Mr. Judd to Mr. Seward

No. 115.]

Sir: Allow me earnestly to call your attention to the question of the im pressment of adopted citizens of the United States into the armies of Prussia and other German states. It is now assuming such importance, by reason of the numbers returning to Germany, that I would respectfully suggest that the [Page 61] restrictions placed upon this legation in your despatches, and particularly in those numbered 29, 49, and 92, should be removed, and liberty given to the representative here to exercise his discretion in the cases as they arise.

With the closing of our civil war, the reasons for the prohibitions contained in those despatches have ceased. Citizens of the United States, Germans by birth, who have boldly followed the flag of the Union for the last three years and more, are now returning to visit their relatives, and they are threatened with compulsory military service here. And this will apply to many who have acquired the right of citizenship in accordance with the act of Congress conferring such right for actual service in our army. Every steamer brings more or less of these young men to the land of their nativity.* * * *

I suppose that the government of the United States intends to protect itscitizens. It surely should do so, and not permit this state of things to continue, even if extreme measures should have to be resorted to. If this is notto be done, good faith to our adopted citizens, at least, requires that they be notified that they are not to be or cannot be protected when they return toGermany, and that the claims for the free right of expatriation, which we havealways made on foreign governments, should cease. I hold there is no occasionfor the latter course, and that a positive and earnest demand for the adjustmentof the question would be successful. Hiding from the military authorities ofPrussia and other German states, by a man who has worn our uniform duringthe last four years’ struggle, is not the course a citizen of the United Statesshould be required to take, and is not in accordance with the prestige of ournation.* * * * * *

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.