases should receive prompt investigations and replies. If these cases are not decided soon I shall deem it consistent with my duty to regard their postponement as equivalent to the intention to refuse the granting of our rights, and shall act accordingly.
I desire information as to the following case : A left Prussia ten years since
Ex. Doc. 4-5c