(A Hungarian in the United States)
        General Historical Information prior to 1900

During the term of Franklin Pierce while in office as President, March 4,
1853 to March 4, 1857.

"Martin Koszta, a Hungarian by birth, came to this country in 1850, and
declared his intention in due form of law to become a citizen of the United
States. After remaining here nearly two years he visited Turkey. While at
Smyrna he was forcibly seized, taken on board an Austrian brig of war then
lying in the harbor of that place, and there confined in irons, with the
avowed design to take him into the dominions of Austria. Our consul at
Smyrna and legation at Constantinople interposed for his release, but their
efforts were ineffectual. While thus in prison Commander Ingraham, with the
United States ship of war, St. Louis, arrived at Smyrna, and after inquiring
into the circumstances of the case came to the conclusion that Koszta was
entitled to the protection of this Government, and took energetic and prompt
measures for his release. Under an arrangement between the agents of the
United States and of Austria, he was transferred to the custody of the
French consul-general at Smyrna, there to remain until he should be disposed
of by the mutual agreement of the consuls of the respective Governments at
that place. Pursuant to that agreement, he has been released, and is now in
the United States. The Emperor of Austria has made the conduct of our
officers who took part in this transaction a subject of grave complaint.
Regarding Koszta as still his subject, and claiming a right to seize him
within the limits of the Turkish Empire, he has demanded of this Government
its consent to the surrender of the prisoner, a disavowal of the acts of its
agents, and satisfaction for the alleged outrage. After a careful
consideration of the case I came to the conclusion that Koszta was seized
without legal authority at Smyrna; that he was wrongfully detained on board
of the Austrian brig of war; that at the time of his seizure he was clothed
with the nationality of the United States, and that the acts of our
officers, under the circumstances of the case, were justifiable, and their
conduct has been fully approved by me, and a compliance with the several
demands of the Emperor of Austria has been declined:
For a more full account of this transaction and my views in regard to it
I refer to the correspondence between the charge d' affaires of Austria and
the Secretary of State, which is herewith transmitted. The principles and
policy therein maintained on the part of the United States will, whenever a
proper occasion occurs, be applied and enforced."

Volume: XI Pages: 600-601

In American history the name applied to a diplomatic episode, involving
the rights in foreign countries of emigrants to the United States as yet not
fully naturalized. A certain Martin Koszta, of Hungarian birth, who had
taken part in the political movement of 1848-49 for detaching Hungary from
the dominion of the Emperor of Austria, and who had fled to Turkey upon the
failure of that movement, emigrated to the United States after a short
detention in Turkey, and in July, 1852, made a declaration under oath of his
intention to become a citizen of the United States, at the same time
renouncing all allegiance to any foreign power. After a residence of a year
and eleven months he returned to Turkey on private business, and was placed
under the protection of the United States by the American consul at Smyrna
and the American charge d'affaires ad interim at Constantinople. While
waiting to return to the United States he was taken, by force, aboard the
Austrian brig-of-war Huszar and confined there in chains. The American
officials protested in vain both to the Turkish Government and to the
Austrian officers, and finally on July 2, 1853, Captain Ingraham of the
United States sloop-of-war Saint Louis, then lying in Smyrna harbor,
threatened to open fire if Koszta was not surrendered to him by four
o'clock. The Austrian consul-general then agreed that Koszta should be held
by the consul-general of France until some agreement was reached. On August
29, 1853, Baron Hulsemann, the Austrian charge d'affaires at Washington,
wrote to Secretary of State Marcy, asking that the United States "disavow
the conduct of its agents....hasten to call them to a severe account, and
tender to Austria a satisfaction proportionate to the outrage," basing his
request on the ground that Koszta had never ceased to be a citizen of
Austria, and that Ingraham's threat was in violation of international law.
Marcy replied, September 26, 1853, in a ringing letter, known as the
Hulsemann letter, in which he defended the position of the United States
throughout, on the ground that Koszta had ceased to be a citizen of Austria
even by the law of Austria, "that Koszta when seized and imprisoned was
invested with the nationality of the United States, and they had therefore
the right, if they chose to exercise it, to extend their protection to him;
that from international law....the only law which can be rightfully
appealed to for rules in this case...Austria could derive no authority to
obstruct or interfere with the United States in the exercise of this right,
in effecting the liberation of Koszta; and that Captain Ingraham's
interposition for his release was, under the extraordinary circumstances of
the case, right and proper." This letter was received with great enthusiasm
throughout the United States, and the stand taken by Marcy with reference to
the status of Immigrants not fully naturalized has been indorsed by various
well-known authorites on international law. Koszta was ultimately released
and allowed to return to the United States.

CONSULT: Correspondence between the Secretary of State and the charge
d'affaires of Austria relative to the case of Martin Koszta

Source of the abovementioned articles:
Source:  "A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents
by:  James D. Richardson....A Representative from the State of Tennessee.
Publisher:  By Authority of Congress....1899
Copyright:  by James D. Richardson...1897.
Source of Information: The New International Encyclopaedia
Publisher: Dodd, Mead and Company....New York
Copyright: 1902-1905 Total of 21 volumes.

      Researched and Transcribed by Miriam Medina