« 上一頁繼續 »
tish subjects; and it necessarily follows, that this character was changed by the separation of the Colonies from the parent State, and the subsequent acknowledgment of their independence.
643. The rule, as to the point of time at which Americans born before the separation, ceased to be British subjects, differs in the United States and in England ; that established by the Courts in England adopts the date of the Treaty of Peace in 1783, whilst the Federal tribunals have fixed upon the date of the Declaration of Independence.
644. The settled doctrine in the United States is, that a person who left the country before the Declaration of Independence, and never returned, thereby became an Alien; and, as a general rule, the character in which Americans born before the Revolution are to be considered, depends on the situation of the party, and the election made by him, at the Declaration of Independence, according to our rule, and at the Treaty of Peace, according to the British rule.
645. Difficulties have occurred in cases where rights have accrued between these dates; but if the right of election be admitted at all, it must be determined by what took place during the Revolution, and between the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Peace.
646. It is the doctrine of the English Law, that natural-born subjects owe an allegiance which is intrinsic and perpetual, and cannot be divested by any act of their own; but it is a question which has been frequently and gravely debated in the Courts, whether this doctrine applies in its full extent to the United States.
647. The best writers upon public Law, although
they treat the subject somewhat loosely, seem generally to favour the right of the Citizen to êmigrate and abandon his native country, unless there be some positive restraint by Law, or he is at the time in possession of some public trust, or his country be in distress or at war, and in need of his services.
648. The principle declared in some of the State Constitutions, that the Citizens have a natural and inherent right to emigrate, amounts to a renunciation by those States, of the English Common Law, as being repugnant to the natural liberty of mankind; provided emigration is intended in those cases to be used as synonymous with expatriation. : '.
649. But the allegiance of Citizens of the United States, is due not only to the local Governments under which they reside, but primarily to the General Government, which ałone affords them National protection; and the doctrine of final and absolute expatriation, although frequently discussed, remains yet to be finally settled in the Courts of the United States,
650. This doctrine, however, is not applied by the British Courts to Americans born before the Revolution, as the Treaty of Peace is deemed a release from their allegiance, of all British subjects, who remained in this country.
651. As the British doctrine is, that Americans born before the Revolution, by remaining in the United States after the Treaty of Peace, lost their character as British subjects; so the American doctrinę is, that by withdrawing from the country, and adhering to the British Government after the Declaration of Independence, they lost, or rather never acquired, the character of American Citizens.
652. All persons born out of the jurisdiction of the United States, are termed Aliens ; but there are some exceptions to this rule, derived from the ancient English Law; as in the case of children of public Ministers born abroad, whose parents owed not even a local allegiance to the foreign power; and all children born abroad of English parents, were considered as natives of England, if the father.went and continued abroad in the character of an English subject.
653. By the existing Law of the United States relative to Naturalization, it is declared, that the children of persons who were, or had been, Citizens of the United States at the time of passing the Act, should, though born out of the United States, be considered as Citizens ; but that the right should not descend to persons whose fathers had never resided within the United States.
654. Aliens coming to the United States, with the intention of permanently residing therein, have many inducements to become Citizens, as they are incapable, until naturalized, of possessing a stable interest in lands in many of the States, or of holding any civil office, or of voting at elections, or taking any active share in the administration of the General or State Governments.
655. A convenient and easy mode has been provided by Congress for removing - the disabilities of Aliens; and the terms on which every Alien, being a free white person, can obtain the qualifications and privileges of a natural-born Citizen, are prescribed in the several Acts of Congress relative to the subject.
656. The rights of Aliens to the privilege of Naturalization are, by these Laws, submitted to the deci
dence of their intention to avoid the payment of their debts ; or of their inability to discharge them.
661. It has been said that Insolvent Laws are such as merely liberate the person of the debtor, whilst Bankrupt Laws discharge him from his contracts; but this distinction is not supported by any uniformity of legislation, and it is the more difficult to discriminate between them, because Bankrupt Laws fre: quently contain those regulations which are generally found in Insolvent Laws, and Insolvent Laws some that are usual in Bankrupt Laws.
662. Although Bankrupt Laws are generally and properly confined in their operation to the trading classes, who are most exposed to pecuniary vicissitudes, yet, as misfortune and poverty may also over, take those who pursue other occupations, the latter are not excluded from the protection of the State Le gislatures:
663. Nor ought traders or their creditors to be left without means of relief, in case Congress do not in their discretion think proper to exercise the power vested in them relative to Bankruptcy; and according ly this power is held not to exclude the right of the States to legislate on the subject, except when the power has been actually executed by Congress.
664. The power of Congress to establish uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcy, is not granted in such terms, nor are its nature and character such as require that it should be exercised exclusively by Congress ; consequently a State has a right to pass either Bankrupt or Insolvent Laws, provided there be no Act of Congress in force establishing a uniform system of Bankruptcy, with which the State Law would conflict