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[H. OF R. members of the society of the United States; / gentleman was prepared to say any alien had our laws are passed on the ground of our own acquired an absolute and positive right in this policy, and whatever is granted to aliens is a country to citizenship at any particular time. mere matter of favor; and, if it is taken away, If not, it was a mere matter of expediency; and, they have no right to complain. Every princi- when it is considered in this light, there can be ple of policy, in his opinion, required this regu- little difficulty in seeing the danger and disadlation to be made general; for he believed vantages which would arise from allowing there were as many Jacobins and vagabonds | foreigners to become citizens, as heretofore, or come into the United States during the last two as proposed by the present amendment. They years, as may come for ten years hence; so that are too evident to be enumerated. these very persons against whom this law was But it was supposed that there were a large intended to operate, will become citizens, and number of individuals in this country entitled may be chosen into the government. He to citizenship by the law of 1790, but who hoped, therefore, the amendment would not be have, nevertheless, neglected to become citiadopted.
zens. It was a little extraordinary, he said, if With respect to those persons who have this were so; that persons should for so long a given notice of their intention of renouncing time have neglected to embrace a right which, their allegiance to the foreign country from it is now represented, it would be doing them whence they came (for they do not actually re- great injury to deprive them of. As to those nounce it until they become citizens) it can persons who came into the country since the make no difference to them, especially those law of 1795, he saw no good reason for making referred to by the gentleman from Pennsylva- an exception in their favor. As policy, safety, nia, because it is a principle of the British law, and security, dictated the measure, he hoped that British subjects have not a right to alienate the bill would be passed as reported.' themselves; they cannot renounce their alle- Mr. W. CLAIBORNE said he could not recongiance to the British King. No objection, cile it to his feelings to vote for the bill without therefore, could be had against the measures the amendment proposed by the gentleman being general on that ground.
from Pennsylvania, because it would be doing Mr. Macon was apprehensive that gentlemen a number of people whom he represented the in their zeal to get at particular persons, will go greatest injustice. Those people, he said, were too far in this business. He agreed with them, peculiarly situated. It was only at the last that, for three or four years past, people of all winter session that the State of Tennessee was sorts of politics had come to this country, from represented on this floor; and, at the time of the highest aristocrat to the greatest Jacobin; 1 passing the naturalization law, the people of and he doubted not that persons who were that country were not in a situation to receive very desirous of becoming citizens, or who had information of what was done in Congress. It any particular end to answer by it, had availed need not be a matter of surprise, therefore, if, themselves of the law. But there are persons in that frontier country, there are many persons in distant parts of the Continent, who have, aliens who did not take advantage of the law never yet become citizens, perhaps from their of 1790. There are numbers of such who have not being in the way of going through the cere- given the strongest proofs of attachment to the mony, and because they had no apprehension of country; they have fought and bled in the the privilege being taken from them. Many service of the United States, and are as much had also omitted to do it from an ignorance of wedded to the Government of the United States onr language. He hoped, therefore, this amend as any man born on American soil. If this ment would be agreed to. If persons have amendment does not prevail, it will affect many given notice of their intention to become citi- valuable citizens of the State of Tennessee who zens, they have complied in part with the laws; were citizons in the year 1795, and ten years and he did not think it would be right to put before that time. These persons would be deit out of their power to comply with the other prived of rights, because they were living in a
country in which there was no post road, and Mr. SEWALL said, this amendment would where, of course, they had no newspapers to comprehend those aliens who have come here give them information of what was going on at since the year 1795, though they may have the seat of Government. He hoped, therefore, made no declaration of their intention to be- it would not be agreed to. come citizens, as they may make the declaration Mr. J. WILLIAMS hoped this provision would before the law passes. As to the other descrip- be agreed to. When an act is passed, good reation of persons, he had not the same objection sons, he said, ought to be given before any to them. He agreed with the gentleman from change takes place. Many persons had come Delaware, that our regulations in this respect | into this country from an expectation of being are made for our own convenience and safety, naturalized at the end of a certain period; but, and that no alien has a right to complain, if if this provision is not agreed to, the system these regulations should disappoint his expecta- will be entirely changed. He saw no difficulty tions.
which could arise from agreeing to this proviMr. SITGREAVES said, this was either a ques- sion, as persons from countries at war with this tion of right or expediency. He presumed no I country could not be made citizens at all. He
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[MAY, 1798. knew a number of persons who had not taken Mr. T. CLAIBORNE said, this was a very imadvantage of the naturalization law, who per- portant bill, and he should wish a little more haps are as good men as any in the United time to consider on it; he therefore moved an States. It was true, he said, that by the laws adjournment. of the several States aliens are allowed to hold The motion was put and negatived, there beland; but when foreigners come here to reside, ing only 15 votes for it. and behave well, he did not see why they ought Mr. ŠITGREAVES said, the observation of the to be prevented from becoming citizens. They gentleman from Massachusetts could only be contribute their share of the expense of govern- applicable when the principle of the bill was ment, and it was an acknowledged principle under consideration; whereas, the present prothat representation and taxation ought to go position only went to limit the period within together; which would not be the case if the which advantage should be taken of the indulbill was passed without this amendment.
gence proposed to be allowed. The question was put and carried, there be Mr. VARNUM moved a division of the amend. ing 52 votes for it.
ment, and proposed to allow till the 1st of SepThe committee then rose, and the House pro- tember next for persons to make a declaration ceeded to take up the amendments.
of their intention to become citizens. The amendment of Mr. GALLATIN coming This motion was not seconded; and the quesagain under consideration,
tion on the scendment was put and carriedMr. Coit hoped that part of the clause would 47 to 31. be disagreed to which embraces persons who The bill was then ordered to be read a third were in this country before the year 1795, but time to-morrow. who had never shown any disposition to become citizens. Those who came since, and had given notice of their intention of becoming citizens,
TUESDAY, May 22. stand on very different ground. He should
Alien Enemies. have no objection to the latter being accepted, On motion of Mr. SEWALL, the House went in the way proposed, but not the former. into a Committee of the Whole on the bill re
After a few observations on this amendment, specting alien enemies, Mr. Dext in the chair ; it was negatived—49 to 32.
when the bill was read as follows: Mr. SITGREAVES proposed an amendment, Sec. 1. Be it enacted, &c., That whenever there limiting the time within which aliens, included shall be a declared war between the United States in Mr. Gallatin's proposition, should be per- and any foreign nation or government, or any invamitted to avail themselves of the exception in sion, or predatory incursion, shall be perpetrated, attheir favor, viz: those who were in this country tempted, or threatened, against the territory of the before the year 1795, within one year after the United States, by any foreign nation or government, passing of this act; and those who have come and the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES shall make here since, and given notice of their intention public proclamation of the event, all natives, denito become citizens, within four years from the zens, citizens, or subjects of the hostile nation or time of such notice having been given.
government, being males of the age of fourteen years The question was first put on the former part and not actually naturalized, shall be liable to be ap
and upwards, who shall be within the United States, of the amendment. Mr. T. CLAIBORNE did not wish to punish enemies; and shall be further subject, with their
prehended, restrained, secured, and removed, as alien men for not being born here, but to punish both goods and effects, to a just retaliation of any unusual natives and foreigners when guilty. He hoped severities, restraints, and confiscations, which shall two years would be allowed instead of one. be suffered by the citizens of the United States, resi
The question on two years was put and ne- dent within the territory of the hostile nation or govgatived—31 to 39. It was then put on one, ernment, and inflicted by their authority, previous to, and carried—57 votes being for it.
or at the commencement of, any war or rupture as The question on the second part of the amend- aforesaid, under color or pretence thereof. And the ment was then put.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES shall be, and he is Mr. Varnum said, the impulse of the moment hereby, authorized, in any event as aforesaid, by his led members to believe that these restrictions proclamation thereof
, or other public act, to direct upon foreigners were necessary. He thought
the conduct to be observed, on the part of the United there was no necessity for any measures being aforesaid; the manner and degree of the restraint to
States, towards the aliens who shall become liable as taken with respect to foreigners, except such as belong to the nation with whom we expect to which they shall be subject, and in what cases and
upon what security their residence shall be permitbe at war; yet, he had no particular objection ted, and to provide for the removal of those who, not to restrictions being made with respect to such being permitted to reside within the United States, foreigners as shall hereafter come to this coun shall refuse or neglect to depart therefrom, and to try; but, having heretofore held out induce- establish any other regulations which shall be found ments to foreigners to come to this country, necessary in the premises, and for the public safety, and when they are come, with an expectation subject, nevertheless, to the regulations which the of becoming entitled to the rights of citizens in Congress of the United States shall thereafter agree à certain time, he would not disappoint those and establish. expectations.
[The second section allows to any alien enemy
[H. OF R. who shall not be chargeable with actual hostility, all words after the word “aforesaid," at the conthe time for the disposal of his effects, and his re- clusion of the last section, and to insert in lien moval from the country, which any treaty with his
thereof the following words, viz: "shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor, and subject to a fine nation may stipulate; and the third commits the ex
not exceeding - dollars, and be imprisonecution of the act in relation to all persons compre
ed not exceeding months." hended in the PRESIDENT'S Proclamation, and to all | Mr. SEWALL acknowledged there was a good who shall harbor them, to all the judicial and minis- | deal of uncertainty in that part of the bill movterial officers of the Federal and State Govern ed to be struck out; but the select committee ments.]
did not see any way of remedying the evil with
out making the law too mild in its operation. The two first sections having been read, with- In some cases, the offence would amount to out motion for amendment,
high treason, the punishment for which is Mr. Lyon moved to strike out the word death; in others, to misprision of treason, the " harbor," in the third section, which was nego punishment for which is imprisonment not exatived.
ceeding seven years, and a fine not exceeding Mr. Macon thought the third section gave one thousand dollars. As the offence might, the PRESIDENT a very extraordinary power; it therefore, sometimes amount to high treason, seemed that his proclamation, in all cases, was there would be an impropriety in making it to be considered as law. He wished the chair- uniformly a misdemeanor. man of the committee, who reported the bill, If an alien should have resided here for a to give some information on the subject. number of years, and he should turn out to
Mr. SEWALL said, the gentleman from North have been å spy, and a citizen of the United Carolina seemed to suppose that this was a States should have harbored and concealed the general power placed in the hands of the PRES- said alien, knowing him to have been a spy, he IDENT, whereas his power is confined by the would be chargeable with high treason for aidfirst section of the bill. This power, Mr. S. ing and abetting the enemies of the United said, must be placed somewhere, and he be- States within its territory, or at least a misprilieved it could not be better placed than in the sion of treason. PRESIDENT.
But the gentleman from Delaware was misMr. Lyon saw no ground for the first section taken in his idea that it was intended to try an of the bill, except it was to restrain the proper- offender by a law passed after the offence was ty of aliens to make satisfaction for the injuries committed. By the expression, “as by law done to our own citizens; nor shonld he be is or shall be declared," was only meant such willing to give a power to the PRESIDENT law as should be passed between the present which might enable him to distress innocent time and the time of committing any offence. persong. He moved, therefore, to strike out The question on this amendment was put and the words “ or threatened,” in the first section, carried, 44 to 25. as he considered these words too vague to au- On motion of Mr. BAYARD, the blank for conthorize the exercise of so great a power as was |taining the amount of the penalty, in the amendhere given.
ment just carried, was filled with one thousand Mr. Macon seconded the motion.
dollars. The question was put and negatived, 44 to The committee rose, and reported the amend39.
| ments; which having been agreed to, Mr. HARPER moved to strike out the words Mr. Dent moved to strike ont the word " predatory incursion," in the first section. The “months," in Mr. BAYARD's amendment, in power, he said, was a very extensive one, and order to insert "seven years." he did not think it ought to be given except in Mr. N. Smith hoped this amendment would cases of serious attack; but, after a few words not be agreed to. He believed the penalty in opposition to it by Mr. SEWALL, and in favor might, in some cases, be too severe, and in othof it by Mr. MODOWELL, he withdrew his mo- ers by far too mild. He thought the bill stood tion, alleging that he had not rightly understood well as it was. He did not think there was the section.
any uncertainty in it but what arose from the Mr. BAYARD said, the last section of this bill different species of offence which were comcontained a principle contrary to all our maxims prised within this provision-for a person unof jurisprudence, viz: to provide punishment der it might be guilty of the highest crime, or for a crime by a law to be passed after the fact of no crime at all, according to the circumstances is committed. Whether the crime to be pun- of the case. This being the condition of things, ished is to amount to treason, misprision of to make an uniform punishment for all cases, treason, or be only a misdemeanor, is left un- whether highly criminal, or no crime at all, certain. It was his opinion that laws could not cannot be proper. be too definite; but it would be impossible in The bill as it stands, withont the amendment, this case for the person committed to know provides that offenders shall be imprisoned and what crime he had committed, or to what pun- punished according to the law which is or shall ishment he was liable. In order to get rid of be made, (before the offence is committed,) and this difficulty, he moved to strike out all the l he thought this was the proper footing, as the
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(May, 1798. punishment would then be apportioned accord- | be deprived of their liberty without any proing to the offence.
cess of law, or being guilty of any crime. Yet Mr. Bayard hoped the amendment would be the gentleman from Massachusetts says, that agreed to. He did not know that a greater mis- this bill does not define a crime or award a fortune could happen to any man than to live punishment. But, Mr. G. said, this assertion in a country where the laws are so indefinite was not correct; for there was a new crime that a person cannot ascertain when he com- instituted, which was that of being a suspected mits an offence, or what is the penalty of an person, and the overt act which is to be evioffence when it is committed. The gentlemen dence of that crime, is the harboring and confrom Massachusetts and Connecticut tell the cealing of an alien enemy, and the punishment House about the aggravation of the offence. is to be apprehension and imprisonment until What was the aggravation they allude to they it shall be found what law the prisoner has have not stated, and no gentleman could form offended. an opinion upon the subject. The fact was of Mr. G. said he was ready to acknowledge that a definite nature, and a definite punishment where a man commits an offence, he ought to ought to be made for it. What is the fact? It be punished; but he could not consent to punish is the harboring and concealing of an alien ene- any man on suspicion merely. He therefore my after the proclamation of the PRESIDENT. moved to recommit the bill. He did this beGentlemen say this offence may amount to cause he thought the whole of the bill vague in treason, misprision of treason, or other offence. its nature. He wished it to be more in detail
, If the offence could amount to treason, he own- and that the offences to be punished should be ed he did not understand the bill, because the defined; for it was remarkable that every seccrime of treason is defined by the constitution, tion of the bill concluded with these singular and could not be varied by any law of Congress. words: “subject nevertheless to the regulations If, then, the fact amount to treason, it will not which the Congress of the United States shall bé included in this law. If gentlemen wished thereafter agree and establish.” So that into punish persons in exact conformity to their stead of deciding what the law should be, it degree of offence, they ought to prepare a scale gives the PRESIDENT the power of saying what of offence for that purpose. If not, the amend it is; subject to the after regulations of Conment agreed to tn Committee of the Whole, gress. He wished now to make the law to deought, in his opinion, to be concurred in. clare what the offence should be, and what the
Mr. SEWALL said, this bill aimed at one thing, punishment, and not leave it to the PRESIDENT and the gentleman from Delaware at another. to make what regulations he shall think proper. The bill bas in itself a definition of the offence. If not, the whole of the bill might as well be It has declared certain circumstances which in two or three words, viz: "The PPESIDENT shall put a person in a situation in which he OF THE UNITED STATES shall have the power to shall answer for his conduct. It declares that remove, restrict, or confine alien enemies and a person harboring an alien enemy shall be a citizens whom he may consider as suspected suspected person; but the crime and punish- persons.' When Congress attempted to legisment must be ascertained by other laws; and late, they ought not to do it in this way. When by these offenders are to be punished agree the resolution was agreed to, authorizing this ably to their offences, whether they be great or bill to be reported, he expected the committee small.
would have defined the nature of offences and Mr. GALLATIN said, if he understood the gen- their punishments, and not reported the bill in tleman from Massachusetts, it was not the ob- the vague way in which it is before the House, ject of this bill to define the nature of the especially as this appears not to be meant for å offence of which a person shall be guilty, or temporary, but a permanent law. the punishment for it, for harboring and con If gentlemen examine the third section of the cealing an alien enemy, but only that certain | bill, it will be found that all Judges, Justices, circumstances should render a man a suspected | Marshals
, and other officers, and all the person. This to him was altogether a new le- good people of the United States, are bound to gislation.
do, what? Not to execute any law; but to If he understood the bill as it stood rightly, carry into effect any proclamation, or other a person may be apprehended and imprisoned public act of the PRESIDENT. So that instead on account of his having harbored and conceal of the Judicial, and any other officers of the ed alien enemies; yet the gentleman from Mas- United States, and the people at large, being sachusetts says this is in itself no crime; for, if obedient to the laws, they are to be obedient to it were a crime, it ought to be punished in the the will of the PRESIDENT. way proposed by the gentleman from Delaware, The last clause of the bill, which does not rebut he states it to be only a sufficient ground of late to aliens, but to our own citizens, is very suspicion. This Mr. G. said, was not only con- objectionable. It is in the shape of a penal law, trary to every principle of justice and reason, and the crime it defines is the harboring and but to the provisions of the constitution. The concealing of alien enemies. Now it is said, constitution says, “ that no person shall be de- that this crime may amount to high treason, by prived of life, limb, or property, without due its being construed that an offender has adhered process of law.” But here certain persons may to the enemies of the United States, knowing
[H. OF R them to be such, or it may be no offence at all. I enemies in the same way. The operation of But the provision is general; and a man guilty such a measure would be unjust. Will gentle. of no offence is liable to be apprehended and men think it right, then, to declare that alien imprisoned equally with the highest offender enemies shall only be removed, or otherwise reunder this law.
stricted, on conviction of some overt act to be Upon the whole, it was evident, Mr. G. said, specified in the act? They are at present liable, that this bill wants detail, as what is left general with all other persons, to be punished for and ambiguous, ought to be clearly defined. crimes; so that a regulation with this view He hoped, therefore, the bill would be recom- would be unnecessary. But there may be cases mitted.
where the conduct of such persons being exMr. SEWALL said, that the gentleman from tremely suspicious, they ought to be taken into Pennsylvania, in order to bring forward this custody, though no positive crime could be motion, has shut his eyes to the intention of the proved. Suppose a French army were to land bill
. He says it is a bill for punishing crimes in this country, some of these persons might which are not defined. He never knew that show a disposition, which would warrant their alien enemies were guilty of an offence merely imprisonment; and yet he did not know how as such. It is a bill to provide for the public such dispositions could be defined in this bill. safety in certain cases. In the event of a war Mr. O. believed, therefore, that it would be with France, all her citizens here will become best to vost a discretionary power in the Execualien enemies, but neither this bill, nor common tive to secure and take care that these men sense, would consider them as offenders. They should do no injury. And this could not be may be offenders, but not because they are alien looked upon as a dangerous or exorbitant power, enemies; nevertheless it is necessary to provide since the PRESIDENT would have the power, the for the public safety, and in all countries there moment war was declared, to apprehend' the is a power lodged somewhere for taking mea- whole of these people as enemies, and make sures of this kind. In this country, this power them prisoners of war. And in case of a predais not lodged wholly in the Executive; it is in tory incursion, made on this country, there Congress. Perhaps, if war was declared, the might be as much reason for securing some of PRESIDENT might then, as Commander-in-chief, them as in case of actual war or invasion. So exercise a military power over these people; that this bill ought rather to be considered as . but it would be best to settle these regulations an amelioration or modification of those powers by civil process. They would be regulated by the which the PRESIDENT already possesses, as Comtreaties as well as by the laws of nations. The mander-in-chief, and which the martial law intention of this bill is to give the PRESIDENT would prove more rigorous than those proposed the power of judging what is proper to be done, by this new regulation. Unless gentlemen were and to limit his authority in the way proposed disposed to interfere, to suffer those men to go by this bill. In many cases, it would be nnne at large, and to carry on a correspondence with cessary to remove or restrict aliens of this de- their countrymen and our enemy; unless they scription; and he believed it would be impossible will consent to suffer a band of spies to be for Congress to describe the cases in which spread through the country, from one end of it aliens or citizens ought to be punished, or not; to the other, who, in case of the introduction but the PRESIDENT would be able to determiné of an enemy into our country, may join them this matter by his proclamation. If, however, in their attack upon us, and in their plunder of gentlemen could point out any way in which our property, nothing short of the bill like the the necessary regulations could be detailed, he present can be effectual. should have no particular objection to it, He was willing to say, that in a time of tranthough he thought the bill stood very well as it quillity, he should not desire to put a power like
this into the hands of the Executive; but, in a Mr. Otis. In considering this subject, the time of war, the citizens of France ought to be only practicable modes, he said, which present considered and treated and watched in a very themselves, are three. 'To provide for the re- different manner from citizens of our own counmoving or otherwise restricting all alien ene- try: mies without distinction, or to specify some As to the objection made by the gentleman overt acts for committing of which they shall from Pennsylvania, that the bill provides a punbe liable to be removed or restricted, or else to ishment for suspected persons, and that the leave the power with the PRESIDENT to take word suspected was indefinite, Mr. O. asked such steps respecting them as he shall think whether men are not usually arrested on suspiproper and necessary for
the public safety. cion? When information is lodged against a Mr. O. inquired if the House was ready to do man for committing an offence, he is suspected the first? He thought not. He had no doubt of being guilty, and imprisoned until he can be there might be French citizens resident here examined. who were entitled to protection, who meant to Mr. 0. believed, that, to provide for this debecome good subjects, and who ought not to be tention of the person, was all Congress could exposed to any inconvenience or penalty what- now do. If the bill wa recommitted, he ever: He believed very few gentlemen are of did not think any definite provision could be opinion that it would be proper to treat all alien I made. It was necessary the