that I have not read any document from Congress for a long time which gratified me so much by its tone, its composition, and its matter. The views you maintain are presented with that blended firmness and decorum, which take from the South all cause of offence at the same time that you show yourself tenacious of our rights. I am most heartily glad that so good a cause has fallen into so good hands. I have read this evening the minority report. It seems to me more moderate in its tone than is customary with documents from Southerners on any subject connected with Slavery. Nor is it destitute of a certain form of logic. But I have not found any thing in it which is not amply anticipated by your report. The decision of Judge Daggett1 I remember very well. I think it was at nisi prius, either in summing up to the jury or in the course of the ex tempore rulings of a trial. Of course, it is but the ruling of a single judge, in haste, without deliberation and without consultation with his brethren. And this judge, too, is a State judge; not one of the justices of the United States, whose province it is to pass on questions of constitutional law. It might be added that Daggett, though Chief Justice of Connecticut, and Professor of Law in Yale College, is far from an accurate lawyer. When this judgment of Daggett was first promulgated, it excited much sensation and ridicule. It was proposed to carry the question to Washington, as one under the Constitution of the United States, and therefore within the cognizance of the Supreme Court. This was never done. I remember speaking with Judge Story, with regard to this decision; and, though his opinion cannot properly be used in debate, yet it may not be uninteresting to you. He treated the decision as utterly untenable, and, indeed, worthy of little more than ridicule. If it be urged that the African cannot be a citizen of the United States, it may be asked if the Constitution was intended to apply only to the Caucasian race. Is the Indian race also excluded? Is the Mongolian excluded? How can you ‘curtail of their fair proportions’ and limit words which of themselves express no limitations derived from color or race? The genius of our institutions invites immigration; but it does not say ‘Come,’ and then add, ‘but all who come must be of the purest white, or you cannot have offspring entitled to privileges and immunities of citizenship.’ For, whatever may be the condition of the foreign immigrant under the acts of Congress, I cannot doubt that his children, born in the United States, are citizens thereof. We have no general law determining citizenship. This is left to the unwritten law of the land,—the vital principles of the common law,—prevailing in all the States individually, and adopted by the Constitution and the acts of Congress so far as necessary to explain what is uncertain in this matter. Thus Lord Coke's famous judgment in Calvin's case is constantly referred to in determining questions of alienage in our country, and the niceties
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 16 : events at home.—Letters of friends.— December , 1837 , to March , 1839 .—Age 26 - 28 .
Chapter 17 : London again.—characters of judges.—Oxford.—Cambridge— November and December , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 18 : Stratford-on-avon.—Warwick.—London.—Characters of judges and lawyers.—authors.—society.— January , 1839 , to March , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 19 : Paris again.— March to April , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 20 : Italy .— May to September , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 21 : Germany .— October , 1839 , to March , 1840 .—Age, 28 - 29 .
Chapter 22 : England again, and the voyage home.— March 17 to May 3 , 1840 . —Age 29 .
Chapter 23 : return to his profession.— 1840 - 41 .—Age, 29 - 30 .
Chapter 24 : Slavery and the law of nations.— 1842 .—Age, 31 .
Chapter 25 : service for Crawford .—The Somers Mutiny.—The nation's duty as to slavery.— 1843 .—Age, 32 .
Chapter 27 : services for education.—prison discipline.—Correspondence.— January to July , 1845 .—age, 34 .
Chapter 28 : the city Oration,— the true grandeur of nations. —an argument against war.— July 4 , 1845 .—Age 34 .
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