Foreigners and Consuls.
--Judge W. G. Jones
, of the Confederate Court
, has lately given at Mobile
a judgment and opinion on the liability of alien residents to the conscription.
As to foreigners and Consuls, he says:
The petitioner, McKinn, produces a certificate,
dated at Mobile
, 26th May, 1863, signed by her Britannic Majesty's acting Consul at Mobile
, and under the Consular seal, to the effect, that the acting Consul
"has good reason to believe,
after careful examination, that the bearer, Peter McKinn
a native of Monaghan county
, is a subject of her Britannic Majesty, who has never forfeited his claim to the protection of the Queen
by becoming a subject or a citizen of any foreign State or country whatsoever."
It is not for any Court to determine whether foreign Consuls are properly here or not. It is exclusively for the President
to recognize foreign Ministers and Consuls, and when he recognizes a person as properly exercising the functions of a foreign Consul the Courts
are bound to recognize him as such.
Nor is it necessary, in these cases, to inquire into the powers and duties of Consuls.
These powers are generally prescribed by laws and treaties I know of no law or treaty which authorizes a foreign Consul to exempt any person domiciled in this country from obedience to our laws.
The Consul's certificate, in this case, does not pretend to do any such thing.
It merely states the belief
of the Consul
that the party named in it is a British subject, and as such entitled to the protection of the Queen
It is notice to any person to whom it is shown that the Consul
considers him a British subject, and nothing more.
If the person having such a certificate is really and in fact liable, by law, to conscription, the certificate, would not of itself exempt him. But it seems to me that an enrolling officer ought to respect such a certificate so far as not to enroll the person having it without first making inquiries, and obtaining such information as satisfies him that the party is really a permanent resident of this country and liable to conscription.
The Mobile Tribune
says the decision of Judge Jones
in the Confederate States
Court, respecting the liability of aliens, is regarded as one of the most important decisions that have yet been given, and will have a wonderful effect in bringing about a change in matters generally.
For there is any quantity of these people, who have resided in this city, married here, and have been doing business for years, and since the war have sworn that they never intended to become citizens, and were granted exemptions on this oath — men who are now engaged in every branch of speculation, and doing more to depreciate our currency than any other class in the community.
We are told that there are hundreds in the interior who travel from towns to farms, buying up all the produce that they can get hold of and shipping it to the cities on speculation, which is partly the excuse for the exorbitant prices we have been paying all winter.
Now that the Judge
has declared them liable to conscription, the country will probably be rid of them, so far as their "business" qualifications are concerned at least.