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POLICY DURING THE REVOLUTION.
During the Revolution, the Continental Congress established the policy of not employing any but native born citizens in the foreign service of the country. On examining the Journal, there will be found the following resolution, appended to a report made by a committee. consisting of Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Gerry, Mr. Read, and Mr. Williams :
“ Resolved, That it is inconsistent wlth the interests of the United States to appoint any person, not a natural born citizen thereof, to the office of minister, charge d'affaires, consul, vice-consul, or to any other civil department in a foreign country, and that a copy of this resolve be transmitted to Messrs. Adams, Franklin, and Jay, ministers of the said States, in Europe."
And the same policy was pursued, as far as practicable, by Washington, as will be seen by the following instructions for the officers of the several regiments of the Massachusetts Bay forces, who were immediately to go upon the Recruiting Service. See Am. Archives, Fourth Series, vol. ii., p. 1630 :
You are not to enlist any deserter from the ministerial army, or any stroller, negro, or vagabond, or person suspected of being an enemy to the liberty of America, nor any under eighteen years of age.
You are not to enlist any person who is not an American born, unless such person has a wife and family, and is a settled resident in this country.
The persons you enlist must be provided with good and complete arms.
HORATIO GATES, Adj. Gen.
Extracts from the original Orderly Book, left by the late Gen. Hand,
who was the Adjutant General of the American Army, at the close of the Revolution.
Cambridge Head- Quarters, July 7, 1775. By his Excellency, George Washington. GENERAL ORDERS :
Parole, Dorchester, Countersign, Exeter. The General has great reason, and is displeased with the negligence and inattention of those officers who have placed as sentries at the outpost men with whose characters they are unacquainted. He, therefore, orders that, for the future, no man shall be appointed to those stations who is not A NATIVE of this country; this order is to be considered a standing one, and the officers are to pay obedience to it at their peril.
FOX, Adjt. General of the Day.
Head-Quarters, Valley Forge, March 17, 1779. (GENERAL ORDERS.]—One hundred chosen men are to be annexed to the guard of the Commander-in-Chief, for the purpose of forming a corps, to be instructed in the ma næuvres necessary to be introduced into the army, and serve as models for the execu. tion of them. As the General's Guard is composed of Virginians, the hundred drafts will be taken from the troops of the other States.
Description of the Men : Height, from 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 10 inches ; age, from 20 to 30 years ; robust constitutions, well-limbed, and formed for activity, and men of csta. blished character for sobriety and fidelity. THEY MUST BE AMERICANS BORN.
In Spark's publication of the Washington Papers, there are a number of letters, which disclose the opinion entertained by Washington on the subject, and among which are the following:
Morristown, May 7, 1777. To Richard Henry Lee : DEAR S1B-I take the liberty to ask you what Congress expects I am to do with the many foreigners that have at different times been promoted to the rank of field officers, and by their last resolve, two to that of Colonels? These men have no attachment for the country, further than interest binds them. Our offi. cers think it exceedingly hard, after they have toiled in the service, and have sustained many losses, to have strangers put over them, whose merit perhaps is not equal to their own, but whose effrontery will take no denial. It is by the zcal and activity of our own people that the cause must be supported, and not by the few hungry adventurers. I am, &C.,
GEORGE WASHINGTON. [Vol. IV., p. 423.]
Middlebank, June 1, 1777. To the Same :-You will, before this can reach you, have seen Monsieur Decoudray ; what his real expectations are, I know not; but I fear if his appointment is equal to what I have been told is his expectation, it will be attended with unhappy consequences, to say nothing of the policy of entrusting a department on the execution of which the salvation of the army depends, to a foreigner, who has no other tie to bind him to the interest of the country than honor. I would beg leave to observe, that by putting Mr. D. at the head of the artillery, you will lose a very valuable officer in General Knox, who is a man of great military reading, sound judgment, and clever conceptions, and who will resign if any one is put over him. &c.
GEORGE WASHINGTON. (Vol. IV., p. 446.)
White Plains, July 24, 1778. To Governor Morris, Esq.: DEAR SIR—The design of this is to touch cursorily upon a subject of very great importance to the being of these States; much more so that will appear at first view, I mean the appointment of so many FOREIGNERS to offices of high rank and trust in our service.
The lavish manner in which rank has hitherto been bestowed on these gentlemen, will certainly be productive of one or the other of these two evils, either to make us despicable in the eyes of Europe, or become a means of pouring them in upon us like a torrent, and adding to our present burden.
But it is neither the expenso nor the trouble of them I most dread; there is an evil more extensive in its nature and fatal in its consequence to be apprehended, and that
is, the driving of all our officers out of the service, and throwing not only our own army, but our military councils entirely into the hands of FOREIGNERS.
The officers, my dear sir, on whom you must depend for the defence of the cause, distinguished by length of service and military merit, will not submit much, if any longer to the unnatural promotion of men over them, who have nothing more than a little plausibility, unbounded pride and ambition, and a perseverance in the application to support their pretensions, not to be resisted but by uncommon firmness ; men who, in the first instance, say they wish for nothing more than the honor of serving so glorious a cause as volunteers, the next day solicit rank without pay; the day following want money advanced to them; and in the course of a week, want further promotion. The expediency and policy of the measure remain to be considered, and whether it is consistent with justice or prudence to promote these military fortune-hunters at the hazard of our army.
Baron Steuben, I now find, is also wanting to quit his inspectorship for a command in the line. This will be productive of much discontent. In a word, although I think the Baron an excellent officer, I do most devoutly wish that we had not a single foreigner amongst us, except the Marquis de Lafayette, who acts upon very different principles from those which govern the rest. Adieu. I am, most sincerely, yours,
See also the Maxims of Washington, a recent publication by Appleton & Co. At page 192, there will be found a letter, written in 1777 to Col. Spotswood, in relation to the establishment of his body-guard, concluding as follows:
“You will, therefore, send me none but natives, and men of some property, if you have them. I must insist that in making this choice you give no intimation of my prefcrence for natives, as I do not want to create any invidious distinction between them and the foreigners.”
UNITED STATES NATURALIZATION LAWS.
The Constitution of the United States provides that Congress shall have the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization; and the weight of authority, as well as of reason, is, that no State can pass naturalization laws. It was held, however, in the Circuit Court of the United States at Philadelphia, in Collet v. Collet, reported in 2 Dallas, 294, that the State Governments still enjoy a concurrent authority with the United States upon the subject of naturalization, and that, though they could not contravene the rule established by Congress, or "exclude those citizens who had been made such by that rulc, yet that they might adopt citizens upon easier terms than those which Congress may deem it expedient to impose.” But though this decision was made by two judges of the Supreme Court, with the concurrence of the district judge of Pennsyl. vania, “it is obvious," says Chancellor Kent in his Commentaries, vol. i. 423, "that this opinion was hastily and inconsiderately declared. If the construction given to the Constitution in this case was a true one, the provision would be, in a great degree, useless, and the policy of it defeated. The very purpose of the power was exclusive. It was to deprive the States individually of the power of naturalizing aliens according to their own will and pleasure, and thereby giving them the rights and privileges of citizens in every other State. If each State can naturalize upon ono year's residence, when the act of Congress requires five, of what use is the act of Congress, and how does it become a uniform rnle?"
Subsequent decisions have, in effect, overruled that in the case of Collet v. Collet. Judge Iredell, in the same Circnit Court, in 1797, in the case of the United States v. Villato, reported in 2 Dallas, 370, intimated that if the question had not previously occurred, he should be disposed to think, that the power of naturalization operated exclusively, as soon as it was exercised by Congress; and in the case of Golden v. Prince, reported in 3 Wash. Cir. Rep., 313, Judge Washington expressed the opinion that the power to naturalize was exclusively vested in Congress. Afterwards, in Chirac v. Chirac, reported in 2 Wheaton, 269, the Chief Justice of the United States observed, that the power of naturalization was vested exclusively in Congress. In Houston v. Moore, reported in 5 Wheaton, 49, Judge Story mentioned the power in Congress to establish a uniform rule of naturalization, as one which was exclusive, on the ground of there being a direct repugnancy or incompatibility in the exercise of it by the States. Chief Justice Taney, in the cases of Smith v. Turner and Norris v. Boston, Held the following language on the subject :
It cannot be necessary to say anything upon the article of the Constitution which gives to Congress the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. The motive and object of this provision are too plain to be misunderstood. Under the Constitution of the United States, citizens of each State are entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States, and no State would be willing that another State should determine for it what foreigner should become one of its citizens, and be entitled to hold lands and to vote at its elections. For without this provision, any one state could have given the right of citizenship in every other State; and as every citizen of a State is also a citizen of the United States, a single State, without this provision, might have given to any number of foreigners it pleased the right to all the privileges of citizenship in commerce, trade, and navigation, although they did not even reside among us.
The nature of our institutions under the Federal Government made it a matter of absolute necessity that this power should be confided to the government of the Union, where all the States were represented, and where all had a voice; a necessity so obvious,
that no statesman could have overlooked it. The article has nothing to do with the admission or rejection of aliens, nor with immigration, but with the rights of citizenship. Its sole object was to prevent one State from forcing upon all the others, and upon the General Government, persons as citizens whom they were unwilling to admit as such.
But, says the editor of the last edition of Wheaton's International Law, (See Appendix, 627,) though the power of naturalization be nominally exclusive in the Federal Government, its operation, in the most important respects, has been made to depend on the action of the indivi. dual States, through their Constitutions and local laws. The right of suing in the United States courts, in controversies with citizens of other States, is one in which the naturalized citizens only participate with foreigners; while the provisions for common citizenship, intended to be secured throughout the Union, are jeoparded by the comprehensive operation given to the police regulations of the several States. The right of holding real estate is not easily connected with citizenship, and in France and other countries of Europe it is possessed by foreigners without naturalization, a privilege which has, also, in the United States, been accorded by treaty stipulations to citizens of other countries. And in those States which by their general laws exclude aliens, special acts are habitually passed for the benefit of individuals, or the right is granted to all, on condition of their complying with certain formalities. The great distinctive characteristic of naturalization, of the droit de cité, the right of voting, of exercising the elective franchise on an equality with native citizens, and without the value of the privilege being dimin. ished by its being shared with aliens, is practically controlled by the varying Constitutions and laws of the several States. The qualifications for voters, even in elections under its provisions, are not prescribed in the Constitution of the United States. Citizenship, however, at the time of the adoption of the Federal Constitution, was, under the State Constitutions then in force, universally a requisite, for the electors of the State Legislatures made the electors of the two houses in Congress; while the equality with native citizens of all citizens then naturalized was affirmed, in the provision in reference to the Presidency, by which citizens, at the adoption of the Constitntion, were excepted from the exclusion applied, in the case of that office, to those that might thereafter be admitted. It might then well have been inferred that, by making the qualifications of electors as to the term of residence, property, payment of taxes, &c., vary in the different States, for which, looking to diversity in the population of the several sections of the Union, there might have been very good reasons, neither the exclusive right of naturalization by Congress nor the full effect of the exercise of that power would be endangered.
By the Constitution of the United States, it is provided, that the electors for the House of Representatives, in each State, shall have the