Mr. Seward gives a Colored Man a Certificate of Citizenship.
Mr. Gerald Ralston, the noted colonizationist, writes to Lord Brougham a letter, in which he says:
"I have great pleasure in informing your lordship that the decision of the federal court in the Dred Scott case is practically annulled by the present government of Washington. I have before me the passport granted to Rev. Henry H. Garnet, a black man of note, and of great distinction among the negroes of New York, given by William H. Seward, the secretary of state, dated Washington, August 26, 1861, in which the secretary requests ‘all whom it may concern to permit safely and freely to pass Henry H. Garnet, a citizen of the United States, and, in case of need, to give him all lawful aid and protection.’ This passport is impressed by the seal of the department of state, and signed by the secretary of state, in the eighty-sixth year of the independence of the United States."
This recognition of negro citizenship of the United States is not only opposed to the decision of the supreme court, but it is contrary to all the precedents of former secretaries of state from the formation of the government. As strong an anti-slavery man as John Quincy Adams refused to give a negro passports, when he was secretary of state under Mr. Monroe. The negro desired to go to Europe, but Mr. Adams would not give him a citizen's papers. Chief Justice Daggett, of Connecticut, in a decision reported in 5 Connecticut Reports, second series, page 340, decided that slaves, free blacks and Indians, were not citizens within the meaning of the term as used in the constitution of the United States. No person is allowed to become a citizen by naturalization who is not white, that word being used expressly in the law. When Mr. Clayton was secretary of state under Gen. Taylor, in 1849, he refused to recognize negro citizenship, and was bitterly assailed by the abolition press for it. John C. Spencer, an eminent jurist of New York, who was secretary of war under John Tyler, published a communication in the Albany Evening Journal, the organ of Mr. Seward, defending Mr. Clayton's course. Mr. Spencer said "the weight of authority seems to preponderate against the citizenship of a person of color." The Evening Journal, edited by Mr. Thurlow Weed, in commenting upon Mr. Spencer's note, said:
"A colored person, of African descent, is supposed to apply to the secretary of state for a passport to enable him to travel in some foreign country. What is called a passport contains a certificate that the person to whom it is given is a citizen of the United States. Such a certificate, it appears, has never been intentionally granted to a person of color and the inquiry is naturally made, why not? The answer is, that it is yet an unsettled question in our judicial tribunals whether a person of color of African descent is or can be a citizen of the United States within the meaning of the constitution."
A decision has since been made by the highest judicial tribunal, that they can not become citizens. — Cincinnati Enquirer.