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and, lastly, that the time is opportune tions which will never weigh for much for aiming at, or at any rate contem- with those who eagerly embrace or corplating, the extension of common civil dially acquiesce in the idea of isopolity. and political rights throughout the The plan proposed is then technically whole of the English-speaking people. feasible; its real practicability depends First, the plan is practicable.
on the existence of a widespread feelMy scheme is technically, so to speak, ing in its favor on both sides the Atfeasible. As far as England is con- lantic. Unless a desire for a closer cerned, it could be carried into effect at union exist, any attempt to establish a any moment by an act, and that a short common citizenship must, on the very act, of Parliament. As far as the face of the matter, be futile, not to say United States are concerned, it might absurd. Throughout this article I asbe carried into effect by an act of Con- sume that the desire for some sort of gress. There would, for the founda- unity does exist, and my contention is tion of a common citizenship, be no need that, given such a wish, there is no for any revolution even of a legal kind legal difficulty in giving effect to it. If in the Constitution either of England the objection be made, as it possibly or of the United States. No doubt, as already intimated, the may be made with truth, that a strong
wish for common citizenship has not necessary legislation on the part either of the Imperial Parliament or of Con- yet arisen, my reply is simple. Neither gress would involve the consideration has been definitely set before them as
men nor nations desire an end until it of several provisos or limitations, each
an object of attainment. One main of which might raise difficult and debatable questions. Thus, for example,
reason for propounding my scheme is with a view to the peculiar status of to create or stimulate the desire for American Indians, who are inhabitants, common citizenship. Thus much is but are not citizens, of the United certain: if the desire exist there is no States, care would have to be taken that legal difficulty in giving it satisfaction. the enactment of common citizenship
Secondly: The immediate and practidid not confer on Canadian Indians, cal effects of common citizenship would who are British subjects, greater rights, be small. when passing into the United States,
My proposal sounds revolutionary, than are possessed there by American but in truth the most plausible objecIndians. It would, again, need to be tion to it is that its results would be considered how far, if at all, the exten- practically insignificant. As things sion of civil and political rights should now stand a foreigner when in England involve the extension of criminal lia- loses but little in point of civil rights, bility. But these and other matters of from the fact that he is not a British detail, however important in the subject. Aliens, it is true, were at one selves, do not, for our present purpose, time excluded as such from a certain require careful consideration; they con- number of civil rights; they could not. stitute just the kind of objections for example, inherit land, but, at any which naturally enough are taken hold rate, since 1870 an alien belonging to a of and exaggerated by opponents who country such as France, which is at deprecate the very attempt to unite peace with Great Britain, has posmore closely the two branches of the sessed, certainly in the United KingEnglish people. But they are objec- dom, and probably in every part of the
British Empire, if not all yet nearly all, i Or by such other legislation, if any, as the Con. the civil rights of a British subject. stitution of the United States may require. An He can own land in England, he can act of Congress would, however, apparently be
trade in England, he enjoys in England sufficient. (See “Constitution of the United States," art. i. 8. 8, clause 3, and“ Kent, Comm.',
much personal liberty and ii., pp. 64-66.) But a treaty which should provide much freedom of speech or of writing for the passing of the necessary acts would prac. as an ordinary Englishman. There is tically be a necessity.
no power on the part of the govern
ment to expel him from the country. glishman imagine that if in virtue of a In some few instances, but they are common citizenship he became very few, he may find to his surprise American citizen, he could avail himthat he lacks some right possessed by self any more easily than at present of a British subject. An alien, for exam- the facility with which a divorce can ple, cannot be owner of a British ship, be obtained in the state of Illinois. As but this restriction, and it is a very things now stand an Englishman who exceptional one, is rather nominal than chooses really and bona fide to settle or real, for there is nothing to prevent an become domiciled in Illinois, may obalien from being a shareholder in a tain a divorce there which would be British company which owns ships. A held valid in England, and this he may foreigner, again, who wishes to execute accomplish whilst remaining a British a will may find, on consulting his law subject. A British subject, and for yer, that a particular form of will, that matter an American citizen, who which would be valid if executed by a is really or bonâ fide settled or domiBritish subject, is invalid if the testa- ciled in England, may possibly, if he tor be an alien, and I doubt not that takes the proper steps, get a divorce in industrious research might discover Illinois, but that divorce will have no one or two other trifling points in re- validity in England, and will not save spect of which an alien's civil rights him in England from conviction for are in England affected by his alienage. bigamy should he, whilst his English
But these matters are the merest wife is living, marry another wife in trifles. A foreigner enjoys, in sub- Illinois. The ordinary principle of Enstance, in England all the ordinary glish, as of American, law is that civil civil rights of a native. The result is status and civil rights depend upon perthat an American citizen who should, manent residence or domicile, not upon by act of Parliament, be transformed nationality. into a British subject, would in En- The position of aliens in the United gland, at least, hardly feel that, as re- States is still, it would appear, in gards the affairs of every-day life, his theory at least, somewhat inferior to position was in any way changed. In the position in the United Kingdom. some English colonies the case may be Their rights to hold and to inherit real different, and aliens may there still estate is still governed partly by comlabor under some of the disabilities, mon law, partly by the statutes of the e.g., as to the inheritance of land-im- several states. It is, therefore, possiposed by the common law, and it is ble that an interchange of citizenship possible that the institution of a com- would confer rather greater advanmon citizenship might slightly increase tages upon Englishmen residing in the even the mere civil rights of American United States than upon Americans recitizens throughout the British Colo- siding in England. But state legislanial Empire. Still, if you look at the tion has tended to modify, in favor of matter broadly, it remains strictly true aliens, the harshness of the common that an American becoming a British law, and there is no reason to suppose subject would find that, as regards the that the change I am advocating would affairs of every-day life, he had under- materially affect the civil position of an gone no perceptible change of status. Englishman settled in America. In all Let me add further, in order to obviate the ordinary transactions of life which a common and natural error, that the lie outside the sphere of politics, an institution of a citizenship common to Englishman, resident in or visiting Englishmen and Americans would have New York or Illinois, has already no effect whatever upon the operation pretty much the same rights as a citiof the marriage laws or the divorce zen of that state. laws prevailing in different parts of the
1 As to the position of aliens in the United States British Empire, or in the different states
see 2“ Kent, Comm." 12th ed. pp. 53.73, especially of the American Union. Let no En- Holmes's Note on Rights of Allens, p. 70. When
Community of citizenship would af- tion the child of British subjects, who fect not civil, but political rights. If had themselves obtained American citithe acts creating isopolity were zenship, might not, as a natural born passed, a citizen of the United States citizen, hope to gain the supreme object would stand, when in England, in the of American ambition, same position as an English colonist. The plain truth is that if every AmerMr. Phelps or Mr. Bayard would pos- ican settled in any part of the British sess the same political rights as Mr. dominions were suddenly by an act of Blake or Mr. Rhodes. The political Parliament transformed into a British status, in short, of an American citizen subject, he might for a long time not would be exactly the same as that of realize his change of legal status. The his grandfather, who, before 1776, was alteration would certainly not attract an inhabitant of Massachusetts, but a the attention of his neighbors. There subject of the British Crown. He are scores of Americans living in Enwould, on the necessary conditions be- gland as to whom even an intimate ing fulfilled, be able to vote for a mem. friend does not know whether they ber of Parliament, to sit in Parliament, bave or have not taken out certificates and, if fortune favored, become a Cabi- of naturalization. It would be a bold net minister or a premier. He might prediction to assert that by a given aspire, did his ambition lead in that date, say January 1, 1901, every Ameridirection, to the House of Lords. So can citizen would become a British subon the other hand, a British subject, to ject, and ten or twelve American citi. whom American citizenship had been zens would have obtained seats in the extended, might, on the necessary con- House of Commons, but though the ditions being fulfilled, vote for a mem- prophecy would excite amazement, and ber of Congress, become a member of would possibly enough not obtain fulthe House of Representatives, or even filment, there is no reason why it a senator. To one glory, it must be should excite alarm. The common citiadmitted, he could not attain; he must zenship which already prevails throughforego any hope of the presidentship, out the British empire has brought, and for none but a natural born citizen can has most rightly brought, into Parliabecome President of the United States.' ment men who by race, language, and We must leave it for American jurists religion are far less closely connected to decide whether under the constitu- with us than are the citizens of Massa
chusetts or of Illinois, and Englishmen we consider that “many of the States of the Union have done away with all disabilities of may see not only with calmness but Aliens to hold landed property, and all are believed with satisfaction, natives of India take to have much qualified the common law” (2 their seats at Westminster; but they ** Kent,” p 70, note 1), it may be assumed that the surely may see with just as much calmposition of aliens in the United States would be but slightly changed by the extension of common
ness, and just as much satisfaction, a citizenship. In order that Englishmen might not
citizen of Vermont or Connecticut suffer by what was intended to be a gain, it seated side by side with Parsee or a should be made clear that they preserved the Hindoo. Recent legislation, moreover, right given to citizens of different States and to enables any foreigner who is really citizens of the foreign States of suing and being resident in the United Kingdom to acsued in the Federal Courts. See Constitution of U.S., art. 111. 8. 2.
quire British nationality. This exten1 U.S. Constitution, art. iii. 8. 1. It is worth sion of the rights of citizenship is as notice that some American citizens even after the politic and reasonable as it is liberal acknowledgment by Great Britain of American and generous, but it forbids the mainteindependence, considered themselves to be both American citizens and British subjects. See the
nance of the principle that the public unpublished memoir of J. C Dyer, containing an
life of England shall be open to none expression of this view, which is very noteworthy but natural born Englishmen. No one as representing the sentiment of loyalty to En
wishes to exclude naturalized aliens gland retained by a loyal citizen of the American from the full citizenship, but without Republic
being a victim to insular prejudice, a
liberal-minded Englishman may con- tion laws, moreover, of the United fess that he would as soon have seen States, though they are very liberal, seseated at Westminster, Mr. Lowell or cure, nominally at least, that no forMr. Phelps, or Mr. Bayard, or any one eigner shall obtain American citizenof the eminent citizens who have repre- ship who is not a person of respectable sented the United States in England, as character, and has not resided in the a gentleman, who, however keen an United States for a period of five advocate of the doctrine of England years. The suggestion, therefore, is for the English, owes his seat in Par- plausible that legislation which made liament to a certificate of naturaliza- every British subject ipso facto an tion on which the ink was scarcely dry American citizen would break down at the day of his election.
some of the few checks on the tendency The direct effects of isopolity would which every wise American deplores, be no greater in the United States than of a mass of emigrants who have no England. From some points of view real connection with the United States, they might be even less, since the and of whom some are by no means rights and liabilities of an American desirable citizens, to swamp and outoften arise rather from his being a citi- number native-born Americans. But zen of the particular state than from when the matter is carefully his being a citizen of the United States. sidered, the most plausible objection However this may be, an Englishman from an American point of view to my who became an American citizen would, proposal turns out to be in reality a when in the United States, find that his reason of some force in its favor. civil rights were but slightly if at all This assertion sounds paradoxical, but increased, and that though his political admits of easy justification. status would be altered, this alteration American checks on naturalization would hardly affect the position of a are not real, but nominal. Any emlman who did not wish to take an active grant who does not stickle at a little part in public life. It must further be formal perjury, and can obtain a friend remembered that under the law of the or two no more scrupulous than himUnited States naturalization, as things self, can, it is pretty well understood, now stand, is easy, and that a natural- gain admission to American citizenized American citizen has almost all ship, even though his character be inthe rights of a natural born American different, and though he may not have citizen. There certainly has at least resided many weeks in America. A been one case, and no doubt persons good number of emigrants, indeed, if well acquainted with American politics left to themselves, might, it is possible, might point to many more, in which a not go through the formalities (we naturalized alien has played very might say the farce), by which they prominent and it must be added a very are transformed into American citibeneficial part in the public life of zens. But emigrants are not left to America.
themselves; they are taken in hand by In the United States, therefore, as in the agents of political parties, and havEngland, the practical change pro- ing been duly drilled, go through the duced by common citizenship would be necessary forms as lightheartedly as small, but the change would, from one some fifty years ago respectable underpoint of view, be of more importance graduates signed on their matriculation in the United States than in the United those thirty-nine articles of which they Kingdom. The reason of this differ- neither understood nor, in many cases, ence is that the number of Americans knew the contents. No doubt, howsettling in England, or even in the ever, there is to be found a residue of British Empire, is small and insignifi- respectable persons who hesitate to cant, whilst the number of British sub- claim by means of false declarations a jects who settle in the United States is large and important. The naturaliza- 1 See 2 “Kent, Comm.” 12th ed. pp. 64, 65.
citizenship to which they have not yet throughout the whole English race become duly entitled. This, then, is that sentiment of national unity, the the result of the present system. All increase of which is, in one form or anemigrants can become American citi- other, suggesting plans for binding zens almost immediately upon their closer together England and her cololanding in the United States, except, nies; and a common citizenship would indeed, the most moral and the most be no small advantage if it did no more respectable portion of the emigrants. than emphasize the feeling that the In other words, citizenship is open im- two branches of the English people mediately to every foreigner but the were bound together by the feeling very class of foreigners who most de- of
nationality. It would, serve to become citizens, and the only further, be an unspeakable advantage aliens who are excluded are the aliens that this sense of unity should be prowhose character renders them specially claimed to the whole world. The deserving of citizenship. Years ago I declaration of isopolity would be an had the happiness to witness at New announcement which no foreign state York this manufacture of American could legitimately blame or wisely citizens. It was an amusing, though in overlook, that men of English descent one respect an impressive scene. One in England and America alike were might doubt whether the respectable determined to safeguard the future gentlemen who vouched for the qualiti- prosperity of the whole English people. cations of the claimants to citizenship The knowledge, or even the presumpwere specially nice in the matter of tion, that neither division of the race truth. But no one who compared the could be induced to attack the other by indigent foreigner with his well-to-do any provocation falling short of the friends could doubt that a very short causes which justify civil war would residence in the United States often increase the moral prestige and even raised European paupers into well-to- the material power both of England do Americans. Shortly after witness- and of America. How great is the ing this bestowal of citizenship, I called worth of concord to each country will on an American public man of some be seen at once by any one who reeminence. He maintained that the flects how much the mere possibility of abolition of all checks on naturalization a war about Venezuela must have enwould be a benefit. It would, he ar- couraged every foreign state which gued, have two good effects. It would may have meditated an attack upon diminish the influence of wire-pullers, England. and put an end to the temptation which The immediate results, indeed, of a beset every emigrant to enlist himself common citizenship would, as I have at once in some political party; it all along insisted, be small, but, as far would, in the second place, on the as they went, they would all be good. whole, raise the character of American The ambassadors, the ministers, or the citizens. Whether this contention was consuls of England or of America absolutely sound or not it is not for an would be prepared to aid, protect, or Englishman to determine, but it, at any show courtesy in foreign countries to rate, establishes that restrictions on Americans and to Englishmen alike, naturalization which are of dubious and no one can doubt that Great Britvalue are not worth weighing against ain and the United States could often any serious advantage to be obtained each in turn, or both together, give effrom the common citizenship of the fective help to their common citizens. whole English people.
Nor can any Englishman, at any rate, Thirdly, the indirect and moral ef- deem it a small advantage that every fects would be great and wholly benefi- citizen of the United States should cial.
when in England feel himself absoThe creation of a common English lutely and completely at home. No one citizenship would of itself intensify can expect, or even reasonably desire,